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31 December 2004

Happy New Year 

Resolutions anyone?

One of mine is to temper my anger at having to deal with the small-town mentality of my local rag by noting the good things about it when ever I can't seem to get over one of its glaring faults. With that in mind, today the Advertiser ran a much more considered list of "stories that changed us" than yesterday's fatuous mess of local interest pablum.

Also, those heartless, evil bastards (not entirely unlike the half-orc and goblin dirt children armies bred by Saruman in the Lord of the Rings stories/movies) at Cox have dropped their demands that a couple of victims of a house fire should have to pay for the damage said fire caused to the digital converter boxes they were renting from the cable company. Good for them...

So with a couple of good things out of the way, I should probably get back to the Advertiser. In a trick most likely designed to draw people to their newly retooled website, this shell of a paper is now in it's third or fourth day of running the results of a web poll on the front page of the newspaper. Now it's hardly surprising that homer Jake Delhomme is leading in the question, "Who will you pull for Sunday, when the Saints play Jake Delhomme and the Panthers for a possible playoff trip?" But why this is on the front page of the paper every day of the week is beyond me. Doubtlessly the same fifteen letter-writers moving through the revolving door that is the Advertiser opinion page will have something to say about who they're rooting for, but frankly, I just don't give one half of a damn what 1,500 Advertiser web-denizens have to say about Jake Delhomme and the Saints. It will be fun to contrast this idiocy from the Advertiser when the Advocate begins its annual and--gasp!--scientific public opinion polling on issues that actually matter to Louisiana residents. Meanwhile, maybe Kevin Foote can write a column about how the clear support exhibited by Lafayette residents for Jake Delhomme is evidence that the Saints don't use their tight ends well enough.

That's enough for now, happy New Year!

30 December 2004

Another reason to support LUS FttH 

The people at Cox are evil, heartless bastards.

...looks like John caught this too.

Things I wish... 

that the Independent's website was up and running so I could link you to their story about Robert's Cove continuing tradition of dressing a white person in blackface to portray Black Peter--Santa's Moorish disciplinarian for the naughty kids--at the town's annual traditional German Christmas celebration. This isn't the picture, but it's a fair comparison.

Thanks to ImageShack for Free Image Hosting.

Ahh Lafayette 

The Advertiser compiled their "top stories" for Lafayette in 2004, and if you wonder how awful it is to read this paper every day, you need look no farther than this list:

Saying goodbye to the 256th Mechanized Infantry Brigade
Lafayette's fallen soldiers
The great school bus crisis of 2004
Cow Island water
CajunBot (my personal favorite)
The New Iberia Police Department dissolved, subsequent failed recall of mayor, but eventual trouncing in her campaign for reelection
Hurricane Ivan didn't hit us (are you kidding me?)
New multi-million dollar art museum (not mentioned, the rather inauspicious attendance figures through its first months)
UL integration, 50 years later
Jake Delhomme and Kevin Faulk (when will Acadiana get over their fixation with these people?)

Somehow not making the list are the $110 million bond issue regarding the LUS proposal to provide fiber optics to the home and our district's first elected Republican Congressperson and the ugly, but already forgetful campaign.

Vice City NOLA 

The state of Louisiana sets its sights on the video game industry. This looks like more talk than anything else right now, but I wonder if our film buffs in the DED aren't overstating the supposedly converging relationship between the two rather distinct industries.

Besides, this seems like one of those industries where it's somewhat important to have a large pool of highly skilled professionals to employ. And if that's the case, it was only few weeks ago when the same Ned Randolph wrote an article on the Louisiana business survey which suggested the biggest problem preventing expansion into this state was the lack of qualified labor. How quickly we forget?

Of course, I'm all for trying, but let's not put the cart before the horse...

Late start 

I'm doing some electronic house cleaning this morning. More to come...

Anyone know how to remove a hijacker called sirsearch/zoombar? Internet has been only mildly helpful on this so far.

29 December 2004

Redistricting 

I don't link to the big dogs too often since I figure you guys are reading them anyway, but this strikes me as the most important issue around for people genuinely concerned about the health of America's representative democracy.

Actual voting reform would be a near tie, but I don't think it could really happen until the power of incumbency took a shot across the bow by fairer district mapping anyway.

Unbelievable 

The Picayune continues to run stories about sexual abuse without mentioning New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes well-established complicity in the scandal that forced Bernard Cardinal Law to resign in Boston.

That the Rev. William Maestri had the gall to show up to pray with these victims in front of the Seminary on Carrolton Ave. while serving as the spokesman for an enabler of the worst order to the crimes in Boston is beyond simple hypocrisy. To be sure, the Pic has reported the extent of Hughes's involvement in the Boston Archdiocese, but for the sake of good reporting this should be mentioned every time the New Orleans Archdiocese addresses the issue of clergy abuse. Mentioning one without the other does an incredible disservice to their readers...

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Shocking revelations! 

Apologies for the cheap pun, but color me unsurprised that a local forensic pathologist believes hitting people with thousands of volts of electricity might not be as safe as our city law enforcement officials and stun gun companies say it is. After a recent local death occurred shortly after the detainee was "subdued" with a Taser, these things have hit the news rather hard in the local rag.

Now the police and these irresponsible companies producing the weapons are stuck in a position where they can't admit the obvious (that stun guns might be especially dangerous to a small percentage of people) because they're terrified of the liability that will and ought to come with such an admission. Someone should call John Edwards.

When in doubt... 

post links to stories about the crawfish harvest.

The message: don't worry. Farmers will be catching/producing crawfish like gangbusters in no time at all, but they're pretty expensive in the meantime. I was mildly disappointed we didn't have a post-Christmas boil after the Saints game Sunday, but let's face it, it was never really in the cards.

