Saturday, September 08, 2007

Vitter lied when he denied the "New Orleans stories" 

Agitprop alerts us to this update from Larry Flynt's investigation into Vitty-cent. Flynt had Wendy Cortez undergo a lie detector examination concerning her sexual relationship with David Vitter, and she "passed the test with flying colors".

Recall what Vitter said in his public apology in July. Vitter vaguely admitted to "serious sins" in relation to the D.C. Madam's service. But he didn't fully come clean about his past reckless behavior. In fact, he lied about it. He misled Louisianans when he said that the New Orleans stories "are not true".

Then, his intrepid Senate Republican colleagues, who coordinated with such ruthless efficiency against Sen Larry Craig, applauded Sen. Vitter when he returned to D.C..

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Virginia Boulet endorsed Nagin. 

On election day last year, I drove by Virginia Boulet, who was passionately shaking a Nagin sign on St Charles Ave neutral ground. She was yelling so loudly that I clearly remember the arteries in her neck standing out. I gave her a "thumbs down" sign and my coldest stare, and that temporarily extinguished some of her excitement. However, since the catastrophic results of that mayoral election, I've regretted that my gesture to this World Class Nagin-Enabler was far too... courteous. To quote The Smiths lyric from "I started something I couldn't finish":

And I doused another venture
With a gesture
That was ... absolutely vile

If only.

But, like Rob Couhig, Virginia Boulet was charmed by Nagin's offer to be on a committee. And, in the most important election in New Orleans' history, they selfishly jettisoned any good sense they had and yielded to their personal political ambitions: they endorsed the inferior candidate, and enthusiastically campaigned for him.

Here's how they justified it at the time:

At a joint news conference with Mayor Nagin, [Rob] Couhig said he considered either staying neutral or backing Landrieu. But ended up deciding both courses were wrong.

“That’s not in my nature,” he said. Couhig said he ended up supporting Nagin because he believes the mayor is someone “who understands business.”

Nagin has agreed to give Couhig a volunteer role in the first 100 days of his second [term] to help him jump-start efforts to rebuild housing, health-care facilities and universities.
Explaining her endorsement of Nagin over Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in Saturday's runoff, [Virginia] Boulet said she was won over when the mayor took her up on her post-primary offer to aid in the city's recovery.

"Ray has committed to me to allow people like me to participate in the city's future," she said. "He is going to widen the circle of people around him, and so people with ideas and energy . . . will become part of the new city of New Orleans." Boulet also said Nagin had promised her a spot on a not-yet-formed city recovery authority.

Nagin was re-elected and Boulet and Couhig got on their precious committee-- and boy what tremendous results they achieved! A month after Nagin's reelection, Adam Nossiter wrote a NYT news story describing Couhig and Boulet's "progress":

Within a week of his re-election on May 20, Mr. Nagin announced that two ex-rivals from the campaign — both lawyers, one a Republican [Couhig] and the other a Democrat [Boulet]— would be aiding him in urgent planning for the city's future. In 100 days, there would be a plan, it was announced. Since then nothing has been heard from either lawyer. One was traveling outside the country this week, and the other did not return calls.

Over the next 3 months, when he deigned to comment about the "urgent planning for the city's future" that he and Boulet were doing, Couhig made some outlandish statements that Moldy City brilliantly tracked:

MAY: Couhig said his aim by July 1 is “to begin doing things to demonstrate that we are indeed making progress.”

“The first thing you and I as citizens want to know is: ‘What’s the deal?’ ” Couhig said. “My goal at the end of the 100 days is that we have made substantive progress in the quality of life in New Orleans (and) that there is better understanding for what the future portends in the city of New Orleans.”

Describing himself now as a dutiful member of Nagin’s team, Couhig said he wants to help the mayor foster transparency at all levels of city government.

JULY: Mayor Ray Nagin's "game plan" for the first 100 days of his second term should be ready by "halftime," Gambit Weekly has learned. "We will do something at the midway spot, around July 20," says lawyer Rob Couhig ...the mayor's plan will list work the Nagin Administration has done during the first 50 days since his second term began June 1, as well as the goals for the next 50 days and the next four years.

SEPTEMBER: Nagin intended the 100 days to be construed "not as a time period," Couhig said, but rather a short-range campaign to focus the attention of community leaders and his staff on quality-of-life issues, such as trash collection and crime reduction, that weigh on residents' decisions to stay in New Orleans.

