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21 February 2004

One more down? 

There's a possibility of another open seat in House of Representatives. Now Jim McCrery is considering retirement. Who is next?

20 February 2004

Happy Mardi Gras 

This is the best thing about New Orleans

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Signing out 

You can pretty much count on this being the last morning resembling regular posting between now and the drying out period which begins on Wednesday. I'm headed out the door soon for the rough and tumble world of New Orleans Mardi Gras. Anyway, I'll take this opportunity to send out some Carnival love to all the folks who can't be here this weekend including all the friends and family who have been moving west, east and north over the last few years. And I'm not forgetting about the ex-pat residents of Blogiana, who seem to have responsibilities that are more important than Mardi Gras (are you kidding?).

I'll spend the weekend prowling my old uptown haunts and watching parades from as far away from Canal St. as is humanly possible. Any readers around the area should feel free to shoot me an email, and we'll see if we can't manage to share some beer over the weekend.

Harsh words for Pres. Bush 

Congrats to the editors at the Monroe News-Star. They seem to be only folks in the state with a major voice that's willing to scold the President. Here's some of today's editorial, the headline is "President's plan would drain river":

The president touts economic development and jobs, yet he tosses out a fiscal plan that undercuts a main cog of economic development for an entire region. That's talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Fortunately, it appears resistance to his proposal will be strong.

"I'm very concerned that President Bush in his 2005 budget plans to cut funds from $10 million to $1.95 million,' Gov. Kathleen Blanco said.

Said 5th District Rep. Rodney Alexander, D-Quitman: "It would completely destroy the work we've done on the port.'

It's good to see that officials realize the importance of the river's viability. Hopefully they can make a difference.

The administration's explanation for cuts to river systems, including the Ouachita, is a need to address the record deficits and the cost of the war on terrorism. True, but blatant cuts that will cripple an entire region are not the answer.

The administration can do better. This proposal is a joke, but it's no laughing matter.

Note the contrast to the Advocate's editors and their reaction to Bush's speech to the troops at Fort Polk.

The president's message, and his tribute to the troops, is a real tonic to the men and women who have risked their lives, or whose loved ones risk their lives today, on the front lines of the war against terrorism, brutality, ignorance and oppression.

Unfortunately a tonic is all the President can offer. He continues to screw the troops on the back end, as I mentioned a couple of days ago after I read the speech. Of course, I would never expect the editors to mention this, the Baton Rouge readership is waaaay too conservative, but it would be nice to even note that the President's record as far as real support goes for the troops isn't nearly as good as he'd like to make it out to be.

Passing the buck, literally 

Mostly due to some very risky, perhaps reckless, investments of state educator's pension fund by state officials, the fund is experiencing a massive shortfall. Now local school districts are being asked to pick up the tab.

"All together, it's passing on $180 million to the 67 parish and city school districts in the state," Stafford said. "The local school systems are being told 'you've got to up your ante.' The state is almost arbitrarily passing the increases on to local school systems."

Stafford said BESE members will talk to the Legislature about some relief.

"It's a pretty bleak looking picture for local boards that are already strapped," Stafford said. "Some hard decisions are going to have to be made to pay the bills. It's a pretty tough call."

Ollie Tyler, superintendent of the Caddo Parish school system, among the largest in the state, has estimated that unless the Legislature steps in, Caddo will have to pay $7.5 million more for retirement than it paid this year. She has already begun lobbying lawmakers to take action.

In Lafayette Parish the totals come to around $4 million new dollars that school boards will need to produce. The entire Acadiana area looks to be in the hole for over $10 million dollars. If anyone doubts this state is in the middle of a very real crisis of revenue on all fronts, they ought to open their eyes a little wider.

Talk about perfect timing 

So it's the last weekend before fat Tuesday, and what better time is there to hold "Fear Factor" auditions in New Orleans? They're taking place at The Boot and The Howlin' Wolf on Saturday damn near all day. There's nothing like a bunch of drunks eating cockroaches to really get me in the Carnival spirit.

