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19 June 2004

Interesting 

I've been wondering myself why the Bush campaign continues to try and push Bishops into denying communion to Kerry and other Catholic politicians who are pro-choice. Polling data seems to suggest that the more Catholic voters actually come to learn that Kerry is Catholic (no matter what his views on abortion) they more they want to vote for him. Which leaves one wondering why the Bush administration would continue to pursue this strategy. Atrios really seems to hit the nail on the head with this speculation:

I think it's that a clueless and hostile media will continue to push the idea that Kerry, alone in the world, is betraying his religion. Even those who aren't Catholic, and even those who aren't particularly religious, will get the message that Kerry doesn't live up to his professed beliefs.

It has nothing to do with increasing the Catholic vote for Bush -- if anything, I'd guess it'll lose Bush a few of those votes. It's about painting a general picture of an amoral man with no core beliefs.

In other words, it's just like every other Republican presidential campaign.

That makes a lot of sense over here.

Very Quick Hits 

At the last minute the courts come in to save Baton Rouge from EPA regulated gasoline, but it doesn't matter because most area stations have already upgraded to the more expensive ethanol laced fuel anyway.

and
the official Juneteenth Webpage. I know I got these out late, but I've been busy today. I swear.

Out of Practice 

Normally there would be a Saturday roundup in this space, but I feel like it's been so long since I've done one that I've forgotten how.

Anyway, I'll skip it for now and only point out a couple of things. The first is a hearty congratulations to Lance Cormier. He used to be the best player on various youth sports league teams we were on together as children, and tonight he makes his Major League Baseball debut on the hill for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He'll be participating in interleague play tonight, as the Diamondbacks take on the "fearsome" Tampa Bay Devil Rays. If we can find a bar in Lafayette with a satellite and the game on, we'll be cheering him on.

I'll leave it at that for now, but I expect to post about a few other things this afternoon.

18 June 2004

Weird 

This is one of the stranger Google referrals I've ever had:

"will Clark" AND "new orleans" AND gay AND baseball

I just don't know what to think about this, though it may shed some light on where New Orleans' favorite professional baseball player got the nickname "Will the Thrill".

Oops! 

Frankly, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often. I'll call it karma for LSU baseball fans generally being such giant pricks, not that that could be Lane Mestepey's fault, but...

Eyewitness Sports has learned that LSU’s ace has been scratched as the starting pitcher in Friday’s opening game of the College World Series due to an injury that took place during a post-game celebration.


Team officials said Junior left-hander Lane Mestepey has been pulled from the lineup because of an unspecified injury that took place during a pile-up after the Tigers victory over Texas A&M in the Super Regionals.

Geaux 'Canes

TKGOTW 

Wailing on the men in black helicopters edition. While the controls on this one aren't difficult, it does take a while to get the hang of, but after you do it's loads of fun. If that's not right for you, I have a special Dodgeball the Movie opens this week edition. Neither game requires you to install whatever the popup asks you to install.

I'm sure it worked... 

What a dirty trick to get more people to open your comments!? I wish I got enough readers to try something like that...

Seen on a Random Blog 

Posted at Kid Icarus and the Gang:

If you haven't watched Jeopardy in the last two weeks you got to check out this guy Ken Jennings. Currently he's been on 12 consequtive shows without a defeat averaging 35k a win for a total of 415,000. He is simply amazing. Not only does he flat out beat everyone he destroys their will to play the game. Yesterday he had 10,000 dollars the next closest player had 2,000. He hits the Daily Double and bets 5,000 gets it right and you can see the other two contestants basically give up. The day before that in final Jeopardy the third place contestant answered "Whatever Ken's Answer Is" and you know what she was correct because Ken knows everything.

He acutally might be the anti-christ. Well he said he went to BYU so maybe he's the mormon's new savior. If you can't catch him tonight, watch next week sometime. Because he won't lose.

Sick bastard.

I saw the episode where another woman posited "What is Ken's answer?" during Final Jeopardy, which Ken naturally answered. I had no idea the guy has been on for twelve straight days. I bet the people at Jeopardy are happy they ditched the five-day champion cut off, this could mean big ratings for them. I just hope the guy isn't cheating.

