Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Why I Voted For Senator Barack Obama

These are the issues that are most important to me as I made my decision to vote for Barack Obama. Though all four issues are important, I have placed them in my order of importance.

1. The Supreme Court
I believe that an Obama administration AND a Democratically held Senate will be able to keep the Supreme Court moderate at best. The Obama Court will not overturn Roe v. Wade, and this is important to me.

2. Fairness Doctrine
I believe an Obama administration will reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in communications. I believe it should be the first Executive Order he signs once he is inaugurated. I believe that the airwaves are dominated by Right-Wing hate mongers and that there is a need today for a balanced and educated voice for the listening public. We need to get rid of the hate on the air and use the media to educate citizenship.

3. National Health Care
I believe an Obama administration will move quickly to create a National Health Care system. We need this to become more competitive in the Global labor market so that we can better keep jobs in the US.

4. Ending the Iraq War
I believe the Obama administration will move quickly to get our troops out of Iraq. It is about time to get out of this conflict so symbolic of the Bush debacle.

These issues are paramount in my decision. They completely separate the two candidates in this race.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Hurricane Ike--Part 1


Alrighty then....

I've had it already with Hurricane season....

I want all my friends to know that we have a place for you all to stay that won't cost you a dime. I'll cook some of the best food you will every have. Real home cookin'.

Don't waste more money than gas money to get up here.

It's boring, but it's safe.

If you need a plan, come on up to Harker Heights.

Banzai

Friday, September 05, 2008

Conservative Republican Double-speak

And which is it? Experienced, inexperience? Private issue, or issue for public scorn? Sexist, or female candidates open for criticism?



You gotta see this.

And then, make your contribution to Obama. We gotta win this one.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Trying to Help



I've been on Twitter for the past two days trying to help friends keep up with the news coming out of New Orleans. Here is the link to the newsfeeds.

It has been an incredible resource. If you want to see what I'm up to, go to twitter and look for Banzaibill.

Someone should write an article about this.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Sunday Morning Track


24 hours to landfall

Still not looking good. New Orleans to the East of the storm--barely.

Thankfully, most of my friends are either out of town or heading out.

Lots are using Twitter to send messages about road conditions. A nice resource.

Why can't this storm go to Texas?

More later....

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav, Go Away



11:00am. Gustav's forecast at 11am moves it back to the East closer to New Orleans.

I would now be planning on leaving by Sunday, if not sooner....

Don't take the chance. Head to Florida, or North and enjoy the Labor Day weekend.


My philosophy when I see these things enter the gulf is watch it closely because it can do anything once there. This is nothing to mess with--it's a Cat 3, and it's moving slowly. It is still very unpredictable.

30 x 90 folks--30 x 90. It's got to be deep in the gulf and steadily moving west before I decide to STAY.

The Tropical Storm force winds will extend all around New Orleans. That is going to cause some storm surge into Lake Pontchatrain and the Mississippi River (which is already high). This enough will test the levee system.



Look--schools are out until next week, I'm sure businesses have made plans to close.... What I'm saying is just be smart about this. Be wise and be careful.

My thoughts are with you all. More updates later.

Friday, August 29, 2008

OBAMA


Take a good look at the next President of the United States.

I like the part in his speech when he said "Enough!" And we've had ENOUGH of Bush failures. On this third year anniversary of Katrina, I want to remind you of the MANY signifant failures of Bush and Republicans over the past 7 1/2 years. Using an old Reagan line, consider: "Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?"

Barak Obama will lead us into the future. And he will change America--more than he even has so far.

Wake up to a new Morning. It's a new America today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hurricane Gustav


Friday Update:
Gustav continues to track west this morning, but the models "split" between an eastern or western turn. By tomorrow, we should have a much better idea of where this nasty storm will hit.

And, as many of you know--keep an eye out for Hanna. She looks like she'll make a turn with no clear indication of which direction it might go.

Its the three year anniversary of Katrina--that and Gustav are heavy on my mind right now.

Keep wishing it towards Texas--we need the rain.

Friday, August 15, 2008

It' Getting "Stinky" in New Orleans....

And it ain't because of overflowing garbage trucks running through da Quarter....

C-Ray is going to get an award for (I can hardly believe I'm writing this) "Distinction for Recovery, Courage and Leadership." What a crock of shit that is (pardon my language).

But Adastros has exposed the real moving force for the event. In essence, its a Fundraiser for C-Ray. And there are some folks who are not too happy to be associated with this event--bascially, they were sold a bill of goods for an event they knew nothing about.

Yeah, C-Ray--that's the way to do it. Keep foolin' folks for your own purposes. You are such a piece of low political life--I can't believe you are still in office. Get him out, folks--please, get him out!!!!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Happy Dirty Linen Night


Wish we could be there....

