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    Moon Movie September 30th, 2005

    Mike Myers (l) & Keith Moon (r)

    Mike Myers (l) & Keith Moon (r)

    Now this will probably work. The Who’s frontman Roger Daltrey is producing a film about the group’s late drummer Keith Moon. Apparently Daltrey has been wanting to make a film about “Moon the Loon” for over 10 years but only recently has it become possible. Myers has expressed interest in starring as The Who’s fantastic drummer since hearing about the movie back in 2002 but has only recently has his schedule allowed him the opportunity. Apparently the next step is to pick a director. I wonder who will be cast in the roles of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle not to mention many of the other rock stars they toured and partied with. Looking at the side-by-side pictures of Myers and Moon it becomes apparent that not a lot of makeup would be required for Myers to pass as Moon. And I think Myers has not only the comedic skills to pull off the loony side of Moon but also has the acting skills to show the compassion and tragedy that also was Keith Moon.

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    Muppets September 29th, 2005

    Muppet Stamps

    Jim Henson‘s Muppets are now on postage stamps! Where’s Rizzo? I might have to go out and get The Muppet Shows on DVD now. I remember watching them years ago. Very entertaining.

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    Chief Eddie Resigns September 27th, 2005

    New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass

    Former New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass

    Eddie Compass resigned as Chief of Police for the City of New Orleans. Some reports used the word “shocking” to describe the news, however seeing all that Mr. Compass has gone through in the past four weeks, I can’t say it’s all that shocking. He’s seen the city in which he resides devastated by Hurricane Katrina and flooded by breached levees. He’s had at least one officer under his command commit suicide due to the stress after Katrina. He’s had many police officers leave their posts (250 to 300 depending upon what report is read) when they should have been on duty. He’s been taking flak from just about everywhere. Plus he’s been under intense scrutiny all along. His sudden resignation has raised questions of whether Mayor Ray Nagin forced Compass from his job. Right now, Eddie Compass isn’t saying much. I hope he will take the opportunity at some point in the future to give a candid account of his side of the story. I for one would be very interested in hearing what he went through.

    Overall, I believe the majority of the New Orleans police department is made up of good, honest cops, but historically speaking the NOPD has a very checkered past. For example, in 1994 several New Orleans police officer were exposed by the FBI and subsequently convicted of murder. That year New Orleans attained the unwanted distinction of being “The Murder Capital of America” and when the crooked cops were indicted and convicted of murder, it shook the department to its very core. Between 1992 and 1995 roughly sixty New Orleans police officers were charged in a wide variety of crimes. Bribes were common. Extortion by NOPD officers was common. Police brutality was rampant. All of this and more earned the city the nickname of “the Big Sleazy” and gave the NOPD the well-deserved reputation as the most corrupt police department in the country.

    The mayor of New Orleans at that time was Marc Morial who defended the city’s police department and bristled at news reports of rampant police corruption. Even though he retained the police superintendent who had been appointed by his predecessor, Morial launched a nationwide search for a chief who could shake up the NOPD and set it on the road to reform. He finally chose then-Assistant Police Chief Richard J. Pennington of the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department.

    And Pennington definitely shook things up. He raised standards for hirings. He fired many unfit officers. He revamped the department’s internal affairs division and moved it outside the department in insure confidentially for citizens registering complaints against officers. It took a while but Pennington reformed the NOPD as best as it could be reformed.

    So when recent reports of NOPD officers leaving their posts surfaced as well as reports of officers breaking into unguarded homes to help themselves to contents therein, it’s really not hard to believe that not only could it be possible but probable. It’s especially believable for residents who lived with the long-term corruption that probably peaked back in the mid-90’s.

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not anti-law enforcement. To the contrary, I am very pro-law enforcement. I have many friends and relatives who are or were law enforcement officers. And I firmly believe that the vast majority of police officers, even in New Orleans, are hard-working, honest individuals who are doing the best they can with what they have to work with. I respect them and support their efforts.

    But a lot of questions will have to be answered at some point in regards to the New Orleans police department and the actions of their officers during and after Hurricane Katrina.

    Eddie Compass may not be speaking now, but at some point he will have to. And I fear what he will say will not rest well with many.

    UPDATE via NOLA.com

    By James Varney and Michael Perlstein

    The news conference ended abruptly, with Nagin and Compass quickly parting and leaving through separate exits. In response to a shouted question about whether he asked for Compass’ resignation, Nagin said, “No.” The mayor also declined to elaborate in an email Tuesday afternoon.

