Thursday, April 30, 2009

Feudal Society Part II

And, of course, the owners of the place "own the place"

So: Paese went from Chairman Frank's office to be the top lobbyist at Goldman, and shortly before that, Goldman dispatched Paese's predecessor, close Tom Daschle associate Mark Patterson, to be Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, himself a protege of former Goldman CEO Robert Rubin and a virtually wholly owned subsidiary of the banking industry. That's all part of what Desmond Lachman -- American Enterprise Institute fellow, former chief emerging market strategist at Salomon Smith Barney and top IMF official (no socialist he) -- recently described as "Goldman Sachs's seeming lock on high-level U.S. Treasury jobs."
But Tom Benson told me this morning that we're about to win a bunch of Superbowls so I'm still very hopey.

Inspired by the Greenwald post I just linked to above, and by Mary Landrieu's concern for her "community banks" expressed here, I thought I'd add that Landrieu's top contributor in cycle 2007-2008 was "community banker" JP Morgan Chase.

Feudal society

We've fallen into this ritual wherein every fifteen years or so, a cabal of petty office holders and bloated land barrons agree to give each other enough money to allow the rest of us the symbolic distraction of our annual fall pageant... provided we behave ourselves and keep paying our taxes and whatnot.

On the other hand, I really do enjoy these press conferences where Tom Benson tells us about all the Superbowls we're going to win over the life of this latest deal. It makes me feel all hopey about the future and stuff.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Duct Tape

Isn't that what DHS used to tell us we needed?

That and lots of canned tuna and powdered milk or something....

Sharp dressed pan

I've been waiting for an opportunity to mention this stupid T-P article on Byron Scott's wardrobe.
Scott has 82 suits hanging in the closet of his Kenner home. The size 44-longs are arranged in color-coordinated order on one wall, while a row of dress shirts -- lined up like pastel paint chips in white, yellow, pink and cream cottons -- flank the opposite.

The closet, lit with a single incandescent bulb, is not something you'd see on, say, "Cribs" or HGTV. A standard-size walk-in off the master suite, the space is so narrow, two adults couldn't stand shoulder to shoulder.
This sort of thing is always a bad sign in coaches. Image-conscious egomaniacs in decision-making positions tend to purpose those decisions toward making the game about them instead of about their players. They might go for goofy fourth-and-8s in their own territory in order to cultivate a "gambler's image" or they might call an unnecessary reverse instead of just running out the clock in a crucial game, or in Scott's case, they might blame their young players for their own failure to be patient with or teach them.

Adrastos explains in a post where he unloads on the Hornets' dapper douchebag. A quick taste
But the Hornets' poor late season play and Scott's lousy game coaching are not his biggest problems as a coach. His biggest vice is that he's a poor judge of talent and very impatient with young players. If a young player makes a mistake in a game, Scott's impulse is to bench him, get in his face and then berate him to the media. Who the hell is he? Gordon Ramsay? Leo Durocher? Actually, he *thinks* he's the second coming of Pat Riley but he's not.

Scott gave up on JR Smith who is now one of the best sixth men in the game for Denver as well as Brandon Bass who is a key reserve with the Dallas Mavericks. Granted, JR was an immature jerk in his time with the Hornets BUT he's developed into a fine, albeit high maintenance, player. Bass, on the other hand, was hard working and eager to learn but Scott is so afraid to lose that he'd rather try mediocre veterans than give a kid the chance to make mistakes and learn from them. Julian Wright is the current poster boy for Scott's impatient style and short term outlook as a coach. Wright has showed some promise in his time with the Hornets BUT the minute he makes a mistake, it's back to the bench and Byron calls a press conference to rag on him.
Now go read the rest.

Obviously, the injuries with which Chandler and West have been playing have made things difficult, but I think Adrastos is right to call attention to Scott as a major source of the trouble with this team.

They say Malcolm Jenkins can play multiple positions

Hopefully one of them is tackle.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Nobody could have predicted" 2009 edition

Michael Steele: "How were we supposed to know this (flu)would happen?"

Ooh ooh ooh we're soooooo close now

Except that we're not really any closer than the last thousand times that announcement has been made.
BATON ROUGE -- Gov. Bobby Jindal said Tuesday he and his staff will bring key lawmakers up to speed on the progress of negotiations between the New Orleans Saints and the state at a breakfast Wednesday moning.

"We don't have a deal signed,'' Jindal told reporters during an informal news conference after testifying on an unrelated bill. However, he said there has been "significant movement" between the two sides on a new agreement.
In other Saints news, yesterday Tom Benson participated in a tasting of the new extra-small Superdome nachos proposed for the gameday menu this fall ($12.00 a portion). His ability to fully digest the cheese was considered a "significant movement" in the ongoing negotiations.

This President Sucks

Harry Shearer edition


On the one hand, I'm tempted to say that this means he's pretty much toast politically.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. What has happened here is Arlen Specter has been forced out by a calcifying, radicalizing GOP. He was about to become a sacrifice to that radicalization and clearly didn't have anywhere else to go. Conventional wisdom at this point in time will claim this as a portent of Republican weakness in 2010. I have other ideas but it's still a bit too early to tell. Either way, I'll be very interested to see what a Toomey vs Specter general election looks like.

Update: Josh Marshall has some preliminary thoughts:
Democratic registrations swelled in Pennsylvania last year at the expense of Republicans. A lot of that was moderate Republicans who wanted to vote for Obama in the primary or the general. Or for that matter, moderate Republicans who wanted to vote for Hillary. Whatever your interpretation of why they were switching, that left the Republican primary electorate much more conservative than it was in the past, certainly much more than it was when he ran against Toomey the first time in 2004.

The question is just how "moderate" will those "moderate Republicans" who crossed over in 2008 remain?

Today's Mollerism

What begins as a preview of today's business in the State Legislative session gradually devolves into a series of links designed to demonstrate how much everyone still loves Governor PBJ. My favorite bit is the part where Moller links to this post at Old River Road which reads, in part.
If you caught the Governor's opening address to the legislature earlier today you saw flashes of the Bobby Jindal we've been talking about, and the one we reference on our bumper sticker -- the Bobby who is less concerned with the political ramifications of a decision and more concerned with fixing Louisiana. You saw the Bobby we voted for.
Moller describes the post thusly
Even some of the governor's harshest critics were impressed.
In Jan Moller's world, the Governor's "harshest critics" not only voted for him but also "reference" this fact via bumper sticker.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Yay for Greg

Getting more awards and stuff. Go over there and congratulate the "news staff".

I especially enjoyed this week's strip, btw. (Don't see it online anywhere. Pick up a The Gambit)

Dumb Saints thought

The Saints' likely starters at the safety positions this year will be named Harper and Sharper. They will wear numbers 41 and 42.

