Last month, in a post titled "New Political Nemesis on the horizon", I wrote:
I'm sure if an Orleans Democrat like Cheryl Gray would run to displace Dollar Bill, the West Bank will find a reason to overwhelmingly support Derrick Shepherd's cousin [Byron Lee] over the liberal from the other parish.
As the July 9-11 qualifying period for the 2nd Congressional District race draws near, rumors were swirling this week that [Cheryl] Gray, a New Orleans Democrat, is being urged by supporters to join a growing list of challengers looking to take on embattled incumbent Rep. William Jefferson.
Gray could win, if she decides to run for Congress. (Helena Moreno stands to lose the most under this scenario.) If there's a (Democratic) runoff between her and Byron Lee, the race could turn incredibly nasty, and Lee would go after her on crime issues, the payraise vote, and all kinds of other stuff. But I think she could prevail over Lee (and political advisor Jim Carvin). No small feat.
But Gray has such a bright future ahead of her, does she really want to get mixed up in all that, right now?
Jindal repeats right wing talking point about oil spillage after Katrina/Rita
Below is the copied text of an email YRHT reader joejoejoe sent me, with slight edits. It relates to the ubiquitous and misleading right-wing talking point that there were no "major" oil spills after Katrina and Rita (even though the cumulative toll of all the many "minor" spills equaled at least seven MAJOR spills) . Big thanks to joejoejoe for his research. ===
Atrios posted on Gov. Jindal repeating the false statement that "that’s one of the great unwritten success stories, after Katrina and Rita, these awful storms, no major spills." and wondered what the origin was of the idea that there were no spills. So I asked myself...
Q: What is the origin of the idea that there were no spills during Katrina and Rita?
A: It was a PR campaign from the American Petroleum Institute.
I googled the ("no oil spills" + Katrina) and ("no spills" + Katrina) to find my answer.
And the industry's trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, has purchased seven ads in The Post so far this year, compared with none last year.
Chevron and Exxon Mobil increased their ad spending in the third quarter of this year at the New York Times, the newspaper company reported in its earnings call last week.
"You still have 100 hours of press time on any oil spill versus a tiny blurb or nothing at all if a company spends hundreds of millions on pollution control," said Lyle Brinker, an analyst for the John S. Herold Inc. energy research firm. "Sometimes, they just throw up their hands. The best thing they can do is keep the debate focused on educating the public."
Red Cavaney, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said the ads partially are designed to correct no-longer-true misperceptions about his industry. For instance, he said, even though 90 percent of the Gulf Coast drilling platforms and refineries were hit by either Katrina or Rita, there were no oil spills.
The industry's ads range from simple conservation messages to those that attempt to re-brand the oil companies as something else.
The definitive MMS study did not come until August '06 but the NOAA but Incidentnews.gov ( the website maintained by NOAA's Emergency Response Division which "has responded to virtually every major marine spill in the U.S.") listed no fewer than 15 incident response reports related to Hurricane Rita , 28 incident response reports related to Hurricane Katrina in LA, and 16 incident response reports related to Hurricane Katrina in MS & AL. All of these incident reports were public and known to the oil industry prior to the American Petroleum Institute PR campaign begun in October 2005.
More than three weeks after Katrina came ashore in Louisiana, the Coast Guard says the storm's surges and winds unleashed at least 40 oil spills -- 10 of which are major -- from ruptured pipelines and battered oil-storage facilities. In total, at least 193,000 barrels of oil and other petrochemicals were blown or driven by tides across the fragile marshy ecosystems and populated areas of the Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, southeast of New Orleans. The spills, the largest ever loss of oil in the state, approach the scale of the famous 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker spill, which dumped 240,000 barrels of crude oil in the fish-rich waters of Alaska's Prince William Sound.
One month later the American Petroleum Institute rolled out a PR campaign saying there were no spills.
The comprehensive MMS report one year later confirmed in a one definitive report what all the contemporary accounts from neutral sources said all along -- there were many serious oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.
