A telling excerpt:
“Unforunately, though, I’ve learned to redefine what constitutes an American tragedy. American tragedies occur where middle America frequents every day: airplanes, business offices, marathons. Where there persists a tangible fear that this could happen to any of us. And rightfully so. Deaths and mayhem anywhere are tragic. That should always be the case. The story here is where American tragedies don’t occur.
American tragedies don’t occur on the southside of Chicago or the New Orleans 9th Ward. They don’t occur where inner city high school kids shoot into school buses or someone shoots at a 10-year old’s birthday party in New Orleans. Or Gary, Indiana. Or Compton. Or Newport News. These are where the forgotten tragedies happen and the cities are left to persevere on their own.
So, once again, New Orleans will survive. And move on. Because, really, we’ve been here before.”
GOP Governor Bobby Jindal defends anti-evolution education policy, but it costs his state millions in science-based business
Is it OK to eat alligator on Fridays during Lent? That question isn’t just rhetorical in Louisiana, which has large populations of both Catholics and gators.
“Alligator’s such a natural for New Orleans,” says Jay Nix, owner of Parkway Bakery, which serves a mean alligator sausage po boy sandwich. “Alligator gumbo, jambalaya. I mean, it’s a wonder that alligator isn’t our mascot, you know?”
Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays during the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter, but seafood is allowed. Three years ago, when Jim Piculas was trying to settle a debate among his friends about whether gator qualified as seafood, he wrote a letter to the archbishop of New Orleans to ask.
His letter must have been pretty zealous, because not long after he wrote it, he got a response from Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond saying: “Yes, the alligator’s considered in the fish family, and I agree with you — God has created a magnificent creature that is important to the state of Louisiana, and it is considered seafood.”
Here’s what 8th graders in Louisiana know, for sure, about the 1960s rabble-rousers better known as hippies (emphasis mine):
“They went to Canada or European countries to escape being drafted into military service. They went without bathing, wore dirty, ragged, unconventional clothing, and deliberately broke all codes of politeness or manners. Rock music played an important part in the hippie movement and had great influence over the hippies. Many of the rock musicians they followed belonged to Eastern religious cults or practiced Satan worship.”
How do they know it? Because their history textbook — “America: Land I Love” — told them so! Dirty hippie-gate is just one of many reasons the quality of the Louisiana school system’s voucher program has been called into question.
Before I Die by Candy Chang
“It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget what really matters to you. When I lost someone I loved very much, I thought about death a lot. This helped clarify my life, the people I want to be with, and the things I want to do, but I struggled to maintain perspective. I wondered if other people felt the same way. So with help from old and new friends, I painted the side of an abandoned house in my neighborhood in New Orleans with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with a grid of the sentence “Before I die I want to _______.” Anyone walking by could pick up a piece of chalk, reflect on their lives, and share their personal aspirations in public space.
It was all an experiment and I didn’t know what to expect. By the next day the wall was entirely filled out and it kept growing: Before I die I want to… sing for millions, hold her one more time, eat a salad with an alien, see my daughter graduate, abandon all insecurities, plant a tree, straddle the International Date Line, get clean, live off the grid, build a school, be someone’s cavalry, be completely myself… People’s responses made me laugh out loud and tear up. They consoled during my own tough times. This neglected space became a constructive one for contemplation and reflection. It’s about remembering what matters most to you as you grow and change. It’s about getting to know the people around you in new and enlightening ways. It’s about creating public spaces that help us see we are not alone in our struggles towards leading personally meaningful lives.”
Read more about the project in here.
“We’ve got to stop being the stupid party,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, one of the GOP’s brightest young stars, said in a much-anticipated speech last week at the party’s winter meeting. “We’ve got to stop insulting the intelligence of voters. We need to trust the smarts of the American people.”
That’s all well and good. But Jindal also warned that the party should not “moderate, equivocate or otherwise change our principles” on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, “government growth” and “higher taxes.”
Hornets owner Tom Benson says changing his team’s nickname to the Pelicans will create a bond with the city that could lead to a championship. The Hornets announced Thursday they are going ahead with the name change. The NBA has to approve it, but Commissioner David Stern has said he wouldn’t object to any name Benson chose. The league is expected to expedite the change at the start of next season. The new color scheme is blue, gold and red, a departure from the Hornets’ teal, purple, gold and white.
[Bobby Jindal] has authorized elimination of [Louisiana’s] hospice program for Medicaid recipients. According to a local New Orleans news station, Louisiana residents over the age of 21 will stop receiving hospice benefits at the end of the month. As of February, low-income Louisianans with terminal illnesses and disabilities will lose access to long-term home and medical care.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals defends this as a cost-saving measure: Over the next two years, Louisiana will save $8.3 million by ending state-funded hospice care. But that’s a paltry sum compared to the state’s $900 million deficit. And in the same way that raising Medicare eligibility increases costs by moving seniors into more expensive private insurance plans, these cuts will, in the end, place a greater burden on the state, as low-income Louisianans turn to nearby hospitals and ICUs, shifting the burden to localities.
In isolation, it’s a disaster of a plan. When coupled with existing cuts to education and a large tax increase on the bottom 80 percent of Louisiana residents, it’s a catastrophe. Indeed, Jindal seems devoted to engineering a Louisiana that works little for its most vulnerable citizens, and does as much as possible to satisfy the wants of wealthy, entrenched interests.