Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tim Wise: On White Privilege in Chalmette

The whole thing is good, but starting at about minute 6...WOW!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I am now done with my Christmas shopping, shattering all of my personal previous records! Here is your gift.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Louisiana: Where Progress Comes to Die

This is a map from the NY Times showing the shift in voting between 2004 & 2008. The redder the county, the greater the gain in Republican votes between 2004 & 2008. As usual, we here in LA insist on being 5 minutes and 500 years behind the rest of the nation. Here, things like progressive thought and a greater concern for making sure one's own kids graduate high school as opposed to worrying about whether Joe the Plumber and Joe Six Pack should be allowed to marry are viewed as tools of the liberal elites and Hollywood to destroy America. Funny, I was under the belief that it was the Republicans who slashed levee funding and who rendered FEMA ineffective by placing it within the bureaucratic black hole of the Department of Homeland Security who literally destroyed this part of America. And isn't it still the case that nearly a billion dollars of your Road Home money is going to the Bush administration buddies over at IFC, whilst you remain relegated to a life of toxic trailer trash? And isn't it true that the people most disgusted by "the gays" probably spend the most time thinking about disgusting gay sex? (Tip: If you don't think about it, it won't disgust you! Why ARE you thinking about it so much anyway?)

But I doth digresseth.

A few days ago, some local bloggers were bouncing around idears for turning LA more blue. Not to piss in anyone's cornflakes, but Louisianians haven't been progressive and open to change, even change that benefits us, since France ran this show. An educated populace would help, but that's not a short-term strategy unless you absolutely blitz them with media about particular issues in any given election (e.g., None of your broke asses will ever make $250,000 so chill out with the Obama will raise my taxes hysteria...[or something to that effect]). Judging from the map, it's not just LA. Most of the south, Appalachia, and the midwest are dying to remain about 20 years behind "big city coastal elites." The us-versus-them schema has been so drilled into people's psyche that cultural issues and fear tactics will drive regional politics for several years to come. Democrat strategists yearning for change would be trying to change the minds of people that still will not vote for a Landrieu because Moon hired blacks to work in N.O. City Hall in the 1970s and who have voted Republican (except for Clinton & Carter - two Southern white men) since LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act and forced them to integrate. Umm...yah, good luck with that one.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I've Got Your Prop 8 Right Here

And now for a post by guest blogger Jill of the Bay Area

This perspective calmed me down just a little bit today:

Rev. Andrus's comments are poignant and true in my opinion. Yes, we will continue to work toward a transformed consciousness. Yes, we will persevere. In the meantime, however, we will be disappointed. Very disappointed.

Particularly disappointed am I in some of my black people.

That's right - I said it.

I saw some black folks enthusiastically reporting of their vote for YES on Prop 8 yesterday, and it made me sick. How is it possible that any black people -- my people -- could enthusiastically sanction constitutionally mandated bigotry? How could any of my people -- who, a few short generations ago were not even 'people' ourselves (at least not in an enfranchised, constitutional sense) -- cover another body with that scarred, stinking, bigoted cloth? How could any of us deprive another human being of coverage by the full fabric of personhood? We don't even have to think "There, but for the Grace of God, go I..." We've been there! And, we've been working like hell to lance the boils left by that infected place ever since.

I was ready to turn over tables when I saw a face that looked like mine grinning and cooning in front of a news camera, parroting some foolishness about "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve..." What the hell? Could we really vote for a constitutional amendment that would put its boot on the neck of an entire segment of the human population ... based on a hot steamy pile of ideology invoking GOD's purported oversight in her creation of Adam and Steve? Could we really do this, all the while proclaiming our support for the first black candidate to ever ascend to the U.S. presidency, because it's "Time for Change?" That's not irony. That's nonsense!

I have been distracted all day questioning how this is possible -- how this is even a question in the minds of a repressed and marginalized people.

I am and will always be a fan of the democratic process. There are few things I value more than a dissenter's voice. That said, this is a stunning disappointment. Something broke loose in my faith in the bondedness of the human condition today. Humanity is going to have to purify itself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka before I will get over it. (If you're not a Purple Rain fan, then you didn't get that and shame on you for it!).

That is to say, we've got a lot of work to do.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Graduate Level Seminar on Hurricanes

[disclaimer: I didn't write this]

Funny because it is—sadly—true.

Hurricane Education: What I've learned during our last hurricane.

1. Coffee and frozen pizzas can be made on a BBQ grill.

2. No matter how many times you flick the switch, lights don't work without electricity.

3. My car gets 23.21675 miles per gallon, EXACTLY (you can ask the people in line who helped me push it).

4. Kids can survive 4 days or longer without a video game controller in their hand.

5. Cats are even more irritating without power.

6. He who has the biggest generator wins.

7. Women can actually survive without doing their hair- you just wish they weren't around you.

8. A new method of non-lethal torture- showers without hot water.

9. There are a lot more stars in the sky than most people thought.

10. TV is an addiction and the withdrawal symptoms are painful.

11. A 7 lb bag of ice will chill 6-12 oz Budweiser's to a drinkable temperature in 11 minutes, and still keep a 14 lb. turkey frozen for 8 more hours.