WASHINGTON - When hurricanes Katrina and Rita swept across the Gulf of Mexico last year, they destroyed scores of offshore oil and gas rigs, damaged hundreds of pipelines and spilled 741,384 gallons of petroleum products into the sea, federal records show.
A damage assessment released this week by the U.S. Minerals Management Service said the largest of the spills poured about 76,000 gallons of condensate, a toxic form of liquefied gas, into Gulf waters.
Initially overlooked during news of the storms' human toll, the offshore leaks could become an important consideration when Congress resumes debate next month on legislation that would spread energy exploration into the eastern Gulf, closer to the shores of Florida.
Many members of Congress supported a House-passed energy bill on the argument that offshore drilling would pose little risk to clean waters and beaches. They pointed to assurances from drilling advocates that production in the western Gulf had withstood major hurricanes with little or no pollution.
I know you know all of this stuff but I just wanted to share that API PR campaign story and vent with a little bit of context. This "no spills" lie seems to be key to a central issue in a Presidential election -- increasing oil drilling offshore -- so I think it's worth harping on a bit. Thanks for hearing me out!
... Note - This is wild-arsed speculation but doesn't the Mississippi River act like a big spigot to keep the oil from washing ashore along Gulf Coast? Last time I checked FL and CA don't have giant rivers that push the oil back out to sea. Maybe a hydrologist or hypnotist or whoever studies this junk has the answers. I sure don't! ===
Characterizing sex offenders as monsters, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed legislation Wednesday that would force convicted rapists and others to undergo chemical castration. ... Jindal signed Senate Bill 144 into law on the day that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Louisiana cannot execute people who rape children under the age of 12.
The governor blasted the high court’s decision.
“I am especially glad to sign (SB144) into Louisiana law... on the same day the Supreme Court has made an atrocious ruling against our state’s ability to sentence those who sexually assault our children to the fullest extent,” he said.
Jindal, Louisiana's whiz kid, says he wants to "amend [the Louisiana] statute to maintain death as a penalty" for such horrific crimes, but so far he has refused to consider lethal injection through the testicles as an appropriate punishment.
Why? Doesn't he understand what these monsters do to our children? Doesn't he understand the "evil" that they do? Why should they get to die like a run-of-the-mill murderer? Position the gurney upside down, legs akimbo, and if the monster makes an allusion to St. Peter break his f*ckin' jaw. Then inject that demonic scrotum with several needles and fill it with potassium chloride.
Now that's what I call deterrence.
=== Actually, I happen to oppose the death penalty, but then I guess I'm soft on child rape and murder. I don't understand "evil", like my conservative friends.
I've done a lot of bashing on former N.O. mayoral candidate Rob Couhig over the years, but not this time. I'm really not outraged by his comments (and silences) in this column by Stu Bykofsky. Sure, you can read into this cryptic passage, if you want to
This came in response to me asking if it is wise to rebuild the entire city.
To the same question, lawyer Couhig gave me an answer as long as a Ryan Howard home run, but didn't directly answer.
"You're saying 'no,' aren't you?" I asked.
Couhig didn't reply, but he smiled. I guess there are some things that you don't want to be quoted as passing through your lips.
But Couhig's not saying anything new here. It's the same ole "Up by your bootstraps , welftards" schtick. Couhig wants to cut taxes and draw some non-buffoons to the city, and thinks that will make everything super keen. Oh, and he wants to do something about the darn insurance problem but never connects that to better levees and coastal restoration because those things involve the government.
Couhig is pretty much a nincompoop, but I'm not going to criticize him for implying that the entire city shouldn't be rebuilt, because, hey, Mitch Landrieu said the same thing, much more forthrightly, in the same article:
Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, 47, told me that if the levees are rebuilt to provide 500-year protection, the city should be entirely rebuilt.
Mitch has been endlessly attacked by Couhig (the Nagin enabler) for being indecisive. But here, unlike Couhig, Mitch concisely answers the tough question and states that New Orleans should not be entirely rebuilt without 500 year flood protection. (This statement is a pretty good indication that he's not going to run for Mayor again in 2010.)
