Saturday, January 09, 2010
Odd that he didn't mention this newsworthy preference during his interview with T-P columnist Stephanie Grace.
(The obvious angle here is to redirect African-American voters and Democratic insiders away from Mitch Landrieu, because his sister supports keeping Letten in office.)
Update: Now Georges claims it was all a joke, in the name of endorsement strategery. He says he supports Letten, but was doing a comedic "routine" in front of an audience full of African American Democrats in order to damage Mitch Landrieu, and make sure Landrieu didn't get the OPDEC endorsement. (Troy Henry received the endorsement.) Good gravy. Can Georges get more ridiculous?
Friday, January 08, 2010
Under scrutiny and criticism of business dealings of his former top executive and his own interests, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard announced his resignation this morning.
Bert Smith, another one of Broussard's top administrators, said Broussard "told us he is not the target of any investigation.
Broussard's resignation comes as several members of his staff were set to appear before a federal grand jury in New Orleans this morning in the wake of a criminal investigation into former Chief Administrative Officer Tim Whitmer's personal business dealings with parish contractors.
Heh. Good riddance. The Flaming Liberal and I will have more on this in a future post.
Update: Gambit sources say Broussard's resignation stems directly from investigations into the Hubbard case in St.
Exhortations to "Remember 9/11" are stupid. No one will forget 9/11. More useful would be to remember how Bushco falsely claimed that the "lessons of 9/11" applied directly and immediately to Iraq.
It appears that I was wrong and that we need to start printing new batches of those "Never Forget" bumper stickers.
Just over a month ago, former Bush administration spokesperson and current Fox analyst Dana Perino stated that "we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term". Fox host Sean Hannity didn't correct or dispute this bizarre claim. Perhaps this could be dismissed on the basis of Perino being unhistorical and dim, but then this morning Rudy Giuliani himself said that "We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama." Again, the Today Show host didn't correct or dispute this bizarre claim.
The talking point that Perino and Giuliani meant to say was some variation of "Since 9/11, George Bush kept us safe." (Naturally, this claim ignores the worst biological attacks in the nation's history but since Americans who died from Anthrax weren't killed by brown jihadists, they don't count.) Even though GOP supporters have repeated this false talking point ad nauseum for several years now, Robert Elisberg claims it's self-refuting due to the mention of 9/11:
It's a fruitless effort, of course. History doesn't listen to talking heads. It digs into what actually happened. Yet on the Apologists go, pounding their flim-flam into the heads of anyone who needs desperately to hear it.
"Ever since 9/11, George Bush kept us safe, and there were no attacks on U.S. soil."
Calling it a lie, though, is an insult to lies. Far worse, it's an insult to those who died.
The words, "Ever since 9/11..." should be enough to stop the con game right there. The mere thought of "9/11" will forever raise a visceral, sickening gut reaction drilled deep into the psyche of Americans.
Maybe that's true, and the GOP is retooling the talking point from "Since 9/11, Bush kept us safe" to "Bush kept us safe". If an "analyst" was on any channel and made the claim that "Clinton kept us safe", there would be a cock-eyed look and a follow up question. Such a statement doesn't follow the prevailing scripts. The host would contest the claim in some fashion "What about this, this and this?" But figures like Perino and Giuliani can say "Bush kept us safe" and the hosts nod and move to the next question.
It's difficult to put these blunders into context, they're so mind-boggling. I tried to do so in the title, the best I could. Another way: when thunderstorms bring flooding to New Orleans streets during the next mayoral administration, a pundit might slyly insert the claim that "there were no floods during Nagin's term", and gauge the reaction.
Update: To his partial credit, George Stephanopoulos calls out Rudy's glaringly false claim after the fact.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Tea Party Nation is pleased to announce the First National Tea Party Convention to be held February 4-6, 2010 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN.
Best of all, Sarah Palin will be the keynote speaker! While the $550.00 registration fee to this grassroot event does not include lodging, Tea Partiers can perhaps offset this cost with the savings gained from the upcoming National Day of Strike boycotts.
(Palin speaks at "Little Norway 2007" festival.)
