Saturday, November 17, 2007

Election Night results 

Congratulations to all da winnas in tonight's election. Below are some results from races I was following closely. I have to say I was pretty pleased with the results.

Councilmember at Large
27,740 53% Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson
24,874 47% Cynthia Willard-Lewis

State Senator, 2nd Senatorial District
Ann Duplessis

State Senator, 5th Senatorial District
8,321 71% Cheryl A. Gray
3,398 29% Jalila Jefferson-Bullock

State Representative, 91st Representative District
"Walt" Leger, III

State Representative, 95th Representative District
2,314 47% Una Anderson
2,638 53% Walker Hines

State Representative, 98th Representative District
Neil Abramson

Judge, Criminal District Court, Section A
Laurie White

Jefferson Parish Sheriff
69,748 91% Newell D. Normand
4,478 6% Peter Dale
...

Attorney General
239,485 33% Royal Alexander
477,574 67% James D. "Buddy" Caldwell

BESE, District 5
54,550 52% Keith Guice
49,818 48% Ruth Ulrich


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Cheryl Gray's total demolition of Jalila Jefferson-Bullock pleased me the most, followed by Keith Guice's BESE win over Ruth Ulrich, and Royal Alexander's two-to-one beating in the AG race. A couple days ago, Alexander faced Caldwell in court, and dropped his lawsuit over Caldwell's campaign ads. Afterwards, Caldwell's lawyer quipped: "This guy [Alexander] wants to be the top lawyer in the state, and he comes in here and tells a judge, 'Oh, we did more research and now we understand the law,'". Nice.

I thought Clarkson's margin of victory would be narrower. Mayor Nagin is going to be irritated by the low turnout. After all, he "busts his butt" holding outdoor dinners for the city. The least we could do is "plug in to the democratic process" for him.

Sheriff Newell Normand's 91% is mind-blowing.

Walker Hines' upset win over Una Anderson merits close study. I was having trouble gauging exactly how much anti-Una sentiment there was in the district. Obviously, Hines capitalized on that, and used his parents' connections to good effect. (For example, Harry Connick Sr. cut a radio ad for Hines.) To put it charitably, Walker has a light resume, but I credit him for seeing a political opportunity and seizing it, and beating a serial candidate with extremely high name recognition. Hines had great signage in the Broadmoor/Fountainbleau area, and, for better or worse, engaged the blogger community (please read 3rd place candidate Percy Marchand's comment at Ray's link). Walker has said that we will be "pleasantly surprised" by his "voting record", and that he is a "progressive Democrat who believes in the Catholic values of social justice". I will endeavour to hold him to those claims.

The T-P story about the Feds investigating Una on bribery charges made the Hines/Una race extremely interesting. Curiously, the story broke during the runoff campaign, and there were two pieces by T-P columnists making the (excellent) point that Pampy Barre, who rolled on Oliver Thomas, is probably not going to make up a random lie about Una, and send the Feds on a wild goose chase just before his sentencing. So, is this a case of the paper knowing more than they can report about Una, or is it just a matter of Walker's dad presumably knowing T-P chief editor Jim Amoss? (Do Hines and Amoss occasionally chat at the Boston Club?)
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Looks like there was a surprising upset in the Rapides parish Sheriff's race. Paw Paw's boss got beat by a representative for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

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"Your honor, I plead Vitty-cent" 

The Flaming Liberal directs us to two recent articles about junior Louisiana Senator David Vitter.

AP:

A lawyer for indicted escort Deborah Palfrey has subpoenaed [Senator Vitter] to testify at a hearing this month. Attorney Montgomery Blair Sibley said he'll ask Vitter pointedly, "As a client, did you engage in illegal sex acts?"
...
Unlike Vitter's news conference on the matter, at which he took no questions, the witness box can be an unscripted, on-the-record, under-oath political nightmare.

That's why Sibley expects Vitter to fight the subpoena.


