People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Archive for December, 2006

Goodbye 2006! Hello 2007!

Posted by schroeder915 on December 31, 2006

It’s New Year’s Eve. I’ll be heading down to the Mid-City bonfire on Orleans Avenue tonight to say goodbye to 2006.

2006 was a crappy year, but it was also a year of incredible transformation.

In my personal life, my wife divorced me, we sold the house, and I became a renter again. On the other hand, I’ve become re-acquainted with old friends, and made a bunch of new friends — many of them number among the remarkable, New Orleans activist blog community.

I’m looking forward to the new year. I’ll be changing jobs, and there’s a fair possibility I’ll be going back to grad school. Hello 2007!

I think back to what things were like at this point a year ago, when just a few months after Hurricane Katrina, we were hoping against hope that public officials would rise to the challenge. They didn’t. New Orleans’ recovery is staggering, gasping for visionary and effective leadership, but the brightest spot in the faltering process is that in the absence of leadership, citizens have organized themselves into a formidable force for constructive change. We consolidated levee boards, assessors, and civil and criminal sheriffs offices, got a bill passed to get more offshore oil revenues, and passed a state bill requiring that every cent of those revenues be spent on coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects.

The Saints! What a great story! But I’m still pissed at Saints owner Tom Benson for threatening to take them to San Antonio or Los Angeles when we were drowning. Bastard!

For a variety of reasons, the opponents of change also scored a couple of victories — creating an unlikely alliance of black voters (what I would call Morial supporters), and white Republicans, to re-elect the worst New Orleans mayor ever, and the worst Louisiana Congressman ever.

Here are a few remarks about recent events in the news.

Saddam Hussein was hanged for crimes committed against Iraqi citizens. I’m not opposed to the death penalty for particularly heinous crimes, and it’s true that Saddam was a bloody villain — but he was, after all, our dictator. Moreover, I suspect that by his execution, Saddam will simply become a martyr, inspiring anti-U.S. sentiment for generations. Far better it would have been to leave him to rot in prison until the U.S. is completely out of Iraq. Moreover, if Saddam can be tried for crimes against Iraqis, shouldn’t those who sanctioned his actions be held responsible as well?

donald_saddam.jpg

Our incredible disappearing mayor, Unseen Ray Nagin, has quite possibly been reading People Get Ready in the last couple of weeks. It seems he’s finally mentioned project worksheets as a way to demonstrate his accomplishments of the last year. That’s good, but it’s completely unacceptable that they aren’t publicly displayed. They need to be posted where everyone can see them, so we know what’s being done (and what isn’t being done) to repair our city’s hobbled infrastructure.

The Unified New Orleans Plan has another round of meetings coming up this Saturday, and another Community Congress later in the month — the last round of meetings before the plan is published in January. It remains to be seen how UNOP planners are going to “knit” together the neighborhood plans. From recent comments by Steven Bingler and Troy Henry, it looks more like what we feared — that the decisions about which neighborhood plans make it into the final plan will be arbitrarily made by a few planners, not citizens. I hope I’m wrong.

I wouldn’t bet money on it, but I also hope the mayor finally gets off of his ass, and starts becoming a cheerleader for neighborhoods that are fighting for survival.

map_bldgpermits_061231_sm.jpg

Using the explanation that the city’s rebirth is going to be a phased “market-based” recovery is just a lame excuse for a mayor who was never up to the task of leading the city. What, for example, did he ever say about failing schools and rising crime before Hurricane Katrina? Nothing! He better get his sh*t together, or move out of the way.

Finally, Kathleen Blanco will be rolling a boulder uphill if she decides to run for re-election this year, but I wouldn’t write her off yet. From the interview I saw on LPB with Michael Olivier, the Louisiana Economic Development Secretary, anyone would have to concede that Blanco’s efforts to move the Louisiana economy into the future are the most progressive in a generation (transcript, 56k wmv).

Happy New Year friends:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Advertisements

Posted in Failure is not an option, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, Kathleen Blanco, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Ray Nagin, Rebuild New Orleans | 6 Comments »

Fire Spud McConnell

Posted by schroeder915 on December 29, 2006

It doesn’t take more than a few minutes of listening to any one of New Orleans’ idjut hosts on the right-wing radio stations to hear them say something so completely stupid that the imagination staggers to understand why they aren’t just shown the door the minute they step out of the studio.

Example: Driving to work this morning, I listened for a few minutes to the ironically-named WWL re-run, “The Best of Spud McConnell.” He’s interviewing hacking with a FEMA representative who relates a story about a brother and sister who live separately, but whose rental assistance applications are mistakenly being treated by FEMA as though they should be living in the same domicile. Spud quips, “This ain’t Tennessee.” His guest, who doesn’t understand the crude insinuation, asks for clarification. Spud just says, “Sorry. Bad joke.”

