Monday, December 24, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tony Amato being run out of KCMO Schools?

Tony Amato, the former superintendent of Orleans Parish Public Schools, is in the news again in Kansas City.

Amato was just about the only guy that got favorable treatment in Left Behind, the Story of the New Orleans Public Schools.

From what it looks like to me, he's trying to be run out of town even though he's done good by the students. I have a sneaking suspicion that these allegations are nothing more than an excuse to get rid of him, just like in New Orleans.

UPDATE- A local a local reaction. Looks like my initial feelings were correct.

3 Sets of Heroes and a Crooked Bastard

6 injured in crew boat accident. Have no fear, the Coast Guard is here. This could be me one day, so kudos to them.

NO Firefighters Going Home. Reconstruction of the New Orleans Firehouses thanks to volunteers and the Leary Foundation and others.

How black children see whites. Repeat of the famous bobo doll experiment that led to desegregation.

Jason Berry's Gambit cover story about William Jefferson's career. In the end: "[After being confronted with evidence by the FBI] Jefferson reportedly sank back on his couch and uttered the words that could become his political epitaph:

'What a waste."

What a waste indeed.

Economics news of note - 12 Dec 2007

One of the big questions about the subprime mess (and going all the way back to Enron) is, 'Where are the bond rating agencies?'

Well, here they come. S&P has downgraded hundreds of SIV's [Structured Investment Vehicles]. SIV's are bundled debt packages that frees up capital for other uses. Or at least, that's the idea. SIV's were used by Enron as part of their scheme to keep a bunch of debt off the books. It's also one of the things that makes the subprime mess so dangerous. The subprime loans were packaged up, shipped off and nobody know who holds them now.

As company priorities Shift, fewer get AAA debt rating. As companies take on more risk and put emphasis on meeting quarterly goals instead of long term survivability, only a handful of companies still have AAA bond rating by all the credit agencies. As of this article's publishing, here's the list:
Automatic Data Processing, Berkshire Hathaway, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Toyota, UPS, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network

Income servicing debt [Chart]. Here's a chart that you can scare people with. Remember, consumer spending by those in this chart is a scarily large part of the global economy.

Alexander Hamilton's America. Skip past the first third or so of the article to get to the good stuff.

Now and Forever. Paying for Iraq. Youngsters who were just starting high school when the U.S. invaded Iraq are in college now. Their children, yet unborn, will be called on to fork over tax money to continue paying for the war. More from Vanity Fair.

Morgan Stanley Issues Report Entitled, "Recession Coming." Blunt and to the point.

No one biting in buyer's market. "In a buyer's market, YOU should be BUYING!!!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Great Sports Journalism

"Friction and fractures erode faith in Mitchell's investigation. Damn. I take my hat off to Howard Bryant. You've just written the best sports journalism article of the year.

The Mitchell investigation is MLB's official investigation into the Steroid Era. It's due later this week. A lot of hardcore fans, including myself, are eagerly awaiting its release.

It's basically Selig's chance to save his reputation and he's not doing so well so far. He appointed someone with a good reputation, but some serious conflicts of interest.

Bryant's article rips the Mitchell report a new one (before it's even released!). He looks like he's got some great sources for this stuff. He even brings up a big skeleton out of Selig's closet: the sale of the Red Sox to Larry Lucchino's group. That business deal was corrupt to the core and even Selig's cronies defrauding a charity whose most high profile activity paid for treatment for cancer patients (especially children). Nice one Selig! Those baldies weren't going to use that money for long, anyway! I hear William Jefferson has a job offer for you, if he stays out of prison... Anyway, the deal was crooked to the core and should have gotten Selig axed.

Even if you're not a baseball fan, you can see some good journalism by clicking the link.

Paging Dangerblonde


It looks like you need to take a break from your bar exam prep to give Jay Arena another ass-whupping.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Pleo, the robotic dinosaur.

Really cool. Really lifelike. From the makers of the Furby. Pretty neat from a technical perspective, but I'm interested in it from a psychological perspective. What I find interesting was my reaction to this: Video of Pleo getting tortured to death. It's only a machine. It doesn't have feelings. It didn't actually die. It could even be fixed. But, you sort of empathized with it's "suffering." Odd. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Hillary in free fall...

Hillary had a plan to win the presidency: Raise a shitload of cash (Check). [Women used to earn 68 cents for every dollar a man made... Now Giulliani is making 40 cents for every Hillary dollar...] Get an early lead (Check). Spread a "media narrative" about being the inevitable candidate and having things locked up (CHECK!). Keep Bill mostly stashed in the background to keep from overshadowing your campaign (Check). Stay ruthlessly on message (until recently, check). Stomp on your opponents windpipe until their body stops twitching (Oops.)

Ever watch a campaign implode? Witness the Kindergarted Offensive. Almost the worst handled offensive since Operation Blue {Stalingrad}.

Tack on stories about how she'll kill the campaigns of Blue Dog Democrats, like Mary Landrieau...

Hillary Clinton is doing everything wrong that she used to be doing right and as a result, we get to enjoy reading things like this:

..they have exposed Hillary as a New York Yankees-style villain who buys all the best players but seems to resent having to actually win it between the lines.

Matt Taibbi rips on Hillary. Read the entire article. It's well worth it.

Oh yeah, even though it isn't baseball season and this has nothing to do with baseball: FUCK THE YANKEES! Just had to shoehorn that in there.

News Buffet

News buffet is open. All you can eat.

LifeStraws. A year supply of potable water in your pocket. I've heard the new version even eliminates the iodine aftertaste. This is the sort of down to earth engineering we need much more of. A great emergency preparation measure. Just imagine the suffering in Africa and elsewhere a few million of these could alleviate. They're cheap to produce and relatively easy to distribute. I'd imagine they could have saved quite a few lives in the aftermath of Katrina.

