Monday, October 3

Again, I've more or less abandoned this blog and moved over to Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 28

Before... Posted by Picasa

and After.

The first photo was taken at about 4:30 p.m. central time on Sunday. The second was taken about 6:00, after the first rains from Katrina abruptly descended on Baton Rouge. Posted by Picasa

A National Guardsman directs traffic on Airline Highway in Baton Rouge on Sunday afternoon. Several intersections were closed to aid the traffic flow. Posted by Picasa

Looking south at the intersection of Bluebonnet and Jefferson in Baton Rouge early Sunday afternoon, the outer reaches of Hurricane Katrina are visible. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19

My new home

I've returned to the blogosphere, and I have a new home. See you there!

Friday, December 17

Will someone please explain to me what kind of parents still allow their children to go anywhere near Michael Jackson? I seriously think there is no greater mystery confronting our society. Good heavens- what is wrong with you people?

Monday, December 13

Members of LSU student government received an e-mail this morning from the LSU student body president, who is one of about 20 members on the chancellor search committee and is the lone student representative. It said, in part (it's considered an open record so I'm not "leaking" anything):

To briefly address questions regarding the process

of this selection and its unfortunate timing, I'll

start off by saying that no one on the selection

committee anticipated a move this quickly on any

individual candidate. A great deal of effort has

been devoted all semester toward the recruitment

of strong candidates for the chancellor position

and, as a result, we have roughly 20 formal

applications. Various individuals have been in

touch with Mr. O'Keefe over the past several weeks,

hoping to convince him to become a candidate. He

applied for the position on Friday of this past

week and, in an effort to indicate our strong

interest in his candidacy, the decision was made

to immediately invite him to campus for an

interview. As you may have realized by the level

of national media coverage of LSU and Mr. O'Keefe

that occurred over the weekend, it is not in his

or the university's best interest to delay this


The "unfortunate timing" reference alludes to the fact that final exams ended Saturday and most students have gone home for the Christmas break. And it looks like the O'Keefe-to-LSU deal is anything but done.

Speaking of finals, I think I did OK. I still have a shot at a 4.0 for the semester, but I also have a "shot" at about a 3.2. My Media and Politics grade was posted this morning; I somehow swung an A, which is a relief because that's one class I was most concerned about (it was challenging and anything less than an A wouldn't look too good on a political communication major's transcript).

I recently discovered an error in a previous post.

David Duke was never elected to Congress from Louisiana (thank God), but he was elected to the state legislature in the late 1980s. Although I recall finding more than one Internet source that said he was elected to Congress, common sense should have told me to check that out (you really shouldn't take at face value anything you read online - including on The Daily Anvil, apparently).

I sit - at my keyboard - corrected.

As some of you may have heard, NASA chief Sean O'Keefe is in the running to be the next chancellor at LSU.

Although CNN cites "sources inside NASA" who say O'Keefe will accept an offer from LSU, the official line from the University is that he will visit the campus on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. The fact that he is the only candidate scheduled for an interview, though, may indicate that this is a formality or a last step in the process.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that O'Keefe is the first of about 20 applicants to be granted an interview, but that no offer of the approximately $500,000-a-year job has been made.

Note that most of the information seems to be coming from NASA and non-LSU sources. Just a few hours ago, the University sent a press release to its community announcing O'Keefe's visit and a public forum on Wednesday. It provided a link to O'Keefe's resume and said that the committee will accept feedback from those who get to meet O'Keefe. It's not clear whether all this is just a formality or if the national buzz is getting ahead of itself, but it looks almost certain that O'Keefe will resign from NASA (with *apparently* no guarantee from LSU yet).

At first blush, O'Keefe seems to be a good choice. He's got a solid resume and is a Louisiana native, and has the kind of clout that would seem to fit well with LSU's current goals. Prior to the emergence of O'Keefe's name, I was really hoping we could land someone prominent, both to increase exposure for the school and to have a chancellor with some political clout (retiring Sen. John Breaux's name was bandied around months ago, but my secret wish was for Condi Rice if she were to retire).

Previous chancellor Mark Emmert began implementing the controversial Flagship Agenda before his departure last May for the University of Washington. The Agenda aims to raise LSU's national profile and solidify the University's status as a premier research school. An important step is breaking out of the third tier in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings. Granted, they're just rankings, but many students use them as a basis for selecting a college. The plan requires some questionable steps such as cutting the number of English and math instructors to hire more professors (which can result in larger class sizes).

I hope to meet O'Keefe at the forum Wednesday, and I'll report back on whatever I observe there. I'll also try to keep tabs on local reaction, and thanks to my job at LSU University Relations I can usually hear pretty quickly when big news breaks regarding the University. I have to keep my mouth shut until news is released to the public, but as soon as any info is cleared and sent out I'll pass it along.

A word of advice to O'Keefe or whoever gets the job -- take notes from Emmert's first few months here. When Emmert came to LSU in 1999, he had done his homework and knew the importance of football in Tigertown. Thus, a few months after his hiring he took a very public role in the search for a new football coach following Gerry DiNardo's firing in his 5th season. Emmert made clear that the school would pay what was necessary to get a top-shelf coach. The result? The much-adored Nick Saban and, four seasons later, a national championship.

In my opinion, Emmert earned a great deal of political capital from that move because LSU football fans/University supporters associated him with a winner. That eased the implementation of the Flagship Agenda and made his substantial salary more palatable.

So perhaps Emmert's successor could push for some much-needed changes to the BCS to which BCS officials claim University presidents/chancellors are so resistant...

Monday, November 29

The front page of the New York Times contains another would-be-highly-amusing-if-it-weren't-so-darned-serious opinion piece masquerading as journalism - and doing a bad job of it.

This time, John F. Burns doesn't even try to be subtle with the Vietnam comparisons, offering a tale replete with swift boats, marshes and paddies, and troops "who privately admit to fears that this war could be lost."

There's not too much this reveals about the Times that hasn't already been said, but the piece really is a howler. It plays as black comedy, a parody of real reporting.

Of course, as a CYA measure, Burns mentions in passing in the 21st paragraph of the story that "[r]ecent American sweeps in the area have uncovered some of the largest weapons caches found in post-Hussein Iraq." And in the final two paragraphs, Burns finally gets around to mentioning that the troops featured in his story survived a roadside bombing later that day and managed to capture two men responsible.

But that information might take away from the breathless comparisons to Vietnam, so let's bury it at the end of the story, shall we?

The LSU student government pays for hundreds of free copies of the Times and the Baton Rouge Advocate to be distributed at locations across campus each day. I normally pick up the Times just to do the crossword (seriously), but I can't help but glance at the front page each day (while wincing, of course).

Glad Burns had the journalistic courage to tell it like it is (cough, cough).

Wednesday, November 24

What am I thankful for? The lives these names on the LSU War Memorial represent, along with the millions of others who have so honorably served and sacrificed. Posted by Hello