Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dr. Phil and the Jena Six

Did anyone catch Dr. Phil on Friday? He had a mix of people involved in the Jena Six saga – a teacher from Jena Junior High, Justin Barker and his parents, Rev. Brian Morgan and Al Sharpton.

I can’t even get into everything that they argued about and discussed, but I’ll point out some things I thought were interesting. You can look at transcripts of the show here.


* I thought it was interesting to see the Barkers discuss what has happened. Justin Barker was in the audience, instructed by a lawyer not to discuss the fight, but he said he’s doing OK now.

Dr. Phil asked his parents if they thought his life “hung in the balance” after the fight where the six students punched and kicked him, to which they replied, “yes,” to which I replied, “then why did you let him go to a social function later that evening?”

Dr. Phil also asked if Justin Barker did anything to provoke the fight. Both parents said he didn’t, that they specifically asked him if he said anything that made the boys beat on him the way they did, and Justin Barker said he didn’t do anything. Hmmmm…Teenager 101: would he actually have told his parents that he provoked a fight that has thrown his family, school and town into the national spotlight as the 2007 poster children for racial tension? Or is it easier to put the blame on someone else?

* Bobbie Cornett, a teacher’s aide at Jena Junior High School, said she blames Rev. Al Sharpton for making Jena seem like a town full of racists, calling him the racist and a bully. According to her, “Our town wasn’t racially divided before this happened.”
Sharpton pointed out that he was called to Jena by the parents of the six students and other blacks in the town that felt differently.

I won’t get too detailed into my thoughts about Cornett’s statement, but I wish that she, and other white residents of Jena, would stop saying that. Just because you ignored a problem or because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. How can they keep saying that it didn’t, even in light of what’s going on?

Mrs. Cornett, the first step in fixing a problem is to admit that there is one. Then you can move on from there.


I will say I was a little disappointed in Dr. Phil. I expected him to call some of these people out on their B.S.
Known for his no-nonsense way of dealing with people and their problems, I really expected him to ask the tougher questions others haven’t asked already.

But, he’s got another chance. Monday’s show is supposed to contain footage of what happened when the cameras kept rolling. Also, Dr. Phil sent Bishop T.D. Jakes to Jena to talk with the parents of the Jena Six, so we’ll get to hear from them.

Check it out at 3 p.m. on KTBS 3 and let us know what you thought…

Friday, September 28, 2007

Someone had to post this on here sometime

OK, if you haven't seen the original, here's a speeded up version of this guy's rant. The name is Chris Crocker. Google it. There's lots out there.

Enjoy.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's not over

So Gov. Kathleen Blanco finally spoke out for real and put pressure on the D.A. Reed Walters to do the right thing concerning Jena High School student Mychal Bell and try him as a juvenile…And, apparently it worked.

Is it time to celebrate?

No, not even close. Last week’s march in Jena was just the beginning.

One of the things that’s annoys me most is when people attack the character of these teenagers and their families or bring up their past.

“It’s not like they’re innocent. They beat up someone.”
“Well, you know Mychal Bell had a record with the juvenile system.”
“Well, you know they were trouble already.”

I haven't heard anyone say these kids were saints. Nobody’s even said what they did was right. That’s not what last week’s march was about and that’s not what is on the table for discussion.

The point is that this kid was not given fair punishment for his wrongdoing and the case of the "Jena 6" reflects a historical pattern of racism that continues in many other judicial systems across the country.

Bell’s wrongful punishment has finally been made somewhat right about a year too late, but what about all the other Mychal Bells out there who receive unfair, inequitable punishment compared to their white counterparts? What about the four other “Jena 6” teens? Have we already forgotten about Shaquanda Cotton from earlier this year? How many other teenage boys and girls are sitting in adult jails for juvenile crimes while their white counterparts go free or get juvenile detention or even probation for the same thing?

