Thursday, May 31, 2012 - As government continues its ‘feel-good’ efforts to protect us from ourselves, we are witnessing the continuing erosion of personal accountability in America.
BREAKING NEWS: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now proposing another ban designed to curb unhealthy behavior. Bloomberg has promoted some of the nation’s most aggressive smoking bans and has supported bans on trans-fats. Now, Bloomberg is promoting a ban on the sales of drinks over 16 ounces. The goal is to reduce calories and sugar intake.
It’s wonderful that politicians care about the citizens of their city, state and country, but the support of ‘feel-good’ laws is only a superficial attempt to protect citizens. The deeper and more serious problem lies in the message these types of laws have for America. Citizens are being conditioned to think that if something is not ‘banned’, then it must be okay. That circumvents the idea that individuals are ultimately responsible for their behavior and decisions.
There are many laws that do help protect people, but when politicians create laws that infringe on our personal freedoms, which include the freedom to choose something unhealthy, whether smoking or drinking a 20 oz. drink, you should take notice that the government is knocking. Are you going to open the door, again???
I’m no math whiz, but if I want something larger than a 16 ounc beverage, and there’s a ban on the sale of anything larger than 16 oz. beverages… why couldn’t I just buy two 16 oz. beverages? How are you going to stop that, Mayor Bloomberg?
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - Yesterday, over the course of just hours, 8 people were shot in New Orleans. Three died, including a 5-year-old girl attending a birthday party. The 10-year-old celebrating his birthday was shot, but his injuries are not life-threatening. Also, during that shooting spree, a 33-yr-old mother of three was shot and killed in the crossfire as she apparently drove to the birthday party. Two other men were killed in separate shootings in the Bayou St. John area and Mid-City.
If each of yesterday’s shootings had occurred on separate days, we would not be as outraged as we are today. And that defines the problem. There has been an acceptance, a tolerance if you will, of crime and murder in New Orleans. As a city, we have collectively turned our backs on this growing problem and now we are forced to face a problem that is out-of-control.
If bad people shot bad people the world would be a better place… but when bad people shoot at other bad people, good people are killed. When a 5-year-old is shot and killed at a birthday party on a sunny afternoon in New Orleans, we have reached the tipping point. And to further define the problem, today, a 13-yr-old was arrested in connection with one of yesterday’s other murders.
We can talk about improving education, unemployment and a host of other social and political issues, but the lowest common denominator of the crime problem in New Orleans is the lack of parenting. Children are having children because they were raised in a home where children saw their parent(s) having sex in front of them, or in a nearby room. Children watched their parent with a revolving door on their sexual activity. What do you think that teaches children?
The other problem is the entitlement mentality in this country. Not just the idea that an individual is entitled to financial assistance from the government, but the idea that individuals are entitled to drugs, territory, a gun and entitled to instant gratification in resolving all conflicts.
As a city, we can no longer accept some things just because “that’s the way it is in New Orleans.” This is a great city, but this city has an ego that often forbids it from confronting some of our real problems. If these casual shootings were taking place in prominent neighborhoods around the city, there would be an immediate demand for change. I don’t know what that change would look like, but there would be absolutely NO tolerance for shootings. And yet, as a city, we accept the problem because it’s not in ‘our’ neighborhood. If we call ourselves human, that must change.
By the way: ESPN’s Colin Cowherd is still wrong about New Orleans not being a good city for families. New Orleans is a wonderful city for the families that come here to visit. Our challenge is to make New Orleans a wonderful city for the families that live here.
5.24.12 - Contrary to what many people believe, New Orleans IS a family destination city! Again today on his ESPN radio show host Colin Cowherd blasted New Orleans as a city that is not good for families to visit. Cowherd has been talking about the possibility that the Pro Bowl would be held in New Orleans before the Super Bowl next year and that the Pro Bowl is a family event and New Orleans is NOT a family destination.
Cowherd said players bring their families to the Pro Bowl and no players are going to want to bring their families to New Orleans. The ESPN host says people of New Orleans, who are reacting to his comments, are overly sensitive because everything he says is true.
I can accept that some people love this city and some people, even many who live in the metro area, hate this city. But I will not accept a national radio host denouncing New Orleans as a family-friendly city, when history proves him wrong.
When we talk about New Orleans as a city that may be the best city in the country for hosting any major sporting event and a city that’s a wonderful destination for families, we’re not speculating, we have the facts and the history to prove it.
