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Monday, June 30, 2008

Headache

The Obama campaign gives me a headache. And no, I don't see this as an example of Obama "moving to the center" on a superficial issue. This is more of a reinforce the other side's absurd argument type of mistake.

More Blakely Fatigue

At the end of this post, Schroeder finds the one guy mucking up all of Ed Blakely's "progress."

I figured this might happen

Now watch all the public outrage and indignant editorials magically disappear.

Oyster spent a lot of time talking about the politics of this yesterday. His theory is that Jindal's first priority is keeping the fundies in his corner. I basically agree. I think the way Oyster explains it places too much emphasis on Jindal's national political ambitions and not enough on his just plain old phoniness but the outcome is the same either way. Now that the anti-science and school voucher bills have passed, PBJ has no qualms about breaking his back room deal with legislators. As I said earlier, Jindal is doing quite well for himself here. He's gotten his high priority agenda items through with plenty of time to recover from the fleeting political damage he's suffered.

What I'm the most interested in is how quickly the criticism from the press abates. I give it two episodes of the Spud McConnell show and one Believe in Louisiana ad before we're all hearing about how Jindal is a tough, smart, whiz-kid reformer again.

Sleepy town

Whatever they say, there really isn't any excuse for this. If you're a city's flagship (or lone) daily, and your Monday opinion page begins to resemble a retirement home bulletin board/recipe exchange, people start to get the impression that there isn't anything going on worth talking about in your town. Can we take back their Pullitzer? Or maybe cut it in half or something?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"The one thing Americans want"

A Cranky Old Man running for President was briefly interrupted during a speech today by a trio of protesters concerned with the ongoing expensive and horrific bloodshed in Iraq. One could say that the protesters were being a little silly since anyone seeking clarity from the Cranky Old Man on the continuing expensive and horrific bloodshed has embarked on something of a quixotic quest in the first place.

So far, the Cranky Old Man has promised to allow the expensive and horrific bloodshed to continue until it achieves "victory" which may or may not be equal to "success" and should take until about 2013 but he would be fine with it taking 100 years instead... depending on whether or not we have to go to "Plan B"

It isn't surprising, then, that the Cranky Old Man having demonstrated himself to be so thoroughly confused about the nature of the expensive and horrific bloodshed, would also have difficulty understanding how important it is to most Americans that it be brought to an end. Today, even after being confronted by three of those Americans who really really want us to end the bloodshed, the Cranky Old Man concluded that
“The one thing Americans want us to stop doing is yelling at each other. That’s the one thing they want us to stop doing.”


After the Cranky Old Man issued his End the Yelling Doctrine, the yelling potesters were removed from the lawn.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Blakely Fatigue

Sure sure blame it on the font but we all know the City Council is just as sick of the bullshit as the rest of us.

Stuff to do!

Not this weekend but... fill this in on your calendar anyway.

Clancy: Jindal traded the pay raise for vouchers

This morning on the Gambit blog:

Early in the session — very early in the session — several key lawmakers met face-to-face with Jindal to discuss the pay raise idea. They wanted to know up front if he was going to oppose it publicly or veto it, because if either scenario occurred they didn’t want to waste time and political capital voting for a highly controversial measure, one they knew would draw voters’ ire, only to have him shoot it down. They reasoned correctly that they wanted Jindal to “hang” with them on this one, or else no one should hang at all.

In that meeting, which occurred in very late March or very early April, Jindal promised he would not oppose the raise — but in return, he secured a promise that lawmakers would pass his voucher (“scholarship”) bill.


Ryan at The Daily Kingfish had already figured as much
... but it's still a lot of fun to see Clancy write it.

Unfortunately for Jindal "nobody could have predicted" the political firestorm the pay raise issue would stoke. And then, of course, we all got a big laugh out of watching Jindal try to phony his way out of the corner and fail miserably leaving both the voters and the legislators feeling burned. We've already discussed this as well but it's still fun to see Clancy write it.

My point here is that Jindal was in on the pay raise deal from the get-go. He did not, according to my sources, quibble over the size of it. His priority was the voucher bill, and he agreed to let lawmakers determine the size and timing in exchange for what he wanted.

Later, when the bill became hotter than anyone anticipated, Jindal apparently dispatched his chief of staff, Timmy Teepell, with a message that the governor would veto the raise because it was too big (at least, that was the official excuse). At that point, House Speaker Jim Tucker countered with a threat against Jindal’s “reform” agenda — the voucher bill. Obviously, a whole lot of folks don’t consider vouchers a “reform,” and it’s interesting that Jindal never fully identified which bills were being held “hostage” as a result of Tucker’s threat.


Notice, however, that while it's been a fun ride, the voucher program did indeed pass. And while the Governor hasn't vetoed the pay raise, it's the legislators that are currently bearing the brunt of the political outrage in the form of recall petitions. Meanwhile PBJ has pushed through a high-priority (and downright awful,by the way) piece of legislation. And with four years to go before he faces the voters again he has plenty of time to undo the political damage done by the pay raise non-issue.

Update: Recall petition filed against Jindal

Stuff to do

I dunno... what are we doing this weekend?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Domain names of the future

douche.mook

icanhaz.cheezburger

wearenot.ok

who.dat

Get to work on it

Doesn't deserve it

But then labor really never has an actual choice in these matters anymore. Like the rest of us, they're expected to fall in line behind the latest patrician who doesn't give a shit about them.

