Sunday, November 30, 2008

Probably should have run a reverse.

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Grown-up media

Surreal is one way to describe it.

VA/LSU stuff

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

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

The residents of those buildings would beg to differ.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

These new bosses all look awfully familiar

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

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

Capital seems more than adequately represented.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The brand

Another year of successfully keeping it out there.

What Adrastos said

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

Adrastos's whole post here.

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

They're trying to shrink us away

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

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

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

Update: Eli says,

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

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

Same record too

Saints To Maintain Same Season Ticket Price For 2009

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

Maybe if we trade Bush....

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

Friday, November 21, 2008


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

Cold Weather

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bultman Funeral Home Borders Store to open Friday

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

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

Meanwhile... the counter-operatives are organizing.

Thank God we're still stonewalling the teachers' union

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

NOLA self-hatred on display again

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

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

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

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

These cranes only point down

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

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

Cut the mic!

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

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

The worst thing about this football season

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

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The wisdom of Sean Payton

He don't need no stinkin' Deuce

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

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

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

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

They don't make very many like Deuce.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Starting to think I voted for the wrong guy

Wow what a grandstanding asshole.

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

Quote of the day

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

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

D-BB finds my choice of words offensive

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Surprise march

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

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





Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse

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

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

Everywhere a sign

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

Louisiana Avenue

Seasons in the sun

Joy and fun

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hey the President got a puppy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digging through the garbage

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








How we benefit

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Avoiding the age of disappointment

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agenda Memo for 2009

It's all there

It's pretty much what we thought

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

More little secrets of life

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is why I hate the Hornets

Faith and Family Night

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

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

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

I believe the kids all say Wooo!

On notice

NOLA peeps,

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

" the singularly most overrated athlete in recent sports history"


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

Little secrets of life

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

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

Life is a beautiful thing.

No more rumors

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

Not promising anything, though.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Still having trouble believing in the change

Dean Baker:

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

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

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

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

What has happened to Mid-City?

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Are there any awards from 2006 still buried in the backyard at Saints camp? Would it help to dig them up?

Today is the first day of the rest of the football season

Can the 4-4 Saints get it together today against the hated Atlanta Falcons and set themselves up for a serious playoff run?

Yes. They. Can.


1) Bush is still out. Deuce will get the damn ball

2) Poochie's useless person and big mouth will remain relegated to the sideline.

3) The Saints have most of their division games remaining ahead of them. There is still time to get back in the race.

4) The new kicker might not suck.

5) After that election, it's perfectly fine to believe anything can happen.

Update: Heh... not so much. It will be very interesting to watch how the rest of this season plays out. Keep this in mind, though. Coach Soupy really really really wanted Jeremey Shockey on this team. I think that tells you all you need to know about Coach Soupy.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Who is the one football coach in America so anti-capable that he can spend 2 timeouts on 1 unsuccessful replay challenge?


Les Miles

Friday, November 07, 2008

Disturbing Quote of the Day

Matthew Syed in the Times of London

The Sarah Palin of American football is blazing a trail across London in her Jimmy Choo shoes and loving every minute of it. Rita Benson LeBlanc is not merely the youngest, sassiest and sexiest owner of a National Football League (NFL) franchise — the New Orleans Saints — she is also one of the most highly respected of a new breed of American entrepreneur, a young woman making her way in the high-testosterone, high-octane world of elite sport and shattering stereotypes along the way.

Jeff Duncan pointed this article out in his First-and-10 column. And, yes, it gets even creepier. Here's the part Duncan noticed

I met LeBlanc in the lift going up to our interview and, not realising who she was, engaged in some not very subtle (but very charming) flirting. In the 30 seconds it took to get to the seventh floor, she had found out exactly who I was, gently introduced herself, eulogised about the Saints and given me the brush-off. It happened at such speed that it felt like I had been in a head-on collision with an offensive guard. I could not work out whether I was concussed or merely crestfallen.

If Rita Leblanc is the Sarah Palin of football, then does that mean Syed is its Rich Lowry?

Quote of the Day

Skip Bertman:

"He made a career move, " said former LSU Athletic Director Skip Bertman, who worked with Saban for four years. "I wish that he wasn't at Alabama, because he's a good coach. I wish they had hired Joe the Plumber at Alabama, because I want to win. But I don't have any animosity toward Nick. I hope he wins all the games but not against LSU -- ever.

