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Library Chronicles



Paradise plastic. Cheap and fantastic.



Updated: 2017-12-13T08:14:28.055-06:00

 



Torah Torah Torres

2017-12-12T12:45:38.844-06:00

Sidney should just go the full nine and have Late Capitalism declared a religion.  It's where the world has been headed for quite a while now anyway. The trep who gets the early jump on the grift is automatically Pope or something.
After last year’s renovations, The Monastery was given a permit to operate as a religious facility. Justin Schmidt, Torres’ attorney, told the board that at the time he and Safety and Permits Director Jared Munster had agreed that they wouldn’t debate what constitutes a religion.

The initial discussions seemed to envision the site being used mainly for religious-related events such as weddings and associated receptions.

But Munster said the actual events — which included a multi-day vampire-themed party and other balls and galas — have gone far beyond what had been represented. And advertising that paints the site as perfect for corporate events and conferences of up to 1,500 people further showed a lack of religious leanings, he said.



YIMBY

2017-12-12T12:33:34.344-06:00

Everybody knows the correct way to build a better city is to make nice things for rich people and then watch them sprinkle their magic everywhere.  Why do you people hate development so much? Check your privilege and let us work.
“Do I wish that was a more diverse neighborhood reflective of the city and society as a whole? Absolutely,” said Golden, director of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. “But we’ve been using our limited tools to nurture economic development over there for the last 20 years to make sure those benefits are felt in lots of direct and indirect ways throughout the city.”

He noted that while the $18 billion in public investment has not created a racially inclusive waterfront, it has brought jobs, tax payments, and other benefits to “a huge swath of Bostonians.”
If you don't let us do the red lining and the publicly subsidized gentrification, none of these job creators will be able to trickle down on you.  That's how this works. Did you not read the Trump tax plan?  Just ask LaToya. She knows
Charbonnet later accused Cantrell of supporting incentives for Magnolia Marketplace, a new shopping center on South Claiborne Avenue, so that the developer — who Charbonnet said was a “political friend” of Cantrell’s — could keep the extra cent of sales tax imposed on the site. Charbonnet said that tax, which she said is now the highest sales tax in the country, is hurting poor residents in the area.

Cantrell defended the project, saying it was needed to attract national retail stores to an area of town that had seen disinvestment after Hurricane Katrina and that it is on track to pay off the incentive early. She also denied knowing who Charbonnet was referring to as her “political friend” and pushed back against the idea that the extra tax — which covers only the shopping center itself — is falling on low-income residents nearby.

“The facts are this. Maybe you don’t understand the need for national retail throughout the city of New Orleans,” Cantrell said. “The people that are patronizing it, the customers, are from throughout the city.”
I wonder if they took LaToya and the Mayorlings on a tour of Seaport when they were at the Kennedy School orientation last month.  The little strip mall with the TJ Max is fun and all but those people really know what to do with the big bucks.



