Saturday, March 21, 2009

Doing fine watching shadows on the wall

Only a few hours left of quiet contemplation. Then comes the noise. Then it's time to "go Galt".

In the meantime:

Tweet me up

I've got a feeling about this LSU basketball team. I like Trent Johnson. I like Marcus Thornton. They're not as big or as deep as you'd like but they've kind of got that look of destiny about them. Today, I think they've got a chance to upset UNC and make President Obama's bracket picks look like his dumbest move since appointing Tim Geithner to the Treasury.

I really want to see this game. But I'm stuck doing some silly errand today. If anyone wants to send me updates via the Tweeter Tube... say somewhere around 6:30 or so... I would enjoy that very much.

The future of the Republican party


I call foul

I read this whole T-P article and yet found not one instance of the phrase "bucking the trend." What the hell?

Friday, March 20, 2009

One less thing to charge him with

T-P: Man 'impersonating' cop was an actual NOPD officer

Knew this would happen sooner or later

A T-P columnist has finally just gone for the throat and framed the LSU/VA dispute in "LSU vs Tulane" terms.
Tulane, meanwhile, suspects LSU is bent on treachery. Although the Tulane Medical Center has always used Charity to train its students, and would need a similar accommodation from the new medical center, LSU refuses to yield a seat on the board that will govern it. Tulane fears it will be left high and dry if LSU rules the roost.

But LSU apparently sees no need to win the support of Tulane or anyone else. The VA hospital may stand in splendid isolation for a long time.
If I may be blunt, fuck Tulane. Whatever you think about Charles Zewe's "manners" we need a charity hospital in New Orleans. We've reached the point where continuing to argue on the side of the preservationists means working against this necessity. And, of course, Tulane and Oschner would be just fine with that.



Monday, March 16, 2009

And now for my next trick...

Yeah I know it's kind of a bad time what with all the fun going on around town. (See everything mentioned in the below-linked WCBF post plus... oh I don't know... throw a dart at your feed reader and pick something... that one, for example.)

But I think it's safe to say that, despite the excitement, posting here will be a bit light this week... and then non-existent the week after. I've got some pretty heavy personal business to attend to this weekend before taking a week long vacation abroad so... yeah don't expect too much.

It ain't all that bad, though. It's not like I'm going away forever or anything. (In the words of my friend and mentor Chris Rose, I'm "not suited to live anywhere else")

Besides, interrupting the blog gives me an opportunity to join the multitude of Randian "wealth producers" and other assorted conservative nutcases in Going Galt for a week. The neat thing is, at the same time, I will also be engaged in the celebrated hipster lefty tradition of retreating to France. It's kind of a fair-and-balanced post-partisan douche-out and something I'm quite proud to accomplish.

Maybe by the end of the week, I'll get to that Mardi Gras hippie dumpster diving story I've been sitting on.... but don't be surprised if I don't.


On the one hand, I don't like it because I think E is just trying to put his name up on the marquee. (Dude wants to be famous and all) On the other hand, I love it because it sounds like the sort of thing that can take down a "life-ark."

Friday, March 13, 2009

We're off the edge of the map

How uncanny are the times we're living in these days? Yeah, we've got our Vice-Presidential assassination squads, failing banks left and right, and a threat of rain for the St. Patrick's day and Super Sunday parades. But amidst all this chaos, there is one more harbinger of doom that has been largely overlooked. I'm talking, of course, about the disturbing trend towards increasingly accurate predictions here on the Yellow Blog.

And I mean the really big ones too like my calling the Presidential election with the exact number of electoral votes. Or... and these are the ones that really blow my mind.... nailing the Saints' record for two seasons in a row.

And then, there's this. In an "expectations for 2009" post in January, I wrote,
I expect Bobby Jindal to have a rougher time of things this year. He's already made some enemies in Baton Rouge and as stupid and incapable as those enemies may be, they are enemies nonetheless. Plus it's never much fun for a Governor of a state running such a huge budget deficit. Expect trouble. And, since it's Louisiana, expect it to be funny.

How's that going? Here's James Gill to update us,
This has not been a good year for Gov. Bobby Jindal, and it may get worse. Perhaps you think that is not possible -- that Jindal hit his nadir when they billed him as the "rising star" of the GOP and put him up against President Barack Obama on national TV.

