Friday, June 29, 2007

Chris Roberts, R.I.P.

Article about Chris' murder. Looks like NOPD couldn't squelch this one. Too bad for you, Warren Riley.

I never met him, but some people I know knew him well. Too bad I'll never get a chance to meet him.

Events like this make me really think hard about whether or not I want to live downtown... It's almost like you're in a numbers game and you're betting on whether or not your number is going to come up. YOU HEAR THAT WARREN RILEY! IT'S NOT JUST THUGS GETTING KILLED!!!

Video of Chris on the Salt Flats:

R.I.P., Chris Roberts. God bless his child. Maybe she can meet Helen Hill's son some day...

Dickhead of the week

Bald Eagle flies off the endangered species list.

The first comment at the bottom:
"Can't wait to shoot one !"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kermit Ruffins, garbageman

Actual remarks by Bush during a picnic with Kermit Ruffins and other New Orleans musicians:

I want to thank our Chef, Paul Prudhomme, from New Orleans, Louisiana -- one of the great chefs in America. Thanks for coming, Paul. (Applause.) I thank Tony Snow and his bunch of, well, mediocre musicians -- (laughter) -- no, great musicians. Beats Workin, thanks for coming. (Applause.) Kermit, come up here. Kermit, we're proud to have you.

MR. RUFFINS: Well, thanks for having us.

THE PRESIDENT: Kermit Ruffins and the Barbeque Swingers, right out of New Orleans, Louisiana. (Applause.)

MR. RUFFINS: Thank you. Thanks for having us. We're glad to be here.

THE PRESIDENT: Proud you're here. Thanks for coming. You all enjoy yourself. Make sure you pick up all the trash after it's over. (Laughter.)

God bless you, and may God bless America. Thanks for coming. (Applause.)

END 8:12 P.M. EDT

Official Text here.

Jesus, next time just get it over with and sprinkle cotton balls on the front lawn of the White House. Hire Nolafugees to pick 'em up and give whoever collects the most a new, raised house in the Lower 9th Ward.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Around the Net

Found a few new local bloggers recently. Actually some of them I found a while ago, but am just getting around to posting.

The Wayward Episcopalian. Volunteer in NOLA.

Emily Metzgar. Campaigner against corruption. Mostly focused more on Louisiana than New Orleans.

City Biz Blog. City Business is one of the most under-read journals in the city. Their blog posts good stuff, but even fewer people read it.

Overheard in NOLA. CLASSIC NEW ORLEANS!!! You'll laugh your ass off. Vignettes that really represent the funkiness of New Orleans.

Xavier Nurse. A conservative New Orleans blogger. Lots of coverage of the Give Them Back controversy, which is another underreported story, IMHO.

I'll get them on the blog roll soon.

Also, here are a couple of nice articles to read:

State Farm attacks Dickie Scruggs. I actually met Dickie Scruggs during my Katrina-semester at Ole Miss. If I were the insurance industry, I'd be scared as hell of him. He's the man who brought big tobacco to its knees.

A collection of essays by former and current soldiers. Not Generals, but the little guys at the bottom. All are incredibly insightful and the collection covers a wide range of opinions on Iraq. The collection is titled "How a Democrat Can Get My Vote."

Danger in the Marigny

YET ANOTHER MARIGNY RESIDENT MURDERED. Well, the Bywater. Close enough in my book.

Here's a post about him I found on's Marigny forum:

12524. murder on sunday was from bywater!
by rustypelican, 6/20/07 1:54 ET
our dear friend chris roberts,well know for his motorcycle work with Confederate Custom Motorcycles was shot and killed around 1900 block of esplanade ,sunday evening, and we all just found out tonight. he had allegedly been jacked for his motorcycle and shot. unfortunately the only bit of news we could find about this was at the bottom of the article of a murdered drug dealer in Sundays shootings. Chris was a sweet, hard working man that was very respectable and a genuine person, 33 years old, heavily tattooed, and was a genius when it came to electrical wiring on motorbikes. since Confederate Motorcycles moved to Birmingham, he was since working at fiorellis. I can't speculate why there wasn't more attention drawn to this in the news, and it really saddens me to think that Chris was not given anything more than a few lines at the bottom of an article about a scumbag drug dealer. Even if you didn't know him, you should still be aware of what happened and is happening in this city. People, don't let the news desensitize you... it isn't just the drug dealers killing each other off. They are killing us off as well. [emphasis mine] Chris had a young child and our hearts go out to his family. please post any info as it comes about.

Read the PATHETIC attempt at coverage the paper makes It wouldn't surprise me one bit the paper is trying to squelch this one.

