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Friday, February 29, 2008

The ever-expanding list of things you can't bring into a New Orleans Area Mall

  1. A sense of humor

  2. A teenager

  3. A headscarf


You may still bring tacos provided you purchase them from an immobile vendor.

Vilma Traded

I had no idea Fred and Barney were into that sort of thing.



It says here that there is a conditional draft choice involved. One expects that would have to go to Barney... but these things are very subjective.

Little known facts about Fre Flo Do

It seems to help you avoid court appearances....but not tackles, as we're all aware by now.

If only we could send PBJ to Baghdad

He'd get them to pass some super awesome "ethics laws".. then all the Dragons would go away and this would never ever happen.
BAGHDAD — Iraq's government has spent millions of dollars on "phantom" police officers who left the force or died, but whose names remained on department payrolls while others illegally pocketed their salaries


And then the whole country would be nothing but Taco Bell and Hannah Montana 4-evah!


Update:
Maybe he can also apply his "Whiz-Kid" skillz toward recovering some of that $3 trillion in out-of-control spending over there.... just like he's doing over here.

...But nobody does anything about it

Oohmigod they can control the weather!

(Not really)

Don't Ask Don't Tell

What a joke this is. I guess the Brits couldn't risk having someone with such close ties to the "other side" fighting for them.

Told you it wouldn't last long

Benson raises ticket prices

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Complaints

My bike has a flat tire.

I don't feel like fixing it.

Gas costs too much, though.

So do pogo sticks.

And Heelys are just plain gay.

My mom just had her third major back surgery in five months yesterday.

Number four is scheduled for Monday.

My cat may also need surgery, btw.

My left knee doesn't feel so hot either.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to be training for CCC.

HUD and HANO have been denounced by the United Nations for demolishing public housing in New Orleans.

Meanwhile here is a video of volunteers feeding the homeless under the Claiborne Bridge while the Rebirth Brass Band performs for them. (Yes, that is a little weird)

Last night I heard these shots go off.

Time passes too quickly when you get old.

I'm out of things to bitch about.

That probably won't last long.

Calls to Canada

I wonder if they'll call them again in the fall to explain how their inevitable effusive praise of NAFTA will also be just "campaign rhetoric" during the general election.

Update: Important comment below from joejoejoe I'll just add to the post:

TPM got too far in front of this story. The Michael Wilson mentioned in these claims is a conservative member of the Harper government and helped negotiate NAFTA as trade minister in the Mulroney government.

A followup from The Politico: "A spokesman for the Canadian Embassy to the United States, Tristan Landry, flatly denied the CTV report that a senior Obama aide had told the Canadian ambassador not to take seriously Obama's denunciations of Nafta.

"None of the presidential campaigns have called either the Ambassador or any of the officials here to raise Nafta," Landry said. He said there had been no conversations at all on the subject. "We didn't make any calls, they didn't call us," Landry said.

"There is no story as far as we’re concerned," he said.


The CTV story was likely Michael Wilson talking out of his ass on background to the Canadian press as perhaps one of the two or three biggest NAFTA supporters in North America, then having the whole bogus story blow up in the US press, following by an explicit denial by the Canadian Embassy.

Nagin orders more units

Begs Bush to help New Orleans rebuild its "workforce" We already knew none of this was about "people".

Blakely Fatigue

How many times can they announce that something is about to happen? Call me when the cranes get here. Because they're probably going to want to use them to knock down more perfectly sound buildings.

Update:
On the other hand, this is interesting.
Blakely also said the city will unveil next week an Internet-based map that will allow residents to get regular updates on the progress of 119 recovery projects the city expects to carry out.

Officials have said the map will be similar to one used in Kansas City, Mo., that allows residents to click on icons posted at project sites and view details such as the lead contractor, ground-breaking date, target completion date and phone number of a city official overseeing the project.

Does it have to be on the City's website, though? That's where the magic intertube sprites go to die.

Won't anyone help us sophisticate up the corruption?

Nearly six months into job he has hired two of 30 positions

Cerasoli says he is concerned that the city’s process to advertise the positions is limiting his ability to hire.

According to Cerasoli, the city of New Orleans is only set up to advertise in the Times-Picayune and attempts to advertise in out of town newspapers are complicated.


Because there just aren't enough sophisticated folk in this particular labor market, I guess. I thought about applying but they'd probably only let me empty the trash can in the cubicle.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Not your pastor's keeper

I'm starting to get the feeling that this election is going to be a never-ending string of accusations against Obama which become more politically effective the further away they are from any relevant fact. Last night's debate is only a small example.

Remember, Obama is firmly on the record as adhering to the standard US policy of rationalizing whatever bloody work Israel gets itself into. Obama is also on the record as having repeatedly denounced Farrakhan.

But the pastor at Obama's (decidedly un-Muslim) church said nice things about Farrakhan. In Tim Russert's world, this constitutes a scandalous contradiction. Therefore, CNN thinks Obama might be unpalatable to American Jews. Therefore, Obama has to prove he's not a terrorist.

Nobody could have predicted

The job might get a little comfy

Keva Landrum-Johnson, the veteran Orleans Parish prosecutor appointed to step in last fall when embattled DA Eddie Jordan resigned, said Wednesday that she hasn't ruled out seeking the office via election this fall.

"I'm keeping my options open," said Landrum-Johnson, at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court on Wednesday, moments after checking in on a death penalty case set for a hearing. "Being DA has shed some new light on my future aspirations."


Yeah, it'll do that.

Adding: In my honest opinion, there really isn't any reason she should be arbitrarily barred from running just because her appointment was approved by the local political overlords. But when she was granted that appointment, much was made of her agreeing not to run. That seems a bit goofy in hindsight.

Wardrobe Dysfunction

Threateningly clothed American Politicians. Will Tim Russert dare to make them answer for this?

Famous Cold Cockings in History

William F. Buckley:

“Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I will sock you in your goddamn face, and you will stay plastered.”



William F. Buckley, Dead at 82

Update:
This short remembrance by Rick Perlstein is actually very moving. (edit: Okay "moving" isn't the right word.... but "interesting" may be)

American Politics

Here in the world's greatest democracy, we take our election thingies very seriously. Every four years in virtual perpetuity, this shining city on a hill stages a grand plebiscite through which its great people decide who will take on the awesome responsibility of Philosopher-Decider-King. This profound conversation amongst a great people always produces a focused distillation of the transcendent issues of the time. Thus the cultural mood of the great people is preserved for posterity. History lives forever in their debt.

Below is a list of the momentous memes of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries as crystallized by the collective deliberations of the great people.


Instant Update: Ha! Actual brilliance here

Shysters Rule

Crooks are cool. We've got crooks in our schools.

It's time to steal, it's time to shoot!
It's time to rob... taste my boot!


More here

I'm liable to cold cock somebody today

Please refrain from approaching me wrong

Monday, February 25, 2008

Silly Season getting sillier by the second

It's still February and we're already on wardrobe. How much worse can it get before November? Plenty worse.



