Category Archives: Gret Stet Politics

Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, R.I.P.

The first, and thus far only, woman elected Governor of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, has died at the age of 77 after a long battle with cancer. It’s often forgotten that Blanco was a strong, effective, and popular Governor on her way to re-election until Hurricane Katrina struck. It was a life changing event for all concerned and, unfortunately, led eventually to the election of Bobby Jindal who ran the state into the ground.

Much of the post-K criticism of Blanco was unfair. The storm was expected to hit the Florida panhandle until the 10 PM advisory on August 26. There wasn’t much time to prepare for a massive evacuation but it could have gone far worse. It *was* a mess but most of that was down to panicky and inept New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin. The subsequent flood was a federal affair.

The Bush administration, in conjunction with Nagin, chose Blanco as their political patsy. That was made obvious when the White House made Karl Rove its Katrina point man. Turd Blossom left his partisan stink all over the recovery effort and our Democratic Governor took the fall for Bush and Nagin’s mistakes. She stood her ground and won many battles, but lost the PR war.

Kathleen Blanco was a kind, compassionate, empathetic, and warm human being. She was “pro-life” but, unlike our current Governor, insisted that there be exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother in an anti-choice bill passed by the lege during her term as Governor. Her record otherwise was sterling, big-hearted, and liberal for a Blue Dog Democrat.

Blanco’s reputation has grown since leaving office. She was so effective in her dealings with the lunkheads in the lege that she earned the nickname, The Queen Bee. And the term steel magnolia seemed to have been invented for his charming, kindly but tough woman.

Other than shaking her hand at a public event, I never had the chance to meet Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, so I’m linking to three friends who had the pleasure of her acquaintance: Bob Mann, Clancy DuBos, and Lamar White Jr.

Finally, it was a rough weekend in New Orleans. Beloved local anchorwoman, Nancy Parker, died in an airplane crash while doing a story on the pilot. I’ve enjoyed her work over her 26 years as lead co-anchor at WVUE, but I’m a WWL news viewer. It’s a tribute to Parker that the competition has devoted so much airtime honoring her. Like Kathleen Blanco, Nancy Parker was famous for being nice. They will both be missed.

What Do You Say, Dean Baquet?

The tweet below is the first thing I saw this morning. It was shared by Picvocate columnist Stephanie Grace and she found the whole thing as baffling as I did:

Here’s the deal: Edwin Edwards was a corrupt pol whose greed brought him down. But his “inflammatory comments” were nothing like those of the Insult Comedian. The one above is self-deprecating: does anyone recall Donald Trump ever mocking himself? That’s because the joke is *always* at the expense of someone he’s out to attack and smear. And he usually kicks down, not up.

One of the harshest things Edwin Edwards ever said about an opponent was in 1983: “Dave Treen is so slow that it takes him an hour and a half to watch Sixty Minutes.”

That’s a far cry from calling people crooked, traitors, and the other stuff that comes out of Trump’s big fat bazoo and pops up on his twitter feed. That’s why I call him the Insult Comedian.

Edwin Edwards was the first Gret Stet Governor to treat black folks as full citizens. They were his electoral base, not red-hatted racists. In fact, Trump is more like the man Edwards defeated in 1991: David Duke.

Perhaps Dean Baquet has been away from Louisiana so long that he “misremembered” the nature of Fast Eddie’s outrageousness. I suggest that he read John Maginnis’ brilliant account of the Edwards-Duke race from hell: Cross To Bear. Hell, Baquet should talk to fellow Gret Stet native and Timesman Charles Blow. He gets it.

Donald Trump is a boorish crooked racist. Edwin Edwards is a charming crook but not a racist.

Dean Baquet should be ashamed of this lame excuse for his paper’s disgusting headline about Trump’s perfunctory white supremacy speech. Baquet can and should do better.

I Can’t Stand The Rain

I’m a slacker pundit. I’ve opted out of watching this week’s cattle call debates. I have better things to do with my time than watch no-hoper John Delaney engage in a shout fest with Bernie Sanders. Doesn’t Delaney know that nobody outshouts Bernie?

