A Thibodaux police officer has been suspended and could face dismissal for displaying a hangman’s noose from the rearview mirror of his personal car while it was parked on city property. ... A rash of incidents nationwide involving public displays of nooses, seen by many black people as both insulting and threatening, followed reports of racial tension in the LaSalle Parish town of Jena. Thousands marched in the town last month to protest what they said were inequities in the justice system.
Among the issues plaguing the town was a display of nooses from an oak tree traditionally used as a gathering place for white high-school students. The noose is seen as a symbol of lynching, the practice of white mobs executing blacks, sometimes under the eyes of passive law-enforcement officials.
An organization that describes itself as "pro-majority" but is widely reported to be a white supremacy organization has announced that it will be having a rally in Jena on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Nationalists [Movement is] "bringing their 'tools for empowerment' to Louisiana to defeat the demands of Al Sharpton," according to the release from the organization. The events are scheduled to feature a two-mile parade, speeches, ceremonies and petitions "as a centerpiece to abolish King Day."
During the marches, the mayor of Jena told the leader of the Nationalist Movement that he "appreciated" the "moral support" from those demonstrating against "the colored folks".
Eleven years ago, Jena and the rest of LaSalle Parish went to the polls to select Louisiana's next U.S. Senator. After due consideration, they gave the plurality of their votes to discredited NAZI Racist David Duke (over Woody Jenkins, Mary Landrieu, Jimmy Hayes and Richard Ieyoub). Yet, Jena journalist Craig Franklin says that "friends are friends regardless of race" in Jena, and that's been the case "all along".
Here's the exciting conclusion to my "magazinecounterpoints" series which had been interrupted in August (because of my forgetfulness). The basic idea was that I would post some quotes from magazine articles that featured different perspectives from my own, which I had read on a plane. Riveting, huh?
Unfortunately, those plane magazines are long-since trashed, so I decided to clip some excerpts from this month's Atlantic, which features a collection of essays about "the future of the American idea". I decided to juxtapose dominionist and CNP founder Tim LaHaye's view with Professor Cornel West's thoughts. I don't (necessarily) view these excerpts as point/counterpoint, but their words are strong enough to create some friction.
America’s uniqueness is based in the Christian consensus of the Founding Fathers, who penned documents guaranteeing religious and personal freedom for all. This nation was not founded by atheists, secularizers, or monarchists who thought the elite educated class should rule over the common people. America’s founding was based more on biblical principles than any other nation’s on Earth—and that’s the main reason this country has been more blessed by God than any other nation in history....
The quest for freedom is what drove the Founding Fathers and what guaranteed that the government should not force any particular religion on its citizens—hence we have no national religion. But as early as 1830, a group of atheists, socialists, Unitarians, and other freethinkers planned the gradual secularization of this nation through control of public education... These “friends of education” set out to make education mandatory, write their own curricula, and control the teachers’ colleges.
Who can deny that their basic doctrines of “scientific humanism” or “atheistic humanism” currently dominate public education in America? This, more than any other factor, has relentlessly changed our “Christian consensus” into a “secular consensus,” producing the moral meltdown that is rapidly destroying our people and our nation’s freedoms, integrity, happiness, and even safety.
Democratization is the best of the American idea—- in principle and practice. The sublime notion that each and every ordinary person has a dignity that warrants his or her voice being heard in shaping the destiny of society remains a revolutionary force in the 21st century—- in the face of the power of autocratic empires, plutocratic states, and xenophobic communities. Niggerization is neither simply the dishonoring and devaluing of black people nor solely the economic exploitation and political disenfranchisement of them. It is also the wholesale attempt to impede democratization—- to turn potential citizens into intimidated, fearful, and helpless subjects.
Since the ugly events of 9/11, we have witnessed the attempt of the Bush administration—with elites in support and populists complacent—to promote the niggerization of the American people. Like the myopic white greed, fear, and hatred that fueled the niggerization of black people, right-wing greed, fear, and hatred have made all of us feel intimidated, fearful, and helpless in the face of the terrorist attacks. And, as in the 19th century, we’ve almost lost our democracy.
