Combine an enjoyable visit to New Orleans with some 'Fact-Finding' of your own: all about the Middle East direct from each country.

"Unless Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is making a visit, the Middle East gets scant coverage in the nightly news. Here's your chance to explore the many nations, cultures and conflicts of the region in more than one- and two-minute segments. Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center presents the New Orleans Middle East Film Festival with 60 films screening over 10 days. The movies offer fresh perspectives on countries that are often overshadowed by conflict, and the goal, says Zeitgeist director Rene Broussard, is to provide people with a new understanding of the cultures. The festival includes films from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, including the Oscar-nominated Israeli film Beaufort."Gambit Weekly : Middle East Film Festival : July 29, 2008:

Rene Broussard and the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center presents New Orleans Middle East film Festival, with ticket information, festival and film schedule, and each film's description, country of origin and preview photos.

Broussard provides an eclectic experience at the center, with an unusual, exotic collection of snacks and beverages, including Ben & Jerry treats.

Looks like fun, just to explore the website is fun.
Check it out.

René O'Deay

Satchmo SummerFest 2008 | WWOZ 90.7 FM: "WWOZ will be broadcasting live from the Satchmo SummerFest, a free two-day music festival at the Old U.S. Mint that also includes a world-reknown music symposium, an art show and the Satchmo Club Strut, all in honor of New Orleans' favorite son, the great Louis Armstrong.

The Mint will host live performances on four stages all day on Saturday and Sunday with some of New Orleans' finest traditional jazz, brass band and contemporary jazz music, along with hands-on workshops and performances for children. Check back soon for the full Satchmo live broadcast schedule."

Listen Live Online on WWOZ-FM Radio the Best Jazz Radio in the World!

My Love to You: Enjoy!

René O'Deay

"Manatee area . . . proceed with caution."

by Kia Hall Hayes, The Times-Picayune
Thursday July 17, 2008, 9:37 PM

Confirming reports of manatees in and around Lake Pontchartrain, local scientists are spreading the word to boaters who might catch sight of the endangered mammal: Consider yourself lucky, and then leave it alone.

About a dozen sightings have been confirmed near the North Shore in recent weeks, and scientists are urging the public to appreciate the manatees from a distance.

"People like to swim with them, but that makes them not afraid of boats, and then they swim up to them and get hit, " said Fred Stouder, a biologist at Southeastern Louisiana University's Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station in Manchac.

Human interaction is one of the biggest killers of the slow-moving animal, which grows up to 10 or 12 feet and can weigh 350 to 450 pounds.

About 3,100 live in U.S. waters.

Manatees, also known as "sea cows, " make their way over from Florida in the late spring when Louisiana waters have warmed to their liking. Experts say the animals also travel up the east coast and to other Gulf Coast states in search of warm water and vegetation. Times-Picayune

Manatees coming to an area near you!

Be careful, these slow moving animals, described by a Wildlife coordinator as 'a very large potato with a flipper on the end of it' are easily hurt by fast-moving boats.

Correction, a reader on my gBlog brought to my attention that some of the above info was wrong.

Florida Wildlife and Fish: The average Florida manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs close to 1,200 pounds. Manatees can reach up to 13 feet in length and weigh 3,500 pounds. Female manatees tend to be larger than the males. Their calves weigh around 66 pounds and are 4 feet long.

Tuesday, July 22, Oil prices fall again to $127.95 Yahoo AP news, fluctuating up and down, as fear drives the market.

UPDATE: Oil prices rebound slightly by noon. How convenient that Nigeria had an oil  pipeline explosion! Just too convenient in my view.

Latest news on AP and CNN, oil futures fall again, down to $129.

But who is actually making the major profits?

"The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman) earned $364 billion in 2007, but they are projected to earn $639 billion in 2008 and $657 billion in 2009. Saudi Arabia alone is projected to earn about $700 billion in 2008-09, following earnings of $194 billion in 2007. [3]"
MiddleEast Media Research Institute

And this despite the Saudi King and his ministers all claiming that it was the speculators driving the price up.

Kinda makes you wonder just who exactly were behind those speculators, doesn't it?

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Apparently the only female competitor to come out of Afghanistan for the Beijing Olympics has gone missing in Italy where she was training with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

According to the report on CBC, Mahbooba Ahadgar called home and told her mother she does not intend to return to Afghanistan.

"...far from being an Olympic favorite, the head of the Afghan Olympic Federation has threatened to throw her family in jail, or worse, if Ahadgar doesn't return." CBC Olympics

According to CBC, her father had already been thrown in jail once, after neighbors had accused her of being a prostitute.

No wonder she doesn't want to return. And if she didn't have to wear so many clothes she might also be faster and a real contender. Doesn't look like she will be going to Beijing.

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This election campaign occurs at a unique moment in public communications. Economic forces have undermined commercial media and ravaged newspaper and television network newsrooms, silencing a generation of reporters and experts. And instant communication has created a blizzard of opinion and attitude posing as factual information. the information age, citizens must learn the tools of traditional journalism. It’s called news literacy, and it means that you learn to be your own reporter or editor. If you practice some of the skills that are the foundation of journalism, you can cut through much of the chatter and chaff and obtain useful, solid information. News literacy for the public is a concept developed by Dean Howard Schneider at the State University of New York’s journalism school at Stony Brook.

Differentiate among news, opinion and advertising. As Stony Brook professor Jim Klurfeld says, “Evaluate sources. Evaluate sources. Evaluate sources.”

