Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

On December 31 of last year, Dr. Morris wrote a short post wishing 2007 a not-so-fond farewell. That post concluded, "Oh, and next year will rock." Ashley was a year early.

2008 was a mostly crappy mixed bag but we are expecting 2009 to rock indeed. I'm looking forward to a less active but more interesting year in politics as the new President takes on the difficult task of cleaning up after the outgoing one, a better Saints result in a make-or-break season for Coach Soupy, the end of the Ed Blakely era in New Orleans, and... some fairly exciting personal developments as well.

In the meantime, though, I've got a pot of gumbo simmering on the stove and team Fire Miles is about to take the field in Atlanta so... it's obviously time to start drinking.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nothing to trade?

In his local politics year-in-review column for this week's Gambit, Clancy Dubos writes the following in regard to Bill Jefferson's legal standing.

Now that he has lost his congressional seat, Dollar Bill has nothing to offer in trade to prosecutors. 2009 is not going to be a good year for him.

Clancy has been making this argument in various venues ever since Jefferson lost the election. Maybe there's some validity to it, but if there is, what does that say about the nature of this case in the first place? If prosecutors would have been willing to accept Jefferson's seat in lieu of prison or.. whatever, doesn't that give weight to the argument that the case against Dollar Bill was politically motivated in the first place?

Obligatory food re-run

At the risk of being savaged once more for neglecting to photograph the pepper mill, I'm re-posting last year's New Year's Day black eyed peas recipe.

Always good for the hangover.

Adrastos likes to say we live in "Debrisville"

The term has more depth of meaning than one would expect.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not-quite-short-enough-for-Twitter Book Review

The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria.

Zakaria marvels at the Chinese government's ability to squelch dissent and level entire neighborhoods to make way for intelligently planned development, laments the untidiness of democracy in India and the United States BUT is really really excited about the way indestructible global capitalism is making life better for everyone in all three of these countries and.... didn't we already read this crap when it was called The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman?

Worth a look for its compilation of interesting facts about China and India but still so full of goofy global-free-market-economy boosterism, one hopes that American policymakers won't be taking it too seriously in the....

Oh crap

Here, the two "Tom Friedmans" explain the difference between a "free market" that exists and one that doesn't.

Exploded Pie

Remember back when we all made a big stink about Louisiana's "fair share" of oil and gas royalties? A larger share of that pie was seen as a crucial funding source in the battle to save our rapidly vanishing coastline. Turns out that revenue stream is rapidly vanishing as well.

Thank God Louisiana's media mavens are still around to remind us that our super-awesome economy continues to "buck the trend"... otherwise we'd all be really fucked.

Update: More on the trends and the bucking and whatnot at Suspect-Device.

Also... Dambala connected these issues (LA oil royalties and coastal loss) last week.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The problem with Dragonslaying

It's basically a self-righteous scapegoating movement that almost always does more to intrude on the lives of regular people rather than curtail any significant abuse of public office. For example, consider the following.

Eddie Price will probably have to deal with a few more headaches over his hotel bill, sure. But the little scandal probably won't kill his career and it certainly won't put an end influence pedaling between high profile pols and their cities' business partners.

It's possible that some city departments will have to do with fewer city-owned take-home vehicles.... although one imagines the odd dispersement of those that remain will go largely unaltered.

Meanwhile, no one will ever bring a librarian cookies again.

After asking the state Board of Ethics last month whether library staff can accept inexpensive and homemade Christmas gifts from grateful patrons, St. Tammany Parish library officials last week received the board's response: Bah, humbug.

Even small gifts, such as "cakes, pies, houseplants, etc., from patrons of the library for their performance of the library employees' duties" are off-limits, according to an advisory opinion issued by the ethics board.

Any employee of a Louisiana public library who receives such a gift from a library patron needs to "return the cookies to the person and say that, 'I cannot accept these cookies under the ethics law,' " said Aneatra Boykin, staff attorney for the ethics board.

But this is what you get when you dabble in the bitter crotchety Scroogery of Dragonslaying. Since we know we aren't really going to be able to do anything about the career thieves, we might as well take out our frustrations on somebody. Better to steal Christmas from cab drivers and library workers, than to do nothing at all.

Meanwhile, in other no-fun news:
Mid-City neighborhood's New Year Eve bonfire may be cancelled 0:59 AM CST on Monday, December 22, 2008

Lesley Simpson / Eyewitness News

Residents of a Mid-City neighborhood will find out today if their annual tradition will be cancelled because of city-code enforcement plans.

Whole lotta humbug out there this Holiday season.

Friday, December 19, 2008

How now, Anh Cao?

I'm of two minds about this.

On the one hand, it makes perfect sense for the representative of a majority black district to seek inclusion in the Congressional Black Caucus. It could be an honest attempt to put himself in position to best serve his constituents. Oyster has often marveled at Cao's "brilliant naivety" or something like that. Maybe that's what this is.

On the other hand, it could be that Cao's self-appointed ambassador to the black community Newt Gingrich is advising this as a means to bait the CBC into taking another round of charges from the right about its supposed racial exclusivity. It could be that as well.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Errands

Busy busy all the time lately. I actually took a vacation day yesterday just to get caught up a bit. Since I was out during the afternoon, I passed by yesterday's protest organized by the Committee to Save Charity Hospital hoping to get a few pictures. But when I got there, there were only about six or seven people kind of demurely pacing along the sidewalk and... well... the whole thing made me kind of sad so I just left. Actually, I didn't really have time to stick around since I had more shopping to do. Eli did stick around, however. You can read about his eventful day here.

On my way back down Tulane Avenue I did manage to get one decent shot. Guess that will have to do.

Don't Demolish Mid-City

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bizarre statement of the day

This afternoon on WIST radio, Kaare Johnson was attempting to reach out to the "Bush haters" who "might be cheering this guy (the shoe throwing Iraqi) on." Kaare wanted the "Bush haters" to understand that... regardless of your opinion of the President, throwing shoes is just "not something that is done in Western civilization."

Despite the odd wording, we all kind of understand what Kaare is getting at. It's probably not a good idea to go throwing things at people just because you disagree with them... or because they have dropped tons of explosives on you and your neighbors. It tends to reflect badly on you and whatever message you're trying to convey.

But then Kaare had to go one step further. To help the "Bush haters" comprehend the magnitude of the shoe-thrower's offensive behavior, Kaare invited the "Bush haters" to imagine that, instead of Bush, someone had thrown a shoe at Tom Benson.



What does it say about this town that Arnie Fielkow is somehow considered an "acceptable" white candidate for mayor, but Mitch Landrieu was not?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Game on

Recession brings harder times to Baghdad

You can tell because of the steady drop in the quality of greeting materials that is only now beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel. The flowers ran out pretty quickly giving way to... exploding things... and now have deteriorated further to...

BAGHDAD — President Bush flew to Iraq on Sunday, his fourth and final trip, to highlight the recently completed security agreement between the United States and the country that occupied the bulk of his presidency and will to a large extent define his legacy.

