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24 November 2004

Happy Thanksgiving! 

I'll leave you with a story I meant to link to yesterday, but my memory got the better of me.

I'll be eating the biggest bird my father could get his hands on, but the folks at PETA would prefer us all to go Veg, so they were handing out Tofu-rkeys in Baton Rouge on Monday. They should have come by my local Albertsons instead, where the grocer slung the real thing out to any customers who spent more than fifty dollars.

Whatever the case, this story reminded me of the last time PETA activists got press in Baton Rouge, when they had a guy dressed like a giant chicken in order to convince kids that they shouldn't eat the popular fowl. It was the funniest bit of reporting I'd seen in the Advocate in quite some time, so if you want a little blast from the past, give that link the old clickity-clack.

I may get a couple of posts out in the morning tomorrow, but don't count on it. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

More Flag Design 

I love the backhanded compliments the Picayune editors throw Baton Rouge's way. In the end it looks like they just wanted to express their disappointment that the New Orleans flag wasn't a little higher or the list, but they manage to get a few swipes at the Baton Rouge flag while they're at it.
Vexillologists think that flags should consist of symbols, not words, and should be so simple that a child could draw them.

...

As for simplicity, no child could reproduce the intricate seals that appear on many of the higher-ranking flags. The Baton Rouge flag is much simpler. It features a shield with a stylized castle, a fleur-de-lis and a Union Jack, which represent Spain, France and England respectively. The city's name appears in a large, cursive script that looks like something a child might write.
Whoever wrote this one goes on to note that New Orleans should have earned a higher spot, and they're right on about the terrible banners that fly over Denver and Portland, though I'd add Des Moines to the list of flags undeserving of a higher rank than New Orleans. Anyway, I imagine the New Orleans flag suffers because there's just too much white at the center of it. All that white space on a flag can be distracting and maybe something of a suggestion that the city is trying to surrender to some unseen enemy at the gates. In case you guys don't normally click on the links, I'll just go ahead and put it up front and center for you.

5.4 Million and Counting 

This really is unbelievable. Local television sales executives must be planning month-long vacations in east Asia at this point considering the commissions they stand to get from the all the ad revenue:
Since the Nov. 2 primary, national Democratic and Republican congressional committees have been dumping cash into the race at the breakneck rate of more than $130,000 a day, Federal Election Commission documents show. Most of that money has gone into negative television advertisements and mailings aimed at bringing down the opposition.

...

Spending to date for Melancon and Tauzin includes $3.44 million by the national Republican and Democratic parties and $1.82 million by the two campaigns, and has been roughly equal by the two candidates, according to campaign finance reports.

Tauzin also has benefited from an estimated $200,000 spent on his behalf by the state GOP.

The contest long since blew past the national average for the 2004 election cycle of $550,000 per congressional candidate, said Sheila Krumholz, research director for the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political spending.
And just in case you think all this money and advertising is raising the level of discourse in the campaign, look no further than this Advocate report where Charlie Melancon's wife Peachy takes Billy Tauzin to task for his negative advertising.
Peachy Melancon said that Tauzin, as the Republican Party candidate, has no room to talk about what happened with a music labeling law when he has suggested that the likes of rapper Master P and pop singer Britney Spears could be enlisted to help draw national attention to Louisiana's coastal-erosion problem.

Master P has likened women to dogs in his music and Spears has refused to discuss what happened with an abstinence vow she once took, Peachy Melancon said.

She said Charlie Melancon has been living for years the family values the Republican Party is trying to claim Tauzin represents.

Peachy Melancon said she and Charlie have been married for 32 years and raised two children, while Tauzin got married just before the campaign season started and has been arrested for drunken driving and got into trouble over an alcohol-related incident while a student at LSU.

"My family is deeply disappointed that little Billy Tauzin has resorted to such nasty desperate campaign tactics," she said.
Now if Billy Tauzin bothered to include all his television spots on his website, I'd gladly link you to the one Peachy is so upset about, unfortunately you'll just have to take her word for it. Not that the Melancon campaign hasn't been equally complicit in the mud-slinging department. Hell, Melancon has his wife telling reporters about Tauzin's drunk-driving and student problems at LSU. And if you think things are going to get better before the end of the campaign, well, I've got some land near the Atchafalaya basin that I'd like to sell you.

These press-wars make the race in my home district seem rather quiet by comparison.

23 November 2004

Why Dems Won't Win 

Condescending garbage from future DC liberal publication fellows.

It's unbelievable how these people can completely miss the point. For Ezra's sake, I'll even accept his sophomoric argument that all these viewers who are outraged over Monday Night Football's sexy lead-in last week are simply self-hating porn-freaks who feel like they need to assert what little superiority they feel they have at the ballot box.