The editors apologize for the unfortunate appearance of a Val Kilmer musical number on the Yellow Blog. But we think you'll agree the unpleasantness fits the occasion.

Need a vacation

Longtime readers already know that since the catastrophic events of 2005, this site has almost completely phased out reportage upon the discomforting (or, if you like, amusing) absurdities of the public library environment. In case any of those longtime readers were wondering if this was because those absurdities have somehow ceased to be, I'm afraid the answer is a resounding no.

The library has been, is, and will likely always be a haven for nutcases (on either side of the reference desk). Spending the day here, one observes a pageant of sublime dysfunction not unlike what one would find on Bourbon street at 4:00 AM on a Sunday with only a subtle difference in smell. Whatever difference there may be in the presence of intoxicants is not observable through the behavior of the participants. Not very many of us need to pull double shifts to keep both scenes staffed with weirdos. There are plenty to go around in this town.

Today is no exception. We've had our regular progress of eccentrics, paranoids, hypochondriacs, homeless, and (worst of all) uptown housewives come through today. But I've more or less come to expect this and so I hardly, if ever, write about it any more. Most people are crazy. In what way is that news?

But every now and again, this permanent condition of nuttiness under which the public labors manages to produce a noteworthy item or two. Like say... when one of them hands me a note.



It's funny because it's true.

Not yet above the rim but...

Nobody could have predicted that the Hornets' attendance might go up after Mardi Gras and as the games actually began to mean something. I don't like the Hornets' ownership. And the fact that their presence here means that our city served as an enabler of the NBA's raping of the city of Charlotte has never sat well with me. But the argument that New Orleans isn't interested in basketball is pure bunk.

School Choice

What G-Bitch said

Choices, choices, choices–makes me want to spit acid and nails. As if “choices” is all there is to it, as if THAT were the single systemic problem in the school system we had before. For example, if OPSB no longer has a full slate of schools, why in the hell does it take 2-3 months for any goddamn thing to get done? Or filled out? And what can you know about a brand-new charter school or even one only a year old? How can you tell without doing the process part-time, or having teaching experience and/or an education degree, if a charter or non-charter school is experiencing growing/start-up pains or failing? How do you know what the mission statement comes down to in practice? Why are uniforms so universal in this “choice-filled” system?


In the end, this is really about transferring blame from the school to the parent. If you run this gauntlet and end up enrolling your kid in a crappy school the problem now isn't that the school is crappy as much as it is that you made a crappy choice. You are a very bad parent and your kids don't deserve a quality education.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rather-Gate 2008

And there it is. A plausible but poorly reported and irresponsibly published story is now the official "liberal media" whipping post of the campaign. Way to go.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ah yes, the perfect news item

Any time you can combine the notion, "Teenagers are scary" with "The Internets are evil" you've got pure gold there.

We already know the Mayor of New Orleans hates Freedom of the Press

But why do so many Mayors of New York seem to hate democracy itself?

Not exactly crazy

Today I was going to write more about the Cold Cocking incident. But the point I wanted to make has already been made here

...Except I am not so sure that Nagin is that crazy. More, as my trite headline suggests, crazy like a fox. What is hiding behind the public buffoonery is a concerted program of looting the city recovery money via extravagant, no-bid contracts to his contributors. I plan to come back and work on a post, in fact hope to fulfill some of the mayor’s paranoid delusion by encouraging other bloggers in New Orleans to take up Bayou St. John David’s call for a concerted campaign to publicize the clear appearance of corruption in City Hall.

For now, visit his blog–Moldy City– and Dambala’s American Zombie and read what real journalism looks like. The WWL-TV piece promises some of that tonight, but if you want to see it in black-on-white, you can forget the daily Times-Picayune and the weekly “alternative”/lifestyle magazine Gambit. You’ll have to read the best of citizen journalism in the NOLA Blogosphere to start to see the real reason Nagin is mostly invisible when he’s not playing the fool or tossing gasoline on the smoldering racial tension in the city. It’s a great cover for doing with what’s left of the recovery dollars that weren’t already carried away by friends of the White House (which is where most of over $100 billion has gone).


And also here

As you may have inferred, I'm inclined to disagree with the consensus opinion that the mayor is deranged. Attacking the media is a perfectly sane tactic. The mayor might have employed the tactic in a seemingly deranged manner, but seeming deranged worked wonders for him once before. Anyone who's ever worked for a quick temper artist knows that there's a certain level of premeditation to that kind of display. That doesn't mean it won't prove to be stupid, but I doubt it.


This isn't to say that it isn't germane to point out that the Mayor is acting childish/clownish/nutty when he is clearly doing so. If you can't have fun at the expense of power wielded idiotically, you likely just have no sense of humor whatsoever. But David and Mark (and many others) have consistently pointed out that there often seems to be a method to the Mayor's madness which too often gets left out of the story.

Even when expressed in the amusing Nagin/NOLA vernacular, what we're seeing are media intimidation tactics that directly result from reporters (like Lee Zurik) doing their jobs and asking questions. This looks suspicious.

Nagin is clearly agitated by the very thought of a reporter asking what should be very mundane questions about his official schedule over the past year. Agitated enough, in fact, to have "a one on one" with that reporter's boss "in the parking lot." Why the massive retaliation? Is it because someone is too close to something sensitive? Or is it because Nagin just thought he had these people trained already?

One can hardly blame the mayor for thinking all he has to do is shake his fist (or gun) at local media to get them to back down. This is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when the T-P retracted its poorly chosen photo of Nagin playing with unnecessary and expensive riot gear. The paper acknowledged its "error" in running an inflammatory photo but completely ignored the larger point of the story which again boiled down to the Mayor and Police Chief not doing their jobs very well.

It is also of some interest that the Mayor chose to name "the blogs" during his rant. At first glance it seems as though Nagin is confusing the diverse and populous NOLA blogosphere with the racist trolls who live in the bowels of the NOLA.com comment threads. But upon closer examination of the Mayor's specific complaints, it appears as though he's actually concerned with the more substantive journalistic inquiry that appears in places like American Zombie.

It's a convenient line of attack for Nagin to lump all internet-based criticism together. To many casual observers, the word "blogger" simply means "angry nutcase". But the internets are a big tube system. Anyone who reads the local blogosphere(particularly blogs like AZ and MC) can reasonably assume there are a lot of potential dragons rooting around City Hall which, for some reason, go largely unslain by our crusading press.