The NFL is a failing empire

2017-12-11T11:52:38.934-06:00

I was all set to write a thing about myopic Saints fans whining about #TheRefs after the Falcons game.  The gist would have been this. I don't understand why football fans deliberately pour so much unhealthy resentment into this thing they ostensibly do for fun.   Referees, like the athletes they're charged with regulating, are humans. They do unpredictable things.  Sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes they make egregious mistakes. Sometimes they just out and out suck.  It's suboptimal when they do not suck in our team's favor.  But it's no less entertaining. Or, at least, it shouldn't be. There's a necessary catharsis in the revelation that humans, particularly humans invested with petty authority, have no idea what they're actually doing.  The triumph of absurdity over authority is probably the most compelling theme in sports. That it doesn't always work out in your team's favor doesn't make it any less interesting. Sometimes two teams' week of intense preparation gets thrown out the window because they suddenly have to play in a blizzard. Sometimes there's a butt fumble.  Sometimes a Hall Of Fame Quarterback throws an idiotic interception in the endzone with the game on the line.  Sometimes a dude just throws a flag into the stands and walks out. I would argue that it's these moments and not the rare, fleeting moments of triumph that we actually pay to see. What seem like are little failures are actually reasons for hope.  The world is cruel and unjust.  It's encouraging to remember that even its most crushingly brutal systems can be upended by chance. Having said all of that, we were reminded this weekend that the world is not only cruel and unjust but also corrupt. It's fitting, then, that the failing empire note we began this football season with should assert itself so brazenly into the narrative. A pair of stories came to light Sunday that likely will make people in New Orleans look at the NFL sideways.The league used a former Atlanta Falcons player on the officiating crew for the Saints game Thursday against the Falcons, and it hired a key member of the so-called bounty scandal to work for the league office.The former Falcon ref isn't the big deal here. But it is funny and adds spice to the larger farce that is the Cerullo hiring.  It's a clear abuse of power by the league office where the personal grudges against Sean Payton obviously continue to fester. Meanwhile, Fox’s Jay Glazer reported Sunday morning that the NFL has hired former Saints employee Mike Cerullo as a director of football administration.Cerullo, who was a defensive assistant for the Saints, was the whistleblower who provided the evidence needed for the league to start its bounty investigation against the Saints in 2011. The team said he held a grudge against the organization for being fired.Cerullo has since worked as Princeton's director of football operations before being hired by the league. The league office said he has no input on disciplinary matters.New Orleans coach Sean Payton responded to the news on Twitter. “Troubling report by @JayGlazer regarding league hiring of fired @Saints employee,” Payton wrote. “Unbelievable.”It's still probably not worth going apoplectic about the quality of the officiating. Sometimes it's bad and failure to be perfect is what this game is all about, really.  But it's now, at least, credible to stipulate that it the officiating is, not only poor, but also... "rigged" isn't the word.. weighted(?) against the Saints a little bit.  Previously I would have thought that was stupid. So, you know, new things are happening. That's fun.[...]



Hotel Edmonson

2017-12-10T10:03:47.118-06:00

Trip Advisor: The amenities are pretty ok. But for such an exclusive establishment,  we expected a bit more. The gym and the pool are pretty nice but lack the "wow" factor of something like,  say, the lazy river over on the LSU campus. On the other hand, we were really impressed with the service.
Among the allegations Edmonson faces is that, unlike previous superintendents, he moved his family into the State Police compound and lived there rent-free for nine years — a benefit that the state apparently did not report to the Internal Revenue Service.

State auditors recently found that the Edmonsons lived off inmate labor, making use of trusties who cooked, cleaned and even walked the family dog at the colonel's residence. The questionable use of state resources included the construction of a shoe closet for Edmonson's wife.
All in all we would probably book again. You can't beat the rates anywhere. Next time we'll look into one of these excursion packages.
Other regular guests included Senior Trooper Thurman D. Miller and Lt. Derrell Williams, both of whom were disciplined this year for taking a circuitous "side trip" to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon as they drove across the country to attend a law enforcement conference in California.
While the base rates are gratis, you might still want to bring a credit card along for incidentals.  We can help you find one with a favorable payment schedule.



Time capsule

2017-12-09T23:07:30.289-06:00

This was recorded a week ago which seems like a lifetime. I mean, that's two whole Saints games ago now. But there's some good stuff. Trump tax cuts, local election aftermath, a review of the Discovery of Voyager show at the Music Box. Other stuff, of course. Anyway, enjoy. Or don't.

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Snowball

2017-12-08T16:41:25.883-06:00

Huey Long's Share Our Wealth radio address 1934
But the Scripture says, ladies and gentlemen, that no country can survive, or for a country to survive it is necessary that we keep the wealth scattered among the people, that nothing should keep the wealth scattered among the people, that nothing should be held permanently by any one person, and that 50 years seems to be the year of jubilee in which all property would be scattered about and returned to the sources from which it originally came, and every seventh year debt should be remitted.