But his appearance at a news conference here was interrupted by a man, apparently a journalist, who leaped to his feet and threw one shoe at the president, who ducked and narrowly missed being struck. Chaos ensued. He threw a second shoe, which also narrowly missed Mr. Bush. The man was roughly 12 feet from the lecturn in the center of two rows ofchairs, about two feet from a pool of reporters. A scrum of security agents descended on the man and wrestled him, first to the floor and then out of the ornate room where the news conference was taking place.

The president was uninjured and brushed off the incident. “All I can report is it is a size 10,” he said jokingly. An Iraqi accompanying the pool of reporters, colleague said the man had shouted, “This is a farewell kiss, dog.”

Saturday, December 13, 2008

You FAIL pretty

CSPAN today (repeat footage from Thursday) is a steady stream of Senators congratulating one another for their hard work on an auto industry bailout bill they all know is about to fail.

I can't watch anymore. I'm going Christmas shopping.

Louisiana's Worst Person

Ooooh I want to say it's Ed Blakely soooo much... but he doesn't really live here so we go with David Vitter.

Okay so I don't care for Stacy Head very much

I think my councilperson is an annoying yuppie who is generally hostile to poor people like me who live in her district but don't own property. I thought she was a little too gleeful and obnoxious in her support of a Republican Congressional candidate. And I think she was unforgivably horrible during the public housing demolition debate.

But on the other hand, it isn't hard to sympathize with someone who keeps running into this kind of bullying bullshit whenever she wants to ask valid questions about sanitation contracts or crack down on illegal businesses that enable copper thieves.

During a contentious hearing before the commission in late October, 6th District police officer John Favaloro said Smith had continued to buy copper and other metals without recording all the information required by law. Smith said Favaloro and one other officer had unfairly targeted him and that he tries his best to detect people trying to sell stolen metal. Smith's attorney, Thomas McEachin, said Smith has beaten every one of what McEachin called "trumped-up" charges brought against him.

A string of other speakers, including Smith's wife and close friends, testified to his good character. Several, including the Rev. Byron Clay, a leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said they suspected racism was behind the effort to shut down the business. Smith is black. Head is white.

The commission's vote divided along racial lines, with the four black members present siding with Smith and the three white members present voting to rescind his permit to operate. Because two members were absent and neither side got five votes, the issue went to the council without official recommendation from the commission.

In a recent message to neighborhood leaders and Central City residents and ministers, Head said she had wanted to revoke Smith's permit "because of increased complaints, including several criminal arrests and evidence that (the business) is violating city and state laws." She said many of the complaints came from African-American residents of her district who were the victims of metal thefts.

That's right. They said they suspected racism was behind an effort to reign in metal theft in black neighborhoods.

Of course, the fact that the councilwoman makes herself such an easy target for this kind of absurd bullying does call into question her suitability for the office. When you're dealing with people who are willing to cynically use race as a mask for unscrupulous behavior, it doesn't help that so many people are at least half-willing to believe that charge against you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jay Batt is against "the low incomes"

And possesses other such charms.

"I hear"

Where does he "hear" these things?

"She (Stacy Head) needs to do something," Nagin said. "What I hear on the street is that there is a lot of anger and frustration. I hear the next council meeting that some people plan to pack the council chambers and it could get pretty loud."

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Edit: In the original version of this post, I mention my continuing difficulty completing the trademark Yellow Blog game posts this year. I've gone back and rescued some of what this week's post would have said and re purposed it to flesh out this post a bit.

You really have to hand it to the NFL schedule makers. They know how to keep things interesting. That is, they know how to keep things interesting for fans of exceedingly mediocre football teams. Which is to say... they keep it interesting for fans of everybody except the Lions.

Let's face it. Beyond the fact that the Lions suck, there aren't many major points of distinction between the teams with the best records and those in the middle of the pack. The Saints, for example, trail division-leading Carolina by 3 games. Looking back at the Saints' schedule, that difference basically boils down to the kicking suckery of Martin Gramatica vs Denver and Minnesota and two untimely Drew Brees interceptions in the 4th quarter at Tampa.

Had those incidents worked out only slightly differently, the Saints and Panthers would be neck and neck with a showdown looming in the season finale at the Superdome. Failing that scenario, the well-crafted schedule still provides for the intriguing prospect of the Saints finding themselves mathematically eliminated by losing to the Bears in Chicago for the third consecutive season. Neat stuff.

Still, even though the 7-6 Saints could easily be 10-3, this is a fundamentally mediocre football team any way you look at it. The Saints can't play defense, can't (or won't) run the football, feature some conspicuously overrated players (Jammal Brown, Will Smith, Charles Grant, Reggie Bush) and are coached by an egomaniacal dick who puts his puts his personal need to prove himself right about his questionable offensive philosophy and personnel decisions above just winning football games.

Lucky for Coach Soupy, then, that most Saints fans are well-accomplished at finding ways to have fun at football games regardless of the score. It's the sort of skill that comes with years of practice. 2008 may have disappointed some fans but you really can't call it a "bad" season at this point. Whatever happens tonight, this season the Saints will have:

1) Won at least as many games as they've lost.

2) Played two of the most entertaining home Monday Night games in their history.

3) Beaten the crap out of Atlanta in the Superdome

Look, we all know the Saints have problems. They're not a great team but they are fun to watch. I know because I've got two "draft" posts full of jokes about it that I never got around to finishing.

But before we go any further with that, CLIO is reading the signs.

Plus it's r's birthday and we are going to ACME.

Saints by ten.

Heh, Not so much! Here's your 2008 climactic moment, Saints fans. Just... Gahh

Photo by Michael Democker. Times-Picayune

"We'll have a big dog in that fight"

Last week, we very confidently nominated the Gret Stet in TPM's tounge-in-cheek "Most Corrupt State" contest. If you're a regular TPM reader, you've no doubt been following the discussion as residents of various states make the case for their home-grown hero-Dragons.

Today, USA Today sort of got in on the act publishing a lame corruption per capita index. The flawed method (think of it as the electoral college of corruption) leads USA Today to the dubious conclusion that North Dakota is the nation's "most corrupt" state.

Meanwhile, back at TPM, a reader called "BB" lays down the law in an email:

Look, if you want, the New Orleans bloggers can put together a comprehensive file for you. But you need to know it will be thick.

In the many categories that people argue for (cash involved, historical entrenchment, recent scandal, profile, fed/state/local), each of your wannabe states points out that the category they happen to be strongest in really matters the most. And that's why they're wannabes...they need special consideration.

Louisiana will let any state in the union pick the turf and the time. You want state level corruption? Local? Bring it. Historical tradition? Game on. Recent scandal? Easy money. You name the category, any category, and we'll have a big dog in that fight. And that is why Louisiana is the all time champ.

Too true. These people know not with whom they are messing.

