Saturday, February 16, 2008

Leadership by example 

B.R. Advocate:

Gov. Bobby Jindal gave a handful of lawmakers free tickets to a Hannah Montana concert weeks before calling them into session to ban free tickets from lobbyists for legislators.

The speaker of the House and the brother of the governor’s chief of staff were among those who received tickets to the Jan. 26 concert. Tickets for the Disney star’s sold-out tour often go for thousands of dollars.
Jindal’s chief of staff, Timmy Teepell, did not respond to four requests for comment.

Here's more:

State Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-New Orleans, said he also got tickets from the governor’s office. He took his two daughters to the concert.

“All we got was a seat, not even the best seat in the house,” he said.

Arnold said the seats were at half court in a box that was not catered. The stage, he said, was at end court.

"Not even the best seat", he explains. And then this from WAFB:

"Helping my granddaughters was an honorable thing for him to do," Sen. John Alario says. Senator Alario says he gave [his four free] Hannah Montana tickets to his granddaughters. "I didn't know who Hannah Montana was. I probably don't know her more than North Dakota. The request came from my granddaughters and certainly, I would honor their request," he says.

It's all about "honor" with Alario.

Update: Clancy Dubos has much, much more. Do go read.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Spot on 

I totally, completely agree with Kos' post.

The question must be asked: Was Hillary ready to assemble a winning campaign on "Day One", as she likes to say? Hell no, she wasn't. Otherwise she wouldn't have hired a "loyal" corporate idiot pollster/strategist like Mark Penn-- a Dick Morris catamite par excellence-- who continued to use a cynical, top-down, superdelegat/big state "inevitability" strategy, even after its fatal flaws were exposed.

I'm glad Clinton's upset win in New Hampshire saved this douchemook's job. Now everyone will get to see his dumb campaign strategy fail on a national stage. That Penn's theories would be ratified by a Hillary general election win* is a decent reason in itself for Dems to vote for Obama.

Hey, Penn. Here's a "Microtrend", you dumb jerk: guys like me are going to enjoy watching you eat this one.

* if she somehow wins it will be in spite of Penn, not because of him.

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Timmeh respekts the perquisite strukture! 

We saw that... brought us notice of this story about Jindal's chief of staff getting free Hannah Montana tickets.

Amid cries of no more fat cat meals or tickets to sporting events and concerts, the governor is dealing with a ticket controversy within his own office.

9NEWS has learned that Timmy Teeple [sic], the governor's chief of staff, asked for and received three free tickets to the popular Hannah Montana concert in New Orleans. Regular ticket prices ranged from $26 to $66. Teeple's [sic] tickets were for the governor's suite inside the New Orleans Arena. We had trouble getting a direct answer from the governor, when we asked him Thursday afternoon about the situation.

Jim Shannon: What does it say when you're talking about all this ethics and ethics reform, and not very long ago, your chief of staff received three tickets to a very popular concert in New Orleans?

Gov. Bobby Jindal: Jim, again, bottom line. We're gonna follow the law like everybody else....

All in good time, I guess. Forgotston mocks Jindal's "leadership by example", and asks "When will the governor and his own staff live up to Jindal’s proposed standards for others?"

Also, the T-P recently noticed something which seems like a significant omission in Jindal's proposed financial disclosure legislation:

A showdown is looming over whether members of the governor's executive staff -- who work directly in the governor's office and not for any free-standing state agency -- are included in whatever new financial disclosure requirements lawmakers might adopt during the special session. The staff of more than 100 people, including several high-profile aides in the governor's inner circle, is not included in the version of House Bill 1 by Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Algiers, that will come before the full lower chamber today or Friday. And Tucker, an ally of Gov. Bobby Jindal, said he believes any amendment to include all or part of the executive staff members would be out of order.

More YRHT coverage on CNP member Teepell here.

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Moldy City has the context I've been waiting for 


I know silly Ray photos are fun, but if you can spend 5 minutes doing a photo post, then please invest ten or twenty minutes in Moldy City's post and links.

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Arnie Fielgood, Inc. 

Photo credit: Cheryl Gerber (8/27/08 Gambit Weekly)

City Council President Arnie Fielkow is "At Large" on the cover of the February 2008 issue of New Orleans Magazine.

