Saturday, May 31, 2008

I hate the premies

Tropical Storm Arthur has formed a day early for Hurricane Season 2008. Dr Gray is already hard at work revising his forecast.

Out for most of today

As always, if you're looking for the news it's probably stuffed in a floodwall somewhere.

Friday, May 30, 2008


No, not the fact that some douchebag at a baseball game complained that teh lebians were corrupting his son. That's not very surprising. And no it's not such a shocker that the stadium officials went so far as to ask the couple to leave for... I guess being gay in public.

What's remarkable is this:

Stadium officials are investigating the incident, but Safeco Field's code of conduct includes a provision stating that "staff will proactively intervene to support an environment where guests can enjoy the Safeco Field experience free from unacceptable behavior, including … displays of affection not appropriate in a family setting."

The stadium has a written anti-PDA policy. That just blows my freaking mind. Seems a difficult rule to enforce.

Beaten by the target

Okay so I'll admit it is pretty much what makes Thers's blog awesome... but (ahem) I've been doing it longer and you never see me complain.

And the legal thriller theme continues

City Sued By Crime Camera Company

NEW ORLEANS -- Crime cameras still aren’t working, and city officials are being sued by the company that was supposed to install them -- which alleges a former city official tried to steal their designs


The company, Southern Electronics and partner company Active Solutions were hired in 2004 to install and maintain the cameras. And their lawyer told WDSU that they didn’t walk off the job. He said the city’s old chief technology officer, Greg Meffert, tried to steal their design and concept.

The result: Southern Electronics has sued Meffert, companies with which they allege he was affiliated and the lawsuit names Nagin too.

Court filings allege Meffert, "took plaintiff's confidential information which they had learned in the context of their employment with the city and went into direct competition with the plaintiffs."

Now would be a good time to visit American Zombie and brush up on Dambala's coverage of the Meffert saga... which goes way back to the time when the T-P was still regularly referring to Meffert as a "whiz kid"

The Firm

There isn't enough in this article to give one a sense of what portion of the lawsuit is bullshit. But it's safe to say that this should be a fun thing to watch as it develops. Hell even if the whole thing is baseless, I'd still buy the novel.

Update: Perdigao's suit is broken down by the law-talking people here (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)

Link via Head Pelican

Update: There's now a Part 4 on folo. Also Wintermute's comments here are definitely worth a look.

Idiotic quote of the day

Steve Scalise:
Scalise said Louisiana is an example that oil exploration and drilling can be achieved without harming the environment.

"We've proven you can do it in an environmentally safe way,'' he said.

Link via Daily Kingfish where there is more

Times-Picayune March 5, 2007 on the "environmentally safe way" oil exploration has been done in Louisiana.
Still, the Louisiana coast might have survived another 1,000 years or more, Louisiana State University scientists said. But the discovery of oil and gas compressed its destruction into a half-century.

By the 1980s, the petroleum industry and the corps had dredged more than 20,000 miles of canals and new navigation channels from the coast inland across the wetlands. The new web of waterways, like a circulatory system pumping poison, injected saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico into salt-sensitive freshwater wetlands. Fueled by the advance of big business on the coast, the Gulf's slow march northward accelerated into a sprint.

Hillary's right

This really is just like what happened in 2000

Florida 2000

D.C. 2008

Little known fact

Dick Cheney and Ray Nagin share speechwriters

Today's topic on the Garland Robinette show

These Kids Today: They're stupid, they have too much time off, they text too much, and don't even get me started on that damned internet.

I'd like to take a moment to thank Dr. Blakely

Apparently he knew what he was doing when he didn't bring the cranes.

Update: On second thought, run for your lives!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oh alright... what was your favorite part?

Celcus liked the part where the Mayor said (about getting the crime cameras working) "Don't clap. We haven't done it yet"

BSJD liked the part where "Mayor Bozo was bragging about the number of vacant buildings"

Oyster liked all the "optimism"

For me, it's hard to say. Nagin's clowning last night was aimed mostly at selling three dubious projects. One of those projects is the "Reinventing the Crescent" riverfront development scheme that has sometime Nagin crony and New Orleans Building Corp. head Sean Cummings under so much scrutiny. The second is the transfer of the airport to state control in exchange for expedited state funding of... Cummings's riverfront development scheme, mostly. The third is a little-remarked-upon transfer of LRA money originally designated to restore rental properties to a mortgage program for first time home buyers. While the home lending program isn't a bad way to invest money, the transfer represents only the latest hostile act by the city toward those of us not quite ready to make the "lifestyle choice" (Stacy Head's words) toward home ownership.

So there's a lot of bullshit to pick from here. But I guess my favorite part had to be the introductions. The paranoid Nagin administration not only declined to provide the press with an advance copy of the Mayor's speech but also did not publish a program for the ceremony. Thus WWL radio was forced to broadcast much of the inane reciprocal backslapping of VIPs and Councilpersons introducing and congratulating one another that preceded the actual address.

I had tuned out for a few minutes during Irvin Mayfield's interminable elaborated performance of Amazing Grace so I didn't quite catch the name of the woman who actually introduced the Mayor. But when she... after another unnecessarily long speech... got around to making the introduction, she did so with the words, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of all ages...." as though the circus were coming. And come it did. I think that was my favorite part.

More favorite moments from WCBF

Today's Wacky Reference Question

This came mailed to us from Baton Rouge. The note is handwritten on crumpled looseleaf. It reads:

Dear to whom it may concern,

When you all have floods, + Hurricanes, why are you all water cable so high? + What street is longer out of LaSalle St and Decatur St? Thank You!

Any ideas, you all?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coherence-impaired sign

Since, Adrastos and his archenemy Dr. Homan have decided to make this signage day, I'd like to submit something for consideration.

What does this even mean?

This sign is in the front of what I take to be a retirement home on St. Bernard Avenue near the Hellenic Cultural Center. (I took the photo on the way to Greek Fest last weekend.) The sign reads "With a Special Neighborhood for the Memory Impaired." There is no other text before or after this line. Do any non-"memory impaired" people out there remember what this sign is supposed to mean?

Summer of "total obliteration"?

Asia Times reports that Bush wants to strike Iran in August.

Details provided by the administration raised alarm bells on Capitol Hill, the source said. After receiving secret briefings on the planned air strike, Senator Diane Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, said they would write a New York Times op-ed piece "within days", the source said last week, to express their opposition. Feinstein is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Lugar is the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Senate offices were closed for the US Memorial Day holiday, so Feinstein and Lugar were not available for comment.

Given their obligations to uphold the secrecy of classified information, it is unlikely the senators would reveal the Bush administration's plan or their knowledge of it. However, going public on the issue, even without specifics, would likely create a public groundswell of criticism that could induce the Bush administration reconsider its plan.

Still waiting on Senators Feinstein and Lugar. No reason for them to be shy about writing op-eds. Senator Clinton has already made her enthusiasm known. And Senator McCain has expressed his opinion musically.

Uh... Yes. It will

NEW ORLEANS -- The city of New Orleans will offer no shelter in the event of a category three or higher hurricane, according to New Orleans Department of Homeland Security Director Jerry Sneed. Sneed told the City Council that New Orleanians should take no chances during a mandatory evacuation.

He said if a category three or higher storm approaches, Mayor Ray Nagin will call for a mandatory evacuation and residents should prepare in advance.

He said anyone who might need help evacuating should call 311, the city’s information hotline.

