29 September 2005

What a sad parade

I'm growing increasingly more confused by something.  For almost four years now, ever since the US military (rightly) went into Afghanistan, I've seen billboards, car ribbons, signs in front yards, etc. that say "Support Our Troops." 

People seem to have differing opinions on how one can go about supporting the troops:

1. Express strong, positive feelings for every single thing that the administration and Pentagon have done since the war on terror began, and attack anyone who does not support the war as someone who does not "support the troops."   

2. Assume that anyone who has been/currently is/will be deployed in the Middle East did so voluntarily, and supports their right to do so.

3. Doesn't agree with the idea to invade Iraq, feels disgusted about the way events there are proceeding, is saddened by the over 2000 American soldier deaths there, and wants the troops currently there to return safely.

4. Hates everything to do with the war, doesn't really believe there is a war, and doesn't appreciate or understand the risks soldiers face in this arena.

My personal beliefs fall under #3, and I really have no patience for #1 and #4 either.

Yet because I disagree with the way the situation in Iraq has been handled, I am labeled as a non-supporter of American troops frequently.  If I don't think they should be over there, I am giving "comfort" to our enemies, who will take the words of my dissent, get all hyped up on it like it was speed, and go out and kill more American soldiers, so I am told.


I don't want anymore Americans to die for a cause that is unattainable (and here I would add the three most important words when it comes to keep perspective: IN MY OPINION).  I want the troops to live, not die. 

How much more supportive can one be?

Perhaps I don't get it.  Again, I have been told that many times.

Here's something I definitely don't get.  When a woman who has seen one of her children die decides to speak up and ask the man who ultimately made the decision that sent her son off to die, she is crucified by some, fondly embraced by others.  Those that disagree with her anti-war cause say that she is (say it with me) "not supporting the troops."

We are told that the media in the war arena feeds off of the negativity that Mrs. Sheehan supposedly feeds.  Again, we will seejihadists go ballistic in their attempts to kill US service people because of this.

Meanwhile, it is revealed that some (which by definition means not all, not even close) of the American service people currently in Iraq are trading gruesome photos of killed insurgents for free access to pornographic web sites.

I'm not making this up.  All the details are here, along with the explanation from the Pentagon on how this is all being swept under the rug.

It would seem to me that it would place a lot more of our troops in a situation of "non-support" by making sure that pictures of dead enemies are floating around the Internet, especially when it is affiliated with pornography, than any group of people who do not agree with war in the first place.

And yet, it's so very quiet out there.  The outrage over the anti-war protests that went on in Washington this past weekend created quite a fuss for the first part of this week.  But those screamers are silent now.


If I can quote Bob Dole from his 1996 campaign "Where is the outrage?"  How come people on both sides of the support fence are not up in arms about this?  Tell me, which actions make the people of this country less safe-Cindy Sheehan and her traveling minstrels of end-the-war protest, or soldiers who take pictures of mutilated terrorists so that they can get a free look at a vixen or twenty?

Which do you think motivates someone to become a suicide bomber?

Of course, there are those that think this is another example of things that don't need to become public, because the world is different now, and the rules have changed.

People like the President that we somehow re-elected last fall, and the Secretary of Defense that was carried over, and the newly appointed Attorney General.

This is an issue where it should not matter whether you vote red or blue.  It makes every one of us a target, or more of one.  And it repulses me to no end that there aren't marches in the street all over the nation, demanding accountability from the top.

What about the folks who hate the way this country has declined recently, to an "anything goes" society?

When do we get out support?

24 September 2005

The one where I confess my Wal-Mart jihad

1. Of the following, which one best describes you at your worst?  (You can't select "None of the above!")
    a. One who doesn't finish what he/she starts I don't think that's really me becau
    b. One who talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk And yet I both drool and stumble...
    c. One who always finds the worst in a situation That'd be me.  I may not let everyone know, but deep in the bunks of my mind, I expect the worst from everything, everyone, everywhere.  It makes for some pleasant surprises when things do not turn out that way, and I am never disappointed when they do.
    d. One who generally knows what's right but does what's wrong Unless we're talking spelling or math, I don't get this.

2. Not counting shows like Saturday morning cartoons designed specifically for kids, what single show that you grew up watching religiously is now the one you most hate to sit through? I don't watch anything from back then now.  If I had to pick, I'd say "The Brady Bunch."  I watched it every Friday night when it was on, and then years and years of re-runs.  The thought of having to watch it now makes me cringe.  I am one of those people who HATES watching anyone make a fool of themselves (fictionally, not politically) and that's all the BB was-a ship of fools.

