Disenfranchised Citizen

Chicago, New Orleans and living a beautiful, angry life between the two…

Archive for October 2011

Saints vs. St. Louis, Lou Brock, Mark McGwire and family…

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You sons of bitches...

So, this week the New Orleans Saints go into St. Louis to play the “Rams.” Ha…sorry, still can’t get over the whole St. Louis Cardinals football team winding up in Arizona, and Los Angeles Rams winding up in St. Louis thing…it would seem to me, why not just have Arizona become the Rams and the Rams become the Cardinals so balance can again be restored to this horrible, wonderful world…

Okay, but that’s not really my point, so, sorry.

Oh, and the point is also not to tear down the Cardinals winning the World Series.

I don’t really care who wins the World Series anymore…and the reason why, okay, that is a larger part of the overall point…

You see, back when I was a wee lad, my family and I used to go on vacation every summer. Everyone loads into the fire engine red Chevy Vega and off we go, hitting the interstate to whatever relative we were going to spend a week with this year…we hit Tampa, we hit Hershey, Kansas City and oh yeah, we hit St. Louis. Went to Six Flags, went to the Arch, saw the Mississippi River and yes, we went to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game at Busch Stadium, and it wasn’t just any game. This was late summer in August of 1977. Back then, I was a huge baseball fan, played in Little League, collected baseball cards and paid attention to all the milestones so I was well aware that  Lou Brock of the St. Louis Cardinals was closing in on Ty Cobb’s once considered untouchable career stolen bases record. As we got closer to the game I knew we’d be attending, I began paying attention to how many stolen bases Brock still needed, how many left he still had to go. I wondered, would we be at the game when he did it? Could the stars possibly line up in this way?

Um, no.

He broke the record the night after my family was at the game.

Disappointed!

You know, but I got over it. No worries…it took some time, but I moved on and right about the time I’d moved past all that, five years later, that same goddamned Cardinals team beat my hometown baseball team in the 1982 World Series.

Disappointed again!

But, okay…okay, I got over that too…the Cardinals, I stopped hoping for plane crashes, I stopped wishing death upon the entire team…no worries, moving on…and then let’s flash forward 15 years. This would be the year of the whole Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire home run chase. I was excited and interested. Even though I was no longer the biggest baseball fan (NHL…Hockey baby! Violence! Speed! Precsision! Blood! In love!) but I paid attention to the narratives and I was enjoying the competition. For my birthday that year, my parents asked me what I would like to do and I said, in lieu of any sort of gifts, let’s go see the Cardinals play, see if McGwire hits a home run. So we go to a game and every time he comes up to bat, the flash bulbs would start popping, everywhere across the sold out stadium. It was fascinating, thrilling and in McGwire’s 3rd at bat, he did it.

I got to see Mark McGwire hit a home run the season he hit 70 and first broke Roger Maris’s record.

Yep, sure did.

What do you mean, steroids?

Curse you Cardinals!!!!!!!

And that brings us to this weeks Saints game. I know the Saints are playing the “Rams,” but as I mentioned before, they are still the damned Cardinals to me and though it may be a different sport, it’s the same name and the same town and the Saints need to win for the city of New Orleans and just as important to me, they need to win to avenge my disappointment, my disillusionment and the tarnishing  of various family memories that damned city is responsible for ruining.

Who dat!

Go Saints!

Enjoy the game and have a nice day…

An open letter to the President, and both the Democratic and Republican Parties…

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Hell, even GW Bush is impressed with how far to the right you managed to push budget negotiations… you know, to help the people you uh, you promised to help?

Hello…

So, I might as well address this to the highest ranking of you, though I’m not so sure that’s something to be proud of these days…in fact, from where I sit it’s something to be rather ashamed of but nonetheless, this goes out to Obama, Pelosi, Boehner, Cantor, Reid, Geithner, Bernanke, McConnell…

Yeah, all of you public servants(?)

Okay, something is happening in this country that none of you really seem to understand…I mean, have you looked around yourselves lately? In the cities? Have you read the polls? Have you bothered for a moment to look past your office walls, your meeting rooms and political staffers and handlers and their gratuitous nods of the head?