Swine, Limbaugh..

Pretty much synonymous, anyway.

Also in that category... this morning, on WWL radio, Bob and Monica conducted an embarrassing interview with Dr. Brobson Lutz during which Bob asked an incredulous Dr. Lutz a) if Hospitals were intentionally kept extra-cold in order to prevent the spread of germs and b) is it safe to eat Mexican pork?

Finally, if you're concerned about the flu but would prefer to learn something interesting rather than just sit around freaking out, I highly recommend John M. Barry's The Great Influenza : the epic story of the deadliest plague in history about the 1918 flu outbreak. Many New Orleanians have read Rising Tide and are already familiar with Barry's ability to write engagingly about the intersection of science and politics. That same theme runs throughout The Great Influenza. If you've missed this title, now would be a good time to pick it up.

Awesome planning process

I'm so glad we voted to live with whatever these people decide for us.

At one point, planners invited GNOBEDD President and CEO James P. McNamara to address the crowd. He spoke briefly about what the district was and pushed back against the assertion that GNOBEDD was empowered to create its own land use master plan. However, it's unclear whether or not he was entirely forthcoming. According to the special powers clauses attached to the Greater New Orleans Biosciences Economic Development District Act passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2005, GNOBEDD has the legal authority "to develop and implement a master plan for the district related to biosciences... in coordination with the Louisiana Board of Regents with respect to public higher educational institutions." Also, according to a document obtained from GNOBEDD, a message signed by McNamara says in quite explicit terms, "GNOBEDD's next course of business is a comprehensive 25 year master plan and land use study for the entire GNOBEDD area that will transition into the City of New Orleans new Master Plan." Though Mr. McNamara stayed for the whole meeting and was available to speak with on an individual basis, planners did not allow attendees to ask follow-up questions to him in front of the whole audience. When some people stood up to ask questions anyway, the planners shouted over them using the microphone.

Mid-City residents were generally not pleased about this and became increasingly agitated with Goody Clancy representatives as questions related to the hospital plans and GNOBEDD went unanswered or deflected, sometimes with a derisive tone that many clearly took as patronizing or offensive. Though attendees had some pretty important questions to ask about the implications of these two oversights in the plan, the planners made it extremely clear that they would not be indulging us with actual answers or the opportunity to ask follow-up questions. Instead, though every single breakout group had unanswered questions about the hospitals, they were skipped. Even questions posed about matters unrelated to the hospital or GNOBEDD were interrupted and rudely waved off.

Imaginary bogeymen

Am I the only person in New Orleans who doesn't get irrationally and imperiously angry at the mere mention that somebody somewhere once ran a red light? I'm not defending anyone who has but to read some of the venom out there, you'd think that the city was plagued daily by brazenly colorblind drivers who breeze through intersections regardless of all caution or legal suasion. Now I realize there are a lot of hipster libertarian assholes in this town, but it is clearly not the case that they are applying their philosophy to such an extreme degree.

Please don't take this as a defense of reckless driving but surely what we're dealing with in New Orleans is different from the cavalier attitude toward traffic laws and basic courtesy some of these critics (like Gill in the above-linked column) imagine.* We all know that some people tend to accelerate through yellows and end up catching a bit of the red. This is what red light cameras are designed to take advantage of. It's a scheme plain and simple... like siphoning off "micro-deposits" into a dummy bank account. And it is precisely the pompous disproportionate anger like Gill's at an imaginary boogeyman that enables the scheme to operate in the first place.

* If you want to see drivers who really don't pay any attention to traffic signals... or lanes... or other drivers... or anything, go to France. Those people don't care who or what they hurl their Pugeot's at at 80 MPH.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I hate it when they do the "safe" thing. I really wanted Beanie.

Update: Well at least they made the effort. Let's hope there's a decent back left on the pile somewhere later today. The offense, as currently designed, is not a winning offense.

Upperdate: What the hell! Jason David is NOT allowed to have Sammy's number. That is just not cool.
My guess is we'll see Jenkins in No. 27, unless he prefers another number and a new teammate is willing to trade. Maybe Mike Bell will give up No. 21? Earlier this week, we saw Saints corner Jason David switch from No. 42 to No. 29 to accommodate new safety Darren Sharper.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stop Messing With Texas

Texans have an overdeveloped sense of pride? The hell you say! Regardless of the current political climate, I promise you you can get close to 50% of Texans to answer a question about their ability to function as their own nation with a "Hell Yeah!" any day of the week. It's only been drummed into their heads since the cradle that they were once their own Republic, and that they're like... a really big state, and that God likes to watch their football team play or some such shit.

They all feel like this. Even liberal Texans are sympathetic with this creed. And guess what? That's okay. They're allowed to have fun with that. Lord knows we enjoy the Sinn Feinism in South Louisiana our own selves from time to time.

Is it a dumb thing for Texas Republicans to go around boasting that a potential act of treason (which has exactly zero chance of actually happening) is somehow evidence of their patriotism? Well, sure. But for national liberals to take this bait and smugly impugn the unique Pan-Texan sense of self is probably even dumber.

Up or down vote

Let us read it before we're stuck with it. What's the problem, Stacy? Shelley? Jackie? Arnie? Jimmie?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Your heartfelt post-flood charitable donations have helped our fair city "borrow" an Ed Blakely.

In 2007, Blakely's services cost the city more than $250,000, and a similar arrangement was considered in 2008 before Blakely found a private source to compensate the university for his second year of absence. In exchange, New Orleans got a veteran of several disaster recovery efforts around the world who boasts of nonpareil qualifications, but whose leadership here has been a lightning rod for controversy.

Blakely's official salary of $150,718 in 2007 was paid with taxpayer funds. On top of that, the city sent his university $100,000 in 2007 through America's New Orleans Fund Inc., a fund established to handle charitable donations City Hall received in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Your Blakely donation has made quite an impression on us. It has served as our accountability structure providing us with the courage to get back on that bike without buffooning out and failing ourselves.

But most of all, it has been essential to the restoration of our civic sense of humor and imagination in these difficult times. Our Blakely has inspired us to build anew the surreal absurdity of the life we knew before our city was nearly destroyed in 2005. Some would argue it has helped us surpass our former selves in this respect.

We aren't sure how we'll ever repay you but rest assured we are currently devising a plan in our head to parcel out our gratitude to the right buckets and have them delivered to you... any day now... probably via crane.

It's like Oyster says

Eyes already rolling.

But although Oyster detects a certain amount of "unseemliness" in the T-P Sunday Magazine Personality Feature on David Welker, I would venture to say that, if anything, Brendan McCarthy has failed to provide us with some crucial bits of information about the new head of the local FBI office which we've come to feel entitled to.

