Yes, I am defending Adam Levine of the band “Maroon 5” for saying “I hate this country.” And, anyone who refuses to read further and simply reads that opening thought could easily come to the very misleading conclusion that “Scoot agrees with the statement, “I hate this country.”
Headlines, opening thoughts and sound bites can be very dangerous and misleading to those on a mission to exploit, condemn and/or sensationalize any person or story in the news. I’m sure you have seen, heard or read the headline that Adam Levine, one of the coaches on The Voice, said “I hate this country” on the show Tuesday night. He was off-camera when the comment was picked up on his open mic.
On Tuesday night’s show, two of Adam’s contestants were voted off by America. The comment “I hate this country” seemed to be an obvious reference to Adam’s disagreement with the national vote that eliminated two of his team members, but the comment has spread through the media and social media sites as Adam Levine’s contempt and hate for America. That blows the comment out of proportion and adds false intent to the words.
To say you “hate this country” during a discussion about the qualities of America is quite different from expressing discontent about the results of a collective vote. How many Americans, who love this country, might have had thought, “I hate this country” following the election and re-election of Barak Obama? How many people might have had the same feeling when George W. Bush was elected and re-elected?
I remember that a few liberal celebrities threatened to leave America if Bush was elected – I don’t know of any who followed through with that, but that was a subtle way of saying they “hated” this country because of the collective vote of the people. I recall hearing some conservatives express complete disgust with America for electing and re-electing Barak Obama. Couldn’t they have felt in their hearts and minds that they “hate this country” without meaning that hate America, but at that moment they hated the voice of the people of America?
In a statement to US Weekly, Adam Levine said, “I obviously love my country very much and my comments (last night) were made purely out of frustration.” “(Last night’s) elimination of Judith and Sarah was confusing and downright emotional for me and my comments were made based on my personal dissatisfaction with the results.”
That is an understandable and acceptable explanation for the comment, but that true motive doesn’t attract headlines like – Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and The Voice says, “I hate this country.” It is the responsibility of audiences to read behind the headlines that are designed to attract attention and stir controversy.
I would not be defending Adam Levine if he were a political candidate and made that statement in the context of a speech about America. But he’s a citizen who, like many citizens, expressed his frustration over a vote of the people. Ever had the same thoughts?
At a very young and impressionable age we all learned to fear tornados from watching “The Wizard of Oz!” The massive tornado that recently hit a suburb of Oklahoma City was a stark reminder that the nightmares of fantasies can come very true.
In the New Orleans area, our most common fear is hurricanes, but we also have the violent weather that can produce tornados. When you experience a devastating weather event, you are forced to deal with the immediate chaos of your disrupted world. But when people see the destruction that results from a disaster, like the recent tornado in Oklahoma, it is easy to have a philosophical perspective and simply wonder, “why?”
TV evangelist and Christian leader Pat Robertson has blamed tornados and hurricanes on people not praying enough or the growing acceptance of homosexuality. Essentially, Robertson believes these catastrophic events are punishments from God.
I do not believe that tornados, hurricanes and other natural disasters are punishment from God. God created a beautiful planet that sometimes produces devastation. It’s argued that global warming and man-made changes to the environment are increasing the frequency of natural disasters, but these violent events are natural and have been part of this planet long before there was any controversy over America’s social or political issues.
On my show, I often talk about how it is human nature to seek answers to problems. And, it’s easy to blame a disaster on something concrete, like America’s political or social landscape, but that proves to be a meaningless exercise. Sure, we want answers to everything, but sometimes we have to admit – there are not always answers. I understand that is not a comforting realization, because it reminds us that we are not in control of everything, but it is reality.
We cannot control the challenges we face in our lives, whether a natural disaster or the devastation of personal disruptions, but we can control how we deal with the challenges we will certainly face.
Pat Robertson and those who blame natural disasters on what they see as mankind’s faults seem to suggest that they, as humans, know how God thinks and why God does the things He does. That’s just another example of how some people think they are in control – not God?
A story that has gone viral: Radio stations are banning the song “In God We Still Trust” by Diamond Rio. President Obama says the song is not fit for release to America because it offends so many people.
Another story that has gone viral: A Moore, OK teacher was fired Friday for praying on school grounds as she used her body to protect students while the recent massive tornado was directly hitting the elementary school.
These stories going around social media about President Obama denouncing a song about trusting God and radio stations refusing the play the song, and an elementary school teacher praying on school grounds as she protected children during a tornado, have been shared by millions…The problem is – neither of the stories is true!
The instant acceptance of alleged news stories that fit the rhetoric of divisive political agendas of groups and individuals exposes one of the unrecognized dangers of the Internet. For the record, I am not suggesting that this tendency is reserved by only the extreme right-wing, but since these two ridiculous stories that have been accepted as truth involve the extreme right – that’s what I’m writing about in this blog.