3. Have you ever been so angry with a company that you swore you'd never do business with them again?  If so, did you keep that promise? Yep.  I haven't been to a Wal-Mart in a long time (trips involving the tackling of Inflatable Santas DO NOT COUNT) and never will again.  If Heaven is nothing but Wal-Mart, I'll request a one-way ticket to hell.

4. Take this quiz:  Are you psychic? I knew you were going to ask me that!


5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #68 from Lily: What's the longest you've talked on the phone in a single phone call, and who were you talking to?  A long time ago, a good friend was going through a horrific point in his life.  One night the phone rang at 11.  I had to go to work at 7 the next morning.  When I got off the phone, I had just enough time to get to work on time.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #69 from Betty:   (She recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas!)  How do you feel about gambling? It's silly.  It shouldn't be called gambling.  It should be called something like "give me all your money, have a drink on me, and get going.  If you do win money this time, we'll get you next time.  And the next forty times after that."  That being said, I enjoy a trip to Vegas as much as the next person.  The secret to gambling is like the secret to life: you might do very well, but eventually you are going to lose.  Casinos are to gambling what cemeteries are to life.  When I go to Vegas, I take enough money that I won't be depressed about not coming home with, and when it's gone, I'm done gambling.  Now give me five bucks on red #29.

Just peachy, thanks

I'm in a bit of a funk.

Why?  Why not?  So many good reasons.  And yes, I am well aware of the fact that thousands upon thousands of people have lost all their worldly possessions to hurricanes recently and it may seem ridiculous for me to complain about anything. 

Humor me.  I need a reason to write.

I was sleeping peacefully this morning when our two cats decided to jump on the table next to me and rearrange things.  This bothers me for so many reasons.  One, I haven't slept "peacefully" much lately, so when I do, I like it to last as long as possible.  Second, I'm a bit of a freak about what is one the table next to my bed.  You'd look at it and think it was just a pile of junk, but there is a method to it.  It's definitely set up to be a cat-free zone.  Third, I was unable to get back to sleep.  Waking up before eight on a free Saturday morning is just wrong.

A few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I was having a dream.  I was at my wedding reception, and all of my relatives who are no longer with us were there, sitting together at a back table.  I noticed them and started to walk over there, thinking that it was going to be so wonderful to get caught up with them.

Then a cat jumped on me, and I woke up.  Dreamus interruptus.  I would have loved about two more minutes of that dream.

Needless to say, the cats are now officially on double secret probation.

So I spent some time watching the news.  I am sympathetic as anyone to the awesome power and potential for tragedy that a hurricane brings, but can someone please explain to me why it is necessary to have reporters standing out in the middle of the storm?  What insight could they possibly give me?  There was a guy on CNN last night strapped into a wind tunnel at Virginia Tech so that he could show us what it's like to be standing in the direction of 100 mile an hour winds.  He looked ridiculous.  Do you think there are scores of people who had planned to go down to the coast to experience a hurricane first hand but stopped when they saw this?

New rule (as Bill Maher would say): reporters are only allowed to report during hurricane conditions if they are strapped to a kite.  Whatever happens, happens.  If Anderson Cooper wants me to watch him gambol outside during Hurricane McSassy, there has to be risk involved.  And potential priceless comedic moments.

Allow me to pause here for a big shout out to my alma mater, the University of Iowa, for their stellar performance so far this year on the football field.  I have managed to watch the beginnings of two of their games this year, and have turned both off in disgust because after only two minutes, I knew they were not going to win.  I don't get the chance to see the Hawkeyes much anymore.  I'd like to see them at least be competitive, for, say, a quarter.

23-3 + 31-6 = 54-9  keep up the great work, lads.

Ah well, tomorrow is another day.  Did I mention that on September 24 in Chicago that the relative humidity is about 6000%?  We've got kudzu growing in the kitchen now.

I hope it doesn't get the cats.

23 September 2005

I'm going straight to hell

I know there are things that I should not laugh at.

But sometimes, I just can't help it.

How does Maury Povich sleep at night?