Five hundred year flood protection? When the hell is THAT ever going to happen? I mean, nearly three years after the storm, we are still begging and hoping to get additional billions so that USACE can complete so-called100 year flood protection by 2011. As Gov. Jindal rightly notes, that's what the city was promised back in the 1960's. Even so, the current terms in the latest supplemental bill for levee "improvements" are unaffordable. I'll be pleasantly shocked if USACE actually meets the 2011 deadline. (Matt McBride pointed out that the Corps has further delayed the recent construction contracts for the permanent pump stations, which likely won't be complete until the 2013 storm season). But even if USACE does somehow meet the 2011 deadline, and even if there are no catastrophic engineering mistakes embedded in their work... the "finished" product would still only protect New Orleans from weak CATEGORY 3 hurricane flooding!*
I've said it all before, manytimes. New Orleans and South Louisiana need a large Federal commitment to serious flood protection-- at least Cat 4 levees, plus a massive coastal wetlands restoration. This will be expensive. (Also, it's a liberal solution.) However, without these commitments, New Orleanians will not survive. The long term risks of living here will be deemed unacceptable, and a vicious cycle will develop where insurance will drive up the cost of living, people will leave, services will languish, the tax base will erode, and more people will leave ... etc. Rinse, repeat. The efforts of self-reliant individuals working heroically to rebuild their homes and neighborhoods will all be for naught if a lack of flood protection makes this area uninsurable, and economically inviable. (Assuming, of course, another strong hurricane doesn't flood the city first.)
So, basically, as things now stand, New Orleans will have to get lucky in order for it to die slowly.
And I'm not smiling... but some are.
--- * Yes I understand that using hurricane "Categories" to discuss flood protection is inaccurate, but this is a post about politics, not science. The rest of the country understands hurricanes in terms of Categories.
President Bush delivered a long-awaited speech on his plan to stem the genocide in Darfur. During three years of international hand-wringing, hundreds of thousands had died and millions had been displaced in waves of violence that showed no signs of abating. The hope was that this speech would be a beginning to the end of the suffering.
No stranger to dramatic symbols, Bush chose to appear at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., during a weeklong observation of Holocaust Remembrance. Several survivors attended, including Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, and Bush addressed them directly: 'You who have survived evil know that the only way to defeat it is to look it in the face and not back down.'
Then came the call to action: 'It is evil we are now seeing in Sudan--and we're not going to back down.'
As Bush began to outline his plan for Darfur, however, what began as a battle cry quickly turned into just another hollow threat.
Stay with me now, and read this excerpt from a SPLC article about Turkey's attempts to , lobby against official recognition of the Armenian genocide.
"The overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide — hundreds of independent scholars, who have no affiliations with governments, and whose work spans many countries and nationalities and the course of decades — is consistent," the International Association of Genocide Scholars stated in a 2005 letter to the Turkish government.
"The scholarly evidence reveals the following: On April 24, 1915, under cover of World War I, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic genocide of its Armenian citizens — an unarmed Christian minority population. More than a million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture, and forced death marches. The rest of the Armenian population fled into permanent exile. Thus an ancient civilization was expunged from its homeland of 2,500 years."
Despite this clear consensus of experts, Turkey exerts political leverage and spends millions of dollars in the United States to obfuscate the Armenian genocide, with alarming success even at the highest levels of government. Lobbyists on the Turkish payroll stymied a Congressional resolution commemorating the genocide last fall by convincing lawmakers to reverse their stated positions. Even President Bush flip-flopped [having campaigned in 2000 to push for official recognition of the Armenian genocide]. ... "The last thing Congress should be doing is deciding the history of an empire [the Ottoman empire] that doesn't even exist any more," said President Bush.
Why is that the "last thing" Congress should be doing? I thought the "last thing" Congress should ever do is get rolled by a radical Administration who appropriates lies from a chronic Iraqi fraudster (now a fast food frycook in Europe) in order to create a pretext for a trillion dollar war of choice. But you'll have to forgive me, I'm sorta liberal that way.
Anyway, back to "evil". We must confront it.
Conservatives complain that liberals don't have a firm grasp on "evil", and therefore don't recognize it, and don't confront it. Therefore, shouldn't they want us to get a handle on the history of evil, if we are to understand it better?