Despite saying in January that "Those in leadership should be objectively measured by whether a sizable reduction occurs in our murder rate and other violent crimes", Fielkow declined to "set goals" for the NOPD in his interview with New Orleans Magazine. He also expressed support for Nagin's desire to put up 200 security cameras throughout the city.

I suspect Arnie is gearing up to run a smiling campaign for mayor in 2010. A rival candidate could criticize and exploit Arnie's squishiness on holding city leaders accountable for the violent crime rate, while simultaneously denouncing the intrusive and annoying security/traffic cameras that Fielkow supports.

"We need to fight crime through community policing, not big brother surveillance"... could be the line, or something like that.


Laughing gas these hazmats, fast cats,
Linin' em up like ass cracks,
Ladies ponies at the track
it's my chocolate attack.
Shit, I'm stepping in heart of this here
Carebear bumpin' in the heart of this here
Watch me as I gravitate
Dont stop, get it, get it,
We are your captains in it. Steady,
Watch me navigate,

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Political history rhymes 

Here are some connected thoughts and memories I've been having recently, after reading about Hillary's hard campaigning in San Antonio. These are just interesting data-points which I couldn't find a way to weave into a cogent thematic fabric. I think they're interesting.

I'm reminded of January 1992, when I saw Hillary introduce candidate Bill Clinton at a small rally in San Antonio saying ""We know that if you're going to carry Texas, you've got to carry south Texas!!" At the time, I chuckled at such wild optimism. How the hell were Dems going to carry Tejas? I didn't know that twenty years earlier, Hillary had been an organizer in S. Tejas for the McGovern campaign.

After that rally in 1992, a political shitstorm rained on Bill Clinton over the next month, the dimensions of which are almost unfathomable by today's standards. He overcame "bimbo eruptions" and "draft dodging" stories during the heart of a primary race. (And then the next month there was the "I didn't inhale" snafu.) It was one thing after another-- any one of which would've killed most normal campaigns-- yet Bill Clinton successfully persevered through all of that. I've never ever seen a "tougher" candidate.

So, twenty years earlier, Hillary was organizing S. Tejas for McGovern. And a few years before that, Hillary-- a Goldwater Girl turned Nelson Rockefeller supporter-- was affected by MLK's assassination, and completely turned off by Dick Nixon. She became a "pragmatic liberal", if not a "pragmatic radical". She wrote her senior thesis on... a radical Chicago community organizer named Saul Alinsky (the text of which has not been publicly released). Here's a long excerpt from Alinsky's Rules for Radicals:

Some panic and run, rationalizing that the system is going to collapse anyway of its own rot and corruption and so they're copping out, going hippie or yippie, taking drugs, trying communes, anything to escape. Others went for pointless sure-loser confrontations so that they could fortify their rationalization and say, "Well, we tried and did our part" and then they copped out too. Others sick with guilt and not knowing where to turn or what to do went berserk. These were the Weathermen and their like: they took the grand cop-out, suicide. To these I have nothing to say or give but pity
Remember we are talking about revolution, not revelation; you can miss the target by shooting too high as well as too low. First, there are no rules for revolution any more than there are rules for love or rules for happiness, but there are rules for radicals who want to change their world; there are certain central concepts of action in human politics that operate regardless of the scene or the time. To know these is basic to a pragmatic attack on the system. These rules make the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one who uses the tired old words and slogans, calls the police "pig" or "white fascist racist" or "futher mukkers” and has so stereotyped himself that others react by saying, "Oh, he's one of those," and then promptly turn off.

This failure of many of your younger activists to understand the art of communication has been disastrous. Even the most elementary grasp of the fundamental idea that one communicates within the experience of his audience - and gives full respect to the other's values - would have ruled out attacks on the American flag. The responsible organizer would have known that it is the establishment that has betrayed the flag while the flag, itself, remains the glorious symbol of America's hopes and aspirations, and he would have conveyed this message to his audience. On another level of communication, humor is essential, for through humor much is accepted that would have been rejected if presented seriously. This is a sad and lonely generation. It laughs too little, and this, too is tragic.

