Do we take drunk driving seriously? Just this week, a 27 year old woman, who already had two drunk driving offenses in the past nine months, crashed into another car on the Causeway in an accident that left one dead. Last month, a drunk driver ploughed into a crowd at Endymion, injuring dozens.
Drunk driving is stupid. It's dangerous. It's wrong. Not exactly a controversial opinion, I know; but people keep doing it so it apparently needs saying.
We spoke with Dr. James Diaz, a Professor of Public Health at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, about blood alcohol content and how our bodies metabolize alcohol. It's important to understand how that actually works; so, please, give that interview a listen.
However, I really wanted to share with y'all one of the calls I received that drives home how real and personal drunk driving gets. Fay called in and shared her story with us.
"I have zero tolerance for drunk driving. Zero. My husband was hit by a drunk driver when he was 19 years old. He suffered for 50 years of his life. He was in a coma for 29 days. He worked as long as he could, but he couldn't work for very long. Every day of his life he was in pain."
Her husband wasn't doing anything wrong, yet he had to suffer for 50 years because of the STUPID actions of a teenager. Just don't do it, folks. Don't let somebody else do it.
Take a moment and listen to my whole conversation with Fay HERE.
Way back in 2000, after we narrowly escaped the Y2K disaster (insert eye roll emoji here) a television show premiered on The Learning Channel called "Trading Spaces." The premise was pretty simple. Two couples would "trade" their homes or apartments with each other for a complete makeover. Neither knew what the other was doing or had planned, and it had to be done in only two days. The show ran for over a decade, and it was one of those television programs that I loved to hate-watch.
That show has been on my mind lately, and I hadn't been able to figure out why. Then it hit me. A revival of "Trading Spaces" is back. It's called "Trading Health Care Plans," and it's playing to mixed reviews in the nation's capital. Before you presume I've been overcome by paint fumes, let me explain.
On "Trading Spaces", each couple crafted their makeover without consulting their friends as to what they wanted, liked or even needed in a living space. They were free to force their tastes on the other and hope that it suited them. "Trading Health Care Plans" would appear to be following the same shooting schedule. The Democrats had their turn to make over America's health care system as they saw fit, with limited or no input from the GOP, and proceeded. The resulting Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) turned out to be a dud when it was time for the big reveal and the other side saw what they had come up with.
Now it's the Republican's turn to makeover America's health care system. Once again, following the script, they're proceeding with their vision sans input from the other side. This time, though, it seems as if the couple themselves are fighting internally, unable to decide what's good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable, tasteful or distasteful when it comes to the makeover.
Which brings me back to the show and what's currently happening. I said "Trading Spaces" was one of those shows I loved to hate-watch. The premise bugged me to NO END because it made NO SENSE to have the people who actually had to live there have NO SAY in what the finished product would look like. I often wondered if the camera crew had time to leave before the homeowners were changing their newly redone spaces to something they wanted to live with.
The other thing that drove me crazy was the artificially imposed deadline. Having renovated my first home, performing most of the labor myself, I can ASSURE you that working as fast as you can while you're exhausted is no way to measure, saw, paint or do just about anything else. Mistakes are frequent, obvious problems are overlooked and the work is sloppy. I always wished I could see the result of the overnight "Trading Spaces" labor-marathon in person instead of on TV. I would bet the paint looked like it had been applied with a mop and that the new couch was hiding wooden molding that was, after being cut three times, still too short.
Americans, both personally and through government, spend in the neighborhood of $3.2 trillion on healthcare per year. That's a pretty ritzy neighborhood. So let's not paint it with a mop. Let's give both sides a voice to find out what they need and can live with. Let's tackle the problem pragmatically and not politically; and that means a bi-partisan approach, regardless of who has the majority. And finally, let's remove the self-imposed artificial timeline. It's more important that we get it right than that we get it done quickly.
James Freeman Clarke, an American theologian and author, once said "A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation". It's time for statesmen and stateswomen to trade places with politicians and reveal themselves. It's time to slow down and get it right.
I HATE losing my temper. I hate losing my temper so badly that once I do, I get angry that I got angry; and you can see where that could rapidly spin out of control.
I lost my temper on Friday with a caller, "Deborah from the Westbank." She shall heretofore be referred to as Deb. Deb patronizingly laughed at me as we were discussing health care, but that's not what caused me to get angry. This is:
It seems as though some HATE people that are rich. They don't like folks that own companies. They ASSUME small business people they work for are hoarding all the profits for themselves. I would hazard to guess the haters have never completed a junior achievement project let alone owned a business.