It would indeed be hard to match that debacle, and Jindal will not have an audience of that size again any time soon. But he keeps plugging away, and misses no opportunity to bomb on a smaller stage. The cumulative effect could eventually do more harm to his presidential ambitions than his one famous flop.

Now I am sorely tempted to post that entire Gill column here as it is among his most inspired. By all means go read the whole thing. For now, it will suffice to say at least this much about Gill's assessment: Jindal? not doing so hot in 2009. Will it get any easier when the Legislature goes into session? Nope. Is it funny? Hell yes! So, again.. nailed it!

Next week, I think maybe I'll start picking stocks.

Instant Update: Should have read Adrastos first. Now Jindal apparently has his own "deletion" problem.

Slightly less instant update: Had to fix a gajillion typos post-publication. Sorry 'bout that.

Deep Thought

Obviously, the only way out of this mess is for Stacy Head to resign immediately.

"We're capitalizing your adventure with our pensions.."


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Not sure what part of this is funniest

I really want to spoil only one of the fun facts Red clues us in on in the post I'm about to link to but there are just so many..... Ok ok how's this?

Veronica White's attorney: Ralph Capitelli.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jon Stewart

Just reminding you now to watch the Cramer interview as soon as the video is available here.

This is far from an original observation but we live in a world where the fake news show is the only one that asks the most honest and sober questions. Keep in mind this isn't a matter of the show's supposed political point of view. There are so-called "liberal" journalists out there (think Olbermann) who can be every bit as shrill and stupid and phony as Limbaugh.

Stewart, I think, has one simple quality that gives him an advantage over most big time teevee journalists. He's actually more interested in the news than in his own celebrity. It's a sad commentary on the state of the news business but apparently that's all it takes to scare the shit out of "professional television commentators" like Jim Cramer.

Bitter Vitter

Clancy Dubos shares a fun story.

Hey whaddayaknow.. actual trend-bucking!

Hornets president Hugh Weber to ESPN via the The Gambit blog.

While the NBA has taken out a line of credit to help struggling teams' cash flow, with 12 teams electing to borrow a combined $200 million, Weber said the Hornets have not sought any such help yet.

"I think we're running counter to many of the stories that are happening in professional sports right now," Weber said.

Still, never one to believe anything that comes out of a professional sports executive's mouth, I am skeptical. Remember, just one month ago, the Hornets tried (and failed under somewhat mysterious circumstances) to trade Tyson Chandler. The consensus at the time was that the trade was an obvious attempt to trim salary and avoid additional costs such as the NBA's salary "luxury tax". This is generally not the behavior of a financially healthy playoff caliber team gearing up for the stretch run.

And frankly, I won't take any of the Hornets' reassurances about staying seriously until they dump the freaking generic teal.

Oh well

I guess I can stop hitting refresh on nolapublicrecords.org for now.

What the hell happened?

Not 24 hours ago, we were bucking the trend.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jim Letten is not your friend

Dambala has something to add to yesterday's post. I'll just repost his comment in its entirety with annotations added in parentheses for clarity.

(quoting me in regard to the possibility of federal prosecutions)
"- I'll believe such things when I see them."

I hate to sound conspiratorial, but I am seriously starting to doubt the intentions and integrity of Letten and our branch of the U.S. attorney's office. I have so much info I can't yet put out....because I can't get the sources to come forward...that seriously brings into question the intent of the Fed.

(quoting Schroeder)"- But really, what a bunch of idiots we have in this town! Just seize the frakking email server!"

they have....the FBI already conducted a forensic audit on every computer in his administration. They have all the missing emails and much, much more. Why they're not coming forward with that info is what I don't understand....unless they're 1. building a case or 2. covering it up.

I don't know if you guys remember this but Meffert pulled this exact same thing back in 2003 when the Yacht story first came out. They were so stupid in the beginning that they were using city servers to transfer all their blackberry messages....when Gordon R. put an FOIA request in....Meffert shut down the entire system for two days and wiped out all the emails that had been generated on the servers. He directed everyone in MIS to erase all their emails as well. He then said the email database had been accidentally lost while performing a "system upgrade".

