TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22
As wildfires roar across drought-parched landscape from Malibu to the Mexican border, former FEMA director Michael “You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Brownie” Brown pops up to remind us that it could be worse—he could still be FEMA director. Of course, Brown’s callous incompetence when Hurricane Katrina nearly washed New Orleans off the map in 2005—he ignored warnings of people dying at the Superdome so he could spend more time eating in a restaurant—forced him out of the job that President Bush had said he was “doin’ a heckuva job” at. Today Brown proves he’s not only an inept jerk but also a media whore by sending out a press release announcing he is “available for interviews” on the wildfires . . . we assume, after he’s finished dinner.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23
As various right-wingnut Christian politicos begin to blame the wildfires on revenge motives ranging from Mother Nature’s hatred of environmentalists to God’s hatred of homosexuals, actress Jamie Lee Curtis tells 14,000 women gathered in Long Beach for the annual Governor’s Conference on Women that those crazies oughtta cut the crap. “We live in a drought, we build houses too close,” Curtis points out, “and then we’re shocked when this happens?” Curtis goes on to point out that we’re all to blame. Well, not all all. Apparently, present company—and anybody else with their genitalia—is excluded. “This is not an act of God,” says Curtis. “This is an act of Man.”
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24
But we were speaking of callous, incompetent media whores, weren’t we? Yes, we were. And so we get this from radio talk show blowhard Rush Limbaugh, who takes a middle path among the Troika of revenge theorists—Mother Nature, God and Man—and yet, because he is such an obnoxious windbag, manages to turn that into an extreme position, too: “Talk about propaganda. That is precisely what this is all about, designed to frighten and create fear in as many people’s minds as possible. This is all part of the hoax to make you feel as guilty as possible because you’re responsible. You are now punishing the planet, folks. You! You are punishing it. Those of you who are about to lose your homes or have lost your homes in fires in Southern California, you are punishing the planet. Mother Earth is just getting even with you because Mother Earth doesn’t want homes where you put them. If anybody is punishing anybody, it’s Mother Earth punishing us. But, no, we’re punishing Mother Earth. It’s designed to make you feel guilty because you’re causing this, and when some dingleberry comes along with the idea that you need to roll back your lifestyle and have your taxes raised, you’re supposed to—in order to absolve yourself of this guilt and sin—go right along with it. It’s about bigger government controlling your life and that’s what global warming actually is all about.”
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26
Just when people are about to forget that if it wasn’t for the fires there’d be something else to worry about, a severed power line blacks out the city of Riverside and some surrounding areas, snarling traffic for hours. The power line falls onto Interstate 215 near Grand Terrace at 6:40am, closing the freeway until about 8am Power is restored to thousands of customers by 10:41am Then everybody gets back to freaking out about the fires.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27
It’s reassuring to read today’s Press-Enterprise story that Arrowhead Regional Medical Center has no plans to scale back its 14-bed burn unit—the only one in the Inland Empire—although not only for the reasons you might be thinking about this week. Not because experts fear a terrorist attack, either. I worry more about roofers who spill scalding tar on themselves, four-year-old kids who fall into campfires or women who try to defrost freezers with pots of boiling water, which end up falling on their backs. Those were the burns I saw 10 years ago when I did a story on the Grossman Burn Center in Sherman Oaks. After witnessing surgery performed with what looked like cheese graters, I’ve never so much as fried an egg without thinking of the worst-case scenario. “The pain,” one of the surgeons told me, “is exquisite.”
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28
Another thing that hurts? A paper cut.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 29
Limbaugh: Big Bear, California. Brian, you’re up first. It’s nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
Caller: Hey, Rush, how are you doing? Just thought I’d let you know . . . we have an old saying up here in Big Bear that having the Sierra Club manage our forests is like having Michael Jackson baby-sit your six-year-old child. Okay?
Limbaugh: (laughter) Well, that’s the point.