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Reply to "More Likely Black People Should be Angry With Our Own Leadership!"


NBC Deletes Rap Star's Remarks on Telethon

By Matea Gold and Scott Collins, Times Staff Writers

September 4, 2005

Kanye West's impromptu attack on President Bush during a live telecast Friday prompted NBC to delete his remark in its West Coast broadcast of the benefit for hurricane victims.

"George Bush doesn't care about black people," West said.

The rap star also criticized coverage of the catastrophe. "I hate the way they portray us in the media," West said. "If you see a black family, it says they're looting. See a white family, it says they're looking for food."

West's remarks aired unedited in NBC's East Coast and Midwestern markets, and also on the simulcast versions for MSNBC, CNBC and Pax. However, the network turned off his microphone and switched to another performer shortly after he mentioned Bush. The criticism of the president was deleted from the version that appeared on the West Coast three hours later on tape delay.

West Coast viewers did, however, hear West's criticisms of the media and the pace of the relief. NBC officials said the network made the decision to cut the Bush remark because of a desire not to politicize the concert and possibly dissuade viewers from donating.

The benefit "was a live television event wrought with emotion," said NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks. "Kanye West departed from the scripted comments that were prepared for him and in no way represents the views of the networks. It would be most unfortunate if the efforts of the artists who participated and the millions of Americans who are helping those in need are overshadowed by one person's personal opinion."

During the middle of the telethon, West was paired with actor Mike Myers, who began with prepared remarks. Myers appeared surprised after West began criticizing the media's portrayal of blacks and the pace of rescue and relief efforts. Myers waited for West to finish and then spoke again, sticking to the script.

After a short pause, West said: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Within minutes, MSNBC President Rick Kaplan, who produced the telethon at Rockefeller Plaza in New York, had cameras cut to actor Chris Tucker, who was on a different part of the stage and who appeared to be looking at something off camera. Viewers could hear West's voice trailing away as his audio was switched off and Tucker began reading from prepared remarks.

Although the event was aired with a brief time delay so technicians could edit out profanity, it took a few minutes for producers to realize that West had strayed from the script.

At the end of the program, host Matt Lauer of NBC's "Today" referred to the high level of emotion surrounding the hurricane's aftermath. He did not address West's remarks directly.

Officials did not have a final tally of the money raised, but Marks said she thought it was a "very substantial" amount.

Gold reported from New York, Collins from Los Angeles. Staff writer Robert Hilburn and Times wire services also contributed to this report.

Copyright Los Angeles Times

The articles that follow spell out the reality of it, namely that the Bush Administration, President Bush, the Republican Party are not responsible for oppressing Black people, but rather the Democratic Party, many times through our own inept, greedy, sleazy, and/or self-serving Black elected officials.

This reality being said, KNBC had good reason and justification for pulling the plug on Kanye West!
Louisiana's poverty politics

Katrina's aftermath lays bare the state's dirty secret: its ongoing failure to address the needs of its neediest citizens.

By Emily Metzgar, EMILY METZGAR is a columnist for the Shreveport Times. She writes a blog at

September 4, 2005

IF A GOVERNMENT'S primary responsibility is to protect its citizens, then the heartbreaking aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans illustrates the utter abdication of that responsibility. Was the evacuation order for New Orleans issued in time? Sure "” but only for people with sufficient money in their pockets and a car in their garage.

It was no secret that there was going to be a problem. As early as 2002, the New Orleans Times-Picayune speculated about "the big one." The newspaper noted, "Once it's certain a major storm is about to hit, evacuation offers the best chance for survival. But for those who wait, getting out will become nearly impossible as the few routes out of town grow hopelessly clogged. And 100,000 people without transportation will be especially threatened."

In the years that followed, officials sought to anticipate a number of travel woes for residents with cars. It wasn't perfect, but thanks to smart traffic management, many hundreds of thousands of people were able to flee the area in advance of Katrina.

But the state never bothered to address the issue of the 100,000 people without cars "” among the poorest people in the state "” who were unable to leave no matter how badly they might have wanted to. The tragedy unfolding on television over the last few days has provided graphic testimony of that.

How could that have been allowed to happen? The Louisiana political machine in general, and the New Orleans political machine in particular, are famous for their ability to turn out the vote at election time. Legend has it that vans magically show up to transport voters to the polls and that meals or money can just as magically appear as rewards for votes well cast. Where were those vans when it came time to flee the city? Where are the hot meals and cold drinks now?