Heh

Come and get it, Fred.

See no evil

Not sure how to sum up this gem of a post by Oyster. Maybe this quote is a start.

I know that flip-flopping on legislative pay raises maddens the electorate like nothing else, but isn't flip-flopping on genocide bad too?


Your Governor is a dangerously juvenile-minded phony.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama is being a turd

And if Hillary takes this opportunity to stab him in the back a bit... as is suggested here... he deserves what he gets.

Of course the cloture vote is the real vote on this issue. Senator Obama, who previously stated that he would support a filibuster on telecom immunity was absent today when the time came to make good on that promise. Yes, this is far worse than flip flopping on something as stupid as legislative pay raises. The Democratic nominee for President simply doesn't give a shit about protecting what remains of your Bill of Rights after the current administration is finished shitting all over it.

Note also that Louisiana's Crappy Democratic Senator unsurprisingly sided against your freedom... despite having received some pleasant correspondence from constituents who value her "effectiveness"

The Bush Legacy

Appalling behavior in which the diplomatic head of state insults people on the whole nation's behalf is now just kind of boring.

PBJ improves Louisiana's Image

Here is your Medievalist State checklist so far

Governor rejects science: check

Governor performs exorcism: check

Governor signs bizarre purification through torture law: check

Thank you, Governor PBJ, for ridding us of Louisiana's tired old backward image and ushering in a new era of... enlightenment isn't quite the word, is it?

WTF

Has the all-sports radio station (1280 AM) decided to suddenly switch to all-gospel? Who makes these kinds of decisions?

Hilariously, the newly all-gospel station's website currently features a catalog of "Hot Babes"

Update:
The website has been taken down. They really have changed the format.

Upperdate: Huzzah!

Almost-all-rerun radio is almost done at WWWL AM-1350, which since late 2006 has been re-airing talk programs generated by sister stations WWL AM-870 and FM-105.3

Starting Monday (June 30), WWWL will carry a lineup of ESPN Radio network programs, some of which had been running on WODT AM-1280.

Surviving the format flip: Tom Fitzmorris's "The Food Show," which in July will celebrate its 20th anniversary on the New Orleans airwaves.


I like this because Fitzmorris likes to talk about his distaste for sports.

Also... thank fucking God Jim Rome is off the air in New Orleans.

More than just fuckmookery

Rob Couhig's recent public expression of doubt to a Philadelphia newspaper as to whether or not "the entire city" of New Orleans should be rebuilt is worse than just an enabling of the stupid anti-NOLA conservative pablum. It also causes one to wonder whether or not Couhig should be serving on a board responsible for... you know... rebuilding the city.

And now is the time for you to go read WCBF for further discussion.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dammit

I was really rooting for the "They wouldn't let me pee" defense too. Back to the drawing board, I guess.

Whatever you do, don't drink the " free Pepto"

Varg reviews the Gambit's big list of bars.

The real reason everyone reads Eschaton

Once every week or so, we are treated to another edition of Atrios's navel-gazing thirty-something angst.

Actually I do find myself sort of nodding in agreement with these stupid little posts. It just means I'm getting to be a cranky old man myself.

Today's Fun Fact: Most books checked out today are due on my birthday.

Monday, June 23, 2008

They make comments

Some unruly folks are giving Clancy a hard time over his paper's increasingly relevant endorsement of Bobby Jindal. Apparently (if Sam Winston's response is any indication), it's the Gambit's position that there's really no reason for anyone to keep harping on something the paper did way back in the dark ages of "LAST OCTOBER". But, as I've explained previously, reserving critical reporting and commentary that could just as easily been done before the election until a time when it is far less useful to the readership is... well it isn't "Ahead of the game" whatever it is.

Of course, we're all glad to see Gambit bring more of a "Mike Tyson" than "Pee Wee Herman" approach (to borrow Clancy's inexplicably 80's themed terminology) to its reporting of late. But the mere fact that it is capable of doing this makes us even more suspicious of the embarrasing Jindal hagiography it displayed during the election.

They write letters

Ryan at Daily Kingfish writes to Louisiana's Crappy Democratic Senator and asks her nicely to be less crappy.

George Carlin 1937-2008



On Father's Day last year I wrote,
if you ever wonder what it was like growing up in my father's house, it doesn't take much imagination. All you have to do is listen to George Carlin rant a while.


Update: Recent Carlin interview with Huf-Po (via DSB) Definitely worth your time.

Upperdate: Jonathan Schwarz hits upon an obvious link

Friday, June 20, 2008

Today's Episode of Louisiana's Crappy Democratic Congresspersons

Cazayoux and Melancon vote yay on the horrible un-American domestic spying telecom immunity compromise of any shred of moral principle.

Note that even Dollar Bill had the sense to vote nay on this utterly despicable compromise of principle.

And here is Your Crappy Democratic Nominee endorsing the un-American compromise. I hope he was wearing a flag pin when he did that.

The rest of this post is pretty much just what Athenae said.

Coffee

I'm not the sort who breaks routine very easily. But I've recently discovered that the price of an iced coffee at Magazine Perks is significantly cheaper than the comparable product at Still Perkin' Since neither is inconvenient to my daily commute, I may be patronizing the former more regularly in the future.

