The Top Five: Revolution, storms, bears and Brown

Britten Fay

If you haven’t bothered to educate yourself on the hard and soft revolutions occurring before our eyes in the Middle East, you are willfully passing by what most generations have only read about in history books. What began with the self-immolation of a desperate 26-year-old Tunisian street vendor has become a tidal wave of unprecedented governmental change for several countries in the region.

Tunisian protesters successfully ousted their president who seized power in 1987. Largely peaceful, secular protesters have all but unseated Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the 30-year reign of his autocratic regime. Jordan’s king dismissed his unpopular government and Yemen’s president for the last 32 years announced he would not run again.

Athenian philosopher Pericles heralded the polites, or public-spirited citizen, and we bear witness to their raw power right now in the Middle East.

Jerry Brown’s “State of the State”
More of the same, California is broke. Either endure extended taxes or suffer the scare tactics of cuts in education, prisons, public safety, child care and grants for the disabled, blind, and aged until nothing will remain in California but ignorant criminals with no state parks in which to mug blind, old people and uncared-for children. Nobody gave a damn.

Midwest snowstorm
Southern Californians fuss if one day of rain blights 100 consecutive days of sunshine and we usually deal with it by crashing our cars together, but much of the rest of the country is experiencing a true lesson in humility from Mother Nature. Experts are calling the system that stretches from Maine to Texas the worst in decades.

So much snow is falling so quickly that cars are being buried even as they travel down the road. Schools and airports are shut down, buildings are collapsing and some people are relying on Meals on Wheels to bring them food.

Cyclone Yasi
Residents of Queensland, Australia still wading through the quagmire of the recent deadly floods are now being hammered by Yasi, a storm that came ashore around midnight, Feb. 2 as a Category five with winds over 180 mph. The storm has since been downgraded to a Category three but has so far left 100,000 people without power, more than 10,000 people in packed evacuation centers and nearly razed the town of Tully to the ground. Officials told residents to take shelter as best they can and that help can’t arrive until the danger subsides.

Suicide by bear
Almost. Convicted killer Tracy Province escaped from prison in Arizona but life on the lam proved too trying. Weary of hiding, he decided to flee to Yellowstone National Park, inject himself with a gram of heroin and let the bears have him for lunch. But Province and providence robbed us all of a good story when he listened to voices in his head that told him instead to thumb a ride to Indiana to visit his family.