yatpundit's blog

Will local "investigative reporters/bloggers" chase the right Entergy story?

So, the City Council is going to have hearings on Entergy:

The New Orleans City Council has called a hearing for this morning to hammer Entergy's officials about the recovery. On its eve, as of 6 p.m. Monday, Entergy had restored power to 89.6 percent of the homes and businesses in New Orleans that lost it after the storm, leaving 16,772 still in the dark. In Jefferson Parish, just 69 percent of power has been restored, with 52,566 left to go.

This is the typical political dodge Entergy's employed for a couple of years now, whenever they need to put a face in front of the media. It sort of goes like this:

  1. Something happens (hurricane, rate increase, fuel adjustments)
  2. Entergy customers get upset
  3. The New Orleans City Council holds hearings
  4. Someone from Entergy New Orleans becomes a sacrificial lamb
  5. White folks in #themetrys tune this process out

...and Entergy gets a pass until the next disaster.

How are they able to get away with this? Because people don't realize there are TWO Entergy companies: Entergy of New Orleans, Inc., and Entergy Louisiana. Entergy of New Orleans is regulated by the New Orleans City Council, whereas Entergy Louisiana is regulated by the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

So, when the New Orleans City Council goes after Entergy NOLA CEO Charles Rice, it's going to be a very limited subset of the disaster. He'll be touting that 89.6% number, along with anything else good he can say about Entergy New Orleans. Since Entergy Louisiana is not within the purview of the New Orleans City Council, all Rice will get beat up for is Algiers.

What of Entergy Louisiana? They go back into the arcane world of the LPSC, where there's little media coverage.

Hopefully the media won't be fooled by the shell game.


Abortion is destroying what's left of the Republican Party

I got a fund raising appeal e-mail from McJoan this morning. This isn't an uncommon event; I opted-in to receive such appeals from DailyKos. This one caught my eye a bit more than most, because it pointed me to a story by Joan from last Thursday:

This is what winning in November looks like two months out. Not only is the National Republican Senatorial Committee pulling its resources out of New Mexico, it's having to shift the $3 million it had in reserved ad time in there to a state Republicans were confident they'd get: North Dakota.

That's huge, because ND was supposed to be a lock for Republicans. Now they need the cash to shore up that race, so New Mexico bites the dust.

Then I read this Buzzfeed story this afternoon:

Rick Berg, North Dakota's at-large congressman and a candidate for Senate, voted to criminalize abortion in the state as a Class AA felony, including in the case of rape or abortion.

Berg, who is running against former Democratic Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, voted with a minority of the state house in 2007 to make terminating a pregnancy illegal, in a bill that only made exception for when the life of the mother is endangered.

Now, no doubt Akin was a disappointment to Turd Blossom and the "machine" Republicans, but Akin is a rube and was immediately adopted by Tony Perkins and the rest of the Christian Crazies. Now  you've got a guy who's been sold as a relatively rational guy going further into the weeds than Akin.

Incredible. The forced-birth issue is going to totally destroy the Republican Party. This isn't shoot-yourself-in-the-foot territory, this is Plaxico territory.

Katrina and Isaac Compared

For those of you worried about this storm, fearing we're about to get hit by another "100-year storm," some pictures:

Satellite image of Isaac earlier this evening. Contrast this with:

Look at the definition, and the SIZE of Katrina (second image) in 2005. That sucker was just plain scary.

Not that we shouldn't prepare, mind you, but this just isn't the same level of threat to the city.


Food Stamps and iPhones DO go together!

This graphic was "shared" with me by a Zuckerbook friend yesterday. When you grow up in the neo-Confederacy, this sort of statement is no big surprise; it's a common stereotype of black folks. Let's forget for a moment that there are moms who pull on their sleepy-pants to carpool the kids and pick up their quad soy latte at Da Bucks for a moment, and talk about the iPhone comment.

Your average neo-Confederate who resents his/her taxes going to support Teh Eebil Coloreds loves to advocate the micro-management of the lives of welfare recipients. Make them get jobs. Make them take drug tests. Set limits on what they may or may not buy at the grocery with their food stamps. What's interesting is that most of the crackas will at least concede that a family needs a telephone and it's OK for them to have basic cable service to watch the news and play Sesame Street for the kids.

Phone, cable TV, and Internet service aren't cheap. For all too many, the "combo package" a company like Cox offers is out of the range of many low-income users. Still, a phone and an email account are essential for job hunters in the modern job market. Sure, many folks can use public-access computers at the library, but you can't then sit around there all day, waiting for an email response to the job app you just filled out.

A smartphone is actually a wise purchase for a low-income family. For starters, it's a telephone. With the right apps, one can catch the local news on the smartphone, as well as many regular entertainment. That iPhone (or Android phone, for that matter) is an internet lifeline. Set up a Google Mail account, and you've got a place where one can accept replies to job apps.

With the right software, the smartphone can be configured as a WiFi "hotspot" so a child could use a desktop or laptop PC to do research on the Internet.

A smartphone can be an integral part of modern family life. Owning one doesn't mean the person is a welfare or food stamp cheat. Indeed, it's quite likely they're ambitious, doing what they need to do to get by.

Lego sets as gateway drug...

