Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011, GTFO

It's been fun

There are about 12 hours left in what's been a truly awful calendar year mitigated a little bit, perhaps, by the not at all classless football season we've been treated to. Although I'd like to qualify that a bit by pointing out that football actually began after what I've come to call the NOLA New Year of August 29 so it's probably affected by a new set of looney lunar phases or something like that.

Excluding that, though, 2011 has been nothing short of putrid. But before we start drinking to forget, let's take a look back at a few of those forgettable moments now.

Please pay in advance

2011: Technically, it was the year during which this happened.

2011: The year anti-gay crusading preacher Grant Storms was arrested for doing something perverted in public surprising exactly no one.

2011: The year NOPD decided it was okay to pepper spray a Mardi Gras parade but later on became pretty much the only police force to not pepper spray any Occupy protesters.

2011: Also the year the city once again took no action against (although they sent a strongly worded email to) the scofflaws who hog public neutral grounds and obstruct others' enjoyment of Carnival but later decided camping in Duncan Plaza in order to engage in constitutionally protected political speech was a threat to public health.

2011: The year Sean Payton moved his family to Dallas causing civilization as we know it to come to an abrupt end.

2011: The year Ray Nagin and Thomas Morstead became Twitter personalities thus restoring the splendor to our lost civilization.

2011: The year we learned to accept that massive nuclear meltdowns are just going to happen and there's nothing anyone is really going to do about that.

2011: The year the Department of Justice publicly bitch slapped the NOPD. At a subsequent City Council meeting Jackie Clarkson congratulated Chief Serpas on the wonderful job he does.

2011: The year New Orleanians marched in the streets demanding to have their children beaten with paddles.

2011: The year we decided 9-10% unemployment was pretty much a new "structural" normal.

2011: The year BP started getting serious about telling LA fisher and oystermen to drop dead. Of course the advertising money just kept right on coming. Go check WWLTV.com right now and see how fast you can find one of these.

Welcome Back to the Gulf

2011: The year Jackie Clarkson threatened to sink runaway barges in the Mississippi River presumably by firing a canon at them or something.

2011: The year Ron Paul told Mississippi River flood victims to suck it.


Also regarding this year's river flooding. Our favorite NOLA.com moment.

Not expected to open

2011: The year of the St.Pierre trial. Too much for one line. Just go read Dambala.

2011: The year we almost replaced football season with a series of boring raffles.

2011: Who could forget the Royal Wedding?

Royal Wedding

Wait... is that the one?

2011: The year of the Seventh Ward Rooster and the Uptown Coyote and all other manner of creatures both real and imagined who we all hope eventually died in a marsh fire.

Seventh Ward Rooster

2011: The year a hurricane stuck the east coast and caused massive loss of life and property in New England prompting Republican congressmen to demand that we think twice before helping them.

Meanwhile one tropical storm struck Louisiana toppling this barricade which warned motorists of a by then year old pothole.

Barricade blown over

As of this writing, the barricade has not been righted or removed. Nor has the pothole been filled.

2011 in books: Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and former FEMA director Michael Brown took their talents to the publishing world in 2011.

Indifferences and Secrets

Nagin's title was the source of a great deal of parlor humor as this review by Gambit's Kevin Allman indicates.

Brown promoted his book in New Orleans during the American Library Association conference. I caught up with him at the Garden District Bookshop and secured his autograph.

2011 in music: Well the tragic thing is the big GBV reunion tour skipped over New Orleans altogether causing much consternation. The good news is the new record is out, is really pretty great, and features a song about Fats Domino.

2011 was also the year of this massive summertime hit.

Also released in 2011, this memorable record.

2011: The year Kermit Ruffins decided to go to bed early.

2011: The year Edwin Edwards became the most celebrated man released from prison since Nelson Mandela.

2011: The year of much nonsense about #standing

Simon tag

2011: The year that Jackie Clarkson ordered a helicopter attack on a marsh fire because Ray Nagin tweeted that she should.

City Hall Smoke

2011: The year that Jackie also kind of wished was actually 1950.

2011: The year we sold the name of the city's most beloved public building to a foreign corporate sponsor.

2011: The year of the #notintendedtobeafactualstatement

2011 in food products:

Rickey Jackson smoked sausage

Beefy Mac with Joe Horn sauce

And.. as the second photo indicates, 2011 was the year we learned the secrets of Beefy Mac

2011: The year we learned the Rex organization will sue the fuck out of your minor neighborhood Carnival celebration.

2011: The year we learned the importance of not kicking anybody in the face.

2011: The year some house cat was as much a threat to the incumbent governor as anyone else in the race.

2011: The year this happened

2011: The year we learned the difference between journalism and "lobbying".. or rather we didn't learn that.

2011: Also the year of the #spon-sored tweet.

2011: The year Herman Cain was on TV a lot for some reason.

2011: Something about obscure wildlife, a YouTube meme and a football player or something..

2011: The year they flagged the goddamned punter for taunting.

2011: The year this happened

2011: The year we decided the President of the United States can indefinitely detain American citizens as well as summarily execute anyone in the world whenever he feels like it using a flying robot.

2011: The year we made a turducken gumbo

2011: The year we all agreed to stop calling it "Kennah" and instead just call it "where that idiot is the mayor"

And of course other things happened too. There's no mention in here of the Gusman follies, the city budget wars, the federal government default brinksmanship, the $7.7 trillion in secret Fed bank bailouts, something else insane Jackie Clarkson and/or Gregg Williams said at some point... I could go on.

But it's getting a bit late in the day now which means it's time to stop documenting this year's atrocities and move on to 2012. That is if our proposal to exchange this calendar for the next isn't rejected by David Stern for basketball reasons. Stay tuned.

Happy New Year

Bordering on fraud

Four lane divided street with a 25 mph speed limit may seem a minor inconvenience for some, for others it's a revenue opportunity.
The largest number of citations in New Orleans -- a whopping 38,805 so far this year -- were issued to cars at Henry Clay Avenue and Coliseum Street. That intersection has become notorious with motorists, and no wonder since most streets of its size have a 30-mph speed limit, not a 25-mph limit.

Jackson Avenue at Chestnut Street, which has the second highest number of citations at 24,818, also has a 25 mph speed limit, although the speed limit on most large divided streets is 35 mph.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Internet blackout day

Maybe a gesture like this will finally get people's attention although I rather doubt it.

One major tactic that might truly derail the bill would be if the biggest websites in the country were to temporarily shut down their services and instead inform visitors of the dangers of SOPA. Remarkably, it now appears as though a coalition made up of fifteen online titans is seriously considering doing exactly that.

And hey good luck with that. But these major internet companies along with free speech advocates of all stripes have been talking about the dangers of SOPA for months and months now and have gotten little to no traction. This tells me the time has finally arrived for the internet to do what was always going to do and become more of a one way medium for mega-media conglomerates to blast content at consumers just the way they do with radio and television.

Media Consolidation Infographic

Source: Frugal dad

Even if SOPA goes down... which is looking unlikely right now... something like it is pretty much inevitable. The infrastructure is just now coming online that will finally make the internet more like the entertainment delivery systems that preceded it. Smart phones and tablets are making computers more like TVs and legislation like this will make the internet more and more like a cable subscription where distribution and prioritization of content is controlled by a very few companies and everything else is shunted off to the side or shut down completely.

The fact that this very real and imminent threat to a form of free and open speech we've come to take for granted has generated little more than a yawn from the public tells me all I need to know about the prospects for stopping it.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm still working on a unified theory of national press generated Saints hate

There's that "classless" complaint about Brees breaking the passing yardage record Monday. There's the weird "dirty play" meme I've been tracking. There's that weird use of the memory of the Federal Flood as either a... um ... classless insult or as a perhaps even more belittling frame for increasingly contrived and saccharine side segments during nationally broadcast games.

There are other examples but, for whatever reason, someone is always at the ready with an excuse to belittle or ignore whatever the Saints happen to accomplish. No idea what that reason is but I'm working on it.

Meanwhile, please enjoy that Wang has crafted an appropriate response.

Proxy campaigning is back

Yesterday we touched on the fact that Ron Paul is plenty nutty enough on his own accord that there should be no need to attack him through the utterances of those who speak either in favor of or near his campaign. But one can always tell that the campaign season is shifting into a higher gear when the proxy wars start heating up.

I've never been a fan of this although there are circumstances under which the attention it draws is valid.

One example. In 2008 candidate Obama was made to answer for remarks made by his campaign's foreign policy adviser Samantha Power in which Power referred to then rival candidate Hillary Clinton as "a monster". The episode was exceedingly silly because the comment, regardless of its accuracy, was rhetorically the sort of thing that our absurd "decorum" obsessed, fainting couch occupying establishment press considers so out of bounds as to demand the rolling of heads... or at least the symbolic rolling of those heads. Power was forced to resign her unpaid advisory position with the campaign and hang her (still attached) head in shame... for a few months anyway. Later she was hired by the Obama Administration to work in Hillary's monstrous State Department where she cheerfully contributed to such monstrous initiatives as the bombing and killing of people in Libya. But at least she didn't call anyone an ugly name.