Those two things the Almighty said to be necessary—I should say He knew to be necessary, or else He would not have so prescribed that the property would be kept among the general run of the people, and that everyone would continue to share in it; so that no one man would get half of it and hand it down to a son, who takes half of what was left, and that son hand it down to another one, who would take half of what was left, until, like a snowball going downhill, all of the snow was off of the ground except what the snowball had.
The disastrous Republican tax plan being hammered out in Congress now will either repeal or greatly reduce the estate tax.  Here is how that would affect the snowball.
Mother Jones spoke with Americans for Tax Fairness, an advocacy group focused on progressive tax reform, about how these changes to the estate tax will benefit the ultra-wealthy, specifically the top 15 richest Americans, as ranked and reported by Forbes. If the exemptions are doubled, each estate would save $4.4 million for a couple, or $2.2 million for a single person. And if the tax is repealed, that’s where things get interesting: According to numbers crunched by Americans for Tax Fairness, in that scenario, the people who inherit money from this tiny group of people could potentially save more than a whopping $300 billion combined. And the families of GOP-megadonors Charles and David Koch could collectively save nearly $39 billion, while the heirs of Republican kingmaker and moneyman Sheldon Adelson could be looking at $14 billion.
Aaanyway. Here are some photos of a big kitty in the snow today to cheer everyone up. 



Sean Payton and Drew Brees should just retire

2017-12-08T15:13:40.682-06:00

One could argue that Sean Payton personally lost the game last night. ATLANTA -- The New Orleans Saints could have had one last chance to tie or win Thursday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, but a penalty on coach Sean Payton ended any hope the team had.After the Saints defense stopped the Falcons on second down, with linebacker Michael Mauti forcing a fumble by Devonta Freeman but one Atlanta recovered, Payton tried to call the team's third and final timeout to stop the clock with about 1 minutes, 5 seconds remaining. But, the nearest official apparently didn't give Payton the timeout immediately, which led the coach to run onto the field and yell at the official.The screaming resulted an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Saints' bench and gave the Falcons a first down that allowed them to run out the rest of the clock and seal a 20-17 victory."I called a timeout and then (the official) asked me again and I said, 'I've already called a timeout,'" Payton said after the game. "I probably said it with a little more oomph or vigor than I was supposed to, but I'd had enough. I got to be smarter than that."Had Payton managed to restrain himself, the Saints could have ended up with the ball and about 20 seconds left to do something desperate. So maybe it's a bit far fetched to say he lost the game there. On the other hand, he did decide to throw the ball on 2nd and 10 down by three and in easy field goal range with timeouts left. It probably wasn't his idea to throw an interception at that point. But if it was, then it was a bad one.But rather than worry about whether the loss last night was more the coach's or the quarterback's fault, I have a more interesting question.  Why does either of them still do this?  They've each played a long time and made all the money they'll ever need. They won a Superbowl together so there's not a compelling football reason to keep at it. Brees is 76 years old and yet he continues to subject his body to obscene physical punishment in full knowledge of the danger he is in.Given all the injuries, it wasn't surprising quarterback Drew Brees didn't hold back when asked about playing after a short week of preparation."It's 100 percent a product of playing on Thursday night," Brees said. "You understand what guy's bodies go through in a game, and then to turn around four days later and play a game?"Look at the injury studies. They're off the charts. Is this smart, as it pertains to guys' health and safety? No, absolutely not."The NFL is a grueling bloodsport. It appropriates vast sums of public money into the hands of billionaires while grinding human bones, joints and brains into powder.  Brees is aware that he and so many others are fodder for this exploitation. He's among the lucky minority to make it through the abattoir with his financial security and (maybe) his health intact.  Why doesn't he just quit while he's ahead?Payton doesn't face the same physical hazards but he does have a ridiculously stressful and demanding job. Especially so for someone who, again, has made a ton of money and attained the highest achievement possible.  Maybe he just enjoys the aggravation of a boss who persecutes subordinates when they question obvious incompetence.   The NFL will evaluate New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton's conduct toward the referees in Thursday night's loss to the Atlanta Falcons, according to multiple reports. It doesn't seem healthy, though.  Why do they keep doing these unhealthy jobs?[...]



S&WB/Veolia thread

2017-12-07T14:37:46.192-06:00

Not everybody uses Twitter. But anyone can look at it when the occasion arises. Here is a thread for you.



Big gun

2017-12-07T14:17:40.882-06:00

LaToya hired a lawyer.
An attorney for New Orleans Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell is fighting a bid by Attorney General Jeff Landry's office to recuse all 12 judges of the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court from its investigation into her credit-card activity as a councilwoman.

