Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It’s official. President Barack Obama is an American

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Three years after it became an issue, the White House has released a “long-form” copy of the president’s birth certificate, showing that his mother, Ann Stanley Dunham Obama of Wichita, Kan., was 18 and unemployed when he was born and his father, Barack Hussein Obama, was a 25-year-old student from Kenya, East Africa. The president was born in Honolulu on the Hawaiian island of Oahu on Aug. 4, 1961.

Apparently it’s as hard for the president of the United States to deal with governmental red tape as it is for the rest of us. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the blog Whitehouse.gov Tuesday that when the birth certificate became an issue in 2008, the White House requested a copy of Obama’s birth certificate, but received only the “short form,” which didn’t appease those questioning his nationality. He said that is all the Hawaii State Department of Health releases to residents and what is used by Hawaiians as a legal document for attaining a driver’s license. The department finally provided the long form, saying it was making an exception partly because it had received so many requests for it from all over.

Pfeiffer wrote on the blog:

“The President believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country. It may have been good politics and good TV, but it was bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country. Therefore, the President directed his counsel to review the legal authority for seeking access to the long form certificate and to request on that basis that the Hawaii State Department of Health make an exception to release a copy of his long form birth certificate. They granted that exception in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting.

At a time of great consequence for this country — when we should be debating how we win the future, reduce our deficit, deal with high gas prices, and bring stability to the Middle East, Washington, DC, was once again distracted by a fake issue. The President’s hope is that with this step, we can move on to debating the bigger issues that matter to the American people and the future of the country.”

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ray Nagin's virtual tour of Armstrong Park

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 8:51 PM

The New Orleans City Council's April 28 agenda contains an item, entered by District C councilperson Kristin Gisleson Palmer, to restore the name “Congo Square” to the area just inside the perimeter of Armstrong Park. (Though everyone knows it as Congo Square, it was officially renamed “Beauregard Square” in the 19th century.)

Much of the area inside the park gates has been closed since last summer, after former mayor Ray Nagin had dedicated a new “Roots of Music” sculpture garden in late April 2010 — the last week he was in office. One month later, the area was closed for repairs after crews found the concrete had been poured incorrectly, and it remains closed today, nearly a year later. (Gambit's Blake Pontchartrain has the whole story here.)

Oddly, Nagin used the Congo Square renaming occasion today to hop on his Twitter account to show off some pictures of the area. “Since we are not allowed to visit Armstrong Park - Congo Square I will take you on a virtual tour,” he wrote, before sending out a series of photos showing the original dedication, with beautiful sculptures of Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong and others in place rather than the rubble on the site today. “Some tried to say the park was F-up,” was his caption on one of the photos.

From Ray Nagins Twitter account, @raynagin.
  • From Ray Nagin's Twitter account, @raynagin.

Here's a photo of the same site taken less than a month ago.

Last June, newly installed Mayor Mitch Landrieu let loose with an uncharacteristically sharp public criticism of his predecessor, telling The Times-Picayune's Katy Reckdahl, ""This project is just another example of a deal the Nagin administration improperly executed. It was ill-conceived and is fraught with problems. This project is under serious review. The people of New Orleans deserve better. We will work diligently to fix it." In an email tonight, Ryan Berni, a spokesman for Landrieu, said the park currently has no scheduled reopening date.

In his tweets today, Nagin seemed to be looking forward to the reopening as well. “Hope u enjoyed virtual tour of Armstrong Park - Congo Square,” he concluded. “Maybe 1 day soon, sidewalks & Louie's toe will be fixed & we can visit again.”

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Going down The Garden Path

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 2:28 PM

the_Garden_Path.jpg


Ever the agitator be it pushing at-risk youth towards scholastic achievement or challenging status quo academicians to think outside the box, the name ‘Andre Perry’ is synonymous with making controversial waves on the New Orleans education scene. As such, its only natural that he would be publish a revealing chronicle about New Orleans school reform based on true accounts and local leaders in education.

Perry, the dean of UNO’s charter schools, is the author of The Garden Path - The Miseducation Of A City, semi-autobiographical fiction about school reform in post Katrina New Orleans told from the point of view of one educator and two high school students. While he is widely viewed as an education front-runner managing a group of successful charter schools in a newly created system, Perry is clearly at odds with his peers and the way in which this nationally herald experiment in education has rolled out. He shares his struggle to reconcile complicated realities through the book’s characters.

