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16 October 2004

Saturday Quick Hits 

Not much to post on right now, and I'm not sure if I'll be around this afternoon as another trip to New Orleans to watch the wretched Saints is in the works, so I'll throw a few things out here and see what sticks.

A note on my computer troubles...new problems cropped up immediately after I accessed the internet w/o a firewall in order to go and find a new one to download. To make a long story short, performance of an already old computer is at an all-time low right now, and among many other things I'm trying to find a way to detach some toolbar that's currently hitching a ride on my browser.

Anyhoo, the first thing I'll mention is the otherworldly performance of a Carencro High School quarterback who managed to rush for 539 yards in a losing effort. The mark is obviously a state single game rushing record, and it ranks eighth--who rushes for more yards than that--nationally. Carencro lost the contest 53-42 to Barbe the third-highest rated team in the state (they're located in Lake Charles).

That professor who freaked out on his students in a UL classroom on Wednesday will be booked on at least one charge of "terrorizing" (not terrorism--I think this is similar to the charge Jim Brown got but was acquitted of when he destroyed his wife's car and allegedly threatened to kill her a few years ago) after a medical evaluation is completed. His bail has been set at something like $50,000.

In the BR suburbs, Baker officials want to cancel Halloween next year because it's satanic. Baton Rouge Mayor-President Bobby Simpson basically says, "you fools in Baker can do whatever the hell you want, but I'm not going anywhere near this one."

Meanwhile, I think there are a bunch of political races going on right now. Out in the 1st minor candidates can't get any traction and the race has become unbelievably boring, especially to read about.

In the Senate election, apparently David Vitter doesn't care that an existing Indian casino group has been using his advocacy against the expansion of gambling--and paying him for it--in order to solidify their own place among the top of the heap of the gambling establishment in Louisiana. Here's a question to the Advocate: Why no mention of Republican strategist extraordinaire Ralph Reed, who's also at the center of this controversy?

Lastly, here's a Willie Mount profile. The long and short of it is that she's a uniter, not a divider.

15 October 2004

Temporary Solutions 

The problem with the home internet access is temporarily fixed, but I'm working on some long-term solutions right now. May or may not be posting for the rest of the day...

What's wrong with CAFTA? 

For obvious port-related program activities, the Picayune editors don't see what the big deal about CAFTA is. They're charging the Senate candidates with being politicians by appealing to voters in a swing region. Surprise!

Sportsmen for Vitter? 

There's an interesting article in the Pic about the appeals David Vitter and Chris John are making to the hunter/fishermen vote. John has apparently been going across the state challenging David Vitter and the rest of the candidates to duck call and shooting contests, which no one will take him up on.

For all the talk that people make about the power of the black vote in this state, it's relatively predictable. When a candidate has good GOTV and the support of some high-pro state pols, they can turn the black vote out and often win. Unfortunately, all the black voters in the world can't put a candidate over the top without at least a healthy percentage and turnout among white Democrats. Democrats walk a fine line in appealing to the concerns of black voters without alienating the white Democrats they'll need to get fifty percent. Chris John is using an easy way to assure the white Democrats out there who are inclined to support Republicans because of a variety of cultural and racial issues that he's one of them. Chris John is working hard to cultivate the good old boy image that David Vitter or any other candidate in the race simply can't compete with.

All that said, I'm glad Walsh mentions Chris John's frightening record w/r/t cockfighting. Why on Earth would a politician in this day and age want to be on that side of an issue that so few voters support? John says cockfighting opponents threaten other aspects of outdoors life, so in the end he's coming off on the right of Vitter in "outdoors" issues, though I'm not sure I see the connection.

Duke-ing it Out 

The first I saw of the two big Dems in the Senate race going after each other over race was in this press release published over at Bayoubuzz.com. I didn't know what to make of it then and still can't quite get my mind wrapped around the whole imbroglio.

What I do know is that John Kennedy has well-established ties to the black community in New Orleans and in other areas around the state. And the charge the Kennedy campaign makes about Chris John scoring an "F" from the NAACP is correct.

At any rate, Jan Moller takes a look at the dust up in today's Pic.

Now I think the Kennedy campaign could have done that without bringing up David Duke, and in that case John's response is probably well within the bounds of decency. I'm all for a little slug fest to filter out the weaker candidate going in to the runoff with the GOP in this Senate race, but sometimes there's a limit on what a campaign should do to help itself before they irreparably damage an opponent from the same party going in to an election that could determine who has control of Senate for the next two years. I don't know if we've reached that line yet, but it certainly feels like we're getting pretty close.

