Category Archives: Gret Stet Politics

Bayou Brief: Backrooms and Bayous

Russell Long. John Breaux, and Bob Mann.

My latest 13th Ward Rambler column for Bayou Brief is a review of Robert Mann‘s swell new book, Bayous and Backrooms: My Life In Louisiana Politics.

Here’s the whole damn tagline: “Is Bob Mann the Zelig or Forrest Gump of Louisiana politics? Find out in Peter Athas’ review of Mann’s memoirs.”

Since I made the Forrest Gump reference, the last word goes to Jackson Browne with a song that was in the movie.

Shitshow On Fraternity Row

I’m late to this stinky story but as your resident LSU alum and shit stirrer I felt compelled to write about it. Besides, post titles like this don’t come along every day.

The Advocate had the first shot at this headline but they blew it because of that whole pesky family newspaper thing:

Members of all LSU sororities and some fraternities must get tested for COVID-19 after the school found traces of the virus in the wastewater system serving their area of the campus.

The university sent members of 15 Greek chapters an email Thursday notifying them that they must be tested at one of the three on-campus testing sites within 48 hours. School spokesman Ernie Ballard said that students have until 11 a.m. Saturday, the first day of Greek recruitment, to meet the testing requirement.

After the shit hit the fan,  there was a follow-up story:

LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said the call for testing came after the school detected “high traces” of coronavirus in the sewage from Greek Row. And with just two days to comply, some 3,000 members of 15 Greek chapters lined up in cars to get swabbed at the school’s drive-through clinics.

Abbie-Grace Milligan, Greek senior and vice president of student government, said she got an email at noon Thursday instructing her to get tested at one of three on-campus testing sites. She waited in line for nearly two hours on Gourrier Avenue near the UREC field testing site but left without getting swabbed.

“It was an absolute nightmare,” she said. “I saw five people run out of gas while waiting. People were even getting out of their cars to use the bathroom on the side of the road. It was madness.”

I guess you could call that the shitstorm after the shitshow. No shit.

The kids should consider it a test-drive for the next hurricane evacuation. Those are usually shitshows as well.

After the feces hit the fan and the Pfizer vaccine was formally approved by the FDA, LSU belatedly and begrudgingly changed their vaccination policy:

The announcement is full of loopholes, but it’s better than the previous policy which was “Y’all come,”

This stinky situation calls for an antidote. There’s one that  I wrote about 7 years ago in a post called Smells Like School Spirit.

Ladies and germs, I give you the LSU scent circa 2014:

Oddly enough, the scent was called LSU Mask. They need more of those on the Red Stick campus as well.

In honor of the LSU’s latest attempt to get ahold of the pandemic, the last word goes to Stephen Stills and Manassas:

Righteous Indigination

I’ve been angry all week. It’s not the ranting, raving, and yelling kind of anger. It’s more of a slow burn over the egregious stupidity and malakatude in the news. I dislike feeling this angry, I prefer to be detached from the news of the day, ice it down with sarcasm, and dismiss it with mockery. I used to compare my style with Athenae’s by calling her fire and me ice. I’m feeling fiery this week, but at least it’s with righteous indignation.

I remain vexed and worse by the MSM coverage of Afghanistan:

In its desperation to nail Biden, the DC MSM has neglected to mention the creeps who got us into the Afghan mess:

Cable news is full of former Bush officials attacking the withdrawal. The worst are the Never Trumpers who are showing their true colors by waving their neo-con freak flags. Imagine if Biden had stayed with the small force bequeathed to him by Trump. The Taliban was still likely to make their move and 2,500 soldiers could not have defeated them. That would have led to a genuine bloodbath.

Speaking of former President* Pennywise, there’s a conspiracy theory that he set a trap for Biden with last year’s deal with the Taliban. While it may have turned into a trap, I’m skeptical that it was planned. For one thing, Trump never looks more than a week down the road. For another, he expected to win the election and still believes he did. I think he could pass a polygraph test about the “rigged election.” Believe me.

One more tweet from someone else on how Democrats *should* be reacting:

I for one refuse to give an inch and be reasonable. Any withdrawal was going to be messy. It’s what happens when you lose a war.

Stick to your guns, Mr. President. The war was wrong to begin with. It’s time for it to end.

Also inspiring my righteous indignation are the Covid deniers and mask warriors. Anyone surprised?

Freedom, man.

Yesterday, a friend reported about going to his local CVS. It was jam packed with people buying a new home COVID test in order to comply with the city’s vaccination/test mandate. The tests are five bucks a pop and only valid for 72 hours. It would be much easier and cheaper to get jabbed but that would violate their rights or some such shit.

Freedom, man.

I wrote about wingnut preacher Tony Spell for Bayou Brief last year. He flooded a state education board meeting with his unmasked parishioners forcing them to stop debating whether or not school kids should mask up. Governor Edwards thinks so and so do all rational people. Freedom. man.

We’re all sick and tired of being sick and tired of the anti-mask and anti-vaxx crowd. The burden of everything COVID related is being placed on those of us doing the right thing. I hate wearing a mask, but I do it. Adults do things they don’t like because they’re the right thing to do. Something the Covid deniers will never understand. Hence my righteous indignation.

Freedom, man.

The last word goes to Ron Sexsmith with a song whose title is a play on the word indignation.

Life In TFC: The Summer Of Our Discontent

I’m paraphrasing, not misquoting Shakespeare’s Richard III. The Stratford Man never lived through a New Orleans summer, so what did he know from seasonality? The TFC, of course, stands for This Fucking City my acerbic nickname for my city at its worst.

