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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Yes Men, we have no housing today: the sequel

Too true to be good: “A prankster posing as a federal housing official took centre stage at a New Orleans event with the city mayor and the governor of Louisiana, controversially promising to throw open closed public housing to thousands of poor former city residents,” Reuters reports, via The Scotsman. Oh-oh: are the Yes Men in town? yes_men.jpg Report Peter Henderson and Matt Daily, “The stunt, which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development called a “cruel hoax,” was the latest by an activist group known as “The Yes Men” who have previously masqueraded as World Trade Organisation officials announcing they were disbanding the body. Activist Andy Bichlbaum, pretending to be HUD “Assistant Deputy Secretary Rene Oswin,” told hundreds of businesspeople at a forum the agency would reverse policy and reopen housing units now targeted for replacement by mixed-income development. He promised to “fix New Orleans, not just for the benefit of a few but for everyone.” The audience applauded the speech and the moderator thanked “Oswin” for the “dramatic announcement.” A cruel hoax, indeed. “Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gave the preceding speeches at The Gulf Reconstruction and Hurricane Preparedness Summit, although neither was on the podium when the bogus official spoke… Later, the group provided barbecued chicken and ribs to contractors at an open public housing development while a brass band belted out New Orleans jazz…. Mike Bonanno, the second “Yes Man,” told Reuters the hoax was a bittersweet achievement. “It’s helped us to become the people we wish we could be to correct the problems,” he said.” Here’s coverage by The Times-Picayune’s invaluable NOLA.com. The documentary The Yes Men does a fair job of showing the pair’s brass; their website is here.

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