Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

Looking back on her life, though she may have been corrupt and power-hungry, one thing you have to say for Benazir Bhutto is that she had incredible courage. I have been reading up on her life. Pakistan, imagine it, is a dangerous place. During her time as am member of Parliament in the Nineties, her fellow parliamentarians, party members, and even her own staff were constantly being jailed, tortured, kidnapped, beaten and disappeared. But she kept on keeping on.

Consider her life. Her father was hanged by General Zia, the military dictator who deposed him as Prime Minister. Both her brothers died under "suspicious circumstances." She herself spent time in prison, as did her husband. Given all that, she could have spent her life in comfy exile in Europe or New York, writing books, raking in money on the lecture circuit. But she chose to go back, to risk death on a daily basis to try and reform her country.

She may have been self-aggrandizing, she may have had feet of clay. But even so, she put her life on the line for her beliefs. And sacrificed it. Her sheer physical courage was so great she may not have been careful enough of her life in that dangerous place, these dangerous times. Even with inadequate security she insisted on meeting the public face to face at these giant rallies, magnets for suicide bombers. She would not back down.

I'm not cognizant enough of the situation to know the full implications of her death for Pakistan, but I know they will be bad. Real bad. Her death edges that nuclear country one step closer to chaos.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fire on the Bayou?

I really don't know how to feel about the housing projects crisis. I'm sure you've seen the awful poster on, if not around town. Like Jeffrey, said, it's a shame it's had to come to that point. But really, I tend to agree with most of the Nolabloggers that the poster was probably created by some whitey trustafarian, in town working with some long-haired relief group. Native New Orleanians are too easygoing to go around burning other people's houses down. New Orleanians don't riot. I mean we just don't. This is not Seattle.

Anyway, the poster is unfortunate because it is so inflamatory (no pun intended) that it will -- has -- dried up sympathy for the cause. Which cause I'm not so sure is worthy. Yes, there is a housing crisis. Yes, the working poor are being crushed out of existence in this city post-K. But -- the projects? The projects??? The thought of people clamoring to get back into the notoriously hellish, crime- and drug-infested New Orleans projects quite boggles me. It seems to me there are better battles to fight. Force the Road Home to cough up some payouts for renters. Light a fire under the state's Katrina Cottage program. Something. Isn't this an opportunity to make things better, instead of falling back into old, dysfunctional patterns?

I do agree that just knocking down the projects and handing them over to developers with no guarantees is not just, nor a good use of the city's resources. There is so much rhetoric flying back and forth, however, that it's hard to know what's really the truth on the ground. Will there be one-to-one replacement of housing units in the new developments? Should there be, with the city's smaller population? How many units in the new developments will be low-income/subsidized, how many middle-income? Is it really more cost-effective to knock the old buildings down and build new, or not? Are "the bricks" really that well-built, as their advocates claim? I have to say, that's the first time I've ever heard that claim about the projects.

It occurs to me that the Times-Picayune has done a piss-poor job on this issue, providing no context, no facts to provide ubderstanding of this heated debate. I think what we need is some solid facts about the situation. How many people lived in these projects before katrina? How many want to move back in now? How many of those people were/are working poor, how many on the dole, which is what seems to so arise the ire of the "man on the street" (to go by the comments threads). It's been two years -- where and how have these people been livingin the meantime? And on the developers' side, what exactly is going to be done with this land? How many units are you going to build? At what cost? What will they sell or rent for? Will former renters get first priority? Are there any kind of guarantees that you will do what you say, or is this just a land grab, Iraq war-style?

What I would like to see is some kind of middle way emerge, wherein the projects are demolished, but some other kind of new, clean low-income housing is built in its place. Little villages of Katrina Cottages, perhaps, with room to expand, and an option to buy, with subsidies, if the occupants have the wherewithal. Back in my FEMA trailer days, I would have been freakin' delighted to have a Katrina Cottage. Or a very aggressive program for the city to reclaim and renovate blighted housing for the homeless. (Which would not be easy, clearing titles and such, I know.)

I doubt this middle way will materialize, however. HUD controls the projects now, and if the Feds want them to come down, they are going to come down. Keeping the working poor from getting kicked out in the cold will take a very concerted resistance effort. And, given that we only ever see the same two or three people show up at these housing protests, I don't think the political will is there.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

No blogging last week, because work was sheer hell. My branch library receives abrupt jumps in its circulation and attendance from time to time, as word of our advent spreads in the neighborhood, I suppose. Last week was one of those times. But we were short-handed all week, as one of our peeps was transferred to fill in at another branch. Plus, the interbranch delivery had not been done the whole week of Thanksgiving,so we were getting two weeks' worth of books and supplies in one, which all had to be processed. So we were kept hopping. By closing time I just had enough left to go home every day and sag on the sofa in front of the TV, while my husband tried to sustain me by slipping bits of food between my teeth. Coherent thought was not possible.

Yesterday another patron told me she reads my blog. Freaky! My experience has always been that being a public librarian is like being a kind of minor celebrity. Everywhere I go -- the movies, the mall, Mardi Gras parades, the doctor's office -- people know me. "There's Miss Kirsten! It's the Library Lady!" Maybe blogging is not such a good idea. Overexposure. But she told me she surfed over from Wet Bank Guide, that Mark had put me in his blogroll. Which is very cool. Mark Folse is a hero to me.

So I guess I'll keep truckin.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Master Plan

Yesterday, Irwin Mayfield, who is the Chairman of the New Orleans Public Library Board, gave a presentation to the staff about the NOPL Master Plan, the library's long-term blueprint for recovery. Mostly he talked about "branding" the library, about NOPL core values that we can present and enact, like "preservation" and "celebration" (of New Orleans culture).

I liked his idea of the library as "information first responders" in times of crisis -- which is certainly true, as we saw during the Katrina evacuation and diaspora -- people went to the public libraries wherever they were to find information, contact FEMA, and email friends and family. And when people returned, the library was one of the first places they turned to -- for information, for diversion, for community.

But generally, I was hoping for something a little more concrete, like, "we are rebuilding this branch in 2008, that one in 2009, we have secured funding from these sources." Maybe they haven't gotten to that point in the masterplanning process.

I do think Irwin is a good ambassador for the library, as he is an internationally famous jazz musician, and he clearly takes the job seriously.

The library is holding a public forum on the Master Plan this coming Monday -- read more about it here. You can also take a survey or email the library with your suggestions.

