Saturday, August 04, 2007

Summary of the Iraq morass in two easy posts 



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Friday, August 03, 2007


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Big story in Time Magazine 

Time has a wide-ranging story discussing levees, coastal wetlands, USACE and the political games at all levels that have hindered the state's ability to acquire a sufficient flood protection system. I like the article, mostly, with some reservations that I don't have time to explain now. It begins with the strongest and most direct statement about the Federal Flood that I've seen in a national publication. If anything, the article nearly overstates the extent to which the catastrophe in New Orleans was a "man made" disaster, and I never ever thought I'd see that. Thanks to Michael Grunwald for writing this story.

The most important thing to remember about the drowning of New Orleans is that it wasn't a natural disaster. It was a man-made disaster, created by lousy engineering, misplaced priorities and pork-barrel politics. Katrina was not the Category 5 killer the Big Easy had always feared; it was a Category 3 storm that missed New Orleans, where it was at worst a weak 2. The city's defenses should have withstood its surges, and if they had we never would have seen the squalor in the Superdome, the desperation on the rooftops, the shocking tableau of the Mardi Gras city underwater for weeks. We never would have heard the comment "Heckuva job, Brownie." The Federal Emergency Management Agency (fema) was the scapegoat, but the real culprit was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which bungled the levees that formed the city's man-made defenses and ravaged the wetlands that once formed its natural defenses. Americans were outraged by the government's response, but they still haven't come to grips with the government's responsibility for the catastrophe.
As the disaster's Aug. 29 anniversary approaches, there will be plenty of talk about the future of New Orleans—-how to rebuild; bring home the diaspora; and deal with crises like housing, crime and education. But in the long run, recovery plans won't matter much if investors, insurers and homesick evacuees can't trust the Corps to prevent the city from drowning again.

There will indeed be a lot of talk about the future of New Orleans as the Aug 29 anniversary approaches. In fact, the Rising Tide 2 conference will feature two important presentations about levees and about the Corps' role in protecting the city and South Louisiana. Why not register to attend today?

Update: please read Matt's take in the comments section to this post.
Update #2: Jeffrey writes an excellent critique about some of the things I had reservations about but was too lazy to properly explain.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

SPLC picks up Keith Rush story! 

Southern Poverty Law Center's Hateblog writes:

In early June, longtime Louisiana right-wing radio talk show host and unabashed Duke supporter Keith Rush, 75, was elected to the Republican State Central Committee, the governing body of the Louisiana state Republican party. Another loyal Dukey, veteran GOP activist Vincent Bruno (Duke’s former “spiritual advisor” and a member of his inner circle of advisers in the late 1980s and 1990s), nominated Rush for the powerful position.

When Duke ran for governor in 1991, he backed Rush’s candidacy for Jefferson Parish Council, telling supporters in an endorsement letter, “He thinks like we do. He believes in the things we believe in.” One of Rush’s campaign fliers was titled, “Who is this racist?” In it Rush wrote, “This racist believes that ‘real’ racism thrives on affirmative action programs.” Rush was also a featured guest speaker at “Duke Fest,” held July 4, 1991, in New Orleans’ City Park.
Rush’s election has so far gone unnoticed by national media, although Right Hand Thief and the Flaming Liberal have been dogging the story since mid-June.

Why will no one in the State GOP publicly oppose Keith Rush's election to the RSCC? How many more David Duke supporters will they allow into their party's governing body? More here.

And big thanks to the indefatigable Flaming Liberal who originally broke the story.

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Jeffrey leads us to an indescribably damning pile of research a Kos diarist compiled several months ago on GOP Libertarian Ron Paul. I was coming into it prepared to argue on Paul's behalf, but there simply is no defense for the words he wrote and published. None.

Quite simply, Ron Paul authored a racist and nativist newsletter in the nineties. There's no two ways about it, and I fully retract and apologize for my earlier (and quite limited) support for Ron Paul to win the GOP nomination. Though I lived in S. Tejas when he was doing this racist fearmongering, I can't recall ever seeing his writings.

