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24 December 2004

Merry Christmas 

...and happy holidays and all the rest.

Hope everyone has a great weekend with friends and family. Thanks for continuing to read my little corner in the World Wide Internets. I doubt I'll be posting at all today and tomorrow, but stranger things have happened. Sunday I'm off to New Orleans to watch the Saints with the two elder Prado sons and one sister-in-law. Posting will resume Monday or Tuesday.

It's damned cold outside.

Keep your eyes peeled. I think Santa left something hidden on the blog...

23 December 2004

TKGOTW 

I'm feeling the Christmas spirit, so here's another game to tide you over while I lighten the blogging load during the holiday. This one isn't particularly complicated, but it gets difficult rather quickly. Use the arrow keys to move the circle over the gray square. Every time you collect a square more balls appear on the screen, but don't hit them or your game is over and you start over from the beginning.

Wow 

That was much quicker than I could have hoped. Thanks go out to the fine people at Barnes and Noble and Academy Sports and Outdoors.

Out... 

I'll be braving the holiday traffic this morning as I attempt to finish off the last of my Christmas shopping, so wish me luck. Until I get back, read this article for what we may as well call the exact opposite of Christmas cheer.

22 December 2004

Worst. Headline. Ever. 

From WDSU

City To Become 'The Big Freezy'

Damn... 

Shreveport school teacher charged with rape of 6-year-old girl

Lafayette Stuff 

The LUS fiber proposal inched along at a Council meeting last night. The Advocate's got a good account, but I'll also send you over to the profiber blog for some first hand news regarding the players you'll read about in the BR rag.

The City Council also shelved a smoking ordinance that would have compelled non-alcohol serving establishments across the city to ban smoking. I'm inclined towards indifference on something like this. It doesn't look like it would really affect that many businesses (coffee shops and businesses that allow employees "smoke breaks" being the main target it seems considering the no smoking within 25 feet of the entrance of a non-smoking establishment provision), but something struck me about the meeting's participants:
Broussard said some on the council have concerns about certain provisions of the ordinance, but support the overall idea -- to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke.

"There is not a single person here that doesn't want to pass a smoking ordinance," Broussard said.

After the vote, Mouton stood on a table to talk to a throng of supporters -- some of whom had come from the New Orleans area and Shreveport.
I had no idea that the anti-smoking zealots were so dedicated to something like this that they might travel three hours just to come to a City Council meeting. I find this rather less than endearing.

And finally, count on my local daily to really piss me off. Obviously the biggest news in most papers across the country this morning was the attack in Mosul yesterday. Not the Daily Advertiser. The editors fronted their paper with a giant feature on a federal judge's impending decision on an ongoing desegregation case. Don't get me wrong, this is big news and probably deserves front page treatment. For that matter, so did the council's vote to approve the LUS bond measure. However, maybe they could have found space somewhere on the front page to mention that more than twenty US troops lost their lives yesterday. Instead they buried an AP story on the back page of the A section. Somewhere past the typically rotten letters and week-old syndicated columns. Keep up the great work people.

Surprise! 

Orleans Parish Traffic Court officials fix tickets!? Whodathunkit?

Jindal = Fuckwad 

Bobby Jindal attempts to bring the culture wars full on into Louisiana by writing a public letter to the Blanco administration about whether or not religious groups seeking taxpayer funding will be affected by Kathleen Blanco's recent anti-discrimination executive order. Apparently the assault on Christmas isn't enough for Louisianians to contend with, so Jindal is taking a mostly symbolic act by the Governor and suggesting that it's an attempt to subdue the discriminatory impulses of religious groups who get money from the state to provide different "faith-based" services.

To be sure, I agree with the ACLU's voice on this one, but I don't believe for a second that what they're suggesting is what Kathleen Blanco has in mind for the executive order:
Joe Cook of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana said he supports Blanco's directive as it's written and does not think religious groups should be allowed to discriminate in their hiring if they accept taxpayer financing.

"If you want to discriminate, then don't take tax dollars," Cook said, adding that his group has no plans to challenge the executive order. But that could change if someone presents a valid complaint of discrimination.

