Thursday, July 27, 2006

What about the Levee Board and the Corps

Turnpike chairman out after Big Dig death

The gentleman above is Mr. Matthew Amorello. He is the former chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. He stepped down today as the chairman before a hearing to remove him after one of the Big Dig Tunnels collapsed killing 39-year-old Milena Del Valle . I respect Mr. Amorello and the state of Massachusetts for at least attempting to show their citizens that they have their best interest at heart.
I live in Louisiana. Last year on August 29, 2005 over 1000 people died when the levees in the area collapse. 49 of those people have still not been identified. As of now, no one from the New Orleans Levee Board, the Corps of Engineers, or any member of the state or local government has stepped down or been run out of office. Our mayor even got re-elected. No one has even had a hearing locally about any officials. It's good to know that somewhere in this country their is accountability. It's just too bad that I happen to live in a place where there is none.

Midnight Basketball Won't Keep Brothers From Fouling Out

The city of New Orleans is about to restart the midnight basketball program for young men ages 17-21. This is an effort to reduce the number of young kids on the streets and replace their guns with basketballs. The mayor, city council, and other community leaders believe that this will be a big step in reducing the amount of young men wandering around with nothing to do.
I have been trying my best to be an optimist these days. I am sure that this new program will go a long way to helping a few kids have something to do at night. However, we had midnight basketball before and there was no reduction in crime. The program will serve 180 kids. If you subtract them from the hundreds that have no direction, you will reduce crime by about .00005%. The reason why is simple. Crime and drug abuse is so much a part of the inner city that programs like midnight basketball and nights out against crime have no effect on the overall condition of the areas where most of the crime is happening. In New Orleans, drugs and crime are popular occupations. Many families are clothed and fed based on this revenue stream. That means it's a cultural thing. The kids and adults in this sub-culture are so out of touch that they are not going to play in this league. Most of them won't even know about it. The starting age for the league is 17-21. As a community, we are losing our children from the ages of 4-12. We all know the causes so I won't get into that. I do think there is a better way to fight crime then playing basketball. Instead of spending money on basketball for young adults, we should be trying to establish the following things to effectively reduce crime.

1. Equal education opportunities for inner city youth - This includes infrastructure and teachers. Suburban school districts recruit all the qualified teachers because they can offer more money and a better environment.
2. Mentoring programs for young men ages 5-10 - Because if they get to their teens without anyone that cares about them it's really too late.
3. Alternative education programs with an emphasis on job training. - Why are we still teaching our kids like everyone is going to go to college? Let some of these young brothers learn welding or construction in high school and give him a tool to earn a living.
4. Early childhood development programs for the kids and their mothers.- If mama can't read then the baby won't either.
5. Recreational programs for all neighborhoods- It can't cost that much to make sure that every park is at least clean and the grass is cut.

Of course, I am no expert. There are people who have way more education than me making these decisions. They are probably more qualified than I am. The only thing I have to go on is living in the same community for 32 years and watching it slowly turn into a place with little emphasis on youth development, education or family values. I have watched all that neglect morph into what we have today. If that counts for anything then I guess I am qualified. I hope the league does well. I might even go to a game or two. I just hope that my beloved city leaders have something else in mind to change some of the things going on down here other than basketball and the National Guard.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Taking It In

You know those days when you go outside on your front porch, drink some kool-aid and watch the hood do what it do. That's what I have been feeling like the past few weeks. I'm just sitting up and watching things happen. I don't have enough to say to write a whole blog about any of it. Sure, I see it happening. I seen George Bush trying to fool the NAACP with that wack ass speech. I saw it get so hot in the country that if a hurricane would have hit the gulf right now it would have been a category 8. I see Israel kicking Lebanese ass and the U.S can't say anything because they did the same thing in Iraq. Terrorists are worse than Be Be Kids. They don't die, they multiply. I even seen where there are several other cities looking to bring in National Guard troops since New Orleans did it. Apparently, we are not the only crazy negroes in the country. We still haven't seen Mayor Nagin or Bishop Morton anywhere in the hood but at least they finally picked up the damn cars. In the middle of all of that I got to see some of my family and some old friends. I also got to go to the spot and overpay for drinks then I danced with someone who was probably unattractive but everyone looks the same after the fifth boilermaker. Some things are getting back to normal. All I need now is a BBQ grill and football season. There are only a few things that I need to address.

