Saturday, October 31, 2009

4 Years

On this day in 2005, we restored library service in New Orleans. And that really does seem like just yesterday. Every three or four years, I find myself saying, "those were the strangest years of my life" or some such. In this case, yes, very much so. If the pattern holds, it's only gonna get weirder.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Making our own comeback

Alright first things first. We promised to say something about last week's Saints-Giants game so here it is. In order to save us all a bit of time, I've been searching the Yellow Blog archives for a recyclable description of my physical state that Sunday. It's too familiar a situation for me to have to re-write entirely. Ok here's one. This is how I felt while watching the Saints' Week 2 loss at Tampa back in 2007.
Usually a hangover entails a few morning hours of discomfort coupled with partial blindness and the obligatory self-loathing. But yesterday was something special, a hangover only the professionals like myself are called to endure, featuring twelve hours of dry heaves, an inability to breathe without pain, and the feeling that your brain is being subjected to two additional atmospheres of uninterrupted pressure.

So there it is. The only difference between that day in 2007 and this week was, this time, the Saints were playing at home. This means that while I watched the game from my convalescent couch, I was forfeiting one of those highly prized home games we scrape together to pay for each year. Following upon that unfortunate business, I've had to answer various phone calls, text messages, emails, blog comments, skywriting, PA announcements, etc. all of which say some form of, "Dude how could you miss the GREATEST GAME EVER? WTF is wrong with you?"

Those are two questions and so there are two answers. First, what's wrong with me is that I'm getting too old to stay out as late as I used to without there being serious consequences the next day but am far too stupid to have any appreciation for the word, "consequences" and so... the ugly cycle continues indefinitely. Second, this really wasn't all that great a game. The Saints got out ahead, passed the ball well against a confused and out-manned secondary, and missed just enough tackles to give up more points than is commonly considered decent. Other than that, sure, it was the GREATEST GAME EVER that exactly zero people will be talking about by next month. Actually, forget next month. After what happened in Miami this week, nobody is talking about it now. The Miami game actually will stick in the mind for a while but we'll get to that in a minute. By the time Atlanta has come and gone, the Giants game will be just about as hazy as my head was while it was actually happening.

Saints vs Giants notes (short version)

  • The good news: Good to see Lance Moore back on the field. I actually think he's got better hands than Colston. The Saints protected the quarterback well, although Jermond Bushrod still looks like a problem to me. Reggie Bush barely touched the ball on offense all day.

  • The bad news: The Saints missed a ton of tackles, not only on defense, but also on special teams.

  • Darren Sharper loses a TD because the NFL is run by Madison Avenue. Sharper had yet another interception return for a touchdown in this game but it was nullified by a questionable roughing the passer call.

    I suppose we have to live with this sort of thing but we don't have to like it. The modern NFL does whatever it can to protect the marketing value of quarterbacks. Because of this each year brings numerous new perversions of the rules designed to protect the QB personally and to encourage coaches to over-emphasize the passing game in general. But this really is just one of the many aspects of professional sports that are presented to us by people who care about marketing for people who don't really care about sports. We don't like it but we live with it. Would have been nice to have that touchdown, though.

  • Last week's media complaints During the Giants game, the FOX announcers once again stuck us with another gratuitous Katrina reference in the middle of the football game. Enough, already.

    Also, dear local media, please no more "How can the Saints save the local economy?" stories. They're almost as embarrassing as the "How can the Saints help solve the city's crime problem" story WWLTV ran during the 2006 season. (I referred to the story in a recap of the Saints-Eagles playoff game which I am linking back to here because it also describes yet another personal alcoholism episode)

  • Last week's Dome complaint Because I was unable to make it to this game, people who were there called several times during the day to taunt me. Because of the poor cell reception and excessive noise inside the Dome, I was unable to understand much of what these people were saying to me. I'm...uh... not sure this qualifies as a complaint.

Saints vs Dolphins

  • GREATEST GAME EVER Okay not really. However, unlike the Giants game, this was clearly the most entertaining Saints game of the 2009 season and, unlike the Giants game, will likely be talked about by Saints fans for years to come. As regular readers know, we've written extensively here about nearly every Saints game played during the Sean Payton era. If we had to pick favorite moments from each of those seasons they would be:

    1) The Monday Night return to the Dome vs. Atlanta

    2) The "Granny-Killing" reverse game vs. Tampa in 2007

    3) The Monday Night game vs Minnesota last year which seemed to have everything. Really, go back and read that (although I have to fix the pics in that post). That is probably the best football game I've watched in the last 5 years.

    So far in 2009, this Dolphins game is the most entertaining I've seen. Unless the Saints end up winning the Superbowl (they won't) it's going to be hard to top this.

  • Do not attempt to adjust your set. We'd prefer to just hit it with a hammer. I said this was the "most entertaining" game we've seen this year. This doesn't mean it was particularly well played... or well coached... but we'll get to that in a minute. One thing for certain is that it was not very well officiated.

    By this point in the week, you've already read and heard plenty about a first quarter replay review that didn't happen due to malfunctioning equipment. Yeah that was weird. And yeah they got the call wrong. But look at what else they got wrong even while the machine was supposedly working before you tell me how short-changed you feel about this.

    Late in the 2nd Quarter, the Dolphins, already leading 24-3, had again crossed into Saints territory and had an opportunity to add to their lead before halftime. Miami receiver Davone Bess caught a pass at the 47 yard line and "fumbled" the ball which was fallen on by Scott Shanle to kill the Dolphins threat. Replay review clearly showed Bess's knees on the ground before the fumble occurred. Despite the fact that the officials (we are lead to believe anyway)now had access to functioning television equipment, the fumble was not overturned. The Saints took possession and scored just before the half ended putting themselves back in the game. It isn't putting it too mildly to say that the game turned on this badly botched call even though the replay equipment was (we are lead to believe) functional at this point.

    The Dolphins still had control of the game when on the third play from scrimmage of the second half, Darren Sharper intercepted a pass, returned it down the right sideline, and clearly fumbled the ball before crossing the goal line. The ball bounced out of the endzone and should have been ruled a touchback. Instead, the official on the field ruled that Sharper has scored. Replay review clearly showed that the call on the field was incorrect and yet, despite the fact that the officials (we are lead to believe anyway)now had access to functioning television equipment, the call was not overturned.

    saints beat dolphins 46-34
    Darren Sharper effectively pleads his fraudulent case

    Much has been written this week about the importance of the closing minutes of the first half and the opening minutes of the second half in the outcome of games like this. In Sunday's game, these did indeed appear to be the crucial moments. It isn't going too far to say, then, that this game was decided in the Saints' favor by two very timely incorrect decisions by the officials. (Okay that's not the only factor. There was also some extremely crappy coaching on the Miami side but we're getting to that)

  • Player of the Game This should probably go to Jeremey Shockey... but we can't stand Jeremey Shockey... so instead let's congratulate former Saint Ricky Williams for his 3 touchdown, 80 yard rushing performance (including a 68 yard first quarter touchdown) We've always been Ricky Williams fans here at the Yellow Blog. He's the rare example of a pro athlete who doesn't have to be a loudmouth or a pretty boy or a kiss-ass teacher's pet in order to be successful. We used to own our very own Ricky Williams Saints jersey but were sadly separated from it a few years ago. Anyway, it's always nice to see him do well.

    saints beat dolphins 46-34
    Player of the Game Ricky Williams

  • Idiot of the game: Tony Sparano As always this award could also go to Shockey but we're giving it to Sparano since his idiocy had a more direct effect on the outcome. In many ways, watching this game was like watching any of a number of the typical Saints heartbreaking losses we've witnessed over the years only from the opposite sideline. The team jumps out to a big lead, is victimized by rotten officiating, the idiot coach gets flustered into making bad decisions, and the whole team chokes down the stretch. Apart from the blown replays, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano's decision-making cost Miami this game moreso than any other factor in play.

