Saturday, November 20, 2004

Now your crosses are burning fast 

I don't cheer the death of anyone, but no tears were shed when I read about the expiration of this filthy dog's c*nt (NYT):

Bobby Frank Cherry, the former Klansman whose conviction two years ago for the church bombing that killed four black girls in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963 resolved one of the most shocking cases of the civil rights era, died yesterday...
The bombing occurred just days after the court-ordered desegregation of Birmingham's schools, and the brutality of the girls' deaths in the church basement horrified many white Southerners and eased the way for change in the coming decades, civil rights experts have said.

The prosecutor in Cherry's belated 2002(!) trial stated, "He has worn this crime like a badge of honor." It's tempting to say some variation of "good riddance" or "rot in hell" to murderous racists like these. Lord knows I feel anger and bitterness for such perpetrators. And yet, yet... there are other possible reactions. Morally stronger, more Christ-like responses. Consider:

One night in 1956, Pastor Martin King, 27, was speaking at a meeting in Montgomery Alabama, urging the black community to persist in its months-long bus boycott protesting segregation. He was alerted mid-speech that his home had been dynamited-- there was no word on whether his wife Coretta and baby Yoki had survived. He rushed back and saw an enraged black crowd gathering outside, many with guns and knives, while white police tried to hold them at bay and investigate the shattered, smoke-filled house. Pushing past everyone, King went to the back of the house where he found his wife and daughter. They were ok. He became calm, and went to the damaged front porch to defuse the crowd who were about to erupt. He motioned for silence, and said:
Don't do anything panicky. Don't get your weapons. If you have weapons, take them home. He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. Remember that is what Jesus said. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love.

The crowd calmed, and left. Men took their weapons home. Afterwards, a policeman who'd been trying to hold the crowd back prior to King's arrival exclaimed: "I owe my life to that nigger preacher."

In the following months and years, there would be more bombings of King's home (along with the occasional drive-by shotgun blast). Nontheless, he continued to peacefully resist unjust conditions, and truly loved his enemies; even hate-filled racist terrorists like Bobby Cherry.

Martin Luther King jr would be assassinated in April of 1968, allegedly by a small time thief named James Earl Ray who fled from Memphis to the CIA hotbed of Lisbon, Portugal. (Curious destination, no?)

Over at racist Bob Jones University in South Carolina, when news of the assassination was announced at evening chapel, "many students applauded". Then, when President Lyndon Johnson ordered flags to be flown at half-staff, the University refused, declaring King "a traitor to the Gospel of Christ."

Speaking of racists on the Iberian peninsula, the Key Monk (conservative friend of YRHT) cites some ultra-revolting behavior by masses of Spanish soccer fans.
Above MLK account summarized from Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963 and Robert Caro's Master of the Senate, pg 769.
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Friday, November 19, 2004

A City of Neighborhoods 

The Project for Public Spaces rates New Orleans' Lower Garden District as the 6th best neighborhood in the country, and 11th best in North America. Complete list here. Lovely and I enjoy our home in Broadmoor, but truly miss the LGD, where we had rented an apartment in the vibrant Coliseum Square section.

Beautiful, cool and historical: the Lower Garden District is the crown jewel in a city bursting with distinctive neighborhoods.
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Lethal side effects of "business-friendly" oversight 

From the WP's story on the Senate investigation of those poor, defenseless Big Pharma cartels:

"I would argue that the FDA as currently configured is incapable of protecting America against another Vioxx," [20 year veteran FDA safety officer David Graham] said in his scathing assessment. "The scientific standards [the FDA] applies to drug safety guarantee that unsafe and deadly drugs will remain on the U.S. market."

Citing estimates he said were based on the results of Merck's own clinical trials, Graham said that between 88,000 and 139,000 Americans probably have had heart attacks or strokes as a result of taking Vioxx, and that 30 to 40 percent probably died.

Clearly, the trial lawyer menace must somehow be blamed.
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"The point [of the book] is to show the hypocrisy of our democracy." 

Janet Maier, the madam of the Canal Street brothel, had an interview on WDSU channel 6 yesterday. Responding to threats to keep quiet, she's now fighting back with a book that will name names and discuss the predilections of her clients which include professional athletes, wealthy businessmen and politicians.

