Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's guest-blogging city amongst the NOLA blogpocheh these days.

The Rude Pundit kicked it off with a week of New Orleans-based guest bloggers while he vacations on a faraway isle someplace. Tomorrow's the last day, so get right and catch up on the previous days' posts:

Some things about people from New Orleans:

We don't care what you think. We've been doing our own thing for 300 years.

We don't want to go to your parades, ya'll don't throw anything.

100% humidity is the best moisturizer they ever came up with.

It's "New A'wlins," not "N'awlins."

We would have been fine if the federal levees hadn't broke.

And that's ooooonly the beginning...

Bigezbear's latest post over there has also inspired Maitri. Go read 'em both.

Cliff of Cliff's Crib has become the first of the greater New Orleans freelancers to guest on Gambit's Blog of New Orleans. A big mazel tov to him!

Cliff raises one aspect of all of this NOAH hubbub that can get a little lost in the details of it:

I’m not trying to minimize NOAH, Pampy Barre, or Oliver Thomas. I have said in the past that these little things add up to the huge problems the city has had for decades because it discourages people from coming to the city and investing time and money here. If someone did something wrong they should pay the price for it. All I am asking is that the size and scope of the scheme matches the neglect I see. I see how everyone is rallying around this NOAH story but if you added up all the questionable payments on that list it would be a drop in the bucket of the money that has been drained from this city. That’s what I want to find out about.

I want the folks who caused me to have a ten year old 7th grade English book investigated. What about the people who crippled NORD leaving the poor kids of the city with no organized recreation? What happened to all of the money the gambling industry was supposed to bring? Why isn’t Lincoln Beach open yet? Why didn’t any class I sat in from 7th to 12th grade have air conditioning? Where has all the money been going even before Ray Nagin and Marc Morial got in office?

If someone can find out and indict these people regardless of their color we will make them King of Chocolate City. We would welcome that because no one has suffered because of whatever they did or didn’t do more than we have. Until then please forgive me if I don’t grab my hangman’s noose and storm city hall because a contractor got paid to gut a house that he didn’t.

If we can’t find the big fish that everyone keeps saying is out there, the next logical explanation would be discrimination based on race and class. I don’t really want to believe that but no one is showing me otherwise.

And, finally:

Click here to register!

I ganked the above button to the Rising Tide III website from Tim's sidebar. I hope he doesn't mind...

Feel free to add it to your sidebar... after you make a reservation for this year's conference!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What more is there, really, to say about Clarence Ray Nagin's talk with Lee Zurik today?

Some might say that Hizzoner was railroaded into this talk. Gee, how can one expect a city official to not respond to questions related to a City Hall scandal a-brewing while said official is at a large meeting of attorneys? Well, has anybody ever thought that Nagin could have turned this latest interview down with a simple "no comment"?

The man is stumbling here, and it is sad.

Somehow, he also seemed to think that a whole "Who's On First?" routine would somehow quell any further questions about the list the Mayor's Office of Communications passed on to Zurik a week ago and cast even more suspicion on Zurik himself.

Zurik: Are we using an old list? Is that what you' that what you're sticking to?

Nagin: I don't know which list you're using...(unintelligible)

Zurik: We're using the list that you gave us last week.

Nagin: ...I didn't give you anything.

Zurik: Well, Ms Fields, Ms (Penya) Moses-Fields gave us a list last week then that we used in our latest report and now you're saying that that's not accurate?

Nagin: I have no idea which list you're using. Your first list had Congressman Jefferson on it supposedly, then you had city employees, then you had Officer Riley...I don't know what you're using.

Zurik: I can tell you that we have it on our website, and I can tell you that we are using the list that you (nods to Moses-Fields, looks back at Nagin) gave us last week, the list that you said was accurate.

Nagin: Well, I gave you the list that NOAH gave us. You still need the list that is supported...that is supporting the payments.

Zurik: And why haven't you given us that list?

Nagin: I don't know if you've requested it.

Zurik: I've requested the accurate list that shows what houses you did work on. I would think that would be that list, right?

Nagin: You got what you requested.

If anybody thinks that Zurik is unfairly associating Nagin with NOAH, I have this sign posted on a listed home fairly recently to show how much Nagin associated himself with the program in the first place:

...there is also this press release from March 2007 concerning the mayor's promotion of a certain remediation program, complete with : “I want to encourage every resident who is not able either physically or financially to remediate their properties to register for this program by calling NOAH.”

I did not see anything resembling leadership coming from this elected official of ours tonight. I saw obfuscation, an attitude that was less than serious (and instantly switched to indignance when Zurik pointed out the farcical circles the mayor was trying to have him run in concerning which was the real NOAH list - once again, how dare an investigative reporter should actually do his job and question him on this? Nagin, the transparent mayor! How could Zurik do this to him???), and, in the end, no meaningful cooperation on behalf of the public that gave him another term in office. Irresponsibility personified.

Very, very sad...and also much too little and too late for some who were in need.

At long last, Mr Nagin, have you left no sense of decency, sir?*

Oh, and the Times-Picayune finally woke up and started covering this story. They must have been on vacation.


*Army-McCarthy hearings, question from the US Army attorney Joseph Welch to Joseph McCarthy. The question still needs to be asked of all our politicians at all levels of government these days.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Here come da judges... here come da judges...

I hope my statement ain't too bold...

Update, 7-30: Yeah, it's happening. And here's a possible verdict on it. Adrastos thinks a bit differently, however.
Yes, really, I should have stayed in bed.

I woke up very late, in part 'cause the little guy woke up at 4-in-the-aw-hell-naw-AM and we both suffered the consequences. I saw the immediate aftermath of a car wreck down our street when I was taking the little guy to camp and had to yank him out of his need to rubberneck and into the car seat. The sky overhead looks almost as bad as I feel. Ugh.

Glad to see Lee Zurik is keeping on with the NOAH mess. The one thing about the kind of throwdown Hizzoner the Walking Id made at last week's press conference is that, when taken up, it challenges good reporters to become better. "Inaccurate, biased and reckless", my tuchus. Read through everything in the above link. A whole bunch of things about this are still mighty fishy.

