Thursday, October 25, 2007

So what's cookin' in California?

Wildfires and California--they fit together like O.J. and his glove. A nearly annual disaster, and this year is one of the worst, with property damage estimated at over one billion dollars in San Diego County alone. Well over 1,000 homes lost, about 1,600 still threatened, 8 lives lost, 75 injured, and on and on.

If you want to place blame, there are plenty of targets. You might blame the real estate developers for building in stupidly high risk areas, or the people who buy these homes, or the insurance companies who gleefully underwrite their fire insurance. Or maybe Governor Terminator, who vetoed four bills since 2003 which would have helped the firefighters respond faster and better.
Or how about our ageing fleet of firefighting airplanes, grounded for maintenance and safety issues? Or the bureaucratic red tape that kept available planes from responding while these fires could have been nipped in the bud? Maybe if George Bush hadn't taken control of the National Guard and their equipment and sent it to Iraq, their assets could have been employed to help fight the fires. Real problems, every one of them.

However, the real blame belongs elsewhere.

Fox News blames Al Qaeda here and here.
Glen Beck says that the fires are burning homes of "those who hate America", and blames it on the "damned environmentalists" here and here.
A "Christian" fundamentalist minister, of course, blames gays.
And Rush Limbaugh downplayed the devastating fires claiming it's being hyped by the media.
(Rush is correct on this one-- it certainly doesn't merit the same coverage given to, say, Britney Spears' crotch.)

Thank God these people are around to tell us the real truth.

President Bush finally showed up yesterday for his photo-op, showing his usual compassion by hugging a tearful lady in front of her burned-out home.( Funny you never see him doing that in Baghdad). Anyway, we can now rest assured that he'll make it all better.

Here are more links to articles on the fires:

Miriam Raftery at Brad Blog: Burned-up residents fault officials...
Think Progress: CA Guard Warned of 'Less Effective Response'...
Crooks and Liars: ...Calif. Lt Gov on Bush...disastrous disaster record
The Democratic Daily: California and Orange Cty Fires: Lies, Stupidity and Unnecessary

I guess the whole point of this post is to remind you that self-serving individuals and politicians continue to make short-sighted decisions for the wrong reasons without considering or caring about possible or likely consequences, and that there is always a price to pay. Sometimes it's a very heavy price, whether in lives or money or simple decency.

P.S.-- I may have missed it, but I'm still waiting for the right-wing to point quivering fingers of blame for these fires on roving bands of angry blacks still upset that they lost their homes to Katrina.

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