Monthly Archives: August 2015

Not So Stormy Monday

We survived the influx of teevee crews, MSM reporters, carpetbloggers, disaster tourists and former Presidents. I stuck to my guns and avoided the hype as much as possible. I did, however, make an exception for President Obama’s outstanding speech last Thursday wherein he acknowledged the man-made nature of our post-K disaster. That was something his feckless predecessor never did.

Other than the sign I posted last Friday, I ignored the Texas Napoleon’s return to his Waterloo. I made an exception, however, for pictures of W dancing with a high school principal. He moves like a white preppie who went to Yale and learned to dance for Debutante balls and Cotillions:


Photograph by Chris Granger Nola.Com/Times-Picayune.

I nearly captioned that picture Dancing On Our Graves, but decided to credit the photographer instead. The good news was that W was here for a few hours and his presence only made us a bit crankier. It was always destined to be a tough week in the city I used to call Debrisville.

I was true to my word and avoided all official and unofficial events. Instead, I went to a party thrown by some very dear friends on  the tenth year anniversary. We spent the day grilling, drinking, playing cards against humanity (the game is clearly fixed since I didn’t win) and swapping the odd Katrina exile story but we mostly kept it light. That was aided and abetted by some adorable rug rats splashing in the pool while the grown ups drank and ate sausage and pulled pork. Thanks again, Greg and Christy. You rule as well as rock.

The star of the day was my favorite 2 year old hellion who is alternately solemn and silly. After splashing too much for his big sister’s taste, my nephew by choice Nate wore what we call his old Cuban man outfit:

Old Cuban Toddler

Bubbly Nate. Photograph by Dr. A.

We all drank and ate too much but it beat the hell out of being resilient with the Mayor and the boosterazzi. Passing the day with friends and extended family was the way to go.

I was trying to resist the urge to humble brag but decided to go for it. Last Monday’s post Katrinaversary Blues: Of Resilience Tours, Carpetbloggers & Disaster Tourists seemed to strike a chord with my fellow New Orleanians and it was shared around Facebook as if it were a cat video. I think Della Street was jealous. I was also honored by the good people at Word Press with a slot on their FreshlyPressed showcase page. It brought us quite a bit of traffic as well as some new readers.Thanks for all the kind words and comments both here at First Draft and elsewhere on the interwebs. I hope y’all will return for our regular fare: my colleagues Athenae, Tommy T, Michael F, and Doc are all outstanding writers. Please check them out.

Now that I’ve humble bragged, here’s a little touch of the blues to justify the post title. Actually, a whole lotta blues:


Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – gruesome grab-bag edition

Morning, everyone!

Well, I was going to do a bit on the Perd Hapley Bryce Williams shootings, but Ms. A made that superfluous.

So – that leaves us with Trump.

Not trying to say he’s sucking all the air out of things, but he’s sucking the air out of things. Freeperville is no exception. The non-nutjobs have given up for the most part, and the Trumpaholics have taken over. Something horrible was said by The Darnold or reported on?

Good news for Trump!

Former Ku Klux Klan Leader David Duke Throws Support Behind Donald Trump
The Wrap ^ | August 25, 2015 | Itay Hod

Posted on ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2015‎ ‎1‎:‎03‎:‎22‎ ‎AM by 2ndDivisionVet

Trump is “the best of the lot,” Duke says of GOP frontrunner

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump can count on at least one die-hard fan: former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.

Self described “racial realist,” Duke, praised Trump during a recent rant during his online radio show, calling the business mogul a “good salesman.”

Duke, who ran unsuccessfully for president as a Democrat in 1988 and later served in the Louisiana House of Representatives, also said he liked Trump because of “the fact that he’s come out on the immigration issue,” adding, “he’s an entrepreneur and he has a good sense of what people want to hear, what they want to buy.”

While Duke admitted Trump’s proposals could be a political ploy to get the nomination, he agreed with the real estate mogul’s policies aimed at mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, calling him “the best of the lot” among the crowded GOP primary field.

After complaining about the “Jewish domination” of the media, Duke said Trump is telling it like it is.

“Trump, he’s really going all out. He’s saying what no other Republicans have said, few conservatives say.”

Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Listen to Duke’s comments on Trump below


You can’t stop someone from endorsing you. I wouldn’t put it past Karl Rove or someone similar paying Duke to do this.
1 posted on 8‎/‎26‎/‎2015‎ ‎1‎:‎03‎:‎22‎ ‎AM by 2ndDivisionVet
Karl Rove’s fault!
To: re_nortex

He’s simply a liberal.

Of course he is.  “White Power” has been the rallying point for liberals since August 6, 1965.

Like half the country, and doing what liberals do. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. Husbands and wives.

Liberals ALL belong in cages for the safety of the human race.

