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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lame

The rain looks to be over. They sooo could have rolled at least one parade tonight.

Rain on the parade

The threat of big bad storms has caused the postponement of two of tonight's parades and a cancellation of a third.

The Krewe of Babylon, which is typically one of the prettier night parades with its classic float design and heavy use of flambeaux now will be forced to roll Sunday during the day. That should be weird.

The Krewe of Chaos, one of the most anticipated and wittiest of the parades, will not roll at all this year. Chaos is basically a reconfiguration of the sidelined Knights of Momus which has long traditional roots in the history of Carnival and was renowned for its use of satire in its theming. I think many of the members of this Krewe are either in or intermarried with some of the other "old line" Krewes like Proteus and Comus whose social seasons are in high gear. There may have just been too many conflicts with rescheduling. Just a theory.

Luckily, the indescribably awesome Krewe of Muses has postponed one day and will cap off what is now a quadruple-header of parades Friday night.

So save tonight for whatever last-minute errands you may have left because after this it's time to hunker down for a big weekend.

Meanwhile, here are some shots I got of the Ancient Druids parade last night. My nighttime photography is pretty sucktastic so I put the camera away before the Krewe of Pygmalion (carrying local internet persons Clay and Candice) arrived.







Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Because I couldn't write it this well

I give you Matt Taibbi on the remaining Democrats now that Edwards has dropped out.

In Barack Obama versus Hillary Clinton, we've basically got Kennedy-Nixon redux, and I mean that in the most negative possible sense for both of them -- a pair of superficial, posturing conservatives selling highly similar political packages using different emotional strategies. Obama is selling free trade and employer-based health care and an unclear Iraqi exit strategy using looks, charisma and optimism, while Hillary is selling much the same using hard, cold reality, "prose not poetry," managerial competence over "vision."


As the Obama cultists like to say, I am inspired.

Daily Demolition

I was planning to get a pic of this myself this afternoon, but I see Cleophatra has beaten me to it. The building that once housed the Fortissimo deli (and before that Video Connection) on St Charles and Louisiana has been flattened. Fortissimo was a favorite place for me to get parade food during pre-K Mardis Gras. I liked the place but I didn't get the impression they were doing very good business. The deli was vandalized and did not reopen after the flood.

Video Connection is famous for having briefly employed my good friend, Rudolph, many years ago.

Don't know what's going up there in its place (Correction: the above linked Casa Verde post says it will be a bank), but I will miss that building.

Daily Fire

What was not destroyed by flood....

A suspicious fire at a vacant three-story building on Esplanade Avenue kept almost 60 firefighters busy for hours Tuesday night and destroyed what appeared to have once been an historic home, according to a New Orleans Fire Department spokesman.


Geez, we are so biblical today here at the Yellow Blog. Sorry. The problem will be rectified any day now... when Jesus comes back to judge us all.

Update: Meanwhile, it's FEMA to the rescue!

Frontrunner

Now I'm really not getting on this bandwagon.

Quoth Rose: "But this is a whole new ballgame -- not your father's Hornets, for lack of a better term."

That only makes sense if you are say.... under five years of age. Or if your father lives in Charlotte.

Nutty

A reading from the Gospel of McCain

8 And there were in the same a Southeast Asian country shepherds POWs abiding in the field their cells, keeping watch over their flock bowls of soup of undetermined content by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them tapped unto them in special tapping code, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David State of California a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe retired actor wrapped in swaddling clothes the US flag, lying in a manger about "welfare queens".

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Less Jobs! More Wars!"

Methinks the GOP has found its man.

Yes, there tend to be a lot of links to TPM during election season.

Bye, Rudy

Listening to this speech, I'm wondering if part of his "deal" with McCain stipulated that he not say 911 tonight.

He's still talking so it could still happen.

Ha ha! And now Mitt has cut him off before he gets a chance to make an endorsement.

Smart Guys

The real estate bubble is going all Enron

Is this SOTU fallout?

We get one tiny insignificant carrot in the President's speech and suddenly there's some sort of politicky-type event like two days later.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2008

***MEDIA ADVISORY**

SENATOR EDWARDS TO RETURN TO NEW ORLEANS TO DELIVER MAJOR ADDRESS ON POVERTY

Edwards will call on Americans to stand up and confront the moral challenge of ending poverty in America

New Orleans, Louisiana – On Wednesday, January 30, 2008, Senator John Edwards will return to New Orleans to deliver a major policy address on poverty, the great moral issue of our time. In recent days and weeks, national discussion of important issues like ending poverty has given way to sniping and personal attacks between the two frontrunner candidates. Ending poverty and fighting for the middle class is the cause of John Edwards' life -- and he will urge the nation to refocus on this important issue.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30TH, 2008

12:00 PM CT
Edwards to deliver major policy address on poverty and then volunteer on the Habitat for Humanity project at the Musicians' Village
Musicians' Village
4000 North Roman Street (Intersection of Roman and Bartholomew)
New Orleans, Louisiana



If you ask me, though, the timing couldn't be worse. New Orleanians will be busy Wednesday with Carnival parades and basketball games. On the other hand, New Orleanians aren't exactly the target audience for this bit of stagecraft in the first place in which case it makes perfect sense.

Florida

My hunches are notoriously bad but for what it's worth I think McCain will come away with it tonight. And with that all the fun brokered convention fantasies could go out the window. Oh well.



The Democrats, on the other hand, could continue to be messy for a while.

Oh Noes!

BATON ROUGE -- Gov. Bobby Jindal has appointed seven men to the board that runs the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans Arena. Among them was Ron Forman, who was named the new chairman of the Louisiana Board of Commissioners Stadium and Exposition District.


Let me guess. Next week: Plans to knock down what remains of the New Orleans Centre to build a spectacular new golf course managed by one of Forman's "non-profit" endeavors.

School Tool

NOLA.com:

N.O. school guide hits the Web; database lists performance and registration info by site
by Darran Simon, The Times-Picayune
Tuesday January 29, 2008, 7:35 AM

An education advocacy group has launched a database with profiles of New Orleans public schools that includes information on test scores, extracurricular activities, admission criteria, and neighborhood and school demographics, all to help parents grasp a transformed school system.

The nonprofit, Save Our Schools NOLA, modeled the site after a service first developed by the 21st Century School Fund to keep parents abreast of Washington, D.C., public schools.

Save Our Schools culled information from the state Department of Education, the Recovery School District, the Orleans Parish School Board and other sources to develop the "Public Schools of New Orleans Close-Ups" project.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bush Talking

Blah blah blah... more hardheaded demands for privatized retirement and medicine.... more bullshit about permanent regressive taxation... more simplistic "schoolchildren" vs. "terrorists" framing of Iraq and Afghanistan that even a third grader would be a bit suspicious of.

That's enough for me. Going to play trivia now.

Update: No trivia tonight! Oh well. More pie, then.

"As transparent as possible"

Jindal's dragonslaying is so awesome, it will have its own 527 PR machine.