A lot of politicians are praising ethanol as the solution to Global Warming/Dependence on Foreign Oil (pick your party line). Ethanol: Dangerous Delusional Bullshit. WSJ article on Ethanol. I like the quote, "Ethanol is for drinking, not driving." There's an important distinction to make, though: current forms of corn-based ethanol are wasteful, while sugarcane-based ethanol has been viable for at least a decade. The most positive scientific report I've seen on corn based ethanol has it as a slightly positive EROI (energy return on investment). I'd say the majority, though, say it's either a wash or a waste. Nothing any politician says will ever override The Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Sugarcane-based ethanol, however, is economically viable and was part of how Brazil (along with major investments in offshore oil and energy conservation) became energy independent. What makes sugarcane-based ethanol so great is you get to use the bagasse from the crop. Given Louisiana's large sugarcane industry, there are some real business opportunities here.

CNN: The Corrupt News Network. Kudos to the LA Times. Remember, it was CNN that gave you the steaming pile of dog poop that was Crossfire (which also gave the world Tucker Carlson). Fox News, to a larger degree than some people seem to think, is more of an evolution of CNN than an out of the blue creation by Rupert Murdoch.

Speaking of Fox News, they give the smackdown to Rove on his historical revisionism on the leadup to Iraq. The blind squirrel finds yet another nut. I've noticed some actual quality journalism on Fox News every once in a blue moon. I'm thinking Fox News, being a business first and a propaganda outlet second, might be hedging it's bets on a Democratic 2008 Tidal Wave.

91% of Americans think they'd have a higher quality of life in Canada. They're forgetting about 1 thing: WINTER! Well, if Global Warming takes hold, I just might move to southern Canada and be happy.

Ending Famine, Simply by Ignoring the Experts - New York Times. Don't listen to the Chicago Boys if you want to feed your country.

politics: My generation(18-24) needs to take the election back from their genertion (65+). Interesting discussion on Reddit.

Apple hits record 6.81% market share with indications that might be low. I'm a proud member of that 6.81% for almost 6 years now and no regrets.

The battle for brainpower. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the country that sits on 25% of the planet's oil, knows that oil is not his country's future. That's why he's spending $12.5 billion to found a graduate research university, which he'll endow with $10 billion - as big an endowment on day one as MIT has built in 142 years. The point of this project, on a grand scale even by Saudi standards: to attract the best researchers in science and technology.

Nigeria has more oil than any other African country but can't keep the lights on because of violence and corruption. Sad, but true.

"This time, market players seem truly horrified — because they’ve suddenly realized that they don’t understand the complex financial system they created." Krugman on the Subprime mess. How bad could the subprime mess get? Well, one could look at Detroit's Housing Apocalypse for a real nightmare scenario. $250 for a house. Estimated note of $1.

More financial news here. US Citizens thinking about leaving the US and more on the subprime mess. A good quote: “With someone like HSBC throwing in the towel, going for transparency… it makes Citi and the other parties look conspiratorial at this point if they don’t ‘fess up and do that.”

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Project Truck Update: 30 November 2007

Not a very big update right now.

One of the things that I really like about this truck is the suspension setup. It's very similar to some of the Mini-Baja cars we used to build in Tulane Engineering. Here are a couple of cool photos from '02-'03 cars:

The truck uses double A-arms in the front and a trailing arm suspension in the rear. The whole setup is accessible, simple, and I am extremely familiar with it.

One of the previous owners decided to lower the front end of the truck. He didn't do it the proper way by installing new spindles and shocks and whatnot. He just loosened the torsion bar all the way out.

Anyway, since I'm not doing any drag races just yet, I want the ride height to be normal. I just tightened this nut (with liberal amounts of elbow grease) and voila:

As a reminder, here's the before:

Speaking of Project Cars, Jalopnik just posted The greatest Project Car Hell ever. Project Car Hell (PCH) is where they pick out a junker that you must spend the rest of your life restoring. Happily. Reminds me of this Mechanical Engineer's project. Ah, the joys of Mechanical Engineering.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Energy News

The Dirty Green Energy Solution. This isn't pie in the sky stuff. It's a very simple, down to earth solution to reduce our energy demand, reduce our dependence on imported oil, and save the environment. The industry terms for what they talk about are CoGen and WHRU's. I've had some exposure to them at work and they work extremely well if you set them up right. The biggest thing holding them back is high initial costs (defrayed by later savings, though) and energy regulations. You might say, well, give tax incentives and deregulate, but remember Enron was a child of the deregulation movement. You've got to be careful how you do it.

Bloggers visit Shell Brutus TLP. I'm absolutely shocked they didn't comment on the food. They did comment on the safety program, which is impressive. Every morning, there is a meeting about safety. The first thing people do is read off all the observed safety issues (usually not wearing proper PPE). Violators are never punished and reporters are always recognized. Those incident reports (near misses, etc.) are fed back to the training facilities who then emphasize whatever seems to be lacking. And then it's time for breakfast. Did I mention the food is really good?

Cheney on the economy. What I found interesting: The budget guys pushed back: Can't we wait until crude prices level off? No, the word came back from Cheney, this was urgent. That was all it took. "He doesn't weigh in on a ton of issues," said a person close to those negotiations. "But when he does... SPR has been the one thing the current administration hasn't played politics with and I applaud them for boosting capacity and installing some very competent people at the top.

Robert Hirsch lays out various oil production scenarios [PDF] Gives you an idea where oil production might head.

Financial News of Note

Countrywide gets $50 Billion bailout from the taxpayers via cash advances on transactions with the Federal Loan Bank. From what Krugman is saying, it seems like a quasi-governmental institution is fronting Countrywide cash on future transactions, which, while not quite a bailout, is almost certain to blow up in taxpayer's faces. One things for sure, though, the subprime mess isn't going away anytime soon. The few companies that saw the subprime debacle coming, are reaping handsome rewards. 1,000% ROI. Hedging against subprimes is now the most profitable single trade of all time. Oh yeah, and remember kidies, you can't call talk about the probability of a recession. You've got to talk about kumquats

New Orleans' top 10 most powerful people and Fortune's 25 Most Powerful People in Business. Some of the bios are way too kind on the executives. For example, Wal-Mart is about to head down the shitter because their entire business model (the "warehouse on wheels") is based off cheap diesel fuel. That's going to kill Wal-Mart, not bad PR for employing slave cheap labor.

