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05 November 2004

F*ck this 

Blanco today:
The governor said Kerry's position on abortion, in particular, made him out of the mainstream for most Louisiana voters, even the Democrats. Kerry supports abortion rights and opposes a partial-birth ban without an exception for the health of the mother.

"John Kerry being a Catholic, he should have easily carried Louisiana. His positions were too far on the left, particularly on abortion ...," Blanco said. "It made it difficult for me to bring him into the places that would have otherwise been a natural constituency."

Blanco said the Republicans' ability to present themselves as the moral, religious party helps them in Louisiana and around the country while Democrats seem reluctant to express their own personal religious faiths.

"The Republican Party on a national level has been able to capture a sense that God is on their side," she said.
Apparently the sixty percent of the country that believe abortion should be "somewhat or mostly legal" are now out of the mainstream. What other positions was Kerry "too far on the left" on? Was it his opposition to gay marriage? Is multilateralism now somehow an out of the mainstream approach to fighting war?

The reason the people in this state were willing to accept that Kerry was "too liberal" is because officials like Kathleen Blanco and the chumps running in state races were too cowardly to bother to stand up for him. While David Vitter spent seven months calling him a liberal who wants to attack our values, Democrats in Louisiana responded with a chorus of chirping crickets. Don't blame the problems in our Senate race on the top of the ticket, blame it on all the losers in Louisiana who weren't even willing to try to work with it.

TKGOTW and apologies 

Blogger's been a punk lately and I've been busy with some other responsibilities, but here's a late game to help take some of the sting away from the Bush administration blues. I love text-adventure games, and it's possible that I've already linked to this one, so if it's a recycled game let me know and I'll post another one, but if it isn't try out The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text quest. It's much more difficult than some other text-adventures, but the twentieth anniversary edition lets you save games and adds a the most basic of flash graphics in order to help you keep your bearings at least moderately better than no graphics at all would. Have fun. We'll see if I can manage any more posts by the end of the afternoon.

04 November 2004

Odd 

Am I the only one who can't see the sidebar on my own blog?

Daschle burns us from SD 

Am I the only one wondering why Chris John's ads were so awful and ineffective? Jim Brown gives us a hint in this morning's column.
John’s television ads were produced by Karl Struble, long-time media guru to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle. The word out of Washington was that if a candidate wanted support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, he had to use Struble. But even Daschle lost this time. In a campaign to be won or lost on television, Struble’s work was week [sic] for John.
I don't even know where to begin with this. To make things even more appropriate, it turns out Vitter's ads were put together by the guy who ran Thune's media operation in South Dakota. Jim Brown calls the Vitter ads "cookie cutter," but cookie cutter ads can be effective if they're new and endearing, as these were. The John campaign (and apparently Daschle's as well) simply had no response. At least we know what's coming now.

Creating Conflict 

This story about Vitter hanging up on Mary Landrieu early Wednesday morning is one of those little meaningless happenings that the press loves to make more of than is really necessary.

However, I have heard that both Vitter and Mary Landrieu are somewhat difficult people to work with, so maybe there's a little hint of things to come in the federal delegation.

Senate Analysis 

The pros get in on it this time. For my money, Marsha Shuler's report in the Advocate on how David Vitter won is the best of the bunch, but you don't want to miss Bruce Alpert and John Hill either.

The key point here is that Vitter was the benefit of a President that's very popular in this state, and he ran a very effective campaign with no opposition from his base. Democrats somewhat stupidly played into Vitter's trap by tying him to Bush when they should have tied him to Tom Delay and Bill Frist. Also, Dems had no response to Vitter's extremely slick and twice as effective advertising. You'll remember that the first major ad he ran was the one with his daughter "directing" a commercial about how much she loves her father. When I first saw it I thought it was brilliant because it did more to show a caring, honest, family man than any typical introduction ad than I have ever seen. It also took great care not to mention specific political philosophy or positions, only vague allusions to a "plan for better jobs". So when Vitter started running ads about health care and the reimportation of drugs, the electorate was already inclined to trust him. Every attack ad from the Democrats that came after that was viewed more skeptically than they might have been otherwise because voters had already made up their minds that Vitter was honest.

