Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Especially Glad

Today, for reasons which I cannot say, I am especially thankful that God is sovereign. If we knew all the facts (like God does) we would choose what He has for us every time. This is reassuring when certain things happen that I would not have naturally chosen. Since God is infinite, and I am merely finite, I’m glad He’s the one who is behind the steering wheel.

A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” - Proverbs 16:9

I’m glad that God ultimately controls the responses of other people:

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; Like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes.” - Proverbs 21:1

And I’m glad that, as His child, He has my best interests at heart:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.” - Psalm 84:11

Mums, Pumpkins, and Little Smiles

Kevin’s grandma sent us an e-mail last week and mentioned that they had decorated their porch with mums and pumpkins. After hearing about this, I was inspired to do a little fall decorating myself. Even in California, where we only have two seasons – sunshine and rain, it’s still possible to relish the best of each traditional season by bringing out some festive d├ęcor.

So, yesterday I went to WalMart to buy some mums and pumpkins too. (The pumpkins should be okay but I’m not sure about the mums, considering my history of killing plants.) While I wheeled the cart up and down the aisles at WalMart, Meredith kept staring and me and breaking into smiles. This, of course, made it dreadfully difficult to concentrate on my errands. I kept stopping my cart to lean my face close to her, smile back, and talk to her. Then she would smile bigger. I know I’m her mom and, of course, I always think she’s cute … but this was especially cute.

Stay-at-home-moms talk about one of the “downsides” being the fact that no one appreciates you. Yesterday I never felt more appreciated and loved in all my life.

Speaking of “happy” babies, last Saturday was a milestone for Meredith ‘cuz she laughed for the first time when Kevin accidentally dropped a toy. He then proceeded to drop it over and over again, which caused her to repeatedly laugh each time it fell to the floor. It’s great to know your kid has a sense of humor. This is strictly necessary if she’s going to live under the same roof as me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Rain and A New Scale

On days like yesterday I am once again reminded what a crazy person I am. It rained for the first time here since April and I stood out on the back patio for nearly ten minutes with a huge smile on my face while I let the rain completely soak my clothes and hair. It was a glorious moment. It truly was.

There’s a Frank Sinatra song that goes “she hates California, it’s cold and it’s damp …” I never got that song. It’s stumped me for years.

One of the things I loathe about California is that it never rains in the summer. But, then again, one of the things I love about California is that it never rains in the summer. Basically – I’m both crazy and confused.

Oh, and I must tell you … yesterday we also purchased our first scale. The Koons household now joins the rest of America and owns a weight-watching device. We are starting to realize (gasp!) that, as we reach our late twenties, our metabolism is beginning to wane and fade. And this realization has stricken us with a much deeper sense of responsibility as of late. Thus … the scale.

It’s kinda sad once you get to that point in life when you realize you’ll never be able to take an Oreo cookie for granted ever again. I remember those careless days of youth when I was able to binge without any consequences. Well, I think those days are finally past. And maybe that’s a good thing. Leading a disciplined life is always a good thing … probably.

That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.

Monday, September 26, 2005

I think I need to go back to kindergarten …

The other day I went to the store to buy thank-you notes for Meredith’s last shower, since I’d run out. It’s like getting married all over again – just when you think you’re done writing thank-you notes, there’s a whole new group of them to write. (I’m not complaining tho’ – I really do appreciate people’s generosity.)

Anyway … I saw some cute ones with pink flowers that said “thank you” on the front. Since I thought they looked proper for a little girl’s thank-you notes, I bought them. Today as I started to write, I noticed that they said “thinking of you” – not “thank you”! I’m such a retard. I can’t even read.

Speaking of not being able to do basic things … last night Kevin asked me to play Cribbage with him. For the record: I hate Cribbage. I think the main reason I hate Cribbage is because it makes me feel like a loser. Although I really enjoyed math in school (honest!), for some reason, I can never seem to be able to add up the points on my cards when I play Cribbage. Kevin has to constantly help me out every single time we play that wretched game. He has to remind me of all the ways to add up to “15.” … “Amy, just look for groups of either six and nine or … blah, blah, blah.”