Oh yeah, speaking of companies in trouble for outdated business models, Vista, what was supposed to be Microsoft's breadwinner for earnings for the next 40 quarters just got rated as one of the 10 worst tech products of all time. Look who else made the list. Ouch.

If the US was populated with nothing but Macroeconomics professors, this would be the trial of the century.

Tidewater staying in New Orleans. They can say whatever they want, but the real reason they're sticking around is bulk cargo, which depends heavily on a combination of barges, the Intracoastal Waterway, and specialized loading/unloading facilities, is booming big time and guess where the biggest bulk cargo port in the world is.

Time to end the Petrodollar? "The dollar is like the Microsoft Windows of the oil world," said Tertzakian - Now that's a quote that doesn't inspire much confidence! Uncoupling oil from the dollar could infect the rest of the economy like the subprime debacle has.

Warren Buffet calls for return of Estate Tax. Tax my heirs! "Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise. Equality of opportunity has been on the decline. A progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward plutocracy." Is that Warren Buffet talking or Che Guevara? It's actually sort of sad that things have gotten so bad that even the filthy rich are starting to complain about the rich/poor gap.

Naomi Klein lays out how to vaccinate against the Shock Doctrine. Her book in next on my reading list. Right now I'm still working on "The Smartest Guys in the Room" and "The Black Swan."

RIAA continues to sue college students, except at Harvard. Afraid of their big, bad checkbooks? Don't worry, RIAA. Harvard would never make that bad an investment. H/T to Instapundit.

Retire on minimum wage. Actually. Pretty interesting story, except for the ending. A lot of economists say that remittances have done more to alleviate poverty in developing nations than all the foreign aid and World Bank programs combined.

Rich citizens can't escape our poor public infrastructure. Don't enjoy that $25,000 desert too much: if you're lucky, it's full of salt because the cooks only know how to follow directions, not innovate. If you're unlucky it's full of roach droppings because the cooks are too poor to care about cleaning the kitchen.

2008's biggest trend: Washington Insiders vs. Outsiders

One of the things that's been intriguing to me is how, despite the initial media reaction of lumping candidates into "tiers" and dissing the minor candidates, there's been a widespread disgust with the early frontrunners and it goes well beyond that. There's widespread revulsion with the entire political structure. This is a sentiment that comes and goes in politics, but it's incredibly strong now, bordering on violent in some circles.

The most interesting thing in 2008 won't be Democrats vs. Republicans; it will be Insiders vs. Outsiders.

By my reconing, here's how I'm lining everyone up:

* Hillary
* Giuliani (BFF with Roger Ailes)
* Fred Thompson

* Edwards
* Bloomberg (The odds on a Bloomberg run are getting better)
* Ron Paul
* Huckabee (His recent surge in the polls is evidence of the disgust of the base with the babykilling Yankee and the Mormon)

Stradlers: (either they've got one foot in both camps or I don't know where to stick 'em at this point)
* Obama
* McCain
* Mitt Romney

The tension between the Insider camp and the Outsider camp is closer to the surface than ever before. You can see it in their eyes. I especially notice Edwards whenever Hillary speaking; he's practically mouthing, 'you crooked little bastard...' He hates Hillary and it shows. The Ron Pauller celebrate Guy Fawkes day and speak of the Ron Paul Revolution. Even Matt Taibbi thinks Huckabee's heart is with the little guy and against the big corporate interests (there's just that little bit about his brain being on Pluto).

Bloomberg could spawn a new party and/or kill of one of the current parties. I think lots of Democrats would bolt from their party if given a genuine choice. A lot of Republicans had their party leave them and the ones that are left might go if Giuliani is the nominee.

I think the only way for an Insider to win would be more turbulent international times (calling for someone with experience) coupled with a split of the Outsider vote (say, Thompson running against Edwards AND Bloomberg).

Time will tell...

Oh yeah, here's an actual ad Huckabee is running. Too funny not to post:

"Chuck Norris doesn't endorse; he tells America how it's going to be!"

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tom Friedman is dead to me

Obama/Cheney '08?

That's it. I'm sick and tired of putting up for this schmuck. I've defended him way too long. I've been a huge fan of his since "From Beiruit to Jeruselum" and have tolerated his delusions and bullshit for a while. I thought his earlier genius and economic insights would reemerge, but I've now come to the conclusion that he's lobotomized himself.

I remember reading that he was one of the highest paid journalists in the biz. To think that the Mainstream media pays him to live in a palace, while much better writers like Taibbi and Dave Zirin struggle to get their work out there.

Please, NY Times! Put him back behind the pay wall so nobody will read this junk anymore!

I'll let 23/6 handle the rest for me...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Candidates that care about New Orleans

Ashley posts:
The candidates who endorsed NOLA for a debate were: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, John McCain and Sam Brownback.

Kucinich is notable by his absence.

If you don't vote for one of the seven (six, now that Brownback dropped out) on that list, then just move. New Orleans is all that matters. Yes, I am a single-button-issue voter, and New Orleans is that issue.

I still think that the only one of those seven that really cares about New Orleans is John Edwards. The other 5 are trying not to piss us off.

I've been thinking this over and there's a lot of truth to what Ashley said, but there's someone he's forgetting about.

Imagine this scenario:

The primaries are winding down. Democrats are disgusted that Hillary was able to win a plurality, despite a major anti-Hillary sentiment. Republicans hate their candidate because it's either the Mormon or the baby-killing homo-lover. Both sides will have a hunger for someone else. Both candidates will be exhausted after debasing themselves to the base.