On the other hand, Still Perkin' is far and away the prime location for local political celeb and/or NOLA blog people spotting in the mornings. Plus I think I've got a free one coming soon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Obama to Fortune: "I am a big fat liar"

Okay so they used a slightly different title

WASHINGTON (Fortune) -- The general campaign is on, independent voters are up for grabs, and Barack Obama is toning down his populist rhetoric - at least when it comes to free trade.

In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine's upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn't want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA.

"Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified," he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA "devastating" and "a big mistake," despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Today's Episode of Everybody's Crappy Democratic Congresspersons

Caving on Telecom immunity

Note: Louisiana's Crappy Democratic Senator is already on board with this scheme to further shred the Constitution.

Further Note: Obama loves Crappy Democratic Congresspersons

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I think I finally found a practical use for Facebook

It allows me kick Daisy's ass in Scrabble.

Wait. They can do that?

Wa-Po

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has decided not to expand the flood zone for downtown Washington and the Mall, sparing the need for stricter insurance requirements and tougher building codes for private and government buildings.

In a brief letter to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) on Monday, FEMA Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer Harvey E. Johnson Jr. said the agency had "rescinded" the new maps that were to take effect in September.

FEMA's letter announcing the decision came after the District filed a lawsuit against the agency Monday in federal court. In the filing, city lawyers called the new flood maps "arbitrary and capricious."

Interim D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles said the lawsuit will be withdrawn.

"It was a protective lawsuit because they had not gotten back to us," he said. "We filed it at 3 p.m., and it was resolved by 5 p.m. It had a good effect."


Sounds like an excellent way for a municipality to invest two hours of their legal department's time to me. Of course, in New Orleans we're much more concerned about forcing our citizens to make the socially acceptable "lifestyle choices" than we are in protecting them from the vicissitudes of "arbitrary and capricious" flood maps.

BTW, the flood map story is but one minor element of an excellent First Draft post which you should go read right now.

Today's episode of Louisiana's Crappy Democratic Senator

The following excerpt (hyperlinks, graphic, and all) is lifted directly from this Informed Comment post which examines John McCain's confused approach to resolving the energy crisis through expanded US offshore drilling. I'm pretty sure Cole won't sue me over it, though.:

The US produces about 5 million barrels a day of petroleum and another 3 million barrels a day of liquefied fuel. That 8 million barrels a day is only about a third of what we use, so we import the rest. The lower 48 states produced about 4.4 million barrels of petroleum a day in 2006.

If all the known offshore fields were drilled and panned out,the lower 48's oil production would be increased by 7%. That would be 300,000 barrels a day.


Millions of barrels of oil a day produced by US and by world, with McCain's proposed increase through offshore drilling.

0.3 million barrels a day would make very little difference whatsoever to current oil prices even if it could be brought online right now. It would be a matter of a few pennies. And, in fact, if there were to be any impact of all of offshore drilling on prices, it would not come until 2020 or even 2030.

You will note that the Saudis just offered to increase their production by 0.5 million barrels a day, and the oil futures market just yawned. And that is in the real world, right now, not in some decade or two-decades-out in the future drilling scheme.

Moreover, US consumption of petroleum is increasing over time, so the extra 300,000 barrels a day would quickly be used up and then some.


Today President Bush addressed the nation and basically endorsed the McCain drilling scheme.

Meanwhile, here's CityBusiness who I also don't expect will be suing:

Landrieu backs Bush drilling plan

WASHINGTON - Sen. Mary Landrieu today praised President Bush for calling for an end to a moratorium on drilling off nearly all the U.S. coast.

Since 1981, the moratorium has banned the drilling. Bush today called on Congress to lift the ban, saying the U.S. needs to increase energy production.

“President Bush’s attempt today to expand energy production off our coasts is very welcome and is a wise position he should have taken earlier in the seven years we’ve been pushing this White House to get engaged," Landrieu said.

“Louisiana has been at the forefront of offshore innovation since the first U.S. platform was built off Creole, Louisiana, in 1938. We understand how essential a vibrant domestic energy sector is to our national security and to stabilizing energy prices."


Tune in next time for another exciting episode of Louisiana's Crappy Democratic Senator.

Directly into savings

I'm hiding mine away so they can't get it.

Funny

Even though it's steeped in the overblown outrages of the past week, Chris Rose's column is actually (kinda sorta) funny today.

PBJ fails to out-Dragonslay Meemaw

What is it about pandering demagogues that always makes them so crappy at actually governing? I'm tempted to say it's the insincerity but that trait is universal among politicians. And yet some comparisons just leap off the page and make you wonder.

Blanco also faced pay raise issues during her first few months in office. The chairmen of the House and Senate financial committees approved a pay increase proposal for themselves without a debate on the issue, but Blanco persuaded them to abandon the idea.

Several other statewide elected officials pressed for a large pay raise for themselves and the governor, but Blanco stamped out the initiative and said they should not get a raise until public teacher pay was brought up to the Southern regional average. After teachers got that raise last year, Blanco allowed a pay raise for the next governor, who turned out to be Jindal.

"She drew the line in the sand very early on," (former Blanco staffer Bob)Mann said. "It looks like Jindal let the train get away from him. Either he got pushed around or wasn't paying attention."