Tea Party stalwart Michelle Bachmann will also speak at the convention, spreading her patented brand of uncommon brilliance:
No one that I know disagrees with natural selection-- that you can take various breeds of dogs... breed them, you get different kinds of dogs. It’s just a fact of life. ... Where there’s controversy is (at the question) ‘Where do we say that a cell became a blade of grass, which became a starfish, which became a cat, which became a donkey, which became a human being?’ There’s a real lack of evidence from change from actual species to a different type of species. That’s where it’s difficult to prove. --quoted in the Stillwater Gazette, September 29, 2003
Also, that wonderfully informed Joseph Farrah from WingNut Daily will deal out some hard troof, as he did on the anniversary of the Federal Flood:
I am so sick of hearing about how Hurricane Katrina was a manmade catastrophe. Not so. We have plenty of manmade catastrophes involved with New Orleans. I can name them: Nagin, Obama, Edwards, Clinton. But, I have news for you: Katrina was a real storm. And there are more of them out there with New Orleans' name on it.
But the Pea Tardists are a very, very serious movement. Don't mock them.
Update: Pat hopes Mayor Nagin will be a late edition to the line-up, creating "Chocolate Moose" political re-alignment. That's one of the few ways this thing could get more delicious.
1. The T-P reported on a mayoral debate about the city's Inspector General's office:
"We all know government cannot be trusted, so we need to put in safeguards," [John] Georges said, adding later that in establishing an inspector general, City Hall joins other major cities that value government transparency. "If it's good enough for Houston, it's good enough for New Orleans."
Words to live by. Can we make that into a campaign bumper sticker?
2. And here's a T-P article on Georges' purchase of a majority slice of Galatoire's restaurant (my emphasis).
Georges said that he wanted to be involved with an iconic New Orleans restaurant that is his wife's and his mother's favorite dining spot. "I thought it would be nice if I wanted to be mayor to at least invest in my own city," said Georges, the chief executive of Imperial Trading Co.
Funny that a local near-billionaire businessman implies that this is his first investment in New Orleans.
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
The past decade was the worst for the U.S. economy in modern times, a sharp reversal from a long period of prosperity that is leading economists and policymakers to fundamentally rethink the underpinnings of the nation's growth.
It was, according to a wide range of data, a lost decade for American workers.
There has been zero net job creation since December 1999. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. Economic output rose at its slowest rate of any decade since the 1930s as well.
Middle-income households made less in 2008, when adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1999 -- and the number is sure to have declined further during a difficult 2009. The Aughts were the first decade of falling median incomes since figures were first compiled in the 1960s.
And the net worth of American households -- the value of their houses, retirement funds and other assets minus debts -- has also declined when adjusted for inflation, compared with sharp gains in every previous decade since data were initially collected in the 1950s.
Makes me want to say "This is Republican Governance", and just leave it at that.
But that's a little childish. Here's the interesting question: In light of the Bush tax cuts, how will Republicans explain this dismal decade?
Cumulatively, the Bush tax cuts were not small. As you can see in this Table #1 compiled by The Tax Foundation, if you combine the Bush Tax Cuts of '01, '02, and '03 together, they are fairly comparable in size to the sacred Kennedy and Reagan tax cuts. This is important because nearly all Republican officeholders credit tax cuts as the unfailing policy that leads to economic growth. So the Bush tax cuts are going to be something of an historical problem for Republicans. Rest assured they will overcome it, but I'm interested in the tack they'll take, because the same old stories just won't fly. Their simplistic supply-side fairy tales will have to be adjusted to explain the previous decade (especially since 2002-2005 represented the apex of Republican power in modern political history). The Bush tax cuts were aided by low interest rates, a wartime economy, and a housing mania. Yet the recession that began in 2007 wiped away all of the meager job and wealth "gains" that supply-siders like to credit to the Bush tax cuts. On a daily basis for years on end, some conservative pundits referred to the middle portion of the decade as the "Bush Boom" years. They credited the Bush tax cuts for the economic recovery after the mild recession of 2001. Despite the conservative cheerleading by the likes of Larry Kudlow and Art Laffer, the so-called Bush Boom was never much of a "boom" to begin with-- few Americans participated in it, the stock market couldn't hold gains, and the subsequent "bust" eliminated all the meager wealth and net job gains. (On the other hand, if you subtract 01 recession job losses from Clinton's total, you get about 20 million net jobs gained. If you subtract the 07-09 recession job losses from Bush's pathetic total, it zeroes out. Zip, zilch, nada y nada amen. But Clinton raised taxes, and Bush cut them. Hence the problem for supply-side monists who believe tax cuts or the lack thereof explain everything.)
