Friday, November 07, 2008

Thank you, Mr. President Elect! 

From Noladder, we learn of this webtube news:

[A]t his main site, Obama flipped on a splash page today to request donations for victims of Hurricane Gustav -- which socked the Louisiana and Texas coast back on Aug. 25. Obama has created an online fund-raising engine that churned in millions of dollars and had to stop raising funds for himself on Nov. 4; rather than shut down the engine, he's simply redirected the horsepower.



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Joseph Cao fever! 

Huck Upchuck writes an informative post up about Republican Congressional Candidate Anh Joseph Cao, who YRHT (probably prematurely) endorsed yesterday. Huck moderated a political forum that featured Cao, and was duly impressed with Cao's intelligence and progressive stands on immigration issues. He enthusiastically endorses him here.

Joseph Cao has a new, professional-looking web site.


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Not right 

Barack Obama is left-handed, as were presidents Ford, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton. President Carter and Dubya are right handed.

Sen. John McCain, Vice President Gore, Bob Dole, John Edwards, Bill Bradley, and Ross Perot are all southpaws, too. What gives?



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Obama wins North Carolina 

Warning: long political post.

NYT's Gail Collins:

I believe that during the campaign McCain’s great friend Senator Lindsey Graham said something along the line of promising to drown himself if North Carolina went for Obama.

I think this is the quote she's referring to:

“[McCain] fits North Carolina like a glove,” [Lindsey] Graham said. “I’ll beat [Olympic gold medalist] Michael Phelps in swimming before Barack Obama wins North Carolina."

Graham added: "Don’t let me down, because I can’t swim.”

Suit up, Lindsey.

Seriously, though, I have a few Dem roosters to roast, too. Namely: Big Tent Democrat from Talk Left. Predictably, Big Tent wrote a post-election post that fit Obama's victory into his "Demographics is Political Destiny/Politics of Contrast" analytical model. I've previously asserted that the maxim "Demographics is Political Destiny" is about as useful as saying "Geometry and Physics are Billiards Tournament Destiny". I mean, imagine the bemused look on David Axelrod's face if Big Tent went into his office and laid out his over-arching "Demographics is Political Destiny" thesis. That would be amusing. If BTD has real-world experience working in top-level campaigns, it never shows in his analysis.

The problem with the demographics idea is that it is superficial and only, say, 80% true-- which really means it is dangerously false. It works until it doesn't. It's predictive until it isn't. It feeds into Black Swan risk. If you give me timing, issue frames (to control context), and a talented candidate, I'll make mincemeat of demographic "destiny". Not every time, of course, but enough times to make a mockery of the word "destiny". Yet, throughout the primary season, Big Tent based his political analysis on demographic results from primaries, and tried to chart those out to a General Election political "destiny" for Obama and Hillary Clinton. This led to grand pronouncements like the following:

"One of the stories Obama supporters like to tell us is that Obama will put North Carolina in play and Hillary can not. I think neither can put North Carolina in play."

-- Big Tent Democrat

"In short, for Obama to win North Carolina, he needs a miracle basically. Record breaking African American turnout COUPLED with a record breaking performance for a Democrat with white North Carolinians - an 8 point improvement over a ticket that included a native son of North Carolina. It ain't going to happen people."

-- Big Tent Democrat (in a June post titled "A Realistic Assessment")

Well, it did happen. Narrowly, granted, but national politics can be a game of inches, as we know all too well. Damn near any campaign is winnable-- any campaign!-- if the right political dynamics come into play, and are gainfully appropriated. Yet, Big Tent (along with many others) are pronouncing a new Democratic Majority on the basis of demographic vote breakdowns in the recent Presidential election. This sort of overconfidence in political "destiny" is a good way to get your ass handed to you in a sling 4 to 8 years from now. Just ask Fred "realignment" Barnes. Sure, it looks like a favorable political landscape for Dems going forward, but rest assured-- that can and will change. Ignore contingency at your own peril.

