Happy new year, friends. Prospero ano y felicidad. I'll launch 2005 with a gift to you. Put in your bookmark this website: Larry James's brand new blog. As you know, Larry is a good friend and has been a powerful influence in my life. At times he's a blessing I eagerly receive. At other times he a pest I just can't seem to ignore. Like most middle-class Americans, I can too easily get wrapped up in my own comfortable world. It's easy to fight for policies that benefit the middle (and upper) class. And it's frighteningly easy just to ignore the poor, writing them off as people who are chronic underachievers. Just for a taste of what's to come, here is his entry today: Who can comprehend the eruption of power and the sheer force that sent the most devastating tsunami in history streaking across the Indian Ocean at jetliner speed on Christmas night? The energy shifted the geographic position of an island, moved the axis of the entire earth and generated walls of water that stole life from over 200,000 people by the time the final toll is known. Possibly it is my age, but I no longer ask "Why?" when something like this occurs. My mind turns more naturally to "What now?" One fact is clear: our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world need our help with the basics--water, shelter, food, medical care and most of all hope. All cost. If you would like to help, check out the websites of these organizations: Oxfam http://www.oxfamamerica.org World Vision http://www.WorldVision.org UNICEF http://www.unicef.org Each of these well-managed assistance and development agencies has a long and respectable history of delivering relief, compassion and hope to suffering people. Begin 2005 by reaching out to someone you likely will never meet, but who will be forever grateful for your care. Compassion, raw, human compassion may be the only force more powerful than even an earthquake like this one.