Thursday, May 31, 2007

No word on whether they are available through ILL

Guns found on library shelf

Aha! Ha!

Berry and Crouere aren't crazy! Varg is... or maybe just CNN.

Here's a link I dug up for you kids. If he announces I'm just going to keep posting this one over and over.



Thinking seriously for a moment about the hurricane checklist at the bottom of Schroeder's longish post, It occurs to me that:

1) My car has almost no gas and a broken window held together with plastic tape.

2) I have no idea where my "important documents" are.

3) My driver's license and vehicle registration both expire within the next month or so.

4) I may have less time than I realize to get on any of that shit.

Google Street View

Okay it's pretty cool. But it's only available for a handful of cities at the moment. I would like to suggest that when the New Orleans street view is rolled out, Google should go back to using the pre-Katrina imagery. That way Rose can "walk" around town all he wants without getting too depressed.

And maybe I can go visit Bruning's.


If you're going out this weekend, for God's sake, try not to get blipped.

Strong and Determined

I'd like to go back through the text of last night's clown show but... but it's really really bad and I don't want to end up in a swearing fit like David just yet.

Instead, lets start by looking at the bang-up job done by local radio of discussing the important issues skirted around or lied about by the mayor yesterday. Last night, Varg girded himself to listen to Bob Mitchell's after-speech discussion on WWL wherein Mitchell the Slidellian hung up on callers who were displaced to Baton Rouge because they were "not from New Orleans" WWL's hosts are well known for conducting "conversations" in which points of view other than that of the host are dismissively screamed over, callers are hung up on, and guests are routinely cut-off and talked over. It's an infuriatingly perfect horror show.. so naturally I listen religiously.

The comedic idiocy is nearly enough to allow the casual listener to put the hypocrisy out of mind. But it seems that WWL's purpose is to do anything in its power to obstruct rather than facilitate meaningful public discussion. Sometimes it goes through great feats of acrobatics to achieve this.

Case in point: Last night, Mayor Nagin's speech addressed the state of the city's recovery as the administration sees it. He spoke about the following critical issues.

1) Health care

2) Crime

3) City finances

4) His controversial sanitation contracts

5) Emergency preparedness

6) Rebuilding plans

WWL, in analyzing this speech could choose any or all of the above topics for discussion. Callers could offer their thoughts on what the Mayor said, whether or not they agree with him, where they thought he was full of shit.. etc.

It would also be interesting to discuss Nagin's attacks on Gov Meemaw and the Road Home program. He seemed to suggest that he had better ideas for dispersing federal and state funds. There are rumors that Nagin is running for Governor this year. Do his statements last night sound like those of a candidate for state office? I would like to listen to that show.

Within the context of such a show it would also be fun to discuss the Mayor's.. idiosyncratic speaking style. We could talk about the part where he crassly and clumsily built an analogy between the city and the terminally ill "mother of one of my staff" or how he crescendoed this analogy with the statement, "I choose life" as though he were in a Wham video. Or we could talk about the part where he said the garbage collection carts in the Quarter are "uniformed". Or we could talk about the way he addressed the controversy over his questionable garbage collection contracts. (He uttered the one-word sentence "Controversy" and spoke no further on the subject.)

So you can see there's a lot of fun to be had there and it doesn't necessarily have to come at the expense of a substantive discussion. But like I said, WWL doesn't really even want to try. Here, instead, is the actual text of the opinion poll question WWL is asking its listeners this morning.. ostensibly as a non-ironic stab at sparking a thoughtful conversation.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says ''the state of our city is one of strength and determination.'' When it comes to recovery are you strong and determined?

Are they serious? Interestingly enough.. at the moment, 77% of respondents at wwl.com are answering "No, I am not strong and determined" Yeah neither am I.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"A story of love"

I hope he runs. He makes me laugh.. kind of in the way the Muddy Bears do. Maybe it's the chocolate.

Text of speech

Ad lib of the night: "New Orleans is coming back whether you want it to or not! So you better deal with it!"

You know.. as though we were a pro wrestler or something.


Berry isn't crazy after all! Crouere is.

New Orleans Nagin Speech Prelude For Louisiana Governor Run

Actually.. I'm not sure I catch Crouere's drift in this column. If Nagin runs for Governor, how does that push Jindal into a run-off with a third candidate? Nagin certainly won't pull votes from Jindal.... but will likely draw some support away from another Democrat.

I don't know exactly what to make of the LA political map right now. But I'm pretty sure being perceived as too closely tied to New Orleans is a liability. Nagin's presence can only help Jindal distance himself from his recent ties to the New Orleans area.

Beyond that I don't know what will happen other than that is looks like Jindal has it made.. but Nagin in the race will at least make it fun to watch. And yes that is as sad as it is true.

Free EWE!

In Louisiana we like to keep our librarians behind bars, I guess.

If Edwards is in pretty good physical shape, his mental powers appear entirely undiminished. He was always a quick wit but now, perhaps because he has more leisure, appears more intellectually curious than ever. His reading needs far exceed the capacity of the prison camp library.

Edwards is in charge of that library, but the responsibility is not an onerous one. The collection, he says, is what you might expect to find in the home of the "average country lawyer."

Mars is Saved!

Thompson is in.

