Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Long Standing Community Issue Reduced To A Six Pack

I have been trying to sort out my feelings about the racial profiling beer party at the White House. I’m going to sit here and try to type my way to an opinion. Should I look at this as a symbolic way of bringing Americans together on the issue of racial profiling and the justice system? Is this President's Obama's way of appeasing law enforcement because he hurt their feelings with the truth? I can't make up my mind. It seems like the president and Dr. Gates are both taking this issue way too lightly for me. It seems The White House is trying to get rid of the subject instead of accepting the debate head on. It's like I said the other day, there is too much focus on Sergeant Crowley. The president might be too worried about offending people. Nothing in this country has ever changed without someones feelings getting hurt. That's just part of the growing pains when you live in progressive society. If President Obama thinks he's going to bring about the change he was talking about during the campaign while not pissing anyone off then he needs to think again or step down because he's wasting his time.

I could be having a bad week but it seems the only people he can chastise with no repercussions are black men with our irresponsible and deadbeat daddy lifestyles. That’s true for some but if a group of black dads show up at the White House with their children angry because his speeches about responsibility offended them, is the president going to back off his stern words and invite them in for a couple of Heinekens? The community’s opinion about racial profiling doesn’t apply to all police officers but it does apply to enough where you shouldn’t have to buy them a drink for calling them out. While writing this I have made up my mind and I think it was trivial and doesn’t give the issue the attention it deserves. It’s another wasted opportunity to have a serious discussion about a real issue. Over 100 years of black people being arrested and harassed for anything and everything has been reduced to a six pack and I have typed my way into being disappointed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sitting On My Porch Part Thirty

Rest in Peace Ms. Lilly. Some folks from my city didn't get a chance to come back home during their lifetime but they all find their way back in the end on the slow ride.

Wouldn't you know that at the start of a week when I felt a little down every insane friend I have called me with the most silly and unimportant conversation. That was just what I needed. This might sound crazy but you need friends that don't give a damn about anything but sharing a laugh with you. You need at least one person to learn hug and shed a tear or two and one to call and hear jokes that are in very bad taste. That's why I love them.

There will not be a new city hall in the Chevron building. The council voted it down by a 4-3 vote. The vote was split along racial lines but count me in the number that didn't like the idea. What happened to the idea of building a new city complex? I say we take that at least half of the money we were going to give to Chevron and send it straight to the NORD budget. I think is a good idea. Anything other than IT spending is a good idea.

Does everyone realize that since Barack Obama is going through so much to kiss up to the police officer that he said acted stupidly when Dr. Gates was arrested, he won't be taking another racial question for the rest of his first term? It's gonna have to be something like Rosewood before he ever takes the brothers' side again. He damn sure won't be addressing anything dealing with law enforcement. You know what means don't you? Reverend Al is back in business!

If that wasn't bad enough there are actually lawmakers in Washington D.C that are questioning whether or not the president is a citizen. This is really crazy to me. This is so crazy that I couldn't think of a good joke about it. How can people like this be allowed to hold office.

Sarah Palin officially stepped down this week because it wasn't fair to Alaskans for her to stay when she was doing other things. So she couldn't run Alaska to make speeches but there are people who actually think she could run two wars, a bad recession, health care reform etc..........American politics has jumped the shark.

Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian have broken up. I will miss their relationship only because if you were trying to google pictures of her and got caught you could claim you were looking for his Saints highlights and she came up by mistake. It was just another reason to love #25. Now that's over and it's time to find Reggie a nice downtown girl who knows her grandmother's gumbo recipe and can make the bomb pot of Camellia red beans. Once we find Reggie a sister like this there is only two things that could happen. He's going to have a 3000 all purpose yard season or he's going to gain so much weight he ends up on the offensive line. Either way I am excited.

Last night I was watching Shaq on Monday Night RAW. I have never wanted to be any other person than Clifton Joseph Harris III. With that being said, every now and then you see someone and think to yourself; I wouldn't mind being that guy for a weekend just to see what it's like to live like that. I'm not sure how many people you should feel this way about but I will give you five for the sake of conversation. Lets go with Shaq, Diddy, Bear Grills shooting Man vs Wild, Prince on tour, and Buffie the Body's boyfriend. I think a weekend being any of these cats would not suck.

School is about to start again. The recovery schools in New Orleans will be going 50 days more than any other school. I'll say it...this is punishment for their parents not being able to get them accepted into a charter school. I would be pretty pissed if I had to stay in school 50 extra days while all my friends were outside laughing at me. I like the fact that all the schools have these detailed supply lists. Back when I was going to school in the city you could tell a lot about parental involvement by looking at what a kid brought to school the first day. There would always be that one kid with too much stuff. They would have a He Man backpack, a Trapper Keeper, a 64 box of crayons, a pencil sharpener, compass, protractor, and all kinds of other stuff we probably weren't going to use. His mama was just showing off. That same kid would be sitting right next to another kid that had nothing but three pieces of loose leaf paper and a number 2 pencil.