    “No comment,” Nagin wrote. “The chief asks everyone to respect his privacy. He requested the press conference be held the way it was handled. He is a good man. Don’t mess with him!”

    But several sources said the sudden retirement came after a private meeting between Compass, 47, and the mayor not long before the announcement.

    The announcement came two days after several comments Compass had made repeatedly about the alleged violence that had engulfed emergency shelters at the Superdome and Ernest N.Morial Convention Center were countered by others to be hyperbolic and based on faulty intelligence.

    Compass had come under fire for a variety of other reasons after Katrina. At first, he seemed invisible, holed up in the Hyatt Hotel with Nagin and other city leaders. As anarchy threatened to overwhelm the city, cops on the street said they “had no chief.”

    Widespread looting, some of it conducted by police officers, branded New Orleans worldwide as lawless, and almost 249 officers left their posts without permission.

    After that first week, however, Compass became a seemingly omnipresent fixture in media accounts, and was feted by broadcast news stars. After the crisis was in full swing, Compass was a virtual quote machine, offering a down-home mix of empathy and bravado.

    “I’m still standing. I’m the ultimate warrior,” Compass was quoted two weeks after the storm. “I’m going to be the last person to leave the battlefield.”

    While his tearful interviews made him a compelling local face of the horrors of the storm, his decision to leave the city and flip the coin at a New Orleans Saints game in Giants Stadium on Monday Night Football on Sept. 19 was criticized by some of his rank and file.

    Then, on Friday, Nagin’s press office issued an unusually tart news release that rescinded statements Compass had made to media outlets about taking guns from residents coming back to New Orleans, comments that prompted a lawsuit from the National Rifle Association. What’s more, Nagin’s staff made clear, Compass’ statements “were made without the knowledge or the approval of the mayor.”

    After Tuesday’s news conference, as the brass got into their tinted-window SUVs and rolled away, Riley, a favorite at City Hall whom Nagin supported in an unsuccessful bid for criminal sheriff last year, eluded a question about whether he has been tapped as a replacement.

    But just a few minutes after Compass quit, Riley leaned up against the hood of a black SUV, next to department spokesman Capt. Marlon Defillo, smiling and talking into a cell phone. As he hung up, another colleague walked up to him and slapped his hand.

    “Congratulations, bro!” the officer said. Riley smiled and thanked him.

    In less than an hour, Nagin’s office released a statement announcing Riley’s appointment as acting chief.

    The new head of the department declined any comment on his ascension to power or his boss’s exit, but said he would address the topic today at an 11 a.m. news conference.

    Top brass and patrol officers were jolted by the news.

    “It was a little shocking,” said Capt. Kevin Anderson, commander of the 8th District. “There was no indication earlier, but I’m sure he had his reasons. I can tell you this much: This has been the most trying incident anyone could go through in their lifetime,” referring to Katrina.

    Anderson praised Compass as an “outstanding” superintendent, who had been “a friend to me and a friend to the entire city.”

    Several district captains said they heard about Compass’ sudden retirement through the media or by telephone as the news rippled through the department. They said they were surprised that Compass didn’t follow the typical protocol of informing his officers before any public announcement.

    “I’m extremely surprised by this, but these have been surprising times,” said Police Association of New Orleans President David Benelli.

    Two captains said they met with the chief Monday and nothing seemed amiss.

    Capt. Timothy Bayard, the vice and narcotics chief who has commanded boat rescues since Katrina, said the timing of Compass’ retirement was unfortunate, whether it was voluntary or forced.

    “The timing is not good, man, not good at all,” Bayard said. “We’re in the middle of a crisis and now this? He was driving the ship. I have a lot of young officers with their heads cocked sideways, looking to someone for leadership, wondering which way they’re going. It’s going to have a trickle-down effect and it’s not the right trickle-down effect.”

    Compass is the latest in a series of high-profile members of the Nagin administration to resign during the mayor’s first term. Those who preceded him out the door included two chief administrative officers, an intergovernmental aide, the economic development director and a communications director.

    Benelli heaped praise on a man he considered both a boss and a friend.

    “The men and women of this department had a real friend in Eddie Compass. He was a cop’s cop. He rose through the ranks and he experienced the department at every level,” Benelli said. “He was the one who really brought the family tradition back to the New Orleans Police Department. He represented the spirit of this department and during the darkest hours of the hurricane, it was the spirit of the men and women of this department that kept this city afloat.”

