Public service workers are less responsive to blacks than to whites.

Arthur Dobrin D.S.W.

 

Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880) faced a problem: how, as a woman, would she get published, and once published, how would she be taken seriously? She wanted to avoid the stereotypes associated with women writers. Hers were serious works, not romances. So she solved the problem by writing under the pen name George Eliot and produced one of the great novels in English literature, Middlemarch.

That was then; this is two hundred years later. Such discrimination no longer exists, we like to think. But what if my name wasn’t Arthur but D’Andre? Or if the photo you see of me for this blog showed the face of a black man? No matter, many readers would say. “Race, like gender, is irrelevant. All that counts is the quality of the work”. Meritocracy is our measure, we say, not one’s sex or race.

In fact, we aren’t judged on our merits alone or, in some cases, even primarily.

In one experiment to test for racial biases, researchers Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan sent phony resumes to employers. Everything was identical except for the name on the application. It turns out that those with white sounding-names got called more often than those with black-sounding names.

A more recent study found the same thing: queries to Airbnb from guests with white-sounding names were accepted about 50 percent of the time. From black-sounding names, 42 percent were accepted.

Are prospective employers or house renters biased? Probably not consciously. If you ask them, many would think they are answering objectively and fairly. But the data suggests otherwise. That’s because negative judgments regarding women and ethnic groups are occurring at an unconscious level. All of us have implicit biases. These are preferences for or against certain people that operate below the surface of awareness

Criticisms have been leveled against these studies. The problem with them is that it is difficult to sort out what it is that people are precisely reacting against. Is it really racial bias or is it something else? The studies show a correlation but don’t necessarily establish a cause.

A recent study solves the design problems of earlier studies and proves that, in fact, racism is at the root of such decisions. Micro Tonin and Michael Vlassopoulos conducted “an email correspondence study in which we pose simple queries to more than 19,000 local public service providers. We find that emails are less likely to receive a response if signed by a black-sounding name compared to a white-sounding name. Given a response rate of 72% for white senders, emails from putatively black senders are almost 4 percentage points less likely to receive an answer. We also find that responses to queries coming from black names are less likely [by 8%] to have a cordial tone. Further tests demonstrate that the differential in the likelihood of answering is due to animus towards blacks rather than inferring socioeconomic status from race.”

The study was repeated, sending out another 20,000 emails to the same subjects. In this round, the email identified the sender as a real estate agent. This would eliminate discrimination based upon economic status. It didn’t.

In addition to sorting out racial bias from other factors, such as poverty, the study implicates racism in everyday encounters—with libraries, school districts, sheriffs’ offices and other places of everyday encounters. We know from studies regarding the criminal justice system and the labor market that such biases exist. But this study, which focused on public service providers, demonstrates the same pattern of discrimination.

Put simply, if you are black, encountering racism is an everyday occurrence.

The racism of white nationalists is obvious; the racism of well-intentioned whites is mostly obscure, at least to white people. It is an everyday lived experience if you are black.

 

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Last week, I gave you a quick and easy look into all the amendments you will see on the ballot.  This week, you will get a more detailed look at the issues.  In general, the first two amendments are tax reform measures.  The fist amendment attempts to change how sales taxes are collected across the state.  Make no mistake, Louisiana is an outlier here.  Nearly every other state (that collects sales taxes) collects sales taxes at the state level and disburses them back to local cities and towns.  But in Louisiana local cities and towns collect sales taxes, keep their portions and send the state its’ share. Let’s take a closer look at Amendment One.

In Louisiana, the Department of Revenue receives a 4.45% tax on all sales transactions.  These sales occur in retail and wholesale business transactions.  Currently every town, city or parish collects the retail and wholesale taxes that occur within their jurisdictions.  A special state commission collects all internet sales taxes for each municipality and the state. The current system is convoluted.   

Amendment 1 “Do you support an amendment to authorize
the legislature to provide for the streamlined electronic filing,
electronic remittance, and the collection of sales and use taxes
levied within the state by the State and Local Streamlined Sales
and Use Tax Commission and to provide for the funding, duties, and
responsibilities of the commission?”

Amendment one on the ballot

Amendment one is designed to simplify this. It creates a new eight-member central collection agency.  The new tax commission will collect all sales taxes and send them to the state and appropriate municipality.   The new State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission will be appointed by:

  • The Governor
  • the Secretary of the Department of Revenue
  • the Louisiana School Boards Association
  • the Louisiana Municipal Association
  • the Police Jury Association of Louisiana
  • the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association
  • the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and
  • the President of the Senate.