Seventeen pick-up locations will be setup around the city where evacuees can board buses, but instead of two processing centers, there will be only one: at the Union Passenger Terminal.

Sneed said the city is prepared for hurricane season, but he also said the readiness is a matter of personal responsibility.

If a hurricane is coming, the city will open some sort of shelter somewhere, the posturing and tough talk from officials notwithstanding. But at this point, it's important to keep up appearances... you know unless any of us irresponsible rubes get to feeling too comfortable to run from a massive flood.

It's a sad state of affairs that the governmental agencies who failed so spectacularly at disaster management last time see their failure not as an indication that they need to improve their performance but instead continue to work primarily at shielding themselves from blame.

It doesn't matter whether or not one believes that preparing a metropolitan region for a large scale disaster is primarily a matter of "personal responsibility" We are all "personally" responsible for our persons to some degree. But the city and the good people at Homeland Security have responsibilities that go beyond scolding people. The fact that a spokesperson for these institutions has to remind us of our "personal responsibility" indicates that they are already acting in bad faith. The advice to call 311 for help is merely rubbing it in.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

All you need to know about Clancy Dubos

The same man who swooned over Bobby Jindal's "Geek Appeal" to "Gen-X" voters is once again crowing about Jindal because... and I shit you not... "like (former Vice President and historical punchline Dan)Quayle, Jindal will have enormous appeal to younger voters"

This has been another edition of All you need to know about Clancy Dubos

If it's summertime,

Then you know it's time for Reggie Bush to douchebag it up with all the pretty people. Is this guy really still on the team? What happened to all that Shaun Alexander talk?

School Choice

Except that the school you choose may not choose to participate because it doesn't want to be forced to administer the LEAP test.

BATON ROUGE -- As the Legislature nears a final vote on Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposed school voucher program for New Orleans, the bill's backers and Catholic Church authorities have agreed on accountability provisions in the program.

But it remains unclear how many private schools will volunteer to participate if the program begins this fall, as expected, for kindergartners through third-graders from low-income households. The participants can use state-financed tuition vouchers, or scholarships, to attend private and parochial schools.

For some schools, the decision may hinge on the outcome of the debate over standardized testing requirements for the schools. Private schools -- always wary of mandates tied to government money -- have resisted proposals that vouchers come with requirements that their students take the LEAP, iLEAP and graduate exams, as do all public school students.

Even then if the school you choose, chooses to administer the test, it turns out they can then choose to test only to the voucher students... which may make for some very choice schoolyard dynamics.

At the same time, choosing to administer the test often means a school must choose to teach the test. I wonder how the tuition paying parents might feel about their students having a curriculum chosen for them which applies to a test they may not choose to take.

And then there's this.

New Orleans private and parochial schools gave mixed responses as to whether they would be interested in the program.

The 500 spots guaranteed by Catholic schools amount to a third of the 1,500 students that the first year's $10 million allocation would cover. Loar said he has a list of archdiocese schools that would participate.

"But I've been asked not to release that until the governor signs the bill," he said.

Sarah Comiskey, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said the archdiocese schools are still actively enrolling children and officials have not yet determined which ones are full.

"We would make space available wherever there are openings," she said.

What the article doesn't state openly is that even without the LEAP issue limiting the options, many of the choicest New Orleans area parochial schools already have long waiting lists for enrollment. Space in these schools is not available even to students whose parents are choosing to spend their own money on tuition. So the schools choosing to participate may not be the first second or third choice of parents who opt for vouchers. If you sign up for the choice program and find that you still can't actually send your kids to the school of your choosing then how much choice have you really experienced?

Why can't the Governor's School Choice advocates seem to get the hang of this free market choice thing?

Friday, May 23, 2008

PBJ is not going to be on the ticket

I have decided.

But only after reading Adrastos today.

Bike lanes make people cranky

The T-P decided to feature letters from two supposedly competing points of view on yesterday's idiot page. I'll post them here so you can get an idea of the "competing" ideas in play.

Painted lines are no protection
Thursday, May 22, 2008

Re: "Busy road makes room for bicycles: St. Claude Avenue lanes get spotlight Tuesday," Metro, May 19.

I'm sorry, but anyone who believes white painted lines will make it safe to ride a bicycle on city streets is seriously out of touch with reality.

I was an avid bike rider for many years, commuting daily from Uptown to the French Quarter. I was very skillful, and rode as safely as possible. Those white lines would have had no effect on the cab that ran a stop sign and put me in the hospital.

The people who drive in this area are simply not mature enough to share the roads with defenseless bicycles. I myself prefer an old, heavy steel Cadillac for protection. There is no way I would regularly ride a bike in traffic again, not around here.

Alan Wahl


In other words, this bike lane is a stupid idea because drivers in this town suck and will probably kill a bicyclist in the near future... at least the letter writer seems to hope so.

Now, for the opposite point of view.

Can't paint out recklessness
Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'd like to say good-bye to a fellow on a bike who created a commotion Sunday afternoon in Harahan. Two lanes of traffic were backed up six cars deep, waiting to turn left onto Hickory Lane, when just as the light changed, this fellow on a 10-speed comes down the line between the cars as though he owned the highway.

Motorists blew at him but he gave no evidence that he heard. Then, two blocks later, he's holding to the dotted line between the two right-hand lanes -- both of which turn right onto Earhart Boulevard -- and he goes straight ahead, almost getting hit by a car turning right. Again, horns were blaring.

This guy is going to be killed soon, mark it down. The death will devastate the driver of the car and the victim's family will be angry. They will have no way of knowing he did this himself.

Ten minutes later, driving into Bywater, I was pleased to see the new bike lanes alongside Rampart Street. Then, reality set in. I realized no amount of bicycle lanes can compensate for stupidity and ignorance on the part of the rider.

When will bike riders learn that they must obey the same laws as motorists?

Joe McKeever

River Ridge

In other words, this bike lane is a stupid idea because bicyclists in this town suck and will all probably kill themselves in the near future... or at least the letter writer seems to hope so.

Are these really opposite points of view? I wonder if the T-P received any letters praising the addition of a bicycle lane on St Claude and the plans to add them to sections of Camp and Magazine Streets in the near future. Or were T-P readers united in their general crankiness toward anyone attempting to operate a bicycle or automobile in the New Orleans area?

New Orleanians often suffer from an exaggerated sense of inferiority. Too much of the local civic discussion is colored by the pervasive idea that "People in this town just don't know how to..." It's the main reason politics here is often more about punishing the incompetents among us than actually solving problems. In other words, it's the root of the Dragonslaying ethic.

The Dragonslaying ethic gives rise to leaders like Governor PBJ who demagogue against "corruption" and push pet projects like school vouchers while the Louisiana coastline continues to recede. It fueled the 2006 Mayoral election which was entirely about reactionary fear and loathing amongst social and racial factions. It's what allows anyone in town to take Ed Blakely seriously.

In the comments section to a recent NOLA.com story about Chevron moving its offices to the northshore, someone found it necessary to wish New Orleans would "die already". It's reasonable to assume NOLA.com users are mostly local people and yet this is a sentiment often expressed there. We absolutely hate ourselves.

Or at least that is the impression one gets from following the general media narrative. Maybe we're not getting the entire picture here. Maybe the real problem is that our major opinion gatekeepers are themselves too cynical or perhaps too lazy to allow for a wider perspective. So again I have to wonder are these letters to the idiot page truly representative of the two "competing" points of view submitted to the T-P?

