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13 November 2004

A Film Student No More 

My old friend Mike Miley can happily call himself a feature film director now. He's signed on with Acadiana native and producer Joe Castille to direct "Evangeline: A True Love Story." It looks like another project he was exploring which I was particularly interested in will be on the backburner for now, but who can argue with this kind of good fortune?
Miley said Thursday it was "sort of a serendipitous thing" that he's working with Castille, who moved to California about two decades ago. Miley only met Castille in October while he was in Lafayette screening a few films and Castille was scouting the area for his movie.

"I've been out of film school for a year-and-a-half-now," said the 25-year-old Miley, who graduated last year from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. "And it's amazing to see my work pay off so quickly. Joe happened to be looking just when I was telling people what I do (direct). The people he knew I didn't even know. So he finally found one person who said, 'Hey, I know his family. Here's their number.'"
So congratulations on the big fat gig go out to my friend Mike. There isn't a more deserving guy around.

12 November 2004

Big Brother 

Cameras to go up in targeted areas around Lafayette as crime prevention/detection devices.

Despite the title of this post I'm rather torn about this news. I'm inclined to give the city police the benefit of the doubt and the chance to prove that they won't abuse the technology, but they must show that they recognize the threat to civil liberties that this kind of law enforcement measure can represent. I'm also concerned that what the police really intend to do here (targeting "hot spots") won't mean much more than substituting an honest to God police presence in bad areas for cameras set up to "keep tabs on the darkies."

What I find most shocking about all this is how little public discussion there's been. I keep pretty good tabs on my newspapers and local television news stations and this is the first I've heard about this. Hell, when the city discussed the possibility of taking pictures of people who ran red lights, I thought the town would have a collective heart attack. Here they're going forward with a much more intrusive form of surveillance and there's barely a peep to be heard. Wait until the first councilman or Chamber of Commerce member finds his license plate number among frequent visitors to "four corners," and I suspect we may see some outrage.

So it's come to this... 

Willie Mount released a nasty ad suggesting Boustany is something of a flip-flopper on life issues. I don't know what to make of this, but she alludes to some Boustany history that I don't have the slightest clue about. The internets haven't been any help, so if you want to watch this ad titled "She's Always Been Pro-Life" and you know anything about Charles Boustany and switching faiths or political convenience, feel free to send me an email or tell me about it in comments.

I always love it when Democrats demagogue from the right wing of the abortion debate.

...btw, this isn't the ad I was referring to in the post about this race from this morning. That one still isn't on her media page, but I can't quite figure out why.

Time Killing Game of the Week 

Whoop up on some Ruskie gangster/terrorist arse. It's a third-person shooter that relies a little too heavily on the letter keys, but it doesn't take too long to get the hang of it. The loading time is extremely slow but well-worth the wait.

Perhaps there are more to come...

NOLA Student Shot in Foot 

A security guard did the shooting...This just seems like a very suspicious story to me.

“It’s like a scud missile, for crying out loud.” 

Lord help us.

via PoliticalWire.com

Jayzus. 

If this is the best Mike Skinner can do for Louisiana Democratic candidates, we don't deserve to win:
The state Democratic Party issued a release Thursday calling for the resignation of a senior staffer with the congressional 3rd District campaign of Republican Billy Tauzin III after an apparent dispute about a late-October parking ticket.
Honestly. Parking tickets. And it's only a staffer to boot.

Sigh...It's not all bad news. Kip Holden is the man in Baton Rouge now thanks at least in part to the joining of the entire state Democratic establishment behind his candidacy. Lanny Keller explains who else he convinced to vote for him on Tuesday.

Congressional Also-Rans Unite 

Add David Thibodaux to the growing list of losers in this latest round of Congressional candidates who are pissed because they got the shaft from the state and national political parties. This comes on the heels of news that Republican Craig Romero refuses to endorse Billy Tauzin III in the 3rd Congressional District.