4 posted on ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2015‎ ‎1‎:‎11‎:‎21‎ ‎AM by Norm Lenhart

He seems nice.
Auschwitz file
To: Norm Lenhart
Liberals ALL belong in cages for the safety of the human race.Frankly I consider liberals as less than human and, therefore — like you — think it is wise and prudent to secure them in cages and/or detention camps.

7 posted on 8‎/‎26‎/‎2015‎ ‎1‎:‎14‎:‎56‎ ‎AM by re_nortex (DP – that’s what I like about Texas)
Yeah, yeah – we get it.  Untermenschen and all that.  Fuck me Freddy – can’t you nincompoops get through one thread without making Godwin throw up?
To: 2ndDivisionVet

Yes this article seems to be an answer to a question that nobody asked…right out of left field. Maybe next they will hold a seance with Hitler to find out if he likes Trump.

5 posted on ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2015‎ ‎1‎:‎11‎:‎55‎ ‎AM by cabojoe

Sorry I asked.
To: 2ndDivisionVet

[Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.]

For once, Team Trump may be stumped.

Should be interesting to see how Team Trump handles this.

They better answer fast, or else the media may smell blood in the water, or wherever.

11 posted on 8‎/‎26‎/‎2015‎ ‎1‎:‎19‎:‎44‎ ‎AM by Vision Thing (“Community Organizer” is a shorter way of saying “Commie Unity Organizer”.)

I see what you did there.
One Freeper tries to have it both ways, and the cognitive dissonance is like a slow-motion car wreck:
To: 2ndDivisionVet

We’ll be seeing a lot of these ‘he must be a racist’ by association hit pieces in the near future.

But with the excesses of this clown negro regime the danger of a ‘critical mass’ moment exists revealing the so called racists of our distant pass(sic) were absolutely correct on the condition of black culture and their devastating effect on civilized society.

47 posted on 8‎/‎26‎/‎2015‎ ‎6‎:‎22‎:‎24‎ ‎AM by exPBRrat

Thank god you escaped being associated with racism.  That was a close one.
Of course, “re_nortex” (ah, how I love ya) knows who’s really to blame:
To: Reno89519

Seriously, KKK?As was in the 19th and 20th Centuries, so it remains in the 21st Century:

The Ku Klux Klan is a Democrat outfit!

Um, not since the Southern Strategy, no.  Duke did indeed run as a Democrat in 1975, but failed miserably.

You guys always leave out that he switched to the Republican Party in 1988 and immediately started winning, although his myopia on issues like Da Joos (who for some reason, mostly vote Democratic – perhaps they didn’t get the memo), and drug-testing for welfare recipients (an infamous Republican bette’ noire) and his penchant for raising money and gambling it away brought him down.

They’re on the side of the abortion industry and seek to exterminate Jews

(see above)

and blacks.


Their goal is nothing less an all-white America, populated by fellow leftists.

Jesus fuck – have a care you don’t pull a muscle doing those obscene mental gymnastics.

Duke has spoken of his affinity for Russia. Why? Because it’s white — but above all, liberal!

25 posted on 8‎/‎26‎/‎2015‎ ‎1‎:‎41‎:‎37‎ ‎AM by re_nortex (DP – that’s what I like about Texas)

That’s right, sheeple!
Russia, home of oligarchs, the Stasi, political prisons (like the Freeperati think we should be in), persecution of LGBT people, where dissidents are routinely imprisoned and murdered, is a liberal dreamland.
I’d also like to point out that you guys are the ones routinely jerking off over manly bear-riding man Putin, not us.
More bullshit after the Duke boys…

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Denying Birth Certificates to Children

There’s really no level of mean we won’t go to, to prove we just want to be mean: 

Six U.S.-born children and their Mexican citizen mothers who lack legal status were the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed by the Texas Civil Rights Project. The lawsuit has since expanded to 17.

The state has said it is enforcing laws already on the books requiring specific types of identification that the women don’t have. The state says it does not accept the Mexico government-issued matrícula consular ID card from parents wanting to obtain their child’s birth certificate.

Families have also said they have been unable to present non-U.S. passports to obtain the birth certificates.

“We have a system in Texas in which people who are born here are being relegated to a second-class status because of who their parents are,” said Manny Garcia, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. The state’s elected offices are held by Republicans and the attorney general, Ken Paxton, who has been enforcing the identification requirement, is Republican.

Which is the same party that will tell you, in a voice from the depths of hell broadcast through the mouth of Scott Walker, that a child conceived of rape or incest is blameless for the actions of his or her biological parents. But apparently if that baby’s parents are illegal immigrants, put its day-old ass on a bus to the border, it’s obviously got the Mexican cooties or something.


‘They made a decision not to be a viable newspaper’

Here’s yet another example of “newspaper companies made the choice to destroy newspapers which means newspaper destruction was inevitable due to randomness and things like ‘change’ that we are not going to explain or quantify or really research anyway, here is some mush:” 

Hurricane Katrina dealt a staggering blow to New Orleans 10 years ago this week. A far lesser, but still lingering, punch came in late 2012 when Advance Publications, the owner of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, launched a bold strategy to arrest the paper’s financial free fall.