Though it has been presented as a new development, the controversy about the song, “In God We Still Trust” by Diamond Rio dates back to 2009 and the band actually recorded the song in 2005. The song has never been banned from the radio. In fact, there have been many, many songs to top the country charts and country radio airplay that are extremely religious/spiritual in nature, and directly attest to a belief in God and Jesus:
“Jesus Take the Wheel,” by Carrie Underwood
“When I get where I’m going,” Brad Paisley & Dolly Parton
“New Again,” Brad Paisley and Sara Evans
“Believe,” Brooks and Dunn
“Angels Among Us,” Alabama
“There Will Come a Day,” Faith Hill
“Long Black Train,” Josh Turner
“God Bless the USA,” Lee Greenwood
“Why Me,” Kris Kristofferson
“Me and God,” Josh Turner
So, why the controversy about the President and the song now and why were so many so quick to believe and spread the news about the teacher being fired for praying? Both of these stories took off on social media because there are some Americans who are desperate to find anything that can be used to attack the President and America under his presidency. Criticism of any president is an integral part of free speech in America, but I used the word ‘desperate’ on purpose.
Right now, the potential scandals of Benghazi, the IRS and checking the phone records of reporters all present legitimate challenges for President Obama and the President has a responsibility to the America people to reveal the truth. But since the re-election of Obama did not cause the economy to collapse as predicted by Mitt Romney and every other Republican candidate during last year’s presidential campaign, the frantic attempt to dethrone the President continues to ramp up. In fact, many Americans, including many Republicans, are literally getting rich with the soaring stock market and with other positive economic signs, who may who have an agenda to get rid of Obama will not admit how good the economy is in their world.
The Internet and social media sites are not inherently dangerous, but the individuals and groups that are quick to accept and spread ridiculous news stories pose a great danger to civility. The Internet, with blogging and social networking sites, gives every individual American the chance to be a reporter, without ever having to be held accountable to facts or the truth and people believe what they want to believe – not what is true.
Don’t became a citizen of the “United States of Hysteria” by believing, without question, what you read and see on the Internet and recognize that as humans we have a tendency to believe whatever supports their preconceived ideas. That goes for talk radio, too!
The Internet is a medium, like radio, TV and newspapers, but far more threatening than the messages or content from any medium, is the gullibility of its audience!
Scoot@wwl.com - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - Today, the Boy Scouts of America's national council approved a policy to accept openly gay boys as Scouts, but the ban of gay adults leaders remains in place.
There have been gays in the Boy Scouts since the organization was founded in 1910, so what motivates the current hysteria over gays in the scouts? I have heard people express the irrational concern that if gay youths were allowed in the Boy Scouts then other youths would be taught homosexuality. There has never been any discussion about earning a merit badge by reaching a certain level of knowledge of homosexuality.
The other main concern seems to center on Boy Scout camping trips and what would happen if a gay scout went on a camping trip with his troop. The fact is that gay youths have been with straight youths in schools, on sports teams, in showers, locker rooms and on Boy Scout camping trips. You have been around gays all of your life. You may not have known if gays were around you, but they were. Did you become gay as a result?
When discussing this topic on “The Scoot Show,” I have been faced with the argument that if there is a gay scout sleeping in a tent with a straight scout – then that would be the same as if a teenage boy slept in a tent next to a teenage girl. As a male, I find it highly insulting to hear that we should not expect males, or females, to control their sexual instincts that are not appropriate.
If this premise is true and males and females should not be expected to be in close quarters with each other without having sex, then why should we expect males and females to ever control their sexual instincts? Without realizing it, we are all expected to control ourselves, even in situations that might seem tempting - like on a beach or around a swimming pool with hot, tanned bodies in skimpy swimsuits next to us or on an overnight trip with a co-worker we are attracted too.
The presumption that males and females cannot control their sexuality in mixed or same-sex company is the kind of mentality that has led to the increasing number of reported sexual assaults in the military. I would like to think that any parent would teach their child to be solely responsible for their sexual behavior and never allow opportunity to be used as an excuse for inappropriate actions.
We can recognize our sexual instincts and even the raging hormones of teenagers, but excusing inappropriate sexual advances at any age, on mere opportunity further diminishes the teaching of personal accountability.
The right to free speech in America also grants every individual the right to reveal their ignorance!
Pete Santilli, a right-wing Internet talk show host, has attracted the attention of Secret Service after he said that he would like to shoot Hillary Clinton in the (V-word) and look her in the eyes as she died a painful death because she has been involved in the killing of America troops. Santilli accused President Obama of ‘running drugs’ and described the killing of Osama bin Laden as a “fake hunt down” and because the Navy SEALS knew the truth, he had them killed. I assume it’s fair to point out that Santilli respects our system of justice enough to say that Clinton should be tried and convicted before she is shot in the (V-word)!