My people wrote this blog about how hip hop doesn't love her anymore. I couldn't give a counter argument after listening to the radio. All I can do is keep showing love to songs that don't fit the stereotype.

Monday, July 27, 2009

There is nothing like waking up on a Monday morning with too much on your mind and none of it is good. I feel so uninspired today that I won't even try to name this post. A bad Monday morning can send your entire week on a downward spiral so I am working on snapping out of it. Maybe I will tell you all about it tomorrow. Maybe I won't. Who knows. I'm just going to sit here with my headphones on and zone out at my desk. Before I do let me tell you about something that happened over the weekend.

I got to meet some nice Lutheran kids that were taking surveys during their convention. I was surprised how many people talked them. Groups like that have built up a little credit around the city. You know since Katrina there have been all kinds of religious groups here in the city volunteering and helping people. They are always the nicest people and they have meant a lot to the recovery effort especially when it comes to gutting and rebuilding homes. I just wonder where do all the wacko religious spokespeople that show up during election times come from. Do they do like some black "leaders" and just give themselves that position? If so I understand their frustration. It's just one of those things that make this country confusing sometimes.

That's too much thinking this morning. I'm putting my headphones back on.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Weekend Vibe...The Roots Are Back

The Roots have a new song called How I Got Over. They debuted it on the Jimmy Fallon show a few weeks ago but since I don't watch that I found out late as usual. I have listened to this song about 50 times over the last two days. The video is the live version because it doesn't have the curse words. Plus it's a pretty cool performance too. I know everyone has to feed their family so I am not mad they took the gig as Jimmy Fallon's house band. It just shows how messed up the music industry is that they have to do that and someone like Soulja Boy probably has a mansion and a yacht. I guess they should have done like Jay Z said and dumb down for the audience to double your dollars.

If you want to hear the studio version with the real lyrics click this link right here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Focus On The System Not the Officer

If there was ever a time for having open and honest discussion on race it would be now while President Obama is in office. Who better to lead that discussion than a bi racial president? I’m afraid we are going to miss the chance to use this Dr. Gates incident to open the discussion just like we did with Don Imus. President Obama made a mistake and used the word “stupidly” to describe the officer’s actions and now everything is all out of control. Although he was calling the actions stupid and not the person, you lose focus when you make things personal and there is no proof that the person is really the way you say they are. The issue of racial profiling in law enforcement has nothing to do with any one particular officer or one particular incident. Black America’s reaction to the story is based more in personal experience than anything. Racial profiling is about the easy acceptance of black people as criminals which leads to different treatment and more arrests. The acceptance of this image is embedded in our everyday fabric so it’s hard to make anyone who hasn’t experienced it understand. I don’t think I have the words to explain it myself but I have a story about an incident that happen to me one night that be a good example. This is a story about a night in Jefferson Louisiana. It makes every point that needs to be made.

One night about 12 years ago I was riding around having an old school cruise with my girlfriend at the time when I got pulled over. I looked at my girl and she looked at me with a confused look. I wasn’t speeding because my hooptie only did about 40 unless it was coming down and incline. We didn’t have any drinks in the car. We even managed to get the seatbelts to work and had them on by the time they got to my window. Two big guys with haircuts that made them look just like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator came up along both sides of the car. They asked me to get out. I got out and walked to the back. I got frisked. I had to stand with my hands on their car while they ran my license, checked my trunk, checked my back seat, checked my girl’s purse, and check the glove compartment. When the flashlight search didn’t turn up anything, one of them asked me “Hey Cliff, you got any drugs or guns in the car?” I didn’t have anything on me and my record was clean so they gave me my license back and started writing a ticket.

So I am standing out there with my trunk open, hands warm from the hood of the car, embarrassed because people keep slowing down to look at me, and now my girl is not in the mood anymore. I went through all of that because my driver side tail light bulb was blown out. I never changed my demeanor the whole time but inside I was thinking “you got me out here on the hood and checking my car like I am smuggling kilos for a tail light? If I wasn’t one of the guys who knew how to keep their composure during times like me and my girl would have probably ended up in jail. Now here’s the part that shows why you can’t focus on the officer when things like the Dr. Gates story happens. Once they realized I wasn’t out looking for trouble and didn’t have any record, they became two of the nicest people on the planet. They even told me what to tell the judge so I wouldn’t have to pay the ticket. Those two guys as individuals were not racist. The environment that made it ok for me to be treated like a smuggler before they treated me like everyone else is racist. I’m sure people pass there all the time with blown tail lights. If they do get tickets for it, I don’t think they all get the privilege of having their car searched and assuming the position. It’s not about the person. It’s about the system. If you don’t change the system then it won’t matter if Barack Obama himself went to Cambridge and fired that officer. Worst things will be happening to people who don’t work at Harvard and know famous people.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Speaking For the Kids on the Waiting List

