Category Archives: Gret Stet Politics

Saturday Odds & Sods: Forbidden Fruit

Photograph by Andre Kertesz.

The weather has been god awful in New Orleans most of the week. Cold, cloudy, and gloomy. It’s enough to make me mutter “Bah Humbug” under my breath as I write this. I also envy Claire Trevor her fur coat and ability to lie close to the space heater without catching on fire. One of our former cats, Window, singed her whiskers on an old-fashioned wall space heater in our old place on Pine Street. So it goes.

I’ve been listening to The Band a lot the last few weeks. Just call me a throwback music buff. Robbie Robertson wrote this week’s theme song for The Band’s 1975 album Northern Lights Southern Cross. The album remains overlooked and underrated; I’ve always liked it, especially this song. It’s a perfect album opener and a fine Odds & Sods theme song.

We have two versions of Forbidden Fruit for your listening pleasure: the studio original and the Band live in 1976.

Now that we’ve tasted the forbidden fruit and been banned from the garden of eden, we might as well jump to the break.

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Bayou Brief: Louisiana Potpourri For $400, Alex

I had a lot of fun with my latest Bayou Brief column. It’s dedicated to the late, great Alex Trebek and Louisiana Jeopardy fans. The tagline is in the form of a question: “What are 13th Ward Ramblings on Alex Trebek, Carnival 2021, Cedric Richmond, Karen Carter Peterson, and Jason Williams?”

I’m sure you recognize the first name, the others are New Orleans politicians; one of whom is leaving Congress to work in the Biden administration.  That means we’ll have a special election for Cedric Richmond’s House seat some time next year. Karen Carter Peterson is a likely candidate. Jason Williams is running for District Attorney and he’s an underdog in Saturday’s runoff. Now you know who these guys are.

That’s all, folks.

Quote Of The Day: Diplomatic Gumbo

As I listened to the incoming UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, I was proud to be an LSU graduate.

Here are edited highlights of her remarks yesterday:

I learned from my family. Mr. President elect, thank you for those generous words that you said about me. My parents had very little back in Louisiana where I grew up, but they gave me and my siblings everything they had and I know how proud they would be of this day. On this day, I’m also missing my mentor, Ambassador Ed Perkins, who served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations under President George HW Bush and President Clinton. And who was also from Louisiana. He told me constantly, “Linda, don’t undersell yourself.” And he would always do everything possible to lift me up.

He passed away last week, but I know he’s here with us today. And on this day, I’m thinking about the American people, my fellow career diplomats and public servants around the world. I want to say to you, “America is back, multi-lateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.” Mr. President elect, I’ve often heard you say how all politics is personal, and that’s how you build relationships of trust and bridge disagreements and find common ground. And in my 35 years in the foreign service across four continents, I put a Cajun spin on it. I called that gumbo diplomacy.

Wherever I was posted around the world, I’d invite people of different backgrounds and beliefs to help me make a roux and chop onions for the Holy Trinity and make homemade gumbo. It was my way of breaking down barriers, connecting with people, and starting to see each other on a human level. A bit of lagniappe is what we say in Louisiana. That’s the charge in front of us today. The challenges we face, a global pandemic, a global economy, a global climate change crisis, mass migration and extreme poverty, social justice are unrelenting and interconnected, but they’re not unresolvable if America is leading the way. Thank you.

I come from a food-oriented family and live in a food-oriented city, so this was a perfect message for this season. It’s also a refreshing antidote to the nonsense spouted for four years by Team Trump on the foreign policy side. To paraphrase Gordon Ramsey, isolationism can piss off out of my kitchen.

The entire Biden event was a refreshing antidote to the weeks of crazy following the election. The grown-ups are back in charge. Imagine appointing people on the basis of their qualifications, not on how they look. That’s what gave us the Exxon CEO as Secretary of State and he was by no means the worst appointee. He did, however, provide me with Tea for the Tillerson puns so it wasn’t all bad.