Strike one.

Anyone? Shouldn’t this asshole just be fired? We’re talking about the well-being of fellow citizens trying to recover from the worst disaster in American history and to save their city, and McConnell thinks it’s funny to suggest that if this were some hick, back-country town (which shouldn’t be said about Tennessee), they’d be living in an incestuous affair? What, exactly, are Spud McConnell’s credentials for hosting a radio show broadcast throughout the southern United States? Growing up in a hick, back-country town?

I tried calling in to complain, but of course, the show was just another WWL re-run, so there was apparently nobody in the studio.

Strike two.

There should always be someone there to answer the phone and monitor the broadcast.

Furthermore, when I’ve called in to complain about Spud McConnell before, the call receiver has just said that, around the office, they jokingly call his objectionable remarks “spudisms.” I have never been able to talk to a manager, and no manager ever returns my calls. Minimally, WWL should scold McConnell to stop his behavior, and in some of the instances I’ve documented before, they should demand that their hosts publicly apologize on air. If redneck insinuations and insults are just good for a laugh around the office, then management doesn’t care about the effect their hosts might be having on the community.

Strike three.

Game over.

Entercom has repeatedly demonstrated that it can’t responsibly operate a radio station, let alone seven radio stations in the New Orleans market, three of which are re-broadcasting the same stupid remarks.

Where’s the FCC?

It’s time for media reform, and it starts right here in New Orleans. Every market in the United States, but especially New Orleans, should demand that the FCC force commercial broadcasters to hold public hearings in their communities to demonstrate how they’re serving the community.

They can’t — especially in New Orleans where we’re not interested in yahoos like Spud McConnell. We want the unadulterated facts we need to rebuild our lives, our homes, and our neighborhoods.

Citizens can run a radio station far better than Entercom has demonstrated it can. We deserve one of those FCC licenses. Citizens, neighborhood activists, non-profits, volunteers visiting our city to help rebuild our homes and communities — they all have a stake, they all have a message, they all have information that needs to be shared, but they can’t, because Entercom is hoarding licenses to give jerks like Spud McConnell a podium for his stupid remarks, and then to broadcast those identical remarks on three radio stations.

It’s time for a change.

Related:

Merry Katrina Christmas, 2006

Raise the volume: Raze corporate media

“And you didn’t punch her in the face?”


“We shall beat our plowshares into swords”

Posted in Entercom, Media, Media Democracy, New Orleans, WWL | 7 Comments »

Anyone remember the last time monkey boy mentioned New Orleans?

Posted by schroeder915 on December 28, 2006

John Edwards in New Orleans East, announcing the launch of his campaign for President:

“The president should’ve said, ‘I want someone in my office every morning, telling me what was happening in New Orleans yesterday.'”

Posted in 2008 Elections, Failure is not an option, John Edwards, Katrina Dissidents, Worst President Ever | 4 Comments »

John Edwards: “People Get Ready!”

Posted by schroeder915 on December 27, 2006

The wording of the announcement is uncanny. From the John Edwards One America website, blogger philgoblue quoted John Edwards in spirit, if not verbatim: “People Get Ready!”

edwards_pgr.jpg

By announcing his candidacy for President in the 2008 election from the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, John Edwards is sending a powerful message to the rest of the nation, and the world, that New Orleans will no longer be neglected; that the rebuilding of New Orleans is a symbol of the kind of nation the United States of America should be, where the least among us is treated with dignity, where resources aren’t squandered on a rich minority, but invested in the infinite potential of the multitudes, where hope in a brighter future replaces fear exploited for partisan or personal gain, where one of the greatest cities on Earth is recognized for its cultural and economic contribution to the world.

jre_in_nola_with_volunteers.jpg

Thank God we finally have an intelligent, eloquent, respected spokesperson of national stature to keep New Orleans in the spotlight.

122706_edwards_02.jpg
Charles Dharapak / AP

I’ve said it many times before: As New Orleans goes, so goes the rest of the nation.

Posted in 2008 Elections, Category 5 Storm Protection, Coastal Restoration, Failure is not an option, Global Warming, John Edwards, Katrina Dissidents, Louisiana, Neighborhood Preservation, New Orleans, Rebuild New Orleans | Comments Off on John Edwards: “People Get Ready!”

John Edwards: “People Get Ready!”