I'm not finished. Perhaps it's unseemly, but I'm going to troll through Big Tent Democrat's archives because I've been so irritated with his political analysis throughout the campaign season. And when I say "irritated", I actually mean that as a backhanded compliment in the sense that Big Tent's irritations created intellectual frictions in my mind, which forced me to think through and clarify my own thoughts on the primacy of "political dynamics". A campaign's ability to predict, sculpt, and respond to political dynamics is the real key to winning an election, I believe. (I said this before here and here). Narrative and strategy won't trump demographics every time, but they will do so often enough to make a mockery of the word "destiny".

Ok, so consider these claims made by BTD. You can click the links to make sure I'm not taking them out of context:

"At some point, one hopes, Barack Obama and his supporters will start thinking about winning in November. It needs to start with seating the Florida and Michigan delegations." -- BTD ("Start thinking about winning in November"... that's such a condescending and insulting thing to say! It really irks me, especially when you see how Obama/Plouffe/Axelrod pinned Hillary and McCain down like bewildered bugs throughout the primaries and GE. You're witnessing one of the best campaigns you'll ever see, and you express the "hope" that they're thinking about winning it all. Again, I'd just love to be a fly on the wall in an imaginary meeting where BTD presents this concern to David Axelrod.)

"Clinton CAN win Florida and West Virginia. Obama can not win either.... So what is Obama's best map? CA, OR, WA, MN, WI, MI, PA, MD, NJ, NY, CT, MA, RI, VT, NH, ME, the Kerry states, PLUS CO, NM, NV, IA, MO and OH. That is Kerry's 252 PLUS new electoral votes for a total of 309 electoral votes." -- BTD, May. Only off by 55+ electoral votes. No biggie. Even Mr Gloomypants predicted (in Oct.) that Obama would get 364. And just think, earlier in the year, Mr. Jaundiced Doom had said that "Obama won't be the nominee" and he's "not buying the Obama hype".

Here's a BTD gem from late last year (my emphasis):

"Personally, I don't buy these polls so far out and do not think Hillary is very electable. But that is the least of it. more so than Obama, I find Hillary's political rhetoric and style an abandonment of the Politics of Contrast (see my posts on the subject for more detail) that I think won Dems the 2006 election and the type of politics that Dems must adopt in the near future in all national elections. To wit, Hillary is BENEFITTING from an improved Dem brand and weakened GOP brand but her style was not part of that success. To adopt it, or Obama's, is to reject success. "I do not understand why Dems would do that. But Dems have proven to be political fools in the past so it certainly is possible they will again be so in the future."

-- BTD, December

Obama's project of becoming the next President centered, crucially, on winning the Iowa caucus. He had to win Iowa to win the Democratic primaries and nomination. So, here's my question: How does Obama employ the "Demographics is destiny/Politics of contrast" model to win in Iowa? How does he do that? That's what I want to know. How does Obama "out-contrast" John Edwards, who had been running in Iowa since 2004, and was running as an unrepentant economic populist liberal in 2008? Where does Obama go with that? With a more liberal policy menu? No way. Obama had to find a new way to win Iowa, in order to win it all. And he did that. He brought new voters in, and with soaring rhetoric he picked off Hillary and Edwards voters from the left and the right.

Winning Iowa didn't guarantee anything for Obama, of course, but it unlocked the gate to enable a potential primary stampede. Without Iowa, Obama doesn't go anywhere. If he gets beat there, everyone says "Obama ran too early. It wasn't his time... Maybe he'd be a good Veep... etc." Iowa meant everything to the Obama campaign (and it still bothers me that while he was making his move in December in the Brodervilles of Iowa, too many on the left started freaking out over some comments Obama made about reforming Social Security. Then he uttered the word "Reagan" and everyone freaked out again.)

That's why I titled my Iowa primary preview post "who will the caucusing caucasians select for us?"

Not who will they select, but who will they select for us. That's how important that caucus was. I knew Obama had a dynamic campaign infrastructure, strategic depth, and a determination to win it all... but first he had to win Iowa. For all his virtues, on paper, Edwards-- who presumably waged the "Politics of Contrast" chapter and verse-- didn't possess these things. So, if you wanted someone other than Hillary in 2008, it was Obama by default. So, where precisely was the "Demographic destiny" in the Iowa caucus for Barack Obama? That's the question I'd like answered. Was that a matter of demographics or dynamics?