THE ANSWER HAS to do with the Louisiana government's long-standing lack of interest in the state's neediest residents. By nearly every socioeconomic measure available, the gap between our "haves" and our "have-nots" is stark. A few examples: The state's indigent defender program is in desperate need of reform, but change is being blocked by powerful political players with a vested interest in maintaining the system as it is. The high school dropout rate "” already tied for worst in the nation "” is rising despite much-touted accountability efforts that still fail to keep kids in school. The per-capita prisoner incarceration rate is the highest in the country without the accompanying high rates of crime, recent events in New Orleans notwithstanding. Kids Count, the annual ranking of child well-being, ranks Louisiana 49th for its overall performance, and no wonder: Nearly 50% of the state's children live in poverty (as do 15% of its residents over 65). In New Orleans, the Census Bureau reported that 27.9% of the population lives in poverty "” more than double the national average.

In Louisiana's most recent legislative session, the state saw an influx of tax revenues from the oil industry, increasing the state budget by more than $1 billion over the year before. But despite being flush with new money, somehow there wasn't enough to provide a much-needed salary increase for the state's public schoolteachers. Instead, state money went to legislators' pet projects, a nonsensical reservoir creation program and construction of a convention center hotel in the northwest corner of the state.

Clearly this was an indefensible allocation of resources given the importance of quality public education for any successful poverty reduction plan. Instead, Louisiana's plan for poverty has been limited to a series of so-called summits at which officials talk piously about the problem while doing nothing substantive.

Unfortunately, Louisiana's response to Katrina now appears to be coming from the same playbook.

For years, Louisiana has failed to address the needs of its poorest citizens "” despite politicians' reliance on that same population to maintain the political status quo at the state, parish and municipal level. The dirty secret of Louisiana's poverty politics is now broadcast for the world to see. At this point, the only question is how much longer the state's unwillingness "” or inability "” to serve vast segments of its population will continue to be tolerated.


Notice the key phrases here, in that state and local officials had no problem at all finding transportation to get those who vote, who are also in poverty, to make it to the polls, so that the Democratic Party can elect or re-elect individuals from within and outside the community into political office. When the alarm was sounded to evacuate the poverty stricken, many of whom also voted, no form of transportation is available. This being said, it is a bunch of crap to even insinuate that President Bush is the culprit, when as reality has it the local and state officials of the area, affiliated with the Democratic Party, used the voting poor to promote their concerns, while ignoring the plight of the underclass to be evacuated from the area in advance of Hurricane Katrina.


And all that jazz ...
New Orleans' pleasures are legendary, its amazements endless. What might seem a lovely infatuation can turn into a long-term love affair.

By Harry Shearer, HARRY SHEARER is a satirist and actor. He has a weekly show on KCRW.

September 4, 2005

TALK ABOUT love at first sight. A day-and-a-half visit, bracketed by carom-shot flights from Seattle via Dallas, and I was absolutely smitten with New Orleans. What was it, exactly, that snared me as it has so many others?

It was 1988, and I was visiting Jazzfest, the famous festival that so far exceeds the boundaries of its name as to embrace all the music that can claim Africa, the Caribbean and the American South in its roots. I had a couple of meals but nothing astonishing, aside from the sauce-upon-sauce tautology of eggs at Brennan's. What made me fall in love with New Orleans was, simply and inexplicably (like all great love affairs), New Orleans herself.

Two return visits that year, one in the blast furnace of August, sealed the deal. Bringing my then-new wife for her first visit, and watching her fall in love with the place, made it official; ultimately, we bought a place there, which we stay in as much as we can.

Here was a city in the United States but not of it "” the only city in our country where "culture" didn't solely mean "let's act like the classy Europeans do." Daily life had rhythms and meanings unknowable to the outside world "” nearly every square on the calendar has some special significance for the New Orleanian. The city has absolutely different ideas about life and death, and other little topics, from what the rest of America thinks. And it's as grandly welcoming to all comers as the employees in the brothels where, a century ago, on the pianos in the front parlors, jazz was born.

It is corrupt. God, is it corrupt. It's as crooked as the course of the river that gave it its nickname, the Crescent City. It is elegant. It puts on the most amazing airs, building cotton-candy hierarchies of faux royalty and stringing necklaces of plastic beads on the magnolias and live oaks at Carnival time.

