Monday, June 21, 2010

Treme - John Boutte

I enjoyed watching the finale of Treme last night and think that the show is an important reflection of both the spirit and culture of New Orleans and the difficulties that we face as a city and a country.

But, putting all that aside, I think that there is one inarguable truth about Treme that everyone should agree on. John Boutte, who sings the opening song and who has been featured throughout the first season, deserves to be famous. He sounds like Sam Cooke (which was joked about in the finale), while still sounding distinctly John Boutte. I hope that he still plays for free at DBA on Saturdays if he gets huge but I will still count myself lucky to have seen him there so many times if he doesn't.

I frequently find myself bitching about all of New Orleans' troubles but John Boutte is way up on my New Orleans gratitude list, along with roast beef po-boys (I would say oyster po-boys but that has become complicated recently), Mardi Gras, and long pine floorboards, that make it more than worth the effort.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Shakedown Your Congressman!

I lack the words to express my frustration at the continued environmental devastation caused by the oil gushing into the Gulf, destroying peoples' lives, killing animals, and devastating the already compromised wetlands that are essential New Orleans' capacity to withstand hurricanes.

So outrage is not even vaguely sufficient to articulate my response to hearing Texas Representative Barton apologize to BP CEO Hayward today during the Congressional hearing on the spill and to lambaste the Obama administration for compelling BP to create a $20B fund to compensate the people and governments impacted by the gusher:

"It is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown."

This has received a great deal of press today, almost exclusively critical, but it bears mentioning that this is not an isolated Republican perspective but, in fact, the Republican Study Committee, a group of over 100 Conservative Republican congressmen, issued a similar statement yesterday calling the BP fund a "Chicago Style Political Shakedown."

We are drowning in oil along the Gulf and maniac Conservatives remain so committed to their pro-corporate, liberterian ideology that they take BP's side against the people who will see some benefit, however inadequate, from this fund.

As cynical as I am, I was surprised to see Gulf Coast politicians on the list of Republican Study Committee members. Call them or email them and register your disgust:

Steve Scalise (LA-01)
Connie Mack (FL-14)
Jeff Miller (FL-01)