Saturday, January 30, 2010

One Week Left And I'm Still Deciding

After I wrote my first Saints Super Bowl post the rest of the week was supposed to be about the New Orleans mayor’s race. I didn't write anything because I am too uninspired about the whole process. I have decided on who I am voting for every other position except for mayor. Before everything got started I had high hopes for the ideas and agendas of the candidates. Maybe I wasn't being realistic. I am not sure what I got instead but at this point no one has sold me totally on voting for them. I look at the number of people voting early and I wonder if I am missing something. What did they hear to decide that this person is the right one for the job? I haven’t heard that yet so at this moment all candidates are still on the table for me.

In general my view on the mayor has changed over the last few months. Watching the State of the Union Wednesday night solidified the way I feel. I watched the president up there practically begging the people in that room to work together and I could see it all on their faces that they really had no intentions on doing that. One person can only change things so much if the rest of the people involved aren’t willing or capable of doing what they need to do. Regardless who wins, if the other people involved in making the city work don’t get together and do the right thing then it doesn’t matter. If everyone is fully committed then we could have an average mayor and things would be okay. I’ll make a decision soon.


I would like to tell Ms. Nadine Ramsey that even if she doesn’t win the election she should still get out there and address the issues. I don’t know if she’s ready to be mayor or not but as time goes by she’s more impressive to me. You don’t have to be a politician to be a voice for the people. Please stay engaged.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sitting On My Porch....With A Halas Trophy

There's a nurse that works in my office building who is one of the most upbeat people you will ever meet in the morning. Her face is usually full of life. This morning I got on the elevator with her and she looked like she had never been to sleep. As she was yawning and trying to get herself together I couldn't help but making a comment..."You haven't been to sleep either have you?" Turns out she was down in the French Quarters last night and had to get up this morning for work. I started with this story to prove that New Orleans is home to the people who can party real hard and grind out 8 -12 hour work days afterward with no problem. That's how we roll. I have never seen people look so tired and be so happy at the same time.

When I was seven years old I watched my first Saints home game on television. Back then the games never sold out so if you didn't have enough money to go you had to listen to the radio or follow the scores while watching another game if they were at home. We played the Falcons and I was real excited to see the home team actually play at home. The final score was 41-10 Atlanta. I don't know if the Falcons were running up the score but we sure didn't do much to stop them. This is my first solid memory of dozens that didn't end well. I could name them all but it doesn't matter now. If you follow the team you should realize like I do that the game last night played out exactly the way it needed to in order to close all the open wounds of things that went wrong.

It had to be the Vikings because the two of the Saints dream seasons were ended by them. I love Minneapolis as a city. I want to go there again but this morning I hope they feel just like we did after that playoff game in 1987. I hope all their fans tossed and turned thinking about every call and they have to avoid ESPN so they won't have to see Hartley's kick go through again and again and again. It had to be the Vikings.

How many times would something like the Reggie Bush muffed punt live on for years because it turned the game around and we lost? How many times did Jim Mora's teams dominate games in time of possession and statistics only to lose on a few mental mistakes? The botched hand off at the end of the first half had to happen.

How many games did the other team get the ball and drive for a winning score and we sat back praying for our defense to just make one play but it never came and we had to sit there and take the stomach punch? Tracey Porter's intercept had to happen.

How many times did referees call penalties on us that changed games and we couldn't see them even after watching the replay 20 times? A few of those happen last night. The interference call in overtime was legit and we paid dues for the referee to throw that flag.

How many times since Morten Anderson left have we been haunted by horrible field goal attempts? Anyone remember the River City Relay extra point try? Garret Hartley's kick had to happen.

How many times have the Saints signed free agents that couldn't play, made trades for people that never came through, gave up on draft picks too soon or had someone playing that no one ever heard of and they sucked? Jabari Greer, Darren Sharper, Jonathan Vilma, Devery Henderson, and Pierre Thomas all had to contribute to this win.

