The Odawg - that's me - was born into a family of Americans living abroad. After moving around for a while, my family settled in a nice midwestern town where I had a "normal" childhood. After going to college and getting a degree in engineering concerning things nautical, I've been working for various people in the maritime industry. Besides being born in Germany, I've lived in Oklahoma, Kansas, Indiana, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. The Dawg House is presently in New Orleans.
Odawg's Non-Vital Stats
NAME: Owen William Tredennick
AGE: Late 20's
MARITAL STATUS: Single, never married
ASPIRATIONS: Family. Travel. Living a complete life.
REGRETS: Not studying. Spending more and caring less. Holding back.
STRENGTHS: Good listener. Problem solver. Adventurous. Loyal.
This morning's NHC discussion paints a worrisome picture. Conditions are unfavorable for strengthening now, but as she moves west, that will change. Some 85 mph winds were recorded by a reconaissance plane this morning, but the central pressure has gone up and the satellite imagery shows decreasing organization. So she's not a hurricane yet, but she's close and could get there.
That's not really the worrisome part, at least for New Orleans. The discussion goes on to talk about "the guidance", which I'm guessing is the term NHC uses for their hurricane forecasting and prediction tools. That's where it gets it worrisome:
"THE GUIDANCE IS GENERALLY IN GOOD AGREEMENT ABOUT A SLOWING WEST-NORTHWESTWARD TRACK FOR 3 DAYS BRINGING THE STORM ACROSS THE YUCATAN PENINSULA AND OVER THE SOUTHWEST GULF OF MEXICO. GUIDANCE DIVERGES SOME BY DAY 5 WITH THE GFS MODEL SHOWING A LOCATION OVER THE BAY OF CAMPECHE AND THE NOGAPS HAS THE CENTER OVER THE NORTH CENTRAL GULF. THE OFFICIAL FORECAST FOLLOWS A CONSENSUS OF THE GUIDANCE IN BETWEEN THESE EXTREMES."
Fortunately for New Orleans, she's is the Carribean right now, moving west at 30 mph. That would send her plowing into Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.
Of course, the NWS discussion leads one to believe that Claudette could strengthen and take on a more northern track. Something about a weakness in a "strong subtropical ridge" being worsened by a "deep-layer trough" over the Eastern US...yadda yadda...Claudette ends up in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, and Owen and Lucie must board up the house again.
But the discussion goes on to read:
"HOWEVER... CURRENT TRENDS SUGGEST THAT CLAUDETTE WILL BE WEST OF THE TROUGH AXIS IN 72-96 HR...WHICH WOULD PRODUCE A SLOWER AND MORE WESTWARD MOTION."
So the "current trends" suggest she goes west, not northwest. Fine. As usual, wait and see.
...is a big day in Iran this year. The anti-thugocracy student movement has been planning for weeks now massive protests against the mullahs for tomorrow. That's resulted in some harsh crackdowns by the ruling class, frequently using imported thugs.
How massive will the protests be? How much attention will they attract in the West? And how much can they impact the mullahs?
I can't remember the last day it didn't rain here.
Tuesday was almost dry. But it rained around 6:30 in the evening, and that lasted a half hour or so.
It's just rain, rain, and more rain.
To give you an idea of how wet it's been: from June 1 through 0400 on July 2, New Orleans International has recorded 17.65 inches of rain. The normal for that period is 7.27 inches.
Not that the rain wasn't appreciated. After all, after that 17 inches of rain, the city is only 2.6 inches over normal for the year.
But it's making life complicated. The storms have a habit of blowing up around noon, making getting out and about during a lunchbreak problematic. And it's not like it's gentle little showers that an umbrella can handle. I'm talking about heavy downpours that immediately start to overwhelm the drainage system, combined with wind that makes an umbrella useless.
The rain has turned this city into a slimy, disgusting mess (those who have spent time in the French Quarter might wonder how that is a departure from the norm). There's all kinds of trash and debris strewn from TS Bill. All kinds of crap floated into our yard. We'd go out and clean it up - if it ever stopped raining.
And oh, the yardwork. The grass grows like East German swimmers on HGH in this weather. We'd go out and mow it - if it ever stopped raining.
And I don't know what it is with some of the plants around here that shed petals and pollen in this rain. All of that inevitably ends up on your car, then gets wet and forms a paste that doesn't come off without scrubbing. I'd wash it off - if it ever stopped raining.