Good for her.

She helped these guys out for years, taking all the legal risk, and when she gets pinched none of these local power figures will assist her. Screw'em,, I mean, name 'em. Especially the politicos who liked to wear the frilly women's lingerie, and then give speeches about values. (Not a reference to any particular Senator-elects... but if the corset fits...)

(Video clip of the story here, scroll down to "Inside the Canal Street brothel".)
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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Free Travel, Food and Lodging! 

The DCCC is sponsoring a nationwide volunteer effort for LA candidates Melancon and Mount in the third and ninth district Congressional runoffs. Free stuff galore if you want to hoof it for the Dems December 1-5:

The DCCC will be flying activists in from Washington and meeting up with activists from around the country in Louisiana. No matter how you get there, we will pay for your food and lodging.

Ok. First, my compliments on the national effort being made on behalf of Louisiana's Democratic candidates. I'm certain they'll need it. However, I must voice a bit of a concern here, in hopes of avoiding another "Brits writing Ohioans" type of backlash.

The activists willing to take part in this deal may be a helluva lot more liberal than, say, the pro-life, pro-gun, pro-death penalty, anti-gay marriage Charlie Melancon. Also, in a race with intensely local issues, will Northeastern accents properly convey the "Louisiana values" Mount and Melancon want to express? I'd advise the in-state volunteers to do most of the talking when supporters go canvassing door-to-door. Let the hippies from liberal enclaves like Madison (WI) hold the signs, wave and smile. But these are rather small concerns. Once they're suitably addressed, I believe the overall benefits of such a big, well-organized effort may prove decisive.

In fact, that's another reason why coastal erosion should be spotlighted by Democrats-- especially in the Third. If someone confronts an out of state activist, they can say that "they travelled all the way to South Louisiana from [insert blue state] because the loss of coastal wetlands is an issue of such national importance. We need to help get you the money from Washington that your state deserves. We're all in this together... Vote Melancon."

Unfortunately Melancon barely mentions this paramount issue. Can you find his one sentence "strategy" for the coast on his web site? Not easy. And have you seen a commercial from him about it? This is a political sledgehammer for the Dems, and they should be working it like John Henry. (Tauzin has an impressive 4-page coastal restoration plan on his site, yet the words "petitioning Bush to get meaningful financial support" are somehow omitted.).

Of course this campaign is getting so nasty so quickly, the time for issues may have passed.

Sign up here.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Make it so 

From the Times Picayune's front page:

In what could be the catalyst for development along some of the most visible portions of the riverfront, the Port of New Orleans and the city are close to finishing an agreement that would turn over to the city most of the port-controlled riverfront property from Poland Avenue to Jackson Avenue.

Although no contracts have been signed and negotiations continue, the parties have what amounts to a handshake agreement that says the port will relinquish control of its wharves along the 4½-mile stretch so the city can tear them down and redevelop the land...

John Williams, head of the local firm Williams Architects and one of the leaders of a January brainstorming session designed to generate ideas for riverfront development, said the agreement is "of huge, huge importance."
Sure, as long as you promise not to construct a haven for kitschy "New Orleansland" tourist traps.

Officials did not specify what a redeveloped riverfront might look like. However, the agreement says that "an uninterrupted and continuous linear green space or riverfront park, including a pedestrian walking and biking path" is a goal of both the port and city."
Okay, walkers and bicyclists should approve.
The report from the [planning] session, released in August, proposed that two amphitheaters, a public park and a sculpture park, among other things, be built.
Culture, also?! Heart... skipping... beats...
The agreement also says that "the city will use its most reasonable efforts to create a world-class performance venue -- as an Opera House or amphitheater" on the site.
I'm now officially very optimistic about where this is heading.
The deal is attractive to the port because it no longer needs many of the old wharves... The agreement benefits the city because it, too, would pick up revenue by selling or leasing riverfront property, along with any tax revenue that would come from operations opened there. The redevelopment also is in line with the city's goal of returning the riverfront to the citizens.
Yeah, you right!! This really is huge, huge news. I love it! The riverfront is a major advantage for New Orleans-- let's press it for all it's worth.
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Do other states know about shrinkage? 

