Saturday, January 13, 2007

If New Orleans were a city in Iraq,
maybe it would be worth a 'surge'

I procrastinated like hell in putting together this week’s Big Show because, frankly, I’ve been at a loss for words. Plenty of being pissed. Not so much of being able to string words together intelligently.

On the show, we play the music of The Troublemakers, a band from New Orleans. Its lead singer and guitarist, Dr. Paul Gailiunas, got shot . . . shielding his two-year-old son from a fusillade unleashed by some feral being who also shot his wife, filmmaker Helen Hill. Paul was shot up but survived. Helen died on the spot.

And their child, Francis Pop, is now motherless. And Paul has left that dying, dysfunctional, violent, flood-ravaged city . . . has left New Orleans, where he dedicated his career to treating the poorest of the poor. He went to bury his wife in her native South Carolina, and he ain’t going back.

As I say on the podcast -- and this was the first time I've gone into a show absolutely furious -- I say that I have no idea whether Paul, the doctor to the poor, or Helen, who spent countless hours teaching people how to make their own films (and just being a friend to, apparently, everybody), ever thought that they, in their own ways, were being imitations of Christ.

But they were. And, Helen’s imitation of Christ led her all the way to Calvary.

In New Orleans last year, there were 161 insane, senseless murders in a city less than half the size of Omaha, Nebraska (Omaha's population: 420,000). And Helen Hill’s murder was one of eight murders there in the first week of the New Year.

Some conservative loudmouths love to proclaim the United States a Christian nation. But we alleged "Christians" -- ex-Christians? post-Christians? hypocritical Christians? -- have no problem that New Orleans was drowned because the levees broke during Katrina . . . because the feds built them, in effect, to fail.

We have no problem -- as a government "of the people, by the people and for the people" – that we left that city to die -- literally -- right after the storm.

We have, apparently, no problem that we have left it to die a slow death of decay, dysfunction and deviance après le déluge.

When Iraqis kill one another like madmen amid George's bloody little conflict, we send a “surge” of troops to fight a futile holding action in the middle of a foreign civil war.

When the same thing happens in an American city . . . .

Third World poverty and Third World mayhem are completely acceptable in Louisiana, but we’ll smash our military to bloody hell in Iraq to "bring order and freedom." Where is the order and freedom for New Orleans? For Detroit? For Washington, D.C.?

Any last words, President Kurtz . . . um, Bush?

"The horror. The horror."


Also on the show, we hear from the Hot 8 Brass Band, which lost its snare drummer, Dinerral Shavers, just before New Year's. He was driving down the street with his wife and stepkids when he took a slug to the back of the head, allegedly gunned down by some genius from the 'hood gunning for his teen-age stepson.

Apparently, it was a schoolhouse squabble. And a talented musician is dead because gangsta can’t aim straight.

This is New Orleans. This is America.


"Tell me, sir. What did President Kurtz . . . um, Bush, say before his presidency imploded?"

Your name.

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