Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Hurricane Eve

Must read

Discussion started yesterday at TPM Cafe as a result of Blundell's latest reply to Klein.


This morning's T-P story about book donations was good enough to include some very necessary guidelines for those engaged in such benevolence.

1. As a general rule, don't donate a book that you wouldn't buy. Make sure it's in acceptable condition.

2. Don't dump magazines and books outside buildings.

3. Don't donate old newspapers or magazines, even those National Geographics.

4. Don't donate old textbooks, law books or encyclopedias. Reference materials go out of date quickly.

5. Check about recorded media first. The Symphony Book Fair, for example, no longer accepts LP records.

6. Local public libraries are not accepting book donations at this time; library collections are very carefully chosen and books are processed according to strict library standards. Libraries need direct financial contributions. Donate books to Friends of the New Orleans Public Library or the Friends of the Jefferson Public Library.
This kind of public notice was sorely needed before Katrina and is now even more so. (I could tell you some pre-K horror stories about coming to work and suddenly being confronted with ten large boxen of old National Geographics which I had to find something to do with.. They're kind of fun to cut up for collage purposes but that only gets you so far... meanwhile they don't seem to sell very well so they just.. kind of live there with you... on your desk...for a very long time.) Currently the library... much like the RTA.. is operating with impossibly thin-stretched staffing. Meanwhile the amount of outside assistance.. particularly in the form of donated materials.. has been, well, overwhelming.... and I mean the lots and lots of truckloads variety of overwhelming. As usual, the library can best be helped by financial donations (or by gently suggesting that the city make it a higher priority) If you have books to donate, the Friends can always use them for the sale. The T-P article has several excellent suggestions as well.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Long holiday weekend.. but stuff continued to happen

Let's see.. a few things to get us caught up.
  • Gotta tell you, man. Ouzo SEEMS like a good idea at first but does make you sorry eventually.
  • Believe it or not, Rose said something this morning I actually agree with.
    If I had to try to gauge the mood of the city right now, I'd venture that it's not good -- no matter whom you wanted to be mayor. There is the unmistakable odor of malaise in the air.
    He, of course, won't tell you this but It's starting to sink in that the result of the mayoral election is going to make this recovery a much longer harder slog than it has to be. I'd go into some reasons for this but I think it's better just to out and out take Adrastos's recomendation and link you over to Moldy City where I find it hard to disagree with much of the analysis. David, on the other hand, did take issue with my convention-related boosterism last week. I honestly can't blame him. I think I've made my feelings about the tourist-plantation economy fairly clear. Unfortunately, with Nagin around, I'm afraid that's all the business we can expect to see in town for a while... oh and I'm sure the post office will be pretty busy too. David also has a lot to say about the T-P's inadequate coverage of Nagin's contributors as well as his well organized GOP support. You'd think if David and Oyster can dig this stuff up by simply surfing the internet, the T-P might be able to dedicate some resources to actually doing its job here and there. Or maybe you wouldn't think that.. not if you've been paying attention to the T-P for very long. Ultimately, though, I find myself once more in unlikely agreement with another of my less favorite people, Clancy Dubos, who places the blame where it belongs: Mitch's weak, milquetoast campaign.
    A CHALLENGER'S FIRST, MOST FUNDAMENTAL TASK in taking on an incumbent is to give voters a compelling argument for change.

    Step Two is to present yourself as the most logical alternative to the incumbent.

    Step Three is to convince voters that you can deliver on your promises.

    It sounds a lot easier than it is.

    Mitch Landrieu utterly failed to take Step One and, because those steps are sequential, little else that he did or said mattered. In fact, he said in several debates that there was not much difference, philosophically, between himself and Nagin. That screamed to white voters, who should have been his base: Stay home! It doesn't matter! It also made it easier for conservative whites (particularly Republicans, encouraged by a carefully orchestrated campaign attributed to the White House) to vote for Nagin, which they did in significant numbers.

    Landrieu also refused to criticize Nagin in debates. This "kid glove" approach made him look timid, even daunted by Nagin. His black vote, which was 25 percent in the primary, shrank to 20 percent in the runoff. One could argue that he lost black anti-Nagin votes between the primary and the runoff because he wussed out. He was afraid of being the white guy picking on the black mayor after the big, bad storm -- because his liberal white conscience feared a black backlash.

    Consequently, he soft-peddled any potential criticism of Nagin -- and there was a lot that he could have criticized Nagin for -- or kept it to himself. The ultimate irony for Landrieu was that while he didn't even take a swing at Nagin, he got the backlash anyway: blacks turned out for the mayor in overwhelming numbers. In the primary, Nagin won about two-thirds of the black vote; in the runoff, his share of black votes jumped to 80 percent. The mayor's white vote was a paltry 7 percent in the primary, but it exceeded 20 percent in the runoff -- and much of the increase could be attributed to a strong "anti-Landrieu" undercurrent among Uptown whites.

    Having failed to take Step One, Landrieu proceeded directly to Step Three -- and there was a disconnect. He failed to give voters a compelling reason to reject Nagin, and he failed to present himself as the logical alternative. Instead, he simply argued that he could do everything that Nagin was promising better than Nagin could.
  • Sadly, this weekend, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward passed away at age 39. Heyward was my Favorite Saint Ever His career in New Orleans was nearly ruined by the incompetent hard-ass hard-headed coach Jim Mora. Last year, while writing about the death of Sam Mills, I had this to say about Ironhead
    Heyward may be my all time favorite football player. Chunky, goofy, constantly beleaguered by those in authority; what's not to like?
    That about sums it up.

    Craig Heyward: One of the all-time great fat guys. He will be missed.

And this money will come from.. what?

Grand plan in works for plaza near Dome
City Hall and civil court site may be included in project

We can't run the busses but we'll build a new City Hall.. no prob. I hope the mayor sends us a postcard when it's finished.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Coulda had a scoop

I got a tip on this this morning and neglected to post it. And now it looks like it's made the news.
Earthlink to build wireless Internet system in New Orleans
01:15 PM CDT on Friday, May 26, 2006
Alan Sayre / Associated Press

Internet service provider EarthLink Inc. has won approval for a wireless Internet network in New Orleans that will be built around a free city-owned system that made its debut last fall in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Atlanta-based EarthLink said it would offer a free service and a paid, higher-speed service. The company also said it would allow competing Wi-Fi providers to use its network for a price.

Initially, EarthLink's system will cover about 15 square miles of the 181-square mile city, including the downtown business district and the French Quarter, along with other areas that will be decided later, said Bill Tolpegin, EarthLink's vice president of development and planning for municipal networking.

The franchise, approved Thursday by the City Council, covers all of New Orleans, he said.

"As the city grows and recovers, we plan to expand along with that," Tolpegin said in a telephone interview Friday.

The city is not taking down its system. In addition to continuing its current operation, it will provide a dedicated network for first responders to disasters, said Greg Meffert, the city's technology director.

Tolpegin would not disclose a cost for installing the system. The consumer cost of the high-speed service likely would be about $20 per month, he said.

