The definition of looting

News & Politics

Rocky Mountain News Rob Campos -- who is also the author of the provocative and intelligent tome "The Obesity Myth" -- offers up the Tale of Two Porks.

The first is a sausage that Merlene Maten, a 73-year- old grandmother and church deaconess, is accused of stealing from a deli in a New Orleans suburb the day after Katrina struck. Maten, who has a long history of community service and no criminal record, had checked her ailing 80-year-old husband into a hotel after obeying orders to evacuate the city. Her family says she had just gotten the disputed sausage out of a cooler in the couple's car when she was arrested by frustrated police officers, after they were unable to catch the much younger and speedier people who were actually robbing the deli. [LINK]
The other is a $231 million piece of genuine GOP-approved congressional pork that going to pay for a bridge in Alaska:
Ketchikan is a small town (pop. 8,000), with a tiny airport that handles seven commercial flights per day. The airport is on an island that's now reached by a seven-minute ferry ride. Ketchikan is also in the district of U.S. Rep. Don Young, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, which this summer spit out a $285 billion highway bill, packed with more than 6,000 "earmarked projects," some of which are just as outrageous as building a $300 million suspension bridge that will be used by a couple of hundred people daily (if users of the bridge were charged fees that covered its cost, they would have to pay more than $100 per trip. The ferry ride costs $6).
No prizes for guessing which of these two people spent 17 days in prison because she was unable to come up with the $50,000 set for bail -- "a sum 100 times greater than the heaviest fine she could be assessed if she were to be convicted" -- and still faces a hearing in October on the charges of looting.

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