Speaking of puns, I’ve heard before that the incoming Secretary of State is a fellow punster. He certainly has a punworthy name: Blinken. I hope he does the pun community proud and doesn’t get in too much trouble with the media for having a sense of humor. It will be a refreshing change from the ponderous pomposity of Pompeo.

The appointment that pleased me the most was that of John Kerry as the climate guy. Appointing someone who’s an equal is a sign that Joe Biden is comfortable in his own skin and that the incoming president is serious about climate change, which is some serious shit.

Team Biden has a mess to clean up but it’s what Democratic presidents do. The magnitude of Team Trump’s corruption and incompetence makes it an even bigger challenge but most of it is reversible. Repeat after me: help is on the way.

Back to Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. She’s from Baker, Louisiana, which is right next to Red Stick, but I won’t hold that against her. I eagerly await the inevitable “she’ll be good for Louisiana” pieces from the Gret Stet punditocracy. In this case, they might be right. She does present a refreshing stylistic contrast to the cornpone shtick of our fake hick junior Senator, John Neely Kennedy.

The last word goes to Little Feat with the number 8 song on my Louisiana Top 50:

Election Day In The 13th Ward

I slept in this morning. I can’t remember the last time I slept past 8. Since we fell back that means it was 9:18 to my body when I awoke. My insomnia has been back with a vengeance during the pandemic. This has got to be an omen of sorts. If nothing else, it leads to a swell musical interlude:

I did something else this morning: I voted. I’ve always liked the ritual of election day, especially in the 13th Ward. I prefer to walk 4 blocks to St. Katharine Drexel School to cast my ballot. Early voting is fine for other people. It breaks my election day ritual.

Hurricane Zeta nearly fucked up my ritual. There were widespread power outages in New Orleans. The Gret Stet used to have non-partisan Secretaries of State who wanted everyone to vote but now we have a GOP political hack named Kyle Ardoin. He refused to fund generators for powerless polling places. Fortunately, Entergy came to the rescue. Kyle Ardoin is such an asshole that he forced me to praise the utility company. He can go fuck himself.

It was a long-ass ballot. As I said last week at the Bayou Brief, there was too much on the ballot. This time, I even voted in a few judgeship races. I took great pleasure in voting against the Trashanova’s candidate. If you’re puzzled by that reference, click here.

Many people are worried about what Trump and his followers will do after they lose the election. I am not. Most Trumpers are as cowardly as their dear leader. They’re into performative politics, which I’m on the record as despising. Those guys who tote automatic weapons do it for show. They’d pee themselves if they had to use them. And the much ballyhooed traffic incidents of last weekend are just as cowardly: the Trumpers never left their vehicles. It’s all a reality show to them.

Could there be isolated violent incidents? Yes.

Will there be systematic violent incidents? Hell no. Planning and organizing are not natural to Trumpers. They’re better at moaning and whining.

Repeat after me: Trumpers are pussies. They should grab themselves.

A word about Joe Biden. He may not be the most eloquent nominee of my lifetime: Barack Obama and Bill Clinton take that prize. What Joe has in spades is passion and sincerity. When he goes after the Impeached Insult Comedian, he means every word, which reminds me of another old song:

I know, everything reminds me of an old song. It’s my affliction, what can I tell ya?

Election nights at Adrastos World HQ usually involve pizza. This year, one of our local pizza joints has added Detroit Pizza to its menu. It’s somewhere between New York and Chicago pizza crust-wise and it’s baked in a square pan. This year it will function as a tribute to voters in the swing state of Michigan.

I plan to make an early and relatively brief appearance at the Zoom Crack Van thingamabob. While I’m not as geeky as Steve Kornacki, I like to watch the returns closely. The last time I went to an election party was in 2008. I watched the returns while everyone else socialized. So it goes.

A quick programming note: I’m skipping Album Cover Art Wednesday this week. I’ll be up watching returns until some ungodly hour.  I’m paying special attention to Texas, Georgia, and Arizona.