There is no city in America that can handle crowds the way we do and there is no city in the country that knows better how to act at a big celebration. Following the Thunder beating the Lakers in Oklahoma City a few nights ago, eight people were shot during the celebration. And there are countless stories of violence in major cities following sporting events. If any city was starved for a championship, it was New Orleans. Look at the facts about how we handled the celebration after the Saints won the Super Bowl. And look at how we acted, as a city, following the disappointing loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship earlier this year.
I’m not sure why ESPN host Colin Cowherd verbally attacked the City of New Orleans, but his criticism of the city is baseless and ignorant. The facts denounce his comments. New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in America and many generations of children have been raised here. I now live downtown and I constantly see visiting families walking around downtown and the French Quarter.
We can all admit that there is an “adult” side of the French Quarter, but generations of families have made the Quarter a destination for a vacation, an overnight trip or just to come to the city from the suburbs for the day. If you are of the opinion that New Orleans is not for families, you have been sadly misinformed.
I often talk about all the things there are for families to do in our city. The French Market, Royal Street, Jackson Square, the ferry, the Aquarium, the Riverfront, historic St. Charles Avenue, the D-Day Museum, Magazine Street are just a few things families can enjoy. And then there’s the unique, historic nature of the French Quarter. I have fond memories of my parents taking us downtown and through the Quarter as kids. New Orleans is reflective of old world Europe and its right here. As a parent you have no idea what your children will grow up and do with their lives.
Exposing your children to the architecture and eclectic diversity of the French Quarter may have an impact on who they become in life, and as parents we contribute to the character of our children by exposing them to different things.
Colin Cowherd said he would never bring his family to New Orleans. I feel badly for children who are raised in a home with parents who so shelter their children that they actually rob them of experiencing enriching aspects of life – like New Orleans!
Only days after the passing of the “Queen of Disco,” Donna Summer, we are again saddened by the death of another disco icon – Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees.
Sunday afternoon, I went on my usual safari walk through the French Quarter, and walking down Bourbon Street I heard a few Donna Summer songs flowing from the bars. I stopped at the Bourbon Pub, where there was a music and video tribute to Donna Summer and the disco era. Since this was the place where my first memories of disco were born, briefly reliving the disco era was instinctive. As the disco music and videos played, the crowd was overly festive as if they had also been taken back in time. Even those too young to have experienced disco were caught in the moment.
As with the passing of Donna Summer, our memories of the disco era continue following the death of Robin Gibb, who died at age 62 from a long battle with cancer. The Bee Gees sold over 200 million albums and it was their music that pushed the soundtrack from “Saturday Night Fever” to remain #1 on the charts for months and to ultimately become one of the best selling albums of all time.
The disco craze was upbeat and fun. Young people were dancing again. But every craze, no matter how big, falls from grace and disco’s fall was a rough one. Rock D.J.’s across America promoted their radio stations by organizing “Disco Sucks” rallies, where listeners would denounce the “cheesy” sounds of disco and profess their allegiance to rock! Disco has been “dissed” ever since.
Over the past few months, I have given updates on the failing health of Robin Gibb. After slipping into a coma and seemingly close to death, Robin woke up and was described by family as being upbeat and happy. But that was just a brief burst of life before Robin joined his two brothers, Maurice, who passed away in 2003 and Andy, who committed suicide in 1988. Only Barry remains.
The passing of Donna Summer at 63 and Robin Gibb at 62 also serves to remind us that we all must appreciate life and live it without wasting a day. Even the days that seem to be focused on work or family… the days that are not filled with fun are days…we must find a way to pursue happiness. And that’s what we all did during the disco era with the music of Donna and Robin.
While I don’t look at disco music as the epitome of great music, I do recognize that it was a genre that inspired a young generation to pursue happiness. Today, many of us who are part of that generation should remember that we once knew how to have fun and let life’s toughest moments go – at least, for the moment. And we should learn to do that again.
5.18.12 - It was sad to hear about the passing of Donna Summer, who was given the title of the “Queen of Disco.” Recalling the popularity of her music in the 70’s and 80’s on radio and on the dance floors of discos in New Orleans and across the country, brought back fond memories of an era that has since been the target of much ridicule.
I have always recognized that music is the soundtrack of our lives and that social trends and politics often inspire trends in music. The “Disco Era” followed a dark period for a young American generation.
The Watergate Scandal, which involved a sitting president’s staff breaking into the national headquarters of his Democratic opponent, George McGovern, rocked the foundation of trust in politics in America. The sitting president, Richard Nixon, resigned the presidency in disgrace in 1974.
