Saturday, June 30, 2007

B-Stupid Outsmarted by the Feds

Brilliant criminal mastermind and Mensa member Ivory Brandon "B-Stupid" Harris was outsmarted by federal authorities, leading to his arrest and guilty plea on charges of violating drug trafficking and firearms laws. B-Stupid admits that he, Calvert "Soulja" Magee, Jr. and others conspired to deal at least 50 grams of crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana and that he played a part in the Fat Tuesday 2006 fatal shooting of Jermaine "Manny" Wise. Who would have thought that "B-Stupid" would be smart enough to out think a guy named "Wise"? Police say B-Stupid has been running the streets of Uptown for years, leaving a trail of violence and crime in his wake. With a nickname like B-Stupid, I never thought the feds had a chance of outwitting him.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Stake in Hornets Sold

George Shinn, majority owner of the New Orleans Hornets, has sold or plans to sell a 25% stake in the team to Galliano businessman Gary Chouest, owner of Edison Chouest Offshore.

Outsource Your Own Job and Pocket the Difference

Wired Magazine writes about a programmer who outsourced his own job to a developer in India. He earned $67,000 and paid the Indian $12,000 to do the same job, spending only 90 minutes a day working.
"About a year ago I hired a developer in India to do my job. I pay him $12,000 to do the job I get paid $67,000 for. He's happy to have the work. I'm happy that I only have to work 90 minutes a day, talking code. My employer thinks I'm telecommuting. Now I'm considering getting a second job and doing the same thing."
Considering getting a second job? He should get 10 jobs and outsource them all.

Besides outsourcing your own job, you can also outsource your personal life -- I'll post more on that soon.

Businesses Give Garbage Company Free Meals

Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House served poor boys to about 50 garbage men from SDT Waste & Debris Services, the company owned by Sidney Torres. Quarter businesses have been so pleased with the trash collection in recent months that the French Quarter Business Association tries to arrange free lunches every 60 days. Pretty remarkable that a garbage company can do its job so well that businesses who pay for trash collection nevertheless offer free lunches to show their appreciation.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bill Increases Required Auto Insurance to $25,000

Some Louisiana vehicle owners will have to have more liability insurance coverage if Gov. Kathleen Blanco signs into law a bill the Senate sent her Tuesday. On a 25-12 vote, senators voted to expand the present $10,000 coverage for property damage or a single injury or fatality in an accident to $25,000. The bill also expands the coverage for multiple injuries or deaths in an accident from $20,000 to $50,000.

The current 10/20 compulsory minimum is laughably low and means that we all have to essentially self-insure ourselves against at-fault drivers through uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The number of uninsured drivers and drivers with only the minimum $10,000 coverage means that UM premiums are much higher than they should be. The irony is that we essentially have to self-insure for accidents, yet because we are not a no-fault state, the coverage is expensive because of the massive cost (read: attorney's fees) of our tort-based system. Increasing the minimum required coverage from 10/20 to 25/50 is an adequate start, and the state should increase enforcement of minimum coverages and impose stiffer penalties for violations.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dry Cleaner Wins $67 Million Lost Pants Case

Administrative Law Judge Roy Pearson's bogus $67 million lawsuit against his dry cleaner for losing a pair of trousers has ended in defeat. In fairness to Pearson, he had reduced his initial greedy $67 million demand to a mere $54 million. Washington D.C. Superior Judge Judith Bartnoff ruled that the owners of Custom Cleaners did not violate the city's consumer protection law by failing to live up to what Pearson claimed was his expectation of the "satisfaction guaranteed" sign in the store's window. Bartnoff ordered that Pearson pay the dry cleaner's court costs, and he will consider the dry cleaner's motion to recover his attorney's fees.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Greg Sonnier Appointed Executive Chef at New Orleans Grill

After all the controversy over Gabrielle Restaurant reopening Uptown, Greg Sonnier has moved on to the position of executive chef at The Grill Room The New Orleans Grill in the Windsor Court Hotel. Rumor has it he served as personal chef to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie while trying to reopen Gabrielle.