For example, what does Welker smell like? Does he have an "exotic" accent? Do his words, "sometimes (dip)into a near whisper, making you lean in to hear or ask him to repeat what he just said"? People need to know this stuff.

Lost in Translation

From this morning's T-P:
Meffert was authorized to use the credit card to help NetMethods get business outside New Orleans, Smith said. Indeed, the Hawaiian trip with the Nagins had a business purpose attached: "to meet with a Chinese guy to talk up NetMethods," he said.

And a bit later

Asked who owned the company, Meffert replied: "My assumption was Mark St. Pierre was the owner of NetMethods."

Asked later whether he knew the company's business purpose or why it was created, Meffert said he did not. He later added that St. Pierre had said "he was going to start out and do, you know, stuff outside the city -- new company, new partners, new everything. That was roughly my understanding of why he incorporated NetMethods."

You can see, then, why Meffert was such a great international pitchman for NetMethods. "I don't know what the company's purpose is" is a big money-maker selling point when spoken in Chinese.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Easy Target

The thing that keeps bothering me about the Jane Harman situation is that she's an easy and somewhat insignificant scapegoat in the larger failure of the Democratic party to offer any sort of meaningful resistance to Bush's attack on the Constitution and human dignity.

Right now, the person most responsible for letting the illegal wiretappers and the torturers go unpunished is President Obama. If anyone in Congress were serious about protecting the Constitution, the President would be impeached for his failure to do so. But, in reality, they're all more worried about mitigating the blame. And so now it's all Jane Harman's fault.

Don't get me wrong. Jane Harman is an asshole. But the idea that she is the only person who has to answer for any of this is absurd.

Update: I'd love to say here that the President is bowing to the massive pressure generated by the Yellow Blog calling for his impeachment...
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Tuesday left open the door to creating a bipartisan commission that would investigate the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects, and he did not rule out taking action against the lawyers who fashioned the legal guidelines for the interrogations.
But as any adult knows, "bipartisan commission" is Washington-speak for cop-out and gloss-over.

Ha ha... fuck you

My we think highly of ourselves over here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Not dreadful at all

I still don't understand why people think this was a mistake.

Indeed, if there was a winner in the deal, it's difficult to find one.

The Redskins essentially ended up with only Bailey and Arrington from the deal, and they did not transform the Washington defense into the second coming of the Steel Curtain.

The Redskins made the playoffs in 1999 but didn't return to the postseason until 2005.

By then, Washington had gone through three head coaches.

"The Redskins made a great trade, but they didn't execute it properly after they made it, " Landry said. "They did a poor job with evaluation and development. It was a great opportunity for them, and they messed it up."

Likewise, the three picks Chicago acquired indirectly in the deal didn't amount to much.

Quarterback Cade McNown, whom the Bears selected with the Saints' original first-rounder at No. 12, was a bust, going 3-12 in two seasons and eventually losing his job.

Wide receiver D'wayne Bates and linebacker Khari Samuels never developed into starters and were out of Chicago after three years.

Mark Hatley, the Bears' director of player personnel, was fired in April 2001 a few months after it became apparent McNown would join 1998 first-round pick Curtis Enis as a major bust.

Indeed, only four players from the original free-for-all remain active in the league today. Williams, Bailey and a pair of players drafted by Denver with the Saints' original sixth- and seventh-round picks via a trade with Washington. The Broncos used the seventh-round pick, No. 218 overall, to take a little-known wide receiver out of Southern Cal named Billy Miller.

"I thought that trade was the craziest thing I'd ever seen, " said Miller, now a reserve tight end for the Saints. "It's been a very interesting journey. To be a part of the original Ricky Williams trade and to end up here and finish my career in New Orleans is ironic."

I can't name a single player in that list more entertaining to have had on the team than Ricky. And yet the headline to this story characterizes the trade as a "dreadful miscalculation" (pun obviously intended). I seriously wonder sometimes if some people really understand football.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A mall that actually is flat

On the other hand, here's one of the more persuasive arguments made by the "save Charity" kids. We're very good at knocking things, like the Plaza, down. Building the new shiny thing that's supposed to replace it... not so much.

Here's how confused things are

Citizen "activists" are now arguing against FEMA compensation. The "save Charity" movement has completely jumped the shark. In a perfect world, the organizers have a point. In this world, they're only going to keep us from getting the hospital we need.

Edit: That sounds snarkier than it need be. I only mean to say that I think we're past the point where anything can be done other than build what LSU wants.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Programming note

I've never been much of a TV drama fan but I know there's a lot of local interest in David Simon's Treme project. So as a service to you, I'll point out that Simon is scheduled to appear on Bill Moyers' Journal this week. WYES tries to hide the Moyers show and airs it at inconvenient times during the weekend. But once the show has aired, the video should be available here.

Update: Video now available. Two observations: 1) Simon and Moyers have a very good discussion. Simon has some important things to say about the state of urban America.

2) After seeing the clips of The Wire shared on this broadcast, all I can say is, Wow what a heavy-handed, preachy piece of TV crap! I hope he doesn't turn New Orleans into After-School-Special Land the way he did to Baltimore.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What? No Secret Service detail?

Security for Jindal's travels costs La. taxpayers

Was this topic addressed by any of the "tax activists" at yesterday's teabagging party in Metairie?

Oyster has a client

As I've been saying for over a year, there is hidden political power in this traffic camera issue. Hardly anyone likes the damn things, and a great many people hate them.

Again, I implore all insurgent and outsider political candidates to heavily exploit this issue. Own it! This is one of those kinds of issues that channels frustration into a surprising groundswell of support on election day. Non-establishment candidates should make use of it. I'm serious! Make hay out of the incredible efficiency of the traffic cameras compared to the lackluster inefficiency of the crime cameras: cops not cameras! working traffic lights not cameras!

Cedric Richmond isn't exactly "non-establishment" but he is a probable 2010 mayoral congressional* candidate.
BATON ROUGE -- City- and parish-operated cameras that monitor speeding and traffic-signal violations would be unplugged starting Jan. 1 under a bill filed by a New Orleans legislator.

House Bill 480 by Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, and co-sponsored by Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-Algiers, would prohibit cities and parishes from setting up cameras to monitor traffic violations. Some parishes that have already set them up have generated millions of dollars in revenues but have come under fire from critics who claim the systems are unconstitutional and violate the privacy of vehicle occupants.
Maybe this issue is too good to keep out of the mainstream.

Question: If traffic cameras are "unconstitutional and violate the privacy of vehicle occupants," can't we say the same thing for crime cameras? Or is the constitutionality specifically tied to whether or not the device in question actually works?

Update: Oh BTW, while we sit here worrying about the "constitutionality" of photographing traffic signals, the standard for determining such things is dropping through the floor.

