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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Name this tree

There's this tree on Prytania Street in the Garden District which I pass practically every day.

DSCN5213

It blooms at about this time every year with these bright yellow... um... seed vehicles which dangle from the leaves and create this really pretty spouting effect.

DSCN5214

Pollenating tree

This is the only one of these trees I know of around here. Each year I tell myself I'm going to find out what it is but never get around to asking anyone. Does anybody have any idea?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Think of it as spicy, porky arugula

But.... seriously? I think it's probablysome sort of poorly conceived and third-hand reported joke but it does read like a passage from an Onion article... which I am throwing in because I wanted to use the word onion here.

Deep thought

I wonder if Clarence Thomas ever threatened to "empathize right on" Anita Hill's behind... so to speak.

Random Book-related items

  • A few years ago (back in the fading pre-flood times) a colleague of mine and I were enduring a particularly heavy day on the circulation desk. During one short moment of quiet where we tried to make up for lost time checking in a large pile of returned items, my partner stopped, took a breath, looked over at me and sighed, "I hate books." Still cracks me up to this day.

  • It was also about that time that the daily bookdrop became fodder for a running blog item I used to call "Awful Book of the Morning" I am reminded of that feature due to my recent discovery of the "Awful Library Books" blog.

  • Former Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks enjoyed a short career as a Literacy Advocate which he later parlayed into Children's Author. One year, Brooks held a press conference at the (now destroyed) East New Orleans library to announce the start of his "Read to Pass" program. After the event, a discarded page of notes was discovered which had been prepared for Brooks by one of his handlers. It was full of sympathetic words of encouragement along the lines of, "I know you hate this but it's good for your image," and so forth. Copies were made and distributed amongst the staff to keep as souvenirs. His book, Rise Above features a photograph of the back of the head of the colleague of mine who once claimed to "hate books."

  • Ray Nagin once gave a short speech to a group of middle-school children whom he applauded for being in the library as opposed to "shooting each other in the head, neck and shoulders." It was interesting that the Mayor chose to specify areas of the body which were not being shot that day.

  • Today, while reading the The Gambit blog, I discovered that popular entertainer, and now author, Kanye West is, himself, "not a fan of books."

  • In a related matter, recovery expert Veronica White will be signing How to Maximize FEMA Funding After a Natural Disaster tomorrow at Dillard University. Click here for details.



Update: I completely missed this Len Paquarelli column on Brooks who, although out of football, is apparently still participating in his literacy program.

Vitterwatch

In yesterday's post, I alluded to some of Sen. Vitty's recent stunts intended to bolster his right-wing opposition cred. He's leading the next round of Louisiana teabagging parties scheduled for July 4. He placed a "hold" on Obama's FEMA appointee Craig Fugate for reasons that remain unclear beyond just getting his name above the fold. Right now, I'm thinking Vitter is the leading GOP candidate to mount a quixotic filibuster of Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. It would be another opportunity for Vitter to pretend like he's standing up to the President AND appear even nuttier than Jeff Sessions. It seems like a no-brainer move for Vitter as his reelection bid draws nearer... and as long as something requires no brain... well it seems like it's just Vitty's thing.

What I want to know is where can I get some freaking action on this?

Look, kids, lay off of Poochie for a while

He probably just accidentally drank his date's rohiptnol-laced cocktail or something. I'm sure we've all been there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thought from a cranky old man

I realize we're long past the point where every aspect of our formerly private lives becomes mere fodder for use in selling crap to us... but sometimes I'm still astonished at the speed with which it all happened. Not too very long ago, something like this would have been seen as obviously evil on multiple levels; an invasion of private space, an abomination against the concept of human individuality, a corruption of the sport of basketball. Now, it's just the hip thing everyone wants to be a part of.

But I am a cranky old man, I guess.

Fielkow the anti-Stormy

Check out Adrastos's airing out the new Arnie Fielkow for Senate rumor. Apart from the amusing thought of watching these two men attempt to out-lisp one another in debate, I think this is a horrible idea for two specific reasons.

1) Even if he had anything approaching Vitter's money (which he doesn't and won't), Fielkow has no chance ever ever ever to win a statewide race against David Vitter. Vitty sits comfortably on the sweet spot of the Louisiana political pulse while Fielkow's position is something like a blood-starved necrotic wart. Vitter is an incumbent Senator with strong wingnut flag-waving cred, and a growing reputation in the anti-whatever-the-Obama-Administration-wants-at-the-moment teabag movement. Arnie is a stilted and soft-spoken moderate (which will play as EXTREMELY LIBERAL in a statewide race) midwesterner with a political base confined to the whiter precincts of Orleans parish who was recently in the news speaking against a recently passed anti-gay adoption law.

2) It's boring. Fielkow is boring. How am I supposed to get interested in watching David Vitter beat the crap out of somebody if I can't at least draw some reassurance from the expectation that it will be funny? Last week, Greg Peters excoriated the LA Democratic Party for its pathetic display of substituting a proxy stunt candidacy of a porn star for an actual strategy. Greg writes

This is what the Louisiana Democratic party as come to: freelance operatives running joke candidates because the party itself can’t come up with a credible opponent. This will get lot of press, and some jokes on Letterman, and everyone will have a good laugh, and the hugely conservative voting base of Louisiana will be turned off by the mockery and the constant exhortations of “hypocrisy” coming from a party that can’t field a candidate or organize a campaign, and the voters will rally around the values flag for a massive FUCK YOU vote and Vitter will crush you in the jungle primary. And there we’ll all be, stuck with that obstructionist, outdated asshole for another six years. But hey, we ran a porn star! SNUK SNERT!


And I largely agree with that. But throwing Arnie out there looks very much like the opposite side of the same coin. Instead of working on finding viable candidates, or making a reality-based argument to the voters, LA Dems are desperately trying to find a way to use Vitter's well-publicized prostitution problems against him. Having second thoughts about the efficacy of using Stormy Daniels to draw a "pointed contrast" of Vitter's "serious sin" with his "family values" platform, the squirrels are hunting after the same nut only this time using a squeaky clean anti-Stormy to remind voters of Vitter's faults. You can see them sitting around trying to brainstorm this. "I know! We'll run a porn star!" A few minutes of chuckling... and then, "Or wait what if we run Mr. Rogers?" It's a fool's gambit and a guaranteed failure.