NY Daily News:

Republicans are urging Sen. David Vitter to try to avoid having to testify this month that he was a paying customer of the so-called "D.C. Madam."
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Many in the GOP, fearing political consequences, want Vitter to fight the subpoena or refuse to answer questions by invoking Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination. Vitter has yet to say whether he will fight the subpoena.
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Vitter's colleagues do... fear his testimony could resurrect the "culture of corruption" label that brought down several GOP candidates last year. Combined with the bizarre airport men's room arrest of Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Vitter's testimony could be a political embarrassment for Republicans in next year's elections.


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Also: The latest issue of Hustler is out, featuring a revealing interview with Wendy Cortez. There's also several decent political columns, an interview with Chris Hitchens, a story on anti-porn, twice born wingnut Stephen Baldwin, and many pictorials of nude figures without even a hint of pubic hair. I guess I'm old skool as far as that goes. The cartoons are as unfunny as ever.

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Regarding the attack fliers on Cheryl Gray 

This T-P article by Frank Donze and Gordon Russell discusses the shadowy lineage of some of the fliers mentioned in the update to this post.

A mailer attacking state Rep. Cheryl Gray, who faces state Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock in a runoff today for a vacant state Senate seat, says it is paid for by "Gilbert Smith and Wilda Miller."

Precisely who those people are is a matter of some debate. They haven't filed any campaign disclosure reports, though doing so is required by law of those who make "independent expenditures" in political campaigns.

Repeated efforts to reach both people this week by calling all available phone listings through an online database were unsuccessful.

But a man identifying himself as Gilbert Smith called the newspaper to say that -- although he is a family friend of the Jeffersons, attended a "Justice for Jefferson" rally for indicted U.S. Rep. William Jefferson a few months ago and is a partner in a business with Jefferson's former chief of staff -- he is not the same Gilbert Smith who paid for the fliers.

Perhaps that Gilbert Smith will reveal himself one day.

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Georges funds Cynthia W-L 

John Georges funds the Cynthia Willard Lewis campaign through his companies:

Even after pumping more than $11 million of his own money into a failed bid for governor, New Orleans businessman John Georges hasn't gotten tired of playing the political money game.

Through three of his companies, Georges ponied up $15,000 this week for City Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis, who faces former Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson in today's runoff for a vacant at-large seat on the council.

Dolphin Holdings Inc. and Rapid Fire Inc. of New Orleans and Sunshine Ventures LLC of Metairie each contributed $5,000 to Willard-Lewis on Tuesday, according to campaign finance reports she filed with the state.

While Willard-Lewis took no position in the governor's race, her LIFE political organization backed Georges.

While running for Governor, Georges secured the "endorsement" of the New Orleans street machines by offering three times the amount that the nearest rival campaign offered. Three times!

Remember that, unlike fellow millionaire Walter Boasso, John Georges would take a salary in office.

Even though [John Georges] has been described in media accounts as a billionaire " he would only say his personal wealth is 'over $1 million" " and he still owns his best-performing company, Georges says he plans on taking a salary as governor. 'I'm going to need it, especially after selling my [video poker] business," he says.

The near-billionaire Georges would've "needed" the $135k/yr salary, you see, because he paid exhorbitant sums for the "New Orleans vote", and $11.4 million on his campaign, and then $15k to LIFE by supporting Cynthia Willard Lewis for City Council. The "Metairie businessman" Georges is already doing telephone polls for a potential New Orleans mayoral run. He's a "different" type of politician who believes that "Ethical practices are a way of life and are integral in campaigning." Then he hires Derrick Shepherd's brother to assist his campaign, and funds Cynthia Willard-Lewis' City Council effort.

What a malaka.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

two cities, one laptop 

I haven't been this nauseated since those aristocratic chicks shat in a parfait cup and... aw, hell, you've seen it.

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Update: Clay informs us that he lost his innocence.

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What a relief! 

From today's T-P: article titled "'This city is safe,' deputy chief tells visitors":

Standing in front of dozens of civic leaders from towns both big and small, New Orleans Deputy Police Chief John Bryson cut to the core of his presentation on crime Thursday.

"If you use drugs, buy drugs, you are going to die in this city," he said to a wide-eyed group of middle-age men and women.

"You are going to get your butts shot off," he added with dramatic pause. "But otherwise, you have nothing to worry about."

Oh. Well, then. I feel much better now.

