Friday, July 31, 2009
Frolic If you were Bill Jefferson and facing possibly the last weekend of freedom in your life, what would you do?
liprap @Frolic Cook everything in the freezer?
Frolic RT @liprap: @Frolic Cook everything in the freezer?<--Yes, Dollar Bill has the ingredients for a vegetarian chicken pot pit. (he meant "pie"; 'tis a typo)
Let's check and see:
Seeing all this other sort of "dough" recovered from the freezer certainly puts Dana Milbank's summation of the defense's argument into perspective. The....er....money quote:
... after all, if a member of Congress feels entitled to hide FBI cash in the freezer, who is the Justice Department to say he isn’t?
We have no choice but to wait and see if the jury will help Dollar Bill take that one to the bank...and I will hereby leave that analysis and the goofy puns to Adrastos.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
After all this time, the results of a recent study have linked the stresses of post-federal flood life - including the scanty access to hospitals, pharmacies, and treatment by health care professionals - to a greater incidence of heart attacks in area residents:
Previous studies have focused on jumps in heart attack rates in the immediate hours or weeks after disasters like earthquakes or volcano eruptions, but Tulane’s work is among the first to look at the long-term public health impact from such major events. Irimpen says this reflects the extraordinarily broad scope and lasting difficulties caused by the disaster.The health care panel at this year's Rising Tide conference will explore this sad fact of post 8-29 living, as well as many other related subjects. Moderated by public health Ph.D. candidate and local blogger Holly Scheib, the participants will be: Cecile Tebo, crisis unit coordinator for the NOPD and one of New Orleans magazine's Top Ten Female Achievers; Dr Elmore Rigamer, medical director of Catholic Charities; and Sean Fitzmorris, local EMT and administrator of New Orleans EMTs Sound Off!
“People had to go through such a long ordeal,” he says. “Even if they were not affected directly by the hurricane, living with it all around you had a subliminal effect. They interact with people impacted, their families and their coworkers and everyone else. There is a stress level in general here that is much higher than before, and stress has a direct impact on heart attacks.”
The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and Irimpen presented its findings at that medical group’s annual meeting this spring.
“Now we have the data so we can act on it in the future. This shows how governments can use their resources for better health in the recovery. It’s not just about housing, but about healthcare, not just about getting grocery stores open but pharmacies too,” says Irimpen.
The findings are also a warning to individuals about the importance of minding their health even when a disaster upends other areas of their lives. Among the surge of heart patients fueling the post-Katrina increase, Irimpen says, many hadn’t kept up with their medications and many had begun smoking or abusing drugs. Many were also unemployed and lacked health insurance.
“People have been busy rebuilding their homes, but not their health,” he says.
What will it take to advocate for greater access to care for our mental and physical well-being? What will it take to make that care a reality? What have the professionals seen in their experiences pre- and post-8-29 that can give us more pieces to this puzzle?
At least one thing is clear: according to the most recent New Orleans Index released by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, we are down to twelve open hospitals in Orleans Parish from 23 open pre-8-29...
Monday, July 27, 2009
(click on the image to enlarge)
In other road-related news, I spied an Entergy worker here on my humble gray brick road with a detection box and a nifty spray paint marker denoting the location of various electricals underneath the cobblestones. I wonder how long it will take before the local road work tour comes to my 'hood....I certainly know how long it will take before any tear-ups are fully repaired.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
When it comes to other sorts of buildings, however, the concrete and asphalt can be molded into many other forms. So far, there's a lot of piles being driven into the ground, a great deal of dirt being pushed around up the street from me, and a whole lot of heraldry that has been pasted up on an abandoned building nearby:
Construction is under way on The Muses Apartments, a new complex that aims to revitalize the Central City neighborhood.
The apartments will front Felicity, Baronne and Carondelet streets between St. Charles Avenue and Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The Muses will be a mixed-income development on a 4.5-acre lot that has been vacant for about 10 years. Originally, an Albertsons grocery store was supposed to be built on the property, but the plans never came to fruition.
