Grief, leadership and the man at the helm

TTers remember what has been lost, look for answers and find surprising reasons to smile this week.

Published September 16, 2005 3:07PM (EDT)

Private Life

Moments of perfection

Heidi Lynn -- 10:27 am Pacific Time -- Sep 8, 2005 -- #802 of 819

Written Friday, September 2nd, on the first anniversary of my husband's death. Not exactly an "all is right with the world" moment, but it was a moment of perfection nonetheless:

One year ago today at 6:27 a.m., Jamie found himself on a fatal collision course with a skidding car coming across the center line.

This morning at 6:27 a.m., I stood at the site where he once lay broken and bleeding, and scattered hundreds of ruby red rose petals. I told him what I would have said if I could have been there that morning to cradle him, to stroke his face, to kiss his forehead ... don't be afraid ... I'm here ... it's okay ... iloveyouiloveyouiloveyouiloveyouiloveyouiloveyouiloveyou ... and wept that I could not.

One year ago today at 6:59 a.m., the doctors stopped working to revive him and pronounced him dead.

This morning at 6:59 a.m., I stood in the emergency room where they tried their best to save him, and wept that they could not.

One year ago today at 7:18 a.m., I drove in a state of heart-stopping dread, pleading and begging for Jamie's life as I heard the traffic report of the accident.

This morning at 7:18 a.m., I was on the same stretch of road, only this time headed home to the altered life that was created 365 days ago.

I didn't weep.

Instead I gathered up what is left of our little family -- my dog and me -- and, borrowing a tradition from another culture, walked around the block as a symbol of coming full circle, re-entering life, making a new start.

... and here I am.

White House

Disasters: Natural and otherwise

Nina Dee -- 12:33 pm Pacific Time -- Sep 10, 2005 -- #3905 of 4526

Well, this level of criticism would be tough on anyone. Brown went from being one of many relatively anonymous Bush cronies in jobs they aren't qualified for (did you know his name before? I didn't), to basically taking the heat for the whole lot of them. I've never understood people going for jobs they can't handle -- where do they get the confidence? But although Brown should be fired, and deserves criticism, he was so obviously unqualified -- it's not as if he looked good on paper but screwed up -- that it should be Bush resigning for appointing Brown and his equally unqualified immediate subordinates to jobs which must be done right -- people's lives depend on it.

The question is whether FEMA leadership's refusal to provide the resources their own career employees were urging, along with the nation, was a decision made at the top of FEMA and the Department of Turning America into a Police State (why isn't Chertoff being sidelined too?) -- or whether Bush, Cheney and company made the actual decision to thwart Wal-Mart, the Red Cross, and others in their efforts to get aid to the starving, thirsty prisoners at the Convention Center, until "control" had been established. We may never know, or never be able to prove what happened. We just know there was some kind of turf battle, and instead of cooperating with state and local officials and helping them, as FEMA used to do, it looks like they were refusing aid until the governor was willing to make the right obeisances.

Bush himself was unaware of the Convention Center disaster until Thursday, supposedly ... neither he nor Brown apparently had access to a TV, we're supposed to believe. In old Japan, the leader would fall on his sword after failing so miserably, but in modern America, all we ask is that he resign his post as president. He's not up to the job. He never did have the resume for it. He was a drunken screwup until the age of about 40, and he never had a job involving Arabian horses, but instead baseball -- oh, and governor of Texas, a state which prospered more with his predecessor. He doesn't have the intelligence, the compassion, the temperament, the experience or the skill set necessary to be a decent president. Not many people do, for that matter, it's a nearly impossible job. But he is unqualified, and besides we never elected him really, as we know and he knows. He'll be very comfortable for the rest of his life, and has more than provided for all his friends and supporters -- unless the legal system catches up with him and some of them, not very likely. So, he should go for the same reasons Brown had to go. Not competent, and, like a bad university department head, he doesn't compensate by surrounding himself with wiser people, but instead seems only capable of perpetuating his own mediocrity.

White House

Beat the Press. Media atrocities

William Evans -- 05:49 pm Pacific Time -- Sep 8, 2005 -- #9514 of 9627

Well, everywhere we look these days his name is in the news. And we're reminded of all the things he's bungled in the past and the present, his trials and tribulations.

He's always been front and center, and people around him have expected him to come through for them, but watching him, you get the feeling he could never do anything right.

In his defense, he has had some obstacles in his way. He's had to deal with crusty, no-nonsense military leaders, who are abrasive, abusive (sometimes physically so). Some rich and powerful people, who think, due to their success in the corporate world, of their entitlement, have demanded his time. The pointy-headed intellectuals, who have the ability to craft functional electronic devices out of whole cloth also think of their entitlement. And of course you have the Hollywood Elite and the common rural folk, who feel their voices aren't properly heard.

These and other problems, his own penchant for ineptitude for one, have hindered his ability for success. And we've all paid a price for his failures.

But enough about my tribute to Gilligan and the late Bob Denver, how are things going for the president these days?

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