The Republican Party hates people like Romero and Thibodaux. Romero paid the price for endorsing Kathleen Blanco, a fellow New Iberian, in the last gubernatorial election and for having the audacity to run against the outgoing Congressman's anointed successor and son. Meanwhile Thibodaux rightly chides the Party for pushing him aside for Boustany. In this race the GOP has no excuse for showering Boustany with every advantage, except that Thibodaux has lost too many times to make them comfortable. They didn't want the voters of the Seventh District to make our own choices, so they threw hundreds of thousands in donations and advertising to favor Boustany.

Meanwhile the Louisiana Democratic Party hated Don Cravins's candidacy because he's black. He's been a fairly reliable party man throughout his stint in the legislature, but his real political positions are certainly conservative enough to take home this district. However, the Party screwed him because they're terrified of a black person making a runoff against a white Republican. The fact is that they're probably right to assume that Cravins couldn't win, but pushing black candidates aside instead of letting the voters choose for themselves is a terrible way to run a party. It shows little faith in the representatives of the Party's most loyal constituency and it looks racist. Now we're left with the two remaining candidates running ads to push themselves farther and farther to the right. In Willie Mount's latest spot she refers to herself as a conservative about sixteen times. If you looked at it you'd never know she was a Democrat, which any six year old could tell you isn't a proper way to build a party identity or inspire much confidence in your party's faithful bases. I wouldn't blame black Democrats for staying home in December.

Fire Jim Haslett 

reason no. 433: He always blames team woes on his players:
"We do what everyone else in the league is doing," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "We're not complicated. We're trying to make it about as easy as we can on them to let them play. Sooner or later, you've got to win some one-on-one matchups. It always comes down to players winning one-on-one matchups. If you don't win those, then you have a hard time winning in the league."
Seriously, ever since the year following the playoff season Haslett has been blaming everything that goes wrong on things that he wants us to believe are out of his hands.

World Affairs Day at the Advertiser 

I was quite surprised to read on the front page of my local paper that a local leader was expressing his sorrow at the passing of Yasser Arafat. Really, who could have guessed that the national vice president of the Palestinian American Congress lives in quaint little Lafayette? Here's the website for his--surprise!--program on local access channel AOC.

And in a story that is so newsworthy I can't believe it didn't make it online, the pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Church assured the faithful that the Pope will be safe despite the fact that his would-be-assassin is scheduled to be released from a Turkish prison next year. The editors even included a nice file photo of the pope-mobile for good measure. Now all of Acadiana's Catholics can rest assured knowing that the Pope isn't going to be shot any time soon. Msgr. Provost doesn't tell us if we should worry about the fact that JP II is like a hundred and forty-five years old and can't hold himself up anymore.

11 November 2004

Louisiana bloggage 

I've found what appear to be a couple of blogs based out of the "gret stet" for your approval. Neither one spends too much time on state and local issues, but every time I find one of these I like to make sure I draw your attention to them.

Anyhoo, you've got something of a right-wing college student who may or may not spend a little too much time reading Hugh Hewitt and beating on The Daily Anvil. And representing the left coast of Louisiana is Armand, who's trying to pull off a Bloodless Coup.

That's a lot of lava 

This post is purely for my own ego and to rub a little crow in my friend Armstrong Lamar's face, but if you haven't seen it yet, the Star Wars Episode III preview is out and about the Internet.

Huzzah! 


Of all the St. Reagan-building memorials this kind of thing bothers me the least. I am surprised at how long it took them to get it done though.

via where else but "The Corner?"

Recurring Items, Dept. 

State may face budget hole

No surprises, but I'm a little concerned about the chance of more excise taxes on alcohol to pay for it. Twelve packs of High Life are less than six bucks right now. I don't want to have to start carrying in twelves of Natty light to make up the difference when I play cards with my friends.

Rep. Rick Gallot, D-Grambling, asked the panel to look at a possible increase in the tax on beer, which has not changed since 1948; wines, which have remained unchanged since 1956; and liquor, which has been the same since 1970.
Could that really be true? I always knew the liquor lobby was powerful in this state, but it's shocking that they could have avoided increases on extra taxes on their products for this long.

