Saturday, March 31, 2007

Help wanted

Let's say that someone was going to apply for a job at a university and one of the job qualifications was integrating Adobe Flash with teaching. I do not own Flash and have not worked with it. What would you do? Would you order it and learn it? Would you take a class? Would you hope that knowing Flash wasn't that vital of a qualification or would you go ahead and learn it? Or would you get it as part of a suite of Adobe programs and try to play with all of them? I already have a pretty good handle on PhotoShop even though I personally don't own a copy. Should I take this opportunity to invest in a suite of Adobe programs and learn them? By "I," I mean the person applying for the job which may or may not be me. Inquiring minds want to know.

Why does this worry me?

A key function of those overlapping communications grids will be to monitor water levels, making sure they don't exceed the "safe" level established for each channel: a maximum 6 feet of surge at the 17th Street Canal, 4 feet at London and 8 feet at Orleans.

Depth is a critical consideration. Flow rate is another. When the gates are closed, the huge pumps nearer the city's heart must not outpace the smaller temporary pumps the corps is installing to move water from the canal mouths out into Lake Pontchartrain. The canal floodwalls might not tolerate the pressure of water churning for hours on end, engineers said. (emphasis mine)
Probably because I believe Matt McBride over the ACoE. What's Matt got to hide?

I Agree

with this article from Jim Hightower posted at the Topeka Capital-Journal. I hope the people who live in Kansas don't forget about New Orleans. I hope this article helps.

Bush blows smoke on New Orleans

By Jim Hightower
Published Saturday, March 31, 2007

Poor New Orleans. Being devastated by Hurricane Katrina was awful enough, but it keeps getting hit again and again by that Big Windbag from the East, George W. Bush.

On March 1, he blew into town again with his entourage of political aides and the press corps for another photo op. This was the fourteenth time that the good people of the Crescent City have had to endure this guy trying to score political points on their backs!

This trip was an attempt to make up for the president's glaring failure even to mention New Orleans in his State of the Union speech. He was roundly condemned for such callous indifference to the struggling city, so a quick fly-in/fly-out was arranged as a political fix. Mr. Bush said he came "to tell the people here in the Gulf Coast that we still think about them in Washington."

How sweet. Meanwhile, 18 months after Katrina and his botched response to the horror of the flooding, the areas outside of the Bourbon Street tourist district remain in shambles. About 60 percent of the city's evacuated people still have not returned, thousands of families are living in FEMA trailers, the city's health care is in crisis, and more than half of the promised federal aid has not been disbursed.

Bush didn't deliver a single thing on this trip other than speeches. As in his other 13 visits, all he did was flap his lips, promising yet again that "There is money in the pipeline." Admitting that the money is not reaching those who desperately need it, he declared, "If it is stuck because of unnecessary bureaucracies, our responsibility at the federal, state, and local level is to unstick it."

Why, gosh, George, you're right. So stop blowing hot air and start unsticking! You're the president, after all — kick some butts, move some people in, do something. Otherwise, please stop coming to New Orleans.

Yeah. And he totally left out Nagin, Congress, and FEMA.

Friday, March 30, 2007


I have read Chuck Taggart's blog (Looka) with interest. I didn't know or put together that he is the one that compiled "Doctors, Professors, Kings, and Queens" Box Set (which I love) until I read his blog.... One of the things I find interesting is his knack for making a good drink. With that in mind, I went to the liquor store and spent 185 dollars on booze so I could make some of the concoctions he lists. After all, I am on Spring Break Part II. So tonight I have begun the drive. I have made an Arnaud's Sazerac (also inspired by Dirty Coast's new shirt) from their "cookbook." Absolutely perfect cocktail. Followed that with an Old Fashioned. Now that I am reading Looka, I should have bought the Lillet Blanc. Damnit. Maybe next week. I only have one question - where the hell do I get Peychaud's bitters in Pennsylvania/New Jersey?
In the meantime, I am listening to the Subdudes Primitive Streak album which I just got from I love that service....

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Vision of Youth

John Reilly came back to New Orleans after being forced to leave his college as Katrina approached. He wrote an incredible article about the same things I experienced when I returned in October of 2005. And again in January of 2006. And again in March and and in May and in August, and every time I have come home since. The crux of the article to me is in its last three paragraphs:

There was and is no outrage that New Orleans was not a 'natural disaster,' but rather a disaster of planning, neglect and of failed budget appropriations for decades. Rather the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans is a national disaster in which thousands and thousands of people for decades participated.

