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02 October 2004

Uga, Uga! 

Go Dawgs!
Now there's only one team left in a position to defend its national championship.

Very Quick Hits and Free Advertising 

First things first. My friend Mike Miley is having a screening of three short films at the Bayou Bijou tonight at the UL Student Union. It's at 7:30 pm and is free to all comers. Get off your backsides and come check him out. It will be worth it, and you can ask questions afterward.

Now to the less important stuff. I'm really only linking to a few things today, and they're all out of the Advocate. First Mark Ballard has a series of stories about the issues and the candidates in Louisiana's 5th District, home of incumbent party traitor Rodney Alexander. The story about the district is here, and you can check out the short candidate profiles here, here, and here.

Shocking item you may not have known included in the first story up there:
After a handful of Texas counties along the Mexican border and parts of Puerto Rico, the 22 parishes of Louisiana's 5th District make up the poorest region in the United States.
Seems like an area that's ripe for some unabashed populism, right? It's too bad all they care about is abortion, fags, and tax cuts. And they like to hunt, too.

Anyhoo, the last thing I'll point out is the somewhat shocking editorial in today's newspaper taking Bush to task for his performance Thursday. There is no way this was written by the same author who inked the one I was so critical of on Thursday. He must get Friday's off or something. Take a gander:
The bumbling performance of President Bush in the first debate with U.S. Sen. John Kerry has greatly enhanced the Democrat's chances of winning the White House on Nov. 2.

...

Of course, Kerry had no difficulty dealing with the president's inept attacks on his views. Bush's incomplete sentences and failure to explain what he meant made this one of the most one-sided encounters in the history of presidential politics.

...

The president accused Kerry of sending "mixed messages" to America's friends and enemies around the world, but he repeated the phrase over and over again. Argumentative it was, but it was not an argument made in any kind of intellectually consistent way.

Bush sometimes appeared, from his answers, not to really grasp the implications of the questions he was asked. Instead of addressing the questions, he rambled into "mixed messages" or similarly incoherent listings of accomplishments in Iraq.
So the same paper that leveled the inconsistency charge at John Kerry only two days ago is now calling it intellectually inconsistent. Hell, I don't disagree with that position, but there seems to be a schizoid streak on the op-ed page of this newspaper. Hopefully whoever wrote this one gets the regular gig articulating the paper's positions, but I'm not too confident of that happening.

It looks like my own impressions of the debate just don't mesh with the general public. I'm glad about that. I would like to restate that none of this should have been news to anyone. George Bush has looked like a deer in the headlights most times he has ever faced questions from anyone who approached a level of independence from the Republican Party. The media never seemed to notice or care about this before Thursday night. The flip-flop charge against Kerry certainly isn't new, and Bush repeats it in every campaign speech as often as he did in the debate Thursday, and I never heard the Advocate call it intellectually inconsistent. This was why I figured it was more or less a draw. I'm glad somehow the public finally woke up to the thin ground Bush has been running on for the last year and a half. If they'd have only done this earlier there wouldn't be any doubt about who will be sitting in the oval office come January.

01 October 2004

He's the Firestarter 

Never has one man meant so much to so many.

It's hard to believe this intro to the David Hasselhoff fansite could be anything other than parody, but it appears to be the real deal.

I'm ready for a repeat of Knight Rider.

via the boys at B3ta.com

TKGOTW 

I'm doing some other things today, but I should get some posts out later in the afternoon. For now, play this space craft-fighter game. The loading time is a bit of a wait, but it's worth it. Unfortunately the game is pretty easy once you get the hang of it, and it's only a demo, so you might not get your fill.

If that's the case, give this maze-type game a shot. Arrow keys control the ball. Have fun.

Canadian Bacon 

Bill Walsh tries to flesh out the Senate candidates' positions on drug reimportation from Canada and leaves you with as many questions as you probably started with. Both candidates have acted on some sort of legislation regarding drug reimportation. John voted against at least one bill, but introduced his own legislation, while Vitter has voted for and against separate provisions that would have allowed us to get our drugs back from Canada. I've searched around for some reporting on the individual bills and amendments, but it's an exercise in complete futility, so I'm left without much to say about it. There's no doubt that Chris John has taken a lot of money from the pharmaceutical industry, so I'm not so sure about his repeated claims to be a big proponent of drug reimportation, and I don't know whether to trust the bill he's sponsoring in the House right now.

David Vitter's got another commercial out about this issue. It's not online yet, but you've probably seen it because his ads are running around the clock right now, and it's hard to miss him standing in the big parka in the swirling blizzard talking about how drugs are so much cheaper "here in Canada". I won't bother to give this one the effusive praise I reserved for the last one, because it's just so silly. I've also come to the conclusion that Vitter is a big goof who sounds a lot like Al Gore, which people around here may not like too much.

If you really want a candidate who would guarantee to fight for cheaper drugs and a health care plan for everyone in country, you should probably vote for Arthur Morrell. I get the feeling neither of the big boys from Congress are truly that concerned about this issue, and all this is simply a stunt to obscure both of their rather dismal records on health care issues.

