Archive for October, 2008

I was all set to write up a post that showed no matter how “hard working” someone was, it still wouldn’t be enough in light of common wages. Then I realized I did it 20 months ago and it’s still mostly relevant now…

When Enough Isn’t Enough

The post shows (in arithmetic rather than liberal arts)* that no matter how “hard working” a person may be, than can very easily be rendered “poor” by the standards of common vernacular.

What I have noticed recently is that “hard working” is starting to mean the opposite of “poor” and this is false. Having spent a lot of time in the hospitality industry here in New Orleans, I saw many “hard working” folks who still couldn’t pay their bills via their wages. This was most noticeable in my short but memorable gig supervising housekeepers in the months following Katrina. There were a half-dozen people who worked at the hotel for 20+ years and were at the top of the raise scale. Doing the arithmetic, they would never keep up with the cost of living. So yes, they were poor, but dedicating yourself to a company and cleaning tourist rooms for twenty years (and twenty Mardi Gras) hardly resembles anything less than “hard working.”

Now, on the other hand, I have heard someone say that the phrase “hard-working” essentially means white folks and is a way of distinguishing races when other means aren’t available. I don’t buy that either. Thing is, anyone could be “hard working.” What people don’t understand is that the phrase is meant to differentiate class rather than race. It just so happens that a lot of poor people happen to be black but there are many, many white folks who are just as broke (just not so much in New Orleans). So to tie the phrase “hard working” to white folks vs. black folks is irresponsible. The larger issue that serves as the deeper meaning to all the race problems the nation faces is class. Race serves as an adequate public face for it. It’s easier to judge someone by the color of their skin rather than attempt a conversation to determine such factors as level of education, intelligence and, of course, yearly income.

Regardless, “hard working” vs “lazy” is a pitiful avatar no matter how you frame it up.

* The best part block quoted here (understand that the calculations were based on a Craigslist want ads that were running at the time ) …

So $12 an hour at 40 hours a week. That’s $1920 a month.

$1920
- $345 for taxes
——————–
$1575

- $800 for an 1 bedroom apartment in Riverbend (right down the street from the employer). You could also say $800 for a mortgage if this enterprising professional wanted to buy a home in the 100K – 125K range. (Mine is $1150)
——————–
$775

- $400 for a car payment and the insane insurance rates we are forced to pay in Orleans Parish.
——————–
$375

- $150 for heating and cooling give or take a hundred dollars in the fall and spring but putting it back in the summer and winter. I am low-balling here I know.
——————–
$225

- $60 for gas
——————–
$165

- $40 for Sewage and Water Board
——————–
$125

- $225 for food (Mine is $350)
——————–
- $100

Early voting for Nov. 4th election ends today

It figuratively finished up yesterday when I showed up as part of my “vote for change on my birthday” plan and the line was around the corner. The fella who just finished up said he waited for five hours. So early voting ended right there for this guy. I took a bath and played the guitar instead.

Anyway, here’s a crude map…

At Jackson Square on Saturday, there was a lot of talk about whether the weather was the “peak of perfection” – nothing as good before, nothing as good after. Certainly there were some days in the Spring that could have matched Saturday’s temperature and dryness but then, those vernal days preceded the mad summer. These autumnal moments forecast holidays, costuming and festivals. So there is a general consciousness that surrounds that latter that helps a lot.

Either way, photos are below. And yes, there is some very esoteric framing involved…

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Mitt’s here! Helping out (Kaz’ zhoo).
Former GOP hopeful Romney in New Orleans
WDAM

Video and article on the decay of the Port
Increased Decay Strains Budget-strapped New Orleans Port
PBS

Like there wasn’t enough going on that weekend.
World Cultural Economic Forum: A Louisiana Cultural Economy Initiative
WCEF

“Been workin’s so hard, I’m shootin’ a car”
Woman charged with shooting at daughter’s ex-boyfriend
WWL

Why is McCain so popular in Venezuela?
If The World Could Vote
Three Guys From Iceland

Q: What do John McCain, Bill Jefferson and Eddie Price have in common?

A: People will still support them no matter what.

To all the folks out there who are wondering how William Jefferson could have survived his run-off, to all who wonder how Eddie Price still has supporters in Mandeville, to all who will vote for John McCain this Nov. 4 and especially to all those who aren’t going to vote at all – You get what you vote for.