    With seconds remaining in the first half, Marques Colston caught a pass from Brees and was tackled at the one foot line. In what should have looked like a replay of the Titans-Rams Superbowl, the clock should have run out on the Saints right there. Luckily the game official on the field incorrectly ruled that Colston had scored. The ensuing review of that call stopped play long enough for the Saints to get their kicking unit on the field. I remember thinking that it might be difficult for the Saints to even get the kick off in time once the clock started again and that the disrupted timing could make the field goal less of a gimme than the negligible distance implied. Amazingly, Sparano relieved the Saints of this pressure by calling an inexcusable timeout. Sparano's stupid timeout ensured the Saints of picking up at least 3 points at the end of the half. As it was, Brees convinced Coach Soupy to let him dive over the pile for 6. I probably would have taken the field goal but, in retrospect, Sparano really did deserve to have that one shoved up his ass.

    But it gets worse. Here's Yahoo! Sports' Chris Chase on Sparano's second half strategy.

    The New Orleans offense was potent in the second half, per usual, but the comeback was aided greatly by the Dolphins' bizarre, pass-heavy fourth quarter play-calling. Nursing a three-point lead early in the final period was a strange time for Miami to get the urge to throw it around like the Saints usually do.

    Here are the Dolphins' first two drives of the quarter, along with the score at the time:

    Miami 34 -- New Orleans 31

    1st-10, MIA20 13:23 C. Henne incomplete pass to the right
    2nd-10, MIA20 13:17 C. Henne incomplete pass to the right
    3rd-10, MIA20 13:12 C. Henne incomplete pass down the middle

    New Orleans 37 -- Miami 34

    1st-10, MIA20 8:35 C. Henne incomplete pass down the middle
    2nd-10, MIA20 8:30 R. Brown incomplete pass to the left
    3rd-10, MIA20 8:21 C. Henne incomplete pass to the left

    That's zero runs during the two most crucial possessions of the game for the team with the NFL's No. 1 rushing offense. Bizarre

    Meanwhile, here's the Saints' play-by-play during the intervening possession where they scored the go-ahead touchdown.

    1st&10 NO40 Mike Bell Off Left Tackle to NO44 for 4 yards
    2nd&6 NO44 Mike Bell up the Middle to Mia49 for 7 yards
    1st&10 Mia49 Drew Brees Pass to Jeremy Shockey to Mia33 for 16 yards
    1st&10 Mia33 Mike Bell up the Middle to Mia31 for 2 yards
    2nd&8 Mia31 Drew Brees Pass to Jeremy Shockey to Mia17 for 14 yards
    1st&10 Mia17 Mike Bell up the Middle to Mia10 for 7 yards
    2nd&3 Mia10 Drew Brees Pass to Heath Evans to Mia2 for 8 yards
    1st&2 Mia2 Drew Brees up the Middle for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN

    That's 4 Mike Bell runs straight at the defense interspersed with high percentage passes to the tight end and fullback culminating in QB dive up the middle. During the crucial moment of the game, the team trailing by three points was still playing football while the other was in full-out panic mode. Yes, there were some badly dropped passes by Dolphins receivers during that stretch, but as any longtime Saints fan will tell you, as the idiot coach starts to panic, the players will tend to choke.

    saints beat dolphins 46-34
    Tony Sparano: Idiot of the game

  • Everybody Thinks I'm a Raincloud People keep telling me how "negative" I am. I don't think this is the case. I just prefer to think about what I'm watching rather than hoot and holler about it. Besides, here's what I tweeted at halftime,

    Hey does anybody remember the Dave Wilson comeback at Cincinnati in 1987? Was 24-10 at the half.

    Often I talk about how I've "seen this movie before" and mean it in a bad way. Here I was saying the same thing but in a good way. We were down fourteen points. People elsewhere in the city are freaking out and brandishing weapons and here I am looking on the bright side. Some damn credit. That's all I ask.

  • Stat of the game Jeff Duncan notes
    The Saints scored 45 or more points in a game five times in the first 642 games of club history. They've now done it four times this season. And none in more incredible fashion than Sunday.

    That's just... unbelievable. I have no further comment here.

  • New Jersey update Well, the poll results are overwhelming.

    People really want us to give Fujita some love. But I'm still not sure this is the choice for me. We'll continue to deliberate as 1) the Holiday jersey buying season approaches and 2) Fujita nurses his calf injury.

  • This week's media complaint

    SI, come on, man, you're killing us here. Cover Jinx? The week before the Falcons game? With fucking Reggie Bush in the photo? We're not even sure he's played enough to even letter this year.

    If forced to pick a magazine cover photo from this game, we probably would have gone with this.

    saints beat dolphins 46-34
    Although it's probably better to keep Brees clear of the jinx

  • In defense of Reggie Bush "Oh noes!" say the headlines, Reggie said something on the radio that might be construed as arrogant if one chooses to ignore the context. Whatever will we do?

    The "incident" in question is described by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jeff Schultz here.
    Bush appeared on SportingNewsRadio’s, “The Monty Show.” The show’s host set up Bush by asking him if he believed the Saints could go 16-0.

    Rather than do the smart thing and issue the one-game-at-a-time ramblings coaches like to preach, Bush responded: “Can we go undefeated? Yes. I do think we have the players, the chemistry, we have the heart and dedication, the coaching staff, we have the players.”

    OK. It’s not loud and obnoxious. But it’s the kind of statement that can come back to haunt a guy. And a team.

    The audio and transcript of the interview is available here I'll excerpt the controversial bit but you really need to listen to it to fully understand what happened.

    Q: Can the Saints, now 6-0, go undefeated?
    A: Of course my first answer is going to be, 'We're going to take it one game at a time, and that's our mentality" (laughs). I have to say it--if I don't say it, then I'm going to get some hell from teammates. But can we go undefeated? Yes, I do think we have the players, the chemistry, we have the heart and dedication, the coaching staff, we have the players and ...

    Q: Do you have the schedule?
    A: A lot of people would argue that we have a tough schedule. We weren't supposed to beat the Giants like that, the New York jets were supposed to be tough, each week I don't think we've been picked to win a game yet. We were picked to lose in Miami, we were picked to lose against the Eagles, against the Giants, we were picked to lose against the Jets. But we continue to weather the storm, we continue to believe in ourselves.

    The "laughs" were coming from the radio host and were a commentary on the cliched answer Bush had started to give him. Bush decided to (quite benignly) add to that specifically out of respect for the interviewer. Bush offered the "one-game-at-a-time" line. It was, quite rightly, rejected so he said something else only to be criticized by an Atlanta reporter for not offering the stupid "one-game-at-a-time" line. We call bullshit. Which brings us to...

  • Fuckabuncha Falcons We may not do much cheerleading here at the Yellow Blog but we are Saints fans and we do know what we hate. And we really hate losing to Atlanta. The Saints-Falcons game in the Superdome could qualify as the highlight of any season regardless who is or isn't possibly going undefeated. They should play all of these on Monday night. We will be there this Monday come hell or hangover.

In the meantime, have a great Halloween weekend. Menckles and I carved our pumpkins last night. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to do one of these.

Who Dat Halloween

Nobody Could Have Predicted

Predominantly white Catholic high school with heavily suburban student body fosters prevailing atmosphere of juvenile racism. And people are surprised at this?

Fun fact: It so happens that I was a freshman at the very predominantly white Catholic high school in question during the 1988 Presidential Election. The school, in the interest of promoting "civic responsibility" among its population of young men, held one of those lame "mock" elections where students were required to cast pretend votes for the candidate of their choice. Unfortunately, (or fortunately if you consider the absurdity of the exercise to begin with) the results of the fake election were occasioned by a minor scandal due to the embarrassing success of a certain fringe write-in candidate whose name I'll leave it to you to guess.

The Man Who Will Never Be Mayor

Looks like he's ready for his close-up.
Though an announcement is now set for Wednesday, Georges has already effectively launched his campaign, hiring a communications director and spokeswoman and distributing "Georges for Mayor" literature and bumper stickers.

"I have discussed this decision with my wife, Dathel, after a successful fundraiser last week," Georges said in a statement released Friday morning. "I have made my decision and will make it known Wednesday."