A bold strategy. Firing a shitload of people is a bold strategy now. Because nobody else has ever tried that before. Bold!

And financial free fall? Hardly. The Times-Picayune was profitable at the time Advance brought the axe down, but you’re not going to read about that here.

What are you going to read about? If you guessed “corporate weaselmouth nonsense,” congratulations, you win this bucket of bullshit!

“Our company recognized that iteratively changing the business culture was not going to solve the problem,” says Mathews, whose face appeared on mock “Wanted” posters at the peak of the “Save the Picayune” campaign. “We could no longer do it incrementally.”

What the does that even mean? Changing the business culture? Let’s review: They knifed a bunch of dedicated people in the back, made home delivery incomprehensible and inaccessible, switched up their printing schedule three times in a year, and then blamed their customers for not throwing money at them. That has tits-all to do with the business culture or incremental changes, and everything to do with you guys being morons who could screw up a popsicle stand on the hottest day in July.

It’s certainly not news that America’s newspapers have been battered by the Internet and the recession. Over the past decade, the nation’s 1,300 daily newspapers have lost about 25 percent of their revenue and an equal percentage of their daily subscribers, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

Which still does not tell me if that leaves them with enough revenue to do their jobs. “Less” is not “insufficient” and it’s incredibly lazy to use the two terms interchangeably. The conventional wisdom is not the same as fact.

Farhi goes on to note that cutting print has meant cutting the thing that makes the money, but somehow that didn’t factor into his assessment of the Advance strategy (if you can call “let’s hope nobody notices we’re just greedy bastards because the Internet is here for us to blame” a strategy):

Asked whether the “digital-first” strategy is succeeding, the normally voluble Mathews pauses. “I don’t think you can say that,” he replies. “There’s not a finish line that any of us see in the near future.”

But hey, at least it’s BOLD!


Sunday Morning Video: Fats Domino Live In Holland

Now that we’ve gotten past the Katrinaversary, it’s time for some good old New Orleans rock and roll. This show aired on Dutch teevee in 1976. Dig the crazy plaid jackets on the sidemen:



Saturday Odds & Sods will return next week.

Texas Napoleon Returns To His Waterloo Redux

Here’s a picture of a man protesting outside Warren Easton High School where former President George W. Bush is making his only K10 appearance. The sign says it all:

W Protest

Photograph by James Karst. He wins the day.

Glad this guy has an oversized barf bucket. He may need it.

Friday Guest Catblogging: Boris In The Box

Boris is back and fluffier than ever:

Boris in the Box

Photo by her human, Paul.

The Not So Great Fleur de Lis Ban Hoax of 2015


City of New Orleans Flag.

I guess it must be a slow news week in New Orleans because one of our local teevee stations, WDSU, ran a story about an obviously fake letter, he said in a voice dripping with sarcasm. There was even a Twitter teaser from one of the station’s anchors.

No, not Scout’s little buddy. It’s another Scott Walker who, to his credit, has had fun with having the same name as Gov Deadeyes. The other reason it works so well is that viewers in New Orleans watched NOLA Scotty blow last night. What would we do without Charlie Pierce? Back to my own  shebeen…

WDSU’s first story about the fleur de lis ban letter was “balanced” and treated it as if it *could* be authentic. Holy False Equivalency, Batman. Not only that, but it ran at the top of the newscast in a week when local news is plentiful to say the least. The current story at their web site concedes that the letter is a hoax. I wish I had gotten a screen shot of the earlier version but I did not. If I had you could *really* watch NOLA Scotty blow.

The reason that this annoys me so much is that local teevee news in New Orleans is actually quite good. WDSU is stuck at third place in the ratings so they’re resorting to stunts like this one as well as tweeting selfies during commercial breaks. The problem is that there’s no story here. They’re pandering to a combination of gullible members of the twittering class and the “don’t erase our history and heritage” types who are rabidly opposed to removing Confederate monuments.

Here’s the back story. The “they’re going to take away our fleur de lis” meme is one of the straw men that is being trotted out like a hooded night rider with a flaming cross by the “don’t erase our history and heritage” krewe. I alluded to this in a post I wrote on July 20, The Fog Of History: The Jacksonian Straw Man. With a very few, very nutty exceptions, nobody is advocating eradicating the fleur de lis, which has  gone from being a symbol of the French crown to the symbol of the City and of our beloved Saints. Insert a Who Dat at this point for those who do such things.

As to the content of the letter, it’s ridiculous, preposterous, and incredible. Note the letterhead, the spacing, the crossed-out FDL inside a circle. Nothing looks right. For me, the biggest tell was this passage:

Our staff along with with former US Senator Mary Landrieu are also in negotiations with Mr. Benson and the NFL on changing the Saints logo and/or perhaps choosing a new logo for our city’s football team that would have no offensive religious overtones.