For me, his newsletter's outrageous statements about Barbara Jordan-- a true political hero of mine-- are unforgivable. Paul called one of the most honorable politicians to ever come out of Texas a total "fraud". What a disgraceful charge.

Note: I edited the last sentence after publishing.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Assessing the property tax situation 

Barbawit at Prytaniawaterline is concerned the upwardly revised property assessments in New Orleans will be too high, and is so angered by the slow pace of the recovery that he's considering leaving the Crescent City.

I'd like to see more progress, too. Regarding the property tax issue, though, I agree 100% with this post by Cold Spaghetti. It perfectly expresses how I feel. Go read it.

Remember: Millages determine tax rates, not assessments. Now that assessments are becoming more accurate, it's imperative that we drastically cut millages (and loudly proclaim to the world that property tax rates in New Orleans are going down!). New Orleans had some of the highest millage rates in the country. Why? Because for decades the assessments were so g-ddamn artificially low! Millages were cut last year, and must be drastically cut again this year.

Also, keep in mind that a major reason why this backassward system is getting unwound is because District 6 in Uptown elected a reform candidate committed to fair assessments, and removed a family that had controlled the office for 80+ years. Unfortunately, both the Gambit and the Times Picayune refused to endorse the "IQ" reform effort , which sought to replace corrupt cronies like 4th District Assessor Betty Jefferson, Dollar Bill's sister. Only one reform candidate was able to win office, no thanks to the local media.

The T-P redeems itself (somewhat) with today's editorial:

The case for a tax rate reduction, or millage rollback, is a no-brainer. By bringing real estate valuations closer to market values, the reassessment will effectively expand the city's tax base and generate more taxes for each mill -- the unit in which property tax rates are expressed.

This year, one mill generated almost $1.5 million in property taxes citywide, but the same mill could collect as much as $3 million next year if assessments across the city go up as much as some anecdotal evidence suggests, said David Gernhauser, secretary for the Board of Liquidation-City Debt, which oversees city borrowing.

The millages must be reduced so that residents and businesses won't be hit hard just as they are facing higher costs of insurance, utilities and other necessities.

Reducing millages is not up to the assessors, who only set the taxable value of homes and businesses. By law, all government entities must reduce millages after a reassessment, but they can raise them back up with a two-thirds vote of their governing body.

The New Orleans City Council and the Orleans Parish School Board make the ultimate decision on tax millages for the vast majority of property taxes collected citywide.

Update: The T-P reports that the City Council and the School Board are poised to roll back the millages.

In a move that could ease the sting of new and in many cases sharply higher property assessments, the New Orleans City Council announced Wednesday that its members have agreed in principle to reduce the city's tax rate proportionally, so that the higher valuations won't necessarily mean big tax increases.

Meanwhile, the president of the Orleans Parish School Board, which receives the largest single share of the city's property tax revenue, said the board is likely to get behind the idea as well.

See, I told you this would work! Not all change is bad, New Orleans. Your fear of reform has let rich homeowners skirt their tax responsibilities for generations on end. Let's boldly enter the 20th century with a modicum of faith and unity. (And if you feel you've been legitimately overassessed, you have the opportunity this month to visit one of your seven highly compensated assessors, and make your case.)

Fun fact! I seriously considered running for Assessor in District 6 last year, until I learned about the coordinated "IQ" effort. It had been in the back of my mind since the summer of 2005, when I realized there was a political opportunity there. In fact, in August of 2005, I paid my local assessor a visit. I told him I was unsatisfied with my property assessment, as well as my neighbor's assessment. I told him they were far too low, and needed to be higher. You should've seen the look on his face.

My neighbor and I owned "sister" houses that were nearly identical. They were perfect comparables, and both were assessed at their purchase price. The problem was, I had purchased my house 3 years prior, and my neighbor had purchased hers 30 years prior. My house was underassessed by, say, 100k and my neighbor's was underassessed by 250k. I asked my assessor to properly adjust the assessments. He said he would correct the error sometime in coming years, but had no explanation as to why my neighbor's house hadn't been significantly reassessed for 3 decades. It didn't seem fair, I said. So he tapped on his desktop computer keyboard, and lowered my property assessment by 40k, below the purchase price, thinking that would satisfy me. I got a printout of the change and had my friend Medium Jim notarize the document, and planned to use it in my campaign.