The new commission also makes online payments available to businesses. Currently some parishes provide an online service, but the commission creates a statewide E-filing system.  Also, the commission will offer policy advice and create statewide tax audit policy.

Currently, the Louisiana constitution requires municipalities to collect their share of these taxes.  Most municipalities base their budgets on the collection of these taxes.  And wrestling control from these cities and parishes will be difficult.  Mayor LaToya Cantrell has already come out against passage of this amendment.  Recently, on WBOK 1230 am radio, she said, “Passing this amendment would be bad for the city! We need those resources and put them to use immediately.” Probably every other elected leader takes the same position.  Change is hard.  Shifting how local governments get their pocket change is even harder.  Interesting stuff in our closer look at Amendment One.

Reasons to Vote Yes

There are two basic reasons to change the current tax collection system – business and legal.  If you are a big box retailer doing business in Louisiana, you have to write hundreds of checks to disburse taxes collected in your business.  A retailer in metro NOLA has to pay Orleans, Jefferson St. Bernard, St Tammany etc. every month.  This creates a business expense just to do business in the state.  Writing one check to the new commission makes the state more business friendly.  Legally, federal law requires fair and open commerce.  The current system likely fails to meet this standard.

Reasons to Vote No

Reasons to keep the current system are numerous.  Local governments can more easily collect from local businesses.  They have a closer relationship.  And even though the new system is statewide, taxes are still different for each municipality.  And the new layer of bureaucracy might lead to late payments to cities whose services could be disrupted by lack of operating funds.

It’s up to you to decide the best option going forward.

Good Day or Good Night New Orleans

By Pat Bryant

We are at the junction of progress or ruin. The pathway to ruin is littered with “let somebody else take care of it” and “I don’t want to be involved because others may not like me” and so many other lame excuses.

Do not buy into that any candidate has the November 13 primary election locked down, including Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Data proves that wrong. The data is attached.

Two Public Forums This Week

Come out to two forums one at Ashe Powerhouse, 1731 Baronne Wednesday October 27, 5:30 for free poboys and music by Yusa and Fernando Lima and Thursday October 28, at the Upper Room Bible Church 8600 Lake Forest Boulevard performing Gumbo Funk. We have invited all candidates for Mayor, City Council “B” at Ashe, and City Council “E” at Upper Room, and at-large city council beginning at 6 pm each day. Mask wearing required. Forget yours, we got one for you.

The forums are sponsored by Let’s Make Them Accountable NOLA.

The garbage is picked up differently in Lakeview and English Turn than Gentilly, New Orleans East and the Lower Nine. Police response and approval is the worst ever in all areas, but totally unacceptable in Gentilly, Mid-City, Ninth Ward, and the East. We have rolling black outs every month.  This is a snapshot before pandemic or Hurricane Ida. Unless we change, this is what life in New Orleans will be until there is a change in direction. This is the direction of Mayor Cantrell and the current City Council.

A recent quality of life poll conducted by a new group and funded by ACORN International and A Community Voice proves the sliding decay of all systems of New Orleans service delivery. Neither The Advocate/Times Picayune, nor the television stations have published this data provided for free. Why ? We don’t know. But if we acknowledge these terrible facts then we have to engage in serious dialogue about the future and how to get unstuck from our current positions.

Elections usually in a democratic society offer us a means to influence the way we will live. When Entergy polled citizens and reported Mayor Cantrell had re-election locked down and she had a war chest, few front runners stepped forward to qualify, although the Mayor’s approval was really lower than Entergy’s poll reported. The complacent media has kept in recent days their limited focus on whether the impact of Councilman Jared Brossett’s DWI will influence the election.

Our concern for our utility bills sent by Cox, Entergy and Sewerage and Water Board, $15 minimum wage, ample police protection, our dwindling low and moderate cost housing are not in focus, but they should be.

You can bring some sense and relief to our sorrows by getting involved. We must remember and sing the songs from our heritage “Nobody knows the trouble I seen” and “We Shall Overcome”.  Keep the faith baby. Keep fighting. Don’t give up on New Orleans and let Entergy, Cox Cable, Sewerage and Water Board and dishonest politicians RULE NEW ORLEANS. Don’t let these tails wag our dog!

Chuck Perkins, a people’s poet of New Orleans penned a poem following Katrina “We Ain’t Dead Yet”. Which is appropriate for us now.

