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Black Rage May 26, 2010

Posted by The Typist in 504, FYYFF, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Here, go read this by Sam. I have had the good sense to delete most of what I’ve written about the oil flood out of concern for what Fatherland Security might think.

America Norte’ (or it’s bought-and-paid-for political leadership) is letting us die, and it’s a conscious decision, part of the same one that sent Category Five hurricane protection into endless study land.

As I stood through the Pledge, Anthem and American the Beautiful at my daughter’s high school graduation last night, I realized my heart has already emigrated to wherever it is the land of the free and the home of the brave has decamped to.

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The Black Plague May 2, 2010

Posted by The Typist in 504, Federal Flood, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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“We will armor the levees with their skulls”.

I wrote that once on this blog, but someone else said it first. I won’t remind you who that is, as there are people in the government who might find that statement provocative in ways that I’d rather not contemplate. It’s not like I’m some tea-bagger firing my AK-47 at Obama targets or some other acceptable American sub-culture. I am a citizen of New Orleans and a descendant of our neighbors in Acadiana, and I have learned by experience that I don’t count as a first class citizen of the country of my birth. Three-fifths, perhaps. If you think I’m exaggerating, wait until you see the response when the pristine tourist beaches are black with oil (sand much more easily replaced than an entire mash ecosystem).

I am too angry to write fresh words at length about the massive river of oil British Petroleum has let loose. Please don’t call it a “spill”. A spill is what you do to your shirt with red sauce. This is another flood–like 1927, like the one that followed the storm when the Federal levees failed below their specified load–this one of oil. They have no idea how to stop it, short of a relief well, and that will take more than a month, an oil field engineer acquaintance tells us.

We are urged to be calm. “This is not the apocalypse” say two Mississippi congressman after their helicopter overflight and briefing, one eye on the oil slick and another on the lucrative casinos that line their waterfront. Mary Landrieu, the Distinguished Senator from Big Oil takes to the floor and delivers for those campaign dollars, reminding us that we should not panic, endorsed President Obama’s view: “…when he said we want the industry to move forward [with offshore drilling]. We do not want them to retreat.”

It’s Jazz Fest but maybe I should stay in today. If I see a Hummer or an F-350 Crew Cab that has clearly carried nothing but groceries, I will be hard pressed not to run them off the road into a tree.

“We will armor the levee with their skulls.” There are probably not enough BP executives to go around. We will have to widen the pool to get enough skulls. As satisfying as that sounds, that will not save St. Bernard and east Plaquemine fisherman from a second disaster of biblical proportion in five years, or if the winds spread it west of the river.

Until then, from a time when anger seemed as natural a state as sleep and consumed almost as much time, from my retired Katrina blog Wet Bank Guide:

Thursday, December 27, 2007

This election in a nutshell October 30, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I don’t usually write about politics (except for the christianist zealots and their tomfoolery). Still, I think this neatly sums things up for me (courtesy of MSNBC.com):

“The average working family is $2,000 poorer now than when George Bush took office,” [Barrack Obama] said. “Bill [Clinton] and I were in Orlando last night. When Bill Clinton was president, the average wage and income went up $7,500. So, I’ve got an economic plan that’s similar to Bill Clinton’s. John McCain’s got an economic plan that’s similar to George Bush’s. So all you have to do is look and see what works and what doesn’t. This is not complicated. We’ve done the experiment.”

Of course, a lot of likely Republican voters aren’t too fond of experimental methodology. I mean, it’s not mentioned once in the Bible, now, is it. As for the rest who are not going to vote for That One for That Reason Which Shall Not Be Admitted, I just wanted to let you know that we have all the bridges wired to blow in case all you bat shit crazies just to our north lose it on Nov. 5th.

Gumbobama Yeah You Right October 24, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Eh, la bas.

Buddy, Can You Spare Some Bootstraps? October 21, 2008

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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America is worried. What it will be like to lose your home and all your possessions, to see your job shipped off to another town, to be forced to pay out the mortgage on a house no longer yours while you try to make the rent? Will the government help me, or will all those hundreds of billions in aid they voted just evaporate into people’s pockets before it gets reaches the average person?

