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27 August 2004

TKGOTW 

Sorry about the extended absence this morning, but it's been a long day in my neck of the woods. The last few weeks have seen some pretty sorry games once Friday rolled around, but this time I'm giving my full seal of approval to Proximity, a strategy game that is a bit of the inverse of Stratego (which you can download for online play here if you're interested) and minus the capturing the flag part. I'm usually not very good at these games, but on this one I can dominate the "expert" computer opponent, so I either have a knack for it, or it's incredibly easy. You be the judge.

And if mouse play is more up your alley, here's the hardest pong game--of which there are surely thousands--I've ever played. It's only five levels, and the first four aren't bad, but once you get to five, if you can even figure out how to move the appropriate paddles at the appropriate times, please drop me a line in the comments box.

I may or may not have more posting this afternoon. Thanks for your patience, and if you're in the viewing area, don't forget that the Saints are taking on the Bears tonight in their second to last meaningless contest before I really start to freak out about their prospects this year.

At least we have a culture to be proud of 

The Pic informs us that life in Louisiana basically sucks.

The rate of people living in poverty is just over 20%, the highest poverty rate in the nation.

Median income is just shy of $35,000, ahead of only West Virginia and Mississippi.

Just over 29% of children in Louisiana live below the poverty line.

The Bush administration says it's the Republican controlled Senate's fault:

for blocking adoption of energy, health care and tort reform legislation they said would have provided more economic lift.

"The big failure is not what is happening in the administration," said Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson about the increases in Americans without health insurance. "Individuals in the Senate have failed to adopt the president's health care plan."

That's right, the answer to low wages and an awful job market is tort reform and a health care package that's nothing more than a giveaway to insurers and pharmaceutical companies. I'm sure too that the new overtime rules will certainly mean all the people who are being bumped into management this month will see a pay hike. That will probably lift thousands of our state's children out of poverty.

It's about time 

I've been wondering why an enterprising writer at the Picayune hadn't interviewed John Kerry's biographer regarding this whole SBV"T" business, but today Jim Varney finally gets it done. Something to be worried about?

The Swift Boat veterans' charges are unfair, Brinkley said. He said he finds them no more credible than those leveled by Democrats that President Bush skirted his National Guard duties during the Vietnam War.

...

He thought it was "an outrage" when Democratic Party leader Terry McCauliffe raised the prospect that President Bush had been AWOL during his National Guard service, and he thinks the same of the accusations slung by the Swift Boat Veterans.

"There was no documentary evidence to support the charge then against Bush, and there's no documentary evidence to support the charges now against Kerry," Brinkley said. "Whether the charge is against Aaron Burr or John Kerry, I have to see the documentary evidence."
No more credible? Surely lots of partisans will hiss at Brinkley equating one charge with the other, but he may want to consider that while the charges made against Kerry actually contradict the existing record, in Bush's case there is no record for whatever he was up to in those missing months in the seventies, so there isn't anything to contradict. Whatever, it's good that a respected voice in New Orleans is out there standing up for him.

26 August 2004

Be Afraid 

Meet Hurricane Frances

It's a pitiful category one at the moment, but I bet the poor people still trying to pick up the pieces in Florida right now don't care about that. Hopefully this one will decide to go up the east coast.

Her life is in your hands, Dude 

For some reason I can't see this picture of Max Cleeland over at the "ranch" without thinking of the Big Lebowski railing on after Dude and Walter about their goldbricking ways. They both seem so angry.


Club 410 

I saw this story about possible discrimination at the door of a local nightclub last night, but in my anger at the Advocate's editorial this morning I forget to post about it. Now I've been to this place a couple of times, once being turned away for daring to approach in a pair of tennis shoes, but I doubt that it's club policy not to let black people in the door. The chances of there being a racist door man with a separate set of standards for white and black people, though? I'd say that's pretty high.

