Stormy weather

Severe Weather Coverage - April 10, 2009

Severe Weather Coverage – April 10, 2009 (Photo credit: ariedana)

Drought and fires in the West.

Violent storms and flooding in the East.

Federal government declares disaster areas in Colorado and Ohio to make aid more easily available.

If the Republicans have their way in reducing the size of government to national defense and privatizing the rest, who or what will be available as a final resource to help those in need? Insurance companies want to make a profit and will find ways to reduce or deny benefits. Is your home in high-risk fire area or do you lack flood insurance for what once was a 500 year flood that now occurs every 5-10 years? Do you live in tornado alley? Sorry these are pre-existing conditions; you do not qualify for insurance or your premiums are so costly that you cannot afford insurance.

Government is there to do the things that we cannot do individually. That is why we have government at all. The purpose of government is to make all our lives better, not to make a profit or to help some and turn its back on others. Every citizen deserves government assistance when he/she is overwhelmed by acts of God or by Mother Nature.

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Song of Kali

Kolkata on the Hooghly

Kolkata on the Hooghly (Photo credit: seaview99)

Song of Kali by Dan Simmons is his first book. The genre is horror rather than science fiction and most of it is set in the slums of Calcutta. Comparable books would be The City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre also set in Calcutta and Shantaram by Gregory Roberts set in Bombay. Of the three accounts of life in the slums of big-city India, the Calcutta of Song of Kali is the most horrific, being a fictional account. I have never visited India, and I expect that I never will. In my life’s travels, the closest I ever came to a third world experience of poverty was in Fiji. I prefer my Western comforts in uncrowded places. I am embarrassed to be relatively wealthy when everyone around me is poorer. I could not be comfortable in the US as a member of the 1%.

Song of Kali was a difficult read for me. There is a respite at the end as husband and wife find a new life in a small Colorado town. Simmons was born in 1948 in Peoria, Illinois, and apparently he spent part of his youth growing up in Chicago. I have found Chicago references in several of his books as well as actual and fictional references to other places in Illinois. I too grew up in the Chicago metropolitan area.

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