    Other city politicians were also taken aback by the news.

    “This is a big loss. He gave a damn,” City Council President Oliver Thomas said. Thomas declined to speculate on whether Compass’ handling of the Katrina crisis precipitated his departure.

    “I have not had time to rate his performance,” he said. “All I know is he managed to keep together as much of his department as possible.”

    Council member Jackie Clarkson said she, too, had no clue this was coming, and praised Compass for “the masterful job the police did in the saving of so many citizens of New Orleans.”

    On the choice of a permanent successor for Compass, Benelli said his only preference is someone from within the department.

    “The next chief should be someone within the ranks of the NOPD. No outsider need apply,” Benelli said. “If it’s Chief (Warren) Riley or any of the deputy chiefs, I’m sure they’d serve the city well.”

    Staff writers Martha Carr, Meghan Gordon, Trymaine Lee, David Meeks, Bruce Nolan and Gordon Russell contributed to this report.

    Typical New Orleans politics. There’s a lot more to this story. I hope it comes to light.

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    Media Love Makes the Cindy Sheehan World Go Round September 26th, 2005

    Cindy Sheehan arrested in Washington

    Cindy Sheehan enjoying being arrested in Washington.

    James S. Robbins has an interesting article entitled Media Love Makes the Cindy Sheehan World Go Round which skewers the myth that the anti-war protest in Washington last Saturday is proof of increasing growth in the anti-war movement. Well worth the read.

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    Is There Such A Thing As A Just War? September 25th, 2005

    On a blog entitled “The Political Beaver” there is an entry entitled Is There Such A Thing As A Just War? which briefly examines major wars in United States history. It is an interesting read and some of the points made are pretty good and some aren’t. However what is written there on World War II is very well written and with all due credit I present it here:

    World War II. There was heated debate in the lead-in to Pearl Harbor about whether or not to join the war, with most Americans retaining isolationist feelings. Even after Pearl Harbor was bombed, most Americans wanted war only with Japan, and not Italy and Germany. After all, Germany and Italy had not attacked the US – and being an ocean away, and preoccupied with war in Russia and Africa (plus occupying Europe), could not realistically threaten to the US. Sure, German U-boats could sink American merchant ships, but we probably would’ve just cut our losses and sent all of our materiel to the Pacific – as we did in real life. And Japan probably would’ve been subdued much more quickly than they were historically.

    Yes, Adolf Hitler was one of the worst tyrants on record. So was Saddam Hussein, and his being evil and committing genocide of minorities was not considered by the Left to be an actionable offense. Nor was Saddam’s firing on US planes over the No-Fly Zones on a daily basis during the containment period after Desert Storm, which was much the same as German submarines attacking US merchant ships. So, Lefties, I put it to you: what were the reasons for the US joining the war in Europe?

    In the end, World War II was justified; fascism was virtually destroyed in the World, and hundreds of millions were freed from tyranny. But, our necessary alliance with the Soviets allowed a newer, arguably worse tyranny to take its place. In a way, World War II made the world safe for Communism.

    You can read the complete examination on The Political Beaver blog.

    I think the compare & contrast of WWII to the Iraq war in regards to anti-war sentiment is interesting and has merit. It definitely makes one think.

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    Noah’s Wish: Photos of Pets Rescued September 25th, 2005

    Noah's Wish

    Noah’s Wish

    A photoblogger by the name of Paul Wood has a link to a series of pictures showing Noah’s Wish volunteers in action. I dare urge you to look at all of them in order and read the captions. I firmly believe that you will be moved after viewing them and hopefully will donate to Noah’s Wish to help. I imagine similar things are happening over in Texas and Louisiana after Hurricne Rita as well.

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    Saturday’s March On Washington September 25th, 2005

    Anti-war protest

    So much for the hundreds of thousands predicted by ultra-liberals like Phil Donahue, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, et al. A lot less showed up. Michelle Malkin has a series of pictures from the protest rally.

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    Dr. John – “N’Awlinz Dis Dat Or D’Udda” September 25th, 2005

    Dr. John - N'Awlinz Dis Dat Or D'Udda

    I have been a longtime fan of Dr. John and was introduced to his music when “Right Place Wrong Time” was played on the radio back in the 70’s. Each Dr. John album is unique and fascinatingly different; this CD included. You could refer to this CD as “Dr. John and Friends” since there is a plethora of guest artists contributing such as Mavis Staples, Willie Nelson, Randy Newman, Snooks Eaglin, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Eddie Bo, Cyril Neville and others. Another unique feature of this album is that Dr. John brings in a lot of well-known songs like “When The Saints Go Marching In” and “Stakalee” and takes them in directions you don’t expect. For example, he makes “When The Saints Go Marching In” into more of a funeral dirge reminiscent of the first half of a New Orleans funeral parade; “St. James Infirmary” has a conga line feel to it. Even with the unique directions he takes, all of the songs have a New Orleans vibe as the album title suggests.