There are some people who are members of a ‘fringe’, hate-mongering right-wing cult who agree with Santilli, but shouldn’t we recognize that this is yet another example of the intense hate that is now part of everyday political discourse in America? And the pathetic truth is that mental midgets, like Pete Santilli, actually feed the political appetites of like-minded mental midgets with a hate-filled rally cry akin to inciting a crowd to grab their pitchforks and run hysterically to the town square for the lynching!
WARNING: Before you defend the hateful intent of this right-wing Internet talk show host – imagine if a left-wing, liberal female talk show host announced on that she wanted to shoot George W. Bush in the (D-word) after we went to Iraq and did not find any WMDs?
We can celebrate and defend freedom of speech while understanding that, like all freedoms, freedom of speech comes with responsibility. Anyone in the media deserving respect should accept the responsibility to express their opinions without the use of blatantly violent imagery. If an Internet talk show host has the proof to convict a former Secretary of State or the President of being directly involved in killing American soldiers – then let that person come forward with the proof and the legal strategy to make the case. Otherwise, it is cowardly to launch violent verbal bombs and then run and hide behind the guise of being a meaningful political show host.
There will always be some people who disagree with my opinions or the opinions of others, but that is the healthy by-product freedom of speech. Though I can be quite passionate on the air, I always try to express opinions free of the pure hate that many radio and Internet talk show hosts espouse. And this is why I always say it is unfair to judge a group by the behavior of a few within a group – whether Muslim, Christian or talk show host!
Let’s celebrate freedom of speech as a Constitutional right that allows the ignorant and hateful to reveal themselves to the rest of us!
Friday, May 17, 2013 - TV Evangelist Pat Robertson has once again said something that makes you wonder if he really is a Christian!
The conservative Christian leader has said that hurricanes, including Katrina, are God’s way of punishing cities for the acceptance of homosexuality and has said that tornadoes hit towns because people are not praying enough.
Now, Robertson is saying that married men “have a tendency to wander” and it is the job of the woman to make sure the home is so “wonderful” that men will not cheat. Robertson also implied that with so much pornography and temptation in the world today – cheating is almost expected. He went so far as to tell a viewer of “The 700 Club” that if her ‘cheating husband’ provides a good home, is nice to the kids and is handsome - she should take those things into consideration even if he cheats!
Pat Robertson’s attitude about men who cheat in their relationships reflects the reality that often it is the woman who is blamed if a man is not faithful. Many men and women excused President Clinton’s sexual activity with Monica Lewinsky by blaming her for offering herself to the President – ‘he’s a man, it wasn’t his fault’!
Following a newly-released report from the Pentagon revealing that the number of reported sexual assault cases has risen significantly over the past two years, I have heard the argument presented that ‘men can’t be expected to be in close quarters with women’ and not respond to their sexual instincts. I don’t care where a man is – in the military, in a bar or on a beach – you are expected to act appropriately!
It takes two people to have an affair and both participants are responsible, but isn’t it amazing that even with the quest for gender equality, more men than women get a pass for cheating.
And for a conservative Christian leader, like Pat Robertson, to suggest that a man’s tendency to stray in a relationship is somehow understandable and that women bear the responsibility for a man who cheats, completely ignores the idea that ‘sin’ is gender neutral.
Is it time to seriously question – Is Pat Robertson really a Christian? Doesn’t the devil come in disguises?
As Mayor Landrieu continues to intensify pressure on the criminal element in New Orleans, finger-pointing is also escalating.
Since the crime problem in New Orleans has grown over generations in a culture of corruption from the streets to City Hall, there are no easy or quick solutions. The first steps in solving any problems are defining the problems and identifying who or what is to blame.
Mayor Landrieu held a community rally at the spot where the Mother’s Day Second Line parade shooting occurred and he did a good job placing blame. The Mayor said, “No one here is at fault, but it’s everyone’s responsibility.”
Everyone is to blame – years of corruption within the ranks of NOPD, judges who have installed a revolving door on their courtrooms, communities that harbored and protected known criminals and parents who selfishly brought children into the world without any intent to actually “parent” those children. The police department seems to be the easiest target when crime increases, but of all the entities that are to blame, the police department bears the least responsibility.
At the community rally following Sunday’s shooting, City Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson told the crowd the City Council was ready to stand with them and that they are working on getting more officers on the street. Let’s remember that this shooting took place with numerous police officers present. When police presence fails to deter shootings, the depth and magnitude of the crime problem is revealed.
Akein Scott, the 19-year-old suspect in the Mother’s Day shooting in which 19 people, including 2 kids, were injured fired into a crowd with no fear of consequences. Young criminals no longer fear the police, the court system or the community. That lack of fear of consequences can ultimately be traced back to parenting. Until children are taught they are responsible for their behavior, and until communities return to holding individuals--both youths and adults--accountable, this will never change.
For the first time I can honestly say I sense a change in the communities of New Orleans. Often criticized for failing to turn in individuals known to be involved in criminal activities, communities seem to be more active in providing law enforcement with information about suspects. The suspect in Sunday’s shooting was identified within 25 hours of the shooting.
