The devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan that has killed countless numbers of people (thousands are still reported missing) hit home, literally, as the tsunami washed away at least one California man who was too close to the ocean as he tried to take pictures of the waves.
Ginormous earthquakes are just something else to consider when thinking about the benefits of... nucular power... although some of the danger appears to be receding, Japan has about five of the suckers on high alert right now, because, ironically, the loss of electricity caused by disruption of a big earthquake prevents the cooling systems from operating properly. (The nastiest problems are at a plant designed from our friends at GE... we bring good things to life, etc., etc.) [We might ask ourselves why so many, including the President of the United States, insist upon telling us of the safety of nucular power, notwithstanding consideration of the fact that we may get a few decades of power out of the things in exchange for millenia of really bad s&*^ poisoning people who otherwise never knew of our existence... and our asshole friends in Nevada (yes, I mean you Harry Reid most especially) refuse politically to allow disposal of our nucular crap at Yucca Mountain notwithstanding that is pretty much the only place geologically stable enough so it is likely to keep it from killing off population centers of the future given the vagaries of ordinary wear and tear, climate change, etc. and such. But hey... that's just me. We might consider why we need so much electric power in the first place... surely, we can figure out how to do with less, rather than engage in practices that are potentially so harmful... more crazy talk... again... just me.]
Meanwhile, in the only event in the Middle East we're allowed to be paying attention to now (we're only allowed one at a time), it seems rumors of Libyan leader Col. Moammar Qaddafi's demise were greatly exaggerated, as the rebels have been facing set-back and Qaddafi's better-armed forces are advancing. It seems that it's more important that we know about Charlie Sheen or whomever else our corporate masters is serving as today's bread and circuses... I mean, why trouble ourselves with a possibly pivotal moment in human history, as people in Tunisia and Egypt have already forced out longstanding (Western stooge) dictators, people in Bahrain have effected significant changes in their government, and virtually all major dissidents in Iran have been jailed... no... we've no attention span for that sort of thing. Can we talk about Charlie Sheen again?
What are we going to talk about? Wisconsin? O.K.... Look-- state and local budgets are a huge mess, and abusive pension and benefit practices really do have to be "on the table." And no one doubts that the elimination of collective bargaining is overkill, clearly intended as a shot to the gut of the Democratic Party, rather than a legitimate budgetary measure (after all, contracts remain in place for their duration, and will continue to set at least the minimum terms for state workers going forward). And yet... that's just it: the Democratic Party won't fight back. Instead of using this as a demonstration of Republican betrayal that should be a basis for a generation of electoral dominance, instead it's used to raise a few bucks. A complete lack of imagination is why huge majorities everywhere became minorities, because at its core (or at least the core of its office holders)... both parties are unmistakably part of the same program of corporate dominance... one party wants to drive us off a cliff at 65 m.p.h.... the best we can say for the other party is that they want to drive us off the same cliff... at only 45 m.p.h., and perhaps the slower speed can allow us to correct course before over we go. Democratics, faced with control of both houses of Congress and the White House for the first time in nearly 20 years... played small ball, when it was time to swing for the fences. And so... here we are. Still content to play small ball. Give the Republicans their due-- they came to play to win, and they brought their A-game. Maybe they'll take us off that cliff at 70 m.p.h.
Screw it. I continue to advise self-reliance, including home-grown food as much as possible, bicycle repair and maintenance and the like, read up on home remedies and such, make friends with other self-reliant people, take care of your own... and not trying to worry too much about these out of control mega-trends, that might, but probably won't, end well. This has been... "swept away."