I am an island 

There are some great quotes from Debra Lemoine's report from an LSU dorm on the students who gathered to watch the debate.
Up to 40 students filled the room, with about a dozen watching the 90-minute debate until the end.

...

Kerry tended to elicit silence with an occasional nod or a soft cheer from students inclined to vote for him. The Republican Bush garnered laughter of disbelief at his defense on his decision to go to war in Iraq.

Many of the students -- Republicans, Democrats and independents -- thought Kerry did better than they expected while Bush was too defensive and stumbled.

...

Ray Hebert, 22, a senior majoring in political science, was delighted at what he considered Bush's dismal performance. The registered Democrat said he supported Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but Bush lost his support after invading Iraq.

"I'd vote for a stone if it was the Democrat running," Hebert said.
If the LSU students thought Bush lost, I guess it must be so. I'd vote for a stone too if it were running against George Bush.

As a whole, the students covered by the T-P at Loyola weren't so sure about Kerry, but that could have been because of the need for balance. There's at least one great quote from them too:
A lot of people say George Bush is dumb," said Jacob Steubing, 19, a junior majoring in sociology and vice president of College Democrats. "I don't agree with that. In reality, I believe he is phenomenally dishonest."

Debate impressions 

Unlike most of the blogosphere I would have called it a draw. I thought Kerry was unconvincing and Bush was his typical one-trick-pony self. I did have quite a few beers, so I'm not the best judge. More tomorrow?

30 September 2004

Lady Laura 

Try as I might to avoid anything that goes on in the state north of I-10, I guess I have to point out that the First Lady was in Shreveport today raising some much needed--yeah, right!--dough for the Vitter campaign. They managed to shake down GOP supporters to the tune of $200,000 at an event David Vitter didn't even bother to attend. Instead he was in Washington making sure gay people put their constitutional rights back in the closet with their sexuality.

According to the report, Laura Bush announced her decision to divorce her husband, citing spousal abuse and the President's problems with drug addiction she didn't say anything particularly noteworthy.

Taking Requests 

In comments to my last post, C. Grove asked to post the announcement that Covington has opened up a Kerry Coordinated Headquarters. So if you're on the North Shore and are looking for the people fighting the good fight and want to help out or just get some Kerry yard signs and bumper stickers, get your tail to Boston Street. Their number is (985)875-3058.

And if you're in the NOLA area and want to have some fun during the debate tonight, please check out the Get Your Act On outdoor debate party. From my inbox:
Get Your Act On! will be showing the 1st Presidential Debate tonight on our 12 foot outdoor screen. Come laugh, groan, cry, and throw things at the screen with us!

The bar will be open with beer and cocktails at 9th ward prices (proceeds go to support Get Your Act On outreach activities) - you are also welcome to BYOB, and feel free to bring snacks to share! Bring your Jazz Fest fold up chairs if you've got them, and we've also got lots of blankets for people to sit on.

Bring a couple extra bucks - we will have a wide variety of our fabulous political buttons for sale at the low low price of $1 each, once again, proceeds go to support our outreach activities.

We are located at 906 Mazant in the Bywater (see
http://www.getyouracton.com for directions). The party starts at 7pm and the debate starts at 8pm.

other bars in the NOLA area watching the debate are:

Monaghan's 13 on Frenchmen (between Chartres and Decatur)
R Bar on Royal (at Kelerec)
Mimi's on Royal (at Franklin)
Markey's on Royal (at Louisa)
Pal's on North Rendon (at St. Phillip in mid-city)
he Abbey on Decatur
Mojo Lounge on Decatur (at Gov. Nichols)
Heavy drinking may be the only antidote to the continued magnificence which is the George Bush spin cycle.

More Senate Issues 

The Advocate completes their series on the issues facing Louisiana in the Senate race and what the candidates have to say about them. You should read the whole thing, but there is one thing I should point out from David Vitter. He's treading dangerous ground with this statement considering the fact that the election won't really be decided until December.
"I think it's going to be very important for the state when we finally have a voice at the majority table in the Senate, finally have a senator with a good working relationship with the Bush White House," said Vitter, the 1st District congressman from Metairie.

Vitter said his election as the state's first Republican U.S. senator would help Louisiana "on coastal erosion, infrastructure and federal partnerships."
There's every possibility there will be a new President and a different majority party in the Senate by the time this runoff begins, so this statement could bite David Vitter in the ass if we Democrats are even a little bit lucky or God is in fact just, as the religious right regularly promises. Consider this one filed away for future use against the Representative of LA-1.

Interesting 

Senator Mary Landrieu and Republican George Allen of Virginia have introduced a resolution in the Senate that would formally apologize for the failure to pass anti-lynching legislation during the twentieth century. The two Senators are particularly interested in this resolution because of the central roles of long dead Senators from their states in engineering Senate fillibusters meant to stifle the legislation.

They don't think it will go forward this year but believe the new Congress in 2005 will act on the resolution.

