Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Been running errands most of the day.

Already got some resolutions on my Yellow Blogging List:

  1. I have a Saints season wrap-up in the hopper that should be done sometime tomorrow if I'm not too hungover.

  2. There will be black-eyed peas tomorrow. Food post will likely follow.

  3. There should be some sort of year-end "What does it all mean" post but if that doesn't get done tomorrow it won't get done. 2007 was pretty crappy overall. It was a very discouraging year for New Orleans beset with some particularly acute ugliness toward the end. On the other hand, I did get a pretty sweet haircut.

Anywhoo... On the way out the door in a few minutes for the obligatory year-ending liquoring up. Have a good one.

Remember, Falling Bullets Kill.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The real reason the Saints-Eagles recap is late

During the second quarter, my brother angrily lamented the general sorry state of defense in professional football (due to the increasingly stupid rules governing contact with receivers that favor offenses) by groaning that NFL now stands for "National Faggot League"

I really really wanted to use that line but I couldn't find a clever way to work it in there that sufficiently masks its blatant ugliness.

The less offensive (but clearly unfunny) notes on that game will have to be folded into the Bears recap.

Watching C-Span

Suddenly it occurs to me that if Huckabee gets the nomination, he really can win this thing.

And that is the extent of my in-depth analysis for today.

Yes, of course, he's a raving nutball but that's hardly a point of disqualification in this field. Huckabee is far and away the slickest nutball amongst the Republicans and I'd say the one that would scare me the most at this point if I'm the Democrat.

Okay now that is the extent of today's in-depth analysis.

More: Via Suspect-Device we get the Buffalo Beast's 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2007 Its blurb on Huckabee (#47) reads:
Democrats see Huckabee as easily defeated in a general election, but they shouldn't be so sure -- Smooth talking preachers tend to do well in this country. Huckabee is well-spoken, kind-faced, and the opposite of wordly -- he's Obama for hicks.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Holidays in the sun

It's 80 degrees here in New Orleans today, December 28. As a result I am finding it difficult to properly feel the Holiday spirit.

I refuse to experience any more weather until they straighten this out.

More Ron Paul Awesomeness

Paul on Evolution:

"I reject it, as a theory"

Get thee off of my upstairs phone extension, Satan

La. town changing phone prefix from 666 to 749


The seriousness of the situation in the streets of some of Pakistan's important towns and cities doesn't seem to me to be being reported in the US press and media. In contrast, Pakistani newspapers are giving chilling details of large urban centers turned into ghost towns on Friday morning, with no transport available, hundreds of thousands of persons stranded far from home, shops closed, and banks, gas stations, police stations and automobiles torched. Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Jacobabad and many others in Sindh Province fell victim to the violence (Bhutto was from Larkana in Sindh but had a residence in Karachi). The police seemed to be AWOL for the most part in these cities, allowing the rioting and looting to go on unhindered.

So here's my question based upon what I understand of the prevailing CW. If the US pushed Bhutto back into Pakistan with the specific intent of propping up and legitimizing the Musharraff regime, why does it make sense for Musharraff to be behind the assassination?

My instinct tells me that Musharraff has different ideas about how to maintain his unpopular military regime and that the Bush foreign policy is as tone-deaf as ever here. And certainly as a Louisiana native, I understand that political actions can be exceedingly selfish and surprising and almost always counter to what Washington might expect.

Update: And now we have a magic bullet-shrapnel-explosive-blunt object theory as well.

I just hope the rioters all over Pakistan don't destroy too many condos.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

One quick thought about the 2007 Saints

Yes, there will be a standard re-cap post since I did get to see most of the game at the airport.

But here's the crucial thing. Nobody should be too disappointed in this team. Sure they got blown out of a few games but they also produced their share of what was at least quite watchable and at times downright exciting football this year. This wasn't a great team, but it was a very entertaining team. And given that plus the fact that it is still your team, New Orleans, you really don't need to bitch all that much. So as long as Benson doesn't raise the price, hang on to your season tickets and we'll see you in the Dome again next year.

It's that time

I made my obligatory purchase of Arthur Hardy's Giant Glossy Book of Advertisements today at Zara's.

Also... nobody could have predicted the Hulk Hogan as Bacchus backlash. Here's what the chair of the selection commitee actually said in the Krewe's defense

“This particular year, because the theme of the parade is 40 years of fun and it’s the 40th anniversary of Bacchus the parade is designed based around pop culture,” Hunt said. “It begins in the 60s, 70s and 80s and so on. It was indisputable that in the 80s the biggest pop culture icon was Hulk Hogan and wrestling and things along those lines.

Hulk Hogan. "Indisputable" king of 80s pop-culture. Yikes.

I'm starting to think Edwards has a shot in Iowa

It's not a very complicated theory. I'm just looking at the tight neck and neck polling and somewhat bitter campaigning between Hillary and Obama and thinking about the way the caucuses work sometimes. It seems possible that chunks of the Obama and Clinton people may swing toward Edwards in various attempts to screw one another. It's not unheard of.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

What I like about Christmas

Local TV stations that create commercials for their news broadcast which incorporate the phrase "Pinpoit Doppler" into Christmas carols.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Black Pants

They never learn. (sigh)

I gotta plane to catch.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Again... who owns your house?

Personally, I'd much rather Feed The Birds... but, as we know, I'm all about the "fripperies"

Holy Crap!

I guess you really can go home again.

Put this one in (or back in) your bookmarks, kids.

The last thing on my list this week was this post

Right now I should be packing. Yes, I'm leaving town Sunday for yet another heartwarming Christmas In Nashville but that's not why I'm supposed to be packing. I'm supposed to be packing right now because that's what it says on The List. For the past two weeks, The List has dominated our existence. No one in this household has made so much as the slightest move that has not been dictated by it in some way.

What is The List? Oh I think you know. Many of us make one... or at least some version of one... during the Holidays. It usually comes to us in that moment of panic a few weeks before Christmas when we are suddenly struck by the organizational challenge of selecting, acquiring, and shipping/delivering the obligatory knickknacks and ephemera to the appropriate persons, figuring out the travel agenda (if applicable), figuring out who will feed that cat while you're away (again, if applicable), attending the obligatory social gatherings, witnessing the obligatory holiday exhibits of festive decor, and still maintaining the regular routine of bullcrap (i.e. work, laundry, cooking, cleaning, getting shitfaced, watching football, etc.) Not everyone's list is rigidly structured. Most of us don't even right it down. But there is a point when we take a look ahead to the coming holiday tasks and admit to ourselves that meeting these tasks requires at least some mental outline of a plan of attack.

Now, I'm not the world's most organized individual so usually when I decide it's time to take stock of my holiday chores, the list that foments in my mind usually ends up looking something like this:
  1. I need to do some stuff
  2. When am I off next?
  3. There should probably be booze involved at some point
  4. Eh I'll get to it eventually

And that's usually all I need. Somehow it all works out. And then I end up panicking again the next year... and making out much the same sort of list... and it all works out again.

Lately I've come to understand that this is not how it works for everybody. One specific body for whom this does not work is Menckles. A few weeks ago, the poor girl was struck by such a moment of urgency that she decided the only way to get a handle on the holiday this year was to draw up a detailed list of every freaking event in our lives between then and Christmas.

It is a startling thing to behold, this list. Menckles has mapped out this month with an awesome fastidiousness going so far as to remind herself on which occasions she is expected to "Have fun." Some entries on The List actually read, "Go to staff party. Duck out and go to other party. Have fun." Yes, the fun begins once the staff party has been abandoned.... but, again, only because The List says so.

The List also, naturally, contained an itemization of who in Menckles's life was getting what for Christmas and when each gift would be delivered. But that quickly became a security risk since my present was there on The List in plain view. Okay, in her mind it was a security risk since I tend to keep my distance from The List myself and am highly unlikely to go peeking at it. Nevertheless, Menckles crossed the item out... then got some scissors and cut out the sliver of paper on which it was written and, yes, ate it. Menckles is a very strange person.

I tell you all of this because when I tell you that as Menckles and I were on our way to the Superdome last week and that r texted me to ask whether or not I remembered to bring her out Eagles tickets (we'll be out of town tomorrow) and that I replied, "Yep. It was on The List" you'll understand what I'm talking about and can feel free to respond, "Are you fucking kidding me?" in much the same way that r did.