I seriously need to look into going back to elementary school. Do they offer elementary school classes online? Or maybe I can get some books and homeschool myself?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Hurricane Names

In light of Katrina and Rita, I have been wondering why and how hurricanes are named. Today Kev sent me a link, written right at my intelligence level, to help me understand these things.

In case any of you are curious too, here's the link: Hurricane Names

Thursday, September 22, 2005

“May it please the court …”

Yesterday I parked the car and ran four blocks - in my heels - to the downtown courthouse. I was slightly worried I wouldn’t make Kevin’s hearing on time. Yesterday Kevin presented oral arguments before the California Court of Appeals, 3rd District. It was his first time making appellate arguments and I wanted to be there!

Thankfully Kevin’s case was the second one up - so I wasn’t late. As I walked through the doors into the courtroom, I was struck with a sense of awe. The courtroom was large and majestic with tall marble pillars, carved woodwork, and a gold painted ceiling. I saw Kevin seated just past the “bar” awaiting his turn to speak to the justices. I took a seat against the wall behind him.

As I sat there in this particular hall of justice, I was reminded how much I love the law. I’m tremendously grateful that I was able to study law for four years, especially in the United States. Although there’s a lot of craziness in our legal system these days, I still believe that we have the best system possible.

Needless to say (what else did I expect?), Kevin did a fabulous job. He was articulate and organized. He took every question from the justices head-on and it was obvious he knew what he was talking about. At one point, one of the justices asked, “But hasn’t California traditionally been a ‘fence-out’ state?” [meaning that ranchers have to put fences on their property if they want to keep cattle off it]. I held my breath hoping Kevin would know the answer and he immediately responded, “Yes, in 1850 …” Whew! But that’s how Kevin is – he wraps his mind around something and he’s good at defending his arguments. [Feel sorry for me – I usually lose all of our “arguments” at home!]

Another thing Kevin is good at is analogies. He used several compelling analogies yesterday to explain his case and help the justices to fully understand his arguments. “Yes, your honor, but I think a good way to understand this is to think of a swimming pool …”

I heard a cute story, from Kevin’s childhood, how his little sister Megan cried at his kindergarten graduation and said, “I’m just so proud of him.” Well, now it’s my turn to be proud of him. And I’m so glad I get that opportunity. [Kevin, I love being your wife.]

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I can TOTALLY relate!

I can completely relate to this woman:

“I've been trying to get a good snap of Violet smiling. So about ten times a day I lay her down and start poking her belly and tickling under her arms. ‘Funny baby! Ha ha ha!’ I repeat like a moron. Violet stares at me, and then her face creases into an absolutely enchanted smile, drool hanging from the corners of her lips, toothless gums exposed. I swiftly bring up the camera, focus it, press the button, and — once again she's become mesmerized by the lens and is staring stoically right into it. I may have 100 images of her with the flat, level gaze of a baby transfixed by a camera lens.” – Joyce Lollar

But, finally … here are two victories!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ugly Woman Sues

This was a topic of conversation at the dinner table last night. Kev and I both agree – we don’t know who is more to blame, Extreme Makeover or Ms. Williams. In any event, the allegations in her lawsuit are unbelievable.

While these makeover shows are obviously of interest to the public (they wouldn’t be on air if they weren’t), I’m dismayed at the message they send to young women about their value and self-worth.

Monday, September 19, 2005

"That's Piglet!"

Kevin thinks it’s funny that I like to collect cereal box tops to redeem a prize. For three months this past summer I made him eat Raisin Bran (I don’t like it but he does) in order to get a free DVD. I had several choices of which DVD I wanted and opted for 12 Angry Men with Henry Fonda. (I probably should have let Kevin pick since he’s the one who had to eat the cereal, huh?) Anyway … the DVD finally came in the mail a few weeks ago and last night we watched it.

As soon as Juror #2 opened his mouth to speak, Kevin exclaimed, “That’s Piglet!”

“Huh?”

“That’s the voice of Piglet from Winnie the Pooh!”

I was somewhat skeptical but was also amused that Kevin was so astute in his knowledge and recollection of cartoon voices.

As soon as the movie was over, Kevin got online to prove that he was right. Sure enough, John Fielder not only played Juror #2 in 12 Angry Men, he also was the voice of Piglet in Winnie the Pooh. His debut as Piglet was in 1968 and his latest movie as Piglet was in 2005. In case you were wondering, that is.

