Thursday, February 07, 2008

Amen

Link!

Were you at the O-vent?

An excerpt from Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign speech in New Orleans, today:

[I]t's time for America to rebuild trust with the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

When I am President, I will start by restoring that most basic trust - that your government will do what it takes to keep you safe.

The words "never again" - spoken so often in those weeks after Katrina - must not fade to a whisper. The Army Corps of Engineers has rebuilt levees that were most damaged by the storm, but funding has sometimes stalled, and New Orleans remains unprotected.

We can't gamble every hurricane season. And that's why when I am President, we will finish building a system of levees that can withstand a 100-year storm by 2011, with the goal of expanding that protection to defend against a Category 5 storm. Enough talk, let's get it done!... We also have to restore nature's barriers - the wetlands, marshes and barrier islands that can take the first blows and protect the people in the Gulf Coast.

If catastrophe comes, the American people must be able to call on a competent government. When I am President, the days of dysfunction and cronyism in Washington will be over. No more Brownie. No more Heads of the Arabian Horses Association, in charge of FEMA. The director of FEMA will report to me. He or she will have the highest qualifications in emergency management. And I won't just tell you that I'll insulate that office from politics - I'll guarantee it, by giving my FEMA director a fixed term like the director of the Federal Reserve. So that they will outlast the time that I'm in office. I don't want FEMA to be thinking for one minute about the politics of a crisis. I want FEMA to do its job, which is protecting the American people - not protecting a President's political future. That's a promise I'll make...

Should've seen the writing on the wall

Just days after learning he secured Rep. Rodney Alexander's (R-Quitman!) endorsement, Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney realized he was doomed, and suspended his campaign.

Rodney Alexander: impeccable timing, fearsome intelligence.

"Literally"

Seems like the misuse of the word "literally" has dramatically increased over the past year, especially on tv.

Why is this, and does it irk you, too?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Duper thoughts

Obama seems to have won the most states and the most delegates last night, but failed to overcome the early voting in CA, and Hillary's support from SoCal Latinos. The rest of February should be very good for Obama, starting with Louisiana this Saturday (plus WA, NE, ME and then VA, MD, DC, WI). After that it gets tougher for Barack, with Texas and Ohio in March. Note: Tejas is a mixed primary/caucus system.

I think this thing is going to the convention, and I also yearn for Adrastos' "dream ticket".

Superdelegates suck. Louisiana's superdelegates include Dollar Bill Jefferson, Renee Gill Pratt, and LA Democratic Chair Chris Wittington. Rep. Karen Carter is one of the organizational leaders of the Obama effort in LA, which makes me cynically assume that Dollar Bill and RGP will find some elaborate reasoning to support Hillary if/when their support is needed, just to spite Carter.

Tomorrow Obama will speak at a community event at Tulane's Fogelman arena. Here's Obama's 20 minute speech from last night:


We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
...
We are the hope of the woman who hears that her city will not be rebuilt. That she cannot somehow claim the life that was swept away in a terrible storm. Yes she can.


Please vote for change on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

O'Reilly: king of douchemooks

Keith Olbermann takes Bill O'Reilly to task for challenging John Edwards' claim that homeless encampments exist under Claiborne avenue. Olbermann points to a T-P article from January 11th, describing the scene. I'll just add that nolabloggers like Laureen Lentz were reporting on the camps back in December. If Billy O was willing to do even a modicum of research, he could've found this information.

O'Reilly said he asked the Edwards campaign to identify where the homeless were in New Orleans, so that he could "help them". Exactly how O'Reilly wanted to help the homeless is unclear. Perhaps he meant providing, among other things, free showers with complimentary loofa mitt service.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Duper Mardis Gras... and beyond

Several weeks ago in January T-P Columnist Stephanie Grace's head froze, and she wrote:

January will be rounded by a handful more primaries, leading up to 23 contests on Super Tuesday Feb. 5, which around here is better known as Mardi Gras. If things haven't sorted themselves out by then, the race will be in such chaos that candidates are unlikely to bother with Louisiana, where the primary falls four days later.

Huh? What's the idea here? If things "haven't sorted themselves out" on Super Duper Tuesday... the candidates would suddenly forget how to campaign in upcoming primary states?

Many who don't observe Mardis Gras will vote tomorrow. However, I fully expect Barack Obama (and perhaps Hillary) to campaign in da gret stet between Ash Wednesday and this Saturday's elections.