We are not dead. But we are hemorrhaging. The bleed out must be stopped. Together we can do it. Together we can save New Orleans. Come out with your neighbors to protect and build for our freedom at Ashe Powerhouse 1731 Baronne Wednesday October 27, 5:30 for food and music and at 6 pm for candidates. Come out with your neighbors in New Orleans East to Upper Room Bible Church 8600 Lake Forest Blvd Thursday October 28, 5:30 pm for poboys and music by Gumbo Funk and candidates at 6 pm.

Let’s make it NEW GOOD DAY NEW ORLEANS!

Pat Bryant

Pat Bryant is a freedom fighter who at 75 years old follows in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr,  Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, Rev. Avery C. Alexander, Aretha Castle Haley, Dorothy Mae Taylor, Llewyn Soniat, Rev. Jerome Owens, and many others. Pat has been named a founder of the Environmental Justice Movement, and was a founder, along with Rev. Dr. Dwight Webster of the local weekly dialogue Justice and Beyond. Pat has been active in the South for over 60 years and has been jailed for civil rights 69 times.  He was married to Judge Clare Jupiter, who passed 3 years ago. He has children and grandchildren who reside in New Orleans. Pat is now chief organizer of Let’s Make Em Accountable NOLA.

by Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D.

Authenticity offers emotional protection and supports satisfying relationships.

There are a lot of axioms about being genuine, being who you are, and living an authentic life. People who present themselves accurately to others and behave in ways that are congruent with their identities actually do reap important relationship benefits.

Being true to yourself is encouraged by pop psychology, the media, our friends, and our parents. The expectation today is that everyone should embrace their unique identity and forego trying to be like everyone else. “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” This slogan can be found on posters, T-shirts, tote bags, and mugs. When a friend is interviewing for a new job, you probably remind them about the value of “being yourself.” Research proves that employees who are supported in their authenticity are more productive and happier than those who are less authentic in the workplace.

Feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin takes a lot less effort than play-acting someone else’s idea, or your idea, of who you “should be.” It’s kind of like advice about lying: it’s harder to keep a story straight when it’s not based on the truth. We spin our wheels trying to remember the various details that we artfully inserted into a fabricated story and end up crashing into traps of our own creation. Learning to be authentic is more about unlearning the habit of trying to be someone you’re not.

Hallmarks of Authenticity

  1. Awareness of how you feel inside about the world and the people in it. It’s okay to be unhappy or angry about what you see happening, but lying about it to yourself isn’t the best choice if authenticity is what you’re aiming for.
  2. Ability to take in and process information about yourself with an unbiased perspective. Most everyone thinks the best of oneself and wants to focus on their strengths, but being able to acknowledge and accept shortcomings and areas for growth will provide a foundation for growth that “rose-colored glasses” won’t allow.
  3. Behaving in ways that are congruent with your aims and beliefs. We lose respect for people who “say one thing but do another.” Don’t be that person.
  4. Engaging with others with no intention to deceive or exploit anyone. Lying to get what you want suggests that what you want isn’t yours to request.

Authenticity Minimizes the Pain of Rejection

One of the powers of authenticity is that we don’t worry so much about the people who don’t like who we are. When we’re not trying to be someone else, we can accept that not everyone will appreciate who we are and what we stand for. We don’t feel as bothered by exclusion from social groups when we choose to live in congruence with our beliefs, aims, and values (Gino & Kouchaki, 2020). Authenticity is connected to self-esteem and if we’re okay with ourselves, we’re okay with others being “not okay” with who we are. We also don’t feel as threatened by novel situations when we’re being true to ourselves. If you can be comfortable in your own skin, you will be more comfortable anywhere you show up.

Authenticity Is Good for Life and Good for Love

With the ability to self-present any way we want on social media and dating or hook-up sites, it can be tempting to create an “aspirational profile” or a downright bogus profile that is shared with potential matches. However, the research indicates that being unapologetically yourself can pay off in the long run if you’re looking for a long-term relationship. article continues after advertisement

The higher our levels of self-reported authenticity, the less anxious we tend to be about trusting our partners and the more we focus on the positive aspects of our relationship (Wickman, 2013). And when we are with a partner who we believe to be authentic, we feel more satisfied in the relationship. We enjoy more trust in our pattern and experience higher levels of commitment to the relationship. In addition, authenticity has been shown to be positively connected to emotional intelligence and more pleasing outcomes in romantic relationships (Josephs et al., 2019). When we’re with someone who supports our own authenticity and is equally “real” with us, we enjoy greater security in the relationship, which is integral to each partner’s ability to relax with one another and to be true to themselves.