Actually Mann is being far too charitable to Jindal here. It isn't a matter of being "pushed around" or "not paying attention" so much as it is being in on the very boondoggle he continually describes as "clearly excessive"

The issue for Jindal was complicated by his request to the Legislature to approve a $320,000 salary for his economic development secretary and $237,000 for the secretary's deputy, among other substantial raises for some Cabinet positions.


The combined salaries of these two Jindal aides could pay about 15 legislators under the new salary schedules. Maybe this is a reflection of their relative values.. but somehow I doubt that.

But that's not the funny part. The funny part is that Governor PBJ and his staff are just plain crappy at governing. It's harder to play the empty promise game from the Governor's office than it is from the campaign trail. That's what PBJ's Dragonslayers are finding out.

Specifically, they're learning it's not a good idea to antagonize both sides of the same issue at the same time. In this case, they're busy lying to voters in order to curry favor with the Legislature. But at the same time that they're dealing in the back room over this mutual pay raise bill, they're also letting their panic over the public criticism drive them into posturing intimidation of their partners anyway.

Early last week, Jindal's chief of staff, Timmy Teepell, confronted the bill's supporters and according to some lawmakers threatened a governor's veto unless the size of the raise was reduced. At the time, the bill would have tripled legislative salaries.

Key members of the House and Senate, who were operating under the assumption that Jindal was neutral about their plans, were angered by Teepell's approach. House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Algiers, said he told Teepell the "wheels would come off the train" of the governor's current and future legislative agenda if Jindal kept up the veto pressure.


Congratulations, PBJ. Now you've managed to piss off everybody. Except your own Economic Development administrators, I suppose. Buddy Roemer would be proud. Let us know if you need more rubber bands.

Note:
All these blockquotes are from the same T-P front page article linked above. But all the fun stuff happens at the end of the piece so the narrative here presents quotes in reverse of the order they occur in the article. I think this is what they call "burrying the lede"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Welcome to the rest of your lives, kids

From now on every time the good lord decides to destroy this or that part of the world by water, we're certain to be treated to some version of this.

Fun yet?

Ah yes

Of course...

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Millions of dollars in education and health care spending stripped from next year's budget by the House were restored Tuesday by a Senate panel, which also added hundreds of legislators' pet projects to the $30 billion spending plan.

The Senate Finance Committee also reversed cuts to proposed salaries for Gov. Bobby Jindal's top economic development officials and agreed to further pay increases for other Jindal appointees in the new fiscal year that begins July 1.


Link via Suspect-Device where an explanation is also provided.

Update: Ryan comments:
DAY-um. Jindal is no conservative, and the true conservatives of Louisiana are going to go apes*&t when they hear about this.


They aren't hearing about it, though. Not this morning. Not on WWL despite the fact that the current formate there is wall-to-wall pay raise talk.

The Louisiana press is like John McCain

Old, cranky, and too set in their ways to learn anything new or to get too bogged down trying to add up the really big numbers.

It's far more important to find that one really good hate-fantasy war. And to keep fighting it as long as it takes.


Although... I'm still enjoying the hell out of the way the thirst for Dragonblood so quickly leads the Slayer Squad to turn on its own champion.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

Obligated by the calendar to entertain Dad for a few hours yesterday. Never one to withhold an opinion, he made known his predictions regarding the VP selections of the major candidates this fall. I find them ridiculous enough to share here. According to Dad, your ballot will read:

McCain/Rice

Obama/Powell


And now Father's Day is officially over.

Friday, June 13, 2008

More fun things about general election season

The apparently obligatory bicycle photos.



link via First Draft

Adding: Nancy Nall is right. Everyone does look stupid in a bike helmet. Although some look stupider than others. Take this campaign 2004 flashback for example.

Update: Just adding here. Campaign 2004 was a national embarassment in many ways not the least of which being the spasticity of both candidates falling off their bicycles.

And now, the sports... such as they are

On the heels of Adrastos's coming out as a Celtics fan, I have decided to share the following conversation I had this morning with r via text message. r is a lifelong Lakers fan who nonetheless hates Kobe and so she is agonizing over how to deal with this year's Finals. I am a lifelong baksetball fan who nonetheless hates the NBA so I am merely bemused as usual.

r: Fuck Kobe Bryant. Hope he never wins without Shaq.

Me: NBA is fake anyway.

r: Apparently. Thing is I don't care cuz I don't think anything is legit.

Me:
Nothing is entirely clean but basketball officiating is so arbitrary that the league should be extra serious about policing it..

Me (again...txt msgs are too short for my long-winded ass): Instead there appears to be institutional encouragement of the corruption..

Me (still): Which isn't all that surprising given (NBA commissioner David) Stern's penchant for secrecy and lying and belligerence with the press.

Me (see? told you): The fact that they allow a live game to so closely resemble a circus or pro wrestling event is evidence enough of their insincerity towards their game.

r: I love sports but it's entertainment. I just don't care. Don't know why it really matters to anyone except gamblers.

Me: I think a lot of people watch it because they think it isn't fake or staged. It's the idea that something genuine is happening... even if it's something very silly.

r: I guess. Seems naive. It's just not important enough for Mitchell investigations and whatnot.

Me: Well sure. Congress is full of douchebags.

r: Athletes should investigate them.

Me: But there's something subtle going on there that a lot of people miss. The criticism of Mitchell or of Donaghy in the sports press is weirdly shrill and one sided...

