Sunday, November 27, 2011

Does Anybody Know Where Billy Delle Went?

The last show posted on WWOZ's website is from August.

Now when we tune in on Wednesday night, we hear another guy, who does a nice job, but he's not Billy Delle, and he has a different crypt.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Some things I learned from Mayor Mitch Landrieu

1. The average postal worker at the downtown post office earns $72,000 per year. There are over 800 people who work there, and we know nobody is earning a million. That means the people who work there make a decent living. Most of them clearly make far more than I was making as a high school teacher. I'm not sure how to react to this, as I am a fan of the United States Postal Service. I almost always have a good experience when I go to the post office (feels good not to capitalize that, as one would with "Fedex" or "UPS." The post office is OURS, as Americans). However, I have to say that I feel a little bit duped having gotten two post-graduate degrees and yet making not even half of what downtown postal workers make per year throughout most of my adult life.

2. Fedex and UPS have contracts with the USPS? I did not know that.

3. I agree with the Mayor: we need a major downtown post office. Closing this one would be short-sighted.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Let's Name Names

One thing I've never understood about 9/11 and 8/29: in both cases, clearly, people in government and private industry failed to do the jobs they were paid to do, and in both cases thousands of people were killed as a result.

Media coverage of these events and their causes has focused on governmental or industry failure--failure to collect good intelligence, failure to use good intelligence that had already been collected, failure to provide adequate security checks of passengers, failure to use good design for levees, failure to execute well the parts of the levee design that were adequate, failure to respond to the flooding and people rendered homeless, and so on.

Here's the thing. The government agencies and private companies that failed in these disasters (one caused by fanatical malevolence, one caused by negligence) are nothing without the people, the persons, who run them. Government institutions and private companies didn't fail airline passengers, New Yorkers, DC'ers, and New Orleanians; individual persons did.

It's not that I want unnecessarily to ridicule or belittle people here. My point is that I see little cause for an improved future until individual people take responsibility or are held accountable for the screwups that led to or exacerbated these human-made disasters. The same guys who failed to coordinate intelligence or inspect levees just might be the same guys who can fix the problem. Those guys have names. Why can't the media or governmental watchdogs name them, ask them hard questions, and push hard to get the problems fixed?

I see Lee Zurik do it all the time on Fox 8. He gets in people's faces.

So here we go. Our local paper today has an article about how the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-West Bank has discovered that once again, the Army Corps and its contractor Phylway Construction have built a levee filled with chunks of debris; the embedded debris makes the levee unsound, according to an independent geologist.

It's a good article--except that it's good only because it's covering the GREAT work being done by the SLFPA-WB. (One board member's comment--comparing the levee to a jelly doughnut--reminds me of Ashley's rant about the Corps stupidly building levees on jello.)

Here's the other thing: the article doesn't name names! Okay, thanks to the article, we know that Phylway Construction allegedly has been building a levee that clearly violates Corps standards. Well, Phylway Construction has an owner/manager. Her name is Phyllis Adams.

Phyllis Adams should take responsibility for this problem. Her company is being paid very well to protect the people of the Westbank. It is alleged that Phyllis Adams's company is not taking this responsibility seriously and has put a water heater and a shopping cart into a levee that should be made up of dirt and clay.

There. I did it. I named a name--the name of a person who can make a difference by correcting her company's error and possibly saving thousands of lives in the future.

It wasn't hard for me, and I didn't do anything wrong.

Why can't the Times-Picayune do that?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Danger, Will Robinson

So even though Coach Joe Vitt was never indicted, Saints fans might remember that he seems to have an interest in vicodin.

And now Coach Sean Payton of Our New Orleans Saints is going to be under treatment for the foreseeable future for pain related to his nasty spill on Sunday. I assume pain-killers will be around.

I'm hoping Coach Payton keeps his supply in a safe place, ya know?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jay Dardenne: Klingon? It All Goes Back to Star Trek

The choices for Lieutenant Governor in 2011 in Louisiana are pretty grim, nowhere near world class.

On one hand, we have Billy Nungesser, who is running an ad that talks about "illegals taking our jobs" and uses bigoted words and images that appeal to people's least thoughtful impulses. (What does he mean by "our jobs," anyway? That brings an awfully entitled attitude to the process of finding and having a job, an attitude that seems out of place in a free-market economy. Is Billy Nungesser a socialist?)

On the other hand, we have Jay Dardenne.

[CORRECTION!!!! I had posted that Diaper Man endorsed Dardenne. In fact, of course, as indicated to me by a helpful commenter, Diaper Man has endorsed Nungesser. I am red-faced over this egregious error in the earlier version of this post.]

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Jay Dardenne is that I have photographic evidence below that Jay Dardenne is a Klingon. Captain James T. Kirk proved this without a doubt by using a tribble's innate Klingon-detecting abilities in the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles."

Let me say this definitively: Now that the Federation is at peace with the Klingon Empire, I would be fine with having a Klingon lt. governor; a more aggressive approach to the tourist industry might be just what our state needs.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nagin and the Times-Pic

This blog has often referred to Ray Nagin as Mayor Curly, because he's always been more of a clown and stooge than a leader.

Now he's got a book that continues to prove that point.