How, they worry, will they survive such a catastrophe?

I suggest they have a parade. It worked for New Orleans.

In your parade, America, you can celebrate that even in bankruptcy you will not be forced to live for years in a 280 square foot travel trailer, being slowly poisoned by formaldehyde. Moving in with relatives–for a year, or two–will test your virtue and bring your family closer together than you can image. The bankruptcy judge may make you pay out the balance of your mortgage after the auction, but at least you will not be forced to pay the full note plus rent if you won’t live in the trailer, while you fork out trebled prices for materials to build a new home with your own hands.

You can celebrate that your children will still have schools. With books. With any luck, they need not be completely uprooted from the family and friends who give them stability. You will still have things like your wedding and family and children’s pictures, the treasured family items no bankruptcy court would care about but which mean the world to you.

You may have to work two jobs to pay off that bankruptcy judgment under the new rules (while the people who bilked you walk away rich), but it can be done. At least you will not be forced to labor in a squalid flooded house, forced to choose between wearing a Class III respirator in a airless heat index of 120 or breathing in visible black mold.

You can celebrate the inner strengths you never knew you had, the ones most Americans only read about in books like “The Greatest Generation”, the hard resolve you fear you are not equal to. You are. If a bunch of indolent and dependent Orleanians could do more than any bankruptcy judge could ever impose on you, imagine what a lot of resourceful and self-reliant folks like yourself can manage.

If you are like many Americans, the one’s who don’t belong to church or club, the people who famously “bowl alone” as the book says, now is the time to reach out to your neighbors and organize yourselves. Don’t think that an angry vote in this election year will be enough. It won’t. Face up to the hard facts we’ve learned: 90% of “government aid” vanishes before it gets anywhere near you. You might not think you live in that sort of country, but you do.

You will need to organize as people down here did, in neighborhood associations and new groups to fight with the government, your bank, whoever. If you don’t, don’t expect the government or anyone else to reach out and help you. Those days are over. When the houses in your neighborhood are left empty for months or years, you’re going to have to get up and go mow that lawn if you don’t want to look at it (not to mention the snakes and rats).

Your neighbors–you know, the people you just wave to as you drive from home to wherever–will help you more than you can imagine. Tens of thousands of them have come to New Orleans to help people out of no other motive than pure altruism, some deeply Christian and some just plain goodness of heart. Until something happens to you and yours, you’ll probably never realize this. They’re not just your neighbors; they are people who share every aspect of your life, good and bad, and are willing to step up to help you when you’re down.

New Orleans has rehearsed the complete collapse of the American Dream for the last three years, and yet every day you can find us at the neighborhood bar sipping a cold one while discussing the Saints and the venality of politicians, or at that restaurant around the corner getting a po-boy. Life goes on. Come the Fourth of July, you’ll find Going Fourth on the River, a bit choked up as we watch the bright red, white and blue bombs bursting in air. No, we don’t believe in that old American Dream anymore, at least not in the way you still do, America. We have a clear-eyed take on what government has become, what insurance companies (for us) or banks (for the rest of you) are really about.

The campaign to subtly sabotage government in the name of lower taxes and less regulation has left an empty shell that cannot help you, not in the way it helped your grandparents out of the Great Depression, or your parents in the transition from WWII to the prosperous 1950s and 1960s. That government is gone. And the businesses you grew up learning to trust: don’t. With the end of regulation went any sense of civic responsibility. But then, the current criss has taught you that, hasn’t it?

Here’s what you do. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start going again. It will be hard. There will be tears, and there will be anger. Just remember that your spouse and kids didn’t do this to you. Neither did your best friend since grade school. There will be blank days when nothing much gets done, work or personal. You won’t remember what you did or why. And there will be days and nights when perhaps a bit too much drink is taken. The next day, pick up the empties, make yourself a big pot of very dark, strong coffee, and start over starting over. It’s the only way to make it.