The fact that my co-worker won't speak to me because I refused to put 7.00 in an envelope to pay for a going away gift for a person that I don't even know. When I leave a job, the only I need to take with me is my check and vacation pay. Seven dollars should have been the total from everybody.

Brothers, please stop coming to your wife/girlfriend's job to hang out while she is trying to work. The young sister that works security in this building gets a three hour visit from her husband every damn day. He parks his Chevy truck right in the fire lane and they hang out like it's the lakefront. She needs to be focused on her responsibilities which must be talking on the phone and watching DVD's on her portable player in the lobby all day, not talking with him outside. At least her aunt and her friends come and sit inside to feel the air conditioner. What makes you want to hang out at your wife's job anyway? Unless she works at Club Rumpshaker and you get free drinks as long as she is dancing its no fun at all.

Listen, if you know someone that's been a crackhead for a long time, they are probably going to stay one unless they get some serious help. Now, if you marry the person without getting them some help, don't call me and tell me how wonderful things are going and then turn around 6 months later crying about how it all fell apart. You know I will be there for ya and everything but this is getting ridiculous. You can't marry someone that's been high since the 8th grade, give them a FEMA check and expect them to stay clean. You might as well just buy him an IV machine from the hospital and make it easier for him. Stop calling me.

Other than that I am chillin. I can't wait for something really exciting to happen. A good evacuation would be nice. Then there is always the day Tupac decides to come back from Cuba or Chuck D starts the revolution for real and punches Flava Flav right in the face. Until then, I'm sitting here browsing clips on Youtube and enjoying a sip of cognac.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Iwas reading this story on today. You can click here to read it. It's all about how much money was squandered by Homeland Security after the storm. I went to every local TV news website looking for this story and couldn't find it. Conversely, when the story first came out about the locals using the money on a drink or two it was all over. I think I feel comfortable enough now to make the following statement. Although all news media has a slant against black people. There is no city in the country who's media takes more pride in making black people look bad than the city of New Orleans. It's like Bill O'Reilly is the executive producer at every station.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Stay Away Essence

For the first time the Essence festival was held outside of New Orleans last week. Houston had the honor of hosting the event this year thanks to the hurricane that starts with a K. From all the reports I heard, the fest just wasn't as good as it usually is. That's probably because New Orleans stays wide open until sunrise so there are hundreds of parties to go along with the concert that last all night. You can literally party until it's time to hit the airport when the festival is here. The locals here believe that this is one of the reasons that they will come back for good once the Superdome is back up and running. Because of what happened and the fact that they don't want to appear to be abandoning the city, I expect them to be back at least for next year. Personally, I hope the Essence Fest never comes back. If the Bayou Classic didn't have two teams from Louisiana, I wish they wouldn't come back either. Maybe they could play in Shreveport. I will be happy to explain why.

Since Hurricane Katrina, no one has really cared about the black community of New Orleans. The state hasn't done anything and neither has the city. If Essence wants to do something for the black citizens of New Orleans it will tell the state that it is not coming back until a detailed rebuilding plan is in place. This is a city that will have an NFL game in September but doesn't plan to open a fully functional public hospital until 2011. Somebody has to show the political and business community that you can't treat us like second-class citizens and then expect us to come and save you financially because we like to party past 2 AM. Susan Taylor needs to call mayor Nagin and tell him they are moving to another city unless someone acknowledges the need for better conditions and does something about it. Losing Essence money won't hurt the black community of New Orleans. We can't get any lower than we are right now. It's not like they were going to devote any of that revenue to rebuilding the city. The majority of that money ends up going to the state anyway. The city makes most of its money on parking tickets and towing brother's cars and that money will be used to cut the grass and prune the flower beds on St. Charles St.. Plus, French Quarter businesses treat us like crap every other day except for Essence Fest and Bayou Classic. Even on those weekends they jack all the prices up.