NOWFE's Economic Impact: $5.4 Million

Monday, June 25, 2007

Proposed State Budget Loaded with Pork

Forgotston provides a massive list of pork handouts proposed for the State budget. My personal favorite is the $150,000 for the "State Programs Program for restoration of key programs." Aside from that, there are handouts to a massive number of churches, gun clubs, civic groups and whoever else has a friend in the Legislature.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Nagin Hires Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Just when you think Ray Nagin can't get any nuttier, he goes and hires an Indian spiritual guru to heal the City's problems. His holiness' name is Ravi Shankar, but he prefers to be called Sri Sri, which is apparently some term of respect among leaders of this sort. Reminds me of "the Maestro" on Seinfeld, only this isn't a sitcom, this is our actual Mayor throwing taxpayer money down the toilet.

Sri Sri Ravi's central message is that humans are like bananas, nourished by spiritual values common to all world religions and most individual spiritual paths, while the symbols and practices of these religions are like the banana's skin. I am not making this up. His aim is to foster a secularized, humanized, non-exclusive spirituality that will help people recognize the good in every human being.

Perhaps if things don't work out with his holiness Sri Sri, Nagin can ask the Church of Scientology to help us out. God help us all.

Sun Ray Grill Buys Cotton Mill Space

Sun Ray Grill has reached an agreement to buy the space it leases from Pres Kabacoff's HRI in the Cotton Mill building in the Warehouse District. Their signature drink, which I enjoy, is the El Presidente Margarita.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vitter Leads Opposition to Kennedy Amnesty Bill

Senator David Vitter is leading Senate opposition to the Ted Kennedy Illegal Alien Amnesty bill.

State Sticks Head in Sand on Road Home Fiasco

The State has decided to stop counting how many billions of dollars short they are on funding the Road Home program. Let's see, it was supposed to be a $5 billion arithmetic error, but since they're refusing to crunch any new numbers, let's assume that $5 billion is on the low side and will increase significantly when Baton Rouge decides to give the people an update. If a business mismanaged its operations this way, its leaders would be fired immediately.

A Day in the Life of Mose Jefferson

This week, news of another Jefferson family bribe surfaced, this time involving Orleans Parish School Board member Ellenese Brooks-Simms' guilty plea to charges that she accepted more than $100,000 in bribes from Mose Jefferson, indicted Congressman Bill Jefferson's brother, in exchange for supporting a multi-million dollar contract for math improvement software. It makes you wonder what Mose does with himself all day. Bill has a job in Congress and sometimes is distracted from all the bribes by official business, fundraisers, rubber chicken dinners and the like, and he probably can't accept suitcases of illegal cash when he has to be in the Capitol itself. Moses, on the other hand, seems to be free to conduct his bribes full time, all day every day. I wonder how he divides his time. He has to service existing bribes. Then there's that delightful Jefferson family tradition of increasing their take every year. If the Jeffersons land you a prime government contract, they may only force you to pay 10% of your profits to one of their family businesses during the first year, but you know the percentage is going to go up every year, and someone has to negotiate those increases. Then, like any business, he has to solicit new bribes - can't exactly run a commercial on tv for that. Mose probably leads a very busy life servicing existing bribes, increasing the family's take on existing bribes and soliciting new bribes.

14% of Americans are Idiots

A new Gallup poll says that 14% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in Congress. Who are these idiots? Have they read the Kennedy Amnesty bill?

Morial Buddy Sentenced to 9 Years for Fraud

Former Mayor Marc Morial's top aide Kerry DeCay has been sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in the City's fraudulent energy savings contract. Morial declined comment for the story, as he continues to hide out in New York until the statute of limitations for his crimes expires.

