Friday, May 27, 2005

86'd at the Ba Da Bingaman club 

What the blazes is going on here?!
WASHINGTON -- Louisiana's quest for a permanent source of financing for coastal restoration took a hit Thursday when Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., withdrew her legislation in the face of staunch opposition from a key member of her own party.

Landrieu said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., had threatened just before a pivotal committee hearing to derail a sweeping national energy bill unless she withdrew an amendment to direct 50 percent of the $6 billion in annual offshore oil and gas royalties to coastal energy-producing states, such as Louisiana. Bingaman said no state has a claim to royalties in federal waters, even though states, like his, split revenues with the federal government for drilling on land.

Landrieu said she decided to withdraw her revenue-sharing amendment moments before the Energy Committee hearing to avoid a public showdown with Bingaman, the top-ranking Democrat on the panel.

Billions in guaranteed annual funds for Louisiana's eroding wetlands aren't worth a "public showdown"? With Bingaman?! A Senator from a landlocked state that doesn't even have a wetland?!

I mean, C'mon!!

Have Senate Republicans become the most stalwart defenders of Louisiana coast? Sen. David Vitter is holding fast, and may vote against any energy bill that doesn't include revenue-sharing. Kudos. But you'll never guess who came out with the strongest rhetoric on the issue:

[Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.] angrily denounced the [oil/gas royalty] disparity, saying Louisiana, as the main producer of oil and gas in the country, deserves a share of federal revenues to repair its coast.

"It's absolutely wrong to say 'Thank you, Louisiana. You have been a good soldier. Your shoreline is going to hell, but this formula is terrific,' " Domenici said. "I will do everything I can to fix that."

Effing-A, dude!!

Bouquets to the Republican Senator from the Land of Enchantment for his statement of support. Bricks for his Democratic counterpart.

Interestingly, this issue traces back to a greedy, short-sighted, racist power-broker from Plaquemines, Judge Perez. He pushed "all in" in a game of poker with Harry Truman and lost the pot:

Leander Perez is best known in Louisiana history as the bullying segregationist and powerful boss of Plaquemines Parish, who built a political and financial empire.

But when current Louisiana politicians talk about Perez, it is his stubborn refusal more than 50 years ago to cut a deal with the Truman administration over sharing offshore oil and gas royalties that dominates the conversation.

Two generations of Louisiana lawmakers have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to claim a share of the billions of dollars in revenue that Perez passed up.
None of this maneuvering would be necessary had Perez not scuttled an offer in 1949 by President Truman to settle a long-running dispute over control of the resource-rich waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Truman offered the state 100 percent of the royalties paid by oil and gas companies up to 3 miles from shore and 37.5 percent for anything farther out.

Perez, whose power stretched far beyond Plaquemines Parish, insisted Louisiana hold out for 100 percent of it all, the 3-mile limit and beyond.

Truman withdrew the offer, and the state has since received only a narrow slice of the estimated $155 billion in royalties paid to the federal treasury.
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He's a right-wing dolt named Asman-- do I really need to snark up the title? 

As a host for Fox News, former Wall Street Journal opinion page editor David Asman is always finding ways to incorporate his conservative biases into nearly everything he says; whether it's reporting a "news" story, or doing an interview. Usually Asman works through implication, but yesterday he was caught overtly identifying himself with Senate Republicans during an interview with Trent Lott. Read and watch it at Media Matters.

I'll always remember the exchange between Asman and Wes Clark during a remote daytime interview on Fox in Nov. 2003, where Asman tried to imply that Clark had been disloyal to the military when he characterized the war in Iraq as a distraction to the "Real War" on terror.

Oh man, that set him off, and it made for scintillating television-viewing. Clark immediately called Asman on his bullsh*t and started yelling at him to stop "playing politics " and to "take it straight". He was looking directly into the camera and speaking from his heart in an impassioned voice: "Don't you dare twist words into disrespect for the men and women in uniform. I love those men and women, I gave 34 years of my life to them." Asman naturally feigned innocence, but Clark wouldn't let him off.