Meanwhile, the rest of us have to suffer from a profound lack of entertainment. Oh well... maybe Nagin will run.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Well if it makes Dickie Brennan happy....

There's probably something very very wrong
"Probably the biggest hesitation over the years development-wise has been the crime and what takes place in that (the Iberville housing) development with high density," said Brennan. "So to redevelop it, I think is tremendous. It is going to bring a lot of potential, great things for all of us."


Because, as we've seen over the past two years, demolishing public housing has really helped reduce the crime in this city. Who could possibly argue with that?

This is not to say that Iberville doesn't need attention but that particular spot of land has been under the watchful eyes of developers for ages and ages. Marc Morial wanted to move City Hall there, Tom Benson wanted to build a stadium on it, and (perhaps most comically) Virginia Boulet wanted to move UNO to that neighborhood because "cool cities have universities downtown" (but mostly because she wanted to build condos on the lakefront). So yeah, as Brennan says, it's a piece of property that "is going to bring a lot of potential" It has for quite some time.

The most under-utilized web tool in history

Punditbook

I mean, here we are less than two weeks out from go time and at least somebody is doing some handicapping... but I really think we should find a way to monetize this somehow. You know to make it interesting.

Edit: And I'm not talking about some off-shore scam either. I want New Orleanians seeking to make a bit of sport out of life-and-death issues to be able to buy local, dammit.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fat guys running around in shorts

NFL offseason workouts: When football players and coaches come together to talk nonsense.

"They’ve been flying around,” Payton said of his defense. Brees added that the defense was “building a swagger”.


Flying around and building a swagger. What the hell does that even mean? Didn't we just acknowledge that Ed Blakely is leaving? No need to speak in gibberish anymore.

Ed Blakely declares victory

Link!

He's really proud that we have a World War II museum and a new hotel which is the same hotel that we used to have under a new (but old) name. Meanwhile he says that we'd better make sure we rebuild our water and sewer systems... and maybe some housing or something.

Oh and it's "hugely important" that we think about putting a hospital in New Orleans East at some point and, gee, Michoud might make a neat technology-ish tourist attraction... and uh... yeah we'll get right on that.

Bye, now.

Ray Nagin's Complacent Citizenry

I hadn't planned to have much to say today about last night's Nagin show. But since, the Mayor took the opportunity to marginalize his critics with a Nixonian appeal to the "silent majority", I thought we'd take a closer look at that claim.
One of the biggest challenges to our rebuilding together is that there is a whole lot of negative noise in our community. Not everyone, but a segment that is very skilled at getting their opinions and perspectives in the public domain. They dominate the news, the blogs, and talk radio. They are the people on the fringes - the 10% on the far right and 10% on the far left. They most often are heard above the remaining 80%, the rest of us who don't subscribe to their very narrow ways of thinking. But the voices in the middle, the reasonable ones, get drowned out by the extreme distortionists.


If the Nixon reference isn't working for you and you want something a bit more up to date, go ahead and cue up the Glenn Beck "We surround them" tape if you like. It's the same maneuver and we'll come to its meaning in just a minute.

But first, I really must take issue with the Mayor's sloppy terminology. The entire concept of a "right" and a "left" makes very little sense in the context of New Orleans politics. There are numerous small organizations, concerns, and loosely based centers of power that affect the local political landscape but they tend to center around family or business associations or other arcane specific interests. One thing we can say for certain is that none of them are rooted in an easily defined ideology. The Mayor adds to this distortion by pulling some percentages directly from his ass and applying them to his imaginary archetypes. But the Mayor isn't really offering us a political analysis, he's just using alternate terminology to disparage what most of us recognize as an engaged citizenry.

In much the same way his administration has discouraged citizens from emailing their elected representatives through hostility toward the privacy rights of individuals who do so, Nagin is further frowning upon citizen involvement in municipal affairs by labeling as "extreme" anyone who takes a more than casual interest in following and commenting on the goings on.

For a Mayor elected in 2002 on a platform of bringing more transparency and interactivity to government, the message he is leaving us with in his final year is really quite remarkable. At the end of his term we find ourselves in a situation where citizens are warned that they contact their elected officials at their own risk and that the small percentage who follow and engage with the news are "extreme distortionists."

After 8 years, it seems that Mayor Transparency now prefers a city in which 80% of the populous quietly and complacently sits aside while waiting for its "Atlanta moment" (whatever that means). Just last year, Nagin's former aide and then congressional candidate Kenya Smith told a room full of people he was "outraged" at the high level of "citizen complacency" in New Orleans. Until now I didn't realize the philosophical divide in place between Smith and his former boss. It's only the phony numbers, they still seem to agree on.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Only one year of Ray Nagin left to kick around

These opportunities for harvesting new bon mots from the Mayor are quickly slipping away from us. You will miss them when they're gone.

Question

What is it about Stacy Head that inspires such unseemly misuse of punctuation and capitalization in both the councilor herself and in her opponents?

Recall Stacy Head!!!

Transparency lets the light in on you too

Although I've been writing about this from the perspective of someone who is (perhaps overly) gleeful to see Stacy Head embarrassed, I actually agree with David's concerns here.

The idea that private citizens who contact their public servants with their concerns automatically expose themselves to the same sort of scrutiny we apply to the public officials themselves is not only absurd on its face but is a nifty way of intimidating people into disengaging from the process altogether. Ms Head has already observed that she is receiving significantly fewer emails from the public these days. And at the risk of appearing to say something half-way nice about her, it is clear that she at least demonstrates concern with her ability to respond to such requests while Tracie Washington seems to be telling the public that they initiate them at their own risk.

This shouldn't be so difficult a thing to sort out. It was the point we tried to make last week when confronted with Joe Longo's ridiculous assumption that we should treat the random musings of a local blogger the same way we would Head's email record. The private life is not dead as David has Ms Washington suggest. But it is in need of more careful protection and certainly deserves better than to become a tool of disruption for shielding public officials from their constituents.

I love Louisiana

Because rule by lazy incompetents and scoundrels sometimes has its advantages.
Tucker called for a vote on the bill. As members pushed their buttons and the voting board lit up, Tucker turned to one of the House aids and asked, "What does the amendment do?" The aid appeared to shrug her shoulders. Next the Speaker looked down and saw the vote, 99-0 in favor, and announced that the bill had passed.