Yesterday, I embarked on something I haven't done in a little over half a decade...I dug through the hell that is our downstairs closet (and made it more manageable in the process - it's simply a box purgatory now, and one can actually walk in there) in order to find my old glass casting notes and information, most of which is still mighty relevant. I found the casting handouts that were my bible long ago when I thought moldmaking was da bomb. Hey, if done wrong, it is entirely possible to blow out a mold box and have wet plaster mix all over the floor, and I had my share of looking back on mold pours that went bad, on demonstrations that had me on the floor laughing hysterically, and other happy memories when I saw those few highly informative pages...oh, dear God, they go back to 1994...I AM getting frickin' OLD...but I had to get back to work.

Got some plasticine for the positive. Picked up the little guy from camp. Took him to Lowe's and plopped him in a shopping cart that looked like a racecar. Piled in some buckets, a few more tools, chicken wire, some pieces of melamine-coated shelving that will make good mold boxes and won't suck the water out of the mold, and some wood that I had to cut down to help make the sides. Got challenged to a race by one kid traveling with his sisters in another racecar shopping cart pushed by his dad - we took one look at a potential aisle raceway and decided the risk of having a forklift suddenly appear in mid-race was too great. The woodcutter refused to cut the melamine shelving on his table saw, saying it would ruin it. I was gonna need to cut it down anyway - so I now own a handsaw. Please, Lord, let me keep all of my fingers - at least it isn't a table saw, right?

Adding to the hassles of lost wax fusecasting and its slight derision within the glassworking world as a "warm" glass process that isn't as superkewl as hot glassblowing is the fact that I can't find a source for silica sand in this city anywhere. Seems any ceramic supply company that was once here has either gone outta business, or - insult of insults - has moved to Baton Rouge, or has moved completely out of state. I'm looking at either a road trip or mail order just to get frickin' silica sand. Seriously, if anybody knows where I can get any here in New Orleans, lemme know. Otherwise, I will be going to get plastered in a really really bad way. This is the prime town for that. But silica sand? Noooooo...

I shoulda stood in bed yesterday, too.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Everybody still needs to watch out when they conduct meetings concerning the issues they care about and want to take action on. Case in point:

Finally, at long last, I have something in common with Muhammad Ali.

No, I'm not the heavyweight champion of the world, but, like "the Greatest," I have been a target of state police surveillance for activities--in my case, against the death penalty--that were legal, nonviolent and, so I assumed, constitutionally protected.

In classified reports compiled by the Maryland State Police and the Department of Homeland Security, I am "Dave Z." This nickname was given by an undercover agent known to us as "Lucy." She sat in our meetings of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, smiling and engaged, taking copious notes about actions deemed threatening by the former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich. Our seditious crimes, as Lucy reported, involved such acts as planning to set up a table at the local farmers market and writing up a petition. Adding a dash of farce to this outrage, she was monitoring us in the liberal enclave of Takoma Park, Maryland, a place known more for tie-dyeing than terrorism. Incidentally, current Governor Martin O'Malley says he opposes this kind of surveillance. He also opposes the death penalty. No word yet on whether he, too, is being spied upon.

Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act and the ACLU, we now know that "Lucy" was only one part of a vast, insidious project. The Maryland State Police's Department of Homeland Security devoted nearly 300 hours and thousands of taxpayer dollars in 2005 and 2006 to harassing people whose only crime was dissenting on the question of the war in Iraq and Maryland's use of cruel and unusual punishment.

My friend Mike Stark, a board member of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, is at times referred to in Lucy's report as a "socialist" and an "anarchist." One can only assume this is the pathetic, time-honored tradition of reducing people to simple caricatures, all the better to garner Homeland Security grant money.

Dave Zirin ain't taking this lying down. He is currently engaged in a lawsuit initiated by the ACLU and asks those of you who are outraged to do the following:

People who want to express their outrage can contact the office Governor Martin O'Malley. We should demand a full investigation of the MSP, public release of all documents obtained through this illegal activity, and a specific commitment that the antideath penalty and anti-war movement will not be targeted. Call the office of the governor at 1-800-811-8336, or submit a comment online at

I know someone else who wouldn't take this lightly, either.

Perhaps that's why I got the gator ju-ju doll in the raffle at One-Eyed Jack's the other night...
(thanks, Coozan...)


Update on the Dr Bob Bywater sign defacement, from the Bywater Neighborhood Association:

Mr. Radke was contacted regarding the sign; He denied having anything to do with it. It is not his style. As there is no proof that this was not done by a copycat it has been reported to the police for investigation.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A story:

Three men of Chelm were walking down the road, one of them carrying an umbrella. The three were engrossed in conversation when it began to rain. "Quick, open your umbrella!" one of the men said to the umbrella's carrier.

"It's useless. It's full of holes," the carrier said as the rain came down harder.

"Why did you bring it with you, then?"

"I didn't think it would rain."

I came to a bit of a realization when I gathered with the blogpocheh last night at One-Eyed Jack's. When I was asked why it was that very little in New Orleans actually began on time, the only thing that came to my mind was one of the reasons why I feel so comfortable here: the whole place has taken Jewish Standard Time to the extent that, in some reaction to this, the local rabbis are sticklers for beginning their services on time.

Of course, one of the dangers of taking this on is the risk that this town will become the town of Chelm:

To build perchance to dream Its not so easy to build a city. First you have to chop down trees, make the logs into lumber and then begin to build. But where will we get the trees from? "The mountain," cried one scholar. So they all began to chop down the trees and lug the heavy logs down the mountain. One day a passing Jew from Lithuania saw the hard work and advised them "Since the trees are on the mountain why don't you just roll them down?" "Wonderful idea," they replied and right away they began to carry all the logs back up the to the top in order to roll them down.

Believe it or not the town was eventually built, but in their haste they made it too small for the population.

"What are we going to do," they wailed. At length they went to ask the Rabbi. "Simple," he replied. "You have to move the mountain." All the citizens came out one bright morning and began to push. The entire population of Chelm was pushing against the mountain: Men, women, and even little children.

After a while it became unbearably hot and they removed their coats, piling them high one on top of the other. They were concentrating so hard on their work they didn't notice some thieves who came and stole their coats. After a while one of the Chelmites turned around with a shout of joy. "Look, we've succeeded!" How do you know? he was asked. "Because we pushed the mountain so far we can't see our coats anymore!"


I think we live in the country of Chelm...

Friday, July 25, 2008

On a national level, some folks are getting at what is wrong with No Child Left Behind - it leaves a hell of a lot behind.