Communities holding individuals accountable for criminal behavior is the first step toward turning the corner on crime in New Orleans. When First Lady Hilary Clinton promoted the idea that “it takes a village to raise a child,” many Americans rejected it as a promotion of the idea that government raise our children. But she was right – it does take a village to raise a child.
Years ago, if kids misbehaved on the street or at someone else’s house, the adults in that household or in that neighborhood either disciplined the child or made sure the kid’s parents knew what he or she had done. For too long, people have turned the other way. I realize times have changed and the idea of someone else disciplining your child may not be acceptable, but consider how the community’s acceptance of negative behavior has paved the way to criminal behavior.
The next step is for judges, who allow the continuation of criminal cases for reason as simple as a defense attorney didn’t show up in court, to be held accountable for the countless criminals out with long arrest records. How discouraging must it be for police officers to arrest individuals only to see them back on the street continuing their careers as criminals. Akein Scott was arrested in March not far from the spot where he allegedly opened fire on the crowd at a Mother’s Day parade, and he was well-known as a criminal to police in a nearby district.
It’s often said that “talk is cheap” and politicians have an instinct to “talk” about solving problems rather than “actually” solving problems. But, when I hear Mayor Landrieu and Police Chief Serpas talk about how important it is for communities to change and to come forward with information that leads to the arrest of criminals living among them, I realize words are only cheap if no one takes action.
As long as the Mayor, City Hall, judges and law enforcement follow through on information generated from the community, then criminals will eventually get the message that they are outnumbered! And they are. The city has identified 649 of the most violent individuals in a city with an estimated population of just over 360,000. A small percentage of people have instilled fear in our city and have tarnished the national image of New Orleans as one of America’s premier destinations for tourists, conventions and families.
It’s easy to blame outsiders for problems that are rooted in your neighborhood and it’s easy to turn away from problems that are part of someone else’s neighborhood, but the Mayor is right – “it’s everyone’s responsibility” and for the first time I sense that words are leading to action!
What a beautiful Sunday afternoon it was for Mother’s Day!
I was in the French Quarter with plans to go to Frenchman yesterday afternoon when I received the text alert from WWL.com that numerous people had been shot during the Mother’s Day Second Line Parade on Frenchman. I was close to the shooting but at that moment I was living in an entirely different world.
As a native of New Orleans, it hurt me to hear the news of the shooting because of the innocent people out having fun on a splendid Sunday afternoon who became part of a gang-related or retaliation shooting during such an iconic New Orleans tradition as a Second Line parade. I also realized how the story of this shooting would instantly spread to the mainstream media.
Many believe that New Orleans is plagued with a culture of violence and is not a safe destination for tourists or families. The Mother’s Day Second Line parade shooting supports that belief. This city does have a culture of violence and it is unfortunate when the criminal element injures innocent people when committing their acts of violence, but New Orleans IS a safe destination for visitors and families.
There is no excuse for the brazen attitude of shooting into a crowd on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with numerous police officers present, but that attitude does reveal that criminals feel protected in certain communities because too many people who know who is involved in crimes simply will not turn over key information to police.
Today, at a press conference, NOPD Chief Serpas said that people know who did this and NOPD is depending on those people coming forward with information. As long as criminals feel as if they ‘own’ their neighborhoods, their crimes will continue and so will their brazen attitudes. The mayor and the police can only do so much in the war on crime in New Orleans. Citizens need to step up and do their job by exposing the criminals that threaten their families in their neighborhoods.
The challenge is to make New Orleans as safe for the good people in crime-intensive neighborhoods as it is for our guests. It was interesting to receive the news of the shootings just minutes before I was headed to Frenchman St. On Sunday afternoons on Frenchman, there are a couple of clubs that offer small bands and swing dancing. Blocks away from the horrible shooting scene, I enjoyed a flashback in time to an era I had only heard or read about. It was fascinating to see young people, many with tattoos and others that would be described as ‘hipsters’, swing dancing in an area of New Orleans that was host to that scene many years ago.
We have all been reminded that life is never guaranteed. The Boston bombings injured and killed people innocently attending the Boston Marathon – a traditional America event. But we can’t stop going to public events. The tragic shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut don’t prove that schools are unsafe. Anyone is much more likely to be injured or killed while driving a child to school or getting in the car to drive to a public event, yet we still do those things.
The very nature of media forces it to focus on things that are sensational. A shooting at a Mother’s Day Second Line parade in New Orleans is a sensational story that reverberates across the country. New Orleans is a ‘celebrity city’ and like celebrities, anything negative will attract even more attention. If a celebrity is pulled over for speeding, because that person is high-profile, there will be more scrutiny. With all of the major events that put our city in the national spotlight and because New Orleans has such an identifiable and unique image, any negative event here will instantly attract national attention.