The future of the American idea—both then and now, here and abroad—depends on the vision, courage, and determination of decent and compassionate people to engage inSocratic questioning of the powers that be, to take the risk of prophetic witness, and to preserve a hope for democratization.
Medium Jim sent me a recent inquiry on some other current events I haven't commented on. Jim and I have been great friends for 17 years and I'll forever be in his debt for properly introducing me to New Orleans, where I eventually met my wife Lovely. Though Jim and I have different political ideologies (he's conservative, I'm liberal), we share a deep love for satire, sarcasm and scathing comedy.
MJ wrote to me (tongue in cheek):
Whenever disaster strikes in another part of the country, I trot out my tired refrain of: "who in the hell would choose to live in a place they know is susceptible to (insert disaster)?" Today's news brings us raging wildfires in Malibu. Well, here I go. Knowing wildfires may flare up at any time, why would any rational individual want to live in Malibu, and more importantly, why should the US taxpayer subsidize, through FEMA assistance, their irrational choice? Explain to me why someone living in Altoona or Cleveland should shell out money to assist millionaires living on verdant hills overlooking the Pacific.
Also, shifting gears, I'm curious to hear what you think about Eddie Jordan's plea to the City to pay the $3.7 million judgment in his race discrimination case.
Regarding your "tired refrain": A-MEN!
Regarding Jordan and his lawyer telling us that the "City needs to 'step up' and pay or else the DA's office might shut down", I have two thoughts:
1) If the DA's office shut down, would anyone notice a difference?
2) New Orleans taxpayers should tell Eddie they'll pay off his "racist debt" if he agrees to resign immediately and spend a month locked in stocks situated in Congo Square, conveniently located near vegetable vendors in the French Market. (Sorry if that offends your liberal sensibilities, but I'm pissed.)
I published the above exchange mainly to save time, but also because I wrote it before I had read Celcus' latest post at Some Came Running. Celcus and I had very similar thoughts about how Jordan ( hat in hand?) can make proper reparations for his misdeeds. But Celcus lays out his "modest proposal" much more skillfully than I did. Go read it. --- Update: the word "absurd" cannot begin to describe the latest story about Eddie's incompetence. (via S/D) --- Update#2:Schroeder has more, and Dangerblond makes a very appealing proposal. --- *(yes I understand this title is a clumsy reach)
I have a source who confirmed that the Feds have been looking into C Ray, at least [he/she] got the clear impression that it was the case. And someone there has a real hard on for him. I have no idea what for, or the extent of it.
From the little I know, I suspect they are not happy at all about Shepherd's admission. It could well be Shepherd sending a message to the Feds that if they go after him, he will tip their hands where ever he can.
From Balloon Juice we found this graph you see on the right. I commend internalizing it.
A GOP Congress aided a GOP President's world-historic spending spree, using borrowed dollars from our friends in China and Saudi Arabia. Because, you know, freedom isn't free.
All the current Republican presidential candidates buy into the supply side voodoo that tax cuts pay for themselves. (They don't. It's a lie, and they think you're too stupid to know otherwise.) And as the deflation of the credit bubble makes it impossible to further postpone the next recession, the GOP will try to blame it all on the harmful budgetary intentions of Congressional Democrats.
State Sen. Derrick Shepherd is holding a news conference this morning to dispute allegations that he was involved in a money-laundering scheme.
Prior to the news conference, Shepherd, D-Marrero, released a statement claiming that the investigation of him comes after the FBI asked him top provide incriminating evidence against U.S. Rep. Bill Jefferson and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
"The investigation of me comes after an early-moring visit to my home several months ago by two FBI agents who asked if I could get them any evidence of wrongdoing in their investigation of Mayor Ray Nagin and Congressman Bill Jefferson. I told them I had no information of any wrongdoing by either Mayor Nagin or Congressman Jefferson.
