Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Matter of Perspective: Times Are Tough All Over

For the second time I have the opportunity to hire someone and take them from the unemployment statistics and for the second time it’s pretty damn depressing. If one more person abandons me I am going to start taking it personal. There is a lot of competition coming from all walks of life. The resume inbox is overwhelming and I don't handle it well.That's why my interviewing skills suck. There are good people out there and it sucks I only have one little position to award someone. I should be in a better mood because I am doing pretty well in many ways. It’s not just the job. I have done a lot of cool stuff. Sometimes people look at me and wonder why I don’t get overly excited it. It’s because I am locked into an underdog mind state that always makes me paranoid about everything falling apart and ending up back at the unemployment office to fill out my papers. I never want to think I am doing that great especially when I am interviewing people with more formal education than I have. It’s all about perspective.

My dad has a college degree and more integrity in one finger than most of us have in our entire body yet he spent most of his adult life driving a truck around New Orleans doing contracting work and any other thing he could find to feed his five babies with big appetites. I bet you there were a few times when someone at a stop light looked over and thought to themselves how sad it was that dirty man never did anything to better himself so all he can do to make a living is work on that raggedy truck. That thought probably had to piss him off but he did what most adults do when they have responsibilities and don’t have time to break down. He convinced himself he wouldn’t have it any other way but working for himself. He was trying to be sincere when he said it but I always felt like he should be in a shirt and tie headed downtown to his office. That’s why I make no apologies for sitting behind my desk with my hands clean. Five years from now I could be crawling under someone’s house to make my money and I want to enjoy the time I get to look out of that office window. I think that’s why I get on here and blog about stuff that really doesn’t apply to my current everyday life.

I’m not ducking bullets in the streets. I can’t tell you the last time I was even stopped by a police officer. My income has increased ever year for the last five years and for the first time I actually have more money than I have bills. I am not trying to downplay that. I just know what the other side looks like too. I think one of the problems in America is that somehow people don’t seem to want to acknowledge the other side is possible. They feel like they are closer to living in a mansion than living in a trailer park so they turn their noses up at the less fortunate I’m not just talking about suburban Republicans either. I know folks personally that have grew up in the heart of the ghetto that make a few extra dollars now and swear they are aristocrats. Just because someone is less fortunate doesn’t mean that they are less educated, have less work ethic, or have less pride than you do because they need a little help. Sometimes less fortunate means that a person worked on the same job for 20 years and never learned anything else because they felt secure. Then, out of the blue, the company was bought out by some bigger corporation and shut down where they work. That’s modern day America and everyone knows someone like that which is why I can’t understand the insensitive words when people debate current issues. Don’t be so quick to judge that guy standing in the scrap yard selling that iron and copper for a few dollars. If the right person sees his resume he could be your next supervisor.

Oh well, I guess we’ll just keep on keeping on.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sitting On My Porch Part Forty One : A Big F#$%ing Blog Post

What Joe Biden did yesterday was a teachable moment. It spoke a lot about expectations and the responsibility one man has for an entire group of people. People had a good time with that but the truth is if Barack Obama would have whispered that in Joe Biden’s ear, every black person I know would have woke up this morning with the same look on their face they had the first time watching Cooley High when Cochise died and never got a chance to use his basketball scholarship. That would have been a 30 year set back

I waited at least a full day before I mentioned anything about the Health Care bill because I figured if the socialist government was going to shut off the internet and monitor my words why get myself in trouble. Since nothing has happened I think it’s safe. If Barack Obama is a socialist he’s a really bad one. He signed a bill that requires everyone to purchase private insurance. That’s not socialism. That’s Americans supporting the profits of corporations. We’ve been doing that for years already. Everyone needs to calm down because the bill was helpful but by no means Earth shattering. The only person in this whole process that deserves to do a victory dance is Barack Obama because many presidents have tried this and failed but he got it done. Sure there is a lot of tension now but this is 2010 and America's attention span is short. Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus will be caught on camera at a club with a dude that looks just like Tupac and everyone will get caught up in that and forget all about health care reform.

