Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Yesterday, I discovered that me and my mayor Clarence R. Nagin share the same birthday. The mayor was born on June 11, 1956 exactly 18 years before yours truly. That was one of those facts I would have never bothered looking up but now that I know many things make sense to me. I have a whole new understanding of the mayor. We were born under the sign of the twins and I have often been told that I am about three or four different people rolled up into one. The mayor’s behavior makes sense to me now. Just like the mayor I can go from being really engaged to tuning everyone out in the matter of minutes and that can be triggered easily by just one comment that I don’t like. People can sit down and explain something to me in total detail and I won’t seem the least bit concerned about it. Yet, when someone questions me and I get challenged I can replay everything down to the outfit everyone involved had on. That’s why the mayor seems clueless until someone calls him out and he gets angry and breaks down every recovery project. We have a lot of similarities. The mayor should have called me to be his community spokesman. I could have explained his actions without sounding crazy.
There is one thing that we don’t appear to have in common. I’m kind of an obsessive person. This is especially true with people and things I care about. I can’t rest knowing that someone or something I love is in crisis. I have a deep affection for the working class of New Orleans. The cooks, maids, plumbers, hotel workers, the men working on the river and all the folks I see on the way to work in the morning are my people. That’s the cloth I am cut from. Those are the folks that keep this city afloat and sit by as the privileged at the top keep their wages low while the disenfranchised at the bottom make their quality of life stressful through crime and irresponsible behavior. That reminds me that sharing a birthday doesn’t necessarily mean two people are alike. If I was the mayor people would be driving past City Hall saying “damn, the mayor still at work”. I probably wouldn’t change things like I wanted to but those folks would know I tried. That’s why I would never run. I would be too invested. That’s why the mayor has had so many issues and misunderstandings. He hasn’t shown the people he was invested enough. I guess the day you were born doesn’t mean everything.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Never be afraid to laugh at yourself. It’s a good way to save your serious energy for real problems. You can’t go off the deep end for everything. For instance, last week when I split my favorite pair of pants bending down to pick up something at work three things ran through my mind. The first thing was I need to stop buying my work pants from the thrift store because my thighs are too big. The second thing I thought about was how much that reminded me of my dad and the third thing was it’s a good thing I stopped wearing underwear from Frederick's of Hollywood like the good old days. Wal-Mart brand is a lot more comfortable when you are walking slowly and carefully to contain the split to unseen areas.
Is it still safe to carry my Acorn card? After years of fighting for the working poor it appears that a fake pimp and teenage prostitute are going to take them down. This would sit a lot better with me if the pimp wasn’t so fake looking. Shouldn’t he have stuck out like a sore thumb in those neighborhoods? It’s not like many guys of any color are walking around like that. I would have understood if that happened in the New Orleans ACORN office because in that neighborhood there are guys that walk their dogs dressed like that.
I would like to send some love out to all my people in the Atlanta area dealing with that water. Let’s hope for a few dry days. I hope your insurance companies treat you better than they did us.
When you start to fix your houses beware of people like Terry Ferguson. He just received 21 years in prison for fraud after stealing money from homeowners who hired him for rebuilding work after Katrina. I hope they send him to Angola and use him to test how mean the rodeo bulls are.
Have things been so bad for the city and Mayor Nagin the last four years that no one wants to be the new mayor? The population is slowly going up, there should be big projects taking off, the Saints deal is done, and even the crazy school system is making some improvement. I can’t believe all these career politicians are choosing not to step in and take credit for some of these things. They have to know something we don’t. It’s either that or we have investigated our way into scaring off everyone. I hope things start happening fast because I am holding back all my quality mayor’s race material.
Meanwhile James Perry is running and can’t get any media attention at all. He even tried filing an injunction against the mayor’s office and no one really cared. I have an idea for him out of the conservative talk show playbook. He needs to hold a press conference and accuse the local media of not covering his campaign because he’s white. That kind of stunt may confuse his family and friends as well as everyone in the city that knows him but I bet you people will want to know who he is after that. We live in an era of media stunts and twisted information so James might as well use it to his advantage.