The event will take place at Li'l Dizzy's café on Esplanade Avenue at 3:30 p.m.

Li'l Dizzy's, of course, is the cafe' of choice among the city's political class so that makes it a fitting location. The fried chicken is pretty good there. Although we hear that when Georges really wants to impress, he pulls out the top-shelf stuff.

Actual business

I'm writing an email regarding a grad school application process I began just prior to the Federal Flood and have finally decided to follow up on. Even in this format, I have taken pains to describe the event as "the flooding of New Orleans occasioned by the levee failures after Hurricane Katrina". I wonder if they'll find that rude. (NOTE: An early draft of the application itself once began, "Dear Fuckers")

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Really wanted to get it done today

Commentary on two weeks of Saints football coming sometime tomorrow, I think. Meanwhile, just go read Wang. Best football writing anywhere. Although... maybe a bit too much cheerleading... but then that's my critique of ALL Saints coverage these days.

Dave Treen

Dead at 81

Ten years ago, when Edwin Edwards was convicted (by U.S. Attorney Eddie Jordan, btw) of racketeering, he made this statement to the press,
Edwards ended his comments by quoting a Chinese saying, "If you sit by a river long enough, the dead bodies of your enemies will float by you. I suppose the feds sat by the river long enough and here comes my body."

I suppose that quote takes on an even more morbid meaning today. An ironic one too, since Treen was most visible in his later years lobbying for Edwards' release from prison. That effort was unsuccessful. Edwards' sentence will not end until 2011. Treen's, it would seem, is now complete.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Deep Thought

Based on the content of the public cell phone conversations and other rambling monologues one is treated to sitting in here day after day, it's fair to say that something like two thirds of the adults one comes into contact with are in the mid to later stages of having their lives fall apart in one way or another. You'd think that might leave one with a somewhat dark view of humanity but we think we're pretty much immune to that sort of thing around here.

For example, we have no idea when Supa Saint's life fell apart but thank God it did!

Finally a "shrinking footprint" we can all agree on

Even Tom Friedman says so
It is crunch time on Afghanistan, so here’s my vote: We need to be thinking about how to reduce our footprint and our goals there in a responsible way, not dig in deeper. We simply do not have the Afghan partners, the NATO allies, the domestic support, the financial resources or the national interests to justify an enlarged and prolonged nation-building effort in Afghanistan.

I'd actually prefer abandoning the area altogether but some might say "That is outside my brief."

Also, most of us are poor

Yglesias points out here the strong likelihood that income inequality = overpriced assets = unstable financial markets... which generally implies an unhealthy economy.

I think this type of model might be useful when discussing policy with mainstream "liberals" since the moral argument, income inequality = most of us are poor, is generally lost on such people.

Neither will get you very far with the Obama-Summers-Geithner Administration, though since all they understand is income inequality = most of my friends are rich = a system that must be preserved at all costs.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Saints fans have been doing this as long as I can remember. I've never lived anywhere else. Do fans in other cities go meet the team at airport in Week 7? I really have no idea.

Welcome Party

T-P video via Nola.com

Too easy

Things we will not be ripping on in this week's Saints post

Even before the first kickoff, Drew Brees commissioned T-shirts with the word in big block letters across the back -- SPECIAL -- and distributed them around the locker room to teammates.

Because: 1) It's a bit too easy and 2) It's still not as funny as the "SMELL GREATNESS' T-shirts

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Not hungover today

Amid the jokes and stuff, one thing I really did want to say about the Giants game was that the Saints seemed to miss a lot of tackles. That could be a problem against Miami. Anyway I'm off to find food and beer for this afternoon.

Jack O'Lantern effect

Yes, it's a problem but no, it's not a problem that could have been equitably avoided by the BNOBC's proposed green-dotting of entire neighborhoods. At the time of the "footprint debate", people were still openly fantasizing about cleansing the city of "undesirable" residents. Minimizing the Jack O'Lantern effect was never really the priority there.

Anyway, that fight is over with. Now we have a new one to deal with. Redeveloping these neighborhoods will depend on 1) protecting the entire region from future flooding. and 2) creating new economic opportunities for current and future residents. But we would prefer not to hear the elitists and the racists rally around Jack O'Lantern "I-told-you-so"s because that isn't what any of this was about.

In other planning-related news, I agree with this guy on today's idiot page.

I-10 stretch is here to stay: a letter to the editor
October 25, 2009, 1:38AM

Re: " I-10 over Claiborne gets royal treatment," Metro, Oct. 22.

Tearing down this expressway, as proposed in the New Orleans master plan, is nearly as bad an idea as putting it there in the first place. Those who think otherwise say that it led to the demise of neighborhoods and businesses along Claiborne Avenue, yet they ignore the fact that other areas with similar socio-economic makeup suffered the same decline even without an interstate highway dividing them, e.g. St. Claude Avenue or Earhart Boulevard.

Macro-economics and big-box retail killed the mom-and-pop stores, and some existing neighborhoods have found that the highway makes a great roof for festival marketplaces and other outdoor activities.

Removing this structure is also the least "green" option. Presently, vehicles traveling along I-10 are running at or near their peak efficient speed, whereas ground level traffic would be traveling at far less fuel-efficient speeds.

Removing the highway would exacerbate already bad streets by adding heavy traffic loads to them. It would lead to major increases in traffic in normally tranquil neighborhoods.

All city officials need to do is block off the length which the master plan proposes to be demolished. It will become readily apparent that removal of a major artery like I-10 is foolishness of the highest order.

George E. Merritt

New Orleans

Again, if people have jobs and feel safe, the neighborhood will be ok. If we just tear down an overpass, all we'll get are more streets crowded with cars.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Obama's fault

Just remember, when it turns out that your health care bill sucks, who was fighting to keep it sucky.
Multiple sources tell TPMDC that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is very close to rounding up 60 members in support of a public option with an opt out clause, and are continuing to push skeptical members. But they also say that the White House is pushing back against the idea, in a bid to retain the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

"They're skeptical of opt out and are generally deferential to the Snowe strategy that involves the trigger," said one source close to negotiations between the Senate and the White House. "they're certainly not calming moderates' concerns on opt out."

This new development, which casts the White House as an opponent of all but the most watered down form of public option, is likely to yield backlash from progressives, especially those in the House who have been pushing for a more maximal version of reform.

Take the ball

From Sean Payton's presser yesterday:
Q: When you send your three captains out to the coin toss, how descriptive are the instructions you give them?

A: It’s typically we want the ball. In the event of a big wind maybe, where it’s pretty windy, it might be let’s defer, but typically we want to take the ball and what’s the direction we want to defend.

That's good but not quite strong enough. Take the damn ball. Why start a game by selecting to turn it over?

More food stuff

I'm so old that I can remember a time when the Times-Picayune actually printed an entire "Food" section every week. In its heyday, the T-P Food section served as a living document of and monument to the unique food culture of New Orleans. Since the Federal Flood, that section has been folded into the Thursday "Living" section where a food-related feature would run as main item. This week, what remains of the "Food" section are Judy Walker's and Marcelle Bienvenue's modest recipe exchange columns. Marcelle's appears on page 3 while Walker's has been relegated to the teeny tiny bottom left corner of page 1; crowded out by a generic national celebrity news-wire and a massive feature story about a country music festival... coming to Baton Rouge... in May.


Losing the Food section means losing an established vector for the transmission and preservation of our local food culture. Without robust local media, we rely more and more on national outlets and are thus more and more subject to the same rootless trendy post-modernism that has come to define the lost world of American decadence. I watch Food Network too. Some of it is entertaining but most of it is about conspicuous consumption first, faux drama second, and actual food something like ninth. This can't be all there is. This isn't all there is. But more and more our local paper seems to be telling us that's all we're going to get.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quick fire

Ten Things Anthony Bourdain and David Chang Hate

I can't decide which one I like better. It's either this,

Alice Waters. While both men applauded “her message” and Chez Panisse’s game-changing cuisine, Bourdain likened her to a hippie who doesn't grasp that the poor can’t afford organic milk.

