Saturday, December 15, 2007

Muniz: chronic douchemook 

The slogan of Kenner used to be "Kenner: America's City!". In the 90's, when I lived there, I always got a chuckle from that. The mayor of Kenner, Ed Muniz, recently made a "joke" involving nooses that didn't go over well.

I know, what a shocker.

Muniz apologized, but, as Adrastos notes, the apology "morphed into an attack on [Muniz's] political foes". Then Muniz went on to say that he looked "forward to working with the NAACP and other interested organizations to bring about better racial understanding in our city".

Here's a wild suggestion for Mayor Muniz that might foster race relations in "America's City": stop nominating David Duke cronies to the governing arm of the State Republican party.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Tagged 

Cait tagged me with instructions to share "7 random or weird facts" about myself. I'll recycle the first five from this post, and add the last two here:

6. I invented the catch phrase "Piece it". You can use it instead of saying "shut up" or "stop" or "quiet". It should be accompanied with a crooked finger gesture. Many assume that I'm saying "peace it", which is fine, and and has the same meaning, but in truth it's really spelled "piece it", which hints at a vulgar subtext. I haven't used this catch phrase in about five years, but I'm thinking about putting it back in the rotation.

7. In high school, by myself, I performed and recorded a couple of original rap songs on cassette tape. Unbeknownst to me, one of my friends preserved a copy of my "Chili Fresh" single. Later, during the 1990's, he became a dj at the college radio station at Amherst University, and played "Chili Fresh" on air. According to my friend the response from the listening audience was ...bewilderment.

My rap name, and the title of the B-side to "Chili Fresh" will not be revealed at this time.

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If seven various readers want to "self-tag" themselves with this assignment, feel free.

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On the march 

So glad we have Kremlinologist Condi Rice working to advance the American values of freedom and democracy abroad. After all, her efforts as Secretary of State are aligned towards President Bush's stated commitment: to end world tyranny.

But, you know, Category 5 flood protection for S. Louisiana is too goshdarn ambitious.

From today's Wapo op-ed by a former adviser to Vlad Putin:

...Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice openly endorsed President Vladimir Putin's anointed successor, Dmitry Medvedev, and effectively undercut her past statements urging Russia to adopt a more democratic course and to hold truly competitive elections.

Rice commended Medvedev, Russia's first deputy prime minister, as a "very intelligent person" and a politician "of another generation." For Putin and the Russian siloviki (secret police operatives) who have consolidated power and are maneuvering to ensure that the regime retains control via an undemocratic succession, Rice's remarks could not have been better timed. Medvedev has not begun campaigning. In fact, Medvedev is not even an official candidate in the March presidential election...

Adrastos has more.
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Update: Scout informs us that freedom is on the march in Somalia, too.
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(H/T Flaming Liberal on Crouere's Ringside Politics radio show on 990am.)

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Where credit is due 

Yesterday's T-P article

Delivering the fiscal jolt that local leaders say will help them shift rebuilding programs into high gear, the Louisiana Recovery Authority on Tuesday voted to redirect $500 million in federal grants to hurricane-ravaged parishes for infrastructure improvements.
...
The new influx of cash comes from a pool of $750 million that was freed up when Congress and the White House agreed to waive the requirement that local governments pay 10 percent of the cost of all reconstruction projects.

Recovery authority members had long said they would shift the bulk of money to the parishes if it were released, but they opted in August to hold on to it as they figured out how to plug a multibillion-dollar gap in the Road Home homeowner grant program.

Here are some reactions to this news:

"This is the critical decision that provides an allocation of funds that the city can use to create healthy neighborhoods,"-- Ezra Rapport, top aide to city Recovery Director Ed Blakely, said after the meeting.

"I'm just happy that the $500 million is being released. This is an incredible, incredible win for the people of this region." --Craig Taffaro, St Bernard Parish president-elect.