Posted by schroeder915 on December 27, 2006

The wording of the announcement is uncanny. From the John Edwards One America website, blogger philgoblue quoted John Edwards in spirit, if not verbatim: “People Get Ready!”

edwards_pgr.jpg

By announcing his candidacy for President in the 2008 election from the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, John Edwards is sending a powerful message to the rest of the nation, and the world, that New Orleans will no longer be neglected; that the rebuilding of New Orleans is a symbol of the kind of nation the United States of America should be, where the least among us is treated with dignity, where resources aren’t squandered on a rich minority, but invested in the infinite potential of the multitudes, where hope in a brighter future replaces fear exploited for partisan or personal gain, where one of the greatest cities on Earth is recognized for its cultural and economic contribution to the world.

jre_in_nola_with_volunteers.jpg

Thank God we finally have an intelligent, eloquent, respected spokesperson of national stature to keep New Orleans in the spotlight.

122706_edwards_02.jpg
Charles Dharapak / AP

I’ve said it many times before: As New Orleans goes, so goes the rest of the nation.

Posted in 2008 Elections, Category 5 Storm Protection, Coastal Restoration, Failure is not an option, Global Warming, John Edwards, Katrina Dissidents, Louisiana, Neighborhood Preservation, New Orleans, Rebuild New Orleans | 19 Comments »

“If you see a loved one get mugged, you don’t walk away”

Posted by schroeder915 on December 26, 2006

I first heard Harry Shearer use that line in an interview with (go ahead, laugh) Terri Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air.

He used it again in a Chris Rose 60-second interview (excerpt):

Many have left. Many more will leave. Why have you chosen to stay?

Because I think I understand what love is. It means sticking with it. If you see a loved one get mugged, you don’t walk away. …

Does the nation suffer from compassion fatigue in the case of New Orleans?

I don’t think it’s compassion fatigue because, for that to happen, there had to have been compassion in the first place. (Pause) Is that too harsh?

You mean they don’t love us out there in the Great Heartland?

Man, oh man. I’m afraid this city is teetering on the edge of changing its name to The City That America Forgot. This may not fit into this interview format, but I’ve started to think that maybe there’s a different way that white people and black people are acculturated in this country — because I’m trying hard not to face the utter racism of it all.

White people are acculturated to have less expectations of community and more expectations of individualism. The first time this occurred to me was when I went to a black church and saw somebody slain in the spirit and saw the group spontaneously gather around him so he wouldn’t hurt himself and I thought: You never see that in a white church. In a white church, people tend to sit by themselves and have a relationship with God.

It’s hard for other people to fathom the sense of despair that people here feel in the face of insurance companies and Road Home and Entergy and all the other villains. There is a hard surface of willful neglect that is almost impermeable. But then you run into so many people who have volunteered to come here and help and want to know what they can do to help, so . . . I don’t know. It’s weird.

You brought it up and it just doesn’t seem to go away. Why is everything here colored by race? …

Well, I just don’t think you can do stuff like enslave people and then walk away and say, OK, that doesn’t count any more, show’s over, let’s move on. We’re learning the same thing that the British are experiencing from their former empire: that your actions have consequences down though the centuries. Over there they’re saying, “Who are all these people in burqas coming to live in London?” Well, those are the people you colonized 200 years ago. I think it comes as a shock to Americans because we’re so contemptuous of the notion that history has any claim on us. And race is the claim check.

You come and go to New Orleans year-round, so my belief is that you see and feel the changes that occur here from a different perspective than most folks who live here.

Yes.

Then let me ask you this: Where are we? How are we doing? How’s it going?

Not as far along as we should be but farther along than we have any right to be when you consider the people who are in charge.

Posted in Failure is not an option, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Rebuild New Orleans, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever | Comments Off on “If you see a loved one get mugged, you don’t walk away”

“If you see a loved one get mugged, you don’t walk away”

Posted by schroeder915 on December 26, 2006

I first heard Harry Shearer use that line in an interview with (go ahead, laugh) Terri Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air.

He used it again in a Chris Rose 60-second interview (excerpt):

Many have left. Many more will leave. Why have you chosen to stay?

Because I think I understand what love is. It means sticking with it. If you see a loved one get mugged, you don’t walk away. …

Does the nation suffer from compassion fatigue in the case of New Orleans?

I don’t think it’s compassion fatigue because, for that to happen, there had to have been compassion in the first place. (Pause) Is that too harsh?

You mean they don’t love us out there in the Great Heartland?

Man, oh man. I’m afraid this city is teetering on the edge of changing its name to The City That America Forgot. This may not fit into this interview format, but I’ve started to think that maybe there’s a different way that white people and black people are acculturated in this country — because I’m trying hard not to face the utter racism of it all.

