Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sitting On My Porch For The Last Time in 2008

Before I say anything else I want to send a special shout out to Kevin Allman of The Gambit newspaper and the Blog of New Orleans.

For the first time since 2003, I finally had a year where the good things outweighed the parts that suck. I can honestly think of only a few things that legitimately ticked me off even though I fussed about way more than that. When you add it all up 2008 was not spectacular but it was far from bad. As far as the new year goes, I won’t be making any resolutions for 2009. After 34 years I have figured out that I am pretty much the same guy since the age of 15. Anything I come up with outside of my everyday habits and vice is just an empty promise. I also won’t be making any predictions. If there’s one thing the last few years have taught me it’s that you can’t predict anything. If someone would have told me my city would have been flooded, we would have this many people home with all the obstacles or that a black man would have won the presidency I would not have believed them. I decided to list a few things I would like to see in the New Year. Some of these are very serious. Some of them might be funny but I am serious about those too.

1. I would like to see a renaissance period for the regular everyday working black man. We have some serious issues in the community but the debate and focus is usually on the extremely gifted like Barack Obama or the successful thug like Lil Wayne. The top end is extremely difficult to reach and there’s danger at the bottom end. If things are going to change the focus has to be on the value of all the brothers in the middle. There are many of them out there. They just need some spotlight so these young boys don’t think 40 hours a week for average pay is a sucker’s life. Besides, if things are going to be fixed who better than the men living amongst the problem. They need to be empowered.
2. I would like to see one year of good health for everybody and no senseless violence so I don’t have to read stories like this one and get depressed.
3. I would like to see some conscious rapper like KRS One or Paris walk on stage at a Plies concert and punch him dead in the face starting the revolution against music that celebrates the denigration of black women. A bonus would be if all black disc jockeys ban together for a boycott of all R. Kelly material. I know he was acquitted but I saw that tape and he must have a secret identical twin with keys to his house.
4. I would like to see my good karma come back as fast as the bad karma does. Bad karma is swift and so precise you can usually name the exact thing you did to cause it. Good karma takes years to get off it’s ass and repay all the good deeds.
5. I would like to see my director block access to you tube at work because it’s killing work production. I really hope one of his new years resolutions is to start reading this stuff.
6. I would like to see the safety of young black girls be a higher priority.
7. I would like to see a group of sensible people with thick skin sit down and have an open forum on race relations in the New Orleans area.
8. I would like to see AT&T combine all those commercials where people not using their service can't get a signal for an important call on a CD and sell it. The featured spot has to be when Slate Sanchez doesn’t get the call about the new blast site and becomes the news.
9. I would like to see one member of my family move back home. If I can’t get a blood relative I will accept my friend Erica who I miss just like a family member.
10. I would like to see myself take advantage of some of the new acquaintances and opportunities to socialize and get off of my sofa and from in front the computer. I have things to do every week. I just don't do them.
11. I would like to see an email from Buffie the Body saying she reads my blog all the time, thinks I am totally gifted and would like to meet me the next time she’s in New Orleans to get my autograph. (I'm only kidding. Mama, please don’t Google that name.)
12. I would like to see the end of the word "pimp" to describe anything positive. I refuse to use this word because of what it means and it should have the same status as the n-word to me. People are way too comfortable with it.
13. I would like to see enough episodes of the Boondocks so it can come on ten times a day just like The Family Guy does.
14. I would like to see Deuce McAllister go to a team that will actually let him run the ball before he retires. If Sean Payton lets Deuce go and goes 8-8 again he should be fired.
15. I would like to see at least one medical facility in New Orleans open it’s door to the public. This situation is getting a little ridiculous. If we can open the Superdome for football in less than a year’s time then we can open one of those hospital buildings.
16. I would like to see black families come to the realization that they can’t live through Barack and Michelle Obama and expect that their situations will magically correct themselves. It’s good to be proud of them and maybe use them as a guideline if you need one but you have to put in your own work at home.
17. I would like to see Maze sing We Are One at the presidential inauguration. I know the program is set already but I have to wonder if there is any American with common sense that wouldn’t expect that after all these years black people dreamed about that day the inauguration would just be a little more ethnic this time around? Shouldn't a different look to certain events be expected?
18. I would like to see more new locally owned businesses in the neighborhoods around the city. I have officially given up on the big boys. I need to give a shout out to The Black Coffee Shop on Bayou Rd. They have the old school yellow cake you get when someone has a supper at their house.
19. I would like to see the Congressional Black Caucus let Joseph Cao in if he wants to work with them. He’s not black and he beat a long standing member of the caucus. However, he represents what could possibly be the most vulnerable predominantly black district in America and the Black Caucus should do anything they can to help him if they are a legitimate group whose purpose is to help the agenda of the people.
20. I would like to see Mayor Nagin get pissed off about something related to rebuilding/reconstruction and not just show that kind of passion when someone in the media says something about his one of his employees. (This one was given to me by my co-worker and loyal friend Lawanda. I got nothing but love for ya.)
21. I would like to see the great Lil Wayne have an awakening and use his popularity to try and stop some of this violence that’s going on with his generation in his home town. I'm not blaming the music for the problem but he could bring about some change. There's thousands of young brothers walking around here that look, act, and talk just like him.
22. I would like to see an official band on all reality shows on television except for The Biggest Loser (because it actually helps people) and anything on Discovery Channel networks. Speaking of the Discovery Channel, what in the hell happened to the Biker Build Off?
23. I would like to see a merger of all these social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the like so the same people can stop sending me invites to join some new site even though everybody is going to end up with the same people on their friendslist. Can someone please explain to me the fascination with Facebook and why some of my co-workers can’t function unless they are logged into that site for all eight hours of the work day.
24. I would like to see the recession end without gas going up higher than 1.50 again. Economic trouble is never good for anyone but I am enjoying the days of making it to work and back with a few journeys in between all week for twenty bucks. It’s funny how no one is mentioning how six months of spending all your disposable money just to get enough gas to get to work might have something to do with sales being down during the holiday season. Those gas prices changed a lot of plans in 2008.
25. Finally, I would like to see the people of my city give themselves more credit for being here and further along than we should be based on the way this recovery process has gone. The problems with crime, rebuilding and politics are obvious but never lose site of your perseverance and the dues that have been paid to keep your city alive. Personally, I had a few reasons to never step foot in this place again but I did. Instead of spending all your time feeling substandard because we are who we are and we live where we live, ask yourself this question. How many people in other places could have suffered the pain and loss we did and still had a deep love for their heritage so great they would come back and fight for it under these circumstances? I know I am biased but no one has the tribal nature and pride of a New Orleans native. I have never had a friend or a family member ever say anything negative about being from this city. They love it. It’s just very hard to live here so they don't. We are going to have a mayoral election starting in 09, the candidate I am voting for has to be someone who has the same undying love that I have for this battered and bruised place and know how to express it. There is no other way to rally the troops. Somebody has to channel that energy and things will change. The first questions of every mayoral debate should be "What do you love about this city and why in the hell would you want that job?" Anyone that is too eager to run is either so passionate about the survival of this city they are willing to give up their sanity to lead it or really wants the chance to give their well connected friends access to contracts and money they didn't have access to when the old administration was in. In 2009 we have to pay close attention to what candidates fall into the first category or the second.

