02 July 2004

You've Been FUDDed 

More on fiber...I keep on wanting to get to the positive side of the initiative but the irritating garbage just keeps on coming. This is really shaping up to be a nice case study in modern politcal gaming, however.

BellSouth and Cox, having blown their chance to hog the limelight with their fiber forum debacle went ahead and submitted answers to the Chamber of Commerce's questions at the Chamber's substitute (virtual) fiber forum. Having finally managed to offend the Chamber (whose refusal to remake the forum in the big utilities' interests made it clear that they would only be abused so much) BellSouthCox did what bullies tend to do when slapped down: they made nice; and as part of their making nice with the Chamber they have submitted their answers.

I earlier characterized the Big Utilities’ strategy as “FUD”—Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. I would like to officially announce the new strategy: FUDD-Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, and DIVISIVENESS.

Just looking at answers to the first question asked by the Chamber, the innocuous “why or why not fiber-optic?” allows the reader to discern the whole strategy at a glance. BellSouth opens by making brief gestures at Fear (of cost) and Doubt (about the value of fiber) and Uncertainty (touting unavailable alternatives) saying:

Not only is this proposal far too expensive, but it is also unnecessary in light of advances being made in copper and wireless technologies.

Wrong, of course, and it might be fun to point out in detail just how wrong is BellSouthCox’s contention that Lafayette doesn’t need Fiber To The Home.

But it is more fun just to point to what BellSouth dreams about for its home town. See the BellSouth Press release: Atlanta first North American site for Fiber-to-the-Home System

Ok, so they are dishonest hypocrites. We knew that. We even kinda expected it—you don’t expect big utilities and teleco’s to be any thing but self-interested if you’ve been paying attention at all. But then they get into the really incredible part of their attack: trying to divide the community:

Since LUS will not be able to connect everyone's home and business to fiber optics initially, it will create a digital divide – the haves vs. the have nots. Will it be up to the council members or Joey Durel or Terry Huval to decide who gets the fiber and who doesn't? “Will you be a have or a have not?"

This tactic raises outrageous to a new level. It is a shameless attempt to divide the Lafayette community by falsely accusing LUS of doing what BellSouth actually does and intends to continue to do. The most progressive thing about the LUS proposal so far is that they promise to make connections available to all and to make it more affordable for all. And BellSouth? Hell, BellSouth doesn’t run the DSL it already has to all, and especially the poorer, parts of Lafayette.

Some stuff is misleading, hypocritical, and expectable. Other stuff is just plain despicable. BellSouthCox are well into the second category.

These guys aren’t honest or honorable, they should be despised and ignored.

Hmmn...You know Cheney might be right...I said it and now I feel all better for it...

Time Killing Game of the Week 

Reader supported edition Thanks to Richard P. for sending in the link to this update on the old cell phone classic "Snake".

If that one doesn't work for you, then try this sometimes difficult game in which you control multiple penguins who must avoid obstacles, defeat enemies, and eat fruit. It's worth if for the penguins and the music. Don't let the slow start lull you into thinking it's easier than it actually is. But don't be disappointed when it ends too soon.

Glad I'm not the only one. 

Everyone loves Spiderman. I feel so conforming.

Btw, one of the featured books from that edition of Slate's "Summary Judgment" is Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, which is sure to be a brilliant if it's even half as good as the essay in the April Harpers by the same author titled "Lie Down for America: How the Republican Party Sows Ruin on the Great Plains." It looks like a trip to the library is in line for me.

More 1st District 

Click on the link from the post below about Jindal being rich, and you'll see that one of his Republican opponents, state Sen. Tom Schedler, didn't return phone calls from reporters related to his fundraising during the second quarter.

That probably has something to do with the fact that he decided to drop out of the race today. With the arrest of construction worker Mike Amato, that doesn't leave a whole lot of serious candidates out there.