Melancon makes if official 

Charlie Melancon formally announced his intent to run for Billy Tauzin's soon to be available Congressional seat. He's a self-described "Conservative Democrat," and has been a state representative. When he stopped serving the state he became the President of the American Sugar Cane League and began lobbying the federal government on the organization's behalf. He's a UL graduate too (then known as USL--stop calling it that).

19 February 2004

Don't hold your breath... 

Blanco to oil and gas interests: Help us with the coast

That's a headline off the AP wire over at Nola.com. There's a lot more in an address that Governor Blanco made to the Louisiana Landmen's Association earlier tonight. It looks like all she's asking is for oil and gas people to lobby the government for a better energy bill that would include federal funding for our restoration projects. Of course, this industry doesn't exactly have the cleanest track record on this subject, so God knows if the speech accomplished anything.

NYT on TFN 

The Times takes a look at The Football Network and find it's got some trouble. If you've been reading this site for long enough, you probably already know most of the information here, but if you haven't it's a good rundown of the whole story. I would like to have more on this, but I'm in a hurry.

More on CB 

CajunBot the website. Enjoy it Mary and Lisa!

Sharpton out, apparently 

— A state judge has refused to place the Rev. Al Sharpton on the ballot for Louisiana's presidential primary, upholding state election officials who said there were several problems with the Sharpton campaign's application.

I won't say I'm not a little surprised by this. It seems that in the past (NJ in their last Senate election) courts will make exceptions for filing trouble when it is in the interest of promoting more choices for a particular election. The article isn't clear why the judge came down on the other side. I suspect there was pressure because the ballots had already gone to the printer, and the costs and result (a delayed primary) of allowing Sharpton to run were likely big factors in his opinion. Sharpton's lawyers should have filed for an injunction to prevent the printing of the ballots when they initially filed their appeal, it could have made a difference.

link

Louisiana in play 

The T-P has a story up suggesting that Louisiana could make a difference in the selection of the Democratic Party nominee for President. Of course all this depends on a strong showing from John Edwards on the March 2, "Super Tuesday" primaries, which is still in doubt. Also, the chance of Louisiana having anything to do with picking the next nominee is also threatened by Al Sharpton's challenge to get his name on the ballot. Unfortunately, if Fox McKeithen would have just kept his office open an extra fifteen damned minutes while Cleo Fields raced through traffic to get to the capitol building, this wouldn't be a problem. Maybe Fields should have just called state troopers to deliver the check for the filing fee.

Extra Credit 

I'm willing to give Joel Robideaux the benefit of the doubt that he didn't fully understand the conflicts that he put his students in by offering them extra credit to work on a campaign in the 45th district special election, but it's still a good question to ask just what he was thinking. Robideaux is a candidate for the seat and an Accounting professor at UL. He offered his students extra credit to work on any of the candidate's campaign apparently completely unaware that some students who might want to work for one of his opponents might not feel so good about submitting their work for the points.

Appropriately, UL president Ray Authement put the kibosh on the extra credit.

It's excellent for duck hunting 

I wouldn't have mentioned this except two of my papers had prominent stories about it this morning. Engineering students at UL are competing for a million dollars in Nevada next month. The goal is to get a robot to travel across desert terrain for 210 miles in less than 10 hours. The contest is sponsored by the Department of Defense. The story here focusses on the CNN crew who came to check out the project, and the story here builds an underdog tale for the Lafayette students.

And finally, this is CajunBot:

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Lucky 13 

That's the number of possible candidates for Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District. There are lots of Dems and Reps considering right now, though it looks like the Republicans will defer to Hunt Downer should he formally announce his candidacy.

Other concerns are when the special election would be held to fill the seat in the event of Billy Tauzin's early retirement. State lawmakers are concerned about running a Congressional campaign while simultaneously fulfilling the duties of their offices. I doubt they will have much trouble when the actual time comes around to run, but you never know.

