Archive for February 2009

I’d Trade Mine For A Couple Of Dobermans

February 26, 2009

Woman allegedly swaps children for cockatoo.

I wouldn’t really, of course. And don’t read that story unless you want to be seriously depressed.

The Problem With Being Catholic In The South

February 26, 2009

You still have to sing crap like “Softly and Tenderly.”

Don’t get me wrong, I miss some of the songs from the old Baptist Hymnal. This ain’t one of them. Sentimental, shallow and even theologically questionable, it has all the power and insight of a monster ballad. Not even Johnny Cash could make that song endurable.

The worst part, though, is all the awful childhood church memories it brought back when we sang it at the Ash Wednesday mass last night. It’s the end of the service. You’ve made it through Sunday School. You survived the singing. The preacher has finished. You’re hungry and dying to go eat. All that’s left is the invitation for the sinners to walk the aisle and repent. And accompanying that time of invitation is either “Just as I Am” or “Softly and Tenderly.”

Each of these songs is interminable; just when you think it’s finished, you start another verse. And you never know when the preacher is going to kill the invitation. Maybe he knows he didn’t have his “A” game and stops it after two verses. Maybe he strings it out for the whole song, getting your hopes up with every chorus only to say “one more time.” Even when you reach the final verse, you aren’t truly safe. Until the last note finishes, someone could always decide to walk the aisle and then you have to start all over again.

Now this whole experience is a terrible dilemma. On the one hand, it is someone’s everlasting soul at stake. On the other, you’re hungry and ready to go. So every week, it’s “Man, I hope this ends quick, no wait, that’s wrong, someone needs to get saved. Oh, but I’m hungry, they need to make it quick.” The result is you can never leave church feeling completely happy with yourself. You’ll also never hear this song without thinking of this problem.

Anyway, even if I have to sing the stupid song that reminds of this experience, at least I’ll never have to experience it again.


I Feel Sorrier For Kenneth Than Jindal

February 25, 2009

One’s a great character on 30 Rock, the other – thanks to his stink bomb of a speech last night – is drawing comparisons to said character. Poor Kenneth. Here and here are all the relevant critiques about the end of Jindal’s POTUS dreams.

Oh well, at least PBJ got one of my favorite eatin’ places some national attention thanks to this NPR story:

At the Southfield Grill in Shreveport, La., residents have mixed opinions.

That in itself is remarkable; I’m stunned they found anyone in Shreveport who would criticize PBJ. He must have done poorly.

Plus He’s The Most Annoying D.J. In Shreveport

February 25, 2009

Hopefully this means I’ll be listening to someone else on 99x during the drive home in the afternoons:

A local radio disc jockey faces charges as a result of a two-week investigation into alleged improper Internet activities with minors.

Heath Hill, better known as DJ Skinny and host of KTUX 99X The Rock Station’s afternoon show, was arrested Tuesday on two counts each of computer-aided solicitation of a minor for sexual purposes and pornography involving juveniles and one count each of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile and indecent behavior with a juvenile.

The 31-year-old, of the 5900 block of Manitoba in Shreveport, was arrested in the parking lot of a business at Youree Drive at Southfield Road, where he believed he would be meeting two 15-year-old girls. Instead, the Northwest Louisiana Internet Crimes Against Children Force and Caddo sheriff’s detectives were waiting for him.

Sadly, his page is still on the 99x website, which features this piece of biographical information:

People would be shocked if they knew…

My first job was being the mouse at Chuck E. Cheese.

In light of today’s news? Not so much.

New Loop At Veteran’s Park

February 24, 2009

I spent the last two days finishing some stuff we started on that work day last month and adding a few little things so that now you can do one complete loop featuring: 1) two wicked downhills; 2) two long but doable switchbacked climbs; 3) several very nice views out over the river, and; 4) the whole loop around the pond.

You’ll never ride (or walk or run) the same section of trail twice. I think it flows pretty intuitively; you won’t have to stop and guess what way to go. Just to be sure, though, I marked the new loop with Mardi Gras beads.

I don’t know how long it is, maybe a mile and a half. It’s a super nice addition to the stoner trails, which are much longer but lack the variations in elevation Veteran’s has. Next time you’re at stoner, take the paved bike path from the boat launch area towards downtown, when it goes left, follow it under northbound Clyde Fant, through the frisbee golf course and under southbound Clyde Fant. Then follow it up a little hill, veer right at the top and look for an obvious trailhead on the left just before the pond. After that, follow the beads and enjoy.

My Favorite Piece Of Mardi Gras Crap

February 23, 2009

They throw more than beads. In addition to the trash bag full of those, we caught plastic cups, frisbees, footballs, stuffed animals, doubloons, and all kinds of candy. Two other objects, though, were truly unique.

The first, thanks to the Krewe of Barbeque, was a couple of hot dogs. Allie enjoyed those.

Here’s the second:


BFD, you say? It’s only a toy shark? Well, check out the shark’s belly:


If you can't read it, it says: "Jack Bailey Law Corportation. Don't Get Mad, Get Even."

That is genius. Don’t run from your stereotypes, embrace them!

