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06 March 2004

Saturday roundup 

There isn't much to pass along today, so I'll try to keep this one short. The coverage of Kerry's NOLA trip isn't exactly glowing, but it is almost completely uncritical, and you can't ask for much better than that. The T-P's Martha Carr writes a good article about the event, but take note of what some are calling Kerry's Mississippi River strategy, where he intends to campaign hard in states like LA, AK, and TN with the help of major Democratic pols in each state. It's an interesting attempt to go after the most Democratic friendly southern states, states which Gore ignored in 2000 and appropriately got trounced in due to his shortsightedness. Read more about the event itself here and here.

Here's more about Rodney Alexander and his decision to stick it out with the Democratic Party. I'll say two more words about this and leave it at that: campaign stunt.

Here's a story about some potential candidates for Billy Tauzin's soon to be open seat in the Louisiana 3rd district. It looks like Democrats are chomping at the bit to take this seat back from the Republicans, but a crowded field could make it very difficult for any one candidate to catch on. Of course there are still months before any of this matters, but as always, go read it and decide for yourselves.

If BESE concerns you, Governor Blanco's probable appointments have leaked to the press. The biggest news is that it looks like BESE's loudest member, Leslie Jacobs, is likely to be reappointed.

Last but not least, here's a good picture of our next President sharing crawfish with Louisiana's favorite daughter (sorry Gov. Blanco) Mary Landrieu at Deanie's in the Quarter. Two questions: why don't you have your sleeves rolled up like the junior senator from Louisiana, and most importantly, where's the beer?
link to removed image

05 March 2004

Shameless propaganda 

Adam Nossiter on the Kerry visit:

John Kerry rolled ramrod-straight about a stage on the banks of the Mississippi River here Friday in a pre-primary campaign appearance, microphone in hand, cracking local jokes, jabbing at President Bush, and promising to save Louisiana's coast. He looked for all the world like the New England version of a French Quarter emcee.

Kerry pleased a large, patchwork crowd of locals, tourists, students, and French Quarter eccentrics gathered under dark skies by leading off his unscripted half-hour with the French phrase that some think is this easygoing city's motto, "laissez les bon temps rouler" — "let the good times roll."

And he promised not to ask the ladies how they had got their beads - a nod to local traditions and a demonstration that he knew them. The Secret Service estimated the crowd at over 2,000. Kerry kept the crowd waiting, having dined on crawfish beforehand at Deanie's, a well-known informal local seafood place.

Many in the crowd had themselves come to eat the free jambalaya, but others said they were fed up with Bush and insisted that this conservative Deep South state might turn to a Democrat in the fall, breaking ranks with southern sisters as it has in the past.

"We've got to get the country back together" said George Williams, a 78-year-old wearing a "WWII Veteran" cap. "We're the richest country in the world, and they're cutting all the benefits," said Williams, who said he was a Merchant Marine veteran of the Second World War. "Don't talk to me about Bush," he added.

Party notables on hand included U.S. Rep.William Jefferson of New Orleans, former congresswoman and ambassador Lindy Boggs, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and his sister Sen. Mary Landrieu, and Senate president Don Hines.

...

They noted that the governor is hosting a reception for Mrs. Kerry at the governor's mansion in Baton Rouge Friday. And they said party officials were united behind Kerry as they had not been for Al Gore in 2000.

Kerry fired up the partisan crowd with digs at Bush's economic and foreign policies, a jab at his new television ads featuring 9/11, and at his "Mission Accomplished" appearance on an aircraft carrier last May.

"There are a bunch of us who know something about aircraft carriers for real," Kerry said.

He promised to tackle Louisiana's coastal erosion problem, teasing Landrieu about her "passion" on the issue, and giving the senator a hug on stage.

There has been speculation Landrieu might get the nod as Kerry's vice president, but she said afterwards the subject had not come up in the five hours she had spent with the Massachusetts senator. Kerry himself deflected a question about the issue.

Are you pumped up yet?

Time Killing Game of the Week 

Curve Ball The best way I can describe this is kind of a 3-D version of pong played from the first person perspective. An added bonus this week is that I've actually been playing darned near non-stop. Special thanks this week go out to reader Richard P., who pointed out addictinggames.com in the comments to last week's game time posting. Anyway, you can find a link to this game and loads of other ones over there. It's the perfect place for slackers to go and waste daylight.

