Monday, July 07, 2008

Sabludowsky confirms that Jindal traded pay raises for vouchers

Steven Sabludowsky of Bayou Buzz confirms what Clancy DuBos reported, and what Ryan at the Daily Kingfish suspected back in June: Jindal traded pay raises for school vouchers. Sabludowsky writes:

Recently, I had a long talk with a legislator, who I will label as “Legislator X”. Legislator X told me (off the record) that the deal for the pay raise was the “vouchers” legislation. In other words, Jindal wanted success with his school voucher legislation and so he let the legislature do what they wanted to do regarding the pay raise. Were there other deals? We do not know. But, this one legislator identified the vouchers and I believe this legislator would be in a very good position to have a good idea what was occurring behind the scenes. Bobby Jindal, if he really wanted transparency in government should tell the public what occurred... The public deserves an answer.

Since political pressure forced Jindal to renege on his end of the pay raise/voucher deal, the pertinent question at this point is: What new "deals" (if any) did Jindal make with the Leges he shafted?

At least Sabludowsky and Clancy are in the ballpark on this one. Political analyst John Maginnis is a little slow on the uptake (NYT link has been added):

Jindal was being vilified on talk radio and the Internet by once-fervent supporters, who had just as fervently turned against him over his stubborn refusal to veto the pay raise bill. His own words from his flawless gubernatorial campaign -- a pledge to prohibit the Legislature from taking the raise the way it did -- had returned to haunt and mock him. The national VP short-list buzz was muffled by a New York Times story in which he was cast as weak and unwilling to stand up to Louisiana politicians, whose level he had sunk to. To bottom it all out, a recall petition was filed against him last week.

Politicians who get into this kind of pickle usually did something wrong and at least got something out of it, whether sex or money. Jindal didn't do a thing and got nothing out of it but grief.

Bullshit. Don't cast Jindal as some innocent bystander. Jindal was in on it from the beginning, and made promises to key legislators that he wouldn't veto pay raise legislation if they would vote for his voucher program.

Beyond the vouchers, it's quite likely that Jindal traded many other things, too. Look closely at this quote from this article from the News Star:

Northeastern Louisiana lawmakers, both those who voted for and against the legislative pay raise, said Gov. Bobby Jindal's veto on Monday was a breach of trust between the executive and legislative branches.
"He made a lot of promises to a lot of legislators, and anytime you tell someone something and don't stick to it right or wrong it's going to create a problem with trust," said Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, who voted against the raise.


"Let me be very clear: we opposed this pay raise from the very beginning."

-- Gov. Jindal

Meanwhile, Gov. Jindal currently has less than 48 hours to veto the substantial pay raises for his own cabinet. As WVUE's Allison Braxton reported yesterday on Fox 8 news:

In the governor's proposed budget he's seeking raises for at least three of his cabinet secretaries, with a nearly $75-thousand dollar increase for his economic development chief secretary Stephen Moret. That would bring his salary to 320 thousand dollars a year. Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine is expected to receive a 60-thousand dollar pay raise... to 180 thousand. Jindal's homeland security chief will get a 27-thousand dollar pay bump... to 165-thousand dollars a year.
State lawmakers say the governor has 48-hours to line item veto pay raises for his cabinet and they fear the raises will go into affect with very little opposition from the public.

So, here's where the rubber meets the road for all the "No Pay Raise" zealots. Here's the real test. If pay raises are such an outrage, will y'all pressure Governor Jindal to line item veto the enormous salary increases given to his Cabinet? Will you righteously ask why Jindal's cabinet deserves massive raises, right now, on top of their six figure salaries? Will you pressure Jindal about this issue with the same intensity that you pressured him about the pay raise bill? Or will you let it pass without rallies at the Capitol, and 24/7 internet frothing, and radio show ranting?

Where is your principled outrage now?

So this is your test, pay raise zealots. I predict you'll fail.

Update: Jeffrey posted similar thoughts around the same time. His is more delicious to read, I must admit, and chock full o' links.