And then, a major independent candidate comes out...

Imagine the media frenzy. This article got me thinking... what if that candidate was Al Gore.

Don't get me wrong, I've thought anyone who suggested a Gore '08 run was nuts. I thought there was no way in hell he'd do it. The process is too degrading and he's never going to put himself through it again. But then, that's the beauty of waiting. He gets past the never ending barrages of stupid bullshit like the candidate's laugh. He enters shortly before the election hot and ready to rock. He lost 2000 as much as Bush won/stole 2000. Had he run a better campaign, Florida wouldn't have mattered. He still holds the record for most votes for a Democrat. Don't forget he was also a great fundraiser.

I think waiting until just before the election and running as an independent when both parties are disgusted with their candidate, especially with the right running mate, could be the greatest political coup since the formation of political parties in the 1790's.

Oh yeah, lest we forget, he's a major friend of New Orleans:

Al Gore's Katrina Speech.

Just throwing some food for thought out there...

NOTE- Fixed a link.

The iPhone doesn't take the place of your brain

From Planebuzz:
"Oh joy! I can't wait for the next ground delay or long taxi due to weather somewhere to get a smart ass with a freakin I-phone shoving it in my face saying "It's NOT raining there... SEE !" Too late ... already happened to me. We push back, get advised of a ground stop in MEM due to storms in the area. Go to the penalty box and wait. My Captain does the lecture over the PA... not one minute later, we get dinged from the F/A "Some guy with an IPhone says the weather is good, and wants to know what the real reason is for the delay. Is something wrong with the plane?"

I want to tell this clown what he can do with his IdiotPhone - but the Captain does it even better. He gets on the PA and makes the following announcement :

"If the passenger with the IPhone would be kind enough to use it to check the weather at our alternate, calculate our fuel burn due to being rerouted around the storms, call the dispatcher to arrange our release, and then make a phone call to the nearest Air Traffic Control center to arrange our timely departure amongst the other aircraft carrying passengers with IPhones, then we will be more than happy to depart. Please ring your call button to advise the Flight Attendant and your fellow passengers when you deem it ready and responsible for this multi-million dollar aircraft and its passengers to safely leave."

Needless to say, the pax was pretty embarrassed. The F/A later told us the rest of the plane was outright laughing at this dude. What a clown."

Brief Announcement

I just watched 2 girls 1 cup and whatever is left of my childhood innocence is now officially dead.

Carry on.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Restaurant Review: Takumi

Takumi just opened tonight and Candice and I went. The food was excellent. I highly recommend it.

Takumi is on the corner of Washington and Magazine in the building that used to house Table One. The chef is Yuske (sp?), who started Little Tokyo's on Causeway. That was where I first started eating sushi, so it's close to my heart.

The entrees are a bit pricey (high 20's mostly). The sushi is quite reasonable, though. Cheaper than Sake Cafe (next door).

The place is quite fancy. I felt a little guilty wearing just a T-shirt. They definitely strove for elegance. It was great for us, because when we got there, we had the whole place to ourselves.

The first thing they brought out was miso gumbo. Quite interesting. I liked it. It's spicy and has oysters, crab, and shrimp. Oddly enough, the okra and miso complement each other quite nicely.

One recommendation I have for y'all if you go there: try the rice paper sushi. Imagine a spring roll, with sushi inside, dipped in peanut sauce. INCREDIBLE!!!

If I had to summarize, I'd New Orleans now has a fancy Japanese restaurant and Sake Cafe's days are numbered.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Project Truck Update

I'm actually standing on the ground. I'm not cheating by standing on a frame rail

The truck is coming along nicely (at least the mechanical portions).

One of the things that's been bugging me is the water pump. It's been more of a waterfall generator than a water pump, so I've really wanted to change it out. It broke under the previous owners and it happened in an unusual manner. I finally figured out how.

Notice how one of the fan blades is missing. That missing fan blade caused a slight wobble that, over time, tore the bearings in the water pump to shreds. I also noticed two gashes in the inside of the engine and I now know they came from that fan blade. The fan blade went flying while the engine was running!!! Thank God for whoever had the truck at the time the hood was closed. Part of the fan blade even cut the wiring harness going to the headlights.

Anyway, this is what the engine looks like now:

Just for comparison, here's what the engine looked like when I first got it:

The electrical is turning out to be a long, slow, frustrating process. My neighbor isn't helping things by leaving a severed deer's head in the bed of his pickup truck. The smell makes it impossible to get much work done.

Also, I made Stovebolt!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 Video

Watch it before it's taken down.

My favorite quote from that article:

"I told them, yes, we'd take it down, but our Webmaster is 17 years old and is on a field trip and out of town,"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Democrats in '08

So, I've been mulling over the Democrats and '08. Since I've made a few comments about some Republicans, I need to give the Democrats some love.

First off, Mary Landrieu is coming up for reelection in '08. All in all, she's been the been an excellent representative for the Pelican state and deserves to be overwhelmingly reelected.

Second off, I've been thinking about the presidential candidates. Hillary I respect, but don't like. That respect is slowly eroding, though. More and more, I'm starting to think of her as "change in name only." Or, to put in in more vulgar terms, Bush with a vagina.

I remarked a while ago that Obama sort of reminds me of FDR. He also has a track record for being on the right side before it was politically expedient (case #1: Iraq) [The cynic in me says that's an Al Gore-like trait that will almost assuredly condemn him to defeat]. He is also a great orator, which scores some serious points with me.

I like Edwards when he ran in '04 and was reluctant to take a second look at him in '08, because I wanted to just start from scratch. I remembered thinking a long time ago, 'Oh my God, I'm going to have to vote for him?!?!? [Kerry].' Anyway, I changed my mind after watching this video:

NOTE-It's about 20 minutes long. Edwards starts getting into the meat around 6:30 into the video. Skip the beginning.

