Friday, September 21, 2007

Yeah 

What Dambala said.



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Credit to Cajun Boy for posting this last Saturday.

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Loaded Phrases 

Big thanks to N. LA Lady for writing this interesting comment to a previous post, stating:

I'm a Shreveporter who reads your blog avidly. Jindal was in Shreveport yesterday, and in a comment broadcast by the local CBS affiliate, he said that the Louisiana court system works great, and that we don't need "outside agitators" to come here. Yes, he really used the term "outside agitators". I can't seem to find any video of that brief interview, but I'd love to see some bloggers get all over that.


I'm really interested in seeing the full quote and the tv interview with Jindal on Jena. More on this at the Mosquito Coast.
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Update: Mominem is skeptical of the alleged quote.
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Also, this morning on 990am Jeff Crouere skoffed at Mayor "Chocolate City" Nagin for speaking at the march in Jena, and said that Nagin's mayoral campaign last year was "blatantly racist".

I wish Nagin was "blatantly racist" during the 2006 campaign! Then pundits like Crouere wouldn't have had any difficulty excoriating C. Ray's tactics in May of 2006. The problem with Nagin's campaign was its subtle and deniable appeal to racial code ("Our Mayor"), combined with an anti-Landrieu appeal ("Politics of the Past") to Couhig Conservatives and others. It was a successful two-pronged approach that couldn't be easily described or condemned as "blatantly racist" by media pundits. It was devious and nasty, but not blatant. But if Crouere really thought Nagin's campaign was "blatantly racist", he should have had the stones to say so when he was being a political analyst on tv!

(Genius consultant Jim Carvin should be credited with Nagin's brilliant strategy. Carvin is currently guiding Aaron Broussard to an easy re-election. The first rule in LA politics should be to hire Jim Carvin as your consultant. Period. I don't care if he's 100 years old and is hospitalized with a stroke: hire him, if for nothing else than to make sure your opponents can't use him. )

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Brains are hanging upside down 

Iranian President Ahmadinejad should not go to Ground Zero and lay a wreath. If he wants to pay his respects he should find a place where he can honor those for whom he truly mourns-- like Bitburg Germany, where NAZI SS butchers are buried.

There, Ahmadinejad can lay his wreath next to the one placed by Ronald Reagan.




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John Georges attends Jena 6 rally 

Bouquets to E from We Could Be Famous, who made the time to drive out, attend, and report on the Jena 6 rally. Go read E's post. Interestingly, Gubernatorial candidate John Georges also made time to take part and hand out free water to the participants. Kudos to Georges, too.

I purposely use the phrase "make time", because other candidates for Guv had scheduling conflicts according to the T-P.

John Georges, attended the Jena rally on Thursday and handed out cold water to marchers. Democrats Foster Campbell and Walter Boasso and Republican Bobby Jindal did not attend due to previous campaign commitments.

Those pesky "scheduling conflicts" are so ...inopportune. (For the record, I didn't make the time to go, either.)

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Update: MD Filter has questions for those who marched.

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In other news, Suspect Device informs us that five guys in D.C. kicked a man in the head and body while he was lying on the ground. I'm curious to see what they'll get charged with.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gov Candidates stay mum on Jena 

Again from the DP, we learn of this AP news report on the President's reaction to the events in Jena:


He told reporters at the White House today that the events in Jena (JEE'-nuh) have "saddened" him. He says he can "understand the emotions."

Bush also says the FBI is monitoring the situation, and that everyone in America wants to see "fairness when it comes to justice."

Have any of the major Gubernatorial candidates publicly said as much about Jena? The President has commented, but what do Jindal, Boasso, Foster, Georges... etc think? And why have they not expressed themselves thus far?

Senator Mary Landrieu has called for "reconcilation and clarity", as well as a review by the Dept. of Justice. I guess that's something.

Governor Blanco made a lame statement deploring "racism in any form" in a press release, and saying she doesn't have authority to do much other than tell AG Charles Foti to keep an eye on it. By the way, have you seen Blanco's scintillating blog? (It's the best blog by a Louisiana "Blanco", but that's not saying much.)