The Louisiana Senator in question is Allen Ellender, a bit of a conundrum, having been a central figure in anti-McCarthyism, the highest ranking US Senator from Louisiana ever (he was President Pro-Tempore of the Senate), and--apparently--an unabashed racist who didn't think it was necessary for the federal government to prevent murderous mobs from stringing up those uppity darkies. He served six terms in the Senate and died in office in 1972 at the ripe old age of 82.

Impossible Task Dept. 

Lanny Keller strikes again on the Advocate opinion page. It's disconcerting that there could be so much wrong in an editorial that's probable less than 250 words, but I'll give a crack at it anyway. The Advocate attempts to say what the candidates have to do at the debate tonight to prove their worth to the American voters. I'll start with the part about Bush:
[A] challenge for the president is to show not only his transparent resolve to fight through these difficulties, but also to demonstrate his willingness to level with the American people at a tough time.

That is a difficult task in the heat of a debate in a close election.
So George Bush has to continue to show that he's resolute, however he needs to prove that he understands that there are problems in Iraq. Talk about setting the bar low. It's his Pentagon running the show; the war was his choice; and the "coalition of the willing" is the result of his diplomacy. No need for him to show the American people that he's got any kind of plan to fix it, Georgie just needs to be resolute and acknowledge the things that every American with even the inkling of a desire for information knows anyway. Meanwhile, here's the impossible task for John Kerry:
The president has ridiculed Kerry's series of votes on the Iraq war, some for and some against. Kerry has occasionally ridiculed the undeniable sacrifices and loyalty of American allies such as Britain, Japan, Poland and other democracies fighting with us in Iraq.

The senator must show the public that he has a coherent position on what is to be done going forward.

...

Kerry's program is vital. And if his ideas satisfy the anti-war left of the Democratic Party, he will lose the centrist voters who are vital to winning presidential elections. Americans aren't quitters, and the war effort has cost too many lives and too much treasure to be abandoned without an effective plan for stability and democracy in Iraq.
First of all the writer says that John Kerry has made votes for and against the war. If there was more than one vote that can be construed as a pro- or anti- war vote I think it's incumbent upon the writer of this editorial to say what they are. I can see how the vote in the fall of 2002 could be a war vote, though Kerry and the President both say it wasn't (remember, W. called it a "vote for peace"), but if the Senate ever voted again on whether or not to go to war with Iraq, it must have slipped by the entire American public. Maybe they did it in secret or something, but who really knows what the hell this is supposed to be about? So John Kerry's first task is to justify things that never happened.

Then John Kerry is lambasted for supposedly ridiculing the efforts of our coalition allies. If John Kerry ever ridiculed the British, I'd like to know when that happened as well. He's been highly critical of the folly of calling our effort a grand international coalition because the American burden has not been alleviated by it, but that's a far cry from suggesting that the British and Polish deaths in Iraq have been held up to ridicule. It's just another straw man the President and his supporters on op-ed pages all across the country use to drive a wedge between Kerry and the people who may support him. Whoever wrote this continues to misinform the readers.

And finally, "Kerry's program is vital". This is immediately followed by a suspiciously constructed bit of writing that suggests the "anti-war left of the Democratic Party" is somehow un-American. If Kerry does anything to suggest to these people that he has a plan to get American troops out of Iraq, then he's just as un-American, because "Americans aren't quitters." Jesus Christ, I can't believe the condescension and misinformation that drips from this piece.

It concludes that the debate "should be illuminating". I hope they're right, but it won't be if the editorial staff of the Advocate has anything to say about it afterwards.

Shocking Headline of the Day 

From the T-P:

N.O. bar served minors, officials say

The 69 citations in a single raid really is something of a shock, but c'mon, 18-20 year olds drinking! And in New Orleans! How on Earth could this have happened?

29 September 2004

Vindicated! 

The other day I posted a sarcastic comment about a terror alert for today going in to the first debate tomorrow in response to the news that John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge were in NOLA at a conference on Homeland InSecurity:
It lasts until Wednesday, when Tom Ridge is scheduled to announce a ramped up terror threat in conjunction with the first debate on Thursday. The terrorists will threaten the debates because they believe once the 'Murican people hear George Bush's straight talk in contrast with John Kerry's flip-flopping, French-loving oratory the election of George Bush will be assured, virtually guaranteeing the end of any chance the terrorists may have over the next four years.

Via Damfacrats, Hello terror alert!

As damfa notes, does anyone on Earth not understand yet that any gathering of either a large amount of people or particularly important people is a terror threat? Without new information, why bother with the press releases? This really is just ridiculous.

...yes, I know that Tom Ridge and John Ashcroft weren't there to do the releasing, but you know what I'm getting at.

One more debate note 

Following up on the post this morning, I'd like to point out that all this nonsense amongst big media types about the "post-debate debate" spinning, while important and worthy of our consideration, is just another way of avoiding what Geoge Bush actually does and says during the debate. He has to prove to the public why another four years of his leadership won't be twice worse than the first four years. Columnists who try to shake down what is said afterward is an impossible task because the surrogates and pundits will say anything and everything they can to discredit Kerry and vice-versa. In the end the press will eventually adopt one no matter what. If columnists and reporters really wanted to make a difference they wouldn't pay any attention to the post-debate debate at all and focus solely on the candidate's statements during the debate.