F*cking Terrible 

Now Paul Johnson is beheaded. More pictures. When will this stop?

Easy Activism 

My good friend Chris directs me to a side project from the folks with HumidBeings.com called Put Up or Shut Up.

The idea is pretty simple. It encourages people to submit their own or download designs from an archive of activist posters and plaster them all over their communities. This is perfect for people with access to computer labs where the oversight is lax. I specifically can think of at least one lab at Loyola where my friends regularly printed up hundreds of flyers for their parties. There have to be more places like this in one of the other fourteen colleges in the metro area. The other option is to waste your own paper, but that's up to you.

Anyway, get a look at the website at PutUporShutUp.org

Legislative quick hits 

No more car porn, which will probably have at least as much effect on reducing motorcycle deaths as the renewed interest in mandating helmet usage for motorcyclists.

Because everyone knows the real cause of motorcycle accidents is riders being distracted by the abundance of pornography they're watching while tailgating SUV's with projection televisions on the rear windshields.

...also, Stephanie Grace had an interesting column yesterday about some of the strange choices Blanco has made about when to use her political muscle this session, with the motorcycle helmet law as the starting point for questions about where Blanco's priorities are.

More Jake Bling 

The Advertiser fronted Jake Delhomme's new contract deal this morning, which I wouldn't care about it except they made some interesting comparisons for the folks back home:

Breaux Bridge has an annual budget of only $4 million, according to Mayor Jack Delhomme, Jake’s cousin. So, Jake Delhomme could pay the city’s expenses for the next 9-1/2 years.

...

At Whiskey River, a bar in Breaux Bridge, Delhomme could buy 15,833 rounds of beer for the house, which, according to bar manager Martha Broussard, can hold about 1,200 people.

Tina McNeil, a manager at Mulate’s, said Jake Delhomme was in the restaurant in the past month. Assuming he came by again and had the house favorite –– the half-and-half plate of fried crawfish and crawfish étouffée at $17.99 a plate –– Delhomme could provide a dish to himself and to more than half the population of Louisiana, or 2,112,283 people.

...

Back at home, however, things do not seem to have changed all that much.
“All I know, is he needs to hurry and get back home. I need some help with the horses,” his father said.

Maybe your son could hire someone. Look for the entire city of Breaux Bridge to knock on Dad's door for a loan this week.

Unbelievable 

In the legislative briefs section from the morning's Advocate I came across a story about the Monkey Island Ferry, which I had forgotten about until then. Anyway, here's a report that I missed from a few days ago in the Advertiser:

Louisiana would continue to pay $99,000 a year per family in Cameron Parish to continue a ferry service to Monkey Island for seven families who live there, under a Senate-backed bill approved Wednesday by a House panel.

The island was created in the 1930s when the Army Corps of Engineers straightened a bend in the Calcasieu River to make shipping easier.

Financing for the ferry service is set to expire in July 2005, but a measure by Sen. Gerald Theunissen, R-Jennings, would authorize the state to maintain the service until July 1, 2008, at a cost of $693,000 a year. The bill goes next to the full House for debate.

Louisiana taxpayers have spent more than $35 million over the years transporting a handful of residents to and from the island. Theunissen is seeking state financing for a bridge, estimated to cost $6 million, to make the ferry obsolete.

From what I understand the full House passed it yesterday. You can read the bridge proposal here. I don't know what seven families live on Monkey Island, but they have to be pretty surprised with whatever connections over the years have led the state to spend $35 million on their ability to get on and off the mainland. Either that or furious at the state's stupidity for not just going ahead and building a bridge which would be cheaper in the long run and make it easier for them to travel off the island whenever the feel like it.

...Apparently there's a minor tourist attraction there too, as it was the site of a Civil War battle (the Battle of Calcasieu Pass) before it was an island.

Persistence Pays Off 

New Jobs coming to Louisiana.

It only cost $65 million in infrastructure improvements and tax breaks.

That's for an annual payroll of $35 million, though the economic benefits of the manufacturing facility should be much greater than that.