I believe a HOLY CRAP is in order

Snowing in New Orleans this morning

Snow on the roof

Snow on Third

Update: More pics

St Charles Streetcar in the snow

Snow on the crepe myrtles


NOLA snowfalls in my lifetime: 1989, 2004, 2008. And that's it. Three in my lifetime and I am an old person.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh okay, one more before bed

We love Ru Paul

We at the Yellow Blog are feeling very much like the 2008 New Orleans Saints when it comes to this year's Christmas video war. We're either saving our best stuff for later in the season, or we're just not in it to win it. But we are at least in it and... well this is all we've got right now.

BTW, This year's carnage is unbelievable after only one day. Varg is just fucking wrong for this.

It's a Christmas miracle


Jammal Brown won't play Thursday for the New Orleans Saints against Chicago


It's happening much more quickly than... anybody could have predicted. So we're responding appropriately.

Alright fuckers we're playing

This was suggested by Menckles

What the fuck is that on her head?

Irrational exuberance

Too much. Too soon.

I'm still just easing into it. Here's another sad and pathetic Saints-emblemed holiday item.


Out of control

Back in October, e published a quickly-googled list of nine incidences of criminal activity by NOPD over the past five years.

Today we find two more.

Popular French Quarter tour guide says he was beaten by cop

NOPD officer accused of beating Metairie man

Maybe somebody should start mapping these crimes so that informed citizens can defend themselves.

Oh crap here we go

The annual NOLA blogosphere War On Christmas is back and bad as ever. The way this works is it's sort of a race to the bottom where everyone posts the most unintentionally funny or lame Holiday-related item he or she can find until... Greg finally whips out the Twisted Sister "Oh come all Ye Faithful" and blows everybody away.

Anywho... you can track the opening salvos here here here here here and OH MY GOD if you have the stomach for it.

As usual, I go nothin' in the early rounds. But assuming that points are given out for general lameitude, I can offer you this.


God bless us, every one.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Let's do this thing, bitches!

I don't think the word "bad" means what you think it means

This Gambit review of the new Guns n Roses album begins with the line,

Whew, the new Guns-n-Roses album is officially not bad!

And then goes on to describe what must be THE WORST RECORD HUMANS COULD POSSIBLY CREATE.

As feared, this now mythical album is one-third nu metal. Meaning: unabashedly inorganic, monochromatic, Korn-influenced guitar riffs. Luckily, thousands of truly twisted guitar solos decorate said riffs, attacking from all angles, as Chinese Democracy’s songs twist, break down, and morph. A woman sings over what could be a Garbage outtake that suddenly becomes a heavy blues ballad. Symphonic trip-hop with funky nylon string guitar leads Axl’s layered voices into a capella metal do-wop

The mind reels. Chinese Democracy is, as many people know by now, a record that was never supposed to actually be made. The prolonged rumor of its production was a running joke that we all expected would make for a decent half-obscure reference or at the very least an annual April Fools' gag. I suppose, then, that the corporeal form taken by this sort of conceptual humor can only be this unintentionally funny.

But Pro-Tools also drowns the gentle guitar of “Sorry” in gross digital gravy, and helps “FBI” sound like Sarah McLachlan. In the time this album took to make, the studio trick where a song (in this case “Prostitute”) dramatically shrinks for a moment, into a tin can, before suddenly expanding back to its regular size, became tired. The new G-n-R sometimes reeks of the 90’s, when reactionary producers started thinking even heavy metal needed little dance beats in it.

Good God I hope I never have to actually listen to this album. There's no way it can be anywhere near as entertaining as its description. I just wonder what unimaginable sonic horror could possibly meet the reviewer's criteria to qualify as "bad".


How many local Obama supporters agree with the argument that "the executive's appointments don't matter" and yet have signed that Fire Veronica White petition?

ZOMG Corruption! Dragons!

The Governor of Illinois tried to sell a Senate seat to the highest bidder.

Surely the local punditry will remember this before it makes the next local election all about ridding us of the "embarrassment" of our "exceptional" backwardness. Surely.


Yes, they are freaking nuts.


In addition to David's criticism, this deal allows the (current) President to appoint the "czar" who will then be the person who dictates terms to the auto makers. Those terms will inevitably involve hostility toward auto unions and retirees. Why would the Democrats agree to cede such a crucial policymaking position on the heels of an election they just dominated? Unless they just don't give a damn about working people.

Or maybe they're spooked by the Joseph Cao-led Republican comeback.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Vast left wing conspiracy

I have to agree with the TPM analysis of the new Obama strategy of whining about its "angry left wing" critics.

Really, one has to ask if Hildebrand is really trying to reassure "the left wing of our party," or whether he's trying to stir them up further out of some unknown political calculation or other. After all, many on "the left" have also made Hildebrand's point: They've noted that Obama should be allowed to let his actual policies do the talking, while simultaneously asking completely legit questions about what his choices portend about the future direction of his administration. If merely asking such questions is enough to incite an attack on "the left" from someone in Obama's inner circle, it seems reasonable to conclude that the motive here isn't to mend fences at all.

But putting the politics of this new Obama narrative aside, I see this more as a move to ignore or marginalize criticism in general. If the majority of Obama's appointments thus far happen to be... for the most part... a string of Wall Street whores, insurance lobbyists, and war criminals, one doesn't necessarily have to be part of some angry left wing conspiracy just to point out the obvious.

In fact, it's the counter-argument put forward by Obama sycophants that the magical new President can somehow polish all of these turds which seems the most off-the-wall to me.

Update: Greenwald says

Until five weeks ago, I literally never heard anyone claim -- in either party -- that it was irrelevant who the President appointed to his Cabinet and other high-level positions. I never heard anyone depict people like the Defense Secretary and CIA Director as nothing more than impotent little functionaries -- the equivalent of entry-level clerical workers -- who exert no power and do nothing other than obediently carry out the President's orders.

In fact, I seem to recall pretty vividly all sorts of confirmation fights led by Democrats over the last eight years (John Aschroft, John Bolton, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Hayden, Steven Bradbury) -- to say nothing of the efforts to force the resignation or dismissal of people such as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Gonzales -- that were based on exactly the opposite premise: namely, that it does matter who is empowered to lead these agencies and departments, and specifically, that their ideology not only matters, but can, by itself, warrant rejection. Nobody ever claimed that Ashcroft, Bolton or Hayden were "unqualified." It was their beliefs and ideology that rendered them unfit for those positions, argued Democrats.

When and why did everyone suddenly decide to change their minds about this and start repeating the mantra of some Obama supporters that high-level appointments are irrelevant because only the President counts? For the people who now make this claim to justify Obama's appointments, were any of them objecting during any of the above-listed confirmation fights that those fights were wasteful and unjustified because presidential appointments are irrelevant?

Other than Brennan (and Hayden, if that happens), I haven't felt very strongly about any of Obama's appointments, mostly because they're roughly what I expected. And it is true that a President's actions matter more than his appointments (which isn't saying that the latter is irrelevant). But I nonetheless find it striking how quickly people are willing to spout a position that they never previously believed and even is at radical odds with what they've said and done in the past -- Cabinet appointments are irrelevant! -- simply because the new position justifies what someone they like is doing.

What, no white smoke?

