Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sitting on My Porch Part Seventy Four

It’s Thursday evening and I think the Saints just scored again on the Colts......

We don’t need every game to come down to the wire. I had fun watching that 62-7 destruction! Towards the end I started feeling sorry for Reggie Wayne. He had 50 family and friends at the game and they had to sit through that. What’s even worse is that you know they had to go work Monday and hear it from all of their co-workers about what happened. The Colts scored 7 points and Reggie Wayne should have scored that touchdown.

This week we play the St. Louis Rams. That’s a team that has caused me much pain in my life especially in the old NFC West days when they were in Los Angeles. If one of the Saints happens to be reading this I just want them to know that it is perfectly okay to run up the score on the Rams. Why be satisfied with 62? 10 touchdowns is 70 points. I know we can do it. We have to win these games against inferior opponents because ever since Julio Jones got injured the Falcons remembered they had Michael Turner and are getting their act together.

I don’t watch a lot of baseball but I am rolling with the Texas Rangers because of Ron Washington and my extreme New Orleans bias.

Today my day started at 5:30 AM and ended at 7:32 PM. That's the time I finally sat down and turned on the game. My average day during the week is 12-14 hours. Adults have really long days. I guess kids have long days too but I never felt like the day was long when I was a kid. Days feel really long now. I think it's because adult life is full of things you hate doing but have to ironing clothes.

If Hell exist and I mess up enough to make it there, the devil could really punish me by making me iron clothes for the rest of eternity. Extra punishment would be making me do it after waking up with an alarm clock with a broke snooze button. Double extra punishment would be having a Falcon's game playing non stop and I couldn't change the channel. Triple punishment would be Buffie the Body behind a glass door holding a cold beer while I am ironing and I wouldn't have a key to open the door. I'm going to have nightmares tonight. It's time for a vacation.

The Saints just reached the red zone again......

I’ve been checking out this Occupy movement going on around America. I think the whole movement is a teachable moment. I’m down with the cause and I support it but it’s interesting to look at the reaction of politicians to these movements compared to some of the rallies the Tea Party had. When the Tea Party was at it’s peak and had rallies being staged around the country politicians on both sides changed their agenda to match what they were saying. Like it or not they have a lot to do with the current political direction of the country. Some of these Occupy movements have had damn near riots and outside of the mayors in the city trying to control everything you haven’t heard much from elected officials. The 99% may represent a large cross section of the country but the 1% buys politicians. To change the system it’s going to take money. The power is in the PAC.

When did Mayor Bloomberg of New York and all these other business people become so concerned with who controls schools in Louisiana? What made him and his anonymous donors to his PAC suddenly become involved in the education of our children? If there was a grassroots candidate running for the BESE board seat in New Orleans and they could win because of money that didn’t come from anyone directly affected by their decisions, that person really doesn’t have to answer to the parents and citizens in that district. We wouldn’t control their marching orders. That’s why I won’t be voting for anyone that falls into this category. Sad to say that they’ll win it because they have the money and the muscle to drown out the other candidate. The power is in the PAC and there’s nothing we can do about it.

The Saints just scored on the Colts again.......

If you want to do something for the community and feel good about it. Click on this link and help some good people help the folks at the homeless encampment under the expressway near Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. You don’t have to give any money if that makes you uncomfortable. You can call and ask what the folks need and buy it yourself if you want to. The people that are trying to find housing for the men and women in this camp are really good people and some of them are my friends. I’ll guarantee that they’ll do the right thing with whatever you decide to help out with.

I’m signing out before the Saints score again.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Living In The Red Boot With Few Choices

I went out to vote yesterday morning. I looked at the ballot and thought to myself that this was the first time I voted where it felt like a waste of time. When I voted in 2010 it didn’t feel like a waste of time. It felt like I was voting already knowing the outcome and I was right. The reason why this election felt like such a waste of time is because everyone knew Bobby Jindal was going to win again. I’m willing to bet that most of the people in the state couldn’t tell you who was running against him. Besides that all of the other statewide elections had nothing but Republican candidates to choose from. That means if you want to vote in those races you are a Republican by default. The Democratic party must be saving their money to help President Obama raise the 10% of the vote he's going to get in 2012 to 20%.

I guess if you wanted to you could vote on everything else and leave those parts of the ballot blank but then there’s always a chance you might end up with someone who’s first bill once he or she gets in office is to suspend the driving privileges in New Orleans to anyone who can’t pass a standardized test or something crazy like that. So now when we vote we have to figure out which candidate is a Republican but still a rational human being and which one is a wacko and vote for the rational person hoping their not faking like a rational person but is really a wacko too.