*As a couple of commenters have pointed out, Richmond is likely running for Congress in 2010. My bad. Still, the point remains. A candidate for high-profile office in the New Orleans area in 2010 seems to be attempting to score points off of the traffic cameras.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Looking back on it

Teabagging day was even lamer than previously imagined.

Honestly, though, I have a mixed reaction to these (heavily funded and nationally promoted) spontaneous outbursts of right wing nuttery. On the one hand, teabagging parties are a treasure trove of unintentional humor and quaint ironies.

On the other hand, they're a frightening gauge on the degree to which delusional a-historical hate thought gets treated as a substantial portion of the national political debate.

They're almost exactly like a NOLA.com comments thread... if it was able to eat into a few minutes of John Gibson's vacation time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rouse's hacking

Always check the cookie table in the bakery for "chocolate chunk" instead of "chocolate chip" You won't be disappointed.


November 30 through all of December looks rough.

Two questions

1) If Tulane were proposing to build a brand new teaching hospital in Mid-City, how much less of this would we be seeing from the so-called NOLA "preservationist" contingent?

2) If Tulane had fired a controversial figure like Ivor Van Heerden, would we be seeing this much push-back from the NOLA business media?


It's actually one of the impeachable offenses explicitly named in the constitution.

So I guess that $45,000 speaking fee from Merrill Lynch wasn’t technically a bribe because Summers wasn’t named to Obama’s Economic Transition Team until November 24 — a full twelve days later. I’m sure Summers had absolutely no inkling whatsoever that he was going to be one of the key advisers to the new administration back on November 12.

Update: Obama sez: "We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand,"

Except, that's exactly what we're doing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

If by "us" you mean them, maybe...

James Gill writing just prior to the 2002 Mayoral election (February 13, 2002) makes a shrewd remark about his own paper's enthusiasm for one of the candidates.
Race does indeed loom large in the race. Nagin would not have run first in the primary without a huge chunk of the white vote, and his late surge must have owed a lot to The Times-Picayune, which is regarded in some quarters as the voice of Uptown and the old line.

The paper not only endorsed Nagin two weeks out, but gave him an extra plug on the front page election eve.

Nagin, moreover, is against raising the minimum wage in Orleans Parish and could therefore be portrayed as the plutocrat’s choice. He is, as vice president and general manager of Cox Cable and co-owner of the Brass hockey team, quite a big cheese himself, albeit a self-made one.

After the election (March 1, 2002) Gill made a second reference to what he clearly saw as an over-the-top move on the part of the T-P editors.
The motions included an admirably thorough page-one account in this newspaper yesterday of the candidates’ professional experience and campaign pledges. Fair enough; readers deserve objective coverage, even if it is somewhat overshadowed by the legend at the top of the page that screams "Nagin for Mayor" and refers readers to the latest glowing endorsement inside.

Some readers might find this confusing, but no matter, for the election appears to be over and the newspaper has got its wish anyway.

It will be devoutly wished around here that Nagin lives up to his editorial billing, and he certainly appears to have the talent required. His campaign missteps may soon be forgotten. Now, he will have a chauffeur, and thus no need to fix traffic tickets. He will also have the services of financial advisers who really did complete the requirements for CPA certification.

But, once again, we can only wait to see if the candidate who talks the reform talk will walk the reform walk once he arrives at City Hall. Nagin is hardly the first to arrive at City Hall vowing to end patronage. Mayor Morial did the same thing eight years ago, and his friends sure will miss him when he’s gone.

So, in this weekend's column where we find James Gill literally calling Nagin an "idiot"... twice... in addition to this text,
At least we can now put to rest the theory that Nagin's judgment was sound until he was unhinged by Katrina. This (Hawaii) trip took place in 2004, when Nagin still had us fooled into thinking his administration had restored integrity after the cronyism and larceny of the Marc Morial years.

Morial is looking better these days. Not only were the feds unable to implicate him in the scandals that surrounded his administration, but he was never spotted mooching with a lei around his neck.
We wonder, specifically who the fooled "us" he's referring to is comprised of. I suppose Gill displays a bit of faux gallantry here in seeming to include himself among the "fooled". I'm not sure I'm buying it, though. Establishment media, with the T-P leading the charge, pretty much created the Nagin candidacy out of thin air in 2002. They did so because Nagin best represented the ascendant conservative, privatizing, "run gubmint like a bidness" philosophy of the paper and its publisher. But the political rallying call for this nonsense was primarily "ethics reform" which we were told Nagin would bring us because he was a "businessman" and we all know nothing is more ethicsy than a businessman.

But given Gill's prior statements which suggest he may have known better all along, I wonder if he shouldn't be applying the term "idiot" to more than just Nagin these days.

Dr. John does not call Shell a buddy

Via the The Gambit blog we find this video.

This would be the "banner we gonna be draggin'" he's referring to.

Jazzfest Presented By Shell

Sunday, April 12, 2009

They've started to sing

Thieves and beggars

As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."

At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving. Mohammed Hussein, a fisherman in the town of Marka 100km south of Mogadishu, told Reuters: "If nothing is done, there soon won't be much fish left in our coastal waters."

This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence".

No, this doesn't make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But in a telephone interview, one of the pirate leaders, Sugule Ali: "We don't consider ourselves sea bandits. We consider sea bandits [to be] those who illegally fish and dump in our seas." William Scott would understand.

Did we expect starving Somalians to stand passively on their beaches, paddling in our toxic waste, and watch us snatch their fish to eat in restaurants in London and Paris and Rome? We won't act on those crimes – the only sane solution to this problem – but when some of the fishermen responded by disrupting the transit-corridor for 20 per cent of the world's oil supply, we swiftly send in the gunboats.

Via C&L

Saturday, April 11, 2009

OK admit it

We all really want to see the Saints take one of these running backs. Yeah sure they "need" help at safety and at linebacker. But even if the players the Saints are likely targeting at those positions are still available at number 14, they all seem a little ho-hum as prospects. Besides, conventional wisdom says you can never have enough backs... and the Saints arguably don't even have one right now.

I go back and forth over which one to take though. Moreno reminds me a bit of Cadillac Williams. He's shifty and tough but not exceptionally fast and probably injury prone. Meanwhile Wells is reputed to suffer from "immaturity" but is physically more in the mold of what the Saints need right now.

Based on the comments Jeff Duncan points out here, I'd have to guess the Saints are favoring Moreno.

But I have a soft spot for athletes who march to their own drummer and I like the fact that Wells doesn't appear to be too much of a kiss-ass teacher's pet. Plus how fun would it be to have a guy named "Beanie" on the team?


There's always a guy in a jumpsuit.

Conditions were optimal for this year's CCC. At least the weather conditions were, anyway. Personally, although I had worked pretty hard at training from January through the end of March, the trip to France put an extra five to ten pounds on me that I didn't shed in time for the race. On March 21, I ran 6 miles in 46:20. Today I did the 6.2 in 51:24.