"I would hate to think that this investigation of me is in any way connected to my inability to provide any information related to the prosecution of Congressman Jefferson or any investigation of Mayor Nagin that may be underway. Unfortunately, there does seem to be a connection and that is regrettable.''
An FBI agent testified this week that Shepherd helped a twice-convicted felon launder nearly $141,000 in fraudulently generated bond fees last year, keeping close to half the money as part of the arrangement.
--- Update: Here's the second version of the article, which includes Karen Carter's name:
State Sen. Derrick Shepherd disputed allegations that he was involved in a money-laundering scheme and accused federal investigators of abusing their power by zeroing in on him only when he declined to offer evidence of improper actions of three other elected officials.
During a news conference outside the law offices of defense attorney Clarence Roby, Shepherd, D-Marrero, said the FBI asked him to provide incriminating evidence against U.S. Rep. Bill Jefferson, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, state Rep. Karen Carter and other unnamed office holders.
--- Update #2: Nagin's spokesperson, Ceeon Quiett, denies the implications Shepherd made in a roundabout, unconvincing manner. For fun, listen to the audio. Ms. Quiett is a... Riot. (Big H/T to Karen G. for the link and Quiett Riot idea).
Derrick Shepherd interview with WIST AM 690 is here (mp3). He denies all wrongdoing.
Rachel "Gatemouth" Ray has found a new special correspondent for her talk show, and it's Valerie Bertinelli! Yay.
Ms. Bertinelli is a big time Saintsfanatic, and came down to New Orleans to chat with some of the wives of Saints players. Bertinelli asked them whether or not pre-game sex was forbidden on game day. To my surprise, the ladies said it was totally fine to "do it" the morning of the game.
To preserve intensity, I believe the spouses and girlfriends should "take one for the team" and cut their guys off for the entire season-- especially if they're losing. The only thing the players should be hitting on game day are opponents. --- Update: Jeffrey adds some historical perspective in the comments.
I've written about Kucinich occasionally, and if you've read certain speeches by Kucinich, the only surprise would be if he hadn't experienced a close encounter at some point in his life.
This vegan homunculus makes Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown look positively grounded.
When The Nation's Matt Taibbi wrote about Kucinich four years ago, he went on at length about how Kucinich thinks like a "great man". He compared his mentality to that of Thoreau or MLK. The only problem Taibbi discovered seemed to be the "Kucinich paradox": the man is just too darn serious for superficial Americans to take seriously.
Yet, when Taibbi wrote about a brave individual like General Wes Clark, Taibbi compared him to a soulless turtle, and described his supporters as "grovelling supplicants". When Taibbi wrote about the commitment of Kucinich's true believers, who would do anything for their kooky candidate, they were not similarly disparaged.
Granted, Taibbi did also write the following episode about Kucinich in 2004, which seems appropriate today (in so many ways):
Minutes later, as [Kucinich] tried to escape the [debate] hall, he was assaulted by Comedy Central reporter Rob Corddry. Corddry was trying, satirically as it were, to make a joke about the total incoherence of the spin room, and he was doing so by trying to ask Kucinich a question with a mouthful of peanut butter. Kucinich didn't get it. "What are you saying?" he said, annoyed.
But Kucinich deputy Paul Costanzo leaned over to whisper in his ear that this was Comedy Central, a good opportunity, and he should play along, etc. Kucinich clued in, then raced across the room to get Corddry a glass of water, to help him with the peanut butter. By the time he returned, the joke, not that funny to begin with, was many painful minutes old. The two glumly parted soon after, like motorists who had failed to revive a run-over cat.
Perhaps Kucinich's Starman could use one of his magic silver balls to revive the dead animal.
An FBI agent testified in open court Monday that state Sen. Derrick Shepherd helped a twice-convicted felon launder nearly $141,000 in fraudulently generated bond fees last year, keeping close to half the money as part of the arrangement.