Cantrell has hired a legal heavy hitter, attorney Billy Gibbens, a former federal prosecutor who has defended several high-profile criminal defendants and government targets.
Which is fine. I mean, the state Attorney General is going after her in what is, for him, an obvious attempt to score political points around Louisiana by harassing the Mayor-Elect of  New Orleans over corruption allegations.  Landry is basically already running for Governor and this stunt certainly doesn't figure to hurt his chances. Grace points out in this column that by jumping the gun on a concurrent legislative auditor's investigation, Landry might actually screw it all up. That would be unfortunate and amusing in equal parts.

At the same time, somebody should probably be looking into the entitled ways in which the city's political leadership throws around public money. Like we said during the campaign, it's unfortunate the way the credit card story was reduced to a cheap political attack. But that doesn't mean it's not worth pursuing. There's a tight circle of developers, non-profit socialites, and financiers who presume to run things in New Orleans. This looks like a story that might tie into that.

Anyway, the money club faction is riding pretty high having just installed Cantrell as the next mayor.  So we're pretty okay with watching them squirm now.  It would be nice if Landry would butt out of the process, but I guess we can't have everything.
 
But here's the thing.  Cantrell hired a big time lawyer.
Cantrell is only the latest big name on Gibbens' client list. That roster also has included Darren Sharper, the former Saints safety and admitted serial rapist; Robert Durst, the New York real estate heir and reality TV celebrity murder suspect; and local trash magnate Fred Heebe.

Led by Gibbens, Heebe's aggressive counter-attack while in the crosshairs of the FBI included exposing the notorious online posting scandal inside former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office.
It could be that's overkill.  Even if she doesn't think there's anything to the investigation, the stakes are pretty high when you are the Mayor-Elect so it's a good idea not to take anything for granted.  On the other hand, that's a big gun hire. Maybe there's something else to it. 



Snow

2017-12-06T12:19:01.858-06:00

I'll take the under if we're betting on this. But that's not important. In the case of a possible light dusting, there are, as always, two pertinent questions. 1) Can the pumps handle it?  2)  When do we shut down the city and give everyone the day off?



Kicking each other (and you) off the internet

2017-12-06T10:56:04.140-06:00

I dunno. Maybe content should be universally accessible across platforms and networks instead of subject to artificial proprietary fragmentation benefiting one or another oligopolic megaliths.
The latest standoff between Google and Amazon was ridiculed by a trade association of high-speed internet providers. The group, USTelecom, has been trying to persuade skeptics that internet providers will preserve equal access to all digital services, even if the Federal Communications Commission adopts a proposal to rescind current "net neutrality" regulations .

Internet providers are committed to "protections like no content blocking or throttling," said USTelecom CEO Jonathan Spalter. "Seems like some of the biggest internet companies can't say the same. Ironic, isn't it?"


 Or maybe this is the best of all possible worlds. Who is to say?



Why is the news fake?