Assault on Reason

Colbert.. and now Al Gore (of all people) are right. There is no longer any such thing as reasonable discussion based upon facts.... just shouting and salesmanship and propaganda and.. well.. truthiness.

But then this is a world in which what remained of the tension between rock music and corporate commercialism has been completely obliterated... apparently. It's a world that makes less and less sense to me.. but maybe I'm getting old. I am getting old.


Building lots and lots of high-rise condos downtown does not help the city of New Orleans and its people recover from the flood. In fact, it does something quite the opposite. It would be nice to see the local media cease their cheerleading for these developers.

They could at least stop letting this kind of statement go without comment.

The Trumps, at least, have not been deterred. "This is going to be a big statement for the city and its recovery," Donald Trump Jr. said recently. "It's not charity, but we do think it's one of America's great cities and we want to be there to support it any way we can."

We're the Trumps. We're here to help!


The very idea that the Nagin people presume that at least $100,000 worth of the difficulty facing the diaspora is the lack of adequate Public Relations being broadcast at them is either stupefyingly audacious or idiotic beyond comment. I can't make up my mind which.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bush Logic

Because polls are imperfect, it is impossible to know what the American people really want.


I know what the American people want.


You get what you ask for.. I guess

Rose is back... but his column is too dull to bother with today. Not infuriating just mildly irritating in spots.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Signs of Recovery

Hollywood Video on Magazine St is once again selling Muddy Bears. I hadn't seen these since the flood. Taste like crap but they make me happy for some reason.

The chocolate makes them soooo happy!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Heckuva job, ICF

Help yourselves to a little $$$

It's quiet..... too quiet.

Just where the fuck is Rose's column lately? Since I have it on pretty good authority that he's still around.

Quote of the Day

Ed Blakely

"If this plan fails, it won't be because I failed New Orleans," he told U.S. News. "It will be because New Orleans failed itself."

In April, I wrote the following in a comment to Adrastos.
It may be Blakely's strategy to come away from this as the hero who just couldn't overcome the backwards morass of local yokelism. That way he doesn't have to really do anything other than pout for a year, leave us to continue deteriorating and move on to the next opportunity to be a leech somewhere else.

In February, I wrote in a comment thread discussion below my own post,
Unfortunately the usual pattern for this type is to enter with a temper tantrum demanding full authority and attention.. and later to exit with a similar temper tantrum blaming everyone who did not immediately recognize his or her genius. I am very concerned that this is what we are in for.

Just saying.. I'm not all that surprised that's all.


Time to start bringing the boys home!

Okay not really.

Vee halv ways ov making you use ze trash cans

City to crackdown on use of trash bins

Starting next Friday, Mayor Ray Nagin's administration will begin enforcing strict rules that require residents to use new city-provided trash bins or risk fines and jail time, a move that has been particularly controversial in the French Quarter.

New Orleans police officers also will begin enforcing new penalties aimed at curbing illegal dumping, city spokeswoman Lesley Eugene said. With dumping violations rampant since the storm -- particularly in eastern New Orleans -- first-time offenders face a maximum $5,000 fine and six months in jail per offense.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Overheard in New Orleans

Yeah it's derivative, but could quickly become an obsession.

Stuff you may not be aware of

There's finally some new material posted at The Creole Tomato. I particularly like the pie chart.

Holy Shnikies!!

Freelance journalist Jason Berry, appearing on tonight's Informed Sources, just predicted that Nagin will run for Governor. I am beside myself with excitement.

"Mississippi Miracle"

The "Blame Louisiana First" crowd (which includes Louisiana Senator David Vitter for some reason) is often to be found holding up Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour's success in funding and administering his state's recovery as further evidence of Louisiana's relative backwardness.

Salon takes a "harder look" at the Mississippi recovery and discovers some things we've been screaming about in New Orleans for quite some time now.

Consider the Gulf Coast housing crisis, one of the key issues that has kept nearly half the population of New Orleans from returning to the city since Katrina. More than 75 percent of the housing damage from the storm was in Louisiana, but Mississippi has received 70 percent of the funds through FEMA's Alternative Housing Pilot Program. Of the $388 million available, FEMA gave a Mississippi program offering upgraded trailers more than $275 million. Meanwhile, the agency awarded Louisiana's "Katrina Cottage" program, which features more permanent modular homes for storm victims, a mere $75 million.

It's not just housing. Mississippi is also slated to get 38 percent of federal hospital recovery funds, even though it lost just 79 beds compared to 2,600 lost in southern Louisiana, which will get 45 percent of the funds. Mississippi and Louisiana both received $95 million to offset losses in higher education, even though Louisiana was home to 75 percent of displaced students. The states also received $100 million each for K-12 students affected by the storms, despite the fact that 69 percent resided in Louisiana.

The disparity between the states' needs and the funding they received from Washington has been so glaring that even disgraced former FEMA director Michael Brown recently charged that politics played a role. "Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House were thinking we had to federalize Louisiana because she's a white, female Democratic governor and we have a chance to rub her nose in it," Brown told students at Metropolitan College of New York in January.

But even so, despite Barbour's superior connections to the G.O.P. and White House lobbying and management skill, the Salon piece goes on to find that even with these superior resources available to Mississippi officials, the recovery for folks in places like Waveland and Bay St Louis looks a lot like it does for folks in NOLA... worse in some respects.