It might seem ridiculous to compare John McCain to William Jefferson. I’m not really doing that. As far as their characters go, I think McCain is a finer man (though Price probably isn’t). The comparison comes in their supporters, those who, for whatever reason, can’t see the light. Voting for John McCain after 8 years of conservatism control (6 of which were in a time where Republicans controlled the Executive and Legislative branches of government) and in the midst of this economic gloom we are enduring means the lines are so broad between liberal and conservative that many folks wont even vote for the other even in light of obvious malfeasance (read: the Bush Presidency). Simply putting another conservative in office isn’t going to fix it. Deregulation and lowering taxes isn’t going to fix it. All the ideas about trickle down economics have been shown to be humbug.

I shudder to think what may have happened if the $700 billion dollar bailout had occurred with a Democratic president. And they call Obama a Socialist? Wasn’t it George Bush who not only let mortgage brokers go crazy with the credit but also entered the U.S. Government into the banking business? And not in the way they were all along but actually part owner of the companies?

It should be obvious to everyone that the country is worse after 8 years of conservative leadership. None of the problems facing the United States at the begining of Bush’s term have been eased (or are anything close to resembling ease) in the meantime. Those who can’t see that are akin to supporters of William Jefferson. Except instead of supporting a candidate simply for the color of his skin, they are supporting them for their choice of party (and perhaps the color of their skin).

It should be blatant that the Republican party is so far away from their ideals that it will take some sort of conservative messiah to bring them back from the dead. They have never had such a figure. They just have always lacked the inspiration. Because being conservative isn’t about being inspired. And in the last 8 years it hasn’t been about uniting the country either. In the last eight years, it hasn’t been about even following the rules.

With the tactics employed by McCain / Palin recently, it doesn’t look like they will be hoping to unite the country either. If so, what’s with the divisive tactics employed recently?

Yes, if you vote for John McCain, don’t get all uppity when Dollar Bill gets reelected. Because those folks on the other side are doing the same thing you are. They voting for their man. And you’ll vote for yours. Meanwhile the rest of us will shoulder the burden of critical thought. I’m not a Democrat and Barack Obama wouldn’t be my first choice for President if I had my way but he will damn sure do for now.

In reference to this e-mail

Rep Labruzzo,

Hello!

Everyone I talked to at the bar was all for your plan. And, as it relates to spanning ethnic groups, I was getting a push-up from the ice cream man just this afternoon and he supported it. I asked him his income and he replied “about twenty or thirty dollars a day in the summer.” Then I asked him his race and he said, “some folks call me high yella.”

So you got that demographic too.

What I don’t understand is why that Jim Tucker stripped you of your position when he should be all for the plan. How could he let himself be influenced by the liberals? I mean, it’s not like you were going to force people to be castrated. They were making the decision on their own free will. And if they happened to need some rims for their car or were behind on their mortgage, the plan would be helping them out! And the money will just go back into the local economy plus taxes. Does he understand the full scope of the plan??

What’s interesting to me is that you haven’t reference the plan in your previous e-mails, rather you have taken on this cause for “addressing generational welfare.” Won’t supporters of your plan consider this a mistake? People support the surgery and that’s what you should give them. Don’t let the liberal media like the Times-Picayune and WIST keep you from pursuing the plan.

I asked the lady up the street what she thought of your effort to address generational welfare and she said something about facing the problem itself rather than the round-about catration plan you proposed. I told her, ” He IS facing the problem head on! Right in the vagina! Where we all came from!”

She had the nerve to ask about why a Representative would want to favor a surgical procedure when abortion is such a huge issue among conservatives. I told her she just doesn’t get it. It’s not abortion if the baby isn’t conceived! Sheesh. This plan will cut down on abortions correct?

Perhaps with your plan, you can get these generations of poor people off the government dime and then get rid of the government dime all together. Paying taxes only makes sense if the taxes go to controlling government programs.

Also, I am posting this letter and your response on my blog! www.thechicory.com

You “hard working” blogger,

Varg

In reference to this e-mail

From: LaBruzzo, Rep. (District Office)
To: Undisclosed recipients:
Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 3:27 PM

First I want to say thank you so much for your overwhelming show of support. I have received hundreds of emails and calls from others like yourself of all sexes, races and economic groups, explaining how they work hard to make ends meet and don’t appreciate feeling ignored by those in the legislature that are supposed to be looking out for them.