As a side note there was an interesting letter in the Advocate today by one Liz Mangham of Baton Rouge about the hypocrisy of state legislators who claim to care so much about economic development who would vote to stop all research on stem-cells at state universities and health-science facilities. The idea that this research could prove very lucrative in the future seems to have escaped our lawmakers this session. Here's her conclusion though:

I hope there's not a diabetic CEO out there looking for a place to locate his company. I can hear the folks over at the Department of Economic Development now. "No, you won't have access to certain treatments, but we'll take you to pet the hog dogs, and you've just to see our CajunBot!"

I agree with the sentiment, but please leave CajunBot out of this. He's just trying to do his part to bring a little pride to the people of Acadiana. If lawmakers should celebrate his tenacity, they shouldn't be criticized for it.

Update @ 9:31 am: btw, sorry for any confusion, but the therapeutic cloning ban isn't law yet. It sits in committee right now waiting for a compromise. If my understanding of legislative procedure and the current law is correct, if no action is taken on the ban this year therapeutic cloning already occurring in the state can continue. It's possible that Don Hines, who supports stem-cell research--tossed the bill back to committee with the hope that work would stall on it and the current session would end, though this story about Mike and Alice Foster's letter to state lawmakers in support of the research doesn't mention this possibility.

99 Problems but George Bush ain't one 

Cain Burdeau of the AP really should have left this one to the Pic's Metro desk.

The long and short of it is that there was a "hip-hop summit" at the NO Arena yesterday hosted by Bill O'Reilly's favorite black entertainer, Russell Simmons.

Walter Gabriel admittedly has some glaring omissions in his report, namely he doesn't note the presence of Terry McAuliffe or Mayor Ray Nagin, but considering the results of Burdeau's report on their presence, maybe it's better that he didn't. Here's our friend Cain:

LL Cool J, Baby, Loon, the Reverend Run and Humpty Hump — superstars of hip-hop — believe it's going to happen.

On Thursday, youths flocked to the city's professional basketball arena to watch these musical idols strut their stuff and beseech them to vote.

Humpty Hump a superstar of hip-hop!? Does one giant hit with white America make a rapper a superstar? He wasn't even the most famous of the rappers he performed with. That was Tupac. This is a very bad way to show off your reporting credibility. But it gets better from there:

"This is about empowerment," Mayor Ray Nagin, dressed like a hip-hopper, told the audience. "This is about participating in the democratic process."

Does anyone have any idea what dressed like a hip-hopper means? Was Nagin in a rabbit costume? Poor Cain Burdeau. He's usually an excellent reporter, but I think he may have been a little out of his element on this one.

The summit is billed as non-partisan, but the Pic report gives us a good characterization of what that means in this case:

No one would mistake the low-slung jeans and abundance of bling bling for a gathering of Republican bankers. But the event's organizers strove for a nonpartisan tone:

...

At day's end, the summit's organizers released results of a presidential preference poll taken in the arena. Kerry did OK with 57 percent; undecided (32 percent) did better than "none of the above" (6 percent). It was not a good day for President Bush. He mustered 5 percent in the poll.

You can read more about the Summit at www.hsan.org

Small Miracles 

I just got an email that Lafayette's giant new movie theater, The Grand, is getting "Farenheit 9/11" on June 25, though I can't confirm it because the Grand's schedule isn't out for that date yet.

Whatever your feelings about Michael Moore, it's good that Lafayette's finally going to start getting movies that aren't in wide release when they open, and not months afterward when they finally reach rental outlets.

17 June 2004

Random Bloggage 

The Big Wedding.

It's no Louisiana blog, but I came across it while searching for whatever new ones may be out there. It's well worth your time for now, though updating seems infrequent.

Update 5:06 pm: d'oh, I was talking about new Louisiana blogs, because I happened to find one from a twenty-eight year old LSU grad who seems to be a recovering Southern Baptist. Have fun with Chiclit's Super Secret Weblog, not so super secret anymore.

Turning a phrase 

In an otherwise cliched column about how fickle fans are about players with injuries these days, Slate's Steven Rodrick writes:

NFL fans have less sympathy for fallen players than the Romans had for blind Christians. In 2002, Browns loyalists, the slightly less attractive, drunker cousins of Bears fans, cheered lustily when Tim Couch wobbled to the ground after getting speared in the back of the head. And he was the Browns' starting quarterback!

...

If Gale Sayers were around today, surely some smart-ass columnist would scream, "Suck it up! It's not like you have cancer."