Jindal's strongest opponent is still Steve Scalise, who trails the front runner by a significant margin for the time-being. We'll see if Scalise can capitalize on his legislative colleague's (from the other chamber) withdrawal.

Fun for Nerds 

This is a very neat little game to play (don't worry though, it's not the time killing game of the week, which should never be educational).

Guess the election year by looking at the electoral map. I surprised myself only missing five (total, that is, not number five). Don't worry there's not a map for every election, only about fifteen (oopsie, now seventeen).

via the fine folks at BTD

Bobby Jindal is rich 

I discussed Jindal's fundraising prowess a few days ago, but it's in the paper again this morning. Add to the fact that I can't find much to post on, and there you go. Qualifying day is August 2 for the federal campaigns, and you can expect the campaign coverage and activity to become substantially more aggressive.

This will mark the third fall in a row with a major statewide election in Louisiana. The next time it will happen is far off in 2007, so get your fix in now. Things tend to get pretty boring around here when there aren't political fireworks.

Unfortunately, I'd like to link to an Advocate article about a Chris John appearance in Baton Rouge to talk about port security, but it isn't online. He has really stepped up his criticism of the Bush administration in recent weeks. This has happened while Vitter seems to be embracing Bush's national security record. It's nice to finally flesh out some differences in the two conservatives. To be sure, Chris John hasn't criticized the direction Bush has gone in his foreign policy, rather he was critical of more "unfunded mandates" w/r/t homeland security directives for port safety. Basically Louisiana can't afford to do what Tom Ridge tells us we have to.

Cheney in New Orleans 

Still peddling dubious claims and tarring the Clinton administration. At least you know some things never change.

And the Pic found a woman who by her very name was probably destined to lead a women's Republican club:

Buffy Christian, president of the Women's Republican Club of New Orleans, said Cheney's speech was a symbol of Bush's "contagious" support in Louisiana.

"We're very proud of their accomplishments, and I hope that this same speech will be shared with the undecided voters because it will make their choice simple," Christian said.

The poor thing never had a chance.

More from the AP's Adam Nossiter. The Advocate's Joe Gyan does an awful job on this one.

01 July 2004

Getting Organized 

The Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee is starting to make itself known around the city, and it's about damn time if you ask me. I still can't believe the Party didn't run a single candidate for the 45th district this spring, but it's nice that they've decided to start a web presence. They appear to have something resembling a blog on the site. I would have gladly contributed, but alas I'm just a peon.

See it at WWW.LafayetteDemocrats.org

Weird, weird, weird 

Fascists are gay, literally.

It's not that surprising what with all the homoerotic (blogger spell check note "homoerotic=homewards or hemorrhoids") obsessions with the military and discipline, but it's interesting to see it spelled out so thoroughly. I wonder if Andrew Sullivan has anything to say about this...

via Arts & Letters Daily

Bling Bling 

The state just wired $7.5 million to a Saints team bank account for--er--services rendered.

How'd you like to be on the receiving end of that transaction?


I just wanted to note that I saw Spiderman 2 last night and it was fantastic. I'd call it leaps and bounds better than the first one, and it wasn't only because they took a lot of the red out Kirsten Dunst's hair, although that helped a lot.

I'm usually not one for fight scenes a la The Matrix with all the slow-mo ridiculousness and bullets floating through jello-like air crap, so I was relieved that Spiderman generally doesn't bother with it. Everything always seems to occur at full-speed, and that's quite a refreshment from the style that has developed w/r/t action sequences lately. It helps spur the suspension of disbelief, which is usually impossible in other action movies where the sequences are slowed down so much as to make them even more fantastic.

One particularly great scene occurs between Spiderman and Doc Ock on a train hurtling through the middle of NYC. I have literally never seen anything like it before. That scene alone made the entire picture worth the matinee price.

