Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This Land is My Land

Well, it was bound to happen. With the devastating blow that was dealt to the citizens of New Orleans from the wrath of Katrina, half of the city fled to seek refuge in other towns as their homes became uninhabitable. Many lay in complete rubble, others might possibly be saved with a lot of hard work and monetary assistance. But the insurance monies, much like the FEMA rescue workers over a year and a half ago, would never arrive. Not before all hope would be lost.

But the spirit and reputation for a love of music and pleasure will always inhabit New Orleans, even if so many of the people who would create and live that vibe had been forced out. There have been immense efforts on the parts of many kind hearted and hard working individuals who have tirelessly toiled to restore the Crescent City and give it back to those it belongs to. Groups like Habitat for Humanity, The Katrina Foundation For Recovery, Inc., and others, along with students choosing to spend their spring breaks rebuilding the city (please see BicycleMark - BicycleMark.org and The Wayward Episcopalian - waywardepiscopalian.blogspot.com).

However, with so much "abandoned" real estate left in unintended disrepair, and the owners having no funds with which to work, vultures have swooped down along the muddy Mississippi salivating at the opportunity to turn others' misfortune into their fortune. These are individuals who could truly make a difference with the riches they've already reaped. They have the ability to help people rebuild and thus help themselves. To restore the city to it's former glory. But that wouldn't guarantee the millions, if not billions, of dollars they stand to profit. Of course, they'll have to clean up those unsightly FEMA trailors, the few that actually made their way from Arkansas and that were only given to homeowners - renters need not apply.

Let the gentrification begin!

The two most prominent individuals playing this game of monopoly are Donald Trump and F. Patrick Quinn. Of course,
The Donald requires no introduction. If one owns a television set it is virtually impossible to avoid the comb-over coiffed magnate pursing his lips and firing some groveling young Trump wanna-be. His latest plans for yet another clever, originally titled Trump Tower to be located in New Orleans, will be the tallest building in the city at the height of 842 feet. The proposed cost of each condominium will be a mere $400,000 apiece for the 299 units There will be another 435 hotel rooms to fetch a steady income.
In a city where a
pre-Katrina two bedroom dwelling ran for roughly $600 a month, that same unit is now over $900. Now, take into consideration that should that tenant's job actually still exist, they are having to repurchase all of their necessities and creature comforts.

One of the many sad things that have come to fruition since Katrina is the onslaught of unethical private contractors. In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, George Bush had attempted to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, which guarantees a fair wage for workers. After a huge outcry from Democrats and union leaders, that option was taken off of the table. Not to be deterred from getting as big a piece of the pie as possible, many contractors simply hired illegal immigrants to perform the necessary duties. However, when it came payday, many refused to pay the workers, knowing that they would have no recourse.

Enter F. Patrick Quinn.
Those of you who are not from New Orleans may not be familiar with Mr.Quinn. He first caught my attention last August while in my hotel room in the French Quarter (one of the areas barely affected by the flood). I had the local news on and was quite taken by what I thought should have been a much bigger story, meaning it should have reached the national media. Quinn is the owner of a hotel chain by the name of Decatur Hotels. In the wake of Katrina, Quinn acquired visas for 290 South American workers to provide services in his hotels. He promised them good wages with plenty of hours and possible overtime. The visas stipulated that they were not allowed to work for another employer during their stays. But when the guest workers arrived, they discovered that they would be paid only $6 per hour with no guarantee of full time work. They were made to sleep 5 per room and were charged $50 each per week to rent their rooms. Even more problematic was that they were indentured $3,000 to $5,000 in recruitment and other fees.

Now what Mr.Quinn had apparently not taken into consideration was the fact that, having acquired visas, these workers were not in the country illegally. For these individuals, there was recourse and they had decided to pursue it. They banded together and filed a lawsuit which is currently pending.

Perhaps the most interesting part regarding Mr. Quinn is that, not only is he a most prominent businessman, but he is well connected in a number of ways. His wife, is Senator Julie Quinn (R-LA) and his son, James, is the Executive Director of the Republican Party in Louisiana. And yet I've still not heard a word about this outside of Louisiana.

In a frantic effort to own New Orleans, Quinn has been buying up property as hastily as possible. Perhaps he heard the news that he may get Trumped.

For more information please see:




Monday, March 26, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Every now and then there is a human being that shines brightly above others. Someone who is truly a blessing to the rest of us for the bravery that they exude and the skills they possess to bring it to our attention.

Such a person lives in the adolescent frame of a young teenage girl from Alabama by the name of Ava Lowery. If you haven't yet become acquainted with Ava, it's time you did.

Ava Lowery is the author of an anti-war website and blog titled PeaceTakesCourage.com . She also has a talent for editing thought-provoking and heart wrenching videos that would make PBS proud. Her unflinching honesty and her ability to get her message across has caught the attention of a number of major league media outlets who may well be looking into child labor laws to see of they can't manage to bring her on board.

