Monday, August 31, 2009
Something in the tone of that article and in the comments that bothered me. There's hypocrisy out here against bloggers, particularly the ones that do this on their own like me.. I never claim to be and don't try to be a legitimate journalist. They went to school and get paid to investigate and report the news. I think most bloggers don't pretend to be at the same level they are. The hypocrisy comes in when people want to minimize bloggers because most of their material is just opinions about news stories. Almost the entire political and social climate in this country is being driven by a bunch of people with an opinion about a news story. At any given time of the day you can turn on your television or radio and listen to someone give their opinion. This is especially true in politics when all the people doing the most screaming have never actually been involved in politics. They just have opinions based on their ideology in life. I do the same thing here except I don’t have a network banner behind my name to make my opinion sound like the truth no matter what I say. If we are going to eliminate what people say because they don't have sources and data then there needs to be a lot more professional wrestling to replace all the talk shows on television. As far as I am concerned, as long as Glenn Beck is on the air any blogger can be legitimate as long as they try to be truthful and responsible as possible.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Now put the music on and lets try to be upbeat. This song is for the hood.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I mean no disrespect to the NAACP. I just don't understand what makes organization like them choose when to speak out and when not to. There was a rally on the steps of the Louisiana Supreme Court building on behalf of C. Murder and his conviction of killing a teenager in a Jefferson Parish nightclub. Apparently there were a few jurors who were pressured to vote guilty even though they didn't think the prosecution proved their case. If that happened then the case needs to be looked into but why did the NAACP choose this point to get involved. The letters of the organization stand for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. We don't use the term 'colored' anymore but if we did Cory Miller would apply. So would the teenager that was murdered that night in the nightclub. His family would also be included. Then there are the other hundreds of young black men and women that have been victims of violence in the metro area and all of their families. They need some justice too. Then there are the people in the neighborhoods where all this madness takes place. I think we all qualify too. If the NAACP's goal is to fight for justice for C. Murder because he's black they better add more staff because if they did this for everyone they would be very busy.
I'm just thinking that an organization like that could probably better the lives of a few hundred colored people if they could work with law enforcement to keep someone like Telly Hankton off the streets. If the reply to that is stopping crime isn't their focus then they shouldn't be standing out there helping C. Murder either. Maybe I missed the dozens of press conferences when they stood up and demanded justice for all the poor mothers out there who can't get any justice for their children's murder. If they did then I am sorry of accusing them of trying to get media attention. I just don't know how the NAACP gets involved in a case like this without promising to help the victim’s family find the real killer if they think it’s someone else. That would be the right thing to do since they are colored too.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Two days from now is Katrina's anniversary. Just like last year I am taking a pass on writing anything on that day. I want to say something about it right now because August 27, 2005 was the last time my family was all together at our home base in the Lower Ninth Ward. We sat outside and ate crabs on my grandmothers 86th birthday. Obviously the house and grandma aren't there anymore because of the man made natural disaster. While all the experts, and smart people debate about the economics, opportunities, and the value of one neighborhood over another caused by the storm, please remember that for people like me you can't put the lost of tradition and lifestyle into perspective. The other day when the Katrina survey taker asked me to estimate the cost of the things I lost I wanted to tell her the government could give me a blank check and it still wouldn't cover it. I decided not to bother with saying it because she wouldn't understand. I was 31 when the storm happened and it’s still difficult for me to feel comfortable. Imagine what the older people felt after thinking the adjustments in their lives were over already. None of our grandparents deserved that. I guess we just have to deal with it because we live below sea level in poor black neighborhoods and our leadership was too busy getting paid from their side hustles instead of worrying about stuff like levee protection. I am looking forward everyday but some days I get a little bitter and this is one of those days on the calendar. I should be eating crabs on Benton and Miro St. this evening.
There was a lot of cussing in here when I first wrote this but cats like me don't talk like that when dealing with their grandma'nem.