Or this,

Guy Fieri. Cooking is not about “fuckin’ sunglasses and that stupid fuckin’ armband.” If he ever does that, “throw [him] down the stairs,” Chang said.

In the past, Bourdain has compared Fieri to "Poochie", a somewhat obscure Simpson's character. Regular readers here will recall that we have since extended this monicker to Saints tight end Jeremey Shockey because... well because he's kind of the football version of Fieri. (All is explained in this post)

Finally there's this,

Career-Changers Who Want to Start Cooking Professionally at 30. Cooking is “grueling physical labor,” said Chang, adding that he’d never seen anybody start “that late” in life and succeed.

I'm going to just keep that one and haul it out every time someone suggests that I do something as stupid as "start cooking professionally". (Yes, I get that from time to time from various people... including my current boss, by the way, which doesn't exactly fill me with confidence) On the other hand, the term "career-changer" suggests that one actually had a "career" to begin with so I don't really know if this applies to me at all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

End of the Carpetbagger era?

Clio writes

I have been inspired by the ongoing stream of volunteers who come to our city to help rebuild at the micro-level. Church groups, schools, national organizations of every strip--they came early, and they continue to come.

At the macro-level, however, I sense something significant and stirring.

The carpetbaggers are getting bored, and they're starting to leave. You may have experienced carpetbaggers over the past four years. I certainly have.

These are the people who smelled the chance for immediate financial gain from the plight of a city on its knees.

In many cases, we made it easy for the carpetbaggers--witness Ed Blakely. We offered them ridiculous compensation packages because "we" thought that's what it would take to attract allegedly national and international "experts" here to help us.

We didn't have enough confidence in ourselves--in our knowledge, our hearts, our passion, our work ethic.

I finally finished Richard Campanella's Bienville's Dilemma last night. You come away from it in awe of the daunting (and, as yet, not even begun) task of making this area truly sustainable. There is so much left to do.

It's important to remember that, while we may not need "experts" a-la Dr. Blakely hanging around, we do and will continue to need the sympathetic ear and financial backing of the federal government if we are going to preserve and protect our homes. Right now we have none of that. Last week's Presidential visit demonstrated just how little our problem is understood by Washington to this very day.

I have a post to write about that but I've been too busy to type it out this week. The gist, however, is as long as this place remains worth saving it's still going to be worth screaming about to get it done. And from the looks of things, it's still going to take a lot of screaming.

Another one for the pile

"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it"

--George W Bush (2001)

"One of the biggest weaknesses we had during Hurricane Katrina is it wasn't clear who was the top authority."

"The president and the governor were going back and forth. . . . In Cuba you don't have that problem. The government says, 'This is what we're doing, these are the resources we are going to deploy, ' and it pretty much happens."

--C. Ray Nagin (2009)

A few years back I started my own collection of Nagin/Bush parallels which I would share on the Yellow Blog from time to time. In 2006, one day after the much-celebrated "Chocolate City" speech I wrote,
There are some striking similarities between the two men. Both came to politics from the "business world". Bush ran a series of cushy family connected oil exploration ventures into the ground before becoming a useful political puppet of arms dealers and energy companies. Nagin ran Cox cable in New Orleans (as Schroeder puts it in comments to this YRHT post, "How tough a "business executive" do you have to be to work for a massive monopoly that just collects checks for a ridiculously overpriced service?") before becoming a useful political puppet of the city's white aristocracy. Both men are prone to making bewilderingly stupid statements when allowed to speak extemporaneously. Both men can appear rather surly when challenged on these statements.

I like to link back to that post as often as possible because it contains one of my prouder achievements in graphic design which I will haul back out of mothballs for you below.

That Nagin, who during the Gustav fiasco, presumed he could lie to citizens, force them from their homes, and then stage their return according to a shadowy "tier" system based on a bizarre prioritization of political and economic elites, would express such an overt affinity for totalitarian rule should surprise no one.

Update: More from Dambala

Obama's fault

As fun at it is to point at the Mary Landrieus of the world who were never going to be on the right side of this in the first place, after all this is over with and we end up with nothing resembling serious health reform, it'll be important to remember who was in charge and that this is how they wanted it all along.
It is hard to avoid the fear that this White House has now become a principal obstacle to getting meaningful health care reform. It claims it wants major cost reductions in Medicare, via a semi-autonomous cost-cutting commission. But the White House has already bargained away the savings it can achieve from most of the major providers: PhRMa ($80 billion), hospitals ($155 billion) so they can give it back to the doctors (for whom AMA is demanding $240+ billion more over ten years in relief from automatic Medicare reductions).

Why should we not also believe that the White House has a deal to shield insurers from competition by preventing the creation of a public option in exchange for the insurers agreeing to reforms on guaranteed issue and limited community ratings (with the flexibility Baucus provided) and to support this framework with tv ads? (Read Ignagni’s WaPo op-ed today; while defending the PwC study, she says they made a deal, but Baucus broke it; she didn’t say the deal’s off.)

The White House isn’t taking up most of the chairs in Harry’s Reid’s meetings just to watch him make decisions on his own. They’re there to make sure Harry Reid doesn’t undo the White House deals and wander off the reservation.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Not-so-great moments in the history of dumb shit

WDSU has decided today would be an appropriate time for us to remember one of the more embarrassing episodes in Saints history. I can't embed the video, so just click here if you feel like revisiting 1991, the year the city of New Orleans adopted a generic, idiotic Rally's commercial into a sort of rallying cheer for its football team. "Cha-Ching" was either a phenomenon that so lacked originality and imagination that it could have happened anywhere, or was so replete with silly innocent enthusiasm that it could have happened only in New Orleans. Maybe it's both. I don't know. I both love it and hate it. At the time, being an angsty high school student, I despised it.

The WDSU video is of actor Seth Green whose staring role in the commercial was, I guess, part of his launch into show business. You see, Green had been invited to deliver what has to be the only live performance of his "Cha-Ching" routine ever on the floor of the Superdome during halftime of a Sunday Night game against the Falcons. I remember because I was there.

At this point in the 1991 season, the Saints, who had started 7-0, were in the process of badly fading down the stretch. The Seth Green Falcons game would prove to be the second of four consecutive losses that really took the... uh... Ching out of their momentum. The Sunday night game was memorable for Fred McAfee's only 100 yard rushing performance of his 16 year career and a curious play where the Saints faked an injury to starting quarterback Steve Walsh so that backup Mike Buck could enter the game and throw one deep pass that would have been far out of Walsh's range.

The "Cha-Ching" Saints of 1991 backed into their first division title but were ousted from the first round of the playoffs by the same Falcons team that had beaten them in the Seth Green game. If the 2009 Saints win in Miami this weekend to go 6-0, it would be the team's best start since '91. And still there will be plenty of time for things to head downhill from there.

All I'm saying is be nice to me

You never know what I'm capable of.

Jeff may boost fees

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saints teaser post

I got really drunk Saturday night, stayed out past 5 AM and didn't wake up until after kickoff Sunday. Watched the game mostly from the couch... except from the parts I listened to on the radio over the sounds of my own vomiting. After it was over, I went back to sleep for something like four more hours. Today I'm still trying to separate the bits of the game I saw from the bits that I dreamed/hallucinated. We'll get a re-cap posted once the filtering process is complete.

Meanwhile, since I was running late for work this morning, I was lucky to catch Colin Cowherd suggest on the radio that the Giants were affected by a long road trip which exposed them to New Orleans' "heat and humidity". Cutting observation, I know.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tom Tomorrow on Obama

Pat pointed us to this cartoon the other day. I was saving it for a long-ish post I'm writing about Thursday's Presidential visit but decided to cut it out. Anyway it's quite good so here's a link in case you haven't seen it yet.

How much would keeping New Orleans Adolescent Hospital open have cost again?

Louisiana has budget surplus after all
By Jan Moller
October 17, 2009, 3:00AM

It's a far cry from the budgetary bonanza of recent years, but state government managed to pile up a $47 million surplus in the past fiscal year, state officials said Friday.

