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04 December 2004

Bad Polling 

Well, after the campaigns spent the entire month keeping mum on their polling, I've finally managed to get my hands on some numbers in the last two Congressional races in the country. Things are looking particularly bad here in my district for the Democrats, but if the Mount campaign and the Democratic Party can get boots on the ground they may be able to overcome the shite weather and an extremely depressed electorate to take this thing home. I wouldn't put any money on it, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.

The good news is that the 3rd is definitely within striking distance. Democrats in these districts need to go to the polls and vote for their candidates. The very least I can do is pass on this information to activists in Baton Rouge and Lafayette who are interested in helping out over the course of the day.

We need about 25 more people to be poll watchers on election day in the 7th Congressional District, mainly Lafayette. The people would be responsible for getting vote hardcounts 4 times throughout the day at target precincts. All interested please call 225-336-4155.

Also, there will be a bus leaving LSU in Baton Rouge at 7am. The bus will bring people to canvass in Houma. Volunteers will be compensated, and they will arrive back in Baton Rouge no later than 7pm.
Sorry about sending this out to you so late, but I didn't see it until I got home tonight. If you're registered in either district, at least make damn sure that you bother to vote.

03 December 2004

One-track weekend mind inquiry 

I've never been to one of these election night celebrations, so I was curious if these things normally have free beer.

The Boustany campaign is hosting a fete in the Cajundome's Mardi Gras Ballroom tomorrow night, and a couple of friends and I thought it would be fun to see how the better half does it up for elections. If there's no free booze I don't see the point though. Anybody know? Party crashers in the Lafayette are welcome to join me if they do...

Every GOP event I've been to in the last year has been filled to the brim with good looking women, too, so there's that added bonus. I also understand that Republicans have a lot of money, and considering all the cash they've dumped into this race, you'd figure they could have some beer for their over-21 "supporters."

...incidentally, we're not planning on causing a ruckus of any sort, just looking to capitalize on the goodwill and riches of the GOP. If it indeed exists, that is.

TKGOTW 

I've been having fun with--and been frustrated by--this game all week. Unless you speak German, don't count on the directions for much help. However, all you need to know to play is that it's your job to distribute the colored boxes to the correct shipping vehicles indicated by the little box next to it with same color. In the first couple of levels each vehicle only takes one box and then goes on its merry way. You lose points if you distribute boxes to the wrong vehicle, and you'll eventually run out of time if you keep messing up anyway. As you progress through the game, vehicles will take more boxes, but once you load one color take a look and see what the next color the vehicle is asking for.

Blue arrows can be changed to direct boxes along the carousel towards their appropriate destinations. Some arrows only switch between two directions, and some switch between more. Gray arrows are fixed.

The frustrating part of the game is that if you run out of time once, your game is over and you have to start back from the beginning. At least I think so, but I can't read the commands so I'm not really sure. If anyone finds a way to continue, please let me know in comments, because the first six or seven levels are starting to get incredibly tedious.

Play the game for a few minutes and you start to get an appreciation for that spat of postal rage from a few years ago.

More posts to come as the day goes by, I'm sure...

How Far We've Come 

Great Howler today. If this is the kind of interview Brian Lamb has been spending forty hours a week over the course of his career with C-SPAN to prepare for, it's no wonder he's retiring Booknotes.

Sigh...I'll use this sad account of what our nation's bestselling authors value today to plug a book I finally managed to finish about a month ago. It's an expression of the great optimism of American liberals/progressives back in the fifties, when Eric Goldman published Rendezvous With Destiny. Goldman describes the ascenion of reform/progressivism/liberalism to a national consensus from just before the turn towards the twentieth century and all the way up to FDR's election and the New Deal. There was no room for complacency in the left at that time, but their urgency was a result of their mostly rosy outlook for progressivism's future and not in spite of some sense of impending doom.

Fifty years later a bestselling author recalls the single greatest moment in Presidential history to be when Grover Cleveland "went against the Constitution" to bust a strike. How far we've come.

Even More Saints 

I won't comment on these articles since they mostly nail down some of the specifics that were alluded to in yesterday's press about the Superdome Commission's study, but if you're interested you can read about it here and here.