James may be a good candidate provided he is the only person from his neighborhood that made it. You can’t have any family members, friends, or people you went to school with that have any desire to do business with the city. It appears that this is everyone’s number one concern. That would be my slogan if I ran. ‘Vote for me. None of my friends qualify for anything!’
Hey….Has anyone else noticed that since Senator Baucus introduced his health care package that didn’t have a public option the passion and anger from most of your Republican friends has damn near went mute in the last week?
I am happy to see all the workers getting paid from all the road work going on around New Orleans. I am glad they are making good money in spite of the fact they are wasting their time. There will never be smooth roads in this city because it’s hot as hell and full of moisture. As soon as they fix a road it buckles by the next summer. Even if they fix those main roads there are still the side streets with holes that will swallow a car. It doesn’t matter, as long as there is positive activity I am down with it.
Lamar Odom hasn’t learned anything about an athlete’s career after they get with a Kardashian. Someone needs to send him the Reggie Bush’s career track so far. It’s a big week again for Reggie. Mike Bell is hurt and Pierre Thomas is getting over a knee injury. Lynell Hamilton is a decent player but I am not sure how much confidence Sean Payton has in him. That means that Reggie will get more of the carries in Buffalo. I was going to try some reverse psychology and put a Ray J clip up here but I don’t like that guy so my fingers wouldn’t let me search for any of his videos. I found this clip instead and this is the Reggie Bush inspirational music for the week. I don’t care if I am the last man on the bandwagon. If Reggie gets going we are unstoppable. This week’s prediction: Saints 31 Bills 21. I love scoring points but that defense really needs to shut someone down before I feel totally hyped up about the season.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tonight I was reading a story that was a follow-up to another story he did about school uniforms. The Adopt A Family program has raised $7000 so far and according to the story it adds up to helping 140 kids. Who wouldn't feel good about that? 140 kids getting new uniforms is 140 kids without an excuse to stay home and fall behind. That is never a bad thing no matter where you live. You know all of that money didn't come from the neighborhoods where the poor kids live so it should have been a rare moment outside of a sporting event where everyone could have a sense of community. Wouldn't you know I looked at the comment section and the first comment is from someone called 'buytheplace' who leaves the following words of wisdom:
"And Capo and WWL are soooooooo proud of themselves. So if WWL is such a benefactor, how about donating the other 100 still needed. I love the A+ student bit. WWL and McDonald's donate ALL OF $400 to the student's school!! If that isn't blatant boasting! You want to make a difference WWL and McDonald's?? Donate a couple of grand."
I find it amazing he or she would be so concerned with the kids of New Orleans because he left a comment on another story that went something like this.
"The entire city JUST SUCKS!! It just stinks to the core. There isn't any part of the city that isn't corrupt or savaged."
Why is he so worried about Bill Capo and his helping the savages anyway? Now if that didn't trip me out enough, the follow up comment was someone called pyt92 who posted the following to assist someone that thinks they are savage:
I could not have said it better. They want to glorify these people making minuscule donations. The faculty and staff of John McDonogh and many other public schools have been doing this for years. We have purchased uniforms, shoes, clothes, food, paid rent, etc. If you are going to celebrate, celebrate the efforts of the many not the few. John McDonogh has done a great job trying to live down the lies (yes lies) that were told by the media in 2006. Celebrate that! Do not come to celebrate individuals who are doing a “drive-by” (pardon the choice of words). Celebrate those who sacrifice EVERYDAY for ALL students!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I want to talk about Christopher Evans who was carjacked and murdered by some other teenagers that lived down the street from him. This is a sad story with all of the worst components of growing up in the city. It’s all disturbing and sadly familiar because these same things were going on when I was a teenager.
One of the worst things that can happen to you is someone that knows you planning to rob you. It almost assures that they won’t let you live. That’s why New Orleans has so many murders to cover up other crimes. Once those two guys decided to rob him it would have ended in someone being shot eventually even if it didn’t happen that night. The second thing is the carjacking part. They lived so close to this kid that I don’t think they were trying to steal his car. I think they assumed he was selling drugs and they wanted the money or the dope. The kind of ignorance on the streets breeds those assumptions about anyone in their age bracket who appears to be doing well. I remember when a friend of mine thought it was cool that guys in the neighborhood thought he was selling drugs because he had a lot of outfits. I told him it made him a target and he would do better telling them that his parents bought all that stuff because he didn't want any of those desperate guys kicking in his mom's door searching for his imaginary stash. Luckily when he did get robbed for his Starter jacket no one got shot.