I think the governor has some wacko tendencies. He’s just so intelligent in how he presents it you can’t tell. He even fooled me once in 2003 when I voted for him over Kathleen Blanco. That wasn’t the greatest two choices in the world either. I still don’t understand why he’s not the Republican nominee for president. They have been screaming for smaller government and empowering the private sector. Jindal is all about that. Forget Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” plan. My governor tries to run the state with the “0-0-0” philosophy. That’s 0 taxes, 0 government programs and 0 state employees. He hasn’t gotten there yet and probably never will but I am sure he dreams about it. Maybe I haven’t driven around the state enough to see what’s going on but are we doing that well where there’s no need for any opposition to the current leadership? I guess the answer is yes if you go by the election results.

I hope whatever the governor and his majority in the capital does works because unless you plan on moving out of state we are going to be under this philosophy for at least four more years and that’s a long time for things not to work until you get to vote again. I just hope the wackos keeps the wackiness to a minimum.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cliff's Crib First Guest Post : Leslie Krick

This is an historic event in Cliff's Crib history. I’ve never had a guest post before. I had a few special requests for topics. A few friends asked if they could post something but I have never actually done one. Last week a young lady reached out to me and asked would I mind posting some work of hers in hopes she could get some exposure for her freelance writing career. Her name is Leslie Krick and her piece is about teenage drinking during Mardi Gras season. I’m flattered she thought enough of my blog to ask so I am posting it tonight and showing it off for a few days. After posting this I won't make any jokes about Crown Royal for at least six months. Leslie's bio and contact information are at the bottom if you want to say hi or ask her to write something.

The Truth about Alcohol & Mardi Gras

Teens can have fun & stay safe during the most dangerous holiday in the U.S.

When teens think of Mardi Gras, they often think of breast bearing women, excessive public drinking, dancing, and fighting and out of control behavior on Bourbon Street. And between the fishbowl hurricanes and giant tankards of mudslide they might be on to something.

Alcohol is a big of a part of the two week period that marks Mardi Gras. And even though it’s a Catholic carnival, it still translates to “farewell to the flesh”, which means teens are bound to get a little out of hand during this period of feasting and revelry before Lent. When you figure in 50 parades, more than 301 miles of parade route and 1.2 million attendees it’s no wonder alcohol fuels the fun—from the French Quarter to the Garden District.

However, there are rules and laws that must be followed, and failure to do so could have you crying over your doubloons (the festive coins thrown out at revelers). Remember, in addition to the fun, Mardi Gras ranks as one of the most dangerous holidays in the United States for motorist collisions. In terms of most vehicular teen deaths and car crash injuries, the duration of Mardi Gras is the deadliest of the eight holidays. Just look at the car accident statistics for teenagers in the U.S (between 2001 and 2007):

• Car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths
• Teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are 4x more likely to get into accidents than adults
• That’s 33,027 fatal teen crashes compared to only 19,886 fatal adult crashes
• And, the younger they are; the more likely teens are to be involved in an auto collision
• Teens who drink and drive are 12x more likely to be killed compared to sober teen drivers

So then how does a teenager ensure a good time at Mardi Gras without injury to body and soul? Let’s start by giving you the truth on New Orleans laws and city regulations when it comes to drinking and driving during Mardi Gras, as well as debunking some of the more popular Mardi Gras myths…

The Open Container Law - The trickiest myths regarding Mardi Gras revolve around the city’s Open Container Law. Yes, it’s true; it’s perfectly legal to carry an open container of alcohol within the city streets. However, the drinking age is 21 as it is everywhere else in the U.S., and it’s strictly enforced. It’s also strictly forbidden to have an open container of alcohol in your car if you are drinking it and driving a vehicle.

Drive-thru drinking - Hankering for a Mardi Gras daiquiri or mudslide while taking a drive? Just pull up to a “drive thru” and pour yourself a boozey slushy. You can get a Baskin-Robins array of flavors in a Styrofoam tankard at one of the roadside stands where drinks like a white Russian, long island ice tea, Red Bull and vodka, Cajun heat and many flavored margaritas are sold. However, you can’t just drive away sucking on that straw. A loophole in the open container law means as long as a straw hasn’t pierced the lid you're free to drive on.

Here are some additional rules to abide by at Mardi Gras. Out-of-towners need to be especially vigil as city police won’t hesitate to write you a ticket on the following infractions:

Driving under the influence – Basic common sense reigns in New Orleans just as much as everywhere else in the U.S. When it comes to DUI / DWI, if you’re drunk, please don’t drive or you’ll face an increased, minimum 15-day jail sentence. Those who refuse a blood alcohol test will face a one-year license suspension.