Is this starting to change? Maybe. Lee Zurik's report, bland as it is, seems to have ruffled some feathers and that can be considered a step in the right direction. Hell, even Clancy Dubos is starting to come around. This shold be a link to audio of Clancy fumbling around on WWL radio yesterday afternoon. In it, he describes his recent experience with blogging as having been "called all kinds of names" by "a handful of people" who "say all kind of spiteful things". I believe the comment thread below this post is what he's referring to. You can draw your own conclusions about Clancy's description of it. But the matter of import here is that the publisher/editor and much of the staff of the Weekly "Alternative" is at least engaging on this turf. Because in the end (even the substantive) bloggers aren't going to publish the stories that make the difference in this community. The professional journalists who have the time, resources, and readership to do so can. And knowing that some of those people do indeed pay attention is encouraging. Someday we may even get one or two of them to stop backing down in the face of a possible "cold cocking"

Updated post to fix a link

Old School Cold Cocking

John L Sullivan better not "approach wrong" Ray Nagin will be ready.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Cold Cock List

In case you haven't noticed, Our Mayor is kind of nutty. Below is the growing list of "vile and angry" bloggers who by merely mentioning this have placed themselves in line to be taken out into the parking lot and "cold cocked" by the mayor. You are all on notice.

Adrastos

Dangerblond

Humid Haney

Celcus

Maitri

Kurt Fromherz

Oyster

E

Scout Prime

Adding:

Dambala

Dr. Morris


Alan G.

Swampwoman


Gentilly Girl

Update: See Liprap for graphical representation of the Cold Cock List

Also see (when the site comes back up) First Draft for a dramatization of said theorectical Cold Cocking.

What does it mean to know more than you can report?

And if you can't report what you know, why report that you know something.... that you don't want to report? Isn't this just like running around singing, "I know something you don't know" at people?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Flashback

This morning, when I was informed of this disturbing Alphonso Jackson Soviet style photo project, it struck a familiar chord which I couldn't quite place until... ah yes here it is.

What the hell is going on here?

Coming Soon: US Military Bases in Sub-Saharan Africa

How do we know? Because yesterdaytoday, George W. Bush, speaking in Ghana, had this to say about the recently formed U.S. Africa Command

"We do not contemplate adding new bases," Bush said. "In other words, the purpose of this is not to add military bases. I know there's rumors in Ghana 'All bush is coming to do is try to convince you to put a big military base here.' That's baloney. As they say in Texas, that's bull."


Also, we know because anything else would be remarkably out of character.

That way, everyone will be unhappy

(CBS) The pastor of a southwest Florida church opened many eyes and ears Sunday when he said he wants married couples in the congregation to -- have sex for 30 days in a row.


Update: I seem to have ruined my own joke by not grabbing the next line from that article. It reads:
Oh -- and he wants singles to steer clear of such frolicking for the same length of time.

Rockets' Red Glare

Surely there must be an easier way to do this.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military likely will make its first effort to shoot down a crippled spy satellite that's approaching Earth's atmosphere sometime after 9:30 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, the Pentagon announced Tuesday, in what will be a major, if unplanned, test of America's anti-ballistic missile program.


Um... they are planning to do this, right? So it isn't exactly "unplanned" is it? "Whoops, we seem to have accidentally tested our ABM program. Our bad."

The USS Lake Erie, an Aegis class missile cruiser, will launch an SM-3 tactical missile toward the satellite from somewhere west of Hawaii, the Pentagon said. If that missile misses, the Navy has two other missiles on standby to launch, most likely on Thursday or Friday, the Pentagon said.


Three missiles. Well I like a good fireworks show. Are you sure three will be enough?

Firing the first missile will cost roughly $40 million, the Pentagon said, including the $10 million cost of the missile.


Never mind, carry on then.

The plan, however, is controversial. Some experts have suggested that the attempt is really an effort to expand the capabilities of the anti-ballistic missile system to include satellites and to counter China's destruction of an aged weather satellite last year. The United States denounced that Chinese test.


Oh I see. So this is really just some sort of hi-tech pissing contest, isn't it. Well, I guess boys will be boys.... just as long as they play safe.

U.S. officials announced last week that the Navy would try to down the satellite out of concern that a tank carrying 1,000 pounds of hydrazine, an ammonia-like chemical used in rocket fuel, would survive re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and land in a populated area. Hydrazine can be toxic if swallowed or inhaled.


.....


The shoot-down isn't a sure thing. The missiles that will be used to strike the satellite were designed to bring down ballistic missiles, and their software had to be rewritten so they could target the satellite, which moves faster than a ballistic missile.

The missiles also will find tracking the satellite difficult because, without power, it will be cooler than a ballistic missile. A senior Navy official, who couldn't be quoted by name under Pentagon press rules, said that the timing of the shoot-down was chosen partly so that the afternoon sun over the Pacific could warm the satellite, making it more likely that the missile would be able to find it 150 miles above the Earth's surface.

If the missile misses the satellite, it will keep traveling into outer space, the Navy said. The satellite will continue approaching Earth.

A successful hit by the missile may not, however, destroy the satellite's hydrazine tank, Pentagon officials said. If another missile strike is needed, that launch most likely would take place on Thursday.


Oh shit. I'll be sure to keep my umbrella handy. It has an American Flag pattern on it, you know.

Note: Yes, I cut up and rearranged that article a good deal. I don't think it obscures the meaning, though.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Head Explodes

John McCain entered into a contract to basically defraud the FEC so that he could use federal matching funds as collateral on a loan to his campaign.

But somehow McCain gets to criticize Obama for not being forthright about his intentions regarding campaign finance.

Some days, and those days are becoming fewer, the chutzpah can still amaze me.

Unknown Unknowns

The Bush Administration's pursuit of retroactive immunity for telecoms goes beyond just the "known" domestic wiretapping program. How far it goes, is an "unknown unknown".

No Immunity for Unknown Unknowns
Posted by Kurt Opsahl

Today, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell admitted that corporate complicity in legally dubious activities far exceeds what's already publicly known:

The Associated Press reports:

Already, [DNI McConnell] says the roughly 40 lawsuits filed against telecom companies nationwide have chilled the private sector's willingness to help the intelligence agencies in ways unrelated to electronic surveillance. Exactly how is classified, and he won't elaborate.


This points to one of the most troubling flaws in the Administration's preferred bill: It offers a broad immunity designed to dismiss all lawsuits filed "in connection with an intelligence activity involving communications." McConnell's revelation shows that the Administration is trying to sweep under the rug not only the pending lawsuits, but also whatever other illegal programs the Adminstration has perpetrated.

This amounts to asking Congress to forgive unknown unknowns — crimes that haven't even been revealed yet. Congress does not know what it does not know about the Administration's other programs, but McConnell has made it clear that the programs are dubious enough to worry the telecoms. Call your Representative today and tell them not to legislate in the dark


Yes, do that. We already know your Democratic Senator from Louisiana doesn't give a crap.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Unelectable

Forget the candidate. How much confidence should Democrats have in a campaign this stupid?

Links, memes, crap to read on a Monday

  • I've been enjoying Humid Haney's blog more and more as the arguments in his comment threads have become increasingly contentious (but thoughtful). This last one on "Supporting the Troops but not the War" is a lot of fun. And don't miss Dambala's volume of collected links posted in response.


