Saturday, February 20, 2010

Positive Mental Attitude 

Late Night Punk Rawk (hardcore) courtesy of Bad Brains circa 1979(!), performing "Attitude" and "I".

Vital stuff.

In 1988 my friends implored me to go with them to see Bad Brains do a Spring Break show in Daytona Beach (where I grew up). Almost no major punk rock bands ever played Daytona, so this was a big deal. But like a little douchenozzle, I decided not to go because I was busy adding to my treasured collection of future regrets, or something. My friends said I'd be sorry. Yep. Yep, yep, yep. (Not that the lame spring break crowd in attendance could appreciate the Bad Brains, but still.)

Fun fact! The Bad Brains are named after a Ramones song.

A couple years later the Red Hot Chili Peppers came to Daytona for Spring Break and I skipped seeing them as well. (No regrets there.) However, I do like that they stopped lip-synching in the middle of their MTV performance of "Knock Me Down", and just left the stage. The MTV director was like, Quick, cut to the professional dancers!

However, after performing another song RHCP bassist Flea and hard-hitting drummer Chad Smith assaulted a young woman, which was totally uncool and wrong. It became big local news at the time.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Post-election housekeeping 

The Times Picayune does some post-election expenditure reporting. Of interest:

In the New Orleans mayoral race, the campaign of the biggest overall spender -- businessman John Georges, who injected $3.5 million of his own money into the race -- put the most dough on the street during the Feb. 6 primary, according to reports filed this week with the state Ethics Administration.In addition to $5,630 spent for radio and newspaper ads on Election Day, the Georges campaign paid $82,810 to a whopping 690 workers who spread out across the city to tout his candidacy -- for between $70 and $360 apiece.

You mean those Georges signholders weren't "true believer" volunteers? Wow, I never would've guessed, what with their indefatigable enthusiasm, sparkling eyes, and contagious election day joie de vivre. Usually you have to visit a bus terminal waiting area to observe such levels of genuine excitement and anticipation.

The T-P adds some context:

Georges... didn't put nearly as much money on the street Feb. 6 as in his failed bid for governor in 2007, when he flooded air waves and busy intersections statewide with an Election Day effort that cost almost $355,700...

Hmm. Early in the mayoral campaign Georges claimed in a radio interview that he "didn't spend a dime in the [New Orleans] black community" when he ran for Governor in 2007, and that it was an "absolute lie" to say otherwise. He claimed he spent $12 million to get the white community on board with his campaign. I'm sticking with my sources on this one. Despite his claims to the contrary, I believe Georges did pay large amounts of street money in 07, much of which went into the "black community" in New Orleans. Why he adamantly and implausibly claims otherwise is anyone's guess.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Good stuff 

Your Cousin Pat at Hurricane Radio writes a very thoughtful and persuasive post about the predictable dynamics that all-too-often impede well-intentioned advocacy groups. Over time, many advocacy groups become associated with (or, worse, invested in) failed governmental organizations. When crisis occurs and the cumulative failures of the organization are exposed, these reformist groups do not have the political capital needed to effectively "frame the debate" during that small but crucially important window when major policy decisions about "reforms" get made. Thus, the advocacy groups get outmaneuvered during critical moments and get caught in the false choice of either defending failed institutions or opposing non-progressive "reforms" (which always seem suspiciously ready-to-hand).

At least, that's one of the points I took away from Pat's post. Perhaps I'm reading into it. Go read it for yourself, please, and see if you take away something else.


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Austin plane crash 

Big Man was incredulous at the early spin describing today's events in Austin, TX:

[E]verybody is falling all over themeselves not to call this cat a "terrorist."

It's "possible terrorist-related activity" but it's not terrorism and he's not a terrorist. What the hell?

How can you fly a plane into a building out of spite, and have folks call it "suicide by plane?" That's like calling it "suicide by portable chest bomb."

Why are media folks wondering if the FBI needs to be involved since it's a local crime? Really son? Trying to kill federal employees on federal property is just a "local problem" now?

I bet if he had a Muslim surname it would be terrorism. Yep, wouldn't be no question about that.

I'm often reluctant to do instant-analysis on national events like this one, but based on the target and apparent motive it's difficult to see how Stack's intentional targeting of a Federal IRS center wouldn't qualify as a "domestic terrorist" attack. The guy was obviously enraged and distraught, but he clearly intended for this act to be a message leading to some sort of anti-government uprising.

From CNN: An Austin, Texas, resident with an apparent grudge against the Internal Revenue Service set his house on fire Thursday and then crashed a small plane into a building housing an IRS office with nearly 200 employees, federal officials said. Federal authorities identified the pilot of the Piper Cherokee PA-28 as Joseph Andrew Stack, 53. Two people were injured and one person was missing, local officials said. Other than the pilot, there were no reported deaths.

