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.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Having a gay old time in the Times-Picayune

The tempest in a very tiny teapot over the APSA‘s meeting siting policy has hit the Times-Picayune.

Mind you, there are there are thousands of very good reasons to boycott APSA meetings already—I believe they’re called “political scientists.” In a city the size of Chicago you can escape from the teeming hordes of them, even at APSA, but there’s likely to be no such luck in New Orleans. In my mind, the fewer folks who show up the better, at least in terms of improving the experience for those who do attend.

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, 21 April 2008

It's all Bush's fault

If you can’t drive anywhere in New Orleans for the next two days, blame the convergence of presidents Bush and Calderón and Prime Minister Harper on New Orleans. Not that the traffic report websites have bothered warning people that you’re not going anywhere fast near I-10 or the central business district for the next day or so.

I also blame the president for having to park farther away on St. Charles than I normally do this morning, even though it’s probably really just due to my arriving later than usual and the campus being crawling with admits checking out the university before forking over their parents’ hard-earned bucks to the Tulane Educational Fund.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

The paper

It is done. Or at least as done as it’s going to get before the conference. Now I can work on overheads or something on Tuesday before the big trip.

Charts and graphs

A sneak preview of part of my Midwest paper, for all zero of you waiting for it at the edge of your seat:

Suffice it to say I’ve spent more of this morning trying to figure out how to get R’s maptools package to merge the raw data with the cartography than I did on the actual data analysis, which was actually quite easy, even though the MCMC took forever.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Chinese food logic

Why would you open a new Chinese restaurant about six blocks from another Chinese restaurant when there isn’t a single Chinese restaurant for two (driving) miles around my apartment? Would it kill someone in this city to open a Chinese place near Whole Foods?

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.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Hydropower on the Mississippi?

I’m not sure which bit of information from this article struck me more: that the technology may now be available to harness significant power from the Mississippi, or that the river is 200 feet deep here in New Orleans. (Then again, even with the Atchafalaya diversion, the laws of physics would dictate that a narrower river would require that it would also need to be deeper downstream.)

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Kabuki politics, APSA style

This explains that. My inner spidey sense wonders if it would have passed in Orleans Parish post-Katrina; my eyeballing of the precinct numbers says no.

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.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Streetcars being tested on St. Charles

The Times-Picayune reports something I noticed on my Friday trip to the Uptown post office: streetcars are being tested on the line between Lee Circle and Napoleon Avenue, although apparently not without minor hiccups. Alas, although there’s been a little visible work around Tulane, the odds of me still working there when the streetcars make it to Audubon Park seem slim.

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.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

How to leave New Orleans 30 hours before a hurricane

If you’re as confused by the state’s evacuation map as I was when I first looked at it, this website is for you.

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.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Sports law expert: no more major leagues in New Orleans after 2020?

The Times-Picayune has a lengthy interview with departing Tulane sports law prof Gary Roberts, in which he predicts the New Orleans Hornets will be leaving the Crescent City in the next five years, soon to be followed by the New Orleans Saints. Roberts also talks about the continued viability of Tulane’s intercollegiate sports programs, the BCS, and the effects of the newly-introduced NCAA Academic Progress Rate.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

If a hurricane comes, get the hell out of Dodge

In case you need more than just the headline, the New Orleans Times-Picayune has thousands of words to reiterate that point for you.