Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Damn It Feels Good to Be the President

Your Right Hand Thief yields to 50 Cent's authority on whether George W. Bush is a gangsta. 50 thinks he is a gangsta. But, I respectfully disagree, and cite the Geto Boys on what a gangsta really is:

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
A real gangsta-ass ni**a plays his cards right
A real gangsta-ass ni**a never runs his f*ckin mouth
Cuz real gangsta-ass ni**as don't start fights
And ni**as always gotta high cap
Showin' all his boys how he shot em
But real gangsta-ass ni**as don't flex nuts
Cuz real gangsta-ass ni**as know they got em
And everythings cool in the mind of a gangsta
Cuz gangsta-ass ni**as think deep
Up three-sixty-five a year 24/7
Cuz real gangsta ass ni**as don't sleep

W never plays his cards right (see Iraq), always runs his mouth (Bring ‘em on), starts fights and never finishes them (see Afghanistan), does nothing but flex his nuts (see political capital), everything’s not cool in his mind, and think deep? C’mon.

He’s not a gangsta. He’s a prankster.

And Verse 4 of the above song is a good example of satire, a “real-ass” gangsta using “gangsta” a pejorative term:

And now, a word from the President!
Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
Gettin voted into the White House
Everything lookin good to the people of the world
But the Mafia family is my boss
So every now and then I owe a favor gettin' down
like lettin' a big drug shipment through
And send 'em to the poor community
So we can bust you know who
So voters of the world keep supportin' me
And I promise to take you very far
Other leaders better not upset me
Or I'll send a million troops to die at war
To all you Republicans, that helped me win
I sincerely like to thank you
Cuz now I got the world swingin' from my nuts
And damn it feels good to be a gangsta

Full disclosure: I know nothing of what it is to be a gangsta. Da Po’ Boy had his high school moments riding around in the hooptie with the 6x9’s propped up in the back with towels and the amplifier in the glove box pumping Dr. Dre and the Chronic. But if I were a gangsta, this name generator says my name would be “Head Cop Killa.” Yikes.

Bush is "Janky Hoopti Rida." Make your own jokes.

(edited for sensitivity)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Maybe Now the Da Po' Boy Can Go to Tulane

"Some New Orleans college students don't want to return."

Oh, I guess not:
Tulane says 80% of its students have already re-registered. Loyola University, which received little damage, just started registration and can only say more than half for now. The situation will likely be more dire at schools like Xavier and Dillard, which are poorer and suffered more storm damage.
Why do "poorer" and "suffered more storm damage" always seem to go together?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Their New Orleans

I once asked the question, “What’s the next big city to flood?” The answer given was Sacramento, according to the city’s newspaper.

This shows that we are not alone.

The question shouldn't be: “Why rebuild in New Orleans?” It should be: “Why build in areas which may flood?” And the answer is because people live there. New Orleans is not the only place protected by levees, and the country needs to invest in plans to keep those places safe.

The LA Times gets it:

Most of Sacramento is saved from routine flooding only by miles of levees, many of dubious reliability. Area flood-control officials say that more than 300,000 people and 140,000 structures could be affected by a serious flood.


In general, homeowners are not required by lenders to carry flood insurance, even if they live in flood plains. And many do not. That means taxpayers will doubtless be stuck with the bill when and if Sacramento becomes another New Orleans.

Pay now, or pay more later.

And, please, politicians, let’s invest in some infrastructure. When we privatize everything and leave it up to private companies or contractors to take care of public services, the public doesn’t get served. I guess there is just no money in building levees the right way.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Old News is Good News...

...when it's news to me.

I am making my way through an old 2002 series done by the Times-Picayune called "Washing Away."

I know I read it when it was first published, but I either didn't pay attention our just didn't connect the dots when they were writing headlines like:
LAST LINE OF DEFENSE: Hoping the levees hold
Army Corps of Engineers officials say hurricane levees in the New Orleans area will protect residents from a Category 3 hurricane moving rapidly over the area. But computer models indicate even weaker storms could find chinks in that armor.
The graphic under that headline in JPG and PDF (same link, scroll down) is the best illustration of our levee system that I have seen yet.

It's like a maze - follow the surge up the MRGO to the Industrial Canal into the Lower 9th and through the cracks in (or over) the levees into St. Bernard.

Even today, it's hard to be thankful when three years ago someone was sounding an alarm.

And looking at how extensive the levee system is around the
lake, do we know if *all* the pilings were driven low enough?

Somebody bedda ax somebody. Y'herd me?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

My Holiday Wish List

All da po’ boy wants for Christmas is:
1. A Category 5 protection plan (where levees are just a part of the plan)
2. Basic services (electric, gas, hospitals) returned in New Orleans
3. Affordable housing or alternatives so New Orleanians can come home
Keep me in mind when you are standing in line at the shopping malls this Friday.

