Thursday, August 31, 2006
And don't forget to have a lil cake while you are there, celebrating this traditional wedding. Ooohhh, winger-licious!!
What traditional winger wedding would be complete without the limo ride?
A Perfect World
So give it up for the traditional winger bride and groom. They are looking out for your best interest you know!!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
This story from earlier today on John Kerry is so poorly written I didn’t even bother to link to it earlier, until I found that it has received considerable attention in the blogosphere. Kerry sent out an email supporting Ted Strickland, who is running against Ken Blackwell for Governor of Ohio. Kerry noted problems with voter suppression in Ohio:
On one side is Ted Strickland — a good man admired by Democrats and Republicans alike. On the other side is his Republican opponent, Ken Blackwell, who has used his office to abuse our democracy and threaten basic voting rights.
This isn’t just rhetoric. As you know, in 2004 while serving as a co-chair of George W. Bush’s 2004 Presidential campaign in Ohio, Secretary of State Blackwell oversaw the state’s 2004 election. He used the power of his state office to try to intimidate Ohioans and suppress the Democratic vote. Is he ashamed of what he did? No — he’s emboldened by it.
Since 2004, he has twisted the election process even more, adding new voting regulations that have created confusion and controversy. His legacy as Secretary of State? Putting partisanship ahead of the electorate’s fundamental right to vote. That’s not just a reason not to promote him as Governor; it demands a grassroots mission to stop Ken Blackwell from getting a further grip on power in Ohio.
The article confuses the issue by reporting, “ Multiple lawsuits by outside groups were unsuccessful in challenging Ohio’s 2004 election. One case filed by the League of Women Voters is still in U.S. District Court in Toledo. It claims Ohio’s election system discriminates against minority voters.”
This confuses two separate issues, voter suppression and claims that the election was “stolen” and leads to analysis which fails to understand the situation such as this from Decision ‘08:
So Kerry didn’t contest it, a recount showed Bush won by over 100,000 votes, and no lawsuits contesting the results have been successful either - yet John Kerry, a sitting U.S. senator, doesn’t mind sowing public distrust of the democratic process for temporary political gain, at a time when voter cynicism is sky high.
Some like Robert Kennedy, Jr.along with some irresponsible bloggers are making noise with unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen. They continue to spread absurd arguments about the exit polls and stealing of votes. This is not what John Kerry is talking about here.
John Kerry has been speaking out about measures which suppress the vote since the election. He is not saying the election was stolen. There is no way to know to what degree these measures affected the result. He is not even saying that all of the measures are illegal. The problem is that Blackwell’s actions may have been llegal under Ohio law, but should not be. Therefore the comments on court decisions are irrelevant to Kerry’s argument. What Kerry is saying is that changes are needed in the laws, and that the way to accomplish this is to elect Ted Strickland rather than Ken Blackwell.
Residents of New Orleans gathered tonight for a candlelight vigil with 1600 candles to commemorate those who lost their lives after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina nearly one year ago in New Orleans. Those who gathered to remember the devastation of Hurricane Katrina shared "tears and anger at the officials who abandoned tens of thousands to the chaos and whose bureaucratic bungling continues to complicate reconstruction efforts."
They were there to mourn the "deaths of hundreds of people who would have been alive today if the city's levee system had not been built below specifications and at levels that were long acknowledged to be inadequate to protect the low-lying city."
The Big Easy sidestepped the worst of Katrina's winds when it ravaged the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005. But the violent storm surge smashed the levees and rushing floods swallowed 80 percent of the city, reaching depths of six meters (20 feet) in some areas. The bulk of the storm's more than 1,500 deaths were in those flooded neighborhoods.
"It wasn't Katrina who beat us - it was human neglect," said pastor Jerome LeDoux.
That neglect extended to the rescue and recovery effort. The mandatory evacuation order was given a scant 19 hours before landfall and those who did not have cars or the money to leave were offered one option: shelter in the Superdome sports arena.
Hurrican Katrina exposed the deep racial divides, poverty and racism that persist in the U.S. It's seen on the campaign trail and even from celebrities, frequently this year and those who let their feelings be known are starting to pay the price.
Many here believe help would have arrived faster if the people trapped for days on their roofs and at the Convention Center and Superdome had not been predominantly poor and black.
The city's isn't that way anymore. Skyrocketing rents and the government's failure to help those who can't afford to rebuild on their own come home to New Orleans has turned the once predominantly black city into a majority white city.
"I really feel the government is not doing what it's supposed to by black people," said Alfred Doucette, a Mardi Gras Indian chief and community leader. "Where's my people that lived in my neighborhood?"
The slow and uneven pace of the recovery has deepened the feeling of abandonment and frustration for many in New Orleans. Half the city remains scattered across the country and a recent poll showed that 30 percent of those who have returned are considering leaving.
Life has returned to normal in areas that escaped the flooding - the French Quarter, Uptown, the Garden District and some suburbs - but those are mostly wealthier white neighborhoods.
Progress elsewhere has been a patchwork of projects undertaken mostly at the individual level after political infighting stalled the release of the city's reconstruction plan until the end of the year.
The city has begun posting demolition notices on houses even though it has not issued any guidelines about which areas will be safe from future flooding and the state has not sent promised rebuilding funds.
ThinkProgress tells us the 'Real State of New Orleans' here.
The 1600 bags with the candles are on the Lake Ponchartrain Levee in eastern New Orleans. Tonight's event included the playing of 'Amazing Grace,' and 'Taps.'
** (AP Photos/Alex Brandon)
People Get Ready
The Katrina Memo
Humid Haney Rant
The Third Battle of New Orleans
Wet Bank Guide
The G Bitch Spot
The Third Battle of New Orleans
I will update as info comes in.