Oh but look what happens now. Once you "find" the money you were supposed to use on stuff it all ends up going down the "rainy day" drain.

Once the money is officially declared as surplus, likely to happen early next year, the state Constitution restricts how it can be used. It can't be plugged into the normal operating budget. Instead, it must be deposited in the state's rainy-day fund or used on "one-time" spending priorities such as debt repayment, road construction or coastal restoration projects.

Also good for building levitating trains, it sounds like. Or possibly dropping from helicopters.

Quickie op-ed response

D.C. lawyer, David Weiss writes

Constitutionality aside, the five year requirement is bad policy, too. The law operates much like a protective tariff -- it insulates incumbent politicians and the city's veteran political class from job competition. Now more than ever, New Orleans would benefit from an expanded candidacy pool. With a long list of Katrina-related problems still lingering four years after the storm, not to mention a longer list of yet-to-be-solved pre-Katrina issues, the city needs the widest possible selection of fresh, new candidates, not more of the same choices.

Immediate reactions:

1) I wonder if D.C lawyer David Weiss was among the native New Orleanians whining about their "embarrassment" at the long list of candidates for mayor in 2006. Obviously there's no written record available but it's a bet I'd be willing to take.

2) I wonder what D.C. lawyer David Weiss thinks of term limits. Does he think that they also constitute an arbitrary restriction on the "expanded candidacy pool" we appear to so desperately need? I'll bet he doesn't!

3) I wonder who (besides possibly D.C. lawyer David Weiss) D.C. lawyer David Weiss has in mind as a potential improvement upon the 5-year resident candidates currently eligible. Brad Pitt? Stormy Daniels? Ed Blakely? I really can't wait to find out more about these exciting leaders from afar who might rescue us if only they are allowed to do so.

Bits of info I learned last night

1) The Spotted Cat is back. Re-opened like a week ago.

2) Pres Kabacoff's Marigny Hippie-drome is running a quaintly charming haunted house this year. Just try not to let your date make out with the staff too much.

Nothing better to do

If you're not a motorist or a tourist, we don't want you in the Quarter.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Second Line season

My favorites are the ones that come right by the front door. This was Prince of Wales and Lady Wales last Sunday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Heckuva job, Bobby

From the NOLA.com coverage of today's townhall:

1:15 p.m. President Obama is in the building, welcomed with a raucous ovation. The crowed did not extend the same pleasantries to some of the other notable attendees. Obama introduced Gov. Bobby Jindal, who drew scattered boos.

"Don't worry, Bobby, I get that all the time."

He added that Jindal "is working hard for this state."

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin drew a mix of cheers and boos, prompting the president to say, "This is a fiesty crowd."

All Obama had to do was refrain from the "Bobby is working hard for this state" line and his reaction would have been perfectly gracious without also being a stupid conciliatory lie. Sometimes I really question whether or not the President has any clue what he's doing.


How many times has Justice of the Peace Bardwell been inter-racially married?
HAMMOND, La. -- A justice of the peace said concern for children the couple may have prompted him refuse to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, said it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

And now, Reggie Bush reacts to Obama in NOLA Day

Via Twitter

That ballon traveled like 70 miles!!! LMAO! Somebody going to jail for that one! Funny part was my whole team glued to the tv watching it!

Ray Nagin: Health reform advocate

Guest column by Mayor Ray Nagin: New Orleans needs Obama's health reform plan

Guess he decided to take Fujita's advice. Good for him. A better idea would be to agitate for something better than the milquetoast half-assed, pro-insurance industry legislation currently being considered, but when was the last time Ray Nagin had a good idea?

Officially now my favoritest Republican

MichaelSteeleus Magnus

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fujita still campaigning for jersey consideration

I'm personally still leaning toward Morstead but every little bit helps.

"If I could say something to President Obama, it would be to bring the troops home, '' Fujita said. "And stay patient and don't back down on his health care plan.''

With regards to Limbaugh, Fujita said: "Does he have a right to own a team? I'd say yeah, but almost anybody does. Would I like to play for him? Absolutely not. To claim to millions of your listeners that slavery had its merit and during the days of slavery our streets were safer after dark, are you freaking kidding me?

"I know a lot of other (NFL players) felt the same way. They just don't want to talk about it.''

Remember, I've still got a poll open as to which Saints jersey to buy next. If you haven't voted yet, here it is.

The Amazing Anti-Ear

Michael Steele is proving to be everything Matt Taibbi once accused Thomas Friedman of being. In his review of The World is Flat Taibbi wrote of Friedman,
It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius. The difference between Friedman and an ordinary bad writer is that an ordinary bad writer will, say, call some businessman a shark and have him say some tired, uninspired piece of dialogue: Friedman will have him spout it. And that's guaranteed, every single time. He never misses.

Michael Steele, who, during the Sotomayor confirmation debate, once threatened to "empathize right on your behind" whatever that may mean, has been on a roll this week.

Appearing on Fox this morning to talk health care reform, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele offered two contradictory -- and somewhat baffling -- metaphors for bipartisanship.

"I'm not trying to be an obstructionist here. To the contrary, I'm saying, Can we all get in the room and have a Rodney King moment?" he said. He was referring to King's famous "Can we all get along?" line following the 1992 Los Angeles race riots sparked by the acquittal of the police officers who beat King.

Later in the interview, Steele said he is indeed obstructing health care reform, calling himself the "cow on the tracks." The Fox anchor had noted that Democrats are saying the health care reform train has "already left the station" and "Republicans better jump on board."

Also, from TPM:
Overnight, it seems the RNC started tweaking the new GOP.com, which emerged yesterday as something of a fail for Michael Steele.

This morning, Steele's much-derided "What Up?" blog has undergone a name change, one of several changes at the site we'll be tracking throughout the day. Steele's posts can now be found at a chairman's blog called "Change The Game."

Steele is firing 'em off so quickly, it's difficult to keep up. He's like a deranged hen let loose in a toy oven.. or something.

You don't piss on hospitality!

We saw a New Orleans Film Festival screening of this at the Prytania last night.

Very funny stuff.

Some days

It seems like everyone forgot to take their medication.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

See this is exactly the problem

The problem is, we have a right to expect that General Mills can't break the law and get away with it. But some (too many) liberals want us to stop and "appreciate" the rare occasions when something like that doesn't happen.

More broadly, though, even as progressives go after the Obama administration on all the big stuff it's getting wrong or not quite right enough, it's important to appreciate the smaller changes happening in the everyday administration of government duties.

Check it out, some people actually did their damn jobs. Maybe we can give them some sort of "prize".

Also what this guy said

Matt Taibbi on Obama's Nobel Peace Prize:

More likely the Obama critics who believe that Obama won this award for not being George Bush are right as well. The problem the international community had with Bush wasn’t that he believed in war and the use of force, it was that he believed in the unilateral use of these things. Bush did not believe in the use of force as an expression of a whole society’s values, he believed in it as an expression of his own machismo.

He was like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove, flying through history with a bomb between his legs, shouting “Yee, haw!” It wasn’t so much that this behavior was wrong, it was just unseemly. He was like the drunk at a Victorian tea party who during the soup course makes jokes about the hostess’s secret pregnancy in France. We Westerners, we just don’t do things like that. Decorum, sir, decorum!

How do we do things? We keep the troops in those faraway places like Afghanistan and Iraq, sure, but while we do that we make sure to extol things like tolerance and dialogue and the spirit of diplomacy. We make sure that the same people who were not involved in the decision-making process during the previous bombing runs under Bush are in the loop again, now and hopefully forever. We smile a lot and say nice things about the Geneva convention and the impropriety of torture and secret detention, the importance of the rule of international law. We make everybody feel better about how things are going to go from now on.

This is what Barack Obama did to “earn” the Nobel Prize. He put the benevolent face back on things. He is a good-looking black law professor with an obvious bent for dialogue and discussion and inclusion. That he hasn’t actually reversed any of Bush’s more notorious policies — hasn’t closed Guantanamo Bay, hasn’t ended secret detentions, hasn’t amped down Iraq or Afghanistan — is another matter. What he has done is remove the stink of unilateralism from those policies.