Perhaps this should be my new motto:

For the kids out there, it’s a variation on “Cut off my legs and call me Shorty.” I obviously watch too many old movies.

The last word is dedicated to all the nervous Democrats out there. We got this. Mister Spock agrees:

Too Much Is On The Ballot/Hurricane Zeta Update

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. It’s my reflections on the upcoming election with a local emphasis. Here’s the tagline:

13th Ward ramblings on the 2020 election, Orleans Parish style. Sidney Torres is NOT on the ballot; he just acts like he is.

In other news, Hurricane Zeta strengthened in the wee small hours of the morning. After half-a-dozen games of hurricane dodge ball it appears headed our way. I’m not sure how this will impact my blogging, but I expect to lose power as this is a wind event. Anything I’m able to schedule this morning will appear but it’s unclear if there will be a Saturday Odds & Sods this week. Only the Shadow knows and we’re not speaking.

We just moved our porch furniture inside. Claire Trevor digs it. I thought she’d be unnerved by the extra clutter, but she just sniffed it and moved on. Cats are much tougher than humans.

I’ll try and check in later today. I *was* planning to write about why the 2020 presidential election is NOT 2016 but I need to remove any possible projectiles from our back yard. The good news is that Zeta is moving fast. It’s always better when an uninvited and unwelcome guest does not linger.

Believe it or not, we’re having a cold front tomorrow after Zeta zips through. 2020, man.

The last word goes to John Fogerty:

I wouldn’t advise walking in this or any other hurricane, y’all.

George Wallace Called Him Mousey Tongue

The special Senate election in Georgia is getting nasty and weird. Doug Collins, seen above next to George Wallace, is attacking Kelly Loeffler over the Warhol that was spotted at her palatial crib:

George Wallace called him Mousey Tongue. How about you, Dougie?

Rich people have Warhols, Dougie. If your man President* Pennywise had any taste, he might own one himself. He did, however, consort with Andy and a polo pony:

I betcha thought I was making that up. It reminds me of a classic Ed Norton moment from The Honeymooners:

Polopopnies? Sounds like my ancestral region, the Peloponnesus.

My mother loved that Honeymooners routine. In fact, she added Poloponies to the name of the infamous Brutus the beagle chihuahua mix. Not my favorite dog: I caught Brutus peeing on the cover of my copy of Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison. It’s a pity that Van wasn’t there to admonish the dog who renamed that fine album Tupeelo Honey. Now I need some of this:

It’s funny to watch Collins and Loeffler try to be the Trumpiest Trumper in Trumpistan when the Impeached Insult Comedian is increasingly unpopular with other GOPers. Does that make them Throwback Trumpers?

If David Pecker still ran The Enquirer, he’d want to know. Enquiring minds and all that shit.

I don’t know about you but I’m rooting for this guy:

For some reason, Georgia has adopted the Louisiana open primary system. Who copies the Gret Stet in politics? Food, yes; politics no.

I refuse to call it a jungle primary because of connotations that George Wallace and Doug Collins would surely get.

2020, man.

The last word goes to Van Morrison:

 

Bayou Brief: Governor Warbucks & Uncle Earl

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online and ripe for reading. The prose, however, may be overripe in places.

Here’s the tag line: “Peter Athas on the death of former Governor Mike Foster and how Trump’s illness has evoked the final years of Earl K. Long.”

I included my name so you’d know I wrote it.

I compare Earl Long to Donald Trump. Uncle Earl is the winner:

However unhinged Earl Long became at the end of his life, he was a better man than Donald Trump. He wasn’t a malignant narcissist who only thought of himself. He genuinely cared about poor people regardless of their race. He was a kinder, gentler populist before that term was besmirched by the Impeached Insult Comedian.

Get thee to the Bayou Brief.

That’s all folks.