The Vietnam War inflicted a deep scar on our country. Many young people were drafted and forced to fight in a war they didn’t believe in or maybe didn’t even understand. Over 50,000 were killed. Opposition to the war forced a young generation to become, at least emotionally, involved in politics. That painful chapter in American history ended in 1975.
America responded with a new genre of music – disco! Disco was upbeat and fun and America began dancing again! Looking back, it seems like it was the ultimate collective celebration of a new time. That generation had fun - lots of fun! I remember nights in the French Quarter and Fat City when I danced (not that it was a pretty sight) until the sun came up.
With the death of Donna Summer bringing back memories of the “Disco Era,” I realized something in our country has changed dramatically. When disco was just becoming the new craze with songs like, “Love To Love You, Baby” by Donna Summer and “Fly Robin Fly” by The Silver Convention, I remember my wife and I, along with friends, would go to the gay clubs in the Quarter on weekends. The Bourbon Pub and The Parade and Pete’s (now OZ) on the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann were the hottest clubs for dancing to the newest disco music.
We never thought of judging or being judged by going to gay clubs to dance. The generation that casually went dancing in gay clubs in the Quarter without fear of being criticized is now the very generation that is highly critical, and even suspicious, of straight people who go to gay clubs today. What changed? Has the religious and political right’s condemnation of homosexuality become an epidemic in our society?
There was a time when going to a gay club didn’t mean you were gay or supported controversial political issues. That generation that went to gay clubs, when disco was born, was just out having a good time. There was nothing social or political about it.
In many ways, I guess I’m still the same person I was in the mid-70’s, when disco became an American music and dance craze. I still go to gay bars and so do some of my dearest friends – and we’re all straight! We haven’t changed – have you?
Saints fans have all been asking the same question: “Why haven’t the Saints signed Drew Brees yet?”
Wednesday Brees spoke publicly about his contract negotiations with the Saints on WWL “Sports Talk.” Drew’s candid conversation with Deke Bellavia revealed he is frustrated with what he called a “lack of communication” with the Saints. He also gave the impression that there has been no “sense of urgency” from the Saints.
It would be easier to dismiss the idea of hearing one side of the issue, but it’s Drew Brees we’re talking about. The Saints QB has earned the highest level of respect for his honesty, integrity and consistent performance on the field. If anyone would exaggerate comments about contract negotiations to win public support, it would not be Drew Brees.
Chances are you’ve heard what Brees said publicly about the Saints and contract negotiations, but it was the tone of his voice, his demeanor that had the biggest impact on me. Drew sounded like a leader who has been diminished. The optimism he projected in the interview seemed always tempered with a degree of disappointment. And we all wonder why the Saints would do anything to disappoint Drew Brees.
It was obvious that Brees feels he’s played like an elite QB for the Saints over the course of his contract, but without elite pay. Now, he wants to be compensated. I realize this is all business, but the way the Saints seem to be treating Drew Brees reminds us that the idea of loyalty may be lost in our culture.
Employers are not loyal to their employees, employees are not loyal to their employers, spouses and partners are not loyal to each other and we too often learn that many of our friends are not always loyal to us.
Drew Brees is the spiritual leader of the Saints and his loss would leave a hole in the heart of our team, and the City of New Orleans. The Saints should make the deal to honor Brees’ loyalty to the team and the city. That would do more than just put the best possible Saints team on the field for another run for the Super Bowl, but it would also honor something we have been losing in our culture – loyalty.
5.12.12 - It takes a lot to cause me to think something is inappropriate. I support same-sex marriage. I defend pornography under the First Amendment, and I basically believe individuals should have the right to make decisions that others think are morally wrong. But, I have to admit when I saw the cover of this week’s TIME magazine, I was shocked!
The picture on the cover of TIME is that of a 26-yr-old mother breastfeeding her nearly 4-yr-old son. Breastfeeding a child that old is questioned, but since I’m not a doctor, I’ll pass on judgment of breastfeeding older children. What shocked me is the pose. A nearly 4-yr-old child is standing on a small chair to reach his mother’s breast. The mother is wearing a spaghetti-strap top with one side pulled down giving her son access to her breast. The model-like mother is posed and the son is looking at the camera. There’s something unnatural about it.
While I totally support breastfeeding in public and have always believed there is something wrong with our society that even questions that most natural process, the cover of TIME and the photos that accompany the story bring to mind the word “pedophilia.” And there is nothing natural about that.
