Friday, March 06, 2009

Political Rumor 

John Georges will run for mayor. He arrived at some sort of understanding with Councilmember Arnie Fielgood, and Fielgood won't run.

This comes from an almost impeccable source who swears it is twice-confirmed. I still don't believe it, but thought it was interesting enough to pass along.

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"You haven't achieved exaltation until you've tried my green jello salad." 

Here at YRHT, we don't like to make jokes about our Mormon friends. (Wait, lemme check the archives to make sure that claim is accurate... whoops.)

Here at YRHT, I'm a confessed slave to comedy. Sometimes, comedy writes itself. This video of Mormon pick up lines might be a good example. However, in their defense, I would say that one could film any random dozen young men performing their best "pick up" line, and it would be at least as cheesy and humorous. In fact, the Mormon compilation is so gosh darn wholesome I find it somewhat charming.

Respectfully then, I contribute the title quote to any young Mormon man looking for dates.

And it would be rather hypocritical for me to mock my LDS brethren to any serious extent, having quoted Romans 8:18 on three separate occasions.

"For I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed [in] us."

As I (re-)interpret Paul of Tarsus, it doesn't get much more Mormon than that. So, as I attempt to work out a customized liberal Zoroastrian/Kierkegaardian/Presbyterian/Nietzschean celebration of the Nazarene's life and teachings (in my own way), I want to tell my regular LDS readers-- of which I have a few!-- that y'all are always welcome here. And while I don't foresee myself joining your church any time soon, and while I don't foresee an end to the gentle ribbing about green jello salad, that doesn't mean I only see the theological differences between us.

Far from, far from. Even though we're on waaaay different paths to that Big Love in the sky (hopefully) I still glimpse you, walking through the woods. Maybe you can create a name for "fellow travellers" such as myself: call me an honorary Jack 'n Coke Mormon.

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Simple answers to simple questions 

Barry Ritholtz asks

Could [Government] Sachs dig any deeper at Treasury?


The answer is yes. To Ritholtz' credit, he answers correctly.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Let's play two more 

Stephanie Grace:

To recap: Last month, the administration said it hadn't complied with a public records request for Mayor Ray Nagin's official e-mails and half his electronic calendar from 2008 because the records had been deleted due to an alleged lack of server space -- a clear violation of state records law.
...
Then this week came word that Nagin's management information systems office and -- in an especially weird twist -- sanitation director Veronica White answered a separate request from activist attorney Tracie Washington by producing thousands of e-mails dating back three years, from four City Council members, their staffs and one administration official. Moreover, the records they handed over were unredacted, and they fulfilled the request without telling the city attorney or the council.

The situation raises a whole bunch of questions, about what Nagin, White -- who has a history of battling with the council -- and Washington are really up to. It also makes you wonder what's really going on at City Hall.

T-P:

The unorthodox release [of e-mails] has inflamed already raw tensions between the mayor and the council, and comes shortly after the city divulged in a lawsuit with WWL-TV that all of the mayor's e-mails from 2008 had been deleted because of storage problems.

Nagin was asked why the city couldn't produce his e-mails when the council's were produced without any problem.

"Why is it fishy? Why isn't there a legitimate reason? Why am I always put in a position that I'm doing something wrong?" he asked. "Here's the quick answer. The city has two servers. One is mayorofno.com, the one is cityofno.com. The council is on cityofno.com

"Mayorofno.com ran into some storage issues. It was a temporary problem, the problem has been fixed, and you can have my e-mails now, as many as you like."

I didn't expect Nagin to say that.

Alright. I'd like them all, please. Put them on computer disc, too, so I can save the 25 cents per page fee that everyone else has to pay when they receive public records requests. That would be helpful.

===
E at WCBF and Big Red Cotton have additional coverage.

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A train from Disneyland to the Bunny Ranch to... 

...Octumom's uterus. The way this myth is evolving, I'm convinced it's only a matter of time before we hear that.

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Reuters - U.S. oil and natural gas producing companies should not receive federal subsidies in the form of tax breaks because their businesses contribute to global warming, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress on Wednesday.
...
The Obama administration's budget would levy an excise tax on oil and natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, raising $5.3 billion in revenue from 2011 to 2019.

This new 13 percent tax on all oil and gas production in the Gulf would only affect those companies enjoying a loophole that allows them to avoid paying royalties on the energy supplies they drill. Companies already paying royalties would get a tax credit.

