06/29/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

"Laura Bush" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "An Oil Spill by Ross Macdonald", "Racial Profiling" by Papa

Laura Bush publishes her memoirs; attributes killing schoolmate with car to undersized stop sign; blames Iraq war on Saddam Hussein, Gerhard Schröder; repeats theory that no one understands how much she and George have suffered.

I couldn't forgive him or like him, but I saw what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made...

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925

As the slick from a ruined oil platform approaches the Louisiana coast, Newt Gingrich's Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less website, "American Solutions," reminds us that "oil seeps naturally from the Gulf floor," that experts "put the spill in context" and that oysters have shells for a reason. The Wall Street Journal implies that it would be a lot simpler to fix leaks if oil companies were allowed to drill in shallower water, closer to shore.

"The oil people say it was an act of God, and in the long run there's some truth in that. The undersea formations here are naturally porous, delicate to fool with. You might say the area is blowout-prone. But in the short run the oil people are to blame. They didn't take the danger of a spill fully into account, and they didn't use the right preventative measures for drilling at this depth. The result is what you see." He flung his arm toward the platform which stood against the horizon.

"Why didn't they take the right preventative measures?"

"It costs money," he said. "Oilmen are gamblers, most of them, and they'd rather take a little chance than spend a lot of money. Or wait for technology to catch up." He added after a moment, "They're not the only gamblers. We're all in the game. We all drive cars, and we're all hooked on oil. The question is how we can get unhooked before we drown in the stuff."

Ross Macdonald, Sleeping Beauty, 1973

Arizona's Governor, Jan Brewer, signs a law instructing police to demand the papers of anyone "reasonable suspicion" leads them to believe might be an illegal alien. Asked if this will lead to racial profiling, she concedes, "I do not know what an illegal immigrant looks like."

A California congressman, Brian Bilbray, suggests that illegal immigrants can be differentiated from legal immigrants by their shoes.

Governor Brewer promises that "police officers will be respectful. They know what their jobs are. They have taken an oath, and racial profiling is illegal." She adds, "We have to trust our law enforcement."

At two o'clock in the morning two Hungarians got into a cigar store at Fifteenth Street and Grand Avenue. Drevitts and Boyle drove up from the Fifteenth Street police station in a Ford. The Hungarians were backing their wagon out of an alley. Boyle shot one off the seat of the wagon and one out of the wagon box. Drevitts got frightened when he found they were both dead. Hell Jimmy, he said, you oughtn't to have done it. There's liable to be a hell of a lot of trouble.

- They're crooks, ain't they? said Boyle. They're wops, ain't they? Who the hell is going to make any trouble?

- That's all right maybe this time, said Drevitts, but how did you know they were wops when you bumped them?

Wops, said Boyle, I can tell wops a mile off.

Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time, 1925