For the residents of Hancock County, Barbour and Mississippi's ability to capture the lion's share of Katrina relief dollars makes the slow progress in their area all the more demoralizing. The county's 911 system still operates out of a trailer. Damaged wastewater and drainage systems frustrate hopes of a return to normalcy; earlier this month in Waveland, 16 miles east of Pearlington, a 9-and-a-half-foot alligator was found swimming in a drainage ditch next to a bus stop at 8 o'clock in the morning. Mayor Tommy Longo says the creatures freely roam throughout devastated residential areas.

Indeed, Hancock County was one of three Gulf Coast areas recently singled out as having "severe problems" by the Rockefeller Institute on Government and the Louisiana Public Affairs Council, with the towns of Waveland and Bay St. Louis flat-out "struggling to survive."

That is.. worse if you consider wild boars and rats on crack preferable to 9 foot alligators as urban pests.

Either way, the "Mississippi Miracle" lies in Barbour's ability to do.. about as well as we have (which is to say not well at all).. with disproportionately superior resources. I must say I am impressed.

Silver Linings?

Despite the fact that passage of the awful horrible spineless capitulation on Iraq withdrawal bill exposes Congressional Democrats as the useless nincompoops they are and cedes political momentum back to the White House, the bill does include some useful provisions.
The bill contains $1.3 billion in new spending for New Orleans-area levees -- which the president proposed fixing with existing money -- $320 million to forgive disaster loans to Gulf Coast communities, $50 million to fight crime, $30 million to attract educators, $30 million for hurricane-damaged universities, $110 million to assist the Gulf fishing industry and $25 million for Southeast Louisiana drainage projects.

It also extends tax credits set to expire next year that were designed to attract businesses to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast and the construction of affordable housing at a time when rents are at historic highs.

Even so.. this news comes on the same day that Donald Powell (aided by David Vitter) launches into a fresh round of disingenuous "blame Louisiana first" at the Road Home hearings.

Edit: One more thought. I can understand Powell's actions in his capacity as White House flunkie but Vitter is a Louisiana Senator. Just whose side does he imagine he is on?

Additional edit: Adrastos has some similar thoughts

Stuff to do

  • Saturday it's Bayou Boogaloo, a music festival and Mid-City fundraiser held on the green space along Bayou St. John at Orleans Avenue.

  • All weekend long, the Greek Fest is back once again. Festivities begin this afternoon at the Hellenic Cultural Center (1200 Robert E Lee Blvd) This is always one of my favorite events. (I like food and there is much food there) There is also an outside shot at winning a trip to Greece. I'm still feeling the sting of missing that one last year.

  • The Cripple Creek Theater Company's production of Waiting for Lefty is in its final weekend. The free show starts at 8PM tonight and tomorrow night at 2130 Magazine St.

  • Finally, there is a pirate movie of some interest opening this weekend.. although the reviews aren't so good. I might wait for the crowds to die down before investing the nearly three hours of running time.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


And now.. (yawn) .. Hillary and Obama get to.. (yawn).. cast meaningless votes against a (yawn).. meaningless supplemental funding bill (yawn) whose passage has already been agreed upon. We admire their (yawn) courage.

More fun neologisms

Dick Cheney Democrats

David Sirota:

Here’s how it is expected to work today in a process only Dick Cheney could love (though you never know - it could change at the last minute). Every bill comes to the House floor with what is known as a “rule” that sets the terms of the debate over the legislation in question. House members first vote to approve this parliamentary rule, and then vote on the legislation. Today, however, Democrats are planning to essentially include the Iraq blank check bill IN the rule itself, by making sure the underlying bill the rule brings to the floor includes no timelines for withdrawal, and that the rule only allows amendments that fund the war with no restrictions - blank check amendments that House Democratic leaders know Republicans will have the votes to pass.

This means that when the public goes to look for the real vote on the Iraq supplemental bill, the public won’t find that. All we will find is a complex parliamentary procedure vote, which was the real vote. Democratic lawmakers, of course, will use the Memorial Day recess to tell their angry constituents they really are using all of their power to end the war, that they voted against the Republican blank check amendment which the rule deliberately propels, and that the vote on the rule - which was the real vote for war - wasn’t really the important vote, when, in fact, they know very well it is the biggest vote on the war since original 2002 authorization for the invasion. It is a devious, deliberately confusing cherry on top of the manure sundae being served up to the American public, which voted Democrats into office on the premise that they would use their congressional majority to end the war.

In the next few weeks, when the President's approval rating finally begins to climb, you'll hear a lot of bullshit from the press about how the American people have always loved him and always supported the war blah blah blah.. But the fact is, the Democrats have ceded the momentum back to the President through their own cowardice. They have lived up to the previously unearned Neo-con criticism that they are the party of "cut and run". The Democrats of the 110th Congress have "cut and run" on the most important issue of their term. They have betrayed their clear mandate to stand up to this President and end this horrible war. Now they will pay a political price for that. And they deserve everything they get.

Also see Olberman... who is exactly right.

It never changes

Democrats wuss out for the worst of reasons.. always and forever Amen.

Pass this around

Celcus has a nice long post up where he demystifies the inner wonkings of the UNOP for us a bit.

I've tended toward the view that the recovery planning process has been part of the shell game (also involving LRA) through which the Feds have continually moved the ball so as to avoid as much fiscal responsibility for rebuilding in the wake of the Federal Flood as possible.