“It’s a great location,” said Kathy Laborde, president of the Gulf Coast Housing Partnership. “It has access to St. Charles, and it bridges two neighborhoods — Central City and the Garden District.”...
...Developers say attracting people off St. Charles and toward Oretha Castle Haley and creating residences for more than 200 New Orleanians will be a boon for the newly developing commercial corridor on Oretha Castle Haley, where neighborhood advocates hope to eventually attract local and national retailers.
“We’re building businesses, and they need people,” said Lynnette Colin, executive director of the Oretha Castle Haley Merchants and Business Association. “This is going to add a structure to a massive amount of land that had been vacant and blighted.”
Recent discussions with a friend of mine about most people's attitudes towards commercial development here in the city, and this editorial that speaks of how suspicious folks here tend to be of the multifamily housing unit, make me wonder how truly beneficial this latest building project will be. Living in an area that has three conglomerations of those multifamily housing units has warped my brain a tad, I admit, because all three of those buildings of which I speak are condos.
Thing is, my experiences with apartment houses in other places has taught me that sometimes one just can't help but live in a multifamily housing unit, no matter who one is, what one does, or what one's economic status is. This is one of the storied battlefields where historical preservation and economic development collide...and it is largely because of the crazy ways in which people have usually proposed revitalizing decrepit neighborhoods and/or vacant commercial properties in these parts.
"It'll mess with the atmosphere of New Orleans" is the least of it. Too many forms of proposed commercial development have revolved around bars, restaurants, and frou-frou stores, so much so that even a more useful, basic form of commercial development - the Albertson's grocery store that was supposed to be where the Muses Apartments are currently going up - had trouble getting off the ground, stalled, and collapsed. We are not a business-friendly city, and we don't like it much when we are surrounded by slumlords that can't maintain their properties...so where do we go from here?I'll tell you what we don't go for.
Stay as far away as you can from the idiotic recession myths and platitudes. Except for the one about not switching to cheaper scotch, just drink slower. I can relate to that one.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Y'all know what I'm talking about:Zeitgeist Center at 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, the lunch from Cafe Reconcile, the presentation of the fourth Ashley Morris Award for Excellence in Blogging.
And the icing on the cake? Our keynote speaker is none other than....
Get registered, as soon as possible!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The hearing was a performance of a broader set of social rules that govern race and gender interactions in American politics. Women, and most especially black and brown women, have to prove their fitness for public life by demonstrating the ability to endure harsh brutality without openly fighting back. The ability to bear up under public degradation is a test of worth. America's favorite black woman heroine is Rosa Parks, a woman who is remembered as silently enduring the humiliation of being ejected from a public bus for refusing to comply with segregated seating.
Sotomayor passed the test. She met the Senators' questioning with thoughtful responses. Her voice did not quiver. Her face did not scowl. Many women of all races feel inspired by her. But I wonder about this lesson that continues to teach women that we can only have space in the public realm as long as we control all emotion.
There are creative solutions to such problems without having to give up the blogging: anonymity, clever disguising of real-life situations, password protecting those posts that might be incriminating, or not putting those situations into your posts at all. When a job is involved, these are things that must be weighed.
I personally find that having a child in my care puts even greater emphasis on the latter of the four solutions described above. Since the closure of my son's school due to a case of the swine flu amongst the students, the name of his school has been fully unmasked. Though I would like to rail against the school for a number of things that have been going on there in the past year, I have to balance out the knee-jerk feelings I have to expose all the dirty laundry there in the name of change and a touch of spite (and maybe not necessarily in that order, considering the nature of my reactions sometimes) with the facts of the positive things the school has done and still does for my child, and with my belief that there are still some things that can be changed from within. I don't want to jeopardize his education - and the fact that we aren't paying out the nose for it - for the world until it really doesn't seem to be working for him. This doesn't mean I won't be blogging about any schools in the area...just not the one he's attending.
