Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Oh no!

Molly Ivins was one of if not THE best. Certainly one of my heroes anyway. More later.

City Plan: Finishing What Katrina Started

note: Title edited due to late inspiration.

The T-P has a rather strange front-pager about the (almost) finished and still unfunded rebuilding plan that will be "handed off" this week from planning consultants to city planners. In a style that has become typical of T-P reporting lately, the final paragraph contains a snarky hint at the possible exasperation or perhaps indifference of the consultants without really explaining it.
Consultants who directed the turbulent process were relieved to be handing documents over to city planners. As the news conference got under way, New Orleans architect Steven Bingler told one associate, "This is it, the handoff," and talked of jetting off to the Caribbean.
This paragraph suggests that Bingler is so disgusted with the results of his work that he's all too eager to "hand it off" and hop a plane to Jamaica... with his freshly collected consulting fee burning a hole in his pocket. It's an odd way to end the article if you don't plan to delve further into that issue. Bingler has been criticized at length elsewhere for "condescension" and "lack of candor". It is strange that the T-P is content to limit its criticism to largely unqualified tossed off remarks like the one above.

This is not to defend the plan or its architects however. If the suggestion is that the planning consultants have been little better than preachy opportunistic carpetbaggers, it will find little quarrel here. This was supposed to be a plan for restoring city infrastructure and bringing back communities that were broken and dispersed through the criminal negligence of the federal government. What it has turned out to be, instead, is a festival of condescension wherein professional planners from out of town have collected fees for 1) assigning blame to flood victims for not building high enough in neighborhoods prone to heavy damage caused by the breach of federal levees and 2) forcing those residents to abandon their neighborhoods.
Core features of the broad plan include incentive grant programs that would help city residents elevate their homes, rebuild slab homes using more traditional building styles and help residents relocate from flood-prone, mostly abandoned neighborhoods to more viable ones on higher ground. Those programs alone would cost more than $4 billion in coming years and would supplement any grants already available through the state's Road Home program.

The attempt to force residents off of their land has only been partially successful. In some.. but not all cases, the idea of abandoning rather than restoring victimized neighborhoods has met resistance. The planners have expressed their exasperation as they've been forced to budge a little.
Planning consultants refused to consider a relocation program, favored by some national experts, that would force residents to move out of neighborhoods that are mostly abandoned in order to save on infrastructure costs and allow for new land uses. They said there is no political will, so far, in New Orleans for such mandatory steps and that residents signaled during recent public hearings that there should be a right to return to every neighborhood.

"We had to look at that from a public policy point of view first," said Laurie Johnson, a disaster recovery expert from San Francisco who played a key role in shaping the plan. "That's not where the community is right now, and that's not where the city leadership is right now."
In other words, "Some of these stupid New Orleans people won't go along with what we say is good for them."

The real problem has been.. unsurprisingly.. a lack of coherent city leadership on this issue. In Broadmoor, where a vociferous and organized neighborhood advocacy exists, an entire section of the city has been reclaimed from the planners' ominous "green dot". In other areas like the Lower Nine and parts of Gentilly and the East, where the demographics don't skew so much toward educated professionals with easy access, there has been significantly less progress. Instead of functioning as an advocate for the forgotten neighborhoods that overwhelmingly reelected him, the Mayor has taken a demolition by neglect "market approach" to their recovery. Without leadership, city residents have had to fend for themselves. As a result,the planning and recovery process has become a perverse experiment in Social Darwinism... a chaotic scramble for the pieces of a broken city entirely devoid of vision.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Monday, January 29, 2007

Expanding the footprint

..of the CBD that is. This is a question held over from Saturday. Can someone explain what is going on here?

You never know what's going to show up on the City Council's agenda.

Take an ordinance that was introduced a couple of meetings ago, but not yet voted on, to amend the city code to define the Central Business District.

Here's how the proposed law would define the CBD: "the area bounded by the Mississippi River, the Pontchartrain Expressway, the middle of Claiborne Avenue and the middle of Iberville Street on the East Bank and the area bounded by Merrill Street on the east, General Meyer Avenue on the south, Benjamin and Hendee streets on the west and the Mississippi River on the north on the West Bank."

Nobody is likely to disagree with the East Bank boundaries, which are the same as those of the Downtown Development District. But where did the West Bank portion -- basically the old Naval Support Activity land that is to be turned into the new "federal city" -- come from? Has anybody before ever alleged that the CBD includes a large chunk of Algiers?

And what is that Benjamin Street? There are Benjamin streets in Uptown New Orleans and in Arabi, but is there one in Algiers? Not on our map.

The ordinance in question was introduced by Councilman James Carter at the request of the Nagin administration. If and when it comes up for a vote, presumably someone will be prepared to explain how the city's longtime CBD suddenly acquired an unexpected cousin across the river.

Today's Numbers

STOP with the "Mississippi does it better" bullshit. I'm looking at you, every WWL radio host.

What is my point? Though Mississippi and Louisiana are using similar grant programs, their progress can not be similarly compared. Louisiana’s destruction was greater in scale and complexity and was grossly under-funded at the offset.

Those numbers? Go read the post.

Peyton Manning

I'm just sayin'

Update: This might seal it. I'm suddenly a Bears fan again. Maybe Varg can make me a sign.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Rose sucks

Ashley explains


Nagin, Riley boast of success of crime checkpoints, cameras

Didn't a vast, vocal majority of anti-crime marchers emphatically state here and elsewhere that this is exactly what they didn't want?

Update: I don't think they were asking for this either.

Remember.. I was critical of the march but at least I got it. Sheesh!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Party at the Dystopia

No I'm not talking about some cheesy Bourbon street nightclub but rather the lede to the latest Laureen Lentz report on the Magazine Street clousure.

Heart of Darkness Block Party: This Saturday, Jan. 27th, 2pm. At the Magazine/ Melpomene Road Closure.

Come show your support for getting Magazine St. open, support for the people who live there . . . or come for the craziness


The 2007 Jazzfest line-up is now available. This year's acts include.....

wait for it....

New Edition!

I hope festgoers will be treated to this number in honor of our foot-dragging local utilities.

Just when I was ready to be the voice of moderation..

..and suggest that maybe we're going a little overboard with this "the-whole-city-of-Chicago-hates-us-and-wishes-we-would-all-drown" thing, it turns out the atmosphere at the Bears game was even more poisonous than I had previously imagined possible.

Yesterday, when I linked to Lolis's piece on American antipathy towards New Orleans, I did so for the same reason I always jump on this subject; I dearly wish it not to be true. But when I see stuff like this, I am at a loss. I can't add anything to what da po'boy says except simply reassert that there is something really wrong here. These "taunts" unlike Reggie Bush's "classless" taunting of Brian Urlacher, had nothing to do with football. They were about us and our tragedy. They were about.. as Lolis puts it.. America's anger at us for surviving. And now, we see, they were also about race. This is ugly beyond my capacity to describe it. The sun came out today for the first time in over a week.. but I feel cold this morning.

Update: Just in case anyone wishes to dismiss this behavior as "playoff football enthusiasm" here's a view from Philly on how the visiting fans are treated in New Orleans.