2017-12-05T13:54:14.995-06:00

Yeah yeah, the President is a totalitarian ogre who thrives on de-legitimatizing the authority of the press and the very possibility of objective facts.  And, yeah yeah, that's not exactly a new part of the right wing playbook with copious examples accumulated over the course of the past century.    Yeah yeah, David Brock created a bunch of Upworthy style propaganda websites that took advantage of Facebook algorithms in order to promote the Clinton campaign. There's a lot of bad political info out there.But if you really want to know why "fake news" has traction as an epithet, it's because a lot of the news is, in fact, fake. Interviews with more than two dozen marketers, journalists, and others familiar with similar pay-for-play offers revealed a dubious corner of online publishing in which publicists, ranging from individuals like Satyam to medium-sized “digital marketing firms” that blur traditional lines between advertising and public relations, quietly pay off journalists to promote their clients in articles that make no mention of the financial arrangement.People involved with the payoffs are extremely reluctant to discuss them, but four contributing writers to prominent publications including Mashable, Inc, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur told me they have personally accepted payments in exchange for weaving promotional references to brands into their work on those sites. Two of the writers acknowledged they have taken part in the scheme for years, on behalf of many brandsMaybe the "traditional lines between advertising and PR" would be less blurry if media companies were invested in keeping them un-blurred.  One good way to do that would be to pay writers. Instead, they offer "opportunities" to freelancers looking to build a "personal brand."   The Fast Company writer also defended the practice by arguing that it’s enabled by editors who are hungry for cheap or unpaid blog content. Many high-volume sites, including the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes, maintain networks of unpaid contributors who publish large amounts of material. Forbes, for instance, marks articles by contributors with a small disclaimer, but the Columbia Journalism Review has pointed out that those dubiously sourced articles are often cited as though they were normal stories written by Forbes staff. In reality, the editorial process that leads to those articles being published is opaque — a Forbes spokesperson declined to answer questions about how many contributors the site has, whether they’re ever paid, or whether an editor reviews their work before publication. One former Forbes contributor, Josh Steimle, has even offered a “masterclass” on how to get published on the site, an accomplishment he described as “rewarding for both my personal brand and my digital marketing agency.”For writers willing to accept payments in exchange for coverage, that’s an opportunity.So everybody climbs all over each other in a competition for piecework or even unpaid piecework in the hope that can be monetized somehow. And it turns out the way to monetize a "personal brand" is to sell out one's.. person..  to advertisers. It's a practice that debases not only the exploited labor but also the "brands" of the capitalist media companies who enable and profit by it.  Eventually nobody believes the news is real anymore. Why would they?But that's the gig economy.  Our hyper-individualized society forces us to "brand" our private selves, our hobbies, our free time, and, yes, homes, into saleable (the euphemism is shareable) products. Sometimes these opportunities converge. Such as when an STR marketer sends an automated pitch to your blog based on keywords. Hi Jeffrey,I hope this messa[...]



I am available to be the next Resilience Officer

2017-12-05T10:25:09.920-06:00

It's a perfect situation because you get to keep your day job(s).
Landrieu first hired Hebert to oversee blight reduction in 2010. The mayor then used never-before-seen influence to cause the independent New Orleans Redevelopment Authority to hire Hebert as its executive director. Landrieu then appointed Hebert the city’s first chief resilience officer, an umbrella title that allowed Hebert to keep overseeing NORA while working directly for the Landrieu administration.
And from there you get to go and invent whatever consulting/contracting gig ends up replacing whatever governmental function is most in need of privatization a resilience overhaul.  In Hebert's case, it was water management. 
The Water Institute, where Hebert will soon work, is no stranger to New Orleans. It was part of the interim management team that, until last week, was leading the S&WB in the aftermath of two devastating floods last summer in which the city's drainage system failed.

In a press release announcing that the team would include Ehab Meselhe the Water Institute's vice president for science and engineering, the group's president and CEO was quoted as saying, “We look forward to delivering actionable recommendations for immediate, near-term, and long-term steps that not only address emergency flood issues, but also inform future planning for long-term resilience that incorporate the most innovative practices of living with water."
So, yeah, I get that it's a fantastic networking opportunity. But my asking salary is still one million dollars.



"Wheel estate"

2017-12-04T15:16:57.639-06:00

This is all very healthy and good. Things are going great.
My first encounter with one group of the new nomads came in 2013, at the Desert Rose RV park in Fernley, Nevada. It was populated by members of the “precariat”: temporary laborers doing short-term jobs in exchange for low wages. Its citizens were full-time wanderers who dwelled in RVs and other vehicles, though at least one guy had only a tent to live in. Many were in their 60s and 70s, approaching or well into traditional retirement age. Most could not afford to stop working – or pay the rent.

Since 2009, the year after the housing crash, groups of such workers had migrated each fall to the mobile home parks surrounding Fernley. Most had traveled hundreds of miles – and undergone the routine indignities of criminal background checks and pee-in-a-cup drug tests – for the chance to earn $11.50 an hour plus overtime at temporary warehouse jobs. They planned to stay through early winter, despite the fact that most of their homes on wheels weren’t designed to support life in subzero temperatures.

Their employer was Amazon.
It's interesting to watch the continuing discussion in town as New Orleans pretends to compete in the national sweepstakes for Amazon's new headquarters. We're all falling over each other to "incentivize" them to bring the good jobs to town.  Your excitement over this prospect is directly related to whether you imagine yourself among the employees of HQ2 or whether you're more likely to be booted out of the way so those employees can pay the rents you can't.

But, hey, life on the road sounds exciting.