If you have any interest in the library at all, I encourage you to take part in this process. The library is supposed to serve the community, after all. To serve, we need to know what you need.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Become Visible

My recent experience with my Mystery Patron Reader has inspired me to pay more attention to my presence in the blogosphere. Jeffrey told me to add a Sitemeter counter to my blog so I can see who's linking to me, and here I am joining Technorati:

Technorati Profile

-- which I still don't really understand, but hope now to learn.

Release the spiders, yo!

OK, so what does Technorati say about me?

Oh, I have 0 fans, how sad. No surprise, though, since I don't actually post that often.

My "authority" seems to be 2, which I believe means how often people have linked to my posts. OMG, that is pitiful -- and both times were my dear friend and co-worker Jeffrey. Link to me, people, I implore you!

My Technorati rank is 2,910,025. Dismal! Atrios, I'm not. I really should post more often. Maybe now I will.

I am abashed. I have had several other blogs/journals online, and I thought I knew a lot about this stuff. But it seems, not nearly as much as I thought I did.

Any other suggestions for embiggening myself in the blogosphere? Send 'em along!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Guess what! The other day a patron stopped by the reference desk and told me, "I like your blog."

My neck craned up like a startled chicken's. "What? You read my blog?!"

"Yes. I knew it was you by your picture." (On the left there.)

I knew this woman only as a patron, didn't even know her name. I was flabbergasted. Hardly anyone reads the blog, as far as I can tell -- even my hubby doesn't read it. "How did you find it?" I asked, mystifed.

"Well, you know, I read blogs by some other New Orleans bloggers, and they link to other bloggers, so you follow the links, that's how. I liked your post about K-Ville. It's bad."

(I wonder who's linking to me? Jeffrey, of course. Adastros? Editor B? I doubt it.)

"Uh, thanks!" I said. "Leve a comment some time!"

So, heck. Imagine that! People are actually reading this thing. While we were having this conversation, another patron wanted to know my blog address and read it too, so I gave it to her. Wow! Networking!

So, welcome, Mystery Patron Readers! Leave a comment and say hello! I'd love to know who else is out there!

And I guess I should take this opportunity to state that this blog contains only my own thoughts and opinions, and IN NO WAY represents the opinions or policies of the New Orleans Public Library or the City of New Orleans.

K-Ville goes Bye-Bye

From the Picayune:

K-Ville Shuts Down Production

A victim of the writer's strike. Although the word is the strike is really just an excuse to tank a non-performing show.

I know I've ragged on K-ville, but still I think it's too bad. The show wasn't as egregiously awful as it could have been. It might have gotten better. And you know, we've got to keep the brand out there, right?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Playing the Disaster Dozens

First off, let me say unequivocally that I have great sympathy for the people around San Diego who have been displaced and are losing their homes to the wildfires. I'm sure everyone in New Orleans does. We know what it is to flee, to be a refugee, to lose everything. But I just hate how it is being compared in the media to Katrina, some kind of crazy game of one-upmanship -- my disaster affecting affluent white people is worse than your disaster that drowned poor blacks. What kind of way is that to think? Aren't we all Americans?

I'm also angry about the way the evacuation and relief efforts are being handled. Quite well in fact. Why couldn't it have been like that down here? Why did people have to starve and die at the Dome, the Convention Cenetr?

I saw this article from the AP yesterday -- here's the lead:

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Like Hurricane Katrina evacuees two years earlier in New Orleans, thousands of people rousted by natural disaster fled to the NFL stadium here, waiting out the calamity and worrying about their homes.

The similarities ended there, as an almost festive atmosphere reigned at Qualcomm Stadium.

Bands belted out rock 'n' roll, lavish buffets served gourmet entrees, and massage therapists helped relieve the stress for those forced to flee their homes because of wildfires.

When I first read this article it made me so angry, just blind with rage. Massage therapy? Catered food?! What the HELL?! The people at the Convention Center would have been delighted with bottled water and MREs!!! Why do the people of San Diego deserve any better?

But then I read it again, more rationally. It may not be quite as blatant as it looks. First, the article is obviously calculated to inflame, being couched that way, comparing Katrina and the wildfires. The article could have been written without mentioning Katrina at all, or adding the comparison at the end, instead of leading with it.

Second, upon second reading it seems that all the nicer amenities provided at Qualcomm stadium were not government largesse, but volunteer efforts. The massage therapist was there on her own initiative, volunteering to help out. Local hotels donated the catered meals. The "rock bands" may have been volunteers too. Which is nice, actually. Maybe this means people learned somethign from Katrina. That we are all in this together. That this kind of disaster could happen to anyone, so we all need to be ready. That evacuees should not be left to suffer and thirst, alone, without community support. I certainly hope so.

Thirdly, in terms of water and medical supplies being ready and bountiful -- one can hardly be surprised that the govt. of california is better equipped to handle an evacuation than that of Louisiana. I mean, it's California -- wealthier, successful, just much more functional in general. Isn'tthe state of California alone the world's tenth largest economy or something like that? Plus, they know this kind of thing -- the wildfires -- could happen any year with the Santa Ana winds, and often do, so they have had every reason to be prepared.

In the aftermath of Katrina, most of my rage was aimed not at FEMA but at Mayor Nagin, the City Council and the entire city government of New Orleans. We, too, knew the Big One could hit any year. More, much more, should have been done to prepare. Citizens should not have been left to languish and starve at the Superdome. So I can hardly hate on San Diego for being prepared.

Thirdly, althouigh the evacuation is massive, rememebr that Souhthern California is much more heavily populated that South Louisiana, and although the burned areas have been devastated, they are in a relatively confined area. The rest of the region is still functional. Evacuees, indeed, are moving into the city of San Diego proper, where there are hotels to cater to them and emergency services are still intact. Completely the opposite of Katrina/Rita, where practically the whole of Souhth Louisiana was evacuated. There was no infrastructure anymore, no one left to speak of cater any meals to the Convention Center refugees. Emergency services were overwhelmed by a regional disaster.

Still, my feelings are complex. I doubt the Dome refugees would have been served capered chickens in cream sauce if anyone had brought them food. The racial disparities seem blantant.

I also don't like the way ther MSM is trumping this up as, if to best Katrina, as if to say, oh, thisis so much worse, we can forget about New orleans now. Last night on the nightly news Brian Williams said thst the SoCal evacuation were the largest since World War II -- which is manifestly untrue. 900,000 people have been evacuated for the wildfires: 1.2 million evacuated for Katrina, and over 2 million in South LA and Texas for Rita. The one-upmanship is just crazy and sick. I felt personally betrayed when I heard that. I thought Brian Williams was on our side.

