Saturday, October 20, 2007

"What a waste" 

Last month, we learned that the controversial, expensive, "bomb proof" trash cans the Nagin administration purchased three years were being replaced because Mayor Nagin deemed them too small.

David at Moldy City asked an obvious but unanswered question: "How big are the new cans?"

Today, the T-P finally provides some answers:

The disappearance of 600 relatively new and "bombproof" trash cans from downtown streets has left some New Orleanians with a few questions.
...
How much shorter were the old cans than the ones the city is replacing them with?

That question grew out of Mayor Ray Nagin's disparaging of the old receptacles, which his administration purchased, as "those little munchkin trash cans," adding that he "had to bend over to put stuff in 'em."
...
According to spec sheets provided by the manufacturers of both versions, the new ones are 3.5 inches taller than the old ones. However, that height includes a 5-inch decorative pyramid on top, suggesting the two styles are more or less the same height.

While Nagin complained about straining his back to use the old cans, perhaps it is the taxpayers who really have been forced to feel the pain.
"Perhaps"?
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Update #1: Moldy City notes that the "answer" about the cans opens up several more important questions for Nagin, the "high maintenance size queen".

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Videos 

Tonight I watched Charlie's short video of luscious New Orleans images, and a longer video at Revolution 21 Blog, which was beautifully contextualized by the Mighty Favog.

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Endorsements 

"The typical citizen drops down to a lower level of mental performance as soon as he enters the political field. He argues and analyzes in a way which he would readily recognize as infantile within the sphere of his real interests. He becomes a primitive again." -- economist Joseph Schumpeter

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Below, I humbly submit my extremely informed opinions about the candidates running for office. I anticipate that this information will help you make excellent electoral decisions (where possible), which will effect the future of our city and state. Also, I think it's very interesting and sometimes revealing to learn who people voted for, or against, and their reasons for doing so.

I'll start with the my STRONG endorsements. I've met these candidates in person, discussed issues with them, and have researched and followed their careers. These are people with whom I'm impressed, and I expect them to do a good job. (Please note: sometimes my support for a candidate is affected by "inside information" that I learned and can't report; other times, my support for a candidate can be affected by my strong aversion to one of their opponents. )


YRHT strongly endorses:

Mitch Landrieu for Lt. Governor-- As you know, I like the guy and think he got a raw deal during the mayoral election last year. I'm certain he will continue to serve as an excellent Lt. Gov.. (An aside: as you may know, Mitch can effortlessly discuss "race" in a manner that makes sense and unifies people. During a 990am radio interview last month, he presented the most in-depth, balanced, nuanced, righteous perspective on Jena that I had heard from a politician-- all in about 1 minute. To their shame, the Gubernatorial candidates have basically avoided the issue.)

Shawn Barney State Senator District 3
-- I already discussed my support for him at the end of this post.

Cheryl Gray State Senator District 5-- swoon! I lived in the district she represented in the House, and I was always duly impressed with her focus, intelligence and responsiveness. (Honorable mention goes to David Williams, who reached out to local bloggers.)

Chris Tidmore State Rep District 82-- YRHT is a big, big fan of this Republican.

Percy Marchand State Rep District 95-- although I have not met Percy in person, he's been impressive in his correspondence on internet forums, and I totally agree with Ashley's take on the guy. (Honorable mention to Walker Hines.)

Walt Leger III State Rep District 91-- Flat out, Walt Leger impressed the hell out of me. He has got his game down tight! I expected the young whippersnapper to be easily cornered and flummoxed by my interrogations. But when I prodded and probed him on crime, the port, and coastal restoration ... he brought it, and then some! Leger had original ideas on hand for each issue-- proposals and solutions that I'd never heard anyone else talk about. A very pleasant surprise.
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Standard endorsements:

Mike Strain for Agriculture Commissioner

Ann Duplessis Senate District 2

Edwin Murray Senate District 4

Julie Quinn Senate District 6

Deborah Langhoff House District 94 Rep

Karen Carter District 93 Rep

Neil Abramson District 98-- Neil's run a fine campaign overall. One of his opponents is Rob Couhig III. Recently Rob was campaigning door to door in Uptown. While talking to one resident about how difficult such canvassing can be, Couhig mentioned that he had experience "working on campaigns in Arkansas". WTF? I'd like to hear more about that.

Charmaine Marchand District 99 Rep

Austin Badon District 100

Cedric Richmond District 101

[Newell Normand for Jefferson Parish Sherrif in the special election.]


Extremely Tepid endorsements:

Secretary of State: Jay Dardenne

Insurance Kommissar: Jim Donelon

Attorney General: Buddy Caldwell

Governor: Foster Campbell he won't get into the runoff (nor does he deserve to) because no one believes his plan will work, and he has no Plan B. Cenlamar makes the case for Foster and against Jindal. In last night's debate Campbell boasted of his "conservative" credentials. Uggh. Former Republican Boasso is vague, inarticulate and passionless in a debate. And Cottonmouth Georges didn't have the courage to "mix it up" with Jindal, even though he might be just a few points away from a runoff.

In many ways Jindal is by far the best politician. And I'd take him over the other guys in many instances (for example: "selling" Louisiana abroad, or making a presentation on Capitol Hill). But I can't overlook Jindal's disturbing alliance to the far right and the puzzling way he has run his campaign this year.