This may sound corny but I don't know what New Orleans would look like right now if the team would have moved. The Saints are the one thing that everybody connects with. The Colts and Archie's son are next. Win or lose this team doesn't owe me anything else. All I want to see is those shiny gold helmets run out of that tunnel in Miami. It's going to be a beautiful sight.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nothing About This Sucks!!!

I tried to write the blog I wanted to write all week but I can't get the words together. I am in a state of disbelief right now. I need this to sink in first.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Staying Undecided Until The End

I was sitting here looking at the latest polls for the mayors race in New Orleans. I'm not including a link because what I want to say has nothing to do with who is in the lead. When a pollster calls your house tell them you are undecided even if there is a candidate you like. The reason why we should do that is because when there are polls that show one candidate way out ahead of the others issues start to take a back seat to personal attacks so the other candidates can catch up. Instead of having forums where candidates talk about specific ideas we'll get shouting matches where nothing is really said and everything will be a waste of time. Let's make these candidates work until the end. The folks at the lower end of the poll are good people and their ideas need to be heard even if they don't win. The people at the top of the poll shouldn't take anything for granted and we need to hear from them consistently too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Thursday Night Blog : Consequences and Expectations of Character

There are two things that are dominating my thoughts right now. The first one is the Saints NFC Championship game and the other is the New Orleans mayoral election. I have a lot to say about the mayor’s race but I will do that next week. I have something to say before the Saints take the field but that’s coming on Saturday. I have avoided all football related media this week. I’m still working on my energy and positive chi flow for the game. I’m using local hip hop artists and brandy to assist me. That means that whatever this post ends up being you need to deal with it because it might make sense and it might not. We will see when it’s over.

I believe that all human nature and tendencies are the same no matter what the environment or circumstances are. I am a very bias Charles Barkley fan. He was one of my favorite players growing up because he played much bigger than his height. Back when I could still play ball without medical attention I used to mimic his game. As much as I love Charles I have to admit that he’s kind of reckless. He’s been arrested for DUI. He threw a guy through a window. He damn near lost all of his money in Vegas. I am watching Lebron and Kobe on TNT right now. Despite that he’s still is hosting Inside the NBA and has been on commercials since this game started. Every time one of those commercials comes on I think about poor Tiger Woods in hiding at a sex rehab clinic and losing endorsements. Tiger and Charles hang out together and I am sure Tiger is sitting in his room at the rehab center shaking his head. Despite all the wild stories about him the fact is Tiger never told anyone he was a saint. He never told anyone anything. It really doesn’t matter. Charles can be wild and crazy while Tiger can’t because the consequences of your actions depend on other people’s expectations of you and your character.

It didn’t matter how many women came out after the first one. People expected him to be above that kind of behavior in general so even the idea that he was fooling around was a big deal. That’s how it is in the world. I know some of you have a sibling that gets away with all kinds of stuff that barely gets a whisper. You can get mad and say one cuss word that sparks a family meeting and sends your grandmother to the emergency room. I hate to put it this way but it’s much easier to be that guy that people expect to act crazy. I believe you should present yourself as a person above the foolishness but you have to understand that comes with a lot of pressure to keep up every day.

That’s the Democrats problem. People don’t really expect them to get in there and put up a fight. They are the gentle and caring party. They want to do things with dignity. They carry themselves like a pre-car crash Tiger. They are boxed in by the expectations for their behavior. The Republicans are like Charles Barkley. They are in your face with who they are. They say what’s on their mind and they don’t care who they offend. Since everyone is accustomed to them acting that way, they stretch the limits as far as they can go without much backlash. At this point they can’t do what their opposition does because if they do people will be looking around wondering what got into them and they would get some backlash. I think the Democrats need to do something to help them the way Tiger’s drama helped him. They need to pick a fight and carry on in a way that is so out of character that when it’s over no one will expect that soft ass behavior all the time. Maybe then can actually control the message when they present an idea they think is good for the country instead of sitting back and getting slapped around.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