Parade Pics

February 22, 2009

Some of the folks who read this blog probably have never seen a Mardi Gras parade, so I thought I’d put up some pics and video (all of which are perfectly safe to view anywhere) of the two from this weekend.

Last night before the Krewe of Gemini parade:


The theme was “Bring Back the ’80’s.”


Waiting patiently at the Krewe of Highland parade:


It almost looks like he’s flipping us off:


Video from the Krewe of Highland parade:

Parade’s done and it’s time to go home:


Justice Louisiana Style

February 19, 2009

Stunning work by Radley Balko:

Several months ago, I was able to obtain a pretty shocking video of one of Dr. Michael West’s infamous post-mortem “bite mark examinations.” This particular exam was performed on a 23-month-old Louisiana girl named Haley Oliveaux. As with most cases, Dr. Steven Hayne performed the initial examination on Oliveaux, claimed to have seen bite marks no other doctors saw, then called in West to perform his quackery bite mark analysis. West claimed to have traced the bite marks to Jimmie Duncan, the boyfriend of Oliveaux’s mother, and the man police suspected of murdering the girl. Duncan was convicted of capital murder, and has spent the last 10 years on death row.

The smoking gun video damns West and Hayne in two ways. First, as it opens, West is performing his initial examination. The video clearly shows that when the body of Haley Oliveaux was handed over to West and Hayne, her face was free of any abrasions or bite marks. Her cheek is clean.

The second portion of the video, taken the following day, then shows a striking abrasion. That abrasion could only have been inflicted by someone in Hayne’s office. The video also shows that Hayne must have been lying when he testified at trial that he found bite marks on the Oliveaux’s cheek, then called West in to do an analysis. The first portion of the video, taken after Hayne’s initial exam, shows no such bite marks.

The more obvious thing the video shows is Michael West repeatedly jamming, scraping, and pushing a mold of Jimmie Duncan’s teeth into Haley Oliveaux’s body, actions experts to whom I’ve shown the video say amount to criminal evidence tampering. The excerpt posted at Reason is only 30 seconds long. But the full video spans 24 minutes, during which West uses the mold to desecrate Oliveaux’s body at least 50 times.

The results of West’s “analysis” were then used to help convict Jimmie Duncan of raping and murdering Haley Oliveaux.

In short, two “expert” witnesses in the state of Louisiana manufactured evidence that was then used to put a man on death row. That’s bad enough. But these guys have testified in hundreds of cases over the last few decades. The whole story is here.

More About Calvin Lester

February 19, 2009

Thanks to Mr. No Saggy Pants, we have the funniest headline of the week in the Times: “Shreveport Council to Public: You can trust us.” Why did they have to hold a press conference to tell us they are not all crooks and/or idiots? Here’s why:

Six of Shreveport’s seven City Council members held a news conference today to address the legal controversy surrounding fellow Councilman Calvin Lester — distancing themselves from Lester and a judgment in a civil suit that found he conspired with another man to damage the property of a rock-crushing operation Lester wanted closed. . . . .

Lester and acquaintance Alphonso Williams, who owns a Shreveport trucking company, have been found responsible by a Caddo District Court judge for dumping 250 truck loads of clay muck on Blount Brothers’ rock crusher site in 2006.

Lester led the charge in the City Council to shut down the North Hearne Avenue site, which was in his district.

The owner of the rock crusher, Blount Brothers, sued over the dumping and won a judgment against Lester and Williams. The two men face an April 21 trial in which a judge will decide if they should be responsible for paying to clean up Blount Brothers’ property.

Got that? Calvin Lester, a city councilman, didn’t like Blount Brothers. So Calvin Lester conspires with a friend to destroy Blount Brothers’ property and business. Remember, though, according to Lester it’s black kids whose pants reveal their underwear who are the real problem.

That Calvin Lester is a crooked moron does not surprise me. What did surprise me was reading this:

Lester’s lawyer told Judge Ramon Lafitte that Lester would claim “qualified immunity” in the damages phase of the trial. That could shield Lester from financial liability because actions as a government official were involved.

You might think that a government official who bullies his constituents and trespasses on their property ought to be held to a HIGHER standard than the average person. Lester is supposed to be a public servant; someone with a duty to help the people in his area. He abused his position. Lester, though, thinks his status as a councilman ought to excuse his reprehensible actions. That is some incredible balls, that is.

I’m pretty sure it’s also stupid. Qualified immunity is normally something that protects government officials then they mistakenly or unintentionally violate the constitution. To start, Lester simply committed a trespass. I could be wrong, but I don’t think the main issue here is constitutional. This is also a very intentional act, one no sane person could have thought was legal. Finally, he might be a government official, but I seriously doubt he was acting as one when he ordered the attack on Blount Brothers. Lester was just being Calvin Lester: a moron, a crooked lawyer, and a serious embarrassment to Shreveport.

Calvin Lester Shaking Down Rock Crusher?

February 17, 2009

Who knows, but according to this report he has some kind of personal reason for attacking a North Shreveport business and could face criminal charges as a result. At least his pants weren’t sagging.