The origin of the word “swag” is appropriate since we are now in Mardi Gras season. Swag, as a bag to haul stuff around in, has been used for half a century in one form or another.  The version we use today – the free crap you get from car dealers, trade shows, and Mardi Gras floats – first appeared around the 1920s. During that time, it referred specifically to the sort of crap folks got from fairground showmen. From a bag to haul your crap in, to the crap you haul in your bag, either way swag has got it. I hope my husbandRead More →

ColorOfChange.org is sponsoring a successful boycott of Fox New’s Glenn Beck. I read AOL’s “Politics Daily” blog on occasion. The audience is heavily conservative, so the comments are vitriolic, vituperative, and vigorous (I needed another v-word for balance). They make me point-laugh. Yesterday, Carl Cannon wrote some stupid BS about the boycott, claiming that it’s censorship and not good citizenship. Well, after reading pages of comments, I got totally frustrated and I actually posted a comment. I suppose it’s just a means of blowing off steam. It’s buried 5,000 comments in, so I doubt a soul will read it. But it was fun and itRead More →

Recently I’ve been working a lot with the YWCA Dialogue on Race again. The dialogue process is invaluable, important, necessary, and problematic. On Intersectionality First off, the conversations about race with sympathetic people of all races in Louisiana are generally flat because they don’t broach essentialism, intersectionality, or identity politics. While racism in Louisiana feels much more entrenched and deep-seated than in some other places, the general understanding of racism here lacks recognition of crosscurrents and interactions. Of course, some might say, “what is there to understand?…racism is racism. The people who are suffering under the burden of racism already understand. They’re oppressed. They liveRead More →

At Jena High School, students of different races customarily seldom sat together. Black students traditionally sat on bleachers near the auditorium, while white students sat under a large shade tree, referred to as the “white tree,” in the center of the school courtyard.During a school assembly on August 31, 2006, a black male freshman student asked permission from the principal to sit in the shade of the “white tree.” The principal told the students they could “sit wherever they wanted.” The following morning, three nooses were discovered hanging from the tree. What follows below is a chronology of racial violence in Jena over the pastRead More →

I finally finished reading Breach of Faith (by Jed Horne) for the One Book, One Community dialogues that are going on. The man is an amazing writer. His ability to evoke images is impressive. One of the librarians here said in regard to the BRCC book club discussion of the book that most people found the first part of the book compelling, but they didn’t like the second part. The second part is where Horne gets political. Not in a ranting sort of way, but in a narrative style that shows how Kathleen Blanco was set up by the Bush administration again and again. Horne’sRead More →

In honor of the day — The difference between a yam and sweet potato can be found here: http://www.sallys-place.com/food/columns/ferray_fiszer/yams.htm Yams and sweet potatoes are two different plants from two different parts of the world but most of the yams we get here in the grocery store are really sweet potatoes. I wonder how we would be able to tell the difference. Sweet potatoes are a “Southern Thing” and a big deal in Louisiana. It’s nice that the article mentions this fact.Read More →

You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals, as Jack Cafferty just pointed out, so tragically, so many of these people, almost all of them that we see, are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold. –Wolf Blitzer, CNN What specifically was Wolf Blitzer reporting on when he made this comment? I wish I had seen it so that I could see the context of the quote. The quote, however, is being splashed all over the web. Slate has an interesting take on this quoteRead More →

But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us “Sin City,” and turned your backs.

Anne Rice, NY Times

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From the New York Times: Faced with one of the worst political crises of his administration, President Bush abruptly overhauled his September schedule on Saturday as the White House scrambled to gain control of a situation that Republicans said threatened to undermine Mr. Bush’s second-term agenda and the party’s long-term ambitions. We can only hope. And: The silence of many prominent Democrats reflects their conclusion that the president is on treacherous political ground and that attacking him would permit the White House to dismiss the criticism as partisan politics-as-usual, a senior Democratic aide said. I hadn’t thought of this. I’m glad that there is criticismRead More →

From the Diane Sawyer interview: “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will.” That’s bullshit. Every model had the levees breaching.Read More →