I also tell you this so that I can... in a very roundabout fashion... inject the fact that the Cardinals game was our last in the Superdome this season. This may not mean a lot to you, but it's been another fun year for me and I wanted to savor the moment. So I brought the camera. Which, of course, means.... see parenthetical note below.

Saints vs Cardinals (While the majority of these photos are stolen from NOLA.com as usual, a select few are ORIGINAL MEDIA and will be so indicated. Watch for it!)

  • As we approached the Dome for the last time this season, I had kind of a bad feeling about things. The crowd was noticeably smaller. It was leaving a noticeably smaller trail of refuse and empty beer bottles along the sidewalk than at any time this season. What was wrong with everybody? Did they not know the Saints were still in the playoff hunt? Could they not take this one Sunday out of their busy holiday schedules to at least show up? Why was this not on everyone's List?

    Granted, Saints fans are a typically late-arriving crowd, but this time a lot of people just didn't show up. Here is a look at the seats just below the press box during the second quarter. Where the hell was everyone?


  • Not Reggie (Stecker Model): 22 carries 95 yards 2 touchdowns
    Now I really must apologize in advance here, but I beg you to indulge me one more time as I say this.

    Sweet Jesus, Reggie Bush sucks!

    I said that a lot on Sunday. Judging by Not Reggie's number of carries, it looks like I probably said it about 22 times. This week on WWL radio, I caught Drew Brees describing Aaron Stecker as "a football player" I wonder, then, what we can describe Bush as... since it must be something of a contrasting nature, right?

    Not Reggie playing football

  • With Not Reggie carrying the load on the ground, the Saints' offense is ten times better. A ground game doesn't have to be spectacular to be effective. In the Saints' case it just needs to provide enough of a jab to set up the haymakers being thrown by Drew Brees. Earlier this season, we criticized the Saints's passing game as one-dimensional... limited to intermediate routes... and far too easy to defend. This is obviously no longer the case.

    In addition to a respectable running game, the Saints' offense has brought its deep passing game back. Over the past few weeks, Brees has been taking more shots downfield. He's been able to do this because the running game helps slow down the pass rush, but I've noticed that he seems to be moving out of the pocket more often as well. Whatever it is, it's working. Brees was 26 out of 30 last week... and two of those incompletions were tipped at the line of scrimmage. But I hate to sound too positive here so I'll say those balls might not have been tipped if Brees weren't so damn short.

    NOLA.com doesn't have a photo that illustrates Brees's height... but this drawing of him looks pretty short... if you take away the halo

  • For a while there I thought Edgerin James was killing the Saints. But they got it under control. Their run defense continues to impress overall. They'll be tested tomorrow by Brian Westbrook, though.

  • I still think the most impressive thing about the defense this year has been the emergence of Roman Harper. Harper collected a ball that had ricocheted off of Troy Bienneman's foot for his second interception in as many weeks. But Harper hasn't made his biggest contribution as a ball hawk. The Saints like to blitz him a lot and, in this role, he has been a major disruption against the run and pass. Even when he doesn't make the tackle, Harper is usually in position to force a mistake by an opposing QB or plug a hole in the line.

    At the other safety position, Kevin Kaesviharn seems to fill the injured Josh "Never Mind The" Bullocks' role quite well. He may have won the job permanently.... which kind of sucks since Bullocks has the better nickname and the better jersey number.

    Here Roman Harper celebrates moments after successfully spelling the word Kaesviharn

  • The biggest play of the game might have been Steve Weatherford's open field tackle of Steve Breaston in the second quarter which likely saved a touchdown. The tackle set up Harper's interception which came on the next play.

    Steve Weatherford is a "football player" unlike...say... Reggie Bush

  • Kicking that doesn't suck: Tiny new Saints kicker Martin Gramatica and his amusing hair were a perfect 1/1 on his field goal attempt and 4/4 on extra points. Gramatica's kickoffs need a little work but we can't have everything, I guess.


  • Good David Patten: Veteran David Patten has more than adequately filled the spot in the Saints' lineup vacated by Joe Horn during the offseason. Sunday, Patten caught 4 passes for 71 yards including a 32 yard touchdown on a beautifully thrown ball from Brees during the second quarter.

    Patten hauls in the long ball... just like Devery taught him to!

    Bad David Patten: Patten very nearly screwed the Saints big time in this one. With 7:22 remaining, and the Saints up by a touchdown, Patten took in a pass from Brees and ran for what would have been a long gain had Patten not been brandishing the football in one arm extended away from his body as though it were a lit flambeaux torch. Even before Patten was tackled, Menckles shouted, "Oh my God he's gonna drop it!" I wonder if that was on The List. Anyway, Patten didn't have to feel too bad about his stupid fumble because the defense held the Cardinals to a three-and-out. But.. boy was that close!

    Anyone care for a football? DP doesn't seem too attached to it.

  • Of course this game came down to the moment we all knew it would. With 2:16 left in the game, the Saints faced a 2nd Down and 7 from the Arizona 36. Make one first down and the game is over. Grandmas all over the Gulf South sat on the edge of their Craftmatic adjustable beds waiting to see if Coach Soupy would reach once more for the back of the playbook for that double flea-flicker end-around statue-of-liberty play he's been running at home on his X-box all year.

    Not this time.

    Pierre Thomas off right guard. 11 yards. Game over. Thank fracking God, now let's all go Christmas shopping!

As we left the Superdome for the last time in 2007, I swear I saw a sign on the ground that read "For Every Reverse Run, A Grandma Will Be Destroyed" But the sign had already been ripped down and trampled over by exultant Saints fans so it was hard to tell if that's what it said exactly.

We did manage to catch this group of theatrical fans leading the crowd in a "2 bits 4 bits" chant just outside the gate. I've preserved the moment for you with this last bit of ORIGINAL MEDIA

Tomorrow the Philadelphia Eagles can end the Saints' season in the same way the Saints ended theirs last year with a win in the Superdome. I can't tell you right now how that's going to turn out. I can tell you that it doesn't say anything about an Eagles win on The List.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Murder on the Magazine Street Express

From the looks of things, the Puccino's on Magazine and Ninth appears to have shut down. Which one of these other coffee houses within walking distance on the same street could have put them out of business?

Was it:

The Starbucks four blocks away?

The CC's three blocks away?

The Rue across the street?

Or was it.... all of them? (eerie music)

I certainly hope that now someone will have the good sense to open another sushi restaurant in that building.

Aw who am I kidding? We all know it will be a PJ's

My blog sucks

While we're over here having all sorts of fun with the drama and the histrionics and whatnot, there's Oyster over there actually putting two and two together as usual.

NOLA.com commenters

I think they're far more representative of the actual feelings of the populace at large than people give them credit for. Just a thought.

Don't Tase Me, Bro

First-hand accounts of yesterday's festivities



New Orleans Nation

Meanwhile: One landlord tries to assist his tenant's attempt to avail himself of the wonderful opportunities available for those interested in taking advantage of the massive housing assistance surplus.

You know who really loses in the midst of the housing controversy?

The people who come here to read about the Saints. In what's become a season of missed deadlines for me, I've been once again pushed woefully behind schedule here. Fear not. There will be useless football analysis at some point this evening. (This time complete with actual original multi-media features!) Meanwhile, try not burn down any condos.


This one doesn't quite fit the theme either..... but whatever...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Idiot celebrity political endorsements

It must stop. Please stop.

Are all the condos still ok?

NOLA.com is gleefully liveblogging the council vote.

Who owns your house?

In most cases, the freaking bank owns your house. Many of you are either buying or pretending to buy it from them, usually over a period of thirty years.... otherwise known as a very very large chunk of your lifetime. (Jesus! Most violent offenders do not receive thirty year sentences.)

Now this is a perfectly agreeable financial arrangement for many people to enter into if 1) they have the cash and credit to do so and 2) their lives are structured in a way that makes such a commitment amenable to them.

In other words, there's nothing wrong with it. But it doesn't grant you a morally superior status over people who are either unable to or who choose not to enter into these indentures. It does not give you the right to deny that people have some right to housing.. or to ... say... tell such people how big their television should be. Please stop pretending it does.

Note: the link in this post is meant to be read as a link to the very long discussion below the linked post and is in no way a disparagement of the views of the author of that post who... as far as we can tell... is expressing merely the view that others may have some views as to the views being expressed by some. I hope that clears things up.