17 September 2005

Saturday in the snark

1. When is the last time you took a vacation and went basically nowhere?  Was it as relaxing as previous vacations where you have actually planned a trip?  Well, let's see-there are those that would say that I have been on vacation for the last three years, but they are just jealous and I won't consider their opinion relevant.  SO THERE!  The last vacation I ever took from my previous job was in June of 2002.  I had planned it well in advance, and I had planned on going nowhere, just getting caught up on things around my house.  As it turned out, my father died the week before this planned vacation.  I decided that I would still take the vacation (this was after a week off for funeral leave) and still did nothing.  It was horrible, one of the worst decisions I ever made.  I should have gone back to work and saved the week off for a time when I could have used it.

2. Take this
quiz:  Which historical lunatic are you? Were you aware that there was once an emperor of the United States?  Nor was I, until I took this quiz.  Joshua Abraham Norton, "better" known as Norton I, was self-proclaimed Emperor of the US from September 17, 1859 (146 YEARS TO THIS VERY DAY, FOR YOU COINCIDENCE FREAKS) until January 8, 1880.  A reign of 21 years ain't too shabby.  My favorite fact on the life of Norton is that his funeral was attended by over 30,000 people.

"Le Roi est Mort"

Jaymi:   What is your favorite book from childhood and why? Tough one.  It comes down to "Harold and the Purple Crayon" vs. "Green Eggs and Ham" and I have to go with Seuss.  I will no eat them in a boat, I will not eat them with a goat...classic stuff.

4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #65 from Hannah:  What book character do you most identify with and why? Another tough one.  Ten years ago I would have said Holden Caufield, but I'm too old for that now.  I'd love to say Jake from "The Sun Also Rises", but I am still better "equipped" than he.  Geez, I have no clue.  Someone who understands the world yet is always disappointed at the other idiots who inhabit the planet?  I'll have to come back to this one.

Holly:  What do you think is an appropriate gift to a party? SALAD! What do you consider a quality Christmas gift from an acquaintance to a party or get together, SALAD! a friend, SALAD! and a GREAT friend? SALAD!

OK, I am off the salad kick.  I don't think you can go wrong with a bottle of wine for a party.  For a friend, I think it's better to upgrade to a good bottle of booze (love that word), and for a great friend, it all depends on what that person is like.  A great friend is someone you know well, so the gift should be unique to their personality.

Judi:  If you had to make a choice for the rest of your life between food and sex, which would you choose, provided the following conditions: If you chose sex, you would never feel hungry, but just wouldn't be able to enjoy a nice meal or the tastes of good food or drink; if you chose food, you would no longer have the physical intimacy and pleasure, but you still wouldn't feel deprived of it.  In other words, whichever one you choose to give up will be a series of pleasures you'll never be able to experience firsthand again. Oh for this option a few years ago when I was awash in a sea of one and totally devoid of the other!  I love food, but it would be even lovlier to not ever have to be hungry again.  It would eliminate the fact that I put way too much crap into my body and I would drop about a billion pounds.  I could get over the fact that I would not be able to enjoy a good meal out by making sure I go out with interesting people.  My life would be infinitely healthier.  This is one choice I wish was actually an option.  

I had about one thousand snappy endings to this one, but in the interests of taste and asthetics, I will refrain from continuing. 




15 September 2005

And I wasn't even invited...

...though Mrs. L said that anyone who wanted to participate should consider themselves anointed...or was that annoyed?


1. Get a job

2. Witness the Cubs win a World Series (I am sooooo predictable)

3. Teach some type of class on a regular basis

4. Visit the Southern Hemisphere.  I'll settle for Australia and New Zealand but it would be nice to sit in an outdoor cafe in Buenos Aires too

5. Weigh less than 180 pounds

6. Grow a full beard

7. Learn to speak Gaelic


1. Make seriously obscene noises with my right knee 

2. Become friends with anyone

3. Pick the straight-up winners of NFL games

4. Remember pointless crap (events, conversations, etc) from two decades ago

5. Navigate any city so long as I have a map and fifteen minutes

6. Tell my wife repeatedly that she is beautiful and completely insane for wanting to live the rest of her life with the likes of me

7. Tell you who has won every Super Bowl, World Series, NBA championship and Stanley Cup since the year I was born (1967) without having to look any of it up.  I can probably name every NCAA basketball champ as well


1. Cartwheels

2. Sing

3. Fall asleep before 11 PM

4. Vote Republican (though I do fear the rhino)

5. Ice skate

6. Mostly anything that requires technical or mechanical aptitude

7. Spare a square


1. K

2. R

3. I

4. S

5. T

6. E

7. N


1. "Oh well..."