A few minutes later the House adjourned for the day, with most members oblivious to what had just happened.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stupid Headlines Dept

C'mon, CityBiz. Really?

Personally I would have gone with "New Orleans Superbowl no longer just for prostitutes" but I realize it's a matter of taste.

Stacy Head's "respectable Republican cloth coat"

Adrastos is very funny; very astute as usual.

Les Miles finally does something right

LSU's Miles speaks against guns on campus

10:45 AM CDT on Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU football coach Les Miles has taken sides in a political fire fight, speaking against legislation that would overturn the university's ban on guns.


This morning, WWL radio reported that "some" believe "football coaches should stay out of politics." I disagree. In fact, I have long argued that head football coach should be a publicly elected office.

Update: My new favorite blogger, Jan Moller writes in the Legislative rundown:
The guns-on-campus bill is now drawing opposition from LSU football coach Les Miles, who understandably doesn't want armed men running around his campus after his team's disappointing 8-5 finish last season.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stop me if you've heard this one before

In New Orleans, we have four seasons. They are (1) Carnival (2) Festival (3) Hurricane and (4) Football.

Ha!

Except I really hate when they overlap like this.

Nobody really blogs anymore anyway

From Jan Moller's legislative session rundown:
• Political blogging is the wave of the future, political bloggers say.


The link is to a Monroe News-Star profile on Louisiana political blogs which reads like another one of those "Gee whiz the kids and their internets" stories we thought we'd seen the bulk of five or six years ago. My favorite line:

While the blogs may differ slightly in the way they frame issues, almost all of the state's prominent blogs lean to the right of the political spectrum.
I did not know that.

Also, while Moller's remark seems a bit skeptical... although Moller seems to read The Old River Road way more often than I ever have.... I sort of agree with the sentiment. As more internet users spend their link-sharing time on Facebook, as net neutrality reform threatens to make some sites less accessible, and as the amount of news content made available for people to share for free continues to shrink, I'd say that political blogging (at least of the "democratization of information" sort described in this article) is more the wave of the past.

Flashbacks

A few weeks out from yet another hurricane season, we're remembering what it was like to wonder just what the hell was keeping the bulk of the cavalry from arriving until after Day 5. Last June, we got a look at what Karl Rove was up to that week. This year, it's Rummy's turn.
The next day, three days after landfall, word of disorder in New Orleans had reached a fever pitch. According to sources familiar with the conversation, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff called Rumsfeld that morning and said, “You’re going to need several thousand troops.”

“Well, I disagree,” said the SecDef. “And I’m going to tell the president we don’t need any more than the National Guard.”

The problem was that the Guard deployment (which would eventually reach 15,000 troops) had not arrived—at least not in sufficient numbers, and not where it needed to be. And though much of the chaos was being overstated by the media, the very suggestion of a state of anarchy was enough to dissuade other relief workers from entering the city. Having only recently come to grips with the roiling disaster, Bush convened a meeting in the Situation Room on Friday morning. According to several who were present, the president was agitated. Turning to the man seated at his immediate left, Bush barked, “Rumsfeld, what the hell is going on there? Are you watching what’s on television? Is that the United States of America or some Third World nation I’m watching? What the hell are you doing?”

Rumsfeld replied by trotting out the ongoing National Guard deployments and suggesting that sending active-duty troops would create “unity of command” issues. Visibly impatient, Bush turned away from Rumsfeld and began to direct his inquiries at Lieutenant General HonorĂ© on the video screen. “From then on, it was a Bush-HonorĂ© dialogue,” remembers another participant. “The president cut Rumsfeld to pieces. I just wish it had happened earlier in the week.”

But still the troops hadn’t arrived. And by Saturday morning, says HonorĂ©, “we had dispersed all of these people across Louisiana. So we needed more troops to go to distribution centers, feed people, and maintain traffic.” That morning Bush convened yet another meeting in the Situation Room. Chertoff was emphatic. “Mr. President,” he said, “if we’re not going to begin to get these troops, we’re not going to be able to get the job done.”

Rumsfeld could see the writing on the wall and had come prepared with a deployment plan in hand. Still, he did not volunteer it. Only when Bush ordered, “Don, do it,” did he acquiesce and send in the troops—a full five days after landfall.
I must say I fully endorse this strategy of retelling the story from a new player's perspective each summer. It really keeps the brand out there, so to speak. I'm hoping that when they get around to Nagin, they'll break "the book" up into two volumes for maximum effect. It'll be like turning Harry Potter 7 into two separate movies. Pure marketing gold.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Joe Longo's "warning to us all"

In a guest column for today's T-P, Nolafugees.com editor Joe Longo asks us all to "Think that you might be wrong" ... or something since "the digital age" has suddenly laid bare our "electronically cataloged" "narcissistic malevolence" if I'm using those quotations in the correct spirit. (He also made certain to mention the buzzwords "Facebook" and "Twitter" within the space of his column which I thought was a nice touch.) Longo is expressing a seemingly noble sentiment. But what he's really doing is dampening the discourse with a mushy kind of thinking which ignores obvious distinctions of context in the interest of everybody getting along.

Longo's main trick is to compare Stacy Head's widely-discussed "Wal-Mart" email with a Salon.com blog entry by local art gallery employee Leeandra Nolting elegantly entitled, A Guide to the Douchebags Who Come Into My Gallery That's right. We're reading someone start with the ridiculous assumption that the statements of a public official are weighted equally with those of some art-chick's blog entries and then run with that. It is Longo's assertion that the two literary works in question are guilty of the same sort of "venomous thoughts about other people" which overrides and nullifies all other context of the authors' differing stations, class, or subject matter. Longo, in fact, goes out of his way to make this exact point.
What is interesting to observe about Head and Nolting is the way the class conflict element informs their prose. Head, an earnest gentrifier, can't get her mind around why poor people make lousy nutritional choices. Her sarcastic (one assumes) declaration that she will vote for "that freak" John McCain in the upcoming election reveals a liberal sensibility under strain, a mindset even the most empathetic New Orleanians have had to confront within themselves.

As for Nolting, art gallery prole, presumably just getting by on her meager hourly while she dreams of becoming Sarah Vowell once the larger world comes around and appreciates her cutting wit, the resentment comes from below.