I can't even imagine the brass it takes to grab 'em and sink everything you have into a business. The pressure must be inordinate, knowing that the success of your business means the difference between keeping or losing your home and everything else you've worked hard to acquire. So, it seems to me, to take that kind of risk you have to be deeply committed to a vision and to goals. As a result you put EVERYTHING you have into the endeavor to make sure it succeeds. Plus, there's a payroll to meet. Payroll is a nice business term, but what it really means is mamas and daddies that depend on you to feed and clothe their families. People who start their own business and decide to make their own way are, unless they screw it up for lack of effort, right up there with the people I respect most. They are for the most part bold, courageous, disciplined forward thinkers. Those are the kind of people that built this country and its economy.
What angers me, though, are people like Deb who think anyone who has any wealth should immediately share it with those who haven't taken any risks, didn't have any ideas and think as forward as next Tuesday. Deb dawlin', not everyone is meant to be rich. But, if you do your best to be your best, chances are you can carve out a decent life in this country. Millions already have and I'm sure millions more will. I have. All of my friends have.
But you can't sit around and expect everybody who achieves to take care of you. You can't expect everybody in the country to have the same things. If a pediatric cardiologist made the same as an electrician or laborer or social worker or a restaurant owner….who would do those things? Why would you better yourself and incur tens of thousands in student debt to make the same amount as someone who didn't?
Oh, and if you think altruistic reasons are enough, it still won't work. It's been tried and has failed numerous times. When all of the wealth goes into a collective trust to be shared equally, the bureaucrats in position of authority skim and steal until they're wealthy. If you don't believe me, Google Vladimir Putin's net worth.
Deb told me she would have to work three part time jobs to equal full time employment. I offered her a chance to tell the vast listening audience of WWL what type of work she was looking for and what qualifications she had. She declined. That's sad because we've found jobs before for people down on their luck in that exact way before.
It was only a brief call and I don't really know Deb, but I think some people struggle their whole lives blaming others for something they don't have. That's a shame because the opportunity is there. It's not free and it's not easy; but if you work hard and sacrifice, I believe you can carve out a decent life for yourself in America. But you have to start somewhere. The first step is to stop blaming somebody else.
Snoop Dogg recently released a music video in which he shoots a toy gun at a clown that's clearly supposed to be President Donald Trump. A flag that says "bang" comes out the gun when he pulls the trigger.
Is this free speech, or is it way out of bounds?
Personally, and I'm usually an absolutist when it comes to the 1st Amendment, I'm 100% against this. I don't think it should have been made or put out there. It sends a bad message. I didn't agree when things like this were done about President Bush or President Obama, and I don't agree when it's done about President Trump.
That's how I feel, anyway. To look at it from a legal angle, though, I spoke with a friend of ours, Ron Krotoszynski , a Professor of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law.
He said, basically, while it may be irresponsible, the Constitution protects a lot of irresponsible speech.
"Snoop Dogg doesn't directly call for an unlawful act against the President or a member of his family or administration, so I don't think he would be prosecutable…I think it's going to fall along the line of like a Tom Clancy novel where he writes about a dirty bomb going off in Baltimore. That's irresponsible, too; that could give someone a bad idea. But we protect it reflexively as speech."
Listen to the entire interview with Professor Krotoszynski HERE.
I get home late the other day, which means I have to let Betsy the Boxer out quickly because she's held on about as long as she could. I open the back door and go out with her as I usually do.
We both noticed a raccoon out of the corner of our eye about half of Betsy's size furiously trying to get over the fence behind the building by climbing up the side of a shed. At this point the raccoon falls off of the building, and Betsy runs over to engage. I might add that the raccoon fell in an area where the grass is knee high, so I can't see what the hell is going on.
I manage to get Betsy to back off, and the raccoon seizes the opportunity to make a run for it to the other side of the shed. Bad move because it's now trapped in a corner.
Unable to control the collar-less Betsy, she runs around me to face off with the raccoon. Now, at this point, I'm thinking Betsy could probably kill the raccoon; but she'll get marked up in the process. I don't want to see her hurt ; and I really don't want to pay the vet $500 to get her fixed up, not to mention dealing with the extremely annoying collar of shame for a week or two.