Outside Agitators

This morning on WWL Stacy Head used the term "Outside Agitators" to describe the public housing protesters who came to her house yesterday. During the recent Gubernatorial election, the local blogosphere erupted in outrage over Bobby Jindal's use of this "racially charged codespeak" to describe the Jena 6 protesters. Stacy Head just did the same thing. Will she be similarly chastised?

Uh... no.... no she won't.

Update: During the interview, Head also described this as a choice between "preserving historic buildings" and "choosing a wonderful new community". Since we all know that there is no settled and contracted plan for re-development of most of these properties, can we not reasonably assume that what Head means by "wonderful new community" is a community with fewer poor and black people in it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Yet another damn Christmas video

Okay this one's not quite so unintentionally funny but it is seasonal... and kind of funny... and well I've always preferred this ending anyway.

Back to square one?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the city had already agreed to a "Demolition Review Process" shortly after the demolition story broke earlier this year. But they weren't actually upholding that agreement and that's why they were being sued.

So... why is this better now?

News? Opinion? Who the fuck knows anymore?

Of all the slimy behavior of the local media since the very beginning of the housing debate, I think this is probably the worst.

Hack Like Me

I admit I've been a bit on the cranky side as of late. Maybe I've got the holiday blues. Or maybe I'm just irritable from suffering the dull nausea and lethargy of my increasingly nasty and frequent hangovers. It could also be that I'm jittery over the fast approaching crescendoing of the political silly season with the Iowa Caucus nearly upon us.

I've been preparing myself for the coming onslaught of campaign bullshit and cliched celebrity journalism by reading Matt Taibbi's Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season. It's more or less a collection of Taibbi's columns from the 2004 campaign many of which I've read before. But they are well worth revisiting as the new election cycle kicks in if only to temper the inevitable outrage with a reassuring dose of "Yeah, well it's still just the same shit that always happens."

This collection is a ringing indictment of the utter stupidity and insulting phoniness of the American electoral system and the idiotic press coverage that fuels it. One highlight finds Taibbi attempting to edit all of the "bullshit" out of John Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic convention to see if there is anything of reliable substance being communicated. The results are telling.

It's not fair to expect brilliance from politicians. It's not fair to expect them to be charismatic, or to electrify the hall with their speaking skills. It's not even realistic to expect them to tell you what they actually think about things.

But it is fair to demand that they at least make an honest attempt to tell us something about something. Give us some kind of plan; explain something to us. John Kerry has had a front-row seat to the inner workings of the highest levels of the U.S. government for nearly 20 years. He knows more about how the world actually works than all but a handful of people in this country. He has something to tell us.

But what does he do? He climbs up a mountain of cliches, shouts "Think Positive!" from the summit and then calmly skies down into a sea of champagne and confetti with a toy M-16 draped over his shoulder. That is a gross insult, both to our intelligence and to our natural human desire to have some kind of active role in the management of our own affairs—and we all ought to be mighty pissed about it.

Don't get me wrong. Kerry said nothing in this speech, but nothing is still a vast improvement over the other guy. Maybe that's what he was thinking. Just don't tell me this is a great speech. It isn't. It's crap and an affront to human thought. This incredibly cynical politics of mechanized pandering and condescension poisons all of us. And the worst thing is, John Kerry is smart enough to know this—and he doesn't care. Not as long as he's still in this thing, anyway.

When I was done cutting, there were only two lines left.

I was born in Colorado.

America can do better.


Read the whole column
. It's a fine example of Taibbi at his best.

Taibbi's major contribution to the record of 2004 was his unrelenting assault on campaign coverage and the ways in which it dumbs down our already hopelessly stupid politics. The problem isn't so much that presidential campaigns consist mainly of candidates wandering the countryside spitting meaningless wads of focus-group tested buzzwords at the crowds. The problem is that the journalism emanating from these contrivances regularly pretends that something significant has happened.

If you want this to change, if you want politicians to stop condescending to you and feeding you bullshit, if you want the press to stop treating campaigns coverage like they would a celebrity gossip column, then the first necessary step is to stop lapping it up. The only way to convince them that you are not a child is to keep throwing their crap back in their faces until they have to either deal with you honestly or just go the fuck away. No one did this better than Taibbi in 2004.

And this is why it's so disappointing this week to find Taibbi happily swallowing a pile of the same crap that he rejected from the Kerry campaign now that it is being shoveled out (a little more artfully, perhaps) by the Obama people. Taibbi's latest column in Rolling Stone is exactly the kind of beauty pageant journalism we find him constantly railing against in Spanking the Donkey. The difference is that, unlike the journalists he made his reputation attacking, we can be reasonably certain that Taibbi knows better which makes this kind of thing all the more dismaying.

The column, instead of focusing on what kind of a President Obama might be or who he represents, concerns itself primarily with Obama's challenge in the campaign which is, in Taibbi's words, to "sell himself sell himself not just as a candidate but as an icon, a symbol of the best possible future for twenty-first-century multicultural America." One already wonders if we are choosing a President or a breath mint.

But, as we have said already, Taibbi knows better than to be this blatantly stupid so instead he tries to justify this tired narrative by hiding behind a series of "crowd reaction" quotes from Obama supporters about whom he concludes

Normally the sight of prospective voters muttering platitudes about "hope" and "change" would make any reporter erupt with derisive laughter, but at Obama events one hears outbursts of optimism so desperate and artless that I can't help but check my cynical instinct. Grown men and women look up at you with puppy-dog eyes and all but beg you not to shit on their dreams. It's odd to say, but it's actually moving.

See, the "puppy dog eyes" of these voters are just so gosh darn cute that we can certainly check our "cynical instincts" and just let them say whatever stupid shit they want to. It's a clever way for the author to simultaneously remind us all of his superior intellect while passively allowing his puppy dogs to take the fall for the load of crap he's about to endorse. I'm sorry but, no, you don't get to do this.

What follows, in short order, is Taibbi endorsing a load of crap. First there's this,

But mostly, Obama is selling himself. When he talks about "showing a new face to the world," it's not exactly a mystery that he's talking about his face. In person, Obama is a dynamic, handsome, virile presence, a stark contrast to the bloated hairy shitbags we usually elect to positions of power in this country.

I submit to you that the only thing that distinguishes this paragraph from the vapid personality-driven crap we read from Maureen Dowd on a regular basis is the presence of the word, "shitbags".

And now read this,

But once Obama showed up, the sarcasm evaporated. There was nothing remarkable about Obama's speech and subsequent Q&A session, except that he delivered every line with the force and confidence of someone who's already been president for years. Obama's shtick is to sell his future presidency as one that would recast America as the good guy of the world, one that would be guided by the principles of basic decency ("This isn't just about drawing contrasts. It's about doing what's right"), openness ("Not talking [to other countries] doesn't make us look tough. It makes us look arrogant") and a vision that embraces the challenges of this century ("The task of the next president is to convince the American people that global interdependence is here to stay. Global trade is not going away. The Internet is not going away").

And now go back and re-read the Kerry piece I linked above and you'll find Taibbi mercilessly cutting the same sorts of phrases out of Kerry's speech on the quite correct grounds that they are "bullshit."

If Taibbi wants to engage in the kind of hackery he built his reputation knocking, the least he could do is provide us with some slightly less transparent hackery. But Taibbi hasn't quite mastered the form yet. For some reason he still feels obligated to provide us with some facts about the candidate such as the following.

1) Obama has raised $80 million for his campaign primarily from the same lobbys and interests that are backing Hillary.

2) Obama's (short) voting record in the Senate indicates that he will be every bit as responsive to these interests as would any Clinton... or Bush for that matter.

After reading an article in which author acknowledges these facts and yet goes on to write that the candidate has a "whiff of destiny" about him and that he is a "symbol of the idea that not everything in our politics is rigged" one's only logical response has to be, "Are you fucking stupid, or what?"

Therefore, while his game certainly could use a little polishing, I think we can say that the first player to advance in Wimblehack 2008 is Matt Taibbi.

How can this be?

I thought all the cameras Uptown deterred this kind of crime.... or shot lasers at it or something. Obviously what is needed here is more cameras.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Splitting the looney vote

Ron Paul polling about the same as Alan Keyes

Alert the grandmas

We could hit a rough patch here

Another milestone

Today Chris Rose published his seventy kabillionth permutation of the "Gee That Ray Nagin Sure Is Wacky" column. This time, he was sure to mention Hannah Montana in order to maintain his hep quotient.... or perhaps his creepy old dude quotient. I can never decide which.