The picture hits the breaks during a few scenes between Peter Parker and Aunt Mae, as well as a flashback/fantasy between Peter and his dead uncle, but those come and go quickly enough without ruining the rest of the film. I give it a hearty recommendation. Of the two summer blockbusters I've seen so far this year (The Day After Tomorrow being the other...Does Dodgeball count as a summer blockbuster? If so that comes between Spiderman and TDAT.), this is definitely the one worth seeing. And in the spirit of my friend Murph, who loves making lists, here's a list of my all-time favorite comic book movies. Spidey 2 makes it way up to the second slot, which is pretty impressive if you ask me. I haven't seen Hulk, so it won't be on the list, although I've been told it wouldn't make it anyway. Movies adapted from graphic novels don't count either. Nor does "Chasing Amy".

1. Batman
2. Spiderman 2
3. Batman Returns
4. Superman 2
5. Superman
6. X2 X-Men United
7. Spiderman
8. X-Men
9. Men in Black

I would normally link all these to the IMDB pages for you, but who wants to do all that work? Instead, I'll just link to IMDB, and if you care to look at any of these movies, you know how to use a search engine.

Rising Tides and Sinking Ships 

Both of the big state papers cover a visit by Latin American ambassadors and US officials to the state of Louisiana to promote the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

The visit coincided with a study done by an LSU economist which demonstrates how much better off Louisiana would be if CAFTA were approved without stipulations.

Let me just say that I don't know jack about trade issues other than talking points I've heard given by politicians since NAFTA was passed ten or so years ago. I'm persuaded by the arguments that the removal of trade barriers leads to economic growth (particularly for this country) and cheaper consumer goods, but it's pretty clear it can't come without some very significant growing pains. Louisiana sugar producers will bear the brunt of those pains (along with manufacturing employees across the country too, surely) should a CAFTA manage to maneuver its way through the obstacles facing its passage right now.

I don't recall if John Kennedy has had anything to say regarding CAFTA, but both Chris John and David Vitter have expressed the desire to maintain tariffs on sugar imports in order to protect Louisiana growers. Vitter's position is a political necessity and puts him at odds with the Bush administration on the only position I can think of. I imagine his Rhodes scholar brain probably makes him a general free-trade ideologue, but that position won't get anyone elected in Louisiana this year. A few trade ambassadors from Honduras and Costa Rica probably won't convince anyone in Youngsville that they'll still be able to sell their sugar at a profit once the market is flooded with cheaper imports. However this is probably a debate people in Louisiana need to have. I know I sure could stand to learn a lot more about the issue.

Links to stories in the Pic and the Advocate


This guy was a non-entity in the First District race for Congress, but I don't think whoever said "no press is bad press" first had this in mind.

An unidentified woman told Kenner police that Armato repeatedly called her home threatening to kill her, her family and himself, according to the arrest report. She said he often was seen walking near her house and that he sometimes called to tell her what she was wearing or what she had been doing, according to the report. The woman said she feared for her life and was afraid to leave the house.


This is his second arrest during a political campaign. In August, he was booked with making threatening phone calls while he was running the Metairie-based 81st District seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He finished sixth in the seven-candidate race, with 7 percent of the primary vote.

The article doesn't say if he was arrested for stalking the same woman, but I suppose it stands to reason that he was. I can't find it, but I read a story recently that said he hadn't raised a round quarter since he started his campaign, so at least his arrest can't hurt his candidacy. I blame the arrest on pro-Republican bias in the Kenner police department. Even a Democrat who can't get past five percent in the polls is a threat to these guys...

A Pro-Fiber Conservative 

I've complained that a "conservative" RightThink hostility to goberment has gotten in the way of a rational analysis of the LUS fiber to the home initiative for too many local folks who think of themselves as Republican or conservaitve.

Et Voila; just to dash my temptation to righteousness: A letter from a local conservative who recognizes that the virtue in free enterprise for traditional conservatives lies in competition. And that not even private ownership rescues monopolies from being anti-competitive.

