updated 10/3/2005 10:40:01 AM ET 2005-10-03T14:40:01


Yesterday on the Hill, ousted FEMA chief Mike Brown went on the offensive during hearings about the disaster after the disaster known as Katrina.

When pressed by Congressional leaders, Brown threw Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin under the bus, as they say.  When asked what he regretted about his response to the storm, he said he wished he had gotten Blanco and Nagin to communicate better.

Huh?

Even Republicans like Chris Shays had a problem with that answer.

We'll keep our eye on the latest from those hearings today.  But there are other issues to discuss, as well.

In the wake of Katrina, thousands fled their homes and were taken in, fed, and clothed by churches.  There is nothing wrong with that--in fact it's the kind of charity and compassion you would hope a church would display in a time of crisis.

But caring costs money.

FEMA wants to reimburse these faith-based groups for their charity.  On the surface it seems reasonable.  Critics argue, though, that along with the soup and blankets came some Gospel lessons and a copy of the Bible.  Should the federal government be subsidizing those who proselytize?

We'll debate that.

And I'm going to bring you a story that really has people talking today.  Of course we all remember Ashley Smith, the woman held hostage for seven hours by the accused Atlanta courthouse shooter Brian Nichols. We can't forget the hours of coverage the story got when we learned she subdued him with a copy of Rick Warren's book "The Purpose-Driven Life."  It really catapulted faith and religion back into the news.

Well, turns out that book wasn't the only device she employed that evening.  She admits now that she was a crystal meth user and gave him some, too.

Does that change your attitude about her?

In one sense, no matter how she made it through it was a trying ordeal and she's very lucky to be alive.  But she also duped us all into buying what may be mumbo-jumbo about how faith opened Brian's eyes.  Was it was actually meth that closed them?

All that and more.

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