12. There are a lot of dang trees around here.

13. Flood plane drawings on some mortgage documents were seriously wrong..

14. Aluminum siding, while aesthetically pleasing, is definitely not required.

15. Crickets can increase their volume to overcome the sound of 14 generators.

16. People will get into a line that has already formed without having any idea what the line is for.

17. When required, a Lincoln Continental will float, doesn't steer well but floats just the same.

18. Tele-marketers function no matter what the weather is doing.

19. Cell phones work when land lines are down, but only as long as the battery remains charged.

20. 27 of your neighbors are fed from a different transformer than you, and they are quick to point that out!

21. Hampers were not made to contain such a volume.

22. If my store sold only ice, chainsaws, gas and generators... I'd be rich.

23. Price of a can of soup rises 200% in a storm.

24. Your water front property can quickly become someone else's fishing hole.

25. Tree service companies are under appreciated.

26. I learned what happens when you make fun of another states' blackout.

27. MATH 101: 30 days in month, minus 6 days without power equals 30% higher electric bill ?????

28. Drywall is a compound word, take away the 'dry' part and it's worthless.

29. I can walk a lot farther than I thought.

30. Your loved ones become a living nightmare.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Best of the Boob

Or the "breast" of the boob, as the boob would say. We sure will miss this guy.

OK, I'm done missing him now.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This One's For You

I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for Barack Obama to have lost his rock, his Grandma "Toot" hours before possibly becoming President. It was comforting, however, to hear that she was able to cast her vote for him before passing away. I really cannot fathom how even the most ardent Republican supporter could begrudge him his need to suspend his campaign to go see her, or how any human could turn this enormously personal, painful trial into an ugly political talking point. But they have [see minute 0:00 to 1:00 of this video].

And it didn't stop with this heartless bastard. Friday, I heard Rush Limbaugh, who suspected something sinister and secretive lay underneath Obama's emergency flight to Hawaii from the very beginning, say the following [Go to minute 4:45], basically that the ill grandmother story was all a ruse, concocted so that he could go back and have his birth records sealed. (You see, he's stuck on this debunked myth that Obama is not an American citizen.)

Let me tell Mr. Limbaugh something about real American grandparents and how much they mean to so many of us real Americans. I am fortunate to have 3 of my grandparents still on this Earth with me, not just because they are the most loving and amazing humans I know, but because I am blessed to see them witness this day. Born in rural Louisiana before electricity, TV, indoor plumbing, and having the right to vote, today they all cast a ballot in favor of another black person for President of the United States.

My father's mother, who turned 85 two days ago, after not being allowed to go to the front of the early voting line in her wheelchair, simply went back today to cast her vote. My mother's 83 and 89 year-old parents arrived at their polling place at 5:55AM to patiently wait, a cane and a walker between the two of them, for an hour to cast their votes. I also never heard my grandfather utter one syllable of regret about having to fight in World War II only to return to a country where he had to stand in the back of the bus and drink from dirty water fountains. His wife, who could have passed for white, did not hesitate to correct white people who told her she didn't have to wait in the colored waiting rooms. She was black she would tell them. My other grandmother never complained about working as a housekeeper for white families until the age of 75, well after she began suffering the pain of osteoarthritis. And during all this, these great Americans nurtured and supported and helped raised their grandchildren and great-grandchildren after raising 19 children (between the four of them) and sending those children on to college and law school and graduate school even though they themselves had little money and not a one attended school beyond the 8th grade.

Because of them, I have never been so happy to stand in line to vote. Without them, I would never have been so happy -- period. So today is for you Toot. Today is for you Ernest (rest in peace) and Audrey. Today is no one's but yours, Eddie and Marina.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Extra, Extra!! White Lady Plays Race Card!

I'll tell you what; white folks is mad!! The Republican ones are, that is. Monday morning, the day after Gen. Colin Powell endorsed Obama for President, I was listening to Castner & Walensky on "Rush Radio" 99.5fm when Walensky went off. She emphatically insisted that there is NO WAY that Powell's endorsement had nothing to do with race, because both men are black. They then went on to bash Powell as never having been a "real" Republican anyway, despite his putting his own reputation on the line with his United Nations speech about Iraq having WMDs. Even after conceeding that yes, Powell was the odd man out in this Bush administration and pushed to the side, Walensky insisted race played a major part in his decision.

AS IF race has nothing to do with her support of McCain-Palin, or that of the other white people who constitute perhaps 80% of their supporters -- and that's a conservative estimate (no pun intended). As if they are above being influenced by the dynamics of race. As if SHE wasn't playing "the race card."