Recently, K Lo from the Cornah cited Bobby Jindal's essay on "Spiritual Warfare" (and exorcism) as evidence of his recognition of evil. Apparently a "recognition of evil" combined with deep faith is enough to get one's moral compass stamped with a Good Warmaking Seal of Approval.
So Jindal, like Bush, recognizes the reality of evil. Ok. Back to the SPLC article:
While Turkish officials made threats, lobbyists paid by Turkey delivered money to congressmen in the form of campaign and political action committee donations. Louisiana representative Bobby Jindal (a Republican who's now Louisiana's governor) and Mississippi representative Roger Wicker (now a Republican senator representing that state) both dropped their sponsorship of the resolution and began speaking against it — but only after receiving around $20,000 each from former congressmen Bob Livingston, a Republican, and Richard Gephardt, a Democrat, who now work for lobbying firms contracted by Turkey to oppose any recognition of the Armenian genocide.
Bam. Swirl that around in your mouth for a bit.
I know that flip-flopping on legislative pay raises maddens the electorate like nothing else, but isn't flip-flopping on genocide bad too? (And yes, I see that Gephardt is also mentioned-- however, I'm not the one saying Gephardt "understands the reality of evil" because... he saw Malachai in a corn field when he was a young man, or some such nonsense.)
Now, did that man also correctly perceive evil? Did he just wildly overreact? Did he in fact kill a demon-possessed child? How are we to know? (Make it a hypothetical if you need to. Add or subtract some details. I'm just trying to use an extreme example to make a point.) Most would say "of course not". But why? How are we to know for sure? Isn't it a possibility, for those who believe in demonic possession? Granted, the man waged "spiritual warfare" in a hideous and criminal manner, but did he correctly perceive evil in the toddler, as Jindal perceived an evil demon in his friend Susan?
=== Also, it's becoming clear that Jindal has done a fair amount of religious writing describing the various times in his youth when his female friends helped him deepen his faith in Catholic God. Everyone knows about Susan and the demon (btw, what is Jindal's former best friend up to these days?). But this surprisingly informative Details profile of Jindal introduces us to "Kathy", as well:
When Bobby Jindal was 12, a Southern Baptist friend named Kent gave him a paperback Bible for Christmas. ... The Bible went into a closet [unread], and might have remained there had Jindal not sneaked away with a girl from a high-school dance at a Baton Rouge hotel.
Jindal and the girl, Kathy, slipped off to the rooftop and talked about their futures. She aimed to be a Supreme Court justice, she told him, so that she could stop people from “killing babies.” Her passion astonished Jindal. “While she could not reply to any one of my arguments for abortion,” he later wrote, “I could not help but be amazed by her genuine compassion and innocence. . . . Kathy’s sincere convictions showed me an aspect of Christianity I had never encountered before.”
Thus began Jindal’s conversion to Catholicism, an epic process into which he funneled all his trademark energies, intellectual and otherwise.
According to K-Lo, Jindal's account of Susan's demonic possession demonstrates his recognition of the reality of evil in the world. And according to the Details piece, Jindal's eventual conversion to Catholicism was prompted by Kathy's "sincere convictions".
Lord knows that my teenage interactions with girls (when they occurred) were not free of embarrassment. But it's interesting how freely Jindal describes these episodes in publications.
I'm starting to think Megan and Moe's dialogue about Bobby and Susan the Possessed is not just deliciously funny, but very close to the truth of the matter.
I tuned into "Rush Radio" for two minutes yesterday, and heard this exchange, and immediately thought "boy, I bet Media Matters will pick this up" (which they did). However, they didn't highlight the phrase that jumped out at me. From the transcript
LIMBAUGH: -- ...There is an answer to your -- basic question is, "Why don't the Democrats say, 'To hell with you, you wacko nuts in the base,' like Republicans do?"
LIMBAUGH: The -- there's a complicated answer to this and I'm going to have answer some of it in the monologue in the next hour, but one of the simple answers that will require some elaboration is that a lot of money is coming from these kooks -- and I'm not talking about just the blacks -- I'm talking about a whole kook-fringe base because George Soros is running it --
CALLER: It's true.