I don't know how you train a kid not to like the things that all the other kids like. I used to really want a 1993 Cutlass Supreme. I thought that was an awesome car and was saving up for it. My girlfriend at the time told not to buy it. In her words it was a “drug dealer’s car”. That was a damn shame but she was right. People do question your activities by the kind of car you have and the way you dress. Having the right car and rims attracts a lot of attention and it isn’t always the kind you want. It’s not Christopher’s fault that he liked nice stuff and had a nice car. If he worked for his money and fixed up his car then he should be able to do that. It’s just a damn shame you have to be careful of the things you want to do for yourself just in case you happen to be around some ignorant, jealous kids with no home training that will want to take it from you. We have a long way to go.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Round up my people, move out the ghetto
And live a better life
Bilal - 'Sometimes'
Two wonderful ladies in my office decided to purchase some groceries and give them to a family in need. I was asked to chip in by finding the family and dropping the items off since they wanted to do it anonymously. I was happy to help out. I called around and found a family that really needed it. They went shopping this weekend and today I dropped everything off. I drove over there with the case manager and carried everything inside. Sitting on the sofa was four little innocent looking kids. I knew we picked the right family because their mom really needed a little help. There were two boys and two girls. The baby was sitting on her older brother’s lap and just kept waving at me every time I would walk pass. I almost took her home with me for a few days. I was going to take a picture of them but since the ladies did it anonymously then I didn't think they needed that. I hope next time they choose to drop off their own groceries for the feeling. I am glad I got to be the one to deliver the stuff for them this time around. The next time we do it I am kicking some extra cash to get some other things that a mom can use that her food stamps may not cover like pampers and baby wipes. That was a good way to spend a lunch break.
On my way to my daughter’s school this evening I thought about those four little kids and how they looked so much like mine. They could have been mines or my brothers or sisters. I was thinking that those babies have no idea yet about what’s waiting for them if some of these social issues don’t get turned around. It’s a sad innocence. You can almost imagine them skipping down the street right into a stress filled daily struggle as they get older. I bet that’s how their mama feels now when she has to fulfill the demands of all those little voices. That’s when I got mad. We are not giving these kids a chance. The fact so many families are living like this in the city probably won’t come up during the mayor’s race because everyone is worried about who gets contracts. The president can’t talk about it without making people nervous unless the speech is about their absentee fathers. And where are any of those guys anyway? I don’t know if those kids had different dads or the same dad but someone should have been beating me there with a few bags of groceries. In that short ride from the office to the school I went from inspired to angry just that fast. It doesn’t matter because those kids were cool and I am sure they will enjoy everything. I just wish they could know they were going to have what they need all the time.
Good job ladies. The babies always make me emotional.
I know it's only the second game of the season but that was impressive. Let's not forget that Kevin Kolb did have three interceptions but two of those were after we already scored 41 points against the defense lots of experts are predicting will play in the Superbowl. Those interceptions had nothing to do with us hanging over 40 points on The Eagles.
I still think Reggie Bush is the X factor in going far into the playoffs but I was watching Drew Brees on his interviews before and after the game and if we don't win a championship in the next three years while that guy is in his prime I don't think it will ever happen. To put it plainly, the Saints just don't have a history of getting leaders like that who embrace being here. I think he's so committed to it that the rest of the team has no choice but to follow along. I don't care if he breaks records or not because I don't think he really cares as long as we get to Miami.
I'm not getting ahead of myself but man would that be sweet!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
It was on this day 40 years ago that Clifton Joseph Harris married Bernadine Louvier at Thompsons Methodist Church in New Orleans.
Through the good times, the bad ones, Vietnam, raising five children, and being relocated to another city, you are still going strong and setting the standard for the relationships of everyone that knows you. That’s all I can say without getting corny.