After Katrina and the Federal Flood, I called New Orleans Debrisville. Perhaps I should call it Diseaseville as the Delta variant has struck hard. This time, cases among children are on the rise.

I went to bed cranky last night and awakened even crankier. Yesterday was not a good day for residents of New Orleans or for me personally.

On the personal front, Dr. A and I dined out with a friend whose birthday is near mine. We went to a highly regarded and nationally known local eatery, Toups’ Meatery. I’d even rooted for Chef-Owner Isaac Toups when he competed on Top Chef.

The food was good, the service was slow and haphazard, but we were patient and polite. We’d ordered a three-course meal and at the 2 hour mark had not received dessert. Our first complaint was met with a sneer by our server who proceeded to ignore us. Our second complaint to the manager produced results but by then we’d been seated for 2 hours and 15 minutes. I’m a patient person but not that patient, especially since other diners received prompt service. I was angry, so I did not enjoy my dessert.

It was my second time at Toups’ Meatery: the first went well, the second was hell. The third time will not be the charm because it won’t happen. As the restauranteur Danny Meyer has said, “The first time you go for the food. The second time for the hospitality.” BTW, Meyer is requiring staff and indoor diners at his restaurants to provide proof of vaccination. Smart man.

It felt good to vent. Thanks for listening. On to more significant matters.

The big New Orleans news yesterday was the second cancellation of Jazz Fest 2021. I’d regarded the fall rescheduling as an act of hubris. Even then the Delta variant was at work in the UK, India, and elsewhere. The re-cancellation seemed inevitable, but I won’t say “I told you so” because I have friends among the players, vendors, and others who work Jazz Fest. They’re taking another hit after TFC and Jazz Fest bigwigs gave them false hope by moving the event to the fall. Wishing and hoping ain’t getting as the old saying goes.

Jazz Fest honcho Quint Davis tried to make it “too big to fail” by scheduling a Rolling Stones day. Again. The first was supposed to be in 2019, but it was cancelled due to Mick Jagger’s health problems. It would be funny if it didn’t affect the livelihoods of people I care about, but it does so it’s not funny.

This latest blow to the local culture and economy was greeted with anger and dismay by New Orleanians on social media. I share their anger at the selfishness and stupidity of the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers. They’re why we can’t have nice things as the saying goes. Life in TFC has always been tough, tough, tough, but this is ridiculous.

A case study in Gret Stet COVID era malakatude occurred across Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany Parish. It’s the richest and most Republican parish in Louisiana. One would expect prosperous people to be well-educated and receptive to science and medicine. For years, Gret Stet GOPers told us that all the good people of Louisiana are Republicans. The Trump regime blew that notion to smithereens.

Last week’s school board meeting was a clusterfuck. The Mask Warriors insisted that mandatory masking was a communistic infringement on their freedom, man. Trust me, if this were a communist country, they would have disappeared after their fatuous protests. Freedom, man.

This sort of idiotic protest is happening across the South and in Red States generally. They seem to believe the COVID BIG LIE that it’s no big whoop, just a worse form of the flu. If that’s the case, why are there 617K+ COVID related deaths?

I’ll call it what it is: the freedom to die and infect others. Freedom, man isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So much for being pro-life.

A reminder to all the stubborn and stupid people out there:

FYI, I dislike wearing a mask, but I do it to protect myself and others from the virus. It’s a simple act that saves lives, so the discomfort is worth it.

These are tough times, they do not need to be made tougher by rampant stupidity and selfishness. The Delta wave was going to happen, but it didn’t need to be this bad. That’s why I used the image from Samuel Fuller’s Underworld USA. We’re being mugged by a reality that other choose to ignore. Shame on them.

That concludes this rant about the Summer of our Discontent In TFC. The last word goes to the Rolling Stones with a song I quoted earlier. She-doo-be.

Malaka Of The Week: Beth Mizell

The Gret Stet lege made history this week, holding the first ever veto override special session. Both houses are required to override with a 2/3 vote. The session was a flop: the lege did not override any of Gov. Edwards’ vetoes. It was a great relief because of two measures: a “freedom, man” concealed carry bill and a ban on transgender folks in school sports. The sponsor of the latter bill was State Senator Beth Mizell. And that is why she is malaka of the week.

I have a confession: I don’t follow the doings at the state lege as closely as a pundit should. They do some crazy shit, and I don’t want my blood pressure to spike. I did, however, follow the Veto Session. That would have made a good pseudonym for Vito Spatafore when he was outed and fled to New Hampshire in the final season of The Sopranos.

Back to the Gret Stet lege.

Mizell is a Republican who hails from Franklinton. It’s a small town in rural Washington Parish. Even though it’s only 70 miles away from New Orleans, it might as well be a thousand miles. Some call those folks rednecks, I prefer the term peckerwoods. It’s more evocative.

Mizell was the original sponsor of the hateful and unnecessary anti-trans bill. The senate overrode Gov. Edwards’ veto, but the house did not. I guess they had a fleeting moment of sanity.

Mizell claimed that transgender folks in sports was the most important issue for the people of the Gret Stet of Louisiana. I have my doubts that these claims are true:

“If you have not heard the voices of the large majority of people in this state by emails, by phone calls, by personal visits, there’s no words I can give you,”

I have a word for this: malakatude. Bigotry is another word that comes to mind.

It remains weird to live in such a blue city in such a red state. The lege is full of people who hate New Orleans. One reason they hate us is our diversity and tolerance of those who are different. Sounds pretty darn Christian to me but bible thumpers like Malaka Mizell don’t see it that way. It’s what happens when you live on a steady diet of red meat…

Mizell is term-limited and will leave the senate on January 8, 2024. I have no idea if she plans to run for another office. It’s one of those things that I don’t care about.