Maybe the dam will now break and blinkered conservatives will recognize their rational self-interest in supporting LUS? (Ok, I doubt it; but still, Goldwater would be proud and it is a hopeful sign.)

30 June 2004

Yeah Right! 

There is no way on God's green Earth that this will happen this year.

Matt Drudge is a tool. How long will Republicans be duped by Hitlery hysteria? Is the GOP having fundraising problems? If John Kerry picks Clinton as his running mate, I'll quit blogging for a day.

The Greatest of Graphics 

Thank God for KATC-TV in Lafayette, or I would have nothing to post in the afternoons. Here's the graphic they have up for the handover of Saddam to the Iraqi people:

yes, this is a bobble head
I think that's a Saddam Bobble Head with a pirate hat on. Aaaargh! I'm guessing the child is Iraqi, and the justice will be swift.

Interested in other Saddam Bobble Heads? Here's one:
Aren't I original?

Ambassador 10 steps up 

Yesterday the Advertiser (their site appears to be down right now) ran a story suggesting that bustling Lafayette wouldn't ever get a movie that was the top grossing film for at least one weekend (count on Spiderman to top that list this weekend).

But today Ambassador 10 on Kaliste Saloom Road decided to go ahead and rake in boat loads of cash for the weekend.

Thanks to Stephen for the email about this one.

Cheney to NOLA 

I didn't know anything about this, but apparently the Vice President of the United States of America is going to be at the National D-Day Museum tomorrow.

Tickets are "free", but you have to get one from a Republican Party official or Bush/Cheney headquarters around the state.

The even begins at 12:30 pm.

The Pic just runs what amounts to little more than a blurb about the appearance.

I'm also surprised to find that New Orleans IndyMedia doesn't have any news of organized protests against the VP. I imagine all kinds of creative things can be done after his little "go fuck yourself" incident with Sen. Patrick Leahy last week. Creative protesters might show Cheney what that looks like in effigy. It could be loads of fun, and since it's New Orleans you probably wouldn't have to worry about indecency ordinances.

Update @ 9:27 am: if Yankees fans (the most evil people on Earth. Eviler than LSU fans? Most assuredly.) can manage to show their disapproval, then New Orleans partisans should be able to get it done too.


Blogger seems to be a mess today, but I'll try and get my usual morning posting out while I still can.

NOLA Medicine 

It's been one medical breakthrough after another for doctors and health researchers in New Orleans the last few days.

Monday I alerted you to the hangover prevention work being done at Tulane, and today the Pic runs a story about a medical procedure designed to cure who could only be the unluckiest man alive of the hiccups, which he has had since Thanksgiving.

The hiccups are bad enough to have just for an hour or so. I can't even begin to imagine the horror of weeks and months spent hiccuping roughly every minute.

...looks like this guy may finally find some relief.

29 June 2004

One More Quick Hit from the AP 

La. inspector general post still open

They must have lost my application in the mail.

Umm, you may have noticed posting has dropped off pretty dramatically in the last few weeks. I've been on overtime with some different things I'm working on right now, so my days have been pretty hectic. I imagine things should be slowing down in the next week or so. Sorry if I've let you guys suffer through too little Timshel lately.

Good News 

Reduction of business sales tax starts Thursday

Now I can buy that Supermax Milling Machine I've had my eye on. At $9,500 it's a steal, and then I can get started on whatever you use the thing for.

Seriously, this is a good thing. I knew the reduction was scheduled to begin sometime this year, but I had no idea it would get off the ground at the start of July. It is responsible for about $80 million a year. Count on that to come out of Benson's cut.

Useless Predictions 

I don't make many of these because they inevitably turn out wrong, wrong, wrong...

(witness my last foray into prognostication),

But I think it's a safe bet that this news about Tom Benson's will to negotiate a "permanent solution" to the relationship between the state of Louisiana and the Saints isn't going anywhere this year. It's not a good signal when he waits for the Governor to go out of town to communicate that he wants to go to the table for some long-term commitments. I hope I'm wrong, but I guess we'll know before too long.