For the real radical, doing "his thing" is to do the social thing, for and with people. In a world where everything is so interrelated that one fells helpless to know where or how to grab hold and act, defeat sets in' for years there have been people who've found society too overwhelming and have withdrawn, concentrated on "doing their own thing." Generally we have put them into mental hospitals and diagnosed them as schizophrenics. If the real radical finds that having long hair sets up psychological barriers to communication and organization, he cuts his hair. If I were organizing in a orthodox Jewish community I would not walk in there eating a ham sandwich, unless I wanted to be rejected so I could have an excuse to cop out. My "thing," if I want to organize, is solid communication with the people in the community. Lacking communication I am in reality silent; throughout history silence has been regarded as assent - in this case assent to the system.

As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be. That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be - it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be. That means working in the system.

There's another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevsky said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system, among not only the middle class but the 40 per cent of American families - more than seventy million people - whose income range from $5,000 to $10,000 a year (in 1971). They cannot be dismissed by labeling them blue collar or hard hat. They will not continue to be relatively passive and slightly challenging. If we fail to communicate with them, if we don't encourage them to form alliances with us, they will move to the right. Maybe they will anyway, but let's not let it happen by default.

Our youth are impatient with the preliminaries that are essential to purposeful action. Effective organization is thwarted by the desire for instant and dramatic change...

Yet, the next year, young Hillary made her mark with a hopeful commencement address at Wellesley College. There she said: "The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible." Life magazine wrote about her speech, and the standing ovation it received.

I'm reluctant to use this recent excerpt given the source (I think it misquotes her, and exaggerates her so-called "contempt") but it does simultaneously capture how the media treats Hillary, as well as her youthful, hopeful-- and dare I say "impatient"-- address:

Somewhere, Senator Edward Brooke must be chortling. You will remember that in 1969 Brooke, a moderate Republican, had the bad luck to be commencement speaker at Wellesley College on the day Hillary Rodham made a name for herself as a voice of her generation. She politely gave the first black American to be elected to the Senate since Reconstruction the back of her hand. “For too long our leaders have used politics as the art of the possible,” she said. (“This is bad?” Brooke must have been thinking.)

It was not actually anything in particular that Brooke and his ilk had done that earned Hillary’s lightly disguised contempt. It was just that they were tired and old and always looking for some way to cut a grubby deal instead of setting their sights on the impossible dream. She and her generation, she said, were “searching for a more immediate, ecstatic and penetrating mode of living. ”

Here's Hillary's actual quote from the speech:
We've had lots of empathy; we've had lots of sympathy, but we feel that for too long our leaders have used politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible. [?]
We are, all of us, exploring a world that none of us even understands and attempting to create within that uncertainty. But there are some things we feel, feelings that our prevailing, acquisitive, and competitive corporate life, including tragically the universities, is not the way of life for us. We're searching for more immediate, ecstatic and penetrating mode of living. And so our questions, our questions about our institutions, about our colleges, about our churches, about our government continue.

So now Hillary finds herself back in S. Tejas, where she worked on campaigns in 1972 and 1992. It seemed to be her "turn" this year, yet she finds herself as an underdog to a Democratic opponent who might become the African American Presidential nominee from a major party-- a former community organizer from Chicago, hoping to unseat the overwhelming favorite with rhetoric about "change" that attracts impatient, youthful spirits in record numbers.

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Is the Obama phenomenon a cult? 

Sadly, no. (Which ruins my dreams of becoming a local high priest of Obamaism.)

Orcinus explains further:

So if Obamamania doesn't come close to making the cut as a "cult," then just what the hell is going on there?

What's going on is that we've finally got a Democratic candidate who understands exactly how the Republicans did it. As I pointed out my very first week on this blog, the GOP didn't come to power by talking about plans and policies; they did it by using strongly emotional appeals that grabbed people by the gut and didn't let them go. Theirs was never a movement based on reason. It was, from the very beginning, a movement of hearts and souls. And it was that deep, emotionally sustaining commitment that drew people in so deeply that they were willing to give 25 years of their lives to bringing about the New World Order their leaders promised them. We may hate what they've accomplished -- but we're never going to be able to do better until we can inspire that same kind of passion for change.