Note: I wish to make a conceptual entry in the never-ending Christmas video war. It would involve Rose singing White Christmas in front of a stack of copies of his stupid book. Actually... no... that's probably actually happened somewhere. Make it a duet with Hannah Montana and then I think you've got something.

Better Democrats

What Athenae said

...Because what he (Dodd) did today was to stop trying to convince me he should have the job, and just start doing the job. He did what leaders do: Get out in front of the thing nobody else even notices is happening, and take it where it ought to have been in the first place. He made an example out of himself. He could have done this thing, where he went on the Sunday shows and talked about how Democrats really ought to be strong leaders and they ought to put aside their own interests and work for their constituents and they really ought to do this, that and the other fucking thing. He could have talked all day long about what Democrats should be doing.

Instead he got up, as a Democrat, and did it.

Meanwhile the "serious" candidates are fine tuning their posing skills as they search for just the right affectation that will communicate their "confidence" to voters.


Ever get the feeling that some of these reporters are just biding their time until they get that first novel published?


Now I am teh hungover.

A few weeks ago I had a bird tell me that this would be Jack Nicholson. But I don't trust that particular bird all that much. Should know shortly.

Also... the Bears suck.

Update: Nah it's Hulk Hogan. Geez I guess Dee Snider wasn't available.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Twenty minutes left to this week and I'm really just waiting to go at this point. Sure there's Stuff To Do this weekend, but I'm too involved with the Christmas shopping and the computer crap and whatnot to pay much attention at the moment. You're all on your own, then. Try not to destroy any condos.

Saints 2007: Mission Accomplished

That's it. I don't want to hear anymore bellyaching from Saints fans this year. Your team has accomplished the only goal of true import for any Saints team. They have swept the Atlanta Falcons. Now Joe Horn can shut up. Now animal lovers across the country can feel vindicated. Or at least now maybe sportsblabbers across the country can stop saying "Michael Vick, Michael Vick, Michael Vick...." over football games in which Michael Vick is not participating.

Okay that last one is asking a bit much. But regardless of what happens over the next three games, the Saints are 2-0 vs Atlanta this year. And for most Saints fans of a certain generation, anything beyond that is just gravy.

These are the much-delayed observations from Monday night's Saints-Falcons game. (I still haven't cleared the bugs out of my computer. Teh football blogging suffers as a result. I can still steal pics from NOLA.com, though)

  • Soupy is an annoying dude sometimes. After being burned all week in the media for calling an unnecessary and risky reverse in the final minutes of a game his team very nearly had in the bag (endangering the life of Phil Anslemo's sorta-look-alike's grandma), Soupy had his players open the very next game with a similar end-around on the first play from scrimmage. Soupy was clearly "sending a message" here. Payton continued to display an aggressive, balls-out approach to strategy by having his team unsuccessfully attempt to convert a 4th and 1 from their own 33 yard line. I'm sure we're all impressed. We would be more impressed, however, if the coach would purpose his game-plan toward defeating the other team on the field instead of communicating snarkily with the fans.

    No grandmas were harmed during the running of this ineffective QB sneak.

  • Jason David was burned again. It ended up not mattering much though since the Falcons started an insurance salesman at quarterback and were in bad hands, so to speak, on offense throughout the evening.

    No grandmas, animals, or opposing defenses were harmed by this Atlanta quarterback.

  • The Saints defense (currently 8th in the league against the run) held yet another team well below the 100 yard mark. This was one of the team's major weaknesses in 2006. It has been a strength throughout much of 2007 with almost no change in the defensive personnel.

    One change on defense this year has been the addition of a healthy Roman Harper at safety. Harper has been an excellent tackler in run support and has been used effectively in blitz packages. Monday, he returned a rare interception for his first NFL touchdown and a well-deserved opportunity to celebrate.

    He's no Sammy Knight yet, but Harper looks like a keeper.

  • In the first quarter, the Saints assumed possession of the football on their own 1 yard line. They then drove 99 yards in 6 plays finishing with a 25 yard touchdown pass to David Patten.

    In the second quarter, the Saints assumed possession of the football on their own 6 yard line. They then drove 94 yards in 13 plays finishing with a 15 yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston.

    This was a fun game to watch.

    Brees starts the Saints on a drive that would go the length of the field. This sort of thing can only be accomplished while wearing the proper pants.

  • Marques Colston, by the way.... maybe not the next TO, but quite possibly the 21st C version of Eric Martin... which is certainly saying something.

    Colston wrestles the ball away from a linebacker whom he dwarfs in stature.

  • Not Reggie (Thomas model): 6 carries for a respectable 31 yards

    Not Reggie (Stecker Model): 20 carries 100 yards

    Not Reggie is the first Saint to rush for 100 yards all season. This is a very telling statistic. In the still unlikely event that the Saints make the playoffs, can there be any doubt that Bush's injury is a major turning point for the better?

    Yeah yeah, just keep that MP3 player loaded, dude. I wonder if he's listening to Ciara.

  • Uh oh it sucks to be the kicker. Olindo Mare's season of unfortunate events reached its inevitably sad conclusion Monday when he suffered a dislocated hip injury covering a kickoff late in the game.

    Mare has been replaced on the roster by veteran Martin Gramatica and his amusing hair.

    Should Gramatica somehow happen to miss his first field goal attempt as a Saint, I have pledged laugh to my ass off.

  • Hey, look, we killed a coach. Following his team's dreadful performance against the Saints Monday, Falcons coach Bobby Petrino literally skipped town. Petrino immediately got the heck outta Dodge and snapped up the vacant position at the University of Arkansas without so much as a word to his team. He actually left "Dear John" letters to the Falcons players taped to their lockers.

    Wow. What a spectacular asshole. Here's a guy who actually deserves to lose to Les Miles's team next year.

The Petrino incident could also put a damper on the Saints win since it reveals the extent of the disarray the Falcons were in at this point in their season. The Arizona Cardinals will be in a much better frame of mind when they visit the Superdome to battle the Saints for whatever scrap of playoff aspirations the two teams still cling to. But even if the Saints find themselves knocked out of the picuture come Monday morning, they can still look back fondly on a season in which they swept Atlanta.

Now... back to de-bugging that computer of mine....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"A team of people with diverse marketing backgrounds"

More unintentional self-mockery from the Ron Paul people

More Shock Doctrine

E has been doing the best job of writing about the ongoing housing crisis. Here he does another admirable job of cutting through some of the polarization regarding the projects themselves.

The stop the demolition movement seems to be much more about forcing government to somehow address the housing crisis BEFORE going ahead with demolition plans, given that many argue these projects could be viable short-term emergency housing options.

There is no reason there can't be compromise on this issue. Why not increase aid vouchers to give people a better chance of finding market apartments? Why not quickly remodel one or two of the project complexes and while taking down the others? Why not force developers and HANO to have a redevelopment contract in place before beginning demolition so that we can guarantee that these land tracts will not sit empty (like Magnolia)? Why not begin a program in which salvageable homes slated for demolition are distributed to working families so that our city is not dismantled into empty lots? I mean have you read what Karen Gadbois has been saying?

And I think this is the point. The fight against these demolitions isn't really about pushing people back into "housing gulags" as some have charged. But it is about pushing back against a government agency that is clearly acting in bad faith. Otherwise E's series of "Why not"s in the above quote would not be met with such silence. Public housing obviously needs to be improved. What we are being sold here, however, is not an improvement so much as it is an abandonment. Whatever replaces these buildings is not going to come close to serving the needs of as many people as the public housing system has served in the past... however inadequately.

And serving fewer people is clearly the purpose of this policy just as it is with nearly every aspect of planning the "New" NOLA. All over town institutions are "re-inventing" themselves with an eye toward smaller and less centralized services that cannot and will not meet the needs of a living, growing city. This is the case with health care, with public education, public transit...etc. All the way down the line hours and access are being cut in accordance with strategic plans which normally have at least two things in common:

1) They are drawn up by outside consulting firms with little or no regard for the specific character and needs of the City of New Orleans.

2) They often state out-loud that the plan is to serve the "smaller" population.

With regard to characteristic 1, I've spent enough time complaining about Ed Blakely, but he is actually merely an exemplar of the kind of consultantocracy we've been dealing with.

The fundamental problem here is New Orleans is not being recovered and rebuilt by people who live in and know the city. Instead, New Orleans is being "reimagined" by people who have only imaginary ideas about what was here in the first place and no stake in what will be here in the future. As a result, the bulk of city services are being planned to serve an imaginary city.