Credit where credit is due: BTD did use some polling analysis to predict that Obama would win the Iowa caucus, and that he would go on to win the Presidency if he faced Romney. I'd been predicting Obama/Romney since somewhere in mid-2007 (and reader bigshot had been predicting it since late 2006). However, when handicapping an Obama/McCain match-up, BTD simply stated: "McCain would beat Obama". I guess at some point Obama's political "destiny" against McCain "changed" along the way.

"I believe that 'serious electoral majority' stuff, btw." -- oyster

Throughout the late primary season, BTD was very troubled by Obama's reluctance to join forces with Hillary Clinton and name her as VP. He didn't understand why Obama would choose the harder route to GE victory. In BTD's mind Obama was trying to win the GE by 2-5% without Clinton, when he could easily choose her as Veep and comfortably win by 7-9%. "Why does he want to win that way?" BTD asked. Well, here's one big reason*: if Obama named Hillary as Veep, the media Village gets to stagger forward for another 4-8 years, zombie-like, with all the lovely entrenched Clinton demon-tales that have been so carefully perfected since 1992.

Bob Somerby has catalogued in granular detail the press' hatred of the Clintons, a hatred which was then transferred to Gore in 2000. For nearly a decade, Somerby screamed about liberal media pushovers who let the press spin Republican demon tales about "the Clintonz" and about Gore. If Obama had selected Hillary as Veep, those tales, and that narrative continues for at least four more years. That's a lead pipe cinch. Obama recognized this vicious political media dynamic (and profited from it in the primaries), but he was smart enough to know that he could put an end to this narrative by winning and choosing someone other than Hillary as Veep. Further, BY DOING SO, he had a chance to absolutely cripple the strategic worldview of most Republican wingnuts. See, to many Republicans, "the Clintonz" are basically the source of all evil. All problems can be traced back to Bill Clinton's communist penis. Fear of the Clintons animates them like little else. Even worse (for the wingnuts) "the Clintonz" are politically unbeatable. They are the only Democrats who know how to win. For at least four years, these wingnuts have been living in mortal fear of a President Hillary. They had their stories ready. They had their pet fears ready. They were all set to resume the Clinton Wars once Hillary succeeded Bush. They were all set! Then, unbelievably, this Obama upstart somehow beats her in the primaries. It's still hard for them to process. But, if Hillary gets on the Obama ticket, then these wingnuts (as well as the Village Media) don't have to change their political frame very much. Just a few revisions to the scripts ("She really wanted to be Veep all along"), and they're good to go. Hillary and Bill Clinton are still the evil nemeses behind all the world's problems, and Obama is simply their White House Ne...... stooge . That's how they wanted it all along... etc.

So the themes of the 2008 GE campaign would've been very different if Hillary was on the ticket. There would have been endless speculation about Hillary and Bill Clinton returning to the White House as the real "powers that be", guiding their young, inexperienced figurehead president.

More importantly, all the revived Clinton-era demon tales would persist. These tales all trace back in some form to what I call "Vietnam politics". "Vietnam politics" is short-hand for the 1968/dirty hippie/racial culture war politics that has dominated recent Presidential campaigns. The McCain campaign went back to the well, one last time, when they linked Obama to William Ayers. It didn't work.

I was going to write a post about this a couple weeks ago, but I held it back out of superstition. Since then, there have been several articles written making similar points**. I'm not saying "Vietnam politics" would have worked if Obama and Hillary were on the same ticket, but it would've persisted in the media narratives during and beyond the election. You can bet on that. Unfair as it is, Obama winning the GE sans Hillary officially rejects these narratives, and that's incalculably valuable for liberals who want to craft a more progressive political "destiny" for the country.

For example, can you imagine how Obama's appointment of Rahm Emanuel (and anyone else with Clinton ties) would appear if Hillary was Vice President-elect? How would that be covered in the media? Can you imagine all the speculation about Hillary being the next Cheney, and her being the real power behind the throne? Can you imagine all the controversies and power struggles and soap operas the press would try to concoct if Hillary was Obama's Veep? Obama would have to somehow function as a President weighed down with the millstone of all these persistent media narratives about "the Clintonz", (which always trace back so seamlessly to the Vietnam/culture war politics which many conservatives adore).