Monday, August 28, 2006
In another photo-op moment today, Bush claimed today that he sees renewal after Katrina, but also suggested that buck stops at what money Congress has already approved.
Of the $110 billion in hurricane aid approved by Congress since Katrina struck a year ago Tuesday, just $44 billion has been spent. The Bush administration has released $77 billion to the states, reserving the rest for future needs.
"Hopefully that'll work. Hopefully that's enough," Bush said after visiting a company here that has restarted its business of building and repairing boats. "It's certainly enough to get us through the next period of time."
In reaction to President Bush's remarks today about Gulf Coast recovery on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Senator John Kerry released the following statement:
"Today President Bush said that step one of Gulf Coast recovery - removing debris - is almost complete. One year later, just moving one step forward is really taking two steps back when so many steps remain. During my visits to the Gulf Coast, I've talked with small business owners about what they need to rebuild and recover. They're disheartened at the response of the federal government. More than half of those who applied for disaster loans have been denied help from Washington and left with nowhere to turn. The majority of businesses have not yet reopened and they keep wondering how they are going to survive.
"Right after Katrina, Senator Mary Landrieu and I proposed getting grants and bridge loans out to residents immediately. We suggested working with bankers and other experts right away to get loan applications processed immediately. We sought to increase business opportunities for small local firms by establishing that they get 30 percent of federal contracts and 40 percent of subcontracting dollars. But the Bush Administration has been blocking these proposals at every turn.
"President Bush said optimism is the only option. The most successful business people in America will tell you that optimism alone doesn't keep their doors open. Photo ops won't get the Gulf Coast back in business. Action is the only option. There's no excuse for continuing to delay real, bipartisan solutions."
Jennifer Loven of AP News reported that the "White House released almost no information on where Bush was visiting until minutes before he was to arrive, in part to lessen cumbersome security needs."
But the practice also prevents him from more freely interacting with residents.
It's always important to the boy king far from the maddening crowd...
I got nothing on these guys:
Paul Krugman: "Broken Promises": "Apologists for the administration will doubtless claim that blame for the lack of progress rests not with Mr. Bush, but with the inherent inefficiency of government bureaucracies. That’s the great thing about being an antigovernment conservative: even when you fail at the task of governing, you can claim vindication for your ideology."
John Biguenet: "Back To New Orleans": "Before watching what has happened to New Orleans, I don’t think I fully believed it actually made a difference who ran an institution. I imagined that institutions were larger than individuals and had their own momentum. A business, I naively thought, could survive the idiot son who had inherited the company from his father. Experienced managers and dedicated workers could keep the factory humming, no matter who was in charge. I was wrong. The absence of leadership at every level of government has doomed New Orleans to paralysis."
Frank Rich: "Return to the Scene of the Crime":"How do you pretty up this picture? As an opening act, Mr. Bush met on Wednesday with Rockey Vaccarella, a Katrina survivor who with much publicity drove a "replica" of a FEMA trailer from New Orleans to Washington to seek an audience with the president. No Cindy Sheehan bum’s rush for him. Mr. Bush granted his wish and paraded him before the press. That was enough to distract the visitor from his professed message to dramatize the unfinished job on the Gulf. Instead Mr. Vaccarella effusively thanked the president for "the millions of FEMA trailers" complete with air-conditioning and TV. "You know, I wish you had another four years, man," he said. "If we had this president for another four years, I think we’d be great." See Crooks and Liars for more about this scam.
Dan Barry: "Tracing the Path of a Corpse": "Hurricane Katrina denied most of the 1,464 victims in Louisiana such final flourishes of dignity; no watch chains for them, no stylish hats. The hurricane scattered bodies over hundreds of square miles, where water, heat and time distorted what many of the dead looked like in life. It was a forensic hell. Defying the bureaucratic impediments, pathologists, investigators and counselors rose to the sorrowful challenge. Working like wartime MASH units, they reunited families with their missing loved ones and attached names to nearly 900 of the bodies they examined. Even so, some 50 victims remain unknown to the world still, a year later."
According to the WaPo’s Peter Whoriskey today said:
“When it was fresh, the epic wreckage of Hurricane Katrina inspired rallying cries of “We will rebuild!” But a year after the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, vast stretches of this city and the Gulf Coast are still largely abandoned, and many here wonder whether the destruction may be more permanent than anyone could at first conceive.”
“Money is one problem. The billions in federal relief funds for homeowners began to flow just a few weeks ago. Some insurance settlements have been contentious and slow.
Some people have stayed away out of fear — no one knows what the next hurricane might do because the levees are not guaranteed to protect in a major hurricane.
And as the economy has shriveled along with the population, jobs have disappeared. Employment in the sprawling New Orleans region has shrunk to 437,000 jobs, off about 30 percent from pre-storm levels, and within the city, the percentage is considerably higher.
Today, visitors of all kinds — tourists, volunteer crews — come away shaken by the scope of the disaster and its lingering aftermath. Despite extensive television attention, it is one of the few natural disasters in the United States that may have been understated by the coverage. The extent of the wreckage — block after block of darkened windows and trash-strewn yards — is simply too far-reaching to be captured in video clips.”
True, but providing some video is only proper.
We can thank Republican Bobby Jindal for this video, for without his lack of interest, this would not be possible.
Being a Congressional Candidate in Louisiana puts me in a position where I talk to a lot of people and ask there opinions. One seems to be gaining strength, in what can only be viewed as a form of “Post Traumatic Stress,” as Tropical Storm Ernesto gains strength into a hurricane and heads toward New Orleans.
In the style of Stephen Colbert the word I hear the most is “Omens.” Ernesto was born on the same day (one year later), as Katrina, in the same spot and on the same track. However, Ernesto is not as strong and has some “sheering” which is slowing it down. It is likely to hit land (somewhere) before next weekend, and has put a dark cloud around Bush’s happy spin on his Katrina photo op.