Discussion on Kos. Wow. Just wow. Big brass balls. He pours his heart out and practically breaks into tears as he lays it all out. Edwards got some mad props from another local blogger... UPDATE- Make that two.

Both Edwards and Obama have given some kick ass speeches coinciding with Hillary shooting herself in the foot. Yeah for the return of oration and the rise of real change! We'll see how this works out...

Friday, November 9, 2007


I'm going to rip off The eXile and publish a few nasty comments I got with some (deserved) skewering.

Iknow it's popular among some folks to describe Jordan as a "convicted racist," but that's wrong, if for no other reason than the implication that racism is a criminal offense for which one can stand trial. [You are correct. Unfortunately, stupidity is also in the same category.] It's also wrong because if he'd had such irate opposition to the presence of white people, he'd have fired the white folks on his legal staff, but he didn't.

Well Jarvis is he or is he (jordan) not a convicted racist.
[Actually, I've always written that Jordan tried to turn the DA's office into a political patronage position to benefit his mentor, $Bill, but I guess that's too complicated for you and your buddy Jarvis. I thought that Times-Picayune was supposed to be written for 8th graders, but now I realize that's too high a standard for the likes of you.] I guess its hard to admit that your friend is a racist when you think so much like him. [OH NO! Someone else besides Jay Arena knows our secret!] Your true colors were shown in this article now everyone else knows your a racist too. [And now, everyone knows what a dumbass you are.]

If Jordan wasn't a racist and Incompetent why did he resign. I'm sure your next racist article will try to spin it.
[Actually, now that he's done the honorable thing and fallen on his sword, I was going to give him a break, but I might have to go to his house and take a dump on his front porch just for you...]


Royal Alexander hearts Pedophiles
Royal Alexander didn't cover up a damn thing for Mark Foley. It was Royal Alexander and Congressman Rodney Alexander who finally put a stop to it. [Ah yes, he learned about it in 2005 and he had a secret plan to take out Mark Foley 47 Ronin-Style. The plan was still underway when those damned liberal media broke the story! 'Damn you, hippies! You ruined my plan to take over the world protect the cute bouncing buns of little boys!] You haven't a clue what you are talking about. the behavior had been going on for ten years prior to Royal's arrival. [Actually, probably a lot longer than that...] Royal notified the house leadership on four seperate ocassions. the only thing you said that is correct is that Buddy Caldwell has a hard on for Edwin Edwards. [At least he doesn't cover the tracks of people with hard ons for little boys.] I will add that he is slightly harder for Eddie Jordan, about whose extraordinary incompetence Caldwell "doesn't know". [Umm, this might sound hard to believe, but Louisianaians outside of New Orleans don't believe the entire state revolves around the Crescent City...]

Royal could make this whole thing disappear by making all his email and correspondence public, but there's no way in hell he's doing that. He wants this incident to disappear from the public consciousness. He's lucky in that Buddy Caldwell seems to be giving him some slack on that front. From every poll I've seen, he can afford to because he's got a pretty hefty lead. Also, it's a good thing he doesn't have many "friends" like you throwing rocks into hornets nest about episodes he's rather not talk about. Do you really think he wants to be answering questions about what he did or didn't do relative to Mark Foley? No way in hell.


I allow anonymous comments, but some people are abusing the privilege. Keep it up fuckers and I'll start posting IP addresses and fingering the guilty parties...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Vitter back in the news

It looks like Wendy is going to bare it all in the next Hustler.

Here's the weird part: Vitter thought David Treen was out to get him. Vitter was so paranoid he'd be caught that he didn't allow the hooker to use any scents/oils/lotions and he kept his used condoms! EEEEEWWWW! If you are that paranoid, why were you calling the DC madam from your cell phone, dumbass!

I guess I'll have to buy the next issue of Hustler to find out the rest of the story. I promise I'll only read the words and will black out the photos... Great job at elevating the level of political discourse! You're doing wonders for the state's reputation!

How many days until Jindal takes office so we can be rid of this pervert?



"Small penis. VERY small penis."


UPDATE 2- Poor Vitter just got subpoenaed. Pobrecito. Just don't perjure yourself, whatever you do.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Odds and Ends - Guy Fawkes Day

She used to boink Tom Brady, now she's concerned about the falling dollar. Who knew Gisele Bundchen kept up on economics?

Do you know how Oil started? The early history of oil, ending with Col. Drake's well.

You know what, I rip on insurance companies a fair amount, but every once and a while, you have to feel a twinge sorry for them: Flaming Squirrel Torches Jersey Woman's Car. This insurance claim will go down with "car totaled by falling whale:"

Meet the new chief of Chevron's New Orleans operations. Chevron is putting all of its nickels into Gulf of Mexico Exploration and Production, so she's an important figure.

Oil worker squeeze could lead to supply shortage. Yipee for me. Not so much for just about everyone else.

50 Ideas to Save the Earth (PDF) Some are pretty nifty. Pretty well-rounded article covering a lot of different bases.

Army Corps of Engineers warns of impending dam collapse. The cynic in me says, "Aha, so that's how they're going to pacify Iraq. Worked in New Orleans!"

One in three Lotto winners broke in 5 years. The moral of the story? If you're bad with money you're going to be broke. Even if you win the lottery.

Truckers angry over diesel costs. When a truckers are saying to each other over their CB's, "George Bush is going to go down in history as the president who destroyed America,” you know things are getting bad for Bushie.

Down the Street: New Orleans Chevy Impala. The story behind the French Quarter rust bucket.

No more gasoline leak!

Shortly after I got my '62 Chevy, I tried to gas 'er up. As I'm filling the gas tank up, I look down to see a puddle of gasoline around my feet. Needless to say, this quickly became a top priority to fix. Oh yeah, and I have a new steering wheel:

The old one was a tiny one off a Maserati that looked bad and made the truck almost impossible to turn. It will soon reside on Candice's wall.