The many teachers I spoke with for this article unanimously agreed that NCLB's emphasis on testing makes their job harder, more stressful and more frustrating. The major problem? Creating one standard for all children is impossible. The teachers spoke of the limited individual attention they could give students due to the narrow objectives of the all-important federal test scores.

The Department of Education insists that educators aren't forced to teach to the test: "Curriculum based on state standards should be taught in the classroom. If teachers cover subject matter required by the standards and teach it well, then students will master the material on which they will be tested — and probably much more. NCLB essentially forces teachers to get the grades up at all costs, because the school's very existence is on the line. In that case, students will need no special test preparation in order to do well."

Of course, it's not as simple as that. Some kids have special needs. Some kids have a bad year. But NCLB essentially forces teachers to get the grades up at all costs, because the school's very existence is on the line. Schools and districts that don't make annual progress goals could go into sanction, whereby the schools can be closed, transferred to the state, sold to private corporations, or transformed into charter schools.

The bureaucracy involved can drive a teacher crazy.

On a local mainstream media level, Jarvis DeBerry questions the vouchers program some more.:

Gerard Robinson of the Black Alliance for Educational Options had a letter published Monday touting the glorious benefits of choice and describing Louisiana's wrongheaded voucher bill as some kind of liberating document that finally frees students to get a quality education.

A quality education I'm for. And though I am a graduate of and an advocate for public schools, I'm not necessarily opposed to parental choice, even if it means some students leave the public schools. What I am opposed to categorically is a state-funded transfer of students from safe, fuel-efficient cars to those with air fresheners hanging from the rearview.

I'm opposed to this poorly conceived legislation, which doesn't even attempt to discern the academic quality of qualifying private schools, being misrepresented by Robinson at the BAEO as giving parents a choice. Who can we credit for Robinson's flawed logic? A private school? If so, he needs his tuition refunded.

...Problem is, nonpublic schools have refused to allow themselves to be tested to the same extent and in the same manner that public schools are tested. The new law mandates testing for voucher recipients, and thus, will provide limited insight into the quality of participating private schools. But at this moment, parents are not being given sufficient information to rationally weigh public schools against private ones.

Inasmuch as they're being allowed to choose, their choices are between schools required to report all their flaws and schools that don't have to reveal anything about themselves that's unflattering.

You can argue, as the BAEO does, that parents choosing the second group is proof that schools in that group are better. But those schools are allowed to do the kind of image manufacturing that -- for very good reason -- is forbidden our public schools.

Honest school-choice advocates will admit that what Louisiana has pulled off is a fraud. This bill tilts parents toward private schools by refusing to make them meet the state's accountability standards in order to participate.

That makes as much sense as setting up a choice between a school with good math instruction and a school with a cafeteria that serves sno-balls.

These are the times when I thank God for G-Bitch:

...there’s been no overall reform, just fracturing. The breaking up of the Orleans public schools was fueled by frustration and not a desire to enact specific reforms for specific problems. Yes, there were some really bad schools in this town, and there are some poor schools all across the state, but breaking up the system so the worst schools are over there, middling schools here, and former-magnet-now-charter schools are up here. That’s not reform. It’s the same system we had before with many of the same problems. There was and still is little public talk about what happens in the schools, in classrooms, with teachers, with students, between teachers and students and support staff that is different, that creates improvements in outcomes. And what changes are discussed are hampered by being geared toward raising test scores. Test scores make ADULTS think that something is happening and being done. What about the children? Teachers? Parents?

Damn straight.

Everybody, go get schooled.
Well, that mural at Burgundy and Dauphine is untouched, but a really nice "Welcome to the Bywater" sign by folk artist Dr Bob has been defaced:

It was even complete with part of a trademark phrase of his, "Be Nice Or Leave", as this link shows (thanks, Loki):

Okay, the gloves oughta be off over this one.

I'm thinking point-blank paintball duel - gray pellets in Radtke's weapon, all the colors of the rainbow for Dr Bob. The one who gets the most shots in has to wear their paintballed garb for a month.

NOTE, 7:15 PM: Kevin Allman is right in that nobody has witnessed Fred Radtke actually doing this...and, judging from Sophmom's comment below, I'm starting to hope, for his sake, that he didn't do it and that this might be some sort of copycat...because, quite honestly, this is awful, and if it IS him, then he needs help for whatever mental problem he has.
Stuff and Schmaltz:

First off:

Be there, or be a...well, ya know...

Secondly...Fred Radtke goes all gray on Dr Bob. Apparently, the man painted over a sign next to the X/O Gallery at Dauphine and Press Streets, not far from this mural:

link to massmoga's photo courtesy of casa

More of my own photos on this and some examples of the gray as canvas are coming soon.

Thirdly: Lot of talk on my Queens synagogue's listserve about AgriProcessors and an ongoing debate about social justice vs., or in tandem with, upholding the laws of kashrut or kosher eating.
We don't keep strict kosher ourselves, but we tried to do so when we were in NYC. Through the listserve, I've been getting a picture of how pervasive the AgriProcessors products are and how difficult it is right now for those who want to keep kosher, but don't want to buy the Rubashkin's or Aaron's products because of the company's labor practices - people are now mostly bypassing the steaks, roasts, and ground beef and going for Empire chicken more and more, and this is in NYC, where there are more sources of the different varieties of kosher meats. Here in New Orleans, there's only one source in town for a greater variety of kosher meat - and most of it, with the exception of some cold cuts and hot dogs from Best's Kosher and Hebrew National, comes from AgriProcessors.

Anyway, somebody forwarded this latest advisory on food from some kashrut powers-that-be:

This is the recent news regarding
strawberries. The rabbanim say that they are assur to eat, because even after proper cleaning they still contain LIVE bugs, yes live!!! So therefore it is FORBIDDEN TO EAT THEM. Please e-mail and send this link to all that you know, because eating bugs goes against a Torah prohibition (an issur mi'dorayta).

The rabbi from our Queens synagogue (an egalitarian Conservative shul, in the parlance of the denominational hairsplitting that is happening these days) responded thusly:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating strawberries. Like all fruit and vegetables, they should be washed before eating. Looking for not-visible insects on fruit and vegetables is above and beyond what is required, and this is just a first cousin of the whole business of declaring water not-kosher because of invisible microbes.
Please- the real challenge is to be kosher, which is hard enough. Being neurotically kosher is just a distortion of rabbinic Judaism. Let's focus on the real challenge!

Amen to that.