Not that there should be any sides! Comparing disasters is pointless, and yet we can't seem to help it. The similarities ,and the differences, are so marked.

Pandagon has much to say on this same topic, and also refrences the AP article.

let me close with another quote from that article:

Hundreds sat in the stands watching the [television] sets, transfixed as news programs broadcast images of destruction. Among them was Bruce Fowler, whose home in the Scripps Ranch neighborhood had survived fires in 2003. ...

"Every couple of years, you don't want to go through this worry," Fowler said, sipping a root beer. "I never thought I'd be in a place like this, getting handouts."

Nobody does, brother, nobody does. And yet, it could happen to us all. We just need to remember that, and try and have compassion, for us and for them.

I'd like anyone who reads this post to comment and share your thought with me. This was a hard post to write. I don't really know how to feel. How do YOU feel?

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Case of the Stormy Mondays

Today is a bad day. I am completely disgusted and affronted that I have to come into work today. That I have to deal with my coworkers. To put covers on books. Check my email. That I have to go home and cook dinner from scratch, because my husband got so spoiled living with my folks while I was in graduate school that he can't even boil water anymore. That I have to clean up, because people are coming over tomorrow night. That I have to feed the cats, brush my teeth, do anything at all. A day like today is only worth crawling back into bed and spending the day dozing, reading, and occasionally drinking tea -- which someone brings me. Getting up to go to work while it's pouring rain and the sky is still black as night is just torture. It's just not right.

A patron just asked me if we were closing early because of the bad weather. I wish.

UPDATE: I see on reports of major street flooding at Carrollton and Banks St., which is only a few blocks from my library branch. And schools around town are closing, including I see, Tulane and Loyola. So, maybe.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day for the Environment

So I just read on Blogger Buzz that today is Global Blog Action Day, and this year's theme is the environment. So ... yay ... love the environment!!!

Seriously, though, we in New Orleans have a had a foretaste of what's to come all around the world if and when global warming melts the polar ice caps and raise the seas. If we leverage our expereince and our hard-learned lessons, New Orleans could be a world leader in coastal restoration and mitigation technologies -- sure to be a growth industry, sadly.

Here's a link to America's Wetlands, the foundation dedicated to restoring Louisiana's coastal wetlands -- a vital link in the chain protection that will help prevent another Katrina.

In other news, I've disabled the captcha in my comments sectins, so it's easy to drop a note. If you're reading, leave a comment -- I'd like to know who's out there.

If no one comments, I will be SAD. :-(

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lights Out is Scary

This morning, Weekend Edition ran a story about a guy who wants to make an energy-saving gesture by convincing his hometown, San Francisco, to turn out the lights for one night: Lights Out San Francisco.

Pre-K, I used to be all for this kind of thing, but now, this idea makes me tense. Fires up my POKSS (Post-Katrina Stress Syndrome). I was here in the early days after the re-opening, when three-quarters of the city was still dark, and it was frickin SCARY. In the devastated neighborhoods. I'm talking pitch black, can't see your hand in front of your face DARK. Dark like the most howling wilderness, in the heart of the city. This is when there was no electricity at all, so no porch lights, no street lights, no traffic lights, no storefront signs, NOTHING. And quiet. No air condotioners, no radios, no cars, no buzzing streetlights. No crickets chirping, even, cause they were all dead.

Man! I don't care to repeat that experience! Next year the guy's trying to take this idea national. I think this will be a fun time for intact cities. But I don't think New Orleans will embrace it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

K-Ville Nitpick Patrol

Tonight's episode:

The voodoo paraphenalia: Cigars and rum are offered to Legba, not Ogun. Also, most average people in NOLA would not know this. Most people are scared of voodoo, or vodoun as it should be called.

Keeping kosher: Marlon said he once tried to keep kosher to impress a girl, until she caught him with a "pulled pork poor-boy." WTF? A cuban sandwich, man, a cuban sandwich!

I'm sure there were more errors, but those were the two that jumped out at me.

I have no say, the show is not as bad as I expected. It does not come near to the eye-gouging Big Easy level of badness. But I still don't think the show is going to survive. Not beacuse of its faux-Nola dorkiness, but because that mess is packaged in a very lame, cliched, buddy-cop-show format. Haven't we seen that a million times? It's stale, man, stale! Law & Order, anyone?

I don't object, in theory, to a show about post-K New Orleans. By no means. Bu I think the stale buddy-cop drama is just about the lamest, least interesting way to do it. I don't think America at large is going to be interested enough in picking over the corpse of post-K New Orleans enough to stick with the lameness.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Big Boxes of Books

Unlike Jeffrey, I am thrilled at the advent of a Borders bookstore in the former Bultman funeral home at the corner of St. Charles and Louisiana. I mean, think of it, would you rather have a huge, rotting, unused building on a major intersection, or a thriving business? To see a major national chain willig to invest in inner-city NOLA right now is a positive development, I thnk. That intersection has gotten positivwely decrepit post-K (and wasn't too hot before) and really needs a facelift. A large, successful anchor store could revivify the whole area. And now those of us without automobile transport to Metarie or the Westbank can enjoy a big box bookstore/cafe.

I'm confident our independent bookstores will be able to weather the change. Remember, Starbuck's didn't drive PJs or Rue de La Course out of business when it landed. Same deal here. People who will shop at the Borders are probably not the people who shopped at Octavia or Garden District Books anyway. And now, some of those people will be keeping their tax revenue in the city proper instead of sending it out to Jeff Parish.

So I think, it's all good. Personally I can't wait!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hurricane Whatberto?

Damn, I almost fell off my chair yesterday evening when I saw on that there was a tropical storm off ther coast of Texas! WTF? Where did that come from?

Now, today,it's a Cat 1! It formed, spun up to hurricane strength and made landfall, all in 24 hours. Glad it didn't come over this way, we would have been caught completely flat-footed.

It is heading this way, but over land now. It is pitch-black and raning right now in Mid-City already. One of our patrons just talked to her cousin in Lafayette, where it is torrentially raining and street-flooding.

"OK, stop," I told her. "You're scaring me now."

It's not just pets and little kids who freak out around here when the weather gets bad. Everyone does it. Flashing back.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/11 again

Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of 9/11. Six years. 9/11 was so huge and shocking, so terrible, that in the weeks and months after I used to wonder what it would feel like to mark the anniversary in the future, five years out, ten years out. I yearmed for the balm of time to heal all wounds. But I couldn't imagine not feeling enraged and terrified on that day.