Whatever the case, the speculation is that Tauzin will know for sure what he wants to do sometime after a visit to the doctor later this month. I suspect that Tauzin will be ready to call it quits no matter what. Without his chairmanship to wield any more, he has very little power or influence. He'll just be another blowhard. Besides, I'm sure that lobbying money is calling his name pretty loudly right now.

A Song for Jeffrey 

Since there were the usual rounds of complaints about ladders over at the Library Chronicles, (scroll down) I hope Jeffrey saw this T-P editorial this morning.

The walls of Jericho crumbled. The Berlin Wall fell. The Great Wall of China is still standing, but the Mongols just went around it.

In fact, none of history's most famous barriers is as hardy or as impregnable as the some of the ones that line the New Orleans area's major parade routes during Carnival season. Even though public officials and other paradegoers beg them not to, some people insist on setting up a row of ladders, lashing them together and berating people who try to pass.

Fortunately the editors address an even more troubling problem with New Orleans paradegoers: the assholes who rope off entire areas along a curb or neutral ground. The usually leave themselves plenty of room for chairs and sometimes even barbecue pits, meanwhile the rest of us fight shoulder to shoulder with each other just to see the parade. Of course, the paper's advice is to just deal with it, which I guess is all we can do, but there must be some way to make these people pay for their hostility to the Carnival spirit.

Edwards last stand 

Read about the legal challenges fmr. gov. Edwards' lawyers are making on his behalf here and here. The charge that Polozolla was unstable due to the Oxycontin is pretty compelling, but I'll make the prediction right now that this his conviction is upheld. No way he's going to get another trial based on this. Note that I say this with absolutely no legal experience. Louisiana wants Edwards in jail. The federal government wants Edwards in jail, and Edwards will stay in jail.

18 February 2004

Awful 

WWL, may require registration. Quoted in full if you don't want to bother with the link:

One woman was killed and three other people were injured in a shooting on a parade route in New Orleans Wednesday night.

The incident occurred just after 9 p.m. near the corner of St. Charles and St. Josephine during the parade of Muses.

According to police spokesman Marlon Defillo, eyewitnesses said that an argument broke out on a neutral ground and one or more people pulled out guns and began firing, striking several people.

Defillo said that at least a half dozen police were within yards of the incident and responded within seconds, detaining close to a dozen people for questioning.

This really is terrible. I'm usually the first to maintain that Mardi Gras is one of the safest times to be in New Orleans if you want to avoid the violent crime that is unfortunately a big part of life in the Crescent City. Because the streets are filled with people and scores of extra police, there is usually a big deterrent from things like shootings and assaults. Unfortunately, not tonight.

Follow up 

I meant to post this in the morning, but forgot all about it when I read about the Edwards business. Anyway, a word to the wise for "foreign nationals" with criminal records when the President is coming to town: Get the hell out of Dodge.

Seven foreign nationals, including five Iraqis, were arrested at a Louisiana Army base after officials found they had criminal convictions including child molestation, authorities said Tuesday.

The individuals were employees of a government contractor hired by an Army training center at Fort Polk in central Louisiana, according to a statement from the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

The workers, including one Syrian and one Somalian, served as “role players” in training exercises for soldiers preparing for service in Iraq, the statement said.

There was no indication that any of the seven were involved in terrorist activities, Temple Black, a spokesman for ICE said.

A record is enough to get you arrested now if you're a "foreign national" from a rogue nation when the President comes to town. Now they face deportation even though they've apparently been helping us fight the war on "terra."

...clarification: I'm not sure, but this article gives the impression that the men had served their time, and were merely arrested for being ex-cons. If they were escaping service for their crimes, then by all means lock them up. I just don't think that's what happened here.

Edwin Edwards news 

Here's the story from WAFB.

PoliticsLA.com is reporting that Edwards' attorneys have called a press conference today (it begins at 10:30) to announce that new motions have been filed on behalf of the former Gov. and his son. Speculation suggests they have new evidence which could be justification for a new trial.