And then there's the humidity when the sun comes back out. We haven't even hit the hot part of the year yet.
Anyway, enough bitching. I'm off work tomorrow for the 4th, and looking for something patriotic to do. PBR seems in order - it's domestic and comes in a red, white, and blue can.
Since 1997, the city of New Orleans has extended benefits to unmarried domestic partners of city employees - the same benefits extended to married partners. To get the benefits, partners simply pay $35 and sign some paperwork.
"The lawsuit was filed Friday in Civil District Court against the city and the City Council by Mike Johnson, a Shreveport lawyer who is affiliated with the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona Christian law firm. His clients are Vieux Carre Assembly of God pastor Gregory Pembo and five other people, most of them members of his Dauphine Street congregation."
'"A city can't decide what marriage is," Johnson said. "The (New Orleans) domestic partnership ordinance equates non-marital live-in relationships to traditional marriage."'
"Moreover, both the state Constitution and many Louisiana laws "expressly state that Louisiana favors traditional marriage and the traditional definition of a family, so the domestic partnership ordinance thwarts the purpose of all those laws," Johnson said."
"The suit asks Judge Yada Magee both to declare that the city lacks the legal authority to grant health or other benefits to the unmarried domestic partners of its employees and to stop the city from continuing to spend public money for that purpose."
As to the legal merits of the case, I'm not a lawyer and I don't know the Louisiana laws or constitution well enough to speak intelligently about that. But I am aware of the national debate over gay marriage, which has heated up in recent weeks. One of these days, I'll probably do a long post on the topic. My own pending marriage has got me thinking a lot about the institution and what it means.
For now, I'll say that I believe Mr. Johnson is on a fool's errand. His lawsuit could backfire on him entirely, and end up enshrining legal recognition of that which he objects to. Like I said, I'm not well-versed with the relevant Louisiana law. But right now, legal activists on both sides of the gay-marriage issue are looking for winning cases, and this may prove to be one of them. But for which side?
My federal income tax withholdings have diminished by about $45 per month, thanks to the recently approved federal income tax cuts. That's right - I'm a rich guy! I must be, because according to any Democrat you talk to, only rich people get tax cuts.
Suffice to say that I'm overjoyed at this good news. I somehow failed to get the memo that I'm a member of the wealthy big-business elite, which explains why I wasn't cheerleading for the proposal on this blog. However, I'm clearly in the club, and I expect to receive my 16-year-old-disadvantaged-lesbian-single-mom-subsidized Dom and caviar allotment for the month any time now. I'll call the local GOP office and see if they can hurry that up.
Does this mean that I have to contribute money to the Bush campaign, wear a pin-striped suit and tophat, and use a monacle? I mean, I don't feel rich, ya know?
So I guess I need a sinister plan to use my new-found wealth to stick it to the less fortunate and reward my rich buddies. I know: I'll blow it all at the Bulldog tomorrow night! I'll be sure to laugh maniacally between swallows of Sierra Nevada IPA - "BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!". Take that, Sen. Daschle!
Meanwhile, the last part of Louisiana's tax-overhaul takes effect today, when all food sold for home consumption will become tax free. My God, with all of the tax savings, I'll soon be able to undertake my first leveraged buy-out! I have arrived!
The initial post-mortems on Tropical Storm Bill can be found here and here.
Something I noticed was that many local pols and appointees commented that this was a "learning experience" and will help everyone get ready for "The Big One" which could come anytime.
Great, glad we're learning so much.
Cuz, golly-gee willickers, we ain't dun never had one 'a them thar storms be'fo'. We best be lernin somethin to git ready fer the Biggun.
I'm pretty sick of that attitude. Look, there's a list of things South Louisiana needs to do to be ready for The Big One, and we've known it for years now. But nobody wants to acknowlegde the threat - it's just too mind-boggling. Much like the threat of terrorism before 9/11, plenty of people are aware of just how bad things can be, but nobody wants to come to terms with reality. That would mean diverting money from politically popular and useful initiatives to gargantuan, long-term construction projects that are ugly, controversial, and utterly necessary.
As has been rumored, Anne Rice has sold St Elizabeth's on Napoleon. It's going to be converted to condos.