Bayou Brief: 2020 Fatigue

My latest 13th Ward Rambler column for Bayou Brief  is online. In it, I concede that I’m as tired of 2020 as everyone else. I tried not to blame the year but it got the best of me. What can I tell ya? I’m only human.

Here’s the tagline:

“13th Ward Ramblings on bad years in American history, Metry woman’s nomination to SCOTUS, Jeff Landry, the Gret Stet Senate race, and the NOLA go-cup controversy.”

Let my people go-cup. Confused? This image may or may not clarify matters:

Via Howard H on Pinterest.

Thus spake the Krewe du Vieux sub-krewe of Mishigas in 2014. It wasn’t a great year, but it beat the hell outta 2020.

To understand the go-cup shtick, you’ll have to read the column. Go figure.

Bayou Brief: Stuck On Stupid

My Bayou Brief column is usually published every other Wednesday. That changed this week because of Hurricane Sally. I was concerned that many of our readers would lose power and internet connection. Instead, Sally decided to visit Alabama and Florida. My condolences to everyone in the impacted areas.

Here’s the tag line for this week’s column, Stuck On Stupid: “13th Ward Ramblings on the Louisiana Democratic Party, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and wayward wingnut pundit Dan Fagan.”

The part about Gret Stet Dems has received the most attention but my favorite bit is about former Picvocate pundit Dan Fagan. That’s Fagan with an A, not an Fagin with an I like this guy:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Higher Ground

Blue Night by Edward Hopper.

The tropics have been busy this week. There are two named storms in the Gulf. Neither is headed our way, but it’s been a wet week. Oh, to be on the dry side of a storm.

It was qualifying week for the 2020 election in the Gret Stet of Louisiana.  Senator Double Bill Cassidy gained a name opponent when Democratic Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins filed to challenge him. He has his work cut out for him: he’s not well known in South Louisiana. The spineless incumbent remains a heavy favorite.

The most interesting local race is for Orleans Parish District Attorney. Incumbent Leon Cannizzaro is retiring, which makes it a wide-open race. City Council President Jason Williams looked like a very strong candidate until he was indicted on federal tax charges. The funniest moment of qualifying week was when Williams told us not to be distracted by his indictment. Dude, you’re running for DA. You need a better argument than that.

This week’s theme song was written by Stevie Wonder for his smash hit 1973 album Innervisions.  It’s about reincarnation or some such shit but I like it for the funky groove.

We have two versions of Higher Ground for your listening pleasure: Stevie’s original and a 1989 cover by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Glad I was able to funkify your lives today. I took lessons from the Meters:

That George Porter Jr. bass line makes me want to jump…to the break. See you on the other side.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: This Forgotten Town

Subway Portrait by Walker Evans.

The weather in New Orleans has been almost as crazy as President* Pennywise this week. We’ve had record heat as well as torrential rain that caused some street flooding. There were thunderclaps so loud that they interrupted PD’s beauty rest. Now that’s loud.

It’s also lizard season in the Crescent City. They’re everywhere. I have to look down as I descend our front stairs to avoid stomping on them. The cat is obsessed with capturing and tormenting lizards whenever they get inside. I’ve rescued several already this year. Leapin’ Lizards.

A new Jayhawks album dropped last week. XOXO is more of a collaborative effort than past records. It features songs and lead vocals by band members who are not named Gary Louris. Tim O’Reagan and Karen Grotberg’s lead vocals are a welcome addition to the Jayhawks’ musical arsenal.

This week’s theme song, This Forgotten Town, is the opening track on the new album. It was written by Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, and Tim O’Reagan. We have two versions for your listening pleasure:

This is not Gary’s first town tune. There’s also this unforgettable song from Smile.

Let’s leave this town and jump to the break.

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Bayou Brief: Mask Wars

Image by John Valentino.

My latest 13th Ward Rambler column is online at Bayou Brief. In Mask Wars, I ponder political performance art and three of its Louisiana practitioners: State Rep Danny McCormick, Picvocate columnist Dan Fagan, and State Attorney General Jeff Landry.