Not too embarrassing but nothing to be too proud of either. At least I beat the crap out of Coach Soupy (and the Easter Bunny as well).

Update: There's also always a guy in one of these get-ups

Money well spent

A decision had to be made. It was so intense, he had to bring in a pro.

Jindal said he has received occasional entreaties from publishers dating to 1997, long before he launched his political career. When interest picked up in recent weeks, he hired a New York agent, Glen Hartley, to sift through the offers.

"We've been getting calls from . . . multiple publishers and we finally said it would make sense to hire somebody who knows this business, knows this industry and can sort through all these publishers, " Jindal said.

And after all the complicated sorting through of "all these publishers" the professionally considered choice was... Regnery.

Funny, I thought Jindal was all about cutting out unnecessary expenditures.

Friday, April 10, 2009


It's what happens when you break the law and shred the constitution, after lying about your intentions.

At least that's what ought to happen anyway. But we are ruled by an unbreakable string of disdainful elites who can rely on us to invent phony differences between them.

I get it

It's obviously a parody. Grow a sense of humor, people. Geez

Lending his worldwide renown to White's tome is New Orleans Recovery Director Ed Blakely, who in a blurb calls the book "the most valuable tool" for cities facing natural disasters.

"FEMA is not the problem; you are, if you fail to buy this book, " the quote states.

"Worldwide renown" That's another good one.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Celebrity pages

This morning's T-P wasted most of the front page and 2,000 words to suggest that unstable yuppie councilwoman Head and her continuous crusade against poor people in New Orleans is deserving of admiration for the "blunt" style with which she delivers it.

We've been having some difficulty trying to decide whether or not Ms. Head is this generation's Jackie Clarkson or Peggy Wilson but, honestly, when I read this kind of paranoid shit,

Head's language occasionally has a razor-wire quality. She calls some among those leading the effort to recall her "poverty pimps" who exploit positions of influence in poor communities for their own purposes.

"You have to have sheep to have a shepherd, " she said. "For a poverty pimp to be able to be relevant and have power, you have to have people who don't necessarily think for themselves and who listen to their rhetoric and their hyperbole."

I lean more and more toward describing her as Glenn Beck in a skirt. I know we have a problem with institutionalized corruption in this town. But Head's classist pomposity is not the answer.

Update: I'm already getting some push back for taking the poor communicator out of context again. That was the sexy quote. But there were more subtle moments I could have concentrated on.

She obviously thinks a great deal of herself, for instance:

"Had I not won, I promise you, we would not be living in this city, " Head said. "Because it would've said everything about New Orleans if we would've re-elected the person that I defeated. There'd be no point in being here, because New Orleans really would be just smoke and mirrors."

It's a typical attitude among Head's professional, competitive type. Here it is again.

"It's hard when I'm dealing in a world where the bar is very, very low, " she said.

"It's horribly frustrating. Because I came from a place (practicing law) where things worked really, really well. And I was the one trying to keep up. And now nothing works, and it's very frustrating. . . . It's a different environment."

She's obviously very judgmental of people who don't meet her arbitrary standard. Head's pushy unsympathetic style is emblematic of the Yuppie ethic. People who support her are exactly the same sort of people who thought we needed a "head-cracking" recovery czar like Ed Blakely.

Impatient, self-absorbed megalomaniacs like Blakely and Head are the opposite of what New Orleans needs from its political leadership. But it's unsurprising to find the paper continue to celebrate her the way it does in this article.


Second time I've had to use that word in the space of a week. It's like the Bush Administration never really ended.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Là et en arrière encore

Note on my crappy French: Also considered titling this Là et ici encore. Don't know if that's right either.

Apologies in advance. This is a long and ridiculous post about a recent trip to France.... but not the one the President went on. This one happened a week before his. And, quite frankly, I wish the dude would quit following me around.

My high school French teacher was a caricature; An intolerable hippie-mom who devoted a staggering amount of class time to regaling us with the triumphant exploits of her darling and "well-rounded" son whom she had managed to send to a prestigious Ivy League college. And since the benefits of going away to a prestigious Ivy League college were a recurring theme of my French instruction, it should come as no surprise that I took an active approach to rejecting most of the other material covered along with it. And so I've always been a bit proud to say that, while I don't know much about the French I took, there are principled Ivy-hippie-hating reasons for this to be so.

And yet, as uniquely talented as I happen to be at closing my mind to the acquisition of knowledge, I have to admit that a certain degree of osmosis is inevitable. And one thing most foreign language students inevitably osmose is the idea that someday they will have occasion to visit a country where the language they study is commonly used. Your hippie French teacher is always saying things like, "When you are in Paris, you will have to..." or more accurately "When I was in Paris I... blah blah blah blah... and when my Ivy League son goes there he will... blah blah blah blah... and so when you go there, remember to..." So, I suppose after so much of this, it didn't come as a complete shock to me when the universe eventually made me go to France. (Although the universe also ended up sending me to a state school... for which I am forever grateful.)

Happily the experiences imparted to me by my intolerable hippie French teacher were not the only travel advice I received prior to my trip. There was also this from the drunken St Patick's day reveler at Fahy's who was... disproportionately excited to learn of a stranger's vacation plans. "No fucking way, man! That is awesome! Wait, dude, you know what you should do? Here's what you should do. You should totally fucking do this. You should get FUCKED UP IN PARIS! Tell me you're gonna get FUCKED UP IN PARIS, man!" I didn't promise anything but I told him I'd do my best.

I don't mean for this post to descend too far towards becoming a boring vacation slideshow. For that, you need only click here. Instead, I will pull only the following osmosed bits so that some day... when you are in Paris... you may know what to expect.

  • The drive in from the airport was something of an eye-opener. The suburbs of Paris as seen from the highway appear much as one might imagine inner city Detroit or Trenton, NJ to appear. Except a lot of people still live there. With a considerably higher amount of trash, graffiti, and soot. We drove past two separate RV encampments right on the side of the highway complete with clothes strung out to dry and open campfires. "Gypsies" according to our cab driver who was himself a recent Cambodian immigrant. (More on the gypsy issue in a bit) He talked to us for a while about increasing problems with unemployment and homelessness in Paris the signs of which were in great evidence on the drive in but almost invisible in the city center... sort of a mirror image of most American cities.

    Seeing all of this left me in an even less tolerant than usual mood to deal with Parisian pomposity on any and all matters "green". In the city proper, one finds a proliferation of highly dramatic anti-litter propaganda. Posters present a pristine environment (arctic wilderness or beachfront or such) besotted with plastic bottles and other garbage. The signs read "Unacceptable? In Paris also, then!" Having seen what is "acceptable" for Paris's less touristy poorer neighbors, one is not exactly moved by these advertisements. Instead, I kept thinking to myself how remarkable it was that the parts of Paris populated with the wealthy and the visitors managed to receive "Disneylike" sanitation services. Also, I don't know if these ubiquitous green garbage bags are designed to accommodate automated pick-up, but I do know that they practically shout at us to use PROPER VIGILANCE!


