28.8.07

LOGE TRUMPS ZEUS. In the Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla, Loge offers an aside to the effect that he'd like to burn the lot out. That honor goes to Brunnhilde, after much incest and treachery, but perhaps Loge got his chance at Olympus instead. It's apparently a very serious fire.
According to the European Union, 454,447 acres of forest, orchards and scrubland were burned from Thursday through Sunday, raising Greece's fire toll for the year so far to 664,020 acres. The previous worst year was 2000, when 358,231 acres were blackened around Greece.
There have been fatalities, and Loge may have had some help from mere mortals.

The government's suggestions that the fires were the result of an organized plan of arson caused confusion and anger.

Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras implied Sunday that a deliberate plan was in motion.

"We can say that this truly constitutes an asymmetric threat," he said without offering any specifics. He said the Secret Service and anti-terrorism squad had joined police in investigating the blazes.

[Prime Minister Costas] Karamanlis also implied arson was to blame, saying Saturday it could not be coincidence that so many fires broke out simultaneously in different areas.

The downside of extending the general welfare clause of the U.S. Constitution, or analogous principles, whether written down or not, to turn the national government into the crisis manager, no matter what the problem, is that any disaster, whether natural or abetted by criminals, can become an opportunity for political posturing. See, for instance, the New Orleans levees (which we've known about for years) or the Minneapolis bridge (where we've had warnings.) Thus far, the flooding in the State Line has not turned into a political issue. Much credit is due to first-responders, whether paid or volunteer, for helping out. Northern Illinois University officially recognized its Physical Plant staff for having everything ready for classes Monday.

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