But, I'm drinking lots tonight in hopes that I can recreate the thoughts :)

Banzai

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Mayor Nagin IS a NO SHOW

It's not surprising to me that Mayor Nagin not show up at the City Council chambers this morning. He's been a "no-show" throughout the rebuilding process.

He IS probably having breakfast at some fancy restaurant this morning.

Hey, don't we have access to his schedule? Oh, I forgot, that might be too personal of an issue with C-Ray (not lately)....

Ray Nagin, you sorry excuse for a Mayor….

Here is this morning's story in the TP. "Prior scheduling commitments" my ass....

Here is the feckless mayor hard at work:


Imagine--the next time you open your eyes, C-Ray, you'll be looking at a warrant for your arrest....

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tropical Storm Edouard

Well, we could use the RAIN here in Central Texas....

I'm not so sure that Houston has to panic about this one. I'm more worried about the other storm that could be in the Gulf next week.... It's Hurricane Season....

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Don't Underestimate Citizen Activist Blogs!!!

Don’t ever underestimate the power of the citizen activists using Blogs. Today’s TP ran a story entitled New Orleans suspends home rehab operation and credited Karen Gadbois and her work at her blog Squandered Heritage with exposing the corruption at NOAH.

Great Job Karen—I know you work really hard on this project. And you do it for all the right reasons. And you don’t get enough credit. And you need all of our support.

If you want to know the value of Blogs and activism, read The Nation’s recent article on MOVEON.COM’s 10 year anniversary.

Blogs mobilize the new “silent majority” in ways never experienced before. We are all making a change happen.

How exciting is this!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Feckless Mayor

And while I’m on a Rant….

Ray Nagin, you sorry excuse for a Mayor….

The Gambit this week hit the mark on our Paranoid, Mentally Challenged mayor. How the hell he won that second term, well, I guess we have lots of folks UPTOWN to thank for that, aye?

Here is the feckless mayor hard at work:


Picture credits go Crosswordgrl. She is a Super Hero to Community Activists everywhere.

Oil Companies Score Huge Profits

This REALLY PISSES ME OFF. In May these same oil companies were on Capital Hill trying to justify their huge profits at times of great consumer need. J. Stephen Simon, executive vice president of Exxon Mobil, had the “gall” to say at that time that these profits were needed to invest in long-term growth. BULLSHIT. Return your profits back to consumers in the way of lowered costs, you pig!!!

I’m tired of paying for gas to these asswipes. But I can’t afford a New Prius, so I’ll settle for something like this:



In the meantime, I’ll send my GAS money to another country—where potentially they might spend it on something like, oh, national health care?



Monday, July 28, 2008

What A Wonderful World....

It's here--the first "trailer" for Oliver Stone's "W."



And I'm very happy he didn't use Louis Armstrong's version of "What A Wonderful World." That would not have been appropriate.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fiorella's and the Bingo Show

I was "cruising" on the net, when I should've been grading papers, and I googled "Fiorella's" to see if there were any posts about its closing (it closed in June).

Well, I found Clint Maedegon's "Complicated" video and I know you all have seen it before, but for Cece and David (who do occasionally lurk here) I just wanted you to see a wonderful portrait of our walks through the Quarter. Start to finish, I think you'll see lots of familiar places and faces.



By the way....

I bought the Fiorella's Neon Sign last time I was in New Orleans. Yeah you right!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Makes You Think

I just ran across this piece on YouTube and it struck a chord with me:



What do you think?

Friday, June 20, 2008

On Another Note....

Susan and I are going to see Tom Waits in Houston on Sunday!!! We can't wait for the incredible and rare show. We'll bring back what pix we can take.

Friday, June 06, 2008

I live with Demons in my head

I guess over the past few weeks there were many things I could have written about on this Blog that would entertain and inform better than this post could.

I could have lamented about the disease taking over the life of Ted Kennedy. This saddens me to no end….

I could have written about actually meeting Hana Morris at her house for her daughter’s 6th year birthday, and all the wonderful people I met there as well. Thank you Hana for a wonderful time.

I could have written about meeting Ray Shea and sharing a po-boy with him after we watched the Mardi Gras Indians march on Bayou St. John on Memorial Day—what a lagniappe that was.

I could have written (more) about Hillary’s obvious breakdown—mental and political.

I could have written about how elated I am that my “second” choice for President actually “won” the Democratic nomination—Geauxbama!!!

I could have written about the fact that I got an incredible job promotion—finally after all these years in academia.

I could have written about how much I miss Susan and Devin as they visit Susan’s parents in Tennessee, and have been gone for two weeks.

I could write right now about how happy I am to see Cece and that I am very happy that she is here visiting—I miss her so very much.

I need to catch up on my blog, but what I write about tonight are my demons….

Perhaps brought on by the second rum and coke tonight….