Things I don't care about 

Don't click on this if you don't care about Martha Stewart

By the way 

I don't intend to make a big deal about New Orleans Saints offseason activity (barring any big-time trades, free agent acquisitions, and whatever may occur on draft day), but I can't tell you how pleased I am that the Saints re-signed cornerback Fred Thomas to a multi-year deal. It's probably an overstatement to call him the most underrated defensive back in football, but it's not much of one. He's been the most consistent performer in the Saints secondary in the time that's he's been in New Orleans, so I'm glad he wasn't stolen away by the Eagles.

If you happen to click on that link, could it be possible for Jeff Duncan to use the word "coveted" more in one story?

2,000 strong 

That was the crowd for John Kerry's rally in New Orleans this afternoon. Lot's of big shots there, though the story doesn't account for the biggest of the big shots: Kathleen Blanco, John Breaux, and Mary Landrieu.

Senate candidate John Kennedy did manage to jump on the John Kerry bandwagon today, so that's good news. I think they hanged Rodney Alexander in effigy. First hand accounts anyone?

Crisis averted 

Alexander to remain Democrat.

He should announce later in the day. That didn't last too long.

Huzzah! 

Good news for crawfish, or at least the people who eat them. Prices could drop as much as $.30/pound by next week, which is good, because crawfish boil number two of the season will be next weekend for your humble blogger.

annoying footnote: blogger's spell check function suggests I change "crawfish" to "crayfish". No thanks, jerk.

Outside of my "expertise" 

Anyone know how "mitigation banking" works? It looks like a new approach to saving our wetlands through profit-potential, but on the surface there seem to be a lot of problems with programs like these. Frankly I don't jack about this stuff, so I can't speak from anything more than a very uninformed position about the story as it is reported.

Health Care Summit day 2 

What the actual accomplishments of this summit are can't really be judged until the issues and suggestions discussed there start to take shape through legislation and reform that should happen over the course of Kathleen Blanco's governorship. An immediate result is the formation of a health care panel whose primary function will be to address the long-term solutions to our state's troubles. You can read two good reports on the final day here and here.

Kerry schedule 

Kerry will be having a rally in NOLA at 12:30 today near the Aquarium of the Americas in Woldenberg Park. Lots of hot shot Louisiana politicians will be there (not Rodney Alexander) to support the newest Democratic nominee for President of the United States. The event is, of course, free and open to the public. You should feel free to bring ice chests and beer; it's the Louisiana way. A good idea might be some spontaneous second-lining around the park and through the Riverwalk Mall after the event. And when Kerry tells George Bush to "bring it on" make sure you say it with him. Otherwise, enjoy the rally responsibly.

If anyone who reads this actually makes it, I would love to hear your impressions of the rally.

Mary Landrieu gearing up for Veep 

Okay, not really, but she said she would consider it if it were offered.

I tend to agree with the Liberal Oasis handicapping yesterday. There doesn't seem to be enough upswing by selecting Mary Landrieu.

Sen. John Breaux (D-LA) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
25 to 1 odds, or 3.8% chance

Both are right-leaning Dems in a state Bush won by 8 points.

Breaux is more popular then Landrieu (he won his last race by 34 points, she by 3).

But Landrieu has some street cred, facing down Bush in the midst of the war buildup to win re-election in ‘02.

The problem for both of them: Louisiana is a little small.

If Kerry added its 9 electoral votes to the Gore states, there’d be a 269-269 deadlock.

Also, while there’s no obvious dirt on either of them, Louisiana politics are a little too colorful.

Does Kerry want the nation’s press corps digging around that state all year?

I can already think of the scandal involving the non-existent vote tampering Woody Jenkins accused Landrieu of after the '96 election. Of course the charges were bogus, but that won't stop them from being rehashed at a time when people should be talking about how great a ticket looks.

by the by, definitely click on the LO link above, it's a very good starter kit to the possible veep selections.


Seen on the front page of two morning papers 

On the courthouse steps where alleged serial killer Derek Todd Lee is being tried, he shouted to reporters and cameramen:

"Y'all want to know if I killed those women? I did not"

This quote was blown up and included as part of the headline in at least two state newspapers this morning. So that begs the question, has Mary either gone to work in the publishing business, or is she helping the defense with their case.

