I see that our gallant President has decided that it is taking far too long for Iraq to look like America. So he has decided to meet them halfway by making New Orleans look like Baghdad. Only, perhaps, he went too far, as New Orleans could only aspire to a lawless anarchy as dry as Iraq's. And here I thought dear Katherine Harris and her faux-felon purge was the model for trimming the voting lines of Democrats! Frankly, Katherine's glorious efforts to relieve the registration lists of nefarious liberals can't hold a candle to the magnificent indolence of FEMA in New Orleans. And while dead people may vote (especially in Ohio), they don't show up in court to whine about being harassed at the polls. Glory!
Yes, it has been four long years since 9/11 (registered trademark) and nothing has apparently been done in this country to prepare for or help a disaster (an alarming fact that was amply proven on "Being Bobby Brown"). But I am getting increasingly impatient with liberals bellyaching that Katrina serves to underscore a lack of planning on the part of our President.

On the contrary, dears: it shows an arrangement that works just like it is supposed to not work! You see, Mr. Bush wisely cut the budgets for emergency response agencies and the rebuilding of levees in New Orleans to pay for our efforts to establish an Islamic theocracy in Iraq (and to send emergency tax relief to desperate people not nearly as liquid as New Orleans, desperately clinging to billions tied up in real estate and leaking stock portfolios). Who was to fill the gap, impertinent fact-obsessed people ask? Well, American's religious corporations, mouths agape under the bounteous spigots of tax-dollars flowing to faith-based initiated! That is why FEMA lists Brother-in-Christ (and assassination cheerleader) Pat Robertson's very own Operation Blessing as one of the first places you should think about when sending dollars to help poor people being devoured by rats in New Orleans. Say what you will about Brother Pat, but he knows how to loot without getting wet! Glory!

The tiny snag with relying on churches to fill the gap left by a government too preoccupied with the testosterone of waging war abroad to succumb to the girly impulse of feeding those left at home, is that the churches with the most money didn't get that way by turning it over to those in need. Indeed, in a novel twist on Scripture, most American Christian mega-churches have been called by the Lord Jesus to get money from the poor -- not the other way around. This is precisely why it was the secular Astrodome in Houston, not Joel Osteen's new 16,000-seat indoor stadium (former home of the Houston Rockets) that threw open its doors to the poor and needy. After all, a stadium full of poor people with diseases would simply ruin the bottom line by keeping out rich people with tithes. Besides, who wants a bunch of water-logged black people dripping all over the recent $75,000,000 renovation? Not Jesus!

Let me take a moment to join President Bush in praising his administration's inerrant efforts in response to Hurricane Katrina. The administration's initial, rather crafty response was a calmness that absently flirted with disinterest, so as not to let the water know that it had won. A still-vacationing W strummed a guitar (pronounced "git-tawr") while New Orleans burned. No, that was Rome: New Orleans drowned. And Condoleezza Rice, always the go-to gal for feigning obliviousness with alarming verisimilitude, went shoe shopping in New York for a kicky little something to wear to giggle herself to death at Spamalot. As she might have told Louisiana children dying without needed medications in the Ninth Ward, had she actually been there to speak to them: "Don't worry about not having penicillin, kiddies. As any rich Broadway cognoscenti will tell you - laughter is truly the best medicine! Don't touch the Ferragamos!"

Following Condi's always exemplary coolness in the face of disaster (which she seems to have appropriated from Terri Schiavo), our handsome President hasn't been without solutions to the current crisis. Why, just today he offered the sage and innovative suggestion: "If you don't need gas, don't buy it." Presto -- problem solved! (Well, for that one lady out in Indianapolis who doesn't drive.) Actually, a better suggestion would have been: "Instead of wasting money on gas, use the money to buy gas stock instead because when it comes to making the best out of a crisis, nobody comes close to America's oil companies. Yee-haw!" Or, better yet, sell the lumber from what used to be your house in Biloxi on E-bay and use the few dollars you get to buy Halliburton stock. Shares in that company, which Dick Cheney still gets money from, sold for $8.60 in 2002. Yesterday, they hit $63.44. Don't tell me the Lord doesn't turn lemons in to lemonade! Glory!

Of course, the first priority of our proactive President was to do what the White House always does to solve any problem: schedule a panacean photo-op! So, four long days after Katrina hit, President Bush stood in Mobile before news cameras, looking like what he thought a concerned person would look like. America watched in heartened triumph as the head of FEMA told Mr. Bush that the water that submerged New Orleans had gotten there because something called "levees" had broken. Who knew? Here it is Friday, and it is such a joy to watch as someone finally shares with Mr. Bush what the rest of us knew (and, apparently, were selfishly keeping to ourselves) all week.

Now, the only thing left for we Christians to do is to decide the most important issue: who exactly was the loving Lord trying to kill with Katrina? While many of my fellow right-wing Christians bicker over whether it was a Great Flood aimed at homosexuals or abortionists, I think one thing is clear: when it comes to poor black people without food or drinkable water, the Lord has quite an axe to grind.

Well, all I can say is if a terrorist blows up Chicago or a major earthquake decimates Los Angeles, make sure you have batteries in your flashlights and learn to drink sewage with a smile because the Bush administration is otherwise distracted, dismissive and disinterested, dears. You're on your own. Welcome to the new, every-man-for-himself America! Glory!

So close to Jesus, I can be driven to Crawford, Texas without even seeing the inconveniently mewling mother my SUV limo is splashing with mud,

Mrs. Betty Bowers

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A woman known throughout Christendom for her joie d'après vivre

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