Shhhhh, Don't Tell FEMA Our Roads Weren't Perfect Before Katrina

Say what you will about Ray Nagin's performance as Mayor, but somehow he managed to convince FEMA that our roads were in good shape before Katrina and that we need federal money to return them to their pristine pre-Katrina condition. I suppose the only person dumb enough to believe a lie like that is a federal bureaucrat.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sammy Kershaw Versus Mitch Landrieu

Country singer Sammy Kershaw is running for Lieutenant Governor against incumbent Mitch Landrieu. Sammy's hits include "She Don't Know She's Beautiful." He is married to Lorrie Morgan, her fifth marriage. She has experience with entertainers turned politicians, having dated Fred Thompson in the 1990s.

Fred Thompson's Website: I'm With Fred

Fred Thompson's new website: I'm With Fred.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"Justice for Jefferson" is a Joke

A local group calling itself "Justice for Jefferson" is fighting for Congressman Bill Jefferson. It issued a lengthy statement that makes no sense (full text here) and argues for "justice" for Dollar Bill. When most of us think of justice for Bill Jefferson, we envision him wearing an orange jumpsuit in a cell in a federal penitentiary somewhere. Not this group, which is led by the head of the local NAACP, Danatus King. Black leadership in New Orleans is nonexistent.

The Definition of a Judicial Activist

Judge "suspend all prosecutions" Hunter is at it again, playing Governor/Legislature/Judge/God all at once. His latest pronouncement is that "[t]he court is 'cautiously optimistic' that much-needed indigent defense reform legislation will be passed by the Louisiana Legislature," Hunter wrote in a statement. "But whether the legislation will include adequate funding remains to be seen."

Jefferson's Second Amendment Hypocrisy

Congressman Bill Jefferson, who has achieved a grade of "F" from the NRA for his anti-gun record, apparently only seeks to disarm the rest of us, not himself. He admitted to keeping rifles and shotguns in his home and was forced to surrender them in response to his indictment.

John Georges Officially Running for Governor

It's official. John Georges is running for Governor.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Judge Charles Elloie to Retire in Disgrace

Criminal Court Judge Charles Elloie, infamous for letting criminals free for little or no bail, will retire on July 1. Good riddance. "This closes the chapter on one of the most embarrassing tenures of judicial misconduct in the history of the city of New Orleans," said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a nonprofit watchdog group that for years criticized Elloie's judgment in setting bail that typically amounted to a free pass out of jail. Now, if we can get rid of Judge Arthur Hunter, the City will be even safer.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

National WW II Museum Features Battle of Midway

The D-Day Museum, now known as the National World War II Museum, is hosting an exhibit on the Battle of Midway. The museum continues its emphasis on the Pacific theater. Midway, in which U.S. naval forces crushed a Japanese attempt to seize the strategic island 65 years ago this month, is widely viewed as the turning point in the war against Japan.

Boehner Seeks Jefferson Expulsion

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) moved quickly to force the expulsion of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) from Congress following his indictment Monday on federal corruption charges.

Jefferson Steps Down From House Committee

A day after being indicted on bribery and racketeering charges, Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, has decided to step down temporarily from his lone House committee assignment, his Capitol Hill office said Tuesday. Jefferson's decision to abandon the Small Business Committee came as fellow Democrats were preparing to meet to decide whether to eject him from the panel and Republicans are pushing for his resignation from Congress. A spokeswoman for Jefferson said it would be a "temporary leave" not a resignation from the panel.

New Orleans Seafood Festival

The New Orleans Seafood Festival is this weekend in the Quarter.

Nagin for Governor or U.S. House?

Recent speculation has focused on Mayor Ray Nagin's interest in running for Governor. Given the timing of Rep. Jefferson's indictment, will he run for Jefferson's post if Jefferson resigns or is removed from office? I think it's unlikely that Jefferson will do the honorable thing and resign, or that the Democrats in control of Congress will force him out, so he may be stuck as a lame duck do-nothing legislator until he is convicted, which will take some time. Nagin may not want to wait that long before making his move.