I expect Jindal to comfortably win outright tomorrow (57%), and I'll be interested to see if he's a better or worse executive than he was a legislator. If Georges somehow makes the runoff that will seem like a major victory for The Greek, and-- conceivably-- the runoff could become interesting. Georges has run the most effective campaign of anyone (in terms of votes gained) since Labor Day. Boasso had been getting a little traction in the summer, but then he was unimpressive in the debates, and momentum flagged. At this point, the only thing people really know about him is that he's big and uses Tide detergent.

The headlines in the T-P after both statewide televised debates were along the lines of "Few Sparks fly in Debate" and "Gov hopefuls stick to their scripts". If you are Boasso, Campbell or Georges, that's precisely what you DON'T want to see. If you (and your rivals) are 40 points behind a front-runner and the race is in the home stretch, it's time to confront Jindal on something in a way that will make news!! Practically anything will do. You want the media to isolate you and him as "the story" of the debate... If you don't understand that, then you don't have the political sense to be governor.

After the electoral slaughter tomorrow, the LA Dems need to reflect on the fact that a Republican, an independent and a DINO beat their top Dem candidate. Then they should begin plans to totally reinvent their organization and their state strategy... above all, start recruiting better candidates!

City Council At Large: Tommie Vassel. This might be my most tepid endorsement. I don't know any inside stuff about the guy, nor am I familiar with much of his past work. I could hardly make a stronger case for him than David could make for Boulet. Nor could I support him as passionately as Ashley supports Quentin, or Tim supports Suber. But I don't trust Boulet's judgment, and neither "honesty" nor "boldness" in themselves are sufficient reasons to elect someone.

Moreover, I generally like what Vassel has to say and how he says it, and I mostly don't cringe when he responds to questions. Mostly. I like that Vassel impressed both the Times Picayune and Editor B. But what I really like is that Mayor Ray Nagin discouraged Vassel to run, and he ran anyway, and then Nagin endorsed Cynthia Willard-Lewis. That bodes well. And get this, here's why Nagin discouraged Vassel from running:

But Vassel said he has never been a rubber stamp for the mayor. He pointed to the council's recent approval of a S&WB-endorsed water rate increase, which Vassel pushed hard for months while Nagin stayed silent until expressing timid support the day of the vote.

Indeed, Vassel said he met a brick wall when he called the mayor before qualifying last month. "He did not encourage me to run," Vassel said. "His advice to me was: Don't, because government is hard."

Believe it or not, that orange sentence made me feel much less nauseous about my endorsement of Vassel. Do you think that's "primitive", or what?

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Other nolablogger endorsements can be find via Jeffrey's roundup.

Editor B and WST have some interesting selections.

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The "alternative view" that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to Church 

The New Orleans Times Picayune reports something that gives me hope:

Bowing to pressure, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has backed off an attempt to steer $100,000 in taxpayer money to a Louisiana Christian group that supports teaching religious and alternative theories of creation alongside evolution in science classrooms.

Vitter has taken heat from educational, religious and civil rights groups for earmarking money in the fiscal 2008 spending bill for the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health, Human Services and Education for the Louisiana Family Forum, "to develop a plan to promote better science education."

The group has long challenged Darwinian theories explaining the origins of life, and the earmark was seen by some as an attempt to inject Christian religious doctrine into the classroom.


This is a winning issue for Democrats, even in the Deep South. Yet, too often they're shy about using it. Don't Dems notice how queasy independents and libertarians get when a fundagelical shoehorns creationist talking points into a discussion about public education or science? And it's not difficult to spot the creationist camel's nose when it creeps under the public school tent. Just relentlessly point it out and make a big fuss, and you'll get results.

Senator Vitter would never, ever back down on something related to gay marriage or immigration, yet here he "bows to pressure". That's right. There he was, with his faith and his Peter Pan advice. He had no scars on his face, and he couldn't handle pressure! 1, 2, 3, 4... PRESSURE!

(I'm very sorry about that last bit.)
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Cross-posted at First Draft.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jindal aborts promise to vote on S-Chip 

Jindal did not travel to D.C. to vote on the S-Chip override, which failed. Here's his explanation.

Here's what the B.R. Advocate reported on 10/4:

Jindal, a former state health secretary who is running for governor, broke with the rest of the state’s Republican congressional delegation to embrace what he called “important legislation.”

Jindal promised to vote to overturn the presidential action.

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Jindal is tied to CNP and Dan Barton 

[I lost an incredibly long and linked-filled post on Jindal about an hour ago, so I'm a tad frustrated. Below are the main links and points I wanted to make, without the additional YRHT snarkasm and color you've come to expect. Sorry.]

Bobby Jindal campaign manager Timmy "authority structure" Teepell has been a member of the far right Council for National Policy since at least 1998. The CNP was founded by John Birch Society Texas billionaires, dominionists like Tim LeHaye, and includes former KKK leaders like Richard Shoff. (Read the linked links about dominionists if you haven't already done so.)

