Disenfranchised Citizen

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

Archive for the ‘Apocalypse’ Category

It’s a love/hate thing…now featuring GoatWhore!

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“Oh hell to the no…”

I woke up this morning in San Francisco, stumbled to the coffeemaker and then to my desk…and after turning on the computer, I put on the latest release by GoatWhore, one of New Orleans finest metal bands and leaned back in my chair. Coffee was good, not chicory good, but certainly Peet’s good. I heard shouting from the street, then police sirens and I turned the music up. I hear shouting on the street and police sirens every day, so much so that a lot of the time, they don’t really register and usually, that’s okay…

Today, I love San Francisco and am alright with not living in New Orleans. But yesterday, I was really annoyed with San Francisco and wished I could be in New Orleans.

This is the spectrum I drift across.

Oh, and the GoatWhore CD is called “Blood for the Master,” and it is crazy fucking good and imagine my surprise to hear GoatWhore mentioned in a recent episode of Treme…figures it would be the journalist from the Bay Area who wanted to see their show. But back to my point, what was my point?

Indecisiveness, that and 2001. And Albuquerque, yes, that’s my point…Albuquerque sucks.

But first, 2001 was a pretty big year in my life. I decided to leave Seattle and travel the country, writing. I wound up in Portland, Las Vegas, New York, the Black Hills, Los Angeles, but most important, this is the year I visited both San Francisco and New Orleans for the first time…and now in 2012, I’ve spent time living in both places.

The span I lived in New Orleans was pre-Katrina so rents were cheap. I worked 26 hours a week tending bar and this was enough to pay all my bills and go out, often. I didn’t really leave the Quarter much, where I lived and worked and I had a good time. Met a lot of good people and some not-so-good, but that’s to be expected. I was a bartender and the people who make up the service industry, at least back then were all drama, all the time. Kind of like living in a soap opera of who’s sleeping with who, who’s getting fired from where and who got beat up last night. I remember getting tipped with Saints tickets, with LSD, all kinds of fun stuff. Good times really, I enjoyed it. Funny to me that I had to move away to begin exploring the city more, leaving the Quarter’s comfy confines and heading Uptown, Mid-City or to the Bywater, the Marigny…wherever. But what I remember most about my time living in New Orleans, besides the amazing food and plentiful booze was that I was glad to leave…not because of any real dislike of the city, it was simply because I missed social work. I was unable to find a social work gig while I was in town and bartending, though definitely fun, was feeling overall pretty meaningless to me. I wanted to get back to work helping people and so I left for the Midwest, with plans to stay for a year and build up a nest egg before relocating again to San Francisco, a place where I may not have liked the culture as much as New Orleans, but it had the social work gigs.

And that’s what I did.

Did I mention GoatWhore’s new release?

Really good…and they’re playing One Eyed Jacks on November 19th. Do yourself a favor…go, and make me jealous for going. I won’t hate you…

Much.

Anyways…

So I moved out to San Francisco and stayed for about five years. It doesn’t have the culture of New Orleans and which culture is better would purely be a matter of taste, but I find mine more suited to New Orleans ease and friendliness and whatnot. Out here, people are less friendly, more isolated and really don’t appear to be having all that much fun. One of the bigger myths you might encounter is this idea of a progressive, liberal San Francisco and sure, there is an element of that, but it is not predominant. This city is about money. Greed. All the artistic freedoms so championed hides a big lie, being that the city is so expensive to live in the people who do live here as musicians or artists or writers really have two choices: live in a studio with two to three roommates or live in Oakland. Everywhere you look…every retail position, server, all the people who make this city run, they don’t live in this city. They commute in to serve the hipster-techies, the financial types and the oh so professional class. Even myself, with a good job…only way I can afford to live here is to reside in a small studio in one of the worst parts of town (worse being relative..I actually like it). But, the work I love to do is here. I have a job where when I get home at night, I feel satisfied and fulfilled for the most part and I have the time and a few dollars to do partake in that which I do enjoy. In a way, San Francisco is kind of like how New Orleans has become for a lot of people, post Katrina. The rents are so high, people can’t afford it. Property companies in San Francisco are buying up as many of the buildings as they can in my neighborhood, sometimes even sitting on empty apartments while they watch the rental market rate climb, then they hold open houses and charge each person thirty dollars to run credit checks, and a week later they’ll do it again, and again. On average, 20-30 people apply for each of these apartments, each time there’s a viewing. Do the math…