That’s not to say that this type of senseless shooting would not have deserved and received national attention, but when it happens to a person or a city that is so well-known, the impact seems greater. There may also be increased reaction to the negative things that happen here because New Orleans is viewed as such a fun-loving and hospitable city. Anything defying that image will be major news.
As a victim of an attack by four men on the streets of New Orleans recently, I will not stop enjoying this city and I would hope that we can all rally to support the idea that this is OUR city and we have a right and responsibility to do what we can to expose the ignorant criminal element that thrives on fear.
What little we are now hearing about life of 3 young women who were abducted and held captive for 10 years in the basement of a Cleveland home supports our worst instinctive nightmares.
One of the 3 women, Amanda Berry, escaped captivity with a 6-year-old daughter, Jocelyn. According to one report, Amanda gave birth in an inflatable kiddie pool and the other girls may have acted as midwives. There are stories of one of the girls having 5 miscarriages that may have been the result of physical violence from the suspect, Ariel Castro.
Today, Castro was charged with 4 criminal complaints of kidnapping and 3 criminal complaints of rape. If any of the girls had miscarriages due to physical violence, Castro could be facing multiple counts of murder. Castro will be arraigned tomorrow and a grand jury could bring additional charges. Amazing as it seems, Ariel’s two brothers, Onil and Pedro Castro, have not been charged in the case. It’s hard to believe that the 2 brothers would not have known the girls were being held captive in the house for 10 years.
Today, there was jubilation with the return of two of the young women to their families. One of the three remains in the hospital in ‘good condition’. But today’s jubilation was shrouded by the early stories of what these young women endured for 10 years. Chains, locks and ropes were among the 200 pieces of evidence removed from the home on Seymour St. in Cleveland and this is just the beginning of a pending investigation that is sure to lead us all to wonder how such a ‘monster’ could live among us.
Authorities can release little information since this is investigation is pending, but it is believed that the girls were only allowed out of the house on two brief occasions and their first time to escape was the other night when Amanda got the attention of a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, as she screamed for help from inside the house.
It is also now believed that these 3 young girls got in the car with Ariel Castro and he used names the girls were familiar with the win their confidence and lure them into his car.
One of the first lessons parents teach their children is not to “talk to strangers” and “never get in a car with anyone you don’t know.” It’s scary to think that all 3 of these girls may have willingly gotten in a car that would drive them to 10 years of sexual captivity.
Use this actual story as a teaching moment. Talk to your kids about what happened and how it’s believed the girls got in a car with someone they too quickly trusted. This could have been anyone’s daughters.
We are also hearing from neighbors that there were times the police were called about suspicious activity at Castro’s home, though the police say they have no records of past complaints. The neighborhood where the girls were held captive is described as a ‘tough’ neighborhood where crime is a problem.
Could law enforcement have paid less attention to a neighborhood that was less affluent? That’s a question the Cleveland police will have to answer. Law enforcement can never be biased. Every person in American, rich, poor, black, Hispanic, white – all deserve the benefit of the doubt that their reports of odd behavior will be taken seriously. And it seems obvious that these girls should have been considered ‘missing’ and not just runaways. Even in the ‘tough’ neighborhoods in Cleveland, or here in New Orleans, there are good, honest people who need and, most of all, deserve equal police attention and protection.
Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who responded to Amanda Berry’s cries for help is a hero! There was reward money for the safe return of these girls and he said that he has a job and the money should go to the girls. He deserves reward money and his attitude is part of what makes him a true hero.
I’ve heard that Amanda Berry’s 6-year-old daughter was “born in captivity” – that’s not a phrase that should ever be used to describe the birth of a human baby.
The more we learn about this horrific case and the specifics of what happened to these young girls, who are now young women, the more we will once again be shocked by reprehensible behavior of a human being.
Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered his State of the City address to an audience at the new Treme Center. The setting was appropriate because it represents not only how New Orleans is coming back, but also points to the city’s future.
Mayor Landrieu’s speech painted a very positive and optimistic view of the city. He talked about how the city’s population increased by 9,000 last year, the economy is booming with 9 million visitors a year, large and small businesses are thriving, the graduation rate is up and unemployment in the city is down and below the national average. The Mayor said the economy is “humming.” And he’s right – I see it every day.
But with all the positive things that are happening in the city, the crime and murder rates still loom as major obstacles in the path of New Orleans becoming the city it can be. Mayor Landrieu said that the New Orleans Police Department needs to continue to improve standards and training. He spoke of new technology that continues to advance the city’s ability to fight crime. A multi-agency gang unit has been working to diminish and ultimately rid the city of gang-related violence.
Mayor Landrieu spoke about the many things that have improved about New Orleans since he became mayor 3 years ago. For one thing, Landrieu said the city is spending about $40 million less every year since taking office and that customer service at City Hall has improved and will continue to get better. He talked about countless new projects currently in the works that will improve our city overall.
