Friday, March 28, 2008

Mark Twain, or somebody, was right

original version
Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid corrupt than to open it and remove all doubt appear stupid (or belligerent).

Mark Twain? New Orleans media and bloggers

new version
Better About the same to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid corrupt than to open it and remove all doubt seem insensitive.

New Orleans blogs and the people who comment on them

First, let me say that I'm not trying to dictate what issues are and are not important. Bloggers have the right to discuss whatever interests them,but, as I'll explain, op-ed writers are a different matter. I happen to agree with E and Maitri about much of their criticism of the proposed trailer deadline -- a June 1 deadline is far too soon and squatting and illegal renting are issues that should be dealt with separately. But, looking at local blogs and reading the comments, there seems to be more outrage over Head's choice of words than her proposed ordinance.

Secondly, I know that questionable deals involving Nagin are old news, at least to bloggers, but so are Nagin's stupid statements. Nagin's stupid statements still seem to elicit more response than his refusal to come clean about his business dealings. This actually has more to with the local press than local bloggers, but I will note that there does already seem to be almost as many posts about Head's comments one day after a newspaper article as about Nagin's out of character silence five days after a newspaper story . I was glad to see the Picayune run an editorial, and Stephanie Grace write a column about the Stone Age/Home Depot deal, but gutless Gill has been silent on the subject. Gill is happy to write about the mayor's misstatements and temper tantrums, but he still refuses to question the mayor's integrity. Even when he writes about the safe subject of the mayor's image problems, Gill pulls his punches. His column about last year's speech in Washington comes to mind. Hard to believe that was the best Gill could up with; how could Gill have missed the fact that the mayor decried a government conspiracy to rid New Orleans of poor black residents and urged his listeners to take advantage of the opportunity in the same speech? Nobody else seemed to notice either, I really should have spelled it out; I didn't bother to spell it out.

Third, I'll repeat what I said at YRHT:
I don't know how serious the ethics law violation is; things like that usually only get a fine. But it's certainly worth keeping up the pressure. I've only been able to find a few bloggers that have even mentioned it. Come on, even if you've got nothing to add, the more people discuss it on the radio or on blogs, the less timid the press will be out pushing it. At least, I assume that the T/P, Gambit and TV stations look for cover when they know they're going to hear the bias charge.

Finally, I'll point out that the local blogosphere's new Leona Helmsley seems to have cared more about poor Central City residents than the mayor:
Head said Nagin also played a role in scrapping a "community benefits agreement" that Head initially supported but that Home Depot opposed. The document would have required the retailer to make specific commitments to hire members of the surrounding community and pay them at a certain scale, among other pledges.

Head said "the administration pressured me to forgo negotiations" on that deal because Home Depot had pronounced it a "deal killer."
(Stone Age/Home Depot link)

Of course, she doesn't seem to have put much of a fight, but what's it say about the mayor?

Well, said.
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