Anyway the point is, in the case of Power, her comments about Hillary could have raised significant questions about just what kind of people were advising candidate Obama on key issues like the importance of bombing and killing people in the name of freedom. And it almost did that.. at least for those of us who were paying attention at the time although with minimal help from the decorum gatekeepers who manage our daily discourse.

But this is an unusual incident. Most of the time, attacking a candidate through proxy connections is a pointless parlor game for the bored and stupid campaign press. Examples of this abound from the obsession with Obama's pastor Rev. Wright in 2008 to this gay-hating preacher who endorsed Ron Paul. Paul is plenty homophobic on his own, thank you very much. No need to go looking for other loonies to throw in his face.

On the other hand, it's difficult to ignore Paul's latest monstrous endorsement... but we'll try. Oh how we'll try.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Passions and enthusiasms?

Robert Reich actually wrote those words in association with the idea of putting Hillary on the ticket.

We are so screwed.

Serpas Signal

Haven't had one of these in ages. Was beginning to think Serpas had forgotten us.. what with all the murders and stuff.
New Orleans Police Department Public Information Office

Announcement of Sobriety Check Point Tomorrow

The New Orleans Police Department will establish a Sobriety Check Point on Thursday, December 29, 2011 in the Downtown area. The checkpoint will operate between the hours of 9pm to 5am.

"Bold changes"

I'm about to give up on this shit. If the press is going to append the descriptive headline "bold changes" to every Jindal scheme, there's really not much that can be done about it.

Well this is familiar

Nigeria's Worst Offshore Spill in a Decade Expands While Shell Says Spill Is Contained

The dominant industry

In perhaps his most unintentionally astute act of introspection Ray Nagin once told us this,

"Politics in New Orleans is the dominant industry, so I decided to get in," he said. "Besides tourism, politics dominates everything. I just think it's part of our legacy and our history. Politics is definitely a sport and something that the citizens pay attention to."

I enjoy this quote for numerous reasons. Nagin, in fact, is quite right that by the time he got into politics, that and tourism were just about the only two rackets industries left by which an ambitious person could enrich himself. And so Ray Nagin went into politics.

I also like that Nagin describes politics in New Orleans as "a sport and something that the citizens pay attention to" although I suspect that is less so in recent years. Anyway as someone who follows both politics and sports in New Orleans this Nagin quote, though not terribly original, is very dear to me. And so that is why I fully endorse this candidacy.

Enter comedian Chris Trew of the New Movement. Trew, a NOLA native and lifelong Hornets fan, is running for owner of the team. His primary weapon is a series of viral videos causing a stir on YouTube.

Says Trew, "I have a strong feeling that (NBA Commissioner) David Stern watches these videos. I have a stronger feeling that I could great things for this team and this city. I have the strongest feeling that I am the man who will one day become owner of the New Orleans Hornets (I just need someone to spot me $350 million)."

I'm not so sure about that "lifelong Hornets fan" bit. It's difficult to tell how old Trew is but the Hornets only arrived in New Orleans in 2003 and I'm guessing this dude has been around longer than that. In fact, the Charlotte Hornets only came into existence in 1988 which I'm willing to bet still makes them younger than Trew. Of course 1988 still seems like yesterday to an old guy like me so I could be wrong there but not by much.

Anyway because so much of our public treasure and facilities are poured into the maintenance of our professional sports teams, I fully support opening up as many of their related decision-making offices accountable to the public.

Why would anybody toast Leidenheimer bread?

I thought the whole point was that it was just crispy enough the way it was. I know Brett Anderson's roast beef po-boy series is a bit of a gimmick but I'm not going to say I haven't enjoyed reading it. Today, he's at Johnny's where he spends an inordinate amount of time going into this toasted bread issue. Apparently he likes his bread toasted because he says it keeps the gravy from making too much of a mess. But I think we've already established that he doesn't really get that that's the whole point of the thing.

Going Galt to Mexico

Good catch by Josh Marshall here. The crazy stuff Ron Paul says with his own mouth this year is every bit as nutty as the stuff his newsletter staff wrote years ago.

James Gill's column opens today like this.

Ron Paul, who is expected to fare well in next week's Iowa caucuses, is also attracting passionate support in various other states, including Louisiana. Nobody gives him any chance of winning the GOP nomination, however. He wants, for instance to repeal the Patriot Act, so named, in the spirit of Orwell, because it betrays the principles that made America a beacon for the free world.

In these skittish times only the nutty fringe would advocate a return to the rule of law.

Ron Paul is undoubtedly the nutty fringe. The fact that he is also the only candidate who talks with any conviction at all about just how un-free we've made ourselves is a sad indicator of how far from the agenda this fundamental problem has been shoved.

Upperdate: Corrected the title misspelling. Originally I had it Gault... like Willie. Because I am more of a football fan than a libertarian.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Back in 5 days

Meanwhile try to make the most of the holiday. Try not to kick anybody in the face.

Holiday magic

I'll leave you with these

Salon's Justin Elliot:
No, the U.S. is not leaving Iraq

Do you think we’re going to see spasms of violence between Americans and Iraqis post-Dec. 31?

I think it’s inevitable. Look at it from the perspective of an Iranian Quds Force operative. You know you want to frustrate the U.S. in Iraq; and you know that Iraqis are burning U.S. flags in celebration of the withdrawal. That’s a tremendous opportunity for Iran right there. Because if you also know that there are these armed contractors helping diplomats get from point A to point B, you win if you provoke them into violence. And it’s really easy to place an IED on a road or to open fire on a convoy. Then if there are Americans in Iraq opening fire on Iraqis — after the Iraqi leaders have said Americans are gone — that’s a major propaganda win for Iran. This is a really foreseeable disaster.

Another thing worth pointing out is that Leon Panetta has been saying recently that there are 1,000 Iraqis who are al-Qaida loyalists. If that’s true, Iraq is by far host to the largest al-Qaida presence in the world. It’s really hard to believe the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command won’t find a way to go after those people. And remember, as Mary Wheeler has pointed out, Congress has not rescinded the authorization for military force in Iraq.

US military 'ready to engage in a conflict with Iran'

Leon Panetta, the secretary of defence, said this week that the US was prepared to step in to prevent Tehran realising its nuclear ambitions. He estimated that the country was only a year away from reaching its goal.

"The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon," he said. "That is a red line for us and that is a red line for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will do it. If they proceed and we get intelligence that they are proceeding in developing a nuclear weapon then we will take whatever steps necessary to stop them. There are no options that are off the table."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Quote of the day

"Feinberg has welcomed the independent evaluation and already agreed to pay for it."

Geeze, I hope we're not boring Wang

I mean, I don't really think we're doing that but I couldn't help but wonder just a little when I read this post where he says 1) the Saints are the best damn team in the NFL right now and 2) the magic is missing somehow. On the other hand, he does say he intends to snap out of it.

So I'm making an early New Year's resolution. It's time to wake up and quit taking all this for granted. Just in the nick of time too, because shit's about to get real fun.

I'm also resolving to quit reflexively comparing everything to 2009, whether I want to or not. I think that's part of the problem too. It's not fair, because 2009 was magic. Oh, they were a damn strong football team too, don't get me wrong. And they earned everything they got that season. But those 39 takeaways were magic. Brett Favre's and Peyton Manning's brainfarts falling into the hands of Tracy Porter was magic. The ball bouncing the Saints' way all damn year was magic. And magic gives you that… well, magical feeling.

This? This ain't magic. This is just the Saints doing what they do.

To that I'll add that just the word "magic" in relation to football automatically makes me think of the publicity campaign in support of the Gerry Dinardo LSU regime so I've had quite enough of that, thank you.

Also this week Wang writing at NOLA Def wonders if it's really appropriate for Saints fans to "hate" the Atlanta Falcons.

So, yes, I can definitely see how the Falcons are pretty easy to "hate." And I guess I don't blame you if you do. After all, there's not a whole lot to like there. There never really has been, and they've always been pretty loathsome. And basking in their misfortune is always good for a chuckle. So we've got that going for us.

Another thing we have going for us is a 9-2 record against them since Sept 25, 2006. Oh, and a Lombardi Trophy. (High five!)

So, you know, screw them. I'm just not sure that hatred is the most effective use of one's emotional resources when it comes to the Falcons. I'm not sure they deserve it. Not lately, anyway.

Now I think this is maybe a little dismissive so I'm going to hopefully conclude that when Wang looks at the most competitive period in the history of the long standing Saints-Falcons rivalry and says, essentially, "eh, we own these bitches," he's actually just talking a little smack.

The 11-3 Saints are doing that "peaking at the right time" thing down the stretch of their 3rd consecutive 10+ win season. Their quarterback is set to break a major passing record during a Monday Night match-up with their most serious rival in a game that basically will make all the difference in the season. Doesn't Wang know Christopher Hitchens died last week? This is no time to be contrary.

Besides, I already answered this "hate or no-hate" question a few years back in this post. But since I'm going out of town tomorrow and I wanted to have something up before this Falcon Week to end all Falcon Weeks I'll recycle that bit here.