Mizell has promised to push her despicable bill in the next legislative session. That means we’ll have to fight this stupid battle all over again thanks to Mizell’s malakatude.

I’m not sure if Mizell is praying in the featured image or if she’s hanging her head in shame. I hope it’s the latter: she and her cohort have much to be ashamed of. And that is why Louisiana State Senator Beth Mizell is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Dwight Yoakam:

Edwin Edwards, R.I.P.

Edwin Edwards in 2011. Photograph by George Long.

I have mixed emotions about Edwin Edwards who died yesterday at the age of 93. He dominated Louisiana politics for a quarter of a century. He served 2 consecutive terms as Governor followed by 2 non-consecutive terms for a total of 16 out of 24 years. He won 4 of 5 statewide elections the most important being 1991’s election from hell when he defeated David Dukkke. A victory for which I remain profoundly grateful, but I still have mixed emotions about the man and his political legacy.

Edwin Edwards was more than just a politician. He was a folk hero with a Cajun swagger. He charmed his way out of trouble. That’s how he got away with the shenanigans that eventually sent him to prison after 3 corruption trials.

By any standard, his first two terms were a success. I’m not going to repeat in detail what’s being said in the Gret Stet MSM about the 1974 constitution and his concern for the poor and elderly. I think that Edwards’ greatest accomplishment was being the first Louisiana governor to treat Black folks as full citizens. As a result, the African American community became his base through the trials and tribulations of his less successful third and fourth terms.

My first Gret Stetwide election as a Louisiana resident was 1983. The Edwards campaign was a well-oiled machine that year as he defeated Dave Treen a nice but dull man who was the first Republican governor since Reconstruction. Edwards had a lot of fun mocking Treen as a stiff. He later regretted being so snarky about Treen who supported efforts to commute his sentence in the 21st Century.

I voted for Edwards in 1983 and 1991, but not in 1987. His third term was something of a disaster. The oil bust led to cuts in state spending and higher education took the biggest hit. He spent a hefty chunk of that term on trial. He was not convicted but it left a cloud over him that led to his primary loss in 1987 to Buddy Roemer who also died this year. Edwin’s passing leaves the world’s youngest hasbeen, Bobby Jindal, as the only living former Gret Stet governor.

In defeat, Edwards proved his political genius. He declined to face a run-off against Roemer. This has been painted by many as a sign that he knew he’d lose. That’s true but his motivation was to kneecap Roemer politically by limiting his vote to 33%. It worked: in 1991 Roemer got 26% finishing third in the primary.

I’m often asked by out-of-state friends if Edwin Edwards was a liberal. He was by Gret Stet standards but not by national standards. His record on Civil Rights was good but he gave the oil, gas, and chemical companies free reign as long as they paid tribute in the form of higher taxes and campaign contributions. The same went for gambling interests. The latter led to his downfall.

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Bayou Brief: The House That Chep Built

My latest Bayou Brief column is online. Here’s the whole damn tag line: 13th Ward Ramblings on former Mayor Chep Morrison, and Mayor Cantrell’s proposal to relocate New Orleans City Hall to Treme.

I name checked Louis Armstrong and Back of Town in The House That Chep Built. That’s why Satchmo gets the last word:

Steve Scalise Plays Button, Button, Who’s Got The Button

I haven’t mocked my hometown horror Steve Scalise for quite some time. He’s actually a nightmarish neighbor as he hails from next door Metry in Jefferson Parish. I could technically call him my homey, but I’d rather stick a needle in my eye, so I’ll pass.

As House GOP whip, Scalise is in charge of vote counting and nagging his members to vote the party line. It can’t be easy when your leader has the backbone of a jellyfish, but I have no sympathy for either Scalise or KMac.

It turns out that Scalise was disoriented by a vote *for* impeachment by Tom Rice of South Carolina. I’ll let TPM’s wonderfully named Summer Concepcion sum up the story for you:

Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) recalled House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) being caught off guard when the South Carolina Republican voted to impeach former President Trump for “incitement of insurrection” in a Washington Post report published Sunday.

Shortly after voting to impeach Trump a week after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, Rice rushed off the House floor to catch a flight back to his home in Myrtle Beach.

Scalise, however, wanted a word with Rice before he could scurry away from the chamber.

Rice told the Post that Scalise’s staffers called him up and insisted that the South Carolina Republican had “hit the wrong button.” Rice quickly denied that was the case.

“I didn’t get to the bottom of the steps before Scalise called me and he said, ‘Tom, you hit the wrong button’ and I said, ‘No, it was the right vote.’ Then he said, ‘You sure?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely,’” Rice told the Post. “I think a lot of people were surprised.”

I always think of butts when I contemplate Steve Scalise. He’s a butthead and buttinski who, but for Bobby Jindal, would have been first elected to the House in 2004. He even has his own decorative butt-plug as you can see from the featured image. I’ve posted it before, but it never gets old.

Now Steve Scalise is playing button, button, who’s got the button with Tom Rice. Even if his leader is the Candyass Candyman, Scalise is no Willy Wonka:

Now. Button, button, who's got the button?

How can I top Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka? I won’t even try but the Oompa Loompas are game. They get the last word.

They Don’t Make Republicans Like John Warner Anymore

John Warner, Elizabeth Taylor, and Fritz Mondale after the Veep swore in the new senator.

I used to have many conservative friends. I enjoyed discussing, debating, and arguing the issues of the day with people who disagreed with me. I miss those exchanges. I learned how to argue politics from my father who was a center right Republican himself. He taught me that friendship was more important than politics. Lou knew how to disagree without being disagreeable. That’s how it should be in a democracy but no longer is.