Prior to the flood, New Orleans was an ailing post-industrial city increasingly reliant on the insufficient tourism industry to provide a faint echo of a once healthier, more diverse economy. Back then the tourists were annoying. They came and partied and peed on our houses and then went home and told ignorant stories about a place about which they had no real clue. Who knew that one day the tourists would be re-designing the same neighborhoods they never bothered to visit or understand before?

It should surprise no one, then, that when you let tourists plan your city, what you end up with is a city for tourists. Tourists don't need as many buses in service but they sure do like that streetcar... although they really don't need it to run 24 hours anymore. Tourists don't need to send their kids to school here but they don't mind seeing ours used as guinea pigs in a grand privatization experiment. Tourists don't need affordable housing in New Orleans... but...yes, often they are interested in purchasing a condo here. Listening to a recent recitation of a vision for the future of the library system, I was struck by the repeated emphasis on the library's role in making an impression on visitors as opposed to... you know... serving the population. It's a small thing but perfectly in line with the larger illness afoot.

Characteristic 2 of the "reimagined" New Orleans is the troubling emphasis on the smaller" population. If you consciously plan to serve a smaller population, aren't you, in fact, ensuring that your population remains small? Perhaps a scaling back might be in order if we were grappling with a permanent out-migration over time. But I thought the point of all this was to rebuild a city destroyed by a flood.

Planning a smaller city, in this case, is tantamount to forcing people into exile. It is purposefully working to complete the demolition. Is this really what we want? A small city? How does this strategy square with the simultaneous bellyaching over departing businesses? How does it square with the ongoing argument in favor of maintaining two professional sports franchises?

Yesterday the T-P reported that $294 million has just been designated by the LRA to flow into the as yet dormant plans for building the "New" New Orleans. Will this money buy us a growing and vibrant city? Or will it be spent erecting a quiet, hollow, "smaller" tourist attraction imagined and designed with a tourist's eye for what ought to be important to us?

Please read G-Bitch's take on the tearing down of "Those Buildings"

Oh God, is it over yet?

No. It's still spiraling out of control. Luckily for you bastards, I've decided to sit this out. Just tell me when it's safe to come out of hiding.

At the same time... you really have to... um... admire(?) Greg... right?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Okay so now I have a project

I've been reading about nasty malware and creative ways to remove active .dll files all day.

Although.... something tells me I may be fixing my computer with a hammer before this is all over.

Ready, Ghouls?

Start yer ghouling!

Virtumonde and Smitfraud

Such pretty words. Those seem to be the main culprits in the plot to kill jeffrey's computer. I'm pouring over geek forum threads trying to determine the least painful fix. So far everything looks more complicated than hiding Dollar Bill's freezer cash on his tax return.

Suffice it to say, I am not feeling very Christmasy at the moment. Unlike some people.

Whatever. Maybe then I can afford a house

Bleak real estate market could get worse if city owns, sells property

Ding ding ding

We have unnecessary rhetorical escalation!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Football post is in the hopper

But I don't know how much work it will get tonight on account of my computer having contracted some sort of tropical malady. Just remember, for every one complaint I get about this, one Saint's knee ligament will be destroyed.

Drug problem

I have a problem. Coffee. Weird energy drinks. Thank God I can't afford cocaine.

Why the Gambit irks me

Even the decent writers and... now bloggers... in its employ believe it worthwhile to ask the questions posed here. I will now provide the answers to those questions.

Would New Orleans be safer if the city as a whole shutdown earlier than it did?

A: Dude what are you talking about? Freaking Rouse's closes at 10:00. Pre-K Sav-A-Ctr was 24 hrs. Also, bite me.

Q: Would New Orleans benefit from its citizens drinking less?

A: No, really. Bite me.

Can we separate New Orleans’ identity from its party all the time reputation that goes along with it all?

A: Only the tourists have difficulty making this distinction. Who gives a fuck what they think?

Q: Don’t we complain every year during Mardi Gras about out-of-towners that come in and trash our city, throw up on our shoes and give us a bad name?

A: Sure. But what does this conduct say about the out-of-towners' way of life that may make us think twice about emulating it?

Bwa Ha Ha

Story won't die; Miles talks with Michigan

Update: Ha ha ha ha

New Poster Controversy

This morning we received a supply of posters promoting a few current children's movies. I was shocked to discover the following message in the fine print of one Golden Compass poster.

For every state legislature that approves an Intelligent Design curriculum, a movie theater will be burned down.

The award for the best take on Poster-gate goes to..


Cancer cured

The Saints will make the playoffs now.


My computer seems to have picked up something nasty on its last trip to Thailand. Might have lighter posting until I get that sorted out.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Are all the condos still ok?

I've been busy most of the day with work and with trying to ass-kiss my way back into grad school.

What did I miss? Oh.. okay here we go.

Bush injury could be career-threatening

If Dalton Hilliard's experience is anything to go on.

"What we have here is a fetish"

See Karen's recent post on the continuing city-wide demolitions.

Two years later and we're still watching our city being dismantled.

A different kind of 1 for 1 policy

I have not seen them, but a wwl radio report has it that there are signs posted around town saying something to the effect that for every unit of public housing demolished, a condo will be destroyed in retribution.

Probably just bluster, but things could get very...um... interesting around here.

Update: NOLA.com has a pic As we know, I like to steal their pics so....

Upperdate: Notice the poster is signed "The Angry and Powerless" Heh... try "The Douchey and Unhelpful presuming to speak on behalf of the Angry and Powerless" Mark my words, there is some goofball hipster blowhard behind this poster and whoever it is isn't helping matters.

It is illustrative of the urgency of the situation, but it strikes the wrong tone in a way that tends to calcify people's already polarized positions.

There is absolutely no threat of an assault-of-the-unwashed upon the pristine condo-developments and austere mansions of the "New" New Orleans. Zero. No one with any sense actually believes that such a thing could actually be organized.

However, much of the population of "New" New Orleans is given to fits of senseless hysteria and will now openly arm itself against the threat presented by these posters. Now the demolitions will not only be cleared, they will be carried out without the least bit of remorse.

I suppose sometime afterward that whoever created these posters might wish that they had meant it... but probably not. They'll be too busy patting themselves on the back for their hard-core stand that amounted to nothing.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Who will be the National "Couhig Conservatives"?

Did somebody say brokered GOP convention?

If I'm a Republican I am salivating over this idea because 1) I hate my candidates and 2) If I'm a Republican I still get to be interested in the party nominating mechanism actually being about something other than bombastic marketing bullshit.

Keep in mind, I am not saying this is "good news for Republicans" from a strategic sense. It isn't. But a failure of the bloated phony non-event that is the primary season which results in a political convention where people actually have to figure things out might be good for the democratic process. It's certainly pleasing from a purely aesthetic standpoint.

On the other hand, I still think this is something of a pipe dream. Yes, I get the point that all the GOP candidates suck. But a not-so wise man once said, "You go to war with the... yada yada yada"

I think the GOP primary boils down to yet another of those dismal choices we've become so familiar with in Louisiana. Sure, we end up unhappy with the results but we do end up making the dismal choice.

In all likelihood, the Republicans will end up sticking with one of their horrible candidates. Watching them go through the process of compromise and unlikely deal-making in order to arrive at that choice should be every bit as entertaining watching a Louisiana race... only this time without so much self-loathing involved.

Random notes

  • Yesterday while in line at the grocery, an older gentleman behind me made an unsolicited remark,

    "Awful warm out. Can you believe it?"

    "Yeah... I guess," I grunted before answering, "But I'll bet if we were to have a day like this back in August, we'd be telling each other how cool it is outside."

    He thought about this for a second but pressed on to what I suppose was his point in the first place.

    "Seems like you never know what the weather's gonna do anymore. Seems like nowadays it can be hot any time. It seems that's what happens when they go messing with the Earth the way they do."

    I braced myself for a folksy global warming lecture... but was pleasantly surprised by the finish.

    "You notice, ever since they started going up into space and all that. When they started intruding on God's territory, things start to get out of hand."

    I smiled, "I didn't know they could get that high."

  • I have discovered that there is no such thing as a sandwich that cannot be markedly improved by frying it in butter.

  • More food news. I made a kick-ass chicken and sausage sauce piquant this weekend. It's a good candidate for a recipe post in the future.