After the column was written, Landry tested positive for COVID, which gave me the chance to write a rather amusing afterword. He subsequently issued a legal opinion from quarantine that the mandatory mask order issued by Governor John Bel Edwards is unenforceable. The opinion is strictly advisory, so it amounts to sound and fury signifying nothing. It’s also much like this venerable expression:

“Offering an opinion is like peeing on yourself in a blue serge suit. It feels warm and no one knows you’ve done it.”

There’s a dispute as to who first said this, but I first saw it in Gay Talese’s NYT book The Power and the Glory. It was attributed to former Times executive editor Turner Catledge. Catledge was from Mississippi and retired to New Orleans. After Catledge’s death, Dr. A and I went to an estate sale at his Garden District house. I bought his copy of that Talese tome. If only I could find it among the book clutter in my study. So it goes.

In other Mask War news, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp finds himself in a peach of a pickle. In a breathtaking display of hypocrisy, he’s banning local governments from mandating masks. Other than party affiliation, why is he a hypocrite? He wore a mask while welcoming the Impeached Insult Comedian to Georgia the other day. Trump was unmasked. Freedom, man.

Finally, one more Mask War note. Earlier this week, historian and New Orleanian John Barry wrote an opinion piece for the NYT about the pandemic. It was excellent except for this passage:

Social distancing, masks, hand washing and self-quarantine remain crucial. Too little emphasis has been placed on ventilation, which also matters. Ultraviolet lights can be installed in public areas. These things will reduce spread, and President Trump finally wore a mask publicly, which may somewhat depoliticize the issue.

Trump flip flopped on mask wearing the day after this piece ran. I’m glad Barry hedged his bets by using the word somewhat. Never assume that President* Pennywise will stick to a position for more than a few days. As I said in Mask Wars, “He’s consistently inconsistent.”

The last word goes to Fleetwood Mac with a Christine McVie song:

John Neely Kennedy Can Go Fuck Himself

The junior Senator from the Gret Stet of Louisiana is at it again: 

“America is going through a rough patch right now,” Kennedy said. “Some people seem to be enjoying it. Maybe they just hate America. Maybe they just enjoy watching the world burn. I think some are liking the chaos because they think it gives them a political advantage. Part of that chaos is being caused by our schools closing. For our kids, we need to open them.”

If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was describing the Kaiser of Chaos. He’s the one who enjoys watching the world burn and uses chaos as a political weapon. Projection thy name is Neely.

I’ve called Neely many things over the years but McCarthyite is not among them. There’s a first time for everything.

People who are worried about the impact of a premature school re-opening, don’t hate America. I know I don’t. I hate President* Pennywise. They’re not synonymous despite what Neely, Hannity, and their ilk think.

Fuck you, Neely.

On with Neely’s rant:

“I can promise you for many of our kids, keeping these schools closed is going to hurt them far worse than the coronavirus can. France, Germany, Denmark, Austria, Vietnam. Even Vietnam has opened their schools,” the Senator said. “And they’ve done it safely and we can too and we should too and if I can say one of the thing.”

They’ve opened their schools because their governments handled the pandemic competently and reduced the number of COVID-19 cases to a tolerable level. We’re currently experiencing an explosion of cases because of premature and ill-advised re-openings. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

What baffles me about the GOP response to the pandemic is that it’s good politics to be on top of it. Angela Merkel’s popularity was at an all-time low, but her handling of the pandemic has made her “mother of the nation” again as she leaves office. In contrast, Donald Trump is the shame of the world six months before he leaves office.

Fuck you, Neely.

“I know some people in good faith disagree with me and I respect that. Let’s have the debate. But there are some people who want to keep our schools closed because they think it gives them a political advantage. And they are using our kids as political pawns and to them, I say unashamedly they can kiss my ass. That’s wrong to do that the kids of America. Not the people in good faith but those who are just enjoying the chaos because they think it’s going to help them in November,” Kennedy finished.