Omens are ingrained into our national psyche in the form of dates, events and places. Every 9/11 our nation goes on high alert as the fear of a copy-cat terrorist event and every April 19th the Government goes onto alert on the anniversary of burning of the Branch Davidians & Oklahoma bombing. In kind, this whole hurricane season has made everyone in New Orleans edgy and short tempered.
Many people are still living in trailers on their front lawn with piles of debris from the inside of their homes. Much of southern Louisiana is little more than a trailer park among unlivable homes. Under these conditions, a strong tropical storm is very dangerous and a Category 1 hurricane is deadly. Currently, the national weather service is predicting Ernesto will become a “Major Hurricane” (Cat 2 or higher) by Monday.
There are a lot of people down here waiting to exhale. But, on the bright side George Bush has come to tell us how wonderful he is on the anniversary of his greatest failure. If that’s not another omen in the cliché of “famous last words” or “train-wreck waiting to happen,” I don’t know what is. Imagine being witness to General Custer at Little Big Horn when he said, “Hey watch this…”
Bush is the only guy I know who can turn something called “The Big Easy” into the impossible by domesticating his foreign policy of “Bite Me.” His stubbornness to rebuild the levee system to exactly the way it was before Katrina is an expectation of failure, and we all know it.
Friday, August 25, 2006
LIFE………….is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming - WOW - What A Ride!
Well, he did write "Everybody's Got a Hungry Heart", after all (or was he just experiencing "The Rising"?). News comes today that The Boss has separated from Mrs. Boss, Patty Scalfia, his wife of 20 years. The reason, apparently is a 9/11 widow Bruce met shortly after 9/11.
In discussion with my one of my peeps Chris Renaldo who writes for The Sunday Paper down the road in Atlanta, it was pointed out to me that Bruce is losing his anti-Republican cred when he pisses on his own moral standing ("family values") by carrying on with another woman. Those of us on the left who love Bruce have to be disappointed in this turn of events.
Renaldo also raises the specter of 9/11 and what that means: "Right or wrong, I think people (maybe Ann Coulter was right... god how it makes me nauseous to even type those words) are going to start asking themselves if losing someone in 9/11 gives you a "hall pass" in terms of your personal behavior, etc. It just seems as though this whole group mourning and all the talk of healing, closure, etc. may be going too far. I know that all sounds kind of callous and soul-less, but I just read Stephen Ambrose's "Band of Brothers." This is not the first generation to suffer a collective loss at the hands of a madman... If this story is true, Bruce is no better than the dudes who "cherry-picked" war widows (or even worse, the wives of the guys "over there")."
I don't think Coulter is right about anything, but I do think Chris has a point. In the overwhelming grief that accompanies victimization, people tend to confer a vaunted status which becomes sacred and unquestionable (that's as old as Freud, btw, not Ann Coulter). MADD members are another example. The whole "unless you've been through what I've been through, you don't know and can't question me" mentality silences most people, but it's a straw man. Most of the scientists who voted Pluto off the island yesterday in Prague have never been to Pluto, yet they deep sixed it anyway.
Since the "friendship" between Bruce and this chick started five years ago (and the world is just finding out about it now), it makes you wonder if Patty wasn't snowed by the same "you don't understand, you can't judge" b.s.
But here's a more interesting point: as we approach the anniversary of Katrina, isn't it interesting in the way the two groups of victims are perceived? The 9/11 families were rightly given their time to grieve and the respect they deserved, but their platform and microphone came mainly because they were white, educated, middle or upper class people who had the resources to travel to D.C., hold press conferences, write books, start PACs, etc.
Contrast that with the "Katrina Widows" and families. We don't hear anything about that group, do we? The reason is because poor, black, uneducated and down-trodden doesn't sell soap (or righteousness) quite like white middle class grief does. And white skinny bimbos in cocktail dresses running smack about you doesn't exactly work either.
I'm with Chris in that this may seem harsh, but after watching Spike Lee's When The Levees Broke documentary on Katrina the past few nights, it's nauseating to think that the people of New Orleans, who are every bit the victims of death and destruction as the 9/11 families were, are ignored and dismissed, mainly for the same reason most of them died...the color of their skin.
Maybe someone should ask Bruce if he's boinking any Katrina widows?
Update: Chris' response: "Well, he played JazzFest this year..."
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
So Michelle is in sorrow because of some Fox News reporters. Well sweetheart, I agree that the missing are to be worried about, but did you have to attack someone while you were at it?
Missing Fox News crew: Blogburst
Fox News Channel reporter Steve Centanni and freelance cameraman Olaf Wiig are still missing. It has now been more than a week since their kidnapping at gunpoint in Gaza by unknown terrorists. FNC top management, the journalists' families, and Palestinian journalists continue to press for their release.
So that seems harmless right? Well in the same post, my lil apple of my eye comes out with this.
Tim Graham sends this disgusting post from TV critic Bob Laurence:Fox has deliberately set itself apart from other news media. Starting at the top with Roger Ailes, the Fox sales pitch has been to deride other media, to declare itself the one source of the real truth, the sole source of 'fair and accurate' news reporting. As a result, there's not a reservoir of kinship or good will with Fox on the part of the rest of the news media. You can't keep insulting people and then expect friendship when you need it.
They've made it a policy to keep a distance between themselves and the rest of the media, far beyond the usual competitive spirit, so that's where they are: at a distance.
First, it's "fair and balanced." Second, what news organization doesn't posit itself the best source of news in an aggressive media world? Third, Laurence and his ilk's inability to set aside contempt for, or envy of, a successful competitor during a crisis is a damning indictment that speaks for itself.
Yep, I might just have to cut her off. I know Michelle just loves me like no other, But really!! I just know she will send me some hate mail, but I find it hard to take her serious. Sorry Pookie Bear!