Well, that was then. When I was thinking about the future then I never dreamed that by the sixth anniversary I would have had my own epochal disaster to suffer and recover from. Katrina has pretty much eclipsed Ground Zero in my personal hellscape. How could it not?

Also when I think of 9/11 now, it just reminds me of the tragic road to ruin in Iraq, and the indelible blight upon the United States' name and honor. The pure sorrow is tainted with anger and bitterness.

So, 9/11 + 6. Somehow, I'm just not feeling it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hurriane Katrina News

Hurricane Katrina News

This looks ike a good clearinghouse site for recovery news, launched in time for the anniversary. It's put together by Joshua Clark, author of the Katrina memoir Heart Like Water -- who incidentally is giving a talk about his book at Author's Night at Hubbell Library tonight.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Katrina Index, Special Anniversary Edition

Well, this is interesting. It specifically mentions the library.

I wonder what it says about murders?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Happy Talk in the Ruins

I've noticed lately, since I've been back, that a lot of the Nolablogers that I read regularly are angry. Really angry. They have just had it with the crime, the incompetence, with the pumps that don't work, with the Corpse, the Road Home to Nowhere, Hizzoner C. Ray, Gov. Maw Maw, Dr. Flakely, the Recovery School District, the lameitude of the Picayune, just the whole stinking pile of hot bayou mess that is "the recovery."

And who can blame them? It is a mess. These things are bad. It is not going as well as it should. I don't blame them.

But for myself, I am coming from a different place. I just got back to town after two years away. And I feel good.

My husband and I are very happy. We are living together again, in our old stomping ground, the uptown Magazine Street corridor, where I have lived since high school. We are happy to have our old jobs back, more or less. I feel quite fortunate to have had gradaute school to keep my mind and spirit busy in the painful post-K years, and then to have the job I have, helping the recovery with a library in the flooded neighborhoods. My husband sings in the car on the way to work.

And speaking as someone who has spent the better part of the time away, who only came home to gut my house or visit family, I can say, things are better. Things are way better. Hey, the streetlights are working! The water is running! (In most places.) Magazine Street is open! Many beloved businesses are operating again. Vegetation is blooming. Rebuilding and recovery is all but complete in some neighborhoods, booming in others. In Mid-City, where my library branch is, it seems like every house is being renovated. People are even rebuilding in the Lower Nine. The search tags are painted over.

I've been away, so I see it with fresh eyes. But for those who have been here for the last two years, I know how hard it seems, how far there is to go. It just grinds you down, living in the recovery, the constant parade of bad news. I've seen it in my own family. Last year I had to have my Mom come and spend part of August in Baton Rouge, just to get away, because the one-year anniversary had brought her so low.

I'm sure I'll get there myself at some point.

But thst's the nature of the beast. Recovery. A long, grueling process. I remember hearing around the anniversary last year that people were still living in tent cities in Kobe, Japan five years after the big earthquake there.

It's a long grueling process. So if some people are angry and burned out, it's OK to step away for a while. I want to say to any of my fellow bloggers and citizens, that if you need to stop blogging for a while, or take a less demanding, more lucrative job, or go on vacation, or move to the Northshore, it's OK. I'm here. Other newbs are here. We can take up the fight. New people are moving into the city all the time -- I see it every day at my library. College students, Teach for America teachers, young professionals. I've heard several stories of volunteers who came down to help with cleanup, and loved New Orleans so much, they moved here. An amazing development. New people who are optimistic and ready to put their shoulders to the wheel.

This long haul is a relay race. No one has to do it alone. And I'm ready for my leg.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Other Side of the Camera

I feel so strange watching the news coverage of this bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Because I know what it's like now, to be on the other side of that news camera. To be in the midst of a huge disaster. The confusion, the terror, the despair.

In the first couple days after Katrina, the aftermath, I couldn't stand the thought of people in the rest of the country just sitting on their couches, watching CNN, thinking, Wow, huge disaster. Like it was just a TV show. It made me sick.

And now here I am, sitting on my couch, thinking, Wow, huge disaster. I feel so guilty.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hard Day's Day

Well I just had a hell of a day at work. Now I remember what's sucky about public library service -- crazy patrons and crazy coworkers. Put them together and you have an explosive combination.

Upon graduation, one of my professors told me I would not find the public library "challlenging enough." Well, it may not be intellectually challenging, but it is certainly emotionally challenging. There were several times today when there were four or more people at the desk, all clamoring for my attention, the phone ringing, and I was just going, What? What? You want what from me?? Ahhgh, overstimulation! Couple that with riding constant herd on an erratic new employee and you have the makings of a very long and tiring day.

I need a drink!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Observations ....

... upon returning to New Orleans:

Wow, people dress freaky down here. I'd forgotten. You couldn't get away with that in Baton Rouge.

Ugh, giant roaches. My apartment in BR was incredibly buggy -- spiders, ants, and wasps -- but at least I didn't have to any of those damn things. No No Kitty, don't bring it in the house! Damn!

Hispanic laborers hanging out in front of a Home Depot. Heard of that, never seen it before. They wave to me now when I walk to work.

We made like six brand new library cards at our branch last week. For people who had never had a New Orleans Public Library card before -- people wh's driver's licenses said "California" or "Michigan." People are moving to New Orleans -- from away! This, I never imagined. Why do they? What jobs are they doing? What do they hope to find? Not that I begrudge them. But I'm very curious. What brings them to this hellhole now? It boggles me.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I am sitting at my new library branch, typing this after hours. It has been a heckuva two weeks. I've already been on TV to represent the library, talking about the summer reading club.

So far, I like working at a branch. It is a very different feel from working at the main library. Cozier. More families, less crazy street people. It's nice. I have learned things I never knew at Main -- how to check books in and out, how to collect fines, make new library cards. Our new branch has its Grand Opening this week.

Weekend before last we moved our household down to NOLA, in the pouring rain. It was brutal. But it's done. Our new apartment is significantly smaller than the one in BR, so the DH and I are having some ... discussions about what to do with the excess stuff. I was truly amazed, nay, appalled! at the amount of stuff we have accumulated, a mere two years after losing everything to Katrina.

So. Here we are. Hubby and I in the same house again, living together, no more commuting. We turned in the keys to our Baton Rouge apartment. It's done.

In New Orleans. Part of me is really happy. Part of me is thinking, What the hell am I doing here?