The real new RFK

Attorney General Edwards?

via Greg Saunders who is now taking up the Obama flag for laudable ABC purposes.

Saints "home" game in London

What Ashley said.

Also... I hope that season ticket holders aren't asked to "purchase" that particular game because that would be sooooo NFL.

Quick thoughts with links

  • Mary Landrieu is in for yet another very close reelection campaign in 2008. Treasurer John Kennedy is the most well positioned opponent she has faced in a career which has seen her barely squeak past two far less palatable individuals. Landrieu narrowly defeated Uptown New Orleans society Republican Suzie Terrell in 2002 and fundie wacko Woody Jenkins 1996. Plus her involvement in this less-than-above-board D.C. public school system earmark could be a problem if Louisiana is still in the throes of Dragonslayer fever by election time. But it's likely to amount to very little because
    1. I'm expecting the Dragonslayer narrative to have lost some of its thrust now that Jindal has been elected.
    2. It's hard to get Louisiana voters too riled up over something that doesn't at least appear to directly affect Louisiana.
    From a purely progressive standpoint, Landrieu hasn't been the best Senator. See here for a short enumeration of her various failings. But she is the most effective advocate for the State at a time when its Congressional delegation is weaker than it has been for generations. That plus the advantage of being a two term incumbent Senator should be enough to put her over the top. But stranger things have happened, of course.


  • D-BB has been going after Landrieu (and anything else that stands in his way) as only D-BB can.


  • Thank God (or thank Dodd) Hillary and Obama are doing the right thing on FISA. Despite what you hear, this decision can only help either of them if he or she becomes the Democratic nominee.


  • Tonight is probably the final time the Union will be blessed with George W Bush's assessment of its State. This morning, a remarkable 50% of WWL radio's notoriously conservative listening audience described the State of the Union as "Pretty Weak" of "Very Weak"


  • It's true. George W. Bush really is the Worst President Ever. And, in this country, kids, that is certainly saying something.


Update:
For the record, Mary Landrieu is actually a worse Senator than Hillary today.

Well done

One weekend of Carnival gone and not one piece of trash or empty beer bottle deposited in the book drop.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weather is Irrelevant

It's cold. It's wet. It's Mardi Gras. I'm not sure if it's the suddenness of the early Carnival or the nasty weather but it is more difficult than usual to get fully into the spirit this year. But this weekend I have determined not to complain about this because:
  1. There's nothing I can do about it.
  2. I am not a pussy
  3. Chris Rose is complaining about it
  4. Chris Rose is a...
Besides, some of my favorite childhood Mardi Gras memories involve being uncomfortably cold. In 1986, my family rode in a truck parade for the first time. It was a cold early February Fat Tuesday made even more frigid by the fact that we had to ride from the warehouse to the formation area on the open air flatbed truck float. On the interstate. It's probably the coldest I've ever been. Luckily our truck's theme that year was Rambo which allowed us to bundle up in heavy camouflage coats we bought at the army surplus store. Still.. it was cold... but I wouldn't give that memory up for all the sunshine in the world. This year we have similarly cold and dreary weather at Carnival time AND there is a whole new Rambo movie in the theater. I'm pretty sure this is a coincidence. Saturday we bundled up, filled the Pink Thing and uncomplainingly trudged onto the avenue to try and make some more frigid memories.

As you can imagine, it started kind of slowly, the weather being what it was, the crowds anticipating the Krewe of Pontchartrain were a little sparse.



But that's not the worst thing in the world since it gives everyone who does show up plenty of room to move around and that means everyone. Especially the dogs.



Technically there are no dogs allowed on the parade route but you wouldn't know that this weekend as they seemed to be everywhere. A few years ago, Daisy and Susie and I discovered that the dog laws are far more strictly enforced on the second weekend of Carnival than they are the first. Which is only fair since the dogs do seem to enjoy themselves for the most part.



In fact, this year there were more than just dogs running around out there. All sorts of unusual animals were spotted along the avenue including this camel... which I seem to remember someone warning me about somewhere.



Also making the scene was the Beadmaster 2008 (formerly Beadmaster 2007). They tell me the lights are still broken after last year's pummeling but that doesn't stop them from making full use of the apparatus during the day parades.



Of Saturday's four parades Shangri-La and Sparta were the prettiest. I have a feeling that Pegasus is struggling finding enough riders these days. But, of course, the whole spectacle is worth standing in the cold. I'm not sure anything is worth the headache I ended the night with. Unless you count these Water Meter beads.



Luckily Sunday went a bit more smoothly. Maybe it was seeing the Sun for the first time in a week that kept me from falling out... or maybe it was that rum and orange juice I started the day with.



That straw is a very good friend of mine. His name is Harvey. Anyway Sunday was gorgeous. It was sunny and cool. Not too cold but nice enough for me to wear my big jacket with the big pockets... which are good for carrying lots of extra beer. Carrollton and King Arthur were both pretty good looking parades with lots of bands and, as I said below, a cameo appearance from Maitri. Here are a few shots which I don't think need captions.









You see what kind of a day it was. And still I have two questions both of which are law enforcement related. First, do you really have to be a cop to get a Hubig Pie at the parade?



Okay don't answer that one. I don't care. What I'd like to know is what the fuck is this?



You see at least one in every Mardi Gras parade. But what does it do the rest of the year? For that matter.. what does it do in the parade other than just roll through? How much money do these things cost to do... whatever it is they do? How many "Harry Lee Tanks" could we trade them in for if we ever wanted to do so?

After the parades, we made it down to the Quarter and eventually (inevitably?) to Fahy's where we (inevitably again?) threw darts with r and Goldschmidt until everyone was too drunk to stand it any more. And that's about where I am at the moment. Drunk... but not too cold... and definitely not sorry I decided to ignore the weather.

Small Town

Maitri is in every freaking parade.

Today she was in King Arthur. Tomorrow who knows? Anyway we caught these from her today. Somehow it seems fitting.



More soon. Too drunk to talk now.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

The problem with American politics

It is populated exclusively by Moes

Edited several times for clarity

I Have A Snake

Storms wash out parades across metro area

As thunder increased, and light rain gave way to a steady downpour, the parades scheduled to roll on the first big night of the Carnival parade season were cancelled one after the other. Only Oshun, the first scheduled parade on the Uptown route, managed to make it on schedule.


And I wuz there.



Happy Mardi Gras

Stuff to do

Carnival Time, bitches!


It's unusually wet for winter in New Orleans. And the nastiness makes the exceptionally early parade season seem even stranger. I'll be out there tonight in the cold and wet, though, because 1) It's easy for me to walk one block to the parade route. And 2) I'm incredibly stupid in the first place.

They're saying it looks like a decent weekend after tonight's nasties go away. But I'll believe it when I see it.

Have fun. Be safe. Try to stay warm.