Last year, Bobby Jindal went on a speaking tour with GOP dominionist pastor Dan Barton. Barton writes and teaches false history about church/state separation myths based on spliced quotes from founding fathers that are often removed from context. You can listen to Jindal lavish extreme praise for Barton's "data" in this interview on Barton's "Wallbuilders" show from 10/18/06. The Rhodes Scholar and future Governor is overwhelmed with the "powerful" case Barton makes, and believes that "true" history has been scrubbed from our children's history books due to political correctness.

Here's a very small sampling of Barton's bad faith historical revisionism with which Jindal is so impressed.

In the first Gubernatorial debate, Jindal provided an opening for his opponents when he slyly included creationist talking points in his (non) answer about teaching the "Intelligent Design" Trojan horse in Louisiana schools. While Jindal's opponents didn't properly call him on it, The Baton Rouge Advocate, to its great credit, will not tolerate such antiscience. From 10/04 the Advocate editorial page (H/T Schroeder):

Intelligent design is a fraud.

Like the unsubstantiated claim of creationism, which a state law sought to shoehorn into school curricula in the 1980s, it is a way to introduce the Bible story of creation where it does not belong. Intelligent design is so transparently without substance that it does not belong in private school classrooms, either, but that is a matter for private schools to decide.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1987 overturned the Louisiana “creation science” law as an intrusion of religious belief into public schools.

That was a wise decision.

While we have the highest respect for Brown University, Jindal’s undergraduate biology degree from there does not represent an intellectual basis for overturning the considered opinion of science about the evolution of life on Earth.

The “best science” Jindal espouses does not include intelligent design.

Jindal’s position, to the extent we can discern it, is that intelligent design is not beyond the pale of discussion in the classroom.

His dodge about local school boards is just that; it does not explain what he would do if some of his more-zealous supporters propose a state mandate for intelligent design. As governor, Jindal would have to make a judgment about that bill in the Legislature, or be involved in a debate on the issue within the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

In Louisiana, candidates for governor always declare that the state should require this or that. But if the issue is controversial, the candidates tend to discover the importance of school boards’ autonomy.

The question about intelligent design in the LPB forum was directed at Jindal, but every candidate should state his position on this matter.

It’s relevant. A governor has three appointments to the policy-setting BESE. If a willingness to countenance intelligent design is to be a standard for those appointments, Louisiana would be setting itself up to be a national embarrassment. Again.

I'm not trying to be alarmist here, but there's something very disturbing and deceptive about Jindal's (utterly sincere?) alliance with Barton and his ties to the CNP through campaign manager Timmy Teepell. A biology major who subscribes to creationism, and a Rhodes scholar who praises the historical sense of charlatan Dan Barton is mere hours away from being elected Governor.

Also, I believe Teepell and national GOP forces are to blame for Jindal's puzzling pattern of lightly campaigning in SE LA, and ignoring (if not insulting) African-American voters.

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Update: Then there's this:

The [gubernatorial] candidates also differ on gay rights, where Jindal is the only candidate who said he would not renew a 2004 executive order by Blanco barring state agencies and outside contractors from discriminating in their hiring practices on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation or disabilities.

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Debate Questions 

John Cole offers some lovely hypothetical questions to GOP presidential candidates which I think could be slightly retooled for tonight's Gubernatorial debate. For example:

"Mr. Jindal, would you have sex with a man if it would stop a hurricane from hitting Louisiana?"

"Mr. Jindal, once the technology to retroactively abort Huey Long is developed, would you use it?"

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Update: In the comments, El Stevo asks: "uh huh, and what would you ask the Democrats?" Here are a few serious queries:

To all candidates (other than Jindal): Why didn't you call Jindal on his Intelligent Design BS? Do you subscribe to that, too?

To Boasso: What was the "scheduling conflict" that precluded you from going to Jena? What is your view on the matter? Why did your web site have a blank "issues" page for several weeks, and why did you take it down rather than fill it with information?

Why do you say you changed parties out of conviction, when it was obviously because the GOP endorsed Jindal?

To Campbell: Why don't you have the sense to understand that Big Oil will spend millions to keep your "one big proposal" in the courts for years on end? Don't voters deserve a realistic PLAN B?

Why didn't you go to Jena, and what do you think of the controversy?

Georges: Why are you such an arrogant douchemook?

Why do you give yourself credit for handing out "Georges" labeled waters at Jena, but then refuse to give your detailed thoughts on the matter?

What evidence do you have for your outrageous claim that Jindal's home birth was orchestrated?

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Those darn hurricanes are never there when you need them! 

In his interview with douchemook Matt Lauer, Larry Craig bemoaned the fact that no threatening monster hurricanes were available to distract the American public away from the Senator's controversial "stall tactics":

I liken it to we're in the middle of hurricane season. And we were. And there were no hurricanes. I became the political hurricane that everybody wanted to talk about. And did it-- did they talk about it? You bet they did.


That reminds me: two years ago today, mere weeks after Katrina, Rita and the Federal Flood devastated the Gulf Coast, Senator Larry Craig decided to air some helpful thoughts about our "part of the world" down here. He said:

Fraud is in the culture of Iraqis. I believe that is true in the state of Louisiana as well... A rookie cop in New Orleans, they pay him or her $17,000 starting pay and then wink and say you better make the rest of it on the street."