I don’t think you have…

You see, I and a lot of other Americans read the news and I don’t know about you politicians, but what I’m reading lately simply doesn’t make sense.

Poll after poll shows that Americans want taxes raised on the wealthy and the safety net? They want it left alone. It’s almost universal, bipartisan…consider these headlines of late: 68% of Millionaires support raising taxes on millionaires and Poll: Tax the rich, corporations and Vast Majority Of Americans Favor Buffett Rule’s Millionaire Tax: Poll Also consider these: Washington Post/Bloomberg poll: Even GOP majorities say tax rich, protect Social Security, Medicare and New Poll shows Republicans have it all wrong with Social Security and Attacks on Social Security called “un-American” and Faith groups target ‘Super Committee’ on poverty

That all seems a pretty clear message.

Yet, then I read this bullshit: Boehner Dismisses Democratic Super Committee Proposal As Unserious

Now, I happen to agree with Boehner about this, but me and the majority of Americans? Our reasons are quite different from Boehner and the GOP’s reasons for disagreeing with the proposal. Boehner says the Dem proposal is unserious because it raises taxes on the wealthy whereas I disagree with the Democratic’s proposal because it proposes billions in dollars in cuts to Medicare, even more extensive cuts than the Catfood Commission’s proposal. The cuts however, Boehner is almost fine with except he wants them to go deeper than the Democrats have proposed…

Okay, so…in light of all this, what the hell is wrong with you politicians?

You’re not listening…or maybe you are. Maybe you are listening quite intently, you’re just not listening to the majority of Americans, instead keeping your focused ear intently on your campaign donors, the financial institutions, big money lobbyists…essentially anyone but the American people.

Seems fairly evident, but I suspect you all might disagree with this assessment. Yeah, two words to that…fuck you. I’m not stupid, please stop treating me as such.

So then, if you are there in DC to do the work of the people, why is it you choose to ignore the people completely? This is why you have a 9% approval rating, Congress. Oh, and Boehner, Cantor, McConnell and the rest of you GOP hacks, what the American public really wants are jobs. Jobs!!!! And jobs aren’t created by lower taxes on the wealthy. Stop your bullshit, they aren’t. Jobs are created by demand. Demand is created by people with money to spend, keeping the social safety net and unemployment benefits puts money in people’s pockets, which they then spend which creates demand, which creates jobs. Know what else creates jobs? Spending on infrastructure, which again puts money in people’s pockets…and so on and so forth. Austerity makes everybody broke, nobody spends, no demand…it ain’t that hard to figure out…are you all just fucking stupid? Now, I know you have said that you’re spending cuts thus far enacted have created jobs, but they haven’t. In fact, they have done the opposite: REPORT: House GOP’s ‘Job Creating’ Spending Cuts Destroyed 370,000 Jobs.

Oh, and Barack and Nancy? Let’s not get all full of righteous indignation on this one. Last week, the GOP decided to put you guys in the corner by agreeing to one part of your jobs agenda, while linking it with a budget cut item: House GOP Lays Trap For Obama On Jobs Plan. Yeah, the GOP agreed to end a three percent withholding tax on private contractors intended to keep corporations from cheating the government on taxes, and in return the GOP proposed to pay for this by limiting Medicaid eligibility for people who also receive social security benefits.

Wasn’t that nice of them?

Private contractors get the a-ok to cheat on their taxes, paid for by kicking grandma and the disabled off their health insurance.

Well, it would seem this GOP proposal was tailor-made for the Democrats to stand up, just say no, go to bat for those less fortunate and tell the GOP to blow while explaining to the American people what the GOP was trying to get away with…except the Democrats didn’t do this. Nope. Instead, they agreed.

More money for the wealthy, more costs for the poor.

I seem to be picking up on a pattern here…Barack, Nancy, Harry…who are you standing up for?

You agree to Medicare cuts on the poor and kicking some people off Medicaid, which runs counter to what the American people have said they wanted. And you…Eric, John, and Mitch…you are giving more and more money to the wealthy, at the expense of the poor, which again, is the opposite of what the American people have said they want to see happen…

Yes, a pattern.