The Saints and the Falcons arrived in the NFL at roughly the same time in the mid-sixties and the teams, like the Southern cities they represent, became fast rivals. Like a lot of sports rivalries, the Saints and Falcons always play each other close, tend to be in each others' way at exactly the right times, and unusual things happen when they play each other. But unlike a lot of typical rivalries, it would be inaccurate to say that the teams and their fan bases hate each other. In fact, Saints-Falcons is best described as sibling rivalry.

Historically, the South's two best known cities have often compared themselves with one another each proud of the ways in which it isn't like the other. Atlanta is more prosperous. New Orleans is more fun. But also each is a little jealous of the things its rival has that it doesn't. But where there is jealousy there isn't much hostility. Saints fans don't really hate the Falcons, they just really really want to beat them.

Furthermore, a lot of New Orleanians have family who live in Atlanta. That was true before the Federal Flood, but after that event lot of New Orleanians ended up in Atlanta. Many are still there now. This commerce between the two cities only strengthens the familial relationship. For a time during the early 2000s, the teams' respective starting quarterbacks were cousins. Most fans thought this only natural.

The two annual games between these teams typically carry the strongest numbers of fans traveling with the team to each of the cities. Saints fans and Falcons fans know each other. Visiting Falcons fans hanging out in and around the Superdome are typically good humored, and fun to tease and tailgate with. Saints fans visiting the Georgia Dome, well, they know how to put on a show too.

Most people across the country don't know it but Saints-Falcons is one of the NFL's best rivalries. Not because of the win-loss records of the mostly mediocre teams involved, but because the fans know how to make it fun. Simply put, Saints and Falcons fans do things right. Don't get me wrong, though. We always want to beat those people. But we don't hate them like we do, say, Bucs fans. And Atlanta, for all its faults, still isn't Dallas.

Update: Looks like that Gambit link no longer has the correct video. Here's what was there originally.

Caramel Macchiato

Should be a new threat level unto itself.

So the U.S. Government believes it may have “legal authority” to compel Twitter to close accounts. From where does that authority derive? Presumably, the Obama administration could consider Twitter’s providing of a forum to a designated Terrorist organization to constitute the crime of “material support of Terrorism.” That raises a variety of questions: is the NYT guilty of that crime by quoting some of those tweets and promoting the account (since the first NYT article was published, the number of people following @HSMPress has significantly increased and is almost certain to increase more as a result of today’s article). Can one be guilty of that crime if one re-tweets any of their messages? How about if one defends their right to have a Twitter account?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Peaceful Authoritarianism"

Nevermind that this article is mostly about Occupy NOLA. It captures, quite well, the dismissive soft bully tactics we've come to recognize as this administration's M.O.
While no skulls were cracked or elderly women pepper-sprayed, there was no shortage of brazen behavior on the part of a mayor that has proven particularly smug in his treatment of Occupy. Meanwhile, the fact that he demanded congratulations for breaking camp “peacefully” demonstrates the increasingly authoritarian nature of the American political class.
I always said the saving grace of the Nagin years was that none of those people was as competent as they were evil which helped to mitigate the damage a bit. This group is a good deal more competent.

Still standing between the banks and the pitchforks

The Obama Administration. Protecting its friends.

That's a different lie

Adrian Peterson accuses Jabari Greer of trying to kick him in the face.

Of course this is only the latest episode in what we described last week as an ever-expanding and self-perpetuating myth of "dirty" play by the Saints. Each week, opposing coaching staffs warn their players to be on the lookout for overly aggressive play. And then, football being football, aggressive play happens and is inevitably interpreted by the players as over the line. They go on TV and complain prompting the next week's coaches and scouts to warn their players too.

And so an erroneous perception forwarded by one interested party to a dispute snowballs into a runaway avalanche of overcompensation. Think of it as the Politifact of football.

Why stop throwing bombs now?

Am I the only one who thinks the House Republicans are winning by rejecting the Senate compromise on the payroll tax? What happens next is 1)They get to bring everyone back to the negotiating table where they haven't lost a single dispute ever. 2) Even a stalemate means the tax cut expires which, sure, in sane world would make them look bad but in reality just means more hardship for wage earners during a Presidential election year. And that's always bad for the incumbent President regardless of how it came to be.

Gold Rush

Already wondering if the Paul boom in Iowa will be the shortest ride of any GOP frontrunner yet.

The Racist Newsletters Return To Haunt Ron Paul

Ron Paul's 15 Most Extreme Positions

Iowa Social Conservative Leaders Endorse Santorum

Mitt Romney: Red-blooded American Job Killer

Mitt explains why expecting the "Job Creators" to, you know, create jobs is actually kind of a commie thing to do.. or something like that.

Excellent news for Mitt (really)

Ron Paul Is Now the Republican Frontrunner

If we go into the caucuses with Paul as the crazy candidate of choice and Gingrich on the wane, it's entirely plausible that Mitt can show relatively well as a "second choice" candidate. The theory being that since all of the crazy candidates are now past their moments, most caucusers who are denied the one crazy candidate they choose first won't just grab the next crazy available but will shrug and go to Mitt. Even if many do go for Crazy #2 it's difficult to imagine there being much consensus on who that is which also is a situation that looks good for Mitt. The other possibility is a late coalescing around Perry as Crazy #2 which could still happen.

Images of the prophet Tebow

The mullahs are in a rage.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Everyone should try not to be a person*

My advice to young people, as always, is don't let anyone sucker you into thinking you should do or be anything. That's how they get you.

One of my central criticisms of the Occupy movement is that it is populated by ambitious yuppies who allowed their ego to buy them into this con. Their complaint boils down to they specifically haven't been allowed to rise in accordance with what they imagine they deserve by virtue of having indebted themselves.

In this regard, the protesters (Time's "Person of the Year", BTW) are the intellectual compatriots of Newt Gingrich. When Newt tells us that schoolchildren need to be put to cleaning bathrooms because poor people "have no habit of working" he's essentially telling us the same thing the Occupy protesters are telling us only from the other end. They've already agreed to scrub up the shit. Hell, in New Orleans, they've proven they can get shit cleaned up more cheaply than the city can. Now that they've proven their inherent worth. Now why isn't someone rewarding those awesome work habits?

Here is a post I read this morning by the insufferably immodest Nicholas Payton which I nonetheless recommend because it touches on much the same argument I've been making all along. Payton veers into some unnecessary and meaningless prescription for "living authentic lives" and "connecting to your center" or whatever self-absorbed crap people like Payton pick up from their publicists and beauticians. But his diagnosis of the 99% movement as essentially yet another manifestation of self-seeking white upper middle class elitism... is right on target.
This movement has to do with ego. It’s akin to the hippies who needed to go out and “find themselves” knowing they had six-figure lives awaiting them once they returned home. It’s just like all these carpetbagging mothafuckas who came to New Orleans post-Katrina who think it’s cool to not bathe and play their version of bad New Orleans music in the streets. We played in the streets to earn money for our families, to continue the tradition of our ancestors. It’s a hobby to some of these kids. They come here and make a mockery of our traditions because they think it’s cool to be a revolutionary. Then, some of these carpetbaggers feel like they want to educate the world, including locals, about something they “discovered.” Yeah, like Christopher Columbus discovered America. Newsflash: it was already here!

We’re here because the powers that be have been stingy and greedy with all the money. It’s only become a problem because now they are victims of their selfishness. I could care less, they didn’t give a fuck when it wasn’t them. The Occupy movement may be a start, but outside of that, it’s pretty empty. Let’s see what follows. That will really determine where people’s heads are. But at this point, the OWS is just a big circle jerk.

As we head into 2012 and more and more of us begin reading political tea leaves, it will be important to note that this so-called 99% is a frustrated iteration of the same economic and intellectual elitism espoused by the conservative ruling class of the Obama-Gingrich axis. We will return to this point when we begin to think about its impact on the electoral cycle.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Many times

Good grief
Many people have joined Occupy NOLA only to leave with their hopes for the movement shattered. I myself became frustrated and left many times with no intention of returning.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The other option was trade him to the Clippers

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees says contract talks can wait until after season

And here comes the Newt bust

Down eight points in six days according to Gallup.

Is there time to push one more nutcase to the top, or are they ready to just settle for Mitt yet?

Eh, they've done worse

Bacchus chooses this year to go with a still mostly relevant celebrity monarch as opposed to most years when they dig deep into the D-lists of the 70s and 80s. At this point, though, it's the least Farrell can do since the movie he's shooting had Tracey's shut down earlier this week when I really wanted a roast beef.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What now?

Occupy NOLA

Gambit's Charles Maldonado wraps up the Duncan Plaza Occupy protest that ended last night with two (sort of) arrests but no real incident to speak of.
The final eviction of Occupy New Orleans won’t gain the national notoriety of New York or Portland or other cities where police officers (with better reputations than the NOPD) seemed almost gleeful at getting their chance to crack hippie skull.

But that doesn’t mean that what happened in Duncan Plaza this past week or the two-month-long occupation preceding it, wasn’t important. It is, and not (or at least not only) because of the sort of abstract, dinner-conversationey First Amendment issues — whether the protesters had a right to camp there forever, whether that is or should be considered protected speech.