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John Stewart to Billionaire fraud man: "F*ck You" 

Thanks to the Byzigenous Buddhapalian who pointed me to John Stewart's fabulous torching of CNBC, including the Santelli rant, the CNBC pundits who are not held to account, and the CNBC reporters who kiss-ass to the CEO's who are either feckless chearleaders or outright thieves. John Stewart is right to mock their current indignation. As promoters of Wall Street's Fashion show, CNBC acts like fans when they "interview" frauds in suits who babble about their "optimistic" outlooks for "growth". Time after time, they give greedhead CEOs an uncritical forum where they "pump and dump" their stocks for personal gain. CNBC is an accomplice to this absurd pageant. They are its catamite. They are... an unaware Bruno.

Link.

Very nice.

Yesterday's Thomas Frank column in the Wall Street Journal is also nice. I'm going to excessively quote it:

Just as the financial crisis has created toxic assets and "zombie" financial institutions, so has it transformed conservatism into a movement of the living dead. Its partisans cling to a now-toxic portfolio of discredited notions, rhetoric, gestures and strategies. They lumber comically on, their only goal being to obstruct efforts to save the economy from catastrophe.

These days the zombie right is rallying around CNBC commentator Rick Santelli, who won fame last month when he railed against a rescue of the economy's "losers."

Mr. Santelli ...called for a "Chicago tea party" to protest the administration's mortgage plan.

Next thing you knew, there were "tea parties" all over the land. When I showed up for one last Friday in Washington's Lafayette Park, however, my suspicions were immediately raised. A fellow in an expensive-looking pinstriped suit came hustling into the gathering knot of the discontented, handing out pink pig balloons.
...
Banks are insolvent, asset prices are falling, GDP has taken a nose dive, but what exercised this bunch was the possibility that government -- understood as a force of pure evil -- might get too big.
...
As the event wore on, the speakers began to repeat, zombie-like, some version of the famous line from "Network," the 1976 movie, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore."
...
They're not going to take it anymore? I guess it's supposed to be obvious that conservatives are history's real victims -- that their imagined suffering at the hands of that Big Deficit to Come trumps the global systemic economic crisis and all the upheaval it may unleash.

Frank also notes that Lew Uhler, who heads the National Tax Limitation Committee, claimed the current economic crisis was being "overblown".

Wow.

It's amazing how backwards this is. So many people who profited during the buildup to the current recession (which began in 2007) are either still saying it is "overblown" or are trying to stoke fears about a coming "lost decade", in which incomes and markets are painfully stagnant. These people are actually trying to suggest that 1999-2009 was part of the golden age of growth, and the thing we really need to fear is how much worse the coming years will be.

For example: in concerted fashion, Bobby Jindal and David Vitter recently trotted out the idea that the Bush years exemplified strong "job growth" and some of "the best economic times and prosperity" in American history. Are they insane?

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I really do like this guy 

Huffpo:

Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, a Republican in a deeply Democratic Louisiana district, was welcomed on Tuesday night into the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Addressing the group at a ceremony in the Capitol Visitors Center, Cao did a little bipartisan outreach.

"Don't tell the Republicans, but I might be a closet Democrat," said Cao to a round of laughter.

He then added that party shouldn't define a member of Congress and that "we are basically servants of the citizens of the United States."

Update: In the comments Paw Paw claims that "the entire function" of U.S. Reps "is to serve the people in their district."

Not so. U.S. Reps swear to support and defend the Constitution, they do not swear to only serve the people of their district.

In the comments, Ryan says: You left out the part where it says, "A congressman can't tell a joke?"

Actually, I thought the joke was obvious from this quote:

"'Don't tell the Republicans, but I might be a closet Democrat,' said Cao to a round of laughter."

Let me be clear: I don't like Cao because he might be a closet Dem or might switch parties. I like him because he casts independent votes (the Stimulus Nay notwithstanding) and because-- at a time when the GOP is trying to enforce hyper-oppositional unity-- he is willing to joke about partisan uniforms.

Find me another Gooper who is willing to "joke" that he's a Dem right now.

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I ammm, an immature ma-a-an, oh yes I am 

1. The urge to sully Grandmere Mimi's wholesome post about Louisiana's Pink Dolphin (with a comment containing the word "waxing" or "flogging") is hard to restrain.