And stop looking for Bush to make some big gaffe. Whilst waiting for him to either make one or not make one, you forget to check out his endless series of misleading statements about the number of Iraqi security forces, registered voters in Afghanistan, and the cost of the war in Iraq.

...clarification: The thing about the spinning on the nets after the debate is that in the past we have paid too much attention to their incessant ramblings. We ought to make these people obsolete, not just another piece of the media to study and deconstruct. If people just said to hell with these shows like Hardball, Crossfire, and the entire Fox primetime lineup we'd all be a lot better off. The opportunity for the spinmeisters to test their messages and lies would be off the table. These shows serve absolutely no purpose to the public, and all the print deconstruction will only serve to give them more weight.

Headline of the Century 

...and the story to go with it.

Bush Visits Fla. to Survey Jeanne Damage

The whole report deals with Bush's trip to Florida today to look at the damage caused by the hurricanes that have hit the state, as though he's not there because of some Presidential debate or something like that in Miami tomorrow.

Not one mention of Miami.

The Spin Stops Here diaper-dandy edition 

It's that time of day where I have trouble find things to post about. Trips to the Corner and to Instapundit yielded no results, so I was forced into the bowels of FoxNews.com to read our friend Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" segment from last night's show. If you've ever heard a word the man says, you know well what a shameless self-promoter he is. Never has one man pimped his own promotional items and books harder than the clown from "Levittown".

Last night he asked the question, "Who's Looking Out for America's Kids?" Well, I'll give you one guess who's on the neighborhood watch at Fox.
Recent rulings by the Supreme Court have pretty much said that anything goes on the Internet as far as sex and explicit violence is concerned. Even simulated sex with children is legal now.

That's just one example, but think about it. When most of us were kids, we were exposed to sex, drugs, and violence much later than the children of today.

Now some kids as young as 6 years old know what pot is, know what sex is, are using four-letter words. And even if you're a good parent, someone who protects your children from harmful influences, once your kids get into the school yard, they're bombarded with negative influences.

Gangsta rap, crude television, radio shock jocks, Britney Spears (search), Paris Hilton (search), steroid ballplayers. The list goes on and on.

American culture is hammering children into adulthood far too soon. It is flat-out wrong. So I have written a book called "The O'Reilly Factor for Kids: A Survival Guide for America's Families." This book, out today, is aimed at children ages 9 to 16 and to their parents.
There's nothing like Billy O' using the problems and fears of children and their parents to make a buck. Sure, this isn't the National Review's shameless attempts at conservative indoctrination for kids, but it's not much better.

Oh well, let's go to the Amazon customer reviews...
Earl Hoffert (clearly something of a resident Amazon Snark if you look at his review of "Cool as Ice")--
A wonderfully uplifting children's book and brand extension. Nothing says "pitbull in a straightjacket" quite like the nonthreatening sweatervest Mr. O'Reilly is wearing on the cover.

Zoopax--
There are shining points, however, where he makes poignant observations about bullies and sibling rivalry. Then again, these are some of the safest waters to tread since the invention of the after school special.

Essentially, Bill is a little too old for the forced vernacular and while it may make him plenty of "bling-bling", he'll likely find himself "kicked to the curb" by all but the most shut-in of youth.

A disappointment from such a dynamic orator.

Grace (Mom of 3 Girls)--
I am SO glad I read through this first, before giving it to my girls. This one is going in the trash! There are few things more pathetic than a middle-aged man trying to sound "cool" by using current slang. This is a book of disclosure, but I'm not sure what purpose there is in being told that O'Reilly lost his virginity at the age of 20! This is 100% Bill O'Reilly: love him or hate him, but don't force him on your kids.

Erika Sorocco--
THE O'REILLY FACTOR FOR KIDS, while nothing new for teens, does feature a unique voice, and will be enjoyed by all young adults, as Mr. O'Reilly talks to us like one of his peers, rather than talking down to us, like so many other books about growing-up out there. The bottom line, if you're looking to buy one book about growing up, THE O'REILLY FACTOR FOR KIDS should be it, as it appeals to both male and female readers, and isn't preachy in any way, shape, or form.
Well, that's sold me on it. Get it while it's still on the first edition, this is sure to be worth something some day.

More free press 

My good friend Mike Miley gets some more free press for his upcoming trip to the Hub City to get support for a new project and to screen a piece of the results of his two years at the American Film Institute.

Among some friends I've been critical of the "Times of Acadiana's" Nick Pittman for a variety of reasons, mostly his taste, but there's no doubt that he's been an aggressive and effective promoter of local artists in the pages of the Advertiser's weekly mag. His article on Miley's trip to the Bijou at UL this weekend is welcome and will hopefully draw a few people who might not be aware of the filmmaking talent that was nurtured by our fair city. Go ahead and read the whole thing, but this struck me in particular:
The Lafayette native and American Film Institute graduate isn't some hotshot director about to burst onto the marquee with a film about a natural disaster or a remake of a 1970s TV show or loaded with catchy, cool one-liners. He's not signed to the latest blockbuster release with a budget rivaling that of some cities. What sets Miley apart and makes his films worth noticing is the honest stories they contain. The choices, he says, and the consequences we face every day. There are no earthquakes, tidal waves or people with super powers, unless you count the ability to kill wood roaches with a single squirt of bug spray. And that is the way he likes it.
Little does Nick Pittman know the project that Miley's so tight-lipped about is actually a silver-screen version of CSI New Orleans, centered around an unsolved drive-by shooting around the corner from Snake and Jake's Christmas Lounge.