Senator Vitter is too busy acting busy to concern himself with matters relating to Jena-- unless they involve blocking Indian casinos to suit Jack Abramoff's treasured clients.

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Black Surfers for Justice 

From the DP we learn of a Jena 6 protest making news... in Los Angeles. The LA Times reports that "About 100 activists... blocked traffic along Sunset Boulevard for about an hour this morning". In the local news video accompanying the story, there's a sign in the background proclaiming the solidarity "Black Surfers" have with the Jena 6.

I grew up with surfers. My high school was across the street from the beach. And, generally speaking, it takes a lot to get surfers to ignore some tasty waves and stand in a street for hours protesting an event that occurred many miles away. It takes a lot to get them to do that. But apparently it takes even more than that to get the Progressive blogosphere to comment on the case.

(H/T Scout)

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De-pegged 

Money quotes from two short must read posts about this economic development.

Calculated Risk: "The Greenspan conundrum was that long rates didn't rise as the Fed Funds rate was increased. Bernanke's conundrum may be that long rates don't fall (or maybe even increase) as he lowers the Fed Funds rate!"

Big Picture: "... something significant has changed recently"
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Update: Here are some selections from today's front page WSJ story:

After 16 years during which the U.S. mainly borrowed and bought while much of the rest of the world lent and sold, the global economy appears to be undergoing a fundamental shift. American exporters are finding eager overseas markets for their products. U.S. consumers are beginning to temper their free-spending ways as the housing boom turns to bust. China, the Middle East, central Europe and Africa are absorbing more of the world's imports. The result: Instead of depending as heavily on the U.S. for demand, the world economy could become more evenly balanced.
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In the background is a U.S. dollar that has grown weaker against the euro...
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All of this could well add up to a major readjustment of the U.S. trade deficit, which began in 1991 and has ballooned to a level that would have seemed unimaginable not long ago.
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[A rapid trade rebalancing] could be painful. Since Americans have financed their prosperity with borrowed money, reversing that habit means a period of living less opulently.

If foreign money turns scarce and the trade deficit narrows suddenly, Americans could face a tumbling dollar, soaring interest rates and an economic downturn.

Earlier today the Canadian dollar was worth slightly more than the U.S. dollar. Soon will Canadian children be asking "Why are things so much more expensive in the U.S.?"

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Prairie Home Invasion Companion 

I am not a regular listener of "The Wake and Bake Morning Show" with John and Lisa on KXOR 106.3fm in Thibodeaux. But I'll be damned if I didn't hear them play Anthrax's "Among the Living" about half an hour ago.

Bouquets to KXOR for playing that song that's so elusive and the magic music made my morning mood.

Nothing like an Anthrax song about Stephen King's "Randall Flagg" character to get the blood pumping. Here's a description of Flagg from King's The Stand:

He looks like anybody you see on the street. But when he grins, birds fall dead off telephone lines. When he looks at you a certain way, your prostate goes bad and your urine burns. The grass yellows up and dies where he spits. He's always outside. He came out of time. He doesn't know himself. He has the name of a thousand demons. Jesus knocked him into a herd of pigs once. His name is Legion. He's afraid of us. We're inside. He knows magic. He can call the wolves and live in the crows. He's the king of nowhere. But he's afraid of us. He's afraid of... inside.


Booga wooga!

Meanwhile whenever I tune into 104.1fm "The Rock of New Orleans", I hear the same old Soundgarden/Nirvana/Pearl Jam songs I heard ad nauseum in college. I'm thinking-- has it already come to this-- Classic Progressive Rock stations? Are there actually a large number of "Gen X" New Orleanians jamming out to the same fifteen or twenty songs from Seattle bands that they enjoyed on the The Zephyr (106.1fm) in the early 90's?

When I listen to 104.1fm, or look at the VoodooFest headliners*, I can't help but think of Jello Biafra's song "Nostalgia for an Age that Never Existed". The song chides every generation for getting old and refusing to change and grow. Biafra starts with the 50's and works his way up through the 80's, chiding old punks for being "Mad at the whole scene for refusing to freeze in 1983."