Actually I don't quite understand the hatred LSU fans have toward Saban. I think it has something to do with the fact that they don't comprehend that all football coaches are dicks and that it just doesn't do to get all worked up when they do something dickish.

A few years ago Saban ducked the Baton Rouge media and announced from Orlando that he was leaving for the NFL (contrary to his very public promises)... on Christmas Day, no less.

That's pretty dickish, but... again... all football coaches are dicks. At least Saban was a pretty good coach. The dick we have now has the team giving up 50 points per game vs quality opponents.


Memory jogged this morning by Jude who writes

Remember when Barack Obama's poor bowling skills doomed him forever to the political hinterlands?

Wasn't that awesome?

President Obama will now have time to work on his game at the White House bowling alley.

Or maybe not. More memories.

INDIANAPOLIS -- He hasn't yet won the Democratic nomination for president, let alone the November general election. But already Illinois Sen. Barack Obama says he has some renovation plans for the White House.

"I have sworn that we're taking out the bowling alley in the White House and we're putting in a basketball court," he said, according to a pool press report of his visit this afternoon to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle, Ind., today.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I didn't say anything about it at the time, but I actually thought this was a really good ad.

Dear Mr. Preznit-elect

Please do not hire any gross sexist pals of Ken Lay to run your treasury department. That would not be believable change.

links via ATR

Update: Plze not this guy either

First againt the wall

Losing a chairmanship isn't good enough. We wants blood

Look on the bright side

At least now we know Rahm Emanuel will never be Speaker of the House


Mitt. What a douche.

Government Grants to Rock

Keep those checks coming!

Before the election, the party leadership in Congress discussed a lame-duck session to take up a bill that would pump $150 billion to $200 billion into the economy. That would follow the $168 billion stimulus, most of it in rebate checks mailed to tens of millions of Americans earlier this year.

Those checks lifted spending a bit. But they came before the credit crisis struck in force in early September.

“We need a package that matches the problem as it exists today, and in my view that means at least $200 billion a year for a couple of years,” said a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee staff.

Presidents are like college football coaches

There are websites dedicated to having them fired the very same week that they are hired.

Tooting my own horn dept

I had Missouri for Obama and Indian for McCain. I was wrong in each of those states. Each of those states cost 11 EVs which means my prediction of 364 EVs for Obama was right on the money. Freaky-deaky.

Crappy Dems continue with accustomed crappiness

Harry Reid specifically tells us we don't even get to hope.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dear Mr. President-elect

I have a thought about a particular change I can believe in


WTF was that anyway?

Palin reminded us all a little bit of Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

Let the word go forth....

That Jeremy Shockey is an asshole

Despite the fact that it seemed like a subversive political statement (as opposed to Jeremy Shockey’s overt statement that consisted of yelling “I want a recount!” as he walked out of the shower), Smith insisted he was just trying to tease some of his teammates.

Also of note in that Gambit post

With the state of the economy being the defining factor of this year’s presidential race — and with John McCain consistetly hammering Obama for raising taxes — pro athletes are caught in sort of a limbo. On the one hand, a vast majority of pro athletes come from low-income houses. On the other hand, those days are long gone and now, being in the top 5% of the U.S. population in terms of wealth, a lot of athletes vote on taxes alone. (To wit: the week before the Saints left for London, every player had a piece of paper placed in their lockers that broke down the two presidential candidates’ tax plans and “Be careful what you wish for” in handwriting.)

Is Alejandro implying that Saints management was pressuring its employees to vote a certain way? Or did Shockey write the notes? Has this been looked into?

There is a bit of follow-through in the comments section to that post now. They still don't know where the notes came from but Fujita tried to find out, apparently.

Attack of the (mostly) red Pac Mans

No post-election day is complete without one of Schroeder's results maps

That's not change we can believe in

Jesus, we may as well have just elected Hillary.


I'm trying to get ready to join the movement in time for Inauguration Day.

Where do I find the books on Marxist Godless Islam?

Where do we go from here?

We wait for Sy Hersh to write the really interesting stuff.

Lost in all the excitement

The Gambit's annual guide to NOLA douchebaggery is out this week.

