28 February 2011

Coxsucker Internet Service And Lying Commercials

Cox is the worst company on earth, and not because they hired Ray Nagin as a Regional VP before he was elected mayor of New Orleans. Their internet service is so slow and their digital cable goes out on a regular basis. I call to complain at least once a month.

I have become incensed by Cox's stupid commercials that claim to have the fastest internet, and cox spends a lot of money making those commercials instead of upgrading their systems.

Cox brags about its fiber-optic lines, but less than 20% (my guess) of their lines are fiber-optic. Their equipment is antiquated, their modems and nodes (the devices that split the cable signal from the line to your house) are more than 10 years old. The nodes were designed to handle 12 accounts and they now handle 2 and 3 times that, which is one reason why your service is so slow. Cox is splitting the nodes and slowly switching to fiber-optic cables, but they can't tell you when it will happen. In the meantime, they happily charge you the full rate for crappy service.

Lafayette installed a fiber-optic internet service as a public utility (because Cox was reluctant to put one in) and they get impressive speeds at half the cost we pay in New Orleans.

Jindal Killed Jobs in Louisiana

How this story didn't see the light of day is beyond me, but BJ's rejection of stimulus money to build a rail line between Baton Rouge & New Orleans has had a very negative effect on job creation and tax revenues.

Creating that line would have spawned over 10,000 permanent jobs. Hard to believe? The rail line (killed by Scott Walker) in Wisconsin between Madison and Milwaukee is 90 miles long and, according to a 2006 economic analysis, it would have created nearly 10,000 jobs.

A 90 mile train line would need an infrastructure to support it, not just the porters and conductors and brakemen. There would also be repairmen, cleaning crews, station employees, restaurant employees, food purveyors--the list goes on and on.

The state would benefit from sales tax collected on everything sold to the passengers AND the $18 million annual cost cited by Jindal is compleatly bogus. The Feds would pay nearly all the maintenance costs. And if you don't think that people would use that train just to go to and from the Airport, well, you've been drinking the Tea. That travel alone would reduce traffic on the I-10, and so reduce accidents and the public cost of dealing with those accidents and the traffic snarls they cause.

22 February 2011

How Did Jindal Become A Millionaire?

Porpoises are turning up dead on the Mississippi and Alabama coast at 10 times the normal rate and I am sure BP had nothing to do with it. But back in July I said that we and the Gulf are screwed for at least 30 years, so let me talk about the Gov.

Jindal has held only a single job in the private sector, when he was 24. He worked one year for a consulting firm and for the last 16 years he has been paid by taxpayers, either as an appointee or as an elected official. But he is a multi-millionaire. How does that work? His parents weren't rich -- his mother worked as a bureaucrat in Gov. Foster's administration -- so they didn't give it to him.  A US Congressman gets $165,000 a year. How did he amass his millions?

He did lure Albemarle to LA with huge tax incentives, and he had over a quarter million dollars invested in that company in 2005 when his wife worked for them. And Albemarle happily contributed to both of his runs for Governor. But from where did those multi-millions come?

It does seem a mystery, but his wealth helps explain his war on Louisiana. The stupid rich don't think they benefit from public schools, public health and public wealfare -- all those things formerly called 'the commonweal '-- so they work to destroy it. Yet the Republican Governors in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Ohio, and Florida are so outrageously attacking the less-than-rich that they are making Jindal look like a small-time piker.

He's not. Just remember that he's not done yet.

13 February 2011

Angry about Stupid Conservatives

This is a rant, it is my opinion and I cannot (or wish to) back it up with any references that I am usually fond of using like footnotes.

A long time ago, back in the 60's and 70's, the Conservatives seemed almost reasonable, they just had a different point of political view of our national landscape. Now, they foster a less moderate view than the John Birch Society or the KKK. I did say this was a rant.

I live in New Orleans, in the milieu of Louisiana, and I like our Charity Hospitals, I like Public Healthcare, I like Public Education, I like Public Transportation.