Granted, LA and N.O. do have a history of tolerating too much corruption. But usually the stakes are embarrassingly low, like 90 grand in a freezer or paper bag, stolen from Louisiana tax-payers. Neighboring states, on the other hand, are much more sophisticated. Louisianans are pikers compared to corporate thieves in neighboring states that have defrauded the entire nation with their sophisticated billion-dollar corporate-crony scams like Enron (TX), Halliburton (TX), Brown and Root (TX), Worldcom (MS), HealthSouth (AL).

And why has Craig never second-guessed Bush's trillion dollar "nation-building" misadventure in fraud-filled Iraq, yet, a few weeks after America's greatest natural and man-made disaster, he suddenly becomes concerned about Louisiana's culture of fraudulence?

As for his bizarre claim about the NOPD... I'll just ask: does Larry have first-hand knowledge of the naughty "cops" and "winks" and "streets" in New Orleans?

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Cross-posted at First Draft.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

GOP double games 

The Southern Leftist informs us that GOP "double game" tactics are once again in effect:

Bobby Jindal is now running attack ads on black radio against John Georges and Walter Boasso criticizing them for donating to George Bush. I shit you not. Jindal is trying to link his opponents to Bush to depress black turnout.


This is what happens when a rather naive individual's campaign is staffed, funded and co-opted by national GOP forces. The playbook is to turn out the white "base", and de-energize or mislead African-American voters (rather than make an honest appeal to them, as Jindal did four years ago).

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Remove Vitter's creationist earmark 

If a concerned dude from Colorado can make a phone call to safeguard science education standards in Louisiana, so can you.



You can also protect science education standards in Louisiana by voting against Bobby Jindal for Governor, because Bobby supports the teaching of creationism "origin sciences" in schools, too. Nothing gives Louisiana's growing number of registered Independents the willies like religious nuttiness affecting their childrens' education; yet, rival candidates Georges, Boasso and Campbell didn't call Jindal out when he spoke favorably of "origin sciences" in the first statewide-televised debate. They could have nailed the whiz kid on this anti-science position, but they didn't-- and that shows a stunning lack of (political) judgment in the "heat of the moment".

If Walter Boasso had leaned over and said, incredulously, in his thick Chalmatian accent: "Wait, is the Rhodes Scholar and biology major whiz kid now saying that he wants creationism to be taught at LSU?! I don't think so. Not on my watch. That's a matter of faith-- not science." Such a statement could've changed the race. Media pundits and Libertarians and Independents would have eaten that up, and Jindal would have been on the defensive.

Big thanks to Suspect Device for the link.
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Speaking of "creation" and Vitty-cent, it's highly possible that Bush's new Health and Human Services appointee might classify Vitter's penis as a Weapon of Mass Destruction. (You see, Louisiana's junior Senator embraced the "culture of death" during his many years of whore-riding, and wore a contraceptive that killed millions of innocent Spermatazoan-Americans.)

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Woody tells us what's "really" wrong with America 

In February of 1995, Louis Elwood "Woody" Jenkins spoke at a Council for National Policy meeting. A former CNP president, Woody was a candidate for U.S. Senate at the time, and he used his speech to pour out his heart and get to the core problem with this country, as he saw it. Here is a long excerpt from his talk. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't help interjecting a few comments in strategic places.

What is really wrong with America?
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We must look back at the history of our nation to see what has happened to us. We came here as immigrants, people searching for a chance to breathe free, people who risked everything, who gave up the security they had in Europe and elsewhere, gave up the homes they had there to cross treacherous oceans, looking for a chance to own land, to have their own home, to be their own boss, to pursue their own dreams. And they arrived here. They became farmers and small businessmen. But do you realize that they all, virtually all of them, were the masters of their own destiny?

As late as the year 1900, the majority of Americans owned their own businesses, which in most cases was a farm. People lived on farms. They had their own dreams. There were no limits. They were not employees. Employment was a rare thing. Americans viewed employment, in their historic memory, much like serfdom.

There was something special about being a farmer. The mother would raise the boy until he was five, six or seven years of age. Then the boy would go with the father to plow the fields, to work with the animals. They were together all day, hour after hour, year after year. And the father would talk to the boy and share with the boy everything he believed. He'd tell the boy what to think about God, what to think about his country and its political leaders, what to think about other men, and what to think about women and how to treat them. Over the years, the boy would come to believe everything the man believed.

For generation after generation in America, we had great stability because we passed down, from one generation to the next, the wisdom of the past.

Civil War, Reconstruction, Gilded Age... those were good, "stable" times because families got to pass down their "wisdom".

Then the Industrial Revolution came along and the man, facing all of the risks of being a farmer, knowing the crops could fail, insects could ravage him and that there was the chance of losing everything every year, had a chance to go to the city and take a job. He didn't want to do that. He didn't want to give up his dream, but it seemed like the right thing to do. So, by the millions after the year 1900, we flooded to the cities and factories to become employees. Today over 80 percent of Americans are employees.

Left behind was the boy. He didn't have a man to tell him all day what to think about God, what to think about the country and its leaders, what to think about other men and how to relate to and how to respect and treat women. He was left with the mother who had already taught him the womanly things she had to teach him.

Right. Women can't teach religion or politics or respectful behavior to their boys.

Big business had to do something about that right away. So we saw the public schools formed mainly to get the boys off the streets and give them something to do.