I guess I’m sorry that I missed Marianne Williamson say “yadda, yadda, yadda” but I can watch the clips. I actually apologized to my readers in advance of the first round and it applies to tonight as well:

Repeat after me: debates don’t matter, especially early ones. Kamala Harris had her moment, then it receded because it’s simply too early to matter. Besides, if debates really mattered, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton would have been elected Oval Ones. When it comes to debates, I’m a mattering nabob of negativism. Holy shit, I just paraphrased Spiro Agnew and William Safire.

In hyper-local news, I start jury duty tomorrow. It’s been a long time. The last time was during September 2001. That’s right: I was in the jury lounge at Tulane Avenue when the twin towers toppled. The pace at Criminal District Court slowed to a crawl. I recall participating in only one voir dire that month. I’m hoping this August will be slow as well but for less dramatic reasons.

The rains keep coming in New Orleans. It’s gotten to the point that street flooding is a commonplace event. It used to happen every so often but now it’s a monthly, even weekly event thereby proving that climate change is a hoax. #sarcasm.

Dr. A and I are officially afraid of the rain. Our car perished in a flash flood when she was on her way to work a few weeks ago. It was totaled by the insurance company and we bought a new used car with the money. I guess one could call it a re-owned vehicle or some such shit.

The big buzz in Gret Stet state politics is a teevee ad by a hitherto obscure Republican candidate who is always described by the Gret Stet MSM as a “major donor” so I’ll follow suit.

Major Donor Eddie Rispone has pledged his troth to the Insult Comedian:

It’s amazing what one can do with sound FX:  Major Donor Rispone’s head is so firmly lodged up the Trumpian rump that it should sound muffled. Instead, it’s as clear as an Acadian bell.

I must confess that I’m disappointed that Major Donor Rispone did not holler “lock her up” or” send them back.” But hope springs eternal since his campaign has bought $5 million worth of teevee time.

The other Republican challenger to the Other Governor Edwards (there’s only one Edwin) is Doctor/Congressman Ralph Abraham. He’s a weasel and a dull one to boot. Lamar White Jr. has devoted considerable energy to exposing Doc Abraham as a phony at the Bayou Brief.

Before continuing, a musical interlude featuring the Original Abraham who, now that I think of it, was something of an amateur surgeon:

A shirtless, tattooed Albino rock star is the stuff of GOP nightmares. Holy Culture War, Batman.

The one-two punch of Major Donor Rispone and Doc Abraham has had the result of adding to the Other Governor Edwards’ support among pro-choice Democrats. I declared myself a clothespin Edwards voter two months ago; as bad as he is on abortion rights, he’s much better than the competition on everything else. If Major Donor Rispone weren’t against gay marriage, he’d propose to Trumpberius. It seems to be true love.

It’s time to circle back to the post title. The last word goes to Ann Peebles, Tina Turner, and Paul Rodgers:

 

Tweet Of The Day: Nihilistic Neelyism Edition

I wrote a piece for the Bayou Brief last year about Neelyisms, which are the cornpone sayings of the Junior Senator from the Gret Stet of Louisiana, John Neely Kennedy. He’s at it again.

Neely went on the Tucker Carlson Xenophobia Hour and called the Squad, “the four horsewomen of the apocalypse.” There was a follow-up tweet from this twit:

What the hell does the “directions on a shampoo bottle” thing even mean? Is he concussed or is it brain damage caused by his mindless defense of the Insult Comedian? Most Neelyisms make *some* sense, this one does not. He’s as crankily incoherent as Hopper in Stranger Things 3. It’s what comes of defending the indefensible.

As a silent film history buff, I got a kick out of the anachronistic reference to this classic movie, which was based on biblical lore:

I’m not sure many people got the reference but Mr. Google is there to provide guidance. I hope he led people to the 1921 original, not the 1962 remake, a film so bad that even the great Vincente Minnelli couldn’t rescue it. It was such a dog that it’s still barking. Holy shit, that sounded like Dog Hating Donald. Apologies.

It’s no revelation to think that Neely was actually referring to The Bible, but it’s more fun to riff on old movies than armageddon. That’s not my scene, y’all. Besides, if anyone is bringing on the apocalypse, it’s Neely and his president*, not AOC and the Squad.

The last word goes to the Clash:

 

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Right Place, Wrong Time

Swing Landscape by Stuart Davis.

