2009-05-01 / Columnists

The Progressive

Some Random Thoughts
Commentary By John Paul Culotta

As most of us celebrated Passover and Easter, the media was full of stories of the first dog, baseball stadiums, the retirement of one cardinal and the installation of another, a cinematic genius's marital woes, pirates, and the end of a musical producer's trial for murder.

All these events were and are newsworthy; unfortunately the earthquake in central Italy did not receive the attention the tragic natural disaster deserved. Natural disasters leave humanity with a feeling of hopelessness and despair. Cracks in our society are exposed. Looters take advantage of the chaos.

In Italy there is a scandal because many recently built buildings were not built to code in one of the most earthquake volatile zones in the world. Hurricane Andrew in Florida exposed shoddy building practices. Katrina exposed the lack of coordination between agencies and the federal government and local government. Our Gulf region still needs redevelopment. Italian government fears organized crime syndicates will receive redevelopment money. It is apparent the rebuilding of Ground Zero and our Gulf Region in this nation can become a symbol of hope in these trying times. Obama and his administration should renew the nation's commitment to rebuild and ensure the money used does not go to unsavory entities.

Many Italian Americans and lovers of the artistic heritage of Italy were pleased with the commitment of our president to assist Italy in restoring the artistic treasures damaged by the earthquake. Italian art is humanity's heritage. All of us share the cultural life of Italy. Maybe, our nation can request that when the restoration is complete, the treasures can be exhibited in our major cities. In the past, exhibits of this nature have stimulated the local economy.

The Vatican blessed New York with two cardinals until the death of Cardinal Dulles. Now, again the Big Apple has two cardinals. Our new cardinal is personable. My hope is that he uses his powerful pulpit to communicate the message of hope and solidarity to the weak and voiceless of society, especially addressing economic and social justice, and not limit himself to sexual morality. Christians and non- Christians wish him well. Dolan can use this opportunity to truly be a beacon of promise for our city and nation.

Bloomberg is pleased with the progress of the Department of Education. Many parents, including the progressive, teachers and the public are not as ecstatic. Our mayor runs the department the way corporations are run with only token input from stakeholders. True reform will occur when all stakeholders including the business community has real input. Bloomberg has little regard for the voter by running for a third term considering the term limits limitation.

Billionaires are accustomed to being the center of the universe and his honor is no exception. Most of his tenure has been positive; his administration though needs to learn to listen and not lecture.

Attention to the outer boroughs would be an improvement.

May brings thoughts of proms, weddings, graduations, and mom. Summer beacons with sunshine, warm weather is the norm. Vitamin D from sun exposure can be beneficial if the exposure is not excessive. As we face difficult economic times, let us not forget some simple pleasures of life.

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