The Advocate has more, including a better description of Kennedy's automated call, which looks pretty bad from this end.

Duke-ing it Out 

The first I saw of the two big Dems in the Senate race going after each other over race was in this press release published over at Bayoubuzz.com. I didn't know what to make of it then and still can't quite get my mind wrapped around the whole imbroglio.

What I do know is that John Kennedy has well-established ties to the black community in New Orleans and in other areas around the state. And the charge the Kennedy campaign makes about Chris John scoring an "F" from the NAACP is correct.

At any rate, Jan Moller takes a look at the dust up in today's Pic.

Now I think the Kennedy campaign could have done that without bringing up David Duke, and in that case John's response is probably well within the bounds of decency. I'm all for a little slug fest to filter out the weaker candidate going in to the runoff with the GOP in this Senate race, but sometimes there's a limit on what a campaign should do to help itself before they irreparably damage an opponent from the same party going in to an election that could determine who has control of Senate for the next two years. I don't know if we've reached that line yet, but it certainly feels like we're getting pretty close.

14 October 2004

Is this it for the Sox? 

Will they even make it to a game five anyway?

What's more likely at this point: a Boston trip to the World Series or a winning season for our beloved Saints?

McKenzie's playing this weekend, will it even make a difference?

Dear Prudence 

It's been too long since we've checked in on the hapless and harried who call on Prudie's "advice on morals and manners." Lately the letters just haven't been worth it, but here's a great one for those of you who like to indulge in this guilty pleasure.
I am a single young woman and have been living with a married couple for about a year and a half. I would not consider myself sheltered, and I am not easily offended, but my roommates' behavior is borderline disgusting, and I am not sure how to handle it. About a year ago, the couple joined a nudist resort. They asked me several times if I was interested, and we had lengthy conversations about why I didn't think it was right for me. My male roommate then began hanging around the house naked, but his wife has never joined him. I made comments to him a couple of times like, "Hey, I don't want to see that," but the best he will do is have a blanket nearby to toss over his lap when I come in the room, or he will wear a thong (which is not much of an improvement). To top it off, they have recently started watching porn on the TV in the living room. I have no problem with porn in the bedroom with a spouse or significant other, but I think they are disrespecting their relationship, and me, by watching it in a more public area of the house. When I went downstairs yesterday morning to find a naked man in my kitchen, I was extremely annoyed. What do I do about these people?
Umm, what do you think the chances are that these married folks are simply tired of having a roommate? Having been a resident assistant for a couple of years I have very little patience for people who can't solve their roommate troubles, but seriously, if things are this bad, how hard is it to move the hell out? What single person wants to share rent with a married couple--that's not family at least--for that long anyway?

New Kennedy Ads 

It's about time, but they're a little boring. The one about overtime is a good one and it highlights an issue that David Vitter doesn't have much ground to stand on. He also runs an ad called "Social Security" that's meant to prove his deficit hawk credentials and stimulate some worry among seniors about the safety of social security. This one will harm both Vitter and John, who is really the guy he needs to go after right now anyway.

Assessment: Too bland, and I'm not sure about the wisdom of calling out those tax cuts around these parts. His key is to get his name out there, though, and talk about the "tax cut for the rich" could serve to pump him up among some liberals out there who don't know much about him but who might be none-too-pleased with Chris John's rather conservative record.

Federal election quick hits 

In the 3rd Billy Tauzin and BT III are still coming under fire from all quarters for their questionable commitment to the federal election code and suspicious use of the public airwaves to confuse the voters.

Meanwhile, here in southwest Louisiana, Patrick Courreges profiles Charles Boustany. He couldn't perform surgery any more due to arthritis, so he figured he'd run for Congress. Unsurprisingly, he cares about health care issues. Oh well, so did Bobby Jindal.

Also, the Senate candidates are still duking it out over advertising. It is particularly ridiculous for David Vitter to whine about national groups coming in to Louisiana to "run Chris John's campaign". John makes a good point in the article's conclusion:
John compared the Democratic senatorial committee ads to those run earlier in the campaign "on his (Vitter's) behalf" by the Americans for Job Security.

John said Vitter is the one who brags about bringing Rudy Guilliani and U.S. Senate leader Bill Frist to Louisiana to help him.

"I'm here with John Breaux and Mary Landrieu," John said. "I'm running my campaign. It is being run by some very good Louisiana people."
I'm not saying that John isn't getting a ton of help from the national party, but Vitter is the king of GOP beneficence this year. The GOP is inserting themselves into the district Congress races in order to save money for his Senate run. See Billy Tauzin III. The national GOP has been deciding for years what candidates in Louisiana get favored treatment. In some instances that has come into Democratic Party politics as well, but not nearly to the extent that the GOP has overseen the Republican candidates in this state in this cycle.