And as for opening up the books, even the Pic calls it SOP for most companies that attempt to secure incentives and subsidies from the state of Louisiana. In the case of publicly held corporations like Nissan, there's already at least some transparency in order for investors to make their own decisions, so arguments about the Nissan plant in Mississippi and other economic development packages around the South not requiring due diligence on the part of the respective states don't necessarily wash. Obviously the big difference is that the Saints aren't publicly held, but if they want public inducements they have some responsibility to prove that the money is being used for what they say they need it for.

Peter Finney has a typically well-done column that brings everything together if you haven't followed this closely, but there's nothing really new in it.

Late Inning Slaps 

There's been no doubt that Craig Romero has been one pissed-off Cajun since the moment Billy Tauzin III announced his candidacy to succeed his father in Congress. Thanks to the inluence of the soon-to-be retired Congressman, Romero has been the odd man out in the GOP from day one. Admittedly, his endorsement of his hometown colleague Kathleen Blanco in last year's Governor's race didn't endear him to party leaders, but at this point that's neither here nor there. He was "viciously attacked" for being a supporter of sodomy--read, gay rights--when in fact he doesn't even have the distinction of particularly caring about the GLBT community. Whatever the case, it looks like he's going to do everything in his power to sabotage the candidacy of "little Billy" in the 3rd, and if that means last minute newspaper advertisements calling him a liar and immature brat, well, so be it.

Meanwhile in my neck of the woods, it seems that after more than a month of ceaseless attacks in the press and on television, the candidates have decided that their strategies for the last two days of the campaign should be to bore their opponent's voters to death.

Despite all evidence, New Orleans not a warzone 

Even though rolling shootouts and all other manner of drive-bys and street-to-street fighting occur with distressing frequency in the Crescent City, if you see low-flying military helicopters and uniformed marines running around your neighborhood over the next week-and-a-half, have no fear. Martial law hasn't broken out yet, and the well-coiffed Andrew Jackson is still only ruling over the city from his perch in front of the St. Louis Cathedral.
A press release from the public affairs office of the 26th Marines Expeditionary Unit says that area residents may notice a significant increase in military activity in coming days as approximately 600 Marines and Sailors from the unit based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., conduct a “training in an urban environment exercise,” or TRUEX, Dec. 4-17.

The public affairs office says the exercise will include a significant amount of low-flying helicopters and other sights and sounds associated with military activity.

“It is important for residents to know that the exercise is no cause for alarm. All aspects of TRUEX have been coordinated with local, state and federal agencies with the best interests of the city in mind,” the release states.

The Marines unit has set up a 24-hour hotline for residents to call if they are concerned or have questions about the exercise. The holine number is 504-678-7522.

...

“The Marine Corps will make every effort to inform residents around the training areas of impending activity. For safety reasons, the Marines ask that residents who may encounter training do not try to approach the training sight. Local law enforcement will be on hand to help ensure civilians do not inadvertently enter a training area.
Thanks to JBoo for the tip...

02 December 2004

Dept. of Great Graphics 

I haven't resurrected this once frequent feature in a while now, but I can't pass this one up. KATC includes the AP story making the rounds today headlined, "FDA advisers vote against female sex drug"


Cue the frazzled woman clip-art...

I need sex, but I don't want it

Ho-Hum 

Things are rather quiet around here today. To satisfy the hungry heart, here's an early game for those of you who can't wait until tomorrow. It's a blast from the past if you're old enough to remember the eighties, and if you've been reading my little corner of blogosphere for a very long time, you might remember that this was one of the first games I ever linked to. Expect a new TKGOTW on our regular schedule tomorrow afternoon.

Damn 

linking to terrifying stories of shootouts in the streets of New Orleans is becoming a little old at this point, but the horror ante keeps getting upped:
A Terrytown woman was hospitalized in serious condition after being shot as she and her husband got caught in the crossfire of a gun battle in a New Orleans neighborhood Thursday morning.

According to the husband, 32-year-old Paul Wegmann, he and his wife Sandra were taking a shortcut to work in their car when they came upon a gun fight.

