Sunday, September 30, 2007

Must Read

m.d. filter currently has an excellent post up which examines the design of New Orleans's soon-to-be-demolished public housing projects. The current demolition scheme is not now and has never been about producing better designed public housing. It's about transferring public wealth to private developers and serving fewer people in the process.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

"A Charles Rice Special"

That's your ever-quotable mayor again explaining that he never really wanted those "bombproof" garbage cans in the first place.

$750 trash cans deemed a waste
Posted by The Times Picayune September 28, 2007 8:57PM

By Gordon Russell
Staff writer

New Orleanians, it appears, will never get to find out whether the "bombproof" trash cans the city bought for $750 a pop three years ago were worthy of the title.

That's because all 600, purchased for a steep $450,000, have been junked.

Now Mayor Ray Nagin's administration, which staunchly defended the original trash can purchase, has begun replacing them with a different model. Unlike the old ones, the new ones do not feature advertisements -- nor do they claim to frustrate terrorists.

In a recent interview, Nagin said he was never a fan of the squatty cans, bought with a no-bid contract at the direction of former Chief Administrative Officer Charles Rice. Rice left city government in 2005, a few months before Hurricane Katrina.

"Those little munchkin trash cans? We got rid of those," Nagin said, referring to the trash can deal as "a Charles Rice special."

I realize I'm practically re-posting this entire article but it's so full of fun stuff I find it hard not to.

Told of the mayor's comments, Rice fired back.

"This was discussed with Ray Nagin one-on-one and in a staff meeting in his office," said Rice, who is practicing law. "Ultimately, any decision involving the city of New Orleans rests with the mayor. He approved the purchase of the trash cans, and at the end of the day, Ray Nagin makes the decision and bears the ultimate responsibility."

The trash cans were controversial when they were installed, though the controversy had nothing to do with their size. The problem was that the company that supplied them, Niche Marketing USA, acknowledged a business relationship with Terrence Rice, Charles Rice's brother -- though the Rices have denied the link.

The deal was also a demonstrably bad one.

Typically, companies that deal in trash can advertising supply the cans for free to cities -- and give cities as much as 25 percent of the ad revenue as well.

Niche Marketing not only charged New Orleans full price for the cans, it promised the city only 15 percent of the ad revenue. Because of poor ad sales and the cans' short life span on New Orleans' streets, the city's return worked out to only about $6,000.

But I'm posting this for two additional reasons. First, I figured I could get this up before it shows up on Moldy City where the subject has been treated several times in the past.

There are also related background articles compiled at the Nagin Files here here and here.

Second, I'm posting this because it occurs to me that the "bombproof" cans are apparently available. Would it be possible perhaps for a private citizen to acquire one and... you know.... see if it can or can't be blown up? It would make a fine Mythbusters episode, would it not?

Update: In comments, Oyster observes
It seems obvious to anyone with a brain that bombproof munchkin cans were at odds with the larger goal of "exploding the pie" of New Orleans.
He may be on to something there as the Mayor makes the following statement in another snip from today's T-P
"It is a smorgasbord in New Orleans! It is a buffet, an economic buffet! All you can eat!" he told the crowd. "If you have a lawnmower and an edger, you can make money in New Orleans."
It seems all too plausible that an exploding pie or two may indeed be on that "economic buffet".

Friday, September 28, 2007

Stuff to Do

  • Cripple Creek's production of Bury the Dead continues to run between now and October 20 at St. Mark's (1130 N Rampart St). Showtimes are Thursday-Saturday at 8 PM. Admission is $10.00

  • The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Foundation presents its inaugural Congo Square Rhythms Festival This weekend (Sept 28-30) at Armstrong Park.

    From the NOJHFF website:
    This free community event will celebrate the history and cultural significance of Congo Square by bringing music, dance, food and crafts to the cobblestone plaza within Louis Armstrong Park. As the spot where African slaves were allowed to practice their ancestral drumming and dance on Sundays, Congo Square has become famous as one of the birthplaces of American culture
    See the site for further details

  • One of New Orleans's unique insitutions, Deutsches Haus, presents its annual Oktoberfest starting this weekend and going every weekend until the end of October. A front page story in today's T-P features the perhaps too late attempt to save the German cultural center from demolition in order to make way for the proposed LSU-VA medical complex. I have mixed feelings about this project. A teaching hospital in New Orleans is absolutely essential although I am among the minority who believe that the old Charity Hospital should have been salvaged and reopened. Relocating Deutsches Haus... probably to the suburbs... would be a tragic consequence of this new construction. Try and make this year's Oktoberfest. It might be your last chance.

  • Be sure to vote in the 2007 Douchebag Referendum.

  • The LSU-Tulane football game just ain't what it used to be... but what is? It's still fun to hand the smug Uptown faux-ivy institution of higher privilege the symbolic drubbing it perpetually deserves. Even if the game has lost its luster, you can still catch the annual LSU-Tulane wheelbarrow race at Henry's Bar Sunday at 2PM.

Best of all, no Saints this weekend. So get out and enjoy the weather.

Update: This one comes to us late in the day... but there is still time to catch "torchy jazz chanteuse Romy Kaye" tonight at the Neutral Ground Coffee House at 9 PM.

"You don't have anything to worry about"

I often remark on the de-humanizing and stifling effects of New Orleans's tourist-plantation economy on its working class as its leaders fall all over themselves to fellate the profiteers of this industry. I can't imagine a better example of this than Nagin's remarks to a group of cruise line executives yesterday. One of the main reasons nothing gets done about the crime problem is that, in your leaders' eyes, the important people (business owners and their tourist clients) aren't the people getting blipped.

Watch out for streetcars

From canalstreetcar.com

RTA is turning on the 600VDC power for the St. Charles Line this week. The repairs to the overhead wiring on St. Charles from Lee Circle to Napoleon Avenue are complete, and now they've flipped the "on" switch. They'll test the wiring and make sure all is well, and soon we'll see the 900s extending their run form Lee Circle all the way to Napoleon.

Update: In comments, Kelly asks,
I do wonder how many cars will get hit within the first week though.

The answer is: Me! Well, almost anyway. Just about an hour ago.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Instant Goobernatorial Debate Reactions

1) All candidates other than Campbell appear to favor "dual-track" education beginning as early as "before high school" (according to Jindal) which emphasizes vocational training over intellectual inquiry. To put it another way, these elitist fucks just want the schools to train better slaves.

2) Jindal appears to view higher education as little more than a tool of corporate "R&D"

3) "Biology major" Jindal approves of teaching intelligent design alongside evolution.

4) Walter Boasso apparently wants to "come into your home" and tell people, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" What dipshit adviser told him to say that?

5) Foster Campbell is in favor of pardoning Edwin Edwards. God bless him!

6) Overall impression:
  • Jindal is a disingenuous pandering asshole... but you knew that already

  • Boasso and Georges are pathetically, embarrassingly inarticulate and hopeless buffoons.

  • Campbell comes off as though he believes his oil processing fee will solve EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM ON EARTH. It's the closest thing to a progressive agenda available, but he presents it in a cartoonish one-trick manner.

Jindal won this debate simply because his opponents are ill equipped to challenge his bullshit. Is this really the best we can do?

More, better written, and funnier analysis from Adrastos

A short history of my idiocy

Regular readers of this space have grown accustomed to (or perhaps fatigued by) the oft-repeated use of the currently popular term "douchebag" to describe a certain type of pompous je ne sais quois in some individuals who meet with our disapproval. This descriptor is usually employed as a generic epithet to convey both the distasteful smugness of our subject and our visceral displeasure with said smugness. In other words, I generally resort to this word when someone pisses me off via their own comically over-inflated sense of self-importance. "Douchebags" of note in Yellow Blogging include Bono, the below-mentioned Reggie Bush, and of course Chris Rose.