It’s all about being fair and just, across the board, regardless of race. I hope that we as citizens begin to take a closer look at issues like this in our community. As one protester shouted out last Thursday: It’s time to wake up…and STAY awake!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gov. Blanco and the Jena Six

I was ready to write a post about Governor Kathleen Blanco and her silence during everything - the arrests, prosecution, rally, bond hearing - going on in Jena, but a quick Google search slowed me down.

I stand corrected.

Blanco has issued statements on the situation in Jena, the first one looking like it was Aug. 10:

"I have received hundreds of calls, letters and emails from citizens concerned about the situation involving the case of the high school students in Jena, La. As Governor, as a citizen of the State of Louisiana, and as a mother, without rushing to judgment, I condemn racism in any form, and I fully expect that those involved in this case, including all parties, will act with fairness and in complete good faith."

She goes on to clear up the "misconception" that many people have about her ability to fix the situation, saying that not one branch of the three branches of government - executive, judicial and legislative - has power over the others.

Blanco issues another statement on Sept. 17, encouraging free speech that the Sept. 20 rally would demonstrate - and oh yeah, subtly reminding folks that the State Police would be out in full force.

(Sidenote: During a pretty significant time for race relations in her state, instead of being somewhere on Louisiana soil doing what she can to protect the reputation of her state, Blanco is in Madrid, Spain on a "business development mission"...sending e-postcards like this one posted on the day of the rally.)

And finally, Saturday, she issued a response to news that hate groups were publishing contact information of the families of the Jena Six on the Internet.

So, yes, Blanco has responded - somewhat - to the situation in Jena, but you know me. I'm never satisfied.

With exception to her last response, calling for law enforcement to investigate the hate groups, her statements have been pretty bland. I'd like to see her take a stand and maybe call for an investigation into how this situation in Jena came to be.

But that's just me.

I mean, what does she have to lose? Votes toward her re-election?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

More from Jena

video

The signs (Click on pics to make the bigger.)



















Two things that are always a relief to see in situations like this:


Cold water! (Provided by the American Red Cross.)


Port-a-potties!

People marching to Jena


State troopers



Jena resident sits on her porch and listens to protesters
While her daughter, a Jena High School student, talks to an ABC news reporter. (below)




Below, she talks to Times reporter Loresha Wilson about what she thinks will happen after this protest.
video

And I'll leave you with a quick funny story about the guy in the video below. This guy was walking around waving this piece of wood in the air, proudly declaring to anyone who would listen that he'd found the final piece of the infamous tree at Jena High School... Unfortunately for him, his moment of fame last about 15 minutes when another guy came along waving a branch in the air, proudly proclaiming the same thing - that he had the final piece of that same tree.

Below he talks to Times reporter Ashley Northington about what he hopes will come out of the day's events, but he gets drowned out by the chants of the protesters.
video

Friday, September 21, 2007

This may have been too close

Or at least it was for the Shreveport police. I took this photo earlier today at a fire at a recycling collection site.

I try to make my photos (and writing) as interesting as possible, so angles are important. We see pictures of firefighters from far away or with their backs to us pretty often, so I wanted to get as close as I could and try to get a face in the shot.

And I did a pretty good job of it before a police officer peaked around the dumpster and found me. Busted. She kicked me out and put me with the other media folk -- in a much more boring spot. Granted, she told me she just did it for my protection, and I believe she had hers and my best interests in mind. But I wouldn't have gone there if I really felt in danger. And the firefighters and their supervisors didn't make me move... Water under the bridge.

Anyhow, I got this and the one that will appear in Saturday's paper. This firefighter, Dwayne Johnson, had a good sense of humor. When he realized I was taking his picture he asked if it was OK to turn the hose in my direction... haha. I feel like this would've been my last blog if we had destroyed the camera.

Can you feel the heat?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

March on Jena: People, people, people

So, as it turns out, my preconceived "party with a purpose" notion wasn't so far off. I mean, it wasn't a party, but the atmosphere definitely had the feel of something like a family reunion.