First, Mitch is a egotist and would say “my staff.” Second, anyone who knows anything about the dynamics of the Landrieu family would spot this as a false statement aimed, mostly, at Lakeview and Garden District Republicans. Mary is the oldest child and her kid brother Mitch is fifth in the sprawling Landrieu family tree of nine chirren as Santa Battaglia would surely say. In short, the younger brother wants to be independent except during campaigns. I recall seeing Mary taking charge of the stage when her brother was elected Mayor on his third try in 2010. She called him Mitchell and he visibly shuddered. This passage of the fleur de lis ban letter plays into New Orleans GOPer notions of the conspiratorial Landrieu family with father Moon and sister Mary pulling the strings. Insert evil laugh. End of this extended foray into pop family psychology. Your hour is up…

The tone of the letter is aimed at local conservatives who hate all the Landrieus and those, including many on the Left, who hate this Mayor. I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again, Mitch Landrieu’s record is a mixed bag, I like parts of it and dislike others. I’m not crazy about his relentless, resilient boosterism and advocacy of gentrification, but I believe he’s sincerely motivated on the Confederate monuments issue. His father was instrumental in removing the Confederate battle flag from the City Council chambers, after all. Uh oh, I just sent the Landrieu conspiracy buffs into hyperdrive. Regardless of that, this letter is bogus, a fraud, a fake, a hoax and a tasteless one at that.

Timing and context are everything in life. If this letter had popped up on April Fool’s Day, it and the WDSU story would have been mildly amusing. Instead, it appeared on August, 26, 3 days before the Katrinaversary when people’s emotions are raw and old wounds have been re-opened. It’s like picking at a scab and drawing blood. We didn’t need this right now. And WDSU shouldn’t have used it as clickbait and a ratings ploy. Additionally, the people who are most likely to support removing the Confederate monuments, American-Americans, are the least likely to have benefited from the so-called resilient recovery. And they know it too.

I hadn’t planned to write such an epic post but context matters and I needed to explain some things to our readers outside of New Orleans. I hope I’ve clarified matters but if not, what can I say? I promise to be more resilient next time…

That concludes this episode of watching NOLA Scotty blow. Heckuva job, WDSU.

Penn Jillete On Donald Trump’s Hair

 Penn Jillette, Donald Trump, Trace Adkins - All-Star Celebrity Apprentice

The Insult Comedian tries to hitch a ride from Penn Jillette & Trace Adkins.

I mentioned not long ago that I was watching a season of the Celebrity Apprentice on YouTube hoping to get some insights into what makes the Insult Comedian tick. All I’ve learned is that he likes yes men, ass kissers, brown nosers, and people who tell him how awesome he is. I learned more from an excerpt from magician Penn Jillete’s memoirs published by Salon back in 2012:

I wasn’t even going to say anything about Trump’s hair. I live in a glass house. I’ve always had ugly, out-of-style hair. Trump’s hair is a lot better than mine—but as I sat there for hours half listening to Donald carry on, it struck me exactly what his hair looked like. It looks like cotton candy made of piss.

There you have it, ladies and germs, Donald Trump’s elaborate combover resembles cotton candy made of piss. It has absolutely no nutritional value just like his crappy reality teevee show and his futile quest to become the first insult comedian elected President.

Here’s an appearance Penn and his hair made on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on July, 15:

Repeat after me: Donald Trump will NOT be the first Insult Comedian with hair that looks like cotton candy piss to be elected President.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Hearses Don’t Hurry

I’ve always liked the tile of this obscure potboiler; mostly because it enables me to punish you with a real groaner.

Really? I always thought William Randolph was a young Hearst in a hurry. I better hide or Death is going to smite me for that one…


Untalented Artist To Visit City He Let Drown

From Album 5

Well, not when the untalented artist was doing untalented, amateur art, but only when he was leader of the free world. Adrastos has already covered this, but if I may add a visual interpretation and a few additional remarks…because, in its own way, the tragic horror, and subsequent epic, incompetent, gross failure by the Bush administration demonstrate how history repeats.

The same folks loudly taking victim blaming to new heights ten years ago now loudly, obnoxiously, smugly…and, of course, stupidly…pin their hopes on the single person who’d be an even worse executive than Dubya: a loud-mouthed-fraud and casino magnate. You’ve got Jeb (Jeb!) flailing as haplessly as Mike Brown. Rick Santorum’s still around, spewing now and again — remember his proposal to cite and fine those, who, for whatever reason, were unable or unwilling to evacuate?

About the only piece missing, and I guess this is a slight improvement, is I can’t think of any equivalent of Dick Cheney…who, as an aside, is still in my mind the worst Veep in history…which is pretty amazing when you consider that list includes such notables as Andrew Johnson…and Aaron Burr, who only shot and killed Alexander Hamilton.