Conclusion

It’s not “putting on an act” or showing “false bravado” or an inflated sense of self-esteem that offers us “rejection protection,” but the practice of living an authentic life. When “you do you,” it gives those around you the opportunity to be themselves, as well. This honesty and genuineness form the foundation on which satisfying and dynamic romantic relationships, friendships, careers, and futures can be built.

Him Loving You Ain’t One of Them

The Love Dr Is Back!

They say if you love something let it go and if it comes back it must be meant for you. Let me just say that the lie detector test has determined that is a lie. Just because something or somebody returns to you doesn’t mean that it is meant for you, or good for you. In fact sometimes what keeps coming back is what is holding up what’s meant for you.

This is something we see a lot in relationships. Oftentimes I hear women saying he came back so he must love something about her. That is a fact. The problem is he can love something about being there and still not love her. Not knowing the difference between the two is why so many women are still dealing with the back and forth.

Usually when I say this to a woman her immediate response is, “well why is he here then”? There are a few reasons that he keeps coming back, but let me assure you none of them have anything to do with love. How do I know you ask? Because if he truly loved you he wouldn’t have left in the first place, and you can’t debate me on that.

1st Reason

The first reason he keeps coming back is because of the benefits. Even though he may not want you, he can still want what you’re giving. The fact that he can get love, affection, sex, attention, and whatever else from you and still do whatever he wants is what a keeping him coming back. The minute you put provisions and expectations on what you’re giving him, the chances of him trying to come back will be slim and none.

2nd Reason

The second reason is he is selfish. He might know that he is not ready for the woman you are, but keeps coming back so nobody else can get there. As long as he keeps coming back you stay emotionally connected and if he is who you really want you won’t give anyone else a chance. Every time he shows up again, you have hope that one day he might be the man you need him to be. The truth is he is only blocking the man that is already who you need them to be.

3rd Reason

And lastly, and the one that will hurt the most, you keep letting him come back. The truth is if he valued you there wouldn’t be all the back and forth. At the same time if you loved yourself more there wouldn’t be the back and forth. Reopening that door every time he comes back is only proving to him that you don’t even believe you deserve better than him. Also, it shows him you can’t find better than him, because if you could then you wouldn’t keep taking him back.

The truth is a man can see the value in what you do and not see the value in you. It’s up to you to stop them from walking in and out of your life on a regular basis. Remember you teach people how to treat you. Every time you take him back you’re telling that it’s okay to treat you how he treats you. You’re saying there is nothing wrong with the things he is doing to you. And most importantly you’re saying you would rather have him than the better man you deserve.  Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone <https://overview.mail.yahoo.com/?.src=iOS

Whenever we finally have the next election in Louisiana, there will be constitutional amendments on the ballot.  Didn’t know?  Aware but not sure of the details?  We got you.  Read on for a concise and easy to understand breakdown of the 4 amendments you will see.

Amendment 1

Authorizes streamlined electronic filing, remittance, and collection of sales and use tax 

 “Do you support an amendment to authorize the legislature to provide for the streamlined electronic filing, electronic remittance, and the collection of sales and use taxes levied within the state by the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission and to provide for the funding, duties, and responsibilities of the commission?”

YES VOTE  Creates a new statewide tax commission that would collect all sales taxes handle all electronic tax filings and create new policy for all state and local sales taxes. The appointed commission would replace all current tax commissions and take away any and all local control of sales tax collections.

NO VOTE Leaves things as they currently are. 

Shallow Dive into the Issues

Most states have a central collection agency that passes money back to the local municipalities.  Big businesses would view the state more favorably.  The current system has every parish and even cities in parishes collecting their own taxes. This is unfair complex and oppressive. Supreme court rulings probably make the system unconstitutional.  But taking away local control means outsiders control not only collection but policies, rules and regulations. 

Amendment 2

Lowers maximum allowed rate of income tax and allows providing a deduction for federal income taxes

 “Do you support an amendment to lower the maximum allowable rate of individual income tax and to authorize the legislature to provide by law for a deduction for federal income taxes paid?”

YES VOTE Reforms and updates Louisiana’s tax code

NO VOTE Maintains Louisiana’s current tax code that dates to 2003.

Shallow Dive into the Issues

The current system is at odds with the federal tax system.  When federal taxes get lowered, then individual Louisiana state taxes are actually increased.  And when federal taxes are raised, then individual Louisiana state taxes are reduced but state revenue is also reduced.  If you are interested in tax reform for Louisiana then a vote yes will implement a cascade of tax reform.

Amendment 3

Allows certain levee districts to levy an annual tax for certain purposes

 “Do you support an amendment to allow levee districts created after January 1, 2006, and before October 9, 2021, whose electors approve the amendment to levy an annual tax not to exceed five mills for the purpose of constructing and maintaining levees, levee drainage, flood protection, and hurricane flood protection?”  