I like Mayor Landrieu and I applaud the job he has done as mayor, especially considering the city he inherited. The Mayor is a great cheerleader for the city and I don’t mean that to sound like a superficial title. A mayor should rally the citizens around positive hope for the future without ignoring what needs to change. This mayor has been an excellent mayor for New Orleans and has helped guide the city in a positive direction.
However, in addressing crime and making this a city a place where children are safe on the streets, the Mayor did not address the most fundamental problem that NO politician wants to address. Parenting!
Talk show hosts can say more than politicians when it comes to many topics. One of the biggest problems we have in this city that elected officials don’t like to talk about is the mentality of breeding without concern for raising children and the system that encourages having babies without requiring parental responsibility.
There are many people in New Orleans, the surrounding areas and across America who do need help with their children. And those who choose to have a baby rather than an abortion should be respected by society. But if even a young person makes a mistake and gets pregnant, there is no excuse for continuing to make the SAME mistake over and over. These mistakes that result from reckless and mindless sex have become a cultural way-of-life. That must change.
Since many crimes and murders involve people who know each other, the crime rate is often seen as less of a threat to innocent people walking down the streets of our city. The truth is – a lot of crime IS random. Recent armed assaults in the French Quarter and my own personal experience walking to work in the CBD prove that there is far too much random crime against our citizens and visitors.
The problem with defining much of the criminal mentality in New Orleans as the product of parenting is that there are no easy solutions to that problem. More police, more money spent on crime fighting, more jobs and improved neighborhoods are all positive steps in curbing the crime rate, but as long as children are rewarded for having children and as long as society accepts and supports the mentality of breeding rather than parenting – this problem will not go away.
Even if the problem was accurately defined and addressed, it would take several generations to manifest real change. And that’s not something politicians like to address.
Because the population of New Orleans has been dominated by blacks does not make this a ‘black problem’. By defining it as such is an easy cop-out for anyone who is not part of that community. It’s an easy way of saying “that’s not my problem.” In the same way, many Americans dismissed the threat of HIV because if was believed to be a ‘gay problem’ or a problem for street drug users. When HIV spread and became a threat to everyone, then it became a problem.
Regardless of where you live, the crime problem in New Orleans can touch you. If you come to the city for work or pleasure or to entertain family, friends or business associates, the crime problem in New Orleans should be your problem, too. In New Orleans, there may be a greater crime problem in the black community, but that doesn’t make it a ‘black problem’.
All we can do is the teach and demand sexual responsibility with every young generation and stop looking to politicians or rap music or any outside influence to blame for what is truly a problem of humans bringing children into the world they have no intention to actually raise.
We think we are the most intelligent animal in the animal kingdom - at least other animals take care of their offspring until they can take care of themselves!
Since I do like newer bands and their music, I don’t think I always give enough credit to the music I played over the years of doing music radio.
Sunday at Jazz Fest, I really wanted to see Daryl Hall and John Oates AND The Black Keys. They both played at the same time at opposite ends of a very crowded Jazz Fest. Still, my goal was to see some of Hall & Oates and then navigate through the crowd as quickly as possible so I could to see The Black Keys. Well, that didn’t happen.
I got so caught up in how great Daryl Hall and John Oates were that I couldn’t leave that show. While I’m a champion of new music, I was emotionally hypnotized by Hall & Oates and the memories of playing their hits on the air. I have lost count of how many times I have seen them over the years, but I know I have seen them at least 7 times and everywhere from the Lakefront Arena to Tipitina’s!
I remember doing a TV interview with Hall & Oates early in their career and we had planned to go to lunch that afternoon. We went to Brennan’s and Daryl Hall was not happy with the fact that we were not waited on right away, he said let’s go. That led to me standing with Hall & Oates on Bourbon St. eating a Lucky Dog! Maybe not the best food in the city but we did get waited on right away!
What stood out to me most as I watched Hall & Oates was how good they looked and how great they sounded. Daryl Hall has always had one of the better voices in pop music with an amazing range and a lot of soul. Hall & Oates personified the term “blue-eyed soul” and I think to date they are the ‘best-selling’ music duo in history.
At Jazz Fest Sunday, they played hit after hit opening with “Out of Touch” and doing “Private Eyes” as the final encore. But they made their hits, like “She’s Gone,” “Sara’s Smile” and “I Can’t Go For That” so memorable because of the diverse ways they go into the songs and at times started playing and singing around the melody and lyrics before the song was recognizable. It was great!
I also thought about Fleetwood Mac at Jazz Fest the day before. They looked and sounded great, too.
At both Fleetwood mac and Hall & Oates the audiences spanned several generations. I saw young people singing every word to songs that were popular before many of them were born. That was another reminder that much of the rock music from the past was so good that it continues to attract younger generations.
When I was growing up I didn’t listen to any of the music my parent’s generation thought was great, but today, many parents and their children share some of the same tastes in music.