I ran into friends, former classmates, colleagues, former co-workers and sorority sisters. Even people I didn't know greeted me with smiles and friendly conversation. That's how I met folks like Dashene, a young aspiring filmmaker who drove all the way from New York City, alone, just to participate in the event and show his support to the Jena Six.

The weather didn't seem all that hot at first, but by the end I was definitely sweating and my feet let me know that those tennis shoes I thought would be so comfortable actually turned out to be unbearable!

Anyway, the first thing that I found most fascinating were obviously the crowds. (FYI: You can click on the pics to see them bigger.)



We started out at the LaSalle Parish Courthouse where it looked like at least 20,000 or more folks were, including the crowds in the pics above.



And I guess where there's a will, there's a way because some folks even found seats in the treetops:

















Various speakers were taking their turn at the mike shouting chants like "Free the Jena 6! Free Mychal Bell!" We heard that just minutes before folks like Tyler Perry and the Rev. Al Sharpton were among those speakers. The P.A. system made it difficult at times to hear what was being said, so some in the crowd would spontaneously start their own chants and mini-marches, like this one:

video
After that we wandered to the other side of the courthouse where we saw a whole 'nother crowd that appeared be in the thousands marching on a road that ran from the school to the courthouse.
I admit, it was a bit overwhelming at times taking it all in because there didn't seem to be a set schedule that I was aware of and there were so many things to see, so many rallies and gatherings going on at the same time all around that you weren't sure which one to go to next. However, despite the confusion and crowds, everyone was so friendly from their greetings to their polite "Excuse me ma'am," or "Excuse me sister," as they passed through the crowd.

Check back for more on my journey in Jena, including pics and video from the day's events.

Getting there

Our journey began early Thursday morning, just before 4 a.m. and it’s weird because it felt so strange at first, like we were alone in the darkness.
But then, around 5 a.m. I noticed the caravan of headlights stretched along I-49 for miles and miles headed toward Jena via of Alexandria with license plates that said Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and more.

Even when we stopped at the Air Base Road, the gas stations and the one fast food restaurant that was opened were packed as though it were broad open daylight instead of pitch blackness with folks dressed in all black getting out the vehicles.

By the time we got to Alexandria around 6 a.m., the traffic slowed to a crawl and would pretty much remain that way until we got into Jena around 8 a.m. Just when my eyes were getting heavier by the minute, I felt this burst of new energy as we got closer to Jena and saw the trail of hundreds of folks walking alongside our vehicles to join the rally some miles away.

When we finally were able to park and make our walk to the LaSalle Parish Courthouse I can't even begin to describe how amazing it was to see the crowd of people. I mean, there were easily several thousand folks just on the street leading to the Courthouse Blvd. not to mention folks that were in the park, the school and other parts of the small town. And I'm not just talking about people who looked like me, but people of all races.

Unfortunately, it was at this point that we also discovered that we had no cell phone or internet service. But that did little to affect the excitment in the air is we made our way to the parish courthouse.

March on Jena: Random Thoughts

With the March on Jena less than 24 hours away, for some reason I’m having mixed emotions.
When I first decided to make this journey more than two weeks ago, I was excited about the possibility of experiencing something like this.

I mean, for years I’ve heard the stories of protest marches during the Civil Rights Movement from parents, grandparents, history classes, etc.

And it was the idea of being able to witness an event that’s being likened to the protest marches of that era that compelled me to go in the first place. I had to be there.
Fear was the last thing on my mind. I mean, to be honest, I was envisioning something like Essence Fest without the music.

Then, my naïve-like mental images of a party with a purpose morphed into images of those 1960s protests as I told friends, family and colleagues of my plans.

I mean I’ve heard every warning from “Oooh I hope they protect y’all.” “It’s going to be overwhelming. Be careful.” “Stay safe. Don’t wander off.” and “Stay with the crowd.” to “Make sure you make provisions in case there’s no restroom available.” I never even thought about that!