YES VOTE Allows  5 levee districts created after 2006 to raise property taxes without a voter approval.

NO VOTE Requires the 5 Levee districts to get voter approval before raising taxes

Shallow Dive into the Issues

Older districts can raise taxes by 3 mils without voter approval.  But these 5

  • Chenier Plain Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority (Calcasieu, Cameron, and Vermilion Parishes)
  • Iberia Parish Levee, Hurricane and Conservation District (Iberia Parish)  
  • Squirrel Run Levee and Drainage District (Iberia Parish)  
  •  St. Tammany Levee, Drainage and Conservation District (St. Tammany)
  •  Tangipahoa Levee District (Tangipahoa Parish)

Must get voter approval.  The whole state votes. The districts and the state must approve the change for it to go into effect.

Amendment 4

Increases amount of allowed reduction to certain dedicated funds when a budget deficit is projected

“Do you support an amendment to increase the amount of allowable deficit reductions to statutory dedications and constitutionally protected funds from five percent to ten percent?

YES VOTE Lets the governor transfer more dedicated funds to fix a budget deficit.

NO VOTE Keeps the current 5% cap on use of dedicated funds

Shallow Dive into the Issues

The state’s budget must be balanced. When there is a deficit, the governor can take raid dedicated funds to the tune of 5%.  This change increases that to 10%.   

Now you know! #Geaux Vote

The NFL is about a 1/4 of the way through the season. The Saints have battled through displacement, injuries, inconsistency, and an adjustment period. Here’s a statistically based assessment of where they stand.

Offense:

The offense has been terrible this year, one of the worst of Sean Payton’s career. They’re down in almost every statistical category – points per game, total yards per game, passing yards per game, rushing yards per game. 5 games into the season, the offense has just struggled to move the ball, especially through the air.

At quarterback, Jameis Winston is only completing 60% of his passes for 178 yards a game. That’s near the bottom of the league statistically. His overall QB rating is skewed by the fact that he has 12 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. But 4 of those came in one game where he threw goal line touchdowns after the Saints ran the ball down the field. 4 others have come on big plays. Simply put, the Saints have had few sustained drives through the air. In a quarterback driven league, there’s no way you can consider yourself a SuperBowl contender with stats like that.

Part of it can be chalked up to the Saints missing both starting wide receivers. And part of it can be chalked up to Winston just not reading the coverages, or bad play calling on Sean Payton’s part. Whatever the reason, the Saints have got to get the passing game together in order to make the playoffs for the 5th consecutive year.

Saints All Pro Receiver Michael Thomas

Reason to be optimistic: Michael Thomas is coming back. There’s no getting around it. The Saints’ season hinges on Michael Thomas. On paper, he’s not only the best player on the team, but he’s one of the best in the league. The last time we saw a healthy Can’t Guard Mike he was the 2019 Offensive Player of The Year, leading the league in yards and receptions. That year he caught 80% of the balls thrown to him for an average of 9 receptions and a 107 yards per game. To put that in perspective, Jameis Winston barely threw for over 107 yards in each of the first 3 games this season.

Thomas’ presence should open up the offense. With less attention thrown his way, Marquez Calloway should shine as a 2nd option. Alvin Kamara should see more favorable matches coming out the backfield. And in pressure situations, Thomas should serve as a security blanket for Winston when no one else is open or he has trouble reading coverages down the field.

Reason to be concerned: Who knows which Michael Thomas will return. His consistency on the field has been matched by his inconsistency off of it. The last 2 years, his tweets have risen to Antonio Brown levels. Last season, he was suspended for fighting. And this year, he stubbornly waited until training camp neared to have ankle surgery, which is why he’s not on the field now.

Defense:

The defense has been carrying the team. And if you had to pick a MVP so far, it would have to be defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Since 2017 all Allen has done is scheme up the best defense the Saints have had since the Dome Patrol.

Reason to be optimistic: The defense is actually slightly better this year. They’re only giving up 18 points per game, 3 points less than the 21 they gave up last year. They’re also only allowing 79 yards rushing. That’s down from 93 last year. And despite going up against 3 of the best running backs in the league – Aaron Jones of the Packers, Christian McCaffrey of the Panthers, and Saquon Barkley of the Giants, they have yet to give up 100 yards to a single back.

This means that opposing offenses have been forced to be one dimensional. And even with teams resorting to throwing the ball more, the Saints D hasn’t been giving up big plays down the field consistently. They also rank 3rd in creating turnovers, up a spot from last year.