That still doesn't account for the fact that parents and even most semi-rational childless adults understand that over-sexualizing young children can harm them. Even the wife-swapping, strip-club hopping Dads rightly don't want their ten-year old Eagles fan to have to make sense of the mess portrayed by the Monday Night Football/Desperate Housewives synergy that went down last week. These same parents aren't hypocrites for trying to protect the innocence of their children. And they're not hypocritical for their concern about the scantily-clad dance teams performing suggestive routines. They regularly complain about the "sex sells" culture of television advertising too. There's no reason a dad should feel like he can't watch a football game with his young son, but now Monday Night Football, the NFL, and their advertisers are forcing them to turn their televisions off instead of enjoying a few hours of sports. It's not that there's no place for this kind of programming and advertising on television. Football games just aren't one of them.

If people like Ezra Klein could see a golden opportunity for Democrats to reclaim a little bit of the values vote, they would turn their criticism on the Madison Ave. execs and their capitalist-class enablers in the GOP, where the only thing that matters is what makes a buck.

And I'm not talking about censorship here. I don't think ABC should get some hefty fine from the FCC, but there's nothing wrong with a little organized outrage over the sexualization of every last facet of American life. Careful parents shouldn't be forced to put their children to bed instead of letting them watch their hometown heroes play a game on television.

It's too bad that so many lefties can't see the cultural debasement that's occurring all around us. Especially since it's an easy way to target the Republican Party with a politically expedient wedge issue. It's okay to be mad about some things without compromising deeply held values about equality for gays, diversity, and tolerance. Instead, people like Ezra Klein can't waste any opportunity to point out the stupidity of the low self-esteemers in the Red States.

See Bob Somerby for some more strident criticism of this tribal mentality.

Investigative Reporting 

Local News, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

In just the kind of hard-hitting journalism we Lafayetters have come to expect from KLFYTV-10 ("Hello, Acadiana. TV-10 loves you!"), we learn that three patrons of Dwyer's Cafe on Jefferson St. don't like negative advertising, but it doesn't affect the way they vote.

November Sweeps, it's fantastic!

Newsflash 

After a few months off from football, Ricky Williams is still something of a head case.

I bet he has a blog too.

Little ZZ and the Loupe Family 

How on earth could I have missed this?

Lafayette dangerous? 

Well, not really.

This is too bad since these kinds of rankings can have a real effect on businesses that are looking to expand into a growing metropolitan area.

So let's get this straight, in 2003 Lafayette only had 96 reported rapes, not 325.

And congratulations to my big bro, who goes to school in America's safest city, Newton, Mass. After he gets done with the place they won't have that distinction. First he ruined New Orleans, now Lafayette, next Newton. When will the horror end?

Headline of the Day 

Demolition begins on stadium

Let me wallow in the fantasy that this story might actually be about the demise of Tiger stadium and not really about making it an even bigger testament to the unbelievable ability of the TAF to raise millions of dollars at the drop of a hat.

Tiger donors also make it more difficult to sell the public on the need for state money to even renovate the Superdome much less construct a new stadium in New Orleans, although one could remind Tiger fans that Huey Long built Tiger Stadium on the backs of the oil industry way back in the day, and no one's complaining about it being a waste of money now.

...Also, please note the sarcasm in that first statement. I'd really hate to see Tiger Stadium go. No matter what my feelings about LSU, this really is some kind of a great place to watch a football game. I've seen more than my fair share of meetings there, and I wouldn't give them away for anything. My favorite was being taunted by LSU fans at the ripe old age of ten or eleven after the Florida Gators destroyed the Tigers in their own place. I spent most of the night yelling Gator bait from the stands and doing the chomp made famous in the Swamp in Gainesville.

Meanwhile, my inbox included this editorial from Sunday's Pic noting the importance of some of stability w/r/t the future residence of the Saints in Louisiana for the long-term and the importance of the state realizing that investment in the Saints is an investment in Louisiana, even if it's not a popular political position in Shreveport or Monroe.

This Stinks 

Fox acquired the rights to broadcast the all non-championship BCS games and one national championship contest for four years beginning in 2007.

What does this mean considering that Fox doesn't currently broadcast any national college football?

They'll take the worst of what ABC offers--namely Brent Musberger--and make him the voice of their broadcast. They'll hire the cheapest directors and producers, add graphics and sound effects of robots, and generally ruin the quality of college broadcasts just like they have for Major League Baseball and the NFL.

My brother's argument, which I tend to agree with, is that the corporate culture at Fox is that ratings are more important than quality, so everything is meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator. This extends from the top of Fox to the bottom and across all divisions of the Murdoch media empire. It's not an original argument, but when you apply their news mantra to the rest of the network's products, it makes a lot of sense.

7th District News 

The Times-Picayune runs what amounts to a review of the ins and outs of this race since the runoff began on November 3. Political pundits believe it's "too close to call," and I'm wondering why no one has released any polling of either this race or the one in the 3rd. I would think that either the candidates would want to release some internal numbers that show them winning or some private group from around the state would be interested in getting this information out to the press. What's the holdup?