I finished this post before hearing the terrible news about Our Della Street. I usually apply another layer of polish before publishing but I wasn’t feeling it. If it’s disjointed, so be it. Apologies to our late night Odds & Sods readers, I wanted my Della tribute to be at the top until 8-ish. She would have insisted.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming:

A wee cool front hit New Orleans this week. It’s still hot but not as muggy. It’s nice to step outside without breaking into an insta-sweat. It’s a minor triumph but we’ll take what we can get. It will be gone just in time for the weekend. So it goes.

The big local story comes from St. Tammany Parish. It used to be country but morphed into white flight suburbia in the late 20th Century. It’s the most Republican parish in the Gret Stet and its residents are wont to lecture us depraved city folk about morals and crime. They should knock it off. Former St. Tammany Sheriff Jack Strain was arrested this week on rape and incest charges. He spent several nights in the jail he ran for 20 years. Schadenfreude thy name is Adrastos.

I still have the late Dr. John on my mind so this week’s theme song is his biggest hit: Right Place, Wrong Time. He wrote it for his 1973 album In The Right Place, which was something of a New Orleans musical summit meeting. It was produced by Allen Toussaint and The Meters were Mac’s backing band on the album.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the original studio recording and a 1996 teevee performance with Eric Clapton.

I’m desitively confused by this song. I actually called it Right Time, Wrong Place when discussing Our Mac with my barber the other day. Mac’s penchant for malaprops seems to be contagious even for a man of my edumaction. Let’s jump to the break before I get even more tongue twisted.

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Louisiana Tunes: An Unexpected Fan

I shouldn’t still be going on about my Top 50 list at the Bayou Brief BUT I have an unexpected fan:

I’m glad the Senator or whoever does his social media (it also turned up on Twitter) enjoyed the list. I somehow doubt they know that the Bayou Brief is a liberal publication or that I’m a pro-impeachment blogger who calls his president* the Insult Comedian and the Kaiser of Chaos. Thanks, Double Bill.

Since the river is dangerously high in Baton Rouge, the last word goes to John Boutte’s live version of the number one Louisiana Tune:

Louisiana Goddam

I was hoping not to have to write this post but the Gret Stet lege has joined with Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri to pass a so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill. Compounding the horror is the failure to include exceptions for rape and incest. It’s the latest frontal assault on Roe vs. Wade since the Kavanaugh appointment.

Making matters worse is that a Democratic Governor who I voted for and support on other issues, John Bel Edwards, signed the bill into law. I am disappointed but not shocked as he never hid his views. I had hoped, however, that his anti-abortion views were not this extreme.  I wish he had at least given lip service to the aforementioned exceptions. That’s what happened when Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed anti-choice legislation back in 2006. There was even a Gret Stet miracle in 1990 when Gov. Buddy Roemer vetoed an anti-abortion bill. There are no miracles in 2019.

Here’s what the Governor said about his decision:

I strongly disagree that this is a common garden variety disagreement. The fundamental issue is respect for women and their right to control their own destiny. It’s a dark day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

Louisiana liberals are on the horns of a dilemma. Here’s my personal plan: I will vote for Edwards but it will be a clothespin vote. I will not actively support Edwards and will not argue with people who cannot support him because of this dreadful bill. I completely understand why they feel that way and respect their views.

Unfortunately, Edwards is the best we can do in deep red Louisiana. Any Republican will be much, much worse. The lesser of two evils rule is depressingly in effect.

Goddam Louisiana, goddam.

Deluded Tweet Of The Day: Double Bill Cassidy Edition

My Senators are always up to something, but never anything good. The scary thing is that Double Bill Cassidy is worse than Neely. The latter is at least entertaining whereas Dr. Bill has his head so far up Trump’s ass that he hasn’t seen daylight since 2016.

In this tweet, Cassidy claims to be a key adviser to Trump on health care issues:

This is something to brag about? The Insult Comedian has probably asked Double Bill to inspect his ass for hemorrhoids. His head is always nearby, after all. Just give the fucker some Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and move on, Doc.

The last word goes to Double Bill’s constituents the Radiators:

Tweet Of The Day: Gret Stet Sycophant Edition

The Insult Comedian was in the Gret Stet of Louisiana yesterday for an event in Lake Charles and a fundraiser in Jefferson Parish. The Metry shebang caused major traffic snarls and gave local commuters another reason to loathe the First Criminal.