EarthLink hopes to have the system operating in the fall of 2006, Tolpegin said

The city's network, which was put together with $1 million in donated equipment, is the first free wireless Internet network owned and run by a major city. Officials have estimated that the network gets several thousands users a day.....
But now I'm a little confused. The city system will remain in use? Will it duplicate the same service it has contracted out?

Daily Fire

4600 block of Willow

Rose is infuriating

Today, his little un-funny joke obscures the fact that the "Vanilla City" candidate was the guy who actually won. Lifestyle Centers for everyone!

Once more, there will be "No shortcuts to quality"

Hansen's is back. Never take it for granted.

Hansen's Sno-Bliz back in business
Friday, May 26, 2006
By Brett Anderson
Restaurant writer

The sweetest spot in New Orleans come summer? In the minds of scores of locals, it's Hansen's Sno-Bliz Shop, the cinder block snowball stand at 4801 Tchoupitoulas St.

But its belated opening for the summer season on Saturday comes at the end of certainly the most sorrow-filled months in the business' 67 years.

Neither Mary nor Ernest Hansen, the founders who'd been married 72 years, will be on hand to dispense pleasantries or fluffy cream of strawberry snowballs. Mary passed away Sept. 8, at the age of 95, after evacuating to a nursing home in Thibodaux. Ernest, inventor of the Sno-Bliz machine that yields the stand's preternaturally fine ice shavings, succumbed to cancer in March.

Ashley Hansen, Mary and Ernest's granddaughter, will -- with the help of her father, Orleans Magistrate Judge Gerard Hansen -- keep the New Orleans tradition alive.

"We had 1,200 pounds of ice delivered today," she reported on Wednesday. Hansen's will be open only Friday through Sunday, at least at the beginning, until it can be adequately staffed.

"We don't have any employees yet," Ashley said of the family-run institution, "because we've never had to hire anybody before."

Help me out here

Letter lifted from today's T-P idiot page.

Jellyfish steal an idol's glory
Friday, May 26, 2006

What an outrageous front page on Thursday, May 25! A jellyfish in full color instead of the "American Idol" winner?

Don't you know more people voted for this talented young artist than for the U.S. president? This show is a media phenomenon.

I'm sick of seeing devastated New Orleans and rebuilding efforts in the paper for almost one year. Then there are politicians and their agendas, murders and the crime in our area.

I was shocked to see a huge color picture of an aquarium species rather than the amazing, wholesome talent of our generation. "Idol" was the "now" news, having the largest viewing audience in the history of TV.

Taylor Hicks and Katherine McPhee deserve more recognition. Shame on your staff.

Margaret Edwards

I can't figure it out. Is it poorly executed irony? Or is this person really complaining?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

More from the (Um.. I guess) good news file

Yep, pretty much.

via Looka

Glad somebody said something

Boyd Blundell slaps Ezra Klein for saying some stupid things which seem to typify the national yuppie left's misunderstanding of New Orleans's problem.

Awww.. cute

One of the first grade classes that comes in for story time made their final visit of the school year today and brought with them flowers, thank you letters, and of course chocolate for our storyteller. Right now we're flipping through the letters. Imagine 20 or so pretty much just like this one.
Thank you so much for reading good stories. I appreciate what you do. The best story you read was I can't think of it, but it was about the dog that needed to lose weight. That was the best story I liked!
And there is your warm and fuzzy for today.

Tell them we want their business

Kos poll on the location of the 2008 DNC convention.

Daily Fire

Looks like two this morning.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Quote of the Day

Dealing in cash, as Edwards always preferred, avoids many of the problems of the paper trail, but, let's face it, if a bribe's worth having it's going to be a pretty bulky wad. Finding places to stash the loot therefore requires some ingenuity.

The one place you absolutely do not hide cash is in your freezer. Crooks, and even law-abiding citizens distrustful of banks, have been stuffing bills under frozen foodstuffs since the Great Depression. FBI agents always look in freezers. Dr. Gill could have told Jefferson that.

Theory which will mean very little to most people

I think Daisy is buying all the T-shirts.

And the chocolate goes to...

The polls are now officially closed in the Chocolate City Awards and we appear to have a winner... sort of. The results:

Crazy Kim 47%
Crazy Peggy 20%
Crazy Quentin's Crazy Signs's 13%
Crazy Sal's Crazy Song About Crazy Jay 13%
Rev Crazy Tom's Crazy Un-Rebuke 7%

Now while Louisiana's Open Primary law would dictate that we stage a runoff between Butler and Wilson, I think we've suffered enough already. So as the decider here, I'm calling and end to this foolishness. There you have it. Crazy Kim takes the prize.

My original thought was that it would be a lot of fun to actually deliver a real bag of Hershey's Kisses to the real live winner out there in real life. I might have followed through on this if someone who I could reasonably expect to take it with good humor.. like.. maybe Quentin Brown had won. But Butler, she kind of scares me. So I have no choice but to settle for virtual kisses.

The voters have spoken. Please direct your angry letters to the T-P.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Still more from the good news file

Hey we won!

I take full credit.


I'm still fuming today over the national fallout from the mayor's race. It seems that national pundits on the right and the left are largely clueless about the actual facts of the election.. and really aren't interested in learning anything more than the out-of-context factoids they need to call one another racists. I even jumped in to the comment thread on this Unclaimed Territory post to try and shed some light on the situation... but I was so pissed that I began by calling them all morons. (They are.. and fairly thick-headed ones at that) In the end it really is ourselves alone. Freaking Americans don't understand us.. and they never will.

In the meantime, get ready for more of this. A whole lot more.

Send in the Librarians

More from the good news front:

The next major convention to visit New Orleans will be the.. American Library Association coming in about 30,000 strong June 22-28. Check out the cool promotional video.

Already, the library is benefiting. In conjunction with ALA, library vendors Bretford, and Highsmith as well as Library Journal are chipping in to help restore and renovate the Children's Resource Center and the Alvar Street branch. Much of the grunt work involved in these projects will come from convention attendees who have volunteered their time to help out. So go ahead and give your librarian a pat on the back... just try not to swing too hard this time.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Back to the good news

The Creole Tomato is back.

New Orleans as the canary

Schroeder: The winner is a Republican.. just look at his ads.

Haney: Is it just me or does this feel a lot like when Bush won?

Also, Nagin campaigns like Katrina was his 9/11. While he doesn't stress it relentlessly like Bush, he does remind people that he stayed in the city during the storm, did everything he could, and New Orleanians would be crazy to change leadership with another hurricane season approaching... etc. Now, don't run wild with this Nagin/Bush parallel, there are obviously many, many differences between the two. While both claimed to unite while using subtle tactics to divide, Nagin has (basically) divided the extremes against the middle whereas Bush divided left against right.