To get a bit biblical about it, the Tanakh speaks of "every man being put to death for his own sin". This world doesn't quite work that way. My son could well suffer for what I write.
And though I really really want to change how that works, I must pick my battles ever more carefully.
It's a lot to chew on.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
One southern Wisconsin homeowner is probably not in love with the Oscar Mayer wiener. The famed hot dog's crashed Friday into the deck and garage of a home in Mount Pleasant, about 35 miles south of Milwaukee.
Police said the driver was trying to turn the Wienermobile around in the driveway and thought she was moving in reverse. But she instead went forward and hit the home. It sat in the driveway as if it were stuck in the garage Friday afternoon.
And speaking of wieners....
I emailed ConAgra Foods, the makers of the world's superior hot dogs, about the "Louisiana style" hot dog and what it is. I got a response that essentially said a Louisiana style dog is one that is sold in Louisiana....an answer that ought to have had the Wienermobile crash picture illustrating it.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I think a lot about whether or not reading these things will eventually build things up within me to a point where I can't take it anymore, whether reading repeatedly about the billions of unkind cuts administered to this region by the many people, organizations, and levels of government who were supposed to be helping us will be damaging my psyche irreparably. The last thing this area needs is another psychotic person running around with a grudge against any authority whatsoever...there are more than enough of those around, which is what I suspect is behind this lady's decision not to run for city council again.
I'd date allowing more of the memoirs and such into my piles of books to about late 2007. Actually picking them up and reading them to 2008. And I must say that, though the writings tug at my mental well-being some, it is not as bad as my current reactions to what I was doing over a year ago.
Most days, I veer past one location in particular that is threatened with demolition, am compelled to jump in there with my camera, and then I remember this.
I'm scared at what I could find.
At the same time, however, I got this notification through my flickr email a number of days ago:
I am from New Orleans, and found your site looking for photos of my old High School, Abramson.I told him Abramson is gone - even the temporary classrooms are no longer there - and that it is questionable if any school (hell, anything at all) will be built on the vacant grounds.
I left after Katrina and my wife does not want to move back, but I worked there until last year.
I thought I read in the Picayune that they were going to build a combination elementary and middle school, but that was a while back.And that hurts my heart more than any piece of 8-29-05 writing has to date.
Another graduate (I graduated there in 1970) told me about it being torn down.
A lot of memories were in that school. . .
My inner struggle continues.
Update, 4:02 PM: Seems at least one school is in the last bit of its rebuilding phase. The grand tour:
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Vive L'Opera de la Bastille! (on the left)
And go have some cake.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Well, yeah, I guess it does, to people who don't know about da paper's history.
It seems, however, that its history might be overshadowed by its online presence.
- I can't find the article online that I am referencing here - at least, not yet. And even if it were already up on the nola.com site, I wouldn't be able to find it unless I did a direct search of the article's headline along with its author. The site is difficult to navigate, for certain.
- Even if I could find the article easily, there's the question of whether or not I'd want to bring traffic to it by linking to it:
I read the headlines and get an understanding of what's happening but I don't dig too deep. Sometimes I go a day or two without looking at all. Last night I was playing around on the Internet when I finally checked the news and saw the stories of all the killings. There was a double murder in the Iberville Housing Development that caught my eye because of the location and ages of the victims (There won't be anymore links to news sites on this blog until someone figures out how to clean up the comments section. I am not promoting any websites that condone people disrespecting my race.)
So what's to be done? Do we go so far as to take digital photos of the dead tree T-P to corroborate what we read in the news today (oh, boy)? Do we keep writing the people who run nola.com and tell them what schmucks they are being by not moderating comments, equating "freedom of speech" with "anything goes - even racism, sexism, and just plain offensive talk"? Do we tell kids at the Newseum some of the nicknames we have for our local rag that might enumerate how stupid we think it is sometimes? Or do we support the local daily regardless of it all, because it's ours and it's the only one we've got?