Last year, I briefly wondered aloud if my overuse of this word was becoming something of a grating self-parody. At the bottom of this post on an unrelated matter, I asked the readership if it was, in fact, time to ban the word "douchebag" from the blog altogether. As you can see there, the response was overwhelming. The people wanted more "douchebag" and we delivered.

But now, I'm beginning to get those doubtful feelings again. Perhaps this is an indication that I should know better than to spend too much time reading my own stuff. Or perhaps it's something else. Therefore, I'll leave it to you to decide this crucial matter once again in this year's Douchebag referendum.

Voting will conclude after the weekend.

Update: Another tantalizing possible substitute: Jennywoman?

Anyone for piling on? Hell yeah!

We already know that that Saints corporate spokesmodel Reggie Bush is an overrated douchebag. But just how overrated? Try Tony Mandarich overrated.
Defensive coordinators have told me this season that Bush may be seen as a superstar to the general public but he is not someone who keeps them awake at night. They say he's not as fast as he looks, can be covered by a linebacker one-on-one and gets shy around contact. That last description is not exactly what you want to hear about your franchise runner.
Meanwhile the Bushless Houston Texans are a surprising 2-1. Thanks, Houston!

N.O. East lives!

Winn-Dixie is back

Most Boring Election Ever

One of my favorite wacky story lines from the local races is evidently at an end.


If you feel like reading Bill Kristol's nutty observations about last night's Democratic debate, be my guest. I only link to it to point out that I am in half-agreement with this statement.

Before last night, I thought it was 50-50 that the Republican nominee would win in November 2008.

Now I think it's 2 to 1. And if the Democrat is anyone but Hillary, it's 4 to 1.
My only quibble with this is Kristol's Hillary contingency should be reversed. Hillary as the nominee doubles the odds of the Dems crashing and burning in 2008.

Update: Why is Hillary such an awful candidate, you ask? Her campaign is being run by men who epitomize the word douchebag.

Things that will go largely unnoticed

Since the truth behind nasty bald-faced lies doesn't sound so harsh in romance languages... or something like that.

(Oyster noticed How does one say "patience" in Spanish anyway? And does it sound anything like "murder"?)

My Verizon contract is up

Should I renew or tell them to kiss my ass?

Update: Verizon say, "Oopsie!" That didn't take long. Maybe they can still have my money.... and I can continue receiving non-stop photos of r's new puppy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Party of Suck

Today the Senate passed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment to the Defense Authorization Act. Kyl-Lieberman is a "Sense of the Senate" statement regarding Iran that may be read as a "back door" authorization for the use of force against Iran by the US military in the near future. Voting in favor of this amendment, and possibly more war:

Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Courageously absent from this vote:

Barack Obama (D-IL)

Way to go, guys.

Jindal is Bad

On Monday I wrote the following about Clancy's Gen-X icon,
Jindal isn't running against his opponents. He won't even debate them. In fact, it's hard to say he's even running for Governor of Louisiana since he talks so little about the unique problems Louisiana faces with regard to insurance, or storm protection, or coastal restoration, or our crushing poverty.

In this post, David elaborates on Jindal's lack of any there there, after a visit to "Geek Appeal"'s website.

For somebody who's supposed to be just about the brightest sumbitch in the whole entire gad dang state, Jindal doesn't seem to be very clear on the concept. If you tell people that can read your detailed paln on your website, they expect to be able to read the plan, not that you have a plan. Of course, Jindal's just using an increasingly common political ploy -- be as vague as possible, while saying that details are available on your website. It generally works, because most people, including most journalists, don't bother going to the website. Four years ago, he wasn't a politician, now he's using the newest, oldest politician's trick in the book.

Update: Oyster (even if he is a whiny baby) observes this fun bit of anti-NOLA race baiting in the "News" section of Jindal's site.
In the "News" section of the web site, Bobby links to a supportive letter by John "fan belt" Cooksey, printed in the Ouachita Citizen. The letter celebrates the displacement of New Orleanians from their home state after the largest disaster in U.S. history. I repeat: the letter celebrates the displacement of New Orleanians from their home state after the largest disaster in U.S. history.

"Fortunately, not all of the state's electorate is from Orleans Parish. Fortunately, many of the people who once composed a great deal of the electorate in Orleans no longer lives in Louisiana. Thus, they are not taking part in the patronage system which has existed in New Orleans for at least 150 years and is the source of so much corruption."

Notice the way the Jindal people execute a slick declension from "corruption" to "New Orleans" to "the people who once composed a great deal of the electorate in Orleans". Jindal's "Slay-the-Dragon" campaign has deftly substituted the word "corruption" for whatever bogeyman the target electorate can imagine. In this case, Jindal's war on a word targets the not-so-subtly-racist anti-NOLA vote. Plus Jindal's campaign is more or less openly stating that the slow recovery of New Orleans post-flood is somehow a good thing. Is this the kind of advocacy New Orleans needs in the Governor's office for the next four years?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Jindal is Bad

Adrastos sums it up pretty well. You'd think our bold new "whiz-kid" "Geek Appeal" leader guy would be a bit less whiny and paranoid.

This time the world did what it told me it would*

For two weeks now the signs have been out there. From afar, football fans in New Orleans have watched with an increasing sense of intrigue wondering if these early indicators could really mean what they appear to mean. On Monday night, a crowd of over 70,000 New Orleanians piled into their beloved Superdome giddy with anticipation to discover for themselves in person something they could thus far only glean from the out-of-town dispatches. Those who weren't in the building can only now learn second-hand of that magical moment of revelation experienced by fans in attendance as they watched their team rush through the smoke onto the field led by a guy on a motorcycle and a pep squad carrying black and gold flags which proudly spelled the word, S T N I A S. The fans in that stadium knew then that their suspicions had been confirmed. Saints football is back in 2007!

The Saints are back and they are on a mission. This team is ready to suck old school. The 2007 Saints are here to make exactly the wrong call at the wrong time, to turn every opportunity into a comical mishap, to subject their star players to devastating injuries, to consistently lose professional football games by more than ten points; in short, to show the world how we do things in New Orleans. Welcome home, Saints. Your fans have missed you.

Last night's exciting highlights: (Unless otherwise indicated, all game photos, as usual, have been gleefully stolen from the T-P gallery)

  • The most disappointing news to come out of last night's game is the season-ending injury to Deuce McAllister. The torn ACL is his second such injury in three years and could be an indication that his best days are now truly behind him. Deuce is one of pro football's good guys and deserves better than this. He's also the best player on the team. Before this injury, Saints fans were missing Deuce simply because he was underutilized. Now they won't even have that to complain about.

    This inevitably means that we'll be watching Saints corporate spokesmodel Reggie Bush attempt to carry more of the rushing load. Last night, Bush carried 7 times for 15 yards and dropped a pass in the endzone.

    What could make the 2007 season even more sucktastic? Yup, even more of this guy. (NFL.com photo)

  • For the third week, the Saints were badly outplayed at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. While the Titans did not put up world-beating rushing numbers, they did manage to continuously push the Saints front seven backwards throughout the evening. Even when Saints defenders managed to contact Tennessee ball carriers at or near the line of scrimmage, they more often than not failed to make the tackle without first being carried for an additional three or four yards. And with the exception of one hit in the second quarter, Vince Young's pass attempts were largely undisturbed by Saints pressure. In short, the Saints D got their asses whipped by a more physical team.... again.

    Also getting their asses whipped, the Saints offensive line. So far this season, "J-Five" has looked more like the Jackson Five failing to produce running lanes and... more spectacularly... failing to protect Drew Brees. And Brees is proving not to be the sort of quarterback who manages to produce when the protection breaks down. (More on the one-armed man later)Fittingly, for this team, the worst performer on the o-line has been the man with the highest billing. In every game this season, left tackle Jamaal Brown has committed at least one costly penalty and has allowed multiple defenders to consistently harass Brees. In the first quarter, the Saints attempted a gimmick deep pass on fourth down and one from their own 45 yard line. Even if the idiotic pass had been completed, it would have been negated by Brown's holding penalty. Brown left late in the game with some sort of finger injury. The pass protection immediately improved but it was too late.

