The Rant 

Oh, dear. I am going to have to address this. Immediately. Someone wrote to someone at this paper with the accusation that someone on this staff may have tried to "speak to me" about my criticism of the Bush family in order to hush me up because I haven't mentioned in a while that Barbara Bush's face is still on the dollar bill. Whoever you are, are you nuts? You think I am giving them a break? But aren't you fabulous, thinking that I need to dig in even more on the great unwashed Texas political family? In fact, I was just looking for my atlas to see how close Crawford, Texas, is to the coast. Not that I want Hurricane Rita to actually hit the most visited vacation ranch in the nation, but it could be a good place to send thousands of people who have been forced to evacuate. They could while away the days riding around on mountain bikes and posing with the commander in chief and even practice walking the way he does, always looking like he is racing to the nearest bathroom because he's about to have an accident. Have you ever noticed that? It's like a sack of Krystals has just hit him all at once. Evacuees could be put to work clearing brush and mending fences. And Barbara Bush would at least let them all eat cake. But enough about those people. It takes all kinds to make up the world and if there were no bad we would never really be able to fully experience the good. And there is plenty of good out there in the world. In fact, I just saw something jaw-droppingly amazing on television. It was an advertisement for an insurance company, whose services I have paid for before and whose name will go unmentioned. The commercial's scenario (which the graphics claimed is a "true story") was that a hurricane had hit and a man who had diabetes and needed to keep his insulin chilled was greeted at the door of his beautiful home by one of the insurance company's agents, who, in the aftermath of the hurricane, had hand-delivered hard-to-find ice to help keep his medicine chilled. Now, isn't that sweet? And maybe it did happen. And no, the company is not running this commercial to try to sell you insurance. They are just pointing out what a good corporate American firm they are. Do these vultures think you are really going to buy this mess -- not to mention their insurance policies? Does it not seem just a tad tasteless to be running these commercials right now? Talk about trying to take advantage of people's fears. I guess "Halliburton Is Happy To Rebuild!" spots are next. Wonder how much they paid to run that spot on national television (on CNN, no less, during the coverage of Katrina's aftermath), money that could have been donated to the Red Cross. But I guess I'm just being grumpy. And there really are a lot of good people out there doing a lot of good things right now, in the middle of what seems to be Armageddon. Like Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas of Galveston telling people to take their pets with them and telling bus drivers evacuating the residents to take their families along and staying there herself with the police department to take care of her city and those who couldn't manage to get out. Love her. And, as I have mentioned on this page before, the people of Memphis really deserve a big pat on the back. I've met several people displaced here from New Orleans and they just rave about the hospitality. Sure, there's the element that preys on their vulnerability, and they will get what they have coming to them before it's all over, but by and large the people of Memphis have opened their arms and wallets to do whatever can be done to help. Which is why I think we should secede from the rest of the country. We could be a city that refuses to pay income taxes that are used for war. We could allow gay marriage and legalize marijuana and outlaw SUVs except for families with two or more children. We could be the Amsterdam of the United States and actually be civilized. We could have our own Supreme Court. We could require a really high cover charge for anyone who wants to come into our utopia and have plenty of revenue for such things as free health care, although we already have something similar to that on a limited scale with the incredible Church Health Center. Think about it. The Emerald City on the Mississippi. It's never to late to dream.

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