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Over Easy

By: Ruth Calvo Wednesday March 28, 2012 8:50 am

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

We can’t take a personal look at the Antarctic ice cap without taking a ship to the area so most of us are not aware of another dark side of climate change and its effects: the actual darkening of the ice.

The ice pack in Greenland this year is black. Reports Slate’s Eric Holthaus:

‘There are several potential explanations for what’s going on here. The most likely is that some combination of increasingly infrequent summer snowstorms, wind-blown dust, microbial activity, and forest fire soot led to this year’s exceptionally dark ice. A more ominous possibility is that what we’re seeing is the start of a cascading feedback loop tied to global warming. [Climate scientist Jason] Box mentions this summer’s mysterious Siberian holes and offshore methane bubbles as evidence that the Arctic can quickly change in unpredictable ways.

This year, Greenland’s ice sheet was the darkest Box (or anyone else) has ever measured. Box gives the stunning stats: ‘In 2014 the ice sheet is precisely 5.6 percent darker, producing an additional absorption of energy equivalent with roughly twice the US annual electricity consumption.’

Voters in Scotland have been casting their ballots on the independence of that country, with prediction of disaster and of new and heady powers balancing each other to nearly even predictions as to the results. The state of the U.K. has alienated many in the country it rules; ‘Some see the U.K. as stuck in a postimperial, postindustrial crisis in which marketization threatens the very fabric of the society, imperiling its finest institutions, such as the National Health Service and British universities. ‘

A Panelbase poll released earlier on Wednesday, which was not carried out for any media outlet, suggested support for independence was on 48%, with 52% support for Scotland staying in the UK, once undecided voters were excluded.

The Pope will meet with Argentine president de Kirchner Saturday, with vulture funds’ court decisions part of the agenda, as well as the governance of the embattled country, a Vatican spokesman confirmed.

‘He is Argentine and has lived what we all have. He supports the democratic process, that means watching for Cristina (Fernández),’ Karcher said in statements to media this morning ahead of a meeting between the pontiff and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to be held in the papal residency of Santa Marta this weekend.

Regarding the meeting’s agenda, the monsignor considered the scope of issues the heads of state are expected to discuss ‘very wide’ with ‘no matter being excluded,’ leaving a door open for both leaders to address Argentina’s legal dispute against vulture funds. Pope Francis, Karcher said, ‘is critical of any position that does not favour the people.’

Never.Give.Up.

 

Wednesday Watercooler

By: Kit OConnell Wednesday September 17, 2014 8:15 pm

 

A woman in a flowing white skirt stands in the doorway of a stone building.

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino invoke the traditional music and dance of Italy’s Salento region.

Tonight’s music video is “Nu Tu Fermare” by Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino.

Formed by writer Rina Durante in 1975, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino is regarded as Italy’s leading and longest-standing traditional music ensemble, hailing from the Salento, the heel of the Italian boot, in Puglia.

Italy’s fascinating dichotomy of tradition and modernity come together in the music of CGS: the seven piece band and dancer are the leading exponents in a new wave of young performers re-inventing Southern Italy’s Pizzica musical and dance traditions for today’s global audience.

The tens of thousands who often congregate for this Lecce-based band’s concerts in Italy know: Bandleader, fiddler, and drummer Mauro Durante and company can make an audience shimmy with the energy of the ancient ritual of pizzica tarantata, said to cure the taranta spider’s bite with its frenzied trance dances. CGS shows are a life explosion: full of energy, passion, rhythm and mystery, they bring the audience from the past into modernity, and back.

Like Dwayne Dopsie and Tsuumi Sound System, this is another band that played at Satuday’s International Accordion Festival. Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino are “traditional” in a way that reminds me of groups like Dead Can Dance — using ancient melodies toward a modern aim. They were the last act at the Festival, closing out the day in the darkness with the lights of San Antonio behind them. Their music emphasizes string instruments and traditional percussion, and as they wailed and hummed into the night I could close my eyes and feel myself carried somewhere very far from Texas, to a place that seemed both timeless and long ago. I don’t know how I would have discovered the haunting music of this ensemble without this event; I really hope the San Antonio City Council continues to fund the Festival for many more years.

