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How did your life collide with the headlines in 2007?
Iraq, the subprime crisis, Facebook, immigration, oil prices - 2007 had no shortage of hefty headlines. We'd like to hear about how these and other major news events of the past year affected you. Where did your life collide with the news in 2007?

What's your holiday performance story?
The office talent show, the neighborhood caroling posse, the school pageant ... At holiday time we often sing, dance, and dress as shepherds. Did you bloom in the warmth of your audience's adulation, or freeze up like the snowman you'd rather be building? Did your holiday performance change your life or that of someone close to you?

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Hurricane Katrina Coverage
We received over 160 emails in regards to this story. We've listed a sampling of feedback from across the country:

"Hurricane Katrina changes America because it yet further significantly dilutes our trust in our leaders. It is now eminently clear that they no longer exist For The People as Elected By The People. While they bicker amongst party lines, catcalling and prodding and spinning, real issues go unattended such as the FACT that the levies were not high enough and needed repairing and had been notified quite some time ago of the dire need, and that the silty soil has been sinking. They pull money out for a war in Iraq, resources over there, where the reason for our being there has changed 4 times: (a) Osama bin Laden (b) WMD (c) Freedom from Hussein (d) Democracy.

This situation brings home the FACT that America is disintegrating economically, that Poverty is the Most Expensive Proposition it has to offer Its People. Our jobs are going overseas, unemployment doesn't begin to pay for the need, the middle class is becoming the working poor, the working poor becoming impoverished.

It should be noted that Greece was once a great nation; Rome was once a great nation, and to a large extent, these nations lost their standing in an effort to sustain wars in lands far away and attempting to cast their nets rather wide meanwhile ignoring the needs of its people a little closer to home and that delicate thing called infrastructure which enables the net to be cast at all. Our country needs jobs here on this soil; our country needs to think deeply on how to continue to feed itself; our country needs to think dearly about its dependence on oil--the technology is there, but not the funding. Surely if we can design light bulbs and cars and washing machines and dishwashers, get a rocket into space or probes to Mars, build great skyscrapers, we can rethink how to provide sustained energy to this country so as to be truly independent! The status quo is not going to work anymore.

These United States are a bunch of states united. We have Agreed to be a nation, collectively. Our leaders completely forget that, completely don't comprehend that We the People don't have enough time to keep up with their antics because we're too busy making money to keep only a few potholes filled. Life is not a movie: there is no James Bond to come and save the world. Aesop's Fables still apply."
 -- Heidi Woeller, Malta, IL

"Katrina has provided us, if we wish to run with it, a real opportunity for better relations between races and social classes in this country. How often have so many middleclass WASP types been given such an intimate, extended peek into the lives of so many black Americans, poor or otherwise? Not black celebrities or "perps," but ordinary people in the midst of intense circumstances bringing love and loss, hme and hearth, trial and perserverence to the fore. So many ways to see how we are all so much alike! In many cities such as mine (Seattle), blacks and whites mainly keep to their own enclaves, with each "side" responding in kind to what they see as distance, differentness and distrust coming from the other. I think the predictable psychology attached to that "vicious circle" is far more responsible for keeping us apart than any direct racism or snobbery - but then, the end result's the same, isn't it? Now many poor black Americans have found their way right into our living rooms, and now we know them a little bit. We feel for them. We like them! Not to sound patronizing but it's true. Katrina managed to loosen the hinges on a pretty ponderous door, an impediment to the free passage of a lot of good things. Now we have our toe in that door. Can't we work a foot or a leg in there? Not just in goodwill either, but in actively supporting a real reassessment of where this country's going, where it puts its resources, what it values. Like many Americans, I've been quite depressed at how far off the mark we've drifted. Now, thanks to Katrina, I actually feel a little bit more hopeful. And I'm more than ready to do my share."
 -- Cindy Black, Seattle, WA

"Katrina will surely move many of us out of our illusory sense of security and toward a profound sense of gratitude for our untold blessings. Those of us who have an entitlement attitude toward our comfort and well-being will be bothered by the notion that it could have been us. With any luck at all, we will be better, more sensitive and generous people from having witnessed this terrible insult to human dignity."
 -- Rebecca Tallman, Norwich, CT

"It is now clear from Katrina that important parts of our government, like FEMA, have been seriously disabled under this administration. It like we're living the old joke: republicans believe that government is incompetent and want to be elected to prove it. I think the poor response of FEMA under the management of Michael Brown, who's qualification to manage federal emergency response consists of having been stewards commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association, is a huge blow to the credibility of the Bush administration, and by extension the republican party. In the near term domestically this will weaken Bush's ability to appoint far right wing judges to the supreme court. In the long term, this will lead to democrats retaking the presidency, house and senate.