I don't like to laugh at other's misfortune, but I found this letter to the editor of my local rag hilarious:

I really got burned yesterday by a very “patriotic” person. I have bought from the Army post on Surrey a total of 18 of the magnet ribbons. While at a local store, three of my four were stolen. One was a MIA/POW black ribbon, the second was a flag ribbon with “One Nation Under God” on it,” and the third was the red, white, and blue “God Bless America.”

It is really bad when someone feels that they have to steal to be a good American. Out of the 18 ribbons I bought, eight were repaid to me. I did not need the repayment but they insisted. The rest were given to good Americans. If this person had asked I probably would have just given them the ribbons. I know there are good Americans out there as I can see them on the television honoring a past president. To bad that there are not more of them (both native born or foreign born).

That's a lot of ribbons.

Snark attack 

and from an editorial writer at the Advocate no less. How strange? Someone slipped the funny in to this editorial chiding the Vice President for his impolitic language on the Senate floor last week:

It is one thing to use crass language while sitting in the duck blind with hunting buddies; it is quite another to do so while surrounded by colleagues on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Frankly I don't know how far Cheney and Scalia's hunting trip permeated the public consciousness, but I imagine about half the readers of this editorial probably just thought it was a bit out of place reference to Louisiana's favorite pastime.

More on Fiber Silliness 

Both the Advertiser and the Advocate post informative stories this morning on the latest fiber silliness.

As usual the Advocate’s Blanchard just seems to have a better handle. I particularly liked his use of the phrase “picking up its ball and going home.” Colorful that. Sounds a lot like a phrase I used early this morning. Coincidence? Probably, but it’s nice to imagine that someone is reading this stuff.

Cutting through all the gradu in this brouhaha leaves the Chamber and LUS looking pretty good and BellSouth and especially Cox look like petulant. BellSouth and Cox had their questions weeks ago; they surely had their answers ready but wanted to force the forum to their issues and format. LUS fulfilled its obligation and walked away. The Chamber stuck to its original plan; and did not remake the forum to satisfy anyone else's purposes. In the end Cox overplayed its hand with a new push poll (I’m betting that is the source) and demands that everything be done its way. The city, LUS and the Chamber picked up and walked off.

The outcome of this silliness really does seem to be good: the Chamber has been abused enough that they have good grounds to get off their overly solicitous “let’s be objective” routine and support their own interests and Durel and LUS have decided to quit playing their enemies’ game. On to the real issues.

On that score do take a look at LUS’s answers. On item that struck me on a quick read was the promise to finish the city buildout in 3 years and the parish in six. First I’ve heard of making the initiative parish-wide. Any other thoughts from readers?

Vitter campaigns on defense 

He calls the early transfer of power "brilliant", sounding not unlike the cartoon guy who comes up with idea for the six pack in that Guinness commercial. It looks like he probably had to deal with that one on the fly, since I doubt he knew it was going to happen before his campaign stop.

At any rate, the big news out of that appearance was that Vitter released his "plan" for "Winning the War on Terror."

Aside from the blatant dishonesty about what the Kerry position is in his literature, there's not that much there to ridicule. His position may as well have been written by Bush administration foreign policy officials with all "support the president's central assertion" and "support the Bush doctrine" business, but you can't fault a guy for supporting his president. However, since the Bush approach isn't exactly working right now, I don't know that I'd want to jump on board that crazy train.

And don't even get me started on "multi-layered missile defense systems"...

Fiber Silliness reigns supreme. But just maybe it’s a good thing…  

So we’re gonna get a virtual fiber forum. Maybe.

There was no forum Monday. (I told you you so.) But there was an insta LUS news conference at its location. LUS presented their document to the news crews and went home. EATEL had apparently withdrawn Thursday but nobody seemed to notice or really care. BellSouth is willing to come back later but there appears to be no later to come back to. Cox is peeved, is saying they pulled out of Monday’s forum for cause, and isn’t saying what they’ll do in the future.

