Apparently, according to this survey, we rank 45th out of the 55 smartest American cities. Who'd we beat out? Houston by a nose, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix, Harrisburg, PA, Memphis, Louisville, San Antonio, Las Vegas, and the dumbest of the smart: Fresno, CA. Austin and Portland, OR are apparently smarter than we are...and the smartest of all is Raleigh-Durham. What kind of world are we living in, I ask you????
Well, we are living in a city with a less than transparent budget process, which was finally confirmed today by the OIG's office.
The report also looks at budgeting for city services and determines where New Orleans stacks up to similar-sized cities.And all this after the city council members voted themselves a needed pay raise. Those folks are going to have a hard time collecting that pay if we start going the way of California and its near "financial armageddon". Then again, this could be the perfect way to increase our "smart city" IQ if we get this thing solved.
Comparatively, the report indicated that New Orleans budgets more per person on its police services, more per person on executive and legislative functions and far more on sanitation services. It said that the city budgets less when it comes to parks and recreation.
The findings come as the mayor's budget for 2010 is expected in the next couple of weeks.
"It sounds like this is a systemic problem that has probably developed over many years and is not going to be easy to correct," Kane said.
WDSU asked a city spokesperson about the findings and was told, "The budget was adopted and passed, which means it was acceptable to the City Council, Clerk of Council, City Attorney's Office and CAO's Office."
It goes on to say that the city's capital plan and budget have been key to the city's improved credit rating after Hurricane Katrina.
What I have concluded will solve absolutely nothing, in the meantime, is checking out Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's roots and calling him out as a hypocrite.
So the man's family converted to Islam and changed their name; he wasn't raised Jewish to begin with. Big whoop. I have no desire to claim this man as one of the Jewish people, believe me.
What is disturbing to me is that an Iranian blogger and other Iranians were the first to jump up and down about this and the Telegraph picked it up and ran with it. Being Jewish in Iran is not considered to be as bad as being a Baha'i, but it's still pretty bad. That this was one of very few ways Iranians felt they could discredit Ahmadinejad says volumes about what is permissible speech and what is forbidden speech in the Islamic Republic these days. Rather than addressing the very real problems they have with a "really really bad" democratic process, an economic system that is falling apart, a brain drain of educated Iranians that are choosing to live anywhere but Iran, and many other troubles that are contributing to the corruption of such a place, it is easier to attempt to bring down a leader there through religious prejudice.
To continue with the other disturbing part of this is the Telegraph taking it further...and by doing so, it unintentionally reinforces a tenet of the Nazi insanity Ahmadinejad persists in legitimizing through his continued denials of the Shoah: that no matter what you believe now, or what you practice as a religion, you are Jewish if your recent ancestry was Jewish. It doesn't help matters much when even Telegraph blog posts about this are titled thus: "Let's See How Iran's President Likes Being Called 'The Jew Ahmadinejad' " Well, of course he's not going to like it. What the hell do you all expect? Thanks a bundle.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in a position of power, and such criticism will only fuel the further repression of reformers in Iran, help ramp up the anti-Zionism of the country's leader, and it will hamper any further attempts by a Western country to try to form any kind of relationship with a regime that is clearly not going away that easily. Violations of human rights are so not conducive to good diplomacy....but all that the president of Iran's family tree is giving anyone at this point is something to hold up in the man's face and say nyaah nyaah you're a self-hating Jew, which is an idiotic thing to even consider in this supposedly more enlightened time in human history.
It doesn't help Iranians confront their very real problems.
And it doesn't help us look at why being Jewish is evidently still a racial slur even in Western countries.
Sad. All of it is sad.
Update, 7:27 PM: Hah! It's a fake story anyhow. So there. Nyaah Nyaah. Thanks, Cajun Boy! (check the vid of Bobby Hebert going berserk at Sunday's Saints-Jets game while you're visiting that Looziana man in NYC's blog)
Anudder update: 10-6: Alejandro de los Rios on Hebert's press box etiquette.