And suddenly, I’m a ball of excitement and nerves because I’m just not sure what to expect. I guess we’ll see in a few hours, literally -We’re hitting the road at 3 a.m.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

March on Jena: The Intro

You know, when I first read the story of the Jena Six on our editor’s blog back in July, I felt sick. So sick that I wanted to get my thoughts out immediately. And I felt sick for several reasons: 1. I couldn't believe that I hadn't heard until then that something like this was going on just a few hours away from me. 2. The injustice that occurred is so disgusting and disappointing, but sadly, not shocking at all. 3. It's just a plain ol' sad reminder of the die-hard racism that still exists in the South and really the entire country.

I am optimistic, though, that people are putting their foot down and saying “No more!” However, is it me, or does it seem like everyone but Louisiana folks as a whole are even showing this the amount of attention, concern or outrage that this case warrants?

I mean, this is supposed to be 2007 not 1957, right?

Some say the March on Jena will be one for the history books as far as the number of participants. Among the big names expected to be in attendance include Michael Baisden, the very popular syndicated radio show host who's been largely credited with bringing this story to national attention and keeping it alive through his radio show; the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, of course; and the children of the late Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve even heard some prominent entertainers are going to be there.

I'll see for myself Thursday when I, along with Times reporters including Ashley Northington and Loresha Wilson, will travel there to cover the events. They’re going to bring you full coverage which you can find on shreveporttimes.com, while I share my personal account of the experience on here.
Times reporter Joel Anderson was already in Jena earlier this week and you can read more about that in tomorrow's edition of The Times.
Meanwhile, check back here and on shreveporttimes.com throughout the day for up-to-the-minute coverage of the March on Jena.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Be true to your school, party animals

My parents and grandmother will probably want to disown me, but I'm going be shameless anyway.

All you LSU students and grads out there who partied your way through school need to give credit where it's due: in a party school tournament.

It's special for two reasons.

First, It's more than just a poll because each college is pitted against another instead of it being a free-for-all. You have to push your school through.

Second, RedEye (the young reader edition of the Chicago Tribune) is behind the tourney. I was an intern there as a college student, so I know hip when I see it.

Go on to the Web site and vote, now. Contrary to university administrators' hatred for these sort of rankings, I think it actually helps draw well rounded young adults. You can learn anywhere you put your mind to it. But you can't have the time of your life without the right atmosphere. And that is fully available in good ole Baton Rouge.

Besides, you wouldn't want the University of Wisconsin to win, right?

And if you happen to say something about this blog to my mom and dad or granny, remind them I had a blast at LSU but also finished with a 3.5 GPA and a special notation on my diploma from the Honors College.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ode to Kanye, Verse 2

Yes, he’s known for throwing the occasional public tantrum and saying whatever’s on his mind (i.e. “George Bush doesn't care about black people.) But have you ever really listened to his lyrics?
They’re clever, gritty, humorous and at times relatable.

In case you hadn’t figured it out yet by our blog posts and comments, Kanye has quite the fan base here with some of us Link222 bloggers. And of course, we're all too thrilled that he beat his contenders to the No. 1 spot on the charts. So, we decided to have a little fun and try something different to the end the week in honor of his third album release “Graduation,” released Tuesday.

It was difficult to do, but we picked out at least 10 of our all-time favorite Kanye lyrics as well as 10 of our all-time favorite songs.

What do ya’ll think? Let us know what you’d add…or take off. (As much as we LOVE free speech, we must warn you - comments with expletives may get deleted.) Here goes:
Top 10 classic Kanye West lyrics:
1. “If you ever wanted to be anything/There’ll always be somebody that will shoot down any dream/There’ll always be haters/That’s the way it is/Hater (men) marry hater (women) and have hater kids.” – “Bring Me Down,” Late Registration (Submitted by Janelle Rucker)

2. “Will I make it from a student loan to a Benzo?/Like old folks pissin’, I guess it all Depends, so …” – “Late,” Late Registration. (Submitted by Joel Anderson.)