Does Woody think those Republican big business tycoons are to blame for killing our bucolic, Jeffersonian "farmer-state"? Does he blame unfettered capitalism for turning America into a growing industrial powerhouse (that would later be mobilized during a World War to save the world from fascism)?

In 1960, when I was 13, few women with children were in the work force. Most mothers were there for the boys when they came home from school. Today the vast majority of women with children are in the work force.

And do you know who's raising the boys? It's not the fathers. It's not the mothers. It's not that wonderful Christian school or the public school or the parochial school. It's not the philosophy of the church or the school board.

The boys are in kindergarten, day care centers, preschools and schools of all kinds. But who's raising the boys?

It's the other boys -- from age two and above -- who transmit to the boy their knowledge and information and world view. Telling him what to think. Someone has our children by the throat -- it's the other children! We see boys and girls 14 and 15 years of age who are peer-dependent. But the peer-dependency didn't start then. It started when they were two, three, four, five and six years of age -- when they were institutionalized at an early age and turned over to the other children.

It's like Lord of the Flies! Piggy is a gone pecan.

Here's what has happened. We've broken the vital chain. No longer is the wisdom of one generation passed on to the next.

If you want to have influence with a boy, you have to spend time with him. The more time, the more influence. The less time, the less influence.

I believe this with all my heart: The only way we will save America, the only way we will turn around America, is once again to make the home the center of living, of work and of education. Only then will our values and our wisdom be transmitted to the next generation.


So, Woody wants to update the model of a family farmer nation with a new and improved "family home business" version. Only then, when home becomes the "center of living, of work and of education", can America return to its good ole days, when traditional family "wisdom" was passed down from father to son, and the authority structure was preserved. Only then can we pursue our dreams and be free in this 21st Century.

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Oppressed millionaires try to obstruct property tax reform 

Ah, yes. The silk-stocking crowd living in their Uptown mansions on a private street are suddenly concerned about the "process" of property assessments. Now that one of their dutiful cronies doesn't control the District 6 office, and now that their houses are finally assessed at something close to Fair Market Value, and now (after being subsidized by other homeowners for decades) that they have to pay their fair share of taxes to a city in desperate need of revenue... they are pitching a fit and filing obstructive lawsuits!

Big "ups" to the T-P's Gordon Russell for writing an excellent, well-researched article describing their latest effort to slow progress.

With a few exceptions, I'm disappointed to say that the Nola blogosphere has been only slightly less alarmist, hysterical, oppositional, and intentionally misleading about efforts to reform property assessments than the rich Uptown vampires who had gamed the city's tax system for generations on end.

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Update: To clarify, the links in the final sentence are not an exhaustive survey of the nolablogosphere on this issue. Also, the "intentionally misleading" link refers to commenter el stevo, not Jeffrey. Also, Huck Upchuck from the "oppositional" link above doesn't like the way that final sentence reads and wants others to understand that he doesn't oppose reform efforts in theory, just the "IQ" reform effort. (Please read the comments for more discussion.)

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Jindal links 

Sort of related to the prior two posts is this old story about Jindal's campaign for U.S. Rep in 2006.

Jindal’s campaign has been progressing despite severe health problems his newborn child has been facing over the last few months. Getting Gov. Barbour to appear now is an additional feather in his cap. And local media reports show some notable grassroots Democrats are supporting Jindal as well. Interestingly, one of the six Republican opponents running for the U.S. House, is a supporter of White supremacist candidate David Duke.

“One opponent has already launched a negative attack campaign against Bobby, and another [Republican opponent] works for former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke,” [Timmy] Teepell notes in one of his outreach messages.


This excerpt from John Maginnis' latest column also caught my eye (The T-P titled the piece "Can Jindal take it all in the primary?" The answer is "Yes, he will".):

If Jindal does break double digits among black voters, that would be remarkable considering how much less he has reached out to African-Americans in this campaign compared to 2003. He has, away from the cameras, spent considerable time in black churches sharing his Christian witness, as he has before many predominantly white congregations. And he seems far less threatening to black residents than the typical conservative Republican. Yet, in his campaign, nearly all faces are white, from his staff to supporters appearing in his TV commercials to the crowds at his events, with barely a token in sight.

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Update: Jeffrey has a campaign ad update about Georges and Jindal that is very entertaining.

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Update #2: The LA GOP wants Georges to apologize about his claim that Jindal "orchestrated" his son's emergency birth at home.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chris Tidmore's campaign gets smeared 

The Chris Tidmore campaign has alerted us of dirty smear tactics used by supporters of his Republican rival for District 82, Cameron Henry. According to Tidmore, some Cameron Henry signwavers were in the area just prior to Tidmore's campaign signs getting defaced. Here are some photos taken by the Tidmore campaign. (Click to enlarge.)











And here's an excerpt from a statement issued by Tidmore's office:


In defacing and destroying campaign signs belonging to House District 82 candidate Christopher Tidmore, supporters of Cameron Henry included homosexual slurs that appeared on signs from Clearview Pkwy. And Airline Dr. to W. Napoleon Ave. Near David Drive and W. Napoleon Near Clearview.

Photographs of two of the signs are attached. They include the words, "Sorry Girls, I'm Gay, and "I'm Gay, and I vote", and, in one case, the word "Fag" written in glitter over Christopher's photo. The bumper stickers used are also attached.