Occupy in general is a story about income inequality, corporate ethics and influence in government, all of those things to which it’s diligently managed to, finally, draw our attention. Occupy New Orleans and the people in it, however, touched on major problems (maybe all of them except, happily, the murder rate) specific to this city. It’s a City Hall story, meaning local government and what it can and should be doing, not the actual location of the encampment.

If it's true, as Maldonado claims, that Occupy NOLA truly called attention to New Orleans' most pressing problems of income inequality and influence in government (and I would dispute that it actually did this but that's for another time) the question then is, what next?

If the movement is more important than the actual encampment, then shouldn't that movement continue now that the camp has been broken up? Will it? Or was Occupy NOLA really just a loose combination of chronic attention-seeking "activists", itinerant rail kids, and mentally ill homeless who, thanks to a momentary fad born out of a completely different kind of event in New York City, were temporarily co-located?

The very fact that Occupy NOLA was as incident-free and peaceful as it was should tell you something about how little it managed to threaten the authority structure. Indeed it's only really being moved now because Mitch wants the area around City Hall and the Superdome looking extra vagrant-free during the upcoming Bowl games. Otherwise, the camp could have been ignored indefinitely.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Okay release the drone

Figured this would happen. It kind of felt like the temporary restraining order was in place only because Mitch and Serpas had pissed off the judge last time around.
NEW ORLEANS -- A federal judge has refused to issue a preliminary injunction that would allow "Occupy New Orleans" protesters to continue camping out in a park across from City Hall.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk also on Tuesday rescinded a temporary restraining order that permitted protesters to stay in Duncan Plaza while they sought an injunction.

No doubt Serpas will want one

We all know how much he loves high-tech crime-fighting applications. Or anything else that allows him to sit on his ass while someone (or something) else shoots, tases, beats or spies on somebody.
The unique dangers of domestic drones, which I documented last week, exist completely independent of their weaponization potential, but weaponization nonetheless must be considered. Police officials are already speaking openly about their desire to weaponize their drones with “nonlethal weapons such as Tasers or a bean-bag gun.” Anyone who doubts that this is going to happen should just consider what the drone manufacturing industry itself is saying. They continuously emphasize to investors and others that a major source of business growth for their drone products will be domestic, non-military use.

Domestic drones, indefinite detention of US citizens without due process, a censored internet, and, of course, Bandit Blonde Ale. 2012 is going to be amazing.


Now that so many so-called establishment conservatives and self-appointed Tea Party spokespersons are coming out of the woodwork to clobber Newt from all sides, do we still think he's got a legit shot at becoming the GOP nominee?

Also here's Moseley's latest bit of handicapping which once again emphasizes the likelihood of "surprises" even going so far as to suggest that those of us who continue to expect the utterly unsurprising result of Mitt as the nominee go put some money down on it at Intrade. I'm guessing $10,000 is the standard ante there.

Actually Intrade is kind of a goofy toy. It reflects the volatile conventional groupthink that has fed the boom-and-bust GOP primary cycle. And, although, political junkies love to cite it in discussions like this, it's important to remember that this is precisely what makes it a pretty crappy predictor of results. Don't get me wrong. It's a lot of fun to play with. Although I should say my favorite new toys this election season are these mouse-over sliding poll average graphics at TPM.

Anyway, suffice to say, Intrade is great but it's no Punditbook.

One point of clarification I should make about the GOP Primary so far is that I've always thought Mitt was going to be the nominee, not because of some conspiratorial "rigging" of the system but because I just always thought he was obviously the only candidate without huge fatal flaws. (This is not to say that he doesn't have huge flaws, just not huge fatal flaws.) So the boom-and-bust game the press has been playing of "let's pretend crazy candidate X has a shot this week" has been grating on me.

Anyway, getting back to Mark's latest column, he describes, there, a couple few scenarios for the way things can play out in the coming months including this one.
Alarmed at Gingrich’s surprising ascent, the conservative establishment torpedoes Gingrich before the Iowa caucus. Another “non-Romney” candidate takes his place. In my mind, Perry fills the bill here, because he has the money to buy himself a second look and a talented staff who can attempt to reinvent him. Perry rebrands himself as the “faith” candidate who will best protect us from gays in the military, and the secular culture’s war on Christmas.

And darnnit if that isn't exactly what Perry's campaign is shooting for this week... albeit in typically self-destructive Rick Perry fashion.

Still, it would appear there is room on the right for Perry to stake a claim. And, of course, there's plenty time left for Perry to shoot himself in the foot a few more times too.

Wake up call?

Louisiana Weekly declares an end to the Mitch Honeymoon.
Anyone who thought that the current mayor would be a vast improvement from the previous administration is now beginning to see how incredibly naive he or she was. We’re seeing the same secretive attitude from the mayor’s inner circle, the same lack of respect for the media and the same disregard for the needs and concerns of most of the city’s residents.
If I had to sum up municipal and state politics for 2011 in one thought it would be that we've somehow managed to sleep through a lot of it.

I'm about ready to get this long dull nap behind us.

Being dicks

Just because they must have figured this would be their last opportunity to mess with people, I guess.
Lawyer Davida Finger, who represents the protesters, filed a supplemental memorandum this morning saying that two officers entered Duncan Plaza during "the early morning hours," turned on a spotlight and told protesters they were in violation of the restraining order issued by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey a week ago. Zainey's restraining order -- which came just hours after police evicted the protesters -- allowed the protesters to reoccupy the park, on a 24-hour basis, for another week. The order expires tonight at 10 p.m.

And now, Muppets

The SEC as Muppets

The mood of the courtroom was gloomy

I know it isn't likely but I can't say I'd be completely surprised to learn that the whole Mitch-as-juror incident was a PR stunt coordinated between the Mayor and the attorneys trying the case.

Also, if Mitch really needed to sit on a jury in order to get a handle on "the city's criminal justice system, in all its glory and its dysfunction," then we're in a lot more trouble than we thought we were. Or at least, if we're supposed to believe that, then they think we're a lot dumber than I previously believed they did.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Aaaand... of course

In case anyone needed a reminder that the NBA is run by criminals and mobsters.

New Jersey Nets owner to challenge Putin for Russian presidency

No word on whether David Stern would nullify the election results.

Another day, another failed Chris Paul trade

The Los Angeles Clippers rejected NBA commissioner David Stern’s steep demands to complete a trade for New Orleans Hornets All-Star guard Chris Paul, and talks of a blockbuster deal perished on Monday afternoon, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Sources didn’t preclude the talks from re-starting, but the Clippers weren’t willing to meet the NBA’s and Hornets’ demands for Paul, sources said.

While there’s been no official transition of power, general manager Dell Demps has been completely pushed to the side in deal-making decisions for the Hornets, multiple league sources told Y! Sports. “He’s basically a spectator now,” one official said.
The Hornets are supposed to begin regular season play in two weeks. Their practices, given their current roster, consist of four guys playing 21 and Horse while Paul sulks in the corner with 50 cameras pointed at him. If this keeps up, the NBA should just dissolve the team.

Try not to kick anybody in the face

Tennessee Titans' receiver Nate Washington talked yesterday about the reputation the Saints have gained around the league for "dirty play." It looks like he was asked specifically about Roman Harper but notice that he says Mike Munchak warned the Titans to "watch out for that type of play".
“Honestly, he’s a dirty player,” Washington said according to The Tennessean. “I’ve been watching film on him. He’s dirty. I don’t appreciate it. I’m going to step out in public and say it. It’s unfortunate he grabbed the facemask. But at the same time, you don’t walk over a guy and nudge him with your knee. You don’t do that. That’s dirty. That’s a dirty player. Flat out. This is not just one game. He’s been doing it all season and I’m tired of it, honestly. I hope the league does something about it.”

Washington added that Titans coach Mike Munchak had warned his players to watch out for that type of play, particularly from Harper. When you have guys who are out there head-hunting all the time and causing concussions and others who stomp on opponents, a “nudge” with the knee doesn’t sound all that bad. That type of thing goes on constantly in the NFL and is one of the reasons guys like Rodney Harrison earn reputations as dirty players.

This isn't the first time we've seen the Saints' burgeoning reputation become an issue. The author of that post quoted above sort of wonders whether such a thing is actually warranted, though, since there exist far more egregious examples of "dirty play" around the league. Anyone who watched the Saints-Lions game last week will tell you Detroit was the more undisciplined and, I suppose you could call it "dirtier" team on the filed by far that night. And this was the case even as their leading bad boy Ndamukong Suh was serving a suspension for having kicked someone in the face on Thanksgiving Day.

But for some reason, NFL coaches and players have chosen to tag the Saints as a dirty team whose opponents need to be warned about beforehand. And if more and more opponents are warned to "watch out for that type of play" each week, it's hardly surprising that players will start to interpret every "nudge with the knee" as something uniquely dirty. And so that makes the paper and the next team is "warned" and... well that's how these things get going.