2. "What'd the Cubs do today?"

3. "Hello my name is..."

4. "I'm sorry, was that sarcastic?"

5. "Is that really news?"

6. "Un-&%*ing believable"

7. "Yeah, that'll happen"


1. Debra Winger

2. Sissy Spacek

3. Meryl Streep

4. Sela Ward (does anyone have those Sprint commercials she did on tape?  The ones were she danced?  Please, for the love of God, help me!)

5. Maura Tierney

6. Christianne Amanpour

7. Jamie Lee Curtis

11 September 2005


1. You find out that you have to appear on a daytime talk show.  It doesn't matter whose show you choose, but you must appear on one.  Which show would you pick and why? Does "Jeopardy" count as a talk show?  Wait, even better, I want to appear on "Oprah" and do something that causes her audience to scream in hysterics, like when she has those Christmas shows when she gives a billion dollars of stuff away to all the loonies in the crowd, and they scream and carry on like they have just been splashed with gallons of sulfuric acid.  So I'll get on "Oprah" with the promise of telling my tale of humanity or something, and then just as the story comes to a dramatic conclusion, I'll release a billion scorpions.  Yeah...

2. Have you ever joined an online dating or penpal site?  If so, have you kept in touch with anyone that you met there; if not, have you ever thought about joining up? No, mostly because I would have a hard time trusting the format (for online dating).  I never even thought about a pen pal thing.

3. Who was the last person you promised you'd keep in touch with following a move or job change?  Have you kept in touch? There have been a quite a few people that I got to know well through my former career, and when I left the store that I had been at the longest one of the people I helped the most asked me to keep in touch.  I did for a while, but then it became clear that it was one of those relationships where I would always have to be the one to initiate contact, and I am no good at those.  If the phone rang tomorrow and it was this person, I'd be happy to get caught up.

4. Take this quiz:  What pizza best describes your personality? Meatball.  I'm "Unusual and uncompromising. (TRUE THAT)  You're usually the firstto discover a new trend. (ABSOLUTELY WRONG) You appreciate a good meal and good company. (YEP, ESPECIALLY IF THERE IS SALAD...) You're an interesting blend of traditional and modern." (HMM, SUCH A PHRASE CONFUSES ME, BUT I THINK I AGREE WITH IT ANYWAY)

5. You're having dinner with friends at a restaurant.  Besides the company, what is the most important part of the meal:  the appetizer, the drinks, the salad, the entree, or the dessert? Depends on the restaurant, but most likely the entree.  But reading this, I have to ask-is it time for salad?  I never know when the right time is for salad.  You see everyone eating bread and such, but when is it time for salad?  It's so confusing, I just don't know when it's time for salad.  Are you having a salad?  Can I ask for a salad?  What if I ask for a salad and they were already bringing one out for me?  Is it OK to have a salad after the entree?  It's so confusing, someone needs to write a book on it or something.  So, are you having salad?

(There is one person reading this who has just wet themselves.  All others, just move along)

6. Have you ever submitted a Reader's Choice question to the "Saturday Six?"  If so, did the answers surprise you?  If not, why haven't you? No.  I would never want to participate in something that would accept a question from the likes of me.

08 September 2005

Sweet home Chicago

So yesterday I went back to school-my first class in fourteen years.  From now through December I have class on Monday and Wednesday evening, plus Tuesday afternoon. 

I originally planned on taking the regional Metra train downtown to campus, but the powers that be who run the university of my choosing have aligned themselves with the Chicago Transit Authority, which means that every semester I get charged $85 for an unlimited use transit card, like it or not.  I'm not complaining; within eight weeks or so I will have taken $85 dollars worth of rides with four weeks of the semester left. 

It does change my plan, though.  I was going to walk the mile or so to the train station in my hometown, and then the mile or so from the station in the city to campus.  To catch the CTA train that bisects the Kennedy Expressway, I have to drive four miles and park.  I can still chose to have a lengthy hike once downtown if I want, but I have to admit that in the dead of winter I will be thankful for the stop three blocks from campus.

But I was looking forward to the exercise.

Yesterday I left several hours before class, so that I would have time to get my bearings and take care of a few administrative issues.  As soon as I got on the train, I experienced a trinity of events that led me to believe that perhaps I was not going to have a good day:

1. I could only get a seat facing backwards.  This is a hit-or-miss thin for me.  Sometimes I can stomach it, sometimes I cannot.  I definitely cannot read while facing backwards, and it is a forty-five minute trip.