Liebermann broke ranks to endorse McCain, but apparently only white people can do that without race coming into play. Nobody questioned whether Liebermann's decision had to do with race. I'd be curious to know if Walensky and those who think like her have questioned whether the slew of Obama endorsements from white Republicans has to do with race. After all, Obama is as white as he is black.

Now, honestly tell me whites and blacks are not judged by different standards, so I can tell you to go sit your ass down somewhere.

Friday, October 17, 2008

OMG! Obama Said "Spread the Wealth"!

Yes, at first I cringed too when Obama told Joe the Plumber he intends to "spread the wealth." However, by using my brain [dammit, I already lost 1/3 of the Republicans reading this], I realized that my reaction was nothing more than the knee-jerk response Americans have been indoctrinated to have towards anything remotely socialist-sounding. After a few more minutes of thinking, and without the help of Limbaugh or Hannity, I realized that spreading the wealth is as American as...well, as Obama.

In case you missed the last couple of weeks trying to decipher the transcript of Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric, you may have heard tidbits about some sort of $700 billion bail out for Wall Street. You see, that's where the American people's wealth was spread to billion-dollar corporations who fell short of their original goal of spreading our personal wealth to themselves using bad mortgages as their drive-thru-bank-cannister-vacuum-chute-like-thingy vehicle of choice. My fellow Americans, you may have also noticed that you've been spreading a bit more of your wealth to oil companies and then to credit card companies in the form of higher interest rates & late charges when you couldn't afford to pay them on account of having spent your bill money on gas for your automobile.

If you live along the coast, you'll definitely recall spreading pretty much all of your wealth to insurance companies that were already quite wealthy:
When insurers sharply boost premiums on the coasts, increase deductibles, refuse to renew policies or otherwise cut back coverage, policymakers often accept these steps as necessary to help the property/casualty insurance business meet the huge challenges it faces in a risky world filled with dangers that it cannot adequately measure...

...The financial reality of the property/casualty insurance industry couldn’t be more different than the carefully cultivated perception fostered by insurers. Insurers are paying out lower claims, charging higher premiums, reaping greater profits, and are more financially solid than at almost any time in history.
And remember when you made the decision to allocate your wealth for the worthy, moral cause of helping your countrymen and countrywomen rebuild their hurricane shattered lives? Well, our Republican leaders faithfully doled your wealth out in a heartily fashion -- to their already superwealthy pals.

So you see, America is all about spreading the wealth! I mean we love us some fuckin' wealth distribution!! Politicians love to talk about "sharing in the American dream." Remember to remind them -- and most importantly, remind yourselves -- that sharing in that dream requires sharing some of your own damn wealth back to you.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

UPDATED -- Yes, Rev. Wright Was (Mostly) Right Too

Minute 4:00 is where you should start if you're short on time. I can't embed it but you can see it at

Big Man over at Raving Black Lunatic wrote about a related racial aspect to McCain's VP pick. I highly recommend reading it.

All of America is questioning Palin's suitability to perform as Vice President. For White Americans, such criticism probably has nothing to do with them personally. Black Americans, however, are taking the fact that she made it this far a bit personally. Call it playing the race card if you must. I just call it like I see it.

As does my friend, and today's co-blogger, Tamiya:
I have to agree. So often we are taught to "code switch," speak one way with your friends and family, but another way in business and more formal settings. When did it become appropriate to relax that, ESPECIALLY in a Vice Presidential Debate?

This weekend on CNN some panel members made an excellent point: since when did we want the "common man" running the government? We have always expected the President and VP to be better than the common man, smarter than the common man. I mean really, if I'm smarter than those two (which currently I am), why the heck would I look to them for leadership? I can just run myself. Who needs government?

The more I watch her, the more disgusted I become. She is such a farce, and to think that White people are willing to vote for this man and his idiotic running mate because of their skin color. OOOOOH it burns me up!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I just had to get the following out of my head. I hope I'm just panicking, but all observable evidence suggests that I have good reason.

It's 10pm in south Louisiana. Hurricane Ike made landfall at 3:20AM this morning at Galveston/Houston, some 500 miles away. Ike is now somewhere in north Texas & Oklahoma if not further.

Yet somehow, Ike's storm surge CONTINUES TO RISE slightly in parts of coastal Louisiana this evening, or at best have held steady since early AM yesterday. It's not just the coast either; water is inching towards homes in non-coastal parishes. I don't ever remember this happening before and everyone from Cameron Parish on the west end of LA to Plaquemines Parish on the east end of LA is saying the flooding this time is worse than Rita's surge in 2005. There's no more time for restoration studies or planning. We are literally washing away down here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