The Tea Party people really trip me out. The part that trips me out is that if you are really tired of government then you have to be against both parties because some of the same people who were getting you all riled up Sunday were in control of the government not too long ago and helped create the environment that led to the current situation. You have to at least acknowledge their part in it. If you don’t you just look partisan, crazy and possibly racist. Think about that the next time some congressman or woman comes to your rally despite the fact that they voted for every spending bill when George W. Bush was in office. If they burn Barack's likeness but cheer for these hypocrites then I can't take them seriously.

My first move as King of All Humans will be that If a person uses the phrase “My tax dollars” to describe why they are against something they have to bring their tax returns to verify that the amount of taxes they paid actually equal their anger. You can’t play the tax card with a refund check. (Wait, my first move is going to be appointing Buffie the Body and Tocarra to a position that has an office in the same building as mine. The tax rule will be my second move. It’s good to be the king!)

My third move is going to be that if you say you are standing on principle then stand on it all the way. If you are against government assistance and want to protest that’s cool with me. But if you break your leg and don’t have insurance, stay home and make a cast out of duck tape and Elmer’s Glue. That’s what the founding fathers would have had to do. Also, if you didn’t like the stimulus but your city took money for that new library or highway you need to move to another city where the people refuse to take federal money. Just make sure you have good tires and a hard hat for the crumbling infrastructure.

I believe your personal situation and position should affect how you feel about a topic. I hate insurance companies because of the Katrina aftermath and they way they messed over so many people. If we had public options for every type of insurance I would cancel any private policies I had and get those just to stick it to those bastards in my own little way. But that’s just me and my personal experience. If I was rich and in that income bracket that will get higher taxes from this I would probably not be happy about it passing. As a reasonable person I can understand that. I even understand Rush Limbaugh’s objection because he is rich and he’s probably thinking this bill will cut into his prescription money. What I can’t understand is the poor working people that follow him like they can roll into any hospital and get world class health care paid for by their freedom.

If you think all of this was fun, we still have to deal with immigration reform and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I know President Obama has some Crown Royal in the White House and if he doesn’t I will have a few glasses for him. It’s going to be a long summer.

The 1958 NFL Championship game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants is considered the greatest game ever played and the one that changed professional football in America. It was a sudden death overtime game. 52 years later the Saints beat the Minnesota Vikings in sudden death overtime. Brett Favre never got a chance to get the ball and beat us so the NFL changed the rule that’s been around forever. This is why Saints fans should close ranks and stop all that ‘America’s Team’ foolishness. America’s team is Dallas or wherever Brett Favre plays. I want him to come back so bad just so we can play them again in the playoffs and send him home one more time.

This rule change could have been avoided if he wouldn’t have done this…….They should have voted on a dumb ass pass rule.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ramblings On A Cold Spring Afternoon

I woke up this morning looking forward to some springtime air and its cold as hell outside. I have to come up with a new joke for days like this other than the one about Al Gore being pissed off. It's one of those days that will confuse you because it's beautiful until you step out of the door and the wind hits you. I may be exaggerating how cold it is because I was planning on doing yard work but now I have an excuse to stay inside and watch NCAA basketball all day. That’s what I'm doing even though my bracket was destroyed by Northern Iowa yesterday. After the Saints Super Bowl triumph I find myself pulling for teams like Northern Iowa. That three point shot at the end of the game was their Tracy Porter intercept type of moment. It is not going to be that kind of moment for Gonzaga because Syracuse is killing them right now. Cornell is still in the tournament and in the basketball world is probably the biggest underdog left. I would pull for them like I did for Northern Iowa put since they are an Ivy League school and most of their players will probably be making more than me in a few months or will eventually end up Secretary of State or something like that they can deal with not winning a basketball title. I think I will pull for Wisconsin today.

There were at least five murders in the metro area during the weekend and most of them were in broad daylight. If this is what we have to look forward to during the warmer months then I want it to stay chilly until June. I am not in the mood for the everyday killing. Nothing drains the community's optimism like senseless violence. With so many other things going on the crime situation doesn't feel as bad as it usually does but its still there and going strong.

