HAVE A NICE DECADE: A couple of years ago, when the Aedes aegypti mosquito first appeared in Tucson, a Weekly writer called the experts at the UA to ask them about the possibility of dengue fever, the "breakbone" virus that lays its victims out flatter than a black cat on the freeway at night--that is, when they aren't busy writhing in excruciating pain.
The experts laughed him off, asked not to be quoted, said there were no vectors for the disease present, warned him to refrain from needlessly worrying the general populace.
Stupidly, he took their advice.
So what did we read in a recent edition of The Arizona Daily Star? The experts are now predicting dengue fever will be showing up here soon. Should do wonders for our community's little problem with uncontrolled growth.
All of which is apropos of nothing, really, other than it got us to reminiscing about a more recent run-in The Weekly had with the UA experts over global warming. Last year the paper published an article detailing the growing threat from this vast and potentially uncontrollable phenomenon, which has the potential to render our world about as livable as the interior of a sealed Chevy on a sizzling summer's day.
Irresponsible journalism! protested the experts. Your sensationalist coverage is giving more ammunition the corporate polluters of the world who would denigrate even the possibility of global warming, they complained.
Shortly thereafter, a worldwide group of climate scientists agreed global warming is a reality. And last week we read, amid the various reports of flood destruction, accounts of studies indicating spring is now coming to the northern latitudes a full week earlier than it did a decade or so ago--which probably means more carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas powering the greenhouse effect, is being released into the atmosphere in ever-greater amounts. If you think Ma Nature's been a bitch lately, just wait a decade or so.
Of course the government-employed experts undoubtedly will call us on that last statement, too. Which is fine--we enjoy a good debate in print, sensationalist punks that we are. But as the likes of us are trading barbs with the likes of them, the world continues to go to hell. And our leadership, both local and national, seems incapable of dealing with any problem above the difficulty level of the common pothole.
And now that we have you thoroughly depressed, allow us to recognize commentator Sam Smith, a supporter of the Green Party. Writing in the April edition of The Progressive Review, Smith provides a handy laundry list of what America will look like in 10 years if present trends continue. The "experts" may rush to disagree, but isn't that a somewhat inappropriate response to a mere wake-up call?
Smith states that, in all probability, America will be a land in which one finds:
Unprecedented political corruption, with politicians routinely bought, sold, and traded like professional athletes.
A wealthy upper class shielded from a rapidly growing number of poor by gates, guards and government security forces.
Massive homelessness of a sort not seen since the Depression, only this time there'll be no depression to blame.
Increased military intrusion into civilian life, with many normal police functions usurped by the Pentagon.
A steady growth in censorship, carried out in the name of protecting ourselves against terrorism and our children against ourselves.
Rampant disregard of constitutional protections, including those against unwarranted search, seizure, and arrest.
A decline in typical length of employment as layoffs and downsizing become routine.
A further decline in real wages, benefits, and working conditions.
Most major media owned by less than half a dozen corporations.
Increased coordination between major media and the government's propaganda agencies.
Greatly increased traffic jams.
More frequent and longer waits for services and entertainment.
A rise in illness and death due to chemicals in air, food and water.
Major economic, political, and social power by drug lords--the prime beneficiaries of a decades-long "war on drugs."
Growing climactic instability, including more tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, heatwaves, and floods.
The disappearance of beaches and increased damage to shorefront property as ocean levels rise.
Major cities hit by sporadic uprisings and riots.
Outbreaks of mass starvation around the world, with incidents of food shortages even in the U.S.
Resegregation of American society.
Random violence as mobs, gangs, and alienated individuals fight the military and police.
Government run by intractable, unresponsive, and inefficient bureaucracies.
Absence of the human in daily transactions--having been replaced by soulless rituals of technocracy, institutions, and state security.
Declining role of Congress, with government run increasing by presidential executive order.
The ostracizing of citizens seeking the return of democracy, civil liberties, and human communities--these persons being regarded as subversive, paranoid, or terrorists.
It's a long and frightening list, we know. But there's a lesson hidden in its apparent randomness:
Nearly all of these trends, if allowed to continue, will owe their particular virulence a decade hence to what we do, or don't do, today.
For perceptive Americans, the history of the Civil War is perhaps the most instructive example of how acts of arrogance, stubborness and simple omission can culminate in tragedy on an unimaginable scale. Any good ante-bellum history will detail the stupidities that led to this utterly needless conflagration. Of course, nobody at the time considered what they were doing to be particularly idiotic--it was just self-interested politics as usual.
If we wish the best for our country's future, we will work to ensure that:
When we err in matters of environmental science, as we inevitably will, we err on the side of the planet's natural balance.
Given a choice between exclusion and inclusion of our fellow human beings, whether they be citizen or non-citizen, in our work, schools, government, religions and social lives, we always choose inclusion.
The rich, including corporations, are involved big time in helping the poor. Moreover, they must want to help the poor, and not just for the purpose of complying with some onerous and confiscatory law, but because it's good for America. This is a moral issue which can only be addressed on an individual level, whether in the board room or the backyard.
Regardless of our special interests, we work hard as voters to be smart enough to elect scrupulously honest leaders whose sacred pledge is to champion the greatest good, come hell or low public opinion polls.
...We could go on, but hey, who are we kidding--obviously none of this positive stuff is ever going to happen. Would the last person to exit the American Dream kindly shoot out the friggin' lights? We're outta here...
WHAT'S THE MAJOR SPORT IN ORO VALLEY--UH, AFTER GOLF: Latest rumor from Caddyshack is there are folks long discontented with Mayor Cheryl Skalsky and Vice-Mayor Paul Parisi who are planning Oro Valley's next recall to coincide with the town's 1998 election. That would be the fourth recall in five years.
Two of the governing duo's more vociferous critics include former council members Rudy Roszak and Al Jakubauskas. They are unique political figures in that both wish to play a role in the politics of a community even after they ran for its town council, won, and then resigned. They're now part of a group attempting to secure a majority on the same council they quit!
This has to be the most Mickey-Mouse display of juvenile politics in this entire valley. Forget the issues, real or imagined. The real show here is the sheer incompetence of any group trying to take over the town that would prominently include these two clowns. By quitting, Roszak and Jakubauskas have already exhibited a greater disregard for the folks who elected them than any charges they can level at any of the incumbents.
It's time for Oro Valley to grow up. The political juvenile delinquents fomenting this latest recall effort are as big an embarrassment to the rest of this valley as--hmmm, how about the Marana Town Council?
BLIND AMBITION: Ah, those rumors about Fife just keep circulating....
Here's one of our favorites: Gov. Deadbeat is close to striking a plea bargain which would include stepping down from office, but he's not happy with the idea that his successor, Secretary of State Jane Dee Hull, might appoint former state Sen. Patti Noland to the vacated Secretary of State post. Noland and Hull were close when they served together in the Legislature, but Patti frequently clashed with Fife, so he's not eager to see her assume a high position in state government.
Instead, Fife is said to be pushing for none other than the Flaky Waffleman himself, Pima County Supervisor Mike Boyd.
Our spies tell us many local GOP leaders like the idea of shipping Boyd off to the Capitol because it would get him out of Pima County.
And what's this we hear about Toni Hellon, former aide to Rep. Jim Kolbe and current chair of the Pima County Republican Party, salivating at the chance to take Boyd's seat on the Board of Supervisors?
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