2. As soon as I sat, I felt my feet stick to the floor.  Someone had spilled a drink (or something) and I had not noticed.  The floor was very sticky.  So much so that it took some effort for me to move my feet.

3. At the first stop after I got on, a man sat down next to me.  He was, shall we say, ripe.  There's no smell quite like this one; not plain body odor, but a smell that comes from wearing clothing while sweating profusely, hanging it up and letting them dry, and then wearing the same clothes again the next day. 

Fortunately, he was only on the train for ten minutes or so.  The rest of the ride was uneventful, except when I noticed the advertising banner running along the side of the top of the train.  It was 50 Cent pimping for some brand of vitamin water.  One of the panels said "No groupies.  No love.  Just 50" and showed him sitting at a table with a bottle of this water, reading the Wall Street Journal, while three scantily clad women stood off in the distance, wondering just what the hell was wrong with him.

I wonder who thought that advertising campaign up.

One thing I love about my decision to get back into the classroom is the fact that it forces me down to the city several times a week.  I used to work downtown and got very familiar with its intricacies, so much so that I used to think of myself as somewhat of an urban expert.  And I realized yesterday that I have allowed that part of me to erode in three years since I left the city.

My class started at six.  I was early.  I went up to the fifth floor, found my room, and sat in a chair next to the window that faced east.  From my vantage point I had a clear view of Lake Michigan, Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain.  I sat in silence for about ten minutes, drinking in this view, until other students started to arrive.  I forgot how calming the views of this city can be sometimes.

At the halfway point of our class, we moved to the other side of the building, to a room where we will be doing half of our work.  This room faces west, and has no air conditioning.  It was hot yesterday, so the windows were open.  The tracks of the L run adjacent to the building, so every five minutes or so, we were interrupted by the metal works of a passing train.

You might think that annoying.  I would respectfully say that you are incorrect.

I do love this city.

07 September 2005

The buck stops where?

I'm pretty sure that this will be the last I have to say about the horrific response of the powers that be to the disaster in New Orleans.  I've taken some time to digest all of the news from the area over the last few days, and my level of anger over the response has reached critical mass.  It will do no good to continue to be bitter.  It will take a while for the true reaction of the public to be heard about this, all the way to November of 2006.

I must say that I am absolutely amazed at the level that some of the blowhards are going to in order to deflect blame from the federal government.  Fox News has all but declared a jihad on democratic Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco.  I wouldn't be surprised to pick up the paper tomorrow and see that Bill O'Reilly took it upon himself to go down to Baton Rouge and arrest Blanco.

And you don't even need to sign off of AOL to sip some of the Bush Kool-Aid.  Check out this line:

"those who are strategically skipping the obvious blameline for a perceived partisan gain are no better than the looters who are/were "saving themselves" with carts-full of high-end electronics, clothing, etc."

Nothing like a little perspective...there's more of that stuff here.  Hey, making fun of Sean Penn!  And throwing in some French every so often!  Classic!

I'm going to have a little fun here and assign specific blame, in parts, for the responsorial clusterfudge to New Orleans:

15%-The city of New Orleans, led by Mayor Ray Nagin (D)...granted, I don't have a lengthy knowledge of the challenges that the city faced BK (before Katrina), but since everybody with a Doomsday gene seemed convinced that New Orleans was one day going to be swimming in itself, one would think the city would have a comprehensive plan on how to deal with it.  The most damaging picture I have seen in all of this is the one of the 200+ buses sitting in a flooded parking lot, buses that could have been used to get more people out of the city ahead of the storm.  Nagin also seems to have lost a few brain cells since the flood, but I suppose that might be understandable given that his city has been destroyed.  His funding is limited, and the protection of the levees was up to the state and federal governments, so that is why they don't get a bigger share of the blame.  Nagin's chance of re-election?  I'd say 50-50.  I don't think a Republican can be the mayor of N.O., but he might face a challenge from a fellow Democrat.  See the Chicago mayoral primary of 1979.