Oh well, sorry if you don't get the inside joke there, but congrats again to Mike for getting his name out there. If you're interested in seeing what a Lafayette boy gone Hollywood can produce, you should make sure to get your tails to the Bijou on Saturday night at 7:30. I'll be there applauding my friend.

Whodathunkit? 

Stockton and Tweed, who really should be your first source for all the insider details you need on the Presidential election, look at the only debate that matters to the Bush campaign.

A note on the debates 

Since they're coming up I thought I'd just say how dumb Democratic strategists and campaign surrogates for John Kerry have been to get sucked on to these news programs talking about what John Kerry has to do to win, and why he has to win if he expects to win the election. From a purely strategic standpoint everything any Democrat said should have been something along the lines of, "if George Bush wants to win back the trust of the American voters he has to prove that he's not living in a fantasy world. He has to prove that Iraq is not actually a fiasco and what he's going to do to take care of our troops out there. He has to prove that he's going to create good jobs and better wages for American workers." Everything they say should be something George Bush has to do. At this point the media narrative is that Bush is the default winner of the debates and that John Kerry somehow has something to prove. George Bush has been the President for the last four years and America is worse; he's the one who broke it and he has to show why he can fix it.

The result is that surrogates and the media have unwittingly conspired to make John Kerry's task in the debate tomorrow an impossible one.

Interesting blogger spellcheck sidenote, Instead of "Kerry's" blogger suggests "Kerouac". I don't know why I never noticed this before.

Ugh 

I'm not sure what to make of this...
Registered Republicans have increased 11 percent to 682,511 in the past four years, while the number of Democrats has shrunk 5 percent to 1.6 million. Grouped together, independents and voters with other parties have increased 16 percent.
I do know that over the last four years the GOP has been particularly active in this state encouraging all those Democrats who have been voting for Republican's since Reagan to finally just suck it up and switch parties. They didn't wait for the Presidential election to start doing this; it's been a strategy for some time. Of course, two Dems have won major statewide elections in the last two years, and Democrats virtually swept all the statewide offices last year. Fox McKeithen, a Republican incumbent who ran without meaningful opposition, is the only Republican in a statewide office in Louisiana. Much of this is testament to the institutional strength of the Democratic Party in Louisiana, but they can't be happy about these kinds of numbers. I'd like to see more about them, but the story I linked to is about registration efforts for this election. I'm vaguely aware that this could mirror national trends.

7the District 

David Thibodaux released his platform recently and finally started up a website. You can either go straight to the source or read about it at the Advocate. His platform reads more like a statement of principles on governance, which is actually something of a welcome change from most candidate websites, even if I don't really agree with most of it.

I've used this space to express my respect for Thibodaux, largely due to my experience with him in a lit class a couple of years ago. I've also had something of a grudging respect for part of what Thibodaux has done on the Lafayette Parish School Board, where he seems to have shown a pragmatic streak that one wouldn't have thought he had in him considering his ideologically driven statements on most issues. I also think it's stupid and short-sighted of the Republican Party to dismiss his candidacy in favor of "someone who has a chance to win" as they've done with Charles Boustany. The result, if Boustany is indeed to win the race, which I doubt, would be a candidate even more beholden to the will of the Party than if he made it on his own. This is reason enough for me to dismiss nearly anything Boustany might say that is a departure from GOP orthodoxy on most issues.

Boustany's climbing poll numbers, largely at Thibodaux's expense, have led to at least one particularly disgusting ad I heard on the radio yesterday. In it Thibodaux goes off on a list of straw men that I feel like I have to point out despite the fact that I'd rather see him lead Boustany for third place on November 2. Paraphrasing, the ad goes something like this:
In this country it's legal for terrorists to burn the American flag, but our children can't even say the pledge of allegiance or pray in school. It's a crime to kill the eggs of American bald eagle, but thousands of women are allowed to murder their unborn children...
It goes on on those notes for thirty seconds, one frightening construct of evil liberalism after another, and it's very disappointing. Now I remember what I didn't like about David Thibodaux before I took his class. It's weird how a person's public persona can be so different from his private one. I knew that his base was always the religious right, but it's shocking to see it on display after spending quite a bit of time in his classroom.

Bring on the IRS 

A gay rights group has asked the IRS to review Swaggart Businesses/Ministry's tax-exempt status in light of the remarks he made in Canada not long ago. Since the group is based in lovely Baton Rouge, that's where the complaint was made. The T-P has the story:
"We think the tax laws of the United States were never, ever intended to promote a shelter for violence against others," Traigle said. "He should not be enjoying a tax-free living to make these hateful comments."