As Bob Somerby proclaims: "The end of a 16 year era is on us." He's right. And the end of this era is incalculably valuable to Obama, and to Democrats. It's damn near infinitely valuable. After nearly a generation of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, the Republicans suddenly have to go back to the drawing board for new narratives. The center of their world-- Clinton's unbeatable, communist penis-- is suddenly gone. Simultaneously, the book closes on all the sustained media village narratives about the Clintons. Now that Hillary lost, she'll get a kinder media makeover. Most heartening of all, Liberals have an opportunity to resist any new pseudo-histories and demon tales that are spun about Obama, before they become firmly implanted in the national consciousness and affect important national elections. Suddenly the air is clear. We have an incredible opportunity. All these persistent tales about "the Clintonz" and "Vietnam/Culture Politics" have been suddenly filed away (if not discredited). The electorate is tired of that stuff... it's old and dead. From now on, when a wingnut or columnist casually refers to Vince Foster, that shit will have no purchase. (Obviously, how this all played out is not fair to Bill and Hillary. I understand and sympathize with that. But in my mind Obama didn't have a choice.)

But to get back to the original point, let's pretend Obama did in fact choose Hillary to be Veep, as BTD advised, and in doing so he picked up Arkansas and Missouri in the GE and won by 8% instead of 6%. Big Schmeal. The tradeoff to that was 4-8 more years of "Vietnam Politics". All those persistent entrenched Clinton demon tale narratives would simply be expanded a bit to smother Obama. How long would it take for a unified Chicago/Saul Alinsky/Clinton/Obama thesis to emerge from the fevered swamps? Who in their right mind would choose to take on that foolishness?

To be sure, future "foolishness" will occur. That's inevitable. But the new tales that will be spun won't be supported by an adamantine narrative superstructure. Future demon tales about Obama won't become entrenched in the national consciousness-- if liberals and progressives are vigilant this time. The "end of the 16 year era" [of Clinton hatred powered by Vietnam politics] is one of the biggest stories of this election. Let's endeavor to make the political history of the next sixteen years vastly superior to this past era.

* this is not the only reason, though, and I'll discuss some of the others in future posts

** I don't necessarily agree with the analysis in these articles, but they make a basic point

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Free Eddie? 

A YRHT inside source expects Bush to commute former Gov. Edwin Edwards' ten year prison sentence. (EWE is 81 years old, and has served six years thus far.)

“There is an old Chinese proverb that says if you wait by the river long enough the bodies of your enemies will float past you.” -- EWE

We'll see.
Update: another connected source is doubtful about any commutation occurring.

In other prison news, YRHT has confirmed that former Kenner City Councilman and convicted fraudster Nick Baroni got severely beaten up in Club Fed recently. Details are scarce. I'm not sure what (if anything) started the fight, or if he just got cold-cocked, but Baroni will be serving the rest of his one year sentence missing a lot of teeth, and nursing other injuries. It's strange, because vicious beatings are rare in low security prisons with non-violent offenders. I can't help but wonder if someone from the outside was trying to send Baroni "a message" to keep his yap shut. Perhaps that scenario is too "Hollywood", though. Nick probably just stupidly mouthed off and got a rough comeuppance.

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YRHT endorses Anh "Joseph" Cao for Congress 

A Republican party that is feeling down and out, and yearning to diversify and re-brand itself, and desperately seeking any sort of victory, however small, would do well to get behind candidate Anh "Joseph" Cao in the LA-02 runoff. They should promote the hell out of this race, nationally, against a corrupt Democrat.

Cao's biography is amazing, and you know I'm instantly in the tank for a dude who likes philosophy. The first "action point" on Cao's web site involves coastal restoration, a topic which, if memory serves, was absent from Bobby Jindal's "key issues" on his gubernatorial campaign web site. (Fortunately, as Jeremy Alford noted, Jindal made a strong commitment to coastal restoration earlier this year-- and I give him full credit for that).

Clancy Dubos makes a compelling case that Cao can Nguyen win. I hope so, even though I really like a certain dark horse candidate who is waiting in the wings in case Jefferson pulls it out, again.