It doesn't help that our local leadership is involved in a game of its own aimed at dividing the spoils of the disaster (new governmental contracts and real estate suddenly available in the wake of the chaos.. or as they like to put it, the "slate" being "wiped clean") among cronies.

Each of these games involves waiting until the bulk of the citizenry affected by the disaster tire of waiting for help.

Celcus's post doesn't do much to disabuse me of these notions. Here, I think, is the crucial bit.

I really do not know if anyone can accurately read the tea leaves as to what funding we will actually get. And we could well be told to drop dead. If the powers that be want to find something in the plan to harp on as an excuse, I am sure they will find something. They seem to enjoy tossing wrenches into the works in some twisted exercise of economic sadism. But they will have to come up with a new excuse to replace “you don’t have a plan”. At some point, even the most ardent of the "blame Louisiana first" crowd will have to admit that we are plainly being screwed, and nothing we do, or don't do, will change that.

And all I can add is, by the time anyone has to "admit we are plainly being screwed," the deed will be done.

Now can we trade him?

Reggie Bush's spectacularly douchey off-season continues with an entirely new dimension to the meaning of "Fre Flo Do"

Why does Mo-Do hate fat people?

Granted Al Gore is no Walter Thomas.. but can't we expect something beyond 8th-grade snickering from Dowd at this point? Don't answer that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

De-funding the war does NOT put troops in "harm's way"!

Sorry.. still just trying not to discharge weapons at cable news programs again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Scout watches Larry King for me.. .since I already shot my TV during Chris Matthews.

Channeling Elvis

How can anyone watch Chris Matthews's show and not want to shoot the TV?


The President just found out how far the Congressional Democratic leadership's resolve can go. Not very far. By backing down, the Democrats have now ceded the political initiative back to the President. We won't be leaving Iraq any time soon.

(The link there is to Russ Feingold's comments. He's as disgusted as I am)

E. Coli Conservatives

Rick Perlstein's term

George Bush's Food and Drug Administration—and our other major food-inspection arm, the U.S. Department of Agriculture—are Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan's noble words made flesh. But don't let your family get too close to the flesh. They might get sick and die.

Sometimes it's this easy

All I have to do is:

1) Write something like.. Want to know what's going on in New Orleans? (but, you know, in a cute and amusing manner)

2) Link to one of today's headlines like this

Killing rate surges since Katrina
Numbers outpace rise of N.O. population

3) Express some sort of indignation (but in an endearing and clever manner) and then ask.. What is your leadership doing to mitigate these circumstances?

4) And then link to these two posts from David.

5) Snicker

6) Repeat the process but with this headline.

Public housing sits empty and waiting
Former tenants delay return for varied reasons

7) Add a quick aside.. something like, "Remember how emptying public housing was supposed to reduce crime? What happened there?"

8) Say something nice about David's blog.

9)Done. It's just that easy!

Stupid email forwards

Why is it always your parents sending you these?

Monday, May 21, 2007


While none of this actually qualifies as an organized thought yet.. some things I started batting around as a result of the inspiration provided by this Adrastos post might be the beginnings of stuff to think about as the 2008 elections grow nearer. ("batting around" because the post is partially about baseball and because I seem to indicate in the comments that I'm buying into the '68 comparison fad)

That bit of nothing paired with these fun facts plus what I and others are saying about the GOP and immigration that is.

Right now the key words for 2008 in my mind are Economic Populism.

More on this when I can put it in the form of something coherent.


I'm not clear on how Republicans make sense of their pro-NAFTA style trade position when taken in concert with their pro-Giant-Electrified-Fence position on immigration. Apparently it's perfectly fine for General Electric to take your manufacturing job away to Mexico... but not so much for actual Mexicans to come here and underbid you for that gig at Smoothie King. It's an inconsistency born out of a need to simultaneously pander to the twin GOP "bases" of economic elites who love cheap subservient labor on the one hand and racist xenophobes who hate brown people on the other. So far it isn't being done with much grace. And so I'm wondering, like Oyster is, why Republican candidates are so eager to highlight the issue.

Dr. Flakely

I appreciated Gill's column yesterday to a certain extent. It's the first time in a while I've seen something resembling real fire coming from a T-P column.. and particularly from Gill.. aimed at the city administration. While Blakely's past buffoonery has been treated as mildly "controversial" by the paper it hasn't yet been chastised in this fashion. So I'm glad to see Gill make a run at it.

But I'm not sure the moniker "Dr. Flakely" makes the correct point about the problem we have in Blakely. It's not that the man is "flakey" it's that he is disingenuous about his intentions here and largely disinterested in New Orleans. Gill points to evidence of this in Blakely's repeated tendency to spread absurd misconceptions about the city in his many off-the-cuff remarks. I was particularly dismayed by the "drains built by the French" comment. That's the kind of thing you might expect to hear from a tourist interested in New Orleans's "cajun" culture.. or looking for alligators in the French Quarter or something but not from the man whose job it is to actually learn something about the city he's charged with rebuilding. It sounds "flakey" because it is incorrect, but it's actually worse. It is indicative of a fundamental disinterest in the subject. Blakely's behavior from "Day Zero" has been arrogant, dismissive, and bullying... altogether inexcusable. Calling it flakey is giving it too much of a pass.

Life is Absurd

Just totally off the wall. Trust me on this.