The Sun (Follow-up)

Oh okay there it is.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Sun

It is still up there isn't it?

Memo to Dems

Re: 2008
Subj: Pay attention to Jim Webb

The freshman Virginia Senator has his finger on a new brand of populism that can make the difference in the next election. Webb is often referred to in the clueless mainstream media as a "conservative" Democrat for the usual superficial reasons the mainstream media likes to fixate on. That's fine because it means he gets to undauntedly put real issues on the table without absorbing the "liberal" discount. In other words, he may finally show Democrats how to separate economic progressivism from the "liberal" label.

From last night's response:

Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world. Medical costs have skyrocketed. College tuition rates are off the charts. Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas. Good American jobs are being sent along with them.

In short, the middle class of this country, our historic backbone and our best hope for a strong society in the future, is losing its place at the table. Our workers know this, through painful experience. Our white-collar professionals are beginning to understand it, as their jobs start disappearing also. And they expect, rightly, that in this age of globalization, their government has a duty to insist that their concerns be dealt with fairly in the international marketplace.

In the early days of our republic, President Andrew Jackson established an important principle of American-style democracy - that we should measure the health of our society not at its apex, but at its base. Not with the numbers that come out of Wall Street, but with the living conditions that exist on Main Street. We must recapture that spirit today.

Could it be.. after nearly thirty years of wandering the "new economy" DLC desert.. Democrats are ready to represent actual people again?

This is not your run-of-the-mill whiny Dem nonsense.


Regarding the economic imbalance in our country, I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20 th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.

Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions. He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves "as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other." And he did something about it.

As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general and soon-to-be President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the Korean War, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. "When comes the end?" asked the General who had commanded our forces in Europe during World War Two. And as soon as he became President, he brought the Korean War to an end.

These Presidents took the right kind of action, for the benefit of the American people and for the health of our relations around the world.

Tonight we are calling on this President to take similar action, in both areas. If he does, we will join him. If he does not, we will be showing him the way.

That is some refreshing red meat from a rising star in the party. But the field of Presidential candidates is admittedly dense. Visual aids are in order.

Here's what Webb is talking about:

Is his party ready to listen?

How did Webb manage to make such a compelling statement of principle in a spot ordinarily reserved for milquetoasty timidity? He threw out the canned statement and wrote his own speech.
Webb was given a speech to read by the Democratic leadership. He threw it out and wrote his own. As a well-regarded novelist, Webb has a sense of narrative and human drama.
I like this guy better every day.

Is that Sinn Fein I smell?

Still wondering why the national coverage of the NFC Championship fixates on this but shrugs this off?

Lolis Eric Elie explains.

But there was an ugly side to what happened in Chicago that paints a disturbing portrait of our nation and its view of people like us, people who are seeking to rebuild our lives after the federal levees failed to protect us from the floodwaters that followed Hurricane Katrina.

The taunts from Chicago Bears fans went beyond statements of physical superiority or on-field dominance. These taunts reflected the extent to which many Americans resent the people of post-Katrina New Orleans.

It's as if they blame us for surviving the disaster that shamed America on the world stage.

I like that line. New Orleans is being blamed for surviving.

The nation at large is basically no better than its foundering brat-president.. looking to ignore its failures rather than take responsibility for rectifying the damage caused by them.

Democrats have been reluctantly trying on the cause of New Orleans for wear during the next election cycle. John Edwards posed with a shovel in New Orleans East to announce his candidacy in a Presidential primary nearly two years away. Last night, Jim Webb tried to show up the President by at least uttering the words "New Orleans" during his response to the State of the Union address. The question becomes then, now that these pols have their fingers in the wind which way will they find it blowing? Lolis thinks the scene in Chicago may be an early indicator.

For a time I had hoped that the failures of FEMA would be a major issue in the upcoming presidential campaigns. When former Sen. John Edwards chose our city as the backdrop to announce his candidacy for the White House, I hoped he'd help spark a discussion about the federal role in the flooding of New Orleans.

But if Bears fans are an indication, any candidate promising just compensation from the federal government won't have a chance. The federal government failed in its duty to protect New Orleans and for that, we must be punished.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More on the Magazine Street Dystopia

See Humid Haney

Just in case you don't get enough snark here

There's always this gem in which Taibbi deconstructs Hillary's announcement.
Kerry used to be the master of the focus-word-list style of campaign speechifying ("My fellow citizens, elections are about choices. And choices are about values..."), but Hillary blows Kerry away. You seldom caught Kerry lumping more than four focus words into a sentence, but check out Hillary's penultimate line. It's a six-word list: Principles, values, new ideas, energy, leadership, challenge. In fact the only focus words that Hillary left out of her speech, as far as I can tell, were freedom, pride, and truth. The key words - values, principles, change, heroes, future etc. - were mostly all double- or triple-represented.

Will the 2008 campaign see the world's first ten-focus-word sentence? I used to think that was an impossibility, but I'm beginning to wonder. Would you put a sentence like the following past Hillary Clinton?

The promise of America requires bold new leadership, leadership based on the principles and values of hope and optimism -- leadership with the vision to honor America's heroes and stand up to any challenge.

Hm, maybe I'm underestimating these people. That was too easy, insultingly easy in fact... Can we reach for a fifteen-word list maybe? I have no doubt that if it happens in the next two years, Hillary will be the record-setter.

2008 is just around the corner, kids.

It's nothing new but..

I kind of like what DeBerry says today.

I hate feeling so much distrust. I hate being so suspicious that I answer innocent questions with the same tone I'd use for insulting ones. I wish I could trust everybody with eyes, rhythm and taste buds to properly declare New Orleans one of the world's great cities. I wish the outpouring of support that has come from so many ordinary Americans had been matched by an aggressive governmental response so nobody here would have to beg for well built levees, wetlands protection, housing assistance and coastal restoration.

I wish I didn't take other people's dislike of my city so personally.

But I do, and I tell myself that if someone doesn't like New Orleans, that person must be educated. Things must be pointed out: the African drum, Congo Square, jazz, po-boys, Jazzfest, courtyards, second lines, buckjumping, masking, pralines, crawfish boils, live oaks, red beans and rice.

When I climb down from my pulpit, though, instead of a convert, I find a person who feels more pummeled by the sermon than uplifted by it.

So I've got to work on my delivery, got to work on my ambassadorial skills. The message, though, is still worth preaching: New Orleans must not be allowed to die.

Go out and spread the word.

The only problem is it's still hard to be "ambassadorial" while this crap is allowed to continue.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Okay let's get this over with

Note: This post has been edited several times to correct egregious grammatical errors. I'm sure there are more.. but am too cross-eyed to continue to pick them out.

Now that we've gotten most of the dark gloomy commentary about symbolism and hopelessness out of the way.. I think now we're ready to look back at what actually happened yesterday.

First, SI's Peter King this morning offers the following image:

Drew Brees is not only a good player. He is a good doggy citizen.

One afternoon last week, I walked with Brees through Audubon Park in New Orleans, near his home. We were miked up for an HBO interview, walking with perky, go-getter-Steelers-fan producer Bentley Weiner as two cameras recorded our walk-and-talk. Brees had his 11-year-old Chow mix Alexis on a leash. After a few minutes, Alexis put her nose in the air, went to work, and defecated on the grass.