    If Veronica White had the opportunity to write something in such blunt language on the city garbage cans, what would it say? "Store it in your living room!" perhaps?

  • But it's not just the anti-litter campaign that gets steeped in this combative, pushy, over-dramatic language. We also find it on signs which should read, "Please do not feed the pigeons" but actually say, "So you like the birds? Well STOP FEEDING THEM. This causes the birds to become savage and dependent upon man!"

    And then there's the McDonald's issue.

    Aire De Jeux

    Yes, that is a very Frenchy Ronald McDonald winking at you. In Paris, McDonald's is offering (for a limited time only) a sandwich it calls the P'tit Poivre. It's more or less a Kastleburger dressed in a bland McDonaldsy mayonnaise which gets charitably labeled as a "pepper sauce". These two bites of disappointment are available for 1 Euro and 75 cents which, on the day that we tried it, converted to about 45 dollars.

    Advertisements for "Le Poivre" (as I imagine the French kids are calling it... maybe "Le P'tit"? or better "Le P-P") are all over the subway stations. In true Parisian form, the ads all come with strongly worded health advisories. "For your health, you must remember to take vigorous exercise each day" appears just below "C'est tout que j'aime" (idiomatic equivalent of "I'm lovin' it"). This combined with the hyper-green posturing demonstrates the degree to which the French mastery of cognitive dissonance rivals our own.

    And, as we know from our own experience, a society so practiced at nurturing contradictory notions can be a jittery and paranoid place. This is the only explanation I can come up with for the angry McDonald's manager who forbade me from photographing the P'tit Poivre signage in his restaurant. I had no idea it was such a closely guarded trade secret. Of course, I did manage to get the obligatory "Royal with Cheese" shot of the menu.

    Royal Cheese

    Keep in mind that 6 Euro 80 was running close to a hundred bucks this day since it was about the same time Geithner was running his mouth about this.

  • Of course, there's more to eat in Paris than just McDonald's. There is also pizza. On every block. Sometimes in multiple occurrences on the same block. We made sure to try the pizza in several locations since it was available to us at every fifth or sixth step. We decided our favorite was right down the street from our hotel at Pizza Cesar. Each pizza we tried was a quality gourmet meal with fresh ingredients none of which were pepperoni.... and many of which were egg. While we adjusted well to this aberration, we couldn't bring ourselves to eat it with a fork the way the French stubbornly insisted upon doing.

    Other food you don't need a fork for included the grilled cheese and ham crouques and enormous hot dogs available from sidewalk stands and brasseries everywhere. That and these little pancakes slathered in a nut and chocolate spread type product based clearly upon the premise that stupid American tourists will eat anything you sell them from a cart.

    Luna di Nutella

  • If you've read this far and concluded that we had no actual plan for dining while in Paris, you're not quite right. In fact, it's far worse than that. We had two plans. One plan had us exploring Paris like we would New Orleans. We would wander about the streets just letting the day take us where it would and leave ourselves open to discovering the city and its food via happy accident. The other plan had us making reservations at a restaurant some of us saw on the Anthony Bordain show one time and then fretting all day about how to get there and when to leave. And while the "planned" experience was delicious and meat-a-riffic, I much prefer Plan A.

    And with good reason since Plan A yielded some good things. Walking around Paris, we found ourselves going for the Asian food more than anything else. I had an outstanding roast duck leg at a Chinese place in the Place St Michel, a soul-warming bowl of soup at Pho 14, and... probably the best overall experience at Dip Tandoori. We actually went back to Dip a second time. It was the kind of good that makes me want to bring the people who run Nirvana up on criminal charges for providing New Orleanians with such badly outclassed Indian food.

    I'd like to say that I took the time to sample the chicken offerings of either the Chicken Corner...

    Chicken Corner

    ...or the Chicken Family

    Chicken Family

    But somehow there was just no time... or I may have been too chicken.

  • Besides the food, Paris is an easy city to do on foot. The Metro gets you anywhere you need to go. And, provided you avoid being flattened by the Parisian drivers who operate their little Renaults at idiotic speeds with little regard for even the most basic traffic laws, you can easily walk any neighborhood. What you find can be pretty interesting.

    In the Place Pigalle, in the shadow of the Moulin Rouge, one finds a wealth of porn shops like these.

    Sexy Store

    Or this one, which intriguingly features "Amateurs" on the marquee.


    A million Fred Radtkes with a million buckets of gray paint could never relieve Parisians of the wacky political/UFO signage...


    Or the graffiti that covers every available surface.


    But, by far, my favorite signs in all of Paris were the ones advertising courses in "Wall Street English" from the "Wall Street Institute" Very amusing accounts of the Institute can be found here and here. I can't say it would surprise me if your tuition Euro ends up in a Madoff account somehow.

    "Wall Street English"

    As a visitor, one is struck by the apparent "walkability" of Parisian life. There is always a pharmacy, a grocery, a bakery, a bar, a post office and seventy pizza joints within a block or two of wherever you are. The Metro is efficient and safe... even if it does smell like pee. One wonders why anyone drives anywhere at all except for the obvious joy the French seem to derive from terrorizing one another with the threat of vehicular homicide.

    Seemingly, Paris offers functional convenient urban life at its best. But as appealing as the lifestyle may appear, I get the strong impression that most of us could not afford to live in Paris. In addition to the unmistakable signs of teeming poverty on the city's outskirts, we also noted the ridiculous real estate prices advertised in agency windows all over town. The most reasonable offer was a "studio" apartment available for 120,000 Euro (call it $1.5 million that week). I don't get the point of building a "well planned" urban paradise if its benefits are available only to a select social caste. This is foremost on my mind as we await the adoption of the new Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance in New Orleans and wonder what it could mean for us... if anything at all.

  • And then there were the obligatory visits to the obligatory sites. We made most of them. The obligatory photos of the obligatory sites are available in the aforementioned boring vacation slideshow... which you are not at all obliged to view.

    But with regard to the obligatory sites, I would like to call your attention briefly to the following passage from the 2009 Frommer's guide to Paris.

    The most common menace in Paris is the plague of pickpockets and roving gangs of Gypsy children who surround you, distract you, and steal your purse or wallet. They prey on tourists around attractions such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame, and they can often strike in the Metro, sometimes blocking a victim from the escalator. A band of these young thieves can clean your pockets even while you try to fend them off. Their method is to get very close to a target, ask for a handout (sometimes) and deftly help themselves to your money or passport.