I must have missed the announcement that a new pope had been selected. I'm not even sure the conclave was well-attended enough to constitute a quorum. Oh well, I'm sure the new pope will comport himself with all the accustomed dignity and holiness we've come to expect from that office. That is what we elected him to do, right?

Okay I see. No, we didn't elect Cao to be the infallible head of the Church. We elected him in order to provide the GOP with some new talking points. Now the whole country's politics can be about Dragonslaying!


Has Karl Rove told us that Joseph Cao's victory constitutes a negation of Obama's mandate yet?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Phone calls

I received telephone calls today from Stacy Head and Jay Batt. They both wanted me to vote for a Republican. I don't think you could have picked two people less likely to convince me to do anything.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Change you can whore

The long-standing recommendation to read Matt Taibbi remains in effect:

Obviously there has been some dire news on that front already. When Obama picked Tom Daschle to be the HHS Secretary, I nearly shit my pants. In Washington there are whores and there are whores, and then there is Tom Daschle. Tom Daschle would suck off a corpse for a cheeseburger. True, he is probably only the second-biggest whore for the health care industry in American politics — the biggest being doctor/cat-torturer Bill Frist, whose visit to South Dakota on behalf of John Thune in 2004 was one of the factors in ending Daschle's tenure in the Senate.

But in picking Daschle — who as an adviser to the K Street law firm Alston and Bird has spent the last four years burning up the sheets with the nation's fattest insurance and pharmaceutical interests — Obama is essentially announcing that he has no intention of seriously reforming the health care industry. And I know that lots of public policy people are hailing this pick, saying Daschle is perfect for the job ("His new leadership position confirms that the incoming Obama administration has made health care reform a top and early priority for action in 2009," Ron Pollack, the director of Families USA, told reporters), but when they say that I think they mean the following: "Out of all the bought-off Washington whores who could have been given this job, Daschle is the best one. His fake reform will go the farthest in its approximation of actual action than the fake reform of any other possible whore-candidate." Actually that probably sums up the ideological profile of Obama quite well generally — but that's another story.

I've been banging the EFCA drum a bit this week. But meaningful health care reform is probably the top agenda item by which we can judge the value of an Obama Presidency. So far the commitment in that arena is lukewarm at best.

Tulane University poised to end civilization as we know it

Today, from City Business, we learn the following.

Tulane dedicating $27.5M biosafety lab

COVINGTON - Tulane University plans to dedicate a $27.5 million biosafety laboratory Friday within the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington.

A ceremony will be held at 9 a.m.

The new facility will create approximately 60 new jobs with $2.2 million in annual payroll, creating an expected $42 million economic impact on the region during the next five years.

The Primate Research Center is one of only 13 National Institutes of Health-supported Biosafety Level 3 laboratories in the country and the only one affiliated with a primate research center, medical school and school of public health and tropical medicine.

Biosafety Level 3 is a national designation for labs built with strict safety standards to study airborne contaminants and infectious diseases.•

Great, you say. Tulane is keeping us on the cutting edge of biomedical research... and they don't even have to knock over an entire historic New Orleans neighborhood to do it.

Not so fast. Let's review the "strict safety standards" in place at the Tulane National Primate Research Center.... something we've been keeping our eye on for some time, by the way.

Tulane Hullabaloo October 30, 1998 (via The Wayback Machine):

Twenty-four Indian rhesus monkeys housed at the Tulane Primate Center in St. Tammany Parish escaped on Oct. 18.

All but one of the monkeys were recovered three days later. One female monkey is unaccounted for.

According to Dr. Peter Gerone, director of the Primate Center, the monkeys are housed in a quarter-acre chain-link catch pen that encloses a smaller pen. By jiggling the lock, the monkeys apparently opened the gate which leads from the chain-link catch pen to the outside.

So in 1998, the "strict safety standards" were such that they could be defeated by a monkey jiggling a lock. Certainly, after this incident, procedures were reviewed, measures were taken and.... uh oh.

CNN March 12, 2003:

COVINGTON, Louisiana (AP) -- Two dozen monkeys escaped from a research center and holed up in a forest, where animal-control workers used bananas and oranges to try to lure them out.

The monkeys are classified as disease-free and posed no health risk to humans, but workers trying to capture the animals wore protective gowns and gloves as a standard precaution, said Fran Simon, a spokeswoman for the Tulane Regional Primate Center.

What the hell, is this some kind of annual Tulane fraternity prank or something? If so, It's probably a step up from crab boil hazing but even so you'd think the Primate Center would take this more seriously. I mean, I don't want to tell anyone how to do their jobs but... Jesus Christ!

WWL May 10, 2005

COVINGTON -- More than 50 monkeys escaped from the Tulane Primate Center late Monday evening, leaving authorities with the daunting task of tracking down and catching the animals.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, officials said 47 of the monkeys had been captured while 6 managed to continue to elude authorities by hiding in the heavily wooded along Three Rivers Road.

Mike Aertker, spokesman for the Primate Center, said the monkeys were being used solely for breeding purposes, and had not been subjected to experiments of any kind.

I am glad to see the spokeperson take a moment to inform the public that the monkeys are "disease-free" after each incidence of mass escape. I find that reassuring. Almost as reassuring as the addition of a $27.5 million "biosafety lab" to this disaster-prone facility. I hope some of that money goes toward buying a new jiggle-proof lock.

Tree farmers "buck the trend"

I know the local rags love to go in for this "bucking the economic trend" crap, but this really is a reach.


Sunday, I put up a Christmas tree in my apartment for the first time in something like 7 years. (I'm actually going to be home this year for the first time in a while)


Who knew I was opting to host such a key economic indicator?

Just to drive the point of that last post home

Organized Labor has come to save Deuce for us.

NFL Players' Union Seeks To Block Suspensions

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Save the bones for Henry Jones

It's time to finish off those leftovers the right way. Yesterday, I made my annual turkey carcass stock. Tonight, I'm making the gumbo. And, of course, I'm re-running the recipe post here.

Update: This year I added a step to the recipe by reserving about two cups of broth from the bottom of the Thanksgiving turkey roasting pan to use as a "starter" liquid when building the Gumbo. This is rich stuff as evidenced by the layer of fat seen here developing along the sides of the pot.

Turkey Gumbo

You can skim some of this off the top... but not too much because then what's the point?

Putting the "Creole Blue" on hold

Strange that

1) The Hornets decide to hide their true identity from a visiting team from Charlotte.

2) While already pretending to be a team they aren't, they still aren't allowed to wear the purple, green and gold Jazz uniforms (which the actual Jazz don't even wear anymore).

But the NBA isn't embarrassed by "franchise free agency" or anything.

Bye, Deuce

New Orleans Saints Deuce McAllister, Will Smith and Charles Grant suspended four games

Monday, December 01, 2008

E is my new favorite art critic

I hate those stupid streetcars too.

Isn't this whole meme of variously decorated theme-ornaments kind of 10 years-ago anyway? I still remember hating the fish when they went up all over town back in 2000... and even those were kind of catching the end of the trend.

