19 December 2003

How can I get a gig like this? 

People at the National Review are actually getting paid for this!? It's good to know that while private sector effeciency is rising across the boards, professional pontificators are just as unproductive as ever.

linked without comment 

Reader and friend J.J. Shabadoo sent me this link to Rich Lowry's weekly Townhall column.

Here's a story from The Advocate that deals with the same thing.

I do very little, you decide.

Is he running? 

Richard Ieyoub had a high-profile gathering yesterday to give and take credit for putting accused serial-killer Derrik Todd Lee behind bars. This seems like a contrived event to give the outgoing Attorney General a little bit of free and easy press coverage before he leaves his office.

Is it a signal that he's running for the Senate, though? I still think it's too early to say. He's probably just testing the waters a little bit and shoring up any questions that his office maybe wasn't involved enough in the hunt that became the biggest non-political story to come out of this state in a long time. Some insiders think he's not running, but I wouldn't put it past him. He surely has a better name recognition than Chris John, and while he would be starting with less money than the US Congressman, he probably has the skeleton of a staff that would be relatively easy to recall after his failed gubernatorial bid. He would almost certainly go in as the favorite among Louisiana's black voters, who he has developed strong ties with over his years in state government.

I imagine we'll know for sure within two weeks after he leaves his office as Attorney General.


Slot machines do not a casino make. I'm sure Evangeline Downs will do quite well for themselves with the new Racino, but if I can't play blackjack there I don't want any part in it.

Would you prefer the Football Network or a football team? 

The Football Network continues to make headlines in Baton Rouge because of its almost astounding lack of success despite millions of dollars in state guarantees over the next few years. The network has so far cost state taxpayers nearly $4 million.

Right now the "network" employs twenty people, less than a fifth of their original estimated workforce. That seems like the state came to the conclusion that it was worth the millions in investment of state taxpayer dollars to put together a network that would employ around a hundred people, many of which would necessarily be from out of state, and involved in a very high-risk venture. I'll present a very interesting tidbit from the article here:

Solomon said TFN has created 75 jobs in Louisiana although only about 20 people are working now. TFN's original business plan predicted 105 active employees by the end of the year.

Solomon said about 20 percent of the company's employees are from Louisiana. He said that number will increase as more people in the state are trained to handle TFN's type of work.

Is that twenty percent of twenty people (four employees from the state of Louisiana!?) or twenty percent of 75 people (fifteen?)? I'm glad the state's investment is paying off.

Mike Foster's commissioner of administration, Mark Drennen, points to the success of the Golf Channel as an indicator of the future for the ill-conceived network. Of course it doesn't take a business degree to see about a thousand advantages the Golf Channel would have over a Football Network. The most obvious is that the Golf Channel filled a vast lacuna in the cable world. There is very little programming outside of tournament play that is dedicated to golf on the big sports networks. Also, lesser tournaments that are played in regions on the other side of the country can still find interest in your average golf nut watching out of his home. Regionalism isn't particularly important to golf fans because the players in lesser tours come from all over the place anyway.

Meanwhile, there are hundreds of hours devoted to college and NFL football on the vast array of cable sports networks. Fox Sports even focuses on lots of high school ball through their regional outlets like Fox Sports Southwest and the rest of them. By having an umbrella of Fox Sports over lesser regional entities they don't have to show a high school football game played in Texas to some couch potato in New York City.

Of course the big difference is that the Golf Channel has a partnership with the PGA that the Football Network will never have with the ultra-protective NFL. Licensing rights are guarded like fourteen year old daughters by an over-protective father. Think of the last time you saw an old NFL game on ESPN classic, who has managed to the buy the rights to nearly every important college football game played over the last twenty-five years. That's right, you probably haven't ever seen an old NFL broadcast on ESPN classic (not counting the programs created exclusively by NFL films, which is the conduit through which the NFL allows broadcasters to air old highlights). There's an NFL network now whose success will ultimately lessen the possibility of anything NFL ever being a part of the Football Network aside from third-rate analysts talking about the week in football.

So now you have a Football Network that won't be able to do much with the biggest game in town; probably doesn't have the money to compete for the rights to broadcast even the division I-AA college football; and all ready over-reached by broadcasting a boat load of high school football games.

Where's the outrage? Where's the thundering Advocate editorial denouncing this ill-conceived venture by the state. Every time Tom Benson comes crawling to the state for breaks and/or incentives the Baton Rouge paper snaps to attention even though the Saints actually have a positive economic impact on the city.