It concerns me that Meffert is now the big cheese in the local RNC and I'm seriously beginning to wonder if Letten isn't sheltering him. I really don't know what the hell is going on but if Jones goes down alone....I am going to call bullshit on Letten and his office.

All they have to do to bust Meffert and crew is pull Imagines credit card statements from 2001 to 2004. Meffert bragged that he ran up over 80k in charges at the Gold Club, The International House, etc. on his Imagine credit card while he was the acting CTO. I know the Fed knows this because I've talked to the people working with Meffert who were interviewed by the FBI and told them all this information and more.

To make matters worse....I was just informed today that Meffert is now back in the MIS department...seriously. That's got to be my Holy Shit moment of the year.

Oh for crying the f*ck out loud

CityBiz at it again:

Louisiana bucks national unemployment trend
by CityBusiness staff reports

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana was the only state where the unemployment rate dropped from December to January, according to statistics released today by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Louisiana's rate fell to 5.1 percent from 5.5 percent. The January unemployment rate for the U.S. was 7.6 percent, up from 7.2 percent in December.

But the new data show a loss of 12,300 jobs and a decline in the labor force from December to January in the state.

12,300 jobs lost = "We're still bucking the trend!"

Time to stuff a mattress

This is already up on Eschaton which means most of my readers have seen it already but... Gah!

WASHINGTON - The federal agency that insures bank deposits, which is asking for emergency powers to borrow up to $500 billion to take over failed banks, is facing a potential major shortfall in part because it collected no insurance premiums from most banks from 1996 to 2006.

You know, just this week, I moved most of the money I had saved over the past year out of a fairly secure credit union and into a Capitol One account motivated by the convenient fact that Cap One won't charge me a currency conversion fee for purchases I might make in France. I'm starting to worry about that decision a little bit.

(May as well keep to the Eschaton script) Let's just hope Tim Geithner hasn't burned all the money by the time I get back.


This will be fun.

Okay NOW I believe it's March

Spotted moments ago at your local grocer


I'm as much on the lookout for an excuse to cut Reggie Bush as the next guy

But this was never gonna happen. Now they can get back to cutting all the rest of the actual popular players.

Update: Or maybe they're working on a 7 Tight End offensive set for next season. That sounds very exciting.


T-P's David Hammer:
Last week, when the city's independent inspector general alleged years of questionable contracting and $4 million in overpayments for an often-inoperable network of crime cameras, Mayor Ray Nagin's administration released its own audit of the camera program. It focused almost entirely on the last two years of the project, when Jones was interim chief technology officer.

Dambala noticed and has much more.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lifeboats: A week in Naginville

Eli has a made a cute joke this morning. In case you missed the context, at the end of the day yesterday, the City announced that it was suing six contractors it found to have kept insufficient records of a little more than $200,000.00 paid to them through NOAH. (If you need more NOAH context at this point, I really don't have the time.)

However, according to Eli, the amount the city is seeking to recover here is a small fraction of the amount of money not accounted for by NOAH and NOAH contractors... although he admits, "the records kept on the city's end were so atrocious, I just don't see any real way to evaluate who did what and who got paid for what." But, regardless of the actual amount of money in dispute, it remains a reasonable assumption that the city is not likely to be investigating itself in good faith.

Eli suggests that the timing of this announcement is calculated to draw attention away from yesterday's embarrassing judgment in which the Mayor and the City Attorney were found in “flagrant violation of the law they have sworn to uphold” when they stonewalled WWLTV's public records requests and even went so far as to "lose" a year's worth of emails relevant to those requests. Which brings us back to Eli's cute little joke. The kid writes,

We've just witnessed the Mayor voluntarily putting NOAH back into the news to deflect attention from his various other controversies.

He's in such bad shape that he's looking to NOAH for a lifeboat.

Now, personally, I think it would have been funnier if he had called it a "life-ark" but maybe not. (Also, I'm a little shaky on the concept of using a boat to "deflect" something. Not that that wouldn't work provided that one raised the "lifeboat"... which I am assuming is a dingy or canoe or something... over one's head. But surely a boat is more commonly used as a means of escape than defense.) Plus I don't think it's a correct read to say that Nagin is "putting NOAH back into the news" since it's likely that the disputed records... which we may actually see before this is all over with... could be NOAH-related (although I'd bet the crime camera issue may also be a heavy topic there). But the "lifeboat" strategy (despite the complexity of the metaphor) is probably dead-on. In fact, over the past week, the Mayor has managed to deploy a veritable flotilla of "lifeboats" with which he has... um... deflected criticism on several fronts. Observe.