Regardless of whether the anger that fueled the writing was righteous or mean-spirited, the fact is that these two locally grown electronic me-centered missives should serve as a warning to all of us.


What seems like an elevated appeal to our better angels of decorum is really a lazy attempt to gloss over facts in the interest of preserving niceties to the ultimate detriment of meaningful debate. Here is what Longo is telling us. He's saying that it doesn't matter that Head is an "earnest gentrifier" who has selected to place herself in a position of civic leadership the same way it doesn't matter that Nolting is a private citizen who appears to hold a customer service position which demands that she accept a tacitly subservient role to all manner of brutish personage on a daily basis. But it does matter. It makes all the difference in the world.

Head's public leadership position subjects her words to an entirely different sort of scrutiny than what we expect to fall upon Nolting's opinions. To those of us who read these pieces in their proper context, they tell us very different things. Head's tells us that an elected councilperson harbors irrational hatred toward citizens who receive public assistance. Nolting's tells us that an underemployed young woman feels a bit angsty when subjected to the endless parade of douchebags (and yes that term is quite apt) which makes a progress through the city's tourist-infested neighborhoods. However, according to Joe Longo, none of this matters so much as the fact that the tone of each work is a bit too dark. (This, incidentally, is a surprising criticism coming from the editor of Nolafugees.com but there it is.)

What, by the way, is this "warning to all of us" contained within this tale? In concluding his little fantasy, Longo needs to pull our heartstrings once again and goes immediately for the most sensitive one

Summer is approaching, and those of us who stick around will eventually get on one another's nerves. Then, odds are, in a few months we'll all be stuck in traffic together dodging a hurricane.

Then when we come back, we'll have mayoral and City Council elections to contend with, where the candidates will fan the flames of our rage toward whatever "them" we blame the sad state of the city on.

The last thing we need is a digital catalogue of our resentful selves.
So to sum up, Longo is warning us against the dangers of open discussion about petty things now so that when the time comes to sort out something important like another hurricane snafu, we'll know not to question each other then either. But at least no one will say anything mean.

Update: Since her post was mentioned in this morning's paper... and likely in response to the discussion in her comment thread (although the overwhelming majority of the comments are positive), Ms. Nolting has been intimidated into appending a "disclaimer" to the beginning of her post in which she sort of apologizes to the "99% of people who walk in the door to the gallery" who are "certainly NOT" douchebags. This is unfortunate and, frankly, ruins the artistry of the entire post for me.

Upperdate: On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed Ms Nolting's response in the NOLA.com comments to Longo's op-ed.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Keeping it classy

I... um... er... what Celcus said.

Even the T-P editorial board gets it

Some people object to the perceived motives of attorney Tracie Washington, who sought the council e-mails. New Orleanians may have different reactions to the e-mails' contents and to Ms. Washington. But there should be no debate about whether the records ought to be publicly released. Louisiana law gives anyone the right to see the council's e-mails without giving a reason -- and that makes the motivation for a request irrelevant.


Link

Suggestion

To any and all individuals, "activist attorneys", or news organizations in possession of additional Stacy Head emails. If you could agree to make all future releases of these documents happen via Twitter, I would be forever grateful.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stacy Head writes a NOLA.com comment

It's like I've been saying. Stacy Head is this generation's Peggy Wilson.

I've been listening to talk radio all morning and it truly is striking to listen to callers and hosts vehemently defend Head's "Wal-Mart" email. The apologists seem to be adhering mostly to a chickenshit defense which holds that we shouldn't be discussing the details of Ms. Head's supposedly personal email missives. Leaving aside the point that none of these folk have stood for a similar chickenshit defense of the Mayor's innumerable offensive/idiotic off-the-cuff statements, one wonders why Ms. Head doesn't have the common sense to keep her personal commentary off of her professional email system. Most of us, I'm sure, can and have generated our share of misspelled and poorly grammared irreverent humor via personal email, Facebook, blogs, whatever. I daresay most of us understand the value of keeping that sort of thing out of our professional communications.... or at least keeping what humor appears there relatively tasteful. So, no, I don't think we can say that these communications are off-limits.

Having taken pains to explain why we are allowed to discuss this public document we ask, what does this email tell us? The one which reads:

Pisses me off 100 percent of the time. I have been shopping carefully, looking at the per serving cost of all items. This chick in front of me is buying pre made croissant and egg, canned soups, solft driinks, pre made beef pattie (who eats that???), pre made RICE KRISPYs!!! Precut sweet potatos (didn't know those existed) and is payong with a food stamp card. I am voting for the freak mccain and his trash bag vp. I am sick of it.


It tells us that Stacy Head is exactly what we've always suspected she is. She is a perfect representative of the mean "Let's concern ourselves with what someone else might not deserve in comparison to me" mentality that typifies the paranoid white political mindset of the post-Reagan era and continues to quite accurately describe the attitude held by the majority of white New Orleans voters... be they Yuppie pseudo-liberals who live in the gentrifying city or suburban conservatives. I suppose as a house-flipping lawyer Ms. Head feels more connected to the Yuppie-lefties and this is why she is a "Democrat" City Councilperson. But if she ever decides to play martyr, move to suburbia, and jump into Jefferson Parish politics, those people will make her a Senator someday.

Now I understand that there has already been and will continue to be some discussion as to whether or not Head's petty class hatred needs to be classified as explicitly racist. I think it can be but is equally offensive regardless. It was reported on WWL radio (albeit by the fact-averse Bob Delgiorno) that Head or someone speaking for her claims that the shopper in question was a white person. (Or as the T-P might print it, Head is white. "Chick in front of me" is white.) I don't see why it makes a difference. It still means that Head is "pissed off 100 percent of the time" at food stamp purchases she might disapprove of. Stacy feel that her accomplishments in the field of "shopping carefully" entitle her to being "pissed off" that someone using a food stamp card can't even make the effort to follow her example. It's the same way, one imagines, that her accomplishments in other respects place her above the "trash bag" VP candidate she is threatening to vote for in a fit of oddly misplaced outrage. And still, it strains credulity that Ms. Head would attempt to make this (tasteless) joke about voting against Obama unless the woman she was complaining about was black. Maybe she was being ironic or something... but that certainly wasn't evident from the tone of her message. But then again after reading so many countless numbers of NOLA.com comments carrying Ms. Head's sentiments, I may have lost my ability to detect the subtleties.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Congratulations. You've been rejected by FEMA

I'm still having trouble understanding how less money for our hospital is going to get us a hospital faster.