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I can borrow Rihanna's umbrella? 

The afternoons have been wet this summer. Sometimes the streets flood and people do strange things.

I just hope the pumps work and the canal walls hold.

From the Jay Z intro (which seems to be more about avoiding market downturns than rain or love or sex... but perhaps that's just me):

No clouds in my storms
Let it rain, I hydroplane in the [wet] bank
Coming down with the Dow Jones

When the clouds come we gone, we Rocafella
She fly higher than weather
And G5’s are better
You know me, an anticipation, for precipitation.
Stacked chips for the rainy day
Jay, Rain Man is back with little Ms. Sunshine
Rihanna where you at?


Update: Lovely informs me of another song with a "rain" theme.

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Vitty will enthusiastically work to override Bush's veto 


In a major blow to Louisiana, President Bush threatened Wednesday to veto long-awaited legislation with billions of dollars to shore up hurricane protection along the Gulf Coast.

House and Senate negotiators struck a bargain late last week on a $21 billion reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act and it is expected to come to a vote before lawmakers leave for the month-long August recess.

But the Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to Capitol Hill on Wednesday saying that the price tag is too high and shifted too much of the cost of new projects from local governments and onto federal taxpayers.
Among other things, the bill would authorize a 72-mile system of hurricane protection of levees and floodwalls to shield Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes from storms sweeping in from the Gulf of Mexico. It also would streamline project approvals within the Army Corps of Engineers, provide enhanced hurricane protection levees for New Orleans and green-lighted coastal restoration projects.

"I am stunned by the President's WRDA veto threat. And I have one basic response- I will enthusiastically work to override his veto," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., in an unusually harsh rebuke to the leader of his own party. "Considering the well-publicized criticism of the way the administration handled this (Hurricane Katrina) disaster, I'm stunned. I'm afraid the promise the president made to the nation in Jackson Square comes across as hollow today."

It really has been an extreme thrill to live in South Louisiana during the Bush era. It's almost amusing to see leftist bloggers from other regions of America (many comfortably ensconced in suburban habitats) work up the venom to cry out: "Chimpeach teh BusHitler!"

I wonder if they could endure living here, now. Where could they possibly find the words to adequately express themselves?

They don't understand the half of it. And most of the rest of the country doesn't understand a quarter of it.

Update: In the comments Schroeder provides links for some perspective to Vitty's sudden "enthusiasm".

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sex with a subordinate? 

Below are key quotes from two articles which Vitterologists should read in full.

David Corn (H/T to the Flaming Lib):

[The phone records of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, a.k.a. the DC Madam] indicate that Palfrey may have set Vitter up with an escort who was a staffer for a congressional committee that included Vitter as a member. But if the two did meet for an escort experience, Vitter escaped being found out by his (indirect) subordinate.

Wonkette (H/T to Agitprop):

But now, the gal who Palfrey describes as “a favorite of Mr. Vitter’s” has testified to the grand jury that it was a prostitution service, WTOP reports.

I'm still anxiously waiting for updates from Larry Flynt. Two weeks ago, Flynt claimed to have several New Orleans hookers connected to Vitter, and claimed "Vitter lied", and said that he hoped to present some evidence of Vitter's lies within 10 days. So, I continue to wait, and expect Flynt to disclose some new information soon. However, Flynt's been known to "overpromise" on occasion, so I'm hopeful this isn't one of those occasions.

If you told me ten years ago that in 2007 I'd be anxiously checking Larry Flynt's blog for updates, I would have assumed that something had gone horribly wrong in my life. (It wouldn't have occurred to me that something might have gone horribly wrong in America's political life, and that Flynt's checkbook journalism might be seen as a fine antidote to the moralistic hypocrites who pontificate about family values, and who "defend" other people's marriages from the insidious gay ass sex agenda.)

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Jindal's "war" on spending 

(Note: this is a long post. A few minor edits have been made since first published.)