The big test of a man followed. Would he pick it up, or would he big-dog it, claiming he just didn't have a bag and tough luck, I'm just going to have to let that one go?

Brees: "Uh-oh. Now I have to be a good citizen here, y'all.''
King: "Do you have one?'' [A bag, I meant.]
Brees: "Yep. I have to pick this up. Lexis, get out of there! [She is rooting around the pile.] You're not gonna get this on camera, are you?''
King: "Looks like they are. Yeah.''
Brees: "Let me pick this up before they do. [He bends down with a blue newspaper bag and picks it up. Then he addresses a man off-camera] What's that?''
New Orleans stranger: "Can we take a picture with you?''
Brees: "Yeah.''
King: "Give me the bag.''
Brees: "No, no! I'm not gonna give you the bag! I'll set it down. You don't have to hold that.''
Weiner: "Here, let me take that.''
Brees: "No, no, no. That's my job. Come on, there's a trash can right there. I got it. I got it! I'm not gonna make y'all do my dirty work for me!''
King: "It's just a bag!''
Brees: "Yeah, but it's ... she's, uh ... it's my job. It's part of my job. It's daddy duty. It's daddy doggie duty.'' [He deposits the blue newspaper bag with the droppings in a park trash can.]

Second in the MVP voting, first in the all-pro voting at quarterback, and he picks up dog doo. That's what I call a heck of an American.

So I think that's where we'll start. Drew Brees and big bag of dogshit. I drunkenly blurted yesterday that Brees bears much of the blame for this one. There were other problems.. and we'll get to them.. but Brees saved his worst game of the season for the NFC Championship. My biggest complaint about the first half... apart from the no-Deuce factor.. was Brees' consistently off the mark passing. Saints receivers were repeatedly forced to stop, twist, dive and otherwise contort themselves to reach balls thrown behind them and at their feet. It might have been the conditions.. it might also have been the shoddy pass protection which was also the worst of the season.

Look Out! Familiar sight Sunday

But it wasn't the erratic passing that killed the Saints so much as the turnovers. Brees fumbled twice (lost one) and tossed one unfortunate interception. I would also count as a turnover the intentional grounding penalty in the endzone which was itself a game-changing blunder of the sort not committed by a Saints QB since....

Nice pants

One wonders, as well, why the 2006 NFL Coach of the Year felt it necessary to put his quarterback in a position to fail so badly. During the week prior to this game, the conventional wisdom among professional football analysts favored a Saints victory. Much of this professional analysis was predicated on the assumption that Deuce McAllister would figure prominently in the Saints' game plan. Here are Deuce's actual numbers after four quarters of football on Sunday: 6 carries 18 yards, 3 receptions 27 yards. How is this possible? Here's what the saps had to say for themselves Monday.
"We understand the importance of getting the ball to Deuce," Saints Coach Sean Payton said. "But we didn't want to keep running our heads against the wall against some of the looks we were getting."

Not that the Saints didn't think about it a lot.

Brees said several called runs had to be checked into passes because of the fronts the Bears presented.

Even when it was obvious the Saints were committed to the passing game, the Bears stayed with their plan, leaving cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher to cover the Saints receivers, which they were able to do in large part because of the pressure the Bears were able to apply to Brees.

"That was our No. 1 goal," Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said of containing McAllister. "And I think we did a pretty good job of it."

This is a classic case of a coach overthinking the game plan and, in the process, outsmarting himself. There comes a point in this game when you have to get the ball in the hands of your best player. A championship game would be such a point. In a championship game, you know what you do best. Your opponent also knows what you do best. It's no longer about schemes, it's about will. Soupy didn't have enough confidence in Deuce's ability to will the Saints past the Bears the way he willed them past the Eagles. If your opponent takes your best weapon out of the game, they have beaten you fair and square. If your own game plan takes your best player out of the game.. well that's just stupid and timid.

Hey remember this play.. when Brees turned around and handed the ball to the best player on the team? Yeah me neither.

Yes there were other blunders. Marques Colston and Michael Lewis had crucial fumbles. Billy Cundiff missed a 47 yard field goal that would have given the Saints the lead. Cundiff also sailed a kickoff out of bounds.. one of football's unforgivable errors. Billy Cundiff had a spot on this roster because Soupy decided to place Fred McAfee on injured reserve. Nice move, Soupy.

Soupy's counterpart on the Bears' sideline, Lovie Smith, wins the genius of the year award for.. astoundingly.. being the first opposing coach this season to take advantage of the obvious-to-all-sighted-individuals fact that the Saints defense is poor against the run. The Bears put the game away in the second half by pounding the ball right at the Saints where most previous opponents got unnecessarily cute. The question the Saints should be asking today is not "What happened to our defense?" but "Why did it take so long for someone to figure this out?"

Here Chicago's Cedric Benson demonstrates that most of the Saints's opposing coaches this season have been remarkably stupid

Reggie Bush set an NFC Championship game record with his spectacular-but-ultimately-pointless 88 yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. I'm starting to get the feeling that Bush will demand the ball more next season. Will the Saints manage to fit Bush and Deuce into the same backfield as smoothly next season? Don't bet on it.

I've got a sinking feeling this hot dog may wear out his welcome in 2007

Speaking of next season, there is lots of work to be done. The defense has three players who can be considered solid NFL starters. They are Charles Grant, Will Smith, and Mike McKenzie. McKenzie is a marginal starter at that. Everyone else is supect. Yes, that means Fujita too. The overachiever would only be a spot fourth linebacker on most decent teams. On the 2006 Saints, he was the best linebacker. The secondary desperately needs a playmaker who can create turnovers. Fred Thomas looks finished and will have to be replaced. On offense, in addition to the coming problems between Reggie and Deuce have Saints fans seen the last of Joe Horn? Yeah.. looks like it.

Finally, much has been said and written today about how this loss does not diminish the inspirational memories of the 2006 Saints. I don't know about that right now. I suspect that years from now the sting of this loss.. one game shy of the Super Bowl.. will affect fans' feelings about the season more than a loss to the Eagles would have. An emotional price was extracted from the psyches of Saints fans on Sunday. The true extent of that price may not be truly measurable until the end of the next football season.

Edit: I almost forgot. Compiled for your enjoyment: The 2006 Saints in yellow blogging.

Sept 10: A narrow escape in Cleveland

Sept 17: Another lead almost stupidly squandered in Green Bay

Dome Myths

Sept 25: The Greatest Football Game Ever No.. really I mean ever!

Oct 1: Run over in Carolina

Oct 8: Saints 24 Bucs 21 Plus: Is Soupy a jerk? also.. why do Saints fans stand for such jerkery?

Oct 15: Hollywood!

Oct 29: Narc! plus.. The Curse of the Purple Sweater

Nov 5: Brees for MVP talk begins.. along with the Bush for WTF talk.

Nov 12: Dammit, Copper! Vol. 1

Who Dat vs Who Dey

Nov 19 and Nov 26: The Curse of the Orange Hat and Vick's flip

Dec 3: Those awful pants!