Things started to go haywire during the Iraq War when some of my conservative friends argued that torture during wartime was acceptable. I never agreed and never will, but I could still cite conservatives such as John McCain and John Warner as being on my side. They don’t make Republicans like the two Johns anymore.

Former Virginia Senator John Warner died on Tuesday at the age of 94. He served five terms in the United States senate and made many friends and few enemies except those on the lunatic fringe of his own party.

Warner was a senator out of central casting: charming, genteel, handsome and on the verbose side. He usually voted with his party but could be persuaded to break with his fellow Republicans if a strong enough case was made. He was conservative but open minded.

John Warner always tried to do the right thing. After allegations of fraud were made in the super-close 1996 Louisiana Senate runoff between Mary Landrieu and wingnut Woody Jenkins, the ball landed in Warner’s lap as chairman of the rules committee. Warner ran a fair process, no fraud was found, and Landrieu was seated. The minute I heard that Warner was in charge, I relaxed because I knew he was a fair and decent man. For more on that crazy election, read Lamar White’s piece at Bayou Brief.

There’s a wonderful tribute to John Warner by New York Magazine’s Ed Kilgore  who worked in the senate as a Democratic aide when Warner was an important member of that body. Kilgore maintains that Senator Warner should be remembered for opposing extremism in his own party:

His long congressional career, which ended in retirement in 2009, was marked by his lofty position in the bipartisan-defense establishment, tons of military pork to keep restive Virginians satisfied, and, despite a generally orthodox Republican voting record, occasional high-profile acts of heresy. It was no great surprise when Warner announced support for Democrat Mark Warner (no relation) as his successor, and he was among the early Republican supporters of Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump in 2016. Years earlier, he staved off the takeover of his party by right-wing zealots such as Oliver North that would presage the danger to come.

<SNIP>

… Warner was an exemplar of the days before ideological rigidity gripped the GOP. Despite supporting some abortion restrictions, he was fundamentally pro-choice, which is a nearly extinct point of view among Republicans today. He joined his friend Ted Kennedy in opposing Robert Bork’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, a cause that is still dear to an older generation of conservatives. He supported the Brady Bill and other gun-safety measures. Even on defense issues, he was not entirely predictable; as Armed Services chairman, he opposed the Bush administration’s last “surge” in Iraq and joined John McCain in opposing torture by the military and intelligence agencies.

It was his willingness now and then to buck party discipline even in elections, though, that is now so amazing. In 1994, Oliver North — the key Iran-Contra operative convicted for lying to Congress who became a right-wing hero (sort of the Michael Flynn of his era) — won the GOP nomination to take on Warner’s Democratic colleague, Chuck Robb, who looked doomed by allegations of sexual misconduct and drug use. Instead of putting on the party harness, Warner endorsed an independent bid by moderate Republican Marshall Coleman, which split the GOP vote and made it possible for Robb to survive in a very Republican year. That Warner was renominated twice after that episode was a testament to his appeal and perhaps to the now-departed tolerance of Republicans for dissent.

Unlike the cowards and radicals among today’s Republican senators, John Warner was a true conservative. He wanted to preserve what was best about America but was willing to discuss ways to improve it. In that way, he was like my conservative friends and father who kept the lines of communication open despite our disagreements. Those days are long gone, but I miss them and always will.

I concur with Ed Kilgore’s description of John Warner as a “glamorous Republican heretic.” He practiced what he preached. The man *was* married to Elizabeth Taylor who was a liberal, after all. Rest in peace, Senator.

They don’t make Republicans like John Warner anymore. Isn’t it a pity?

The last word goes to George Harrison:

 

Wicked Rain

We had another bout of heavy rain overnight. We only had minor street flooding but the folks in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles took it in the neck. I feel terrible for Lake Charles: they were slammed by Hurricane Laura last summer and now this.

Weather paranoia makes sustained thought difficult, so I thought I’d throw some random shit against the wall and see how much of it sticks. But first a musical interlude:

In the Middle East, the death dance between Hamas and the Netanyahu government has resumed. The carnage on the Gaza Strip has been terrible. The political results in Israel have been terrible in their own way.  Bibi appeared to be on his way out until he wagged the dog, which led to the cancellation of coalition talks that would have installed a new prime minister.

Netanyahu has convinced a substantial slice of his country’s electorate that only he can keep them safe thereby proving that Americans are not the only people who can be conned by an unscrupulous leader. As long as Netanyahu is in power, the cycle of violence will continue.

In Congress, KMac continues to have a spine of aspic. He was for a 1/6 commission before he was against it. I have the feeling that he got an angry call from Mar-a-Doorn, which changed his mind such as it is.

In a recent post, Josh Marshall nailed KMac: “McCarthy’s empire is built on subservience and militant toadying to the former President.”

Militant Toadying would be a great band name. They could play this King Crimson song as a tribute to KMac’s fecklessness:

A title change is in order as well. How about this? Forked Tongues In Aspic. I aspic the truth about KMac…

News on the COVID front continues to improve. It’s amazing what a difference having competent grown-ups in charge makes.

I remain cautious and still wear a mask when out and about and am still leery of large groups of people. I may be completely vaccinated but I can still catch the virus from some cretinous peckerwood who declined to get jabbed. The illness would be less severe, but I haven’t gotten sick since March of 2020 and I like it that way. I usually catch something every December. A holiday ritual I can do without.

In Gret Stet news, former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer died at the age of 77. He was an eclectic politician who started off as a conservative Democrat but changed parties while in office. His finest moment as Governor was when he vetoed a radical anti-abortion bill. He was also surprisingly good on environmental issues for an oil state politico. I told you he was an eclectic politician.