Sigh, more on this later.

UL Freak Out 

The Advocate and Advertiser both report on something of an incident at UL morning. I saw something about it on KATC's five o'clock report yesterday.

Long story short: a physics professor freaked out on his students by cursing and yelling at them shortly after their class began yesterday. At one point he slapped one student, according to one report, on the arm. He also allegedly wrote "9/11=Now" on the black board. Both reports state that the students feared for their lives after the prof allegedly threatened to kill anyone that got up out of their seats.

An EMT in the class eventually managed to calm the instructor, and from what I can gather, the class went ahead according to schedule from there. I assume this because the University Police weren't called until after the class was over. Eventually bomb-sniffing dogs and a local police were called in to look over the building. All classes in Broussard Hall were also cancelled for the day.

Seeing as how I haven't taken a math or science-related class in God only knows how many years, I don't have any idea who Louis Houston is or know anything about him. At any rate, I look forward to seeing this story as it develops. Hopefully Mr. Houston can still have a life after this near-total break down in front of his students.

KLFY finds a student who says this has been a problem with Louis Houston for more than just he last few days.

Ian has more

Debate Edition 

I still don't have the Internet troubles worked out at la casa de Prado, so if my thoughts on last night's debate are a little late, you know why. I'll keep them short because I still have a few things I want to get to today. Once again I found Kerry to be the decisive victor in this one. There was little doubt that domestic issues should have been his forte, and it showed when the two candidates discussed those basic issues about every day life that Americans are concerned about. Bush was constantly on the defensive with only weakened and tired charges of New England liberal to throw back at John Kerry. This is what the President's campaign has come down to: a series of caricatures developed to put John Kerry into a corner where he hasn't resided since he entered the Senate. As for tax policy voters will have to make a decision whether or not to take John Kerry at his word on whether or not he will raise taxes on middle-income Americans. Now I don't know about the rest of you, but if I had to choose between believing George Bush and John Kerry I'd believe John Kerry any day of the week.

After the Veep debate I mentioned the fine line John Edwards was walking when he referred to Cheney's daughter by name as a lesbian, but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It's clear now that the campaign will not pass on any cynical opportunity that arises in front of millions to exploit her sexuality. This isn't even close to a deal-breaker for me, but it is extremely disappointing. That's it on that for now.

13 October 2004

Too bad I missed it... 

Apparently John Edwards was pretty funny on Leno last night...
Leno asked Edwards if he could beat the president in a foot race.

Edwards, who said he jogged about five miles Tuesday, reminded the audience he played football as a student.

Bush, he noted, was on a cheering squad.

Bush "was on the side, with his pompoms," the North Carolina senator said. "I don't know, can you run fast with those cheerleading outfits on?"
BTD Venkat, writing about something completely different, notes that John Edwards sports a marathon time that bests Bush's by nearly fifteen minutes. Not too shabby.

As it happens, I can make it twenty-six miles in less than a half hour with only the slightest--er--performance enhancer.

Hate Update 

An appeals court decided to send the constitutionality dispute over the recently passed ban on gay marriage and all variations thereof to the state Supreme Court.

I have no idea what this means for the future of the amendment, but the Republican judge who threw it out in the first place didn't seem to have any doubt about the problems with its passage. This could be one of those times where the law gets a real kick in the ass because we elect our Supreme Court judges, but ten year terms leave a long time for the particularly rabid gay-hating bigots out there to forget the name of any judges who might also see this amendment for the flawed bill it seems to be.

What the hell? 

What to make of this "world exclusive" at Drudge?

...very weird

DSCC enters Louisiana 

All the big papers in the state ran this report from Adam Nossiter about the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee buying advertising attacking Vitter in Louisiana this week. The lede says it comes in response to Vitter's climbing poll which is true, but I doubt it's because they're worried about an outright victory from the Republican on November 2. In polls taken roughly a month apart Vitter's support has remained stagnant, albeit high. Now those polls were taken by different pollsters, but one tends to believe that the poll commissioned by the Vitter campaign would inflate his numbers slightly more than one done by an independent group, but that's just speculation since the paper doesn't really get in to that.