"We believe 2008 is a tipping-point year for this community. I think it is the most important year in the history of New Orleans. It is the year that people will make the decision to either reinvest in our community or to make the decision not to do so." --N.O. Councilmember Arnie Fielkow

We’re at a tipping point. I think these funds are definitely going to help us to move forward and to accelerate our recovery so at some point in time in the future when we sit down and talk to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren we can say that we did a great thing in bringing back a wonderful city in a great state.” -- N.O. Mayor Ray Nagin.


So, how did this "incredible win" during this important "tipping point" in New Orleans history occur? It seems clear enough to me that Senator Mary Landrieu and Rep. Charlie Melancon pretty much saved the day here. Landrieu negotiated a $3 billion bailout for Blanco's Road Home program that was brilliantly shoe-horned into "must pass" legislation, and Melancon pressured Democratic leaders to force Bush to finally waive the 10% Federal match requirement. That's the reason that these LRA funds are now available.

Am I missing something here about who should be getting the credit for the $500 million in infrastructure monies? Why was everyone thanking the LRA for approving money that wouldn't've been there had Landrieu and Melancon not come through in the clutch?

Would, say, a newbie Senator in the minority party have been able to secure such an important windfall?

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Quotes of the weak 

"And the other guy, you know, Obama, he's so fresh-faced, so brand-new, almost Third World in his sort of presentation. He doesn't click as a usual politician."

-- MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Recall that Matthews, when reaching for words to describe Gov-elect Jindal, ejaculated: "pioneer of greatness"! Conversely, for Obama, who might be the next president, Matthews blurts out: "he's... almost Third World in his sort of presentation".


"I was panicked a bit because I really don't know about... the Cuban Missile Crisis. It had to do with Cuba and missiles, I'm pretty sure."

-- White House press secretary Dana Perino, describing her reaction when a reporter referred to the "1962 crisis". (H/T Mark LaFlaur of Levees Not War and Michael at 2 Millionth Weblog.)

Go see BayouStJohnDavid for a few more.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Shaken but not defeated, YRHT declares victory in Holiday video war 

So Scout responds with Wham!, which is not entirely fair, because this might enter Lovely's consciousness, and she'll be singing it all week. Then Scout responds with... teh kittenz doomsday machine.

Spawn of John, a self-described "pussy", directed us to this punishment-- which is like getting waterboarded with cajun eggnog. Nice Rope-a-dope, spawn.

Celcus enters the fray by mocking one of my favorite bands. Blasphemer!

Leigh C. reminds us that David Lee Roth lights the menorah, among other things. (A guest and I will enjoy Diamond Dave "lighting things up" in N.O., the Friday after Mardis Gras.)

That's just too dang brutal. I hope the Cupckicks fill all your stockings with yule logs this year.

So, it's time to get aggressive. This is my final answer:




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Didja make it through? If so, here's a punk rawk palate-cleanser by the Vandals.
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Update: Greg is unimpressed.
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Update #2: Greg's second blitzkrieg is inhuman.
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Update #3: The legendary Ricky P. and newcomer Spawn of John both have links in the comments that involve Dallas and Christmas. Ricky's is pleasurable to watch, SoJ's is... not.

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Glassman again 

Oh goody.

President Bush intends to name a well-known conservative commentator and journalist to lead the State Department's struggling efforts to improve the U.S.'s image abroad, replacing long-time confidante Karen Hughes...

Bush plans to tap James K. Glassman, now chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the Voice of America, to be the new undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, administration officials said.

I'm sure Glassman is just the sort of diplomat we need to improve on the remarkable failure of Karen Hughes, and I'm sure he'll effectively use the $900 milllion budget (which was doubled during her reign) to improve the view of America in the Middle East. It just goes to show you how seriously the Bush Administration treats diplomatic efforts to "catapult [over] the propaganda". Or something.

