Saturday, July 30, 2005

N.O. ex-pat blogger nails the Guardian! 

Sometime New Orleanian Scott Burgess exposed one of the Guardian's writers as belonging to an extreme anti-Semite organization. I didn't know about the Daily Ablution or its author until the front page article in the T-P.

The Guardian affair began July 13, when that paper published an opinion piece on the suicide bombings of London transit in which Aslam presumed to speak for young Muslim men in England.

"Shocked would be to suggest that the bombings happened through no responsibility of our own," Aslam wrote in his most controversial sentence.

Hours later, The Daily Ablution noted Aslam's ties with Hizb Ut Tahrir, a radical Muslim group that has been banned in Holland and Germany and that, on Web pages and in its literature, advocates the restoration of the Caliphate, the religious judiciary that once ruled the Muslim world, and the destruction of Israel. Through Web links and direct quotation, Burgess established that Aslam's writings also embraced those goals.

Mostly conservative bloggers in Europe and the United States quickly began drawing attention to Burgess' posting, and The Guardian slowly responded, first blaming "reactionary" forces in the blogosphere, and then badly misconstruing a satiric posting by Burgess that claimed he had applied for Aslam's job and been rejected.

On July 22, the newspaper fired Aslam; Scardino's announcement that he would depart in October to pursue unspecified projects came Friday. In e-mail, the Guardian said Scardino was "one of the paper's executive editors, for home and news," and that his surprise resignation was "un-related" to the tempest about Aslam's resume.

Choosing no side

Although those developments burnish Burgess' status as a bane of leftist European journalists, he shrugs off the mantle of conservatism's avenging angel. He said he "didn't appreciate it" when the French daily Liberation called him "hard right." His parents, whom he describes as "liberal, McGovern-supporting trendies," separated when he was a boy and sent him for a couple of years to live with his "fundamentalist" grandparents.

"As a result, I rejected both belief systems!" he wrote.
In the three weeks since his battle with The Guardian became big news in the Internet world, Burgess said "unique visitor" hits at his site mushroomed from about 1,200 a day to more than 5,000. But he posited it was neither his notoriety nor his politics that gives him a warm welcome in most pubs.

"I still brag to people that the New Orleans teenage experience is not 'What are we going to do this weekend' but 'Who are we going to hear this weekend?' " he said. "And everyone, without exception, thinks that being from New Orleans is just the coolest thing ever."

Congratulations to blogger Burgess on his discovery.
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Friday, July 29, 2005

Surpassingly Naïve 

I'm not sure one can adequately mock this analysis of Karl Rove over at Wizbang!

Paul's commentary reveals a degree of ignorance of der Karl that I didn't think was possible from those who regularly follow GOP politics. By comparison, Kevin's post from last week seems totally grounded in realistic expectations (of Rove stepping down "for the team" rather than fighting it out).

The post is titled "Washington Post reporter clears Rove" and quotes a story which, shockingly, does not "clear" Rove. Paul then spouts the usual Plame "non-story" claptrap, and quickly proceeds into the typical leftist bashing ("They don't really care who said what to who... they want Rove gone. Their irrational hated is blinding them to all reality."). But following that standard winger "analysis", we encounter a most unexpected payoff (my emphs):

Let's say Rove gets fired tomorrow. What does he do? Go fishing???? No, if Rove gets fired tomorrow he starts working the next day on the mid-term elections. Thereby guaranteeing the Dems lose even more power in the Senate. (and the House)

Get that? Paul believes that IF Rove gets fired tomorrow he will start ("Start", mind you!) the very next day on mid-term elections. Again: He will START working on the mid-term elections IF he's fired... (but only if?)... One more time: Rove hasn't started yet, apparently, but if he were free to do so, he would. If fired, he'd take the evening off to recharge his batts, and get a fresh start "the very next day" on those mid-terms!