And then you wonder why thousands of people are hitting the streets nationwide, fueling the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Oh wait, I forget, many of you have said you understand the people’s frustrations. Yeah, great…well I understand that you’re all a bunch of self-righteous assholes, but that don’t turn you into good people, now does it? Nope. And none of you are doing much about that frustration you claim to understand either, except presenting proposals that either do nothing to address income inequality, or will only serve to make it worse.

In these occupy demonstrations, in all of these different cities, stand Americans of every race, age, class and creed. And you know what else they are? They are the disenfranchised of this country. Do you think these people would be suffering the elements, the police brutality if they really felt that voting for one of you frauds would change anything? Doubtful. These protests, these people are the fruit of your labors, those who believe the system to be broken, or if it is working, it sure ain’t working for them…and not for me either. I’ve attended a few of these rallies in different cities and you know what I see? I see middle-aged couples, the elderly, the young, white, black, hispanic…and all these different members of society, they are uniting against you, against your bullshit ways, your bankrupting ways…your Republican power-grabs and your Democrat craven cavings to the financial industry and the banks…

And speaking of banks…

Hey Bernanke and Geithner, do you honestly think we haven’t been paying attention to what you’re currently letting Bank of America get away with?  And Barack, these assholes were appointed by you…so you’re on the hook as well. Right now, your crew, with GOP assent, is seeing fit to allow Bank of America to set up American tax-payers for another huge debt, all so this bank doesn’t have to pay for their own investment mistakes, again. Yes, Bank of America has moved 75 trillion dollars in potentially bad derivatives from its holding company, into Bank of America proper…want to know why?

Because unlike its holding company, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America is FDIC insured, so if these 75 trillion dollars in bad derivatives fail, the government (FDIC) will have to pay out, which of course means, the taxpayers have to pay out, bail out Bank of America for more bad investment decisions. Bernanke, Geithner and Obama are allowing this to happen. They are allowing this to happen to you… once again taking the money from the middle class and potentially giving it to the wealthy to compensate for their poor choices.

So back to that pattern:

The Democratic leadership, in the form of Pelosi, Reid and Obama have shown they are quite willing to cut the social safety net, to cut benefits to the poor and disabled, to the elderly so long as the Republicans are willing to allow some marginal taxes on the rich. The Republican leadership in the form of Cantor, Boehner and McConnell are of course unwilling to do this, no how, no way, and in return for their refusal, they want even deeper cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security than the Democrats are willing to offer. Meanwhile, the Fed is letting Bank of America off the hook for bad investments again, with American tax-payers potentially footing this bill if the derivatives go bad…again moving money from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.

Yes, a pattern.

These politicians, elected by the American people only agree on one thing, doing whatever it is the American public doesn’t want you to do while at the same time, doing very little about job creation.

Yet all of you feel you should be reelected.

Why is that?

Since the occupation protests have begun, thousands of protestors have been arrested across this country…but of the people working in the financial institutions who caused the recession that led to millions of lost jobs, of bankrupted pensions, savings, cities and states?

Nobody arrested. None. Zero.

Again, why is that?

Are you simply admitting in cold hard arrest statistics that the rule of law is dead, provided you are wealthy enough to have received a Bush tax cut, extended further by Obama? Is that the established line in the sand? If you qualify to receive a tax break due to wealth, the law no longer applies to you?

I’m thinking that rather than being reelected, what should really happen here is Obama, Reid, Pelosi and Bernanke, Cantor, Boehner, McConnell and Geithner, all of you need to wind up in a cell right next to the heads of the major banking institutions in this country. You all, who have taken it upon yourselves to damn your children’s futures for your own selfish gain.

Pathetic, all of you.

Off to jail, lock them in the Bastille…why not? What do we really have to lose anymore?  This way, the rest of us can try this again, we can have our country back, see if we can do better and I’m betting we can. After all, you pathetic politicians have lowered the bar so far…be pretty damned impossible to do worse.

Or better yet, get involved with the Occupy Protests in your city, what else you gonna do? Sit bitching on the sidelines? Vote? Yeah, good luck with that…the people currently in power, and the politicians too would like nothing better than for you to just stay home and vote at the appropriate time for one of the politicians they’ve hand-selected to serve (them) you…

Think about it.

