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Southern Eyes

Last week was the deadline in Georgia to register to vote in the presidential preference primary. My freshly-turned 18-year-old son went to the election office and performed his civic duty. I remember the many times when they were younger, that he and his brother tagged along when I went to the voting polls on election day. Following the poll rules, my little tow-headed escorts could not accompany me to the booth. So the worker would allow them to vote on the demonstrator model. Back then, we cast our votes by the punch card method. The demonstrator model had a list of issues to vote on that were much less weighty than those on my list. For instance, which food should be served at ballgames? And since hind sight is better than fore sight, it also asked who should be president - George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or John Adams? After several trips, James had the ballot memorized, and would plan which way he was going to vote. I hope at 18 and beyond, he's as responsible a voter as he was as a first grader.

I'm sure there's been a time when we all wished we could vote against idiot-cracy. Just when I think I'd heard it all, the internet uncovers a new jaw-dropper. It was reported recently on MSN news that 247 Hurricane Katrina victims are suing the federal government for pain and suffering valued at $3,014,170,389,176,410. That number is so big, it's not even in my vocabulary. I think they should have tacked 99 cents on the end just for the heck of it.

Now I am not trying to depreciate hurricane victims and what they've gone through. For sure, all of our hearts went out to them as we could not even begin to imagine their suffering. No matter how big the relief efforts were, I'm sure they could not make up for it. But I do remember many Hollywood celebrities holding auctions, concerts and other benefits that raised probably just as much money as in the lawsuit. I'll even give the victims the benefit of the doubt and say that much of that money may have gone in someone else's pocket. But my jaw is still hanging. How is the government responsible for the hurricane? The lawyers filing the claim said the Corps of Engineers didn't properly build levees to handle that level of a disaster. I hate to unplug their spotlight, but I don't think any agency made up of mere mortals can build anything strong enough to withstand the powers of nature.

And how much will we all suffer if our government has to fork out three mazillion dollars? If it happens, be prepared to see a proposed increase in taxes on the ballots.

Web posted on Thursday, January 17, 2008

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