Shepherd was easily re-elected to the state Senate on Saturday, winning 61 percent of the vote. Last year, he finished a strong third in a 2006 run for Congress and then endorsed the embattled incumbent, U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, helping him secure a ninth term.
Yeah, this is Jefferson Parish's "favorite son" for District 2, who many hoped would replace Rep. Dollar Bill Jefferson. When Shepherd didn't make the runoff, many of these voters strategically re-elected Jefferson over Karen Carter, hoping that Shepherd would be available later on for a rematch. They like him because he's "conservative" (read: hard on gays and baggy pants and other b.s.).
More than any other local pol, Derrick Shepherd is my nemesis, and I'm going to fully savor his demise. Kudos to American Zombie, who had predicted this would go down (much) earlier.
Updates to come. ===
Last year, the T-P profiled Derrick Shepherd as he ran for Bill Jefferson's U.S. House seat. In the profile they touched on some of the controversies surrounding him:
For the past two years, Shepherd has been involved in a heated battle with the Jefferson Parish Council after he filed legislation in 2005 to secure some of the parish's casino revenue for, among other things, a YMCA center in Marrero. Council members griped that Shepherd was trying to usurp local spending authority for a pet project.
At the time, the group Shepherd wanted to funnel the money to didn't exist in state records, which made the bill suspect to critics.
The battle continued this year, as Shepherd again tried to secure the money against council members' protests that those dollars were already slated for hurricane protection projects.
The fight grew so intense that Councilman Chris Roberts accused Shepherd of "public extortion."
As I've said before, me and a couple friends were running a longshot state senate campaign (for fun) in 2005, and our entire strategy involved (a miracle occurring and us) getting into the runoff with Shepherd. We had the goods on him (names, numbers, documents), and were confident we could expose him during the runoff and get him to lose or withdraw. Unfortunately, this material was washed away in the flood. But ask yourselves: Why has Shepherd fought for two years to get a YMCA center for Marrerro, going so far as to propose diverting money from hurricane protection projects to his pet cause? If memory serves, I believe the answer could be found in the real estate records-- two years ago we found some familiar names of Shepherd family/associates who owned property near the planned location of the YMCA.
Then there's this:
In 2005, [Shepherd] helped lead relief efforts after a fire killed 11 members of a Marrero family, a point that a campaign radio spot reminds potential voters. After the blaze, he fought for legislation requiring that mattresses sold and built in Louisiana be fire resistant.
Yes, after the worst house fire in the state's history, which made national news because it claimed the lives of 3 adults and 8 children, Shepherd "helped lead the relief efforts". Over $150k was raised for the surviving family-members after this tragedy. But do you think Shepherd had the decency to keep his beak dry? Our research showed that he hadn't. === Perhaps Shepherd will soften his position on baggy pants once he starts wearing them every day in prison. === Here's an amusing Suspect Device comic featuring Shepherd.
That's no way to start off Islamo-Fascism Awareness week!
Fareed Zakaria apparently did not receive the memo inviting him to wet his pants with campus conservatives as they pee in simultaneous fear and anticipation over Ahmedinajad's evil grin. Instead, Zakaria writes some reasonable words about mighty EYE-RAN that have the added benefit of high truth value, which is nice:
In a speech last week, Rudy Giuliani said that while the Soviet Union and China could be deterred during the cold war, Iran can't be. The Soviet and Chinese regimes had a "residual rationality," he explained. Hmm. Stalin and Mao—who casually ordered the deaths of millions of their own people, fomented insurgencies and revolutions, and starved whole regions that opposed them—were rational folk. But not Ahmadinejad, who has done what that compares? One of the bizarre twists of the current Iran hysteria is that conservatives have become surprisingly charitable about two of history's greatest mass murderers.
If I had to choose whom to describe as a madman, North Korea's Kim Jong Il or Ahmadinejad, I do not think there is really any contest. A decade ago Kim Jong Il allowed a famine to kill 2 million of his own people, forcing the others to survive by eating grass, while he imported gallons of expensive French wine. He has sold nuclear technology to other rogue states and threatened his neighbors with test-firings of rockets and missiles. Yet the United States will be participating in international relief efforts to Pyongyang worth billions of dollars.
