Friday, November 10, 2006

Another reason why a $7 billion partial border fence is a great idea 

Jeebus wept:

Mexico City's assembly approved the legal recognition of same-sex civil unions, a measure that would provide gay couples with social benefits like those of married heterosexuals for the first time in the country's history.

Clearly now, we must defend ourselves from illegal alien gay couples who might disseminate their disgusting "homo agenda" into this country. Talk about insult to injury! These people not only want to take our jobs rebuilding cities, they want to shatter our sacred institutions with their bizarre ideas about legal recognition for gays. Not to mention how they will spread their "pandemic diseases", and celebrate each night by drinking urine, and encourage the Deity to send more deadly hurricanes to signal His divine displeasure.

We'll spend $70 $10 million per mile on a partial border fence while we study whether Louisiana's levees and wetlands should be improved to withstand future Category 4/5 storms.

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Related WSJ editorial titled "Immigration losers"
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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Welcome to the Reality-based community, latecomers! 

I love these conservatives who are now saying that the past six years of total GOP rule didn't represent "true conservatism". Yeah, no freakin' kidding. Thanks for the belated "head's up", though! (As Kevin Drum notes, this sounds like Trotskyists explaining why Russia didn't represent "true communism"). Anyway, here's what George Will has to say:

But Republicans sank beneath the weight of Iraq, the lesson of which is patent: Wars of choice should be won swiftly rather than lost protractedly.
...
The Iraq war, like the Alaska bridge, pungently proclaims how Republicans earned their rebuke. They are guilty of apostasy from conservative principles at home (frugality, limited government) and embrace of anti-conservative principles abroad (nation-building grandiosity pursued incompetently).
I wonder: will there ever be enough "true conservatives" to become an effective, incorruptible, sustained Congressional majority? My sources say no. Why? Because power corrupts conservatives, too, and liberals should always be able to out-promise them on the campaign trail. (Which explains why conservatives are susceptible to bewitchment by pretty fantasies like supply-side voodoo and neocon foreign policy. Always beware when a so-called conservative is telling you about economic free lunches and easy/cheap nation-building.) As Will notes, the current GOP conservatives fell dutifully in line behind Bush's wild spending and his historic strategic blunder in Iraq. Now they are slowly recognizing their HUGE mistakes.


Duhbya-ism wasn't conservative-- it was a radical experiment: big gubmint conservatism combined with a NeoCon foreign policy headed by a President who valued loyalty over competence. And many conservatives took leave of their senses and supported this ideological witch's brew and demonized the liberals who questioned it. And now they are starting to say, "what you saw over the past 6 years wasn't really our 'true' selves."

Oh, OK. Well, let us know when you stop snorting political faerie dust and return to your "core" principles. In the meantime we'll try to clean up the mess after your binge.

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Keeping track of what was said then and what was said now will make political blogging almost effortless over the next two years.

Let me say this, though: unlike many on the right, I believe my ideological opponents are NECESSARY to this country's success. I believe conservatives are a necessary antidote to liberal excesses. Over the long haul, they are essential to the process. Unlike many on the right, I do not wish to politically marginalize true conservatives, or relegate them to "museums" (like Rush Limbaugh would liberals). You'll see that I've never indulged in eliminationist rhetoric towards sober, lucid, grown-up conservatives. In fact, over the past two years or so I've been plaintively appealing to them to wake the hell up.


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These are my best guesses on what to expect from the new Democratic Congress:

MORE oversight and more investigations into fraudulence and waste.

A DECREASE in the rate of federal spending compared to the average over the past six years (as a % of GDP).

A DECREASE in the number of "earmarks" (designated pork) in future spending bills.

A DECREASE in criminal corruption compared to this Abramoff Congress (which isn't saying much, because this Congress will go down as one of the most corrupt in the nation's history).

A DECREASE in the number of occasions where Congress publishes plans for "How to build an Atomic Bomb" in arabic on the internets.

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(Note: As usual, I made some small, slight edits to this post after the initial publishing.)
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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dodgy 

USA Today reports (please no jinx):


The quietest hurricane year in a decade officially ends in three weeks, but meteorologists and disaster managers on the Gulf and Florida coasts agree that the season is already over.

"We dodged a bullet this year," says meteorologist Gerry Bell of the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center. "If there was ever a time that we needed a break, we got one."

Wait. Did he just utter the phrase "we dodged a bullet this year"?