Drinks can’t be in glass containers - Glass breaks…end of story. And when it does, it causes a whole bunch of danger on the street, especially when you throw in a parade and a ton of drunken tourists.

Be wary of bars selling drinks glass bottles – If you buy a beer in a bottle, you must stay on the premises and finish your drink before you leave. Many bars will do this to keep you in their establishment for as long as they can.

Boozing it up in parking areas - Many areas of the city prohibit drinking alcohol all together in parking lots. Be sure to read the signs before you take a traveler to your car.

Urinating in public – A common law in most cities, but a fair mention here considering alcohol is involved. If you are drinking during Mardi Gras, remember that the amount of alcohol you consume is directly related to the number of times you’re going to have to pee—and public bathrooms are few and far between. Don’t get caught with your pants down.

Don’t be a public nuisance – Disorderly and loud behavior isn’t tolerated by the New Orleans police.

Be wary of your surroundings - Do not jump in front of a float to snag a bead, cup, or doubloon. Remember, that float weighs several tons and can crush you. It’s also a good rule of thumb to step on doubloons before picking them up or your hand might be the one stepped on by another eager parade go-er.

Public nudity – Anything doesn’t go in New Orleans, and you’ll really only see flashing breasts in the French Quarter. Parents can shield young ones from nakedness just about anywhere, but in the French Quarter. And, if New Orleans Police Department catches you displaying your goods outside of that area, you’ll be arrested.

Bio: Leslie worked as a legal secretary at a personal injury law firm for many years before making the transition to a full-time mom and wife. Leslie loves nature and uses it as a source of inspiration for her writing. She divides her time between her family and her writing, which focuses mainly on her knowledge of law. Leslie is currently looking for freelance work, and can be contacted at

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Tough Lost and an Injured Coach

I was wrong about that one...

The worst part about today besides losing was Coach Sean Payton damn near getting his leg taken off by an accident on the sidelines. I really feel like the game took a weird turn after that and the Saints never recovered. I was right about Raheem Morris having Tampa fired up. I thought that wouldn’t bother the Saints and I was wrong.

I would rather lose three games to any other teams in the NFL than one divisional game. Those always suck more than the others.

We are still tied for the division lead. We’ll be ready for primetime next week.

Get well Coach Payton.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Week 6 : Saints at Tampa Bay : Division Dominance

Before I get into the Saints I just want to say that the easiest way to stop some of the violent collisions that are leading to so many concussions is to let defensive backs touch receivers within 20 yards of the line of scrimmage. You have receivers running full speed across the field and the only thing defensive players can do is hit them as hard as possible and hope they drop the ball. You would have more pass breakups without the collision and it would slow everyone down. If not you are going to have violent hits. Players are running free on passing plays the same as they were on kickoffs and they changed that rule for safety.

Now, lets get to the Saints.......

It’s week six of the NFL season and we are running late on Saints post. Since there was no real off season and a lot of roster changes all around I think this is about the time you will start seeing what your team really has going this year. I think I have a good idea on this year’s Saints team now. Here are a few things I am pretty certain about.

1. Drew Brees is back to playing at a championship level and whoever the Saints play this year is going to have to bring their A game for four quarters to beat him. Our 4-1 record is about right because the only lost was to the Packers and Aaron Rodgers who is playing like a machine.

2. I was so wrong about the Darren Sproles signing. I didn’t think he would have as big of an impact as he has because San Diego didn’t use him like Sean Payton is. I was a huge Reggie Bush supporter and apologist. It hurts me to admit this but Sproles is looking like a better fit for this offense. He’s also an instant cult hero to the fans. As my cousin explained in a text message during the Texans game. “If Darren Sproles gets hurt I am going to cry.”

3. I was wrong about Darren Sproles but I was right about Jimmy Graham. I just had a feeling he was a steal in the 3rd round. My only concern is him staying healthy all year because he is being hit by two or three people sometimes. His running some of the same routes Marques Colston does and that’s why he’s always getting beat up. I said I would never draft a Saints player for fantasy because they spread the ball around so much. I broke that rule this year to take Jimmy Graham and I’m undefeated. If Jimmy Graham gets hurt I am going to cry.

4. Gregg Williams is coaching his ass off on defense. He’s getting everything he can out of the group he has. They do just enough to win and with the kind of defense being played this year that’s all you can ask for.