You can and will get through this, even if it plays out in the worst way you can image, but you are going to have to help yourselves. Forget all that nonsense you’ve heard about New Orleans. They people who are home (and we are far more than the 200,000 I often wrote of in the past) did it themselves, with the help of friends and sometimes complete strangers, out of their own pockets.

The way the economy plays out may be the last straw for some–the ones with empty 401ks and maxed out credit cards and a house still not finished, but not for most. We’ve been tested and in spite of all the lies you’ve heard about shiftless Orleanians waiting for their government handout, it’s all bullshit: they’ve done it on their own. There is nobody in America alive today under the age of 80 who understands hard times better than New Orleans.

If you want a lesson on how to survive the next few years, I suggest you hop on a plane or gas up the car and come on down to New Orleans–before someone cuts up those credit-cards–and we’ll show you how it’s done, and throw in a good time to boot.

Hell, you might even decide to stay. We have lots of cheap, fixer-upper houses down here, if you don’t mind a little hard work. And as we’ve been reminded again and again and again since the levees failed, you’re all about hard work and self-reliance, America. At least that’s what you keep telling us. And we understand. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Well, here’s your chance. Show us Orleanians aren’t the only ones who can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

(Hat tip to Veda for this idea)

A heckler’s veto October 16, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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That was the best line in a Thibodeaux, La. Daily Comet article on the decision by Central Lafourche High School to ban reading of the book “Black Hawk Down”, citing profanity. Tenth grade teacher Jared Foreman assigned the book to “spur student interest in reading.” The decision was handed down by Principal Jimmy Ledet on Oct. 3, the last day of the 27th Annual Banned Book Week.

Foreman said the students were a little shocked when the principal asked that they return their copies to the school library. He said students were half way through the book and many had told him it “was really getting good.”

Apparently, a single parent complained after the students were halfway through to book, even through the teacher sent a disclaimer letter to parents and posted a notice on the school’s parent information website.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the office for intellectual freedom for the American Library Association, told the Daily Comet, “…one parent has made the decision for the entire community that this book should not be read in class. It is like a heckler’s veto.”

The Comet story concludes with:

Just before the students returned the books, Foreman said his class marched to the school’s flagpole and sang “The Star Spangled Banner” as a group.

“I wanted them to remember they had to return a book due to censorship,” he said.

I wonder how many of these delicate children waltzed into the R-Rated film based on the book unchallenged, or brought it home from the video store? At least the school system is prepared, on the word of one parent, to protectthem from the sort of speech they might otherwise be exposed to by, say, watching cable television.

I can’t tell you how proud I feel that Louisiana did not disappoint in finding an opportunity to ban a book during Banned Books Week. It’s good to keep the brand out there, as our mayor well knows.

I set out to find a copy of Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War
to read that week. I’ve never read it, and as a Catholic School survivor I thought I might find it interesting, but I struck out in the first two book stores I checked. I had to settle for reading Judge John Woolsey’s decision in the obscenity case against James Joyce “Ulysses”, since it’s been laying by my bedside reminding me I did not manage to get through it last June.

Perhaps Louisiana’s Poet Laureate may be willing to speak out against this sort of thing. Oh, wait, we still don’t have one. Never mind.

h/t to His Yellowness Jeffery for calling this one out.

Out In The Woods September 19, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I spent the last few days in Denham Springs, Louisiana on a work assignment from hell. I’m not sure which is the best part of this drive: the early morning, empty-stomached crossing of the vast, stinking marsh around Manchac where the late storms have stirred up decades worth of decay, releasing a vast miasma of swamp gas, or the special drive back in the dark through that same stink while the orange glare of the satanic gas flares of the refineries play on the low clouds. Arrival in Denham is not the high point of the adventure.