This is borne out by the exit polling included in yesterday's print edition of the Picayune, where voters by wide margins said those intangible qualities like "cares about me" and "can be trusted" applied to Vitter more than anyone else.

At any rate, there's a lot of good reading on the election, so go check them all out. I won't bother you by going through the ins and outs of every single one of them. I'll just ask you to read them and consider that maybe things aren't so bad. Sometimes you just get beaten by a better candidate. That doesn't mean that Democrats can simply sit back confident that they have it as good as the statewide picture currently looks (with the exception of Secretary of State, all our Baton Rouge state-wide officials are still Democrats, no matter what happened yesterday), but it's not time for us to run around like chickens with their heads cut off either. I should say that Mary Landrieu better do all she can to promote a candidate for President in 2008 who at least plans on looking south, or she'll be very vulnerable too. At the very least, she ought to be praying that she doesn't have to run against a Republican for her Senate seat and Hillary Clinton when the time comes for her to run for reelection.

03 November 2004

Sigh 

Things never look quite so bleak on a breezy November afternoon. Don't get me wrong, my question about what to expect for the next four years is mostly a naive joke only capable of someone who could have predicted an 11-5 Saints season and an electoral and popular vote victory for John Kerry in this election. However, things just don't seem quite as bad now that I've put a little distance between myself and the devastating consequences of actually turning on CNN to watch last night's returns come in.

I'm glad kos and Josh Marshall are reminding people to remember Goldwater, but Goldwater started with a message and the Republicans eventually built a movement around it. Even the most strident liberals who voted and organized this year were organized around an opposition. It was an opposition to the war, to Bush, to gay-bashing, to Republican hypocrisy, hell, you name it. Unfortunately without a message other than anti-Republicanism to unify these people, it won't matter how many email addresses and phone numbers Wes Boyd and Joe Trippi can amass. We're lost.

The news of the Democratic Party's total collapse in the South shouldn't be surprising to anyone. Here in Louisiana we're the last bastion of hope for the Democrats, but if things go on the way they should the Democratic Party won't have much longer here either. The prospects for statewide elected officials is either to switch, capitulate, or lose when running on the same ballot with a Democratic candidate for President. If this election can tell us anything about our state and the mettle of our Democratic Party leaders, it's that any future rehash of our legislature's aborted effort in the last session to move our statewide elections for Governor and other non-federal offices to coincide with the Presidential election should be avoided like a bad case of syphilis. No one in this state stood up for the national ticket this year, and David Vitter reaped benefits of Bush coattails where many other candidates in more competitive states did not.

None of this means that Democrats can't be competitive in the future, but the state Party leadership, and by that I mean Mike Skinner and his underlings, has to seriously evaluate just what the hell went so wrong that a clown like David Vitter could win without really much of a challenge at all. Some in the Party are surely complaining right now that the problem was that we didn't manage to consolidate all our support around one candidate, so that we could have just run the entire race as though it were a runoff. Had that been the case, you'd still have David Vitter sitting on 52% right now, and probably a little more since there's no reason to believe that a single candidate could have seriously gotten every single one of the votes pulled in by John Kennedy and the meager support of the die hard liberals who voted for Arthur Morrell. Having only one candidate in the race only helps when the total of the entire field from a single Party actually adds up to more than fifty percent, not when it can't get there. We'll never know whether or not John Kennedy or Chris John could have beaten David Vitter in a two-way race, but after watching the returns I'm not as optimistic as I once was. Having Party leaders pick and choose favored candidates might have some initial political benefits, but in the end we'll be left with elected officials who don't answer to the will of the voters, but to power-brokers in Baton Rouge and Washington.

I don't have any grand insights about how to fix the Democratic Party down here or nationally, but we know for sure that if Zell Miller got anything right at the RNC this September, it's that the Democratic Party is not a national one anymore. They've abandoned us, and our state Party leaders aren't capable of picking up the slack. And really, why should they? They do have to take care of themselves after all. Unfortunately, they help to shift the debate in the South and in the Plain states further rightward while the rest of the country seems pretty content in the center.