On The Road Again

Like nearly 2 million fellow Louisianians, I participated our new age tradition of getting the hell out of dodge before Gustav before completing a few minor rituals that accompany getting ready for storms:
  • Hitting at least 5 stores to stock up on beer, liquor, food, water, batteries, cat food, cat litter, paper towels, styrofoam ice chests, medicine, beer, liquor, heavy duty gloves for post-storm clean up, flashlights, beer, liquor, transmission fluid, motor oil, beer, and liquor
  • Spending about 4 hours on the Internet and phone with 3 relatives and 4 rental car companies and 1 bank executive figuring out how my non-driving, non-credit-card-owning grandparents could rent a car for them and a relative willing to drive them in a day and age when apparently good ole American cash is no longer good enough for conducting good ole American lifesaving business
  • 2 hours on the phone and Internet trying to find a hotel that takes pets
  • Washing 4 loads of laundry and packing some of it (hey, I was without a dryer for a few weeks so I was a bit behind, OK?!)
  • Trying not to get too stressed out
  • Helping a friend board up windows and move stuff out of her basement
  • 2 trips to the gas station
  • Checking the weather forecasts 40-50 times a day
  • Securing a few outdoor items to keep them from flying away
  • Planning my contraflow evacuation route and devising alternate routes to avoid that pesky problem of ending up in Florida instead of Texas
  • Accepting that I'd be driving to Texas without that much needed front end alignment after pulling up to Firestone and not even being able to find a parking spot
  • Gathering up papers needed to work on a manuscript due August 30th (LOL-- yeah like THAT happened)
  • Backing up important computer files on my flash drive
  • Checking in with relatives and friends to find out if, when they were leaving and devising alternate plans of communication for when cell phones would inevitably become useless
  • Washing the dishes in the sink so they wouldn't mold and smell up the place
  • Taking out all the trash in the house
  • Throwing away all food in the fridge that would spoil after losing electricity
  • Packing the car at 4:30AM with part of my stockpile detailed in bullet #1, important briefcase of important papers already packed and ready to go at moment's notice, shrimp boots I believe are given to every male born in south Louisiana at birth, first aid kit, CDs for the drive (even though I know I'm going to listen to news radio damn near the whole way), family photos that post-Katrina wisdom dictates are no longer safe left at home on top of an 8-foot high bookshelf, strategically placed cat food, water, litter, & cat toys (before realizing my cats were planning a hunger-drinking-pooping-playing strike to protest the interruption of their livelihoods);
  • Helping the friend I tailed to Shreveport pack her car at 6AM; aaaaaand...
  • Playing that fun game with my employer of Do I Have to Go to Work? When Do I Need to be Back? How will I know I need to be back? Hell, I Just Hope to Have a Damn Job a Week from Today
You know, it's quite amazing there aren't more tragedies on the road when 2 million sleep deprived people are driving for their lives. Then again, who had the energy for road rage?

Once I settled into my comfortable, spacious hotel room in Dallas (ever thankful and knowledgeable of the fact that many of us were living without that luxury and reminiscing on my own lack of such accommodations during Katrina), I realized that I needed this vacation. Gee, I wonder why.

One thing about disasters is that they do bring us together. Especially when Louisianians outnumber Texans on Texas highways and essentially commandeer their hotels for a week or 4. I imagine the same applied in every state below the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Rockies. Prompted by my formidable friend who runs New Orleans: A Labor of Love (still bringing folks here to rebuild from Katrina, by the way) to get off my ass and do something while in exile, here are a few pics of fellow citizens I got to know while away. I don't even know the last names of these families, yet I'm still thinking of them and hoping & praying that things work out for the best for them.

Algiers, Avondale, & Harvey, Louisiana

Cut Off, Louisiana (a.k.a. down da bah-yoh)

Church Point, Louisiana (outside of Lafayette)

Beau-Barack & Bella-Michelle hanging out in Dallas, TX during Gustav

Cats don't much care for evacuating either

John McCain - Lost in Space

Thursday, August 21, 2008


So, as they have done pretty much everyday since Fay existed, the prediction-powers-that-be have again inched Fay's track ever so slightly southward (as of the 5AM advisory). Which is not surprising given that track forecast errors for Fay have averaged about 350-450 miles 4 to 5 days out. I like to read NHC's official discussion for "the real scoop"; here's what they scooped up for me this morning:



Followed by the 11am scoop:



Perhaps it's insomnia, or the weird collective indescribable, slightly off-kilter way many of us seem to feel and behave as "you know what day" approaches; but despite the slowly shifting cone southward, I'm still not all freaked out...

...about Ms. What the FAYk, that is. I am, however, perturbed by the Corps insistence on freaking us the hell out every August since 2005.

(Remember 2006? "Oh we didn't test the temporary pumps in water and so we just realized this vibration thing we gotta fix but the pumps will work. We are ready." 'Member 2007? "Umm, yeah, funniest thing, y'all; them temporary pumps might have not worked but it's all good cuz we didn't have to use them anyway!")