You could also watch the health care debate unfold right before your eyes. I won’t be watching that and getting a headache trying to figure out who is genuine about what they are saying and who is not. The saddest part of the entire process has been the ignorance of so many middle and working class Americans. They truly believe that they have freedom and choices when it comes to their health. Your choices are as good as the HMO plan your employer can afford without going bankrupt and laying you off. I guess it won’t hit them until that guy who has been working at their job for 20 years is let go and replaced with temporary employees or part time workers that don’t require any benefits. There’s too much division between people that are all part of the same system. When you get right down to it we are all one bad management decision from being one of the same people we think are getting over. Forget politicians and corporate executives. Your ignorant neighbor is the real reason there is no progress because their opinions are easily persuaded by talking points. It’s all good for me though because I have insurance and as soon as my community gets a hospital open things will be good. Health care reform will kick in four years from now if it passes and maybe the state of Louisiana and local government would finally have a plan for a new hospital in New Orleans by then. All we have to do is make it the next few years without getting sick and quality health care will be at our doorstep. I can hardly wait.

It may appear from that rant that I am upset or angry about something but I can assure you that I am no more upset than my usual everyday bitterness. My only real concern is remembering to go to the post office and mail my mom the pecan eggs we bought for her down here because she can’t find them in Memphis. I don’t know what grocery chains are popular in Memphis but they have to be second rate because they don’t sell Elmer’s Easter candy. They probably carry nothing but nasty ass Marshmallow Peeps. That’s the candy you put in the basket of the kids in your family that you don’t like so much but you have to give them something because everyone else has a basket. You can tell how people really feel about you if they put Peeps in your Easter basket and if they give you all the black jellybeans then they really hate you. Jellybeans are the only thing in the world that will ever make me utter the words, "Give me anything but the black ones."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Do We Have To Give Insurance Companies Money Yet?

I sure hope this health care vote gets done tomorrow and this thing will be over with soon. The whole debate has been like going out on a date with a fine woman that gradually gets on your nerves more and more as the evening goes along. I was all excited at first and now I can’t wait until it ends. I am going to make a blanket statement and say that there is not one person not in the Senate or Congress that knows what’s in this bill. I also don’t think half of the elected officials know anymore either. Take my Congressman Joseph Cao for example. First he voted for it because he said it was the best interest of his district. At that time there was enough wording in the bill against funding abortions for him to support it. Now, all of a sudden he can’t vote for it because he doesn’t like the wording on funding abortions. My problem is not with Congressman Cao for saying the abortion language changed so he can’t support the bill. My problem is when the Senate was fussing about the public option and the single payer system no one mentioned changing anything about abortion funding. Everyone keeps saying there is no abortion funding in the bill so when did that get back in there? I’m pretty sure before this weekend is over someone is going to bring up death panels again.

I got this thing all figured out now. A lot of Republicans and Democrats both want this bill to pass now that the public option is out of it and there is a mandate to make people buy insurance from corporations. I don’t see how they lose in this. The trick is now for everyone to play the game the right way so they look legitimate to the folks that follow them. If you think I am tripping then just explain why the town halls and death panel rhetoric all of a sudden went away when Democrats in the Senate took the public option out and the president didn’t put it back in his plan. The Republicans that really know how to play the Washington D.C. game really don’t want the bill to die. Reconciliation is alright with them so the insurance companies can get paid. They just need to appear like they are strongly against it. That’s why they keep adding amendments to it and still voting ‘No’. Sure they say a few of the same code words and talking points to keep conservatives off the scent of their real agenda but that roar is now down to a whimper. All those Blue Dog Democrats are going to vote yes now too since the public option is gone. Their plan is too keep talking about the millions of Americans that will now get to buy insurance. That will keep the average liberal off their scent too. That will work out for them as long as no one of any real stature admits that the public option or Medicare buy in would have affected the lives of more Americans in a positive direction more than anything other than possibly giving everyone a million dollar check.