They’re not crazy-ass, blatantly illegal, lunatic rampages anymore, but carefully-considered, collectively-run peacekeeping actions, prosecuted with meaningful input from our allies.

You see the difference? The Nobel committee sure did!

The problem with this failure of a President isn't so much that he's every bit as bloodthirsty in conquest, owned by the financial hierarchy, and indifferent to the plight of the Gulf Coast as his predecessor, it's that he's got so many semi-liberal sycophants out there enabling this behavior. But, as we've been saying for quite some time now, it's not the rabid stupid hateful American right wing that's the problem... although they do make a mess of things. It's the selfish, smug, corrupt, yuppie left who refuse to do anything about it that's killing us.

What this guy said

On today's idiot page, we find a remarkably non-idiotic letter.

Politics will always be a part of development: a letter to the editor
By Letters to the Editor
October 13, 2009, 1:35AM

Re: "Public meetings on N.O. master plan set for this week," Page 1, Oct. 12.
Anyone touting this plan as the be-all and end-all for making objective land use decisions should be run out of town. Politics and back-room deals will always be a part of zoning changes and development. It is the nature of the beast. The hope was that this new master plan would somehow correct the manipulative practices of the past. Bruce Eggler correctly points out that this new plan fails to do this.

Like previous documents, this one will have its text copied and pasted into requests for zoning changes and variances. Depending on the will of the "powers that be," only the text that support the outcome will be included or emphasized as the reason for making the decision.

This is not an excuse to throw out the plan. It is only to point out that it is just not right for it to be sold as a fair, non-political plan. Compounding this snake-oil sales pitch is what will likely be contained in the community participation section in Chapter 15. It is still under review, so we have no idea what is in it. At this late stage one can only guess that it will give a formal voice to residents' associations.

This may sound good, but the current form of many residents' associations gives a voice only to those on the board. These groups would more appropriately be labeled political action committees that push the agenda of the few that control the group.
Some residents' organizations, for example, will not allow an open ballot process to elect their board and president. Their sitting boards hand-pick the candidates that can be on the ballot. Formal polling is seldom done on issues affecting the membership. These are just some pitfalls of the autocratic character of these groups. Self-appointed leaders have no place in a system trying to achieve democracy and fairness.

Every single one of us should have an equal say in the decision-making process. Formalizing residents' associations in the land use decision process will only dilute the rights of the individual.

Gregg Huber
New Orleans

I'll go one further. Formalizing residents' associations voice in land use decisions is actually tantamount to government for and by property owners. This entire master-planning process has been about giving the "right sort of people" a firmer grip on the levers of power. An effective candidate for mayor might want to point this out.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I wonder if The Pet Goat can be used as a flotation device

Martin Luther King School August 2005

Obama to visit Dr. King Charter School and hold town hall at UNO
By Jonathan Tilove
October 11, 2009, 11:30PM

President Obama will visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School in the Lower Ninth Ward and then hold a town hall meeting at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Campus on Thursday, the White House announced tonight.

The contours of the president's first visit to New Orleans since taking office now appear complete. Local officials, including Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and David Vitter, R-La., had protested that the White House's original announcement had only listed the town hall meeting. Both asked that he take more time and add stops during Thursday's visit.

So instead of adding events to his itinerary which might emphasize or at least acknowledge the critical emergency South Louisiana faces vis-a-vis flood protection and coastal restoration, the President will, instead, opt for yet another photo-op promoting one of his pet policy schemes at a charter school. At a charter school, and in a neighborhood, destined to flood again (as it did in 2005) if the President continues to ignore his imperative to take action.

Update: Obama ditching early to attend a fundraiser in California You see, he's got so much on his plate.

(Sort of) failed experiments


Those are bacon-wrapped banana slices seasoned with chili powder, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. I think it makes for a rather luxuriant (perhaps overly rich) bite of food that could benefit from a little tweaking of the seasoning proportions. (Way too much cocoa powder. Made it kind of bitter.)

On the other hand, Menckles delivers this one-line review: "I'm sure I definitely could have swallowed it."

Oh well. The kitchen smelled nice while it was in the oven.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Pinkwashing or Adventures in horrible but lucky football coaching

This month, the NFL has taken a public stance on American health care. No, despite the many unaddressed chronic health concerns of current and former pro football players, the league hasn't indicated its support for even the inadequate reform legislation currently under congressional consideration. In fact, given the rightward bent of political contributions from owners and players, and the well-known opinions of potential NFL owner Rush Limbaugh, we're not expecting to see a campaign for better health care access for all Americans coming from the National Football League any time soon.

In the meantime, although they aren't engaged in doing anything particularly helpful about it, the NFL marketing department would still like us all to be "aware" of a particular health condition. At least for a month anyway. At least while we're watching football. The NFL is participating in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by conspicuously featuring the color pink on field and player equipment during games.

Jets vs. Saints
Reggie Bush heightens our awareness of his new pink cleats

Were you previously unaware of this period of awareness? Peggy Orenstein (writing back in 2002) explains it for you here.
Consider Breast Cancer Awareness month, which is every October. Its founder, the drug maker AstraZeneca, manufactures the breast cancer drug tamoxifen and other chemotherapies, but until recently it made agrochemicals as well.

It's a perfect profit circle.

DuPont, another sponsor of awareness programs, continues to manufacture pesticides that contain known carcinogens. So this month, we are likely to hear a great deal about "prevention" in the form of behavior modification and diet but will not hear that as many as half of all cancers are not associated with known risk factors. The "e word"--environment--if it comes up at all, will be quickly dismissed.

We will also hear that early detection is the best protection. We will not hear that mammograms miss 25% of cancers in women under 50. Nor will we hear that, in many cases, early detection makes no difference in outcome, either because the woman's disease is too aggressive or because it is sufficiently nonaggressive that she'd be just as likely to survive or die if she waited until she or her doctor discovered a lump.

Meanwhile, a 10-year study published this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, covering more than 250,000 women, showed virtually no difference in death rates from breast cancer between those who did monthly breast self-examinations and those who did not. We also will not hear that too little has changed in the treatment of breast cancer since President Nixon raised the battle cry in 1971. Our choices are still slash, burn and poison.

Women without health insurance don't even have those options.

In fairness, the NFL's participation in this program is not entirely ineffectual. Here is an exhaustive list of NFL sponsored events and programs this month, most of which are aimed at raising funds for the Susan G. Komen foundation. The Komen foundation, the nation's largest breast cancer research charity, is itself sometimes criticized for being so big and powerful that it may be functioning to the greater detriment of medical research funding.
The saturation of breast cancer awareness has left even some survivors dismayed. Writer, social critic, and former breast cancer patient Barbara Ehrenreich has called the movement “an outbreak of mass delusion,” and “a cult.”

“The products — teddy bears, pink-ribbon brooches, and so forth — serve as amulets and talismans, comforting the sufferer and providing visible evidence of faith,” she has written.

Such faith is not the best way to allot research dollars, argues Dr. Ann Flood, director of health policy studies at Dartmouth University. “It is certainly not rational by any means,” Flood, herself a breast cancer survivor, says. She believes breast cancer is worthy of generous funding, but “I do not think we should be doing it in this micromanaged way, which diseases we should study.”

Funding that is driven by public demand comes with risks. Just because a campaign is successful “does not mean science is at the point where it can do anything with the money that could fruitfully go someplace else,” says Caplan.

Komen is also frequently criticized as a facilitator of corporate "pinkwashing", the marketing gimmick by which companies dress their products in an image-enhancing veneer of hollow altruism.
Since 2002, the group Breast Cancer Action has promoted its "Think Before You Pink" campaign. It's fighting "pinkwashing," which is when corporations try to boost sales by associating their products with the fight against breast cancer. Pinkwashing is a form of slacktivism -- a campaign that makes people feel like they're helping solve a problem, while they're actually doing more to boost corporate profits.
By "going pink" during an October when the country is debating crucial health care reform legislation, the NFL is engaging in a mild form of pinkwashing. They're raising "awareness" of a deadly cancer while ignoring the crisis of so many of its victims left without affordable treatment or detection.