How could I forget to wish, hope and pray for no major hurricanes and evacuations. The relief of not having to lay in a hotel bed while you wait for the potential destruction of your life again always makes the year sweeter.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Break

Please enjoy whatever holiday you happen to celebrate and be safe. Remember, if you have to drive yourself home don't spike the egg nog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Mama Said I Was Wrong

Ladies and gentlemen, it appears I made a mistake on one of my post. According to my parents this picture was not taken on Christmas day in 1979. It was taken in 1977. That means I was three years old instead of five. Apparently my parents know more about what happened when I was three than I can remember so I won't debate them on this.

My mama also demanded that I let everyone know she did not burn my drum set while my daddy took me for a ride. Their story is that I broke them myself and that's why they were thrown away. Because this information came from my parents and I love them dearly I will endorse this as the truth. The only thing that confuses me is that I have seen my dad drive us home while keeping his truck running with a hanger, soft drink can, and some vice grips. I am sure he could have fixed my drums with some duck tape and a Winn Dixie bag if my mama hadn't thrown them out while he was at work. I just want to tell my dad that I understand.

If this is the last post you read for a few weeks it means I am on punishment by my mama for being smart and can't log in.

Monday, December 22, 2008

There are Two Sets of Rules

A few weeks ago Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg at a club. The next day there was a picture of him all over the world being led away in handcuffs like he kidnapped and harmed a small child. I remember when the mayor of my city first got elected and he and his right hand woman, Kimberly Williamson Butler, were going to rid the city of corruption by stopping people from getting break tags and taxi cab permits. They made a sweep and paraded those brothers and sisters into Central Lockup like members of Al Qaeda (This was before the big reversal when black people were upset with Ray Nagin and all the white people loved him). When Kwame Kilpatrick got caught up in Detroit, the media couldn’t wait to show him being put in handcuffs on his way to jail. There are too many other instances of this in the news to count.

Last night out of curiosity I searched the name Bernard Madoff. I used a few different search engines, just to be sure. The picture at the top of this post is all I could find in relation to his crimes. He’s headed back to his apartment after court. He doesn’t appear to be the man that single handedly destroyed thousands of people’s lives. He actually looks pretty content with himself. I don’t see any police officers or handcuffs. Where are the pictures of him unshaven wearing an orange jumpsuit at his hearing? There’s no angry mob standing nearby shouting angry hateful things to him like they did Michael Vick. Here is a man that stole so much money entire organizations have had to shut down because they are broke. Some small cities lost their pension funds for teachers, police, and firemen. Hard working people lost their retirement. Yet, there is not one picture anywhere of him even looking like the criminal he is. I’m willing to bet that he won’t spend a day in jail; and if he does, there won’t be any footage of him in shackles getting on the bus to Riker’s Island.

That’s how Americans get themselves played by people in power. If Bernard Madoff and I got on an elevator with an older white lady, she would probably move closer to his side since he's supposed to be less threatening. If she did I wouldn’t take it personal because I know where it comes from. People like me are shown on television all the time in handcuffs and mug shots for the wrongs they have done. Meanwhile, the guy she’s moving closer to could probably be squandering her life savings and her kid’s college fund and she has no worries at all about him. Frankly, the media is quite comfortable playing into this double standard because it helps the general public validate their incorrect stereotypes of a certain group of people.