The Chamber seems to have, quite reasonably in this fella’s opinion, decided that they should throw in the towel and will toss any answers they get to their questions to the web, call it a virtual forum, and call it done.

As nearly as can be decoded the story went something like this. EATEL pulled out Thursday. BellSouth and Cox gummed up the works on Friday by asking for a delay and format change. The Chamber tried to comply, perhaps in response to a Cox ultimatum, and announced a delay in a flurry of last-minute emails. About then LUS found out about the latest push poll. (I told you about that too.) You’ll recall that the earlier push poll it was a shortly before the council meeting and that the purpose was to effect public opinion rather than to gain knowledge. LUS and Durel , also reasonably, apparently had had enough of that game this time and decided to take their ball home if the other team wasn’t going to play fair. So the whole mess collapsed.

We’ll get further recriminations and complaints and folks will point fingers but I doubt that much that is meaningful will emerge. Juicy, maybe. But meaningful, No. The boys just can’t play nice together. And maybe it was never realistic to expect them to.

Here is what I’d like to suggest. Treat the silly outcome as a good excuse to end a misguided attempt to accommodate folks—BellSouth and Cox—who, frankly, have no reason to cooperate in helping Lafayette decide what would be best for Lafayette. Treat their objections as noted and move on. What we need now is a good, muscular framework outlining what LUS intends. Questions and concerns about that framework should come from our community. (And I DO NOT include BellSouth or Cox as members of the local community. That fiction serves no one. Even if BellSouth did belatedly decide to join the Chamber.)

A thorough public airing of the plan should take place. LUS’s answers to the Chamber’s questions is a place to start but is too sketchy to be the basis of real discussion. –Frankly, it is, as it was needed to be, a PR document.

Give us enough detail to let folks plug for their little piece of the dream. Some folks want a role for local entrepreneurs assured. Some folks want to make sure that architecture of the software and boxes allows the creation of local mom and pop service shops. Some folks dream of hanging wireless off the fiber. Others of location-based services. Yet others dream of video libraries and educational applications built on open source software. All these dreams and many more can be encouraged or disallowed by the design of the particular architecture that we build now. My very strong advocacy would go toward building as open a system as is humanly possible even at the cost of a little risk or expense. Others might well not agree.

But this is the argument we ought to be having: The argument concerning what is possible, what we want, and how best to accomplish the purposes we choose.

Get over the silliness and get on with it.

The above pastiche of events was drawn from a number of individually incomplete sources—you can reconstruct it for yourself by taking a gander at the following locales:

LUS news release, their rationale
KLFY news story, initial comments from Cox and BellSouth
Advertiser Online story—pretty much incorrect and useless, but hey, don’t want to ignore them.
Chamber News Release—their call for a virtual forum

28 June 2004


This is very fake, very funny, and very, very disturbing. Via the Corner comes the Bill Clinton My Life book tour blog. I can't get over this bit from the latest post:

[Robin Williams and I] must've looked like two drunken sailors. Oh God, what was I thinking? That's the kind of influence Robin has on me and all his friends. The guy is crazy, but he also manages to make us lose our minds.

Oh and when Mariah sang "I'm in Heaven, With my boyfriend, My laughing boyfriend, There's no beginning, And there is no end..." the two of us would look at each other like we were in love and put both of our hands on our hearts.

What was the result of our hard work? The women rolled their eyes and told us "Go get the wine".

This is just what the Big Dog needs to makeover his image.

Prove it all night 

Murph finds at least one sector of the New York "service" economy who can't wait for the delegates to the Republican National Convention to arrive, and in the process introduces us to a new interest group.

No word on whether or not Scores has any big plans for the convention.

Thank God! 

Between recreating prehistoric dinosaur breath and this hangover cure, you'd think we'd have found a cure for cancer by now.