Remember, Rove began preparing for the 2004 reelection during Bush's first week in office, but Paul seems to think he's prevented from "working" on the mid-terms as long as he's Dubya's White House supplicant. Wow. Knowing what I know of Rove, it would be impossible for these assumptions to be more incorrect. Yet Paul soldiers forth, and provides more texture to his analysis with an example:

In chess if you have your opponent's Queen pinned the last thing you do is let her go free. Rove is more valuable to the Dems in the Whitehouse working for a President who (let's review) isn't running for another term than he is on the open market.

So, yes, let's review: Paul is making the claim that Rove is "pinned"(!) in the White House because he's working for a term-limited politician. Der Karl is restricted; he's not circulating in the "open market", he's hopelessly trapped in that dungeon on Penn Ave., jealous of all the other consultants who get to work for a candidate who will be running in '06...

That is just mind-numbingly bad analysis. I think the sound of my bowels evacuating makes more sense than that. Rove is in the catbird seat. There's not a political advisor working today who wouldn't want the position Der Karl enjoys. Rove has enormous influence over GOP media talking points, he can track the development of hundreds of congressional races throughout the country, and he can, say, pressure scores of Republicans in congress when the President needs to pass legislation in order to regain political prestige. He has all the resources and power of the White House, and Paul wants to suggest that he's politically impotent. Yeah, right!

It's just madness to think Rove isn't near the zenith of political power right now (although that will soon change). His goal is sustained conservative Republican hegemony, and he couldn't be in a better position to pursue that goal. Arguably, no political adviser has ever had more influence over a president or a Congress. Rove is bent on controlling the political "open market" rather competing inside it. He's worked all his life to be in this position, and he will damn sure take full advantage of the opportunity.

Next, Paul elaborates on his theory. Not only is Rove rather impotent in the White House, he claims, but some in the "Democrat"[sic] party are aware of this weakness, and wish to maintain it!

Have you noticed the Clinonistsas -the only Dems who know how to win elections- have been largely silent on this one? They want Rove to stay where he is. The whole rest of the Democrat party is too blinded by hate to even think rationally.

"[Clintonites] want Rove to stay where he is."

So: politically astute Dems recognize that Rove is "more valuable" to them when he's in the White House...

Goodness. I wish I weren't such a blind, hateful, irrational leftist, because then I could understand lofty political insights like those.
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LA: smarties don't have to leave it! 

Good News! My friend, the Big Event, will likely stay in da "gret stet" to pursue scientific greatness in the field of Public Health! Another victory in Louisiana's war struggle against Brain Drain.

Last weekend the Big Event and I celebrated at the Half Moon, which boasts one of the city's best rock'n roll jukeboxes. We quaffed prodigiously and argued about the Ramones' influence on the Clash. (More on that vital debate here.)

I've had "The Guns of Brixton" in my head all week.... What's been in your head?
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Thursday, July 28, 2005

"The historic rape of the Sparta" 

Like a scratched CD, I keep discussing the loss of coastal wetlands here in South Louisiana. Recently, I learned that North Louisiana also has serious water problems. Whereas folks down here fear a damaging influx of H2O, the northern parishes are in danger of depleting their aquifer.

A column from the Shreveport Times explains the situation:

There is definitely a problem -- a looming groundwater catastrophe, actually -- for the 19 north Louisiana parishes drinking from the spongy, underground [Sparta aquifer]. The aquifer is shrinking two to four feet a year. It's dying.
While north Louisiana constituents cried out in protest, the Senate voted 30-4 on June 8 to strip Sparta of its "critical" designation and substitute the toothless "area of groundwater concern."
So why would [legislators] push changing Sparta's critical designation in the teeth of unusual, angry regional opposition among their constituents and against all environmental good sense?

In short, because the LABI and Republican Party claimed that the "critical" designation "might scare off potential industry."

The historic rape of the Sparta by industry is as important to Louisiana as south Louisiana's coastal erosion.

A statement like that is sure to capture my attention. So what do we do about it?

