Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lombardi Gras 

Thanks to mominem's generosity, the family got to watch Tuesday's "Lombardigras" Super Bowl parade across the street from Gallier Hall. There were nearly a million other people lined along the route. Overall, it was a wonderful celebratory experience. However, even though Lovely and I had seen parades from Gallier Hall before, we'd forgotten how painfully awkward it can be when politicians make their parade toasts. Tuesday was no exception. Unfortunately, I didn't have a pair of Baylen Brees-style headphones handy to drown out the amplified buffoonery from the pols.

This is a video of Sen. Vitter hailing Brees by making an unnecessary jab at Peyton manning. And then Nagin gets on the horn and bumbles around for a while.



Here's a nice compilation of parade footage by NOLArobot (Mr. Clio can be seen in the beginning.)

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Pants on the ground 

Not sure if this de-pantsing occurred on a metro in berlin, but I thought it was a creative response to potential thuggery. Tosh breaks it down. (NSFW if you squint.)

Tosh.0
Video Breakdown - Pantsed on the Train
www.comedycentral.com
Web Redemption2 Girls, 1 Cup ReactionDemi Moore Picture

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Spare me 

The Associated Press reports on Governor Jindal's budget proposal:


Gov. Bobby Jindal proposed a $24.2 billion budget Friday that cuts health care services and government jobs, spares college campuses and uses a patchwork of one-time funding to close a billion-dollar state revenue gap.
...
"We're submitting a balanced, fiscally responsible budget," Jindal said.
...
The budget proposal contains shallower cuts than many lawmakers had predicted. About $1 billion in federal stimulus money would prop up several agencies, and the governor proposes using tax amnesty and surplus dollars to help fill gaps in lost federal health care funds.

College campuses would be protected, left to cope with three budget cuts they've taken over the last year and a half but kept from any further slashing. Jindal said he wanted to preserve the current state funding to the schools while the state embarks on a restructuring of Louisiana's college systems.

"We thought it was important to give higher education time to make changes that we are demanding," Jindal said.

College leaders thanked the governor for the budgetary reprieve, and Commissioner of Higher Education Sally Clausen said the next year would be used for schools to retool.

"We are very appreciative to Gov. Jindal for recognizing the pain that higher education has endured during the past year, and we are most grateful for his efforts to protect us from future cuts," said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin.

A reliable YRHT source observed how Gov. Jindal and Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell presented the budgetary reprieve to higher education as if it were a considered decision flowing from the goodness of their hearts. Higher education officials certainly fell over themselves to thank governor Jindal for not making the deep cuts he originally intended.

There's more to the story, though. It seems Jindal's "decision" to not cut the higher education budget like he originally intended stemmed more from necessity than from any of the self-serving reasons stated in the above article. Jindal has enjoyed the use of President Obama's stimulus money to prop up higher education funding in his budgets (among other things). However, since Jindal has aspirations for national office, he also wants to have some real budgetary cuts on his resumé. So Jindal applied to the Obama administration for a special waiver to use the stimulus money to support higher education while also cutting it. This budgetary voodoo would enable him to make his desired cuts in higher education without having to do anything politically "icky" to balance the budget, such as: raise taxes, tap other pools of state money, or make draconian cuts in other programs. The Obama administration didn't grant this special waiver to Jindal. Thus, he was unable to both have his "cake" (boasting about budget cuts) and eat it too (no painful political consequences, courtesy of the stimulus band-aid). When the waiver was denied, and Jindal had to choose between using the stimulus or making his intended cuts without the stimulus funds to fall back on, Jindal opted not to make his desired cuts to higher education.

Of course, the Governor and his staff spun their reversal as a generous "decision" on their part. And a relieved higher education community thanked them profusely, without mention of Obama or the Democratic Congress that passed the stimulus dollars (and regulations) that allowed Louisiana colleges this "reprieve".

It's just one more example of this hypocritical tendency by Republican "conservatives" who mock the stimulus for political gain while shamelessly taking credit for all the benefits the stimulus brings to their local constituencies. Jindal tried to stretch this gambit even further by using stimulus money to keep the state's budget numbers in line while he made "conservative" spending cuts to higher education. When he got rebuffed, he suddenly invented new reasons as to why he didn't make his intended cuts, and now enjoys the public gratitude from the higher education community. Nice.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

John Mayer's penis may attend CPAC 

What ho there! A press release from the "Sons of Liberty" group at MSU announces:

The newly established and registered student organization at Michigan State University, the Sons of Liberty, will host Nick Griffin as a speaker from noon to 1:30 p.m. on February 18, 2010