Saying Goodbye

It seems like life is cyclical with regard to meeting people, becoming friends, becoming good friends, and then having to say goodbye. This past weekend we said goodbye to good friends at our church who are moving to New Mexico for a job opportunity. It’s always hard to part ways with friends, knowing you won’t see them again for a long time – and, in some cases, maybe never again here on earth. One of the great things about heaven has got to be the fact that there is a permanency of fellowship. No more saying goodbyes!

Sharing the bond of friendship with others makes life so much more rich and rewarding. I’m glad that we were able to know Richard and Charity for these past few years. As I look back on the various chapters of life, and the various friends we’ve known in each chapter, I’m filled with gratitude for the people God has put in our lives to share the journey by our side.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Unforeseen Delight

Am I the only one out there who has so many adventures at the grocery store? Yesterday I locked my keys in the car after I had finished unloading all my groceries into the trunk. Fortunately I had the baby with me (i.e., she wasn’t in the car). That would’ve been a nightmare, for sure.

The first thing I did (like I usually do whenever I find myself in trouble) is call Kevin. Unfortunately Kevin was in the middle of a moot court (his first appellate arguments are next week!). So, I left a message with his receptionist and then dug through my wallet to see if we had any kind of roadside assistance with our insurance company.

YES we do have roadside assistance; yet another thing to be glad about.

The lady with our roadside assistance asked me for the address of the grocery store. Because I didn’t have this on hand, I walked inside to customer service to get it. While the kind man behind the desk was writing out the address for me, Meredith started crying. It was past time for her to eat and I knew she would be hungry soon. Then … my cell phone started beeping that it would soon be out of batteries.

That was a trying moment in my life – juggling my near-dead, beeping phone, attempting to communicate with the man behind the counter and the lady speaking in my ear, with Meredith contributing a penetrating background noise, all while coping with the realization that my cheese and milk were spoiling in the trunk and I wasn’t going to get anything productive done for the rest of the afternoon.

Somehow [God’s grace] I made it through that moment.

Soon Meredith and I were sitting on a bench outside the grocery store while I attempted to feed her in the midst of a very bustling environment. At this time, the tow truck company called to let me know it would be nearly two hours before they could get to me. Argh … Patience has never been my virtue, I’m afraid. Maybe God ordained all of these to teach me that I should have more of it?

After Meredith was done eating, she sat in my lap and smiled and flirted with every person who walked by (a lot of people). She seemed to like sitting outdoors and, at this point, the breeze was very cool and enjoyable. So, I decided that this waiting for the tow-truck wasn’t so bad after all. Practically every elderly person stopped before entering the store to chat with Meredith and give her compliments. And, of course, they wanted to tell us all about their own grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One lady was from Russia and she told us she has ten grandchildren. Another lady talked to us for about five minutes while waiting for her husband to park their car. She was happy to tell us that her granddaughter just had twin boys … “but she had to use a surrogate mom for health reasons,” she said. Another man smiled a toothless smile and asked if Meredith was a boy. Another woman asked if I thought her eyes would stay blue and couldn’t believe she was only ten weeks old.

And to think it was only because of my scatterbrained stupidity that I was able to get the chance to meet so many pleasant people.

So, what I thought would be a bad experience – being stuck somewhere I didn’t want to be for an extended time – turned out to be quite enjoyable.

I wonder how many other “unchangeable” things in life would be significantly more agreeable if I would just embrace it rather than bemoaning and resisting it.

It turns out that Kevin called me after moot court and was able to come rescue me a half-hour earlier than the tow-truck could come. I always love an excuse to see Kevin mid-day. Maybe I should “accidentally” lock my keys in the car more often. [Just kidding, Kev.]

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Incredible Times

Breaking news: Federal Judge Rules Pledge Unconstitutional

Can you believe a restraining order has been issued ordering that certain public school children in California may not recite the Pledge of Allegiance?!

Is this not incredible? Is there any doubt we are now fully a post-Christian nation? Does anyone else wonder what the repercussions will be for our posterity?

The North Beach Diet

When you come across a book where the cover itself makes you laugh for ten minutes, you have got to buy it. And that’s what I did the other day while in a book store. I’m not sure if it was the book itself being so funny or just the fact that it really caught me off guard … I can definitely appreciate a humorous take on the whole dieting craze.