After Sept. 11, 2001 the media was willing to parade the turmoil of the crying wives and families of the firefighters and police officers who died in the towers because television ratings, we the collective, were responsive to these images. After Hurricane Katrina, stories about the brave people who risked their lives to save strangers in the first hours of the floodwaters were absent. In their place, images of violence, looting, exaggerated stories of crime and chaos ran rampant because the media understood perfectly what Americans would watch. None of us asked why we were only shown these gratuitous images.

In England during World War II, average citizens opened their homes to Polish people fleeing the Nazi invasion and invited them to stay for the duration of the war. Some people graciously put themselves out to help the people of New Orleans, but most did not; if only the people of New Orleans had been born a different color. A few dollars to the Red Cross or a keg party was 'charity.' It was easiest but totally incomplete to blame George Bush, Ray Nagin or the sacrificial lamb, Michael Brown of FEMA, because it's all of them and even more. The failure to deal justly with New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina is a failure on the part of our country and its citizens, every last one of us. New Orleans isn't an isolated or distant problem; it's a symptom of everything that is wrong with our society. If you are looking for answers, or wondering about a way forward, you should start your search in a mirror.
John gets it. Succinctly and concisely. And others need to start getting it, too. Especially our president and the candidates who plan to take over in 2009.

My taxes

Pay for this:

Grrrr. I guess I better get my license and partake in what the state is offering.
How do you eat trout anyway?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Pray for us

Saints are to stay in New Orleans!! At least through 2010. Which sounds like a long time, but it's really only three years. Then what happens?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Changing the Status Quo

According to the International Herald Tribune (emphasis mine):

WASHINGTON: Public housing projects damaged by Hurricane Katrina would not be knocked down until the U.S. government has a plan to replace them under a bill the House of Representatives passed Wednesday.

The legislation, approved 302-125, also would grant tenants who lived in New Orleans public housing before the storm the right to return to homes and apartments subsidized by the government.

"We need to address the affordable housing crisis in the Gulf region by returning people to their homes," said Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat, who sponsored the bill. "Every person who desires to live in the Gulf region must be given an opportunity to rebuild and to return home."

Thank you, Ms. Waters. I feel like I have been saying this for a long time now. The longer you make people wait, the less chance they will have to come home. This is why I am not particularly offended by C-Ray Nagin's recent comments. To think it is a conspiracy is not necessarily correct, but it could seem to people that this is so. I prefer to think of it as a bunch of "leaders" with their heads up their butts. Maybe it's collusion, maybe it's complicity, and maybe it's conspiracy, but I don't think so.

The Housing and Urban Development Department and the city's housing authority had approved plans to demolish New Orleans' four largest public housing complexes and other smaller sites. The August 2005 storm left about 7,500 apartments in a condition not considered worth repairing. The demolitions would have made way for an estimated $681 million (€512.3 million) worth of mixed-income neighborhood construction.

I thought HANO was defunct. Am I wrong here? Wasn't HUD in charge of the New Orleans housing projects? Is 7500 the number of apartments that were considered not worth repairing? I thought it was 7500 units were not reopened.

"To do as HUD has proposed across all public housing in New Orleans is tantamount to forced homelessness," said Rep. William Jefferson, a Democrat who represents much of New Orleans.

I can't agree with with him, but at least he is speaking out for his constituents. I am sure this will help him somehow.

Under the bill, HUD would have to survey people who had lived in public housing and provide housing for any who wanted to return by Aug. 1. Residents would have to declare their intent to return to the city by that date and occupy the units by Oct. 1.

The government would not be allowed to demolish any public housing without having an approved plan to replace it.

Lawmakers also approved an amendment that would extend a Federal Emergency Management Agency housing voucher program through the end of the year and transfer those eligible to other housing assistance programs when the FEMA aid ends.

In January, hundreds of New Orleans residents protested the planned demolitions by cleaning up one of the larger housing projects.

Republicans argued that housing low-income families in mixed-income developments would increase living standards in public housing.

"We have a moral imperative to change the standard of public housing in New Orleans," said Rep. Spencer Baucus, a Republican. "We can do better than simply warehousing families in failed large housing projects and crime-ridden communities."