White people are acculturated to have less expectations of community and more expectations of individualism. The first time this occurred to me was when I went to a black church and saw somebody slain in the spirit and saw the group spontaneously gather around him so he wouldn’t hurt himself and I thought: You never see that in a white church. In a white church, people tend to sit by themselves and have a relationship with God.

It’s hard for other people to fathom the sense of despair that people here feel in the face of insurance companies and Road Home and Entergy and all the other villains. There is a hard surface of willful neglect that is almost impermeable. But then you run into so many people who have volunteered to come here and help and want to know what they can do to help, so . . . I don’t know. It’s weird.

You brought it up and it just doesn’t seem to go away. Why is everything here colored by race? …

Well, I just don’t think you can do stuff like enslave people and then walk away and say, OK, that doesn’t count any more, show’s over, let’s move on. We’re learning the same thing that the British are experiencing from their former empire: that your actions have consequences down though the centuries. Over there they’re saying, “Who are all these people in burqas coming to live in London?” Well, those are the people you colonized 200 years ago. I think it comes as a shock to Americans because we’re so contemptuous of the notion that history has any claim on us. And race is the claim check.

You come and go to New Orleans year-round, so my belief is that you see and feel the changes that occur here from a different perspective than most folks who live here.

Yes.

Then let me ask you this: Where are we? How are we doing? How’s it going?

Not as far along as we should be but farther along than we have any right to be when you consider the people who are in charge.

Posted in Failure is not an option, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Rebuild New Orleans, Worst Mayor Ever, Worst President Ever | Comments Off on “If you see a loved one get mugged, you don’t walk away”

All we want for Christmas …

Posted by schroeder915 on December 24, 2006

dearsanta.jpg

A couple of other New Orleans Christmas wish lists were posted on Northwest Carrollton and The Third Battle of New Orleans.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-supported Argentinian dictator Augusto Pinochet has risen from the grave “on this day of peace” — Christmas Eve — to share the cheerful posthumous message that torturing and murdering tens of thousands of his countrymen was necessary. Apparently, so was embezzling $28 million of his country’s wealth.

What a humanitarian! Is there a hot enough place in hell for a guy like that?

12/26/06 update:

Mark Folse has a Christmas wish list, of sorts, too.

Posted in Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans | Comments Off on All we want for Christmas …

All we want for Christmas …

Posted by schroeder915 on December 24, 2006

dearsanta.jpg

A couple of other New Orleans Christmas wish lists were posted on Northwest Carrollton and The Third Battle of New Orleans.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-supported Argentinian dictator Augusto Pinochet has risen from the grave “on this day of peace” — Christmas Eve — to share the cheerful posthumous message that torturing and murdering tens of thousands of his countrymen was necessary. Apparently, so was embezzling $28 million of his country’s wealth.

What a humanitarian! Is there a hot enough place in hell for a guy like that?

12/26/06 update:

Mark Folse has a Christmas wish list, of sorts, too.

Posted in Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans | Comments Off on All we want for Christmas …

Did I miss the secession?

Posted by schroeder915 on December 22, 2006

In his story describing a possible Katrina commission led by the Democratic Congress, AP reporter Cain Burdeau used an interesting word choice: repatriate.

On the eve of assuming control of Congress, Democrats are interested in forming an investigative panel similar to the 9-11 Commission to investigate who was responsible for the levees that broke during Hurricane Katrina and to probe the government’s efforts to repatriate and rebuild this devastated city.

So the Democrats will be investigating how George W. Bush and the Republican Congress lost New Orleans, and what the United States can do to get New Orleans to rejoin the Union? I’d be really pissed if I missed out on the secession.

And speaking of what Republicans have lost in the last year, I just watched The McLaughlin Group on PBS. John McLaughlin wore a red and black wide-plaid jacket with a yellow dress shirt. Does he buy those jackets at thrift stores? Good on ya John! Someone’s gotta do it. Anyway, given the overwhelming concensus among panelists, and the tenor of their criticisms of George W. Bush as the worst president in history, and given Bush’s stubborn stay-the-course-with-more-troops solution for the Iraq quagmire, even as his generals have resorted to openly criticizing him, if this were a different time and place (i.e., a different era and nation), I’d say it’s “bunker time” for Bush.

Bush has sunk to lower popularity than I ever thought possible. I think I’ll start referring to Bush as “the most revolting president ever.”

If, in fact, we’ve seceded, I’m voting for Segolene Royal.

Posted in Katrina Dissidents, Most Revolting President Ever, New Orleans, Worst President Ever | 2 Comments »