I haven’t had any music in the car since I cleaned it out to leave it behind for Gustav, so I grabbed some CDs for the long drive from New Orleans. For some reason, I lingered over David Allen Coe. I figured short of putting a stars-and-bars decal covering my back window, it is certainly something that would get appreciative nods in that red neck of the woods were I caught with the windows down and sunroof back. Instead I grabbed another Son of the South, Leon Russell, and he’s been keeping me sane as I contemplate the apocalyptic light show on my high speed cruise through the reek of a thousand abandoned port-o-lets.

The final lyrics to this song are Zulu. Leon tells the story on the triple Leon Live album of asking an African friend for some lyrics that mean “I’m lost in the woods.” He was told that Zulus do not get lost in the wood, but was offered instead the lyrics we hear which mean approximately a man has gone mad and is running through the woods. If I spend much more time in Denham, I may just get off at Manchac, and see if I can trade the car for a pirogue and vanish forever into the foetid bayous. If this blog blinks out after this post and you find yourself on I-55 crossing Manchac, slow down and keep an ear peeled and a sharp eye. You might catch a flicker in the dark that is probably just marsh lights but could be a campfire. Slow down and listen faintly for the beating of a mad tom-tom. You might even hear these very words.

Unlike most static picture audio posts on YouTube I love this one for the odd portrait of Leon. If I win the lottery, I think I’m going to commission George Rodrigue to paint a portrait of Leon Russell posed out beneath Rodrigue’s magnificant trees. There will be no visible blue dogs, but perhaps a pair of that cartoon beasts own vacant zombie eyes peering out of Rodrigue’s dark woods.

Help Haiti September 7, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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UPDATE: This post about the 2008 hurricane is getting a lot of hits after the earthquake of January 2010. I encourage you to visit this new Help Haiti post where I will add additional information on how to help Haiti.


Gonaives, Haiti after Hurricane Hanna

While we on the Hurricane Coast have suffered, imagine life in hurricane ravaged Haiti. For all of the ridiculous failures of the central government to aid the people of coastal Louisiana, our resources are enormous compared to those of either the people or government of Haiti.

Even as we reach out to help our own poorest, including the people of the United Houma Nation, please dont’ forget Haiti.

Please help the Houma September 7, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Karen Gadbois of Squandered Heritage and Matri of Matri’s VatulBlog traveled to see first hand the devestation of one of Louisiana’s most vulnerable communities, the native people of the United Houma Nation.

Please see Karen’s and Matri’s blog posts, and do what you can to help.

Federal Evasion Management Agency September 6, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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So, I’m listening to some FEMA spokescritter on WWL-AM try to explain the “transitional assistance” program to house people whose homes are still uninhabitable. Someone finally nailed him on FEMA’s promise earlier in the week to help pay for evacuees hotels.

The mouthpiece tried to make it sound like a regional press flack mispokes hisself to the Associated Press.

Bullshit.

Secretary Micheal Chertoff announced on CNN in primetime while 2 million people from southeast Louisiana were glued to their TVs and promised assistance with evacuation hotel costs. Period. it happened. I saw it. FEMA cannot lie it away. And the hosts at WWL are apparently too timid to corner them and nail them on this.

The lessons we relearn here are the one’s we already know. FEMA are liars. FEMA cannot be relied upon for assistance. We are on our own.

But, frankly, we already knew that.

So, just to update FEMA and C. Ray “mother of all…900 mile wild storms” Nagin, we have got the message.

Don’t leave next time. If I can get my 87-year old mother on a direct flight to Kansas City and my sisters, trust me: we won’t.

Rollin’ on the River? September 6, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Aw, Hell: I for one am not ready for this. How about you? All I know is I’m not unpacking the precious papers tub yet.

WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON July 11, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Ok, your hopelessly lazy and stupid host seems to have missed a link to some of Darrell Borque’s poetry. Here is a several mostly prose poems posted on a University of Lafayette website. The form is called ekphrasis, a term I just learned yesterday (See, poetry is improving) which involves describing a work of art in one media in another (in this case, poetry about a painting).

Given what he really thinks is going on in this picture, I think the Right Reverend Jindal is perhaps correct in submitting Borque for review prior to offering the State’s Imprimatur. I mean, really, in front of the children?

WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN A DUTCH COURTYARD:
MENAGE A TROIS WITH CHILD WITNESS
By Darrell Borque

(A Dutch Courtyard,
Pieter de Hooch ,
1629-1683)

What these people have withdrawn from is large.
Immeasurable is what they have been drawn toward.
A whole town with churches and a marketplace, barges
in the waterways near the loading docks, the guard
drowsing near the banking house with gleaming sword
lie in the precincts just beyond their wall.A red serge
she’s opted for is but one bright, desired thing; a word
in private, full tankards, exchangeable heat.Courage
is what it takes to cash in toil for velvets and leather,
or to catch the beauty of a man’s limb and not flinch;
in the lifted glass she tells them afternoons in the heather
field is a possibility if they play their cards right. Wench
is a laughable appellation in this close company. Whether
or not ships sail, a possibility; glee in moorings, a cinch.

November 2000

We don’t need no stinkin’ poet laureate July 11, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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In another giant step towards the reinstatement of the Dark Ages, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declined to send up the name of the Blanco-nominated poet laureate to the Senate for confirmation in the last legislative session. The story broke in the INDependent newspaper and was later taken up by the Lafayette Advertiser (but no other Louisiana news outlet I can find).

When asked by the Advertiser, Jindal or someone (it’s not possible to tell from the badly edited story) suggested that retired University of Lafayette professor Darrell Borque might be renominated.

In a quote that syntactically cannot be tied back to anyone named in the story, someone told the Advertiser, “In no way is it reflecting on him,” he said. He’s looking for the best and brightest, and after a review, that might be Bourque, he said.”

This is a dangerous and powerful position, poet laureate, so I guess we have to be careful. I mean, you don’t want just anyone going out into schools around small children teaching them about poetry. I mean, you know what artists are like. Better run this one past the Grand Inquisitor.

I can’t find any examples of his work published online, but there is a reference to him found on Google Books in verspers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality. I guess if you’re going to write about God or spirituality and expect to be renominated by the likes of Jindal you better be the right flavor of Godly.

Now in the great scheme of things maybe you don’t think this is important. Its not as if Louisiana isn’t rife with more serious problems. You may have noticed that here on Toulouse Street we think poetry is important. The schools should expose everyone to it as much as possible because it teaches the power of language and its uses and combines the imaginative with the analytical in a way that I can’t help but believe improves the thinking of those who read or study it.

Perhaps the Jindalites don’t agree, and couldn’t see the point in bothering to send Borque’s name up. More disturbing is the thought that someone in a post like this might be subject to the sort of ideological vetting common to the modern GOP even when patently illegal.

You can spend your time worrying about the War on Terror. I’m much more worried about the Taliban among us, the ones standing next to you in the grocery check outline who would cheerfully take on the task of loading the queers and apostates and liberals into the cattle cars. If this respected retired professor isn’t renominated, it will tell us something about just how deeply Jindal has drunk of the kool aid.

Update: If you came to this post directly, browse to http://www.toulousestreet.net and you can read a poem I found online.

Creole Beat June 27, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I finally gave up on ever getting to see the library’s copy of Cranial Guitar, Selected Poems by Bob Kaughman. It has been “in cataloging” for so long I have decided that “in cataloging” is a euphamism like “passed on”. “Cranial Guitar, preceded in cataloging by…”. His earlier books, like all those of another famous New Orleans-linked poet Everette Maddox, arevlocked away safely in the library’s Louisiana Collection where I don’t think I am welcome to bring my lunch in while I read.

I couldn’t find a copy to buy in town, either, and was forced to go to Amazon. While Kaufman is associated with San Francisco and the Beats, he is still a New Orleans-born boy and you would think someone might carry a copy. (Same for Maddox, a man who is forever linked with New Orleans). The poetry shelf of Maple Leaf Bookstore, one of my favorite haunts long ago, sits half empty and neglected the last few times I went by. I think I need to go bookstore shopping.

