Monday, November 30, 2015

Loose ends

Here's one of several Gubernatorial election summaries I have collected. I'll post more of in the next few weeks.  It references one of several loose ends that may never be fully drawn out.
But I believe the real event that ended Vitter’s political career—and many people scorned me for saying that he was done in politics—allegedly occurred at the IHOP in Hammond, Louisiana, three days earlier than the Royal Blend fiasco.

According to Sheriff Normand, Vitter’s chief PI, not the junior PI who got caught hiding behind an air-conditioning unit, but the “Big” PI, met with a woman at the IHOP near I-12 on Oct. 20. There Vitter’s paid PI allegedly solicited an affidavit to discredit Jason Brad Berry and Wendy Ellis. Berry is a first-rate investigative blogger who videoed Ellis telling her story. She claimed to have had a long-term relationship with Vitter, which included allegations of a child fathered by the Senator, despite his request that she have an abortion.

What made the IHOP story so compelling was the video, recovered on a clandestine recording device, which happened to be the same device the gumshoe used to record Sheriff Normand. The Sheriff maintained the recording had been deleted but his forensic technicians recovered the video.

Why would a PI record himself doing something highly questionable that could bring down his boss, a US Senator? I suppose we’d have to ask Richard Nixon.

The video and other information was turned over to the FBI by Sheriff Normand.
(I went ahead and added that one link in there.)

What happens with that stuff now?  Will this mean serious federal charges for Vitter and his spooks?  Also are we ever going to find out why Vitter was following John Cummings around? What about all these questions Jason asked after all the shit had hit the fan?  Who follows up on that? 

The long pre-season

Empty 617
Saints fans, much like the 2015 edition of their heroes, have spent most of this year taking a smoke break

Like we've been saying for a while, the problem with the 2015 Saints is they really aren't trying to participate in 2015.  Everything they've been doing has been about getting ready for this supposedly "bright future" Payton is talking about here.
“I think the excitement I have about these younger players we're developing is real. I've said this before, this locker room right now we've had some tough stretches. We've had some adversity. The season, obviously, is disappointed especially our fans that we're sitting at 4-7. And yet, what I'm excited about is our young players we have to develop. We overcame the 2012 year.

Obviously, there have been some challenges with the loss of draft picks and maybe the selections. Clearly, we haven't hit on every player. This past draft looks to be real good and I'm excited about coaching them.

This is home for me and I have a place here. I'm able to get back and forth to see my son play. I understand the chatter about it. People look at that (10 year) window and all those other things. You go crazy as a head coach if you start trying to pay attention to all that.”
The other possibility is that Payton is actually just completely burned out on being the Saints' coach altogether. And that may be true! But that's not what he's saying in this interview.

My preferred working theory this year has been that the Saints really didn't plan to compete in 2015 and have instead spent their time noodling around, developing players, and figuring out what works and what doesn't.  (Oh and setting up Rob Ryan's predetermined mid-season dismissal, but we talked about that last week.)

Eleven weeks into the year they may have finally figured out which kicker they want. It's doesn't seem like they've quite figured out what they want the starting offensive line to look like yet but they're working on it. There's always plenty time when you're not worried about actually winning the games. And, as Ralph Malbrough explains, the Saints do not seem very interested in that right now.

The way this team looks right now, it has little or no business winning any more games at all.  Naturally, they're going to beat the undefeated Panthers this week, though. Mostly because screw the Panthers. But also because of.. well, no, that's pretty much all I can come up with there.

I think we score this as a double play

As in, the Zephyrs' new owner just hit into one.
"Our goal is to make the New Orleans Zephyrs one of the top franchises in all of Minor League Baseball. With the great South Louisiana fans, the love of sports here and our hard work, we have every reason to believe that we will succeed," Schwechheimer said.

"New Orleans will be in the top tier of attendance, because this is a great town. This is a resilient town. This is a magical town. ... I can promise you this ballpark will come alive. We will provide first class family entertainment where families can come out with their kids, where grandparents can bring their grandkids to their first game, where young couples can go on their first date. It'll be a family place. We only ask the fans in New Orleans one thing: just come once. Let us earn your trust one time and I promise you'll be back."
Managed to get in a "magical" and a "resilient" the first day on the job.  Not bad for a dude from Massachusetts or wherever. (What is the deal with these itinerant minor league baseball owners, anyway?)

I'll admit one really does need to muster a fair amount of resilience to drive all the way out to one of those games in the Airline Highway traffic.  And the mosquitoes during the summertime out there can seem preternatural even if "magical" isn't exactly the word for them. Not so sure about anybody's grandkids showing up, though. It is baseball, after all.

The Jimmy Graham trade

It's only a little bit unfair to judge this now that Graham is out with an injury.  But his slow start in Seattle receiving and his well documented uselessness there blocking has to have been a disappointment from the Seahawks' perspective. 

Graham was traded for center Max Unger. And while the Saints' offensive line has been a disaster this year, few observers are blaming Unger for that. Also in the deal, the Saints received a first round pick which became linebacker Stephone Anthony. Anthony hasn't been perfect but he has looked good. Every game he makes at least one very impressive play. The T-P provides a statistical comparison.
Graham caught four passes for 75 yards before the injury. He began the game with 44 catches for 530 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games.

The Saints traded Graham in the offseason for two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger and a first-round pick used to select linebacker Stephone Anthony. Anthony on Sunday became the first rookie linebacker to top 100 tackles for the Saints since Ricky Jackson in 1981.
Throw into that Ben Watson's numbers replacing Graham as the starter at tight end which are better than Graham's through this week. 50 receptions for 604 yards and 3 touchdowns. That's nowhere near on pace to match Graham's best seasons in New Orleans but pretty comparable to what he produced last year. 

Of course, Watson isn't the same sort of player Graham is.  The Saints don't use him to create match-up problems the way they did with Graham. Watson also isn't a long term solution at tight end since he'll be about 50 years old next season.  But overall, you have to say this trade worked out in the Saints' favor.. if little else did this year.