    Amongst our party, there were two competing interpretations of this text. Some of us read this and thought, "Yeah yeah. Beware of pickpockets and loose women. The guidebook publishers want to make it clear to the rubes that they are in a city, I guess." Others of us, being cop's daughters and all, took it as a warning of MYSTERIOUS DANGER at every turn and made certain that all party members secured their possessions upon entering any crowd of more than three people.

    In truth, there are indeed so-called "gypsies" (and other sorts of folk) hanging out near most of the major tourist attractions. They operate much like the "Got your shoes" guys in the Quarter. If you ignore them, you don't have to deal with them for very long. On balance, their presence is a positive as it allows one to make a string of hilarious Borat references whenever they approach. Every day brings a new opportunity to say "Do not test me, gypsy" or "I will look on your treasures, gypsy. Is this understood?" or "Perhaps we can harvest their tears to protect us from AIDS". This never ever EVER gets old. Trust me.

  • It turns out that even the most stubbornly unreceptive French students do, in fact, osmose enough of the language to get along quite well in Paris. To my great surprise, I found that I was able to make myself understood just about everywhere we went without having to resort to very many "Parlez-vous Anglias"es or even much pointing or impromptu pictionary.

    Even better, I seemed to get better at communicating with people the drunker I got. I don't know if this is because I was less embarrassed about making Frenchy sounds after a few rounds or if alcohol consumption limits my perception of my own failure. Either way, on the night that we did manage to get FUCKED UP IN PARIS, I'm pretty sure that I vomited in a foreign language for the first time in my life. I believe this is where we Americans like to say Mission Freaking Accomplished.

  • We spent a hungover afternoon in the hotel watching a show on French television hosted by the Bogdanov brothers. It contained features on the threat to public health from cell phone towers and the possibility of an asteroid-borne apocalypse. The Bogdonovs wore outfits that looked like they were cut from Hefty bags and designed for female extras on Star Trek. Fun stuff.

  • The ride out to the airport was every bit as glum and depressing as the ride in. When I noticed the words, "Le Pen for President" among the unbroken string of highway graffiti, I determined never to eat another moment's worth of superior sounding shit about the supposed backwardness of American politics. It was also during this cab ride that I resolved to never again complain about American drivers who at least appear to acknowledge the existence of concepts like "lanes" or "appropriate following distance". Trust me on this. If you think you have had cause to complain about negligent driving and have not been to France, you really need to re-think that.

    I'd like to take a second here to thank the members of our party who insisted that we arrive at Charles De Gaulle International a good 4 hours prior to our flight time. It turned out that we needed every minute of it as the French are even less effective at organizing flight check-in than they are at highway travel.

    In that vein, I would also like to take a second to thank the men and women of the American TSA who, compared to their French counterparts, are not at all thick-headed, inefficient, or dickish. I will never again feel belittled or insulted by their polite (though absurd) requests that I remove my shoes for screening.

    After having run this departure gauntlet, I have no trouble at all admitting that receiving my exit Visa was from France was a far more satisfying moment than was the entry.

Escape from France was a relief. Escape from the dramatic French was not so easy. The first leg of our return journey was a scheduled 10 hour test of endurance from Paris to Dallas. About 7 hours into the flight, our happy viewing of Kung Fu Panda was interrupted by a flight attendant uttering some embarrassing cliches over the PA.

"Code Red in the rear of the aircraft. I have a Code Red."

Maybe this says more about me than the inherent douchebaggery of organizationally mandated procedural terminology, but if my employer ever required that I refer to an event with a phrase culled from a second-rate cop drama, I might have to just quit our of general principle. I was contemplating this very problem when the flight attendant came back with a line that I KNOW I would have had to have someone else deliver for me.

"Is there a doctor on board?"

I almost needed one at that point. I still can't believe she actually said that. The absurdity would have been too much for me.

It turned out that there were actually three doctors on board who determined... presumably by impromptu medical review committee... that the passenger in need of medical attention would need further attention on the ground. Once our "emergency landing in 20 minutes" was announced, it fell upon the more frazzled and decidedly more French flight attendant to make the subsequent announcements. I found this very entertaining.

HEAVY FRENCH ACCENT: "You know... people are asking me... 'Where are we landing?'... and I.... I don't want to do too much of bothering them in the cockpit because... you know... they are very busy right now but... we ... we are landing at an airport. That's all I know right now."

TEN MINUTES LATER: "Okay you know.... so I am hearing now we are going to land in Montreal... and usually okay this is what happens. The doctor comes on board to look at the... this gentleman and then... if he has to go then they get the paramedics... and okay the paramedics come and get the gentleman and... the whole thing probably about 20 30 minutes, maybe."

TWENTY MINUTES LATER ON THE GROUND: "Okay so now... we uh... I think now because you know... we reported that there was blood involved... that now the Canadian Health Minister is not letting the doctor come onto the plane until... you know... we get the all clear so we are... we wait for the Canadian Health Minister to come and look to see if it's okay"


TEN MINUTES LATER, THE DOCTOR BOARDS. A FEW MINUTES AFTER THAT: "So we are... Okay so they have told us that we will open the back doors of the airplane... you know like when we do to get the food on board... so that the paramedics can come and get the gentleman and to take him out from the plane.. So you know please not to block the aisle for the paramedics."

PROBABLY ABOUT A HALF AN HOUR LATER: "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for your patience. They now say to us that we have been approved to leave Canada. It will be maybe another five minutes so we can push away... and ... okay so we have to show you the safety video again now."

SAFETY VIDEO PLAYS. PLANE DOES NOT MOVE. A FEW MINUTES LATER: "Ladies and gentlemen... they are... we have... they say to us now that we... because of the blood we cannot leave until the blood can be cleaned and taken away from the airplane. And so they are coming to do this... and so we wait for them."


And so it was that, after many hours of delay added to an inhumanly long trans-Atlantic flight, we arrived in Dallas. We missed our connection and so had to wait another three hours before catching a late flight home. But man was I happy to be back in the U.S. even if it was Texas. Actually Texas was the perfect antidote to the cramped spaces of Paris. After a week of Peugeots, Renaults, tiny sidewalks, and communal dining tables, it was a luxury just to be in an airport terminal with widely-spaced extra-large bucket seats. We enjoyed a celebratory repast from the DFW International Taco Bell.

And though our surroundings were back to normal size, I think my world became a bit smaller as a result of this trip. And by that I mean the portion of the world in which I am potentially suited to live became smaller. This visit abroad demonstrates to me that there likely aren't many places in the world where I can live comfortably other than in the U.S. And, while I love my country, I've long understood that I can't live anywhere in the U.S. other than New Orleans.