By no means am I excusing anything Plaxico Burress, Kwame Kilpatrick, or anything else that a black man has done to end up on the news. I believe in self accountability and we as black men need to start making better decisions. However, the lives Madoff ruined makes anything a football player or a text messenging mayor did pale in comparison. The coverage of the crime should match the severity, no matter what the person looks like; and this guy deserves to be treated just as harshly as O.J. Simpson.

Still in Holiday Mode

I know some people will see this clip of the Mr. Bingle story and think it’s cool and nostalgic. I just wanna say that there was nothing cool about standing in that line at Maison Blanche watching all this kids catch whippings because they couldn’t keep still. I am certain half of the Christmas pictures taking in that place did not have smiles.

The second video is being posted because I am from New Orleans, it mentions the Ninth Ward and it always makes me smile. Man I wish Mckenzies was still open. By the way, if you live here and don’t know at least 8 of these references you need to consider moving.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fred Sings a Christmas Song

What would a holiday season be without watching Fred Sanford singing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas? Sanford and Son was the only show I ever heard my grandmother and my Paran (that's godfather for you squares) laugh out loud. I have saw all of these episodes at least 20 times....who's the old white dude playing the guitar at Aunt Ester's house? How does a character never seen on another episode make the Christmas party? I can't believe that after all those underground comedy albums they recorded Bubba, Leroy, Skillet or Ester couldn't play an instrument. Where was Grady?

The Struggling Bowl's Tale of the Tape

On Sunday afternoon the New Orleans Saints will visit the Detroit Lions in the Struggling City Bowl. Both cities could use a win and a pick me up. Which struggling city deserves the win the most? Let’s add it up.

Detroit might need a win more than we do but if this bailout goes well and the automotive industry recovers most of their citizens will be making over 75.00 an hour. There are not many 75.00 an hour jobs in New Orleans. If you make 75.00 an hour in New Orleans you can actually live in a neighborhood city government cares about. You might be able to buy your way into the Rex Parade as long as you look the part.

Both cities have had embattled mayors but I give the edge to us in that category because Kwame Kilpartrick actually went to jail. People hate Ray Nagin but he’s never done anything illegal (although you can’t make some people believe that) and it’s a good thing because if he did there wouldn’t be a story about New Orleans that wouldn’t start with his mug shot. The majority of those would come from our own local media.

Speaking of media, I am certain that if the Saints were 0-14 there would be news stories on every channel citing negative things about the city that have nothing to do with football and sad players. Somehow the Lions have managed to be 0-14 without any mention of Toyota, Nissan and Honda kicking their butts at car making (Just for the record I drive a Chevy truck). The media advantage goes to Motown.

We both have one of the Bullocks twins playing safety for our teams. We will call that a draw in aggravation.

Both cities have a large black population with lots of history. I’m giving us the edge because we created jazz and they never would have had Motown without that.

They get bonus points because the suburban and affluent areas don’t seem to be turning against the major city. If that crisis was happening here our suburbs would be openly campaigning against the city to get the companies to move across the lake or over the river so they could get away from the low income people with their crime and crappy schools.

In the end I say we are the more struggling city and deserve to win. They just got 17 billion out of President Bush while we have to beg for every dime even though government failure caused our disaster. Even when we get money it has to go through 20 different hands before we ever get to see it. I don't get any pleasure in seeing other people struggle and there were too many jobs on the line for the bailout not to happen. I'm glad the Big Three got their money but why are we always begging for every dime when we didn't control what happen to us? The Saints really deserve the embarrassment of losing to the Lions for choking so many games and ruining the season but as long as they have New Orleans attached to their name they will always represent the double standard that every other city in America has over us. That’s why I say screw the Lions and every other city in the NFL.... GO SAINTS!

Now watch they go up there and lose so we have to watch clips of all the teams that broke losing streaks at their expense followed by a clip of someone stealing beer during the flood. This season can't end fast enough


Where is the Cold Front

I want to go do a little Christmas shopping today but the weather outside is telling me to light up the grill and drink a few beers. It's hard to play holiday music wearing shorts and flip flops. We need that snow from last week to come back for a few days.

I don't know if I want as much snow as the pictures in this video. That's a bit much. I will settle for just enough cold that a jacket is required.

Big Wins Are Cool Too

Friday night I was feeding my football habit and watching the NCAA Division II championship game between Richmond and Montana. I am one of those people that love college football so much I can watch it from early Saturday morning until I fall asleep that night. I follow college football all year round but I didn’t know too much about Richmond or Montana to pull for anyone. The announcers told the story of Richmond coach Mike London and I started rooting for Richmond.
Here’s a brother that’s a good husband and father. He was an undercover police officer. He left the force to start coaching again. He had to give his bone marrow to his daughter to save her life from a serious illness. Now he’s back coaching at his alma mater after years of being an assistant. Even the Montana coach admitted that it was hard preparing for the game because he is such a good guy. Richmond won the game 24-7 for their first national championship in school history. Coach London was overwhelmed with emotion at the end of the game. Good for him. I didn’t know who the brother was before tonight but I was happy for him. My daddy used to always say that sometimes a good man has to do the right things and feel good about the small victories. He was right but there’s nothing wrong with a good brother getting a big victory too.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Song Battle Round One

I’m up late playing around on Youtube and I ran across Aretha Franklin’s version of “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha” which is one of my favorite songs by Bobby Womack. I never heard her version before but I absolutely love it. I’m going to give the slight edge to Bobby because his version has the male point of view but Aretha’s go better with cocktails because it’s more smooth. The votes are still being counted to see which one is best.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Didn't Think I Would Be Right This Soon

I know I said politics on this blog were on hold until after the holidays so don't file this as a political post. File this under self gratification.