365 Days Of Obama at the Wheel

President Obama has been in office for a full year now. Since he is the leader of the country I think it’s fair that everyone has an opinion about his performance. I’m not going to give him a grade or anything because honestly most of the large things he has tried to do haven’t totally taken shape or been implemented. I’ll wait for year two or three for any of that. I only have one complaint. It’s the same complaint I have here locally. I have some friends that are close to some politicians or someone in the political circle. Every now and then during a conversation I will make an uninformed accusation that someone isn’t doing this or that. That’s the point where I am usually corrected with all these facts about how they tried to get something done or they are working with someone on another issue. I have the same thought every time this happens. I always say that if that person is doing so much for my benefit then they need to stand up and say it and stop letting regular folks think they are not. Even if I never tell it to the person I am speaking with I am thinking it.

President Obama is a smart man and I truly believe he feels his decisions are the best thing for the country. The problem is his administration is depending on Americans to educate themselves about his agenda and that will cancel out the shouting and accusations from his opposition. Things don’t work like that. If you put enough energy behind an idea it can turn into the truth even if it was built on falsehood. At some point you have to counter all of that energy with some of your own. You can’t just assume that Americans will figure out stuff on their own. I know the president knows this because the only way he won the election in the first place was to get out and fight for each and every voter possible. If he would have followed the same pattern during the election that he has now he would be Senator Obama of Illinois trying to help Mrs. President Clinton push her health care bill through. Start calling out some of those legislators that are holding up progress. Stage some dramatic looking media events. That stuff works. President Bush talked everybody into a war doing it. He needs to do a better job at playing politics. He should be able to do that without losing any of his principles provided he doesn’t lie or break any commitments. If he doesn’t realize that some folks are around strictly to make him fail and fight back it won’t matter what his principles or commitments were because none of his agenda will make it through anyway. I know its coming because the situation is going to dictate that he does it. I just hope that he doesn’t let a lot of time pass.

Even after all of that, I still get my pride up when I see a picture of the first family and that makes everything worth it. That feel good image hasn’t worn off for me and it probably won’t for a long time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thinking About Dr. King in Today's Times

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

People always talk about what Dr. King would say if he was here today and saw some of the things going on in the world. That’s a fun topic for this time of year when we celebrate his memory. I am certain he would be proud and ecstatic about all the advances his life’s word laid the foundation for. You can’t get any better evidence of that than Barack Obama being president. I think we would also have to explain how we let so many people continue to struggle at the bottom of the ladder. I know the violence in the community would have difficult to deal with. This is the biggest issue we have to deal with. Maybe he would say we are doing too much celebrating at the top when the folks at the bottom are struggling so much.

We can’t really know what he would think about today’s times because we have no idea what the world would have looked like if he was around another 30 years or so. I could imagine that he never gets into politics and runs for office and the community has someone not tied to any affiliation that compromises his ability to deal with things open and honestly. We probably would have handle education better. I don’t know if the crack epidemic spreads as wide as it did. We’ll never know. That’s what makes his holiday kind of somber when you think about it. There’s always the thought in my mind is that things could have been so much different had he been here.

Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 and to this day no one else is on that level of leadership. I think we have produced people capable but they either went into politics or to private sector to reap the benefits of opened doors. I am not criticizing them for it but it’s the truth. President Obama is not on that level yet. He’s the symbol of Dr. King’s work but we can put him up there with King once we see how things turn out in the next few years. The bigger challenge is the community at large. Dr. King made the speeches and made the case for equality but it was the everyday person that stopped riding the bus and marched behind him. Even if we had a leader like that it wouldn’t do us any good because he would always seem like he’s talking for himself. If Dr. King were here today it wouldn’t matter because the energy in the community is not the same. That’s something he would probably speak about for sure. He might wonder what happened to will of the community to make things better. I’m glad I don’t have to answer that question. I never did well with explaining bad news to elders.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finish Strong

