Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Late at Night

Editor B got this one Early in the Morning.
Then I found the same guy Late at Night (from the Chicory).

Why can't I think of costume ideas like that?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Aren't You Glad?

Last night while not watching the Academy Awards, drinking a few beers, and hoping for a snow day, I heard a familiar song in a commercial. It was Big Chief, way more up beat and less syncopated (if that makes any sense) than Professor Longhair's more popular version. And it was on an add for Sure Deodorant for women. Am I missing the correlation?

UPDATE: I changed this a little bit. I swear I thought it was for Secret. Either I was drunk, not paying attention, or didn't care what the product was. Oyster set me straight...

Friday, February 23, 2007

At what cost?

Today's T-P -

"The Road Home program in its current format will not work," Nagin told a congressional subcommittee that met Thursday in New Orleans to address the housing crisis. "It is overwhelmed, undermanned and technically flawed. Let's take all the people registered for it in New Orleans and let us administer the program with local institutions. I think we can get it done for you very quickly."
Legitimate criticism. But (and there's always a big BUT) I have a few questions. Who are the local institutions? Who runs them? How quickly is quickly? Does Ashe' know about this?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ten iPod Songs

To do this fairly, I omitted songs that are in my iPod that are teaching songs for things like declensions and conjugations. These are the first ten songs that came up when I shuffled iTunes.

  1. One Time - The Subdudes - The Subdudes
  2. Maybe Tomorrow - Stereophonics - You have to go there to come back
  3. Don't Start No Shit - The Rebirth Brass Band - Live at the Maple Leaf
  4. Shooting Hoops - G. Love and Special Sauce - G. Love and Special Sauce
  5. Tell it Like it Is - Tracy Chapman - New Beginning
  6. Mouth to Mouth - The Glove - Blue Sunshine
  7. Palm Court Strut - Forgotten Souls Brass Band - Gone But Not Forgotten
  8. Turn it On Salvador - Toy Matinee - Toy Matinee
  9. Stereo - Rebirth Brass Band - Rebirth for Life
  10. I Smell a Rat - Tab Benoit - Fever for the Bayou

It is what it is.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Top Mardi Gras Songs

In no particular order...

Mardi Gras Day - The Wild Magnolia
Feel like Funkin' it up - Rebirth Brass Band
Do Whatcha Wanna - Rebirth Brass Band
Big Chief - Professor Longhair
Party - The Wild Magnolias
Carnival Time - Al Johnson
Mardi Gras Mambo - The Hawketts
Shoo-Fly - Bo Dollis and Monk Boudreaux
Mardi Gras in New Orleans - Professor Longhair
Second Line - Olympia Brass Band
Make Way for the Rebirth - Rebirth Brass Band and Kermit Ruffins
Feet Can't Fail Me Now - Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Do the Fat Tuesday - Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers
Big Chief Got a Golden Crown - The Wild Tchoupitoulas
Orleans and Claiborne - Trombone Shorty
Dey All Axed for you - (Was that the meters?)

And I am making some gumbo. Wish I was there...

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Clearly, something has to change. Eugene Treg, a bad guy with a criminal record, has been set free because of a delay in getting paperwork and evidence together. I wonder how many crimes in New Orleans are committed by the same few people. My bet is that a large portion of them. Remember "B-Stupid." He's still in prison without a trial and has been let go at least two other times. That's at least two people in New Orleans who would still be alive and three in Houston that he killed since Katrina. Who knows what Eugene Treg has done.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Nice work, Kirk

From the Kirk, the editorial cartoonist at the Toledo Blade:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What to do?

Today, several students that go to my school approached me about doing some community service project in New Orleans or on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. All of them spent time in MS last summer. I love New Orleans, but I am worried. I think it would truly benefit this country, my school, and these students to go and help people in New Orleans get their lives together. However, I also feel that I cannot lead students into harms way which I feel like I may do if we plan a trip. How can I assure parents that their children will not be the victims of violent crime? How can I justify the danger of New Orleans over the relative safety of the MS Gulf Coast? It hurts me to say this, but my heart says go to New Orleans, but my head says we go to Mississippi. I hate that. What would you do?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What about this?

