Saturday, December 26, 2009

Where can I buy a "Drill Our Lake" bumper sticker? 

T-P reports:

As the hunt for new sources of domestic fuel intensifies in the face of dwindling world supplies, the energy industry has been quietly lobbying the state to open hundreds of thousands of acres in Lake Pontchartrain to drilling.

Well when you put it in the context of "dwindling world supplies", hell's bells, what are we waiting for? Let's start drilling OUR LAKE. Who's wit me?

"Drill, Santa Baby, Drill. Do it for me. Hold me Thrill me Kiss me Drill me-- or the terrorists win."

Can I get an Amen? You betcha.

Some Oil Industry sources say that massive new discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico and Iran mean that there are plenty of energy reserves. But the good news is that we can choose not to believe this if it suits our interests. For example, Dr [Colin] Campbell, former chief geologist and vice-president at BP, Shell, Fina, Exxon and ChevronTexaco says "When I was the boss of an oil company I would never tell the truth. It's not part of the game."

See-- we can't trust oil to tell us the truth about "dwindling world supplies". Therefore we must drill in Lake Pontchartrain, to be on the safe side.

Let er rip!


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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas 

Pro tip: If you're like me and you want to read about Jesus of Nazareth's birth in Bethlehem to your family, I recommend consulting the accounts in Luke and Matthew rather than Mark (the oldest gospel) and John (the non-synoptic gospel).

Below are several different Christmas songs some or all of which you may enjoy.

Sufjan Stevens "Joy to the World"

Mahalia Jackson "What Can I Give?"

Amanda Shaw "Santa wears Overalls"

Weezer "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Movement" from Thinking of Empire album 

Slovenly-- "criminally overlooked" SST band from the eighties-- is back on utoob.


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"Is Parish President Aaron Broussard a Hands-Off Incompetent, or Corrupt?” 

[Commentary by David C. Bellinger:]

Re: “Tim Whitmer linked to video poker firm with special parish permit,” Times Picayune story by Paul Rioux, December 20, 2009.

Dear Blogger:

With scandals and probable criminal activity in Jefferson Parish flying like beads and doubloons during Mardi Gras, here is yet another potential scandal involving Jefferson Parish's No. 2 executive: “Tim Whitmer linked to video poker firm with special parish permit” --

One must question and wonder, given the rampant apparent improprieties, and an avalanche of suspected illicit revelations being revealed in the Times-Picayune on a daily basis, emitting a stench as odious as a French Quarter seafood garbage truck in August, whether Jefferson Parish exec Aaron Broussard is an incompetent, or complicit in a racketeering organization.

Given Broussard’s unalterable refusal to dismiss Whitmer, despite a demand by Councilman John Young to throw the “bum” out, and that Aaron Broussard has blatantly exercised a disregard for ethics and judgment, accepting $5,000 from his appointee Tim Whitmer for legal services, and Broussard being an accomplished attorney and an experienced politician, I suspect Tim Whitmer is no more acting alone in his nefarious dealings than G. Gordon Liddy was a bumbling burglar acting on his own behalf at the Watergate break-in.

However, giving Broussard the benefit of the doubt, if Broussard is as much of a hands-off, disengaged exec, as the evidence may -– or may not -- indicate, then the Jefferson Parish council, and the citizens of Jefferson Parish, must call for Broussard’s immediate resignation. Or recognize Broussard as the Inspector Clouseau of Jefferson Parish politics.

David C. Bellinger
(404) 762-8779
Atlanta, GA

Update: A relevant Times Picayune editorial can be found here.


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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Obamacare could be hundreds of billions less expensive than Bush drug-care. 

Highlights from special Health Care issue of "Wingnut Monthly": Earlier in December, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn gently warned senior citizens they would "die soon" if the Democratic Health Care bill passed. Then two nights ago Herr Doktor Coburn encouraged citizens to pray for something to happen to Democrats so they would be unable to make the vote. And now ex-Guv Sarah Palin re-invokes the specter of "death panels".

To put it charitably, I'm less than enthralled by the Health Bill-- simply increasing coverage within the current flawed system doesn't do much for me. [And just to be clear, since I've been (embarrassingly) silent since inauguration, I'm less than enthralled by most of Obama's presidency, thus far, too. If we were playing by Bush-league rules, perhaps we could say that the first nine months of one's presidency hardly counts... but that's another post. I will tell my PUMA friends, though, that the Dem caucus wouldn't have 60 senators right now if Obama hadn't been nominated, so enjoy the luxury of complaining about an underwhelming Health Care bill rather than re-"fighting" the Clenis wars into the 2010s without even the remote possibility of passing "Hillarycare".]