I printed an unofficial transcript of the interview in a previous post, if you wish to reread it. And if you want more, I found a really comprehensive blow-by-blow analysis of the episode here-- but, regrettably, it just isn't the same if you can't see and hear it. I would really love to find a video of the interview. If someone tracks one down, puh-leaze let me know.

At the time, Josh Marshall wondered why the Clark campaign didn't put it on their web site (perhaps they deemed the video too raw and unpresidential). As it turned out, that was arguably the high point of Clark's short-lived presidential effort.

General Clark and wife Gert shaking hands
with a supporter in rainy New Orleans.
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Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Pardon me, swarthy friend, would you like to know the one true path to eternal salvation?" 

Avedon at Eschaton tells us that American fundagelicals are travelling to the Holy Land to lecture Iraqis about their own religious history.

Recall that Iraqi Christians belong to one of the world's oldest Christian communities. So you can only imagine how unimpressed they are when fresh-faced American missionaries tell them the "Good News" (via translator) or when they tell Muslims the story of Jesus, whom they already view as a prophet.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

If we're going to send these internet questionnaires around, shouldn't we also include a fiver or two so that we can all get rich along the way?

For those unacquainted with the power of exponential increases, here's how the system works: I tell my friends to send me money, then they tell their friends, and they tell their friends and so on... Just as long as no one breaks the chain, everybody's golden.

You can thank Murph for sending me this music survey. Surely, it will expose me in various uncomfortable ways, but why the hell not? (Just please note that I'm a fan of music that really moves along, preferably towards a climax. Hence the punkish tilt.)

Total size of music files on my computer: Microscopic. You could probably count the files on one hand. I think there's a Bowie song, and one by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys lingering. I rarely listen to music via the 'puter, although I do have a Cam'ron cd and a Dead Horse cd ready-to-hand for when those rare moods strike.

The last CD I bought was: Ramones [remastered] -- What a true classic. The birth of punk. Just try to imagine being a teenager in '76, and hearing Blitzkrieg Bop blasting out of your turn-table stereo for the first time.

And now the remaster sounds clear as a bell. I've had it for several months and I've rarely listened to anything else. Highly recommended to all.

Song playing right now on my iFruit: don't own one, nor do I have any sort of portable music player. Still waiting for all useful technology to be collapsed into the cell phone (at a reasonable price).

Five songs that (continue to) mean a lot to me (1 per artist):

1. Ocean Size - Jane's Addiction "I want to be more like the ocean/No talking/All action..." Hell yeah! I'm a huge fan of Stephen Perkins' drummin'.

2. Halloween-- Dead Kennedys "Why don't you take your social regulations/And shove 'em up your ass?" Indeed.

3. Competition-- Gorrilla Biscuits (Yes, that's really a group) "Success is what I want to feel, at your expense it isn't real, it's jealousy...and jealousy's not true."

4. Junkie's Runnin Dry-- Operation Ivy "They call it youthful idealism/And even I would have to agree with them/Except some of us grow up, and it's still there./I grow up too slow, I don't wanna go... But now I'm working, just like everyone else, But I'll get out of here."

5. Oh You Pretty Things-- David Bowie "Let me make it plain/You gotta make way for the homo superior."

Five people whom I'm reluctantly inflicting this on:

1. Ratboy can email me or write in the comments.
2. Jeffrey... with two "F's": Jeffrey!
3. Angela who actually plays music in a band.
4. Mister Serious over at Hellnation.
5. SixthDoctor at LMS

Update: Thanks for all the contributions. Ian, Michael and Phizz also weighed in.
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Dealin' the hard stuff 

No, I'm not referring to Harry Reid's agreement with the sensible Republicans.

I'm talking about sixth-grader Katie Brownell. She pitched a perfect game the other day for her Little League team up in Oakfield, NY.