I love you and I hope you have 40 more years.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Regardless of what happened in last week’s game I am still on the Reggie Bush bandwagon. I believe he is the X factor between a good season and a Super Bowl season. We need to get Reggie his confidence back. I thought he needed a nice lady from downtown but someone told me he was back with Kim Kardashian again so that option is off the table. Reggie used to have swagger. He walked on the field like he was the man. Now he walks out there like he’s hoping he doesn’t do something stupid to mess up the game. I know how it is to lose your confidence and it’s hard to get it back. I think Reggie needs some of whatever Kanye West has to get him going again. We don’t need the crazy part of Kanye just the confident part. I’m dedicating this song to Reggie Bush and I feel at least 150 total yards and two touchdowns coming. We will need his A game tomorrow because the Eagles defense is not Detroit and I don’t think we will play pitch and catch like that. My prediction is Saints 27 Eagles 20. If Mcnabb isn’t 100 percent we should be the better team.
Where’s your ego Reggie? Forget those boos and your detractors and handle your business!
They got me….
I had to take a media break because I am officially beat down by the health care debate. I don’t see myself as being someone that is racially paranoid but there have been too many moments lately where I had to ask myself “What does that have to do with healthcare?” I have been writing long winded posts about this and then deleting them. I didn’t feel like I could talk about anything else until I got that off my chest but the president helped me get past it. He and his party threw Jimmy Carter under the bus when he dared to suggest that race is a factor in a country where there are millions of people who don’t think the president was born in the country and a famous conservative radio host said we need segregated busses because in Obama’s America black kids get to beat up white kids and get cheered on. That sounds irresponsible and racial to me but the Democrats don’t appear to have anyone’s back so I won’t say anything.
Since the president isn’t going to make a fuss about race and let everyone off the hook why should I worry about it as much? I can get back to focusing on the issues and forming my own opinion about everything like I always do. With that in mind, I checked out Senator Baucus’ bill and I know where this whole healthcare fiasco is headed. There’s going to be some closed door meetings and deals that make the insurance companies and big corporations happy. Once that happens, all of the back and forth rhetoric will disappear and we will get a health care bill that keeps the rich getting richer and puts a mandate on everyone else to give them more of our money. Both parties serve the same master and he’s made of green paper. Go ahead and pass a version of Senator Baucus’ healthcare plan that has no public option and a tax that actually takes money away from the families the bill should be designed to help in the first place. I don’t care anymore. I just want it to go away.
This blogger is officially done with this foolishness. I have more important things to worry about like who is going to run for mayor.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Living in the south is a funny experience. There is probably no place in the country where black and white people live so close together but politically they act like it's 1955. I'm watching this SEC Conference game and looking at all these people in the stadium cheering for these brothers. I bet you some of these same people kept their kids home Tuesday when Obama was speaking to the kids. What if black people in the south decided not to go to any SEC schools anymore and went back to HBCU's like the old days. Florida A$M, Southern and Grambling would be in the top ten rankings and Obama would win 40 states next time. America leads the world in rhetoric that doesn't match doesn't match our lifestyles.
The second thing I want to say is that Democratic leaders must have been the kids who got their lunch money stolen as a kid the way they get bullied by Republicans. I think they try too hard to be intellectually superior over everyone so they won't get in there and scrap. They could have gotten together and pushed through health care reform, combined that with a good immigration bill, and when the stimulus started working locked down the next two election cycles. Instead they couldn’t unify to push through what they wanted and they are too concerned with coming up with a plan that every single American is going to be happy with. That is impossible. Also, at the time of their greatest political power, they let a few talk show hosts rally their opposition and have been getting slapped around for months like they were the losers last November. Everything that happened during the eight years of President Bush’s term makes sense to me now. When President Obama calls out the Republicans for scare tactics he better call out his own party for sitting there and taking it because it appears to me he is fighting against everything by himself.