Allow me to translate a few paragraphs from this story that says the 150 million dollars to repair Charity Hospital is FEMA's final offer.
The state and Louisiana State University, which ran the hospital, believe they're owed $492 million, essentially replacement value, for what was widely seen as an outdated facility before the August 2005 storm.

But FEMA maintains that Katrina damage was not extensive enough to merit replacement costs and that not enough was done to guard the building against additional damage after the storm and flooding.
Translation: "If you guys weren't so busy sitting on your hands to discourage poor people from returning to the city by not doing anything to the only hospital they could depend on for health care, the building wouldn't be in the condition it's in now. There is no way we are giving you 492 million dollars for stories of all the people ran out of their homes to buy up land for a project that may take 20 years to build with the way business is done in that city. The least you guys could have done was act like you were even making an effort to open the hospital."

You know I am not the type of guy to give myself credit but.......
My opinion is the money isn't coming because FEMA has decided the old Charity building can be opened with the money that they have already committed. Because of the way the state handled Road Home and our constant quest to make every city official a criminal, I don't see the federal government sending us 500 million dollars for more stories about how we messed over our own citizens. You can't spend all day putting one another down and expect good things

wait........I have another one.

I honestly don't think the federal government is going to give us the money to make this plan happen anyway. We ought to just take what we have now and scale back the plan to fit what we can afford. We shouldn't be holding the money we do have hostage for the state, the federal government and LSU if they can't deliver on their part of the funding.

I actually thought the feds would play around with this for awhile but I think they don't want to be included in the blame when New Orleans doesn't have any additional hospitals open by the end of 2009. Now, will someone answer my question about using some of that 75 million dollars for the general budget since no one answered me the first time. We need streetlights and pothole killers and I just got a library card and I want fresh books. Maybe we can check with Mr. Cerasoli since every dollar spent from now on will need his blessing. If that's what it takes to get Mid City out of community limbo and free up the 75 million then so be it.

Finding the Holiday Spirit

Ladies and gentleman we are now in the home stretch for Christmas. There is only seven days left until the morning where people all over realize all the kids wanted to play with is the box that the toys came in. I think it's time to start having a good time. That means unless someone has gone absolutely crazy there will be no political talk here. Tomorrow is my office holiday party and I plan on spiking the punch with Crown Royal. The picture up there was taking on Congress Street in New Orleans on Christmas Day 1979 (The flood water spared enough pictures so we can at least remember what we looked like as children.) That is still a top five Christmas. I can't prove this and they never discussed it in front of me, but I believe my dad took me for a ride one day so my mom could burn that drum set. I was only five at the time but I swear it just disappeared. Right now I could be traveling as a drummer in Erykah Badu's band and trying to get her to date me instead of another rapper.

Santa Claus go str8 to the ghetto - James Brown

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Preemptive Reasoning

I will make this short and sweet.

By this time tomorrow the inspector general of New Orleans that people love so much even though he doesn't know how he wakes up every morning in our city Robert Cerasoli will have released the findings of the take home vehicle report. I am certain it won't be good. I know everybody is ready to charge City Hall and blame Ray Nagin for this but you have to accept the situation for what it truly is. None of this is new to the city of New Orleans. All of our local media is pissed at Nagin so they make it seem like he started all of this. I’m not defending the mayor. It’s just that I have been living here my whole life and I know better. As long as I can remember people who worked for the city got take home vehicles. I always thought it was an extra benefit. In fact, I can recall a time when Councilwoman Clarkson had a car and a police officer driving her around the city. Please don’t turn this into an indictment of Ray Nagin because old school residents know better. The problem is the city government structure and the way business gets done. You have to come to grips with the fact that it wouldn’t matter who won the last mayor’s race. Their folks would have had take home cars too. Don't focus on the mayor. Focus on the city laws and ordinances. People don’t want to hear that but the truth hurts sometime. I realize this is all for nothing. I already know what’s coming. Everyone in city government caught the bus until Ray Nagin got re-elected in 2006. There's going to be some crazy things said once this report comes out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Good Ninth Ward Stock Rises Again!!

In keeping with tradition of showcasing positive news whenever possible. Please allow me to dedicate this post to Lower Ninth Ward native Lisa Jackson the new head of the EPA. Mrs. Jackson, on behalf of all the Lower Nine tribe please allow me to say.

Handle your business baby!

If anyone can turn around the low morale at the EPA it's a sister from my homeland. I have so much confidence in my people that as soon as she starts her job I am drinking nothing but tap water because I know she got me covered. Between Sister Jackson and Sister Rogers, Washington D.C has never looked so good.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sitting On My Porch Part Nineteen.....The Egg Nog Addition

I’m trying to get into this holiday spirit and have a good time but it’s hard. A family member of a close friend of mine passed away in an incident within his control and I keep trying to figure out why young black people find so much reverence in dying for senseless things. I just kept thinking about selfish for a man to put his life in harms way when he has a family to take care of. I know the sisters are strong but they are really not supposed to be putting in 18 years of raising children alone. Some of us have to grow old and live regular lives. Sooner or later black people have to take this young death as serious as getting a black president……Yes, I said it!