Jeff Wilson, a professor at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, has moved into a 36-square-foot dumpster as an experiment in designing simpler livingThe Atlantic profiled his project:

Professor Wilson went to the dumpster not just because he wished to live deliberately, and not just to teach his students about the environmental impacts of day-to-day life, and not just to gradually transform the dumpster into “the most thoughtfully-designed, tiniest home ever constructed.” Wilson’s reasons are a tapestry of these things.

Until this summer, the green dumpster was even less descript than it is now. There was no sliding roof; Wilson kept the rain out with a tarp. He slept on cardboard mats on the floor. It was essentially, as he called it, ‘dumpster camping.’ The goal was to establish a baseline experience of the dumpster without any accoutrements, before adding them incrementally.

[...] Wilson, known around town as Professor Dumpster, recounted in another recent interview that he now owns four pairs of pants, four shirts, three pairs of shoes, three hats, and, in keeping with his hipsteresque aesthetic, “eight or nine” bow ties. (That’s an exceptional bow-tie-to-shirt ownership ratio.) He keeps all of this in cubbies under a recently installed false floor, along with some camping cooking equipment.

Customization of the space really began in July. Wilson asked Twitter what was the first thing he needed, and the response was almost unanimous: air conditioning. In the Austin heat, the dumpster was getting up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. On some nights it did not fall below the high 80s. So on his six-month anniversary of living in a human-sized convection oven, Wilson procured a modest air conditioner.

[...] With the weather station now strapped to the top, Wilson tracks his personal climate in real time. Pulling up data on his computer from inside his centrally cooled office as we spoke, he announced that the dumpster was currently 104 degrees. During the spring, when Austin was a little cooler, he was able to pass some daytime hours in the dumpster. With the arrival of summer, that became unbearable. ‘But some interesting things happened because of that,’ he explained. He spent a lot more time out in the community, just walking around. ‘I almost feel like East Austin is my home and backyard,’ he said.

[...] ‘What does home look like in a world of 10 billion people?’ the project’s site implores, referring to the projected 40 percent increase in the human population by the end of the century. ‘How do we equip current and future generations with the tools they need for sustainable living practices?’

Read the full article for more information and some great photos.

Good News from Sweden — Sort Of

By: Deena Stryker Tuesday September 16, 2014 5:05 pm
Swedish Flag against a blue sky

“Sweden’s victorious Social Democratic Party stressed its inclusive policy toward immigrants.”

If I often write about fascism, it’s because it is the lynchpin of current events. Fascism comes in many stripes and colors. The old fascism, which revolved around anti-Semitism, is still represented by Ukraine’s Right Sektor and its wolfangel-wearing associated thugs. With the new fascism, Israel is officially Washington’s junior partner, in practice often wagging its tail. Europe’s centuries-old anti-Semitism has been reinvigorated by Israel’s attitude toward the Palestinians, while a more recent one targets immigration.

As ISIS’s thirty thousand strong army — a ridiculous number compared to the approximately 150,000 that the U.S. had in Iraq — continues to take and hold territory, beheading Westerners along the way, today’s fascism piece is inspired by the Social Democrats’ win in Sweden that was accompanied by a rise in its anti-immigrant party, putting Sweden in league with France and Greece. Sweden’s ‘Democrats’ garnered 13%, a figure similar to those of other European extreme-right parties that marked take-offs soon boasting a fourth of the electorate.

It’s certainly good news that the party that pioneered the Nordic welfare state in the early twentieth century (yes indeed!), is back in power after ten years of despicable center-right rule  by the people who accused Jullian Assange of sex crimes and refused to guarantee that he wouldn’t be extradited to the U.S. for Wikileak’s revelations. (Assange’s announcement a couple of weeks ago that he expects to soon leave the Ecuadoran Embassy in London where he has been holed up for over two years may have been inspired by his anticipation of this election result…)

The far-right parties original supporters come overwhelmingly from the center-right, but their ascension is typically marked by defections from the left. They are defined by their anti-immigrant stance, hence the title of this article: this particular fascism that we see spreading across Europe is centered on the ‘threat’ posed by an on-going flux of immigrants, mainly from Islamic and Black Africa. When I was living in France in the eighties and nineties, I had already remarked that these parties’ followers had failed to do the simple math: with Europe representing about 300 million inhabitants at that time, Africa counted about 800,000. Now an enlarged Europe has 500 million, while Africa tops 1.1 billion, the second growing faster than the first, (while China is leveling off at over 1.3 billion, having been just under 1.3 billion in the nineties…).

