Stay Classy, Vatican!

2 February 2009

I know he’s infallible and all, but this pope (whom some serious Catholics I know were against from the get-go) isn’t exactly recruiting record numbers of souls to heaven.  First, he lets back into the fold the holocaust denier who said:

I believe there were no gas chambers.

I believe that the historical evidence is hugely against 6 million having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler.

Then, just to make sure the vast numbers of Catholics in New Orleans were pissed at him too, he promotes the guy who said that Katrina was divine retribution (the selective perception of those folks is astounding) said this about our city:

The conditions of immorality in this city are indescribable.

Many others have voiced their outrage over this, but we should note that Warren “apologizing” for “imprudent” wording ain’t really an apology at all.  But hey, when you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll!


And an optional war doesn’t?

24 October 2007


“Crusade for the Conversion of New Orleans”

29 January 2007

flyer3.jpgflyer21.jpgflyer1.jpgGee, “America Needs Fatima”, while you’re at it, we could actually use some money, school supplies, levees, etc, but while y’all are down here, be sure to spend a lot!

Yes, Beth informs me (via the flyers) that Krewe du Vieux is going to face organized protesters for, I think, the first time since I’ve been either watching or marching (~1992).

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I hate confrontation, and ordinarily this stuff would have me slightly shaken, if not quite to the point of putting a hold on my costume preparation.  But right now I’m just curious to know how it goes over.  Yeah, NO is a Catholic kinda place, but it also knows the place for satire and good humor.  Even when it might make fun of some–literally–sacred stuff.

I believe that one reason Mardi Gras works here and not in other places who’ve tried to do it is that the “authorities” let the little stuff go and try to keep anything bad from happening (if only they did that the rest of the time we’d probably be ok).  So yeah, I’m sure that our float that year “Turning Wad into Wine” was offensive to some people, they got over it, and we weren’t trying to belittle anyone.  Now the cartpetbagger protesters are coming to right that wrong.

But one thing that often bothers me about our city is that we don’t always take to folks “not from around here” telling us what’s what.

The other thing these protesters need to know is that Krewe du Vieux was a big damn shot in the arm last year as the first big celebration since the storm, and I don’t think even they would have been offended by “C’est Levee” or our float “Spermes Ejaculates the City”…  well, maybe a little, but it’s not like we were making fun of G-d or anything.

Cornel West & MLK

17 January 2007

Tonight I attended a lecture by the great Princeton scholar Cornel West. I like him a lot. Don’t agree with everything he says, but I think he’d like that. Yesterday I painted chairs at McDonough High, which wasn’t quite the enlightening experience I was hoping for, but I hope the students appreciate how diligent we were painting over their graffiti. Oh well, I guess I’m glad I did something.

Tonight was more stimulating. I would have liked to ask the following question after his lecture: I am torn between two key emphases of his address. I truly value critical thought, and I truly admire bravery and conviction. The problem is that when I focus on thinking critically (which is usually my habit), I find myself seeing so many sides to an issue that I don’t know what to do. It’s as though I’ve critically thought myself into inaction. I preach to my students that intelligent people can disagree about important things, but I still can’t bring myself to commit. How do I handle this dilemma?

Now, I have to admit that much of my problem is simply a fear of confrontation. I don’t like to make waves, and I’m ashamed of that. I firmly believe that I would have been in line with King’s goals, but I can also see myself being persuadable that another approach toward the end justice would be better. In hindsight, almost everyone thinks King’s great and should be revered. I do too. But would I then? I’m not sure.

A parallel issue (for me anyway) came up tonight at the talk. West expressed some reservations about Obama running for president. Well, I’m a fan, and he pretty much has my vote at the declaration. Is he perfect? No. Do I wish he was a little more progressive? Probably so. West wishes he showed more “courage,” and I can see what he means. On the other hand, could Obama be the best weapon for creating realistic change at this point? Maybe it’s a sellout, but part of what I like is that he can persuade without ostracizing.

Belated Election Correspondence

9 November 2006

Jeez, you get sick a couple of times, get behind at work, and all of a sudden it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve posted. It’s easy to lose momentum. But I gotta get back to it sometime, so that I don’t have to acknowledge “losing interest in things I used to enjoy” as depression inventories would say. So here goes:

I guess I’m not as elated about the dems taking congress as a lot of people are. I’m definitely glad, and I’m glad that Bush will have some accountability, but this won’t do it all, IMHO. Here’s the text of an email I sent my brother (shares my politics) and my dad (from the other side):

Well, of course I’m glad to see some balance in DC, and I’m happy about most of the outcomes (although I’d rather “Dollar” Bill Jefferson hadn’t made the runoff), I want to pre-emptively acknowledge some problems. First, I think Clinton–whose politics I mostly liked–became more effective, and things in the country improved once he didn’t have the House & Senate on his side. For my money, there was more gridlock when it was all dems; I assume that’s because they sniped over the small stuff but took their eyes off the big issues. I’m hoping some accountability will enable Bush to do a better job than he has so far. In that regard, I’m hoping the dems don’t try to act like this is a big mandate to get in there and be obstructionist, but I do hope they can reverse some of the exec-heavy moves of the last few years.

And, just as I agreed with you, dad, that Tom Daschle was a loser, I don’t understand how Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid become the big faces of the party. Same with Frist and Hastert; these guys are so unimpressive, but they’re the ones who get out there. So it doesn’t fill me with glee when Pelosi gives the party’s position on things, and that’s a drag. Frankly, I’d rather hear Dean give the scoop; even though he rubs repubs the wrong way, he’s pretty lucid and knows what he’s saying. Certainly better than Mehlman.