Friday, May 18, 2007

RIP Mike V

LSU's mascot, Mike the Tiger, dies
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE -- LSU's mascot, Mike the Tiger has died.

The university says Mike died some time overnight. The cause of death has not been released.

Mike V had been mascot for 17 years.

Who's not funding the troops?

Is it the Congress who appropriated more funds than were even requested.. and who now is bending over backwards to make those funds available on palatable (to the hawks) terms? Or is it the President who keeps vetoing those funds and rejecting those compromises?

Quick Take

I'm more than a bit concerned at how eager we seem to be to place such broad powers in the hands of such an opaque and crony-ridden administration.

This is not to say that I completely discount the need for some action.. it's just that some actions have the potential to make matters worse.

Alternatives to calling someone a bitch

Lolis Eric Elie has been after Sanitation Director Veronica White lately.. and much more cleverly so than was VCC Chair Ralph Lupin in a recent infamous episode. Lolis has been stonewalled trying to find out if the city has any plans to institute a recycling program ("Disneylike" or otherwise) any time soon. Today he has taken the liberty of answering Ms White's correspondence for her.. since she hasn't the time to do it herself.

To whom it may concern:

It has come to my attention that many of you have been trying to reach Veronica White, the New Orleans sanitation director, to discuss recycling.

Ms. White is busy. She is too busy to come to the phone and tell you how busy she is. She is too busy to even think about calling you back. So stop calling her.

Read the rest


Oyster has some thoughts on the 20th anniversary of the USS Stark incident.

Stuff to do

The weather probably won't be this nice again until late November. Take advantage of it.

  • The Historic New Orleans Collection will sponsor a Family Day on Saturday in conjunction with its ongoing What's Cooking in New Orleans: Culinary Traditions of the Crescent City exhibit. Events will include a "Parade of Cooks" beginning at 11:00 AM in Jackson Square and making its way over to the HNOC gallery at 533 Royal where there will be a street festival featuring the Storyville Stompers, Amanda Shaw, and free jambalaya. Of course, the exhibit will be open to the public as well.

  • The Cripple Creek Theater Company is presenting Clifford Odets's Waiting for Lefty every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8:00 PM between now and May 26 at 2130 Magazine Street. Admission is free.

  • And finally, tomorrow the New Orleans Public Library will kickoff its annual Summer Reading Program with a party at the Latter Branch (5120 St Charles Ave) between 12:30 and 3:00 PM. The event will feature musical performances by Irvin Mayfield, and The Mowhawk Hunters, popcorn and snowballs, face painting, and also pony rides. See the library's website (nutiras.org) for more.

Don't say I never gave you any tips.

Update: TM alerts us to the NOFD fundraiser at Handsome Willy's this Sunday from 2PM til Midnight. Looks like a full slate of musical acts. Click here for more.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fre Flo Do

My new favorite term

(Reggie Bush) has been working with personal trainer Kappel Clarke in Los Angeles. Clarke is the creator of a form of training called Fre Flo Do, described on its Web site as an "athletic-skill based martial arts influenced system" that encompasses "a comprehensive functional approach to addressing every mental and physical athletic attribute simultaneously."

"Flexibility, endurance, strength training, a lot of plyometrics," Bush said. "It's not the traditional kind of workout.

Soo... I'm guessing he's stretching, running, and lifting weights... but in a super-new-agey way so as to justify his trainer's ridiculous salary. I wonder if he's had his mercury de-natured yet.

On his trip to the White House correspondent's dinner, where he sat with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice: "I got a chance to meet and talk with her and pick her brain a little bit. It was a good experience."

Ewww! I hope you didn't get any on you.

On reports he was banned from the Playboy mansion for inappropriate conduct: "I don't know why somebody would say something like that. I was at the mansion, had a great time. Took more pictures than some of the girls. It kind of sucks that people are allowed to write stories like that and try to retract it after the fact. The story's already out there, and the person's name is put down a little bit. It's the way of the world, and I've learned to grow thick skin to it."

Eww! I hope you didn't get.. (no no I can't finish this joke and feel good about myself)

On other subjects, Bush said he "was a little shocked" that the Saints drafted running back Antonio Pittman in the fourth round, "But Coach (Sean) Payton is the head coach, and he's doing what's best for this team. I'm behind him 100 percent."

Maybe it's so they've got someone ready to go just in case you, God forbid, flake out and start spending all your time Fre Flo Do ing at the Playboy mansion with Condi ....or something like that.

Kind of makes me miss Ricky Williams

Update: Should have included appearing as male model eye candy in a Ciara video on that list of "flake out" indicators. Christ! How soon can we trade this douchebag?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell Dead at 73

Back during the mid-1980s golden age of televangelism, my father used to be fond of saying, "Just wait until God finally gets his hands on some of these assholes"

I guess that wait is up for this particular asshole.

Bonus link

Better bonus link

Obligatory linkage

John M Barry's recent Wa-Po Op-ed (Wapooped?) on the vanishing Louisiana coast and its indispensable value to the entire nation also appears in today's T-P. All the local bloggers are linking to it.. as well they should. Everyone should see it. Barry has written some outstanding books which focus on the intersection of politics and natural science and is among the most effective advocates for rebuilding the Louisiana coastline and protecting New Orleans from future disasters. This latest column hits all the relevant points well. Again.. read.. circulate.. repeat.