Meet Ava Lowery, one of our hopes for the future:


You can read her website and blog here:


Monday, March 19, 2007

We Just Need a Little Patience

A quote from Axl Rose, you might ask? No, that would be from our fearless leader asking us, once again, to be understanding of the never ending tidal wave of bad judgments that he continues to make. Never mind that we are the ones who must live with the consequences. And as we enter into the fifth year of the mess he created in Iraq, I am reminded that we here at home are the lucky ones. We, at least, get the opportunity to live at all. With over 3,000 of our soldiers killed (suicide victims and others who died while not actually in combat remain uncounted, as do private contractors), numerous allied soldiers, and hundreds of thousand Iraqi men, women and children have died unnecessarily, we celebrate yet another milestone.

But all that seems to be required is that we be a bit more patient. It seems to me that we stood by a little too patiently as we were fed lie after lie to launch the so-called "pre-emptive strike" and are still standing idly by four years later. We sat back patiently as another election was stolen. It was taken so easily the first time as such a laid-back nation neglected to cry out, how could it go wrong a second? Heck, those nice people won't mind waiting in line for hours on end, because their Democratic leaning precinct doesn't need all those voting machines, just to cast a vote. Unless, of course, they grow too impatient and decide to go home without casting it at all. We were all too patient as our telephone calls were listened to, our e-mails read, our bank statements perused. Not even the repeal of habeas corpus, which entitled us to speedy and fair trial accompanied by an attorney, would even ruffle our feathers. In fact, you don't even have to tell us what crime we're being charged with.

So we just need a little more patience, Mr. Bush? Tell that to the families in New Orleans who waited on their rooftops for nearly a week pleading for help as they treaded the rising toxic waters and watched their loved ones float by. To those same people who still have no homes, no hospitals, no functioning police stations a year and a half later. To the mothers who had to bury their babies because they were unable to pull them from the sludge. To the mothers who have buried their sons and daughters because you refuse to end the madness you created in the war torn land once known as one of the most beautiful countries on earth.

I'd like to raise my glass to toast this anniversary Mr. President, but I'm afraid I've grown a bit too impatient.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Remember New Orleans?

Someone had posted the following article on DailyKos.com but I guess New Orleans is out of vogue, so it went nowhere. This person then cross posted the same article to MyDD.com thinking it would be easier to make it on the rec'd list. Well.. it still has not.

Want to help? Does anybody care about New Orleans and the Katrina area? Have we all become so short sighted that we forget about the people still suffering in the Gulf Coast area, especially in New Orleans?

Check the diary at MyDD.com here:

Back in New Orleans: Recovery Spring Break, Day 1

They also have a blog of their own that they are using to document the recovery and lack of recovery in the Katrina area.

Check the personal blog here:

The Wayward Episcopalian: Nathan in New Orleans
I spent fall 2006 working with the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana's Office of Disaster Response. Though no longer in New Orleans, I have many memories and observations left to blog, and recovery news continues to pour in, particularly about volunteer work, government incompetence, and local spirit.

"The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intervene." Isaiah 59:15-16

No.. this is not a blog of mine and I do not know this person.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This Is Sick and Wrong!

This is taken from a comment at SecuringAmerica.com

What is wrong with this country? Why do the rich and powerful hate the American people? Do you think that any of them would use or are using illegal drugs to cope with their pain and illness? No... what was I thinking... how stupid could this common person be.

Even tho I do not smoke pot, I find this to be ridiculous and WRONG!

Court: Dying can be charged for using marijuana

If I was dying I would use whatever drug made my life bearable... no matter what! If using some supposed "bad drug" made my life as a sick person bearable and possibly better so that I may heal, then I should be allowed to use it... No Matter What!

So pot is worse then gdub's buddies corporate made drugs?


Just move along now. Nothing to see here. Don't look at that person, they mean nothing to you.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Day The Music... died... ?

Do you think this is important? I DO!

No need for me to add much to this. Please read and take action.

From My Left Wing http://myleftwing.com

The Death of Web Radio Is At Hand
by: The Lighthouse Keeper
Tue Mar 06, 2007 at 19:10:05 PM PST

(originally promoted by Carnacki, re - promoted by Maryscott O'Connor)

Cross-posted at DailyKos

I frankly have no idea how many people on My Left Wing pay attention to the music scene, listen to Web radio on a regular basis or think about this issue.

I pray that some of you do.

If you care at all about music, about art, about having a touch of color in your lives, about having a piece of your life that exists outside of the corporate Borg, you need to read this diary and recommend it.

Money is not involved. Your precious time, however, is really needed. It is one minute before midnight.

And by the way, hello. This is my first post here. I hope I can provoke some thought and some action.

While we are trying to save our country, we also have another thing to worry about - something our Democratic representatives played a major role in creating.

The music is about to die. The coup de grace is about to be administered by the U.S. Copyright Office.

more here: http://www.myleftwing.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=15126