Update: Today's idiot page:

Bike lanes mean progress
Friday, May 23, 2008

Re: "Busy road makes room for bicycles," Metro, May 19.

These designated bike lanes denote progress! New Orleans is working to join the ranks of other progressive cities such as Portland, San Francisco and Philadelphia by making a safe place for commuters who choose to bike to work.

Bikers are fortunate that New Orleans provides welcome weather for most of the year and is not too large for commuting.

Let us continue to designate more bike lanes. Let us increase community awareness about the many benefits of bike riding, especially to work.

Let us designate next May "bike to work month."

Frank Rosinia, M.D.

New Orleans

Better... but I could do without the subtle implication that New Orleans needs to be more like Portland.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Contaminants? Whatever!

We don't have time to worry about that right now. We've got to get this shit knocked over before all the "outside agitators" come back with their Volvos. Let someone else worry about environmental hazards.... have them plant some sunflowers or something.

And for Gods sake won't someone please check to see if the condos are still okay?

Here's a fun game to play

What would you stuff a leaky floodwall with?

I vote for more money.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Impossible to produce in New Orleans

Because, of course, the cameras don't actually work here.

Rolling Stone:

Big Brother Is Producing Your Rock Video

5/21/08, 3:00 pm EST

Apropos of Naomi Klein’s amazing story in the latest issue of Rolling Stone on the $200 billion surveillance industrial complex comes this Indy Rock video from London, where the rockers performed in front of several of the city’s 200,000 CCTV cameras and then used something like the Freedom of Information Act to acquire their footage from the government.

The result is a poppy, dystopian video Orwell could have hardly imagined

I don't have sound at work so I have no idea about the actual music here. Let's just say it sucks because... what are the odds? Anyway. Neat trick, though.

Ah... Louisiana politics

Where the best way to stick it to the man is to take away his chaw.

Looks like it's going to be one of those Haloscany days

Your comments will get posted.... eventually.

Other broken internets today:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Has Gambit endorsed Obama?

I like Dirty Coast Press. In the years following the Federal Flood, the little company has claimed a niche as the place to go in New Orleans for locally inspired original T-shirt designs. The February edition of ANTIGRAVITY Magazine (PDF) described Dirty Coast as "a symbol of New Orleans's struggle to rebuild without losing our unique soul." Maybe that's a bit of an over-the-top description of a T-shirt outlet but still... they turn out some pretty cool stuff. Recently Dirty Coast (in a collaborative effort with cartoonist Greg Peters) produced a shirt featuring Ashley Morris's famed FYYFF slogan which you should go buy right now since proceeds from the sale of these shirts go to benefit the Ashley Morris Memorial Fund.

For the past few years, a number of local blogs (this site included) have sported a little graphic in the sidebar plugging Dirty Coast. The graphic itself (not a paid advertisement... as if this space were even worth the effort) is managed from deep within the Dirty Coast bunker and is frequently manipulated to display new and popular designs. Right now it says "Soul Sister for President" which is perfectly fine with me... especially since Soul Sister is not currently a candidate. I've often wondered, however, what might happen if Dirty Coast produced a design backing an actual political candidate and chose to promote that design via the use of the mysterious blog graphic.

Now, typically on the Yellow Blog, we don't find it necessary to disguise the general political leanings of the author. However, the observant reader will notice that those leanings rarely if ever tend favorably toward any particular candidate with much enthusiasm. Quite the contrary we take it nearly as a matter of principle around here that the mere act of standing for public office demands that one be regarded at best with suspicion... although more often ridicule and/or despising. It follows then that the sudden appearance on the Yellow Blog of a Dirty Coast graphic (even a really pretty or clever graphic) proclaiming the awesomeness of a particular candidate (even a candidate we're more suspicious than despising of) would bring about a certain dissonance with the text of the posts. Would we have to take the graphic down? Luckily this is a question that has not demanded an answer... yet.

I bring this up because at this very moment the Gambit Weekly's companion Blog of New Orleans is running a paid advertisement from Dirty Coast which features the new (and fairly clever) Geauxbama design. Now if a stupid little inconsequential blog like this one finds itself a bit squeamish over the possible confusion brought about by the appearance of an apparent political promotion in a portion of the site not controlled by the editor, shouldn't a major publication like Gambit have a similar concern?

I know that the day a little smiling blue Obama pops up in my sidebar, that doesn't mean that I have personally endorsed the candidacy but I can see why most people visiting the site won't assume that. So now that smiling blue Geauxbama sits at the top of the screen when you load Blog of New Orleans, does Gambit expect its readership to assume differently? Or maybe Clancy Dubos views the content of his paid advertisements the same way he once characterized polite criticism from local bloggers on his site; "part of that free speech thing that we all have to put up with" Either way, I'd like to hear the explanation. Or more accurately, I'd like to know if Gambit even noticed.

Saints notes

This one is not such a big deal.

This one, on the other hand, could be trouble.

Oh but it gets better!

Sometimes $500 million is real money

Except when it isn't.

Speaking of the weather

I am ashamed to say that the last time it snowed in New Orleans, Christmas 2004, I was spending the holiday in Nashville with mom. Luckily Consuela and Shehateme were here to capture for me souvenir photos of the Tercel covered in snow. A friend of the family watching my dad's apartment for him collected a snowball and left in the freezer for him when we got back.

Prior to that the most recent snow was also around Christmas 1989. We saved our copy of the next day's T-P which contained images like this one.

I think we got about a half an inch. It shut the whole city down. No one went to work. Lots of people's pipes burst. I'm not sure how the cold weather and snow impacted those few days in the world of "New Orleans Industrial Development" but the board seems to remember it fondly.

These are the pretty days

Springtime in New Orleans is the best time to be outside. Everything is starting to take on the dark green color and sweet smell of Summer but the nasty hot heavy air hasn't quite gotten here yet. For this reason, April-June is prime season for outdoor festivals like this weekend's Greek Fest and Bayou Boogaloo. It's also still second lining season. We spent a portion of our Sunday afternoon following the Divine Ladies S & P Club along with the Hot 8 Brass Band as they made their way down St Charles and then back up through the neighborhood.

DSCN3686 DSCN3677 Hot 8 on St Charles St. Charles Ave

I managed to get a few more decent pics in this set but, of course, dsb's are better.

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Ahead of the game"

According to Kevin Allman, Jeremy Alford's cover story recently run in the Independent and then again in the Gambit which criticizes the "Stonewalling" Jindal administration is "way ahead of the game" in questioning PBJ's hypocritical "do as I say, not as I do" approach to ethics and transparency in government. Is it, though?

I would have thought "Ahead of the game" reporting on Jindal's obvious hypocrisy would have meant reporting on it before the election. Not so for Alford who authored the Gambit's notorious "Geek Appeal" cover profile of Jindal which along with Gambit's endorsement of Jindal put the "needed alternative" weekly squarely in the Dragonslaying corner.

In "Geek Appeal" Alford's "ahead of the game" reporting on Jindal's disputed ethics record reads,

Operatives from the Louisiana Democratic Party stayed in the shadows during the press conference, but roamed among the reporters at its conclusion and handed out "Bobby Jindal's Real Record on Ethics and Corruption." The one-page handout detailed five votes in which Jindal's position could be interpreted as hypocritical. There are two votes in particular where he supported killing ethics investigations related to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The Jindal campaign immediately fired off a response, arguing the votes were "ill-disguised partisan maneuvers" by the Democratic leadership that separated liberals from conservatives. Most of the bills also contained riders that changed the impact of the legislation, his campaign insists.