When jury selection begins I fully expect to read about a note passed from the defendant's table reading:

Dear juror number eight,
I heart you.

do you heart me?

Check yes

Check no

It would be a revolution in the way defense lawyers run cases.

More on Alexander 

Two very good stories about the machinery of Rodney Alexander's possible defection to the GOP. Out of Monroe you have Greg Hilburn's report and in a letter from Washington to the T-P, Bruce Alpert gives his version of events. To sum these stories up, Alexander confirms he has spoken to Republican leadership in the House, but he wouldn't confirm whether Hastert offered him a seat on the Apporpriations Committee. He plans to make a decision by the end of the weekend, but he continues to maintain that "he will do what's best for his district." So I'm not counting on him to remain a Democrat. He's also very clearly upset that John Kerry doesn't represent his values, and doesn't want to be associated with his candidacy.

John Breaux may have successfully appealed to whatever sense of loyalty he might have to the people who worked to elect him in the first place, but loyalty usually takes a back seat to money and power when it comes to politics. I guess we'll know soon enough. One good line came from a Democratic member of the House from the Texas delegation, though:

Rep. Charles Stenholm, D-Texas, a longtime member of the conservative Blue Dog Democrats, said he talked to Alexander on Thursday and urged him to "stay hitched" to the Democratic Party.

"I know what he's feeling," Stenholm said. "Too many of my colleagues in the Democratic Party have been way too far to the left. But I asked Rodney, 'Would you be happy following (Majority Leader) Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and the ultra-right wing philosophy represented by the Republican Party today?' "

Amen to that, Rep. Stenholm. I guess the answer is if Alexander could be comfortable with that, then maybe he shouldn't be part of the Democratic Party anyway.

04 March 2004

Living the hard life 

College athletes have it so tough. ESPN got a copy of the final exam to former UGA assistant basketball coach Jim Harrick Jr.'s "Coaching Principles and Strategies of Basketball" course from one quarter in the fall of 2001. You can take twenty selected questions here. You may want to set aside an afternoon, and don't forget your scratch paper.

The problem with a shadow government 

Ezra and Matt Y. are both suggesting that the Kerry campaign would be wise to start rolling out a list of the folks Kerry would stock his cabinet with once he wins the presidency. Ezra says that this would help voters underscore the contrast between the two candidacies. He even has some very interesting suggestions as to who Kerry might want include in this shadow cabinet.

Meanwhile Matt thinks it would be best to roll them out one by one, garnering all kinds of coverage and speculation by the media and hopefully drowning out the Bush bully pulpit.

There's one big problem I see with this strategy. When actual Presidents start making cabinet appointments there are inevitably a number of unseen scandals that pop up surrounding some nominee or another. One reason you avoid surrounding yourself with a bunch of high profile people in your campaign all at once is because you don't want to be saddled with whatever baggage they might come with. By introducing a shadow government early in the campaign game the potential targets for attack goes up by quite a degree. Smart candidates could probably insulate themselves from these attacks, I mean hell, you don't have to fire or force a shadow SECSTATE to resign, you just have to stop talking to them.

Anyway, on the surface the idea of a shadow government looks great, unfortunately the logistics of creating one and insulating them from opposition attacks are probably unwieldy if not impossible. Please discuss.

Defection dangers 

The rumors that Rodney Alexander (Democratic Congressman from up in the frozen tundras of north Louisiana) might switch parties began long before he was even first elected to the US House in 2002. Apparently the GOP has stepped up their efforts in the year and a half since that election, but most political watchers have maintained that Alexander would stay put in the Democratic Party. That's why this story suggesting that John Breaux and Kathleen Blanco both picked up the phone today to ask him not to leave the party is so disconcerting.

Without any context, it's very hard to understand why this is happening now. I searched the big outlets for any hints that there had been some courting lately, but I thought that because the Republicans were gearing up to run a candidate against him in his district that they had resigned themselves to the fact that he would remain a Democrat. The development of this story should be interesting, but I'm crossing my fingers that it's nothing.

Is there any good news in the article? Sure, Kathleen Blanco suggested one reason Alexander should stay is that there's a good chance the White House occupants will be Democrats next winter, and that Alexander would have trouble working with them if he switches parties on them. Now that's confidence for you.