Daily Fire

NOLA.com



Caption reads:

New Orleans firefighters battle a 2-alarm blaze which destroyed the Saveway Food Mart on the corner of Freret and Washington Friday morning. Fire officials said it was the third blaze at the store in the past year.


I find a lot of the fires around town suspicious these days. But I am not a fire prevention professional. You can tell because I have a roof over my head.

But who will slay the slayers?

Of course I've wanted to say a little something about the news that the Jindal campaign will have to pay a small fine for a minor ethics infraction regarding its failure to report an in-kind contribution from the the state Republican party.

I mean it sounds like a slam dunk snarky blog post. All I would have to do is quote Jindal delivering a stump speech in a heavily played campaign ad,

"We can't tolerate corruption"

And then link to the story. Then there would be a little block quote from the article explaining the "whoopsie" nature of what really is a minor mistake.

William Potter, an accountant who has worked on Jindal's campaign financial reports, said he is responsible for the error. "He expected me to do things right," Potter said.

Potter said that during the campaign, he mistakenly left the item off the original disclosure forms, but when campaign officials discovered the error the campaign amended the report to include the contribution.

Potter told The Advocate of Baton Rouge that Jindal's campaign chief, Timmy Teepell, who is now the governor's chief of staff, failed to notify those preparing the campaign finance report about the party expenditures for Jindal.

"He just flat forgot to tell us," Potter said, according to the report.


And then quote Jindal from the same ad,

"We can't tolerate incompetence"

Likewise, it would be embarrassingly easy to write "Awesome Dragonslaying", link to the story, and post a funny picture. A post like that practically writes itself.

When you go around demagoguing about how intolerant your administration is going to be then you really shouldn't expect to be tolerated back. But that's just Jindal's hypocrisy coming to light once again and picking on "reformist" pols for their hypocrisy is like shooting dragons in a barrel.

But there remains something icky about picking dragon nits even when done in jest so I'd prefer to just point you to Timshel where Ricky has a slightly better sense of perspective although I can't really get behind his rational argument for the need for ethics reform. In my mind, "goo goo" reformers (as Adrastos likes to call them) are almost always engaging in a circus to disguise or enable their own (often far worse) obsession with power at the expense of effective governance.

See also Suspect-Device for more on this and a gem of a quote from an LSU economist explaining what a blessing it is for Louisiana to be struggling with flood recovery during a national economic collapse.

Update: While the ethics oversight isn't worth freaking out over, it is certainly worth continuing to call Jindal out and hold him accountable to his over-the-top campaign rhetoric... like this.

Upperdate: WWLTV is now running a notice that says:

Governor Bobby Jindal cannot quickly pay a fine to the state ethics board and end an investigation into charges he violated the state's campaign finance disclosure laws. Details to follow.


So this might be worth a few more yuks before it dies.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Priorities

When the Governor places Dragonslaying ahead of all actual governmental functions... there ends up being a lot of collateral damage. But you know... people like that re-form.

Right now

There is a five year old in the library singing the two lines of the Scooby-Doo theme that he remembers over and over and over and over and.... well you get the point.

Meanwhile via First Draft we find the December 2007 Journal of American History is Federal Flood centric. At least now there is something to read this weekend.

Update: Well so far the first article I've read in the JAH is already taking the "Stupid people shouldn't live there" line. But I'm so deeply tired of combating that kind of condescension by this point I'm just going to let it lie.

Instead I'll point you to this interactive map which accompanies the online edition. Who knew that Gallier Hall was in Marigny? Or that City Park was part of St Bernard Parish? The things you learn from professional historians!

!

From Prytaniawaterline


Again the city has apparently issued Al Copeland a permit to erect a sidewalk obstructing stand in fron of his abandoned business at the corner of Napoleon and St. Charles. If our district councilperson hasn’t gotten the message yet, this kind of thing makes us mad. Copeland’s was a bad neighbor before the storm, with his huge potted plants blocking the sidewalk so that people in the neighborhood who use that sidewalk can barely pass. Or the rotten food on the sidewalks in the mornings, Copeland’s sucks. WDSU had a short report this morning on Copeland’s and neighbors concerns over the fact that it is still abandoned, the report finished saying that Copeland’s intends to reopen in the near future. I would would prefer if he lost his lease and a business that was willing to be a part of the neighborhood would move in. The food sucks at Copeland’s anyway.


WTF

?

Aren't these already being installed? If so, doesn't that make this "vote" something of a sham?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Very Sad

Stuff I did not know about Ex LSU Tiger and Miami Dolphin QB David Woodley:

He was 24 when he led the Miami Dolphins onto the field in Super Bowl XVII. Only 51 men have made it to the Super Bowl as starting quarterbacks and, for many, their lives are never the same. They make Hall of Fame speeches and open restaurants. Maybe Woodley did have one thing in common with them. He was never the same, either.

Twenty years after he left that field in Pasadena, Calif., he died, alone, a sliver of the hunk that Suzonne Pugh, his ex-wife, met at a bayou bar in college. He'd apparently driven himself to the hospital. What happened in that lonely gap between the Super Bowl and his death in 2003 will always be confounding.

"He was always a loner," says former Miami quarterback Don Strock, who, like most of his teammates, lost touch with Woodley after football. "Came to work and did his job."

Super Bowl quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Eli Manning savor these days, standing on the biggest stage of the sports universe, all eyes on them. For Woodley, it was a job he never wanted but couldn't live without.

"The pressure overwhelmed him," Pugh says. "He drank to try and forget most of it, or make it so it didn't matter that much.

"You know, he could've been happy, and he could've been a great player if … everybody would've just stepped back and let him be himself."


.....


When Woodley moved back to Shreveport, he put his NFL life far behind him. He drank alone. He had a liver transplant in 1992. He struggled through money problems alone and apparently made no attempts to cash in on his past. The Dolphins would occasionally see him at training camp, trying to peddle jewelry as the players walked to their cars.

Woodley never wanted to feel beholden to anybody. When he was playing for the Dolphins, a car dealership offered him wheels and money for what amounted to one or two appearances a year. Athletes weren't millionaires back then. Woodley promptly told the dealer no.

"It was a … they were going to take a part of his soul kind of thing," Cefalo says.

"David didn't care about money and fame. He shunned all of it. It was something thrust upon him. David was a tortured soul, but he had a kindness behind his eyes. He was trying to define himself to himself. He was his own person and trying to figure out what that meant."




Go read the rest

Human Amusements at Hourly Rates*

No longer available in Jefferson Parish

*

Worst Democrats Ever

Giving up again

All mah internetz iz broken

First Haloscan gets all weird again and now Netvibes is down for maintenance. Geez now I actually have to click on a bunch of links in order to read stuff. Too much work.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

TBogg

Funny

In case you haven't noticed

Haloscan is wigging out a bit again. Don't worry it will all blow over soon enough.

