Monday, March 14, 2011

Signs and wonders

I’ve been homebound for the past five weeks, recuperating from a badly sprained knee. The constant ingestion of pain-killers, as I discovered, makes it hard to focus on reading and writing, but happily I was able to make good progress with my guitar-playing and with copy-editing two more books queued for publication later this year.

The long hours of  convalescence made me much more aware of current events, culminating with last week’s parade of horrors. In the space of only six days,

1.         Wisconsin Republicans revoked collective bargaining for public employees—especially infuriating to me personally, since I  worked as an AFSCME shop steward for three years.

2.         By midweek it appeared that Colonel Shitface Qaddafi had gained control over the rebels in Libya, while the so-called international community continued to dither about intervening, in the usual manner of Rwanda, Darfur and Somalia.

3.         McCarthy-style Congressional hearings began with much publicity to investigate the risk of attack by domestic Islamic radicals, thus likely creating many more of them and ignoring the more cogent issue of how our own homegrown, non-Islamic paranoid schizophrenics like McVeigh or Gestedner are able to obtain explosives and automatic rifles as easily as they do.

4.         By the end of the week Japan had been devastated by a horrendous tsunami and by a row of incipient nuclear meltdowns, while just yesterday

5.         A ten-car train derailed near the Concord BART Station, because, as it was first reported, three or four wheels had fallen off one of the coaches.

In short this was one of the worst weeks in recent history, making one acutely aware how good we have it living our comfy, computer-driven lives here in San Francisco.

I’ve also decided to add a couple more gallons of bottled water to my earthquake emergency supply kit.