The dilemma of early morning in the French Quarter

Ironically, this happened, what, 1.5 blocks from the police station:

Police said the shooting took place at 5:08 a.m. in the 700 block of Conti Street, between Bourbon and Royal streets. But the dispute appeared to have originated on the other side of Bourbon Street, in or near the 800 block of Conti around the Last Call Bar and Grill.

Five in the morning is early for extended police protection. Night shift is winding down, day shift comes in within an hour or so. Maybe we need regs that say the all-night places need to have private details.

Canal and Tchoup - Will the City Council cave?

the New Orleans City Planning Commission shot down a hi-rise development that would wipe out a number of buildings at Canal and Tchoupitioulas. Da Paper has the details and architectural renderings of the project.

The developers expected the CPC rejection:

The decision likely didn't come as a surprise to the development team. Shaun O'Laughlin, Wischermann's vice president for development and construction, said Monday that he was expecting to appeal to the City Council for a final vote. 

The article goes on to say Hizzoner opposes the project. It'll be interesting to see if the developers have greased enough CouncilCritters to pull it off.

Iowan @BobbyJindal claims credit for Senate "Iran Letter"

While in Iowa, Candidate Jindal claimed the idea behind the "Iran Letter" signed by 47 Republican Senators was his. He's OK with it, though:

Asked by a reporter whether Mr. Cotton had stolen his idea, Mr. Jindal protested. “No, no, no,” he said. “Hey, look, there’s no pride of authorship.” Then he expressed great respect for Mr. Cotton. “I hope a lot of people came to the same conclusion at the same time on their own,” he said. “I do know it’s something we’ve been pushing for a while.”

Put aside for a moment that this guy claims responsibility for a move by Senate Republicans that's a clear violation of the law (the Logan Act). Look at Candidte Piyush: he's off in Des Moines again, when he should be home, cleaning up his mess.

(photo courtesy Gage Skidmore)

 

 

The need for a better usage of the term "Christian"

we should do donut sales to help LGBT homeless in New Orleans

We really do need to watch how we use the word "Christian", because the folks at Andrews University surely are not:

At the same time, Andrews University has declined a student request to officially endorse a fundraising effort to raise money for an organization that may have a perceived LGBT advocacy role.  

This decision was made in the context of our student fundraising policy in the Student Handbook, which states that funds may be raised for non-profit organizations “whose mission and practices do not conflict with those of the University.”

It's really simple: if you don't want to help the homeless, don't call yourselves Christian.

ISIS is still losing!

Got hacked! My post to this Vox article on ISIS got trashed and a propaganda piece put up in its place. Haven't been hacked since the Ramen Crew days.

The terrorists are still losing, though:

It's certainly true that ISIS remains a terrible and urgent threat to the Middle East. The group is not on the verge of defeat, nor is its total destruction guaranteed. But, after months of ISIS expansion and victories, the group is now being beaten back. It is losing territory in the places that matter. Coalition airstrikes have hamstrung its ability to wage offensive war, and it has no friends to turn to for help. Its governance model is unsustainable and risks collapse in the long run.

Read the full article, it's good analysis.

 

Bravo, Brother Martin!

My alma mater, Brother Martin High School, won its fourth consecutive state wrestling title over the weekend. Congrats to Coach Dauterive and the team. The BMHS wrestling program has a long history of success and championships.

Not only is four straight state titles a great feather in the school's and Coach's caps, it's four straight for one particular wrestler. He's won state in his weight class all four years he's competed. He did it with a pretty messed-up knee, too:

Saturday night, it was his left knee that he felt pop out late in the match. Of course, that wasn’t going to stop him either.

He went on to claim a 10-5 victory over Joey Foret of Holy Cross.

He then flashed four fingers and flexed his muscles toward the throng of Brother Martin fans among the announced crowd of 3,972.