Update @ 5:17 pm: The AP story, by reporter Melinda Deslatte, has now been updated to include more quotes from Alexander regarding the nature of his problems with the party, and they all seem to surround the lock step endorsement by LA Democrats of John Kerry just a couple of days ago. One reason for optimism: Alexander doesn't need to switch to be reelected, but definitely don't count on him to campaign with John Kerry any time he happens to make a trip down this way.


Why do white people love Wayne Brady?* 

Slate critic Matt Feeney spends God knows how many words telling us that "Chappelle Show" is funny because there is no message; it's essentially "The Three Stooges" on crack and with a racial divide. Okay, no problem there, but just come out and say if for gawd's sake. You're boring me already.

For the record, I love this show, and I don't necessarily think Feeney gets it wrong anywhere, and I reread the column because I really enjoy the program, but if you're interested in it it's also a good read because of the fascinating "travel to India" ad that interrupts the text after the first paragraph.

*Because he makes Bryant Gumble look like Malcom X.

Local Yokels 

There's some Lafayette Parish news I feel the need to get off my chest for any local readers (are there any readers from Lafayette? hell if I know, maybe my sister. the random search for local pols' names are make the regular referrals to this site, so I guess a few make there way here every now and then). Unfortunately there's a story that's not online either at the Baton Rouge paper or the Lafayette paper about the Lafayette Parish School Board's trouble putting the money together to pay for a guaranteed pay raise to teachers. The board eventually okayed the raise, but what I was concerned about was the local auditor telling the board that they should seek to get closer to the state maximum class size limit in order to free up more money for these annual raises in the future. Lafayette Parish schools are generally recognized as among the best in the state, and a big part of that has been a commitment to the reduction of class sizes. Now they seem to be punishing the Parish for doing what education experts from here to Timbuktu recognize as an ideal way to improve standards and results. Lafayette Parish should be a model to rest of the state, not forced to conform to the lowly performance capabilities that have become one of the most pressing problems to the future economic health of Louisiana.

I'll only mention briefly the problems surrounding the Acadiana Open Channel (our public access cable channel). Unfortunately the two stories aren't very clear about why they haven't received more than $200,000 in funding from the City Council. It looks like politics that's holding up the allocation since there is only vague reference to some missing paperwork and one council member calling it "a slap in the face to this council." For as long as I can remember AOC has been a target of the wrath of ambitious council members, and that's a shame because as terrible as a lot of the programming is on the station, it serves a real purpose to the community. Without knowing the ins and outs of what's going on with this, I'll refrain from continuing.

And finally, the thing that I'm most outraged about is District 45 candidate's Denice Skinner's comments in a Daily Advertiser profile this morning. This article is not online either (none so far in the series of profiles on candidates for this office have been), so you'll have to take my word for it, or go see it for yourself on the front page of the B section. I won't bother to talk about her opposition to the Stelly Plan, which I've discussed nearly ad nauseum here, instead I'd like to address her absolute lack of any understanding or real concern for the major problem that faces our state. Of course that's the state's health care beast. There's no question that it's unwieldy and horribly inefficient, but when you can make this comment,

The state's health care crisis exists in part because the system is plagued by patients who "wait until the last minute to go to the emergency room," she said.

"Our generosity has far exceeded our expectations," Skinner said, referring to the millions poured into the state's charity hospital system.

it speaks to something very disturbing about her values as a candidate. To honestly suggest that the state's problems could be caused by the people who seek care is absolutely beyond the pale for me. I was considering not voting in this race, because literally all the candidates seem less than adequate, but this kind of comment will send me to the polls to make sure she isn't elected. Skinner is connected to the Lafayette GOP folks like Carl Tritschler and Charlie Buckels, so I shouldn't be too surprised to read this kind of nonsense, but that doesn't make it any less shocking to see it in print.

Which is it? 

From this morning's edition of The Advocate:

'Project U' may be site near you

and from the Times-Picayune:

Texas beats La. in bid for plant

It looks like the Pic's report has more information, so I'd look to them for accuracy, but you've gotta bet that Advocate newsroom editors are going to have a few words with Chris Gautreau for being so thoroughly scooped here.

As for Project 'U', oh well. The governor would be smart to try and keep the business of wooing business under wraps for as long as possible, because when you can't deliver them (and frankly, as a state right now, we probably can't), it just looks worse.