Congratulations Racists and Assholes It’s Fucking Christmas For You

Two people (three if you count the shooter but I don’t just now) are dead but hey, don’t let that get in the way of the carols you’re singing: 

Breitbart News reacted to reports that two Virginia journalists were shot to death on-air by a disgruntled former co-worker by publishing an article with the headline, “RACE MURDER IN VIRGINIA: BLACK REPORTER SUSPECTED OF EXECUTING WHITE COLLEAGUES – ON LIVE TELEVISION!

On August 26, two employees of Roanoke, Virginia CBS affiliate WDBJ were shot to death while reporting from Smith Mountain Lake, a public recreation area popular for boating and fishing. The gunman, who later shot himself but apparently survived, is reportedly a former employee of the affiliate.

Breitbart News reacted to the shooting with a race-baiting article authored by editor-at-large John Nolte. The piece was widely condemned by other members of the media, many of whom pointed out Breitbart News’lengthy history of racially charged reporting and commentary. The headline has since been changed.

A 24-year-old reporter who had just fallen in love and a 27-year-old cameraman who by all accounts was a stellar human being are dead, and because the shooter was black, it’s fucking Christmas morning for exactly who you think it would be Christmas morning for.

It’s Christmas morning for Breitbart’s gibbering insects and Christmas morning for the Freepi. It’s Christmas morning for those jerkoffs on Fox News who want to know when we’re gearing up for the next race war, and it’s Christmas morning for the All Lives Matter scolds. (Whose angry yowls, by the way, are the exact human equivalent of you showing up at a stranger’s funeral yodeling about how nobody there mourned your great-aunt Harriet when she was killed by a folding couch.)

It’s Christmas morning for everybody who hates reporters, too, hates reporters and will gladly advocate killing them, including by lynching them. It’s Christmas morning for everybody who can’t be bothered to give a shit when reporters are kidnapped and beaten and jailed and raped and abused. It’s Christmas morning and they get to go to fucking church.

Are they ever going to church. The church of “black on white” crime and the church of specious statistics, the church of tallying up outrages on a little white board and the church of don’t you dare politicize my politics, don’t you dare call my actions in the public sphere political. The church of gun-free zones are free fire zones, the church of more concealed carry, like double-secret-concealed carry, performing the sacrament of if every Democrat was dead none of this would be happening because gunmen would be too scared of the guns. They are going to these churches and they are praying and praying. Will the circle be unbroken, by and by Lord, by and by.

It’s Christmas morning for everybody who thinks we need some kind of example of black people behaving badly to prove … what, that black people  can be assholes, like that’s a point? It’s Christmas morning for your dad’s co-worker who wants to keep score of what Al Sharpton said about what where how many times. It’s Christmas morning for your racist uncle and his racist kids, and it’s Christmas morning for the deliberately stupid on the campaign trail who pretend they don’t know when they fucking know

It’s Christmas morning for whocouldaknowed, and whatyougonnado, and the department of inevitability and the seduction of inertia and everyone everywhere is confessing even as they continue to commit the mortal sin of despair. It’s Christmas morning for people who want to bitch on social media that social media is ruining the way we communicate (because, like, a shooting is fine if the guy wouldn’t have to go and post VIDEO about it like a ghoul) and it’s Christmas morning for “look at this dumbass Tweet, America is doomed.”

Every fucking dumb asshole on the planet has thoughts and prayers, and GIFs with hearts and crosses and doves and shit and they are plastering them all over Facebook because it is Christmas morning for pretending you care about somebody else when if we cared about anybody else we would have stopped this after Columbine or Sandy Hook because SCHOOLKIDS, fucking kids in school. Reporters, especially local TV, do a hard goddamn job and a friend got a call from a local TV station “localizing” the story asking if there was anything that journalists could have done to protect themselves. It’s Christmas morning for I guess we have to wear flak jackets to cover local tourism, and even then.

It’s Christmas morning for the worst in all of us right now. Open your fucking presents, racists, only take care not to burn yourselves on the shotgun shells. Compare your holiday hauls, sanctimonious dickheads and gay-bashing, woman-hating, anti-press “conservatives.” Mind the gunfire and don’t dance along with it too fast. Someone could get hurt.


ps. In answer to the above.


Tweets Of The Day: Texas Napoleon Returns To His Waterloo

One of the most annoying, aggravating, and irksome things about this year’s Katrinaversary is, of course, George W Bush returning to the scene of the crime. He’s about as popular here as a dead refrigerator full of rancid, rotting crab, shrimp, and crawfish. Maggots have a higher approval rating in Orleans Parish than Bush.

Two NOLA Twitteratti rather neatly summed up my un-resilient reaction to the news of Bush visiting this upcoming Friday.

