News we can use

Pitiful. What else can one say? That’s the first impression I get from our Advocate this morning. First a headline: “Letters ask Landrieu to oppose Senate bill.” OK, “letters” don’t ask anything, people ask. Letters convey the question asked. So who wrote the letters? 14 Louisiana chambers of commerce and trade associations, our the paper tells us. Or is it the paper? No, it is Gerald Shields. Who could have written much more informative “14 business groups opposed to health care bill.” Which? Beats me. In a 3 inch wide and 10 inch deep article with several hundred words and there is not a peep about such useful information.

We are told, though, that the business groups – some of which are chambers of commerce and some of which are trade associations, though we know not how many of each, nor from what part of the mush swamp they come from – are opposed to the bill. Now, I have a fair idea of who is who in this game. That’s because I spent 1985 to 2000 driving around the state meeting with such chambers and associations. Dozens of them. And nearly every food producing factory. And trade shows no less than every three weeks. And conferences and meeting and charettes and networking meetings, and more. I have been to 60 of the 64 parishes, in great detail, from city towers to suburban convention centers to rural roads to out in the alligator, crawfish and rice fields. I was involved. I created jobs, or at least helped create them. I even goaded the first Louisiana Music Directory in existence, which now, 17 or so years later is still the most complete compendium of the music industry in the state, which helps people connect, which creates jobs. Other readers of this article are most likely not so well informed.

Our Advocate will not inform of us who is invovled in writing such letters as to make their front page. Perhaps they feel we would not know or care. The one Shields does mention is the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. It’s common acronym is LABI. It’s been around for decades. It’s big. It encompasses hundreds, if not thousands, of companies. It’s like, you know, nearly every business in the state. They are always involved. They even are invovled in LOBO. And that’s the Lousiana Ordinance Buying Organization, which, if still around (I have not checked in a few years,) is throwing together trade shows for industries representing tens of thousands of employees across the state. LOBO was started in World War II, about which probably not a word is said in our National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Business is never the hero anymore, only the goat and the fat cow that can be milked into sublime compliance with socialist measures. Still, without all that LOBOing, there would have been precious little for our boys on the beaches of Normandy to hurl at the National Socialists which were bringing their brand of joyful socialism to Europe.

Funny, though, isn’t it, that LABI’s acronym is pronounced “lah-bee”? Which is damn close to Lobby. Which is what LABI does. They do lobby, as they are in this letter. But that’s just a coincidence of language art.

Meanwhile, Shields says LABI leads the way and “congratulated Landrieu for securing about $300,000,000 for state government…” There he goes again. Landrieu “secured” nothing except a two page legal description of Louisiana in a 2000+ page. Who knows? It ebbs bigger by the hour, as fast as whoever can type it up. Our “one” Socialist in the Senate, Bernie Sanders actually introduced a 760 page legal description of “Thou Shall Be Insured” into the 2000 pages piled around as an “amendment.” The Republicans made the Senate Clerk read the darn thing, and Sanders was having none of that. Read my amendment? No one reads my stinkin’ amendment. He must have asked himself that, and then thought the better of it, and pulled the “amendment” from consideration. Sort of “if I can’t win you can’t play with my ball” petulance, if you ask me. Now, that “about $300,000,000 (and when you don’t know the amount shouldn’t you be worried?) in a bill that LABI wants stopped. How secure will it be then? Why, it will be unsecured indeed. And if Landrieu does vote NO – As She Should – then there will be no … what? It was said to be $100,000,000, and then $300,000,000. Now here it is “about” some number or another. It’s not as amophous as the $175, $200, and $275, and about some odd millions that are ready to be begged for as a federal prize for education. Our Advocate has still not examined that number the way it looks at the Saints game performance. The question, then, is: if Landrieu votes no, as LABI wants, do they take back their congratulations? Do they say, just, um… ooops? It is a conundrum indeed.

