Monday, June 30, 2008

Barak Needs To Speak To Bobby

Barak Obama can learn a lot from our Governor Bobby Jindal. Here’s a guy who ran as the savior of the state. He’s young, intelligent, and he appears to have a different approach to how government is supposed to operate. His local campaign of change and a new direction sounds very similar to Senator Obama. He is also following an unpopular predecessor just like Obama will be. He won the governor’s race without a runoff. It was a mandate from the people that wanted things to change. When Governor Jindal got in office he quickly realized that one cat alone can’t wave his hand over all those career politicians and a system over a hundred years old and change everything. The governor made a deal to get his agenda passed. The pay raise was part of the deal so he wasn’t going to veto the deal. The people heard about it and went as far as drafting recall papers. Today, he decided to “correct his mistake” and veto the legislative pay raise.

People all over message boards and the news media are jumping for joy at the fact their voices were heard and the raise was vetoed. We will see how many of these people keep paying attention when Governor Jindal introduces bill after bill that doesn’t get any cooperation because he went back on his word to the legislature. It may not be a big news story like the pay raise but you watch how many smaller things don’t get done because of the gridlock. He probably could have avoided all of this by mentioning sometime during the campaign that the kind of change folks are looking to see takes place over years and years of policy change and new faces. Maybe then he wouldn’t have had people looking to recall him six months into his first term behind a bill he hadn’t even signed yet. Things can turn really fast when folks expect a miracle.

How does this translate to Obama? Somewhere along the line he needs to talk plainly to these people who think he is going to get inaugurated in January, end the war in February and get gas prices cut in half by March. He needs to let them know that the truth is with the problems he is inheriting all he can do is lay the groundwork for the next few years. We probably won’t be leaving Iraq anytime soon. Those jobs that have been outsourced probably are not coming back and gas is going to be high for awhile unless you want to drill a few holes in Alaska. If something happens in the Middle East that makes the country feel threatened, he might even have to drop a bomb on someone. He needs to let people know how this process works. Those lobbyist and special interest groups aren’t going to close down just because he wins. If he doesn’t keep it real with the public and things don’t change real fast, next year this time we will be talking about how his approval ratings are so low that George W. Bush looks like George Washington. You have to look past November 5th.

Please Read Carefully

Before I get to the other stuff I want to talk about let me address something. Recently Blogger has been tripping with my email notices and I haven’t seen all of my comments. Someone brought to my attention today that an anonymous person left me a comment accusing me of making fun of Norman Robinson’s DUI arrest.
Clifton, It's not something to laugh about that you have driven home many time "seeing double."
I went back and read that and found nothing funny about what I mentioned. There was not one joke in the entire paragraph. What I shared was a personal account of something I am not proud of. I was trying to empathize with Norman. Sometimes I share some personal stuff on here that other people may not divulge on their sites. Sometimes folks get the wrong idea. Maybe my writing sucks. I have no problem accepting any criticism or comments about what I said because that’s the chance you take when you do that kind of thing. If you want to comment then that’s fine. If you want to disagree and debate me that’s fine too. If you want to be anonymous that’s fine too. Just make sure you read carefully and get the right meaning before you accuse me of something like making fun of drunk driving.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Justice Revius Ortique, Jr.

Justice Revius Ortique, Jr., a civil rights lawyer and the first African-American justice elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court, passed away on Sunday, June 22, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Miriam Marie Victorianne Ortique, a daughter, Rhesa Marie McDonald; and three grandchildren.

Justice Ortique was born in New Orleans and served four years as an Army officer during World War II. He earned a bachelor's degree from Dillard University, a master's degree from Indiana University and a law degree from Southern University in 1956. As a civil rights attorney in the 1950s and 1960s, he led efforts in the state to integrate labor unions and represented black workers in lawsuits seeking pay equal to their white counterparts.

In 1957, he, along with other leading black lawyers established the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society to address the biases against minority attorneys in the state. 1958, Ortique was elected to the first of five terms as president of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans. A year later, he was elected president of the National Bar Association, an association of black lawyers and judges. He served three terms as president of the Community Relations Council, a biracial group in New Orleans.