First things first 

The summit on LA health care began yesterday, and considering the print coverage I guess that's where I have to start. As you might imagine, the first day was spent identifying the problem. And I imagine to the participant's surprise, the state doesn't get a good return on its investment, it relies to heavily on federal funding, and there are too many uninsured. To be sure, there are plenty of other problems, but those are good generalizations of the thread that runs through all of them.

The press treated the event with a wary eye. This doesn't exactly shock me either. I can only imagine the boredom associated with covering an event like this. If the Governor were smart she'd have the nicest catered lunches available for members of the press so that they were begging to come back day after day. There's nothing like keeping possible critics fat and happy with food to temper their coverage a little. Will Sentell expresses the frustration reporters (and politicians) surely have with these summits in this column. The critics of these events make good points about not seeing the results from these gatherings until years afterward, but sometimes (most of the time) the major changes that will be necessary to create a health care system in this state that thrives shouldn't happen based on the whimsy of a few powerful legislators working together with an ambitious governor who has an eye toward a legacy. That's not to say that all problems can or should be solved by putting a thousand people together in a room, but it's probably one of the only way to start a process as daunting as the one facing Louisiana's health and hospitals.

03 March 2004

Stock up when you see a Girl Scout 

Well, this is just f-ing ridiculous. Count on religious nuts from Texas to get pissed because Girl Scouts should dare to support organizations that empower girls and the successful women who run them.

Parents were upset to learn that the local Girl Scout organization had given a "woman of distinction award" last year to a Planned Parenthood executive. And they were disturbed to find out that the Girl Scout organization has been giving its endorsement for years to a Planned Parenthood sex-ed program in which girls and boys are given literature on homosexuality, masturbation and condoms.

Where in Texas could this have happened?

CRAWFORD, Texas - Some families are boycotting Thin Mints and Do-Si-Dos and other Girl Scout cookies. Troop 7527 is down to just two members after the other girls were withdrawn by their parents. And Brownie Troop 7087 is no more.

Why are folks in this conservative Texas town where President Bush has his ranch so mad at the Girl Scout organization?

It seems that the boycott backfired (the stupid ones always do) and the girls managed to sell a record number of boxes to scout supporter across central Texas. Next time tell them to shove it up their arse, and tell them you learned about that in sex education.

Kerry believes 

In a story supposedly about the irrelevance of next week's Louisiana primary, Adam Nossiter informs us that John Kerry is rolling into New Orleans on Friday anyway.

Kerry, meanwhile, is planning a noontime rally on Friday in New Orleans' downtown riverfront Woldenberg Park with Sens. Mary Landrieu and John Breaux, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, and other statewide Democrats who endorsed the presumptive nominee this week.

Though some analysts say a Massachusetts senator with the initials JFK will be a tough sell in Louisiana, Kerry has insisted that this Southern state, among all others, is winnable for a Democrat. (For the record John F. Kennedy beat Richard Nixon handily here in 1960, though a substantial percentage went to segregationist States Rights electors).

The report goes on to say--for good reason--that there's no reason to believe the "gret stet" shouldn't be in play come November, and you know what? They're damn right! Don't cede Louisiana to the dark side of the force. We may be a conservative bunch, but you can't win if you don't try.

At the moment the campaign website has less details about the event than Nossiter, but I'm sure if you keep checking in to that link you can get the skinny on the whole thing.

Irony dept. 

"because it's about the sanctity of marriage" edition:

Louisiana AP headlines seen right next to each other earlier this morning.

Legislator proposes state constitution ban on gay marriage

Quick weddings available for activated Lafayette guard members

What about quickie weddings for gay guard members?

Puns intended 

Wonkette is having, um, loads of fun with John Kerry's, er, manhood.

My favorites: "The Republicans have still nominated the bigger Dick." and "Is this what they mean by 'polls well'?"

Special Timshel submission:

"May not remember the Boston Tea Party, but knows a thing or two about Tea bags." (really I just wanted a reason to link to this guy again.)

