The Philippines was hit by tropical storm Ondoy (international name Ketsana) this past weekend, the likes of which have never been seen in four decades. I have been in tears watching videos and viewing photos of the storm's path of destruction. The waters rose but there was a deluge of good will. Mother Nature is truly the great equalizer. The storm didn't care if you lived in a shanty or a posh gated community. As the Arroyo administration floundered in its response, Filipinos sprang into action, in the spirit of bayanihan (bayani is the Filipino word for hero. The word is used to refer to a custom of working together as a community to achieve a goal). People checked on neighbors, assisted their countrymen, some even losing their lives in the process. The internet became the source of information.

To all the cynics who say do not help or donate because this will lull politicians into complacency and inaction, shame on you. This is precisely why we ordinary citizens need to act, because if we wait for incompetent government officials to take charge, nothing will get done. Even more shame on the politicians using this tragedy to further their careers. Do not insult the Filipinos' intelligence. They know who helped them and who didn't. To those who are doing what they can, you have the gratitude of thousands of people you will never meet. Be content in knowing that in your own little way, you have touched their lives. Even the smallest amount of money makes a huge difference; the smallest kind gesture is transformative.

To the victims of the disaster, have courage. If we do not despair, how can we hope? If we've never been in the dark, how can we appreciate the light? If you've never been knocked down, how can you learn to get back up? I have never been prouder of my fellow Filipinos. Mabuhay kayong lahat! God bless the Philippines and its people.

Saw this last night on a restaurant menu: Life is too short to be cooking your own meal.

Everyone in America seems to agree that health care reform is needed. And yet nobody can agree on its implementation. Because of partisanship, powerful lobbyists and special interest groups, I really don't think it will ever happen. Between the crazy hysterical town hall meetings, the Republicans' passive-aggressive behavior during President Obama's speech, to Rep. Joe Wilson's outright heckling, no wonder the country is in such a state. Since the nation's first black president took office, there seems to be a systematic effort to not just discredit him, but to spread fear and rumors. Even a speech about staying in school gets attacked. WTF?

Our elected officials do not know, or may have forgotten, what it's like to not have insurance. Or to have insurance, and still go broke paying for whatever insurance doesn't cover. While they sit in their beautiful offices and hie off to their big suburban houses or plush D.C. apartments after work, their constituents are struggling. Whatever happened to true statesmanship? Everyone in politics seem to have lost their minds. It is shameful, disgusting and appalling.


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