In the mid-1960s, when Ortique led the National Bar Association, he lobbied President Lyndon Johnson to appoint black judges to the federal bench. Johnson later nominated Thurgood Marshall, who became the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1978, the Louisiana Supreme Court appointed Justice Ortique to a seat on the Civil District bench pro tempore. In 1979, he was elected to the Civil District Court bench, and was re-elected, without opposition, in 1984, and he was elected chief judge two years later.

He was the first black member of the Louisiana State Bar Association's House of Delegates.

In 1992, Justice Ortique was elected to the bench of the Louisiana Supreme Court until 1994 when he reached the mandatory retirement age. He was appointed by five U.S. presidents to various commissions and boards. He was chairman for eight years of the New Orleans Aviation Board after being appointed by Mayor Marc Morial.

Justice Ortique had been a lifelong New Orleanian, until he and his wife, moved to Baton Rouge following Hurricane Katrina. They had planned to return when repairs to their home were complete.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Land Of Misguided Soldiers

Note: This blog is about New Orleans because that’s where I am and where I grew up. I am sure it applies to other places around the country. I never try to make my city the ignorant capitol of America. Anyone outside of the city can apply their city and their neighborhoods in place of ours.

We have a murder problem that’s not getting any better. One of the main problems is the easy access to guns. Guns are the tools by which we take out our frustrations on one another. Guns are the tools, but if you took every one of them off the streets of New Orleans we would still have problems because of our philosophy to never let anyone get away with anything. We have been raised not to take any shit from anyone. We can’t let anything go even when it’s something as silly as “she was looking at me like she wanted to fight me”. When the line has been drawn in the sand there is no walking away. Just listen to the second line and Mardi Gras Indian music. It’s all about representing where you are from and standing your ground. Backing down is seen as a weakness. It’s not a good idea to let anyone know you might not be the type to whip some ass. That’s why because of my size I never smile in public around strangers. I don’t want any lightweight thinking he’s going to get a rep by trying to punk me. I’d break his back first.……..See what I mean?

This is not a new phenomenon. One of my grandfather’s favorite stories is how he got kicked out of the fourth grade for breaking a little boy’s jaw for laughing at his honey and bread sandwich. My grandmother Mildred told me about fighting their way back from ballgames on the Westbank when she was in school and that was the late 30’s. My Auntie Anna told me about all the kids from the Ninth Ward fighting their way to the bus at Derham School uptown. That was the early 60’s. These youngsters are not doing anything we didn’t do when we wore our Ninth Ward hats and had beef with the cats back of town at the house parties. They just have AK-47’s at their disposal. They also have much less family structure or sense of purpose after the crack epidemic destroyed many of the people that should have been raising them. Nowadays those family fights in the neighborhood turn into an unnecessary loss of life. Some of those cats could still be here by just being quiet and walking away, but didn’t know they could and still get respect.

I am a pretty easy going guy by hood standards. There are some things that happen I chose to let go. It was always for the best but there’s a part of me that thinks I would feel a lot better if I had just whipped somebody’s ass. Actually, sometimes I think about every time I didn’t knock someone on their ass and it bothers me a little. I’m not violent. That’s just the environment we came up in. I wish I could describe the look on my boys’ face when I make the case for not dealing with somebody in that manner. Take my neighbors for example. By hood standards I have had at least three valid reasons to go knock on their door and start some shit. I don’t because I know that every ignorant story like that slows our progress so I just go inside and try to laugh at it enough not to set her car on fire. Sometimes I am in the store minding my business and some dude is just staring at me with that look. I want to say “ What the f#*K are you looking at?,” but I don’t because I know by protocol he’s got to reply with something like “I’m looking at you ole bit#$ ass ni**ga”. Then all hell is breaking loose after that.

Now, here I am, Mr. Pro Community and Black Consciousness talking about the urge to humbug with my neighbors and fight in the store for someone looking at me. Imagine what’s happening when these not so conscious cats get in the same situation. The fact is that you could put a gun on my lap right now and it would have the same amount of bullets in it forever no matter how mad I got at someone. Unless my family was in danger I am not using it. I’m not about that. There are thousands of us who are not. But what about the cat who wears that soldier status on his chest with pride? What about the folks from the Nine that don’t mind dying, or the Fisher fool, or the 8th Ward animal or the 7th Ward Hard Head, or the uptown soldier out the Wild Magnolia with no home training?