I'm all for economic development, but let's try to do something that works, and it looks like this Football Network is doomed. Stop drowning money in the wake of its failure.

18 December 2003

Praise be, 

The Deuce is headed to Honolulu for the second year in a row. IR man LeCharles Bentley is selected too. After the news of Elijah Wood at Bacchus, maybe we should start a popular movement for Dulymus to be King of Endymion. That can wipe the shame of ne'er-do-wells like Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Michael Bolton, Aaron Carter, and Ian Zeiring from sullying the superkrewe's legacy.

That's some great lawyering 

Two television stations in my little hamlet are embroiled in legal wrangling over the services of one Rob Perillo, degreed meteorologist and weatherman extraordinaire. Perillo is scheduled to start work Jan. 1 at KATC-TV3, but he signed a contract with a non-compete clause attached which should technically prevent him from working for a competitor within a year of his employment to KLFY-TV10.

State courts have generally ruled in favor of the employees in these disputes, but this one will go to court on Friday. This story isn't particularly important; I just wanted to point out what is perhaps the most predictable statement of the year. Quoted from the A.P. wire at NOLA:

"Our position is that everything KATC and Rob Perillo did was proper," said Perillo's attorney, Maria Manuel.

No shit, huh? Oh, and by the way, Frodo has been named King of my favorite New Orleans parade for 2004. My favorite Mardi Gras memory was watching Bacchus a few years ago from Gen. Pershing when the skies opened up and started pouring down "rain on everyone's parade." Revelers ran for cover leaving me and quite a large group of friends with only our beer to drink and a float stopped in front of us. After a few minutes without respite from the rain a man on the float lifted his mask, and it was none other than former major league baseball star and Jesuit alumnus Will Clark. We started chanting "Will the Thrill" and were appropriately pelted with beads of all sorts.

Any friends who are readers who might challenge my recollection of this event are welcome. Many of my Mardi Gras memories are jumbled into a file of my brain reserved for hazy beer clouded memories. It's entirely possible that we saw Will Clark in the middle of the day at an entirely different parade. That wouldn't change the fact that Bacchus is my favorite parade though. Who can deny the appeal of bacchasaurus?

vote for this 

Greg over at The Talent Show and Tom Neely have created a commercial for the Moveon.org Bush in 30 seconds contest. It's fully animated in a depression era-style that really gets to the heart of what Bush hath wrought on this country over the last few years.

If you have some time you can take a look at the ad with the help of real player. While you're at bushin30seconds.org feel free to take a look at the other commercials, but I'm voting for Brother can you spare a job? I'll leave the button for the commercial down at the bottom of my Daily Reading list until the contest is decided. Don't feel like scrolling down? Then just click on the banner:

The winner of the contest will have their ad aired in different markets across the country thanks to the generosity of moveon.org and its contributors.

Legal stuff 

Frankly, I don't have much to say about this story from the T-P, but it seems important, so I'm linking to it. It's about a 5th District Court of Appeals ruling on a bankruptcy and the muddled decisions regarding the Clean Water Act. This obviously is important to Louisiana considering all the waterways that are at the heart of the state's economy, but I don't have anything to say about it beyond that. You know what to do.

Ivies and Oxford not indoctrinating well enough 

For the second time in a year a Republican Rhodes scholar is running for a statewide office in Louisiana. Not Jindal this time, but the very conservative Congressman from Met'ry David Vitter. This really can only lead to one question. What the hell is wrong with the liberal enclaves that are our Ivy League institutions? They send our brightest boys back to Louisiana more conservative than when they left. There's something rotten in the state of education.

You can read about Vitter's announcement here and here. The AP story pulls a bit of a reverse Nedra Pickler in their coverage, making this passing statement about Vitter and possible candidate Chris John (the Dem):

Vitter has compiled the most conservative voting record in the seven-member Louisiana House delegation, according to National Journal. He said he wants to be “a strong Louisiana voice in the national debate on key issues.”

John’s voting record more nearly matches the centrism that was Breaux’s trademark. National Journal scores his voting record as almost evenly balanced between the conservative and liberal tendencies.

Jindal managed to hide his conservatism beneath the veneer of a wonkish policy genius. This helped him appeal to lots of suburban whites who may have otherwise been turned off by some of his more conservative beliefs (creationism in school, hostility to already weak abortion rights protections, anti-gay, etc.). David Vitter makes no bones about his conservatism, and is representing arguably the most conservative district in the state. I'm still confident that Louisiana isn't as conservative as other southern states, so putting up the winger (Vitter) to the right of center Dem (John) has a lot of appeal to me. I don't know if the Blanco election can be used as a template for electing Dems in Louisiana because of some variables (race), but the matchup looks good. We'll see if the Democratic Treasurer Kennedy drops into the race, but a Vitter-John battle could be interesting.