Quote of the Day

Dangerblond on Fred Radtke (A.K.A. "The Gray Ghost")

If he was really motivated by a desire to clean up ugly and offensive defacements off people’s property, he would use different paint colors to more closely match the colors of the buildings he is “fixing.” But no, he doesn’t want to do it in your color, he wants it in his color. He wants everyone to know that Radtke was here. This guy is basically an aggressive dog, sniffing out the places where other dogs have peed, and peeing on top of their pee. That will show them!


Yup

Today's Carnival Must-Reads

This week's Gambit features two excellent articles by Clancy Dubos and David Winkler-Schmit on bygone and endangered Carnival traditions. Dubos's is about the state of the remaining "neighborhood" parades that don't actually parade in their neighborhoods anymore. The krewe captains quoted all cite diminishing crowds among their reasons for reluctantly abandoning their traditional routes. But the most important factor is the prevailing pressure from NOPD and City Hall who are unwilling to manage more than one parade route anymore. Something tells me that this pendulum could swing the other way in coming years given post-Katrina upswing in neighborhood pride (at least in some areas that are recovering... particularly Mid-City).

Winkler-Schmit's cover story is about the long-established traditions tied to social institutions in Treme as a result of continued displacement and gentrification. The next generation of downtown indians, second-liners, and bone men could be lost... and it could happen sooner than you would think.

Information Overload

Is there such a thing as adult-onset ADD? I'm having difficulty focusing what with all the various things going on lately. It's Carnival season AND primary season AND NFL playoffs. Two weeks from today will be Fat Tuesday AND Super Tuesday happening two days after Super BowlKrewe of Hulk Hogan Sunday. I mean... how much can one man be expected to drink?

Anyway, the point is don't be surprised if I miss even more comment-worthy stuff than usual in the next few weeks. For example, I urge everyone to check out these posts from Adrastos and Moldy City regarding the latest bizarre episode of Times-Pic -kid-gloves-for-Nagin-ism published over the weekend. It seems that even after everything that has happened, the T-P editors will go to their graves proclaiming the dragonslaying awesomeness of Nagin's "reform" administration.

More Democrats running for the GOP nomination

John Edwards is now parroting conservative talking points too.

Daily Fire

This isn't exactly a new headline.

Cyber Command

Oh yes I used to have that on my Atari 2600 when I was a young'n. Really, though, what is it that an Air Force Cyber Command Center actually does? You don't learn that from this story although WDSU is very anxious to attach Jindal's face and name to it because of his... you know... Geek Appeal.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

KDV=Slow Hungover Day After

I didn't bring my camera this year but I'm sure there will be plenty photography from all of the various internetty participants.

Hangover-addled brief summary:

It was cold. Saw lots of folks. Adrastos gave me a Lafcadio Hearn bumper sticker. Dangerblond fed me some whipped cream. Saw Varg but didn't recognize him until he took off his Ignatius Riley hat. Went to Fahy's. Saw more folks. Got so drunk that we danced like morons in Fahy's. Had a shot at midnight to celebrate Shehateme's birthday. (It's also Daisy's birthday but she's in California) Got up this morning noonish. Made some eggs. Want to go back to bed.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sigh

The Democratic front runners continue their mad scramble to hit all the mythological talking points necessary to win the GOP nomination. Earlier in the week, it was Obama praising Reagan's "ideas" and today it's Hillary Clinton's husband bashing a popular Republican "Big Scary Labor" bogeyman.

Please tell me again how "exciting" these Democratic candidates are.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Stuff to Dieux

Eh most of you know... it's that time.

Let us stop here for a moment and give thanks

Thanks for how horribly wrong I was to ever assume that the Rudy! campaign had this thing in the bag. Rudy! is pure unadulterated awful.

Too much fake money chasing after too little real wealth

It's always the same story, fundamentally

Everyone wants to believe in magic

Wall Street obliged by packaging and then slicing debt backed by mortgages, so that even the riskiest mortgages could earn a safe AA or AAA rating from Standard & Poor's, Moody's (MCO, news, msgs) or Fitch. It performed the same magic with credit card debt, with auto loans and finally with corporate debt -- even the riskiest kind, called high-yield because it pays out a higher dividend to compensate for its higher risk. It's known as junk because in hard economic times it can become worthless. (See my Aug. 10 column, "How Wall Street got into this mess.")

Everyone wanted to believe that Wall Street's magic worked. Investors from Citigroup to the Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida (exposure: $573 million) bought in. The more investors who bought in, the more of these new products Wall Street could sell and the more money it was willing to lend to home builders, home mortgage lenders and credit card companies; to the savings and loans and banks that created the raw materials (mortgages, credit card debt, auto loans) that Wall Street needed to manufacture its products; and to the hedge funds and structured investment vehicles that bought what Wall Street produced.

It worked out just fine until reality stuck a pin in the bubble. It turns out that you can't lend more and more money to less- and less-qualified home buyers without driving up the number of borrowers who pay late or can't pay at all.


Which is another way of saying Wall Street, as clever as it is, can never imagine real wealth into being. If there aren't enough jobs and wages being produced by people making and doing real things then you don't get to pretend that you can sell these non-existent people any sustainable debt.

Dumb

I'll go out on a limb here and say that an Obama Presidency will not bring about a national ban on gambling.... regardless of what pointless mileage the Clinton campaign wants to get out his personal feelings on the matter.

My favorite part of primary season

South Caronlina: Where all the Republicans try to out-nut one another.

Green Dot Day

Tomorrow Broadmoor residents will hold a small celebration in honor of that neighborhood's victory over the consutantocracy and the now-infamous "green dot"

This Saturday, Broadmoor will celebrate the two-year anniversary of the “Dot.” At 3:45 p.m. at the Rosa F. Keller Library and Center, a brass band will lead a short parade back to the neutral ground on the 3700 block of Napoleon Ave, where it all began. There will be a green dot cake and folks are encouraged to wear a dot or two on their person. After all, it was partially due to the dot that Broadmoor that rose up and told the bureaucrats that they couldn’t turn our neighborhood into a drainage ditch.


The organizers of this neighborhood renaissance deserve to be congratulated. And, in typical Broadmoor fashion, they are obviously not at all hesitant to congratulate themselves. But when I think about this story I often wonder what could have been achieved for the entire city if the advantages and resources like those put to use in the saving of Broadmoor were purposed toward reviving more than just one neighborhood.

Note: Edited slightly post-publication to keep from sounding too gloomy

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jindal Signs Historic Dragonslaying Executive Order

Which... of course... gives all of his dragons a one year head start.

Obama continues to promote GOP talking points and mythology

This one is particularly egregious.

I'm expecting the Obama cultists to rush in any second to explain how promoting patently untrue and damaging misinterpretations of history are somehow "politically saavy".

I can't wait to hear about how Hopeful and Audacious it is to contribute to the calcification of untruth for the sake of short-sighted political expediency.

Update: (Jan 17) Yup, right on time, here they come. Go see Oyster for more as I imagine that's where the discussion will be.

Two Years Ago Today

The phrase "Chocolate City" entered the local political lexicon. The following day, this inspired one of our favorite mathematical equations.