The quickest, cheapest solution to Sparta depletion is a measure, a process, that would provide government matching funds for businesses switching from the aquifer to north Louisiana's already ample surface waters and recycled waste water.

Spread the word, birds.
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Capone went after Ness 

Now Roveco is readying to go after Patrick Fitzgerald.

Joe Conason helpfully summarizes the politics of the investigation:

Mr. Fitzgerald is a Republican appointee, named by a Republican Justice Department to investigate alleged misconduct in a Republican administration, at the urging of a Republican President and his C.I.A. director.

Using his trusty playbook, Rove intends to slime a prosecuter who is known for sending "al Qaeda terrorists, mob hit men and drug dealers to jail".

Let him try. Fitzgerald will not be "swiftboated"; he is, right now, politically "untouchable".

Ness beat Capone. Fitzie will beat Rove.

H/T to Digby
Update: Archpundit basically agrees that Fitz is now untouchable. (And he knows much more than I do about him.)
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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It's a Crouere summer (part I) 

Jeff Crouere is a local conservative who has hosted radio and TV shows, and writes political commentary for various publications. I've met him several times and think he's a pretty fair moderator; he seems genuinely interested in hearing from the other side and encouraging an interesting discussion.

That said, his recent column, entitled "Our Good Ole Girl Governor" (promoted by the Dead Pelican as well as this allegedly "nonpartisan" news service) is a real piece of work. In it, Crouere slams Governor Kathleen Blanco for-- get this-- vetoing some budgetary pork! He believes she selectively scratched state funds going to districts represented by her political enemies.

For example, Crouere contends that Blanco eliminated $89k going to a St. Tammany "art house" because, St. Tammany is a Republican Parish.

So, Blanco eliminated money for a wheelchair ramp at an art house in order to punish those St. Tam Republicans. She sure knows how to hit'em where it hurts, doesn't she?

Sadly, Crouere neglects to explain why the vengeful Blanco inexplicably spared allocations for the St. Tammany towns of Folsom, Abita Springs and Pearl River. Why wouldn't this brutal "Queen Bee" governor make it a clean sweep, and veto every penny going to the parish? Seems puzzling, no? Almost as puzzling as fiscal conservatives arguing for more pork.

But Crouere quickly moves on to other dark speculations:
Blanco has given Saints owner Tom Benson a tough time in negotiations ever since she was elected. Could it be because Benson supported Bobby Jindal in the 2003 race?

Oh horrors! That vicious Queen Bee has given poor lil' Tommy a "tough time"! What an awful thing to do!

Crouere lamely suggests that Blanco was "tough" on Benson because he supported Jindal. Ok. I will take this opportunity to cordially invite every Republican candidate in the state to adopt Jeff's line of thought, and have them campaign on the "Ease up on Benson" issue. Sounds like a winner to me!

Forgive me for rephrasing Crouere's query, but perhaps there's a slightly more plausible explanation for Blanco's stance: "Could it be" that Blanco is giving Benson a "tough time" because he enjoys "the sweetest deal in the history of the NFL"?

I suppose I could pick apart the entire column in this manner, but it's getting late, and I have some bigger fish to fry. So here is Forgotston's list of state aid to local government entities, and here is Blanco's explanation for her vetoes (many of them affecting Democratic districts). I didn't see evidence of overwhelming bias, but feel free to judge for yourself.

Just to be clear, though: I dislike porcine government, and I'm sure that Blanco is not above political payback. However, I think Crouere has cherry-picked some miniscule vetoes, and inflated their importance to make huge, over-arching conclusions about Blanco's motives, such as:
By her partisan and punitive vetoes, Blanco has clearly shown all political observers that although she is governing, she is not delivering good government.

For the sake of argument, let's assume Crouere's wild theories are accurate, and that Blanco actually de-funded an art house in order to punish certain Republicans, and that her "partisan and punitive" decisions indicate that she is not a good governor.