Cenlamar feels similarly, and doesn't believe Louisiana will be overlooked. Cenlamar notes that that "today, Barack Obama’s campaign website reminded visitors about this video":



Meanwhile, Michael notes that Bob DeNiro made a surprise appearance at an Obama rally in New Jersey today. DeNiro made what he claimed was his "first political speech". In the NYT story's comments, Liam dryly observes: "umm, the last political rally I saw deniro at was in Taxi Driver. didn’t work out great."

Heh. Nice one.

Levees Not War salutes Edwards, will vote for Obama

Link!

Super!

What an incredible ending to Super Bowl XLII. When you find yourself cheering for teams and players whom you normally dislike, you know something special is happening. Congratulations to Eli, the NY Giants, and Archie's gonads.

I noticed that at the end of the 2nd Quarter, Bud Light ran a Super Bowl ad starring Carlos Mencia. Mencia, as you may recall, had mocked the rebuilding effort in New Orleans as part of his comedy routine ("Why are we rebuilding New Orleans? Whose idea was this, Aquaman?" and "I'm glad Hurricane Katrina happened. It taught us an important lesson: black people can't swim.").

So what's he wearing in his lucrative Super Bowl ad? A sweatshirt with a fleur-de-lis on it*. Is this a sign of belated solidarity? Perhaps the mind of Mencia has changed. Here's the ad:


Bud Light Super Bowl Ad: Immigrants with Carlos Mencia


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Update: In the comments, Ashley links to his emailed conversation with Carlos in 2006. (Thx for the link.)

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* And it appears as if there is a black strip of tape over part of the fleur de lis.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Well, what would you expect from Lester Maddox's former speechwriter?

Neal Boortz goes off on New Orleans, calling it a useless, worthless, "city of parasites". Then, he compared displaced Katrina evacuees to garbage.

Boortz, of course, used to pen speeches for the racist segregationist Lester Maddox.

If I had an ax handle and was alone in a room with Boortz right now I'd... I'd... go to work on the holmes... I'd force him to watch this video on loop, Clockwork Orangie style:



First Draft and Mr. Clio have another option.

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Update: Michael ignore's Godwin's law, and adds a visual.
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Update #2: Revolution 21 goes for broke.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Nation magazine endorses Nader

Just kidding. It's Obama, and they make a good case. MoveOn.org gives him a big thumbs up, too.

Meanwhile, Ann Coulter and Drive By Blogger endorse Hillary.

Fugly numbers

Barry Ritholtz used some newfangled economic jargon to describe January's nonfarm payroll number (-17,000). "It's fugly", he said.

Yep. And I think it will get fuglier before it gets better. We're not out of the fug yet.

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So Bush reportedly called up Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and used salty language to get him to cut interest rates further and deeper than Ben wanted. That's always a good sign, when the President is pressuring the Fed to act rashly during an election year. Bush wants to preserve some semblance of an economic legacy. Yet, this crass, belated attempt to prop up equities and avoid recession during Bush's final year will not allow the "free" markets to quickly purge themselves of malinvestment. If anything, these moves will prolong the recession while fanning the flames of future inflation.

The Cunning Realist reminds everyone why we want to avoid a return to the 1970's. Besides disco.

There was a time not too long ago when folks thought Bernanke might be able to resist the pressure to cut rates, and be a toolish backstop for the stock market:

Ben S. Bernanke, Mr. Greenspan’s successor at the Fed (and his loyal supporter during the antideflation hysteria), is said to be resisting the demand for broadly lower interest rates. Maybe he is seeing the light that capitalism without financial failure is not capitalism at all, but a kind of socialism for the rich."
Amen.

During all this ridiculous Reagan worship by the GOP presidential candidates, none of them (except Ron Paul) seem to recall Ronnie's belief that inflation is "the cruelest" tax, especially on the poor.

As for real inflation fighters, did ya hear? Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker endorsed Senator Obama for President. Gravitas, baby!

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Recalling a time of far more severe economic and inflationary challenges, where Volcker had to raise rates to kill inflation, here's a segment from President Reagan's news conference on 3/31/82. I don't subscribe to all the points that Reagan makes in this excerpt, but I thought it provided an interesting contrast to the immature monetary madness going on right now:


Q: During the Presidential campaign, your Presidential campaign, you asked an extremely effective question of the American people. And it went like this: "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?" So, it seems only fair to ask this question at this time. With high unemployment, high interest rates, an increasing number of business failures, and a generally bleak economy, are Americans really better off today than they were when you became President?

The President: Of course, you realize it would be fairer if they asked me that at the end of 4 years instead of 1. But let me just point out

Q. [Inaudible]—to turn things around quickly?

The President: I don't think there's a single thing there—I mean, a single thing in which you could say one way or the other. For example, yes, unemployment has increased, because of the recession. But I would remind you, that we had almost as much—we had in the neighborhood of 8 million unemployed back then, before we came here. We had interest rates of 21 1/2 percent. Well, they're 16. That's still too high, and it is those high interest rates that are delaying our coming out of this recession. We had 12.4 percent inflation. Inflation is now down and has for the last 5 months been running at only 4 1/2 percent.