We'll have to see.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Back to Work!

Well I have finally landed a job, and it is with my old employer, the New Orleans Public Library. But the thing is, I have to start Monday! Yikes!

But it's OK. We were able to push up, the move-in date on our new apartment, so we will move ourselves, the cats, and some necessities down and kind of "camp out" in the new place until we can effect the full-scale move the next weekend.

I will start at the new Mid-City Branch and train in Branch Operations, and as the other new temporary libraries created by a huge SOLINET/Gates Foundation grant, I will be put in charge of one.

In my previous career I spent all my time at the Mian Library, so I am now ready to experience the branch side of things, and take my place as a full-fledged LIBRARIAN!

I am ready to get back to work. I've been bored just sitting at home.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Taqueria Trucks

This article from the Times-Picayune is about Jefferson Parish banning the operation of mobile taqueria trucks that serve hot lunches to the huge population of construction workers still rebuilding the region. The taco trucks followed the vast migrartion of Hispanic workers who flooded in post-K to commence the rebuilding.

The comments on the story mostly go back and forth about whether the ban is racist or not, whether the taco trucks are enabling illegal immigration.

Not being on the ground, I can't comment on the true purpoise of the ban, but I have nothing against teh taqueria trucks. This was, in fact, the only major thought I had about the influx of Hispanic workers during the rebuilding:

Better Mexican food.

Some of these people will like the New orleans region, and stay, and some of them will open up restaurants, melding their cuisine with the local cuisine, using fresh local ingedients. Jamabalaya with chorizo! Crawfish-stuffed chile rejillenos! Yay!

This is what New Orleans does. It is syncretistic. It takes people in, absorbs them -- eats them if you will, subsumes them, and they become part of the delicious melange, the gumbo of New Orleans. If New Orleans culture could survive the annexing by the United States, it can certainly survive this, and will be the richer for it. Remember, this was a Spanish city once, after all. We already have Vietnamese Pho houses and Salvadoran papusarias. So why not taco trucks?

It's all good. When I get home I look forward to eating my first meal from a taqueria truck.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

news @ - Plants can tell who's who - It's not just animals that can tell siblings from strangers.

Now this is coll. This is the kind of cool thing you can find on the Net:

news @ - Plants can tell who's who - It's not just animals that can tell siblings from strangers.

Plants -- plants! -- can recognize their own relatives. In experiments, they grow and compete for nutrients more agressively when they are potted with non-relatives than when with theie leafy kin.

Awesome! It is a mystery how they do this. Perhaps some kind of chemical signature? Plant pheromones?

Plants are far more aware of their environments than is generally known. They can infer the presence and the abundance of neighboring plants by their own experience of nutrient and water levels in their soil, and act accordingly. I like what one of the scientists in the story said, "plants have a secret social life."

I took Botany for my life science as an undergrad, and I'm really glad I did, because it have me a different view of life, of the nature and processes of life. I learned the basics of biology -- mitosis/miosis, genetics, cellular metabolism, the Krebs cycle. But from a different viewpoint, vegetative instead of animalistic.

Plants are for more complex organisms than people generally realize. A flowering angiosperm like a rose bush or an apple tree is a highly complex lifeform, as complex in its way as a mammal, but we think it less because it is so different from us. Vegetative. They seem less alive to us because they don't move and react like animals. Well, actually, they do, but we can't see it because it is on a slower scale -- hours and days instead of moments.

And now we see that they are more aware, more alive, yet.

This is one of the things I love about libraianship -- the ability, the need, to always learn new things.

Friday, June 08, 2007

My Facebook

So my former classmates (wow, it feels weird to say that) keep telling me to get onto Facebook so that we can stay in touch. So, I did. Here's my profile:

I can see how people get obsessed with this, adding pictures, tracking their friends, writing on walls. But personally I prefer blogging.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Kudos for Me :-)

Hey, check it out, Jeffrey over at Library Chronicles gives me some love.

WE have had our differences, but he is still a fellow NOPL staffer and therefore one of my peeps. Awright!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Bad Mojo

The first resume I send out comes back marked "Undeliverable."

Mike the Tiger dies on Commencement Day.

First day of hurricane season, there's a storm in the Gulf.

The bad omens keep piling up. I'm getting kind of freaked.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Now this ...

I did not know. Wild boars have infested City Park.

Wow! It's a whole new world down there!

Heads-up to Jeffrey as uaual for the link.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I graduated today! I'm done with school! I have a master's degree! I never thought I would do that!

It's quite amazing to me. When I got my BA I never thought I would ever go back to school. I had some issues about going back -- my track record with higher education is ... not the best. I was quite anxious a lot of the time.

Yet here I am, with my hood and everything:


Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I really feel for those people in Greensburg, Kansas. I know exactly what they are going through. To have your town, your home, your livelihood wiped away in an instant. To not know if your house is intact or destroyed. If your friends and neighbors are living or dead.

FEMA trailers. Insurance adjusters crawling around. The Red Cross. Meals Ready to Eat.

Welcome to the Long Road Home, Greensburg.

Monday, May 07, 2007


12:28 AM. I just uploaded my final project for my final class to BlackBoard. I give a presentation tomorrow, and then I am DONE! Done with school! It feels unreal. It's been a long year. I never thought this day would come.

Friday, May 04, 2007

"It is Hypnotic to be part of this Lunacy"

Read this. It is amazing. It is about working on contract in Iraq.

Not safe if you are a loyal Bushie.

Here's a quote:

So many people know how to correct the world, and they feel like they
contributed when the office pooled $2,000 for the Tsunami. They feel like they are humanitarians, and that their hearts are so big. Yet even the relief campaigns and the Red Cross are constantly embroiled in scams and rip-off plans. While twenty-one-year-old soldiers from Hanksack, Nebraska are dying. And children are losing their legs. So the real question is: when are we going to get some motherfucking Starbucks up in here?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What Comes After

I can't believe in less than two weeks I will be done with all this.

I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom last night, and on the way back saw my empty bed, my empty lonely bed, and the thought came to my mind, I'm almost done with this, and I think that was the first time that I realized, really realized, that school is all but over and this phase of my life will soon be done.

Part of me is sad, sad that my grad school experience is almost over, sad to leave the campus and lose access to the resources of a major research university. But the larger part of me, drained by the soul-crushing load of homework in the last third of this semester, just really, really wants to be done with it.