I was watching Black in America Part 2. It wasn't nearly as depressing as the first installment. There was something mentioned on the show tonight that got me a ticked off. There was a segment about Principal Steve Perry of Capital Prep High School in Hartford Connecticut. This is a school with a 0% drop out rate and everyone that has graduated went on to college. It was a pretty inspiring story and I got a little choked up when the female student featured was accepted into Post College. That was nice. During the story Soledad O'Brien mentioned that the school had a waiting list of 2000 kids waiting for one of 40 available slots. If Connecticut has a three grade level gap between white and black students and this school has 2000 students on a waiting list which signals that many parents and kids in that community want to do better, why not just implement the same things Mr. Perry is doing at his school and apply it to every school in the district?

Stories like this make me angry and think that people are playing with our children's future. Everybody says they hate crime. They hate having to spend their tax dollars to support people who need government assistance. Well, I don't think many of the kids that come out of Capital Prep are going to have that problem because they will be equipped with the tools to make it thanks to Principal Perry. It would be a shock if any of those graduates ended up on the wrong side of life. How much better would the city of Hartford be if the 1660 students who won't get into his school are equipped with the same tools?

In New Orleans we have some public schools that are struggling. We also have some that are thriving and improving test scores. I'm not talking about the upper echelon public schools that are well funded and exclusive. They always have good test scores. I'm talking about the schools that accepted the challenge of teaching struggling students and raised their scores. They must be doing something right because every parent I know is trying to find ways to get their kids in. Almost all of these schools have waiting list. Why wouldn't we just take whatever they are doing and make every school do it. Am I making this seem too simple? If it's about politics and someone taking credit then don't admit you stole ideas from a charter school and do it anyway. None of that should matter at this critical time when so many young men and women are bailing out on school with no chance for the future. Maybe I am making it sound too simple. Maybe I am not knowledgeable enough to understand how these kinds of decisions are made. All I know is that if this brother can get every graduate to the college level he should be giving all the resources necessary to expand this program. Now that's black in America when you know what the answers are to changing things but have to deal with the reality and frustration that only a small select few of you will get a chance to experience it. I guess we will keep trying things so these inner city districts can keep struggling and superintendents can have places to hire them so they can try and make a name for themselves at the expense of a few more graduating classes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Here We Go Again...Black Problems Part 2

Tonight is the first installment of Black in America 2 on CNN. I will be watching because it's airing on CNN so whatever is reported during the show will be considered by a large amount of people as a fair and accurate assessment of black America. The first installment was a shock to the system. It aired last July and was so gripping and depressing it managed to lower morale during the middle of an historic election. It took about a month to get over the first part. Soledad O'Brien doesn't have a great track record when it comes to stories that are related to me. That New Orleans special was another blow to the system. In spite of that I like her so I will wait until tomorrow to pass judgment. By the time the show is over tonight I will either be going to sleep feeling really encouraged or sitting outside staring at the stars wondering what in the hell did we do to deserve this. With a CNN special it can go either way.

I wonder if CNN is going to keep the message board open this year. That made me feel great about the country.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Get To Know the Brother That Lives Across the Street

I have seen confrontations like the one between Dr. Gates and the Cambridge police department. It happens a lot but the other men are not world renowned professors at Harvard so you don't hear about it. There is nothing more defiant than a middle aged black man that knows he's not a criminal and is being questioned by the police. It's a life experience thing that I don't even understand. Some police officers can ignore most of that and some can't. It's possible Dr. Gates went off at the idea he had to prove he was walking into his own house. He might have used one of those names older black men use to describe police or white people and the officer got upset. I wasn't there so I don't know for sure.

I want to talk about the fact that one of his neighbors called 911. I know good and well if you live in the same area with a Harvard professor who has been all over the television for helping black people find their native countries you know what he looks like. If someone is giving you a ride home and pass his house you point out of the window and say "That's where Dr. Gates live". We did it with Fats Domino. Everyone in the Lower Ninth Ward could take you to Fats Domino house. I doubt that a 58 year old black man on a cane is going to start his crime spree in Cambridge. Whoever made that phone call was just being paranoid. Please get to know your black neighbors so we don't have these kind of problems.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Everybody Needs Health Care Reform