  • Clancy Dubos smacked Bobby Jindal hard on the Gambit blog a few days ago. In this post, Clancy does an excellent job of pointing out Jindal's paper-Dragonslaying goes well beyond even HannahMontanagate. I'd like to excerpt passages but you really should just go read the whole post. It leads one to believe that this Jindal-as-hypocrite theme isn't going away anytime soon. I will note the following about Clancy's post, however.

    First, I do not support Clancy's (or anyone's) use of the shorthand term "leges" for "legislators". "Leges" sounds like a skin infection your cat might pick up. We all know actual State lawmakers deserve a much less flattering word.

    Second, despite the fact that Clancy really doesn't spare the rod with Jindal this time, the post has drawn comments from Ashley and Daniel who both point out just how late to the game Dubos is with all of this.

    As many of you no doubt recall, Clancy's "Alternative Weekly" paper, endorsed Bobby Jindal in the previous two Gubernatorial elections. In 2007, the Gambit ran an embarrassingly saccharine cover story on the Jindal campaign that focused on the candidate's "Gen-X Geek Appeal" (the article was actually titled Geek Appeal) derived from the fact that Jindal.. uses a Blackberry or something.

    In the comment thread below his post, Clancy is taken to task a bit for his paper's uneven reporting on the Governor's race in general and for the Gambit's endorsement of Jindal which reads in the purplest of all possible prose,

    Now it's up to Louisiana's citizens to answer the call. We think the best way to respond is by electing a governor who will fundamentally change our political culture from top to bottom and present Louisiana in a whole new light to the rest of the world. In our view, Congressman Bobby Jindal will be that kind of governor.

    ....

    More than anything else, Bobby Jindal's integrity is above reproach. Given Louisiana's history of political corruption, that will be an immediate asset. As soon as he is sworn in as governor, he promises to call a special session to enact sweeping ethics reforms. That means full financial disclosure for legislators and an end to self-dealing among politicians at all levels of government.


    Rather than answering the commenters directly, Dubos attempts to distance himself from the commentary and reporting of his own paper,

    The Gambit endorsements are determined by a committee, of which I am one member, and the endorsement editorial of Jindal was written and reviewed by no less than 3 people who participated in the decision to endorse him. The newspaper’s endorsement is intended to be just that — the paper’s — not mine personally (no more than the TP’s endorsement is a personal stamp of approval by James Gill, or Ashton Phelps Jr. or Jim Amoss).


    But is this at all convincing? Phelps is the publisher of the T-P just like Clancy is the co-owner (with his wife) and publisher of the Gambit so we on the outside tend to assume his voice speaks a bit more loudly than the other "no less than 3 people" in that room. Surely, Clancy must know this.

    (The T-P's unbalanced treatment of the Jindal campaign through its commentary and reporting was even worse than Gambit's, by the way. But that's an entirely different can of Dragons.)

    In any event, Clancy Dubos should know by now that his name carries a direct association with the newspaper he owns. Besides, Dragonslaying has been Clancy's hobby-horse since time immemorium. This Louisiana inferiority complex that leads to an obsession with "zero tolerance" for "even the appearance of corruption" is practically personified by Clancy Dubos... and his "dear friend C.B. Forgotston". Both men have made careers out of this obsession often to the detriment of clear-eyed political anlaysis. In an earlier post, Clancy published some of his correspondence with Forgotston which concludes,

    In sum, we get exactly the kind of government we deserve, because we get exactly what we’re willing to put up with. If we demand better — and back up our demands with action during AND BETWEEN elections — you might be surprised at the level of “reform” that our lawmakers give us. But, as Earl Long warned, be careful what you ask for. Are we ready for real reform? If so, the incoming governor and Legislature offer a nearly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    But, in the end, it’s really up to us.


    Despite Clancy's protestations, it's not too difficult to connect his paper's slant on things with his giddiness over the "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" presented by "Gen-X" Jindal.

    But this is nothing new for Clancy. After all, Gambit enthusiastically endorsed Ray Nagin for Mayor of New Orleans in 2002 imagining that "reform" candidate would provide a similar "once-in-a-lifetime" Dragonslaying opportunity.
    We enthusiastically endorse businessman Ray Nagin for mayor. More than any other candidate, he offers real hope for fundamental change at City Hall. His election will send a message to the world that New Orleans has finally embraced political reform.

    Notice how well that text compares with the similar language in Gambit's Jindal endorsement. Clancy's political recommendations tend to be "messages of light" addressed as much "to the world" as they are to Louisiana voters. And while the world hasn't quite received the message Dubos intended in 2002 via the Nagin Administration, Clancy still has trouble letting go of this now thoroughly debunked image of Nagin-as-reformer.

    Maybe he's falling out of love faster with Jindal. But I don't expect they'll be permanently on the outs. Never underestimate the power that the Dragonslaying narrative holds over most of Clancy's analysis.


  • While we're sort of on the subject, don't miss this week's Gambit (Not yet online) for the cover story featuring AntiGravity Magazine's Leo McGovern and the upcoming Alternative Media Expo this Saturday at CAC.


Update: More on Gambit and Jindal at The Reduct Box.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's Saturday. Go outside and play.

Or failing that, here's some random crap to play with inside.


Friday, February 15, 2008

"But crap is crap. Isn't it?"

The mortgage/financial scandal in convenient stick-figure cartoon form.

All-Star Weekend In New Orleans

Welcome, NBA players, fans, and corporate douchebag hangers-on to New Orleans for All-Star Weekend. Please try not to piss off our heavily armed Mayor and police force. They are an unstable lot to begin with. It's really best not to interact with them at all.

In the meantime, please enjoy yourselves in our city. We trust you'll let us know when we can have our public spaces back for public use. Oh and if you happen to see Byron Scott over the weekend, tell him to bite us. We'll think about coming to watch him coach when we're done with the more important things we do around here... like football and Carnival. Oh but as soon as French Quarter Fest arrives, he can once again kiss our collective asses.

Also... why don't you guys play HORSE anymore?



Video via Minor Wisdom where there is more Pistol Pete magnificence on display.

Awesome Dragonslaying

The Redemption continues

Update: Oyster points out that it is, in fact, even awesomer than previously believed possible.

Can't change history, Dr. Beckett

The T-P prints a retraction... of sorts.

To our readers
by The Times-Picayune
Thursday February 14, 2008, 10:00 PM

A photo in some Metro sections Wednesday showed a laughing Mayor Ray Nagin pointing an M-4 rifle at Police Superintendent Warren Riley at a news conference to announce new crime-fighting equipment purchased by the New Orleans Police Department.

A review of a video taken at the event shows that the camera captured a split second as the gun was being lowered that made it appear to be deliberately pointed at the chief. However, the mayor clearly did not deliberately point the gun at Riley.

The photo prompted two letters and a razz on the editorial page criticizing the mayor, which appeared in some Thursday editions.

After a review of the video Wednesday night, the editorial and the letters were removed from Thursday's later editions. Had editors seen the video earlier, the letters and the razz would not have been published.

