Sunday, July 17, 2005

Lafayette- is that you?

With a 27% turnout (15% had been forecast) the voters of my little hamlet approved the public utilities "fiber to the home" initiative with a whopping 62% yes vote. (For those of you who just stumbled in here, our local public owned utility, LUS, has been seeking the right to initiate a $125 million bond issue and to be a provider of optical fiber to every home or business that signs up. LUS will also provide phone, cable, and internet service in competition with the two local monopolies, Cox and Bell South. LUS is stating that they plan to offer rates 20% lower than what consumers currently pay.)

Over the past few years, elections without any candidates (this was a one issue election) had turnouts ranging from 2 percent for a drainage tax renewal in April 2003 to 18 percent in November 2001 for new taxes for school workers and for mosquito abatement. 27% turnout indicates that the electorate was unusually engaged by this initiative.

I so proud of my little town for their progressive ways I could just about bust. We won't talk of the strong Bush support in the last two elections, for today is a day to look forward.

Lafayette will be one of the very few communities in the nation to offer this service. We are building the better mousetrap.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Oh please...oh please...

It seems that we may be on the verge of seeing Karl Rove frog marched out of the White House, just like Joseph Wilson hoped, as Rove's lawyer acknowledges he was Time reporter's source. But I get the sneaking suspicion that the only person who will get jail time will be a certain reporter who had too much professionalism to 1) write a story that outed a CIA agent (in wartime) and 2) wouldn't reveal her source, no matter how traitorous and loathsome a human being he was. Ah, politics.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

History is fun!

Recently, in my local Barnes and Noble (corporate death of little bookshops, but God help me I love them so) I saw a display with a new history of the Acadiens and decided to pick it up. And it turns out pretty much everthing I thought I knew about "Le grand derangment" (the Cajun term for the 1755 ethnic cleasing of the Acadiens by the English and Americans) was incorrect. Being a Cajun, I am now a little bit ashamed that I knew so little about my heritage, but I feel I have filled in some huge gaps in my knowledge of my history.

But this book was no slog through names and dates. A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland (full title) was first and foremost a great story. Intellectually stimulating but not dry, the author John Mack Faragher places you at the center of this time when the English, French and Americans were staking out their claims to empire, and the people of L'Acadie were pawns in this larger game. Few books have ever taught me more.

On a personal note, it was also exciting to learn that my wife's family line was literally the first to settle in Acadia (The Guilliame Trahan family was the first family to settle in the town of Port Royal and his son and son-in-law founded two other major Acadian towns- Grand Pre' and Beaubassin).

If you are a Cajun or have Acadian roots, this is a must read book. And if you're just a fan of well written history, then this is a great way to pass these long summer days.