Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fed Up And Aggravated With Violence

I've been making post like this a few times a year for the last seven years and that's depressing. I was trying to come up with new words to describe this new wave of violence that I haven't used before during all the other waves. I didn't do a real good job. This was all I could come up with...

Yesterday I was speechless. I didn't know how to explain how I woke up Monday morning feeling like I was partially responsible for a two year old's murder. There's that feeling that since the shooter was a black male and I'm a black male and his dad probably didn't do the right things for him and I am a dad and he's from New Orleans and I am too, that somehow in a very indirect way I am partially responsible. That kind of guilt used to always accompany the grief I feel for the victims of all the shootings. As time passes and the incidents pile up my grief and sadness for the victims is just as deep as it ever was but the guilt part is fading more and more each day. I think we are at the point where the killers have to carry the blame on their own because I haven't shot anyone.

I know a wide range of people in this city from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures. If I threw a party and invited everyone I knew it would be a pretty diverse scene. I can count members of the media, college professors,cats that shoot dice for a living and everything in between among my personal friends. The one kind of person I can say I don't know is a killer. I don't know any killers. I know of a few people who might be killers but over the years I separated myself from anyone like that to actually verify if they were or not. I look at the Crimestoppers list all the time and I can't help them out. I don't think any of the people I know could take you to where any killers are sleeping either.

We can't do it but someone can and when I was reading about all of the violence over the weekend and the descriptions of the suspects and the automobiles they were in I know somebody knows who that car belongs to. They could call and even if they don't give a name they may send the police to the place where the gun is and at least we could get that off the street. It's better than nothing.

It's hard to explain how difficult it is to approach this problem from a black perspective. On the one hand the violence has a greater chance at effecting us than it does anyone else. We are more likely to lose our friends and family to it. On the other hand, so many things have taken place to cause the mind state that leads to the violence that we almost feel obligated to not throw that element of our community to the wolves. Whenever something tragic happens people get to talking and they come up with all kinds of reasons for the problem and solutions to fix them. Everyone is right but everyone talking isn't a killer in the first place so what do you do when the assailants are out here and they don't mind dying and taking you with them?

Folks, I don't know the answer but I know I am sick and tired of this and I am willing to try anything except the National Guard unless they are coming to do forensics and detective work to keep some of these fools in prison. We've came back from too much and work too hard to feel this down.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sitting On My Porch Part Seventy Six

I realize there were no post this week. I was busy getting a new project off the ground at work. I was trying to focus. Despite what Newt Gingrich said some poor kids did learn how to work from the people around them so that's what I had to do. The funny thing about his statement is that poor people usually have jobs that require nothing but hard work for little reward. Poor folks don't know anything but manual labor. Rich kids probably grow up not knowing the value of hard work but it's okay with them because they can always hire illegal immigrants do it for them.

After reading the Forbes article this week "If I Was a Poor Black Kid" I would like to apologize to my parents for not checking the test scores of the school I was in for 2nd grade and making them pay for me to go to a private school. Had I taken my destiny into my own hands when I was 8 I could probably be hiring illegal immigrants to work for me right now. I regret those years when all I wanted to do was watch Mid South Wrestling and play sports with my friends.

New Orleans is probably going to be the murder capital of America again. When all these stories are written like the one from the New York Times last week I hope it's understood that the majority of us are trying to make it better and don't like this shit.

There are some things in life that no matter how hard you try to get right you just can't do it. For me that thing is Christmas lights.

Chris Paul is a Los Angeles Clipper. Thursday morning I listened to a CD created by the kids at KIPP Central City school. I had to listen to my baby bust a freestyle about education. On the front of the cover under the picture of the kids was the letters CP3. There will be no Chris Paul bashing here. The only thing I will say is that I never pegged him as the kind who needed the major city shine like some of his friends. I think there's a little following going on in this situation.

I have always felt from the beginning that the NBA didn't really want a team here. That was made even worse by the fact we had a shady owner who couldn't make it work in Charlotte which is a basketball town. He was so bad the market hasn't recovered yet. You know it was going to end well for him in New Orleans. I believe Commissioner Stern when he says the team will be staying here. I don't think it has anything to do with how he, the owners, or the players feel about New Orleans as a market. I think they see the Saints and that waiting list for season tickets along with the Mercedes sign on the building and they want to show the world they can make it happen like that. The Saints went through 40 years of drama to get to this point. The Hornets won't have that much time. They need to do it in a few years and that's hard when their players act like signing here is like going to Siberia. Look at the faces on these guys. Who is supposed to get excited about that?