Tidmore has said that Henry needs to get control of his supporters, and that Henry must issue an immediate apology or else Tidmore will take legal action against the rival campaign.

Not that it should be relevant, but Chris Tidmore is engaged to be married (to a woman) later this year. Also, Chris could've selected a less "cheesy" photo of himself for his campaign signs, but that's beside the point, too.

In a future post, YRHT will issue its strongest endorsement to Republican Chris Tidmore for District 82.

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I'm amused that Henry supporters felt the need to use not only gay slurs, but devil horns and a Hitler mustache, too. Quite the trifecta, there. Tidmore is not just gay, but he's one of those gay fascist devils!! Yikes!

Of course, the Hitler mustache could conceivably backfire in this (mostly) Metairie district. After all, when David Duke won election to a different Metairie House District in 1989, he sold Hitler's Mein Kampf out of his legislative office for 6 months (before the media exposed him). Then Duke went on to challenge Conservative Democrat incumbent J. Bennett Johnston for U.S. Senate, and Duke carried the white vote and the GOP vote statewide. But no one ever seems to recall THAT election. It's always the one against Edwin Edwards that they mention. (The NAZI racist Duke, helped by current RSCC member Keith Rush, carried the white vote and the GOP vote in that election as well.)
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Update: Reflect on this fact: Nazi racist David Duke received 60% of the white vote running against a Conservative Democrat (Johnston) for U.S. Senate. How much of the white conservative vote do you think he received? 70%? 80%!? Twice, in the 1990's, David Duke was the landslide choice of white conservative voters-- statewide!

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Georges calls Jindal's home birth "orchestrated"! 

In an interview with the T-P's Stephanie Grace, John Georges lets fly with a nasty allegation about Bobby Jindal:

"This race has been about the two of us [Jindal and Georges] from Day One. They've been obsessed with us since the day I called him a midwife... when he orchestrated the delivery of his child," a reference to the at-home birth of Jindal's third child last year. Jindal has always said the baby came before he and his wife could get to the hospital, and no other candidate has questioned his truthfulness. "I definitely think he put his child at risk. And I said it in a very nice way because, you know, you can't talk bad about Bobby Jindal. He's the great Messiah."


I mean, wow. I can't believe Georges went there. To me, this is hilarious because last year I wrote a post about an unlikely hypothetical future scenario involving dumb strategic voting and dirty media tricks in the 2007 Governor's race (paralleling the 2006 Mayoral race). Back then, I wrote:

During the 2007 campaign season, the popular Dead Oyster News Service asserts a false rumor that Rep. Bobby Jindal orchestrated his son's emergency live home birth as a media stunt to give him positive publicity. This generates a lot of discussion, and Jindal's forced to deny the rumor.


What's also funny is that Georges spends most of the interview claiming that Jindal is stealing all his policy ideas from Georges, but I feel like I could make the case that Georges is stealing stuff from YRHT for his campaign attacks. (Though, again, I must stress that I was obviously joking last year, whereas Georges is serious.)

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Bet your housing bottom dollar 

CBS Marketwatch reports:

Calling the housing decline "the most significant current risk to our economy," Paulson outlined several steps to prop up the market going forward, including loan modifications and an overhaul of the mortgage regulatory system.

"The ongoing housing correction is not ending as quickly as it might have appeared late last year," Paulson said in remarks prepared for delivery at Georgetown University. "And it now looks like it will continue to adversely impact our economy, our capital markets and many homeowners for some time yet."

"Let me be clear," Paulson said, "despite strong economic fundamentals, the housing decline is still unfolding. ... The longer home prices remain stagnant or fall, the greater the penalty to our future economic growth."


Yes, Hank, by all means, please be clear. I thought you previously said the housing market had bottomed, or was about to bottom, and that it was "contained" and the economy would just "power through" this. Guess not.

"The further contraction in housing is likely to be a significant drag on growth in the current quarter and through early next year," [Fed Reserve Chairman Ben] Bernanke said.

Paulson and Bernanke aren't alone in their pessimism. Private economists are contending that the gloomy housing outlook is contributing to the likelihood of a U.S. recession.

"We're headed towards a recession" thanks to factors including housing, the slowdown in job creation and high and rising oil and gasoline prices, New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini said last week at a symposium about the financial and political risks of the deflating mortgage and housing bubble.


Better get the banks together to create a "Superfund" to appear to clean up the toxic mortgage mess.

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USACE studying a coastal "retreat" 

Blageuer alerts us to this packet of butterscotch, which has flown under the political radar.

The United States is working on a multi-billion-dollar plan to depopulate vast swaths of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico in a move which it is hoped would help re-establish a natural barrier against the catastrophic flooding caused by the likes of Hurricane Katrina.

In the first sign that the federal government is favouring a retreat from the coast rather than rebuilding, the Army Corps of Engineers is to present to Congress a radical plan which includes rebuilding the wetlands that have been disappearing at an ever-accelerating rate in recent years.