Reason to be concerned: They’re not sacking the quarterback. The Saints rank 29th in sacks so for this year. Last year they were 8th. They loss an elite pass rusher in Trey Hendrickson. And no one has stepped up to replace him. Cameron Jordan is in year 2 of a late career slide. Marcus Davenport is inconsistent when he does manage to stay on the field. Carl Granderson and Tanoh Kpassagnon have shown flashes. But this lack of a pass rush is partly why the Saints failed to close out the Giants game. This may become a big problem when they step up in QB class later in the season.

Special Teams:

Punter – Blake Gillikin has made us forget all about Thomas Morrestead.

Kicker – absolute disaster. The Saints are now on their 3rd kicker – 5 games into the season.

Reason to be optimistic: Wil Lutz will eventually come back.

Tidbits:

*  Alvin Kamara is averaging 3.9 yards per carry, down from 5.0 last year, but he’s a much better runner now.

*  Malcolm Jenkins is actually playing good football. He’s projected to finish with 86 solo tackles, 3 interceptions, 6 pass defenses, and 10 tackles for a loss.

*  11/14 – 12/2. @ Tennessee, @ Philly, then home against the Bills, and Cowboys. Those 4 weeks will tell you all you need to know about this team.

Prediction:

This team most likely has a ceiling of 11-6. But they’re a disgruntled Michael Thomas or an injury away from being 9-8 or 8-9. In the meantime, sharpen your teeth. Because this should turn out to be a nail biter of a season.

Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.

What you learned to do isn’t working. 6 ways to begin to turn your life around.

KEY POINTS

  • We often struggle because our old coping styles no longer work.
  • Knowing your old dysfunctional patterns helps you know how to begin to run your life better.
  • Discover what you can’t do and experiment with acting differently.

Life can deliver its share of troubles and we step up and handle them as best we can. But, for some, their struggles seem never to end. While they, too, are doing their best, what often fuels their difficulties is how they are running their lives. They seem to repeatedly fall into the same potholes, replicate the same dysfunctional patterns, and react to problems in old ways that no longer work.

If this seems to be true for you, maybe it’s time to step back, stop doing what isn’t working, and begin replacing this outdated psychological software with upgraded versions. Here are some of the most common potholes and patterns to stop alongside their new-and-improved replacements. See which resonate most with you:

Stop being a victim

You’re upset because your partner always brings up that incident at Christmas that he knows makes you angry. You’re tired all the time because you’re always going a hundred miles an hour juggling work, kids’ demands, and everyday life. The core problem here is that you see yourself as a victim of others and their reactions, a victim of the life that you have created.

What to start doing: Yes, you can’t control your partner; you feel trapped in a lifestyle that drains you. But most of all you’re not taking responsibility—for your emotions and your reactions, for the choices you make even when you feel like you are not making choices.

Stop being emotionally driven

Being emotionally driven easily overlaps with feeling like a victim. What we’re talking about here is you running your everyday life based on how you feel. You’re tired, so you don’t mow the lawn or do your taxes; you’re overwhelmed about the new project at work, so put off tackling it; it’s already 2:00 pm, the day is shot, and so you mentally kick back and coast—you’ll tackle it tomorrow.

Folks who have high anxiety or who have AD/HD are often emotionally driven: They do what they do based on how they feel. The problem with this is that you understandably avoid what you don’t want to do, what is uncomfortable, and don’t follow through when the going gets tough.

What to start doing: The underlying problem is that your emotional brain is driving your life rather than your rational brain. It’s time to stop your rational brain from being a passenger and to allow it to become the driver: time to learn to act despite how you feel; time to develop some perseverance, some discipline so your feelings aren’t constantly derailing you from success.

Stop being passive

It’s okay; that’s fine; no problem; whatever. If you find yourself saying these often, you probably get kudos for being laid back and accommodating, and as an extra bonus, you avoid a lot of conflict and confrontation. But it comes at a cost: by going along and essentially letting others make choices for you, you are living the life of a child rather than an adult who shapes his life by making his own decisions. Periodically, you may find yourself feeling resentful; you may flare up and be self-destructive. Rather than living a life that reflects your unique purpose, the moral of your life is to not make waves, not get into trouble.

What to start doing: While those who are emotionally driven pay too much attention to their emotions, those who are passive tend to not pay enough attention to them. If you feel like it’s time to stop being passive, you have two skills to develop: One is listening to your gut, paying attention to what you don’t like, don’t want to; two is doing something with it.