After taking heat from the liberal media for even thinking of the idea, I was removed from my vice-chairman position by House Speaker Jim Tucker. I believe this sends the wrong message that if anyone dare bring up ways to reform the welfare system they will be severely and harshly dealt with. If you agree that the issue of generational welfare needs to be addressed in some way to end waste and abuse and create a new comprehensive plan to help welfare recipients start a new life that does not include generations living a lifetime on welfare, please contact your friends and family and invite them to email me at ********@gmail.com.

I plan on introducing comprehensive legislation to deal with generational welfare in Louisiana. But I will not be able to pass any such legislation without the help of you, the people.
The liberal media, along with many of the same legislators that pressured Speaker Tucker to remove me from my Vice Chairmanship, are sure to oppose any bill I introduce dealing with this matter. I am also concerned that some legislators that may be otherwise inclined to support welfare reform legislation may be reluctant to do so after the treatment I received (which is just what the media and others intended).

I do not intend to back down and let them win. My goal is to gather over 10,000 email addresses throughout Louisiana of individuals who want to help me change the practice of rewarding bad behavior and irresponsibility, and give back the taxes to the hard working people of our state.

Again, I can’t do this alone. Please find at least 10 people (more if you can) who agree that something needs to be done about this issue and invite them to send me their email address at supportlabruzzo@gmail.com, and when the time comes, we will send a strong message to Baton Rouge that the Taxpayers of Louisiana are taking back their government.

If you have any questions, please call me at (504) ***-****.

God bless.

John F. LaBruzzo
State Representative
District 81

Why must the GOP always pick the shittiest side of an issue? Like how they turn global warming into a political debate? Consider this: If they were right it would make the liberals look like environmental alarmists. If they are wrong? Then they look like they aided and abetted the destruction of civilization. See how the payoff isn’t the same? The risk is incalculable. You never want to be on the side of possibly allowing for the destruction of humanity. Just don’t go near it with a ten-foot pole guys.

Then, with Katrina, they turned it into a political thing. With conservatives (the wingnuts anyway) advocating the abandonment of New Orleans. So on that side of the issue they come out looking like folks who would advocate the exodus of a culture and the destruction of a city rather than meeting the challenge of protecting it. Imagine how moving and dramatic all those “Fall of America” stories would be with a decaying, abandoned New Orleans as their back drop.

And now their mantra is “drill, drill, drill.” Rather than meeting the energy challenges with renewable, clean energies or perhaps even modifying our lifestyles (hey, I’ve spent $30 in gas the last six weeks) to meet the challenge, their answer is, to quote Joe Biden, “more of the same.” Meaning, to keep drilling for oil until the faucet runs dry.

There is a reason why Americans don’t want drilling off their coasts. It’s a dirty, nasty, ugly business that will take place within a few hundred miles of United States coastlines. The GOP would like to see platforms all over all three coasts along with the mess that comes with them.

Consider this map of Gulf oil platforms. What a coincidence that the area right around those rigs is also rapidly losing land mass. Saying nothing of the relatively minor oil spill in the river a few months back that disrupted our lives for a few weeks.

What kind of a position is it to take where one of the outcomes could be turning Chesapeake Bay into Prince William Sound?

Lawd, lawd, check the 47-second mark for the block of the season!

In reference to this e-mail

From: LaBruzzo, Rep. (District Office)
To: The Chicory
Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2008 4:13 PM
Subject: RE: Tube tying program

The AP has reported that Rep. John LaBruzzo of Metairie was stripped of his Leadership Position on the Health and Welfare Committee for the recently leaked idea of offering a financial incentive to welfare recipients that voluntarily choose to get a tubal ligation or vasectomy (which the state already pays for). After taking heat from the liberal media for even thinking of the idea, House Speaker Jim Tucker removed Rep. LaBruzzo from his vice-chairman position.

This sends the message that if anyone dare bring up ways to reform the welfare system they will be severely and harshly dealt with. It appears the Republican Party leaders do not have the backbone to stand up to the liberal media and the ACLU. If you agree that the issue of generational welfare needs to be addressed in some way to end waste and abuse and create a plan to help welfare recipients start a new life that does not include generations living a lifetime on welfare, please contact your local representative and senator. Also feel free to voice your concerns to House Speaker Jim Tucker [(225) 342-7263) larep068@legis.state.la.us ]that demoting someone that has the guts to address this topic is the wrong message for a state that desperately needs to end years of waste in government. Please forward this to your friends and family to send a message to our state leaders that the hard-working tax payers deserves a voice in the capitol!