The North Beach Diet
“NEW! All-Carb Diet * All-Fat Diet * We Want to Plump You Up!”
Add Belly and Hip Fat Instantly with Batter-Fried Twinkies & More …
Over 60 High Calorie Recipes Made with lots of Butter, Refined Sugar, White Flour and Chocolate – Virtual Exercise: NordicSnack, Pie-lates, “Relaxin’ To the Oldies”

The “before and after” pictures are great. The thin “before” pictures show the model with a sad, depressed look on their face (don’t they always do this with “before” pics?). The plump “after” pictures show the model very happy and pleased, while eating potato chips, etc.

“Krispy Kreme Donuts, Caramel Popcorn, Sara Lee Pound Cake with Ben & Jerry’s Triple Chocolate Cookie Crunch … it was darn tough for us to make up our minds which of these favorites to consume while watching late night TV. The North Beach Diet showed us how we could get them all by simple planning.” -- A testimonal.

The book is filled with adds: “Win a 7-day all-you-can-eat cruise” … “Chubby Cheribs: A summer camp for thin kids. (Hope for the thin child.)” … “Queer Eye for the Thin Guy.” Etc.

And, yes, there really is a recipe in the book for “Batter-Fried Twinkies.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tourists In Our Own Town


At the Stanford Mansion. All the museums in Sacramento were free last weekend to celebrate California's statehood. It was actually quite fun to be a tourist in our own town for a change!


Amy in Old Town Sacramento, a place that takes you back in time to the days of the Wild West.


Pic-nic lunch with the Chadwicks outside the Railroad Museum.


Papa and Meredith at the Railroad Museum. (Meredith said to tell you: “Who says it’s only boys who like trains?”)

Meredith Pics


"Didn't my mom tell you that I really love my tongue?"


"I'm all tuckered out after that very long, and very bouncy, walk."

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Terror of Children

[Thought-provoking article from Peggy Noonan this week – if you have time the entire piece is worth reading. But usually all of Noonan is worth reading.]

“The [Katrina] stories that pierce my heart involve the terror of children. And the one that hit me the most was the story of the 6-year-old boy found wandering over a bridge with six younger children. Most of the kids were too young even to know their names. The 6-year-old was carrying a 15-month-old infant. They were taken in and cared for by strangers, by nurses; and ultimately all their parents were found. But we forget the terror of children. Adults, even the dimmest of them, can calculate and think up strategies, even if they're bad ones. They can feel and know it's a feeling. But with young children it's all impressions, they can't think it through. They have a natural, primal will to survive, but beyond that they're helpless, it's all wet and cold and the way momma's face looked when the radio said everyone's leaving.

“One of the things I have been thinking about is how children take their cues from the adults around them. If the adults are enraged and screaming, children become scared and learn that the way to respond to frustration and pressure is with screaming and rage. If no one's in charge, children can tell. If no one is leading, children can tell. If no one is caring for them they infer they aren't worthy of care.

“It is hard to be a parent at any time, but to be a parent in a life-or-death crisis is brutal. It is hard to give children what they need when you're overwhelmed yourself. It's hard, when you're afraid, to talk to children gently and listen to them, really hear them, so you can figure out what they're really telling you when they ask a surprising or seemingly illogical question. It takes patience not to work out your frustration or terror or pessimism on them, but to show instead forbearance, or frankly fake it if you have to. And to show optimism and faith—‘We'll be OK, don't you worry’-- because optimism and faith can become a habit, they are communicable, and the habit of optimism and faith allows children to trust life, to enter it steadily and have confidence in it.

“It is exhausting being a parent under trying circumstances. It is probably the hardest thing in the world. But on such things nations rise and fall, endure or falter.

“And no one says thank you, or rather no one has videotape of your heroism and replays it in a loop. But for parents in the Superdome and Astrodome, for parents living with children in somebody's spare room, for parents in a motel room crammed with three generations of a family, from the old and frightened to the young and colicky--for those who lost everything and yet are still functioning as parents--well, please consider this a small salute from far away. A small attempt to recognize, and honor. You're saving a country, too.”

It’s Chili Weather! Huh?