Breaking News the New Orleans Way

Check out these headlines:
Corps of Engineers to Rebuild Levees Using Roman Candy

Frank Davis Fish ‘n Game Report: Carrollton and I-10 Underpass

Pave Our Lake Spokesman: "Told You So."
And this caption under a picture of a molded ceiling:
"Green is the new black."
News worthy of the Onion? How about The Creole Tomato.
The tagline says it all:
"If you aint from here, you won't get it."
And the disclaimer on the About Us page says the rest:
Everything on this site is fake. That means not real. Made up. Please don't sue us. Some of us have property damage.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A Reptile in Every Coffee Pot

Great news! The Folgers plant in New Orleans is back up and running:

The Folgers coffee plant in New Orleans has resumed operating at full capacity after disruptions from Hurricane Katrina, and retailers should see supply return to normal by early December, a Procter & Gamble Co. vice president said on Thursday.


The New Orleans plant, the largest coffee-making facility in the country, produces more than 50 percent of P&G's coffee. P&G controls about 40 percent of the coffee market in the United States, the top coffee consuming nation.

And, look! To celebrate, there’s a souvenir in select vacuum-sealed bags:

Morris, 77, of Ainsworth, found a dead baby turtle in the 2-pound package of Folgers coffee last Sunday.


She said a customer service representative for the company dismissed the find, explaining that because many Folgers plants are based in New Orleans the turtle might have ended up in the coffee as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

Yeah, probably not. But it does make for a good headline from Iowa's Washington Evening Journal:

Strange additive not “the best part of waking up”

I wonder if freeze-dried baby turtle tastes like chicory?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

If Scientists Can’t Do It…

Then we will have to rely on politicians to teach us the real science:

…the state Board of Education approved science standards for public schools Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.


The new standards say high school students must understand major evolutionary concepts. But they also declare that the basic Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin and that natural chemical processes created the building blocks of life have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology.

In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

I guess if science is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena, then that would make it easier to cast doubt on the theory of evolution.

I have attended quite a few New Orleans School Board meetings. And even with all the craziness that usually occurs there, I have never heard anyone propose to rewrite the definition of science so they can inject intelligent design (a.k.a. creationism) into the classrooms. We must have more members of the posse here.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Entergy on Energy: Uncertain at This Time

What do you do when your city was hit by a hurricane, flooded by a levee breach, you don’t have electricity and the only power company in the area is bankrupt? You wait.

Here is the Entergy New Orleans Electric Restoration Progress update. Heavily flooded areas like Lakeview, West End, and Gentilly will get power completely back in 2-6 months. Parts of New Orleans East and the Ninth Ward: “Uncertain at this time.”

At a town hall meeting for the residents of those “uncertain” areas on Saturday, Dan Packer, CEO of Entergy N.O., said the pace of restoring energy will be slow.

Why will it be slow? Well, yeah, Katrina did some serious damage and the flooding didn’t help. But, as Packer pointed out, Entergy is bankrupt. It takes a bankrupt company longer to do things than a normal company.

That’s great. Entergy of N.O. has a monopoly in New Orleans. They are the only company working to fix the electricity in the city. And they are bankrupt.

People can’t get FEMA trailers on their property until they have water, sewerage, and electricity. A lot of them are just waiting on electricity. They want to get started rebuilding, but they can’t get back in the area to do it. There is not enough housing and they won’t get a trailer until the power is back. Things are certainly uncertain at this time.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Go with the Flow

When you are caught in a strong undertow, you don’t fight it. You don’t go against the current. You go with it. You move parallel to the coast until you are out of the undertow, and you can get back to dry land without a struggle.

Well, when it comes to how New Orleans will prepare for the next big hurricane, we are fighting the current. We are going to argue about whether gates should have been built to stop the storm surge instead of just levees. We are going to blame the federal government for not building the levees right. We are stuck in the past instead of looking to the future.

We need to go with the flow, or rather, the surge.

Can we even build a levee or barrier that can stop the storm surge of a category 5 hurricane making landfall slightly west of the city? We certainly can’t protect the lower parishes like St. Bernard and Plaquemines. Katrina’s storm surge was catastrophic in those areas.

The storm surge of a big hurricane will come in. We need to tell it where to go. Instead of fighting it, we need to direct it.

Southern Louisiana evolved over millions of years to take a big hurricane every now and then, so there is a place for the water to go. We need to find where that place is, figure out a way to channel a massive storm surge there, and get it done. If we raise our structures off the ground and build them strong enough to withstand the movement of the water, the whole city can be a channel for the storm surge to go to a happy place.

Or, we could just rebuild the city every fifty years. Either way.