It’s alright. Passing any bill is better than nothing at all. I wish I knew if it would affect me since I already have insurance but it doesn’t matter. We just need to get this over with. It should be over soon…hopefully….possibly…..maybe. I sure hope it is but it ain’t over till it’s over.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Apologies to Wynton Marsalis

The theme to Treme is actually called Ring Shout (Peace of Mind) by you....My bad.

This morning was the first morning that I didn't wake up late. Ever since the clock sprung forward I have been feeling backwards. Things may finally be coming back to normal. I have a training class that starts at 10:00 AM so there is just enough time for two cups of coffee, writing this blog post, and filling out my NCAA Tournament bracket. I like waiting until the last minute so I can pick real fast without too much thinking. I have a few 13 and 12 seeds getting to the Sweet 16. My Final Four teams are Kansas, Kansas State, Duke, and West Virginia with West Virgina and Kansas in the final game. I promise not to bring me phone into the training and check scores from the early games.

We have one African American Major League Baseball manager from New Orleans and he decides to use cocaine and get his name all over ESPN for the wrong thing. Come on Ron Washington! You can't do that kind of stuff. It's a good thing only 25 people in New Orleans pay attention to baseball or this would be embarrassing.

Once we get to the new administration and all the personal feelings get out of the way, all of New Orleans will soon realize that the Inspector General position was the best thing to ever happen for the city finances. It would be nice for just one report to say the city did something 100% correct and efficient. This stuff is getting depressing.

Yesterday I was at my daughter's school and the 6th grade girls were practicing lacrosse. It was strange to see a girls lacrosse team in the middle of the hood like that. This is one of the positives to having influences from other areas. I made a comment about transplants loving New Orleans while people I grew up with are looking for help in my last post. For the record I was only talking about new jobs in the city and who that benefits. Everyone is welcomed as long as opportunity is passed around evenly. That's very important to me.

I guess I have to go and train someone now...Someone has got to find me a copy of the entire song for Treme on HBO. There is only so many times you can replay this minute and a half just to get upset when it cuts off.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Teach Him How To Fish

Last night I was on the Transition New Orleans website leaving my idea about what needs to be done to help the city. We have an Education Task Force and an Employment Task Force. My idea is something they both should work on. This is what I wrote to the transition team…

“I believe the Economic Development Task Force and the Education Task Force should work together to create a well funded adult literacy and job training program. As we work on economic development and fix our school system, we should not ignore that the failures in the school system for years has created a large amount of adults that are not qualified and incapable of taking advantage of new job opportunities. We have to give that group a chance to better themselves.”

It’s my opinion that the biggest failure of this city has been the failure to help break the cycle of low wages and lack of opportunity for the working poor. We have generations of under educated and unqualified people that couldn’t find jobs if they wanted to. Progress and change is going to go right over their heads. If we are serious about changing the city we should try to set up an adult education program as well as a job training program to give those people a chance to improve their situation. I think people should judge the success or failure of any agenda by their personal position. If we have all this development going on and all I see are people driving in from the suburbs to work like they do now then leadership failed me again. I don’t mean to offend anyone but I’m not that excited about creating a few thousand jobs so transplants can move here and tell me how awesome New Orleans is while the people I grew around are looking for someone to help them pay rent and the light bill. It’s hard for me to get excited about that. New Orleans will be turning around when everyone gets a fair chance to enjoy it. It’s hard to get a fair chance at doing better when you can’t read a job application and have no professional skills. If we are going to take a different approach to things then lets do it the right way. We need an adult education program so folks can make some real money to provide for their families.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Weekend Vibe : Georgia Anne Muldrow

I got up this morning with intentions on doing absolutely nothing. I was going to sit in the same spot all day. I woke up this morning and couldn’t remember anything from last night. It wasn’t because I partied or drank too much either. I was just so exhausted that I don’t remember what time I went to sleep or anything after I got home from work. I know I went outside and had a nice maduro cigar. I remember seeing the biggest possum in the world walking along the gate. When these abandoned houses are being demolished all kinds of critters are losing their hiding spots and now we have a ghetto Wild Kingdom outside. You have to make sure you don’t have an opening big enough for those things to get in the walls because you will never go to sleep without all the scratching and noises.