When Trump landed at Armstrong Airport he was greeted by past malaka of the week and perennial frat boy, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser:

Actually, the Nungesser piece was entitled Gret Stet Grifter but it began life as a malaka of the week post. The man some call Bordello Billy is a poor man’s Trump. He claims to be a self-made man but his father was the longtime chairman of the Louisiana GOP. He’s a Lost Causer who could care less about stirring up fear and resentment. And, like his hero, Nungesser talks tough, but is a pussy who should grab himself.

Nungesser is a bully and as with all bullies, he’s willing to abase himself upon meeting a superior bully. The Trump hair socks were intended to mock the Kaiser of Chaos, not praise him. I’m only surprised the Lt. Goober didn’t bring his Trumpy Bear.

The last word goes to LSU Journalism Prof Bob Mann with this rock-em-sock-em tweet:

 

Tweet Of The Day: Pulitzer Prize Edition

The Advocate has won its first Pulitzer Prize. It’s not the first time a New Orleans newspaper has won a Pulitzer: the Times-Picayune won for its Hurricane Katrina/Federal Flood coverage. That was, of course, before that paper was hollowed out by its masters and transformed into the Zombie-Picayune.

Many former Picayune people are now with the Advocate. One of whom is my friend Gordon Russell who is the managing editor for investigations, and one of the winners of the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting. They won for a series about Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury system. It was reporting that made a difference as the voters abolished that Jim Crow relic last fall.

The tweet in question shows the paper’s New Orleans newsroom exploding with joy upon learning the news:

Congratulations to everyone at the Advocate for proving that local newspapers still matter. Well done, y’all.

Repeat after me: Not Everything Sucks.

Charles Blow On Political Folk Heroes

Donald Trump and Edwin Edwards in 1993. Photo via the Advocate.  

The Op-Ed page of the Failing New York Times gets a lot of abuse. While some of it is deserved, everyone should remember that Paul Krugman, Michelle Goldberg, Jamelle Bouie, and Charles Blow dispense wit and wisdom in their NYT columns. My focus today is on the man with the swell name, Charles Blow. The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind…

Mr. Blow is from the Gret Stet of Louisiana. He was born and raised in Gibsland in Bienville Parish and graduated from Grambling State University. He occasionally writes about his mother who still resides in Louisiana. He done it again in one of his most original and insightful columns thus far: Trumpism Extols Its Folk Hero.

Mr. Blow posits that, among the suckers who have fallen hardest for the con, Donald Trump has morphed from mere mortal to a legendary figure, a folk hero. For those of us who are immune to his snake oily charm, he’s an anti-hero.

Mr. Blow uses his mother’s affection for, and support of, 4 term Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards as an example of how a political folk hero can mesmerize their fans:

My mother is a devout Democrat, but also one of the most socially conservative people I know. This is typical of our home state of Louisiana among black citizens — they can be as conservative as any Republican, but are also completely convinced, by dint of history and experience, that the Republican Party not only abides racists, it courts them, and therefore they would die rather than vote red.

My mother is so austere that she never drank or partied in any way, except for the one time she told me that she went to a nightclub and tried a drink. She didn’t much like the dingy space or the bitter beverage, so she swore them both off.

She abhorred the showy, deeming it vulgar, so every single article of clothing in her closet was white, black, brown or navy blue. Red? Yellow? Green? God forbid.

And she was unshakable in her sense of moral rectitude, viewing sins like lying, gambling and philandering as absolute corruptions of character.

And yet, through my time growing up there and going to college there, she took a devilish pride in enthusiastically supporting and voting for the four-term Democratic governor, Edwin Edwards, a cocksure, gambling womanizer who would end up in federal prison in 2002 for bribery and extortion.

On the surface, it doesn’t make sense that my mother, who thought herself a moralist, would find a champion in a flaunting immoralist, but she did as did many other Louisiana voters. And I believe this was possible because Edwards achieved something that few politicians achieve: He transcended the political, and on some level even the rules of the workaday world, and entered the astral league of folk heroes.

The rules don’t apply to the folk hero. People don’t measure them by the same tape. Behavior that people would never condone in their personal lives, they relish in the folk hero.