That's really cool, because whenever you see the word "liberty" these days, you'll be sure to find a passionate and well-argued defense of freedom in the tradition of Thomas Paine. You'll never see people invoke "liberty" and then act like hypocritical chicken littles, running around in wet pants shrieking about socialist fascist conspiracies involving Obamahitlerjokercrats. No, they stay pretty principled and clear-headed. If, god-willing, these "pro-liberty" brightstars ever got together to form a movement, I predict that it would become an enduring political force that would never get co-opted by Grand Ole Profiteers, nor would it simply become an easy platform for wack-ass extremists. Anyway, enough musings. Let's get back to the good news:


Michigan State University will be Griffin’s first public event; he will also speak at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH, at the American Renaissance conference in Washington, D.C., and he is expected to make an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., as well.

Let freedom ring! I wonder what topic Griffin will tackle?

Nick Griffin... [will] discuss how the fraud of man-made global warming is used by liberals to attack the sovereignty of nation-states.

As anyone who willfully confuses weather with climate knows, whatever is outside your window can mean more than decades worth of scientific data collected from around the globe. Moreover, some phrases from select stolen emails negates massive data compilation and analysis conducted by (those agenda-driven frauds) at NASA, NOAA and their counterparts in Japan. So "science", as we used to know it, is no longer relevant these days. Right-thinking liberty-minded people can see the hoax outside their window. And they've read two out-of-context phrases from some stolen emails... so, case closed! They just need truth-seekers like Nick Griffin to connect the dots for them, and put the global warming hoax into a larger context of worldwide conspiracy. I just hope no one tries to shut Griffin down.

During the [the last time Griffin spoke at MSU], left-wing agitators attempted to drown out his message by shouting him down and by pulling fire alarms after beating an effigy of him outside. Immediately following his speech, a mob of armed leftists attacked people sympathetic with Griffin’s message with baseball bats, sticks, and canes (http://statenews.com/index.php/article/2007/10/police_brief_103007).

Oh dear! I can't wait to read the whole story at the link. ...Hmm, apparently the armed "mob" consisted of two people who chased six conservatives around campus. "There was no physical confrontation" says the report (which of course doesn't excuse the rude and threatening behavior). What would possess two leftists to "bring the wood" like that and disrupt Griffin's speech? Is he somehow controversial? Who is this Nick Griffin bloke, anyway?

Apparently, Nick Griffin is a hardcore fascist racist in the tradition of David Duke and John Mayer's penis. Jolly good. Perhaps Griffin's spiritual lineage even traces back to Sir Oswald Mosely, the 20th century's "worst Briton". And Griffin's "expected" to make an appearance at CPAC. Perhaps this authority on the worldwide global warming hoax will also discuss the holocaust hoax he knows so much about. Maybe he'll also present his views on jews, minorities and immigrants. That should be liberty-enhancing.

Glenn Beck is scheduled to make CPAC's keynote speech this year. Rush Limbaugh did it last year. (I defy you to find two people more dangerously misinformed about New Orleans than Beck and Limbaugh.) Both Beck and Limbaugh have claimed President Obama is the real racist among us, and perhaps they'll do so again, at CPAC, while rubbing shoulders with the likes of Nick Griffin and his fellow-travelers.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Secrets of the temple shared in Rhyme Tyme 

This moment is all over the twitterverse and blogland, but it's still the coolest thing ever, and is worth repeated viewings.

Drew Brees teaches Saints pre-Game chant to crowd at Lucy's bar post Super Bowl



alternate view here.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Quotes of the weak 

"[I]t would have been desirable if [U.S.] consumers installed floor mats properly."

-- Shinichi Sasaki, Toyota Motor's Vice President in charge of customer-quality, told an incredulous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official on 12/15/09. This was one month before Toyota finally admitted that their lethal sudden acceleration car problems, which they initially blamed on floor mats, were really caused by mechanical defects in the gas pedals. They also admitted that the company had known about these problems for over a year. (Quote in print WSJ version. Also, if your car suddenly accelerates and the brakes fail, shift into neutral and guide it to a safe stop.)


"Last night Piper asked me to tell her a bedtime story and I said 'YOU BETCHA,' let me tell you about two brothers named Abel and Cain..."