Forget about it, it's Trash Town

2017-12-04T14:05:25.944-06:00

Very good to see the trash men who rule us are finally able to put aside their differences and allow their system of rote bribery to continue apace.
Nearly five years after federal authorities abruptly abandoned a massive corruption investigation targeting local landfill owner Fred Heebe, a civil case with similar contours — this one brought by a competitor in the sometimes bare-knuckles trash-disposal business — was settled on the eve of what was expected to be a two-week trial starting Monday in federal court.

Given that the feds never brought charges, the trial over Waste Management’s civil racketeering claim against Heebe and his stepfather, Jim Ward, looked likely to be the closest thing to a public airing of the allegations that investigators were exploring before they gave up the chase.

Now those issues may never be aired. The terms of the 11th-hour settlement, reached Thursday, are confidential, according to court records.
I don't keep up with such things the way some people do but I do still wonder if Heebe and Ward have ever thanked Sal Perricone for his service. These days we're never quite sure whether or not the President is going to start a war by posting a fart noise on Twitter. But if one guy saying racist things in NOLA.com comments could derail a whole federal racketeering investigation, then we may only be beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible.

This article laments the things we may now never learn about River Birch. But another benefit of living in the Age of Trump is that it probably doesn't matter what comes to light or doesn't now. Nobody is ever going to be held accountable.  Besides, what more brazen admission than this are we hoping for?
The now-aborted trial appeared likely to provide a window into the broader allegation that River Birch built a web of influence by illegally subverting Louisiana campaign laws.

A summary of the two sides’ cases drawn up by Engelhardt noted that Ward, in his deposition, “incredibly admitted that River Birch made campaign contributions to Broussard through various shell companies in order to give more than the legal maximum of $5,000 to Broussard and ‘to make it not as obvious to anybody that’s looking into the records as to what is going on.’ ”

Most of the shell companies were in the name of Dominick Fazzio, River Birch’s chief financial officer, who had a low public profile until he was indicted amid the federal probe. The feds later dropped their case against Fazzio, who had been expected to testify at the trial.
And remember this is what Engelhardt will write even as he's the person responsible for keeping most of this bottled up through his rulings in this civil case and through his role in reacting to Perricone's impact on the Danziger trial. As we sink further and further in to the kleptocratic hellworld, Engelhardt is nothing if not an appropriate judge for such times. Looks like he's also being recognized for his service.
Engelhardt, who was nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush, may be in his final weeks in his current post. President Donald Trump has nominated him for a spot on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, located next door to the federal district courthouse.



Another one

2017-12-02T15:12:01.766-06:00

That FNBC collapse sure did touch on a lot of the "cultural economy" ventures around town.
Ticket holders for a concert scheduled this month at the Carver Theater received an email that the venue — built in 1950 and recently renovated with the aid of a slate of tax credits — “is permanently closed” as of Nov. 14.

Eugene Oppman, who has owned the building since 1987, says the collapse of First NBC Bank Holding Company spelled doom for the theater, which worked with the state and tax credits to secure loans to fund renovations before its grand reopening in 2014.

It's almost as if we have a little circle of non-profit, fundraisers, socialites, and bankers who constantly make mutually beneficial decisions about what should be done with public money or something. Imagine that.



Don't ever fight City Hall

2017-12-01T15:17:38.515-06:00

Hey guess what. Amidst all the other crazy crap going on, the 2018 city budget was passed today.  We can barely remember the hearings. The public meetings were all cancelled what with the elections and all.  Wonder if those will ever come back.

Anyway among the interesting items in here are some cryptic comments for LaToya about the $16 million worth of traffic camera revenue that maybe they'll look at replacing, you know, next year or something.

Also there's this regarding the mountain of money the city owed to various people due to court judgements over the years.
Among the other budget highlights is a $2 million allocation for the city's judgments fund, which can be used to pay the city's huge backlog of unpaid judgments. The city owes a total of $41 million to people who have obtained court judgments against the city, some of which have gone unpaid since the 1990s. The $2 million allocation adds to $4 million already being set aside for the judgments.

Deputy Mayor Ryan Berni said that the city attorney's office is preparing to make offers to people with judgments on the list to settle the debt at 50 cents on the dollar, or to receive a 10 percent payment up front and remain on the list.
Yeah well good luck to the "winners" in those cases. Don't ever fight City Hall. Especially if you plan on winning.