Me: And this is because the sports press today is far too intertwined with the sports corporate establishment.

Me: Too many reporters have a heavy financial interest in protecting a league's image because they are either employed directly by a team...

Me:
...Or because the team or league has a huge contract with the paper of station or network the reporter works for.

Me: It makes the reporting and commentary less independent and less trustworthy.

r: It all goes back to money. Either what you are talking about or gambling.

Me: Yup. But what I hate is the hypocrisy. If reporters are really just PR hacks, then they don't get to call themselves reporters. I just don't like being asked to swallow bullshit.

r: But it goes down all warm and creamy.

Political Quicksand

As I was saying in this post below, conservative pols like Governor PBJ who ride into Baton Rouge on a wave of Dragonslaying euphoria find that maintaining the "reform" momentum quickly isolates them from their erstwhile political allies. Jindal's recent weak attempt to spin his flip flopping on legislative pay raises as some sort of principled stand is a perfect example.

The proposal, poised to pass this morning, would raise the base legislative salary from $16,900 per year to $50,790 (a 200% increase). There are indeed solid reasons for raising the pay rate... if not quite so dramatically. Please see Varg and Editor B. for a further discussion of these reasons. As I told Varg (reproducing my comment verbatim), the legislative pay rate should at least be a living wage. Not only does it de-incentivize corruption but it helps to remove the prohibition against all but the most independently wealthy individuals seeking office. On the other hand, it’s difficult to argue that the performance of this legislative body (chemical castration, school vouchers, creationism, etc.) has merited any sort of reward. Frankly I’m just fascinated with the way PBJ is currently mishandling this political football.

PBJ, who originally stated that he "strongly opposed" the raise, now says he won't veto it because he doesn't want to give the Legislature "an excuse" to derail the "important" aspects of his "reform" agenda. The Daily Kingfish speculates that chief among these "important reforms" is PBJ's absurd public school abandonment scheme. And that's where the fun begins.

Jindal the arch-conservative very much wants to dismantle the institution of public education in the State of Louisiana. But in order to this, he can't afford to let Jindal the Dragonslayer piss off too many of his legislative allies who... in addition to dismantling public education... would very much like to have their pay raise.

Meanwhile, Jindal the Dragonslayer... even by laying down the sword for one hesitating moment... risks infuriating the "Re-Form" enthusiasts who make up much of his balladeering bandwagon. Here (via Oyster) we find the Grand Olde Keeper of the Slaying Sword himself C.B. Fogotston thoroughly disgusted with the House REPUBLICANS for pushing the pay raise through committee. Via Daily Kingfish again we find high-profile Jindal booster Chad Rogers thundering

If he fails to veto this bill and allows it to become law, the consequences will be disastrous, for his future and to the future of this state. Among the ranks of reformers I have spoken to, a kind of despair is already setting in. It is painfully clear that if Mr. Jindal doesn't take a stand on this, the hopes reformers (most of whom have worked longer and harder than I) will be dashed and many of us will acknowledge permanent defeat.

It will be considered nothing less than treason, a knife plunged into the heart of anyone who had hopes for Jindal as a reformer. If the legislators get a raise, Jindal will have left them for dead crying "Et tu, Bobby?"


The tension between the often competing interests of the hypocrites and the true believers in his coalition is PBJ's fundamental political weakness. It promises to dog him throughout the remainder of his term in office. In the past, the ambitious Jindal has avoided this kind of political quicksand by simply jumping up to the next office. But each jump brings a greater degree of difficulty. Add to that the burden of an old demon or two and the escape isn't quite as simple this time around.

Well here's today's first mistake

Nasty shit, this is.



Avoid at all costs.

Stuff To Do

Early Edition. List may be amended:

  • BINGO! Tonight. Tip's. Free show.


  • As if anyone need be told, this weekend's Creole Tomato Festival (PDF) will mark the grand reopening of the historic Farmer's Market. All accompanied by the usual music, prepared food, and, of course, fresh (non-hazardous) Creole tomatoes. And if that isn't enough, the confusingly simultaneous and similar Louisiana Seafood Festival/Cajun and Zydeco Festival will occur right next to the Tomato Festival at the Old US Mint. Here is a flyer which advertises all three (if it really can be considered three) festivals together. Really it's best not to try and figure this out and just go get drunk instead.


  • I suppose we'll have to do something for Dad at some point. Pain in the ass.

Reggie Bush: Bust

SI almost gets it right.

Though Bush is not in jeopardy of losing his job or his role as 3rd down back for the Saints, he is getting closer to being considered a disappointment at best and a bust at worst.


Just remove some of the unnecessary words from that sentence.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ah the headline joke that just won't die

Suck it, IAEA. I'm resuming the tests.

The Tipping Point

For Nagin, it's 15%

FDL: "Bobby Jindal Worse Than Katrina"

So now in 2 days, the national media and blogosphere have been more thoroughly critical of PBJ than the local press has in over five years.

link

Adding: Dig the graphic at FDL... puts the head on a different Dragon for once.

Update:
Just to drive the point home, we ask could not at least one Louisiana media outlet produce a report like this one at least once during the Jindal ascent? How hard is it, really?



Upperdate: The story has evidently finally hit the big time locally as it appears in a short and carefully balanced post on the Gambit blog.