Current status: Blood is about 75% bacon grease

Diet has consisted of various applications of this since Wednesday so things have been a little sluggish.

Bacon frying in bacon grease

Just getting caught up now. How was your holiday?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nevermind all that, then

Joe Alleva's skill at handling these situations is somewhat wanting.
LSU will retain head coach Les Miles, athletic director Joe Alleva announced Saturday after a win over Texas A&M, which included Tigers carrying Miles on their shoulders and a standing ovation from fans.

"I want to make it very clear and positive that Les Miles is our football coach and will continue to be our football coach," Alleva said. "Les and I have talked about this program. We are committed together to working to win to compete at the highest level. We're going to go forward together and win championships here at LSU."
Uh huh.  We're pretty sure it wasn't even up to you at the end of the day. What would you say, you do here, Joe? 
Miles said in a postgame presser that he learned from school president F. King Alexander that he'd be retained.
Looks like a few other folks had a hand in the decision too.

It's over

Can pretty much guarantee Les is a goner now.
As speculation swirls about Les Miles’ future at LSU, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has come out to publicly to voice his support for the head football coach.

“(Miles) is a great coach and a better man,” Jindal tweeted Saturday, just hours before LSU takes the field against Texas A&M for its final regular season game. “He is a fantastic ambassador for our state. I hope he remains our coach.”
Oh boy.  This is quite a problem to throw into the lap of the new Governor.  Not only does he have to worry about how he's going to implement Medicaid expansion or criminal justice reform, now he has to figure out what to do about the head football coach.

On the other hand, it's not too much of a stretch to assume this position serves at the Governor's pleasure.  Huey Long seemed to think so, anyway.   Huey even went so far as to have his own plays drawn up and submitted to the coaching staff. Nobody knows how Huey's play "Number 88" was supposed to work, though.

Bobby Jindal likes this one where the quarterback hands the runner a voucher which he then carries off guard toward the faith-based football provider of his choice. Last year, he tried to run a play action which involved a fake tuition hike followed by passing an equally fake tax credit to cancel it out. Not even Les Miles ever tried anything that off-the-wall.  Like most of Jindal's plays, though, it ended up being thrown for a pretty big budgetary loss.

Water Coalition

Just so everyone is clear on the reason PACs like the so-called "Water Coalition of Louisiana" started diving into the David Vitter hooker stories in the first place, the goal was to elect a Republican governor.
Stutz­man said he was com­pelled to get in­volved be­cause he felt that Vit­ter was a flawed can­did­ate who would im­per­il what should be a safe Re­pub­lic­an seat. Stutz­man said he sup­por­ted GOP primary can­did­ate Scott An­gelle. “My view is the herd should be thinned of our bad can­did­ates, and he might be one of the worst can­did­ates we had any­where in the coun­try as an in­cum­bent,” Stutz­man said.
This is why the timing of the ads and the sudden flurry of new coverage of the prostitution scandals happened the way they did. They failed in their purpose in a way that turned out to be fortunate for "our side."  But the fact that this was their purpose in the first place matters.

We pointed this out at the beginning... and really, throughout the campaign. A lot of individuals who later ended up conspicuously supporting the accidental winner didn't think this was very important.   I have trouble understanding why people who can't see why such a distinction would make a difference are interested in politics in the first place. 

Nobody owns the sun

Which is why Entergy doesn't want to buy it from you anymore.
Plaisance wrote that Entergy Louisiana customers would still be able to hook new solar panel systems into the grid, but they would no longer receive full credit for each unit of electricity they provide. From now on, the utility will only provide credit for the average cost it would have paid if it produced the energy on its own or had to buy it wholesale, plus a little extra for line losses during transmission and daytime production, Plaisance wrote.

“We realize there’s value that solar power customers provide in producing excess power for us,” said Kacee Kirschvink, spokeswoman for Entergy Louisiana. “So beginning January 1 we will continue to accept solar customers, but they will not be getting the retail rate as credit.”

That’s because Entergy believes net-metering is unfair to customers who don’t have solar.

“When the sun isn’t shining, solar customers have access to the grid as well,” Kirschvink said. “We want to make sure there’s no undue burden on customers that don’t have net-metering and can’t afford net-metering.”
Of course what Entergy's costs would have been without solar and what the fair distribution of power to the grid actually is is all determined by Entergy... and, I guess, the PSC.. although that is something of a joke. 

Set up to fail

Stark differences of opinion between anonymous sources in this Rob Ryan story.  The heart of the dispute is between one or more "former player's" version of events and that of a "source inside the organization"
Ryan was Payton's fourth defensive coordinator in six years, following Gary Gibbs (2006-08), Williams (2009-11) and the one-year experiment with Spagnuolo in 2012. Firing Ryan would mean starting from scratch again. It would also fuel the perception Payton couldn't keep a defensive coordinator.

"The only reason why Sean kept him was because Sean didn't want to look like he was firing three defensive coordinators in four years. And that's the only reason," said one of Ryan's former players with the Saints.

A source in the organization with knowledge of Payton's thinking called that insinuation "crazy."

Despite the defense's dip in production in 2014, Payton believed Ryan would be able to bounce back and wanted to give him that opportunity, albeit with changes involved.

"In the end, the opposite happened. It became even worse," the source said.
Is what the organization source says credible, though?  The day Payton hired Dennis Allen and named him a sort of co-coordinator with Ryan, it certainly seemed like he was already planning a move. Even as the Saints opened training camp, fans and media were already making guesses as to how many games Ryan would survive.  And while it seems natural for the Saints to make a change like this during the bye week, the fact that things worked out just so they could time it this way seems premeditated.

Furthermore, there's a lot in this article that indicates Payton had already undermined Ryan's defensive strategy himself. 
Looking for a new sense of direction for his team in the 2015 offseason, Payton visited his mentor, Bill Parcells, in Florida to pick his brain. Parcells' advice: Get better defensive players and further simplify the scheme.

