It’s Mardi Gras season for folks in the Deep South who celebrate the Catholic holiday of Fat Tuesday, and in New Orleans especially there is much drinking, carousing, parade-going and, unfortunately, accidental death.
Which leads us to this week’s edition of Five Quick Things.
1. You cannot stupid-proof Mardi Gras, or really much of anything else.
Two deaths took place in four days during Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans this year, both of them people who fell under the wheels of parade floats. In both cases, the floats in question were “tandem floats,” which the city’s thoroughly incompetent mayor LaToya Cantrell has jumped in to ban. That has created a virtual impossibility of continuing Mardi Gras in New Orleans as it currently stands.
“Moving forward, we are eliminating the use of tandem floats moving forward,” she said. Yes, that is an accurate quote.
What’s a tandem float? A parade float, at least within Mardi Gras parlance, is a construction built on a trailer, which is pulled by a tractor. Tandem floats are simply multiple trailers hitched up to the same tractor. There is nothing particularly magical or sinister about them. Because the city government of New Orleans created an arbitrary regulation several years ago that limited Mardi Gras parades to a number between 14 and 45 floats, as defined by the number of “pull units” propelling them (some parades are pulled by trucks rather than tractors; the locals call those “truck parades,” and they’re typically considered the low-brow side of Mardi Gras), tandem floats are a way for parade krewes (a Mardi Gras krewe is a club putting on a parade, ball, or both) to allow more of their membership to ride in floats and still stay under that 45-float limit.
Are tandem floats more dangerous? Not until this year. The two freak accidents involved one parade-goer who incredibly attempted to cross between the two sections of a tandem float during the Krewe of Nyx parade, and then a man was pushed or fell under the back section of a tandem float during Saturday’s Krewe of Endymion parade, which resulted in one of the most celebrated and largest parades in all of Mardi Gras being disbanded halfway through its route. Hundreds of krewe members had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on throws and costumes, for nothing.
In both cases it would seem the failure wasn’t with the design or construction of the floats in question but rather with crowd control — or, more specifically, with crowd behavior. There are supposed to be barricades keeping people out of the streets when parades are going by, and people are supposed to stay behind the damn barricades. So long as they do, it doesn’t matter if what passes by are single floats or tandem floats; nobody will get hit. That’s harder to make happen when large numbers of parade-goers are drunk, or baked to the gills, or pathologically stupid.
Some of the remaining krewes found additional pull units and split up their tandem floats for the last parades of the season. But that would put many of them over the 45 pull-unit limit. That could mean the city was essentially screwing krewe members out of a chance to ride and therefore wasting money they’d already spent on the experience, or else ignoring open violations of their own laws the mayor made necessary.
To call this a disaster is not too strong. This is a city that already had to alter parade routes so that they wouldn’t pass in front of the ruined Hard Rock Hotel site, where a tarpaulin covers the otherwise-visible corpse of a construction worker who perished when the half-finished building collapsed in October; last week it came out that city building inspectors who had signed off on the failed construction project didn’t even visit the site. A city councilwoman earlier this year openly suggested a ban on plastic straws in French Quarter bars, something that I know positively will not fly after being present to see drains clogged with them when work crews undertook their first cleaning of those drains in more than 15 years. Abysmal Democrat politicians like Cantrell have run most of the legitimate economic activity out of the city of New Orleans over the past several decades, and tourism and hospitality, highlighted by the Mardi Gras season, is essentially what’s left.
And what we’re seeing now is they can’t even keep the parades running. The city can’t do its job to provide security for the parades they’re charging the krewes for, and it can’t keep the drains clean despite having a budget to do so. And when it manifestly fails to provide basic services like these, Cantrell and the other New Orleans pols immediately jump in to impose restrictions on ordinary people to make their lives harder in order to compensate for their own incompetence and poor performance.
You can’t stupid-proof life. The stupid people will only become bolder and more numerous, and they will inevitably defeat your efforts to save them. When the person in charge of the stupid-proofing, in this case Cantrell, is herself monumentally stupid, the entire project comes down just like the Hard Rock Hotel.
2. Phil Haney didn’t shoot himself.
I’m told that it’s somewhat common for women to commit suicide by shooting themselves in the chest but nearly unheard of for men to do it.
Philip Haney made a name for himself in 2016 as a Department of Homeland Security whistleblower outing the fact the Obama administration had ordered him to delete hundreds of files about reputed associates of Islamic terrorist groups and credibly alleging those deletions facilitated successful terrorist attacks inside our borders. He was found dead over the weekend with a “self-inflicted” gunshot wound to the chest.