I spent over 20 years watching my grandpa make that damn homemade egg nog in the kitchen on New Years Eve and not once did I ask for the recipe. That sucks. I refuse to use another recipe.

If they were giving out awards for Christmas lights in my neighborhood I wouldn’t get a certificate of participation for as ugly as mine are. I feel like going out there right now and pull them all down. It’s embarrassing.

Someone threw his shoes at our stressed out president and people thought it was funny. I was scared. Do you really want to push this man over the edge with all the stuff going on now? You know he’s about to snap because when he ducked the shoes and looked back up he had the same disturbed grin on his face as my boy Rodney who grew up in a project apartment with led paint.

Do black people play Guitar Hero? I might buy it if they had a funk option on there and I could play bass like Bootsy Collins.

New Orleans East now has two new buffets and a Waffle House. Our restaurant scene is booming!!

Is there anything worse than the secret Santa at work? The worst person in the world is the one that goes out and buys those scented shower kits that Wal Mart puts in that holiday aisle with no consideration for male employees who might pull that gift. I would rather get the cinnamon scented candle than the cucumber and lilac flavored shower gel and body powder.

Speaking of Wal Mart…since everyone is losing money and jobs except for them, shouldn’t we put them in charge of the economic crisis? The only drawback to this would be everywhere you went there would be someone at the door to check your receipt.

How crazy is it that one guy on Wall Street scammed people for twice the amount of the auto industry bailout? It’s amazing what you can get away with when you are smart and have lots of money. You can steal whatever you like. Meanwhile everyone’s acting like the auto workers are destroying the country because they make too much. Has anyone looked around Detroit lately?

I totally understand Senator David Vitter’s opposition to the auto bailout. After all, like the other southern senators he has to protect the investment Toyota, Nissan, and Honda made in his distr……..never mind. That was written after my last glass of egg nog was spiked too heavy.

My first prediction of 2009: After the mayor and city council drive every sanitation company out of the city the citizens of New Orleans will be force to burn their own trash in BBQ pits and 55 gallon drums changing our nickname from Chocolate City to The Big Stank.

The state and the city are both having budget problems. All I ask is that when you get ready to kick the programs that help the black community in the ass you wear soft shoes.

The Roots are having a free concert at the main library next Saturday (thanks E.) It’s my last chance to see them before they become Jimmy Fallon’s house band and lose the entire cult following they built up over the years. The first time they have to play Pop Goes the Weasel when Jimmy Fallon introduces the 10 year old boy that can do Calculus will be a crossroads day for me. At least I have the old material to fall back on.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How I Would Fill the Budget Shortfall

Mayor Nagin slashed the city budget and the realization of everyone thinking objectively is that cuts will have to be made somewhere. I still haven't heard anyone involved come up with anything new. It looks like we are once again depending on traffic tickets to ease our money problems. I would like to see someone take a chance and throw something new on the table. I don't know all the rules for spending money in this city so here's a question for all the smart people. We have 75 million dollars in the recovery budget to buy up half of Mid City for a new hospital complex that still don't have the money to build.

(My opinion is the money isn't coming because FEMA has decided the old Charity building can be opened with the money that they have already committed. Because of the way the state handled Road Home and our constant quest to make every city official a criminal, I don't see the federal government sending us 500 million dollars for more stories about how we messed over our own citizens. You can't spend all day putting one another down and expect good things. Now, back to my question....)

Would it be legal to take some of that 75 million and put into the regular city budget to make up the shortfall? We should take all of it. Councilwoman Clarkson keeps assuring everybody that the disaster loans that have been the way of balancing the budget will be forgiven as the reason we won't be in crisis for the 2010 budget. When that day comes we can use that revenue to replace the Mid City money if needed. I honestly don't think the federal government is going to give us the money to make this plan happen anyway. We ought to just take what we have now and scale back the plan to fit what we can afford. We shouldn't be holding the money we do have hostage for the state, the federal government and LSU if they can't deliver on their part of the funding.

Would it be possible to move this money or is this another case where guidelines and the city charter give our leaders an excuse to not think outside the box?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Looking Forward to the Draft

Well, there goes another season down the drain. At this point in my life as a Saints fan I know longer care about winning the Superbowl. I just want a team that plays tough and at least gets to the playoffs every year. Anything beyond that would just be a blessing. There are two games left but when you are eliminated from the playoffs the last few games of the year are just like preseason games. The only player I can think of that deserves having his name mentioned is Jonathan Vilma. A few other players did okay this year (#98, #19, #23, #16, #25 before he got hurt) and others downright sucked (#29, #41, #42, #43, #88, #71 etc..). From a strictly football standpoint let me just say that we have to do something with the secondary and those safeties. You can't have one position on your team so bad that it gives teams an obvious way to beat you.

After adding up the votes, me and my advisers have decided to go with Jocelyn as the Saints MVP of the season. If my team can't win the Superbowl or even get to the playoffs, there might as well be a pretty girl involved. They usually make things easier to deal with.

