All Articles Tagged "katrina"
When I first heard Kanye’s debut CD “College Dropout” my freshman year at school I played “Spaceship” so much I don’t think I even knew there were other tracks on the album until several months later. I didn’t even really struggle through college but I was working at Old Navy at the time so when Kanye said that line, “Let’s go back, back to the Gap Look at my check, wasn’t no scratch,” I was all over it. Then when I moved to New York after school and the guy in the third verse rapped about taking the dollar cab and coming home real late at night, I felt like playing the song for all the people who didn’t understand why I was busting my butt so hard at work—“ya’ll don’t know my struggle, you can max my hustle.”
But by that time I had broken up with Kanye musically and it was a hard fall. At first I played his CD like a daily ritual and on top of falling in love with every track he came to my campus the year the album came out and the concert was crazy. Between “Jesus Walks,” “All Falls Down,” and “Get ‘Em High” I had all the motivation I needed to say eff what everybody else is talking about, I can make it, and initially I appreciated that Kanye had that same attitude. But somewhere down the line things got foolish.
Innate cockiness plus money only made Kanye an even bigger a**hole than he proclaimed to be on that first album. One too many award shows went by without a win and he turned into a whiny, arrogant, sore loser and I was immediately turned off. I just wanted to scream at him, yes this album was great, but you’re not going to get anyone to buy into that greatness by acting an absolute fool at award shows. Of course we know that’s a lesson that took several more years for him to learn with his debacle with Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Music Awards. That situation honestly didn’t even phase me because I’d already given up on him at that point. He was truly living the words on “Can’t Tell Me Nothin.” “La, la, la, la wait ‘til I get my money right…then you can’t tell me nothing right.” We later realized the bottle of Hennessy he was carrying on the red carpet likely had a lot to do with his behavior, but I don’t doubt the money he had under his belt from four albums at that time had something to do with it as well.
By the time Ye made that colossal mistake, many people had already been done with him over his George Bush comments regarding Katrina. Although I knew that wasn’t the time or the place for Kanye to make that statement in 2006, I didn’t mind. Somebody needed to say it, and I was glad someone of his status had. That felt like the “College Dropout” Kanye who talked about buying our way out of jail but we can’t buy freedom. He was standing up for the voiceless in New Orleans but nowadays he seems to be living solely for himself.
I could be missing something since I haven’t listened to his music as closely as I did when he first came out but from the single’s he’s dropped his agenda is far from what it was. I felt him on “Gotta Have It” from “Watch the Throne” when he said “Hello, hello white America, assassinate my character,” but for the most part he’s been killing his own self publicly and this latest stunt with Kim Kardashian only proves it further. Kim not being black is the least of my long list of concerns about these two dating, but I can’t help but be reminded of his “Gold digger lyric,” But when he get on he leave you’re a** for a white girl.” Hmmm, self-fulfilling prophecy?
Every artist changes once they get in the game and it’s not surprising his subject matter would be different six albums in. He’s not the same dropout staying up all night making beats and writing rhymes but I am concerned about how much he’s been changed by the industry. It’s not as though he came in blind to what the deal was, he said “the people highest up got the lowest self esteem” and “the prettiest people do the ugliest things for the road to riches and diamond rings.” Was his acknowledgement of the problems plaguing the 1% not enough to shield him from its effects? Is he just content with flossing now because he’s felt so degraded by the media? Maybe I just had too high of hopes for Ye, that he would somehow keep talking about the real struggle in white America as his fame grew but now he seems perfectly assimilated, Kim K. in tow. I can’t imagine what it’s like to need to be reminded what 50 grand is when you’re a n***a in Paris but I do remember him mentioning “even if you’re in a Benz, you’re still a n***a in a coop.” I want Kanye to get that “College Dropout” passion back and start talking about some things of substance because at this point I can’t relate to anything he’s living between lyrics on dining with Ana Wintour and balling so hard mother effers gotta find him—and I’m not sure I want to.
Are you still feeling Kanye the way you did when he first came out?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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The case of the Danziger Bridge shootings in post-Katrina New Orleans is a story laden with accusations of police cover-ups and racism. For some, it’s further proof of the “open season on black people after Katrina.”
Only one thing is certain: it left two people dead and four maimed.
On Wednesday, the validity of that statement may come to light as the case goes to trial and the truth of what really happened begins to unfold.
According to NPR, the Danziger Bridge shootings have been called the “biggest police abuse case in the modern history of the New Orleans Police Department.” Federal prosecutors allege that police officers abused their power, resulting in the death of two unarmed civilians and the maiming of four others as they attempted to escape Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters.
