Let us begin by stipulating that our healthcare system sucks in this country. We’ve socialized our police and fire departments, most of our education, even water and power in some places. But if you break your arm or have a heart attack, you’re on your own.

For a small but significant percentage of us, that was an early issue with the covid vaccines: How could they possibly be free? Nothing else like that is — never mind “vaccine hesitancy”, you don’t dare call 911 for an ambulance for fear of financial ruin.

If the point of mass vaccinations is to limit the human petri dishes that a virus can thrive and evolve in, that’s a problem. But by no means the greatest.

Malevolent stupidity is the problem.

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We found ourself watching the news coverage again last week, from the moment the story broke to the events that followed throughout the day.

No, not that.

Walter. 1963.

We were four at the time, so no memory of that. Maybe we saw Oswald getting snuffed a couple days later, maybe we didn’t. Our political awareness didn’t begin until almost five years later, with the rapid succession of LBJ dropping out, then MLK, then RFK.

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We’ve been searching in vain for a comparison.

There’s a 1994 report from the DoJ’s National Institute of Justice, recommending civil action for criminal acts. But that still presumes government actors, including “hiring competent staff”.

Okay, so what about environmental law? The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 — known in the biz as CERCLA, but more familiar as Superfund — allows private lawsuits against miscreants, but only if the government isn’t already involved, and only for cleanup costs.

Bounty hunters, perhaps? Well, that involves skipping bail, and as such is a private matter between you, your god, your bondsman, and your telegenic pursuer.

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There’s not much to say about horse dewormer, not really. The absurdity of it, the metaphorical potential, is built-in. Reality superseded satire years ago; we’re all living in a comic wasteland now.

Everything’s been spinning out of control for what seems like forever. Not one, but two extinction-level events threaten us, not to mention a third that’s been hanging over our heads since 1945, before most of us were even born. That all three are of our own making shows that we don’t need to wait for a meteor to finish the job.

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It’s raining in Greenland.

This may not surprise you, rain being something most of us are familiar with. And really, some places we know could use more of it. Those evaporating California reservoirs, say. Or the Colorado River.

But what makes it noteworthy, perhaps something we should pay attention to, once we’re done fretting over the loss of a sliver of the American Empire, is that it’s raining in Greenland where it never rains in Greenland. Ever.

Because it’s usually too damn cold.

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When we were in college, in the late Seventies, there were some Iranian students on campus as well. They were easily identifiable — by their Trans Ams, went the joke. Oil money, y’know.

But they weren’t all spoiled rich kids. Some took the opportunity of being outside their country to protest conditions within — conditions of living under the Shah. Such protests weren’t casual. They covered their faces with masks. The SAVAK — the Shah’s secret police — might be watching.

Being young and American — and in sleepy Eugene, Oregon, no less — we didn’t understand this at first, the ostentatious precaution of it. And Eugene being a hippie mecca — Berkeley North, we joked — the masked Iranians were just one protest group among many, a sideshow, really, part of the ongoing campus circus.

That all changed our junior year — November 4, 1979, to be precise. The day the Tehran embassy was overrun.

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In the past week, covid cases in the United States reached an average 100,000 a day.


We’ve been there before: Last November, going up, and last February, coming back down. As recently as June — five weeks ago — cases were almost a tenth of what we’re seeing now.

And looking at what’s going on out there in this glorious blighted land of ours, we don’t see what’s going to stop the numbers from continuing to shoot skyward.

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