Voting Crow 

Jeffrey has a very interesting perspective (scroll down to "21st Century Poll Tax" if the permalink takes you to his current post) on computer voting and what it means for those less fortunate than most of the readers and writers of these silly little weblogs. The fact is that millions of Americans are woefully illiterate with regards to computer use, and Jeffrey experiences this on a daily basis, as his chronicles from the depths of a NOLA public library make pretty clear. The result is that computer voting has the potential to become a kind of modern day literacy test.

As he mentions there are first the myriad problems of accuracy, accountability, reliability, and security but those shouldn't have to be too difficult to resolve. After that as a nation, we need to commit to educating and providing access to the millions of poor Americans who may never see a computer until they're told they either have to use one to vote or apply for a job on one.

This is good news 

Chronicles of Narnia series to see the silver screen. I share Hei Lun's concern about misappropriation of the film by either side's culture warriors, but I think it will be okay. There were some arguments of a tangential nature--I guess they still go on--about Harry Potter and LOTR, but they never dominated the discussion of those films.

Local flavor 

Jim Bradshaw has an interesting column about the anthropological history of Avery Island in my local rag this morning. He probably gives too much credence to the possibility that native Americans were on the island as far back as twelve thousand years ago, but the column is worth it for its discussion of the long standing attraction of the island to settlers.

If Avery Island sounds vaguely familiar to you, and you're not sure why, it's because that's where McIlhenny Tabasco Sauce is produced. You can read more about the history of the product here (author unattributed, but likely written by the company's full time historian, Shane Bernard, who is a good guy and a very good friend's brother-in-law) and here.


Federal races 

Jim McCrery, as suggested Monday, made his commitment to run for reelection to the House final yesterday. Appropriately the Shreveport Times has a very detailed report, albeit exclusively from the congressman's point of view, on the subject of his decision to run again.

In Congressional news a little bit closer to my hometown, former appellate judge from Kaplan Ned Doucet has formally announced his intentions to run for the seat representing District 7 in House. He's a Democrat who I know very little about, but considering his age, I think he may have some trouble. Also, the quotes provided in the report on his announcement aren't exactly inspiring, but like I said, I don't know much about ol' Ned. So no judgment on my part until I can find out some more about the guy.

Get over it 

The Baton Rouge area's Austin fetish continues. I don't mean to harp on these things, and it's always good to see community activists out and working hard to raise the quality of life in a city. But why on earth not come up with a name that is particularly inspiring to Baton Rouge? Austin 6!? What's the deal with that? I know it's a great city and all, but why not a name unique to your own city?

Quixote Dept. 

Promising to take back the presidency, the Florida Parishes Democratic Association has scheduled a meeting at 7 p.m. today at Shorty's Rib Room, 414175 U.S. 190.

I wish the Acadiana area Democrats had such lofty goals. Hell, I wish Acadiana Democrats could just manage to get into a room together. Meanwhile, these folks are putting together the Committee to Deselect the President. Good luck to you.

02 March 2004

Sigh, 

It looks like our primary will be meaningless next week. At least I have a special election, but I'm not planning on voting for anyone in that race. The first candidate who either has a kind word to say about the Stelly Plan or says they will vote against HB-61 will get my vote (and it has to go farther than, "well, I liked that it reduced sales taxes." ugh). I doubt I'll need to hit the polls at all.

Big LA Dems endorse Kerry 

I alluded to this in an earlier post, but now I have the names. They are:

Gov. Kathleen Blanco, U.S. Sen. John Breaux, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, U.S. Rep.Chris John of Crowley, U.S. Rep.Bill Jefferson of New Orleans, Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, Attorney General Charles Foti, Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom, Insurance Commissioner Robert Wooley, Senate President Don Hines, D-Bunkie, House Speaker Joe Salter, D-Florien, and Senate President Pro Tempore Diana Bajoie, D-New Orleans.

A notable exception is Senate candidate John Kennedy. He has already committed to supporting the Democratic nominee. It's good to see there aren't any major defections from the big name Dems in the state. John Breaux was an early supporter of Wes Clark.




Fun with Mel's movie 

Since mocking Mel's "The Passion" is so much more fun than any more real discussion of its supposed merits...

Tbogg links to some Aramaic translations of phrases you might find helpful if you find yourself at the movie. He missses the funniest one, though:

Feelmaa haanaa tpeelaw! Proo' lee ksef dmaa!
This film is terrible. I want my blood-money back.


and

Een, Yuudaayaa naa, ellaa b-haw yawmaa laa hweeth ba-mdeetaa.
Yes, I'm Jewish, but I wasn't there that day.