I have also have to let everyone know that I adopted a POW/MIA for the blog. This has been a long time passion of mine, and I want to invite everyone that is interested, to do the same. I have the name and some info on my adoptee, but I want to do some research before I post the first info on him. And get this, he is a MARINE!! So I will work on that, and I have to work on some graphics for it.
So you might see some changes in the format, but you will not see the spoken words change.
Enjoy Mary!! This one is just for you.
The prosecutor was as inept as they come, and only a few cases did not end up like the one I was there to testify for. He spent the day just getting a continuance on every case that came up. Now after the whole wasted day, we found out that they knew that it was going to happen when they showed up. So did they just let us go home? Hell no, they just kinda forgot to say something.
Meanwhile, the judge was going hogwild with the "Contempt of Court" charges. The "dress code" was not exactly up to par that day. Baggy pants and untucked shirts just don't seem to please that old judge. One guy got slammed after telling the judge that he was clean and could pass a piss test. OOPPPSSSS!! Big mistake! Coke and Weed in the urine + telling the judge you had none = JAIL!!
People, let me tell you that I cannot understand how anyone would even think about going to the court house looking like it was a day at the beach. I saw many flip flops and it baffled me. Shorts? Oh Yea, I saw them too. I saw one guy who's pants would not stay up, and he was about to go into the very same court room as our "go to jail" judge for the day.
There was a couple of lawyers, that pissed me off so bad, that it took everything in me not to go off. Jackass #1 was standing next to the cop that scanned people before entry into the court room. Jackass #2 comes down the hall and jokes with the cop, that he "better frisk that one" meaning the Jackass #1. Well Jackass #1 proceeds to say the most asinine thing I have heard yet in a court house. This idiot actually makes a joke about explosives and detonators!! And the cop just sat there and laughed with them!! I kept my cool, so to speak, and said out loud, "Oh nice freaking joke considering the times we live in, and the recent events" and "nice to see the cops find it funny too!!" Everyone waiting out there, started shaking there heads and saying Uh Huh!! Then there was a complete silence. Nice to see the the police and lawyers have such a good sense of bearing.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
While four hours may be a bit long for some to take, Lee has said in interviews leading up to the broadcast that it promises to be an "indictment" of the federal government and its response to the hurricane.
The NYT has a good preview.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
The news just keep getting worse and worse for the Republicans. Republicans are no longer successful in fooling people into voting for them because of their claims on keeping us safer from terrorism. Bush’s approval remains low in multiple polls. Security Moms are returning to the Democrats. The South is more receptive to Democrats. Support for Republicans is plunging in the heartland. They must write off any hopes in the Northeast. Even K-Street is abandoning the Republicans, believing they are on the verge of losing control of Congess. The Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain describes George Bush as “crap.” Republican commentator Joe Scarborbough asks Is Bush an Idiot? The one thing Republicans typically had going for them has been an edge with regards to funding. The Washington Post reports they are even losing this advantage:
The traditional fundraising advantage held by incumbent lawmakers — which Republicans have regarded as a safety wall in their effort to keep control of Congress — has eroded in many closely contested House races, as many Democratic challengers prove competitive in the race for cash.
In a year of bad omens for the GOP, the latest batch of disclosure forms filed with the Federal Election Commission offers one more: Incumbency no longer means that embattled Republican representatives can expect to overwhelm weakly funded Democratic challengers with massive spending on advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts.
There are 27 Republican incumbents classified by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report as the most vulnerable to losing reelection this fall. These incumbents still boast a clear fundraising edge, but it is much less pronounced than in years past. According to calculations made from FEC data, the Democratic challengers in these races have raised about 60 percent of what their opponents have collected and have about the same percentage of cash on hand.
At this point in the 2004 election cycle, by contrast, Cook listed nine Republican incumbents as similarly vulnerable. Their Democratic opponents had been able to raise 42 percent of what their opponents collected, and challengers’ cash on hand was a lower percentage. There were similar disparities in the 2002 cycle.
Of this year’s 27 most vulnerable incumbents, 14 face challengers who have raised at least $1 million, according to FEC reports. At this point in 2004, no Democratic challenger had raised $1 million. What’s more, all but one of the 27 Democratic challengers has raised at least $400,000 — a figure that many election experts consider a minimum price of entry for candidates hoping to mount a credible campaign. Taking into account all House races, 36 Democratic challengers have cleared the $400,000 threshold.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Cross posted from Liberal Values.
- A Republican National Committee Internet ad uses video of Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania to make it seem he said something that he didn’t. What Murtha said was US allies think the US presence in Iraq makes America a bigger threat to world peace than North Korea or Iran. He was citing overseas public opinion polls. The RNC ad edits his remarks to make it sound as though Murtha himself is asserting that thought.
- The same ad attracted widespread attention from liberal bloggers who pointed out evidence that an image of Democratic party chairman Howard Dean had been touched up to give him the hint of a Hitler moustache. The RNC quietly cleaned up the Dean image after being called out.
The full article compares what the RNC claims Murtha said to what he really said. The claims Murths said, “We’re more dangerous to world peace than North Korea or Iran.” Murtha actually said, “Fifty-six per cent of the people in Spain think it’s more dangerous, the United States is more dangerous in Iraq than Iran is. Every one of our allies think that the United States being in Iraq is more dangerous to world stability and world peace, every one of our allies, Great Britain, every single country, they think it’s, we’re more dangerous to world peace than North Korea or Iran. That says something.”
This is a typical Republican tactic. When the facts and all reasonable arguments support the Democrats they try to cheat by misrepresenting the views of the Democrats. They resort to such strawmen arguments because they are incapable of offering a meaningful argument to counter the real positions of the Democrats.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I also remember that sweet little girl at the Houma Civic Center that offered to let me use her coloring book with her. She was the sweetest lil girl, and in the midst of this horror, she wanted to share what she had. I went there to help, and I saw that these brothers and sisters from another city loved us like we loved them. One strong woman was actually named Katrina, and she was interviewed on the local TV station. What a woman!!