D'oh! 

There goes the sidebar again...

Surprise! 

Governor Blanco endorses Willie Mount and Charlie Melancon for the last two races left to decide in Louisiana.

And according to The Independent (story not online) Charles Boustany is openly courting Don Cravins for his endorsement. This would be a very bad thing for Willie Mount to allow. In the Advocate story I link to above she's quoted as saying Cravins isn't taking her calls. Normally I doubt these political endorsements are particularly important, but Don Cravins has a very loyal constituency in St. Landry Parish and around the eastern half of Acadiana. I imagine he could move more than a few votes that Mount will absolutely need to win this runoff.

More Superdome inertia 

I don't know what good these public pleas for Benson to simply give up the inducements the state agreed to pay will do for any long-term plan the state has to keep the Saints in New Orleans.

To be sure, Benson should have offered to give up a large portion the inducements in order to help pay for a brand new facility, but as I understand the deal negotiated by Governor Foster and Tom Benson entitled the franchise to the subsidies plus the state's commitment to at least make a major renovation to the Superdome. If Benson refused to make a significant contribution from these subsidies for a brand new building should anyone expect him to give them up for a renovation?

If Governor Blanco is trying to call Benson's bluff that he might leave the state without more help, I suspect she'll find that it's not a bluff.

Vindication 

Well, this puts to rest any lingering fears I had that I might get sued for libel.
Two Lafayette men were indicted Friday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for allegedly producing and selling bootleg recordings of live musical performances.

Charged were William F. Pritchard Jr., 25, and David L. Hubbell, 42, both of Lafayette.

According to a statement from U.S. Attorney Donald Washington, Hubbell sold the bootleg copies through his store, Toys Music Center, and also made 72 shipments by mail. The indictments charge that Pritchard and an unnamed person were responsible for 281 counterfeit compact disc labels.

Pritchard is charged with conspiracy to traffic unauthorized sound recordings of live musical performances; trafficking in counterfeit labels for phonorecords; unauthorized fixation of sound recordings of live musical performances; distribution of unauthorized fixations of live musical performances; interceptions and disclosure of electronic communications; possession of electronic communication; intercepting devices; false identification of documents; and tampering with a witness by corrupt persuasion.

Hubbell is charged with conspiracy to traffic in unauthorized sound recordings of live musical performances; trafficking in counterfeit labels for phonorecords; and distribution of unauthorized fixations of live musical performances.
Those are all federal charges. The funny thing is that when I read the headline I immediately thought bootlegging was going to mean unauthorized distillation of alcohol, which seemed like an appropriate topic for this here blog. It turns out it was about music theft instead. I laughed and laughed when I read the lead.

10 November 2004

My poor, pitiful Saints... 

The team is releasing its plan for a new stadium/Superdome upgrade in the next few days:
The Saints had called a news conference last month to present the proposal, but canceled it. The reason given was the upcoming marriage of team owner Tom Benson. The Saints (3-5) have lost four of their last five games, however, and there has been speculation that the team has held off on the proposal hoping for a victory and a more receptive atmosphere.
With the Saints facing Kansas City, Denver, and Atlanta in the next three weeks they may as well just put it off until Benson finally gets rid of Haslett and all the rest of the chumps on the sideline at the end of the season.

New Blogs 

From a couple of friends who happen to share some DNA (not with me, but with each other).

And who knew that my idle speculation about a Saban administration in New Orleans had more than a little foundation of truth to it? Not me. I guess that's what I get for speaking out of my arse...

Anyhow, give a hearty welcome to the blogosphere for my Lafayette friends exiled to Sarasota and Baton Rouge.

Because I didn't think of it... 

I'm going to shamelessly steal Greg's idea and point out what gets you a promotion in a second Bush administration. This is just the kind of "outside the box" thinking that Democrats have to display before more of the American electorate will trust our candidates with national security.


Paranoid Much? 

