Monday, May 22, 2017

Y@ Speak: taking them down, part 4

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 7:00 PM

Festival season is in full swing as hundreds of people gathered to listen to brass bands, dance, drink beer and watch cranes lift monuments to Confederate generals from their pedestals. Also this week: graduation time and twerking Mickey Mouse.

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Nungesser: Revenue shortfall means funding cuts for cultural events, Special Olympics

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 3:04 PM

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser cites funding woes to the Senate Finance Committee Monday. The committee has been getting the reaction of state agencies regarding cuts to their budgets under the state funding proposal for the coming fiscal year. - SARAH GAMARD
  • Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser cites funding woes to the Senate Finance Committee Monday. The committee has been getting the reaction of state agencies regarding cuts to their budgets under the state funding proposal for the coming fiscal year.

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser says he will be forced to cut several areas under his responsibility next year — including cultural events, state parks and museums — because of Louisiana’s revenue shortfall.

Following his testimony today to the Louisiana Senate Finance Committee, Nungesser said some fiscal cuts he's made have broken his heart and warned future reductions would negatively affect art, parks and tourism across the state.

Nungesser’s office includes the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in House Bill 1, which holds the state’s $29 billion spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1. Under HB1, the funding instrument, the department will see a $3.3 million decrease in state general funds in its budget to $87.8 million from this year’s $91 million. The department also expects a $2 million decrease in self-generated revenue.

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'Know Your Rights' ACLU workshop May 25 provides training for interacting with police

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 2:00 PM


On May 25, ACLU hosts a workshop at New Orleans Public Library's Alvar branch about interacting with authorities. Participants' questions will guide a short tutorial from ACLU organizers about one's legal and constitutional rights when engaging with police and similar authority figures, such as Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). It's a workshop which could be useful for political activists of all stripes, people with criminal records, people who previously have had contentious interactions with cops, members of historically marginalized communities and others.

ACLU also publishes a list of resources regarding one's rights in several scenarios, such as the right to take photos in various situations, youth rights when dealing with police, rights in the face of voter intimidation and a host of other topics.

The workshop takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday; it's designed for adults but teens are welcome to participate. It's free to attend.

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Mississippi politician apologizes for saying New Orleans leaders should be 'lynched' for Confederate monument removal

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 12:57 PM

Mississippi State Rep. Karl Oliver.
  • Mississippi State Rep. Karl Oliver.
Mississippi State Rep. Karl Oliver has apologized for a Facebook posting over the weekend in which he suggested the "leadership" of New Orleans should be "lynched" over the removal of four controversial Confederate-era monuments.

Oddly, though, he apologized to "my colleagues and fellow Mississippians," rather than New Orleanians.

The post, which later was removed, said:

"The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, "leadership" of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State."

According to the Jackson Free Press, which was one of the first outlets to report on Oliver's post, he issued an email apology this morning:

The original Facebook post, which since has been deleted.
  • The original Facebook post, which since has been deleted.
"I, first and foremost, wish to extend this apology for any embarrassment I have caused to both my colleagues and fellow Mississippians," Oliver said in a written response. "In an effort to express my passion for preserving all historical monuments, I acknowledge the word 'lynched' was wrong. I am very sorry. It is in no way, ever, an appropriate term. I deeply regret that I chose this word, and I do not condone the actions I referenced, nor do I believe them in my heart. I freely admit my choice of words was horribly wrong, and I humbly ask your forgiveness."

The Free Press also reported on Oliver last year, when he replied to a Gulfport resident's email about budget cuts with his own email, which read in part, "The people of our Great State overwhelmingly share my same or similar views on Government responsibility. I appreciate you going to the trouble to share yours with me, but quite frankly, and with all due respect, I could care less."

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Gambit's Digital Edition, May 23, 2017

Posted on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 10:49 AM

Friday, May 19, 2017

With the removal of Robert E. Lee's statue, what's next for the monuments and New Orleans

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 10:00 PM

Robert E. Lee's statue was removed from its pedestal May 19. - PHOTO BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Robert E. Lee's statue was removed from its pedestal May 19.