    That's Jamaal Brown on the ground getting his ass whipped again. (nfl.com photo. The T-P images suck this week for some reason)

  • Sure, Brees's protection has been poor. But that doesn't, by itself, explain his horrendous performance. Brees threw four interceptions Monday night. Only one of these appeared to be the direct result of defensive pressure. Brees has a nasty habit of misreading coverages in the flat and allowing defenders to jump routes for easily returnable picks. He's also developed a tendency to throw high passes which his receivers then have to leap awkwardly after. This was exactly the kind of thing that led to McAllister's injury and could cause similar havoc if Marques Colston is made to continue contorting himself chasing after Brees's passes. Furthermore, Brees seems to have lost that intuitive feel for the flow of a play he so often displayed last season. Instead of avoiding sacks by subtly shifting in the pocket, Brees is bailing out and running for his life before most pass plays can properly develop. And unlike, his opposite number on the field last night, Drew Brees is not at his best while improvising out of the pocket. Any way you slice it, five turnovers by the man expected to lead your offense is unacceptable. Brees's fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter set the Titans up with a short field and proved to be the crucial turning point of the game.

    Keith Bulluck returns yet another Brees intercetption. At least he managed to land on Bush's head.

  • Coach Soupy's decision to go for it on fourth and one from his own 45 yard line on the team's second possession of the game not only set the Titans up for their first touchdown, but also set the tone for the rest of the night by declaring just how desperate and unsure of themselves the Saints were. This was the worst strategic decision of the game and perhaps the very low point of Soupy's career thus far.

  • This week's Dome complaint: Getting to the game is usually a simple affair. The Superdome is a light ten minute bike ride away. Tying up the bikes on Girod street directly across from the Superdome access ramp certainly beats languishing in traffic whilst in search of a 25 dollar parking spot. Unfortunately, when the weather behaves the way it did last night, other arrangements have to be made. Such arrangements involve not only cab fare, but also umbrellas and ponchos and other assorted extraneous equipment all of which I packed into my brand-spanking new backpack for carrying convenience.

    As we were entering the stadium, we were stopped by the security personnel who informed us we were not allowed to carry the bag into the dome. I opened the bag, removed several suspicious looking items that had been wrapped in little plastic bags, and handed them to Menckles who was allowed to take them right through the door without inspection. I then displayed my now empty backpack to the security asswipe who still refused to let such a nefarious item enter the building on his watch. Meanwhile, dozens of unchecked handbags at least as large as my backpack and containing God-knows-what zoomed right by us on all sides. Disgusted, I abandoned the bag at the door. The very idea of subjecting sports fans to compulsory pat-downs and bag checks is insulting to begin with. The absurdity of disallowing an empty package in the interest of simply being a dick is profound.

    Also the temperature inside the Dome was noticeably warmer than usual. Any day now, Stacy Head will be issuing subpoenas for Superdome administrators in order to sort out the problem with the air conditioning.

  • Bad Jason David: Cornerback Jason David, the Saints marquee free agent acquisition this season, was badly burned by Brandon Jones for a 35 yard touchdown in the second quarter proving the Saints' tendency to give up the big play is more of a feature than it is a bug.

    Good Jason David: David, the Saints' marquee free agent acquisition this season, intercepted a Vince Young pass deep in Saints territory preventing the game from getting too ugly too early.

    Really Bad Jason David: After this interception, and with the score 10-0 in favor of the Titans, David, the Saints' marquee free agent acquisition this season, posed with his arms extended toward the heavens as though it were perhaps Jesus instead of the football he had just received. David continued to strut and exalt with pride over his minor accomplishment for an uncomfortably long time after the play. Let's all hope he enjoyed that as much as we did.

    Jason David: The Saints' marquee free agent acquisition this season

  • Yes, that actually was the Kerry Collins who took over for a temporarily shaken Vince Young at the end of the first half. I wonder if he got a chance to try the bloody marys.

  • With 7:22 remaining to play Brees threw his second interception of the game. The entire team had played like crap and it was becoming more doubtful that a win could be finagled from this mess. Still, the Saints were only down by ten points with plenty of time left on the clock. It didn't look good, but the outcome was far from certain. Amazingly, Saints fans began to empty the stands certain that there was nothing left to see.

    Unless you have some pressing plans after the game, there is just no reason to leave this early. While losing football may not be quite as gratifying as winning football it is certainly no less entertaining. Allowing oneself to be satisfied with only one kind of outcome severely limits one's ability to truly enjoy the experience. Saints fans should have an especially acute understanding of this. And still, over half the crowd was gone while a significant portion of the game remained to be played. I can't say I'll ever quite get that.

The best part of all of this is that, thanks to the open date, the Saints and their fans get two full weeks to bask in the glory of their 0-3 start before returning to action against the Carolina Panthers (a team who swept the Saints last year) in the Superdome. Fans who grew up watching this franchise know how to appreciate bad football and will return to the Dome on Oct 7, to be entertained once more by their beloved losers. Those fans who fail to show up just don't get it and probably never will.


Update: Some of you may wish to point out that the presumed flag mishap is really just a matter of perspective. To that I say, the folks sitting on the press box side of the stadium were simply out of position to recognize the true nature of the dark portent.

Upperdate: Here are some Saints fans who refuse to leave early under ANY circumstances.

Uppestdate: Jason David, the Saints' marquee free agent acquisition of 2007, will miss 4 to 6 weeks with a fractured forearm. So the value of that transaction has become even clearer.

Oh Noes!

We can't lose our dollar well drinks. Not now!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Reasons America should tune in to see an 0-2 football team tonight

  • Unlike the previous two games of the season, this one figures to be entertaining. The Titans are a well coached, up-and-coming team anxious to make an impression in front of a national audience. The Saints are last year's darlings, desperate for a win, and playing in front of their home crowd for the first time this year.

  • The only other thing on at the time is K-Ville.

  • Star power. Tonight's game features the first professional meeting (in a game that counts) between Tennessee quarterback Vince Young and Saints corporate spokesmodel Reggie Bush. The two last met in the 2006 Rose Bowl, a game in which Young is remembered for leading the Texas Longhorns to an upset victory over Bush's overrated USC Trojans and in which Bush is best remembered for ruining a 35 yard pass play with an idiotic attempted lateral during the second quarter.

  • Sure the Titans' uniforms are ugly... but nothing even close to that embarrassing high-school uniform the Philadelphia Eagles wore yesterday. The worst fashion faux-pas viewers are likely to encounter tonight would be the Saints' black leotards.

  • On a personal note, due to the inconvenient underwater status of my hometown, I was forced to spend September 2005 in Nashville, TN and I am here to tell you that this was no picnic. Nashville is a sprawling, boring, hilly Houston-like series of stripmalls and Wal-Marts without even so much as a drive-thru daiquiri shop to break the mood. I don't like Nashville and I certainly can't condone them sending their strangely costumed football team down to ruin the Saints' dome opener.

    What's worse, about six (my God is it six?) years ago, my mom's company relocated her job to Nashville where she has been living and working and generally making holidays very inconvenient for my family ever since. Now I am (in most respects) a grown man and a fairly independent one at that. But goddammit, Nashville done took my mom away and that shit just ain't cool.

I think that's about it. Kickoff is 7:30.... promptly since Bono isn't here this year, thank God.

Snitchin is Bitchin

Adrastos has another witness to Jindal's "outside agitators" remark on Shreveport television last week. Also, Oyster's original commenter has returned to this thread to explain herself a bit more.