Speak up, be assertive, tell others how you feel and think. Even if it takes three days to figure out how you feel, that’s fine; it’s okay to take baby steps. All you have to do is act. Not perfectly, not because you expect some magical outcome, not because it will make someone else happy. Simply speak up and act rather than leaning back and doing nothing.

Stop being a martyr

You volunteer for every committee; you’re always doing for others. That’s fine if that is part of your values, your vision of a good life. But all too often, it’s about anxiety, walking on eggshells. While the story you tell yourself is that you are just being a good person, you’re being over-responsible and being good so others like you, to avoid the conflict that may come from saying no. You can tell when you are losing control of your life when you get burned out, or, like those who are passive, you periodically feel resentful that others aren’t appreciating what you’re doing or are not pulling their weight. If this happens to you, your life is out of balance; you’re being a martyr.

What to start doing: Like the others, realize and acknowledge when this is happening. Next, do what you struggle to do. Keep your hand down when they call for volunteers; learn to say no. Change your expectations about what you expect from others in return. Use your burnout as a wake-up call to tell you that you are not living your life.

Stop settling

The vacation your partner planned was “okay.” The salary increase wasn’t what you expected but “understandable.” Good for you for not overreacting and being critical. But…if you are doing this a lot, if your life is an endless series of compromises and watered-down experiences, if you are always settling, eventually it’s going to back up on you. Yes, it is good enough, but like that poor woman who in old age regretted eating too many beans and not enough ice cream, do you too need to learn to slow down on the beans and try going for more ice cream?

What to start doing: Speak up and try not to rationalize that what you get is good enough, or that it’s probably what you should only expect. You deserve more than you think; you can get more than you believe you can. And you have to believe it and try living it to find out.

Stop cutting and running

The relationship isn’t working out—you ghost him. Your supervisor is awful, and you quit. Your mother makes some nasty comments about your partner, and you decide you’re done and never want to talk to her again.

This is about coping with hurtful situations by cutting them off—the situation, the pain, the person. The problem here is your anxiety and your coping style works so you keep doing it. But the downside is that your life becomes a series of emotional cutoffs and unresolved problems; the hurt isn’t ever really resolved. You never learn the lessons that life can teach you. You stay the victim; your life is an accumulation of problems swept under the rug.

What to start doing: Don’t run; talk. Don’t run; tackle the problem. Your supervisor may still be a monster, your mother sticks to her nasty ways, but you’ve pushed back. You’ve been that adult rather than the scared, angry 10-year-old who runs away. At some point, what you say will be heard and the problem will be fixed.

The theme here is clear: Figure out what you can’t do, where you settle, resign, go on auto-pilot, or avoid what is hard. Stop doing it. Try doing the opposite.

The NOLA Project theatre company is getting a new leading artistic

voice.

Ensemble member Brittany N. Williams (HARRY AND THE THIEF, SPARE MISSION 1) has

been tabbed as TNP’s first-ever Co-Artistic Director. She will assume the role in January of

2022.

Brittany N. Williams

“I’m thrilled to be joining The NOLA Project team as Co-Artistic Director,” Williams said.

“Working with this brilliant group of artists as an ensemble member has been wonderful and I’m

excited to help us grow and evolve as a company and as part of the greater New Orleans

community.”

Williams, is an actor, singer and writer. You last saw her on stage in TNP’s last in-person production,

HARRY AND THE THIEF (Vivian), at the Contemporary Arts Center in 2020. During the

pandemic, she penned one of the company’s four original PodPlays as well as provided her

voice for it and two others. Outside of TNP, Williams’ credits include Stage Door Songbook: Cole

Porter (Susan), Mary Full of Gray (Mary/writer) and she was the The National World War II

Museum’s 2019 Stage Door Idol winner.

Williams will share Artistic Director duties with current AD A.J. Allegra.

“I couldn’t be happier to announce the addition of Brittany N. Williams to our new shared

leadership model at The NOLA Project,” Allegra said. “She is a passionate, smart, and creative

theatre artist with an incredible depth of knowledge and experience. The pandemic-forced

pause in our work allowed our ensemble to look inward at ways in which we could strengthen

and improve our organization. And, I am so pleased that in the tradition of NOLA Project, and the

spirit of ensemble, we selected one of our own to co-lead the next era of The NOLA Project.”