They say there's nothing more frightening than a cornered animal. I say there's nothing more frightening than coming home from work after deciding you really didn't have to go to the bathroom only to be blindsided by a trespassing raccoon. So with that as a backdrop, I manage to pull Betsy away so the raccoon can climb over the fence and get out of our lives forever.
The raccoon sees this as an opportunity to advance, not retreat. Go figure.
So as the raccoon's approaching Betsy and me, I realize I should arm myself. I run over to a pile of logs nearby, but I can't pick the wrong one. Too heavy and I don't clear Betsy, which means we're back to the vet scenario. Too light and I've just embarrassed myself in front of a raccoon. All the while Betsy is barking in that waaaay too loud "I'm gonna mess you up" voice, and the raccoon is making that weird series of clicks that sounds like an Aborigine with a speech defect.
I throw the weapon of choice at the raccoon. Direct hit. But the wood was too light, and it merely bounces off the raccoon. No damage inflicted but it did stop making that weird clicking noise. Now, Betsy (who has now stopped barking), the raccoon and I are all staring at each other with this embarrassingly awkward silence prompted by, I'm guessing, my less-than-manly attempt with what was really a stick, NOT a log.
Finally, the raccoon backs off and makes a break for it; and, of course, Betsy makes a last ditch attempt to get to the emergency room. The raccoon makes it to safety, and I realize I REALLY have to go to the bathroom.
Now I know why they make caps out of those damned things.
Now this is a subject that gets EVERYBODY fired up. Lots of listeners want to take them down, and lots of listeners want to keep them up. One of the groups that wants to keep the monuments up is the Monumental Task Committee; and I spoke with their Vice President, Gary Mason.
The Monumental Task Committee is dedicated to preserving all monuments in the city, and they've been particularly vocal in their defense of the Confederate monuments. After the court ruling giving the City the go-ahead to remove the monuments, I asked Mr. Mason how long they would keep fighting.
"We're going to go until our last dying breath because we believe in this so strongly."
Where do you stand on this issue? Is it about heritage or hate…or somewhere in between?
Check out the rest of my interview with Gary Mason HERE.
I think it was either Mother Theresa, Hawkeye on MASH or both who once said "you don't have to do something spectacular to change the world. You can change it with one little act of kindness at a time". Come to think of it I've probably butchered the quote so badly I could take credit for it. But that's not the point. What is the point is that New Orleans TV is losing not only a broadcasting legend, but a man who did change the part of the world with which he came into contact. That man is Bill Capo.
I can't remember a time when Bill Capo WASN'T on New Orleans television. Some of the stronger memories are of his coverage of the jet that crashed in Kenner or that thing that crashed into all of our lives...Katrina. But while he is an excellent reporter, Bill set himself apart because he helped people. Granted, it was his job, or his "beat," at Channel 4 as the Action Reporter to do just that; but after talking to Bill, you soon realize he probably would have done it for free.
We've all seen his reports. Somebody notifies Bill of a Sewerage and Water Board leak, a blighted house, a pothole that has attained wonder of the world proportions, or any of the many nuisances that tend to drive us crazy on a daily basis. Then mysteriously, magically, majestically the thing that had been making a neighborhood miserable for years would be fixed, cleaned up or removed.
Although those things weren't in our neighborhood or even in our parish, I think Bill's segments gave us all hope. They made us all think that we had a chance when fighting a multi layered bureaucracy. We really don't without Bill but it was nice to think that we did.
Bill's last day at Channel Four was on Friday. He was busy, but in typical Bill style was nice enough to spend an hour with us so the audience could call in and thank him for helping them, for being such a good reporter and for just being Bill. I'm sorry if you didn't have a chance to get on with him but the phones were as jammed as if we were giving away hot concert tickets. But even if he didn't get to hear it from you, and his hallmark is humility, I think he knows what he meant to New Orleans.
If you didn't get a chance to listen, check out the podcast HERE.
Bill's next stop? Tour guide school. I can think of nothing better for him to do in his semi-retirement. Now new people will daily get to meet and know the Bill Capo that we've known for over 30 years. Good luck Bill. We'll miss ya. There is just one thing, though. Could you get your new employer to add a pothole tour?
People are still passionate about what happened at Endymion, when alleged drunk driver Neilson Rizzuto crashed into a crowd of parade-goers. 22 new charges were added on for Rizzuto, and we spent a good chunk of the show discussing what justice would look like in this case.