Time to fire the Coach

I'm working on one of those long Yellow Blog Saints game recaps with material covering the past two weeks. But I've been notoriously bad at getting them done on time this year so, in case I don't crank it out today, I thought I'd just throw out this quote from Jeff Duncan's column today.

The Bucs picked off three passes and had another pick called back by a questionable penalty away from the play.

The Bucs' defense basically rope-a-doped the Saints.

"The Saints like to take a lot of shots," Buchanan said. "We knew coming into the game that Drew Brees and Sean Payton are very impatient. They are going to take their shots down the field and they're going to take some chances, and we've just got to be ready for the opportunity."

It was the fifth time Brees has thrown three or more interceptions in a game as the Saints quarterback. Not surprisingly, the Saints have lost all five of those games.

It was the 12th time he's thrown 45 or more passes in a game. Not surprisingly, the Saints have lost 11 of those games.

"We knew he was going to throw the ball 45 times; that's just what he does," veteran cornerback Ronde Barber said. "I'm not sure, but I believe that the first 15 plays were passes, so you know you're going to get your opportunities. We feel like we're one of the best secondaries in the league. We had opportunities today, at least in our minds, to prove it."

Barber watched Brees strafe the Packers on "Monday Night Football" last week and just shook his head at Green Bay's foolish defensive strategy. He knew the Saints wouldn't find the pickings so easy against his team.

"We didn't do what Green Bay did, just line up in man to man across the board for four quarters," Barber said. "You have to play zone (against the Saints). You have to leave guys in front of you and allow your athletes to make plays, and that's what we did. Drew is a heck of a player. I have all the respect in the world for the guy. But he also gives you opportunities to make interceptions and big plays on him, and we did today."

Translation: Coach Soupy and his gimmicky offense are finished. Saints' opponents know what he does. They know how to deal with it. And, since he's not going to change what he does, it's time to change coaches and move on.

I love Clio's take

Rigging the comments

Wow look at them beat the hell out of Elie simply for pointing out that large vacant buildings downtown are probably not a good thing.

In the comments, BSJD reminded me of something that happened on Friday's Informed Sources (which seems like three weeks ago to me right now) which I wanted to mention.... but the post is already up at Moldy City so go read that.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Probably should have run a reverse.

Well the Saints' season is over. That's a good thing because now we can seriously start talking about getting rid of this gimmicky coach.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grown-up media

Surreal is one way to describe it.

VA/LSU stuff

This morning on WWL radio Bob and Monica ran down a list of three "significant" buildings in lower Mid-City. On their list were the Dixie Brewery, the City Hall Annex and the Deutsches Haus (which Bob referred to as a "German restaurant"). Bob declared that the owners of all of these properties should be glad they're about to be "bailed out" by the forthcoming forced buyouts that will make room for the VA/LSU hospital project because "who would want to buy that stuff?"

As for the less "significant" homes in the neighborhood many of which have been painstakingly rehabilitated during the post-flood years, they amounted to, in Bob DelGiorno's considered estimation, "a bunch of dilapidated buildings that need to come down"

The residents of those buildings would beg to differ.

Council member Fielkow was a guest on Bob and Monica's show this morning. He not only offered no refutation of Bob's boorish statements, but instead urged listeners to rejoice in the progress ushered in by the neighborhood demolition. He also used the phrase "move forward" a lot.

Obviously New Orleans needs its Charity and VA hospitals back. No one... outside of maybe David Vitter will deny that. But the decision to build these facilities on top of an existing and soon-to-be crushed community has been carried out with little regard for the public input process and no regard for the affected residents.

And that's what this is really all about. I'm nowhere near qualified to judge whether or not renovating and reopening the old Charity Hospital building makes sense financially or operationally. I have seen it argued either way by interested parties, however.

I'm also only tangentially interested in "historic preservation". While architecturally significant buildings possess beauty and value in their own right, they and the neighborhoods they exist in are given their true value by the people who use and live in them. Karen says this far better than I can.

The decision to place the VA project on top of this neighborhood, to me, looks like yet another example of the political leadership in this city choosing to place the desires of the powerful and the connected before the needs of its residents.

But as long as people like Bob and Monica get to be the arbiters of public discussion, we're allowed only a shrug and a grunt about dilapidated buildings before Arnie Fielkow tells us to "move forward".

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

These new bosses all look awfully familiar

Let's set aside the fact that Obama's newly announced economic team is comprised of Clintonites and co-conspirators in the financial raping of America. Let's set aside that this cabal includes massive sexist asshole Larry Summers. The most telling observation I've seen so far is this:

President-elect Obama today made public the choices for his administration's "economic team." What sort of signal does it send that a Secretary of Labor was not among them?

Capital seems more than adequately represented.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The brand

Another year of successfully keeping it out there.

What Adrastos said

The logic of voting for a candidate whose party I intensely dislike escapes me. It's also impractical, even if Cao could somehow pull off an upset, he'd be the most junior member of the minority party in the House. He'd have even less influence than Jefferson because everyone knows that he'd have no chance of winning re-election. Even though Dollar Bill's clout is dimished, he still has friends on the Hill; especially in the Black Caucus. In fact, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn has been a very good friend of NOLA's and has been instrumental in steering recovery money in our direction.

Adrastos's whole post here.

The pro-Cao contingent isn't really a "logic" vote anyway. It's more of an emotional vote by Yuppie-Left types who think that everything will be okay if we just PUNISH DOLLAR BILL RIGHT NOW because that would bring about the big symbolic end to all Dragons or something.

They're trying to shrink us away

What I don't like about these stories is that they continue pushing the wrong-headed idea that we'll somehow recover our city by dismantling it.

"Shrinking" the city may work fine for certain segments of the community with an interest in maintaining their larger share of the small pond. It's good news for the old-line Carnival Krewe types who don't depend on a growing economy or well-funded and maintained city services to get around town or to educate their children. It's an easy sell to the corrupt, disinterested political leadership who can make as much money privatizing city government or demolishing buildings as they can building anything. (In our post-disaster context, there's more profit in this than ever before... just ask the mayor) And, of course, it's a "sensible" no-brainer for Yuppie Left types who mistakenly believe that a smaller city is automatically a safer and less corrupt city.

But what this really amounts to is a scaling back of the number and quality of opportunities and support systems for the majority of the city's working poor population. All of this comes in the wake of catastrophe... on the cusp of economic collapse... a time when one would think abandoning people would make the least sense economically or morally. But as we said last week, it's what we do in this town. We hate ourselves, our city and its people, so we might as well just tear the whole thing down, right?