The funniest thing about the state of Louisiana is that they depend on tourist coming to New Orleans to marvel in all the food, art and music that blacks created yet they don't really care how they are living. Our own people don't need to take part in that.

Stay away Essence and make a statement!

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Good Side

Just to show I am not a melancholy dude….There are things guaranteed to put me in a good mood…..

  1. Being Called Daddy: Nothing can beat the feeling of hearing that when you get home. It makes the potlucks and buying the candy all worthwhile.
  2. Teaching Trainings at Work: I love doing this because it means that I know something so well that other people are willing to pay for me to show them how to do it. That’s the ultimate for egomaniacs. It’s always fun to look smart.
  3. Watching little black children play: If you are driving pass a school during your lunch break, stop and watch the kids at recess. It will instantly put you in a good mood. They look so carefree and at peace. You wish you could find a way to keep that look on their faces until the time they have to be grown up and deal with serious things.
  4. Nighttime on the Lakefront: There is something very peaceful about sitting on the lakefront at night watching the waves roll. You can do this all by yourself and be at peace. The best time of the year to is autumn. The wind is blowing and there are no mosquitoes. This ritual is heightened if you have a medium Orange 190 daiquiri with a shot of Everclear. I am going to make someone homesick.
  5. My grandfather’s stories: He’s not here anymore but because he told me so many funny things about life there are times I am sitting around daydreaming and suddenly burst out in laughter. I’m sure it wasn’t all that fun to live through Jim Crow, World War 2, segregation, and Hurricane Betsy but he sure had a good time. That’s the funniest person I have ever known.
  6. Sanford and Son: “Ester I didn’t put no stain on y’all family. Your family was stained when I met y’all. That old ugly stain. Even Ajax couldn’t get that stain off!” Who could be in a bad mood when laughing at that?
  7. College Football: The second most favorite thing of mine that I use to totally drown out everything else going on in the world. It’s a known fact that I don’t leave the house on Saturdays between September and January unless it’s to go by my dad and watch a game with him.
  8. Professional wrestling: Laugh if you want but there are times when a good wrestling tape will keep me from really tripping. It’s the only thing since I was 4 years old that has never gotten serious enough to require allot of thought.
  9. A good pot of gumbo: I prefer mines with lots of File but some people make it different ways. By the way, anybody that tells you they made a pot of gumbo in less than 3 hours does not know what they are doing and you shouldn’t eat it. You can’t boil gumbo. It takes time for all the parts to come together slowly and create a beautiful mixture of spices and flavor. Mama if you read this I need a pot.
  10. Going crabbing: This is the first year that I can remember that I won’t take a trip to St. Bernard Parish for a crabbing trip. I don’t know if we could even drive that far right now since the storm. The sun beams down on you all day. Your clothes get all muddy and you might even slip and end up in the water once or twice. I could do it everyday. It’s the ultimate family bonding experience.

My Bad Side

I have been doing a lot of complaining lately due to the condition of where I live. I know there are folks that think I am always upset about something but that is not true. In my post Katrina world I am more aggravated than usual. Most of the time I am in a joking mood. There are only a few things that can upset me. Because I have nothing else to talk about, here is the list.