Anyway, back to the gas tank. First thing we did was rip out the bench seat:

Once we did that, I found the culprit:

The fuel hose that connects the tank with the filling cap was dry rotted. Gasoline flowing down the tube would flow around the tank and into the cab. From there, the fix was pretty straightforward.

Oh yeah, and if you're curious on what's inside your gas tank, here's a photo:

There was also a paint stirring stick in there. Don't ask me why.

Next week will be replacing the water pump, replacing a burnt out headlight, working on the electrical system, and (assuming I get all of the above done) trying to get a brake tag. Wish me luck on that last one.

UPDATE- Oh yeah, one other thing. It's amazing how much space you have on these old trucks. Also, you need remarkably few tools. All you need is a good socket set, some screwdrivers, and muscle.

"$3.25 million for the old guy?"

Today, the record for (Republican) fund raising was set. It wasn't Hillary. Mitt didn't write himself a check again (the previous record was Mitt Romney writing himself a check at the end of a long fundraising day for a total of $3.1 million).

Graph from Ron Paul as of about 7:30 PM. I decided to post it on Blogger because his server is being overwhelmed. Pay attention to the X-axis of the graph. That's minutes and hours, not days and weeks.

Ron Paul raised $3.25 million and counting today. Someone came up with the idea in reference to Guy Fawkes Day. I was so impressed by the total, I decided to chip in myself. Yes, readers, I'm a Ron Paul fan. At least I have some local company.

Another thing, as much as I know the internet and all the wonderful things it can do, I'm still in awe of its power. It's one hell of an echo chamber, for the right message. Look at Oyster's reporting on Vitter. Look at this Ron Paul fundraising day. Look at Ashe Dambala scooping the Times-Pic on who the next person to be indicted is. None would have transpired just 10 years ago. The most amazing thing is you haven't seen nothing yet. Just imagine the potential 10 years down the line...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Morning 40 Federation

I had always heard the Morning 40 Federation advertised playing different places and some of my friends had even told me to check them out, and I never did. I always meant too, but never did. Well, I saw them at Voodoo Fest and they're really good! A large band that puts it together. Sort of reminds me of the early days of Better Than Ezra.

Figured I'd give them a plug...

Oh yeah, and I saw this music video being filmed and wondered what the hell was going on. Now I know.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Beginning of the End for "the Hat"

Eddie Jordan is going down like the Titanic

Felt bowler hat from the Titanic

Jordan has become a plague upon his own house. We all knew he looked out for criminals... Now it's just official.

When even Cynthia Hedge-Morrell is throwing you under the bus, you've got some serious problems.

I like DA Connick's theory that all of his woes can be traced back to firing of the investigators. The thesis holds more and more credibility as time goes on. Letting William Jefferson's Chief of Staff run his transition team was a fatal mistake and he has no one to blame but himself for that fuckup.

This will probably be the end of him. These two are just grand standing to their constituency, but think about it: who at the state level is going to vote AGAINST impeaching Jordan? Nobody outside of New Orleans. The only reason I can see that this won't take him down is if Officer Dukes passes away. I'm sure everyone (especially Eddie Jordan) is praying for Officer Dukes to recover. He's still in critical condition, as far as I know. I think that if Dukes dies, there's no way Jordan can avoid jail time. Sheltering a cop killer is one thing that NOBODY will abide by.

Oh yeah, and in the meantime, NOPD/DA Office relations will be just fine and peachy.

Report from Voodoo Fest

Went to Voodoo yesterday with Candice. Bumped into Ray. I was a little surprised at how the Voodoo organizers shoved Soul Rebels Brass Band in the smallest venue possible.

It was a bit chilly most of the day, but not too bad. I was extremely glad I brought a flashlight. Most of the day was OK, and then Rage took the stage.


What a set! Rage started late, because they wanted more sound (they hooked in the second set of speakers around the sound booth). When the red star flag was unfurled, the crowd went nuts. About two thirds of the way through the set, Zack de la Rocha gave a speech about New Orleans. I can't remember his exact words, but the thrust of his speech went like this: 'Something finally dawned on me watching the Katrina coverage. The Federal Government is at war two places. One is in Iraq killing people in Baghdad, Fallujah, etc. The other is in New Orleans. You people [the audience] know more about it than I do, because you have to struggle here every day. New Orleans has such a deep and diverse history [I'm paraphrasing heavily here, I can't remember his exact wording]. Keep up the fight, because this country doesn't belong to Halliburton. It doesn't belong to real estate developers. It belongs to us!'

He said it quite matter-of-factly, but it was a great speech. If someone can help me with a better transcript or whatnot, I'd really appreciate it.

They closed the set with 'Killing in the Name Of.' [Later note- they changed the lyrics to "Some of those that hold office, are the same that burn crosses"]

UPDATE- Oh yeah, after Voodoo Fest, went to Mediterranean Cafe on Carrollton and had a great gyro sandwich. I haven't ordered a gyro form Mona's in a while because they aren't as good as they used to be, but now I've discovered a new favorite.

UPDATE 2- Rage rages at Voodoo Fest. Keith Spera's description of the set. Far and away the highlight of the weekend.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Saturday's Election

Here are my thoughts on the races and results:

Gov.- Pretty much what we expected.

Lt. Gov.- "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Mitch" got more votes than our governor.

Secretary of State- Dardenne has, on the whole, done a decent job. He got my vote.

Attorney General- There was no way in hell I was voting for Foti, given the Dr. Pou incident. Dr. Pou is a family friend and, while I haven't read the documents released today (yet), her reputation is impeccable. I remember Royal Alexander for trying to cover up Mark Foley's little boy-fucking when he was Rodney Alexander's Chief of Staff. No vote for you. I don't know too much about "Buddy" Caldwell, other than how he has a hard on for Edwin Edwards. Given the other choices, he had my vote.