The Democrat wacko nut kook fringe base is not "just the blacks", according to Rush. Good to know. Good to know.
1. Eagle-eyed viewers of last night's "The Late Show with David Letterman" might've recognized Mr. Clio sitting in the front row of the audience. I don't know if he got a chance to handle the bag of "Martian Ice" that was passed around, but I'm sure he'll tell us soon.
Charlize Theron was the first guest. She looked great, as Letterman repeatedly pointed out. Richard Belzer talked a lot about himself and George Carlin. And Motley Crue performed something off their Saints of Los Angeles cd.
2. Journalist Chris Tidmore-- Vitter exposer extraordinaire-- sends back a video from Mos Eisley (H/T Flaming Liberal).
I have one petty little quibble with Dave Walker's tribute to "counterculture quasar" George Carlin. (And if I release it into the blogosphere, it won't bother me anymore.) Walker begins his T-P column by saying:
Somewhere -- maybe a closet, most likely a landfill -- there is a reel-to-reel audiotape of George Carlin performing on "The Flip Wilson Show" in the early 1970s.
Where lawmakers have failed, Gov. Bobby Jindal must lead. He must veto this mess of a [pay raise] bill. ... Jindal, in now-trademark fashion, is ducking the press and the public on this issue while saying "no" to voters through his press secretary. ... Why won't Jindal "man up" and do the right thing? Simple: He cut a political deal, and now he feels a misplaced sense of honor to uphold it. What else is the public to conclude when the young governor issues a press release saying he won't block a legislative pay raise — and the next day the Senate Finance Committee restores $110 million that the House had stripped from his budget? Ironically, some of those "restored" funds include massive pay scales for top Jindal appointees.
In politics, one hand washes the other while the voters get soaked. That's business as usual in Louisiana — the kind of business Jindal promised to eliminate.
The governor has two weeks to do the right thing, which means voters have two weeks to pound him with calls and emails. ... And if he doesn't, then throw him out in 2011...
Just so we're clear: the "Next Ronald Reagan" apparently cut a deal with legislators and allowed them to boost their pay so he could increase government spending, and lavish giant salaries upon his top appointees.
After endorsing Jindal for Governor, the Gambit Weekly began criticizing his administration almost immediately after inauguration. Moreover, in February, Gambit editor Clancy Dubos wrote a blog post, saying:
What’s becoming obvious is that Governor Jindal, who promised us [an ethical] “gold standard,” actually wants to give us a “double standard” — one for himself and his cronies, and another for everybody else.
All of this reminds me of a piece of wisdom I got years ago from my old friend Jim Carvin, the dean of Louisiana political media consultants, who said, “In Louisiana, ‘reform’ means cutting out somebody else’s piece of the pie.” How true.
Why do pundits like Clancy keep such timeless "wisdom" preserved until after an election?
Dr. Ashley Morris wrote a comment mocking Clancy'sThe Gambit's endorsement of Jindal, and Clancy responded by noting a column he wrote prior to the election, where he chided Jindal for not having more debates with an "industrial janitor from Arabi", a "rich guy who multiplied his millions by hawking cigarettes and video poker", and a "piney woods populist".
A few weeks earlier, a Gambit Weekly cover story titled "Geek Appeal" stated:
[Jindal's] campaign is so tightly organized that one could easily foresee it morphing into something more than a one-time political run. It could become a movement.
At the core of this movement, if that's what it is, lies a generational shift that has anointed Jindal as its leader. ... Jindal's youthful zeal plays to the [age 26-46] demographic... right alongside his impassioned calls for reform.
So, after The Gambit Weekly endorsed Jindal and his "movement" last fall, he has already disappointed them so thoroughly that they are telling us to "throw him out"-- 40 months from now, in late 2011.
I guess that gives us lots of time to ask questions like: "Who will watch the watchdogs, and who will reform the 'reformers', next election?" "Will a 'true conservative' run to the right of Jindal, and make the pay raise blunder a centerpiece of his or her attacks?"
