Tag Archive | Hurricane Katrina

The Political Lessons of Super Bowl 44

The New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl 44. Congratulations to the players, the organization, and, most importantly, Saints fans.

The story of the Saints is a classic rags-to-riches tale. The team had never been to the championship game. They had 2 playoff wins in 42 years. They were so bad that their fans wore paper bags over their head for years and unaffectionately called the team “The Aints.”


A New Orleans "Aints" fan

New Orleans has also had a hell of a ride, going from “Las Vegas of the South” to the flash point of modern government incompetence, racism, and social injustice after Hurricane Katrina. The city and its football team were ripe for a comeback.

Our Progressive movement is too. Why? We took back Congress in 2006. We took back the White House in 2008. We passed health care reform We’re working on that. We need a comeback because we’re disoriented.

It’s like we just woke up. Our eyes are open, but our vision is blurred. We know our slippers are near the bed, but we have to feel around with our toes to find them.

We reorient ourselves by becoming clear in our purpose. Let’s take a page from the Saints and make that happen. Progressive organizers, activists, and politicians can learn a lot from these World Champions about how to win this year and beyond. Here are 3 key lessons.

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5 things you should be talking about

What’s up fam,

I wanted to hit a variety of topics today.

1) First off, why is there not more coverage of the relief efforts of people impacted by the earthquakes in China and Myanmar? In case you hadn’t read, nearly 70,000 people died in this earthquake and millions more are now homeless. To help put it in context, imagine instantly losing 7 people in your life without being able to say goodbye and multiply that grief by 100,000. I guess coverage of the earthquake is worth far less than what the DNC RBC planned to do with the Michigan and Florida delegates. Read More…

The myth of the lazy Katrina survivor

Cross-posted on the Brave New Films blog.

Not-so-lazy Hurricane Katrina Survivor

A recent study based on a Washington Post/Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation poll concluded that the portrayal of Hurricane Katrina evacuees who did not leave New Orleans before the storm as lazy and reliant on government aid is inaccurate.

Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed were employed before the storm, with half of respondents holding full-time jobs. And 60 percent of evacuees polled were looking for jobs at the time of the survey.

"…lazy and reliant on government aid…" That's the same thing ignorant people think about poor Black folks in general, isn't it? I guess I should start believing in coincidences.

One Love. One II.

HUD reduces rental assistance to Katrina survivors

Dr. Calvin Mackie responded on behalf of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) late last week regarding the announcement by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to begin reducing the level of rental assistance that will be provided to hurricane victims through the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP).

An excerpt:

While the Road Home is expected to deliver more than 90,000 grants to Louisiana homeowners by the end of the year and our programs to restore more than 30,000 rental units are in full swing, the bottom line is that not all of these units will be available before March, and we are still experiencing a severe housing shortage at every level.

When you have “severe housing shortages,” bad things happen: people get sick, crime increases, kids are left homeless and hungry. I thought Republicans were the party with the moral high ground; this sure doesn’t help promote families.

One Love. One II.

In search of justice for the New Orleans 200,000

A note from Dr. Calvin Mackie from the day before the Jena 6 rally.

One Love. One II.

Brothers and Sisters,

When you get to Jena please tell all those Black people that when they leave Jena, come to New Orleans in support of the injustice towards the New Orleans 200,000! Tell them that Charles Rangel (D) from NY still hasn’t visited New Orleans and that over 200,000 citizens, mostly Black, are still displaced to over 5500 cities in America. Where is our justice? Where is the outcry over a government who damaged and destroyed generations of Black fiscal, cultural and historical wealth via political and engineering neglect?

Okay, I have just awakened and realized that i dreamed that people, especially Black people, gave a damn about the greatest catastrophe in the history of the country. I guess racism and levees don’t mix, or we just can’t put it together. I guess we don’t see that civil rights is tied to equal protection, protection in the judicial system as well as in infrastructure. I’m awake now and I apologize for thinking and questioning, because I know a Black man is not suppose to do that.

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Until the Lions have their historians

I used to have a quote that I used in my signature that said, “Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters.” Fortunately, the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast have a historian through the International Tribunal on Hurricane Katrina and Rita.

The tribunal was formed to hear testimony by experts and survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. After 30 hours of testimony, the preliminary findings are unfortunately not surprising.

Jill Soffiyah Elijah, the Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School and Chief Judge for the International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, announced the Tribunal’s preliminary findings “It is our view that the U.S. government has committed crimes against humanity particularly in relation to its failure to maintain functional levees that should have protected the City of New Orleans from flooding; … it was the reckless disregard and, in some instances, negligence of the U.S. government, the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans that created the devastation we continue to see today.” Read More…

FEMA to provide relocation assistance to Louisiana residents

Dr. Calvin Mackie responded on behalf of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) to FEMA’s decision to provide relocation assistance to Louisiana residents.

An excerpt:

Today’s announcement gives new hope to many of our citizens that have been longing to return, and we look forward to the coming days and weeks as they begin to access these much needed funds and begin making their way back home.

This is good, but sadly, I have about as much confidence in FEMA’s capacity to help people as I do in G. W. Bush’s capacity to tell the truth.

One Love. One II.