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
We are both from places, but not of them.
How best to explain this?
Though I was born in Tennessee and grew up in Texas, I have no strong attachments to either place anymore and can't even navigate my cities of birth and of childhood well without a map. There are only two places in which I have truly felt at home - New Orleans and New York City. NYC is more the domain of my paternal grandparents, but it is also the first place where I truly felt as though I were charting my own course apart from my family.
Dan, though born and raised in California, tends to feel closer to the midwest, specifically Chicago, as well as New Orleans. Both are places he landed in post-college. Chicago was also where there were strong ties to a set of his grandparents.
Geography is much larger than just where you are this second. It is a good part of how you identify yourself...but it helps to be realistic about this.
For instance: I am fond of kidding my in-laws in No-Cal about the San Andreas being all their fault, since they live quite close to it...
...but they don't deserve to be in a state that is now so financially strapped it can't even conduct Michael Jackson's funeral without asking for help to pay for security. Where one charter school in particular is successful enough to have a new building, but has to go begging for the necessary stuff to put inside its walls.
"Hey, for once, your state is making ours look less bad," Dan said to his mom with slight glee when she bemoaned her state's financial crisis.
At the same time, however, when an exhibit at the Queens Museum of Art superimposes the locations of foreclosures atop its semi-historic Panorama of the City of New York...
Each plastic triangle represents a block where there have been three or more home foreclosures. Visitors on the balcony walkway that surrounds the Panorama, at the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, can see in a single glance precisely where subprime lenders wreaked the most havoc....it seems that neither end of the country is faring too well these days.
Hundreds of these pink stigmata cover Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, East New York and Canarsie in Brooklyn like an invading army. In Queens most markers are camped out in Ozone Park and Cambria Heights, as well as in parts of Jamaica and Corona. As for Manhattan, there are precisely two.
This mapping of the 45-year-old Panorama is part of a larger exhibition about housing, in which politics intersects with art.
“I hope that my work operates on a principle of opening up a set of issues for exploration,” Mr. Rich said.Titled “Red Lines Crisis Housing Learning Center,” the show includes photographs, models, drawings and sculptural installations — like a large, three-dimensional wooden graph of interest rates over the past 70 years — that offer an explanation of how the private housing market works, beginning with the federal government’s involvement during the Depression.
If it isn't the loss of our homes or our money that will hurt us, it will most decidedly be our health that does us in. Thank goodness we've still got that. As my grandpa says, if you don't have your health, then what have you...
Time to give Mary Landrieu another call, y'all. And don't mind any rude staffers you might come across.
Dear God, we are so stuck.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Sunday, July 05, 2009
It wasn't one of the momentous, earth-shattering ones that seems to be the lifeblood of all news stories today, the ones that have numbed us all to the point where the same earth barely whimpers when a news anchor shouts. It was about a man who lived near a major crossroads, where many had gotten lost and he was the only one around to give the lost a clue as to where they were and in what direction they should be heading. Sick of this position he found himself in, the man began making his own road signs, directing everybody to all the places they'd asked him about, adding new destinations on the signs based on the wayward travelers' queries that still came his way, despite the signs he'd made.
The story had appeared on a segment of the CBS News that was called On The Road. The man who brought us the story: Charles Kuralt.
I remembered the gandy dancers, the man who decided to build his own highway across a midwestern state, the small town cafe where all the coffee cups were emblazoned with a regular's name after said regular had drunk five gallons of coffee...all due to Charles Kuralt.
I began to read his book America at a moment in my grandparents' house when I was cutting the boredom with a knife, and was charmed at the tale he told of a house for sale that had once belonged to an upper crust member of Charleston society, who was appalled when a potential buyer had ventured into a part of the house in which the soon-to-be former owner would never have gone: "You went into the kitchen?"
