The Bush administration recently announced that it would save us 10 billion gallons of gasoline by making minuscule changes in fuel-economy standards for “light trucks.” That sounds like a lot of gasoline, but there is a catch. It will take nearly two decades for us to save what amounts to less than one month of current U.S. gasoline demands.
God, in my opinion, is not living up to his advertising. In a year that has witnessed the aftermath of the south Asian tsunami (approximately 225,000 deaths), Katrina (118 confirmed dead and rising), and Wednesday’s Baghdad bridge stampede (some 953 Shiite religious pilgrims dead), it has become impossible to reconcile current events with the notion of an omnipotent, omniscient, magnanimous deity. “The Almighty” appears to be either an unaware, powerless, and/or misanthropic absentee landlord — or no one whatsoever.
It’s not as if the consequences of a levee breach were a surprise. Planners had long said a doomsday storm was a matter of when, not if, and an eerily prescient Times-Picayune story three years ago laid out pretty much what came to pass this week. And charges are coming to light that even though there were known defects in the system, the levees were seriously underfunded. Once the breaks occurred, there seemed no plan of action, with material and equipment in place, to repair them.
Tens of thousands of people with advanced medical needs have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and thousands more are hurt or will sustain injuries and illnesses during the long recovery ahead for the four-state zone hammered by the storm.
As lawlessness, distress, disease and death settled in on New Orleans and other affected areas, President Bush and Congress took steps Thursday to restore order and blunt criticism that the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina has been slow or inadequate.