Archive for May, 2007

If CNN says it, it’s got to be true!

Source: Nagin considering gubernatorial bid

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is seriously considering a Louisiana gubernatorial bid, a political intimate of Nagin tells CNN.

Whoa! Hey! Consider that source! What the fuck is a political intimate?

Wait, there’s more…

At the mayor’s State of the City speech Wednesday, many local politicians told CNN they’d heard the rumors.

Rumors!

Who am I kidding though? It’s probably true.

We all know Nagin’s speech was last night. The blogs are talking about it. It’s on the front page of the Times-Picayune. It’s all over the radio. It’s even on the front page of Nola.com, but hey, what’s that other thing on their front page? Do they have a headline posted prominently that announces, “Nagin to deliver State of the City address”?

TO deliver? I’m damn sure by all the other headlines on your page AND what I heard on the radio last night that the speech was indeed delivered.

Nola.com – bringing you yesterday’s news…today.

Here’s a screenshot…

nola.com mistake

I don’t listen to WWL at night much. I usually catch the a.m. stuff while running errands in the car on weekdays but that’s usually it.

So in the interest of full disclosure I must admit that I have never listened to Bob Mitchell before tonight’s show following Nagin’s state of the city speech.

And now that I have admitted that, let me say that my first impression didn’t endear me to him much at all.

Here’s breakdown of what led me to this opinion tonight:

1. Mitchell expounded on how impressive Nagin’s speech was.

2.
Mitchell told a caller he drives in to New Orleans from his home in Slidell to eat at his favorite restaurant in Lakeview all the time.

3. A caller phoned in from Baton Rouge who sounded as if he would speak negatively about Nagin and his speech.

4. Mitchell cut him off and made several statements about the man’s Baton Rouge residency.

5.
The caller said he used to live in New Orleans and still had family here.

6.
Mitchell hung up on him and said he wasn’t going to allow any one who didn’t live in New Orleans to criticize the speech.

7.
See point #2.

I’ve always hated the “your opinion is not valid because you aren’t from here” tactic employed by so many locals. If that were the case then they would have no validity in speaking about anything BUT New Orleans eh? We know that ain’t true! Whoa!

In fact I hate all “your opinion is not valid because…” arguments. They are the sign of a weak debater.

While New Orleans residency certainly gives someone a more in-tune perspective to what is happening here, it doesn’t automatically negate the opinions of outsiders. There are a thousand ways to draw an egg.

What is particularly shameful about this incident (beyond the fact that Mitchell is supposed to be impartial) is that Mitchell didn’t even hear this man out. He just cut him off because the caller sounded as if he was going to contradict Mitchell’s opinion that the speech was some magnificent oration.

And he cut him off because he wasn’t from New Orleans.

And Mitchell is from Slidell.

To Mitchell I say this:

I know you have a long and storied history in the city. But you live in Slidell now. So before you throw somebody off your radio show for not being from New Orleans, you may want to consider your own zip code.

ghetto bird

You heard Nagin say it tonight. The ghetto bird is coming…

“Why, oh why must you swoop through the hood
like everybody from the hood is up to no good.
You think all the girls around here are trickin
up there lookin like Superchicken
At night I see your light through my bedroom window
But I ain’t got shit but the pad and pencil
I can’t wait till I hear you say
“I’m going down, mayday, mayday.” I’m gonna clown
Cause everytime that the pigs have got me
y’all rub it in with the flying Nazi
military force, but we don’t want ya
Standin’ on my roof with the rocket launcher
“So fly like an eagle.”
But don’t follow us wherever we go
The shit that I’m saying, make it’s heard
Motherfuck you and your punk-ass ghetto bird”
-Ice Cube – “Ghetto Bird”

panda cat

The fiance and I had a chance to check out the new LA/SPCA now located in Algiers and I was quite impressed with it. They have only completed one building but it seems to be very modern and state-of-the-art. Romy and I were able to look at the all the dogs and cats and even saw some turtles and a snake.

The LA/SPCA has only finished the first phase of a three phase project off Mardi Gras boulevard. The just completed phase is only the Animal Rescue and Care Center which is the basic function of the center. It will provide space for cruelty investigations and control services.

The second, not-yet-begun, phase will be the Adoption, Education, & Veterinary Care Center. It should be completed in 18 months if funding provides and will be about education and awareness programs.

The third phase will be the Urban Revitalization & Community Outreach Center, which is where the real visionary stuff begins. Check this out from the brochure:

In Phase III we will expand the breadth and depth of our services to bring more members of the public to the campus as well as redefine the concept of animal sheltering. A training facility will be built to meet competitive standards in order to attract agility competitions and other types of animal sports. A Doggie Day Care Boarding Facility will provide socialization and interaction for busy or traveling pet owners. We envision hosting a Farmers Market and developing pet friendly housing lots, a lateral pet walking path and a coffeeshop – pet bakery.