The fact remains that without video evidence, there isn't a whole lot more that can be done with this. And even then, I can't imagine it would be likely to hurt Jindal very much if it were out in the open. Jindal wants to appeal to the cracker base in N. Louisiana and is not above employing this kind of hateful codespeak to do so. It can only help him politically in that "part of the world". His election seems like a fait-accompli at this point in what has got to be the most boring Governor's race ever.

What is frustrating is the way the Dragon Slayer Squad (the New Orleans press and the Yuppie Left) treat Jindal with such fawning teenage lust rarely... if ever pointing out how nakedly phony his slogan-driven campaign has been to this point. I say rarely in case anyone out there happened to catch Stephanie Grace's column yesterday.
Jindal also has gone so far as to hurl the term (corruption) at his opponents, even if their supposed offenses fall way short of dishonesty, evil or whichever definition you choose -- or if it's unclear just what the alleged transgressions are supposed to be.

It's almost as if anybody who aggressively campaigns against Jindal deserves the label
And here you have it. Jindal isn't running against his opponents. He won't even debate them. In fact, it's hard to say he's even running for Governor of Louisiana since he talks so little about the unique problems Louisiana faces with regard to insurance, or storm protection, or coastal restoration, or our crushing poverty. No, Jindal is running to "slay the dragon". Like Buddy Roemer before him, he's running against "corruption".

And why not? As Republicans have demonstrated for the better part of a decade now, it's much easier to run against a word than it is to run against your opponent... or much less run for anything at all. Running against "corruption" is particularly good coin in Louisiana right now because it's such a versatile word. It's a catch-all for the widespread discontent that now characterizes our political atmosphere.

In the suburbs surrounding New Orleans, to run against "corruption" means running against the Bill Jefferson machine, and against Marc Morial, and the Landrieus and all the rest of "those people" who the suburbanites voted against with their feet a generation ago. To the degree that "corruption" gets conflated with "incompetence" it allows Jindal to run against the retiring Governor Meemaw and the perpetually troubled Road Home program without having to provide a reasonable answer as to how it can be saved. In North Louisiana, running against "corruption" means running against New Orleans altogether which is always a winner in those parts regardless of the context.

It's a wonderful strategy so long as one is allowed to get away with it. And to this point, Jindal has been allowed to dragonslay the entire race away. In such an important election, one would hope for more substance. But that's your local press for you. And this brings us back to Jindal's supposed Jena remark. Should someone out there manage to dig up a recording of this quote, it likely won't hurt Jindal very much at all. But that's not why I want to see it. I want to see it come to the surface so I get to read Clancy Dubos's column about why Jindal's callous race baiting is really just a hip form of X-treme marketing that appeals to the new "Gen-X" electoral demographic. What a quote like this will do is demonstrate clearly just what kind of politics the Yuppie Left and New Orleans media will rush in to endorse all in the interest of slaying dragons. As it is, we have to rely on the conservative press to ask the interesting questions... and that's just plain icky.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cancel the secret shelters

Depression making landfall without strengthening

Also score one for T-P commenter number 1.


This supposed Jindal quote I mentioned this morning may or may not be real. It originated from an anonymous commenter on YRHT who cited a Shreveport television station. I mentioned it here in the hope that someone out there in intertubesland might know if there is a video or audio record of it somewhere.

If this quote is real, it is massively shameful. If it is false, then I regret even mentioning it. I still would like to see the persons seeking the highest political office in the state speak out more clearly and boldly against institutional racism in Louisiana. None of them... including Jindal... has done so.

Update: The commenter responds here. There's still no source on this. It still sounds plausible, but is useless without a record.

Ooh I like this game!

City may open storm shelters but won't say where
Posted by The Times-Picayune September 21, 2007 12:16PM

Mayor Ray Nagin said Friday morning that if winds associated with a tropical depression heading toward New Orleans reach 35 to 40 mph, he will call for New Orleans residents living in trailers to evacuate the temporary homes.

Nagin said the city will open shelters as a last resort for trailer dwellers who cannot seek refuge in their partially rebuilt homes, or with friends or relatives.

The mayor said city officials have identified the shelter locations, but he refused to say where they are or how many shelters will be available.

"We'll give you that list if we need it," Nagin said.

Let's play Find-the-shelters! What do we do? Scramble toward the highest ground... or just go wherever the wind is blowing?

Wouldn't it be fun if these mysterious "shelters" are really just the Superdome?

I believe this is why there are "Darwin Awards"

Freaking idiots

ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana (CNN) -- Authorities in Alexandria, Louisiana, arrested two people after nooses were seen hanging from the back of a red pickup Thursday night, the city's mayor told CNN.

Alexandria is less than an hour away from Jena, Louisiana, and was a staging area Thursday for protesters who went to the smaller town to demonstrate against the treatment of six black teens known as the "Jena 6" in racially charged incidents.

Police say the 18-year-old driver of the truck was charged with driving while intoxicated and inciting to riot and also may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor -- the 16-year-old passenger.

As police were questioning the driver, he said he had an unloaded rifle in the back, which police found. They also found a set of brass knuckles in the cup holder on the dashboard, according to the police report.

The passenger told police he and his family are in the Ku Klux Klan, the police report said. He also said he had tied the nooses and that the brass knuckles belonged to him, the report said

via: Varg, who writes
Also, I know there was some debate about the necessity of the march on Jena going on on local radio stations yesterday. I hope this puts that to rest. But, knowing what I know about racist white folks, they will never give an inch to the other side. Even when overwhelming evidence is presented against them.

The funny thing is if you call them a racist, they will deny it! That’s because our great country has done an excellent job communicating to its masses that racism is wicked. But we have poorly executed the tutelage of what racism actually is.

Exactly. I have been trying to point out in comments here and elsewhere that the Jena march is against Racism with a capital R because the incident involves racial bigotry forcibly backed up by an institution of the state.... in this case the District Attorney's office. Regardless of your feelings about which of the principals is or is not a nice guy or what the school should or shouldn't have done, racially motivated intimidation carried out by a powerful arm of the state should not be tolerated.

Any politician who tries to take your eye off of that point by praising the "Louisiana court system" and decrying "outside agitators" is really speaking in favor of brutal institutionalized Racism.

Yay for the idiot page

Sometimes the idiots know what they're talking about.

From today's letters to the editor:

Democracy is a lot of trouble
Friday, September 21, 2007

Re: "Ballot clutter poses a public nuisance," Metro, Sept. 12.

John Maginnis suggests that qualifying to be a candidate for governor should be made more stringent.

While we are at it, how about:

-- Reconfiguring our system of government to place the legislative, executive and judicial branches into the hand of one man so that it will be more efficient.

-- Eliminating freedom of the press and religion.

-- Establishing a new poll tax.

-- Making the owning of property a prerequisite for voting.

Perhaps we should also repeal the Bill of Rights while we are at it because those civil rights lawyers just use it as an excuse to gum up the works and delay the true course of justice, if you know what I mean.

We should have known better than to let the riffraff think they could govern themselves.

John David Cassanova


Good for you, Mr. Cassanova. I had the same reaction when I read that John Maginnis finds participatory democracy too much of an embarrassing nuisance for his refined and civilized tastes.

Maybe Alberto Gonzales has declared him an enemy combatant

LAKE CHARLES, La. -- A state appeals court has ordered a hearing on why one of the "Jena Six" defendants is still in jail, even though his conviction has been overturned.

Maybe this wouldn't happen if our political leadership took our constitutional rights more seriously.

Not surprised

The "Bar Guide" that appears in today's Lagniappe section is replete with frat bars, tourist traps, hotel bars, and yuppie hives. I can find one... maybe two.. places on this list that I'd be caught dead in. But even those (The Balcony Bar, for example) seem to be included because they attract a "professional" crowd during happy hour.

Everyone knows the bars worth spending your money in in New Orleans are the dirty dives that stay open late and attract a mix of service industry workers, random street people, and tourists who don't feel like singing karaoke. There are plenty of these places in New Orleans. But the T-P wants to make sure you visit the Ritz-Carlton first, I suppose.