Harry Shearer:
Landrieu's debate stance was, as a New Orleans friend wrote in an essay to his email list, courteous, in line with New Orleans traditions. But if there was ever a time to put the courtesy aside, this was it. Landrieu's approach reminded me, sitting here in D.C. for the weekend, of nothing so much as Kerry's in 2004: assuming that voters will fill in the blanks, not daring to express the anger that animated his base lest he offend those at the margins.

Here's me about a month ago:
Landrieu has sold himself as a racial healer. In this runoff he will face the enormous challenge of asking working class voters to see through a racial smokescreen and vote against their real oppressors. Democrats have been failing at this for decades. I can't imagine that could possibly change now.

I think I see a pattern... and it's a very tired and predictable one and something I'm beyond sick of watching unfold. I'll get to that in a bit... but first indulge me this poorly constructed analogy.

New Orleans after Katrina, like the country after 9/11 experienced a moment of great terror... but was also faced with a great opportunity to change things for the better. I remember thinking after 9/11 that now that this terrible thing has happened and, for a moment, cut through all the bullshit and brought the country together... maybe we have an opportunity to reexamine our national priorities and really make some positive changes in the way we treat each other, the image we project to the rest of the world, the kinds of plans we make for the future. Now, granted, I was less than optimistic about any of this happening.. but I do remember seeing the opportunity. What actually happened was... the worst thing that can happen in such a situation. Thieves and murderers took advantage of the terror, played to and stirred up the latent fear and mistrust, and enriched themselves on the unholy fruits of the destruction they wrought.

In New Orleans, Katrina provided us with an opportunity to rethink the way we deal with race and poverty, with social services, with education, to rebuild a city having learned the lessons of what happens to urban centers that are left to rot. It showed all of us just how much we love it here and how broken we would be if we allowed this place to sink away into oblivion. But there are cynical thieves here too. There are those who will use our fear and mistrust against us in order to enrich themselves on the unholy fruits of this disaster.. leaving the disenfranchised to languish in the unfriendly hellscapes of Houston or Atlanta and other places far worse than damnation itself.

In 2004, having missed the golden opportunity nationally, we at least had a chance to stop the bleeding.. but succumbed once again to fear and ignorance and failed to free ourselves from uncaring, ineffective, and massively corrupt government. This year, having been left for dead in New Orleans, voters had a chance to start over.. but once again succumbed to fear and ignorance and failed to free themselves from uncaring ineffective and, yes, corrupt government.

The one common thread: Criminal lack of vision and leadership on the part of the Democratic party. Like Kerry in 2004, Mitch failed because he failed to lead.. to be about something positive rather than limply against something sinister. The Democratic party has been adrift for decades now... unwilling to risk offending the mushy middle constituency or their corporate donors. This stopped being forgivable ten years ago. If you can't stand and fight when the devil is at your door, when can you?

One more thing about Louisiana politics. It tends to be (strangely) ahead of the curve... predicting rather than following national trends. If this is any indication, it means that the Democrats are still not ready for the mid-term elections this year. Find real leaders, America, or prepare to be disappointed again.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Chocolate Rations are Up

The good news is:

1) Batt is gone, Clarkson is gone, Carter was probably the right choice in District C

2) Now Mitch can run for governor and stop Jindal

3) In a way, by re-electing Nagin, New Orleans voters bring new emphasis to the fact that the federal government is much more deserving of blame for the Katrina debacle than local government.

4) It's not the end of the world. That happened back in August, remember?

More tomorrow.

Update: One more quick thought. For God's sake, people don't sell your house and pack it in now! If you were confident enough to believe that this city could survive Katrina, certainly you'll believe that we'll make through Ray Nagin.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Mid-Election Day Update

Couldn't resist. I'm in the middle of moving Menckles in to my place and we're currently shopping for home internet service. I got up early today to go vote and had a few minutes so I've stopped in at the Bastille on Toulouse to offer a few observations.

I grew up in Gentilly and despite the fact that I live uptown these days, I still vote in Gentilly. This gives me an excuse to drive accross town on election day and really soak in the atmosphere. (Not that I wouldn't anyway.. I am a geek.) It's only 10:30 but it looks to me like Nagin has at least twice as many foot-soldiers and sign-wavers out there as Mitch does. At the corner of Jefferson and St. Charles, someone has installed some Quentin Brownesque "Vote for Nagin" signs. I've got pictures but I can't post them until Monday. At the corner of Elysian Fields and Leon C Simon, a group of Nagin cheerleaders are chanting "To have a nice day, vote for Ray!" There is also an apparently unaffiliated gentleman with a big smile and a cane wandering around and shouting to no one in particular, "Vote for the best, not the less!" Whatever happens today, I love this city. I'll try and check in with more later.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Don't forget to vote

Vote for Louisiana to recieve the next 50,000 book donation from First Book.

Vote for your favorite nut in the Chocolate City Awards.

Oh and go ahead and encourage them by voting in this election thingamajig.

Rumor has it that I'll be observing the carnage after crashing the Mitch "victory" party tomorrow night. I might squeeze something in this weekend.. otherwise I'm out until Monday.

Where's my cut?

Prior to the primary, I suggested a snappy slogan for Nagin's campaign.
The mayor's closing statement included the phrase, (when Katrina came)"I stayed, and I fussed." Some day I'll get to run someone's campaign. And when that day comes, the world will see bumper stickers that say things like "Stay and fuss with Ray" Unfortunately for Nagin, he made no move to hire me.
Today, I recieved a mailer from the Nagin people featuring a list of his endorsements under the (admittedly slightly less fun heading) "Stay with Ray!" I think I need a new career in political consulting.

Dirty Tricks Day

The day before the election always generates some delicious maneuvering. Plus look what Oyster found.

It's time to vote

Not for Mayor.. that's tomorrow. Today, we open the polls on the Chocolate City Awards. This award goes to the politician responsible for the most ridiculous/entertaining moment of the campaign season. We propose to furnish the winner with his/her very own bag of Hershey's Kisses. If you remember, we opened the nomination process shortly before the primary. You can review the nominees by following the above link. The panel of chocolate judges (me) have chosen the top five nominees and arranged them on the interactive blogflux poll below. They are as follows:

1) Crazy Kimberly Butler and her adventures in Parish Prison... as well as Disneyland.

2) Council District B candidate, Quentin Brown's cute little homemade campaign signs. You can see an example of these by reviewing the nominations post.

3) The "Batt at the Breach" song.

4) Tom Watson's actual use of the phrase "I rebuke you" to Nagin during a debate.. combined with the unlikely fact that Watson later took it back and endorsed C Ray in the runoff.

5) Peggy "Crazy Eyes" Wilson snarling "Don't touch me" at Limp Gorilla Ron Forman during that awful first WWL debate.

Vote Vote Vote!

Honrable Mention/Write-in possibilities:
You may, of course, add your own in comments if you are so disposed.

Good luck to all the nominees who made this race as classically New Orleans as we could have hoped for.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

James Gill

Often worth the price of your T-P subscription
Business lobbyists, of course, never talk about such vulgar considerations as maximizing profits for the members of the organizations they represent. They just want to help the poor and have concluded that the best way to do that is to not to pay them too much.