Hollis Thomas and his "asthma medication"

Let's Go Crazy

Dec 10: Karney's Midriff

Dec 17: Dammit, Copper! Vol. 2

Dec 24: Was this game faked?

Dec 31: I attended but offered no commentary on the New Year's Eve game vs Carolina for the following reason: The game was meaningless and the starters played one series.

Jan 13:
All liquored up for the playoffs


Before the moment passes away go read this now.

Speaking of post-apocalyptic morasses

Episode two of Laureen Lentz's series on the Magazine Street closure has been up for a few days while we've been... distracted.

Then again.. maybe this is the problem

Blue 'Monday' Means It's All Smooth Sailing for 2007

Good morning, and take comfort in knowing things likely can't get any worse.

Researchers in England, citing unpaid holiday bills, rotten weather and people's realization that they likely won't live up to their New Year's resolutions, say Jan. 22 is the unhappiest day of 2007.

Cliff Arnall, a Cardiff University psychologist, devised the depressing formula.

His equation takes into account six factors: weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling a need to take action.

Taken together, they calculate to equal "Blue Monday."

Not so sure I agree with the editorial slant evident in that headline.

H/T Sainstseester

Sober bitter thoughts

Ray has some sweet things to say.

But the difference between what we experience living here and what the Saints have done this season is that with life in the city, there is no end date, no giant trophy, no thrill of victory or agony of defeat. There will be no ribbon-cutting ceremony where it is declared that we're finished, New Orleans is all fixed and it's beautiful. Neither will there be a sad day where they turn out the lights and say it's over, it's done, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

Post-flood New Orleans is not like sports in the sense of a final victory or defeat at the end of the season. It's like sports in the sense of being the perpetual underdog, and being unified and driven by our shared mission. And if you think of it that way, the Saints have given us the best thing they could have given us. They gave us hope, they gave us unity, and they gave us something even better to look forward to.

Because it's the struggle that is important. There is a magic that imbues to the perpetual underdog that is unavailable to the routine winner. We, the City, will never be declared the winner...there's really no such thing. But we will never really lose. It will never be over. We will have days of glory and days of despair, but there will always be more games. There will always be next year.

But isn't it specifically because life is a constant struggle with no satisfying moment of redemption that we should be allowed to experience at least the emotional gratification of success as sports fans?

Sports fandom is ultimately a fantasy that we all give.. I think.. a little too much power as a metaphor. I know I certainly do. For example, had the Saints indeed won yesterday, I am certain I would not be sitting here this morning. I was prepared to declare life as we knew it officially over and revel in the post-apocalyptic morass until my corporeal self expired.. probably within the week. If a Saints Super Bowl appearance isn't your classic opportunity for a "From Hell's heart I stab at thee" moment I don't know what is. I'm not joking. Yesterday was a glorious opportunity to destroy this rotten world by fire. What a bummer it was to find out that the rapture was snowed in.

And yet here I am again.. in this same place trying to make sense of it all once more. I remind myself that life as we know it already ended in August 2005. The fact that our very real post-apocalyptic morass is distinguished from the muddling life of mediocrity that existed before only by the thousands of displaced disrupted or ruined lives and the dwindling hope for relief does not speak well for continued eschatological enthusiasm. Still I have to wonder. If life really is ultimately this disappointing, does it really make sense to, as Ray says, relish the role of the underdog who perpetually looks to "next year" with the not-so-suppressed knowledge that "next year" never really comes. I don't know. Right now I don't feel like waiting a year to find out.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Drunken angry thoughts

I just posted the following as a comment to Adrastos. I'm posting it here as well because it sums up my thoughts at the moment:

The magical thing about this season was that "We're on our own now" was just too real for us... which is why we felt the way we did when the "Saints were coming." But now there's just.... well more of the same crap and in the end.. not even the spiritual remuneration we were all demanding. It sucks. Hard.

Also.. I don't think Bush "walking it out" was the problem. This game was actually Brees's fault.. believe it or not. But it doesn't matter. The Saints lost. And now we'll hear all week about how "they weren't ready" and it was a "great story" and such crap. But we all know better. We wanted that game. We were all so desperate for some way to symbolically rub our cleated feet in the faces of all the Americans who have treated us so shamefully over the past year and a half. We were denied that. And now we are left with the same bag of crap we've always had. 2007 is going to be a long year.


It's like nothing really mattered... ever. And it's not the first time.

On "Beatin' These Teams" and whether or not it is indeed "no big deal"

I grew up in New Orleans. I also watch a lot of football. Perhaps those sentences should be linked with an "ergo" since it seems these days even the admitted non-fans among us are unable to avoid the saturation bombing of Fleurs-de-lis being propagated by the local media as of late.

Some examples:

To put it lightly, it's easy to see how a non-football oriented person can be somewhat irked by the goings on as of late. Luckily I don't quite fall into that category. Although it does happen, I find it difficult to conceptualize growing up in this town without having Saints football burned deeply into one's sense of identity.

What was to follow here was a long drawn out blovation about the following issues:

  • Growing up with the Saints in the Mora era and how it taught me to always prepare for bitter disappointment and to distrust pompous authotity figures like... Jim Mora.

  • What my Dad taught me about watching football and how it bears a close emotional resmblance to watching politics. Both give one occasion to rant wildly about injustice and hypocrisy while maintaining an almost hopeful fascination with the process and possible outcomes.

  • About how all of these elements were in evidence in the 1990 season when the Saints were primed for a Super Bowl run only to be submarined by the pompously stubborn Jim Finks who forced Bobby Hebert to sit out the year. Finks obscenely tried to replace Hebert with the shamefully poor Steve Walsh... a move that can only be interpreted as a big "Fuck You" to Hebert. Saints fans suffered that year. Despite having no QB, the team backed into the playoffs at 8-8 where they met the Bears.. in Chicago.. in the snow. The game was decided when Walsh fumbled and instead of jumping on the ball, he pretended like he was trying to down the ball. The image of Steve Walsh lamely waving his substandard throwing arm.. staring at the ground while the Bears ran the other way with the ball became the perfect metaphor for the lying hypocritical Saints management of the time.

  • More about Buddy D.. and about how he inadvertently named one of my brother's bands.

  • Some attempt at tying these themes together in order to say that being a Saints fan is the ultimate outward expression of being a New Orleanian. Saints fans, like New Orleanians are long-suffering, misunderstood, a little heartbroken, but ever hopeful and always passionate.. and now, post-Katrina, very much out for vengeance.

All of that was supposed to appear here but it reached a point where it felt like too much information in the interest of making a point that everyone reading probably gets anyway. That and I'm freaking out too much.

One more thing. Bono is an enormous douche but for some reason I can't get that angry song about unanswered prayers out of my head this morning.

Who Dat!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Another march we can all agree on

Fountain to march again on Mardi Gras

Coming later today

The biggest Saints-related post ever

Uh Oh

First SI and now all the ESPN bobbleheads are conspiring to raise the jinx level another notch.

Posturing is over

About a month ago the New Orleans City Council issued a "non-binding resolution" of its own that the 2007 Krewe of Endymion should be allowed to parade in Mid-City. At the time, we suspected this was empty posturing. Yesterday our suspicions were confirmed.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Colbert Video

Up now on Comedy Central's site.