Confederacy of Dunces: Landrieu edition

2017-12-01T14:47:00.710-06:00

Staring Cousin Ken and Phyllis as Ignatius and Irene.
A state judge sentenced the cousin of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and son of former Orleans Parish School Board member Phyllis Landrieu to one year of home arrest and two years of probation on Friday for pulling a gun on another driver in the Lower Garden District in 2015.

The beefy businessman will be allowed to leave the home he shares with his mother to run her errands and take her to doctor's appointments between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., but he will be forced to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet when he does it.
Also congratulations to Cousin Ken on actually achieving house arrest status. It's something Mitch only came close to getting.



QOTD

2017-12-01T13:20:35.101-06:00

Alvin Kamara:
"I felt like he wanted to get jumped over, so I just jumped over him," Kamara said of the Rams' Webster. "I've had two in the NFL now, and two in college against Vanderbilt in 2015. It was the same thing. 'All right, I'm just going to jump over the dude.' A lot of it is instinctual."
No big deal. Just flying over dudes whenever.

Also Bradley leads off with Kamara this week at B&G before getting into some stage-setting stuff about the rest of the season.  In short, here's what we know about this year's Saints.
So far, they’re a team with a sterling record against the 2017 NFL’s big middle class, but a 1-3 record against its top tier. These Saints have a lot of pretty okay wins over teams hovering around .500, but only one (their first win, over Carolina) against a fellow current member of its ruling elite.
I'm not sure either the Saints or the Panthers belong among the league's "elite," frankly. But they are playing for first place Sunday so that's nice. 

On the other hand, just don't get too disappointed if things start to go sideways for the Saints from here on out. They're less healthy now than they've been. The defense clearly has suffered from that.  They're not going to replace the production they were getting from Alex Okafor. It looks like they're without Marshon Lattimore for another week. And it's not clear that even Ken Crawley is going to be able to give them very much. There are problems on offense too. But I'm not really here trying to write a whole thing about that today.

Instead, I'm just ducking in to say they're about to play a tough stretch against division rivals on a short week and they could easily lose those and that could easily be where the season falls apart.  So, you know, manage those expectations. It's time.



They're going to pass it

2017-12-01T12:00:48.450-06:00

The Republicans appear to have finally figured out that they actually do control all of the government and can therefore do whatever they want. It only took them all year.

This is the most radical piece of legislation to go through congress in decades. It will fundamentally shift the balance of power, opportunity, and wealth into the hands of an already dangerously entrenched elite caste of oligarchs. It is pretty much a death knell to what is left of Medicaid and Social Security and a host of other vital federal government functions we've come to take for granted.  Besides blowing things up, of course. There will still be money for that. It's impossible to overstate the catastrophic damage this tax bill will cause.

Meanwhile, in another dimension, #Resistance people are celebrating the Michael Flynn plea. But the whole Trump Administration could be in jail by January and none of it matters once this bill passes. It's all a big Mission Accomplished.



What are they doing in France?

2017-12-01T08:30:28.551-06:00

I mean, besides running up the ol' city credit card again har har har... But what is that specific roster of folks doing in France? Here is a thread.



What if your best practices are actually the worst?