If I had any other relationship in my life that gave me the feeling that the Saints do I would have ended it a long time ago.

Tom Benson needs to call Leon Cannizzaro and see what can be done to prosecute Jeremy Shockey and Charles Grant for stealing his money. I want those draft picks back.

My Last Holiday Video

After discovering this video I have decided that the trauma of listening to Kathie Lee rapping is not worth participating with my friendly local bloggers. I will be having nightmares and its all your fault. I will have to listen to Eric B. and Rakim for five days straight just to get this out of my system.

The Holiday Video War Continues....

I have no idea how to describe this video. All I know is that I am sorry I let these people pull me into this madness.

White Ground in Chocolate City

This picture was taking outside of my office a little earlier.

The next time Mother Nature decides to make it snow in New Orleans she needs to start it around 6:00AM so I can just roll back over and continue sleeping. It wasn't right I had to get all the way to work before the blizzard. It sucks when you live this far at the bottom of the map. It hasn't been a good hour since the snow stopped falling and it's already turning to mud. That is why me and my week long bad cough went outside and walked around in it like an idiot.

Hooray Influenza!!!!

It's amazing how many people sent me messages about what happened the year after the last holiday season that it snowed in New Orleans. I will not jinx it by mentioning it again. That was just a coincidence.

Another Case of Bad Karma

This story about the Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich is great. This is the kind of story New Orleans residents use to feel better about themselves. I am just sitting back and enjoying it. This guy should be ashamed of his language. The government had Edwin Edwards on tape with all kinds of people and there were no cuss words. Cleo Fields didn’t even cuss when he realized how hard it was to stick ten thousand dollars in the pockets of tight jeans. You know these tapes are going to leak to the public eventually. The least you could do is be clean about it so the kids can watch it on the news. Also, you are not supposed to get sloppy until you have made some money and laundered it already. Why destroy your political career and not have any money in a Swiss bank account.

The best part of the story for me happened yestersay. Remember when Jesse Jackson Sr. went crazy and talked about chopping off the parts of Barack Obama that make him a male? Well as crazy and deranged as I thought that was I couldn’t help but be shocked at how Jesse Jackson Jr. would publicly rebuke his daddy. I’m old school when it comes to this family stuff. If Big Cliff would have done something as crazy as Jesse Sr., I would have gone to the house and talked to him about it. I might have tried to talk him into apologizing but I would have never talked negative about my daddy in public. There were enough people chastising his dad where he didn’t have to. He did it to gain favor with the Obama machine so he could get that senate seat. Now he’s Candidate #5 and can’t get the senate seat anyway. He probably didn’t do anything wrong and I really hope he didn’t. You know whats funny? If he was really in trouble the first person who would be standing up there with him everyday on the way to trial would be his crazy daddy. This little scare should be a valuable lesson that bad things happen when you talk down to your parents no matter how crazy they are getting as time goes by.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jingle Jangle Fo The Po!

I know I submitted Kurtis Blow as my entry earlier but I had to post this for my own entertainment. Beat Street is a top five movie hands down!.....I had to sneak this other in too.

The School, The School ,The School is on Fire!!

I would love to say that the recent fires set at some locals schools is an indictment of the Recovery School System and the state’s failure once they took over but I can’t. This is simply a lack of parental involvement and bad behavior. This is an example of a group of kids that don’t take pride in anything. Plus, they are not scared of adults. I can only imagine the horror of what would happen when someone called my parents to tell them I was being held on arson charges for burning the school. I think I would have asked for jail instead.

My friend put it best this morning at work when she said” After the fire fighters but those fires out they should take the same hose and whip some kids’ ass with it”. I agree with that. Too many kids in the city are void of discipline. I thought learning in school was rough when you had to worry about getting a beat down. How do you concentrate when fools are setting fires? Not only that, why would you start a fire in the school while you are still in it? You know New Orleans old school buildings have all kinds leaks and bad infrastructure. This needs to end before a bunch of innocent people get hurt from this ignorance. These kids should be expelled and never allowed back in school.

It's Christmas Rapping with Kurtis

I was just getting ready to leave work when I caught wind of this New Orleans blogger Christmas video battle. Just because I want to crash the party and add some flavor from the other side of the city. I would like to submit my entry into this equation. It doesn't matter if I win. I just wanted to add some hip hop in.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Comment Section Got Me Close to the Edge

Before I go on this tirade I just want to send a shout out to E at We Could Be Famous. He addresses city issues without ignoring the racial component where it's valid and no one is disrespected. I wish more black people would visit his site and engage in the discussion. E, I would make you an honorary Ninth Ward legend but I already gave that title to Brad Pitt and I can only give out one a year.

Lately I have been having some blogger conflict. There are many blogs about New Orleans but not many written by black people. The reality of it is that whatever popularity this page is due largely in part to the number of white people that choose to read me. I don’t have a problem with that because the color of the people who read what I have to say can’t change how I see the world. I like it because there is not enough time giving to really understand issues of black New Orleans. I don’t write trying to appease a certain group of people. Nothing in our current circumstances is simple as a black side and a white side of things. To break everything down to those terms on narrows the scope of any real solution. Take crime for instance. Everyone agrees that they want an end to crime and the thugs need to be locked away but not acknowledging the conditions of the schools and the type of education those thugs received before they became thugs will only leave the door open for the same problem to keep happening over and over. That’s the kind of issue I try to address from all angles. I am not bragging but I think I am pretty good at it.

