People Get Ready

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Archive for the ‘Ray Nagin’ Category

Chaos Breaks Wind

Posted by schroeder915 on February 16, 2007

The Knights of Chaos 2007 parade theme: Chaos Breaks Wind. There are also photos of the Krewe of Muses. Among the highlights, Rabouin High School’s new marching band.

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The deck of Chaos cards used as throws this year:

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Posted in Carnival, Eddie Jordan, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Ray Nagin | 1 Comment »

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?

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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.

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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.

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

The last-minute mayor

Posted by schroeder915 on December 15, 2006

Dear Ray Ray:

When USA Today, the newspaper with the highest circulation in the country, posted a story with this headline, “Louisiana Democrat wins House runoff, despite bribery scandal,” did you have second thoughts about your endorsement of Bill Jefferson, man?

Unfortunately, man, you and Bill Jefferson continue to supply excuses to the opponents of giving New Orleans its due share of compensation for damages — yes, compensation, not aid.

How about your weak response to the USA Today Q&A a couple of weeks ago:

Q: Do you believe any of the aid money has been lost through corruption or incompetence?

Nagin: I don’t know if there is any corruption going on. I think when you spend a significant amount of money, you’re probably going to have some fraud or waste.

That wasn’t exactly an answer which would inspire confidence.

You wonder about the reasons why money isn’t rolling into the city (chart). Well, man, where are the friggin’ plans?!! Show us your project worksheets so we know your playbook.

When you said, “We have the most comprehensive plan in the state. … Probably more than you want,” what the hell were you talking about, man?

I’m not talking about the Unified New Orleans Plan — that’s another piece of the puzzle which isn’t completed yet, and which you have barely raised a whisper to support. I’m talking about your plans for infrastructure projects we can get done right now — the broken sewer system, and roads, and gas lines, and yes, armoring levees if the Corps can’t get it done, and street lights, and what about fixing the schools or rebuilding them, and cleaning up public housing so people can live in there while residents and HUD sort out their differences.

What about that meeting in November with the LRA which you skipped out on because, you said, you didn’t have a list of infrastructure priorities. What?

And now, when the LRA tells you it’s only going to give you $100 million … now … now you complain, man?

So, where’s the plan, man!

What about the piggyback money in the GO Zone tax credits for private developers to submit affordable housing projects. That deadline passed in October with barely a wimper from the City Council, and not a peep from you. Hundreds of millions of dollars which will probably leave New Orleans and go to other hurricane-affected areas because you, man, you don’t have a calendar?

So you didn’t like the deadline? Well, man, demand a new deadline. It’s not as though this isn’t the “biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country”, man.

If you sit on your hands in a corner waiting for a handout, hoping you’ll get noticed, you won’t get a dime. You have to be vocal, and loud, and persistent, and you have to include other voices. You don’t have to go it alone, but hey man, give us an idea what the hell you’re thinking about!

When HUD told public housing residents, “your comments are duly noted, but we will stick with the agenda as noted,” and you said nothing, can you appreciate why we’re all feeling like you’re not on Team New Orleans?

Is the government saying and doing nothing a “market-based” approach to governance, man, or anarchy?

We’re on the same team — that’s right, man– but when you keep doing the no-show routine, and saying stupid shit, and endorsing crooked politicians, and letting important deadlines pass, what the hell are we supposed to do, man, but call you out.

When you said you were glad you were a lame duck mayor, would you perhaps consider, man, giving Ed Blakely or someone else the title?

If you don’t have the stomach for a fight, man, maybe you should retire.

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Posted in Bill Jefferson, Dollar Bill, Failure is not an option, Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Political Campaigns, Political Corruption, Ray Nagin, Rebuild New Orleans, Recall Nagin | 1 Comment »

Since I’ve been called an elitist …

Posted by schroeder915 on December 7, 2006

I don’t take kindly to being called names, so I’m going to post my response to a recent Gentilly Town Hall discussion right here, front and center (if that link doesn’t work, go to the Gentilly Town Hall forum main page, and look for topic number 1104).