I'll update this when I can find out more about it, but I wouldn't expect this to be going very far.

update @ 10:49 am: edited, sometimes it's important to read your posts before publishing them. sorry about the poor proofing lately.

Every little bit 

Not much to this story, but I wanted to pass along that sometimes we actually can have good news about our state budget. This time it comes in greater revenue from the oil and gas industry than last year.

More nails, please 

After two very nasty failed statewide campaigns it seemed like Suzy Terrell was done in statewide politics, but just in case there was any chance left, Marsha Shuler has decided to get in there and start driving more nails in the coffin.

Shuler found that Terrell authorized nearly $100,000 in overtime payment to four of her top aides in the Commissioner of Elections office, much of which was compensation for time during Terrell's last months in office. It looks like the payment was legal, but even the Republican Secretary of State was none too pleased with the story:

"[I]t sets a dangerous precedent."

"It just looks like they were trying to get everything they could get," McKeithen said. "It's a horrible example of state service."

He also said he questions how some of the employees could work the number of hours they claimed.

It's always nice when the person who wanted us to elect her Attorney General gets in the business of defrauding the state.

Bush in LA, the morning after 

No hangover for the state press on the Bush visit. By all accounts his reception was glowing. And unlike the AP coverage I linked to yesterday, these stories don't even bother to tie it into the questions surrounding his own service. You can read about it here, here, and here. Even the pictures are inspiring, but that's nothing new.

However, the Gannet report does remind us how stage managed even this event was:

Before President Bush landed at the airfield here Tuesday, Command Sgt. Maj. Iuniasolua T. Savusa gave the troops permission to break protocol.

“Forget it for this one day,” Savusa said.

Instead of coming to attention at the sounding of “Hail to the Chief,” they were encouraged to cheer.

They even practiced yelling, but the practice wasn’t nearly as noisy as the real thing once Bush was introduced by Fort Polk commander Brig. Gen. Jason Kamiya.

Never forget that the Bush administration sees the military as a prop for his reelection and little else.

17 February 2004

Wisconsin reaction 

At this point in the game, any outcomes that extend the primary to more states is fine by me. It's good to have Democrats aggressively taking on the Bush record in the news every day. The dramatic drops in Bush's approval ratings are directly tied to press created by Democrats running for office, so I'm all for an extended primary.

An added bonus is that I like John Edwards. I don't know if has the fight to beat George Bush later this year, but he's a very effective spokesman for the core values of the Democratic Party. Kerry isn't as good in this regard, but he is undeniably a "presidential" figure. Everything from his stature to his demeanor seem to ooze with an easy confidence not seen in many politicians even more successful than him. I suspect that in debates with Bush this contrast would be striking. Kerry would tower over the generally stammering Bush, making him look like a lesser man, which he most definitely is.

Whoa there, sorry about getting in to Peggy Noonan territory just now. Frankly, I think Kerry has a lot to offer someone with genuinely liberal tendencies (Jeffrey, I'm looking at you, no need to pass over to the forces of the Dark Side in the event of a Kerry nomination). Unfortunately, as LO pointed out yesterday, his record is difficult to confine to sound bites, and will be easily portrayed as typical Washington waffling. Granted that Kerry has a lot to answer for. Namely two big votes on Iraq and the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act is a gimme, though. Everybody voted for it. The country really was different then, and the Congress must have believed that the Bush administration and his justice department (who wrote the basics of the bill) would act responsibly at the time.

Admittedly Iraq is harder to forgive. But Kerry is making atonement for it on the stump, and I hope if he's the nominee that Democrats won't hold it against him. Our country is at a fork in the road. The Bush administration and their lackeys in Congress, without even getting in to their self-destructive hit or miss approach to world affairs, are systematically destroying the foundations of liberal governance that have led to the awesome growth and prosperity of our nation in the last sixty years. They have no interest further than consolidating their own power and lining the pockets of cronies whose interest in the US doesn't go farther than creating a holding pin for consumers and resources they can further exploit. They scare Americans with talk of a culture war so that we don't look at the real problems in our country.