5. The only thing separating this team from the 2009 team is scoring. That sounds crazy for a team averaging over 30 points a game but it should be closer to 40. John Kasay has kicked so many chip shot field goals after drives were ended inside the 20 yard line. It hasn’t come back to haunt the team yet except for Green Bay but it may cost us another game down the line.

Last week I was pulling for Green Bay to beat Atlanta and put them behind two games in the standings because the first goal should be to win the division and at least get one home game in the playoffs. It’s not too early to put some distance between us and the rest of the division. The perfect scenario for Sunday would be the Panthers beating Atlanta to give them another loss and for the Saints to beat up on Tampa. I like Tampa’s young coach Raheem Morris. He’s going to have them all hyped up this week after getting destroyed by San Francisco last week. They’ll be out there jumping around like crazy. None of that will matter because the Saints are a better team. It's been awhile since there was a game where the Saints just destroyed the other team and sent their fans home early. I think tomorrow's game is the one.

Saints 38 Buccaneers 10

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Trying To Understand Herman Cain

I’ve been trying to figure out the Herman Cain phenomenon. I’ve been watching his rise in popularity and I can’t quite figure out what I’m watching. Either the Republicans are just that unsatisfied with the so called front runners that he’s passed in the polls or he is a political genius. I’m fascinated by the whole thing. Personally speaking I would be so excited to see Herman Cain go against President Obama just to see how Black America dealt with all the issues that kind of debate would bring. It would also make real racists head explode. That election would change the country even more than Obama winning because Cain would be coming from a mind state that most black people aren't thought to have.

A lot of people in my community have already made their decision on Mr. Cain. I’ve heard him called a bunch of names and none of them are flattering. The most popular accusation is that he’s a sellout. Calling someone a sellout is something I reserve for the most extreme cases. I think we have to be careful when judging someone’s racial authenticity because those guidelines can change all the time and you never know when you might be called the same thing. Maybe Herman Cain’s life experiences led him to believe the things he does. Being conservative doesn’t mean he’s not as black as the rest of us. He has the right to believe in bad policy and still be black.

The only thing Herman Cain has done to bother me is to say that he doesn’t think there’s any racism holding people back these days. I’m actually not surprise he would say that because he’s a Republican and right now they believe there are no obstacles holding anyone back other than their own laziness. That’s why they think they can cut every program and wait for the private sector jobs to roll in so government won’t have to do anything. If you admit that there may be real barriers for people to prosper like racism then you might have to do something about it and they don’t want to do that.

Mr. Cain was also was a radio host. Talk radio shows, 24 hour news channels, and people looking to sensationalize things have turned the idea of racism into basic things like calling someone the N-word, saying nappy head hoes on a radio show or dressing like a slave for the office Halloween party. Those things are racist but we spend so much time and energy focused on those things that we don’t take the time to explain the deep rooted institutional racism that makes being successful a bigger challenge for Black America. There are obstacles that make things different. Even Herman said so in explaining his original statement.
“Are there some elements of racism? Yes. It gets back to if we don't grow this economy, that is a ripple effect for every economic level, and because blacks are more disproportionately unemployed, they get hit the worst when economic policies don't work. That's where it starts.”
Why are we more disproportionately unemployed? If there’s no racism or whatever he wants to call it to put us in that position, why do we get hit the worst when economic policies don’t work? If everything is equal and it’s all about hard work then the black unemployment rate should be the same as everyone else. There has to be something that caused that. If it’s not racism then give it another name but don’t pretend like there’s nothing involved. Deep down I think Herman Cain knows this but he can’t say it because he doesn’t want to sound like he’s being racist telling the truth. I don‘t question Herman Cain’s identity as a black man but I am worried about how far he would go to prove himself and the policies he might introduce. We are already catching hell with the president in office that we love. I have no desire to try and survive four years of a President Cain trying to prove his own personal reality is true for everyone else. Our community isn't ready for him to try and prove that theory to his supporters.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Old Lady And The Kid On The Bench

Friday I was headed back to my car after dropping off some papers for work. I walked past this older lady and told her good morning. She said good morning too and then stopped me. She came close to me and said “Go ask that young man over there why he’s not in school today. You’re a man go ask him.” Sitting a few feet away was a young kid about 11 years old minding his own business. He didn’t look too tough these days you never know what’s going on in the minds of these kids. It’s different when you are in a controlled environment like a school function or a mentoring event. Those kids expect interaction with the adults around. You can get into their business without much fear of confrontation. This lady was asking me to go up to this young man and ask him why he’s not in school like I know him already. There was a possibility that when I asked him he would respond “you ain’t my daddy!” Then I would have had to respond to that because I can’t have some kid talking to me any kind of way and now I’m caught up in a conflict around some kid’s truancy and bad manners all because I wasn’t raised to ignore what the old lady told me. It would have been even worse if his mama was close enough to hear and got offended by me asking him. It always seems to be that the parents with the kids causing trouble always seem to be the most upset when someone tells them anything.

