Thursday, February 18, 2010

Needless to say

Claude Mauberret:
Erroll Williams, a district assessor who has appraised property for roughly half the city for nearly 25 years, was elected New Orleans' city's first citywide assessor Thursday after his opponent, Claude Mauberret, pulled out of the March 6 runoff.
"I did not look forward to a bruising campaign against someone for whom I have a great deal of personal and professional regard," he said. "... Despite the friendship that Erroll and I share, I fear that others would cast this election in racial terms and try to divide our citizens, who came together in unprecedented fashion on Feb. 6 across racial, geographic, party and socioeconomic lines. I love my city too much to let anything threaten this historic time of unity."

made a moral choice.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

NAMBLA Illustrated

Slowly he peeled off his white game pants and pulled a sleeveless undershirt over his head. He squirted white, gooey shampoo into his grey buzz cut and it began running down off his head. All of this he has done hundreds of times since he was a little boy, flinging footballs around fields in Mississippi.


Next came wide receiver Sidney Rice. Over the course of their one season together, Rice flourished with Favre, with 83 receptions in the regular season and then three touchdown catches last week in the divisional playoff victory over the Cowboys. Rice is 23 and Favre is 40. Rice made Favre young; Favre made Rice grow up. They were good together. Now Rice stood in front of Favre with a towel around his waist and they embraced until Favre dropped his head into the crook of Rice's neck and his eyes welled with tears.

If you follow sports message boards, you've probably already seen plenty of jokes about Tim Latent's SI column, so I won't add any more. Still, no matter what happens tonight, everyone in the country should be thankful that the Saints victory two weeks ago saved us from two weeks of nauseating man love for Brett Favre.

Also, those of us in our forties, those of us old enough to remember when Prince used to be cool, can be thankful that we were spared two weeks of wondering, "My God, is this what turning fifty does to you?"

Saturday, February 06, 2010

This election's cranky old man thought.

Four years ago, watching TV, I wondered what some wet behind the ears Tulane professor from who knows where could possibly tell me about New Orleans politics. Now that Brian Brox finally looks old enough to shave, another station trots out some kid from who knows where who looks even younger. He was on ABC26 tonight, but I couldn't find a picture of Michael Sherman anywhere.

I set a personal record for procrastination this election, but it was partly Troy Henry's fault. Back in August, I wrote:
1. Though almost nobody acknowledged it, it was obvious by the end of 2005 that Nagin really didn't give a shit about the city.

2. The consensus historians and pleasant conversationalists of the local media either couldn't see or refused to acknowledge the obvious fact that Nagin has never given a shit about anybody but Nagin. They have no business defining the candidates in the next mayor's race.

3. Jay Batt has too much baggage to be either effective or believable as a reformer.

I started to return to the second point one night a few weeks ago, by adding a correction to this old post:
My memory was faulty, I can't believe that I forgot an ad by the first presidential candidate that I ever voted for. In the 1979 Louisiana gubernatorial election, Edgar Mouton ran a commercial that showed his opponents making promises before implying "bullshit" by cutting to a cow mooing -- I'm pretty sure that I remember that commercial correctly. Barry Commoner took it a step further the following year.

The plan was to write a post about the irresponsible amount of fun that the Margaret Carlson*/Maureen Dowd wannabes of the local media had heaping scorn and snark on James Perry over one commercial after work the next day. Troy Henry gave his media-bashing press conference the very next day, and I thought I should include that in a post about media coverage of the election. Unfortunately, I was too lazy to get around to doing that. At any rate, at one point, I counted four articles or columns, two each in the Picayune and in Gambit, after only one static-interrupted phone interview. That was not the full extent of the coverage that the two papers gave to the commercial, I just tallied up the snark and scorn filled columns that I saw before there was a follow up to the one cell phone interview -- an interview that in the reporter's own words was interrupted by a burst of static. Only a few days earlier, Clancy DuBos had written a column lamenting the fact that Mardi Gras and the Saints' playoff run would subtract from the amount of serious attention that might otherwise be paid to the election. I mean, come on man.

The election's over, but I'm still pissed off, so I may or may not, return to that subject after the Super Bowl. Since Batt's in a runoff, I'll definitely do the "Batt has Baggage" post one night this week. In the meantime, read Oyster.

*CARLSON (10/10/00): Gore’s fabrications may be inconsequential—I mean, they’re about his life. Bush’s fabrications are about our life, and what he’s going to do. Bush’s should matter more but they don’t, because Gore’s we can disprove right here and now…You can actually disprove some of what Bush is saying if you really get in the weeds and get out your calculator or you look at his record in Texas. But it’s really easy, and it’s fun, to disprove Gore.
CARLSON: I actually happen to know people who need government and so they would care more about the programs, and less about the things we kind of make fun of…But as sport, and as our enterprise, Gore coming up with another whopper is greatly entertaining to us. And we can disprove it in a way we can’t disprove these other things.