It's become so ridiculous, in fact, that the Titans have also convinced themselves that someone on the Saints' sideline was blowing a phantom whistle during yesterday's game.
“During the game we heard this whistle blowing, but they weren’t stopping the game, they just kept playing,” McCondichie said. “They were loud enough for me to hear it on the microphone on him. They were all trying to figure out why play continued. I asked them if they knew where it came from and they said the New Orleans bench. Nobody saw it, but it was pretty loud and it was definitely a whistle.”

Just because the Titans heard a whistle doesn’t mean the Saints blew one. The whistle could have come from a fan in the stands behind the Saints’ bench. And the Titans aren’t blaming the whistle for their loss. But they do believe the Saints were engaged in some funny business. The Saints have not commented on the issue.

Besides the silly paranoia at work here, we're guessing the Titans haven't heard of the Whistle Monsta yet.

Anyway, like we said, this isn't the first time, we've heard this sort of thing from a Saints opponent. Here's a quick list of incidents that quickly came to mind after I saw that complaint from Washington.

Vikings still seething from Saints' 'dirty' hits on Favre
MANKATO, Minn. -- That ankle that's bothering Brett Favre and that might keep him from returning ... any idea how it got hurt in the first place? Don't ask the Minnesota Vikings.

Coaches are still seething over Favre's treatment by New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game, one the Vikings lost and one where Favre injured his ankle. The Vikings could handle that if ... well, if they didn't believe New Orleans went out of its way to sideline Favre.

But they do. And they're hot.

"Did you think they targeted him," I asked coach Brad Childress.

"Yeah," he said, "as I look through it, yes. As I look at 13 different clips ... as I looked at it, yes. I talk about hitting the quarterback every week, [saying things like] this guy is a different guy if you hit him, if you make him move his feet. But I just felt if you go back and look at that thing, it was whatever ... whatever, whoever, I just know they orchestrated some things that aren't within our rules.

Gregg Williams suggests the Saints want to injure Manning

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams recently told a Nashville radio station that the Saints plan to rattle Colts quarterback Peyton Manning by hitting him whenever they can, and that the goal is to knock him out of the game.

“This guy’s got a great clock in his head,” Williams told 104.5 The Zone, via ESPN.com. “The big thing is that he
throws the ball so early that we’re going to have to do a good job of
finding ways to get to him and when we do get to him we’re going to
have to make sure he gets a couple ‘remember me’ shots when we get there.”

The Saints applied several “remember me” shots to Favre on Sunday, prompting many a Vikings fan to utter a phrase that for broadcast television purposes would be edited to sound like “forget you.” One such hit to Favre’s legs didn’t draw a flag, even though NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira admitted last night that a roughing the passer penalty should have been called.

Cleveland Browns players accused New Orleans Saints of dirty play

Browns safety Nick Sorensen said the Saints gouged at his eyes and ripped at his face while he was on the ground trying to recover a fumble of the second-half kickoff return.

And he wasn't alone.

Teammates Josh Cribbs and Blake Costanzo echoed Sorensen's allegations. Cribbs said Saints players "were grabbing my crotch" as players scuffled for the loose ball on Cribb's kickoff return.

The Browns are the third team to accuse the Saints of dirty play this season.

My guess is that this is partially just what you get when you hire Gregg Williams. But the snowballing of the Saints' reputation, in particular, likely grew out of their having faced Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, and Peyton Manning in succession during the 2009 playoffs. The Manning "remember me" stuff was nothing out of the ordinary for pre-SuperBowl psych-out talk. Warner and Favre sustained injuries in those games but they were also playing at the very tail end of their careers then. I didn't think either of them took any "dirty" hits but we all know the NFL goes out of its way to protect its marquee players.

And if you've watched the Saints play this year, you'll note that the NFL goes out of its way to protect whoever the opposing quarterback is as they draw more than their share of questionable roughing calls. A few weeks back, the T-P'sMike Triplett actually compiled those numbers for us.
Through 11 games this year, the Saints have been flagged for five roughing the passer penalties, four unnecessary roughness penalties, two personal fouls and two taunting penalties -- an average of more than one 15-yard penalty per game.
This is another way in which the Saints' reputation, based largely on hearsay and coaches who warn players to watch out for things, can tangibly affect the game. Note also that it isn't uncommon for the league office to actually apologize for these mistakes after the fact.
But a few of those penalties were questionable calls. Payton was particularly disappointed in a roughing the passer penalty levied against defensive end Will Smith in the fourth quarter, when replays showed that Smith clearly did not make any helmet contact with Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Former NFL director of officials Mike Pereira said in a Fox Sports chat that the penalty shouldn't have been called.

"I don't know that we tell (Smith) to do a thing different," Payton said.

A similar thing happened earlier this year when the NFL called the Saints to admit they were wrong when they flagged safety Roman Harper for a hit against Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler that kept alive a touchdown drive.

Notice that one of the bad calls the league apologized for came against Roman Harper which shouldn't surprise anyone given his now firmly ensconced reputation.

Meanwhile, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has claimed that NFL officials are out to get him, personally. Vick told reporters earlier this season that he doesn't know why he doesn't "get the 15-yard flags like everybody else does."

This prompted some fact-checking at the time which found Vick received 0.88 roughing calls per every 100 passes placing him 9th in the league which is moderately favorable. The Saints' Drew Brees, by comparison was only 21st among NFL quarterbacks drawing an average of 0.51 roughing calls per 100 passes.

Of course that hasn't stopped people from baselessly asserting that Brees receives "special treatment" from NFL referees. But now that this assertion is out there, it isn't surprising to see officials hesitate to flag the same kind of hits on Brees they so regularly penalize the Saints' defense for.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Invented People" and "Farie Folk"

Given their definitions of what constitutes a fantasy character, I'm starting to think that Newt Gingrich and Alan Richman could get together and put on the worst role playing game ever.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Shorting the Hornets

In today's most laughable fraud, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Jefferson Parish President John Young, and Hugh Weber, the NBA executive temporarily playing the role of a franchise owner gathered together to hype the sale of 10,000 pieces of over-valued commercial paper.

New Orleans Hornets team president Hugh Weber said Thursday now that the team has surpassed the 10,000-season ticket mark, it could have a new owner in the next 60 to 100 days.

"These deals are sometimes complicated," Weber said, "so there could be some issues that come up. But we have established a track record that, again, I think we'll get this done. Contingent upon any ownership transaction would be that the team is going to be here for the long term.

Like many victims of "complicated deals" during the recent financial crisis, the holders of this paper were no doubt disappointed later in the day when it may have finally dawned on them that the Hornets aren't really an NBA franchise per se, so much as a Structured Investment Vehicle where the lelague parks all the crap assets so the real dealmakers can reap all the profit.

Update: Also true to form, the regulatory response only serves to reinforce the great divide between the haves and have-nots. Where we momentarily thought the rich would get richer through an inequitable trade, we now see that they will get richer for free at the end of what is now certain to be a disastrous season. Way to go, guys.

On today's episode of The Lens Ate My Comment

Below is a comment I intended to publish beneath this Mark Moseley Lens column but, once again, the Lens spam filter has eaten my submission. Or at least I'm assuming that's what keeps happening. Ordinarily this wouldn't bother me but if they're going to publish a column that specifically calls me out for having my judgement clouded by "reflexive cynicism" it seems like they should allow me to respond in that forum. Luckily, since this is not the first time this has happened, I had the presence of mind to copy and paste the response here just in case.

UPDATE: The Lens spam monster has been made to regurgitate the lost missive. Read this anyway. It has marginally more stuff.

Because this is a comment addressed to a specific author and I don't feel like cleaning it up much, it won't make much sense unless you read Moseley's piece first. But not everybody will do that so, just to sum it up, it's a look at the GOP Presidential field as it presently stands with an emphasis on the supposedly "unpredictable fluid dynamics" that have characterized it so far and an implicit refutation of my repeated assertion that such "dynamics" are a basically meaningless sideshow. In the process of developing this point, Moseley represents some of my commentary on the 2008 elections in a.. well.. incomplete way that happens to be convenient to his argument. I try to clear some of that up below. Moseley criticizes me for making imprecise electoral forecasts where the point of such exercises is much more to describe the political climate rather than predict it. He also presents us with the remarkable assertion that Mitt Romney "benefits from being a smart, poised candidate who is not prone to gaffes" which is funny because,

and also

And so forth and the like.

Anyway here's what the Lens ate this time.

First, let's clear this up. "Discounted Obama's chances to win" is one way to put it, although you'll recall the bulk of my criticism of Obama and his supporters (I called them "cultists" They were greatly insulted by this) was that they were presenting us with a Pepsi commercial instead of a meaningful opposition campaign and so were setting themselves up to be greatly disappointed by what I was already calling the "Clinton II Administration" My core assertion where it regarded Obama wasn't so much concerned with whether of not he could win as much as that it wouldn't matter if he did. As much as I adore saying "I told you so" I'm not even sure I have to do that now. The Health Care "reform" brought to you by PHarma and the non-recovery brought to you by the Geithner-Summers Rubinite Administration basically speak for themselves.

Also there's this Daily Kos election map thingy I filled in just before the election where I called the final electoral college results right down to the exact number just to remind you that I do in fact pay attention to "dynamics" and whatnot.