Tomorrow the Saints play my fourth most hated opponent in history the Minnesota Vikings. If you're curious the first three are the Falcons, Rams, and 49ers. Minnesota has nothing to play for except for pride and the fact Jared Allen's an asshole. They have no pass defense and we have a little. The difference is we have Drew Brees and they have Christian Ponder. That's worth 20 points so my prediction is Saints 34 Vikings 14.

I know if this was true someone in the media this week would have mentioned it but I have been scanning my memories and I don't ever recall a good game the Saints have had in Minnesota. I can't remember a win during my life time. The Metrodome is where Saints dreams go to die. Nevertheless I think we are past all that and will whip on the Vikings. I advise Saints fans not to get too emotionally invested in tomorrow's game. Save your energy for Monday night and the arrival of the Atlanta Dirty Birds featuring the quarterback with the coolest nickname even though he hasn't done anything Matty Ice and Jared Allen's distant black cousin Roddy White.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saints, Titans and The Chris Paul Trade Fiasco

Before I get to the Saints I want to talk about the Hornets because this week was one of the dumbest episodes in NBA history. Not every relationship has to end with animosity or bitterness. Sometimes people grow apart because of circumstances and everyone knows it. That was situation with Chris Paul and Hornets fans. We knew he was leaving. That wasn’t a big secret. It’s just the way things are with basketball. For as much as the Saints are legitimate and respected team in the NFL, the Hornets are the opposite in the NBA. It’s been that way since they moved here and it hasn’t gotten better. It’s actually gotten worse. That’s not Chris Paul’s fault. He played hard every game while he was here no matter who his teammates were and never spoke negatively about the city. He was an active member of our community while he was here and I can personally vouch for that. Everyone had accepted the inevitable and it was going to be the smoothest way a franchise player could leave town without many hard feelings.

Then the NBA had to cancel the trade that sent Chris Paul to the Hornets because the other small market owners got pissed. I'm not a big fan of any of the players the team was getting back in exchange for the franchise guy but at least they were getting something. Since the league still owns the team there was nothing Chris Paul or the Hornets general manager Dell Demps could do about it. Now if the trade doesn’t happen Chris plays out the year angry and the Hornets end up with nothing because he’s signing with the Knicks or the Lakers anyway. The Hornets could end up with no owner, no CP3 and the worst record in the league because right now there’s not even a full roster. The NBA was more fun for me when New Orleans didn’t have a team.

The Saints play the Tennessee Titans tomorrow. I haven’t watched a lot of the Titans this year but I know they are a tough team. They have Chris Johnson who’s finally found himself and their running game has been strong the past few weeks. We have a good chance at stopping him. Our run defense isn’t so bad. The Titans quarterback is Matt Hasselbeck. He’s the destroyer of Saints Superbowl repeat dreams and the man in Roman Harper’s nightmares for the past year. When Roman Harper’s on the field Hasselbeck turns into Joe Montana. I hope Malcolm Jenkins makes this not as big of an issue tomorrow. He hasn’t quite been standing out either. It’s usually the games against an offensive player that should have a big game where the Saints defense steps up the most.

A win tomorrow means another 10 win season and a playoff berth. Tennessee is trying to keep pace with Houston so they will be playing with playoff intensity as well. I think the game will be close because it’s in Nashville and the Saints defense makes a play to change the game. We get the win and change our focus to winning the division and catching San Francisco for the number two seed.

