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Ray Nagin: genius, idiot, or whackjob?

I kept hearing reports about New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin's latest outburst, but I didn't believe it. I couldn't believe that what he said got so little play, so I went digging. And there it was:

At a recent seminar about the rebuilding efforts, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin asked the crowd: "How do I ensure that New Orleans is not overrun by Mexican workers?"

I have absolutely no idea how to react to this. I'm feeling several responses bubbling up:

1) Now we see what it takes to get someone like Nagin to actually LOOK at the illegal alien problem.

2) Mayor Nagin, are you familiar with "don't look a gift horse in the mouth?" You're getting your help, and someone else is picking up the tab. Stop bitching and say "thank you."

3) If any white politician had said such a thing, they'd be lynched.

4) Why the hell is it that any junior reporter at any TV station, radio station, or newspaper can find illegal aliens to quote for a story, but the government can't do the same? Maybe ICE ought to just hire journalists to find them.

5) I can't believe I predicted this over a month ago.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Ray Nagin: genius, idiot, or whackjob?:

» North Canton Airline and Storm Door Company linked with Nagin Du Jour: First Military Occupation Now Foreign Invasion

» Murdoc Online linked with Two out of three ain't bad...

» Myopic Zeal linked with Nagin Doesn’t Want Mexican Help

» PsychoPhil linked with New Orleans overrun!

» Oblogatory Anecdotes linked with Maybe I Do Want To Live Like A Refugee!

» Quantum Catfish linked with Rash words

» The Colossus of Rhodey linked with No wonder I hadn't heard this!

Comments (29)

Repeat after meBec... (Below threshold)

Repeat after me

Because he's an oppressed minority he cannot be a racist.

Say that about 1000 times and it will start to make sense.

To answer your question, id... (Below threshold)

To answer your question, idiot and whackjob, definitely not a genius. A genius would have come through Katrina looking like a super-hero. A genius would have used the buses.

ICallMasICM,As a H... (Below threshold)


As a Hispanic minority I've heard this excuse about a million times. Sorry, still doesn't make sense. It just sounds like an excuse to be a bigot.

Try JACKASS! After sayin a... (Below threshold)

Try JACKASS! After sayin all of that the whale-shit MSM still let's him off the hook too. I guess he'll have to say "overrun by Mexican cucarachas" before they expose this dope for what he is ...

I guess satire's lost on yo... (Below threshold)

I guess satire's lost on you.

I live outside of New Orlea... (Below threshold)

I live outside of New Orleans. Let me clarify Nagin's intent. There are many, many out-of-state companies who have come into Louisiana to help in the rebuilding process. And to that I do say thank you. However, much of the rebuilding work is not going to the locals who need it to. Mexican labor is cheap - to the detriment of the local companies who are trying to do right by their before-storm employees. Companies that are using this foreign labor are able to underbid our local companies who support local employees. That is the problem that Nagin was trying to solve.

Also, Nagin is not interested right now in being PC. You should also read the rest of his comments from that day. He also told everyone at that meeting of small and medium business owners that they needed to get used to working with people that don't look like them. He also told the people there that his government was going to be completely transparent - something completely foreign to Louisiana politics and government. He also told these small business owners that if a politician comes to them with promises of a guarantee of being rewarded with a bid for a percentage of the profits to kick them out of their office (another new concept in Louisiana - I guarantee this is why the levees failed considering they were worked on in the last few years).

Nagin has been getting a bum rap. When he came into the mayor's office, he had to face the chaos of the past administrations. During the last three years, he has tried to turn this city around, but has faced ingrained corruption at every turn. He was always in a no-win situation. At least now he is trying to change the political face of New Orleans from one of corruption to one that is legitimate - from one that was only for the politicians to one that is for the citizens of New Orleans.

Now his biggest obstacle is the governor - the biggest detriment to the recovery.

Probably the reason you didn't hear too much about Nagin's comment is because he clarified what he meant. Right now, in the New Orleans area, people understood the whole message and are trying to rebuild lives. Politics as usual are out the window. We are excited to have the mayor speak his mind. Political correctness be damned.

Nagin should be so lucky to... (Below threshold)

Nagin should be so lucky to have NO "overrun by Mexican workers." Something might actually get done.

I think my head just explod... (Below threshold)

I think my head just exploded out of disbelief ...

On an semi-related note, po... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

On an semi-related note, poster-boy Aaron Broussard is coming under fire for sending the pump operators away before the storm hit. This meant that it took 9 hours after the flooding started before the pump operators could start the pumps again.