Swaggart representatives said the preacher, who is based in Baton Rouge, was hosting a telethon and could not be reached.
I guess it's appropriate that Swaggart was trying to enrich his empire at the same time a group was calling on the IRS to get involved. I'm kind of torn about this. The kind of vile form of "spirituality" which would lead a man to think it okay to joke about killing a gay man who "looked at him like that" is detestable to me. Add to that Swaggart's somewhat questionable commitment to the Lord's teachings over the years, and you're left mostly with a man who only cares about himself. However, putting the IRS onto a ministry every time they say something that's ill-considered and hateful probably isn't a good precedent to set. Ideally these groups calling for assistance from the government would set to expose Swaggart's hypocrisy and self-enrichment to the people who continue to give him money. Putting the IRS onto him--besides being a threat to the religious freedom of respectable tax-exempt organizations--would only make him a martyr and raise his profile to the American public.

Btw, this statement seems to connote that what he said was right, but should have been kept to himself and that he had made it more than once.
Swaggart last week said he regretted making the comments during a televised worship service. He said the remarks were "a tongue-in-cheek statement best left unsaid. I won't make it any more."
I wonder if Matt ever got a response?

Much Fun 

There's some interesting back and forth from an exposed blogger in this post. If you're interested in the Lafayette fiber debate and have the seen Cox Communications ad promoting a blog called "let the people vote", you can see the proprietor of that website go "toe-to-toe", as they say, with our Timshel fiber expert, who really does just want to promote the future growth of the region. I know, because I've met him.

28 September 2004

More Racism on Jefferson Street? 

Not long ago I linked to a story on KATC that described allegations that a popular Lafayette night club was keeping black people out with a selective dress code.

Now there are more allegations of what amounts to hate crimes, in which black men were beaten by white bouncers for "questionable reasons". I don't know what to make of these charges, and the KATC report really doesn't clear much up. I'm inclined to suspect that race wasn't the cause so much as a general tendency among bouncers to beat down first and ask questions later. The second allegation made by Mr. Delafosse suggests that it was another club patron who took offense at his dancing with a white woman, and not the actual employees. When a fight broke out, the next thing he knew he was waking up in handcuffs. KATC could easily clear this up by trying to interview the police involved in the arrests, or some of the people who were involved other than Club 410's owner, but they don't seem too interested in that.

Welcome to New Orleans? 

We'll see, but a semi-reliable poster at SaintsReport.com says the deal for GB cornerback Mike McKenzie is all but done. Chris Mortensen apparently reported it on SportsCenter last night. In the off-season I pooh-poohed the potential difference an extra defensive back could make for the Saints among some of my friends, but I think I can see this wisdom in this after Ken Dorsey's performance in week 2. I still think the Saints need more effective linebackers, but Ashley Ambrose definitely needs to be a nickle back and not the number two corner. The word is that the deal will likely be announced by tomorrow morning and could be public by five pm today. Saints fans will eagerly await more news of this possible trade.

Thanks to my friend and reader Mark for tipping me to this.

I hope his hamstring gets better...

Nothing to say 

National Security in a hundred words or less...

Good luck taking anything of use out of this report on the Senate candidates' views on security issues.

Juvenile Justice 

Mark Ballard has another solid "analysis" piece on the Op-Ed page at the Advocate, this time he's discussing the fear reform advocates have as to the real dollars that will be available to start to fix the myriad problems facing incarcerated youths in this state. Reading between the lines, the outlook isn't good largely because no one is willing to discuss the cost at this point, which is usually a signal that it will be expensive, and getting the state to spend money on criminals, be them youth or adult, isn't exactly an easy thing to do.

Meanwhile, my local paper actually has some worthwhile reading about the federal cuts coming to Teen Court, an invaluable program in keeping non-violent law-breaking youths out of the as yet still disastrous Louisiana juvenile justice system.

That one is a local followup to Mike Hasten's excellent report about the cuts coming to programs all across the state that seek to treat non-violent youths before the criminal lives escalate into the realm of the unredeemable. Here's the real data:
Bob Miller, state administrator of JABG programs in Louisiana, said the national program is being slashed 75 percent from the 2002 level of $250 million to $60 million in the 2004 budget, which goes into effect in October 2005. In Louisiana, program funding will drop from the current $3.8 million to $900,000.

“This will have a drastic effect,” Miller said. “It will cut programs that are working. All of the programs in the smaller jurisdictions will be cut out.”


The question these article leave out is "who's responsible for these cuts?" Well, I'll give you one guess.

Ugh... 

This news about John Breaux's travel expenses is hardly surprising, but it really should be on the front page. The electronic version makes it appear to be buried somewhere deep in the bowels of the paper, but I can't be sure. If anyone gets the print edition of that paper I'd love to know where it's found.

Breaux's spokesperson makes an extraordinary reply to the pointed questions about the expense of all these trips:
Breaux, who is retiring this year, defended his busy itinerary as educationally worthwhile.