Also.. in a related post, Moldy City takes a quick look at the recent oil revenue sharing bill.. and its questionable efficacy and equity.

Monday, May 14, 2007


While I still am reluctant to talk too seriously about the next Presidential election... I admit that it is beginning to look like a great deal of fun.

Hagel hints at independent White House bid

Quote of the Day

Lolis's whole column.. which I didn't even notice today until David posted about it.

Today's Wacky Reference Question

Note: This is only the latest in a series of these types of calls from the same person whom we've never met but who seems to enjoy running through difficult to follow nutty conversational tangents with me. The pattern is always the same. I answer the phone and the caller dives straight into the conversation which can often go on for a long time without getting anywhere.. but always ends abruptly with the caller saying "Okay I'll hang up now".

(Phone rings)

Me: Good morning, Catfish Joe's Bait & Tackle Shop how may I help you?*

Yeah so could you tell me why do we have to have Army bases in New Orleans?

Me: Well... I don't think there's an Army base here. There's a Naval installation but I'll check that if you want.

Caller: Yes but why? Why is it that are there bases in the cities?

Me: I think it's up to the Department of Defense to determine where the bases are located. I think these decisions are also political.. often you read about this or that community actually lobbying to have a base located nearby. But.. if you are asking about the actual decision-making process then I'm sure we could..**

Caller: Isn't it to protect the cities from illegal aliens? Isn't that so?

Me: I haven't heard that before.. I.. um

Because they don't stay down around the border. They go into the cities don't they? So isn't that why we have the Army bases?

Me: Well that doesn't sound exactly right to me.. but..

Caller: Okay I'll hang up now.


* This is probably not actually what I said

** This is very near to what I actually said. I am quite helpful and courteous with library patrons... particularly so with the batshit crazy ones.

The Rains Down in Africa

I guess it's time to set up a news feed on the forecast for Ethiopia this summer.

What creates an Atlantic hurricane? The most devastating ones are spurred by intense thunderstorms in the Ethiopian highlands, according to new research.

The link between lightning strikes and hurricane formation should give researchers a heads-up about when a nasty hurricane might form, weeks before it could make landfall in the United States, says Colin Price of Tel Aviv University in Israel. Today, scientists apply various models to predict storm tracks and strength, but only once they form over the Atlantic Ocean. "This is what is unique about our work," Price says. "We look at the initial stages of these devastating storms before they have become hurricanes."

Price and his colleagues at Israel's Open University studied the 2005 and 2006 hurricane seasons, which were markedly different from each other. In 2005 there were a record 28 named storms, including the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, while 2006 brought only 10 named storms — a 64% reduction. Summertime lightning activity in eastern Africa, mainly in the Ethiopian highlands, was also quite different in each of the years, the researchers found, with 23% less activity in 2006 over 2005.

The two phenomena are linked, says Price, an atmospheric scientist who has long studied lightning.

Link via TDP

And now.. Los Totos!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fat People

The Saints rookies are out of shape for their meaningless weekend in shorts. According to this T-P account, Meachem is fat and his ankle hurts while Fat Guy phenom Walter Thomas has already been dismissed from the team. Of course, it's only May. I'm feeling a little chunky myself this week.

Something to smile about

If basic familiarity with professional football rosters is any indication of intelligence, (and we all know that it is) then Sam Brownback is a freaking idiot.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Haloscan Speaks!

In case anyone out there is chomping at the bit to yell at me this morning.

One of the database servers fell out of sync and needs to catch up with the other databases so comment posting has been disabled temporarily to speed up the process.

This is the reason for the glitches you may be experiencing with the site (settings not saving, comment counts not updating, some new comments not appearing on comment pages even though they display in the "Manage comments" page, etc).

We'll have this sorted soon as possible and appreciate your patience in this matter.

Now excuse me while I go get my mercury de-natured.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Stuff to do

Thinking maybe about seeing C.O.G. at Howlin Wolf tonight. This would depend on a great many things, however...

Now, excuse me while I go get my chakras balanced.

Beer in the bookdrop

Over the past.. what.. year and a half or so we've discovered an annoying tendency among persons exiting Ms Mae's late at night to use our book drop as a waste receptacle. This morning, we opened the box to find the now familiar hot-beer aroma heralding the presence of a half-empty bottle of Carona resting between copies of Pizza Pat and Henry and Mudge and the Funny Lunch. This despite the fact that we have taken great pains to plaster signage all over the drop pleading in big black block lettering with passersby not to chuck their trash there. This also despite the fact that the book drop is located within 30 feet of several actual garbage bins. Luckily the books were undamaged but the smell is getting bad in there... although we're getting kind of used to it.

Note to public:
In the future, when depositing alcoholic beverages into the library bookdrop, please see to it that these items are fresh and unopened. We can make far better use of these donations than half-empty bottles.. or many used books we get for that matter. We're not picky although we have a slight preference for Abita Wheat which is just coming into season and should be easy to find. Thank you.

Now excuse me while I go get my aura tuned.

180 days

Sure.. that'll fix everything

Now can we drop the Blanco-back-in-the-race talk?

Alabama chosen over Louisiana for location of steel mill

Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's Oyster's BlogDay

Go give him a pat on the back (if you make it through the unfortunate watermelon episode). Now excuse me while I go get my ear candled.