Okay, that's enough sports linking for one day.

Good for Jake D. 

Breaux Bridge's favorite son just got a whole lot richer:

The Charlotte Observer reports the deal can be worth up to $38 million and includes $12 million in signing bonuses.

“I’m happy as could be and my family is happy as could be,” Delhomme said. “I’m 29-years-old and I don’t see myself playing in another color. I want to retire a Panther and hopefully I can do that.”

Maybe now those idiots in North Carolina will stop calling him "the Waterboy" and start calling him the Pellegrino boy.

Let the speculation begin 

Can anyone live up to this kind of billing? Is it smart to do this to oneself?

that I and several colleagues have been working on a story that, if and when it comes to fruition --- and I’m confident it shall --- should shuffle the tectonic plates under that capital city where I normally hang my hat. So that’s something to look forward to in the not too distant future.

Shuffle the tectonic plates? That's quite a promise...

Best. Politician. Ever. 

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that if you need to hand out a free book declaring your innocence in your daughter's death, that you may want to consider a career path outside of politics:

John Ramsey greets voters at his campaign office with a handshake, a free hot dog — and a book that declares he didn't kill his daughter.

Good luck with that campaign, and if you're wondering, yes, he is a Republican (not that there's anything wrong with that...).

What Vietnam? 

At least we know there's one apt comparison betweent the engagements:

On a typical evening, one can see U.S. soldiers smoking from 4-foot-tall hookahs and security contractors guffawing over beer, their machine guns by their sides. The CPA's would-be strategists can sometimes be seen in their ubiquitous military desert boots and dress shirts and slacks, playing Risk, the board game of global domination.

Now we know why the call it the green zone.

via that gay Republican with a website who isn't Andrew Sullivan.

Financial disclosures 

It's the time of year where politicians disclose their assets so us little people out here in the real world can throw away all our dreams of making that Congressional run.

They started out by calling John Breaux's wealth "modest" in the Pic on Tuesday, which I guess it is when you compare it to the people running to fill his seat.

Who is the least well-off member of Louisiana's delegation?

The largest asset listed on the report filed by Rep. Rodney Alexander, D-Quitman, was a house in Shreveport that his wife, Nancy, inherited from her family. The property is valued at $50,000 to $100,000 and earned rent last year of $2,500 to $5,000, the report showed.

He may as well be in the poor house.

Weird 

I've been enjoying Jim Brown's weekly columns over at PoliticsLA.com, but I get the sneaking suspicion that he just created most of these quotes from conversations with French citizens during his Parisian vacation out of thin air.

Breaking News 

Obese people don't get a signal from their stomach to stop eating.

Centuries of physiological study separate us from Hippocrates and we're just now figuring this out?

more here.

...yes, I know that the real news here is about the possibility of isolating PYY as the hormone which indicates "fullness" and what that could mean for future weight loss medication, but I feel like a little snark is warranted on this one.

Kid Friendly Cities 

An Advocate story describes Baton Rouge as not exactly kid friendly according to a study done every year by the Population Center. On a list of eighty "large" cities the Red Stick is seventy-fifth. Much of this is the result of poor education, crime, infant mortality and other factors.

For some reason, Shields doesn't point out the other two cities from Louisiana that made the list.

You can see New Orleans and Shreveport statistics at the links. It shouldn't surprise anyone that both cities get worse rankings than Baton Rouge. So of the last five cities ranked in the list, three of them are in Louisiana.

Des Moines, IA is the highest ranked of the "large" cities, and Birmingham, AL is the lowest ranked.

Light Rail in NOLA? 

I'd never heard about any study for rail transit between the airport and Union Station in New Orleans, but apparently many in New Orleans have been dreaming of the line for upwards of forty years. It certainly would make a lot of sense for people flying into and out of the city.

Of course, no one should be surprised that, thanks to George Bush, the federal government doesn't have enough money to support the proposal.

This is definitely Michael's deal, so if he's up to it, I'll turn it over to him...

16 June 2004

Pointless "news" 

That just means it's extra blogworthy, but it's good to know the folks at Old Spice have named New Orleans the fifth sweatiest city in the United States. That's up ten spots from last year. I guess the city hasn't been buying its share of Old Spice during the interim.