Klein won the 106-pound weight class as a freshman, the 120 as a sophomore and repeated as 132-pound champion to stake his claim as one of the best LHSAA wrestlers ever.

As we would've said back in the day, that's one crazy muthafucka...and we'd applaud the heck out of him when he got back to school. Best of luck to Klein as he has surgery to get his knee/leg patched up, then he's off to Arizona State next year.

SHAMELESS PLUG: want to learn more about Brother Martin High and its predecessor schools run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart? Buy my book.

 

Merging UNO and SUNO...again

Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans.

The talk of merging the University of New Orleans with Southern University in New Orleans has been going on since I was a UNO student in the late 1970s. Now that Candidate Bobby Jindal (I do not refer to his elected title; he spends so much time out of the state campaigning for President, he forfeited the right to be called anything but a candidate) has destroyed most of the governmental infrastructure by not planning for sharp drops in oil prices and refusing to increase taxes/fees, lawmakers are scrambling to find any way possible to keep state-run universities from vanishing altogether.

Some background. The University of New Orleans was founded in 1957, a logical extension of the Louisiana State University system into the state's largest urban area. With thousands of men and women settling in after WWII, many wanted to use their GI Bill benefits and get a college degree. Working folks couldn't take time from life to spend four years as full-time students at LSU, so then-Governor Earl K. Long and the state legislature decided to convert the old Naval Station New Orleans site on Lake Pontchartrain into an institution of higher learning. (It didn't hurt that a university would extent the governor's control into Orleans Parish, pissing off his long-time rival/enemy, Mayor DeLessepps Story "Chep" Morrison.) So, Louisiana State University in New Orleans was born. The school dropped the "LS" in LSUNO in 1974, becoming UNO.

Southern University in New Orleans, just down the road from UNO

The late 1950s were Jim Crow days. To keep LSUNO white, a separate but equal institution had to be built. That was relatively easy for the state--just extend the Southern University system into Orleans Parish as well, so Southern University in New Orleans opened in 1959, just two miles from UNO's main campus.

By the 1970s, the African-American community in the city was done with SUNO as a separate institution. LSU in Baton Rouge got the lions' share of the state's education funding, UNO got the poor cuts of the meat, and SUNO got what was tossed on the floor for the dogs. Jarvis DeBerry explains in a 2011 column for NOLA.com:

SUNO was created in 1959 "for the express purpose of further perpetuating the immoral system of racism in this country." That's what an English professor at SUNO said in a letter to this newspaper a decade later. That same year, the New Orleans branch of the NAACP issued a statement that the organization "is unalterably opposed to segregated public education" and pushed for a merger of SUNO and what was then called LSUNO.

When I student President of the College of Education in 1978, this was more than a logical way of thinking. UNO had over 6000 black students in those days, 25% more than the entire SUNO student body. over 90% of Education graduates passed the National Teacher Examination, while only 25% of SUNO grads did. By the 1980s, several departments at both schools flirted with resource-sharing, particularly in Sociology/Social Work and Education.

But times have changed. Jindal has destroyed Louisiana, to the point where UNO, the larger school by far, is dropping degree programs because of massive budget cuts. It's only a matter of time before the only money left in the state budget for higher education will go to the "flagship" school, LSU.

It's a sad comment on Bobby Jindal's stewardship of Louisiana that blacks in this state have so little that now they feel SUNO is worth keeping. Again, DeBerry:

It's fair to ask, however: How is it that the very creation of SUNO isn't tallied as a loss? How does a campus the government created in the furtherance of segregation come to be championed by those whose segregation was the aim? It's the Joseph story. It's the story of black people all over this country who, while fully aware of their government's devilment, worked together with the faith that they could still squeeze out of it much that is good.

Nothing left to squeeze, unfortunately. This time, the UNO-SUNO merger may stick, being the only way to keep any public higher education in New Orleans.

Thanks, Obama!

 

Vitty-cent strives for relavence...