Nobody wants the schools to stay closed indefinitely. I agree that kids are better off in school but they’re not better off if they risk contracting and spreading this deadly virus. I suppose the born again McCarthyite Senator agrees with the old wingnut aphorism, “Better Dead Than Red.”

I do not.

Neely’s extended whine shows that Republicans know that they’re in deep shit and sinking fast. There’s nothing more ridiculous than a politician attacking other politicians for being political. Fuck you, Neely.

It’s a pity that the Louisiana Democratic Party is so dysfunctional and inept that it isn’t mounting a stronger challenge to Neely’s colleague Double Bill Cassidy. At least the current chair, Karen Carter Peterson, will be gone soon. The most noteworthy thing that happened on her watch was her attempt to force John Bel Edwards out of the 2015 Governor’s race. I am not making this up. I wish I were.

Back to Neely. Cussing out your enemies may sound all manly and shit but it’s a sign of weakness and desperation. It makes Neely sound like the bat shit crazy criminal who is leading his party to defeat in November. There’s nothing phonier than a fake tough guy and that’s what Neely, Trump, Hannity, and the whole crew are: fakes in the news as opposed to fake news.

I wish it were anatomically possible for Neely to kiss his own ass or better yet go fuck himself. It’s what he deserves; that and serving in the minority in the 117th Congress.

The last word goes to Harry Nilsson:

The actual title of that tune is You’re Breaking My Heart, but I prefer to be direct when it comes to John Neely Kennedy.

Fuck you, Neely.

Twit Takes On Twitter

President* Pennywise has been a busy boy of late: pitching fits and issuing orders left and right. Far right.

It’s unclear how meaningful Trump’s social media executive order will be. I was initially dismissive but the good people at TPM think it will, at the very least, cause chaos and confusion. It’s all the Trump regime seems capable of right now. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

One group that seems likely to benefit are lawyers, which is ironic given all the Republican fulmination about trial lawyers, especially here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. Phony Eddie Rispone spent much of his losing campaign attacking billboard lawyers. So it goes.

As with so much of Trump’s recent flailing about, the twit taking on Twitter is a sign of weakness. Twitter was afraid of Trump until recently. His inane and untrue rantings put the platform on the map: people who wouldn’t know a twit from a tweet have heard of it thanks to the Impeached Insult Comedian.

The fact that Jack Dorsey and his minions have turned on Trump is a sign that he’s losing. So much for all the winning the Kaiser of Chaos promised his supporters. It’s another sign that he’s following in the footsteps of Charlie, not Martin Sheen. The latter played a fictional president who was re-elected. That prospect is slipping away, which brings us to a brief musical interlude;

That song should be inapposite as it’s about a lost love, but Trump is acting like a scorned lover rejected by the Tweeter Tube. Oh well, he’ll always have Mark Zuckerberg.

I stumbled into a piece this morning that perfectly captures Trump’s latest toddler tantrum:

And what kind of president issues an executive order only to defend himself? This action is only because his feelings were hurt. This executive order doesn’t have anything to do with protecting anyone except Donald Trump. While the Trump cult and Republicans label liberals as ‘snowflakes,’ they are the most vicitimed and whiny people on the planet. Their leader is such a snowflake that he’s issuing an executive order because his feelings were hurt. In case you’re a Republican, THIS is why there’s a great big giant Trump Baby balloon. And the worst thing is, Twitter hasn’t even restricted him. He can still lie and defame people on Twitter without any empathy.

In short, Trump is what a friend of mine calls a whiny titty baby. He should stick a pacifier in his big fat bazoo and STFU. We all know he’s incapable of that, but I can dream, can’t I?

The last word goes to Richard Thompson with a song that fits Trump’s current losing streak:

The nerve of some people. I don’t know who you think you are.