We're on a path to irreversible confrontation with a country we know almost nothing about.
Zakaria's entire piece is worth reading. Presidential candidate Obama has mentioned Fareed's name as a possible Secretary of State candidate, which comforts those of us who still labor under the far-flung belief that Obama still has a chance to win. (He does, dammit!)
That reminds me, when exactly is Ann Coulter scheduled to partake in the Islamo-Fascist Awareness festivities at Tulane University? Those Green Wavers sure get their money's worth, don't they?
Also, it would be a helluva lot easier to make fun of anti-historical Conservative Hysterics if people on my side would maintain their perspective. After calling I-F Awareness Week "fascist", and spending a thousand words mulling over whether this stupid little conservative circle jerk should be Ignored or Confronted, Reggie Dylan at Indymedia comes to a measured conclusion about why I-F Awareness Week should be vigorously opposed:
The battle against "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" and the brownshirt offensive may be the crucible through which a new generation cuts its teeth and finds its place in history. All who want a better world should relish this fight.
Give me a break! You're going to measure yourself on this?!
Of course, the crucial difference between the cited hysteria here is that Indymedia, unlike Giuliani, is not the current presidential frontrunner of a major American party.
(The best course of action, btw, is to laugh and poke fun when people clown.) ---
I'm intrigued by Libertarian candidate T. Lee Horne's claims that some electronic machines were switching votes. Here is a copy of an email he sent to one of his supporters yesterday:
Subject: Election results and news. Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 07:51:23 -0500
The election didn't go well. I received a few reports, one from my campaign manager, that the electronic machines were switching votes from me to Jindal. When he called to Sec of State and finally got someone he was told it is a known problem and they don't know what to do about it.
Other people contacted me. They would vote for me, then vote the rest of the ballot, go back to check their votes and the vote for me was changed before they recorded so they canceled and revoted.
In Franklin, only 1 person officially voted for me in my precinct. Not likely as I voted for me and I am sure of 3 others.
In Bunkie, 3 people in one precinct voted for me and only 2 votes showed up for me.
How many other votes for other candidates were switched to B. Jindal? But hey, it is Louisiana, what can you expect?
T. Lee Horne, III
I'd like to know more about this. Did the Sec of State really acknowledge that there is a known electronic vote-switching problem, but that they "don't know what to do about it"? I would like to know how many votes were switched to Jindal or others, if any. And I would be shocked if it were anything more than a negligible micro-percentage. But I'd still like to know if this is a problem, no matter how small. (I've previously been outraged when Secretary of State's ignore and diminish voting problems so they can brag about a clean election.)
--- Update: More at We Saw That, whom the National Review apparently views as a "liberal" blogger.
Early on election night, Garland Robinette had pollster Elliot Stonecipher on his show on WWL 870am. Stonecipher claimed that someone affiliated with the GOP had ordered robo-calls to West Bank Republican households, trying to discourage them voting for Reps. John Alario and State Sen. Joseph Heitmeier (both are Dems who bring a lot of funding to their districts). The robocalls featured impersonated voices of hated Democrats like Edwin Edwards or Dollar Bill Jefferson, who were "endorsing" Alario or Heitmeier (presumably in an annoying and lengthy manner).
Pollster Stonecipher didn't like the cynical tactic, and especially didn't like that the group behind the calls never identified itself during the message. He said he was going to call the phone company to find out, and wondered if other media outlets would pay any attention to the chicanery. ===
I'm just glad the election for Governor is over, because as Professor Sadow predicted, state and national Democrats pulled out "absolutely every stop" to prevent Jindal from winning. They waged "the most vicious negative campaign against a statewide political figure the state ever has seen". Why? Because national Dems understand that Jindal will one day be an "unstoppable" Presidential candidate.