Also, I found this warning:

12530. Crime Alert-- NOPD seeking suspect
by noPlanning, 6/20/07 12:00 ET
There was a patrol car nr. Pauger St. and N. Rampart in the Marigny on Wed. AM; According to neighbors the NOPD is seeking a homicide suspect as follows:

white guy with scraggly hair-- age maybe 30's, but apparently he appears older than that due to his... activities. Seen wearing a plaid shirt, open, and a tattoo on his front (as in stomach/ chest.)

Just passing it along... The crime which he was involved in apparently happened in NOE (but he was evidently spotted in the Marigny.)

How can we get the MSM to notice this murder and at least put together a decent story? Hmmm. I've got an idea...


EDIT- I just got a great response from the author of the Times-Pic article. NOPD didn't issue a press release about the murder. The cops haven't released any real information, so there wasn't much he could do about it at the moment. He's working on something, but he needs responses by tomorrow for him to finish up the piece. If you knew Chris, please contact the author. His contact info is below.

Walt Philbin can be reached at or (504) 826-3302.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Justice for Jefferson

So, Danatus King has founded the "Justice for Jefferson" committee and there are already tons of blind defenses of Jefferson. Thankfully, the Louisiana Weekly is tempering their coverage of the indictments.

I'd like to form my OWN committee. I'd like to call it the JUSTICE FOR JEFFERSON committee. Here are our bumper stickers:

I'd like to state, for the umpteenth time, that Jefferson has been well known as a crook BEFORE I WAS EVER BORN!!!


Let's face it. The source of so many of this city's problems is poverty. Not "we don't make enough to afford the latest tech toys," but Bangladesh-level "we can barely make enough to pay our bills and pay for our next meal" poverty.

I've got no big ideas right now, but here are a couple of things that might get you thinking:

Don't miss The Fever on HBO tomorrow night.

Also, here are two articles about an innovative program in New York to pay the poor for behaviors most likely to lift themselves out of poverty. Very interesting. I like to see unconventional approaches to problems. It'll be interesting to see how this experiment works out.


Here's the trailer. Watch it.

K-Ville asks nation to deal with Katrina. In City Biz's blog.

I have to say, it looks very promising. I can't wait for the first episode.

Will Katrina be bigger than 9/11?

A fascinating article from Zogby. The article isn't really impressive, but the implications are astounding. Makes a lot of sense. Let's see if there's something to it...

The Presidential Candidates

I love Cagle's Cartoon Index. Political cartoons are always the best forms of political commentary. They get away with much more than any other type of political commentary.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Mars, Oil and Engineering

A peak inside the biggest industry in the world...

Pre-Katrina image of Mars taken by NOAA

I work out at Mars sometimes. I've been out there a few times. It's one of dozens of major platforms in the Gulf. Oh yeah, rigs are for drilling and platforms are for production. Don't ever call a platform a rig. Some platforms have rigs on them, but not all. Anyway, there are HUNDREDS of platforms all over the Gulf. Here's a great series of posters of offshore oil production. This one in particular is useful. It's the lease map of the Gulf of Mexico. It should be posted in every public building in Louisiana, in my opinion. People have no idea how much infrastructure there is offshore, especially on the shelf.

Here's a quick sample of what it looks like.

Here's Mars. Mississippi Canyon 807A.

Here are a couple of great articles on the development of Mars.

Here's a sonar image of the reservoir. This is pretty much all the poor geologists have to go on to find oil. The only surefire way to find oil is by drilling. Some of these holes cost a BILLION dollars to drill. Back in the day, 1 in 7 odds were considered "good." Today, even with the best technology, the best the geologists can do is give you 1 in 3 odds. And you have to bet a billion dollars on their guess.

I read these articles about the geologists and accountants worrying about whether or not Mars would break even and have to hold back laughter. Mars was developed when oil prices were very low- hovering just below $20 a barrel. Now, Mars might be the most profitable field in the entire Gulf of Mexico. It's a elephant (oil-speak for big field) and the platform, by deepwater standards, is actually somewhat small. Ursa, Mars's twin sister, is much larger and has a lot more equipment to separate the oil.

Anyway, Katrina hit and Mars, the pride of Shell's fleet, took a hell of a hit.

This is what it looked like afterwards. The rig (the thing that does the drilling) collapsed. The rig is the size of a 10-story building and is designed to crawl over the deck to drill in different areas. Imagine moving a 10 story skyscraper on Podras, much less moving it in the middle of the Gulf! Anyway, when Katrina hit, the clamps that hold the rig down failed and the rig fell onto the platform. Thankfully, the platform was over engineered like hell and the damage was only moderate.

I graduated from Tulane on the tail end of the Katrina repairs. Prior to my graduation, the Mars Recovery Team, a close knit group of Shell employees and subcontractors, got Mars back up and running in a matter of months. In less than a year, the plaform was producing 20% more oil than when Katrina hit. Shell and the subcontractors work hand-in-glove. One of the most surprising things I've learned working offshore is virtually all the real work is done by subcontractors. Shell employees just sort of monitor things. Only about, say, 20% of the personnel offshore are Shell. The rest are subcontractors.

