Showing posts with label state capitol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label state capitol. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I've seen this movie before. It still sucks

I am a Southerner by birth. I am over 50. I've seen just about everything playing at the Trump Film Festival before . . . back when it was the White Citizens' Film Festival.

The lineup of smutty movies hasn't improved with age. For that matter, neither has America

And the posters in the lobby are still misspelled.

Show me a jackleg American fascist wearing a Make America Great Again baseball cap, and what I see is a self-satisfied Southern fascist, circa 1965, whose sense of his "American" superiority vastly outstripped his facility with the king's "Engliss." Hateful bullies rained stink bombs onto the public square then, and today's thuggish postmillennial retreads do it still.

The picture above is from the July 5, 1965, edition of the Baton Rouge, La., State-Times. On Independence Day, the bowels of hell retched up a "We the People" rally of self-styled "conservatives" at the Louisiana State Capitol, about a quarter mile due south of where I came into this world 4½ years before.You'll see much the same today -- "We the (White) People" festivals of the aggrieved, just with stupider headwear.  Today's Golden Calf is an orange ass (Donald Trump), and the banner of the Civil War's second-place team flies defiantly over the proceedings.


Click on photos for large versions

The array of targets -- the breadth of humanity deemed The Other -- has grown these past 53 years. The capacity for spelling basic English words by angry and aggrieved white people still belies any pretensions of actual supremacy.

George Wallace, on the other hand, was a lot better stump speaker than Donald of Orange.

Yeah, I've seen this movie before.

THIS STORY (and these photos) from the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate that summer day-after in 1965 ought to be familiar to those who've picked up a newspaper from time to time the past couple of years.

Really familiar.

NO DOUBT about it, when a country -- or a state, or a region -- goes full fascist, The Other suffers badly. But as a white man born into a fascist system in a fascist state -- and Jim Crow was a fascist system, and Louisiana was (and still largely is) a fascist state -- I can tell you that as bad as the suffering inflicted upon the persecuted is, the persecutors' spiritual and cultural self-disfigurement may well be the greater of the horrors.

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Jesus said that; it's in Matthew. "Good Christian people" had trouble with that one in 1965 . . . and they have trouble with it now. See "Trump, Donald -- evangelical support for."

If you don't believe me, look at these pictures from my childhood long ago and far away. Look at the faces. It's all there, and the worst speller in the world couldn't make it any less clear.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

A thousand miles and a country away

This is the Louisiana state capitol in Baton Rouge.

As you can see, it's roughly the same age as and slightly resembles another of the United States' few skyscraper capitol buildings (below).

This is Nebraska's state capitol in Lincoln.
It's a little shorter, a little cleaner of design and a little older than Louisiana's, but similar nonetheless.

the inscriptions on both states' sky-reaching statehouses, this one on the Cornhusker State's is one you'd never find in a million years on Louisiana's. This sentiment is fundamentally alien to the culture of the latter and, thus, to how it is governed.

You'd also never find a statue of Abraham Lincoln on the capitol grounds in Louisiana, but that's not important now.

Anyway, the thought occurred to this transplanted Louisianian as I was snapping some photos at Nebraska's capitol Saturday. I just thought I'd share because of another thought that came to me some time earlier.

You see, in those 1,100 miles between where I live now in Omaha and where I was born and raised in Baton Rouge lies a night-and-day difference in cultures, concepts of self-governance and -- for all intents and purposes -- countries. All that in a couple of days' drive and a lifetime's worth of mindset.

Funny, isn't it?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Gone with the wind after 252 years


The old Boyd oak is falling in the storm

All the huge, green branches blowing down. . . .
Gustav took our tree out in the gale
I don't think that we can take it
'Cause God took so long to make it
And we'll never have that live oak tree again
(with apologies to Jimmy Webb)

The last of the great live oaks on the Capitol grounds in Baton Rouge deserves better than a "MacArthur Park" ripoff, but that's just what happened to come to mind.

It's not all hot gumbo and cold beer being a Baby Boomer, you know.

I TOOK the above picture of the Louisiana State Capitol 20 years ago through the massive limbs of what was called the Thomas Boyd oak, named after the LSU president who presided over the Ol' War Skule when it sat where Huey Long's legacy now reaches for the sky.

Was called the Thomas Boyd oak. Hurricane Gustav put it in the past tense while he was attending to the rest of south Louisiana -- particularly Baton Rouge.

And I'll never take that picture of the Capitol again.

Here's the story from The Advocate:
A tree that had seen more than 250 years of history at the State Capitol — the last of three historic live oaks remaining in the Formal Gardens — was downed by Hurricane Gustav.

The Thomas Boyd oak, with its large branches held off the ground by cables just high enough for passers-by to bend under, was uprooted by the winds that swept through Baton Rouge.

“That was our major loss,” said Mathilde Myers, assistant horticulture manager for the Office of State Buildings.