There’s a difference between evidence and inference, between solid information and junk. ..... But as a responsible citizen in the information age, your task is more difficult—and more important.

So. Are you a responsible reporter? ... here on NowPublic?

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The Bulls have no mercy!!!
Originally uploaded by tbelli1
The Running of the Big Easy Roller Girls! Watch out! Here they come!

Big Easy Rollergirls ready to take on the NOLABull Run July, 2007.
As the Times-Picayune's Chris Rose puts it:
"It would take a New Orleans state of mind to attend the famed Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and conclude: We need to do that here."

Saturday morning, 8 AM, over 30 Big Easy Rollergirls (a real professional team) armed with whifflebats and sporting a set of bullhorns will pursue the foolhardy through the French Quarter, whacking any and all.

I don't think I can get up early enough to get photos. but it promises to be a most unusual event.

...event coordinator Tracey Bellina, who skates under the pseudonym of "Archbishop Pummel," (says): "Sure, I've got a bunch of bad-ass chicks on wheels who probably wouldn't mind beating up on a bunch of guys."

Archbishop Pummel points out: "For any late risers, the Rollergirls will be available to hurt you at the Gazebo." (at the French Market. There's also a pre-party tonight at the Rio-Mar restaurant on St. Peter Street in the Warehouse District; the long-term goal for is to make this a full-fledged three-day festival celebrating Spanish culture. And I'm not making that up.)
says Chris.

Times-Picayune, July 11, 2008
The Official event website:

They have more photos posted from last year's event on Flickr. Looks like a rollicking good time was had by all.

And tomorrow the Running of the Bulls in New Orleans!

By John DeSantis / The Daily Comet

RACELAND -- In nine years as groundskeeper at St. Charles Borromeo Church, Kyle Schexnaydre has seen coyotes, deer and lots of other wildlife lurking nearby.

A week ago Friday was the first time he ever saw a bear, near the church cemetery.

Garield Billiot Sr. recounts the experience of seeing a black bear last week outside of his home in Raceland.

"At first when I saw it walking out in the cane field I thought what the hell is that? It was too big to be a coyote and I thought that’s a damn bear,’" the 43-year-old Schexnaydre said. "I think he caught wind of me and then he headed down the rows of cane." Schexnaydre wasn’t the only person in the St. Charles community just outside of Raceland to see the critter.


Billiot and his neighbors said they kind of like the idea that a bear came to visit.

"Now when I take my walk they tease me, they call him my pet," Billiot said. "I am very glad to tell you the truth. In a way if them black bears could keep the coyotes away I’d rather have the bears."

Louisiana Black Bears- Southeast Louisiana Louisiana Black Bears- Southeast Louisiana Louisiana Black Bears- Southeast Louisiana

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Got non-reponsive representatives? Take a lesson from Louisiana voters.

The Louisiana State Legislature passed a bill giving themselves a better than 100 percent pay raise. Gov. Bobby Jindal, despite campaign promises, refused to veto this controversial bill because he wanted the legislators cooperation in approving his own programs, including the $10 million voucher plan that will pay the private or religious school tuition for up to 1,500 kindergarten through fourth graders in New Orleans.The teachers aren't happy with the voucher bill or the $20 million merit pay for teachers: No criteria for awarding these merit awards and the voucher system will undermine the public education system.

Louisiana citizens were outraged and objected strenuously, with recall petitions, email and phone contacts, and demonstrations.

BATON ROUGE -- Rep. John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, ...the sixth legislator targeted with a recall petition for voting in favor of doubling lawmakers salaries at the recently ended legislative session, according to records filed with Secretary of State Jay Dardenne's office. The five other lawmakers to be hit with recall petitions for their votes in favor of the legislative pay raise -- which was vetoed Monday by Gov. Bobby Jindal -- include House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Algiers; and Reps. Steve Pugh, R-Ponchatoula; Franklin Foil and Hunter Greene, both R-Baton Rouge; and Joe Lopinto, R-Metairie. Gov. Bobby Jindal also faced a recall petition from a Baton Rouge man. Times-Picayune

But Jindal refused to veto the bill , just making statements that the Legislators need to undo it. Not until CNN and other National media got into the act, questioning him on National TV, and a recall petition for the governor was filed, did he finally act and veto the bill on June 30.

"His honeymoon is not just over, thousands want a divorce." Jindal fiddles while Louisiana Burns
"Why are vouchers so darn important to Jindal? Why is he willing to cut backroom deals, break promises, enrage his former supporters, and hurt his veep chances... over school vouchers?" Find some answers on Your Right Hand Thief blog.

The two recalls on Jindal have now been withdrawn, the demonstration for July 7 cancelled, but many here in Louisiana feel betrayed and no longer trust the governor nor many of the legislators to act in the best interest of Louisiana.
Many of the legislators who supported the pay raise are whining. "We presented this in the wrong way to the voters." "Jindal went back on his word to us." They forget that Jindal went back on his word to the voters first by refusing to veto the pay raise bill.

But questions remain: Did Bobby Jindal respond to his constituents' wishes or to the outing of this debacle in the New York Times or on CNN that may have messed up his National agenda? As one commentator put it: "...there is no time to rest on our laurels and I'm concerned that so many have been quick to drop their recall efforts. With the exception of the governor these people are still guilty of voting for their own outrageous pay increase. It's kinda like being convicted of a crime and then having your sentenced pardoned - you are still guilty! "

The 'sleeping giant' has been awoken. Voters flexed their muscle and discovered their strength. 'We can make these guys do what we want!

Politics may never be the same.


René O'Deay

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