Update: This morning, Puddinhead left a comment below a previous post on this topic which read, in part,

The role of Tulane in attempting to muddy the waters to it's own benefit has become more publicly understood, but I will be very surprised if before all is settled another "powerful interest" isn't revealed to have a behind the scenes hand in attempts to scuttle the entire project to replace the teaching hospital in New Orleans, and their name turns out to start with "OCHS" and end with "NER". I'll become more suspicious of this if our beloved Sen. Vitter begins to take a more vocal "slow things down" position.


This afternoon, on NOLA.com, we read

Efforts to gut and restore Charity, rather than build a new facility, also are supported by some historic preservationists and community groups, as well by Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

Vitter, according to spokesman Joel DiGrado, believes that a public hospital should have already been rebuilt downtown, that LSU has delayed that far too long, that its plan is too big and expensive and that "gutting the old Charity shell and rebuilding a state-of-the-art hospital in it could save a lot of money."


Teaching hospital downtown hits a roadblock. There's Vitty right on cue to nod his approval. Funny how that works.

Rolling Tax Farms

If the recent chatter is any indication, public opinion is slowly shifting against the proliferation of municipal traffic enforcement cameras. I'm still waiting to see it emerge as a major political issue the way Oyster has been predicting, however.

Meanwhile, the practice itself appears to be expanding... and even going mobile.

METAIRIE, La. -- There's an eye in the sky that you may not know about: Cameras have now been installed on Jefferson Parish School Buses.

But one woman is fighting an expensive traffic ticket she got for allegedly passing a school bus while its stop signs were extended.

Casey Gonzalez received the ticket in the mail on March 31, for "passing a school bus while the stop arm was engaged." The back of the ticket directed her to a Web site called www.alertbus.com.

When she typed in the citation number and driver's license number, she saw footage of the infraction from four different angles, all shot from a Jefferson Parish School Bus.

That's when Gonzalez realized when the video was shot.

"January 22nd, about 3 p.m. I was on my way to an appointment on the east bank," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez claimed she never saw the bus, but the fine on the ticket sure stood out to her.

"Never did I imagine it was going to be $400. That's like a car note," she said. "There is an early pay discount. I think it's $300 if you pay within 30 days of the citation, but we received it in the mail 60 days after it happened."


We already know the decision to take to the roads these days is increasingly laden with potential for unpleasant encounters with the law enforcement infrastructure (human or otherwise). But, increasingly, this is becoming about more than just law enforcement. It's also a booming business.

WDSU went online and found out the Alert Bus program is run by a locally owned company called OnGo Live. According to its Web site, the company "specializes in the custom installation of portable security technology, providing continuous real-time live audio and video transmission."

The owners wouldn't talk with WDSU, instead referring to the Jefferson Parish School Board, which hired them.

"We've had a couple of close calls where students had been hit -- not severely injured, but we just saw a pattern, that was starting to increase," said school spokesman Jeff Nowakowski. "And we said there's got to be another way to keep the kids safe."

Nowakowski said cameras have been inside school buses for years, but this new system is better because it's wireless and live.

Of the 222 school buses in Jefferson Parish, only 12 percent have these traffic cameras. And since they were originally installed in March 2008, 1,275 tickets have been sent out.

Sixty percent of the revenue goes to OnGo Live, 20 percent goes to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department and 20 percent goes to Jefferson Parish schools.


Another time we'll have to have a conversation about whatever it is in WDSU's style guide that prefers "WDSU went online and found out" to "WDSU has learned" or even "According to (WEBSITE X).." but back to the matter at hand.

60 percent of fees collected by training cameras on citizens, is going directly to something called OnGo Live and its chairman Robert C. Leonard. Can anyone "go online" and find out more about these rolling tax farmers?

Excellence in Recovery Bookshelf

Stephanie Grace's column this morning attempts to trace what she sees as similarities between New Orleans's buffoonish Mayor and its buffoonologist outgoing Recovery Czar. There's some fun to be had there but, as I have said for some time now, the proper analog for Ray Nagin is George W Bush.

Besides, Grace's column overlooks one crucial commonality between her subjects. Each one is an aspiring author. Blakely has been talking openly about the his plans to share his part-time experiences in New Orleans with a publishing house for some time now. And similarly City Hall watchers are familiar with the repeated references to "the book" emanating from Nagin staffers.

In anticipation of these forthcoming works... and in the interest of preserving any and all "lessons learned" from our time without the cranes... I'm setting aside a special place in my home to display the Excellence in Recovery Collection. It would be a single bookshelf holding copies of Nagin's and Blakely's works along with How to Maximize FEMA Funding After a Natural Disaster by Veronica White and of course multiple copies of One Dead in the Attic (whose author, I should mention, is comparing Nagin to Paris Hilton in his most recent column; the latest effort in his quest to shoehorn our understanding of the world into the idiom of tired celebrity gossip).

I'm moving some things around so that I can raise the bookshelf above base flood elevation. Ideally I'd like to have it set atop a framed "Recovery in Progress" sign but I haven't decided which one I'd most like to steal. Also, does anyone have an extra Bernardo award or two laying around? I'm looking for an appropriately insubstantial bookend.

Monday, May 11, 2009

24 out of 32

SI's Peter King ranks all 32 NFL teams as they stand in his mind after the draft.

24. New Orleans
No team with Drew Brees will ever be awful, particularly in a division without an almighty power. The Saints will win two or three 40-31-type of games. But unless Gregg Williams can find a better-than-average pass-rush by maneuvering some average chess pieces -- and unless Jonathan Vilma plays like Superman, and Jabari Greer and Malcolm Jenkins cover like Deion -- this defense is not going to be good enough to win eight games.


That's sort of what I'm thinking at this point. Although I'm more worried about how the Saints' gimmicky offense will look without even the possibility of a power running game available. At least there are no trophies to bury this offseason.

Also worth noting from King's column. He ranks Atlanta 11, Carolina 18, and Tampa 26... which seems about right.