Between the Roadblocks

Metblog's Laureen Lentz begins an examination of the bizarre dystopia that is Magazine Street between Thalia and Race. The city blocked this corridor off three years ago to begin an ill-fated drainage project. Don't miss this description of what has become of the neighborhood... or the accompanying photos.

Colbert last night

I'm still looking for video but it was freaking hilarious. Colbert is rooting for the Saints as he believes that a Super Bowl victory will justify Bush's Katrina policy. Mr. Clio has some of the details here. At one point he elicited the aid of Lynn Swann in an effort to trash talk the other teams asking, "What are the Bears weaknesses? Other than honey."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Speaking of Bad Luck

Ah the good ole SI cover jinx.

Right on freakin' time.

Soupy was a dirty rotten scab

Most of us knew this already.. but I need something new to complain about... otherwise it's bad luck.

Stephen Hawking on the Saints' Playoff Performance:

Doomsday clock ticks closer to Armageddon

Chris Rose just wet himself

He's got column fodder for the next year or so.

Finally. A march we can all agree on

Details at GBitch and other places.

Wednessday: Saints game/weekend induced haze lifts; Prepare for next Saints game/weekend induced haze

Prior to Saturday night, if there was one thing I had learned in my 32 years; one rock solid maxim I could always cling to for guidance, it had to be this: "alcohol makes everything better". And I mean everything. It makes the crowd at a sporting event louder. It makes strangers more convivial, sex less guilt-ridden, driving less boring. If you work in the service industry, alcohol can help you hate the customers slightly less... or grant you the courage to deliver much deserved violence upon them. It relieves stress on a first date, or during a traffic court appearance.. or during grad school entry testing. And yet, for the first time I can almost admit that this.. the only ironclad law of existence.. very nearly let me down. For once in my life I can truthfully admit that alcohol almost ruined a moment for me. Who could have foreseen that the experience of what has got to be one of the towering achievements of my life to this point (watching a football game) could be diminished to some degree by my being utterly wasted. And yet it very nearly happened.

As the Saints' one-armed quarterback, Drew Brees was kneeling out what remained of the clock in a rollicking 27-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Saints fans turned and hugged one another.. some cried.. some shouted for joy over the fact that the team was now improbably one win away from a Super Bowl berth. But through all of this.. I could not get the following thought out of my mind which I verbalized for the edification of those around me for the next five minutes, "Sweet Jesus I hate Reggie Bush!" Were it not for the spectacular-but-largely-pointless former USC golden boy who is supposed to be a running back but mostly plays wideout and who more often than not runs backwards when given the ball, the last few minutes of the game would not have been as harrowing as they were for Saints fans.. particularly the more inebriated among them. Bush did something inexcusable. He dropped the ball at the worst possible time. While the Saints were in position to finish the game strongly and end what was already a back-and-forth emotional affair, Bush's unbelievable fumble opened the door for more intense and wholly unnecessary nail biting long past the point in the game where nail biting had ceased to be fun. I resent Reggie Bush for nearly ruining an otherwise beautiful moment but I am happy to report that two things snapped me out of my gloom and helped me to step back and realize that there were indeed glorious wonders about that night. One was, of course, more alcohol. The other was a pleasing memory from the first quarter.

Kind of makes you glad to be alive doesn't it?

More liquor-soaked observations:

  • Do we really have to say anything other than DEUCE? There have been moments during this season when I've wondered if Soupy realized who his offensive MVP really was. This was not the case on Saturday. McAllister just put on a show. That five yard touchdown run where he carried the other 21 people on the field with him into the endzone will stay with us for long time... maybe the greatest thing I've ever seen on a football field.

    Saints fans can't wait to see Brian Urlacher get a face full of this

  • Who else has fearful visions of Fred Thomas getting burned deep by the Bears' Bernard Berrian the same way he was by (gasp!) Donte freaking Stallworth on Saturday. Thomas remains a fan favorite who has played some very good football for the Saints in the past... but this year he has been torched repeatedly for big plays. Fitch N Dar Dar has often speculated that Thomas may be playing hurt. I think he might be done. The Saints' D also gave up another big play on the ground. It's worrisome.. but they've made it this far with a less-than-perfect defense soo..

    Jesus, Fred.. I know it's hard but why did you have to let that guy beat you?

  • This also means.. Yep, Playoff TD Tally: Stallworth 1 Colston 0 Stings a bit.. but Colston gets to play some more. Plus he should have had that Hail Mary before the half. Hmmm.. maybe they should have thrown the ball to Copper.

  • The staggering number of rookies contributing to the team's success this year was made more evident by punter, Steve Weatherford's mad dash for a first down. Good stuff.

  • We've always known that Fox management is oversexed and illiterate but well...

    Funny.. though that isn't even the best video from Saturday. This is:

    H/T: Humid Haney

Well I've got what I wanted now. I've been telling people that the Saints match up with the Bears better than they would have with the Seahawks. Now that the pairings are set.. this is starting to make me nervous. It would have been nice to have another home game but this is no longer the time to complain.

Meanwhile, local news has officially gone overboard. Yesterday WWL began its broadcast with this Angela Hill voice over: "How can the Saints' success help the city deal with its crime problem?" No that's really what she said. I don't know exactly what to make of this but I love the idea of a 70s era Saturday morning cartoon wherein the Saints fight crime and solve mysteries ala the Harlem Globetrotters. Can't you just see it? A raccoon-masked criminal emerges from a bank carrying the obligatory brown bag with a "$" printed on the side. He almost makes it to his getaway car when suddenly the cry rings out "Foojeetaaah!" The robber has been tackled and apprehended by Scott Fujita. Oh and see.. each Saint has like a special power. Hollis Thomas takes a "magic vitamin" to give him super strength. Reggie can fly.. but he can only fly backwards. Fred McAfee is the comic relief. Soupy offers guidance to the team from headquarters.. communicating with them via Joe Horn's phone. Trust me. It's a winner. I need a drink.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

For Deuce and Joe

Should the Saints lose to the the Philadelphia Eagles this evening, it could be the last time two of the franchise's all-time greatest players take the field in black and gold. Let's hope it's not quite time for that yet.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

March of the Yuppies F.A.Q.

  • Okay, smartypants, so tell us what went right for a change

    Several things I did not expect. (As many of you know, I tend to expect everything to be a spectacular disaster so my expectations are never difficult to exceed) First of all, this event was not.. as I initially feared it might be.. a white middle-class only event. According to all accounts I've seen and read the crowd was diverse and huge. Here's the T-P's description.
    A vibrant, determined crowd surrounded City Hall. Nagin himself later described it as cross section of the city's population. Though white people appeared to be in the majority, people from all races, classes and backgrounds appeared united in their cause, standing elbow to elbow around the stage where speakers demanded immediate strides in quelling the violence. Scores of others watched from the street and adjacent Duncan Plaza, where at times they couldn't see or hear the program.
    One bone I have to pick with this description (which goes on to involve itself unnecessarily with the marchers' wardrobe choices, BTW) is that it stands in stark contrast to the paper's snarky and openly hostile descriptions of similar crowds who have gathered in recent years to protest the war. But I'll give the paper a pass today because I think the description of yesterday's crowd is accurate at least. The fact that the message was not lost to inaccurate media spin is another nice surprise.