Too much apparently would be anything more than the current federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, which has remained unchanged for years. A gross income of $206 was once a reasonable recompense for working 40 hours a week in this country, but you'd practically have to go back to FDR for that to be true. Right now it is clearly derisory.

A bill by state Sen. Charles Jones, D-Monroe, would raise the minimum wage in Louisiana to $6.15 an hour. That would still be somewhat short of a king's ransom, but the prospect of paying a working stiff $246 a week filled the suits with alarm. They were out in force at a Senate committee hearing Monday, their hearts purportedly bleeding for the poor, for whom the usual dire consequences were predicted if a raise were granted.

The logical extension of the suits' arguments is that forcing people to work for a buck an hour would go a long way towards solving the problem of poverty in this country.

Charles Hodson of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Jim Patterson of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and Tom Weatherly of the Louisiana Restaurant Association were on hand at the hearing to urge that the poor be shielded from the threat of a living wage. Employers might find that a worker with skills meriting $5.15 an hour was not worth an extra buck and hand out a pink slip, they argued.

Lordy, how many skills do you need to merit $6.15 an hour? A guy worth any less than that probably couldn't get dressed and find his way to work. Ever since Katrina employers in New Orleans have accepted about $8 an hour as the minimum rate for a warm body anyway.

Predictions: Identity Politics 101

Greg Peters:
By request, The Mitch Landrieu campaign's Nagin timeline. I'm no fan of the mayor, and think Mitch is a better choice, but y'all better beware of the backlash. People are starting to notice, and there's nothing a Louisianian likes more than proving to America just how independent he is, even if it means making the wrong choice.

Greg is right. And, just as importantly, David is right when he says
I recently heard C.Ray say that he can play finesse ball or he can throw elbows--after he had already thrown the first hard elbow. Mitch needs to realize that C Ray's elbows and the refs aren't calling him on it. Mitch needs to elbow back..

The Landrieu campaign has taken more elbows than it has delivered because it has failed to speak directly to the overriding theme of this election. That theme is not leadership, or flood control, or tax assessments. It is identity. Katrina has forced New Orleanians (a fiercely provincial lot to begin with) to confront fundamental issues of what it means to be a New Orleanian. Our very existence has been challenged and we have responded with predictable high emotion. This is the reason these kinds of T-shirts are selling so well. It's the reason I was so disturbed by Tennessee's confounding liquor laws. It's the reason Ashley is so angry. It's the reason so many of us have taken the gamble on coming home. It's also the reason anyone would spend all day on a bus from Atlanta or Houston just to vote in a municipal election.. but more on that later.

With a few days remaining before the election, we finally have some poll numbers.
NEW POLL: A poll released Tuesday by a pair of Tulane University researchers shows that Landrieu is sailing ahead of Nagin by 10 percentage points.
I don't buy it. And.. if you read the article, you'll see the T-P doesn't really buy it either. The T-P points out that this group of pollsters produced an "undecided" category before the primary that ended up going almost exclusively to Nagin. Ordinarily, late undecideds will swing to the challenger. This race is far from ordinary. I think Nagin is going to win and I think it won't even be as close as the conventional wisdom appears to indicate.

The day after the primary I stated that Landrieu was in a tight spot because Nagin had managed to steal the black vote away from him and stood to benefit from the return of his wealthy white backers who had strayed away to Couhig and Forman. With the exception of Forman's personal endorsement of Landrieu, this has largely come to pass. Landrieu will pick up some white support but not enough to put him over the top. The reason for this: white racial anxiety.

This was discussed ad-nauseum at YRHT last week. There is a built-in emotional antipathy toward Landrieu (and his father) among a significant portion of the white electorate. When pressed to explain their feelings, most of Landrieu's white detractors cry "corruption" but provide little supporting evidence for this assertion. Dangerblond, in fact, is offering $50.00 to any Anti-Mitcher who can substantiate such claims. I submit that the anti-Mitch sentiment stems largely from residual white resentment at Moon's desegregation of city government. It speaks directly to the identity issue for white New Orleanians who, to this day, believe their New Orleans began to crumble the day "those people" took over. Some whites will vote against Mitch because of their racially-based suspicion of the "Landrieu clan". Others will vote for Nagin because they know he will tend to favor developers in the fight over who ultimately is allowed to return. In other words, a significant portion of the white vote will go to the black candidate specifically out of racial animosity towards the black population. Meanwhile Nagin will continue to enjoy an overwhelming share of the black vote. The reason: Black racial anxiety.

When Nagin made his infamous "Chocolate City" speech he was, yes being his usual glib self, but also making a calculated political play. In an ugly way, Nagin pandered to the very real fears that forces were marshalling to reengineer the city's demographics by making it difficult for its poorer, blacker neighborhoods to rebuild. Nagin should know. He was, reportedly, a major player in that scheming. But Nagin's pandering has resonance with a serious identity issue for the black electorate because: 1) It speaks to a very real threat. And 2) Nagin is the only candidate who has (albeit dishonestly) spoken directly to this issue. The New Orleans Tribune's endorsement of Nagin reveals just how distorted the problem has become.
When Nagin made his statement about the demographic make-up and repopulation of the city, we heard the truth. New Orleans was a chocolate city. Nearly 70 percent of its population was African American and as it is reborn, its people must be able to return to their city. Now, make no mistake, Mayor Nagin, we heard you. And we will be watching to make sure you put the power and resources of your office behind that truth. Upon winning re-election, you have an obligation to fulfill. Your warm invitation cannot be reduced to idle political rhetoric.
All it took were the magic words "Chocolate City" springing from Nagin's lips to cause the Tribune to turn a blind eye toward his agenda or his bedfellows. The Tribune's endorsement, misguided or otherwise, can only be read as an impassioned plea to the black community to act against a threat to its identity. This call has been heard. While pollsters will tell you that the evaccuee vote is not large enough to dictate the outcome, I think its very existence, all those people on those buses, is indicative of the level of passion aroused among the electorate as a whole... and I don't think they're this motivated by.. oh.. say Arnold Fielkow. In my mind, all of this points to a Nagin juggernaut come Saturday.

The Landrieu campaign has been criminally weak and off point given the high stakes involved in the outcome. Mitch's pitch, that he is a more "effective leader" and less of a national embarrassment than Nagin, appeals mostly to middle-class white moderates and temperate liberals. These are people Mitch pretty much had at hello. Mitch has repeatedly taken what he believes is the "high road" in this campaign preferring to tout his "ability to get things done" rather than confront the threat of annihilation facing the city. Nagin's backers are wolves ready to rip apart what remains of the city's social and economic fabric and divide amongst themselves the spoils. Nagin's main strategy is race-based, dishonest and ugly. Any opponent worth his salt should be calling Nagin out on this. Instead Landrieu's attack strategy has consisted mainly of (to recycle a term) limply going after Nagin's post-Katrina leadership, which seems to be the one thing most voters are willing to give him a mulligan on. I mean... you know.. it was a major disaster, man.