Boat 1: Early last week, we were treated to the seemingly embarrassing news for the administration that Sanitation Director Veronica White had inappropriately released three years worth of email communications to and from City Council members.

I say "seemingly embarrassing" because, at the time, one was tempted to think 1) White seems to have ignored her responsibility to forward public records requests to the City Attorney's office and 2) WTF, Why are the Council's emails come by so easily while the Mayor's remain out of reach? But if that's all you got from the episode, then you had missed the boat... so to speak. As it turned out, the release of the Council emails ended up working in the Mayor's favor. It allowed him to convincingly reprise his politically comfortable role as the victim of overzealous, racially motivated critcs.

Although this was later revised to include all council members, the initial accounts of the email release stated that only emails belonging to the white councilpersons had been made available. Framing the story in this way immediately opened the records controversy to scrutiny under the racial lens. Highlighting the Council's 4-3 white majority, as well as its frequent moments of friction with Veronica White (As the T-P is fond of printing repeatedly and I think not without humor, "White is black") effectively cast the Council as the "White" participant in a suddenly highly subjective discussion over what should be simple facts. Once the council sued to prevent their emails from being released, we were fast on our way to a "transparency-for-some-but-not-for-me" type of argument in which they had compromised their own credibility.

By the end of the week, Jarvis DeBerry described defenders of either the Council or the Mayor as inattentive to "principle".

Can't decide if you're a person of principle or just another run-of-the-mill partisan hack? Here's an easy test: Did you take one position when WWL-TV sought Mayor Ray Nagin's e-mails and the opposite position when lawyer Tracie Washington was handed over e-mails from the white members of the New Orleans City Council?

Did you insist that Nagin's the target of a witch hunt but argue that those council members deserve every bit of scrutiny they get? Did you say that Nagin should have turned over his e-mails but that the council members are good folks and ought to be left alone? No matter which position you took regarding Nagin, if it doesn't jibe with the position you have toward the council, you're not to be listened to.

Now I think that's a bit simplistic. Technically speaking, those aren't exactly the two positions available for a person to take on the situation. One could say, for example, that the disappearance of the mayor's emails is suspicious AND that the circumstances by which the council's emails were produced are just as suspicious and still argue that all of these public documents should be available for public scrutiny. But, by this point, the boat has sailed. Days before the Mayor was set to receive a stern judgment regarding the disappearance of his emails, the counter-argument that a double-standard was being applied was already afloat.

Boat 2: In a lesser noticed flare-up last week, City Buisness published a rather weak hit piece in the finest Dragonslaying tradition which accused the Mayor's office of "expenditures other government officials generally consider unusual and inappropriate." I won't dwell on it too much except to point you to the Mayor's response here. What's more interesting to me is that a competing (and equally silly) report on the City Council's travel expenses was released the very same week reintroducing the comparison narrative.

Boat 3: On the same day that the Council email thing blew up, the Inspector General's office released a long-awaited report on alleged waste associated with the City's notoriously ineffective and ill-conceived crime camera program. You can read the whole report here if you like... or at least read the executive summary here. But to truly explore the depths of this chicanery, you should be reading Dambala. Suffice to say, there's a lot going on there and this report certainly merits wider discussion. But it didn't ripple very far upon impact thanks to the timing of the its release.

Plus, the Mayor made sure to further disturb the waters during this remarkable appearance on WVUE.

Eli transcribes key bits here and provides analysis. I'd like to piggy back off of Eli's work here and quote a bit from his transcription as I think it is an exemplary sample of Nagin at his best.

The best part (if one can even choose) is toward the end when he discusses the crime camera investigation.

Kim Holden: Let's switch gears a little bit -

Ray Nagin: (interrupting): Really?

Holden: Another controversy involving the crime cameras -

Nagin: (agitated interruption): Controversy?