You mean, like we supposedly "dodged one" last year?


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See the final 6 paragraphs of this book excerpt to learn where the "dodged a bullet" idea actually originated.
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Big Blogs endorse Karen Carter 

Swing State Project, Kos and MyDD all strongly support her over William Jefferson.

I agree with Jeffrey that this race will get nasty, but Dollar Bill has no plausible avenue to fifty percent, in my view. He'll go down swinging, though. I can't wait to see what ridiculous stunts are in store.
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Who's the Biggest Loser? 

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"Pelosi specifically supports sharing offshore oil revenue with Louisiana" 

Rep. Nancy Pelosi made promises to Louisiana before the election, and, according to Gov. Blanco, she seems intent on keeping those promises as she becomes the most powerful (elected) woman in U.S. history. Just two heartbeats away from the Presidency. The Town Talk reports:

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the expected new speaker of the House, has pledged support for Louisiana's recovery, Gov. Kathleen Blanco said this morning.

Blanco spoke early Wednesday morning with Pelosi from Taiwan, where the governor is in the second week of her industry-seeking trip to Asia and Kuwait.

"She said she is definitely in synch with us and wants to work with us," Blanco said in a conference phone call with Louisiana reporters.

Blanco said Pelosi specifically supports sharing offshore oil revenue with Louisiana, although the San Francisco Democrat has problems with certain provisions in pending legislation that would open more areas of the nation's coast to drilling.

"She (Pelosi) had some problems with the extraneous issues but not our issue," Blanco said. "I'm going to encourage them to split our issues off and vote on them separately."

Blanco said her winning court case that forces the U.S. Minerals Management Service to take into account the environmental impacts of Hurricane Katrinas and Rita as well as cumulative impact on Louisiana’s coastline should give the state new leverage.

"I am asking oil companies to use their voices in Congress to help us as well," Blanco said.

The governor said the new congressional leadership is more receptive to Louisiana's recovery than the current leadership has been.

Although the White House recovery coordinator Don Powell has been very supportive of Louisiana, "there were members of Congress who were less interested in helping us than the folks who are in place now," Blanco said. "I had to go in there and fight for Louisiana."

She said she regrets that some Louisiana Republicans have lost their opportunities for leadership. U.S. Reps. Jim McCrery of Shreveport and Richard Baker of Baton Rouge were up for chairmanships. U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander of Monroe was rising through the Republican ranks after his highly publicized 2004 switch to the Republican Party.

"I'm sorry our congressmen lost their opportunity for leadership, but that decision was made across the country," Blanco said.

"They could change parties," the governor quipped. "I've seen that happen before in Louisiana."


Heh.

This morning WWL radio personality Spud McConnell asserted that Dems were "appeasers" and agreed that they had "rejuvenated" al-Qaeda. He then falsely claimed that Pelosi is opposed to offshore royalties for Louisiana. What a muckfook.

Like I said before, we may need to prepare ourselves for President Bush vetoing vital pro-Louisiana legislation (like oil royalties). What will our reaction be?

Ever optimistic Bobby Jindal has predicted passage of the compromised Energy Bill in the upcoming lame duck session. He thinks it's necessary because the chances of another royalty bill passing through a Democratic Congress are extremely remote. Perhaps we'll see about that.

I predict there will be a lot of surprised Louisiana conservatives next year. They'll be surpised at how pro-LA the Dems can be, and how anti-LA this President can be.
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Red Rumsfeld 

Reportedly resigning.

I thought he was doing a "fantastic job" and Bush "strongly supported" him, and wanted him to stay on for two more years.

Wha' happened? Is this the first of many victories for the terrorists now that the Dems preside over Congress? Is the sacred Republic irreparably weakened after this shocking resignation? What kind of message does this capitulation send to the freedom-haters? Would this have occurred if the appeasenik Dems had not retaken Congress?



Heckuva job, Rummy.

(Btw, this charming video is of Rumsfeld's Dec 1983 meeting with Saddam Hussein. Hussein was recently sentenced to death for "crimes against humanity" that occurred in 1982. He also started using chemical weapons the month before Rummy's friendly visit. Rummy would again see the dictator in early 1984, and offer American support. I'll have more in a post later this week.)

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Update: Bush admits he lied last week when he guaranteed Rumsfeld's job security. He felt "the only way to answer the question" was to lie.

