Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pondering Guns

Thinking a little bit about the controversy surrounding the D.C. Gun Ban and the political and legal firestorm it has produced, I have been wondering about the following hypotehtical:

If someone has a concealed-carry permit, does that person have the right to surreptitiously bear arms on the private property of another (i.e. a ranch, home, private nightclub, or business building, etc.) who bans firearms on his property? Also, does a property owner have the right to conduct a physical search of someone on his or her property for concealed weapons?
I ask these questions because I'm just not sure of the legality of the issue. I know that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives a person the constitutional right to bear arms, but I know that there are limits to such a right, as there are to any rights. Just how far does the right to bear arms go and how does it match up against the rights of individual property owners to limit those rights in the exercise of their own rights?

Friday, April 25, 2008

MBH Pottery

It's that time of the month when Mrs. Huckupchuck will be displaying her pottery wares at the Arts Market of New Orleans. I wrote about Mrs. Huckupchuck's first foray into the Arts Market last month here.

She's got some lovely stuff and she'll be set up in Booth #48 again, I think. I hope the weather is nicer than last month's Arts Market day, which was a bit dreary and a little rainy in the afternoon.

Please do feel free to drop by and say hello. She's not a blogger herself, but she follows my blog and thus she has an appreciation for the NOLAblogger community. As I said in my previous posting on the subject, Mrs. Huckupchuck is very sociable and gregarious (not to mention beautiful!)

You can see her at her potter's wheel here. As usual, I'll be doing my Saturday daddy routines with my daughters, so I'll be in and out of the Arts Market during the day.

UPDATE: Saturday, April 26, 6:10PM -- What a miserable day for an outdoor market. Not only was attendance at the Arts Market low (credit that to Jazz Fest) and hence sales pretty paltry, but we got absolutely drenched when we packed up to come home. And there's nothing I loathe more in the world than soaked socks. Oh, well ... maybe better luck next month!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why Can't Obama Put Hillary Away and Close the Deal?

This is a common narrative being circulated by the Clinton campaign. I guess it makes sense as a strategy to make Obama seem unelectable and to try to sway superdelegates accordingly; but what baffles me is that this very same narrative doesn't really do Hillary any favors, either. It projects a kind of petty weakness that one always tends to see with the second-best loser. In other words, Hillary herself can't "put Obama away" herself! The best she can do is to prevent Obama from winning outright.

Even more revealing to me is that this narrative of Hillary always playing the underdog comeback kid (albeit a comeback kid who can never really stage a comeback that will give her the lead) is so dramatically different than the narrative of some 5-6 months ago of Hillary being the prohibitive and nearly unassailable favorite to win.

I mean, really, if Obama can't put Hillary away for good, and if Hillary is guaranteed to finish second fiddle in all categories of electability to Obama (pledged delegates, number of states won, more popular votes, etc.), what does this say about Hillary's capacity to put anyone away herself?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Baracky Obamalboa

Sometimes you have to give yourself credit when credit is due and when no one else gives it to you.

Much is being made these days of this YouTube:



Well, folks, I coined the term Baracky Obamalboa more than two months ago, long before Pennsylvania came into play. Here's what I wrote then:

Baracky Obamalboa: An electoral candidate who demonstrates a toughness of character that defines the ability of a wiry and tenacious underdog in an electoral fight to beat the champ through force of will, rigorous preparation, an inspirational message, and an irrepressible hope. [Queue the theme music: Trying hard now! Getting strong now! Gonna fly now! Flying high now!]
Damn, I'm good!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rightwing Political Correctness

I have been watching with growing amusement (and a bit of annoyance, too) as conservatives of privilege have been berating Obama for his politically-incorrect slight against blue-collar white Americans. Well, recently Jonathan Chait of the New Republic wrote a fantastic little piece that exposes the brazenness and contradictions of this trend as only Chait can. Here's a taste of what he wrote:

Barack Obama's comments about the white working class have thrown the political campaign into a particularly comic spasm of pretense and hypocrisy, but I was planning to let it go, I really was, until George F. Will decided to leap to the defense of the proletariat. Yes, that George F. Will. The fabulously wealthy, bow tie-wearing, pretentious reference-mongering, Anglophilic fop who grew up in a university town as a professor's son, earned two advanced degrees, has a designated table at a French restaurant in Georgetown, and, had he dwelt for any extended time among the working class, would be lucky to escape without his underwear being yanked up over his ears. Will devoted his column to expressing his displeasure at Obama's "condescension" toward the working class.

...

Blue-collar whites now occupy the same position in American politics that people of color hold in the smaller political subculture of academia: a victim-hero class whose positions (usually as interpreted by outsiders) enjoy the presumption of moral superiority.

...

Since blue-collar whites have been trending Republican, conservatives enjoy a presumptive affinity and have taken it upon themselves to police the political culture for any affronts against their favored class.
Seems like conservatives have learned quite well from, and have embrace with a certain amount of shameless gusto, the notion of "political correctness" that they pretend to deplore and despise. Read all of Chait's piece. It's wonderful.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tribute to AshMo

Chris Rose has a very nice column in today's Times-Picayune honoring the life and memory of the inimitable Dr. Ashley Morris. In his column, he mentions a number of NOLA blogosphere regulars.

