Thursday, September 27, 2007


I normally don't get indignant about insensitive, even offensive, political speech. Nine times out of ten the indignation strikes me as phony coming from the right, and, as long-time Countdown fan, I'm starting to find the worst fishing trips in the world almost embarrassing. I get indignant over unchallenged lies and deceit; when the mayor said that the city budget had decreased drastically, when it was revenue that decreased drastically, and the Picayune called him a genius for borrowing money, I even got pissed off. But I don't get indignant over insensitivity.*

However, I heard the mayor say something on TV last night that shocked me. I can't find a video clip, so I'll quote from the Picayune:
Echoing Letten's comments, Nagin described the city's violent crime as concentrated and unlikely to affect visitors who frequent tourist destinations.

"You don't have anything to worry about," Nagin said. "I'm looking at this audience and you all don't look like young African-American males who are involved in drug activity."

Nagin's comments, to a group of cruise lines executives, sounded much more offensive when I heard than they seem as I read them. I didn't hear Letten's comments, so I can't comment on how they sounded. However,:
Most of the murders are committed by young men from "failed families, abject poverty." They can be related to drugs or retaliation for other murders or in response to slights or perceived slights, he said.

Letten isn't the mayor, and his words aren't quite as insensitive. Am I wrong to find the mayor's statements appalling?

BTW, Letten went on to acknowledge a crime problem, even if he underplayed it. The mayor went on to imply that Bush was promise-keeper (sorta):
In response to a question about the safety of the city's levees, Nagin told the group that the systems that protect the French Quarter and the downtown areas are "in the best shape we've ever had in the history of the city." Weaknesses in the system remain on the West Bank of the city and in eastern New Orleans, Nagin said.

*I did object to "Chocolate City," but only because Nagin was already mayor and I thought that it was premeditated. At the time, I said it was minor if you thought it wasn't premeditated as I really didn't care if he was insensitive to white people. If it was premeditated, it meant that he didn't care about dividing and embarrassing the city, if it furthered his re-election chances. Since he was already mayor, he should have been putting the city first. And, that is what I said in real time.

I routinely post stuff about the mayor's insensitive and downright appalling comments.

This is just another one.

He seems like a headline whore, who believes that any press is good press, just spell my name right.

Just someone imagine if Arnie Fielkow or Stacy Head or Shelly Medura has said that.
That quote jumped out at me too, and I shook my head and thought about how I might blog about it. (Luckily, then I picked up a copy of the N.O. Levee satirical and my mood brightened.)

But when I came back to that quote, I became more angry about the larger issue: our mayor thinks it's much less serious, perhaps acceptable, to have violent crime concentrated in particular neighborhoods. It would "hurt the brand" more if incidents were more evenly dipersed.

Makes me wonder what the mayor and Chief would do if serious crimes started infecting the sacred tourist areas. Would that get their full attention and effort?
I heard that comment on the News.

This is a man who is African American, has sons, and just went to Jena.

Then he comes back here and sounds like David Duke.
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