Sorry for that epic quote but it’s too well-constructed to cut. Charles’ writing does not blow. And unlike the president* he’s not a blowhard.

Mr. Blow goes on to apply the rules of folk heroism to the Insult Comedian. I agree with his analysis as it explains the irrational, cult-like devotion to Trump among his shrinking base. I disagree, however, with his conclusion:

Anti-Trump forces must stop operating as if they are doing battle with a liar; they are doing battle with what his supporters have fashioned into a legend. How does one fight a fiction, a fantasy? That’s the question. Its answer is the path to America’s salvation.

What we have to do is to ignore hardcore Trumpers who are no more than 25-30% of likely voters. Trying to convert them is a waste of time: they’re fantasists who believe what they want to believe, which is that the Kaiser of Chaos is making America great again. They’re low information voters, trying to convert one’s crazy uncle who watches Fox News is futile. Shorter Adrastos: Fuck them.

A reminder that the GOP lost the midterms by 9 points nationally. Democrats need to keep our base as well as disaffected suburban voters mobilized and ready for action in 2020. If we do that, Trump will lose. Repeat after me: Trump’s only path to victory is to destroy his opponent. Believe me.

Pondering Charles Blow’s name has given me an earworm. The last word goes to McKinley Morganfield:

IOKIYAR: Gret Stet Of Louisiana Edition

There was a ridiculous flap in Gret Stet politics last week. LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron spoke at a fundraiser for incumbent Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards. Our old pal Senator John Neely Kennedy went batshit crazy. We present his tantrum  in two parts to capture its full lunacy. First, from an interview with the Zombie-Picayune:

“This is both-teeth-striped-down-to-the-marrow stupid,” Kennedy said in an interview with NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Friday afternoon. “He should not be endorsing Democrats, Republicans, socialists, communists, Hindus…”

It’s the Advocate’s turn to give Neely’s tirade a platform:

“I don’t want to watch LSU football and have to wonder if the coach is a Democrat or Republican. I’m so angry at this,” U.S. Sen. John Kennedy said during a five-minute diatribe on Baton Rouge radio Friday morning – a day after Orgeron introduced Edwards during a breakfast fundraising event. “It is a horrible mistake to politicize LSU and LSU football. I’m stunned that the candidate would even entertain, much less accept, the endorsement.”

What, no cornpone wisdom? A sound bite without a single Neelyism? The real reason that Neely and other GOPers were so upset is that neither of their challengers, Congressman Ralph Abraham and Red Stick tycoon Eddie Rispone, has caught on with the voters. It increasingly looks as if 2015’s dark horse candidate will be a shoo-in for re-election as Gret Stet Governor even without David Vitter as a foil.

It’s time to circle back to the post title. Anyone shocked to learn that Gret Stet GOPers are hypocrites on the subject of LSU football and politics? I would hope not.

Former Tigers head coach Les Miles and former Governor Bobby Jindal were as thick as thieves. Miles attended PBJ’s re-election victory celebration in 2011 as well as a reception after a fundraiser. The Mad Hatter even plugged PBJ’s doomed run for president. I survived these events with my LSU football fandom intact even though my hatred for PBJ is pure; the disgraced politician, not the sammich.

I *almost* dignified the GOP’s “substantive” objections by detailing them but, since Coach O cleared his appearance with the university, I will not. Instead, I’ll remind everyone that: It’s Okay If You’re A Republican:

Lost In The News

Transitioning out of the Mardi Gras bubble is always difficult. But there’s so much going on right now that I don’t quite know where to begin. I think a potpourri post full of quick one liners and, hopefully, pertinent observations is the best way to shake off the rust. Of course rust never sleeps so who knows if that will work? Only the Shadow or Neil Young know for sure. Hey, hey, my, my.

Stale News In Brief: I watched the Cohen hearing from gavel to gavel but had company that night for the Nyx parade so I couldn’t share any thoughts and/or pithy observations. I’ve been somewhat pithed about this momentary lapse of reason, which is why I’m writing about it a week later. Better late than never.

I had assumed that Cohen was a punk and a brain-dead doofus. I was right about the former but wrong about the latter. He was well-prepared, penitent, and surprisingly sharp in a street wise Lawn Guyland kinda way.