-- Sarah Palin, at a motivational seminar at the Toyota Center in Houston. No word on whether Piper was soothed by the story about Cain killing his brother, receiving God's curse, and then marrying his sister (or niece?) and-- in a prescient nod to James Dean-- moving East of Eden. [Not saying the young shouldn't receive a biblical education. It's perhaps a necessary wet-nurse that allows them to avoid the occasional bewilderment which occurs when the bible is referred to without clear warning. However, I think the Cain/Abel story isn't the best choice for bedtime reading, as it immediately brings up disturbing, difficult-to-answer questions.]


"I don’t think I open myself to [overtures by black women]. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick."

-- Pop star John Mayer, in an interview with Playboy. Actually, the charged language and failed humor makes Mayer's douchebaggery seem worse than it actually is. Truly, what's the substantive difference between Mayer's answer, and any other narrow, pigment-specific response you commonly hear to queries such as 'what's your taste in women/men'? One of the benefits of growing up an undersexed teenage geek is how the desperation expands your theoretical sexual "pallette". (Or so I hear.) As a young star surrounded by lots of conventionally attractive women, Mayer probably never had the enlightened idea to broaden his "taste". For an example of such enlightenment-by-necessity, consider the views expressed in this is excerpt from a recent Playboy interview with some blogger named "erster":

Erster, do you prefer black or white women? Watcha got?

Blondes or Brunettes? Don't forget redheads.

Bust or Leg man? Shouldn't there be a "butt" category?

Tall or petite? Did you say "tall" or "all"? The answer is all.

What about men? Sorry, my little unit is a raging homophobe.

What if Scott Fujita were available? (Blushing coyly, looking down, drawing circle on floor with pointed toe) Ummm... well... But he's NOT, so it's like a totally stupid question...

(long pause)

but, I mean, if we were to imagine such a scenario, are you saying Fujita would be "available" while wearing a corduroy jacket browsing in the philosophy section of a bookstore? Or perhaps he'd be available while doing some landscaping on a sultry afternoon, unburdened by a shirt? Is that what you're talking about? ... Nevermind. Why would you even ask such a thing? It's crazy talk.

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Open Letter to the Custodial Staff at the Bombay Club 

Please accept my sincere apologies for my amateurish, drunken stupor in the early Monday A.M. hours after the Super Bowl. The, um, "untidiness" of the men's bathroom after my visit was entirely my fault, and I'm very sorry for the reeking mess. Surely it must be a drag to have to work during one of the greatest nights in a city's history, and I promise you that it wasn't my intention to complicate your job by spending a good chunk of the evening heaving inaccurately at the men's toilet in a sophisticated Martini Bar.

I could blame the beer, the vodka, the sazeracs, the damn strong cheeba, (or especially) the generous tequila shots that Ratboy offered me throughout the course of the game. But at the end of the day I alone must take responsibility for what enters my body. After dancing and yelling in the uptown streets and waving lit sparklers in celebration (it seemed cool at the time), Ratboy and I went for a long magical traipse up and down Bourbon Street. The excitement and euphoria were wonderful. Bliss was everywhere, nausea nowhere. It was crowded but we floated among thousands of happy friends. There was a wonderful flow-- I went with it, and that's how I ended up at your establishment.

Unfortunately, when I stopped moving, the observable phenomena around me...didn't. And this swirling condition led to a most uncomfortable and embarrassing episode of intense nausea, for which I'm now profusely apologizing. A point of clarification, though, if I may: a Bombay Club customer who visited the bathroom stall after my extended visit loudly complained about an "explosion of diarrhea". That dark brown grictus on the bowl and tile was in fact vomited BBQ chicken that had missed its mark. Hopefully it had been somewhat sterilized with unabsorbed alcohol, and didn't present a health hazard to your patrons.

Big thanks to my more-stalwart comrades, Ratboy and José, who were concerned about my decampments to the (once-pristine) Bombay lavatory. I appreciate them making sure I was okay, and arranging a ride home. Regrettably, they arranged the ride home with my wife rather than with a taxi service-- so Lovely had to wake my sleeping pearlgirls and load them into the family truckster and journey into the wild night to retrieve their drunken daddy. Umm, yeah. Not known for her traffic-avoiding savvy, Lovely took the direct route to the French Quarter, which was also the slowest route, and she nearly ran out of gas while in CBD gridlock. Apparently it took her an hour and a half to pick me up, though it only felt like fifteen groggy minutes to lucky old me.

After the Super Bowl, Saints QB Drew Brees was overcome with emotion while celebrating with his young child, who didn't understand what was going on around him. In a bizarro-world sort of way, I had a similar experience! I was overcome with certain feelings, and despite it being past their bedtime my girls were with me on a memorable night, and were very alert and quizzical about the whole post-game ordeal. I suppose the only difference was that Brees had just won the Super Bowl whereas I had just vomited in a toilet bowl. [Also, for some stupid reason their school wasn't cancelled on Monday, so my five year old excitedly relayed the whole story in granular detail to her teacher. Now the next parent-teacher conference fills me with dread.]