He has done it before in these situations. No one really seems to care.
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Racist Massholes 

I can't believe those Chowdah-heads in the Bay state elected a black governor (56-35%)! What's going on? Everyone here in the Deep South told me "Boston's where the REAL racists live; up north, with all the other liberal hypocrites". But, yet, somehow Massachusetts decisively elected only the second African-American governor in the nation's history. How is that possible?

"Enlightened" Boston is more racist than the "much maligned" Deep South, right? So wha' happened?

I wonder when the Deep South will elect a black Governor? Soon, yes... no doubt, very soon. (I guess the "smart money" would be on Sir Charles or Condi in Alabama, but I'll believe it when I see it.)

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What are the odds on Louisiana electing an African-American governor in the next 50 years? Even money? Punditbook will keep track.

Speaking of which, Punditbook bettors who wagered on the Dems capitalizing on Foleygate are cashing in as we speak. There was no "dick tripping" or complete "implosions", despite what some perpetual malcontents had forecast.
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Update: In the comments, Big Shot explains the operative dynamic: "Here in Boston, unlike in New Orleans, we like the black people we don't know but hate the ones we do. Thus we had no problem voting for Deval."

That's some funny shite. But is there a kernel or a whole cobb of truth to it?
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America votes Democratic; Terrorists rejoice! 

Many Islamist freedom-hating terrorists are waiting on the Virginia recount before they declare total victory, but obviously the terrorists have much to celebrate in the interim. Huge Democratic party gains in the House, Senate and Governorships. The U.S. will become part of the new Caliphate much sooner than the terrorists could have hoped.

But, they still really want the guy with the Navy Cross to serve as their advocate in the U.S. Senate. Yeah, that would be the cherry on top of this Democratic "wave" election for the terrorists. However, the evildoers will be much less "emboldened" if a crypto-racist poseur like George Allen somehow wins the recount. That would set back their plans considerably. Allen scares them.

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Dollar Bill made the runoff but he only got 30 percent and Karen Carter will take him down next month. And that will be richly deserved. (Much like Karl Rove's comeuppance.)

Rep. Charlie Melancon avoided a runoff. All the Republican Reps cruised to re-election, as members of the new House Minority. (Nice move, Rodney!)

The Orleans Parish Assessor consolidation amendment passed overwhelmingly. Statewide it passed almost 4-1, and in Orleans parish it passed better than 2-1. I'm very proud of that result. Congratulations, New Orleans! Slowly but surely, we'll get there.
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day 

Vote. It might count. (Turnout seemed rather low this morning at Eleanor McMain High School.)

And don't vote for "Dollar Bill" Jefferson. Please. (Shouldn't this be rather self-evident to everyone?).

Do Vote For Amendment #7 which consolidates assessors in Orleans Parish in 2010. (I voted FOR all the Amendments except #8. No, I did not research them all exhaustively like a responsible citizen. But I can't believe the Times Picayune came out against #4, which tries to eliminate most of the idiotic Orleans Parish tax on automobiles. That is a stupid, unfair tax that absolutely needs to go.)

I will add on to this post periodically throughout the day.
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In today's T-P, La Grace writes:

Over in the House, where a Democratic takeover is more probable, first-term U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon should also land in the winner's column.

[If Rep. Charlie Melancon wins and] becomes the chamber's senior Democrat from Louisiana-- or perhaps even if [Rep. William] Jefferson survives-- Melancon could make a strong bid for a choice committee assignment, to make up for the party leadership's removal of Jefferson from Ways & Means after the FBI raided his home and his Congressional office and found that mysterious $90,000 in marked bills in his freezer.

Meanwhile, the local losers column would be headed by U.S. Reps. Jim McCrery and Richard Baker, two longtime Republican members who had been expecting to compete for primo committee chairmanships -- McCrery of Ways & Means and Baker of Financial Services.

Both should be re-elected easily, but a Democratic takeover would make the spoils considerably less appealing. That scenario raises some interesting questions: Would these two ambitious pols be satisfied with second-fiddle roles? Might they leave Congress for lucrative lobbying careers, as so many other Louisiana delegates have done? Or will the addictive lure of politics bring them back home to mix it up in next year's statewide elections?