The only thing that kept me from my plans of laziness was the fact that I had to go and get one of my tires fixed. I had the best conversation I have had in a long time with the guys outside of the tire shop. It made me miss the days of working in the auto parts store until I thought about smelling battery acid and old motor oil. I’ll stick to my desk job. By the time I got the tire fixed the weather was so nice that I felt obligated to at least take a ride through the city and get some fresh air. When the weather is as good as it is today it’s like cheating life if you don’t go outside for at least a little while.

I got my tire fixed and pleased the weather gods. Now I am back to the original game plan. I’m watching college basketball and searching for new music and new blogs to read. After you’ve been blogging for over five years about anything and everything you get a little lazy. Reading or listening to someone else’s work gives me a boost. My inspiration at the moment is Georgia Anne Muldrow. Her songs are noisy and full of different sounds. Her lyrics are deep and you have to really listen. Besides all of that, she has the coolest website picture ever. I hate to find out about artist like her when they are already a few albums into their catalog. All of these songs are new to me but she’s probably forgotten all them and moved on. I have to play catch up.

This song made the mp3 rotation…

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Good Shouldn't Suffer For The Bad

Nothing would bring the rebel out of me when I was in school more than when a teacher tried to punish me for something someone else had done. She comes back in class, sees one person out of their seat acting crazy and wants to give everyone detention. I don’t believe in the good suffering for the bad someone else has done.

There’s an article on the front page of the Times Picayune that says, “Witness said civilians fired guns on span” According to the defense attorneys in the article, the witness testimony can back up allegations that there was a shootout. If anyone looks at the title of the article without reading the whole thing they will probably assume that there is a justified reason why all those people were shot on the Danziger Bridge. Once you read the article things get a little more questionable.

The witness that claims someone was shooting near the bridge that day was Lance Madison. He was arrested on false attempted murder charges that day and his brother Ronald Madison was shot in the back by the same police officers his testimony may help. According to the story he testified that a group of teens ages 14-18 were chasing him and they started shooting first. So, Mr. Madison lost his brother by the hands of the people who were supposed to be helping him? He almost went to prison for attempted murder because he happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Nothing screams discrimination to me like someone thinking that it’s alright to harm innocent people just because they happen to be around some bad people. At the least it compromises the community’s trust in the police department. You are not allowed to do anything you want to me because a criminal may be around. You are supposed to protect me from the criminals not turn me into one. The thing to remember here is that none of the people who were shot had a weapon. At some point those officers had to realize none of the group they were shooting at was shooting back. The Madison brothers definitely weren’t shooting back because they were running. It kind of reminds of the movie Rosewood where one lady made an accusation and the mob tried to take out everybody. It’s the same principle.

Sometimes in the neighborhood a guy may get some information about someone wanting to do him something. Depending on the environment and tension in the air at the time he may decide to take matters into his own hands. He gets his guns, jumps in his car and goes to whatever block or corner the threat is supposed to be to handle things. When he gets there he doesn’t know if anyone has a gun and if someone does who it is in particular. They just come through blasting on everyone to eliminate the enemy. It never fails that an innocent bystander or two are injured, maybe even killed. When the police catch up with that guy, and he tells the judge that he shot all those innocent people because he heard someone had a gun even though no one on the scene or anyone he shot actually had one, he’s headed straight to the penitentiary. No one knows this more than the kind of officers involved in the cover-up of this case because catching people that engagein behavior like that was their job. That’s why they put everything on the line for their officers and tried to cover it up. The sooner we all accept that, the faster we can get justice done and move on.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Complicated Justice In The 504

In June of 2006 someone shot and killed five teenagers in cold blood. Whoever did that needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The District Attorney in New Orleans swears it’s a young man named Michael Anderson. He was already convicted for it once. If he truly is the shooter then I guess the prosecutors will have to do a better job because he was awarded a new trial yesterday. My stand on this particular case is I want the right person punished for the crime. Someone needs to be held responsible. Community leaders have to be careful that they don’t get so focused on going after the DA they forget that five young men aren’t here anymore. Everyone needs the proper justice carried out. The best case scenario to me is if everyone would work together to find the right person but I know that is not going to happen. Our current district attorney is taking a page out of long time DA Harry Connick’s book and is swearing he has the right guy. I take that to mean that it doesn’t matter what any other possible leads come up. He’s going all in with convicting Michael Anderson and if he has to trying another two or three times then he will do it. If everyone would have done their jobs correctly the first time then we wouldn’t have to go through all of this.