"Please ask OCD and ICF what is this foolishness,"

Quote is from LRA housing chairman Walter Leger regarding the latest stupefyingly brilliant masterpiece of Kafka-cracy belched forth from the depths of the Road Home regulations.

In a little-known rule that one top state official derided as "foolishness," Road Home applicants who take a buyout, but agree to buy a new home in Louisiana, get nailed with a 40 percent penalty unless they buy the new house within 90 days.

Buried deep in reams of grant closing documents, the time limit apparently escaped the notice of even senior state officials, who variously disowned and criticized the rule, which affects about 4,500 grant applicants.

Applicants just now finding out about the rules as they go to grant closings, meanwhile, fumed over the unwelcome surprise.

Road Home has officially become the most sadistic reality game show ever.

Contestants on the Road Home Reality Game show will have 90 days to buy a house in the post-Katrina New Orleans market featuring these kinds of insurance issues, limited access to inspectors, suspicious real estate agents and mortgage brokers, and the possibility of another catastrophic Federal Flood, under the threat of losing 40 percent of their "grant" (which, by the way, they may also have to pay taxes on.. or maybe still pay back their SBA loan with).

Okay so it's tough. Our plucky contestants, however, are not undeterred. Like the "Survivors" they are, they're still ready to fight and scratch and play for that cash. But wait.. there's a catch.

The few grant recipients who had heard about the so-called "60/40 rule" got another surprise from a quirk in the calculation of "60 percent": the program calculates the percentage based on the home's value, not the final grant award. That makes a huge difference.

For instance, let's say a homeowner with a $200,000 home who got $100,000 in insurance proceeds is eligible for a $100,000 Road Home buyout. If the state applied the 40 percent penalty to the final award, the homeowner would collect $60,000 after the penalty.

But instead, the state takes the 40 penalty off the home's appraised value. In the same case, the state would apply the 40 percent to a value of $200,000, leaving $120,000 -- then subtract the insurance proceeds of $100,000, making the first installment of the grant just $20,000.

Holy crap, Howie! That damn banker is at it again. And you thought it was interesting enough already. How many contestants will defeat the Road Home obstacle course before the money runs out? Will all this excitement necessitate sending the once and future governors to "charm school"? And just whose cuisine will reign supreme? I know we all can't wait for the next exciting plot twist.

Save Internet Radio

See Loki

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Library Thing looks kind of stupid in yellow so far. Bear with me I just started fooling with it.

Ready or not!

Quick! Somebody go check those pumps again.

Andrea becomes first named storm of '07

Monday, May 07, 2007

Soo.. we got a little rain on Friday

Fix the Pumps explains just how tenuous such events can be.

I know all of the NOLA folks who read this already read Fix the Pumps. But if you're reading this from out of town.. go there now and bookmark it... in case you still don't understand what is meant by the term "Federal Flood"

Link fixed. Sorry

"Nous Sommes Tous Americains"

Somewhat different meaning this time.

This is law and order, Sarkozy-style. It was as 'le tough cop' that Nicolas Sarkozy styled himself during two terms as Interior Minister, producing a police force almost entirely in his own image, that is to say small-minded, awkward, at times extremely nasty, and - as far as keeping the peace is concerned - surprisingly ineffective.

Quick and dirty DVD reviews

Last King of Scotland
Had to keep asking myself throughout the film, "How could this doctor have been so mind-blowingly arrogant or stupid?" Further research which revealed the man to be a fictional character inserted for the purpose of plot provided some relief here. Clever handling of the condescension with which colonial powers regard their former possessions. Great performance by Forest Whitaker. DVD includes a short on Idi Amin fact vs myth.

Jesus Camp
Hard to resist the temptation to just constantly shout "Oh my fucking God!" at the screen. As the film goes on, though, I found myself saying something more like, "Okay I get it. So fucking what?" I think it's a bit unnecessary to become alarmed at the fact that there are lunatics among us. I'm in no way excusing the kind of nuttery exemplified by the subjects of this documentary but I don't think there's anything particularly new or threatening about their movement. Yes, the fundies in this film homeschool their children in a nutty GSUS-centric curriculum which denies them the benefit of.. the sum of human rational thought. Yes, they send them to a brainwashing camp where they are repeatedly moved to tears in.. the holy spirit.. or whatever. Yes, they crassly conflate religious instruction with..a somewhat clumsy and simple political agenda. An argument can be made that some of this might constitute some form of child abuse.. but even that isn't entirely clear to me. I suspect, in fact, that despite the best efforts of the adults in this film, many if not most of these children will grow up and learn to think for themselves.

In twenty years, one of these kids is going to write a pretty scary book. That book will sell well and it will be rich with tales of psychological abuse of the sort that voyeuristic American audiences love to gape at.. but ultimately aren't of much relevance to anyone other than those immediately involved. And I think that sums up this movie pretty well too.

Happy Feet
And here's where I had no qualms about shouting "Oh my fucking God!" throughout the movie.. and later on during the nightmares it inspired. Once recovered from the shock of horrifying Moulin Rouge flashbacks brought on by the barrage of pithy faux-clever pop-song references, I found myself confounded by a paint-by-numbers, coming-of-age story punctuated by painfully flat stabs at humor, inexplicable ethnic stereotyping, an unresolved nagging question, (why is Mumble the only penguin who stays fluffy as he ages?) and culminating in a sloppy plot resolution which practically screams, "Fuck you, audience! We couldn't give a damn how to end this penguin turd! Thanks for the seven bucks, suckers!" Painful stuff.