Fourth: NOAH's website is gone with the wind....among other NOAH news. E's all over this like copepods in NYC's drinking water. (I would say "like the oil slick all over the Mississippi" but that's a little too close for comfort right now...) Plus, Clancy DuBos gives Karen Gadbois some link love. 'Bout time...

And finally: Rising Tide III! Click on the graphic below and register now!!!!

Or, if you cannot attend, donations towards making the event bigger and better than ever are always greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Can't miss that stink of earl outside. Blecch. Keep those doors and windows closed, folks.

Dan said not too long ago: "Hey, I just got an idea...."


"Let's send all the city's smokers down to the river!"

Oh, dear.

What do we do then?

Let's hear it for webmaestro Varg of The Chicory! The Rising Tide III Conference site is up and going. Click on the graphic below to see more:

Register now at the site!

I'm so giddy I could almost watch this clip of Lee Zurik making the mayor and his associates squirm over and over again. Awww, Lee, Karen, Sarah, and E made him look bad in front of a visiting Congressional delegation. Poor baby.

Update, 11:39 AM: Via Blog of New Orleans' David Winkler-Schmit, Stacy Head chimes in on the efforts she made to have NOAH investigated, but noooo....

And could it be that the folks in City Hall actually found the key to the office? Any of 'em heard of a locksmith? Or are they afraid of spending any more money?

Anudder update, 2:36 PM: Schroeder has some more questions for the Walking Id.
On the heels of all of the hubbub in my life comes this article, the cover story of The Atlantic that I viewed in a number of airport newsstands in the past week:

Is Google Making Us Stupid?
Good question. It could probably have been reworded as: Is Google Rewiring Our Brains? 'Cause hey, I don't know about you, but there are gonna be doofuses (doofi?) out there regardless of whether or not they use Google.

I think I know what’s going on. For more than a decade now, I’ve been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet. The Web has been a godsend to me as a writer. Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes. A few Google searches, some quick clicks on hyperlinks, and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after. Even when I’m not working, I’m as likely as not to be foraging in the Web’s info-thickets—reading and writing e-mails, scanning headlines and blog posts, watching videos and listening to podcasts, or just tripping from link to link to link. (Unlike footnotes, to which they’re sometimes likened, hyperlinks don’t merely point to related works; they propel you toward them.)

For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded. “The perfect recall of silicon memory,” Wired’s Clive Thompson has written, “can be an enormous boon to thinking.” But that boon comes at a price. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.

Huh. Anybody remember how to footnote? How to create a bibliography? Try it without Googling it. Check out an MLA Handbook and see if you can concentrate long enough on it to follow the directions.

The conflict here is most likely occurring when those who are professional writers - journalists, novelists, historians, what-have-you - are contending with deadlines. No, I'm not suggesting that there should not be any deadlines; everybody has to finish up their work sometime. I'm just saying that an accelerated world calls for even more accelerated measures simply in order to keep up. Having to come up with news on a daily basis is one thing - newspapers have applied that since it was possible for them to do so. The advent of radio, then TV, and now the Net have made it imperative for some time that every morning on your doorstep ain't enough. The radio can break into scheduled broadcasts to bring you what they see as breaking news, and TV does the same. The web accelerates things even more by combining all of the above media with even greater speeds - up to the second reporting. It can certainly feel like a ride on a JetSki. And I'm sure that, in this day and age, it can be even more difficult to try to teach others how not to skim the surface if that is all you feel like you are doing.

I can just see how this is changing the way kids are taught. For general knowledge, one used to be told to check an encyclopedia, then start looking in depth - books and periodicals from magazines to newspapers. Documentaries and radio broadcasts have been added to those piles of sources. The biggest problem now is that it might all be too easy to just call it all up with a word search on a search engine such as Google - the trick after that is doing one's best to discern what is true and useful from what is bogus and blowhardy. Boy, this must make nonfiction term papers a whole new experience for teachers who must read and grade 'em. Oh, right - they're on a deadline, too.

Dear God - everybody needs to be reeducated!!!

It is kinda scary when you think about it, and also when you think that this could well be opening up a new gap between the haves and the have-nots: those with regular Net access have these rewired brains that can think like the computers with which they interface, while those who don't will probably be seen, unfairly, as slower thinkers and possibly less intelligent ones as a result.

However, after reading Nicholas Carr's impressions of Google's "science of measurement" in their never-ending analyses of behavioral data collected from their search engine, I'm not sure who is really being used in the above scenario:

Still, their easy assumption that we’d all “be better off” if our brains were supplemented, or even replaced, by an artificial intelligence is unsettling. It suggests a belief that intelligence is the output of a mechanical process, a series of discrete steps that can be isolated, measured, and optimized. In Google’s world, the world we enter when we go online, there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation. Ambiguity is not an opening for insight but a bug to be fixed. The human brain is just an outdated computer that needs a faster processor and a bigger hard drive.

The idea that our minds should operate as high-speed data-processing machines is not only built into the workings of the Internet, it is the network’s reigning business model as well. The faster we surf across the Web—the more links we click and pages we view—the more opportunities Google and other companies gain to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Most of the proprietors of the commercial Internet have a financial stake in collecting the crumbs of data we leave behind as we flit from link to link—the more crumbs, the better. The last thing these companies want is to encourage leisurely reading or slow, concentrated thought. It’s in their economic interest to drive us to distraction.


Makes me want to go to the library and start reading War and Peace just to see if I can get through it and free myself from the commercial tyranny of Google in the process. Time to crack some spines, people - the spines of books, that is.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm still not feeling completely up to snuff. Achy, tired, death warmed over, out of sorts, you know. Kinda like...

...your basic ham on Chanukah.

And yeah, I've failed somebody too, recently. Don't ask. I'm just gonna look to my cats for solace, I guess. And keep apologizing profusely.

Other possible warm fuzzymakers: Seeing Lee Zurik bring the NOAH fiasco to WWL-TV last night. Karen has been working her tail off on this. Show her some love and help her follow the money that ought to have been used for gutting and remediation, not neglect and demolition. Keep at this story, Mr Zurik. Please.

Rising Tide III has another stellar graphic from Greg Peters :

...a new venue, the Zeitgeist theater at 1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, and (drumroll please)...

John Barry, author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, will be keynote speaker at the third annual Rising Tide Conference sponsored by the NOLA Bloggers, a community of writers, citizen journalists and on-line advocates for the rebirth of New Orleans.