This summer and fall Republicans will look Americans all over the country right in the eye and pretend that gay marriage is a greater threat to prosperity than tens of millions of uninsured Americans. They will pretend that a bare breast on television during the Superbowl is more harmful to the country than the fact that we are approaching a trillion dollar deficit which will affect at least a generation of Americans. They will pretend that it's more important for children to pray in school than it is for them to have well-paid teachers, better equipped classrooms, and smaller classes. They will do this thoroughly and effectively.

So now is not the time to pile on whoever could be our Democratic nominee. Now is the time to embrace the party, not the naysayers who claim there is no difference between the GOP and the Democrats. It is the time to stand up and say no more to Bush and his divisive, hateful, and greedy policies.

Like a dollar bill, but scarier 

I've don't have much good to say about John Ashcroft, but I really never knew he was this shifty.

Perhaps he wasn't the best candidate 

Jaysus?!? I don't what the hell to make of this. Ryan Lizza on the last night of the General's campaign:

Semi-chilled Bud Light was the drink of choice, as it was on the Clark campaign bus. The already paper-thin wall separating the young Clark media embeds and the young Clark staffers was finally torn down, and both sides joined the general in the kitchen. There, at the top of his lungs, the former Supreme Allied Commander sang Madonna's "Like a Prayer" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." One ex-Clarkie quipped, "The scariest part was that he knew all the words."

Wes Clark, you make my heart sing. You make everything, the exact opposite of groovy.

via who else but Wonkette?

Blogiana for everyone 

Mary is quite a bit upset she'll be missing out on the Carnival debauchery that will grip south Louisiana for the next week. To rub it in, I got an email itinerary today from some friends that includes the annual kegs in grocery carts for the parades, after-parade parties, the first annual Carnival crawfish boil, and even time slated for "the old dts" (detoxification). But if you can't make it to our fine state for Mardi Gras, don't fret. NOLA.com has a series of twenty-four hour webcams broadcasting from all over the Crescent City.

The best one by lengths has to be the Cat's Meow Karaoke Cam. Once the sun goes down (and often before that) there is no shortage of drunks making fools of themselves by singing and dancing to the worst of what pop music has had to offer over the last thirty years. It makes for fantastic background noise when you're up to other things on the computer.

Bush in LA 

"America depends on our military to meet dangers abroad and keep our country safe," Bush said. "The American people appreciate your sacrifice. Our government owes you more than gratitude; we must always make sure America's soldiers are well equipped and well trained to fight this war on terror."

Our government owes these men and women way more than gratitude, but Bush doesn't plan to give them anything more than words. He continues to slash benefits and continues to mislead them about terms of service. How he can honestly be thought of as a man who has their interests in mind is beyond all logic.

From the AP here.

Who knew? 

This explains why all my snapshots now come out with the colors and images running relentlessy to the corners of the paper. Seriously, does anyone use Polaroid cameras anymore? I'll shake it any damn way I want to.

Sadow nuts 

I usually have very little respect for the man's predictions, but now he's just getting ridiculous. Hell, he's the same guy that predicted and relished the possibility of a Leach-Jindal runoff not too long ago. Today he's talking about Bush coattails at a time when Bush is at his lowest approval rating of his entire presidency.

In Kentucky, a Republican candidate in today's special Congressional election in what is most definitely a deeper Red state than our own ran on the Bush ran on the Bush record, and she should lose because she has so much of the president's stench on her. I can't wait until David Vitter's record of an all-the-time Bush supporter is contrasted to someone with the brains to vote as a moderate.

Jeff Sadow always seems to confuse what he wants to happen with what a little bit of reflection could show what's likely to happen.

Following up 

Most of the stories in todays papers are just extensions of things I linked to yesterday, and since I'm late getting on to the Internet a little later than usual this morning I figure a one stop round up will have to suffice for now. The two good papers in the state both consider the possibility of a local option gas tax increase, and the T-P informs us that as far as Governor Blanco is concerned, it's not an option. Which makes us pretty fortunate that now the DOTD is saying there are plenty of other ways to find money to fund state highway improvements. Of course that means taking money away from other recipients that need; in this case that means the State Police, among others.