The Corps, the engineers responsible for protecting the coastline, has been working on the plan since Katrina struck in August 2005. President George Bush promised after the floods to rebuild New Orleans and other Gulf communities.
But federal agencies and environmentalists have concluded that climate change has increased the threat of further devastation and continued rebuilding makes no sense. To be included in the overall plan is $40bn (£20bn) to be spent on the Mississippi coast. Part of this would be for a voluntary buyout of 17,000 houses in Mississippi, particularly in Bay St Louis, east of New Orleans. The corps is likely to extend the plan to New Orleans and Louisiana.

Susan Rees, project director, said: "The whole concept of trying to remove people and properties from the coast is very, very challenging. The desire to live by the water is strong."


More in the LA Times. I completely missed this story.
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Update #2: Michael was on this story last week.

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Jindal talks too fast for Louisianans 

According to Mike Stagg, the latest Jindal campaign commercial's speed was altered because "Bobby" talks too fast. After Stagg busted them, the campaign promptly pulled the video from Youtube, although the commercial is still running on TV, so record it and see what you think about the fast-talker "whiz kid".

(Note also the LSU helmet in the background, to make amends for the "I love UK" spot.)

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Update: Also, Cenlamar outlines the case against Bobby Jindal, and then endorses Foster Campbell.

I'll have more on Bobby later this evening.

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Rogers is against wasteful military spending 

Applause to Dead Pelican publisher Chad Rogers, on his editorial site Roger's Rants. As perhaps Chad's most persistent critic, I have to give him credit. He has come a looong way as a political pundit, especially over the past year, and now Chad is consistently producing some of the most readable conservative commentary in the Louisiana blogosphere. No joke! Of course, I disagree with many of his opinions, but, he's not arguing so much like a hack, or an uninformed shitstirrer, or a naive political simpleton. (Sorry, I guess that's pretty backhanded "praise".)

For example, I absolutely must give Chad belated credit for going against GOP orthodoxy and voluntarily taking on the "sacred cow" of military spending. Chad says he thinks ALL spending should be reduced, even our half-trillion defense budget. He writes:


I'm as pro- military as the next guy. But I reject the notion that being pro-military means pumping endless amounts of cash into it. A clear problem with today's "conservatives" (more appropriately called neocons) is their clear love of big government.
Bravo!

It's interesting how so many "fiscal conservatives" are unwilling to take the Bush administration to task for its attempts to stall and resist a proper accounting of our military misadventure in Iraq. Inspector General Stuart Bowen (a former Bushie) is persona non grata at the White House, because he told the truth. He wouldn't even have a job if Democrats hadn't intervened.

Further, there was trillions in unaccounted "defense" spending before Bush and the GOP Congress got full control of the budget. Imagine it now. Actually, you'll have to imagine it, because the lonely patriots who raised questions about unaccounted military expenditures are being imprisoned and harshly interrogated. What a country, huh?

President Bush wants another $200 billion to fund our Iraq misadventure through 2008. For perspective, that's about what America spent fighting WWI (in inflation adjusted dollars). Yet Bush would help offset such wild war expenditures by... resisting a paltry a 3.5% pay hike for our troops. That's right. A 3.5% pay hike for our troops is deemed "unnecessary" by the Bushies.

And if you really want to go down the rabbit hole, there's

1. This:

The second-highest ranking member of the US air force's procurement office, who oversaw billions of dollars in priority weapons purchases, has committed suicide, military officials said yesterday.

More here.

2. And this:

The [soldier who worked in a finance-related unit who was] mysteriously slain by a bullet to the head on a secure Afghanistan airbase feared something might happen to her after discovering “something she didn’t like,” her devastated family revealed.

Massachusetts National Guard Spc. Ciara Durkin, 30, was found with a single gunshot wound to her head behind a building at Bagram Airbase on Sept. 27.

“The last time she was home she said she had seen things that she didn’t like and she had raised concerns that had annoyed some people,” said Durkin’s sister Fiona Canavan, 44, of Quincy.

“She said, and I thought she was joking, that if anything happened to her we had to investigate.”


3. And this:

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday.


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As Gulf Coast recovery Czar Donald Powell has said, "If people see tax dollars wasted, support will wane."

That's true. But what do the Bushies view as the bigger problem: the tax dollars wasted, or the people seeing the tax dollars wasted?


Hmm.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Fox's Ladies 

From Racy Mind, we borrow the following collection of faces from a few hours worth of FOX News.



Makes me want to adjust the color on my tv. And the "brightness".

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Keeping score 

The Gambit Weekly endorsed Jackie Clarkson and Cynthia Willard-Lewis for the City Council At-Large seat. (The Times Picayune endorsed Tommie Vassel.)

Mayor Nagin also endorsed Cynthia Willard-Lewis for the upcoming City Council election, despite her endorsement of Mitch Landrieu for Mayor last year, and her searing criticisms of Nagin.

(YRHT's endorsements will appear later this week, so make sure your printer has paper so you can make yourself one of those handy "YRHT voter guides" everyone will be relying on in a few years.)

Regarding Councilmember Cynthia Willard-Lewis, I'll just say that I think Matt Broussard, her spokesman/media coordinator, is truly one of the nicest guys in politics at any level, and I hope he intends to run for office and represent New Orleanians some day soon.