The illustrious James K. Glassman replaced Kenneth Tomlinson at the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He really knows how to come into a position when expectations are low. (You may recall that Tomlinson was investigated and found to have misused his position as BBG chairman to direct BBG resources towards his personal horse-racing operation. He also put a friend on the payroll. And the State Dept's investigator of this racket, Howard Krongard, allegedly interfered in the inquiry. Krongard resigned the other day, btw. Same old story: Bush/Rove cronies protecting other appointed Bush/Rove cronies....)

But what about Glassman? Well, at the end of one of my better YRHT posts, titled "Up by your soggy bootstraps, welftard!", I assembled a quick bio of Glassman since he published the (pro-Nagin and pro-Couhig) article on New Orleans that I critiqued. Here's a reprint of that bio sketch:

James K. Glassman is the editor of The American. Glassman lived in New Orleans during the 70's and started the alt-weekly newspaper Figaro. He wrote for a ton of well-known publications in the 80's before turning conservative in the 90's. He predicted stocks would fall if Clinton were re-elected in 1996. Then, he founded Tech Central Station and wrote a book in 1999 called Dow 36,000. Talking about the book, Glassman said the following in October 1999:

What is dangerous is for Americans not to be in the market. We're going to reach a point where stocks are correctly priced, and we think that's 36,000 ... It's not a bubble. Far from it. The stock market is undervalued.

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Well if you say so... 

In today's T-P James Gill writes about, erm, colorful Uptown lawyer Ashton O'Dwyer. James Gill says that "it is time we started listening to him again". (The entire piece is worth a read.)

I agree. We should definitely start listening to O'Dwyer again about what his red eyes have seen over the years. Perhaps an in-depth interview is called for. I bet he could help confirm all sorts of reported occurrences both pre and post Federal Flood.
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It didn't have to come to this. 

Scout Prime thinks she can win the war of X-mas videos by employing some insufficient Rumsfeldian tactics.

YRHT doesn't play that shit-- the stakes are too high: Powell Doctrine, bitches!



It took me a long time to forgive Martha Quinn for participating in this holiday abortion. Nice f*cking polka dot sweater, Billy. And thanks for the shout out to "Harlem", too. I'm sure this song has always lifted the spirits of that community.

If you can stick around to see the VJ with the puppet, you're made of hardier stock than I.

Lovely actually likes this song. It took me a long time to forgive that, as well.
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Update: Huck Upchuck is not "shocked and awed" by my deployment, and joins the reindeer games here.

This is not over.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Have a holly jolly Christmas, it's the best time of the year" 

Two weeks, if you can make it.




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Update: Vote for the Christmas, it's important.
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*

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We get emails 

[Note: Please see the update at the end.]

WST had a recent post on State Sen. Robert Adley, who switched to the GOP because he liked the philosophy of Gov.- elect Bobby "war on corruption" Jindal.

A trusted source for YRHT apparently did a little Lexis research, and sent me a snippet from a Texas Court of Appeals document from 2000. My source says this reveals how Adley "got his gas contract in the first place". Perhaps you legal eagles will be able to interpret this more quickly than I did.

[*7] With respect to the second element, Union contends that the tortious interference with its contracts occurred in Texas because: (1) the Enron employee allegedly most responsible for interfering with the contracts, Jim Ducote, was located in Enron's Houston headquarters; (2) every gas-supply proposal Enron provided to Pelican Gas Management, Inc. ("Pelican") 6 before the termination of the Union/Authority contract was prepared by Ducote in Houston and mailed or made during a telephone conversation from Houston; (3) Ducote allegedly disclosed the confidential price term of the Union/LGM contract to Adley 7 in a telephone call Ducote initiated from Houston; (4) the November 30, 1993, meeting, at which Ducote allegedly misrepresented to the Mayor of Alexandria (the "Mayor") the quantity and the quality of Union's gas supply, occurred in Houston; and (5) Enron Click for Enhanced Coverage Linking Searches 's December 6, 1993, gas supply proposal to Pelican, on which the Authority's decision to terminate Union's contract was allegedly based, was prepared by Ducote in Houston.