The Baby Boomer/Rock Generation, which is now the new Establishment, grew up with the philosophy that being young was everything. Now, we look around and see that we have matured and so have the rockers we grew up with and we all are still rocking on!
I find a wonderful sense of security in knowing that Fleetwood Mac, Daryl Hall & John Oates, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Paul McCartney and so many others continue to look and often sound like the rockers they once were.
It’s nice to know that we don’t have to get old – only older!
All of the words that can be used to describe New Orleans can also be used to describe Jazz Fest. Jazz Fest defines New Orleans!
The variety of music from jazz to rock, the wide selection of food from crawfish bread to sno-balls and the diversity of the villages provide a mirror reflection of New Orleans. If America is a giant melting pot, then New Orleans is an even bigger gumbo.
The uniqueness of our rich culture is vividly explained at the annual ritual of Jazz Fest. From an unassuming beginning in 1970, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival evolved into a party destination for America and the world! No one should be surprised that a small ‘jazz’ festival in the atmosphere of New Orleans would become such a celebrated event.
I have been to major music fests in Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Denver…and while in the context of those cities the festivals were big events and fun, there is something about the collection of the sights, the sounds and the people of our culture that make Jazz Fest a moment that cannot be adequately described with mere words – it must experienced!
Jazz Fest brilliantly brings together a variety of music that offers something for almost everyone’s musical tastes. This year, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, The Black Keys, Phoenix, Willie Nelson, Widespread Panic, The Dave Matthews Band, Jeffery Osborne, John Mayer and Hall & Oates provide genres that span generations. And there are always the local favorites like, The Nevilles, Irma Thomas, Better Than Ezra and Cowboy Mouth.
The Fest is a venue that strips performers of their full-stage productions. Performing at Jazz Fest puts an artist’s raw talent on display. Void of the lights and the big productions, fans get to know the real talent of their favorite performers. I was not a Kidd Rock fan until I saw him as Jazz Fest. I was overwhelmed by his stage presence, his relationship with the massive crowd and most of all the depth and diversity of his songwriting. I saw him recently at the New Orleans Arena and with a stage production that was elaborate, but not distracting, I was equally impressed. But it was at Jazz Fest that I became a Kidd Rock fan! I’m sure you can think back on someone who made you a fan at Jazz Fest!
There are generally two types of ‘festers’: The ones who stake out an area early-on in front of one stage with their chairs, blankets and flags planted in the ground as if to claim their territory – and those who roam the grounds only to work into a position to see different acts.
The sights, sounds and smells of Jazz Fest give us a present-moment view of our past and with that perspective we get a sense of our future – and the future is bright! For all of the things that remind us what we don’t have in common, Jazz Fest is a perfect reminder of all we do have in common.
Whether you are from New Orleans or Louisiana or have moved here from another city, Jazz Fest is an annual reflection of who we are and how we live life! And a little mud will never stop us!
There has been a growing controversy about ‘realistic’ toy guns for kids – now the debate is over whether ‘real’ guns should be made to look like toys for kids.
Recently, there has been a series of shootings involving young children using real guns. Tuesday, a 5-year-old boy shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with a .22 rifle he was given as a birthday present. The gun was left in the corner and the mother left the boy’s sight for a few minutes when he shot and killed his little sister. He used a .22 rifle called a “Crickett,” which is marketed to young children as “My first rifle.”
The Crickett comes in a variety of colors, including hot pink, blue and orange. Here are a collection of photos of the Crickett compiled by Mother Jones Magazine. (Note: Mother Jones says these images are from the Crickett company’s own website, but their website is apparently now offline following the shooting tragedy: )
Last night, in Auburn, WA (Suburb of Seattle), a 7-year-old boy accidently shot his 9-year-old sister in the leg. He used a .22 rifle that he got from another brother’s closet.
Last month, a 4-year-old was shot by his 6-year-old friend in New Jersey while they were playing a game of ‘pretend shooting’- the ‘pretend’ gun was a .22 rifle. The following day in Tennessee, a 4-year-old boy fired a gun that killed the wife of a sheriff’s deputy who was also in the room showing his gun collection to friends.
Is it wrong for gun manufacturers to design and produce guns for kids? With all the criticism of beer and cigarette companies allegedly marketing their products to a young market, why not ask the same question of gun makers.
No gun is a toy and any attempt to make a real gun more appealing to a child should be considered reckless and dangerous. While making real guns look like toys is reckless on the part of the gun manufacturers, it is ultimately the responsibility of the parent who purchases that kind of gun for a child.
In spite of what appears to be the recent spike in gun sales, the traditional gun market of white males is aging and the gun industry, like the cigarette industry, could be looking to make their product more appealing to children in hopes of attracting the attention of a new young generation.
There are many Americans who worship the Second Amendment who would argue that producing guns that are more physically and visually appealing to young children is appropriate. But there are also many Americans, like myself, who support the Second Amendment, but understand that blurring the line between a toy and a gun is reckless and dangerous. And any adult who buys such a gun can be described the same way – reckless and dangerous.