While the New Orleans-born Kaufman is associated with San Francisco and the Beats, here is a poem about Louisiana from that collection.

Early Loves
By Bob Kaufman

Slippery driftwood, icebreaking mudpacks.
Garfish, mothers of cajun whores,
Laughing blood noises, at comic shrimps.
Gliding on leaves of sunken trees.

Dying love, hidden in misty Bayous
Red love, turning black, brown,
Dead in the belly, brittle womb
Of some laughing crab.

A father. Whose, mine?
Floating on seaweed rugs.
To that pearl tomb, shining
Beneath my bayou’s floor.

Dead, and dead,
And you dead too.

No more arm twisting,
Heart twisting laughter.
Dead moss, colors of sorrow.

Later in hot arms, hers,
Between sweaty lovemakings.
Crying will wet moss swamps,
Hidden beneath her arms.

Tears will wash her dirty murdered soul.
God will be called to atone for his sins.

Considered America’s foremost surrealist poet and considered America’s Rimbaud by the French (who have all of his papers in a library), much of what he writes takes more than a few readings, and some bits might take a lifetime to decode, so I best sign off and get started. I think I may have to post up Reel Three of Golden Sardine, an incredible bit of writing about “the Deathbed of the last Buffalo in Nebraska” and the bloody conquest of the West.

Stupid Is June 25, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Can anyone explain to me why Gov. Bobby Jindal is ready to enthusiastically endorse an end run to allow the teaching of creationism in Louisiana public schools at the time the city of New Orleans and the Louisiana State University Medical School are pushing for creation of a bio-medical district in the downtown area?

How do I put this politely: If you believe in creationism, you are an idiot. You are so delusional that you are clearly not competent to govern your own affairs, much less mine. I don’t give a damn that the Pew Center finds some ridiculous percentage of Americans believe this. They are idiots, too. I’m embarrassed to have to share a country with them. If you are a politician and don’t believe in this nonsense but are pandering to these people, you are more dangerous than the idiots

I feel under no obligation to engage in civil discourse with people who cannot form coherent thoughts. It is a ridiculous expectation.

I’m just glad Bobby The Exorcist passed on medical school. The last thing I need while standing half-naked in an an examination room is some guy in a white coat stumbling in with a cross in one hand and a jar of leeches in the other hand spouting gibberish.

In a press release from the Louisiana Coalition for Science, Governor Bobby Jindal’s college genetics professor asks him not to “hold back the next generation of Louisiana’s doctors.” The press release introduces an open letter from the group calling for Jindal to veto SB 733, a bill which opens the door to creationism in the classroom,

Professor Arthur Landy, University Professor at Brown University who teaches in the medical school, taught the then-premed. Landy says “Without evolution, modern biology, including medicine and biotechnology, wouldn’t make sense. In order for today’s students in Louisiana to succeed in college and beyond, in order for them to take the fullest advantages of all that the 21st century will offer, they need a solid grounding in genetics and evolution. Governor Jindal was a good student in my class when he was thinking about becoming a doctor, and I hope he doesn’t do anything that would hold back the next generation of Louisiana’s doctors.”

Jindal passed up medical school for a Rhodes scholarship studying political science. Politics thus took him away from promising careers in medicine, law, or exorcism.

The full LCFS press release is…at http://lasciencecoalition.org.

May God save this Republic and our State from His believers.

Hat tip to Thoughts form Kansas

Drowning in Plenty June 18, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Among the many ways we are dying here at the edge of America is the slow poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico by the farmers and lawn jockeys to the North and the subsequent loss of the seafood crop. Scientists once again gather to discuss what might be done about the flood of runoff nutrients from farms and lawns, runoff that results in massive algae blooms that kill off all the marine life in The Dead Zone.

While the result sounds like a Stephen King novel, it is not a fantasy. This year we expect 10,000 square miles to be empty of oxygen. What fish do not flee will die. According to the coastal advocacy group America’s Wetlands, Louisiana produces one-third of the nation’s seafood by dollar value, and is ranked second behind Alaska in by weight of seafood landed. In 1981, the value of those commerical fisheries was about $680 million. Sport fishing and constitute over $10 billion a year in economic activity. All of this is being taken away from us without compensation.