Cohen’s performance is proof positive that exposure to Donald Trump cuts people’s IQ’s in half. It’s one reason why the Kaiser of Chaos needs to go before we become a country of mouth-breathing morons who overuse the word very. Believe me.

Speaking of dumbassery, the performance of Oversight Committee GOPers was appalling. They’re the dumbest collection of congresscritters it has ever been my displeasure to observe. They were poorly prepared and dumber than a proverbial bag of rocks.

It *is* true that Cohen was a lying sack of shit in his days as Trump’s fixer. But that means that some of the shit leaked onto the president* for whom Cohen was lying. Gym Jordan and his gang of morons didn’t see it that way. Jordan makes Trey Gowdy look like Perry Mason as a cross-examiner. Oy, just oy.

The country saw Congressman Clay Higgins and learned what we in the Gret Stet of Louisiana have known all along: he’s a poser and a nitwit. He kept asking the same question over and over even though it had been “asked and answered” as the criminal law objection goes.

Higgins is a demagogue and dumbfuck of epic proportions. Additionally, his district director is an accused pimp.  It’s a pity that his name isn’t Willie. Jerod Prunty the Pimp doesn’t  have the same ring to it:

Investigation Mania: House Democrats are gearing up to get to the bottom of the plethora of Trump related scandals. The good news is that they can walk and chew gum at the same time as they’re passing a plethora of progressive legislation as well. It will all, of course, die in the Senate but it forces them to take unpopular stands against popular legislation such as gun background checks, which I believe even the ghost of Charlton Heston favors:

An interesting tidbit in the news is Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff hiring former SDNY prosecutor Daniel Goldman to spearhead his Russia investigation. Cable news viewers know him better as a telegenic teevee lawyer on MSNBC. The president* is bound to fear him because he’s been on the tube, which could have been a factor in Schiff making this hire. Goldman is also stone cold brilliant and knows his way around Russian mobsters and oligarchs. Watch out, Trumpy.

The Big Rebuke: There are enough votes in the Senate to shoot down the Insult Comedian’s fake emergency order. As of this writing, it’s not a veto proof majority BUT the fog of scandal continues to envelop the Trump regime. That, in turn, could lead more Senatorial rats to flee the USS Trump as it sinks in a sea of scandal. Holy mixed metaphor, Batman. Is it a fog or a sea of scandal? Actually, it’s both, which is a rare example of both-siderism on my part.

John Dean On Cohen: As a Watergate junkie, I would be remiss in not mentioning John Dean’s NYT op-ed article on the impact of being a star witness on the witness:

Mr. Cohen should understand that if Mr. Trump is removed from office, or defeated in 2020, in part because of his testimony, he will be reminded of it for the rest of his life. He will be blamed by Republicans but appreciated by Democrats. If he achieves anything short of discovering the cure for cancer, he will always live in this pigeonhole. How do I know this? I am still dealing with it.

Just as Mr. Nixon had his admirers and apologists, so it is with Mr. Trump. Some of these people will forever be rewriting history, and they will try to rewrite it at Mr. Cohen’s expense. They will put words in his mouth that he never spoke. They will place him at events at which he wasn’t present and locations where he has never been. Some have tried rewriting my life, and they will rewrite his, too.

Can I get a witness?

The last word goes to the late Marvin Gaye whose image will adorn a stamp to be released on April 2nd:

Tweet Of The Day: Louisiana 1993

The Insult Comedian is coming to the Gret Stet of Louisiana next week. He’ll be speaking at the Farm Bureau convention at the Morial Convention Center. Since New Orleans is one of the bluest cities in the country, there will be protesters. I may be among them.

That brings me to the tweet of the day. Thanks to my blogger buddy and Spank krewe mate, Noladishu, for sending this my way:

Trump’s casino bid crapped out.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Tangled Up In Blue

The Large Blue Horses by Franz Marc.

The weather has been wild and wacky in New Orleans. It was 80 degrees last weekend, then it plummeted to a day time high of 50 a mere two days later. It’s like being an extra in The Pit and The Pendulum. I have no idea what that means but it sounds good.

We had some car trouble this week. We convinced ourselves we might have major electrical issues. It turned out the car needed a new battery. Whew. Dr. A has named the new used car Hildy, after Rosalind Russell’s character in His Girl Friday. Neither Cary Grant nor Ralph Bellamy were consulted.