These figures should give anyone pause. But Europeans apparently believe that their centuries of culture evidenced as well in their well-tended landscapes as in their monuments, guarantee a superiority that ‘barbarians’ will never be able to challenge. By the time they wake up, it will be too late, and that is where the significance of the Swedish vote comes in.

Responding to the rightward drift of the electorate, the victorious Social Democratic Party stressed its commitment to Sweden’s ‘inclusive’ policy toward immigrants. The Nordic countries have for decades had a robust pro-Third World stance that staffs UN development organizations as well as NGO’s on the ground. But devotion to the idea of equity between black, brown and white in what has always constituted a minority of the world’s total population is unlikely to affect an overall rightward drift. The North’s technological and cultural achievements will continue to blind it to the fact that the Caucasians are a minority in the world, which with each passing day becomes more ‘absolute’.

Agency Requests Underscore Wisconsin’s Budget Challenges

By: WI Budget Project Tuesday September 16, 2014 2:11 pm
A dollar being cut with scissors

Wisconsin agencies need more money, but the state budget faces serious shortfalls.

Most state agencies have submitted their budget requests for Wisconsin’s upcoming 2015-17 budget. These requests are worth taking a look at because they can give some insight into Governor Walker’s priorities for the next budget. The requests can be found here, on the Department of Administration’s website.

Back in July, Governor Walker told state agencies that their 2015-17 budget requests should assume that there will be zero growth in General Purpose Revenue (GPR) appropriations. (He did carve out a few exceptions to that rule.) But nearly all the major agencies that have submitted requests so far requested at least modest increases in funding. The growing tab for these requests helps illustrate the significant challenge of balance a budget at a time when the state is expected to needs almost $1.8 billion of revenue growth just to provide flat funding.

One agency, the Department of Health Services, has indicated that it will require a big boost in spending to pay for health care for people with low incomes: $760 million over two years. Part of the added cost comes from the fact that the federal government  decreases the share it pays of the state’s Medicaid program as Wisconsin’s economy improves.  It’s unclear from the DHS document whether they are seeking a $760 million increase in General Fund spending or plan to make  to make very large Medicaid cuts to offset the increased costs.

The new Medicaid cost projections make it clearer than ever why Wisconsin should accept the federal funding for expanding BadgerCare coverage, which the Fiscal Bureau estimated could save as much as $300 million in the next budget period.

Other budget requests include:

  • No increase in GPR for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the state’s lead economic development organization;
  • An increase of 1.9% GPR, or $45 million, for the Department of Corrections, with few large new initiatives proposed;
  • A 6.1% increase in GPR for the Department of Justice;
  •  $95 million in new GPR for the University of Wisconsin, to “fund a new plan to create jobs, boost graduation numbers, and deal with a tuition freeze;” and
  • A 10.1% increase in GPR for the State Public Defender Board, which includes funding for a pay raise for public defender attorneys, and an increase in the rate paid when the agency contracts with outside attorneys for services.

Not all state agencies have submitted their complete budget proposals at this point. In particular, the Department of Public Instruction has submitted a budget request that covers school safety and technology, but doesn’t plan to submit the request related to school funding until later this fall. DPI’s initial request asks for money to support a new school safety center, which would provide guidance to schools on school violence and emergency preparedness. DPI has also asked to provide additional funding directly to districts to support programs and activities that prevent school violence and protect students.

Jury Selection: The Most Important Part of Michael Dunn’s Retrial

By: Masoninblue
An artist's drawing of a jury box with 12 jurors in it

“Jury selection will be the most important part of the Michael Dunn retrial.”