Correction: I incorrectly identified the protagonist of Happy Feet as "Mombo". In fact the character's name was "Mumble" a name which makes slightly less sense than my misnomer. The word has been changed in the post.

More Threats

Who knew that Wal-Mart had the wherewithal much less the right to engage in surveillance operations on private citizens? Or that they would be going after nuns.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dusty Bushworms

Some of them grounded just can't fly

After happily reporting the grand success of this past weekend's Mumkinfest, I must say that I'm a bit discouraged by some of the feedback I've received. Most of the respondents have been accepting.. if a bit haltingly.. of the fact of the event. Although I'm not convinced they fully understand it.

But some have expressed the more acidic opinion through their comments and emails that Mumkinfest is some sort of farce staged as a kind of sulk-in to protest the exorbitant price of a Jazzfest ticket. Others question whether or not the event took place at all. Persons expressing such opinions are either suffering from a dark pitiable cynicism... or perhaps.. just don't know me all that well.

So, in the interest of providing clarity to the confused.. and answers to the critics, it is my pleasure to present:

Mumkinfest 2007
In Pictures

The inaugural Mumkinfest was a spirited (and at times spiritual) event where New Orleanians gathered to celebrate the annual appearance of the Buckmoth Caterpillar with a grand fesitval featuring:

Original Art

And also crafts

In addition to the the thrilling grill assembly depicted above, festival crafts also involved origami swans (not pictured) which, as it turns out, are excellent mumkin herders.


After the festival, the basketball hoop actually lasted less than three days before being stolen in the night by passing vandals (causing me to lose a bet). The snake (or, if you will, caterpillar) themed water cannon proved useful for dousing the coals once the grill was no longer necessary.

A sermon

Mr. C (at left) is a part-time employee of several businesses in the French Quarter where he also sings to tourists for tips. He is something of a philosopher/born-again Christian/mystic who is also a "certified minister"... in Texas. He spoke at length on the places he has visited (many of these in Texas), his long and varied work experience, and the many unusual ways in which God has revealed Himself to him over the years. The lecture may have continued into the evening if not interrupted by an associate of Mr. C's who announced that it was time to go down to Harrah's for "some of that free money".

Food.. lots and lots of food


Pork chops

Hot dogs

More pork chops and hot dogs. Regrettably not pictured are the strawberry shortcake and cheesecake graciously contributed by the upstairs neighbor, Luka. Since Luka declined to have her picture taken (something about stealing her soul) it followed that her food may have a similar objection.

Peripheral elements aside, Mumkinfest is primarily about mumkins themselves. And so a pair of worthy competitors took center stage in the first annual Mumkinfest caterpillar race.

The course

The contestants

And they're off

Look at'em go

My this is exciting

Okay so actually it just kind of went on like that for.. a very long time as the creatures had to be repeatedly coaxed into action and into the proper direction (a purpose in which the origami swans proved useful). It wasn't perfect but since I don't have a favorite in the Kentucky Derby this year, I figure this to be an adequate racing alternative. The rules committee is considering ways to improve this event for next year.

Despite an unexpected last-minute no-show from Cyril Neville, Mumkinfest 2007 was a remarkable success. Hope to see you all at Mumkinfest 2008.

No mumkins were harmed during the staging of Mumkinfest.


The Army's new Operational Security Guidelines includes "Media" among a list of "unconventional threats". I can't help but wonder if they're just taking cues from the LAPD.

Rainy Day Read

This Nicholas Johnson interview with a contractor is pretty compelling stuff.. although I have to wonder if some of the details aren't fictionalized. Certainly the thing to read if you haven't quite had your "What the hell!" moment yet today.

What have you learned by working in a combat zone?

I have gained more of an understanding of the people and the areas.

Al Asad (my first place of work in Iraq) has an Oasis on it that is considered the third Holiest spot in all of Islam: an oasis where Abraham supposedly drank and bathed. A few Marines swam in the Oasis and ended up having to go to the hospital with some horrible skin rash. This Oasis is now surrounded by a dump, and within the dump there is a fenced area that holds a grave site for an entire Iraqi soccer team that was executed by Saddam’s military after losing an important soccer match. Not far from Al Asad is an area that is supposedly the Garden of Eden. It too is now an area filled with mass graves.

The sight of an elderly goat herder looking up into the sky as an unmanned Predator Assault aircraft flies over and takes photos: brilliant! Watching Americans cover their ears as they walk past a Mosque blasting the words of Mohammed from a pair of blown out speakers: genius!

It is hypnotic to be part of this lunacy.

I'd imagine that last line resonates for more than a few of us here in New Orleans as well.


Just Spotted

A bus on Magazine Street! I wonder if it's the only one on the route.

Dark Clouds

Something about the weather just before a big thunderstorm always excites me for some reason. It's the middle of the day but the sky is dusky dark. There's an almost audible buzz in the air. Everything seems more real.. more in focus. It almost feels like.. something's about to happen. It's a good feeling but a fleeting one and kind of a lie at that.

Nothing ever actually happens.

But somehow we end up all wet anyway.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007