  • Friday night, we were doing our regular thing sitting out on the sidewalk in our folding chairs drinking a little, reading a little, bullshitting with the neighbors a little, when a small and half-naked man came walking up out of the neighborhood. He was about 5'6, wearing one sandal, a pair of red shorts, and nothing else. Oh and he was also pretty much covered in blood.

    He stopped and looked at us for a second. There was a gash in his forehead as though he had received a blow from a bat or perhaps fallen hard against the pavement. He asked us in broken English for a cigarette. We didn't have any. He smiled and continued running on down Third Street toward Magazine.

    Menckles looked at me and asked, "Now if the cops come by and ask..."

    I jumped in before she could finish the question "I didn't see a thing."

  • Yesterday while wandering around the Quarter, I noticed this sign.

    Surprised? I was.

Sounds like the pie may have imploded

Moldy City:

On the ten o'clock Eyewitness, Nagin said that weren't many locals left among the homeless population at Duncan Plaza. Get this, most of them are people who have (come) here for work and now the work's dried up. That makes it so much better.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

How does it get this far?

How have all of us, who have seen this fight over public housing coming for two years, let it get this far? The assholes are about to win this fight. This video (via Suspect-Device) merely recapitulates the facts of a storyline we've all been aware of and following, many of us since practically the day the flood waters rushed in.

It is not new. It is not surprising in the least. And yet it still gets this far. Even now, when the bulldozers are on the doorstep, a mighty yawn is welling up in the throat of the Yuppie Left.

Anybody who can should do what e says here. Even if it is too little too late.

If Ray Nagin wants to make himself useful

He could use his unlikely story about how the vote he claims to have possibly cast in the Oct 20 Gubernatorial primary has mysteriously disappeared from the record to call under greater scrutiny the Sec. of State's current plan for a massive voter purge based on... inactivity.

This week, the Sec of State's office provided a list of the names and last known addresses of inactive voters (those who have missed the last two federal election cycles) in 1st Congressional District to the Times-Picayune. The paper published this information in the Tuesday edition in what has to be a borderline violation of these individuals' privacy. Those voters who do not update their addresses might be taken off he rolls before the special election to replace PBJ after his inauguration as Governor.

Purging voter rolls is a serious business which, while necessary from a housekeeping standpoint from time to time, can be tool of abuse and disenfranchisement. For example, a highly questionable partisan voter purge in Florida prior to the 2000 Presidential election contributed to the questionable circumstances under which George W Bush was appointed to office. It is obvious, therefore, that these undertakings must occur under the heaviest of scrutiny.

One way to ensure that the Louisiana purge now sleepily underway is watched a bit more carefully would be for someone to question the reliability of the State's voter participation data. Ray Nagin's fanciful story could do something like that if he presses the issue. If Nagin truly believes his vote was not recorded, that's a serious problem, a problem that we might expect him to raise more than the casual stink over, a problem that we could reasonably expect not to be an isolated incident, a problem that might merit investigation.

But perhaps it's asking a bit much of the Mayor to recognize that an issue like this might not simply be all about him. That is if he isn't just full of shit in the first place which he most likely is. In that case then we can expect to see him go through his usual routine of feigning a momentary half-indignation lapsing into vague sarcasm before letting the matter drop altogether.

Of course, he's far more likely to be on to his next nutty endeavor within a week anyway... at which point we will have forgotten all about this. Hopefully the new Republican Secretary of State will behave responsibly with the voter rolls in the meantime.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Oh good Christ

The entire McLaughlin Group agenda tonight is tedious discussion of Romney's speech. I know McLaughlin is an ex-cleric and all but this really wasn't that big a deal.

Update: Okay so now they're on to the Huckabee thing... but still.. Jesus

More to the point regarding this Yearly Kos business

This morning I wrote,

Markos has exhibited a kind of detached hostility to NOLA in the past.

What I meant by that was.... go read what Ray wrote.

Update: Oh now I see. This is all the work of the devil.


Now there will be cranes

Stuff To Do

  • Shop shop shop! Buy buy buy! Now, you bastards!

  • Other than that I dunno. Celebration in the Oaks is now open daily until the end of the holidays.

  • I think Bingo! is playing tonight... haven't seen that in a while.

Anyway, it's been a crappy week, kids. Try to make the most of your weekend.

Is Rudy! Imploding?

It looks bad. Remember, my money in the GOP horse race has been on Rudy! for quite some time now. This would seem like a good time to change horses, but I'm not ready to do so just yet because... well... the other horses or so astoundingly lame.

Ultimate Insult

Never would have thought that Soupy would be a second choice to Miles.

Update: WWLTV's site contains the following piece of "Breaking News"

During a media briefing Friday, Coach Sean Payton said running back Reggie Bush has a torn PCL in his left knee and is listed as questionable for Monday night's game against Atlanta. Contrary to published reports, Payton does not believe Bush will miss the rest of the season. ALSO: Payton said he has not been contacted about the Michigan head coaching vacancy, despite reports circulating that the university had contacted him.

Department of Useless Shit

Dr. Gray predicts something.

Shock Doctrine kind of morning

Ever have one of those days when you pick up the paper, turn on the internets, look around and think "My God we are so fucked"?

On most days I'm in the mood to sit back and giggle at the buffoonery of it all. But that's just a handy way of avoiding the depression over the fact that this entire process of "recovery" is leading us further and further down the road to having less of a living city and more of a hollowed-out tourist attraction/movie set.

Today the depression is a little harder to avoid. You figure a pretty nifty method of killing off a city would include:

  • Shutting down the public hospital system and making off with the spoils:
    The Times Picayune puts it a bit more delicately, but make no mistake about it this proposal (variations of which have been around for as long as there have been private, for-profit hospitals in Louisiana) is an ideology-driven attempt to tear the last vestiges of Long-ism (read that "paying attention to the needs of working people") from Louisiana.

    Were that all there was to this, it would be a hell of a fight. But, the proposal being floated by these healthcare executives — and, by the Bush administration in the months immediately following Katrina/Rita, by the Public Affairs Research Council (PAR), and the Blueprint for Louisiana group — comes to the fray with the additional burden of having been discredited in other states where similar approaches have been talked about and even tried — primarily Massachusetts.

    The core issue is shutting down the LSU Health Science Center hospitals, formerly known as the Charity Hospital System (also known as the safety net hospitals). And, then "letting the money follow the patient" — right into the coffers of the very people who have made healthcare and health insurance too expensive for all but the wealthiest among us: the for-profit hospitals and the insurance companies.

  • Destroying what remains of the affordable housing infrastructure with no plan for 1/1 replacement.

  • Turning the public education system over to a bizarre experiment in privatization built upon smoke and mirrors budgeting, union busting, and "vocational education" stovepiping.

  • A disingenuous emergency services and flood protection plan fraught with cronyism and indifference at nearly every turn.

  • A callous and city-backed demolition and land-grab scheme which favors the interest of cookie-cutter developers over neighborhoods.

  • Entergy

  • A reduction of most city public services and offices to near skeleton staff level while maintaining only enough of a veneer to please visitors. "Oooh that streetcar is pretty." or "Okay so I found the library. What can it tell me about Jazz?" or "The French Quarter is as clean as Disney World!" You need a link? You haven't been reading Moldy City.

In short, killing a city in the wake of disaster requires three core elements.
  1. An ideological retreat from the very idea that a government ostensibly "by the people" can or should act positively to aid and support those people in a time of need.

  2. A coterie of cronies, contractors, carpetbaggers, and professional self-promoters willing and able to scoop up the spoils associated with this massive dismantling of the social contract.

  3. A Yuppie Left too gah gah over their "blank slate" myth, too distracted by their fear of Dragons, and too quietly enthusiastic over the public housing demolitions to care.

But at least Brad Pitt has put up some nice big glowing pink blocks in a field where people's houses used to be. I think that's very nice.

WTF? Oh, I think I see WTF

New Orleans isn't big enough to handle your weenie blogger convention?

This is the Presidential debate fiasco all over again. I personally couldn't give a shit if the debates or Yearly Kos are held in New Orleans. It's the fact that both the Kos people and the debate commissioners go out of their way to imply that one of the nation's biggest convention and special event venues somehow isn't "ready" to handle their group. It would seem that only in politics is it necessary to reflexively spew this kind of CYA bullshit.

Immediate Update: I take that back. It looks like they couldn't find a facility they wanted. The original quote I read gave me the impression that they were saying the city itself was "too small" when they were actually talking about the one hotel they were looking at.

So really this is no big deal.