17 December 2003

Bad religion 

Mary directs us to a particular piece of terrible writing courtesy of the Bullwer-Lytton fiction contest in a post last night. That's all the cover I need to talk about the misfortune of picking up Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Before I tear into the man's banal sense of irony and unexplainable and constant use of French, Spanish, and Italian, I should say the story is quite gripping. I had trouble putting the book down last night, staying up quite a bit later than I would have liked. I understand the paradox inherent in absolutely hating a book but continuing to read it, but that's life. It happens to me in bad movies all the time. When I invest time in a story, I like to see it to its conclusion.

The problem with Brown's book is the almost universal praise it's received from publishers, authors, and some critics (called genius by some). But consider this exchange the main character has with a police officer not even ten pages into the book. For background the man is in a car in Paris thinking about a lost girlfriend while gazing at the Eiffel Tower:

"Did you mount her?" the agent asked, looking over.

Langdon glanced up, certain he had misunderstood. "I beg your pardon?"

"She is lovely, no?" The agent motioned throughout the windshield toward the Eiffel Tower. "Have you mounted her?"

"No, I haven't climbed the tower."

"She is the symbol of France. I think she is perfect."

Langdon nodded absently. Symbologists often remarked that France--a country renowned for machismo, womanizing, and diminutive insecure leaders like Napoleon and Pepin the Short--could not have chosen a more apt national emblem than a thousand-foot phallus.

Boy, Symbologists sure are clever. I'm sure that observation isn't made in between giggles by every third fifteen year old who visits Paris (or has even once taken a look at a picture of the tower). The joke at the beginning is hardly funny, either. Ha, hah, a French agent said "mount," and just when I was thinking about my girlfriend. I can barely contain myself. My stomach is bursting at the seams. Unfortunately this trite, ironic fakery is present throughout the novel. Yet I must. keep. reading. I'm at once angry and glued to the text. It really burns me up.

My other big problem is the senseless use of foreign language when it serves zero purpose to the text. It's as if Brown wants to remind readers that he's actually a pretty smart guy, but the foreign words he uses are always cognates. One quick example comes in a conversation between the aforementioned Langdon and the woman shaping up to be his love interest. Consider that the text has already clearly established that this woman is French. This is what she tells Langdon after they discover that a clue left by a dead man is an anagram. Ellipse is the author's not mine.

Sophie needed only an instant to process Langdon's implication, and it seemed laughably simple. "You think this message is . . . une anagramme?" She stared at him. "Like a word jumble from a newspaper?"

There are a thousand problems with this statement only one being the fact that the French is just there as some silly decoration. Other problems are that the reader has already learned in a thousand other places before this in the book exactly what an anagram is, and Sophie, who is supposed to be some hotshot code-breaker should not have to clarify what an anagram is from this boorish art-professor Langdon. I continue to read this tripe and want to throw it across the room just as I turn the page.

Okay, I got that out. I'm out for the day. I'm on my way to Baton Rouge for the afternoon. Probably very little posting tonight, and as promised I should be back to normal by tomorrow.

16 December 2003

Let it go, man 

Kos is pissed about Kucinich and his whining over the ABC decision to cancel full time coverage of his candidacy.

I don't have much of a take either way about ABC's decision, but I am left in some kind of stupor over Kos' anger. I tend to think candidates like Kucinich are good for the party. At the very least it reminds the kids that there is still something resembling radical politics in the Democratic Party, and it's a helpful neutralizer to the Nader dynamic. As long as Kucinich is on the scene it's hard for St. Ralph to convince his supporters that there is no difference between the two Parties.

Kucinich is enough of a non-factor not to be pulling any of the candidates too far to the left, and as far as I've followed the early days of this race he's not saying the kinds of things to his opponents that will damage them in the general election. Surprisingly, Kos has given more credit to Joe Lieberman, who continues to harm the Democratic Party with his destructive rhetoric.

I guess I must be missing something.

Update @ 6:33 pm: Nico has much, much more to say about this over at Not Geniuses.

Reactions to Breaux's retirement 

The major newspapers from around the state all announce Sen. John Breaux's retirement on their front pages this morning (at least that's what I gather from the prominence the story has on all the websites.) It's a real love-fest for the Senator from Crowley. I guess you earn that when you're consistently reelected by margins of more than twenty-five points though.