So in the pre-election reporting, the only questions raised about Jindal originate from "operatives" "roaming in the shadows" with a "one-paged handout" while the Jindal campaign's take is given disproportionate credence.

Prior to the election the Jindal campaign also was becoming well known for the same "Stonewalling" tactics with the press Alford criticizes in his recent piece. Unfortunately when Alford was given an "ahead of the game" opportunity to report on the paranoid tendencies of the Jindal campaign and his principal spokesperson Melissa Sellers this is about as hard-hitting as it got.

Dodging public debates also has sparked criticism of Jindal, and his various no-shows are an extension of just how scripted and guarded the campaign has become. Sellers says that Jindal is just "busy bringing his message of a fresh start to the state" and declined further comment.

In its subsequent endorsement of Jindal, the Gambit told us this election was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to elect someone whose "integrity is beyond reproach" It seems now, however, that the shine has worn off of that Dragonslaying armor more quickly than anybody could have predicted. Take, for example, this piece from Alford in the most recent Gambit in which we learn that Jindal's connections (going back at least as far as October) to a campaign contributor looking to open a landfill and to a shady 527 advocating school vouchers combined with the administration's secretive strong-arming tactics are starting to make for some raised eyebrows in Baton Rouge.

Until last October, when he was still a GOP congressman from Kenner, Bobby Jindal had no connection to Alsen. That changed with $50,000 in campaign contributions from Colorado-based Louisiana Land Systems (LLS). The money went to Jindal as the company was trying to open a landfill near Alsen. The state Department of Environmental Quality had previously rejected the company's application in 2000, but a new push was clearly afoot. Jindal's press secretary said at the time that that there was no talk of the landfill when candidate Jindal met with LLS officials.

New friends are easy to make when you're the front-runner in a governor's race. During last year's campaign, Jindal also befriended All Children Matter (ACM), a Virginia-based 527 group with a chapter in Louisiana. A 527 group is an unregulated political advocacy group not subject to state or federal campaign finance laws. As a 527 group, ACM typically promotes politicians, like Jindal, who support school vouchers. The group bankrolled part of Jindal's radio efforts in 2007 and got involved in several other races. ACM's contributors are a who's who of corporate big shots — its Louisiana arm got $100,000 from Wal-Mart tycoon Jim Walton and another $100,000 from neoconservative icon Bruce Kovnier, founder of Caxton Associates.

Although last year's campaign is over, both relationships continue to matter on the state level as all roads — at least on paper — lead to Jindal. For example, the debate over LLS's pending permit (and DEQ's anticipated decision on it) could soon rekindle interest in Jindal's connection to the company. And just last week, ACM became Jindal's attack dog when it lashed out at a New Orleans lawmaker, Rep. Karen Carter Peterson, who claims Team Jindal pulled the trigger on radio spots attacking her opposition to vouchers.

The landfill issue could be a sleeping giant. A recent public records request reveals that LLS is finishing up a new application that could soon come up for community review. According to DEQ spokesperson Jean Lockwood Kelly, there's "no set schedule," but information is currently being collected and assessed. On the surface, it's the same application that DEQ denied in 2000, citing the company's failure to show a "genuine demand" for putting back into use an underground catacomb designed to house waste from Superfund sites.

What explains the sudden turnaround in the handling of Jindal? Perhaps more than a few formerly enthusiastic reporters and editors are now feeling a bit burned at this point by the increasingly arrogant and paranoid stance the administration takes toward the political press. Alford's cover story, in fact, can be read as a collective exercise in access-starved reporters ganging up to feel sorry for themselves. Maybe such reporters and editors could have saved themselves this trouble if they had only been a little further "ahead of the game".

More inside information for handicappers

It doesn't look good for the Hornets tonight.

Racing form

Well after Big Brown dominated the field at Pimlico Saturday there shouldn't be too much mystery about who the favorite is to win the Belmont. On the other hand the stakes in the upcoming race for Bill Jefferson's seat are becoming all the more intriguing. Two years ago, the embattled Congressman was reelected in one of the more dismally fascinating elections in local history. In this week's Gambit Scuttlebutt Allen Johnson provides us with some early handicapping. I've taken the liberty of highlighting the most telling indicator in red.
No Shortage of Opponents

By: Allen Johnson

Indicted Congressman Bill Jefferson is not expected to go on trial for bribery until after qualifying opens July 9 for the federal party primaries on Sept. 6 — but friends and foes alike are eyeing his seat. The friends include state Reps. Cedric Richmond and Juan Lafonta. Richmond has served in the state House since 1999; Lafonta, since 2005. State Rep. Karen Carter-Peterson, who lost a runoff to Jefferson in 2006, will host a $1,200-per-person “congressional fundraiser” at 6 p.m. next Thursday (May 29) at Morton’s Steakhouse in New Orleans, says Carter publicist Cheron Brylski. Other Jefferson opponents include Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron L. Lee and former WDSU-TV morning anchor Helena Moreno. Lee has hired the PR firm of Katz & Columbus, while veteran media consultant Jim Carvin and his daughter, Karen Carvin, will manage Lee’s campaign. Moreno also has assembled a campaign team, says media consultant Greg Buisson. That team includes pollster Ed Renwick as well as campaign coordinators Craig Mitchell and Bill Allerton. As a journalist, Moreno registered as an Independent, but she will run as a Democrat in the party primary, Buisson says. She will make an official announcement in July, while Lee has not yet pegged an announcement date. Meanwhile, a publicist for indicted state Sen. Derrick Shepherd of Marrero dismissed rumors that Shepherd will run for the seat again; Shepherd finished third in the 2006 race.

For more on this crucial indicator, see Oyster's accumulated observations. The betting window is open.

Oyster follows up with much more on Derrick Shepherd's cousin Byron Lee here.

Beer in the bookdrop

This morning we were treated to cool Rocky Mountain refreshment with our book return.

Beer in the bookdrop

Below is the obligatory accompanying photo of the sign begging people not to bestow such gifts upon us.


This has been yet another exciting episode of Beer in the Bookdrop.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

If David West's injury is anything like mine

He won't be able to play much come Monday. It's been three weeks since I strained a calf muscle and I still can't run much more than a mile before pulling up lame.

Anyway enough of this. It's a nice day and I'm out for the afternoon.

The shit floats but it won't float away
Let's just stay

Flickr Flashback

The photo archive/Flickr upload project continues to unearth some fun old stuff. This is from the All Star Second Line parade through Treme and downtown in January 2006.

Street signs

The whole set is here. And the post I put up using some of the same pictures that day is here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

What happened to the Green Dot Cake?

Just in case you absolutely positively can't just wait another week for Greek Fest and Bayou Boogaloo, Broadmoor Fest is back this weekend.... featuring City Councilpersons in a dunking booth no less.

Sophisticating up the corruption

In a below comments discussion about whether or not we should go out and locate the outrage over city entertaining expenses, Carmen asks:

Jeffrey, when you play chess, do you only look at the opponent's queen? Structures most often topple from the cracks which seem insignificant to all but the engineer.

Suffice to say I'm not playing an adversarial "chess" game with anyone here. And I'm not looking to "topple any structures" either. Like most folks, I'm just reading the news and deciding which stories are worth taking seriously and which ones are just good for a laugh.