As for my optimistic predictions on Monday, I blame Internet blindness and way too much reliance on the kind of anecdotal evidence gleaned from friends and family that always reminds me after the fact that we tend to self-segregate among the people who share the same values. I'm also happy to find out that despite the long-proclaimed death of racism, the Republicans still need honest-to-God-bigotry to win elections. Because, let's all face it, we'd be singing a completely different tune right now if 20% of the states didn't also vote on gay-marriage bans yesterday. Now that's not to say that all Bush voters are bigots, but my more moderate Republican friends really need to start making demands that their party stop preying on harmless minority groups' rights as part of their national electoral strategy. It's certainly their prerogative to consider other issues more important when they make their own vote, but by refusing to be alienated by the bigotry they must take the responsibility to tell their leaders that enough is enough.

And what's up with the people searching "david vitter pedophile" the night after he gets elected to the Senate? Where were you two months ago?

Morning Off 

There are obvious reasons for that, but before I get away from the computer for a little while go take a look at this article on the exit polling conducted for the Pic in Louisiana. It's pretty clear that Bush's coattails carried Vitter to victory last night, with 86% of the President's supporters also voting for the Republican in the Senate race. The high turnout in Louisiana was worse than a wash for the Democrats, it actually seemed to favor the President. The black vote seems a little stronger than four years ago, but it was hardly enough to make much of a dent since such a high percentage of white voters went for the President.

Jeebus, I'm tired.

I'm hearing on the tube that Kerry's going to concede today.

Here's a query before I go. Do you think that since Bush never has to win another race he'll go back to the way he was in Texas (an actual consensus builder with at least a minor bent towards true compassion on some major social programs) or will he and the ideologues who are trying to run his administration attempt to destroy whatever vestiges of New Deal liberalism are still around when they survey the land later this week?

Ohio! 

Damn. It's pretty much bed time for this whipped dog. The results in Louisiana are humiliating. Come December I have a feeling that Louisiana will only have two Democrats left in the federal delegation, though I'm holding a little hope for our girl Willie Mount.

As for that Midwestern state with twenty electoral votes and two professional football teams, I think the Dems left fantasizing about two percent of the precincts and provisional ballots might need to give it up. That doesn't mean I think the networks should call it for Bush, but if they don't Democrats shouldn't think Kerry's actually got much of a chance. I'm quite proud that Kerry has decided to let the entire vote be counted (if he indeed does that) before conceding. That's because he follows through on his promises to the American people, even if his opponent doesn't.

I'm also very curious how the late exit polls could have been so wrong. Anyway, I'm giving it another few minutes and then I'm hitting the sack. I'll have some more cogent thoughts about this tomorrow, I suppose. Good night all...

02 November 2004

It's over in Louisiana 

My predictions were almost right on. Really, go check them out and see for yourself.

I don't see how Vitter's victory train can be stopped at this point, though it hasn't been called by anyone yet as far as I can tell. Thankfully Melancon is headed to the runoff with Billy Tauzin III. Our stupid amendments passed.

At least in Lafayette we managed to renew those education taxes.

Does anyone know anything about the legal challenges in Orleans Parish? From this story it doesn't seem to amount to much other than a challenge to do things differently next time around, but it's not particularly clear. Not that it matters. The Dems deserved to lose this Senate election. Kerry didn't deserve to get forty percent in this state, though it looks like he'll barely manage that.

I'm depressed and even more worried about the future of our country than I was a month ago before I thought Kerry had a chance in the rest of the country. Pray for Ohio.

...shit, WWL calls it for Vitter. I wish I could say goodnight, but there's still some television left to watch. I should not have bothered with this tonight and watched the Gilmore Girls instead.

Still Waiting 

Bush up by fifteen with 93% reporting. Vitter holding at 52% which is looking over. Mount makes the runoff barely. Charlie Melancon is looking like he'll make it as well, but there are still some votes left to come in.

WWL's page is very good tonight, often reporting earlier than the Secretary of State's but a little slower to load up.

I'm terrified about the national election. I don't have much hope of going to bed early tonight.

Final Regular Update 

I can't get my own numbers out quicker than they're updated over at the Secretary of State's website, so go ahead and check in there for the returns as they come in. Orleans Parish hasn't returned a single precinct yet, so there's still hope for a runoff in the Senate race, but not much.

Charlie Melancon is looking great in the Third.

Here's the inquiry page for federal races in the state again.

