Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Half baked robbery

The bakery I used to live across the street from in New Orleans was the target of an attempted armed robbery last week; thankfully, the perps were caught.

Saturday, 30 August 2008


Gustav is Cat 4 and strengthening. Hurricane evacuation information is online for Texans, Louisianans, and Mississippians. Contraflow for the New Orleans area begins at 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning affecting I-59 south of Poplarville and I-55 south of Brookhaven.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Having a gay old time

The debate over the proposal before the APSA to move the 2012 annual meeting out of New Orleans due to the state’s voters’ approval of an anti-same-sex marriage initiative has hit the rumor blogs.

I didn’t bother to keep a copy of the message I sent to APSA from the website regarding the proposal—silly me expected it would be copied to me once it was sent—but I generally made the argument that both proposals on the table (either an outright policy of avoiding states that had passed anti-same-sex-marriage constitutional amendments or some sort of bizarre “case-by-case consideration” provision that reeks of committee-generated compromise) were fundamentally stupid and missed the point if the stated goals of the proponents—namely assuring the legal protection of individuals who are part of legally-recognized same-sex-married couples who attend the meeting—were the actual goals of the exercise. I also associated myself in my comments with the statement made by my colleagues at Tulane in their entirety, although I was not a signatory of their letter and my signature was not solicited.

My admittedly non-expert understanding of the legal situation—as someone who is neither gay nor in any sort of marriage-like partnership—is that legal recognition of same-sex marriage or an approximately equivalent status is confined to (within the realm of North America) Massachusetts, Vermont, and Canada. Of these places, there are perhaps a half-dozen or so cities capable of hosting APSA, and only one of them is in the United States (Boston, the site of the 2008 meeting). The symbolic opprobrium of anti-same-sex marriage constitutional amendments is, in practice, insignificant; California, Illinois, and New York authorities are no more likely to recognize a Massachusetts same-sex marriage than Louisiana’s authorities. So, in reality same-sex-married couples from the states and provinces that recognize such things are no more “at risk” of legal troubles in New Orleans than they would be in San Francisco, Chicago, or New York City.

If members of the APSA want to protest the symbolism of these amendments or just don’t want to be seen in retrograde states that don’t comport with their vision of a just and liberal society, they should be honest and forthright about that position rather than hiding behind outlandish hypotheticals that really don’t distinguish between the “enlightened” and “backward” states—and given the success of Oregon’s anti-same-sex-marriage ballot measure, that distinction is far narrower than most of us would care to admit.

Update: You can also have at the discussion here if you so choose.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Run-off in the first

The GOP primary in the first congressional district election to replace Bobby Jindal in the House is headed to a run-off election next month, as southshore candidate Steve Scalise came up short of the absolute majority he needed to avoid facing the second-place candidate on April 5th. This also means that the general election will take place on May 3rd, where he will face Gilda Reed and two independents in Louisiana's first plurality-winner election to Congress in 30 years.

At least in my precinct, the turnout in the special primary election was abysmal; we had 27 voters (11 Democrats and independents, 16 Republicans) out of 512 registered voters in 14 hours. On the upside, at least we didn’t have to turn anyone away or fiddle with provisional ballots this time around.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Vote for this

The race to replace Bobby Jindal in Congress has largely played out off of my radar screen, but the Times-Picayune reviews the recent round of mudslinging from the contenders. For some reason, I’ve only gotten mailings from the Scalise campaign; I guess the other Republicans are working from an older GOP registered voter list—I changed affiliations from Libertarian to Republican in January so I could vote in the February presidential preference primary, when I thought the GOP race would be more competitive than the Democratic one, and upcoming special elections.

In terms of my personal self-interest, I’m hoping that no candidate gets 50% of the vote so I’ll have another election in May—I’ll miss working on the April election date due to being at the Midwest, and if there’s no runoff the general election will be held then.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

McCain rounds up 43 of 47 delegates at La. convention

The Times-Picayune reports that the end result of last month’s Louisiana caucus and last week’s primary is that John McCain has pretty much swept the state’s delegates who were appointed at today’s state GOP convention, adding another 43 delegates to McCain’s prohibitively large total that’s now somewhere in the mid-800s depending on exactly who you ask.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Obamamania hits NOLA

Barack Obama is coming to Tulane tomorrow morning. I doubt Hillary Clinton will bother with Louisiana, symbolism or no.

I wonder if any of the Republicans will make an effort to get over the 50% hurdle and the 20 pledged delegates that come with it; Romney, who probably needs it more than anyone else at this point, would just be wasting his money, and getting that absolute majority probably isn’t worth it to either McCain (who with the Fredheads’ delegates from the caucus will control the state convention anyway) or Huckabee (who will probably get a plurality, but no majority, if McCain doesn’t campaign here).