Monday, February 01, 2010

I copied the editorial of the Nov./Dec. issue of The New Orleans Tribune

Since I couldn't find archives on the Tribune's website, I'll copy it at the bottom of this post. It's worth rereading after reading this month's endorsement of John Georges:
The New Orleans Tribune has been a tireless advocate and a consistently strong voice for self-governance and self-determination in a majority* African American city. We have been out front endorsing and supporting African American candidates for elected office with both our checkbooks and our pens for over 25 years.
We think John Georges is the best candidate to “hold” the mayor’s office while we in the African American community regroup. We know for sure Georges is the best candidate to stop the juggernaut that is barreling down on this community as we write.

It certainly makes you wonder what Georges promised the Tribune's editor, Dwight McKenna. It's almost enough to make you wonder about McKenna, Leon Cannizzaro, Georges and Bill Schultz.

BTW, Cannizzaro and McKenna's paper have both endorsed Jay Batt over either Virginia Blanque or Susan Guidry.

At any rate, last month's Tribune editorial (no link available):
A Betrayal of the Black Community

The recent exit by State Senator Ed Murray from the mayor’s race has left the black community confused and bewildered. The blow is even more painful because it is an African American politician that has let us down—failing to show the courage to lead and stay the course.

After the devastation of Katrina and the ravages that linger, we had looked forward to an able, committed, competent candidate who could and would lead the disadvantaged citizenry of this city, act in our best interests and restore confidence in our ability to govern ourselves. Boy, were we fooled. Yet after three days reeling in the wake of Senator Murray’s surprise announcement, we are resigned to the rumblings and rumors of back room deal-making to endorse another candidate. What a joke. What a ruse.

The spurious argument of not wanting to create racial divisiveness insults, and declarations of lack of money ring hollow in the ears of those who entrusted their confidence to Senator Murray. Now we see the old two-stepping routine of one wanting to be the spook that anoints the new king and the one who sits by the door. What we see is a man who thoughtlessly led us down the primrose path and selfishly left us up the creek without a paddle, a man who lacked the courage of his stated convictions.

Is this what our forefathers struggled and died for during the Civil Rights movement? Is this the destination that Dutch Morial and others of our first Black elected officials in the 20th century were seeking when they began their exciting journeys on our behalf and with us at their sides over 30 years ago?

Shame on you, Senator Murray. Do you not know what you have done? You have dealt a blow to this community beyond belief, a blow with ramifications that we will be dealing with for years to come.

In spite of our having been wounded, we can’t give up now. It’s time that we pull it together, regroup as a community, and seriously consider our options for mayor. It is paramount that we not despair but that we steel ourselves to make the right choice as we move forward. Even more than before, it is critical that we look past empty clichés, patronizing back slapping and meaningless platitudes while demanding that the candidate we agree to support unapologetically signs on to an agenda that benefits the African American community.

To our elected officials, Black and white, our people are tired, so be on notice, there will be no more free passes.

It’s accountability time in New Orleans.

*For the most part, I don't think it's a terribly significant fact that the city's voter registration was majority White when Dutch Morial became the city's first black mayor in 1978, but some rhetoric seems to ignore that fact altogether. If memory serves, white voter registration was about 57% (don't remember the exact figure), which would be consistent with this:
Dutch Morial made national history when he was elected the first Black mayor of the Crescent City in 1977, defeating City Councilman Joseph V. DiRosa by a vote of 90,500 to 84,300. Morial successfully became the city's first mayor of color by capturing 95 percent of the Black New Orleans vote and 20 percent of the city's white vote.

Does the conspiracy reach all the way to Obama?

Or just up to Gary Locke? Really, Nagin or Riley (or somebody at WBOK) should say something if the Picayune's just making this up:
Riley got in the last word, suggesting that if the favored candidate of his unnamed movers and shakers wins the upcoming race to succeed Nagin, those forces will see that the city's population tally increases -- on paper, that is -- so that the rate of violence appears to decrease.

"You will find that when, if the shadow government gets their selection as mayor and chief -- because I'm confident that there is one -- you will find that our population will increase tremendously in six months," Riley said.

"Magically!" Nagin interjected.

Riley continued: "With the next election, you will find that the per-capita crime rate will go down tremendously. You will find that a number of positive things will come out within six months if that group gets who they want.

There's a very good reason why population estimates will not be used to calculate the city's crime rate during the administration of the next mayor. Nagin and Riley both know that the official census count will be used instead of estimates, but they think they can play WBOK listeners for fools.

On the other, if the census shows a surprising rebound in the city's population, Nagin's on the record as being skeptical. He surely won't take credit for a population rebound that he believes will only occur on paper.

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