Gentilly Girl, with whom I don’t wish any animosity, nevertheless chose to take me to the mat in response to an earlier PGR post:

He/she asks “Do you think you might like to have some airtime to get the word out about your neighborhood battles?” and ironically above that line questions the motive of the demolition of Cabrini Church. I’m sure the church isn’t located in Schroeder’s neighborhood. The irony of the elite preservationists dictating to an entire neighborhood what they can and cannot do in order to rebuild and recover. So, please log on to his blog and get the word out about YOUR neighborhood.

Since there appears to be a gross misunderstanding about my position, and since the call was made to use my forum to “get the word out,” I shall clarify:

Ah … if you’re talking about how I went into your house to help gut it, well, then yes, I guess you could say I *am* part of the preservationist *elite* — only in so far as there aren’t enough people doing this dirty work. But if you wish to associate me with some sort of conspiracy against your neighborhood, you’re dead wrong. As I’ve stated on your blog, Gentilly Girl, I couldn’t give a hoot what happens to that church. I simply believe that these issues should be given a complete public airing. Were I to resort to name-calling, I might call you and your neighborhood activists destruction elitists for wanting to take possession of a church which is owned by the church parish, not by the Archdiocese. I might call you part of the Catholic elite, or perhaps part of Walter William Maestri’s elite — a select group which makes decisions behind closed doors, and when they don’t get what they want, they become insolent and stomp their feet and cry foul. What really sickens me is what little consideration is given to public hearings on these issues, so that civil dialog, understanding, and hopefully, compromise, can be achieved. What really sickens me is how a Christian institution, the Archdiocese, chooses to pit communities against one another for the sake of a piece of land and a few buildings, rather than to seek harmony among people. All who care about New Orleans as a community, and yes, who care about preservation of its heritage, should care about how these issues are resolved. It’s about *the process*, not my attitude one way or another about *the building*.

Until very recently, the media has weighed heavily in favor of “progress” and the “wreckingballistas.” WWL TV covered the preservationist angle on the 10:00 news last night (I couldn’t find the archived video).

You know what’s really pathetic, and at the core of this battle? The fact that neighborhoods are struggling at all to justify their existence and economic well-being. Where’s the effing leadership in this town? In the United effing States of America?!!

Posted in Bush is a moron, Failure is not an option, Historic Preservation, Ray Nagin, Rebuild New Orleans, Worst President Ever | 4 Comments »

Since I’ve been called an elitist …

Posted by schroeder915 on December 7, 2006

I don’t take kindly to being called names, so I’m going to post my response to a recent Gentilly Town Hall discussion right here, front and center (if that link doesn’t work, go to the Gentilly Town Hall forum main page, and look for topic number 1104).

Gentilly Girl, with whom I don’t wish any animosity, nevertheless chose to take me to the mat in response to an earlier PGR post:

He/she asks “Do you think you might like to have some airtime to get the word out about your neighborhood battles?” and ironically above that line questions the motive of the demolition of Cabrini Church. I’m sure the church isn’t located in Schroeder’s neighborhood. The irony of the elite preservationists dictating to an entire neighborhood what they can and cannot do in order to rebuild and recover. So, please log on to his blog and get the word out about YOUR neighborhood.

Since there appears to be a gross misunderstanding about my position, and since the call was made to use my forum to “get the word out,” I shall clarify:

Ah … if you’re talking about how I went into your house to help gut it, well, then yes, I guess you could say I *am* part of the preservationist *elite* — only in so far as there aren’t enough people doing this dirty work. But if you wish to associate me with some sort of conspiracy against your neighborhood, you’re dead wrong. As I’ve stated on your blog, Gentilly Girl, I couldn’t give a hoot what happens to that church. I simply believe that these issues should be given a complete public airing. Were I to resort to name-calling, I might call you and your neighborhood activists destruction elitists for wanting to take possession of a church which is owned by the church parish, not by the Archdiocese. I might call you part of the Catholic elite, or perhaps part of Walter William Maestri’s elite — a select group which makes decisions behind closed doors, and when they don’t get what they want, they become insolent and stomp their feet and cry foul. What really sickens me is what little consideration is given to public hearings on these issues, so that civil dialog, understanding, and hopefully, compromise, can be achieved. What really sickens me is how a Christian institution, the Archdiocese, chooses to pit communities against one another for the sake of a piece of land and a few buildings, rather than to seek harmony among people. All who care about New Orleans as a community, and yes, who care about preservation of its heritage, should care about how these issues are resolved. It’s about *the process*, not my attitude one way or another about *the building*.

