20 April 2006

So last weekend we went to visit E’s stepdad in Birmingham, and along the way, E is driving 78 in a 70 and gets pulled over. Now we’ve just gotten our hot Matrix out of the shop after the big crashup, and she’s not exactly flying. But the cop pulls us over, saunters up to the side and says he’s from the Hattiesburg PD and pulled us over because we were speeding.

Well, here’s the deal. We still hadn’t registered the car in LA and weren’t sure we had the insurance papers, so we were all scrambling around trying to track that stuff down, so when the cop comes up the side of the car, he says, “Sure is a lot of moving around in here.” Whatever. My default, much against my activistic impulses, is to comply and defer whenever cops are around (busted at 17 with beer, I was grateful while my friends were pissed when the cop elected to pour it all out, rather than haul us to jail and call our parents). Here, I thought we were being hassled, but I really didn’t–and still don’t–know what our rights were.

Long story less long, they took E back to the car and quizzed her about our relationship and where we were going and why and why we still had TX tags…, and then they came up and asked us the same questions to make sure the storied matched. They did, but they still asked us if we had anything in the car that “we should know about.” “You mean something illegal?” I asked. “Anything we should know about.” “No.” “Then you won’t mind if we have the dog sniff around; your wife said it would be ok.” “No problem.” “Just don’t make any sudden movements.”

Whatever. Obviously, we didn’t have anything (good thing E’s mom wasn’t with us and her typical stash of brownies), and although E’s brother looks like a dealer he’s the cleanest of the lot, we got off with a warning and a story.

So now E’s worried that our new car will attract random searches, and we all have a greater appreciation for the hassles that minorities deal with everytime they get pulled over.

Local Political Races

6 April 2006

On the mixed-feelings front (which I guess refers to most politics), we haven’t heard much from Kimberly Williamson Butler lately. Although I enjoy ridiculousness as much as anyone, we don’t need that kind of publicity these days, so that’s a good thing.

For mayor, I’m torn so far. I’m one of the few people I know who doesn’t hate Nagin. I voted for him in the primary and runoff last time, and I’ve generally thought he runs things ok. He’s been a charismatic, attractive representative for the city with a head for business, and that served us ok in the relatively good times when our main concerns were the worst schools, streets, and crime rates in the country. Now I think we may need to move on, but I haven’t ruled out voting for him again. I think the city is better off with an African American mayor, although if anything Nagin has pandered to Whites too much.

I’ve always liked Mitch Landrieu, and if I had to vote today, it’d be for him. He made a great impression on me many years ago when he was (I think) a state rep. I watched as he discussed how we have to think long-term and that sometimes taxes do good things. I remember thinking how refreshing it was to hear a politician say something potentially unpopular and not apologize for it. Although we can’t say that he’s brought tons of new industry to the state as Lt. Gov, he’s done an admirable job and seems to work hard hitting the pavement. Plus he really supports my employer and our people. In the limited interactions I’ve had with him have been pleasant, and he strikes me as an honest, real person. I wish he’d lose the hair plugs, but that’s a pretty minor concern.

The other person I might vote for is Virginia Boulet. She’s sharp and has a plan for free health care, which could do a lot to alleviate poverty and to attract employers. I don’t know how she can pull off, but I never know enough to examine the numbers on candidates’ plans, which is why I have to go by trust in many cases. I doubt she’ll pull it off. She may be a bit too smart and not smooth enough to get elected, but she’s someone you’d love to see in a support role if she can’t get the job.

I’m likewise unsure about city council. I’m in district A, and I support the sentiments of the Anybody But Batt brigade. I wouldn’t vote for that guy if he was the only person on the ballot. But, for whom to vote? My current inclination is Shelley Midura, but not for many sophisticated reasons. She was an early declared opponent, is the only proclaimed Dem in the race, and some other people I respect are supporting her. But I’ll keep an open mind til someone really hits me.