Douchey pols kissing one another's asses at Morton's is pretty funny but hardly surprising... and not very interesting after a fashion.

On the other hand, creating whole new venues of public policy which are themselves of questionable (in the case of the 311 system) or even nefarious (in the case of the crime cameras) utility for the benefit of a select coterie of political cronies is much more disturbing because it is indicative of a more thoroughly broken and corrupted government.

Pols being buffoons at lobbying events is just standard stuff and an immutable pattern of human behavior. Declaiming demagoguing and sensationalizing such behavior in order to get elected or sell newspapers is the very definition of what I've come call "Dragonslaying" It's a waste of time and energy that primarily benefits those in the audience looking for evidence of their own moral superiority.

But systemic, institutional co-opting of governmental functions for the primary purpose of enriching one's political benefactors is actual news. It's that magic moment where (to lean once again on Robert Cerasoli's phrasing) the corruption becomes sophisticated enough to be termed relevant.

Varg disagrees saying essentially that my attempt to draw a distinction between these two types of stories is playing a "zero sum game" with space in the news cycle. Well... space there is limited. And editors are paid to make decisions about which bits are apportioned resources and emphasis. Subsequent talk radio hosts and editorialists will also make decisions about which story to give space to. So determining which story has legs is, if not a perfectly zero sum game, then something very close.

Fun thought of the day

Remember back when the local press used to habitually refer to Greg Meffert as a "whiz kid" because he... you know... worked with computers and stuff?

Really keen stuff from those guys. It's like saying someone has "Geek Appeal" because he's... under forty and of Indian descent.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wither the "Wooo!"?

Will the next edition of the "Family Friendly" approximation of a meth bender known as a Hornets home game feature the San Antonio Spurs again? Or will we be on to the next circle of hell? Light up and tune in tonight to find out.

"Rents are stabilizing"

Meaning, in fact, that they are remaining too damn high for the forseeable future.

The reason that the problem of affordable rentals in New Orleans is little more than a secondary or invisible issue in the local media is that the people driving the discussion there tend to view renters as secondary or invisible people. Sure the cost of living is up. But if you want your complaints to count for something, you'd better make sure you've made the "lifestyle choice" to become a property owner... otherwise the Stacy Heads of the world aren't listening.

Dear T-P: On second thought, please don't help

While everyone would prefer to see the local paper take a more critical approach to City finances and operations, shrill sensationalism of explainable petty bullshit only makes future criticism of valid issues less effective. If anyone wants to cold cock you now, I won't stand in their way.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Yes yes yes. Go. Buy. Now.

Ray of Hope

Continuing to dig through the photo archives I run across these beauties from the May 2006 Mayoral runoff. They are homemade Nagin signs in a variety of fun colors and styles. The Saints black and gold Nagin sign says, "Support Our Ray of Hope".

Ray of Hope Vote Nagin Black/White Vote Nagin Yellow/Green Vote Nagin Red/White

Two years later, the T-P seems to be holding out hope that two years later is too early to tell just how well the second Nagin term is going.

I've already pointed these out but alternative assessments can be found here here and here.


Garland's guest this hour is an LSU professor who just told me John McCain "has always been a maverick" He also says that McCain should be careful of running "too far to the middle" but that both Hillary and Obama may have trouble appealing to the all-important "moderate voter".

Now I'm an LSU grad. And I tend to think that within certain parameters a quality education is more a function of what the student puts into it than the presumed "quality" of one or another institution. But this embarrasses me.

Flood stage

I'm still uploading old photos to Flickr. Here are two points of comparison for the recent rise in the Mississippi River which precipitated the first opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in ten years. These are two pics I took from about the same spot along the Moonwalk this year. The first shot on the left is from Easter Sunday. The second on the right is from only a few weeks later during French Quarter Fest. The angle is a bit deceptive but by the time the second photo was taken the river had completely swallowed the lowest post visible in the first photo.

DSCN3500 Mississippi near flood stage

This will be fun

I'm staying in this morning with one of those Springtime colds. The good news is I get to listen to the Garland Robinette show where the topic of the day is an (as far as I can tell unreported-in-other-media) incident of cross burning on a black family's lawn in Metairie.

Unsurprisingly it only took about three callers before we got to the "This is unfair to the white people of Metairie" comment. I predict that by the end of the day someone will tell us that this is all really the fault of New Orleanians' "snobbish" attitude towards their racist suburbs.

Update: Okay here is the WWLTV report. Apparently he letters "KKK" were burned into the family's lawn. This must have aired a few days ago.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The circus is back in town tonight as the Hornets try to hold serve in Game 5 against San Antonio. As I've been saying since the playoffs began, the Hornets, while talented and fun to watch, don't have the kind of muscle it takes to win an NBA title. Add one elbow-throwing Charles Oakley type to this squad and maybe they've got something. But as it is, they just can't keep the veteran teams off the boards consistently. Still... as long as they've got home court, and as long as Chris Rose keeps his brat out of the way, they've got a fighting chance.

If you're going to the Arena for tonight's game (which I strongly recommend you DO NOT for reasons detailed here) ALTL has an amusing wardrobe suggestion for you here. Also this bit from Oyster contains too much cheerleading for my taste but is funny anyway because of its additional content.

Meanwhile, D-BB is psyched up.... but he thought the $50.00 Jazzfest tickets were a bargain so do what you will with that recommendation.

Also no matter what happens tonight, James Gill offers a guess at tomorrow's headline.
Whenever the Hornets play, readers all over town awake with foreboding. Another excruciating headline awaits. Will it be "sting" or "buzz" this time?

Just seeing how this looks

I finally sprang for the Flickr pro account. So I've been fooling around with uploading and organizing a bunch of old pictures. Like this one from late 2005.

Federal City

Like any time I get a new toy it cuts into blogging time. You all feel relieved, I know.

This is very good news for John McCain

Remember. Every candidate Nagin endorses loses.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What that guy said

I'll just reprint here and thoroughly endorse what Other Jeff said in an earlier comment thread on the proposed income tax repeal and its relationship to this topic.

This is retarded. The idea that giving individuals a couple thousand dollars more to piss away on their own perverted interests rather than investing in healthcare, education, coastal restoration, or any of the other mammothly pressing needs of this state just does not deserve to be dignified with a response.

Can we talk about the airport brilliance? Can I ask why the state needs an airport that makes $500K a year in order to invest in projects in NO that the state should already be investing in anyway? I think it's safe to say that the BR and Jefferson Parish interests dominating the conversation are foaming at the mouth for the LA Airport Authority to be revived. And all we have standing between us and that prospect is a Mayor who would like nothing more than to have one of his idiotic ideas borne out for once, and Ron Forman, who knows what to do with 4 mills (animals!), but who I wouldn't trust to run a pet store.

It took at least 3 top T-P reporters..

..to phone in this "Jury-is-still-out-on-the-Nagin-legacy"target="_blank" front pager on Sunday.

It takes just two amateur blog people to fill in the missing points. (See below)


Moldy City

Friday, May 09, 2008

Putting down the badge. Taking up the sword?

WWL TV's "BREAKING NEWS" ticker currently reads
Jim Bernazzani has announced his retirement from the FBI.
Does this mean he'll be taking his "six month" dragonslaying plan into his own hands?


It's a word game. You have to visit Oyster's to play.

Note: TKGOTW is a registered trademark of Timshel sometimes co-opted here under Fair Use privilege.