The other thing I want to say is that growing up I was lucky enough to have a lot of older people around me that liked to talk to me about life. I didn't really want to hear it all but they talked anyway. I am only 35 but the reality is that even at this age I have seen and experienced a lot of different things and almost every human emotion. Sometimes when I am alone I think to myself that if I feel this kind of mental fatigue at 35, how do you feel at 65 or 75? That's 30 more years of dealing with unpredictable human beings than I have now. That's why my grandfather used to just shake his head when people half his age used to try and break down life to him. He already knew what was going to happen. What I am trying to say is that if you have some people older than you sit down, be quiet and listen. They might use references from the 50's or have no idea what Facebook or Twitter is but remember; technology and times have changed but human beings are still wired the same. Their experience in that area is invaluable. I am glad I was paying attention because who knows where my crazy self would be.
Happy Birthday to Mildred Harris with love from your grandson Rock on behalf of your grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. I promise not to have a random emotional moment and have to hide from my co workers like I usually do on days like today. I'll see you soon.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Five years ago on August 25, 2004 Cliff's Crib was born. Today's post is going to be one of the few times you ever read any self glossing by yours truly. I had a chance to be on a national radio show. I've been on a few panels with some very smart people. I had an article printed in a newspaper. I also have gotten the chance to meet and become friends with some cool people around the country I never would have met otherwise. I have to say, this internet thing is a pretty cool invention. Thank you Al Gore!
I would love to tell everyone that this blogging stuff started with a purpose but I would be lying. I didn't have any agenda or desire for my voice to be heard. The truth is that when I started doing this it had been years since I put more than two sentences together to make a complete thought. I had no idea what to say or how to say it. I still don't know what the hell I am doing most of the time. I think I have gotten a little bit better. I know I did because I went back and looked at some of the post from the first few months and they sucked. That was my experimental time. Since people actually read this I had to come up with some basic rules to follow.
1. Don't take yourself or this blog too seriously.
2. Don't say anything about anyone that you can't back up in court.
3. Don't quote any facts that you can't prove. (There will be no death panels here.)
4. Never write about anything that jeopardizes your real job. Try not to write anything at work when you should be working. (Even though I just wrote this)
5. Always pay your internet bill.
One day I am going to have a week with no visitors, no comments, no emails, and everyone is going to remove my link from their page. That's the day I got to shut down The Crib. I won't be mad and start cursing the names of other successful blogs either. Anything at this point is just lagniappe for me because this has all worked out pretty well for something that was started just to pass the time.
For our anniversary here at The Crib we are going to dance to some Bobby Womack because that's how we get down. My baby would tell you this is the song that makes her look at her daddy like he's insane when he sings it on the way to school and tries to make her do the Ninth Ward Two Step from her booster seat.
Monday, August 24, 2009
We are getting close to the Hurricane Katrina anniversary. Of course there is always the extra media attention and visitors that come around. There are also a lot of surveys and polls being conducted too. I was selected randomly to participate in one of these surveys Saturday by a university up north that I won't name because I haven't received my thirty dollar check yet. These surveys are so funny and strange. There is nothing like sitting on the phone for an hour with a stranger and telling them all of your personal business for research. They start off with some basic questions to make you comfortable.
"Where you living in the same house at the time of the storm that you live in now?"
"When did you come back after the storm?"
"Do you plan on staying in New Orleans over the next ten years?"
I don't have a problem answering any of these kinds of questions. The funny part kicks in when they start asking you to judge your mental state and things like that.
"So Mr. Harris, would you describe your anger level about Hurricane Katrina during the last 30 days as extremely pissed all of the time, often pissed, pissed off some of time, barely pissed or not pissed anymore at all?"
When you get that kind of question you have a dilemma. You don't know if there is some money for victims involved or not. You don't want to stay you are extremely pissed all of the time because it makes it sound like we can't let go. On the other hand if I say I am not pissed anymore at all the results might come back and someone may cancel that million dollar check they were giving to a organization or something. I always try to stick with the middle answer like "pissed some of the time". This usually works for the first two or three questions but there are so many of them that all sound the same you get confused and start selecting any option. After a few questions they sneak in one or two that they know will trigger something
"Would you estimate that when the levees broke you lost all of your shit, some of your shit, a little of your shit or none of your shit?”