The National Guard Troops were not long out of Iraq, and they were in high spirits. Some of these young soldiers were so cool and helpful. When I walked up, I asked if they knew the person I was looking for. After talking a few minutes, I questioned if they were being taken care of while in my hometown. There was of course, the usual jokes about the Marines from these Army fellows. One funny guy yelled "Hey Marine, I thought we left you in Bagdad since you guys come in late?" OH so you wanna go there do you? LOL. So I just told him that the Marines are the first in, and you don't think those damned BBQ pits were put there by the Iraqis?
After all this chaos, the ones that were left, had to relocate because Rita came and destroyed the very place that those people came to seek refuge. Coffins came floating away, and life as we knew it, ceased to exist. Forget? Never!! And as that day comes, we in Louisiana know it will bring back memories. Yet we will survive, and live on with or without help.
State has role in road to White House
By Jeremy Alford
Courier Capitol Correspondent
BATON ROUGE -- For $5,000, you can dine next week -- in the VIP section, of course -- with U.S. Sen. John McCain at the Old State Capitol.
McCain, an Arizona native, is one of the favored Republican frontrunners for president.
The election to actually make that happen, however, won’t be held until November 2008. A span like that represents a lifetime in the political realm. But for McCain and other White House hopefuls, it’s never too early to campaign for Louisiana’s nine Electoral College votes.
Louisiana is in an unprecedented position to woo presidential candidates. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita thrust the state onto a national platform and voters -- as well as displaced citizens -- are keeping tabs.
Joshua P. Stockley, president of the Louisiana Political Science Association and professor of government at Nicholls State University, said there are a number of factors that will force candidates’ hands when it comes to dealing with Louisiana -- directly, on the state level, and indirectly, on the national level.
"They are going to be forced as candidates to craft a message to and about Louisiana, and they are going to be forced as candidates to come to Louisiana if they want the votes," he said.
During the spring regular session, lawmakers voted to move the state’s presidential primary up on the calendar, a switch that is expected to lead to more attention from the candidates and increased money from political business.
The decision also comes at an opportune moment -- for the first time in more than 50 years, there is no heir apparent running for the office; the entire ticket will be stepping down. In short, the contest over the 44th presidency is wide open.
That’s one of the many reasons Mike Bayham, a former St. Bernard Parish councilman and current member of the Republican State Central Committee, felt it was due time to take Louisiana from 32nd to 16th on the national caucus-primary calendar.
He was behind an effort that will change the primary, beginning in 2008, from the second Tuesday in March to the second or third Saturday in February, depending on the date of Mardi Gras.
The chairmen from the state Republican and Democratic parties also lobbied for the bill during the spring session, touting it as an economic benefit for everyone from newspapers to consultants.
But the real beauty of the change is it gives Louisiana more prominence in the national primary system, Bayham said, placing it head of voter-rich states like California, New York, Texas and Florida in picking the next president.
By the time Louisiana cast its votes under the old system in previous years, the election was already decided and there was no reason for White House wannabes to stop in the state or offer assistance. It was a rarity to even hear a presidential candidate talk about specific Louisiana issues like they did in New Hampshire, which is among the states that traditionally hold a January primary.
"At best, Louisiana could expect a brief airport-hanger rally from a candidate who needed to stop off to refuel his plane between Tampa and Dallas," Bayham said.
With the continued rebuilding of south Louisiana, the early primary will also motivate presidential candidates to visit devastated areas that will be asking for money for years to come, he said. The trips could also open up new lines of communications and help demonstrate what the needs of the state are.
Whether Louisiana’s influence in this process is bolstered due to the decision remains largely unknown. Alabama recently moved into the February fray as well and others are pondering the switch, all of which could lead to a watering-down of the strategy.
"It’s going to have an impact as long as a bunch of other states don’t come along and jump ahead of us," Stockley said.
Still, McCain’s early and continued interest in an area of the country where President Bush did so well is an indication that Louisiana should receive serious face time with the major players in 2008.
Pearson Cross, a professor of political science at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, said the circumstances are interesting for the state, and that candidates will be expected to address things like "Rita amnesia," the idea that the feds forgot about southwest Louisiana.
They will also need to be well versed on wind damage, trailer parks, levee systems, coastal restoration and everything else that makes the state tick during this historical period of rebuilding.
Continued national media interest in this process will only heighten the drama, he adds, and the earlier primary will serve as a catalyst. Combined, they will work together to give Louisiana a presidential campaign season like never before.
"This will be an odd election," Cross said. "No one is beholden to Bush or the Bush administration, so they will have free will to say whatever they want about the hurricanes and the response. They will also be in a position to make big promises to a state that needs them right now."
NOTE: The link to The Houma Daily Courier might ask you to register. It is quick and free. Your log on would be whatever email address you give, and the password you choose
Monday, August 14, 2006
Bobby and his niece before his third trip to Iraq.
The Iraq War is Tearing Lives Apart
I have written on this blog before about my son's childhood buddy, Bobby. Lucas and Bobby were playmates from the age of five. Bobby lived in the house next door to ours until 3 years ago when we moved. Bobby's parents have now moved away, too, but we keep in touch by e-mail. Bobby is a year older than Lucas. They spent winter holidays playing video games in their house or ours. They spent summers together playing Super Soaker, building forts in the woods, and doing the Slip n' Slide in our very slopey back yard. They went to each others' birthday parties--Lucas in June and Bobby near the 4th of July.