The newspaper regrets the error and apologizes to the mayor.


This is all well and good. I think the context of that photo capture should have been explained... or, failing that, a different photo should have been chosen. But by printing this retraction, the paper's editors demonstrate that they are not only ready to jump and squeal at the first hint of criticism from the Mayor, but they also have largely missed the point in the first place.

The point of outrage over the disputed scene is not that the Mayor may have pointed an empty rifle at the police chief for however many fractions of a second, but the very reason the two men were assembled for the photo-op in the first place. The story that accompanied the photo in Wednesday's paper reads.

N.O. police show off new crime-fighting equipment
Armored cars, mobile command post displayed
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
By Walt Philbin

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley on Tuesday used the floor of the Superdome to display more than $1 million in new armament and other equipment, largely for use by the SWAT squad in emergency and riot situations, including a fully equipped mobile command post, two armored cars and modern assault rifles.

Nearly all of the equipment was financed from a $6.6 million state allocation to New Orleans police that was earmarked for crime-fighting items or strategies, Riley said.

The money will also pay for 600 bullet-proof vests.


While the bullet-proof vests will certainly be useful equipment for a police force with a penchant for placing officers in unnecessary danger, one wonders how much use armored cars and modern assault rifles will be in combating the city's day-to-day violent crime. (I still have no idea what a "mobile command post" does other than lead Mardi Gras parades.) These are clearly crowd control tools... and big scary powerful ones at that. They are the kind of thing the police might bring to the Claiborne bridge, or to... the next anti-crime protest march... but not the kind of thing that will be much use in making the ordinary citizen much safer.

Why have Riley and Nagin allocated these crime-fighting funds to buy all this stuff? Here's a suggestion from the Mayor as quoted in the article,

Nagin used the occasion to welcome the NBA All-Star game to New Orleans, scheduled for Sunday night at the New Orleans Arena. He said the annual clash between West and East All-Stars has "had a little bit of a rough time in other cities, but we are looking forward to it and don't expect any problems."


In other words, the M-4 wielding Nagin stood in front of a display of "Harry Lee Tanks" and riot gear and chose that moment to welcome visitors to the city. Talk about keeping the brand out there.

Chief Riley also chimed in,

Riley pointed out that after this weekend members of the NOPD will have worked 12- or 16-hour shifts for 23 days -- nearly half of the first 48 days of the year -- to provide security for public events on a national stage, including college football's BCS championship game and Mardi Gras.

"We had a little break after Mardi Gras, but will go into that mode again Friday," Riley said. He said there will be so many police this weekend in the Central Business District and French Quarter "it will look like Christmas down there."


Nothing says Christmas to me quite like the image of a heavily armed policeman on every corner. In a sense, the T-P's publication of a photo that depicts two overgrown children gleefully playing with their new Christmas toys is not an inappropriate editorial analysis of this story.



But the T-P, in its coverage of the event, and apology for the photo decides to ignore anything relevant and focus on the question of whether or not the Mayor, in the midst of his jocular brandishing of one of these toys, did or did not point it at the Chief of Police. Again... who cares?

But it gets weirder. Not only is the paper falling all over itself to apologize for the notion that it may have exhibited anything close to a witty insight in defiance of the Mayor, but has also begun scrubbing its site of letters and commentary it has already published on the matter.

It may be cowardly to publish an immediate apology upon the urgings of a mildly bullying letter from the Mayor's PR flack. But trying to retroactively cover up material you've already put in print is behavior every bit as childish as.... playfully pointing an M-4 rifle at a policeman.

Update:
Please see this WCBF post for more on the NOPD's garbled priorities.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Real bad headache with every step I take

Last night and this morning, I've been battling a chill, a fever, and a general disoriented nausea. At first, I thought this was a side-effect of spending too much time thinking about the Cult of Obama but now I think I'm probably coming down with something flu-like. I probably should have taken the day off from work but I figure it doesn't feel much different from a hangover at this point... and I really hate calling in hungover so... here I am... half blind in front of this computer barely able to hold my head up. What an idiot.

Anyway, I'm going to go in the back and lie down. In the meantime, you should read something inspiring.

Note: Not endorsing all of D-BB's points... I just think he's funny sometimes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We Have A Winner

Nagin's office delivers the funniest caption to this morning's T-P photo.

Quiz Time

I'm going to list some actual quotes from actual persons attending actual events removing references to the event or performer him or herself. Your job will be to guess which of these quotes are from Barack Obama rallies in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and St. Louis and which are from a Hanna Montana concert in Sioux City, Iowa. Ready?

"I just like [HER SONGS/HIS SPEECHES] 'cause they make me feel good about myself,"

"It was really, really fun. We weren't too close. We were pretty far away. But it was still fun seeing [HER/HIM] in person."

"Senator Obama Baracks my face off." (Okay that's a gimme)

"The Bush-Clinton era is over. We're sick of it." (Seems like a gimme... but are you sure?)

"It's for the happy days when you're not feeling suicidal or homicidal."

“We usually try to avoid politics”

"[HE/SHE] comes from a good family. There's worse things out there."

"[HE/SHE] gives them a sense of empowerment and shows them how they can be as [AMERICAN PEOPLE/TWEEN GIRLS] and how they can change the world they live in."

"Stevie Wonder made a surprise appearance"

"No way in heck I can pay $5,000 for a ticket"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Content of Obama's Character Doesn't Measure up to King

From Timshel this past weekend we get:

Bobby Jindal may campaign for the Republican nominee, but when he shows up to vote in November he'll be pulling the lever (or "pressing the button" in today's voting procedure) for Barack Obama. (Nothing available online at the moment, but his comments about Barack go beyond "effusive praise") He seems to believe in him as a person.


Yeah maybe. Or maybe it just takes one phony to know another. Jindal also heaped praise on every single candidate running in either party... feeding speculation that he is angling for a spot on somebody's (likely McCain's) ticket. He's got exactly zero chance of landing that spot, btw, but that's another discussion for another time.

Ricky also comes out and states something I think many of us fear in the back of our minds regarding an Obama candidacy

If Barack Obama gets nominated, I honestly do believe that we will see a legitimate attempt on his life. I don't think that there's some governmental conspiracy behind this, it's what I think about the ability of the American populace to be able to deal with a truly inspirational "black" candidate. We're exactly 40 years from 1968, and I don't think that's insignificant.


Numerology aside, I guess we could become witness to such ugliness. These are tenuous and disturbed times we're living through, after all. But I think people tend to discount the fact that the surveillance, harassment, and possibly assassination of MLK was every bit An Act of State as it was an act of hate. And there are reasons for that. King represented a very real and serious threat to the American economic and imperial establishment that Obama simply does not.