Look at the ten o’clock news most nights and you can find out for yourself. This attitude has cost us so much. If we don’t figure out a way to change this it won’t matter if we hire a thousand more policemen. Things will still be the same and the funeral t-shirt makers will keep getting rich.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bitter Reminders

I don’t care what anyone says, water is the most fierce thing on this planet and when it decides to go places it wants to go we can’t do shit to stop it.

I know the rivers are rising and it’s flooding in the Midwest.

Thousands of people are losing their homes and all of their possessions.

I know that some of these people were led to believe the levees designed to protect them wouldn’t fail.

The water over topped more than 20 levees. I think the Corps of Engineers needs to switch to the metric system or outsource this stuff to India because they can’t build anything right.

I wanted to blog about it before now but every time I got ready I started thinking about our situation here and I got too angry. It’s been difficult to watch on the news because those folks are powerless without the proper protection. I want to give props to The Book for doing it first and making me write this. The good thing is that the rivers rose slow enough for most folks to get out of there in time. The lost of life makes recovery 100 times harder to deal with. You never look at the place the same again when it costs you a loved one.

I wish I had the time and the money to take off from work and go up there to help them lay sandbags. After the water levels go back to normal and the bags are no longer needed we can take the sand and throw it at the FEMA representatives who told some of those folks they didn’t need flood insurance anymore.

You know, while I have all the sympathy and empathy in the world for these people in the Midwest, I keep waiting for all the reporters and congressman to start suggesting that no one rebuilds in any of these towns like they told us not to do. Natural disasters helped along by the government can sure make you bitter.

Good luck Midwest folks. I hope your recovery isn't like ours.

Big Market Bias

I know I am a few days late on this but I had to get over Kobe losing. I am happy for K.G. and Doc Rivers. I am glad Paul Pierce got to prove what he could do on the basketball court to a national audience. I have no problem with that at all but this was not supposed to happen. To me, Boston winning the title shows why so many people think the NBA is rigged. There is no way a team should be able to tank an entire season in order to get the number one pick, not get it, and still be able to make a trade for Kevin Garnett and win the title. It’s the same way the Lakers shouldn’t have been there either after trading for Pau Gasol. Would this happen in Milwaukee or New Orleans? This is why I predict the Knicks will make the finals in the next three years now that Isiah is gone. Cleveland will probably trade Lebron to New York for Stephan Marbury, two second round picks and a guy no one has ever heard of. David Stern needs to go ahead and make that same phone call he made to Minnesota and Memphis.

The Celtics through away an entire season on purpose but since it's Boston no one in the media seems to remember that. It's just like T.O and Pacman Jones being the anti-Christ until they went to Dallas. Now it's all good again. If the Saints would have traded for Pacman Jones every sportswriter in America would have went crazy.

I guess it could be like baseball where there are cities who know at the beginning of the year their teams aren't winning the championship.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Go Sit Down Somewhere

Dear Mr. Jefferson,

I am tired of talking about you but you won’t go away. You are making it difficult to suppress the angry black man in me.

This is not personal. For all I know you could be a great guy. I don’t really care about you personally. I do care that you have decided to run again for Congress. See, the first time I was angry. I thought you were being selfish. You got lucky because Harry Lee wanted revenge for Karen Carter criticizing the racist policemen who shot at people on the Mississippi Bridge after Katrina so he told all the fools to vote against her and they did it. You had another two years to act innocent while a federal indictment was hanging over your head. I guess the appearance of innocence was worth more to you than thousands of constituents needing as much help as they could from the government.

Now you are running again and almost every member of your family has been indicted for some scheme to take money from the citizens. Your sister pleaded guilty last week. I realize your name wasn’t involved in any of these cases. I’m just saying that I have two brothers and two sisters. My baby brother is stubborn. My other brother is stubborn. My sister might be a little stubborn. I could see how someone could put all that together and think I am stubborn too.

If your sisters got indicted and your brother got indicted, maybe the people on Capitol Hill will come to the concluion that you are corrupt. Who could blame them when you had 90k in the freezer of your house. I’m sure some of them are just as corrupt as you. They just don’t represent a district where there is no healthcare facilities for miles and schools in trailers. There is no Karen Carter this time. I am not sure who’s running against you. My only hope is that all of your opponents are not white. The reason for that is that black people in our area have this philosophy that even a crooked brother can’t do us as bad as a white dude. That’s misguided and damaging sometimes but it comes from years of living in this city and never communicating with one another.