Anyway, many of these guys have been working together for years, so everybody had an idea who would handle what before a single meeting was held. The long, closeknit relationship between engineers, workers, and Shell was THE factor in getting things back up and running so fast (that and throwing wads of cash at the problem).

They lifted the collapsed rig off with a huge barge bigger than Mars. Recently, they've replaced the rig on Mars with the same rig that failed. The rig has been GREATLY reinforced since then, obviously.

Anyway, that's a little look into my world. I can only delve into so much, being a subcontractor and all. Because of all the bad press right now for the oil industry, they don't like people talking about their jobs too much to the general public. If you ask me, they should be exposing themselves to as much as possible.

Other random oil platform pictures.

Flood Protection: Where we stand

At the last Tulane Engineering Forum, Dr. John Lopez gave this presentation on our current level of protection. He concentrated on what HAS been done, instead of what has been AUTHORIZED to do.

Keep in mind, this was presented to more than 100 engineers from all sorts of companies all over Southeast Louisiana. He spoke in between Thomas Jackson, the highly respected head of the Eastern Regional Levee Board, and 2 bigwigs from the Corps. This isn't a "fluff" presentation meant for the sheeple (just wanted an excuse to use that word).

Dr. Lopez used this graphic to visually represent the states of the various protection layers of the city:

Above the line represents improvement. Below the line is deterioration. The line is equal to pre-Katrina levels. The graphic at the bottom represents the various lines.

Here are his results:

Take a long look at that graphic. That's what's protecting this city. Did the Corps representatives raise any objections to the presentation? No, they applauded.

Next time someone says we're "better than we were pre-Katrina," remember that graphic.

$Bill has his assets frozen, pleads not guilty

Well, those are the developments thus far. He's had his assets frozen (I'll bet there was some snickering in the back of that courtroom!) and he's pled not guilty.

Some idiots are already blindly defending $Bill. You knew this was going to happen.

This is one of the better articles about Jefferson and his effect on the city. Hat tip to Got Law.

Another article about the Jefferson family and their intricate political history.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Jefferson's Honorable Explanation!

We finally have it!

It was Jimmy Dean's Sausage on a stick wrapped in cash.

"On the upside, we know what it takes for the Federal Government to pay attention to a black man from New Orleans..."

More at Comedy Central

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Republican Debate

I've been watching the Republican Debate and there are only 2 candidates that aren't bat-shit insane: Ron Paul and John McCain. Those are the only two candidates that are worth a shit. I had maybe thought about Tommy Thompson and Rudy and they're both crap. Rudy is SLEAZE! I can't believe he's a candidate. If I were the Democratic opponent, I'd just stick a camera in front of his face for 30 minutes and let him rant. He'll shoot himself in the foot so many times, he'll make Nagin jealous.

Ron Paul and John McCain both project respect, though. They're real Republicans, not Bushie thugs. As a middle of the road guy, I'd have no problem voting for either of them.

Around the Net

Hurricane Drill Canceled. Nobody knew who was responsible for the FEMA parks. This scares me. Those things are tornado magnets. Look at what happened to that poor woman in Gentilly whose FEMA trailer was smashed during that Lakeview tornado.

WE'RE #1! We're #1! #1 most murderous small city in America.

Ethanol Shortage Might Fuel Shortage of Tequila. GOOD!

Hippies turn on gutter punks in Haight-Ashbury. As a former resident of the Marigny and current resident of the Quarter, I sympathize.

More on the Elliot's Bust. Great quote: “It’s like peeing in the Gulf of Mexico,” Scharf said. “Statistically, that strategy in itself is unlikely to have a major impact on violent crime.”

Another one of C. Ray's crazy schemes. Use National Guard choppers to hunt thugs. I'm sure the National Guard loves that idea. Maybe if you quit spending our tax dollars on stupid shit, we could buy our own. Or maybe hire veteran cops who know how to police...

Many Evacuees Still Jobless. Combine this with C. Ray and Jefferson, and you get the "let the fuckers drown" mentality that is so prevalent around the country. Also, you burn through all the money that was allocated without making any permanent repairs.

Great article about coastal restoration programs at UNO. Are you listening, Tulane? Cowen? Altiero? Anybody?

Fans go Nuts for Jericho. Go get 'em! I love Jericho and was pissed when it was canceled. CBS stands for 'Cancel the Best Show.'

Houston Oil Companies Encouraging Employees to Bike to Work. I'm (mostly) an oil worker. I bike to work. I wish my company would enact some of these benefits. I get SO much crap for biking to work. Just about everyone else has a crew cab pickup truck. They give this one Cooper-Mini-driving engineer a bad enough time. When they learned I biked to work, it's been nonstop razing ever since.