2. Speaking of organ solos, Quintron has a new video out. It's pretty cool and contains a lyric about "babysitting dolphins". Here's the cover of his new album.


3. A new Citgo ad campaign showcases gas station owners in "one of a kind" American towns. One of the ads is set in the Conch Republic, and asserts that Key West is America's "southernmost" city. Sorta how Tejas is America's largest state.


4. I'm keenly disappointed that Dr. John Cooksey won't run against Senator Vitter in the 2010 Republican primary.

Cooksey is a former U.S. House Rep who sat on the International Relations Subcommittee for the Middle East and South Asia. After 9/11, Cooksey had a brilliant proposal for who should be investigated and interrogated in connection with the terrorist attacks:

"If I see someone (who) comes in that's got a diaper on his head and a fan belt wrapped around the diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over."

"Pulled over"? Hell, when it comes to protecting our country why not just shoot first and ask for forgiveness later? (Cooksey later apologized claiming, unpersuasively, that his comment only referred to Osama bin Laden. I wish International Relations specialist Cooksey would find an old-school Sikh and mock his turban, his ancestry, and his sword. Then Cooksey could lecture him on the history of radical Islam and the dangers it presents to "our" culture. In fact, I'd pay to see that exchange.)

So, the obvious point here is that a GOP primary with Cooksey and Vitter would have been absolutely loaded with diaper baggage.


5. That reminds me: I recently purchased a box of defective flushable wipes. In what way were they defective? Well... how can I put this? The concentration of "cleansers and emollients" on the wipes exceeded any conceivable household or industrial standard. By a long stretch. And, most unfortunately, the day I first put these new wipes to use was also the day I was suffering from an inflamed case of 'rhoid rage. You follow me? Ok. So, after doing my business (which wasn't much fun to begin with), I proceeded to wipe the affected region. But instead of the mild, cool, soothing effect I was expecting, there was a burst of pain so sudden and sharp that I swore a sewer rat had come out the toilet and was biting my anus. I launched off the seat in shock and ran around the bathroom yelping like a scalded dog, waving my hands around my soiled backside trying to find the vicious rodent who was lock-jawed on my ass.

This scene probably continued for at least five minutes.

Ok, it wasn't five minutes; more like five seconds. But it was an intense five seconds, and it took about five minutes for me to recover and figure out that I hadn't been attacked. Sweating, I grabbed the box from the floor and removed another wipe. I inspected it, and it did feel odd-- saturated but weirdly coarse. Definitely something to be avoided. Yet, I was becoming fascinated by the horrible potency of the defective wipe in my hand. I wondered, how in tarnation could such an innocent looking towlette explode my pain sensors like that? Curiosity was getting the better of me. I kept looking down at the wipe and then up at my blotched, bloodshot face in the bathroom mirror. Down and up, down and up. I laughed at what I was contemplating. Surely any normal human would throw the wipe in the toilet and quickly clean up and then make a beeline for the Cortisone 10 with aloe. But I didn't.

Thus, in an act of infinite stupidity, your humble narrator purposely applied a second highly defective wipe to his tender, throbbing bottom. Just to see.

6. Obligatory link to humorous ass shaving story.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cao not cowed by Mighty Maha Rushi 

Big Red Cotton sent us an email about a call she made to Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao's office. Big Red Cotton asked whether Cao, like Rush Limbaugh, wanted President Obama to "fail". The response:

Cao's chief of staff Clayton Hall says on the record:

"No... the problems in this country are too big. Rush Limbaugh can say whatever he wants to say. Congressman Cao does not want the president to fail"

So I asked him does Cao want the stimulus package, which he voted against, to fail. Hall gave a curt "No".

By publicly defying El Rushbo, is our diminutive Congressman displaying a sturdier backbone than the rest of the dittoheads in his party, combined?

Cao ain't skeered! He knows kung fu. Rush doesn't. Rush can't whip him.

Looks like Cao is getting back on track. Despite pressure from Republican leaders, Cao recently bucked his party and voted FOR the Dems' $410 billion spending bill covering the final seven months of the 2009 fiscal year. Earlier, Cao was leaning towards voting FOR the Dems Stimulus bill, but then voted against it at the last minute. President Obama was trying to reach Cao prior to the Stimulus vote in attempt to persuade the Representative, but the Prez couldn't get through because Cao's office was "flooded" with calls and the lines were busy.