"We commend the governor for making the order, and we'd just like to see it carried forward in an effective manner now," Cook said.
Blanco's spokeswoman wasn't exactly happy about Bobby Jindal's grandstanding:
Bottcher said Jindal's letter violates the "spirit of cooperation" expressed at a meeting last week between the governor and members of Louisiana's congressional delegation. Jindal should have called Blanco if he wanted clarification about the executive order, Bottcher said.

"Certainly the governor believes that public officials ought to talk to each other directly and not write a letter, send it to the media and have the media call the office," Bottcher said. "Her door has certainly always been and always will be open to any Louisiana congressman."
I liked it better during those wonderful two months after the Governor's race but before Bobby Jindal announced for Congress when we didn't hear a peep out of this guy. Elected to office for the first time and in the most conservative district in the state, now he thinks he speaks for all of Louisiana's residents. Maybe someone needs to remind him that Kathleen Blanco was elected Governor.

21 December 2004

Another LOTR Bacchus 

Last year it was Frodo, this year it's Samwise Gamgee. Apparently Bacchus officials are really courting the seamy homosexual underbelly of Carnival. Maybe they're worried all the breeders will be watching the Superbowl this year.

Here's your link to the official site...

TKGOTW 

Another one, you ask? Why not? There's not much to post on, and Christmas is coming, so enjoy this side-scrolling shooter. I find it terribly difficult, but if you need to kill a half-hour this is the game for you... The music really pumps you up.

Busy Morning 

I've got a lot to do, but before I get to it I figured I ought to throw a couple of links your way. The first is the story of four men who have been incarcerated for the last eight years in Iberville and East Baton Rouge Parish without even the slightest hint that an actual trial is forthcoming. Until now of course. After being arrested for a kidnapping and murder at the age of 25, James Roger Thomas is now 33 and facing the possibility of a May trial for the crimes. It's your justice system at work.

And in the department of "White Christmas dreaming," it appears that the Times-Picayune ran a page one story about the slight chances of snow for the holidays, maybe even right next to a page one story about the Saints not-so-slim anymore chances of a playoff berth. The front page story I would have run would have been the news that the Falcons listed Mike Vick as "questionable" for Sunday's game along with that other bane to the Saints/Falcons rivalry Algee Crumpler. They have literally nothing to play for at this point since they're guaranteed a first round bye, but can't get home field advantage throughout the playoffs unless the Eagles lose in the second round, so there's not a whole lot of reason to risk further injury to Vick. Now that my hopes are up, the Saints will almost surely lose to the Panthers in the last week of the season.

20 December 2004

Permission to freak out, sir? 

Permission granted...

One of the truly great things about living in south Louisiana is the way people go nuts if the slightest whiff of snow graces the forecast. Add to that the chances that it will come on Christmas eve, and even the tireless and sobering professional Rob Perillo can barely contain himself.

TKGOTW 

Since Friday's Holiday eve, I might not get a chance to post anything. So here's an early edition of your time-killing game of the week. This one is simple but addictive. Just use your mouse to move the red dot around the tiny screen while capturing the black dots. Avoid the walls Dying allows you to restart from the same level. Don't play too long or you may get nauseous.

Speaking of the Holidays... 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
I'm pretty sure Hanukkah ended last week, but I had to post this. Click on the pic so the bandwidth "borrowing" isn't completely without return...Thanks to ImageShack for Free Image Hosting, but see the original at the Progressive Blog Alliance HQ.

via The Talent Show

And yes, George Bush did say that...

Good Howler 

Somerby talks about the insidious agenda favored by Macy's and secular progressives the world over. I'm all for anyone who gets a dig into Bill Donohue too.

It seems rather pointless to spend more time talking about this idiocy. The controversies are usually ginned up from nothing, like in the case of our own little story in South Louisiana. In that case the fine officials in Houma assured the city's Christmas crusaders that they have nothing against Christmas, but they got a giant "Seasons' Greetings" sign for free, and if anyone wanted to donate a "Merry Christmas" sign, they'd gladly put that up too.