The incident took place on Sept. 4, 2005, six days after the city was underwater. Police say they were responding to a call that civilians were shooting at police and were simply returning fire. Civilians say they were attempting to cross the half-mile long bridge when police opened fire. Seventeen-year-old James Brisette was killed as well as Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally and physically disabled man.
Madison’s brother, Lance Madison, and Susan Bartholomew, whose right arm was shot off during the shooting, are both set to testify. Former New Orleans police officer Michael Hunter is also expected to testify. In a sworn affidavit, Hunter describes officer “unjustified use of force” as well as an elaborate police cover-up.
Capt. Mike Glasser, president of the 800-member Police Association of New Orleans, emphasizes that even if the officers on trial are found guilty, they only represent a small minority in an “honorable, hard-working police force.
On a typical day that is…
Earthquakes are a rather routine occurrence in Los Angeles. When they occur, Facebook and Twitter are usually the preferred method of communication to check on friends and loved ones. This is because mobile phone networks are easily overwhelmed. Calls will not go through and text messages may not arrive until hours later.
During routine earthquakes that is…
The recent disaster in Japan should have changed the approach of Angelenos, its municipal government and first responders regarding a major disaster. Unfortunately, as of yet, it hasn’t.
Conventional earthquake preparedness in California preaches completely ineffective strategies. Historically, attention has been paid to the idea of a major land-based event with an urban epicenter: store water, stay away from power lines, stock up on non-perishables, keep a portable flashlight handy, etc. We all know the drill here in L.A.
The Pacific Ring of Fire, which lines virtually all landmasses facing the Pacific Ocean (including Los Angeles), was the origination point of the Japan quake. It is also responsible for the majority of earthquakes and volcanic activity on the planet. The recent 8.9 earthquake off the coast of Honshu created a tsunami that reached land within minutes and swept up inland by 10 miles. The 405 Freeway, which has earned the dubious distinction of being the most congested highway in the world, generally runs two-10 miles from the Pacific coastline as it snakes between Los Angeles and San Diego.
You should see where I’m going with this now.
To make matters worse, Los Angeles is bordered by not one, but two nuclear power plants–one north and the other south. Both are within two hour drives and also sit on the coast. Although local officials have maintained that the plants could withstand a comparable earthquake, there’s been little discussion as to the impact of a tsunami. If Japan is any guide, we should be more concerned with the tsunami and the radiation havoc it could wreak.
In short, the city of Los Angeles seems convinced that its infrastructure and residents are prepared at the minimum for an 8.9 earthquake on land. We are not. Move that same earthquake just slightly into the Pacific Ocean and the disaster increases exponentially. In the minutes following such an event, the coastal communities and the 405 freeway could be wiped out, if Japan is any guide. There will likely be a citywide loss of power and an overwhelmed mobile phone network. Imagine navigating a flooded city in the black of night with no power amid floating houses, bodies and aftershocks of 6.5 and higher.
If you thought the devastation of Hurricane Katrina was bad, this would be a hundred times worse.
Depending on one’s cynicism, whereas race and class played a huge role in New Orleans, such devastation in Los Angeles would be indiscriminate. The socioeconomic layout of Los Angeles is such that African-Americans would not be disproportionately impacted. It just means we’d all die together horribly, irrespective of race. Lower income and majority-minority neighborhoods are just as routinely found within 10 miles of the coast as majority-white ones.
Although nobody can predict the next major disaster in Los Angeles, we can remain diligent in petitioning our elected leaders to be proactive and not reactive in disaster preparedness.
Disaster preparedness must now include tsunami and radiation contingencies. There needs to be increased pressure placed on state officials to devise realistic evacuation strategies in the hours and days after a major earthquake. The disaster in Japan should not only mark the loss of life, but it should also serve as the starting point for saving thousands more in the future.
Morris W. O’Kelly (Mo’Kelly) is author of the syndicated entertainment and socio-political column The Mo’Kelly Report. For more Mo’Kelly, http://mrmokelly.com. Mo’Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and he welcomes all commentary. Follow Morris W. O’Kelly on Twitter: @mrmokelly
(New York Times) — A jury trial set to open on Monday will weigh whether one of America’s largest health care corporations should be held accountable for deaths and injuries at a New Orleans hospital marooned by floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina. The class-action suit is expected to highlight desperate e-mail exchanges, not previously made public, between the hospital and its corporate parent. “Are you telling us we are on our own and you cannot help?” Sandra Cordray, a communications manager at Memorial Medical Center, which sheltered some 1,800 people, wrote to officials at the Tenet Healthcare Corporation’s Dallas headquarters after begging them for supplies and an airlift.