Friday, 1 February 2008

Out of the jungle

The Times-Picayune reminds us that voting in the primaries for Bobby Jindal’s replacement in Congress will take place on March 8, with the voter registration deadline being next Wednesday. The special elections in the 1st and 6th districts will be the first held in Louisiana since the legislature abolished the nonpartisan “jungle primary” system for elections to federal office introduced in the 1970s—given the Republican leanings of the 1st district, this is a race that is likely to be decided either in the March GOP primary or the potential April runoff (if no candidate receives a majority), both of which are only open to registered Republicans.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Smell the turnout

I’m probably infringing on some other blogger’s schtick by posting this, but I thought it was worthwhile: 0.3% of Louisiana’s registered voters have voted early. You can totally sense the enthusiasm. In addition to making a stab at explaining how the votes correspond to delegates (to the extent delegates qua delegates matter in this process), there are also some handy statistics:

East Baton Rouge Parish, which has a controversial election to approve or reject a third riverboat casino, led the early voting with 1,880 votes cast, the only parish to register a four-digit total. St. Tammany was a distant second with 679 votes cast, and Natchitoches Parish was third with 614, four ahead of Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish was fifth with 572 votes cast.

By the close of business Tuesday, 6,808 white voters had cast ballots, 2,299 African-Americans voted and 199 from other ethnic groups voted. A total of 5,388 of the early voters were Democrats, 3,497 were Republicans and 421 were independents or nonaffiliated voters who cast ballots for the local races.

I’ll be packing some additional reading material to bring with me to the polls on the 9th; War and Peace alone may not suffice.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Latest sign of the apocalypse

Hulk Hogan will be the king of the Bacchus Mardi Gras krewe next February. Hopefully this won’t interfere with his important duties as co-host of the American Gladiators revival.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Our long local nightmare is over

It appears that our two-teen Uptown robbery spree has come to an end, at least until these twerps make bail.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Streetcar to Riverbend by Christmas?

We may be dodging streetcars in the 14th Ward sooner than we’d thought, if RTA‘s plans come to fruition:

If an aggressive plan being pursued by the Regional Transit Authority succeeds—and odds are it will—tourists and residents might get an unexpected Christmas gift. They’ll be able to ride the streetcar the entire length of St. Charles Avenue.

Fred Basha, the RTA‘s director of infrastructure, said Thursday that he’s convinced the streetcar line’s Calliope Street substation can generate enough power to move historic green Perley Thomas cars all the way from the Central Business District to South Carrollton Avenue. At the moment, service ends at Napoleon Avenue, about halfway along the St. Charles route.

The plan would not affect the rest of the streetcar route, along South Carrollton to South Claiborne Avenue, which would remain offline.

If the RTA can overcome three other obstacles, service along the length of the avenue could resume before Christmas Eve, Basha said.

The obstacles: The RTA has to have workers paint the poles that support the electrified system of overhead wires, which rainy weather could delay. Operators who were laid off after Hurricane Katrina must be rehired. And the state has to certify that the portion of the line between Napoleon and Carrollton is safe to use.

“There’s also some testing of that portion of the line that needs to be done, but I don’t expect that to be a problem,” Basha said. “It’s aggressive, but I think we can have it operational before Christmas Eve.”

The transit authority has seemed to be showing some renewed interest in fixing the section of the streetcar route around these parts in recent weeks. And getting the walking distance down to 7/10 of a mile may be enough for me to leave the car at home.

Juxtaposition of the day

Deputy police chief says law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear in New Orleans:

Standing in front of dozens of civic leaders from towns both big and small, New Orleans Deputy Police Chief John Bryson cut to the core of his presentation on crime Thursday.

“If you use drugs, buy drugs, you are going to die in this city,” he said to a wide-eyed group of middle-age men and women.

“You are going to get your butts shot off,” he added with dramatic pause. “But otherwise, you have nothing to worry about.”

On the other hand:

New Orleans police were called to at least four armed robberies in about a 45-minute time span Thursday night and at least two more earlier in the week, police said.

Investigations were still ongoing and police did not have any suspects or know whether the Thursday night incidents were connected, said officer Sheresse Harper. ...

Police sources said that in addition to the four robberies reported by Harper, there were at least three others Thursday night in the city. They were in the 600 block of Soniat Street, the 5200 block of Laurel Street and the 3600 block of Constance Street, the sources said.

The suspects are estimated to be 14 or 15 years old, sources said.

One officer said the robbers appeared to be cruising the area, especially between Tchoupitoulas Street and St. Charles Avenue, looking for crimes of opportunity, like people walking from their cars to their front doors. Sometimes they stole cars and used them less than 15 minutes later in the next heist, the officer said.