George Bush's net jobs total will be half of Jimmy Carter's

NYT's Paul Krugman:

Over all, Mr. Bush will be lucky to leave office with a net gain of five million jobs, far short of the number needed to keep up with population growth. For comparison, Bill Clinton presided over an economy that added 22 million jobs.

For political purposes, there are better comparisons to make. If you are going to cite the 22 million net jobs created during Clinton's presidency you should also note that this is about the same number of jobs created under Reagan, Bush Sr. and Bush Jr... COMBINED.

That's right. In terms of job creation, 8 years of Clinton nearly equalled 8 years of Reagan plus 4 years of Bush plus 8 years of more Bush. I predicted that "Dubya's economy will create fewer net jobs in eight years than Carter did in four". That's the comparison to use. If Bush ends up with 5 million net jobs over eight years, that will be half the number of jobs created during Jimmy Carter's four year term. People need to know these things.

Net Job creation and Stock Market performance are far superior during Democratic Presidencies. That's just a fact, jack.

Again, it's your money.

Net Jobs Created (* = 2 term president):

Clinton*: 22.75 million

Reagan*: 16.1 million

Carter: 10.33 million

Bush "43"*: 5 million (projected total)

Bush "41": 2.6 million

Since 1901 the Dow Jones industrial average has gained

6.4%/year during Republican presidencies


9.1%/year during Democratic presidencies

Update: Atrios has related, but snarkier, thoughts.

"You can sort of see signs of [a housing] bottom coming"

Cryptogon alerts us to Dana Milbank's report on Assistant Treasury Secretary Phillip Swagel's recent press briefing. As Milbank observes, Swagel looked like "a very nervous man" at the podium, discussing current weaknesses in the U.S. economy:

One of the bon mots Assistant Treasury Secretary Phillip Swagel tossed out was this:

So, we're not through the housing correction but you know, you can sort of see signs of the bottom coming.

Well, you know, we have sort of been hearing this "bottomless bottom talk" from the Treasury Department for the past two one and a half years.

The Treasury Dept. during the Bush years has been an utter joke-- on the dollar, on housing, on the recessions, on the markets... on everything. They have no credibility, no respect, no positive impact. The only way to make this Dept. less credible would be to install former Senator Phil Gramm as Treasury Secretary. And that's what would likely happen if John McCain is elected President.

It's your money.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

New Media Maven Jesse Helms inspired the liberal internet

Besides being a "brilliant exemplar of the American conservative movement", WSJ columnist John Fund informs us of another way in which "Jesse Helms made a difference".

[Jesse Helms'] mastery of new media techniques and technology convinced many liberals they had to invest in the Internet and build up the passions of their base.

Like Johnny Carson used to say, "I did not know that".

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The ultimate crime

While fondling my new hand-held cellular device, I wondered if I should test it out by sending a text message and a photo to Mayor Ray Nagin, State Sen. Julie Quinn and State Rep. Walker Hines.

The text message would say "Huzzah!", and would be accompanied by a photo of me speeding through a "photo enforced" intersection while smoking a trans-fat french fry, with my two daughters visible in the background, helplessly strapped in their carseats.

Because, you know, having safe streets is important.

15 years ago "we turned the corner" on racism; it's been that way for a long time, now.

Big Man from Raving Black Lunatic passes along the latest news from Friendship, Arkansas:

A rental home where a mother with three biracial sons lived burned to the ground only days after she says people set a wooden cross ablaze in her yard.

Both sheriff's deputies and FBI agents are investigating the Friday morning fire at the home of Loretta Marie Slaughter-Shirah, saying they believe it to be arson.

Slaughter-Shirah said the nearly 6-foot-tall cross, draped in a white sheet, was set on fire last week. In the time since, she took her children to live with her mother nearby her destroyed home.

No one was home at the time of Friday's fire.

"I thought I had the right and freedom to live where I wanted to live," said Slaughter-Shirah, 23, a Louisiana native who only moved to Hot Springs County two weeks ago.