But I don’t have to tell you about that because you already know. That’s why your selfish ass is running again. You are banking on this exact thing happening. You want someone to run commercials about your crooked ass family so you can get on 102.9 and AM 1230 and claim how they are all out to take down the black man so these paranoid cats can believe it and put you back in there until your attorneys figure out a way to get your frozen money excluded from the evidence.

I got news for you Bill. People here are way more pissed than they used to be. We might not be totally ready to vote Caucasian but that doesn’t mean we are running down there to pull the lever for your ass either. If you don’t believe me ask Cynthia Willard Lewis. Do us all a favor and sit ya ass down somewhere.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Performance Review

The state legislators just approved a raise for themselves. Governor Jindal is not going to veto it. Maybe he thinks this is a way of keeping down corruption. The first thing that I find funny about the raise is that there is no way any of these people are living solely on 16,000 a year anyway. The second part that I find funny is that the sponsor of this bill is Senator Ann Duplessis. I heard her say on the radio today that the pay raise is needed because of all the time spent trying to open Charity Hospital and other hospitals around the city and in her district. Well, I live and drive through her district everyday. I have long given up on reading about plans for future development in the city. I judge everything by what I can see with my own two eyes because around here if you can’t see it then you can’t say it’s coming. With that in mind, I not only think Senator Duplessis shouldn’t get a pay raise. She should send everyone in her district a check for 500.00 with an apology for the lack of recovery.

If Bobby Jindal signs this bill it will be proof of my theory that political systems in this country or designed so the folks in power can’t lose it to the principles of one person.

Get Well Norman

I would like to give my support to Norman Robinson. I love Norman and I hope he doesn’t get fired behind the DWI. He shouldn’t be out there risking his life and others like that . I have to confess to having my share of long rides home seeing double. I know what Norman Robinson is going through. That drinking bug is a terrible habit to shake once it gets on your back. It turns good people into stupid people. It's actually worse on you if you like it. I have really made and effort to cut down on that because I have been lucky enough to make it home for a long time without doing something stupid. I hope it works out for him. Who’s going go off on FEMA after the next storm if Norman isn’t around?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back To Normal

Well, it’s a new week. The family is gone and I am back to being the lone non refugee family member from the Lower Ninth Ward St. Claude Harris contingent. It was good to have most of them here but now it’s back to the daily grind. The first day at work after a vacation is rough. It’s even tougher when you didn’t rest at all. You need a vacation to get over the vacation. I can’t quite figure out if everyone in my office was happy to see me or did they just know I was the one who wouldn’t say no to anything and spend all day working on their issues. Either way I was glad to be back in the office to start compiling more vacation time. If you think you don’t have enough to do at work just let it pile up for a week and reality will hit you soon enough. Do you know how hard it is to follow Tiger Woods in a playoff round of golf when you trying to return phone calls and emails?

I also got to go back to the park today and start working out again. This has become the highlight of my day since I started getting into 2X shirts again. There’s a coach who is also a personal trainer at the park. The cat keeps hounding me. He wants to train me. He doesn’t bother anyone else at the park but me. I keep feeling like we are in one of those corny sports movies where the washed up athlete befriends the well meaning coach and ends up running a race or something at the end of the movie. I hate to inform coach of this but my corns and bunions hurt so bad after I leave the park, if he tries to make me run one sprint I am immediately going to my truck, driving to the service station across the street and buying an ice cold beer. I understand he probably sees the potential in my frame but you are not going to have me in foot surgery in a few years so you can brag to your trainer friends. I promised I would do some abs work with him tomorrow. He’s lucky it’s close to the Essence Festival and I want to wear a red see through body shirt.

Another thing that bothers me about the park is this dog situation. I realize we live in a country of dog lovers. I love dogs too. Some of you think your pets think like you do. Everyday there is a some one with a big ass rottweiler or German shepherd playing fetch in the grass without a leash while all these people are walking and running around. I realize Fluffy has never bitten anyone but Fluffy’s ass is 100 pounds of muscle and can chase down a car at 35 miles an hour. Just remember, Siegfried and Roy owned that tiger since it was a kitten but when it’s pride kicked in it didn’t hesitate to take a chunk out of one of them.