Even so, next Wednesday, when the last of my classes and projects is behind me, I think I will plunge into an abyss of despair the likes of which I have seldom known. I won't even know what to do with myself. I have been so focussed on school, on getting through this, on buckling down and dealing, post-Katrina, learning to live more or less on my own, which I've never done -- so focussed on the day to day that I haven't given a thought to what comes after.

What the hell do I do then?

Get a job, everyone says. Well, yes. But what kind of job? Where? Here? There? Elsewhere? I have yet to confront what any of those choices would mean. Moving -- packing -- I shudder to contemplate it, even what little we have. 4 moves in 2 years, courtesy of Hurricane Katrina. That's not even bad for Katrina fugees, but still. It's tiring.

I'm just confused and startled at the end of it all. I've been so focussed on getting the degree, I never thought about what I would do with it once I had it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I'm working the closing shift at the library. The GAs always have to work it, becuase obviously nobody else wants to.

I was hoping to finish two last articles for my literature review in Human-Computer Interation class, but they are putting me to sleep! If I keep reading I'm going to fall out of my chair.

OK, so, to make that last post less ... worthless ... let me reiterate that every library patron has the right to request that materiials be removed from the collection as inappropriate. Those materials won't often be removed, because the Library Bill of Rights holds that libraries collects materials representing thr full range of experiences and viewpoints, but the right to review is there.

In fact I covered this on my Comps exam. One of the questions was to "discuss an ethical challenge," and so I wrote about challenged materials in the public library. I wish I had the essay to show you, but they won't let us have them back. In fact I believe they have been destroyed. Anyway, the proper way to handle this is to have a formal "Challenged materials" form for the aggreived patron to fill out, and a formal review process for the book in question. Which it seems the library in question has done. So it's all good.

I still think it's funny, though.

I'll just BET there were!

Take a look at this from AL Direct:

The father of two teenage boys has asked city officials to fine the
Bentonville (Ark.) Public Library for keeping
The Whole Lesbian Sex
Book by Felice Newman on the open shelves where his sons could find it. Earl Adams said his 14- and 16-year-old sons discovered the book in January while browsing for literature on military academies and were “greatly disturbed,” causing “many sleepless nights in our house.”

BWA-HA-HA-HAHA!!!! You think??? Sleepless nights when two teenage boys get their sweaty hands on a lesbian sex manual??? You think???

**Gasp!!!** I'm sorry, I shouldn't be so heartless. Obviously this guy is upset, and certainly he has every right to monitor what his kids read. It was just the unfortunate phrasing of the orignal AL Online post that had me laughing out loud at the reference desk.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Well So Much for That!

So much for Thirty in Thirty! I definitely dropped off a cliff there after taking Comps. Or into a black hole, as it were. Comps themselves were not actually that hard, intellectually, yet I still found them emotionally exhausting. Because they have been drumming into us CopmsCompsComps since before we even got here. SLIS tries so hard to make it seem like this big rite of passage, which it is in a way, but as an actual academic exercise it's not actually that grueling.

The soul-crushing load of homework I have had since then has not helped. I thought this, my final semester, would be a cakewalk. But it has turned out to be my hardest by far.

Hey, if I post ... 26 posts in the next ten hours, I could still make 30 in 30! Heh! Likely? Not.

I may have to go back and add some things, backdated, make myself seem less lame. So if you see me rewriting history, remember, history is written by the victors. And it's my blog, so that means me. :-)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

When Will It End?

It just tore me up to see the memorial ceremonies attending the resumption of classes at Virginia Tech yesterday. It just all seems so tragic and -- and futile. These things, these school and workplace shootings just keep happening and happening, and no one seems to learn anything. Nothing changes. How long is America going to be willing to bear this cost? The cost of all this gun violence? What is it going to take?

There's another thing, too -- a thing I hate to mention because it seems so cold. But it has to be said. Last week, while we were stunned and grieving VT, suicide and other bombings in Iraq killed 183 people! That's like a Virginia Tech massacre every day! I read in Newsweek a while back that over 3,000 civilians in Iraq are killed every month. That's as many as were killed in 9/11! How many 9/11s have happened in Iraq since "Mission Accomplished?"

I don't begrudge anyone's mourning over VT -- far from it. It is only human nature to be more concerned about your own people, your own country, than strangers far away. But if we can't grieve for the Iraqis that way, let us at least be mindful. Be mindful of the death and the destruction, which we began. We have to ask, how long are we willing to bear that cost, too? What's it going to take?

Monday, April 16, 2007


The Dean of my library school called me herself today, to let me know that I passed my comprehensive exams with distinction! Yaaaayyy! She said it was unanimous, too -- that all three faculty members on my review committee agreed that my responses were of superior quality.

Oh, I was the only one who passed with distinction, too. The first one in several semesters, apparently, so it's a really big deal. Wow!

(Actually, that feels a little weird. Being the only one. I wish someone else had made it, too. I enjoy being one of a select few. But being singled out like that, being primus inter pares if you will, makes me a little uncomfortable. It fires up my shyness.)

I don't think most people are interested in gaining distinction. "I just want to pass," my classmates say.

But distinction was something I wanted to do. I thought it was within my grasp, so I went for it, and got it. I wanted to prove to myself that I have mastered the material. And so I have.

I don't think "Graduating with Distinction" shows up on my diploma -- but by gosh it's going on my resume!

Saturday, March 31, 2007


I did it!!!! Yesterday! Comps are OVER!!!

What a relief!

Actually, they weren't that bad -- although I could still barely drag myself out of bed today. Academically, the test was not that hard. But I still feel emotionally exhausted, because they make such a big deal out of it. They have been hammering it into us -- CompsCompsComps -- since before school even started, since Orientation.

They make it a bigger deal than it actually is. They want it to be a rite of passage, which I guess it is anyway -- something to make us feel we've actually earned that degree, our "union card," as my old boss called it.

Well, it's better than writing a thesis. I would have had serious doubts about attending this program if that had been required. I don't like the thesis. I had a bad experience.

One of my coworkers at Middleton told me that her final project at her library school (which I think was San Jose State) was to create an online portfolio. THis was a few years ago, when having a Website was still a big deal. That's big project -- but it's one you can actually put to use when you're done.

Anyway, the test was four hours long -- two hours in the morning, and two in the afternoon. There were two questions to answer in the morning, and our choice of two out of three in the afternoon.

The first question was about Internet filtering. I was actuallyon the Filtering Committee at NOPL, so that one was a cakewalk for me. I figure, if you mentioned the Children's Internet Protection Act by name, you were OK.