You can read all about his career, his retirement, and the people who are looking to replace him by looking in New Orleans, Baton Rouge,and Lafayette/Alexandria/Shreveport (those are all be roughly the same stories because they are all Gannett papers).

As I said yesterday, it's too bad for Louisiana to lose him, but I don't know how much more of this fawning by the newspapers I'll be able to take before souring on the man. Oh well, go see what I mean for yourselves.

15 December 2003

Guess the author 

A monthly magazine arrived in the Prado mailbox this afternoon that included a fine essay. I normally think the man is a little bit too quick to rage, nonetheless I look forward to reading him every month. I can only wish to ever write this well. Tell me who you think it is.

[Intellectuals of the Republican right developed] the theory of rich, white men as an oppressed minority suffering under the lash of federal tax policy and Michael Moore's jokes. The election of George Bush brought them out of the closet. Having come to see their selfishness as a form of ethnic identity too long submerged by an alien culture insensitive to the humiliation of a Wednesday without oysters or a Sunday without golf, they have found in Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, their own Martin Luther King, leading them out of darkness, striking off their chains.

Amen, brother.

Back to reality 

You may have noticed that my posting has fallen to less-than-frequent levels over the last week or so. That's because I've been reading and indexing this book by an--gasp!--LSU political scientist who is frequently quoted in stories linked to on this blog.

I would say that it would make a great Christmas present for anyone interested in the evolving political culture of this state, but alas, it won't be out until the early spring. That doesn't mean you can't go ahead and order it now. It certainly gets the Timshel seal of approval. I'll eventually put together a longer review-like post about the book, but right I want to claw my eyes out from sitting in front of a computer screen for way too long over the last few days, and I want to put some distance between myself and the book. That is, after I proof my own work, which I'll be doing of and on during the day tomorrow. Keep checking into the sites on the blogroll, and I'll be back to normal soon.


Not only am I not offended by Sadow today, but I find myself agreeing with him. Today in his column he calls for a Division I-A football playoff.

Now that I know he's interested in football, I wonder when he'll weigh in on the corporate welfare that's preventing The Total Football Network from pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and actually making some money.

What would Breaux do 

Sen. John Breaux will announce whether or not he is retiring today at a 1:30 press conference. Political analysts from Washington and around the state are making their predictions.

I don't mind Breaux's version of centrism that seems to bring rage to so many Democrats these days. I hate the medicare bill that he helped steer through the Senate, but you have to weigh the good and the bad, and I think it's hard to argue that Senator Breaux hasn't always put Louisiana's residents first throughout his legislative career. If he retires it will be a sad day for Louisianians. The predictions are split in the story I've linked to, but I'm of the mind that he'll go ahead and retire. He's made all the signals. He's getting to an age where another term would make him around 65 when it runs out, and he clearly wants to start of private sector life.

However, if he decides to stick around all the Breaux haters around the Democratic Party should shut the hell up about him, since his commitment to the party may well be the only reason he decides to run again in 2004. We'll see what happens this afternoon though, so I'll stop before I get too long-winded.

Update @ 12:29 pm: WAFB just reported on its noon broadcast that Breaux will anounce that he is retiring at his press conference. Let's hope Chris John is good enough to get the job done.

14 December 2003

cell-ebratre all you want 

I don't care what Joe Horn does in the end zone as long as he's scoring four touchdowns.


I guess there's some pretty big news today regarding the capture of a certain middle-eastern dictator. I'm kind of taken aback right now at the constant coverage of the whole affair. I'll have some thoughts on this situation later today or tomorrow. All I'll say for now is that this is very good news, and I hope that it will speed things along w/r/t to the terrible situation in Iraq right now, but frankly I don't think it will make much of a difference after a week or so. Iraq is still occupied by a foreign power (US) and sooner or later the people there will get back to looking for different groups in the country to fill a power vacuum that will only be exacerbated by Saddam's capture.

I also don't quite know what to think about what should be done with Saddam. I prayed for justice--whatever that might be in this case--in Church today, but I'm twisted inside about how a situation like this should be handled. Obviously there will be thousands of Iraqis (and Americans) calling for his head, but I've stated numerous times in this space that I don't think we should be involved in putting people to death. That includes fallen dictators responsible for the deaths of thousands. Of course my say doesn't matter.

I'm still putting my thoughts together about this whole situation. It's a reason for some optimism, though I have little faith in an administration that continues to fuck things up. So we'll just have to wait and see how things develop. Until then we can all be thankful that Saddam Hussein will never ever be in a position to hurt anyone else again.

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