Saints 27 - Titans 17

While I was writing this the trade between the Lakers, Hornets and Rockets was resubmitted to the league. Even if it’s approved it doesn’t change how awful the NBA handled the trade on Thursday and how sad it is the Hornets don’t have an owner. As long as there's no owner they'll always be the least desirable team in the league for players.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

At This Point Just Teach The Kids

There’s an article in the local paper this morning about charter schools and who gets and doesn’t get permission to run a school. The locals are getting restless because they don’t have control of most of the school system anymore and are having a hard time competing with national charter school organizations. I haven’t spoken about this issue for awhile but every now and then a reality check is needed. I would like to tell all my local friends that no one really wants you to run your own schools. New Orleans is now the proving ground for any charter program looking to show its value and we made it that way with years of failure and neglect. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

The people who are running our schools now will listen to you because they can’t piss you off too much but they don’t have to cater to your ideas and history because they have the grades of your kids prior to Katrina to show we don’t what we are doing. This is a stats driven society and there are a lot of people in our city who haven’t came to this conclusion yet. Bobby Jindal just got elected to his second term. This state is as red as it’s ever been. Very soon our superintendent and state board representative will be Teach for America disciples and our mayor endorsed them. His chief deputy mayor was the leader of Teach for America in the state so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s about to happen. The charter system is here to stay and the best thing we can do now is support the kids to make sure they have the best opportunities possible.

I’m a charter school parent and I love the school my kids attend but I am not necessarily pro charter schools. I can’t say that I am a big supporter of local control either. I’m for educated children of New Orleans no matter what. If the teacher most qualified for that task is a recent graduate of an Ivy League school or a twenty year teaching veteran from Algiers then let them do their job. At this point I just want the kids to make it because we are at a crucial time. We have to support whoever happens to be teaching them and hope they succeed.

The only thing I will add to this is that even though I accept the failures of the past and change in the system I am still a big believer in the fact that New Orleans natives can control their own destiny and do for themselves. If some of these groups from out of town receiving charters can’t make it work and kids are failing then I am going to turn pro local control really fast. I can’t support anyone who comes here to get paid and doesn’t teach our kids because they’ll be living somewhere else ten years from now while we are here trying to keep their failures off of the street and out of the cemetery. We don’t need anyone to help us do that. We are already experts at school failure.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The 2011 Struggling Bowl : New Orleans vs Detroit

Tonight the Saints play the Detroit Lions in what I called a few years ago the Struggling Bowl because of the state of both cities. In the three years since I wrote that the Saints won a Superbowl, New Orleans has a new mayor and some things appear to be getting better. I wish I could declare victory in the tale of the tape against the Motor City but thanks to the auto industry bailout they still have Ford, Chrysler and Chevrolet. That has to count for something. The Lions play in Ford Field. We have the Mercedes Benz Superdome. At night does an image of an Ford F 150 drive around the stadium with flashing lights on? I’m giving us a slight edge since the Benz Dome is always lit up like a Christmas tree and it’s the holiday season.

We have Treme on HBO to spotlight our city. The show is set during the time right after the storm so it’s not the best representation of the current situation but if it makes people visit and spend money I am okay with it as long as no one stops me on the street and asks me to dance. Detroit has the best group of meter maids and traffic people on Parking Wars. I’m giving Detroit the win on television entertainment because of the dude on Parking Wars they call Ponytail is more entertaining than the Mardi Gras Indian gang on Treme that showed everyone their suits before they are ready. That’s not supposed to happen.

I’m deducting ten points from each city for crime.

Detroit is on the verge of bankruptcy and the state may have to step in and take over. I’m going to give New Orleans the win in this one because we are poor but not bankrupt and have only lost control of our schools. You know, if the bug three automobile companies are doing so well now why is Detroit and the surrounding cities so broke? I thought when the private sector was doing well financially people would have jobs and that would take care of everything? Shouldn’t they be rolling in cash? I guess the trickle down hasn’t started yet. I’m giving New Orleans the slight edge on fiscal shape.

As far as tonight’s game goes I think the Lions are having a good year considering where they were a few years ago but they are too inexperienced and not ready to deal with Drew Brees at home. There’s still a chance for the number two seed and after last year I think Coach Payton doesn’t want to end up playing on the road the first week of the playoffs if he can help it. I expect the Saints to play with playoff intensity. Detroit won’t quit because they have enough talent on offense to score on defense and their coach is too crazy to give up. As long as we contain Megatron Johnson we’ll be okay If Houston can hold on against Atlanta today and we win tonight we can get some cushion in the division.

Saints win this year’s Struggling Bowl by a score of 34-20.