The Rant 

First of all, I'm looking right now for Sherrye, Kevin, and Max Webster. They are friends of mine from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and I know they're in Memphis because I saw them on the news, but I don't know how to get in touch with them.

If anyone out there knows where they are staying and how to contact them, please contact the Flyer and leave a message for me. And if you're reading this, Sherrye and Kevin: I am so happy you got out in time and are okay.

Secondly, whew. I need to lighten up. I guess because I spent my summers growing up in New Orleans and moved there for a while as an adult and love the city so much, I've taken this catastrophe on like it was a personal attack. Not the hurricane itself, but the shenanigans that have gone on since -- Bush playing that guitar at that fund-raiser; Condoleezza Rice hopping about New York taking in plays and shoe-shopping; Barbara Bush saying that people crammed into the Astrodome were underprivileged anyway so the situation they're in now seems to be working out just fine for them; Rumsfeld taking in a baseball game and being shown smiling in the stands on live television; Laura Bush referring to the storm as "Hurricane Corina"; Michael Chertoff referring to the disaster area as "the city of Louisiana"; Bush asking Nancy Pelosi about the response, "What didn't go right?"; Bush viewing the destruction and lamenting about Trent Lott losing one of his vacation homes; 1,000 emergency-trained firefighters sent to Georgia thinking they were going on rescue missions but learning that their only job would be to hand out pamphlets with the FEMA phone number on it to people who have no way to make a telephone call (and only 50 of them were deployed to the hard-hit area -- to pose for the camera with Bush); FEMA director Michael Brown not knowing about the chaos at the New Orleans Convention Center until he saw it while watching television; Bush telling "Brownie" he was doing a "heck of a job"; finding out that Bush wouldn't fund the needed construction to rebuild the "levees" prior to the hurricane because he thought they were Jews (okay, maybe I heard that on talk radio) ... I could go on and on. But I won't. It's all been said. I just move from the television to the computer and back to the television and I know a lot of the worst is yet to come, but I think I need to take just a little break from my obsessive hand wringing and waiting for the water to recede and waiting for my hero Anderson Cooper to jump into the filthy water again to try to give some clean water to a stranded dog. Nothing's going to be done about this botch-job, and no one is going to be held accountable, and those who didn't do their jobs will likely get raises, and Bush will continue giving his pals jobs they don't know how to handle, and Bill Frist will keep posing for photo ops with his stethoscope, and all, except for the people of New Orleans and the city itself, will eventually get back to business as usual.

So I'm trying to lighten up. A friend of mine told me the other day, "I get it. You hate George Bush. Why don't you write about something else?" And she's right. The point has been made. And while I realize that it's un- likely that W's image is going to land on a bill or coin or stamp anytime soon, someone has come up with an idea to commemorate him: George Bush toilet paper, with his image on each little square. A friend of mine actually has some. But I think it could be expanded into a series. The college-age W toilet paper: It comes rolled up so tight you can snort cocaine with it! The National Guard-era W toilet paper: You can find it anywhere except in Alabama. The 9/11 W toilet paper: perfect for relaxing on the throne reading about a pet goat! The Iraq war W toilet paper: after you flush, a battery-operated speaker that comes with it proclaims, "Mission accomplished!"

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