I asked what the competitions were all about and the tour guide said they will be intended to encourage legal competition among pet owners. I took this to mean to discourage dogfighting.

There were tons of great oil paintings of animals on the wall and plenty of real nice folks working there as well.

Among the animals we saw were:

- a 19 year old cat given up by it’s owners who slept the whole time we were there.

- An awesome standard poodle named Kaiser. Who I have just discovered has been adopted.

- A very cool (and big) cat named Panda (pictured above) who Romy and I both adored but just couldn’t take the big guy in. We have three animals already and that may have disqualified us even if we did want to take another in. Good thing the LA/SPCA is given him lots of press in hopes of finding him a home. Here’s what they have to say about him:

I’m Panda, and if you want a cat with flair, I’m him. I am just a fun fellow with a great face and the desire to rub said face all over you in my search for love. I love to be cuddled and doted on, but am good at amusing myself in sunny windows or lazing on the back of a couch. One request-I gotta be an indoor cat, since I’ve been declawed. I’d make a fine apartment cat, or a welcome addition to any home. As long as that home has plenty of loving for me!

Somebody come on over here and adopt Panda.

The Times-Picayune has an article up on Nola.com right now about this year’s coming hurricane season and it does sound like deja vu from last year:

Active hurricane season forecast

Last year, while folks were filtering back into the city and levees and flood walls weren’t tip top, articles like this were circulating:

NOAA PREDICTS VERY ACTIVE 2006 NORTH ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON

Of course we all know what happened, no hurricanes made U.S. landfall and only nine instances of tropical activity were deemed worthy of names.

But lord, lord, look at what Colorado State University was saying about 2006.

EXTENDED RANGE FORECAST OF ATLANTIC SEASONAL HURRICANE ACTIVITY AND U.S. LANDFALL STRIKE PROBABILITY FOR 2006

That’s 17 named storms predicted for 2006. Their estimate was double the number of actual storms. I will give the University credit though. They at least put a clear-cut number on their prediction. That’s how it is so easy to point out their inaccuracy.

In true U.S. Government non-accountability fashion, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center hedges their bets. Instead of putting a number on the amount of storms, they choose to use ranges. Last year’s estimates for named storms was 13–16, they were still way off but, their range is broader so if there had been only a few more, say two more, then the total number would have been 12 and most people would look at the NOAA’s forecast as only being one off. Ditto for the upper end. Makes them look smarter.

The Times-Pic article makes other observations via the experts (though these are from an “experimental” study). One says that, on the Gulf Coast, Terrebone Parish is the most likely area to be hit this year. The other says the most likely time our region will be hit will be the end of July. Another says that governments need to be prepared for the possibility for earthquakes and hurricanes happening at the same time in different parts of the country.

Huh?

Yes, I am all for government preparedness for multiple disasters. But let’s admit it. Does the chance of an earthquake and hurricane happening simultaneously belong in an article about predictions for the 2007 season? Yes, it could happen. Yes, governments need to be prepared for it. By all means, write another article about it. It sounds very interesting. But let’s stick to the facts at hand when we are talking about this year’s hurricane season.

I’m not trying to rebuke the experts on these points. I am positive that a ton of research was applied to the predictions. What I am saying is that, given all the odds, there is an 80 percent chance Terrebone Parish won’t be touched this year and that’s an entirely different way of looking at it.

People in Houma are probably scared shitless though. Yes, they need to be prepared. But I’m wondering how responsible it is to report predictions such as this one from “experimental” studies? Especially in a region with a history like ours?

The experts will most likely readily admit that these are educated guesses at this point and it is more likely that we don’t know what the hell is going to happen.

I’ve been running from hurricanes since I was a little kid. The one thing I’m sure of about their seasons, their paths and their wakes is nothing is for sure. They are huge, swirling masses of unpredictability. I saw Hurricane Elena on a collision course for my front yard, bank right, scare the bejeezus out of Tampa, do a loop-de-loop in the middle of the Gulf and head straight back to my front yard.

Want an idea for just how unpredictable hurricanes are? Check the path and date on this forecast for a certain 2005 storm.