Bobby and Lucas were on the same Little League teams together and both of them spent a lot of time on the bench because they were not the greatest players--but they had fun. One of our Golden Retrievers stole Bobby's brand new Nike shoe while he and Lucas played video games. Jebbie ran outside with it and buried it under our Japanese maple tree. It took us all afternoon to find it and Bobby was very forgiving because Bobby loved our dogs. He never had a dog of his own so he adopted ours. When we brought Apolo home on Mother's Day in 2002, Bobby was in our back yard within minutes to cuddle our new puppy.
Bobby joined the Marines while a senior in high school after September 11. He wanted to serve his country and defend it from the threat of terrorism. Bobby is extremely bright--one of the smartest of all of Lucas's friends, but he was willing to delay college to serve his country.
Please read the whole story and support Bobby. Semper Fi Bobby, I am calling in the troops.
UPDATE: MasterGunner at Tanker Brothers has taken on this cause. He has responded to the call out, and will post later today. Who says we can't get along? Thanks for your support. For those that don't remember, MasterGunner is the one that spoke out to me on a post I did, and I edited the post because it was the right thing to do. Thanks again for your help. Like he said, even if we don't agree on views, we can still be civil!!
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Fat Man, Little Boy and the Graci brothers
New Orleans natives got a close look at the atomic bombs that ended WWII
In the months that twin brothers Joe and Ben Graci of New Orleans worked on the Pacific island of Tinian, Col. Paul Tibbets was just another pilot they knew and the “Enola Gay” was just another bomber that they and their comrades worked to keep flying in World War II.
That changed abruptly on Aug. 6, 1945.
When the B-29 Superfortress bomber flown by Tibbets dropped an atomic bomb code named “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan, it was just as big a surprise to the men on Tinian as it was to the rest of the world. They found out about it the next day.
“Everybody went wild,” Joe Graci said.
On Aug. 9, a second bomb, code named “Fat Man,” was dropped on Nagasaki after the airplane “Bock’s Car” also took off from Tinian, and Japan surrendered five days later.
Joe Graci was an aircraft mechanic. Ben Graci was responsible for all the parachutes for Tinian’s 300 B-29s. Another New Orleanian, Phil Burst, did sheet metal work, including work on the Enola Gay, Joe Graci said.
The Graci brothers enlisted in 1943. Knowing the likelihood that they would be drafted, they enrolled in aircraft mechanics school at Delgado Community College. With that skill, they were immediately sent to the Army Air Force when they enlisted.
To learn about the B-29, they were sent to Tinker Field in Oklahoma. The B-29 was 99 feet long, 29 feet 7 inches high and had a wingspan of 141 feet, 3 inches. Its empty weight was 69,000 pounds.
“They said, ‘We’re going to show you the airplane you’re going to work on,’” Ben Graci said. “They had this big monster in a hangar, and they had a B-17 under one wing and a P-40 underneath the other wing, to give you an idea how big.”
Enjoy this look back in time and history.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Remains of soldier killed in Korea ID'd
The remains of a soldier killed in the Korean War have been identified as those of a New Jersey man and returned to his family, officials announced Thursday.
The remains of Cpl. Edward F. Blazejewski, an Elizabeth resident who had been listed as missing in action, will be buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery, said the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office.
Blazejewski was assigned to Medical Company, 8th Cavalry Regiment, when his unit came under heavy artillery attack by Chinese forces near Unsan, North Korea, on Nov. 1, 1950, officials said. He and other soldiers killed in the attack were left behind when their unit retreated.
For anyone wishing to learn more about the POW/MIA cause, you can go to Operation Just Cause, POW/MIA Freedom Fighters and POWMIA.com.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Tell Harry Reid To Strip Lieberman Of All Democratic Committee Positions
Ned Lamont won a major victory for the Democratic Party in Connecticut. However, Senator Joe Lieberman has self-proclaimed himself a martyr of partisanship. Lieberman has decided to file petitions and run against the democratic nominee in November because Joe is for Joe, not the Democratic Party he feigned to represent. I believe that Joe Lieberman has now earned the partisanship of which he so loudly professed to be a victim.
While every major Democrat calls for defeated Joe Lieberman to do the right thing and abandon his Independent bid for the CT Senate seat, when asked if “anyone” could call and get him to change his mind, he said, ” Respectfully, no.” He refuses to listen to the leaders of the Party that made him their nominee for Vice President in 2000. Of course he stopped listening to his constitutents a long time ago on the issues they cared about. He sure doesn’t respect the results of their primary election.
While this all is happening, Karl Rove, reportedly passed on an offer by Bush to help saying, “the boss wants to help anyway he can.” And just why is the top Republican political operative so interested in helping Joe Lieberman? He’s just the kind of “petty partisan” they like best, the kind that votes REPUBLICAN when it really matters.
Please join me in asking your Senators to call on Harry Reid to strip Joseph Lieberman of all committee assignments. Lieberman no longer represents Democratic values, only his own narcissistic political career. It’s time for the Democratic Party to stop listening to Joseph Lieberman, if they themselves are listening to their own constituents at all.
This special action page sends only to your Democratic Senators, if any, plus Harry Reid — Sign the Petition Here.
Even if you have Republican Senators, your petition letter, in your own words and with your own passion, will go to Harry Reid. Please take the time to fill this out. Your words have more value and weight than you might imagine.
Thanks to Stacey Tallitsch for his continued speaking of the truth to power. I feel the winds of change blowing.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
But guess what? They still found time to give The Katrinacrat a lil visit. And that's not all folks, Army.mil found the time also.
BTW, I have a message for Rummy, if you would be so kind to pass it on to the Secretary. I would be most thankful. Support the troops with your resignation!