You know, for a second there, I thought I was living in ONE New Orleans. I was under the impression that even though I personally existed outside the city's violent "drug circles", that I should be concerned about the unabated slaughter occurring on the mean streets. I was afraid that New Orleans' systemic failures in education, employment, and criminal justice-- which practically funnel young men into a life of crime-- might be worth addressing and solving. Here I was thinking that an unsafe city for any of my fellow New Orleanians should also be a personal concern for me, as well.

Guess not. The NOPD has informed national urban leaders that OUR city is "safe"... except for the neighborhoods with heavy drug traffic which have become veritable execution chambers. Except for that.

"You are going to get your butts shot off. But otherwise, you have nothing to worry about."

When I went with other volunteers to paint the halls of A.P. Tureaud Elementary, and saw a bullet hole in the front door, I was worried for the children who would be attending that school. But, silly me, I actually have "nothing to worry about" because my drug-free white butt isn't going to get shot off. Deputy Police Chief Bryson said so.

What a relief that is. For a second there, I was worried. There's only two degrees of separation between any of us in this city. But, I suppose that's enough.

Everything's fine, for me, in ONE New Orleans.

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I really like Chief Bryson's formulation, it's so comforting. Let's apply it to some other topics:

"If you live in an American city that is dependent on faulty flood control infrastructure, you will be devastated and drowned when a large storm surge hits. But otherwise, you have nothing to worry about."

"If you serve in the military and are sent on a reckless nation-building misadventure to pacify war-torn Iraq, you will risk life and limb. But otherwise, you have nothing to worry about."

"If you are among the uninsured working class, and get sick, you and your family could lose everything. But otherwise, you have nothing to worry about."

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More at Forgotston's.

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GOP rep smears Cheryl Gray, endorses Jefferson-Bullock 

We Could Be Famous has the story. Republican Rep. Ernest Wooten has sent a mailer that looks extremely similar to David Williams' slimy hit piece on Cheryl Gray. Both men are lending their names to a cynical effort to prevent the best candidate from winning in Senate District 5. And if you still think this is not a coordinated Republican "hit"-- pushing conservative whites to vote for a corrupt political machine for strategic, partisan purposes-- well you haven't been paying attention to these clowns recently. When there's no conservative available in the runoff, strategic GOP goons will ally with the worst candidate, hoping to defeat them at a later date. (In the meantime, of course, New Orleans gets screwed with a Dollar Bill Jefferson or a Nagin... and everyone in the rest of the state and country gets to ask "Why does New Orleans keep electing these idiots?"-- well, one big reason is the strategic conservative swing vote.)

The good news is-- it's not going to work this time! YRHT strongly endorsed Cheryl Gray in the primaries, and zealously renews that endorsement for the runoff.

Vote Cheryl Gray for State Senate District 5



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Update: A reader emails the YRHT main office, and writes:

I received a flyer on 11/13. On the outside it has a picture of Cheryl Gray with the caption "what is she hiding" on one side & on the other, a picture of a terrified white guy & the caption "Scary, very scary! We got it wrong. The newspaper got it wrong. Cheryl Gray is not right for us!" It was mailed from Harahan & paid for by Wilda Miller & Gilbert Smith. On the inside it has a picture of 5 terrified people. 3 white, 1 black & 1 Asian. I guess we don't have any Mexicans uptown. Has the two house bill #'s, 1146 & 1142 & says S.G. wants young, violent street criminals released eary & put back on our streets & wants to abolish capital punishment for murderers, aggravated armed robbers & aggravated rapists under 18 years of age.
How could Gray get this so wrong? Cheryl Gray also has 2 no-bid state contracts.

At the bottom it says:

We made a big mistake.

David Williams is a serious crimefighter.

Jalila Jefferson-Bullock has NO state contracts.


Disgraceful.
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Update #2: WCBF has more here, and recommends some backlash activism to electorally punish these cynical GOP efforts. I agree wholeheartedly. Let's work towards a resounding victory for Gray on election day.

Also: Adrastos has some thoughts on some recent clever ads in the City Council race, and Ray received a lengthy email response from Walker Hines on election eve. Impressive.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Come ONE, come all! 