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    More Flooding in The Big Easy September 23rd, 2005

    More flooding in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans

    More flooding in the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans after water overtopped a levy as a result of storm surge associated with Hurricane Rita.

    To add insult to injury, more water is coming into New Orleans as I type this due to Hurricane Rita which is heading towards the Texas Gulf Coast.

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    “You Are Stuck On Stupid” – Quote of the Year? September 22nd, 2005

    Lt. General Russel L. Honore

    Lt. General Russel L. Honore

    Known affectionately as “The Ragin’ Cajun”

    Here’s the scenario: on Tuesday New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin held a press conference and the pack of reporters went on the offensive with confrontational questions in regards to government officials actions with Hurricane Rita as compared to Hurricane Katrina. Seeing Nagin losing control of the situation, the Ragin’ Cajun, Lt. General Russel L. Honore took over like a good commander should.


    Honore: And Mr. Mayor, let’s go back, because I can see right now, we’re setting this up as he said, he said, we said. All right? We are not going to go, by order of the mayor and the governor, and open the convention center for people to come in. There are buses there. Is that clear to you? Buses parked. There are 4,000 troops there. People come, they get on a bus, they get on a truck, they move on. Is that clear? Is that clear to the public?

    Female reporter: Where do they move on…

    Honore: That’s not your business.

    Male reporter: But General, that didn’t work the first time…

    Honore: Wait a minute. It didn’t work the first time. This ain’t the first time. Okay? If…we don’t control Rita, you understand? So there are a lot of pieces of it that’s going to be worked out. You got good public servants working through it. Let’s get a little trust here, because you’re starting to act like this is your problem. You are carrying the message, okay? What we’re going to do is have the buses staged. The initial place is at the convention center. We’re not going to announce other places at this time, until we get a plan set, and we’ll let people know where those locations are, through the government, and through public announcements. Right now, to handle the number of people that want to leave, we’ve got the capacity. You will come to the convention center. There are soldiers there from the 82nd Airborne, and from the Louisiana National Guard. People will be told to get on the bus, and we will take care of them. And where they go will be dependent on the capacity in this state. We’ve got our communications up. And we’ll tell them where to go. And when they get there, they’ll be able to get a chance, an opportunity to get registered, and so they can let their families know where they are. But don’t start panic here. Okay? We’ve got a location. It is in the front of the convention center, and that’s where we will use to migrate people from it, into the system.

    Male reporter: General Honore, we were told that Berman Stadium on the west bank would be another staging area…

    Honore: Not to my knowledge. Again, the current place, I just told you one time, is the convention center. Once we complete the plan with the mayor, and is approved by the governor, then we’ll start that in the next 12-24 hours. And we understand that there’s a problem in getting communications out. That’s where we need your help. But let’s not confuse the questions with the answers. Buses at the convention center will move our citizens, for whom we have sworn that we will support and defend…and we’ll move them on. Let’s not get stuck on the last storm. You’re asking last storm questions for people who are concerned about the future storm. Don’t get stuck on stupid, reporters. We are moving forward. And don’t confuse the people please. You are part of the public message. So help us get the message straight. And if you don’t understand, maybe you’ll confuse it to the people. That’s why we like follow-up questions. But right now, it’s the convention center, and move on.

    Male reporter: General, a little bit more about why that’s happening this time, though, and did not have that last time…

    Honore: You are stuck on stupid. I’m not going to answer that question. We are going to deal with Rita. This is public information that people are depending on the government to put out. This is the way we’ve got to do it. So please. I apologize to you, but let’s talk about the future. Rita is happening. And right now, we need to get good, clean information out to the people that they can use. And we can have a conversation on the side about the past, in a couple of months.

    Yup. And if that reporter took the good General up on the offer of the “conversation on the side” I imagine that reporter will understand fully why Honore is a very well respected officer in the military. Plus I would be willing to bet that Honore would run intellectual rings around that reporter. And who do you think would be intimidated in the private conversation…the reporter or the General?