Jury selection will be the most important part of the Michael Dunn retrial, which is scheduled to start next Monday. To have any chance to convict Michael Dunn of murdering Jordan Davis, the prosecution must screen for, identify and exclude any prospective juror who believes that it’s reasonable to assume that:

  1. a black 16 to 21-year-old male who likes to listen to loud rap music is an angry thug;
  2. a black 16 to 21-year-old male who lips off at an adult white male who orders him to turn down the volume is an angry thug;
  3. a black 16 to 21-year-old male who cranks up the volume after being ordered to turn it down is an angry thug;
  4. it’s reasonable for an adult white male to assume that an angry black thug who confronts him is armed and intends to kill or seriously hurt him; and
  5. it’s reasonably necessary for an adult white male to use deadly force in self-defense to prevent an angry black thug from killing or seriously injuring him.

The best way to determine if any prospective jurors hold these views is to ask them a series of hypothetical questions to discover if they fear black 16 to 21-year-old males.

For example, if you were walking down a sidewalk by yourself and saw a black 16 to 21-year-old male walking toward you, would you,

  • continue walking toward him and ignore him;
  • continue walking toward him and greet him;
  • cross the street and walk down the other side; or
  • turn around and walk the other way?

The use of hypothetical questions is the best way to uncover racial prejudice.

Can you think of any other hypothetical questions that you might ask during voir dire?

Finally, if you were a prosecutor, would you rather try this case to a judge according to the procedure followed in South Africa?

Would your answer change, if you were defense counsel?

The most important disputed questions of fact in the case are whether Jordan Davis was armed or had something that looked like a weapon in his hands, and if he was attempting to get out of the back seat of the SUV when Dunn squeezed off multiple shots at him.

FYI: Judge Healey denied a defense motion for a change of venue, preferring to take a wait-and-see approach to see if the extensive publicity about the shooting and the first trial has made it impossible to seat a twelve-person jury that can fairly and impartially decide the case (i.e., jurors have already formed an opinion about what the outcome should be). Once chosen, the jury will be sequestered.

President Obama’s High-mileage, Stupid New War

By: joe shikspack Tuesday September 16, 2014 1:39 pm

3_presidentsWould you purchase a used war from one of these men?

Three previous American presidents, Bush the elder, Bill Clinton and Bush the younger have all bombed Iraq, declared victory and moved on to lucrative post-presidencies.

President Obama, who called it a “dumb war” long before he developed the foreign policy doctrine, “Don’t do stupid shit,” has now purchased the stupid Iraq war.

Is this war really necessary?

After watching this war repeated over and over, so many things now seem familiar. Remember the bipartisan hype about Saddam’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” and how the proof of it could come from a mushroom cloud?

Compare to this:

But as President Obama prepares to send the United States on what could be a yearslong military campaign against the militant group, American intelligence agencies have concluded that it poses no immediate threat to the United States. Some officials and terrorism experts believe that the actual danger posed by ISIS has been distorted in hours of television punditry and alarmist statements by politicians, and that there has been little substantive public debate about the unintended consequences of expanding American military action in the Middle East.

Daniel Benjamin, who served as the State Department’s top counterterrorism adviser during Mr. Obama’s first term, said the public discussion about the ISIS threat has been a ‘farce,’ with ‘members of the cabinet and top military officers all over the place describing the threat in lurid terms that are not justified.’

With each successive administration’s military interventions in Iraq, the place seems to become increasingly unstable. After seeing the similar instability left behind in Libya, which is for most intents and purposes a failed state and the decline of Syria, it doesn’t instill much confidence in Mr. Obama’s similar proposed strategery for Operation Son of the Return of the Monster from the Land Between the Rivers.

As Andrew Bacevich put it in a recent post:

Destroying what Obama calls the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant won’t create an effective and legitimate Iraqi state. …

All the military power in the world won’t solve those problems. Obama knows that. Yet he is allowing himself to be drawn back into the very war that he once correctly denounced as stupid and unnecessary — mostly because he and his advisers don’t know what else to do. Bombing has become his administration’s default option.

Rudderless and without a compass, the American ship of state continues to drift, guns blazing.

This war is headed for failure

Why is it that President Obama is the fourth consecutive American president to declare wa…er, military action on Iraq? Why is it that Obama and the previous 3 presidents just can’t seem to get the job done there?