The simple fact is the Invisible Hand (and the men manipulating it from Washington) are perfectly happy to see prices for commodities like corn, wheat and soybeans triple over the last year or two. Much of this growth is inflated by corn-based ethanol, a blatant hoax to boost farm prices with no net reduction in energy consumption. It takes a lot of energy to grow corn and more to make it into ethanol. The end product is more expensive than gasoline and contains fewer BTUs (you burn more to go fewer miles). Then there is the problem of market speculators, deprived of their real estate gains, looking for some other way to make free money.

The end result is farmers who are flush with cash planting more acres in crops, rather than converting land into buffer zones to reduce runoff. There are no legal or economic consequences to this action, so the grain states of the mid-west grow wealthy off of the crop price boom, and our seafood industry dies from the resulting algae bloom.

If Congress doesn’t take some action, I have a simple solution. I proposed it before to force the federal government to compensate New Orleans for the damage caused by the Federal Flood. The state has the well established right to set pilotage fees. Set the fee for crop exports so high that they are no longer economically feasible. If any one suggests they would just take their crops to other ports, ask them where they plan to get the extra railroad cars necessary to move the crops that currently travel down the Mississippi by barge? Something I learned in North Dakota is there is a significant shortage of railway stock. A significant percentage of every year’s crop spoils on the ground when the grain elevators fill up because there aren’t enough cars to move the grain out.

If you would like a more reasonable suggestion: identify 10,000 square miles of potential buffer land currently in crops, and force them to take it out of production and plant and/or build buffer zones. (They can actually get paid for this when they plant marginal land in native plants because of the wildlife benefit).

When they rein in the farmers and give us our full share off shore revenue (and full compensation for the losses from the federal flood), we will let them have full use of the river again.

Solons of Red Stick June 13, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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From today’s NOLA.Com homepage, note the blog headline:

Definitions of solon on the Web:

* statesman: a man who is a respected leader in national or international affairs
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

* Solon (Greek: Σολων, ca. 638 BC-558 BC) was a famous Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and Lyric poet.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solon

* an authority; someone in the know; from the ancient Greek wise man, Solon; “Solons say the deal is likely to go down by the end of the week.”
http://www.variety.com/index.asp

I think that’s Solon on the right with his coat attacking him from the rear like he’s on the can, and Chilon of Sparta on the left squinting like a rat at Cylon orating. I believe they are debating whether designating a state lizard means we can’t eat it no more.

Looking for the Darkness on a Sunday Afternoon June 9, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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It was hard to peer closely into the darkness while surrounded by a happy mob searching for their Blue Dogs.

The other visitors moved through the George Rodrigue retrospective like an assembly line of amoebas, blobs of people expanding and contracting as they moved by fits and starts through the gallery, their progress governed by the little audio tour boxes clasped to their heads. It’s my own damn fault about the crowd, waiting until the afternoon of the last day. Rodrique’s Blue Dog work has far too large a status as local cultural icon to think there would not be a mob on Sunday. Me, I had not come for the Blue Dog. I had come to experience close up the painted twilight beneath his mythic oaks, and the darkness of those trees themselves.

It seemed everyone in line to enter clutched Blue Dog books, hoping to get a an artist’s autograph. I struggle to understand the attraction. The eyes of the blue dog are disturbing: fixed circles that seem soulless and infinitely deep, like the empty sockets of some stone idol. Those eyes betray Rodrique’s original inspiration of the Cajun boogie-man/swamp monster loup garou, but the packaging in a small terrier or whatever Blue Dog might be strikes me as pure kitsch, something of a cross between Hello, Kitty and the nasty bunny rabbit line popular with middle school girls, tarted up a bit with oils to make sure there was a high-end line of originals to go with the posters and coffee mugs.

