Katrina’s legacy


— Bumper sticker of the week: Gas, grass, or ass — no one rides for free.

— Quotes of the week: “Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.” Mark Twain

“There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and recovered hope.” George Eliot

— The State of the Union:

   The union is at war, with no end in sight.

   Our jobs are traveling overseas. Hello, minimum wage.

   The Supreme Court has become a right-wing panel of babbling Christian soldiers.

   The environment is up for sale, and guess who’s buying it?

   Gas prices up, electricity prices up, heating oil up, our incomes, down.

   The rich are getting filthy rich, and the poor are getting filthy.

   Freedom's become just another word. Snoop Dog Bush is the new big dog on the block. He wants to know everything about everyone. You never know when one of us might turn into a terrorist.

   “We’re addicted to oil.” There’s an astute observation. The solution: Gee, maybe we should make cars that get better mileage. Another brilliant deduction. Man, this President is getting smart. Lurking below his mission to lower imported oil will be the raping of our environment, starting with the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge. Just you wait and see.

The State of the Union. We’re about to turn ourselves into one of the fanciest second rate powers in the world, compliments of King George. Since 9/11, he has effectively and methodically rewritten 200 years of tradition and law. With Samuel Auto recently added to the Supreme Court, King George has taken another giant leap forward in his ideological crusade to rule not just America, but the world.

— Death and Dying:

   It’s not the death that’s so bad, it’s the dying part that really hurts.

   I’ve been on death's doorstep, and I ain’t anxious to go back.

   With the certainty of death, there is a craziness that can develop while waiting for it. A fear that it lurks just around every corner, waiting to pounce on us at the most opportune time. This fear stops many people from living. It produces the living dead. Zombies.

   Death with dignity should be the least we can do for the dying.

   Death is a hard thing to comprehend until it touches someone we love.

   It is worthwhile to think about what you would want written on your tombstone. It may cause you to make some necessary changes. You surely don’t want anyone looking in that casket saying, “There lies a real asshole.”

— Katrina exposed the poor for all to see: When it’s all said and done, Hurricane Katrina laid open a festering wound which most of us would prefer not to see. The poor in America are many. The poor in America are suffering. The poor in America have been left behind. In New Orleans, that happened literally. No one thought to ask how a poor person could evacuate. Was racism a part of FEMA’s inept response? Of the Bush administration's inept response? Of Congress' slow response? All were much faster to respond to 9/11’s attack on the country's number one financial center. Is it racism? Government ineptness? Lack of leadership? Lack of sympathy — compassion for the poor? Are we that far out of touch with those less fortunate than ourselves? Barbara Bush, the President's mother, demonstrated this divide when commenting on the evacuees streaming into the Houston Astrodome. "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this — this is working out very well for them.” I would say, all things being equal, which they never are, this was an unfortunate wake-up call. Rebuilding New Orleans will be nothing compared to the work that needs to be done repairing our national psyche. We need someone to stand up for the poor in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is no longer adequate or just to sit at the same lunch counter with the rich man. It is time to order the meal.