Waggaman said his wife was shot twice in the throat near Earhart and Cambronne during rush hour.

Waggaman rushed his wife to Charity Hospital where she underwent emergency surgery.
I weep for my favorite city, even if this story does have some suspicious aspects to it...


Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment 

Lawyers began making their cases in front of the Louisiana Supreme Court on the legislature's overreach in the constitutional amendment banning all possible manifestations of same-sex unions yesterday.

I don't have any idea where the Court is going to come down on this, so I don't have anything to really add. The unfortunate thing about this is that no matter what they decide, I find it highly unlikely that if we have to do this all over again next year with two more amendments to make up for the one the state passed in September, that it won't result in the same thing. In fact, it may end up being worse for the legal constraints against gay couples, who could probably legitimately argue that under the current amendment certain financial contracts might still be legal (they need only discuss the "intent" made supposedly clear in the legislative debate). By forcing voters to take up specific amendments to outlaw these legal realities, which Louisianians will almost certainly pass, gay rights supporters may be shooting themselves in the foot. The only hope then will be in federal courts, which will likely be decidedly less friendly to the prospects of gay rights after another four years.

More Saints 

The Superdome Commission is releasing it's report on the costs of renovation vs. a new stadium today, and it comes only a day after the Governor called on Benson to open up his books to either a state legislative auditor or a third-party auditor.

Predictably the Superdome Commission believes renovation is the best bet.

Blanco's remarks came in response to Arnold Fielkow's interviews with editorial boards around the state (Advocate, Advertiser), where he tried to make the case for continued Saints subsidies and at least a large-scale renovation of the SuperDome. In those interviews he said the private organization shouldn't open up their books to public scrutiny, but that the public should take a leap of faith that the Saints need to do better financially to justify their continued presence in Louisiana.

I don't know what to think about the pressure to open up the books. In the end it's probably the right thing to do, but editors at papers like the Advocate and columnists around the state will use what will surely be untold millions in profits to obscure the real need for the Saints to generate more revenue to the league to get the NFL owners off their backs to pack up and move to Los Angeles. Call me torn. Statewide, public opinion is probably more or less against subsidies to an NFL franchise from New Orleans. The people of New Orleans recognize the importance of the franchise, but there's not nearly enough money there to adequately provide what Benson needs. It's a damned if you, damned if you don't situation for the owner. It will be interesting to see how he handles it.

More Cheney 

The state papers have some decent accounts of the Vice President's visit to quaint Louisiana. I won't bother you with summaries, but the Democratic candidates in both districts went to the trouble of challenging the President's nomination of Carlos Gutierrez, who they say is against protecting Louisiana's sugar industry. The idea being that Tauzin and Boustany will have political debts to the Bush administration that will prevent them from opposing other anti-domestic sugar (read, "free trade") initiatives and their champions in the White House. (Pic, Advertiser not online...now it is)

The Advocate chose to file out of Houma instead of Lake Charles, so you get another account of the Tauzin III event here. As usual, there's no chance for rebuttal from the Dems, just the straight and unfiltered message direct from the candidates' and the veep's mouth to your newsprint.

As for the Lake Charles paper, apparently they take a few days to get their reports up on the website, but they have a photo gallery of the veep's visit if you're interested. I'm a little scared of what I might find there, but I'm sure it's safe for children, if you know what I mean...

01 December 2004

Louisiana Bloggage 

The Nightstalker files reports out of Voodoo City, which isn't New Orleans but another undisclosed city in south Louisiana (I won't tell you where because neither does he, but the discerning reader will pick it up pretty quickly). He goes by Blaze and has an insider perspective on one of the papers in his home city. Considering my regular criticism of nearly all the newspapers along the I-10 corridor through Louisiana, I don't think you'll also be surprised to find that I don't think too highly of his employer, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have plenty of interesting things to say at his own place. He has a couple of co-bloggers who produce fewer posts than he manages, but the whole thing is worth taking in even if the post at the top of the screen might not be exactly work-safe right now.

And don't forget my friend in Florida, the dude, who I need to get up on the sidebar so I can remember to check him out more often.

Cheney in the "Gret Stet" 

Reads like it was pretty boring.