The IHT reports:

House Democrats voted on Friday to approve a farm bill that would continue generous farmers' subsidies at a time of record crop prices, ignoring a veto threat and yowls of protest by Republicans over a tax provision that they said spoiled bipartisan support for the bill.

The bill passed, 231 to 191, with 19 Republicans joining 212 Democrats in favor, after a morning of rancorous debate and some hooting and howling that focused not on agriculture policy but on the tax provision inserted to pay for a $4 billion increase in food stamps.

Rep. Bobby Jindal was among the 19 Republicans who voted for this monstrous $286 billion Farm Bill that provides welfare for farmers. Jindal said he was "pleased" and "proud" to support the measure, which would raise taxes by billions to pay for food stamps, incentivize illegal immigration, subsidize ethanol, broaden the Gulf Coast "Dead Zone", and distribute checks to wealthy corporate "farmers" like ExxonMobil, Chevron, International Paper and Caterpillar.

You can imagine the outrage among Louisiana's conservative bloggers at Jindal's betrayal of party and principle. Here's a small sampling of quotes from the resulting firestorm:
*crickets chirping*

It's puzzling. I would have expected someone in the blogosphere or the media to comment on Jindal's vote for the farm bill. Doesn't it seem odd that just a few days after Bobby Jindal declared war "against out of control government spending", he "proudly" supported a $286 billion welfare bill to corporate farmers? Isn't there a natural tension there begging for commentary? It practically writes itself, I think.

It's interesting that Jindal would go so far as to use the term "war" to describe his anti-spending principles. That's pretty bold rhetoric, especially for a politician who never served in the military and whose only "wartime" experience is limited to the "spiritual warfare" he observed while demons attacked his best friend. I would think Jindal would do well to explain his position on the Iraq War before declaring a host of new "wars" against spending and corruption... etc. But the media hasn't really forced him to explain his view. So, as the grinding conflict in Iraq enters its fifth year, we still don't know precisely where Jindal stands, because he refuses to fully explain his position and account for his pro-war voting record. He has previously said that he is against "nation-building", and recently said our troops are faced with an "impossible task" in Iraq. Yet, when Jindal finds time to actually vote on the issue, he commits himself to Bush's dream of a "sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq", and he votes to escalate our involvement over there. How can he possibly explain this? Who will force him to do so? All the available evidence at this point supports the view that Jindal wants to have it both ways on Iraq. Similarly, I believe the evidence will also show that Jindal wants to "have it both ways" on his newly-declared war on government spending, as well. Exhibit A is his vote in support of the 2007 Farm Bill. Let's examine it.

Friday, Bush's Agriculture Secretary chucked a prepared speech and talked instead about the Farm Bill's passage in the House of Representatives. The Secretary had some very direct words for the proponents of the Farm Bill, who inserted a last minute "tax hike" which enraged (most) Republicans:

It is time to stand firmly, in my judgment, on the high road and to do the right thing for our farmers and our ranchers.

Now that means standing firm on our commitments to fiscal responsibility and policies that will truly protect the safety net for American farmers and their ability to export their products into the foreign marketplace. We heard echoed on the House floor last night that it was a sad day for American agriculture. The ranking member of the House Ag Committee last night spoke of betrayal and described a well that had been poisoned.

Thankfully, many House members refused to drink from that poisoned well. They stood on their principles. They said, "no" to a provision crafted under a cloak of secrecy and then presented in the 11th hour. These members rejected the effort to paint another bull's eye on the back of the American farmer in the form of a $7 billion tax hike.

Now why do I describe it this way? Because, never in the history of farm programs have farmers supported higher taxes on another industry to fund their own farm programs. Never. The Chamber of Commerce and others have wasted no time in speaking out against any attempt to balance the Farm Bill budget on the backs of businesses and American jobs, and I believe very rightfully so.

I can think of no quicker way to threaten the safety net than by asking someone else to pay extra for it. Courageous House members recognized that threat, and they have fought against it.
So, yes, the Republicans are outraged by the additon of billions in new taxes to the bill. But shouldn't they be outraged by the overall cost, instead? Let's look back at a news article about the 2002 Farm Bill, to get a sense of how bloated this red state welfare bill has become:

President Bush signed a 10-year, $190 billion farm bill Monday that expands subsidies to growers, turning aside criticism from fellow Republicans who called the measure a budget-busting step backward in agriculture planning.