Am I allowed to brag? I promise not to go all Insult Comedian on your asses. The response to my Neelyisms: Translating Louisiana’s Junior Senator piece has been very favorable indeed. Thanks, y’all. I hope it will further one of my quirkier causes: getting people to stop calling him by his real name instead of my nickname for him. Repeat after me:  In politics, there’s only one John Kennedy, and his middle initial was F, not N. Just call him Neely.

This week’s theme song was written by Bob Dylan for his great 1975 album Blood on the Tracks. Tangled Up In Blue is one of my favorite Dylan tunes. It’s an almost foolproof song, which is why it has been covered so many times.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Dylan’s original, a 2017 cover by Joan Osborne, and a live version by the Jerry Garcia Band.

Now that we’re all tangled up, let’s jump to the break. I hope I can find my blue ripcord.

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Neelyisms At The Bayou Brief

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. In case you’re wondering what a Neelyism is, here’s a nifty definition:

Neelyism (noun): a scripted aphorism made by chronic kibitzer and soundbite machine Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

I’ve never created a noun before. I’m as proud as Octodad before he was thrown out the house.

You may have heard that Neely isn’t running for Gret Stet Goober. I was already compiling Neelyisms but his withdrawal made it a hot topic. Thanks, Senator.

I’m hoping my noun creation will lead others to refer to the Senator as Neely. In politics, there’s only one John Kennedy, and his middle initial was F, not N.

The last word goes to this splendid image created by my publisher, Lamar White Jr,. and the fine folks at the Bayou Brief:

Bayou Brief Briefs

My latest opinion piece for the Bayou Brief is online: The “Why Not Me” Syndrome. Here’s the blurb my editor/publisher, Lamar White Jr., wrote for it:

Peter Athas argues that in the age of Trump, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has a compelling reason to look at the presidency and think, “Why not me?”

Lamar did some snazzy editing too. I particularly liked the Cheat Sheet to my Louisiana Lexicography. Gracias, amigo.

Speaking of Lamar, he’s made news as the guy who posted a video of Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith making a “joke” about hanging. It was neither funny nor a joke. It showed the Senator’s Miz Hyde side. Thanks to the Insult Comedian, open racism is back in fashion.

Follow this link to Lamar’s post at The Bayou Brief: Cindy Hyde-Smith Was Not Telling A Joke.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Running On Empty

Carnival Tryptich by Max Beckmann

It’s been an uneasy week in the Big Easy. There’s much outrage at the local utility company, Entergy, for hiring actors to attend City Council meetings. The company has made it worse by continuing to lie about it. It’s called Astroturfing, it’s not illegal it’s just sleazy. The more Entergy lies, the longer the story persists. Lying seems to be contagious in the age of Trump. Knock it off, y’all.

In other Gret Stet news, we’re voting on a constitutional amendment to end non-unanimous jury verdicts. Louisiana and Oregon are the only two states that have this system and we’re in a race for repeal. The odds are good that voters will end the practice next Tuesday: there’s broad bi-partisan support for the change. It’s good when the Gret Stet good guys win one. In fact, it’s great. Hopefully, that Tony the Tiger-ish sentiment will help LSU when they play Alabama tonight. Geaux Tigers.

This week’s theme song, Running On Empty, was written and recorded by Jackson Browne in 1977. It’s been used in two movies: Forrest Gump and gave Sidney Lumet’s great 1988 movie its title. We’ll have more about *that* Running On Empty after the jump.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure. Both feature brilliant lap steel playing by the great David Lindley of whom I’ll have more to say at the end of the post. Holy previews, Batman.

We may be low on gas but there’s enough in the tank to jump to the break.

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The Kavanaugh Mess: Monday Roundup

I vowed to take a break from the Kavanaugh mess until mid-week but like Michael Corleone in Godfather III:

I would never, however, wear a brown cardigan. Brown is not my color and who the hell wears a sweater in New Orleans?

The Kavanaugh nomination remains in limbo. It looks as if irony is not dead: the White House appears to be “rigging” the FBI investigation. Don McGahn *is* Kav’s friend so we shouldn’t be surprised. The only surprise is that Kavanaugh speaks to a non-Ivy League lawyer. It’s tolerant of him.

