Friday, January 29, 2010

Trapped by the phone closet 

"Journalist" O'keefe releases a statement saying "the sole intent" of pimpgate was "to determine whether or not Senator Landrieu was purposely trying to avoid constituents who were calling to register their views to her as their Senator."

I see. So the sequence described in the FBI's affidavit (#6-8) where O'keefe's partner Basel asks to see an office phone, "manipulates" it, (pretends?) to call the number from his cell, claims he can't get through and needs to access the telephone closet to do repair work, then falsely represents himself as a telephone repairman to the GSA... that's all part of this awesome undercover investigation into whether Landrieu's office staffers were ignoring calls from constituents, back in December.

Okaaay. Pardon us if we skeptically submit that O'keefe's statement doesn't explain the need for costumes, the "manipulation" of the office phone, the (false?) claim that phone repairs were needed, and the false representations his crew made to the GSA in order to gain access to the phone closet.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010


Zombay spreads joy. Update: AZ updates post, says it might not be the case.

In the meantime let's see Quintron manipulate his organ, since he's made himself an art exhibit, and all.

Quintron & Miss Pussycat- Place Unknown from rob downs on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Big Pimpin' [Pimpgate] 

It's amazing how despite the crazy wildness after the Saints victory, there's been such a dip in crime.

Whoops, spoke too soon. TPM has a breaking report:

James O'Keefe, the conservative filmmaker who was behind the undercover operations that [led] to the ACORN scandal last year, has been arrested with three others for allegedly trying to bug the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), the Times-Picayune is reporting. From the paper:

FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes alleges that O'Keefe aided and abetted two others, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who dressed up as employees of a telephone company and attempted to interfere with the office's telephone system.
A witness from Landrieu's staff said O'Keefe was present in the office and claimed to be "waiting for someone to arrive."

The fourth person is Stan Dai, accused of aiding Basel and Flanagan. The AP is reporting that Flanagan is the son of acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan in Shreveport.

I know it's the season for costumes and all, but I wouldn't recommend donning a hard hat and workbelt and lying your way into the Hale Boggs Federal building to tap maliciously manipulate a U.S. Senator's phone system.

Update: Would it be totally irresponsible to speculate about this, given the limited information? Hell no, this is a blog!

WWL seasons its report with the term "Watergate" but doesn't jump to any conclusions:

It sounded a bit like a Watergate-style operation, but federal officials have not yet said why the men wanted to interfere with Landrieu's phones, whether they were successful, or even if the goal was political espionage.

Umm, but an inquisitive person might wonder: what would motivate this celebrated conservative "investigator" to work with a team to allegedly bug maliciously manipulate Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office, and why would they attempt to do it right now? (A complimentary magic jack installation? I doubt it.) Hmm... Well, Mary's brother Mitch is running for mayor of New Orleans, and despite absolutely no evidence, it's an article of faith among conservatives that Mary Landrieu has made a deal with national Democratic party party interests to assist her brother's election. Although lack of proof never stopped them before, perhaps they wanted to uncover evidence of some coordinated plot, in order to throw the race in a tizzy. The latest poll on the mayoral contest showed Mitch doing well in every demographic, including 37% of GOP voters (who voted for against Landrieu and for Nagin last time around, based on some of the stupidest "rationales" that I'd ever seen). Unless something fairly dramatic happens, the current campaign dynamics are very favorable for Mitch. Isn't it conceivable that this alleged attempt to bug Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office had something to do with derailing her brother in the mayor's race?

Feel free to offer other speculations in the comments. But it's difficult for me to believe a couple things about this deal:

1) that you would coordinate with a team of people on an operation like this, and absolutely no one else would know about it

2) that you would take the risk of trying to bug maliciously manipulate the phones in a Senator's office in a Federal Building, just to do a random "fishing expedition" for politically useful material. Surely, this pimp and his buddies had some theory about what they hoped to find.

Update #2: Jeffrey has a fine digest of information and reaction that includes Clay's excellent comment (below) wondering why O'Keefe and friends were taken to St. Bernard instead of Orleans Parish Prison.

Cenlamar has more on the Pelican Institute here and here.

Update #3: About the transfer to St. Bernard, I'm informed by a very knowledgable source that the St. Bernard sheriff "has a contract to take federal prisoners, as well as prisoners from other parishes". (Orleans had one too at one time, but probably not currently.)

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Moose is loose 



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Monday, January 25, 2010

Yeah you right 

Saints win! Saints win!

No matter what, we always have this time of joy, unity and pride.

It's like a glorious euphoric waking dream-- Christmas morning when you're five sorta stuff. I should be hungover and exhausted, but I'm perky and alert, and feel like two new men. The world is alive and bursting with new possibilities... and I'm not even a lifelong Saints fan! But I swear, if a leprechaun riding a unicorn knocked on the door and asked me directions to da Quarter, it wouldn't faze me a bit. "It's all the way down St. Chuck.... No-- the other way. There ya go. Have fun!"