I don't agree with President Obama 100% of the time on all his policies but he is right about health care reform and I hope he keeps at it until the public wakes up and understands. If American businesses are going to fully recover and add employees you have to do something about the cost of health care coverage. I have been following this debate over the last few days and I am wondering why we haven’t passed this kind of reform years ago. A major part of the opposition is the ideas that the government will take away your option to choose your own plan and you may not be able to keep the current plan that you already have. This issue is not about whether or not you can choose your own plan. This is about whether anyone can afford any plan if we don't do something. I am sure there are lots of people who love their current health care plan but how many of them are actually paying the full amount themselves? My health care plan isn't that bad but it seems like every six months the amount I pay gets higher. For medical and dental I pay about 65.00 a paycheck in deductions. That's 130.00 a month. Some employees pay less than that and some pay more but the one common denominator is that our employer is paying the majority of it for everyone. If they didn't pay the amount that they do I couldn't afford it on my own. I would be sitting in the emergency room with everyone else. I really appreciate the fact my employer covers the majority for me but I figure that's about five people we can't hire as long as the rates are what they are.

That's the job killer no one can see. Health care costs are killing companies in the country. Trying to pay benefits for everyone currently on payroll and retired is one of the things that sent GM to bankruptcy. I don't know what a public option for insurance is going to look like but there has to be something that makes the insurance companies stop going up on rates every year. If not the 45 million people that don't have insurance now is only going to get higher because companies will lay off more full time employees and replace them with part time people or temps so they don't have to cover those benefits. Just think about how much money a company can save by laying off 1000 full time employees. This health care problem is serious. People with different philosophies and views may have another idea or way to do it. I don't think that discussion is a bad thing as long as everyone can agree something needs to change. Anyone that thinks the current system is a good thing should have their head examined.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sitting on My Porch Part Twenty Nine

Someone I know lost her brother two years ago. Her family didn’t know who did it. Last week a young man was killed and the word got back to them that this was the person who killed her brother. I asked myself that if that many people know this was the person why they just didn’t tell the police and give their family closure. Then I thought about the fact that while they would have had closure someone else would have probably got shot for snitching and another family would be grieving. I couldn’t think of a scenario where at least one more person was killed and that is depressing. It leads back to the only real option that we have to stop the killing cold turkey. The cycle continues and I don't know when it is going to end.

Councilwoman Shelly Midura says she is not running for re-election. I respect that decision and think everyone else on the council should not run as well. There’s no way you can be in this city government for the last four years and not be so drained that you can barely keep enough composure not to start cursing at people during meetings. I will go even further and say I am going to be extra skeptical of anyone over eager to run for office or re-election. The task facing the next group is going to be so great that no one who is not insane should be that excited about the job. It's good to have ambition and want a shot at the job but I think some hesitation in running for office is normal.

Lets all agree that the jobs that are being lost now were already in the process of being eliminated months before the stimulus was passed. Unless we were going to cut a check directly to every company in America with a guarantee that no one loses their job there was no way to stop most of these layoffs from happening. That's what companies do when they are having financial problems. If there are 500 employees on your job and 200 of you get laid off, someone has already figured out how to make that place run with the 300 people that are left. Even if things get better there isn't necessarily a need to hire anyone back.

In the past month I have met three people who recently moved to my city and got really good jobs within two weeks of being here. At the same time I know qualified people who have been here their whole life that can’t get an interview. It’s time to switch up the game plan. Everyone from the city needs to put an out of state address on their resume. I think the hood zip codes have been flagged for file 13. We just need to find a way to hide our accents. Don't feel less worthy if someone puts in a good word or sets up a job opportunity for you. Everyone else is doing it.

I’m happy to report that I am still not on Twitter and Facebook is looking kind of shaky to me. It’s strange that no matter how little information you put on your Facebook profile it can find everyone you went to school with, worked with, or had a date with in the last 20 years. If you are one of those people who wanted to ignore your past then you shouldn't be on Facebook.

Today I had a few minutes at work and decided to look at the kind of emails that are in my spam folder. Am I the only guy that thinks if the subject matter that comes through spam was all legit my life would be legendary and iconic? If the offers in spam were real there would be guys calling in from work just to check their email all day.

One of the few cool things left about living in the city you grew up in is going somewhere that kicks in a childhood memory. Tonight I went to a convenience store and parked in the same spot where when I was nine years old my brother put my dad’s Ford LTD and we started rolling backwards into Bayou St. John. I still remember me and my sister screaming in panic while my dad ran out of the store like the black Indiana Jones to jump in and stop the car. That was a good day.