I'm sort of reminded of Pappy "pass the biscuits" O'Daniel*, the former Governor of Texassippi, who unmasked an egghead "reform" candidate who was challenging him around the time of a great flood. There was a hit song back then called... called... I think it was called "reform biscuit," or something like that. The kids sure seemed to love it, that one summer. Perhaps I'm confused. (My history is a little fuzzy due to my politically correct public schooling, which deprived me of the "best" theories. )
"Did you ever hear of a wish sandwich?"
--- * LBJ learned to rig elections and do archconservative radio rants from Pappy.
The Louisiana Legislature sent Gov. Bobby Jindal a $29.9 billion state operating budget Saturday that includes extra pay for teachers and school support workers. ... Jindal initially proposed a $30.1 billion budget that emphasized workforce training, a literacy program and other initiatives.
His plan was larger than the budget his predecessor, former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, proposed for the current spending year. ... The state’s portion of the spending through the general fund actually increased 12 percent.
The budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30 wound up being $34.4 billion once federal recovery money was added in throughout the year.
For example, state general fund spending actually is expected to be $1 billion greater in the upcoming fiscal year than in the current year.
State Rep. Karen Peterson, D-New Orleans, warned lawmakers to be truthful, noting that next year’s budget is less because of the reduction in federal hurricane aid.
“Don’t misstate the facts,” she said.
As if on cue, Gov. Bobby Jindal-- who invited voters to join him in a "war against out of control government spending"-- is now celebrating "a new era in fiscal discipline". In his piece, published in the Louisiana Weekly, Jindal doesn't mention the legislative pay raise elephant in the room, which makes it a very entertaining read.
For decades, Louisiana has been subject to out-of-control spending - looking for ways to spend your hard-earned money to create new programs, waste it on pet projects, and dedicate other monies to put a future burden on taxpayers. ... In the New Louisiana, we are introducing a new era of fiscal discipline by eliminating wasteful spending that does not address our state's priorities. ... We have focused on six areas of fiscal reform that are getting our state spending under control and giving us more flexibility to invest in priorities for our state's future. As a result, we submitted a budget that reduces spending by $4.2 billion - or 12 percent less - than the current budget, eliminates 1,465 unnecessary state jobs, cuts wasteful spending, and uses surplus dollars to fund necessary one-time spending projects throughout the state. ... The importance of fiscal discipline and saving has never been of greater importance to the future of Louisiana. Despite recent increases in state revenue from record oil prices and recovery-related income and expenditures, economists expect that these conditions will soon level out, resulting in a projected deficit by the year 2010. ... As Governor, I recognize that one of my greatest responsibilities is to ensure that our money is spent responsibly and in a way that promotes short and long-term economic growth. By doing so, our New Louisiana truly will become a place where our children can pursue and realize their dreams.
Republican leaders should take a closer look at what is happening [in Louisiana]. On the major planks of fiscal conservatism, less government spending and lower taxes, Jindal has not governed as a conservative. The initial budget he submitted to the Legislature was larger than his liberal predecessor. Even though the state budget is surging, fueled by rising oil and gas royalties and a large surplus, Jindal had to be dragged "kicking and screaming" to the bargaining table to give taxpayers a minimal income tax reduction. While the small [Stelly] tax cut will not take effect until 2009, the legislative pay raise will begin July 1, 2008. ... The reality is that this Governor has no conservative clothes. His admirers from afar can tout his conservative credentials all they want, but the citizens of Louisiana, who have witnessed his fumbling of the pay raise issue, know the truth.
The truth is that his conservative accomplishments are really not there, just like the emperor’s clothes.
Sure, there's people I could mourn or mock this morning...
But instead I'd rather tell you about the random song that popped into my head. On Saturday, I began singing the chorus to Scatterbrain's "Don't Call Me Dude". I did it so much, that I got Pearlgirl singing it as well. It's sort of funny when a four year old says: "Hey Dude! Don't Call Me Dude!"
The first time, anyway.
related (and yes, plenty of youtubers have combined these clips).