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The L.A. perspective on the Derrick Caracter arrest

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 1:28 PM

While the New Orleans media have enjoyed a great deal of amusement stemming from the arrest of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Derrick Caracter (well-played, Times-Picayune headline writer!), the Los Angeles sports scribes have been less amused. This Los Angeles Times story on Caracter's arrest elicited a sage comment from a reader:

As a native New Orleanian, I would like to comment on Caracter's arrest. That IHOP is steps from Bourbon St. They deal with drunk people all day/night. He must be an exceptional a-hole to be first refused service and then arrested for being drunk in public at that location.

But the best West Coast article about the IHOP a-hole situation was penned by Dexter Fishmore of the sports website SB Nation. In fact, Fishmore's headline may be even better than the T-P's:

DERRICK CARACTER LOVES PANCAKES, IS AN IDIOT
Who among us hasn't been arrested in an IHOP?

More of Fishmore under the jump.

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Chris Paul gets the LOL treatment (UPDATED: And the SI treatment)

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 1:16 PM

This works on so many levels
  • Lifted from docfunk.tumblr.com
  • This works on so many levels

This makes us wonder why CP3 doesn't have an endorsement deal with Ruth's Chris already. Seems about as obvious as the Hornets' partnership with the Audubon Insectarium.

Game 5 is tonight. Are you in?

Update:

It seems as though Chris Paul also got the Sports Illustrated treatment as the magazine posted this week's issue on their Facebook page.

Chris Paul on the cover of this weeks Sports Illustrated
  • From the Sports Illustrated Facebook page.
  • Chris Paul on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated

Let's just hope this doesn't jinx the Hornets.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

The 2011 Big Easy Music Awards: the winners

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 6:45 PM

The 2011 Big Easy Music Awards ceremony was held tonight at Harrah's New Orleans, with performances by many of the nominated artists. The event was sponsored by Gambit, WWOZ-FM, Abita Brewing Co., Harrah's New Orleans and Coleman E. Adler and Sons. The honorees were:

Entertainer of the Year: John Boutte
Honorary Music Awards Chairperson: Kermit Ruffins
Lifetime Achievement Award: The Radiators
Music Heritage Award: Joseph "Smokey" Johnson
Business Recognition Award: Chip Forstall
Ambassadors of New Orleans Music Award: David Simon and Eric Overmyer, "Treme Season 1, Music from the HBO Series"

Under the jump: the other nominees and winners in each musical category (winners marked with an asterisk):

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All things considered, we probably should have seen this coming

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Chris Paul celebrates during the Hornets Game 4 vicotry over the Lakers
  • Screengrab taken from NBA.com
  • Chris Paul celebrates during the Hornets Game 4 vicotry over the Lakers

In a season filled with unexpected twists and turns, who were we to say that this wasn't possible?

No, yesterday night's game 4 would not be the last time you got to see the Hornets play live in the New Orleans Arena. Even though mostly every ESPN.com "expert" predicted that this series would be over in, at most, five games.

Yes, the Hornets beat the Lakers for the second time in four games and now their first-round series heads back to Los Angeles with both teams tied at two games apiece.

This is, of course, thanks to the incomparable brilliance that lies within Chris Paul. This is a man that had a triple-double in the third quarter, despite looking like he had just played three or four games before he stepped onto the court. The weight of the Hornets' playoff dreams are heavy and burdensome, and they probably couldn't be resting on a small superstar.

Paul - who finished with 27 points, 15 assists and 13 (THIRTEEN!) rebounds - is already the center of attention after last night's performance; as well he should be considering his performance. But you can't forget the effort put on by Trevor Ariza (19 points) and Carl Landry (16 points) or Jarret Jack's clutch jump-shot under 10 seconds left that essentially sealed the game.

Once more about Ariza, which has been much maligned throughout the season for being not being what you'd expect out of a major off-season acquisition (day-to-day impact and sure-fire performer when you need him) and rather playing like who he is (day-to-day consistent player who can lock down on defense and plays with a chip on his shoulder). After just putting up six points in Game 1, Ariza has scored 22, 12 and 19, all while smothering Kobe Bryant to the best of his ability.

Yes, Kobe has been able to go off at times and is averaging well over 20 points a game in this series. But has he — heck, has any man playing for L.A.? — really turned out the type of dominant performance that made you think there was no way the Hornets could stop them?

There's not question that performances like in games two and three, where the Lakers as a team truly out-performed and out-classed the Hornets' team, will doom New Orleans in this series. But, if only for one night, Chris Paul showed everyone why he is still a forced to be reckoned with and, in a series dominated by men that tower in the seven-foot rage, a man a foot shorter than they can completely alter the course of events in this series.

