Here are seven follow-ups to stories I’ve previously discussed.
1) The Hornets long-term future in the city is shaky, after negotiations between majority owner George Shinn and minority stakeholder Gary Chouest broke down, and the NBA had to step in and purchase the team. Some claimed President Obama’s temporary deepwater drilling moratorium might’ve been the dealkiller, since it had taken a toll on Chouest’s oil servicing businesses.
CBS Sports said Chicago might be interested in a second basketball team. After all, it’s a city with broad shoulders – a stable, big-market location with lots of investors. Plus it’s the home of President Barack Obama, who is a basketball fan. I can put two and two together. Clearly, Obama’s true motive for the deepwater drilling moratorium is finally revealed. Obama imposed the moratorium to scuttle the deal that would keep the Hornets in New Orleans, so that his hometown could vie for a second team. It all makes sense now.
2) To my dismay, there’s been no breakthrough gay kiss cam moment yet at the Superdome. Momentum on gay rights issues is uneven. While we have a bromantic musical overture to Quarterback Drew Brees, and a former U.S. president saying America is ready for a gay POTUS, it looks as if tomorrow’s U.S. Senate vote on the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy will come down to one or two votes. The U.S. House passed the bill, with Rep. Anh Cao, R-New Orleans, joining 14 other Republicans and 235 Democrats voting FOR repeal.
Blogger Andrew Sullivan points out that gays can serve openly in the Israel military. Why do conservatives want the United States to emulate Israel in terms of airport checkpoints, when Israel has such a lackadaisical approach to combat readiness? Don’t they care about national security?
Truly, it will be a disgrace if the policy isn’t repealed. Remember the old saying “there’s no atheists in foxholes?” If that’s true, and the dangers of combat can alter troops’ metaphysical beliefs about the crux of reality, why do we think sexual labels are a problem?
3) Two weeks ago I attended a holiday party where the Lombardi trophy was on display. When they told me I could not touch or molest it I … immediately wanted to kiss it, caress it and take it home for a one-night stand. But I resisted, and that’s probably for the best, because if you sleep with a trophy, you’re sleeping with all the trophy’s previous partners as well. Former Gov. Edwin Edwards told me that once, I think.
4) Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly came to town recently day on their Bold Fresh Tour 2010,” just a couple days after they discussed whether Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was “in bed” with George Soros. Apparently since they both like the word “open” and an attorney representing Assange has done pro bono work for Soros’ Open Society Institute, they are working together to undermine the country. Because The Lens gets funding from Soros’ Open Society Foundation, I hope Beck can tell me what my role is in the nefarious web of conspiracy. It’s grown so vast that, at this point, it’s almost an insult to be left out.
5) On a conspiratorial note, there are disturbing signs of an emerging war on New Orleans’ … beer history. First the old Deutsches Haus location had to close and will be demolished to make way for the LSU-Veterans Affairs hospital complex in Mid-City.And now according to reporter Chris Tidmore at the Louisiana Weekly, the Dixie Brewery may be destroyed in the coming weeks, rather than incorporated into the hospital plan or retrofitted to reopen as a functioning brewery. I haven’t written yet about the LSU Medical Center, but I do drink beer and figure that’s always worth a follow up.
6) My friend David Bellinger has frequently criticized Jefferson Parish political shenanigans at my old blog, Your Right Hand Thief. About a year ago David responded to Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer, who had lauded Jindal for (infuriating liberals) by taking a stand against “socialism,” and grandly refusing about 2 percent of federal stimulus money that would go to unemployment benefits. Gegenheimer claimed such benefits would “expand unemployment itself by encouraging those disinclined to work to remain unproductive and to hold out their hands to the taxpayers.” David then went on to note that Gegenheimer’s wife, Chereen, was the Chief Administrative Assistant for Jefferson Parish Government, and the Gegenheimers had loaned money and made political contributions to Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard.
Well, new Jefferson Parish President John Young fired Mrs. Gegenheimer. Then Jon Gegenheimer’s travel expenditures came under scrutiny, as he used public money to accompany his wife to film festivals in California and France, even though that had nothing to do with the job of his office. He gave two reasons for his travels, both included boxes. Gegenheimer said he was thinking “outside the box” to promote the Jefferson Parish economy, and his wife also needed someone to stack boxes at their exhibit.
T-P columnist James Gill wryly observed:
Jon Gegenheimer points out that he only spent a “tiny fraction” of the Clerk of Court’s $14 million-a-year budget on his filmic expeditions. Chronic complainers will ask why he would find it necessary to point that out, if he really thought these were legitimate expenses.
As it so happens, the soon-to-be Republican-dominated Congress just passed a tax cut deal with Obama that includes an extension of unemployment benefits. I don’t expect to read another missive by Jon Gegenheimer about unemployed folks holding their “hands out to the taxpayer.”
7) The federal government’s oil spill commission says that as far as stopping oil was concerned, Bobby Jindal’s “bermdoggle” was basically a $200 million waste. In a draft of a working paper, the commission concluded that the berms were “underwhelmingly effective and overwhelmingly expensive.” Though the report says the commission’s job is not to speculate about motives, they begin the report with a gratuitous reference to Huey Long and Louisiana’s “unique” politics, and claim that political motivations came into play. The feds and many scientists were concerned the berms couldn’t be built in time and might do more harm than good. They hemmed and hawed before giving partial approval, despite near-daily howls of protest from Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser and Jindal. Interestingly, the report takes a few direct shots at Jindal. On page 39, for example:
With the benefit of hindsight, the evidence available to the Commission staff suggests the Louisiana berms were not an effective spill response measure. In his book Leadership and Crisis, Governor Jindal claims that berms “proved to be one of the most effective protection measures . . . . Indeed, time and time again, [berms] stopped the oil that got past the skimmers and boom.” Similarly, appearing recently on Meet the Press, Governor Jindal argued “[t]he sand berms were a great success.”
When the government’s report was released, Jindal dismissed the report as “partisan revisionist history.” He’s not all wrong to say the report has partisan skew, but he is entirely wrong to say the berms were “one of the most effective protection measures” against the oil. That’s an indefensible claim. If he thinks Louisiana got good value from the $200 million sand berms, that doesn’t bode well for his ability to make necessary, well-considered spending cuts in the coming year.
Jindal will be signing copies of “Leadership and Crisis” at the Borders store in Metairie on Saturday afternoon.