18 March 2005

Wooley goes "hog" wild 

Frankly, if Robert Wooley wants to spend the taxpayer dollars covering his car allowance on an expensive truck, I don't really give a damn one way or the other. His crime here is that the truck he picked is just so unbelievably tacky.


Sen. David Vitter, R-La., voted against both amendments. Vitter said he was tempted to vote to allow the federal government to bargain with drug makers because he is so frustrated with the high costs of prescriptions, but he ultimately worried that it would lead to Canadian-style government price controls.

Didn't David Vitter reintroduce legislation this year that would open the door for drug reimportation? So we can reimport their drugs after they've set their own controls, but we shouldn't be able to negotiate for prices ourselves? Considering this and that despite being against casino gaming he can take money from casino lobbyists, it seems that David Vitter's entire philosophy of governance is that it's okay to profit off things that we believe are wrong so long as we don't do it said wrong thing ourselves. Say what you will, at least this guy is consistent. It must be that Rhodes Scholarship.


In honor of Tack Minor's pitiful display of skills on behalf of LSU last night I had planned to make this week's game the Atari 2600 version of "Basketball", which may have had the distinction of being the only game Atari made that was actually worse than "E.T." Alas, the game is nowhere to be found in the vast reaches of the World Wide Interwebs.

Instead, I bring you this awful shockwave rendition of a "shootout" game common to your nearest arcade or sports bar. It's difficult enough that you might believe you yourself were out of the floor taking on the UAB Dragons last night.

17 March 2005

Culture of violence 

West Bank schools aren't even safe. This is awful, but thank God the injury doesn't appear to be serious. New Orleans public schools have enough problems without the gangland style turf wars that we've been growing all too accustomed to lately.
Police chief Eddie Compass said the shooting resulted from an ongoing dispute among students. The victim, however, was not involved in the dispute, Compass said, describing him as an innocent bystander.
The truly sad thing is that it appears that the innocent bystanders are being harmed at least as often as the "targets" of such violence.

A bit more at WWL.

Vitter fighting for our rights 

His long standing feud with cronyism and corruption takes another all-too-expected turn. As far as I know, his office is still taking tips from concerned citizens.

Let me put this in simple terms. No matter how long David Vitter has opposed gaming in Louisiana, he now admits that he knew at the time of his fundraiser that he was taking money from a tribe profiting off the practice. This same tribe stood to gain a boat load of money by maintaining their supremacy in the casino market in Louisiana. Vitter apparently thinks its okay for him to profit off of the gambling industry in this state to the tune of God only knows how much money, and that it's okay to give the lobbyist who helped raise the money the pen and paper that would write the legislation meant to stifle further competition. Isn't that like a textbook definition of "cronyism?" Quoth the Pic, but buried in the last paragraph of the article:
Roll Call reported earlier this month on one other connection between Vitter and Abramoff. It said that when Vitter was drafting legislation to insert into the Interior Department appropriations bill, he turned to Abramoff's law firm for assistance. Vitter said he sought assistance from the firm because it had expertise in Indian gambling issues.

Heaven Help Us 

The Hineston, Louisiana (apparently a "rural" town somewhere under the watchful eye of the Alexandria Town Talk news team) chapter of the young Republicans--read, "the entire student body of Oak Hill High School"--don't think much of the first amendment or dissent. Now one tends to make too much of the attitudes about "freedom" of fifteen year olds. The fact of the matter is that for all the talk that "the children are our future," whatever beliefs and attitudes teenagers harbor, they tend to change dramatically the further people get away from adolescence. What is distressing is that this really does seem to be a national trend, and there are problably a thousand reasons for it, but the current state of our political discourse can't help things too much.

We on the left love to talk about the frighteningly exclusionary tactics of the Republican media machine. Without fail you can count on Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and their clones to explain why people to the right of Joe Lieberman are the "only people serious enough" to discuss our nation's foreign policy. These people dominate the airwaves and they are essentially unchallenged voices for millions of Americans and their children.

The left have our own versions of these nutcases, but with the exception of Michael Moore, there probably isn't a one who commands even close to the following that third-rate show hosts like John Ziegler directs.

Whatever the case, the gusto with which the students of Oak Hill wish to stifle the press really is pretty shocking:
The class of Oak Hill students, who all read a newspaper daily in class, revealed their concerns that the media has too much power, sometimes reporting too much personal information about people, including people who commit minor crimes.

The Oak Hill students also believe the media should censor itself to preserve national pride. Most in the class agreed people shouldn't be able to disagree or disrespect the President in the media -- they all said they're Republicans.

"If Americans don't support him, you can't run a country," said Kayla Smith.
Sigh. Even the fascist tendencies of high school students surprises me less than the fact that an Alexandria high school actually has a student chapter of the ACLU. Read Bolton High School senior Cory Struble mount a defense of the 1st Amendment in the pages of the same rag here.

Quote of the day 

First things first. Thanks to the few of you who inquired about my health in emails, but your worry is unwarranted. It's just been too busy around here to really find the energy to tend to this website. I have some ideas for future posting that can be done without my attention, but they may not quite pan out.