1st District news 

Rep. Steve Scalise is really firing one across the bow in the race to see who can be the most conservative member of our Congressional delegation (i.e. the Congressman from LA-1). After our lord and master President Bush endorsed the Hate Amendment, 1st district candidate and failed gubernatorial candidate (and failed director of Health and Hospitals--should I go on?) wasted no time in firing off a press release about how important the amendment is to protect the institution of marriage.

Not to be out done by something so silly as a press release, LA Rep. Steve Scalise filed HB-61, "proposing that voters be asked to add language to the Louisiana Constitution to define marriage as consisting 'only of the union of one man and one woman'." (sorry this isn't online. It's in the "In Brief" section on the front page of today's Advocate) If you want a look at the bill, click here and then click on "2004 Pre-filed Bills" on the sidebar on the right. It's easy to find it from there, unfortunately I can't seem to link directly to the page.

So far Bobby Jindal hasn't issued any press release talking about how important Rep. Scalise's bill is to protect marriage.

Anyway, considering the district, I probably wouldn't care too much about this race. I'm not kidding that the winner will be the most conservative member of our delegation (barring a David Vitter win in the Senate election; he would be hard to overtake, but of course, he came from LA-1). However, it came to my attention that an acquaintance from college has been hired to run Scalise's campaign, so I'll take a closer look at this race as it progresses.

Losing the Crowley vote 

I know from experience that these people don't forget being slighted particularly quickly, so when the government decides to buy seventy thousand tons of rice from Vietnam while farmers in our fine state are still suffering from lagging prices and the after shocks of a storm now nearly two years old, you can bet they'll remember when they hit the ballot box. Maybe Bush needs to make those trips to Louisiana after all.

Oh well, I at least know of one Crowleyite (Crowleyer?) who won't be voting for GWB.

Presidential politics 

Two stories around the state today discuss the possibility of a close race for Louisiana's electors next November.

My gut tells me this is wishful thinking on the part of some political reporters and overzealous campaigners, but Bush has been here twice since the year began, so it looks like someone in the GOP is taking our state seriously. Of course it seems like the only time Bush's name is in the papers around here about specifically local issues it's because his budget won't fund some project or another, so negative press could hopefully be driving down his approval numbers in the state. Unfortunately, the only numbers on Bush's support in LA are from December, and those are so old now I won't bother to link to them.

In LA Democratic Party news, some state leaders have somewhat surprisingly endorsed John Kerry. I guess they see the handwriting on the wall as far as the nomination goes, and figure it wouldn't do much good to endorse the southern boy from North Carolina if he can't make it to the convention.

Blanco does the smart thing 

What with all the shouting about Blanco's budget proposal over the weekend, the new Governor did the right thing yesterday and appealed to labor for support. Of course, the AFL-CIO doesn't exactly have a whole lot of influence in the state of Louisiana, but Blanco could use all the help she can get from wherever she can find it if she expects to get her budget passed in a form resembling anything like the one she presented to state lawmakers last week.

01 March 2004

Thank you 

That's all I can say to this guy, who had the balls to see Mel's "The Passion" while dudding it up in devil gear. Even crazier is that a seventy-five year old woman poured a giant coke on the kid. I know I've mentioned in comments elsewhere (maybe here too) that it would be great fun to watch this movie MST3000 style. Of course, I'm generally a pretty polite guy at the movies, so the worst thing that would have come out likely would have been laughter. As for anything else, I suppose I can just live vicariously through the midwestern college student.

My brother will be happy to know that this story reminds me of a young man who had the misfortune to wear an LSU cap into our section at a UL basketball game this weekend. It was the home finale for the Cajuns, and this guy was more concerned with the Tigers. He was met with relentless jeering and probably found quite a bit of beer and popcorn (no Ju-Ju Bees though)down his back by the end of the night.

For SAT help:

Guy in devil costume : Mel's "The Passion" :: Guy in LSU cap : UL sporting event

Link via Kid Icarus and the Gang

Strange 

A small drilling equipment manufacturing company's stock rises by more than 100% in a day of trading, and its executives in New Iberia are "unaware of any reason for the stock activity."