I have an idea. Can someone who knows all programming (nola-dishu? Schroeder?) be hooked up with someone who follows court records. Then, each murder can be tracked along with its progress in the justice system. Things like whether the suspect has been captured, arraigned, bail set, court date, charges, etc. Then we could really see how inept, overwhelmed, and inefficient Eddie Jordan really is. Then we can hold him accountable with solid facts (not that we can't anyway, but it might be more visual).

I think this is what Schroeder was saying in this post...but I am too slow or reading too fast to pick up on it. So I left him a comment. Then another. I am having a day.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Schools Open and State Runs Away

From the T-P:

School openings ease wait list

Clusters of New Orleans children shuffled into two newly-opened schools this morning, ending a wait list process that kept some students at home for at least a month because there wasn’t room for them in the system.

Teachers at McDonogh 42 Elementary School, 1651 North Tonti St., and Julius Rosenwald Elementary School, 6501 Berkley Drive in Algiers, welcomed students on the first day of the new semester for the Recovery District. Many are children of evacuees who returned to New Orleans since fleeing Katrina. Some students started schools in other cities before coming back. The exact number of students who reported today was not immediately available.

Since Jan., more than 300 students who tried to enroll at schools in the Recovery School District, had been wait-listed. The district faces a teacher shortage and is trying to refurbish buildings in time to handle the influx.

Parents said this morning they were relieved to finally have their children in school.

“They need their education,” said Racquel Parker, who has three children at MacDonogh 42 and one at Rosenwald.

— Darran Simon
Small steps are often the hardest. Why was the school in Algiers closed? I found that Julius Rosenwald , the CEO of Sears-Roebuck, gave money for the opening of many schools for African-Americans in the South in the 1910s through 1930s. I never knew any of that. Interesting.

More interesting is Cleo Fields desire to get the state out of New Orleans public schools. They have barely been given a chance, they are held up by bureaucracy, and they can't estimate numbers without knowing the future of New Orleans. They are not doing well right now, but they can't do worse than the OPSB did.

Whole article...

Senators question need for state-run New Orleans school district

2/5/2007, 3:59 p.m. CT
The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Leaders of the state-run school district in New Orleans defended the district's existence Monday as senators said the system hasn't improved education in the city after Hurricane Katrina and has added more bureaucracy to recovery efforts.

Sen. Cleo Fields said lawmakers will debate whether to abolish the Recovery School District and return public schools in New Orleans to the control of the Orleans Parish School Board in the upcoming legislative session, which begins in April.

"I'm learning there's no need for the Recovery School District," said Fields, D-Baton Rouge.

Recovery School District Superintendent Robin Jarvis disagreed, saying the district could help improve schools in a city whose public schools were troubled well before Hurricane Katrina.

"I think, given time, the Recovery School District can bring better education than we had in New Orleans pre-Katrina," Jarvis told the Senate Local and Municipal Affairs Committee headed by Fields.

The district, overseen by the state Department of Education, included five charter schools in Orleans Parish before Katrina, but took over most of the remaining New Orleans schools after the hurricane flooded much of the city in 2005.

Currently, it's operating 20 schools with about 9,500 students; two schools opened Monday that together will serve up to the eighth grade. Their opening was to help erase a waiting list of about 300 students. Dozens of other schools under the district's authority remain shuttered, awaiting repairs.

Orleans schools struggled before the storm, with federal investigators combing through financial records, the parish school district unable to balance its books and most of the schools deemed failing by the state's accountability standards.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco pushed lawmakers to approve a takeover of nearly all New Orleans public schools after Katrina, saying it was an opportunity to revamp a failing education system. She defended the district Monday, during an appearance at a charter school in New Orleans, saying RSD was not perfect but is "making its way there."

But the Recovery School District has been criticized for moving too slowly to repair and open schools, to provide textbooks to students and to bring in teachers. A few hundred students had been on a waiting list to get into the schools until the district opened two more schools Monday. In some high school classes, there are as many as 36 students to one teacher.

Members of Fields' committee have been among the strongest critics of the Recovery School District. They have questioned if the Blanco administration was providing enough leadership and authority to the school district.

Sen. Derrick Shepherd, D-Marrero, said in some recovery district schools, teachers don't have basic equipment, like erasers for the chalkboards, and bathrooms don't have soap and paper towels.