This weekend, I had several discussions on social media about what Kavanaugh’s small lies mean. While a stack of small lies do not necessarily add up to a perjury charge, they do damage Kav’s credibility, which *should* be important to a Supreme Court Justice.

Having said that, I agree that Kavanaugh’s wide array of lies under oath should be part of the investigation. There’s even an article in Politico about that very thing. Small lies often lead to big lies. I’m more concerned with stopping the nomination than prosecution since several of the undecided Senators have said lying under oath would be disqualifying. Whether or not they mean it remains to be seen.

Speaking of Tiger Beat on the Potomac, they have an  interesting piece about GOP strategy. Kavanaugh is getting conflicting advice as to whether he should go on the attack or lay low. I think he would be wise to dial it back since the fix may well be in. A certain rumpled Fascist fuck is quoted as saying:

“There’s no walking this thing back,” Steve Bannon, the former chief White House strategist, said in an interview Sunday night. “You get Kavanaugh, you’re going to get turnout. You get turnout, you’re going to get victory. This is march or die.”

Everything Bannon says sounds like it’s out of a World War II movie such as Operation Burma or The Sands of Iwo Jima.. Brett Kavanaugh is a far cry from Errol Flynn or John Wayne. Now that I think of it, he carried on like Flynn and drank like the Duke. Party on, Brett.

Speaking of drinking, regular reader Carroll tweeted an article at me about Kavanaugh’s boozy, boozy ways.

In addition to the cool story, I can add Nando to my acronym collection. It sounds a bit like NANU NANU. I wonder what Mork would make of the cosmic clusterfuck that is the Kavanaugh confirmation process? It’s a real suspender snapper.

In other Kavanaughpalooza news, the Guardian takes a closer took at Kavanaugh’s relationship with the notorious Porn Judge, Alex Kozinski. Kozinski used to serve as a feeder judge to his mentor Anthony Kennedy until the Porn Judge deservedly fell prey to the #MeToo movement. Kavanaugh has denied any knowledge of Kozinski’s lewd and lascivious ways, which many, including Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, find hard to believe. Dahlia clerked on the 9th Circuit and was well-aware of what the Porn Judge was up to even though she did not work for him.

It’s time to bring this closer to home. My Bayou Brief publisher Lamar White Jr. wrote about the reaction of Gret Stet Senators Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy to the Kavanaugh mess. Cue Groucho and the You Bet Your Life duck for the GOP’s magic word:

As far as I’m concerned, both solons are overcompensating for their Democratic pasts by being strident Kavanaugh supporters. My magic word is malakatude.

Finally, a tweet that popped up after the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing. Some dude noticed that Kav makes possum faces.

In Mark Judge’s book there was a character based on his prep school pal, so we’ve gone from Bart O’Kavanaugh to Brett Opossum.

It’s time for me to stop playing possum and give the last word to the greatest opossum in American history, Pogo:

Kenna Brah Malakatude Update

I’m sure none of you have forgotten Ben Zahn who was crowned malaka of the week on Monday. Zahn took what he thought was a heroic stand for the flag and against Nike and Colin Kaepernick. Yesterday, Zahn caved and took a knee after four days as a punchline and punching bag:

“Acting upon advice of the city attorney, I have rescinded my memorandum of Sept. 5,” he said. “That memorandum divided the city and placed Kenner in a false and unflattering light on the national stage.”

<SNIP>

“I looked at what I saw happening on a national level with Nike as a whole, and I stayed to my values on that,” he said in response to a question during his brief news conference late Wednesday afternoon.

But he said he never meant to be divisive.

“This was not meant to do anything like that,” he said. “This was meant … to protect our patriot values, our fire, our police and also our taxpayers.”

It’s a pity that Mayor Kenna Brah didn’t make any sense while caving, but what can you expect from a bush league Trump? The original model doesn’t make any sense either.

Zahn conveniently neglected to mention the likelihood of litigation by the Gret Stet ACLU but the allusion to the Kenna Brah city attorney meant they knew it was a LOSER. Defending unconstitutional acts in defense of your “patriot values” is an expensive proposition.

I am convinced that another reason Zahn caved was the widespread circulation of these images on social media:

H is for Hypocrisy.