Meeting the Challenge

Having already seen the gauntlet (or goblet as it were) laid down by the Krewe of Bacchus's naming Hulk Hogan as this year's celebrity king, organizers of the rival Superkrewe Orpheus knew they would have to dig deep to come up with some names to match that kind of vaguely trashy, sorta has-been, C-list cheese.

I think we can now safely say Mission Accomplished:

Race car driver, reality TV star and one of People Magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive Helio Castroneves will ride this carnival season.

The popular all girl hip hop group Salt – n –Pepa, Young and the Restless star Christian LeBlanc, Guiding Light star Ricky Paull Goldin and Sidney Torres – the man largely credited with cleaning up the French Quarter – will also reign over the crowds this Lundi Gras.


Adding: This morning I jokingly suggested to Clio that we might see Rhonda Shear here. Turns out I wasn't too far off.

Once more for the record

The Clinton campaign is truly hideously awful.

Uh oh

Somebody better get cracking on those tough new ethics laws. Otherwise, people might get the wrong idea here.

BATON ROUGE -- Donors contributed nearly $2 million to pay for Gov. Bobby Jindal's transition expenses and inaugural festivities before he moved into the Governor's Mansion.

Jindal, a Republican, released a list Tuesday of the latest round of donors, showing $541,954 in contributions raised from Dec. 16 through Jan. 14. Nearly $1.4 million was raised from Oct. 21 through Dec. 15, according to a previous report. More than 300 companies or individuals gave money to the new governor's transition organization.

However, in the list provided to the media Tuesday evening, it was difficult to determine exactly how those dollars were spent.

The release provided by the Jindal administration included a list of people and vendors who received payments totaling $354,920 from the last month of activities, but it doesn't describe what the spending covered. A similar list documenting $223,670 in expenses was released last month, lacking a similar level of specifics.

The list also doesn't offer any clue as to how much the three days of inaugural events, which culminated with Monday's swearing-in ceremony, may have cost.

Jindal spokeswoman Melissa Sellers said in an e-mail that the inauguration events were estimated to cost "a few hundred thousand" dollars, and she said more invoices would be coming in for payment, but she offered no other details. She didn't return a call for comment on Tuesday.

It was unclear how much money may remain in the transition organization account, though the documents provided so far left more than $1.3 million unaccounted for in spending. Another report would be released next month with remaining expenses and contributions, the governor's office said.

Though there is no legal limit on the size of contributions, Jindal capped his donations at $10,000 per donor, the same self-imposed limit set by former Gov. Kathleen Blanco four years earlier.

Among those who donated the maximum in the latest report were: Altria Corporate Services Inc., Bayou Health Care LLC, Central Crude, CH2M Hill Inc., Dave Roberts, Elanco Animal Health Dista Products Company, Gary and Beth Chumley, Helis Oil & Gas Company LLC, Innovative Emergency Management Inc., Joseph M. Bruno, LLB Consulting Inc., Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association, Michael and Leslie McGuire, Robert Bruno, Ronald A. Goux, Settoon Towing LLC, SSH Management LLC, and Tammany Holding Corp.


For the record, I'm really not very enthusiastic about nitpicking and Dragonslaying. But what we have here is something very like David Vitter and his hookers. It wouldn't matter one bit if he wasn't such a pompous ass about "family values." This is the governor who campaigned against "even the appearance of impropriety" so I think he should be held to the standard he demagogues. Louisianians should demand to know what happened to every cent of this money. Local Dragonslaying publications like the T-P and Gambit should be watching each of these donors and reporting on what stake they have in the new governor's policy decisions.

Somehow I'm betting that all we'll get is unmitigated praise for Jindal's heroic stoppage of the nefarious football ticket fund though.

Cold Rain

I'm thinking about running outside and singing Zippity Doo Dah in a few minutes. Who's coming with me?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Shock Doctrine Recovery continues

It's kind of a boring playbook, really. Politically important people create their own contracting companies, magically end up with government contracts to do things like rebuild airports and sidewalks, lend each other money, lie about how much their contracts are worth, cash in on bogusly inflated stock prices.

The only mystery here is whether or not Clancy Dubos will write a column explaining how Ray Nagin's maintaining obvious relationships with these contractors (flying to football games on their planes and such) constitutes a "smart move."

Quotes

Both of these popped up in my reader at the same time.

Ritholtz:
Ugly day today -- Dow off 280 to 12,500 as I type this, the Nasdaq down 2.5%. The natural process of washing out excesses will lead to gnashing of teeth and begging for the Fed to intervene. (After all, isn't it the role of the Fed to backstop speculators?)

My opinion: those people who only believe in free market so long as they are going higher aren't capitalists, they are socialists.


Krugman:
William F. Buckley discovers the virtues of regulation and calls for government intervention to help fix the mortgage crisis.

If conservative principles are abandoned so easily in the face of a bad economic situation, what was the whole thing about in the first place?

"Ideological Independence"

Is a very desirable thing which is, of course, best fostered by vast personal wealth.

Awesome Dragonslaying

The city hands out yet another management contract to a politically connected firm for basically performing the functions of downsized city departments and that champion of Ethics In Government, Clancy Dubos rushes in to tell us why this is a "Smart Move".

Clancy's point here seems to be, "Well somebody has to do this job" and that's hard to argue with. But there are reasons why we've reached a point where they can say that. Plus, one would think the publisher of the Needed Alternative who harps so much on the need for more and better Dragonslaying wouldn't be so quick to cover for some of these Dragons.

Progress?

Well... a little.

Karen and her people rock.

Also... once again the NOLA.com commenters prove themselves to be people I just don't understand.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Stupid

Since the Democratic primary drama has gone from stupid to stupider, now is as good a time as any to link to Matt Taibbi's latest complaint (a rather tame one, by the way) about the stupid stupidity of the stupid process.

How did one of the most genuinely interesting primary contests in American history devolve into a Grade-D smack-down that even Vince McMahon would be ashamed to promote? The real story of the campaign has been its unprecedented unpredictability — and therein lies the problem. On both tickets, the abject failure of media-anointed front-runners to hold their ground was due at least in part to voters having grown weary of being told by the press who was "electable" and who wasn't. Both the Huckabee and Ron Paul candidacies represent angry grass-roots challenges to the entrenched Republican party apparatus, while the Edwards candidacy is a frank and open attack on his own party's too-cozy relationship with corporate America. These developments signaled a meaningful political phenomenon — widespread voter disgust, not only with the two ruling parties, but with a national political press that smugly enforced the party insiders' stranglehold on the process with its incessant bullying of dissident candidates.

But there was no way this genuinely interesting theme was going to make it into mainstream coverage of the campaign heading into the primary season. It was inevitable that different, far stupider story lines would be found to dominate the headlines once the real bullets started flying in Iowa and New Hampshire. And find them we did.

Disturbing thought of the day

Today the Yellow Blog has officially lasted longer than the Blanco administration.