Either that or they saw this story about Will Smith (not the actor/rapper, but the Saints first round draft pick) in the Advocate this morning.

RIP Fetch Monster 

Gone but not forgotten:

The 10-year-old dog, whose real name was Bleu, had been diagnosed with cancer last month.

Fetch Monster became a fan favorite in the Louisiana Superdome while retrieved kicking tees at Saints games for three seasons from 1997 to 1999. Before that, she worked Houston Oilers games at the Astrodome.

Over the past month she underwent chemotherapy and three blood transfusions in an effort to stave off the disease. She suffered a setback over the weekend and was put down Monday.

"The Saints were so good to her," Melna Moriarity said. "She loved New Orleans."

You're my boy, Bleu!

Thanks to my bro for the tip.

Tauzin on the Floor 

It's good to read that Billy Tauzin was able to get to Washington this week, but despite the Congressman's tone, this article strikes me as very discouraging for his future health.

Timshel prayers are still directed towards the long-term Louisiana Congressman and his family.

More local goodies 

One of Lafayette's two black councilmen proposed a $120,000 capital outlay to place a restored statue on Lafayette's Simcoe Street. Once upon a time Simcoe was one of the main thoroughfares in a thriving old Lafayette. Now it is one of many rundown, crime-ridden streets on the Northside of Lafayette. In an effort to turn around Lafayette's northside the City Council put together a revitalization plan a few years ago. Councilman Chris Williams proposed the placement of this statue as part of the revitalization effort, which would have made it "immune" from the so called new capital project moratorium.

The city's seven white councilmen voted to block the effort.

Charges of racism wouldn't be far behind, and I'll just go ahead and quote the principles involved in what may as well be a perfect mirror of conversations all over the south that normally go something like this:

black guy: you're a racist
white guy: you're a racist for always calling people racist.

However, there's a south Louisiana twist to this one, but I'll start you off with the Advocate's version:

"The hatred that exists in this body runs deep and should be dealt with in some form or fashion," Councilman Chris Williams said.

Other councilmen responded, saying the ordinance would have violated the council's prohibition against new capital projects and that Williams is too quick to cry "racism" when his ordinances are defeated.

...

Williams decried what he called the council's attitude about anything "Afro-centric" in nature.

"As a community we need to recognize the sickness and be a part of the cure," Williams said.

Menard responded by saying Williams often brings up race as an issue when items he places on the agenda are defeated.

"You claim that it's because the council is racist," Menard said. "But no one spews and espouses racist and racial hatred more than you do."

It's not online at the Advertiser, but their version of the story has Williams adding a little bit to the "Afro-centric" comment noted above:

"Anytime it's something on the north side of Lafayette, they have 101 questions," he said. "when they're going to come to put up a beautiful park on Camellia Boulevard, they won't have one question."

"It's not about the money. It's about what it is and where it is. They don't want anything that's Afro-centric. They want everything Cajun," Williams said.

His point about the ease with which southside projects are agreed upon versus northside projects aside (though I think it's definitely a valid one), it's worth noting that a deep resentment exists between blacks and "cajuns" in south Louisiana. That's not to say they don't often find themselves on the same side of political battles every now and then, but you won't find a whole lot of blacks out there singing the praises of all things Cajun. On the one hand you've got black people who have been discriminated against for hundreds of years in this country looking up at another minority who seem to have their culture not only validated, but celebrated with all manner of festivals and local power. That's not to say that Cajuns weren't once the target of discrimination, but in this community now they are lightyears ahead in opportunities as far as most minority groups are considered. You have schools with French immersion programs, a tourist bureau, multiple "Cajun" villages dedicated to the preservation of the culture, and I guess I could go on, but is it really necessary?

Meanwhile blacks get the month of February to learn about their history and the shaft when it comes to an art project.

What's up with chimps? 

Yesterday I mentioned the chimpanzee retirement community they are beginning to put together south of Shreveport, and then today I notice my local paper has a story about a school for smart chimps that my local university just received a grant for. Unfortunately this isn't online, but it warranted two articles on the front page of the B section.

Do Gannett writers have some chimp fetish I'm not familiar with, and do I have a reason to worry about a future in Louisiana only slightly different from "Planet of the Apes"?