A message on a Web site registered to Stack appears to be a suicide note.
In the lengthy, rambling message, the writer rails against the government and, particularly, the IRS.

Obviously, I'm quite glad the apparent bombing didn't kill anyone besides Stack. (Update: Now I heard that someone did die. That's why I hate doing these posts.) Back in the nineties I spoke with some anti-IRS zealots that sounded a lot like this guy. There's undoubtedly more to the story, and I'm not interested in making political hay out of incidents like this one.

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Big news 

After sitting on the story awhile, the Gambit Blog finally alerts us to the conclusions of an important study:

New Orleans... has taken the top spot in Condomania’s ranking of U.S. cities by penis size.

This really might be the greatest three week stretch in the history of New Orleans.

The study ranked states, as well as cities. Sadly, it seems the rest of Louisiana, on average, doesn't quite measure up to New Orleans. While the city ranks first, the state ranks seventh. Similarly, averages in "blue states" surpassed averages in "red states".

But who really cares about that sort of thing, anyway? Size isn't everything. The average unit in red states might be "cuter", for example.

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Land of the lost 

Texas Tribune reports on the state's modern stone age families:

Nearly a third of Texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

• Most of the Texans in the survey — 51 percent — disagree with the statement, "human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals." Thirty-five percent agreed with that statement, and 15 percent said they don't know.

• Did humans live at the same time as the dinosaurs? Three in ten Texas voters agree with that statement; 41 percent disagree, and 30 percent don't know.

Sixty percent of Texans either believe that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church, or they think that the jury is still out on such matters. I don't know which is worse. The survey breaks the responses down by political party. I wish they would've broken them down by political ideology (liberal, conservative) as well.

It looks as if these evolution-skeptics and faith based "young earthers" will shoehorn their conservative "views" into the next batch of science textbooks, so that a whole new generation of Texans will actually be taught this garbage in school (amongst other misinformation).

H/T: Marty Beckerman

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Coal Ash Wednesday 

Facing South:

An Alabama creekkeeper has filed a complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency citing health threats including runoff containing alarmingly high arsenic levels at a bankrupt landfill that's taking hundreds of millions of gallons of coal ash spilled from the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston coal plant.

The Arrowhead Landfill -- owned by Perry County Associates and managed by Phill-Con Services and Phillips & Jordan -- is near Uniontown, Ala., a community in rural Perry County where 88% of residents are African-American and almost half live in poverty. The landfill sits only 100 feet from some people's front porches.

Unto dust you shall return.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Simple answers to simple questions 

Oprah had Drew Brees on her show, and inquired

"Who just kissed you? there's a big ole kiss..."

God kissed Brees, Oprah. God kissed him on the cheek.

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.


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Is it May 3rd yet? 

"There's been a concerted effort to minimize my accomplishments."

Go smug yourself, Ray. Your accomplishments are minimal, and have been overshadowed by your failures. And I don't think you'd know what a "concerted effort" looks like even if it hit you in the face.

Gambit Blog finds a new Essence magazine interview chock full of Naturally Ray Nagin, including the highlighted quote above:

ESSENCE: People in New Orleans are bothered by a sense of corruption hovering over the city. With both the police and technology departments currently under federal investigation, why haven’t you done more to combat these problems?

NAGIN: There was no corruption under my watch. I’ve only had one instance where there was a mention about anything corrupt, and that was an indictment, not a conviction, where a former employee may have improperly used a credit card. But if you’re talking about the previous administration’s indictments, that happened before I got here.


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"I poked at it with a stick" 

From Maddow we learn of this charming episode in Eunice:

Investigation continues into the case an elderly Eunice man who was poked with sticks while snagged in a fence.

Lane: "I poked at it with a stick!"


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"Born again fiscal hawks are political hypocrites" 

The Big Picture accurately describes what is going on:

While a few honest deficit hawks are out there... the vast majority of born again fiscal hawks are political hypocrites. They voted for all manner of budget busting programs — unfunded tax cuts, new entitlement programs (i.e., prescription drugs), an expensive war of choice (Iraq).

How is it that they only learned of the evils of deficits after they lose power? How very convenient.

The current group of anti-deficit spenders are pro-cyclical, rather than counter-cyclical. This means that during an expansion, they have no problem with expanding deficits, running big spending programs, giving generous tax cuts. During a recession is where they suddenly rediscover fiscal prudence.

This is ass backwards. During an economic expansion, with employment gaining and GDP growing is when you should be thinking about saving for the next rainy day. Counter-cyclical spending means that governments should watch the budget carefully during the good times, but spend spend more freely during the downturns. What we are hearing from this crowd is the exact opposite of what should be.
I can’t tell what motivates these new deficit hawks — are they merely ignorant, unaware of the historical analogs? Or are they hoping for another recession as part of a debased power grab?

