Friday, January 27, 2006

A few random thoughts and observations to get back into things. Since the computer problems and personal matters/obligations that have hampered my blogging since around Christmas caused me to take over a week off, some of these will be on old (relatively) topics.

Link for the last Laura Bush/Joker photo that I mentioned in a comment on People Get Ready. The rest were old; you can find more by googling "Laura Bush Joker", if they're new to you. Should have typed in the html in the comment, but with blogger comments not always letting you preview, I'm always a little hesitant to.

When did George Bush give up drinking, reputedly? I ask because I first began waiting tables in the mid-eighties, but I still remember an incident from early in my waiting career. One night, we needed to combine all my tables into one table for a large group of obnoxious drunks and their wives. The party occupied my station for the entire night, acted obnoxiously, ran me ragged, and ran up a bill of several hundred dollars. They seemed to be discussing something on their way out, when I heard the most obnoxious one say: Well, I'll remind that waiter that ten dollars is a lot. When I looked at the table, I saw some crumpled ones and some change that seemed to add up to less than ten dollars. A coworker looked and couldn't figure out how it added up to ten dollars either. But the same coworker looked at the bill and concluded that the jerk seemed to think that he was giving his waiter both the tax and the tip. The explanation made me feel much better.

One thing that I think was lost, or at least under emphasized, in the brouhaha over Nagin's speech last week: the mayor has given a speech after every single Martin Luther King day since the holiday was inaugurated. When I emphasized the political reasons for Nagin's speech, I should acknowledged that the mayor needed to say much more than New Orleans wants all its people back. I also agree with Polimom that he was feeling a racial pull as much as much he was making a racial push (hope I'm not oversimplifying or misreading her post too badly). To what degree he was motivated by the city's need to reassure its displaced Black citizens and to what degree he was motivated by his need to shore up his Black support is irrelevant. The fact is, he knew that he was making a speech that day. It was, or should have been, a prepared speech. That's why I couldn't understand all the commentary I heard and read that talked about things like "his tendency to speak extemporaneously," or "forgetting that's he's in front of a larger audience," or speaking off the cuff, or whatever. It's also why I really question either his judgments or his motivations, or both. Of course, I also think that a lot of the white outrage was overdone and misguided. Misdirected rather. White New Orleanians shouldn't care that he used MLK day to address the concerns of its Black citizens, at least I don't. I do care that he seemed to be putting his re-election above the city's rebuilding.

Despite the first paragraph, that's all the dead horse flogging I have time for tonight. Sorry.

You said: I also agree with Polimom that he was feeling a racial pull as much as much he was making a racial push (hope I'm not oversimplifying or misreading her post too badly).

Nope - not too badly. (smile...) Call it the ultimate in peer pressure.

I feel sorry for him these days, actually. Things would have gone rather a lot better had he stuck to a script.
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