Comish of Ag.- Bob Odom is a crooked fucker and needs to go. End of story. Strain was my pick.

Comish of Insurance- Donelon has done a passable job. He hasn't been a particularly hard-worker, but he's gotten it done when we really needed it.

Criminal Judge-
Judge, Criminal District Court, Section A
442 of 442 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Precinct
18,121 26% Juana Marine Lombard, D -
8,874 13% Morris Reed, D -
2,810 4% Joseph A. Rome, D -
7,814 11% Donald A. Sauviac, Jr., R -
3,753 5% Gary Wainwright, G -
16,962 25% Laurie White, D -
10,053 15% Gaynell Williams, D

One person on this list, who shall remain anonymous because he didn't make the runoff, once sold cocaine to an acquaintance (NOT a friend) of mine. Another one is one of Eddie Jordan's top assistants. She didn't make the runoff, either. I voted for the green party dude just for being different.

City Council at Large- I voted for Tommie Vassel, but I was thinking about Malcom Suber up to the moment I went in the booth. Suber has been a man of action, which is the most important thing in leadership. Oyster's comments on Vassel put me over the top on him.

Who to vote for next? For City Council, I'm actually considering voting for Cynthia because I think she'll get indicted and we'll have yet another election. I guess that makes me a "strategic voter" like Couhig... Ugh. Who am I kidding. I'm friends with Clarkson's niece, so she's got my vote in the runoff.

Orleans Parish results here. One of the things that really caught my eye was the Orleans Parish turnout. Only about 75,000 voters. The Times-Pic was predicting around 100,000 voters the day before the election. This might suggest that the population figures on the city are lower than are being touted... We shall see.

All in all, I think Saturday's election was a step in the right direction. We've got to get rid of some bad politicians, have a chance at unseating more, and the replacement crowd was generally better than what they were replacing. I'm still worried about that turnout number, though.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Project Truck Update

Well, I've been busy in the garage on the weekends. Here's what's been going on.

Replaced the battery (Duralast 24DL) and one of the terminals:

Something is draining the battery and I haven't gotten a chance to figure out what it is yet. It's going to take some time because of how messy the wires are.

Changed the oil (5 quarts, Penzoil 10W-30), oil filter (Fram DH5), and air filter (14"):

I've also replaced the windshield wipers (13" length).

Discovered a problem:

Gasoline leak! I'm going to remove that gas tank (it's inside the cab!) and move it to the bed. That is a high priority project, now.

I'm also trying to figure out what the hell this is:

It's a switch on the dead pedal. No idea what it's for. Haven't had a chance to trace the wires yet.

Also, I emailed photos and a description of my truck to Stovebolt. My truck will be alongside other, much prettier project trucks. Eventually, it will be as nice as one of the trucks on Stovebolt.

To Do soon:
* Replace gas tank
* Refill radiator and redo radiator hoses
* Replace spark plugs
* Bleed brakes, replace DOT 3 fluid with DOT 4
* Acquire and install 17" steering wheel

Monday, October 15, 2007

Random - 15 October 2007

Al Gore won the Nobel Peace prize. Also, the 2007 Ignoble Awards are out.

MIT kids are up to their old pranks.

Lazy Ass Nation. Long, hard-hitting social commentary. Money quote: Teddy Roosevelt, in a 1917 letter, weighed in thusly: "The things that will destroy America are … the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life."

Creators of The Wire want next show in NOLA. They say it's going to be about the lives of musicians. Yipee!

Violent weekend leaves 6 dead. Anybody have any clue what the butcher's bill is for the year? I'm almost sure we're at or near 200. I lost count in the 170's. But, don't worry, C-Ray, Eddie Jordan, and Warren Riley are on the problem...

How are Americans continuing to fuel their consumer spending now that they can't use their houses as ATMs and their credit cards are maxed out? By using the only significant source of savings in the country left [401(k)'s]. Maybe more Americans should watch this video. Another way to improve the US economy: increase SEC oversight. Too bad that's anathema to our politicians (whose pockets are lines with bribes, err, "campaign contributions").

Shipping container houses. The solution to New Orleans' housing crisis? New Orleans is a major port and thousands are left on America's shore every year (a legacy of our huge trade deficit to China).

Eat shit or die. Literally. Americans GI tracts are seriously deficient of beneficial bacteria.

Unions on the rise. Thanks to an honest(!) labor leader.

Ode to the Chevy Small Block V8.

Last but not least: Saints win!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I drove my Chevy to the levee...

My new truck:

1962 Chevy C-Series stepside pickup truck.

The engine isn't original. It's one of the ubiquitous small block Chevy V-8's (350 cubic inch displacement).


I bought it on Friday. Total cost (including TT&L) was less than $1,000.

What I've done so far (with help from Candice):
* Clean up the cab
* Give it a bath
* Install 2 lap belts
* Change oil, oil filter
* Change air filter

What I plan on doing sometime in the future:

* Install 60's era steering wheel
* Install rack and pinion steering

* Repair gas leak
* Move gas tank underneath bed (right now, the gas tank is right behind the bench seat!)

* Redo all electronic lines
* Get all lights working

Other projects are on the list (including lots of body work), that's just some of the big things I can think of now. I'll give updates as I work on it. Should be fun and a great learning experience! My goal is to restore the truck to what it looked like in '62, but with a few improvements in safety, performance, and comfort.

UPDATE- My favorite photo:

Monday, October 8, 2007



Louisiana State Senate Race

Just in case any of my readers are in the 9th Congressional District (PDF Map), I've got an endorsement: David Gereighty.

He's a friend who is running because he wants a real change. He's damn good engineer and I hope you'll give him consideration if you're in his district (basically, the Orleans/Jefferson line on the Eastbank).