That reminds me: In the summer of 2005, Matt Broussard, Brian Welsh and I worked for a long-shot candidate in a State Senate Race. Our opponents included Wayne Baquet jr (who was generously funded by current Gubernatorial candidate John Georges), and Derrick Shepherd (a talented, disciplined campaigner who built a "Marrero machine" from the ground up). Watching and researching Shepherd up close, I gained a deep appreciation for how corrupt and dangerous this man could be. Somewhat like Vitter, Shepherd had the capacity to ascend to higher and higher offices before his constituents could fully appreciate how awful he was. In a seven person field, Shepherd won the special state senate election outright, garnering over 80% of the vote in some West Bank precincts. Our campaign team had compiled a huge opposition research file on Shepherd that was thicker than the city phonebook, and I'd planned to help Shepherd's opponent with this information in the runoffs. But there was no runoff, and I lost the opposition research file in the Federal Flood.

The Gambit Weekly endorsed Derrick Shepherd twice. In 2003 they endorsed him "wholeheartedly", and then later in 2005 they endorsed him with the laughable hope that he would "bridge divisions" in the legislature. The Times Picayune also endorsed Derrick Shepherd in the summer of 2005.

These publications helped the political ascendancy of Derrick Shepherd with their endorsements, and now, once State Senator Shepherd is entrenched, these ultra-informed publications suddenly tell us that Derrick Shepherd's district "desperately needs a new senator. The incumbent is among the least effective-- and least trusted-- members of the Legislature" (quote from this week's Gambit).

Thanks a fudging lot, Intrepid Fourth Estate!!

After ignoring some of Shepherd's skeletons, and helping him slingshot from House to Senate, now they tell us we "desperately" need to replace him, and that he's (suddenly!) ineffective and untrustworthy. By the way, this is the same Shepherd who is beloved by Jefferson Parish and West Bank voters. Indeed, last year, they wanted him to replace disgraced U.S. Congressman William "My Honorable Explanation for the Cold Cash is I had to Pee" Jefferson. When Shepherd didn't make the runoff, many Jefferson Parish and West Bank residents voted to strategically re-elect the corrupt William Jefferson, hoping he would get indicted, and hoping he would resign (although he pledged not to), and hoping that their (corrupt, conservative) "favorite son" Derrick could get another chance. The alternative to Jefferson and Shepherd was *gasp* a competent liberal named Karen Carter. With the help of Harry Lee, Jefferson Parish voters rallied against her (and many Uptown liberals inexplicably viewed her as not obviously preferable to Jefferson or Shepherd).

In current City Council race there is a familiar echo of this topsy turvy madness. Candidate Virginia Boulet is now running against Nagin after she endorsed him, campaigned for him and apologized for him during most of the past 18 months. Now, suddenly, as she again runs for office, she tells us how "disillusioned" she is with Nagin, and how she gives Nagin's Police Chief an "F" on his performance.

Well, Boulet, welcome to the club of sentient New Orleanians! What other sudden new reversals do you bring us this year? That your plan to move UNO was absurd? That your previous mocking of the city's tourism industry was unhelpful?

Let's recap: during a crucial time in New Orleans, Boulet stupidly helped Nagin get re-elected over competent liberal Mitch Landrieu. Before that the Gambit and the Picayune stupidly helped Shepherd rise from House to Senate. The result? Nagin and Shepherd helped corrupt William Jefferson get re-elected over competent liberal Karen Carter for the U.S. House seat.

Now, suddenly, Shepherd-enablers like the Gambit Weekly are saying we "desperately" need to replace him. And Nagin-enablers like Boulet are suddenly saying that the Mayor's leadership is very disappointing...

Hearty thanks for the insights!

The politically catastrophic result is this: when New Orleans needed competent leaders and representatives like Mitch Landrieu and Karen Carter, Nagin and Jefferson and Shepherd (and their enablers) were there to stop them. Let's not forget those who aided and abetted this unholy triumvirate, when they should've known better.

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Fortunately, Shawn Barney is running against Derrick Shepherd. I like Barney a lot-- he has a sharp, creative intellect. From the few casual chats we had back in 2005, I found Barney to be extraordinarily friendly and forthcoming (especially to a rival campaign operative). Barney is a fellow real estate investor/businessman with a deep concern for civil rights. Sadly, in 2005, Shepherd and Baquet/Georges teamed up to remove Barney from the state senate race due to Barney's residency issues. In this "rematch", I hope Barney can somehow prevail over Shepherd's hardened "Marrero Machine". (In a bit of an ironic turn, Shepherd is supporting Georges for Governor.)

Shawn Barney will receive YRHT's strongest endorsement, and, since certain alleged investigations into Shepherd never panned out in time, YRHT will present a post this week reviewing just a few of the hideous and corrupt circumstances surrounding Shepherd.

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*Ding* You are not free to move about the country 

Last minute trips? I don't think so. Herr Kommissar wants 72 hours to review your dossier, and make sure that alles klar. Security uber alles!

Under new rules proposed by the Transport Security Administration, all airline passengers would need advance permission before flying into, through, or over the United States regardless of citizenship or the airline’s national origin.

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Dangerblond wrote about the old WWII movies with Fascist characters who would board trains, check papers, and haul people off to ... other destinations. Scary stuff, right? It was always a great comfort to her that these scenes wouldn't happen in the United States.

She's much less comfortable these days, though. And so am I.

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