The Mayor has invited everyone in the City to a "Thank You" dinner tonight on Canal St..

Bon Appetit!

Some inspired local activists are busting their butts to make sure everyONE knows about the event, and they are reaching out to our 12,000 homeless New Orleanian friends congregated in places like Duncan Plaza , and they are informing them about the Mayor's dinner. I can only say "bravo".

If you are interested in helping this awareness campaign, please download this flyer and give it or read it to a homeless person who might want to attend Hizzoner's wonderful "Merci Beau Coup Dinner" (starts at 5:30pm on Canal and St Charles). Those who wish to volunteer can call (504) 717-1428 to learn how they can join this important, newsworthy effort.

Also, if you happen to talk to any of the "visiting urban officials" in the CBD, please let them know about this spontaneous grassroots effort, and how it truly fulfills Mayor Nagin's desire that the dinner "serve as a metaphor for ONE New Orleans".
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Update: Video Link from ABC's coverage of the story. (Thanks Alan and Jimmy D.)

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"The riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma of the election season" 

Read this We Could Be Famous post first.

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From the T-P article:


A political flier purportedly sent by former 5th Senate District candidate David Williams has emerged as the riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma of the election season.
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Williams acknowledged that his campaign is responsible for the mailer, even though the ad didn't indicate that he paid for it.
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Addressing the matter of his negative portrayal of Gray as a tacit endorsement of her runoff opponent, Williams said the flier was in no way a nod to Jefferson-Bullock, who is the daughter of indicted U.S. Rep William Jefferson, D-New Orleans.


No of course not. He doesn't "endorse" her, he just wants her to win.

[Losing candidate] Williams said his mockery of the "crime fighter" image fashioned by Gray, who led the primary field with 37 percent of the vote, is standard political procedure.

"If you think you're back in the race, you have to contrast yourself with the front-runner," Williams said. "The only reason to get in is to convince people you are the best alternative."

How stupid do you think we are?

After the Orleans Parish judge dismissed [Williams'] suit, Williams took his case to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal, which ruled against him. On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court declined to take up Williams' appeal.
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Williams said the mailer was not intended as an endorsement of Jefferson-Bullock, but it happens to cite the same two bills that were listed in an earlier mail piece paid for by someone with apparent ties to the Jefferson camp.

Trouble is, both fliers incorrectly match the bill numbers with the language they quote as examples of why, according to the authors, Gray is fighting for the "rights of criminals" rather than the general public.

Indeed, the mailers make the exact same mistake.

This was a coordinated hit on Cheryl Gray, and David Williams should hang his head in shame for assisting Jalila Jefferson-Bullock's campaign. In my view, Williams' attempt to damage Gray and elect Jalila J-B is a selfish political ploy. Williams would rather see the inferior candidate win, so that he might unseat her in a later election... while in the meantime, District 5 residents-- Williams neighbors!-- get hosed. These idiotic, "strategic" conservative games have got to stop.

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Update: From the JFK movie script:


Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner):

Then who killed the President?


David Ferrie (Joe Pesci):

Oh man, why don't you stop.
This is too fuckin' big for you!
Who did Kennedy? It's a mystery
wrapped in a riddle inside an
enigma. Even the shooters don't
fuckin' know! Don't you get it yet?
I can't be talking like this. They're
gonna kill me. I'm gonna die!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quotes of the weak 

"I now learned I'm not black at all... I've always taken pride to be the white guy that can talk to the black people, that can refer to them truly as a 'brother from a different mother' [sobs] ...It doesn't make an excuse for me to say that word ever, even if someone is dying. I cannot say that."

-- Dog the Bounty Hunter, on Hannity and Colmes, apologizing for his use of the "N-word" (starts about 2 minutes in on this Best Week Ever vid clip). "Even if someone is dying"?!




"Talk to you later, Buckwheat."

-- State Rep. Carla Dartez, who explained her comment to the mother of an NAACP president by saying that she'd heard the expression on an "Eddie Murphy tape" she'd purchased at Wal-Mart. Apparently, "Dartez indicated she did not realize that the term 'buckwheat' could be interpreted as a racial slur." She should've observed how YRHT has used "buckwheat" to good effect referring to Bush, tourists and political neophytes. That's how you do it. Funny like.