What's going on here? First I'm thinking of a Calpundit post from a day ago and wondering about a certain energy bill that's been kicking around the Senate. Why do I think we'll here more from Unifab, inc. in the next few weeks?

Junkies be damned 

The political kind, not the addicts. It seems that despite some speculation right around Mardi Gras that he would retire, Rep. Jim McCrery (R-Shreveport)will run for reelection later this year. According to reporting by PoliticsLA.com McCrery was threatening the GOP with his retirement for better committee assignments and more perks. Good for him, I guess. One less competitive house race for us Dems, though.

Quick hit and free advertising 

First things first, Louisiana guardsmen in the 256th Infantry brigade will likely be deployed to Iraq later this year. They were placed on alert last night according to a newscast I saw after the Oscars, though here's the first print mention I've seen of the new status.

As for free advertising, I hate to promote goings on for our neighbor to the east, but I should mention that the Mississippi Arts Pavilion in Jackson is opening a new exhibit today which will run until September 6. You can read about "The Glory of Baroque Dresden" at their website, GloryofDresden.com.

I guess about seven or eight years ago I had the good fortune of seeing the MS Arts Pavilion exhibit of the treasures and recreations of the "Palaces of St. Petersburg." I was only a teenager then, but it was impossible to avoid inspiration at the event. If this exhibit is done even half as well as the one I remember as a sixteen year old, then it's well worth the hop, skip, and a jump it takes to get to Jackson from this area.

Peddling conspiracies 

I hate to be a rumormonger, but this just seems suspicious.

News from Washington 

Gerard Shields has two reports back to Baton Rouge this morning. The first one is part of his continuing series on people who have tenuous connections to Louisiana and now have "interesting" jobs in Washington DC. In this case the man is Charles Groat, director of the US Geological Survey.

Groat was a Clinton appointee, but has been retained by President Bush. Unfortunately he seems terribly naive about the new boss' record. Regarding his job security, "It's not a political job; it's a science job," Groat said.

Umm, let's hope he's at least familiar with stories like this one before he goes and does something the administration doesn't like. Good luck Groat.

In Shields' report on our congressional delegation, we learn that John Breaux has a lot in mind even if he is retiring at the end of the year. Breaux has been "the bee's knees" lately. He opposes the hate amendment and is now sponsoring legislation that would eliminate racial profiling. Maybe he's getting more liberal now that he doesn't have to worry about reelection, or maybe he's been this liberal all along. Who the hell knows these days, but I'll take it.

Slow news day 

It must be if the Pic is running a story about the origins of Bagdad, Louisiana on the front page of the morning's edition. It's hardly surprisng. The Advocate ran a box for Oscar winners up on the front page, but only managed to include the two supporting actor winners, every other category they bothered to list were "not available at press time." Then why bother with the box at all? Filler, I guess...

29 February 2004

Sunday reading 

First up the editors in Baton Rouge finally weigh in on the Federal Marriage Amendment, and they come down on the right side of the force. Notably absent from the editorial is any discussion of why Bush came out in favor of the amendment, and in that they fail their readers. They suggest Bush's hypocrisy because of the anti-federalist nature of the amendment, but don't bother to explain that Bush's reasons seem to be almost purely political. Oh well, you can't always get what you want.

The papers are also gearing up to cover the impending Health Care Summit, and the reporters are beginning their coverage with a resounding "who cares?". These two reports pretty much conclude that we shouldn't expect much of anything to come out of the summit. It will be a long time before a bill is fashioned out of the information presented there, and Blanco still has a lot of tough choices too make.

Gerard Shields files a report from Washington about the coming budget battle on Capitol Hill. He reminds us that the first President Bush also threatened to veto a highway bill, and look where that got him. It looks like the Congressional delegation from our state is putting up a united front, so that's good. We'll see if it will be enough.

And finally Al Sharpton withdrew his legal challenge regarding his lack of placement in the Louisiana primary ballot. Farewell, sweet prince.

In some very local news, The Daily Advertiser begins a series of profiles on the candidates for the 45th district seat in the state House with an overview of the district itself. The story doesn't appear to be online, but maybe someone can explain to me why no Democrat would run in a district where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republican's by a margin of nearly two to one.

That's that for now. You know the routine: click on the links, have a two page response on my desk by five. And by the way, enjoy the extra day today.

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