Now I'm not going to defend the DSCC for jumping in to the race, but somebody somewhere needs to bring Vitter's support back down to earth, and the candidates can't do that by bashing him in Senate forums that no one watches or reads about. That leaves the DSCC. I haven't seen their ad yet and the party campaign committees hate to post their ads most of the time because they'd prefer people not know they're involved so I can't link to it. They do walk a fine line with these things, so hopefully it will work out. Also, I sure hope this ad is better than the one the DNCC is running against Charles Boustany in my Congressional District. Here's a hint to the DNCC, in this part of the country running an attack ad against a guy that includes the line, "Charles Boustany is going to make the Bush's tax cuts for millionaires permanent" is probably only going to drive up his support. I know he doesn't have a record to attack, but surely their campaign geniuses in Washington DC could have done a better job than that.

...John Maginnis has a good column about this today.

Carrots and Sticks 

Health care is in the news today because Governor Blanco made some surprising statements at a conference for people in the health care and insurance field yesterday:
Companies seeking economic development incentives or other financial assistance from the state might have to provide health insurance coverage to their employees as a condition for government support in the future, Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Tuesday.
You can read about this here and here. In the Advocate's print edition they included a story describing the dismal state of access to health care in Louisiana, but you guys probably have a pretty good idea of what that says anyway.

The reporter from the Pic notes that the state already has a tax credit for companies that provide health care attached to the Quality Jobs Program, but it's unlikely that it really goes far enough. Blanco also lamented the failure of the federal government to adequately address this issue, and if they won't do it then the state has to. Blanco and her spokespeople said they need to work out the details, and a LABI spokesperson refrained from commenting until said details are presented to the public, but somehow I have a feeling that they won't like this plan too much. I have trouble seeing how this will ever get out of the talk about it stage because of the gigantic number of businesses which will probably effected by it. When they all get together they are a force to be reckoned with. It will be interesting to watch where this goes.

12 October 2004

Question Time 

It's hardly surprising or even noteworthy that the vast majority of "prominent novelists" straw-polled by Slate.com plan to vote for John Kerry. Also, it's no stretch to assume that talented writers are likely to have better minds than, say, major Hollywood celebrities. However, given that both live in extremely insular worlds and make their livings largely by mining their own imaginations, should an author's political opinions carry any more weight than someone like Susan Sarandon's or Alec Baldwin (or that other Baldwin who's born-again)?

This is always good 

The more registrations out of the city of New Orleans the better. Between the high percentage of minority participation and the misleading advantage by the numbers in registered Democrats, God only knows how to put together a sample for what constitutes a "likely voter" in Louisiana. While I still think George Bush is going to win this state, I think turnout among black voters is going to be something of a amazement to exit-pollsters around here. Black voters love to pull the lever in Presidential elections and could make Louisiana a lot closer than the pros would like to believe.

Of course, I'm a Saints fan, so I know a little something about false hope.

Senate Forum 

I don't know how many of you managed to watch last night's Senate candidate forum hosted by Louisiana ABC affiliates and the League of Women Voters, but there are a couple of worthwhile accounts of the affair here and here.

This early in the season for this race probably means there wasn't too much interest in the gathering, but as both articles I link to note, it was something of a heated affair. The candidates staked out just where they mean to run their campaigns from. I had already been leaning towards John Kennedy, so it's probably not that surprising that he impressed me more than the others. He definitely is the only candidate with any credibility on the tax issues, and that's largely because he doesn't have much of a record to contradict his deficit hawk rhetoric. Unsurprisingly a large part of the forum consisted of a series of impossible to untangle allegations about the Congressional record of Chris John and David Vitter, who have cast so many votes on competing bills of the same issues that the newspapers are unable to tell us much about that isn't included in the press releases of the various campaigns.

Arthur Morrell, whose politics are quite appealing to this humble blogger, is much more impressive in print than he is on television. His performance was disappointing and many of his answers seemed more like they came off the top of his head than they prepared or particularly well-thought out. I did like his blistering criticism of the President, and I wish the other Democratic candidates would get in on that too.

Trouble 

My firewall and pc have apparently conspired against me to block access to the Internet, so posting will reflect that in the next few days until a couple of friends who know about these things come to take a look at my beast of computer. Sorry if I've missed any emails in the last few days, but I didn't check them over the weekend and I couldn't when I got home yesterday.

Also, I'd like to wish a congratulations to an old friend who's known around these parts as Hristo. He's being married today in Douglasville, GA, where he and his girlfriend have been living for the past few months. Good luck and have many happy years together.

10 October 2004

bed time 

Over at Kos, this was said:
Nonetheless, it is still possible that control of the House may be decided on December 4th by voters in places like Lake Charles, Opelousas, Pierre Part, Houma and Pointe A La Hache.

WTF?, No Lafayette? No Timshel link? C'mon fellas, help a brother out...

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