Now I am done talking about politics. Enjoy Tyler Woods and my new anthem.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I am sure every New Orleans resident can name at least three exciting things they were looking forward to that never came to be because someone announced it before they had all the funding to pay for it. I won't give you a list but I will say that a drive to the coast to hang out at the beach isn't far but Lincoln Beach would have been five minutes away from my house if that would have ever opened. I think it's still supposed to one day as soon as we get the cash. The theme park is relying on GO-Zone Bonds to pay for everything but I can't believe that will pay for everything. Someone is going to have to kick in some real money. That's my worry for these other projects that are not on the FEMA list of things to pay for. I'm not saying that people who want to do big projects shouldn't make plans and try to get them completed just keep it to yourself if you can’t pay for it.
My co-workers have been upset all day after watching this clip from YouTube where this kid's family gives him a gift that appears to be an X-Box but has nothing but clothes in it. I was thinking that this is how I feel every time I see a sign that says 'Future Home of Something Really Cool' and then the let down kicks in when a year later the lot is still empty and grass is growing over everything. The only difference between the sad baby on this clip and adult residents of a city is that eventually they get tired of that happening over and over and move to where they don’t have to wait. Just for the record, history makes me feel right about my opinion but I am really waiting for something to show me I need to change my way of thinking.
Friday, September 4, 2009
After a week of feeling out of it and looking for a humbug (that means confrontation for you non New Orleans Ebonics readers) I am just about ready to hit the highway for some Labor Day weekend family time. It should be good food; good conversation and my cousin will get a belly laugh from making fun of me about something that happened when I was ten. I can’t wait. Before I go I thought I might as well waste some of this precious Internet bandwidth with my meaningless opinions.
My post about Charity Hospital was my second most read blog ever. I want to give a shout out to my boy The World Famous E. and the rest of the folks at the Save Charity Hospital movement as well as the other groups working towards this. That was not about you guys. I didn't think about the name of my post and your organization being that similar. You are the exception to the rule. There were 1200 people at the second line this week but there are about 400,000 residents in the city. Most of those people don’t have a hospital close to their neighborhood. That means the 1200 should have been 120,000 at the least. I was talking to the rest of us that weren’t out there. I don’t mind including myself in that number. That was just general frustration.
This is the reason I wrote what I did. Once his mind is made up there isn't a big history of him changing it.
The president wants to talk to the children of America about working hard and staying in school and people go crazy. These are some of the same people who will be complaining about how their tax dollars have to support all the lazy uneducated folks that didn’t go to school so they could find work. I say to those folks that you should make up your damn minds. Some of you should just say you don’t want the black guy influencing your children. That last statement would have so much impact if a white Republican official went on Fox News and said it. I know a lot of them are thinking it but they don't want to say anything and rock the boat.
I am glad the Nazi agenda put forth by our democratically elected leader has been limited to health care for everyone and kids going to school. Who knows what would happen if Barack Obama went one step further to put American freedoms at jeopardy and did something really crazy. What if he would do something like sign a bill that gave the government authority to check your emails, phone records, medical and financial records among other things whenever they felt like it all in the name of “national security”. If you think he’s a Nazi now for wanting to take care of the uninsured, imagine what would happen if he signed a law like this. Knowing how much he hates American values he would really piss us off and call it “The Patriot Act” just to mock our idea of freedom. I don't know about you but I feel so much better knowing that the same watchdogs who are making sure I have the freedom to keep paying my private insurer anything they think I should pay are on the case to make sure that a law like this would never happen during my lifetime.
I know President Obama has made up his mind to stay above all the rhetoric going on and that’s good but I would like to suggest that he needs a henchman to take care of his dirty work. One of the best friends I ever had was a crazy young man named Renaldo (1974-1993). I remember in high school when I had a disagreement with someone and he would offer to fight the cat for me so I wouldn’t get suspended and ruin my reputation in the school. I never took him up on that offer but Barack needs someone like that and his name is Al Sharpton. It’s time Reverend Al. We need someone that knows how to get in there and scrap. We don't need the kinder gentler Al Sharpton either. We need the chubby, jogging suit wearing, attack anybody who isn't down for the cause Reverend Al. This is the environment he's been training to thrive in for all these years.
Even with some of the foolishness going on this is kind of mild compared to what I really expected from the first black president. I was thinking he would be walking around in a bulletproof bubble by now and a few thousand people would be on Ellis Island asking to go home. Glen Beck is saving that one for when his ratings start dipping again.
