Running on Empty . . .

. . .  and the budget stalemate here in the US is only one issue dominating news here this week. Threatened with closure in Hawaii is the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre. The Government is facing possible shutdown, but, until such time there is more than enough going on to prompt an exodus and have us heading for the hills.

There is talk of potassium iodide shortages as American concerns grow because of possible radioactive contamination blowing in the wind from the recent and continuing disaster in Japan. Apparently, however, it is one thing to seek thyroid protection from doses of potassium iodide when to drink the milk from the cows that ate the grass showered with nuclear rain renders the dose useless.  This was last night’s talk TV and I tried to follow as best I could.

This morning’s talk TV, here in LA, had an expert giving advice on proper use of gas masks. He had big hands but that gas mask looked so big.  My head throbbed at the thought of bearing such weight on my slight shoulders.

Petrol prices are climbing, well, last I heard, but that might have changed in a minute.  Fighting has broken out in Libya where that mad Colonel has taken Benghazi back from the rebel troops. Days come and days go and Benghazi comes and goes between the fighting forces.

Two interesting quotes from rebel troops in a  recent article in the New York Times –

“We demand intervention from America, from Britain, from France.  I personally want them to send troops from abroad to stop this dictator.  I swear to God almighty.”

“Some guys consider this a lot of fun, and they’re hoping the war lasts a lot longer,” said Marwan Buhidma, a 21-year-old computer student who credited video games with helping him figure out how to operate a 14.5-millimeter antiaircraft battery.

Bahrain has declared a state of emergency and Hillary Clinton is in Egypt  to have talks with the new government there. Meanwhile, a soundtrack is playing in the back of my mind, the one from JAWS – strings of menace, intrigue and possible doom only Stephen Spielberg is not about to call “cut” any time soon.

Also reported is the impact on possible shortages and price increases on consumer electronics. Toshiba, which manufactures microchips for iPad and Nintendo, has had production disrupted. What this means for the Apple fans I don’t know. The line of people waiting for the newly launched iPad 2 last week stretched around three corners of the vast block in Soho where Apple has its downtown store.  Waiting to spend money in the teeth of a recession.

Launch of iPad 2.  Soho store.

Last word goes to Gail Collins writing her latest op-ed in the NYT’s and the gift that is Newt –

Of course, Gingrich is being a better husband this time around. He’s 67! By then, most men have not just finished sowing their wild oats. The oats have been harvested, ground up, reprocessed and turned into soggy cornflakes.

Remember, you read Newt news here first but Gail does it so much better.

San Francisco next week and the daily mid-day earthquake siren call . . .