Later Update: Of course, there are other theories. For one, Markos has exhibited a kind of detached hostility to NOLA in the past. And one could argue that they weren't actually trying to find an appropriate venue. But I don't really feel qualified to speculate there.

The point remains, I don't give a shit which conventions come to New Orleans and which ones don't for the most part so long as they don't excuse their decision to stay away through some misleading and damaging broadside like the debate commissioners did. And say what you will about the Kos people's reasons for not coming, I don't think they've acted quite as insultingly.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Huckabee's position explained

He wasn't telling them to Free Hat. He was saying he wanted a Free Hat.


Aw crap... okay. (Sigh)

Today on WWL Mayor Nagin addressed a recent report which revealed that he had not voted in the same election in which he publicly berated the non-voting public for their "apathy" while he was busy "busting my butt".

Quoth the Mayor:

“I’m a pretty religious voter,” Nagin said when asked if he voted in the last election. This comes after a recent newspaper article alleged Nagin condemned people for not voting when he himself did not vote in the last election.

Nagin responded, “I don’t believe that report and it causes me to question what’s going on with voting period. I get many reports from people saying ‘Look, I’ve been taken off the rolls, my vote didn’t count’ - now I’m going to be watching my vote a lot closer.”

When asked to respond by saying yes or no, Nagin said “I’m a pretty consistent voter, I only recall maybe one or two times that I hadn’t voted because I was working and the clock ran out and I couldn’t get to my precinct, but other than that I vote.”

When asked if the Secretary of State was wrong, the mayor responded:

I don’t know what’s going on, I’ll tell you I haven’t read the whole report, I don’t particularly pay attention to those kind of reports, but I’m going to watch my voting a lot closer going forward.

Like I said, from my recollection and from the people who ride with me and stay with me, we have voted very consistently.”

In other words, he's saying that while he doesn't have the facts available regarding this recent event from his own life, this one report he didn't read sure makes him suspicious that the vote he didn't cast may not have counted. Thank God we're only talking about (poorly constructed) allegations of voting irregularities instead of garbage collection contracts. Otherwise SCLC might have to get involved.

More on the pink things

Obviously I need to take some time and articulate my feelings on this more clearly at some point in the future.

The blogging format isn't the most conducive to clear non-snarky argument. At least, for me it isn't.

The fact is, I am genuinely disturbed by the absurdity of this kind of "activism". It raises all manner of red (or pink) flags with me.

"Making Right" the destruction laid upon New Orleans by the Federal Flood in its many forms is, to me, a simple matter of justice. The horrifying intractability of "recovery" is something I think we've all come to live with but even today it still has the potential to generate an overwhelming righteous anger in even the most cynical among us at any moment.

When self-involved celebrities and doe-eyed "activists" attach their egos to this incomprehensible injustice via preachy TV commercials, or douchey newspaper columns, or idiotic "tone-deaf" pink blobs it spectacularly exacerbates the sense of outrage while simultaneously undermining one's original belief in its righteousness.

In short, they're not helping so much as making the case that perhaps we are indeed beyond help. It's a very depressing thing to witness.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Nobody could have predicted...

... that Brad Pitt's "tone perfect" bizarre pink house thingy could possibly generate negative publicity of any sort.

It's taken two years

But the rest of the world is beginning to catch on.

Not Realated

None of these stories are related. Except that they are.

Another reason not to like Ron Paul

He supports scabs

Our stupid, scripted, phony, broken politics

What's worse? The fact that this is how the game is played... or the perpetual pretense carried through the media that this is somehow unusual?

via: WCBF

Manhattan Hayride

My, Rudy! and his folks certainly did know how to keep the corruption awfully sophisticated in NYC.

Hopefully someday our humble banana republic will be sophisticated too.


Today's T-P:
The top official with the agency that oversees state-financed construction projects said a contractor is scheduled to begin erecting a fence Tuesday around the perimeter of Duncan Plaza, which will be transformed into a construction site over the next several months.

The barrier around the park, which will stretch along Loyola Avenue and Perdido and Gravier streets, was supposed to go up a week ago, but state officials agreed to delay the start date to give the city more time, said Jerry Jones, director of the Office of Facilities Planning.

"We're trying to make this transition as smooth as possible," Jones said. "We're hoping that social service agencies and the city will step forward.

"We build stuff, so we're probably not the best folks" to find shelter for the homeless.

Jones said members of his staff have visited Duncan Plaza in recent weeks to begin alerting the occupants about the impending work.

"We've tried to communicate to them that this is for their own safety," he said. "And I've been told that they are a good group of people who understand what's happening. They are not a rowdy group of folks."

Shut up

Tom Benson's ghost writer tells the idiot page the he/she is "shocked" to find the T-P not clapping loudly enough.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sean Payton: Granny Killer

Wow, what a weird day that was. Sunday drifted in under an unusual air that should have raised suspicions in even the most oblivious-to-portent among us. The weather was unseasonably warm, even by New Orleans standards. I spent much of the morning out on the sidewalk reading the Sunday paper in the soft balmy air bemused at what I saw at the time as a ridiculous renewal of the LSU-in-the-BCS speculation.

Saturday night's events had thrown the national championship picture into the chaotic hell it perpetually deserves. Being someone who tends to thrive on chaotic hell, I couldn't have been more pleased at the prospect of BCS officials and a thousand TV talking heads trying to convince themselves that any two of the arbitrarily ranked college football teams have anything resembling a legitimate claim to a "national championship" berth. The endless combinations of absurd arguments in favor of any match-up in this sham of a game leave the honest observer with only two conclusions of substance.

1) This year's college football champion will have a greater claim to that title than will my left nut based only upon the advantage of actually being a college football team.

2) Les Miles's team does not deserve a shot at even that glorious distinction.

Okay maybe number 2 needs to be more clear. Les Miles does not deserve a title shot. His team, on the other hand, is at least talented enough to merit such consideration... although it hasn't earned this opportunity outright due to Miles's unsteady guidance.

One month from now, LSU will be closer to completely healthy than they've been since early in the season. At that time, despite having Ohio State greatly outclassed, the Tigers will play another bizarre mistake-ridden game which they will quite likely win in the waning moments... just as they have done all season long. It would be LSU's third national title but the second one in five seasons that at least half the country will refuse to recognize. Two years from now, Les Miles will be out of a job and bitter over being forced to pass up his one and only opportunity to realize his dream of coaching at Michigan.

Sunday morning, I was chuckling at the very thought that Miles's coaching "skills" were still being taken somewhat seriously in the national press. By the time the absurd pairings were made official, however, I was already spent from laughing my ass off at other matters.

Adding to the eerie feeling on Sunday was the late 3:15 kickoff for the Saints game. Fox Sports claims to have moved the start time in order to accommodate a larger television audience. But it's hard to imagine that many folks were actually that interested in the Bucs-Saints showdown. During the week, Coach Soupy hinted that the late start was a way to get the notoriously late sleeping (and therefore late-arriving) home crowd in their seats and ready to yell sometime before the end of the first quarter for a change. But nobody listens to Soupy anymore anyway... or at least perhaps nobody should.

The heretofore unpublished reason for the late start was that it was the most convenient way to allow a select number of Saints fans to spend their mid-afternoon at the Milan Lounge sipping reasonably priced bloody marys and working on their construction-paper Christmas crafts. I am told that the results of our labor are to be displayed at the bar for the remainder of the holiday season but I have not confirmed this at press time so I'll treat you to a sampling of the pieces in the hope that they help to fill your hearts with the spirit of the season. (These are crappy phone pictures. Sorry)

This first one is called The Bloodiest Little Snowman. All the other snowmen laughed and called him names... until one day...

And, of course, those of you who are interested in making the holiday season as faith-inclusive as possible will certainly applaud the appearance of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

And so after a few more drinks, it was with cheeks like roses and noses like cherries that we sprang to our streetcar, gave out a whistle, and rode down to the Dome... well not in the least bit like the "down of a thistle".... I just don't think streetcars move like that.... at all, really.

Saints-Bucs: (Game photos are once again hotlinked directly from the T-P NOLA.com gallery .... because my phone pics taken from the Terrace would have really really sucked)

  • This week's Dome complaint: It has been a long, strange season for Superdome security staff. Is it really necessary to nonchalantly frisk 60,000 football fans in 16 cities every Sunday, every Autumn? It's insulting enough that patrons of professional football pay exorbitant prices for admission and concessions. Must they also be humiliated by the inference that each of them is a "potential security risk" before even being allowed the privilege of shelling out seven bucks for a lite beer?