But look at the way the Advocate covers sports. We have a point by point, yard by yard, base by base, hit by hit, play by play break down of games galore. Astounding amounts of information crammed into the sports pages. So much that they use 8 point type to get across the information. So much that it often spills onto the front page. Today it is about the fact that the Saints have to ask permission of the NFL to televize the next game in Baton Rouge on regular TV. Well, the Saints, prepared as always, did ask officially just yesterday. Knowing that they were in the winningest season they ever had. Knowing that at their 8th or 9th win the buzz would be enormous and the demand high, and as their 10th win came, then the 11th, and then the 12th raised our hopes to an audacious high, and the 13th went into the bag, the Saints dilly dallyed and waited until yesterday to ask for permission to do something that was obviously going to be needed to be done. I will not comment on the rational for not allowing games to be broadcast by any station willing to pay whatever fee the NFL and the Saints require on top of their dozens of millions of tax payer subsidies already. They do have a high overhead, what with 40 or so millionaires running around the field in tight pants.

Yet, still, obviously the readership of the Advocate is more than capable of handling the minute of such things. And they can keep track of LSU and all the other U’s running around fields across America. Not to mention ball bouncers and ball smackers and ball throwers of all sorts and kinds. The Advocate must think so because they publish such details. And I think so because I have met many people around Louisiana who are not only able to keep track of various sports folks, and Tiger Woods’ mistress count, and the number of dogs that Michael Vick killed as well as where he is playing today, but they also keep track of their houses, their kids, their jobs, their churches. My, the amount of information that we are keeping track of in our lives is astounding. So perhaps the Advocate does not want to burden us any more with details. We are saturated, perhaps, with the yardages of each and every player in the league arrayed against our Saints. So saturated that we apparently can’t keep track of the calendar anymore, so I am very glad that the Advocate does inform me that there are 8 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS! In bold caps in it’s own box set off from the bad news that some killer killed and is now caught. His picture, fine citizen that he is, takes up nearly 1/5th of the front page. Perhaps it is to discourage other would be murderous wackos from attempting to beat this wacko’s claim to fame – he killed three ladies. It seems to say “News? You don’t need no stinkin’ news!” Why would I care what the big murderous lug looks like? Why do I need to see the very stern faces of two very bald police types hustling the wacko to wherever it is they are taking him. How does this wackos actions affect my life? The space for the photo might have been given over to Mr. Shields so he could tell us who among our vast business community in Louisiana is against the health care taxation bill that our Senator seems intent on shoving down our throats against ever growing opposition. I know I have told her NO several times. Have you?

Meanwhile, in news that affects us much more than the number of days to Christmas and the stern looks of police leading contrite-that-he-was-caught perp (what, you didn’t think the wacko would go for the forth? Sheesh.) in an small unsigned smidgen of a powerpoint presentation it is proclaimed that “White Americans in minority by ’50.” This is odd news in a number of ways. And without benefit of the football and baseball like box scores which should be accompanying this article this is what we can deduce and conclude from the logic of our times. Our Advocate doesn’t even bother to give a handy website that we might go to, if inclined to do so, to gather more details on this scintillating story.

Why scintillating? Well, it’s because in our “post-racial” world we are still keeping such careful track of the “declining” white population that we know exactly when the milestone will be passed.

The story says that the year in which this momentus moment occurs is “pushed back by 8 years.” The writer sounds sort of sad that this should be so. Though perhaps I read too much into the laconic tone of the three sentences which proclaim the news.

Now, too, why are we – or at least I – still “white”? I am not white, I am all sorts of colors. Quite a melange of tan and red, yellow and pink. Why, I’m more colorful than our colorblind society. In a land where a man with a holiday, that being Martin Luther King, said we should be judged by our character and not our color we are busy calculating when the color wheel will be turned this way or that.

Oddly, too, on so many forms we are asked if we are Hispanic or Latino, or a non-white version of these two, or if we are Asian, Pacific Islander, Eskimo, Aleut or Native American, or African American and perhaps others, we are still White. I have never once seen the words “Euro-American” or “European American,” or “Mutli-Peninsular American” (Europe has beaucoup peninsulas, Iberia, Scandinavia, Denmark, Italy, Greece are among them, as well as a slew of Islands. The place is rather disjointed and separated, not like we here in the big blob of the USA.) Nor even West European or East, or South or North European. Or fairhaired, red haired, swarthy or rednecked, or any other thing whatsover other than “White.” Oh, that’s right, sometimes we are referred to as Caucasion. What on earth is that? Where is Caucasia? Well, there are the Caucasian Mountains, which run between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea – along the northern border of Iran, and into Azerbaijan and Armeia. And none of those people would be able to hide to well among the French, Danes, English, Spanish, Poles and Czechs and … any European whatsoever. They’d be identifiable immediately by their olive complexion and their curly black locks. If we whites ever lived in the Caucasian Mountains it was millennia ago. We are Caucasian as the Atlas Mountain folks – and the Atlas Mountains are in Morocco and Algeria and the people are Arabs. In fact, calling the current majority Caucasian is highly inaccurate. And if are to be known by our mountains, shouldn’t it be the Alps, Carpathians, Apenines and Pyrennes? Yes, we should. We are on those mountains, we are not in the Caucasian Mountains whatsoever.