This song is dedicated to all the people who are struggling with something at the moment. Try to stay positive and if you just need to smile think about me wearing the black hat the brother has on in this video because I think I want one.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Weekend Vibe: Memories Of Mellow Moods

I would like to dedicate this song to all the folks who made slow jam tapes why listening to Papa Smurf's Mellow Moods on FM 98 radio in New Orleans. I remember sitting there for hours for Papa to play a certain song you wanted on a fresh 90 minute Maxwell cassette. You couldn't walk too far away because there wasn't a lead in to the song unless it was the first one after the commercial break. Everyone used to sit there for hours hitting the pause button off and on until the tape was full. It never failed that the song you really wanted to record used to always come on when you were at the end of the first side of the tape and you had to be good with your hands to take it out and turn it over to record the remainder of the song on the second side. It was that problem or Papa Smurf would start talking before the song was over and mess up your timing so you had to run back to the stereo and hit stop so his talking wouldn't mess up the vibe on your tape when you took it to your girl's house. Our high school nights were spent talking on the phone and making tapes from Mellow Moods. I remember those times when you would be on the phone a little too late trying to talk all smooth to some girl and all of a sudden someone's parent would pick up another phone in the house and be like " need to be telling him goodbye and taking your ass to sleep". That was one of the greatest mood killers of all time. Something’s Missing by The Boppers is a hood classic in New Orleans. It makes me want to meet my lil boo in front of Popeyes on Rampart and Canal so I can take her to the dollar show at the Loew’s State Theater. If our parents didn't know what time the first movie started and she’s not scary we can sneak into a second movie and watch two for a dollar. If she was willing to sneak into a third movie you let her wear your chain or your jacket because she was special.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Weekend Vibe: Esperanza Spalding

My new artist game has been weak lately. By the time I find out about someone I really like their album is damn near a year old. It's still not too late to let everyone know that from here on out I am a die hard Esperanza Spalding fan. My friend went to Carol's Daughter buy some stuff and they gave her this promotional CD. On that CD was the song Precious. I have been listening to it at least ten times a day ever since. The second song is just to show how awesome she is. If she ever does a show in New Orleans I am in there even if I have to sell some aluminum cans for my ticket money. I would love to listen to her sing this song and play her bass while I picked out her fro.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Good Examples Of Why The Police Have An Image Problem

People often wonder why New Orleans can't seem to let go of the past and move forward. They want to know why there's so much distrust of the police department and why we can't seem to let this Katrina stuff go. Stories like this one and this one from last night's news on WDSU. I would have posted the video but Channel 6 news doesn't have an embedding code that I could find. Now, stories like this could trigger a few uncomfortable discussions about race and the police department. It could cause an officer or two to get fired or indicted. If everything in these stories is true then I think that's a good thing. At the least all of the officers involved in that bar fight should be terminated. If they can get away with lying and planting guns on innocent people then I don’t have any confidence in their capabilities to catch the guilty. If you want to eliminate the race card and conspiracy theories out of local government then you have to correct the things that make it so believable. I'm not one of those anti police brothers in general but the kind of thing that happened to Mr. Williams and his friends could have easily happened to me or one of my friends. I'm glad WDSU decided to run these stories.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dying For The Sake Of Being Dead

I made an agreement with my blogging inner circle that I was not going to say anything about the Steve McNair story. I'm going against that agreement because with every passing day that this story has been in the news it’s getting to me more and more. I think it's bothering me far more than Michael Jackson's death ever could have. It's depressing me and I need to get it off my chest. Steve McNair was only a year older than me. That means that we grew up at the same time. At 36 years old with all the things he had going for him in his life he was killed and he really didn't have to. This morning when I was listening to the circumstances that led to his death, I couldn't help think about all the people I know under the age of 40 that are not here anymore and there is no real reason for it.

I want someone to do the research on this. Let's take a break from worrying about police brutality or what part of Africa our DNA comes from. Let’s get all the doctors and researchers together, go through the files in every major American city and find out how many young black men have been murdered for reasons not worthy of death. We haven't had any revolutions for freedom. There haven't more than a few stories of young men dying fighting off the KKK when they tried to burn their house down. I'm sure there have been some brothers who have been killed trying to protect their families but it hasn't been hundreds of them. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed at the age of 39 but he was putting his safety on the line for us all. Malcolm X was also 39 when he was assassinated. Medgar Evers was 37. All three of those men died fighting for something and trying to better the condition of their people. Tupac was killed at the age of 25 and for what? He had a fight at a casino and that's all we know. It's pretty much the same story for Biggie. It's not just famous people. There are guys I played ball with that are no longer here. There are guys I used to blow spitballs with in the second grade that are no longer here. There are guys who could make me laugh to the point of tears that are no longer here. There are people I loved like brothers that are no longer here. The one thing they all have in common is that I couldn't tell anyone why they were killed so soon if they paid me to.