This year, in a broadway revue-like tribute to the feds' performance during Katrina ("there was only overtopping, not any breaching"), today they introduce the clear (TO THEM) distinction between protecting us from surge as opposed to from rainwater. Because apparently rainfall is not a key element of hurricane protection. I have a crazy hunch that a former insurance executive is now sewing his engineering oats in a new job over on Leake Ave. at CORPS HQ.

But life goes on, and I must get back to mine until I have time to tell you why I must give props to the new local levee authority for wasting no time telling the Corps that they are full of B.S. Stay tuned for the next episode of WHAT THE FAYk?!...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My All-Time Favorite "You Know You're a New Orleanian If..."







Too Disgusted to Even Think of a Title

See, this is the kind of shit that leads me to spend my days contemplating whether I should move to another state before I suffer a stroke secondary to the most bomb-ass conniption fit ever recorded in human history.

Posted: Friday, 01 August 2008 1:40PM

Poll: Kennedy leads Landrieu

A Zogby poll shows Republican John Kennedy has taken the lead in the U.S. Senate race against Democrat Mary Landrieu.

According to the Zogby International website, "Republican John Kennedy is among the GOP's best hopes to oust a Democratic incumbent. He leads Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu, 47%-41%." The poll's margin of error is less than 5%.
I know it's still a bit early and only a poll, but I mean really, people. Do you know that getting rid of Landrieu would mean getting rid of our most senior Congressperson? Besides Charlie Melancon in the House, who has been a better, more effective advocate for us? Not to mention, if you (cuz it sure as hell won't be me) elect Kennedy, we'd have him and Vitter for Senators -- two Republicans in a Democrat controlled Congress, and possibly a Democrat president too. What the FUCK do you think a newbie and a man more concerned with trying to use his campaign money (i.e., the money you sent him) to pay off legal debts stemming from personal behavior he himself called wrong and sinful can accomplish for us?

And no, I'm not a Democrat. I'm a registered Independent, which is what Kennedy should run as, since he can't make up his damn mind. I used to like the straight-talking, sensible sounding Kennedy; but has anyone else noticed he's been damn quiet and useless since this talk of running for the Senate started.

And if you're part of the old New Orleans establishment who refuses to vote for ANY Landrieu because you think Moon "betrayed" you by being the first mayor to allow black people to work in City Hall, get over it or fucking DROP DEAD ALREADY! You're NOT helping!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Shall Get Upon the Cross for Nagin

I like to think that I'm mostly right about the views I post on here. Still, the irrepressible guilt I took on during my 13 consecutive years of Catholic school keeps me humble enough to know that I've done SOMETHING wrong, even if it occasionally takes someone or something else to point that out. Allow me to confess that in less than 24 hours, I've been proven wrong on two essential tenets of my life, that: 1) Louisiana gators don't attack us like Florida's gators attack them; and 2) We might be sinking slowly into the ocean, but at least we don't have sinkholes that suddenly swallow entire houses and shit -- like in Florida. Why Florida is involved in both of these is purely coincidental, or still buried in my subconscious.

Mayor Nagin's cavalier responses to this NOAH mess, and to pretty much everything important that has occurred after his re-election, suggests that his religion teachers had methods of crowd control other than guilt induction. Lucky him.

Yet, I feel just awful about this whole NOAH snafu. So this is what I will do: Just as Jesus sacrificed himself to redeem us, I present myself as another black man whom the public can criticize for spreading falsities throughout this community. Gators and sinkholes are as threatening to our recovery as stealing federal aid. Thusly, I come forth as a sacrifice; I humbly offer my wrongs to Lee Zurik and this community, so that Nagin may have political life, and public funds abundantly. Please, take me instead.

Oh, and before you call Cecile Tebo to my house because you think I've had a psychotic break, I am still in touch with reality. I can't guarantee Nagin eternal life, and he's still on his own for the crime, crime cameras, the lying, the credit card charges, endorsing Jefferson, fostering a closer relationship with his brother-in-law or at least keeping abreast of what he does for a living, for his avoidant coping style, and for his passionate relationship with Lee Zurik (I mean when was the last time you've seen chemistry like that on film?).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Interesting Piece of History

While perusing the web just now looking for a place to play racquetball, I came across this interesting tidbit of local history on the NY Times website. (Still looking for racquetball courts if anyone knows of any).

New Orleans Athletic Club Votes 109-33 to Admit Blacks


Published: November 4, 1986

The New Orleans Athletic Club voted last week to admit blacks for the first time in its 110-year history.

Don Williams, the club president, said the vote was 109 to 33 to remove the ''whites only'' wording from the club's constitution.

The vote was Oct. 28.

''Already I've received three new applications for membership, one or two of which I know are from blacks,'' Mr. Williams said Wednesday.

Reciprocal privileges with athletic clubs across the country will be re-established, he said. They were canceled in 1976, after the New Orleans club refused to admit Thomas Perkins, a black member of the Harvard Club who was here on a visit.