"It's not a perfect bill, I know that. But you know, no bill ever is," Bush said with a chuckle. "There's no such thing as a perfect bill. Or otherwise, I'd get to write every one of them."

The bill rains federal largess on farm-oriented states that will be campaign battlegrounds this fall, potentially helping Bush in his quest to win back control of the Senate for the GOP — and giving him a chance to rack up IOUs for his own 2004 re-election effort.

It increases spending by nearly 80% over the cost of existing programs at a time when government and private analysts are projecting a budget deficit this year of $100 billion or more. The president has been calling on lawmakers to show fiscal restraint.
The president had complained that more subsidies would cause overproduction, worsening the plight of farmers. Some Republicans implored him to veto it even after the signing ceremony was scheduled.

"I would love to see him veto it. It is a budget buster," Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., said on Fox News Sunday.

My how the fiscal goalposts have moved! Five years ago, conservatives viewed the $190 billion 2002 Farm Bill as a "budget buster". Today, the $286 billion Farm Bill was largely acceptable to the GOP until the Democrats tacked on a few billion in extra taxes. That's what prompted the GOP to abandon ship. Even so, this tax hike and GOP abandonment did give plenty of political cover to spending "jihadists" who wished to oppose the measure. In other words, a true fiscal warrior could justify a "no" vote on the farm bill by citing the runaway spending, or the increased taxes, or both. And such a warrior would be joined by nearly the entire GOP, and perhaps also the President. However, despite his recent rhetoric, Bobby Jindal didn't want to make a principled stand against an enormous spending bill that included new taxes. That wasn't a political battle this fiscal warrior wanted to fight. Instead, Bobby Jindal was "pleased" and "proud" to join the Dems, and cowtow to Big Sugar. See, in the 2002 Farm Bill, Big Sugar made out like bandits, and they wanted those subsidies to continue. Earlier this month, the WSJ cited studies showing that "more than half of the $1.9 billion sugar program lines the pockets of the wealthiest 1% of plantation owners." How Sweet It Is!

The Farm Bill is a fiscal monstrosity that, among other things, subsidizes millionaire farmers during "the most prosperous era American agriculture has seen in decades as crop prices and farm income approach or set record highs". The Farm Bill also has a ton of pork. Endless pork. There's so much pork in it that even the National Pork Producers Council was satisfied with the bill.

Beyond the Farm Bill's massive spending, and pork, and higher taxes, is the environmental impact its ethanol subsidies have on Louisiana fisheries. Recently there was a fine editorial in the Des Moines Register titled "Ethanol may fuel dead zone". It took an unblinking look at how the farm bill will likely increase the fertilizer runoffs that contribute to the oxygen-starved waters off the Louisiana coast. (The Dead Zone is about 8,000 square miles-- only about the size of New Jersey!). The editorial cites a draft report by a panel of scientists calling for a 45% reduction in nitrogen runoffs, and a 40% reduction in phosphorous runoffs into the Mississippi.

[The] report says that biofuels will likely make the problem worse, because of the increase in corn acreage and use of nitrogen fertilizer needed to keep with the demand for ethanol.

Encouraging more production of corn-based ethanol, in fact, "could nullify other efforts" to reduce the dead zone, the scientists say.

"They're calling for a larger reduction (in pollutants) at the same time that the rush to corn-based ethanol is moving in the other direction," said Don Scavia, a University of Michigan scientist who served on the original advisory board that completed its work in 2000.

The report calls for a wholesale overhaul of agricultural programs, away from crop subsidies and into conservation measures that will reduce runoff.

The Gulf's dead zone is an oxygen-deprived area, nearly devoid of shrimp, fish and other sea life, that appears every summer. It varies in size from 3,000 to more than 7,700 square miles, an area approaching the size of New Jersey. The oxygen loss occurs when high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus cause excessive algae.

The government's goal is to reduce the average size of the dead zone to 2,000 square miles by 2015.