Next they're going to outlaw walking

Four glasses of wine at dinner is likely to put you over the legal blood alcohol limit to operate a motor vehicle in the Sate of Louisiana.

The Legislature wants to make it harder for me to refuse a breathalyzer if I'm driving home after four glasses of wine at dinner.

Meanwhile, BSJD says the police ought to stop me even if I'm riding my bike home.

Probably best to just stay home... preferably under something. That doesn't constitute probable cause yet, does it?

Campaign 2010

Mayoral candidate makes a big deal out of re-wording an already unenforceable City Council resolution, not to make it enforceable, but rather just to say that he really really wishes it could be. While it would be sort of fun to watch the same candidate subsequently ignore the unenforceable resolution as Mayor, it's also probably a good thing that he won't get that chance.

Big Shiny Parking Lots

Otherwise known as "Phase II"

BATON ROUGE -- Architects recently unveiled renderings for the teaching hospital that Louisiana State University System executives and state facilities managers have envisioned for lower Mid-City since before Hurricane Katrina.

The three concepts vary, but all depict a massive medical complex -- three wings of in-patient beds, a clinic building, a diagnostic and treatment wing with the emergency department, a parking garage and a central energy plant -- that would reach every block in an area bound by South Claiborne Avenue, Tulane Avenue, Galvez Street and Canal Street. But, in fact, fewer than half the structures in the drawings actually make up the proposed $1.2 billion, 424-bed hospital.

Architects dubbed that "phase one" as they presented the drawings. The rest of the buildings -- duplicates of everything except the energy plant -- are designated as "future" construction in "phase two."


And then near the end of the article

State facilities chief Jerry Jones said he doesn't think the land would be used for construction at all before hospital expansion. He said it likely would be "surface parking" and landscaping.


Really, though, it's just the latest in a string of disappointments regarding the Charity Hospital situation which has slowly but surely devolved into one of those typical New Orleans all-sides-at-fault disasters.

LSU had been lobbying for a new facility well before old Charity was damaged by the Federal Flood. Depending on who you ask, it appears that they have sought to use the (disputed) severity of that damage as a pretext... or valid reason for finally moving on those plans. The arguments for or against the need for a new building, for me, continue to be inconclusive. But even if you're willing to concede that the old building is either irreparably damaged or obsolete as LSU claims, it's still hard to find sympathy with the current plan to bulldoze 70 acres of a neighborhood in an historic district and replace it with an urban campus. The more we learn about LSU's plans for this land, the more disgusted many of us are with it.

Meanwhile the controversy has provided a new opportunity for other longtime Charity-related grievances to be aired anew. It is discouraging to see the building animosity toward LSU provide an opening for Tulane to make a grab for more control of Charity's governing board. Although the uptown private institution is not without it's sycophants most of us understand the hazards of allowing them more sway than is absolutely necessary over public facilities in New Orleans.

Cynical bastard that I am, I tend to suspect that the Tulane power play along with a general anti-public hospital sentiment among certain segments of the city's socialite structure are either behind the opposition to LSU's plan... or at least tangential beneficiaries of it. It's an old but typical storyline in this town that sees progress and economic development stymied in the interest of protecting one or another plutocrat's piece of an ever-shrinking pie.

This is not to say that the preservationist "Save Charity Hospital and Lower Mid-City" people are being anything but earnest advocates for the building and the neighborhood. I believe they are on the up and up... and certainly have a point when it comes to the threatened neighborhood. It's just that experience has taught us that preservationism is often a legitimizing side-argument to push an anti-progressive agenda.

The point is, there is a lot going on here... most of it bad. But LSU is not the only... or perhaps not even the worst offender.

Oh I like this game

Where were you on Day 81? I was scuttling back and forth between my apartment (which didn't have power for much of November... just as it was turning cold) and Daisy's (which had power and heat and internet... but no Daisy who is herself still gone) and work... where I was getting to know the Blackwater guys on a first-name basis. No power at home meant I didn't have time to post much during that month but on Day 80, I wrote:
Sorry, kids.. still don't have internet access at home and I'm far too busy at work to say anything meaningful here. It's a temporary situation. In the meantime, remember three of your libraries are open.. sort of. We're open primarily for internet access and are not able to lend any items yet. On the other hand we are giving away free candy.
Which was true! Maybe we should reinstitute the free candy program.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Quote of the Day III

Michael Steele:
I don't need some judge sitting up there feeling bad for my opponent because of their life circumstances or their condition. And short changing me and my opportunity to get fair treatment under the law. Crazy nonsense empathetic. I'll give you empathy. Empathize right on your behind. Craziness."


I really really like this one but I'm not quite sure what to do with it yet. Something about needing.... "Buns of Steele" in order to guard against the empathizing.... I don't know. You write this joke.

Quote of the Day II

Taibbi:
First of all, why is that no professor alive can make it ten feet from his front door without sticking an a priori into a sentence? Is there some kind of subterranean lair where academics are beaten with whips and clubs until they learn to write alliterative book titles (”Pus, Primates, and Pessimism: Jane Goodall’s Descent into Septic Shock”) and lard up perfectly good sentences with epistemological catch-phrases? Weird.

Quote of the Day

Gill:
We've had clever governors, ruthless governors and treacherous governors. This one is all three.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Or maybe this is why you have to read all the news

Walter Pincus, in an article being widely flagged today:
Newspapers across the U.S. were often begun by pamphleteers, political parties, or businessmen who wanted to get involved in local, state, or even national affairs. The founding editors of The New York Times started that newspaper as supporters of the Whig party and later switched to the Republican party. Adolph Ochs, who bought the Times in 1896, was helped in his negotiations by a letter from President Grover Cleveland, who wrote that Ochs’s management of The Chattanooga Times had “demonstrated such a faithful adherence to Democratic principles that I would be glad to see you in a larger sphere of usefulness.” The Washington Post’s publisher Phil Graham helped put Lyndon Johnson on the ticket with John F. Kennedy.

They used their presses to influence government, but that is what the founding fathers contemplated when they wrote the First Amendment. The idea was that citizens in a democracy were to read more than one paper or pamphlet, weigh all opinions and facts as presented, and make up their own minds.