Fields, who voted in favor of the school takeover in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, explained his vote Monday by saying he was "hoodwinked, bamboozled. The bottom line is I'm going to fix that when this session starts."

Last week in Fields' committee, Jarvis said that the state's contract and purchasing requirements had slowed building repairs and textbook purchases — and that education department officials had asked the Blanco administration to no avail to suspend some of those requirements.

At the time, Blanco staffers told the committee they didn't know of the request, but the governor then agreed to speed up the purchasing and bid rules for the school district. On Monday, Blanco's deputy chief of staff, Kim Hunter Reed, said the governor understands the problems and is pushing for improvements.

"Whatever it is that they need, we will be checking in with them daily to assist them," Reed said.

Grrr....Someone take some responsibility and fix this already...It's been thirty plus years.

Today's Quote

From the T-P:

While Mayor Ray Nagin's administration has not been plagued by the sort of contracting scandals that now cloud the reputation of his predecessor, he has done little in the way of systemic reform.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! HA! hehehe. hee. At least not yet.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Education is Key

First, I meant to make mention of this when I read about earlier this week. While I may not always agree with the Catholic Church, I do think that Fr. William Maestri is a nice person who believes that he is doing the right thing. Politics aside, it was compassionate and understanding for him to offer to accept children who were "wait-listed." It was obviously a political move to help him get vouchers back into the discussion, but I am not opposed to educational vouchers. The Catholic School System in New Orleans works. The Public School System doesn't, even when run by the state. Is it wrong for Maestri to want to offer a better education to children? I don't think so. Especially when he knows how bad the alternative is and the results of 30+ years of negligence and abuse. I am sad to see him step down, but he has done good.

As a repository for New Orleans' School stuff, I will start with this article (from the T-P), posted in its entirety because I can't believe this has happened (I can believe it because it's New Orleans, but I can't accept that this is reality. Ok, I can accept it as reality because it's New Orleans, but how is this possibly ok?

BATON ROUGE -- After a visit Nov. 20 to the state-run Recovery School District headquarters in New Orleans, a member of the House Education Committee wrote Gov. Kathleen Blanco asking her to sign an executive order granting the district the same fast-track administrative authority given to the Superdome for its rebuilding effort.

As of Friday, Rep. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, still hadn't heard back from the governor or her staff. His plea was similar to other unheeded requests to the governor's office that district Superintendent Robin Jarvis revealed in legislative testimony this week.

Crowe's letter 10 weeks ago contrasts with Wednesday's testimony from the governor's top aides, who told a Senate committee they were unaware the Recovery School District was in need of special rules to speed purchasing and contracting procedures that have hindered the massive rebuilding effort and forced the district to put hundreds of students on waiting lists because of a lack of facilities.

"I am concerned that there is much criticism about the priorities in this state, and it appears that education has been placed second to entertainment," Crowe said in his letter. "Please strongly consider my request so that in January, more students will be able to return to school."

The issue erupted this week when Jarvis told the Senate Local & Municipal Affairs Committee that the state superintendent of education had asked the governor last spring to grant the district special powers of procurement and contracting. The state-run district, which is trying to repair and reopen schools while operating others, is hampered because state rules require more time and bidding than the rules used by local school systems, she said.

Jarvis said the district wanted to use the kind of streamlined contracting process that the governor granted with executive orders in late 2005 for rebuilding the Superdome and Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. In particular, she was worried that the slower contracting system would stall the erection of modular classrooms needed to accommodate larger enrollments in the next school year.

News to them

Hauled into the hearing Wednesday on short notice, Blanco Chief of Staff Jimmy Clarke and chief counsel Terry Ryder said they knew of no request for an executive order or other action necessary to speed the process. By the end of the day, they delegated authority to a state Department of Education official who will monitor the district's purchasing and contracting requests on a case-by-case basis and apply emergency status when necessary, Clarke said.

That system can be conducted under current state law without an executive order, Clarke said.

But the new procedure does not rely on emergency designations to fast-track projects, according to Beth Scioneaux, acting deputy superintendent for finance at the Education Department.

The new method simply cuts out review by either the Office of State Purchasing or the Office of Contractual Review, which accounts for about 20 percent of the bureaucratic process, she said.