Barry is the prize-winning and New York Times best-selling author whose books have won more than twenty awards. In 2005 the National Academy of Sciences named The Great Influenza, a study of the 1918 pandemic, the year’s outstanding book on science or medicine, and the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Pathogens gave Barry its 2005 “September Eleventh Award.” Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, won the 1998 Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians for the year’s best book of American history.

Y'all come. $20 registration fee. Check here for more details and a PayPal button for easy registration, coming very soon.

And, at the end of this week...

Off to collapse some more...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Reasons Why My Brain And Body Are Fried

No, I am not blaming a thing on the in-laws. A week's stay with 'em has proven that they are their usual cheery selves who want nothing more than for us to move into a $500,000 ranch house in their area that is smaller than the $75,000 one I grew up in in Houston - all so's we can take care of 'em in their old age. I love 'em dearly. (Okay, we're talking about Houston in 1980, but a recent listing in my former 'hood has a comparable home for only $245,000...and this listing's cost is even better. Hmmmm, wonder if the in-laws wanna move east?)
  • My travel day yesterday started the day before, when we drove to the airport in San Francisco and discovered that my flight would be arriving too late in Salt Lake City for me to make my connection to Oklahoma City to see my family there for one more day before heading back home. There went those plans. We rearranged things so that I could head back home instead. The catch - I had to leave on a 6 AM flight, otherwise we would have to take three planes to get back to New Orleans. The little guy would have been thrilled, but I opted for the early morning flight. To quote my mother: "The airlines are assholes."
  • Left the hotel in which the airline put us up at 4 AM and had to endure the extra security checks that come with changing your destination on a one-way ticket and checking only one bag, albeit a large, heavy one that contains loads of mom's and son's clothes. Note to TSA: My son really enjoyed that booth in which he had to be blasted by a few air jets in order to make America feel more secure - NOT. Please work on more family-friendly security checks in the very near future, okay fellas? That thing kinda freaked him out.
  • Oh, how resilient the children are. The kid spies a couple of little girls waiting near our gate, sisters with braids wearing similarly colored clothes, both of them older than he is. "Mom," he nudges me, pointing out the younger of the two. "Look at her. She's beautiful," he says wistfully. He then trots over with the rest of his bagel and proceeds to chat up the older sister - presumably to try to impress the younger one, who is actually trying to nap a little and couldn't care less about his presence. It's amazing how early some of this stuff starts, folks.
  • At the end of our five-plus hour flight to Atlanta, the kid takes advantage of the quiet of everybody waiting for the door of the plane to open at the gate to turn to the nine-year-old kid sitting on the other side of him and say, loud enough for half the coach class to hear: "Guess what? The Challenger space shuttle exploded!" For a few seconds there, I wanted to fall through the floor to the cargo area and run screaming down the tarmac. Most of the passengers acted like they hadn't heard anything. A couple of 'em smiled. That'll teach me to let him watch When Weather Changed History...
  • The connecting flight is uneventful. The kid actually sleeps through the whole thing. My husband asks me why we took the early morning departure out from San Francisco, and I tell him I didn't want to go on three planes. "Well, he would have loved it!" Dan says, referring to the little guy. Duh.
  • We head straight to Mandina's from the airport, and, after the meal, Dan discovers he doesn't quite have enough for a good tip. Neither one of us wants to leave our nice waiter with nothing, and I am forced to scrounge around in my purse for change. I come up with five bucks in nickels, dimes, and quarters, and put it in the tray. The waiter takes a look at the loads of silver on the tray and says, smiling, "Ya break open a parking meter or somethin'?" God, I love this town!
  • Our friend Edie pressures us to no end to at least have dessert at The Melting Pot, which is down the street and around the corner for us. Personally, I have never been interested in fondue, ever, but Edie needs to have it, so we head over and get a chocolate turtle pot for dipping all kinds of fruit and stuff in. Over the dessert, Edie gives one of the funniest restaurant reviews I've ever heard, telling us that "I had to take a Tums immediately afterwards" when she visited a local eatery with my husband last week. I laughed uproariously, thinking that would make a great line in some publication out there. God, I love our friends, too.
Bottom line: It's good to be home. Excuse me while I collapse from fatigue. Still.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yet another thing I'm missing...

Today in New Orleans, everybody must vote to continue the millage for our schools. Don't let that money go down the tubes. Please keep educating the kids.

Afterwards, you can attend a reading and book signing of Dedra Johnson's Sandrine's Letter to Tomorrow at the Maple Street Book Shop at 1 PM. Just do it. Tell her Liprap sent you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Event for me to look forward to when I return:

Event I am so, so sorry I missed:

Politics With A Punch

Gee, why am I sorry?

An ill-conceived attempt to comply with the "no talking" directive led to some surreptitious note-passing with the kids seated at the next table. Only bad things come of such behavior. Just trust me.
The Heinekens at the Cricket Club are five bucks. Did I mention that already? I had to limit myself to three.

Jeffrey and I were lamenting the lukewarm Heinekins and discussing our “Borat” type plan-B if Shearer denied us when it was noticed the intrepid Erster had already roped Shearer in to convo. I saw that the move was being made and stood up to deliver the only prepared statement I had to endear him to our camp.
“I just learned that you were the original Eddie Haskell in “Leave it to Beaver,” I said.
“Yes, yes,” he replied.
“Proof that not all child stars…” I started.“…grow up to be fucked up?” he answered.”
We laughed and then I sat down and just left Erster to do the dirty work. Some capo regime I am eh?

Too bad I'm being such a responsible parent and dutiful daughter-in-law. Where the heck is MY joy????

Oh, Saturday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oh, yeah, Ground Zero is still a mess...and our whole country could suffer for it:

Rebuilding ground zero was going to be a great show of American defiance, a Knute Rockne speech to the nation. Seven years on, though, this grand statement is barely a stammer. In an unsparing new progress report, the site's landlord admitted that every part of the project is over budget and behind schedule. It will take several months just to map out a new timeline.

The 16-acre site is a tangle of more than 100 contractors and subcontractors answering to 19 public agencies--a sorry pageant of feuding bureaucrats, shady contractors, litigious developers and overzealous regulators. Even 9/11 advocacy groups share the blame, halting work over smallish details about how best to honor the victims. Few are honored by this impasse of competing agendas.