And Bring the Wood! The championship game post will be coming later this week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What's Wrong With These People

Haitian Americans have enough things on their minds right now than worrying about Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh. Since I know what it’s like to not know if your family is okay after a disaster. I also know how it feels to lose someone you care about unexpectedly like that. You know what makes that feeling even worse? When someone is saying they deserved it. Long after all the bodies have been discovered and the grieving is over you never forget those kinds of words. Who is this mortal human being that feels he’s righteous enough to tell the world what other humans deserve. What you should do is shut the hell up and help somebody. There are people trapped under collapsed buildings and rubble. Why don’t you take that black dude with the blonde afro from the 700 Club or Rush’s pill supplier, grab a couple of shovels and help dig some people out. You have the money. If you are too old and fragile to do anything but run your mouth, why don’t you send a few million of those dollars people call in to your show and contribute so you can stay on the air with your ignorance.

One day in Mississippi right after Katrina there was a man standing on a sidewalk with a big sign full of religious sayings. He was screaming at the top of his lungs about how the great flood came to wash out the sinners. I thought about my grandmother who went to church a few times a week and who I never heard utter a curse word. My post traumatic stress almost made me pull over and hurt that man really bad but I realized that none of the washed out sinners who raised me would want me in prison for doing him anything. I took the high road and didn’t acknowledge him. I hope all Haitians do the same to Pat Robertson. I would like to say not to acknowledge Rush Limbaugh but if I saw him in a parking lot I couldn’t make any promises.

These guys are supposed to represent the values of America? You have to be kidding me. If making insensitive comments about a natural disaster that has killed over 50,000 people is acceptable then we are doing something wrong.

To My Favorite Blue Note

Rest in peace....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I gave up my extra pocket money and donated to the people of Haiti.

I want to give a shout out to my old school comrade Nelson and all his family still living there. I hope everyone is okay. There are some things that I can't say too much about.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Working On My Negro Dialect

I understand politics and the big picture but here is my official opinion on issues like the comments made by Senator Harry Reid.

I believe that if you go all out to make one person pay for something they do but turn around and let someone else slide strictly because they are supposed to be on your side then it makes everyone else you try to hold responsible after that seem like a double standard and personal instead of based on principle. That’s how I feel and all I have to say.

What I really want to know is what is Negro dialect and how come President Obama never told us how to turn it on and off? It’s not Ebonics because that’s the same as slang. I think it’s the same as slang. I am so confused. This could be keeping us from getting jobs and I never heard of it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sitting On My Porch Part Thirty Eight

It's about 65 degrees below zero outside. The thermostat might say about 30 but it feels much colder. I am not equipped for this. This is not Minnesota this New Orleans and some folks don’t even own a heavy jacket. In true local form it's a perfect excuse to get a drink to 'warm you up a little'. Mr. Roy and his crew stood in front the green store on Forstall Street and St. Claude Avenue in the Lower Ninth Ward for 20 years with nothing but sweaters on in weather like this. The moral to that story is that cheap wine is human antifreeze but I will go with some black CDM coffee instead.

I volunteered to help out with the Health and Wellness fair at KIPP Central City School today. It was warm the day I signed up and I didn't see this freeze coming. I guess they are handing out cold medicine at the door. Not only will I be cold but there will probably be a handful of daddy volunteers and I know they are going to make us lift all the tables and heavy stuff. How am I supposed to collect all the free handouts from the vendors and steal food from the refreshment table if I am busy working.

As a avid internet reader that has had to sit through negative and mean spirited comments about his city from people in the surrounding areas, I am going to enjoy every minute of news coverage as the corruption story in our neighboring parish comes together. It's going to be a lot of fun. I'm pretty sure that the actions of those officials will only reflect poorly on them unlike when something happens in New Orleans and it means that everyone is like that. I wish New Orleans politicians would have taken a lesson from their neighbors. Corrupt suburban politicians made sure to take care of their constituents enough where they didn't pay attention to all of their deals. Aaron Broussard will have a lot of support in Jefferson Parish. Things look so run down in the city that people have to look into everything constantly. If crime cameras would have led to record convictions and reduced the crime rate by 50% hardly anybody would have worried about who got the contract. When things don't work, don't see anything, and so many other things are going wrong then the public wants life in prison for whoever messed up that deal.

