As is our habit here, I will vote early and often in Illinois’ primary tomorrow. For the first time, my vote in a presidential primary may actually mean something. That’s a rather unusual sensation. Honestly, I don’t know what to make of it, other than to think it is a good thing. Seeing Obama’s numbers rise, while Hillary’s fall, well, I suspect that my cable news shows will be off tonight. I simply can’t take anymore spin from the pundits.

Also on Tuesday, I suspect that New Yorker hang-overs may finally begin to subside from their non-stop celebration. Congrats to all Giants and sports fiends! The Hollywood script writers are still on strike, so the only possible explanation is that this is the year that professional pundits are proved to be wrong in every field, from politics to sports. Not just wrong, but deeply, insanely, comically, utterly, and completely wrong. (Ah, recognizing that bit of tid creates this really warm comfy feeling deep inside)

I’m sure that everyone has wished that today’s pundits (in any field) would simply leave us alone, that they would quit telling us how to vote or or how to bet, and most of all, stop infecting us with their weird version of THE TRUTH. If only we could tell them all to go climb the nearest pundi-tree. Then, fall out. On their collective heads. (Insert smiling day dream)

The list of deserving pundi-tree victims is long, and growing longer. Billo, Ann Coulter, Mary Matlin, James Carville, Sean Hannity, Howard Wolfson, Mark Penn, Rush Limbaugh, and so many other pseudo-experts do little to add to the political analysis, except to pollute the airways.

The last major event is perhaps as important as the primary to tomorrows participants, and almost as important as New York’s celebration. Mardi Gras. Normally, this is a time of drinks, food, and wonderful debauchery. Perhaps not this year.

New Orleans – the true American Center for Mardi Gras – has been laid to waste by poor planning, bad engineering, pathetic construction, and not a little bit of local corruption and inefficiency. The storm merely caused all those forces to collide at one time. But adding insult to injury, the federal response, both to the hurricane and resulting flooding, was pathetic and deadly then. It has become even worse today. Whole sections remain unbuilt, fetid, and unlivable. Some rich unaffected areas remain rich and unaffected.

Worse yet, the root cause of present and future problems (the sinking of the city) remains ignored, and the patchwork of dikes and retaining walls are simply too weak and too low – and this comes from the Army Corpse of Engineers themselves, who designed the replacements! Add to that, the method and manner that certain ineffective equipment and materials (like the huge pumps) were procured from Bush supporters, and now have proved to be completely inadequate for the task, you have to wonder whether the Bush administration declared war on New Orleans.

Let’s not get started about the temporary shelters, the mobile homes that poisoned thousands of survivors. Except, to say, you hardly hear about it in the news.

I used to travel to NOLA yearly, sometimes for Jazz Fest, sometimes for Mardi Gras, other times for work. I have not returned since the storm hit. Friends who still go come back shaking their heads. It was as though a knife was stuck into the spine of a once great city, and continues to be twisted each day.

At least Mardi Gras injects tourism, money and PR into NOLA, all of which it sorely needs. But again we return to that damned Pundi-tree.

Our collective shame known as NOLA remains ignored by the pundits and the mainstream media. It is not just a shame, it is a crime. The devastation wrought on our own homeland, then compounded by the federal response (or lack thereof) is unpardonable. But, today’s pundits also ignore the 4,000 dead US soldiers, the 50,000 injured or mentally ill, and the possibly 1,000,000 dead Iraqis at the same time.

Journalism used to be a wonderful profession. Today, it is neither professional, nor wonderful. I can only hope that if we collectively turn them off and hope they go away, that they will do just that. But, corporate owned media would never let that happen. And besides a missing blond in Aruba, or another Paris or Britnee story may be in the works. And we all know how important those topics are.

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