9:00 pm 

Early "Oh Shit" moment

Things look bad nationally. What's the hold up on Ohio and New Hampshire? I hate the way the returns are trickling in in the land of ten thousands lakes too.

In the Senate Vitter was at 83,000 last I could see followed by John's 47,000, and Kennedy's 20,000. That's 55% for Vitter. Congressional races are still pretty early, but Mount and Melancon are running pretty strong.

Remember, New Orleans always comes in last. I'm not confident about any of this. Long Republican faces early late in the afternoon are now jubilant, for no apparent reason except that they haven't lost anything yet.

Early Returns 

Louisiana projected for Bush. No raw numbers because I didn't have time to write them down, but absentees aren't looking good for our Democrats against Vitter. All the Republicans are performing well on absentee though, so it might not mean anything of significance. Of course it might too. More to come. Oyster shouldn't feel bad about going to the John victory party and pointing and laughing.

Zero Hour Arriving 

Last chance to make your predictions. Feel free to use the comments.

The general mood among the normal Republican voices on television and around the web seems to be panic mixed with utter dejection. I was listening to Sean Hannity earlier and all he could talk about was how much he hated the media. Tucker on Crossfire talked about Stalinist Democrats who will do anything and vote for anyone to win. Meanwhile all the Dems are smiling and laughing. This probably means less than I want it to, but that's the way it goes.

I'm not in a laughing mood about Louisiana. Hopefully things will turn out okay down here.

Pre-Game Prep 

Here's your link to election returns for the major state races. This was jam packed during the Senate runoff in 2002 and the general election for the Governor's race last year. No telling how it will handle the traffic this time around, but every election Fox McKeithen promises that they've got the servers working a little bit better. We'll see.

If all else fails WWL and the CBS and ABC affiliates in Baton Rouge have proven fairly reliable in their actual television coverage (I won't vouch for their websites, but I have the sneaking suspicion that updates will be further behind the results they actually broadcast on television. I understand that they're breaking in every half-hour for state returns (They should run scrolls on the bottom of the screen during the national coverage as well). The other advantage to watching the television returns is that they'll actually tell you which parishes have come in. This isn't the case on the internet until they've actually counted all the results. Rather they just give you the total number of precincts reporting. This should be fun tonight. Updates on the hour at least, but I'm having trouble getting away from this machine already, so they could be more frequent.

Time Killing Game of the Week 

Election day edition.

Pissed that you can't get to your favorite websites because they're jammed up with election day traffic, but you can't bring yourself to get off the Internet?

Try Treasure Chest. This is another one of those flash games that doesn't have a clear goal, but you have to use you mouse and a little bit of logic to find the necessary sequence to make the little red ball keep making its way down the screen. The ambient music in these games always has something of a calming effect on me.

Not your cup of tea? There's always Curveball, the most addictive pong-type game ever made. I've played this game for countless hours and never broken the tenth level. Give it a try for a while and before you know it, you'll be able to get into Josh Marshall's place again.

Welcome Back, Ken! 

Back on the east coast from Hawaii for less than a day and he's already back in the office. That's dedication.

Exit polling 

Kos has a picture of optimism over at his website right now. It's hard to put much faith in early exit polling data, but Democrats have a lot of reason to keep their heads up. The big Bush numbers in Louisiana are quite a bit distressing though. If Bush wins by more than fifteen points, I think we're going to see a David Vitter outright victory tonight. More on this as the real numbers actually come in. I'm still optimistic for a six or seven point margin in this state. The rain might kill us on this. We'll see.

Drudge calls Kerry "within striking distance."

OP Update 

Richard P. emails the link to the list of difficulties in the New Orleans area. The good news is that Jefferson Parish does experience problems, just like good old New Orleans. Anyway, here's an updated rundown of the problems voters are experiencing in and around the Crescent City.

...Oyster has some first hand reporting. He's fighting the good fight in Orleans Parish this morning by helping to make sure everyone who has the right to vote can exercise it.

Bad Choice of Words 

I meant to highlight this in an earlier post, but Chris John had this to say to John Hill in the report on the latest polling during the Senate race:
“I feel good about everything,” John said. “We’ve got to make sure we keep Vitter under 50 percent.”