Obamarama

Menckles reports overhearing a recent meeting of local Obama cultists at CC's which was adjourned by the facilitator leading the rest of the coven in a chant of "Grass roots! Grass roots! Grass roots!"

Will somebody please direct these individuals to Pres Kabacoff's hippie center so that they may be effectively quarantined?

Shameless

The T-P editors really have no shame

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Votre lecon Francais pour aujourd'hui

Apparently it involves a lot of snickering.

Is this the business section or the society page?

It's stories like this that make me wonder. An honest headline would read,

Quadrillionaire real estate developer to apply a small portion of his considerable resources in money and contacts to flatter his hippie girlfriend.

While the healing center is only in the planning stages now, its founders say it will occupy a unique niche in the city. Louisiana is one of only three states without a cooperative grocery store, in which members buy an ownership share and work shifts to offset the cost of groceries, and Kabacoff said there is no place in the city where people can find various types of alternative medicine, "from reiki to acupuncture to things I don't even know about," under one roof.


Uh huh.

Here we have in one neat package everything that is wrong with hipster NOLA. A well connected real estate magnate, his new age "voodoo priestess" paramour, and a whole cast of self-important post-hippies who do things like "produce a series of essays and short films that paid tribute to the city" and then pat themselves on the back saying things like,
"What we're doing is unprecedented," said Andy Antippas, a salon member and the owner of Barrister's Gallery on St. Claude. "We've scoured for paradigms, and there aren't any."

Scoured for paradigms? Wasn't that a Depeche Mode album? Anyway please be my guest and read the rest of this article for more unintentional hilarity. via Suspect-Device

Note: Actually I'm quite enthusiastic about the idea of a co-op grocery. But, as is often the case in such ventures, it doesn't really offset the costs which come in the form of all this self-congratulatory hipster snobbery and as Kabakoff so lovingly describes his girlfriend's hobbies, reiki and acupuncture and "things I don't even know about"

Saturday, January 12, 2008

When good luck goes bad

Carnival season began a week ago tomorrow. In New Orleans this is traditionally the time when people begin taking down their Holiday decorations and putting their Christmas trees out on the curb as a placebo to placate their collective anxiety over Louisiana's unrelenting coastal loss. This week is also a time for dealing with one more Holiday remnant.

This morning I cleaned out my refrigerator. I had a big grocery run scheduled for the afternoon which meant I needed space in the fridge. Which, in turn, meant it was time, finally, to deal with the large plastic containers that had been sitting on the middle shelf since January 1. They contained what was left of the massive vats of black eyed peas and cabbage I had made in order to keep with the long observed tradition of eating those dishes on New Year's Day, supposedly to bring good luck in the new year.

I don't know why I always cook at least three times as much of any food as we could possibly eat. But I can tell you that if you were to eat what was in those tupperware containers today instead of two weeks ago, you'd probably experience something very different from "good luck".

But back on January 1, it was good stuff. Here. I took pictures.

Black Eyed Peas


Notice how terribly uncomplicated and basic all of the recipes that appear on the Yellow Blog are. The simplest things are often the best. These peas go together exactly the same way a pot of red beans does. You throw 'em in a pot with one or more pork products and let 'em simmer 'til dinner time. Still, I know how much you guys like step-by-step instructions so here goes.

Before you run out for your New Year's Eve festivities, go into your giant walk-in dry goods pantry and retrieve a one pound package of Camellia brand black eyes.


Empty the package into the big blue pot you inherited from your grandmother, cover the peas with water, and leave them to soak overnight.



Go downtown and get drunk as hell on cheap champagne watching fireworks and freezing your butt off on the Moonwalk as yet another strange-ass year moves on out to make way for the next strange-ass year. Wake up early the next morning all bright-eyed and clear-headed and ready to take on the New Year and .... Yikes!



Okay then wake up sometime around noon on New Year's Day, make a big pot of coffee, shower and try to shake off the hangover. Now get back in the kitchen, drain the peas and set them aside while you chop your vegetables. Here's what you'll need.


That's onion, celery, bell pepper and parsley. No surprises there, I'm sure.

Oh shit, I almost forgot the garlic!


By the way, check out my brand new Wustof chef's knife in that picture. Pretty sweet, right? It was a good Christmas.

Anyway now you'll want to go back to that big blue pot on the stove. Heat up a little olive oil and then throw in the obligatory pork. It's up to you what form of pork you like here. In the past I've used smoked sausage, pickled meat, and hamhocks. All of these are excellent choices. This year I went with a package of chopped ham seasoning I picked up at Rouse's.



Brown the meat then remove it from the pot and set it aside. The process should have rendered plenty of delicious pork fat drippings. It's a nice start... but, of course, you'll still need about a stick of butter.



Mmmm butter. Okay now throw it in the pot and melt it down.



Mmmm pork remnant & butter soup. I know you want to start dipping your french bread in there but try to remember all that work you did chopping those vegetables. Yeah, now throw all that stuff in there and let it start cooking.



Once the vegetables cook down a bit, this is really just a matter of assembling things. Return your drained peas and browned pork to the pot, give the whole thing a healthy dose of the seasonings pictured below.



From left to right, that would be salt, thyme, bay leaf, basil, marjoram, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Add enough water to cover the peas, put the lid on the pot and leave to simmer. This could take between one and a half to two hours depending on how high you set the fire to go. In the meantime, well it's New Year's Day there's bound to be a game on TV.

Of course you'll need to make some cabbage too. I used to hate cooked cabbage growing up. But somehow my mother found a way to get me eat it every year... that's why I lead the lucky and charmed life I live today. But I still didn't look forward to cabbage on New Year's Day until I came across this recipe in the Times-Pic about five or six years ago.

  • Chop and brown one pound of andouille sausage in a large pot.



  • Remove sausage and sautee one regular onion in olive oil.


  • Add one jar of Italian olive salad,



    One can of chopped tomatoes, and Crystal or Tobasco hot sauce to taste. Stir.



  • Return the sausage to the pot and start adding your cabbage a little bit at a time until it all cooks down. You can cover this pot and let it simmer until the peas are done.


You'll know the peas are done when the water in the pot reaches a milky consistency and the pork seasoning meat starts to fall off of the bone.



Eat up and repeat at least once a year every January 1st for... you know... good luck.



And while you're at it you may as well share some with the neighbors. This way you'll all have better luck this year... and maybe there won't be any leftovers to clean two weeks later.

Deja Vu All Over Again

Anyone watching WWLTV this weekend is sure to have caught one of these spots touting that station's coverage of the upcoming Jindal inauguration. Watching these commercials, the uninformed viewer may mistake the event they anticipate for a Billy Graham revival... or at the very least, "A very special episode of..." insert your favorite TV drama in which the headlining characters are getting married or buried or something.

It's all very disgusting but not without precedent. WWL treated the Roemer inauguration in 1988 exactly the same way. Oh well... once a Dragonslayer, always a Dragonslayer I guess....