I find things like this difficult to properly make sense of in my own mind because of the way things have been in the city lately. I am confused and waiting for things to sort themselves out. The way it stands now is that at the time this case first came up we had a black district attorney that could have not accepted the charges if the case didn’t seem right but he didn’t. He went ahead with the case and it's questionable evidence. It goes back to the question of how you fight the power when the power looks like you. It makes it even more confusing when people excuse the mayor and police chief from responsibility for things their office does but want to protest the same office. If the shadow government is so powerful that you can’t even do anything against them even when you are in charge of the office then why try to fight them in the first place. The easiest way to avoid episodes like the Michael Anderson trial is for young men not to kill one another in the first place. Then there won’t be any high profile cases for the district attorney’s office to prosecute unless they created it themselves. The sad reality of the situation is that whatever is going on now is not more serious of the fact that five kids were murdered that night and money more have been murdered after that. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

Monday, March 8, 2010

These People Look Familiar

After Saturday’s runoff elections the new city government for New Orleans is complete. I’m looking at the winners and I only see two names that represent new blood to me. The rest of the people that one are pretty familiar faces. Even our new mayor has been around forever. The question now for me is that how much progress I can expect from a group of people that were already involved when nothing progressive was going on. None of the election results surprise me. The progressive community in New Orleans is a small section of the population. They talk about a lot and get themselves involved in exposing a lot of things about city government but none of that trickled down to the minds of most of the people. Folks here stick with what they know and who they are comfortable with. If there is ever going to be any new political figures to really take control they will have to be so impressive that they get people to step out of their usual thought process. That may not ever happen so I’m just hoping that everyone was holding their great ideas until Mayor Nagin was out of office and now they are going to share them with Mayor Landrieu and get things going.

Since there’s so many people that won’t be learning on the job my timeline for wanting to hear and see a significant difference in what’s been going on is considerably shorter. I figure six months after everyone is sworn in should be long enough to at least hear some new agenda items. My new mind state will be Nagin’s gone so there are no excuses. There’s a little under two months left for everyone to hide behind him then we really get to see what’s going on.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

For The Girls Who Are Not Precious

The Academy Awards come on tonight and I probably won’t be watching. I haven’t seen any of the movies up for nomination so I am really not interested. The movie Precious is up for all the major awards and I hope they win at least one. If Monique wins for Best Supporting Actress she will be crying about it for two years but I am willing to put up with that for her to get the award. You know I am all for stories that lead to black people receiving recognition but where is the balance? I’m not going to go into a rant about Precious and the images it sends out. First of all I haven’t seen the movie so it would be disingenuous of me to talk down about it. Second of all there are sisters that have lived through the kind of things that the young lady in the movie has and I never want to take away from the seriousness of that. I don’t have a problem with that story being told even if I choose not to watch it. My problem is that it seems like almost every major movie about African Americans has to be this triumph of the human spirit where the main character has to overcome something horrible. That’s the only time sisters can get nominated. It seems to be the only time they get any real recognition from the Hollywood establishment. Halle Berry won an Oscar for Monsters Ball. I have trouble watching that movie. I was watching the night she won and I was happy for her but I kept thinking that as beautiful and talented as she is it’s a damn shame she had to play a character like that to get nominated.