John promised “a big organization hitting the road like you haven’t seen since the early 1970s” in order to increase voter turnout. He figured the higher the turnout, the less likely Vitter would be over 50 percent in the primary. “Vitter knows he can’t beat me in a runoff,” John said.
I think the last thing voters want is any suggestion that we're returning to the kind of political atmosphere of the early 1970s, when everyone's favorite corrupt Governor burst on to the scene. Maybe that Edwin Edwards transfer is an even worse omen than I intitially thought...

Bad Headlines Dept. 

Clerk: Voting machines ready, waiting

I can't get the news online, but in comments to an earlier post, Richard P. says WWL is reporting that many machines in Orleans Parish were in fact waiting, but not ready at all. Lots of malfunctions are being reported. This isn't a good thing. Why can't the machines in Jefferson Parish break down?

Symbolism Anyone? 

Edwin Edwards awaits transfer to the federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana on the same day that voters are going to the polls all over the state. I don't know if this is a bad omen for Chris John or David Vitter, but you can be sure it's bad news for the rest of us.

Ballot confusion; state and local race endorsements 

I've received some reports that the ballot in Lafayette is slightly confusing. If you hit the polls today, be aware that the Propositions listed in the middle of the ballot and below all the federal races are for the tax renewals earmarked for local public schools. The state amendments are located at the top of the ballot.

On that note, I'm going to suggest to just go ahead and vote no on every single one of the amendments. If you feel you must pull the lever for any of them, make it amendment three, regarding service men and women. As for the propositions, vote to renew both of them. I've heard some chatter that some plan to vote against the renewals in order to punish something of a do-nothing and inefficient school board. I understand this urge, but you must resist it. The only way to punish these people is to throw them out of office when the time comes, not to take it out on the students and teachers who are doing everything who have to make-do with them.

The easiest non-endorsement to make is in our Court of Appeals race. This one pits the Democrat Jimmy Genovese, against Republican Paul DeMahy. I'm not voting in this one, and neither should anyone else. I met Genovese some time ago, and since he was the Democrat that I met and he seemed like a nice enough guy, I voted for him. Since then it's been one commercial after another from his campaign singing the praises of "conservative values." On the radio he's gone far enough to decry liberals and "activist judges". If someone in this state needs to go conservative to win office, that's fine by me. I understand that and can handle it. When they go out of their way to alienate liberals from the process, I cannot abide by it. Voting for Genovese would be rewarding him for this strategy, and that doesn't serve the purposes of furthering progressive politics in the state of Louisiana. So if you're voting in this parish, think about that before you pull the lever for the guy with the "Democrat" label under his name. Hell, you might even consider voting for the Republican in order to punish Genovese, but I can't bring myself to go that far, much less ask anyone else to.

Election Day 

This is it, and the last polling numbers that are going to be published are out in the newspapers. You can read about them here. Verne Kennedy has Vitter holding at 48%, which is pretty much what the standard his campaign has set for the last few weeks in Verne Kennedy's daily tracking poll. He's gone slightly above it and slightly below, but he keeps going back to 48. I'm operating on the assumption that Kennedy's poll is going shake out as slightly favorable to Republicans in its sample, which is why I've predicted a slightly lower total for the Senate candidate.

I will revise my predictions for President and Senate in Louisiana to reflect a point or two more than I gave the Republicans credit for last night, but no more than that. Also, I was lucky enough to find the final night's sample in my inbox, and while it didn't seem to show movement for Vitter, it appears that John Kennedy is benefiting from a late surge. This would seem to indicate that previously undecided black voters are breaking disproportionately for Kennedy. However, all the voters seemed to have come from Chris John's total, so it's possible that Vitter and the Republican Party's month long negative advertising binge against the Crowley Congressman has finally turned people off of him. It's unclear if it will be enough, or even if it was just a sampling error, but it should make the returns that much more interesting to watch.