Judging from the excerpt available online, National Geographic has a rather overwritten piece on Louisiana wetlands, and how their loss makes the state more vulnerable to hurricane destruction. There's some excellent pictures available, and a poll asking whether federal money should be used to save the coast. BizNewOrleans has local reaction to the article.

[National Geographic] asked its 5.4 million readers around the globe for their opinion about the estimated $14 billion needed to save America's WETLAND, which was featured in the October issue of National Geographic. The 18-page article detailed the diverse causes for and consequences of Louisiana wetland loss and invited readers to share their opinion through an online poll. More than 32,000 votes were cast in October and November, and 91 percent of respondents said federal dollars should be earmarked for stemming the tide of wetland loss.

"The results of the poll show that when people are presented with the facts they appreciate America's WETLAND's world ecological significance and importance to the nation's energy and economic security," said America's WETLAND Foundation Board Chairman and Whitney Bank President King Milling. "We applaud National Geographic for its in-depth exploration of the problems our nation faces as we continue to lose the equivalent of a football field of land every 30 minutes."

Nicely worded, Mr. Milling.

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Why do these veterans now embolden our enemies? Do they hate freedom too?  

Rolling Stone has an all guns blazing collection of views on the Iraq morass from retired military leaders. Much seems obvious (albeit grim) to those following the news, but couched within these astoundingly uniform observations were a couple of genuinely shocking assertions. My apologies for the lengthy quotes, but this is important (my emphs).

Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak
Air Force chief of staff, 1990-94
We have a force in Iraq that's much too small to stabilize the situation. It's about half the size, or maybe even a third, of what we need. As a consequence, the insurgency seems to be gathering momentum.
The people in control in the Pentagon and the White House live in a fantasy world. They actually thought everyone would just line up and vote for a new democracy and you would have a sort of Denmark with oil.
Yeah, yeah. We already know these regrettable facts.
I blame Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the people behind him -- Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary Douglas Feith. The vice president himself should probably be included; certainly his wife. These so-called neocons: These people have no real experience in life. They are utopian thinkers, idealists, very smart, and they have the courage of their convictions, so it makes them doubly dangerous.
True enough, Neocons are loopy, yadda yadda... Uh, wait a sec. Let's re-read this line: "The vice president himself should probably be included; certainly his wife." Huh? Big Dick should "probably" be included, but CERTAINLY HIS WIFE?!? WTF are we talking about here?! Why is a retired Air Force Chief of Staff including the Second Lady in the top tier of blame about the war in Iraq? Seriously, where the blazes did that come from? Why is she mentioned in the same breath as Wolfy, Feith, and Rummy? Was this careless wording, a nasty swipe, or does she have some heretofore unknown influence on foreign policy? I'd like a follow-up on this from the media ASAP.

Despite that befuddling reference to Lynn Cheney, McPeak concludes by incisively connecting Iraq to Vietnam:
The American people were told that to win the Cold War we had to win Vietnam. But we now know that Vietnam was not only a diversion from winning the Cold War but probably delayed our winning it and made it cost more to win. Iraq is a diversion to the war on terror in exactly the same way Vietnam was a diversion to the Cold War.
Jeebus, that last line is strong medicine.

Update: Dr. Josh Marshall, an authority on neocons, responds to an email I sent about McPeak's mention of Lynn Cheney: "She's a very big influence on policy. There's absolutely no question about it. I don't know the precise specifics in this case. But McPeak's comments don't strike me as odd at all."

While this cleared up my confusion, I'm now twice as disturbed.

Adm. Stansfield Turner
NATO Allied commander for Southern Europe, 1975-77; CIA director, 1977-81
...All in all, Iraq is a failure of monumental proportions.