In addition to the legal aspect and what the punishment should be if Rizzuto is found guilty, listeners shared stories; and things got a little emotional. One caller, Debbie, told us how lost her 31 year old son after he was killed by a drunk driver.
A story in the journal "Nature" reveals that astronomers have discovered seven earth sized planets orbiting the same star 40 light years away. This is significant for two reasons. First of all, researchers believe this is the best place to look for life outside of our solar system. Secondly, if you plan on going there, you’ll no doubt have to go through Atlanta. No matter where you’re flying you HAVE TO GO THROUGH ATLANTA. I once flew from New Orleans to Houston and had to go through Atlanta. What sense does THAT make?
But we’ve no time to ponder the mysteries of commercial air travel. Let’s ponder what intelligent life on another planet would be like and how we would handle it. Would they be smarter or dumber than us? Would they be friendly or hostile? Would they more resemble East Bankers or West Bankers? And what if by some stroke of mutation the humans were the pets on their planet and the dogs were in control? If that happens I’m putting my entire 401k into chew toys and fire hydrants. Oh…and I’d also hate to be a letter carrier.
What do you think it would do to the world economy? Religious beliefs? What if it was like a twilight zone episode and they all looked like pigs? What if they WERE pigs? Would eating bacon then become politically incorrect? I don’t know but if they had some kind of zapping device that caused a stinging sensation I’d probably skip it just to be safe.
Do you ever wonder if aliens from another planet have already visited and the government is keeping it under wraps? Are aliens already among us? If they are would that perhaps explain those directives you keep getting from corporate that seem to be from outer space?
As for me I think aliens are already here exerting supernatural powers. How else could you explain Atlanta blowing a 25 point lead in the Super Bowl. Why would they do it? They were angry about ALWAYS HAVING TO GO THROUGH ATLANTA.
You don’t know me, but I thought I’d write to tell you how I’m feeling after voting for you. To be perfectly honest I really didn’t vote FOR YOU; I just couldn’t force my hand to press the button for Hillary. It was kind of like after my knee replacement surgery when my mind was telling my leg to move but the appendage just wouldn’t cooperate. Man, could I tell you some stories about that knee replacement procedure but I’ll save that for next time.
I probably wouldn’t qualify to shine your shoes if I were to try and get a job with you or your companies which is kind of ironic - because now YOU’RE actually working for ME. I, in my own little bitty way, hired you when I pressed that button back in November. With that in mind, I’d like to give you some feedback.
You more than anyone realize that being an “outsider” played a great role in your winning the election. But just because you’ve come in from the “outside” that doesn’t mean EVERYTHING “inside” is going to change just for you. The Presidency carries with it some norms that we expect you to follow and conform to. For example:
When the election is over, it’s OVER. So please stop talking about the popular vote and how you could have won that too. NOBODY CARES. What we care about now is you leading the country and paying attention to what really matters. And I hate to be the one to tell you this - but that’s NOT always you.
You are now the leader of the free world and - here comes more irony - that means you’ve given up a lot of YOUR freedom. You can’t just say whatever pops into your mind, or say things that you would like to be true. That may have worked when you were a businessman and everybody around you was afraid to offer a correction, but those days are gone. People will now be lining up to let you know when they disagree with you. So when you say things like there was massive voter fraud, or the media is covering up terrorist attacks, you’ve got to have some legitimate proof of it. Otherwise you’re gonna be like the president that cried “wolf.” You don’t want to be that. WE DON’T WANT YOU TO BE THAT.
I think we’ve all sat around from time to time with friends and expressed some pretty outrageous things. Just shooting the bull with each other and speculating on some pretty strange things that just might be true. YOU CAN’T DO THAT ANYMORE, especially in public. Everyone is watching you and weighing every word you say very carefully so you have to exercise equal caution and measure your words before you speak. Otherwise people will lose respect for you and you’ll become a joke. You don’t want to be that. WE DON’T WANT YOU TO BE THAT.
In closing please remember you’re our president. We want you to succeed. But that, by the nature of the job, will require some restraint and humility. Please remember to take your time, respect institutions while you try to change them and don’t think that every bureaucrat in D.C. is trying to derail you. There are systems and processes that have been in place for a long time and they’re not going away just because you want them to.
Good luck and I would love to talk to you on the air one day. You’re a fascinating man that could wind up being one of the better presidents we’ve ever had. Just don’t be afraid to listen occasionally and admit when you make a mistake.