Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fourth YRHT Blogaversary 

My sincere appreciation goes out to all the fellow bloggers, commenters, tipsters, lurkers, and diaper fetish googlers who have helped make Your Right Hand Thief what it is today. While I'm not exactly sure what "it" is, I do thank y'all for continuing to indulge me and my ventilations.

2633 posts, going on 370k hits... that's a lot of local color, pop references and political snarkasm.

I can hold my head up high, though, because I never went for the cheap laugh.

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When did Mother's Day become Mother's Weekend? 

Did I miss the memo, or was this extension a "slow creep" sorta thing?

Don't get me wrong. Moms certainly deserve to be celebrated for a weekend (or more), but me and my friend Jonathan were wondering about the current evolution of the holiday.

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Update: Why do House Republicans hate Mother's Day?

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Friday, May 09, 2008

"Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is under..." 

During his appearance on the Tonight Show, Gov. Bobby Jindal recycled Billy Tauzin's quip that "Half of Louisiana is under water and the other half is under indictment". Jindal carried it off well, and the audience laughed and thought it was funny.

However, very few are aware that Jindal allegedly toyed with the idea of altering Billy Tauzin's joke, and customizing it a bit. While preparing for the show, Jindal conducted a brainstorming session with his top staff members about what he should say in front of Leno's national audience. YRHT obtained some of the notes taken at this meeting, including a list of numerous alternate versions of Tauzin's joke. Ultimately, none of these were used, but I thought I'd share the text anyway:
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Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is under my slender gubernatorial thumb.

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is underwhelmed by my office's lack of transparency.

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half underestimates my personal ambition.

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is still under my spell charms.

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is under Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell's "authoriteh strukture".

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half understands that my ethics reforms are toothless.

Half of Louisiana is under water and the other half is under fire.

Half of Louisiana is under water and the other half is under working girls in the French Quarter.

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is under the weather and needs a hospital built yesterday (rather than being studied and delayed for many moons).

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is under the government tit.

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is underperforming on tests, and the other half is underachieving too.

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is under traffic camera surveillance.

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half are underlings in a sham-economy with little potential for sustained gains in real living wages.

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half is under the impression that illegal immigration is the biggest problem facing our state.

Half of Louisiana is under water, and the other half says "Praise Jesus!"

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Additional contributions are welcome in the comments.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

McCain-endorser John Hagee elaborates on "the Katrina" 

Think Progress: has a summary of the latest Katrina comments from radical fundagelical pastor John Hagee:

Two weeks ago, controversial Pastor John Hagee reiterated his prior belief that Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans because it was “planning a sinful” “homosexual rally.” Asked about the comments, [John] McCain — who sought Hagee’s endorsement for more than a year — was forced to distance himself, calling them “nonsense” nine times.

But shortly after this became an embarrassment to McCain, Hagee seemingly retracted these comments, saying he couldn't "know the mind of God concerning Hurricane Katrina". And all was well and good, and the media could again lavish its undivided attention on Jeremiah Wright.

Until yesterday. A Dallas Morning News blog reports that:

When a woman on the [conference] call asked why [Hagee] seemed to have backed away from his Katrina comments in face of criticism, Hagee said he hadn't. As for the Katrina, he said, God controls hurricanes and "God always punishes unconfessed sin."

Then I guess sinful Mississippi coasties are to blame for "the Katrina" (with an assist to the satsuma farmers in Buras), since the disaster that befell "sinful" New Orleans was mostly an unnatural one. And the French Quarter, with a thriving gay population, went unflooded.

Is Hagee suggesting that the Lord has bad aim? That God pitches hurricanes worse than Obama bowls?

Perhaps Hagee should find a time to confess his chronic wackaloonery and hatred of New Orleans. That would be a start. To get a sense of what I'm talking about, take a minute to view Hagee's discussion of this "Anti-Christ system" diagram. Is this someone who an aspiring President should seek out for an endorsement?

Also: tell me if I'm wrong here, but does the face of the "Great Whore" on Hagee's endtimes pictorial sort of resemble Wendy Cortez?

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Quotes of the weak 

"Jim, we have a huge issue. You can't take any more assignments, you need to come in right away... You've been accused of wizardry."

-- Principal of Rushe Middle School in Land O'Lakes Florida, prior to firing Jim Piculas, a substitute teacher who had performed a magic trick involving a disappearing toothpick.


"[S]omebody I know has a theory about this. Remember back when [Bill] Clinton was president of the United States, people said that he's really Satan because he walks through life and people collapse around him and go to jail and die, and all this kind of stuff? Well, this person says Hillary's a vampire. She's sucking the blood out of Barack Obama."

-- Fox News political analyst Morton M. Kondracke, presenting his "theory" as to why Sen. Hillary Clinton may be having a "good time" on the campaign trail. (Anyone who has seen Barackula understands that Hillary is not the vampire in Obama's life.)


“Nudity or state of nudity means the showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, vulva, anus, anal cleft or cleavage with less than a fully opaque covering, or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple or areola.
...
“Sexual device means any three-dimensional object designed and marketed for stimulation of the male or female genitals, anus, female breast, or for sadomasochistic use or abuse of oneself or others and shall include devices such as dildos, vibrators, penis pumps, and physical representations of the human genital organs.”

-- Some of the many definitions in Democratic State Senator John R. Smith's bill that would "regulate" sexually-oriented businesses and outlaw lap dances. (Despite Smith's best efforts, Suspect Device already finds a loophole: "Human?")

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What can Big Brown do for you? 

Granted, my sister has forgotten more about horses and horse-racing than I'll ever know. She loves those big animals something fierce, and doesn't mind the smell of horse-poo in the morning.

I'm no expert, and I'm not pretending that this is an amazing prediction, but my handicapping spidey sense is tingling, and you can mark this down: Big Brown is going to win the Triple Crown.

Video of Big Brown's Kentucky Derby win here.

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Stonewalling 

Jeremy Alford's article on the Jindal administration is a must-read. Don't miss the "Jindal's Media Playbook" compilation at the end. Here are some choice nuggets:

The unmistakable irony of [Gov. Bobby] Jindal’s stances [on government transparency] is not lost on some of his stakeholders. It’s a bitter pill for them to swallow, as Jindal was the mastermind behind forcing lawmakers to disclose more of their income and the chief cheerleader for everything else ethics-related in Louisiana... Many legislators see a hypocrisy underscored by the Citizen Access Project at the University of Florida, which ranks Louisiana as dead last when it comes to access to the governor’s office.

“[Jindal's Press Secretary Melissa Sellers] telling us a lie isn’t right. I hope that never happens again.”
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Sellers has become Public Enemy No. 1 to many reporters at media outlets big and small... That comes as no surprise to Mark Ballard, Capitol bureau chief for The Advocate. “[Jindal] has surrounded himself with people who play hardball and can be punitive,” Ballard says. It’s created a good cop/bad cop situation that allows Jindal to essentially ignore the Louisiana press corps.

Lawmakers and reporters have also experienced difficult stints with Timmy Teepell, Jindal’s brain trust and chief of staff. During the February special session on ethics reform, Teepell was busted handing out free tickets to elected officials for a Hannah Montana concert. By ducking into doorways and avoiding phone calls, Teepell ignored media requests on why he gave out the freebees when the administration was simultaneously pushing a bill that would ban lawmakers from accepting such perks.
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For now, Jindal is enjoying his status as “America’s Ethics Governor,”... But back home, there are serious questions about how Jindal’s far-reaching ethics package can be enforced. In particular, The Advocate’s [Mark] Ballard broke a story on how the governor’s heightened standard for assessing violations could neuter any serious attempt at true ethics reform.
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Last year I tried to get an explanation from Rep. Jindal's office for the reasoning behind his vote on an Iraq resolution. I was told by a Jindal staffer that I'd get a letter addressing my question. It never arrived.

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h/t to forgotston

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Kudos to Lee Zurik 

Mosquito Coast appreciates WWL's Lee Zurik, and links to several of his recent investigative reports on floodwall joints filled with newspaper, the 311 phone scam, and Public Service Commish Jay Blossman (who is as dumb as an unbaked brick.)

Occasionally I see Lee at Mr Louis' barber shop (#4). Press on, sir!

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ineffective "crime camera program... cloaked in secrecy" 

After a spike in crime in 2003, Mayor Nagin promised that 1,000 "crime cameras" would be put up in the city. That didn't happen. After the historic crime march in January 2007, Nagin promised that 200 would be online by the end of the year. Today we learn even that didn't happen.