Now the part I was interested in, and now conspicuously absent from the transcript provided by KATC, was a note that said New Orleans Saints rookie wide receiver Devrey Henderson had been turned away from the front door of Club 410 one night with Dr. Patrick Moore and Paul Barber. According to the report, which you can see if you click on the little video camera underneath the picture, this occurred last Friday night.

Of course, there's a big problem with that, because Devrey Henderson would have been in Green Bay in a hotel getting ready to take on the Packers in the Saints second pre-season game last Friday night. I know he was there, because I remember him scoring on a seventy-five yard touchdown reception.

There's no way a club turns away a professional football player without good reason, in this case I guess it's because they didn't actually turn him away.

Irrelevant 

The GOP is fighting back at Craig Romero's continued insistence that the state and national party is playing favorites in the 3rd District for Billy Tauzin III. Apparently Tauzin family supporters have been reminding every one from here to Sunday that Romero endorsed Kathleen Blanco over Bobby Jindal in the last gubernatorial election. The implication is that Romero deserved payback, and this was the way the GOP went about it.

Fine and dandy, but I know another race with a Republican who endorsed Jindal facing a Republican opponent who endorsed Blanco, but in that one, the Republican who endorsed Blanco is getting the support of the national party. Have you guessed yet? It's Jock Scott and Rodney Alexander up in LA-5. Principles don't matter to these people. Only winning counts. They prove this at every opportunity.

7th District News 

The Advocate's print edition for Acadiana included a report that Dr. Charles Boustany has unveiled an ad in the district's Lafayette and Lake Charles markets. The story isn't online and the ad can't be found at Boustany's website (warning, awful color scheme), but from the description provided in the report it sounds like a basic introduction ad.

Boustany and state Sen. Willie Mount lead the field by long margins in money raised, and given Boustany's terrible name recognition it's hardly a surprise that he's getting out of the gate with television advertising early.

In a long ago post I probably underestimated the power of Thibodaux's name recognition around the District, but he'll want to make sure he doesn't ignore Boustany's advertising onslaught. I haven't decided who I'm going to vote for in this race yet, but I have a personal affinity for David Thibodaux despite not agreeing with almost any of his political positions, so I'm at least rooting for him to thumb his nose to the local GOP establishment and out-perform their meager expectations for his candidacy. He can only do that if he begins treating Charles Boustany and his hundreds of thousands of dollars as a potential threat to what votes he can muster out of this race.

One of Thib's supporters wrote about him in today's Advertiser.

Bears repeating... 

The Advocate editors blame the victim w/r/t the Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" smear against John Kerry. Reading their headline, "Attacks on Kerry ugly but expected," I briefly hoped they were going to write a long missive against the ongoing tradition of Bush smears against their political opponents. Alas, it was only a brief moment I thought this may be the case. After nine paragraphs describing the scurrilous nature of the charges and the tenuous connections to the Bush campaign, the editors come to this conclusion:

The lesson for Kerry ought to be, If you don't want to get dirty, don't play in the mud.

Kerry's war medals became an issue in the 2004 presidential race only after the candidate presented his military service during the Vietnam War as evidence of his leadership.

The decision by the Kerry camp to play up the Massachusetts senator's service record must have been carefully calculated.

What a fucking joke? Making an issue of something doesn't give a group of liars with a long standing grudge against you the right to simply make shit things up about you. Charges should be investigated before they're published, not simply pasted onto every front page and television show simply because they're made. Other people have obviously said this before me and with more convincing arguments, but actually seeing it in print makes me more mad than I'd like to admit. The lesson is that John Kerry ought to have known better? The Advocate is more critical of Kerry than they are of the proven liars attacking him. Their opinion regarding the SBV"T" seems to be, well Kerry brought it up, who cares what they say about it. Jesus, if I'm not careful I'm going to through my computer out the window.

Dammit 

I had a longish post about Blanco's questions for Tom Benson discussed in this Pic article, but Blogger ate it.

Essentially, I wrote that Mr. Benson better be prepared to answer for how much the NFL can contribute to a new stadium (and it ought to be significant), and he better be willing to either forgive the state's debt accrued by Mike Foster to the franchise or reinvest it into the construction.