Speaking of NOLA blogosphere regulars, what's up with the Library Chronicles? I can't seem to access it because Blogger is telling me it is for "invited" guests only. And, to my knowledge, I haven't been invited. Now I feel left out! :-(

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cuarenta

Lordy, lordy, Huck is 40. Today.

Tax day, the day Lincoln was shot, and the day the Titanic sunk.

An auspicious day, indeed.

Now, I need to go find my mid-life crisis.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Church Closings

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has plans to shutter or merge a fair number of churches, some of which have dedicated communities and are financially sound. The reason, according to the Archdiocese, is the lack of available priests to pastor the parishes. Well, I think this plan is foolish, especially in the wake of Katrina when communities and neighborhoods need their Churches to cling to for spiritual comfort and a sense of community belonging.

I was particularly moved by a question posed by New Orleans community activist and blogger, Karen Gadbois, in a recent article published in the Times-Picayune. She asked:

"What happens to a neighborhood when your church is gone?"
I was struck by that question because it gets at the heart of why maintaining churches is all the more important following such a catastrophic and traumatic event like Katrina for neighborhoods and communities. It is so very true that churches are places where neighborhoods gather to mourn, celebrate, and find solace together. When I think about it this way, it is clear to me that the Archdiocese should be building more churches in communities instead of shuttering them. Places of worship aren't just of value when there's a priest always in residence. Many isolated and remote communities throughout the world have open churches that may get a visit by a priest once a month. But the church still fulfills an important social function nonetheless. Communities are bound more closely together and are enriched by having churches with a living history and a community legacy right in the neighborhood.

I understand the Archdiocese's rationale at one level, but shuttering churches to deal with a priest shortage is not the way to address the issue. There must be other ways than to inflict such an unnecessary spiritual wound on communities already wounded in other ways.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Obama the Snob?

What to make of the latest pummeling of Obama? Well, I'm not worried in the least. Wonder why? Let me put it like this ...

What I love about Obama is that he can take it all on the chin and come out fighting, not only beating back the attacks in the process, but standing up stronger for it.

People are tired of the same-old, same-old petty drivel that has passed for politics in recent years. It's partly why McCain, the "Maverick," captured the GOP nomination and why Hillary the "Annointed One" has to draw from the Rove/Morris playbook to try to stem the appeal of Obama, whose nomination is virtually in the bag.

But I have to give it to the cynics and hyperpartisans out there, on both sides of the aisle: their style of baseless and exaggerated attack-dog politics doesn't die easily. The practitioners of this kind of politics of yesteryear, a kind of politics so despised by most Americans, are pretty tenacious in fighting against the changing tide of seriousness, thoughtfulness, and candor that someone like Obama brings to the table. I find Obama's style of politics to be quite refreshing given what we're used to. (And, to be fair, I have to say that there are some conservative politicians, too, as much as I vigorously disagree with their policy positions, whose style of politics I find equally refreshing for the same reasons. I have to admit that I think of Bobby Jindal, as distasteful as I find his conservative agenda to be, as such an individual.) I think Americans are aching for people with dispositions like Obama and Jindal. And the ideologues on both sides better beware they don't underestimate their appeal. Obama is not perfect, and he has (and will) make mistakes: but it's precisely because of how he plays the game of politics that these mistakes are likely not to cost him as much as some people think they will, and why people are willing to listen to what he has to say in defense of himself when he makes a mistake or flubs the delivery of a point.

I could be wrong, but I predict that Obama will handle this latest salvo against him as he usually does: honestly, forthrightly, and sincerely. And people, I think, are disposed to give him some breathing space for this. I predict further that he will finish as strongly, if not more strongly, in the race for the Democratic Party nomination.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Diciendo Adios

Today, I attended Ashley Morris's funeral. I was only able to make the memorial service, but couldn't stay for the procession and burial because of other commitments. I'm glad I was able to be there for the time that I was and to pay my respects. I think it's worth noting that Ashley, in this last goodbye, got me together, for the first time, with people whom I had never met before in person. Celsus was there and was the first to introduce himself to me. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Celsus and I had a network of connections from undergraduate college days, though we never knew each other back then. Through Celsus, I became acquainted with other bloggers: Leigh from Liprap's Lament - The Line; Jeffrey; NOLA Cleophatra, G Bitch, and others. It was great to meet and see all these folks, almost all for the first time. Another final accomplishment for which Ashley can claim credit.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Lusher Connection

Come to find out, Ashley Morris and I had more in common than I knew. We both have a daughter in Kindergarten at Lusher. Only just a homeroom separated my daughter from Ashley's daughter. And though they didn't have the chance to bond and forge the kinds of friendships that being in the same kindergarten class brings with it, they both knew each other. I can tell you that in addition to the blogger community, the Lusher community will rally for Hana and the Morris family. Ashley's funeral is this Friday. Details are here. I couldn't help but to smile upon reading this little note about the funeral: "Attire is either formal or SAINTS (or combination)" Regretfully, I never took Ashley up on his invitation to stop by his pad and visit him when he was with us. I'm not planning to miss his goodbye.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Blogging On

How and when does one move forward in a medium when that medium has gone through such a jolt as the passing of one of its anchors. I only knew Ashley Morris through his blog and through a few private email exchanges, but I have been hard-pressed, unmotivated, and somewhat unenthused about returning to my own blog and to do something with it. It's almost like my blog withered and died along with Ashley. But I know it hasn't. I know I still have things to say. And I know that Ashley would want me (would want all of his fellow bloggers, for that matter) to keep saying.