Things would be so different without all that lost. It often gets to me because I have two brothers, cousins and friends that are out here everyday and we are all too young to be worried about our mortality. I'm not having a bad time with anything personally but the amount of my contemporaries that are not here for silly reasons is weighing me down. You can have whatever opinion you want about the events that led to Steve McNair's passing but the bottomline in the end is that he shouldn't be deceased today and that's the case for a lot of brothers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Reality Check On The Impact of Violence

Yesterday there were four people murdered in the city. That's a very violent day. Living in the city is strange in a way because with all the stories of violence in the news you really don't see it unless you are involved in it or get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you go to work or school, mind your business and surround yourself with like minded people you can live through everyday without experiencing any of the drama first hand. I know there are people who think everyone in black neighborhoods drive pass guys shooting at one another all the time and don't react because it doesn't bother us and we like it. That's not true. Most of us have no idea what is going on in the streets. We find out about things just like everyone else. It's a strange situation because we still live close enough to know family and friends close enough to the activity to care but we are not personally close enough anymore to feel a part of it. After awhile you start believing it and say things like “I wish these people over there would get their act together”. That’s what happens when you try to brainwash yourself. Every now and then something pulls you back into reality and makes it personal.

Things are going okay for me. There are some general issues that piss me off and I am still a bitter storm victim but right now from a day to day standpoint things are cool. I have mentioned this before but one of the ways I keep myself upbeat is I don't follow the news as closely as I used to. That makes it hard to be a good blogger but the negativity of the news becomes unbearable sometimes. I read the headlines and get an understanding of what's happening but I don't dig too deep. Sometimes I go a day or two without looking at all. Last night I was playing around on the Internet when I finally checked the news and saw the stories of all the killings. There was a double murder in the Iberville Housing Development that caught my eye because of the location and ages of the victims (There won't be anymore links to news sites on this blog until someone figures out how to clean up the comments section. I am not promoting any websites that condone people disrespecting my race.) I was reading the story and I thought to myself I haven't heard from my people all day. I have a godson and his mom living in the same building where this crime occurred. Normally during the day I can expect at least a few text messages from her even if she's just forwarding some horrible joke someone sent to her. I realized that not only hadn't I heard from her Tuesday but I didn't hear from her on Monday either. So now instead of lying down to watch Family Guy I am up on the cell phone checking on people. There goes that false comfort zone out of the window.

She and the boys were fine. She did know the guy who was killed along with the young lady. Plus, there was another double shooting a few blocks away and one of those guys was her cousin. At least he's going to live. That would have made the fact that I didn't check on them until midnight suck even more. The question I have is why do I feel the need to apologize to her like I am the one firing bullets through the project all the time? Claiming ownership for actions you are not involved in is difficult to do. I guess that’s why so many of us don’t get involved and talk about every other issue but this one. See, I wasn’t thinking about stuff like this yesterday morning.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Will Someone Please Call My Office Phone

I don't think there was much production in the work force today as millions of people found a way to watch the Michael Jackson memorial. I don't have any comments specifically about the memorial since I was one of the few people that chose not to watch it. It just wasn't my type of thing. This post is about a certain type of person that reared their ugly head today before, during and after the event. I'm talking about the person that yells out insane stories and ideas during a group discussion. Everybody knows someone like this. If you can't think of anyone that means you are probably the person. Let me explain what I am talking about.

So everyone is sitting at their desk today making sure their connection to whatever site they are watching the memorial on is working and naturally the topic of discussion is Michael Jackson. Everyone has their own space at our office but there are no doors or walls so we have group discussions sitting at our desk and everyone just yells out loud. Well that was happening during the Michael Jackson discussion when all of a sudden someone shouts out.

"Michael Jackson and Diana Ross have a love child being raised by Tupac in Cuba at Fidel Castro’s villa!"..........WHAT?

"Quincy Jones had a hit out on Michael Jackson's life because he wouldn't let him produce Thriller Part 2!"........What kind of that?

"Jermaine Jackson is Usher's daddy but they kept it a secret so Joe Jackson wouldn't get mad!".............speechless

Now you have a dilemma. You really want to turn to the person and say shut your crazy ass up and stop reading foolishness on the internet but you can't because you have to work with them 8 hours a day. You can't try and debate it because then you will spend the next 20 minutes pulling up all kinds of bootleg gossip sites that are going to show up on your weblog at work and you don't feel like explaining that later. At that point your only chance to get out of this without hurting anyone's feelings is to send out a mental signal for someone to call your desk phone, or your cell phone. It would be nice if the FED-Ex came in with a delivery or the fire alarm starts going off. You just want something that could give you enough of a break in the conversation so it can die. Unfortunately none of that happened today because everyone was probably watching the same thing they were. The only thing that saved me from hearing the theory that Michael Jackson's kids sleep in underground chambers is my headphones and the Isley Brothers with a message for my coworker because she needed to be working instead of putting her crazy on display.