Now that things are back to normal, I can get back to worrying about stuff like bills, and wondering where my stimulus check is and why I have no Roots tickets.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Attention Parents of Chicago!!

R. Kelly was just found not guilty today on all counts of child pornography. Apparently that wasn't him on the tape that millions of people watched all across the country.

Do you know what this means?

There is a tall rich black man who looks like R. Kelly with enough money to have a big ass house and a studio running around making sex tapes with unidentified teenage girls. Since it wasn't R. Kelly the real pervert is still out walking the streets.

Just like O.J is trying to find the real killers. We must find and prosecute the real freak.

I'm going back to my optometrist and get my eyes checked again. The cat I saw on the tape sure looked like Robert to me.

Friday was a shitty news day.

What was up with all those sisters outside the courthouse acting like they just acquitted Angela Davis or somebody?

Sunday Morning Won't Be The Same

No matter how much I do on Saturday night I always plan my Sunday mornings around waking up in time to watch Meet The Press. I even watch the show before any football shows during the season. I watch lots of news shows and usually the host doesn’t matter. Meet the Press was different. I actually liked Tim Russert because he was fair and he always appeared to be love what he was doing. I feel like I knew that guy.

I will root for the Bills this year except if they play the Saints in the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Love This Day

Sometime during the afternoon on June 11 1974, a pregnant lady was walking around Carrollton shopping center with her sister when she went into labor. This had to be a happy day for her because the baby was supposed to be born on May 11 and once the calendar hit June she had to be pissed. Sometime late that evening a young man was born and his parents named him Clifton Joseph Harris III.

People always wonder how I got to be a third when my grandfather’s name is Walter. Well, my dad’s mom had a an uncle named Clifton Jones that she loved like a father. There were already a bunch of cats in the family named after my grandfather and my grandmother wanted to name her first son to honor someone in her family so when my daddy was born she named him Clifton after her uncle. Now, just in case anyone thinks my family has some deep rooted problems, grandma daddy‘s name was Wade Jones and that‘s my brother Walter‘s middle name. My other brother Jerald is named after my deceased grandmother’s twin brother. We covered everybody. When I was born my mama decided to put the third on my birth certificate to give me distinction. It took me a few years to figure out the sense in all of that. Now that I am an older, cynical brother who gets aggravated easily, I think even if there wasn’t a Clifton Jones I would have wanted my mom to add the third to my name. If not I would be Clifton Joseph Harris Jr. and people would be calling me C.J. I would have hated that just as much as people who call me Clifford.

Thirty four by normal standards is pretty young. I realize if everything goes according to plan I have many years left. Sometimes when my birthday comes I think about all the guys I grew up with or the guys my age that I heard about who overdosed, got murdered, went to prison forever and all kinds of other things. I know so many people personally who never made it to 30. It’s no wonder cats my age talk like old men. It’s been a long life so far in many ways.

But I am not complaining. I want to be here a long time. I want to see grandkids and flying cars and vote for Will Smith for president in twenty years (You heard it here first.) I want to be the old cat sitting on the porch sipping brandy and telling young cats how to get their things together. I figure by that time I would have made every mistake I am going to make and did everything I could to fix them.

I don’t know why people get down and depressed on their birthday. Birthdays are great. It’s the day that whatever creator of life you believe in put you here. Everybody didn’t get the best hand dealt when they got to the table but you can’t do a damn about it if you're not here. I love June 11th. If I was all alone I would have a one man party. Until I became a father there wasn't a day of the year that came close. I’m posting this Salt and Pepa song on here just because the song and the video makes me smile. Besides, when it comes to hip hop you can never go wrong with 1988 or jeans with holes in them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chilling and Sweating at the Crabbing Hole

I can’t think of a better reason to bake in June heat than a family crabbing trip. My peeps are in town visiting for my birthday and we decided to head down to St. Bernard Parish to catch a few crabs, drink a few beers, and get a few bug bites. That was the first time since Katrina we did that. In my crib where I grew up this was a huge deal when it got warm. I have to say I am like a ghetto crabbing expert. All I need is a few sticks, a net, old chicken bones and some string and it’s party time. I made a point not to go through the Ninth Ward so we wouldn’t have any of that stuff to deal with. I have to say that it was a real good day although it probably wasn’t a good idea to drink so much last night and wake up with a hangover before going out in that heat.