Still no word from Clancy Dubos on how Jindal's medievalist superstition helps to boost his "Geek Apppeal" or his Dan Quayle-eque "enormous appeal to younger voters"

What's not fun about the general election

The Democratic nominee brings the usual pro-corporate assholes nearer to his inner circle.

What's fun about the general election

Obsessively checking Electoral-vote.com every day between now and Novemember.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shocking

The Bobby Jindal exorcism story, merely by appearing on TPM, is already getting more play nationally than it ever did locally while Jindal was an actual candidate for public office in Louisiana.

What is the deal with our local press? Why do they continually push the idea that a bizarre hallucinogenic mystic is somehow good for Louisiana's national image?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Do not miss

Yesterday's T-P front page story on RSD superintendant Paul Vallas (the other Ed Blakely) has provided an opportunity for e to add some enlightening detail on Mr. Vallas and his M.O.

Must Read Post 1


Must Read Post 2

How Dragonslayers are like shooting stars

They tend to flame out quickly when they slay the wrong Dragons. Jindal's "income disclosure" law is already slaying the wrong Dragons.... or at least the sort who didn't expect the sword would be pointed at them.

BATON ROUGE -- With appointed members of a number of state boards and commissions threatening to resign en masse, lawmakers are taking another look at a new ethics law that requires panel volunteers and their spouses to disclose specific personal financial information.

The commission that runs New Orleans City Park is in danger of losing at least 22 of its 33 sitting members because of the new law, according to the group's president. A recent appointee to a museum board has already resigned to avoid financial disclosure. And members of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System board say they are troubled by it, while carefully monitoring current legislation.

"There is widespread concern about the impact of the current law," said Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Kenner.


Typically, the kind of people who sit on boards such as the New Orleans City Park Improvement Association are fine with demagoguing "good government" during a political campaign. But it's another thing altogether once that demagoguery, when applied literally, really ends up inconveniencing their tea parties more than putting any Jeffersons in jail. And let's face it. From the point of view of the City Park Improvement crowd, Dragonslaying really is more about keeping the "right" sort of people in the socially prestigious positions than it is about installing any rational system of governmental ethics anyway. Nothing new there. Certain gullible editors of certain "alternative" weeklies seem to have trouble with this idea but that's really nothing new either.

Also not new but perpetually interesting is the way in which the implementation of Dragonslaying measures tends to separate the Dragonslayer from his political constituency over time.

Rosemary Ewing, the wife of former state Senate president and gubernatorial candidate Randy Ewing, was recently appointed by Jindal to the State Museum Board but resigned because of the new disclosure requirements.

Brett Mellington, chairman of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, said the new law is "onerous" and would affect some business people on the board who for competitive reasons would not want to disclose certain information about their income.

"It leaves a bad taste in my mouth," Mellington said.


This is precisely why the Longs warned us that when Louisianians actually got "good government" they wouldn't like it. It's also why "good government" Dragonslayers don't last long in office... or leave much of a useful legacy in their wake. If things stay true to form, Governor PBJ may find himself in political quicksand similar to that which once sunk his current personal promoter Buddy Roemer. Of course the ever-resourceful PBJ is working on a contingency plan. How that pans out is anybody's guess.

Well one thing's for sure

If Obama wins, Lieberman is in some deep shit.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Out for the day

But I may visit the floodwall today so there could be much to report later.

Friday, June 06, 2008

"Commercializing friendships"

I've had a lot of trouble articulating exactly what it is that I find so creepy about "social networking". I think this is it, though.

The first step toward demand generation was encouraging users to share information about their interests, favorite movies and books, and political beliefs that would allow Facebook to send advertisements targeted to their demographic. The second controversial step that Facebook took is to partner with dozens of online retailers so that when a member buys a widget on a partner’s site, all their Facebook “friends” find out. This sinister system would be akin to my computer automatically emailing my address book when I purchase a book online.

By turning members into consumers who involuntarily advertise to their friends, Facebook hoped to extract profit from social interactions. However, by commercializing friendships, Facebook has irrevocably destroyed its image. Now a vanguard of the anti-Facebook movement is developing out of an increasing disenchantment. No longer a fun, harmless place to hang out, Facebook has become just another commercial enterprise.


Of course this is an Ad-Busters article, so after making the useful point it then devolves into an adolescent fantasy about saving the world via a "movement" of some sort. But the analysis is still essentially correct.

Wow

Stop what you're doing and read this Salon piece on Karl Rove's role in the (continuing to this very day) screwing of New Orleans.

Instead of supplying relief to the city, Rove had devised a scheme whereby he could blame the failure of government to take action on someone besides Bush. "They looked around," Landrieu says, "and they found a Democratic governor and an African American Democratic mayor who had never held office before in his life before he was mayor of New Orleans -- someone they knew they could manipulate. Ray Nagin had never held public office and here he was the mayor of New Orleans and it was going underwater."

In short, Rove was going to blame Blanco for the failure of the response in Louisiana, and to do that he was going to use Nagin. He had already set the plan in motion on Tuesday with Nagin, who, even though he was a Democrat, was so close to the Republican Party that some members of the African American community in New Orleans called him "Ray Reagan." In 2000, Nagin had actually contributed $2,000 to Bush's campaign when he ran for president.