At 11 a.m, a single PA speaker packed into a wagon blasted Ginuwine's "Pony" and Blackstreet's "No Diggity" as a small crowd gathered outside Lee Circle to watch a fourth Confederate-era monument come down.

Robert E. Lee's statue —  16 feet tall, 8,000 pounds, in his Confederate uniform, arms crossed, facing north — would remain on his pedestal, where the statue stood since 1884, for only a few more hours. At a few minutes after 6 p.m. May 19, a crane lifted Lee off the tower to cheers from a growing crowd.

At 3 p.m., Mayor Mitch Landrieu addressed an invitation-only crowd inside Gallier Hall, his period at the end of a nearly three-year sentence arguing for the removal of Confederate-era monuments from New Orleans' public space. In his impassioned 20-minute address, Landrieu challenged the city to acknowledge and reconcile its ugly past while building a more inclusive society. If not, he said, "then this will all have been in vain." Meanwhile, two members of the construction crew tasked with their removal placed the crane's hook to the straps wrapped around Lee's statue.

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Review: A Quiet Passion

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 3:02 PM

Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion
  • Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion

There’s something uniquely sorrowful about any great artist who doesn’t find recognition during her lifetime. Then there’s Emily Dickinson, who ranks among the greatest American poets but lived to see only 10 of her approximately 1,800 poems find their way to print — and those were published anonymously, mostly in small regional newspapers.

The familiar story of an artist sacrificing everything for her work probably reaches its ultimate expression in Dickinson. She was brought up in church but deeply troubled by its teachings. She never married or accepted the attention of suitors, and during her lifetime (1830-1886), women enjoyed few of the freedoms taken for granted by men. She was devoted to her family and her writing, both of which could be found at the Amherst, Massachusetts family home she scarcely left during the second half of her life.

Given these circumstances, one could be forgiven for recoiling at the thought of a Dickinson biopic. The magic and mystery of Dickinson’s writings are hard to deny, but the details of her life hardly seem the stuff of great cinema.

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Protesters fear the worst at 'die-in' against American Health Care Act

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:59 PM


As a thick miasma of Trump-Russia news clouded the national consciousness, a small group of demonstrators staged a "die-in" May 19 to draw focus to the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Around noon Friday, a dozen or so activists — many of whom belong to the Metairie and New Orleans chapters of national progressive group Indivisible — stood in front of Tulane Medical Center, some carrying signs shaped like tombstones. One woman was dressed as the Grim Reaper, with a cardboard scythe that said "Trumpcare." The funereal theme was meant to highlight potential loss of insurance coverage (and, by extension, life) related to the AHCA, which recently passed the House of Representatives.

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House proposal on Uber and Lyft: Newton's First Law of Bad Government

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:50 PM


Sir Isaac Newton reduced much of what we know about the universe to a handful of precise mathematical formulas. Good thing Sir Isaac isn’t around today to try to make sense of the Louisiana Legislature. He’d surely go mad.

Or perhaps, upon noticing the extravagance with which hordes of unctuous lobbyists are pushing a bill to regulate web-based transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft, he might be moved to formulate his First Law of Bad Government: A proposed law’s awfulness is geometrically proportional to the number of lobbyists hired to secure its passage.

That is surely the case with House Bill 527 by Rep. Kenny Havard, R-Jackson, which might otherwise be called the No Lobbyist Left Behind Bill.

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Shotgun Cinema presents experimental film program Saturday night

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:24 PM


Shotgun Cinema presents a programs of short experimental films by local filmmaker Michael Arcos this Saturday, May 20 at 8 p.m. at New Orleans Photo Alliance (1111 St. Mary St.). "Tiny Crimes and Red Wine" compiles work made by Arcos between 1999 and 2017 in a variety of film and video formats. Tickets are $6 and $5 for member for Alliance members. More info is here.

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