FOOTNOTES

6 Pelican was the gas purchasing agent hired by the Authority in 1993. Because Pelican was compensated based on the gas purchases it negotiated, Union alleges that Pelican participated with Enron Click for Enhanced Coverage Linking Searches in seeking termination of the Union/Authority contract so that a Pelican negotiated contract could replace it. [*8]

7 Robert Adley was President and owner of Pelican.

However, other significant events occurred in Louisiana: (1) Johnson 8 met with the Mayor to determine if the city would deal with Enron directly; (2) Adley met with the Mayor to secure his support for terminating the Union/Authority contract, after which the Mayor consulted with the Authority's legal advisor about doing so; (3) after a meeting with Union, in which he learned that Enron (LGM) was Union's gas supplier, Adley contacted Enron directly; (4) Adley asked Johnson for a gas supply proposal for the city, and Johnson, in turn, asked Ducote to draft a proposal to the Authority; (5) Adley asked Ducote to reveal the confidential price that Union was paying LGM; (6) Adley told Enron the price the Authority was paying Union for the gas and provided Enron with details of Union's "upgrade" proposal; 9 and (7) prior to the Authority's executive committee meeting on December 8, 1993, Adley asked Ducote to send a proposal for a term gas supply for the city. Because conduct causing the injury thus occurred in both Louisiana and Texas, the second [*9] element does not clearly favor either state.

My source also says: "[Adley's] contract is up this April and there's talk of the LMGA rolling it over for another 5 years without any bidding. Same guy who stripped the local elected disclosure provision out of the ethics bill. And now he wants to be a reformer. What a joke."

I presume my source is referring to this LMGA.

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Source:

UNION NATURAL GAS COMPANY, Appellant v. ENRON GAS MARKETING, INC., ENRON GAS SERVICES CORP., ENRON CAPITAL TRADE AND RESOURCES CORP., LOUISIANA GAS MARKETING COMPANY, and LOUISIANA RESOURCES COMPANY, Appellees

NO. 14-98-00183-CV

COURT OF APPEALS OF TEXAS, FOURTEENTH DISTRICT, HOUSTON

2000 Tex. App. LEXIS 2241
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Update:

YRHT thanks Owen Courreges, who helpfully adds the following summation in the comments:

There's no need to parse it. Your source really should have included this excerpt:

"In response to the liability questions in this case, the jury ... found that Robert Adley/Pelican intentionally interfered with, i.e., wrongfully induced a breach of, the Union/Authority contract."

In short, the jury made a specific finding Adley obtained the contract through unethical means.

The Fourteenth Circuit (which, incidentally, is where I interned after the storm) affirmed the jury's verdict, which still stands.

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Issue avoidance 

Via Got Law? we found this tasteless but humorous take on the infamous "condo" poster you can view here (I agree with Jeffrey that some "hipster goofball" type is behind the original) :



I have roughly the same mixed feelings that Adrastos has over the current public housing issue in New Orleans. That's one reason why I'm reluctant to come down hard on one side or the other. I don't feel properly informed to be a strong advocate. For example, one important reported claim that I would like verified is this one:

HANO said Monday that 300 apartments at B.W. Cooper, Guste, Fischer, Iberville and River Garden are in move-in condition but remain unoccupied.

Is this true or false? And if this is true, WHY is it true? If there are thousands of people waiting to return to the projects and there are hundreds of available units, wouldn't it be politically savvy for protesters to force HANO to fill these dwellings ASAP? And if HANO didn't move lightning quick to do so, wouldn't this be an effective and media-friendly angle to press in the public housing debate?

Also, as a provider of extremely affordable housing in New Orleans (who hasn't raised rents despite massive increases in utilities, insurance and other costs), I'll echo Laureen Lentz who say that the local rental market has loosened noticeably over the past few months. (In fact, I have two available units as we speak).

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Snitch. 