But I suppose, in a roundabout way, the narrowing of one's options is sort of what this entire month has been about anyway. And besides, even if I can't stand to live most places, I am finding out that I can still get FUCKED UP just about anywhere.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The stuff nightmares are made of

Caption this


Exactly right

Count Ray Nagin among those who promised to drag City Hall out of a dark age and make it part of the vanguard. Not only would he introduce new technology to City Hall, he said, but he would also bring to bear the business acumen he had honed as manager of the local cable company.

Neither introducing new technology nor bringing in practices from the business world had to be bad. But they have proved to be bad during Nagin's administration because he failed to make his new ideas compatible with the acceptable practices of government. I write "failed," but it's probably more accurate to say that Nagin never tried.

In fact, it appears that the mayor got the chain of command exactly wrong and that instead of making business work for the government, he oversaw an administration where government became the subordinate of business people -- business people who despite an unprecedented level of access and power failed to provide the services they promised.

Add to that Nagin's apparent belief that an executive doesn't have to be open about his plans, his communications or his whereabouts and it becomes obvious that his respect for the mechanisms of government are pretty much nonexistent.

I'm pretty sure we've made this point before somewhere.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Points that get lost

Setting aside all the scheming, gaming and confused contracting practices across multiple companies owned by Muppet and cronies, let us not lose sight of the fact that naming the boat Silicon Bayou is perhaps the most singular act of high douchebaggery imaginable.

Update: Maybe they thought it up over a round of "hipsterpolitans"* at Visions.

*Still trying to name this drink properly. So far I much prefer "hipsterpolitan" to "crabsinthe"

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Not to pick nits or anything

But someone should point out to CityBiz (or the wire service they pull this story from) that Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. Actual Democrats don't give a shit about providing Americans with access to health care unless it continues to enrich goulish insurance companies.

Cao's Conscience

This has been another exciting episode of Cao's Conscience.


One word that comes to mind, anyway.

Here, go read FDL. I think the obvious problem is that Obama just isn't very committed to protecting working class Americans from the upper class villains with whom he has more in common. He's still HOPEing that his friends aren't really as evil as they really are.

I hate to borrow lines from my crazy father but I remember him saying that the 2008 Presidential campaign taught us two things. 1) No one raised in an upper class family in Hawaii can be expected to take most of us very seriously. And 2) anyone who voluntarily moves to Alaska is fucking retarded.

Update: To put this another way, standing between a pitchfork and its intended target merits a good poking.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


As many of you know, today/yesterday (whichever... both) is FYYFF day. I've seen some discussion elsewhere of having the day officially declared such and am all for it.

The thing to do, I suppose, would be to pick out a particular FF to send a special FY to in order to mark the occasion. In which case, I call Adam Nossiter. Seems an appropriate send-off.

Ya think?

WWL: Lawmakers unhappy with Saints payment
Lawmakers will make a final decision on the funding, and members of the House Appropriations Committee said Wednesday that it's difficult to justify that spending while making cuts to education and health care programs.
But rejecting the stimulus money was such a "principled, conservative" move.

Anyway, we all kind of expect the Legislature to take out some frustrations on an increasingly vulnerable Jindal. But it would suck if the Saints end up as a casualty.

Deep thought

Austin Badon is to cell phones as Derrick Shepherd is to asscracks.

It's kind of a crappy looking website anyway

But I do love a good puzzle
WDSU talked with the designer of a Web site called Nagins-Last-Day.com. He didn't want to be identified.

"City hall is broken," the designer said. "It's not working."

The former cable comedy short writer turned local businessman said it's inescapable.

"The last three or four months, every dinner party, every outing, it's always, 'What about Nagin? What's wrong with him? Why is City Hall not working?'"

So... anyone want to guess about the identity of this mysterious former writer turned "local businessman" who seems to be on some sort of "dinner party" circuit?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I didn't want my first post after vacation to be about something so crappy

But I've been getting caught up on the last week's NOLA drama (one week in this town generates enough nutty news to fill 5 years of newsprint most places) and the first thing I'd like to point out is below. I promise a French-bashing vacation re-cap to come in the following few days.

In this post, Eli does an outstanding job of reviewing NOPD's early 90s nadir of corruption and violence and the imperfect but substantial improvements brought about by a more aggressive engagement with municipal police management from the Clinton administration and the reforms instituted by NOPD chief Richard Pennington.

The post then traces the record of current NOPD chief Warren Riley's involvement in ignoring (or possibly attempting to cover up) one of the uglier episodes of the police atrocity during that era. Currently, Chief Riley is seeking to block public access to PIB records involving himself and officers involved in the recent police shooting of Adolph Grimes.

In a reaction to that post, Clay comments
Warren Riley/Eddie Compass/Ray Nagin have supervised the demise of what was once a model police force and its replacement with it's national-nightmare predecessor. The thing is, the people that should be the most afraid of this is the cops themselves. I'm betting it's 6 months until you get another Antoinette Franks (cop that kills another cop).

I'll end with a quote from when Pennington lost after losing to Nagin in 2002:

"Pennington professed to have information abut Nagin that ‘sickened him to the core’, without specifying its nature."
That Pennington quote was one of the two most memorable moments of the 2002 campaign for me. (The other was Pennington's "Fix these raggedy streets" TV ad.) It is essential to note that, at the time Pennington made that remark, he was loudly criticized by the local press as a grandstanding buffoon. The quote played so poorly with the media that Pennington decided the take the Al Gore route and just let the matter drop rather than continue to be painted as desperate or as a sore loser.

It's really remarkable. Here we had a respected and successful police chief hinting that he knew something about his opponent (and possibly his opponent's associates in law enforcement) which he found "sickening" and no one thought to take him even remotely seriously. Why is that?

Simply put, at the time, the T-P narrative held that their endorsed candidate Nagin was too much of a "reformer" who "understands business" to be possibly conceived of as connected to anything potentially corrupt or incompetent. The man ran the cable company for chrissakes. (According to the T-P this also meant the he and his "whiz kid" friends understood technology. Yes, James Gill actually used to unironically refer to Greg Meffert as a "whiz kid")

Major media outlets in New Orleans associated Pennington's candidacy with their perpetual archnemesis, outgoing mayor Marc Morial.* They were far too gleeful about Slaying the Dragon and replacing Morial with a "businessman" to do any serious critical thinking about what Pennington's dark statement might have meant.

So when I read here that Nagin characterizes the T-P as "The worst" or WWLTV as "Has changed" I'm not technically inclined to disagree with those statements. But I still think he should acknowledge that his political career still owes both of those organizations a continual debt of gratitude.

*The degree to which this perception was accurate is highly disputable. Pennington served as Police Chief during Morial's administration but, as others have repeatedly pointed out, the continuity between the Morial and Nagin administrations is far more substantial than this superficial media narrative suggested.