The second question required us to describe an ethical challenge, and our response to it. So I described challenged books in the public library. Again, not hard.

In the afternoon, the first question was about free-text searching versus a controlled vocabulary, as in a periodical database like ERIC. I didn't answer that question, because I liked --

-- the second question better, which was "What is metadata?" And we were specifically constrained from giving the fifty-cent answer, "data about data." But since I am currently taking a class called "XML, Markup, & Metadata," I was all over that. I wrote about administrative, sctructural, and descriptive metadata.

The final question required us to describe how we would market our library -- any library of our choice, real or theoretical. Also to discuss whether libraries should be marketed at all, and why or why not. I wrote about NOPL and how I would market it as a resource and cultural center for the citizenry of New Orleans during the recovery process.

I really liked that answer. I wish I could have a copy of it. But we aren't allowed to see our tests again. In fact I have been told they will be destroyed after grading.

But anyway, it's done now, and man I'm glad. Major hurdle surmounted. Myhusband took me to The Melting Pot, the fondue restaurant, last night to celebrate. With champagne. Another reason, I guess, I'm so tired. But a tiredness well earned.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We're on a Road to Nowhere ...

Just as I remember I have to update the blog, I find this on

Road to Nowhere

Another installment of Blake Bailey's post-K misadventures! This time dealing with the godawful "Road Home" program, which I have dissed elsewhere.

I feel great kinship with this guy, who lived in my old neighborhood, Gentilly. And who, the poor bastard, had only lived in his new house for about a month before the storm.

The DH and I have not even applied for the Road Home, figuring it was a pretty sure bet that, given our situation, we would get no money at all, and figuring it was hardly worth it to endure those endless bureaucratic hassles to get ... nothing. But a lot of other people have been hanging on in their FEMA trailers, hoping for that award money, and they are getting pretty desperate.

Last week Governor Blanco finally realized that most of South Louisiana personally blames her for the slow-motion trainwreck of the Road Home (she did insist on putting her name on it after all) and wisely bowed out of the upcoming gubernatorial race. No way on God's earth she could win. But I don't think falling on her sword will make all those trailer denizens feel any better.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ten Small Things I Love for No Reason

A meme I got from blogger Dianne Sylvan. What a nice way to fill out my thirty days.

1. Iced coffee.

2. The way my little cat C. leans against me when she visits me in bed.

3. The sound and feel of the word "Decatur" in my mouth.

4. The smell of sweet olive.

5. Sleeping late.


7. The smell and feel of the paper of a new book.

8. Barnes & Noble (In real life, not online).

9. My office chair, which my husband gave me for Christmas. I finally have a decent office chair.

10. A new gel pen to write with.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I had bad dreams, and I woke up this morning with such a feeling of foreboding. I dreamt we lost our little cat C., at a Mardi Gras parade, and no one would help me look for her. I was furious and inconsolable. Horrible dream.

I know I dreamt this because one of my friend's cats went missing recently, so it was in my head, but it still felt awful. Dreams are not just about their surface content after all.

And now, I have to say goodbye to my husband. Hos new job in NOLA starts much earlier in the AM, so he really needs to go down Sunday night -- the traffic is just too awful in peak travel time on Monday mornings. Wow, it is so much worse to have to say goodbye to him at night instead of in the morning. In the morning, I too am busy, getting ready to go to school and work. I have a full day ahead of me. At night, I just sit here ... all alone.

I am so ready for this separation to be over and for us to be together again. I am eager to get finished with school, move back in with my husband, and get back to work and a normal life again.

I take my comprehensive exams this week. I feel good about them; in fact I had to ask my husband to stop asking me if I was studying for them, because he was making more nervous than I had to be. (I am, of course, but as the profs keep telling us, we would have to be brain-dead not to understand this stuff by now.)

But I'll be glad when they're over. A major hurdle crossed on the way to the end of all this.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


The DH and I just watched the Mike Judge movie Idiocracy on DVD -- a movie that, upon completion, was buried by its own distribution company because of its inflammatory content.

I'm no fan of censorship, of course, but I can see why the corporate suits chickened out on this flick. An unabashed screed for eugenics, it imagines a future United States where the intelligent don't breed enough and the unwashed do, and we end up with a country where the President is an ex-professional wrestler named Hector Mountain Dew Camacho, everyone walks around wearing clothing plastered with corporate logos, and they water the crops with Gatorade.

It's no Office Space, for sure, but it does have some funny gags -- like the cliched establishing shot of Washington, DC, the Washington Monument towering over its reflecting pool -- but the Monument is lopsided and the pool is full of morons on Jet skis.

It's out on DVD now, even though it got no theatrical release -- so if you want a chance to stick it to The Man, do like I did and go buy this flick. The future may thank you!

Friday, March 23, 2007


Today read in the LSU paper, the Daily Reveille about the sad case of my fellow graduate student, Ann Gregory, who is battling a rare and virulent form of leukemia, and also her insurance agency, which won't pay for the bone marrow transplant that is the only chance of saving her life. It's awful; one day she was fine, and the next, they're telling her she has less than a year to live.

You can go to her blog, here:, and donate toward her transplant surgery. Her family is trying to raise the money themselves, since the insurance won't pay.

What is even sadder, when you go to the donation site, you find that there are hundreds of other people trying to raise money for their cancer treatments, organ transplants, and other heroic surgeries. Just tragic to see. It shouldn't be like that in the US.

I believe in socialized medicine. I realize, of course, that a one-payer system means that there has to be triage, and many people would never receive these kinds of high-tech surgeries. But if everyone had access to a doctor, and there was more emphasis one wellness and preventive care, maybe some of these conditions could have been nipped in the bud.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Librarian: Quest for the Degree

Today two undergraduates told me they had never come into the library before because they were "afraid of it."

Don't be afraid of the library!" I exclaimed. They just stared at me with big googly eyes, shaking their heads. "It's so big!" one of them whispered.

I don't think I was very successful at assuaging their fears. I just couldn't relate. I loved the library as an undergraduate; I would hang out there for fun. I would randomly search the OPAC, which back then was called LISA or maybe ALIS, looking up forbidden terms like "drugs" and "magic," just to see what I would get. (What I got was a book on the shamanistic use of the psilocybe mexicana mushroom in Central America, which I used to write a paper for Botany class.) I would look up notorious books like Mein Kampf and Tropic of Cancer, and then go look at them on the shelves, just to see them. I browsed the shelves on history, science and religion, marvelling at the wealth of books that had never been available to me before -- serious books, rare books -- grown-up books.