Update with corrected quote, (see comments): Kevin Allman of Gambit says that "Clancy said that for a sum of around $300K invested in this race, the nat'l GOP could make it competitive, not that the Republicans were actually planning to spend that amount."

Update: And for my friends who want "more choices, more voices", we shouldn't forget that Malik Rahim is the Green Party candidate. Editor B has more on Malik Rahim.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"If the GOP decides to go in the Bobby Jindal direction (fundamental Christianity, creationism, hard-line anti-abortionism, aggressively anti-gay rights), it will be committing political suicide."

-- conservative blog Little Green Footballs

"Finally, the vote for President of the United States: ... Do I believe in John McCain? Not as much as I used to. Do I believe in Sarah Palin? Despite my early enthusiasm for her, now not at all. Do I believe in the national Republican Party? Not in the slightest — even though I see no meaningful alternative to it. So, my choice for President in 2008, scrawled in my ballot as an act of futile protest, is Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. If nothing else, I am confident this is the first of several votes I will cast for him in years to come."

-- Josh Trevino, co-founder of


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Quotes of the Weak 

"I can remember Richard Nixon, you know, his years of service, what he's done, and everybody [was] ridiculing him, and he ended up being the greatest president in the history of our century. ... [Senator Stevens] will be re-elected. He will appeal it. When he does go, he will win it because there's no way this is a jury of his peers."

-- Recently re-elected Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who is currently being investigated by the Feds, endorsing convicted Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens with a bizarre comparison to former President Richard Nixon.

"I am broke."

--Joe "the faux Plumber" Wurzelbacher, discussing his finances. [What happened to the $250k/year company he was going to buy? Remember, the tax consequences of Joe's impending business purchase was the burning question he asked Obama, which led to McCain's celebration of Joe the Plumber in the third debate, which led to Joe joining the Str8 Tawlk express...

If you think, I mean (insert affected Rush Limbaughian fake befuddled stutter here) ... do you really think that "broke" Joe just happened to pose that particular query to Obama (in swing state Ohio)? Do you really think the tax implications of a large business purchase was "Broke Joe's" real concern? Do you think he was on the cusp of buying a business, or do you think this particular query was ... um... suggested to Joe? Consider this: mere days before the "Joe the Plumber" episode occurred (in swing state Ohio), a friend of mine who is a very highly placed GOP strategist phoned me and tried out the exact same line: What about the effect of Obama's tax plan on small businesses making over $250k? I didn't bite on it. It sounded like a different version of the "estate tax kills family farms" canard. I should've just said "For a party that can't figure out a way to surpass Jimmy Carter's 4 year net jobs total, y'all sure talk confidently about what creates and kills jobs". So, again: do you think the Joe the Plumber episode was just a random inquiry by a "broke" (non) plumber from Ohio who was concerned about buying a $250k/yr business? And did the McCain campaign just randomly pluck this fortuitous episode from the ether, and make Joe an instant celebrity and campaign centerpiece? Or do you think there was more coordination involved (as I suspect there was with Ashley Todd's hoax)? These things have my spidey sense tingling. There's still more out there than we know.

I'm not saying these were political "black ops" that were approved at the highest levels, but I wouldn't bet against it. I would, however, bet heavily against the idea that these episodes (in crucial swing states) were just random acts by peculiar individuals which happened to fall into the lap of a desperate campaign all-too-willing to hype their stories. The idea that these were just lone agents who happened to "ask a question" and "get caught perpetrating a hoax" is hard for me to believe.

Update: As Michael notes in the comments, the cryptic Joe the Plumber conspiracy idea I hinted at above is probably stretching things. So, upon reflection, I want to back away from it. The simplest explanation is that Joe heard the tax talking point on Rush and used it when he had a chance to talk to Obama in person, and the McCain camp seized on it because of Obama's response. Still, something seems weird about the whole thing, and some Obama symps/operatives obviously felt the same way, hence the investigation shenanigans on Joe's public records. (Which I don't approve of, obviously.)]

"It's the way he was raised. I really don't trust him, and if he is Antichrist, they'll say anything to get into office."