"When you watch images of people stranded at the Super Dome four years later, do you still want to kick everyone's ass, just a few people's ass, only FEMA's ass, or you don't believe in kicking ass at all?"
By the end you have answered so many questions about your mental state in so many different ways you start to feel a little bi-polar. I told that lady that during the last two weeks feelings of hopelessness and despair have been with me some of the time and that's not true. I was going to tell her to change that answer but the questions were coming so fast I forgot. Now she thinks I am looking out my office window with the wrong ideas. I only look out there when a nice looking sister is walking up the street. I should call back and add that to my survey. Oh well, at least someone is still interested in how me and my issue having people are doing. You all can keep calling and we might give you honest answers.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
No matter how hard football fans try we can’t get rid of Brett Favre….
Seven days is a long time for me not to post anything. I had things to do. I had to get ready for the first day of school and remove all songs with profanity off of the mp3 player. I was preparing for the five fantasy football drafts I am doing this week. I went to a kiddie party (Chuck E. Cheese is the devil.) I enjoyed a few days of vacation by not thinking too hard. I also had some work to do in my yard.
I had to build a bunker for the day that President Obama’s secret black Nazi army that has been training in Kenya finally storms the shores of America to take my freedoms and liberty. If that doesn’t happen (and it won't) I need the bunker for all the people who actually think this is going to happen. Did you ever think you’d see the day people compare a black president to Hitler? Real Nazis are trying to figure out how they lost their message?
All this really came to a head with the health care debate. It’s all very confusing. There is so much misinformation that it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not anymore. I saw some polls today that said a lot of Americans are worried that the health care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants. My question is where are all the illegal immigrants living here going for health care now? I know they can’t be going all the way back to their home country to get checked out. Wouldn’t we want to quantify how many are actually seeking care instead of pretending that we aren’t already paying for it? Is this why my boy can’t find the guy who put the new dry wall in his house? Maybe he got the Katrina cough and went home until he’s healthy.
What’s up with all the people coming to the meetings with loaded guns? Add visible guns to the list of things that don’t appear to affect white people like it does to us. If me and my boys roll up to any kind of function and a bunch of guys are outside with automatic weapons hanging from their holsters we are going home. I am not standing out there and debating one of them about the single payer option. When cats in the Ninth Ward show their guns it means they want to use them. Apparently these guys do it just to make a statement.
The health care madness is all going to work out for the better. I just know any day now those insurance companies that are watching the anger around the country on behalf of their profits and control over our health are going to slash those premiums by 50% and eliminate half of the pre-existing conditions they won't cover.
Football season can't start fast enough......
After Brad Pitt decided not to run for mayor someone decided to start a Carl Weathers for Mayor Website. I have no problem with Carl and he might have gotten my vote based on Action Jackson. I just can’t take the guy who played Chubbs in Happy Gilmore seriously. It just goes to show you the desperation in trying to find an inspiring candidate. I would like to submit Rickey Jackson for consideration. If someone can suggest Apollo Creed then I can suggest the senior member of The Dome Patrol. He’s the city champ. He’s my all time favorite Saints player and he once played a game with screws in his face after wrecking his car. That’s the kind of toughness we need. All we have to do is find someone to translate the parts of his speeches that people who are not long time Saints fans can’t understand. I am fluent in Rickey talk so I will do the job pro bono.
After all the speculation whether anyone would sign Mike Vick, he signed with the Eagles relatively quick for a few million dollars. If you can run fast and score touchdowns in America it can get you through a lot of things. It kind of makes me understand why he thought he could get away with it in the first place. I just hope he doesn’t mess up the good name of Donovan McNabb and Tony Dungy.