Roemer’s 1987 campaign was a classic. He started off as a decided underdog but tapped into voter anger with the corrupt incumbent, Edwin Edwards. This ad helped put him over the top:

Unfortunately for Roemer, wily Edwin laid a trap for him by withdrawing from the race before the runoff, leaving Roemer with 33% of the vote. Not much of a mandate to “scrub the budget.” A phrase Buddy repeated ad-nauseam during his governorship.

Roemer’s re-election campaign laid an egg and he finished third behind Edwards and David Duke in the primary. He would have beaten either in a runoff. Oh well, what the hell.

The last word goes to Dr. John:

Malaka Of The Week: Twitter Famous Rob Anderson

Rob Anderson parachuted into Southwestern Louisiana in 2017 and ran twice for Congress against the Gret Stet’s bull goose wingnut, Clay Higgins. In my fleeting online encounters with Anderson, he struck me as a dilettante with limited connections to his district. It was far worse than I imagined. That is why Twitter Famous Rob Anderson is malaka of the week.

Anderson built a substantial Twitter following over the last few years. That’s now gone along with his political prospects. Here’s why:

…Anderson’s Twitter stardom meant little in Louisiana’s 3rd District, where Higgins crushed three Democrats, taking more than two-thirds of the vote. Anderson fell shy of 12%, six percentage points behind the top Democrat.

In addition to building his fan base, Anderson used his campaign Twitter account to send nude selfies to women. A pseudonymous Twitter user known for exposing sexual misconduct allegations posted a sampling last week, sparking a war between the “Rob Mob” and several women accusing him of harassment. Screenshots of his lewd direct messages circulated.

Recriminations for Louisiana’s most Twitter-famous progressive were swift.

“I’m already ruined,” Anderson said in a phone interview Thursday, two days after the photos appeared.

A close friend and business partner quickly cut ties, killing a podcast venture the two had hoped to leverage from Anderson’s Twitter base.

Amid the backlash, attention turned to Anderson’s missing campaign finance reports. He has not filed any since the first quarter of last year, leaving the months covering his meteoric rise unaccounted for. Anderson blamed his staff for failing to file the reports.

Anderson says his political career is over.

“I may be Twitter famous, but nobody in Louisiana knows who the hell I am. Although they probably will now,” he said.

That long excerpt was necessitated  by the vagaries of the Georges Media Empire’s web sites, which are hard to maneuver if you’re a subscriber like me and purt near impossible if you’re not. BTW, John Georges is the dullest Greek I’ve ever encountered. I usually brag on my countrymen, but I make an exception in his case. He’s not even interesting enough to be selected as malaka of the week.

Except for groveling in the pages of the Georges Advocate, Twitter Famous Rob Anderson has vanished from the internet. Taking the coward’s way out, he deleted his campaign’s web site, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds. Curiously, the Rob Anderson for Louisiana YouTube page is still up as of this writing. Perhaps Malaka Rob is watching his greatest hits and pondering what might have been.

There was always something off-putting about Twitter Famous Rob Anderson. He struck me as a minor league con man who specialized in fleecing the gullible Hipster Twitter Left. Malaka Rob said all the right things but lacked a presence in the real world to back up his Twitter fame:

Anderson started organizing his 2020 campaign just prior to the pandemic lockdown. A four-person core consisting of Anderson, Leveque and two other staffers, Clare Stagg and Dave Langlinais, grew close as they worked out of Langlinais’s house. They formed a social pod, frequently sharing dinners, drinks and personal conversations.

But the two women staffers experienced Anderson as increasingly dictatorial as he became fixated on Twitter. They worried that his Twitter fame had divorced him from reality in southwest Louisiana.

“I think he thought that was enough to mean that he was a big name,” said Stagg, the campaign manager. “Everything else in the campaign fell by the wayside to him, no matter how much you told him, ‘Twitter isn’t real life, your following is not in the district.’”

There’s a lesson in the well-deserved fall of Malaka Rob Anderson. Twitter isn’t real life and an overdependence on social media and the Hipster Twitter Left in a campaign is a prescription for defeat.

It’s unclear if Twitter Famous Rob Anderson is a liar or a fantasist who believes his own bullshit. His Ballotpedia survey is revealing in that regard. He turns out to be a sci-fi fan:

What is your favorite book? Why?

“Flow my tears, the policeman said.” Before I was a teenager, it was the most complicated story I’d read, and it resonated with me. It’s themes are connection and alienation, and how to bridge the chasm between souls.

That’s a novel by Philip K. Dick, which is fitting given Malaka Rob’s propensity to share dick pix.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you want to be?

Valentine Michael Smith. It would be fascinating to be a postmodern Martian.

I grok that. I wonder if the self-proclaimed working class progressive knows that Stranger In A Strange Land author Robert Heinlein was one of those people who migrated politically from the far left to far right. Probably not, Anderson was too busy tweeting. He’ll have time to catch up on his reading now.

Anderson could even try emulating Heinlein’s political journey and become a Trumper. They’re indifferent to dick pix and others forms of sexual harassment, after all.

There’s another weirdly revealing bit in Malaka Rob’s Ballotpedia survey:

Is there a book, essay, film, or something else you would recommend to someone who wants to understand your political philosophy?

“The Great Shark Hunt” by Hunter S. Thompson.

I’m already on the record as a HST un-fan. His political philosophy, such as it was, revolved around getting wasted, shooting guns, and conning the gullible Left of his day into thinking he was a progressive. Maybe that’s why Malaka Rob admires him. That’s his shtick as well.