Well, waddya expect from some dumbass backwater in Arkansas?... I mean, over here in God's country, we can't even remember the last time anyone but "outside agitators" stirred up trouble between us and the co--

Alert! Alert! A recent news item from Metairie has been brought to our attention:

More than four weeks after someone burned the letters KKK and the shapes of three crosses in the front yard of an African-American family's Metairie home, the grass still refuses to grow. And the family has not rushed to remove the symbols.

"We left it out there because we want people in the neighborhood to know that there are people in their own backyards that believe in this garbage," said the family's patriarch, who asked not to be named...

The property, in a predominantly white section of northeast Metairie, is home to a 35-year-old chef and a 34-year-old cosmetologist and their three children. They had lived in the house only five days when the symbols were discovered.
Perhaps the hardest part for the couple was explaining to their 9-year-old son why there were so many police cars in the yard last month, the meaning of burned crosses and the Ku Klux Klan, and why someone might not like the boy because of his skin color. It was a painful conversation the father said he never imagined having to have in this day and age.

However, I was truly heartened to see this front page article in today's T-P:

Exceeding organizers' expectations, 200 to 300 people gathered this morning around the northeast Metairie home of Travis and Kiyanna Smith to denounce vandals that chemically burned hate symbols into the African-American couple's lawn and to take turns digging up and resodding the defaced patches of grass.

Dubbed "Uproot Hate," the Independence Day event was organized by a coalition of churches, synagogues and mosques.

"History teaches us that silence is rarely an effective response to bigotry," said Rabbi Robert Loewy of Congregation Gates of Prayer in Metairie as he delivered the statement of purpose for the interfaith ceremony staged on the Smiths' lawn at the corner of Homestead Avenue and Live Oak Street. "We gather to affirm the American values enshrined in that Declaration of Independence."

Very nice. While I ate hot dogs and got a sunburn by the pool, hundreds of anti-racists came together in Metairie to celebrate the Declaration of Independence by "righting" an ugly wrong.

I've been informed that "old" is someone who is fifteen(+) years older than you are. Kind of a moving target.

Similarly, we always seem to hear that the country turned the corner on "real racism" about 15 years ago. Of course, fifteen years ago I was hearing that same refrain.

Can you surveil me now? Can you surveil me now?

Somewhere between the Circle K and an Uptown poker den, I lost my phone Thursday night. So I called the NSA to see if they could help me track it down, since they "probably" already had detailed, real-time information about my phone's exact location.

But they wouldn't help me.

So I asked them if they could at least send me a copy of my "Contacts" phone list, so I could replace the phone numbers I lost.

They said, "What's the point? You don't call most of those people anyway."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Important points all collected in one place

David writes a great post about a crucially important issue for Louisiana. Please read it, and tag it for later reference.

Whatever you do, though, don't get outraged by it. Don't write letters and editorials about it or discuss it for three weeks ad nauseum on talk radio. Don't come together, en masse, and pressure national leaders and presidential aspirants to make ironclad commitments for Louisiana... don't do any of that.

After all, we're not talking about a pay raise for the Legislature, so let's keep our powder dry for the really important stuff.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Gastronomy Domine

Holy smokes!

Restaurant MiLa is dishing out some of the most scrumptious eats in New Orleans. I swear, my mouth hasn't been that happy since the Nazarene was a corporal. In terms of pure taste, chefs Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing are doing something very special right now. Take a bite of their Oysters Rockefeller, and you'll see what I mean.

Lovely and I celebrated my mom's birthday at MiLa's the other night, and were blown away. It was so good I made a costly oversight, and forgot to tell our server to put the check on OUR Mayor's City Amex card. Aw well. Maybe next time.

I'm irritated that this clever post title has been used for a long time by a well known UK food blog. I guess it really wasn't as clever as I had hoped. Anyway, here's the reference.

"...Please take my hand"

Some Democratic party leaders from Durham, North Carolina were allegedly involved in "satanic rituals" and were charged with assault and rape. You can read the details here. I don't know if the story is overhyped or not, but I'd probably run with it if the leaders were "family values" Republicans, so I thought I'd throw a bone to more conservative YRHT readers by linking to it.