Thus, a new Republican historical story will have to be created, because their simplistic talking points always give tax cuts the economic credit but never the economic blame. I can imagine several possible options, though none of them seem compelling: perhaps the Bush tax cuts will be portrayed as not big "enough" (which the previous table disproves), or perhaps too "much" spending will be blamed (though the Reagan years were spendthrift as well), or perhaps it was the wrong "kind" of spending (too much Bush "compassion" ruined the tax cuts), or history will have to be rewritten to show that it was all Clinton's or Obama's or Pelosi's fault (that's gonna be a tough sell to the open-minded), or that the economic stagnation was inevitable and that the Great Recession would've been worse without the Bush tax cuts (that's a fairly negative storyline that won't impress independents). Of course, none of these possible narratives will persuade sentient beings who actually lived during these years and who don't have a vested interest in partisan blame games. So I'm thinking that movement conservatives in the GOP will have to get creative, and find a more effective storyline. Simply relying on coordinated, brute force repetition of one of the above storylines isn't going to work this time. I can promise you that I'll isolate the new lines as soon as they're floated, and predict you won't have to wait very long before they are introduced-- probably this year, certainly by 2011.
Republicans have momentum now, and you can rest assured that little supply-side "elves" are busy trying to twist together a remotely credible political story to disassociate the Bush tax cuts from having any responsibility for this dreary economic decade. Facts are not a concern. Eternally paramount is the conviction that tax cuts or conservatism is never at fault. Supply-side conservatives literally can't fathom such possibilities. In fact, any other part of reality that conflicts with their central tenants can be grotesquely distorted in order to show that tax cuts and conservatism are always the heroes, every time. It's been this way for many years now among movement conservatives, and a whole generation has grown up schooled in this simplistic pap. Again: tax cuts can never be blamed for anything bad, only credited for anything (or everything) good. Similarly, when a Republican makes an error that can't somehow be blamed on nefarious liberals, then the Republican (it turns out) wasn't sufficiently conservative. Problem solved. And "insufficiently conservative" is another way of saying "liberal" to these people. Thus, there is no middle ground for the Republican mythmakers. Like Bush, they don't do nuance. Therefore, the distinct possibility exists that Bush himself will be categorized as a "liberal" (like Nixon) in the GOP, and effectively disappeared from their pantheon. (More about that "pantheon" in a coming post, which you're guaranteed to love.)
You can bet that right now, little GOP elves are busy trying to account for a most inconvenient political cleavage: Bush cut taxes substantially, yet the worst economic decade since the 30's followed. Since the GOP worldview cannot accomodate the possibility that a liberal can cut taxes, or that a "true" conservative can raise them (e.g. Reagan didn't raise taxes after '81, he only "closed loopholes"), it won't be easy to paint Bush as a liberal. So it will be interesting to see how the Goop elves create a persuasive story about the Bush Tax Cuts that fits into their simplistic Kennedy/Reagan tax cuts talking point which they trotted out about a year ago. (Goops mostly invoke JFK to praise him because he cut taxes.) Now that the economic wreckage of the Bush years is obvious and incontravertible, and all of the phantom "benefits" from the "Bush Boom" that followed the tax cuts have been eliminated... the GOP must create a plausible political story that aligns with their (immutable and simplistic) economic platitudes. (For years prior to the Great Recession, we heard Bush administration officials saying the economy was "strong and getting stronger". They were painfully and arrogantly wrong.)