This probably won't work, though, so we'll see what happens.

25 August 2004

Slow day 

I don't have much to write about, so I figured I'd ask you New Orleans folks what you think about the big Wal Mart Supercenter that opened up on the former site of the St. Thomas Housing Projects in the lower Garden District today? WWL says there were long lines. If this were Lafayette every one in the city would drive by at least once just to look at it. For some reason I don't think New Orleans has that problem.

Bless me, Father 

that's not the collar you're supposed to wear
More great shots from the AP photographers chasing Bush around. If he's not careful he's going to lose the former altar boy vote.

pic via Wonkette

Excellent 

Blogger and Haloscan seem to have coordinated with one another to bring us a mess of troubles today, but I couldn't help but point out the long-awaited (okay, about a day...) Oyster post on the political boon that economic performances under Democratic Presidents can be to the current election cycle.

I was seriously leaning towards Bush before I read this, but now I'm convinced. Geaux Kerry!

and "best blogger in the gret stet", I'm blushing...

Have Fun, Sellout 

Rodney Alexander has a ticket to the Republican National Convention in New York for next week.

Maybe he'll have some more discussions like this:

After discussions with members of the Republican Party who understand the need to support our nation’s workers, I have come to the conclusion that it would be impossible to join a party that not only ignores the people that make this country great, but also pressures their members to vote against any and all bills that are supported by unions. At the same time, the GOP pressures its members to give free reign to corporations at the expense of union and non-union workers...I have learned during my first term in the U.S. Congress that there is a Republican-led attack on the most fundamental rights that labor unions have worked decades to establish.

PSC to discuss keeping new rules 

According to a story in the Advertiser, PSC to discuss keeping new rules, The Public "Service" Commission is going to think about keeping its strict reporting rules on lobbying commissioners. The raw stats:
The Times-Picayune in New Orleans reported that power companies, which spent more than $50,000 entertaining commissioners in 2002, spent less than $5,000 from October 2003 through June 2004, the first nine months the tougher rules were in effect.
How it works in Practice:
[Since the new rules went into effect]...the commissioner who represents central Louisiana, Dale Sittig, D-Eunice, had only 12 industry-paid meals with a total value of $180.

In 2002, Sittig had 60 such meals with a value of $1,241.
You're looking for my fiber angle? Coming right up:

Considering the strange role that Senate Bill 877 assigned the PSC -- it is supposed to ensure that municipal utilities that sell telecom services like phone, cable TV, or internet (meaning Lafayette) charge their customers as if they were leasing their own poles and rights of way from someone else--I certainly hope that Mr. Sittig needs to report on all the meals that BellSouth buys him in detail.

(Isn't it going to be fun to be a PSC commissioner representing Lafayette and try and explain to a re-election crowd just why the regulations you create and enforce are designed to force Lafayette to charge the voters in the audience more than Lafayette otherwise would? Didn't the voters have some other idea in mind when they elected you PSC commissioner? It would only be made more difficult if "someone"—and I'd be happy to let others play—could be counted on to rise up from the back of the room after your tortured explanation about "legal mandates" and ask just what the BellSouth representative was saying during hundreds of dollars worth of fine meals.)

That provision of the BellSouth-sponsored law is right in line with the generally anti-competitive attitude that Cox and take whenever ever they can get government to step in and tax their competition into competitive "equity." I reported on national aspects of this story over at Lafayette Pro Fiber if you'd like to see the background.

Making Lemonade 

Here's an interesting story about a state Senate analyst suggesting that Louisiana can capitalize on all the terrible things that have happened here.

Bob Keaton, a fiscal analyst for the state Senate, said the experience Louisiana has gained from responding to natural disasters has given the state a leg up on other states in girding for a possible terrorist attack.

"This is our knowledge base," Keaton told a joint meeting of the House and Senate homeland security committees Tuesday. With the federal government plowing billions of dollars into homeland security, Louisiana could be poised to belatedly join the high-tech boom that largely bypassed the state during the 1990s.