Lt. Gen. William Odom
Director of the National Security Agency, 1985-88
It's a huge strategic disaster, and it will only get worse. The sooner we leave, the less the damage. In the months since the invasion, the U.S. forces have become involved in trying to repress a number of insurgency movements. This is the way we were fighting in Vietnam, and if we keep on fighting this way, this one is going to go on a long time too. The idea of creating a constitutional state in a short amount of time is a joke. It will take ten to fifteen years, and that is if we want to kill ten percent of the population. [Oyster Note: that would be about 2.5 million people, about quadruple the number Saddam's Stalinism killed].
Gen. Anthony Zinni
Commander in chief of the United States Central Command, 1997-2000
The first phase of the war in Iraq, the conventional phase, the major combat phase, was brilliantly done. Tommy Franks' approach to methodically move up and attack quickly probably saved a great humanitarian disaster. But the military was unprepared for the aftermath. Rumsfeld and others thought we would be greeted with roses and flowers.

When I was commander of CENTCOM, we had a plan for an invasion of Iraq, and it had specific numbers in it. We wanted to go in there with 350,000 to 380,000 troops. You didn't need that many people to defeat the Republican Guard, but you needed them for the aftermath.
I saw the intelligence right up to the day of the war, and I did not see any imminent threat there. If anything, Saddam was coming apart. The sanctions were working. The containment was working. He had a hollow military, as we saw. If he had weapons of mass destruction, it was leftover stuff -- artillery shells and rocket rounds. He didn't have the delivery systems. We controlled the skies and seaports. We bombed him at will. All of this happened under U.N. authority. I mean, we had him by the throat. But the president was being convinced by the neocons that down the road we would regret not taking him out.
This next one knocked me over.

Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy
Army deputy chief of staff for intelligence, 1997-2000
... Rumsfeld proudly announced that he had told General Franks to fight this war with different tactics in which they would bypass enemy strongholds and enemy resistance and keep on moving. But it was shocking to me that the secretary of defense would tell the Army how to fight. He doesn't know how to fight; he has no business telling them. It's completely within civilian authority to tell you where to fight, what our major objective is, but it is absolutely no one's business but uniformed military to tell you how to do the job. To me, it was astonishing that Rumsfeld would presume to tell four-star generals, in the Army thirty-five years, how to do their jobs.

Now here's another thing that Rumsfeld did. As he was being briefed on the war plan, he was cherry-picking the units to go. In other words, he didn't just approve the deployment list, he went down the list and skipped certain units that were at a higher degree of readiness to go and picked units that were lower on the list -- for reasons we don't know.
Unbef*ckingly believable!!

But here's the impact: Recently, at an event, a mother told me how her son had been recruited and trained as a cook. Three weeks before he deployed to Iraq, he was told he was now a gunner. And they gave him training for three weeks, and then off he went.

Rumsfeld was profoundly in the dark. I think he really didn't understand what he was doing. He miscalculated the kind of war it was and he miscalculated the interpretation of U.S. behavior by the Iraqi people. They felt they had been invaded. They did not see this as a liberation.

Gen. Wesley Clark
NATO supreme Allied commander for Europe, 1997-2000
[Let's] ask this question: Have you seen an American strategic blunder this large? ... I can't imagine when the last one was.
General, you know I'm a big fan of yours. Though I'm aware you served and bled there, may I respectfully submit Vietnam as the answer to your query.

And it's not just about troop strength. I mean, you will fail if you don't have enough troops, but simply adding troops won't make you succeed.

Adm. William Crowe

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1985-89
We screwed up. We were intent on a quick victory with smaller forces, and we felt if we had a military victory everything else would fall in place. We would be viewed not as occupiers but as victors. We would draw down to 30,000 people within the first sixty days.

All of this was sheer nonsense.They thought that once Iraq fell we'd have a similar effect throughout the Middle East and terrorism would evaporate, blah, blah, blah. All of these were terrible assumptions. A State Department study advising otherwise was sent to Rumsfeld, but he threw it in the wastebasket. He overrode the military and was just plain stubborn on numbers.
We left Vietnam -- took us ten years to come around to doing it -- but we didn't achieve what we wanted. Everyone said it would set back our foreign policy in East Asia for ten years. It set it back about two months. Our allies thought we were crazy to be in Vietnam.

We could have the same thing happen this time in Iraq. If we walk away, we are still the number-one superpower in the world. There will be turmoil in Iraq, and how that will affect our oil supply, I don't know. But the question to ask is: Is what we are achieving in Iraq worth what we're paying? Weighing the good against the bad, we have got to get out.

But what do these patriots know?