Then there’s Rummy. Probably good to drop him before he gets more heat. Although I’d sort of prefer him to clean up his own mess, I’m hoping that a change of sec will offer a change of course.

We also had an interesting article in the paper here about an issue I didn’t think about. Because most of LA’s house delegation is repub, several members were poised to be more powerful and have a larger role in setting agendas, etc, which would have meant more of an opportunity to try to get aid for the state. Now they will be the minority, and we’ll be more subject to the will of others. I’m hoping that the demos will see fit to get us a fair deal than other repubs would have been, but it doesn’t help that Jefferson got (appropriately) evicted from Ways & Means.

Alright, I’d appreciate y’all’s thoughts. It’s been a good week around here, since the Hornets are the last undefeated team (however, did you see that their uniforms here say “Hornets” and in OKC say “Oklahoma City”? Grrr. I thought the Sonics were OKC’s team), and the Saints have the 2nd best record in the NFC.

My dad and I have an interesting political relationship. Although he knows I’m liberal and he’s not, he talks to me as though I’m right with him. He’ll say things like, “Doesn’t he just make you sick” when Clinton’s on tv or something. It’s bizarre, but when I push him on it, he sounds a lot more moderate. He’ll acknowledge that Bush isn’t really conservative, but he couldn’t vote for Kerry for some sort of inarticulable reason. I wasn’t surprised. But he hates the religious right playing such a role, so we have that common ground. He’s still socially conservative, but, like a true conservative, he believes in people’s right to do pretty much what they want. Now, of course that doesn’t include gay marriage or other radical ideas, but he resents the influence of the evangelists.

So I expect he’ll acknowledge that these outcomes are not all bad for his beliefs, which is part of why I felt the desire to send the above email. I tend to be loyal to a fault to people I’ve supported, which is something I’m not proud of. I find myself trying not to acknowledge shortcomings in people I’ve voted for, in my university, or in my city for that matter. By virtue of my work, I understand why I do this, but it’s weird considering how much I value critical thought. I do think I investigate, analyze, and debate, but then once I decide (whom to vote for, where to work, where to live [and return]), I resist acknowledging their problems. That’s dumb, so I tried to give the first inch to my dad. We’ll see if he takes a mile, or if my concession is as meaningful as I think it is.

On Loss

12 July 2006

Well, Slim died 2 weeks ago, so I guess I can swing a post-intense-grieving period post. It was interesting (not fun-interesting, just huh-interesting) to monitor my grief, since that doesn’t happen often, and since I didn’t really know how I’d respond. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know if I’d immediately feel ok since it was his time, or what.

The first day was awful. I was a wreck. I felt nauseated and could cry at any mention. It’s that time that I question why I’d want to go through something like that that’s inevitable if I keep having pets. Lots of cliches. I felt guilty for killing him and guilty for any minute my mind was on anything else. And I felt bad not to be able to explain things to Denali. Then Day 2 (Thursday) was somewhat better. Still an awful funk, but not as acute. Going into the office the first day was hard, seeing pix I have of him there, but I could basically function. Then Friday it had settled down into just a sadness to be missing him. I showed my morning class pictures of him and could keep it together, although I was mildly choked up. Still, it was nice to show them why I’d missed class. I really like my students.

Those of us in New Orleans have all lost a lot, and there are more losses on the horizon. Even those of us who’re fortunate not to have lost jobs or houses (there aren’t many of us) have close friends who have, or we’ve lost friends themselves. Joe & Karen moved to Austin the day after Slim died, making that time even more bleak. Editor B has lost (at least for now) his beautiful cat Lucy, which sucks. And we’ve all lost the (relatively) easy life.

Some of us have lost spouses–people are throwing the term “Katrina divorces” around–and I know E and I have had our struggles. We’ve all lost some money, some piece of mind, what little faith we had in the good ol’ US of A. We’ve lost some of our open-mindedness. Some friends are writing off anyone who leaves the city, but I kinda understand.

Still, it doesn’t help that we seem to have lost our mayor.

It’s just been tough, and many of us feel so uncertain about the future that we’re constantly unsettled. This puts us all in a perma-funk, despite the wonderful actions of people we know.

I’m grateful that we’re almost 6 weeks into hurricane season and–knock on wood–have not had much to worry about yet. It’s still not the heat of the season, but we’re grasping at any hopeful straws we can find.

For example, I’ve found Sudoku. Fun, that.

As If It Isn’t Embarrassing Enough To Be From Louisiana

19 June 2006

I happen to be one of the firmly pro-choice people who understands and sympathizes with the position of pro-lifers, and who believes that the two sides are closer to each other than they realize. Some true dialog could go a long way.

But this is a mistake for several reasons. One obvious one is that we need to make sure that people born are truly wanted (see my post on Kids). Especially in Louisiana, which has more than its share of poor people. Another reason is that no one who’s raped, especially by a relative, should be forced to carry the child. Furthermore, the whole anti-abortion lobby is dominated by men, and they just don’t have the equipment to determine all this crap. Sure, Blanco is a woman, but she’s forced to buckle to the interests of the regressives in this state.

A friend told me this weekend that he regrets not voting for Jindal; we’d have the same right-wing crap going on, but at least the guy is sharp.

Good point, MR.

And then there’s just the question of why the hell we’re worrying about this stuff now, when we’re in crisis mode after Katrina (see my post on Vitter’s marriage position). We have bigger fish to fry, especially since this law is moot as long as Roe stands (hurry up, 2008).

So it’s another reason that I don’t know that I could stay in the US if I have to leave NOLA. Sigh.