I can never get enough of John Fogerty’s post-K rant and roll song, Long Dark Night, so I’ll give him the last word:

Brownie’s in the outhouse
Katrina on the line
Government’s a disaster
But Georgie, he says it’s fine

Come on,
Lord you’d better run
Be a long dark night
Before this thing is done


Album Cover Art Wednesday: Wake Of The Flood

I usually post this feature at the stroke of midnight but I want the stench from the Hurricane Katrina Snowglobe post to have faded away. Let’s have a nooner instead. Uh oh, that was a bit Ashley Madison of me…

I’ve already posted a Grateful Dead LP cover but this one fits the theme of the week. Wake Of The Flood was the first Dead album released on their own label. It was plagued with returns and production problems. The cover by Rick Griffin, however, is swell:

Wake of the Flood

The music is pretty darn good too, especially the sublime Eyes of the World:

Quote Of The Day: Ken Burns Edition

I suspect y’all have heard about Ken Burns’ appearance on Face The Nation and his stirring comments about the cause of the Civil War. But it can’t be repeated often enough as far as I’m concerned:

You know, we’ve grown up as country with a lot of powerful symbols of the Civil War in popular culture that would be ‘Birth of a Nation,’ D.W. Griffiths’ classic, and ‘Gone with the Wind,’ of course,” And in that, it postulates, among other things, both films, that the Ku Klux Klan, which is a homegrown terrorist organization, was actually a heroic force in the story of the Civil War. So it’s no wonder that Americans have permitted themselves to be sold a bill of goods about what happened, oh, it’s about states’ rights, it’s about nullification, it’s about differences between cultural and political and economic forces that shaped the North and the South…

But we also notice that race is always there. Always there. When Thomas Jefferson says all men are created equal, he owns a couple hundred human beings and he doesn’t see the contradiction or the hypocrisy and doesn’t free anybody in his lifetime and sets in motion an American narrative that is bedeviled by a question of race. And we struggle with it. We try to ignore it. We pretend, with the election of Barack Obama, that we’re in some post-racial society,” he continued. “And what we have seen is a kind of reaction to this. The birther movement, of which Donald Trump is one of the authors of, is another politer way of saying the N word. It’s just more sophisticated and a little bit more clever. He’s ‘other,’ he’s different. What’s actually ‘other’ and different about him? It turns out it’s the same old thing. It’s the color of his skin.”

What the hell does this Yankee know about it? So what if he made the definitive documentary about that conflict. Some peckerwood in a racist t-shirt knows better…

Burns’ remarks almost make me forgive him for the whole “Wynton Marsalis saved Jazz” thing in another film. I’m still tetchy, however, about the Yankees-BoSox centric approach of his baseball documentary.

Enough already. I came to praise Ken Burns, not bury him. Well done, sir.

Killer Kitsch: The Hurricane Katrina Snowglobe

I was premature in saying that I wasn’t going to write anything else about Katrina 10 malakatude. I learned about this after posting on Monday. It *almost* makes the resilience tours look less tacky. Almost.

What’s an American “celebration” without a crappy, tasteless souvenir to put on the mantle?


Killer Kitsch Triptych.

That’s right, ladies and germs, for a mere 45 bucks you can have your very own Hurricane Katrina Snowglobe. The houses come in 4 colors and the scariest thing of all is that the order page at the web site says that the yellow house is sold out. That’s right, people are actually buying this tacky thing.

I am gobsmacked that this disgusting bit of killer kitsch is selling. It reflects the death of common decency as well as common sense. Who celebrates a disaster that killed an estimated 1,800 human beings? Some guy named Brad Maltby, consider him the de facto malaka of the week. I have no idea whether he’s a hipster trendhopper, disaster tourist, or long time resident with no taste but really dude? Making money off a tragedy? E is for exploitation. T is for tacky.

Malaka Maltby is clearly clueless. The next passage is a quote from the web site and follows an insipid “poem” by his stepfather:

Look closely, you’ll notice the blue tarp on the roof that FEMA gave out. Almost every house had one on it.

There is a red X, that EVERY house was marked with when it’s doors were smashed in and searched. There was a code that marked who entered, when, how and how many bodies were found.

Of course there is a water line, a still very visible scar of the times.

And finally the debris in the dirty water that filled all the flooded houses, about 200,000 in New Orleans alone.

The sparkles represent the strangeness of it all and the good things that would come out of it all in the future for so many people.

The target audience for this shitglobe is obviously NOT people who experienced the storm and subsequent flood. In addition to not knowing the difference between it’s and its, the explanation gets a lot of things wrong, then closes on an eerily Panglossian note about the wonders that came out of the storm.

It sounds as if Malaka Maltby didn’t experience the stench that permeated the city after the flood waters receded. It was stinky, not sparkly. If the snowglobe were even vaguely realistic, it would depict floating, bloated bodies and smell like sewage and rotting seafood. Mmm, rancid shrimp.

