California Infernos

There is nothing anyone can do to change it, to stop it. We can fight it, and the fire fighters do so with skill, daring, courage and a danger to themselves, but still, it chews the dry brush into a soft ash.

Lightning starts most of them. The drought to hurts and so does an ill wind called Santa Ana or Chinook or other local names. It flows quickly from the mountain tops and reminds us of our vulnerability. The tears of loss and smiles of safety on the same face parallel our conflict and appreciation of nature.

The stories of neighbor helping neighbor, confirm our desire for community. There are hundreds of stories not only of crushing flames and charred places, but stories of hopes and wishes shattered dreams and shock.

In times of such destruction, values change rapidly. The acquired stuff of daily living is no match for the loss of a treasured family picture or the ache of not knowing if a pet survived.

There is never a quick end to tragedy. No easy answers to the wailed questions of why and no relief when cries have run out of tears.

It is not possible to hold each hand of so many so hurting from these fires. All we can do, in this human family, is to be aware and to care. There is something powerful in that, and it heals.


The obstreperous of Washington continue to be obstinate, egotistic, and alleged representatives of what was once a country of compromise. The greatness of our democracy is its ability to come together, to reason, to legislate for the common good and the good of the whole.

Each side is playing with the lives of citizens. The idiocy of brinkmanship ended when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Each member of Congress should look at their back yard for the pork they authorize to ensure their reelection. Yes, we need to raise revenue on all economic strata, and it needs to be done with civility and fairness.

To some of Congress, compromise is a sign of weakness and a betrayal of the ad hoc groups that put them there. In their zeal, few realize that the foundation of beneficial legislation is cemented with courtesy, not confrontation and with compromise, not conflict.

The absolutists of all political philosophies cannot see a future beyond their own beliefs and are seemingly willing to play with the stability of the country because they will not be affected by any of their actions.

Congress is immune. It has its financial security. It has its health system. It has its perks and pleasures, and it has become an elite club of spoiled rich bureaucrats.

America’s future is being fractionalized, and there are no statesmen or stateswomen in Congress to counter the iconic, the myopic and the temporarily powerful.

The vote for Health

Ah, It’s Monday, again and again, Congress is delaying a vote on the health care bill. The votes are not there. Senator McCain is recovering from surgery, so the vote will be delayed until he gets back to Washington.

Skullduggery seems to be the operative word to get this bill passed.

Check this; some are calling it the Polar Payoff. To get Alaska’s Republican senator to vote for the bill, the newly written legislation sends multi-millions more to Alaska. It seems that the bill’s provisions only apply to Alaska to get the money.

How about this one, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has included a provision that would allow insurance companies to offer a simplified plan that would require ill people to pay more than healthy ones.

Whatever happened to representative government? Are we so calloused against the indigent, the poor, the weak, the needy that we cannot see a way to help?

Do we care more for bombers, weapons, defeating our fears, then we do for hungry children, the elderly and the ill?

Look, we are all going to die of something someday, but does it have to be accelerated by congress?