There were stores open along the way to get everything and all of our spots were open too. I also discovered that being an amateur ghetto fisherman is in Harris blood. I thought I would spend the entire day chasing bugs and stopping tears. Instead I have to go find rod and reels for children. The only thing missing was my sister Jenny. If you read this Jenny we are going when you visit and take your husband. Make sure you tell him to bring some Off, sunscreen, and something for shade. This is going to be one hot ass summer. I need to buy me a big hat again.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sittin on My Porch Part Ten.....Nothing Too Serious

This post is dedicated to the Big Cat Ernie
Ladd, Junkyard Dog and Mid South wrestling on Mondays at the Municipal Auditorium back in the day. As soon as I win the Power Ball I am bringing this back. I will donate all the ticket profits to the New Orleans Recreation Department and help the kids. Wrestling and helping the community at the same time is the American dream for me. When I was a little boy in the Ninth Ward, my friends in the neighborhood were so in awe of my daddy’s size that we used to debate whether or not he could beat J.Y.D and take the North American title. Now that I think about it 25 years later, my daddy would have kicked his ass and ran him out of town. Then Junkyard Dog would have came back as Stagger Lee and my daddy would have been trying to take the mask off to prove to everybody that Stagger Lee really was the Junkyard Dog in disguise. Then somebody at the auditorium would have said something nasty about my daddy because everybody loved J.Y.D. Then my mama and my aunts would have went off on the people in the crowd and we would have been banned from going to the matches until my daddy lost the title. That would have been awesome. I would have went to school and all the kids would have been scared of me because my daddy knew how to do the piledriver and his signature move the Lower Nine Shoulder Breaker. Going back to college for his degree instead of wrestling after Vietnam might be the only thing in life where my daddy failed me…………..Let’s move on before he whips my ass for this.

I’m just getting up and around today. Yesterday I went to the beer tasting event for WYES Channel 12 and it takes awhile to get over the mixture of wheat, hops, and barley. This Sunday is different because I finally took a week’s vacation and I feel strange. It’s my birthday Wednesday and some of my family is coming to visit and help me celebrate. I never take vacations. I have so much vacation and sick time saved up at work that if I quit tomorrow I would get paid for another three months. I have decided to make this a week full of anything but serious thoughts about politics, the city, or anything else that stays on my mind. Sometimes I want to sit back and do nothing. I just want to sit here and drink a few cocktails while I Google websites hoping to find a secret code for free membership into my favorite model’s website (I can’t put her name just in case I find the code. I don’t want to get sued.).

If my neighbor came outside right now fussing about my music I wouldn’t even be that upset with her. I might turn the water hose on her but that’s about it. I am seriously thinking about filling the kiddy pool and sitting in it to cool off. The only thing is that I have been having a few knee problems since I started working out again and I can’t deal with the embarrassment if someone has to come pull me up out of there when my legs lock up. I guess I will sit out here in this faint June breeze and enjoy this Churchill cigar.

In keeping with the theme of this post. I would like to share little known and useless facts about myself…….

I know all the words to the movie Blazing Saddles.

I also know all the routines to four Richard Pryor albums.

I fly a few times a year but everything I do I am always petrified and actually get depressed about the whole experience until I get back home.

My favorite color is green.

If I could pick one job to have for the next ten years it would be a talk radio host.

That last line is funny to me because the one fact about me know one believes is that I am incredibly shy.

I desperately want to learn how to play the guitar but I can’t figure out how to read music.

I give my best friend Ced all kinds of grief for his abundance of facial and skin care products. The truth of the matter is that I am just as bad. I am always obsessed with my appearance. In fact, there was a time where me and him used to take turns removing ingrown hairs from the razor bumps on each other’s face. It was worse when I had hair. In high school girls used to come to me to use my comb because they knew I always had one.

I will be doing this all week. Hopefully all my readers won’t have abandoned me by Friday.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Registration Blues Part 5......Getting Accepted

It’s not often something happens concerning the New Orleans public school process that works so well that I can’t fuss. Today I met with the principal of the school I think my baby is going to attend. This new school is the spin-off from one of the other schools that we were on the waiting list for. I thought it was kind of strange he was visiting people on the weekends. After meeting with him I think since the school is new and everyone is skeptical about the charter system he took it upon himself to make a first hand presentation. I can dig that. I like the guy. The school’s mission appears to be sincere. He took away a lot of my anxiety about the whole situation. The only concern is the location of the school. It’s hard not to associate the location of the building with the neighborhood around it. That’s a pretty rough area that I personally avoid whenever possible. The principal knew exactly what I was talking about and he assured us that every measure was being taken to assure a safe environment.