By the way, after Couhig and Boulet helped the Mayor focus on "crime reduction", New Orleans became the Murder Capital of the Western World, and thousands of Orleanians protested in the streets. Mayor Nagin was one of the few people in the country who thought that the NOPD didn't need a complete overhaul (as candidate Mitch Landrieu had proposed) and Couhig and Boulet knew this, but they endorsed Nagin anyway because Nagin "understands business" and because Nagin promised to work with "people like Boulet". Thanks a lot, you bloody enablers.

Other than her plans to bring more "Big Box" stores to New Orleans, Ms. Boulet didn't have much to say during the first hundred days of this wonderfully important committee. But then, later, people started criticizing Mayor Nagin's work ethic and his budgetary choices, and she piped up in his defense:

The accountant-in-chief [Mayor Nagin] also doesn't get enough credit for his laser-like focus on City Hall's bottom line, according to lawyer Virginia Boulet, a former mayoral challenger who became an unpaid adviser to Nagin.

"These challenges have been very, very difficult for him," said Boulet, referring to Nagin's post-storm budget-cutting, led by the elimination of nearly 3,000 city jobs. "If he wasn't paying attention to the balance sheet, we would be having a whole different set of problems. He has been a good steward of the public money."

David's response to Boulet's buffoonery about Nagin entirely captures my sentiments as well.

Boulet continued her apologia for C.Ray:

Defending Nagin, Boulet said it's a mistake to confuse his nonchalance with a lack of passion or commitment. Nagin, who recently turned 50, keeps long hours, say those who work with him, and it's clear in his visage that the stresses of trying to put one of America's great cities back together has worn on him.

"To suggest there's a devil-may-care attitude at City Hall is grossly unfair," Boulet said. "Some people just come across as really cool and you can't tell how much they care. It's just a question of style. His manner is a little bit looser. He's not the kind of guy who will cry and show his feelings. If you're looking for displays of emotions, you won't find that here. But that doesn't mean he doesn't care."

Regarding Nagin's fiscal prudence and "caring", I'll just note the following: currently, the N.O. City Council has had to subpoena members from the Nagin administration to find out why it has taken six months and $40,000 to NOT fix an air-conditioning problem at a N.O. police station. Cops are doing paperwork in their police cruisers because there's no A/C in the station, and Nagin doesn't think his staff owes the City Council an explanation. Of course, there's plenty of other examples I could use, but that one is particularly revealing.

So, now Virginia Boulet-- the passionate Nagin endorser and stalwart defender-- is a candidate for the New Orleans City Council- At Large seat vacated by Oliver Thomas. Instead of describing the lasting damage that she and Rob Couhig have done to this stricken city over the past year, I'll simply quote from the haunting final message at the old BouletforMayor web site. Every word of this statement is true, but not in the way the author intended:

Although Viginia's role will not be as Mayor of New Orleans, she will continue her quest to make a difference. No one can say that Virginia has not contributed greatly to... the future of this great city. No, Virginia will not serve us as mayor, but we can all rest assured that the name of Virgina Boulet is not one that will soon be forgotten. Her contribution to this city was far greater and will be far more lasting than the result of the April 22nd Primary Election.

Rather than seeking public office, Virginia Boulet should first apologize for the lasting "difference" she made for New Orleans. I promise you I won't soon forget it.

Note: Some slight edits were made to this post after initial publishing.

Update: More at Ashley's blog.

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"Something safer" 

Riverbend and her family have successfully left Baghdad and Iraq, as they intended to do weeks ago. She explains why in this depressing post:

The day we finally appointed as THE DAY [to leave], we woke up to an explosion not 2 km away and a curfew. The trip was postponed a week. The night before we were scheduled to travel, the driver who owned the GMC that would take us to the border excused himself from the trip-- his brother had been killed in a shooting. Once again, it was postponed.

...How long would it take us to reschedule leaving?

It happened almost overnight. My aunt called with the exciting news that one of her neighbors was going to leave for Syria in 48 hours because their son was being threatened and they wanted another family on the road with them in another car- like gazelles in the jungle, it’s safer to travel in groups.
We didn’t sleep the night before we had to leave because there seemed to be so many little things to do… It helped that there was no electricity at all- the area generator wasn’t working and ‘national electricity’ was hopeless. There just wasn’t time to sleep.
Six AM finally came. The GMC waited outside while we gathered the necessities- a thermos of hot tea, biscuits, juice, olives (olives?!) which my dad insisted we take with us in the car, etc. My aunt and uncle watched us sorrowfully. There’s no other word to describe it. It was the same look I got in my eyes when I watched other relatives and friends prepare to leave. It was a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, tinged with anger. Why did the good people have to go?
Syria is the only country, other than Jordan, that was allowing people in without a visa.