As for the title of this particular post, it comes courtesy of JBoo, who found this AP story over at ESPN and dropped the link into my inbox:
Two men's teams, LSU and Minnesota, failed to graduate even one basketball player, according to numbers supplied by the 2004 NCAA Graduation Rates Report. No. 1 seeds Illinois (47 percent) and Washington (45 percent) graduated less than half their players.
Now to be sure, my beloved UL has not been good about this in the past (I'm near positive that they've graduated substantially less than fifty percent of their players over the last ten years or so, but I can't find the data anywhere online at the moment), but zero percent for a year goes far above and beyond the call of duty. Maybe now I understand a little better why LSU has been pushing those kinesiology professors so hard these days.

14 March 2005

Upset Special? 

Gimme some mo'
Click here and then click on the link to the Analyzing the Brackets graphic link at the NY Times website to get a fuller view of UL's Tiras Wade. The Times calls the Cajuns the upset pick from the region. Color me less than confident, but I'll never give up hope.

Uh oh 

Our state is throwing away buckets of cash on long-term care facilities. Most of the time people look at these reports and go up in arms about how wasteful government is, and they have every right to, but they ought to take in to account that the whole reason behind the audit in the first place was to find this waste. This is government policing itself, and it's a good thing. Unmentioned in this AP report, the most discouraging bit about this news is that the man in charge of the committee that would oversee any legislative overhaul of the way money is spent on these facilities just happens to own one himself.

More Castro 

This is from yesterday, but I found it funny that the only thing stopping the LA GOP from "condemning" Kathleen Blanco's meeting with Cuban dicatator Fidel Castro was their inability to call a quorum at a weekend meeting of the executive council. The funniest bits are the ridiculous statements that the White House and the State Dept. were demanding that they do it. As though those offices couldn't simply make their own statements about a Democratic governor in a small southern state where the President is generally more popular than beer and football.


Guilty after all, or at least for now.

For some reason I suspect that shooting that rap video in jail didn't gain him any favor with the state Supremes panel.

The Origins of "Ricky Prado" 

Sorry about the long absence this weekend, but I should let you all know that to say I'll be busy over the next couple of weeks would be a gross understatement. The blogging will continue to suffer, but that's life. I'll update as it suits my schedule.

By way of apology, I'll let you in on one of those details about my life that I usually don't let get in to the blog too often. Many of you ought to know by now that I write this under something of a nom de plume. I'm fairly guarded when it comes to my private life, and I don't really think this blog is the place for it any way. But the latest round of anti-smoking Truth ads are out, and over at FairEnough.com you can view a commercial that happens to intersect with my life in an interesting enough manner. Just click on the "Urban Hipsters" ad that they've released for February and pay attention.

Back when I was living in New Orleans I had a close friend who was working for a local marketing firm that was handling a New Orleans promotions account for a MAJOR tobacco company. As a smoker, this was great for me. I got all kinds of free cigarettes. In fact, I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that I probably didn't pay for a pack of cigarettes in as long as a year--and probably longer--even though I was smoking as much as a pack a day during the time. At any rate, one of his jobs was to put together an advertisement designed to run in New Orleans weeklies that featured a new "New Orleans Night Owl" for each issue. It goes without saying that the ads were designed to look like they were part of the layout of the newspaper and not an advertisement bought and paid for by our offending cigarette company.

Slacker that my friend was, he didn't necessarily always feel like actually finding a man about town to picture and talk about in the ads, so one day he decided to send in an old picture of yours truly with a little write-up of just how "hip" and "about the town" I was. The result is Ricky Prado, DJ extraordinaire and one-time New Orleans trend-setter. At the time I didn't care much, and I still don't, but now that a major advertising campaign has been initiated to shed light on the subject, I thought I might let you know about my little role in the affair.

Over at Slate.com, Seth Stevenson has talked about how effective he believes these ads are because they appeal to some cool and cynical streak in adolescents, and he may have a point.

However, it's probably also worthwhile to consider the effectiveness of the cigarette manufacturer's promotion when they were actually spending money on this project. This was back when this particular company was rolling out new products, and they accompanied the roll out with parties and heavy promotions appealing to "the hip" set. They hosted parties for NOLA bartenders that were full of free alcohol and smokes; they sponsored parties for the public that gave out smokes and drink specials. And despite more or less everyone attending being "savvy" enough to know that it was all a cheap gimmick to get them hooked on a particular brand, they came, they got their free smokes, and a fair amount of them probably bought them again.

That's the unfortunate truth for people that are already hooked, but we're not the target of the "Fair Enough" campaign anyway.

Whatever the case, no one would ever mistake me for any kind of "urban hipster," so I guess in the end the joke was on the people who were foolish enough to pay my friend and expect him to actually do the work they asked of him. I do wonder if anyone ever saw that advertisement and wondered just who the hell Ricky Prado was, or tried to find a way to book him for anything.

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