Yes, love/hate it is…the arts out here are something to experience…the art museums, all the concerts within walking distance, the scenery of the Bay and the Pacific Ocean, all the hills with their huge, majestic views of downtown or North Beach. Man, it’s really beautiful, especially if you ignore the police brutality in my neighborhood, all the tax breaks given to all the tech start-ups while the city cuts funding to social programs. That, and the drinks’ll cost you ten bucks, plus if you go to a bar with “Mixologists,” you’ll get some goofy drink with bacon in it for twenty dollars while everyone in the joint, mixologists and clientele alike take themselves really, really seriously.

Really seriously.

So yeah…it’s a love/hate kind of thing.

Just ask the guy who lives on the sidewalk in front of my building.

When I come home at night, he’s sleeping on cardboard. When I leave for work in the morning, he smiles and wishes me a good day and I like him, he’s one of the friendliest people in the City, but he’s got no home and I get it. The home he could have is an SRO room filled with crack, bedbugs, roaches, and other assorted predators. This is usually the housing solution for too many low-income people here and I get that it is the same most other places, but when your city lives on a bullshit myth of being “so progressive,” it does make the reality that much more glaring.

The spectrum:

I love New Orleans culture, the music, the history, the food…I can picture myself sitting down to a steak at Adolfo’s right now, or maybe lunch at Mandina’s, but there’s few social work jobs in town paying a liveable wage, plus I would more than likely need a car…and I hate cars. Cars suck worse than the San Francisco Police Department, or the NOPD for that matter. Meanwhile…I love San Francisco work, but the culture of this place is so much status, cliques and competition: two worlds of strikingly disparate haves and have nots. Ever see the Hunger Games? Think of all the regular people and the artists being bussed into Capitol City in the Hunger games. Hell, there’s a blog round here which pretty much exists to attack the unfortunate and a particular Chronicle columnist who seems to feel the best way to improve Capitol City would be a Wal-Mart in every neighborhood, built on the ashes of any non-profit and publicly naked person because you know, that’s just common sense.

Really, what an asshole.

Maybe there is a happy medium somewhere, but when I look at a map, that happy medium puts me in New Mexico, somewhere around Albuquerque and I’ve seen Breaking Bad…Albuquerque doesn’t look like fun: blue meth, bleak deserts and the plot lines get real complicated. So yeah, much ongoing in the thought process. Hell, there’s worse things to wonder about. I got a place to sleep, enough to eat and a job I enjoy. I just think a lot, probably too much at times…and I do plan to be up online more often from here on out, get back to the BP Spill…what? That’s still an issue? And more about San Francisco and New Orleans…two best cities in the country, problems or not…and GoatWhore. Much more to come about GoatWhore, spectrums, and the Saints, who won this morning.

Did you know Saints games start here at 10am?

Been a long time since I had a beer in my hand at 10 in the morning and now that I think about it, the last time was when I lived in New Orleans.

Ah, spectrums can be such dilemmas.

Have a nice day.

The winds of change…

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Another Disenfranchised Citizen at the corner of Geary and Larkin, Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. See ya soon...