I’ve already told Dr. A to commit me if I start calling myself a “Twitter personality” or “Twitter Famous.” The Rob Anderson saga should be a cautionary tale for those who spend too much time on social media. He’s gone from having a “Rob Mob” and being Twitter Famous to being Malaka Rob and Twitter Infamous in the blink of an eye. And that is why Twitter Famous Rob Anderson is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Cowboy Mouth:

 

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Something To Talk About

Cocktails by Archibald Motley.

We’ve had some unseasonably cool weather this week in New Orleans. It’s been a relief after last week’s constant rain. We’ve even had some sun, which was initially disorienting but I’m down with it.

It’s special election run-off day in the Louisiana-Second. An ugly and mendacious campaign was waged by the runner-up in the primary, State Senator Karen Carter Peterson. She wants a promotion after a disastrous tenure as state party chair and missing 85% of state senate votes last year. Talk about failing upward.  I also happen to think that comparing another Democrat to Donald Trump is punching below the belt. I look forward to voting against her and for Troy Carter.

This week’s theme song was written in 1990 by Canadian singer-songwriter Shirley Elkhard and recorded by Bonnie Raitt for her 1991 album, Luck Of The Draw. It was a big hit for the Bonster. It was later used in the Julia Roberts-Dennis Quaid movie of the same title in 1995.

We have two versions of Something To Talk About for your listening pleasure: the Bonnie Raitt original and a 2016 version by Blood Sweat & Tears frontman David Clayton Thomas.

Was that bloody, sweaty, and teary enough for you lot? While we’re still wet, let’s jump to the break.

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More Hick Schtick From John Neely Kennedy

The junior Senator from the Gret Stet of Louisiana is the man I love to hate. I considered two Sue Grafton inspired titles for this post, P Is For Phony or H Is For Hypocrite, before settling on this one. It would take a crack detective such as Kinsey Milhone to locate Neely’s integrity, after all.

Neely loves to go on teevee and denounce the liberals; one of whom he used to be. That was before he lowered his political IQ and became a Fox News favorite. He did it again the other day but first some background snark about Neely’s hick schtick.

As Treasurer of the Gret Stet of Louisiana for seventeen years, Neely was a publicity hound, but his brand was as a skinflint guarding the public coffers against both Democrats and Republicans, not the rabid wingnut of today. He was every bit as hard on Bobby Jindal as on his Democratic predecessor, Kathleen Blanco. Of course, he was a Democrat until 2007.

Neely didn’t start hicking up his accent and speaking style until he changed parties. Before then, he was not ashamed of being well-educated and articulate. The dumbing down began in his second run for the US Senate in 2008 against incumbent Mary Landrieu who had also served as Gret Stet Treasurer.

Neely perfected his hick schtick in his successful run for the Senate in 2016. Having secured the prize he’d spent his entire life chasing, he became one of the loudest Trump sycophants and enablers in a Republican party full of them. I wrote a long piece for Bayou Brief in 2018 about what I called his Neelyisms: the cornpone “wisdom” he dispenses on the boob tube.

The Neelyisms stopped being funny when he started using them to defend retrograde, racist, and downright stupid policies. After the slaughter in Boulder, Colorado he said that what America needed was idiot control, not gun control. He’s not really an idiot, he just plays one on teevee.

Neely popped up on Fox News the other day and deployed his cornpone “wisdom” against Major League Baseball for relocating the All Star Game from Atlanta to Denver:

Forget Mars. We need to search for intelligent life in the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office. I have never seen anything like this. Commissioner Manfred has a fiduciary responsibility to Major League Baseball. His job is to do the very best that he can not to suck. He has failed at that. Think about what he’s done. Major League Baseball is losing popularity to football and other sports. His job is to grow it. So what is the first thing he does? He decides to get involved in national politics and alienate hundreds of millions of Americans who actually like the Georgia bill and think that it is an honest effort for election security.

The commissioner hasn’t explained why he thinks these hundreds of millions of Americans who support the Georgia effort are a bunch of racists. He hasn’t bothered to explain why he thinks the bill is racist. The only excuse I can think is he made all of these decisions after his morning beer. I have never seen anything like it. It costs $150 to attend a major league baseball game in some cities. Is this going to encourage people to go? I just don’t think so.

This has nothing to do with Jackie Robinson. It has nothing to do with race.

It has everything to do with race, Senator. In fact, Jackie Robinson was born in Georgia, but his family fled Jim Crow and moved to California in search of a better life.

Republicans are afraid that they’re losing their grip on power in Georgia, so that state’s lege passed an atrocious bill that overwhelmingly effects black voters who are overwhelmingly Democratic. It might as well be called the Beat Raphael Warnock Bill.  One would think that logic would reach a man who was an adjunct professor at LSU law school for 14 years, but he’s only interested in the next election. His election.

Neely is also fond of mocking diversity and claiming that racism is not systematic. Our old pal Deep Blog saw the faux idiot on Faux News the other day and got a bellyful of his pseudo ignorant spiel. He sent me a screen shot of Vanderbilt University’s yearbook from 1973. John Neely Kennedy is second from the right on the top row:

The observant among you have surely noticed that, except for two Asian dudes, everyone on this page is of one race. It explains a lot about John Neely Kennedy. He not only mocks diversity, he’s uncomfortable with it. Imagine that.

Presumably, Vanderbilt is considerably more diverse in 2021 than it was in Neely’s day, which was a mere 9 years after that pricey private school was fully desegregated. In the Seventies, Black Commodores were still rare on the University’s Nashville campus unless some students owned records by the band then fronted by Lionel Richie.