Intent on not repeating the disappointing 2014 campaign, Payton went to work. He traded star tight end Jimmy Graham, promising wide receiver Kenny Stills and veteran offensive guard Ben Grubbs for linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and a parcel of draft picks, most of which were used to select defenders. He cut the team's best pass rusher, Junior Galette, to send a message to the rest of the roster about buying into the plan.

Payton, tired of communication errors that he viewed as fixable, stripped the defense down to the studs. He looked at defenses in the mold of the Patriots' single-high safety scheme, something that Ryan, a former assistant on Bill Belichick's staff in New England, had run at times in Oakland.

"We had to look at, hey ... we've got to find a way to reduce the variation on defense and we've got to find a way to get a call in and play a defense without it being a panic or guys are late getting lined up," Payton said Wednesday. "That was a big thing a year ago. Again, a lot of that is the ability to communicate quickly what we're seeing, what we want to get done, make the call. Too many times, look, the first opportunity to play good defense is to be set and ready and know what the call is."
Whereas Ryan might have once had the option of 40 calls, he was given less than 10, said multiple sources with knowledge of the Saints' defensive game plans.

"They weren't running Rob's defense anymore," said a former Saints player.
Bill, how do I fix my defense?

Get better players.

Thanks, Bill.

Not that that's wrong, exactly.  But in the NFL the difference between good and elite talent is slim enough. "Get better players," really only makes sense as a prescription (or excuse) when you're talking about quarterbacks. Otherwise, the successful coach will recognize his roster's strengths and weaknesses and adjust his scheme to fit what those players do well. Which is what Ryan did in 2013 even after losing several key players to injury.   After that, Sean wanted to be more like New England and so Rob became more and more irrelevant.
But in some ways, a former Saints player said, Ryan felt like he already had been stripped of some of his control, beginning in 2014.

"In 2013 ... the defense was ballin'," the former Saints defender said. "And we get back the next year and Sean has his hand in it, trying to call defenses and doing stuff that we don't really do. ... It really messed up how we played."

The player added: "Rob needs a little discipline, but at the same time, I think Sean and (assistant coach/linebackers) Joe Vitt had their hands entirely too much in how the defense was ran."
Given that Payton's hand was so heavily involved in shaping the defensive scheme, this bit from him where he totally throws Ryan under the bus is especially dickish.
"There were a few things that you looked at from a year ago and you said, 'We can't have X number of snaps with not the right number of guys on the field. We can't burn timeouts, you know, every other week because we can't get the right personnel on the field.' We just can't do that," Payton said Wednesday. "We can't have guys looking left and right at the snap of the ball. There's a game last season where the first eight plays of the game, we're misaligned and we don't even cover down the right way. Those were just facts."
Sounds like they don't know what they're doing. But it also sounds like a lot of that is Sean Payton's fault.  Furthermore, this part where Payton insists that he hadn't set up Ryan to fail this season sounds like complete bullshit. 
Payton countered Wednesday that he never brought in Allen with the intention of replacing Ryan. He would have done that in the offseason if that were the case.

"You wouldn't approach the season with 'I need a contingency plan.' If that were the case, then you'd execute the contingency plan to begin with," Payton said. "If I knew that was going to happen, we would have just done it in the offseason."
Would he have, though?  Think back to the beginning of the year.  The Saints were so unprepared to begin the 2015 season that we were convinced they'd decided in advance to blow it off altogether in prep for 2016.  Part of that prep involved engineering a convenient excuse to who Rob Ryan the door and start over.  And now they've executed that contingency.  And now Dennis Allen gets to spend the rest of the season evaluating the roster to see what he would like to do with it next year.  

2015 for the Saints has been one long preseason.  There are still six fake games left.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fear is excellent news for business

Let no crisis go unexploited.
In the conference call held last week, lobbyists representing a number of high-polluting industries agreed that the battle between Congress and President Obama on refugee policy will give them the cover they need to attach a legislative rider to the omnibus budget bill that rolls back newly expanded clean water regulation.
“I think that probably helps us,” one participant said, referring to the coming confrontation over refugee policy.

The White House has issued veto threats against previous attempts by Congress to block the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, a regulation finalized this year that extends Clean Water Act protections to millions of acres of wetlands and streams. So attaching a rider blocking WOTUS to the omnibus was potentially going to attract a lot of attention. Until now.

Now, lawmakers are expected to attach a provision to the omnibus bill to block Syrian refugee resettlement — a move that is bound to become the focus of any government shutdown confrontation between Congress and the White House.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Senator Cedric?

Some minor fireworks popped off in the St. John Parish President's race last week.  They're still going off a bit in the aftermath as the loser, Daniel Becnel, is complaining to his supporters that his opponent, Natalie Robottom, is the real racist... or something like that.
Daniel Becnel Jr., the brash trial lawyer who made an unsuccessful attempt to oust St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom in Saturday’s election, is apparently not ready to hang it up.

In a note to supporters on Monday, Becnel blamed his loss on national civil rights leader Al Sharpton’s involvement in the race and said his opponent ran a racially divisive campaign that would damage the parish.

“At Natalie’s victory party, the Rev. Sharpton took his picture with all concerned in LaPlace. Unbelievable,” he wrote. “This was the most racially divided contest I have ever seen, and I advised people in advance that they were trying to make it a black/white issue, which they succeeded in doing.”

A couple of days before the vote, Robottom’s campaign released a recording of a voice message that Becnel had left with one of her supporters. On it, Becnel, who is white, was heard suggesting that white turnout would be higher than expected, then saying, “We’re taking our parish back.”
This is a familiar maxim in modern conservative politics. Racism is only a problem when and where "divisive" people are so impolite as to point out that it exists.

You can listen to the voice message in question here.  The YouTube caption calls it a "racist rant." I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "rant." But it's pretty clear Becnel couches his prospects in starkly racial terms.  Anyway he lost so it's fair to say his interpretation of those numbers was off.

But leave all the racial accusations and sour grapes aside and notice this item from among Becnel's allegations.
Becnel also accused Robottom of taking part in a back-room political deal with U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans.