"Girl" Lego sets, in a shop window, Zwolle, Netherlands. I'm all for this. These less-boyish sets are excellent gateway drugs to full-blown Lego addiction, something that should be encouraged in both sexes. What's important is that, when buying Lego sets like these, that you supplement your child's path to addiction with a set of "standard" pieces. Some kids (like my firstborn) will build sets and play with them as-is. Others (like his kid brother) will want to use the set as a jumping-off point for their own imagination. Give them the materials to grow by enhancing the sets with bucket of "regular" pieces. Also, carry this a step further by buying a child of either sex whatever sets they want. Hopefully for the serious geek-parent's sake, they'll get into Star Wars so you can buy that Millenium Falcon kit you've always dreamed about. :-)

Monday Streetcar Blogging - Loyola Avenue Progress

The Loyola spur of the Canal Street Line is plodding forward:

Looking up Loyola Avenue, from Tulane to Poydras. You can see the street has been ripped up. and the work crews are making progress laying down the new roadbed and tracks. Then the street will be put back together. Notice the water puddling up in the foreground. This is one of the regular headaches of road work in New Orleans.

The roadbed for the modern streetcar lines is much more complex than what you see on the neutral ground on St. Charles. That's just your basic rails held together with wooden ties. On Canal Street, and now on Loyola, the ground is tottally dug up and re-constructed to make a long-lasting railbed.

The Holiday Inn on Poydras, featuring "The Clarinet" on the side, is one of the businesses directly affected by the construction on Loyola. Unlike the Carrollton spur, which significantly hurt business on N. Carrollton, from Canal to City Park Avenue, for over a year, there aren't as many retail businesses on Loyola. In fact, there are plans to develop more retail outlets after the streetcar line is complete.

Say, Cap, can you spare a kidney?

UPDATE: Jason got a kidney today! Just as I posted this blog entry, I was informed that he's up at Children's Hospital. He's now out of surgery, things look good at the moment!

Kid needs a kidney...can you help? Do you even know if you can help?

Jason’s story began when he was 5 and he became ill during a family trip to the beach. As soon as they got home, Jason’s pediatrician did some blood tests and sent the LaHattes to Children’s Hospital where they learned the heart-breaking news: Their little boy had end-stage kidney disease and needed a new kidney.

Transplant stories can be such heartbreakers. This young man got lucky once and got a kidney, but the transplant is failing:

Hudson’s kidney gave Jason nearly eight trouble-free years. But two years ago, it began to fail, and the LaHattes began looking for a new one. Several people were tested in late 2010, and in December, they thought they had a donor. The transplant was scheduled over the holidays, but when Jason went into the hospital, the doctor noticed he was pale and dehydrated. Tests showed he had a serious virus, and he spent a week in the hospital recuperating.

I don't envy the doctors in situations like this. He was so close, all the way to the hospital, when they found out that an accident victim/donor only had one kidney that could be transplanted, and that went to another boy. Given that this young man's already rejected a kidney, do you factor that into who to give it to? Seems like you have to. Can't be easy for the doc.

Kidneys shouldn't be so hard to get. We can live with just one, if we're willing to help. Do you know your blood type? That's a good start. If you're O and willing to consider this, call this boy's momma! If you're not O, but you'd be willing to do this for someone else, sign up. Here's the info from Da Paper:

If you are healthy, have type O blood, are between 18 and 45 and want to learn more about becoming a donor for Jason, contact Joe LaHatte at jlahatte@aol.com or Jonnie LaHatte at jonnielm@aol.com. To sign up to be an organ donor, go to Donate Life Louisiana.


I grew up listening to my dad's stories about how he grew up listening to radio programs. I've no doubt that contributed to my love for radio (I'm listening to NPR's Morning Edition as I type this, in fact). That's why I'm excited about the GooNOLAs show this weekend. The GooNOLAs are Stephen James, Bill Lee, Greg Beaumont, three voice actors who do a "radio" show in the syle of the 1950s British program, "The Goon Show."

Tonight. Tomorrow night. The Deutsches Haus in Metairie. Be There!


A Guide to My Twitter Accounts

Many of you know I have a number of Twitter accounts where I discuss various topics. Here's a brief breakdown of who they are and why you should (or should not) follow them:

@YatPundit - my main account. Don't let the total number of tweets keep you from following; it's way high because I "live-tweet" hurricanes when they threaten New Orleans. The rest of the time, the volume isn't so crazy. YatPundit is me, unfiltered. There's a lot of New Orleans here, along with politics, geek stuff, you name it. The other accounts evolved because New Orleanians can disagree on politics and still agree on food, music, and many other things. If you're kinda geeky and you don't mind liberal political tweets, follow me here.

@YatCuisine - food/drink/fun! Restaurant stuff, cooking/recipes, foodie talk, and general cutting up with foodies. I created this account mainly because foodie talk bridges the gaps in politics. In true Southern style, we don't discuss politics and religion at the dinner table, but I like to flirt, so I reserve the right to do that rather than excluding sex entirely.

@YatTravel - strictly travel discussions, sightseeing in various cities, airport/airplane experiences. I travel 30+ weeks a year for work, and this is where I tweet about it.

@CanalStreetCar - Originally started this account to support my book, New Orleans: The Canal Streetcar Line, but it's evolved into more a general discussion/twitter platform for talking about New Orleans. If I see an interesting article about the city, etc., I'll usually re-tweet it to both the main account and this one.

@YatMedia - YatMedia LLC is my social media company. Social media and discussions of online presences for business here.

@GentleTweeple - Twitter advice with a healthy dose of snark! I may see something incredibly helpful here, or possibly incredibly stupid. Either way, I'll offer advice and suggestions in a twisted manner here.

@EdwardBranley - My "professional" account. I teach Storage Area Networking classes for Hitachi Data Systems, and this is where I'll talk hardcore geek stuff.

@YatSoccer - talk about The Beautiful Game, but this account is currently on hiatus until i sort out how to approach it.

Feel free to follow any or all of these accounts as your heart desires! Just keep in mind, though, if you want to get in touch with me ASAP, send a DM to @YatPundit, or email me at edward at ebranley dot com.

YeahYouRite! :-)