This case is cracked 

"Super Glue Bandit" exposed on Old Navy surveillance tape. They'll nab him any day now. The video is great. Maybe with some CSI technology they'll blow up the video and get a look at his bike tag...

Quote of the Day 

If this is really the case, we seem now to be in a country where political campaigns can be waged with flurries of ads replete with demonstrable falsehoods. And yet clear and tame political speech aimed at a pressing national debate isn't acceptable.
--Josh Marshall on the news that CBS and NBC have refused to run an ad about inclusion by the United Church of Christ.

All the libs around the blogs are talking about this, so you've surely read about it already, but TPM really hits the nail on the head w/r/t the priorities of network television. How tame is the ad? See it here, you really ought to look and ask yourself just what the hell is wrong with it. Truly unbelievable.

Kinesiology Grad Gets Satisfaction 

The LSU Board of Supervisors managed to settle with a Kinesiology Grad Student who has been involved in a suit against the university for more than two years now.

It's hardly news to anyone that a big university kinesiology department like LSU's would try and protect their football players from charges of cheating--an offense that carries hefty penalties at any college--but the under-the-table punitive action the University took towards Caroline Owen (including withholding recommendations so that she could simply leave LSU for greener pastures) for daring to hold students accountable for their cheating is truly reprehensible. This is a story that first came to light all the way back in 2002, and I don't think I've ever mentioned it here in this blog, but it seems that LSU has finally made things right with the teacher. For once, the WBRZ video included with the Advocate's report is better than the print material. Click on it for more background about the story and a more detailed account of the settlement, which will be made public today.

Stories that never go away 

Remember Sharon and Marcus Huff? They are the mother and child tandem who exploded into national news last year when an Ernest Gallett Elementary teacher allegedly punished Marcus for having the gall to tell some classmates that his mother was gay and "explain[ed] what that meant." (See this week from my archives and scroll down for numerous posts about the flap)

The school board has stuck by the teacher through thick and thin on this one, and now the teacher has filed suit in court against Ms. Huff for defamation of character to the tune of $50,000. She says she didn't punish Marcus for using the word gay, though the paperwork sent home with the second-grader pretty clearly shows that someone punished him for it.

She is currently on sabbatical.


7th Candidates on Health Care 

I've been pretty critical of Patrick Courreges in his coverage of this race over the last few months. It's not such a big deal, I just expect more from the Advocate, which in the end is one of the best daily newspapers in the state. Oh well, he redeems himself today with a pretty decent account of the mess that has been the punch/counterpunch exchange going on over the candidates on their health care positions, especially in relation to the Louisiana sacred cow of the charity hospital system. Don't get me wrong, the entire thing is still he said/she said political reporting, but at least there's finally some context for the charges we've been seeing in the advertisements.

Meanwhile, Mount is clearly trying to make up for the Democratic Party's egregious treatment of Don Cravins in Opelousas as the campaign comes to a close. Yesterday Sheila Jackson-Lee and Bill Jefferson both attended a rally for the state Senator in St. Landry Parish. This is clearly a signal to the black community on this side of the District that makes up the Cravins base that Mount and the Democrats need their support to win.

Here in Lafayette, we get useless thousand-word profiles of the candidates (Boustany, Mount). Useless not because of particularly bad writing, mind you, but because the idea of trying to really give us any idea of who these people are or where they stand is a rather pointless endeavor with so little space.

Cheney to Louisiana 

Bobby Jindal gets some face time with the Veep today. It probably won't amount to Dick, but good luck to the state's newest Congressman anyway.

Negative Advertising 

Picayune headline writers say that the 3rd District race has taken campaigning to a new low. I don't really know if that's the case or not, but if Matt Brown thinks people in New Orleans have finally had enough of the negative campaigning, he should take a trip down here to Lafayette, where our television markets includes both districts with runoffs this weekend. I don't know that I've seen a positive, "vote for me"-type ad from any of the four candidates since the primary. Not to mention that literally no channel seems safe from the political ads. I spend a lot of time at Comedy Central and other cable channels during my nightly viewing, and while they're not quite as blanketed as the networks, they certainly have seen their share.