Jefferson Should Resign

Congressman Bill Jefferson should resign while he works on his "honorable explanation" for the charges against him. Every waking minute he spends will be focused on his defense, not on doing any good for the people of Louisiana. And besides, we all know he's guilty.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Jindal: Government Spending is Out of Control

Bobby Jindal states the obvious: our elected officials are spending our taxpayer dollars like drunken sailors.
This massive increase in government spending cannot be entirely blamed on hurricane recovery efforts. The simple truth is that government spending is out of control. From serving in Congress over the past three years I can tell you firsthand that government spending in Washington is out of control. And it appears to be contagious, as Louisiana is also on a spending binge of historic proportions. There is no individual, no family, and no business that could survive with these unbridled, undisciplined, and irresponsible spending sprees.

Gary Beard to Run Against Mitch Landrieu

A Republican state lawmaker from Baton Rouge announced Monday he will challenge incumbent Democratic Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in the Oct. 20 election. State Rep. Gary Beard, 51, was elected to the state House in 2001, representing East Baton Rouge Parish. Beard has introduced bills to ban cloning and "partial birth" abortion in Louisiana. Landrieu, a Democrat from New Orleans, will seek re-election. Beard said Louisiana needed to make a change in direction. He described himself as a "pro-family" candidate who supports smaller government and lower taxes — areas not under the discretion of the lieutenant governor. The lieutenant governor is Louisiana's tourism chief, overseeing the state Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Beard framed the lieutenant governor's job as more than just the head of the state's tourism efforts, saying it's about "an office which is next in line to the governor."

Bill Jefferson Indicted

Today, a federal grand jury indicted Congressman William Jefferson on 16 charges including bribery, racketeering, obstruction of justice and money laundering. Here is the full text of the Jefferson indictment.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Gabrielle Restaurant Gives Up

Greg and Mary Sonnier have given up their effort to open Gabrielle Restaurant, their acclaimed Mid-City restaurant, Uptown on Henry Clay. Everyone has a different version of what transpired, with various players blaming the Sonniers, Shelley Midura, Eddie Sapir, Clancy's, Monkey Hill and Jay Batt. The Sonniers fault Shelley Midura and Eddie Sapir. Ashley blames the Sonniers, rips Jay Batt and defends Shelley Midura. Ernie, who lives right next to the Uptowner/Gabrielle, has the best coverage, and make sure to read the comments to his post also.

Pizza Hut Helps NOPD

Larry Lundy, the owner and operator of more than 50 Pizza Hut franchises in the state, donated 3,600 square feet of corporate office space, and in less than 45 days it was transformed from a former dentist's office to a spotless New Orleans Police Department district police station. The former station -- home to 75 officers -- was comprised of one-room FEMA trailers. Space was limited, supplies were scant, and morale was tested, officers said. They shared one bathroom, which didn't have a sink.

Blanco's $5 Billion Arithmetic Error

The tab for Governor Kathleen Blanco's incompetence in funding the Road Home program continues to spiral out of control. The latest estimates is that the program is underfunded by $5 billion, with a B, not an M.

Fred Thompson Plans to Run for President

Politician-turned-actor Fred Thompson plans an unconventional campaign for president using blogs, video posts and other Internet innovations to reach voters repelled by politics-as-usual in both parties, he told USA Today. Thompson, a former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, has been coy about his intentions with audiences, but made clear in an interview that he plans to run. Story here.

Hurricane Season Tips from Mr. Bill

State of the City: Blame Everyone But Nagin

Mayor Ray Nagin gave his State of the City address and blamed everybody on the planet except for himself for the City's sluggish recovery. The full text of his remarks are here.
"It's not our fault that the levees breached that the federal government built," he said, launching into the speech's singular moment of unscripted oratory and rousing the night's only standing ovation. "It's not our fault that we were stranded and left. It's not our fault that the Road Home program has issued only 12 percent of the grants after almost two years. It's not our fault that our water system is leaking today. It's not our fault."

To see local bloggers who disliked the speech, see Moldy City, Library Chronicles, et al. For bloggers who liked the speech, see here: .