In an effort to look like he's DOING SOMETHING, Louisiana's now-senior Senator wants to find out why Republicans are getting health insurance via the Affordable Care Act:

Vitter had announced earlier that the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee he chairs is conducting an investigation into misleading information submitted by the House and Senate as it made arrangements for members and employees to obtain their health insurance in 2014 through Washington D.C's Affordable Care Act marketplace for small businesses. 

So, Vitty-cent is unhappy that free-market capitalists got good value for their money under Obamacare? Well, yeah. Kind of reminds me of a Democratic policital operative/consultant in the 1980s who was outraged that I suggested Democrats taking a crack at running for office use a mailing list provider that charged three times less than she did. She was outraged for the same reason David is: heretics can't be tolerated. 

But the House of Representatives versus the Senate is an old and established rivalry that trumps any notion of party unity. The response from the House is what you'd expect:

"Although I appreciate your interest in this important issue, I have been unable to identify a provision of the Senate rules indicating that the internal operations of the House of Representatives fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship."

Translation: Suck it, Diaper Boy. Oh, excuse me...Senator Diaper Boy.

 

Metairie Mardi Gras is always SO much fun...

I'm conflicted when it comes to accusations of police brutality during Carnival time. Local law enforcement agencies have a tough job, dealing with drunks and stupid people, so others can enjoy parades. So, when I read a description like this, I'm inclined to believe it:

While Becker maintains he didn’t know Breaux was even a deputy, the report says Breaux and Porche identified themselves as law enforcement officers when they first approached Becker and a large group of his friends, who had watched a parade in Metairie the night of Feb. 13. The report says uniformed officers had been trying to usher “large numbers of people to their vehicles or from the area” after the parade when several people in Becker’s group began shouting “F--- the cops.”

Hey, I'd be the first to hell "Fuck the cops!", particularly at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. I grew up with this group of upstanding men and women in blue; I got stories. But in the parking lot at Da Mall, in the aftermath of a parade? Let's face it, we're not talking about the cream of society there, under the overpass. 

OK, so just when I'm willing to give JPSO the benefit of the doubt, I read this:

Becker was so inebriated after being taken into custody, the report alleges, deputies had to stop their vehicle so he could vomit as they left the parking garage of the Lakeside Shopping Center. Later that night, after Becker arrived at Interim LSU Hospital for treatment for his injuries, he asked Breaux and his partner, Cory Porche, what had happened, saying he “did not have any recollection of what occurred on the parade route,” the report says.

This is where law enforcement piss me off. These deputies reported, oh, we have a drunk guy, and he was puking. Sure, that makes sense. But then a video surfaces, where one of those deputies is recorded beating the shit out of the kid. Maybe he had to vomit because he was in shock? Maybe he didn't know where he was/what he was doing because he was concussed?

Time for the FBI to have a look-see at this one.

WWNO's Local Programming Problem...

 

Front-page banner from wwno.org, New Orleans' NPR station.

I'm always conflicted when I want to write about WWNO. It's my school's radio station, even though it's not a "student" operation. I've always been quite proud that the NPR station for the city operates out of the University of New Orleans. The emergence of HD Radio on the scene changed the business model at WWNO radically. The station went from being a trifecta of drive-time news, daytime classical music, nighttime jazz, went to three HD channels with that content.

As a NPR news junkie, this made me happy, but then the station started to augment the daytime NPR lineup with local shows. A food/cooking show, another on local music, a books/reading program, and an interview program sponsored by a popular local restaurant, recorded on location at the restaurant.

The food show, "Louisiana Eats" and the music program "Music Inside Out" are positively awful, from the cliche' theme music, to the delivery of the hosts, to the mediocre and commercialized guests interviewed.

I just re-upped my contribution to WWNO, pledging $15/month, putting my money where my mouth is on this. The more-news format of 89.9 FM is a great concept. Here's to hoping WWNO can fix the mistakes and move forward.

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