I hope to see all my fellow local New Orleans bloggers at the Rising Tide Conference this weekend. If you are looking for me at the meet and greet Friday I will be the bald head black guy trying to find The Gap Band on the jukebox. Maybe I can start a Soul Train line.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Since school is starting I thought I would send a message to the kids with this post. In high school I was a non conformist and I never wanted to commit to doing anything. I would get offers to go places or participate in things and wouldn't tell my parents because they would have asked me why I didn't want to do it and all I could say was "I don't feel like it" (My mama is going to be mad at me after reading this). After awhile the staff at the school stopped giving me a choice and made me participate in the things they wanted me to. I had two English teachers and a counselor who were always bothering me. They would try to get me to write stuff and enter contests and I would try my best to hide so I could play basketball or wander around New Orleans with my boys. Now I am a grown man and I want to tell anyone that is still in school and happens to read this that teachers know more than you at that age and sometimes they make you do things to bring out your own potential. If a teacher tells you to do some extra work or to meet them at the school on Saturday so you can participate in something please do it. Maybe you won't have to wait until you are 35 years old to figure out what they were trying to tell you to do is what you could have been doing all along.
To Ms. Smith, Ms. Biagas, Ms. Martin, and my sixth grade teacher Mr. Williams, I want to say that you all were right and I was wrong. I owe Ms. Martin a special apology because she practically gave me a scholarship with a job and I messed that up being lazy. Maybe she will read this and feel good about all the days she had me in her office lecturing me like I was her son who wouldn't eat his vegetables. I guess it's better late than never when you are right.
I feel a lot better about the hood today and I have the health care town hall meetings to thank for it. Mainstream media tries to make everyone feel like the only place to find uninformed people acting out based on rumors and lies is in the ghetto. If I was a conservative person who was generally interested in discussing health care and one of these people started talking crazy at the meeting, I would stand up and whisper in their ear “Sit your ass down before we all look crazy”. What I have gathered from this whole scenario is that the insurance lobby must be all powerful because the people in the Republican party are willing to stir all up all this paranoia knowing they can’t contain it. There are only two things that can happen from this if it doesn’t stop. The first thing is the rhetoric is going to snowball away from health care into race, immigration and every other sensitive topic alienating their party for years. The other thing is you can’t guarantee what’s going to happen when you endorse an anything goes philosophy. A guy brought a gun to a health care forum today where the president was speaking. If we don’t calm down some of this drama something bad is going to happen. There’s going to be a tragedy and the rest of the world will be watching and thinking “look at those hypocrites who are always trying to civilize the rest of us”.
It would be one thing if there was actually a death panel in the plan or one of these other crazy rumors. I would be out there protesting too. I mean I want Barack Obama to do well but not enough to support a plan that would cause me to get put to sleep at 75 and my arthritis is acting up. It should be common sense that no American would be for something like that and it’s a damn shame that a lady that was almost one Jon McCain tragedy away from being president said something like that. She’s validated we made the right choice last November. This issue is too important for this madness to be going on.
Keith Olbermann was on this one.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
After four years FEMA has decided to demolish and rebuild the Andrew Pete Sanchez center in the Lower Ninth Ward. A lot of things took place at Pete Sanchez. Up until Katrina it was the only place I ever voted. My grandmother used to go over there for the free health screenings. There were a lot of activities in there from basketball games to wedding receptions. I am glad FEMA is replacing it and I am sure the new building will be bigger and better than the old one. There was something in the article that bothered me and I wanted to blog about it in the hope that if I am just being naive and don’t know how these things work someone can explain it to me. Here is the quote from the newspaper article that concerned me:
"We are pleased by the FEMA declaration and have great plans to design a world-class community center for the people of the Lower 9th Ward," said William Chrisman, the city's capital projects director.Now here’s the confusing part to me. It’s 2009 and the city knows every building that is on the potential list of projects that FEMA is going to pay for. Why wouldn’t all these projects have plans and contractors lined up and ready to go immediately? Am I wrong for thinking that the day after FEMA finally decides to pay for these projects there should be a press conference from someone in the city with plans and a time frame for when it will be finished? It’s not like there are many buildings in the city that are new and state of the art. Shouldn’t we have plans for replacing everything even if we don’t have the money? I think four years is enough time to have plans that are ready to go immediately. Am I missing something? Before you answer yes or no please remember that we have plans for a medical complex that is so big we have to wipe out an entire neighborhood and we don’t have any money for that. I just think that if FEMA announced Monday morning they would pay for the demolition of the old Charity Hospital and would fund the rebuilding of a new facility, demolition of the old buildings would start in a week. Why should the people of the Lower Ninth Ward have to ride pass that building everyday hoping they see something happening? The people who came home to rebuild deserve a timetable on things like this.