Originally from Baltimore, MD, Williams performed across three continents – including a year

spent as a principal vocalist at Hong Kong Disneyland – and several US states prior to

relocating to New Orleans in 2017. Some favorite out-of-town credits include Universal Robots

(Helena), Margaret I (Joan of Arc), Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds (Nansi – Helen Hayes Award

nom.), Antony and Cleopatra (Soothsayer/Clown), and Lear (Cordelia/Fight Captain). Williams

holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Howard University and an MA in Classical Acting from the

Royal Central School of Speech & Drama.

Last time we saw her

Williams’ latest work will be on display this fall when The NOLA Project and the New Orleans

Museum of Art present her new play, TELL IT TO ME SWEET, in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

For more information on the original outdoor production, running October 29-November 14, please visit

NOLAProject.com. PRESS CONTACT: kclaverie@nolaproject.com | 504.913.5057

 In an unprecedented move, two opponents endorse each other during an election

District “C” Councilmember Kristin Palmer and District “D” Councilmember Jared Brossett announced that they are taking the unprecedented step of endorsing each other for the Council At-Large before the November 13th Primary. Palmer and Brossett are running against each other in a four-way race for the Division 2 Council At-Large seat that includes former State Senator JP Morrell. Typically opponents in the same race do not endorse the other until after one loses.

Why would they do this?

The opponents see an opportunity to move voters away from their primary opponent JP Morrell.  Polling shows Morrell making the runoff with either of them.  For Palmer this is a political calculation.  In addition to politics, the personal dispute between Brossett and Morrell just got revved up significantly. 

Brossett and Palmer have worked together on the Council on multiple issues, including the $15 an hour minimum wage for city employees. They worked on the growing Airbnb problem. But this unforeseen action is not only shocking but politically risky for each of them.  

We will see how or if this unprecedented move affects the primary.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

Wait, the party out of power was complaining about the party in power trying to raise the debt ceiling? What year is it? I feel like we’ve been here before. Some would call this deja vu. Others would call it a glitch in the Matrix. But this is the debt ceiling debacle.

This episode played out predictably. I had trouble deciphering if it was a new one or just a re-run. At the heart of it all was the funding of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better budget.

Democrats, the party in power, we’re trying to rally two holdouts in the Senate. And Republicans were running around talking about how the budget would usher in the total ruination of the country. This all made for high drama.

Senators Sinema and Manchin contribute to the Debt Ceiling Debate

HOLDOUTS 1 & 2

Senator Krysten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, also known as holdout #1, got jacked up in a bathroom by some citizens who still actually take national politics seriously. Not like literally jacked up, but you know, confronted, politely questioned in public about why she’s stalling President Biden’s budget.

Holdout #2, Senator Joe Manchin, a Republican who identifies as a Democrat, did what he usually does in highly partisan showdown. He got squeamish when Democrats started asking how he’ll be voting. Manchin subjected his fellow Democrats to a lot of public foot stomping over the green energy policies included in the budget. This shouldn’t be surprising. He’s a Democrat from West Virginia, a coal mining state that has voted Republican in every presidential election since 2000.

Meanwhile, Republicans were dealing with their own internal drama. In one breath, it wouldn’t make proper partisan sense to be seen voting with the Democrats. But in another, it also wouldn’t make much political sense to sit back and watch the Democrats nuke the filibuster.

The filibuster is the only weapon a minority party in the Senate has to influence legislation. It takes 60 votes to break one, which is something no party in recent memory has had. So, a compromise is forced. Naturally, the threat of losing the filibuster scared the bee gee bees out of Mitch McConnell. So, he did the unthinkable: he rallied votes on behalf of the Democrats.

In the end, McConnell betrayed his party (their words) and did just enough to throw Democrats some cover fire until December. Instead of actually voting to raise the debt ceiling to cover the budget, Republicans and Democrats agreed to raise it just enough to cover the bills until December. The price – $480 billion.

People who try to make sense of this ask: why when they vote to spend money we don’t have, they just don’t also raise the debt ceiling to cover it?

The answer: because there’d be no incentive to curb spending. Imagine if every time you were about to max out your credit card, the bank just increased your credit limit. You know all the trouble you’d get into?

Right now, the federal government is in $28 trillion of trouble, mainly because it has just that – unlimited credit. The debt that incurs is usually only a problem to the party that’s not in control of spending.

Over the years, the rhetoric surrounding the budget and federal spending has degenerated to stomp speeches and red meat for constituents. You can look for this to intensify until one party, probably Republicans, actually do something crazy like block the other party from raising the ceiling. Then all catastrophes will break loose.

But the good people in Washington made sure that is something we won’t have to worry about until Christmas. Think of it as a premature lump of coal in your stocking. In a month and a half, we’ll actually see if they will take all the merry out of Christmas.