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.

Damn.

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).

BIG...

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:

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

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

Electrical:
* 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:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

YANKEES SUCK!


SUCK IT, STEINBRENNER!

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.