Truth Serum 

Last week I mentioned the House Resolution concerning the legality of administering truth serum to death row inmates in the hopes of finding out if there are any missing victims not yet confessed to. Apparently the death penalty is doing wonders to promote the "culture of life" in Louisiana. In a story today about the advancement of a concurrent Senate Resolution, a lawmaker had this to say:

House Concurrent Resolution 273 by Rep. Yvonne Dorsey, D-Baton Rouge, asks Foti to determine the constitutionality of giving condemned prisoners truth serum drugs that induce a semi-conscious state.

...

"The person is going to be put to death anyway," said Dorsey, adding that federal prosecutors are considering the use of truth serum on terrorists.

Last week the House Res. sponsor said this about the possibility of using truth serum to illicit confessions from men and women awaiting the death penalty:

"Why can't we mandate this?" she asked. "We take every right from these people. We take their freedom. That's what this country is all about. This would help bring closure to families" of victims if they can know what happened to their loved ones.

Why don't they just say that their lives don't matter anymore. If serum doesn't work we can beat it out of them. Perhaps we could send them to Git'mo and have our team of interrogators work them over until we find out. It will give the victims' families closure that simply killing them can't achieve on its own.

Sept. 18, 2004 

That's the day Louisiana citizens will tell gay people they aren't welcome here.

Many Democrats would only vote for the bill if its sponsors would agree to set the date for voting sometime before the Presidential election so as to prove that it wasn't simply an initiative aimed at getting out the W. vote. Ironically this probably means that state voters will have an even larger majority in support of the marriage ban. I say this because I can't imagine wishy-washy types who may be uncomfortable with the amendment but not passionate about it going out to the polls solely to vote against it. Meanwhile the people mobilized about discriminating against homosexuals--of whom there are apparently many--will have all the motivation they need.

The face of government 

I haven't really spent any time discussing the fight going on between Louisiana river pilots and industry groups who want cheaper access to the Mississippi River. This entry won't bother with the merits of either groups' plans for a new regulatory board, but I did think a Pic story today is a fairly instructive one about what happens when lobbying groups get too much control over legislation. In this case, they are simply writing their own bills, proposing them to one another, and plan to ship it to a Senate committee when they come up with an effective compromise. Consider these grafs from the story:

The prospects for an agreement to reform the state river pilots system ran aground Tuesday when pilots offered a detailed proposal that was soundly rejected by industry groups.

The pilot proposal is scheduled to be heard today in the Senate Commerce Committee, which will face the option of passing the pilot-backed legislation against the wishes of the shipping, oil and chemical industries or else deferring the measure and probably ending any chance of a reform law this session.

...

After weeks of negotiation, pilots gave their proposal Tuesday to industry representatives, who reviewed the document and decided the pilots had taken a step backward from their previous positions.

The pilots said Tuesday that their proposal offers true reform of their system, which has been criticized for having too many pilots earning excessive pay for guiding large foreign ships on the Mississippi and Calcasieu rivers. Industry groups say the pilot system is driving shipping business away from Louisiana.

God forbid lawmakers should craft their own legislation, particularly when it's a regulatory body overseeing one of the more important aspects of the state's most crucial commercial interest. I guess it's easier to just pass whatever two interests being "overseen" decide on their own.

15 June 2004

What's next? 

Because good things come in threes it's worth asking what could be next after the humiliating defeat of the Lakers and EWE handing Candy her ticket to freedom (call me!)?

Things that are painful: 

Busting a hole in your eardrum with a stick.

I've just spent the last three hours seeing a couple of different doctors, so sorry about the lack of posting.

Disregard the infection in the top right hand corner of the picture, and this is what my tympanic membrane probably looks like:
what's that you say?

The Football Network 

Now they're being sued by a former contract employee who hasn't been paid. She claims they owe her upwards of twenty thousand dollars. The reporter couldn't get a comment out of the network's CEO (apparently one of the few employees left at the failed venture)Jerry Solomon.

There are now six "staffers" left in the office, down from seventy in December.

I guess that LSU spring football documentary hasn't paid off yet.

Good 

I'll be out for a good piece this morning so here are a couple of quick hits from the legislative action yesterday.