3. “Why everything that’s s’posed to be bad, make me feel so good?/And everything they told me not to is exactly what I would?” - “Addiction,” Late Registration. (Submitted by Donecia Pea)
4. “Crack raised the murder rate in DC and Maryland/We invested in that it's like we got Merril-Lynch/And we been hangin’ from the same tree ever since/Sometimes I feel the music is the only medicine.” – “Crack Music,” Late Registration. (Submitted by Greg Pearson)

5. “Damn ‘Ye it’d be stupid to diss you/Even your superficial raps are super official.” - "Gone," Late Registration. (Submitted by Janelle Rucker)

6. “It seems we’re living the American Dream/The people highest up have the lowest self esteem/The prettiest people do the ugliest things.” - “All Falls Down,” The College Dropout. (Submitted by Donecia Pea)

7. “They say because of the fame and stardom/I’m somewhere in between the church and insane asylum./I guess it’s messing with my health then/And this verse so crazy when I finish I’m just gon’ check myself in. Again.” - “They Say,” from rapper Common’s “Be.” (Submitted by Donecia Pea)

8. “I’ll be good like God with an extra O/God knows that my check needs some extra Os.” - “Can’t Tell Me Nothing (Remix.)" (Submitted by Joel Anderson)

9. “Ahh, the sweet taste of victory/Go ‘head and breathe it in like antihistamine/I know they say ‘Dang they snapped with this beat.’/What you expect? I gotta history.” - “They Say,” from rapper Common’s album "Be.” (Submitted by Donecia Pea)

10. “Everything I'm not made me everything I am.” –“Everything I Am,” Graduation.(Submitted by Janelle Rucker)

Top 10 songs:
1. Celebration (Late Registration)
2. All Falls Down (The College Dropout)
3. Late (Late Registration)
4. Touch the Sky (Late Registration)
5. Jesus Walks (The College Dropout)
6. Never Let Me Down (The College Dropout)
7. Stronger (Graduation)
8. Addiction (Late Registration)
9. Spaceship (The College Dropout)
10. Good Life (Graduation)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Before this disappears

Friday, on the front page of the paper, ran one of the crazier stories I've seen in my nearly three years in Shreveport.

Here's the nickel tour: A 17-year-old was arrested for soliciting sex to a 39-year-old, now-former Caddo schools substitute teacher. The teacher was not arrested, apparently because he was more cooperative with the officer. And just for the record, the officer admitted he saw no illegal activity, essentially arresting the teen on the word of the older man. (Get the full story here.)

I'm sure many of you have heard about this and the story commenters are certainly having a field day with it. And it's was a mildly interesting story until some oddball legal moves upped the ante.

Caddo District Attorney Paul Carmouche announced that no charges will be filed against the older of the two men because they need him to testify against the teenager and, "because the deputy had already told the older man he would not arrest him."

Who knew the legal system ran on promises and pinkie swears?

Carmouche says that without the older man's testimony, they have no case against the teenager. "Technically, they both would be violating the prostitution law, and we had to make a decision: Do we give up the case against both or will we use one to testify against the other? And we chose to use him as a witness."

That seems like, at best, a lapse in judgment to me and at worst, a blatantly unfair decision.

Besides the fact it gives the impression that selling sex is somehow more illegal than buying it, has the D.A.'s office really put thought (or has anyone put any investigative effort) into the possible ramifications of this former educator's actions?

The older man says it's the first time this has happened. The teen says it's been going on for months, meaning this could have started before he reached the age of consent.

And is this really the only person with which the teacher was involved? For all anyone knows, this could be the latest in a string of local teacher-as-sexual-predator scandals.

Last, and certainly least in a legal sense, on the maturity and good judgment scale, that 39-year-old should be leaps and bounds beyond a 17-year-old willing to sell his body. Why should the more mature of the two get off without even a slap on the wrist while the younger one gets a record before he can even register to vote?