The condos will sell for between $225 and $260 per square foot, Khoury said. Units will range in size from 1,500 square feet to more than 3,000 square feet, depending on buyers' wishes.
The building won't need any variances for conversion. That's not going to go over well in that neighborhood, because I suspect that parking will be a problem over there with 10-30 additional cars needing a spot every night.
Made it back to the house around 12:15 today. I'm pleased to report the Lucie, Cat, and I all made it through the storm just fine - our third tropical cyclone in nine months. The house is standing and intact, though we did discover one slightly leaky window sill. I'll see how the yard did in the morning. It's still very windy and going outside doesn't seem like a great idea.
Elsewhere, however, things aren't so great. The wires haven't completely caught up with everything. Seems like a number of places south of New Orleans took it pretty bad. For example, Grand Isle issued a voluntary evacuation at 10am. Grand Isle is a barrier island. The storm made landfall around 2pm.
There's only one road into and out of Grand Isle - LA Route 1. The last 20 miles of it, south from Golden Meadow to Grand Isle, is outside of the levee. Many residents leaving Grand Isle got caught on this road in rising waters. According to the TV report I saw, vehicles started stalling in high water near the Leesville bridge on LA 1, causing a traffic pileup, made worse as the roadway became covered with water. Keep in mind, this is all just tidal marsh. Police from Port Fouchon, Leesville, and elsewhere had to mount a rescue of these stranded motorists.
Elsewhere, in a city called Montegut, the same levee that failed in the storms last fall had not yet been repaired. It failed again, and that city is seriously flooded. Other examples will probably turn up. In the suburbs, residents who reported flooding mostly blamed storm drains which weren't working properly and about which they had been complaining for weeks. Tornadoes touched down in Reserve, Eastern New Orleans, and elsewhere, injuring several people and destroying some buildings (including, of course, trailer homes). No fatalities anywhere yet that I've heard of.
Anyway, this is, by all measures, a very small storm compared to the worst-case scenario. It snuck up on us in a big way. This storm was 14 mph short of being a category one hurricane. It would have made it with another 12 - 24 hours of strengthening. That's something to think about.
The question here at work is whether or not to shut down. The problem is the rain. We're expecting 8 - 12 inches. With that much water, our street will flood, making it very difficult to leave the building. The building has to be flood-proofed before it's vacated. We have some bolt-on gaskets that cover the doorways that can take up to 12 inches over the sill, which is itself about 12 inches over street level.
Wait here too long, and you won't be going home until 10 pm. Leave too early, and it's always possible that things will fizzle, or the storm takes a turn, or the rain isn't bad. Then you've wasted a day.
"I agree with Justice Thomas that the Texas law was "uncommonly silly." We should rejoice in the fact of its demise, but not the manner."
That's it, really. The majority did all kinds of things: they overturned a 17 year old decision, not because of any change in the constitution, but because of a change in culture. They asserted that the law was irrational; certainly, the sodomy law in question was, but as Ponnuru points out, "rational basis" is simply an extra-constitutional way for judges to act as legislators.
Our real rulers - the nine justices of the Supreme Court - are a fickle bunch, aren't they? The same folks who praised the court and hailed yesterday's verdict as a victory for gay rights were calling this same court a bunch of partisan hacks in 2000 for "appointing" George W. Bush as president and bewailing it's dictatorial powers.
Legal precedent, constitutional principles, legislators, voters - none of that matters anymore. All that matters is convincing five members of the Supreme Court. And given the tools of "rational basis" and a "living constitution" that may be ammended from the bench, rather than by the democratic process, it's hard to see where, exactly, their power ends.
For those of you who are confused, I'll give it to you in a nutshell. Here's what the Supreme Court said this week:
You can't discriminate againts gays when it comes to private, consensual, non-commercial sexual acts. But you can discriminate against gays when it comes to college admissions, except if they are black or hispanic, in which case it's actually ok to give them preferrential treatment. If you want. At least for the next 25 years.
The stuff on this page represents whatever was on Odawg's mind when he typed it. I hope that you, the reader, are not too disappointed. After all, it's a big Web, and you wound up here. However that happened, I hope you enjoyed your stay, and I invite you to come again. This is written strictly for fun during Odawg's free time. Of course, no time really is free. So I'm honored you chose to spend some of your time here.