And have a nice day, even the aforementioned politicians…right before you trip down your front steps and chip your tooth on the sidewalks our taxes paid for…and if you bloodied your nose, that’d be cool too. Okay…I’m sorry about that last part, not that I didn’t mean it…I’m just sorry about being petty sometimes, trying to work on that…kind-of.

Oh, and P.S. – To the mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan…resign, and take the members of the Oakland Police Department who caused the violence with you…you’re all one collective disgrace…and to San Francisco (interim) mayor, Ed Lee and Police Chief Greg Suhr, stop with the games already…you really want another Oakland on your hands? Seriously…let it go.

Saints vs. Indianapolis, Curtis Painter, Sobriety and Zzzzzz….

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I'm thinking the Saints got this one...

Sometimes, I think I like the drink a little too much.

‘Tis true…back in my early to mid-twenties, there was no question about it and during the time I actually lived in New Orleans, again…no doubt. I liked a pitcher or two, perhaps a bit more than I should have but hell, in New Orleans I was taking a break from my social work career and tending bar in the French Quarter for fun and a change of pace so, no worries…the drinks were flowing and good times were had by all, and I can’t say it ever cost me anything. No failed relationships, lost jobs, drunk driving arrests…nothing. I tend to be more of the fun-loving, grease the wheels, laugh a little harder and a little longer, all good kind of buzzed.

Nonetheless, there have been times in my life when I felt the need to take a break from it all, like when I’m trying to focus especially hard on what I need to accomplish and that meant no distractions so, ya cut out the bad food, the booze, the cigarettes, television for the most part…etc.

Distractions, you know? Get rid of them until the task is done.

And until the game tonight this had been one of those times…but come on, Saints versus Indianapolis?

This game is the perfect storm.

Not only do I not have tonight off, which means I am free to relax and watch the game at my leisure, but I don’t have to work tomorrow either. Yep, got Monday off and on Tuesday, I only have to work like two hours, mid-afternoon.

Oh, but more important than all that?

Curtis Painter.

Yes…the Curtis Painter. That gridiron legend, the ironman quarterback threatening Brett Favre’s consecutive games played record…Indianapolis Colts Superstar, Curtis Painter. One of the highest paid, most talented quarterbacks in the game…Curtis Painter, and he is set to make this the game!

Oh yeah, we all know how Indianapolis is an aging team, they don’t quite have the running game or the receivers they once had; their defense is getting old and hitting opposing quarterbacks with canes and walkers, but so long as the Colts have Curtis Painter, so long as he calls the signals, executes his pin-point passing and hands off the ball like there is no tomorrow, the Colts, well, even with all their other deficiencies, they always have a Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

What?

Oh, halftime’s over? Cool, hand me a beers, few of them okay?

Thanks for waking me up…

Go Saints, enjoy the game all!

Written by Drake Toulouse

October 23, 2011 at 5:00 AM

So the GOP response to economic inequality is…

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In his High School yearbook, Eric Cantor was voted most likely to soil his Armani underwear.

…running away?

…especially when they can’t control who will be in the audience?

…especially when many in that audience think Eric Cantor and the GOP response form a large part of the overall problem, championing many policies that cause much of the afore-mentioned economic inequality?

Okay then, glad we got that settled.

Eric Cantor and the GOP’s official response to issues raised by the Occupy Protests is as follows: gulp loudly, then don’t show up out of fear you won’t be able to control the crowd or the questions, with all of it on camera. Well played guys, and thanks for the update Eric…you complete and utter coward.

From the article in Firedoglake:

“Eric Cantor, staunch protector of the 1 percent and champion for that portion of the 99 percent duped into protecting the 1 Percent, but ever fearful of the mob, startled a disbelieving Beltway a few days ago by announcing that income and wealth inequality were real problems and that the GOP should do something about that.

In a moral universe, that epiphany should have been followed by lightning striking the man, as on the road to Damascus, but that didn’t happen.

Cantor promised to address those issues in a speech he planned to give today at the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School. What would an unrepentant representative of the 1 Percent possibly have to say? Would he explain why the Senate members of his party unanimously opposed taxing the rich at one half of one percent on annual income over a million dollars so we could have 400,000 more teachers and thousands more first responders?