Until very recently, the media has weighed heavily in favor of “progress” and the “wreckingballistas.” WWL TV covered the preservationist angle on the 10:00 news last night (I couldn’t find the archived video).

You know what’s really pathetic, and at the core of this battle? The fact that neighborhoods are struggling at all to justify their existence and economic well-being. Where’s the effing leadership in this town? In the United effing States of America?!!

Posted in Bush is a moron, Failure is not an option, Historic Preservation, Ray Nagin, Rebuild New Orleans, Worst President Ever | Comments Off on Since I’ve been called an elitist …

The Dollar Bill printing press 2nd run

Posted by schroeder915 on December 5, 2006

I’m getting behind on posts, but there are a number of things that need to be addressed this week. At the top of the list:

1) Pass an OCS oil revenue sharing bill for Louisiana.

2) Defeat Bill Jefferson in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District.

Other things I want work on:

1) A review of the 2nd Community Congress.

2) Follow up on recent media posts with letters to various authorities and public officials.

In the meantime, I’m working on a revision of the previous Dollar Bill, and I’ll post a PDF of that revision so people can print their own cold cash to hand out around town.

Give me your ideas for revisions.

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Posted in Bill Jefferson, Dollar Bill, Political Campaigns, Political Corruption, Ray Nagin | Comments Off on The Dollar Bill printing press 2nd run

Do we really need two mayors?

Posted by schroeder915 on December 4, 2006

And do we really need two “recovery czars”? Anyone remember Donald Powell, Bush’s appointed “recovery czar”?

Choice quotes from the Associated Press story on Nagin’s appointment of a hurricane recovery czar:

The city has made strides, Nagin said. “I just need somebody to take me to the next level.” …

 

“We think he’s the best in the world to help us through this recovery,” Nagin said during a news conference called to announce Blakely’s appointment. …

 

Nagin had said in a recent interview a recovery director previously didn’t make sense because “I couldn’t really communicate to the person their authority, how the money was flowing, how (the recovery) would be set up. All that clarity is in place (now).”

Clarity? Really? Maybe now that we have a competent surrogate mayor to guide the recovery to the next level, he’ll enlighten us with that newfound clarity.

And maybe now we can also free Ray Nagin from the burden of toiling for that “big government salary” he complains about.

By the way, I wholeheartedly support the appointment of a manager to oversee New Orleans’ recovery. I just wonder about the competence and visibility of Donald Powell and Ray Nagin.

Posted in Katrina Dissidents, New Orleans, Ray Nagin, Rebuild New Orleans | 5 Comments »

Kill corporate media

Posted by schroeder915 on November 15, 2006

David Letterman’s monologue on Monday (starts at 2:13):

Tomorrow President Bush is leaving for Vietnam. I guess this time his father couldn’t get him out of it.

Speaking of Vietnam, dangerblond had some thoughts about “staying the course” in a recent post which resonated with my own views:

He was wearing a cap that identified him as a Vietnam War veteran. He was angry and complaining about everything. She was murmuring to him to calm down. Suddenly, he went off on the national election results.

 

“They are going to get more soldiers killed! Just like Kerry did in Vietnam! That bastard!”

 

So, I guess if decorated war veterans like John Kerry had not publicly criticized the war in Vietnam, America could have “stayed the course” over there throughout the 1970s, and fewer soldiers would have been killed?

 

I appreciate this man’s service to our country, and he has the right to believe what he wants, but if people like him had not voted for George W. Bush in 2000, no American soldiers would have lost their lives in Iraq.

 

The other night Josh got on my case because I was slamming Republican senators and congresspeople who support the war and who have fighting-age children partying on daddy’s money instead of wearing the uniform of their country.

 

“Would you want your sons over there?”

 

No, I don’t. But if I really thought Iraq posed a danger to my country, not my country’s petroleum industry, I would be ashamed of my sons if they didn’t volunteer to fight.