"What is the difference between a black man and a nigger?"

-- Eunice Mayor Bob Morris allegedly asked, when questioning Detective Ronnie Brown. I wrote "nigger" instead of "n----r" because... embarrassing confusions can occur.

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Water 

1. As in, Black: "Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 episode in which Blackwater security personnel shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians have found that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq".

2. As in, not enough: Atlanta has 80 days of water left because of drought, and Florida now wants to scuttle a water sharing agreement to save their precious Apalachicola oysters... well, actually, that's a misleading way of framing the situation:

The drought plaguing parts of at least seven U.S. states in the Southeast has to do with exploding demand in some of the fastest growing areas of the United States, breakneck urban development that has paved over acres of natural wetlands, and poor planning by local authorities.

"It's very misleading when the debate is framed as people versus mussels," said Gil Rogers, a staff attorney in Atlanta for the Southern Environmental Law Center.

What politicians in the Southeast need to do is to look at the way "we're growing and whether there is water to maintain the lifestyle we all want," Rogers said. "Our political leadership has blinkers on when it comes to anything that might get in the way of unrestricted development."

3. As in, protect us from our water protectors:
A long-simmering dispute about whether a leading engineering organization whitewashed the role of the Army Corps of Engineers in the failure of the levee system during Hurricane Katrina has broken into the open with a bitter YouTube spoof and a demand for an ethics investigation of the organization's staff.
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The [American Society of Civil Engineers] is bristling at a video spoofing its levee investigation recently posted on the Internet site YouTube by the local advocacy group Levees.org. The video implies that ASCE engineers were "in some way bribed or corrupted by the corps," the association contends. They demanded it be taken down.
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The video was produced by Stanford Rosenthal, a senior at Isidore Newman School and the son of Levees.org President Sandy Rosenthal, who said her group would remove the video from the Web by Tuesday night, although she believes the allegations it contains are accurate. It has become an Internet phenomenon, garnering tens of thousands of viewers in just a week.
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"The reason we're taking it down, quite simply, is we just don't have the personnel or resources to wage a legal battle with the ASCE," Rosenthal said, "even though we stand by every word of the public announcement and contend it's completely accurate."

4. As in, waterboarding is dishonorable:
When the U.S. military trains soldiers to resist interrogation, it uses this torture technique, which originated in the Middle Ages. It is described in Army field manuals as torture, and s a Special Forces Green Beret in 1968 training at the JFK School for Special Warfare in Fort Bragg, N.C., I was taught exactly that.
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My grandfather fought Nazis in North Africa and my father fought Imperial Japan in the Pacific. An uncle battled the Nazis in Europe and two other Marine uncles fought on Iwo Jima. All of them taught me that American fighting men were different because we always took the high road of honor when we captured enemies.
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President Abraham Lincoln instituted the first formal code of conduct for the humane treatment of prisoners of war in 1863. His order forbade any form of torture or cruelty, and was the model for the 1929 Geneva Convention.
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Authorization of the technique called "waterboarding" dishonors our nation.


5. As in, being tortured on a waterboard:

Henri Alleg, born to a French mother and Algerian father, was a journalist living in Algiers during the Algerian Revolution. For five years in the early 1950’s, he was editor-in-chief of the Alger Republicain, a Communist and anti-colonialist newspaper that called for freedom of speech and the right of redress for Algerian grievances.

In 1955, the French shut the paper down; shortly thereafter, Alleg went into hiding. In 1957, he was finally caught, by the 10th Paratrooper Division.

For one month, he was subjected to an array of the most brutal tortures imaginable. He was beaten on the genitals, his genitals and nipples were burnt with an open flame, he was repeatedly shocked, he was deprived of water for days. And, most relevant to today, he was subject to what the French called “la baignoire,” the bathtub – and what the U.S. government, perhaps wishing to evoke a summer day at an amusement park with the family, calls waterboarding.

He was strapped to a board and placed under a sink, with a rag covering his face, and the tap was turned on. After minutes of desperately trying to keep the water from filling up his lungs and drowning him, right when he was on the verge of suffocation, the water flow would be stopped. After he caught his breath, it would start again.