The Advocate includes a public service announcement against the long-term use of speed in today's crime reports:
A trucker stopped his 18-wheeler Tuesday and called police to say he thought someone might have planted illegal drugs on his rig.
Stephen Boyter, 28, asked the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office for a search of his tractor-trailer.

Before deputies obliged, Boyter added that the methamphetamine in the cab was his, though any other drugs they might find weren't, sheriff's spokesman James Hartman said.

Deputies said they didn't find any drugs except for the methamphetamine, which the trucker said he used to stay awake on long hauls.

Boyter told investigators he'd been up for about 48 hours when he began thinking someone was following him, and called authorities, Hartman said.

Deputies said they booked the Valley Mills, Texas, resident with possession of methamphetamine.
Oops.

Minor Concerns 

I hope the Cajundome management taking over the concessions from an outside group won't affect the beer prices at Cajun basketball games. Or worse yet--gasp!--threaten the very sale of beer at Cajun basketball games. There aren't too many arenas where you can get a thirty ounce brew for five bucks, and I'd hate to see Greg Davis throw that all away in order to improve his bottom line.

...sorry about all the parochial concerns today, but there's not much in the state papers that interests me. Finally, Lafayette gets its due!

Get your fiber 

Last night was a big night for the Council and the public with regard to "Lafayette's little progressive initiative that could". The papers cover it (link to BR and link to Lafayette), or you could go on over to the LafayetteProfiber.com blog and just start reading.

Pointing out the obvious dept. 

It's that time again. Another high-priced education expert came to Lafayette courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce and has some great advice for reducing our class sizes:
Achilles said the first thing the board needs to do is come up with an actual plan to address the issue of class size.

"That's the crucial thing, to get a plan and buy into it," he said. "They should address how they're going to move forward on class size, and the plan should have provisions for a phase-in, for evaluation, and to keep the community informed."

Keeping the community informed is vital, which is why Achilles spent almost two hours with the local media Tuesday afternoon to talk about what he's doing here.

"The district has to be honest about it, because some things will work, and some things won't," he said. "The district has to tell the community, "we're trying to do something important, and we're trying to do it right."

...

Achilles said he would be interested in working with the system on some level to set up its plan and determine how the plan is working for parish students.

"There's an opportunity here," he said. "The community just has to take advantage of it."
It's all really brilliant. He even suggests that just maybe teacher to student ratios aren't the best way of assessing just what kind of class sizes you're actually dealing with. We may actually be using our teachers rather inefficiently, but we'll never know unless our school board writes a check to cover his consulting fee. I'm already sold.

I wonder if this guy has to give a cut of his fee to the Chamber of Commerce if he ever actually gets retained by the School Board. These guys always give me a vague "Music Man/Monorail Man" feeling. What a racket?

09 November 2004

Wishful Thinking 

Nick Saban today:
In a statement released hours after Miami Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt announced his resignation, LSU head football coach Nick Saban said Tuesday he is not interested in changing jobs.
Maybe he's holding out for that Saints job?

Missed one 

Don Cravins is pissed about a whole lot of things after his narrow loss to Willie Mount in the race for the second runoff slot in my home Congressional District. The state Party screwed him in the ballots they sent off to the registered voters on their mailing lists. The national Party made great pains to direct the big money donors to Mount. This on its own is enough to probably upset a candidate when the Party's supposed policy is to stay neutral in primaries in order to let the voters decide who they want, but it's not quite as bad as what the Republican Party did in the fifth and third districts to losers Jock Scott and Craig Romero.

Whatever the case, Cravins is clearly looking to be paid back by someone before he decides whether or not he's going to help Mount get elected in the runoff against Republican Charles Boustany. If you ask me--but hey, I voted for him--he deserves more or less whatever he wants. The problem is that there's not really a whole lot to offer him. He hits his term limit in the legislature this time around, and there's not a lot of way to move up if you get screwed out of a chance for an open seat in your own district.

And don't for a second believe that Mount can win next month without access to the machinery and allies that Cravins has developed around this side of the Seventh over the last few years. It ought to be interesting to see how this turns out.

WTF? 