Hello again…

Some of you out there are aware the moving days are upon me…just completed one move, literally down the street which helped pave the way for the big move, five weeks from today to New Orleans San Francisco. Originally, I wanted it to be New Orleans, but alas…you got yourself one fucked up governor down there and the only thing he likes better than giving no bid contracts to his campaign donors is to cut education and social services so…long story short…you got no jobs down there man! Not for a person like me…so I go to the one other place I enjoy so much and that would be San Francisco…

So, what does this mean for the Citizen…well…there gonna be somewhat of a pivot going on round here…

Now…never you fear, I got enough hatred of oil companies like BP and frankly any company who run roughshod over a populace with complicit politicians, government agencies, the courts…Looking at you Barbier and a bunch of asshole lawyers like Feinberg and the Plaintiff Steering Committee…

For example, if you haven’t seen this article yet, man…really, check it out:

BP Settlement Sells Out Victims

Wait, what? You mean to tell me the people of the Gulf Coast got screwed again?

No way, say it ain’t so…

However…like I mentioned, there will be a pivot where I’ll also now be writing about some Bay Area stuff…like the coming fiscal and environmental tragedy called the America’s Cup…where you just know the city of San Francisco in general, and the people who can least afford it in specifics are all about to get financially hosed by a bunch of wealthy bastards on racing yachts…oh yeah, and then of course there’s San Francisco’s newly elected Sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi who is about to go to court on domestic violence charges…

Yeah, and I’ll be attempting to keep writing while I move cross-country, find a job, find an apartment..etc… Hell, I even had to go buy me a new smart phone for the task…

Oh, and by the way…want to know a huge similarity between California and New Orleans?

One big fucked up levee system courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers with a long legacy of mismanagement and shortcuts.

Anyways, wish me luck and I’ll see you back here tomorrow afternoon…

Have a nice day.

-Drake

In here is more important than out there…

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Ken Feinberg, before the audit pushed him under the water...and held him there...

Internals and externals…

Why do I do what I do? Why do I write the things I do on the internet? For what purpose?

Do I believe that by writing all the things I’ve written over the past year or so about British Petroleum, Ken Feinberg, the GOP, Barack Obama and whatever else will create a world of my liking…that British Petroleum will finally admit just how bad they’ve fucked up, and how yes, they could have been more careful and now…they are truly ready to make things right in the Gulf Coast? Or maybe Ken Feinberg will finally admit he could have done a much better job at compensating people for British Petroleum’s cluster-fuck rather than hiding behind a bunch of platitudes such as – look how much I’ve paid out! Look how many claims we’ve received! Hey, this is a lot better than Road Home…right right? Just one more blog post and Ken will fess up, review the claims again, give the benefit of the doubt, really be more generous than any court of law, stop being content with a reasonable margin of error and make sure that nobody, zero…no deserving claims go unpaid. Or maybe the next post I write will finally convince greedhead dipshits like Cantor, Boehner, McConnell and all the corporations they enable how the main goal in life, and the main theorem of their oft-espoused Poli- Christianity is not “Fuck that guy! I got mine!”

Hmm…I’m thinking none of this is very likely.

BP will continue to be BP up to, and including their next environmental disaster and employee death.

Ken Feinberg will continue to get rich from the denial of his conscience.

Politicians will continue to spin, help the haves get more so they can retain whatever it is they are trying to retain in lieu of a fucking soul.

Oh, and New Orleans will still have crime and poverty problems because nobody local, state or national really wants to do that much about the cause, instead preferring to criminalize the symptoms of all these problems we have.

Okay…so then, why write at all…because, sometimes, in here is more important than out there.

The reasons why I do what I do is because it’s what I know how to do and by doing it…this helps me get along in my day to days. Venting. Expressing. Blowing off steam so I don’t start looking fondly at Guns and Ammo magazine. These things help maintain a balance within myself and continue on down the roads of self-cultivation as I filter my experiences through eastern philosophies for context and a greater understanding of my condition and how it relates to the world…out there.

And hey, if it helps or gives some enjoyment to others along the way?

Cool.