I’m not saying blow off the experts. I’m not saying don’t get your shit together for hurricane season. Iron out the details by all means. There is a very real possibility we will be threatened. But don’t let the experts fry your nerves and drive fear into your hearts. If another storm is headed up our alley, it wouldn’t matter if the experts predicted it or not. Do your own research. Think critically. Read the weather reports, and I’m not talking about CNN either. The NOAA prints out detailed reports of each storm and its path is updated every few hours along with several different reports and likelihood of landfalls. Track the storms online. As an experienced hurricane victims, read smart into these things.

Listen to the experts and listen to yourselves as well. If a hurricane is in the Gulf, get your shit together. If it’s coming our way, get out. Oh, and take your pets.

I’m not trying to beat up on Mark Schleifstein, who certainly has chops and has done more research and work on reporting hurricanes than I have. I just grow tired of doomsday reporting and question its usefulness. I don’t think it’s lost on anyone in this city how very real the possibility is that we might get hit. I don’t think predictions for active storm seasons are worth as much ink. There are a million things that might happen this year.

Know what the most interesting part of that Nola.com story was though? This:

Chuck Watson, a private geophysical hazard researcher and co-author of the report, also said the risk of tropical weather in the Gulf of Mexico is so high this year that it’s almost a certainty that at least a week’s worth of oil and gas production will be lost.

Well, that’s interesting considering gas is more than $3 a gallon already.

Also, I think the Times-Pic article has a graph that contains an error. In their predictions for 2005, they say there will be 11-5 named storms? That doesn’t make sense. Looks like someone left out a “1.”

Sewage and Water Board looking to copyright meter cover utilized by artists and T-shirt shops.
Leggo our logo! S&WB asks state to protect emblem
Nola.com

A great page of Katrina images from Tulane Deptartment of Earth & Environmental Sciences. The diagrams are all well worth checking out as well as the images of levee scour and trenching.
Katrina Images
Stephen A. Nelson

NPR story on Katrina tours. Not sure how I feel about them. Good thing is that they get the scope of the disaster out. Bad news is they are exploitive.
New Orleans Tours Include Hurricane Ruin
NPR.org

… but they sure are easy to trace.

WWL is reporting that the recently-arrested owners of Elliot’s Gun Shop sold firearms that were used in 125 murders and 500 drug-related crimes around the region.

More charges are supposedly pending. What I would like to see is the accused be charged with 125 counts of being an accessory to those murders. On the street, if a criminal supplies a gun that another uses in a robbery or murder, that person is charged as an accessory right? So what is the difference here?

What damage to our society have these people inflicted with such blatant disregard for the consequences of their actions? I sometimes wonder what is more of a threat, the criminals running the streets or those employed to enable them?

I’ve never been a huge advocate of gun control. I’ve never owned a gun either. Even with this middle-of-the-road stance, it’s hard not to demand stricter regulations in regards to firearms after this and other recent incidents.

I don’t want to ban guns. I also don’t want it to be so easy to legally or illegally gain possession of them. That’s where the NRA types always lose me, when they begin justifying assault rifles and saying that loosening of regulations will make everyone safer. It won’t make me safer because I don’t own a gun. I’m not saying I never will but I don’t want to be forced into a decision because laws were deregulated to such a degree that every nut in the neighborhood had one.

I’d rather not have the need to own one.

Anyway, I applaud the ATF for this arrest. Start at the top.

Yes, throwing all the thugs in jail may help. But eliminating the enablers might just buy young people some time to make better decisions in their lives.

Probe continues into mysterious odor in Gretna

Yea, and it’s wafting over here to The Pernt! Damn near spoiled my morning bike ride! Sure smelled like natural gas. Perhaps this rain will wash it away.

Update: The story has been updated and in the comments section there is a great retort on Nola.com copy editing skills by Nola.com reader “Bratman.”

It has come to the attention of The Chicory that one of our two finalists in the “Official Harry of New Orleans” contest was born under the name, Joseph Harry Fowler Connick, Jr., and thereafter performed under the name “Harry Connick Jr.”

Though it was an agonizing decision in light of Mr. Connick’s numerous contributions both philanthropically and musically to the New Orleans area over the years, The Chicory has regretfully decided to disqualify him from the Harry contest. He will now be known on this site only as “Joseph Fowler Connick, Jr.” which is itself a fine name.

Connick’s disqualification aside, it is with great pleasure that The Chicory announces Actor/Musician/Comedian Harry Shearer official “Harry” of New Orleans! As an apt and spirited support of New Orleans cultures and as a dedicated booster of South Louisiana related issues (and there are many) Harry Shearer is truly a deserving member of the title: Official Harry of New Orleans!

If Mr. Shearer happens to read this, I’d like him to know The Chicory has a certificate for him and will happily treat him and a guest to a dinner at the local restaurant of his choice.

harry shearer