Anyway onto this season.

I'll give you this much. During the early stages of Campaign 2008, I did indeed expect Rudy! to be the candidate around which the inevitable "Law and Order" resentment vote would crystallize. I was wrong about that, sure. But only for reasons similar to those that made many observers wrong about Perry this time around (For the record, I wasn't on the Perry train this time.) If I have one fault it's one I share with a lot of observers in that I look too closely at previous years' elections for an appropriate analog to the present one. In 2008, I was looking for Nixon and saw Rudy. This year, I think a lot of people were looking for W and saw Perry. Maybe I'm looking at the way the GOP eventually just gave up and settled on McCain last time around when I talk about Mitt but that's not all I'm doing.

I disagree with your characterization of my analysis as reflexive cynicism. What I'm mostly trying to express is exasperation with the false drama created during each election cycle as the info-tainment industry attempts to write a brand new a-historical soap opera out of whole cloth where the present candidates and the policies or interest groups they might represent are de-contextualized from even their very recent past.

The "process" then becomes a meaningless pretend time where we are forced by our scribes and heralds to consider questions to which we've long known the answers as though they're completely new things under the sun. "What about this flat-tax, proposal? Has anyone ever considered such a thing?" they ask breathlessly. "Wow! Newt thinks children should be made to work as janitors! Why has no one tried this before?" It's a stupid stupid TV show that any 12 year old should feel insulted to have been presented with.

Sure we can think of the meaningless plot developments within this silly soap opera as dynamic "unscripted moments" but only in the same way we expect such from so-called reality TV. A character does something outrageous or momentarily embarrassing. Very entertaining, but does it change anything? Probably not. On Jersey Shore they're just holding your attention long enough to sell you an energy drink or a spray-on tan or something. In American Kabuki Politics, they're just selling you more of the crap status quo money trust oligarchy you're living under. (Or if John Boehner is involved, also spray-on tans)

And the 2012 GOP Primary show is selling you Mitt Romney. Mitt is the guy the money trust most wants, he's the product they're trying to launch here. Everything else is just pretty crap to look at.

I can't accept Newt as the nominee for this reason. He can't beat Obama in a one-on-one race. Now, a three of four way race with your Bloombergs and Roemers and such floating around there might be a different story. What I'm kind of hoping for, in fact, is a race where Buddy Roemer runs on the "Citizens Elect" ticket and puts Newt in but all the asshole mainstream Democrats blame Nader anyway.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Sloppy sandwich criticism

I was willing to give Brett Anderson a bit of a pass for his surprisingly kind review of Mahony's during his roast beef po-boy tour. My impression of Mahony's (and this is very nearly a consensus view among those whose opinions I've solicited) is that it's more or less a gimmick designed to sell overpriced sandwiches to transplants, tourists, and Tulane students.

So I was suspicious after seeing Anderson's review but decided to let it go on the assumption that this tour of roast beef he's on is meant more as a celebration of the ubiquity of the sandwich than an exercise in actual criticism. And yet today we find Anderson slamming two iconic neighborhood joints in the very next installment.

In a way I'm relieved to see some strong opinion make its way into this series. Week after week of "Try this great sandwich" would start to drag, after all. But having said that, what is Anderson talking about here?
To read this description, one would think that Parkway had gotten the form exactly right. Parkway’s beef suffers the opposite problem of Domilise’s: it’s cooked to such moist tenderness there’s little texture to it at all - and surprisingly little flavor.

The bread on the Parkway sandwich I tried last week had already been soaked and steamed halfway to paste by the time I unwrapped it.

The po-boy couldn’t hold its shape past four bites. A more mannerly person would have finished hers with a knife and fork. I proceeded in the manner of an undomesticated primate presented with a bowl of porridge.

I took no satisfaction in the 14 napkins required to clean myself afterwards. This is perhaps evidence that I don’t understand what some people love about their roast beef po-boys.
Firstly, I'm surprised at the "surprisingly little flavor" remark. On a recent visit to Parkway I found the roast beef so rich and garlicky that I was forced to admit that I preferred it to my neighborhood favorite Tracey's. Furthermore, a description like this ordinarily would indicate that Parkway has gotten the form exactly right. Tender debris roast beef and gravy mess everywhere, big mess of napkins, sounds okay to me. But Anderson says he doesn't understand why people like their sandwiches that way in the first place.

And that might be the problem right there... except that it isn't. Or at least it wasn't when Anderson visited Mahony's.
Wicks cooks Angus beef as a pot roast, braising it in red wine with vegetables and herbs. The resulting meat is so tender it could probably be consumed with a straw. It also doesn’t suffer the curse of underseasoning that requires too many roast beef po-boys to be brought to life with hot sauce. Served between halves of toasted, sesame freckled Leidenheimer bread, mine tasted more than a little like beef bourgnuignon, the wine imparting an unmistakable tang.

It’s messy not because the bread turns to mush but because the tender pulls of meat struggle to find traction, slipping out the back end and onto the butcher paper, waiting to be scooped up between thumb and Zapp’s potato chip.
I don't get it. Here we have Anderson praising the messy tender meat he his forced to stuff into his face using his "thumb and Zapp's potato chip" which we can only assume is a mode of opposition (or is it apposition) not available to "an undomesticated primate." But somehow the same sort of experience with Parkway's sandwich is something too low for him to understand. The reasoning here is about as solid as a dripping glob of debris gravy and mayonnaise.

Anyway I do hope Anderson finds somewhere to eat that serves a Parkway style po-boy that includes the amount of "flavor" he's looking for. If this search for the city's best roast beef ends up settling on Mahony's we'll have to launch a full investigation.

*As a side note I would like to challenge all the food writers and commenters out there to go at least one month without using the word "flavor" at all in their reviews. Readers want to know what a food tastes like in terms that actually explain things to them. Is it creamy? peppery? gritty? bready? buttery? sugary? Does it remind you of something else you've eaten? Is it Xtreme, or perhaps Kickin'? Is it part of this complete breakfast? Just tell us something about it. Anything other than it "has flavor" or "lacks flavor" or "the flavors are big" or bold or any other such unhelpful nonsense.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Welcome (back) to the Occupation

And the game is back on for the 10 or 15 people who have been camping in Duncan Plaza and aren't just random homeless people or gutter punks.
CBD - The city's early morning eviction of Occupy NOLA This afternoon, U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey ruled in favor of Occupy New Orleans, granting a 7-day temporary restraining order that would allow protesters to remain in Duncan Plaza at all hours of the day until next Tuesday. The ruling came two hours after lawyers for the City and the Occupy Wall Street offshoot entered the judge's chambers for a hearing on the matter.
My best guess is the judge wasn't too happy with Mitch and Serpas running the protesters out of the park before a scheduled ruling on their request for an injunction.
He laid out several conditions for the protesters: They are prohibited from using open flames, electrical cords, and they cannot carry weapons or have pets at the site. Two portable toilets also have to be kept at the site, and must be provided by the Occupiers. Student lawyers that have been working with the protesters already agreed to provide one toilet.

The port-o-lets I understand. Not so sure if the other conditions are justified. Anyway I like I said, I think this is more a slap on the wrist to Mitch for jumping the gun than anything else. I fully expect the City will get what it wants eventually.

Obama failing

This "Big Speech" is terrible. Obama misrepresents the nature of the financial crisis as "Mortgages sold to people who couldn’t afford them" then harkens back to an imaginary time when "values" guaranteed us that "hard work paid off, responsibility was rewarded, and anyone could make it if they tried — no matter who you were, where you came from, or how you started out."

Utter bullshit. All of it. And until someone acknowledges the fundamental lie in all of this, we'll always be ruled by the one-party money establishment Obama currently represents.. and future President Romney will also represent.

Because we all live in a TV show

A really really bad one.

As mayor of America's most murderous city, Mitch Landrieu has spent much of his time casting about for ways to curb New Orleans' notorious culture of violence.This week, he'll have a chance to confront the city's homicide epidemic in a much more direct and personal way: as a member of a 12-person jury hearing the case of Gerald Nickles, 29, accused of fatally shooting a man in eastern New Orleans during a 2007 armed robbery.

How did this even happen? Those of you with the intestinal fortitude to watch three quarters of the way through the movie Independence Day might remember the scene where the President leads a squad of fighter pilots against an alien spaceship. This is only slightly less believable than that. If I'm defending this case, I've already filed my appeal on the grounds of jury contamination.

Nearly as bad as the certain to be rejected Hollywood plot device of Mayor-juror-at-murder-trial is the golden age of radio theater style manner in which Laura Maggi presents it.

As mayor of America's most murderous city, Mitch Landrieu has spent much of his time casting about for ways to curb New Orleans' notorious culture of violence.

This week, he'll have a chance to confront the city's homicide epidemic in a much more direct and personal way

"America's most murderous city"? Do we mean to imply that the city itself has evil intentions? It's true the city has a horrifyingly high murder rate but Murderous City sounds like something that belongs in an Batman comic.

Later we get this

As the attorneys laid out their cases, Landrieu listened intently. He sat in the front row, a juror badge affixed to his dark suit.