And a little bit of Terrance Blanchard’s “A Tale of God’s Will” on the radio….

The Demons….

They Still Haunt Me….

I wish I was home….

I have it so good right now. Good job, good house, not so great neighborhood, but people are getting used to me now after one year in this new place, and we’re actually making friends of sorts—but not the kind we had in New Orleans. The job is great, and I’m moving up and helping build a University. Incredible. All good.

But I guess I have and am constantly now thinking about “survivor’s guilt.” About how we are doing better than ok away from New Orleans, but that I would rather be there doing what I know I can do there, making a difference and helping rebuild.

During my last visit to New Orleans, I finally found the word that summed up the many interviews I’ve conducted since the storm and the observations in the field of the friends and people who have returned to New Orleans to rebuild.

DEFIANCE

Blake—that’s a word you should put on one of your t-shirts—honestly!!!

DEFIANCE

New Orleans has been rebuilt on the backs and from the sweat of all those who have returned.

With little help from the government and insurance companies, people who have returned (not all, but many who I know) have been able to recapture a part if not a large part of their houses, lives, and quality of life. They have done it on their own.

SINN FEIN!!!

And I am so very proud of my city now more than ever.

And I am so unhappy that I am not there to help and participate in this incredible process.

Survivor’s Guilt.

I will always be a New Orleanian—always.

Time for that second rum and coke.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hillary Has Officially "Lost It"

And I'm not talking about the election....

Politico.com reports that Hillary is comparing the fight to seat Florida and Michigan delegates as a Civil Rights Movement.

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Hillary Clinton compared her effort to seat Florida and Michigan delegates to epic American struggles, including those to free the slaves and win the right to vote for blacks and women.

The current stalemate over the two states' primary votes threatens to replicate the disputed 2000 presidential election in Florida, she warned an elderly crowd in Palm Beach County - one of the jurisdictions where Democrats allege voters were disenfranchised in 2000.

The pointed speech marked the kick-off of a last-gasp effort by Clinton to prolong her Democratic presidential campaign by making the states count, which would cut into rival Barack Obama's leads in popular votes and pledged delegates.

"In Florida, you learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren't counted and the candidate with fewer votes is declared the winner," she said. "The lesson of 2000 here in Florida is crystal clear: if any votes aren't count, the will of the people isn't realized and our democracy is diminished."

Clinton, at times sounding like a modern history professor, praised the abolitionists, suffragettes and civil rights pioneers and talked about her own efforts to fight legislative redistricting and voter identification initiatives that she said dilute minority voting power.

"This work to extend the franchise to all of our citizens is a core mission of the modern Democratic party," she said. "From signing the Voting Rights Act and fighting racial discrimination at the ballot box to lowering the voting age so those old enough to fight and die in war would have the right to choose their commander in chief, to fighting for multi-lingual ballots so you can make your voice heard no matter what language you speak."


Incredible....

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who Is Helping the Lower 9th Today?

While volunteering this weekend at the Broadmoor Fest, many of my students came away with a sense that Broadmoor had gotten on its feet and was moving forward in its rebuilding effort. They were told of the fundraising efforts for both the Library and the School, and were told by residents as well of their individual rebuilding efforts (and headaches). Given these observations, they wanted to know if all the money raised by Broadmoor this weekend was going to the Lower 9th Ward to help them recover. They were surprised when I told them that what funds might be left-over from the Festival after paying bills would probably go towards the Library. They wanted to know why Broadmoor (and other neighborhoods) aren’t helping other worse-off neighborhoods get back on their feet.

I tried to answer their questions critically, trying to dispel their “taken-for-granted” approach that Broadmoor had received Federal and State Aid (and insurance money) to recover. Many of you who have experienced the Road Home or FEMA or Insurance Adjustors or the SBA know that the “recovery” has been born on YOUR shoulders. New Orleans residents have, for the most part, been totally ignored by the Federal and State governments. What my students see in Broadmoor, I told them, is a reflection of the work by many residents who were first challenged and threatened by the prospect that Broadmoor didn’t matter and was going to be turned into one big Greenspace. We in Broadmoor defended ourselves from outside threats to a community we all felt a strong sense of place and identity in. We cared about not only how we were going to recover but also how our neighbors were going to recover and how we all would work to bring back our neighbors and our neighborhood. The students also heard that the level of recovery needed in the City was beyond the level that even neighborhoods and their residents should bare totally by themselves. Non-profits also cannot completely rebuild New Orleans—it takes a gargantuan national will and funding effort through governmental institutions to make the city fully recovered and safe again.

What I also told the students is the incredible injustice the Lower 9th Ward experienced before and after the storm. The dispersal of these residents makes it incredibly difficult to organize efforts to rebuild the neighborhood and community. The fact that many are still fighting the government(s) and insurance for restitution is another example of this injustice. I told the students that there were other significant impediments to rebuilding the Lower 9th Ward. But when it came to Broadmoor, we were in the middle of a fight for our own neighborhood and this occupied much if not all of our efforts.