Of course all is not bad, Bush is in town today. You can read a preview of his visit here and here, but as usual, the general public isn't invited. Only hand-picked audiences will do for our President and "man of the people."

And here's a less-dumb report on Kennedy's address to the Baton Rouge Press Club than the one I linked to yesterday. There's not much new information in the story, but it's worth checking out just for the awful picture of Kennedy. He looks like a guy who sells cotton candy at UL sporting events. I can practically hear the call in my head when I look at it. "Yum, yum, come get you some!" I love and hate that guy all at once. I hope I'm not forced to think of him now I every time I see John Kennedy.

16 February 2004

If this is populism... 

John Kennedy (not the dead one or his dead son) was at the Baton Rouge Press Club setting down the themes of his Senate candidacy. What he basically said, "they're insiders in Washington, and I can bring a fresh voice." And who ever wrote this AP article doesn't know jack about populism:

Kennedy announced that his first order of business, if he makes it to the Senate, will be to introduce four bills, each with populist overtones. The first would seek to increase Louisiana's share of federal road money — Kennedy complained that other states get a greater return for the gasoline taxes they pay, though he was unable to say whether Louisiana, as a poor state, reaps greater federal returns overall.

A second bill proposed by Kennedy would seek to give employers rebates for every new job they create.

A third would change prescription-drug provisions in the new Medicare reform bill that bar the government from negotiating lower drug prices, and prevent foreign purchase of drugs; a fourth would allow certain retired workers to collect Social Security benefits, as well as government pensions, which they are prevented from doing under current law.

That's a far cry from active redistribution of wealth. Hell, Kennedy even comes out in favor of the Bush policy on the inheritance tax, by which I mean to say he's dead set against it. It's unbelievable what populism has been reduced to these days. For God's sake, he wants to give money to employers for creating new jobs. A real populist would just create a government agency that re-stained telephone poles and create thousands of jobs that way. There's very little in this story that would suggest Kennedy supports anything remotely similar to what I know of as populism. It's amazing how little political reporters understand political movements. Simply opposing some conservative positions does not a populist make. Jeez.

A quick note. I'm not necessarily criticizing these positions. In fact they seem pretty reasonably moderate to conservative. However, for a lefty like me to see "share our wealth" style politics reduced to support for the permanent repeal of the inheritance tax makes me distressed for the future of any populist movement.

Update @ 6:12 pm: gross overuse of "redistribution" among other things. clarity needed. link fixed. anything else?

Persistence not always a virtue 

You really have to hand it to Drudge for sticking with a story in the face of overwhelming signals to just give it a rest. I'm sure Rush is saying that the Clintons are behind the suppression of this story.

One can dream 

David over at SSP has an interesting post about the RNC and CREEP (committee to reelect the President for those who haven't read Woodward and Bernstein) taking over the apparatus in New Mexico to deliver the state to Bush in November. This isn't surprising, but it doesn't seem particularly smart.

I hope they try this in Louisiana. The fact that Bush is coming to the state tomorrow for the second time in as many months tends to signal that they believe Louisiana could be a toss up for them. At least they're not taking it for granted. The Republican Party of Louisiana has been in a little battle for its soul lately. After two big losses in two years they engaged in some internecine warfare, along with some pressure from the national party, which has now resulted in the Party's longtime chairman deciding to give up the post (scroll nearly all the way down). That means the Party will likely have untested leadership in a state that Rove feels could go either way. That sounds like the perfect time for the Bush political machine to step in and really screw things up for their candidate.

Louisiana has not taken kindly in the past when we are suspicious of DC coming in to show us how to do things. A big part of Terrell's loss in both 2002 and 2003 was her connection to consulting groups outside of the state running despicable ads against home-grown candidates. David notes the trouble Dean's over-zealous canvassers from around the country may have caused his campaign in Iowa earlier this year, and I expect this would be twice as bad in Louisiana if plane loads of "bourgeois rioters" came in to deliver Louisiana to Bush. We'll watch this story closely, and hope.