I've been guilty of that. Hell, at various times I've wished the punk scene could have frozen in 1977, 1983 and 1987.

Similarly, whenever Jeffrey mocks the "Yuppie Left", I think of Biafra's "Love Me I'm a Liberal". (I'm too embarrassed to confess my guilt to any of the charges in that song.)

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* Almost all those bands were headlining 15 years ago, if not more! Where's the new blood?
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(Title reference here.)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Where have you all been?" 

I want to reprint Celsus' reaction to Karen's posts about a recent meeting between Gulf Coast Recovery Czar Donald Douchemook Powell and neighborhood leaders from New Orleans. Celsus writes:

In a room full of people who embody everything we define as American, and defy every pundit and pinhead’s ill-informed blather, who could fill books of “up by your bootstraps” stories, the representative of the leader of the free world thought it best to insult and belittle them. But this was not the usual sniveling little politicians and corporate yes men; they weren’t going to take it. I'm proud to share this city with people like this.


I'm proud, too.

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Jena 6 

Clancy Dubos' Gambit Weekly has an excellent summary of facts about the Jena 6 case. It's a commentary piece titled an "Obvious Injustice", and is a quick primer on the case. Please read it, if you need to. The Gambit concludes:

We call upon Gov. Kathleen Blanco, all candidates for governor, and local and statewide business, civic and religious leaders to use every ounce of moral and legal authority they have to correct the injustice dealt the Jena Six.


Please read it if you are not familiar about the basic facts of the case. And if you have the time I strongly encourage everyone to read the outstanding, in-depth Jena 6 compendium at Cenlamar, as well as this recent Cenlamar post.

If, after you sift through all that information, your first reaction is along the lines of "Well, there's racism everywhere" or "But a huge march on obvious injustice will only worsen the problem" or "This is unfair to Jena" or "Jesse Jackson is a race pimp and he said Obama was too 'white'!"... then I have no use for you.

If you're a gubernatorial candidate who has diligently avoided comment on this "issue" (are there really two sides?) because you're worried about losing some unenlightened white votes... then I have no use for you, either.

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Update: Michael informs us that David Bowie has donated to the cause. Longtime readers know that I consider Bowie to be "the greatest artist since 1970".

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"Because New Orleans Needs an Alternative" 

Sunday, Gambit Weekly editor Clancy Dubos appeared on WWL-TV and talked about Wendy Cortez and the New Orleans angle to Senator Vitter's prostitution scandal. He said:

[This Wendy Cortez] story didn't just fall out of the sky. This is a story that was first broken by a guy named Chris Tidmore, who was at the time a journalist with The Louisiana Weekly. He's now running for public office. But, he's made himself available to the media to talk about this. And, he says that there is more to come. This is exactly what he printed back... in 2000 or even when Vitter was running for Senate as well. He denied all that stuff back then, the mainstream media kind of left him alone, and now all of a sudden, it is in our faces. And, it looks like everything Chris wrote back then was true.


Actually, Tidmore "printed" this story about Vitter and Cortez on June 3, 2002-- a day or two before Clancy wrote the following in his "alternative" weekly:


When Vitter pulled out of the governor's race because of family considerations, he showed a side of himself that most politicians don't often reveal: he's human. The stress of working in Washington, living on the Northshore and trying to jump-start a statewide campaign for governor has taken a toll. Public life always does.

His announcement that he and his wife Wendy have been in counseling caught most folks by surprise -- not because they sought help but because he decided to make it public. He told me shortly afterward that voters are always skeptical -- and rumor mills always ratchet up -- when political figures vaguely cite "family considerations" as the reason for a career-altering decision. He says he figured that if he simply gave everyone the rest of the story, that would be it.

For once, he figured wrong. Vitter's foes wasted no time circulating all sorts of sordid speculation, none of which is supported by any evidence whatsoever.