Umm, Cao, please make sure the POTUS has your personal cell # or a dedicated line to your office so that he can reach you when you're wondering how to vote on a Trillion dollar bill. That would be a good time to leverage your standing as an independently-minded Republican in a way that might benefit your district. M'kay? Thanks.

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As Ernie Banks would say "Let's play two." 

WWL posts an executive summary of the IG's crime camera report (which was completed back in December, but not publicly released because, presumably, a federal agency wanted to review and/or investigate the details of the report.) :

The City of New Orleans Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a review of a project to deploy a city-wide system of neighborhood surveillance cameras to help the police in their battle against crime. The project originated in 2003 when Mayor C. Ray Nagin announced a plan to install up to 1,000 video surveillance cameras as part of a crime fighting initiative. The OIG review determined that the Mayor's Office of Technology (MOT), which was charged with implementing the project, did not conduct an orderly planning process, comply with prudent procurement practices, or exercise effective contract oversight at any stage of the project.

Then, providentially, WWL also has a story about the N.O. SANITATION director turning over City Council emails to a lawyer (which are apparently not burdening the City's servers as much as the Mayor's emails).

The New Orleans sanitation director turned over files that contained City Council member e-mails to a lawyer, according to a letter sent from the New Orleans city attorney to lawyers of some of the members of the council.

Lawyer Tracie Washington allegedly asked Veronica White, the city's sanitation director, in a public-relations request last December for the e-mails, even though the city attorney’s office usually handles those types of requests.
...
Last month, WWL-TV filed a lawsuit after the mayor's office failed to provide the mayor's e-mails from 2008. Nagin has said that those e-mails were lost after the city's server was "getting ready to crash." He said the city had to decide what e-mails to keep and what not to keep.

Eyewitness News reporter Lee Zurik will have more on this during the 5 p.m. newscast.

Get on your political Hazmat suits unless you want a silkwood body scrub, because chain reactions from these and other stories could lead to... a jaw-dropping meltdown.
===

Update: Clancy Dubos writes: "Most important of all, the [OIG] report contains a letter sent to U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, stating the belief of auditors that federal laws may have been broken.

Full report here.

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The Stupid, it burns 

This idiotic ABC story might as well be retitled

Super Dumb Louisiana lawyer believes conservative hype, fears Obama will confiscate ENTIRE INCOME from those making over $250k, and will put said cash on a levitating magnetic train (running from Opelousas to Las Vegas to Disneyland to Octumom's uterus to an active monitored volcano in Alaska) and dispose of it in a molten fiery pit!

but I guess that's a tad lengthy.

How does an attorney from Lafayette say something so stupid, unless it's a purposeful attempt to misinform others?

I wonder if this attorney from Lafayette plans to attend the "Tea Party" in Lafayette this Saturday?

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It became necessary to destroy the Constitution in order to save it 

Yikes!

The legal memos written by the Bush administration's Office of Legal Counsel show a government grappling with how to wage war on terrorism in a fast-changing world. The conclusion, reiterated in page after page of documents, was that the president had broad authority to set aside constitutional rights.

Fourth Amendment protections against unwarranted search and seizure, for instance, did not apply in the United States as long as the president was combatting terrorism, the Justice Department said in an Oct. 23, 2001, memo.

"First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully," Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo wrote, adding later: "The current campaign against terrorism may require even broader exercises of federal power domestically."


So far, the Obama administration, instead of rejecting these post-constitutional executive maneuvers, is basically saying "Yeah Yoo Right!"

Greenwald:

A unifying belief among liberals (and many principled non-liberals) for the past several years was that Bush's secrecy theories and assertions of unchallengeable executive power were grave and tyrannical threats to liberty.
...
But -- after a few symbolic (and potentially important) decrees in the first week, which I praised at the time -- the Obama administration's approach to civil liberties, constitutional protections and the reining in of executive power abuses has been absolutely abysmal. None of this has anything to do with complaints that he hasn't yet done enough. It's the opposite: these are all affirmative, even extraordinary, actions undertaken by the Obama DOJ not merely to copy, but in the Al-Haramain case, virtually to surpass, the worst aspects of the Bush/Cheney/Addington use of extreme secrecy and assertions of unlimited executive power.