He said the city "has been proceeding with the design of a new facility" but did not announce a timetable for demolishing the old complex or building a new one.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Sometimes I am talking to someone I know or watching the news and will hear a story about a kid I know from growing up in the city with some rough circumstances. Let's give him a generic name and call him Joe. I may hear how Joe is committing robberies or has murdered a few other young cats like him. He might be on drugs and struggling day to day to survive. Some nights I turn on the news and see Joe in handcuffs heading into Central Lockup. When I see this two things go through my head. The first thing is that I am glad he's off the streets because he's a danger to the community. The second thing is that although I am glad he's off the street, I feel sorry for him at the same time. See, I grew up around Joe so I know his circumstances. I remember when he was the only one taking care of his brother and sisters because their parents were out doing crazy stuff. I know he got a horrible education in a failing school with limited resources. I know when he was coming up he probably needed some counseling or special education but no one was paying attention until it was too late and the streets had already claimed him. Everything about Joe's life until the end is disappointing and some of it was caused by things he couldn't control.
I have been listening to people on black radio in this city talk about how bad they feel for William Jefferson. Yesterday our former congressman was convicted on 11 of the 16 counts against him in federal court. He is now facing jail time. The comments are too bad to link to any of the news sites so just take my word for it. I don't celebrate when anyone goes to jail. One of the worst things for me to see is a black man inside of a cage. The day Mr. Jefferson turns himself in I won't be popping any champagne bottles. However, I won't feel sorry for him like I feel for Joe. I’m mad at William Jefferson and all the politicians like him who gave in to greed. William Jefferson is an educated man. He had options and access that most of the people he represented in Congress never had. He got to go places and see things that guys like Joe are too disenfranchised to dream about. The people sent him up there because he was our best and brightest. He was representing us. If he wanted to make money instead he should have stepped down and did his business in private.
Besides all of our other issues, we have an image problem. Black people in the New Orleans area are probably the most stereotyped people in the country even amongst other black people in different cities. Many think we are ghetto, ignorant and criminals. That means that even if the people representing us are not going to be effective doing their job, the least they can do is not get in trouble and tarnish our image any further. If you can’t bring money and opportunity back to the hood at least help our image by behaving with integrity. It’s not wrong to expect that out of people who represent you. I was raised by men that didn’t have some of the opportunity Mr. Jefferson had and I know that conducting yourself the right way can make up for a lot of things. Imagine what the congressman could have done with all his advantages if he just would have stayed true to the responsibilities that he asked the people to give him. That’s why I get pissed with politicians like William Jefferson when they get in trouble. I don't hate them at all. I just want them to do the right thing. I wish I could ask them all was the money they received worth the loss of prestige and disappointment for the whole community.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
The coffee is really good this morning. My co-worker went to Starbucks and hand selected the beans for this morning. This is yet another reason why I am losing all street creditability.
I was talking to this lady on the phone yesterday and she decided to tell me all the dangerous effects that coffee can have on my heart. I told her thanks for the advice and not to worry because I balance the coffee off with Crown Royal.....She wasn't laughing like I was.
I'm adding a blog roll for Just a Song because it's a cool blog and I am happy to be a part of it. I wrote this post last night dedicated to We Are One Frankie Beverly. Thanks again K.
I also want to give a shout out to blogger and author William Campbell and his blog Tome of the Unknown Writer. That is a cool name. He is running this Health care International feature and yours truly was featured as the New Orleans entry. My only regret is that I didn't write him any new material. If there is a next time I am going to handle that properly. Click on that link and check him out.
