Saturday, December 04, 2004

Dozens of New Orleanians go to polls 

Believe it or not, New Orleans held another election today-- for juvenile court judge.

No lines or broken machines this time. However, there were some odd inconveniences even at the school which serves as my polling location. Strangely, the main school doors to the voting area were closed and locked, so I had to use a side entrance, go through the unlit auditorium, weave around maintenance guys sanding walls backstage, before walking in on the (genuinely surprised) pollworkers from the side door. They were kibitzing with each other. Only one voter besides myself was there. Asked why the front doors were closed and locked, the administrators explained that the heat escapes when the doors are ajar.

Oh. I'm sorry.

Well, I asked, what about opening them just a crack so people can get in and don't have to search for the remote auditorium entrance? They again explained that the cold would still come in when voters open the doors, and that the doors might not get completely closed as people exit.

Oh. Yes. Indubitably.

I realize that 6am-8pm is a long shift for $100/day polljockeys, but it was 61 degrees outside at the time, and I have no idea how a newbie voter would've managed to find their hermetic shindig without becoming totally frustrated. Wear your warm jacket, poll-people! Slyly fill up the Circle K 64oz Thirstbuster Mega-Mug with hot cocoa if you have to-- do whatever it takes!-- But please, at least crack one door. One door is all I ask! I beseech you Noble polar bears, because, as you must know, freedom isn't free, and a bit of personal comfort might need be sacrificed so our democracy can function.

Or not. When I arrived five hours after polls had opened they said I was only the second person to vote from my Uptown precinct. Sure, the 3rd and 7th congressional races will have all the state headlines tomorrow, but I feel an almost intimate connection now to candidate Yolanda King, especially since so few New Orleanians went out of their way to vote for her. I don't know much about Ms. Yolanda, but she does have that honorable talent for not being accused of rape or caught in stolen cars-- unlike her opponent.

[I exited via the front main doors and left one slightly ajar. See, fearless resistance to oppressive barriers is all in a day's work for the mighty oyster. Bull Connor would've been no match.]
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Friday, December 03, 2004

Beware Paleface they call "Bug Man" 

The Bull Moose refers to a scintillating Texas Observer piece about Louisiana's Coushatta tribe contributing millions to Tom Delay and friends via front organizations. And what did they get for their contributions? Smiling promises of access to the Hammer, some legislative sympathy, and an array of behind-the-back slurs and mockery that Coushatta leaders weren't supposed to find out about. Now that embarrassing emails have been uncovered, we find top K street Republicans referring to their Native American clients as "troglodytes," "monkeys," and "stupid mofos". Nice.

As the Moose summarizes (my emph):
[The gambling scandal] is a complex, Byzantine and sordid tale of Tom Delay cronies Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed, the White House and upwards to $70 million. It is stuff of fiction and involves a cast of characters who progressives love to loathe. It is possibly of the magnitude of a modern Teapot Dome Scandal.
John McCain and the Senate Indian Affairs committee are on the case. I'll be monitoring this one closely. With seasoned popcorn (maize), when feasible.
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No privacy curtains here 

In New Orleans we like art, and are unashamed of the human form. We enjoy food and will soon celebrate Carnivale ("farewell to meat") which culminates in the Fattest of North American Tuesdays. While others have a different view about what constitutes a suitable artful image, I'm proud to live in a city that isn't fearful of breasts, same-sex kissing or double entendre.

I was pleased to hear that last night the stars of "All the King's Men" went down to One Eyed Jack's (formerly the Shim Sham) to see a most entertaining burlesque show in the French Quarter. Lovely took me there for my birthday to see the Southern Jezebelles' sassy performance- we had a great time, and I heartily recommend. No movie stars were with us in the VIP balcony then, but perhaps some locals (or tourists) got a thrill last night when Sean Penn or Jude Law or Kate Winslet sat down at a nearby table.

At least some parts of the country aren't run by uptight, undersexed, hypocritical philistines.

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Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Kingfishy tale told by pretty Brits 

Where did I office this morning? At the coffeeshops on Oak street, naturally, since that's where "All the King's Men" is being filmed. There were costumed extras and technicians and tons of wires all over the street, but locals and merchants kept going about their business in an unimpressed manner. The storefronts needed only minor modifications in order to appear authentically Depression-era. I'm neither totally happy or sad about that fact.

Anyway, I was rather hoping to (literally) bump into Kate Winslet and (verbally) gush over her abundance of... talent, but no fortuitous collisions were to be had. She is an ultra-luscious movie star, in case you didn't know.

Has Game.

I'd be less tongue-tied around Jude Law, I think, though it would be imperative to beg him to write a personal note for Lovely since he's high on her list and would be forever thankful.

Filming on Oak street in the Carrollton section of town will continue through Saturday, in case you wish to go walk and gawk. Sean Penn plays the lead and James Carville is one of the executive producers. Hopefully, this will prove more successful than the "Ragin Cajun's" most recent political endeavour.
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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Slow down there, Turbo. You're working with an unproven theory; like gravity. 

Creationists, literalists and other twice-born participants in the Creator's grand "intelligent design" should protest the tax dollars which fund the Pentagon's new anti-terrorist computer program, whose reasoning is based on evolutionary science. A Royal Society research fellow from (that devil's workshop known as) Oxford University explains:

It all started last year when the US assistant secretary for defence and other senior officials within the Pentagon read In the Blink of an Eye, a book I wrote on the Cambrian explosion. It triggered a series of meetings in Washington and Britain, involving all manner of political and military figureheads, as well as defence analysts, computer programmers, tacticians and statisticians. Their hope was to see what a knowledge of evolution could do for national security.
To understand the thinking behind the idea, picture the Cambrian explosion as an arms race. An eye evolved in one animal, representing a revolutionary new weapon - perhaps the greatest ever. Other life then reacted to deal with the weapon. What followed was a cycle of evolutionary one-upmanship - predators evolved to outwit prey, and prey in turn bolstered their defences. What use is any of this to the defence community? In short, knowledge of the way creatures evolved to counter emerging threats may give defence officials tips on how to deal with new threats to themselves.