Back in the 1700s, Myers’ ancestors, the Cabo de Gonzales family, owned land that ran through the Pentagon Barracks to the Arsenal Garden area, she said.

“It was a horticultural garden back then as well,” Myers said. “It wasn’t just for growing row crops or sugar cane. It was more aesthetic-type gardens. It was more for the love of plants.”

The Thomas Boyd oak was once part of a tree trio in the Capitol garden, accompanied by the Annie Boyd oak and Nicholson oak.

The Boyd oaks were named for Col. Thomas Duckett Boyd, president of LSU from 1896 to 1927, and his wife, Anna Fuqua Boyd.

The Annie Boyd oak was uprooted during Hurricane Betsy in 1965.

The Nicholson oak, named for LSU math professor and two-time LSU President James S. Nicholson, was already declining after it was struck by lightning and had to be taken down in 2000.

A story in the 1961 Morning Advocate quotes the first grounds superintendent, Euberne Eckert, saying he took borings of the tree in 1941.

Based upon his estimate, the oak’s age in 2008 could be 252 years.

“It will make a real impact, as far as a feeling of loss,” Myers said.

“It was the centerpiece of the garden,” said Louis Wolff, horticulture manager for the Office of State Buildings. “It’s really going to change the overall look of the garden.”

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hot boudin . . . cold cush cush!
C'mon Tigers, shoot, shoot, shoot!

State legislatures need to come with "black box" warnings, much like pharmaceuticals with potentially deadly side effects -- when stupid people get a hold of them, really bad things can happen.

And with Ernest Wooten in occupying a desk in the Louisiana House, that black box ought to cover an entire side of the 34-story state capitol. This story in the Baton Rouge Advocate is scary testimony to that:

Proposed state legislation would make it legal for some students and faculty to carry handguns on college campuses as a “deterrent” against the wave of college shootings in Baton Rouge and nationwide.

State Rep. Ernest Wooten, R-Belle Chasse, is proposing the controversial bill that could arm more people on campuses from dormitories to classrooms.

“We’ve got a problem,” Wooten said, “and maybe it’ll be a deterrent if one of these disturbed persons or whackos thinks, ‘If I go in shooting, they may shoot back.’”

In the last few months, two international students at LSU were murdered in their on-campus apartment. Weeks later, a Louisiana Technical College student in Baton Rouge murdered two students in a classroom before killing herself.

The recent string of college murders nationwide began with the rampage murders of 33 Virginia Tech students last year.

State Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Savoie said Wooten’s proposal is going in the wrong direction. There should be fewer guns at colleges, not more, Savoie said.

Too many young people are still emotional and immature when it comes to firearms, he said, noting that campuses have already beefed up security measures statewide.

“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to arm a bunch of excitable students,” Savoie said.

Wooten’s House Bill 199 would make it legal to carry licensed concealed handguns on all state colleges, from technical schools to universities.

Not only that, but the bill also would forbid colleges from enacting policies to limit the rights of gun owners from carrying concealed handguns on campuses.

FOR. THE. LOVE. OF. GOD. I mean, really. Is there really anybody with half a brain who thinks that it would be a good thing to have a bunch of college kids packing heat?


Obviously, not all college kids are the same, and not all are excitable doofuses. On the other hand, if we can't always trust students to do something as simple as behave at football games -- or not drink themselves into oblivion long before their 21st birthdays -- isn't it pretty safe to assume it's probably not a good idea to arm a bunch of kids who still await maturation of the risk-aversion part of their brains?

College bars have double-drunk Tuesdays for a reason, people. It's called "getting rich."

Can't wait until all the boys from Kappa Tappa Kegga -- armed to the teeth, because it's the "cool" thing to be -- stream out of Friday-afternoon classes and into a Friday-night alcoholic haze. Maybe if Rep. Wooten is lucky, one of them will accidentally shoot and kill America's Next Campus Shooter.

Or maybe they'll just kill some poor Phi Beta Kappa as they show off their chrome-plated manhood while trying to impress some girl.

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it: Wooten thinks pistol-packing collegians would be a "deterrent" to the next Seung-Hui Cho.

“We’ve got a problem,” Wooten said in The Advocate story, “and maybe it’ll be a deterrent if one of these disturbed persons or whackos thinks, ‘If I go in shooting, they may shoot back.’”

Uhhhhhh . . . why would that be, when all the recent campus shooters ended their rampages by putting a bullet IN THEIR OWN HEADS? For future reference, the threat of death is no deterrent to suicidal whackos.

The key word being "whacko" . . . or "suicidal" -- take your pick.

Unfortunately, neither is stupidity a deterrent for some people seeking public office . . . or the voters who put them there. It really doesn't take a MENSA candidate to figure out that if you want more armed people on campus to deal with crazed killers, you hire more campus cops.

It's as simple as that. Unless you're paid to make the laws.