Sandra Bullock for Louisiana Governor

imagesNew Orleans Today Sandra Bullock, recently an Academy Award winning best actress and since Hurricane Katrina a laser focused supporter and annual homecoming queen of Warren Easton High School on Canal Street, demanded her piece on a promo video done by “Women of the Storm” about Gulf restoration be removed because she refused to front and ‘ho for oil companies.  No worry, Senator Mary Landrieu, who wears a permanent tattoo signaling her allegiance to oil companies working in the Gulf, was glad to step right, no research needed, to take one for the storm troopers.

Bullock doesn’t like being played for a fool it seems.  She just solved a little problem like that in her personal life from what I’ve read.  After doing her part, hoping to help Gulf recovery, she came to understand (thanks to which I’m putting on my Google Reader, thank you!) that the storm troopers were joined at the hip with America’s WETLAND Foundation, which has been a “soft core” coastal restoration outfit created (according to Bruce Alpert in the Times-Picayune) with state money and slicked down with oil company contributions (which is a little disingenuous given the huge role they have played in coastal destruction!).

Bullock wants to know the “facts” her release said about the connections.  To start with the storm troopers have been a vehicle for Anne Milling since Katrina and based on cozy, old school, uptown relationships with the Times-Picayune, Whitney Bank, oil interests, and others have been a favored darling at the fuzzy point of “elite panic” about the city and its future since the storm.  Other than fly an almost entirely lily white delegation of upper crust women to DC in a chartered plane to speak for our 2/3rds African-American and poor city, I’m not sure what they ever did at all, but they were the long toothed, debutante ball in a bad post-K season.  America’s WETLAND Foundation’s chair is her husband King Milling, a former bigwig at Whitney Bank, the old school and oil field standard in New Orleans.  Milling is Mr. Public Relations, having been quoted by me in the past for his refusal to accept pay limits as a bailed out bank and his opposition to rebuilding the 9th ward and other black majority parts of the city.  Of course he’s there as a front for oil and finance interests.  No waves will hit them from on his shore watch.

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The Rubble around SB1070 Injunction

ARIZONA-DEMONew Orleans The good news on the judge’s issuance of an injunction is that: boy, this was a close call and could have been soooo much worse!  But, let’s be honest, we’re trying to pull “gold out of the garbage” as our ragpickers say.  There’s still no reason for great joy and celebration because the opposition will be scheming at how to come closer next time, the appeals will be queued up a mile long, and we lost important issues here even while we are claiming a “win” on what is now routinely being called, the “most controversial” elements.

So local police will be enjoined from asking every conceivable person that they think might be illegal to show papers and stand to be arrested.  The judge correctly saw through the governor’s baloney that local law enforcement offers were so well trained that they could avoid discrimination.  Can you say the words, Sheriff Arpaio, and still repeat that sentence with a straight face, Governor?  They can’t hold people for deportation by the feds based on SB1070, but we still have DHS Napolitano’s 287(g) for that mischief.  Various civil penalties cannot be converted into crimes and everyone with a tan will not have to carry their paperwork to prove citizenship, but as today’s rallies in Phoenix “against the hate” make clear, these are symbolic victories when the anger at immigrants is being fanned to a vengeful and violent level of anger and potential attack.

Washed away in the headlines are huge concerns about the future of day laborers, which the National Day Laborers’ Organizing Network has indicated could cripple the ability for day laborers to find work and lead to huge legal oppression everywhere in the country.  This was a confusing piece of the injunction story.  The judge enjoined the efforts of Arizona to essentially drive day laborers off of the sidewalks and any public areas where they could look for work, but allowed the language that was based on the old ACORN v. Phoenix suit to stand which allows day laborers to be harassed and arrested if they seem to be a traffic nuisance.  NDLON has correctly worried that day laborers would now be walking a tightrope thin line in trying to both protect their livelihoods and at the same time avoid arrest and prosecution (and therefore also potential deportation depending on the charge and jurisdiction) because traffic safety would trump everything and everybody.

I’m not whining.  We desperately needed to win this injunction, so all good there, but “happy” and “celebrate” are not two words that come easily in this moment when so little is solved, other rights are eroded, and the forces of hate and repression are still gathering mightily in cities and states throughout the country with no real relief in sight.