I’ve always thought that the discussion shouldn’t be about “staying the course,” but about how many more lives we are willing to sacrifice. That’s right, I said “we,” because each of us, in what we do and say, are either contributing to, or fighting against, the prolonged commitment of American soldiers in Iraq. Each and every one of us has to make a decision about how many more lives and families we are willing to destroy, and to act accordingly in the way we talk about the occupation of Iraq.

Think about the sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, who will return in body bags, never to see their children fulfilled, never to share in the joys of living with loved ones, never to have the moments of understanding that emerge when we grow old with close companions — 2,859 killed so far. And remember the more than 21,000 American soldiers thus far who will return, but whose bodies and minds have been shattered.

When the average is 65 American soldiers killed per month in Iraq, and assuming an occupation that persists until, let’s say another 24 months, that’s 1,560 more soldiers killed in Iraq — a casualty count that approaches 4,500. Whose names will be on that list?

We, as a nation, made a grave error by allowing George W. Bush and a bunch of other fratboy, draft-dodging, chickenhawk, neocon, corporate cronies to gin up the argument to have the war in Iraq which they wanted long before 9/11.

And now, in pro-administration, pro-Republican forums like WWL 870 AM, and the new Clear Channel Fox News format on 99.5 FM, talk show hosts are choreographing the discussion to “stay the course.” The word choreographing is far too elegant for what are really just a bunch of dumb rednecks spewing their ill-informed, narrow perspectives, while shutting off discussion — people like WWL’s Bob DelGiorno, who on Monday kept repeating the same tired line about “staying the course” while invalidating alternative viewpoints (if callers could even make it past the call screeners), and limiting the discussion to that single, simpleton talking point.

What does “staying the course” mean anymore? People should say what it really means. It really means: Keep Americans bogged down in a quagmire where insurgents are trying to kill them. It’s a quagmire, because as long as Americans are there, people will want to kill them because they’re country is being occupied, and more of them will want to kill us because our government sent them there. I don’t think we could get on top of that situation if we committed every fighting-aged person in America (as well as all the mercenaries we get from other countries who become citizens after serving in the U.S. military). The bigger the American presence there, the more we are resented. As dangerblond said, every single American would fight if an army invaded the United States.

Part of the problem is that we aren’t fighting an army. We aren’t fighting a state. We’re fighting an ideology, and ideologies only become more entrenched and extreme when they’re threatened by force. George W. Bush was absolutely pathetic in his inability to comprehend the nature of the response our nation needed to take to 9/11 attacks — or he and his friends shamelessly exploited the opportunity to get their war in Iraq.

One of the WWL callers on Bob-“aaah”-Del-“aaah”-Giorno’s show said he’d done five-tours in Iraq already — a dubious claim — and said that if we could see the people over there who feel threatened by the chaos, we’d want to continue the war/occupation. I don’t disagree that we owe them their safety (now that George W. Bush and the Republican Congress screwed up so badly), but I do disagree that we can do anything about it — short of evacuating half of the Iraqi population — because we are the problem.

Once people in Washington start admitting that we can’t stay there forever, then decisions can be made about how to get out as gracefully as possible, saving as many lives as possible. But that’s part of the problem. The neocons don’t want to leave Iraq. They want an American presence in Iraq in perpetuity, because the neocon ideology is entirely financed by the oil industry.

In its corporatist nature, and in its exploitation of the idea of individual victimization as a justification for opposing democratic resolution to conflict, it would be no mistake to call the neocon ideology fascist — and that should be the focus of discussion: what are American soldiers dying for? How is the way the debate is framed by the corporate power structure of our nation altering people’s perceptions of what the cause is, and what their personal stake is in the cause?

I’m disheartened by the breakdown in civil dialog in our country, where profit is the driving motive for limiting dialog to the partisan rancor and character assault that arises from the talking points of extreme ideological opponents.

A lot of us don’t realize that our democracy is being poisoned by the corporate stranglehold on media — the principal purveyor of ideas in the public square. If ideas are the oxygen of our democracy, ours is on life support.

Corporate control of ideas is accomplished in a direct manner through editorial decisions made by gatekeepers who decide what the story is; it’s done in a more insidious manner by dumbing down the information we get; and it’s done as a byproduct of the way we’ve structured media ownership in our country to allow for a greater concentration, which limits the number of perspectives presented for us to digest. The sum total effect is the creation of an entire population which lacks the ability to think critically, which is well-versed in the desired talking points, and which is malleable to the corporate power elite’s agenda.