Although Vitter and I have never been pen pals, I hate to see anyone in public or private life subjected to malicious rumors. His foes should either put up or shut up. Otherwise, give the guy -- and his family -- a break.

So, while Clancy Dubos was transcribing Vitter's lies about the basis for his marriage counseling, Chris Tidmore was breaking a story that would gain national attention 5 years later. Clancy Dubos probably hadn't read Tidmore's story when he wrote his column defending Vitter from the "malicious rumors" spread by Vitter's "foes" that were not supported "by any evidence whatsoever". But Dubos never returned to the issue, either. He never evaluated the detailed evidence that Tidmore had compliled and presented in an even-handed manner. Clancy was no doubt extra-skeptical about the Vitter/prostitute rumors because they were initially aired on the radio by RSCC member Vincent Bruno. Dubos doesn't think much of Bruno, and neither do I, quite frankly. Back in the early nineties, Bruno was David Duke's "spiritual advisor" (again-- great work, there, Vinnie!). But despite my low opinion of Bruno, when I learned of these rumors several years ago, me and a friend met Bruno at a Metairie bar, and discussed politics and religion (ugh!) over drinks. I asked Bruno in-depth questions about what he knew regarding Vitter and Cortez, and he gave me specific information that I verified through other well-placed sources. It checked out.

With this in mind, I get a hearty laugh when I read about Dubos praising Tidmore and talking about how the "mainstream media kind of left [Vitter] alone" regarding the claims made in Tidmore's reports. Clancy could also say that his "alternative media" weekly left Vitter alone, too. In fact, it transcribed Vitter's lies and defended him against "sordid speculation". Meanwhile Vitter was getting his revenge on the truthtellers and ascending to higher office. Finally, five years later, Dubos seems surprised that the story is "suddenly... in our faces". No thanks to you, Clancy. No thanks to you.

Since the revelations about Vitter and the D.C. Madam, Dubos has taken off the gloves. It's clear that Vitter played Dubos back in 2002, and Dubos rightly took him to task in this column from July:

Vitter should stop hiding behind his wife and kids and come out to face the music. He spent enough time pretending no one could see him; it's time now to buck up and answer all questions thoroughly, openly and honestly.... If he doesn't have the guts to do all that and take his licks like a man, then he's got no business being in this business -- and the rest of us should all thank Vitter's merciful God that he was outed as a phony, a liar and a coward before he got any closer to the White House.


I don't think exposing Vitter's phoniness qualifies as God's work, per se, but as someone who has repeatedly touched on this issue over the years, I will thank those-- like Chris Tidmore and the Flaming Liberal-- who have worked to expose Vitter's hypocrisy and lying.
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Programming Note: WDSU is supposed to air an exclusive interview with Wendy Cortez during their 6 o'clock broadcast.

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We are not OK-ville 

Monday night, I missed the premiere of K-ville because... I had to go to a restaurant and do some serious thinking over a bowl of gumbo. You know how it is.

Anyway, lucky me, tonight there was an encore presentation of K-ville which I mostly watched. Unlike T-P columnist Chris Rose, I didn't like it "a lot". It didn't touch my "emotional core". It didn't push my buttons and almost make me cry.

But I will say that going into it with very low expectations was helpful. The "wince fest" I feared never materialized.

And it's odd that Chris Rose is so charitable toward K-ville (a drama about troubled cops in a town saturated with wild conspiracies), but was so dismissive of Spike Lee's defense of When the Levees Broke, a four hour documentary about the Federal Flood that contained 5 minutes of interviews with troubled New Orleanians who thought the levees were purposefully blown. Last year, Rose called Spike Lee a "whack job" and a "lamentable figure" for not sufficiently ruling out the possibility that the levees were dynamited. (In his defense, Lee titled the film "When the Levees Broke", not "When the Levees were Bombed". Also, Lee's film included conspiracy refutations and interviews with 9th Warders who were standing right in front of the grounded barge that got loose in the Industrial Canal, and was responsible for the "explosions" people heard that morning, and the subsequent levee breach on that portion of the canal.)