And Obama's doing just that. He's tapped into a deeply pressurized seam of repressed fury within the American electorate, and he's giving it voice, a focus, and an outlet. Are the results scary? You bet: these people want change on a scale that much of the status quo should find terrifying. Are they unreasoning? The followers may be -- but as long as their leader keeps a cool head, that's not as much of a problem right now as we might think; and the heat will dissipate naturally in time. Is this kind of devotion even appropriate? You bet. You don't get the kind of deep-level change we need without first exposing and channeling people's deep discontent. Obama's change talk may be too vague for most people's tastes (including mine); but the fact is that if we're serious about enacting a progressive agenda, rousing people's deepest dreams and desires and mobilizing that energy is exactly how it's going to happen. And Obama's the first candidate we've had in a generation who really, truly gets this.

The energy of Obama's rallies scares the hell out of reason-bound, well-educated liberals; but it's nothing new to anyone who's spent time in the overheated revival-meeting atmosphere that conservative politicians have used to rouse their voters for decades. Stirring up their base in exactly this same way is how they won. Our chronic inability to move people like that is why we've continued to lose.

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March CNP meeting in New Orleans? 

Sam Winston at BNOB has the details.

More on the CNP here.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Huckabee is goofy 

... not so much for saying that the Louisiana GOP primary is "goofy" (it is), but for this:

Huckabee campaign manager Ed Rollins... said Huckabee didn't spend scarce resources airing TV commercials in [LA] because it appeared the state party had gotten behind McCain. Instead, the campaign spent money on ads in Kentucky, which holds its primary in May.

That was incredibly dumb. Huckabee won Louisiana with 43% of the vote without campaigning at all inside the state. Had he devoted some time and resources in LA, he might've been able to get over half the primary vote, thereby guaranteeing himself some delegates, and totally embarrassing the state GOP. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20, but his decision to do an ad buy in Kentucky is a bizarre move.

Speaking of bizarre moves:

Mike Huckabee’s pledging to stay in the race, but he plans to veer sharply off the campaign trail this weekend to give a paid speech in the Cayman Islands.
“We’re not giving up,” Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman said on the plane from Little Rock, Ark., to Wisconsin, where Huckabee was campaigning ahead of the state’s primary next week.

But Saltsman said the Cayman Islands speech was booked six months ago with an unnamed organization, and that Huckabee would be there from Friday through Sunday morning, when he would return to Wisconsin.

Asked about the odd timing, Saltsman said Huckabee simply needs a paycheck.

“This is the man’s job, his livelihood,” he said. “These speeches and books that he sells … are how he makes his living. He is not being paid by the federal government to run for president. If he does not do this, from time to time, he can’t pay his mortgage.”

I would absolutely love to find out what organization Huck will be speaking to.
Update: Thanks to the Opinionated Catholic for helpfully providing the desired information.

Note: in this recent Steve Kelley cartoon in the T-P, Huckabee is accurately depicted as having slightly askew "Homer eyes".

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Nic is no dog napper 

A Gossip column reports:

Kathleen Turner has been hit with a lawsuit by Nicolas Cage after the raspy-voiced actress wrote in her new autobiography that he was twice arrested for DUI and possibly stealing a Chihuahua.

"I have never been arrested for anything in my life, nor have I stolen a dog," Cage, Turner's co-star in "Peggy Sue Got Married," fumed in a statement.

Has anyone, in the entire history of the world, ever stolen a Chihuahua? I think not. Even Cage is not that crazy.

And this:

Meanwhile, [Turner's] ex-husband, real estate mogul Jay Weiss, is in a snit over a New York Times blog story that painted him as the negligent landlord who oversaw the Harlem apartment Barack Obama lived in while attending Columbia.

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As he weighs a possible endorsement in the Democratic race, former Sen. John Edwards... is seriously considering supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, despite the sharp criticism he leveled at her on the campaign trail, according to former aides and advisers.
Though he sometimes aligned himself with Obama — and against Clinton — as a candidate, several Edwards campaign insiders say the former senator began to sour on Obama toward the end of his own campaign, and ultimately left the race questioning whether Obama had the toughness needed to prevail in a presidential race.

Again, I need to ask, precisely what qualifies Edwards to assess the "toughness needed to prevail in a presidential race"? Seriously. This is a candidate who has run for president for nearly eight years straight, and he's won one primary. Yet so many people regard him as a consummate "fighter" on the campaign trail. It's a given that Edwards is "tough", and Obambi is "soft".