  1. People who call me Clifford instead of Clifton: If you want to kill a conversation with me, call me Clifford and I will tune you out. My name is Clifton Harris III and the only thing I will accept in place of that is Cliff for short. Clifford is not my name.
  2. When Someone wants to tell me what they would have done differently: These are the people who want to tell you that you hired the wrong guy, bought the wrong car or took the wrong route to get somewhere. Don’t you hate it when someone comes to your house and tells you things like “You could have gotten a bigger TV at this store” or “I would have painted this room blue”? Get your own house and put whatever you want to in there. Leave mine alone. There are only two people that can do this without irking me and that’s Bernadine and Clifton.
  3. People who brag on success but never seem to do anything for anyone else: I am dedicating this one to my grandfather because I know for a fact that people showing up empty handed to a family function and then bragging for hours about money really pissed him off.
  4. People who follow me too close when I am driving: I am paranoid of getting rear ended in an accident. Why people do this in traffic is something I just don’t get. My boy Cedric will hit his brakes in the middle of the block just to scare the jackass behind him into backing off a little.
  5. When someone doesn’t have a job but has a better car than I do: You can call this hating if you want but I don’t understand it.
  6. Kids who try to talk to me like an adult: When I was a child we were not allowed to speak to adults about certain things even if we were the topic of conversation. This is why our kids now are cursing out teachers in the second grade.
  7. The Potluck People at Work: Besides major holidays, there is no reason to plan a meal full of dishes from people who can’t cook or don’t look that sanitary. Some people always want to plan these things and then have the nerve to ask everybody to give money plus a dish. If you want to have a dinner once a month, spend your 40.00 on that big ass ham to feed these vultures. Ever since the time at my old job when one of my co-workers brought the green peas still in the can, I have no place for this tradition in my life.
  8. The Candy Sellers at Work: I’m all for helping your kids school but I am starting to think that some of these people are selling candy for their own profit around here. I remember selling those nasty ass candy bars only once a year. My daddy would give me 20.00, I would pick the little cheap toy out of the catalog and that was it. Some of these ladies sell candy every single day. What is this school trying to buy? From now on I need to see invoices. School lets out in June and they are still pushing candy in July.
  9. E-Mails with code letters in them: Is there a book with all these abbreviations so I can know what’s going on? I get emails at work without one real word in them. How do you respond to " Hi Cliff, this is Joe from LMTC. We need to get the DVE from the OBT report and compare that with the MID. " I always just respond with "OK".
  10. Anyone who thinks Tupac is dead: When the statue of limitation is over for faking your own death he is coming back from Cuba and it’s on.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Interesting Reading

Commentary: Democrats Deserve the Blame for Failing Our Inner City Schools – and Our Kids

Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2006
By: Gregory Kane,

In late April, Wade Henderson, the executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, made the mistake of trying to portray Baltimore’s wreck of a public school system as a partisan, Democrats vs. Republicans issue.

He later recanted. Wise choice.

But before he did, Henderson told a room full of black folks at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University that Maryland’s Republican governor was trying to take over Baltimore schools. Then he told them about how teachers in predominantly-white Baltimore County schools are better than those in predominantly-black Baltimore schools and about disparities in the availability of advanced placement courses between the two systems.

Here’s what Henderson failed to mention: schools in Baltimore County and in Baltimore are run by Democrats. Maryland’s legislature, which funds both systems, has been a Democratic body for decades.

Any failures of Baltimore’s school system -- which, according to a Manhattan Institute study, graduates only 48 percent of its students and only 39 percent of its black male students -- have to be blamed on the political party that’s run the system for years.

That would be Democrats.

In the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Black Power movement in the United States, there is no clearer indication of black power’s failure than in urban school systems like Baltimore’s that are run by Democrats. Washington, D. C. schools are some of the worst in the country. Democrats run D.C.

In the Manhattan Institute study, Baltimore’s graduation rate was 91st of the country’s 100 largest school systems. But Detroit’s -- another city run by Democrats -- was 98th. In both Baltimore and Detroit, most of those Democrats are black who are supposed to be exercising black power to improve conditions for black folks.

Instead, today’s black Democrats in places like Baltimore and Detroit seem to have their lips permanently sutured to the rump of the Democratic Party jackass. If there is a clash between, say, the Democrats’ commitment to teachers’ unions and educational improvement for black folks, Democrats will choose teachers’ unions.

Black Democrats seem powerless to stop them.

I’ll use as Exhibit A Baltimore’s KIPP Ujima Village Academy, a fifth-through-eighth grade school that sits in a poor, predominantly black section of northwest Baltimore. On recent state assessment tests, these “poor black kids” Democrats claim to have so much affection for rocked it, totally blitzing their counterparts in predominantly white, affluent areas of the state.