    Second, the marchers made it very clear that they were not there to furnish the Mayor with a venue for pandering. The pandering came later, of course.. and will continue unabated but the message was clear that they were indeed there to bury and not praise the administration. This is thanks, in no small part to Bart's remarks.. which everyone knows are posted here. Some brief quotes:
    We desperately need to experiment with some kind of decriminalization, to eliminate the black market for drugs.

    We know that law enforcement alone can’t solve these problems. We need long-term solutions too. We must have better schools. We must have an economy beyond tourism. We must pay workers a living wage. We must fight racism and classism.

    It is truly a remarkable event when the keynote speaker at an anti-crime rally actually speaks to the most critical issues from which crime results. I applaud Bart for his effort.... but I would have left the bit about about the "torches and pitchforks" in there.

    Bart's and Karen's speeches were great moments because they offered many of the frustrated participants the, very necessary by this point, catharsis of seeing their elected leaders stand there and take it as they were publicly called out. I was particularly interested in Varg's observation.
    There was indeed something glorious that happened today. Some sort of victory was eked out by 5,000 people who took it upon themselves to do something, anything, to throw a monkey wrench into the machine of entropy that has gripped the city for decades. And I think we did win the battle.
    If Varg's take has even the slightest relation to reality (and there are reasons to believe it might) then something significant was indeed accomplished yesterday.

  • Yeah that was my next question. Will this do any good?

    Okay so I'm still skeptical. Other than the catharsis.. and the possibility of Varg's end to entropy, the immediate results will likely be bad. Just this morning, for example, Oliver Thomas was on WWL gleefully participating in another one of those "people are going to have to give up some freedom" (Thomas actually said, "people will have to be less comfortable") conversations which indicates to me that he either didn't hear or chose to discount entirely, Bart's impassioned speech. Furthermore, the Mayor has taken the bull by the horns and declared that crime is now the "Sole focus" of his administration. In other words, "nothing else will receive any attention and it's your fault because you complained about this, man." He also continues to display his oft-remarked-upon similarities to the President by responding to this outright repudiation of his policy with... a "surge" in unproductive police checkpoints. One of my main criticisms of this event was to point out that the very act of demanding more effective policing will likely result in... more intense policing. The response by the authorities in the early stages is.. predictably lame. But then again, as Bart says, they are "on notice."

  • Why is it crime and not the multiple other well documented problems that motivated so many people to express dissatisfaction with a demonstrably inept administration?

    Good question! You pay attention. I tried very hard to get this answered yesterday. It's very important to me because somewhere in that... "shallow soul" as Gentilly Girl likes to put it.. of mine I always suspect that this furious fear of crime.. which, I admit, I have never really shared.. might stem from a primitive desire to protect one's family, possessions... one's stake.. and can therefore be described as a class issue. I knew phrasing it this way would generate a strong emotional response. Unfortunately, too much of that response came in the form of petty personal attacks that did not attempt to answer the question. On the other hand, there were, in fact, some very thoughtful responses. For example, Scott says
    one word: survival. There is no more basic instinct than protection of one's own life and the life of their offspring. People feel threatened. The crime seems random and they don't know where or when it might come for them. Helen and Paul were shot in their home and apparently because they made the mistake of answering a knock at the door. And yeah, it makes a difference for a lot of people that they were white and educated, whether they admit it or not. You can call that prejudice or basic social psychology. Not for everyone obviously, but a lot of (white) folks. You kinda hope people recognize that and recognize that one murder is no more tragic than another. There was clearly some effort with today's more to make that apparent
    I think the fact that the violence is so "random" is what makes people the most afraid. There are ways in which that can still imply a degree of racism and classism but it's more true that the majority of yesterday's marchers don't stand for such things.. and that's why they're so put off even by the suggestion.

  • Just what the hell is a "yuppie" anyway?

    Yeah I throw that term around a lot and I think the closest I've come to defining it was yesterday when I said.
    Today, however, we will hear the voices of the empowered.. the bourgeois, the professionals, and others who either have.. or aspire to have a stake in respectable society.
    Roughly it's a derogatory term I use to describe folks who.. well-meaning or otherwise.. are outwardly ambitious. That can include a lot of people. Even your typical "hipster" or "artiste" more often than not falls into this category as does the average student or parent. I'm not sure if my differences with these people actually warrants classifying me as a "malcontent" but there is enough truth to that label for me to display it on my sleeve if need be.

  • So how, then, does "yuppie" differ from "douchebag"?

    "Douchebags" are rarely, if ever, well-meaning.

  • Is Silence akin to Violence?

    Emphatically, no! The question arose yesterday whether this slogan actually referred to the silence of witnesses not coming forward to help convict criminals or the silence of those who exercise their right to a dissenting opinion. Examples were cited where both of these meanings were employed. Yesterday, I made plain my objections to the latter usage. At the risk of once again being unpopular, I cannot agree with the former either. If you are an uninvolved witness to a crime, I believe you should be afforded the right to remain simply uninvolved.

  • Since you like to complain so much, what do you propose as a solution?

    It is not incumbent upon the critic of one approach to substitute an alternate approach in order to have his criticism validated. Criticism can be refuted on its own merits.. but to suggest that the absence of an alternative solution negates the criticism is wholly outside the bounds of logical argument.

    But.. if you really want to know, I fully endorse the aspects of Bart's speech I have quoted above. I'm not so keen on "community policing", however, on the grounds that I simply prefer to be policed as little as possible.

  • I disagree with everything you say. Should I delete you from my blogroll?

    By all means do so, if you like. I would much prefer, however, that.. when you disagree with me you simply state your reasons for disagreeing. I don't mind at all, by the way, if you choose to match my "inflammatory" rhetoric so long as you remain on point and refrain from allowing the discussion to devolve into speculative personal attack... unless it's funny. I view these little forums as an arena for vigorous creative argument. When I go to ridiculous extremes it is usually for the sake of making a point in as colorful a manner as I can devise. (For example.. only a crazy person could honestly compare yesterday's march to a pogrom.. or take such a line of criticism at face value. I was trying to point out the conflict within an act of civil disobedience that seeks ostensibly to strengthen enforcement of the law.) Some of the respondents.. many actually.. got that and said so. One of the things that makes your little online community work is the conflict and sharing of different points of view. I don't need to tell any of you that... but some of the response was disappointing. I thought at least, Ashley, given his own unique writing style, would be able to appreciate impassioned rhetorical device... unless he really is like that in real life.. in which case, wow!

  • Finally, will you be at the next march?

    If you promise not to hit me. Actually, I have philosophical issues regarding the value of taking oneself seriously enough to participate in community action that goes too far beyond the bitching and complaining phase... that is unless someone brings beer.

Update: More good stuff from yesterday. Here's Bart comporting himself admirably last night on Anderson Cooper's show. Anderson Cooper, BTW, qualifies as a "douchebag".

Is Silence Indeed Violence?