The Advertiser's Marsha Sills reports that Willie Mount was in Lafayette with John Breaux and local campaign operatives and political leaders to discuss what comes next in her campaign strategy. I assume that the whole thing was off the record for Ms. Sills, because she barely hints at anything other than the fact that John Breaux was going to be shooting some commercials for the Lake Charles legislator later in the evening.

John Breaux did send something of a signal with this statement:
“I found it so ironic that her opponent, because of his inexperience, doesn’t understand the positions of his own party,” Breaux said.

“It’s his party that is advocating the privatization of Social Security, not the Democrats,” Breaux said. “It’s his party that is stopping and opposing the reimportation of prescription drugs. I’ve seen ads that he’s running alleging if you elect her you’re voting to privatize Social Security. It’s a Republican position.”
In the ad wars this contest continues to descend deeper and deeper into the gutter. Mount's latest--not online yet but as soon as it is I'll link to it--takes Boustany to task for having the gall to get arthritis. It's sharply critical of the fact that Boustany hasn't been actually helping people for some time now because of his disability, or at least that's the implication. Don't get me wrong, I think it's entirely appropriate for the Mount campaign to criticize Boustany for taking disability payments when his Party would like to see the Americans with Disabilities Act dumped into the scrap-heap of liberal legislation, but that's not the note on which this commercial begins. A little tweaking of the narration would have prevented this, but in the end it sounds like one that's personal enough to backfire on the candidate whose campaign produced it.

Meanwhile, everything that comes out of the Boustany campaign is "she's a liberal and I'm a moderate." It's already tired, but I'm sure they'll have something new soon enough.

I'm still trying to figure out why the Mount campaign won't run a commercial humiliating Charles Boustany for buying fraudulent nobility titles from a couple of Brit internet hucksters. The ad would be simple. Get pictures from Boustany at the last Mardi Gras ball where his krewe named him King. Narrator says, "King of [insert krewe name here] wasn't enough for Charles Boustany, so he tried and tried to buy his way into royalty, but it didn't work. Now he's trying to buy his way into Congress. I guess he feels like it's the next best thing." Surely high-powered ad-men could come up with something better than that, but it's a great idea one way or the other. What the hell are they waiting for?

22 November 2004

Six Flags over Baton Rouge 

I certainly don't need outside groups to help me along with my Baton Rouge bashing, but when they do I can't help but point it out. In this case the North American Vexillological Association(NAVA) polled their members and "friends" to find out which of the largest(?) 150 cities in the country had the best flag designs. Baton Rouge finished eightieth, which isn't that bad, but a quick look at the flag might leave you wondering just how they even ranked that well.

You can take a look at the entire survey here. Notice fair New Orleans ranked in the top twenty. It is a fine flag indeedy-do.

My personal favorite is Mesa, AZ's flag. They seem to have gotten a corporate slogan confused for a city motto, and they included it right there in the flag.

Somehow they ranked all the way down at 146.

I wonder where the Lafayette flag would rank if our hospitable city made this list. I've always liked it myself, but what do I know?

One Quickie 

I'm glad our friend John posted a little backgrounder on yesterday's Advertiser "guest column" from a "Heartland Institute" fellow about the Lafayette fiber initiative. I found the whole thing very curious.

Late Start 

Lots and lots to do today, but I'll probably get some posts out this afternoon. I will note the quote of the day in the Pic this morning. Peter Finney listens to Buddy D. after the game apparently, where a caller responded to Benson's comment that the Saints looked like a bunch of high-schoolers out on the field:

"That's not fair to John Curtis (High School)."

I'm also inclined to agree with Finney that despite the awful showing yesterday, the Saints have turned in much worse performances over the last twenty years. I'd add last year's early season drubbing by the Colts to that list, or the late season Sunday night loss to the Redskins in 2002(?), but I get where Benson's going with the criticism. A question for you guys to discuss amongst yourselves. Were Benson's comments his way of pressuring old Jim to resign immediately, or was he just trying to light a fire under his head coach? All indications are that he's already done the latter, so it doesn't make sense for him to keep at it. Your thoughts are welcome on this.

21 November 2004

Lo Siento 

Normally I'd use this space to round up the important Louisiana political stories in the news around the state today, but I just got back into town and haven't had time to read my newspapers. Instead I'll just remind you to watch the Saints on CBS. More importantly, the UL and LSU Men's basketball teams are matching up at three o'clock this afternoon. These two teams don't get to play each other very often, so if you get Cox Sports, you should turn it on to get a look at my beloved Cajuns. And if you don't think I'll be rubbing a victory into the noses of all my LSU-fan friends, you better think twice. Conversely, if the Cajuns disappoint me, any bit of nose-rubbing that comes from the Purple and Gold crowd can be simply dismissed, because they're supposed to win. They're a better basketball team. You see how that works?

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