Bayou Brief: The Age Of Uncertainty

My latest column for the Bayou Brief went live at 11 AM yesterday. I’m trying to make the time and day, Wednesday, a bi-weekly thing. Regularity in regular features floats my boat. Oops, that sounded like a laxative commercial or some such shit. I should flush that paragraph, but I won’t. I don’t want to bring on another toilet paper apocalypse…

I had a lot of fun writing The Age Of Uncertainty. There’s even a vaguely amusing story about the writing process. I had a notion that I wanted to write about masks, reopening, and pandemic politics BUT I didn’t have a theme to tie everything together in a wordy bundle. The idea of stealing a Galbraith title came to me in a moment of wakefulness at 3 AM on Sunday morning. Sometimes insomnia can come in handy.

I spend some time in the column pondering the masking of America:

An important part of making phase-1 work is a willingness to wear a mask in public. I understand why people dislike masking. I have a size 8 head, which makes it difficult to find a mask that fits. Additionally, I’m almost as blind as a bloody bat and I’ve had a problem with my glasses fogging up while masked. It’s a pain but it’s imperative to protect others from your germs. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to keep my germs to myself and for you to do likewise. It’s one reason I’m staying in my Bat Cave for the time being.

It’s all part of being a grown-up. You gotta do what you need to do, not what you wanna do. What I wanna do is post a Graham Parker song with mask in the title:

Bayou Brief: Under Pressure, Nungesser

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. I take a look at the pressure brought to bear on New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell to reopen the city and a lukewarm pandemic apologia by the Gret Stet Grifter, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser.

This time, I decided to tease you with the opening paragraphs of the column:

Citizens of the Gret Stet of Louisiana and residents of New Orleans aren’t used to competent government. The incompetence reached new heights when both Bobby Jindal, who I always called PBJ, and C Ray Nagin were in office. They were both wreckers: one deliberately, the other out of indifference. One thing they had in common was incompetence.

That’s why the performance of Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor Latoya Cantrell during the coronavirus crisis has been so gobsmacking. They’ve been communicative without panicking like Nagin and clear without self aggrandizement like PBJ. In a word: competent.

Bayou Brief: Hell Of A Spell

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. There are a few more jokes in this pandemic edition, Hell Of A Spell. There’s also a helluva tagline if I do say so myself and I do:

Peter Athas on Tony Spell’s death tabernacle, John Neely Kennedy being stuck on stupid, Kevin Allman’s crusade against Mardi Gras misinformation, and other signs of our troubled times.

My sole regret is that I neglected to make a Jimmy Swaggart joke when I cracked wise about Roy (Judge Pervert) Moore and the Mall of Louisiana. A lost opportunity because the Swaggart empire used to own the land the mall sits on. I must be slipping.

I used Richard Thompson’s When The Spell Is Broken as a segment divider. In this shameless plug post, he gets the last word with a live version:

Coach O’s PSA

College football and politics have long been inseparable in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. Huey Long was a fanatical LSU Tiger backer and meddler. He was even known to suggest plays. I have no idea if they were any good but he was the Kingfish so the coaches had to listen.

The intersection between college football and politics continues in the 21st Century. One of the perks of Governor John Bel Edwards’ job is his friendship with Ed Orgeron. When it came time for the state to make a COVID-19 PSA, there was only one choice: Coach O.

My feelings about Coach O are well known. Putting his gravelly voice to use in this way is a masterstroke. He has credibility with the people who think this pandemic is a hoax cooked up by liberals. Will they listen to this Louisiana folk hero? Beats the hell outta me, but it couldn’t hurt. We need all the help we can get in this crisis.

Coach O also appeared at a press briefing with the Governor the other day:

As everyone else read from papers and spoke formally, Orgeron approached the lectern, firmly placed his hands on each side and took control like he was in his own football element. He looked confident. They provided him no script or guidance. He just took over.

“I’m here on behalf of the state of Louisiana,” Orgeron said. “I’m a guy who was born in Louisiana, loves Louisiana and is head coach of the national champion LSU Tigers.”