01 November 2004

Sample Ballot 

I meant to post this earlier in the day, but for whatever reason it skipped my mind. Click on your Parish to get a preview of what you'll see in the voting booth tomorrow. There's also a helpful precinct locator if you need it. Don't forget you're only allowed three minutes to vote. The quicker you pull the lever the more time there is for someone else to vote. You can think of it as your own little contribution to getting out the vote. If you live in heavily Republican districts consider waiting in there until someone tells you to leave...[/sarcasm]

Election Eve 

Predictions and Promises

I won't get detailed in my predictions on this thing, but I think we'll have a decision for Kerry in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. It will come down to some close races in the Pacific time zone, but nothing close enough to ever justify a realistic challenge of the results. Kerry will also win the popular vote. Needless to say, I've become exponentially more confident in the last week than I have been for almost the entire election season. For this very reason, we should all say about a thousand prayers before going to bed tonight, because when I'm confident I'm notoriously wrong.

What can Louisiana tell us? Our election officials here in the "gret stet" are predicting very high--but not historic--turnout. Surely some of this will be dampened by the frontal system expected to tear through south Louisiana tomorrow. However, if turnout is indeed high (let's call high anything around or better than 70%) and Bush ends up carrying Louisiana by less than four or five points, you can count on a fairly decisive victory for Kerry in the rest of the country. This scenario would indicate that his candidacy would be reaping the benefits of high turnout in a state where the full Democratic GOTV machinery hasn't even been deployed. If turnout is high and Bush still wins by eight or nine points, then we're going to have a hell of a nail-biter on our hands, since it would indicate that neither candidate has a clear benefit from the larger size of the electorate. Extremely low turnout should be seen as a disaster for Kerry's campaign, no matter how little they've done with GOTV in this state.

My heart tells me that Bush will carry the state of Louisiana with a margin of less than six percent. As I've said above, my heart tends to be wrong. by fifteen points.

In other Louisiana races, you can expect David Vitter to finish the night with something around 45%. Anything he gets over 45% should be added my prediction of the total margin of Bush's victory over Kerry in the Bayou State. Chris John will make the runoff with something like 30% to Kennedy's 24% and Morrell's 1%. This all goes out the window if Kennedy has any serious on the ground efforts in the city of New Orleans. He's fighting against Bill Clinton on that front, though, so I don't know if he'll manage it. An interesting parish to look at on this would be St. Landry, where there is a heavy black vote that could give a hint as to just how well Kennedy has made his name for himself with this constituency. an outright victory. At any rate, it will come in well before Orleans Parish, so we'll have some ideas as to how the race could shake down.

In the Congressional elections we'll start with the Third District, where the two big Republicans Billy Tauzin and Craig Romero will make the runoff. Keep in mind that the polling--even from individual pollsters--has been hard to come by, and what little I have seen has been all over the place. This looked like a race where the Democrats might have been able to pick up a seat in the House, but Charlie Melancon has not been polling well enough over the last couple of weeks to give me much hope that he'll be carried in to the two man December election. However, I believe this is one of those races that could be affected by massive turnout for John Kerry. If big numbers go to the polls and start pulling levers for Democrats for their own sake, Charlie Melancon could find himself in the runoff against Billy Tauzin III. It's not entirely impossible for this to happen since Romero has been the target of a slew of negative advertising lately and has been bleeding support. The last poll I saw that dealt with any of this showed a lot of undecided black voters as well, which will most likely break to the leading Dem in the field.

Here in Southwest Louisiana voters will send Charles Boustany and Willie Mount to the runoff. Don Cravins will force Mount to sweat a little bit come tomorrow night, but in the end the lesser-funded Don Cravins will not be able to account for Mount's strong support from Calcasieu Parish and the rest of the Lake Charles area. This is another one I haven't seen a whole lot of recent polling on, but I'm pretty confident this is more or less the only way it can go down.

I reserve the right to revise any of these predictions at any time. So if they'll terribly wrong on Wednesday morning, you might not be able to find them at all, thanks to Blogger's helpful "delete post" feature. Actually, there's every chance in the world that I'll get an email with the latest polling results on any of these races sometime in the next few hours, and who knows what will be in the paper tomorrow. If they show me anything that I didn't foresee, I'll throw in an update on the main page.

Promises

I'll be watching the returns come in with a couple of Louisiana political veterans, and--like most people--we'll be focused in on the Presidential election, but as returns for our various state races come in from every corner of Louisiana, I'll try to post them on the blog. I expect to update every hour or so at least, but when it's warranted I'll go by the half hour or even more frequently. Of course all this depends on blogger not going nuts, which is never any kind of guarantee.