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Moral Numbers 

Update: Thanks to Steve, who alerted me that the article is an "Onion-like" spoof. Sorry for the error, but not the comedy it generated. I'll try to do a modicum of fact-checking next time.
John Hostettler, the Congressman representing the 8th district of Indiana, has been convinced by local religious groups to introduce legislation in the House that would change the name of an Interstate 69 extension to a more moral sounding number.
While most believe this highway will be good for the state's economy, religious conservatives believe "I-69" sounds too risque and want to change the interstate's number.

Hostettler, a proponent of the interstate extension, agrees. "Every time I have been out in the public with an 'I-69' button on my lapel, teenagers point and snicker at it. I have had many ask me if they can have my button. I believe it is time to change the name of the highway. It is the moral thing to do."

There's a BUSH and a DICK in the White House, and Hoosiers are concerned about the morality of Interstate 69?!? And since when do the snickers of teenagers help dictate policy choices? What's next?

Colin Powell: Well, obviously he had to go. Far too much ass-play in that name.

Paul Wolfowitz: Translated into some languages, his name means "Blind Dog Sperm". Perhaps he should take leave also.

Donald Rumsfeld: There's an alcoholic connotation there. A swift exit is in order.

Rod Paige: Again, with such a phallic nickname, he clearly he had to leave.

And I won't even get into how some people pronounce the California Governor's surname.

I'm concerned: now, is it a sin to use the callback feature on your phone? What if you just privately imagine doing it over and over?

(via Wonkette)
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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Loyal Clarity enters a Foggy Bottom 

"Remember, I don't do nuance, Condi."
"I thee wed. I mean, Yes Sir."

Photo from Attaturk, who scratches the itch.

The Rude Pundit says a tearful goodbye to Condi's predecessor, who has been in command of the "facts" since the massacre at My Lai.
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Monday, November 15, 2004

Chronicle of a budgetary shafting foretold 

From the T-P:

Even with the election over, there's still no consensus on several spending issues, including how much money will be used for highways, transportation, energy and water projects. The squabbling could force Congress to authorize funding at 2004 levels, which means some state highways projects, including a long-awaited expansion of Interstate 49, will probably remain on hold.
What's the rush when only a few thousand jobs, economic development and hurricane evacuation infrastructure are at issue? Keep that on the backburner for a few more decades, pleaze.

Vitter, who is leaving his post on the House Appropriations Committee, said there's still a chance an agreement can be reached on water and energy projects. If not, the Army Corps of Engineers will receive roughly the same $4.3 billion as the 2004 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

That will be bad news for local authorities awaiting increases in funding for projects such as the West Bank and vicinity hurricane protection program and Inner Harbor Navigational Canal Lock Replacement in New Orleans.

The lame-duck session had been expected to tackle a giant water resources bill, which would have authorized $300 million for coastal erosion projects in Louisiana. State officials had called the funding levels inadequate, and Louisiana lawmakers had been working to increase the amount substantially.

But now it appears the water bill will also be held over until next year...

The gret stet has lost nearly 2000 square miles of protective coastal marshlands (not a misprint) since 1932-- so what's another 1000? Sure we can invest $14 billion now to confront this federal issue, or pay, scientists estimate, a cool $100 billion later. The Bush administration, who proposed giving $100 million to Iraq for its wetlands programs, has continuously shut out Louisiana until this election year where it coughed up a paltry $8 million for our urgent coastal needs. When the President visited this year, he shared a limo with Gov. Blanco, and she asked him for $50 million to address our initial coastal restoration efforts. According to my sources, he replied that current solutions are not based on "solid science".

This pronouncement on science comes from a man who contends that the "jury is out" on evolution, while simultaneously proposing exploration to Mars.

Our state is getting rolled under the bus by Duhbya, and yet still licks his political boot. Maybe one day, perhaps when we're using our tax cuts to invest in houseboats, we'll realize how badly the Shrub rooked us.

I'll have some more to say about this, especially as these crucial issues impact (or fail to impact) the LA-3 runoff between Melancon and Tauzin.
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When the other shoe drops 

I've previously detailed the unwholesome odor resulting from spilt baby formula in one's footwear. Well, little did I know the ramifications would spiral further out into the realm of public embarrassment.