Mr. Perkins sued the club, and Federal District Judge Alvin B. Rubin awarded him $1,000 in damages. The club then canceled its agreements with other clubs for fear of more lawsuits, Mr. Williams said.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

St. Bernard Redevelopment Rumored To Be Halted

Sources tell me that the redevelopment of the St. Bernard public housing complex has come to a screeching halt due to the Louisiana Housing Finance Authority's (LHFA) inability to secure investors to purchase the tax credits allocated to finance the project. I'm hoping this is not the case even as I write this because if true, we have been misled in the most egregious manner by our city officials. As I recall it, the riotous city council meeting at which the council voted to unanimously approve demolition, they and Mayor Nagin assured us that demolition could not proceed until all stipulations of the provisos attached to the order allowing demolition were met; and I believe one of the provisos was that the developers had to first prove that financing had been secured.

The Times-Picayune reported that enough funding was in place to "launch" the 1st phase of construction.
"the Bayou District Foundation has secured $62 million through low-income tax credits and $27 million from federal block grant money. That's enough to launch the first phase of 465 apartments next year."
Then again, it's the T-P. These are the same people who fervently endorsed Jindal for governor. However, to their credit, the same article reports that many had doubts about the reality of getting people to invest in tax credits for such an ambitious project -- twice the scope of the Atlanta East Lake project after which the St. Bernard plans are modeled.

Another few key points:
The redevelopers of the St. Bernard, Columbia Residential, are closely tied to the allegations of corruption that directly led to HUD Secretary Alphonso's firing or resignation or whatever the feds called it. This was reported by the OB Rag Blog on December 27, 2007, mere days after the council's vote to demolish the projects:
A report today in the online publication Government Executive details mounting evidence from federal investigations linking HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson to scandals in New Orleans-including the demoliton contract for the St. Bernard public housing complex.
"the feds are going after Scott Keller, described as Jackson’s “right arm,” for his role in steering the St. Bernard demo contract towrds Colombia Residential, a company Jackson once worked for, and which still owes him hundreds of thousands of dollars."

In June 2006, Sec. Jackson put Keller in charge of HUD. “Keller was smack in the middle of the HANO decision to award the $127 million redevelopment to the team that included Columbia Residential to restore [sic] the St. Bernard public housing projects”

“Internal HANO records show that the Columbia Residential team barely won the evaluation, 68 points to 67.”
One more thing. I'm also told that Columbia has already been paid $9 million dollars for demolition (also reported on the OB Rag Blog) compared to the $4 million dollars the developers of the other 3 housing projects were paid for demolition.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The McCain Economic Plan: Hoping Your Memory Is Failing Too

If you're wondering where I get my sharp, analytical eye, I must admit it's genetic. In this special Guest Blogger edition, I feature none other than Aunt Nee-Nee! Take it away:

McCains economic advisor is an executive at Swiss bank (in the US). The headlines say it all- McCain's man got paid to push an agenda. The world's worst president Bush at least waited until he was president before he said bend over.

1. $30BB to bail out Bear Sterns. Jacks$%t for the people losing their homes.

2. The Glass-Stegal Act was put in place when the collapse of Wall Street brought about the Great Depression. In 1999 McCain's economic advisor did away with that regulation, leading to the sub-prime mortgage debacle.

3. "McCain is counting on people having very short memories. and not being able to connect the dots." Sorry honey, we are in a failing economy. I'm reminded of this everyday. My memory would have to be gone, comatose like, not just short.

Well said, Nee Nee.

I'll only add that her timing in emailing this was quite uncanny because only days after receiving this, I was reading a book called Elite Deviance which mentioned McCain as one of a group of senators (one of whom was censured by Congress) who were instrumental in crafting a government bailout of the architects of the S&L Scandal, a.k.a. the costliest crime in the history of the United States. And I'm not being all hysterical in calling it a "crime"; people were sent to prison over this. Anyway, McCain's at it again, which is good news for those of you who miss the crime-ridden, high inflation / stagnation, jobless days of Reagan's era that McCain is very clear about his intention to recreate via his proposed policies.

But please know this: if you so much as even entertain buying a 50-cent McCain '08 bumper sticker, and I hear you complain about the price of gas or food, I will bitchslap the shit out of you.

Praise Jesus.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

I Move That the Corps Hire a New PR Consultant

Here's today's hysterical laugh...Last night on the news, the Corps said that they are willing to have outside experts analyze the situation (how nice of them); however, they are not alarmed because "seepage" is normal. They said if the floodwall were "leaking," they'd be alarmed. There's a big difference, they said, between "seepage" and "leaking."

You got to see this

(A bit of history: Several months before Katrina, residents along this floodwall where it failed, reported water in their backyards coming from underneath the floodwall; but the levee board failed to respond.)

A bit of perspective from my wise Uncle Phil: "Let’s put this in human terms. If some part of your anatomy was seeping vs leaking – would there be a difference to you? I think not..."