Then there's U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, who ran as a Democrat four years ago, jumped to the majority party two years later, and now might find himself on the back bench once again. At the beginning of the current Congress, Republicans rewarded his switch, timed to avert a Democratic challenge, with a seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

But if the Democrats take over and Republicans lose seats on the committee, Alexander's junior status could leave him odd man out -- and make his gambit, in hindsight, appear particularly shortsighted.



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So, let's review. According to the polls:

The Missouri Senate race turned on Michael J. Fox's commercial about stem cell research and the resulting furor over Rush Limbaugh's claim that he was moving too much and was either faking or off his meds. (Rush even helpfully imitated Fox's spasms for his viewers. It would delight me to no end if Limbaugh accidentally sabotaged the Republican in his home state of Missouri with his stupid comments.)

The Tennessee Senate contest turned on a campaign ad about a white Playboy tart commingling with the Democratic candidate, who is black. (If you don't think that's what the ad is about then please tell me why everyone else* in the campaign ad is being insincere EXCEPT for the white slut who wants Harold Ford to "call her". Why didn't they choose a black gal if this was about sex, not race? [* There's also a "sleazebag" porn guy who also seems to be "sincere", so I'll let y'all determine how much that detracts from my point.])

The Virginia race turned on a weird racial term used by Sen. George Allen, when he singled out a young man who happened to be of darker pigment than Allen's pasty white audience. (And his mishandling of "Macacagate", and his faux Southernism, and his weird reaction to being Jewish...)

[I'll let Jeffrey handle the racial overtones in Maryland.]

Is Fox faking? Does Ford party with white girls? Is Allen racist? These were the profound questions which moved the polls, which changed people's minds for good and for worse. Think about that.

There's a war going on, and the current Congress is corrupt, unaccountable, spendthrift, lazy and nasty. They make Teapot Dome look quaint in comparison. But we'll need to see a TV star in pain or have our latent fears of miscegenation stoked before we want to vote one way or the other.

Again: there's a war going on, it's been a year since Katrina, but the problems in those "parts of the world" are too "abstract", apparently. The average voter needs Foleygate in order to understand why this Republican Congress might not be such a great bet for their families.

Chreezus, is there any hope?
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Karen Carter's Uptown ground game has been impressive. We got three in-person visits from her supporters over the past 10 days. No other campaign canvassed us.
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If the Dems somehow get the Senate, does that make "moderate" Dems like Mary Landrieu and *vurp* Joe Lieberman all the more powerful?

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First Draft has a hoppin' "political crack van" chat room where you can discuss the election fever and other stuff.

The "Political Crack Van" moniker reminded me of this long Jello Biafra/DOA song.
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Monday, November 06, 2006

Forgotston must be "agog" 

The DP directs us to this Citybusiness article:

Oreck Corp. President Tom Oreck opened a new manufacturing facility in Cookeville, Tenn., for many reasons, not the least of which is what he considers an uneven playing field for businesses in Louisiana.

"It really is a matter of Louisiana looking less backward and more forward about what it takes to compete in today's business world," said Oreck. "Additional investment, new business investment or existing business investment requires an unwavering commitment to excellence of infrastructure."
...
The primary motive for opening the Tennessee facility was to eliminate the vulnerability of a Gulf Coast location, Oreck said.
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He said New Orleans infrastructure issues predate Katrina such as poor education, levee and police protection and the criminal justice system. All contribute to an unfavorable business climate, he said.

Although the state has made progress since the storm, businesses won't relocate to Louisiana until infrastructure, politics and the corporate tax structure improve, Oreck said.

Hell's Bells! One of Louisiana's great entrepreneurs has opened a manufacturing plant in Tennessee primarily because there's a lack of infrastructure here. That's right: in this article, Oreck barely mentions taxes, and ignores "red tape", but heavily stresses infrastructure. His primary motive for moving to TN was because the Gulf Coast was viewed as "too vulnerable". That's right: Oreck made a business judgment about the levees (and wetlands) around New Orleans, and concluded that the flood protection infrastructure was inadequate.

Now isn't that an interesting view from a top area businessman?

Unlike C.B. Forgotston (LA's most esteemed political blogger), Mr. Oreck doesn't think that cutting state taxes and red tape are simple, sufficient solutions for all of Louisiana's business woes. No, he claims that an area's "commitment to infrastructure" is a paramount concern-- not just for his company, but for all types of "business investment".

I can hardly wait to hear Forgotston's analysis of this develpment. Please, don't shoot the messenger!