He wrote that Richmond “worked tirelessly for Natalie Robottom” and told people he would be running for David Vitter’s seat in the U.S. Senate, while Robottom “made her intentions known that she was going to run for Congress.” He said Jackie Hotard, an at-large member of the Parish Council, got a promise of their support to replace Robottom as parish president.

“This made it impossible for me to win,” Becnel wrote, “due to the fact that they got over 3,000 additional voters, almost all of whom were black, to join on to this program.”
Again, Becnel is basically complaining that he lost because too many black people voted.   So, yeah, maybe he wants to shut up about "racial divisiveness" for a while. 

But meanwhile, what do we make of this Cedric Richmond For Senate theory? It's an open seat sure to draw lots of attention.  Is Cedric going to run?

Team Jeb! in Louisiana

Who even knew Suzie Terrell was still around?
Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush’s campaign on Tuesday named his Louisiana steering committee and finance chairs.

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, state Sen. Conrad Appel of Metairie, state Rep. Nancy Landry of Lafayette and former state Commissioner of Elections Suzie Terrell will work to build Bush’s grassroots infrastructure.
And on the fundraising end, some of your favorites. 
Meanwhile, fundraising efforts will be led by New Orleans developer Joe Canizaro, Lockport shipbuilder Boysie Bollinger and Ruston businessman James Davison.

Wow, Loomis

Who knew anyone could even suggest a clause like this, let alone get somebody to agree to it.
Byrd could end up on the path to losing some money this season if he fails to make the Pro Bowl or earn first-team All-NFL honors.

The safety has a provision in his contract that will drop his 2017, 2018 and 2019 salaries by $500,000 if he doesn’t make the Pro Bowl or earn first-team All- NFL honors in 2015 and 2016.

If he only makes one Pro Bowl or earns one first-team selection during 2015 or 2016, his salary will drop by $400,000 in 2017, $300,000 in 2018 and $300,000 in 2019.

Considering Byrd missed three games to start the season, he might have a hard time achieving either of those goals this season.

After Les, years and years in the wilderness

With Les, LSU has a fantastic recruiter but demonstrably terrible coach who is at least nice to the kids who play for him.  By firing Les all you do for certain is lose the fantastic recruiter part of that equation.
University Lab standout and nation's no. 1 prospect in 2017 Dylan Moses spoke candidly with SEC Country's Chris Kirschner, via message, and that message could not have been more clear; he does not like what is happening to Les Miles.

The recent LSU decommitment is very familiar with Miles, after playing with his son Manny at University during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Moses told the site that Les Miles is "like a family friend" and that he "personally thinks it's wrong" that Miles is in jeopardy of losing his job right now.
Recruiting is about 90% of what it takes to succeed in college football. Les has been bad a lot of things but you can't say he hasn't been successful.  After he's gone, who knows?

People like Bernie

His constituents like him.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is far and away the most popular senator among his own constituents, a new Morning Consult poll reveals.

The veteran lawmaker, who is also a Democratic candidate for president, scored an 83 percent approval rating among voters in Vermont.

His 13 percent disapproval rating also ranks as the lowest in the country.
So called "small donors" like him.
Sanders is dominating all other candidates among small donors, which could give him a marked advantage as the primary continues. Almost three-quarters of his haul this quarter came from donors giving $200 or less, and the campaign told the Huffington Post that only 270 of his nearly 700,000 donors—less than half of 1 percent—have given the maximum individual contribution of $2,700 for the primary. That means that Sanders can go back to his donor base repeatedly as the race progresses.

Only 17 percent of Clinton’s contributions were from small donors. According to Politico, more than half of her take last quarter was from donors who are now maxed out and can’t give again until the general election gets underway.
Those elusive "millennials" like him
They are the country’s gloom-and-doom generation of millennials — and they have found a gloom-and-doom candidate to love in the 2016 presidential election: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the democratic socialist who has attracted a stream of young people to his rallies in numbers unmatched by any other candidate from either party.

The campaign is aiming to match President Obama’s historic performance among this group of voters in 2008. Already, in polls in key nominating states, Sanders is outperforming Hillary Rodham Clinton, in some cases by lopsided margins, among young voters.
(Aside: Magazines should stop writing about generational cohorts as if they think and act with one mind. Just a few years ago, we were told Millennials were the "optimistic generation," supposedly less cynical and misanthropic than their grumpy Gen-X predecessors.  Now they are all about "gloom and doom." Maybe one day we'll figure out what a disservice we do to paint every person in an age range with one brush. But first we'll have to kill all the advertisers.)

Who else likes Bernie? This guy does
Rapper Killer Mike delivered an impassioned speech in Atlanta Monday night endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president.

"In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that Sen. Bernie Sanders is the right man to lead this country," the hip hop star, activist and Atlanta native said.

Killer Mike cited Sanders' stance on the Voting Rights Act, health care, education and ending the war on drugs as reasons for backing the Vermont senator's Democratic campaign.
I don't actually know who that guy is. But I'm not a "Millennial" so that's okay.

Oh also these Republicans like Bernie.
“Once you get out of Washington ‘conservative’ can mean all sorts of different things. Voters are often left of center on some issues and right of center on others. So someone like Trump or Sanders who talks about themselves in a way that doesn’t fit into a pre-ordained box could be appealing to a lot of people,” says Chris Ellis, a political science professor at Bucknell University.

In some cases, longtime Republican voters who have decided to support Sanders, like MacMillan, are rethinking their political affiliation entirely. (“I’m inclined to say I might stay with the Democratic Party because the Republican Party has changed and it’s not the way it used to be,” MacMillan says.) Far from claiming to have experienced a political conversion, other Republicans argue that Sanders actually embodies conservative values.

“When I think of true conservative values I think of Teddy Roosevelt who earned a reputation as a trust-buster,” says Jeff DeFelice, a 38-year-old registered Republican voter living in Florida.Now look at Bernie. He’s the only one willing to stand up to the big banks. The big banks control an obscene amount of wealth in this country and he wants to go after them.” If Sanders looks like “a viable candidate” by the time the primary rolls around, DeFelice says he’ll switch his party affiliation to vote for the senator.

