May you live in interesting times. Yep, that about sums it all up, doesn't it?
Dubya has Roberts now as his candidate to replace Rehnquist. If Justice Roberts wasn't scary enough, think of how scary CHIEF JUSTICE Roberts is.
I am impressed by how open-hearted the American people are being in light of the New Orleans diaspora. However, there are opportunists out there who are taking advantage of things. And some of them are right in our own backyard here in LA.
The "Dream Center" is a church run by TV evangelist Joyce Meyer. It may or may not be an offshoot of the "International Church" aka "The Boston Church" which has been known for a long time to practice a very authoritarian form of Protestant Christianity. Rev. Meyer also preaches a variant of the "prosperity gospel," a variant on Calvinism which holds that an outward sign of being one of "God's chosen" is financial prosperity, and an outward sign of rejection by God is poverty. This is a belief system which is also held to by the very powerful and influential Dominionist, aka Christian Reconstructionist movement. Pat Robertson is perhaps the most familiar Dominionist/Christian Reconstructionist.
Anyway, enough of this attempt to untangle this gordian knot of theology. This is an authoritarian religious group which is taking people in from the New Orleans/Mississippi diaspora under the pretense of being charitable. They are looking to enlarge their base of adherents by taking in these very vulnerable people. Just like the Church of Scientology went to Ground Zero immediately after 9/11 to find people to "counsel," authoritarian religious groups are going to take this tragedy as an opportunity. I suspect there will be a huge wave of increase in membership in what some would call "cults" during this post-Hurricane Dubya period.
In other related news, the official spinning of the Hurricane Dubya tragedy has begun in earnest. The chief scapegoats are the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana, both from the Democratic side of the aisle. However, official neglect of the problem of a huge hurricane hitting the coast of the Gulf of Mexico has been documented time and time again in the Congressional Record, with pleas for help and condemnation of G.W. Bush Administration budget cuts dating back as far as March 6th, 2001. Georgia10, one of the Kossacks who helped break the Downing Street Memo to the mainstream media, has now focused her attention on the documented words of several Cassandras whose warnings on the floor of the House and Senate went unheeded, ending in the tragedy I like to call Hurricane Dubya. Wikipedia has also compiled a list of links from credible media sources of warnings about the precarious state of the Gulf coast.
Lastly, I want to draw your attention to the eloquent words of author Anne Rice, whose entire literary output has been touched, in one way or another, by the influence of New Orleans. Yes, it's in the New York Times and requires soul-sucking registration. Use BugMeNot if you wish. But read it. If your heart isn't already broken, this piece will break it.
Note 9/11/2005, 10:24am: The Los Angeles International Church and the Dream Center are affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination, but are also cross-affiliated with the Foursquare Gospel Church, the denomination founded by Aimee Semple McPherson in the 1920s. They apparently have no ties to the International Church of Christ aka The Boston Church. However, the mention of the "prosperity Gospel" is accurate.