Times-Picayune media reporter Dave Walker is one such tool of corporate media. He apparently lacks the critical thinking required to expose the evils of media ownership concentration. In a recent story, he wrote about Entercom replacing Air America Radio with WWL re-runs, he characterized the Entercom decision as a mere annoyance “irking local lefties still basking in their narrow reclamation of Congress,” as though only “lefties” wanted more accountability in Washington.

Walker failed to adequately describe how the breadth and depth of discussion about issues on the national agenda has been severely diminished by the decision. He failed to talk about how it isn’t good for our democracy, or our communities, when a combined 13 radio stations in New Orleans are owned by Pennsylvania-based Entercom, and Texas-based Clear Channel. He failed to mention that programming changes are made by corporate owners, not based upon the needs of the community, or our democracy, but upon an excessively high rate of return demanded by the corporate media ownership structure of radio.

In his token ceremonial piece, Walker referred to lower Arbitron ratings on WSMB (while hosting the Air America format) compared to WWL. He failed to mention that WWL reaches a wide swath of the southern United States, while WSMB is only heard in New Orleans. He failed to mention the highly questionable validity of Arbitron ratings. He failed to mention the fact that Entercom never promoted the Air America format on WSMB — a critical consideration in a world in which people have been generally so turned off by radio over the years, that they don’t even bother to look for worthwhile content.

Walker mindlessly transcribed Entercom executives’ quotes:

“Because of the storm, it was hard to launch that kind of programming in the marketplace, when so many people were concerned with survival, not philosophy. We think this is a better use of the 1350 frequency at this place and this time.

 

“This is a better choice based on what audiences and advertisers are telling us.”

Walker never asked why, if Entercom thinks New Orleanians can’t handle “philosophy,” they should continue to be subjected to Rush Limbaugh’s rantings on WWL in the prime midday schedule. He never questioned why, if Entercom is so interested in the survival issues of New Orleans residents, it broadcasts 15 hours a week of sports, 20 hours a week of time travel and alien abductions, and 15 hours a week of food talk. He never asked what content Entercom provides on the other three radio stations it owns in New Orleans.

When, on Monday, Clear Channel changed WRNO from a stale rock format, to Fox News and partisan right-wing talk, Walker wrote another dull report, once again providing a non-threatening forum for another media giant to justify its tactics:

The new format’s mission is “to be an activist voice in the improvement of New Orleans,” said Dick Lewis, New Orleans-based regional vice president for Clear Channel.

It took Clear Channel 14 months to figure out that New Orleanians might need more information about how to rebuild their lives and their neighborhoods? And in the end, what are they giving us? Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, convicted insurance commissioner Jim Brown, and Ray Nagin’s key advisor — the Republican most responsible for the amazing disappearing mayor’s re-election — Rob Couhig. Hmm … I wonder if we’ll hear any criticism of the mayor on Couhig’s program.

Wanna know how the new activist station handles true activism? Try calling the station to complain about the addition of yet another partisan format to the radio dial.

I called on Monday to make my comments on air during Andre Trevigne’s debut. She’s another apologist for the Bush administration, but I simply wanted to state that generally, I didn’t think New Orleans needed another right-wing radio station. The girl who answered the phone said that Andre wasn’t talking about programming on her show. I replied that Trevigne should be talking about programming, because, at the very least, the decision to move to talk radio, ostensibly to give New Orleanians another forum for recovery information, was belated, and at worst, disingenuous. Once again, if Clear Channel were so interested in serving the New Orleans community, why dump Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly on us? The phone girl explained that Andre Tevigne doesn’t make the programming decisions. She just works there. I replied that Andre Trevigne, and everyone else who works at a Clear Channel station, has made a choice to support the programming decisions by working there. The girl sounded troubled. She sounded like she might be, for the first time, questioning her decision to work for Clear Channel, and then offered me another phone number I could call to comment on the programming change.

Here’s that number: 679-7300. Ask for Mike Cramer. I doubt he’ll answer. I haven’t gotten through to anyone at Entercom or Clear Channel who cared to talk about programming decisions. But leave Mike a message, and tell him what you think of Clear Channel’s decision to create another forum for right-wing partisan lies.