Dubya can be thrown under the bus as a liberal, but not his tax cuts. The Great Recession has thrown a wrench in the current talking points, which cite the Kennedy/Reagan/Bush tax cuts as the source for the subsequent economic "booms". These current talking points are no longer a viable option. You're not going to see any more of these clownish explanations like Jindal tried to pull off last February on national TV:
MR. GREGORY: [D]emocrats would... argue, with regard to a call for greater tax cuts, that over the course of the Bush presidency you only had a--three million new jobs through aggressive tax cutting, that the change in median income did not appreciably go up at all. And yet there is this emphasis on tax cuts as the best way to cure what ails the economy.
GOV. JINDAL: Well, I think there's just a--I think this is--shows the fundamental disagreement...
MR. GREGORY: Is that wrong? Is that--are those facts wrong?
GOV. JINDAL: Well, I-- a couple of things about those facts. You look in our country's history, when President Kennedy, when President Reagan and, yes, when President Bush cut taxes, you know what, they created jobs for our country. It caused some of the best economic times and prosperity for our country.
The Bush tax cuts created "some of the best economic times and prosperity for our country"? Are you freakin' kidding me?!? That doesn't even pass the laugh test, so you're not going to hear that Kennedy/Reagan/Bush formulation in the future. That dog won't hunt, and a new explanation will have to be formulated. But, again, this will require some creativity and a significant rewrite of the familiar GOP playbook. Vitty-cent joined Jindal in floating that howler back in February and... well, it didn't work. They ran it up the flagpole and nobody saluted.
Naturally, the Dems could seize this opportunity to create a reality-based story about the emptiness of supply-side logic, grounded in the searing experience of the Great Recession, and they could work on inculcating this narrative into the national body politic. (You just know if the situation were reversed, that's what the Goops would do.) But where's the fun in that? Why not instead take an opportunity to miss a great political opportunity? Predictably, the Dems will cower in the corner and wait for the other side to craft a startlingly absurd economic explanation for the miserable Bush decade, and watch in admiration as they repeat it in coordinated fashion with straight faces. Dems love playing prevent defense on such things, with some idiotic forlorn hope that the press will call out the GOP for being crazed, unhistorical phonies.
There are risks for the GOP, as they create a new "tax cut" story that will fit the Bush years. They might shift their focus entirely to Obama, and how his policies have made the sky fall... and then the economy might noticeably improve. Extolling the salad days after the Bush tax cuts (as Jindal and Vitter were doing last February) while the country emerges from Bush's Great Recession is a good way to instantly lose credibility, and invite scathing mockery. Republicans don't want to do that. Even the hapless Dems couldn't screw up that opportunity.
This isn't merely an exercise in partisan gamesmanship, either. These political fights turn into competing narratives. And eventually history gets informed by these biased narratives, and written (and rewritten), and studied in schools. Regarding the last point, we note The Washington Monthly's story about Don McElroy:
[Don] McLeroy is no ordinary citizen. The jovial creationist sits on the Texas State Board of Education, where he is one of the leaders of an activist bloc that holds enormous sway over the body’s decisions. As the state goes through the once-in-a-decade process of rewriting the standards for its textbooks, the faction is using its clout to infuse them with ultraconservative ideals. Among other things, they aim to rehabilitate Joseph McCarthy, bring global-warming denial into science class, and downplay the contributions of the civil rights movement.What about science?
“I don’t care what the educational political lobby and their allies on the left say,” [McElroy] declared... “Evolution is hooey.”And history?
“The secular humanists may argue that we are a secular nation,” McLeroy said, jabbing his finger in the air for emphasis. “But we are a Christian nation founded on Christian principles. The way I evaluate history textbooks is first I see how they cover Christianity and Israel. Then I see how they treat Ronald Reagan—- he needs to get credit for... the good economy over the last twenty years because he lowered taxes.”Wow. Reagan gets credit for the good economy over the last twenty years... "because he lowered taxes". Nuff said. I wonder what partisan fantasies will be considered for schoolbooks twenty years from now, by McElroy's successors? I promise you, they are being crafted as we speak and we will probably see the debut of the new talking points in coming months. There won't be any simple Reagan/Kennedy formulas, though. "Bush cut taxes and a boom followed"... simply won't fly, so the GOP elves have their work cut out for them.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
At first I thought she was referring to how our local football team appears as they stagger into the playoffs. But no! Instead, Grandmère is talking about "Soft and Huggable" Catholic Saints dolls available for purchase from an online retailer.
