Tuesday, June 24, 2008


i just realized that i never updated y'all (or is it ya'll?) on my trip to oklahoma last weekend. it was awesome. as amazing to any trip to oklahoma can ever dream of being. it was so great to reconnect with old friends, talk about the most weather-dorkish things possible, feel validated in the sense that i think my job is probably one of the best possible things ever to happen to me, and visit possibly the only art gallery in the world dedicated to tornados. if norman was in louisiana, i'd be set. but then it wouldn't be norman.

there ARE hiking trails in louisiana!! real ones, too. the best one looks like a 20-mile loop around a lake. but it's 100mi. away. maybe we should just hike there?

speaking of outdoor summer-ish activities... with meg's newly earned bike, we set out on our first real ride together last night. it was awesome. we found THE bike trail in new orleans, and i think i might go out again this afternoon and explore further...

what an awesome place! combination fashion show/music venue. only new orleans (one point for NO vs NY - check the poll on the sidebar!).

possibly the best polling site for the election on the internet. this is what i would create if i had the time (and knowledge).

and, in celebration of the cross-town, two-ballpark double header today... go mets!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

random thoughts while i'm waiting for the end of the week

Because I've been invited to speak at the REUnion this weekend in Norman, Oklahoma (on my grad school experience(s), working for climate and development, and random other things), this week my week ends on Thursday. That's today. And for this, I'm thankful.

It's been a whirlwind 10 days in New York, punctuated most notably by the first 10 minutes back in the office last monday. Neil greeted me warmly (I had been in New Orleans for 6 weeks - my longest trip yet), and promptly said - "well, I just want to put something on your radar... we might need someone to go to Malawi and Tanzania in a few weeks for some meetings... so, you might start packing your bags". So, the next day, I was in Staten Island at Dr. Scafuri's office getting a hepatitis booster. Things move quickly in New York.

Speaking of Staten Island, is there anywhere else in the world where you can ride the bus past a hindu temple, a synagogue, a mosque, a catholic church, a sri lankan grocery store, a honduran steakhouse, a place selling nigerian movies, and no fewer than 3 baseball diamonds with kids playing little league, all in 20 minutes? Yep, that's Victory Blvd.

Is New York the greatest city in the world because of that?

Do you ever catch yourself singing out loud at work (with headphones on, of course) and look up to see everyone in your office looking at you? Yeah, I'm *that* guy, apparently. I have this song in my head today.

The Democratic nominee for president of the United States just launched his first general election campaign ad today in 18 states INCLUDING Alaska, Georgia, Montana, and North Dakota. Freaking North Dakota!! What is up!! If he competes in those states, this isn't even going to be close.

And if the other guy keeps this kind of stuff up, he'll hand over the election on a Florida shaped platter.

Maybe it's just because I just moved to New Orleans (otherwise known as the big red bulls-eye below sea level), but this scares me. Not just because I'll be fearing for my life every day for the next 5 1/2 months of hurricane season, but because it shows that perhaps the government really doesn't care about us after all.

And if this is true, does it really matter anyway? Record food prices, increasing frequency of disasters, the global economy hanging in the balance... hey, at least the Yankees aren't in first place!

But, I have hope. You can reduce your impact by making small changes to your lifestyle. Here's some driving tips to help save gas (my local station - that I can see from the subway at 125th St. along Broadway - just hit 4.50 for regular unleaded).

No Day But Today! (right?!?) Live life, guys!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Save federal housing vouchers for New Orleans (WE DID IT!)

Meg and I haven't blogged in a while, but we've been hard at work. Meg just started a job with Unity of Greater New Orleans (UnityGNO.org) working on homeless advocacy.

But this post is especially important.

The US House of Representatives is voting today on whether or not to include 3000 permanent housing vouchers for New Orleans into its emergency spending bill for Iraq. Out of over $200 BILLION in the total bill, $70 million would go a long way toward the first steps at fixing the still emergency situation on the gulf coast, 2 and a half years after Hurricane Katrina.

Meg's co-worker has a letter published in today's USA Today:
New Orleans homeless deserve more than a mattress under a bridge.

Please call the House leadership and tell them, in just a few words, why you think housing for homeless in New Orleans is just as important as continuing to fund the war.

Contact Information:
The Hon. Nancy Pelosi (House Speaker): (202) 225-4965
The Hon. James Clyburn (Majority Whip): (202) 225-3315
The Hon. David Obey (chair of House Appropriations Committee): (202) 225-3365

I just called, it was much easier and quicker than I thought - 1 min and I was done.

We'll keep you updated on how the vote goes today.

UPDATE 6/19/08 (From Megan's Boss):
Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of you! You created a mass movement across our entire country to get the House leadership to understand how critically needed rent vouchers are by the most disabled and most vulnerable victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And it worked! Last night we received word that the House leadership granted your request and placed the $73 million in funding for the vouchers in the Supplemental Appropriations Bill.

You are all heroes! Most of all, I want to thank Senator Mary Landrieu for her trail-blazing leadership of this vital cause; Valerie Keller, co-chair of the Louisiana Supportive Housing Coalition, for her amazing work these past 2 ½ years to garner support on both sides of the aisle for this; Congressman Charlie Melancon for leading the fight on the House side and for holding the leadership’s feet to the fire on behalf of Katrina victims; Governor Bobby Jindal and Paul Rainwater, head of the LRA, for their terrific support; our incredible national partners without whom we absolutely could not have achieved this; Chandra Crawford, for her amazing work these past two weeks; Melville Charitable Trust for launching the supportive housing hurricane recovery initiative; the faith-based community who made the moral case; and caring people all across the country who flooded the leadership and the White House with calls making it clear that the American people believe that the most disabled and vulnerable victims of these disasters need and deserve ongoing housing assistance – and to every single one of you for working your hearts out for this righteous cause. I know I’ve left out the names of many critical partners but I am so excited right now, please forgive me for my omissions!!!

These vouchers save lives – make no mistake.

Martha J. Kegel
Executive Director

UNITY of Greater New Orleans