After checking out some books of his from the library recently, I found that a great secret of his that he'd kept all the years he'd been traveling the country and wrangling several different types of RVs in his quest for the gems hidden in the everyday, the next-door, and the so-called run-of-the-mill had come to light. He was an adulterer all those years, a fact that seems to have tainted his legacy for all time for some:
Reactions to Kuralt's marital infidelity ranged from censure to sympathy. Faced with two disparate images of Kuralt - one whose friends characterized him as a national hero; the other of a man who cheated on his wife for nearly three decades - I found it difficult to reconcile how I should remember him. His moral frailty contrasted sharply with the seemingly strong convictions of the television personality who espoused goodness and character and virtue.
The apparent contradiction muddled Kuralt's image not only in my mind but also in others. Following my January 1999 cover story on Kuralt for North Carolina's Our State magazine, one reader angrily fired back that he was deeply disappointed that we would pay tribute to Kuralt: "Is it not now widely regarded that Mr. Kuralt led an adulterous, scandalous personal life that must surely have brought great shame to his wife and family? In no way do I view Mr. Kuralt in the high esteem as I did before these revelations."
Each must reconcile a person's gifts to this world with the fact that we are all flawed human beings who mostly want nothing more than to transcend our humble origins - even Kuralt with his legacy. He was not a perfect individual - but even his wife forgave him his longtime frailties. In many ways, the strongly adverse reactions to these revelations in light of the stellar career and personality he built over decades says a lot more about how successful he was at his job than about how good or bad he actually was as a person.
Death seemed to have canonized this man before these revelations, especially when Kuralt passed away on a date as momentous as the Fourth of July:
Watch CBS Videos Online
I for one am grateful that he passed through our lives in his way, showing us all how extraordinary the simple and the mundane could be in this world that seems to increasingly encourage us to leave all of that in the past. Kuralt even convinced Walter Cronkite, a scion of network news, of the wisdom and value in his reporting of subject matter that was not so worldly as to be almost otherworldly.
Without this man, these stories would not be with us today.
Without this man, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog.
Happy belated Fourth to Mr Kuralt, of blessed memory.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
(*Head to Da Zombie for more info on "the professional" and on other recent revelations about misbehavior meant to discredit the Inspector General stemming from Nagin supporters)
I may tackle watching it later on, but I am instead unraveling my feelings of disgust over Barack Obama's plan to dazzle Louisiana people and pols with his rationality concerning the public option in health care: All I can do is make rational arguments and hope they catch; it's a great experiment.
A great experiment.
Barry, man, listen to me, please: this state's health care does not run on anything near the scientific method. We are not one giant laboratory in which we will all submit to being pickled by chronic illnesses for the sake of your rationality - which is suspect anyhow. Presenting rational arguments for a public option and likening their acceptance to throwing them against a wall and seeing what sticks is highly irrational.
According to our governor, who has cut funding to a much-needed mental hospital here in New Orleans, this state is running in the red, a situation in which thrift trumps sanity. According to our Democratic "good" senator Landrieu, it runs on good old-fashioned level-playing-field competition fostered by private insurers, a large number of whom have given her money to ensure that their positions in that level field will be greater than that of the public option. According to those same insurance companies, their rules can be bent and twisted into a Mobius strip of excuses as to why the claims one files for compensation for medical procedures are of no concern of the insurers - pardon us, O claimant, while we take your money and run. Don't get sick, now, stay healthy!
The only rationality that speaks to all of the abovementioned entities in this game of providing affordable health care to all is that of the color green.
Speak rationally, Mr President, but please, carry a big solid gold stick that you have no hesitation about using. Money will keep talking long after your voice has been silenced.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
...and if Mary Landrieu's lack of support for the public health option doesn't drive you a little crazy, Bobby Jindal's veto of funding for the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital might well ensure we all go off the deep end here for lack of facilities devoted to the treatment of mental health.
Seems fitting that the forum for advocates of an override of Jindal's veto will be held on Bastille Day.
The folks in Baton Rouge are lucky nobody from here is bringing their protests there....not yet, anyway.