So, we may not get our butts shot off, but our asses may certainly be robbed at gunpoint. Forgive me if I’m not going to be joining Bryson’s cheerleading team anytime soon.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Plumbing the depths of low turnout

Not one, not two, but possibly three separate special elections will be held to replace Bobby Jindal in Congress. That’s in addition to the presidential primary already scheduled for February, and up to four potential election dates in the second half of the year. I suppose we can live without representation in Congress for up to four months…

Monday, 22 October 2007

Under construction

If you don’t hear from me for the next couple of days, it’s because I’m building an ark in my back yard.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

I will be dreaming of working voting machines tonight

My first experience as a poll worker today went moderately smoothly; we only had one voting machine, which coupled with the ridiculously long ballot led to long lines on occasion (a few people may have had to wait around 20 minutes), but most of the day went in dribs and drabs. I don’t remember the exact vote totals, but I’m pretty sure Bobby Jindal got about 65% of the vote in my little corner of Uptown; considering that it’s part of his congressional district, I don’t know if that translates into strong support for him to avoid a runoff or not (the live stats I’ve seen with about 1/4 of the vote in say he’s at around 53%).

Next month I’m bringing an IV drip of caffeine or something, particularly if the only runoffs are way down the ballot.

Friday, 19 October 2007

QotD, current student edition

One of my southern politics students recently penned her thoughts on the gubernatorial contest for the student newspaper; perhaps it’s my inner “proud professor” coming out, but I thought this passage was amusing:

The other Democrat in the race is Foster Campbell, whose platform consists solely of eliminating the Louisiana income tax and replacing it with a tax on oil and gas companies. Campbell claims that this will result in “the greatest economic [boom] in Louisiana history.” However, Campbell may have taken his populist message a bit too far. Hilarity ensues whenever Campbell compares himself to Huey P. Long. And not in a “I wouldn’t be corrupt like him,” way, but a “he was on the Public Services Commission, too, so I’m qualified to be governor” way.

When Huey Long is held up as the paragon of gubernatorial virtue, you know you may have a problem.

The big drama in these parts is whether or not Bobby Jindal gets over the 50% threshold tomorrow; if he does, I’ll probably need to bring a book or two with me when I work the polls next month (alas, I’m pretty sure we’re going to have down-ballot runoffs anyway).

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Know your proposed constitutional amendments

The Times-Picayune helpfully explains the four state constitutional amendments on the ballot next Saturday. They don’t explain how most of this crap ended up being decided in the state constitution in the first place.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Tuesday Morning

Quoth Megan McArdle:

John Quiggin asks why Americans vote on a Tuesday.

Louisianans apparently vote on Saturdays, at least in state elections. Indeed, the only elections in Louisiana that are held on a weekday are federal general elections, which are on Tuesdays pursuant to federal law. (Yes, this means working at the polls this fall means I will miss seeing two football games, alas.)

So, all Americans don’t vote on Tuesdays—indeed, the modal American doesn’t vote at all in most elections. Or maybe Louisianans aren’t real Americans.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

WDSU-HD back on Cox cable

If only they’d done it a day sooner, I’d have been able to avoid scheduling manual recordings for Earl and The Office. All zero of my NOLA readers can see the announcement here.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Voting is hard

The sample ballot for my precinct next month’s state primary is giving me a headache… and I study this stuff for a living.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Bridge drama

In the bad news department, the Hale Boggs Bridge on I-310 is falling apart faster than previously thought. In the good news department (sorta), LaDOTD has awarded contracts for widening the Huey P. Long Bridge, which has to be about the most terrifying bridge I’ve ever crossed as a driver in my life, not that I’m likely to be around here to see it finished.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Apartment adventures

I’m pretty sure I have an apartment leased for next year in the lovely 14th Ward of New Orleans after putting down an application fee and deposit, although I’m still waiting on the lease to sign.

Now I need to get back to that methods meeting paper…

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Apartmented out

I am exhausted from looking at and thinking about apartments all day. I think I have it narrowed down to two possibilities, but there’s one more that I’ll be looking at (hopefully) in the morning that may be closer to ideal. Both of the ones I’m considering have tradeoffs, and while it’s not like I’d be likely to live there forever—given my track record in academe, one year seems likely unless I land a tenure-track job in New Orleans at UNO or Loyola—it’s still a bit of a compromise to spend a year without a dishwasher or some other amenity I’ve gotten used to having.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring clarity one way or another.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Hampton Inn ice buckets suck

The ice in my ice bucket this evening lasted less than five hours, and that was with me dumping out the accumulated water twice. This would be slightly less annoying if I didn’t have to traipse upstairs every time I wanted to get more ice because the ice machine on this floor is broken.

Maybe their ice buckets work in North Dakota, but they don’t cut it in New Orleans.