Sanders’s promise to wrest power away from Wall Street and return it to the American middle class taps into the same vein of populist anger that fueled the rise of the Tea Party. It’s also a message that resonates with mainstream Republicans and Democrats. Sixty-two percent of Republicans, for example, believe that large corporations wield too much influence on American politics, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted in May.
So Bernie is well liked, is funded by many small donors, and has broad bi-partisan appeal to the very same  anxieties currently dominating the field in the Republican primaries. (The Republicans, unlike the Democrats, have chosen to actually have debates and get attention so they're the default barometer for the national mood.) 

Given all of this, you'd think Bernie has a chance.  But, no, that would not be very "grown up" or "responsible" or whatever. At least according to the perpetually shell-shocked Democrats, anyway.
Fully 83 percent of Democrats have a favorable impression of Clinton, compared with 54 percent for Sanders. And despite Sanders's ability to energize the Democratic base -- as shown by huge crowds turning out to see him -- Clinton's edge is almost as large on intensity; 47 percent see Clinton in a "strongly favorable" light, compared with 22 percent for Sanders. So while more than half of Democrats who like Clinton feel strongly, less than half of those who like Sanders feel that way.
Which is funny because, according to the polling, anyway, Clinton is the Democrat more likely to lose the general election. 
Clinton boasts no advantage over Sanders among the public overall, however. Clinton's ratings with all Americans are underwater, at 46 percent favorable and 51 percent unfavorable, while Sanders's reviews are narrowly positive (40-38 favorable-unfavorable).

Clinton is worse off among political independents. Thirty-nine percent rate her favorably and 57 percent unfavorably, while Sanders again receives a slightly positive favorable-unfavorable split -- 42-38.

Don't dump

Noticed a few of these on some storm drains uptown lately.

Don't dump

Farewell Tour

Not sure Bobby Jindal has put out his tour dates just yet. Please keep us appraised if any announcements are forthcoming.
Jindal plans a statewide tour to highlight his achievements before leaving office in January. He said he hasn’t decided on his political future just yet. At 44 years old and with an impressive resume of political jobs under his belt, Jindal is certain to have an array of options.

Whether the charm offensive in his last weeks as governor will improve his reputation in Louisiana, however, remains questionable.
But Jindal isn't alone. Lots of longtime favs (and not so favs) are finishing 2015 with conspicuous exits. So if you want to follow along behind the tour, you might be riding in a crowded party bus.

We already know Rob Ryan is riding it off into the sunset of vengeance or something
Ryan, who acknowledged that the Saints didn’t fire him until at least four hours after the initial Fox Sports report came out Monday morning, was in California visiting his son Joe when the opportunity to make an appearance on the NFL Network arrived.

But he doesn’t plan to move into TV full-time. Despite the way things ended in New Orleans, Ryan expects to be back in coaching soon.

“The bottom line is this: I’ll hold my head high and walk out in the sunset,” Ryan said. “But believe me, I’ll come back with a vengeance.”
We also know that "Voice of the Tigers" Jim Hawthorne is walking out into the same sunset... or maybe that's Jack Hunt.

And, of course, David Vitter is going away too.
I think his legacy is two-fold: First, he did more than any other individual to make Louisiana a solidly Republican state through party building at the grass roots level, precise messaging, very successful fundraising and unrelenting criticism of the opposing party.

Second, he proved that fear, anger and intimidation are still powerful political weapons, especially in the hands of someone without a conscience, but the oldest rule in politics is still “What goes around comes around,” and if you spend an entire career fucking over people you’re supposed to work WITH, sooner or later you’re going to be hoist on your own pee-tard–probably in a very ugly and public manner
Or to put that another way
Vitter has spent the first half of his career criticizing adulterous liars and the second half skirting questions about being an adulterous liar. He relentlessly scapegoated gays, sounded the alarm about brown illegals and leveraged racially-charged issues.

Now these two awkward, arrogant, irritating, weird, friendless men (Vitter and Jindal) — who have been in office for so long and have accomplished so little good— go home defeated.
Or to put it still another way, David Vitter is a disgrace to humanity and will be long remembered as such.

Speaking of which, Vitter's pal and.. um.. PR professional Scott McKay is also making sounds as though he may go off a wanderin' too.
You guys already know everything I have to say on the elections this weekend, since I did seven different posts on them yesterday. We’re moving on from that. I am not sanguine about the prospects for Louisiana’s future, and frankly I’m going to be thinking about whether to include myself in it.
One imagines that is very similar to what Wendy Ellis said once that Vitter money dried up for her too. 

But wait. We may need to save some room on the bus for Les Miles.  We used to be pretty hard on Les around here. That was until a few years into the run when we made peace with his obvious flaws as a football strategist and learned to appreciate the things he does better than a great majority of college coaches.

Les is a top notch recruiter. Not only that but, once he convinces kids to play for him, he is supportive of them throughout their tenure. There have been some tough situations with some of these players, but you never see Les Miles hang anyone out to dry. He's genuinely loyal and his players seem to like playing for him. During his time at LSU, the program has developed more professional talent than any other school.

After many years of this, you'd think LSU fans and alumni would be well used to the product Les Miles delivers: Always very talented. Not particularly well organized or.. well... prepared to play fundamentally sound or smart football. But always very entertaining and successful far more often than not.  Shouldn't that be enough? If you dump that overboard, who knows what comes next?  How many Curley Hallmans will LSU fans suffer through now before they find anything close to the fun we had watching Les Miles goof off and accidentally beat people for a decade?

But more and more the rumors point us to the notion that Les is gonna be on that Farewell Tour bus with the rest of these guys.  I hope they don't let him drive.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Well now we're gonna need a new Senator

You may think it's as simple as going down to the pound and adopting another one but, no, there's all sorts of stuff to put up with.  For example, we now have to put up with a full year of Charles Boustany saying things.
BATON ROUGE — U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany is making it clear he intends to run for the U.S. Senate next year, after Republican David Vitter announced he won't seek re-election.