NOTE: I have edited this post, because of a comment made. It really made me think about how it was worded. He was right about the presentation, and I Do Not want to blame or bash the troops. My problem lies with the leadership. So thank you for your input MasterGunner.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Well this is even more bizzare than that!! The U.S Army wants to build a theme park! So one question? Where do you expect to get the money for this said project? Shall more soldiers go without armor? Less for the Corps of Engineers? Or maybe another tax cut for the uber rich!! The last time I checked, I had to write a post on how Fort Sam Houston could not pay the electrical bill. Have you people lost your freaking minds?
The Army is considering a proposal to allow a private developer to build a military theme park that would include "4D" rides and bars including a "1st Division Lounge," local officials said.
The massive entertainment and hotel complex next to a national Army museum could draw more than 1 million people a year but Fairfax County authorities are objecting because of already traffic-clogged roads surrounding the proposed site.
Universal City Property Management III, of Orlando, Fla., submitted the unsolicited proposal for the theme park last year.
"You can command the latest M-1 tank, feel the rush of a paratrooper freefall, fly a Cobra Gunship or defend your B-17 as a waist gunner," according to the proposal, which was obtained by The Washington Post.
The rest of the story is here.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
The nation's governors are closing ranks in opposition to a proposal in Congress that would let the president take control of the National Guard in emergencies without consent of governors.
The idea, spurred by the destruction and chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina's landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi, is part of a House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act. It has not yet been agreed to by the Senate.
The measure would remove the currently required consent of governors for the federalization of the Guard, which is shared between the individual states and the federal government.
"Federalization just for the sake of federalization makes no sense," said Gov. Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana, a Democrat who had rough relations with the Bush administration after the disaster last year. "You don't need federalization to get federal troops. ... Just making quick decisions can make things happen." More
Taking away the command of local troops by this madman, can only lead up to no good. So what happens when this evil dictator and his henchmen consider dissent an emergency? Can you say POLICE STATE?
Update: Governors Wary of Change on Troops
The nation's governors on Saturday launched a bipartisan drive to block a move to expand the president's authority to take over National Guard troops in case of natural disaster or homeland security threats. More
Saturday, August 05, 2006
FEMA to test hurricane trailers for formaldehyde emissions
Federal authorities plan to test government trailers used by hurricane victims to determine whether people are being sickened by formaldehyde emissions, officials said Friday.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was responding to 46 complaints from people in Mississippi who claim they have had health problems since moving into FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina.
The agency wanted to do what was in the best interest of hurricane victims, spokesman Aaron Walker said.
"They came to the decision ... of victims first," Walker said. "We want to make sure our residents feel comfortable."
The move comes three months after the Mississippi chapter of the Sierra Club issued a report that found high formaldehyde emissions in dozens of trailers in Mississippi and Louisiana. The environmental group has since tested trailers in Alabama, where it also found high levels, said Becky Gillette, co-chair of the organization.
The group has tested about 55 trailers in the three states, Gillette said. Not all the trailers, which were made by several different manufacturers, had high formaldehyde levels.
"In a number of cases doctors have been requesting new trailers for their patients," Gillette said. "When we started this we didn't realize it would be quite so pervasive and widespread."
Then after you read further down the story, you come upon this little nugget of information from those sorry excuses for people.
Scott said she contacted FEMA in June and three workers came out and told her to open her windows to air out the trailer during the day.
"But when you wake up in the morning, your eyes are burning because the trailer was closed up all night," Scott said.
Yes, you read it right!! Open the windows!!
Friday, August 04, 2006
Yesterday, in a true victory against the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," the Federal Court in Philadelphia issued a decision dismissing a defamation case brought by Carlton Sherwood against Senator John Kerry and his Pennsylvania campaign manager Anthony Podesta.
The complaint had alleged that the Democratic National Committee and others sought to prevent Sherwood during the 2004 Presidential Campaign from distributing a movie entitled “Stolen Honor,” which dealt with Sherwood’s views of the Senator’s conduct after his military service during the Vietnam War.
The case was “dismissed with prejudice.” A “dismissed with prejudice” ruling means that Carlton Sherwood can never bring another lawsuit against John Kerry on this topic again.
Last October, I had reported here on the lawsuit:
"Carlton Sherwood and his band of twisted cohorts who defamed John Kerry, are suing John Kerry and a former campaign staffer, claiming that they defamed him."
The "dismissed with prejudice" ruling is a true victory against Sherwood and his right wing crew of liars and it proves the point that the progressive grassroots was right to stand up to Sinclair Broadcasting in 2004.
Everyone in the progressive grassroots should make it clear: We were right to stand up to Sinclair Broadcasting in 2004 and we were right to reject the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" twisted, distorted view of patriotism.
The real debate in this case is about Iraq and dissent. That is why Carlton Sherwood and his band of liars hate John Kerry. The federal court in Philadelphia did the right thing and acted responsibly to shut them down.
John Kerry is just as right now to stand up for a better course in Iraq, as he was right when stood up after Vietnam.
A complete copy of the ruling from the court is available here in PDF.
UPDATE: AP NEWS Reports:
U.S. District Judge John P. Fullam said he found no evidence that Kerry personally made any of the statements, and furthermore, found that they were protected opinions.
"I do not believe any of these statements are actionable since they constitute expressions of opinion, and must be viewed in the context of a hard-fought political campaign," Fullam wrote in a ruling issued Thursday.
"More importantly, I am not aware of any basis for holding a political candidate personally responsible for statements made in press releases issued by his party's national committee," the judge wrote.
Freewayblogger, I put this up in March on a radio tower at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The command there loved it!
If this guy can climb a radio tower in Afghanistan, you should be able to reach that fencing next to the freeway behind the dumpsters at the mall.
FB - 467
USA - 446
I don't think I have to tell anyone about how much I like that one!!