Growing up in this city, you can be distracted by so many things in school. Most of the distractions come from the kids with no home training. There are kids in this city who go to school to practice fighting for neighborhood situations when they get home. Even when I was in elementary school this made no sense to me. We have always embraced that kind of behavior in a way. It’s part of our spirit as local warriors. Just like all the buildings being demolished around the city, that mentality has got to go. I’m not teaching my baby her A,B,C’s, how to spell, how to add, and all her shapes along with how to land a left jab and the proper way to break a bottle over someone’s head without killing them just so she can graduate from grade school. It’s 2008 and if she has to do those things the way her parents, grandparents and even great grandparents had to do to go to school in this city then that’s no progress at all. It’s not going to happen.

The easy solution to the whole thing would have been to cut the check and pay for private school. I think that’s where we were headed before this guy should up out of nowhere and requested her. While my personal journey may be over for now, I can’t help think about all the other kids that are not on a list anywhere, just moving back in town, or their parents don’t have the time or capacity to seek out all these different places. You may not see it now but these are the kids that end up on the Crime Stoppers billboard because no one cared what the hell happened to them at school. They are also the kids you and your kids can’t avoid if you plan on living in the city. The longer we let them get bad education is the longer we all need two guns.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I am going to put aside my pro negro issue driven, flooded community, bad health care, messed up school system, tired of crime, sick of politicians state of mind for a minute…….

Seeing the brother leading the ticket for the White House is a pretty historic thing that I have to acknowledge. I can not under state the impact Senator Obama has on the people. I haven’t gotten that cynical where the sight of the guys in the sports bar yesterday evening watching CNN and discussing politics instead of watching ESPN didn’t move me.

I will now go back to being issue driven and angry now.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

One Shade of Change

I won’t make my opinion about Barak Obama leaving the Trinity United Church a personal thing. It’s a good political move all the way and I knew Barak was a master politician when people were treating him like a profit. Even the folks at Trinity probably concede that he had to leave. While this is good for the election it may be bad in the long run.

Let’s take Obama out of the equation. Let’s talk about George Bush. George Bush told his supporters he would cut taxes and he did. We had a terrorist attack, and we went to war with Afghanistan. Then, we went to Iraq and things went wrong. We have been feeding money into this war for years and not one time has President Bush mentioned rolling back the tax cuts. Do you know why? He can’t. The reason why he can’t is because that’s one of the principles he ran on in 2000. There was no way he could back on the cuts even when the war went bad because he had to run again in 2004. He can’t do it now because McCain is trying to win on that same principle.

If Barak Obama makes the decision now to not address or acknowledge any issue that is specific to the African American community while he is running, he won’t be able to do it while he is president. If he does he will only be in office for one term and every politician’s job is to win elections. The proper way to get things done is to not make a sweeping endorsement of a candidate until you have a commitment that your concerns will be addressed before you vote. With the amount of work it’s going to take for him to win over working class white people between now and November, I am prepared to vote for and celebrate Barak’s victory and get ready for the first black president that won’t be able to address any black issues without destroying his career.

If you think I am off base about this please explain how since this campaign begun the man has run consistently as the candidate for all Americans of every race, and ethnicity, yet has had to denounce a black man and leave a black church. There hasn’t been one quote from Obama himself that any candidate can use against him along racial lines.

He should engage that debate even after leaving the church. He should explain what was seen on that tape. Tell everyone how black people tend to laugh at certain scenarios even when they are bad like the congregation was doing during Father Flegler’s sermon. He should call Pat Buchanan and the talk radio host and allow them to express the concerns of the angry white man and have an open discussion with Cornel West and some other brother or sister. Let’s get it all out in the open to get some understanding. Working class white people have legitimate concerns but so does the black community. Now, with leaving the church, Barak Obama has basically said to the country “I will denounce or remove myself from anything that makes the majority uncomfortable.” I know why he had to do it. I just don’t like it.

I guess that first black president thing isn’t going to be smooth sailing after all.