Rove knew of Nagin's ties to the Republican Party, so more than likely Nagin could be convinced to level his criticism at Blanco and to support Bush when he could. Here was Rove's strategy: Praise Haley Barbour, the Republican governor of Mississippi; praise Michael Brown and FEMA; blame Blanco, the Democrat. It was not a stretch for Nagin. He and Blanco so disliked each other that in Blanco's last race Nagin had endorsed her opponent.

Rove and Nagin were communicating through e-mail. "I heard Nagin was bragging about being in touch with The Man," Blanco says. "Nagin took the position that they were the people who could help the most to do what he wanted. People get highly complimented when they have contact with the White House." In this case the trade-off for Nagin was his willingness to cooperate with Rove. "I knew Ray Nagin could be easily manipulated," Landrieu says. "I could feel it. We were all working together in a relatively small building. We were in close proximity. But I could see where Rove was going. Blame Blanco. Blame the levee board. Blame the corruption in New Orleans. 'The reason the city is going underwater is because the city is corrupt,' Rove was saying. 'But don't blame the Republicans or George W. Bush or David Vitter. We are the white guys in shining armor, and we are going to come in and save the city from years of corruption.' That was their story and they sold it very well."


Maybe this is what the Couhig conservatives meant when they said Ray Nagin "understands business."

Update:
Also see.... Mary Landrieu is still a phony.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Will the last unregulated utility to go bankrupt in Texas please turn off the lights?

Because... nobody can afford to pay the new rates

Another Texas power company in danger of shutting down
By R.A. Dyer | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH — The fourth Texas electric company in two weeks is showing signs of failing in what is a growing crisis in the state with one of the nation's most deregulated retail electricity markets, officials said Thursday.

The company, Houston-based Riverway Power, has filed for bankruptcy, according to the Public Utility Commission. Operators of the Texas power grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, were preparing to shift its customers to the high-cost default electric company, but then stopped that process after Riverway came under the court’s bankruptcy protection.

In the past two weeks, three other companies have failed to meet financial obligations to the grid operator and so have had their customers switched to high-cost default providers. Those companies include Bridgeport-based PreBuy Electric, Houston-based National Power and Denton-based Hwy 3 MHP, which also does business as Etricity.

As a result, more than 35,000 customers have been switched to high-cost default providers or other electric companies. Some customers who get switched to a high-cost default provider could see their costs double.


Of course, what's really needed here is more deregulation. Shouldn't individual Texans be personally responsible for producing their own electricity? I thought Texans were all about "personal responsibility"

Ice

"More of a comfort thing"

Also handy for this

I guess they've withdrawn the "endorsement" then

NY Times

Speaking before the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the nation’s foremost pro-Israel lobby, Mr. Obama endorsed a two-state Israel-Palestine settlement, but also insisted that Jerusalem should remain both the capital of the Jewish nation and undivided.

Those remarks drew immediate criticism from Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza, with Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, saying that Mr. Obama’s speech proved there would be no change in American policy toward the Palestinians, which he described as “hostile.”

Is our children....

RSD schools aren't even accredited?

But I hear they throw the nicest parties.

Where there's Hillary, there's hope

For John McCain, that is

Republican insiders say that if presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) selects Clinton as his running mate, it would energize the Republican base and fundraising. They say presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) would not have to work as hard to appease conservative voters if Clinton landed on the ticket.

“Fundraising from our Republican conservative base would skyrocket, in my opinion, because she’s such a divisive figure in conservative Republican circles,” said Cesar Conda, who raised over $100,000 for President Bush in 2004 and was a top fundraiser to Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) this cycle. “Putting her on the ticket would be the one thing to wake those donors up from their current doldrums.

It would really be a godsend to McCain and the Republican National Committee [RNC],” said Conda, who will work to help McCain.


Wither "Hillary's Heroes"?

Electable

It's fun when the unelectable candidate is suddenly a threat to win in the supposedly unwinable states. Makes you wonder why the unelectable candidate isn't unnominated more often.

The terrorists hate our freedoms

Secret Service questions artist over 'assassination' display

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

No

God, why?

Cranky Old Man in Baton Rouge

"Not familiar" with his own voting record.

Update: Forgot to wonder aloud if the Cranky Old Man was just confused again.

Upperdate: E has more asking, "Does Stephanie Grace of the Times-Picayune still think Katrina is "risk-free" for John McCain?"

Meet the new boss

The Democratic nominee reads Fareed Zakaria.

Good thing the primary season was really about something instead of just buzzwords and personalities.

Update: Let the general election excitement begin!

If all goes as scripted, the Democrats hope to spend from now to November congratulating themselves on their ability to forge unity out of the seeming chaos of the excruciating primary election season, now thankfully over. "Unity" will join "change" as a meaningless buzzword in the vapid Democratic vocabulary. The fact is, corporate Democrats have been unified all along, joined at the hip in grim determination to ultimately plant themselves so microscopically to the left of the Republicans that the voters' choice will be just a matter of personality and individual taste. So, who do you like - Barack Obama or John McCain? At the end of the general election campaign, that's what it will boil down to for millions of voters, as the two corporate dancers draw ever closer together.

To be sure, there will be lots of manufactured drama, but very little of the action will have anything to do with policy, just as in the primary campaign. McCain's age will be a constant undercurrent, as will Obama's race. But the actual conduct of the war in Iraq, for example, and precisely when it is to be brought to an end, will be buried as the candidates battle over who loves "the troops" the most, and which standard bearer's personality is best suited to waging never-ending war on "terror."