Today, mainstream print and electronic media want to be neutral, presenting both or all sides as if they were refereeing a game in which only the players—the government and its opponents—can participate. They have increasingly become common carriers, transmitters of other people’s ideas and thoughts, irrespective of import, relevance, and at times even accuracy.
This "balance vs relevance" point has become a common criticism of our modern media. What had happened was that, for about a generation, most consumers of news had lost the assumption that they were required to read their sources critically. One positive influence of the internet age on the news has been the slow but steady whittling away of that mindset.

This is why you have to read all the news

A seemingly... um... infinite number of threads can end up relating back to one another eventually.

Dow 36,000

Didn't take long for someone to make this goof.

Inside baseball?

In this morning's legislative rundown, Jan Moller describes Jim Tucker's bill to radically reorganize the governance of the New Orleans Charity Hospital (should one ever exist again at some point) and makes the following crucial statement.
The debate is very inside baseball and may never have any practical effect on patient care. But LSU, Tulane, Dillard, Southern and Xavier all want to protect their turf.
This seems like a question that deserves more attention. I was under the impression that, under the previous complicated arrangement by which the teaching hospital operated, LSU absorbed much of the cost of treating uninsured or medicaid patients and provided the bulk... if not all... of the on-call residents in rotation at Charity (and also at Children's). I have a limited understanding of the structure here and so am posting this more as a question than anything else. But if the other schools are looking for a greater share of management authority, will they also be assuming greater responsibility for operation? Is a private institution like Tulane willing or even able to take on more of the public health business?

I really would like some feedback on how this would work. At the very least, can't we say that Moller is glossing over the potential "practical effect on patient care" here?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Always good to read someone's reflections upon canonical material

Clay reviews the Gospel of Huey.

Be the populist anger you want to see

Taibbi:
Apparently it is not enough that the credit card companies have spent $15.5 million on lobbying fees in the first quarter of 2009 alone (this according to CREW, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), while employees of credit card companies spent an additional $14.5 million last year, and credit PACs spent $8.6 million more. It’s not enough that when the President even considered making a change to the credit laws, 14 top-ranking credit card company officials got to meet with Obama to plead their case in person; conveniently, none of the 14 was a registered lobbyist, which made them exempt from laws banning lobbyists from influencing officials with responsibility for distribution of stimulus/recovery funds. Apparently despite all that the credit card companies are voiceless yet, and still need Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times to champion their cause. (link added by me for clarity)

Of all the truly revolting political developments of the financial crisis age — and there have been a lot of them — probably nothing is more disgusting than the weirdly intense media backlash against “populist anger,” anger that is inevitably described by media sages like Hiltzik as irrational, unfounded, and pointedly unhelpful. The public is depicted as a great dumb beast lashing out wildly at shadows and hallucinations, with the poor diligent hardworking members of the financial class (slaving away to pump much-needed capital into the bloodstream of international commerce) suffering the collateral damage.
One thing I've been trying to figure out is the degree to which persistent public anger at the mismanaged economy will be an aid or a hindrance to Democrats in 2010. I think that Obama's basic continuance of the Bush policy of giving away all of our money to the bankers bodes ill. It muddles the political message in such a way that it makes even the most insane ramblings of his opponents seem at least just as reasonable as he.

For instance, it should be quite simple to rebuff the recent Teabagging phenomenon, not only because it was a load of corporate lobbyist produced astroturf, but also because it just doesn't make sense for "the people" to get up in arms against a tax policy and stimulus package that clearly favors the interests of "the people" over those of the money power. But once Obama aligns himself with continued giveaways to Wall Street, it becomes far more difficult to keep people convinced he's on their side. It becomes easier for your opponents to purposely conflate "bailouts" which are government giveaways to wealthy criminals with "stimulus" which is government investment in services and infrastructure from which we all benefit.

People have a right to be angry. And angry people express their anger in sometimes incoherent ways. It should fall upon our political leadership to respect that anger as legitimate and channel it toward meaningful resolution. Instead, we have a political leadership and media establishment that serves an elite criminal class on the one hand and showers the rest of us with disdainful lectures on the unseemliness and incivility of populism on the other.
Someone is going to be blamed, and the Republicans have figured out who: Clinton and Obama. But the Democrats are staying above the battle and refuse to “play the blame game”. This responsible, patrician, professional approach hasn’t worked for the Democrats for thirty or forty years, not even during normal times, and it’s certainly not going to work now. But the Democrats don’t realize this, and they’re so committed to their cool, professionalism that are unlikely to be able to deal with the politics of the impending disaster at all.
This is precisely why I'm not so keen as the professional political observers are to write off the GOP at this point. It seems to me that while the right is sticking to its ideological guns and doubling down on the crazy, the left (or what passes for the left) is engaging in a hubristic elitist rhetoric of condescension which combines the tone of upper-class intellectual paranoia with a shockingly unempathetic sectional bias. This looks like a long-term losing strategy to me.

No one is taking this seriously yet (and for good reason... at least until the polling trends start to change) but I really do see a populist backlash coming somewhere in the next few electoral cycles. I still think the Democrats have the option of swimming with rather than being wiped out by the tide, but as long as they continue to cater to the bankers and rain insults on the masses they're swimming in the wrong direction.

Executive privilidge

I can think of very few good reasons why a local government official should want to invoke "executive privilege" with regard to public records. On the other hand, there are several obvious bad reasons.

Your Louisiana Legislature tackles "oodles of stuff"

I'm telling you, I like Jan Moller more and more each day.

Best First Day of Hurricane Season Ever

Sources: Blakely leaving post in less than a month

09:58 PM CDT on Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS – Eyewitness News has learned of a shakeup in the Nagin administration, and the departure of one of its top officials, Recovery Director Dr. Edward Blakely.

Sources tell Channel 4 that Blakely will leave his post in a little less than a month, by June 1.

Yeah.. either that or somebody just opened a fresh box of wine.

Anyway, we might as well fire up Dr. Blakely's escape vehicle and hope it's actually happening this time.



But you should start clicking your heels just in case.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Credit where it's due

I tend to be critical of Jan Moller's tendency to uncritically regurgitate the PBJ party line in his reporting. But I have found his daily rundowns of the Legislative agenda this session to be very helpful.

Specter's Gambit

Might not survive the 2010 backlash after all.

Update:

A lot of this can still get ironed out before election time. Maybe it's Specter's arrogance (or "cockiness") which has put him in a hole... but it also represents an opportunity for labor to get back in the game.