Internationally, our clear and highly publicized inability to plan and build hurricane proof infrastructure in a major city known for decades to be vulnerable, and our inability to respond well to Katrina victims degrades the credibility of the US abroad. This makes it harder to "sell" America as a model to other nations like Iraq. It also puts increased pressure on getting US troops out of Iraq so we can afford the $300 billion or so it will take to rebuild after Katrina."
 -- Pete Darnell, Westford, MA

"The past 5 years have been one disaster after another. Most people I know feel helpless to change anything. This time around government has shown itself to be helpless and everyday people are just helping anyway they can. I think we are all realizing how much alike we are, no matter where in the country we live. Everyone needs help sometimes and everyone can help."
 -- Terri Savoie, Richwood, OH

"The best and the worst of our nation has been seen and heard. Each face we saw in the scenes of disaster was the face of Christ. We have to ask, How did we treat Him and how are we treating Him now? Love which cannot be defined or explained is visible in the stories of help and heroes. Will we be become stronger in love or more determined in our neglect?"
 -- Kathie Blalock, Mebane, NC

"Katrina had BETTER change America. We like to think of ourselves as the richest, the greatest nation on earth. And yet, some of the scenes in New Orleans looked like the bombed-out wartorn cities of Europe after WW II. The relief efforts were disorganized and far too slow in arriving where they were needed. The various government agencies can try to put any kind of positive spin on the situation they want, they can point their colletive fingers at anyone else they want, but the bottom line is --- they were not orgenized and they were not prepared. It had NOTHING to do with a race issue as some would have us believe. It was simply a lack of preparedness for a rapid response, and the "worker bees" inside FEMA knew it."
 -- Ron Hauser, Columbus, OH

"How many people now alive know about the Johnstown Flood of 1889? Two thousand three hundred people were killed when a dam broke - a dam with cracks and known deficiencies. The disaster happened because a politically powerful elite resisted acting to prevent a virtually inevitable catastrophe. Sound familiar?

New Orelans will be rebuilt, because too many powerful people will be able to get rich from it. Compensation for the poor and near-poor who lost property will be minimal, and probably delayed for years. When the bulldozing ends, the same politically powerful elite will get rich on redevelopment money. Maybe, after ten years of further study, the levees will be raised or another system installed. Whether that happens before another disastrous hurricane hits will be purely a matter of chance.

We will not have better disaster relief from our government, at any level, unless we insists on it. Unfortunately, we have short memories, few of us vote, and we choose not to learn from our history. Is anyone in California asking their Governor what plans are in place for the inevitable Big One?"
 -- Sandra Mahaniah, Lilydale, MN

"I am hoping that Americans will learn the value of paying taxes. Could it be possible that we would humbly learn from the Canadians and Europeans that taxes are to build infrastructure? How much better off would we all be in this disaster be if at least we knew everyone affected was covered with healthcare, no matter where they were forced to go, no matter whether they still had a job or not?"
 -- Faith, Mounds View, MN

"I don't think Katrina will change America. But it did show us that most Americans have become convinced that their government agencies should always be there to help, leading them to become complacent about taking responsibility for themselves. What I hope Katrina will teach Americans is that they should hold Government agencies accountable for all their expensive programs that are supposed to but sometimes fail to help its citizens. We need wise government officials that can and will manage the tax dollars wisely."
 -- Android, Greenberg, IN

"The aftermath of Katrina put a face on poverty. Americas tend to ignore these faces. However , I hope that we have all learned that we can become one of those faces in the face of disaster."
 -- Angela Meyers Avery, Los Angeles, CA

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