On April 4, 1967, Dr. King delivered one of the most important speeches in American history. In it, he not only his declared opposition to the war in Vietnam, but he also challenged Americans to change their assumptions toward their nation's increasingly imperial role in the world that had led it to become, in King's words, "the greatest purveyor of violence on Earth." The following excerpt is a bit long for a blog post but you read it anyway. In fact read the entire speech, if you are unfamiliar with it. It's a fine example of the kind of "inspiring" rhetoric the Obama cultists like to pretend their candidate is capable of.

... The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.


On what side of this struggle for the American soul does Barack Obama fall? In Iraq, Obama has promised to begin reducing the American force there. However, an Obama Presidency will not mean an abandonment of the American imperial interest in Iraq... or anywhere else for that matter. Obama would certainly maintain some military presence in Iraq with much the same mission the current force is carrying out (security, police training, etc.). Nor will Obama will abandon the permanent American military bases in that country.

In the video below (link with transcript), Jonathan Schell discusses the Obama (and Clinton) foreign policies and the ways in which they represent a continuity within rather than a "change" from our long history of murderous global domination. It's maybe a bit of a long video for a long-ish blog post, but watch it anyway.



This is not anything near a commitment to Dr. King's long overdue "revolution of values" that would "change" America's ambition to dominate the world through threat or use of military might.

Consensus Elite Democrats will argue that Obama's preferance for bullying with words before bombs (although bombs are never "off the table") constitutes a DIFFERENCE from the bloodier Bush/Cheney approach. And it does. Obama will be slightly more reluctant to explode non-belligerent sovereign peoples in his pursuit of a corporate-colonial agenda. But Obama cultists believe that this DIFFERENCE constitutes an INSPIRATIONAL CHANGE which we are supposed to run out the door and get all grass rootsy about. Clearly such people are either delusional, excitable, or lying.

The disconnect between the enthusiasm of Obama's cultists and the degree to which he deserves this adoration goes beyond a question of how high he will count before launching missiles. Here is Dr. King addressing the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in August of 1967.

I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about Where do we go from here, that we honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question, Why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, Who owns the oil? You begin to ask the question, Who owns the iron ore? You begin to ask the question, Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds water? These are questions that must be asked.

Now, don't think that you have me in a bind today. I'm not talking about communism.

What I'm saying to you this morning is that communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, when I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.


During this Black History Month, many of you who either have or work with children are sure to come across one or another who asks you why anyone would want to murder this man who talked so often and so passionately about love and non-violence. The answer lies in the above words which speak to the purposes Dr. King believed his philosophy logically called him to pursue. Likewise, those of you who wonder about the seriousness of any potential threat to Barack Obama's life should he become the Democratic nominee are urged to take his lack of commitment to such purposes into account.

Obama lacks either the courage or the inclination to argue that the "edifice needs restructuring." Obama is running for President of the United States. As such he seeks to be caretaker to this edifice not its "change agent" in any meaningful sense. Tellingly, he does not talk about the ways in which racism, economic exploitation, and war are "triple evils that are interrelated." Quite the contrary, in fact, he treats each as a separate plank for discussion.

In Iraq, if one does not see the connection between war and exploitation, then it becomes possible to accept reducing the size of a troop presence without addressing the reasons those troops are there in the first place. At home, if one does not see the connection between race and exploitation then it becomes possible for one to speak superficially about race without satisfactorily addressing class or poverty.

In this article, David Sirota writes about a strange phenomenon evident in the Democratic exit polling. Despite the fact that Hillary is more easily connected to her corporate donors (particularly in the health care sector) she consistently beats Obama among lower income voters.

In most states, polls show Hillary Clinton is beating Barack Obama among voters making $50,000 a year or less—many of whom say the economy is their top concern. Yes, the New York senator who appeared on the cover of Fortune magazine as Big Business’s candidate is winning economically insecure, lower-income communities over the Illinois senator who grew up as an organizer helping those communities combat unemployment. This absurd phenomenon is a product of both message and bias.

Obama has let Clinton characterize the 1990s as a nirvana, rather than a time that sowed the seeds of our current troubles. He barely criticizes the Clinton administration for championing job-killing trade agreements. He does not question that same administration’s role in deregulating the financial industry and thereby intensifying today’s boom-bust catastrophes. And he rarely points out what McClatchy Newspapers reported this week: that Clinton spent most of her career at a law firm “where she represented big companies and served on corporate boards,” including Wal-Mart’s.

Obama hasn’t touched any of this for two reasons.

First, his campaign relies on corporate donations. Though Obama certainly is less industry-owned than Clinton, the Washington Post noted last spring that he was the top recipient of Wall Street contributions. That cash is hush money, contingent on candidates silencing their populist rhetoric.

But while this pressure to keep quiet affects all politicians, it is especially intense against black leaders.

“If Obama started talking like John Edwards and tapped into working-class, blue-collar proletarian rage, suddenly all of those white voters who are viewing him within the lens of transcendence would start seeing him differently,” says Charles Ellison of the University of Denver’s Center for African American Policy.

That’s because once Obama parroted Edwards’ attacks on greed and inequality, he would “be stigmatized as a candidate mobilizing race,” says Manning Marable, a Columbia University history professor. That is, the media would immediately portray him as another Jesse Jackson—a figure whose progressivism has been (unfairly) depicted as racial politics anathema to white swing voters.

Remember, this is always how power-challenging African-Americans are marginalized. The establishment cites a black leader’s race- and class-unifying populism as supposed proof of his or her radical, race-centric views. An extreme example of this came from the FBI, which labeled Martin Luther King Jr. “the most dangerous man in America” for talking about poverty. More typical is the attitude exemplified by Joe Klein’s 2006 Time magazine column. He called progressive Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., “an African-American of a certain age and ideology, easily stereotyped” and “one of the ancient band of left-liberals who grew up in the angry hothouse of inner-city, racial-preference politics.”


And so here we find Obama doing exactly the opposite of what King tells us is necessary to effectively "question the whole society." Instead of talking about how race and class are interrelated, Obama chooses to treat them separately. He triangulates his message so as not to scare his Wall Street benefactors with "old politics" and "class warfare". Meanwhile, his racial message is about... well just race.

Obama's stump speech is full of feel-good platitudes where the prejudices of the "past" are overcome by "change". Once there was segregation. Now I am running for President. Yes We Can. It's mildly "inspiring" stuff but also sufficiently detached from anything substantive to qualify as more or less identity politics.

Yes We Can is a clever slogan because the Obama campaign has fitted it to appeal to the overheated "change" cultists on the one hand, (who tend to be white, middle-class professionals.... young college students and older people who rather pathetically imagine themselves to be kind of like college students) and to black voters of all situations on the other hand who perceive the "We" as a call to racial solidarity... again only on the basis of race itself.

"Great," you say, "Obama is building a big coalition combining Yuppie economic conservatives with a solid block race vote." In New Orleans, we are already familiar with politicians who appeal to upper class whites based on economics and to blacks based on race. We call such politicians Ray Nagin. So far that's worked out well. Maybe someday the whole country can farm out social services like public education to bizarre privatization schemes too. Candidate Obama says he'll try.