Edwards should be devastating on the campaign trail, but he's not. As a candidate, he's incomplete. This year, he surrounded himself with soft people who crafted an all-or-nothing "Iowa" strategy, yet they weren't willing to pull out all the stops in order to ensure a win. (And let's remember that Edwards' caucus percentage actually exaggerated his real support, because of the weighting in rural districts.)

There was about a three week stretch in Iowa during 2003/04 where Edwards was indeed "scary". Other than that, he's been underwhelming as a political force. In the recent LA primary, he came in fourth in Orleans parish, where he began and suspended his campaign. (Edwards couldn't overcome the "1st name on the ballot" effect of mighty Joe Biden, who placed third.)

What the Obama campaign has done-- deciding not to run a safe "Veep Strategy" effort, raising more money than the Clinton machine, winning Iowa, simultaneously running to the left and right of Hillary, bringing in young/new voters, out-organizing Hillary in caucus states, learning from their mistakes (LV), forcing her into Giuliani's "wait for the big states" strategy, playing up the post-partisan angle to keep Bloomberg out, peaking at the right time, going for the kill... -- these things will be studied for years. These are the campaign tactics that will reinvigorate the party, lead Obama to the Presidency, insert some better Democrats into Congress, and (ultimately) result in some liberal Supreme Court appointments.

And with all due respect to Edwards, his career on the Presidential campaign trail won't be known for its "toughness".

Obama's ability to raise money, broaden the electoral map and have progressive coattails is something to get excited about... at least for those of us who can feel inspired by politicians who fail to become revolutionary prophets of nonviolence and economic justice.


So, Edwards supporters: Should he support Clinton, Obama, or remain neutral? And how would you feel if he endorses Hillary?
Update: Mark Halperin characterizes Edwards' doubts about Obama's toughness in a crass way that necessitates an apology.

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"Capitalism without financial failure is... a kind of socialism for the rich." 

Newsweek's Daniel Gross:

[In] these turbulent times, Wall Street traders are the infants and toddlers. They're the tykes who stage public tantrums, screaming and yelling and writhing on the floor until they get what they want. Since the markets began to buckle last summer, what traders want is interest-rate cuts and other government measures to bail out banks from reckless and disastrous lending and investment decisions. In response, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has done what any exhausted parent does when a child screams for three hours straight: he gives in. In the past two weeks, the Fed cut interest rates sharply twice, taking the Federal Funds rate down from 4.25 percent to 3 percent.

Of course, "giving in to a tantruming child just reinforces the demand," says Dr. Wendy Mogel, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles and author of the wildly popular parenting tome "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee." ..."Indulge tantrums and you get short-term gains and long-term loss."
There's a [another], telling way in which the markets exhibit childlike behavior. Children typically display an unwillingness to reckon with the fallout of their own actions. They look to parents to pick them up when they fall, and spare them from the consequences of their own behavior.

Also, when you indulge a tantrum, other "children" might see that it works and want to get in on the act.


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"Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom." 

Shorter Jeffrey: Obama is no MLK.

Well, no freakin' kidding.

Here are a few other similar historical insights: JFK was no Gandhi and FDR was no Jesus.

Do we need to go on?

Yes, like MLK, Obama is a black orator with an enthusiastic following, but I don't think many people are equating the two as leaders. (Certainly no one of substance is doing so.) Yet, because Jeffrey is annoyed by group enthusiasm among people who irritate him, he returns to his tactic of using revolutionary critiques against pragmatic politicans working within a system. This is like shooting fish in a barrel, and is perhaps a good outlet for venting.... but please.... saying the enthusiasm of Obama's supporters would be more justified if Obama would "effectively 'question the whole society'" is basically another way of saying "I don't like politicians". This is an understandable sentiment, but why do we have to dress it up?

Obama isn't sufficiently revolutionary for malcontent Jeffrey.

Yeah, well, big surprise there.... but seeing that we live in a democracy where presidential politicians need 51%, or 270 electoral votes, shouldn't such analysis of politicians be tempered with a nod toward ... political reality? For someone who slags on "a-historical cultists" (without linking to any examples of such), it would be illuminating for Jeffrey to provide historical evidence of modern "revolutionary" American presidents who explicitly campaigned as such. Otherwise, it seems that his excessive MLK critique could be used against all past and future presidential candidates. Therefore, how much does it really say about Obama?