This was perhaps the most effective method the French had at their disposal and may well have won the Battle of Algiers for them.

Yet somehow, heroically, Alleg didn’t break, not even when the “Paras” took his wife into custody. He knew that if he did, the lives of all those who had helped him while he was in hiding would be forfeit.
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Sadly, our mainstream journalists, no matter how assiduously some of them may work to discredit the Bush administration, are only capable of imagining life from on top; if they could even think for a minute or two about the effects of water, they would be more critical. They don’t need to be like Henri Alleg, they just need a little empathy.


6. As in, hole: after the hard rains two weeks ago, a sinkhole opened up and collapsed the sidewalk in front of my apartment building. It's right by the water meter, too, and my bill has skyrocketed.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Heh 

Alexandria Libertarian Brent Sanders sent me another email about Republican Ron Paul's "Revolution". I was surprised to find Ralph Nader's endorsement of Paul among the links. So I clicked through, and found... a parody site. And that's fine. Sometimes people get fooled with links, and such. I'll cut Brent some slack because, well, he's just like me.

But then I scrolled down to the NewsGroper comments section and found all sorts of Ron Paul revolutionaries arguing about the column, even after a commenter pointed out that they were discussing a piece of satire. Even some Nader supporters got in on the act.

Some of these Paul supporters... are not the most discerning bunch, I must say. Spare me your lectures about the world-historic consequences of fiat money and your investigations into the New World Order conspiracy, if you're still getting fish-hooked by parody sites. Ok?

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Oof 

The Mighty Favrog makes a scandalous comparison.

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An unstrategic vote for Clarkson 

Dangerblond writes:

Editor B has a post up and debate in the comments about the city council at-large run off, coming up on Saturday. There has been some gossip going around that we should vote for Cynthia Willard-Lewis because the Feds are investigating her and she’s the next to go down. The logic goes that we will get two new council members, one to replace Cynthia in New Orleans East, and another at-large election when she resigns in shame.

I’m against this kind of “strategic voting.” It’s not “strategic” at all, it’s just plain dumb because we voters really have no idea what is going on. Given the choices I have, I am voting for Jackie Clarkson, and it’s really a no-brainer to me.

I agree. The type of voting that too often passes as "strategic" in Nola is more of a self-inflicted "mindfreak" than anything else. It's a way to appear interesting by overthinking things. It's a way to have it both ways, and save face: "Yeah, Nagin's horrible, but at least he won't be running for re-election in 2010!" and "Yeah, Jefferson's a crook, but when he gets convicted we can have another election and maybe someone better will emerge!" [I'm not implying that Editor B. holds these views. He merely described this type of "logic".]

Inventing some wild scenario about why electing the worst candidate will hasten some larger, future fantasy is just a roundabout way of being "interesting", and being able to complain about things no matter how they turn out. "I expected him to fail"... etc. It's also an opportunity to tell everyone about your wild triple bank shot fantasy rationale, so you can feel smart for having the strategic insight to avoid the lesser of two apparent "evils".

All things considered, is Jackie Clarkson clearly preferable to Cynthia Willard Lewis? Probably so. I think so. However flawed, she's a known quantity. And her authoritarian streak might be an asset when going up against Nagin. (Clarkson doesn't believe such confrontations will be necessary, and we'll see about that. But she's not someone who will get railroaded.) Clarkson is well-versed in parliamentary maneuvers. Tellingly, Nagin endorsed Cynthia Willard-Lewis (despite her fierce words last year), and the Times Picayune endorsed Jackie Clarkson... on Monday. Those are good indicators that Clarkson is the preferable candidate. Today's T-P teases out some other differences between the (excessively friendly) candidates:

One area where [the candidates] differ is on what immediate steps City Hall should take to promote economic development.

Clarkson advocates an overhaul that would hand the task to a board comprising representatives from the business departments of local colleges and universities. Willard-Lewis said she would place an emphasis on providing grants to small businesses and partnering them with large contractors.

The candidates also offer slightly different takes on the job performance of Ed Blakely, the city's recovery director.