Basically, Spike Lee clumsily defended one weak spot in a 4 hour documentary, and that made him a lamentable "whack job" conspiracist in Rose's mind. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall Rose writing a full column about Lee's documentary. The only thing I found in Rose's archives was one positive parenthetical reference to the film. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Rose never penned an extended meditation about why he liked Lee's film "a lot" or about how Lee "gets it" or how the documentary pushed his buttons and nearly made him cry.

As for me, I was moved by many parts of Lee's film. One inspirational example was the story of Mr. Radio's leadership in the Superdome during the days after the storm. I mean, I liked that scene "a lot". It pushed my buttons. To this day, that story nearly makes me cry. If I were a columnist I would write about it repeatedly and refer to it often. Everyone needs to know about that story. I am very appreciative toward the filmmaker who brought such a powerful, positive episode to my attention (and the nation's). I'd be inclined to cut him a lot of slack. But that's just me.

Why do I contrast Chris Rose's "K-ville" treatment with his treatment of Spike Lee? Because, as We Could Be Famous notes, Spike Lee had planned to do a fictional drama about post-Katrina New Orleans, but that idea was unfortunately 86'ed. Instead we get "K-ville".

So, as an experiment, let's imagine that Spike Lee ended up doing the drama for FOX, and that he created the exact same second-rate "K-ville" episode that aired on both Monday and Tuesday night. (Just pretend along with me.) Now, if that scenario somehow occurred, do you honestly think that Chris Rose would have written an article about how Spike Lee "gets it", and how his show touched Rose's "emotional core"?

I don't.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nation-building over there so we don't have to do it over here 

From the Toledo Mudhen Blade:

Federal help to prevent future flooding in Findlay and Ottawa [Ohio] is limited because the United States is waging a costly war in Iraq, U.S. Sen. George Voinovich said yesterday.

Even if the United States stopped fighting in Iraq today, the bill likely would reach $1 trillion. However, President Bush has trimmed infrastructure-related budgets - those that deal with items such as rivers, highways, and bridges - because they are too costly, the Ohio Republican said during a visit to Findlay.

"We just aren't in the real world and until people wake up to that fact, we're not going to be able to take care of problems like yours," he told Findlay Mayor Tony Iriti and Ottawa Mayor Ken Maag. The senator added: "I'm going to do what I can to be of help to you."
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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which addresses flood control, is operating with less federal money and too few engineers, he said.

"The fact is the money's not here to get the jobs done," Senator Voinovich said.

Relocating residents and business from areas prone to flooding is the most important step municipalities can take, advised [Voinovich].


What was the idea behind our Iraq experiment, again? Something like: Let's nation-build over there so we don't have to do it over here? Is that what Voinovich is complaining about? Iraq spending is limiting our resources for internal flood control projects, so U.S. citizens should be good patriots and kindly move their homes and businesses from flood zones. Is that the basic thought, here?

Should the White House be moved away from its flood zone, too?

Mark my words: if and when a recession occurs during the next year, several "busy elves" will appear on Fox News and cite the federal "handouts" to New Orleans as one of the causes for the economic slowdown. It will probably come as a "counterbalance" to complaints that our trillion dollar war in Iraq had something to do with it.

(The real issue should be how the Fed's housing/credit bubble and the the GOP's supply side spending voodoo were used to postpone the inevitable recession a few years-- at great future cost. But that's another story. The prediction for now is that in the coming year you'll start hearing "New Orleans" and "recession" used in the same sentence by these relentlessly evil hacks.)
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Just to toot my own horn: I was connecting domestic issues to Iraq before it was cool.

I'm endlessly fascinated by "conservatives" who think that:

WE MUST spend trillions "fixing" the Middle East by occupying and nation-building Iraq.

while also believing that

Investing in sufficient flood protections for a vital region on our Energy Coast is WAY TOO HARD.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

On behalf of New Orleans... 