I blame Mayor Landrieu and the boosterazzi for this horrid bit of killer kitsch. They have set a triumphalist, celebratory tone for what should be a solemn occasion. Are they celebrating fewer poors? Repeat after me: an estimated 1,800 people died and 200,000+ houses flooded. It was bloody, costly, wet, and smelly, not sparkly.

Back to bad “poetry” theatre:

This globe is a tribute for the world to see,
A remembrance of what once used to be.
The help I received for this project a rarity.
So much I’m donating some profits to charity.
And lastly, thank the good Lord above
For giving us back the N’awlins, the city we LOVE!

The cutesy spelling of New Orleans is an indication that these idiots are, more likely than not, post-K transplants. Only the late, great broadcaster Frank Davis could get away with that. But I suspect that Frank would have taken a dim view of this loathsome bit of killer kitsch.

It doesn’t matter whether the seller’s claim that he’s donating some of the profits to charity is true or not. There’s no excuse for disaster profiteering even if it’s ten years after the storm. Malaka Maltby and everyone who purchased this appalling bit of killer kitsch should be ashamed of themselves. What’s next? A 9/11 snowglobe complete with rubble and flying corpses?

If you’d like to leave some nasty comments about this disgusting bit of killer kitsch, feel free to post on their Facebook wall. I somehow doubt if they’ll get that either. Repeat after me: Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood were stinky, not sparkly.

Creeps like Malaka Maltby and Mitch Landrieu inspired my friend Laura Bergerol to create this image. I’ll give her the last word:

K10 FU resilience w copyright

Redesigned by Laura Bergerol.

In Which We Fight Over A Composer’s Body

Russia wants Rachmaninoff back: 

Despite considering himself “the most Russian of Russians,” writes Mary Jane Ayers, Rachmaninoff watched his bourgeois way of life evaporate during the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. That year, he fled to Sweden and later the United States, where he worked as an acclaimed concert pianist. Though the composer mourned his country for the rest of his life, he never returned.

Russia’s culture minister, Vladimir Medinsky, recently called on the United States to repatriate the composer’s remains in what the BBC calls “a lavish mausoleum” on his old country estate. But the move appears to be less about a composer’s final resting place and more about tense Russian-American relations. The BBC quotes Medinsky as claiming that Americans have neglected the composer’s grave while attempting to “shamelessly privatize” his name, and the AFP notes that the minister accuses the United States of presenting Rachmaninoff as “an American composer of Russian origin.”


Degrees as Pre-Reqs

Welcome back to school, kids! 

The problem seems to be rooted in two main factors: More federal money appears to have just resulted in schools scrambling to find ways to take and spend it, but not in ways that make the education more affordable. We’ve also made having a degree a prerequisite for any kind of decent-paying job.

Don’t get me wrong, there are highly specialized positions that should absolutely require certain standards of education — but we as a society place far too much stock in whether someone simply has a piece of paper as opposed to whether that person has the skills, experience or ability to learn necessary for a particular job. College isn’t for everyone. We need to do a better job of presenting all options to students, and then creating a world in which those decisions are valued and rewarded.

I sent not one but three interns back to school this week, including one at the very beginning of her college career. Since I am now officially in the eyes of the Kids Today an old person, I have a bunch of hoary advice I make them listen to on their way out the door and most of it has to do with being a young woman at the beginning of your white-collar work life. Stuff like, “If you can’t run a mile in the shoes don’t wear them to work” and “You are young and talented and pretty all at once, so at some point an old dude will insinuate you are sleeping with your boss. The thing to remember is that guy is full of shit and is threatened by you, and saying that stuff is his way of signaling that you don’t need to listen to him at all.”

Today, though, I said, “Screw your grades. Nobody cares. I mean, pass your classes. Get your degree because it’s like a box they check. But don’t flip out about every test. You know what people care about? What you’ve DONE. People want to know what you’ve accomplished, not how many As you got.”

In my life I’ve applied for dozens of jobs and interviewed for many of them and honest to God, in my 20 years in what we euphemistically term “the workforce” ONE PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYER, one, has asked me for my GPA. And that was like three years ago. I had to look it up.

It’s not even that college isn’t for everyone, it’s that college isn’t for everyTHING. We’ve made a college degree some kind of universal signifier of acceptability, and then put that signifier out of reach of a lot of people. Whereas if we’re honest about what employers need versus what students should pay for, we can reduce a lot of unnecessary debt burden, and make life easier on people who are just starting out and have enough to deal with already.



Katrinaversary Blues: Of Resilience Tours, Carpetbloggers & Disaster Tourists

Root Beer Blues, 2005.