Update: Eli says,

I don't think there's a single person in Orleans Parish advocating for the kind of cul-de-sac, big box, chain restaurant, subdivision, unregulated expansion that the article's dichotomy seems to imply. Rather, I think everyone recognizes the need to regulate how development happens in Orleans Parish moving forward. The problem here is that certain planners like Steven Bingler continue to push for a shrunken footprint, the closure of whole swaths of the city, and the enshrined displacement of Katrina victims. While this is a morally perilous approach, it is also not feasible now, not after tens of thousands of residents returned to the very neighborhoods typically circled for closure. Bingler and the larger planner cabal that brought us the failed BNOB plan continue to cling to that divisive recovery model and continue to poison ongoing efforts to craft a consensus master plan that provides for both sustainability and Parish-wide recovery. It is an illusion to think that nobody will have to sacrifice anything - there's going to need to be green space - but to suggest that 'smart decline' is the right model for New Orleans is counterproductive and wrongheaded.

The problem is, you're never going to have a proper managed recovery that honestly "provides for both sustainability and Parish-wide recovery". What you have, instead, is the same thing you always have in politics. Interested parties wrestle with one another for control of the circumstances. In my view, there is no such thing as a viable "consensus master plan". Whatever you get is bound to be "poisoned" from somebody's point of view. In our case, it's the developers who poison things for the city's poorer residents. It's one of the several reasons I'm concerned about the recent decision to give the forthcoming master plan the force of law.

Same record too

Saints To Maintain Same Season Ticket Price For 2009

Since... you know... Sean Payton really really wanted Poochie on the team and we have no draft to speak of next year.

Maybe if we trade Bush....

Update: No word yet on whether or not Benson will impose a slight auto-detailing surcharge next season.

Friday, November 21, 2008


It's kind of cool and sunny outside. WWLTV.com responds with a big red Breaking News box.

Cold Weather

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bultman Funeral Home Borders Store to open Friday

Yes, I have been critical of this project... and continue to wonder how long it will last given the current economic environment. Yes, I will continue to patronize and support the excellent locally owned booksellers who operate in the very same neighborhood. And, yes, of course I question the necessity of yet another high-end coffee outlet in this section of Uptown.

But, yes, I will spend some time and probably some money in this store. It's right down the street from me, for Chrissakes.

Meanwhile... the counter-operatives are organizing.

Thank God we're still stonewalling the teachers' union

Wouldn't want to give teachers a mechanism for fighting against being cheated or anything.

NOLA self-hatred on display again

One reason we can't build anything in this town is because we spend so much time hating ourselves and one another. Today's NOLA.com features an article about the HANO sell-off titled HANO approves sale or demolition of most scattered units And yet the first comment reads,

They need to be torn down and never rebuilt the way they were. Mass grouping of low income people together is only a breeding ground for crime.Rebuild,but do it wisely.

This "mass grouping of low income people" canard popped up frequently during the debate over demolishing the "Big Four" housing projects. Demolition proponents took to this line because it allowed them to seem to make the (dubious) case that low income families benefit from living at some unspecified distance from one another. It provided just enough PC cover to help demolition proponents avoid saying what they really wanted was to have low income families live at some unspecified distance from... the demolition proponents.

This is why seeing the "mass grouping" canard pop up here (now in an incoherent reference to scattered housing) is unsurprising. It further underscores the fact that what we really hate in New Orleans isn't low income people "grouped together". We just hate low income people.

These cranes only point down

The problem is that we are now in year 4 after the flood and all we talk about is demolishing or selling what remains of the affordable housing stock, or closing and demolishing churches, or coming up with rules for future demolitions Right now we're pretending to get ready to build some schools but only after we spend most of the money knocking the old ones down.

Apart from a few vague and largely unfulfilled hints, we're still not in the process of building anything. When do the cranes that build stuff get here?

Cut the mic!

City Council proceedings will now be modeled after the Bill O'Reilly radio program. That should fix everything.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

"This is like a half off sale at Nordstrom ... it is still overpriced!"

The worst thing about this football season

Despite the fact that the team (and the defense in particular) is poorly managed, staffed, and coached far too many fans will give those responsible for the mismanagement and ineptitude a pass because of the injury problem.

And despite the fact that it really isn't a reasonable excuse for this season's performance, it will provide the rationale behind not working too hard to fix the problem this offseason.... which leaves us back at 8-8 or worse next year too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The wisdom of Sean Payton

He don't need no stinkin' Deuce

Technically, McAllister has four years remaining on his contract with the Saints, but the reality is his roster spot is far from guaranteed next season. His salary cap number jumps from $4.5 million to $7.3 million. That's feature-back money not role player money, and McAllister, at this stage of his injury-riddled career, is a role player -- at least in the eyes of his current employer.

McAllister started Sunday's game at Kansas City but took a back seat to Pierre Thomas for most of the second half. Thomas finished with 16 carries for 88 yards. McAllister had eight for 18. A similar playing rotation was employed a week earlier in Atlanta.

If Coach Sean Payton's designation of McAllister's role wasn't clear earlier this season when he docked Deuce on the sideline for two games, it's now readily apparent.

And remember. Sean Payton really really really wanted Jeremey Shockey on this team.

They don't make very many like Deuce.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Starting to think I voted for the wrong guy

Wow what a grandstanding asshole.

If he expects his staff to forfeit their dignity to sadistic first-day random drug testing and to be held to an "everybody works extra hours" standard, I sure hope he's planning to pay them well.

Quote of the day

Senator Byron Dorgan just a few minutes ago on C-SPAN:

"Economics is not a science. Economics is psychology pumped up with helium."

D-BB finds my choice of words offensive

As a longtime fan of D-BB's trademark blue and haphazardly spelled writing style, I can promise you that is indeed saying something. But the fact is he's right. I probably pushed the wrong button by titling a post "This is why I hate the Hornets" The phrase "I hate" focuses too much attention on me personally as an actor in this tragedy when the offending action being described has nothing to do with me. Plus, as D-BB's long tangent on the subject evidences, it's rarely if ever a good idea to use the word "hate" in reference to an event with religious overtones... even if that event happens to be a pseudo-religious commmercial non-entertainment such as the Christian rock concert which followed Friday night's basketball game. So please allow me to apologize for that phrase. It distracted from and failed to communicate the author's intention. It was poor writing. But then again, as D-BB reminds us on a regular basis, all blogging is poor writing and so such mishaps should be far from unexpected. I'll try to do better. Or at least, I'll try to stop assuming that literate adults who have been following this space for some time, might have developed enough of an idea of where I'm coming from to look past the errors that inevitably result from these hastily tossed-off and admittedly poorly styled blurbs.

You would think maybe... just maybe... such literate adults would understand I was expressing disapproval (god forbid we make an extreme or potentially offensive word choice like "hatred", right D-BB?) of the Hornets for assuming that a spectacularly lame Christian rock band is appropriate entertainment to accompany a sports event.

I'm sure you've read my similar criticism of the NFL and the Saints for attempting to ruin the Saints' 2006 homecoming by subjecting their audience to the hyper-pretentious whining of Bono before kickoff. Or maybe you've seen me relate my experience with the circus-like atmosphere at any given Hornets game that isn't followed by a musical review from New Kids On the Cross or whatever. Surely the fact that the superfluous "entertainment" is now Jesus-flavored pop-music does not insulate it from such criticism.