35%-The state of Louisiana, led by Governor Katherine Blanco...she seemed woefully indecisive and unsure of what exactly she was supposed to do.  Again, given the circumstances, the state should have been ready for the big one to hit New Orleans.  She didn't seem ready to deploy the National Guard, though I do not know how much of Louisiana's guard is deployable.  Her chance of re-election?  Absolutely none.  In fact, I would not be surprised if she didn't run again.  If she does, she going to be absolutely torched.  I don't believe Louisiana uses the primary system, so she won't even advance to a run-off.  I don't even know when she is up for re-election, but if you love nasty, mud slinging campaigns, don't miss the next gubernatorial race in Louisiana. 

And for the record, I don't think she deserves to be re-elected.

50%-The federal government, led by the high and mighty George W. Bush.  For all who believe that the state is ultimately responsible for handling disasters, let me introduce you to The 2004 National Response Plan, organized by the Department of Homeland Security and eagerly supported by Bush.  The plan explicitly states:

"(at times of) any natural or manmade incident, including terrorism, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, and/or government functions, the federal government pre-empts local and state government in its responsibility to act quickly."

That, in my humble opinion, is the so called "Smoking Gun" that proves to me that the federal government blew it.  The plan, a by product of the entire pledge of how the Federal Government vowed to make us "safer" in the aftermath of 9/11, took away the rights of the state in times of great disaster, whether terror related or as a result of Mother Nature.

You can spin it anyway you want, but the point is that  the government took over the role of savior for every state and city in the nation by enacting this plan in 2004.  It doesn't matter what anyone's handbook says, this is the precedent that was supposed to be followed.

Notice I am not including anything about budgets for reinforcing levees for the city.  If you want the blame the current administration for that, you must blame every presidential administration dating back to Lyndon Johnson.

That Bush continues to tell his FEMA director that he is doing a "great job", that he says that he will lead an inquiry in to how things went wrong, just fully shows how this man does not get it.  He is incompetent, and has created and formed an administration of incompetence.

Yet, there will probably be medals awarded by the president to the people in charge of this response.  He's done it before, awarding medals to the people in charge of intelligence who provided the incorrect information about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.

Let me go off here:  this Sunday will mark four years since September 11, 2001.  When you read and hear the tributes and memories of that awful day this year, remember something else, how your government has spent every day since then telling us that they have done everything they can to make us safer.

And then look at the current state of New Orleans and tell me how that could possibly be true.  How can we possibly be convinced that we are "safer" from any terrorist attack, any national disaster, when New Orleans is changed forever.

You blame the storm, of course.  But the sheer inability to perform and account for the horrible response to the flooding of New Orleans was a watershed moment for us.  It used to be impossible to think that such a thing could happen in modern America, but not anymore.

There is plenty of blame to go around for what New Orleans has now become.  Blame belongs to both democratic and republican elected officials.  But don't kid yourselves, if the response had been completely different, had been competent, the GOP would be preparing slide shows to show every night of the Republican National Convention in 2008.  Which, remember, will be in New Orleans.  You can book that now.

Unless the people ofNew Orleans stand up and say "no way!"

I may just join them.  




04 September 2005

Tickets on sale yet?

So, is there anybody out there who DOESN'T believe that the GOP will hold the Republican National Convention in New Orleans in 2008???

03 September 2005

Incompetence is color blind

I'm as skeptical as anybody about the federal government, but I am more than just a bit dismayed at the accusations that race played a part in the snail-like response to the flooding in New Orleans.

My first thought?  Let's not give the assorted bureaucrats involved with this cluster**** (Man, I love that word) any excuses for their incompetence.  The ridiculous amount of time it took to get help to N.O. is not because a majority of the people in need are black; the reason is plain and simple-an unbelievably poor and complete lack of planning by people who been reassuring us for the last five years that they were "ready."

Of course, I'm white, so by expressing this opinion I put myself at risk of being labeled along the lines of "how could you possibly know?"  Truth is, I don't. 

I've watched the video of Kanye West having a melt down on national television last night.  Perhaps he has been upset so much by the images we have all seen coming out of Louisiana and Mississippi that he felt that he was the proper person to speak up for the African-Americans of this country.  He certainly seemed very upset as he was attempting to speak.  Certainly, we all have said things that we later regret when we have the opportunity to look back on it.

Besides, he was wrong.  George W. Bush cares about black people like Kanye West, because black people like Kanye West have money.  It's not about black or white when it comes to W.  He is all about the green.