Ok, fine. I'll swallow that line if Crouere will answer me this: don't the conclusions made about Blanco apply ten-fold to the Bush administration? Actually, isn't it even worse with Bush because his policies have punished a red state that twice-voted for him? Why does he continually deal Louisiana the worst cards?

For example, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) recently complained about the strong-armed tactics the White House is using to pass CAFTA. It would seem to fit Crouere's idea of bad governance:

"The pressure being applied by the administration is enormous, really unlike anything I've ever seen," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who voted against CAFTA.

Vitter said financing for specific projects in the federal highway bill now being negotiated by a House-Senate conference committee is being used to sway votes for CAFTA and to punish opponents. "It's getting ugly in terms of the use and abuse of the highway bill. It really is very disappointing," he said.

Truly, with "friends" like Bush, I don't think Louisiana even needs coastal erosion as an enemy.
(When was the last time Crouere wrote a column about LA's most important issue, anyways?)

I'll serve the aforementioned "bigger fish" tomorrow, in part two of "It's a Crouere summer".
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I made a point about local politics over at the Metblogs that's barely worth a click.

The Poor Man is outstanding today.

Here are some quick news summaries from the T-P:

N.O. students show progress
Students at many New Orleans public schools posted substantial gains in certain areas of two key achievement tests over the past year, scores released Tuesday showed, with more stagnancy than decline in other areas. [You know how bad things must be when "more stagnancy than decline" is celebrated]

More than a thousand employees at the Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans erupted into applause, hugs and tears Tuesday morning as they looked up at a giant television screen and watched the space shuttle Discovery rocket into space.

The nine-minute countdown was the culmination of a 2 ½-year wait for the Michoud employees, who built the shuttle's external fuel tank. The event had the air of a huge family reunion, except for the photographers and journalists picking through the crowds of people, getting sound bites and anxious quotes.

Some temporary coastal money in Energy bill

For the first time ever, Congress is prepared to give major federal money to help save Louisiana's coast: $540 million over four years as part of an energy bill expected to win final congressional approval this week.

The measure was included in a far-reaching bill that affects virtually every form of energy and will touch the lives of all Americans.
The measure of greatest interest to Louisiana was the revenue-sharing measure that will give Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska and California a portion of the $24 billion the federal government collects each year in taxes and leases for offshore oil production.

The money would be divided based on how much oil is produced from the federally leased land off the states' coasts. Louisiana is slated to get 54 percent of the $1 billion that will be sent to the states between 2007 and 2010, or about $135 million a year.

Scientists say that about $14 billion over 30 years is needed to stop the coastal erosion.

A last-minute push by some Louisiana congressional members to add a long-term coastal funding mechanism failed. Republicans blamed the failure on Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee, while Democrats suggested it had more to do with budgetary limits and opposition from the Bush administration.

Louisiana Child Poverty increases

Louisiana's child poverty rate, perennially among the worst in the nation, soared by a staggering 11 percent between 2000 and 2003, according to a major national study. As many as half the state's youngsters live in households with incomes below the poverty level and 30 percent of them are trapped in outright destitution, the study found.

Released today, the Kids Count survey ranks Louisiana 49th in the United States when an array of indicators for child well-being are factored together, among them rates of child death, single-parent homes and households where parents don't hold full-time jobs.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

How do you say "vampire" in Arabic? 

I wish I could freely link to today's Wall Street Journal story entitled "Former Bush Aide Turns Tough Critic as Iraq Inspector" (front page, column one). It's a profile of Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

And who is Stuart Bowen? He's a Texas lawyer who "parlayed a job on George W. Bush's first gubernatorial campaign into senior posts in Austin and Washington." He spent "35 days in Florida during the 2000 recount", then worked for Bush's transition team, then joined 'Abu' Gonzales as associate counsel for the White House and then became a lobbyist for a big construction company angling for Iraq contracts. Basically, the guy has been a loyal Bushie confidant for over a decade.