Nobody is arguing that the rebuilding effort--which will add as much Class-A office space as exists in all of downtown Atlanta--is simple. But lower Manhattan is in danger of becoming a metaphor for America's sluggish response to our most pressing economic challenges. A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce report shows a litany of problems: an overloaded rail infrastructure that needs new tracks, signals, tunnels and bridges. Most ports need dredging; almost half of all canal locks are obsolete. While China is spending nearly 9% of its gdp on infrastructure, Americans lose $9 billion a year in productivity from flight delays alone.

Lovely to see how everybody is getting around to this now, when we all could have taken some huge hints from Philip Nobel on this.

Oh, and this one's for Jeffrey:

The Tour de France, which kicks off July 5, is a grueling test of human endurance, a three-week 2,175mile (3,500 km) race stretched over 21 stages, nine of them in the mountains. But in some ways the modern Tour is easier than races past. In the early 20th century, competitors pedaled the dirt roads of France through the night on fixed-gear bikes, evading human blockades, route-jamming cars and nails placed on the road by fans of other riders. Between stages, teams feasted on banquets and champagne; before climbs, they fortified with cigarettes.

Those were the days...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our society hates us, folks. Much as some of it might absolutely love us, base businesses on our every whim, and put us on a gilded pedestal, it is a skin deep, fair-weather kind of love. We must face it now - we are at the bottom of the barrel in more ways than we could ever have possibly fathomed before we jumped in on this enterprise that will consume at least a decade of our lives, if not more, because, after all, it is a crapshoot.

I am speaking of us parents, a group to which I became a part of once I gave birth and made the conscious choice to raise the being to which my husband and I gave life.

A fellow blogger recently bemoaned the silence that seems to dog us parents and shuts us out of seriously opening up to each other concerning the cold, hard truths about the business of rearing a child in this day and age. It is frustrating as all hell. And it never ends. Those feelings never go away, it is simply the same shit, different stage of development. I wish I could be more optimistic, but the older my son gets, the more distressed I get.

I saw a book recently titled The Feminine Mistake, in which the author goes on about this decision that mothers have been taking to get out of the regular workforce to raise their kids and how much that decision is hurting the cause of feminism as a whole. I saw the synopsis on the back of the book and wanted to throw it across the store. Fine. Women are still damned if they stay at work with a child to raise and damned if they stay at home to do the raising. I don't need to spend $16.95 plus tax to have another aspect of the choices I've made pressing me down into the ground any further. Respectfully, Leslie Bennetts, go make yourself more useful and start putting your weight behind paid family leave, health care for all children, national child care, and more flexible working schedules for parents. Then we can talk.

Because then I might be able to round up more of us parental units in order to successfully fight such purposefully pointed decisions such as those made by these folks - decisions designed to exclude the members of the community that they are supposed to be helping.:

I went to last Thursday night's briefing on the state of the (Recovery School District) facilities master plan and the millage renewal campaign. I've previously reported on the use of mixed messaging that ties millage renewal to approval of the master plan but this event appropriately separated the briefings.

Did you know that the meeting I attended at the Dryades YMCA was the last public presentation of the status of the facilities master plan before it will be put to a binding vote?

I didn't.

The briefing room at the Y had about 50 people in it. I would say that 30 or so of the people in the room were employees of Concordia/Parsons, the RSD, or the OPSB. There were very few actual community stakeholders present.

I noticed this right away and took out the day's T-P to see if Concordia people had notified the public of the meeting. They had not. When I inquired about this I was told that over 5,000 emails had been sent out. When I pressed - email isn't exactly the premier way of reaching public school parents in New Orleans - I was told that my point was well taken.

The whole exercise was ridiculous. One official bemoaned citizen apathy as the reason for low turnout but when I asked whether or not fliers had ever been mailed to RSD parents or given to students to bring home for this meeting or any other throughout the so-called citizen participation process, I was told that packages had been dropped off at schools but that "it helps to have good principals."

I asked representatives of Concordia to commit to holding another properly advertised briefing before the master plan goes before the bodies expected to vote on it but was rebuffed.

Whose children are being educated here? The Concordia reps' ? I doubt it.

And then I learn of this documentary, sponsored by New Schools for New Orleans, among others. The optimism within it is staggering, even admirable. The reality is suspect.

The "promise" of the 57% of schools in the city that are charters absolutely positively needs to include the parents. Especially since the charters in the documentary are RSD charters, and we know how well the RSD itself is doing at working with the community.

And, in terms of the charters being able to create their own curriculum....the curriculum of at least one subject in particular will be under the control of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, to which the RSD answers, thanks to our current governor's victory that will sneak creationism into the schools. Let's look at this again:

Few took notice of a provision in the bill that gives the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unprecedented power to prohibit materials approved by local school boards. This is a politically appointed board and the bill provides no guidelines for making such Draconian decisions. This runs completely counter to the conservative principles Jindal cited in supporting the bill. In the same Face the Nation interview, he stated his philosophy, "I don't think that this [teaching evolution in schools] is something that federal or state governments should be imposing its views on local districts. You know, as a conservative, I think that government that is closest to the people governs best. I think local school boards should be in the position of deciding their curricula and also deciding what students should be learning." He has now signed a law that gives unprecedented powers to the state over local school boards - hypocritical on most days.

Hypocritical, indeed. The hypocrisy goes well beyond how science is taught to our children. It also goes right into the idea that schools can be run as businesses. That they can also please the higher-ups in that corporate scenario, which are apparently the politicians. Hey, anybody remember what these charters are supposed to be? Hell, even I forget from time to time, because I too am referring to them as charters.

They are schools, for crying out loud. Meant to educate our children.

And most folks wonder where despair comes from...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Straight from my dad...and the department of "well, duh"....

Jindal's creationist folly

Louisiana's governor - and potential VP candidate - signed a bill that opens the door to intelligent design creationism in its schools

When the press refer to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, they inevitably mention that he is the youngest current governor (at 37), and the first Indian-American to serve the post. By all accounts the former Rhodes Scholar with a BS in biology from Brown University is an extraordinary individual. So, it was not surprising that his name appeared on John McCain's short list for potential Vice Presidential running mates. However, on June 27, he signed
a bill that will turn Louisiana into an educational laughing stock for allowing the intelligent design brand of creationism to worm its way into science classes under the guise of academic freedom.