Holden: - That came up this week. The IG report blasting your office for basically failing to hold the contractors accountable for the work they did, way too much money being spent on this, and the fact that maintenance costs are going to be astronomical from this point on. At some point do you say let's just abandon this whole project?

Nagin: I wouldn't do that. I mean, you know, one of the things I want to remind the public is that this is something that we pioneered. This was a research and development kind of project that the city of New Orleans really hadn't done. And when you do research and development and you pioneer things, you know, you're going to have some issues. I want to tell you I was just in Washington and Mayor Daley came up to me and he said, "look, I like these crime cameras that you guys are doing in New Orleans. They're cheaper than hiring more police officers and we're going to do them in a big way in Chicago."

Now, have we had issues? Absolutely. It's been well documented. We started to look at it back in August and make some changes. The gentleman who was in running the department is no longer in charge of that, no longer in charge of contracting, and we're cleaning this up. We have had some issues and we are going to do better.

There's a lot more in the passage and that interview so be sure to watch the whole thing. [Spoilers] Nagin goes on to take a hilarious swipe at the IG, "The IG? I mean, I'm happy to see that the IG has produced another report. It's the second one in eighteen months, so that's a good thing". And I'm always pleased to see anyone go after a twat like Raphael Goyeneche, "Well, Raphael is not really a crime expert so, I mean, you have to take what he says with a grain of salt." [/Spoilers]

But please do watch the video and then tell me if you agree with Eli's characterization of Nagin's second interruption as "agitated". I'd believe "mocking" or perhaps "smug" even, but I don't think Nagin is agitated there. I think he's quite comfortable. He knows his interviewers aren't in his league and he's all too happy to mock and intimidate them. I know we all have a lot of fun shaking our heads at his erratic behavior, but believe me when I say this. Years from now, when Ray Nagin is long gone, he's going to be remembered as one of the all-time masters.

Regardless of what you think about the mayor's willingness to address facts or even make sense, in this interview he DID manage to needle and intimidate his questioners in a way that left the casual impression that (1) he knew what he was talking about and they didn't and (2) that he is the victim of ulterior motives on the part of his critics. The man is a genius at this. Plus it works because... statements (1) and (2) are true to some degree. It's kind of beautiful to watch, actually.

And it's not the first time. Nagin does this all the time. Here is a classic Nagin moment I noted during one of the several massively entertaining Mayoral debates in 2006.
The classic moment of the campaign came later when Rev. Tom Watson challenged Nagin to explain his "double talk" meaning his tendency to contradict his own statements depending upon the make up (race) of his audience. Watson admonished Nagin not to "apologize for being a black man." Watson also challenged Nagin's assertion that the state is "holding up" reconstruction funds and let fly at Nagin with all of the fire and brimstone he could muster here declaring, "Ray Nagin is the problem! Ray you are lying! You are a liar!" At one point in this exchange Watson actually used the words "I rebuke you." Nagin's response to all of this was even better. During the reverend's tirade Nagin affected to bless Watson making the sign of the cross and shouting, "Pastor! God bless you!"

Nagin is a master at capitalizing on the shrill ridiculousness of his indignant accusers regardless of whose side the facts are on. He meets overwrought righteous pomposity with cool sarcasm. Stylistically, at least, he's always got a point and you almost find yourself rooting for him. Almost.

Oh by the way, that Mayor Daley story? Total bullshit... but who can keep up?

There's a way to combat Nagin's antics, but it takes patience, perspective, and a decent sense of humor... qualities in chronic short supply amongst the Dragonslaying crowd who, unfortunately, seem to be on the right side of most of this. (Here's a quick hint. I love Schroeder but typing, "SUBPOENA THE HARD DRIVES!!!" in all caps like that? Not helping. I wondered for a minute if he was spoofing a NOLA.com comment. Go read his post anyway. He's absolutely right.)

Meanwhile Nagin's boat deflection strategy seems to be paying off for him in the public relations department. Case in point: Amidst all of this, it was revealed this week that the City has been sitting on millions of dollars in HUD funding despite its massive deficit of affordable housing. WWL dispatched its ace reporter Lee Zurik whose report basically nailed Ed Blakely to the wall for offering the amazing explanation that "The contractors were not able to spend (the HUD money)." Ordinarily, a story like this is big news. Ordinarily, it's the sort of thing that makes all the talk shows. Some blogger gives it a nickname. And then we all spend the next three months ripping on it. But this made almost no waves at all. It showed up on WCBF but otherwise got drowned out by all the other nonsense. Can we say it got caught in the wake of one of the Mayor's lifeboats?