Please Take Our Governor

With the troubles of Mark Sanford and Sarah Palin's commitment issues, why isn't the Republican Party coming to Louisiana to take Bobby Jindal away and prepare him for his presidential campaign? He's everything they are looking for in a candidate. He's a Christian. He's young, smart, and intelligent. He's got a beautiful family and if I had to name the next politician to be caught up in any scandal involving infidelity he would be the last person I named. I feel confident in saying Bobby Jindal's name won't be in any scandalous stories. He's from the south and in national elections those states are going in the red column for sure especially when Barack Obama is the opponent. This is an area with Rush Limbaugh billboards and radio station that calls itself "Rush Radio". He should be able to talk the language of the base without any problems. Just like George Bush, he came into office with a budget surplus and no one is quite sure what happened to it.

What makes him the greatest hope of true conservatives is that he has the ability to cut budgets and veto anything that doesn't look good to him on paper. I don't care how many people testify and explain the need for it he won't be persuaded otherwise. You can find different ways and ideas to keep paying for something and he will still cut it if he's already convinced it makes sense financially. The people's money won't get spent on anything. People who were against the stimulus wouldn't have had anything to worry about with Governor Jindal as president. He would have cut taxes and waited for the economy to correct itself. We probably wouldn't have had any banks, credit, or auto companies. Whole cities and states would have gone under but there would have been no cries of socialism at all. Are you concerned about a public health care plan running up the deficit? There would be no need to fear with President Jindal because health care is his favorite victim. He's close half of the public hospitals in America if he had to before we went over budget. The only thing I am not sure about is his stance on national security. I don't think you have anything to worry about there. He's probably just like the other true conservatives and has no problem spending as much money as possible on defense. Did anyone see him in action when Hurricane Gustav was approaching the state? If a war broke out you would know where every regiment was, who they were about to attack and what time they were going to do it.

Isn't this the person you all have been waiting for? Don't hold that speech he made after the State of the Union against him. Please send Michael Steele or someone to convince Governor Jindal to step down immediately so he can focus on spreading his message outside of the state. Why should we be the only ones to experience true conservatism?

Monday, July 6, 2009

What Sarah Palin and Michael Jackson Have In Common

All the people who are tired of Michael Jackson coverage should calm down. Once the memorial service is over he will slowly start to fade out of the news. I have to admit that I am surprised by how long Michael Jackson’s death has stayed on the front page. Friday I was watching Sarah Palin’s speech and I realized how much her resignation and Michael Jackson’s death have a common thread. I know that sounds crazy but stick with me.

If Michael Jackson would have been born twenty years later than he was things would have been a lot different. Most of his fans are locked into a memory of Mike prior to 1985. The country was different back then. He was the last person to gain fame before Americans were trained that they have to be negative about something in order to validate what they like. The man had a pop album named after a song about ghost and zombies that was so popular across all walks of life he was invited to The White House when Ronald Reagan was in office and no one thought this was strange. Could you imagine if someone released an album like Thriller in 2009? The critics would smash the idea. Religious groups would protest and Bill O’Reilly would have an entire week of shows on the topic. Not only that, a song like Beat It in 2009 would be incredibly corny and never get radio play. Michael Jackson wouldn’t have had a complex and thinking he had to make everyone love him because it would have been crystal clear that a large group of people hated him. Public figures that only have experience in the current climate of our society are well aware of that fact. If Mike hadn’t disconnected from everything he would have realized this too and relaxed a little.

I don’t predict we will be having anymore global phenomenon like Mike in my lifetime. I think he was the last one of his kind. The only area this could potentially happen is sports and we knock them down too. Don't expect anyone in leadership to maintain that kind of aura. We won’t be spending any money to update Mt. Rushmore because there isn’t a chance that enough people get behind one person of any party long enough to do great things. With all the issues affecting the country, there is still time to discuss who is running for president against our current president who hasn’t been in office for six months. Everything is designed with such focus on failing and negativity that it’s taking people out of the race before they have a chance to really do anything. Even if Barack Obama does everything right and we all prosper he wouldn’t get the right credit because people would dog him anyway. It would have to happen because our country is designed to take people down once they get too big. That brings me to Sarah Palin.

When I watched her speech Friday I couldn’t help thinking I was watching someone whose skin isn’t thick enough to take all the mental strain that comes with running for president nowadays. Running a successful campaign is 20% policy, 40% marketing, and 40 % destroying all the values and reputation of your opponent. That means that you and your opponent are spending almost half of your time and resources making the other person look bad. She has a son with special needs and a teenage daughter who has a child. Does she really want to be president bad enough to put them all out there in the crosshairs of all that negative drama?