So keeping all that in mind, a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of the New Orleans Ladder, I read Nicholas Payton’s blog post entitled Fuck the 99% and my initial reaction to this piece was Fuck Nicholas Payton. His post seemed pretty judgmental (something I know a lot about) very cynical and way off base, at least from my experience on why people in the 99% movement were/are involved in the 99% movement…and he seemed to be saying that people should focus on inner peace and if they did, the world would take care of itself. My initial reaction aside, I did some more thinking about what he said as far as living authentic, connected lives and letting that outside world take care of itself and I realized Payton was right…and wrong.

I believe we need to do both.

We need demonstrations, anger in the streets and more connection to our surrounding communities…and we also need to take a hard look at ourselves and where we’re at and why it is we do what we do and how to come to terms with all of it…to find peace within.

Oh, and just when you think you’ve got yourself figured out?

Then, look again.

Developing inner peace as an internal reflection to what we wish for from an external world is just as important as being involved in helping to create that world, be it demonstrations, teaching, writing, family, what have you…so yeah…we enter a new year, and in here may be more important than out there, but out there is still something to pay attention to, be happy with or angry about and then respond accordingly, the best way you see fit.

And one of the actions I’ve chosen, along this road, is to write, and even if whatever I write never matters to anyone at all…it does matter to me, and my continuing search for balance…so, so be it…

And, when it does come to that external world:

1. Here’s hoping the federal audit of the GCCF is more than a smokescreen providing economic and political cover to Feinberg, British Petroleum and the Obama Administration.

2. Here’s hoping that criminal charges against British Petroleum finally come.

3. Here’s hoping we get to cheer the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl, and the same goes for the San Jose Sharks and the Stanley Cup.

Peace!

Have a nice day.

Not my usual subject matter, but sometimes one can’t resist…

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It really doesn't matter how much surgery you have...you're old, your music is cartoonish and your acting...good lord it's awful. Money may buy notoriety, but it don't buy talent.

So, I keep reading these bits about Madonna, about her freaking out because some fan gave her hydrangeas, as in flowers, and it turns out she hates hydrangeas so she trashed the flowers in front of the fan, and not content to humiliate the person once, she then made a spoof video where she trashed the flowers again so the moment could live on in internet history.

Maybe the whole thing was a big gag, maybe not. In any case, soon thereafter at the Toronto Film Festival, apparently some sort of tradition exists where orange-clad volunteers get a big thank you at the end of the show and word is, when Madonna presented the film she directed, these volunteers were ordered to turn their backs and not look her in the eye. Again, maybe it was all a big joke but if not, then the joke would apparently be…well I suppose the joke would be Madonna.

So, why might I write about something like this?

Simple.

I often write about equality, tolerance, about simple care for other people. I loathe any type of caste separation, which is becoming more and more prevalent in the world and in this country. Sure, nothing politically or culturally official in America, at least not yet…but when politicians refer to welfare recipients as raccoons, or right winged commentators say the poor shouldn’t be allowed to vote and when Tea Party assholes cheer, suggesting an uninsured patient should be allowed to die, what are we supposed to think about what this future might bring to the United States?

Anyways…yeah, Madonna’s a good business person, but artistically she’s a con artist and a hack and not worth this country’s spit, while these political commentators, politicians and tea party types, they deserve nothing more than the back of this country’s hand, hard, painful and ugly…and repeatedly while we read them the Bill of Rights and discuss how we’re only as strong as our weakest link, and weakest ain’t necessarily about how much money you got.

It might have something to do with your character, and those idiots previously mentioned? Oh, they got a lot of self-righteousness, ego and money, but character?

No, not so much. Not that I’m all that much better, but at least I’m honest about it… Oh, and when we’re done explaining how people of a lower tax bracket don’t need to be made to feel like 2nd class citizens in this oh so great land of equality, we’ll take some time to stuff your mouths full of hydrangeas, lots of hydrangeas, a ton of hydrangeas…and not one single solitary slice of cake.