During the fall of 2003 something strange happened, though. Congress called for an Inspector General to audit the CPA in Iraq, and see how our tax dollars were being spent. Apparently it occurred to some of our esteemed representatives that "the largest U.S. reconstruction effort since World War II" could use a modicum of oversight. Most Democrats were highly skeptical when Stuart Bowen was appointed to fill this new position, though, questioning whether he was truly independent (given his close ties to Bush). However, those skeptics changed their tune dramatically when Bowen began issuing reports wherein he

...concluded that the American occupation authority failed to keep track of nearly $9 billion that it transferred to Iraqi government ministries, which lacked financial controls and internal safeguards to prevent abuse. One Iraqi ministry cited in the audit inflated its payroll to receive extra funds, claiming to employ 8,206 guards when it actually employed barely 600.

Other findings by Bowen's team include:
A third of the $10 billion in contracts signed in fiscal 2003 were awarded without competition.

A contractor charged the U.S. $3.3 million for phantom employees assigned to an oil-pipeline contract.

Iraqi construction firms allegedly paid U.S. soldiers to help steal construction equipment from the interim government.

At least a third[!!] of the government-owned vehicles and equipment that Halliburton was paid to manage were believed lost. [!!]

The U.S. failed to keep track of nearly $9 billion it transferred to the new Iraqi government, much of which appears to have been embezzled.

What an outrageous waste! Remember Louisianans, this goes on while the White House tells us the budget is too tight to provide federal money to save our coast.

Stuart Bowen's team still has "numerous audits underway", and Democrats like Russ Feingold are working to lengthen the term of his appointment (which will soon expire).

The WSJ article concludes by indicating that Bowen "rarely hears from anyone in the White House these days-- either professionally or socially."

Jeez, I wonder why?

Digby has an excellent post on this general topic, and recalls how ideological purity was one of the main qualifiers for work in Iraq. (Thank goodness there are a few people like Bowen who privilege truth over party.)

The CPA though was a very special boondoggle, if you'll recall. It was an experiment in Republican Party governance. They refused to allow anyone on "the team" who didn't pass the GOP litmus test. They would not hire experts nor would they allow foreign or domestic political actors who were not deemed sufficiently loyal to Bush to help with planning and implementation. So much so that they were finally reduced to hiring kids who had posted resumes on the Heritage Foundation web-site in order to ensure ideological purity. If I recall correctly, Ari Fleischer's brother was put in charge of setting up the new Iraqi stock market despite the fact that he knew absolutely zero about stock markets. But he had the right contacts, that's for sure.

And, let's not forget that all this happened because we were in such a damned hurry to "disarm" Iraq that we couldn't take even a minute to think through how we might re-start their economy and rebuild their infrastructure in a planned and rational way. We just invaded come hell or high water and then sent in a bunch of college Republicans with planeloads of cash... We didn't plan for the post war period at all.
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Watch out Frogger, you're on a sinking turd! 

In reference to special prosecutor Fitzgerald, Somerby asks a good question: who picked this guy to run the Plame leak investigation?

It might become an historically fateful choice. Much of my confidence in Fitz stems from profiles like this Wapo piece which I've excerpted for your perusal. This prosecutor is smarter than the people whom he's investigating, yet they think they can outgame him. That's a lethal combination when the stakes are high.

Now, of course, Rove's Senatorial toadies are going to investigate the investigator. I'll explain why that's actually a promising development, but first read this delicious encomium to Fitzgerald and try to imagine what possible line of attack the White House can use. "Overzealous?" "Ambitious?" "Trial lawyer?" Do they honestly think they have some angles here?

Head of Leak Probe Is Called Relentless

By David Von Drehle and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 1, 2004; Page A03

If Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the man chosen to investigate the leak of a CIA operative's identity to a prominent Washington journalist, is everything people say he is, there should be a nervous leaker out there today.