Saints vs Jets

  • Wait, wait, one more thing. How many of these pink-cleated heroes of ours are participating in Awareness Month purely as a matter of conviction? No doubt, there are a few players who have lost a friend or family member to cancer. And, of course, it's hard to imagine how any of them would be hostile to victims and their families. But even so, how much admiration should we really be lavishing on these players for exhibiting the social conscience necessary to comply with the (compulsory?) directives of a league uniform memo?

    For contrast, consider that last week we read that Saints linebacker Scott Fujita is one of only a few pro football players to take a public stand in favor of marriage equality.

    Scott Fujita, defensive captain of the New Orleans Saints, supports Ayanbadejo's stance. "I hope he's right in his prediction, and I hope even more that it doesn't take that long. People could look at this issue without blinders on...the blinders imposed by their church, their parents, their friends or, in our case, their coaches and locker rooms. Fujita continued, "I wish they would realize that it's not a religion issue. It's not a government issue. It's not even a gay/straight issue or a question of your manhood. It's a human issue. And until more people see that, we're stuck arguing with people who don't have an argument." Fujita has also endorsed the October 11 National Equality March in Washington.

    In this case, Fujita is taking a principled public stand likely to be unpopular with a majority of his peers. Many of his peers, in turn, wearing pink, are pretty much just doing what they're told.

  • OMG We're going to Disneyworld! Holy crap the Saints are 4-0! What do we do? Do we buy our tickets to Miami? Are we supposed to nickname the defense? Are there any undisclosed side-effects of over-exposure to greatness fumes? Who knows? We don't! We already (sort of) owe somebody a case of Abita beer or some other prize to be named later over this business so, by all means, feel free to go nuts in whatever way suits you best. (Okay maybe not that way) It is in no way our aim today to pull any of you down from whatever cloud you may be resting upon currently. But we're likely to make one or two of our customarily negative observations here so before we get to any of that let us say firstly that we wish it to be known we think the Saints are playing pretty good football right now. Winning football teams excel at running the ball and playing defense. In four games, the 2009 Saints have done those things more convincingly than their most recent predecessors. And because of this, they look more like a winning football team at this point than those teams ever did.

    new orleans saints vs. new york jets
    At least it's not an Hebert-inspired (Hebert-ish? Hebertic?) gesture

  • Fire Miles During the second quarter of a mostly excruciating game vs. Georgia, Les Miles' team had an opportunity to kick a field goal which, if successful, would have increased their lead from 6 to 9 points, the crucial difference between being ahead by one or two scores. Miles, instead, opted for a far less strategically sensible attempt to convert a 4th and short. His team's failure to come through on the high-risk/low-reward gamble weighed greatly on the game in its later stages where the fates, once again, decided to spare Miles his long-due comeuppance for his staggering stupidity. Les Miles is a horrible but lucky football coach. The problem with that is each day his luck delays his firing is another day his horribleness continues to damage the LSU program.

  • This week's Dome complaints 1) This week, due to our country's continued descent into mass public paranoia over the mere mention of the nebulous term "terrorism", Saints fans were subjected to a supposedly more thorough security screening upon entering the Superdome. The reviews of the new security were mixed. Fear of a more thorough search deterred some of us from bringing our flask with us this week. And so the actual experience of walking through the checkpoint barely examined or even noticed left us frustrated and regretful of our decision. On the other hand, others of us reported more serious searches at other entry points where fans were witnessed being heavily patted down and asked to turn out their pockets. r observed that "heightened security" at the Superdome primarily appeared to mean, "more white people" performing the screenings than usual.

    2) Because we had no flask and were thusly obliged to purchase beer on site, we had occasion to observe that the television behind the concession stand in our section of the Terrace continues to be non-functional.

  • Both teams in this game seemed a little intimidated by one another. The Saints definitely and the Jets apparently employed a much more conservative offensive strategy than we've grown accustomed to seeing in pro football in recent years. Both defenses dominated. Both quarterbacks were confused and ineffective. The Saints won by virtue of the fact that they were able to run the ball a little and because the other team's quarterback sucked even worse than theirs did. More on the Jets' crappy QB in a minute. Drew Brees looked like crap on Sunday.

    Ordinarily calm and smooth in the pocket, Brees seemed more hesitant than usual. Frequently he would reset his feet or shuffle uncomfortably while appearing to struggle with his reads. I don't remember seeing him pump fake once during this game which is something he seems to do when he knows what he wants from a defense. On one play he rolled right and threw an out route that should have been intercepted and would have gone for a touchdown had the defender not dropped the ball. Overall it was the worst we've seen Brees play since the last time he faced a Rex Ryan defense in 2006. (BTW reading over that post, it looks like I gave Brees a pass in that game. Must have been faulty analysis) But this time the Saints won anyway. That could mean the Saints have a better team these days or it could mean that Mark Sanchez sucks.

    Jets vs. Saints
    Even Poochie doesn't seem very impressed with Brees this week. Maybe it's the pink cleats.

  • Mark Sanchez sucks Who could have possibly guessed that a loudly hyped, undersized, underwear model from USC would turn out to be less of a football player than originally advertised? Okay, other than the Saints fans who have been watching Reggie Bush play for three years now, who would have guessed such a thing? Of course, one would expect those same Saints fans to have enough of a handle on what's going on here to not hold up the sucky performance of an overrated quarterback as evidence that they're watching the BEST DEFENSE OF ALL TIME, but one can't have everything.

    Here's a video of the Jets' sucky spoiled brat of a quarterback displaying his inability to cope with failure by taking it out on Jonathan Vilma's knees.

    Sanchez was fined. Vilma was okay. Don't expect it to affect Sanchez's modeling fee, though.

  • Asshole play of the week Sanchez may seem like a lock for this honor but he was outdone by his fellow USC alum Reggie Bush who we called out last week for cutting a play back across the field and obligating Brees to serve as a lead blocker on the improvised play. Amazingly, Bush managed to pull the exact same stunt for a second week in a row. Really hard to top that.

    new orleans saints vs. new york jets
    Assholery 101 Part of the core curriculum at So. Cal

  • Plain old Reggie Bush is crappy play of the game With the Saints protecting a 17-3 third quarter lead, Reggie Bush fumbled the ball on his own 30. (Maybe it was the "hot sauce") The Jets scored 4 plays later to pull within a touchdown. This was Bush's third fumble in four games this year. After a lengthy examination of the various problems with Bush, GW concludes,
    But the main thing is that 12.5 touches from scrimmage per game is a career low. He’s becoming progressively less relevant on offense. And at the moment, he’s a bonafide liability on special teams. It could be reasonably argued based on production per touch that he’s a liability on offense.

    Because, ultimately, it is a zero-sum game. People like to claim that it’s not, but it is. You only run N offensive plays per game, whatever N happens to be on a given Sunday. Every touch one offensive player gets is a touch some other offensive player doesn’t get. And every touch that a less-productive player gets is lost yards.

    Evidently, Sean Payton is slowly but surely coming around to this point of view. And that’s the silver lining here.
    On a team that relied more heavily on his services, Reggie Bush would be a classic example of the "just-good-enough-to-get-you-beat" guy. Luckily they appear to be moving rapidly away from heavy reliance on him.

  • This week's media complaint The Monday T-P "Viewpoint" edition ran its Saints statistics cartoon again. It featured, Colston (2 receptions 33 yards) Devery (3 receptions 21 yards) Frenchy (4 reception 46 yards; 86 yards rushing) Bush (3 receptions 7 yards; 37 yards rushing) and for the second week in a row, to our continuing mystification, Mike Bell who did not participate.


    I know this seems like a small thing but why does this keep happening? Poochie had 4 catches for 34 yards. Robert Meachem had one very important reception for 19 yards late in the game. We know the T-P has each of those cartoon images available in its clip-art file. Why do they keep giving us a pointless picture of Bell? Are they afraid we're going to forget what he (sort-of) looks like?