Since the announcement, much of the Nagin administration's crime camera program has been cloaked in secrecy. City Council members and citizens seeking basic information about the program, such as contracts, have been rebuffed.

As a City Council hearing about the matter began Tuesday morning, the city's technology officer, who is in charge of camera deployment, was nowhere to be found. A note sent to the head of the Public Works committee stated that Anthony Jones -- who had canceled several previously scheduled appearances -- was traveling.

That left two attendees, a police officer and an associate tasked with monitoring the program, to give council members the bad news: Right now, the city has "about 85 cameras that work most of the time."

The announcement incensed some council members.

"I have documented evidence that over 200 cameras would be installed," Councilwoman Stacy Head said. "The press releases are wearing me out. I want to know the truth."

More than 250 cameras have been installed, but only about 85 are operable. In fact, the number of crime cameras working in New Orleans today is about the same as it was pre-Katrina.

Spokespeople for the Nagin administration did not return requests for comment.

Meanwhile, violent crime is occurring under inoperable cameras.


Again: "Cops not cameras" is the political hay that can be made here. Citizens who are paying exorbitant traffic camera fines won't tolerate excuses about inoperable crime cameras during a surge in violent crime. In my view, this tension between extremely efficient traffic camera collections and extremely lax crime camera performance is ripe for political exploitation. I hope someone makes this an issue, because it

1) showcases this secretive administration's bungled priorities and

2) may curtail some of the rampant surveillance overreach that masquerades under the rubric of "security".

Stacy Head should zealously pursue the truth about these camera contracts. Then she should publicly berate whoever is responsible, just as if they had denied her a chair at Jazzfest.
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Update: In the comments, Celcus helpfully points us to this T-P article from today's paper:

Three New Orleans City Council members on Tuesday called for an investigation into Mayor Ray Nagin's office of technology and sought to freeze the office's budget in the latest skirmish between two branches of government over access to records and accountability questions.
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"In typical fashion, the administration provided us with half-truths and misinformation," [Councilmember Stacy] Head said. "We have no idea how much money we spent on crime cameras, installation and maintenance in 2007 and 2008. That is an embarrassment."
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After voicing their displeasure, Head, [Councilmember Shelly] Midura and [Councilmember] Jackie Clarkson approved a motion calling on the full council to launch a "formal investigation" and move the entire technology office budget, except for salaries, into a reserve account. Such an investigation could prompt the council to use its subpoena power to force the Nagin administration to hand over public records.


You go, girls!
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Update #2: Always ahead of the curve, the American Zombie has more.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

That Buzz you hear 

Is not coming from the Hornets' "hive" in the New Orleans Arena.

It's coming from national conservative pundits like William Kristol, and it involves Governor Bobby Jindal. In a column titled "McCain-Jindal?" Kristol strokes our boy wonder whiz kid, arguing that the McCain campaign is naming him as a possible Vice Presidential choice:

[In] separate conversations last week, no fewer than four McCain staffers and advisers mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick the 36-year-old Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal. They’re tempted by the idea of picking someone so young, with real accomplishments and a strong reformist streak.

It might also be a way to confront the issue of McCain’s age (71), which private polls and focus groups suggest could be a real problem. A Jindal pick would implicitly acknowledge the questions and raise the ante. The message would be: “You want generational change? You can get it with McCain-Jindal — without risking a liberal and inexperienced Obama as commander in chief.” I would add that it was after McCain spent considerable time with Jindal in New Orleans recently, and reportedly found him, as he has before, personally engaging and intellectually impressive, that the campaign’s informal name-dropping of Jindal began.


We've been told that Jindal is the "future of conservatism". He's the "next Ronald Reagan".

And now he's got a headache:

A major tax-cutting measure that gained critical momentum in the Legislature last week is threatening to scramble the state spending picture and create a political headache for Gov. Bobby Jindal.
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But any large-scale tax cut would probably need to be matched by corresponding spending cuts, creating a political dilemma for an administration that says it philosophically favors lower taxes but doesn't appear eager to sacrifice the new spending it has proposed for health care, higher education and public schools.

The dilemma is made more acute by the fact that it's Jindal's GOP allies who are behind the effort, after months of genially backing the governor's plans to overhaul the state's ethics laws and spend a $1 billion surplus.


Recently Jindal told the Legislature that they "must be bold". I guess that's a "mission accomplished". Your move, Guv.

Again, I must emphasize my belief that Jindal is not going to be McCain's Vice Presidential pick. This orchestrated "informal name-dropping" campaign is meant to raise Jindal's profile, as he seeks the keynote address at the GOP Convention. Jindal enjoys all the "buzz" and attention, but he would be a horrible Veep pick. It's sort of like Rudy being the nominee-- I can't even comprehend it.

McCain, a candidate that many regard as too old, would look positively ancient if he runs with Jindal. McCain's 100 years in Iraq platform would not be "balanced" by an inexperienced candidate who largely avoided the Iraq issue over the past year, repeating ad infinitum "I don't think our troops have to be there forever". (Just imagine the campaign commercials that splice Jindal's "not forever" comments with McCain's 100 year pronouncement.) And if you think Jeremiah Wright is a problem (which he is-- this is the undeniable low point of the Obama campaign-- luckily it's only May) wait till a national audience gets a taste of Jindal the exorcist. You can bet the National Dems will raise that story in a much more effective way than did the hapless Louisiana Dems. All the apparent weaknesses of Obama (youth, inexperience, commander-in-chief bona fides, not being "vetted") will instantly be much less of an issue if the septuaganerian McCain asks Jindal to stand one heartbeat away from the Presidency.

It doesn't make sense.

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Update: An anonymous commenter points us to this hilarious deconstruction of Jindal's "exorcism" essay.

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"So THAT'S how it is in their family." 

VH1's Best Week Ever show has some yucktastic snark about fathers behaving inappropriately around their young daughters.

First there's the famous Miley Cyrus Vanity Fair photos, and her father's full participation.

Then there's Hulk Hogan rubbing suntan lotion on his daughter's inner thigh.

Then BWE showed a clip from a Tyra Banks Show featuring a young woman named "Summer", who looked like a teenager and aspired to be a pron star. Her stepfather is her ... manager. He was shown waxing his daughter's inner thigh, and advising her on how to shave her pubic region.

It can always be much, much worse. But still... blecch!

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

"Spaz. Spaz. Spaz. Spaz..." 

Times Picayune columnist Chris Rose tells us about a Jazzfest alternative:

Jazzfest is unquestionably the premiere gig in New Orleans as far as getting exposure to a large and influential record-buying and club-booking public. So those who get left out of [Jazzfest] are left to lick their wounds and hope they get in next year. Unless your name is Connick, Marsalis or Neville, you've got to work your butt off in this town to catch a break.

Or you simply have to make your own break.

That's how, three years ago, when Jazzfest released its lineup and several downtown bands didn't make the cut, they decided to make their own festival.
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Thus was born: Chazfest, named after the ubiquitous and profoundly good-natured local washboard player, Chaz Leary, who neither owns nor produces the festival but simply has the right name in the right place at the right time.

"We happen to have a guy named Chaz in our midst, so we figured if we were going to do an alternative music festival, why not call it Chazfest?" said McMurray, who plays with Leary in the Tin Men. "I suppose if we had a guy named Spaz in the band, we'd call it Spazfest."

I don't have much to add except that I like Washboard Chaz and the idea of Chazfest, as well. Also, "Spazfest" made me think of the time Lovely was sick, and I brought her a care basket with candy and flowers and a card and a movie. I made her soup and brought it to her on the couch and then she glanced at the movie I got her and said, "What's Meatballs?"

"You've never seen Meatballs? I thought it would be like an old favorite of yours. You know, Bill Murray, Rudy the Rabbit... Spaz?"

"No."

"Oh. Well, do you still wanna see it?"

"Sure."

She was asleep within minutes. After seeing it for the first time since the eighties, I couldn't really blame her.




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Let me take this opportunity to plug my friend Clint, who plays around town-- often at the Neutral Ground Coffee House. Thursday night Ratboy and I drank rusty nails, and watched Clint and the Drunken Outlaws play at ... the Rusty Nail (formerly the Mermaid Lounge). Check out Clint's jukebox if you like that heartfelt country sort of thing.

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