Since he has taken office, murder has become Landrieu's most nettlesome and thus far insoluble problem.

Wow, our dark suited hero listens intently as he prepares to confront the nettlesome problem in a direct and personal way. Pass the fucking popcorn!

And of course, today, nobody could have predicted this might have been problematic.
A lawyer defending an accused murderer in a case where Mayor Mitch Landrieu is one of the 12 jurors asked a judge this morning to consider whether a Times-Picayune story on the trial might have influenced the jury.
Geeze what a waste of time. What else is on?


Here are the titles of some children's books I withdrew this morning which really should be band names. (Note: Some of these are quite obviously crappy bands)

The Truth About Sparrows

Frankenstein's Hamster

Let Me Off This Spaceship

A Dolphin Named Bob

How Many Miles to Babylon

Uncle Daddy

Mitch de-occupies Duncan Plaza overnight

Kind of a weird internet fail sincethis is the first I'm seeing anything about that happening. Nothing on talk radio this morning either.

Update: Coverage and pictures at NOLADef

Also at Uptown Messenger

Upperdate: Here's the T-P story I think the reason I'm running behind on this this morning is I depend on Bob DelGiorno to tell me what's happening when I get up.

Also see here the city attorney's and the occupiers' legal representatives are meeting in a Federal judges chambers right now. I can't imagine that will come to much.

The only question I have here is, since Mitch is saying the issue is camping overnight in a park after hours, would the city allow the protesters to occupy the park during its so-called "open" hours? My suspicion is this is all about clearing out the park before the Sugar Bowl and so I'm guessing Mitch would have to then find a new excuse to do that.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Just stop it already

This was a nice story I read over the weekend from the Flint (Michigan) Journal about Michigan native Mark Ingram's rookie season in New Orleans. What I thought was particularly nice about it was the clean, unassuming, factual way in which it referenced the stadium where Ingram plays his home games.
Mark Ingram said the hardest tackle he took this season was from Atlanta Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards, who Ingram said shook him up when he hit him on a run play.

“It is a difference as far as the hits now, and usually every time he gets hit, just like before, I’m a little uneasy,” Shonda Ingram said. “I wait for him to pop up, but it is a difference because the guys are real big and they’re grown men.”

The unease, however, has not kept his mother away from her son’s home games.

She still maintains her job at Northwestern High School as a general education social worker but has made it down to Louisiana for every one of her son’s home games at the Superdome.
Mark Ingram's mom comes to see her son play at the Superdome. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe we don't really need to name the building at all in that sentence but since we're writing about a landmark in a faraway city it helps to throw that in, I guess.

Meanwhile, this morning, I flip on the ole NOLA.com super special Saints page and find this headline.
New Orleans Saints beat Detroit 31-17 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
What, why? Why do Times-Picayune/NOLA.com writers and editors continually feel obliged to pimp the Dome's naming rights sponsor even in places where its inclusion is burdensome to a phrase or, in this case, a distraction from the main point of a headline? As far as I can tell, they're under no specific obligation to do this unless Benz is paying them directly.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Occupy Fowl Street or Vote For The Cook Punter It's Important

Well that sure was an #important November. At least that's what the Saints players and coaches kept drumming into our heads the whole time. Odd that they'd say such a thing about a month when only three football games occurred on their schedule. Maybe they were all just really excited about A Very Ga Ga Thanksgiving. Or maybe they knew, as we did, that November would be the month when we'd have an occasion to throw together this Turducken Gumbo. Yes you want to see. Check this out.

The endeavor began the day before Thanksgiving when, after spending all afternoon in the kitchen prepping and cooking for the following day's meal, we grabbed one of those rotisserie chickens from Breaux Mart for dinner. As we were setting the leftover chicken in the fridge it occurred to us that since Dad had suddenly decided to smoke this duck to go with the turkey this year...

Smoked duck

... we had accidentally created for ourselves our first (and perhaps last) ever opportunity to build a stock from the remains of all three birds. And so that weekend we set ourselves to the work. We're pretty sure just about everyone reading knows how to make a damn stock. But since we took all these pictures anyway, here's what happened.

We started by disassembling our 3 fowl carcasses (carcassi?), stripping off as much useable meat as possible, and jamming everything else into this humongous stock pot.

Fowl carcasses

And then that gets the requisite onion, garlic, celery, and parsley. All of these birds have been well seasoned already but it's a good idea to add a little salt and pepper here anyway.

Stock pot

Cover it with water, bring it to a boil, and then simmer it for as many hours as you can possibly spare. Quite honestly, when we began this project, we figured it was little more than a novelty idea. But once the apartment started to catch the smell we thought we might be onto something interesting.

Turducken stock

Probably what made the biggest difference was the fact that one of our birds had gotten some smoke cooked into it which imparted quite well into the stock. The smokiness of the duck, the richness of the turkey, and the, um, chickenness of the chicken combined to make us quite happy with ourselves even before the work of making the actual gumbo could get underway.

Finished stock

Again, as is the case with the stock, we're sure just about everyone reading knows how to make a gumbo but, again, we've got all these pictures.

So the first thing you do is get out that big cast iron pot and brown yourself some sausage. The variety we have here happens to be endorsed by NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson. If you have not yet discovered this for yourself, trust us when we say the man knows what he's talking about.

Browned sausage

Add some butter and flour to the sausage drippings and start making your roux. We trust all of you know how to do this but we stood around for a long time working on this one and just wanted you to see what it looked like about three quarters of the way through.

Medium Roux

It's difficult to capture the appropriate color of a well done roux using our phone camera in that particular lighting. Trust us, it's darker than it looks there. For a better image, try this one from a few years ago when we last decided to share some post-Thanksgiving gumbo photography with you.

Once you've gotten this far, here's how easy making any gumbo is from there. First pick up this bowl of chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and parsley.

Gumbo seasoning

Next, throw it into the roux and enjoy one of the greatest odors known to man as the vegetables cook.

Seasoning vegetables in roux

And once you're done with that, all that's left is to start adding your stock and stirring it in until you've got a full pot going. To this, you'll add your leftover turkey, duck, and chicken meat,

Fowl meat

After that cooks a while throw in your chopped okra. Of the several controversial gumbo conventions and orthodoxies that get thrown around, the one we're most adamant about adhering to is that which holds that what you're cooking isn't actually gumbo unless you have added some okra at some point. The slimier, the better, in fact.


As it cooks, you'll want to add some seasoning. We admit to being a little more heavy handed with the cayenne and the thyme than most. Adjust these things to your taste. On this occasion we experimented by adding an ever so slight pinch of Chinese five spice thinking it might complement the duck well. We were happy with the result.

And finally add your browned sausage back to the pot and continue simmering until you've got something that looks this awesome.

Turducken Gumbo

We don't know when or if we'll ever make another Turducken gumbo but we are sure glad we made this one. Any gumbo is a perfect accompaniment to a chilly fall evening. It's also one of those foods that only gets better sitting in the fridge overnight. So make sure you've got enough left over to reheat just before you head out into a frigid (but #important) November Monday evening on your way to your nearest commercially sponsored football stadium.

Saints vs. Important Teams

Typically, we go through these re-caps intent on discussing the statistical minutiae, narrative drama, and idiotic controversies of only the most recent Saints spectacle. However, since we've spent the entire important month of November busying ourselves with doubtlessly more important things, we're gonna try and catch up here by focusing on the important big picture items we've observed over the course of the last three games. We present those items below in no particular order of importance.

  • This Month's Important Dome Complaint:
    Just to be clear we're still unhappy with this naming rights situation. We're just not interested in delving too far into that right now but we did notice that Superdome field crews were made to scrub the name from the turf just one hour prior to kickoff Monday night. To our knowledge no one explained the reason for this. It probably had something to do with ESPN's sponsorship conflicts. We're told that Lexus runs commercials during Monday Night Football, for example. Of course, it could also be that ESPN didn't want to be associated with a high-profile immigration arrest in Alabama, but this is all just speculation.

    The important thing here is no matter what they're calling the Dome and no matter how they're decorating it, they sure are making it more and more difficult for individuals to dull the psychological impact of these horrors with alcohol.

    For the first time, Dome security is using metal detecting wands on fans who may possibly be trying to sneak a flask or two in through the gates. This resulted in a new low for us as we resorted to secreting our supply of vodka and whiskey into the building via small recently emptied Listerine bottles. Try as one might, it is in fact very difficult to remove the minty effervescence of Listerine from the plastic container it comes in. And while this added a novel mint-julepy quality to our Jack and Cokes, we think we'd prefer a cleaner version next time.

    Speaking of next time, we learned that fans attending this week's Saints-Lions game Sunday night are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items with them to donate to Second Harvest. Fans who bring canned goods may choose to conceal them somewhere on their persons and challenge the wand-wielding security personnel to find them. That way everyone can be included in the act of giving. It's what the Holidays are all about.