For the “occasional” readers of the Blog—those of you who I call friends from New Orleans--what can I tell my students about how you feel about Broadmoor’s (or any New Orleans neighborhood’s) relationship to the Lower 9th Ward in their recovery efforts? What role do other New Orleans neighborhoods have or need to have in helping advocate for the rebuilding of the Lower 9th Ward and other devastated areas in New Orleans?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Broadmoor Fest and My Students

I am back in New Orleans this weekend with 25 student volunteers for the weekend. Our project—helping set up and work the Broadmoor Festival. Isn’t it nice to have power?  Anyway, we got in on Thursday night and will be heading back to Killeen on Monday. The students are in my annual Community Development course. It is my little contribution to making more people learn the story of Katrina and how New Orleans is recovering post-Katrina. There is no better place to study how to “develop” community than in a place that lost so much but has worked so hard to rebuild and recover.

You all know what makes New Orleans special. But for me, it is great to see others get it. It doesn’t take long for the students to begin commenting on what an incredible place this is. The variety and historical significance of the housing and buildings. The incredible food (we’ve had po-boys at Parkway, snoballs at Hansen’s, and dinner at Jacque-imos for example). The friendly and helpful people. The great music (I took them to Vaughan’s on Thursday night). The “free” lifestyle. Many of them “get it.” And, for a class this large, it is nice to see so many of them get it.

We worked the Broadmoor Fest as our service project for the trip. And, though some might say that having them work to help repair houses might have more significance, I would say that this has been the first time I have been able to help MY neighborhood with my students. And, given the comments by my friends who organized the event, we were much appreciated. It was great for me to see so many friends. The students got a chance to sit and talk with many residents about their struggles and joys in the recovery. I am really looking forward to reading their journals next week.

I will post more later, with pictures. It has been rather “exhausting” managing a group this size (at times, its like herding cats). But as I begin my walk through the Quarter today, I will let the sun and the river help me recover.

It’s all good.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

We Have Lost A Great Warrior for New Orleans

I can’t believe it….

We’ve lost another great patron of the City we all love so much….

Dr. Ashley Morris passed away yesterday, and I learned of his passing when I went to log on to his daily diatribes that kept me so in touch with the city.

I never met Ashley, though I thought we might touch base during my last visit back home during St. Pat’s. We conversed on the internet, through his blog and through e-mail. I was happy when he said he would’ve voted for me if I ran for City Council. And I would’ve needed his support to make it and to be a fighter on that dysfunctional institution.

He was my hero….

His rants were classic. I should link to them here, but if you’re here, you know all the ones that count. I remember back in May 2006 reading aloud his “Fuck you you Fucking Fucks” to my class. It was classic. They laughed, not even knowing what New Orleans was about. And I wanted to give him a big fat kiss for that post.

His rants against Chicago when the Saints lost up there….

His great tattoo for the Saints….

His photo-voodoo—how anyone taking a pix with him that might have been in politics would be forever contaminated….

His Kreux de Vieux pix…. “Buy us back, Chirac….”

I wanted to be a professor like Ashley….

To be a family person like Ashley….

To be fighting for New Orleans like Ashley….

I do my best, my friend, to keep the story of New Orleans alive outside of the Great State of Louisiana. And I gotta say that I’ve done a good job. And that’s in part to your motivation and your edge.

I will miss you. And I will keep you in my thoughts always.

Banzai

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good Trip Back Home

Just got back from 5 days in New Orleans. Saw lots of people, Devin got to see three parades, and he gave out flowers and kissed the girls. He's learning young. It was nice to be back home, and I'm beginning to see some progress in the city's reemergence. Bits and pieces of neighborhoods coming back, usually differentiated by the amount of money available for rebuilding. I continue to be impressed with the development of the Musician's Village. I also saw other non-profit homebuilding in various areas (Central City for one). It won't be the same, but I do see some progress.

Monday, March 03, 2008

P. O.'d

The Monkey Speaks His Mind....

And he's pissed off....

I am so tired of Conservative rants these days. On any medium (blogs, radio, tv, webcasts). I SO WANT the Democrats to win in November--just to see Conservatives whine like never before (actually, like they did when Billary I was in office).

Why can't we just give Conservatives Texas? Please? And that's really generous, if you think about it. They get a territory the size of a country (ask Texans--it IS a country "still") with the stipulation that they stay right where they are and inflict no harm on the remaining United States. Let them play Free Market Monopoly all day long, and let them do whatever they want to their social structure. Gun loving, freedom loving, paranoid schitzophrenic drug using, conservative-land.

There....

Now I feel better :)