Leaders battle over pump decision

Dana is correct - this is n... (Below threshold)

Dana is correct - this is not a matter of political correctness. In context, what he said made a lot of sense, and there was nothing wrong with it. Our local businesses, already established and committed to the community, should receive preferential treatment. If, when all the local options are exhausted, we still need help, and there are non-citizens who are here LEGALLY who want to work, then give them the jobs.

The last thing we need is a free-for-all just because we're going to be a bit of a boom town for the next couple of years. At the end of that rebuilding process we'd have thousands of new people putting more of a drain on already overburdened and poorly run schools and social systems. If it takes longer to rebuild by waiting for locals and at the very least, American citizens, to do the work, so be it. In the long term we'll be a lot better off.

Nagin is abumbling incomete... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Nagin is abumbling incometent idiot he should get voted out next year all residents of NEW ORLEANS should remember that

"I guess satire's lost on y... (Below threshold)

"I guess satire's lost on you."

No, it's not lost on me. Satire is usually expressed with some sort of obvious twist. Yours looked just like what I expect (and have seen) posted from someone who has deluded themselves into that fallcy.

For satire to be "gotten" you need the proverbial wink and nod to go along with it, not just the re-iteration of what some nut job would say. ;-)

Mayor Nagin should be remin... (Below threshold)

Mayor Nagin should be reminded that Mexico sent army personnel, vehicles , helicopters, food and even a ship with a crew of 400 to help the people of New Orleans.

Many in the local region ma... (Below threshold)

Many in the local region may not remember the skilled labor shortage faced by heavy industry back in the late 1990's. I worked for one of the shipbuilding companies at the time - skilled labor (class "A" welders, shipfitters, and electricians) were in such demand, when one yard raised wages by 25 cents/hr, personnel would jump ship, say, from Avondale to Trinity...and all they had to do was show up to the other yard to be hired, and vice versa.

Labor was in such short supply that Gov. Mike Foster actually authorized what I believed was a Devil's deal to get manpower: after exhausting an official list of leads for labor, companies were allowed to hire foreign workers (assuming they were in the US legally for any reason, including visitor status) for up to twelve months.

The catch: before an employer could hire foreign nationals, the last step on the Foster "checklist" was to request assistance from applicable labor unions.

Given that many shipyards were non-union shops, taking such a step was akin to making a deal with the Devil himself - in that a non-union employer working with labor unions to get manpower was a blatantly open invitation for unions to send employees who could organize workers at the hiring firm. As I recall, no company was ever listed as having exercised this option.

But the point is, the option was given, however little the chance might have been to utilize it.

Notice also how whinin' Jesse [Jackson] tried to make such a splash about getting locals to return home to work - but once the deal was struck for 200 people, all he could find was 50 locals (granted, this was from Chicago, but you would have thought there would have been more than that).

Employment and living conditions in NOLA at the moment are somewhere between semi-normal (if you live in, say, Gretna, or other parts of the West Bank where there was no flood, and you were fortunate to have little or no damage to your home) to third world (if you are from 9th Ward on down to anywhere in St. Bernard or Plaquemines Parishes). Having talked informally to relatives and friends from Chalmette and Meraux, the picture I am getting is that many from "down in the Parish" will not return.

Nagin has obviously screwed up many things regarding the storm, around failure to be guided by, much less implement, his own EOP. But perhaps the tempering guidance of an upcoming election is forcing him to be a little more wiser in the storm's aftermath.

I hope for Dana's sake that "politics as usual" are truly out of the window. The proof will be in how local and state politicians react once the rebuid effort gets into its own rhythm, and the money spigot is turned wide open. I, for one, am very doubtful that the scope of funding and magnitude of rebuilding will not cause politicians to revert to "business as usual".

Finally, Jay, I agree that Bush 43's single biggest failure has been that of not addressing the issue of illegal immigration, and the abject failure to enforce border controls and employment laws designed to prevent illegals from holding jobs (remember the "I-9" form that employers are supposed to have you submit BEFORE you begin paid employment?). No matter how much of a sob story someone may tell, I have no pity or compassion for illegal immigrants. To me, the issue is as simple as you and others have stated: either have them comply with the law (e.g., if conditions are THAT bad in Mexico, they should be filing for asylum status) or change the laws to reflect whatever people may consider to be acceptable behavior regarding immigration into the US.