2017-11-30T14:41:40.497-06:00

Leaving aside the general corruption, arrogance and preference for predatory capitalism that characterizes all of American politics at all levels, is there anything more annoying than the common reliance on groupthink driven circular rhetoric?  Few have mastered this idiom more thoroughly than Waning Mayor Mitch Landrieu.  Nobody condescends more confidently and less substantively than he does. Landrieu first described his public safety initiative after a shooting on Bourbon Street in November 2016 left one dead and nine injured. Paid for with money from the city and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the plan focuses heavily on increasing surveillance, both by adding city-owned cameras and by accessing feeds from cameras owned by private individuals and businesses, though the latter policy still needs City Council approval.Officials cut the ribbon on the central hub for monitoring all those feeds last week, and Landrieu responded to questions about the potential privacy implications."If you’re out in public, it is highly likely in this day and age you’re going to be filmed by some camera or somebody holding a phone," he said. "I just think that’s the new day and age that we’re in, and people should conduct themselves accordingly.”You may have concerns about abuse of state power, threats to privacy, civil liberties, etc. Maybe some of those concerns are legitimate. Maybe some aren't as bad as you might think at first. There's a lot to discuss. Maybe you thought politics was the process by which you raised this discussion.  But that's not how it works.Politics is, in fact, the process by which elite class individuals like Mitch Landrieu instruct you on the things you have to get used to now. We call these, "best practices."  A best practice, loosely defined, is the lowest common denominator derived from the set of things everybody is already doing.  A best practice is self-legitimizing. If it happens to be a horror, it is your responsibility to adjust. We call that resilience.Maybe the Independent Police Monitor disagrees but it hardly matters. At least they tried. In a public letter issued Wednesday, the Office of Independent Police Monitor also questioned whether the $40 million plan, which the mayor first unveiled almost a year ago, will have a substantial impact on crime.“As with any law enforcement data system housing private information about citizens, there is a potential for mismanagement, poor information security, public record law compliance challenges and user abuse,” the letter warned.It added that while surveillance capabilities are being beefed up, the plan does not "earmark resources or personnel to monitor the implementation of the plan.”The IPM's letter didn't just raise these questions, it also examined some of these "best practices" in other cites where similar surveillance systems are installed.  It cites evidence of abuse in Great Britain where, unfortunately, only Benny Hill was available to operate the cameras. A review of 592 hours of government-run CCTV monitoring system footage in London found that 10% of surveillance of women lasted more than one minute, and 15% of surveillance of women for shorter periods was voyeuristic. In 2007, a police supervisor in Worcester, England was suspended after improperly manipulating surveillance cameras to focus in on women’s breasts and buttocks. It also lists instances of stalking, assault, and evidence tampering by police [...]



Second time this month

2017-11-29T18:50:16.490-06:00

It's getting to where a person is less inclined to trust the local oysters. Even if one was already pretty wary.
State wildlife agents cited 16 men for allegedly harvesting oysters in a polluted area in Terrebonne Parish.

According to the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, agents spotted six boats dredging oysters from a polluted area in the Sister Lake area, about 10 miles west of Cocodrie, on Nov. 24.

Nine of the suspects were residents of Houma, two were from Montegut, two were from Gray, and one each was from Bourg, Theroit and San Leon, Texas. The suspects' ages ranged from 22 to 61. It didn't appear that all the boats were working together, 
Of course one can be wary and yet this all went into last week's dressing.






The tax bill is soo bad

2017-11-29T18:41:53.920-06:00

It's comically bad. There's no way to overstate how bad it is. I know there's a lot going on just now but take a minute and read through it again. It's a freaking disaster. And it's picking up momentum.



Why is it a "dress code"?

2017-11-29T17:25:45.467-06:00

Cam Newton refers to his personal style sense... meaning just the clothes that he owns... as a "dress code." 
When the New Orleans Saints defeated the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte in Week 3, Cam Jordan had a little fun in the post-game locker room, poking fun at some of Cam Newton's interesting clothing choices.

"Anytime he tried to scoot out, we showed up on his high heels. Not that he wears high heels -- I don’t think so yet, right?" Jordan asked reporters after the game. "I mean, he’s gone with the grandma hat and the onesie. The Coachella onesie?"

Now that the Saints and Panthers are on track for a mammoth matchup Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Newton was reminded of Jordan's comments Wednesday and shot back.

"I didn’t know he was a fan of my dress code," Newton said, according to the Charlotte Observer. "Obviously he’s been paying attention. Nevertheless, that’s flattering to me. If he sends me his address, I can send him some sauce.

"I've seen the way (Jordan) dresses too, so – not that this is a fashion show or anything."
The Cam and Cam Catwalk show, maybe. Anyway, Katzenstein followed up by getting one more quote from Jordan here.

We're all a little worried, frankly. Despite their 8-3 record, the closest thing the Saints have to what you might call a "quality win" this year is that Week 3 game at Carolina. Now that's coming back around. And the Panthers are healthier now than they were then while the Saints are less so.   It's been fun watching the Saints get hot during their recent stretch. But I'm not convinced this goes much further from here on out.