... 

My Louisiana hump day papers are a real snore today, so why not link you folks to some interesting news from other states?

In the liberal northeast, Mass. Governor Mitt Romney will file a bill to reinstate the death penalty for "horrific crimes" and would change the legal threshold for conviction in these cases from "beyond a reasonable doubt" to "no doubt." Regulars here probably already know what I think about this so I won't bore you with more anti-capital punishment commentary. I will say that Romney may want to avoid seeing his name attached to this sentiment:
Even Romney concedes that it might take a horrific crime, like the 1997 murder of 10-year-old Jeffrey Curley, to rally support for the bill.
He sounds like all us liberals desperately pining away for US failure in the Iraq adventure. Why does Mitt Romney hate ten-year-olds?

28 December 2004

War on Christmas update 

A 19-year-old Alexandria man was charged with four counts of attempted murder after allegedly firing at his family with a shotgun because he was disappointed with his Christmas gifts.


Cameron Keith Miller wanted cash for Christmas, but instead got CDs, according to police. After exchanging gifts Christmas morning, Miller argued with his family and his mother, Lael Zickrick, told him to leave.

...

Miller left, and his mother, stepfather and stepbrothers got in their truck to go visit Miller's grandparents.


Lawrence Lord, Miller's stepfather, saw Miller standing by the road as he drove out of the trailer park where the family lived. Then Lord looked in the rearview mirror and "told his family to get down" after he saw Miller "step into the road and raise a shotgun out from under his coat," Poche said.


Miller fired once, shattering the truck's driver's side rear window, then Lord hit the gas and made it to a gas station where he flagged down a sheriff's deputy, Poche said.
I don't think this is what Bill O'Reilly had in mind...

Mora on Benson 

I didn't know what to make of this when I heard it during the postgame talk on Sunday, but Mora Jr. is (rightly?) pissed about the lack of a banner (free registration, but if it's too much, use Bugmenot.com) in the Superdome honoring his father's contribution to the franchise. He is a member of the Saints Hall of Fame, so it's not like they've forgotten about him, but what's the holdup? And what was that dig on Benson being cheap? Highest payroll in the league the last two years is hardly skimping...

Hollywood South considered... 

The Advocate takes a look at how the falling dollar can be a boon to the burgeoning film industry in Louisiana. Clicking the link is worth it if only to get a look at one of the General Lees they used in the production of the Dukes of Hazzard (at least one of the latest productions here I can genuinely say I have no interest in seeing).

The other thing worth considering is the zero sum game that long-ago developed around the film industry the same way it has for so many other industries. Don't get me wrong, I love the interest Hollywood has taken in our little corner of the world, but Louisianians probably shouldn't expect this to go on forever or even a particularly long time. It won't be too long before someone else goes lower than we are willing and producers see the economic benefits of it. We should get all we can out of this while we still have the chance.

Flagship bad for women? 

This is hardly surprising, but it's worth directing you to this morning. It turns out that LSU is behind even the national average in promoting and paying women faculty members. The story only hints at it, but I should note that comparisons to a national average for all higher-ed institutions may not be as telling as comparisons to averages at similar institutions. Unfortunately those numbers aren't provided. That's not to say LSU doesn't have a responsibility to deal with institutional restraints against the advancement of female faculty members, but it may not be as bad as it looks.

Winter weather 

Roads were closed all over Southeast Louisiana through Christmas and the morning after. This affected my own travel plans Sunday morning as my brother and his wife and I tried to get to New Orleans in time for the Saints game. Fortunately we left Lafayette at seven in the morning, so we didn't have to deal with game day traffic trying to negotiate the Airline Hghwy route to New Orleans, but it was a pain in the neck nonetheless. State transportation officials say they would have had to close the interstate no matter how much salt or sand they may have had, but it's hard to envision a scenario where the relatively minor precipitation and warming weather would have shut down major arteries in states with colder climates (by mid-morning on Sunday the temperature was already well-above freezing).

The bigger problem seemed to be that transportation officials made very little attempt to inform motorists about alternate routes. Coming into NOLA from the South was all but impossible without driving all the way to Algiers to take the Crescent City Connection. Fortunately we were already on the correct side of the Mississippi River, so we didn't need to make that roundabout entry to New Orleans. A Shell station at the Prairieville exit off of I-10 just east of Baton Rouge had apparently become so fed up with inquiries regarding the way to New Orleans that its clerks posted the directions on a sign at the front door.

Anyway, considering how little this part of the country gets this kind of weather its easy to dismiss the importance of contingency plans (unlike Hurricane evacuation procedures, where every summer the threats looms over the entire Gulf Coast), but just because it doesn't happen often doesn't mean it's not something that needs to be addressed. If this had happened in the middle of a work week it could have resulted in not insignificant economic consequences.

Thoughts?

27 December 2004

Home Sweet Home 

Where did all this defense come from?

So, New Orleans was treated to something of a white Christmas. The Saints managed to keep themselves in the hunt for the playoffs. And a massive earthquake shook the Indian Ocean, generating massive tsunamis and causing thousands of deaths. The only logical conclusion is that the end of the world is upon us. The most likely scenario will put the Saints in the Superbowl on Feb. 8. They'll be down by five with two and a half minutes to play and the ball in Aaron Brooks's hands. The Krewe of Bacchus will be lining their floats up on Tchoup, ready to roll within the hour after the game's finish. Unfortunately for faithful New Orleans fans and revellers, this will be the exact moment of rapture. The Earth will open up to swallow all the sinners in New Orleans in the two days before we can begin our Lenten penance. Saints fans will never know the joy of victory.

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