On that subject, remember the one comment regarding the topic of illegal immigration in the movie, "The Day After"? Yes, the movie was sensationalist environmental fiction, but recall that when conditions went to hell in the US, Mexico closed its border with the US. To me, that was the one point of that movie's plot that was entirely plausible, and believable.

Mayor Nagin is a real man a... (Below threshold)
Mary Olsen:

Mayor Nagin is a real man and this reality intimidates those who are not. After he said what you so eagerly quoted, the crowd cheered and then he said something like: "It's okay to have a few Mexican workers here. Don't get all excited." Did you intentionally leave that out because you are so eager to make him look bad? He is always doing his best for his people as their mayor. This is admirable that he is able to have the stamina and strength to keep on going after all he has been through. He's always doing his absolute best at all times because he cares deeply about his people. I believe in him and who he is and what he does. He's hansome and totally sexy. I love the way he moves and speaks and his passionate caring for New Orleanians.

'Say that about 1000 times ... (Below threshold)

'Say that about 1000 times and it will start to make sense.'

I thought that kind of gave it away.

>After he said what you ... (Below threshold)

>After he said what you so eagerly quoted, the crowd cheered and then he said something like: "It's okay to have a few Mexican workers here. Don't get all excited." Did you intentionally leave that out because you are so eager to make him look bad?

So I guess during segregation it would have been OK if white people "Let a few colored people" sit in the front of the bus?

You dumbass.

Yanno the most interesting,... (Below threshold)
jim b:

Yanno the most interesting, and telling thing about this is to watch the next elections in LA for Governer and Mayor of New Orleans.

If the current two are re-elected, what will that tell us about the residents?

'If the current two are re-... (Below threshold)

'If the current two are re-elected, what will that tell us about the residents?'

That the handouts are rolling in?

>Mexico sent army personnel... (Below threshold)

>Mexico sent army personnel, vehicles,
>helicopters, food and even a ship with a
>crew of 400 to help the people of New Orleans.

That was very neighborly of them; we appreciate it. Considering that money sent home from the US by illegals is Mexico's third biggest industry, considering what illegal labor does to depress wages for *our country's* poor and downtrodden, that nearly 100 hospitals closed in California closed due to unpaid bills racked up by illegals, and numerous other problems generated by illegal immigration, I think it's very wise that Mexico behave like a good neighbor once in a while. If you'd like a good example of how a border *ought* to be managed, check out Mexico's southern border and see how they treat Guatemalans who try to sneak across.

New Orleans has a labor shortage right now, but we won't have one forever. However, illegals who come will probably end up staying, and bringing over their families and extended families. The New Orleans school system, which already can't pay their bills, can't afford a whole slew of ESL teachers and bilingual textbooks and supplies to accomodate them. Our hospital system, which is the illegal immigrant's primary health care source, can't accomodate them now with the problems Charity and University hospitals have, and probably not later when/if they rebuild. It's an extraordinarily bad idea to try to use illegal labor, or even legal foreign labor, as a short term solution, because it will have long term repercussions. Now is the time to rebuild local businesses; that will have the best long term effect for the city and the region.

Nagin has certainly made mistakes, but trying to protect New Orleans area businesses is not one of them. And since he's almost certainly not going to run again, he's not doing this for political gain, he's doing it because it's the right thing to do.

Paul, this is regarding eco... (Below threshold)

Paul, this is regarding economic concerns of the local people who will be directly affected by such things.

Economics. Not racism. If you can't see that, you're the dumbass...

He screwed up by not evacua... (Below threshold)

He screwed up by not evacuating his city and wants to blame everyone else. He needs to step down and let someone else try. I personally have felt for years New Orleans was a shit hole. I do however hate the effect it has had on the US economy.

Thank you for that oh-so-in... (Below threshold)

Thank you for that oh-so-insightful opinion. In fact, Nagin did make mistakes, that's not exactly a secret. However in my opinion as a Louisiana resident, Blanco's political vendetta against him caused infinitely more trouble, that Nagin is now being blamed for. Prior to this hurricane, he was an excellent mayor. Given the scope of this situation, there is plenty of blame to go around - Blanco, Broussard, and many, many others contributed to the chaos. While Nagin should not be exempt from that accountability, neither is he the devil or the only one at fault here. Calling for his resignation is ridiculous.

As for New Orleans being a shit hole, you're certainly entitled to your opinion but it's not any worse than any other city - similar problems as the rest of the country. What detrimental effect did NOLA have on the national economy prior to Katrina? Please explain.