Well, we may never know. It seems Mr. Cantor has bugged out, after learning from his hosts that his speech might become the occasion for a mic check.

To continue reading about the credibility issues of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va), please…just click below:

Eric Cantor Skips Wharton Inequality Speech Out of Mic Check Fear

Have a good day, a better day than the House GOP leadership when they meet tomorrow in Boehner’s office, to discuss how this fiasco played out for their side, across all forms of media…

Oops…

And round and round we go…NOPD windfalls…

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"Oh I'm sorry, you thought I was listening?"

Ahem…for reasons of disclosure, let me start out by saying I am a social worker…I am a social worker but I am also not stupid. I’ve worked in some social programs in my day that were, shall we just say, not cost-effective. However, let me also say that those days were a long time ago. Things have changed in my field and now pretty much everything is cost-effective.

That’s what happens when there is no money.

Many Americans, over the past year or so, have been introduced to the term austerity, but in social services austerity has been the order of the day for close to two decades so this is why, when I read in the Lens about Mitch Landrieu’s budget for the city of New Orleans, it makes me want to steal a NOPD squad car and drive it straight through the front doors of City Hall to, you know, creatively air my grievances in a way the mayor might finally pay attention to, because apparently all them listening sessions he did? They didn’t amount to dick as he just wrote a budget doing the opposite of what the people, the citizens of New Orleans, suggested.

We heard folks at the budget meetings say spend less on public safety, but at the moment, we think it (spending more) is the right thing to do,” Landrieu said Monday in an overview presentation of his $495 million proposed 2012 budget to reporters.

Well, listening ain’t hearing, is it Mitch?

So though it will probably fall on deaf ears, let me try to explain a little something anyway, a little something about crime:

If you have a crime problem, and your solution to this crime problem is to cut the funding from every part of the budget that addresses social inequity, be it social services, education or whatever else…you will still have a crime problem. In fact, it will be worse, and if you then take all that money you cut and give it to the most bloated budget of every city in this country, to the police…well, then you will not only still have a crime problem, then you get a lost generation and a prison problem.

Why then a crime, lost generation and a prison problem?

Simple, if your only solution is to lock people up, you’re going to lock a lot of people up which then in effect, is throwing a lot of people away. In addition, social work ain’t the only place to become far too familiar with austerity, these same measures have long since ensured that in prison, there is no such thing as rehabilitation anymore. Instead of a trade or even a college education, all you get now is a criminal education and then people get out of the prison. They come back to your city where, because your mayor keeps giving all the money to the cops, there continues to be little or no support.

And then you still have a crime problem.

But hey, new cops in new uniforms sure do look good on the evening news and it’s something tangible a mayor can point to, puff out his chest and say, “Look at me, I’m doing something about the problem!”

Yeah, okay…but what the hell are you doing but perpetuating it? If I were to buy a shotgun and start driving around New Orleans and shooting homeless people, one might be able to argue that I am doing something about the homeless problem, but that don’t necessarily make it the right thing to do, and besides, then I might wind up in your cyclical non-solution to all things criminal in New Orleans.

Frankly, the simplest solution one can find to a complex problem ain’t necessarily the best way to go about it.

Call me crazy, but I’m thinking it’d be best to measure a city’s success in dealing with a crime issue, not by the number of arrests and convictions, nor by the length of prison sentences. I think a far better measure would be how many you were able to keep from committing the crime in the first place, by presenting them with opportunity to do something else, you know, give as many people as possible a realistic opportunity to display “personal responsibility.”

But yeah, I know…it’s a fuck of a lot harder to take a picture of that, to put crime prevention on the front page of the Times Picayune or to somehow fashion that into a bumper sticker to slap on the back of your car…

You know, before it gets stolen.

So congratulations Mitch, you’re now just like every other damned politician, offering a simple and ineffective solution to a difficult and complex problem…but hey…gotta fill Gusman’s bullshit jails somehow, eh buddy?

Read the article:

Despite community input, Landrieu increases NOPD spending, cuts most other areas

Have a nice day.

Written by Drake Toulouse

October 18, 2011 at 7:29 AM

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