"We still have to follow all the regular procurement system," Scioneaux said.

The education agency can designate a purchase or a contract as an emergency, she said, but that would be used only in a "real emergency," such as if the safety of a child or public health were at stake.

"We don't envision having to invoke that," Scioneaux said.

Governor responds

Blanco said Friday that when the district's purchasing problems came to her attention last spring, her administration reviewed the procurement code and determined that it allowed for expedited processes, and therefore an executive order was unnecessary. In meetings with the governor in the fall, Jarvis did not say the system was inadequate, Blanco said.

Executive orders suspending state law were more appropriate for the Dome and Convention Center because those were two large buildings that could be treated as single projects, whereas the Recovery District is pursuing a large number of separate projects, each with its own set of repair requirements, Blanco said.

Blanco said she has told administration officials that if the district wants more help and flexibility, it should get it.

"We'll call every day," Blanco said.

New administration

Following legislation pushed by Blanco in November 2005, the Recovery School District took over the vast majority of schools from the Orleans Parish public school system. It faces the challenge of repairing seriously damaged buildings, restocking supplies and hiring teachers while student enrollment swells at levels that are hard to predict.

Crowe supported Blanco's move to a state-run school district in New Orleans and in his letter said Jarvis and her staff were doing "a tremendous job given the challenges they face daily."

He said Friday that in his role as an education committee member, he made a surprise visit for a couple of hours to the Recovery School District in November. The "glaring issue" was that the school district needed to quicken the pace of administrative procedures, and so the next day he wrote the one-page letter to Blanco.

"I am writing to request an executive order that will allow for the expeditious process of all administrative procedures within the Recovery School District not unlike the processes utilized in opening the Superdome for the first Saints home game against Atlanta," Crowe's letter said.

Clarke visited the district and toured schools with Jarvis on Jan. 25, but said he did not come away with the same sense of urgency about the need for administrative changes. He said during the testimony Wednesday that he was under the impression that the district's process was up to the task.

"They just big-time dropped the ball," Crowe said.

Speaking to Clarke and Ryder at Wednesday's hearing, Sen. Derrick Shepherd, D-Marrero, said part of the problem is that decision makers who live in Baton Rouge don't feel the urgency or appreciate the challenges of New Orleans' recovery.

"You don't live in this problem, we do," Shepherd told them.

Takeover under fire

Catching the administration apparently flat-footed, opponents of the state takeover are using the issue to bolster their criticism of Blanco's move to pull the schools away from local control.

Louella Givens, a critic of the state takeover who represents New Orleans on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, said Friday that she has been sounding the alarm without getting a response.

"I have asked repeatedly that methods be investigated to get the Recovery School District out of the state procurement process," Givens said. "I've said it over and over at BESE, every chance I get."

But Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Penny Dastugue, who represents Jefferson Parish and the north shore, provided a different view.

"As a board, it had really not been brought to us," Dastugue said Friday.

Jarvis had not brought the issue to the board's attention until its January meeting, she said.

"It represents her frustration at this point, because she is the one taking this criticism," Dastugue said. "I just think she hit the end, hit the wall."

Dastugue said further meetings on the issue with education officials took place Thursday.

"I believe there's a concerted effort to work through this logjam," Dastugue said.

Crowe said the district's recovery will take years, so there is still ample time for administrative changes to have a big impact.

"We need to knock down any and every barrier, and look ahead a little bit," Crowe said. "The governor has that in her power."

Friday, February 02, 2007

No, it IS funny.

I was listening to Sirius Satellite Radio in my car on Wednesday when I heard the news that there were some keyboards found in Boston that resembled a cartoon character. I had no visuals, but I knew what it was right away. And then when I got home I watched Shepherd Smith explain exactly what the figure was. There in split screen was Err or Ignignokt, the Mooninites from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, shooting the bird at the whole world. And I watched video of the Boston Anti Terrorist Squad destroying magnetic LED lights which was funny. I imagine the conversation went like this. "Shoot the bird at this, terrorist plotters!" BOOM! This video contains blue language, red flag words, etc. But I think it sums it up nicely. And, yeah, it was funny, Boston. Geez.