A spokeswoman also said that, unlike congressional delegation trips, which the report did not include, Breaux's travel didn't come out of the taxpayers' pockets.
That's right. We'd hate John Breaux to answer to taxpayers. Instead they came out of the pockets of energy and drug industry representatives who Breaux writes laws regarding. This is nothing new, but the extent to which these groups have showered travel expenses on Breaux is quite remarkable. It's as likely a reward for the years of favor Breaux has shown these industries as it is influence purchasing, but it's something people ought to know about Louisiana's current favorite son in Congress.

ARMPAC/TRMPAC fallout reaches Louisiana? 

Tom DeLay's shady fundraising and influence wielding could backfire on GOP approved candidates in Louisiana. Unfortunately most Louisiana residents probably aren't that familiar with even the bare bones of the case against Tom DeLay's political action committee, and so far no one in the state has stepped up to produce the reporting on it.

At any rate, the AP and the Picayune report on the immediate results of three candidates who have received contributions from ARMPAC. They are Billy Tauzin III, David Vitter, and Charles Boustany. Louisiana Democratic Party Chairman Mike Skinner has called on each of those candidates to return the "tainted money" to DeLay's committee so as to avoid "even the appearance" of impropriety. If all this does is serve to expose people around Louisiana to "The Hammer's" noxious influence on races all over the country that's fine by me. It's also a good reminder to Republicans around the state who may already be a little upset at the influence national political figures are exerting on Louisiana races--in particular in LA-3 and LA-7, where multiple Republican candidates are being held back by out of state Republicans--that the masters in Washington and elsewhere don't believe they can make decisions for themselves.

Whatever the case, the response by the candidates has been mostly quiet, though they do defend DeLay with the predictable "innocent until proven guilty" reply. Vitter's campaign took it a step further to level an attack on Chris John's vote on re-importation of drugs and the "hundreds of thousands of dollars" he's accepted from drug companies. Of Vitter the state Democratic Party appropriately charged that for all Vitter's talk about "cronyism and corruption" in politics, it doesn't seem to mean much when the cronyism and corruption comes from a group who gave him at least $10,000.

Hopefully the charge of dirty money will get louder as the races get closer to election day. The investigations which led to these indictments may have been initiated due to partisanship, but that doesn't change the fact that Texas Republicans have a lot to answer for about all this money they've raised.

27 September 2004

New Additions 

My blog roll hasn't been updated in quite some time, and there were some additions I've been meaning to make, so here goes...

First we're reading a little more of the right now that I've got a link to A Healthy Fear of Botulism. After having a meeting of the minds at Ken's place over the Swift Boat hooey I've been using his blog as a portal to Mouse's, but enough of that. I agree with less of what he writes than just about anyone else, but that's alright because he's honest, and there's a lot more than politics over at his site, so go check it out.

Also, some big ones that have been left off for no reason except laziness over the last year. First, The American Street, which I usually only read when it's been linked to from somewhere else, but after Kevin Hayden showed a brief interest in Timshel, I feel obligated, and it's worth it because there's great writing and frequent updating there. And lastly Jeralyn Merritt's Talk Left. Jeez, I don't know why these weren't there before.

WTF? 

When in need of posting material, inanities from The Corner and their approved writers are in order...
SIGNS [Stanley Kurtz]
The other day, at the Man Without Qualities blog, Robert Musil said that many, even most, Bush-Cheney supporters are afraid to put up bumper stickers or lawn signs for fear of having their cars or houses defaced. The problem is not symmetrical, he says. Stickers and signs for Kerry are widespread, even in Republican neighborhoods. And many liberals feel free to put up signs calling for violence or even death for Republican officials. I’m interested in whether Corner readers think all this is true. (Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link.)
my emphasis, and on the calling for death bit, umm, yeah right. I'd like to see some proof of that.

then klo responds
RE: SIGNS [KJL]
Stanley--a thought on Bush fans not putting out signs. I frankly have never known conservative friends/family who have ever wanted to put out signs. Part of it is definitely that they just don't want to draw attention to their house. But then, I figured it just wasn't part of the conservative temperment. [sic] The instinct is, I do my own thing, take care of my family, don't throw my politics in your face. I don't know if this really is what is largely at work, but I think I've long assumed it was.
I don't know how bad Bush supporters have it in Los Angeles, where the blog Kurtz links to is based, but I certainly didn't find that liberal haven Boston to want of Bush stickers or signs, and it's already been two months since I was there. Also, if Kathryn Lopez really does believe that there's something in the conservative temperament that precludes people from expressing their politics, then she's a lot dumber than I thought. Maybe she ought to come down to Lafayette one day and she'll reconsider that argument. Perhaps it's because she doesn't live in real America, where Bush is God, and instead lives in the insular world of Washington DC, but I doubt that too. I think she's just stupid.

Who knew? 

John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge are in New Orleans discussing homeland security at a conference today. It lasts until Wednesday, when Tom Ridge is scheduled to announce a ramped up terror threat in conjunction with the first debate on Thursday. The terrorists will threaten the debates because they believe once the 'Murican people hear George Bush's straight talk in contrast with John Kerry's flip-flopping, French-loving oratory the election of George Bush will be assured, virtually guaranteeing the end of any chance the terrorists may have over the next four years.