Willard-Lewis gives Blakely a grade of C-minus, saying he has done a good job of fashioning a rebuilding strategy, but a poor job when it comes to implementing that strategy.
...
Clarkson has a harsher view, saying that Blakely is "not doing the job he ought to be doing."

As an example, she cited the trailers that continue to house police officers and firefighters. Clarkson said the city waited far too long to reach out to the private sector for help in solving the problem.
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In the runoff, Clarkson has stepped up her fund-raising effort, taking in about $400,000 -- a total that includes $25,000 she loaned her campaign in the primary. Clarkson has received financial support from many of the city's business leaders.

Willard-Lewis has raised about $150,000, much of it from City Hall vendors and other government contractors.

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File this one away 

Discussing Harry Lee's successor, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, T-P columnist Stephanie Grace says:

It's just as well. Normand doesn't have his old boss's quirky personality, his quick tongue or his obvious love of the game.

He's unlikely to sue random politicians because he's annoyed, as Lee did on several occasions with then-state Rep. David Vitter, now a U.S. senator.


Umm, wow. Apparently Grace isn't aware of certain rumors. Does she really think Lee "randomly" sued Vitty-cent? And how does she know that Vitty never "annoyed" Normand, either? Wouldn't Lee's "right hand man" also know the dark secrets about Vitter that Lee threatened to reveal? Perhaps Normand knows those "dark secrets" more intimately than Lee.

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YRHT endorsed Newell Normand for Sheriff here.

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Nolablogoshere erupts with luv for Edwards! 

Gentilly Girl: "Been his girl since he announced from the Lower Ninth. I do not trust Hillary, and Obama doesn’t add up for me."

Noladishu (watch the video-- it is impressive)

Professor Morris (no Kucinich/Flilf this time?)

American Zombie (has come a long way on his journey toward supporting Edwards)

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Right now, like Huck, I prefer Barack Obama. But Edwards is cool, too.
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Update: If he cannot win Iowa, this is the real question about Edwards that interests me. (And, I suppose this same query could apply to Obama, given the circumstances. Is either willing to make a deal with the other, quickly enough, to oust Hillary? Will such a deal include the Veep spot, which would cut against the CW that the Veep should "balance" the ticket especially in terms of experience and foreign policy and military credentials...?)

And this is the real question about Obama that interests me (assuming this is also true): is there a coordinated plan to capture the ungodly level of African-American support that Hillary currently enjoys (which she owes 100% to the Big Dog)?

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Why is David Williams helping Jalila Jefferson by attacking Cheryl Gray? 

In two excellent posts, Celcus discusses a campaign flier that losing candidate David Williams recently sent out to State Senate District 5 voters. Read Celcus' fine analysis here and here.

For those not following this race closely, you need to familiarize yourselves with some details to truly appreciate what former Judge David Williams is doing-- but, in short, it's the exact same sort of idiotic conservative "strategitude" that helped reelect Messrs. Dollar Bill Jefferson and Ray Nagin. The idea here is to get the conservative "swing" demographic to vote for the inferior candidate when there is a runoff in which no conservatives or Republicans available-- the strategic hope being that the inferior candidate will get elected and then exposed as a crook or an incompetent, and that will perhaps lead to a more palatable (conservative) alternative in a future election.

So, Saturday, I too received a slick flier from Williams. At first, the premise of the flier appears straightforward. David Williams announces that he still considers himself a candidate for the State Senate election, despite missing the runoff by a measly 50 votes. Williams believes irregularities at voting precincts kept him out of the runoff. He cites the lack of notice given to voters about a Republican candidate who withdrew from the race but was still on the ballot. Williams believes if there had been better notice, more discounted GOP votes would have went his way and put him into the runoff-- displacing candidate Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, who came in second. (Williams switched from the GOP to the Democratic party earlier this year. He claims that he did this so that he would have a greater voice in the Democratic-majority Senate.) So, Williams filed a lawsuit over the irregularities, which was promptly dismissed, and he and lawyer Dominic Varrecchio are appealing the decision.