"I believe Louisiana has more of the expertise to deal with disaster management than perhaps any other locality in the United States," Keaton said.

...

At the top of the state's current wish list is a project called the Louisiana Totally Interoperable Environment. The project, which is still in the drawing-board stage, would be a first-in-the-nation broadband wireless network that would allow emergency agencies across the state, as well as hospitals and other service providers, to communicate with each other during an emergency.

The project has attracted plenty of attention from lobbyists and high-tech companies vying for a piece of the spending. More than a dozen of them were represented at Tuesday's briefing.

Frankly, this makes a lot of sense, which is sad since I pretty much detest the idea of people thinking up ways to profit off of disaster. Louisiana shouldn't be in the position of having an interest in the next terror attack to come down the pike, although if we don't someone else surely will.

Keaton has apparently been the point man for the legislature on Homeland Security initiatives for a few months now.

Voting Machines 

I think I read this exact same story a few days ago, but I can't remember exactly when or in what paper. Anyhoo, Fox McKeithen is ordering his staff to stay the hell away from voting machine vendors while the state is in the process of searching for replacements for the hundreds (or thousands?) of the lever machines that I'm so fond of. He has agreed to follow the same directive he gave to the staff in his office so as to avoid any hint of impropriety. Federal election laws mandate the removal of the old machines, and the state has got a few million bucks to find a new provider.

And as I noted in this post last month, Secretary of State Fox McKeithen has expressed nothing but skepticism about the touch screen machines. Besides the problems with their security, they're expensive and have to be replaced at least every ten years. Louisiana's history of--er--election irregularities surely is playing a big part in the way our Secretary of State, and the only statewide elected Republican, is approaching this issue. For now he should be commended for keeping it open and attached firmly to common sense. It will be sad to see those lever machines go, though.

Only in a small town 

Grand Coteau is a tiny town between Lafayette and Opelousas, just off of I-49 which separates it from the equally small hamlet of Sunset, Louisiana. This is only meant as an introduction to what could be the best story in Louisiana politics today.

You see, in Grand Coteau they've been having problems with the volunteer fire department. Earlier this summer the city received a fire rating of 10, "which is comparable to not having a fire department at all. According to the mayor, the rating was given because Grand Coteau firefighters lacked training time, and the town did not have records of maintenance or training from previous years."

Because of this the mayor, whose name is Jean Coco, called in her ex-husband's nephew, Willie "Troy" Coco, the chief of the volunteer fire department, and may or may not have threatened to fire him.

Willie "Troy" didn't like the prospect of losing his job or the fact that the mayor used the occasion to disparage his mother's good name, so in the city hall office where the meeting occurred he lost his cool and hit her in the face.

However, it's not a good idea to punch the mayor when the Chief of Police also shares her last name. Mayor Coco called her son, Chief of Police Jonty Coco. I guess he did the smart thing and stayed out of the family/political squabble and called the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office.

That's the long and short of it, but if you want to read the Advertiser's account of the issue, go ahead and click on this link.

24 August 2004

ROTFL 

I can't even begin to express how hilarious I find it that John O'Neill told President Nixon himself that he was in Cambodia on a swift boat. Since I don't have the vocabulary to express these things as well as I'd like to, I'm left with crap instant messenging expressions to type into my title field. At any rate, here's what John O'Neill writes in the "Unfit for Command"

"Kerry was never ordered into Cambodia by anyone and would have been court-martialed had he gone there

Here's what he said on "This Week" to George Stepanopodopolous where a usually effective John Podesta sat ineffectually off to his right:

JOHN O'NEILL: The whole country's watching him avoid the question. You asked about Cambodia. How do I know he's not in Cambodia? I was on the same river, George. I was there two months after him. Our patrol area ran to Sedek, it was 50 miles from Cambodia. There isn't any watery border. The Mekong River's like the Mississippi. There were gunboats stationed right up there to stop people from coming. And our boats didn't go north of, only slightly north of Sedek. So it was a made up story. He's told it over 50 times, George, that was on the floor of the Senate. He wrote articles about it, it was a malicious story because it painted all the guys above him, all of the commanding officers, in effect, as war criminals, that had ordered him into a neutral country, it was a lie.