    Ya just gotta love General Honore.

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    Gasoline Prices After Rita September 22nd, 2005

    Here’s what to expect starting Friday evening.

    Gas Prices after Rita

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    Katrina: What Happened When September 19th, 2005

    In an earlier blog entry, I offered up a link to a Hurricane Katrina timeline created and maintained by Rick Moran. Now FactCheck.org has a detailed timeline as well. Worthy of reading.

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    CD Baby September 18th, 2005

    CDBaby

    Just a quick rave about one of my favorite places to get great CD’s: CD Baby! It’s “a little online record store that sells CDs by independent musicians.” You can find some great stuff that’s outside big corporate labels that probably won’t be played on commercial radio (which is a shame `cause the CD’s I’ve purchased from CD Baby have been outstanding). I heard many of the artists first on an online “radio” service called Whole Wheat Radio and it was through Whole Wheat Radio that I first found out about CD Baby. Plus they accept payments via PayPal. All in all, they’re good folks, with good music for a good price. Check `em out.

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    Hurricane Katrina Relief Donations September 18th, 2005

    There are probably some who read my blog (Ya mean someone actually reads my blog???) who think that I am a PETA person. I am if by “PETA” you mean People Eating Tasty Animals. Yeah, gimme a steak!

    Anyway the point of this is to jump on the ever-growing bandwagon of donating money to hurricane relief. It’s a good bandwagon to jump on. However I’d like to place emphasis in another area of hurricane relief – the lost and abandoned pets left behind after Hurricane Katrina.

    Rescued by Humane Society Personnel

    Although millions of people are affected by Katrina’s devastation, millions of people’s pets were also affected. When an animal like a dog, cat, bird, pig, etc. is adopted into a family, it no longer is merely an animal in my opinion but becomes a loved and valued family member. So it’s completely understandable why many people refused to leave their homes because they knew whatever shelter was available it wouldn’t accept their pets. And it’s also understandable how heartbreaking it is for each person who did have to leave their beloved pets behind (not to mention the pet’s confusion as to why “mommy” and/or “daddy” is leaving).

    Fortunately many abandoned pets have been rescued by people and organizations like the Humane Society of the U.S. and Noah’s Wish. Each organization needs financial donations as well so I encourage you to consider donating something to either organization (or both).

    Noah's Wish

    Noah’s Wish

    Humane Society of the United States

    Humane Society of the United States

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    Bottlenosed Dolphins Rescued September 17th, 2005

    Trained bottlenosed dolphins being fed vitamin-enriched and medically-enhanced fish after being found in the Gulf of Mexico

    Trainers working with dolphins found in the Gulf of Mexico that were washed out to sea from the Marine Life Oceanarium due to Hurricane Katrina

    Hurricane Katrina pretty much destroyed the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi and several of the trained dolphins were swept away by the storm surge. So it’s a miracle that the dolphins were spotted several hundred yards off the Mississippi Gulf Coast and now some of the dolphins have been rescued. The remaining dolphins will hopefully be rescued as well but in the meantime they are being fed and tracked by their trainers along with a dolphin rescue team from Florida and a marine biologist from Seattle. I saw some video of the dolphins as they recognized the trainers and it was obvious that they were extremely happy to see them. They were doing flips, spins and generally doing things dolphins do when they are happy. The dolphins have been receiving food in the form of fish enriched with vitamins and medicine. The trainers plan on building up their strength since they have not been eating anything since they do not know how to hunt fish for themselves. Apparently the plan is once they are deemed strong enough, they will be brought inland to be cared for in an undisclosed location.

    Aerial view of the remains of Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi

    Aerial view of the remains of Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi

    Meanwhile, the fate of their home (the Marine Life Oceanarium) remains in limbo. Hurricane Katrina caused massive damage to the buildings and facilities as seen in the photographs below.
    Damage at Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi

    Damage at Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi

    Damage at Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi

    More damage

    Damage at Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi

    Even more damage

    Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi before Hurricane Katrina

    Before the hurricane

    Some of the Oceanarium’s sea lions were killed by the hurricane but most of them found shelter in various places nearby. One sea lion, named Andre, was found behind a casino after wandering and foraging for eleven days. Andre had lost over 100 pounds but otherwise was in decent shape and was sent to the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee to live temporarily until he is returned to the Oceanarium or moved permanently to another zoo.

    A sea lion with pup at Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi before Hurricane Katrina

    A sea lion with pup before the hurricane