-- Tennessean Nancy Ludwig, explaining why she believes Obama is a Muslim, and is worried that he is also "the Antichrist." [But it's good that the Antichrist will say "anything to get into office" because that will distinguish him from all the other politicians in DC. As soon as we find the guy in DC who will "say anything to get into office", we'll know he's truly the Antichrist, and wide-scale spiritual warfare may commence. For those who know how to wage it.]


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Not what I was expecting 

Imperadør Hasemörder at Metaphysic Storm writes a different sort of "change you can believe in" post.

Update: And Drive By Blogger writes a different sort of "Yes we can" post. (Though it's not for the easily offended.)


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Election results widget 

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Note to Moz 

Lookee here.

Lyrics from "America is not the World":

In America, The land of the free, they said, And of opportunity, In a just and a truthful way. But where the president, is never black, female or gay, and until that day, you've got nothing to say to me, to help me believe

Granted, we didn't achieve the your trifecta, yet, Moz. That might take a little longer. But I don't think it's out of line to suggest that Barbara Jordan is smiling from the heavens right now.

This is a good first step, Moz. Believe it.

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America is where President-Elect Barack Obama happens 

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House--a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity.

Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends ... though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn-- I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too.

-- President-Elect Barack Obama's Victory Speech, 11/04/08


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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Undecided "wrestling with moral issues" 


Less than 24 hours before the presidential election, Kevin Sheen has yet to decide who will get his vote.

"I'm actually still wrestling with moral issues," says the 29-year-old registered Democrat, who voted for George W. Bush in 2004.

Good luck sorting out your "moral issues" over the next 24 hours.

Sheen is one of the 5 percent of American voters who are either undecided or could change their mind before Election Day.

I'm so glad important elections hang in the balance because five percent of voters are still undecided after two years of campaigning, a billion dollars worth of ads, umpteen debates, endorsements, articles... etc.

What sort of moral issues is this dude talking about, anyway?

Sheen, of Lincoln, Nebraska, says his vote is coming down to one issue: abortion. Sheen says he's "definitely pro-life" and he's trying to decide whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain is more in line with his views.

"Neither of them have the track record I would like in a political candidate. So at this point, it's me sort of deciding upon, who do I think will be the best representation for if something is able to happen with the issue of abortion," he says.

Does he hope to make his decision before heading into the polling booth?

"That's the plan anyway," he says.

So, he's "pro-life" and can't make up his mind between Obama and McCain. Gracious.

To be charitable, we shouldn't discount the possibility that Mr. Sheen has been misinformed about Obama's or McCain's views on abortion. Perhaps that's the reason for his confusion.

It's not an outlandish possibility. For example, the AP's giant "Where the Candidate's Stand" chart that was published in today's Times Picayune has the following descriptions of the candidates' views on abortion:

Obama: "favors abortion rights"

McCain: "favors abortion rights"


Update: It was the T-P's fault.
Update #2: LA Right to Life Federation goes ape nuts.


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YRHT Endorsements/good news 

I don't harbor the belief that my election "endorsements" matter any, but this is a way to keep score. I waited 45 minutes in line at Sophie B. Wright school to cast my vote. It was hot and crowded inside, and then the HVAC heat turned on, blasting toasty stinky air, and things really became uncomfortable. Everyone seemed to take it in stride, though, and no one left.

President: Barack Obama (I'm very, very proud to cast that vote)

Senator: Mary Landrieu

Congress-01: Jim Harlan

Congress-02, Dem Primary runoff: No recommendation-- I pushed the button for Moreno, but will vote third party in the December election. Where the hell is Republican Joe Lavigne when you need him? To be sure, this is a nauseating situation. Dollar Bill Jefferson will win comfortably tonight, and luckily this embarrassment will presumably be overshadowed by an Obama win. Then Jefferson will be convicted (most uncomfortably) in the coming months-- I think that's a lead pipe cinch-- then Jefferson will resign and we'll have another special election.... But, take heart! All is not lost! There's some good news-- real good news-- about a new candidate who is poised to take advantage of this depressing circumstance, and run in the (likely) special election this spring, to replace Jefferson. More about this exciting development below.