And here's what he told the late Richard Nixon in the White House before he embarked on his career as a professional John Kerry attack dog:

O'NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.

NIXON: In a swift boat?

O'NEILL: Yes, sir.

How many future generations of liars will and crooks will be brought down by the thousands of hours of reel to reel ordered by our favorite President, Richard M. Nixon?

All quoting courtesy the hard work of Atrios and the people who comment on his website. Seriously, I can't get over how funny and absolutely appropriate it is that the Nixon tapes help to put the final nail in the coffin containing John O'Neill's credibility.

Decadence 

Hypocrisy from the Archbishop? I can't find the statement he released about Southern Decadence Festival on the Archdiocese website, so I want to be careful with my word choice here. WWL reports that a new letter by the Archbishop:

called on New Orleans citizens and leaders to refrain from supporting the annual Southern Decadence Celebration and other activities, “which glorify sexual excess.”

Hughes issued a statement in advance of the annual celebration unofficially held in New Orleans on Labor Day weekend.

Hughes’ statement is similar to one he issued last year prior to the event. This year’s statement did not single out that festival alone, but also added a shot at some of the city’s other bawdy celebrations and businesses.

“From yearly activities, such as Southern Decadence, to the everyday tawdriness of those establishments which place economic gains over the moral good, our city’s image is hurt around the country.”

Now I'm no big supporter of the way the city celebrates its tawdrier (a word?) aspects, but it's probably wrong of AB Hughes to single out this one when the major event of the year in all of Louisiana is Mardi Gras, which really is nothing different than Decadence festival except it includes straight people. If he thinks that's one of those yearly events when city businesses place economic gains over the moral good then he ought to say so explicitly. Otherwise it looks like just another reason to bash gay people.

Official Decadence Website

Hey, hey, hey 

There's a reason to stay home tonight and watch the Daily Show instead of taking money from my friends in our too-oft-played poker games (three consecutive victories in a row and $50 richer--we're all very poor--thank you).

By way of Sean's guest posters at Nosey Online, we learn the that John Kerry plans to make his first public interview since the utterly ridiculous SBV"T" controversy became bigger than the Scott Petersen trial, the shark attacks of 2002, and every amber alert combined. He's giving the world exclusive to the hero of every person who has ever had a negative word for television media, and I can't wait.

In fact, this seems like the perfect venue to go and discuss this swift boat bullshit. It's perfect for Stewart since it involves a massive failure on the part of the television news media, allowing a man's good name to be smeared just because pundits with most shows are either too stupid and ill-prepared to refute them, or because the pundits themselves are part and parcel surrogates of the Bush campaign. That's comedy gold to the staff at the Daily Show, just look at the transcript from last night's "report" by Rob Corddy:

STEWART: Here's what puzzles me most, Rob. John Kerry's record in Vietnam is pretty much right there in the official records of the US military, and haven't been disputed for 35 years?

CORDDRY: That's right, Jon, and that's certainly the spin you'll be hearing coming from the Kerry campaign over the next few days.

STEWART: Th-that's not a spin thing, that's a fact. That's established.

CORDDRY: Exactly, Jon, and that established, incontravertible fact is one side of the story.

STEWART: But that should be -- isn't that the end of the story? I mean, you've seen the records, haven't you?

...

STEWART: So, basically, you're saying that this back-and-forth is never going to end.

CORDDRY: No, Jon -- in fact a new group has emerged, this one composed of former Bush colleagues, challenging the president's activities during the Vietnam era. That group: Drunken Stateside Sons of Privilege for Plausible Deniability. They've apparently got some things to say about a certain Halloween party in '71 that involved trashcan punch and a sodomized piñata. Jon -- they just want to set the record straight. That's all they're out for.