No offense…

Have a nice day.

GOP job killers…

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It's just this simple...

Tonight is Obama’s jobs speech. That’s nice and all, but not really important as evidenced by the reactions of Republican Senators like Mitch McConnell and Jim DeMint who have already figured out nothing Obama could propose will work. “Same failed approach,” McConnell called it.

Interesting, considering for the past two years the GOP hasn’t said much about jobs at all…

But that was then, this is now…of late, taking their cues from the Chamber of Commerce and ALEC, Republicans have decided it is finally time to talk about these jobs. Well, not creating jobs exactly, moreso they want to talk about what kills them. This would appear key to the platform. They cite regulations as being high on the list of what kills jobs in businesses big or small, despite the McClatchy poll of small business owners which found small business owners didn’t agree, nor did the business owners feel taxes were the problem, another key job killer Republicans like to talk up. Oh, and Republicans now say the deficit kills jobs too…and unions, don’t forget the unions. They kill jobs like a motherfucker, worse than a repeal of the Bush tax cuts ever could.

So, we get the GOP list of top job killers and surprisingly, it would appear everything Republicans have a problem with? Yep, somehow kills jobs.

Top 15 job killers:

1. Higher taxes on the wealthy, killing the jobs big time, the less money they have the fewer guards they can employ to make sure liberals don’t steal it.

2. Regulations on the financial industry, it’s a super-duper killer of jobs, especially the jobs’ pension plans.

3. Regulations on the coal industry, kills more jobs than their pollution kills people.

4. Abortion, kills all the jobs them fetuses might of one day created.

5. Obamacare, kills way more jobs than government doctors can save.

6. Unions, their demands for living wages and benefits – jobs assassin.

7. Social Security, money for grandma could be used to create jobs for grandma, jobs she’ll soon need – horrid job killer.

8. Obama’s skin color, kills jobs nationwide, even worse than Boehner’s spray tan or Cantor’s air of self-righteousness.

9. Gay Marriage, if this happens, wealthy people will be too afraid to leave home and create more jobs with all their tax savings.

10. Government Jobs, if people don’t have to work in the private sector, why would wealthy people try to create jobs for them? Job destroyer.

11. Big Government, when government gets too big, it can kills jobs just by taking a step.

12. Teachers, see #6 Unions, and teachers might teach people to think, which in turn might show people that Republican obstructionists might be better replaced by people who care more about their country and less about power.

13. Atheists, because they love to have so many abortions, see #4.

14. Women, because if women just stayed at home where they belong, we wouldn’t need so many jobs.

15. Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, Energy Assistance, Welfare to Work, Planned Parenthood, National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, NPR, NOAA, FDA, because this is all money stolen out of the wallets of the top 1% and if they had their money back, just think of all the extra jobs they’d be creating right now. Seriously. Drowning in jobs. Wouldn’t be able to even see the sky the jobs would be piling up so high, all around us, everywhere, blocking the sun.

Have a nice day.

I couldn’t have said it better…so, I won’t.

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The living legend…by way of Hermosa Beach and formerly of The Circle Jerks…I give you:

Keith Morris.

Off! – I Don’t Belong

“Your high social caste, privileged friends, you lure me in…

But I can’t be your friend.

Hit on Miss Liberty, under the cherry tree, drunk on hypocrisy

I’m standing in the shadows and I’m pissing in the punchbowl.

I don’t belong.

Cocktail party, pin the tail on the donkey,

Icing on my face, but I don’t like the taste,

Right wing mentality, God and democracy, red carpet royalty

I’m standing in the shadows and I’m pissing in the punchbowl.

I don’t belong.”

Don’t worry about it, you’re welcome.

If not familiar, Keith Morris is the little, older guy at the end.

My first Circle Jerks concert, after seeing show after show, year after year of privileged rock star types, it was rather different to see this guy wandering through the crowd watching opening bands, carrying a book and a backpack and just hanging out like anybody else.