Maybe I am not qualified to talk about this because I am a man but I think images mean a lot and without some balance in there you have everyone thinking that every sister has circumstances of this magnitude she has to climb. There are some things you have to get over just from being black but not everyone has had a life so bad that it required a super human effort. Some sisters just grew up, went to school, got married, got a job and lived their lives. It’s to the point where some who never had rough times start talking like they did to give their accomplishments more value. You have people you grew up with talking about how nobody believed in them and they always felt ugly and you are looking confused because you don’t remember any of that happening. Deep down you want to tell them to stop trying to get sympathy for making things seem harder than they really were but if you do then you get jumped on for being insensitive and not understanding the plight of the black woman. To me women who do that are doing a disservice to the reality of our community. That would be like me telling all of you I sold drugs and had to get my life together because I come from the hood. I’m from the heart of activity in my neighborhood and I never sold drugs, got shot, or even rode in the back of a police car. Some of my friends did and some didn’t. What we don’t have is the balance between those two realities in the media. I would love to see a movie where black actors get nominated when the lead actress is a regular housewife, a professional woman with no baggage or a sergeant in the Army or something. If Precious wins tonight we will be in for a string of movies so depressing we will want to keep our daughters inside until they are 30.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fill Out The Form And Send The Damn Thing Back

I just got my census form in the mail. I hope some people don’t leave it in the mailbox thinking its junk mail because it came in a bag. I also hope my people in the city don’t have the same urgency in filling it out as they did with voting. If they do we will get about the same amount of funding as a small village. I know there are more people here than the official numbers say there is. You can drive around and see it. We need to get folks to take action to get close to the right amount. This is a true story. My best friend was so set against participating in the census the last time that the guy who was assigned to his neighborhood had to hide around the corner and sneak up on us when we drove up one afternoon. He had this defeated look on his face like he gave in to the system. I know he’s not the only one that feels that way but I hope everyone fills out the questionnaire and sends it back.

Even if you are offended by the word Negro you need to send it back anyway. Check off Negro, black, homeboy, or whatever applies. We just need to be counted so the government will know how many people are here. That means we have to put everyone on there. If your cousin is staying with you but still uses her address in Houston to get cheaper insurance it doesn’t matter. Put her on there. If your boyfriend is staying there put him on there. If your grown kids came back home because they were homesick and brought the grandkids too and they are all bunched into your house put them on there. The forms are our best shot because I don’t think the folks that walk around and count go to every spot of the neighborhood to count how many people are there. Let’s not give anyone a chance to use statistics to cut our money short. If I didn’t think we would all get indicted I would say to add three extra people to your tally for all the folks that are going to come home in the next few years as new housing opens. I’m sure they will take that under consideration in the final total. Then again, they might not. Either way if the count of how many people are here comes up short let’s make sure it’s not our fault because we only sent back half of the forms.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sitting On My Porch Part Forty

Any day now (barring dental work and fires) Lil Wayne will be headed to prison in New York to serve his sentence after pleading guilty to gun possession. In the neighborhood we like to call people haters when they don’t go along with our decisions and lifestyle. You can officially call me a hater. If wanting to see him enjoy his kids and all the things success has given him makes me a hater then so be it. Guys like Lil Wayne, T.I. and Gilbert Arenas get in trouble because they think they have this allegiance to the hood that requires them to keep it real at all times. I feel an allegiance to my hood (Lower Nine all day baby) but I choose to take a different route. We can all represent were we come from and tell the world about the reality of life there while at the same time trying to change the reality and making sure we are not in the same situation as the cats we are speaking for. We keep telling the world that we act a certain way when we are broke and have no opportunity. When you get both of those things you have to change. That’s just the way it is. I hope Wayne gets out and focuses his time on all those babies. He’s made enough to stay busy.

The earthquake in Chile was so strong that it shifted the Earth’s axis and shortened the day by 1.26 millionths of a second. I am sure no one felt that but that’s a little scary. There was another quake in Taiwan today that registered 6.4. So far in 2010 the person making the biggest statement is Mother Nature. She’s showing everyone that there isn’t a damn thing we can do if she decides to flex her muscles. All we can do is sit back and hope for the best. I know Pat Robertson has something to say about this.