STEWART: Well, thank you Rob, good luck out there. We'll be right back.

As for Kerry, he gets to warm up for the addresses to this issue he'll have to make in the long haul on a decidedly sympathetic audience and host. It will probably be largely tongue-in-cheek stuff, and he can appeal to new voters all at the same time. I can't wait. Besides that, he comes off once again looking like the man of the people that George Bush can't even pretend to be anymore. Really, could you ever put Bush on the couch at the Daily Show? Stephen Moore from the Club for Growth would be more at home there.

Monday Night Football 

ABC is thinking about punting their rights to the game to another network. At more than $500 million a year without a direct payoff, it's understandable that they're not exactly interested in what could be a $100 million/year increase in the fee, but I hope for all our sakes that a Monday night package doesn't get moved exclusively to DirecTV.

This LA Times story doesn't suggest that even as an option, but considering the stranglehold DirecTV has over the NFL Network and the fact that they own the rights to the only package in the country that allows you to pay to watch every game on Sunday, it doesn't seem out of the question to me. Hopefully the NFL realizes this would alienate a large portion of their fan base and could potentially take away the NFL's primary vehicle for marketing their "chosen" teams and players. At any rate, at this point that option is probably the long shot.

The upside of the possibility of ABC getting rid of MNF would be the likelihood that in order to put their own stamp on the changing product a new provider wouldn't extend an invitation to John Madden to return to the booth.

My ideal world would have ABC and CBS covering Sundays with ESPN doing MNF. Leave Sunday Night Football to the awful producers and broadcasters over at FOX who are doing everything they can to destroy any semblance of standards in sports broadcasting.

Thank you Ted Turner 

...or this would never have been possible. I have a soft spot for committed liberals who used to own media empires. Via Wonkette:

VP contender John Edwards to intro a screening of Turner Classic Movies' "Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb." Why? He says, "Because it deals with nuclear power and this potential holocaust in the hands of human beings is extraordinarily dangerous."

More Alexander 

The Neverending Story is entering its final act. Jock Scott and Zelma Blakes have until about 10:30 am today to challenge the ruling in order to get Alexander disqualified from the ballot. They also don't want qualifying to reopen, so you could see two opponents working with the same legal team. It would be a true bipartisan effort to preserve their self-interest.

Suspended 

Anyone got a spliff?
Couldn't find any pictures of Keyou wearing the black and gold, but that's probably good because no one will probably see him wearing those colors ever again. That's arguably two of our worst positions seeing veterans suspended this year. At least Craver wasn't a starter. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise...

Weird 

I find this story about Kip Holden saving a milk truck driver's livelihood very suspicious. Watch out for a new "shadowy group" called "State Congressmen Who Thwarted Milk Truck Hijackings For Truth" to emerge any day now. It will make a great book.

Not anyone with a brain 

I'm no member of the investing class, but the only thing that surprises me is that anyone actually believes the Republicans have any advantage in managing the economy:

To the surprise of many investors, history reveals that the stock market often has done better when a Democrat lives in the White House. In the past, there may have been a misconception that "anti-business," "free-spending" Democrats were bad for investors, while "pro-business," "fiscally responsible" Republicans would guarantee solid returns.

The message of the piece is not to play the market based on who you think's going to be President. Sound advice I guess, but I'm not surprised by anything Gin mentions. Anyway, this ain't my beat at all, but I would be interested in what Oyster might say about it.

23 August 2004

This won't stand 

Down in Plaquemines Parish (I make this mistake in conversations probably every time one or the other ever comes up, surprisingly it appears to be the first time it's happened on the blog) a state judge decided to open up the 5th District qualifying because "Rep. Rodney Alexander's last-minute re-election switch an attempt to subvert the election process and ordered that the ballot be re-opened for new candidates."