Upperdate:
I tend to toss off posts very quickly without explaining myself but I'll try and make a few points that I probably should have been clearer about.

First, in the Tom Frank column I link to above, Frank makes a point of saying that Obama has "allowed himself to be photographed" with a copy of Zakaria's The Post American World. What I take this to mean is that Obama's campaign intends to communicate the candidate's interest in Zakaria's dressed up version of global free market orthodoxy. Whether you wish to see this communication as subtle political posturing on Obama's part or as a true indication of his sympathies is up to you. But either way I don't find it particularly encouraging for similar reasons to those laid out by Frank in the column.

For Mr. Zakaria, the truly enlightened Americans, the ones who understand the coming order, are apparently Goldman Sachs, McKinsey & Company and assorted business chieftains. When Mr. Zakaria writes that Third World leaders "have heard Western CEOs explain where the future lies," he means it not as a sarcastic slap at those CEOs but as homage to their wisdom.


Second, I linked to that pro-Green commentary in order to once again point out that there are solid reasons for liberals/progressives to remain decidedly uninspired with the fact that after much juvenile wrangling, the two ruling parties have again nominated ideologically similar candidates for the highest throne in the empire. It's a point I expect to return to often as the election continues.

Having said that, it is curious that the commentary I linked to chooses the conduct of the war as a noteworthy issue upon which to build an observation of similarity between Obama and McCain. Had Hillary been the Democratic nominee, I would be fine with this point. But Obama, unlike Hillary, is clearly positioned to challenge McCain on the war from a relatively uncompromised place. What's more, it is probable that we can expect such challenges to be central to Obama's campaign. This, more than anything else, is the reason Obama has become the nominee.

While he may share many of the ideological flaws of most mainstream Democrats, Obama has not demonstrated that he shares in an equal measure of that party's characteristic political timidity. That alone may be enough to get him past the Cranky Old Man in November... but as Frank says, a better reading list couldn't hurt either.

Red Meat

Have at it, NOLA.com commenters. Make us proud.

Sigh

Who is he after today?

Update: More Jeffersons

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

This is a news item NOT an advertisement

But still WWL (passively) "urges" French Quarter residents to purchase cameras.

Fed up with crime in the French Quarter, a group of residents has come up with an idea to blanket the area with inexpensive web cameras to try to catch criminals in the act.

Joshua Clark, who has helped organize a program called Quarter Safe, says he is urging businesses and residents in the Quarter to purchase web cams for as little as $10 and to mount them prominently.

Marge Simpson: You know, the courts may not be working any more, but as long as everyone is videotaping everyone else, justice will be done.

Actually I hope everyone buys one. More cameras in the Quarter only means more opportunities for this kind of unintentional humor I caught on a coffee shop wall in the Quarter a few years ago.

Your (sic) on Candid Camera


The cameras will help if anyone has to be "prosicuted"

"Nothing Short of Delusional"

What Mominem said.

Update: Of course, Stephanie Grace found the delusions "refreshing" While in this week's Gambit Clancy Dubos writes, "This is the Ray Nagin we elected in 2002-- Where has he been?"

I suppose Clancy's right about one thing. Ray Nagin is the same Ray Nagin he's always been; just as dishonest as he always was and still pushing ill-conceived crony projects that somehow get sold as "creative reform".

Unfortunately the local punditry is also the same local punditry that pushed Nagin's election in 2002; still willing to ignore much of the fact published in their own papers in favor of any opportunity that comes their way to slay the next dragon or, in this case, lead the proud parade of phony civic boosterism. In order to show I can be as lazy a pundit as any I'll just reprint some of what I said at Adrastos's place earlier.

It's all very lazy. I wonder if they do it on purpose, though. I get the feeling the local punditry believes it important to remind us all that they really really want stuff to get better too. That's how we get Norman Robinson's pining to talk about the "good news" or that Grace column or about 90% of everything Clancy writes.

The problem is that none of these pundits is running for anything. They aren't (or shouldn't) be trying to sell us anything. They're supposed to be reporting on what actually appears to be happening. Instead we get this stupid, self-satisfied cheerleading.

Why do they do this? It may be that it's simply easier... but I think that they're all just a little too image-conscious. They see themselves as "important community voices" or some such juvenillia. Either that or they're all just afraid of being cold-cocked.


Adding... Seriously, I suppose if we were to ask our local columnists to define the purpose of their regular print appearances, would we not get something along the lines of: Columnists provide an informed point-of-view synthesis of the week's news. The rest of the paper should tell you "what" while the columns should at least speculate on the "why".

If we accept this as a reasonable definition of the function of punditry, then shouldn't we expect it to be written from an informed perspective... or at least one that appears to be informed by the actual news these columns appear alongside?

Update: "Crony project" may be too strong a word to use as a descriptor for the nevertheless curious "Reinventing The Crescent" boondoggle. See David's comment here.

Out of Touch

Obama won the LA Democratic Presidential Primary by 83,000 plus votes. And so far, four of the six Louisiana superdelegates to declare their support including the chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party have chosen Hillary. But somehow, nominating Obama would "subvert the will of the people" or something like that. It's all very complicated.