The only reason West was even on television last night is that he has made a successful career as a rapper, singer, performer, whatever you want to call it.  I've heard some of his work, and he does have talent.  But he falls into the same trap as so many others that have made millions of money in the hip-hop music industry; he resorts to offensive stereotypes at times in his songs, though he's not as prolific with the "thug" lyrics as most other hip-hop performers.

I am probably not the person to be making these points, but I can't help it.  I despise the lyrics present in a lot of rap music, lyrics that glorify violence, drug use, and the exploitation of women.  I don't understand why it is so popular.  It has a great effect on the young minds that listen to a majority of this music.

I'd bet that a lot of Kanye West CDs were washed away from homes in the floodwaters of New Orleans.  Yet what does West know about that life?  He's a millionaire.  And if you read his biography, you'll see that he was fortunate to avoid growing up in poverty.  Though his parents were divorced when he was young, both were a presence in his life.

If West had to go off last night, I would have been much more impressed if he had just said something like "everyone needs help, but the minorities need it most."  Would that have been over the top?  Certainly, but it also would have been true.

That goes for the politicians taking the opportunity to inject race into this.  Get some perspective and realize that this is not about "you."  People are upset and angry, and rightly so.  But it should not be about race; it should be about incompetence.  To assume that this administration could "delay" their response solely because they were not concerned about helping black people gives WAY to much credit to the administration.

They weren't prepared.  Whether the people in need of help were black, white, red, orange or purple, the federal and state agencies were not prepared.

On time two weeks in a row

1. What is the price of gas at your regular station?  Have you made any changes to holiday plans because of gas prices? It was $3.30 a few days ago, when I last noticed it.  I haven't made any changes because I have no real plans.  I don't think prices would cause me to make any changes to my life until it hit $5 or so.  Of course, I am in a position now where I don't need to drive much. 

2. Some people feel that the song that was #1 when they were born somehow helps shape their life.  Which song was #1 when you were born, according to this site.  Do you think it relates to your life at all?  Ugh.  The US #1 on the date of my birth was "Groovin" by the Little Rascals.  I can't stand that song.  So I did it again to see what the UK #1 was; Ugh, ugh.  "Silience is Golden."  Neither applies to my life.  I don't groove, and I am hardly ever silent.

3. Take this quiz:  Which child does it say you are?  Is it correct about your birth order? I am likely an only child.  I am actually not an only child, though my two siblings like to tell me that I was adopted, so maybe I am...

4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #61 from De:  What animal do you equate your spirit with and why?  (This site may be helpful.)  Anything that flies.

5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #62 from PsychfunIf you had to describe your personality as a nut (as in the eatable kind) what nut would you be and why? Whichever one is the toughest one to crack open, so that most people give up and never eat it.

6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #63 from Chris:   Who knows the "real" you better - - your real world friends or your Jland readers? I think a majority of the people who read this are non-AOL folks, so it's not even close.

02 September 2005


Yesterday I wrote about driving into New Orleans from the east, and how a moment of driving over the water on I-10 at sunset will stay with me forever.

I found this over at Midlife Matters: a picture of what that road looks like now.

Words fail me.

01 September 2005

Following up the breeze

This takes you to excerpts from a series that ran in the New Orleans Times-Picayune (what the hell is a "picayune" anyway?) in June of 2004 explaining how the federal government cut the budget for projects to raise levees around New Orleans.

It's important to note that even if the work was fully funded and completed, there's simply no way of knowing if it would have been enough to save the city from flooding.  However, I think it needs to be acknowledged that certain "priorities" caused other ones to be overlooked.  Indulge at your will.

See this too.

As for wondering if anyone has stated that New Orleans "deserved" all this since it is a decadent city, well, it didn't take long to find something.  I particularly enjoyed the following:

"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge... we must help and pray for those ravaged by this disaster, but let us not forget that the citizens of New Orleans tolerated and welcomed the wickedness in their city for so long," Marcavage said. "May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God," Marcavage concluded.

If you read the entire thing (and if you do, I hope you did not just eat), you'll see that "Southern Decadence" is an annual New Orleans gay festival.  The city, rightly so, welcomes everyone who chooses to celebrate life in New Orleans.  I have no doubt that Michael Marcavage pins most of the blame for Katrina on "Southern Decadence."

And I was all set to join up, grab my supplies and help "REPAINT America"!  Then I re-read it, and put my rollers away.  Silly moi.

(Note: the links are a blatant rip-off of Andrew Sullivan.  He has millions of readers.  I do not.  I thank him for helping me provide facts.)