Clearly this Oxford bloke hasn't received adequate instruction in "the controversy" surrounding the tenuous theory of macro-evolution. Otherwise he'd be militating for, at the very least, the parallel development of a biblically-based computer program for the Pentagon. One that incorporates the timeless wisdom of Leviticus, perhaps. See, when it comes to saving lives and blunting terrorism, we urge going slowly, being objective, and considering all viewpoints. (However, when drugs, gay lifestyles, or sex are at issue, we believe a blanket "just say no" policy is more than sufficient education.) In short, the government's uncritical acceptance of evolutionary assumptions sends the wrong message to our precious children, even if they should later perish in a preventable terrorist attack.

God bless all of America's saved souls.
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Season's Greetings! 

"Here's how I reach out to all the lefty turdblossoms who don't share my goals."

(via Chepooka from Break for News)
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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Give the gift of New Orleans 

Chuck Taggart's beautiful boxed set "Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens: The Big Ol' Box of New Orleans" is now available. It would make a great gift this season, delighting anyone who enjoys the wide range of New Orleans music, and likes to have fun and shake their derriere.

After you order, Amazon has a ton of samples to get you in the mood for a party.
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Nutria political alert! 

Hot off the Times-Picayune:

Three months before he announced he was running for Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District seat, Tauzin and a friend were cited by state wildlife agents in Terrebonne Parish for trapping 46 nutria without a permit while trespassing on private property, according to state records.

Tauzin dismissed the Feb. 29 incident as "a simple mistake," and his campaign said it resulted in only "a small fine."

But the campaign of Democratic rival Charlie Melancon of Napoleonville said the violations -- coupled with Tauzin's 2002 guilty plea to drunken driving in St. Tammany Parish -- show a "pattern of immaturity and lawlessness."

"Little Billy wasn't being honest when he said he cleaned up his act," said Melancon campaign manager Casey O'Shea. "How can the people of Louisiana trust Billy Tauzin?"

Boy, they're pressing this "little Billy" theme for all it's worth. Must be working. But Da Paper notes that this story could cut both ways:

Given the havoc that nutria cause on Louisiana's shrinking wetlands, it's debatable whether the case will hurt or help Tauzin's campaign in the final days before Saturday's runoff election. State officials are so concerned about the marsh destruction that they pay a $4-per-pelt bounty on the marsh-eating rodents, but one must have an official permit.

Crossing property lines to trap orange-toothed swamp critters... perhaps a potential asset in a Congressional race?

Only in Louisiana.
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Monday, November 29, 2004

"If it weren't for my horse..." 

Last week President Bush and adviser Karl Rove took a private tour of Bill Clinton's new library in Little Rock. Sydney Blumenthal recounts the following exchange, which I find totally inscrutable and bizarre:

On his tour Bush appeared distracted and glanced repeatedly at his watch. When he stopped to gaze at the river, where Secret Service agents were stationed in boats, the guide said, "Usually, you might see some bass fishermen out there." Bush replied: "A submarine could take this place out."

Excuse me? Did the newly re-elected President-- leader of the free world-- just submit, out of the blue, in central freakin Arkansas, that a Presidential library is vulnerable to submarine attack?!? I realize the man isn't in his element around a lot of books, but still, I can't make heads or tails of what he said. Like comedian Lewis Black's bit about how aneurysms occur (you overhear something stupid that sticks in your brain and becomes sort of an earwhig), this is my "if it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college" moment.

Blumenthal offers two realistic possibilities about the statement: "was this a wishful, paranoid fantasy of ubiquitous terrorism destroying Clinton's legacy with one blow? ...Or was this simply his way of saying he wouldn't build his library near water?" Yet neither of these satisfy me. Whose sub? How did it get to Little Rock? Who's driving? Why is the target a library? Or if Bush is indeed saying he'd rather not build his own library near water, why would a landlocked building not be vulnerable to, say, air-attack? But, I guess what I most want to know is, who stares at a river in Arkansas and flatly states that a submarine could destroy the new library one is touring? It boggles me. Uber-poodle Tony Blair actually sniped recently that Bush has a "wonderfully uncluttered mind". But that would mean wierd stuff like this sub comment is prominently swirling in the President's consciousness. It's front and center-- and that is just too scary for me to contemplate. If you can shed any light on the statement or Bush's mind, then please do.

So, given George's smarts, and Karl Rove's looks, I'm glad officials are saying that these wonder boys "are determined to 'implant their DNA throughout the government.'"... *shudder*

At least next time you tour D.C., you'll be better able to identify any strange, seemingly-out-of-place liquids you might encounter.
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Sunday, November 28, 2004


I made some long overdue updates to the blogroll. I've added a new category called "daily pearls", which is really only a convenience to me, as these are blogs that I try to visit on a daily basis. Overall, I think there's a nice variety-- assuming you have a passing interest in (mostly leftist) politics.

To avoid an excessively large list, I refuse to link to a few blogs, even though they link to me. Often they are so lame or lacking in fresh content, that I simply have to draw the line. Here's one example of what I'm talking about. Quite the Suck, huh?

Thanks to all the friends and honored guests who have frequented this site!
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