The suit, brought on behalf of people who were at the hospital during the disaster, alleges that insufficiencies in Memorial’s backup electrical system and failed plans for patient care and evacuation, among other factors, caused personal injury and death. The complaint also focuses attention on the lack of comprehensive emergency preparedness requirements for the nation’s hospitals. Proposed regulations aimed at addressing “systemic gaps” identified after Katrina were scheduled for release by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in January, but have been delayed.President Obama’s budget proposal trims spending on a national hospital preparedness program by $42 million, or about 10 percent from current levels. The bodies of 45 patients were discovered at Memorial Medical Center after the August 2005 storm, far more than at any other hospital, and some doctors subsequently acknowledged that they had injected patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. No criminal charges were brought. Last year, a relative of a patient who died filed a civil claim of euthanasia against a Memorial doctor. It was dismissed and is on appeal. Staff members at Memorial said they did their best in the face of inhuman conditions.
(Wall Street Journal) — A former New Orleans police officer was convicted Thursday of fatally shooting a man in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath and another officer was convicted of burning the man’s body. A federal jury also convicted a third officer of writing a false report on the deadly shooting of 31-year-old Henry Glover. Two others were acquitted of charges stemming from the alleged cover-up. The jury of five men and seven women convicted former officer David Warren of manslaughter in the shooting death of 31-year-old Henry Glover outside a strip mall on Sept. 2, 2005. Prosecutors said Mr. Warren shot an unarmed man in the back.
(New York Times) — Federal and state officials and housing advocates announced on Monday the creation of a $133 million program to address housing problems that remain for poor Mississippi residents five years after Hurricane Katrina. The announcement comes after months of negotiations by officials from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Developmentand the Mississippi governor’s office and housing advocates on the coast, and could bring to a close a long-running dispute about the state’s spending of federal grant money after the hurricane.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Wins Injunction in Post-Katrina Housing Discrimination Case
(PR Newswire) – Today the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbiaissued an injunction protecting funds from the Road Home Program so that displaced homeowners can have an opportunity to show that Louisiana and HUD have distributed recovery funds in a discriminatory manner. The Road Home program is an $11 billion federally-funded program established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), now the Office of Community Development, to assist residents affected by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina to rebuild and return to their homes. HUD is responsible for overseeing Louisiana’s use of federal disaster recovery funding and assuring that the funds are used to promote equal housing opportunity.
Last month a lower court ordered Louisiana to stop using a formula based on pre-storm home values to calculate any future awards because it found the formula likely has a discriminatory impact on African-American home owners. But the same court in an earlier decision held that it could do nothing for homeowners who had already received awards based on the apparently discriminatory pre-storm formula. Today’s order helps ensure that the funds that have yet to be disbursed will be available to address the discrimination identified by the plaintiffs affecting homeowners who already received awards.
“Today’s ruling keeps open the pathway to justice for thousands of Louisiana homeowners who received grants based upon this discriminatory formula,” said John Payton, LDF President and Director-Counsel.
The State of Louisiana was ordered to temporarily freeze disbursement of surplus funds until the U.S. Court of Appeals for theDistrict of Columbia reaches a decision as to whether the lower court may grant relief to homeowners who previously received grants based upon the pre-storm value of their homes. This provides the opportunity for all homeowners to receive grants based on a non-discriminatory formula.
The suit was filed in November 2008 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of five individual plaintiffs representing a class of more than 20,000 African-American homeowners and two fair housing organizations, the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and the National Fair Housing Alliance. The law firms of Cohen, Milstein Sellers & Toll and WilmerHale are co-counsel.
(Washington Post) — Five years after Hurricane Katrina, the rebuilding of the Big Easy has created a new community of Latino immigrants in this famously insular city, redrawing racial lines in a town long defined by black and white. Although the overall number of Latinos isn’t huge, the population continues to grow and has had an outsize impact on the culture of this proudly eccentric city and on how people here view their home town. More than three-quarters of the 1.1 million residents in the New Orleans area were born in the state, compared with just 30 percent of residents in the Washington region. Many locals still point to long-defunct businesses as landmarks. Recipes at some beloved restaurants haven’t changed in 40 years.
(CNN) — From the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico to Washington, critics charge that the Obama administration didn’t act fast enough after the April 20 oil rig explosion and subsequent spill. Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh called the incident “Obama’s Hurricane Katrina.” A Palm Beach Post editorial stated that Obama “acted way too much like George Bush after Katrina.” A Washington Examiner headline read: “Gulf oil spill becoming Obama’s Katrina: A timeline of presidential delay.”
A Post probe found scant evidence that New Yorkers Organized to Assist Hurricane Families (NOAH-F), founded by Queens Rep. Gregory Meeks, did much of anything at the Radisson Hotel in Queens, which housed roughly 200 Katrina evacuees for months. The group raised at least $31,000 but, according to tax records, doled out only $1,392.