And I'm not opposed on principle to negative advertising, though I think the same old charges really do get old. The GOP has ads running--often one directly after the other--that are virtually identical in the script with the only difference subbing out pictures of Willie Mount and Charlie Melancon. It's of the, "they're too tied to liberal tax and spend interests in Washington variety." Hopefully this makes them less effective, but who knows? It will be interesting to see if turnout passes 25% for either of these races after the harsh nature of the campaigns.

My paper in Lafayette also includes an article on a similar theme.

30 November 2004

Introducing his Lordship 

Well maybe this is too little too late, but it's about time someone did something with this. LordBoustany.com

Scroll down to see the video.

Or if you have Windows Media Player, just click the little lord himself.



Don't know what this is all about? Click here.

Useless Reporting, Dept. 

Headline: Where Are Polls In 3rd Congressional District Race?

Shorter version of the story: We don't know.

Silly me, I thought they might tell me something we didn't already know.

The real question is why haven't local media commissioned any independent polls of these races? And where are those businesspeople who always fund Verne Kennedy's polling?

Mohammed was a pedophile 

Jack Chick has a fantastic new tract out about Muslims. I haven't checked into Scoobie lately, so I don't know if he's commented on this one yet.

You can read about my first experience with Chick Tracts in this post from nearly a year ago.

From the inbox 

quoted in full and without further comment from the Timshel proprietor...

You must watch the whole video.

Completely awesome… I am awestruck… I am dumbfounded…. This guy rocks my soul….

http://www.mcrorie.ca/

My senses are obliterated by this man’s genius….


Thanks, Nick.

He's not Obama 

Add Fred Barnes to the list of conservative hacks promoting Bobby Jindal as a rising star of the Republican Party. Let me say that having watched the Governor's race pretty closely last year (See the archives for the first four months of this site's existence), that the charges that the Democratic Party exploited racist conservatives' prejudices are very overblown, not to mention that Fred Barnes gets the basic facts wrong about the charges (for one, the Ashley Bell brouhaha was about a memo that ended up being roundly criticized by national Party members and the Blanco campaign, not a statement at some rally in New Orleans). That's not to say Governor Blanco didn't benefit from the racist vote, but she didn't solicit it either. If conservatives reap what they've spent the last four decades sowing across the South, that's their problem to deal with.

As for whether or not Jindal will really rise in the ranks, I don't know. But it won't take me too long to get tired of reading about it. For however bright the guy is, it's clear many of these writers have never seen him work a crowd or give a speech. He comes off as an affable but mostly boring nerd. I doubt he'll ever be able to come off as a regular guy that Louisiana folks can relate to. Part of that is unfortunately due to his Indian heritage, but the other part is that he's just not a regular guy. He certainly won't ever pull off the kind of makeover David Vitter managed in his run, but that was largely because so few people really knew much about our new Senator before he made his run. Louisiana has already been introduced to Bobby Jindal, and as they say, you don't have two chances at first impressions.

Besides that, his real record as the head of the state Health and Hospitals agency is pretty poor if you take a quick look at what's happened here over the last five years or so. We'll see how successful he is pushing policy in the Congress, but I wouldn't hold my breath for great things from Jindal until he makes his second shot at a statewide election against Mary Landrieu in 2006. We won't know anything about what he's really capable of until then.

Breaking News 

Between the glue vandals, bomb threats at the courthouse during a murder trial, and a major Congressional campaign, little old Lafayette has been at the center of some rather compelling news this last week. Now add one exploding plane to the mix. What's going on around here? Fortunately no one was hurt badly as a result of this "explosion without a fireball," but get a look at the plane.

Thanks to Richard P. in comments for alerting me to this (at least I think this is what he's was talking about).

Who knew? 

Before I get started with this post, I'll note that Blogger's been a mess of trouble the last two days. Yesterday my entire archives were eaten, but while they were easily recovered whatever problems caused it seem to continue. At any rate, now the post about the Truman Capote found-novel is gone, but I wanted to note that I got your suggestions for additions to my reading list, and thanks for them. The post may reappear at any time, but in case it doesn't you should know that it's likely out of my hands at this point...