Prediction: Mitch blew it big time and has no one to blame but himself. Nagin wins with 55% of the vote or greater.

Other Predictions

Council District A: A.B.B. died the day Palmisano endorsed Batt and started making those race-baiting "Midura wants a housing project in Lakeview" radio commercials. Game, set, match Batt.

Council District B: Just going on the daily street presence of her sign waving yuppie clones, I'd say Head is a comer... which means it will be closer than I thought but Pratt will take it.

Council District C: Palmer.

Council At-Large: Given Fielkow's status as an outsider with all the charisma of a robotic Mr. Rogers, I thought Clarkson had this locked up... but she seems to be flaking out a bit as of late. I still say she ekes it out.

That's all I got, folks. Remember to call your bookie before the polls open.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Happy Blog Day

As Your Right Hand Thief turns two Oyster, its eminent author, hints that the production may soon be going the way of the Timshel. Sad news.. but go give him a chuck on the old shoulder anyway.

We're Saved

Kermit is running!

Daily Fire

Orange Street Wharf

High Stakes

Adrastos is channeling Woodward and Bernstein... (or is it Angus Lind?)... by citing an unamed source who appears to confirm Oyster's theory that the State GOP is out to submarine the Landrieu campaign in order that they may have Nagin around as a kind of chocolate straw man to kick around during the upcoming governor's election. I think there's something to this theory.. but only insofar as I think it accurately depicts an opportunistic power play by louisiana conservatives who see an opportunity, not just to win one election, but to fundamentaly change the balance of power in Louisiana politics for generations to come.

In his 2004 book, Inside the Carnival: Unmasking Louisiana Politics, LSU political science professor Wayne Parent describes Louisiana's unique political culture as the product of a tense and volatile competition among three equally powerful groups: North Louisiana Protestant Europeans, South Louisiana Catholic Europeans, and African-Americans.
Louisiana politics is a game of heavy competition, and the first feature of the Louisiana political culture is a disorderly, unstable democracy among three distinct, unmistakable ethnic groups shaped through early immigration patterns. The three main ethnic groups are not significant because they define three voting blocs. They often do not.
Parent goes on to cite historical examples of unstable alliances between any two of these groups against the third in various combinations before returning to this point.
These are ethnic groups with strong group consciousness and a lack of trust in other groups for extended periods of time - thus, the volatility. The existence of these three well-defined, highly self-conscious groups in Louisiana always keeps Louisiana politics unsteady and on guard. These groups keep the political footing in Louisiana as soft as its swampy terrain. More than any other characteristic of the state, they create a culture that is volatile, unsettled, and always highly competitive.
The proposed ethnic cleansing of New Orleans strikes at the heart of the black power base in Louisiana. State conservatives know this. In the city, Ray Nagin continues to enjoy the support of white wealthy New Orleanians who want to see New Orleans shrunk from a major American city to a quieter, whiter, more exclusive resort town. Like Ms. Boulet for example whose endorsement of Nagin yesterday included this gem of a quote
Though she wasn't offered a job at City Hall and said she doesn't want one, Boulet has been hard at work on several projects for the Nagin administration, including refining the city's emergency-preparedness plan and crafting a plan to turn a shuttered public housing development into a new subdivision. She would not say which development.

"Ray has committed to me to allow people like me to participate in the city's future," she said during a news conference at Table One, a Magazine Street restaurant managed in part by Nagin campaign treasurer David White.
Nagin is also gathering the support of Republicans statewide because they see in these machinations an opportunity to strike a serious blow to the political clout of the City of New Orleans and the African-American constituency statewide. Yes, the Governor's race is part of this calculus but the long-term ramifications are much larger.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Reference Question

Wouldn't it be neat if RTA's website provided a customizable bus route function similar to mapquest driving directions where the user needs to simply enter a starting point and destination in order to produce the best route? Do any other cities' mass transit systems do this already? Seems logical.

Update: All you have to do is ask Google. Here is how they do it in St Louis.

Hopefully that big payday comes soon

City takes out another title loan.

It's okay.. everything will be fine once that pie starts exploding.

Hey it's my three favorite people!

Rose subjected Mitch and Ray to one of his "60 second interviews" wherein he tries to hiply wink at the audience while simultaneously ridiculing and kissing the ass of his subject. Usually these fall apart when the celebrity target gets sick of the joke. This time, in the mayroal candidates, Rose has a captive audeince of forced gregarity. The humor, intentional and otherwise, flows freely.

First of all, I came away from this with a newfound concern for Mitch's psychological well being. Rose asks the two of them "When was the last time you cried?" Mitch says, "Last night" Why? "I don't know. I just have moments of sadness. I don't know where they come from. It just happens now." Now some of this may be explained by the fact that Landrieu has been subjecting himself to Tom Friedman's The World is Flat. That book also caused Matt Taibbi a degree of consternation. What's really weird is that Landrieu's response to "What makes you laugh out loud?" is "Almost everything." I think we may have serious case on our hands here.

Nagin tries to be a good clown but ends up pissing at least me off here.
(Q:) I am so fed up with looting and predators that my inclination at this point, should I encounter anyone on my property who doesn't belong there, is just to shoot him. Would you care to dissuade me of that notion?

Landrieu: Not necessarily. You should ask first why they're there.

Nagin: If you shoot them in the butt, that will be OK. And then we'll take them to Charity Hospital and get 'em fixed up.
Um, Ray, Charity is still closed.. and that's not funny it's scary and infuriating.

Landrieu claims that the first meal he had at a New Orleans restaurant afer Katrina was a shrimp po-boy at Domilise's. Could this actually be true? They took a few months to reopen didn't they? Nagin had a burger at Clover Grill. That sounds plausible.

I also have trouble believing this
Are you taking any prescription medicines?

Landrieu: No.

Nagin: No.

Later there's this
(Q:)If you could consult any three historical figures for advice right now, who would they be?

Landrieu: Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

Nagin: Gandhi, F.D.R. and President Kennedy.

Because, of course, Nagin has already spoken with MLK and God.

But look, I'm not going to reproduce the whole column for you. Go read it. Yes, I'm giving you permission to go read Rose. I'll leave you only with this. If this were scored as a debate I would have to give it Mitch based solely on his response to the final question.

Louisiana Weekly Speaks

Will the voters listen?
When both New Orleans, in particular, and Louisiana in general need a spokesman in Washington capable of delivering a plan that will bring us the billions this city needs to rebuild our levees, streets, homes, schools, electrical systems, governmental centers, and business infrastructure, Mr. Nagin has not been effective.

And if we are realistic, amongst African-Americans, Mr. Nagin has developed an equally ineffectual air, deserved or undeserved. Which is why this newspaper cannot join those voices in the Black Community that call for unified support on racial grounds. For decades, the Weekly has argued that the color of one's skin should not determine his opportunities. Now, many friends of this publication would effectively have us back away from that stand-on the sole grounds that the Mayor is Black.