Now I'll never get the freaking poker machine to accept my fives.

Update: Not that they'll be worth anything

"Outside Agitators"

Please please tell me that there is audio of this remark.

Note: It's obviously still YRHT week here at the Yellow Blog

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I know I already have a reputation for pissing in the pot

But... guys... you know....

I just....


Do you ever wonder if it's this sort of thing that contributes to that 0-2 mojo?

Your Louisiana Political Leadership

Utterly spineless

Also... my further comments on this issue appear... where else... but in the above-linked YRHT comment thread.

Dude, where's my streetcar?

Couldn't help but notice this morning that whatever the work was that had been going on at St Charles and Washington for the past year is finally finished. Does this mean RTA is closer to putting cars back on the St Charles line? RTA is still saying "Fall 2007"


I'm sure they'll tell you this is a tounge-in-cheek musing of sorts, but I find the fact that the City Business writers are this obsessed with Return of Edwin Edwards fantasies very telling.

Also.. the T-P

BTW, folks in the audience who are old enough to remember the bygone days of the 1980s will be familiar with the classic Ed Clancy "radio cartoon" Return of the Edi which satirized Edwards' return to office in 1983 as well as his subsequent legal adventures. The line "John Volz is a pinhead!" became something of a catch phrase around my house in those days.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Gonna shut down the blog any day now

Since I continue to spill all my best stuff in Oyster's comment threads.

See here where we establish that Clancy Dubos pretty much sucks.

And here, where I hi-jack what is actually a must-read post about the Jena 6 just to be an asshole.

You know what? Kiss off!

Really, don't bother me with this right now

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Okay I only got an hour of sleep last night... but I am in tears with laughter over this bit of brilliance.

If you need context, see here... or here... and follow the links.

From the department of shit that just freaking figures

Rose liked K-Ville

Update: So far, I like Schroeder's take the best.

Upperdate: And this is even better. Oyster writes the post I'm still too freaking angry to write.
And it's odd that Chris Rose is so charitable toward K-ville (a drama about troubled cops in a town saturated with wild conspiracies), but was so dismissive of Spike Lee's defense of When the Levees Broke, a four hour documentary about the Federal Flood that contained 5 minutes of interviews with troubled New Orleanians who thought the levees were purposefully blown. Last year, Rose called Spike Lee a "whack job" and a "lamentable figure" for not sufficiently ruling out the possibility that the levees were dynamited.
I have no new pretty words with which to say this so I'll just say it plainly once more. Chris Rose is a douche.

Uppestdate: This has led to a very fun and very long discussion over at YRHT where we have learned two things of import. First, I spent the first anniversary of the flood actually making a big pot of gumbo. You see, it does help you think. Second, Dambala hits something that looks like it could be true.
I think Rose liked K-Ville because he wants to get a role in the series. You forget that he also acts. I think he's bucking for slot in the series....say playing...himself.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Redundant and Repetitive

No I'm not talking about Mayor Nagin's questionable characterization of City Council inquiries into the workings of his administration. Instead I am referring to the eerie phenomenon which has Magazine Street denizens suffering a "browbeating" from a succession of "redundant" businesses. I referred to this a few weeks ago when Table 1 closed. But now that it's going to reopen as the THIRD SUSHI JOINT ON THE SAME BLOCK, that old line between sublime and ridiculous has just been trampled across. Really. What the hell is going on over there?

Drinking is bad for you... and other observations about the Saints

The post directly below this one makes plain my plans heading into Saturday night. As usual, these plans involved heading out into the Quarter and massively poisoning myself with alcohol. It's the one thing I excel at. And Saturday, I was in the mood for excellence. I should say that excellence was indeed achieved over several pitchers of Miller Lite at Fahy's and then additional untold quantities of... something... at the Boondock Saint. I think there was Chartreuse involved. I have a dreamy recollection of encountering some minorly famous individuals along the way, although I have a hard time with reality... particularly when there may have been Chartreuse involved... so who knows, really.

The staggering (literally) amount of excellence attained Saturday night led, predictably, to one of the most spectacularly stupefying hangovers of our time on Sunday. Usually a hangover entails a few morning hours of discomfort coupled with partial blindness and the obligatory self-loathing. But yesterday was something special, a hangover only the professionals like myself are called to endure, featuring twelve hours of dry heaves, an inability to breathe without pain, and the feeling that your brain is being subjected to two additional atmospheres of uninterrupted pressure.

It sounds bad, I know. But as it turned out, I had taken exactly the proper steps to prepare myself to fully experience yesterday's Saints/Bucs game. While most fans simply rose and watched the Saints deliver yet another wretched sickening performance. I was able to feel the game in-the-round, so to speak, to allow my physical being to become one with the spiritual impression of the Saints' performance. Most fans will tell you that yesterday's game only made them want to puke. Few of them actually managed to call forth the wherewithal to do so. But don't feel bad, kids. Not all of us are destined to reach this level of commitment. Remember, I am a professional.

Hazy recollections:
All game photos once again shamelessly stolen from the T-P gallery.
  • What happened to that big play Saints' offense we read so much about in all those glossy magazines? So far the 2007 Saints show only an aptitude for turning the ball over... and maybe picking up a few yards when Deuce gets the ball, but even he fumbled yesterday. The conventional wisdom at this point is that the Saints' receivers are having trouble getting behind the mysterious "cover 2" zone. But cover 2 is a pretty basic defense and hardly an excuse. Prior to the season, Oyster observed that this batch of Saints wideouts doesn't seem capable of adequately "stretching the field" enough to allow the passing offense to work properly. I'm beginning to agree with that. Particularly after watching Devery Henderson, the team's only speed receiver, drop the ball again yesterday. It might be that Brees actually doesn't have as many of the right weapons available to him this year.

    Let's see... where's Joe Horn... Oh shit too late!

  • Brees, by the way, was sacked twice yesterday. (3 times now in 2 games) Last season, Brees was sacked only 8 times though the first 8 games.

  • The Saints' defense started well. In the early going, they seemed determined not to be pushed around as badly as they were against the Colts. But when you get no help at all from your offense, and have to be out on the field for so long in 100 degree temperatures, well it's only a matter of time before you lose that momentum. It could have been worse. Had they taken the field in their awful black pants, the Saints certainly would have worn down even faster.

    Cadillac Williams shows you can wear all white after Labor Day... if you're playing against the Saints

  • Once again, the Saints defense was burned badly for big plays by 35 year old Joey Galloway. On the game's biggest play, Galloway badly burned Jason David on his way to a 69 yard score and a nice photo-op.

    Jason David: The Saints' marquee free agent acquisition this year

  • Mr. Clio is all over Devery Henderson this morning. And for good reason. The Saints are counting on Devery to add a deep threat to their speed-challenged receiving corps. But some days, the guy just doesn't show up. Henderson dropped everything thrown at him yesterday, including a potential touchdown at a time when the Saints sorely needed one.

    It's a tough grab, but the ball was right freaking there!

    But riddle me this. After Devery showed signs of having another episode of loopiness early on, Soupy benched him for the entire second half. And that's fine. He was playing like crap. Meanwhile, however, golden boy Reggie Bush fre flo doed his way to another underwhelming 2.7 yards per carry whilst fumbling twice and killing a third quarter drive by throwing a hissy fit and shoving Cato June to the ground eliciting a 15 yard penalty. After the game, Bush said June "was kneeing me".

    Right now this team has the look of a spoiled child who has never before had to cope with life not handing it everything and Bush is its poster boy. If Soupy is willing to bench Devery for not performing, he certainly should have benched Bush for being an asshole. The "Coach of the Year" shouldn't exercise such a double standard for his babied superstars.