Every now and then I will get an email from someone asking me to show some love for an organization or a person they want to give a little spotlight to. I usually check it out and if they seem like cool people I show them off to all ten of my regular readers. I was thinking that if I could do that then it should be okay to show some love to a few friends and send people to their businesses because they are good people and I can personally vouch for their integrity. With that in mind I would like to tell any one that was thinking about getting a facial or something like that to check out my friends at Esthetique Facial Spa. If you want to check out some nice jewelry check out my friend Niala and her Contemporary Cowrie.
A few weeks ago I told everyone about this social networking site called My Heart Beats New Orleans. The young lady that set it up did it as a way to open dialogue about the crime and murder that was claiming her city. Last month on August 14 her dad was murdered. If you have an extra minute do me a favor and go to that page to show her some love. This video is dedicated to Mr. Etienne, a brother name Lance and my late friend Renaldo since I mentioned him in this post. We have to put the guns down one day.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I haven’t really been talking about the movement to reopen Charity Hospital that much because honestly I didn’t really feel like the movement made any difference to the people making the decisions about it. Charity is going to sit there because no one in their families or close circle is affected by it. If Charity was the hospital of the rich and privileged it would have been open by the middle of 2006. It’s the same principle that allowed Lusher Charter School to take the biggest, driest public high school building on the Eastbank for their new building while I watched kids at the bus stop at 6AM just to make it all the way to Karr High School across the river after Katrina. It’s the pecking order of this city and unless someone in leadership is willing to speak to that then Charity is going to stay closed. A new hospital complex would be a great thing for way more people in the state than just the residents of New Orleans. If that means having to wait 5-10 years while they got the money, made the plans, and then actually built everything that’s the way it’s going to be. If FEMA commits to any funding for a new facility Old Charity is dead. I hate to be that negative but that’s how I see it.
While I am 100% committed to my opinion about the pecking order, the lack of uprising from the people most affected by Charity being closed baffles me. As a life long New Orleans resident I can truly say that this city is full of some of the most impatient people in the world. Don’t let the dancing and care free attitude at the second lines fool you. There are a lot of people in New Orleans with very bad nerves and always are acting like they have somewhere to be very quickly. This is the same city that every Friday I watch parents act like their children have been held against their will if the weekly assembly runs just two minutes late. They are all snatching kids and running out the door fussing about waiting too long. This is the same place that if someone puts on their blinker and stops to make a left turn, the fifteen cars behind them all jump frantically into the right lane like a NASCAR race almost causing a major accident just to go a few blocks to the next stop light. I have been at work, with a group of people working as fast as they could to serve every customer in the building and watched the 99th person in line cuss us all out for being too damn slow and taking up all his time even though he had just walked in the door. The same nervous people, who act like they can’t wait for anything can look around their community everyday, see what hasn’t been done and let that slide without raising hell. If the people took their regular approach to life and applied it to the recovery they probably would have went down to Tulane Avenue and cleaned Charity themselves, had a few uprisings at City Hall and drove to DC looking for the president to give him a piece of their minds too. That’s the New Orleans I grew up in. Maybe their so quiet because they understand the pecking order too and don’t want to rock the boat.
Of course none of this applies to me because I don’t need Charity open like some of these losers in the hood do. See, I am successful black man. I have a desk, a phone, some business cards and an email address at my job. Every now and then they let me go places and talk to people. I know I went to public school and my baby goes to one now, but I am different from those other families. I don’t have Section 8, food stamps or a housing voucher. I don’t need the government to do anything for me unless a hurricane comes then I need my FEMA check. I have an HMO that my American liberty gives me the right to pay too much for. I can go to any hospital in the area and get help as long as I can survive a drive across town and after I get there my plan actually covers what’s wrong. Don’t be jealous because I am a real American. Maybe instead of crying about not having any affordable health care the needy should just build a hospital themselves or practice home remedies like the ancestors. I know my neighborhood doesn’t have a hospital either but it’s got to be coming soon because we all have good jobs and the city wants us to be here. I know I will never be in the position to need Charity again. At least that’s what I keep telling myself to erase the guilt of just watching it sit there and not saying anything.