That’s enough for local politics but I want to say visit Janis Lemle's website. She's running for assessor and she's good people.

I have a question. How paranoid can we be as Americans about terrorist attacks when the guy who tried to blow up the plane in Detroit boarded the plane in Amsterdam? Shouldn't we be questioning the Amsterdam government instead of our own? You can't get on a plane in America with a bottle of water. Is every country in the world going to adopt whatever changes we make? Now everybody is worried about the body scanners as an invasion of privacy. If letting security see my New Orleans Saints boxers and a birthmark will assure that I land on the other end in one piece then so be it.

The alleged bomber pleaded not guilty today. 300 people on an airplane watched him set his ass on fire and he pleaded not guilty. Even the late Johnnie Cochran couldn't have won this case when it goes to trial.This sounds like it's going to be a waste of tax payer dollars. Just plead guilty and get it over with.

I know there hasn't been a Saints post from me but it's not because of the losing streak. I'm just resting on the bye week and seeing who we are playing. I'm no bandwagon fan. I'm 30 years strong win or lose.

Basketball players are high in the urban hierarchy. Not only do they possess all the material assets that most guys in the neighborhood risk their lives to have, their money is legal. They can buy the cars and clothes without fear of attracting the police. Even though their money is legal they still embrace the same destructive culture the rest of us do. We already know that instead of changing how they carry themselves and bring the hood up to them they ignore the advances money and access have given them and come back down to a level that puts them in position to lose everything. The only part I am surprised about is that it was Gilbert Arenas. He’s never seemed like the kind of guy that would wanted to play that role. I don’t believe in putting extra responsibility on famous cats to change the culture we have now but if the situation in their old neighborhoods where family and friends live is so bad they feel the need to be protected them should want to change that environment more than anybody.

Monday, January 4, 2010

What Does It Mean When The Leading Black Candidate Drops Out

State Senator Ed Murray dropped out of the race for mayor of New Orleans. In his statement he cited financial reasons as well as not wanting to divide the city by race in a runoff against Mitch Landrieu. That's a little interesting because despite all the loses after Katrina New Orleans is still 60% African American. An election that split on race should have benefited someone like Senator Murray. I believe that if he was sure he could win the financial sacrifice would have been worth it. I think he's dropping out because he's not certain that enough African American voters are going to come out during the election to offset the black vote Mitch Landrieu is going to get. That's a legitimate concern. I understand why Mitch Landrieu waited awhile before he decided to run. He and his camp see the same thing I am seeing. The old black political power structure is dead and the new generation hasn't gained enough ground to challenge him. We may not need a runoff for this election. It could be a Landrieu landslide. There was a time not too long ago where all a man like Ed Murray had to do was stand up there and not embarrass himself to get elected. He can't do that now because the black voting base in the city has no energy and no passion for politics. It's not Senator Murray's fault. He just ran for mayor at a bad time.

It doesn't take a political science major to figure this out. All you need to do is pay attention to the last 30 years of this city's history. I like James Perry, Nadine Ramsey and Troy Henry. They are all young and new enough to the political scene in this city to build a foundation and get their names out there and make a difference if that's what they want to do. The problem they are having this year is that they are trying to energize a base that has little confidence and hope in their political leaders and that's a hard thing to fix in the short time of this election cycle. If they were going to do this effectively enough to win they should have started last year going door to door and explaining themselves to the folks in the neighborhoods. Win or lose they should still start doing that now and continue throughout the next few years because the people need to have their faith restored. They lost it a long time ago because even though we had the power to elect men and women from our own community, we failed to create a better quality of life for the most struggling part of the community killing our progress and sucking the support for political leaders out of this city. Sure a lot more black people made money from contracts and high profile positions in the last three decades but most of those people were already connected and in position to have that kind of success.