Odds and Ends - 9 Oct 2007

Sorry about not posting for a while, but I've been a bit busy recently. Here are some internet finds:

Matt Taibbi pens the eulogy for McCain's campaign. Excellent, if a bit sad. I always had a soft spot for McCain. Oh yeah, and if you haven't read Taibbi's obit for Yeltsin, look through his archives and read it. It's the funniest obituary ever.

Louisiana: the #1 most corrupt state. We're #1! We're #1! In a few more years, we'll have an insurmountable lead, thanks to Jim Letten and all the Katrina money.

Scandal brewing at Oral Roberts. Corruption in higher education. This story has some juicy details! The female university president was Sugar Momma to a lot of college boys...

Buckets of money being poured into deepwater oil exploration. This is good news for Louisiana, because these will be the blocks whose royalties pay for coastal restoration in a little under 10 years.

War Without End, Amen. All about the geopolitical nightmare unfolding between Saudi Arabia and Iran. One scenario is a nuclear arms race between the Saudis and the Persians. And that's the GOOD scenario... Also, Spot On seems to be a decent rag (along the lines of Alter-NET.

Photovoltaics: from waste to viability. PV panels are slowly, but steadily becoming more than a marginal power source for out of the way areas. I'm impressed. This should be one area where technology comes through in the clutch.

China Evacuates 1 Million Ahead of Storm. Wonder what would happen if the Chinese Government let 1 million people drown in a tropical cyclone? The pitchforks and torches would get some use...

When it comes to energy efficiency, Britain is EVEN WORSE than the US.

Is it just me or does the elephant have a wide stance? - ZING!!! Also, that star makes the elephant look like he has X's for eyes...

Women used to earn 68 cents for every dollar a man earned. Well, now Giuliani is only making 40 cents for every Hillary dollar.

US experiencing engineer shortage. According to the article, the US oil industry will experience a net shrinkage of 1-4% per year of its talent base.

Very long, detailed article about Saudi Arabia's future as an oil producing nation. A bit technical at times, but I like technical.

I get a bunch of industry magazines at work and the last issue of Oil and Gas Engineer caught my eye. It's cover story is 'the search for the next trillion barrels of oil.' In order to meet growing demand, the oil industry will have to find another billion barrels of oil. For perspective, that's another 3 Saudi Arabia's and some change. If this article is to be believed, petroleum geologists believe we'll only find 25% of what we need. What does that mean? The price will go up and we'll have to make do with less. A 70's-style energy shortage within the next 5-10 years is highly probable, even if the Middle East stays relatively stable (and that's a big if).

And, last, but not least: Ron Paul: the Howard Dean of '08? Hopefully, this will be a "narrative" that allows the media to finally give Dr. Paul the coverage he's proven he deserves. As an aside, this country needs 2 functioning political parties. That's been the problem during the W years. Here's the way I see things shaking down: Ron Paul gathers a dedicated base, he surprises everyone in the primaries. Someone else wins the nomination (and then is slaughtered by Hillary), but Ron Paul gets into a leadership position and rejuvenates the Republican Party the way Howard Dean did for the Dems. Remember, Dean's 50 State strategy was CRUCIAL to the Dems taking over both houses of Congress in '06. Lots of people thought Dean was nuts and he was ridiculed for his strategy. One of the jokes was the Dems were sending people to Mississippi (or insert another staunch Red State here) to pick their nose for a year. Without Dean making a strong, but not too strong, appearance in '03/'04, you don't have the victories in '06.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Humanity's Greatest Flaw

Failure to understand exponential growth. All failings derive from there. Whoever posted this to You Tube entitled it, "The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Watch." In deference to him/her, here's the whole video (all 8 parts):

Monday, October 1, 2007

Odds and Ends - 1 October 2007

Is the GOP suicide intentional? Whoever wins in '08 is going to have a hell of a mess to clean up. One of the things that scared me about Sicko is how we're still cleaning up Nixon's mess. How long is it going to take to undo all of W's fuckups? UPDATE- More GOP defectors- businessmen

Amtrak quietly chugs along for 5 straight years of record ridership. Amtrak is almost completely forgotten about by most people. It's not fast, but it's large and luxurious. The food is FANTASTIC. Great steaks for a pretty good price. The biscuits and gravy are the best in the country (trust me). If they could just work out the business end of their capital-intensive business, they might reach profitability soon.

The 5 Companies that control everything you read, watch, and hear. If I won the presidency, the first thing I'd do is start 5 anti-trust cases. If any presidential candidates are reading this and it sounds appealing, DO NOT SAY A WORD ABOUT IT UNTIL YOU WIN! Coming out in favor of breaking up Big Media would be worse than publicly admitting you're in favor of drug legalization, higher gas taxes, and were caught with a live boy and a dead girl in your bed all at the same time. It will kill your campaign. Just sit there and quietly bide your time. Once you win, spring it on them!

BP Atlantis about to come online? Atlantis will be the one of the biggest platform in the Gulf, if BP can ever get it finished. It's years behind schedule and I've heard that some analysts put the cost overruns at a BILLION dollars. (NOTE- I just realized I was confusing Atlantis and Thuderhorse, two similar platforms in the same area. Both are big and over budget. Thunderhorse is the bigger of the two.)

CEO of Dow Chemical talks about the Sci/Tech shortage. In the National Review Online. I think the Sci/Tech education crisis could unite the left and right.

Head I win, tails I get bailed out. Bernake is bailing out the bad guys and hurting the good guys.

Very long article about the economics and oil. The Petrodollar thesis was one of the most buried news stories of the past few years. I don't know whether or not I completely buy it, but it's earth-shakingly powerful. The long article ties together Iraq, Iran, economics, the unfolding dollar collapse, China, the Fed, the Saudis, the Russians, and just about everyone together in a huge, high-stakes geopolitical chess game. I'm in awe of the journalism it took to put this together. A complex thesis like the Petrodollar takes a lot of things interlocking to work, but if it holds true (and a cursory search of the subject checks out), it's frightening.