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Peculiar Thing, Race

Why is Barack Obama hardly ever described as "biracial"? We all know he is, but you rarely HEAR or READ that word in stories about him. (Mentioning that his father is black and his mother is white doesn't count because those attributions speak to his parents and not to him.)

And if he's as white as he is black, why is he never called "white"?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Now There's a Radical Concept

Instead of allowing students, faculty, and staff to carry weapons onto campus, Virginia's state legislators pushed for mental health reform in the wake of the VA Tech shootings. Those wacky guys! They crack me up. For a red state, they sure sound like a bunch of liberals. Even worse, I bet they're ELITE liberals (you know, the ones Hillary don't even want no part of).

Get a load of these softies on crime:

[it's not like those people end up killing cops just because they can't get a pill. C'mon!!]

Why can't they just understand that mass murderers and school shooters' don't commit crimes because they are emotionally and psychologically distressed. They commit crimes because no one is there to shoot them first. You can't just ignore the logic behind the fact that you can't kill someone if you are killed first!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Don't Worry. It's Only a Vote.

I'm not one of those people who automatically thinks all politicians are spineless and unethical. I even back the idea of our state legislators getting a full-time salary.

Except for the bozo I read about in the paper this weekend who apologized for voting for a bill with an amendment attached that would abolish the state income tax, which accounts for 1/3 of state revenue. He said it was one of his "cutesy" votes. He wanted to be on record as voting against increased taxes. Besides, it's not like such a ridiculous bill would pass.

The bill passed, unanimously if I'm not mistaken. It turns out all of our state senators were either being "cutesy," pulling a stunt to call the bluff of the anti-tax crowd, or just plain had no clue what they were really voting about.

Then today, we have this genius, Rep. Noble Ellington (D-Winnsboro), who just plain admitted that he'll throw anybody else under the bus as long as he comes out looking like the man back in Winnsboro: "I'm willing to work with the governor as long as he is willing to work with me on things in my district."

"My district." Nice. Thanks, asshole. So, even though all but 2 people from the New Orleans delegation are against Jindal's proposal to give $10 million dollars in vouche -- I mean, scholarships -- to local public schools students to go to private or parochial schools, and even though legislators typically honor the wishes of local legislators when bills affect only that particular area, Ellington is more than willing to bend over so long as Jindal promises to give it to him in the future. Again, thanks. Just use protection, k?

Jefferson Parish School Board member Greg Katsanis is apparently missing his calling to serve among our fearless leaders. He switched his vote last week because "I bowed to political pressure from the mayor of Kenner, who practically threatened me."

No wonder we need such stringent ethics laws. This is also why I doubt there will be more ethical behavior because of laws. Some of these guys seem to have a set of principles that are quite disposable. They clearly lack a respect for the power they hold, or a sense of duty to their constituents, let alone a sense of right or wrong. It's like my Catholic school teachers liked to say: "Boy, if you had a brain, you'd be dangerous."

I guess I could be overreacting. It's not like how they vote affects other people or anything. Silly, silly me!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Superintendent Pastorek, Please Report to the Planet Earth

From a Dept. of Education press release today:

The School has hired Dr. Alan Cohen, Medical Director and Founder of the National Deaf Academy, in Mount Dora, Florida. "Dr. Cohen is an expert in dealing with social and behavioral issues facing deaf and hard-of-hearing children," said Kenneth David, Director of the Louisiana School for the Deaf. "We're honored that he would work with us to improve how we serve our students."...

Also brought on board to assist is Dr. Cynthia Ashby, School Director of the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, and Dr. Reginald Redding, Director of the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf.

Superintendent Pastorek has scheduled a closed-door meeting this Tuesday with parents to receive their concerns and suggestions on how to provide the supervision needed at school and at home to improve student safety.

I must have missed the press releases announcing that Pastorek took behavioral and social problems in New Orleans schools seriously enough to hire 3 doctors (can't be cheap and is the statewide hiring freeze over?) and call a closed door meeting with parents here. I do, however, recall a friend who is a charter school principal expressing exasperation that staff were even more confused about how to help their special needs students (you know, including the hearing ones with behavior problems) after state education officials "explained" the special education process to them -- 3 months into the school year, I might add. Actually, that meeting made them aware of more barriers they'd have to cross to provide the federally mandated services that are alledgedly a civil right. Maybe if our public school students were deaf instead of just impoverished, abandoned, written off, and traumatized by exposure to violence and NOW by disaster too, Mr. Pastorek would do the same for them...

...instead of ridiculing our absurd concerns that the few kids who make it to 12th grade in N.O. are failing the exit exam by the busload.

He'd rather spend much more time on a scavenger hunt to find ethnic minority schools which actually aren't failing (notice not one of the 21 on the list is from Orleans, not even from a neighboring parish).

In February of this year, Mr. Pastorek was inspired by the doubts of a local elected official to find schools that served high minority/high poverty students and were achieving academic success. The Department of Education was able to identify 21 such schools...