The Louisiana Science Education Act is yet another attempt to place creationism into science classes, orchestrated by the marketing geniuses behind the intelligent design movement. The bill, which easily passed both the state House and Senate, at first glance seems benign or even progressive: It allows teachers to use "supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials" to "create and foster an environment...that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied." Other than the false notion that the lack of supplemental materials in classrooms is hindering the state education system, what could be wrong with that?

The bill is derived from a model bill put forward by the Discovery Institute (yes, those guys again), and encourages examination of, you guessed it, "evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning." Louisiana is now the first state to pass the new generation creationist bill under the guise of academic freedom. Five other states have similar bills pending, including Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, and South Carolina.

Unfortunately, Louisiana is no stranger to urine in the education pool. The legal case that forced creationists to rethink their strategy of ramming religion into science classes, Edwards v. Aguillard, started in the Bayou State. That case ended with the Supreme Court ruling in 1987 that Louisiana's Creationism Act was unconstitutional because it specifically forbade the teaching of evolution in public schools unless "creation science" was also taught. In other words, it openly pushed religion into science classrooms. As a direct result of that case, the intelligent design movement was born to manufacture support for the phony science of intelligent design creationism.

Jindal's signing the bill will forever label him an extremist in the eyes of many liberal and moderate voters. But perhaps that label is deserved? As he has come under the microscope, there has been more talk of a paper he wrote in 1994 for the Catholic journal The New Oxford Review entitled Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare. In it, Jindal describes his participation in an exorcism and suggests that it cured a young woman named Susan of cancer. He makes it clear that this was more than a little hocus pocus amongst Catholic coeds. "Susan chose the perfect opportunity to attempt an escape. She suddenly leapt up and ran for the door, despite the many hands holding her down. This burst of action served to revive the tired group of students and they soon had her restrained once again, this time half kneeling and half standing." And then there is the kicker, "When the operation occurred, the surgeons found no traces of cancerous cells."

It is hard to tell what is driving Jindal to folly now; playing to his base, true delusion, or blinding self-confidence that inhibits the self-doubt required of great leadership. In a recent interview on Face the Nation, he showed his science education cards, "I'd certainly want my kids to be exposed to the very best science. I don't want them to be--I don't want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them because of political correctness." But with a degree in biology from an Ivy League University, Governor Jindal knows very well that the opposition to the Louisiana Science Education Act was not about political correctness or manufactured controversy around evolution. He is also smart enough to know that intelligent design creationism is not science, and not naive enough to believe that this bill is about academic freedom - or that it was even needed to repair Louisiana's school system.

There's a twist: Few took notice of a provision in the bill that gives the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unprecedented power to prohibit materials approved by local school boards. This is a politically appointed board and the bill provides no guidelines for making such Draconian decisions. This runs completely counter to the conservative principles Jindal cited in supporting the bill. In the same Face the Nation interview, he stated his philosophy, "I don't think that this [teaching evolution in schools] is something that federal or state governments should be imposing its views on local districts. You know, as a conservative, I think that government that is closest to the people governs best. I think local school boards should be in the position of deciding their curricula and also deciding what students should be learning." He has now signed a law that gives unprecedented powers to the state over local school boards - hypocritical on most days.

There is little question that this law is going to be challenged in the courts and that the battle will cost Louisiana millions of dollars in legal fees. While the bill expressly forbids religious material from being used, intelligent design is being falsely pushed as a legitimate science and therefore the state is likely to lose the case. In the end, signing the bill was strategically senseless, an embarrassment to his state and financially irresponsible. It is also not entirely Jindal's doing. He had accomplices in both the state House and Senate, but their names aren't the ones being bandied about as potential Vice Presidential nominees, and it is unlikely that they will pay as big a price. In the end, it was Jindal's choice and chips will fall.

from The Scientist

I don't know about you, but this thing had me at "urine in the education pool".

Also, Doc DeBakey passes away. Dammit, I thought he'd reach the triple digits for certain. My sympathies to his family, friends, and colleagues. If there is a higher power, another man like DeBakey will emerge that will help us in the department of scientific inquiry and innovation despite all of these attempts at kicking science aside in our public education system....because, after all, we are only truly helped when we help ourselves.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's a dizzying travel schedule...but I had to accommodate my husband, who is part car and was most likely a travel agent or a cruise director in a former lifetime. I could just see him shaking his head over those damned argonauts back in the day, who didn't take his advice on some sort of shortcut and it got 'em into serious trouble.

Driving, driving. New Orleans to Alexandria to see friends. Stay the night in Shreveport. On to Oklahoma City to see my parents and make sure our car stays out of the way of any of the cars my dad is driving (you think I'm kidding). OKC to Hannibal, MO, to see some of Dan's ancestral digs. Hannibal to Springfield, Illinois. Advice to you all: stay far, far away from the coffee at the Signature Inn in Springfield. Truly the worst ever, even if it was complimentary. Champaign-Urbana, to visit Dan's alma mater. Indianapolis, to the Children's Museum. Stay in Muncie at another Signature Inn. Try the in-room coffee AND the complimentary coffee just to make sure the godawful Springfield coffee isn't a Signature Inn signature. Schlep all the way to Washington D.C. for a partly-business detour. Make our way to Knoxville, where I-40 is going through a major overhaul, forcing us to take a dark, narrow country road near the Tennessee River to reach my granddaddy's house. Wake up and drive to Atlanta, where we hop on a plane and head to the Left Coast to stay for nearly a week.

And so, here I am. In San Jose.

Gee, are you tired yet?

I should have gotten ahold of one of these characters while my son was learning about infectious diseases at this museum. That way, if I do come down with the common cold after all of this schlepping around, I can at least burn it in effigy.

Awww, such a cute microbe. Die common cold, die!!!!!!!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Continuing in the same vein as the last post...

Plus...a friend of ours told us of her darling child, who came home from his first year of college with laundry enough to kill her washing machine.

The first step to changing history is - CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF.

Just do it.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Ohhh, yes, gotta love the news in Shreveport...and the conclusions that they come to:

"It's a growing trend, one that is becoming more persistent."And the trend is not only disturbing here in the ark-la-tex, but nationwide. A 2005 report, showed violent crimes committed by women has quadrupled in the last 40 years. "When you get these kinds of non-traditional roles, everything starts to change."

Therapist Howie Brownell says there are a number of factors that could be triggers, such as the the changing social climate, that's put more women in power positions. Other factors include childhood and previous memories. And in a world of all news all the time, Brownell say even the media could trigger a thought. Women thinking about violence, could see news from another part of the country involving violence, and could get an idea. "I think it influences them. It makes something more likely and they will act on in a certain way."