Haney was in discussions with DHS about going back to work for the agency and, at 66, was engaged to be married. He’d written a book, See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad. Haney was in discussions with publishers about a sequel.
And Haney committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest?
3. It’s getting harder for the Dems to screw Bernie out of their nomination.
Oh, they’ll still do it. Don’t you worry about that. The Democrats, for all the reasons we’ve already outlined in this space, aren’t going to let Bernie Sanders be their nominee.
There are people who will tell you, in abject panic, that while Sanders would surely be massacred this November, he would have a Barry Goldwater effect on the Democrats, meaning that down the road someone else will pick up the ideological standard and carry it to victory the way Ronald Reagan did. That’s all crap. Reagan made his bones in the Republican Party with his famous “A Time for Choosing” speech in support of Goldwater’s 1964 campaign, but conservatism such as Reagan espoused was then a relatively new undertaking that simply needed time to mature as a majority, or at least plurality, movement in America. Reagan-style conservatism also had deep roots within American culture and values and wasn’t something alien.
Sanders’ communism is alien, and it’s old, having failed all over the world. Yes, there are spoiled and stupid children of voting age who buy into it, mostly because they lack education and life experience to understand how unworkable and evil Sanders’ ideology is. But the good news is that, as Margaret Thatcher said, the facts of life are conservative. And spoiled, stupid children are faced with adulthood and adult problems and opportunities soon enough; very many of them mature in facing those and find leftist ideology doesn’t assist in their success. Liberals become conservatives all the time inside the crucible of human experience, which would suggest the millennials geeked up about Sanders’ socialism now are more likely to become conservatives than to walk the streets for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ presidential campaign in eight or 12 years.
But what happened in Nevada, where Sanders blew away the field at that state’s Democrat caucus over the weekend, simply stripped away what was left of the party’s ability to screw Sanders out of the nomination without the kind of obnoxious full-frontal assault they should have taken against him four years ago. The Democrats want to deny Sanders the nomination while still romancing his communist revolutionary voters, and it’s starting to become impossible to do that.
Eventually they’re going to have to bite the bullet and do it. They’ll be better off for it in the long run, and so will the country, but the effects in this election cycle for them will be catastrophic. One struggles to find sympathy for their plight.
4. Whither the coronavirus?
What’s the consensus among the readers here? Are we agreed it’s likely that the coronavirus largely shutting down China’s economy and now spreading to Italy and other countries was originally built in a bioweapons lab?
We talked a few weeks ago about how the shooting down of that Ukrainian jetliner in Tehran was a Chernobyl-type event for the Iranian regime. The mullahs haven’t fallen yet; it’s likely going to take months. But they’re certainly not in any better shape now. Interestingly, they’re trying to blame the coronavirus on America now.
It’s a real question, as China succumbs more and more to that deadly disease, whether the coronavirus is a similar type of event or not. The Chinese regime has lied continuously about the virus, and now the entire world is at risk from its spread. It’s clearly an economic disaster that could finally trigger the recession our financial media has been pining for since Trump took office. But the effects of that disaster will fall chiefly on China.
Given how slavishly the Chinese Communist Party relies on nonstop economic growth to placate an oppressed population, what happens when that virus completes the work Trump’s tariffs began in pulling our supply chain out of China? What does that do to the regime?
5. Benjamin Griveaux and pornopolitique.
Back to our point about the futility of stupid-proofing anything, there’s a French politician, an ally of that country’s failed premier Emmanuel Macron, named Benjamin Griveaux. Griveaux was running for mayor of Paris.
He’s not running anymore, because he got caught doing something else:
The roots of the scandal lie in 2018, when Griveaux, who was then a government spokesman, encountered [Alexandra] de Taddeo, a student, online and sent her a video of him masturbating.
Miss de Taddeo, who apparently turns out not to be quite as much of a sweetheart as she is a looker (and she is certainly the latter), saved the video to her computer. Her boyfriend is a Russian performance artist named Pyotr Pavlensky who was essentially run out of his home country after a series of stunts, including having nailed his scrotum to Red Square, setting fire to the front door of the Lubyanka, sewing his lips shut, appearing naked in a cage made of barbed wire at the Legislative Assembly at St. Petersburg, and others. Think of an episode of Jackass but in a political context. He’s a cross between Milo Yiannopoulos and Johnny Knoxville, with the face of Iggy Pop thrown in.
Anyway, Pavlensky took de Taddeo’s video and uploaded it to a website he created called Pornopolitique, and that was the end of Griveaux’s mayoral run. It was also the end of de Taddeo’s freedom, as for some reason she was arrested and jailed for embarrassing a politician.
There is so much stupid in this that everyone involved might as well move to New Orleans. They’ll fit right in with the Cantrell administration.