John Neely Kennedy is a cornpone con man who thinks diversity is for suckers. To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, Neely talks loudly and carries a hick schtick. I look forward to voting against him in 2022.

Since Neely is so fond of guns, the last word goes to The Commodores with the title track of their debut album:

Bayou Brief: March Musings, Not Madness

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. It’s full of spiteful goodness.

Here’s the tagline: “13th Ward Ramblings about the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board, the Second District Congressional race, and the Shame of LSU.”

Did someone say shame? Cue the music for a double dose:

Saturday Odds & Sods: On The Silent Wings Of Freedom

Photograph by Stanley Kubrick.

A bird got into our house while I was taking a jab nap. Claire Trevor was determined to get the poor wee house sparrow. I tried grabbling CT to close her in somewhere to no avail. I yelled at the cat to keep her away from the open door as the bird hopped from ceiling fan to ceiling fan. It finally flew out the front door. That’s as adventurous as it gets at Adrastos World HQ these days.

Mother-in-Law #1 is 99-years-old and in bad shape at her assisted living joint in Baton Rouge. The good news is that we’ve been able to visit her twice including yesterday. Her body is failing but her mind is still sharp. I’m not sure how long she’ll last but it’s a relief to be able to visit after not having seen her for 14 months because of the pandemic.

I’m voting later today in the special election called to fill Cedric Richmond’s congressional seat. I’m as underwhelmed by the choices on offer as I was by Cedric. The leading candidates are two hacks from New Orleans and a young firebrand from Baton Rouge. Since I do not want to be represented in Congress by someone from Red Stick, I’m voting for the hack I’m acquainted with, State Senator and former City Councilman Troy Carter. I loathe the other hack whose name shall not cross my lips.

This week’s theme song was written by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire for Yes’ 1978 album, Tormato. Yes are known for their great album covers. This is not one of them. The music is still pretty darn good.

We have two versions of On The Silent Wings Of Freedom for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 2006 live instrumental version.

Follow the flying fingers of Chris Squire and jump to the break. No finger jokes this week. Pinky swear.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Day After Day

La Décalcomanie by Rene Magritte

I’m getting vaccinated this afternoon at the Morial Convention Center. I’m a bit nervous and uncertain as to which vaccine I’ll be getting. I’m fine with any of them. The one-shot J&J variant has considerable appeal because I hate needles. Here’s hoping I get jabbed by someone with a light touch. Just don’t give me a smiley faced Band-Aid. I hope that’s not too much to ask. Enough jab jabber.

It’s pollen season in New Orleans. The mighty oaks are spewing forth their yellow poison (to me) and my eyes are red and runny. If I were a Republican, I’d turn this into a culture war grievance but I’m not so I won’t.

This week’s theme song was written in 1971 by Pete Ham for Badfinger’s Straight Up album. It was a smash hit across the globe hitting number 4 on the Billboard charts in the US&A. The song was produced by George Harrison and featured George on slide guitar and Leon Russell on piano.

We begin with the Badfinger original:

I had no idea that the second version existed until I checked out Second Hand Songs. Ladies and gentlemen, Bradyfinger:

The Brady Bunch kids cut two albums of then contemporary hit songs. It’s weird to hear a chirpy version of Pete Ham’s mournful song. If it weren’t so damn funny, I’d give it the finger, then eat a Butterfinger. Candy is the cure for many of the ills of society including Bradyfinger.

Speaking of fingers:

It’s time to cut out (cut off?) the finger jokes and jump to the break.

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Freedom, Man

Greg Abbott, John Bel Edwards, Tate Reeves.

The Party of Trump specializes in diversionary tactics. The Governors of Texas and Mississippi announced yesterday that their states are wide open for business. Not only that but all mask requirements have been lifted. Why? Freedom, man.

It’s not just freedom, man. Both states are still suffering mightily from winter freeze related issues. You’ve all heard about the mess that messed with Texas and its Governor Greg (Hey) Abbott. Wintry shit hit the fan in Mississippi as well. Parts of Jackson, MS have been without potable water for two weeks. Jackson is the state capitol where Governor Tater Tot plays at governing. Both Hey Abbott and Tater Tot needed to distract attention from their failures so why not declare victory over COVID? Freedom, man.

That makes the Gret Stet of Louisiana the meat in a stupid sandwich.  John Bel Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and he too loosened some restrictions but we still gotta mask up.

Repeat after me:

It’s all so stupid and short-sighted. Now that we have a competent national administration, there’s good news on the COVID front. President Biden announced that there should be sufficient vaccines for the entire adult population by the end of May. We just have to hunker down and be patient.

I, for one, don’t confuse recklessness and impatience with freedom, man. The majority of us have made sacrifices to limit the spread of the virus. Selfish dipshits like Hey Abbott and Tater Tot are exasperating and irksome. Hey Abbott is also guilty of the Republican sin of hypocrisy: he’s been vaccinated. Freedom, man.

I’m trying out a new nickname for the dumbass Texas Governor. “Hey Abbott” was something that Lou Costello said to Bud Abbott in all their movies. It was often a sign that Costello was in trouble and needed help. Sounds like Texas in 2021. Freedom, man.

Here’s an image from one of Bud and Lou’s weirder movies, Abbott and Costello Go To Mars:

The rocket misfired and the boys landed in New Orleans during Carnival. By analogy, that’s why New Orleanians are so alarmed about Hey Abbott and Tater Tot’s actions. We’re concerned that unmasked morons from their states will visit and leave a new COVID spike in their wake. That’s a price of freedom, man that we’re unwilling to pay.

For the featured image, I memed a picture of the Governors of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi with lyrics from the venerable song, Stuck In The Middle With You, which was revived by Quentin Tarantino for Reservoir Dogs. It sums up how I feel today: “Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

The last word goes to Stealers Wheel:

Freedom, man.