District Attorney: No recommendation-- both seem equally good or bad to me. (I pushed the button for Cannizaro.)

Master Plan City Charter Amendment: I voted FOR, largely on the basis of Rev. Marshall Truehill's support for it, and his clear explanation of it.


Okay, I can't tell you the name of the candidate who is waiting in the wings for Jefferson to get re-elected and convicted, and for the LA-02 seat to open up again. But I can tell you that this candidate would be a fresh (albeit well-known) face to the local political scene. He is sharp and informed. He's not a politician, and he hasn't run for office before (although he has flirted with it). This potential candidate happens to be a black male Democrat, and my sources think it's over 90% likely that he'll run if/when there's a special election in the spring. A long, long time ago this potential candidate forecast exactly what was going to happen in the LA-02 race (Jefferson would make the runoff because too many other black candidates split the vote, and Jefferson would prevail over the the lone non-black candidate.)

Anyway, I'm excited by this potential prospect, and will try to be the first to break the news that he is definitely running if/when things play out as expected. I expect to support him.

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Let's do this 

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Monday, November 03, 2008

"What kind of person... would think to console the acolyte of a fallen racist?" 

David Winkler-Schmit writes at the Gambit Daily:

“Louisiana is a racist state,” said Raymond D. Strother, a Maryland-based political consultant and veteran of Louisiana politics. “Races there are always about race.”

That’s quite a statement coming from a guy who tried to get Jimmie “You Are My Sunshine” Davis, a good timey singer and a segregationist, elected to a third term as governor.

Nice one, David! I love a good stinging rejoinder. David asks if the election will "boil down" to race, once again. I guess the safest answer to that is "Not entirely... but to a far greater extent than many of us would prefer".

Speaking of former Gov. Jimmie Davis, a few Saturdays ago, the Times Picayune had a picture of Former Gov. Jimmie Davis, Leander Perez and George Wallace (in New Orleans) accompanying an op-ed by Prof. Robert Mann of LSU. Mann wrote about a life-changing act of kindness he experienced in his youth, when he was an "acolyte [to] a fallen racist". It's a great essay. I recommend reading it, if you haven't.

"I've seen color changed by a kiss" -- Jane's Addiction, No One's Leavin'


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Yesterday, I watched National Geographic instead of the NFL 

They were airing a documentary titled "Inside New Orleans High". Pretty bracing. Take a look at it when you can.

The T-P's Dave Walker discussed it a week ago.


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Sunday, November 02, 2008

This year, instead of trick or treating in the Garden District*, Nic Cage and son Weston apparently went out to eat beignets, and someone sneezed.

Oh, wait. The blurb at Buzzfoto says that this picture was taken after Weston's metal band, Eyes of Noctum, played in West Hollywood. So, this is not a Halloween look, nor powder from a beignet spree.

I don't know if Heavy Metalist Weston is still doing the comic book... thing.

"I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the accordion." -- Nicholas Cage

* see fun fact at the end of this post

Bonus Fun Fact! A week ago, the Big Event and I noticed that Nic Cage was in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Awesome. Totally Awesome!

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Over the past year and a half, I could've written so much more in praise of the Obama campaign. With few exceptions, I confined my YRHT presidential political analysis to skewering his opponents. Other than an aside here or there, I've been incredibly restrained in revealing my optimism about Obama's chance to win the Presidency. But that's not to say I didn't feel it. However, I didn't want to "jinx" him by seeming too overconfident, or by making my best analysis public. (Sorry, I realize that sounds tragically self-important, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a concern.) Honestly, YRHT could've become a raving "Obama blog" for the past year, extolling all his virtues ad nauseum, endlessly forecasting the crucial political dynamics that would enable him to win big on election day. But that would get old and tiresome for most of my readers.

So, out of superstition and excitement, I've held A LOT back over the past eighteen months. A Lot. For example, I have a fairly long post about the "end of Vietnam politics" that I was going to post last Tuesday, but I decided it can wait another week or two. I feel that way about a lot of my presidential campaign analysis. I have numerous drafts of uberlong political posts , that I decided not to publish . Perhaps I'll do so after the election. They won't seem very timely, but I think they'll interest those intrigued with political analysis. Most of the best presidential analysis that I published over the past year was in the comments of other people's blogs.

Yeah, I know this sounds pretentious, and like I'm being a big tease, but I wanted to explain why I haven't been writing much Obama stuff as election day approaches. I'm saving it out of superstition.

During the past week, with victory in sight, I've been extremely tempted to write some triumphalist posts detailing "Why Obama's campaign is so historic and great". Why this is the end of so many poisonous narratives. But I'm going to put them off for another few days. I'm excited and nervous right now, and publishing any post along those lines prior to Tuesday would make me more nervous and jinx-fearing.

So, keeping with what has apparently worked, I will finish this post by needling Nader's recent "official" Youtube campaign advert. Nader, who believes political apathy is one of the biggest crises facing America, approves the following au courant video treatment to inspire the masses:

Now, I do like Nader's running mate, Matt Gonzalez, especially for his advocacy of instant runoff voting, which New Orleans and Louisiana should try.

Update: Holy Crap! Just a few days ago, Ralph Nader made Israel's 1967 attack on the U.S.S. Liberty a Presidential campaign issue, and called on McCain to address the attack (which his father helped cover up). Wow. I can't help but think Why didn't Nader drop this political 'bomb' when he had a national audience on Meet the Press? Why wasn't he willing to take such a risk. All hell could've broken loose. (And not to Obama's benefit, either.)

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"Where is the boy who is Jesus the Christ?" 


A Paramus [NJ] middle school student was sent home Friday after he came to school dressed up as Jesus for Halloween.

For a few hours, Alex Woinski was the messiah of West Brook Middle School, but like the real Jesus, Woinski was condemned, so to speak.

"Sort of like a new remake of what supposedly happened," Woinski told CBS 2.

I love this kid! What the hell is the school's problem?

Decked out in sandals, a robe, fake beard and thorns, the 13-year-old joined 500 other students at his school's Halloween celebration, and on this day, he was the chosen one - to go home.

"It was offensive to some students," Woinski said, when asked what school officials told him the reason for being sent home was.

Woinski says he wore the costume because friends say his long hair makes him a Jesus lookalike, and were not offended by his costume.

The school says this costume was a disruption and denies its religious nature had anything to do with it.


"I don't think I overreacted," Principal Joan Broe told CBS 2.

Broe said too many students were drawn to the costume, and that was reason enough.

"Children were [asking], where is the boy who is Jesus Christ?" she said. "It was disrupting the education process."

I love that quote! Too many children were "drawn" to him. Too many were asking "where is the boy who is Jesus Christ"? That was the huge "disruption"! Freakin' priceless. It should be noted that Woinski wasn't making fun of the Nazarene, and that his mother is Catholic and his father is Jewish.

Woinski's parents say "it was political correctness gone amok". I must wholeheartedly agree.

Then, Note from the Book brings us this story:

TNA [wrestling] star Booker T has plans to picket a Houston sports bar called Vito's Deck House because he believes they discriminated against the Christian faith.

On Sunday afternoon, Booker T and Marty Wright (a.k.a. WWE star "The Boogeyman") went to the sports bar to watch an NFL game. Wright, who was wearing the cross, was asked to take it off by the bartender, or leave. According to the bartender, it was a violation of the bar's dress code.

Booker got upset and asked to speak to the manager. The manager explained that it was a violation of the dress code. Booker asked where the dress code was posted at, and as it turns out, it wasn't posted anywhere. Booker refused to leave and told Wright not to leave.

Police were called and police officers told Booker and Wright to leave the premises. Booker said he saw two other patrons at the bar wearing crosses and they were not approached by management and told to leave. Although, the two patrons left the sports bar when they saw Booker and Wright being kicked out over Wright wearing the cross.

Booker has a protest scheduled and he hopes it gets as much publicity as possible to inform people about the sports bar suppressing people's freedom to express their belief in God.

You can't wear a cross at a place in Houston called "Vito's Deck House"? Wha the hell? As someone who is always for maximum freedom of personal expression, I definitely sympathize with Mr. Woinski, and Booker T, and am offended by these stupid, censorious policies.

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