Thursday, February 1, 2007

The New New Orleans

Hear for the first time yesterday on Democracy Now, a new buzz-word: radical populism.  As yet another obfuscation of the fact that we live in a class society, I predict it wil have long legs.

Yesterday's Democracy Now's linkage of the New Orleans news item with an interview on peak oil resulted in the following link for me:

Middle Eastern scholar Dilip Hiro wrote a book about the crucial importance of oil starting even before the twentieth century in Ajerbaijan, and leading to the all but incestuous ties between the Saudi royals and the Midland royals.  (If the Saudis were Protestants, we'd surely have seen marriages by now...)

Coming right after the testimony of activists arrested for trying to prevent perfectly good low income housing in New Orleans from being demolished, it inspired the following insight:  the administration wants to turn New Orleans into the equivalent of the Emirates where the officially puritanical Saudi royals go to indulge in forbidden pleasures, when those same Saudis visit Midlands. (According to Hiro Midlands is the oil center of the world, with Houston the oil financial center...)

My vision of the "new" New Orleans is undoubtedly inspired by Sandra Mackey's book on Saudi Arabia.  As someone who lived there for two years in the seventies, she describes the almost unimaginable lengths to which the Saudis go to prevent their population from adopting modern sexual mores.  In the recent paperback edition, she doesn't tall us whether anything has changed since then, but in any case as a starting point for understanding the oil kingdom, this book is a must.

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