Apocalypse Now Already!

In our occasional look at how the world's ending today: the protest in Egypt as a sign the end times are nigh; Armageddon and Obama's re-election chances; never fear, New York is prepared

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Every morning, many seem to wake up hopeful that civilization has been blown to smithereens, but no--despite all the evidence the world is coming to an end, the city is still standing. You have to go to work. Nevertheless, we here at The Wire want to help you keep track of the latest indicators of the apocalypse. In today's survey of cataclysmic fears, we have Egypt, solar flares, and a public health manual.

Suleiman Is a Unicorn--No, Not That Kind

In Egypt, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is... well maybe it's the end times? A member of the Fox Nation caused a stir when they posted a video clip of a weird green blob amid nighttime protests in Cairo under the headline "Horseman of Apocalypse Shows up in Cairo?" Media critics were shocked at the implicit suggestion that the Book of Revelation has anything to do with real life. But several others had spotted signs of the apocalypse in Egypt. In his coverage of the Middle East protests, Glenn Beck has referenced "every end-time theme; fire, riots, Islam, Israel, you name it," Religion Dispatches' Anthea Butler notes. Sites like Prophesy Today and Calvary Prophesy Report claim the protests are part of the "tribulation" period. But Baptist preacher Paul Begley goes a little further than Beck, too, opening his YouTube sermon with this passage from the Bible: "God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of a unicorn..." Begley, referencing the Fox Nation video, thinks Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman just might be the anti-Christ.

Sure, people danced in the streets, Begley says, but who was their leader? "Some geek from Google?!" he asks incredulously. With all this turmoil, there must be an anti-Christ.

Game Over: The Race to the Death

2012 is, as we all know by now, the year the world ends. And The Daily Caller's Chet Nagle is pretty sure he knows how: a massive solar flare is coming sometime in 2012 and it will be a "doozy." The biggest solar flare recorded was in 1859--newspapers could be read at night, telegraph systems went haywire, sometimes catching on fire. But 150 years ago, there was no Internet, DirecTV, GPS, TV or radio, and if a geomagnetic storm the size of 1859's happened today, the national electric grid could crash. It would take months, even years to turn the power back on. "Will the earth be destroyed by a 2012 solar max?" Nagle asks. No, but it's likely the survivors would envy the dead:

"And the 2012 elections? Well, history shows that America supports her president in times of crisis, and the White House surely remembers Rahm Emanuel’s Rule 1: Never allow a crisis to go to waste. So when solar max comes knocking in 2012, Republicans had best pray it is after November."

Universe to New York: Drop Dead

But fear not, brave citizen. New York has thoroughly prepared for apocalyptic disasters, The New York Times' William Glaberson reports. This month, it published an official manual--with the deceptively-bland title New York State Public Health Legal Manual--that answers the bureaucratic quandaries presented by Armageddon. Dilemmas raised by the very best Will Smith movies:

What happens if it's like Independence Day?

In case of an attack, the city has the authority to control traffic, evacuations, communications, and utilities--which would have been very helpful in Independence Day, when Will Smith's wife and kid were trapped in a highway tunnel when aliens started shooting their evil green death lasers down on the city.

What happens if it's like I Am Legend?

"When there is not enough medicine for everyone in an emergency," Glaberson writes, "there is no clear legal guidepost. It suggests legal decisions would most likely involve an analysis that 'balances the obligation to save the greatest number of lives against the obligation to care for each single patient,' perhaps giving preference to those with the best chance to survive. It points out, though, that elderly and disabled people might have a legal claim if they are discriminated against at such moments of crisis." It might be tough to keep the old folks out of that zombie-free commune in Vermont.

What happens if it's like Men in Black?

The manual explains that "violations of individual property rights, if actionable, would generally be sorted out after the need for such actions has ended." So commandeering cars, homes, and the spaceship monument from the world's fair in Queens should be no big deal. The manual warns that even when suspending laws, authorities have to be mindful of constitutional rights. However, "This should not prove to be an obstacle, because federal and state constitutional restraints permit expeditious actions in emergency situations." So no more worries about any due process violations stemming from use of  the Neuralizer.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.