Now, let me just give you an example of what that rate of inflation means and what the entire 1981 decline that we brought about—because inflation started down before there was any recession, and I think we had something to do with that.

Take the average family of four that is living on the threshold of poverty, which we say, now, is $8,500-a-year income. That family now has $375 more in purchasing power with their $8,500 than they did at the rate of inflation in 1980 and leading up to the Inaugural in '81. So, when you say better or worse off, I think there are elements of better off. And probably the worst one is the penalty imposed with these high interest rates which, as I say, we have brought down some, but which have contributed to not only unemployment but the other tragedy of the small and the independent business people and the farmers, many of them, who have not been able to make it through this period.

But I think that we are bottoming out, and I believe that we're safe in saying that we think there's going to be an upturn in the second half of the year.

...

Q. Mr. President, you've talked often about the long-term goals of your economic recovery plan, but a lot of people are in trouble right now. They don't have jobs, and—millions of them—how long are you willing to let unemployment continue at current high levels before you take some sort of short-term emergency action to bring it down?

The President: Short-term, emergency actions that have been taken in the past—and there've been seven previous recessions since World War II—and that short-term has been a flooding of the money market, an artificial stimulant to bring down unemployment, and at the same time it usually skyrockets inflation. Now inflation is the cruelest thing and the cruelest tax on the poor, if we're taking sides as to who's for the rich or who's for the poor. And I just gave a figure on that a moment ago.

We have, in some of the hardest hit States, extended the unemployment insurance. There's nothing that strikes to my heart more than the unemployed, although at this time I think the farmers, the small business people, people in real estate and the construction industry, who are losing their businesses—family-owned businesses—and they can't get unemployment insurance, they're just out and broke—is also heartbreaking problem. But the answer to this has to be in a recovery of the economy.

The interest rates, remaining as high as they are, which are holding this up—there is nothing that government can do about this except hope that we can prove to them that we are serious about continuing this program. Those interest rates aren't staying up because of anything that the Fed is doing or anything that government is doing. They're staying up, because after being burned a half a dozen times in these previous efforts by government, we find that the money markets just don't believe that we'll stay the course, bring down government spending, and hold inflation down. They're looking for that temporary stimulant that will then send up the interest rates.


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"I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the President or the Pope or a .400 baseball hitter, but now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody." --James Carville

Grab bag

1. Prytania Waterline reflects on parades past, and posts a photo of some Pussyfooters in front of his weird neighbor's house.

2. From Gentilly Girl, we found this delicious excerpt from Lolis Eric Elie's T-P column:

Yes, I have heard Bobby Jindal's rhetoric before, and not just in some dusty history book, but in the first administration of Mayor Ray Nagin.

Killing corruption is a worthy goal. But it's also a paper tiger, an amorphous, feel-good enemy that we can all rail against without fear of offending anyone who matters.


Yes, you just heard Jeffrey cheer after reading that.

3. Last night Sen. David Vitter had a celebratory fundraiser at the Aquarium of the Americas for newly elected Gooper "leaders". Guests included Gov. Jindal, Treasurer Secretary and others. (Only $2500 per couple for VIP's).

The title of Vitter's event was the "Leavin' Em Behind Second Line".

(H/T Lovely.)

"I'm not a professional asshole, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night"

A message to New Orleanians from the Dead Pelican editorial page:

[A] short and sweet message to all of my friends who live in New Orleans- GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE. Don't tell me [violent crime] is not happening in your area or in any place that you frequent.

Just go.

Please.

In all sincerity,

Chad E. Rogers

Thanks for the "sweet" message, Toonces, but I'm not going to cut and run outta New Orleans. I'm staying. I'm working to rebuild and improve this stricken city.

And, in all sincerity, if I would leave, my decision wouldn't be based on what some alarmist news aggregator advises me to do after he learned that a bullet went through a downtown hotel window during Carnival.

To be sure, violent crime is a problem here. That is one of the reasons I tried to elect competent leaders who were aware of the growing problem, who were willing to respond to it, and who promised to revamp the NOPD, for example. Rogers had a different view. He said he would've voted for Nagin in 2006, had he been able. That was the year that Rogers assisted Nagin's re-election by publishing false, unretracted "stories" about his opponent.

YRHT declines to advise Rogers on where he can go.

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Update: The Daily Kingfish has more.