That was not how I needed to start my day, thanks very much. All the recent murders in the Ark-La-Tex area were bad enough without the kind of analysis that could potentially put women right back in submissive holes.

Gee, what, in these times, could possibly drive all these women to such desperation?

They had learned to travel light, put down shallow roots, and expect change. During eight years of marriage, Alan and Louise had already moved across the country and back once and lived in half a dozen houses. The girls, at five and two, were adapted to the peripatetic lifestyle, and the family made the most of whatever months or weeks they could all be together...

The comfortable family routines came to an abrupt end when Alan and his new squadron boarded the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany in San Francisco, bound for the coast of war-racked Korea. They were shipping out for the first of two conjoined tours that would keep him separated from the family for more than a year. Just prior to his departure, Louise and the girls visited the ship, touring the floating village and dining in the officers' mess, which had been decked out with white tablecloths and silver, with white-gloved stewards serving the food. As Louise and the kids drove home, one of the girls asked, "Mommy, how come Daddy is so rich and we're so poor?"*

Sure, in the 1950's, one was very much expected to sacrifice her life, any dreams she might have had, and even her dignity and a better life for her kids for her man's dreams. Does that really have to happen today?

Apparently, it still does.

Happy 4th. Here's to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for every body.


*Neal Thompson, Light This Candle: The Life And Times Of Alan Shepard

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


New capabilities of modern science and machinery
Romantic reaction against science/machinery, perceived split between sensuality and reason...Rise of British Empire
Muscular Christianity catches on in England and then America
American embrace of football heroes + threat of greater urbanization, more Jews
Protestant establishment's new emphasis on "character," rejection of studiousness
Concept of greasy grind

*Benjamin Nugent, American Nerd

Sorry folks. Couldn't resist posting this one...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

We made our way down the winding road to San Luis Pass. A year after these last few trips, we would move up north, where I would finish my last two years of high school, but today, it was all about the beach. Dad didn't even bring his boat, so no fishing today. We brought the dog with us and watched how he had to stand up front in the truck, his chin on the dashboard looking out at it all. There were no other cars on this road, so he had less of an inclination to jump over the backseat in an attempt to chase the ones going in the opposite direction. Just us, the road, the dunes and the grass.

And the signs.

The signs looked like they were gorgeous jokes. They were as big as the truck and they claimed that new condos and developments were going up in the middle of the empty fields on either side of the road. The only thing that gave those claims any teeth was the road we were driving on - barely adequate to get us to our spot under the bridge before this, it was now freshly repaved and slightly wider than it had been. It was almost a dream to drive on. We looked at the signs and laughed at them, however, because there were no construction vehicles behind them. This was 1988, and the region was feeling the financial pinch of the times. That, coupled with Galveston's long history of having any new developments washed away a few years after their construction, would most likely ensure that the grasses on either side of the road would be there for a few more years, at least.

Well, beach houses are one thing. Vital city services, community centers, and affordable housing are entirely different.

I posted this last week because I hate the city's signs. Hate 'em with a passion. The promises these things supposedly hold are thinner than the plywood on which the signs are printed. I have been having nightmares about these signs - that they will be all that is left when the politicians have quit their talking. I run down the streets weeping for what was once there, and all that is facing me are these signs.

There's no construction equipment. There aren't even a few people around surveying or trying to spiff things up. No painters, no carpenters. Many of these sites are as desolate and in even worse shape than the day they were abandoned nearly three years ago.

To even attempt to connect these sorry things with the past is just sad.

In fact, at some of the places where these dumb signs have been erected, I get the feeling that, if they could make the signs so big that they could obscure the places they are supposedly in the process of recovering, then the city's version of recovery might actually come true. Pay no attention to the site(s) behind the plywood, citizens. Nothing to see here except tax dollars at work. No, really, don't look.

To see how truly useless these proclamations are, read Schroeder's post. The Recovery Progress booklets he describes made their appearance at the library in April of this year. They are wastes of the paper on which they are printed and, if we had city-sponsored recycling, I'd recommend contributing these booklets immediately. Call Phoenix Recycling instead and give those pithy treatises a new life as origami papers or something. The time, money, and energy that has gone into this citywide snow job could just as easily have gone into repairing the broken roof on the Gert Town poolhouse, into resurfacing those tennis courts, into actually DOING SOMETHING other than plying us with more words on posts and in pamphlets.

What's sad is when you see other organizations that are adopting this strategy as well. Squandered Heritage ...

So to recap, the City spent CBDG funds to clean out the house and then spends FEMA funds to demolish it. The other comical element is that the signs are NEW and they still have Donna Addkison listed as a City employee. In the last 2 years I have seen 4 of these signs and all of them in the last month.

and We Could Be Famous are on it.

We've still got a lot of questions to answer about the transparency in the demolition process.But this one isn't just about the demolition committee and that messed up process.Take a look at that press release again.

They have utilized the following ten contractors: Biagas Enterprises, BNOB Construction Services, Carter’s Renovations, Charbonnet, Inc General Contractors, Blue Carpentry Construction Co., Matthews Developers, Myers and Sons Enterprises, W.T. Verges Construction Co, General Contracting Co., Inc., and Moon-Glo Developers.

Who the hell are these guys?...

...For at least a couple of these companies, I was able to find obscure online directory listings last night but couldn't find them again this evening. For a few, I couldn't find anything last night or this evening. I'm sure with a little bit more time, we might be able to find something on the internets for most of the firms, but it doesn't seem like it will to amount to much.

So I'm not sure what's going on here.

But it's something.

In talking to People That I Know Who Might Know Something, or PTIKWMKS, I have learned that there have been rumblings about NOAH and NOAH contractors for some months.

Some of the firms may be dummies or fronts to funnel money to family members of people that are already famous.

We need to get the names behind these companies and see who they've donated money to.

In other words:

...if there is anything behind these signs, any sort of recovery at all, only a few people are going to benefit. And it won't be the elderly, the homeless, or the destitute.

Update: Maitri's take is a must read. And the Gambit has now picked up the story (link via Jeffrey). WCBF details the NOAH Ten here.


Oh, and don't show this to the pols. They might get some ideas about instilling a false sense of well-being in us all as they keep pulling the wool over our eyes about the important stuff.