With so much protest of the provocative covers of magazines, like Cosmopolitan and Maxim, I can’t image this issue of TIME will be displayed in stores without significant objection. TIME is going for shock value for the purpose of selling magazines. I understand and support this motive in a free enterprise system where news has become “entertainment,” BUT we still have the right to comment on what we consider “inappropriate.”
To enhance the “shock value” of its cover photo, TIME made the nearly 4-yr-old boy look much older than he is. After viewing the cover Thursday, I didn’t even recognize the child, when I saw him Friday morning on NBC’s “Today’s Show.”
Unlike the natural beauty of a mother breastfeeding her baby, even in public, the cover of TIME magazine attempts to appeal to our sexual nature. Appealing to our sexual nature is fine, but using a 4-yr-old child to do it wrong.
See for yourself by clicking HERE. Is it “nurturing” or “naughty?” I say the latter.
With members of his administration publicly supporting same-sex marriage, and following North Carolina’s passage of an amendment that bans it, President Obama said today that he personally supports marriage for same-sex couples.
Until now, the President has stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriage, but has admitted that his view has been “evolving.” Now, Obama publicly supports legal marriage for same-sex couples.
Whether same-sex marriage should be a political issue during a presidential campaign is inconsequential…It HAS become a campaign issue. First, the Republicans elevated it to a political issue with their opposition to gay marriage. Now, the Democrats appear to be making support of gay marriage the issue.
A new Gallup poll shows that 50% of Americans support same-sex marriage and 48% oppose it. In the past few years, support of gay marriage has been increasing. I would hope this president or any president would reveal their views on issues, not based on public opinion polls, but based on their honest beliefs. Maybe that’s asking too much!
My view on same-sex marriage has always been clear and definite. I think it’s a threat to our overall freedoms to ask for laws that control behavior which occurs in the privacy of individuals’ lives. The only thing that separates heterosexuals and homosexuals is the physical nature of their private sex life. You may not agree with things that some people do in the privacy of their sex lives, but that should be of no concern to you. The truth is, there are expressions of sexual behavior that many heterosexuals participate in that are equal to the sexual activities of homosexuals. To believe such physical activity is acceptable for heterosexuals but not for homosexuals is the very definition of discrimination.
No one is asking you to change your religious views or your personal relationship with your moral values, but there is historic precedent in this country that guarantees individuals the right to live a life free from government intrusion. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on birth control, interracial marriages and sodomy laws has set a definite precedent that the rights of individuals must be respected, even if you disagree with certain behaviors.
I may not always agree with the decisions of individuals, but I do agree with their freedom to make decisions independent of government scrutiny.
As a Jazz Fest veteran who has watched the festival evolve into one of the biggest music events in the world, it’s difficult to imagine what it looks like to someone seeing it for the first time!
There are many locals who remember a smaller and more locally-focused Jazz Fest, but this annual celebration of our culture, our music, crafts and our people set in the spring in New Orleans was destined to grow into the major event it is today. Lament about Jazz Fest in the past, but celebrate the fact that as a community we have created something very special that defines who we are as a city.
I’m a New Orleans native, but have lived in major cities around the country. While every city has its festivals, no other city could do what we do and do it so well! This was the most crowded Jazz Fest I can remember, and as I navigated through the massive crowds, I was impressed by the peaceful, though at times frustrated, attitude of the crowds. When you combine tens of thousands of people crammed together to hear major music acts with alcohol and heat, “peaceful fun” is not always a term that applies. And yet, that’s how I would describe Jazz Fest 2012.
Springsteen was excellent, The Eagles and The Beach Boys were legendary, but the band that gave the most exciting Jazz Fest performance was Better Than Ezra! Since reaching the national music charts in the mid-90’s, BTE continues to get better. Kevin Griffin’s voice is pure and diverse and the band’s on-stage personality makes them one of the best bands at Jazz Fest, or anywhere for that matter. These guys are true rock stars. Bass player Tom Drummond commented that all the years the band has been doing Jazz Fest, the crowd for their show this year was the biggest he’d ever seen!
Fest-goers love the music, but the two other main attractions are the food and the people. I can’t think of a better place to just “people watch!” Jazz Fest is amazing! The overall tolerance of people bumping into you, standing in long lines for your favorite food, and stepping on blankets and people as you work your way into the best position to see a band is all a reflection of the special place New Orleans is.
And while many locals refuse to accept the challenge of enduring Jazz Fest, we should all embrace this annual event as something that is totally New Orleans!