This morning hundreds of New Orleanians are preparing to march to city hall to demand more intrusive surveillance and regulation of the behavior of the citizens. It's an unusual cause for a public demonstration. In most cases one would expect citizens to take to the streets in opposition to government encroachment on freedom or in order to affect change on behalf of the powerless or to give voice to the voiceless. Today, however, we will hear the voices of the empowered.. the bourgeois, the professionals, and others who either have.. or aspire to have a stake in respectable society. They will lend their respectable voices to the argument that their government is not doing enough to encroach on individual freedom... which they see as a direct threat to the security of their... stake. Again.. this is not the usual cause for acts of civil disruption in history although it's not entirely unheard of. There are indeed times when the haves feel threatened enough by the have-nots to demand a more repressive approach from their government. The famous anti-integrationist "cheerleaders" or perhaps your average pogrom comes to mind.

The marchers seem to be aware, on some level at least, that their movement is one of "respectable" types and in fact seek to communicate that fact through dress. I've read several examples this week but here's Maitri on the subject.
I will be there in my corporate garb to show that not just “disgruntled hippies,” “union workers” and “underemployed artistes” take to the streets with picket signs in the call for change.
God forbid anyone involved be erroneously associated with "disgruntled hippies" or "union workers". Earlier in the week, I generated a considerable amount of ire by terming this the March of the Yuppies. I have subsequently seen nothing to disabuse me of that notion.

As all pro-repression movements need a good pro-repression slogan... preferably one that shames and discourages independent thought or action... the yuppie marchers have come up with a whopper. Their rallying call today is "Silence Is Violence" The implication is that.. if you are not a participant in the March of the Yuppies, you are a co-conspirator to violent crime. It's kind of a "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists" approach. It's ugly. But just for the sake of argument, let's play that game for a minute.

I noted yesterday that it is remarkable that it is crime that has finally sent the citizenry into the streets. Post-Katrina New Orleans has provided ample opportunity for rabble-rousing. HANO and HUD have decided to bulldoze viable housing developments in New Orleans. These developments were home to scores of the city's poorest citizens who through no fault of their own were forced from the city by the Federal Flood. There is no plan to return the displaced and dispossessed to their homes. Are the yuppies marching to protest this injustice? Does their silence constitute an act of violence upon these victims of the flood? State and city officials have shamefully dragged their feet in addressing the urgent need for indigent health care in New Orleans after the abandonment of Charity Hospital. Have the yuppies marched on city hall on behalf of the poor and the sick? Is their silence akin to violence against these people? There are widespread reports of abuse, fraud and squalor among the transient labor force currently performing much of the "dirty work" of rebuilding the city. Where are the yuppies? Every now and again, they might enjoy a delicious taco from one of the trucks that have shown up around town. Is their silence an act of violence against these migrant workers?

Need I go on? Or can we at least agree that if I have misgivings about your march that I am not in fact a criminal? As I have predicted time and again this week, the mayor and the chief of police are co-opting the March of the Yuppies and claiming it as a ringing endorsement of their policy of randomly detaining and searching citizens and placing cameras in all possible public places. In this case action (marching with the mayor) is not preferable to inaction. Silence is not violence.

Update: Early indicators are the the marchers have successfully provided the mayor with a new excuse for ignoring the city's myriad problems. He now promises to focus "solely on crime."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Okay so here's my idea

First of all, thanks for all of your comments. The discussion here and also at many of the other local blogs has been lively and funny and passionate and.. all of the things a good Saints game should be... but without Reggie Bush running backwards so this is better really.

I can't help but marvel at the fact that this is what generates the most intense discussion. After everything that has happened... all the horror.. the injustice... all the... douchebaggery. It is this rather simple and familiar issue that inspires the most visceral reaction. I'm not saying that's wrong.. I'm just.. a bit surprised, I guess.

One thing that has been made clear by the commenters is that they wish to see me propose an actual course of action seeing as how I like to dump on their little Mardi Gras parade they seem so keen on getting all dressed up for. I don't believe there is much logic behind the supposition that criticism is validated only by the offering of alternatives but, since I can't quite get that point across, I've decided to play... so here goes.

It seems to me that an effective way of demonstrating your lack of confidence in the proposed solutions announced yesterday would be to target your statement at the most inflammatory and ineffective of those schemes. Let's have a march that begins at 2 AM so that we are all in violation of the curfew. This will clearly demonstrate that we are not only fed up with the current state of affairs but also that the pandering band-aid solution advanced by the clown squad is unacceptable.

But that's not all. Lets march at 2AM on MLK day. This way we can honor and emulate Dr. King through an act of determined civil-disobedience on.. fittingly.. the anniversary of C-Ray's infamous "Chocolate City" speech.. itself a key signpost on our current road to perdition. I'll bring Hershey's Kisses for everyone. Who's with me?

On the efficacy of a curfew

A letter writer featured on today's T-P idiot page has it right.

Try a broad-daylight curfew?
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The mayor and police chief are considering a curfew to solve the murder problem we have recently been facing. I assume they are suggesting a curfew from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

If one takes a moment to chart the times recent murders occurred (see The Times-Picayune Jan. 5 and 6) one will find only two after 11 p.m. The others were at 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 8:45 p.m., 10:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 7 p.m., 5:30 a.m. and 7:24 a.m.

The only way out of this cycle of death is for citizens to come forward and name the killers, the police to arrest them and the district attorney's office to prosecute and convict them in a timely manner.

Until that happens, a curfew is like putting a Band-Aid on a puncture wound.

Fred Cargo

New Orleans

See also, Dangerblond for more on the proposed check points.

How would this have helped any of the people who were murdered this year? None of the murderers were driving cars. Once again, this is cowardly. No one has died in New Orleans because a waiter was driving home late at night in a hoopdy with no insurance. Increase the stops in the Ninth Ward, Marigny, Central City, Carrollton and other areas where people are living in fear of drugged-out criminals. Pull people over when they do something wrong. Pull people over if there is a report of a crime involving a car in the immediate area. For god’s sake, don’t pull New Orleans residents over just for driving while black. Or driving while gorgeous, for that matter.

But isn't this all painfully obvious? Your leaders think your are very very stupid.

Give us hell, Quimby

Chief Riley.. who has spent a great deal of time lately talking about the low crime "rate"... made the most amazing statement imaginable yesterday and essentially accused the community of not speaking out enough about the out-of-control crime rate. Wow.

Thursday, an angry mob of mostly white professionals will gather to provide (unintentional.. I know) support for this statement.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Okay, I hope you guys are happy now

Your fascist city leadership decrees:

It will limit your right to move about unharassed in a free society with "aggressive checkpoints" between 2 and 6 AM

It will perversely invade your personal privacy by placing surveillance cameras at every possible location.

If you participate in Thursday's march you are vigorously endorsing these oppressive un-American policies.

Well... here's one good thing about crime

It causes Rose to consider leaving town.
I don't know. But if I am crazy, it's because I still think this is the right place to live and work, the right place to raise my family, the right place to face the future. But the arguments that counter this are getting stronger every day.