Boustany released a statement Monday (Nov. 23) saying Louisiana deserves a senator "who can lead in times of challenge, offer conservative, workable solutions to complex problems and bring unity in times of division."
Boustany has to be relieved that he doesn't have to run against David Vitter after spending the gubernatorial campaign working to get him elected. Same goes for John Kennedy and John Fleming.  Those guys might be vulnerable to attacks from Scott Angelle (who is also likely to run) should he decide to tie his opponents to their unpopular friend Vitter. Everyone knows how Angelle feels about Vitter now. 

That's assuming Vitter will even be relevant anymore next year which he may not be. Meanwhile, expect more rumors that Russel Honore might run right up until he decides not to. The same can be said for Mitch Landrieu although, he will probably decide three different ways before not qualifying.  John Georges is probably already polling his own name just in case.  And, as always, there's this.

Anyway, it's almost time to start politickin' again.  Better gas up the party bus.

Bipartisan signage

Y'all might have noticed these popping up around town during the campaign's final week.

Republicans for JBE

I don't know who printed these. One assumes the campaign did but it could also have been one of the PACs. Here is an interview with GumboPAC's Trey Ourso discussing his organization's role in the election this year. 
NOLA.com: What ads did you produce that you thought were most successful?

Ourso: Looking back on it, the ad that really helped a lot was the one with (Republican primary candidates Jay) Dardenne and (Scott) Angelle where we took the clips of him from the debates. If you look at all of our commercials, we were speaking to the Angelle-Dardenne supporters. We weren't necessarily trying to appeal to the Vitter supporters, nor did we have to persuade the Edwards supporters. We knew if we could get a high percentage of Dardenne-Angelle supporters, we'd be in good shape.

That particular commercial, I think we launched it the Tuesday after the primary -- so about four days later -- I think in our mind it froze the race. It gave those folks who had voted for either Scott Angelle or Jay Dardenne a moment's pause to remember why they didn't vote for David Vitter and also give them permission not to vote for him" in the runoff election.
Clearly that appeal was effective.  Angelle's obvious antipathy toward Vitter plus Darenne's official endorsement plus just the runaway results of the election themselves demonstrate that there clearly were a large number of "Republicans for Edwards" in this election.

I'm less certain about these "Democrats for Landry" though.

Democrats for Landry

It's hard to imagine a whole lot of people who still call themselves Democrats in Louisiana getting behind a Tea Party type for Attorney General.  At least we know where the signs came from.

Paid for by Landry for Louisiana

That's the Landry campaign.  You can put just about any affiliation you would like on a sign. Once upon a time down-ticket candidates even tried to fool you into associating them with President Obama. Like, on purpose, they would do this. Seems like forever ago now.


Update: Regarding "Democrats for Landry" I was just informed/reminded by the tweeters of a few interesting points. Democratic also-ran Geri Baloney endoresed Landry during the runoff.
Baloney told the Press Club of Baton Rouge that she’s backing Landry because he wants to change the way the Attorney General’s Office does business.

“I truly believe that Louisiana cannot take another (four) years of Buddy Caldwell’s bad practices and policies,” she said.

“Geri and I both know the Attorney General’s Office under Buddy Caldwell has been about rewarding the desires of a few, over the needs of the many,” Landry said.
Uh huh.  Somebody's needs were met, anyway.

Also these sometime Democratic-aligned ministers
NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Ministerial Alliance expressed its support for Jeff Landry for Louisiana Attorney General by issuing the following statement:

 “After reflecting on Buddy Caldwell's record over his past two terms as Attorney General, it is abundantly clear that his tenure has not, is not, and will not be in the best interest of the African-American community. He has done nothing to eliminate the school to prison pipeline. He has done nothing to protect disadvantaged businesses from scams or fraud. He has done nothing to uplift the least among us.
Prominent among these ministers voicing concern for the underprivileged here.. our old friend Leonard Lucas.  

No, Ben Nevers has not been elected Governor.

But he did raise a lot of money through a PAC he created. And when you do something that is especially helpful in getting the Governor elected, you  often get to be on the team. Nevers isn't necessarily our favorite person in Louisiana. (See here.)  But that's not going to have a whole lot to do with the job he's been given. Same goes for the rest of these people.
Edwards announced that outgoing state Sen. Ben Nevers will be his chief of staff and oversee the transition, and he named six transition co-chairs who represent different political constituencies that are important for Edwards.

They are: state Sen. Sharon Broome, D-Baton Rouge; Natchitoches attorney Taylor Townsend; Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand; Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo; businesswoman Laura Leach, of Lake Charles; and Richard Lipsey, a Baton Rouge businessman.

“He has a pretty diverse group,” said Rolfe McCollister Jr., founder and publisher of Louisiana Business, which publishes the Baton Rouge Business Report, and the chairman of Jindal’s 2007 transition.
On the other hand, it's never a good idea to come right out of the gate making Rolfe McCollister happy.  They'll have to fix that.  Also, nice job of trolling by Tyler Bridges here. 
Edwards said the transition team will work out of the 12th floor of Kirby Smith Hall, which is named after a Confederate general. Jindal used the same space eight years ago when he was governor-elect.
Before everyone freaks out again, please note that General Kirby-Smith will also not be acting as Governor.

Meanwhile, seeing has how two of your three Hunkerdowncast co-hosts officially endorsed Edwards during the final weeks (Varg here and Alli here), we're still waiting to receive our Official State Media designation.

Update: See also
The strongest signal yet of Edwards' commitment to Medicaid expansion is his appointment of state Sen. Ben Nevers to be his chief of staff. Nevers has been one of the foremost advocates of Medicaid expansion in the Legislature, at times offering tearful testimony as he pleaded with colleagues to expand the federal program to cover people who aren't paid enough to purchase their own insurance.