Colleagues, classmates and more neutral observers say the Chicago-based U.S. attorney is fiercely independent, relentless, tireless, fearless. He has sent al Qaeda terrorists, mob hit men and drug dealers to jail; last month he indicted the former governor of Illinois. American Lawyer magazine has written of his "almost frightening brilliance." Author Daniel Benjamin, having studied Fitzgerald's work in prosecuting terrorists in New York, calls him "an awesome public servant."

"Anybody who has done something wrong in connection with [the leak] should not be heartened by Patrick Fitzgerald's appointment," says former deputy attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. "That's an incredible understatement."

Compared with the work that made Fitzgerald's career -- a series of cases in the late 1990s that laid bare the tangled and devious al Qaeda terrorist network -- the leak case is simple. "Fitzie," as his friends call him, is a mathematician by training, a person obsessive about his work and the owner of a memory so large and supple that he could piece together threads and shreds of seemingly disjointed information -- snatches of Arabic, credit card receipts, unfamiliar names -- that were just scraps to nearly everyone else.

And he was able to explain it all in compelling terms to juries faced with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, and an elaborate plot based in the Philippines to hijack and destroy a number of passenger jets on a single day. As co-head of the terrorism unit in the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office, he secured the first U.S. indictment of Osama bin Laden.
"He came to Chicago from his New York terrorist prosecutions with an excellent reputation," Thompson said, "and I think that reputation has held up in Chicago. He's smart, tough, determined, focused. His staff clearly works well with him and probably idolizes him."
Goggins and others remember Fitzgerald as "very apolitical." Throughout his school years, during many heated political debates, Goggins never heard him take a predictable partisan stance. "He would be very neutral and down the middle, always taking what he thought was the logical position -- he didn't really subscribe to a political philosophy."
"There are a lot of people that you can say are dogged or aggressive and all of that," Kelley said yesterday. "But there's also an incredibly humane side of Pat. He's almost honest to a fault, if that's possible." Kelley adds: "You can't have a political conversation with him, because it's just not something he's interested in."

Investigating this probe indicates desperation and weakness within the Bush administration. And the wingnut bloggers are so far behind the curve on this "non-story," that they won't be able to fathom what's coming down the pike. This is actually the beginning of Rove's "final fight", kids. Relatively soon, I think we will witness one of the most spectacular acts of political suicide in recent history.

Yet, instead of waiting, I will commence to prematurely gloat:

As I mused last month, Rove's reckless comment about liberals and 9/11 was an indication of the pressure he was feeling from Fitzie's probe. He was lashing out then, and he'll probably continue to do so through his surrogates.

Also, once again, I want to remind you of my confident prediction from last summer: "Mark it down: something will come of it. You let Elliot Ness snoop around the Veep's office, and he's bound to find something. With sneaky stooges like Scooter Libby running around... That's a 'target rich' environ, as Rumsfeld would say."

After wrongly predicting that Kerry would take Ohio, I need something to restore my faith in my political instincts.

Der Karl doing the "frog dance" would suffice. In spades.
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Still one of the biggest pricks since... since... well, you don't have to go back quite this far, but he's in some elite company.

When Fidel finally dies, how can we expect to positively influence future events in Cuba if we are not engaged-- commercially, diplomatically, ideologically, culturally...? This stupid embargo punishes everyone (including the U.S. and LA) except Castro. I'm convinced the embargo practically sustains this hale bastard. Our policies over the past 4 decades have given him the ultimate boogeyman; the ultimate scapegoat. And too often, we ignore the brave Cubans who militate against Castro's police state thuggery. We should loudly support them at every opportunity.

But we also need to engage.

We need to be in that country-- connected, networked, ready to pounce-- when this prick falls his last fall. We need to be buying Cuban goods and offering more humanitarian assistance after hurricanes, and saturating tourist resorts with American dollars. We need to be playing baseball, and exchanging students. In short, we need our foot in the door rather than maintaining this ridiculous "all or nothing" posture. We don't do that with China.

Yes, some would call reversing the embargo "capitulation" or "appeasement". But I would call it shrewd tactics. It's an investment in a brighter future for Cuba. We can't make it easy for Castro to simply transfer his dictatorship to a political heir.