Of course, that didn't stop the victims at beliefnet and FreeRepublic from going ballistic over the shame that a city would dare denigrate the birth of Christ by failing to appropriately acknowledge it with the correct sign on a government building.

If these people wanted me to respect them, they would show the most basic understanding that the "assault" on Christmas has less to do with politics and more to do with economics. They don't realize that the major (and mostly successful) effort to secularize the holiday doesn't come from atheists or religious non-Christians, but from the marketers who realize that a primarily Christian holiday season automatically excludes a fairly large--and growing--portion of the population from participating (i.e. purchasing many expensive products) in it. Whatever Bill O'Reilly thinks, this has nothing to do with the evil bastards at Macy's attempting to turn our country into Canada, and everything to do with them trying to line their pockets with more cash.

More useless posts... 

My friend Matt pointed this story out in comments to yesterday's post, and I guess it's worth passing along this morning, so Schilling Distributing--your regional source for all things Budweiser-related--donated more than 50,000 cans of purified water to the residents of Cow Island, many of whom have found their wells contain dangerously high levels of arsenic.

There's more about this story in today's paper, but for whatever reason the Advertiser doesn't have it online.

So, did anyone see that Saints game yesterday?

Louisiana Holiday Traditions 

I've never thought these things seemed particularly safe. What am I talking about?
Every year, thousands of revelers gather along the East Bank River Road in St. James Parish to watch the 7 p.m. lighting and burning of the Christmas Eve bonfires.

Many residents open their homes to serve guests a variety of gumbos and other south Louisiana foods during the one-night celebration.

Children were taught the fires lighted the way for Père Noel and help him find their Christmas stockings. Some historians suggest the bonfires lighted the way for horse-and-buggy travelers on their way to Midnight Mass.

Research indicates that 18th-century French and German colonists from Alsace brought the bonfire tradition. Those settlers, however, celebrated the feast day of St. John the Baptist, which roughly coincides with the summer solstice.

Somewhere along the way, the custom was transferred to the Christmas season.
More on the Christmas tradition here...

What to say? 

It's Monday, so my papers are typically thin. That means linking to boring stories about unprofitable golf courses and the pension plans that subsidize them. The Municipal Police Employees Retirement System has been in the news a lot over the last year thanks to a number of poor investments, but these golf courses--$15 million spent that still hasn't been fully recouped--are the most significant expression of all the trouble that's gone on with MPERS. Anyway, in a companion story, Penny Brown Roberts notes that the system is $423 million short of what it needs to pay out its benefits. The shortfall means no cost of living increases for pensioners in the near future.

19 December 2004

Sunday Papers 

I'll try and keep it quick this morning. The big stories are on the front pages of the rags in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The Advocate covers the funding crisis for the VA in the wake of thousands of injured warriors. Mary Landrieu and some other Congresspeople are interested in making funding increases in the VA mandatory and tied to the CPI, but many of her supposedly pro-troops colleagues aren't interested in taking care of our soldiers when they return home with missing limbs, chronic pain, and various psychological disorders.

Meanwhile, reporters at the Times-Picayune review and add to the ongoing story of the 1st District Six, where police officials may have been gaming their statistics to make it look as though they were reducing crime while it was actually on the rise. I haven't followed this story particularly closely, but I'd say it's a safe bet that this won't do too much to inspire whatever already waning confidence residents have in the NOPD.

Also from the Pic, business writer Stewart Yerton takes a look at the intimate relationships being forged between the New Orleans business elite and players in the motion picture industry. This story is interesting on a whole lot of levels, but one quote struck me for entirely unrelated reasons:
As the film's director, Keoni Waxman, choreographed the shot, New Orleans plaintiffs lawyer Morris Bart stood nearby, watching the scene on a monitor linked to the camera. Bart is famous in New Orleans for his television commercials promising easy money for people hurt in car accidents. Now Bart has joined New Orleans's Hollywood movement, investing in motion pictures.
With the already tiresome use of "Hollywood South" and now this news that Morris Bart is involved in the industry, I think it's safe to say that filmmaking in Louisiana has jumped the shark. It was fun while it lasted...

Here's the part where I remind you to watch the Saints, who somehow still find themselves in the playoff hunt.

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