On the one hand, it's a testament to Gambit's journalistic work ethic that it manages to collect, catalog, and photograph 40 people willing to debase whatever mundane personal achievements they may have smarmed themselves into with the staggering lack of humility and good taste it takes to submit oneself for display on this list of similarly overachieving attention-seekers.

On the other hand, if the Gambit wanted to make this issue readable, it would present the list a bit less... um... earnestly. The people on this list, obviously think very highly of themselves. Why not make it funny? As it is, reading this is just sad.


George Bush is still the president.

Obama should have signed up for the Cannizzaro deal

Cannizzaro's transition period will be unusually brief: He will serve out the rest of former District Attorney Eddie Jordan's term before being sworn in for a full six-year term in January. He could take office as soon as the vote is certified, typically about five days.

Already blowing it

MSNBC just reported that Rahm Emmanuel will be Obama's Chief of Staff.

This administration already sucks.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Can Haz....

Out of Iraq?

Universal Health Care?

Fair taxation?

Job growth?




Get to work, Mr. Preznit Obama


CO, FLA, West Coast It's done.

I want to hug as many people as I can tonight. I love you.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.


Didn't John McCain guarantee a victory?


NPR and FOX calling VA for Obama. Excepting Ohio... this is the first major Red State poach of the night. FLA and IN could be next.

Local stuff

WWL calls DA race for Cannizzaro. We've said all along that he ran a tighter and more organized race. Should make a decent DA but... well.. it's a tough job.

Dollar Bill defeats Metairie Barbie.

Scalise wins. If you seriously thought he was going down then God bless you but get some help.


Rocky Mountain News calling CO for Obama

Neely is a funny and stupid word

Clancy sez Landrieu showing well in JEFF PARISH. John Neely Kennedy is the FAIL of all FAILS.

Where we are now

The network calls in Ohio and New Mexico seem to point to an Obama victory. But right now it's dissappointing to see LA and GA go red so quickly after the polls close. Plus the fact that Saxby Chambliss is looking like a solid reelect makes the 60 vote Senate something of a long shot at this point. Right now, considering everything, it's fair to say that Obama will win but that the Dems have largely underperformed tonight. This could make the coming difficult years even more difficult.


CBS calls New Mexico for Obama

Aw Boo!!!

CBS calls LA for McCain


Fox calls Ohio for Obama

Polls closed in LA

Guess what... TOO CLOSE TOO CALL, Bitches

Alright chill a sec

McCain takes Georgia. I thought maybe that might be in play for a sec


ABC sez Obama wins Pennsylvania


CBS calls NC Senate seat for Hagan


Exit Polls:

North Carolina: Obama 51%, McCain 48%
Ohio: Obama 53%, McCain 45%


Dems like what they see in Indiana

Turn on the sirens

Here comes the landslide

Going Really Really Rogue

Palin doesn't want to say who she voted for.

Backwards-ass people

It's a mystery to me why any state would close its polls before 8PM at the earliest. I guess they can't all be as progressive and right-thinking as Louisiana (ahem).

The good news is we'll start learning about how it went in Virginia and Indiana in about an hour. It may be an early Miller Time tonight.

Like I said

Cannizzaro is clearly more organized today.

Spotted these clever signs on Louisiana Ave.


So far today

1) I voted. Line was about 20 people deep. Took 15 minutes.

2) Leon Cannizzaro appears to have the most visible street organization in Uptown New Orleans at least.

3) My mom moved back to NOLA in September and registered to vote in this election just before the deadline. When she got to the polling location, her name was not on the roll but turned up on a "supplemental list" of some sort. Very weird but at least she got to vote. She is very excited about her vote today.

Airplane reading

At BWI yesterday morning I picked up the new Rolling Stone in which Matt Taibbi makes the following observation about the previous 2 years or so of stupid politicking.

What makes the Obama story so powerful isn't just the fact that as a half-white, half-black man, his public journey to the top visibly tied together some of the more painful frayed ends of our past. It's that he ran his race with dignity and honor against people who didn't return the favor, facing a succession of opponents who feared losing more than shame and gave in to pretty much every possible temptation to go low and appeal to the worst in us.

I didn't always see it at the time. But thinking back on it now, I realize what an extraordinary accomplishment his getting this far has been. A man who wasn't great would have blown this a hundred times along the way. So would a person who wasn't extremely lucky. The historical seas literally parted for this Obama guy, with inconceivable idiocy and villainy littering the political shores on either side of him as he ascended to the pantheon of all-time American heroes simply by walking straight ahead and not being a dick.