Local blogger Ethan Brown has a new book out titled "Snitch: Informants, Cooperators and the Corruption of Justice".

Looks pretty interesting. Is "Snitchin' Bitchin", or should "Snitches get Stitches"? Or can some necessary reforms lead us to a more productive and desirable middle ground?

The TPM Cafe gets the discussion rolling. TPM Cafe contributor Mark Kleiman agrees with many of Ethan Brown's main points, but says he carries them way too far:

[Brown] thinks there's something intrinsically wrong with testifying against co-conspirators, and thinks that a return to an imagined earlier period where there was honor among hustlers and no one snitched would represent moral progress. And he's strongly sympathetic with the "Stop snitchin' " movement, which he sometimes identifies with the "stand-up guy" ideal and sometimes claims stands in opposition only to dishonest informant testimony.


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Four months ago, Kleiman reported that David Vitter had a lovechild with one of the prostitutes he frequented.

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Blessed are the Colt Peacemakers 

As we learned from the Virginia Tech massacre, politically correct campus gun bans allow psycho-killers to go on extended shooting rampages.

Today we learn that a gunman killed 4 worshippers at Ted Haggard's old megachurch in Colorado Springs. (A few months back, a similar shooting occurred in a church in Missouri.) Note that this recent killing DID NOT occur in the following place of worship in Colorado Springs.



That can't be a coincidence. The Harvest Church advertised their "gunsense", and psychos went to other venues to spread their mayhem. I bet you won't see any empty spots in their pews next Sunday.

So, shouldn't we apply the lessons we learned from Virginia Tech to churches, as well? For example, Mr. Dave Grossman understands the need for Christian soldiers to be armed at all times, even in church.

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Update: More info on the woman who stopped the shooter here.
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Update #2: Revolution 21 understands.

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Housing Projects are like corporate defense law firms 

...they seduce people into a "sedentary and high stress lifestyle."

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Update: Some might call for a "1 for 1 elimination" of these dangerous entities.
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Update #2: Mosquito Coast has much more.
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Update #3: We Could be Famous has a first-hand account and believes the infamous poster is a "dirty trick" (which seems to have worked, judging by the widespread media attention).

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned 

We saw that... jumps off the John Kennedy bandwagon after getting no prompt answers to some policy queries WST asked the campaign (which is monitoring WST's site).

This election cycle will be a lot of fun-- both nationally and in Louisiana. It will be interesting to see how Kennedy reacts when he gets pressed on divisive topics. I certainly hope the Landrieu campaign will "engage" early and often and not pretend to be some aloof incumbent that can safely ignore Kennedy until it's too late.

I hear that Walter Boasso's campaign manager, Jay Howser, will be heading up Mary's campaign. To be sure, the Boasso effort was massively uninspiring, but Jay's resume has some good things on it.

He was a research director for Paul Wellstone in 2002, and last year he managed Brad Ellsworth's (D-IN) landslide win over a homophobic Hoosier incumbent who voted against Katrina aid in Oct of 2005. Howser was also a researcher for Al Gore in 2000, and a research director for Bob Graham's (honorable) presidential effort in 2003.

Best of all, when Howser was a student at Auburn, he had a "makaka moment" while filming Alabama Gov. Fob James for a rival campaign. The Governor called Howser a "pimp".

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Uncoupling 

Reuters (Tehran):

Iran has completely stopped selling any of its oil for U.S. dollars, an Iranian news agency reported on Saturday, citing the oil minister of the world's fourth-largest crude producer... For nearly two years, OPEC's second biggest producer has been reducing its exposure to the dollar, saying the weak U.S. currency is eroding its purchasing power. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often rails against the West, has called the U.S. currency a "worthless piece of paper."


Ron Paul's speech about the "End of Dollar Hegemony" comes to mind, as does the importance of the latest NIE report.

Noladishu had several links at the end of this post from October 1 that are worth a review.
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(H/T The Flaming Liberal)

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