Pardon the long quote. Do click over and read the Barry Ritholtz's entire post.

That's what irritates me most about the teabagger movement and its manipulated channeling into the Republican party. It couldn't be worse-timed. After ignoring the GOP binge spending throughout the decade, these conservatives were all over talk radio in 2008 saying the Democratic Presidential candidates were "talking the country into a recession". They'd ask, how can we be in a recession if the local Mal-Wart is out of Wii game systems? All this, while the country was ALREADY IN A GREAT RECESSION SINCE THE END OF 2007. Things got bad, and they blamed stock market declines on Obama before he even entered in office-- then they waited a few weeks after Obama's inauguration to organize their boiling rage against counter-cyclical spending by Obama and the Democrats.

Here's what I'd say to them:






Where were you "true conservatives" (as the teabaggers like to think of themselves) when we needed you? Where were you with your prudence and parsimony when the bubbles were inflating? Oh yeah, you were making fun of Gore's lockbox in '99 and saying there was no recession in 2008. Thanks a trillion. And after the damage is done, then you get on your soapbox and rail against stimulus spending and national healthcare, like it's Red Dawn. Are you people good for anything?


Update: WSJ's Thomas Frank connects the Teabag movement to Abramoff sweatshop apologists, Grover "the Greatest Generation is un-American" Norquist and superlobbyist Gooper Dick Armey.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"The mischief of the city is alive and wide awake in active operation" 

"Must I tell you what's carnival for?"

Photo credit: Philippe Leroyer

A favorite quote by Major James R. Creecy, who described the Mardi Gras of 1835 in Scenes in the South, and Other Miscellaneous Pieces:

All of the mischief of the city is alive and wide awake in active operation. Men and boys, women and girls, bond and free, white and black, yellow and brown, exert themselves to invent and appear in grotesque, quizzical, diabolic, horrible, strange masks, and disguises. Human bodies are seen with heads of beasts and birds, beasts and birds with human heads; demi-beasts, demi-fishes, snakes' heads and bodies with arms of apes; man-bats from the moon; mermaids; satyrs, beggars, monks, and robbers parade and march on foot, on horseback, in wagons, carts, coaches ... in rich confusion, up and down the streets, wildly shouting, singing, laughing, drumming, fiddling, fifeing, and all throwing flour broadcast as they wend their reckless way.

And a favorite carnival memory here.

Happy Mardi Gras!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Quotes of the weak: Tim Tebow-cifer edition 

"[Tim] Tebow's decision to appear in this [Super Bowl] ad should be considered just as courageous as Muhammad Ali's decision to not enter the draft..."

-- Sportswriter Jemele Hill

"Why Tim Tebow Is Another Drew Brees in the Making
"He’s big. Not just kind of big; he’s really big. Like 6'4" and 240 pounds big. He’s built like a frigging linebacker. In today’s NFL, that means everything."

-- Joe O'Neill, from the Bleacher Report

If you're still struggling to think of a Mardi Gras costume idea, I'm here to help. Go as Tim Tebow-cifer. Wear some garish blue and orange football outfit, and put eyeblack under each eye with a satanic verse on it like "LUCI... 6:66". Add some flashing toy devil horns and presto, you've become Tim Tebowcifer.

Now, this is not to say that Tebow is in fact the dark angel of the bottomless pit. There is no proof of that. However, as the above quotes illustrate, many silly things are written about Tebow. Worse, he's an irritatingly successful Florida Gator who once spent his spring break at an orphanage called Uncle Dick's Home, spreading the gospel and circumcising young Philippinos.

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"Not always" 

One of the bigger laughs I've enjoyed in recent days occurred when I read Keith Spera's T-P article about Drew Brees reigning as the king of Bacchus.

Bacchus does not always present celebrity monarchs at the height of their careers.

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Lundi Gras links 

Coming right up.
No! Links! With a "K". LinKs! ---

Jason has parade pictures with amusing captions, including celebrities and a "juice box hero".

Jeffrey applies a Plutarch quote to Drew Brees.

Dillyberto glimpsed the Platonic Ideal in the Saints Parade, and embeds a video of Carnival in 1956.

Zombie applies a Wilde quote to his newfound optimism, which Editor B. describes so well, and which James Carville shares.

Poetic Editilla alerts us to a Superdome spacecraft seen rising in the clouds. ("This means something. This is important.")

Adrastos decrees "Stop the creeping Endymionization of the Bacchus parade route." Hear, hear.

G Bitch affirms why Mardi Gras is her favorite holiday.


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