Nearly 92 percent of KIPP’s sixth-graders scored at advanced or proficient levels in reading on the Maryland School Assessments. They beat 24 of 25 schools in Baltimore County and 15 of 19 schools in ritzy Howard County, just south of Baltimore.

In math, just over 89 percent of KIPP’s sixth-graders scored at advanced or proficient levels, beating 23 of 25 Baltimore County schools and 12 of 19 Howard County schools. One hundred percent of KIPP’s seventh and eighth graders scored at advanced or proficient in math, beating ALL schools in Baltimore County and Howard County.

Now don’t go thinking Baltimore’s Democrats can take credit for the fantastic KIPP achievement. KIPP is a charter school. Charter schools are public schools which don’t have to operate under the constraints of regular public schools. In some cases, teachers’ unions might dictate those constraints.

Maryland -- with the Democratic-dominated legislature whose Democratic legislators claim they are committed to good education for black kids -- didn’t pass a law allowing charter schools to be established until 2003. The main hamstring was opposition from teachers’ unions. Black folks committed to true black political power would have called the Democrats on their slobbering servility to teachers’ unions long ago.

Instead, we get black politicians who play the blacker-than-thou card on the matter of charter schools. Remember what happened to Dave Bing several years ago?

Bing is a former National Basketball Association All-Star who now owns an automobile supply company in Detroit. He teamed with a white businessman named Robert Thompson, who wanted to donate $200 million to the city of Detroit to establish charter schools. Two things happened.

A black member of Detroit’s city council gave Bing a “Sambo” award and called him a sell-out.

Detroit’s political leaders turned down Thompson’s offer.

In places like Baltimore, Detroit and Washington, D.C., black Democrats have failed to deliver when it comes to educating poor black kids. They seem to have forgotten what Stokely Carmichael meant when he shouted “Black Power!” 40 years ago in Greenwood, Miss.

Or maybe they never knew.

He could have written this about New Orleans and it would have been the same exact thing. I hate to say that I am glad it's just not us but I am.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

No Excuse for No Plan

City now has plan to come up with a plan on rebuilding

12:33 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 5, 2006

The city now has a plan to come up with a plan on how to rebuild many of the neighborhoods in New Orleans.

Having come under some criticism about delays in coming up with a solid gameplan to rebuild many of the devastated neighborhoods, the city council and Mayor Ray Nagin showed a unified front Wednesday as they presented their ideas.

Each of the cityÂ’s 73 neighborhoods will come up with a plan on rebuilding their own areas at the same time that the city comes up with an idea on repairing New OrleansÂ’ infrastructure.

The hope is that the two plans will be merged and that a consolidated front can be ready by the end of the year.

Let me get this straight. You want people to find a way down here by August 29th to clean and gut their houses or risk losing them. However, you guys don't have a plan for rebuilding our neighborhoods and can't guarantee that you will have one by the end of year? There is no excuse why there isn't a plan in place already. It's been almost a year and even the parts of the city that weren't that damaged still look horrible. It seems almost impossible that in an American city taxpayers would have to sit and watch while time flies and nothing is done to improve their quality of life. It's also sad that in a country built on choices, the only sure option I have when it comes to my hometown is to move and never come back. So much for the spirit of community. It's things like this that make me feel stupid for being here sometimes. Maybe I missed something in the history books but what did people from New Orleans ever do to the rest of the country to get treated like we have after the storm. There isn't another place in this country where this kind of thing would be allowed to happen. We are Americas dirty little secret, suppressed in the media these days so the rest of the world doesn't realize how much money and class drives the willingness of the government to what's right. Money and class means so much in this country that not even Jesse Jackson has been back since he ruined the mayor's race and we all know how he loves a photo oppurtunity. The local politicans that were voted in by the people to help them can't even come up with a plan after all this time. Somebody from New Orleans needs to discover some oil in the middle of the 7th Ward then maybe we can see some progress. The only people who seem to be having a good time here is the thugs. I guess they are not that concerned with the future anyway. I'm tired of complaining about things. I would love to stop complaining and be positive but I read things like this and I get frustrated. If there isn't a definitive plan in place by the end of the year, I think the citizens of the city should demand the resignation of every public official involved in the process. We can never get back some of the things we had before the storm. We at least deserve a plan for the future so we can know what to do with the rest of our lives. The city is in desperate need of competent leadership.