Mr. Baucus, who is from Alabama, may have a point. We know that public housing has failed. However, the priority must be get people back home. None of us would like to be forced against his/her will to live somewhere he/she was not wanted. The housing in New Orleans was substandard, but it's home to thousands of people. Get them back, get them engaged in the process, and then we can move forward. We can't keep telling people that we want them home, and then tell them "But not now. In 10-20 years."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Getting It

Author Joseph Boyden gets it. The story of New Orleans connects people of different countries and ethnicities, the way he sees it. This stands in stark contrast to this blogger and his recent post. It's not only about recovery, it's also about identity.

I will buy Boyden's book and read it because he gets it.

Some people are jerks. They will never get what happened in New Orleans. Because they don't want to. Someone is sticking up for us, and I will stick up for him.

We are all in this together. I thought that after 9/11/01, and I think that now. If one of us is suffering, we are all suffering whether we know it or not. I hope more folks start knowing it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


While Ray Nagin is not saying much in New Orleans about anything, he did take the time to address the National Newspaper Publisher's Association. According to the Houston Chronicle:

WASHINGTON — New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin has suggested that the slow recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina — which has prevented many black former residents from returning — is part of a plan to change the racial makeup and political leadership of his and other cities.

What happened in New Orleans could happen anywhere," Nagin said at a dinner sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a trade group for newspapers that target black readers. "They are studying this model of natural disasters, dispersing the community and changing the electoral process."

Nagin's remarks Thursday recalled the controversy stirred up by his prediction in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech in 2006 that, despite the evacuation of thousands of black people after Katrina, New Orleans would once again become a "chocolate city." He later apologized for the comment, which had infuriated many whites and blacks.

I can see how people could perceive this, but I don't know if I can believe this to be true. That seems like a lot of collusion from a lot of sources. And I still think that everyone that wants to come back should be able to come back.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Not intended to offend

The city of New Orleans has reached 34 reported murders in 2007. After 17 there was a march. Where is the outrage now? Why aren't people marching again? How is this acceptable? It's the old bread and circuses. Keep them distracted so they don't see the problems or splinter them with so many crises and decisions that they can't join together to be mad. Let traffic lights remain broken so people call about that. Let the Endymion-goers line the street and let them complain about that. Let a lifetime politico put forth his son for his political office. Let the news about suing the ACoE be the headline. Anything but the murder rate. ENOUGH! Stop the killing, stop the silence. Mr. Nagin, Mr. Riley, Mr. Jordan - enough. If you can't do your jobs, step down and let someone who knows what they are doing take over.
Here's a plan:
Mr. Jordan - If 60 days isn't long enough, plan on having the work done in 30. Then you have 30 days to fix any mistakes. Don't tell your employees that they have 60 days and then have them screw up the reports on the last day at the last minute. That's dumb. That let's murderers out on the street. That's dumb, too. Figure out something to make the system work. We have a system - a slow, abused, bogged-down system. Make it work or fix it.
Mr. Nagin - Show your face. Tell us what you are doing. Do you what you are saying. And stop being holier-than-thou and raising money for the next office. You were elected to raise New Orleans in a time of crisis. You are failing. Miserably.
Mr. Riley - Report the crimes. People are afraid and you have the ability to reassure them. You don't. You have the power to make positive change in the community. Be a presence. Be a force. Be proactive. Just don't complain about it. It's your job, and you wanted it.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

When did it become a 3 year program?

I read this in "Press Release" today:
WASHINGTON, March 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The NHP Foundation (NHPF) announced
today that it has received $3 million from the Ford Foundation for
acquisition, rehabilitation and construction of low- and moderate-income
housing in New Orleans. This program-related investment (PRI) loan will
significantly aid in NHPF's three-year recovery program of the Gulf Coast
region-currently well underway at an estimated cost of $300 million.
I didn't know that the National Housing Partnership was involved. According to the press release, they have their hands in 1400 units with another 1600 in the pipeline. However, the website lists 284 units in New Orleans (Forest Park?) and 384 in Westwego.