Loyola Freak Out 

Student goes nuts, holds instructor hostage with a knife:
According to investigators, Newton was in a communications class when he produced a knife, stood up and refused to allow 16 of his classmates and his instructor to leave.

...

Second District officers and SWAT team members responded and were able to wrest the knife away from Newton.

A search of Newton's home uncovered a 12-gauge shotgun, a 223-caliber rifle and a 22-caliber rifle, police said.
Those guns sound like hunting implements to me. I understand that Timshel friend Murph also considered a similar course of action while he was gracing the Loyola Communications Department. I wonder if he has any thoughts on who the instructor might have been?

BRNext.org 

Man, do these guys ever hate Bobby Simpson? I saw this ad with the monkey throwing around the cash on the desk for the first time last night and I couldn't believe it. Remember that this is the group that said if you elect Bobby Simpson terrorists are going to blow up buildings in Baton Rouge.

Can any Baton Rouge readers tell me how often these things are running?

I haven't really followed this race, and I'd love to see Kip Holden win it, but I truly feel sorry for the incumbent after these humiliating and relentless attacks.

Know Your Rights 

The Louisiana Secretary of State offers invaluable information to new and old voters alike who are going to the polls tomorrow.

The long and short of it is that you don't need an ID to vote, but it will speed up the process if you bring one or some other proof of residence (a bill with your address will usually suffice). If you're not listed at the precinct where you go to vote, you can ask them to call the local registrar, who can tell you whether or not you're at the correct precinct. Anyone who registered too close to Oct. 4 may not be on a precinct's list, but should have their name on a master list with the local registrar. It is up to the poll workers to assist you with this information. If your name isn't on the master list with the registrar but you believe you registered in time for the election, you can file a provisional ballot for President, Senate, and your Congressional district election. Supervisors will determine afterwards whether or not your vote is eligible.

McKeithen offers this information in response to "reports" that new voters would need IDs and registration cards to vote. Mary Landrieu was something of the impetus of this response from the Secretary of State because she was concerned about confusion on election day. One wonders where the confusion came from in the first place, and if there aren't some under-the-radar suppression attempts aimed at new voters going on right now. Unfortunately, I doubt we'll hear much about it if there are.

I'm in love 

Swoon! Carol Gaudin writes a letter to the Advertiser today addressing their piss-poor coverage of anything that happens outside of a fifteen to twenty mile radius of their Jefferson St. office. The best touch is the quotes around the word "news".
I am writing to express my consternation at The Advertiser’s coverage of the war in Iraq. On Oct. 25, the breaking news all over the country was that the United States “lost” 350 tons of explosives which have fallen into the hands of insurgents; that 50 U.S. trained Iraqi military recruits were massacred; that another eight people were killed yesterday including a U.S. soldier and three civilians.

The Daily Advertiser should headline the body count in the Iraqi war thus far, including U.S. troops, allied troops and civilians. People need to know the impact of the war for which our young people are giving their lives.

Yet the newspaper tucks the Iraqi war news into a few paragraphs on the second page while local “news” is on the front page. If world news is to be relegated to the second page, so be it. Please, however, give us in depth coverage, headlines and photographs.

Other critical world issues are also not covered in depth, such as the crisis in Sudan, the human rights violations in China and Saudi Arabia and the arms dealing between the United States and Pakistan.

The Daily Advertiser needs to ask itself if it wants to be a “hometown” newspaper or a regional newspaper to which we can look for information on the critical issues in our world.
The A section of the Advertiser today--the day before a Presidential election and multiple races very important to the state of Louisiana--consists of eight total pages. Two of those are consumed by a giant Cingular/AT&T Wireless ad, and one page is the "Opinion" section (two editorials, three cartoons, four letters, one opinion column). That leaves five pages for "news" of which there are seven "full" length articles, and a series of "Dateline" pieces, which seem to consist of nothing more than the first few paragraphs of stuff from the wires.