They tore Mr. Bob’s house down today. He was our next door neighbor before Katrina. He and his wife were animal lovers and would even nurse squirrels back to health. I remember when he used to practice his golf swing on the lawn while she sat in the chair and watered her rose bushes. To the people outside of New Orleans, the fact that they are just tearing that house down in 2010 is reason number 433,533 why we still can’t let it go. It would be the good neighbor’s house that gets demolished. The neighbors that are a pain in the rear end probably have the strongest house on the block.

Senator Jim Bunning learned that after giving billions to all kinds of corporations it probably wasn’t a good job to take a stand against money meant for every day people. I’m sure some people thought he was being a maverick and it might have worked if his own voting record didn’t show he voted for all kinds of bills that weren’t paid for. Anyone that thinks unemployment is some handout that will put you on easy street obviously has never been on unemployment. I was on unemployment for 4 months. Since my salary was pretty good I got the maximum amount, a whopping 258 dollars a week. I was balling out of control with just enough money to pay my light bill. I kept thinking if I got the max at the amount I was making, what a person does if they were making twice what I was and had to drop all the way down to 258 dollars a week. When I was reading the comments after the story on Yahoo there was some lady talking about Americans need to stop whining about having tough times when her and husband survived four years on 1000 a month and all that jazz. I know that’s possible but don’t act like when you were living off 1000 a month you weren’t miserable. America is designed for broke people to be miserable because if we ever figured out how to be happy and broke we wouldn’t need to spend money and the economy would collapse. Why do you think people drive 2 hours from their suburb to the city in the morning for work when there are empty houses three blocks away from the job? They are trying not to live around all those miserable broke ass city folks. Trust me, none of the folks on unemployment are happy about it so go ahead and pay them before we have riots.

Just a few quick things before I end this……………

Just for the record, I believe there is a form of shadow government by way all of these different commissions and business groups that influence decisions in the city. I just don’t think they have anything to do with Mayor Nagin’s performance.

If enough Democratic senators sign on for the public option and the bill ends up getting killed I think I will be cool with that.

I like when the panhandlers at the stop light give you one of those little papers after a donation so the next time you pass by you can show it to their friends like a receipt.

If I only watch the Oscars when black actors are nominated does that make me prejudice?

The best thing on television is classic episodes of Soul Train on the Centric channel. They make me smile.

Did you ever notice there’s been no talk of cell phone companies having any financial trouble at all?

Get well Guru.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Where Do We Stand?

I have been struggling with trying to find the right words to discuss this issue with the police shootings. I don’t think I have enough writing skill to explain this properly but it’s difficult as a black man when a situation comes up that reminds you of where you stand in this society. It seems like since Katrina there has been more of these times than ever but this Danziger 7 situation is the exclamation point. It bothers me, scares me, and pisses me off at the same time and I am having trouble moving past it and I’m trying to work through it. I’m really not sure what I want to see happen. Maybe I want all those people who chanted “heroes!” when the officers left the court the first time to apologize to the families of the victims and to the community for standing by their side. Maybe I want the other officers involved to come forward, plead guilty and accept their punishment so we can start moving forward. I think I want Jim Letten to make sure everyone involved gets the highest possible sentence and at least life in prison for the shooters because if anyone else shot an innocent family for no reason we would probably be sitting on death row. For myself I need to get over the thought that my dad, brother, cousins and friends were all here after the storm and could have ran across the wrong officers in the wrong place and got shot down. I’m thinking about how it would be to go through life day to day for all this time with the world thinking my brother was a criminal who was trying to harm police officers and got what was coming to him. I need to stop taking this so personal.

Jarvis DeBerry broke this down already but I really would like our police chief to accept some responsibility for this taking so long. I know he wasn’t on the bridge when it happened but sometime during the first year he was chief he could have at least read the report. I would like to hear something from my mayor as well. They are always talking about the ‘shadow government’ and all that junk. Well, here’s the chance to stand up for the people and all I hear is nothing. It just reminds me one more time of why people in the community don’t vote anymore. It doesn’t matter who is in charge. The pecking order is going to still be the same. Now I am waiting to see who Mitch Landrieu will select as the next police chief. That choice may make or break his administration before it even starts.

I’m not talking about this again until someone else pleads guilty or gets arrested. I hope that is not too far away.