Barack Obama represents a slightly less offensive alternative to Hillary Clinton and, if he becomes the nominee, will similarly represent a slightly better choice than John McCain (whose new video is out, I see). Given the choices, there isn't necessarily anything horribly wrong with casting a vote his way. But the a-historical cultists would have us believe that there is something inescapably right about doing so. In making their case, the cultists have invited comparisons between their candidate and some of the giants of the 20th century. Such comparisons find their man laughably inadequate.

Because Obama is too timid to speak clearly about poverty and class, because he is not committed to rolling back American imperialism, because he lacks the courage of Martin Luther King who challenged Americans to reexamine their values (even at the expense of his own personal safety and ultimately his life no less), Obama does not deserve to be compared with a leader like King. Democrats need to get their heads out of the clouds and go to war (in multiple senses of the phrase) with the candidate they actually have.

Monday Night Trivia

Thought long and hard about making our team name either "Hey, Watch Where You Point Your Streetcar!" or "Your Spy Boy Is Chinese" but finally settled on "One Tower of Crackers Equals One Block of Cream Cheese" because... it has been scientifically proven. Anyway... first prize is a 20 dollar bar tab. I know because we won.... largely because there was a whole category about naming the State and Party represented by certain female Senators... and because I knew that The Scorpions recorded Rocked You Like A Hurricane. Anyway the 20 bucks didn't really even come close to covering the actual bar tab and... well that's why any of this information made it onto the internets.

Incidentally, when I first heard the song Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers, I could have sworn he was singing "Secret Asian Man" which... of course made absolutely no sense.... until today, that is.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Has Dangerblond been elected Queen of the Universe yet?

***This post has been moved to the top because the update is more timely than the subsequent post. Original post appeared at 6:10 PM***

The polls don't close for another two hours but given some of the anecdotal stuff I'm hearing about turnout, and given that Louisiana figures to have a relatively high number voters who will still vote for Edwards, I'm going to guess that this is going to be a disappointment of sorts for Obama. The question of just how big a disappointment it is remains to be answered. Keep in mind also that Hillary probably has an edge with Louisiana's Superdelegates.

Update: It looks as though both Dangerblond and Karen Gadbois will make the cut in their race to join the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee in District A. Congrats, kids. You had the Yellow Blog bump working for you.

Mark Moseley and Michael Homan were not as fortunate. Seems the Elvis-hugging old-school kicker vote just didn't materialize this time around. Maybe if either of those candidates had tried talking more about their activities on 9-11... but let's not dwell on what could have been.

As for the Presidential primaries... well both results are even murkier than they appear. Sure Obama thumped Hillary among the voters but the ultimate delegate count will be much closer. Meanwhile Huckabee and McCain are still running neck and neck with the 90% of the precincts in. But the GOP system for delegate apportionment is even screwier than the Dems' so... again... it's really hard to say if any of this means anything. Ain't Democracy grand?

I hate to miss the good stuff

But last week there was the Best. Blog Post. Ever. And I was too busy with Carnival or something to acknowledge it.

Nagin still flirting with run for Governor

4 months after the election. Okay not really but you see the impression made by this headline.

Report: Nagin considered gubernatorial run last year

06:18 PM CST on Friday, February 8, 2008

Lee Zurik / Eyewitness News Reporter

While New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin publicly danced around questions about his political future, he spent a considerable amount of money polling and researching a possible gubernatorial run, according to documents obtained by Eyewitness News.

Campaign records for all of 2007 (PDF), which were filed with Louisiana's ethics board, show Nagin paid Dr. Silas Lee, a political consultant, almost $60,000 last year.

“That's a lot of money to spend on polling,” said Dr. Ed Renwick, Eyewitness News political analyst. “I need a client like that. That's not too common.”


This Lee Zurik report is remarkably honest given the numerous times several of the facts mentioned have been glossed over or ignored by local media at seemingly relevant moments.

Overall, the campaign disclosure report shows Nagin raised more than $210,000 in 2007 from 128 different donors. Among that group, companies that have or presently are tied to the city's lucrative sanitation contracts.

SDT, through two limited liability corporations, gave a total of $10,000, Richard’s Disposal sent $2,500 and Amid Metro Partnership, who's member, Jimmie Woods, is President of Metro Disposal, which shares the sanitation contract, gave $2,500.


The above information might have been interesting to note when the T-P went after Cynthia Willard-Lewis for basically the same thing while she was in the midst of an election.

But Nagin did not keep all of the money he received last year. He returned $2,500 to Montgomery Watson Harza, which this year, received a contract reportedly worth $6 million to coordinate recovery work. Nagin also returned money to Omni Pinnacle, the city's primary contractor after Hurricane Katrina.


This relationship might have been fun to delve into as well when the T-P reported the granting of this MWH contract or the next week when Gambit publisher Clancy Dubos told us all what a "smart move" it was.

And in keeping with Eyewitness News’ full disclosure policy, it should be noted that Greg Rigamer, who conducts data analysis work for WWL-TV, which includes analysis of election returns, gave $2,500 to the Nagin campaign fund last year.


This issue has been covered previously at Moldy City.... where I see there is much more on this entire report today.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Just Kill Me

Upon my arrival at home this evening, I received a phone call from former Mayoral and City Council Candidate, Nagin enabler, and all-around Yuppie lawyer annoyance, Virginia Boulet who urged me to vote for Barack Obama tomorrow. That should tell you something right there.

More "pretty religious" voting

"Obama Girl" and Nagin have something in common.

Here is where I write something about the way this silly episode is somehow symbolic of the phoniness of the "feel-good" "post-partisan" "Yes We Can" Audaciously Hopeful 21st Century marketing scam that is the Obama campaign.

Below in the comments is where the Obama supporters tear me apart for writing it. (Although they may be too busy "Grass Rooting" one day before the primary to bother with such trifles)

Daily Show needs its writers back

It's beginning to sound like something slapped together by some idiot amateur blogger. Take this report, for example, on Mitt Romney's decision to leave the race.

Today's obligatory "Yes We Can" snark

Courtesy of Jonathan Schwarz.

Election Recommendations

As a rule, this site generally does not endorse candidates for public office because
  1. Such persons rarely if ever deserve anyone's tolerance much less approval.
  2. Nobody in their right mind cares what this site thinks anyway.
However, this weekend provides us with a (perhaps one-time only) exception to these rules (at least to the first one). If you are a Democrat and choose to vote for any of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee seats in District A or B, please consider the following individuals.

District A



Karen Gadbois has been active City wide in Recovery Issues, serves on the Board of the Urban Conservancy and Silence is Violence and is Executive Director of Common Knowledge

I'll only add to this short resume that it is "common knowledge" that if post-flood New Orleans has anything close to a superhero, it is Ms. Gadbois.