The sad thing is that the Advertiser even fails as "hometown" newspaper, because they're simply a colony in the Gannett empire. They have very few full-time writers on issues important to Lafayette residents, so the paper serves mostly as an in-box for press releases from groups in the city who want to publicize some event or another that they're planning in the community. Regular readers of the paper often question what value the paper has at all. It doesn't cover national issues and doesn't have the resources to fully cover local ones. Unfortunately, people like me continue to read the rag out of habit. Maybe it's time to just dump them once and for all.

One more day 

It's the last full day of campaigning, and with the stakes set and the themes defined, there's not much coverage of the Senate and Congressional elections in our big papers today.

The T-P has a good report about the fighting going on between the two top Democrats in the race. It pays particular attention to the nastiness that has erupted over who is the better candidate to represent black voters across the state, with both campaigns trying to tie the other to David Duke and the legacy he left scattered across the state of Louisiana. One hopes that whoever comes out on top on election day won't be irreparably harmed, and Louisiana Democratic Party Chairman looks back to the gubernatorial election to show that all the major constituencies in the Democratic Party will rally around the survivor. However, he neglects to mention, or has forgotten, that Kathleen Blanco remained above the fray from the intense fighting over black voters during last year's general election. In that contest it was Richard Ieyoub and Buddy Leach who were mixing it up as the "true representative" of Louisiana's African-Americans. They attacked one another, not the candidate who eventually won the election.

In the end I'll be voting for John Kennedy because he's already got the support of the black community in this state. He doesn't need to woo them, because he already has. Should he make it to the runoff, he would come in with at least a moderately enthusiastic support from the Democratic Party's most important constituency. Meanwhile, Chris John touts an "F" from the NAACP, and if you don't think Vitter will run fourteen thousand ads on black radio reminding voters about this, then you're crazy. It won't matter that Vitter also received an "F", because no one expects him to be any better than that. Kennedy would only have to prove his conservative cred to the white Democrats he needs to get himself elected in a state-wide race. I believe there's an inherent appeal that he has to these voters. He offers a blistering critique of the effectiveness of David Vitter that Chris John simply wouldn't be able to offer. The only problem would be that he doesn't have the geographical base of support boasted by John, but because he and Vitter are both from more or less the same area, the shared weakness adds up to a wash.

Anyway, that's it for my amateur analysis. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for the latest tracking numbers on this race, but I'm starting to think that they aren't going to be particularly useful in predicting the outcome of this election.

For bonus reading, Mike Hasten has a good roundup of the dollars the candidates have been pouring into the television markets around the state. It's unsurprising that Vitter has so easily shored up his support when you see just how much cash he's dropped on this so far. The amazing thing is that this doesn't even reflect the hundreds of thousands spent by the Parties and the special interest groups. As an example at one point during "60 Minutes" last night I saw literally five ads all in a row specifically about the Senate race. I'm not kidding when I say I've never seen anything like this in my entire life. I wonder what it would be like if Louisiana was also a swing state. Can political advertising be that effective when they are literally the only ads on television?

Surprises 

...This would explain why every single Republican in any competitive district is for reimportation of drugs from Canada.

I'm pretty sure I predicted something similar to this somewhere in this blog, but right now I can't find it so you can either take my word for it or not...

Nevermind, I think I suggested that Bush was willing to play the foil to the Republican candidates in their own elections in order to inoculate them from charges of being a "Rubber Stamp" to George Bush.

31 October 2004

Sunday drippings 

Considering we're on the last Sunday editions before a pretty major election day, there really isn't a lot of news from the campaign trail this morning. As usual, there's all the wire reporting on the Presidential elections, but our state and local races get very little play in the Sunday editions of the big daddies around the state.

The only thing I'll bother to link you to is this story about the Senate candidates tailgating around the state. I'll give you a hint that three candidates went to Southern University's homecoming events and one of the candidates went to LSU's. I'll let you guess which ones went to which, but you won't be surprised when you read it.

Also, PoliticsLA.com has the latest tracking numbers from the big campaigns around the state, the only question I have is whether they're using single day samples or the three-day average of six hundred people. It appears that they are only publishing the results from a single night of questioning, but I'm not really sure. The big surprise is Billy T. III's strong showing in the third. The last I had read much about that race had him in second place. The folks at the website attribute the surge to his latest round of ads. That's always a healthy assumption.

Oh well, happy Halloween to all of you. No Saints game today, so I don't know what to do with myself.

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