Paying taxes? Well, that goes back to the Fertile Triangle. Civilization has always paid taxes. It comes down to what you want and what you expect from government. Do you want Police and Firemen? Do you want drinking water and sewerage disposal, do you want recycling? How about education, parks, museums, music? If so, you must pony up with the taxes.

12 February 2011

BP Oil Disaster Still With Us

Bp's Disaster is very much here and now:

The national media have given up reporting on the consequences of BP's Deepwater Horizon Disaster in spite of the story being very much alive. Rachel Maddow reported last June on BP's lack of interest in funding research on oil spill clean up, but no one else cared. We don't hear much about tar continuing to pollute Gulf Beaches. John L. Wathen wrote about BP's literal cover up of oily beaches last June, but his blog pages on the subject have vanished (although some new writing is here and here).
The media fail to report that there are more rigs in the Gulf, not less, than a year ago and they don't give much coverage to  disaster related stories, such as the Congressional hearings on offshore drilling safety, on Obama's leaning to decline to set up an independent agency within the Dept of Interior (to function like the FBI in Justice) that was recommended by the set up to investigate the oil disaster.

This is part of the sad commentary of the moribund condition of our media. We saw it after the Federal Flood and after the Bp Disaster, and we are seeing it again in Egypt as I write this. This is what happens when News reporting becomes Entertainment.

09 February 2011

Jindal Attacks the Healthcare Reform Law

The Gov's hypocrisy continues. He (along with 20 other Republican governors) is asking Obama to make 6 major changes to the 2010 Health Care reform IF the Supreme Court doesn't overturn it. He wishes states had been given more opportunity to provide input when the Act was being drafted. He argues that the Act will create a huge unfunded mandate on the states.

This is baloney. He has seen the CBO's assessment of the cost of the law and he knows it will actually reduce Medicare costs to the states while increasing the number of people covered.

He is also concerned that the federal government will end up running the health exchanges instead of the states. I say, bring on the Feds! Jindal has proven that he wants to destroy public health services. When he was Secretary of DHH, his claim to fame was "saving money" by closing dozens of clinics across the state. He closed down the Youth Psychology Clinic in New Orleans when we were in dire need of it in the aftermath of Katrina, the Federal Flood and the BP disaster.

But think about this: if the Supreme Court doesn't overturn the law, why would Obama change it for the worse? This is another publicity stunt by Jindal to stay on the national stage.

08 February 2011

Reagan: Killer, Coward, Con-man

I am sick of this crap about Reagan being the greatest President--he was one of the worst. He was a second rate actor and a third rate politician. His Presidency was a total snow job. And the wacko Neo-Cons who admire him would be appalled by his politics. Disagree? Read this:

Reagan: Killer, Coward, Con-man 
The Observer London
by Greg Palast
Monday, February 7, 2011

You're not going to like this. You shouldn't speak ill of the dead. But in this case, someone's got to. 

On the 100th Anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth, as we suffer a week of Reagan-kitcheria and pukey peons, let us remember: 

Reagan was a con-man. Reagan was a coward. Reagan was a killer. 

In 1987, I found myself stuck in a crappy little town in Nicaragua named Chaguitillo. The people were kind enough, though hungry, except for one surly young man. His wife had just died of tuberculosis. 

People don't die of TB if they get some antibiotics. But Ronald Reagan, big-hearted guy that he was, had put a lock-down embargo on medicine to Nicaragua because he didn't like the government that the people there had elected. 

Ronnie grinned and cracked jokes while the young woman's lungs filled up and she stopped breathing. Reagan flashed that B-movie grin while they buried the mother of three. 

And when Hezbollah terrorists struck and murdered hundreds of American marines in their sleep in Lebanon, the TV warrior ran away like a whipped dog - then turned around and invaded Grenada. That little Club Med war was a murderous PR stunt so Ronnie could hold parades for gunning down Cubans building an airport. 

I remember Nancy, a skull and crossbones prancing around in designer dresses, some of the "gifts" that flowed to the Reagans - from hats to million-dollar homes - from cronies well compensated with government loot. It used to be called bribery. 

And all the while, Grandpa grinned, the grandfather who bleated on about "family values" but didn't bother to see his own grandchildren. 