Well that's one way to keep the hippies out

Make sure the cops refuse to move.

NEW ORLEANS - At a recent community crime meeting in Fabourg Marigny, a 5th District police officer let slip that they had received notice from developer Pres Kabacoff that it might soon be time to leave their current location at the old Universal Furniture building on St. Claude Avenue and start looking for other accommodations.

Kabacoff needs the Police out of the way so that he can build a.. um..

Kabacoff plans to turn the 55,000 square foot Universal Furniture building into a $13 million holistic center with a grocery store, restaurant, Internet café, retail bazaar and educational and health care services. The project is designed to revitalize the St. Claude corridor.

That's actually a bit of a tamer description of the "Healing Center" from the one we got the last time we paid it any attention.

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

Somebody must have scoured for a new paradigm*

*See the rest of that post.

Deep Thought

President Obama is apparently the first US President to take advantage of the technological wonder known as the teleprompter.

Delete doesn't mean delete

Clancy Dubos flagged a lot of this yesterday, but I just wanted to point out that in light of yesterday's ruling it is now much more possible that the "lost" Nagin emails could be retrieved and made available.
In her ruling, Ledet put into writing several positions she touched on in court last month, ordering administration officials to preserve from this point forward all their calendar information and e-mail for at least three years, as required by law.

She also ordered the head of the city's technology unit to submit a written statement asserting that deleted portions of Nagin's calendar and e-mail cannot be retrieved and that all back-ups on the mayor's Blackberry as well as his laptop and desktop computers have been searched.

That could be interpreted in several ways, but at first glance, it looks like the City has to make a documented attempt at data retrieval under penalty of perjury. Most of the techy people I hear from tend to suspect that an honest attempt at this would prove successful but I don't know it they actually have to make an honest attempt.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the emails contained little more than office supply orders, recipe exchanges, and LOL cats... in which case I hope they hire Geraldo to televise the official reading.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Why is our justice system designed in such a way that witholding public records related to small-time municipal corruption will get the book thrown at you but conspiring to piss on the US Constitution and enable torture probably won't even get you disbarred?

Land of the "apocryphal"

From Stephanie Grace's column:

Napolitano, whose department includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said she had a similar reaction when she heard about FEMA's impenetrable and intractable bureaucracy, including tales of public rebuilding proposals that were first approved then unapproved.

Before she started looking into the situation, Napolitano said, "I didn't really believe them because they seemed so apocryphal."

If that doesn't capture everyone's experience of trying to explain the last three years, I don't know what does.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

This generation's Peggy Wilson (Updated and Upperdated)

Recall Stacy Head!!!

I get constant feedback from otherwise reasonable people who don't think she deserves to be treated like this. I don't think they know what they're talking about... but I do get to hear a lot of it nonetheless.

Update: T-P: Black residents defend City Councilwoman Stacy Head against claims of racism The key bit from the article being,
Head, who is white, did not attend the news conference, which featured eight residents who testified to the assistance she has offered their community since she was elected to represent District B in 2006.

Because, had she been there, she would have inevitably said something self-defeating.

Upperdate: James Gill had an entertaining column this weekedn about Recall maestro Rev. Toris Young. Gill is writing about Young in reference to his efforts to recall Joseph Cao but Young is involved in the RECALL STACY HEAD!!! movement as well.

I'm not a fan of recall as a tool in general. And I didn't want to give the impression that I was promoting either of the current recall efforts. However, I have said and will continue to say that Stacy Head has made some destructive decisions and inflammatory statements during her tenure on the council that I think reveal a class-based prejudice which I cannot countenance. I would venture to say, however, that she is probably not a "racist" in the sense that people like Rev. Young would have us believe.

Uppestdate: In 2007, Ashley Morris and Sean Benjamin agreed that Head was the "Jackie Clarkson for a new generation" I'm sticking with Wilson, however, because Jackie, while infuriating at times, never quite became a polarizing lighting rod of this magnitude.