So … I’m on several recipe e-mail lists to get various seasonal recipe ideas and menu planning suggestions. I find that it makes both cooking and menu planning a lot more fun to try at least one or two new things every week. Today I got an e-mail that read, “It’s Chili Weather!”

Obviously the person who wrote this e-mail doesn’t live in Sacramento. It’s still “Ice Cream Weather” in Sacramento. (But when isn’t it ice cream weather, eh?)

Fall is my favorite season. I’ve been looking longingly at my sweaters for nearly a month now. Maybe it’s the fact that I love wearing sweaters or maybe it’s just that I’m ready to start wearing different clothes in my wardrobe. Not sure.

Since it looks like we’ll still be wearing shorts and flip-flops for a while here in Sacramento, I’ll just have to be content with making lots of pumpkin and apple recipes to put me in the autumn mood.

Oh, and apparently I need to make some chili too.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Decisions, Decisions

The other day Kevin and I were talking about how, even in just three years of marriage, it’s become a lot easier to make decisions together. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time we disagreed with each other on something that’s really significant. We recalled a few rough-edged moments in our early marriage where we had a tough time moving forward on decisions. Like most females, I wanted to talk through issues (i.e., “think outloud” together) to find resolution, regardless of the fact that I didn’t yet know of any solution. Like most males, Kevin wanted to first think through the problem, figure out potential solutions, then discuss it when he had plausible answers to bring to the table. I remember talking on the phone with my dad during this time (not that I ever recommend taking marital issues independently to your parent) and he told me, “It’s amazing how much easier it’s gotten for your mom and I to make decisions over the years. It’s because we’ve grown together and have come to think much more alike.” At the time, that sounded like a rather nice state of being – to think just like your spouse and make decisions as “one.” Although you become “one” when you marry, that doesn’t mean you always act as one, unfortunately.

Anyway, it’s nice to see that we’ve made a little progress in our marital relationship, even though it’s still in its embryonic stages. Something that was once a near-daily issue is now something we take for granted. Isn’t it funny how life is like that sometimes? The cares of yesterday aren’t even on our minds today?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Government to the Rescue

I was listening to O’Reilly last night while making dinner and he was talking about how the City of New Orleans acted irresponsibly by issuing an evacuation order and not providing transportation for the upwards of 100,000 persons in the city without an automobile. I realize it’s a tragedy what has happened in New Orleans. But where do we draw the line in expecting the government to take care of its citizens? What is the proper role of the government here? Is it to consistently rescue people from their own choices?

I know a lot of people out there probably already think that I’m a callous, cold-hearted bastard and this will only add fuel to the fire – but I really don’t think that the city of New Orleans should be faulted here.

Meredith Update

Well, the doctor said today that she is in the 75th percentile for weight and the 90th for height. Shocker! (I don’t think we needed the doctor to tell us she’ll be tall.)

The most amazing thing about having a baby is experiencing a new kind of nurturing love. I knew this would happen but wasn’t quite prepared for all its side effects. Every time she smiles at me with her bright blue eyes, my heart completely melts.

The latest news is that she’s totally enthralled with her tongue. She’s constantly playing with it and it’s quite hysterical. She also has discovered her hands and she loves to “stand” by stiffening her legs when we hold her. She’s a lot of work for mommy (and daddy too, when he’s home) but she’s pure joy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What will you do with your obstacles?

There are two kinds of people in this life – those who choose to live with their obstacles (either because they are lazy or fearful) and those who choose to work hard to overcome their obstacles because they want a better life. Obviously we all have limitations; but there are very few limitations in life that cannot be overcome by hard work and determination. I know this from personal experience and also from the experiences of others.

What I don’t understand are people who lose their vision for what they want in life because life becomes hard. These people resign themselves to an undesirable fate because they are unwilling to think outside the box, face challenges, and do things that may not be very “comfortable” for a few years or, heck, maybe a lot of years.

Life is difficult. In order to get the best of life, you will have to sacrifice. It’s something called “deferred gratification.” You do something that may be a lot harder in the short-term because you know it will be worth it in the end. You forgo the cheesecake in order to have that waistline you want. You work hard to pass the tests in order to get a degree and have a better job. You go without a boyfriend for a while in order to wait for the right guy to marry. You treat your husband properly, regardless of how you feel toward him at the moment, in order to have a good marriage. You make lifestyle choices and sacrifices in order to have children, a gift from the Lord. The list could go on and on …

It’s often very difficult to get what you ultimately want from life. But the longer I live the more I understand that the things in life that are the most precious and the most rewarding are the things that you have to sacrifice the most for.