Actually I'm sure Rose isn't going anywhere. He's just cashing in on channeling and articulating the current zeitgeist as only he can. This is perhaps Rose's all-time masterpiece of suckery. Especially since it pairs so well with DeBerry's paean to paranoia that happened to appear as well in this morning's paper.. obviously the result of a synergy-motivated editorial decision their shared feelings on this issue.

Road to perdition

2 N.O. officers reassigned in beating case
Lawyer is left bruised and beaten after attack in French Quarter
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
By Brendan McCarthy

Two New Orleans police officers, including a veteran sergeant repeatedly disciplined for misconduct, have been reassigned to desk duty after a complaint that they beat a man walking in the French Quarter late last month, police officials said Monday.

Ronald Coleman, 25, a New Orleans-based lobbyist and a national legislative campaign coordinator for the grass-roots activist group ACORN, says he was beaten and handcuffed by a group of seven plainclothes officers that mistook him for a pickpocket.

On Thursday, a group of white professionals is planning a march to protest the out-or-control crime problem in New Orleans. How likely is it that city and police leaders will interpret this march as an endorsement of the "tough on crime" tactics employed by the officers in the above story?

Monday, January 08, 2007

More bad news

Saints appear to be catching the wrong team at the wrong time this week. But then again.. I'm not generally known for my optimism.

March of the Yuppies

Thursday, a group of white professionals is planning to march on City Hall to protest the fact that the city's long intensifying violent crime wave has finally claimed the life of a white woman of the professional class.

I realize that no one involved with the march actually intends to send such a message... but nonetheless, this is the message that will be delivered as we head further and further down the road to perdition.

The city and the NOPD will respond to the pressure by imposing a curfew. The curfew will be enforced inequitably and brutally on the young and on minorities.... generating even more resentment.

Can't wait to find out what happens in the wake of the inevitable Danziger acquital.

Chocolate Rations are up, Dammit!

People, you should know better by now than to question the wise leadership of your Mayor and Police Chief. It will only prompt them to find more and more unpleasant ways to punish you.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Rumor Mill

The season isn't over yet and the Saints are already shopping Deuce McAllister for a possible offseason trade. At least that's what I'm seeing here and there.

I've said it before; if they don't win this Superbowl.. it will be a while before they get another shot.

Dear Chris Rose

If all you've got to go with is, "Gee aren't my kids adorable!" please do us all a favor and refrain from submitting a column. We won't miss it. We'll just assume you're off your meds on vacation again.

More Endymion Pandering

Some City Council members just won't let this issue die. And I suppose that would be a good thing... if they were actually interested in making a real fight of it instead of just making a lot of empty bluster.

All told, the Endymion controversy is pretty typical of post-K New Orleans leadership. NOPD, with the backing of the Mayor's office, have decided to take advantage of the situation to shit all over the city's cultural heritage. In much the same way that the city has tried to shut down neighborhood second-line parades, they are here looking to complete the regrettable streamlining of Carnival parade routes. The attitude, which I can only assume emanates from the top downward, is.. typically cavalier. This is not about safety. The "kid dragged into an abandoned building" scenario the mayor and the chief keep throwing out there is a bizarre fantasy scare tactic of the lamest order. Nor is this about the status of the neighborhood. Mid-City is, in fact, the fastest-recovering of all the flooded areas to this date. No, the only issue is NOPD simply doesn't want to deal with it.
Police Sgt. Michael LeVasseur, representing Riley, told the council that in addition to security concerns, the main reason Riley does not want to have parades on two routes is logistics, such as the difficulty of moving hundreds of heavy barricades to the Mid-City route.
Keep in mind, two separate parade routes, historically speaking, amounts to giving the cops a major break. Traditionally, parading organizations, many of which were birthed as neighborhood organizations, have employed several varied routes. Often two or more parades would travel different routes (GASP) on the same date. As recently as 15 years ago I can remember at least five routes in action.. and much more variation on how the "main" Uptown and Mid-City Routes were used. It's a shame the city leaders are so eager to abdicate their responsibility to preserve our unique cultural traditions.

Personally, since I live Uptown, I'd prefer to see Endymion back in Mid-City if, for no other reason, than to avoid the uniquely rude and territorial crowd of young white suburban types it tends to draw. The ladder is the bane of my Carnival existence and Endymion fans bring them out in force. But that's not all they bring. Endymion crowds usually begin to gather along the parade route one or two days before the actual parade. The squatters use ladders, spray paint and rope to claim and defend a plot of real estate on the neutral ground for themselves and their young white larvae. Woe to the parade goer who wishes to travel from one side of the street to the other by crossing the sovereign territory of the Endymion soccer mom. He will be treated to all manner of dirty looks and crude lectures about respecting her roped off piece of public property. This ridiculous sociopathic inability to comprehend the nature of a public event does not belong in Mardi Gras. Unfortunately it has established itself as standard behavior among the yuppies who throng for Endymion. And damn Warren Riley for trying to force that shit uptown.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

2006 in books

Sooo according to this year's summary and statistical breakdown, 273 books were read but nearly everything in the top 10 is basically YA.. or at least high-school-themed. Typical. I'm not surprised at all.

BTW: I've already ordered one of them.

The joys of media consolidation

Dave Walker delves into the several reasons Cox may black out this year's Super Bowl in New Orleans. Mostly it's about petty negotiations between a Dallas-based company and an Atlanta-based company over TV markets in places like.. Phoenix.
According to Amy Cohan, a spokeswoman for Cox in Atlanta, the specter of WWL going dark on Cox in New Orleans is actually a bargaining chip in negotiations between Cox and Belo over their relationship in Phoenix, where Belo owns a popular station and Cox is the primary cable provider.

"Belo owns stations in other Cox markets," said Cohan. "So they do sort of a collective bargaining process."
How do you like being a hostage?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christ I hate Notre Dame

Geaux Tigers!

Missed opportunity for headline in any of the New York papers: City still here; Ford Drops Dead.

Oyster has a nice summation of comment on the shameful praise rather than simple burial of Gerald Ford.

Is it really a matter of course that we can expect any level of incompetence.. or criminal complicity.. in our elected (or appointed) Presidents to be glossed over for the sake of.. what.. decorum? No that's mostly pretense "Healing"? No that's the new euphemism for denial. Respect? Hmmm I thought that was earned.

Saban to Bama

I was going to write something this morning about how if the Saints win the Superbowl this year it would mean I had pretty much seen and done everything worth seeing or doing in my life and that it would be time to consider a quiet graceful suicide... or maybe just knocking over a bank and retiring to Costa Rica. But now there's this... and it's maybe a reason to stick around with the expectation that more interesting things may happen in the future.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Well this is obviously a (somewhat tacky) play by wwl to involve the public in their negotiations with Cox. But, seriously, why would Cox decide not to carry the local CBS affiliate? It's a bit weird.. but then so is Cox.

So the question is..

If actual New Orleans musicians are being shut out of the "musicians' village" who, then, is moving in there?


I... uh.... I got a haircut. Happy New Year!



And now for something completely....

More of the same bullshit.

2006 is gone and it was fucking weird. Weird for the city, weird for the country, weird for me. No time for a retrospective this morning. In the meantime... here we go around again.