Many of those who now support Mayor Nagin told our editorial board members prior to the storm that he did not represent the African-American community at all. They complained about his policies and his administration of the city.

Now they are supporting Mr. Nagin due simply to the color of his skin. Instead, we choose to ask who can do the best job for the African-American community, and for all the communities, of our city and our state.

For Mayor: Mitch Landrieu

The outpouring of support from Republicans and Democrats across the ethnic divide prove what this newspaper asserted prior to the primary, there is only one candidate who can bring Black and White together --Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu.

His voting record holds closer to African-American issues than any candidate in the race; moreover, his economic development record at the Department of Recreation and Tourism has won him support in the business community, and among conservative leaders who rarely back a Democrat, much less a Landrieu.
All signs point to these words falling largely upon deaf ears this Saturday. Later this week, I'll talk more about why.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Quote of the day

From, apparently, a reader at TPM.
"The White House is now saying the troops would only be temporary. But temporary until when? I guess just until there aren't any more illegals trying to come across the border from Latin America."

In other words, you're suggesting the White House doesn't have an exit strategy from getting the troops out of ... our own country?

Election Home Stretch

The pollsters are awfully silent. Does no one even have a clue as to what the numbers might be? Anyone want to guess? Ed? Susan? Silas? Hello?

WWL asks

Can 'round house' deflect hurricane force winds?

Umm... I'm guessing no?

President "Trust Me"

Do you see now, people?

This shit matters.

Welcome to New Orleans

In her first week at a new job in a new city, Menckles already has a parking ticket. What's really weird though is that she paid it... like the next freaking day! I always thought the point of parking on the deferred payment plan was to defer paying for parking. I figure she'll catch on sooner or later.

Mayor "trust me"

On Saturday, the T-P (four years too late) decided not to simply reprint the mayor's claim to the title of "honest reformer" and actually do some reporting. Yesterday, David picked up that ball and ran with it a bit. Curiously absent from Sunday's paper was a runoff endorsement. I wonder what they could be waiting for.

Disaster Porn

Yes I'm linking to the T-P's Katrina chronology graphic. I can't look away. I dare you to try.

We have a new contender

Adrastos offers up a new nomination for the Chocolate City Awards.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Drive for Five

Thought you'd know the verdict on the all important Reggie Bush Jersey number question by today? Try back two weeks from now.. or later.. or never.

I'm suspicious

10 years from now when the city is overrun with some kind of super-destructive insect or wild plant or something we'll all be hearing about this being the result of an imbalance in the ecosystem brought about by the removal of the fire ants.

What's worse.. in the next storm, the new pest will be twice as deadly when it clusters into floating balls.

Suddenly Libraries are an Issue!

Although not much of one. During last night's debate, John Snell actually asked Mitch and Ray for their thoughts on the recovery of the city's badly damaged library system. Neither provided much of an answer beyond meaningless cliches along the lines of "we need to re-think libraries" or "libraries need to become community centers" and so forth. Nagin's ineffectual answer contained too many dangerous privitization code words for my liking while Mitch spent his trying to take credit for "standing up" the state library after Katrina whatever that might mean. Neither said anything particularly encouraging.. or even vaguely reflective of reality. Oh well.

As for the debate itself.. these things are becoming increasingly dull as we approach election day. I'm still hoping to see something explode in the next show but I'm not optimistic. David of Bayou St. John has some questions regarding Nagin's unchallenged assertion that city sales tax revenues for March were 85% of March 2005. It seemed a little far-fetched to me as well. Nagin is also very Tom Benson-like regarding the city's finances; pooh poohing the notion of a need for an independant audit. David scores it thusly:
The statement about sales tax receipts bears closer examination. It demands closer examination. It cries out for closer examination. Has anyone even asked for documentation? I suspect that either an accounting error or some deliberate change in accounting procedure is involved. That does make one wonder about Nagin's insistence that there's no need for a city audit.

I forgot, Nagin's honest and he's CPA and a turn-around expert himself. Unfortunately, I don't think that Landrieu scored the points that he could have because he seems to still be waiting for other candidates to atack Nagin or to be directly attacked himself so that he can counterpunch. I thought that Landrieu could have scored more points off of Nagin's statement to the effect that he doesn't really need to get along with the mayor Baton Rouge, but maybe he was correct to handle it with a light touch. It certainly seems to me that it would be very easy to point out that Nagin has two basic campaign themes: "Trust me" and "It's not my fault." I guess that's another similarity between Nagin and Bush.

Go read the whole post on Moldy City.


We're all shocked right? Totally shocked.

Remember the M.O.T.T.

Tonight's Hazard County Girls CD release party at One Eyed Jack's doubles as the Mike Frey memorial show featuring the M.O.T.T. band minus Frey. See today's Lagniappe.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Is it possible to un-rebuke somebody?

WWl says Tom "I rebuke you" Watson will endorse Nagin.

More from NOLA.com

Watson endorses Nagin
The Rev. Tom Watson, who was the top African-American challenger to incumbent Ray Nagin and one of the mayor's harshest critics during last month's primary, endorsed Nagin for the May 20 runoff this afternoon.

Watson, who received about 1 percent of the primary vote, constantly attacked Nagin, who is black, during the campaign. At one debate, Watson even accused the mayor of being responsible for the drowning 1,200 people during Hurricane Katrina.

But at a joint press conference Thursday at Li'l Dizzy's Cafe on Esplanade Avenue, Watson said his past criticism of Nagin was "heated, emotional fellowship."

Surrounded by his family, Watson said his decision to endorse Nagin "goes far beyond the mayor's office. It's about justice, it's about fairness and it's about our city's future."

Nagin also stroke a conciliatory note.

"I think the past is the past. There's no doubt we can work together," the mayor said.

Both men said Watson would not be employed under a second Nagin administration. Instead, Watson said he will be available for "spiritual leadership."

Nagin faces Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in the runoff.

Daily Fire

Ok so this time it's just the firefighters and police unions endorsing Landrieu. The firefighters don't surprise me. But the police endorsement you have to watch.. they do funny things sometimes.

Also: actual fire at 719 Royal

Full Moon

Oyster's Moon thread continues to develop. Go check it out
Meanwhile, Dangerblond weighs in with what I think is pretty close to the answer.
About 15 minutes after Moon Landrieu supported civil rights for black New Orleanians, white New Orleans turned on him. I’m not saying people should vote on the basis of race (which I actually don’t believe is a valid way to classify people at all). I’m just ruminating about whether or not we all completely understand the basis of our loyalties. There are smart people who are paid to confuse us. They deserve a raise, they’ve been doing a really good job.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Daily Fire

If you're in uptown right now you'll notice something is burning. Don't see anything on the news just yet.

Update!: This is totally nuts! From WWLTV's website:
The National Weather Service has received several reports of thick smoke across the region. The source of the smoke appears to be from a large forest fire currently burning over the upper tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Watch Eyewitness News at Five for complete details.
Go outside. There is a thick haze and it smells strongly of something burning very nearby.