Bayou Brief: The 14th Month Of 2020

I took a break from my other home on the internet, Bayou Brief. The hiatus is over: the 13th Ward Rambler is ready to rumble.

In my return column, I ponder Carnivals past and present and take aim at New Orleans tourism honcho, Stephen Perry. It’s called 14th Month Of 2020 because it feels like it. Make it stop.

I’m not sure if I’m on fire but the Neville Brothers certainly were at this 1987 show:

Have I mentioned lately how much I miss Art Neville?

Gret Stet Sycophant

There are those in the Gret Stet of Louisiana who somehow think Steve Scalise is capable of changing his stripes. Remember when he was gravely wounded in the Congressional baseball team shooting? Some folks in South Louisiana hoped that he would modify his position on gun control. He, of course, did not.

You’re probably asking yourself why do some people kid themselves about this mook? Here’s a bullet list:

  • He’s “nice” in social situations.
  • He’s friends with Cedric Richmond.
  • Having him in a leadership position is “good for Louisiana.”

The latter point is an editorial page standby. It’s a relic of the days when we had Congresscritters who brought home the boudin/bacon for the Gret Stet. Those days ended in 2014 with Mary Landrieu’s defeat.

All Steve Scalise cares about is ideological purity and keeping on the good side of the Impeached Insult Comedian:

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) on Sunday made clear that he stands by former President Trump as he took great pains to deflect from Trump’s incitement of the mob behind the deadly Capitol insurrection last month.

Scalise claimed on ABC News that he just simply “ended” up at Mar-a-Lago last week to do “some fundraising” in Florida.

“I was in Florida doing some fundraising throughout a number of parts of Florida, ended up at Mar-a-Lago and the president reached out and we visited,” Scalise said. “I hadn’t seen him since he had left the White House and it was actually good to catch up with him. I noticed he was a lot more relaxed than his four years in the White House.”

After saying that his conversation with Trump in Florida was “more about how he’s doing now and what he’s planning on doing and how his family is doing,” Scalise was pressed on comments by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who blamed Trump for inciting the mob behind the deadly Capitol insurrection hours after the attack last month — only to later backtrack on his rebuke of the former president’s actions.

Holding fast to his loyalty to the former president, Scalise said that there was “a lot of blame to go around.”

“At the end of the day, the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6th, it was a disgrace and they need to be held accountable,” Scalise said.

Scalise asked after Trump’s family during his Mar-a-Doorn visit. See, I told you he was “nice.” And he didn’t blame Nancy Pelosi for the mob violence. How “nice” is that?

He also continued to dodge the notion that Joe Biden won the election:

“Once the electors are counted, yes, he’s the legitimate president,” Scalise said. “But if you’re going to ignore the fact that there were states that did not follow their own state legislatively set laws, that’s the issue at heart, that millions of people still are not happy with and don’t want to see happen again.”

Aww, he cares about people’s feelings. How “nice” is that?

Steve Scalise is smart, not nice.

He’s smart enough to sand off the rougher edges of his repellant ideology in polite company. That’s “nice”?

He’s smart enough not to take a dump on the living room carpet in broad daylight like the Kaiser of Chaos. That’s “nice”?

He’s smart enough to brag about being a more respectable David Duke then deny saying it for years. That’s “nice”?

The good news is that many people in the Gret Stet of Louisiana don’t buy Steve Scalise’s “nice” act. The bad news is that there aren’t enough to vote him out of office. My condolences to the folks in New Orleans who are stuck with him as their Congressman. He ain’t going nowhere. How “nice” is that?

The last word goes to the Steve Scalise butt-plug that made its First Draft debut in July 2015.

Enjoy It While It Lasts: Bill Cassidy’s Vote

People got carried away yesterday when Gret Stet Senator Bill Cassidy voted to uphold the constitutionality of trying a former president. Many read way too much into the vote. Double Bill is not an instant-moderate. In fact, it’s the first time he’s colored outside the right-wing lines since being elected to the senate in 2014.

I tweeted out mild praise of Cassidy, but others were more effusive. It shows how low the bar has gotten when a minor act of decency reaps a whirlwind of acclaim. I’m skeptical. Double Bill remains David Vitter’s creature and the Gret Stet GOP is rabidly pro-Trump:

An unexpected reversal from Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy (LA) who voted in favor of the constitutionality of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment on Tuesday, drew ire from the Louisiana Republican Party who quickly issued a statement to criticize the move.

“We feel that an impeachment trial of a private citizen is not only an unconstitutional act, but also an attack on the very foundation of American democracy, which will have far reaching and unforeseen consequences for our republic,” the party wrote in a statement Tuesday.

“We also remind all Americans that former President Trump is innocent of the politically motivated, bogus charges now pending against him in a kangaroo court presided over by an openly hostile political opponent,” the statement said.

Nothing in Cassidy’s political history leads me to believe he will vote to convict the Kaiser of Chaos. He’s a very timid and cautious pol. Yesterday’s vote was a trial balloon not an act of courage.

I think Cassidy’s vote is about impressing the ten Republican senators he joined in proposing the since rejected COVID relief bill alternative. He showed some leg for Romney, Sasse, Murkowski et al to establish his dealmaking bona fides.

I hope I’m wrong, but my opinion is based on watching Cassidy since 2014. He’s a bog-standard right-winger who has always voted like one. He’s a drone, not a maverick.

Repeat after me: Bill Cassidy is an empty suit until proven otherwise.

While we’re at it, the last word goes to the original studio version of the song that’s not about my senator: