Saturday, December 05, 2009

YRHT on Night Shift 

I was chatting with some fellow nolabloggers the other night, and the idea of unionized prostitution came up (not from me) and I said "kind of like in Night Shift". This reference dropped with an embarrassing stillborn thud, and it became apparent that not everyone had seen Night Shift. The good news is you don't have to. Most of the funny from the movie is in this summary video.



Anyway, that reminded me of something: about a month ago, a woman named "Sally" called in to Tommy Tucker's "Night Shift" show on WWL 870am. I forget which issue she spoke about, but she ended up mentioning "Your Right Hand Thief" and even gave out the web address to interested listeners. When I heard it I was quite surprised and delighted.

So, belated thanks to Sally for the plug.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

Merry Xe-mas 

The Confluence has an excellent set of links and videos about Blackwater and Erik Prince that I will reproduce here. Here's the Confluence's summary of the main point:

[T]he biggest news of the day comes from [The Nation reporter] Jeremy Scahill’s revelations about the relationship between Blackwater (aka Xe) head Eric Prince and the CIA. According to Scahill Prince has been working as a CIA asset for years, and that Blackwater contractors with U.S. backing are effectively engaging in a covert war in Pakistan.

Not only in Pakistan, but in Uzbekistan, too, according to Scahill. Among other things, we're talking about prep work for assassinations. Was there Congressional oversight on this "wet work", at least? Nah. Even if you aren't surprised by this, or think it's old news, I guarantee Scahill's reporting has new details that will (or at least should) unsettle you, if you think about the implications for a few seconds.

If you have 20 minutes or so, watch Scahill's recent interviews before reading the Vanity Fair piece on Prince. (He gives some important insight and context on it, in the Maddow segment.) Or just become a paid subscriber to the Nation to read Scahill's original article in full.





In the Vanity Fair piece, Prince is claiming that he's like Valerie Plame and his CIA cover was blown. At the end, he says he wants to be a high school teacher, sorta like Indiana Jones.

We named the dog Indiana sound bite


[Not referring to this dog.]

Facing South has some numbers on the privatized war in (and around) Afghanistan.

Still no love for my genius punk rock band name? It's still available, as far as I know.

I detailed some of the Prince family's connections in this post.

===
H/T Noladishu for noticing Prince's high school teacher ambitions.

The next time I have to come in here I'm crackin' skulls. sound bite

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Vitty-cent guest post on Tiger Woods affair 

Hi.




It's me, Vitty-cent, and I'd like to begin this YRHT guest post by wishing all my fellow American citizens a very Merry Christmas. Second, I want to thank oyster for giving me this opportunity to address an important issue: Tiger Woods' serious sin.

If you're like me and don't follow sports regularly, you may not know that Eldrick "Tiger" Woods is a successful Afro-Asian American golfer who has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle. In many ways, I can relate to Tiger's current circumstances. However, I think I can also relate to Tiger in general.

For example:

Ever since we were in diapers, Tiger and I have been focused on rising to the top of our chosen professions.

Tiger likes to wear a signature red color during the final round of a golf tournament, and I like to use a signature blue color for my political campaigns.

Tiger capitalizes on his opponents' fear during crunch time, and I practically invented that maneuver.

He plays on grass, and I play on grassroots. When the need arises, we both have a bunker mentality. Also, we both wash our balls regularly.

Most importantly, I think Tiger and I sometimes feel alone and friendless, like it's us against the world, and everyone's out to get us.
...
I'm sure there's many more general similarities between Tiger and I-- it's fairly clear that we are bosom brothers from another mother-- but let's review the similarities between him and myself regarding the specific matter at hand.

It's now widely known that Tiger Woods has had steamy sexual affairs with multiple women while he was married with children. I, on the other hand, had to pay escorts to simulate steamy extra-marital affairs (which is almost the same thing but just a little more pathetic).

Neither Tiger nor myself thought we'd ever get caught, but we both used the telephone to set up our liaisons, and that came back to bite us in the ass. Lesson learned.

Tiger's wife Elin went ballistic with a golf club over Tiger's cheating, and my wife once threatened to cut off my little bobbet if I ever cheated on her.

Tiger got into an automotive collision while he was fleeing from uncomfortable questions related to his affairs, and so did I one time but it wasn't my fault.

One of Tiger's mistresses told the media about his small calves. Similarly, one of my escorts blabbed about certain body issues that I have, too... but I'll mention here that they make pills for my condition now and I'm sure I'll be seeing results soon.

Alright, that's enough. You get the picture. Tiger and I have many shared similar experiences. During the past week, I contacted Tiger and offered him my advice on how to craft an apologetic statement that will get him through this ordeal.

As you know, my abiding strategy over the years was to lie about allegations of cheating to the media, to complicit supporters, to pastors and to the public at large. Then, when I was caught, I went into hiding and avoided discussing the issue until media scrutiny became unbearable. Finally, I was forced to make a vague public statement with my wife by my side. Ever since, I've refused to elaborate on it. This tactic has served me well, because other politicians had to resign for doing the same thing I did, whereas I'm still in office and am leading the polls in my bid for re-election. High five!

I gave Tiger some advice on his statement, and now that he released it I'm eager to see how it reads. Please join me in comparing excerpts from his recent statement to the one I made in 2007. I'll share my insights about what I told him along the way.

First, of course, you need to do a sincere-sounding apology to all the people you've "let down". Just bite the bullet and get it out of the way.

VC: I want to, again, offer my deep, sincere apologies to all those I have let down and disappointed with these actions from my past.

Tiger: I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.


After that, you must discuss how you're dealing (or dealt) with it, but also imply that it's none of anyone's business.

VC: Wendy and I dealt with this personally several years ago. I confronted it in confession and marriage counseling.

Tiger: I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family.

Ok. Now, for goodness sake talk about your "values".

VC: Since then, I've gotten up every morning, committed to trying to live up to the important values we believe in.

Tiger: I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.

With all that crap out of the way, you are now free to take a righteous swipe at the media. Be sure to question their motivations and tell them they're wrong about something. They hate that.

VC: [My] admission has encouraged some long-time political enemies and those hoping to profit from the situation to spread falsehoods... like those New Orleans stories in recent reporting. Those stories are not true.

Now, having said all of this, I'm not going to answer endless questions about it all over again and again and again and again. That might sell newspapers, but it wouldn't serve my family or my constituents well...

Tiger: Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious.

Now emphasize the obvious fact that you're not perfect, in case people were still wondering. (My wife helped me on this one.)

Mrs VC: Like all marriages, ours is not perfect.

Tiger: I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect.

One thing I advised Tiger to do was to use the word "sin". It's a good one. In my statement, I said "serious sin", which is a pretty heavy phrase. Naturally, Tiger couldn't use my signature phrase but I told him to find his own way to work it in. The important thing to do, though, was to say "sin" as a singular. No matter how much humpin he did with however many mistresses, I told him "sin" in the singular would cover it. Let's see how he managed.

VC: "serious sin"

Tiger: "Personal sins..."
No, Tiger! Don't use the plural. You'd think a Stanford grad could remember one simple instruction. That's bad. But, no worries, he can get back on track with a big finish. My advice: change the subject and conclude by invoking the specter of illegal aliens.

VC: I'll be following up on our important defeat of a bad immigration bill by working for good border and workplace security.

Tiger: For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.

How disappointing. I can't allow Tiger a mulligatawny for that blunder. Overall, I'd give Tiger a B+ for his statement.

===
Update: Bike Scout gives my guest post a "thumbs up"!

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

No available vaccine for "Saints Fever" 

Trust me, I'm a doctor dropped out of a doctoral program.

Houma Courier:

One of three Terrebonne Parish councilmen who went to Monday night’s Saints game has asked that his pay be docked for the public meetings he missed.
...
The Saints played the New England Patriots in the Superdome Monday. Missing from the council’s five committee meetings, held in Houma that same night, were [Billy] Hebert, Clayton Voisin and Joey Cehan. All submitted letters saying they would be unable to attend because of business commitments.

“I did attend the game with business partners, and we did discuss business,” Hebert said Wednesday. “But obviously business was not our main reason for going to New Orleans. We were there to see the Saints crush the Patriots.

“For that reason, I am tonight volunteering and asking administration to deduct the $25 from my next pay,” he said.
...
“I just got caught up in the Saints fever just like everybody else,” Hebert said.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Latest Oyster Filter Post up at Humid Beings 

It discusses the car biz, and breaks some news about a dealership in New Orleans.

If you see that the column could use some edits and polishing, you are correct.

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Oh, on a macabre side note: since I linked to this entertaining YRHT post in the Filter piece, let me add that: this summer, one of the managers mentioned in that blog post collapsed to the floor (in a dealership), fell into a coma and is, from what I heard, still in a vegetative state. Horrible.

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John Georges and the crime problem 

From Stephanie Grace's latest T-P column on mayoral hopeful John Georges:

If he makes it to the mayor's office, Georges said one of his chief focuses would be crime. He wants to have police-run literacy and youth "explorer" programs to better connect with the community. He espouses technology-driven "intelligent policing." He said he'd consult the sheriff, the district attorney and federal law enforcement before hiring a new police superintendent. And he strongly hinted at one place he'd look for candidates.