    Reggie Bush: Douchebag

  • Uh oh, the kicker still sucks. A couple of weeks ago, I predicted that "this will cost the Saints a game or two." Last week, the Saints were badly blown out by the Indianapolis Colts in what appeared to be a team loss. But Leo suggested that a large portion of the blame for that should have fallen upon Olindo Mare.
    I think it cost us this (the Colts) game, honestly. We kick off, hold them to a punt (great), we take the ball down the field, sputter out and go for a 52-yard field goal. We make that, we get to kick off and continue to control field position. Instead, the Colts get the short field and bam, TD. Then we get lucky with the defensive TD, but the offense was already out of synch.
    This week, with the score 14-0, Mare again botched an opportunity to put the Saints on the board after their first sustained drive of the game. And then it was all downhill from there. So now that's two games, at least partially, blown due to the fact that the kicker sucks.

  • Time to panic? Nah, not quite. Check it out:

    NFC South
    Carolina 1-1
    Tampa 1-1
    Atlanta 0-2
    Saints 0-2

    It's not even close to freak-out time. Sure, the Saints need to get their act together but the competition hasn't yet run away with anything... and there hasn't even been a single game played in Superdome. This week, the Chartreuse may have slowed us down, but next week there will be 12 dollar bloody marys involved. And that, if nothing else, gives us something to look forward to.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The bus will get you there yet!

Longtime Yellow Blog readers are well aware that GBV is the greatest rock band in the history of the universe. Recently fans and friends of the band organized an outdoor party of sorts in Dayton, OH called Heedfest. There are videos of various knuckleheads performing covers for the crowd at this Youtube address.

Since it's Saturday, and since you're likely getting ready to go out and tear up the town, I'll share with you this highlight from the festival. It's a GBV reunion of sorts featuring Nate Farley, Jim MacPherson, Chris Slusarenko, Greg Demos and a wiffle ball bat wielding, Bob Pollard performing the "drinking anthem" A Salty Salute for the happy crowd.

You can't watch that and not be fired up. But... again since it's Saturday... and since you obviously need more rock, this link will bring you to a Strokes cover of the same song.

Later, kids. I'm off to find the club that is open.

Friday, September 14, 2007

More "Stab-in-the-back"


Here’s how I see it: At this point, Mr. Bush is looking forward to replaying the political aftermath of Vietnam, in which the right wing eventually achieved a rewriting of history that would have made George Orwell proud, convincing millions of Americans that our soldiers had victory in their grasp but were stabbed in the back by the peaceniks back home.

What all this means is that the next president, even as he or she tries to extricate us from Iraq — and prevent the country’s breakup from turning into a regional war — will have to deal with constant sniping from the people who lied us into an unnecessary war, then lost the war they started, but will never, ever, take responsibility for their failures.

Except, the way I see this, we've already been through this argument once before. Therefore, the American public will learn to blame the dirty hippies much faster this time around. And, since Rudy! is the most aggressively anti-dirty hippie candidate going, I still think he'll be the next President.

Also, coming soon from the right wing press, "Why Rudy! is the only candidate who can end this war"

Update: joejoejoe points out that Digby says,
Matthews and the rest of the talking heads won't touch the real reason why the allegedly religious, moralistic, family values loving far right seems to be so taken with the urban hedonist, Rudy Giuliani. But it's really not hard to figure. They recognize a kindred spirit, and it's that spirit that animates his crazy talk about terrorism too. He's all about kicking dark-skinned ass and that is an intensely appealing attribute to the GOP base. In fact, when you strip all the marketing and polling and propaganda away, that's what it's all about.

Stuff to Do

  • Cripple Creek Theatre Company is back with its production of Bury the Dead running between now and October 20. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8PM at St. Mark's, 1130 N Rampart St.

    From the Cripple Creek email list:

    When it opened on Broadway in 1936, the New York Times suggested Bury the Dead “...ought to be boycotted by militarists, ammunition vendors and saber rattlers.” Regrettably, the subject is as relevant today as it was then.

    In Baghdad 87 of every 100,000 residents will be become casualties of war in the coming year. In New Orleans, the numbers are more grim -- 96 of every 100,000 will be murdered. And while there are 13,500 servicemen in Baghdad, only 300 are here in New Orleans.

    The war has drained over 415 billion dollars from the public purse. For perspective, that’s enough one dollar bills -- stacked in piles -- to erect a wall a foot wide and ten feet high along our 350 miles of levees.

    Join the dialogue -- see 'Bury the Dead' this weekend.

    Bury the Dead Sep 13/07—-Oct 20/07 In the shadow of an advancing front, a burial detail conducts its duties as a chaplain prepares to pray over the dead. However, the sad rituals are interrupted as groans are heard from the newly dug graves and the fallen soldiers rise to their feet. Incensed at their plight, the men plead not to be buried in the saturated ground but instead ask to rejoin the living. As word of the insurrection spreads, the establishment seeks to suppress it

    Tickets are $10.00. For more information, see the Cripple Creek site.

  • The Saints are in Tampa this weekend so find your favorite bar and/or couch... unless you're still on anti-biotics in which case just hope the game doesn't induce any more gagging.

Squinting hurts my eyes

I thought maybe I'd find us somewhere near Hedonism and Abandonment but I don't see it. I found it fitting to see that Atlanta is the capital of Slavery, though.

What the hell am I talking about? Have a look: Map of Humanity

Now this could be interesting

NEW ORLEANS -- A New Orleans City Council committee has voted to open an official investigation into what it said has been Entergy New Orleans' failure to obtain low-cost power for local customers.

A resolution approved by the Utility Committee said Entergy New Orleans has not taken advantage of opportunities to take part in the Entergy system's joint purchases of low-cost power.

Entergy New Orleans is one of several operating companies in the Entergy system, which covers parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas.

ENO Vice President Tracie Boutte denied that the company has passed up chances to obtain cheaper power and said the proposed investigation is not necessary.

Joe Vumbaco, an adviser for the council, said ENO could have saved about $3.5 million in one month this summer if it had taken part in more joint purchases with other Entergy companies.

Note that one point coming out of this week's squabble over "access" between the Council and the Administration was the city attorney's assertion that the Council's standing to issue subpoenas was contingent on having first initiated an "official investigation". If the Council intends to investigate fraud at Entergy, such an investigation could very well involve City Hall as well.

Could it be that this week's a/c flap was really about establishing ground rules for going after bigger game? Or do I just have an overactive imagination?

Necessary context has been gathered at AZ over the past several months.

Update: Today's AZ is, in fact, worth a look as well.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

And they decide to play nice... I think

Nagin, council make deal on access to staff members
Posted by The Times-Picayune September 13, 2007 8:57PM

By Frank Donze
Staff writer

A power struggle between New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and City Council members ended peacefully Thursday after the two sides huddled behind closed doors and appeared to resolve their bitter differences over access to mayoral staffers.

It looks like the two sides have agreed on "a system of protocol" by which the Administration will make information available to the Council. But there's no way to know exactly how much more open we can expect city government to be since even the details of the agreement are not being made public for some reason. Stay tuned.

Ah yes,the liberry

Actual Reference Questions from Actual Persons*:
"Are the books here in any sort of order or something?"

*Derivative.... everything is derivative.

Executive Privlidge

Our city government is acting out a miniature version of George Bush's constitutional struggles with Congress over executive power and legislative oversight. Like Bush, Nagin and his legal advisers are claiming something very like "executive privlidge" and ordering subordinates to ignore subpoenas to appear before the City Council in order to discuss the seemingly minor issue of a broken air conditioner. And, like Bush, Nagin is poised to win the political face-off by virtue of his own stubbornness and a few well-placed code words. See Celcus and his various commenters for more.

And Adrastos has more as well

And now, more from Dangerblond

Troop Surge

Varg has the right take on this.

Although.... for this analogy to work properly, shouldn't we consider the State Troopers, the surge? You know, since they'll be patrolling Anbar (NO East) in an open-ended commitment until the local security forces can stand up.