Anyway, this is worth reading: [libertarian] Matt Welch's very welcome and personal perspective of American and French healthcare. He offers some questions that small guv peeps might do well to ask themselves.

Also, Newsweek's Jacob Weisberg reminds us of the Republicans' 2003 Medicare prescription-drug bill. Remember how that donut for Big Pharma was passed?

Bush officials threatened to fire Medicare's chief actuary if he shared honest cost estimates with Congress. House Republicans cut off C-Span and kept the roll call open for three hours to cajole the last few votes they needed for passage. Majority Leader Tom DeLay was admonished by the House ethics committee for threatening to vaporize the son of one Michigan Republican in an upcoming election.

The real significance of that episode, however, is not their bad manners but the policy Republicans produced the last time health care was on the menu. Their bill, which stands as the biggest expansion of government's role in health care since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, created an entitlement for seniors to purchase low-cost drug coverage. Simply stated, the law is complicated as hell, costs a fortune, still isn't paid for, and doesn't do all that much—though it does include coverage for end-of-life counseling...

In their 2009 report to Congress, the Medicare trustees estimate that the 10-year cost of Medicare Part D is as high as $1.2 trillion. That figure—just for prescription-drug coverage that people over 65 still have to pay a lot of money for—dwarfs the $848 billion cost of the Senate bill.

And unlike the Democratic bills, which the Congressional Budget Office says won't add to the deficit, the bill George W. Bush signed was financed entirely through deficit spending.

Like they did with officials who made realistic cost estimates about the Iraq War, the Bush Administration also pressured nonpartisan analysts to not disclose the true costs of its Medicare Drug bill. Bush pledged in his 2003 State of the Union address that he would hold the Drug bill cost to under $400 billion, but when reasonable analysts had higher estimates-- uh oh!-- the administration suppressed them with threats, and thereby prevented the public from debating the issue with even remotely honest numbers. [And teabaggers filled the streets to protest saying we can't deficit finance such a monstrous entitlement while we wage 2 wars!-- oh, wait, no. That didn't happen.] So, basically, the likely true cost of the Prescription Drug bill will be $800 billion more than Bush's forecast. At the time the bill passed, conservatives expressed their keen disappointment with a disgruntled clearing of the throat. But Obamajokerhitler's $875 billion bill is "socialism".

I see.

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311-- not just a crappy band 

In other hyper-local infrastructure news that concerns oyster, today marks the three year anniversary of my street drain getting plugged with dirt after a storm. In an attempt to come original*, I had been using da Mayor's handy-dandy 311 live request number on a bimonthly basis to order some public service. It took nearly a year of regular calling before Public Works came out to my street. They fixed one of the two plugged drains, declared "Work Order Accomplished", and went on their merry way. I've called numerous times since then, but they won't come back out because their records show that the problem was fixed, which it wasn't. To be fair, they probably didn't see the second plugged drain due to all the years of accrued muck that covers it. (Yes, I've tried to handle the issue myself, many times, but the blockage is too far down into the drain for me to get to.)

Now this:

Laying out a virtual doomsday scenario of how the City Council's changes to New Orleans' 2010 budget will affect city services, Mayor Ray Nagin said Thursday that most city buildings will be closed on Fridays starting in January and the 311 information and service hotline will be eliminated.

Oh No! Where will we turn if the precious 311 system gets scrapped? You mean it wasn't worth $32 million, or even $18 million, for double or triple duplication of hotline "services"? You mean OUR MAYOR (who understands business, they all said) will dare to eliminate this wonderful program?

If I have an urgent request that needs to be promptly ignored-- who will I be able to call? I've become accustomed to my bimonthly frustrated-laugh fest, now where will I turn?


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Monday, December 21, 2009

It's a Christmas miracle! 

After multiple news stories and numerous blog posts (beginning with Ashley's), Entergy finally replaced the missing street tiles at the intersection of Pine and Birch. Over a year and a half ago Entergy responded to Ashley's concern about the tiles, saying they were in the process" of restoring them. I've been on them ever since to make good on their word.

Finally they did, so I'll give them a "thanks" and a "better late than never".

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