"I'm not opposed to stealing one of (Jefferson Parish Sheriff) Newell Normand's guys," he said.


"One of Normand's guys"? Who the heck does Georges have in mind?



From a review of "Lawman" which premieres tonight:

[W]ith his new reality show "Steven Seagal: Lawman," Seagal has cemented his position as an accidental comedy savant. It's easily the funniest thing he's done since the climactic speech from "On Deadly Ground" (his infamous directorial debut about evil oil companies polluting the Alaskan wilderness), and one of the more entertaining additions to the Has-Beens On Parade reality sub-genre.

What elevates "Lawman" over the likes of "Hammertime" is how deadly serious it takes itself, which only makes it more amusing.

We learn that Seagal has spent the last two decades moonlighting as a deputy sheriff in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, but that until now — more or less the point in his career where this kind of move is a necessity to remain culturally relevant — he kept it to himself.

"I'm Steven Seagal," he purrs in an affected Cajun patois over the opening credits. "That's right: Steven Seagal, deputy sheriff."

Seagal is a producer on the project, so what might just be a spin on "Cops" instead turns into a celebration of his own awesomeness.
...
Every now and then, though, you get a glimpse of how Seagal's sizable ego must wear on his colleagues. During a high-speed pursuit, Seagal begins barking out directions from the passenger seat.

"Steven, let me drive," says his exasperated partner, in a tone suggesting this isn't the first time he's had to make that request (nor will it be the last).

"Just telling you where the holes are!" insists Seagal.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

He'll pick out a receiver and make you a believer 

1. According to da Paper, crowd noise at the Football game got up to 120 decibels last night. Any louder than that and the "Who Dat?" chant may become less of a rhetorical boast than a sincere question.


"Did you and Daddy have a good time at the game?"

"Who Dat?"
...
[Commence pseudo-Abbot and Costello skit]


2. This was a nice moment: Brady and Belichick reflecting on lessons learned. (T-P Photo Credit: Chuck Cook)



3. T-P sportswriter Jeff Duncan writes:

How dominant were the Saints in their 38-17 pounding of the New England Patriots on Monday night?

Very. The Pats endured punishment from all sides-- kind of like Tiger Woods' Cadillac Escalade.

So dominant Patriots quarterback Tom Brady admitted his team, the one that has won three Super Bowl titles in the past nine years, basically didn't belong on the same field with the Saints.

"There's a big gap between us," Brady said.

"Gap?" But Tom, I thought our bromance was larger than the game of football. Damn straight.

"They were better than we were in every phase of the game," Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said. "I don't know how to put it any other way."

Apparently Bill doesn't [have to] say that very often.

The Saints set a series of records in the process:

• Their 9.6 yards a play were the best in franchise history.
• Drew Brees' 16.1 yards per pass attempt was a single-game record.

Yawn. Enough numerology. That's for eggheads. What about the important stuff?

• And [the Saints] likely set an unofficial record for most playings of the anthem "Stand Up and Get Crunked" in Superdome history.

Now we're talking.

Thanks to a creative game plan by coordinator Gregg Williams, the Saints were able to largely control the league's second-rated passing offense with their three top cornerbacks on the sideline. For much of the night, their secondary consisted of a rookie (Malcolm Jenkins) and two thirty-something veterans (Mike McKenzie and Chris McAlister) who were on the street two weeks ago.


Amazing.

4. T-P sportswriter John DeShazier elaborates:

Of all the improbable, unlikely and utterly unbelievable twists and turns that have accompanied the New Orleans Saints' magically perfect 2009 season, a singular spotlight now must be reserved for Mike McKenzie.
...
[I]n Week 12 of 2009, he turned in a virtuoso defensive performance in front of the 70,768 fans that comprised the second-largest crowd in Superdome history, but surely staked its claim as the loudest.
...
McKenzie, who hadn't played an NFL game since [busting his kneecap] Nov. 9, 2008, and who was signed all of one week before being tossed into the fire against [Randy]Moss and the Patriots, played lock-down corner like he had a point to prove.
...
Three solo tackles, three passes defensed and one monumental, momentum-changing interception was not the kind of work to be expected of a player who hadn't lined up over a receiver this season.

Keep building that interception up, because I have a killer overlooked point to make.

McKenzie wore the magic gloves on Monday night, and put them to use in the first quarter.

Of course, he had help from a teammate. Because if receiver Courtney Roby hadn't run down New England's Wes Welker from behind on Welker's 41-yard punt return, it would've been an 87-yard return for a touchdown, a 14-3 Patriots lead and another deep, early deficit for the Saints.


D'oh! He took my pet insight about Roby! Nice one, Shaze.

6. Coach Sean Payton described quarterback Drew Brees' performance as "magnificent". I wish Brees could wear a helmet steady-cam for one game so fans could get a true perspective of what he's doing back there, in split-seconds, with an obscured view of the field. We get so used to football from a bird's eye angle, and Brees makes it look so easy, that we can forget the level of difficulty involved in throwing accurate passes to moving targets while big men try to body slam you. Truly, I've not seen a better passer than Drew Brees, and I'd love to see the game from his viewpoint-- my own personal Breezus cam.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Commentary by David C. Bellinger 

“Parish President Aaron Broussard is no Donald Trump; Can’t Say, ‘Tim Whitmer ‘You’re Fired!'”

Dear Blogger:

Re: “Whitmer pressed to reveal ties, Jeff official: Give details or resign” by Richard Rainey, New Orleans Times-Picayune, November 25, 2009

With federal subpoenas in Jefferson Parish flying as fast as Aaron Broussard’s forty-nine year old chief administrative officer Tim Whitmer can hunker down until Feb. 1 to collect his full platinum plated retirement parachute pension at forty-nine, not fifty-five –- see: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/11/tim_whitmers_benefits_from_jef.html, it is business as usual at the Gretna courthouse -– better known as the “Jefferson Parish Good Ole Boys’ Club.”

If Tim Whitmer is unwilling to immediately comply with Jefferson Parish Councilman John Young’s demand to disclose all of his business relationships with local public agencies and government contractors, then Aaron Broussard needs to step to the plate and show leadership.

With ethical, and possible legal, issues as complex as a Rubik's Cube to unwind abounding, Aaron Broussard must order Tim Whitmer to come clean. But that is as likely as having transparency in Jefferson Parish as a holiday gift this year.

Broussard is a culprit in the incestuous web which entangles Jefferson Parish officials, having received $5,000 from his appointee Tim Whitmer last summer (and who knows what else!) for legal services (another possible ethics violation).

Moreover, from Citizens for Good Government: “IS TIM WHITMER GUILTY OF PUBLIC CONTRACT FRAUD? According to Louisiana Revised Statute 14:140 A. Public contract fraud is committed: (1) When any public officer or public employee shall use his power or position as such officer or employee to secure any expenditure of public funds to himself, or to any partnership of which he is a member, or to any corporation of which he is an officer, stockholder, or director.”

And questions raised by Citizens for Good Government: “And why was there a secret agreement between B&A and Lagniappe, so that Lagniappe’s name never appears publicly. And who knew about B&A’s partnership with Lagniappe Industries? “

Broussard allowing Whitmer, obstinacy and all, to remain on the parish payroll is as if he had learned government practices at his friend’s school of thievery -- “The Nick Baroni Institute of Government Is My Ticket to Riches.”

And maybe, just maybe, when the feds have finished shuffling threw the subpoenaed documents, fellow prayer partner and world traveler, Nick Baroni, former president of the Kenner Council -- And Broussard’s good buddy, who “copped to 13 federal felony fraud counts,” may be called upon to return the favor and write a letter to the judge requesting leniency for Broussard-— see: http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/gill/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1200810096239510.xml&coll=1&thispage=2

Furthermore, as the person who dug into, and obtained, the $1,300,000 plus invoices billed to Jefferson Parish by the twenty-six count federal plea bargained confessed felons, Nick and Keith Baroni, I again, by copy of this piece via e-mail to Aaron Broussard, every member of the Jefferson Parish Council, the Jefferson Parish DA, and the U. S. Attorney, call for an independent audit – as Drew Broach of the Times-Picayune did – see: “Landing those contracts, the Baroni way” at: http://www.nola.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/news-0/1203315644106280.xml&coll=1

Additionally, I will make available the Baroni invoices billed by Urban Planning and Innovations to Jefferson Parish to any interested party, as I have done for the Times-Picayune and good government organizations and high-level law enforcement agencies.

And thanks to Richard Rainey and all others at the Times-Picayune for their pugnacious reporting on the shenanigans in Jefferson Parish.

David C. Bellinger
(404) 762-8779
Atlanta, GA
E-mail: davidc53@juno.com

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Why so Hostile? 

Since Minor Wisdom has taken the gloves off so early, we will respond with

The natural beauty of The Captain and Tennille, singing an alleged "kids song" about Lake Tahoe, accompanied by a musical muskrat and the charming morning hosts at Fox.

Suffer.

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