Chris Paul has once again prove why he is considered one of the league's greatest. Don't fool yourself, most of the credit goes to Monty Williams and his coaching staff for training a much under-manned supporting cast to function as efficiently as possible behind their one genuine superstar. Remember, this is a night that the Hornets won despite Marco Bellineli and the bench combining for 9-of-25 shooting from the floor. The Lakers, despite tonight's scoreline, are still very much the better team in this matchup.

But does that still matter? Yes, the Lakers have out-played the Hornets for vast stretches of this series, but none of that counts towards the ultimate scorecard which states this series is tied at two games apiece.

The Hornets, like they have all season, have reminded us that they are not dead yet. The way Chris Paul is playing, they may not be for much longer than anyone anticipated.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tonight may be the last time you get to see the Hornets play in the Arena for a long time

Posted By on Sun, Apr 24, 2011 at 3:28 PM

The New Orleans Hornets play the Los Angeles Lakers tonight in Game 4 of their first-round NBA playoff matchup. Excuse us if that sounded a little more formal than usual, but we think it's appropriate considering this may be New Orleans' final shot to see this team play in person.

Yes, after stunning the Lakers — and much of the sporting world — with a nine-point win over the two-time defending champions at the Staples Center, the Hornets have been knocked back down to reality with 9- and 14-point defeats in games 2 and 3.

The Hornets, it seems, are just not big, strong or talented enough to deal with the Lakers, who sport two seven-footers in their starting lineup and have the league's sixth-man of the year coming off the bench. The Hornets bench, meanwhile, has sputtered after a phenomenal game one and has scored just 22 points in the past two games.

Right now, even the most optimistic Hornets fan (this writer included) has started to look forward to what will sure to be another tumultuous off-season in which we could see an NBA work stoppage and we'll find out if there is someone in Louisiana that's interested in buying the Hornets and keeping them in New Orleans.

But let's not lose sight of all the great things to remember from this season. Chris Paul seems to be back in his old form and, whether or not he's playing here after two seasons, it's a delight to get to see him work his magic some 41+ games a year. Let's not also forget the magic that Monty Williams has been able to sprinkle on this team, which has become a tenacious, defensive-minded squad that is lethal on the fast break and has the opportunity to grow into one of the league's best (that is, should general manager Dell Demps be allowed to seek new talent in free agency).

Of course, that's little consolation for anyone wishing that the Hornets season go on longer than tonight and game 5 on Tuesday in Los Angeles. But the fact remains that not many people expected the Hornets to win even a game in this series, who's to say they don't win another?

Game on. We're in. Are you?

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Not your mom’s Easter parade

Posted By on Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 12:29 AM

Grand Marshals XII Elizabeth Bouvier & Gary Vandeventer

After you’ve gone to church, consumed the Easter ham and the children have filled their baskets with decorated eggs and mounds of chocolate, treat yourself to an alternative Easter tradition.

The 12th annual Gay Easter Parade takes to the streets at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 24, starting at Rampart and St. Ann streets. Grand Marshals Elizabeth Bouvier and Gary Vandeventer will lead a procession of paraders dressed in Easter finery and marching, riding in carriages, wagons, and trolleys through the French Quarter. Two bands will accompany 39 other parading units, making it the largest parade the group has ever held.

The parade benefits Food for Friends, a program of the NO/AIDS Task Force, and organizers hope to raise $20,000 through the parade and other events held during the year. The parade is presented by Ambush Mag, Louisiana State Gay Rodeo Association, Harrah’s New Orleans and Friday Night Before Mardi Gras. Money is raised through sponsors who pay as much as $1,000 to participate, a Pink Party/Eggstravaganza, Drag Extravaganza and more.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

What do you do with your trash?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 11:28 PM

Trash to treasure: empty juice boxes become backpacks.
  • Trash to treasure: empty juice boxes become backpacks.

DIYers and die-hard recyclers can step up their earth-friendly lifestyles a notch by putting trash back into commerce — whether you just make things for your own family or donate recyclables for the greater good. Foil juice containers can become backpacks and pencil cases and M&M bags can decorate speakers.

Eco-speakers camouflaged in candy wrappers.
  • Eco-speakers camouflaged in candy wrappers.

The Cleaner Greener Tour made a stop in Mid-City Wednesday through Friday in honor of Earth Day to collect empty personal care containers — and give the public ideas of how to transform trash into useful and desirable items. The focus of the tour was to illustrate how to “upcycle” containers we normally would send to a landfill or recycling plant. (One of its nifty facts was that one-third of all landfill waste consists of beauty products packaging.)

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