Ugh 

Happy Reagan day. Dear Lord, if you have any love for us and our country, please don't allow the revisionist forces of the mighty wurlitzer to coopt Presidents Day as the Regean Memorial Holiday. Amen.

Missed this 

Didn't look through the Monroe paper online this morning since I tend to do my Gannett reading in one stop shopping, but there's a story about Bush's visit to Fort Polk that's coming tomorrow. There isn't much to it, but I thought this line rounding the piece up was a little out of place:

Bush has made several visits to Louisiana as president, including a trip to Barksdale Air Force Base on Sept. 11, 2001, following the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

I figure if you can't find a way to mention Bush and Sept. 11 in the same sentence at least once when you're covering the White House then you're fired. I really don't see how this adds anything at all to the rest of the report. It's like, "by the way, the president was also in Louisiana on Sept. 11." What's the point in that? It just seems weird. I wish I could see if it was included in the press release.

I'm shocked 

No joke, really, I am. Bayou Buzz is usually a pretty moderate to conservative voice among the very small family of Louisiana political websites, but this column blows my mind. The author of "Is Iraq Evidence that President Bush is a Dry Drunk?" is listed only as Staff Bayoubuzz although there is an email address to a single person listed. Whatever the case, this isn't exactly the commentary I've come to expect from them. I guess they're trying to increase traffic on their message boards, which is a laudable goal, but they really shooting the moon with this one.

Earlier several other writers and I likened Bush´s personality characteristics to those of a person who, in AA parlance, is "dry" but whose thinking is not really sober. Grandiosity, rigidity, and intolerance of ambiguity, and a tendency to obsess about things are among the traits associated with the dry drunk. The dry drunk quits drinking, but his or her obsession with the bottle is often replaced with other obsessions.

Of course there's a reason this doesn't sound like the voice of bayou buzz, and that's because it isn't. I'm assuming it's a mistake that they don't include a notation that the actual author of that piece is Kathering Van Wormer written originally for the History News Network, and that they are not so blatantly plagiarizing this article, but you never know with the Internet these days.

At any rate, I'm not much for arguments that try and find the unconscious motivations of people that you've never met, but I wanted to point out that it's strange to see Bayou Buzz passing this stuff along. Of course, it's even stranger if it's outright plagiarism, but we'll see what the case is with that.

Update @ 9:22 am: it appears that the author is now rightly credited for the piece. Ms. Van Wormer was raised in Louisiana, and now seems to be a contributor to the website, which ought to be pretty easy for her if she just sends them the things she syndicates all over the web.

Moving on 

Sorry about the weekend distractions. I blame it on being sick. Now I get up on Monday morning ready to move on, and there's not a bit of political news in my newspapers. That's life I guess. So for now you'll just have to deal with some local stuff that I find interesting.

There are over 500 Louisianians (and over 20,000 nationwide) who are being sued by DirecTV satellite systems for signal theft. One target calls the lawsuits carpetbombing. DirecTV lawyers spent little time looking at the merits of individual cases, choosing instead to start filing lawsuits and let the judges and juries sort it out. One strange aspect of the report comes in the discussion of how DirecTV found out who was stealing their signal:

Two years after it raided three California companies and seized shipping records and receipts, DirecTV is now going after the viewers it thinks may have used technology to watch the likes of wrestling, fly fishing and Sponge Bob cartoons for free.

That seems to say that DirecTV is in the business of raiding businesses. I'm no lawyer, but I don't know evidence obtained in that fashion could be admissible as evidence in court. Maybe police raided these companies on DirecTV's urging. That would make more sense, but it's really not clear either way.

I don't have much sympathy for cable and satellite thieves who get caught, but there seem to be a whole host of problems with suing people based on a list of receipts in a shady business office.