Cool! I want a soft and huggable Saint Dismas doll, since YRHT celebrates Dismas' noble performance under stressful circumstances.
... but alas, St Dismas isn't part of the catalogue yet. Darn.
Inside reports have [State Senator Ed] Murray leaning towards an endorsement of businessman John Georges and Georges agreeing to help Murray retire the over $200,000 in campaign debt still outstanding.
Now THAT is the modus operandi of the John Georges I know: buying out lesser candidates in return for support. He's attempted to do it before (to a candidate I was advising) and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he made a similar deal with Murray. In fact, the first thing that I thought of when I heard Murray withdrew from the Mayor's race was "Georges is at it again".
Professional political analyst Clancy Dubos, on the other hand, contends that Murray's decision to withdraw was based mainly on his "moral compass"-- he didn't want to "play the race card" in order to prevail over Landrieu. This is an honorable explanation for a puzzling decision. It's also an explanation that sounds much better than "I took a buyout from Georges". So, with full respect to Clancy's impeccable "inner circle" sources (who Murray didn't consult about his decision to withdraw) YRHT will remain skeptical of Murray's real reasons until Murray makes an endorsement.
Yes, we're referring to Dubos' rather puzzling comment (3rd one down) at the Gambit blog thread. Jeffrey pulls on one hangnail, involving some (alleged?) pictures. Here's another hangnail to pull/scenario to consider: perhaps Georges is scared Landrieu might win outright, without a runoff, and he believes he can buy a substantial portion of the so-called "black vote" by paying off Murray's debt in return for an endorsement. Isn't that plausible? [I know nothing about the rumors discussed in the comment thread, but I wouldn't totally rule them out simply because they came from "amateur pundits", as Dubos does. A few years ago, I was an amateur pundit talking about rumors involving Vitter whereas Dubos had transcribed Vitter's honorable explanation about why he abruptly withdrew from the Governor's race. In that case, Chris Tidmore was right. I don't know who's right in this case, but I'd say I again give the edge to Tidmore and "buyout" versus Dubos and "Georges had nothing to do with it". And I wouldn't rate a rumor's truth value to be zero simply because it came from an amateur.]
BayouStJohnDavid comes flying in off the top rope and slams Dubos' treatment of Murray's moral decision. Delicious.
A little more from Tidmore's email:
[The PANO] endorsement [of mayoral candidate Rob Couhig] comes in the wake of Couhig winning the official GOP endorsement for Mayor from both the local and state [Republican] parties. Now, with Murray out of the race, the question remains will the other groups of GOP activists follow suit. Ed Murray received the endorsement of the Greater New Orleans Republicans, a group not affiliated with the party governing structure. Georges, when last a Republican, had helped found that group, but Couhig hopes that they and others will return to the fold--as they see his chances as more realistic.
The GNOR endorsement of Murray was a slap in the face to Couhig. Now Murray's out, and perhaps they'll have to re-endorse. I didn't know that Georges "helped found" GNOR. Not surprised, of course. But it is surprising that they'd endorse Murray over Georges as well as Couhig. I guess they just think it's their mission to support whoever might give Landrieu the toughest time-- that's their main concern, just as it was after the city had been catastrophically flooded. Crazy idiots.
Update: Clancy Dubos responds in the comments below with additional information, clarification and insight. Apparently Tidmore is saying that Georges offered to retire $200k of Murray's debt AFTER Murray pulled out.
Monday, January 04, 2010
"[Amanda Simpson (photo left)] recently served as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona.
"At Raytheon, Simpson -- a former test pilot who had worked for the company for more than a generation -- transitioned from male to female and was instrumental in convincing the military contractor to add gender identity to its equal employment opportunity policy."
YRHT says "Congratulations!" Unfortunately, Pamela Geller from Atlas Shrugs is less sanguine about the appointment:
"Does Obama know anyone who isn't wacky, radical, militant, judeophobic, socialist, marxist, pedophilic? ...... Does he chill with anyone who is normal? ...What a freak show this presidency is."