There's another angle here too. Labor is really licking its wounds over what appears to be the very steep climb EFCA faces in this Congress. And the Democratic establishment in Washington moved very quickly to crown Specter as the Democratic nominee. It would not surprise me if labor and affiliated organizations might not mind engaging in a amicable Specter-Sestak proxy battle with President Obama and the lords of the senate to make the point that as much as everything's great and everyone's pals, they've got their own independent bases of power and political muscle.


In the political script yet to be written, Obama and the Dems are due to lose political momentum in 2010 precisely because they have been too kind to the banks and too dismissive of labor. 2010 is going to be a populist backlash election. The Dems still have the option of capturing some of the anger for their own party's cause. This requires primarily two things in my opinion. 1) Breaking free of the death grip of the finance lobby. (Not likely to happen) and/or 2) Passing EFCA... which wasn't likely to happen before this opportunity arose. Exploiting a pressure point like Specter is a good way for labor to try to get back on the President's agenda... and offer him an opportunity to rescue himself.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Funny

Michael Rowe on this Prejean thing:
Only in America would the notion of a nearly-naked fundamentalist Christian beauty queen tossing her processed hair and parading brand new pageant-bought plastic breasts across a Las Vegas stage in front of millions of television viewers with all the modesty of a blue ribbon heifer at a county livestock fair (the same fundamentalist Christian beauty queen who would later tell a television reporter that she heard God whispering in her ear as she answered a celebrity-worshipping Internet gossip columnist's question about gay marriage) be treated as anything other than an occasion for high comedy and mirth.


Via Tbogg, who sees just about everything as "an occasion for high comedy and mirth."

Would have been funnier if he'd bowed

Vitter giving aid and comfort

Lil' Bush

Our favorite comparison surfaces once more. This time in the NYT.
The authors of the Tulane poll, including the political consultant James Carville, said voters believed by two to one that the city was “on the wrong track,” and they compared the city’s mood to that of the nation “in the final year of the Bush administration.”


Edit: Also see... today is the first day of the rest of..
TICK, TICK, TICK . . .: The moment is likely to pass with little notice, but at the stroke of noon Monday, term-limited Mayor Ray Nagin will begin his final year in office.

The City Charter mandates that every four years, the city's newly elected chief executive and City Council members are sworn in at midday on the first Monday in May.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

I want a second opinion

Should we really trust a guy who isn't so solid on evolution to decide how dangerous or not the flu situation is?

Also Jim Mora's former roomate

AP: Jack Kemp is dead

A case of the President not sucking so much

I like this:
Former students and colleagues describe Mr. Obama as a minimalist (skeptical of court-led efforts at social change) and a structuralist (interested in how the law metes out power in society). And more than anything else, he is a pragmatist who urged those around him to be more keenly attuned to the real-life impact of decisions. This may be his distinguishing quality as a legal thinker: an unwillingness to deal in abstraction, a constant desire to know how court decisions affect people’s lives.

“The University of Chicago was and is full of eminent theorizers who wrap up huge areas of the law by applying some magic key,” said David Franklin, a former student. “He didn’t do any of that; he wasn’t interested in high theory at all.”

Though Mr. Obama rarely spoke of his own views, students say they sensed his disdain for formalism, the idea — often espoused by Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas, but sometimes by liberals as well — that law can be decided independent of the political and social context in which it is applied. To make his point, Mr. Obama, then a state senator, took students with him to Springfield, Ill., the capital, to watch hearings and see him hash out legislation.

And he asked constant questions about consequences of laws: What would happen if a mother’s welfare grant did not increase with the birth of additional children? As a state legislator, how much could he be influenced by a donor’s contribution?
In other words, the law exists within the context of the society it serves for the purpose of establishing real world justice instead of just in the mind of some judge or professor for the purpose of his or her own intellectual masturbation. What a novel idea.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Shocking

Swine Flu really not that big of a deal

On Wednesday night, r and I were texting a running commentary on the Hornets' final FAIL in Denver (apparently I am a "David West apologist") when we got into the following swine flu aside.

r: Hoping to acquire liver disease and swine flu simultaneously. Or ummmmm... N191 or whatever the fuck we are supposed to call it so we all keep eating pork.

Me: People are so dumb. Even if we were in any danger, it wouldn't be from eating pork.

r: Well duh. I left work yesterday and ate three pork tacos from a hut in a gas station parking lot served by actual Mexicans as a protest. Fuck everyone.


By coincidence, I had made smothered pork chops for dinner that night. Here's what I remember of the recipe. (Quantities are inexact. I sort of made this up on the fly using whatever I had in the kitchen.)
  • Dust four thick chops liberally with a not-so carefully measured mixture of the following: salt, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, ground thyme, powdered garlic, dried basil, crushed rosemary... uh maybe some dried Italian seasoning... whatever you got. I mixed all of this together in a bowl, and just kept adding more to the pot as I saw fit throughout the cooking process.


  • In a heavy pot or dutch oven, melt one-half stick of butter. Brown the pork chops. Remove and set aside.


  • Deglaze the pot with a little white wine. Add more butter and then add (chopped) one onion, one bell pepper, two or three stalks of celery, one or two leeks, and about a clove of garlic. Saute until fully softened... about ten minutes.


  • Thicken the vegetables with a couple tablespoons of flour stir for a few minutes then add one whole chopped tomato and then two cups of chicken or vegetable broth (I happened to have vegetable broth on hand when I did this). Stir.


  • Return the pork chops to the pot. Season the whole thing again with the original mix. Squeeze in juice of 1/2 of a lemon and cover. I decided to finish mine in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes but I'm sure you could just as well let this simmer on the stove until done.


It serves best over rice. Enjoy your swine. Oh and cover your mouth when you cough.

Up or Down Vote

How loud will the chorus be this time around?
In covering the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings regarding Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s Supreme Court nomination, CNN anchor Miles O'Brien commented: "And the Senate, of course, is a dignified place, but there's also talk about a filibuster. So how dignified could that be?" Later, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asked: "Will the Supreme Court nominee get the fair vote that the president has been asking for?"


I'm sure Senator McConnell can be expected to make a statement on the "dignity" of teabagging filibustering judicial nominees any day now.