...I sat nervously at the border. The tears had stopped about an hour after we’d left Baghdad. Just seeing the dirty streets, the ruins of buildings and houses, the smoke-filled horizon all helped me realize how fortunate I was to have a chance for something safer.

Good luck to Riverbend and her family during this difficult time. It's a shame that the U.S. "Surge" Occupation strategy did not make things better for them. I'd been hearing good things about how successful the "Surge" has been in terms of securing Baghdad and giving the Maliki government time to strengthen and reconcile with its enemies. That was the original idea behind it, right? I'm sure everything will turn out well and Riverbend will be back in Baghdad in no time. Last year, Bush decided to ignore good advice and began pouring even more blood and treasure into Iraq. He has a lot of faith in Prime Minister Maliki's abilities. And when has Bush ever been wrong?


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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Keith Rush is running for President of Jeff Parish 

After running for Jefferson Parish council as David Duke's protege in the 1990's, and after being elected to the Republican State Central Committee just this summer, today Keith Rush qualified to run against incumbent Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard.

Keith Rush was perhaps David Duke's biggest supporter in the 1990's, and the GOP has welcomed him into their party with open arms. Now, NOT ONE Louisiana Republican had the courage to publicly oppose Rush's nomination and election to the "governing arm" of their party, and the local media (save for Jeff Crouere on 990am) has failed to mention Rush's wholehearted support for the Nazi racist David Duke. Rush repeatedly gave Duke a platform on his radio show, and was a featured speaker at " Duke Fest" on July 4th, 1991. When Rush later ran for Parish Council, he said he was "proud" to be campaigning with Duke. Keith Rush is featured on the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hatewatch" blog.

Is there a single Louisiana Republican who will join me in condemning the baffling rise of Keith Rush in the state GOP?

Jindal? Whaddya think about this Duke supporter from your district?

Kennedy? Whaddya think about this Duke supporter being in your new party?

Update: Jeffrey informs us that Keith Rush pulled out of the Parish President race a day after after joining it!

[Rush] said the decision was purely his own and that he had not been pressured by political insiders. "People thought I had been gotten to," Rush said, "but nothing could be further from the truth."

Rush, 76 and a Republican, entered the race Thursday, the final day of qualifying, saying he was intent on giving people another "choice" among the candidates. He said he awoke Friday to the realization that the political spotlight that accompanies a campaign would not be a good fit for him.

"I'm a terrible politician," he said with a laugh. "Terrible."

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Yes we Can 

It's dispiriting that there are so many tired, "unfresh" faces running for Oliver Thomas' City Council seat. New Orleans needs new talent and new leadership. Qualifying ends today, and there are frantic efforts to draft a candidate who represents "Change" and who can provide a fresh, problem-solving apporach to all the myriad challenges in post-Federal Flood New Orleans.

BIA President LaToya Cantrell is certainly one of the most exciting names that's circulating among those who are dissatisfied with the current array of candidates. When I lived in Broadmoor, I personally saw Cantrell in action. I can vouch for her competence, her professionalism and her creative approach to solutions for neighborhoods. (Just witness the remarkable recovery Broadmoor has made over the past two years. In many ways it could be an excellent model for the rest of the city.) I'm hoping a grassroots reform candidate like Ms. Cantrell enters the race. I think there's considerable potential for such a candidate.

Here's a brief "40 under 40" Gambit profile of Ms. Cantrell, located just above a profile of Deuce McAllister.


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Are you ready for some football? 

As we prepare to enjoy tonight's big game between our millionaires versus Indy's, perhaps we should reflect on the state of high school football in New Orleans. Here are some excerts from John DeShazier's T-P August 4 sports column that caused some reflection:

There are no operable ice machines, to provide ice to cool the water for John McDonogh High football players. That doesn't mean so much, though, because the fountains in the gym don't work, either.

Players roll the dice when flushing the toilets because sewage -- sometimes raw -- might back up. They go home sweaty because the showers are shot. They take cautious steps when it rains because in some areas, the water runs in under the doors.

Nobody ever said playing football was easy. But nobody ever said it should be like this, either.

Sadly, McDonogh, one of New Orleans' Recovery School District institutions, isn't physically recovered nearly two full years after Hurricane Katrina. The Trojans will field a football team this season for the first time since 2005 and, yes, that constitutes a triumph in its own right.

But c'mon.

Those working conditions, mirrored to varying degrees at other RSD schools, are heartbreaking.
"As a leader, what I believe is that we don't need what everybody else needs," [QB Jovan] Johnson said of the basic amenities. "I've got to believe it doesn't matter who's got showers."

The McDonogh quarterback forces himself to believe that "it doesn't matter who's got showers". And that's understandable: he needs stay focused, so he believes what he needs to believe in order to maintain confidence and avoid distraction.