Sometimes however things happen that make me think I should be a little more militant. Saturday I went looking for election results online. I found an article titled “Joseph Cao defeats William Jefferson”. I clicked on the article to read it and the comments section sent me into a state of anger. There was all these comments about the Chocolate City people will always vote for the black man no matter how crooked or how Africans were inferior or incompetent and how we were too stupid and should be tested to vote. That’s just a sample. The first thing I felt was offended. Then I just got mad and wanted to start an online ruckus so bad that the website might have been shut down forever and the FBI would have traced my IP address. They were making comments on a story that said Jefferson had already lost. That means whoever these folks are making the comments didn’t even read what the hell they were commenting on. They logged in specifically to make negative comments about black people. What should have been a moment where we all were looking ahead to a change turned into a few moments where I actually thought I should have voted for Jefferson myself out of spite. Whenever folks say things like this are the reason why they vote strictly along racial lines I try to tell them to look pass it but there’s only so much you can take before you get paranoid and circle the wagons to protect yourself. There's a fine line from when personal feelings about one politician turn into sweeping comments about everyone that looks like him.

I don't care how much money Bill Jefferson had in his freezer or how bad anyone thinks Ray Nagin is. When the critique becomes an attack on his genetic make up as a black man then the line is crossed and it doesn't matter what you are trying to say at that point. Since these people think they are so intellectual superior they should be able to make their arguments a lot better than I do. After all, I am just a black guy from the Lower Ninth Ward, a neighborhood so poor and pitiful it's not even worth rebuilding. These genetically superior anonymous comment makers should be able to make quick work of a cat like me in an open forum. What the hell are they hiding for? The other thing is that no one in charge on any of these message boards does anything to stop it. America has that freedom of speech thing so I guess it’s all good. I decided I will keep writing and being the anti stereotype of everything they say. Calling them a bunch of names will make me feel good for a split second but in the morning I will pass all those abandoned schools and empty houses and get knocked back into the big picture. If there is one thing I have learned in life it’s that you can’t spend much time on the ignorant.

I have a message for anyone this applied to that happens to wander to this page. My name is Clifton Joseph Harris III. I live in New Orleans East. My email address is If you truly believe the things you say send me an email and make yourself known. I will be happy to debate you and show you how a black dude from the Lower Ninth Ward can crush you with my mind and not my fist (Unless you hit me first then it’s on. Clancy DuBos told me he would come get me out of jail for anything but DWI. I promise to be sober when I defend myself). I was just playing but don’t let the jokes fool you. I am mentally sharp and battle tested. I’m not ashamed of who I am and what I have to say. What about you?

This happens to be about a local website but this kind of thing happens everywhere from CNN, ESPN to YouTube. It shouldn't be that much of an emotional challenge for a black man to surf the internet.
In my opinion, this country has not progressed as much as we think.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bittersweet Change

I am totally surprised William Jefferson lost. As bad as I wanted him out of there I am still surprised he went down. The reason is easy to see. Not enough people felt the need to go out and vote specifically for him. None of the other candidates who ran in the Democratic primary would have lost to Joseph Cao. This goes against what I usually stand for but I think the low turnout was a good thing. It showed these local black politicians you can’t just take things for granted and expect people to show up for you just because. Cynthia Willard Lewis learned that in the city council election and now Bill Jefferson knows it too. I can’t speak for every black person in New Orleans but I want someone to engage me and my concerns. Keep your inspirational speeches with your racial code words and tell me how we are going to get these schools together or a hospital open. I would rather have thousands of my brothers and sisters living better at the cost of one or two people having political power then voting for the same people over and over and having nothing to show for it. I might be ahead of my time in that mind state but all great ideas start off small.

The question now is who in the hell is Joseph Cao and how effective can he be in Washington where a Democrat revolution is going on? Is he going up there to represent the entire district or just the small percentage of Republicans? If he does he will be looking only at a two year term. He’s probably looking at only two years anyway. I hope he’s not one of those elitist that have plans to manipulate the recovery in order to frustrate poor people from moving back home. I’m not saying is. I’m just speculating because I don’t know much about him. I hope that’s not the case because anyone with sense should realize by now that’s not going to do anyone any good because if there’s one thing we have learned since Katrina is you can’t stop New Orleans folks from coming home if they really want to. Let’s hope it’s not that and he has some hidden Obama skills no one knows about and brings people together. Besides, I would hope that the liberal Democrats in Washington that black people have been so loyal to for years wouldn’t purposely shut out a district that is 60% black just to make the new Republican congressman look bad enough to lose in 2010. Let’s hope someone finally puts the people over their own agenda. William Jefferson didn’t and that’s why he’s no longer our Congressman.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Red is Right......This Ain't For Everybody

I'm posting this blog from Big Red Cotton because she said everything that needed to be said about this and I agree 100%. I would just like to add that what she said should go double for the people who live here now and have the same negative attitude about the city. At least the people in this survey are going by what they see in the media. If you are here everyday and don't know how you wake up in the morning when you have to deal with this city, please leave. I would rather have 300,000 people with civic pride without the extra ones who exist just to remind me of all the problems we have. You all make me sick. Allow me to give Red the spotlight.