Travelling with wife Lovely and daughter Colicky through the airport is a somewhat more involved operation than travelling as a single business traveler. The stroller and infant seat complications alone are tricky, but if you combine those with some cheapness and procrastination (on my part) and you get the following scenario.

Background: Aside from the ruined loafers that smell of death, I owned two different pairs of leather boatshoes. Unfortunately, each pair had developed a single hole in only one of the shoes. So, resourceful guy that I am, I decided to combine the two intact shoes from each similar (but not identical) pair so that I could form one, wearable, holeless pair. That is, I took the good right shoe from one pair and the good left from another and wore them both together even though they weren't a perfect match. Nifty, huh? And I did this for weeks and no one was any the wiser.

Fast forward to Louis Armstrong Int'l Airport security checkpoint. After emptying pockets and putting the bags and stroller on the x-ray conveyor-- all while carrying Colicky-- I was told to send my belt and shoes through too. Somehow I managed all that with one hand, and proceeded to walk through the metal detector carrying Colicky. No alarm bells rang, but the security person behind the x-ray monitor started yelling frantically. "We got one shiv! We got one shiv!"

What the hell is she screaming about, I thought. My mind was scrambling for answers. Did I pack a crude prison knife? Did someone slip me one? Is there a Hindu artifact amongst my undies? What's happening?!

Nearby security personnel were gathering around the yeller's monitor.

"Come see! One shiv! Only one shiv!"

Interrogation room images were flashing through my mind, and I briefly considered fleeing down the terminal; stiff-arming cops with one arm, carrying Colicky like a football in the other. Then I figured out that one of my shoes had a metal support in the heel while the other was apparently "shiv-less". Every nearby security person had come to look at the monitor. Many pointed and laughed. I smiled weakly and tried to explain to the gathered personnel, "You see, I had two different shoes with holes, but two were ok, so I thought..." But that only seemed funnier to the crew.

Much less jovial was Lovely, who demanded a detailed explanation for the ruckus. While I tried my best, she just looked at me with a curious expression, as if I recently arrived from the planet Nerdus or something.

There's no grand lesson here. Just, whatever you do, don't let baby formula ferment in your loafers. It'll lead to trouble in River City.
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If time is money, then many N.O. voters faced a "poll tax" on Nov. 2nd. 

I don't want to bore you with repetition, but since the LA Sec. of State and I have diametrically opposed opinions about the recent elections in New Orleans, I thought I'd cite what New Orleans CityBusiness (a moderate to conservative) publication had to report in their article "Nov. 2 N.O. election called 'catastrophe'":

"It was a catastrophe," said Butler, director of the Louisiana Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. "There wasn't a rule in the book that wasn't broken somewhere. It's really a systemic problem. We're still documenting complaints."

Butler estimates the state ACORN office received hundreds of complaints and continues to receive as many as 10 a day.

Community activist groups such as ACORN and Election Protection, a national organization created to monitor the 2004 presidential election, claim the Nov. 2 elections in Orleans Parish were riddled with problems brought on by poorly trained poll commissioners that resulted in the disenfranchisement of thousands.
Scott Madere, press secretary for Secretary of State Fox McKeithen, said the minor problems in New Orleans did not in any way jeopardize the results of the election.

"It's not a perfect system," Madere said. "You have imperfect poll workers, imperfect voters and imperfect machines. But when it comes to holding elections, Louisiana is at or near the top. This was another good election overall."

Arleen Robinson could not disagree more. When she arrived at her polling location on Louisiana Avenue Parkway at 7 a.m. both of the voting machines were inoperable. It took three hours before a poll commissioner announced that the problems had been fixed, she said. [Ed. note: Polls open at 6am, but both machines at this precinct were inoperable from the outset.]
"When you have 30 percent of precincts experiencing technical difficulties it's a major problem," Beverly said. "I know of at least two precincts that didn't have their machines operating until well into the afternoon."

Madere called the Election Protection numbers inaccurate and said that technicians corrected whatever technical malfunctions that may have occurred.

Orleans Parish Clerk of Criminal Court Kimberly Williamson Butler said only six machines in all of Orleans Parish required replacing.