15 February 2004

Things you don't want to hear 

When the people who control your job say things like this, you ought to start putting your resume together.

"Let it be safe to say, I think it would be very wise for Mr. Baer to retire," Fields, D-Baton Rouge, told the TV station last week.

Fields was talking about beleaguered Senate Secretary Mike Baer there. I missed it when he gave the original quote, but his future in the Capitol building isn't looking bright these days. Here's more from the AP.

So be it 

As it happens, I don't exactly get enough traffic to be entirely comfortable with alienating supposed readers, but I guess that's the way it goes sometimes. I wouldn't have been heading over to Gemina's site much anyway. Her entirely original musings about the importance of farting to a healthy sexual relationship isn't exactly my cup of tea. So, if you're counting, that's one down ten or fifteen to go. My friends and siblings come next. That should leave just a few, and I think I'll be happy then.

To clarify though, the "blog whore" comment didn't have anything to do with the sexual content of the blog--which I coundn't really care less about--rather it had to do with commenting for the sole purpose of gaining traffic. I suppose troll would have been a better word.

Update @ 8:00 pm: and in further effort to defend my honor and my instincts about supposed trolls I did a little of my own detective work. Here is Gemina making similar comments at other folks' web logs. How could I find such a thing? The wonder of her own site referrer stats. Your faux sense of outrage which at first made me feel bad now angers me. Kind of like the way Ed Gillespie calls any question of Bush's character "gutter politics." And since you so eloquently called me rude on your site, I hope you'll come back and answer for yourself now that there is little question of your spamming.

Sunday roundup 

John Hill has what is probably the last few inches on Blanco's trip to Iraq and her meeting with President Bush in this morning's Gannett papers. This one seems like a better consideration of the political motivations and conclusions made by Bush and Blanco. An interesting comment by the Gov. to the Pres. came as a request about guardsmen:

“We also asked that the government be more honest about the time our National Guard units will be there,” she said. They told Bush some Guardsmen had said they were first told they would be in Iraq for six months, then later that they would be there two more months and now some are learning they will be there a year.

These are the kinds of real concerns that the family and friends of servicemen are having all over the country. That Blanco uses the term "honest" here probably isn't accidental. The Bush administration has been shorting estimates on the length of service since day one of this war, and it's hard to believe that it's accidental. It's too bad the Governor doesn't make a louder cry for "accountability" from the White House, but it's important that it's out there anyway.

Speaking of presidents, the March 9 Louisiana primary will be the first time Louisianians will be able to take advantage of provisional voting (on the day of the election signing an affidavit stating that you are registered even when your name doesn't appear on a precinct's voter rolls) as mandated by the federal "Help America Vote" Act. Our Sec. of State says it won't be used much in Louisiana because our voter rolls are better maintained than most other states. He also suggested that most of those who do use it will probably find that their votes are denied, because they really aren't supposed to be eligible.

If you're interested, you can read a profile of the guy taking Bobby Jindal's old job with in the state hospital system. If you'd rather read about a politician, check out Gerard Shields' profile of Senate candidate Chris John. If you just want the short version: He's been in politics all his life, and damn does he ever vote like a Republican?

And finally, Chris Redman, managing editor of the Baton Rouge fish-wrap, inks an interesting op-ed this week. I think he overestimates the revenue that could be generated by simply cleaning up the business of assessing property, but it would certainly be a good start. The real answer is to continue to shift more taxes away from the sales and towards property and income. Also, denying local governments even the right to levy a tax on gasoline shouldn't be up to the state legislature, but Redman is right that a local option gas tax is a pipe dream anyway. A constitutional amendment is not in the cards for it.

Have fun reading.

Postscript: The last couple of weeks have seen a developing investigation around all kinds of folks connected to the Marc Morial administration. I've been following this without posting much about it, but if you're interested the feds raided the ex-Mayor's brother's town house yesterday. They say Jacques is not a target of the investigation. report is a good rundown of the event yesterday with solid background on the rest of the story.

Things I never knew 

Read this.

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