Weird 

So last night I'm on the phone with my old friend Mike Miley. We talk about a few different things, but I began to explain to him that I recently met the guy who adapted a screenplay for an updated film version of the Evangeline legend--already famous to Acadiana-area residents, but long ago made international by the pen of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I asked Mike if he knew anything about it because I couldn't remember the filmmaker's name. He couldn't help me and an Internet search couldn't turn up what I wanted it to either.

Who knew that all I had to do was wait until today's papers showed up on my doorstep? The Advocate's--most unfortunately not online--got a piece on screenwriter Joseph Castille, who has taken the task of trying to recast a truer image of Cajun culture in the film industry by retelling one of the great Cajun stories. It's an ambitious goal, but the story leaves the impression that Castille is up to it.

Making things even stranger, I knew that the Advertiser had an article about Miley coming out soon, but I had completely forgotten it was going to be in this morning's edition. So last night I was on the phone with a guy who was the subject of one newspaper article in today's paper talking about another guy who was the subject of another big spread in the Advocate, all to my great surprise. It's just a little navel-gazing here on my part.

Disclaimer: if any of this sounds like name-dropping, it's not, but I'm sorry for the impression. These people aren't famous, not even locally since both live in far-flung California now, and one is overshadowed even at his old high school by some NFL athlete--who I played tee-ball with when I was six, now that's name-dropping--who managed to catch two touchdown passes yesterday (though he did have a costly fumble in the fourth quarter which led to the Colt's final touchdown putting the game out of reach). However, I'm convinced that Mike will be one day, so I'm shoring up my base. Besides, I don't know Javon Walker and haven't spoken to him since he used to steal fly balls that were rightfully mine in my position at second base from his at shortstop. It never mattered how much I said, "I got it," he'd just come flying across second base to pluck them out of the air. No respect! I guess he was a born NFL receiver.

Jindal 

The T-P looks at the crowded field of nobodies and a White Supremacist who are left to take on Bobby Jindal in the 1st District Congressional race. It's no wonder Steve Scalise dropped out lest he be considered an also-ran and listed among the likes of these guys.

They're not all so bad, really, most seem to have their positions and that's to be admired. I feel bad for these guys because whenever they tell someone they ran for Congress in LA-1, many will probably wonder, "wait were you the card-carrying racist in the bunch?" That could lead to some awkward explanations.

Health Care 

The candidates for US Senate explain their views on health care to the Advocate's Marsha Shuler. There's not much that isn't expected here. The moderates sound moderate, the liberal sounds liberal, and the conservative sounds conservative. The only difference being that Vitter would support reimportation of drugs from Canada. I also heard Charles Boustany say the same thing recently at an event with the CCfGG. This leads me to wonder if George Bush isn't playing the foil on this issue so Congressional candidates around the country can say they're not simply Bush tools.

The rest of Vitter's position is more conservative junk about tax-free health savings accounts and tort reform. If people are living paycheck to paycheck anyway, they'll never be able to set up a private savings account for future medical coverage. It really is that simple.

John Kennedy is the only one who stated support for patent reform. Besides reimportation and short of direct government subsidies in the form of a drug benefit, this is the quickest way to make drugs cheaper, at least it is I understand it, because if it's done correctly it can hasten the process by which manufacturers can begin putting out generics. The main concern about this is the possibility that it would stifle the innovative spirit of scientists and drug companies. I'm not sure either way, but I'm inclined to experiment with health care policy since the system right now is so clearly broken.

Anyway, go read the article to learn a little more about the candidates.

26 September 2004

Victory 

The Saints pulled it out in another squeaker thanks to the calm, collected play of one Aaron Brooks. I do have some advice for future Saints opponents. I know that Joe Horn really does have a bothersome knee, but if you ever see him limp off the field only to return after a play or two, watch the freak out, because a huge play is on the way. I think he does it on purpose.

Also, everyone should go wish Murph a happy birthday. As they say, he 'da man.

And finally, what's up with Peyton Manning. I hope we never have to face in the third week of the season again. Remember last year in week three?

Sunday Quick Hits 

Sorry about my absence yesterday, but my papers have been pretty thin this weekend. To tide you over for today, make sure you check out the Pic and the Advocate, which both explore differences between the Senate candidates on health care and how to manage our economy.

John LaPlante asks, "Wtf, our Democratic Governor is pro-business?" as though Democrats haven't clearly demonstrated over the last twelve years that they're better for the economy and the businesses operating in them.

And because I missed this yesterday, Chris Rose recounts Juvenile's New Orleans wedding story for dutiful Living Section readers. It's not to be missed. The last line about Juvenile's new land in LaPlace will be a disappointment to a NOLA friend of mine whose apartment is just a few doors away from Juvenile's old bachelor pad in the Saulet on Tchop. Of course, he is a Big Star, so it probably wouldn't be surprising if he hangs on to it as a place to--nudge, nudge, wink, wink--get away.

Enjoy your Sunday. Don't forget to watch the Saints.

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