My Co-Workers are the Best

Because of some moving around in the office area. My supervisor is sitting in the office where my desk is located for the rest of this week. He usually sits in his own office with the door lock and communicates by e-mail. Before Katrina our desks were back to back so it doesn't bother me that he is in here now. What does bother me is the two other people that are in here. First, we have M@## who spends the whole day with his lips applying constant suction to the J#@'s backside. He spends the whole day whining and complaining about stuff to put hisself in the position to take days off to rest his brain later down the line. I have never seen a person take off for as many strange reasons as he does. This morning he is complaining about the smell inside of his FEMA trailer. If he opened a vent after going to the bathroom he could fix that problem. If he takes a few days off to clear the smell out of that trailer, I am going to take two weeks to refurbish my BBQ grill.
Then we have the flowerchild R#$#$#. She is fresh out of college and thinks she is going to save the world on her own. She is constantly giving me bumper stickers and brochures about all these different organizations. I don't care right now. I have enough trouble trying to get basic services restored to my own house. Now since J@#$# is sitting in here with us, she hasn't stopped talking about work ALL MORNING. I can't be the only person who's nerves are being shot as the minutes go by. If this is what she is doing when she walks back and forth to his office all day I understand why he keeps the door locked. He's probably got a fifth of vodka in his desk. It's very selfish of him not to share a sip with me considering I have to sit here with them everyday when he leaves for his new office.

Monday, July 3, 2006

What do you write about when you are bored with everything? I watch the news and talk shows and nothing turns me on. I suppose I could sit here and tell you guys about what happened at work today or what I had for dinner (in New Orleans it's red beans on Monday). I think I will just sit here and type whatever pops into my head. Ready....Set.... Go....

Why every time somebody from New Orleans does something out of town, the news has to always say its a Katrina evacuee? Why can't it be just one dummy who did something stupid. The whole family has to get labeled. When do we go from being evacuees to regular citizens like everybody else.

I am not prejudice, but does anybody from Mexico want to actually live there? If they officially open up the border, they might as well just give them Texas and get it over with. Actually, it was there's to begin with.

There was a time when a rapper would have lip synch like Young Joc did on the BET awards and ruined his whole career. How do guys get up there like that and feel good after Prince and Stevie Wonder play live music. How Diddy let that boy do that when he used to watch Biggie damn near have an asthma attack and still never lip synch?

What did Jay Z tell Beyonce to make her lose all that weight. She used to be the ghetto girl's hero with all the hips. Now she looks like one of those European women. He must have cut out her cornbread.

Why is my boy Ryan 33 years old and still says "screet" instead of street and "cornder" instead of corner? Don't you hate it when a black man lips get in the way of what he is saying. I guess I shouldn't talk about him since I still can't say ambulance (ambalance) or library (libary).

Did the Bulls just give Ben Wallace 50 million dollars and he can't shoot?

What were all those people doing greeting Lil Kim when she got out of jail? First of all, she went to jail for lying to a grand jury. Second of all, its not like she lied to protect the Black Panthers or anything.

I have come to realize over the past few days that some black men have a high tolerance for looking stupid in public without it bothering them.

I have come to realize over the past few days that some black women have a high tolerance for looking stupid in public without it bothering them.

These two groups seem to have lots of kids that have a high tolerance for looking stupid in public without it bothering them

Every now and then I have to help out my caucasion brothers and sisters. When you have a black guy in your office and you want to make friends, just be yourself please. Do not under any circumstance bring any of your black memorabilia to work to show me and gain cool points. I am cool if you listen to Shania Twain. I don't need to see your House Party DVD to think you are down for the cause.

Finally, Katrina just keeps racking up points and taking things from me. Bobby Brown ( The King of R&B) reunites with New Edition at the Essence Fest and the summabitch ends up being in Houston. I would have paid double to see that. If my mama and sisters didn't read this blog I would be using real awful language right now.