Veep Speculation (Vol 1 of many)

Jim Webb pro and con

Pro: Unlike Hillary, he might actually attract some of those "hard working white people" she seems to wish would hate Obama.

As seen here:
Webb may have some deficiencies as a candidate, related to sexist writings done thirty years ago and his occasional indelicate language.
The "sexist writings done thirty years ago" are referenced here but not something that hasn't been dealt with already.

On the other hand, that "occasional indelicate language" should give all of us pause as no one can predict the potential debasement brought upon the Office of Vice President by such unstatesmanlike vulgarity.

Norman Robinson is kind of stupid

Unfortunately this is hardly news to anyone. I saw this yesterday and decided not to touch it. My (loosely applied) editorial policy is that something has to be at least half as funny as it is sad for me to write much about it. And since a high-profile reporter's statement that he basically doesn't feel like doing his job anymore because it involves "negative energy" is too immensely and unsurprisingly sad that I can't bring myself to laugh... I didn't think it qualified.

I think today, though.... David proves me wrong.

Update: Maybe Norman would prefer if we only spoke about the things that are going "swimmingly".

Okay maybe that's not the best word choice for this particular media market... or maybe I'm just being negative again.

It pays to know people in this town

When you're in danger.... call Dangerblond

Thursday, May 08, 2008

"Fear of being misquoted"

Root of the Juvenilia:

AMY GOODMAN: What did you think of the ABC debate in Pennsylvania with the news anchors going for the first forty-five minutes—really going at Obama around issues, everything from pastors to pins, lapel pins?

BILL MOYERS: I thought it was a great exercise in irrelevance. Going back to one of your earlier questions, we never really—we rarely probe these candidates on what they would do about the fundamental systemic issues facing America. It has become a horse race in the media and on the campaign. That’s inevitable in some respects. But I was really sad to see our craft reduced to that kind of petty and parochial concerns. These debates, moderated and mediated by the press, have really become about the press. The Sunday morning talk shows are all about themselves. They’re not really about what’s happening—they’re not trying to help the people in Dubuque or Dallas or Des Moines get an understanding of the candidates.


AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think these candidates, the leading candidates of the Democratic supposedly opposition party, do not call for an immediate end to the war, do not call for single-payer healthcare?

BILL MOYERS: Because the media doesn’t allow complicated thought to be articulated in ways that enlighten instead of misinform people. Partisans seize upon these sound bites and turn them into—seize upon these speeches, take the sound bites and turn them against the candidates. It’s fear. It’s fear of being misquoted. It’s fear of having your ideas misappropriated.

via ProLA

Breaking news

Daisy emails us this very important news item!

LAMA members vote to adopt name with leadership focus

The membership of the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA) has voted overwhelmingly to change the name of the association to the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA). Election results were released today by the American Library Association. The new name will become official Sept. 1.

When told of the news, LAMA President W. Bede Mitchell said, "The proposed name change was intended to help ALA members, the profession at large and the general public to understand the important role we play in developing library leaders of the present and the future. We have assumed this role for years, but our division name has not reflected our work. We are gratified at the overwhelming response of our division members to the proposed name change."

Mitchell went on to stress that this name change should in NO WAY be taken as an attempt by the Association to further the public confusion of their organization with ill-tempered South American dromedaries. According to Mitchell, "LLAMA would never spit in the face of public perception... metaphorically speaking."

It was also rumored that LLAMA will be celebrating Mothers' Day with specially tailored gifts for members who happen to be parents of young children. But no LLAMAs were available for comment on this issue.

Cracker Vote

Like G-Bitch, I'm all for a politics of cutting through the bullshit and calling out people for what they really are... or as she puts it, "Calling a Cracker Vote a Cracker Vote"

But it occurs to me that this particular term can potentially turn the conversation in undesirable directions. For example:

Athenae explains this problem further.

Of course, the real dysfunction lies in the timidity of both campaigns and in the press that follows them steering the discourse away from substance and towards this... as Taibbi put it... juvenilia.

Has it come to this? The political equivalent of "I know you are, but what am I?" On both sides, this Obama-Clinton race has turned into something very like the vicious rivalry of a pair of blood-lusting high school student bodies — Odessa Permian versus Midland Lee, only with the fate of the free world hanging in the balance.

Sadder still is the fact that we could all pretty much write a post like this in our sleep by now. And yet... here we still are.

He doesn't have to pay for it

If everything they say about him is true, Gov. PBJ will likely have climbed the next rung by the time anyone actually has to deal with the repercussions of the income tax repeal ($4 billion dollar hole in the state budget). So if it passes the House, is there any reason for the Governor not to sign it?

I wonder if they'll remember to turn off the lights

Chevron completes move to the North Shore
by Kate Moran, The Times-Picayune
Wednesday May 07, 2008, 9:15 PM

Following the well-trod path of energy companies that have left the city, Chevron will vacate its downtown New Orleans office building today and celebrate the opening of a gleaming regional headquarters in an office park just south of Covington.

The company's announcement in 2006 that it would relocate across the lake ruffled Mayor Ray Nagin and other urbanites who were already heartsick about the pull Hurricane Katrina has exerted on the city's population and on the few large corporations that provide high-paying jobs.

Today's move seems all but certain to accelerate the movement of professionals across the lake. About half of Chevron's employees lived on the north shore before Katrina, and the company has offered a relocation package to south shore residents who dread the long commute across the Causeway.


Lame joking aside, this is another sad symptom of the continued hollowing of post-flood New Orleans. Despite the promises of "blank slate" opportunities for renewal, the same trends that were in effect before the storm remain so only at an accelerated pace.

Whatever semblance of professional business activity exists in the City's urban core is retreating to the suburbs, to Houston, to... wherever leaving in its wake a ghost town of now unusable empty office buildings like the Plaza Tower and now the Chevron building. Meanwhile the only "development" happening is the conversion of acceptable commercial and residential real estate into condos and vacation homes. Exactly what kind of a city does this leave us with?

When we hear the word "city" we are inclined to think of a diverse, active, center of trade. A city, in this sense, is a place that draws people in not only to do itinerant business or to stay the night and entertain themselves but to live their lives. Will the "new" New Orleans being built now even really qualify as a "city" at all?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Future of Conservatism

Up and coming G.O.P. rock star (and potential Vice Presidential candidate) Gov. Bobby Jindal will apparently have to make two very interesting political decisions at the end of the current legislative session.

While he's being coy about his intentions, it will be very difficult for the Governor not to veto the proposed repeal of the State income tax. At the same time, PBJ may soon be signing into law a steep increase in many Louisianians' auto insurance bills.

This should make some interesting political theater for the rising star in the coming months. We would have asked him to comment but he doesn't seem to be available lately.

Wait. What?

Since when did we determine a need for National Charter Schools Week?

Also... when do you reckon Home School-Arranged Marriage-"Authority Structure" Week is?

When incompetent cronyism is better than competent governance

At least the incompetent cronies don't put erect public surveillance systems that actually work.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Oh thank Christ

Taibbi is back. This means I don't have to write anything about today's continuing Democratic Primary nightmare since it's pretty much all here.