Consider this wisdom from Aristotle:

It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize the peace. — Aristotle

A century ago “peace” was organized in the Middle East by the colonial powers. Britain and France organized in a way that perpetuated their power and allowed them to loot the region. Their power was maintained by defeating any movement toward independence and self-determination by the people of the region – especially secular nationalist regimes. This article has an excellent summary of the history, including this:

In 1915, the imperial powers’ major goal in the Middle East was to smother any expression of Arab nationalism and prevent any unified resistance to the designs of Paris and London. …

The French put the minority Christians in charge of Lebanon to keep down the majority Sunnis and Shiites. They recruited the minority Alawite Shiites in Syria to head up the army that ruled over the majority Sunnis, while the British installed a Sunni king in Iraq to rule over the country’s majority Shiites. In Palestine the British used Zionism much as they were using Protestantism in Northern Ireland to keep down the native Catholic Irish and keep both communities divided. Communities ended up fighting one another rather than their imperial masters, which, of course, was the whole point of the matter. [...]

But chaos has always been an ally of imperialism. ‘The agenda has always been about imposing division and chaos on the Arab world,’ wrote long-time peace activist Tom Hayden. ‘In 1992, Bernard Lewis, a major Middle East expert, wrote that if the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common identity…the state then disintegrates into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions, and parties.’ And that is just the kind of disintegration that foreign powers have sought to exploit.

As the years have passed in the century since the ascendant imperialist powers organized the peace, new western powers have risen to compete for dominion and resources in the region. Puppets, dictators and nationalist regimes have come and gone and representatives of various sects have strived for and acquired power, but the division of the Middle East created by the colonial powers has remained:

Engelhardt: The Great Concentration or the Great Fragmentation

By: Tom Engelhardt Wednesday July 27, 2011 11:04 am

Power Drain 
Mysteries of the Twenty-First Century in a Helter-Skelter World 
By Tom Engelhardt

It’s possible I’ve lived most of my life on the wrong planet — and if that sounds like the first sentence of a sci-fi novel maybe, in its own way, it is. I thought I knew where I was, of course, but looking back from our helter-skelter world of 2014, I wonder.

For most of the last several hundred years, the story in view might be called the Great Concentration and it focused on an imperial struggle for power on planet Earth. That rivalry took place among a kaleidoscopic succession of European “great powers,” one global empire (Great Britain), Russia, a single Asian state (Japan), and the United States. After two world wars that devastated the Eurasian continent, there emerged only two “superpowers,” the U.S. and the Soviet Union. They were so stunningly mighty and over-armed — great inland empires — that, unlike previous powers, they could not even imagine how to wage war directly upon each other, not without obliterating much of civilization. The full planet nonetheless became their battlefield in what was known as the Cold War only because hot ones were banished to “the peripheries” and the conflict took place, in part, in “the shadows” (a situation novelist John Le Carré caught with particular incisiveness).

Those two superpowers divided much of the planet into mighty blocs, as the “free world” faced off against the “communist” one. What was left, often called the Third World, became a game board and sometimes battlefield for influence and dominance. From Havana to Saigon, Berlin to Jakarta, whatever happened, however local, always seemed to have a superpower tinge to it.

This was the world as it was presented to me in the years of my youth and for decades thereafter.  And then, unexpectedly, there was only one superpower. In 1991, something like the ultimate step in the concentration of power seemed to occur. The weaker and less wealthy of the two rivals, its economy grown sclerotic even as its nuclear arsenal bulged, its vaunted military bogged down in an unwinnable war with Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan (backed by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan), suddenly vanished from the planet.  It left behind a dismantled wall in Berlin, a unified Germany, a liberated Eastern Europe, a series of former SSRs in Central Asia fending for themselves, and its bloc partner (and sometimes-rival-cum-enemy) China, still run by a “communist” party, gunning the automobile of state onto the capitalist highway under slogans like “to get rich is glorious.”

Full Spectrum Dominance on a Unipolar Planet

As with the famous cheese of children’s rhyme, the United States now stood alone.  Never before had a single power of such stature, wealth, and military clout been left so triumphantly solitary, without the hint of a serious challenger anywhere. Economically, the only other system imaginable for a century had been banished to the history books. There was just one power and one economic system left in a moment of triumph the likes of which even the leaders of that winning state had neither imagined nor predicted.