The next morning, my memories were few and fragmented. I put on my spectacles and smelled a familiar odor. This jogged my memory from the night before and a mental image flashed before me of my glasses tumbling into the polluted Bombay Club toilet, and my bare hand reaching into the liquid gunk to retrieve them. (Apparently in my stupor I forgot to wash them off.)

I mention these things because they may perhaps provide the Bombay Club custodial staff with some small measure of levity or satisfaction.

Again, please accept my whole-hearted apologies for the trouble.

Sincerely,

Mark
"oyster" at YRHT

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Alright, don't worry, we'll all float on 

"Hoosier daddy" interception highlight generated no small amount of excitement in the Crescent City. (Photo credit: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images). Port Allen native Terry Tracy Porter beats New Orleans natives Reggie Wayne and Peyton Manning for the game-sealing "pick six".


Sunday Night I celebrated on Bourbon Street with thousands of my closest friends. Excessive drinking led to long magical moments floating in the dionysian unity... ultimately ending in embarrassing drunken behavior. Luckily I can't remember much of the embarrassing bits.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? 

What Jeffrey said. I, too, had a recap post of the Saints/Minnesota game that was going to merge with a preview of the Super Bowl and include a healthy dose of political analysis. This intended post sort of grew and grew until it was an unwieldy frankenstein... so let me just apologize for any unfulfilled YRHT build-ups. (I'm sure you'll somehow manage.)

Let me just say a few things before I watch the game. If and when the Saints win, we may have a celebratory YRHT hiatus of some length. (Again, I'm sure you'll somehow manage.)

Some quick points.

TYRANNY of "Analysis by the Averages": The tyranny of the idiotic "analysis-by-nfl-rankings" is so predictable and dull and unrevealing. Oooh, it's the "6th ranked offense versus the 24th ranked defense". Who gives a crap? What were their performances like against similar teams? What were the performances like in similar circumstances? That's more meaningful to me. What are the unique dynamics affecting this game that weren't present in others? What is surprisingly likely to occur in this game? What is unlikely to occur in this game, but, if it does, would virtually seal the result? Is there one particular match-up that is devastatingly one-sided and will expose the other team... etc etc. These are the deeper questions to consider.

SPECIAL TEAMS are a real thing. Occasionally people give them lip service as being one-third of the game, but they don't really treat them as a third of the game. The Saints had a significant special teams advantage in the Minnesota game, and I expect them to have an advantage against Indianapolis, as well. As Jeffrey has said all season, punter Morstead is underappreciated. He, Pierre, Roby and Hartley had huge roles in the win against the Vikings.

PIERRE THOMAS: I agree with radio personality Kaare Johnson. He said he wouldn't be surprised if the Saints or Colts won by up to 14 points. He's predicting the Saints to win and Thomas to be the SB MVP-- so am I! Travers Fletcher Mackel phoned into his show on WIST 690am, and couldn't entertain the idea that Peyton Manning would get intercepted. It was "ludicrous" to think that even if he throws 40 to 50 passes that he'll get intercepted. Kaare initially said he could see the Saints getting 2 interceptions, and, once again-- so do I! But Kaare backed down when Mackel scoffed at the notion. I won't. I think the Saints will have to be plus two in the turnover department to win. That doesn't mean I think they are the inferior team on a neutral field, it's that I think they are an inherently opportunistic team that relies on turnovers to seize momentum and make several decisive, unanswered scores. I foresee Sharper getting an important interception off Manning. I think Pierre, though, will have a monster game, catching screens and running for first downs and touchdowns.

Ratboy made a prediction that is very interesting. He predicts the Saints will run a play or two out of the Wildcat formation. I think it's a good prediction, in that it is a surprisingly likely scenario. I hope NOT to see it, as I think the wildcat is simply a silly stupid fad, but I could see Sean Payton doing something different like that.

If he is going to do some trickeration (and I hope he does), I'd love to see that tight end-to-Reggie Bush hook and lateral play that seemed to be in the works during the NFC championship against the Bears.

Another thing that would delight me is seeing Reggie Bush getting in the open field running past some Colt linebackers.

But a steady diet of Pierre Thomas runs up the field will be a very good thing. I don't think we can lose if Pierre runs it 20 times.