Speaking of the health care issue.....I am totally confused now and have no idea what the actual plan is. The five thousand different explanations have managed to confuse me. The one thing I am not confused about is if nothing is done it's going to be the eventual death of full time employee benefits which is going to mean more people can't afford insurance because the true cost of the policy is being disguised by the amount their employer pays. If everyone wants the freedom to choose their own plan then so be it but you will need food stamps or some other government assistance if you ever have to pay for the whole thing yourself. If you think the private insurance companies, or the company you work for is going to sacrifice any revenue for your right to choose the health plan you want then you really had a big glass of the Kool Aid.
Since I changed my template for the 122nd time, I have managed to get more followers now. Some of them are local and have very cool blogs.
Like the young music experts of Blue Lace
And Seen But Not Heard
And Kim Hambric
And Mrs. Bynum
Circle Food Store needs to reopen soon and when they do the floor needs to be uneven and the big box of bell peppers should be right in the middle of the produce aisle. I can't see walking through Circle with spacious aisles and nice leveled floors.
A few weeks ago I helped out a few people from Chozen One Promotions with some good intentions and big dreams for helping their city. We became fast friends and I joined their social networking site My Heart Beats New Orleans. I have a badge over there on the sidebar but you can click the link and check it out. Feel free to join if you like. Your race or class doesn't matter. I don't care if you currently live here or not. I'm thinking maybe someone who knows how to get things in motion could help them get some of their ideas off the ground. If not there could be someone looking for young people like this who want to change the environment. Maybe we can all just share ideas from different backgrounds. Either way I wanted to give them a shout out because they are sincere. Peace to Ms. Smith and Mr. Gomez.
It's time for another cup of heart destroying coffee. I hope everyone has a great day. If you need a little help getting started this morning try the Run DMC double feature.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
This entire situation has become a big waste of time and money for everyone involved accept for the attorneys employed by city government. Our email obsession has become their personal stimulus package. I don't know exactly how much they make but if I was one of them I would start rumors between officials and local media outlets just to keep them filing motions against one another. I need to find out how to get my attorney friends in on some of this extra money. We need to add up the legal fees spent on hiding or retrieving emails so we can compare that with any real changes towards good government. Then we can see if maybe we should have given all that money to the recreation department or bought some school supplies.
If I am wrong about this please tell me and explain why.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Since I worked so hard this morning I don’t feel any guilt about wanting to just sit here and watch TV all day long. Right now I am watching Prehistoric Monsters Revealed on The History Channel. There is a doctor on here that is talking about dinosaurs with so much excitement you can tell he wanted to study them since he was five. Everyone should be working in the field that gives them that kind of excitement. That would be cool if I had that kind of job. It would be even sweeter if I had the winning Powerball numbers and I could do things like the most interesting man in the world from the Dos Equis commercials. I thought I would share this poem I wrote. I don’t write a lot of poetry and even when I do I don’t share it because that’s really not my thing. Nevertheless, I thought I would sneak this one in on the weekend since everyone is out doing something constructive and no one is reading blogs.. I wrote it for all the brothers who want to do the right thing but don’t know the way…..
There's a lion inside us all
Some of us are Trapped
Wounded by circumstances
Beat down by lost opportunity
Knuckles bloody from fighting against the system
Held back inside our own minds
Mental prison before we ever see the real one
Dying To Be Set Free
Searching for the key to unlock the door
Or at least the sign that points in the right direction
All we need to see is the daylight
Then it's on and we can do the things that must be done
And we can give our sisters everything they need
We can change this thing together
And even if we don't change it
Maybe our sons and daughters will
I would be cool with that as long as we built the foundation.
Let's start building
Yesterday was sad, emotional, and draining yet I woke up this morning feeling empowered. I’ll tell you about that later on this week. I’m just going to lounge for the rest of the day with Guru on the soundtrack.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
He never lets me down….