This race has already seen such juvenilia as one would previously have considered inconceivable in a contest between two ostensibly cerebral Democratic presidential candidates, including a surprisingly serious argument over which camp had the right to invoke Rocky references in their Pennsylvania campaign rhetoric — an argument settled, amazingly, when Gov. Ed Rendell declared "by executive order" that the right was Hillary's alone. The problem has been exacerbated by the relatively minor policy differences between the two candidates, although one suspects that even if those differences were major, they would take a back seat to the emerging tribal schism now cleaving the Democratic Party — a wholesale regression to clashing teenage emotions that turns these supposedly profound electoral battles into feverish squalls of car-honking and sarcastic sloganeering.

How long before one side kidnaps the other side's mascot? Will we wake up some morning in the near future and find Obama's campaign bus taken apart and reassembled on the roof of the Indiana Statehouse? Will Obama hooligans steal Hillary's Botox kit and gleefully paint the word "suck!" at the end of every yes she can sign in Guam?

More important, when will this thing end? Is there any relief in sight?

No no no ... of course not.

From inside the "Hive"

NBA games are funny. No, not "funny ha ha" more funny like a nightmare full of killer clowns is funny. Funny like a mini-circus for people with A.D.D. held inside of an air raid siren is funny. If you haven't been to a professional basketball game before and plan to do so in the near future, please be mindful that the event as witnessed in person bears only a passing resemblance to what is displayed on television... and, in fact, resembles even less actual basketball.

During the course of a typical basketball game, a coach who senses his team has lost the momentum will often call a quick timeout in order to calm the team down... you know... allow them to regroup and talk a little strategy. At such points, the typical fan will avail him or herself of this opportunity to reflect on the game so far. The typical fan may have even formed some opinions as to what is or isn't working for the home team and about what we might expect to see later. Many fans like to use the timeouts to share these opinions (as well as jokes, hellos, various ephemera) with the fan or fans near them.

After all, it is essential to friendship (or to basic human interaction for that matter) that we share our experiences with those close to us. Some would argue that the true purpose of attending any social spectacle with other people is so that we may enjoy one another's presence at these events. By talking about the game with other people we gain a greater appreciation of the game as seen through another's perspective and we gain appreciation for one another through our ability to share these unique perspectives. This is the very stuff of being a social animal. Unfortunately, at an NBA game, in an arena with 18,000 other souls present, there is no opportunity (not even during the timeouts) for any two of those 18,000 to engage in this essential human function because OMG LOOKOUT HERE COME THE GIANT HAMSTER BALLS!!

Even the actual athletic contest itself seems almost secondary to the bizarre multi-media carnival of constant urgent hyper-stimulation imposed upon the spectators. Multicolored lasers, random clips from Jim Carrey movies broadcast on the jumbo-tron, sudden explosions, puppets, karaoke, dancing girls, celebrities, retired professional wrestlers, drumlines, persons dressed in giant foam rubber costumes bounding about the floor firing T-shirts into the crowd with a frighteningly powerful air cannon; all of this conspires to frustrate not only the most basic communication amongst the fans but often even the completion of a single thought before the arrival of the next screeching novelty. It's like being caught inside an enormous living MySpace page.

Perhaps the most jarring difference between basketball on television and basketball in person is the disparate ways in which they distort one's experience of time. While basketball games on television can seem much longer than necessary often stretching two minutes into half an hour through repeated timeouts and semi-intentional fouls (each with its accompanying commercial interruption), basketball games in person are over before most of the audience is able to collect its balance. Leaving a game is like walking away from a double loop roller coaster. It was fast, it turned you inside out, and it was over so quickly that you're still trying to figure out what happened as you stumble away with a knot in your stomach.

If you happen to be stumbling away from a Hornets game, you may notice through your stupor as the exiting crowd continues to salute itself by emitting frequent calls of "Wooo!" Unlike Saints fans who, over the course of an appropriately paced football game, have the time to cheer in complete (if grammatically incorrect) sentences, Hornets fans can only bring themselves to say, "Wooo!" One monosyllabic utterance that conveys as much fear as it does thrill. "Wooo!" as though one has just swerved out of a near collision on the highway. "Wooo!" as if the boat has nearly capsized on a rough sea. "Wooo!" as though the Entergy bill has just arrived the same day as the tax return check. "Wooo!" as in I think I'll watch the next game from a comfortable barstool, thank you very much.

On our way home, Menckles made a game of sticking her head out of the car window and "Wooo!"ing at random pedestrians. Nearly all of them responded in kind. This morning I still can't figure out if these folks were fellow basketball fans, or if we had merely startled them. And that, I guess, is the NBA experience in a nutshell. The lines that separate a satisfied customer from an assault victim are significantly blurred.

Afterthought: I thought I had dreamt this part but, according to the paper, there was actual basketball associated with these events. Here's what I think I remember: Despite the big win, the Hornets continue to frustrate with their defensive rebounding which will be a problem on the road. Julian Wright is surprisingly skilled as a ball handler and as a shooter... even better than advertised. Mo Pete is utter garbage on defense. Oh and I think I remember that watching Chris Paul blow by people is so startling a thing to see in person that it actually elicits laughter. Supposedly, the Spurs will find a way to cover him in game 3, but I can't begin to imagine how.

Edited slightly and repeatedly in futile attempts to improve my attrocious writing.

Monday, May 05, 2008


There's something very wrong with the weather. Maybe it's the unusually high Ozone levels, or maybe it has something to do with the new daylight savings time but something has happened to disturb the regular progress of the seasons. Everyone knows that the termite swarm isn't supposed to start until AFTER all the caterpillars are gone. Add to this the fact that the similarly swarmy "love bugs" seem to have started early this year and you've got a full blown insect crisis on your hands.

Still... for the time being, it's safe to out on the porch in the evenings. We're a good month away from prime mosquito time.

The Fairgrounds smells like horse poo

Really, it does. More on this later.

Good news Bad news

On the one hand, you've got a local TV station reverting to local ownership. That's probably a good thing. On the other hand, I doubt we can expect the sports reporting on this station to be very good in the future.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Law Enforcement Specialist

Not only does Jim Bernazzani's ego override his understanding of the Hatch Act, it also impedes his ability to read the City Charter.... or perhaps count.

Update: Oyster speculates here (and earlier here)about who else may be experiencing reading comprehension and arithmetic difficulties.


In a recent ad Obama is hitting Hillary (and almost by accident McCain... someday they'll pay attention to McCain again) for her support of a Summertime gas tax holiday which he is calling "a gimmick". And, of course, it is a gimmick most likely to play out as Ritholtz describes here
Put this plan into effect and long before summer's end, gasoline prices would have risen to the pre-tax holiday levels. Then, we slap that tax back on, and the electorate is pissed at you. Then, neither of you gets elected. Not only bad economics, but bad politics.

So Obama gets points for calling out his opponents and taking an "honest, principled" stand. Certainly, this is the kind of CHANGE the Obama enthusiasts have expected their candidate to bring to the political discourse.

And then there's this.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Democratic Sen. Barack Obama accuses his presidential rivals of pandering to voters by supporting the "gimmick" of temporarily lifting federal taxes on gasoline, despite his own past support for a similar tax holiday.

As a state legislator voting for a tax break, Obama even joked that he wanted signs on gas pumps telling motorists that he was responsible for lowering prices.

The gimmicks keep on coming.

Update: The real gimmick, of course, may be in the oversimplified comparison as joejoejoe explains in the comments.

The IL gas tax was 5% of the total sale so that over the years as the price of gasoline rose the total amount of tax collected got larger and larger. In IL they reduced the percentage because tax revenues were tax exceeding projections and gas prices were spiking. They didn't eliminate revenue collection.