It is poor. You may have noticed that almost everybody who didn't or couldn't evacuate was black. And it is fascinating in its racial histories and divides, a city where Creoles have ruled society and, lately, City Hall.

New Orleans partakes of Southern American folkways in its pace "” Caribbean slow "” and in its tendency to make every errand, every chance encounter an opportunity, if not an obligation, to "visit." Its pleasures "” food, music, architecture, the careening highs and lows of conversation that must sustain through three-hour dinners "” are legendary. Its amazements "” the above-ground cemeteries, the street musicians who could play in clubs if they wanted to take a pay cut, the children's Mardi Gras parade, the dog Mardi Gras parade, the Baby Dolls, the lore and the beauty of the Mardi Gras Indians "” are endless. Its cheesy side "” Bourbon Street, Canal Street, drunk college kids throwing up in the gutters "” gets too much attention, but confusing that side with New Orleans is like mistaking Disneyland for L.A. Worse, actually.

How much of this New Orleans, the "land of dreams," will be there when I get to go back, after the water has been pumped and drained, after the sediment has somehow been sucked up, after the debris has been cleared by the city's world-class cleanup crews? Already the speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), has hinted that he is reluctant to spend billions of federal dollars rebuilding the city, given its vulnerability (although he quickly tried to back off that statement).

The culture lives in its people; unlike Quebec, that culture isn't legislated. Will those people "” the musicians, chefs, sound engineers, writers, waiters, bartenders, hotel staff, photographers, mask makers "” have a way to make a living between now and then? It's easy to know how to make a contribution that will help the immediate relief effort. It's harder to know how to make a contribution that will answer that question.

Do I romanticize New Orleans? Yes and no. Every time I go back, I think to myself, "Maybe this was just a lovely infatuation, and now it's over." And then, every time I open the front door and stroll into the French Quarter for the first time, and look around and inhale the intoxicating mixture of divine cooking aromas and flowers and decay, I know that the affection has only deepened.

But I also live three blocks from the street corner where the best gospel singer/choir director/keyboardist I've ever seen and heard was dumped after he was murdered for his Lincoln Navigator.

The city has a real, cruel, savage side, and poverty certainly doesn't gentle that side down any.

The song asks, "Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?" I fear I do, in a way the songwriter never meant. The slowness of the official response to the situation, to the breach in the canal floodwall and to the needs of so many stranded people, means that I may be missing it for a long, long time.

Copyright Los Angeles Times


Yet more evidence to prove that President Bush is not responsible because the creoles are running their own "Good Old Boys and Girls" club to further oppress Black people to keep them in poverty, to which many of the creole affluent population are also Black people!


A NEW New Orleans

Forget crawfish étouffée -- look to ugly Houston for a vibrant economic model.

By Joel Kotkin,

Joel Kotkin, an Irvine Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, is the author of "The City: A Global History" (Modern Library, 2005)

September 4, 2005

BECAUSE THE OLD New Orleans is no more, it could resurrect itself as the great new American city of the 21st century. Or as an impoverished tourist trap.

Founded by the French in 1718, site of the first U.S. mint in the Western United States, this one-time pride of the South, this one-time queen of the Gulf Coast, had been declining for decades, slowly becoming an antiquated museum.

Now New Orleans must decide how to be reborn. Its choices could foretell the future of urbanism.

The sheer human tragedy "” and the fact that the Gulf Coast is critical to the nation' s economy as well as the Republican Party's base "” guarantee that there will be money to start the project. Private corporations, churches and nonprofits will pitch in with the government.

But what kind of city will the builders create on the sodden ruins?

The wrong approach would be to preserve a chimera of the past, producing a touristic faux New Orleans, a Cajun Disneyland.

Sadly, even before Hurricane Katrina's devastation, local leaders seemed convinced that being a "port of cool" should be the city's policy. Adopting a page from Richard Florida's "creative class" theory, city leaders held a conference just a month before the disaster promoting a cultural strategy as the primary way to bring in high-end industry.

This would be the easy, bankable way to go now: Reconstruct the French Quarter, Garden District and other historic areas while sprucing up the convention center and other tourist facilities. This, however, would squander a greater opportunity. A tourism-based economy is no way to generate a broadly successful economy.