It occurs to me that the top dog in state education, one who has really tried to find ways to help such schools, would have already identified most of the exceptions to the rule of the minority/poor failing school. To perhaps, I don't know, figure out how they defied the odds -- other by being located in the country (as if there's anything to do there besides studying).

As you can see, I've been watching this guy lately. I think he might be living in a parallel dimension...or perhaps on the verge of a break from reality.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What? Westbank, what?

I'm doing my part to make up for the local media's shitty coverage of the massive flooding that occurred on the Westbank yesterday. Terrytown*** seems to have gotten whacked hardest. These are shots taken on my parents' street in Terrytown.***

(Above) From my parents' front door. Moms really stepped up to fill the void left by all the news crews "on location" at the Jazz Fest (beer tent).

umm, NO, I'm not cheating and re-posting from an old blog. You're probably just thinking of this.

***(To answer thousands of eastbankers: Terrytown is basically Gretna, but legally part of unincorporated Jeffersion Parish. It borders Algiers and is closer to the CBD than most of eastbank. Please, take as much time as you need to for the shock to subside, especially the ones who've ever waited until the cheaper night long distance rates kicked in before calling someone on the Westbank).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

TPMtv: McCain Can't Quit John Hagee

For some strange reason, Sean Hannity didn't tell me about this whole McCain-Hagee scandal! I came across it on other blogs. The number of comparisons and contrasts that could be made to the Obama-Wright affair could very well blow a thinking person's brain circuitry.

Unless of course, you are able to exercise white privilege and deem all this race and unfair treatment hoopla irrelevant or just another Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton race-card-playing production. You could even go the extra mile like this self-proclaimed conservative blogger and come up with all kinds of creative "facts" for why McCain's association with Rev. Hagee is TOOOOOOOOOTALLY and fundamentally different than Obama's association with his pastor Rev. Wright.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm Baaaaack???

I hope this is the re-beginning of some sort of more regular posting behavior. There's no fantastical story behind my hiatus. The end of 2007 introduced personal and professional upheaval and blogging fell by the wayside. I don't know about you, but for me, it's really easy to fall into a pattern of not doing something once I stop doing it, especially when the not doing is accompanied by major depressive episodes and other various neuro-chemical imbalances -- oh, and by living somewhere where legions of both the powerful (i.e., politicians) and the common-folk (i.e., the seemingly omnipresent segment of local folks hell bent on showing their ass and lauding their ignorance) make me just want to say: "fuck it. Whatever it is; just fuck it."

I know I'm about 3 weeks behind the curve in terms of acknowledging the sudden, heartwrenching passing of local blogger Dr. Ashley Morris. What can I say that hasn't been said already? I talked to him twice in person and many times via email or blog comments, but it only took those couple of personal encounters -- and our shared trauma of living in Chicago immediately post-K -- to endear me to the guy to such a point that hearing the news sent me into a state of grief stricken shock. New Orleans has truly lost one of our strongest links in the chain keeping this battered boat anchored and afloat. In some strange way, I feel that jumpstarting this operation back up would honor Ashley in some small way. I almost feel as if I owe it to him.

Now, Ashley might rightly assert that I don't owe him shit, which is also true; but this tragedy was a bitter reminder that I may not have much time for spinning my wheels or sitting on the sideline thinking I can put whatever off just a couple of more days; or that it's no big deal to pass on staying involved in my community.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Barack Obama's "Race Speech"

I haven't posted much in quite some time, so believe you me, I MUST say this. I've spent the afternoon listening to snippets of peoples' responses to Obama's speech today, on talk radio and the news networks.

I am disheartened by the pundits who continue to dissect the timelines, the reasons, the whys regarding where Obama decides to attend church and what his pastor (who ain't runnin' for anything) said. I'm frustrated by the (mostly) white callers into talk shows who complained that he ignored the plight of their disadvantaged brethren from Appalachia.

What Barack Obama said today was as real and frank and true as it gets about the modern state of race relations and about the causes and effects of our race problem. As a black person who has studied and understands racial dynamics more than most people of any race, he added something to my understanding of why many whites react to racial issues the way they do. What I admired most was the Senator's ability to so eloquently illustrate the ties that bind all Americans together without glossing over the pain and the ugliness that resides in us individually and within our collective racial groups.

But that's not what I really needed to say. What I need to say is this: If you are still focusing on his pastor or still dissecting his speech or complaining he left out white people, you just plain missed the boat. When it comes to understanding race relations in modern America, if you listened to Obama's entire speech and you still don't "get it," you truly just don't get it; and you very likely never ever will.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How About a Living Room?

Could someone ask Veronica White, N.O. Sanitation Director, whether "bulky waste" pick-up is covered by our sanitation contract when the contractor creates said bulky waste?

And is a living room considered "unlimited" debris?

Juuuuuust won'drin...