This is the endgame, folks, and we are out of position.
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Monday, July 25, 2005

GWB: "I like the idea of people running for office. There's a positive effect when you run for office." 

Chris Bowers at MyDD is answering Bush's call to run for office.

Also, I'm proud to introduce to the internet the platform of potential New Orleans Mayoral candidate David Bellinger (aka "The Flaming Liberal"). Well known within the local talk radio community, David may run for mayor as a "Blind Man with a Vision". Some of his more interesting proposals include:

  • A business tax incentive plan that would offer credits to businesses who hire Orleans Parish residents. The Louisiana Weekly profiled the plan in January. (I discussed it in this post.)
  • Studying the possiblity of additional street car routes. (Perhaps Yatpundit could offer advice on this one.)
  • Develop Monte Carlo/French Riviera luxury resort in New Orleans East on Lake Pontchartrain with a topless beach and revenue dedicated to pay raises for city workers and to reduce water rates since water rates will soon dramatically increase due to federal mandates. (Should David run, I will propose to visit said model cities on his behalf and do an extended, in-depth feasibility study.)
  • Ban pit bulldogs and assault rifles. (That's incendiary enough to actually generate some media interest.)
  • Propose advertising tax on commercials broadcast on radio stations which broadcast New Orleans Saints games at game time and revenue be dedicated to renovating the Louisiana Super Dome or to build a new stadium in order to keep the NFL franchise in New Orleans and as a note, at this time, there is no tax of any kind on advertising in Louisiana.
  • As mayor will submit to regular and random drug testing.
  • Work on making New Orleans a clean city. (Perhaps the most idealistic plank in the Flaming Lib's entire platform, but I agree it's worth a try.)

I don't necessarily agree with all of David's proposals, but since he really has lost his sight, I was happy to assist him in getting his ideas on the internet. Should he indeed choose to run, I can guarantee to you that his campaign will not be boring.

Here's more of Bush's statement from which I extracted the title quote.

I like the idea of people running for office. There's a positive effect when you run for office. Maybe some will run for office and say, vote for me, I look forward to blowing up America. I don't know, I don't know if that will be their platform or not. But it's -- I don't think so. I think people who generally run for office say, vote for me, I'm looking forward to fixing your potholes, or making sure you got bread on the table.
(Further analysis of this remark at Dubyaspeak).
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Liberal talk comes to New Orleans 

I still can't get a straight answer as to why Entercom-owned 1350am has changed its talk-radio programming from Dr. Laura and Bill O'Reilly to Air America. I'm pleased but mystified. (Entercom's main Louisiana station, "the big 870", is not exactly a beacon of liberalism.)

Apparently WSMB 1350 is the second Louisiana station to make this move. Fifteen hundred signatures were enough to get WYNK 1380 in Baton Rouge to switch from conservative to liberal talk.

Like Schroeder says, these stations will need your support.

Update: in one of the weirdest and ill-timed editorial decisions I've seen, the Times-Picayune runs this column from Paul Mulshine of the Newark Star-Ledger. He basically argues that liberal talk radio fails because Bush, the center of all criticism, really has more in common with "internationalist" Dems than he does with America-first paleocons. He thinks the far-right ravings of Dr. Savage is a good indicator of where the action is.
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Sunday, July 24, 2005

More dangerous than terrorists? 

No, not liberal activist judges.

No, not the ACLU.

No, not the Main Stream Media.

I'm talking about ... Bird Flu!!!

And if you're thinking "Flu Shmoo! Bring'em on!", you better read this book, which offers a chilling and vivid account of the "blue death". (Although I don't advise reading it while you're actually suffering from the flu, like I did).

In sum: it's possible that an oblivious Chinese farmer preparing chickenbutt soup might've already contracted and spread a mutant viral flu strain that will ignite a pandemic and kill millions of people.

Have a swell Monday.
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