It was really refreshing at the time…

And it still is.

Have a nice day.

Written by Drake Toulouse

August 7, 2011 at 7:24 PM

A Question of Greed…

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S'mores are my favorite...

Since the rule of law is dead:

GOP cuts funding to the SEC because of “budget deficits,” despite the fact money for the SEC does not come from the budget, but from regulatory charges paid by the brokerage firms the SEC investigates, thus saving the same companies/banks that fucked us into a  recession millions while also making it more financially difficult for the SEC to prosecute all the companies that did all the fucking.

Oh, and that recession – nobody in jail, banks made billions.

Oh, and that British Petroleum oil spill – nobody in jail or charged.

Oh, and that Foreclosure Fraud – nobody in jail or charged.

Oh, and the Medical Lobby/hospitals/administrators/insurance companies/big pharma – how many people have died because they couldn’t afford not to? – nobody goes to jail and nobody charged.

Okay then, so does this mean when Republicans and not a few Democrats, including Obama, cut back on the safety net because of the deficit, one debt ceiling and/or budget at a time, while in the same moment, they give ridiculous tax cuts to the wealthy which go a long way towards helping create that deficit…does this mean then, that when I decide to go to the exclusive parts of town or to the Financial District to get my money back, that just like the banks, the oil companies, the insurance and medical industry, that I won’t go to jail or be charged either for theft and/or fraud?

Right, right?

No?

Interesting, then the rule of law must only be kind-of dead, inasmuch as the bottom 99% is ruled by the laws of the top 1%, the same 1% who only calls it class war when the bottom 99 fights back against their greedy, entitled ways…

Have a nice day.

My prayer for August 6th…

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Rick Perry...a christian terrorist debasing the culture...with that tie.

Dear God, hear my prayer…

It is my understanding that Rick Perry, current Governor of Texas and potential candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination has invited all of the nation’s governors to join him on August 6th at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The purpose of this gathering is a day of prayer and fasting for the nation in order to seek your guidance in solving America’s problems.

In a statement, Governor Perry said “Given the trials that beset our nation and world, from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and continued debasement of our culture, I believe it is time to convene the leaders from each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel.”

I agree, God.

So I am sure you will understand completely my wish, my prayer to you God, that you will do your part to solve America’s problems on August 6th by repeatedly striking the stage at Reliant Stadium with violent bolts of lightning.

In doing so, the rest of America will finally be free to constructively solve the remaining problems with logical analysis, scientific evidence and rational discussion.

We might finally get a decent school textbook too…

In your name I pray,

Amen.

Have a nice day.

And now, a word from our sponsors…I’m having a “moment” version.

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And now, a word from our sponsors…

Gave Up – Nine Inch Nails, featuring Marilyn Manson

The hidden subtext?

Obviously…

“Throw it away…Throw it away…Throw it away…”

Kinda seems what our national politicians are doing these days. The political process is threatening women, children, the environment, life…politicians out there are actually doing detective work on miscarriages to make sure they weren’t secret abortions?  The poor and middle class are getting screwed again. Teachers are told to sacrifice while the Wall Street assholes who screwed the entire economy are getting paid. Unemployed tea partiers put their head in the gallows and cheer the blade as it falls. And the same conservative financial rapists now coming back for seconds are celebrated by Fox News viewers because the TV told them fraud is good and man, thinking for oneself is so, so tired. 

The logic of all this is as dead as the globe.

Me?

Well, I’m torn between my social worker instincts that give a damn about people and their suffering, versus my own sense of antisocial disgust that screams, “You voted in these morons who are allowing the next great Rock n Roll swindle, so ya get what you deserve!” But, as always, when the moment passes and compassion returns, so too does the recognition that we have to be there for our community, we have to because nobody else is guarding the outhouse for us, not anymore.

“We all get to heaven on the arm of someone we’ve helped”

- Neal Cassady

Have a nice day.

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