Dr. Michael Homan
is an Associate Professor of Theology at Xavier University of Louisiana, Chair of MCNO Education Committee 2005-07,and author of several articles and books about the Bible

Dr. Homan also sports a bad-ass Elvis tatoo. The photo is borrowed from howieluvzus. You can still write captions for it here.


Kimberly Marshall is a law school graduate and organizer of the Rising Tide Conference, a community-building gathering of New Orleans area bloggers which is going into its 3rd year. She also blogs under the name Dangerblond.

Ms. Marshall is also the only candidate in this race who has personally sprayed whipped cream into my mouth.

District B


Mark Moseley is best known for his career as a placekicker in the National Football League during the 1970s and 80s. Over 16 seasons (mostly spent with the Washington Redskins) Moseley was famous for being one of the last fooball players to wear a single-bar facemask and was the last kicker to employ the straight-ahead kicking style which was gradually outmoded during his career by the introduction of the "soccer style" side-on method. During the strike-shortened 1982 season, Moseley became the first and only placekicker to win the league's Most Valuable Player award. He is the Redskins' career scoring leader.


Presidential Primary
This site recommends that, upon being confronted with this ballot, citizens immediately set fire to the polling place as well as any condos within a three block radius.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Is that cold feet or warm hands?

Because one of them must explain the shedding of Mittens.

Things I would prefer not to have to read this week

Opinion columns, official speeches, political fliers, blog posts, etc. which follow the form,

"Thank you, [CANDIDATE] for taking the time to [VISIT/MENTION/NOD KNOWINGLY AT] the still recovering New Orleans area and its needs during these two days prior to the Louisiana primaries. We were moved today when you applied your inspirational rhetoric toward the purpose of advocating for and in no way dishonestly pandering to voters here during these desperate moments of the campaign and fully expect to hear more from you on this subject in future weeks."


I urge those of you who may be thinking about it to refrain from penning such statements. By doing so you are only participating in the disingenuous salesmanship of these depressingly empty gestures by the candidates. There is just no need to suck back up to those who are already so artlessly sucking up to you. Oh shit. Too late. Here is your Governor already sucking up to as many candidates as the reporter can ask him about. At least he believes himself to be angling for a veep spot on the ticket. Most of you have far less to gain from participating in this pageantry.

Plus, despite the hubub being put out by the local media and local party officials, Louisiana's delegates just aren't a big enough prize for anyone to make any serious demands over. After this week, your state and its problems will remain as insignificant to the 2008 Presidential campaign as they have been up until this point.

Meanwhile by all means enjoy the Kabuki... but realize that's all it is.

Today's play bill:

NOLA News Ladder reports that Bill Clinton will arrive tomorrow to campaign for his wife alongside (still) current LA 2nd Congressional District Representative and Superdelegate Bill Jefferson.

Obama Cultists are seen here holding an all night vigil for their saviour marketing gimmick cool points badge candidate who is scheduled to give a recital speak today on the Tulane Campus. Thankfully, Tulane students only represent the enlightened elite sector of the population in their own minds.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

This House Is Clean

We spent Ash Wednesday in the usual fashion; namely, ridding the floors, the carpets, the clothes, the dishes, ourselves and everything around us of the mess and grime and other signs of the preceding two weeks' abuses. It was a gorgeous Fat Tuesday. It is an impenetrable cosmic mystery that the weather so consistently cooperates with the Carnival calendar. This is particularly so when it comes to the final day.

I'm still a bit groggy, a result of the chemicals I imbibed yesterday combined with those I've inhaled today. But here, anyway, is an illustrated if somewhat inadequate list of what I remember being (mostly) present for.

  • Got up around 6:30 and immediately started putting the red beans together. I posted the recipe for this Mardi Gras tradition of mine back in 2005. It hasn't changed. Although I should note that this year I actually served them a bit too early. The beans hadn't quite simmered down to the creamy consistency I like by the time most of the guests sampled them. I did manage to fix this by cranking up the heat on them for about ten minutes or so later on. But the only people who got to enjoy these results were... well... me because I felt like I just had to, and... again... me because I get to eat the left overs. Pictured below is the bowl I made for myself of the fixed beans.



  • After I put the beans on to simmer, I walked outside to have the obligatory cup of coffee with Pete Fountain's Half-Fast marching club. Pete has been an iffy participant these past few years. Who knows how many more marches (or rides) he has left in him.



  • From there it was back over to the corner of Oretha Castle Haley and Jackson to catch the lead units of Zulu. It's where you will see the Zulu King in my version of the song. Said Zulu King is pictured below. A second pic from the beginning of this parade will be reserved for an upcoming caption contest. (I wouldn't ordinarily steal such a successful Adrastos running item ... particularly since he stopped by later to sample the red beans... but this will be worth it.)



  • After that, it was off to Dryades Street in search of Indians. We found this group singing on the corner of Washington Avenue somewhere around 9:00 AM.



    Heck yes, there is video

    video


  • But there was more Indian spotting to be done. About an hour and half, a goodly number of RLBs*, and a very large Turkey leg later, we made it over to Handa Wanda's to catch the Wild Magnolias singing Indian Red before they headed out on their route. A few pictures from that scene.







    That last one is, of course, Bo Dollis. Notice the scooter he's making the rounds on these days. Bo, like Pete Fountain, is a Carnival icon with more Carnivals behind than in front of him. So... if you happen catch him singing Indian Red on Mardi Gras morning, it's probably best to take some crappy video of it and slap it up on You Tube.




  • The neat thing about Mardi Gras day at Yellow Blogging World Headquarters is that if you run a bit late watching the Indians, Rex will actually stop at your parade viewing spot on St. Charles and wait for you to get back. Long time readers will no doubt understand by this point that Yellow Blogging World Headquarters is situated very near the Downman House on the corner of Third Street which the King of Carnival approaches each year from the wrong side of the street (catching the uninitiated among the crowd unawares) and stops there for a toast... and, of course, the all important Royal Pee Break. Here is Rex enjoying his champagne on the Royal throne... just before getting down to bestow the Royal blessing upon another more mundane one.



  • Once I've seen Rex I know the task management and hectic scheduling of Mardi Gras Day is over and done with. From that point on, the standard playbook goes into effect which generally means:


    Viewing the parade



    Managing the Pink Thing



    Chasing the truck floats



    Hanging on the corner, doing what you wanna... that sort of thing




From there, it was off to the Quarter and... well... more drinking but less photography because it gets in the way of the more drinking part. I'm not exactly sure how, but I woke up this morning back in my own bed, in my own spectacular wreck of an apartment which I am happy to say has been thoroughly restored to near working order... until next year.

And now the caption contest. The photograph below was taken on Jackson Avenue as the lead units of Zulu approached our position. It features two of our fairly well-known local political celebrities costumed in a sort of "Cowboys and Indians" theme and flanked by representatives of local law enforcement on horseback. The possibilities would appear to be limitless. Enjoy.



*RLB explained (sort of) somewhere within Leigh's wrap up post