However, the Times-Picayune is helping itself or the cause of justice and reform by piling on at this point. For days and weeks, it's been publishing articles whose purpose is clearly to ridicule the guy.

There's no need to do that at this point. He does it all by himself. The clumsy, ham-fisted way that Ashton Phelps's mouthpiece is doing this only encourages Nagin and his friends in their belief that Nagin is not the problem; it's the White Power Establishment that is.

Cheesh, Times-Pic: just let the guy screw up on his own. Report the facts. Nothing else needed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What it feels like . . .

So Esquire magazine (one of my faves) has a regular feature called "What it feels like." I enjoy it.

Here's one Orleanian's partial perspective on what it feels like to live in this amazing city at an amazing time:

After complaining (along with other, better bloggers) so long that America, or at least the American government, didn't get it, didn't understand that "We are not OK," I sort of feel as though America did end up getting it. They (and yes, they are a "they," because the last 5 years have made it clear that we are not they) do understand that New Orleans is a special place. They understand that America would be forever less if this city were to go under water permanently, or if we were to become crippled as a city.

However, while I feel Americans' understanding of why New Orleans matters, I doubt our (humanity's) ability to do anything about disappearing wetlands, global climate change, and rising sea levels. Yes, people care. No, people aren't willing to turn this problem into some kind of Manhattan Project or Stranded Chilean Miners' Project. In the end, the threat of "six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline" hasn't seemed to inspire anything extraordinary. The Army Corps of Engineers has done a lot of scrambling around and spending and PR stuff, but does anybody REALLY think we are OK now? I don't. We're better off, but I don't think we are OK.

And I don't see anything promising on the horizon. The uncontained oil gusher didn't inspire serious change either. (However, it did inspire the spectacle of free-market Republicans criticizing a Democratic president for not being big government enough. Amazing.)

As I said the other day, the New Orleans Bingo! Show's song "Memory Parade" pretty much has it right, until further notice.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The People Who Know What They're Talking About Know We Are Not OK

Here's Loyola New Orleans Professor David White, after a recent flyover of the wetlands:

“Flying over the coast and the Mississippi Delta, it is a terrifying and powerful image because of what is no longer there and it proves to me that the city is more vulnerable to another significant storm surge than I previously imagined. If every citizen of Louisiana had this kind of flight opportunity, we’d be moving much quicker and with far more attention to protecting and restoring our coast.”

Over many years, Dr. White, his colleague Dr. Don Hauber, and intrepid Loyola science students have been studying the wetlands of the Mississippi Delta.

Their basic research is crucial to addressing this national security issue. And loss of these wetlands is a national security issue, to be sure.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

As Things Stand, NOBS Could Well Be Right

In the many months since my blogging activity trailed off, I've become a devotee of the New Orleans Bingo! Show. In my more enthralled moments, I don't think of them as the best artists working in New Orleans; I think of them as the ONLY artists working in New Orleans. Yes, that's ridiculously untrue and unfair to the carnival of brilliance in which we live, but the Bingo gang just knows how to stir me.

I've been to multiple shows over the past few years, the first of which was at Voodoo Fest in the fall of 2009, when I wandered into their show while I was chaperoning my then 17-year-old (who needed some chaperoning). Until recently, at the 4 or 5 shows I had seen, Bingo! opened every time with "New Orleans," a graphic and rousing description of our city streets at their disgusting best. It always got the crowd off to a great, drink swaying start.

AT their 2011 Jazz Fest show, however, Bingo! started with a new song from their newest album. It's "Memory Parade," a slow, wistful-sounding song. Hearing it live, I didn't really get what it was about. During the show, Clint Maedgen, the lead singer, talked about our disappearing wetlands and yelled out to the crowd, "New Orleans! Get it while you can, y'all!!"

I'm embarrassed that it wasn't until this morning that I listened carefully to the song "Memory Parade." It's an amazing bookend song to "New Orleans," as the latter song really captures what the streets of the city have been like since the early 1990s. "Memory Parade," however, looks beyond the streets to notice that the whole city is under threat. We all seem to know it, and nobody seems sure exactly what to do about it, given the short-sighted politics and economics of our city, state, and nation in these times.

"It's understood,
It's understood,
All of this is gonna wash away."

For some, this might be a fatalistic and depressing song. For me, it's a placemarker, a line being drawn here, a motivator.

I hope this day and my finally listening to that song is the start of something good for me.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Okay, NEXT?

So the Saints lost today. Congrats, Seahawks.

Should we tear down the levees? Should we reinstall Nagin as mayor? Should we resuscitate Harry Lee as Sheriff of the Chalmetairie Parish?

No.

We should continue to work. We should finish strong.

This was a setback.

As if 80 percent of our city flooded wasn't enough.

This was nothing.

We're fine.

Two out of three ain't bad.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year / Trading Places

This post has been a long time coming, and I'll confess I'm rusty. The Muse has been visiting during these many months, but somehow I've known it was time to be quiet for awhile.

Perhaps that's ending.

Anyway, to start the new year, I'm posting the menu I'll be handing out at the Saints game tomorrow.

You see, Chef Who Dat and I have something special planned for the Bucs (and, by extension, the Falcons). At this point, I will say that the jumpsuit has left the Uptown area and has landed in Lakeview.