A gas tax that is a fixed amount per gallon like the 18.4 cent federal tax provides the same revenue when gas is $1/gallon or $4/gallon and declaring a holiday from the tax is like declaring a holiday from being fiscally responsible.

This is the kind of issue that isn't simple and it's easy to say "They all suck" but Obama actually has experience with this very thing and when he tried to provide relief from increasing gas taxes (not gas prices) he saw first hand that only a fraction of the reduction in taxes was passed to consumers at the pump, making it a bad way to give taxpayers relief.

Nevermind that Clinton's plan only exists in her stump speech. Unlike McCain, she's never introduced a bill to make her gas tax plan a reality.

Heckuva job

ICF CEO gets nice bonus … really nice

Reply to all means Reply to ALL

Very important to remember when you plan to "smoke out" a reporter.

Also... Lee Zurik is single-handedly bringing back investigative journalism in this town.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Actual Cultism

The Paul-tards are forming their own breakaway "communities". Please tell me there will be polygamy involved. Maybe they'll beat their blimps into ploughshares or something.

"Mothership of Tragedy"

WCBF interviews Philadelphia Housing Authority Executive Director Carl Greene as part of e's continuing series on the Alpohonso Jackson Follies.

"New Orleans in some respects is like the mothership of tragedy. So many people had to exit the city because of the natural disaster and instead of there being an advocate for New Orleans who really was a housing expert and an advocate on behalf of the Housing Authority who tried to repopulate the city with affordable housing, there was an advocate for Washington who wanted to take care of certain friends. So, taking care of certain socially connected people, the socially elite African American communities that [Jackson] wanted to take care of, meant that the top priority - the thousands and thousands and thousands of folks down there that wanted to come back home - were not going to be getting any housing.

"And what he failed to take into consideration one solution fits all from Washington doesn't work for New Orleans. New Orleans was a unique situation. Coming in there with that Hope VI-type mixed-use development could be a good solution - in some cities it is - but, in New Orleans case, you still need to figure out where all the poor people are going to live. You can't just develop mixed-use housing without providing housing for those folks who are very very poor. You have city where 80% of the people are below poverty and you've built all the houses for a different population. . . Then you had the profiteers, who were socially connected getting all the work."

Go. Read the rest here.

Still Accomplished

Seems kinda silly to just pass along an Eschaton post but... Jesus!

Because when McCain whines about "100 years in Iraq" being a misrepresentation of his comments, this is the clarification.

Jumpy Jr.!

"The Saints also signed defensive end Jeremy Geathers of Nevada-Las Vegas,"

Bo Fest

Yes, I think it's weird too. Just chalk it up as one of those New Orleans things.

NEW ORLEANS - Rapper Ludacris may look like a million "fa-fillion" dollars, but is he as pretty as the Wild Magnolias?

The question will be answered tonight when the Grammy-winning Dirty South impresario joins the Mardi Gras Indian band and other New Orleans musicians tonight at a Central City benefit for Wild Magnolias "Big Chief" Bo Dollis.

The concert, dubbed Bo Fest, will also feature Marva Wright, Papa Mali, members of jam band Widespread Panic and Motley Crue member Tommy Lee, ex-husband of Pamela Anderson.

The show begins at 7 p.m. outside Handa Wanda bar at 2425 Dryades St. The event will be the biggest in the history of the signless corner-store-sized Mardi Gras Indian hangout owned by Wild Magnolias owner Glenn Gaines.

Tickets are $20 and proceeds will help cover the cost of ongoing medical treatment for Dollis, a diabetic.

Tommy Lee and Ludacris officially joined the bill Wednesday. The appearance of the jet-setting stars is evidence that “Central City can be a cultural destination too,” Gaines said.

This is right around the corner from headquarters. I might have to go poke my head in for a sec this evening.


I really don't know where to begin dealing with this. The latest fantasy of those leading the local "recovery" (whatever that may mean at this point) involves a proposal to transfer management of the New Orleans International Airport and its associated patronage over to the Governor's office in return for State-backed financing of the "Reinventing the Crescent" scheme plus a spastic belching of every half-baked development proposal floated locally over the past three years.

Under the plan, bond dollars would be invested in five areas in New Orleans: a "sports and entertainment" district on the perimeter of the Superdome and New Orleans Arena; the government complex that is home to City Hall, Civil District Court and the shuttered State Building bordering Duncan Plaza that is slated for demolition; the medical district where a new Veterans Administration Hospital is planned; the theatre district surrounding the intersection of Canal Street and Loyola Avenue; and a six-mile stretch of downtown riverfront that city leaders hope to transform into park and new commercial space.

It's as though they resolved to just keep naming projects until the mark the customer finally assents to the deal. Oh wait. That's not all.

Seeking to address concerns that only a small part of the city would benefit from the infusion of state money, business leaders recently agreed to consider including funding for a major development -- possibly a distribution center -- for eastern New Orleans.

I thought Eastern New Orleans was already getting a monorail. I wonder if we keep waiting around, they'll throw in another one.

Okay now... What? Oh goddammit they're still talking.

While much of the work envisioned in the proposal would involve improvements to streets and sidewalks and amenities such as parks, fountains and public art work, advocates say some of the bond money could be used as the local match for big-tickets projects, including a new streetcar line along Loyola Avenue and an extension of the Riverfront line upriver to Jackson Avenue and downriver to the Industrial Canal.

Another component would revive a dormant proposal offered two years ago by Nagin that called for tearing down City Hall and offering the site for sale to developers.

The plan would relocate city government offices across Poydras Street to the privately owned Dominion Tower, a 36-story, 490,000-square-foot office building that sustained extensive wind damage during Hurricane Katrina.

That has got to be the most massive and improbable collection of projects that ever ran interference for what looks like a funneling of state backed bond money to the New Orleans Building Corp in return for control of the aviation board... so that Sean Cummings can build condos in the Marigny. But I never said we were lacking for grandeur around here.

But none of that is what has me stumped. The part of this article that has truly rendered me speechless is the part where Arnie Fielkow says it will be a great way to "restore confidence among displaced residents unsure about returning to New Orleans." Yeah that and a few well-placed billboards.

Seriously, though. Suppose you are a displaced resident who depends on a federal housing subsidy. You and your family have lived in New Orleans for generations. The failure of the Federal Floodwalls has forced you out of your home to Houston or Atlanta or.. god forbid someplace worse. You're desperate to come home. You've even been offered your old job back at the same hotel. But due to a catch in the HUD rules, you find yourself trapped until the rents in New Orleans fall back to a level comparable to that of the market you want to move out of. You were hoping the rents would stabilize as more affordable housing became available but then Stacy Head blew you a kiss as the city council signed off on the demolition of the "big four" public housing complexes. Meanwhile the city seems determined to demolish whatever remaining usable private housing stock remains as the Mayor shrugs his shoulders and tells you we're still waiting on our "market-driven recovery" to fix everything. And now Arnie (Fielgood) Fielkow is telling you that a proposed theater district/new City Hall/riverfront ampitheater/monorail-streetcar-extension-thingy is supposed to "restore" your "confidence"?

Again... I'm stumped. It's so stupid, it's not even funny.

Saving seats at Ja$$fest

Don't tell Stacy Head but, apparently, Al Green is also a "Yankee Bitch"

Feedback loop

They used to say you can't fight City Hall. I wonder why they said that.


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