That was a helluva memorable game-- not so much for the highlights, though there were a few, but for the sheer contingency of the contest. I know every play seems important in a big game, but there were so many incredible near misses and barely-made-its in that one; so many times when the funny shaped pigskin sprung loose and danced on the carpet in front of scrambling big men in tights... and then, to make things even crazier, you get the zebras heavily involved-- making crucial rulings and spots, then reviewing slo-mo replays of athletes struggling against each other at full speed, perservering through pain, warring for inches. The score was close the entire game, the result anything-but-certain. And then the dramatic structure of the evening turned familiarly sour at the end of the 4th quarter, as the offense stalled and Brett Favre drove the purple helmets on a last minute game-winning drive. But it was not to be. There was a penalty, and Favre was intercepted on a dangerous cross-the-body pass (which, it should be noted, he has routinely completed throughout his career). Uncertainty was alive and well.

Nothing came easy for either team last night... that unpredictable football had been bobbling and wobbling and bouncing funny all game. It seemed to practically embody the contingency of the contest. Either that, or a wild rodent was trapped inside. Then our young placekicker gets an opportunity, and casually steps back and blasts a never-in-doubt field goal to win the game. That thunderous kick would've been good from 60 yards out. It left his foot on a line drive and whizzed straight between the posts. No dramatic arc, no curving left or right. No scintilla of doubt. Just a lightning quick kill shot. Bam! Then, Whoop dere it is! Just like that.

After a grueling, tight overtime contest: how the hell did that kick happen so easily?

Anyway, here are a couple compilations of local responses to the magical Saints victory.

Noladishu: Saints reaction roundup

Liprap's Lament: the way we live

Also, here are a few select links with Saints-related material for your pleasure:

Chef Who Dat: Super Bowl portrait-- beautiful, tasteful. Must see and enlarge.

Rogers' rants: gets into the spirit by posting a fan image. (It's "tasteful" in a Beavis & Butthead "I like it when I can see the bottom of her thingies" sort of way.) Also, Rogers paints the Dead Pelican black and gold, which is cool.

Maitri's Vatulblog: celebrates the win but uploads a picture of an ugly Saints cheerleader that momentarily harshed my buzz. I suppose it's tasteful in a "I'm a silly freak" sorta way.

night is half gone...: informs us that Chris Owens actually cancelled her show to watch the game. Owens has been a Saints fan ever since she performed in Ephesus for Paul of Tarsus. But she didn't cancel a show for him, so this is news.

Cold Spaghetti: posts some nicely-written reflections on the season like this one

These are strange and beautiful days in New Orleans, and they must be seen to be believed. ...Last week, when I went down to experience the mania over the Saints’ undefeated season firsthand, I found myself not sure whether every street was a dream. Some moments made me laugh, and others were so full of a desperate love that I had tears in my eyes.
Wounded Bird: shares a nice quote from a commenter about the 'dreamlike atmosphere' in the city.

Library Chronicles: poetically describes a photo he took of Superdome celebrations after those industrial-strength confetti sprayers had done their work.

Cliff's Crib: Perfectly explains why the nature of the Saints win "flipped the script" on the Fates (don't skip this post):

If you follow the team you should realize like I do that the game last night played out exactly the way it needed to in order to close all the open wounds of things that went wrong.

Three Pipe Problem: finds a winning quote

“I would say humbly, this would be Mardi Gras, New Year’s Eve, the 300th anniversary of New Orleans and the invention of television all wrapped up into one.”

Slimbolala shares a scene:

As we drove home from our friends' house after the game, the city was wild, an ecstatic jubilant communal frenzy: honking and shouting and fireworks and (literally) dancing in the streets. I stood out on the corner until some ungodly wee hour, talking with neighbors and strangers, all happily recounting the details (or occasionally quieting to a stunned reverie: "We're going to the Super Bowl...").

Also, I forgot to thank Dilly and Berto for forcefully applying some eyeblack on my face, in order to turn the game around. They did this by wiping their faces directly on my face.

If someone can send me a link to the photo of the saints and Buddy D. flags that adorned the Lee Circle column, I'd appreciate it. (Update: Our New Orleans Saints has an enhanced image.)
Who Dat!

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Who dat, indeed." 

A few days ago, the T-P's [barely] "Living" section interviewed some TV stars and asked them who they liked for the Super Bowl. Above the story there was this photo of John Goodman during the filming of a Treme episode.

and below the picture was a statement along the lines of "We didn't need to ask who John Goodman was rooting for, as he is wearing a New Orleans shirt on the Treme set." (Sorry for the inexact quote. Working from memory, here.) Anyway, I'm sure Goodman likes the Saints, but another explanation for his Saints shirt is that he's playing a character inspired by one of the great New Orleans/Saints fans devotees in recent history.

Missing you hard this morning, Ashley. I'll toast you later on in celebration, and smoke one of the cubanos you always gave me. Enjoy the show, big fella. Sinn Fein.

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