As Cliff writes,

It’s been very hard for me to get the same nervous and paranoid feeling that I usually have for a big Saints game. I really wanted the team to play in the Superbowl and I never really changed my agenda to winning it. I am already so satisfied that I can’t get it going for today. I hope the team isn’t feeling the same way I do.


Yeah, there's no nervousness now. Just a serene euphoria. Our 2nd place celebration will have a higher crunk quotient than the Colts victory celebration, should it come to that. (Perhaps during the game I will feel some nervousness. My prediction 34-24 Saints. Oh, and remind me to talk about the betting line on this game, which was interesting.) May sound corny, but as much as I love watching this team succeed on the gridiron, and analyzing the game, I love the unifying joy the Saints bring to this entire city even more. Never seen anything like it and I truly feel honored to be part of it.

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Mitch Landrieu wins! 

Last night Mitch Landrieu won New Orleans' mayoral contest, outright, in a landslide election in the primary round. He captured 66% of the vote, and his nearest opponent, Troy Henry, had 14%. John Georges ended up spending around $400/vote to get a measly 9%. The internals on Landrieu's win are extremely impressive, and should be studied as a guide to what is politically achievable in this city. NolaStat's map shows that Landrieu convincingly won every precinct (except one that he barely missed), which is a mind-blowing achievement for a non-incumbent in an open primary. And remember, we're talking about New Orleans, here. A city of wards and factions and allegiances unlike any other in the South. How do you win a majority of the vote for mayor in every New Orleans neighborhood in a multi-candidate primary? (Well, it helps to have un-established opponents and a disastrous predecessor who was elected with the help of "strategic" conservative voters who told us ... well, they told us all kinds of b.s. four years ago-- most of which still holds, if you're dumb enough to believe such crap. YRHT whipping post Mike Bayham who was one of the tools at the forefront of the conservative vote-Nagin effort in 06, advised New Orleans to "choose wisely" in this election, though he didn't make a specific endorsement this time. Yeah, thanks for the tip. You could get more consistent "wisdom" from Emilio Estevez' directorial debut than you can from Bayham. But, indulgently, I digress.)

Pistolette humorously summed up my viewing experience watching WWL for the results. WWL was consistently ahead of the other networks with its information, and Clancy Dubos' political analysis was light years more incisive and sophisticated than the professors and pundits on the other networks (although I do like WDSU's Dr. Burns). All due credit to WWL and Clancy and demographer Rigamer-- they were simply much better at delivering solid information, and they correctly called the race 25 minutes after the polls closed, which was pretty shocking. But, as Pistolette describes, there were some hiccups:

I was mostly watching WWL so I could watch Clancy DuBos’ anaysis, but oh at what a price. WWL is running somekinda podunk HD where they hover the oldskool analog box in the middle with HD borders. Then the crapola signal in the middle has news anchors older than the St Louis Cathedral. This doesn’t bug me at all compared to the lighting issue, which makes everyone on that station’s face look like the lunar surface, sans the decency to remove the color.
The visuals were pretty rough. But it was worth looking past that, because Dubos went deeper than the usual warmed-over political generics served on other channels, and explained the political dynamics that prevented Troy Henry from employing the "2006 Nagin strategy" that some simplistically assumed would occur. These dynamics were important, in that they prevented Henry from becoming a real threat to Landrieu in this race. Dubos accurately described the mayoral election result as a "repudiation of Nagin". Absolutely right: this was a city-wide repudiation of Nagin, in every single corner of every single neighborhood. I couldn't be happier about that fact. Maybe Nagin will move to Dallas after May 31st 3rd, when his term ends (unless he gets indicted before that).

One disappointment was the low turnout. Given the Super Bowl, Carnival and everything else, I guess it makes sense. But it was even lower than I expected. The Secretary of State was predicting "high turnout", which was way off.

Credit goes to John Georges, who made a very gracious and sincere concession speech not long after the race was called, which was not long after the polls closed. A tip of the hat to Troy Henry, who was equally gracious and unifying, and even went over to Landrieu's victory party to congratulate him in person. That's a noble move.

So the Mayor's race is decided. New Orleans is a predominantly black city with a white mayor-elect, a Vietnamese-American U.S. Representative, and a state governor of Indian descent. Gumbo coalitions, baby.

Well done, Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu! YRHT wishes you every success in your efforts to lead this city to a brighter future.
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Update: I might be able to get do a Saints post before the game, but don't count on it. And don't count on one any time after the game, either. In the interim, though, don't miss this post at Noladishu.

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