Wow. All I can say is, wo... (Below threshold)

Wow. All I can say is, wow. I just heard this quote on the news today. It took a couple of weeks before this was getting any real airplay.
I can't decide which is more astounding. Mayor Nagin making the comment, the news not jumping on it, or people justifying what he said.
This points out the problem I have with most of the "equality/diversity" mongers around. Diversity is ok when I want something, but not when it's for someone else. Blatant racism is ok as long as it comes from one of the "downtrodden."
Mayor Nagin said nothing about illegal aliens. I'm sure he meant that, but he said Mexican workers (although it was pretty conciliatory for him to allow a few in). He has also complained about the white folks getting all of the building contracts. Maybe if he would spend less time worrying about everyone's color, he could get his city repaired. Heck, maybe if he wasn't worrying about always getting put down by "the man" his city might not have been so bad off. Yes the governor is an idiot, but that doesn't let him off the hook. He was the one person who had the most opportunity to help out his own city in the crisis. Instead, all he could do was run around saying that da guvmunt wasn't giving him stuff. By the way, from a nice comfortable spot out of town. His job was leadership, and the biggest problem in NO wasn't Katrina, it was the lack of leadership on his part specifically.
Look at Mississipi. They were devastated as well. But they didn't collapse. The difference was local leadership.
And still, all he can do is whine and moan about what everyone is doing to him and not doing for him. He needs to walk away and let somebody with a backbone take over, whatever color.

Well,now, seems like there'... (Below threshold)

Well,now, seems like there's lots of WORK in NO. Burger King(!!) is paying a 6,000 signing bonus for anyone who will work for 12 months. Possibly some of the NO natives could get these jobs? Oh,yeah, that means WORKING, not just sitting around in hotels across the country on the government dole. Sorry, people, there's more work in the New Orleans area right now, but you fourth-generation welfare mongers don't want work. You just want to get a check!!

Right now the biggest probl... (Below threshold)

Right now the biggest problem is housing, Dave. Where do you expect these people to live? I have a 3 bedroom house where one bedroom has been turned into an office (with counters permanently installed) so it's effectively a two bedroom house. We have four adults, a teenager and a baby here. Everybody I know with livable housing is doubled and tripled up. The waiting list for FEMA is LONG. And God help you if you have to live in a FEMA camp, instead of parking the trailer in your own or someone else's back yard. A woman I know across the lake who lives next to the FEMA camp has had her house vandalized and been accosted by a group of drunken Mexicans. She's genuinely afraid, and with reason; crime in her neighborhood is way up and the police told her there's not much they can do except respond after the fact. I'm taking her to the range to teach her to shoot.

New Orleans doesn't have any more fourth generation welfare mongers than any other city in this country, and right now there's just no place here to put them, in spite of Jesse Jackson and his big dramatic bus trip down here.

Illegal, Foreigners what th... (Below threshold)

Illegal, Foreigners what the hell are all you idiots talking about. Louisiana is Mexican and all Ibero - American peopleís patrimony. It was the Spanish that actually made this worthless swampland a real settlement. The first Spanish Governor, Ulloa (my ancestor) after him came Alejandro O' Reilly who really converted that shit hole into a real city. Have you noticed the damn architecture its all Spanish. So when you run your damn mouth remember that it was our ancestors that built the damn city, we are only obliged to rebuild it again.

1. Louisiana was purchased ... (Below threshold)

1. Louisiana was purchased from the French, not the Mexicans. Louisiana is not Mexican, it is part of the United States. It's not worthless swampland, it's one of the most valuable ports in the world. Which is why the Spanish, French and now US want a city here. La Raza wants a do-over of 1848; they (you?) are entitled to try to make that happen, we're entitled to defend the status quo. That's life.
2. The architecture is about half Spanish, half French, as was the ownership of the city over the decades.
3. Mexico is not obliged to rebuild any city in the United States, ever. Mexico would be far better off tending to it's own business than minding ours. That's what sovereign nations are for.

If you want a pefect picture of how a border ought to be controlled, check out Mexico's southern border and see what happens to the poor Guatemalans in search of jobs and a better life when they try to cross it illegally. The hypocrisy is mind-blowing.

Again, this is not about hu... (Below threshold)
Jack Chen:

Again, this is not about human race. Mr.Nagin just simply made a mistake.
This is truly about people's economic situation. Since the illegal immigrants mostly are poor. They are more likely to work on a low paying job.
Don't you people realize this?






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