For decades before this latest hurricane, public life, including the police force, were battered by corruption and eroded by inefficiency. Now Katrina has brought into public view the once-invisible masses of desperately poor people whom New Orleans' tourist economy and political system have so clearly failed.
Although the number of hotel rooms in the city has grown by about 50% over the last few years, tourism produces relatively few high-wage jobs. It encourages people to learn extraordinary slide trombone technique, develop 100 exquisite recipes for crawfish and keep swarms of conventioneers happy "” none of which are easy or unimportant tasks. But this economy does little to nurture the array of skills that sustain a large and diverse workforce. Contrary to Florida's precepts, having a strong gay community, lively street culture, great food, tremendous music and lively arts have not been enough to lure the "creative class" to New Orleans. The city has been at best a marginal player in the evolving tech and information economy.

Meanwhile, the tourism/entertainment industry is constantly under pressure from competitors. Once, being the Big Easy in the Bible Belt gave New Orleans a trademark advantage. But the spread of gambling along the Gulf has eroded that semi-sinful allure. Mississippi's flattened casinos, with their massive private investment, will almost certainly rise years ahead of New Orleans' touristic icons.

For all these reasons, New Orleans should take its destruction as an opportunity to change course. There is no law that says a Southern city must be forever undereducated, impoverished, corrupt and regressive. Instead of trying to refashion what wasn't working, New Orleans should craft a future for itself as a better, more progressive metropolis.

Look a few hundred miles to the west, at Houston "” a well-run city with a widely diversified economy. Without much in the way of old culture, charm or tradition, it has far outshone New Orleans as a beacon for enterprising migrants from other countries as well as other parts of the United States "” including New Orleans.

Houston has succeeded by sticking to the basics, by focusing on the practical aspects of urbanism rather than the glamorous. Under the inspired leadership of former Mayor Bob Lanier and the current chief executive, Bill White, the city has invested heavily in port facilities, drainage, sanitation, freeways and other infrastructure.

At least in part as a result of this investment, this superficially less-than-lovely city has managed to siphon industries "” including energy and international trade "” from New Orleans. With its massive Texas Medical Center, it has emerged as the primary healthcare center in the Caribbean basin "” something New Orleans, with Tulane University's well-regarded medical school, should have been able to pull off.

Attention to fundamentals has always been important to cities. Hellenistic Alexandria was built in brick to reduce fire dangers that terrified ancient urbanites, and it lived off its huge new man-made harbor. Rome built stupendous, elaborate water systems and port facilities to support its huge population.

Amsterdam and the Netherlands provide particularly relevant examples, as they offer great urban culture at or below sea level. For centuries the Dutch have coped with rising water levels with ingenious engineering. In this century, the most notable example was the determined response to the devastating 1953 North Sea storm, which killed more than 1,800 people. Responding with traditional efficiency, the Dutch built a massive system of dikes, completed in 1998, which has helped them to remain among the most economically and culturally vibrant regions in Europe.

Giving priority to basic infrastructure may not appeal to those who would prefer to patch the structural problems and spend money on rebuilding New Orleans as a museum, or by adding splashy concert halls, art museums and other iconic cultural structures. Ultimately, the people of the New Orleans region will have to decide whether to focus on resuscitating the Big Easy zeitgeist "” which includes a wink-and-nod attitude toward corruption "” or to begin drawing upon inner resources of discipline, rigor and ingenuity.

Some may argue that such a shift would diminish New Orleans' status in cultural folklore as a corrupt but charming waif. Yet that old ghost is probably already gone. Even a rebuilt, reconfigured Latin Quarter would no doubt seem more Anaheim than anti-bellum. In contrast, a new New Orleans "” a city with a thriving economy, a city of aspiration as well as memory "” would in time create its own cultural efflorescence, this time linked as much to the future as the past. This should be the goal of the great rebuilding process about to begin.

Copyright Los Angeles Times


The facts speak for themselves. Why is it that the affluent of Houston are more willing to promote fairness, and inclusion for all residents while the same cannot be said for New Orleans?

"For decades before this latest hurricane, public life, including the police force, were battered by corruption and eroded by inefficiency. Now Katrina has brought into public view the once-invisible masses of desperately poor people whom New Orleans' tourist economy and political system have so clearly failed. "

This more so than the unwarranted character assassination of President Bush is also part of the problem, for the intentional and blatant neglect of poverty stricken Black people in New Orleans.
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