Stupid whiny babies

A commenter responds to Hilzoy.

"Going Galt" is the conservative version of "Moving to France." Lots of people talk about it, but no one has the balls to actually do it.

Actually that's not quite right. I've had to suffer far more stupid white liberals threatening to to "Move to Canada" than to France over the years. But the idea is the same. All of these stupid whiny babies seem to have an over-inflated sense of their own value. What? You're going to stop "creating wealth" by lawyering or day-trading or blogging all day? I'm scared. What? You're moving to Canada because you're unhappy with the current (temporary) political mood? Bye. Can't say we'll miss you.

In New Orleans, we have our own version of stupid whiny baby "Going Galt"ism. But here the whiny babies have fallen into the habit of threatening to move away (where? anywhere!) with every new report of public corruption, violent crime, hot weather, etc. New Orleans is not your boyfriend. It won't suddenly change its ways out of fear of losing your eminent talents. But enjoy your fit anyway.


I mean... YUP LOL, with a hearty heh, indeed to boot.

Where have all the Hueys gone?


Among the observations Christian Roselund makes in this excellent essay about Huey Long's impact on Depression era politics is the disturbing absence of a similar focus of pressure from the left on Obama.

Obama’s presidency is very different from Roosevelt’s not only in that he has already embraced job creation and deficit-spending policies reminiscent of the second New Deal, but also in that there is no significant pressure from the left. There is no Huey Long in America today, nor do radical elements in labor have the power they did in the 1930s. If oppressed groups take action, such as immigrants filling the streets of major cities on May 1, 2006, they typically do so only for a day. This low level of pressure means that Obama's policies will likely be pulled to the right and watered down, as was evidenced in the version of his stimulus package that the Senate produced.

In fact it's far worse than that. The current state of American politics is constructed in such a way that allows for populist insurrection from the right only. Much of it, of course, is "faux populism" generated by talk radio entertainers and then pushed into prominence by an idiotic mainstream media in search of "balance". But the effect on policy is as powerful as what a genuine shit-stirrer like Long could generate, if not more so.

For much of the 20th Century, Louisiana had a proud tradition of producing effective liberal rabble rousers unlike any other place in the country. Today, our most popular politicians appear to be Bobby Jindal and David Vitter. How far have we fallen and why? Of course I have my theories, but those are for another post. I'm trying to lay off of the Dragonslayers and Yuppie Lefties for now... or at least until they start trying to tell me I need to vote for Arnie Fielkow.

Friday, March 06, 2009

What the hell?

NEW ORLEANS - Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine today named Entergy Corp. one of the top 10 corporate citizens in the United States.

Entergy, for the second time in three years, was the highest-ranking utility company on the list.

Well goddammit that does it! I am canceling my subscription to Corporate Responsibility Officer magazine.

Situation NOLA All Freaking Weird

Let's see... whaddawegot this morning?

Yawn... Wake me up when something interesting happens.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Tales of TrendBucktu

A few days ago, Clay put together another one of his typically awesome link round-ups. Please take a look at that post at your leisure. Clay brings together a lot of information I'm sure you'll find interesting.

But right now I'd like to call your attention to one throwaway but nonetheless startling assumption Clay makes in this post. Pointing to a report of rising jobless claims in Louisiana, Clay declares, "No more 'bucking the trend'".

What he's referring to here is the goofy tendency the local press has displayed during the deepening economic crisis to push one cheery story after another about how Louisiana is "bucking the trend". Editors grasp daily for any excuse to proclaim our magic immunity to the collapsing national and international economy and banking system. One week, we're saved by our booming business in home demolition, the next it's a spike in the demand for invisible cranes, and then, of course, Mardi Gras comes along and fixes whatever was left over. You can see what a powerful argument this is.

Can this trend-bucking narrative be suddenly overturned, as Clay suggests, by something as quaint as contrary evidence? Well no, not exactly. Not if, like the T-P's Jaquetta White, you have a convenient straw man available in the form of a dubiously designed "unhappiness survey" as well as a working knowledge of journalistic kung fu.