It's not the most profound observation but it is remarkable in its own way and something to think about before you get up and go to the polls in the morning.

Something else to think about would be Naomi Klein's article from the same issue of Rolling Stone in which she examines the structure of the Wall Street bailout and finds that it resembles not so much the "socialism" often invoked by its critics but more of the same "disaster capitalism" we've seen at work in New Orleans after the flood and in Iraq after the invasion.

In Iraq, the contractors were tasked with reconstructing the country from the mess made by U.S. missiles. After years of corruption born of no-bid contracts and paltry oversight, many Iraqis are still waiting for the lights to come back on. Today, a new team of contractors is lining up to reconstruct the U.S. economy — reconstruct it from the mess made by the very banks, brokers and law firms that are now applying for contracts. And it's not at all clear that America can survive their assistance.

See if any of this sounds familiar: As soon as the bailout was announced, it became clear that Treasury officials would hire outsiders to perform their jobs for them — at a profit. Private companies wanting to help manage the bailout were given just two days to apply for massive, multiyear contracts. Since it was such a mad rush — after all, the entire economy was about to implode — there was no time for an open bidding process. Nor was there time to draft rigorous rules to make sure that those applying don't have serious conflicts of interest. Instead, applicants were asked to disclose their conflicts and to explain — and this is not a joke — their "philosophy in fulfilling your duty to the Treasury and the U.S. taxpayer in light of your proprietary interests and those of other clients." In other words, an open invitation to bullshit about how much they love their country and how they can be trusted to regulate themselves.

Anyone who has followed either of the kleptocratic reconstructions of Iraq or New Orleans is intimately familiar with this sort of game. A horrific disaster for poor and working people becomes a business opportunity for the well-connected and well-to-do.

The day after it met with the nation's top banks, Treasury announced that it had selected the firm that would receive the juiciest contract of all: that of "master custodian." The winning company will be to the bailout what Halliburton is to the military: the contractor of contractors. It will purchase toxic debts from Wall Street, service them and auction them off in the future — a so-called "end-to-end process." The contract is for a minimum of three years.

Seventy firms applied for the gig; the winner was Bank of New York Mellon. Describing the scope of the megacontract, bank president Gerald Hassell said, "It's the ultimate outsourcing — because the Federal Reserve and the Treasury do not have the mechanics to run the entire program, and we're essentially the general contractor across the entire program. It's going to cross our entire company."

This raises an interesting point: Has the Treasury partially nationalized the private banks, as we have been told? Or is it the other way around? Is it Treasury that has been partially privatized by Wall Street, its massive rescue plan now entirely in the hands of a private bank it is directly subsidizing?

Shortly after receiving the contract, Hassell told investors that his institution is now well-positioned to profit from the market meltdown. "There's a lot of new business that's going on even in this chaotic marketplace," he said, "and so some of those things have been very positive to us."

There is a palpable sense of here-we-go-again with the banking bailout. Reading about this latest dispersal of "emergency" money thrown out with minimal oversight in order that the criminals can pretend to police themselves conjures images of routine fraud in Iraq and New Orleans of airplanes loaded with cash, of invisible cranes, of schools and homes demolished. The Bush and Nagin years have been a nightmare of crony capitalism; a brazen display of systematic disregard for the needs of real people in real danger for the benefit of those willing and able to profit from the emergency.

National elections are not cure-all events. This election does not offer the voters an opportunity to literally choose a new kind of leadership. The individual candidates are themselves all steeped in the same culture of self-interested rule of interconnected elites. But all politicians are of this sort and as such are never to be trusted to lead. Instead they must be led. They must be given a clear sense of what is expected of them and what they can and cannot get away with. They must be given boundaries. Elections are one (imperfect) way of achieving this.

Rest assured that the candidate you vote for today will not deliver according to your expectations. But those inevitable failures will come later. Today is not about them but about you. You get to make one small statement about how you might like to be treated during the upcoming inevitable failures. You get to say... if nothing else... that you might prefer the next failure of a President to simply not be a dick.

And if that message gets through, it would certainly be worth the long wait in line.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Tired from traveling all day

Just wanted to pop in and point out that for the second time in as many weeks, a dumb joke of mine has been repeated elsewhere.

I'm still waiting on that check.