I had not come for the dogs (or even the blue bears, which I had not seen before) and certainly not for wildly popular portrait of Drew Brees with Blue Dog or the fawning picture of Ronald Reagan. I am drawn to the earliest landscapes and portraits, like the reproduction that hangs in my house of the 1984 Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival painting–the subjects human like luminous ghosts or figures brightly lit on an night time exterior film shot. The strange luminosity that seems to come from within the figures results in large part from the contrast with the blackness of those trees that stand over and behind the figures, a landscape in the palette of camo. I had come to see what I could just detect in the mass produced prints, could only see in the art book with a magnifying glass–the complex blends of blacks and browns, greens and grays from which those trees were made, the brush knife work of applied paint mimicking the patterning of a Live Oak’s bark.

The images I had not seen before which struck me were late paintings of dark oaks with a luminous blue-green sky of a color not typically associated with planets with nitrogen-oxygen atmospheres. The color makes the seen ominous, which most of his dark landscapes are not. It is as if he had distilled the frightening eyes of that Blue Dog into something purely blue and unnatural, and cast it into the sky to light the scene

If this all sounds a bit Gothic perhaps it is, in a sense far older than the fashion trend of the late 20th Century. Rodrique’s work before Blue Dog or the portraits of famous Louisianians is a window into a world Gothic in a way that the Shelleys or Pre-Raphaelites would recognize. In a few of the paintings there are colors in a patch of sky that suggest celestial twilight, the set of warm colors sunset paints on the clouds, but in so many others there is no clear indication of the time of day. It is a timeless darkness that seems not an obscured light from above but something that radiates from the trees . These are not the scenes one will encounter just up the street beneath the widely scattered trees in City Park, as magnificent as they are. It is a window into the Forest Primeval, into Mythago Wood.

This is not the darkness of the grasping trees of a frightening Disney forest with boles for eyes. It is a cool and inviting dark like a room on the shady side of a house on a cool day, a mysterious attraction like the mouth of a cave. It is an invitation into another world which in the end is something all great art does. The only frightening thing in these mythic woods is the thought that at the end of the path there might be a pair of perfectly circular bright orange and soulless eyes, fixed and unblinking, waiting for you.

You’re In Bad Hands with Allstate January 8, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Debrisville, Hurricane Katrina, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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Welcome to New Orleans, courtesy of the ongoing criminal enterprise that is sponsoring the Sugar Bowl and BCS champsionship game. Watch the lovely pre-game d cememonies, the sanctimonious adds on the diamondtron I endured at last year’s Sugar Bowl. Try to tell yourself, America, that if you’ve been gullible enough to fork over tens of thousands of dollars to Allstate that they won’t cheat you out of any settlement should you dare to file a claim. Good luck with that. Just ask Michael Homan. Here on the Hurricane Coast, we know better.

They have systematically tried to cheat their way out of paying out fair claims to Gulf Coast victims, and made record profits in the year of Katrina. They stand accused of systematically falsified engineering reports to cheat their customers and bilking the Federal government out (that’s you, Mr. and Mrs. You-Think-You’re-In-Good-Hands) out of millions. They have made their business model denial of claims. You pay them; they don’t pay you. They are not businessmen. They are racketeers. They are criminal scum. If you work for Allstate, you are scum. You are no less a predator than the drug dealers in central city.

Next year I propose we dispense with the niceties, and simply have the Medellin Drug Cartel Sugar Bowl.

Better yet, let’s make sure that next year, their is no more Allstate. As I proposed last May:

…consider this: Allstate proudly lists $157 Billion in assets. They’ve already lost one $2.8 million judgement based on one of their fradulent “engineering” reports. We could build a lot of levees and houses with $157 Billion. All we need is an attorney general with some balls…

Home December 25, 2007

Posted by The Typist in Dancing Bear, home, New Orelans, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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That people are forced to live elsewhere is not just a shame, it is a crime against the laws of humanity.

One way or another, it’s time to bring everyone Home.

You just gotta have Faith that it can be done.