Pointing out the inherit faults in toy-like ‘real’ guns are not an infringement on anyone’s Second Amendment rights, nor it is part of any gun control debate. Guns are not toys and any attempt to confuse the two is a mistake.
Gun manufacturers have a right to produce guns that appeal to children, but parents have the definite responsibility to make certain that no child in their care confuses a gun with a toy. Any parent who allows a child to misuse a gun should be held legally responsible for the fate of any victim.
The 2-year-old girl who was shot and killed by her 5-year-old brother needs someone to speak for her. Every child requires a parent to protect and take care of them and parents who fail to do that should be punished. The shooting death of the 2-year-old was originally reported as an accidental shooting, but now authorities in Cumberland County Kentucky are awaiting results from the coroner’s examination before determining if charges should be filed against the mother.
To those who argue that the mother and father must be suffering unbearable grief and should not be punished further, remember that grief should not always replace punishment. What about the 2-year-old girl who is dead because of reckless parenting? I’m not sure those parents should be trusted with raising their 5-year-old.
Children need parents and parents that allow children to die as a result of negligence, whether it’s from a gun or a child left to bake in a hot car during the summer, should be punished as a way of establishing a consequence for failing to protect a child.
When the Saints drafted rookie left tackle Terron Armstead out of Arkansas Pine-Bluff in the third round this past weekend, the opinion of our NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier was generally good. "He's probably a year away from starting, but ahead of where former Saints tackle Jermon Bushrod was at this point in his career."
Armstead caught the Saints attention at the East-West All Star Game during the offseason and could prove to be another mid round gem.
"I wouldn't rule him out as a candidate to be our starting left tackle this season," Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis (above) explained. "It's a competition, we've got Charles Brown, Jason Smith, and Terron. Somebody is going to emerge, is going to take that job. I wouldn't rule anyone out," Loomis added.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if Armstead is the starter this season. The Saints love his athleticism and versatility.
In Sean Payton's time as head coach in New Orleans the Saints have had considerable success finding talent in undrafted rookie free agents. Pierre Thomas, Brian de la Puente, Junior Galette, Isa Abdul-Quddus, and Jed Collins all went undrafted. They have also all played major roles for the Saints.
The Black and Gold signed a few intriguing players to undrafted rookie contract's once the draft concluded.
"We've had good luck, and that's a credit to our area scouts, and coaches who do a great job of recruiting on the phone and coaching and developing," Loomis said.
A few players received some pretty lofty praise from the Saints General Manager. He likes UNC linebacker Kevin Reddick.
"He has outstanding character and is football smart. He's been a productive college player," Loomisnoted.
Another linebacker Chase Thomas is a player the Saints were thrilled to land.
The GM said, "He's a smart, tough, competitive player, very productive. Look, we're real excited to get him".
It's very early, but I would expect Reddick, and Thomas to have a real chance to make the Saints final roster in the fall. Tulane Quarterback Ryan Griffin has a ton of potential, but I think he's more in line for practice squad role this season.
Do you think offering free condoms to kids as young as 12 will lead to a decrease in sexually transmitted diseases? That seems to be the logic of the state of California.
The California Family Health Council is working with the Department of Public Health to reduce the rate of STD transmissions among teens by offering free condoms online to be delivered to the homes of teens as young as 12. The free condom packs will include 10 condoms, personal lubricant and informative material, but a teen can only order one condom package per month. Does that limitation imply that some teens may need more that 10 per month?
Is the problem with STD transmissions the availability and expense of condoms? Or, is the real problem the lack of personal responsibility among teens? I’m sure a few teens will take advantage of the free condom offer, but it doesn’t seem logical that the offer of free condoms will actually lead to any significant decrease in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
The state of California is expecting young teenagers who are sexually active, which is irresponsible behavior, to act responsibly and order free condoms online. This reminds me of the “gun buyback” programs when communities buy guns back from citizens. No one who would use a gun to commit a crime is going to surrender their gun at a community gun buyback. And, teenagers who are reckless enough to have unprotected sex, when condoms are readily available, will not suddenly stop, think and do the responsible thing and use a condom.
Too often the government’s solution to a problem is not part of a logical approach, but rather, an act that makes the government appear as if it is actually solving a problem. I think it is totally unrealistic to expect teens as young as 12 to be responsible while participating in irresponsible behavior. That solution might seem appropriate on paper, but it is simply not realistic. The government mistakenly uses math to solve problems that stem from our emotions.
Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t ever remember the availability or expense of condoms being the reasons for young people having unprotected sex. And condoms seem even more available today. Any teenager, who wants to be responsible when having sex, should have no problem equipping themselves with the required safety equipment.
I can’t speak from personal experience, because when I was a teenager the only use I would have had for a condom would have been to turn it into a water balloon! When I think about young sexually active teens, I’m not sure if I’m disgusted or jealous!