Root Beer Blues, 2005. Photo by Dr. A

The hype behind the 10th anniversary of Katrina and the subsequent flood reminds me of a flock of turkey buzzards circling the city in search of carrion. I, for one, have no desire to be roadkill and plan to hide under the bed on Saturday 8/29. There are too many people with too many agendas who have seized that day, transforming it into a metaphor. All most of us have ever wanted is to get back to what passes for normality in New Orleans. I’d even take Gamaliel-style “normalcy” once I stop cringing…

After the water receded, there was a second inundation of people flooding into the city. Some were do-gooders, some were hipsters seeking the next trend, still others were here to make a buck. Very few of them understood the essence of New Orleans and what makes the city and its inhabitants tick. Many of them, especially on social media, have come up with an orthodoxy of what it means to be a New Orleanian. That has come to be known as copping a NOLAier than thou attitude, a swell phrase that was coined by Karen Dalton Beninato.  Some of the NOLAier than thou set seem to have spent way too much time watching Treme. Instead of a Cabaret, life is apparently a second line, old chum.

I mention the NOLAier than thou crowd because they, the local media, the boosterazzi, and the Landrieu administration seem to be the only New Orleanians who are intent on commemorating the Katrinaversary. The Mayor and other boosters are plugging the new, improved New Orleans, as opposed to the old and lousy version, I guess. Others think the City has gone to hell in a designer handbag since the storm. I’m somewhere in the middle BUT the fact that the Katrinaversary has its own logo and slogan is either deeply silly or obscene. I’m not quite sure which.

Katrina 10 logo

That’s what happens when your city is turned over to Yuppie gentrifiers, flacks, developers, and urban planners. Style long ago overtook substance in our recovery. City Hall is planning “resilience” tours by land, sea, and air. Hand to God, I am not making this up. I’m not sure who will take them except for the odd disaster tourist or carpetblogger. Welcome to Dizneylandrieu.

Here’s what some internet smart ass had to say about it on Twitter:

Now that I’ve robustly mocked the resilience tours, I must admit that we’ve come a long way from the flooded neighborhoods and rotting refrigerators of 2005.

Cajun Tomb, 2005.

Cajun Tomb, 2005. Photo by Dr. A.

I have a recurring dream about walking the streets when they were lined with dead fridges full of rotting food, surrounded by swarms of maggots. The stench was overwhelming. The mere thought of it still churns my stomach and I do not have a delicate digestive system. What I have is another Richard Thompson earworm:

I am dreading the influx of disaster tourists who will surely be showing up in town this week. Some of them will be sincerely motivated and others will be of the “I volunteered once with Habitat for Humanity after Katrina so I know what it was like” variety. No, you don’t. You don’t know what it’s like to be barred from your home for 6 weeks and have to sneak in like Dr. A and I did. You don’t know what it’s like to have a bad case of survivor’s guilt because you didn’t fare as badly as other people in town. You don’t know what it’s like to have to re-tell your “Katrina story” over and over again. You don’t know what it’s like to be having dinner and have do-gooders burst in to save your pets because you didn’t, or couldn’t, wash the marks off your front door. Actually, neither do I but it happened to some friends of mine. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase putting on the dog…

The aftermath of the storm was a very painful period in the lives of New Orleanians. We’ve lived it day-in and day-out for 10 years at varying levels of intensity. That’s why I’m not enthusiastic about rehashing those days regardless of whether it’s done by resilience tour types or the krewe of “we’ve gone to hell in a designer handbag.” I wish they’d all piss off and leave me alone. I’m not the only one who feels this way.

People have been in a very tetchy mood here all month. It’s made worse by all the disaster tourist journalists and carpetbloggers popping into town, taking our temperature, and putting their own spin on our story. That makes it their story, not ours. Once again, we live it every day, they’re just drive-by Katrina experts. Go bug somebody else and leave us alone.

The vile mood has spread to social media, especially NOLA Twitter. There have been a series of ugly flame wars where people question other people’s right to say anything about the storm. A woman of my online acquaintance was called an opportunist, ho, and, even worse, a newbie arriviste by some misogynist creep. Wrong. Her family came here with Bienville, as we like to say about the fine old families of New Orleans, and she rode out the storm at Tulane Hospital with a sick relative. I don’t understand the impulse to put people down when you don’t know jack shit about them. Unless, that is, they’re running for office because that’s what I do. Of course, that’s kicking up. There’s a lot of kicking down going on right now. Those folks should be kicked in the balls and serenaded by the late Harry Nilsson:

Shorter Adrastos. I will do my damnedest to stop thinking about the impending visit of the Texas Napoleon to his Waterloo and all the activities that will draw disaster tourists, carpetbloggers,  looky-loos, and NOLAier than thou wannabes to town. I may have to stop mainlining Social Media so I won’t spend the week in a state of constant aggravation. This will, hopefully, be my last word on Katrina 10. I plan to skip the resilience tours as well even though the flyover sounds kind of cool.

I originally planned to use this Winwood-Capaldi classic in the post title, but I didn’t want anyone to think I’m opposed to the NOLA smoking ban. It’s only smoke-free air but I like it. Put that in your pipe and smoke it: