Saturday, December 19, 2009

Awww, lil baby "laser plasma lightning blaster-gun" is growing up! 

From Cryptogon, we learn:

The Pentagon continues to pour funding into Arizona-based laser plasma lightning blaster-gun firm Applied Energetics, formerly known as Ionatron. The US Army says that the firm’s lightning guns are “approaching the level of maturity needed to begin weaponization”.
Call me old-school, but I don't think we should mess with Zeus' bag of bolts.

However this news item does give me the opportunity to feature Klaus Nomi's Lightning Strikes. Enjoy.

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"With trenches full of poets... Spanish songs in Granada, oh mi corazón" 

This one goes out to my old friend Jose "Pepe" Heredia Moreno and to his father Jose Heredia Maya, a righteous artist/academic from Granada, Spain, who is suffering from a neurodegenerative illness. I readily admit that "Spanish bombs" by the Clash is not a perfect dedication in terms of lyrical appropriateness (both men abhor extremism) but I hope that can be excused. It's a brilliant song, and when I listened to it tonight the lyrics about Andalusia and Federico Lorca reminded me of the Heredias in Granada.

Yes the scenes are violent but that's what the song is about.

Strong poets rock. And there's something to be said about anti-fascists, as well.

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Murray claims it is "no longer important who is at fault" for the Federal Flood 

Editilla Guerilla at Noladder links to Mayoral candidate Ed Murray's new campaign ad.

Regarding the biggest engineering failure in American history which resulted in a catastrophic flood that killed hundreds of New Orleanians, Murray states: "It's no longer important who is at fault".

Since when? Seeing that the outfit that failed us most directly is tasked with building the flood protection that will determine our long-term future and survival, I still think it's pretty freakin' important we don't forget who did what.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

The ESPN post about the soul of new orleans you all loved but I didn't 

I didn't share everyone else's love for Wright Thompson's heartfelt and well-written ESPN piece on the Saints and the soul of New Orleans. I did like much of it, though. My favorite part was when he slagged on Dallas:

All told, [New Orleans] is a city with the opposite calculus of Dallas: It is decayed on the outside, but inside there is life. Here is a citizenry that believes in the power of the underdog. New Orleanians fell first and see something the rest of America is blind to right now: a way back into the light.

Alright, so that's fine. But I have some quibbles. First: where the hell is Jeffrey when you need him? I mean, the nolablogosphere erupts in unanimous praise for a national article describing the "soul of the city", and our resident Master of Malcontentedness is AWOL. You just know Jeffrey Gloomypants would've obliterated the damn thing and put everyone's jock strap in a twist. So I guess these contrarian duties are left to me. I'll try my best.

Early on in the piece, we're treated to a happy scene from an X-mas party at a St. Charles mansion. (Seriously, if Jeffrey wasn't too busy messing with his comments section he could've made a good scrooge here.)

Then this:

The team's rise from the weight of the past [since 2006] mirrored a similar rise of the city.

The Saints, always popular, have transcended, now lumped in with New Orleans' institutions -- Mardi Gras, Louis Armstrong and red beans on Monday. They're woven into the fabric of the town... because they stayed.

Not saying that the past few years haven't been special, but do longtime Saints fans agree with the claim that the team wasn't woven into the "fabric of the town" until Benson "decided" (read: was pressured by the NFL) to stay? Really? Pity that Buddy D wasn't around when the Saints finally "transcended" into something larger than just a popular home sports team.

After a brief detour in which we learn that part of the soul of the city is located inside Congressman Anh Joseph Cao (again: I like Cao, but this would be target-rich territory for Jeffrey), Thompson breezily exults in the fineries of Galatoire's, refers to Chris Rose, makes a quick hopscotch jump through a 9th ward school, and then settles comfortably on James Carville's porch for a drink and a defense of the Benson family:

Carville sits with his back to the wide front porch, and on his right is Walter Isaacson, native New Orleanian, best-selling author and former CEO of CNN. On his left is Rita LeBlanc.

"The hero of New Orleans," Isaacson says when LeBlanc sits down. "She is our own saint."
Yes, [Rita LeBlanc Benson] is young. Yes, her grandfather is Tom Benson, who became loathed in those confusing months after Katrina because people felt he wanted to take the team away from them. Just after the storm, abandoned refrigerators full of rotted food appeared with a spray-painted message: Do not open... Tom Benson inside. This is unfair -- he bought the team in 1985 to make sure it didn't leave the city, and what owner of a billion-dollar asset can be blamed for wanting to protect it? Regardless, after that long season of doubt -- "It looked like we were gonna lose them," Archie Manning says -- Benson committed to keeping the team in New Orleans and turned control over to his granddaughter. The Saints immediately sold out all the season tickets for the first time and almost made it to the Super Bowl.

Fact check: it wasn't just in the "confusing months after Katrina" that people were loathing Benson. They "felt that he wanted to move the team" for most of 2005, and with good reason. In 2004, Benson was talking about some sort of far-flung (and immensely generous) "permanent solution" between the team and the state. Then, over the next year, Gov. Kathleen Blanco (rightfully) played hardball with him as he enjoyed "perhaps the sweetest lease deal in all of football". According to the writer Tyler Bridges:

Blanco has won high marks for forcing Saints owner Tom Benson to withdraw his demand that the state build him a new stadium and for challenging his back-up demand, that the state continue paying him more than $25 million a year to stay in New Orleans and pay more than $150 million to renovate the Superdome.

To gain leverage for his profitable team during these negotiations, Tom Benson broke off talks with the state during the spring of 2005. That summer Saints chatter was dominated by speculation about whether (or when) the Saints would move to another city.

[Interesting side note: during that time I was working on a political campaign for an opponent of State Senate candidate Derrick Shepherd. I advised my candidate to make news by calling out Benson for his cagey behavior, and demand that he make a deal with the state rather than postpone talks. My candidate called him out, and we successfully got some media attention for the effort. In fact, to capitalize on the moment we hastily filmed a campaign commercial (which aired) attacking Benson, and calling him out. I'm not sure any other politician in New Orleans had ever called out Benson in a campaign ad, but we did. It was my idea and it sort of worked (we got some media attention but lost the election badly). The funny thing was we tried to film the ad on Super Dome property, doing a few takes before state security personnel expeditiously escorted us off the premises.]

The main point is that Saints fans were disgusted with Benson's conduct throughout the year prior to the storm/ff, not just during the "confusing" months after it. He has always viewed this team from a business perspective. It was an asset he owned that accrued value because of loyal Saints fans, subsidies from the state of Louisiana, and growth in the NFL brand, among other things. Then, after the storm, Benson's assholery intensified... I'll use this sports business reporter's summary to discuss that period:

Tom Benson kept quiet on the Saints future early in the 2005 NFL season. At the Saints-Falcons game on October 16, the second of two warm receptions of the Saints by the San Antonio community, San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger stated that Benson had agreed to schedule negotiations for permanent relocation once the 2005 season is over. In reference to Benson, Hardberger said, "I'm pretty comfortable in saying he wants to be here." Benson was born and raised in San Antonio.

On Monday, October 17, Benson in a story that captured national headlines dismissed Saints executive vice president Arnold Fielkow, who had been a public supporter of the Saints' importance to the state of Louisiana, and who had advocated the playing of home games in Baton Rouge. According to Fielkow, Benson told him that if he'd tender his resignation and sign a confidentiality agreement, he'd be paid the remainder of his contract; when he refused, he was fired outright.

Benson's actions quickly drew outrage from Saints fans as well as local and state officials. On Wednesday, October 19, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin sharply criticized Benson for acts he deemed heartless and opportunistic. Said Nagin: "For them to be openly talking to other cities about moving is disrespectful to the citizens of New Orleans, disrespectful to the Saints fans who have hung in with this franchise through 30-something years under very trying times."

Two days later, Benson publicly stated that he has made no plans to move the Saints to San Antonio. "There are many factors that will affect the future location of our team," Benson said. "That is also true of many other New Orleans-based companies that are faced with deciding their future homes." He said he would make no decisions about the team's future until the 2005 season is over.

In Wright's piece, Archie Manning said he was pretty convinced the Saints were going to leave. Now read this excellent NYT article for more perspective on why fans like Archie believed this. They weren't confused, they were realists. According to this article, Katrina and the NFL practically forced Benson to stay.

Rita Benson is indeed pretty cool. We like her. However, I don't need to hear how the people of New Orleans, during the "confusing" months after Katrina, were "unfair" to her father. No. F-ck that. Tom Benson was (at best) flirting with moving the team before Katrina, and then he talked serious relocation turkey with the mayor of San Antonio after Katrina, when this stricken city was on its knees.

Wright's account of the Benson family receiving warm appreciation by wealthy political elites on James Carville's porch is fine. But don't feature it in an article about the "soul of New Orleans" without giving the other side of the story. And don't give me some apologia about Tom Benson needing to protect his billion dollar asset without discussing the manner in which he chose to "protect" that asset. And whatever you do, don't gloss over and defend Benson's selfish behavior in an article about the "soul of New Orleans".

Alright, what else in the article would Jeffrey take to task?

Ah yes, in a section of the article called "Suffering", Thompson makes a bizarre decision. He decides to use an account of a friend's aerial flyover of flooded New Orleans as an example of the "true despair" residents felt when coming home after Katrina. "Every single New Orleanian has a story like that" Thompson writes, "and it lives deep inside of them."

Uhhhhh... I think maybe George Bush has a similar story to that one, but most New Orleanians felt "true despair" at some moment on the ground. Is a flyover the best or most appropriate example of "suffering" he could come up with?

As if the expedition to Galatoire's wasn't enough, Thompson takes us to Restaurant August and Chef John Besh, as he entertains Saints players:

The O-line knows the ins and outs of the menu, and Reggie Bush, Besh says, knows the chefs working the kitchen.

"Shockey used to live upstairs," Besh jokes, laughing. "We're glad he's gone. We kept losing hostesses."
Again, where is Jeffrey the Malcontent when you need him?

All of them -- Besh, LeBlanc, Brees, Payton, Bush -- they are all part of this first generation of post-Katrina successful New Orleanians. They are building a city from scratch, and people see them every day, working, adopting charities, enjoying life, sitting at the next table or listening to the same band. Katrina almost destroyed the city but, if you look closely, you'll find that it did something else: It strengthened it, made the people who loved it love it even more. Everyone left the city, so no one is here because of inertia. They chose to come back.

Obviously, three of the people Thompson mentioned weren't among those who chose to "come back", because they didn't live here before the storm. And is it really true that "all of them" are part of a first generation of "post-Katrina successful New Orleanians"? Payton lives on the North Shore, and Bush's professional career might one day take him elsewhere. They've both done some fine things for the city, and I cheer for their success, but are they really part of a "new generation" of New Orleanians?

In conclusion, I want to say that I liked the article but didn't love it. There were several things with which to quibble-- including excessive sympathy towards the Benson ownership.

I tried my best to be the cynical malcontent, but we all know Jeffrey would've put this post to shame.

Endnote: Thompson made mention of the historic Monday night game against Atlanta on Sept. 25, 2006. He notes that it was "Payton's and Brees' first home game" and that

The Friday night before, Payton gathered his team in the empty stadium. People had died there, just 13 months before. The bodies were stored in a catering freezer.

It would've been excellent if Thompson had noted that no one was killed in the Super Dome after Katrina and that the deaths were exponentially fewer than what the authorities expected. Thus, the big ass catering freezers that they stored the six bodies in... weren't necessary! I discussed this information in a classic YRHT post that I wrote prior to that historic football game (don't miss the story about Mr. Radio.) That post contains some relevant historical data about Mayor Nagin and Chief Compass' unhelpful storytelling during the Katrina aftermath, which T-P columnist Jarvis DeBerry wrote about recently. I hope to share some more thoughts about that whole issue in a future post.

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"If I were mayor" 

Humid Beings has a good video compilation of citizens offering their thoughts on a topic called "If I were Mayor". Take a look and visit Humid Beings to share your thoughts.

If I Were Mayor - EngageNola from The Canary Collective on Vimeo.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just "wag the dog", Georges 

After failing to "pet the dog" convincingly, the John Georges for Mayor campaign apparently went for two with a slimy "wag the dog" maneuver that disintegrated on impact. According to Loki's research at Humid City, the Georges team seems to be responsible for a spoof web site that mocked Mitch Landrieu. Worse, in ham-handed fashion they tried to frame James Perry's campaign for the stunt before quickly pulling it down. Georges tells the Gambit he had nothing to do with it, then promised to call back when he learned that the web site in question "was registered to a company called ComputerCC, which — according to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office — is located at the same physical address as Georges’ own Web consulting company, Iokon".

The Gambit terms the controversy "Mitchgate". As soon as possible I think this skullduggery should be described in a way that clearly throws it back on Georges. Perhaps "Bitchgate" might be more appropriate given the known facts and Georges' troubled history with petting and now (apparently) wagging the dog. Actually, that's not very good. Perhaps my intrepid readers can coin a better name for this scandal. (Bonus points for gracefully working "Iokon" into the mix-- I couldn't.) However I do know that the James Perry campaign in particular would be well-served to seize on this lousy execution of slimeball politics, and pound Georges for all he's worth. We don't need this sort of political mischief. The stakes are too high... etc.

Assuming the Georges team created the site and there are no more twists to the story, what does it say about Georges that he denied involvement? It's the old clueless versus liar dilemma.

Update: I'm directing this post at Georges based on the known facts. However, I am assuming that this isn't likely some triple bank shot maneuver by an unknown party that is trying to hit Mitch (blatant mockery), Perry (with listed in the "contact info" of the faux site), Henry (by omission) and Georges (with the web registry info). I can't totally discount this possibility because of the repeated dog commercial mockery in the video. Would the Georges team go after themselves like that? And if they were skillful enough to do that misdirection, why would they not cloak the registry info better?

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Happy Chrismukkah 

[The owner of the photo which was originally posted here has requested that it be removed. YRHT apologizes for posting it.]

The holiday season is a time for joy and coming together in celebration, like Rob Couhig and Bishop O.C. Coleman did at a Greater New Orleans Republican event some time ago.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, neither or both, YRHT wishes you a very merry holiday/new years/carnival/saints/political season.


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What saved us? The answer may be shellfish. 

Big thanks to Joejoejoe for sending me this gorgeous article about how humans may owe it all to shellfish. Please read the whole thing. Here are some quotes:

A couple hundred thousand years ago, the planet became a much colder and drier place. In Africa, deserts expanded, species were wiped out and the human race was in deep trouble.
somewhere between 130,000 to 190,000 years ago, the human species was reduced to less than 1000 breeding individuals-- just a few thousand people in total. Ancient, naturally driven climate change pushed our species to the brink...
What saved us? ...the answer may be "shellfish".
[R]esearchers have theorized that eating shellfish was actually the driver that allowed humans to develop the big brains we enjoy today, because shellfish are high in the Omega 3 fatty acids that the brain needs to function.
[Other researchers contend that] big brains enabled a small group of humans to make the switch to a shellfish diet--an adaptation that allowed them to survive a climactic upheaval that wiped out most of their peers.

Thinking about time and anthropology, I've often wondered how close the human species came to extinction at various points during its evolution. Isn't it mind-bending to think that over 100,000 years ago there were about 1000 people who were left to determine humankind's destiny? We are in debt to ancient bands of survivors living along an African shore, enjoying oysters or other shellfish.

Isn't it nice that this vital group of oysterlovers didn't go to war with each other over some silly difference in tribal convictions? What if one night Oot-oot interpreted distant thunder as a sign for him to take Mok mok's woman for himself? A fight breaks out and grows, factions form, and soon a fratricidal "final conflict" commences. It's really shocking that we were down to 1000 or so people and were somehow able to survive another 150,000 years without dying off or killing ourselves.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Conservative bloggers question my manhood and (may) want to kick my ass 

James Wolcott at Vanity Fair alerted me to the possibility that Jeff Goldstein might want to beat my ass. See, back in the day I got into a roundabout with Jeff G. when he was at Protein Wisdom. Now he's saying that there's about "a half dozen" people who he has "gotten into it" with over the years, whose asses he would kick without hesitation. Gorsh, I hope I'm not on his sh-tlist.

In related news, Avman at Louisiana Conservative responded to my recent post (without bothering to link to it). Avman explains by saying that the video he posted was a joke, and he doesn't really think Mitch Landrieu is racist, but that he stands by his strained Trent Lott/Strom Thurmond parallel. Go read the post if you want, I have trouble teasing out all the backtracking and illogic. Then Avman directs some comments at me:
ever since you started your blog, you’ve been attacking people so don’t give me this self righteous lecture about being a meanie… by the way, I hear you throw a mean punch at your shadow. The difference between you and I is that I’m man enough to face the people I’ve talked about... you hide your identity like you’re Clarke Kent.

"Avman" claims I hide my identity, and that I don't face the people I've talked about. First of all, you really have to be a super sleuth to find out my true identity the way I hide it from everyone. Who could possibly out the oyster? Whatever you do, Avman, don't ask your former blogmate Chad Rogers about me. Rogers knows me, and I was "man enough" to meet him in person at a blogger conference even though I've been his most ferocious online critic. So I don't think the "difference" between Avman and myself is manliness. We'll have to look elsewhere. Perhaps "the difference" is something as simple as me having thumbs, or perhaps it's Avman's willingness to make bold, Abramoffian fashion statements.

[Photo of Avman found on Google removed at Avman's request.]

Nice hat.

In my post I didn't lecture Avman about being "mean" or anything else. I simply responded to his deathless inanity in crushing fashion. I don't have problems with meanieheads, per se, I have problems with stupid lying hacks on stilts who try to sabotage New Orleans.

Naturally Avman has nothing to say about the false claim at the heart of his earlier post regarding the retracted Drudge story about the DNC helping Landrieu. He skips right over that blunder and... whaddya know, he goes on to spew more falsehoods:

But Mitch, you care so much for New Orleans you’d rather smother those ideas with your tired and tried ideas that has brought New Orleans from the city you once knew to the city it became. And it’s not just that, because four years ago, I sat here and said nothing while our Lt. Governor ran for the Mayor of New Orleans, because even though I didn’t like it, you’re not the only one to run for another office while holding one, even if it were a lesser office.

Oh gracious. That's pretty funny. I guess we should review Avman's version of saying "nothing" about Mitch Landrieu's run for office in 2006. Keep this first Avman quote in mind as we review selected excerpts from Avman's Louisiana Conservative blog from the spring of 2006. And please don't skip the last one:

[W]hile debating liberals, I want to win. Not only do I want to win, I want them to feel stupid for disagreeing with me. Okay, that's arrogant, sure but it's my goal.

Post from 2/12/06

We have the Lt. Governor, Mitch Landrieu, running for mayor of New Orleans. Why would anybody leave a position that's just a heartbeat away from being the most powerful man in the state, to run for mayor instead? Sounds like somebody is looking to line his own personal pockets.

Post from 2/22/06

Mitch Landrieu Announced his bid to be the milk in the chocolate city. Headlines in tomorrows paper should be Mitch Vows to Restore Father's Crooked Ways in Nawlins, but no word yet whether or not the Lt. Governor will step down from his currnet position so that Louisiana can have a full time Lt. Governor. Lord knows this state needs somebody ready to go. Question is, how serious is Mitch Landrieu? If he wants to win, shouldn't he step down as Lt. Governor? If he wants to be Lt. Governor, why is he in this race?
Mary Landrieu supported Mitch Landrieu, as if the people in this state needed anymore reason to not like this lady.

From Avman's 4/22/06 "Liberal Sermon XIV" (it's sarcastic, but it shows you how the GOP viewed the last N.O. mayoral election through the lens of partisan, state and national party politics. Most New Orleans residents had bigger worries):

We just got news that Mitch Landrieu and Ray Nagin will meet in the runoff as Nagin failed to muster 50% of the vote. Nagin should have listened to us when we told him he better not try to work with Bush or else.
Now it's too late for Nagin. How dare he put New Orleans over the Democrat party! When we have an opportunity to nail Bush to the cross he should have got out of our way. He's a Democrat, he should know better! He should never put New Orleans as his priority when we are busy trying to destroy a Republican President! Kathleen Blanco followed orders, just as many of you did. You got on your blogs and blamed Bush for everything. You did an excellent job and should be commended. In fact, your work paid off! 57% of the general public believes that George Bush personally ordered Hurricane Katrina to hit only African American nieghborhoods and signed an executive order to delay FEMA from helping out in New Orleans.
However, Nagin refused. He tried to get New Orleans under control. Why on earth would he do something so stupid? He's not fit to be an elected Democratic official. We'll see to it that Mitch Landrieu is the next mayor of New Orleans, even if we have to rig the election to do it. We are the party of compassion, caring, understanding and free speech. We are the party that deserves to be in power. Ray Nagin didn't understand that so and we will make an example out of him!

I'm just going to reprint this one from 5/22/06 nearly in full because, you might say, it's a "keeper". New Orleanians of all flavors can cherish this analysis, especially of Nagin. The first sentence is the title of the post:

Why I Supported the Re-election of Nagin

Many of you outside of Louisiana are completely miffed that so many of us in Louisiana supported the re-election campaign of Ray-cist Nagin, especially after his chocolate city comments. The fact of the matter is, who was better to run the city than Ray Nagin?

Yeah, I read what Michelle Malkin and others had to say, but the fact of the matter is, Republicans put Nagin over the top. It's Nagin that most New Orleans Republicans voted for in the general election. Here's a few reasons why.

Let's take a look at what we had to choose from out of a field of several candidates:

Kimberly Butler.... Here is a most excellent choice, a lady who is facing both criminal charges and civil charges arising during. In her official role in city government, she disobeyed a judges order by not producing official documents as well as facing civil charges from Disney when she used Disney's New Orleans quarters photo from their website on her website touting her for mayor of New Orleans. Class act.

Peggy Wilson.... She had the endorsement of the Republican apparat, but once again, the Louisiana Republican apparat found itself at odds with the common Republican voter. Why does the Louisiana Republican apparat keep insisting that they have so much influence that their endorsement of one candidate over another Republican candidate actually makes us want to vote against the candidate we really like?

Couhig.... Here was the Republican with the best chance but quite frankly, I don't even remember his first name. I'd much rather have seen a Couhig- Nagin runoff than a Landrieu- Nagin runoff.

Mitch Landrieu Need I say more than Landrieu? Son of former mayor Moon Landrieu who helped bring New Orleans to the decadent city that it is (was). Sister of a United States Senator that threatened to punch George Bush, endorsed by Kathleen Blanco, the DNC, and most of the black Democrat apparat? If Mitch had won re-election, it would have been a body blow to Republican hopes for the future of Louisiana, and a sign against President Bush. He also outspent the incumbent mayor more than 6 to 1.

Mayor Ray-Cist Nagin Outside of saying racist and other stupid things, Mayor Nagin wasn't that bad of a mayor. A black mayor, who won by not winning the black vote, but won the white vote, Nagin was making strides in ending corruption in the city. He was a successful businessman, and a prominent black Democrat that endorsed both Bush for President and Republican Bobby Jindal for governor. He was, is, about as Republican as you are going to get within the city of New Orleans. Nagin's re-election is an endorsement for Bush and a sign that Kathleen Blanco really is in deep trouble.

More importantly, it's another lesson to Democrats, don't go into the states and cause trouble, lest ye be defeated. Like Florida and Ohio, the trouble that the Democrat party tried to cause in Louisiana is only helping Republicans.


Update: It's beyond parody at this point. After bringing the "identity" issue into our debate, and saying that (unlike me) he is "man" enough to "face" the people he talks about, Avman has now reversed himself and is complaining that I crossed the line by posting his photo (which is readily available on the google). Instead of contacting me directly, he consulted a lawyer about it. He's worried I'm obsessed with him (I'm not) and know something about his personal life (I don't).

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This week's Filter post begins with a humorous title 

Read it here.



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Conservative campaign against Mitch Landrieu gaining steam 

The Dead Pelican's Chad Rogers is pimping more anti-Mitch posts by Avman at the Louisiana Conservative.

At the beginning of the post, Avman shows a brief video of Mitch Landrieu during a 2006 mayoral debate, featuring an inelegantly chopped quote. The tv graphic indicates that the mayoral candidates were discussing the issue of housing. Avman chops the following comment to show Mitch saying:

I don't want to go back right pre-Katrina, I want to think about the city of New Orleans in the early sixties...

Viewers don't get to see Mitch's full opinion on, presumably, the housing recovery of New Orleans following the Federal Flood. But I'd bet Mitch's "early sixties" reference refers to the population level of New Orleans, which peaked around that time (perhaps earlier) and decreased ever since. In other words, I'd bet that Landrieu's statement refers to his goal of growing the city's population beyond where it was prior to the storm/ff. Until I can find a transcript, that's my reasonable interpretation of the chopped quote shown by Avman.

But guess where Avman takes it? Avman interprets this quote to mean that Mitch wants to return New Orleans to the days of segregation. I'm so not kidding. Avman compares Landrieu's quote to "Trent Lott saying he voted for Strom Thurmond", and sees this as grounds for Mitch's resignation.

Last week I asked if Avman can get any more deathlessly inane. Apparently so!

Conservatives never tire of reminding us that Mitch Landrieu comes from a political family. But here they conveniently forget the admirable anti-segregationist stances of his father, Moon, during the turbulent sixties. When most "conservatives" were opposing civil rights legislation, many brave" liberals" were supporting it. Moon Landrieu was one of those liberals. Mitch is rightfully proud of that, and (in my opinion) is tone-perfect on race issues. He is comfortable directly answering questions concerning race in a way that makes sense to most people of all colors. That's one of the reasons I'm a fan of Mitch*. To imply that Mitch Landrieu is a closet segregationist based on a chopped quote where he's discussing post-Katrina housing and population levels... again, can it get any more deathlessly inane than that?

Oh dear. Maybe so. I haven't reviewed the rest of Avman's post, where he gets to the heart of the matter.

[W]hat I really wanted to talk about was the possibility that the DNC was going to get involved in this race. Is it really wise of the DNC to back a white candidate for a second consecutive race, the same candidate who in the previous race talked about taking New Orleans back to the early 1960’s?
Whose stupid idea was that to bring the DNC into this race the first time?

That "stupid idea" came from Matt Drudge, who issued a "report" about DNC involvement in the New Orleans mayoral election, only to retract it. However, despite the retraction, Drudge's false claims were widely repeated by national conservative pundits, as well as local pundits including the Dead Pelican (DP "flash sheet" no longer in the archives) and Wizbang! They dutifully treated this report as fact while national GOP elements, according to Clancy Dubos and Jeff Crouere, were engaging in a "carefully orchestrated campaign" to sink Mitch Landrieu and elect Ray Nagin. According to one GOP operative near the center of the anti-Mitch campaign, the "macchiavellian" reason behind these shenanigans was to assist Bobby Jindal's 2007 campaign for Governor in the N. Louisiana parishes. But now, after he and his fellow travellers helped re-elect Ray Nagin, Avman is convinced the DNC will interfere "again" on behalf of Mitch, when they never even did it the first time!!

Avman concludes
Imagine that, the Democrats twice trying to impose their will by putting a White Mayor in a city that’s majority African American? That should go over real well… and might just be a start in taking New Orleans back to the early 1960’s.

So here is the post, in sum: Avman uses a fallacious 2006 Drudge report to support his current (unsourced) worries about the DNC helping Mitch; then he couples this worry to a chopped quote that implies Mitch Landrieu wants to re-segregate New Orleans.

What the hell is Avman's problem, anyway? How inane in the membrane can someone be? Was he conceived by a weak sperm, or something?

Can't wait until the Dead Pelican promotes the next idiotic "anti-Mitch" commentary from Avman. It's funny that Dead Pelican publisher Chad Rogers feels that Mitch is one of the best candidates running for mayor, but also consistently promotes (often false) anti-Mitch Landrieu posts and videos.

* Conservatives and Republicans could learn a lot from Mitch in this area. But it seems, at best, they'd rather stammer and blubber their way through boilerplate answers on questions of race, either pretending its a non-issue or that tax cuts are a sufficient remedy.

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As LA's "trendbucking" claims prove overblown, the pressure on the Saints to win increases 

C.B. Forgotston alerts us to the following T-P article, titled "LA economy facing challenges, experts say". The piece begins:

It's a good thing the high-scoring Saints are providing a positive distraction on the football field this fall, because the Louisiana public outside the Superdome is facing some economic challenges as it tries to emerge from the recession.

No! This can't be. They told us we were trendbuckers!

Forgotston highlights some factoids from the article:

—For the first time in 22 years, state personal income tax collections declined on an annual basis in fiscal year 2009.

The rolls of people receiving jobless benefits is double the number a year ago.

—The number of households on food stamps has risen 24 percent in two years — 10 percent just since June.

Sales taxes that flowed into the state general fund from July through October were down 17 percentcompared with the same period last year.

Personal income tax revenue was down nearly 10 percent,[only partially attributable to a recent tax cut] andcorporate income tax revenue fell 25 percent.

Forgotston asks Gov. Jindal and his crack economic development team to develop a plan that addresses these issues. (Lower taxes, less red tape is C.B.'s perma-plan for everything.) Alternatively, the T-P suggests another way around the depressing economic situation:

...the state is staring at a revenue count for the next fiscal year that could be $1 billion less than this year.

The Saints' remarkable season won't reverse that trend, but it will at least offer something positive to think about.

Jeez, I hope the Saints don't lose.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Trouser Trumpet Fanfare for the Common Man 

I didn't plan it this way, but for dinner last night I had

a salad (how cute)
two bowls of Lovely's chili with extra kidney beans (uhh... careful big fella)
a slice of sweet potato pie with whip cream (great caesar's ghost)
followed by a big glass of enhanced egg nog (batten down the hatches).

A half hour later the entire downstairs was polluted. Women and children fled to higher ground, and my new nickname became "Gaseous Clay".

Sorry. This important gastro-intestinal information was too wordy for twitter, and since I don't have a farcebook wall of shame, I had to put it here.

Just "had to", I tell ya.

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"As good or better..." 

Chad Rogers of the Dead Pelican is a regular guest on Jeff Crouere's entertaining radio show. They were discussing the mayoral race, so I called in and encouraged Rogers to say more about his view of Mitch Landrieu in particular. To my surprise, he said he thought Mitch Landrieu was

as good or better than any other candidate in there right now...

We'll stow that quote in the overhead compartment for later use. While on the air, I mentioned the conservative anti-Mitch effort of 06, and Jeff Crouere forcefully reiterated his position that anyone was preferable to Nagin in that election, and that he was a conservative who supported Landrieu over Nagin in the runoff.

A caller named "James" from Metairie followed, and kindly pointed out that I published a "magnificent" blog called "Your Right Hand Thief". He went on to say he thought I was someone who truly loved New Orleans. Thanks James! (James went on to comment about the Tim Whitmer investigation in Jefferson Parish.)

Update: After checking the 12/14 podcast here (2:32:00 mark), I've edited the Rogers quote for accuracy.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pill the Poor 


New federally financed drug research reveals a stark disparity: children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts, the data shows.

Not totally apropos, but here's The Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction".



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As the philosopher Sgt. Hartman posited in Full Metal Jacket, 

"... only steers and queers come from Texas."

While these categories seem overly restrictive to me, we will note that Houston elected a new Mayor yesterday and Dallas re-elected a sheriff last year.

A view into the future: Bloomberg covers Annise Parker's election, sans mention of sexual categories, with total emphasis on Houston's deficit. The gay thing wasn't newsworthy. (Update: Bloomberg has since updated the article to include mention of Parker's sexual orientation, which sort of disappoints me. I look forward to the day when such things aren't newsworthy. Houston's mayoral election quickens us towards that goal.)


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