But we have the luxury to believe other things. For example, we could believe that it does matter if teenage athletes have showers and water and usable restrooms.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Judge for yourself! 

Bayou St. John David nails Treasurer John N. Kennedy for "daring" to play political straw man games in a recent tv ad.

In the ad, Kennedy-- who will have no significant competition for re-election-- mocks a specific pork project in an indirect, cowardly manner. It's disappointing because right now Kennedy has the opportunity to take firm stands on substantial issues (risk-free), and set the stage for a Senate run next year. It's not the time to "coast" or play it safe. Instead, he's electing to hide behind a stupid little detail in an old Washington Times report. Why?

Louisianans want results, not obfuscation. Why isn't Kennedy more of a political Knight of Faith when it comes to trusting the electorate's common sense? If he wants to be a pork-buster, why doesn't he name some projects he would eliminate or de-fund? Why only refer to them in a sensational, indirect way? Dems should definitely run a candidate against him, just to make sure Kennedy is forced to answer questions for the record, and take a stand on specific issues.

I forgot how limp Kennedy can be on the campaign trail. It makes me wonder if other big-name Louisiana Republicans will not challenge Kennedy when he runs against Sen. Mary Landrieu next year. (However, I must also say that I've seen candidate Kennedy at his best-- delivering a stemwinder about economic justice on the New Orleans riverfront-- and it was shockingly impressive. Where has that Kennedy gone?)


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Hump day hammerin' 

Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles & Fats Domino
Uploaded by strayvick


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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Good word pictures invigorate 

... at night is half gone.

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Couhig conservatism will save New Orleans! 

Just kidding.

But let's check in with our favorite Nagin-enablers, the Couhigs, and see what they're up to. Shall we?

On the 2nd anniversary of the Federal Flood, Rob Couhig the elder began posting commentary on his blog again. He decided it was the appropriate time to reflect on and discuss the truth about... Iraq. That's right, Iraq. So, get this: Couhig reprints an email he received from a journalist in Iraq, who describes a Q & A forum in Baghdad including Tom Friedman and members of the U.S. military. Why? Because Couhig is a big fan of Tom Friedman's seriousness. And when professional pundit Friedman pontificates on Iraq soil, I guess that's extra special. Or extra serious. Or something.

Then, the next day, Couhig continued with his commentary on Iraq. He thought an important news story about radical Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr was under-publicized by the Times Picayune, and said so:

While the editor of the TP was whining in the Los Angeles Times about the need for a Marshall Plan for New Orleans (anytime you wonder about the failure of the city of New Orleans to maintain pace with other American cities in the last half of the twentieth century, start with our paper), his paper carried [a story about Iraq] on page A 15.

Two years after New Orleans drowned, Rob Couhig decides to defend our country's "Marshall Plan" in Iraq while disparaging calls for a "Marshall Plan" in New Orleans. That's really a sublime level of chutzpah. But Couhig has bypassed the MSM, you see, and has consulted "open source" media about conditions in Iraq, and he believes Muqtada al-Sadr's current weakness might benefit Prime Minister Maliki. And he believes it's important for New Orleanians to deepen their understanding of the strategic political workings in the Iraq Parliament. So Couhig explains it for us:

Arabs are masters of power and leverage calculation. What Maliki does next will be interesting to see. This may be an opportunity for Maliki's government to consolidate some Shi'a power. Sensing this shift in power, some non-Shi'a elements of Iraq's government might display an increased willingness to work with Maliki as a balance against his consolidation (if it does happen). Or, not.

Naturally, that display of brainpower reminded me that Couhig's son, Rob Couhig III, is running for State Rep. in district 98. So I looked up his web site to see what he had to say:

Dear Neighbor:

In New Orleans, we have learned a serious lesson the hard way: elections matter.

After this dipstick and his father worked so hard to ensure Nagin's disasterous re-election, lil' Robbie has the chutzpah to tell New Orleanians that "elections matter".

It's a "serious lesson" we learned the "hard way", Couhig III tells us. Yeah, after Bush/Gore, the Iraq War, the Federal Flood, and Nagin's re-election... etc, I really need this Republican Nagin-endorser to lecture me about how "elections matter". This little muckfook was on the St. Charles neutral ground waving "Nagin" signs last year, and now-- as the recovery of New Orleans staggers along and violent crime is out of control-- lil' Robbie wants to tell his neighbors about the "serious" electoral lesson we learned "the hard way".

He says he possesses the "intelligence to create solutions", but he didn't have the intelligence to understand that re-electing Nagin was a profoundly awful idea.