Not only was it a perfect game, but she struck out every single batter she faced! No one even had a full count! I can't begin to explain how filthy that is.

Katie's the only girl in the league, and when she's not on the mound dominating her opponents, she's hitting over .700 at the plate.

Someone give her a Koufax award!

Via Past is Prologue
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Monday, May 23, 2005

"Devoutly Skeptical" 

A friend of YRHT who prefers to remain anonymous is rolling out a new project called EvolveTV, which he describes as his "vast left wing conspiracy". You may have noticed the buzz-generating ads for it in some of the bigger blogs. So far only the landing page is available, and it might be several weeks before the full-fledged launch, but I wanted you to know an erudite fellow who was (twice!) featured on the YRHT blogroll was behind it.

I'll keep you updated. (And if you do blog ads, I can put you in touch with him.)
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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sing Hosanna! 

Those holy, holy, holy, devout, fundagelical, spiritual characters up in Tangipahoa parish are still fighting for their right to say "Jesus prayers" prior to School Board meetings. This, of course, would be in addition to the patriotic song, the patriotic reading and the Pledge of Allegiance which normally kick off the proceedings.

I worry: might even all this still be insufficient? For example, what if some Democrats decide to attend, and what if they're not twice-born? What if their SUV's lack the appopriate number of ribbons and "pro-life" bumper stickers? What then? Worse: what if an actual Hebrew wanders in?


Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with Adam Nossiter, one of the best journalists in the "gret stet". He has a typically excellent article on the scene up there:

For the Rev. Louis Husser, the struggle over prayer in public schools is between his folk and outsiders, it is about values, and it is very simple.

"The ACLU defends pedophiles," says the pastor of Crossgate Church. "You have to understand where they're coming from."

This sounds like the logically-bankrupt sort of argumentation PawPaw has been making. But if Reverend Husser and his disciples want to fish for red herrings, we can play that game too:

Sure Husser. Y'all keep producing the cultist pedophiles up there in Tangipahoa, and the ACLU will happily defend their rights.

Is that too harsh? Probably, but let's continue reading the article.

The school board retreated to a private room to discuss the ACLU, and came out fighting. It has been battling the rights group for more than 10 years, first over a classroom warning against evolution, then over a minister who delivered pizza and sermons to students at lunch, and then over prayers at football games and board meetings.

It has lost each time, with no apparent political cost. One board member was re-elected after a letter critical of prayer's prevalence, written by his Jewish opponent, was circulated, with a scrawled note casting her as an outsider.

Senator Vitter, a man known for his "Christian values", supports these prayerful literalists. And regular readers will recall that this isn't the first time the pizza minister episode has been discussed at YRHT. Perhaps, after the GOP shoehorns Priscilla "Queen of the ethical desert" Owens into New Orleans' 5th Circuit, such dangerously pro-1st amendment rulings might be curtailed.

[By the way, the slogan for Tangipahoa's web site is: "We've got it all!" Be sure to click the multicultural link if you're in the mood for a quick laugh. The context is this: David Duke carried Tangipahoa parish when he ran for Congress... in 1999! He amassed more votes there than either David Treen or David Vitter, who heavily outspent him.]

Husser, however, feels certain he speaks for the majority. "We're community leaders," he said. "We serve the community. We're in touch with the community. We share their values."

Depth of religious sentiment in Tangipahoa is not in question.

In the cafeteria at Loranger High School, a thumbprint machine to identify students has aroused the ire of parents who think the machine "is a forerunner of the Antichrist," Husser said.

"We know that there are electronic devices that will be used in the End-Time by the Antichrist," the minister said. "Some feel that it is leading into some of the tactics of the Antichrist, which is a cashless system."

Curse that pesky Anti-Christ and his demon electronics! It's hard to fault Husser for his vigilance, since we already know that computers are the "homo's devil machine"...

It's baffling how a bizarre cult could ever gain a foothold in such an enlightened parish.

(Apologies to Special K and other Tangipahoans who breathe through their noses.)
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