  • Unusual numbers Through four games:

    Devery Henderson has 235 yards on 14 receptions

    Marques Colston has 228 yards on 17 receptions

    Bush has 269 yards rushing and recieving

    Pierre Thomas has 254 combined yards

    Darren Sharper has 275 yards returning 5 interceptions which leads the Saints in yards from scrimmage.

  • What would Les do? At two crucial turning points in this game, Coach Soupy made questionable decisions which should have blown the game for the Saints but did not due to Milesesque luck.

    During the second quarter, in a game where it was quickly becoming evident that points would be difficult to come by, the Saints had an opportunity to add three to their ten point lead. Instead, Coach Soupy decided to Les up on us. He elected to send his offense back onto the field and run an unusual and difficult-to-execute tackle-eligible pass play. The gimmick play failed and the Jets took over on downs. Luckily for Soupy, Will Smith was able to chase down and strip the ball from the Jets' sucky and bewildered quarterback two plays later. The Saints fell on the ball in the endzone. Soupy got away with being a tool.

    Late in the game, with his team protecting a 7 point lead, the Saints could have trotted out their MVP of the season-to-date (punter Thomas Morstead) and pinned the Jets deep in their own territory. Instead, Coach Soupy decided to Les up on us. He elected to send his offense back onto the field in a mincing, cowardly attempt to draw the Jets offsides. Luckily for Soupy, the gimmick move actually worked when Jets DT tackle Kris Jenkins fell for the lamest trick in the book and jumped the snap on 4th and 1. Jenkins should have been cut immediately for being such a tool. He won't be. Soupy should have had to answer for his decision to employ this cowardly and unsportsmanlike strategy. But, because he was lucky, he won't. One problem with this football season so far is the staggering lack of cosmic justice being dispensed.

  • Troubling thought Am I the only person who sees this game becoming a popular film to study for opposing coaches who want to learn how to stop the Saints offense? It could make the rest of the season a bit more difficult.

Just before this game, Chris Rose's column, of all possible unlikely places, reminded us of the following fact.
The Jets and the Giants' fan bases are so desperate to cling to some dregs of their former identities as working-class teams and lunch-bucket Joes, slogging through the muddy gridiron of America's greatest city. But, in fact, here's the saddest thing you've ever heard: New York City actually has no NFL football teams.

Zero, zilch, zed, nada, rien, big fat goose egg.


The Giants and the Jets both relocated to New Jersey back when the wishbone offense was still held in high regard, but they both kept their New York City labels as some grasping and desperate means to keep from acknowledging that, in fact, they play in the . . . suburbs.

God, how painful it must be to see these words in print if you're a Jet or Giants fan. I mean: Who's going to wet themselves when the schedule says that the East Rutherford Jets are coming to town?

Then, two weeks later, the Giants come to town. The Big, Bad New Jersey Giants.

All this "New Jersey" talk kind of got us thinking. Now that we're four years into the Sean Payton regime, it might be about time for us to purchase a new jersey featuring a more current player number than our accustomed Sammy Knight 29. Not that we're looking to give that up any time soon. We get more comments on our Sammy jersey on any given day at the Dome than Sammy had interceptions in his career (a lot) But this group has been fun to watch and we figure we should preserve a memento of this period in history for ourselves.

But the candidates from the among the current roster of Saints present surprisingly few decent options for purchase. We first floated this idea last week in a First-Draft comment thread and, since then, have narrowed our choices to these.

1) Devery Henderson: This former Tiger has taken his share of criticism over the years and this entire time we've been standing up for him. Now that he appears to be finally getting his due, we might like to share in a bit of that glory. The one caveat here is that receivers are always so expendable that we're expecting any season with the Saints could be Devery's last. If we buy his jersey it's likely to be the kiss of death in that regard.

2) Scott Fujita: As we mentioned above, Fujita is a bright, outspoken guy who seems to be on the right side of a lot of stuff. On the other hand, he's a mediocre player on a mediocre defense.

3) Pierre Thomas: We like Frenchy for two reasons. First, he is not Reggie Bush. Second his shifty, low center of gravity running style reminds us of former Saint and Tiger Dalton Hilliard who we grew up idolizing. But for some reason, we don't quite think the Frenchy era of Saints football has arrived yet. Maybe by the end of the season this will be different.

4) Thomas Morstead: We wrote about this last week. The dude is the most valuable player on the roster so far this season. Just look at the effusive praise he has garnered from coaches and teammates. 13 year vet Darren Sharper is quoted in that article as saying Morstead is the best he's ever seen.

Morstead is the clear front runner in the new jersey sweepstakes but we'll leave the following poll up for a few weeks and revisit the issue then.

Poll closes Oct 19. Enjoy the bye week.

Just so you know

Yes, there is a Saints post this week. Yes, it will be the longest Saints post ever.

I tried to get Oprah an Olympics and all they gave me was this lously meaningless medal

Warmongering, pro-torture, U.S. President inexplicably awarded a prize for "Peace"

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Circling the drain

Featured stories on NOLA.com today

Big dog


Neither of these competitive agriculture stories has anything to do with New Orleans. I have no idea what this website is for anymore.

More Bourbon Street

I think this perfectly underscores my last point yesterday.

A Bourbon Street bar repeatedly reprimanded by the Vieux Carre Commission for improperly undertaking construction projects in the historic district received permission from an Orleans Parish judge last week to reopen its doors to customers.

A temporary restraining order was awarded Friday to 711 Entertainment LLC, which operates Bourbon Lights at 711 Bourbon St., by Civil District Court Judge Robin Giarrusso allowing it to serve customers. The move has sparked outrage among members of French Quarter neighborhood groups and the Vieux Carre Commission, who argue that the bar should not be allowed to operate when the owner has been in violation of repeated stop-work orders from the city

I'm less interested in the specifics of this case than I am in the fact that the VC Commission seems so utterly helpless to enforce even the most minor of its regulations against a commercial tourism interest.

Many of us suspect that "historic preservation" districts exist only to give panels of politically connected socialites a quasi-legal means of issuing bullying critiques of the unfashionable roof-tiles chosen by individual homeowners. When we read stories like this we find that suspicion reinforced significantly.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Save your knock-out punches for the freaks

One of Varg's liens is this AP story on the intensifying assholery of street barkers in front of French Quarter businesses.

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans' most famous street is a nightly swirl of neon and happy tourists strolling with a beverage in hand.

A blend of jazz joints, strip clubs, bars and restaurants, visitors can find everything from live sex to four-star dining on Bourbon Street. They also can count on being snared by barkers determined to lure them into one place or another, or another or another.

"It's cheesy and in the last few years it's gotten way out of hand," said Louis Sahuc, a photographer who has a studio and home in the French Quarter. "Getting past them is like running a gauntlet."

An ordinance passed 25 years ago was designed to outlaw barkers, but until recently it's been thinly enforced.

Now, businesses and residents say the barkers are straying from the informally tolerated confines of Bourbon Street to other parts of the Quarter and they want it stopped.

The barkers really are becoming more obnoxious. And they inhabit a wider range than they used to. Just a few weeks ago, one of them grabbed me in the middle of the street.

"Dude, did you just put your fuckin' hands on me?"

The guy kind of bows up and gets in my face.

"I'm doin' my job here, brah!"

Now I had been following this controversy in City Business for a while and so felt informed enough to tell the guy that his job (especially the aggressive manner in which he was executing it) was a legally dubious encroachment on the public contentedness. This only encouraged him.

"I don't come disrespect you on your job, brah!"

I hate it when people use "disrespect" as a verb. I would have decked him but I was on Bourbon Street where the bouncers and police are known to literally beat people to death for less than that so I just let it go.

Besides it's a losing battle. In the long run the city will end up siding with the strip club and restaurant owners instead of what's left of the neighborhood there. I mean, if the city has so little pride in itself as to allow this whorish buffoonery to besmirch the streets in the name of promoting the tourist business, then why should they care about street barkers?