As for the "who knew?" title, the Attorneys General of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have filed a friend of the court brief in support of the state of California's sovereign right to make laws regarding the prescription of marijuana.

But that's not the surprising fact included in this report:
"I want to make sure that the right of our doctors who prescribe marijuana for medical use is upheld," Foti said.

Louisiana law allows doctors to prescribe marijuana for glaucoma and cancer patients and victims of some other ailments. Foti said the Legislature passed those laws after careful scrutiny.

"Our Legislature has the right to determine what is in the best interests of the people," Foti said.
This seems like something that would have been big news when it happened, and granted I was a lot more disengaged from Louisiana politics in 2000, but I don't know how I would have missed this.

According to this column, the state has long been an advocate for medical marijuana, but apparently the law has been on the books and "inactive" since 2000. Chalk it up to things I didn't know about our little corner of the heartland.

Let it go 

Little Billy Tauzin, serial law-breaker, is a good theme for the Melancon opposition campaign, but I think they'd probably be better off just leaving this in its place.
Three months before he announced he was running for Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District seat, Tauzin and a friend were cited by state wildlife agents in Terrebonne Parish for trapping 46 nutria without a permit while trespassing on private property, according to state records.

...

"Little Billy wasn't being honest when he said he cleaned up his act," said Melancon campaign manager Casey O'Shea. "How can the people of Louisiana trust Billy Tauzin?"
Nearly everyone in Louisiana hates these little marsh-eating bastards. The person whose property Billy Tauzin trespassed on will probably thank him for clearing a few of the rats off his land. Stick with the DUI instead.

29 November 2004

Cheney in Houma, too 

That's not a surprise. I don't know how you get tickets to the Houma rally, but if you're in Lafayette and want to drive to Lake Charles to see the Vice President give Charles Boustany the pre-election reach around they're giving away tickets at the Johnston St. Boustany headquarters (very close to my humble abode and in the same shopping center where grand old Raccoon Records once stood--once home of the ninety-nine cent movie rental and all manner of expensive music). No word on whether or not the "free" tickets require some kind of work for the campaign.

According to some rumors, we almost got the Pres. himself or twins Jenna and not-Jenna. I would have gladly called a thousand people from a Boustany phone bank for a chance at hitting the casinos on the Lake with the Bush twins. Instead we get the evil one himself.

thanks to Timshel contributor John for the link to the ticket information...

The other side of the coin 

I forgot about this one, but it was in the Advocate yesterday so it probably deserves to be addressed as well considering my last post.

Regular readers of this site may know that the state has commissioned a rather high profile task force to find a way to better fund indigent defense. Louisiana commits very few real dollars on the state level to pay for the defense of the accused who can't afford their own attorneys. Studies show most of the funding comes from federal grants and municipal-level allocations. This leaves them woefully short even compared to other states in the country. I've alerted you to the task force and the activists behind it a few times in this space.

But according to the second biggest DA's office in the state, the poor already have the system gamed. Apparently money doesn't matter a bit because of the mighty equalizer that is the Constitution:
Baton Rouge prosecutor Doug Moreau is calling on lawmakers not to support an effort to provide state funding for public defenders in Louisiana. Moreau says taxpayers should not subsidize the legal representation of poor people accused of crimes.

He said in an interview that the Founding Fathers organized the American criminal justice system to give defendants an edge over the government.

"That's why, when it is big government against the little guy, we have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt," Moreau said.

An accused individual, who is presumed innocent until proven guilty, has to show only that the prosecution failed to meet that burden.
That's right! The system is working just fine. Thanks to the Constitution the only people we're locking up are clearly guilty of their crimes. Giving them money will only help keep the criminals out of jail.

More voting machines 

This story in the Advocate seems to be little more than a rehash of a report from July about what the state plans to do with it's over-forty million dollar voting machine purchase. Secretary of State Fox McKeithen and his staff have expressed a lot of reservations with electronic voting machines, and not just due to the problems with paper trails and hacking, but their cost and relatively short shelf-life. Unfortunately that doesn't change the fact that the only companies the Advocate reports that they've spoken to are Diebold, Sequoia, and Accupoll.