I'm glad I don't live in Chicago or Detroit or Minneapolis

Because then I'd probably be obligated to hate Brett Favre... and how is that even possible?


Also here's a shopping tip for you. The store-made chocolate chip cookies from Rouse's are unbelievable.

Friday, January 11, 2008

First, we kill all the lawyers

Next, they keep making more.

Congrats, Kim.

Now they've gone too far

Previously we've half-smilingly derided the impossibly white people of Jefferson Parish and their continuing efforts to perpetuate a myth that Carnival in New Orleans is somehow not a "family-friendly" event. In order to be disabused of such a misconception, one need only take the time to observe the parade routes of New Orleans during the parading season to find neighbors and families (often families with small children) enjoying the sights and tastes and smells of Carnival. But such is the manner of most tourists or impossibly white people from Jefferson Parish; not to observe things.

Instead, the impossibly white people of Jefferson Parish have taken it upon themselves to fill the imaginary need for "family friendly" events during the Carnival season. Thus the impossibly white people of Jefferson Parish are presenting the second annual "Family Gras" (literally "Fat Family")a three-day Mardi-Gras-themed concert event held in the beautiful and undoubtedly "family friendly" environs of Metairie and Gretna featuring the musical stylings of such "family friendly" acts as Billy Ray Cyrus, Taylor Swift, the Bangles and Kansas.

Of course, since this is the second year the impossibly white people of Jefferson Parish have graced us with these festivities, longtime readers will note that the subject has already been covered ad-nauseum and will wonder why we feel the need to even touch on this unpleasantness at all this time around.

Well I have good reason to bring it up today, and it is this. In light of my decided anti-Family Gras sentiment, I find it most disturbing that the Times-Picayune has chosen to associate my name with these events in today's headline. Worse than that, the editors there have made this libelous association through the employment of a particularly sensitive epithet. "Jeff Gras" (literally "Fat Jeff") is not only an uncharitable description of my temporary state of post-holiday mild chunkiness, it is also a very cheap shot. I demand a retraction.

Is there any King Cake left?

Are the condos still okay?

Thank goodness e has the fortitude to put all of this together because I'm beyond the point of exasperation here. Unfortunately too many of us remain in the thrall of the Ed Blakely consultantocracy that has come to help us "reimagine" our city. It's going to take an awful lot of imagination to see a city on top of all these vacant lots we've been in such a hurry to create.

But at least retired persons in living in subsidized housing are now appropriately embarrassed about the size of their televisions. At least we got that done.

There really is no excuse for us to have allowed this to happen.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shock Doctrine Recovery (Volume # 3 Quadrillion)

More Exploding Pies from the Economic Buffet. How soon before we reach the tipping point?

Manager to speed repair of N.O. assets
by The Times-Picayune
Thursday January 10, 2008, 1:23 PM

Mayor Ray Nagin's administration announced today that it has inked an agreement with a Colorado-based engineering firm to oversee a massive effort to rebuild hundreds of public assets damaged by Hurricane Katrina flooding.

The hiring of MWH, a company formerly known as Montgomery Watson Harza, will provide new expertise and administrative muscle to manage the repair and reconstruction of police and fire stations, streets, recreation centers, court buildings, museums, libraries, parks and other projects, according to a news release.

City Hall, which saw staff in critical construction planning departments reduced by at least half after the 2005 hurricane, has struggled to prioritize and keep track of rebuilding projects. Though officials expect the city to be reimbursed for the work under FEMA's Public Assistance program, completing the legwork to get the projects has lagged for more than two years.

The company is expected to earn roughly $6 million under the contract, although how much will be paid isn't yet clear because of the varying complexity of repair projects.

The Nagin administration scheduled a news conference at City Hall to discuss the new contract. MWH, based in Broomfield, Colo., has landed three major post-Katrina contracts in New Orleans, providing services in the areas of emergency debris removal, storm drain cleaning and assessment of the Sewerage & Water Board's water distribution system. About 30 people work out of the firm's office at 1340 Poydras St.

I can haz punditry lisence?

Since I've resolved not to engage into too much fanciful speculation and to keep the "predictions" to a minimum... I will now engage in a bit of fanciful specualation about which I will make a prediction.

If for some unlikely reason the Democrats end up heading into their convention without a settled nominee, I predict that those pariah primary delegates from Florida and Michigan will end up getting counted anyway.

Now I iz punditing!

Elevating the Discourse

Remember... it's still only January

Shut up

Hillary did not "steal" New Hampshire. Stop saying shit like this. It makes you sound like an asshole.

The Big Baby End-Run Candidates

You know... the ones who won't play fair and accept the wisdom of our perfect-in-every-way two party system


Unity08 To Jump On Bloomberg Bandwagon?

A source familiar with the Bloomberg for president movement says the bipartisan Unity08 effort is poised to shut down its Web site, reconstitute as a Draft Bloomberg site and launch its own 50-state signature-gathering operation on behalf of the supposedly reluctant would-be independent presidential candidate.


(via Yglesias... via Atrios)

My question, though is this. Given the very very weak showing by Ron Paul in New Hampshire, is it time to give up on Paul running third party? Or is he a lock for the Libertarian ticket? Because without a significant extra candidate on the right.. Bloomberg really mucks things up for Hill-Obama.

Mixed-Income Housing

Defined as: A much smaller number of affordable units right next to vacant lots and stuff nobody wants to buy.

Fraking Haloscan

At it again.

This could be the Greatest Carnival Ever.

It's too early for the crowds to get ridiculous.

We would be remiss, however, if we neglected to point out the following error in the above-linked Times-Pic article.
The earliest date on which Mardi Gras can occur is Feb. 3, and the latest is March 9. While Mardi Gras hasn't fallen on Feb. 3 and isn't likely to do so anytime soon, it was on March 9 in 1886 and 1943.

Mardi Gras fell on a Leap Day in 1876, and it is scheduled to do so again in 2028. Since the celebration began in New Orleans in 1857, the dates with the most Fat Tuesdays -- seven -- have been Feb. 17 and March 1.


John Pope is confusing the beginnings of Fat Tuesday observances in New Orleans (which, in fact, go all the way back to the arrival of the French in Louisiana) with the advent of what we recognize as the "modern" Carnival celebration with the first Comus parade in 1857. The way the article is worded leaves an entirely different and inaccurate impression. But we can't expect the T-P fact-checkers to catch everything... not when they've got so much work to do on the Jindal Family Scrapbook.

T-P Jindal Family Scrapbook

Third in a seemingly interminable series of front page dominating fluff. There must be nothing going on in this town.

King Cake Baby Number One

The first of the season is always the most special

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Comments

Take heart, kids, your comments are reaching their target. Just because some of them have yet to emerge from the Haloscanic goo doesn't mean they aren't being read.

Look! A playground!

I wonder if this contributor to today's idiot page understands what it is that Allstate actually does.