Asked about the significance of Medicaid expansion to the working poor, Nevers said, "it means life or death to many people across this state."

"There are over 242,000 people without medical insurance in this state who go to work everyday; who have been dependable employees," Nevers said. "It would mean the opportunity for them to have insurance for them and their families. I can tell you that there's many people across this state who've suffered tremendously because we've refused to expand Medicaid."

When asked what it means to him personally, Nevers said, "It means a tremendous amount to me.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Like swatting a fly with a party bus

Bye, David

State Rep. John Bel Edwards, a relatively unknown Democrat from a rural Amite, will be the state's next governor after toppling Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., in one of the biggest political upsets in the state's history.
Numbers are still coming in as I'm typing but look at it! It's 55-45 or thereabouts.  That's about the max of what I had considered possible in my most optimistic moments this week. (I was less confident by the end of it but.. HAPPY TO BE WRONG) This was a complete drubbing.  Vitter, once a dominant and feared figure in state politics, was beaten so badly he announced tonight that he's not even going to run for reelection to his Senate seat next year.

Some quick reactions:

- Vitter giving up his Senate seat will be good news for Charles Boustany and John Kennedy.  The two have been conspicuous supporters of Vitter throughout the campaign and it's no secret that they both are interested in inheriting the office he's vacating.  Neither will have to suffer the embarrassment of turning right around to run against him now.

Kennedy, shameless as ever, was quick to leap in front of a camera and begin kissing John Bel's butt the minute the race was called. He also said the state budget was like "Thelma and Louise headed toward that ditch," which sounds.. bad.. I guess? But maybe heroic.. it's not really that clear. Anyway, now that Vitter is going away and Bobby Jindal is almost gone, smarmy phony John Kennedy is probably the worst person in state politics right now.  He's one of the favorites to be your next Senator.

- Clancy DuBos kept talking about how "stunning" it was that David Vitter lost his "home parish."  Sure, it's notable. And it does tell you a lot about how bad a night it was for him.  But "stunning" isn't the word simply because it can't come as much of a surprise. Just this week, even at the height of Vitter's refugee barrage, 25 Jefferson Parish politicos endorsed Edwards including, of course, Sheriff Newell Normand who we already know has an ax to grind with Vitter. If you're trying to win Jefferson Parish, it's not a great idea to be enemies with Newell Normand.

- TV newspersons  also could not stop fawning over the "gentlemanly" manner in which Billy Nungesser and Kip Holden agreed not to attack one another during the runoff. Given the dirt these candidates could have slung at one another, it's likely this collusion was arrived at more out of a sense of mutually assured destruction than it was out of any sense of "civility."  But our newspersons do enjoy their little fantasies about the nobility of our so-called leaders.

- Jeff Landry was elected Attorney General immediately making him the smart pick in next year's State Officeholder Stupid Scandal office pool.

-Edwards specifically thanked Jay Dardenne in his speech tonight. We're looking forward to learning what Jay is getting for his endorsement. 

- The conventional wisdom post-mortem on this election will conclude that Vitter lost more than Edwards won. That's only partially true. Yes, it contrasts with the party line results in the other statewide races. And, yes, it is primarily a rebuke of the most despised person in state politics.  But saying the result is just about those things unduly discounts the very well run Edwards campaign. Sure, Vitter's damaged status provided the opportunity, but greater opportunities than this one have been squandered by many an inept candidate.

I didn't care for the "Prostitutes over Patriots" ad and I thought the "me too" stand on refugees was pretty low (and potentially damaging) but otherwise it was a disciplined and sneaky smart campaign.  Edwards proved to be a talented candidate. Bright but affable and not easily rattled, Edwards held up well in both debates.  He presented as calm, clear-eyed, and "grown-up" without sounding condescending or pandering.

His victory speech was remarkable. Edwards spoke earnestly about some themes that typically come off as tropes in these situations; "bipartisanship," "putting Louisiana first," etc. while also emphasizing some things that might sound controversial in another context; diversity, public education (emphasis on public), and "protecting the environment."  

Edwards may not have been well known before now but he is well-liked and respected in Baton Rouge. He's also known as a smart, savvy "doer." Because of the unique circumstances of his election, the press is likely to underestimate him politically. But some important fights are coming up in the next legislative session. Perceptions may change as he starts winning some of those.

-By electing Edwards governor Louisiana immediately improves access to health coverage for some 225,000 residents. That's already huge.

- Finally, congratulations also to President Obama on another stunning electoral victory. Somewhere in Washington D.C. he's looking over these results and laughing with that one Syrian refugee Vitter told us John Bel sent up there to conspire with him. I hope he gave him a nice celebratory fist bump. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

One hour until the polls close

Lane closure

Some tweets.

I'm thinking we might see something like 51-49 Vitter. But we won't know for a while.  Keep refreshing The Lens until they put the map up.

Please participate in our exit poll

Some surprising results so far. Not sure what it means as far as final projections go, though. I look at a lot of social media on election day so I get a lot of anecdotal stuff that tends to worry me. A charter school teacher says she's voting for Vitter because she believes that will preserve her livelihood. Some folks reporting what looks to them like heavy turnout in Vitter-friendly white precincts.  That kind of thing.

Also it's raining in a lot of places. If Vitter is going to pull this off, it will be by the slimmest of margins; probably within one percent of the vote.  Should be an interesting night.

The time Billy Nungesser sold Plaquemines Parish to heavy industry before it sunk into the ocean

Anybody else remember that? That's just good business, you know.  Also it's kind of just the standard policy down there now.

Anyway Nungesser is running for Lieutenant Governor today.  Luckily that office doesn't have a whole lot to do with coastal policy.

Please don't fire Les

Not now. Not after we lost Rob Ryan. Not after we lost the Jindal 2016 campaign prematurely.  We're not ready to give up so much fun all at once. These guys are thinking differently.
OXFORD, Miss.– LSU football coach Les Miles’ future is in danger even if the Tigers win out to end the regular season, an LSU Board of Supervisors member said on Friday.