Why would you be satisfied with your mediocre life, just because it’s your comfort zone, when you could taste something better if only you would allow yourself to be uncomfortable for a time? Why are you content to live in the valley when you could know the mystery of the hills (if only you would sell your goods, strap on your hiking boots, and perspire a little)?

Don’t allow problems to define your life. Take your problems, overcome them, and someday you will look back with fulfillment and reward, knowing that you are a better person because you overcame your problems.

Life is too short to spend it without realizing your dreams.

[These are some thoughts I have after a particular conversation I had this past weekend. I’m amazed at how many people “settle” in the game of life. ALL of us will have obstacles and difficulties in this life. It’s what we do with those obstacles that define our character and how we will live. My philosophy is that, in order to live well and have no regrets, we must overcome obstacles vs. letting the obstacles shape our path and our lives.]

Plane rides ... and other incidental things.

I now have a lot more sympathy and understanding for parents who take their infants on plane rides. This past weekend was Meredith’s first time on an airplane. It was only an hour-long flight down to L.A. to see family and I’m grateful she was able to “cut her [nonexistent] teeth” on a short plane ride vs. a cross-country flight. Kevin and I both were apprehensive because we (along with probably everyone else reading this blog) have experienced those flights with babies screaming uncontrollably for what seems like the entire journey. And, although no one is quite as consternated as the parents when a baby cries, there are always other passengers who seem quite put-off by it. I think any parent who possesses ordinary decency (and we, hopefully, fall into that category) worries about their baby disturbing others on a flight.

Having now experienced my first plane ride with a baby in my care, all future plane rides will never quite be the same. It’s hard to explain but there’s a certain mental preoccupation and an inability to completely relax when you have a baby on an airplane. You’re in this constricted environment, being solely responsible for a very unpredictable human being, with circumstances you can’t control (such as changing air pressure, etc.). Anyway, Meredith did very well and only cried for a few seconds on the return trip, but it was, nonetheless, a slightly nerve-wracking experience. Maybe the next flight won’t be so bad because I’ll have gained confidence from this last one. Here’s hoping!
_____________________

On to another subject … Every time I fly into L.A., which has been quite a few times in my life, I never cease to be amazed by how massive and sprawling it is. There’s cement and construction as far as the eye can see, only interrupted for the mountains and, of course, the ocean. I always find myself gazing at it in wonderment. You’d think that it’d be old-news by now but I still find it fascinating.

We had a good time introducing Meredith to family and friends. We were given a shower for her and it was great to see many faces from various segments of my past. (And I don’t think we’re going to have to buy any clothes for her until sometime next spring!)

We also enjoyed a trip to the seashore and watching David boogie-board for an hour or so. He provided much entertainment for us. Every time he caught a wave, and rode it all the way into the beach, we spectators would applaud. And then he would jump up and down waving his arms in victory. What a funny guy. The water was rather cold yesterday and he was the only one willing to fully submerge himself. I love my brother. He has a great attitude toward life (he loves it to the fullest extent of anyone I’ve ever met) and he also gives great hugs and back massages. Such fantastic accomplishments for a ten-year-old boy.

We also saw Christy’s new apartment. She’s just moved to North Hollywood to be closer to both school and work. My little sister is all grown up! Since when did that happen?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Incredible Quote

Here's an amazing quote by Harry Connick, Jr., a native of New Orleans, regarding the current chaos in his city:

"In my heart of hearts, I think one of the reasons New Orleans is New Orleans is because of the spirit of the people ... Things are very desperate here. If I grew up in conditions like that with no hope, I might have to go out and steal me a plasma TV. Maybe in some strange way this will be a motivation for the city to be more equal in some way."

Can looting ever be justified? How can anyone believe that, if you're poor, stealing a plasma TV is acceptable? What about the poor people of New Orleans who have character and integrity and wouldn't do something like that, regardless of the opportunity? Do we, honestly, have a poverty problem? Or is it a character problem?