Double Nickel

If Bush can't wear 5, maybe now he can have 55.

Family Unfriendly Language

Being employed here and here to assail the self-described Christian author of Good Morning, Lord. Come on, guys, show a little sensitivity here.


Lolis touches on the Landrieu legacy this morning.
It's no secret that many black voters like Landrieu.

The old folks remember the days when black people couldn't get hired to answer the phones in City Hall, much less make policy decisions.

Moon Landrieu, the father of the current candidate, changed all of that, doing far more than the minimum necessary to appease black voters. He seemed to have a genuine belief that taxpayers of every color deserved a chance to shape their city's future.

Mitch Landrieu may have inherited some of his father's voters, but he also has attempted to chart a parallel philosophy of his own, integrating his staff at the lieutenant governor's office and focusing his efforts on celebrating Louisiana culture and its multicultural origins.

As the list of his prominent supporters indicates, Landrieu presents a formidable challenge to Nagin in the competition for black votes. What comes as something of a shock is that Nagin presents a formidable challenge to Landrieu in the competition for white votes.

Meanwhile Oyster generates some useful discussion by asking just why some white voters are unhappy with that legacy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Local Music Bulletin

1) I expect to be roundly slapped for this but it has to be said. I love New Orleans music... but I absolutely hate Jazzfest. Nothing could be more un-New Orleans than a confined no reentry venue where admission is an outrageous $40.00 per day.. where you're not allowed to bring your own liquor... where the food is good but ridiculously priced... where the crowd is mostly white, largely upper class, professional, out-of-town, aging boomer-fallen hippies, who view their participation in this rip-off as a means to purchase some degree of "authenticity". In other words.. it's an annual gathering of Chris Roses from around America.

And no, Katrina did not change this. This is borne out in the headlining acts.. a virtual who's who among pseudo hip non-threatening soft rock for white people who aspire to affect a certain brand of with-it intellectualism. Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffet, was Dave Matthews there again? What a fucking joke. And I don't care if Bruce Springsteen thinks he's Pete Seeger these days (although Pete Seeger would be bad enough) he's still Bruce fucking white bread Springsteen. Jazzfest still represents the worst of the commodification of New Orleans culture. Don't try to tell me this year was different. I was there Saturday. It still sickens me.

2) The latest Antigravity has a nice feature on the recently departed Mike Frey. The recently reconfigured M.O.T.T. band (a space crud project created by Frey and certain other assorted knuckleheads) will open for the Hazard County Girls this Friday at One Eyed Jack's. I believe tickets are eight dollars at the door. If you tell them I sent you you will likely be asked to leave.

See also: A friendlier take on the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival by Adrastos

Monday, May 08, 2006

One of your more hollow I-told-you-sos

Hornets Paul Rookie of the Year
Monday, 3:30 p.m.

By John Reid
Staff writer

Hornets point guard Chris Paul will be announced on Wednesday as the NBA's Rookie of the Year winner, league sources said Monday.

Paul is scheduled to be in New Orleans on the same day for a team-related function. Paul was drafted as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, and he quickly emerged as one of their best players, becoming the face of the franchise.

Among rookies, Paul ranked first in points (16.1), assists (7.8), steals (2.2), double-doubles (21), minutes played (36.4) and triple doubles (2).

"Winning the award wouldn't have been possible without my teammates,'' Paul said. "Guys like David West and Speedy Claxton made things easier for me. I just tried to play the same way every game.''

He was first among all players Paul led the league in total steals with 175 and had the fifth-highest assist total with 611. He was the first rookie to have at least 13 assists in three consecutive games since Jason Kidd in 1994.

And you read it here first! Of course.. who knew it wouldn't actually be our team anymore. I think I saw this on Twilight Zone once.

Daily Fire

There goes the Brown Derby.

Yesterday too.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Missing my Mexican

While most of America prepares to spend a Friday evening of tacos and tequilla shooters in memory of the Battle of Puebla, I can't help but miss my former slummate Consuela who is still stranded in Memphis. In happier times (2004) we went to NOLA's for dinner on her birthday. That darn Emeril! As much as I hate that guy.. he really does run a quality place.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Landrieu Book Review Corner

This is fun.
CONSPIRACY OF READERS: Apparently seeking to figure out which mayoral candidate has the most well-worn library card, the local chapter of the American Marketing Association asked Nagin and Landrieu at a forum Tuesday to describe how New Orleans might figure into George Mason University professor Richard Florida's theory on the "creative class."

Nagin responded that even after Katrina, New Orleans can attract artists and other creative professionals, especially through tax credits for companies that make movies, musical scores and digital media products.

Landrieu then eagerly volunteered that he recently read Florida's book. "The general idea is that if you attract smart people, that smart people will create business, smart people will build an economy," he said, then echoed, approximately, the points Nagin made about the movie and video game industries.

Despite the near-parity of the candidates' answers -- minus, of course, Landrieu's literary citation -- Nagin complained to moderator Garland Robinette, the WWL radio show host, painting himself as the victim of a conspiracy.

"I protest," Nagin said. "I've been set up. Y'all gave Mitch the questions. Y'all would set up a sitting mayor. That's a doggone shame."

Robinette and Landrieu denied any collusion.
Nagin's Bushesque paranoia once again on display here. Wow.. he really thought that was a big set up? Tell me this isn't true.

Vertical Evacuation

When I worked in the hotel business, one of the (many) practices I found truly reprehensible was the way in which the hotels pressured their low wage employees to stay behind during hurricanes and continue to kiss the asses of stranded tourists.. as well as tend to panicked locals looking to ride out the storm at least three stories above the ground (while paying a not inconsequential nightly rate). I am thankful not to have had to ride out Katrina wondering if my home or my family was ok while tending to the very pressing matter of Mr. Johnson from room 1214 and his dissatisfaction with his omlet. Please don't tell me this kind of thing didn't happen. I know hotel guests. They suck. They are inhuman power tripping assholes who see every interaction with the service industry as another opportunity to demonstrate to their trophy wives just how important they can affect to be. The world could be ending outside, they are still going to try to get someone fired for not smiling at them promptly enough.

The good news is, this hurricane season will not see any vertical evacuations. The bad news is the hotel industry still exists.. still continues to bleed profit from the city by exploiting its low income workforce while packaging and commodifying its culture for sale to outsider douchebag tourists who will never get it.. and whose government now refuses to help us. Yes I'm still bitter about my erstwile hotel career. It scarred me.

A matter of inches and dumb luck

T-P: During Katrina, the 17th Street Canal floodwall protecting Jefferson Parish was about to collapse . . . but the one protecting Orleans Parish failed first

I'm really trying not to be a jerk and use this to say something about how much I truly despise Metaire... the box retail and strip mall stricken suburban spawn of mid-sixties white flight from New Orleans. But I can't really wish actual death and destruction on anyone. Instead I'll defer to the much more tactful Schroeder who actually has something constructive to say.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Local Must Read

Schroeder calls out both mayoral candidates for their different but equally thoughtless stances on immigration.