The New York Times, in its canned obit, wrote that Reagan projected, "faith in small town America" and "old-time values." 

"Values" my ass. It was union-busting and a declaration of war on the poor and anyone who couldn't buy designer dresses. It was the New Meanness, bringing starvation back to America so that every millionaire could get another million. 

"Small town" values? From the movie star of the Pacific Palisades, the Malibu mogul? I want to throw up. 

And all the while, in the White House basement, as his brain boiled away, Reagan's last conscious act was to condone a coup d'état against our elected Congress. Reagan's Defense Secretary Casper the Ghost Weinberger with the crazed Colonel, Ollie North, plotted to give guns to the Monster of the Mideast, Ayatolla Khomeini. 

Reagan's boys called Jimmy Carter a weanie and a wuss although Carter wouldn't give an inch to the Ayatollah. Reagan, with that film-fantasy tough-guy con in front of cameras, went begging like a coward cockroach to Khomeini, pleading on bended knee for the release of our hostages. 

Ollie North flew into Iran with a birthday cake for the maniac mullah - no kidding - in the shape of a key. The key to Ronnie's heart. 

Then the Reagan roaches mixed their cowardice with crime: taking cash from the hostage-takers to buy guns for the "contras" - the drug-runners of Nicaragua posing as freedom fighters. 

I remember as a student in Berkeley the words screeching out of the bullhorn, "The Governor of the State of California, Ronald Reagan, hereby orders this demonstration to disperse" - and then came the teargas and the truncheons. And all the while, that fang-hiding grin from the Gipper. 

In Chaguitillo, all night long, the farmers stayed awake to guard their kids from attack from Reagan's Contra terrorists. The farmers weren't even Sandinistas, those 'Commies' that our cracked-brained President told us were 'only a 48-hour drive from Texas.' What the hell would they want with Texas, anyway? 

Nevertheless, the farmers, and their families, were Ronnie's targets. 

In the deserted darkness of Chaguitillo, a TV blared. Weirdly, it was that third-rate gangster movie, "Brother Rat." Starring Ronald Reagan. 

Well, mis amigos, your kids can sleep easy tonight.  The Rat is dead. 

All week you're going to hear about how Reagan restored America's sense of patriotism - as if heartless slaughter, Club Med wars and making racism respectable are patriotic . (When they said "small town values" you know the color of the town, don't you?). 

I wonder if the Reaganauts can recognize any of the weapons they sold the mullahs when they see students gunned down in Teheran. 

I do plan a memorial, for the victims, not the victimizer. 

Please join me in commemorating the ill star that brought us a celluloid cowboy on his movie-set horsey by lighting a candle for a mom from Chaguitillo. 
This obituary was originally published in The London Observer on Reagan's death in 2004. 

02 February 2011

Christian's, Redeemed

Another milestone in the recovery of Mid-City: Redemption Restaurant opened its doors yesterday and it is a beautiful revival of a glorious New Orleans Restaurant, Christian's. Christian's opened on Veterans near Bonnabel in 1975 and moved to the former Lutheran church at the corner of North Scott and Iberville in 1977. It was one of 5 restaurants that revitalized Creole cuisine. It's Chef, Roland Huet (who died in Spring 2010), trained from boyhood in his family's restaurant (sadly, I do not know the name) in Paris and was recruited by Chris Ansel to work at Galatoire's. He was not happy there and decamped with Chris Ansel to open Christian's.
The Federal Flood worked its Black Arts on the building with 8 feet of turgid water, and Hank Bergeron, Chris's partner who became sole owner a few years earlier, felt he was not up to the monumental task of rebuilding the hallowed restaurant.
The building languished until Tommy Delaune (owner of Tommy's Seafood, one of the largest seafood processors in the US) bought the building. It served briefly as a church (Unitarian, I think) until Mr Delaune decided Mid-City had enough churches and a restaurant would benefit Mid-City more.
Full disclosure: I work there as a waiter, but that in no way biases me. Chef Michelle's food is delicious and the presentation is gorgeous. Feel free to ask for me (I go by "John") if you go to try it.