Things can appear to be one way and turn into an entirely different animal once you get on the inside. You need to have everything in order personally like Barack Obama or so stubborn and convinced you are right like George Bush that you don’t give a damn. That’s how you make it to the finish line in the national spotlight. It takes a special breed to be president and I don’t know if she has it. I believe she was real gung-ho about the proposition until she got in the middle of it and seen everything that comes with it. I hope she gets out of the spotlight for awhile and doesn’t listen to her supporters who are trying to spin this as some maverick political move because of their hope she can save the party. I think she threw in the towel and that was the right move. It was only going to get worse.

I don’t know that woman’s family so you won’t find any personal attacks here. If I did that then I would feel like a hypocrite every time I leave a nasty comment on any article that gets personal about Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama. I’ll stick to dogging her policies as soon as I figure out what they are. I never get a thrill out of watching anyone crash and burn unless it's an obvious jackass or someone who does something incredibly stupid like sending 10,000 text messages to your chief of staff or disappearing from your state to go to Argentina to get busy with your "soul mate". Those folks have well earned the below the belt comments made about them.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How Lil Wayne Started The Hypocrite Debate

The uproar about Lil Wayne’s performance on the BET Awards last Sunday sparked an internal debate all week and I passed the topic along to all my people. The issue is whether or not I am a hypocrite for being totally offended by Lil Wayne having those young girls up on stage while he sang about song about wanting to f@@k every girl in the world. I found out yesterday that one of the girls on stage was his daughter. Now this is not a post to totally dog Lil Wayne. The song in question may bother me but I would be lying if I said there weren’t a few selections of his on my mp3. The reason I felt like a hypocrite is because in my lifetime I have listened to some pretty wild music. There were some songs during my high school and young adult years that would make the average person uncomfortable. I knew all the words. So I am reading and listening to the anger about Lil Wayne’s song and I thought to myself “Who am I to criticize him?” There was a time of my life where I and my friends considered Luther Campbell a hero. One of our goals used to be to hang out with him in Miami. I am certain that if someone offered me enough money I could recite all the words to Gangsta of Love by the Geto Boys. If you don’t know the song already please don’t look it up. The fact that I knew songs like that word for word and embraced the attitude in them makes me feel a little uneasy about talking about those kids for bobbing their heads and reciting the words. I have sung along to much worse. I guess that’s why I don’t talk bad about Soulja Boy. I guess if I was 17 I would dig him too even if I couldn’t understand anything he said.

With that being said, the times I was standing at the concert rocking to the Two Live Crew was at least 15 years ago. Back then I was a young man with not much responsibility. Lil Wayne is a young man but he’s not that young and his daughter is older than mine. I think even if I was 17 years old I wouldn’t sing that song in front of my daughter or any other little babies. I’m not being a hypocrite. I am a concerned man who has grown to believe in protecting these girls at all cost. It’s a bad message to the world about what we think about our women and he shouldn’t have sung that song on an awards show and never even let his daughter listen to it at all. I don’t have any hate for Lil Wayne but that shit last Sunday was inappropriate.

He knows better and I’m sure it won’t happen again. I sure hope it doesn't.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Is This Really Growth

While the Big Apple had the highest number of new residents, the Big Easy took first place at the country's fastest-growing city. New Orleans saw an increase of an estimated 23,740 people, an 8.2 precent change that brought the population to 311, 853.

Ten years ago I was real optimistic about most things. I was real optimistic about New Orleans around that time. Every day I would read the Money section of the paper and watch the news for all the new plans and developments that were coming. I just knew we were going to turn the corner at any minute. Usually what would happen is I would wait around for some construction cranes or cement trucks to show up and they never did. I ignored that fact for a long time because I didn’t want to think that the city I saw then was how it would always be. Time has passed and now I am more cynical and pessimistic than I have ever been. Between crime, corruption, and Internet comments I can barely stand to read anything. All I do is shake my head.

Today was a good example of that when I read an article that claimed we are the fastest growing city in America. Maybe I don’t know what that means exactly but it sounds like a title you give to a progressive city that is moving forward and making progress which is attracting scores of new citizens. This is laughable to me. We can’t anyone to agree on how and where to open our public hospital. We just lost our mental health facility after it was vetoed by the governor. There are blocks of empty houses and some of them still have flooded furniture. Our parks and schools are a work in progress and no one knows for sure what is going to happen with them. Our city government can’t even maintain and send emails correctly. I would also like to mention the fact that we lost almost the entire population of the city four years ago. Our population isn't at that level yet and it should be the benchmark. We are not fast growing at all. People are coming home and it is not always in the best circumstance. Giving our situation I think we can claim to be fast growing somewhere around 600, 000 residents. That means we would have gotten all of our old population back plus added 100,000. That would be great because it would mean we had the jobs and schools to make that many people want to move here. That would be awesome and I would pass out from the shock. Maybe the master plan will help this happen. All we have to do now is come up with one.