Heck, too bad Jeffrey wasn't there in 1968. He could have used the same critique:

Look, kids, RFK is no MLK. Why are y'all getting so excited? Robert Francis is not talking about systemic revolutionary anti-imperialist change. Sure he might be a little bit better than Dick Nixon, but it's nothing to get so excited about. In fact, RFK authorized the wiretapping of MLK. You youthful true believers are getting too excited, and it annoys me. Simmer down! This Kennedy is no prophet of love, peace and nonviolence. Despite what he says, he will continue his brother's war! I just know it. And he's vague. He speaks in platitudes-- his supporters aren't even familiar with his policy platform. He's a young patrician hopemonger.

You want to use the MLK comparison to bludgeon some annoying 18 year old Obama true believers? Fine. Here's a little turnabout:

After JFK uttered some inaugural rhetoric about national service in 1960, my father was "inspired" to join the Peace Corps. He spent years in Africa building infrastructure for impoverished communities there, trying to be a "hands on" ambassador abroad. He almost lost his life in the Sahara, when an accident sent a flying wrench deep into his chest.

Too bad my father didn't have a prescient, historical advisor who could have told him that his youthful enthusiasm for JFK's service rhetoric was misplaced, and that his inspiration was blind. It might have saved him a lot of trouble if someone had explained to him that JFK and Dick Nixon were not much different. They were both imperialists. Neither stood for revolutionary change.

There was really no reason to get so excited, after all.

* title quote from Barack Obama's 2-12-08 speech in Madison, WI.
Note: slight edits have been made to this post for clarity
Update: More at Suspect Device.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008


The G-Bitch spot alerts us to an upcoming N.O. event celebrating the V-day movement that works to "change the story of women", by ending violence against them.

It will be a star-studded event:

Join Salma Hayek, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Hudson, Glenn Close, Julia Stiles, Ali Larter, Sally Field, Marisa Tomei, Calpernia Addams, Rosario Dawson, Kerry Washington, and musicians Common, Eve, and Charmaine Neville on Friday and Saturday, April 11 – 12, 2008 for V-Day’s mega two-day anniversary celebration in New Orleans at the New Orleans Arena and Louisiana Superdome

April is shaping up to be a busy month for New Orleans with French Quarter Fest, this V-Day mega celebration, the beginning of Jazz Fest, and Bush's (hopefully nonviolent) World Trade Summit sandwiched somewhere in between.


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Stupid Daddy Tricks 

When young daughter and mom are in the kitchen together, and there are three fairly random food items on the counter (like triscuits, raisins and mayonnaise), come in and excitedly say-- "SMORES!!"-- with a dopey hopeful grin.

Sustain grin until one of the two says "Isn't daddy silly?".

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Back to the Front 

An associate of Lovely's will see her fiancee ship out to Iraq in coming days. It will be his fifth tour of duty there, during the current occupation.


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Baronis sentenced to a year and a day 

Loot warm wine coolers from an abandoned store after a hurricane, get 15 years.

Loot $120k or more from the U.S. Navy during a time of war, get 366 days.

Keith Baroni told the judge that he takes 100 percent responsibility for the billing fiasco. "I am a Christian and I do make mistakes. This was one of them".

Oh well, in that case...

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"It does have a little kang to it" 

Link! (#2)


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Monday, February 11, 2008

Like butter 

Back in September, the Mime was discussing the Food Channel (or lack thereof) and I made a saucy comment about Ina Garten. The Mime responded somewhat uncharitably, saying: "Ina Garten? You're a sick, sick man. Next thing, you'll be talking about being in a hot tub of clarified butter with Paula Deen (sic)."

This somewhat disturbing suggestion has been lurking in the back of my consciousness ever since.

Well, sometimes you must follow your dream, and other times your dream follows you. P. Dean Deen will be doing a cooking demonstration at Harrah's casino March 1st. The event is already sold out, but I'm hoping to crash the afterparty and tell her about the Mime's hot tub idea.

Sadly, Ina (the Barefoot Contessa) won't be in town that day, but NOLadder pointed us to Bayou Contessa's latest post, which is absolutely gorgeous. So that will have to do for now.

* Note: Recently I said that D-BB and I might need a "clarification session". However, this nervy proposal had nothing to do with clarified butter or Paula Dean. But even if it did, I don't think D-BB could enjoy such a scene. From what I've seen, his aesthetic sense seems insufficiently Rubenesque. But I could be wrong.