The study found that when taken hours before drinking, the extract can alleviate symptoms such as dry mouth and that nauseated, can't-stand-the-sight-of-food feeling.

It does not appear to ease other symptoms, such as headaches and dizziness.

But unlike raw egg mixtures, cold pizza, greasy breakfasts and other folk remedies, the extract helps prevent the symptoms instead of trying to relieve them after the misery has begun.

The study appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine and was led by Dr. Jeff Wiese at the Tulane Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, a city that knows hangovers.

I knew that giant endowment would finally prove itself good for something.

Moore and O'Reilly 

They finally have something in common...

Both lie about their party affiliation.

Moore lies.

O'Reilly lies.

Those two ought to put together a "Hannity and Colmes"-type show. Now that I wanna see.

Breaking News 

A call over to the Chamber re tix reveals that there will be no Fiber Forum this evening. It has been tentatively rescheduled to July 8th. What’s going on with such a last minute change with such a widely publicized event? Wish I knew. My only thought it that it isn’t in the Chamber’s interest to delay it. I’d guess is that there is some ugly jockeying for position going on behind the screens. Stay tuned.

What I get 

I don't post on Sunday and I miss what could have been the funniest thing the Pic has published all year. A travel section entirely dedicated to Houston, Texas. Your Right Hand Thief has so much more...


Speaking of sovereignity transfers...

Here's a story about what Louisiana lawmakers think about it. Let's just the say state Democrats weren't given the administration talking points on the handover:

“But it’s our army that is going to be there to support it, or it would collapse,” she said. “There is not a senator I know who thinks the Iraqis can take over on June 30,” without continued U.S. help.

It seems that everyone in the world except the US Press Corps knows that the Iraqis can't really take over full power today, two weeks from now, or even a year from now. "Full sovereignty" is such a joke, but people spout it off as though there's no doubt that's what the Iraqis have. It's as if we tell ourselves something a hundred thousand times we'll believe it. (Sorry no damn transcript) Witness Condeleeza Rice on This Week yesterday with all her "I can't comment about hypothetical security issues," business.


I suppose this is good. At least it preempts any terrorist attacks that could have been planned to coincide with the transfer, but pardon my cynicism for thinking a headline like this one is completely meaningless.

At least now I understand why they made sure to swear in Negroponte last week instead of today or tomorrow.

I weep for them 

From the department of silly headlines:

Legislative break hard work for candidates for Congress

Hard work! Puhlease. The headline shouldn't fool you into thinking there's no reason to read the story, though. It's a good rundown of what some of the candidates for various Congressional seats are up to. Here's the funniest statement from the story (among many). It's a quote from Bobby Jindal's campaign manager:

""We've had a very aggressive grass-roots and fund-raising campaign, and we intend to keep that up," Teepell said.

By grassroots he must mean something like this "$15,000 from the National Beer Wholesalers Association in Alexandria, Va., and $6,000 from the Louisiana Physicians Political Action Committee (PAC). Jindal also received $34,000 from six members of a Texas-based family named Ahuja." That's not even mentioning a number of fundraisers held by the same well-placed men in Washington DC who were so integral to his gubernatorial candidacy. Or maybe it's the grassroots efforts he's been working in Houston and New York City. You know, the men whose input is so important to running races in Louisiana.

And after complimenting my friend J.T. Hannan a couple of months ago for getting his talking points into the lede of a story on Jindal in a "Hill" report, the Picayune can't manage to get his name right. Those bastards.

Gerard Shields also has a few more thoughts on fundraising in my district, where the DC Republicans have lined up behind Charles Boustany to take the vacant seat. This just makes me that much more convinced that my decision to give Republican David Thibodeaux the benefit of the doubt was the right one.

27 June 2004

Connecting Dots 

During one of Kerry's spring time visits to New Orleans, there was a some strange activity with a bomb found floating in Lake Pontchartrain. I wondered if it may have been a half-hearted attempt on John Kerry's life, though because of the circumstances of where it was found had others saying that it was most likely coincidental.