If these poor Democrats have been infected with Satan's demons, perhaps we can dispatch our Governor to NC to help them out.


Not holding back

The New Orleans Levee's compilation of (real) news reports on Nagin and crime cameras represents some of the best print journalism I've seen this month, locally.

Nicely done.


Mr. Clio is right. Brian Bordelon is a warrior (and a saints fan, and former paramedic, and a funny and lively soul... among many other things).

His most recent post at No Pickles updates his circumstances and asks "if anyone has advice or words of encouragement, please send them".

Yes, please do.


(More background here.)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Entergy: FYYFF!

One of Ashley's last posts was titled "Entergy throws our heritage into the dumpster". It documented how Entergy did not replace street tiles it destroyed while doing gas pipeline work on Pine St..

Ashley wrote his neighbor Chris Rose about this outrage, and his communication prompted Rose to write an excellent tribute to Ashley after his untimely death.

Well, nine days later the T-P printed a letter by Entergy VP Rusty Burroughs responding to Rose's column. I'm biased, so rather than summarize or excerpt from the letter, I will reprint it in full, and merely highlight selected quotes that irritate me:

"Entergy committed to saving vintage street tiles"
Friday, April 25, 2008
Re: "We'll miss the blogger next door," Living, April 16.

Entergy New Orleans Inc. employees care about our city's historical treasures, and our gas business has a long history of providing the safe and reliable natural gas service since 1835. When we speak about preserving the history of New Orleans, we take that obligation seriously.

In his column, Chris Rose mentioned the destruction of street name tiles during our gas rebuild. For the gas rebuild, Entergy New Orleans is working with specially trained contractors to install new flood- and corrosion-resistant gas pipes. As part of our normal inspection process, Entergy New Orleans managers discovered that a subcontractor's crew had destroyed the street name tiles on six blocks. That crew was immediately terminated from the job. The fact is, of the nearly 1,500 street corners impacted by the rebuild to date, approximately 500 have street name tiles and only about 18 were not replaced -- a clear violation of Entergy's practice. Those tiles will be replaced, and were in the process of being replaced before the article was written by Mr. Rose.

It is Entergy's practice to carefully remove street name tiles, keep them safe while work is being performed and then restore them to their original street corner. We require our subcontractors to follow the same standards, procedures and practices as Entergy.

The discovery and restoration of the tiles was spurred by our employees doing their job well -- inspecting the work of subcontractors -- and would have been completed regardless of who "reported" the story. We regret any inconvenience and we will continue to work hard to ensure the protection of the city's historical treasures during this long rebuild process.

Rusty Burroughs

Vice President
Gas Operations
Entergy New Orleans, Inc.
New Orleans


So, in the two months after that letter was published, what's Entergy done about the missing tiles on Pine and Birch?

They ain't done a damn thing from what I can see. Nada. Zip. Zilch. They ain't done squadoosh. They are squadouchemooks. The tiles haven't been replaced, and the corner looks just as bare as it did in Ashley's pictures which he posted three months ago. But, you know, Entergy's intrepid inspectors had already noticed the missing tiles, and had already initiated the process to replace them long before Ashley "reported" the story.

Yeah, ok.

Again, I'm biased, but there's a faint subterranean tone to that letter that irks me. Here's how Rusty's letter strikes my jaundiced eyes: "Ignorant billpayers, Entergy was on top of this street tile thing waaaay before Chris Rose or his blogger neighbor 'reported' the story. We're in the process of replacing the tiles, and Rose's little story was printed just before we put them back in the wet concrete. He might've caught us this time, a few days before the restoration of the tiles was completed, but don't worry your pretty little heads about it, we got everything under control..."

Ok, Entergy: so where the f*ck are the street tiles?! It's been three months. These are freakin' street tiles we're talking about, not nuclear detonators-- where are they? Every time I drive past Pine and Birch I notice their absence, and it irritates the hell out of me. Like Ashley said:

Entergy, fix it. Fix it now. You're a damned public monopoly, guaranteed to make a profit.

Make it right. It's all important.