What I think/hope will happen with $Bill

What's going to happen with the Dollar Bill Indictment? Here's my best guess/hope:

> The Feds want his ass. They have put together a mountain of evidence against him. Way more than they needed. But, they only scratched the surface on his schemes. It will be very interesting to see what happens with the rest of Jefferson's Progressive Democrats/family.

> Jefferson isn't about to resign. Also, he's many things but he isn't dumb. People were like, 'what sort of an idiot would store marked bill in his freezer?' Well, it had nothing to do with idiocy. He has been getting away with shakedowns like this since BEFORE I WAS BORN!!! After a while, you just get complacent. He also didn't think anyone would ever have the balls to go after him, given the network he's set up over the years.

> The network. Oh boy. The "Progressive Democrats" (PD's) and family members. These people are about as dedicated to Dollar Bill as the Mahdi Army is to Muqtada al-Sadr. They will defend him to the last. More importantly, they'll make sure nobody stabs him in the back. For example, let's suppose Nagin were to come out against Dollar Bill. Eddie Jordan would immediately take a keen interest in garbage contracts and Greg Meffert's actions at city hall... There are many more DB-supporters scattered all over Louisiana willing to watch his back. The Feds need to take as many of them down as possible, or else the prosecution will be in vain.

> The money. Dollar Bill has been hurting for cash. His defense fund is thin, he's deep in debt, and the Feds are watching, so he can't raise money by his preferred means [freezers full of bribe money].

> The Congressional Black Caucus. The big wildcard. They supported Dollar Bill in his reelection last fall. They sent down many staffers that manned his operations, but they were a bit underwhelming in their cash contributions. We'll see what they do.

> The defense. Yell all day and all night about Bush, Gonzalez and race. And you know what, that will resonate with a lot of people for a long time. It will serve as a huge distraction, but it will only do so much. Bush doesn't give a damn about his legacy or his own party (look at the immigration bill). He's burned all bridges and he's living on his own little island, where he occasionally lobs artillery shells back to the mainland. This round has Jefferson's name all over it and there's no stopping it. Also, the thin defense fund really ties Jefferson's hands behind his back. The Feds know this.

> A plea deal. If he had a huge defense fund, Jefferson could plead down and accept a deal that kept a lot of his network and family members out of the slammer, but he has no leverage with the Feds. As long as his legal defense fund remains empty, he's fucked with a capital F. The best plea deal he's going to get is going to be double-digit years, probably no less than 20 years in prison.

My guess is Dollar Bill won't resign. He won't accept a plea deal. He's going to drag this thing on for YEARS. It'll be a PR-nightmare for South Louisiana. My only hope is he drags this thing to trial and half of the political class gets indicted as co-conspirators. Eddie Jordan, C. Ray Nagin, Harry Lee (that endorsement gets more suspicious every time I look at it), the Cynthias, Derrek Shephard, and company could all end up with their own little legal problems. They'd play the role of the dinosaurs, the feds play the role of the meteorite, and the little, honest guys (like John Kennedy) would play the role of the mammals. Once the dino's die, the mammals take over!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Dollar Bill Nailed!

William Jefferson Indicted.

This is huge. I honestly hope they don't plea deal this one out. The Feds are claiming 11 different bribery cases. I hope they go into every single lurid detail in a court of law. Also, they need to lock up as many of his clan members as possible.

BTW- This photo is from "The Jefferson Report," a propaganda rag sent to my mailbox. The mailing was "prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense," therefore, I get to use it for whatever I want. American taxpayers hold the copyright for the document. Suck it!

UPDATE- I was working on a powerpoint presentation a while ago. I had hoped to have it finished by the time he was indicted, but I got busy and there was never really any news on him, so I slacked off.

Here's one of the slides I did finish. Take a close look. And this isn't even CLOSE to being comprehensive.

Dollar Bill is more akin to Tony Soprano than Tom DeLay. DeLay, Randal Cunningham, and crew were your average, run of the mill crooked pols. Efficient and proficient pols (when it comes to being crooked, not being good politicians), but Dollar Bill is a whole different kind of animal. The Feds indicted him on 11 different schemes!!! They whipped out RICO on his ass. I hope they take down as many of his relatives and connections as they possibly can.

Dear God:

Please let the Feds indict Eddie Jordan as part of the William Jefferson raid. You'll save many innocent lives in the process.


Friday, June 1, 2007

Hurricane Links

Well, it's hurricane season and everyone needs to stay in the loop on what's happening in the Gulf.

Here are my favorite websites:

Hurricane Warning


National Hurricane Center

Weather Underground for 70116