Initially, Washington was stunned. It took the powers-that-be almost a decade to fully absorb and react to what had happened. After all, as one observer then so famously put it, “the end of history” had been reached – and there, amid the rubble of other systems and powers, lay an imperial version of liberal democracy and a capitalist system freed of even the thought of global competitors and constraints. Or so it seemed.

For almost a decade, we were told in no uncertain terms that we were, no bones about it, in the era of “the Washington consensus” and “globalization.”  The Earth was flat and we were all One, swimming in a sea of giant swooshes, golden arches, action movies, and Disney princesses.  What a moment to dream — and though it took a decade, you’ll remember the dreamers well.  Having prepared the way as a kind of shadow government, in 2000 they took over the White House (with a helping hand from the Supreme Court). After a single devastating terrorist attack (the “Pearl Harbor” of the twenty-first century), they were soon dreaming on a global scale as befit their new vision of power.  They imagined a “wartime” that would last for generations — some of them even called it World War IV — during which they would establish a full-scale military protectorate, including monster bases, in the oil heartlands of the Middle East and a Pax Americana globally aimed at preventing any other great nation or bloc of nations from arising to challenge the United States — ever.

Over Easy: Letty Owings, Age 89, Recalls More New Orleans History

By: Crane-Station Wednesday September 17, 2014 4:09 am
Ball gown and crown worn by Queen of the Krewe of Hiacynthians for their Mardi Gras ball, 1955.

Ball gown and crown worn by Queen of the Krewe of Hiacynthians for their Mardi Gras ball, 1955.

Letty Owings, age 89 and the author of this post, recalls history, customs and experiences in New Orleans in 1958-1959.

New Orleans Mardi Gras

No chapter on New Orleans would be complete without something about the Mardi Gras experience. We knew about the big parade, but beyond that we knew nothing of the festival. The secrets and functions of the city that revolves around a carnival remain obscure to outsiders. Mardi Gras is not just a celebration, it is a way of life meshed with social structure and status. Anyone who is anyone belongs to a krewe, an organization built on social status, occupation and ancestry. All year long each krewe prepares for the season which ushers in the balls and the parades.

The first balls begin on New Year’s Eve. Generally the functions closest to the New Year have the least prestige. That statement has many variations, so I should not be dogmatic with my pronouncement about the worst first. The parades, mostly at night, happen more and more frequently as the weeks approach the “real” Mardi Gras on Shrove Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. As an aside — “Shrove” days are set aside for celebration and excesses not allowed during Lent.

The date of Mardi Gras is strictly governed by the length of Lent in any given year. As Lent approaches, the parades pick up both in number as well as in prestige. People line the streets to view the floats and catch the trinkets thrown to the crowd by masked revelers. Why a cheap pair of beads thrown from a float takes on the mark of a status symbol is hard to say. It all has to do with the spirit of the occasion when good sense gets exchanged for excitement. I have still in a box somewhere the beads and trinkets we caught from the parades.

After a season of fever-pitch excitement and parades and balls, the Tuesday before Lent comes at last. This is the Mardi Gras tourists know about. Two Krewes are left to do their thing, Rex and Comus. Both Krewes parade in their finery, and their awesome collection of real jewels and royal robes. All participants remain masked until the Rex and Comus ball when the King (Rex, of course) and Queen are revealed to the public. Always the distinctive honor goes to well-known socialites of New Orleans. Few people ever get invited to the Rex and Comus affair. In fact, few outsiders or non-members of krewes ever get to go to one of the balls. Essentially they are closed affairs.

After the revelry and costuming and marching bands and drunkenness in the streets, at the stroke of midnight when Tuesday turns to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, the doors close and the ball stops. The celebration is over until next New Years Eve. But even at that time, many are beginning to plan the next year’s floats and balls.

Most persons outside New Orleans who go to the city to experience Mardi Gras, see only the last day parades and the wild confusion. That is not all there is, but in order to see the real thing, residence in the city for a time is a necessity. Even then, the rituals and preparations are mostly kept from outsiders. We were fortunate in that our quarreling neighbors who belonged to a krewe wanted our oldest daughter to experience the real thing. I made her a formal and off she went. At the balls, all men are masked. The women have a card signed by different gentlemen who care to dance with them.

A flood