Political progress may be a little slower to come by, however.

Skank Flu*

Minor sinus infections are nothing to fuck around with. You find yourself unable to go to work, unable to play darts, unable to drink. Nothing left to do but lay on the couch watching the Petraeus hearings while high on Doxyxyclin for two days. Pure horror, man. I think I'm back... if not, I'm still not giving out rain checks.

*Adrastos term

Friday, September 07, 2007

Rush Fools Out

Radio talk nut Keith Rush has ended his 24 hour candidacy for Jefferson Parish President. For more on Rush, see Oyster.

Must Read

If I had seen this before writing the game recap, it certainly would have made it in there.

Reggie Bush: Douchebag

Now can we start the football season?

Now that all the bullshit and daydreaming is over with, I mean. Seriously with all the purple prose being printed about the Saints this preseason, I was beginning to wonder just what the hell sort of medicinal herb the collective sports press had gotten into. Of the many publications picking the Saints as an NFC favorite this season, not one seemed to take very seriously this team's major defensive weaknesses. When mentioned at all, the Saints' defense was supposedly "much improved" by the offseason acquisitions of Kevin Kaesviharn (who doesn't start), Brian Simmons (who also doesn't start), Dahani Jones (who didn't even make the team), and Jason David (more on him later). Who could possibly have taken this as a good sign? People who follow, write, or blather about football for a living constantly harp on the axiom that "defense wins championships". Regardless of how reliable this cliche is, one would at least hope to see the majority of its promoters exercise some consistency when making their predictions.

But sportswriters, like most pundits... or people for that matter... are herd animals. The Saints surprised a majority of the punditry last season. Said punditry didn't want to burned this season. And so predictions are based more upon what's in fashion than on the nuts and bolts of the game itself. But this is nothing new. And, of course, there is an upside. In one night, the Saints managed to relieve themselves of the burden of much of their national bandwagon. If they aren't as good as the conventional wisdom originally thought, they probably aren't as bad as what will soon be written and said about them either. At least now they're free to find their own level without the burden of having to live up to the unreasoned expectations of the herd.

And now, on with the recap: (all game photos this season will once again be shamelessly stolen from the T-P/nola.com gallery)

  • First, allow me to express my great relief to discover that the Saints are indeed not a major Super Bowl contender this season. This means that New Orleans will not, in the near future, be made to endure anything like the pre-game NFL OPENING KICKOFF 2007 PRESENTED BY SPRINT. A few quick observations about this ceremony.
    1. Isn't Kelly Clarkson's primary target demo 13 year old girls? I know there are many many 13 year old girls who like football... but why is this a good idea to feature this genre of entertainment at a football game?
    2. Isn't Faith Hill's target demo 13 year old girls who like to listen to someone sing like an old lady?
    3. Should anyone really want to listen to music created for a "target demo" at all?
    4. Why is soooo much of what passes for pop-culture these days oriented towards the 13 year old female demo? What does this say about us? I think it says something bad
    5. The choir that sang backup during the national anthem was called "Voices of Unity" Shouldn't "Unity" technically be expressed through only one "Voice"?
    6. Last night, John Mellencamp said, "When I wrote this song, my wife was only 13 years old." And there you have it.

    Mellencamp looks more like Frodo every time I see him

  • Obviously, the Saints' major problem last night... and likely for the rest of the season... stems from their horrible ineffectual effort on defense. Last season, the Saints' D performed poorly against the run and was susceptible to the occasional big play. Last night, the Saints were wretched against the run and surrendered several big plays. The Colts' surging offensive line dominated the Saints up front opening the way for LSU product Joseph Addai to rumble for 118 yards and one touchdown. This is just fundamental football. If your defense gets manhandled this badly up front, your team is in for an old-fashioned butt-whooping.

    Hold that Tiger! Okay maybe next time.

  • Bad Jason David: David, the Saints' marquee free agent acquisition this year, was burned by Marvin Harrison for the game's first score on a 27 yard pass to the back of the endzone. Admittedly, this was a beautifully executed pass and catch.
    Good Jason David: David, the Saints' marquee free agent acquisition this year, forced a fumble from Reggie Wayne, scooped up the ball and returned it 55 yards for a game-tying touchdown. Admittedly, he was able to do this because he had just let Wayne catch the ball right in front of him. Also this was the Saints' only touchdown of the game.
    Bad Jason David: David, the Saints' marquee free agent acquisition this year, went on to surrender two more touchdowns to Reggie Wayne in the second half; one for 45 and another for 28 yards as the Colts continued to dismantle the Saints' defense. Admittedly sometimes when a defensive back appears to be burned on a big play it's actually the fault of a safety or nickel back who was expected to provide help on the coverage. However, after the game, Daivd said,
    "All the plays you saw, that's on me," David said. "No one else to blame"

    Really Bad Jason David: During the fourth quarter, NBC produced a graphic which indicated that David, the Saints' marquee free agent acquisition this year, had been the target of Colts passing plays 7 times. 6 of those passes were completed for a total of 147 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wow.

    Jason David: The Saints' marquee free agent acquisition this year

  • Meanwhile the Colts D had little trouble handling what was expected to be one of the league's top offenses this season. The Saints O-line was manhandled almost as badly as their defensive front. Even when there was running room to be had, the Colts swarmed quickly. I don't remember seeing a Colt miss a single tackle all night. For now we'll give credit to the Colts and expect the Saints' O to have better days in the coming weeks. That Saints defense, however may be another story.

    Give the one-armed man and the Saints' offense a mulligan... this time.

  • Was there something wrong with Reggie Bush's shoes? He appeared to lose his footing on the turf several times. BTW, Bush this game: 3.2 yards per carry. Nothing new there.

  • Uh oh, the kicker still sucks. This will cost the Saints a game at some point.

  • Despite all of this, and despite the fact that the Colts had jumped out to a 14 point lead; early in the third quarter, I found myself texting to r that it wasn't yet quite so bad and there was plenty of time left to rally. Almost on cue, the Saints immediately mounted a gutsy drive into Indianapolis territory. A touchdown at this point would have had them right back in the game. Facing a crucial 3rd and 9 at the Colts' 48, Brees hit Eric Johnson over the middle for an apparent first down. But it was all for naught as the Saints were offside on the play. Penalties on big third downs like that will kill you every time. On the ensuing 3rd and 14, Brees was intercepted. I believe the kids are fond of saying, "And so it goes" here.

We'll have more on this if Soupy has anything interesting to say this afternoon. Otherwise, get over it. It's just one football game. There are fifteen remaining... seven of which I think we might even win.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Waiting For Nagin

Ray Nagin now has less than an hour to qualify for the Governor's race if he is indeed interested. This morning, Nagin said he was "having great fun" with the speculation. I am also having great fun with this and very much hope he runs in order that he may add some entertainment value to this horribly boring election. A few weeks ago, the politics panel at RT2 was having a bit of fun their ownselves with this speculation. Unfortunately, I was only partially paying attention since, at our table, I was too busy pointing out to Varg the following quote in that Saturday's T-P:

"It makes no sense for me not to be engaged in the governor's race," Nagin said during an interview Wednesday. "That's where the money goes. . . . All the money from the federal government flows through the state."
Come on, Ray. Wake up and smell the money. We need you in this race so we can continue having great fun.

Update: Sadly, it was not to be. But hey, don't fret. Check out the fun cast of clowns running for Council At-Large. Kaare Johnson? Really? That Kaare Johnson?


Assuming he actually gets a budget... or at least an office... at some point, what exactly does an Inspector General do on a daily basis? Sit around and wait for someone to be corrupt? Does he hang out in the bus station bathroom looking for "suspicious characters"? Really, what does he do?