In this article from this morning's edition, we find White ostensibly reporting that Businessweek lists New Orleans 3rd on a list of "America's Unhappiest Cities". I know. It's awful. I had a pretty fun Mardi Gras this year too and I really would hate to have Businessweek come around exploding my illusions about how happy I might be. Thank goodness White's article makes short work of it by quoting a local booster.

Michael Hecht, chief executive officer of GNO Inc., the regional economic development office, called the ranking "profoundly flawed and wrong." The methodology behind the list includes backward-looking indicators like population loss, instead of forward-looking indicators like future investment in infrastructure.

But really this is just another excuse for someone at the T-P to write this sentence.

Although the Louisiana economy is reportedly faring better than others around the country, a BusinessWeek report ranks New Orleans third on a list of 50 American cities where the national recession is taking the greatest emotional toll.

And this one.

"For anybody living here, we know that the New Orleans region is one of the happiest places to ride out the recession," Hecht said.

It's true! We're still bucking the trend! How awesome are we at this? Ask Businessweek a mere five months ago:
NEW ORLEANS -- Despite the country's economic crisis, the national magazine Business Week said New Orleans is the right place to ride out a recession.

One local agency agreed with the Business Week article.

Wall Street is down, but Main Street New Orleans is up.

Friday night along Magazine Street didn't reflect that rest of the country is facing a potential recession.

"There are Community Block Development Grant dollars," Michael Hecht from Greater New Orleans Inc. said. "We're also getting economic development administration dollars in the latest emergency stabilization act. So literally, hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing in."

Amazing. Positive Businessweek story leads to Micheal Hecht concluding that New Orleans is a "happy place to ride out the recession." Negative Businessweek story leads to... Micheal Hecht concluding that New Orleans is a "happy place to ride out the recession." Down really is up here in TrendBucktu.


Under normal circumstances, wouldn't we have expected Ed Blakely to be on this bus?

Is he waiting to take them on a bike tour later?

Programming note

If you're like me... and I know I am... you might be getting a little tired of listening to Bobby Hebert pretend he knows something about basketball night after night. In which case, we invite you to turn the dial.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Still not over Deuce

But this is encouraging.

As is this! (Longtime readers will know that we are big time Devery fans here at the Yellow Blog)

Have I ever mentioned..

That the Senior Senator from Louisiana really sucks sometimes?



The City Council has filed for a temporary restraining order in Civil District Court to prevent the release of their e-mails to the public, according to WWL-TV Reporter Paul Murphy.

And now the let the Transparencier-than-thou games begin!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

This week's The Gambit complaint *

By now most The Gambit readers should be familiar with editor Kevin Allman's affinity for pun-making. Or.. at least... most of us have deduced this from following Allman's posts to the The Gambit blog for a while and from noting a significant increase in the frequency of punned headlines atop The Gambit features and articles since the advent of his editorship there. (Perhaps this is a coincidence. I don't know, it's just something the readers have noticed) In any event, concerned The Gambit readers who follow and care about such things were disappointed this week to find Allman's cover story.

The article itself, on the long lonely saga of Louisiana's thankfully underutilized Covenant Marriage law, is both informative and hilarious. Not to mention timely since, it points out several times that none other than Governor PBJ (so much in the news this week for his earnest and forthright style of political leadership and moral example) was among the first... and still few... to take advantage of the covenant option. ** Jindal and his wife Supriya now enjoy the blessings of the impossibility of no-fault divorce.

Unfortunately, despite all this, we find ourselves forced to deduct points from Allman for failing to title his feature, "Arc of the Covenant Marriage". We've come to expect better.

* We reserve the right to levy further complaints about this week's The Gambit regarding "Rex Duke's" atrocious reviews of this year's Carnival parades. But such complaints would have to accompany our own Carnival wrap-up post which is itself currently sprawling out in the drafts folder and may not see the light of day without much much further work.

** This reminds me of an election day post that appeared here on the Yellow Blog waaaaay back in 2003 when we lodged the following complaints against then-candidate Jindal.

1) He believes he has personally confronted Satan. 2) He wants to teach creationism in public schools. 3) He used to work in the Bush Administration. 4) He and his wife have a covenant marriage. 5) All of this is downright nutty.

Eventually it all comes back.

What Ryan said

Go do what Ryan said.