First the House voted overwhelmingly to kill the gay exemption from the homestead exemption. It's reassuring that the Louisiana legislature doesn't hate gay people so much that they would actually tax them for it, although I'm sure there are a few who would if they ever got the chance.

Also, the Senate killed the legislative effort to alter the state's election schedule. Here's what opponents had to say in the "Advocate's" report:

But senators complained that the House-passed plan would undermine term limits by allowing some lawmakers to serve a year beyond what voters approved.

Critics also said it would lead to partisan politics and fund-raising difficulties as many candidates vie for dollars at the same time.

The proposed constitutional amendment would have added one year to the four-year terms of current officials in affected state and local offices, including some legislators serving their last terms because of term-limit laws.

Those officials were elected in 2003. Their next election would have been 2008 under the transition plan.

This is what I said about it way before anyone had mentioned the possibility in print:

is it possible that these bills are just a thinly disguised attempt to give a whole bunch of legislators facing term-limits an extra year (it would extend their terms by a year in order to coincide with the 2008 election because the current schedule has the next big legislature elections in 2007) so that they might have more time to repeal the term-limits amendment passed in the mid-nineties? I've said before that I'm against term-limits in most cases, but if this is a goal of this legislation then these lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves. Whatever my feelings about term-limits, it was clearly the popular will of the state that they were implemented. Also, we very clearly elected our legislators for four years the last time around. If this legislation passes it would essentially mean that lawmakers voted themselves another year in office, contrary to what voters believed they were getting when they went to the polls last fall. The solution to all of this would be to start the new schedule in 2012. That way the next time the state votes they would know they were voting legislators into a five-year term, and it would shed any doubt that legislators were simply trying to find a way to extend their terms so as to keep prodding away at term-limits.

Some motives are so transparent even the king of naivete (that's me) can see them.

To be a chimpanzee... 

If you've been following the state legislature the last couple of years, you've probably heard lots of talk about Louisiana trying to become more retirement friendly as part of a larger economic development plan for the state. There have been all manner of tax incentives and the like to draw retirees to the "gret stet" and hopefully have them spending their social security checks in Louisiana instead of Florida.

Someone should have told state economic development officials that chimps don't have incomes:

Chimp Haven, the first of its kind retirement home in the nation, will house chimpanzees that have been used in research, entertainment or are no longer wanted as pets. The haven will provide lifetime care in a natural environment.

It's a peaceful environment, immersed in vines, shrubs and natural grapes, even as a local construction crew drills and hammers pieces together, in the beginning stages of building the first of three habitats and also a central residence to house chimpanzees with indoor quarters, introduction areas and large outdoor activity yards.

In all honesty this seems like a very interesting--and hopefully worthwhile--project. The story doesn't mention whether or not "Chimp Haven" will be open to the public or if it is simply meant as a retirement (and almost certainly research) facility. But old chimps need a place to live, and southwest of Shreveport is probably an appropriate environment.

I wonder if the casinos on the Red River will run daily shuttle buses in and out of "Chimp Haven" for the retired chimps looking to play the slots.

Nice 

I didn't know anything about the email upgrade Yahoo had been planning, but opening up my mail this morning and finding my used storage space back down to less than 1% without having deleted anything is quite relieving.

Blogger's constant requests asking me to try GMail had almost persuaded me to make the switch, but now Yahoo has ensured that I'll be using their service for the indefinite future.

Uh Oh. 

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson has cut off negotiations on reworking the team's contract with the state until he gets the full $15 million state subsidy payment due this summer, team and state officials said Monday.

Benson looks to be using his position to ensure payment on this year's commitment from the state. Blanco has indicated that she will dip in to the general fund as a one time deal if Benson agrees to renegotiate, so it's possible that Benson is trying to expedite that possibility.

However, it gives Benson enormous leverage if the state defaults, so he could come out of this play with nothing to lose (except public support which he seems to have a surprising lot of lately).