Frankly, I have a lot of trouble believing that it was only a big coincidence that a bomb turned up floating in Lake Pontchartrain the same day Kerry made a well-publicized and relatively long-planned for appearance just off the lake.

Since then I haven't seen a thing about it in the local papers.

But Atrios links to an interesting article about a new device that the FBI and homeland safety officials are suggesting to be careful of during this holiday weekend:

A lightly classified bulletin sent to 18,000 state and local agencies last week advised local authorities to look out for plastic-foam containers, inner tubes and other waterborne flotsam commonly seen around marinas that could be rigged to blow up on contact. Also, the bulletin warned, terrorists might attach bombs to buoys.

The article goes on to say that no such devices have been discovered nor do they have sufficient evidence to suggest that such an attack will go forward, but they do expect terrorist organizations to focus on harbors and other waterways during the holidays.

I wonder if there's a connection between the two.

My tinfoil hat is still on tight.

No Tix for the Public at Public Forum 

No need to go down to the Chamber Monday morning to scrounge for leftover tickets. There are none.

I've said plenty on my disappointment (1) (2) concerning upcoming fiber forum so I'll try and keep this to new material:

This means that all the tickets have gone to Chamber members, and the last I heard members were being limited to two at a pop. So business folks are all eager to go watch (they won't be allowed to ask questions)...Or possibly that things have evolved in such a way that the Chamber, which closed the doors to public participation, no longer feels comfortable with even a public presence. Hard to say from the outside.

If this thing is to be of value the prepared questions have to be incisive and, since the replies will surely be molded by the best PR minds money can buy, the follow-ups will have to be aggressive. (I am gamely assuming that there will be follow up questioning from the panel.)

The public could be a little more comfortable now if the earlier promise of releasing the canned questions to the public as well as the corporations and LUS had been made good on. And it would be nice if we knew who comprises the unbiased panel promised by the Chamber. I don’t doubt the Chamber has done the best they could on both scores but If it is going to be a closed room at least those of us peering in through the windows should get lights bright enough to examine the corners.

I know there are forces within the business community that see the huge potential in LUS fiber and wish all this were different. I'd like to cheer them on and hope they fight a little harder. As things now stand the business community is AWOL—it is consigning itself to the sidelines on the development possibility of their lifetime. A little of that ole time boosterism, please.

Yet Another Fiber "Survey" 

Another disingeous fiber survey is being run in Lafayette. The sponsor is unclear but, again, Menefee's LUSFTTH blog is on top of it. You will recall that last time Menefee MP3'd the survey and provided the public with dramatic proof that the poll was an unabashed push poll. This time it is his mom that is quick with a pencil. You can see where he gets it from. See the new poll in all its glory on the LUSFTTH site.

This one is wierdly amusing. It wants to know what the respondents think of Nagel, yes, the renegade Cox executive now functioning as Mayor of New Orleans, and uses Bill Gate's investment strategy as evidence of...something.

I think this one is trolling for issues as much as it is another push poll; but with his mom and at least 5 friends getting calls it also pushes its points on a lot more people than any real survey would.

While we are on unaknowleged trickery of which LUSFTTH informs us I should have shared with you one from earlier: a little bit of tomfoolery by Cox. Cox has put up a web site promoting a referendum on fiber which for all the world looks like something local--or at least something that someone in Tyler, Texas thinks sounds like what someone in Lafayette would write since Menefee does a little Whois search and finds: et voila: it is from a Cox server in Tyler, Texas. You know, you could get the impression that you shouldn’t “ever trust anything Cox ever says.”

LUSFTTH lends Timshel two nice links to earlier articles on fiber under its heading "opinion." It's appreciated.

Finally, before I nod off, there are some underground rumblings about Monday's scheduled Fiber Forum. If I can get anything solid I'll make sure you are the first to know.

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