Death Penalty 

I'm glad activists are getting vocal about the way the death penalty is being administered in Louisiana, and while only a relatively small number of executions have taken place in Louisiana over the last few years, evidence of prisoners being released and/or given reduced sentences is not evidence that the system is just, only that the appeals process is working. The fact remains that as many as 86% of men sentenced to die by a jury are found to be wrongly sentenced in some way or another. This is an absolutely shocking error rate, and the state shouldn't depend on the appeals system to flush out errors in prosecution in lower level courts. It amounts to a rather elaborate scheme to shield prosecutors and some state judges from responsibility for the administration of justice. In essence, these lower courts play the role of bringing down convictions at any cost no matter the circumstances, and an appeals court is summoned to either justify the ruling or overturn it. Instead of prosecutors trying to figure out why in the world so many of their convictions are considered in error, they seem to have taken the message that it's okay to be wrong because an appeal will take care of it later in the process.

Unfortunately state officials don't seem too concerned about it either.
Blanco did not return calls to respond to these findings, but she authorized her spokeswoman Denise Bottcher to say Tuesday that the governor wanted to see the "evidence that a moratorium on the death penalty needs to be called."

Attorney General Charles Foti, the state's chief legal officer, did not return calls, but after five days, he said through spokeswoman Kris Wartelle that he would have no comment.

The lawmaker whose committee considers changes to the state's capital punishment laws says he's open to the idea of suspending executions.

"I'm here to be convinced that we need a moratorium," said state Rep. Daniel R. Martiny, R-Metairie, who chairs the House Committee on Criminal Justice.

"But I think we should have a moratorium only if we can show that innocent people are being executed," Martiny said. "I might agree more with the critics of that situation if we were sentencing them to death and two months later we were executing them. … I'm glad to see these people were exonerated, that's the way the system is supposed to work."
The figures produced in this piece provide anything but confidence that our system is healthy, but nothing short of an innocent's death will seem to convince the people who can do something about this. I'd love to see the dp abolished, but I understand that's unlikely to happen in Louisiana. The state's justice system is clearly in need of massive reform even if it doesn't result in a moratorium or the outright abolishment of capital punishment. What will it take for these people to see that?

Cheney to Lake Charles 

The Veep is appearing in the District's easternmost metro area to "stump" for Charles Boustany on Wednesday. An Advertiser letter-writer today reminds us that on Cheney's last visit to fund-raise for Boustany, the Congressional candidate promised that any return trips from high officials would be public. Well see about that, and I wonder if they'll remember to send me my ticket...

Quote of the Day 

"This one incident we don't believe dampened the celebration of the Bayou Classic."

--New Orleans Police Spokesman, Capt. Marlon Defillo, on the shooting that erupted on Bourbon St. during the post-Bayou Classic partying. The police make a big point of showing that things were better this year than in the recent past. Maybe it's just me, but three people being shot in the middle of the most popular tourist destination in probably the entire South shouldn't be considered a "relatively quiet" night for the French Quarter during any celebration.

28 November 2004

Ricky Lives... 

Please pardon the extended absence, but I figured this weekend would be as good as any to take a few days to get a perspective on the outside world that isn't colored Eschaton-blue and Kos-orange. I had no idea I'd miss out on the biggest shopping story to hit the AP wires all weekend, and it happened right here in my own little town. That's right, while I was hanging out with my siblings and in-laws drinking beer and shooting the breeze, "vandals" in Lafayette were injecting loads of super glue into more than two-hundred locks of local retailers, causing them hours in delays to open their stores on "the biggest shopping day of the year."

Anyway, I just wanted to check in with you guys and let you know I haven't gone anywhere, I just needed a little time away from the computer to recharge. My Cajuns, who unfortunately couldn't handle LSU last weekend, did manage to trounce the academically superior Rice University yesterday. They caused an astonishing 31 turnovers in the contest, which though I didn't see I suspect that one Dwayne Mitchell had some pretty spectacular dunks to cap off the resulting fast breaks. As always, don't forget to watch the Saints take their thrashing this afternoon. Back on track tomorrow...

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