How is it that I needed to go to Political Wire to read this from the Times-Pic?
"Debbie Dupeire was so intent on helping to re-elect the president Tuesday that she shucked her Bush-Cheney T-shirt and voted in her bra after being told that state election law prohibits displaying a candidate's name in a polling place," the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

One poll worker commented, "I'm 80 years old... and I've never seen anything like it."
Incidentally, "Bush or Bust" is one of the great moments in headline writing of all time...

This must be a mistake... 

Could Billy Tauzin III really be dumb enough to have purposefully gone on record in support of NAFTA during a campaign which will probably be decided largely by who can produce the most bonafides on opposition to any trade agreements that don't sufficiently protect the state's sugar industry?

I simply can't believe he made anything other than a mistake here, but I'm glad Charlie Melancon keeps hammering away at it. The Democrats should run a commercial of a Billy Tauzin impersonator and random Central Americans burning a runway into a Louisiana cane field in order to provide a landing strip for a plane with a Panama flag and a shipment of their cheaper product, which Billy Tauzin tests to his satisfaction by dumping into his coffee.

Hedging his bets? 

This isn't online today, but Advocate DC "correspondent" Gerard Shields fuels rumors today that John Breaux's name is being kicked around as a possible cabinet appointment in the second Bush term. Presumably, though Shields doesn't say, Breaux would be considered for Secretary of Energy or Health and Human Services.

Let me say that I really hope that nothing comes of this. It would strike me and probably a lot of other Democrats as very suspicious if Breaux accepted a position in a Bush administration after doing very little in the last few months around the state of Louisiana to support the President's opposition.

Of course, considering all the money he stands to make as a lobbyist, it does seem pretty ridiculous to speculate that he's considering a middle-tier cabinet position in an administration that has a terrible reputation as a policy shop.

Wetlands loss 

It's causes aren't limited to environmental concerns that Louisiana can rectify on its own. This isn't surprising or particularly new, but this is a good report on the large scale environmental issues of climate change that will affect our ability to protect and restore our coastline over the next century.

Deuce McAllister, Esq. 

Several of you may remember the glee I took in the fire that burned an old plantation home to the ground a few months ago. Now one of the great old symbols of post-bellum white rule in Jackson, Mississippi is on the verge of being purchased by an investment group including one of my favorite Saints. That's right, old Deuce is looking at buying and restoring the King Edward in Jackson, a blighted property with a "proud" history for all the white people in Mississippi's capital.

Now back in August when I wrote my angry post about plantation homes, I might have mentioned that one of the few plans for reparations I might ever support would be to simply turn over all the plantation homes around the South--most importantly those which are still owned at least in part by some of the same families who ran them back in the "good old days"--to groups like the NAACP and other largely black civic organizations to operate and profit from. Surely they might sully the good name of the former families that ran them, but whatever damage they could do to the families could never make up for the brutality extended against blacks held in bondage. Now this isn't something that would ever really happen, but I think more black ownership of these kinds of symbols would go a long way towards at least correcting the myths about the "Old South" that these homes continue to propagate.

For that reason, if Deuce wants to go ahead and open this place in Jackson back up, he should have at it. Hopefully he'll hire largely-black management and turn it into a blues & hip-hop club/big hotel. He could invite Trent Lott and Haley Barbour and the rest of the friends of the Council of Conservative Citizens and make them shine his shoes.

Of course, none of this really matters if it's just a bad investment, as some people seem to be arguing. The long and short of it is that, like a lot of Bush supporters, I'll shamelessly backtrack on deeply held principles if Deuce McAllister gives me a reason to.

08 November 2004

Ho-hum 

Not much to post on today...I would say that "aberration" is probably the wrong choice of words for the Vitter victory over our field of candidates on Tuesday. I wouldn't call his victory any signal of a GOP ascendancy in this state either. I know I've been on and on about this a lot lately, but it's all over the media I frequent, so deal with it.

You can always take a look at Andrew Sullivan massaging his ass/picking a wedgie in front of thousands on HBO this weekend.