    Let's be honest. Humiliation is the only real accomplishment of NFL security procedures, such as they are, since all manner of contraband items ranging from liquor to... yes... weapons are doubtlessly smuggled past the less-than-probing welcome pat of the security personnel.

    The procedure is not only ineffective and insulting but also terribly inconvenient as fans are routinely delayed (often well past kickoff) as they shuffle through the pointless cattle stalls trying not to look like someone plotting violence. Plotting violence, by the way, is exactly the sort of thing one is likely to do after being made to stand in the sun under false pretenses for up to 40 minutes before having one's empty backpack confiscated in an absurd adherence to a pointless rule... but I digress.

    So this Sunday, as I braced myself for yet another slog through the "Male" security queue, I and several of the other "Male"s noticed that there was... for the moment at least... no screener at the head of the line. It was as though the pass protection had broken down in front of the ticket taker. At least twenty of us rushed through the opening and breezed into the stadium in a matter of seconds.

    At first, I was exhilarated by this fortuitous turn of events. But once I realized that I had just been afforded a tantalizing taste of how the process should work every week, well, I think it actually made me angrier than usual.

    By the way, it has been pointed out that a prominent member of the Saints staff appears to fit a certain profile. Is he subjected to a security screening before he enters the Superdome? Just sayin'

  • Apart from the unpleasantness toward the end, the Saints played as good a game as they have at any other point in 2007. There were the usual stalled drives, penalties, and dropped passes. But there were also enough big plays on offense and just enough tenacity on defense(despite the big plays that went the other way) to keep the Saints in what was an entertaining and hard-fought game all afternoon. Had it not been for the improper pants, this might have been my favorite game of the year all other things being equal.

    It just looks wrong... like someone's ill-conceived Halloween costume or something.

  • Joey Galloway: 7 reception 159 yards. The guy kills the Saints every time. It was the lead story all week before the game. It will be the lead story next time these teams play.

    Jason David: The Saints Marquee... Oops that's actually Bullocks tailing on the play there. Sorry. Force of habit.

  • Key Stat

    Reggie Bush: 13 carries 64 yards
    Not Reggie: 8 carries 20 yards

    The Reggie/Not Reggie ratio should be the reverse of that in order for the Saints to have anything resembling an effective running game. When Bush touches the ball too much, bad things happen.

    Bush, seen here making something bad happen, had two fumbles and numerous drops Sunday

  • There was a Terrance Copper sighting Sunday afternoon. The elusive and mysterious Terrance Copper was spotted in the south endzone of the Superdome late during the first quarter of a professional football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The reports have it that Copper was seen making a touchdown reception... a particularly rare event according to expert Copper watchers who expect another such sighting may not recur for many months. Those in attendance at this event consider themselves fortunate to have been witness to the rarity.

    There are no pictures available from the Copper sighting. Terrance Copper touchdowns are said to be resistant to photographic equipment.

  • Drew Brees's 45 yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson in the second quarter was the 125th of Brees's career moving him past former Saint Archie Manning into 83rd place all-time. Devery made a nice grab here. He's taken his share of heat this season...and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time for the infamous reverse play at the end of the game... but Devery Henderson is an unassuming kid who tries hard and can be effective when utilized properly (and sparingly). It's still nice to see things go well for Devery on occasion.

    Devery Henderson's 3rd touchdown of 2007

  • Why are NFL referees so hesitant when it comes to all things regarding safeties? Late in the fourth quarter, Will Smith caught up with the Bucs' surprisingly quick QB Luke McCown in the endzone and wrenched him to the ground just before he could cross back over the goal line. It took the officials an unusual amount of time to rule the play a safety despite the obvious visual evidence. NFL referees seem to have a bias against safeties and almost always need to be talked into the call when it's even remotely close. What is it about the safety that frightens the refs so? I've never understood this.

    Uh, guys. The players aren't walking like Egyptians for their health. They're trying to help you out here.

    The safety pushed the Saints' lead from one to three points and gave them the ball with an opportunity to run out the clock. It should have been the turning point of the game were it not for the unlikely subsequent events.

  • Okay so here's what happened. Following the safety, the Saints received the ball at midfield on the free kick. On first down, Not Reggie ran off right tackle for no gain. The Bucs called their final timeout. At worst, the Saints could now take the clock down inside of two minutes and punt if they had to. A first down would have ended the game.

    Someone in our section relayed to us that the LA Times was reporting that LSU might have weaseled its way into the BCS game after all. The crowd was giddy. People were shouting "Great Success! High Five!" in their most enthusiastic Borat voices.

    On the sideline, Coach Soupy had a moment of panic. With so little time left, the final gun was in danger of sounding before he could finish exhibiting his awesome game plan for the admiring throng in the stands. How could the game end now, when he had worked so hard all week drawing up all these super cool plays? Sure the Saints, could sit on the ball and sneak back into the playoff chase, but Soupy was not going to let his genius go unnoticed, not like this, not today. These are the moments that define brilliance.

    In order to satisfy Payton's ego, the Saints executed perhaps the most perfectly inappropriate play in the history of sport. In a situation where ball security and clock management were more important than big gains or points, Soupy had the Saints run a reverse which called for a delicately timed lateral involving the two least reliable pairs of hands on the team. In other words, it was exactly the wrong play featuring exactly the wrong players at exactly the wrong time.

    Reggie Bush bobbled the handoff from Brees, seemed to lose his bearings for a moment, took a few hesitating steps, and clumsily lobbed the ball backwards and well behind a surprised Devery Henderson who lurched sideways in a kind of twisted ballet move and then crawled desperately after it but not before the Bucs had gained possession at the Saints' 37 yard line. The Buccaneers' go-ahead touchdown with 14 seconds remaining was really more of an inevitability than anything else at that point.

    After the game, Soupy was typically apologetic calling it, "the worst job I've done as a head coach." He's got a good argument there. We've said previously that Payton's willingness to admit his mistakes is an unusual quality among head football coaches and at times one of his strengths. But that odd call on Sunday is really just a cartoonish manifestation of Payton's established weakness, namely his tendency to prioritize cuteness above utility in the play calling. Worse, this is a tendency that appears to increase along with the import of the situation. Sean Payton is charged with the management of a team full of egos on a weekly basis, but it seems at the most crucial times, he has the most trouble reigning in his own. It becomes increasingly frustrating to see the same kinds of mistakes repeated week in and week out. At some point, the young coach will have to actually learn from the mistakes he routinely owns up to.

    Soupy still has a thing or two to learn, before his team can "Earn it" on the field

After the game we were waiting for the streetcar along with a crowd of disappointed Saints fans at the corner of Girod and St Charles when our attention rested upon a stout bald and goateed fellow... sort of a dwarfish Phil Anselmo type who was shouting to anyone and no one at once, "Sean Payton tried to kill my grandmother!! My grandmother is about to stab herself in the neck because of Sean Payton!"

It was hard not to laugh. It was equally as difficult to decide whether or not the guy wanted anyone to laugh as he brandished his plastic bottle of Bud Light and continued to regale us all (at high volume) with the tale of his 84 year old grandmother ("She's 84!!") who doesn't have anything to live for outside of Saints football and who very nearly lost her FAITH in even that slight pleasure upon witnessing Soupy's awesome play calling.

The monologue continued as the man wandered into the street and began challenging the oncoming traffic. "Somebody run me a fucking reverse! My grandmother almost died today! Sean Payton tried to kill my grandmother! What?"

He was now standing in the middle of St. Charles Avenue and receiving catcalls from a shirtless white haired man and his wife who were themselves quite obviously liquored up and shouting down from their balcony at the Lafayette Hotel. Whatever they were saying was unintelligible but the Phil Anselmo guy was still enunciating clearly.

"Hey fuck you, go back to Alabama! Somebody take my ass home now!"

The couple on the balcony shouted something about Hawaii. A few moments later, the woman's robe opened up giving us all a full view of her... well let's just say it wasn't the most pleasant thing I've experienced given that the couple weren't too far behind the Anselmo guy's grandmother age-wise.

Thankfully, the streetcar arrived just in time to carry us home before the situation could deteriorate any further. Along the way, our fellow passengers began receiving notification via cell phone that Les Miles's LSU Tigers had indeed received their improbable invitation to Sham Bowl 2008. All I could do was chuckle.