  • So we're told this is the Golden Age of Punting:
  • Thomas Morstead and his legion of fans want him to be in the Pro Bowl. "It's just time" you are no doubt saying. But is it? Morstead is having a great, possibly his best, season as a pro. But statistically speaking, there are guys performing at higher levels in every category. Morstead is 7th in the league in yards per punt (47.8) and 3rd in net (42.5). Because the Saints punt so infrequently, it's difficult to compare his total punts downed inside the 20 with the league leaders. Morstead has 10. If we look at this in terms of a percentage, Morstead's 30% inside the 20 is respectable although it just barely makes the top third among all punters. Just to give you an idea of where the bar is set, Miami's Brandon Fields and Washington's Sav Rocca post freakish 46% and 43% averages respectively. As we have observed previously, we are currently living through a "Golden Age of Punting" where what was formerly considered extraordinary is now just what's expected.

    On the other hand, Morstead is the only NFL punter we're aware of who has made an actual campaign promise offering to attempt a drop kick during the Pro Bowl should the fans see fit to elect him. And without checking, we can pretty much guarantee that he leads all NFL punters in total number of Twitter followers. Those two important items alone make Morstead at least as qualified a candidate as any leading GOP Presidential contender at this point. Keep these facts in mind, voters.

  • Let's not burn Gregg Willams at the stake quite just yet:
    Here is by far the craziest stat of the season. During the exceedingly important month of November, the Saints' defense surrendered exactly zero touchdowns during the first half of each game. Now one could argue that it's more important to finish these games strong than it is to start them that way. But it seems to us that if you're supporting an offense that piles up points as quickly as the Saints do, few things could be more important than building an early lead and daring the opponent to catch up. As soon as the Giants' final scoring threat of the first half ended Monday night, we got on the Twitter and declared the game over although the score was only 14-3 at the time.

    Catching the Saints when you're behind by two scores is virtually impossible. Well, okay so if you're down 10 points with 6 minutes left and realize you can just throw the ball to some dude named Harry Douglass repeatedly that might be enough once in a while. But even then the price for such a thing is having to watch Mike Smith make decisions so really it all evens out to not so good odds for you. The important point here is the Saints are not a team you want to get into a shoot-out with, as the cliche goes. It goes double if you spend the entire first half giving them a head start.. as we guess the mixed metaphor would go.

    It also hasn't escaped our notice that Williams has been tinkering with his strategy lately. It's important for NFL coaches to adjust their game plans during the final stages of the season in order to keep a step or two ahead of opponents who think they may have them figured out.

    Against the Giants, Williams worked in a couple of new twists. For one, we noticed Malcolm Jenkins lined up at or near the line of scrimmage much more frequently than normal. Understand that the Giants came into that week having trouble running the ball and were missing their primary back but it also looked like they weren't ready to account for Jenkins in run support. Yes, this freed up Victor Cruz deep a few times but we were more intrigued than bothered by that. Maybe under different circumstances we'll feel differently.

    The Saints ran a lot more 3-4 than we had seen previously. What was interesting about this was it meant they put more linebackers on the field even without Jonathan Vilma in the line up. Also it reminded us that Will Herring is still on the team.

    Catching motherfucker too We'll have to coach that out of him

    Call us crazy but we think we're starting to see some of what we expected from this defense when the season began. The depth at tackle... and suddenly at linebacker.. is starting to pay off. We like the willingness to mix things up a bit... mostly because it appears to be working. Once that stops happening, we'll come right back and tell you how stupid it is, but for now.. neato.

  • Free Devery!
    Speaking of adding wrinkles late in the season. Here are a couple of interesting numbers. The first one, Drew Brees' NFL leading 3,689 passing yards, everyone knows about. But notice also that Brees is threatening to break a major NFL record while his two most dangerous big play weapons have remained relatively quiet. Check it out.

    Robert Meachem: 29 receptions 359 yards 4 touchdowns

    Devery Henderson: 23 receptions 385 yards 2 touchdowns

    Remember, it's important for NFL coaches to have a few cards left in the deck to play during the last stretch of the season when opponents are game planning based on their tendencies. Is there anything wrong with Meach or Devery? Not so far as we can tell. Either of those guys is ready to explode at any time. And these next few weeks, as Jimmy Graham approaches 1000 yards and draws more and more attention are when it could happen.

  • Indexes of waning importance

    It's been fun Index:
    Not that this is tremendously important anymore but let's look once again at Darren Sproles' statistics vs Reggie Bush's just for shits and giggles.

    Sproles: 59 carries 402 yards 2 TDs rushing, 62 receptions 476 yards 3 TDs receiving, 18 punt returns for 173 yards and a touchdown 26 kick returns for 697 yards TOTAL 1748 yards and 6 touchdowns

    Bush: 133 yards 567 yards and 4 TDs rushing, 35 receptions 237 yards and 1 touchdown receiving, 5 punt returns 44 yards TOTAL 848 yards 5 touchdowns

    Diners Drive-ins and Diving to the Ground Index:

    If you'll remember back to the start of the season, we thought it might be important fun to compare Panthers tight end Jeremey Shockey's touchdowns total to whatever backup Saints tackle might happen to score on a tackle-eligible trick play this season. Those numbers for what they're worth:

    Shockey: 1 touchdown

    Saints' backup tackles: 0 touchdowns

    We should note, of course, that Saints fullback Jed Collins has managed to score 3 in the meantime. Also Drew Brees has scored one now. Also Jeremey Shockey sucks.

    Look, the important thing about all of these numbers is it had long been our contention that Shockey and Bush, despite their inexplicable popularity, were essentially fraudulent "superstars" and we expected the statistics to bear that out this year. Mostly we believe ourselves to have been proven right about this. This week, Wang wrote a guest column for the NOLA Defender where he compared Bush and Shockey to their replacements Sproles and Graham this year. Please allow us to quote his summation.

    Bush and Shockey were hater magnets, on the field and off. Graham and Sproles haven't just exceeded everyone's most wildly-optimistic expectations on the field, they also don't constantly annoy us with all kinds of other stuff. They're our kind of guys. The kind of guys who'd let you buy them a Peacemaker at Domilise's. And then split it with you. And then insist on paying for it. And then bookmark your blog and follow you on Twitter.

    As much as these two guys have upgraded the team on the field, they've upgraded the heck out of our locker room chemistry as a fanbase. And as far as I'm concerned, the latter is deserving of every bit as much praise as the former.

  • This month's Jordan Jefferson Try Not to Kick Anybody In The Face Award:
    This one is pretty easy. Congratulations to Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for.. well.. kicking a guy in the face on Thanksgiving Day which is important because it means he will not have an opportunity to do any face kicking in the Superdome Sunday Night.

    Not that we would recommend trying such a maneuver against Drew Brees. That dude will Marshawn you out of the way if you make him mad.

    In Soviet Russia, passer roughs you!

  • Now that the NBA lockout is over, can we stop dunking the football?
    We'd like to thank Jimmy Graham and Drew Brees for providing us with this important service during our nation's dunk shortage but the time has come for it to stop. Here's one last look from Monday Night for posterity's sake



    And okay, just for good measure, here's a statue of Shaq doing his best Graham impression.

    Shaq statue

  • Speaking of Shaq, he was at the Garden District Book Shop this weekend to sign books and shake hands. Earlier this season, he offered the following commentary on what very well could be best college football team we've ever seen.

    We honestly couldn't have put it much better than that. Not only is LSU's 20111 edition the best team we've seen but this has been the best college football season we've watched in a long time. The pendulum is swinging away from the wide open spread passing game and back toward a more defensive, run-oriented style that, to put it bluntly, looks more like what football is supposed to look like.

    Here's an interesting article about the return of the option attack to the college game albeit as a derivative of the spread era. Here's another about a perfectly executed option play by LSU vs Alabama.

    We can't say enough about how much fun this has been to watch this season... although we suppose following a 13-0 SEC Champion doesn't hurt there. We've already apologized to Les Miles for having doubted his program once this season so instead of re-hashing that let's just let him play us out of this segment.

Finally, and most importantly, we admit to a renewed sense of optimism about the Saints at the start of the (we suppose somewhat important) month of December. We thought that Giants game would tell us a lot about whether we could expect to be watching a serious contender down the stretch and, well, we were told a lot of things we wanted to hear. It will be important to keep hearing that sort of thing Sunday night.

More importantly, thanks in part to Varg's discerning the narrative of the Saints as "Destroying Angels" here, we've determined what we think would be a satisfying and reachable goal for the remainder of this season.

The Saints are clearly a team on the come and almost certainly headed for the playoffs. But it's not likely that they'll qualify for home field advantage or even a first round bye so it might not be reasonable to expect them to make another Super Bowl, although we suppose anything is possible. But if the Saints can't have it all, it might be fun instead to draw the Packers in the playoffs and play Destroying Angels once more by knocking them out.

What could be a more perfect fit for the long-term narrative than for the Saints to return to the site of their oh-so-close loss at Green Bay and complete the cycle by finishing the job this time? Plus there's the beautiful symmetry of upsetting a defending champion and sending them home early after having that done to themselves just one year before. Just do that one thing and whatever happens afterward isn't quite as important.

But before we get there, let's enjoy the ride along the way with renewed confidence. We fully expect the Saints to beat the Lions by 2 touchdowns tomorrow.