Most of us missed this

A lot of us missed it.

A black woman in West Virginia was kidnapped, beaten and sexually abused by white people, who said, according to police reports, her abusers told her "that's what (they) do to n------."

Wow.

We were too busy talking about Britney Spears' awful performance and post two-kids frame to talk about this.

I'm almost ashamed to say I even missed it. I didn't find out until today.

It's amazing how a bunch of empty nothingness, like Spears' performance or the latest Lindsey Lohan saga, can take over the news. People (especially me) want to know about celebs and their outrageous doings, but I guess we need to find a way to balance it all.

What do you think?

An ode to Kanye

Yep, that’s me.
I’m that girl that ran to Target yesterday to get Kanye West’s new cd, "Graduation."
I’m also that girl you saw driving around the city yesterday and this morning blasting that same cd, dancing behind the steering wheel and singing loudly.

It’s awesome.

But I knew it would be. In a time when "artists" are putting out cds with 10 or 12 tracks, of which only one or two are good, Kanye is giving people what they pay for.

Of the 13 tracks on "Graduation," I love 12 of them and the last one may grow on me as I replay the album - over and over and over again.

Each song sounds different than the one before it. Known for his production skills, it comes as no surprise that the beats and melodies don’t only vary from song to song, but also vary from his previous albums.

"Graduation" perfectly wraps up the trilogy of Kanye’s story. From "College Dropout" to "Late Registration" and now "Graduation," the cocky rapper/producer keeps moving us forward, never presenting us something that he's given us before.

So, here and now I’ll proclaim my love for Kanye - not as a groupie but as someone that respects his talent, his struggle and even some of the crazy things he says and does.
I’m not even going to get into the whole Kanye vs. 50 Cent album sale competition, because to me, there’s no contest. It’s Kanye all the way. But here is a review that ran in the Boston Globe that I feel sums up that whole situation perfectly.

So, has anybody else heard it? What do you think?
And stay tuned. Donecia and I are putting together a Kanye related list that we want you to get in on...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Final rant on MTV VMA's...I promise!

Since I feel like most of the world has already talked ad nauseum or at least heard something about last night’s MTV Video Music Awards, especially Britney’s awful performance, I’ll try to keep my thoughts brief.

Several of my friends have referred to it as the MTV ADD Awards show. Waaay too many flashing graphics, almost incoherent computerized voiceovers and dizzying cut-ins without any rhyme or reason. If I weren’t such an entertainment/pop cult junkie, I coulda found a thousand other better ways to spend those two hours of my life.

Hits and misses:

-Some of the live concerts going on elsewhere in the hotel during the awards show were cool, but I couldn’t figure out a) Why they were going on during the show and b) Why in the world we couldn’t at least see complete performances.

-For me, when Chris Brown is the highlight of a music awards show, that says a lot, especially considering he doesn't even really sing.

-And while the pairing of 50 Cent and Kanye West to present an award was clever, (considering their upcoming Billboard chart showdown when both of their albums drop tomorrow) even that, like most of the show, appeared awkward and nonsensical.

There were funny parts, like Jamie Foxx’s plea to stop the "white-on-white crime," referring to the apparently offscreen fight between Kid Rock and Tommy Lee. And then there’s comedienne Sarah’s Silverman edgy monologue that was funny, but way too mean and colorful to even mention on here.

There’s so much more I could say, but a quick Google search tells me that, chances are, everyone’s already said it. So my MTV VMA rant ends here. If you missed the show and feel you must know what everyone's talking about, check it out here.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The comeback that wasn't...

OK, I think I’m finally ready to admit it – I’ve outgrown the MTV Video Music Awards.
And judging from tonight’s show, so far, so have some of the actual performers, namely, Britney Spears.