This is what you get

Yesterday, I used the temperamental and mysterious Haloscan to write a comment about the Obama cultists and their fixation on personality/identity politics. The comment finished thusly.

In '92, (Bill) Clinton sold the same bullshit "youth movement" feel-good crap that Obama is selling now.

............


But I don't think the cultists understand this. So I don't think I'm wrong to say that much of what we're seeing here is a campaign built on bullshit. At some point a price is paid for that. Whether it comes due before the election or during a failed first term is pretty much all we're waiting to learn.


One day later, we find we are knee-deep in a campaign based on personality and identity politics bullshit. (link via Oyster) Yet another way in which these "exciting" Democratic candidates are "good for America."

Haloscan

It's a bit unpredictable today (eating comments... regurgitating them a few minutes later... and in some cases eating them again). Sorry' bout that. I'm sure some really important people are managing this crisis at this very moment.

Update: It seems that what's happening at the moment is comments are becoming visible in their threads on the site nearly an hour after they are made. But I can read everything by logging in to Haloscan. May be some kind of server overload?

Jesus... isn't this just the most incredibly interesting thing you've read today?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

One thing we learned tonight

We learned that people saying a thing over and over again on TV does not necessarily make that thing true.

High Popalorum vs Low Popahirum

From the Gospel of Huey:
(Long) would tell how patent medicine men used to concoct a mixture to sell to Negroes as a hair-straightener. The makers called it "high popalorum" or "low popahirum," depending on how they manufactured it. They made the first by tearing the bark of a tree down, and the second by tearing the bark up. When Huey dismissed two political rivals by comparing them to the two compounds, his amused rural listeners knew exactly what he was talking about.


From the Clinton campaign tonight:

"It's now a one-on-one race. Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama. We're excited"

Are you excited?

Whoops!

Tonight isn't looking quite as Obamerrific as the kids were anticipating.

Also... if not Huck at this point, who? McCain? No, seriously, who?

All Handicapping All the Time 4-Eva!

WCBF opens the betting

Update: And the rest of the action...

YRHT

So. Leftist

Quote of the Day

Actually I'll give you two from the same post and just have you go read the rest since it makes the argument more clearly than anything else I've seen this election season.

QOTD 1:

First, it’s not vital that an ideology be entirely consistent or empirically well-grounded for it to win broad appeal. I recently read a brief little introductory textbook on political philosophy, written by a British professor. He dealt with all the classics – Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, etc. For every one of these thinkers he was able to present a devastating counterargument (usually formulated by some later philosopher) that uncovered a fatal hole in the original author’s thesis. And these are the great thinkers of the Western tradition! Proving that a system of thought has serious flaws does not prove that the system is gibberish. That’s why the philosophy journals are still to this day publishing arguments by modern-day Lockeans, utilitarians, Marxists, etc., trying to improve and refine their arguments.


QOTD 2:

But there’s still that lingering question of whether an ideology is even necessary for success. I can’t prove that it is. But I’ll say this. In the long term, politics only really changes because of passionate minorities. Only superficially is it affected by the average median swing voter. When passionate minorities take shape – sociologists call them social movements – they exert a powerful, gravitational force on the rest of the public.
..........

Here’s my point: There has never in history been such a thing as a genuine movement committed to pragmatism and throwing the bums out. It can only happen with an ideology, a creed.

No ideology, no movement. No movement, no change in conventional wisdom.

No change in conventional wisdom and we will be alternating between Bushism and Clintonism – between 2002 and 1997 -- for the rest of our lives.

The real problem with Left Blogistan

Is that we don't spend nearly enough time talking about how truly hideously awful Hillary Clinton is.

Just for the record, Hillary is truly hideously awful.

In 1814 we took a little trip

Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip

Dixville Notch results are in already

More of a novelty than anything else but fun anyway.

Not much to say going into the New Hampshire primary but this. I think I've made it plain that I am not buying the Obama hype the same way a lot of people are.... but he's a lot closer to sewing up the nomination than I thought he'd get. This isn't exactly horrible news but forgive me if I don't Hope too Audaciously. At the moment there are two competing takes. One goes something like what Oyster is saying here

Anyhoo, I'm having trouble articulating and explaining how impressed I am with Obama. How he figured out a way to win in Iowa, how he's taking advantage of the primary schedule, how he turned it up when he needed to, and how he's changing the context of the campaign for Dems and the GOP in a way that creates the possibility of a "wave" election, and perhaps a working majority. This is exciting to me. So is the prospect of not having to worry about apologizing and holding my nose for Hillary for the next four to eight years.


Speaking as someone who honestly doesn't expect himself possessed of the fortitude necessary to "hold my nose for Hillary", I can sympathize with that take to some degree.

But while Oyster is marveling at what he Hopefully (to once again pun excruciatingly upon that word) believes to be sneaky elegant strategy from the Obama campaign, I still can't help but reach the same kind of conclusion that Tom Tomorrow lands on here

I’ll support a potted plant against whichever race-baiting science-denying warmonger the Republicans finally settle on, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer a candidate who actually stands for things I care about, like real health care reform and a speedy end to the Iraq debacle. Given that Kucinich is — sorry — unlikely to carry the day, that leaves me with Edwards. Who is also probably not going to make it to the finish line. And then, hurray!, the Democrats will once again be offering up a mushy centrist who speaks vaguely of hope and change, of bipartisanship and reconciliation. Why is it always the Democrats who have to reconcile, after these spasms of right wing extremism? Why is partisanship always such a one-way street?


In other words, are we really going to asked to suspend our disbelief one more time in exchange for... hope? I don't know. But hey, maybe Hillary will finish third again. That's sure to make some of the pain go away.

Meanwhile watch the GOP results for some unexpected shows of strength from Huckabee and our friends the Ron Paul crazies. Of course McCain and Romney will run 1 and 2 but that's neither here nor there. I think Huckabee is dangerous if he breaks 15% in New Hampshire with South Carolina on the horizon... particularly if Mitt goes down again.

Oh and the SEC is the best damn conference in America. End of story.

Monday, January 07, 2008

One way to make this better...

...is to go ahead and fire that bastard Miles anyway. They won't do it... and they will pay for that in the long run. Tonight, though, LSU is obviously the most talented football team in the country. I'd put that roster up against any of the other national pretenders provided it is healthy and reasonably coached... two things the Tigers were decidedly not for much of this season.

Also, the SEC is far and away the best football league in the country. Any argument to the contrary is beyond laughable. But I'm sure we'll continue to be blessed with fresh comedy in that vein.

Also again, tomorrow we'll be sure to look for the inevitable smug derisive comments about the "crass" and "obnoxious" behavior of the LSU fans in New Orleans... as if they were the first and only people ever to be so stupid on Bourbon Street.

Update: The Channel 8 News broadcast, this evening, wisely broke away from a report on the stupid Hillary Tears story to bring us live footage of Les Miles shouting "Wahoo!" at a press conference... which is just as stupid but slightly more relevant.