I want to thank D at Lawyers, Guns and Money for this post. Perhaps the "doomed" citizens of New Orleans could donate a recognizable sum to Confederate Yankee (say $.66) so he can begin rebuilding his life after the remnants of Hurricane Humberto, which struck TX and LA, overturned his grill in South Carolina. Holy smokes, a fallen grill! Naturally, the "Confederate" wasted no time before he began complaining about his "weather woes", and holding out the tin cup.

What a complete douchemook.

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Update: Scout is also on the case. With visuals.
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Update #2: The comments at Sadly, No! are priceless (thx blogenfreude).
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Update #3: Michael explains what a "douchemook" is.

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(H/T Tbogg)

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Happy? in Seattle 

New Orleans suffers more homicides in one month (29 in Aug.) than Seattle does in an entire year. And Seattle has twice the population of "K-ville". Yet, Seattle feels the need to try to lure New Orleans Police Officers out of their stricken city, and up to the great Northwest.

In honor of that maneuver, here's a video for a song called "Seattle" performed by Johnny Lydon's band Public Image Ltd.. (The song's not about Seattle at all, but let's just keep that little factoid between us, shall we?).




Actually, it would be pretty damn cool if this video were replaced with footage from "The Battle of Seattle". A song with an accidental title by a punk icon could get reinterpreted as an ironic soundtrack to one of the most famous protest moments in recent U.S. history. And how about these concluding lyrics:

Character is lost and found
On unfamiliar playing ground

What in the world
What in, get out, get out, get out of my world
What in the world
Palaces, barricades, threats meet promises (repeat)


As we've previously noted, John Lydon is consecrated to very simple "stoa":

Never hand over your own power. And when they ask you to go away. Refuse.


Perhaps that's why Seattle is trolling New Orleans for more police. They're not worried about the murderers, they're worried about unruly anarchists in the u.s.a..
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Update: Please do not get your information about Lydon or Public Image Ltd from this site. The PIL introductory paragraph begins "When Johnny Rotten left the Clash way back in '78, he immediately moved on to a new project that he wanted to be entirely different from his former band, The Ramones...".
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Update #2: Norbizness has another PIL video ready-to-hand.
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Fulfillment 

Senator John McCain identifies with the Baptists now, after previously stating that he was an Episcopalian. He explains the change by saying that his current Baptist church is "more fulfilling" than his old Episcopal church.

Ouchers.

Back in the day, Rep. Bobby Jindal felt similarly. To him, the Episcopalian option appeared less fulfilling than full- blown Roman Catholicism. Back then, Jindal wrote:

I was not tempted by the expedient path of ignoring difficult teachings, and there was no reason to swallow Rome’s demanding morality if her authority were less than divinely inspired. After all, if I wanted the aesthetics without the inconvenient morality I could become Episcopalian.


Double ouchers.

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Also, speaking of Jindal and Church, I found this episode appalling:

Jindal was seen on Ash Wednesday last year at St. Peter's Catholic Church spending a "great deal of time on his BlackBerry during service and prayer, both reading e-mails and sending e-mails." Jindal responded through his spokesman: "The Congressman was on his BlackBerry to staff asking that meetings be pushed back because the service was running long. He didn't want to leave."


Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but if someone was clicking away on a Blackberry during church prayers... I'd politely tell him or her to please excuse themselves and finish their important worldly business in a side room. And if the response was "I'm asking my staff to push back meetings because the service is running long", then I would say: "I don't care if you're emailing the Pope. Please stop or take it outside."

I suppose Jindal's Ash Wednesday rudeness is preferable to the game of "grab ass" that President Bush played in Church the previous year. Of course, Bush was attending an Episcopal church when he patted Laura's rear-end on Ash Wednesday. And perhaps Bush can be excused for this because, as Jindal informs us, Episcopalians are unable to "swallow Rome's demanding morality".

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Madonna makes the people come together 

Apparently, Madonna celebrated Rosh Hashanah with Israeli President Shimon Peres and declared herself an "ambassador for Judaism."

That's swell. I'm sure The Chosen are so relieved that Esther the Material Girl is now available to do religious outreach on their behalf. Maybe she has a gift for that sort of thing.

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