Couhig's opponents in district 98 include: GOP businessmen Brian Trascher and Murray Nelson, and Democratic attorney Neil Abramson. (Incumbent Rep. Cheryl Gray is running for State Senate.)

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Monday, September 03, 2007

"Almost" and "Typical" 

The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby says:

Idaho isn't Massachusetts, so as soon as the story of his bathroom escapade broke it was clear that Senator Larry Craig would soon be needing new business cards. Except for those elected from the Bay State, US senators and representatives involved in sex scandals are almost always forced to leave Congress.

Hmm, yes. "Almost."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Jack Kelly says:

[M]edia bias is not the main reason why Republicans suffer more from scandals. Democratic voters expect Democrats to steal on their behalf.
The typical Republican voter wants his senator or congressman to keep his taxes low, his government honest. He is furious when GOP lawmakers stick their fingers in the cookie jar, or give lip service to values they do not practice.

Hmm, yes. Those "Typical" Republicans are "furious" with Goopers and their sex-scandals.

I present to you Rudy Giuliani, and his Southern Regional Chairman, Senator David Vitter. Giuliani enjoys being the current GOP Presidential frontrunner, and Vitter enjoys overwhelming approval from Louisiana Republicans. Also, both Rudy and Vitty greatly enjoy being heterosexual.

See, it's all about "Faith, Family and Country" for Vitty and Rudy.

Update: From the T-P's article on the Southern Decadence parade, we found this descriptive morsel:

In past years, Decadence has drawn anti-gay protesters, such as the Rev. Grant Storm, but only a handful showed up Sunday. And the only cross in sight was a big red one carried by a man dressed, he said, as Republican Sen. David Vitter, in a coat, tie and tight white underwear. He was accompanied by a group of men in drag wearing "Wendy" name tags. One was posing as Vitter's wife Wendy, another as prostitute Wendy Cortez, who has said Vitter was a customer, and a third as the red-headed poster girl for Wendy's Hamburgers.

Send me a picture of this if you got one. (Update: Gentilly Girl found one.)

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No way in hell! 

Journalist Robert Draper seems gullible. In his new book, "Dead Certain: The Presidency of George Bush", he seems to uncritically transcribe an unnamed source's laughable "explanation" for Bush's nomination of his own lawyer, Harriet Myers, to the Supreme Court.

It was John G. Roberts Jr., now the chief justice of the United States, who suggested Miers to Bush as a possible Supreme Court justice, according to the book. Miers, the White House counsel and a Bush loyalist from Texas, did not want the job, but Bush and first lady Laura Bush prevailed on her to accept the nomination, Draper writes.

This fantastic, convoluted (and unsourced) lie is hilarious. Why would Roberts suggest Miers, an undistinguished lawyer and a longtime Bush crony, for the bench? Is that even remotely plausible? Surely his judgment can't be that bad. (He denies doing so.)

Much more plausible is the story that the Miers "selection" was made back in the late nineties. And make no mistake, she wanted to be a Supreme. It was part of the deal. I'm still surprised Bush didn't fight longer and harder for her confirmation, though.

When Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, expressed concerns about the Miers selection, he was "shouted down" and subsequently muted his objections...

That seems possible, but unlikely. However, I'm sure that's the version of events Rove would like us to believe.

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Rhymes with "Bridget", and "midget" 

Regarding the Vitter/Craig scandals, Times Picayune columnist James Gill writes:

Ordinary mortals will have trouble grasping the nuances of the Republican ethical code in the U.S. Senate.

Trolling public restrooms in search of gay sex is definitely beyond the pale. Thus the GOP leadership would not touch Larry Craig of Idaho with a 10-foot pole.

But it is evidently jake for a member of the world's greatest deliberative body to enjoy the services of the world's oldest profession.
Almost two months after Vitter's whoring came to light, it is clear he has been forgiven, at least on Capitol Hill. We can only guess why he is isn't a political goner too. The Senate moralists must deal in the subtlest of distinctions.

Morally, there may be no discernible difference between Craig and Vitter...
But only politics can explain why Craig and Vitter have met such different fates.

Yes, yes. We know, we know. Tell us something new.

Vitter has denied allegations from Canal Street madam Jeannette Maier that he sinned at her joint... Maier continues to insist that she remembers Vitter appearing at her brothel, and says he used to call her "Gidget."


Here's a pic of the Canal Street Madam:

And here's the Sally Field version of "Gidget":

Whatever you say, Moondoggie. Whatever you say.

Moldy City has some rather harsh words about Gill's previous column.

the title is a pop culture reference with which I hope you'll be impressed (NSFW)
*, *

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