14 June 2004

Turnabout 

more on this story later (perhaps tomorrow...). It's required reading if only to point out the stupidity of Republican campaign strategies. link via (of all places) the Rush Limbaugh radio show. Here's the key quote from the report:

Earlier this month, for example, Rep. David Vitter, a Republican who is seeking to replace retiring Democratic Sen. John B. Breaux of Louisiana, challenged his three Democratic rivals to endorse Mr. Kerry's support for higher taxes and opposition to a constitutional amendment banning homosexual "marriage."
In a conference call with Louisiana reporters that was set up by the Bush campaign, Mr. Vitter also demanded that his rivals take a stand on recent remarks by billionaire Democratic financier George Soros, who last week compared the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

You know the routine: go read the whole thing.

I can't resist 

You guys are probably tired of these posts by now, but here's another edition in the local news graphics department.

The headline reads "Doctor proposes not treating some lawyers".

but is this the doctor or the lawyer?
Just open wide and say 'ahh'

Oh yeah, 

Yesterday I picked up a pizza from Papa John's for my sister and was rewarded with a free DVD of Weekend at Bernies". They don't have a DVD player, so I got to keep it. If this promotion continues with other poorly selling DVD's of eighties and nineties films I think I'll be ordering a lot of pizza in the next few weeks.

Withdrawal 

I miss wall to wall Reagan coverage.

John Breaux as Veep? 

I don't think it's going to happen, but this story is interesting anyway.

I can't wait 

I will try my damnedest to get in the door for original reporting from the state Republican convention to be held in my fine hometown in August.

It may be my first attempt at press credentials, though I don't know if the LAGOP would want me there. However, if they put together a platform as nuts as the Texas 2000 slate, I think the whole affair could be loads of fun. It may also be a good time to see what Republicans talk about when they are all together in the same place at the same time. Oops, I live in Lafayette, so I guess I already know what that's like.

Legal Incidents 

John Hill inks a good story about the debate over the "legal incidents" clause in the state gay marriage ban going before voters next fall. Unsurprisingly there is a ton of confusion about what the clause means and what the intent is. The arguments made by the amendment's author and some opponents can be boiled down to this exchange:

LSU Law School professor Katherine Spaht, who crafted the language, said the intention is to block any constitutional challenge based on the equal protection clause of the state constitution. State Sen. John Hainkel, R-New Orleans, one of the chief sponsors of the proposition, said Spaht and LSU law professor Randy Trahan told him "the language gives direction to the court of the state's intention."

...

Sen. Joel Chaisson, D-Destrehan, a lawyer, argued that all the state has to do is to put into the state constitution the provision that marriage is only between one man and one woman.

"Why would you offer this other language unless you have some other agenda? The additional language in the proposition deprives people of rights. This is discrimination against people whose only offense is they happen to be born gay," Chaisson said.

"Because they're not a majority, they're fair game for discrimination. This language is nothing less than gay bashing," Chaisson said.

It's hard to see the extra language as necessary for Katherine Spaht's claim about preventing equal protection legal challenges. Stating that marriage is only between a man and a women should suffice in any real world argument, so I find Chaisson's argument persuasive in this matter.

I do wonder if the legal incidents clause could bring a federal challenge to the state ban quicker than it might occur should the language be removed.

The minute a Louisiana judge decides to say the Louisiana constitution prevents a private employer or insurance company (or the cities of Baton Rouge or New Orleans) from conferring partnership benefits to an unmarried, gay couple there could be a federal case that would almost surely deem the Louisiana judge's ruling unconstitutional federally. It could bring about a quicker demise to this ill-conceived amendment than probably would come if they simply stuck to banning gay marriage and not anything vaguely related to domestic partnership.

Of course, this is all probably wishful thinking on my part.

Home Sweet Home 

I'm back in the sweet succor of Louisiana once again after a long weekend in that big state next door. I can't tell you how disappointing it was to stay in a hotel literally across the street from Six Flags (Arlington) and not actually go.

The wedding was well worth the drive. There were lots of Prados and non-Prado cousins all over the place who I hadn't seen in years. Even though they're from Texas they appeared to know how to have a good time. I won't be gone for any weekends in the next few weeks, but next month I'm headed to Boston for at least a week. I'll be driving, but by the time I get there I suspect I'll be able to use a computer.

Big thanks go out to John, who hopefully kept you interested while I was on the lam. I managed to get on a computer a few times over the weekend and got a taste of his posting. I'll admit to being relieved that he's as liberal as the next Timshel reader. For now I'm back in action.

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