Or if you want to further brutalize yourself after the election and the weekend in football, you can read Peter Finney--that constant voice of reason throughout times of turmoil and exuberance--declare the Saints dead in the water.

AOL 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks their new ad campaign stinks. They're the ones that feature internet users who are actually asking AOL to monitor and limit the content that they'll be able to get their hands on. Not to mention the whole campaign leaves you with the impression that no one anywhere is happy with AOL (link to commercials available at the Slate column).

...annoying things about the story I just linked you to: Subhead reads "AOL's ad campaign fails in every way." Seth Stevenson concludes his column this way:
Grade: C. The other ballyhooed aspect of these ads is that the AOL logo has been redesigned. That familiar triangle is now ... sideways! This is just the sort of radical change that AOL needs.
It's too bad "Cs" aren't failing grades, because if they were we might have a different President these days, but that doesn't give Slate headline writers the authority to change George Bush's GPA.

Get the Print Edition 

I never quite know what to make of local columnist Bill Decker. I generally agree with his critiques of the Bush administration, but his efforts at contrarian on other matters of local importance often leaves me a little cold.

This week he comments on the October NY Times profile of George Bush (now available only through Nexis or on a paid-for basis through the Times archiving), and he's absolutely full of snark. Unfortunately you'll have to get the print edition to read the whole thing, because it doesn't seem to be available online. That won't stop me from a little quoting on my own:
Now, your reaction to the story [about the President mistaking the Swedes and the Swiss] probably corresponds with how you voted Tuesday. If you voted Democratic, you'll find it scary.

How can a president whose administration must deal frequently with United Nations agencies based in Geneva possibly get Sweden and Switzerland mixed? On the other hand, you're thinking, he did invade the wrong country.

If you voted Republican, your defenses are probably up. You'll note that Sweden was neutral in WW II. Or you'll say something like, "Well, what you do you expect from the New York Times?"

Or--and this is most likely--you'll think, "We need a leader, not a travel agent."

...

So far, President Bush has shown the ability to inspire. But he hasn't been one to inspire faith in his ability.

That's Bush's challenge in his second term. If he doesn't conquer it, his historical legacy may one day look thin, pale and tattered, like a piece of Swedish cheese.
Hey-Ohhh!

And in one of the endless mysteries of the Advertiser's editorial staff, how is that the Online Editor's column doesn't ever appear online until like a week after it's printed?

Good Nossiter 

AP Louisiana politics guru Adam Nossiter pens a good analysis piece about the Senate race for this morning's papers. Here's the heart:
Vitter has provided Louisiana with a smaller-scale version of the lesson President Bush gave the country: Your base can get you elected. Mobilize it, and you can ignore everything else. Forget swing voters, black people, moderates. You don't need them.

The baseline statistic of this election -- that seven out of 10 white voters supported Vitter -- already begins to suggest the success of this strategy. In other words, Vitter got the racial bloc vote, on the white side.
Nossiter goes on to suggest that Vitter's most effective bit of advertising wasn't the junk about Canadian drugs, his kids, or any of the "I'm really a moderate" bit that we all saw every day, but it was more likely the disgusting ad against Chris John as someone who would let the UN come into our state and run our elections. You can see that here, and it really is disgusting and probably a little racist. Essentially and incredibly, David Vitter managed to tar Chris John as a liberal and made him almost completely unacceptable to white male voters who may have been inclined to vote for him otherwise. There's a little more to it than that, but it's worth considering the fate of any conservative Democrat to consider that no matter how far to the right they are (John voted with the Republican party more often than he did with the Democratic Party, he got an "F" from the NAACP, etc.) they'll always be tarred as dirty liberals. That leaves two options: to completely capitulate or to finally take a stand.

The only acceptable one is to reclaim the message of progressivism and to stand up for the most basic values of the Democratic Party, which are at their core moral ones. Government has a responsibility to give the disaffected a chance to succeed in society. Those who have benefited the most from the state's equally pressing need to protect property and wealth should shoulder the heaviest burden of lifting up the ones forgotten by the system. Doing so makes the country stronger and more prosperous. This isn't particularly liberal, and it doesn't seem difficult to sell to the public, but no one bothers to try anymore.