But the mourning has yet to run its course. First and foremost, there is a great need to help his family pick up the pieces of this tragedy and plan for the inevitable "nexts." rememberashleymorris.com is one vehicle through which one can help. Please consider helping however you can.

I have thought of Ashley every day since we were crushed by the horrible news. I spent all day yesterday, Saturday, at the Lusher Charter School annual crawfish boil. I don't know this for sure, but I gathered from some circulating commentary at the crawfish boil that Ashley was perhaps a Lusher Parent. I can imagine the Lusher crawfish boil as an event that Ashley would be drawn to. Regardless, the fact is that I thought of Ashley yesterday and imagined him there. And I wondered if his children were there, too, trying to have some Saturday fun in what must be anything but a fun Saturday for them.

Today, I went to another community festival event: Celebracion Latina. We were at Lawrence Square on the corner of Magazine and Napoleon. There was some fabulous music and dancing. And one of those infamous mobile taco trucks set up and served some delicious food. And I thought of Ashley being there, too, and just soaking in another part of the diversity of this great city he called home. A man just doesn't subscribe to the Cuban Revolutionary Newspaper Granma and not have a soft spot for his Latino brothers and sisters.

I'm sure I'll think about Ashley often. And probably mostly on this very blog. No doubt more often than I ever did before. Will being a NOLA blogger ever be the same? How do we NOLA bloggers move through this? If the cause of this dilemma were the death of any other NOLA blogger, Ashley would no doubt be the first to walk us through this. But fate is cruel and we don't have him here for that now. So I guess we'll just have to figure this one out on our own.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Dr. Ashley Morris, R.I.P.

Ashley Morris has passed away unexpectedly and suddenly. He was one of the first of the NOLAbloggers to reach out to me without knowing me personally. It says volumes that a man I never met personally would send me an email, offer me his old copies of the Cuban revolutionary newspaper Granma, and issue an open-ended invitation to pass by his home and visit any time. It will be one of my biggest regrets that I never took him up on his offer, always thinking there would be tomorrow. I am speechless, stunned, and so sad. One could tell from his blog that he was clearly one of the big hearts of New Orleans and for New Orleans. Please keep his wife Hana, their children, and his whole family in your thoughts and prayers.

Ashley was fond of saying often in his blog posts: Sinn Fein, which means "Ourselves alone."

For sure, we are all more lonely tonight without Ashley. We'll miss him. New Orleans will miss him. Sinn Fein.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

How Campaign Donations to Hillary End Up In Obama's Warchest

I just loved this little tidbit from the Daily Intel blog over at the New York Magazine online:

Clinton also had a staggering $8.7 million in debts, not even including the $5 million she loaned her own campaign. Indeed, the Hillary machine has taken to stiffing various small vendors. One New Hampshire doctor rented a building he owns to Clinton; it took so long for the campaign to pay him that he decided to forward its $500 check to Obama.
The emphasis in the above citation is mine. Now, I wonder if Hillary's campaign contributors like the fact that some percentage of their donation is helping Obama in his campaign against her? I imagine things like this happen more frequently than we think for all the campaigns, but it's still gotta hurt to see a concrete example of it coming out of the campaign of the candidate you support and to whom you may even have sent a few of your hard earned dollars.

Celebracion Latina

This coming Sunday, there is a great community event being planned in New Orleans that promises to be lots of fun. It's our annual Celebracion Latina!

























Here's some more info:

CELEBRATE LATIN AMERICA AT THE LIBRARY!!
CelebraciĆ³n Latina will feature food, music, and other entertainment, all with a Latin American flavor.

PERFORMANCES
Join us for Latin and Caribbean musical performances from Juan-Carlos Formell, Hector Navarro, Calliope Puppets, Rumba Buena, AsheSon and Casa Samba.

CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES
CelebraciĆ³n Latina will also have a children’s area hosted by the Pebbles Center and the New Orleans Public Library featuring art, music and dance.

FOOD & COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Local food vendors will be selling their favorite Latin dishes. Our "Community Partner" tent will promote non-profit and community organizations, many working in partnership with Tulane University, to make a difference in New Orleans.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information, please call 504-865-5164
Show your solidarity with the local Latino Community and plan to come out. I'll be there all day, and the family will be there for a good chunk of the time, too. Great music, food, drinks, and family fun. Please come out!