Update: Heh.. of course there is also this

Wallets at the ready

Can't wait to blow 80 bucks on that Reggie Bush jersey? First we need a number.
Ornstein's first order of marketing business Monday was to try and lobby the league's competition committee to allow Bush to wear his college jersey No. 5. But that seems like a long shot.

League rules state that running backs must wear a number from 20 to 49. League spokesman Greg Aiello said the competition committee can recommend rule changes, but changes are only made by a vote of league owners.

The Saints already are taking pre-orders for Reggie Bush jerseys on their Web site. They're just waiting to find out what number he will wear. A decision is expected shortly.
As long as it isn't 34. Something about that number produces bad luck for Saints players.. from Tony Gallbreath's drug problems to Ironhead Heyward's inexplicable persecution at the hands of the lame-brained Jim Mora to Ricky Williams's.... Ricky Williamsishness to Tebucky Jones's all around suckery 34 is bad news. 25 would make me said because it would come at Fast Freddie McAfee's expense. Maybe they'll let him wear 5 but I doubt it.

Update: Don't rule out those Los Angeles Saints just yet. I'm sure the league would like to see a Bush homecomming at some point.

Daily Fire

Here we go again.

Incidentally, are there any Rite Aids open right now? Other than the ones operating out of trailers that is.

More Mayoral Stuff

Last night I had one distracted eye on the debate while most of my energy was spent unloading boxen from the earlier-mentioned Penske moving truck so I can't score it very well. I do remember Nagin saying something about how businesses deciding whether or not to come back to the city are caught "somewhere between today and the future". Other than that I have to rely mostly on the T-P's reportage of the day's events... something I am obviously uncomfortable doing.

The fun article in today's paper is the political report which begins with a lot of posturing at yesterday's ceremony to announce the coming ceremony to reopen Forman's Fish Tank. Apparently there was no shortage of bitchiness on display.
Forman turned the microphone over to Landrieu, who echoed the opinion that the return of the aquarium, one of New Orleans' indisputable jewels, was another clear sign that the city is rebuilding. Landrieu noted the throngs that filled Jazzfest and the Zurich Classic golf tournament over the weekend and said, "the new fish here look pretty good to me," then stepped aside for Forman's return.

As he did so, Nagin strode into the room. The mayor walked down the line shaking hands with tourism officials, then skipped over Landrieu. Forman apparently missed the awkward vibe, and tried to spin the joint appearance as evidence the aquarium transcended politics.
Perfect timing, the mayor of New Orleans," he said. "This speaks to the beauty of our city. It's not about the mayor's race right now."

Nagin, like Landrieu, kept his remarks short and apolitical. When he began, Landrieu was right behind him, but within a few minutes Landrieu maneuvered to the far edge of the line of dignitaries.

Once again, Forman played the jolly host. He praised Nagin for taking care of his daughter's pet fish during the chaos that followed Katrina, and he thanked Landrieu for his unfailing support of the aquarium and the zoo.

"Our mayor and our lieutenant governor, let's give them some applause," Forman said. "They are standing up for our city and fighting every day."

When the ceremony ended, Landrieu bolted first, trailed by a knot of reporters and camera people. A few minutes later, Nagin strolled out the front doors and dealt with his own media beehive. And with the day's pleasant business concluded, Landrieu walked off toward Canal Street and Nagin got into his car as both men prepared for the real battle: Monday night's first televised debate.
Earlier at Overpriced Yuppie Fest, Terrence Blanchard took time out from a set to rip Nagin.
"When people these days invoke race into an issue when there's some other issues that have clouded the race issue, I find that to be disrespectful," said Blanchard, who is black. "Because Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, those guys really were about a serious struggle for people who wanted equality. When you have a person who uses that as a means to divert attention from the real issue and make me feel like he thinks that I'm not smart enough to know better, I'm not with that program."

As for the debate itself, the parts I stopped to watch were disappointingly humdrum. But the T-P reporters managed to pick out some substance. I promise to keep a closer eye on this next time.

Monday, May 01, 2006


No not Bruce Springteen who brought down the house while bitchslapping the President at Jazzfest. The guy we're excited about today is Grambling State quarterback Bruce Eugene who signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent. This might turn out to be the sleeper pick of the draft. Remember, when in doubt while choosing football players, always go with the fat guy. Also this now makes two years in a row that we got the quarterback I most wanted.

Season tickets are still on sale and going fast if Rita Benson is to be believed
The Saints ticket office was open during draft weekend. It was fully staffed and everyone was busy all day taking orders, said Mike Stanfield, Saints vice president of ticket and suite sales.

"It was big — really big," Stanfield said of weekend season ticket sales, although he didn't provide specifics. Single game tickets won't go on sale until later this year, "if there are any single game tickets left," he said.

Even before the draft, Saints executive Rita Benson LeBlanc, the owner's granddaughter, said sales were on pace with 2003, when the Saints set a franchise record for season tickets sold with about 54,000.
Um... we cannot be responsible for anything that happens if you choose to believe something a Benson tells you.


Nagin vs Landrieu Rd 1
Pump the kids full of Hershey's Kisses and keep'em awake for this one

The Problem With this Country

Is that it is too goddamned big! I spent my weekend doing my part to help bring the city back by increasing its population by one Menckles and one giant kitty. Below is our two day 1200 mile route from Baltimore to New Orleans in a giant yellow Penske truck.

Saturday: Baltimore to Nashville

Sunday: Nashville to New Orleans

As always, it's strange being out of contact with home. For example, Saturday morning while wandering into a gas station in Catonsville, MD I happened to glance at a newspaper where a box above the masthead read, "Texans reach deal with Mario Williams" After more than a few seconds my non-caffeinated brain finally snapped into action and shouted, "My God do you know what this means? One of the most hyped prospects in the history of football is now doomed to certain comically spectacular failure in the NFL!" What great fortune! Yet another sure sign of recovery. We're back to ruining football players. The entertainment possibilities are endless.. I mean Ashley squeezed two killer headlines into one post and the guy hasn't even fumbled once yet! I must say the young coach Payton has indeed brought an intriguing strategy on board. If our first two draft picks and current roster are any indication, he is planning to run a wishbone offense and a fearsome nine-safety alignment on defense. Season tickets on sale now!

Update (Travel Envy Note): Not to be outdone, Daisy is moving 2100 miles across the country this weekend. When last we spoke she had made it as far as Rawlins, Wyoming... after likely being chased out of Cheyenne for indecency.

Only in Amerika

Happy May Day, everyone. I hope everyone is taking this time to reflect on the global struggle for human rights and the dignity of the working class on this day when we remember the Chicago Haymarket Riot and the true cost of things like the 8 hour work day which we take for granted today. It is my sincere hope that we remain ever vigilant against the...... wait... what? Oh... I see.. I'm sorry folks the President of the United States has declared that today is actually Loyalty Day. So sorry.. my mistake I guess.