Cross Posted to The Democratic Daily
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Early one morning, Tee Jean was walking along the bank of Bayou Que de Tortue behind his house. All of a sudden, he noticed that the family outhouse, located right on the bank, was tilting dangerously toward the bayou; the heavy downpour from the previous night had serious eroded the bank where the outhouse was located. Being a boy (and a pretty canaille one at that) and reasoning that the outhouse was beyond salvage, Tee Jean picked up a big stick and whacked the outhouse - really peléed it - and watched as the outhouse toppled over, fell into the bayou, and quickly sank under the muddy waters.
A few hours later, Tee Jean's father came up to him and with anger in his voice asked, "Tee Jean, did you knock that outhouse into the bayou?" "Papa," the boy answered, "like George Washington, I cannot tell a lie. I did it." "Mais, Tee Jean, come with me maintenant to the woodshed. You are going to get the whipping of your life!" Tee Jean was shocked by this turn of events and said, "Papa, when George Washington told his papa that he had chopped down the cherry tree, his papa didn't give him a whipping." "Mais no, Tee Jean," said his father, "but George Washington's papa wasn't in that cherry tree when he cut it down, either."
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Because I was lucky
Saturday, I'm going on a long bike ride -- with 4,500 other riders from 36 states. Following my 2003 bout with prostate cancer, I will be among the 200 or so riders who are cancer survivors.
Each of us will be sponsored by the donations of friends and family. And 99 cents out of every dollar we riders raise during the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge will go directly to the Jimmy Fund, which supports the life-saving cancer research of the Dana-Farber Institute.
At the fundraising training sessions for the event, they tell you to email your friends and ask for their help. But, I don't suppose they realized I had three million friends in my email address book. Will you consider joining me in support of this very special charity?
I want to help John Kerry support the Jimmy Fund.
All I can tell you is that this ride means a great deal to me. If you've ever participated in a walk, run or ride for a cause you believe in, you know what a powerful and rewarding personal experience it can be. The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge is especially so.
It started out in 1980 when 36 riders took part and the event raised $10,200. Last year, those figures were 4,000 riders and $23 million. And this year, with your help, we expect to crush the goal of $24 million raised. The funds generated by this race now represent 50% of all money raised annually for the Jimmy Fund. Pretty remarkable, isn't it?
I can hardly wait until early Saturday morning when I join thousands of fellow riders at the starting line in Sturbridge. There are several different routes, and the one I'll be riding travels 111 miles to Bourne.
Because I care so much about this event and about the unbelievably important work that Dana-Farber does, I'm hoping you'll sponsor me on my ride on Saturday by pledging either a total dollar amount or an amount per mile.
I want to help John Kerry support the Jimmy Fund.
Those of us who grew up in New England know all about the Jimmy Fund -- a wonderful charity that has been long supported by people all across the region. My own memories go back to Ted Williams urging Red Sox fans to rally round children struggling with cancer.
I've helped the Jimmy Fund out by taking part in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge twice before. Now, in a few days I will ride again as a cancer survivor, one who knows that others -- including friends and family -- weren't so lucky. That makes this year's Challenge even more special and anything you can do to help will be especially meaningful. Thanks for considering this invitation to join me in support of the Jimmy Fund.
P.S. The 5 people who come closest to guessing my time will win a free, autographed Pan-Massachusetts Challenge jersey. Click here to guess my time.
Cross Posted from The Democratic Daily.
To Grandma: Your peaceful ways, and your love for life will never die. Peace it will be. Your brother taught me to love my country, and I will continue to fight for it.
Anita Geraldine Byrd McDaniel, 86, a native of Vicksburg, Miss., and resident of Houma, died at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 22, 2006.
Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to service time Tuesday at Chauvin Funeral Home. Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home, with burial in Garden of Memories Cemetery.
She is survived by one son, Gary McDaniel and wife, Judy; four sisters, Helen Radau, Libby Walker, Grace Little and Linda Szwedt; one brother, Wiley Byrd; nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death her husband, Sidney McDaniel; her parents, B.Z. Byrd Sr. and Margaret Chaney Byrd; her stepmother, Allie Byrd; one son, Michael McDaniel; three brothers, B.Z. Byrd, John C. Byrd and Earl B. Byrd; and three sisters, Lillian Byrd, Fay Ransbottom and Hazel Favre.
She was a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
To my buddy Wayne: Till we meet again, I will always think of you. Till later times my friend. Gonna miss you.You old goat.
Wayne Ledet, 55, a native and resident of Houma, died at 7:15 a.m. Thursday, July 27, 2006.
Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday and from 9 a.m. to funeral time Monday at Samart Funeral Home in Houma. Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the funeral home, with burial in Rogers Cemetery.
He is survived by one sister, Jennie Ledet; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Valaice Ledet Sr. and Rosalie Sanders Ledet; six brothers, Valaice Jr., Warren, Berlin, Borne, Steven, and Douglas Ledet; and three sisters, Claudia Ledet Irick, Katherine Ledet Phillips and Gwendolyn Ledet Rau.
He served in the U.S. Army and was Catholic.
Samart Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Remember those keepers, because nothing is forever. Life is not planned, and for sure. Keep what is close, and never let it get too far away.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Skeletal remains believed to be those of a victim of Hurricane Katrina were found Monday in a house in eastern New Orleans, 11 months after the storm hit, the Orleans Parish coroner's office said.
The discovery was made about 5:30 p.m. The Louisiana Family Assistance Center in Baton Rouge had received information from the woman's son that he believed she was still in her house, chief coroner's investigator John Gagliano said.
He did not release the names of the woman or her son. He said DNA tests will be used to determine if the bones belonged to the woman. Coroner's officials want to talk to the son before releasing his identity.
Coroner's officials along with firefighters and a search dog from Louisiana Search and Rescue went to 6144 S. Laverne St. The house was badly flooded after the storm, Gagliano said. With the dog's help, authorities found the bones under a pile of debris in a front bedroom.
"Furniture was shifted, and there was rubble all over the place," Gagliano said.