Beverly called the claim absurd. "We had people on the ground and at the polling locations talking directly to the voters who know what happened," she said.

You tell 'em Bev! Ratboy and I were some of those "people on the ground", and I couldn't be prouder about having been part of the effort. I didn't see Secretary Fox McKeithen at the Louisiana Pky precinct near Broad. There wasn't anyone but Election Protection volunteers, befuddled poll commissioners, local media, and scores of disenfranchised voters waiting hours in some cases, and then returning home. Buses transporting the elderly arrived, and then turned around upon learning that no machines were operable. And as for Clerk o' Court Kimberly Butler, she will be summarily dismissed next election. I personally wrote down the serial number of a broken machine at the school on Laurel and Jackson Ave, which had not been replaced by mid-afternoon. Was that counted as a broken machine needing replacement? If not, why not?
The provisional ballots, being used for the first time in a presidential election, caused the most problems, Beth Butler said.

"As we all predicted the poll commissioners didn't know what a provisional ballot was or how to handle it. We went through all of this before the election but they just couldn't get it straight," she said. "The ballots caused long delays, which prevented people who had to go to work from voting."
The Sec of State and Clerk of Court want to diminish and cover over this issue, which couldn't be more fundamental to a functioning democracy. New Orleans loses political clout if thousands of its voters can't cast ballots. Do influential whiteys in Uptown or Lakeview need to be inconvenienced before the election "results" are "jeopardized"? How about the GOP-laden Northshore? Say some wealthy St. Tammany Republicans were still standing in line-- getting swarmed by mosquitoes-- at midnight on Election Day. (It happened in N.O.). Would McKeithen have the balls to say things were "good"?

Consider this: Is it possible that some precincts in Afghanistan had fewer problems on election day than did certain precincts in New Orleans?

Sweet Mercy.
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40/40 vision 

The Gambit has its "40 under 40" profile out, showcasing the younger movers and shakers of New Orleans. Bizarrely, your humble narrator's achievements in material handling and weblog excellence went unrecognized. Clearly the editors must have overlooked YRHT's important contributions to the public discourse; a prime example being the previous post tackling the provocative history of the Veep's long-range pelvic scud.

Surely next year my work will be fully appreciated.

But this year, let's congratulate Nurhan Gokturk, 33, who developed a promising low-income housing solution for New Orleans which we summarized here. Press on, sir!

John Besh, 36, executive chef at Restaurant August also made the cut. I suppose he can put together a rather decent plate of food.
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For whom the bell end tolls... 

Did we get any word on whether Lynne Cheney was briefly confined to a wheelchair after her honeymoon? Recent photos have kindled rumors.

What about in October of '65, when the Selective Service made married men (w/o children) draft-eligible? Nine months later eldest child Elizabeth Cheney was born.

On a totally unrelated note, it would be interesting to explore the Second Lady's inspiration for the following passages in her steamy novel, "Sisters" (1981):

It was so grotesque, so horrible to me that she'd let men do that to her again and again, as though she were merely a vessel of flesh, an animal, and nothing more. I couldn't get beyond that.


The women who embraced in the wagon were Adam and Eve crossing a dark cathedral stage -- no, Eve and Eve, loving one another as they would not be able to once they ate of the fruit and knew themselves as they truly were...

Let us go away together, away from the anger and imperatives of men. We shall find ourselves a secluded bower where they dare not venture. There will be only the two of us, and we shall linger through long afternoons of sweet retirement... And then we shall go to bed, our bed, my dearest girl.

I'm worried about the security of D.H. Lawrence's rank in the history of literature.
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Sunday, November 14, 2004

Cat-blogging Louisiana Style 

Michael's purrty "lap cat" takes the prize.
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Army of One 

Remember that spiritual character from "Joe Millionaire"? The ultra-deep brunette runner-up who defensively reacted to suggestions that she was merely a goldigging hussy by saying, "I've always wanted to become a mercenary and go to India to bathe the children". Where is she now? Is she leading an army of compassion somewhere? Does she have an outside shot for beatification? Anyone know?

Just wondering.

Go Saints (and Saintsations) throughout this troubled world!
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