I’m not a big Britney Spears fan at all. I’ve never counted her as much of a singer, but the one thing the girl could always do is dance.
Even as her personal life spiraled out of control, the one thing I figured she could always do was dance.
I mean, despite all of the craziness her life has been, the girl is only like 26 or something, right? So youth should be on her side, right?

But her highly anticipated opening performance at the MTV Awards was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.
I’ve watched many MTV Awards shows through the years and one of the most memorable things about the otherwise bland show in the last 10 years were Britney’s performances.
I can still see her dancing with that python, popping, gyrating, working that stage like a dancing machine.
She always commanded the stage back during those days. Unbelievably, her performance earlier tonight was just a completely different Britney.

She actually looked lifeless… scared… lost… confused… high? I’m still not sure, but she was definitely not all the way there. Her eyes looked vacant. As though somebody woke her up five minutes before the show’s start, dolled her all up and just threw her on the stage and said “Dance!”
I swear I actually saw her legs shake nervously at some points during her performance. And my heart went out to her.
I mean, it wasn’t until I saw her then that I realized I kinda wish she woulda been able to make her big comeback.
But sadly, based on last night’s performance alone, I don't think she's quite ready yet.

I’ll have more to say about the rest of the show later, like how it was one of the most visually annoying productions I’ve ever seen. Like how there was waaaay too much going on. Like how I think I need to pop an Advil after all of those wild and crazy graphics, mixed in with cut-ins to concerts going on during the awards show. But like I said, I’ll talk about all that later…

Friday, September 07, 2007

In case you're going to Tiger Stadium tomorrow

You might want to take note of the traffic notice the university issued this week. (And unfortunately the pic at right is only half the amp, so go here for more detail.)

Basically, after the game Nicholson Drive
will be a southbound, one-way road near campus.

Burbank Drive will be two-way.

And yeah, I'm still at work thinking about the game... See you there? GEAUX TIGERS!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tainted Potato Salad

Last week I about had a heart attack.

I always hear about recalls - be it toys, baby sleepers, spinach. I normally just ignore them because its never anything that I buy.

Now I'm thinking about it differently.

On the news Friday there was a short announcement about some Kroger potato salad that the company warned should be thrown away because it "may contain E.coli."

I had to think for a minute because I thought I had bought some potato salad on my last shopping trip. I went to the 'fridge and there it was. Kroger brand Mustard Style potato salad with the best-if-used-by date of Sept. 5.

I tasted the potato salad about a week ago, but never ate a full portion, so I thought I'd be OK.

But it got me to thinking, if I hadn't happened to be watching the news at that moment, how would I have known?

Though Kroger officials say this was a "voluntary recall" and no illnesses have been reported, I feel like there needs to be a better system of notifying people.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I think I'm with the movie people

After taking my first direct flight from Shreveport to the final destination my trip, I realized I do have something in common with the Hollywood types around here. Movie industry folks apparently are talking with Shreveport Regional about a Shreveport-L.A. flight.

From Velda Hunter's April 11 article: "Airport officials, however, said they are still trying to land a direct flight to Los Angeles, considering the Shreveport area's apparent growing popularity in the film industry. Airport officials are talking to an airline about a western flight, but Roberts wouldn't say which airline." (Sorry I couldn't just link to this; it's past the free viewing date.)

My flight was on Allegiant to Las Vegas. I've never really been one to complain about my usual connections in Houston or Atlanta, but I never knew what I was missing.

For one thing, it's a lot harder to get your checked bag lost if it doesn't have to make it on another plane. Plus, there's no rushing to another flight. It's only about a two-and-a-half hour flight to Vegas from here. Who'd have thought?

I think airlines like Allegiant or Jet Blue that offer these kinds of flights out of smaller airports have got a good thing going. The big companies aren't offering, so why not?

Aside from the convenience for leisure travellers, it's obviously something the airport folks should look into if it can help make this area a bigger draw to the movie industry.

Thoughts on direct flight experiences?