Very disturbing.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Quotes of the Weak 

"While some of the projects in the [Democrats' stimulus] bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes $300 million to buy new cars for the government, $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, such as a 'magnetic levitation' line from Las Vegas to Disneyland, and $140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring.' Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, DC."


-- Gov. Bobby Jindal, making the Republican Address to the Nation on Mardi Gras. After the speech, bureaucrats in Jindal's Transportation department confirmed that they plan to request federal dollars for a train line connecting "Harrah's to Tigerland" from "the same pot of railroad money in the president’s economic stimulus package that Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized as unnecessary pork on national television Tuesday night." No word yet on whether the Jindal administration supports "something" called hurricane monitoring.


"I honestly don't know anybody who would compare these situations... They are dramatically different.... clearly, at a minimum, [Senator Ronald Burris] misled the Illinois Legislature and the voters of the Illinois [by giving incomplete answers about his contacts with and fundraising efforts for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.) as Blagojevich was considering appointing Burris to the state's Senate seat.] ... Obviously there are even more serious charges of perjury, but I guess that will sort itself out in terms of legal proceedings."

-- Senator David Vitter, making time during Mardi Gras to call for Senator Ronald Burris' resignation. Between October 1999 and Mardi Gras day 2001, Vitter made no less than 5 phone calls to the D.C. Madam, including some calls that occurred during House roll call votes in which Vitter participated. Vitter lied to the voters of Louisiana, journalists and religious leaders about his criminal activity with prostitutes, and even took action to discredit and deny job opportunities to a reporter who investigated Vitter's serial whoremongering. He has never given complete answers about his role as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the D.C. Madam scandal, and planned to take the fifth amendment when called to testify at her trial, prior to her suicide. Vitter's GOP colleagues, who coordinated with ruthless efficiency against Sen Larry Craig during his scandal, stood and applauded Sen. Vitter when he finally returned to D.C. after he admitted to a "serious sin" with whores.


"Let ice water flow through your veins. You have learned many hard earned lessons about the ruthlessness of evil and you are fighting the good fight.

"You are protecting the interest and power of a 60% African American electorate against an onslaught of temporary white power created by the elections right after Katrina.
...
"Trust that all across America, you are a wonder, and [the white City Councilmembers] are the clowns, even though local media which shares the white power agenda avoids touting the amazing work that you and your administration has done, even while under siege. The world is back in New Orleans, and they can see that we are extremely functional, and the cranes are rising."

-- Lloyd "The Love Doctor" Dennis, in an open letter to mayor Ray Nagin. Mr Dennis wrote this letter in defense of the current city contracting system, which has contracted with his business, among others.

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60 Minutes serves up a PBJ Fluffernutter 

The 60 Minutes segment on Gov. Bobby Jindal was such a confectionery puff piece, I thought it was indecent for CBS to air it during Lent.

I must say, though, that Bobby Jindal and his family looked great. Truly. Supriya Jindal was especially ravishing and engaging during the interviews. I absolutely loved how she came off. As far as sending "little starbursts" through the television screen, Supriya owns that volcano-fearing Moose Mama to the north.

Anyway, 60 minutes had a celebrate-the-biography approach to the Jindal story, which is what I expected. They didn't press him repeatedly on any topic other than his ancestry and his ambitions. After making two irritating references to New Orleans and Louisiana being underwater, 60 Minutes followed the "Jindal is a Fresh New Whiz Kid Wonder Boy with Extra Ethics" script to a T.

They interviewed T-P editor Jim Amoss, who said "[Jindal] is the genuine article. He's deeply, by nature, deeply conservative, deeply patriotic."

They interviewed Newt Gingrich, who said: Jindal is the "most transformative young governor in the country."

They interviewed Jindal himself in a still-devastated section of the lower 9th ward, and DIDN'T ask: "If you're really trying to 'fix' Louisiana rather than run for President, what are you doing about this field of ruins we are standing in? Precisely when will this neighborhood be rebuilt?"

Now THAT would be a 60 Minutes-style question, even in a puff piece. (Btw, that reminds me, if anyone out there has a clip of Ed Bradley's 60 Minutes story on Rep. John Kasich from the mid-90's, where they show Bradley's facial reaction to Kasich banging his desk with a toy axe like he's chopping a spending bill down to size... could you please post it on Youtube? Thx.)

60 Minutes didn't interview any critics of Jindal, such as C.B. Forgotston. They mentioned his hard right cultural views, but did not explore them. The exorcism topic was omitted.

Instead, 60 minutes uncritically gushed that Jindal is

an eager and ambitious young whirlwind... [who] doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't swear and relentlessly hammers his message that the days of corruption and incompetence are over.

Doesn't drink, doesn't smoke... so what does goody two shoes do? Split his medication in half and convince himself that Adam and Eve road dinosaurs to church? 60 minutes just showed Jindal as an ambitious nerd of Indian descent trying to change a backwards state while being a good father.

The harshest claim made about Bobby came during Morley Safer's introduction to the piece, when he described Jindal looking like "an awkward young man" who was "not quite ready for Prime Time" during his GOP address to the nation.

And that's why I was so surprised by the brutally negative, widespread reaction to Jindal's GOP address on Mardi Gras. IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN THIS WAY, PEOPLE. This was not part of "THE PLAN" for Wonder Boy's national ascension. After going around the country doing speeches and fundraisers, Jindal was supposed to appear on Meet The Press, then give the GOP response to Obama, and enjoy two big media puff-pieces (the 60 minutes profile and the Michael Gerson Wapo column) and perhaps even win the CPAC straw poll without even showing up. This was Jindal's officially unofficial national media roll out, and he botched it with a comically cheesy and absurd speech on Mardis Gras. Ouch.

Now, instead of the media introducing Jindal to the nation as "the future of the GOP", he's now known as someone who is "not ready for prime time", and has the gravitas of Kenneth the Page. That's a BIG change in perception.

Here's how the 60 Minutes puffery concluded:

"Well, again, I think it's very flattering. We've just sworn in a new president of the United States. He's, you know, he's barely started. It's way too early to start thinking about who the leader of the party is. And for me, look, I've got no secret plan," Jindal said.

Oh bullshit! Maybe Jindal's letting Timmy "the implementer" Teepell hold the plan, or maybe enough other people know about the plan so that it isn't a "secret" ... but, trust me, Jindal has a plan to run for national office in the next three to seven years. And part of that plan involves travelling to various swing states and explaining how he is too focused on fixing Louisiana's problems to think about national office. Pretty clever.

"But what were you doing in Iowa a coupla month ago?" Safer asked.

Good question, Morley!

"Got a great invitation to come and speak to a wonderful group," Jindal replied.

Here, Safer should've made a skeptical face and asked "Why would a Louisiana Governor with a full plate of challenges make the time to give a speech in Goat Scrotum, Iowa during winter? What was the name of this 'wonderful' group you felt compelled to speak to?" But he didn't.

His visit this fall to Iowa caused a stir, but his speech last Tuesday may have put those great expectations on hold, which may please his wife.

"When you see these speculative stories about him running for president, what goes through your mind?" Safer asked.

"Gosh, no!" Supriya Jindal replied, laughing.

"You may live to regret this," Safer said, laughing.

You gotta love Supriya. Could she please switch jobs with Bobby for a couple years, while he works on his speech-delivery skills?

One last thing. Here's a segment from the 60 minutes story juxtaposed with a recent T-P snippet.

Just weeks after taking office [Jindal] forced through several bills that among other things called for far more transparency in the financial dealings of politicians.

It was a radical break with a tradition established in the 1930s by that powerful and massively corrupt governor, Huey Long.

Long built the towering state Capitol building as a monument to himself. More recently, Governor Edwin Edwards boasted that the only way he'd be voted out of office was to be "caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."

Edwards now resides in the slammer, convicted of racketeering. Jindal says the non-stop party is finally over. It's time for the nerds to take over.

T-P:

For Audra Snider, Gov. Bobby Jindal's controversial decision not to accept nearly $100 million in additional unemployment assistance as part of the stimulus package brought to mind a story about how folks in Shreveport refused free textbooks from the state when her great-grandfather, Huey Long, was governor. As Snider, who tends the Long Legacy Project Web site... recounts the history, back in 1928, "the conservative Caddo Parish School Board refused to accept or distribute the free books to students on the philosophical grounds that the proud families of Shreveport should not be forced to accept charity from the state. They argued the governor had no right to dictate how things should be done in their community. Families would purchase the books for the children as usual, and children who could not afford the books would remain unschooled." The board also filed a lawsuit arguing that the free-textbook law was unconstitutional. Long responded by withholding the authorization for the siting of Barksdale Air Force Base in the Shreveport-Bossier area until the textbooks were distributed, because "people so well off don't need an airport." Shaken by the prospect of losing this economic plum, the city leaders of Shreveport relented. The books were distributed to all children regardless of race, class or religion, and Shreveport got its air base. Shreveport's leaders vilified Long as a dictator and later led the charge for his impeachment.

---
Update: I can't forget to flag James Gill's brilliantly scathing column that wonders why Jindal would invoke Harry Lee in a political address, period. I nearly spit out my coffee when I read:

Lee always decried racism... but, luckily for him, his constituents didn't think he was serious.

How could they? The only time he seemed in danger of not being re-elected, he announced his deputies would arrest "blacks in rinky-dink cars" if they strayed into white neighborhoods." His political fortunes promptly turned around.

and this

Lee did indeed play a famous role in the aftermath of the storm, but it had nothing to do with rescue efforts. Rather the reverse. When black people desperate to escape the ravaged city tried to walk across the Mississippi River Bridge into Jefferson Parish, Lee's deputies and Gretna cops greeted then with guns and dogs and turned them back.

Then Gill properly bashes Lee for helping to re-elect Dollar Bill Jefferson because he felt "personal malice" towards Karen Carter Peterson for criticizing Lee about the post-Katrina bridge blockade. It's really strong. Savor the whole thing.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Important Announcement! 

Team Sarah Louisiana and Louisiana Resistance to Host “Tea Party” and “Anti-Pork” Rally in Lafayette!!

Awesome! I can't wait to join the protest against the ObamaDems' "Porkgasm" in D.C.. I'm going to create a volcano out of pork which I will wear around my groin, and I will hold a sign that says "Monitor this, you wealth-confiscating Commies! Because I'm about to Blow!"

Cool, huh?

So what are the details about this event rally movement demonstration of resistance?

Team Sarah Louisiana and its affiliate group, Louisiana Resistance, will host a “Tea Party“ and “Anti-Pork” protest rally on Saturday, March 7, 2009, at 1:00 pm in Veterans Park, 200 Feu Follett Road, in Lafayette.

Quick question: Who the cluck is "Team Sarah Louisiana" and the "Louisiana Resistance"?

Oh. Team Sarah refers to the Louisiana contingent of Sarah Palin fans, and "its affiliate group", Louisiana Resistance, apparently refers to the luminaries at this "Patriotic Resistance" web site.

PLEASE NOTE: access to the Louisiana Resistance group goes through RESISTNET.COM-- not through RESIST.COM, which is a White Aryan Resistance web site. Despite the similar domain names and similar red-on-black web presentation and similar anti-tax stances, these are probably very different groups, with very different membership demographics, with very different outlooks and objectives.

Yes, surely any similarities between the Louisiana Resistance web sites and the White Aryan Resistance sites are purely coincidental.

But this Playboy investigation into the suspicious moorings of Rick Santelli's "spontaneous rant" and the "Tea Party movement" gives me pause. (I watch Rick Santelli on a daily basis, and like his commentary on commodities. For several days, I'd seen the "Santelli rant" thing on the internet and assumed they were referring to another "Rick Santelli". I was absolutely shocked to learn that the "rant of the year" actually referred to CNBC's Rick Santelli. His performance is so out of character that it does arouse suspicion.) Please read the evidence compiled by Playboy and see if you think there's a connection. Here's the nut allegation:

What we discovered is that Santelli’s “rant” was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a “Chicago Tea Party” was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society.

I may attend this Tea Party demonstration in Lafayette and invoke the memory of Crispus Attucks. I'm sure that will be warmly received by the dozens of "patriotic" resisters (representing all colors and creeds) who are rising out of the grassroots and coming together to tell the DemoLibSpendthrifts to "Stop the Insanity".

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Update: Look who else is going to be in Louisiana on March 7th! The Sam Adams Alliance will be doing an all-day workshop in New Orleans for "invited" bloggers and operatives while the spontaneous, grassroots patriots "rise up" in Lafayette. What an interesting coincidence.

Here's the link the Playboy article made from the Santelli rant to the associated "movement" web sites to the Sam Adams Alliance:

Within hours of Santelli's rant, a website called ChicagoTeaParty.com sprang to life.
...
ChicagoTeaParty.com was just one part of a larger network of Republican sleeper-cell-blogs set up over the course of the past few months, all of them tied to a shady rightwing advocacy group coincidentally named the “Sam Adams Alliance,” whose backers have until now been kept hidden from public.

Wow. I don't know which "Party" to crash.

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How "1 and 2" becomes "1 then 2" 

An important part of maintaining and feeding one's Blog Ego is the ability to select certain co-incidents and imply causation.

Observe:

1) After lamenting about the "race poisoned" atmosphere in local New Orleans politics, I sent out a call to 2010 Mayoral candidate James Perry saying "your leadership is needed". (Why Perry? Because he's a candidate who can comfortably discuss "race" among white and black audiences, and is a candidate with significant "crossover" potential.)


2) Three days after I published my blog entry, James Perry wrote an excellent post about race and trust, and pointed a way out of the current political morass. E at We Could be Famous could hardly believe his eyes:

Am I really seeing a New Orleans political figure synthesizing viewpoints to take a stand in the midst of a fiery controversy? Huh?

Go read what James Perry says in Race and Trust in NOLA:

To build trust we need to have information from disinterested sources. We need information that provides clear unbiased data that we can rely on.

In New Orleans there is strong racial mistrust and general mistrust of our elected officials. We can use honesty and transparency to overcome that distrust and create a new basis for working together. Information and data, are key components in building this new trust. When objective data is unavailable, regardless of what the truth is, people revert to historic racial dividing lines. In today’s information age, there is a new opportunity. We can share all data and information and build relationships in much the way that friends do.

In working towards a post-racial New Orleans, sharing data is key. If we all have the common goal of a better City then there is no harm in making information available to everyone. Decisions about contracts should be open, inclusive, and transparent. Transparency and openness provide a base allowing trust to endure even through disagreement and bad reasoning. We need transparency in New Orleans government now. The progress of New Orleans’ racial dialogue depends on it.


This is an interesting way to construct the argument in favor of transparency since a lot of folks have been saying that the whole reason we can't have common sense public meetings and records laws is because of racial mistrust.


Did #1 cause #2? Whooo knows?
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Political analyst Clancy Dubos writes:

The next round of citywide elections will be the most racially polarized in memory. That’s a damn shame, and there’s plenty of blame to go around.

But rather than just assign blame, maybe we should talk about responsibility.
...
City Council members, particularly Arnie Fielkow, you have a responsibility not to be naïve. It’s not good enough to have your “heart in the right place,” as Fielkow put it last week; you also have to have your head in the game. You can’t take the politics out of politics. Even if your intentions are pure, your actions will speak louder than anything. If you don’t recognize that, you don’t belong in public office.


The more the 2010 mayoral contest is racially polarized, the less likely it is that Fielgood can win. This polarized racial dynamic could be a political opportunity for someone like James Perry who, despite his youthfulness, isn't "naïve" on matters like race.

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Update: My apologies to Clancy Dubos, whom I initially misquoted. I've corrected the error, and appreciate him notifying me about it in the comments. I was hastily cutting and pasting quotes for this post, and chopped the "City Council members, particularly" phrase from one of the sentences I highlighted. I was indeed thinking more about my point than Clancy's, so I again apologize for that mistake. I sort of pride myself on how I quote other people's work, so this is an embarrassment for my blogging ego.

Also in the comments, BNolaD says that "Perry plans to implement a blind review of contracts". That reminded me of David Marcello's recent T-P op-ed, and one of Mayor Nagin's broken promises:

In his Dec. 11, 2001, announcement speech, candidate Nagin promised to present a ballot proposition within the first 100 days of his administration, eliminating separate mayor-council selection procedures in favor of a single process fixed by ordinance. He also wanted evaluation committees to include diverse groups of citizens, not just City Hall insiders.
...
Six-and-a-half years later, we've yet to see a ballot proposition.

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5 comments DiggIt! then 2"" Title="Del.icio.us" target="_blank">Del.icio.us  
Celcus:

Representative Cao might just have done more to help the recovery of the city in a month and a half than Bill Jefferson did three and a half years.
...
Cao seems to have put his finger on a very large problem with the recovery of the city, the bottleneck of FEMA funding. Here is one time when I will actually defend our transparent Mayor, C Ray; without the full release of the funding, projects cannot progress.


Cliff:

I vote for everything else anyone is pissed about being put on hold while we get together to fight crime and FEMA.

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