Great Expectations

This morning in Indianapolis preparations are underway for the now annual festival of gaudy excess that has become the NFL's opening game. Prior to the kickoff of tonight's game between the Saints and Colts, football fans will be treated to 30 minutes of entertainment with all the style and class that we expect from the National Football League. The pregame show, NFL OPENING KICKOFF 2007 PRESENTED BY SPRINT, will be available via your Sprint mobile phone/TV gizmo that the NFL and Sprint are expecting you to immediately run out and buy. It will also feature additional conspicuous advertising for PEPSI, GMC, and COORS. There will be performances by such artistic luminaries as FAITH HILL, KELLY CLARKSON, JOHN MELLENCAMP, and also HINDER. Wait minute... what the fuck is HINDER? Oh I see. I assume from that website they're the latest incarnation of the Backstreet Boys. Wow, what an interesting name for a boy band.

When I was growing up, it was often said that the idiotic hype surrounding the Super Bowl could be seen as an indication of the runaway excess, bombast, and plasticity of American popular culture. Cultural critics would point to the obscenity of this annual festering of commercial puss bursting out around a football game and wonder aloud about where it all went wrong. And that was all well and good at the time. But these days knocking the Super Bowl hype is... well.... passe. In fact, by today's standards, the Super Bowl bluster is at least justified by the fact that the championship game actually carries some degree of import within the context of the sport. Tonight's idiocy coagulates around what is only the first of 16 equally relevant minor football games this weekend. And yet we've reached a point where even this occasion demands HINDER via wireless broadcast. The frightening thought is in another twenty years there will undoubtedly exist an event stupid enough to make this seem okay by comparison.

This is only fitting since the twenty year cycle is the theme of the day in South Louisiana. Previously on the Yellow Blog we have touched upon the intriguing threads of commonality between the circumstances surrounding the 2007 and 1987 Louisiana Gubernatorial races. We plan to return to this theme in upcoming episodes but today it is our football, similarly stuck in the late 1980s, that we wish to discuss. Going into this season expectations among fans of the New Orleans Saints and the LSU Tigers are higher than they've been at any point since 1988.

The 1988 Tigers had recently completed a run of reasonably successful seasons under Bill Arnsparger during which they competed in two Sugar Bowls. Arnsparger was a defensive technician with an NFL background who was also something of a nomad. His tenure in Baton Rouge lasted only three seasons but when he left he had built a powerful national championship contender to leave his successor Mike Archer. In 1987, Arnsparger's team took Archer to a 10 win debut season and finished ranked number 5 in the country. Great things were expected of Archer's 1988 squad but those expectations were not to be realized. The Tigers finished with four losses including an inexcusable 44-3 embarrassment at home against Miami. Over the next three seasons, Archer's inability to recruit and overall general idiocy drove the LSU program into a rut from which it would not recover for nearly a decade.

This year the Tigers enter ranked number 2 nationally and the parallels between this season and '88 are striking. LSU has again recently undergone a coaching change from a nomadic defensive technician with an NFL background who built the program into a title contender to a guy with... somewhat unsettling clownish tendencies who has already failed to land one major local recruit. Is Les Miles the second coming of Mike Archer? This weekend's match-up with Virginia Tech will be the first true measure of whether or not the Tigers are headed for another free-fall.

In 1987 the New Orleans Saints enjoyed unprecedented success. After 20 years the team had carved its niche in the city's cultural fabric as one of the sports world's all-time most loveable losers. New Orleans loves football, and New Orleans loves parties. Sure it'd be nice to win sometimes but, to Saints fans, winning always seemed as unlikely as it was far from the point of the event in the first place. Over two decades, the Saints did not once finish a season with more wins than losses. But nonetheless, the team thrived. For those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s, never was a child more aware of the unique flavor of life in New Orleans than during Carnival, and again during football season. Which is why in 1987, when the Saints finally did enjoy their first winning season and their first playoff berth, the accompanying emotional output electrified the city and the entire region. Sure, the team would experience ups and downs over the next twenty years, but nothing would quite match the exuberance of the '87 season until.... well, you know.

The breakthrough success of the '87 Saints set the table for unprecedented expectations of the 1988 team. But, as was the case with the Tigers, these expectations went largely unfulfilled. The '88 Saints finished at a respectable 10-6 but missed the playoffs after faltering badly down the stretch. The following years proved particularly frustrating for Saints fans as a series of teams with championship talent were repeatedly held back by their arrogant, abrasive, stubborn coach. Were it not for the sublime lunacy of Mike Ditka's tenure in New Orleans, the award for worst football coach of my lifetime would have to go to Jim Mora. On second thought, scratch that. At least Ditka was funny. Mora was a humorless pompous asshole and the worst coach I've ever had to watch ruin a football team.

And perhaps that's where this parallel ends. Not only is current Saints coach Sean "Soupy" Payton somewhat less of a jerk than Mora, his refreshing lack of stubbornness gives us hope that he can avoid making the kinds of mistakes with this team that Mora made with his. With his final roster move of this preseason, Payton did something Mora would never have done. He admitted a mistake. Payton cut his fourth round draft choice Antonio Pittman, admitting that the running back had been outplayed by free agent rookie Pierre Thomas. This is the kind of clear-eyed decision making Payton will need if he wishes to overcome the burden of 2007's great expectations.

The Saints enter 2007 in the same position they exited 2006, as the darlings of the national sports media. The vast majority of preseason prognosticators expect the Saints to go deep into the playoffs. Several, including Sports Illustrated, have them actually winning the Super Bowl. Many of your duller sports media types have an annoying penchant for writing about the many ways in which they perceive sports to be some sort of poetic metaphor for real life. I don't know about that, but I can tell you that one way in which sports is exactly like real life is that in both instances one can count on the fact that the professed experts rarely if ever know what the hell they're talking about. With that in mind, here's one self-professed expert's opinion as to what we can reasonably expect from the Saints this season.
  1. The Saints will score lots of points. Or... they will as long as Drew Brees's right arm remains attached to his shoulder. Brees likes to spread the ball around and, this year, he should have plenty of help doing so. Expect Deuce McAllister to have a big year as is often the case with a star runner in his second season back from major knee surgery. The offense could get into trouble if injury-prone starting receivers Devery Henderson and Marques Colston miss significant playing time. But then, Bush plays wideout fairly well and Lance Moore looks like a stud so there is plenty of depth there.

  2. Opposing teams will score lots of points against the Saints. The Saints defense returns nearly all of its starters from last season. That's a bad thing. In 2006, the Saints' D ranked 23rd overall against the run. Its journeyman linebackers were frequently seen being pushed around by more physical opposing runners. Despite some attempts to improve the personnel in the offseason, no free agent acquisition managed to supplant any of the three painfully average starters. One bright spot could be the return of safety Roman Harper who appears to be an aggressive tackler who can make a difference in run support. But overall, this remains a questionable unit.

  3. Winning professional football games is hard. The difference in talent from team to team is so fine a thing that very little can be taken for granted. Looking at the NFC, I'd say it's safe to say that the Seahawks, Rams, Panthers, Eagles, Cowboys, Cardinals, Bears, and probably the 49ers are all at least as talented as the Saints if not more so. I've also got this funny feeling about Atlanta this year. The Falcons already have a pretty respectable defense as well as a decent running game... to go with Joe Horn's mouth on offense. And I can't help but wonder if losing Vick might end up being one of those weird "addition by subtraction" scenarios. Just keep an eye on them.
Given all of this, it seems likely the Saints can play every bit as well this season as they did last year and still finish with something like only 7, 8 or 9 wins. And factoring in the fact that the kicker sucks, I'll have to err on the down side of that and say we're looking at a very exciting, but somewhat disappointing 7-9 in 2007.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Things happening

This may be a light posting area for the next few days. Keep in mind, it seems every time I say that I end up rewriting the entire internet within 48 hours. But for the moment, you may be able to take me at my word. In the meantime, here's what we're watching this week: