Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

November 19, 2006

Righting Old Wrongs…

Filed under: Civic Blogging,New Orleans,Progressive News — Tags: , , — Morwen Madrigal @ 6:57 am

The other day the T-P had a little article about mis-understanding Politics 101 here in the city. One of the developers of the Fallstaff property on Gravier St. remarked about the failure of Jazzland. Pissed off a supe or two, so what? The key thing was that he believed that we should “get people into rentals” Excuse me?
“Using the HOME money to help owners work on their houses, the Falstaff developers said, would not produce any of the new rental units the city needs and would not leverage the federal money to produce the greatest return.”

I freakin’ beg to differ Mr. Suit Man. The greatest return on the Federal monies sent as part of the Reparations due to the city’s people is best served by maintaining and creating home-ownership. A little slice of the American Dream, ‘eh?

HUD is tearing down the Projects… what the Hell can those folks afford in the near, or could be, the long-term Future? They will be paying tribute to yet another developer and their overlords. No Freedom, no freakin’ way out of the hole. Let’s just return to the pre-Flood days, ‘eh?

Screw that path… not going to play the same old game down here again. No, ya’s ain’t gonna build lots of apartment complexes in the “Sliver By The River” to house the poor that will become your indentured servants for the service industry and your damned profit margins. We don’t want your ugly complexes (read: projects) in the city. You will just suck rent, along with other things, let those things decay, find a way to bail out with the $$$, and then where do the little folks stand then?

I can tell you some of what’s going on. From the “Nation” April, ’06:

“The Republican hostility to New Orleans, of course, runs deeper and is nastier than mere concern with civic probity (America’s most corrupt city, after all, is located on the Potomac, not the Mississippi). Underlying all the circumlocutions are the same antediluvian prejudices and stereotypes that were used to justify the violent overthrow of Reconstruction 130 years ago. Usually it is the poor who are invisible in the aftermath of urban disasters, but in the case of New Orleans it has been the African-American professional middle class and skilled working class. In the confusion and suffering of Katrina–a Rorschach test of the American racial unconscious–most white politicians and media pundits have chosen to see only the demons of their prejudices. The city’s complex history and social geography have been reduced to a cartoon of a vast slum inhabited by an alternately criminal or helpless underclass, whose salvation is the kindness of strangers in other, whiter cities. Inconvenient realities like Gentilly’s red-brick normalcy–or, for that matter, the pride of homeownership and the exuberance of civic activism in the blue-collar Lower Ninth Ward–have not been allowed to interfere with the belief, embraced by New Democrats as well as old Republicans, that black urban culture is inherently pathological.

Such calumnies reproduce ancient caricatures–blacks running amok, incapable of honest self-government–that were evoked by the murderous White League when it plotted against Reconstruction in New Orleans in the 1870s. Indeed, some civil rights veterans fear that the 1874 Battle of Canal Street, a bloody League-organized insurrection against a Republican administration elected by black suffrage, is being refought–perhaps without pikes and guns, but with the same fundamental aim of dispossessing black New Orleans of economic and political power. Certainly, a sweeping transformation of the racial balance-of-power within the city has been on some people’s agenda for a long time.”

How about “The New Orleans Agenda” from last February’s S.F. Bayview? (If I excerpt it, I’ll have to copy and paste the entire essay. Just read it.)

“Oh! But the Feds are only required to return us to pre-Katrina situations.” Just kiss my tush jerks. The levees weren’t all of the problem. This has been a systemic assault upon the people of New Orleans for many, many decades. The failures of the levees could easily be seen as part of a “plan”. WE ARE OWED REPARATIONS! We should use them to bring all of New Orleans back on a more equitable footing. (Shit! That Neo-con/Bigot fault just shifted! Did ya’s feel that?) Neighborhood ownership and co-partners in the developement of said neighborhoods. (Damn! That fault shook again!) Good Public schools instead of the Parochial and Charter schools? (I think that last shaking was Rigor Mortis setting in. I’m freakin’ groovin’ to the movin’.)

The wrongs from the Past can be corrected within the rebuilding of the city. Many of us are seen as the oppressors from the poor’s side, but we aren’t: all of us are heirs to the bullshit bigotry of the Past. This time all of the tribes of New Orleans can hold hands and create the New Orleans that should have been: a place that is a collection of slices from much of Humanity’s experiences and have them mesh together into a semi-coherent whole. To create a new New Orleans: where the bigotry of the Past is laid to rest, and we all can stand up and state, “I own a piece of this home-place”, both soulfully and materially.

Think of it: What the Hell is the worth of the city and the vibes without all of us: Creole, Cajun, black, white, Asian, etc. living together? How did the music begin? Blacks and Creoles mainly, and then other elements flowed in. Our cuisine? Babes, I defy you to produce a more thourough fusion in the culture of foods. The City’s flavor? It took, and takes, all of us who love Her, all of us that just said, “New Orleans owns me… I can’t leave.”.

There’s a thing called the “Spirit of Place” or Genius Loci… all of us who love this place belong to it. It moves within the soul. It’s called belonging, and we should be beholding to It’s spirit. Let’s now create a true “Shining City Upon a Hill“.

I’m game: (I am a part of almost every culture in the city. I wish my relatives to be happy and contented). Where Yat?

October 27, 2006

Dixie Chicks Denied…

Filed under: Civic Blogging,Progressive News — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 8:48 pm

Well, the Dixie Chicks’ documentary, “Shut Up and Sing”, will be airing around the country starting Nov.11 unless the Uber Lords of BushCo have their way. NBC has refused to air a commercial for the documentary because it “disparages” our Chimpy.

Give me a freakin’ break! Since when is it not allowed to speak out against our elected officials? (Oh that’s right… since Jan. ’01.)

I think it’s time to order some music from these gals and make it a point to see the film.

September 21, 2006

This is Republican governence: from YRHT

Filed under: Gulf Coast,New Orleans,Progressive News — Tags: , , — Morwen Madrigal @ 4:38 pm

The Mighty Bivalve has a good bit on oil royalties over at YRHT.

September 7, 2006

Recall Nagin Now!

Filed under: Civic Blogging,New Orleans,Progressive News — Tags: , , — Morwen Madrigal @ 6:47 pm

Here we go kids! I’ll have the paperwork by Monday from the State, and we start in ernest in getting the “Chocolate City” Mayor out of freakin’ office.

I have established an e-list on Yahoo to coordinate our efforts.

His 100 days are up, and now it’s the populace’s turn. We know what needs to be done. This is something like a French Revolution, except we won’t be lopping off heads. We the people must take control of our, and our children’s, destinies. It’s time to truly Think About New Orleans.

September 3, 2006

How the “Ownership Society” is Screwing the Gulf

Filed under: Gulf Coast,Louisiana,New Orleans,Progressive News — Tags: , , , — Morwen Madrigal @ 5:15 pm

A new study reveals the “ownership society’’ of conservative dreams for the fraud it is; do-it-yourself financing doesn’t work when the upper class owns 80% of the nation’s stock.

So opens Marie Cocco’s  “The Myth of the Investor Middle Class”.

The partially released study she cites: EPI’s “The State of Working America” shows where 80% of all stocks are owned by only 10% of our population. This fits in nicely with my assertions that shareholders ARE the evil root behind corporations and their rapaciousness when it comes to doing, or not doing, business.

It can also explain, by extrapolation, why so much of the aid for the shattered Gulf Coast and New Orleans has vanished into the hungry maws of the stock-driven machines in lieu of actually being dispersed to those for whom the monies were appropriated by Congress.

This is why I preach “Fuck the shareholders” and to end the privatization of necessary Goverment services. These two things are what must be accomplished in order to set the Social Contract aright, to bring our Country back to that which it was before the onslaught of Reagan’s policies. (Yeah, the people got “trickled down” upon.) We need our Country back.

August 31, 2006

Olbermann Kicks Ass

Filed under: Civic Blogging,Progressive News — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 2:53 am

Watch this one.

I think we are starting to see a change of direction in this country.

*curtsey* to Humid Haney

July 22, 2006

The Goal Is Prosperity. (For Whom?) Redux

Filed under: Aside,Progressive News — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 7:58 am

Just a follow-up on my previous post courtesy of Mother Jones.

The Goal Is Prosperity. (For Whom?)

Filed under: Aside,Progressive News — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 5:46 am

I picked up this piece from Facing South entitled: Poverty: The Katrina Dialogue That Never Happened

As I have known about poverty most of my life, and sans Betts’ being with me, I’d be in deep poop as far as economic rungs go. The Disabled and the Elderly get shit from the so-called “Social Contract” in this country. I can understand, but not like it: we are not that productive for the economy and we are on our way “out”.

But… when it comes to the topic of the working poor, I cannot understand the Guvmit’s actions at all. Who the Hell is gonna pull your latte, mow your grass, stock the stores in the middle of the night if they are all dead from starvation and disease? Neo-con fucks don’t get it: they need these people in order to have their easy lives.

The Bushite regime discusses the Goal of Prosperity. I ask, “For Whom?”. Many folks like me aren’t into the game of getting rich. The goal of living is a Spiritual thing: people you meet, acts of kindness, the discovery/learning of things… The problem is that all people in this country deserve a living wage, and then let them decide what prosperity means to them.

I’m not going to rant all over the place on this topic, not right now. Please look at the links, read them, then study the map below. Notice that persistant poverty seems to be through many of the Red states? A living wage could conceivably turn those states Blue. Think about it. It could also change New Orleans.

Excerpts from the Washpo:

Poverty forced its way to the top of President Bush’s agenda in the confusing days after Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast and flooded New Orleans. Confronted with one of the most pressing political crises of his presidency, Bush, who in the past had faced withering criticism for speaking little about the poor, said the nation has a solemn duty to help them.

“All of us saw on television, there’s . . . some deep, persistent poverty in this region,” he said in a prime-time speech from New Orleans’s Jackson Square, 17 days after the Aug. 29 hurricane. “That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action.”

As it happened, poverty’s turn in the presidential limelight was brief. Bush has talked little about the issue since the immediate crisis passed, while pursuing policies that his liberal critics say will hurt the poor. He has publicly mentioned domestic poverty six times since giving back-to-back speeches on the issue in September. Domestic poverty did not come up in his State of the Union address in January, and his most recent budget included no new initiatives directed at the poor.

Tony Snow, the president’s press secretary, said Bush is unlikely to invoke poverty when he addresses the national convention of the NAACP today, and instead will focus on opportunities available to everyone. “After all, the goal is prosperity,” Snow said.

Administration officials and outside advisers say education accountability and school choice; home ownership; and efforts to encourage marriage and further revamp welfare by requiring more recipients to work — all efforts Bush supports — ultimately help the poor.

“The Bush administration has had a consistent, forward-looking strategy on poverty,” said Robert E. Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “They have had a consistent effort to raise work levels, reduce out-of-wedlock childbearing and promote marriage.”


July 16, 2006

Molly Ivins- The Politics of American Greed

Filed under: Civic Blogging,Progressive News — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 3:01 pm

I have been reading Molly Ivins for almost twenty years. She is one of my bulwarks and an information source. Though this essay by her is about wages and pensions, it also illustrates the dilemma that we on the Gulf Coast face post-Katrina/Deluge.

The current Administration does not care for the “little People”. It’s almost as if we time-slipped back to the feudal era in Europe. We are the serfs, subject to the whim of our masters. Fuck them… this is America, and once again, this cannot stand.

It’s time to fight, not just for our beloved city, but for the soul of a Nation, a country that believed in fairness and continuity of Culture. The genesis of the new Progressive movement shall start here in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. We can attest to what the current regime is up to.

Money IS NOT the ruling factor in America, people are. This must be re-emphasized as it is the reason for the Founding of the country. This country is about the individual, not the corporations and their stooges.

We in New Orleans will lead the way to a revolution in American politics. (More to come)

Sinn Fein!

The Politics of American Greed

By Molly Ivins, AlterNet
Posted on July 11, 2006, Printed on July 16, 2006

I don’t get it. What’s the percentage in keeping the minimum wage at $5.15 an hour? After nine years? This is such an unnecessary and nasty Republican move. Congress has voted seven times to raise its own wages since last the minimum wage budged. Of course, Congress always raises its own salary in the dark of night, hoping no one will notice. But now it does the same with the minimum wage, quietly killing it.

Anyone who doesn’t think this is a country where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer needs to check the numbers — this is Bush country, where a rising tide lifts all yachts.

According to the current issue of Mother Jones:

  • One in four U.S. jobs pays less than a poverty-level income.
  • Since 2000, the number of Americans living below the poverty line at any one time has risen steadily. Now, 13 percent — 37 million Americans — are officially poor.
  • Bush’s tax cuts (extended until 2010) save those earning between $20,000 and $30,000 an average of $10 a year, while those making $1 million are saved $42,700.
  • In 2002, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, compared those who point out such statistics as the one above to Adolph Hitler (surely he meant Stalin?).
  • Bush has diverted $750 million to “healthy marriages” by shifting funds from social services, mostly childcare.
  • Bush has proposed cutting housing programs for low-income people with disabilities by 50 percent.
  • A series of related stats — starting with the news that two out of three new jobs are in the suburbs — shows how the poor are further disadvantaged in the job hunt by lack of public or private transportation.

Meanwhile, for those who have been following the collapse of the pension system, please note a series in The Wall Street Journal by Ellen Schultz taking a hard look at executive pension obligations:

  • “Benefits for executives now account for a significant share of pension obligations in the United States, an average of 8 percent (of large companies). Sometimes a company’s obligation for a single executive’s pension approaches $100 million.”
  • “These liabilities are largely hidden, because corporations don’t distinguish them from overall pension obligations in their federal financial findings.”
  • “As a result, the savings that companies make by curtailing pensions of regular retirees — which have totaled billions of dollars in recent years — can mask a rising cost of benefits for executives.”
  • “Executive pensions, even when they won’t be paid until years from now, drag down the earnings today. And they do so in a way that’s disproportionate to their size, because they aren’t funded with dedicated assets.”

It seems to me that we’ve seen enough evidence over the years that the capitalist system is not going to be destroyed by an outside challenger like communism — it will be destroyed by its own internal greed. Greed is the greatest danger as we develop an increasingly winner-take-all system. And voices like The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page encourage this mentality by insisting that any form of regulation is bad. But for whom?

It is so discouraging to watch this country become less and less fair — “justice for all” seems like an embarrassingly archaic tag. Republicans have rigged the “lottery of life” in this country in ways we don’t even know about yet. The new bankruptcy law is unfair, and the new college loan rules are worse. The system has been stacked so that large corporations have an inside track over small businesses in getting government contracts. We won’t see the full consequences of this mean and careless legislation for years, but it is starting to affect us already.

July 14, 2006

A Politics of the Common Good

Filed under: New Orleans,Progressive News — Tags: , — Morwen Madrigal @ 7:35 am

This has been a long time coming, but I think it’s the way of the Future, (and it’s from Common Dreams.Org):

A Politics  of the Common Good 

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