New Orleans - It Aint For Everybody

Posted by Big Red Cotton December 02, 2008 10:19PM

Okay, so a soon-to-be released survey identifies the 20 cities Americans say they would most want - and least want - to relocate for a job.

Guess which list New Orleans made...

Because the national economy is in the crapper into the unforeseeable future, more Americans will be faced with having to relocate to find work. So this Washington-based professionals organization, The Human Capital Institute, created a survey to help cities determine how to market themselves to attract talented out-of-town workers. They interviewed 2,500 employees and entrepreneurs nationwide who ranked New Orleans as their fourth least favorite pick for places to move to. Amongst our cited ills are population shrinkage, murder rate increase, and post-Katrina tourism industry challenges. The negative attributes rankings were health and safety (55%), image (49%), and environment (45%).

Hmph... Well on behalf of New Orleans, allow me to say that we don't want to be with anyone who doesn't want to be with us. I, for one, am tired of Homogenous Nation's negative opinion of New Orleans. We cannot be everything to everybody, especially imagination-lacking, subdivision beige house loving, mainstream America. We're busting our asses to put this city back together and take it to the next level - it's a GD mission! So if you're not feeling this, move over and let the ones through that DO wanna get with us.

Excuse my tangent folks. I'm just OVER the whole 'image' conversation.

Ironically, the other cities that made the survey's Top Worst List happen to be our sister cities:

New York/New Orleans - Disaster Soul Mates
Detroit/ New Orleans - Chocolate Cities
Los Angeles/New Orleans - Hollywood/Hollywood South

Apparently, the respondents are not so much into catastrophe, flava, or drama. Okay, I get that. Again, this aint for everybody.

The other irony is that our economy is still growing and outperforming the rest of the nation - we're actually ADDING jobs here while the rest of the country is losing jobs. And according to CityBusiness, New Orleans is fast growing as a hot spot in the tech sector. So I have a feeling some of those naysayers are going to be eating their words about us sooner rather than later.

Oh it feels good to be able to say that and actually believe it has a chance in hell of being true...

Anyhoo, I'm filing this after a fabulous Creole Italian dinner and too much wine and song at Vincent's. Now I'm off to catch one of the best live music shows in the country - the Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf, which will be packed as it is every middle-of-the-week Tuesday night. And the night won't end till the band says it ends.

Ah New Orleans, my beloved... If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

This Happens All The Time

I read the story about the mom and her friend kicking in the door to avenge her son’s death and was not moved or surprised at all. The only thing that moved me in the story is I was happy a policeman was close enough to walk in there and stop it. This kind of thing happens all the time. Usually the mama doesn't go with the score settlers. They usually wait at the house. This probably makes up for about 40 % of the murder rate. What probably would have happened is that one of the people fighting over the gun would have gotten killed. Then, someone close to the victim would have retaliated against the survivor. That’s why most murders in the city lead to one or two more.

The article mentioned how she did it because she didn’t trust the justice system....
Shawntrell Hills didn't trust police, had little faith in the criminal justice system and wanted an immediate resolution to her son's slaying, relatives said.

Her son, after all, was a known Central City cocaine and heroin peddler, the kind of victim they believe elicits little pity from detectives.

There is some truth in that but my thing is if she knew enough to know where to go find the people who did it she could have just told the police and maybe she would have got a quick resolution. Trying your best to get your son to stop selling cocaine and heroin was another good idea. This city has an isolated group of people who don’t care about rebuilding efforts, or the city’s image or not even what their neighbors think. They live by their own rules and their own code. You can have 5000 police officers with crime cameras on ever corner and you won’t be able to do anything about crime until you tackle that mentality. Just read the article. Ms. Hills’ family puts it out there for you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fun and Violence Don't Go Together

Back in the hood history of New Orleans there was a nightclub named Rumors. Rumors was the most popular night spot of my generation. It was one spot that attracted people from all parts of the city because of it's energy. I myself only managed to visit two times. I only went through the door once. Besides not wanting to be around that many crazy people, the reason I never wanted to go was I couldn’t have any fun under the constant threat of violence. Week after week there would be stabbings, shootings, assaults and all kinds of other madness and the same folks kept going back. How you have fun under that kind of tension always puzzled me. That’s why I don’t understand when things like getting arrested for being in a club with a pistol happen to successful cats like Plaxico Burress. Actually, even if he wasn’t making millions of dollars a year it would make no sense.

When you grow up in certain areas you expect having to fight from time to time. It's very difficult to make it all the way through with a conflict here or there. It’s part of the environment. You might have to fight on your way home from school or on the way back from the store for your mom. It's not really an option. I just can’t get with the premise that a person gets up, puts on his best clothes to go out for fun but before he leaves he grabs his pistol because someone may be tripping in the place he’s going. That’s not a good time. All you need for a good time is strong drinks, friendly women who smell good and music you like. If you have enough friendly, good smelling women you don’t even need the drinks or the music. I’m sure members of the New York Giants can get whatever accommodations they want without the need for being strapped. Brothers with money and access have to stop putting themselves in ghetto situations because I am tired of seeing the brothers in handcuffs.