Monday, April 27, 2009

Schweinflu and The 100 Days

I'm adopting a wait-and-see approach, but my guess is that the effect of the new, antigen-shifted H1N1 influenza virus will be something between the Flu that ate Christmas for me last year, and Stephen King's The Stand. The scale between severe annoyance and apocalypse is fairly large, but it's early days yet. And, this whole pandemic thing is just... inconvenient.

We already have a moderate to severe Economic Crumble going on here at home.

Radical climate change continues to be the most significant challenge to our species, no matter how many manufacturers rush to put the word Green! on their labels and product packaging

The [West Asian] Taliban are pushing Pakistan closer to the status of a Failed State, and salivating at the opportunity of having an entire population to oppress, not to mention seizing a nuclear weapon or two. In all probability, the United States government will not allow that; no chance for confrontation or fuck-up there, right?

An avowed Likud wingnut (who will never allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon) is Prime Minister of Israel. An avowed Islamist Holocaust Denier (who may or may not want the bomb) is the leader of Iran; what could happen?

Kim Jong is still Ill in Pyongyang, and those freaks actually have nukes. And missiles. And they're very crazy, and very hungry. What could go wrong there?

The Sad Little Circus of politics is open, as usual. Silvio Berlusconi (Silvio !) channels Barbara Bush in observing recent Italian earthquake victims should see their loss of homes and possessions and loved ones as just the cost of doing business. Our domestic Taliban continue to claim torture is great and good, and that capping Carbon Dioxide emissions is wrong and bad.

So, an influenza pandemic at this point is -- well, just in extremely bad taste. Whoever is responsible for writing code in the programming running our little portion of the Matrix must have had a bad weekend with their Significant Other. The planet's plate is full, meine Damen und Herren. We really don't need this just now, thanks. And if I lived in Mexico City, I doubt I'd be quite this flip about it.

I try to keep things in perspective, though. For example, the former Sainted War Leader is now just another ex-dictator -- one with a trust fund (much bigger now than it was ten years ago, I'd wager), and lots and lots of security guards paid for by my taxes, and yours; and a crazy mother with a pig heart; and one brother who channels a 3,000-year-old Chinese warrior named 'Chang'; and a wife who smokes rope, and a dog who hates him -- and is writing his "authoritarian" memoirs.

Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, "Condo" Rice, Jay Bybee, John Yoo, Dick Addington, and the rest of the Reichsicherhauptamt für Ungeheuerisch Folterungen are all being pulled, very slowly, through the two-inch-pipe of indictment, or public investigation of their fascination with power and excess -- hopefully, courtesy of the Department Of Justice, a term which now means a great deal more than it did 101 days ago.

And -- while I've never had him on a pedestal, and don't agree with every stand he's taken or decision he's made so far -- as he gets close to 100 Days this week, every time I see a photo or video clip of him, I still feel a rush that's very much like pride if not the thing itself: This adult man is President Of The United States Of America; everyone can see it and everyone knows it.

On balance, things are tolerable for me, just now; things for most people in the world could be a lot better. But but at the moment, there's cause for optimism.