Pray for these men 

Or whatever else you do, but this is the first story that deals with any kind of specifics on what the Louisiana 256th National Guard Brigade is up to now that they're actually in Iraq. Don't get me wrong, this is still a pretty vague piece of reporting, and it focuses as much on two wives as it does on the actual mission of their serving husbands, but surely no one has any easy job out there.

Mary has a suggestion and happy collection of links so that you can throw more than just words their way.

07 November 2004

Sunday Roundup 

All the political news is the papers today is more or less about the same thing. It's all "Vitter's victory" this and "the future of the Democrats in Louisiana" that. Hopefully this will be the last we have to deal with this at least until we see how the Congressional races shake out next month. At any rate, I won't bother parsing all these stories and instead will trust you to do that on your own.

The only thing I'll say is that Democrats in this state are wise not to get too panicked about the state of the Louisiana Democratic Party. In this particular season we had three extremely weak candidates in the biggest election of them all. Arthur Morrell was the only candidate who bothered to express the left side of the political spectrum, but he never sounded competent enough to impress anyone or display any evidence that he knew what he was talking about most of the time. It's possible he did more to harm progressive politics in Louisiana than almost any other candidate could have managed. Ironically many of the people I know who supported him are the same people who regularly bash the President for his lack of intelligence and regular mangling of the English language. I've said my piece about the other two candidate's failure to mount any kind of defense or even an explanation about their vote for John Kerry doing as much damage to their own candidacies as to John Kerry's, so I'll leave it at that.

If Democrats continue on the model they have tried and tested over the last decade, they will continue to have success in this state. None of this is to say that some tweaking isn't in order, but better candidates and better campaigns would have made the difference in this Senate election. The model doesn't necessarily mean that Democrats have to be pro-life or particularly conservative either. Mary Landrieu is a shining example of this. Rather, a good candidate proves their willingness to work on both sides of the aisle and displays commitment to Louisiana over their political party. David Vitter managed to do this with something of a misleading advertising campaign and because his opponents simply couldn't point out specifics about his record other than a refrain about a 99% GOP voting record that doesn't really have any meaning unless you can honestly point to a specific vote where the Party came before the "gret stet."

At any rate, that's my take, but here's the professional analysis and reporting on the next Senator from Louisiana: Bill Walsh for Newhouse/T-P; Marsha Shuler at the Advocate; John Hill for the Gannett papers.

And the last thing I'll mention is the yearly renewal of talks about reforming the Louisiana elections to try to look like everywhere else in the country with closed primaries where a party's base chooses a candidate and then the divided center is left with a choice between two extremists. In Louisiana this would virtually assure the end of Democratic Party leadership in the state for the foreseeable future. The strongest argument for this is that new candidates left unelected until December really do get the short end of the stick w/r/t staffers, committee assignments, and general orientation around their respective chambers. I'm willing to accept that tradeoff. Some argue that the open primary polarizes candidates, but the elections of Mike Foster, Kathleen Blanco, countless other down-ticket moderates, Mary Landrieu and others simply don't provide evidence that extremists are the order of the day in these elections. People forget that Suzy Terrell was the moderate in the 2002 Senate election when compared to arch-conservative Bible-thumper Tony Perkins, who couldn't cobble together more than five percent of the vote on primary day.

The open primary system forces politicians who want to make the runoff to forge real coalitions in their first display before the voters. The only group this doesn't really apply to are prominent black politicians like Cleo Fields and Bill Jefferson, who both made it to runoffs against Mike Foster through their wide support from the black community. But neither of those politicians could be considered an extremist unless you're simply using the term as a synonym for African-American. Whatever the case, this talk rarely goes anywhere, so it's not much to worry about.

Have a fantastic Sunday, and as always don't forget to watch my beloved Saints. I hate these three o'clock games as much as the next guy, but that's not an excuse to avoid the game.

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