It would be quite a stretch to conflate my antipathy toward some crappy band playing the Jesus angle or towards George Shinn's appropriation of Christian imagery to sell his new-agey self-help/business management literature (or his basketball team for that matter) with some sort of blind disrespect for individual religious freedom. But that's exactly what D-BB does... or pretends to do anyway. But, again, it's my fault for hastily hammering out a post title on my blog without first giving due deference to the severe gravity of the occasion. Sorry. I won't promise it won't happen again, though.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Surprise march

This afternoon, I was making my way back accross the Quarter from the NOLA Bookfair on Frenchmen street when I happened upon a remarkably large and well organized local version of today's nationwide Prop 8 protests as it crossed Jackson Square.

Since my local media outlets made scarce mention of it, I had no idea a local march was going to happen today. Looked like a strong turnout. I only managed to get a few quick pictures.





Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse

Saints could end up owing the Giants a first round pick for Poochie.

Remember. Sean Payton really really really wanted Poochie on this team.

Everywhere a sign

Uptown New Orleans on election day (Oct 4 and Nov 4)

Louisiana Avenue

Seasons in the sun

Joy and fun

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hey the President got a puppy

Bush picks a bailout watchdog
By Mike Soraghan
Posted: 11/14/08 12:27 PM [ET]

President Bush has picked a watchdog to monitor the Wall Street bailout amid growing concerns about oversight of the $700 billion program.

The White House announced Friday morning that Bush had selected Neil Barofsky, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, to be the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program at the Department of the Treasury.

Concerns have been mounting in recent days that Treasury has been doling out money rapidly even though oversight was not in place.

“The banks have a big head start on waste, fraud and abuse, and he had better strap on his track shoes, because he has got a lot of catching up to do,” said Steve Ellis, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Barofsky has a mountain to climb before he will be on top of this program.”

The job requires Senate confirmation, which could be difficult given the short amount of time the Senate is expected to spend in session for the rest of the year. There is also the potential of jurisdictional disputes between committees, and whether Democrats will accept a Republican selection so near the end of Bush’s term.

Um... at least a third of the money has already been allocated.

But, truthfully, I hope this appointment goes through. That way whenever we read something about misappropriated bailout funds from now on, someone can say, "I hope to God Cerasoli Barofsky is investigating this" and we can all feel comforted.

Digging through the garbage

If you're following the latest municipal melodrama, you may want to check out Schroeder's quick rundown of the interested parties for reference purposes.








How we benefit

The other day Clancy Dubos told me over the WWL radio airwaves that whether or not Governor Bobby Jindal actually runs for President in 2012, "the state of Louisiana benefits either way" from the constant speculation. Since then, I've been trying to figure out exactly what form these "benefits" might take. I was hoping to learn that Louisiana residents would receive compensatory checks from the federal government to make up for the mental anguish of living in the center of an uninterrupted 2008-2012 election cycle... but apparently FEMA is already stretched kind of thin in our region so... no such luck.

So far, the only evidence of Louisianians "benefiting" from the PBJ or POTUS hysteria comes in the form of candidate Jindal building his conservative cred by pulling federal Medicaid dollars out of the state's charity hospital system and handing it directly to private HMOs.

But don't get too excited. This is only the first "benefit" we can expect to see under the Clancy Dubos theory of trickle-down Presidential politics. Many more fascinating developments to come, I'm sure.

Update: Louisianians also "benefit" from the state's...um.... enhanced ethics standing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Avoiding the age of disappointment

As a service to you, kids, I will once again highlight some important bits from a recent edition of Bill Moyers Journal first, as a means of reminding the folks in New Orleans that despite WYES's attempt to hide it, this very important television show does still exist, and second, as a way to draw attention to what will likely become a major hobby horse of mine as the new Congress and Administration take over next year.

Toward the end of an otherwise unremarkable segment where Moyers discusses the election results with Patricia Williams and Eric Foner which you can watch here, Foner makes a suggestion for the incoming President

ERIC FONER: I'll tell you one thing he should do which will address many of these questions which will run into a lot of opposition is to really take action to make it easier to form labor unions in this country.


ERIC FONER: Unions have been the most integrated institutions in this society. Unions are places where people of all backgrounds come together to work for common goals, regardless of race or religion. Obviously there's been racism in unions, there's been prejudice. But the whole premise of a union is that people have common interests which are not defined by their personal racial or gender or other characteristics.

And it's the experience apart from the fact that unions will help black people and others. I mean, most people are working-class people, as you said. And they need the kind of support that unions have provided in the past. But it's more than that. It's an educational function.

When people work together for common goals, their views expand. They become more cosmopolitan. They become more tolerant. And you know, I think the decline of the labor movement has been a tragedy for American democracy as well as whatever particular economic impact it has had.

Foner is making reference to... what we hope will be an earnest effort to pass the Employee Free Choice Act which you can read more about here.

Unfortunately, in the very next... and far more interesting... segment which you should watch all of right here, Kevin Phillips discusses various reasons to doubt that Obama and the Democrats will deliver anything substantive for working class Americans in the coming term.

...But they (Democrats) also, based on contributions and political geography, represent the financial community now, the upper-income groups. And how they straddle this, which is something they've never had to straddle before, especially in difficult times, I think will strain the demographics.

BILL MOYERS: So he's got a tension there that is incoherent, a seesaw that's going to be hard to balance. How does he improve the lives of those ordinary people who voted for him?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: I think if we have a serious economic recovery in which the conservative trickle-down economics is not part of it and, as a result, you have spending that moves money in the direction of middle-income and poor people, that'll make a big difference. But I think it's going to be an enormously difficult balancing act.

And forget just the fact of the financial people and the role in the Democratic Party. You're going to have Obama torn between people who want him to help his electorate, the ordinary people, and those who say can't do it because of financial constraints, fiscal constraints. The famous thing that was said to Bill Clinton about, you know, he can't do anything the bond traders don't like. And he had his great response and described what he thought of the bond traders. But he did it their way.

BILL MOYERS: So you look at this new economic team that Obama has appointed, this advisory group that was announced yesterday, you know, names like Warren Buffett, Robert Rubin, Paul Volcker, CEOs from Chase, Xerox, Time Warner, Citigroup, I mean, people who served their time on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms and are big supporters of this bailout. Do you see anyone in that list who represents working people?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, oddly enough, the richest man on the list at least represents skepticism of Wall Street. Warren Buffett's told more jokes about that crowd it's really funny as well as prophetic. But I think it's also fair to say that Paul Volcker doesn't automatically represent the financial community. I think he's transcended that. He has much more of a sense of he'll do what's best for the country. And I'm not sure a lot of the others quite think of it that way yet.

BILL MOYERS: Then there's Robert Reich who was Clinton's Secretary of the Labor.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Bob Reich, generally speaking, is there for balance as opposed to having a whole lot of impact. I didn't really see that there were representatives of the labor movement there except Bob. And he really isn't. I mean, he's not somebody who came up through the union movement. That's the weak link in the Democratic coalition. What are they going to do for labor and the people who are just falling behind in the movement of the United States away from manufacturing to finance?