Farm groups had hoped that the latest scientific review would... play down the role of nitrogen in causing the dead zone and instead pin the issue on phosphorus. Instead, the study showed that both chemicals would have to be addressed, and raised the new concerns about biofuels. By one estimate in the report, the expanded corn acreage needed to support the ethanol industry could increase nitrogen runoff by 33 percent.

The new Farm Bill heavily subsidizes corn, which is increasingly used for ethanol (which is also subsidized-- to the tune of over 51 cents per gallon). And Congress has ordered refiners to double their ethanol production in the next eight years.

What's so infuriating about Jindal's support for these harmful farm subsidies is his rank hypocrisy on the Dead Zone issue, which I've previously discussed. In short, earlier this year, Jindal amended an Interior appropriations bill so that $5 million would be allocated to study the Dead Zone. Then, he voted against it, and justified his Nay vote on fiscal grounds. It was a $27.6 billion appropriations bill, and was only $1.9 billion more than Bush requested. However, that was apparently too much for fiscal warrior Jindal. After voting against the bill, he cited his no vote as an example of his fiscal rectitude in a blog post. He decried the politicians who are "spending money that we don't have" and said "It’s time to end this fiscal insanity". Then, in the very same blog post, Jindal discusses his strong support for reauthorizing and "improving" the 2002 Farm Bill. I guess, in Jindal's mind, the 2007 Farm Bill featured about $100 billion in "improvements" over the '02 version. I wonder if one of those improvements was increasing the billions of dollars in Farm Subsidies that go to ... dead people. Talk about "insanity".

And now, Jindal has the gallstones to defy his party and vote for a bloated Farm Bill that will exacerbate the very problem his previous amendment would've addressed. He opposed an appropriation bill containing his own amendment because it was a couple billion too much, and then supported a flawed Farm Bill that may approach $300 billion in costs by the time the Senate gets done with it.

So, if the Farm Bill is Jindal's opening salvo in the "War on Government Spending", what does that tell us? How does the Farm Bill fit into his strategy of success over "insane" spending? Is Jindal waging war on spending like Bush has waged war on Iraq? Is President Bush Jindal's idea of a wartime leader?

Beyond the spending, the taxes, and the environmental costs in the Farm Bill, there's also an immigration angle. I personally don't view immigration as a top tier issue, but most Louisiana conservatives passionately disagree with my analysis. Therefore, they might be interested in a recent article by Iain Murray, who uses the Farm Bill's ethanol subsidies and crop confiscations to make a point about how the Farm Bill incentivizes illegal immigration. Murray informs us that up to half of the yearly raisin crop is confiscated by the government, in order to insure scarcity and higher prices. He writes:

Raisin farming is the single most labor-intensive activity in North America. Each year, during August and September, farmers hire 40,000 to 50,000 workers, many undocumented, to pick the grapes and leave them to dry in the sun. Confiscating the fruit of their labor encourages further illegal immigration, a major strain on the U.S. welfare system, by creating demand for labor to pick a product that never reaches the U.S. marketplace.

Moreover, the subsidy inflates the price for grapes and raisins that do reach the market. Again, it doesn’t look like much of a deal for taxpayers and consumers.

There are some winners. For ethanol, it is the agricultural giants of Archers Daniel Midland and Cargill. For raisins, it is the big cooperatives like Sunkist. They profit handsomely from guaranteed returns and significant barriers to competition. Meanwhile, taxpayers and other businesses suffer... and Mexico and Central America are relieved of the pressure to reform their economies by an inflated demand for agricultural labor in America.

And just like Jindal's profile in cowardice on the important CAFTA vote, Jindal made sure that he wouldn't be the deciding vote on the gargantuan farm bill. The AP reported:

The tax provision posed a dilemma for many farm-state Republicans, who were loath to vote for what their party and the Bush administration derided as a tax increase, but eager to support an agriculture bill championed by their farmers.

Some, like Reps. Dennis Rehberg of Montana, and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, waited until the Democrats gained the votes necessary for passage to cast their votes in support of the bill.

Why would a principled man like Jindal repeatedly hold his vote back on consequential legislation, like CAFTA and the Farm Bill? Why does he wait until the issue is decided before casting his (meaningless) vote?