Now I don't disagree that Alexander was trying to subvert the process, but this is about the last ruling I would have expected to come out of the court. At the most I expected Alexander's name to be removed from the ballot, because of what looks like a pretty clear-cut reading of the statutes on the books. That doesn't give Democrats a right to have a new qualifying period, but it should punish Alexander for his base political cynicism.

So be it, on to the next level on appeal any day now, I'm sure.

And here's an interesting note that Adam Nossiter reported:

In a sign of how important the national Republican Party views the outcome, Alexander's case was handled by Bobby Burchfield, who also represents House Majority Leader Tom Delay in Texas litigation challenging a Republican-tilted redistricting there, and he also helped argue the Republicans' case in the 2000 Florida election dispute that led to the Supreme Court decision halting the recount.

Don't ever say the Republicans don't take care of their new friends for at least a little while.

Healing old wounds 

The funniest thing about Bob Dole going on Blitzer yesterday to call into question Kerry's wounds in Vietnam--besides the fact that the distance between accuser and accused now spans not miles along the Mekong Delta but entire decades, countries, and wars--is that the story is appearing in the same edition of papers all over the country with this note from the AP wire:

Once leaders of opposing parties, Bob Dole and Bill Clinton will continue their unlikely partnership for nonpartisan government at the first official public event of the Clinton School for Public Service.

Dole, who lost the 1996 presidential election to Clinton, will speak at a seminar at the new University of Arkansas school.

''This is a unique story of two political giants, each representing points of view, who have come together in friendship and can speak to the need of the country coming together and healing some old wounds,'' former Sen. David Pryor, dean of the new school, said over the weekend.

Maybe they can rescind the invitation...

No Girls Allowed 

My papers are very thin today, so I'm left linking to up-lifting stories about the compassion of television producers and the cancer-patients they help brighten the lives of.

The long and short of it is that the folks from "Monster House" went to Denham Springs to build a monster clubhouse for a ten year old cancer patient there. Apparently the "Make a Wish Foundation" called up the show to see about getting the project done, but it may have been another group since the story doesn't make it clear.

At any rate, you really ought to click on the link, because the one picture the Advocate provides of the club house makes it look like it would be fit to live in. Considering they insulated the whole thing leads me to believe it has air conditioning too. The construction cost was a cool $50,000, and that excludes the cost of a donated telescope and "observatory" (not quite sure how you donate that). They even had the LSU band there, which led to some comic relief on the comedian/host's part:

The Tennessee native couldn't get the 50-member contingent of the LSU Band that visited the set to play "Rocky Top," unofficial anthem of Tennessee football.

"They said they didn't know it," Watson laughed. "I KNOW they know it. They knew it when they played it over and over in Atlanta in 2001 when LSU kicked our butts."

Trebor Victoriano of Lafitte, 25, a former walk-on as fullback at LSU, was working on the treehouse in the back yard when the band cranked up out front.

"He levitated," said Dave Koulpasis of Plaquemine, another member of the work crew hired at a Baton Rouge casting call in July. "He almost fell off the roof."

"At first I thought it was stereo," Victoriano said. "Then, I thought, 'That's real!'"

Casting calls for construction workers?

Anyway, here's Rocky Top (check out the dancin' hillbilly--"everybody likes ta' jiggle"), in honor of the guy who couldn't get a little help from the LSU band. It's better than "Hold that Tiger" anyway.

The easy story... 

Jan Moller reports on the racial divide exposed in the wake of the Rodney Alexander switch, but misses the point. He gets touches on it in the middle of his article, but it's abandoned instead as he seemed to go out to random places around the district in search of white faces upset about the Alexander switch...

I'd vote for him if he was a Russian Democrat, said Lewis, who is white. He's a fine fellow.

The four friends joining him for breakfast at the Red Kettle restaurant -- some Democrats, some Republicans, all of them politically conservative -- nodded in quick agreement.

He's done a good job, said Bobby Baillio, a white former Democrat who switched to the GOP during the 1990s but supported Alexander over Republican Lee Fletcher two years ago. I don't care what he is.