If no one who truly represents labor is even sitting at the table as the incoming President decides how to address the worsening economic disaster, that's not a very good sign.

BILL MOYERS: If Obama proves unable or unwilling to tackle some fundamental injustice in this country, if he just nibbles at the edges or strokes the symbolism, which is so powerful, I mean, might there be a racist backlash against a black President that will have white voters saying, "Never again"?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, I think there could be a backlash. And I think the Republicans could make gains in the midterm elections and maybe win the next presidential election. I say "maybe" there because I think it's going to take a lot to make them look good, too. But what I would say "could happen" is I think black voters would be disillusioned. And instead of flocking to the polls, they might actually turn fairly lukewarm.

And I think a lot of the whites in the middle, the lower middle class, the blue-collar people, the sort that he made some ill-chosen remarks about, not you know, sort of not responding too much and sitting out there and sulking. I think if he doesn't get anything done, they will sit out there and sulk. And that's a danger to him, too.

One way for Obama to seal this crack in his coalition, to avoid the danger Phillips is talking about, is to keep his multi-racial and working class base fired up by immediately moving to bolster what Foner describes as "the most integrated institutions in this society", but putting the Employee Free Choice Act at the top of the agenda.

Agenda Memo for 2009

It's all there

It's pretty much what we thought

Nagin is using Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine as a how-to mannual.

More little secrets of life

Everything in the universe both causes and cures cancer in one way or another.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is why I hate the Hornets

Faith and Family Night

Featuring a postgame concert by Christian rock band New Method. "Who?" you ask. That would be these guys.

Despite the fact that they're clearly a gang of tragically white 40 somethings, they've apparently never graduated high school. (Could they have possibly had difficulty passing biology?) The guy sitting on the floor looks particularly sad about this. Or maybe he's just coming down after having too much joy joy joy joy down in his heart the previous evening.

Anywhoo... just another instance of unwelcome Christian proselytizing jammed into your sports entertainment package approved by the author of Good Morning, Lord.

I believe the kids all say Wooo!

On notice

NOLA peeps,

You have been warned. We'll let you know when it's okay to start up again. In the meantime, try not to turn blue holding it in.

" the singularly most overrated athlete in recent sports history"


Lest we forget, Sean Payton really really really wanted Poochie on the team this year.

Little secrets of life

On the one hand: New Orleans's political and law enforcement community operates in such an incompetent and/or corrupt fashion that an expensive and intrusive system of widespread public surveillance was installed as an (apparently not tongue-in-cheek) solution to the city's crime problem. (Or possibly as a disaster management system... whatever gets you more excited) That's pretty bad.

On the other hand: New Orleans's political and law enforcement community operates in such an incompetent and/or corrupt fashion that the intrusive and expensive public surveillance system doesn't actually work anyway. That's kind of nice.

Life is a beautiful thing.

No more rumors

Gonna try to stop obsessing over every new rumor about possible Obama Administration policy directions or cabinet hires at least until December. As Walter Shapiro points out here, it's kind of a pointless exercise.

Not promising anything, though.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Still having trouble believing in the change

Dean Baker:

While the Bush administration must take responsibility for the current crisis (they have been in power the last eight years), the stage was set during the Clinton years. The Clinton team set the economy on the path of one-sided financial deregulation and bubble driven growth that brought us where we are today. (The deregulation was one-sided, because they did not take away the "too big to fail" security blanket of the Wall Street big boys.)

For this reason, it was very discouraging to see top Clinton administration officials standing centre stage at Obama's meeting on the economy. This is not change, and certainly not policies that we can believe in.

The Treasury appointment is... um.... kind of important. Now, we aren't sure exactly what Obama is going to end up doing, but the more I watch, the less comfortable I am. If Obama ends up implementing some kind of Clinton II economic agenda, the Grand Socialist Revolution of November 2008 will have delivered nothing of substance other than a slightly less politicized Federal workforce.

Not saying anything bad has happened yet. But if Larry Summers ends up with a job in this administration, it'll be time to start walking away from Obama.

What has happened to Mid-City?

Since the Flood, this once no-nonsense middle-class enclave is fast on its way to becoming the center of the new NOLA Yuppie-ism. Not saying that everyone who lives in Mid-City is some sort of awful Yuppie. It's just that every new development seems to combine all the smug hip of Bywater with all the aesthetic sensibility of Metairie.... at Garden District prices.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Democracy in action... working hard and fast to quell democracy

Friday night, on Informed Sources, Erroll Laborde beamed over the passage of a change to the city charter giving the as-yet-to-be-written citywide master plan the "force of law" Erroll was excited because in his (approximate and paraphrased) words, "The way it works now if, say, Donald Trump wants to come and build a high rise building in a neighborhood, he first has to deal with the City Council and the neighborhood people and other City officials and the process gets bogged down. But if there's a plan, then Donald Trump can just pick the neighborhood he's automatically allowed to build in and then do it."

And... to finish Erroll's sentence... anyone in that neighborhood who may not care for Mr. Trump's hypothetical building, no longer has any recourse because we've all agreed upon a binding plan drawn up by some consulting firm the city hired.

This is, to put it neatly, fucking stupid. By voting for the charter change, New Orleanians will have ceded their right to object to wide categories of future development that might threaten their neighborhoods.

Charter change proponents have argued that this wholesale forfeiture of democratic process is mitigated by the notion that the plan itself will be created "by the community" through a series of public meetings. If you believe that, the city has some high yield bonds it's looking to unload which you may also be interested in. One would expect that by now, we'd all be familiar with just how condescending and pointless "community planning" meetings are. No one in New Orleans who has been paying attention for the past three years has any excuse to believe otherwise.

But more to the point, is it not obvious that the sense of a community in regard to hypothetical future development is a very different and less relevant thing than its reaction to actual development at the time that is proposed? A master plan that claims to articulate the undefinable "sense of the community" this year should not be given precedence over the considerations of aggrieved neighbors should a developer seek to build a plan-approved encroachment upon them in the future.

Here's how the farcical process we are currently engaged in works. First the city will hold public meetings which will be sparsely attended by a few of the more active property holders in each neighborhood. Those attendees will be handed stickers or crayons or tongue depressors or whatever and asked to create some sort of craft representing their "vision" of their community in the future. The inevitably incoherent results of these craft projects will be handed over to the planning consultants at Goody Clancy who will immediately toss it out the window, draw up their own plan and present it to the City Council for approval. The Council approves the plan (to the cheers of an odd combination of plutocrats AND "good governement" types... the politics of all this is another topic though). Two years later, Donald Trump (or somebody) decides it's time to build six high rise condo along the riverfront in Bywater. The neighbors are outraged. But now that they have reason to pay attention, they learn too late that the planners wanted to encourage development along the underutilized waterfront. Unfortunately, there's not much that can be done at this point, since the "democratically designed" master plan has been democratically assigned the force of law.

You may wish to call me out for criticizing an imaginary aspect of a plan that doesn't exist yet. I figure, though, that makes about as much sense as asking voters to approve that same non-existent plan.