We never changed the mind state that made people think that you had to know someone to get ahead and it was almost impossible to do well if you didn't. That's why so many people we know hit the road for other cities and never came back. The people that did stay and try everyday to make things work are aggravated because we know what we don't have and get reminded of it everyday. It's pretty obvious. Just look at our schools for instance. A few weeks ago I was driving with my girl and we passed the old Fannie C. Williams school site. I looked over and saw those trailers and flipped out. "How in the hell it's been four years since the storm and those babies are still going to school in damn trailers?" Now I know the state took over the schools after the storm but it's not like when the brothers and sisters were running it before the storm they were top of the line. This is why no matter how valid the case is for local control of the school system you don't see thousands of parents down there fussing about it. They have already suffered themselves through poor local leadership. This is why the leading black candidate in the mayor's race can drop out from the weight of a candidate that's already been beaten more than once for the mayor's office and whose campaign has been on cruise control since he announced. That's why when people announce new things or bring up new issues dealing with the city no one gets excited or pays attention. Morale for the political process is low and no matter how many positive things are going on in some one's life in this city they don't contribute any of it to political leadership unless they roll in that circle. If the little of what we have was gained through our own perseverance and hard work, why does it matter who is in charge? The disenchanted working and middle class are the key to the future of this city. They don't much attention from the media but there are more of us here than anyone else. They are the ones that stayed in other places with better schools and job opportunities after the storm. They are the ones most likely to get frustrated with how things are now and leave for greener pastures. They are the reason Ed Murray dropped out of the race because they are not coming out to vote just because some one's black. The only way it would have happened is if he would have turned Mitch Landrieu into a KKK member and scared everyone during the runoff and that wouldn't have helped the city. Other than a person running for president the power of that symbolism is gone. Who cares if a few rich black people get richer because a black person has the power to give them contracts if 300,000 other folks are grinding everyday to survive. If deciding who gets the big money at the top is the only difference in our situation then it doesn't matter who the mayor is to regular people. It's time for a new effective approach.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ready For The First Week Of The New Year

I am glad all that holiday stuff is over with. Now it's time to take down the tree, put up the lights, and finish all the holiday drinks if you had any leftover. It's time to get back to work and remove all those out of office messages from the email system. The last few weeks it felt like me and my crew were the only ones working. It's hard to look busy in that situation and it might have been a problem but none of our bosses were working either. They don't know what the hell we were doing. I know there are a bunch of people who haven't gotten up early in awhile. There's gonna be a bunch of sad looking faces in the morning from adults and all the kids that's been out of school. I'll be next to them at the stoplight singing in my car. It's been a rough holiday season and I am glad it's over. In my last post I said I wasn't going to make any list of things to look forward to for the new year and I won't but there are some things that will be doing a little different.

* I am no longer working on any laptops full of viruses from people using Limewire or clicking on the wrong things. They keep using the computer for weeks and then when it is so infected that they can barely turn it on they want to bring it to me and I am supposed to save all their documents and stuff. This is a pain and I won't be doing it again unless its someone really close to me.
* I will be throwing away all the junk I have been saving in the event something happens and I need it. I keep saving all this junk and nothing ever happens where I need it. It's time to fill up my trash can. I have wires, tools and parts to stuff that I have no idea why I have them. That junk has to go.
* I will take more vacation days and try to end the year with less than ten weeks worth. I hardly ever take off from work but I am going to start doing it a little more. I figure I could take at least four weeks of vacation and still have about nine weeks at the end of the year. That sounds good. Don't be jealous.

Maybe 2010 will be the year Jay Electronica finally releases his new CD and one of these local stations will give him some of that hometown love they give Lil Wayne.