So, what's the big deal? Well, you open the mailer and all of a sudden the argument pivots, and begins to attack... Rep. Cheryl Gray!! Cheryl Gray is the first place candidate who beat both David Williams and Rep. Jalila Jefferson Bullock. And yet, Williams attacks Gray throughout the rest of the flier:

(Big Print) "Cheryl Gray is opposing my lawsuit."

"She doesn't care if the election was illegal. She just wants to win. Or maybe she just cares about fair elections for some people, but not for people like you and me."

"People like you and me"... huh? What a lovely little coded phrase that is!

I'd LOVE to see all of Williams' comments decrying the election "irregularities" I witnessed throughout the city in 2004. I'm sure he's on record criticizing those, because some of the same violations Williams currently complains about also occurred in November 2004. Surely Williams-- that intrepid protector of fair elections-- would have said something about those violations, because he just wants "fairness" in any election, no matter who wins or loses. Right? Otherwise, by his own standards, his silence would open him up to charges that "maybe" he just cares about fair elections for "some people", and not for "people like you and me". Right? Right?!?

And who cares if Gray is opposing Williams' lawsuit? Politics ain't beanbag, and she has little to lose, anyway, as she came in first and has more appeal across races than Williams.

Quite simply, Williams is behaving like a strategic douchemook, and is helping the inferior candidate to the detriment of the citizens he wished to represent.

The rest of Williams' flier attacks Cheryl's record on crime (she's anti-death penalty-- oh no!), and claims she's opposing Williams' lawsuit for a fair election because "she knows that with more time the voters of ... District 5 will find out that she is misrerpresenting her record as a crime fighter and an ethical state representative".

You get that logic? Williams uses a campaign hit piece to call out the (superior) first place candidate for being unethical and soft on crime. The flier makes no mention of the ethics or the record of Gray's opponent, Jefferson-Bullock, other than to say that Jefferson-Bullock and all the other candidates (except Ms. Gray) want to see a fair election, "whether they win or not".

Oh REALLY? I'm sure Ms. Jefferson-Bullock would throw a fit if Williams displaced her in a special second election, and would not consider such a election to be "fair". But I guess Williams sees the writing on the wall, and assumes he'll lose his appeal, and wants to cynically and strategically help the inferior candidate (Jalila Jefferson), because she might be easier to displace next time around (especially if she has to resign with an ethical cloud over her head). Since this is right out of the Greater New Orleans Conservative Revolutionary playbook, I wonder with whom former Republican Williams is coordinating his attack.

This is the same basic logic that conservatives used to screw New Orleans by re-electing Nagin over Landrieu (because it Nagin would keep Democrats weak and that would help Jindal). And it's the same logic that screwed New Orleans by re-electing Dollar Bill Jefferson over Karen Carter, because it would embarrass Dems nationally, and keep Derrick Shepherd in play.

As Williams slams Gray on ethics and crime, we should recall that Jalila Jefferson-Bullock is

among the five daughters of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, mentioned as possible recipients of proceeds from a corrupt business deal described in a 16-count federal indictment against her father. She has said she knows nothing about the deal.

Jefferson-Bullock also recently was mentioned in connection with a separate federal criminal investigation in which state Sen. Derrick Shepherd, D-Marrero, is suspected of money laundering. Jefferson-Bullock was the civil attorney in a case brought by the state Insurance Department against Gwendolyn Joseph Moyo, whom the FBI claims hired Shepherd to "clean" proceeds from the sale of bogus construction bonds.

Williams' attack pieces on Gray closely echo the mailers that Jalila sent that the T-P described thusly:

both mailers blasting Gray for sponsoring three bills characterized as soft on crime and earning money from state contracts. Neither of the mailers mentions that Jefferson-Bullock voted in support of the three measures, which all failed, an omission that Gray called "a deliberate attempt to mislead voters."

So, why is Williams attacking Gray right before her runoff with Jalila Jefferson, to the delight of the corrupt Jefferson machine (and perhaps some "strategic" Republicans)?

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More on this race at the Head Pelican.
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Update: We Could be Famous has the makings of an action plan.

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"Golly jeepers where'd you get those peepers?" 

I used to have nightmares about one day opening up the newspaper and reading a story that began this way.

WASHINGTON - A top intelligence official says it is time people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, a deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguards people's private communications and financial information...

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