Later, I called the FCC to see if there was anyone there I could talk to. The woman who answered said I had to make a complaint in writing. I’ve been able to phone in complaints before, but apparently, that was during the Clinton administration — before the federal government became an ideological fortress against criticism.

The FCC woman did engage me in a discussion, only to tell me that the FCC doesn’t govern programming decisions. I stated that my complaint wasn’t simply about programming decisions, but the fact that Clear Channel and Entercom aren’t using their New Orleans licenses responsibly, making programming decisions that don’t reflect the needs of the New Orleans community. The woman told me that she couldn’t state her opinion about ownership matters, but again told me that the FCC doesn’t rule on programming matters. I replied that my complaint centered on programming precisely because it is executives of corporate media companies making the decisions about what we in New Orleans should have to listen to. I said it was reprehensible what the FCC was allowing to happen here in New Orleans, and elsewhere around the country. Again, a pause, as the woman silently acknowledged that a wrong was being committed. And then she started to navigate through the FCC Web site so she could give me addresses where I could file my complaint.

If you want to call the FCC, don’t wade through the menu of options. Just dial “0” when you get dumped into the menu: 888-225-5322.

In coming days, I’ll be writing (and posting) formal letters of complaint to the FCC, and sending copies to Entercom and Clear Channel. And in an upcoming post, I’ll be writing about how the ratings game played by corporate executives has parsed up the population of listeners over the years into an ever diminishing pool, as bad programming leads to fewer and fewer listeners, and more segmentation of bad listeners leads to worse and worse programming.

I know a lot of people are turned off by radio. So am I. I know that what was once a public medium has been so polluted by corporate control over the years that it is toxic to the ears of many people who have turned instead to satellite radio and iPods.

It ain’t bad everywhere though, folks. There are models for success in other parts of the country where ownership is still independent and community-based. I believe we can create media that responds to the needs and desires of our communities, and our democracy. But we have to participate in the debate for that to happen.

Don’t kill your radio. Kill the system that makes your radio a weapon of the opposition.

Posted in Bush is a moron, Clear Channel, Democracy, Entercom, George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina, Impeach Bush, Iraq, Katrina Dissidents, Media, Media Democracy, New Orleans, Radio, Ray Nagin, Rebuild New Orleans, Worst President Ever, WRNO, WSMB, WWL, WWWL | 19 Comments »

Sean Payton for mayor

Posted by schroeder915 on November 1, 2006

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We get hit, we learn, we adjust our game plan, and we move on to win the next one. WWL sports announcing legend Jim Henderson said, “You see new stuff, something different, from Sean Payton every weekend” (HT: Library Chronicles).

Can anyone imagine seeing “our mayor” Ray Nagin champion the fight for New Orleans once a week, let alone in a once-a-day status report?

Payton, on Sunday’s defeat to the Ravens:

“I think the first message is the formula,” Payton said. “A game like yesterday just really reiterates everything we’ve talked about leading up to this season. They see it, and they know it. They’re not going to need any special pep talk today by the head coach.

“They’re going to want us to help them get better today. They’re going to want us to give them criticism that’s fair, based on what we’ve seen. And here’s how we think we can improve this. Here’s how we think we can change this and move on. Again, I think it’s important we’re moving on to the next game.”

Of course, you have to start with a game plan, something “our mayor” has thus far failed to deliver. Anyone seen those project worksheets?

Meanwhile, why is it that every time Tom Benson starts talking about moving the Saints out of New Orleans, they start losing?

With a 242 to 354 record over 40 years, New Orleanians have to be among the most loyal fans anywhere. Tom Benson is lucky the fans haven’t left the Saints!

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Posted in New Orleans, Ray Nagin, Sean Payton, The Saints | 3 Comments »

Halloween 2006

Posted by schroeder915 on November 1, 2006

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A Skeleton Krewe member in costume handed me what is now one of my most-prized Mardi Gras throws.

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Photos. Video.

Posted in Bill Jefferson, Congressman Jefferson, Government Corruption, Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, Political Campaigns, Ray Nagin | Comments Off on Halloween 2006