There used to be a time where old people had so much unquestioned authority that she could have asked him why he wasn’t at school and why I wasn’t at work and we both would have had to answer out of respect. That would still work on me every time because I stick to the traditional family hierarchy but you can’t be too sure about the kids. She was right that I am a man and this is my community so I should be worried about why he wasn’t in school. It was my job to ask him so I went on over there. It turns out he is on fall break. Charter schools take days off that we are not used to. She waited by the elevator until I gave her an answer and once she was satisfied she went upstairs. The kid just set there on the bench looking confused. I went to my truck being thankful that it didn’t lead to any confusion. I guess we have to be willing to risk the confusion to keep these kids in check.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Back to Regularly Scheduled Blogging

Yesterday evening I was sitting on my sofa going over a few data reports for work when my text message alert went off. It was my friend sending me a message from his job and it went something like this….

“What’s up Cliff? You are slipping. You haven’t had a blog post since September 24. I went to look for something thought provoking to read at work and you have the same old stuff up there. WTF? I better have something to read tomorrow!”

First of all, two weeks is not that long to update a blog. I’ve been busy with work and trying to figure out how so many people with New Orleans Public School education can use words I have never seen before when we are playing Words with Friends. I know they are cheating but won’t admit it. Some people go six months without any new material and still get more hits than a lot of people. Secondly, how square have I and my friends become when we are looking forward to blog posts. That’s sad commentary for our personal lives.

I’ve been missing out on a lot of things since I haven’t been posting regularly.

The Saints went 3-1 beating Houston and Jacksonville.

Archbishop Hannan passed away.

Steve Jobs passed away as well at the age of 56. Steve Jobs was a man that created technology that changed the world but couldn’t do anything to stop cancer. Cancer is still the worst thing on the planet by far.

The state of Louisiana sold the naming rights of the Superdome to Mercedes Benz and Tom Benson gets to keep all of the money. He’s not doing too shabby for a man that didn’t want to bring the team back to New Orleans. I was holding out for the Deal N’ Doug’s Used Cars Dome but I guess he couldn’t compete with Mercedes for advertisement dollars. It may surprise some people to hear that I am in favor of this deal.

Professional teams are playing in stadiums all over the country with corporations names attached to them. The Jacksonville Jaguars play in a stadium named after a company I never heard of. I don’t think they are getting their money’s worth. The other reason I am for it is that this is a crazy state and you never know who’s going to be elected and what their agenda is. The next governor could be some good ole boy that doesn’t like New Orleans or the Saints and may want to end the payments the state makes to the team. If Mercedes is giving up enough money to keep that from being an issue then I am all for it. We need to find a company to do the same thing for the Hornets so they can be more stable and stay in the city. I think Deal N’ Doug can afford the arena’s naming rights.

Some concerned citizens decided to start a protest by occupying Wall Street. It took a few days for the media to pay attention but once they did it started spreading to other cities. There was an Occupy Nola march in downtown New Orleans yesterday. That group should have just went to Tom Benson’s house and walked around the block because he’s the only one getting corporate love around here.

I was listening to talk radio at my desk one day this week and I heard a caller mention this and it made a lot sense. You hear some people say that corporations move jobs and money overseas because the corporate tax rate in America is too high. At the same time we are debating whether or not to raise tax rates on the wealthy and corporations because they aren’t paying their fair share. Corporations are paying too much AND too little taxes. Those two things can’t be true at the same time.

Hank Williams Jr. messed up Monday Night Football and cost himself a lifetime paycheck from Disney by running his big mouth about the president. Hank caught the disease that makes some Americans compare President Obama to an evil tyrant who tried to destroy an entire race of people for no reason because they don’t like some of his policies. I call it the Glenn Beck Infection.

You can disagree with the president without playing the Hitler card. Now all my rowdy friends won’t be coming over on Monday nights anymore. I know Disney is going to overcompensate and do something dumb. We are headed to a Monday night game with the intro done by the cast of The Suite Life On Deck and it’s all Hank Williams’ fault.

I'm giving Deal N' Doug the free advertisement because I love his jingle and I want his name on the New Orleans Arena. He can sing this song right before the Hornets' players are announced.