He told the crowd he just sat in on the briefing and said it was the most organized, most intense, most well-informed meeting he’d ever been in. “I can promise you this, the state of Louisiana is fortunate to have Governor Edwards be our leader,” he continued.

Orgeron urged young people to not be selfish and stay inside. He said there’s no need to be on the streets doing “all kinds of stuff.” He continuously spoke of following the game plan.

Then, after Edwards took questions from reporters for nearly 15 minutes, a question came specifically for Orgeron. Edwards ceded the floor to the coach. “Lots of people are afraid right now,” the reporter asked. “Why is fear not the appropriate response, and what would you tell folks who are afraid?”

“Have faith,” Orgeron said, his hands behind his back calmly. “Have faith in the game plan. We’re gonna get through this. There’s gonna be some rough times, but we can’t give in to it. Fear makes you give in to it. Have faith. Grow strong. Grow as a team. Lean on each other.”

The Athletic’s Brody Miller missed one detail. Coach O closed by saying this:

Yeah, you right, Coach.

Your President* Speaks: The Scalise Files

There aren’t any Scalise Files that I know of, but the Impeached Insult Comedian made some bizarre comments about the mendacious minority whip from Metry at his unhinged acquittal celebration. Here are some excerpts via TPM:

“A man who is braver than me and braver than all of us in this room, he got whacked. He got whacked. My Steve, right? I went to the hospital with our great first lady that night — right, honey? — and we saw a man that was not going to make it.”

“A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn. A lot of wives would’ve said, how is he doing? She couldn’t even talk, she was inconsolable. Most wives would say, not good, listen I’m going home now. The doctor came in and the wife was a total mess. She was really devastated. It really looked like he had a 20, 25 percent chance.”

“You’re more handsome now. You weren’t that good-looking. You look good now. He looks better now, can you believe it? I don’t know what the hell that is. It’s true. Better now.”

As always. Trump’s remarks are about him; one could even call him President* Projection but I have enough nicknames for him already.  The comments about “most wives” are sickening but typical of the Misogynist-in-Chief. It’s why the gender gap has turned into a gender canyon.

Steve Scalise is not now nor was he ever handsome. He looks like he’s wearing a chia pet on his head.  He does, however, make an excellent butt plug:

Perhaps President* Pennywise could give Steverino some combover tips. As I’ve said before, Trump’s hairdo resembles a dead nutria only without the scary orange teeth. There are tons of the little fuckers in the Gret Stet of Louisiana but they’re an invasive, not native species. At one point they were so prevalent in Scalise’s home parish of Jefferson that then Sheriff Harry Lee had his deputies shooting them in the canals. I am not making this up.

That was a non-sequitur worthy of the Impeached Insult Comedian, but I won’t insult his wife or anyone else’s for that matter. I’m shocked that he didn’t use Henny Youngman’s classic line:

I wonder if Trump has ever read Henny’s book? Even his oldest, stalest jokes are better than Trump’s material. Who am I kidding? Trump read a book?

Perhaps the Impeached Insult Comedian’s remarks about “most wives” were intended to ensure Melania’s presence if something bad happens to him. Nah. That’s giving him too much credit.

Take my president* please.

 

Starring Steve Scalise

I mentioned a top-secret party in an undisclosed location last Saturday. Now that it’s over, I can unbutton my lip: it was Krewe du Vieux’s annual fundraiser, the Brew Dieux. It raises money for both the mother krewe and for sub-krewes like Spank, We sold food and booze and had our annual sideshow game: the dirty weiner drop.

In past years, our targets have included Bobby Jindal, John Besh, Sidney Torres, and David Vitter. This year it’s the mendacious minority whip from Metry, Steve Scalise.

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Courtesy of the Krewe of Spank.

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Courtesy of the Krewe of Spank.

We made just south of $100 on this gross-n-grotty game. Winners received a trip to the Spank world of crap to win a crappy gift. I am not making this up.