The New Mexico Independent summarizes some other news:
Same-sex couples were officially wed last week in New Hampshire, the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage, the Concord Monitor reports.
Again, YRHT extends its congratulations to couples in New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, on the international front, for three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to three American evangelical Christians who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity,” reports the New York Times.
That seems extreme, but such hysterical rhetoric is all-too-common among the Christianist Right these days. I hope the Ugandans didn't take their alarmist rants about the existential threat of the radical gay agenda seriously, and take a step towards eliminationism.
Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive, saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that led to a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.
Whoopsy daisies! Though they consulted on the legislation, the Christianists now act aghast and backtrack-- How'd those silly Ugandans ever come up with that noose idea, anyway? All we said was "criminalization" one time, and they just took the idea and ran with it. What can you do?
Sunday, January 03, 2010
How you climb the Mountain is just as important as how you get down the Mountain. And, so it is with life, which for many of us becomes a gigantic lesson. In the end it all comes down to one word. Grace. Its how you accept winning and loosing, Good Luck and Bad Luck, The Darkness and the Light.
Yes, dear Shockathustra. Descend down the mountain further than you climbed, into the abyss, so you may be strengthened to climb your higher mountains. Press on!
Fritz Nietzsche (Z, pt 3, chpt 45, "The Wanderer"):
And one thing more do I know: I stand now before my last summit, and
before that which hath been longest reserved for me. Ah, my hardest
path must I ascend! Ah, I have begun my lonesomest wandering!
He, however, who is of my nature doth not avoid such an hour: the
hour that saith unto him: Now only dost thou go the way to thy
greatness! Summit and abyss- these are now comprised together!
Thou goest the way to thy greatness: now hath it become thy last
refuge, what was hitherto thy last danger!
Thou goest the way to thy greatness: it must now be thy best courage
that there is no longer any path behind thee!
Thou goest the way to thy greatness: here shall no one steal after
thee! Thy foot itself hath effaced the path behind thee, and over it
standeth written: Impossibility.
And if all ladders henceforth fail thee, then must thou learn to
mount upon thine own head: how couldst thou mount upward otherwise?
Upon thine own head, and beyond thine own heart! Now must the
gentlest in thee become the hardest.
He who hath always much-indulged himself, sickeneth at last by his
much-indulgence. Praises on what maketh hardy! I do not praise the
land where butter and honey- flow!
To learn to look away from oneself, is necessary in order to see
many things.- this hardiness is needed by every mountain-climber.
He, however, who is obtrusive with his eyes as a discerner, how
can he ever see more of anything than its foreground!
But thou, O Zarathustra, wouldst view the ground of everything,
and its background: thus must thou mount even above thyself- up,
upwards, until thou hast even thy stars under thee!
Yea! To look down upon myself, and even upon my stars: that only
would I call my summit, that hath remained for me as my last summit!-
Thus spake Zarathustra to himself while ascending, comforting his
heart with harsh maxims: for he was sore at heart as he had never been
before. And when he had reached the top of the mountain-ridge, behold,
there lay the other sea spread out before him; and he stood still
and was long silent. The night, however, was cold at this height,
and clear and starry.
I recognise my destiny, said he at last, sadly. Well! I am ready.
Now hath my last lonesomeness begun.
Ah, this sombre, sad sea, below me! Ah, this sombre nocturnal
vexation! Ah, fate and sea! To you must I now go down!
Before my highest mountain do I stand, and before my longest
wandering: therefore must I first go deeper down than I ever ascended:
-Deeper down into pain than I ever ascended, even into its darkest
flood! So willeth my fate. Well! I am ready.
Whence come the highest mountains? so did I once ask. Then did I
learn that they come out of the sea.
That testimony is inscribed on their stones, and on the walls of
their summits. Out of the deepest must the highest come to its
Thus spake Zarathustra on the ridge of the mountain where it was
cold: when, however, he came into the vicinity of the sea, and at last
stood alone amongst the cliffs, then had he become weary on his way,
and eagerer than ever before.