And yet if was almost ten years after I graduated that I finally ended up in a library, and found work I loved to do. In retrospect, maybe I should have realized my destiny sooner.

I daresay those undergraduates aren't going to grow up to become librarians. Poor things.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thirty in Thirty

I need to be more assiduous about updating this blog, so to jumpstart that, I am following the lead of some of my fellow bloggers, and committing to thirty posts in thirty days. Thirty in Thirty. Thank you, Bloggers Anonymous.

So, for my first post, I find this at Nagin calls diaspora racial plot.

Nice! I can't speak to the racial makeup of NOLA right now, as I am not there to see for myself, and all of the post-K published statistics are highly dubious. But I will say this:

Nagin is the mayor. If the recovery is slow, it is his fault. It is his waffling, his conflict avoidance, his absenteeism -- his lack of leadership that has allowed the city to languish as it has. Not all his fault -- its not his fault the Road Home is such a mess, for example. But he has certainly not gone to bat for the people on that issue. It is mostly his fault.

The Mayor of New Orleans has a great deal of power under the city charter, far more than in other cities. Nagin has squandered that with his inaction and his foolish speechifying.

Nagin is a disaster. He needs to be recalled.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In the news today ...


New Orleans got defective flood pumps - U.S. Life -

The piece says the suspect pumps have not bee used yet, so they don't even know how bad it's going to be.

I'm supposed to come back to this?

Friday, February 16, 2007

New Blogger - whuzzat?

I have updated my GA journal. They keep me pretty busy.

So Blogger finally forced me to upgrade to the new interface, with a Google account. What's up with that? Google scares me a little. They are the Borg of the Internet -- they will assimilate anything, just on the off chance that it might "add to their perfection." Well, we'll see.

Hey, does anybody know how to get rid of those spam comments from the Blogger dashboard? I don't want to have to start moderating comments -- I'd rather just delete the spam once I see it. Any ideas? Anybody?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Oh, and by the way ...

... I have to say, Jeffrey responded much more graciously to my crime march-related slamming of him the other day that he really had to. He responds at length to the criticism of his position in his blog, and while I still don't agree, he defends himself well.

Library 2.0 -- it's on!!!

Just as I was talking about social software in libraries and the "next generation catalog," here comes SOPAC, the "Social OPAC," created by John Blyberg at the Ann Arbor District Library, which has all the very things I was talking about -- reviews, comments, tagging, customization, the works. Fabulous!

AADL is very cutting-edge on the 2.0 front -- their website has been blog-driven for a while, using blogs to advertise events, publicize new acquisitions and let the director talk to the citizens. It is a very supple, natural, yet dynamic website. And I daresay it was neither terribly expensive or difficult to create -- if you know some Web programming. These tools are designed to be easy, to be used and tweaked by ordinary users. This is not out of the reach of even modest libraries, if someone is willing to put the time in to learn the skillls. Or if the library is open to harnessing the native skills of its younger, more tech-savvy workers.

The SOPAC, of course, is more complicated, but it is built, as I understand it, with a set of customizable modules overlaying the catalog, and interacting with it to retrieve and display bib records. They did it themselves, by the way -- it is not a product of their automation vendor.

Another neat, very 2.0 thing about it is that you don't have to be an AADL cardholder to have a SOPAC account and add content. Anyone can register. So you can play aroud with it! Add tags! Write reviews!

That's what 2.0 is all about -- collaboration.

It's just super-cool. Watch the movie, too -- it's neat and very informative.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A nice Library 2.0 list for Public Libraries

My Top-ten Library 2.0 “No-brainers” for Public Libraries « The Other Librarian

This is a nice, easy list of simple -- mostly free -- things libraries can do to be more responsive and collaborative. Very simple things like having a blog with an RSS feed, allowing social software like YouTube to run on public access PCs, and adding the plug-in to browsers, so patrons can tag on the fly.

I am all for this. As a minor webhead myself, I am all about Library 2.0. Why? Because it expands the capabilities of the library. Because, as patrons use and create with collaborative software, at their library, they become more engaged with the library itself, and become stakeholders, concerned and involved with the future of the library itself as an institution. That's the hope, anyway. Besides, it's just offering better service. And why not do that? It's free, it's easy, and it provides a useful servicefor patrons. What's not to like.

I look forward to going out into libraryland with my degree and being a "change agent," bringing these L 2.0 techniques to whatever library I end up in. It pleases me to think of returning to NOPL as a branch manager, and creating my own little Branch 2.0, doing gaming programming, and having regular patrons read my "branch manager blog." It pleaes me greatly. It is the only reason I might consider going back -- assuming that is possible.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

March on!

Somewhat out of the loop up here in Baton Rouge, I was enormously heartened to hear about the anti-crime march on City Hall. I think it will really have an effect. Angry people marching in the streets is really the only thing that inspires fat-cat politicos to action; it scares them, as it damn well should. And I absolutely LOVE the fact that Nagin was not permitted to speak at the rally!

And on a related topic, I feel I have to express my complete disgust at the anti-march stance taken by my former co-worker Jeffrey over at Library Chronicles. Jeffrey, I am appalled. You accuse the marchers of being Yuppies, of being crypto-fascists implicity endorsing the advent of a police state, of being racially insensitive because they are upset that it was a a white woman and mother, Helen Hill, who was murdered. But it is her family and friends who organized the march -- how should they not be upset? They are trying to do something, trying to effect change, address the issue. How can you censure them for that? At least they are trying something -- whereas you consistently sit back, criticize, belittle, and offer absolutely nothing in the way of constructive alternatives or options.

That is no longer good enough. Bitching and brick-throwing no longer cut it. Jeffrey, I used to read you every day, but as of today I am removing you from my blogroll. You are too negative. I feel you are now part of the problem, not the solution. You're certainly entitled to your opinion. But I don't have to read it.
Various fundies, wingnuts, and TV talking heads have been squawking about freshman Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, taking his oath of office on a copy of the Quran, but for myself, this makes me proud to be an American.

Do you get it? Thomas Jefferson had a copy of the Quaran! Isn't that what America is all about, being open to the offerings of other cultures, taking the best of them and energizing them with America spirit and optimism? If TJ was open to studying the books of other religions, we can do no less.

I feel very happy for Keith Ellison that he had such a rare and precious volume to swear upon. The people who are upset and frightened by this are fools. They should be glad instead.