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"Anyone Can Grow Up"?! Are you kidding me?

Here's a Daily Howler excerpt quoting a recent Margaret "all grown up" Carlson passage:

[From Carlson's] latest column— a clip which helps us recall the type of nasty sex-obsession which has long driven this cohort:

MARGARET CARLSON (1/23/08): With Bill [Clinton]'s promise to go “church to church” in South Carolina, it seems obvious that the campaign, if not the potential presidency to come, is two for the price of one. The candidate herself left South Carolina to her husband, the “first black president,” for three days while she headed to California to campaign.

It just might help. He gets above-the-fold coverage for his attacks on Obama and her forays into being the first black first lady haven't played that well. Her full-throated, thickly accented rendition of the old spiritual, “I Don't Feel No Ways Tired,” at a Selma, Alabama, church last March was widely imitated—and not as the highest form of flattery.

As for her husband, who would have thought that the silver-haired philanthropist would do more damage as a politician than a playboy? The campaign had discounted the trouble a bimbo eruption could cause. Anything less than sex under the nose of his daughter and wife, and any less proof of it than a stained blue dress, would be overlooked by a public beyond being shocked. A would-be Gennifer Flowers would have to come armed with DNA results or be dismissed as a deluded stalker imagining an affair with Clinton.

“Anything less than sex under the nose of his daughter!” These are truly nasty people—as they were in 1998, as they were for two years after that as they punished Clinton’s successor, sending George Bush to the White House. The obsession expressed during that campaign have put the dead of Iraq in the ground. But this obsession will never change—their hatreds will only get harder.


Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler is right to point this out. Carlson's imagery was anything but "all grown up". It was intentionally nasty, and certainly more insidious than the David Schuster's "pimpgate". But it was totally overlooked, which is par for the course.

Again, we must return to this YRHT analysis of one of the most important Daily Howler posts ever. In it, Somerby wrote:

With the presumptive defeat of Candidate Clinton, a 16-year story will come to an end. This gives Democrats a new chance to take control of the narratives told about its leaders. By now, it’s abundantly clear that a Nominee Clinton would be subjected to endless nonsense throughout the campaign, as was the case with Candidate Gore all through 1999 and 2000. These attacks would be based on sixteen years of mainstream demonology— and it’s clear that many Dems and libs believe many parts of these RNC tales. (Let’s not pretend that we don’t.) Obama’s nomination lets Dems start again. And, with new, more aggressive liberal institutions in place, it will be harder—much, much harder—to assemble the welter of Demon Tales that were used to trash the Clintons and Gore. The defeat of Clinton will let Democrats and liberals at long last start over again.

Do you understand how important that is? Yes, Obama will get the "treatment", but he won't get the Clinton treatment! Is that fair-- of course not! Should liberals continue to militate against the Clinton Rules-- of course we should! But this project will take years of hard work and vigilance-- and it will be nearly impossible to accomplish during another Clinton presidency. In the next 8 months or so, history can be changed. As Somerby puts it, "A 16 year story will come to an end" if Obama wins. The press will reward Obama if he beats the (hated) all-powerful Clinton "machine". He's a media darling. (Now, that's not to say Obama won't get "the treatment". There will be disclosures, and criticisms... perhaps even a "scandal". His campaign roller coaster will have to go through dark tunnels... that's the nature of the beast. But jeebus, it won't be anything near what Hillary will have to go through-- day in, day out. With Hillary, you get all the baggage, and a much smaller electoral map, and therefore much smaller coattails.

I mean, just look at what the media dropped on Hillary the day of the very important California Debate, which preceded Super Duper Tuesday. Just look at this sampling. It's just brutal.

ABC: Clinton Remained Silent As Wal-Mart Fought Unions

WSJ editorial: Hillary's Smear Campaign

NYT: After Mining Deal, Financier Donated to Clinton

NYT: Nicholas Kristof drops the "Dynasty" question on Hillary, which actually got incorporated into the debate.

Wapo: Broder:

But in the past two weeks, there has been a remarkable shift of establishment opinion against her and against the prospect of placing the party's 2008 chances in the hands of her husband, Bill Clinton.