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Related:

-- "One day, we'll have the leanest, meanest, most honest underwater gubmint you ever saw..." (1/24/06)

-- "Always beware the easy answers, folks." (1/28/05)
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Election notes 

I haven't talked much about the election for the District 2 seat, which Rep. William Jefferson currently inhabits. I think Jefferson is, at best, hopelessly compromised by the famous marked bills found in his freezer. Despite promising an "honorable explanation" for what looks like bribe money, he is an embarrassment that will likely serve jail time. The Democratic Party as well as the nation has lost confidence in him. He needs time to work on his case, and New Orleans voters must not endorse him again. In terms of national perception, re-electing Jefferson would be even worse than re-electing Nagin. We'd start hearing familiar queries like: "why does a place that is obviously too stupid to self-govern deserve better levees and restored wetlands?"

Adrastos is right about Karen Carter. She's massively unimpressive in many ways. But I'll be joining the Democratic establishment (as well as some bigwig GOpers like Joe Canizaro and Boysie Bollinger) in supporting her. Troy Carter might be a better alternative, but... I don't know much about his past and I don't think he can win. On the flip side, I DO know a lot about Derrick Shepherd. Having advised one of his rivals last year in a State Senate race, I compiled an opposition research file on Shepherd that was about as thick as a phonebook. (Sadly, that was lost in the storm. But we did gather some stuff that hadn't been reported, and that we intended to "break" once we got into the runoff. We lost badly, like I figured, but it was fun and I have some interesting stories about that race which I plan to share one of these days.)

I don't like Shepherd's legislative style. He horse-trades and self-deals and quickly irritates his colleagues. I don't like his naked ambition, either. But, my god, I'm impressed with his ability to get votes. He basically created a "Marrero machine" from scratch through hard, hard work. Pounding the pavement, talking to people, getting them to nod with you.... lost arts, in my book. And this Marrero machine has propelled him to upset victory after upset victory. Last summer, on election night, I was at the courthouse when I saw the precinct totals come in from his West Bank "base", and my jaw dropped. It was a 4 or 5 person race, and Shep was bringing in 80-90% of the vote in places. Amazing!

So, Shepherd's extremely impressive and very underrated in that sense. Raymond has a hunch that Shepherd might make the runoff, and he might well be right. I prefer Karen Carter to Shepherd and I think Troy Carter might be a spoiler, so I'll be supporting Karen in the primary.

Someone told me that Republican Joe Lavigne is dumping $250k into this race. That's a lot of money for an unknown candidate. I liked that Lavigne wasn't afraid to be critical of Bush in his radio ads, and he also mentioned "Category 5" levee protection which not even our junior senator will do nowadays. But, when he totally flubbed a softball question from Karen Carter during the debate, he demonstrated why he's not ready for primetime.

Young unknown, potential candidates: there's nothing wrong with paying your dues. Look at what Shepherd did. He got elected to the state House in a surprising upset. Then he was "promoted" to the State Senate with a surprisingly strong showing, and now he's a serious contender for Jefferson's seat. That's a good model, kids. Start small, work hard, show discipline and smarts and you can become a contender sooner than you think.

What's not a good model is Democrat Stacey Tallitsch. The guy is a newbie who is running against Rep Bobby Jindal in District 1. It was recently revealed that Tallitsch had never yet voted in the district which he desires to represent. Yikes. Umm, that's your job, buddy: voting. Show a little respect for the process, please.

Unfortunately, Rep. Rodney Alexander is running against an incredibly weak field in the 5th district. He will cruise to re-election, and then, later, I believe his office will be embarrassed by its negligent handling of the Foley emails.

[I'll have a post on Saddam Hussein later in the week, so clear your schedules and wait by the computer until then.]
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Oh, and in regards to the Constitutional Amendments I'm strongly in favor of Amendment 7, which consolidates the seven Orleans parish assessors into one. Vote FOR 7. We absolutely must approve this amendment to eliminate the insidious, unfair, corrupt system that has plagued New Orleans for generations. (Recall this dumbass statement about assessor reform from Peppi Bruneau a year ago, and compare that with the vote totals tomorrow.) If you remain unconvinced about assessor reform, you can review the YRHT archives here.

Last summer, I visited my local "neighborhood" assessor. Just like this lady did. And with nearly identical results.

Nothing could be worse than the current system. Make the assessments fairer, and then lower the millages (if need be).
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