But 100 miles to the north, at the Gallot Barber Shop in Grambling, Alexander's eleventh-hour bolt to the GOP on the last day of the candidate sign-up period this month provoked a much sharper reaction.

I'll vote for anybody else, but I ain't voting for no Rodney Alexander, said David Ferguson, an African-American Democrat who voted for Alexander in 2002. I'll vote for none of the above, first.

Lewis and Ferguson capture the divided reaction among voters to Alexander's party switch in the district, which covers about one-third of the state from the Louisiana-Arkansas line in the northeast to Iberville Parish in the south.

Interviews with more than two dozen likely voters in six cities and towns found that many white voters, Democrats and Republicans alike, are willing to put aside their party affiliation to support Alexander, who is white. But African-Americans, who are the Democratic Party's most loyal constituency and comprise 30 percent of registered voters in the district, often are much less forgiving, as are those Democrats who supported Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election.

Umm, is it just me, or doesn't it seem like this would be the appropriate question to ask Alexander's supporters instead of something so simply denoting the color of their skin? I don't think I ever saw any exit-polling about Louisiana from the last election, but it stands to reason that Al Gore got at least about a quarter to a third of the white vote. It takes a good deal more than that to win a state-wide election around here, but it's not an insignificant minority in and of itself. The real racial divide isn't between black and white Democrats, it's between black voters and the GOP, which offers most minorities little reason to support their candidates. The message of economic equality and the Democrat's proven commitment to civil rights can and usually does appeal to middle class whites when they're not distracted by divisive cultural issues. Of course, all this is a minor quibble with Moller's article, but it does sort of obscure the issue, and it creates the impression that there's not a white voter for Al Gore to be found out in the Fifth, which is ridiculous. The GOP wants to paint the Democratic party as the party of blacks, fags, and baby-killers in an effort to attract white voters who they hope to marginalize out of the Democratic party. This story--probably unwittingly--serves that message.

The sub-header, admittedly probably written by someone else, and the reporting probably could have exposed that anger is along "presidential lines" rather than "racial lines." Hell, I'm wrong about these things all the time, though, so who knows?

'bout time 

Lafayette looks to be opening a Kerry for President headquarters to not insignificant fanfare. Bumper stickers and yard signs for everyone!

You and your entire family and friends are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of the Lafayette Democratic Headquarters this Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 pm located at 310 S. Buchanan Street, in Lafayette. Food and refreshments are to be served- please no alcohol. Children are invited also. Dignitaries and media are going to be present. We are hoping to see everyone there.

No alcohol? Where do they think we are? They should have a tailgate party.

22 August 2004

WolfieBlitz 

Damfacrats on Blitzer's interview with Bob Dole in today's "Late Edition".

Blitzer is so devoid of follow-up, he's like a deaf guy who can speak.

I didn't see this interview since I was busy consuming the gluten of God, but Blitzer consistently disappoints in interviews where he appears to script out his questions and follow that script completely regardless of what his subject answers. This man may be on television more hours in a given week than any other person in the world of cable news. The question is why?

Recovery Sunday 

The Saints looked terrible last night and the state papers were boring this morning. What is a Louisiana blogger to talk about?

I guess I'll point out the "On the Hill" column from the Picayune, where the DC Newhouse staff reports that Rodney Alexander's wife flicked off the departing staff from Rodney Alexander's Congressional office when they came by to pick up their stuff after resigning en masse in the wake of Alexander's betrayal.

I heard this mentioned on Washington Journal a week or so ago, but I never found the article that reported it, so I never got a chance to post it. It's good to know the Pic is a little behind...

And I don't believe there's a chance in hell that--as Drudge is "reporting"--Bush would have the gall to actually go see the Iraqis compete in a bronze or gold medal soccer match next weekend. He reports that it would be for the finals on Sat. 28. Of course that means the Iraqis would have to beat Paraguay in order to get there, but at this point they're guaranteed to at least play for the bronze. Thoughts on this?

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