Now, there are plenty of arguments on the pro side of the farm bill. But none of them involve a "war on spending" or conservative fiscal policy. After all, it's an expensive, flawed welfare bill that hikes taxes and rewards wealthy corporate farmers with government handouts. The Farm Bill subsidizes industries that rely on illegal immigrants, and promotes the use of fertilizers that are carried down the Mississippi river and starve Lousiana's fisheries of oxygen. How can a conservative warrior opposed to insane spending support that?

Finally, Bobby Jindal described the Farm Bill to be the most important piece of legislation to move through Congress this year. He proudly supported it-- after he was assured his vote wouldn't be decisive. Yet by any conservative standard, he's on the wrong side of the issue. But where is the disappointment in the conservative Louisiana commentariat? Doesn't Jindal's abandonment of conservative principles merit some discussion?

Update: last night the Conservative Cajun wrote a blurb about Jindal's "questionable vote".

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Simple answers to simple questions 

The title of today's T-P column by Stephanie Grace asks

Can Vitter learn to work with others?


This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.


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Monday, July 30, 2007


Triple Congratulations to Michael from the Weathers Report, and especially to his wife Meredith for going above and beyond the call of duty to repopulate New Orleans.


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"Prisoners were set free in Paris in September, 1721... under the condition that they would marry prostitutes and go with them to Louisiana."


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"Such a strong thing" 

Jeffrey reminded us about Sunday's front page T-P story detailing the "four-way marital drama involving State Senator Julie Quinn, hotel mogul Patrick Quinn, Jefferson Parish councilman John Young, and longtime local media personality Mary Lou McCall". Here's an excerpt from the news article, titled "Love and War":

[A] review of police reports, 776 pages of testimony from a court hearing in the Quinn divorce and interviews with more than a dozen friends and associates of the Quinns show that well-heeled hotelier Patrick Quinn has solicited people to run against his ex-wife, tried to confront Young at the councilman's front door, threatened to chastise Young at council meetings and has begun reaching out to the councilman's ex-wife, former television news personality Mary Lou McCall.

For her part, McCall filed a police report saying Julie Quinn had slapped her youngest son in June, and she says she has been approached about running against the senator.

"It's an unusual thing," said Bob DeViney, chairman of the Jefferson Parish Republican Party.
the Quinn marriage was coming unhinged [in 2005], and devolved after Hurricane Katrina in public confrontations and police cars showing up at the family home on Northline Street.

Patrick Quinn said he had been using painkillers to cope with a herniated disc in his neck, an injury he said occurred about a year before Katrina. He also dabbled in cocaine, according to testimony from his substance addiction counselor. After the hurricane flooded the Quinn home along with thousands of others in the New Orleans area, he began taking a cocktail of prescription medicines, including antidepressants.

"I think the hurricane was such a super event and the mania was so strong that it basically overrode the pills," he said in court testimony. "I mean, it was just such a strong thing that it just ripped right through everything."

Even the pills?!

Jeffrey then directs us to The Head Pelican, which posts a blinding photo of Ms Quinn (see below), and hilariously asks "Is Leopard print the new black?" The reference is to Mrs. Wendy Vitter's overdiscussed news conference dress, so in the interest of accuracy I feel compelled to clear the record:

Wendy Vitter wore a "paisley-esque brown print dress". Whatever it was, it was not a "Ho Pas".

Now, this dress Ms Quinn is wearing might charitably be described as a "leopard print" (assuming of course that a single leopard-- and not an entire prowl-- is represented in the pattern).

And for those artists who love composing political spoof songs, may I suggest Mojo Nixon's tribute to MTV's Martha Quinn as a template?

While I'm clearing things up, allow me to point out that this, I am told, is Salma Hayek showing a hint of cleavage:

And this, I am told, is an example of Hillary Clinton running around topless in the U.S. Senate:

Talk about your "super events" that "rip right through everything"... mere pills are no match for Hurricane Breast.


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Fairies wear cutes 

and ya gotta believe me...

Fairies celebrating ferry night.



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