The prominence of his role in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and the mean-spiritedness of his attacks on Obama, stunned many Democrats. Clinton's behavior underlined the warning raised in this column before Iowa, by a prominent veteran of the Clinton administration, that the prospect of two presidents both named Clinton sharing a single White House would be a huge problem for the Democrats in November if Hillary Clinton is the nominee.

Plus utter crap like this and (this-- "Clinton has a weird conservative religious streak").

I mean, my gracious!-- all of this was dropped on January 31st. That's just ONE DAY'S worth of hit pieces, released on the morning before a crucial debate. And that daily brutality seems just par for the course. It goes unnoticed, because it's the Clinton Rules.

In contrast, here's an account of the big New York Times drug expose of Obama, released on the day of the LA, WA and NE caucuses and primary. As the link makes plain, the subtext of the story is about how much of a non-story Obama's teenage drug use is. It even raises the possibility that this ambitious young man publicly exaggerated his drug use for some bizarre reason. That's hilarious.

Surely the sledding will get tougher for Obama, but it will never approach getting Clinton/Gore tough. That much is very clear. Obama is a shortcut towards the opportunity of creating newer and better political narratives for Democrats. Clinton is a long, grueling detour.

Is that fair? Of course not. Still, for this reason and many others, I advise us to take the shortcut.

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Illinois Sen. Barack Obama picked up 24 of Louisiana's 37 delegates up for grabs in Saturday's Democratic primary.

Good. That's more than I thought he would get.

Jacques Berry, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, said based on recalculations early Sunday, about 25 percent of state's voters turned out, about 10 percent higher than estimated Saturday night.

Good. That's more than I thought would turn out.

Louisiana Democratic Party officials said that 20 more delegates will be chosen at a May 3 meeting of the Democratic State Central Committee, and they will probably be apportioned based on the popular vote Saturday. That would give Obama at least 11 additional delegates and Clinton seven.

"Probably"? If I hear about the Clinton campaign lobbying DSCC members to not apportion delegates based on the popular vote, I'm going to be pissed. Let the Dems primary vote count, dammit. Especially since the GOP primary that Huckabee won, won't "count" at all.

After Clinton and Obama basically "tied" on Super Tuesday, Louisiana's primary took on unforeseen importance. I think the one-sided results over this long political weekend (WA, NE, LA, VI, ME, VA, MD, DC) will be seen as a significant turning point in this campaign. It might set the stage for continued momentum throughout February, which might yield a surprise win in Tejas or Ohio that seals the deal for candidate Obama.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Always on Saturday" 

I was waiting for Moldy City to post about why T-P editorials that are critical of Nagin are always buried in the undiscussed Saturday edition.

This one is pretty fierce, by Times Picayune standards. Read David's post and the editorial too. But I wanted to reprint some selected phrases from it, because they are so darn rare in our "Daily Monopoly":

EDITORIAL: A web of falsehoods

Saturday, February 09, 2008

...The city didn't even bother to look into more than 17,000 complaints logged by residents after the program was launched in August 2006. To add to the insult, the Nagin administration shut down the program months ago without telling residents it was doing so.

This is outrageous behavior. ...

It is especially galling that Mayor Ray Nagin continued to tout the Good Neighbor effort publicly after it had been quietly shut down. ...

A recovery administrator in the mayor's office says that a lack of inspectors... led to the decision to pull the plug on the Good Neighbor effort. ...

Those are lame excuses. The city ought to have hired more inspectors long before now.
It is unforgivable that the Nagin administration...
"They lied to me repeatedly," [Councilmember Head] said.

Is it any wonder that residents are frustrated with City Hall?
New Orleanians were misled. Mayor Nagin ought to apologize, and he ought to make sure that residents get the truth from City Hall.

Newly-elected Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee member Dangerblond was properly outraged when this story broke. That is one of the reasons why she is so cool.

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Always on election eve? 

Obama had momentum coming out of Iowa, and Clinton became emotional the day before the New Hampshire primary, and pulled an upset.

Obama had momentum coming off a big win in South Carolina, and Clinton got teary-eyed the day before splitting delegates evenly on Super Duper Tuesday.

Now Obama has momentum after dominating contests in WA, NE, LA and the Virgin Islands, and Hillary again wipes away a tear the day before the Maine caucus (which she has a chance of winning).

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