Still, oddly, there is this category called non-Hispanic White. Are the Spanish then excluded from whitelandia? And if so, are their Hispanic Whites – who get a geographical designation while all the others 350,000,000 Europeans and their progeny in these United States are merely not the favored group? Odd indeed.

Still weirder, since so much of federal funding, set asides, contracts, percentages, etc, are based on the minority status, and whites will be a minority, well, then, cool, we finally can get into the real action of government largesse.

Will there be a majority, now that the scales are tipped? Yes, there is a non-white majority. Which is odd that we are still counting all this majority by what they are not. But how many of what are we left with? Well, from other sources it is said that 12.5% will still be black, or African American. Are Arabs African Americans? Or are they Arab Whites? Or more oddly, Arab Caucasians? After alll, most Arab countries are on Africa. And what about white South Africans? Are they too African Americans, should they come? Beats me.

And Asians are said to be perhaps 6% to 8% I suppose that’s if you count Indians from India as Caucasians, Black, Indian Americans or Hindu Americans, or perhaps Buddhist Americans, or if you count them as South Asians, or West Asians, or just plain Asians. Though no one in Madras of cocktail fame is remotely similar in appearance to the bringers of Sushi and General Tsu’s chicken to our land. Nor are Philipinos really Asian, but quite a melange. And the bringers of Foster’s Beer, Australians, or Really Far South Asians, or are they Really Big Pacific Islanders, to differeniate from the Really Small Pacific Islanders. And are the Pacific Islanders from Tahiti and other far flung provinces of France Caucasians since they are indeed from France. As are of course the many French Guyanans and Martiniqueians in our midsts. They are from La Belle France as well. Are they Europeans then too? Their government is in Paris after all. And Paris has been the center of Europe for a number of years to hear the French tell it.

And Hispanics – that broad range of people from Quechua, Guarani, Mayan and whatever speaking American Indians who have not a drop of Hispanic European Blood in them to the very white full Spanish heritage of the Mexican elite – are they really all the same? In fact, European Americans have a fuller similarity than anything south of the border. Also, still, are the Indigenous peoples south of the border Native Americans as our Indigenous people northwards? Though apparently if you go too far north no longer are there Native Americans but Eskimo and Aleuts. My my, how many groups are there who are not white?

Even more amazing, what do we do with our own President? He is African Caucasian to say the least. Odd though it is. And all the Mestizos of the Southlands are of course also Indigenous Caucasian – they are a mixed creole of some pastiche or another. Even odder is that non-white Hispanics, say from Mexico are not only non-white Hispanics, but they are Hispanic Whites too – thus they are non-hispanic hispanic whites. And that is confusing. So why count at all?

I could go on. But I cease exhausted from the wheel of color spun before my very eyes. Which often is like a wheel of fortune, for if you are even a smidgen non-white – or only a smidgen from European forefathers, then you have won a federal prize for being the most disadvantaged of any particular race or color that suits your needs. How wonderful, in our post racial world to get down to the nitty gritty of what percentage of what color you are. Why, it is so modern, that it is exactly like the color wheel created by the Creole, French, Spanish, White overlords of the Blacks of Louisiana. Here you can be but 1/64th Black and you are black. And in the old bad days, when we kept track of such things, that could get you thrown out of your hotel room, your job, and from in front of any particular water fountain. Thank goodness that no longer do we have to worry if someone is a quarteroon, a maroon or an octaroon, which are some of the many gradations required in the past to keep track of who was allowed to sit at what lunch counter or the other. Yes, so modern to have eschewed such things, and yet, and yet keep track of it to such the Nth degree that we shall know when the majority is no longer such and who knows what wondrous things will happen in our land then?


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