According to the mission statement regarding the Gulf Coast Region:
The NHP Foundation's (NHPF) objective is to create 3,000 quality affordable housing units at a cost of $300 million of which 2,500 housing units will be located in New Orleans and vicinity, and the remaining 500 units will be in other parts of the State. Four of our properties totaling 952 units were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and vicinity. Immediately after the Hurricane, NHPF arranged for over 300 evacuee families to relocate in our properties in Texas.
If my math is right (there is a reason I teach Latin), 284 + 384 = 668. That's less than half of 1400. Is this more lip service and deceptive math? Does anyone know where this is happening?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Princeton Students Get It

In an article from Princeton, several students who we went to New Orleans and did on the ground work are bringing it to the politicians:

The students' answer was to develop several proposals. One is a campaign called "Got Guts?" — a challenge to politicians to come to New Orleans and gut one house, to experience Katrina in an emotional and physical way.

The experience, Legendy said, will let policymakers "walk in the shoes not only of the people you're not helping enough, but the people who actually are trying to help." They've set up a website,, to promote their efforts.

Also, because the students had such a difficult time coordinating the logistics of their trip, they have added helpful links for prospective volunteers on their website.

The proposals are providing a way for the students to continue their service to New Orleans though they're back on campus.

"We need to do something to really institutionalize volunteering in New Orleans and really get it going," Whalen said, "and remind the nation that it's still an issue."

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen

Introducing your New Orleans Voodoo Dolls. Go Voodoo!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Drinking Game

Does anyone have rules to a drinking game involving the City Council proceedings, a mayor's press conference, or the WWL/WDSU news? Unfortunately, I can't get this info or these channels here, but I would love to drink to them when I am in town.

Some rules I would have:
1) Mayor says thank you - one drink/sip per person thanked
2) Mayor says "man" - one drink/sip
3) Mayor misspeaks - one sip
4) Mayor mentions "President" or "Governor" by name- one sip
5) Mayor takes question - free
6) Mayor takes question and then appears belligerent - one sip
7) Mayor answers actual question - finish your beer
8) President says "nucular" instead of "nuclear" - one sip (Whoops! How did that get in there?!)

Any takers? I would love to participate in this game. If you can send me a video...

Crazy Kim Gets Audited

Not that this is new to anyone, but Kimberly "Disney" Williamson Butler was accused of a bunch of improprieties. Story in the NY Times... More bad press. Grrrr. At least she didn't get elected.

Monday, March 05, 2007

In Your Own Backyard

Larry Holmes, at least from what I know, is the most famous citizen of Easton - even has a street named for him and a restaurant on the Delaware. From time to time, I watch local public access TV because it's funny and/or has local sports on. Larry Holmes has a show on weekly. He is not erudite or articulate, and he sounds a lot like Buddy D (bless his soul). This week's topic was the NBA All-Star game next year and the comments of Billy Hunter. Three of the people on the show thought that the game in New Orleans would be great. One, a "doctor", thought it would be bad - as though the NBA players and their entourage would be involved in local gang activity and shooting people because anything goes. Others on the panel thought it would be great to have the players do some house building and give the NBA a positive image. When the "doctor "said that the players would find trouble in New Orleans, the Champ said "You can find trouble in your own backyard if you are looking for it." Also, he suggested protesting the game if it were given to another city. Way to go, Champ. I am gonna go to his restaurant one of these days.

Lives Connected

Interesting. Data synthesis, video, flash. All about Katrina and the flood. Wish I had more time to explore it.



From the Daily Report -
The Atlanta Police Department wants more officers who can work in a tough city. And they've come to New Orleans to find some.
Interesting tactic... According to the article, only 4 individuals showed up at the recruiting meeting and, get this, a NAGIN COMMENT! Wahoo! Unfortunately, these kinds of comments are the ones that he is good at making (snarky) and not the visionary, honest, or trustworthy kind.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I am a Latin Teacher. That automatically gives me a certain amount of nerderation. I accept that. I also find blogging interesting though I am only good enough on a computer to totally wreck it. I subscribe to Wired Magazine. More nerderation. And through them, I found a way to be even more nerdy. It's called It's a website where you can "trade" your CDs. They send you envelopes like NetFlix. You list CDs you have that you want to trade and you browse for CDs that you want. I am completely enamored by this. I have listed a whole bunch of CDs that I have and have received CDs that I requested. It's awesome. Go to it. And tell them LatinTeacher sent you...