“I think if he wins the next two games, it’s still something that needs to be looked at,” LSU Board of Supervisors member Ronald Anderson told Gannett Louisiana on Friday. “It’s the way they lost the two games.”
We're all well-inured to the Les Miles act by now. He recruits well. He says and does strange things. He is generally good to his players. He develops a lot of professional talent. He doesn't manage actual football strategy particularly well.

But because recruiting and player development is at least 3/4 of the battle in college football, and because coaches who do those things well and consistently over long periods of time are extremely rare, it's probably best to just accept the imperfections (and even the outright disasters) that come along with that.  In fact, I thought this had all been settled a long time ago.

Election Day Party Bus

Saints Bus

This is it, y'all.  Despite our long history of bad experiences with having one, we're on our way out to make a new Governor.  I'm typing this post up late on Friday evening. We're voting on Saturday. So, in Carnival terms, this is the Lundi Gras of the election. Accordingly, it's been pretty low key. Everyone has an early morning and long day ahead of them.

Monday night (or.. I guess.. the "Muses Thursday" of the Carnival schedule) was a different story as the gubernatorial candidates met for a final.. um.. energetic debate. David Vitter and John Bel Edwards struggled to make themselves heard over the hooting and hollering of charged up spectators. I'm not sure but I got the impression the noise began with Vitter partisans packed into the building specifically for the purpose of making a scene.  But the Edwards supporters were making themselves heard was well.  Anyway, it was a raucous atmosphere. I'm a little surprised no shoes were thrown.

This was a fun debate. Which is surprising at this point in the campaign.  We've heard the candidates' plow through their standard pitches so many times on TOPS, on the transportation trust fund, on the seemingly perma-fucked state budget, so many times that our eyes glaze over when they go through those motions for the nth time.  Not that those things aren't important. It's just that.. it's been a long campaign. One supposes all that stuff is worth going over again for the benefit of those just now tuning in.  But, in all likelihood, that audience isn't joining us now to hear about the Inventory Tax Credit.  They're there to see some fireworks. And that's what the candidates provided Monday.
Granted, a lot of that was stupid.  For instance Edwards called Vitter out for "lying" about John Bel's position on Syrian refugees.  Despite Vitter's "distortions" Edwards assured the audience that he is willing to assume a posture every bit as hateful and suspicious of the homeless victims of ISIS who aren't actually coming to Louisiana right now as Vitter's.

Nevertheless, Vitter continued full steam ahead with his nonsensical harangue about "unaccounted for" Syrian refugees let loose in Louisiana and now ominously descending on Washington D.C. to receive a fist bump from President Obama. Vitter continued with this the next day in an email blast despite some rather glaring factual difficulties and.. um.. uncomfortable ironies.
Ironically, David Vitter's wife Wendy is the general counsel for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which means she also is the lawyer for Catholic Charities — the people who are bringing in refugees. Apparently the senator is so desperate that he doesn't even mind throwing his wife and Archbishop Gregory Aymond under the bus for a few cheap political points.

For the record, the Syrian man that Vitter and the GOP say is “missing” and “unaccounted for” is totally accounted for. He had to fill out multiple forms before moving around in Baton Rouge, let alone before moving to Washington D.C. to be with his family. (See The Advocate's story HERE confirming all this.) It's noteworthy that The Advocate story came out a full day before the GOP sent the hysterical email, which means they had to have known they were spreading lies in order to foster hysteria — and raise money.
Salon ran a Bob Mann column with a headline stating that Vitter had (again) thrown his wife "under the bus" as well. This bus thing is an interesting choice of imagery given that Vitter had spent the debate making multiple references to the "purple party bus" the Edwards campaign apparently used to ferry attendees at a campaign event in New Orleans over to City Hall so they could vote early.  Seems pretty cool to me. But Vitter clearly intended some sort of racial dig by it.  In Vitter world, driving black voters to the polls at all is suspicious activity. Later in the week, Vitter was asked to square his position on Syrian refugees with his wife's relationship to Catholic Charities.  He said he thought the question was "mean spirited."

It's likely that Vitter's mean spirited xenophobic and racist flavored attacks have done him some good this week. The polling averages could suggest a narrowing of the margin by which he still trails, although that's in no way definite.  He might have made more noticeable progress had his momentum not been blunted by the news of Bobby Jindal's decision on Tuesday (Hermes/Krewe d'Etat Friday on the Carnival calendar) to end his Presidential campaign. 

Not only did Jindal interrupt the flow of the campaign with his announcement, the outgoing Governor also quite inconveniently decided he was in the mood to also do a little governing.  On Wednesday (Endymion Saturday of the campaign) Jindal unveiled a package of emergency cuts to address a mid-year budget shortfall. The legislature approved the plan Friday. They had little choice but to do just that. Still, both candidates publicly urged them not to. 

Jindal's sudden budget action especially disrupted Vitter's plans on Thursday.
A press conference on the refugee crisis originally planned to be held in front of the Catholic Charities’ refugee assistance office was scraped at the last minute in favor of one focused on the budget on the state capitol’s front steps.

Vitter may have been seeing a shift in voter sentiments, “but then Bobby Jindal parachuted in,” said Edward Chervenak, director of the Survey Research Center at the University of New Orleans.
According to our Carnival calendar, Thursday would have been the Thoth/Bacchus Sunday of election week. Most people agree that event-packed day is probably the real climax of the Carnival season.  The campaign version lived up to this billing. 

Vitter had wanted to talk about refugees all day. Jindal forced him to talk about the budget instead.  And when Vitter was his typical overly aggressive self in going about this, Jindal and his staff executed the most exquisite rope-a-dope of the entire campaign.
Jindal, who hasn’t endorsed either of his potential successors, challenged both to release plans of their own.

“Leadership often requires a willingness to make tough choices, but both David Vitter and John Bel Edwards are suggesting they may take the easy way out by raising taxes, even though they won’t quite come out and say it,” Jindal said in a statement. “It’s easy to be a critic, but critics are not leaders. Both candidates have been light on details and should outline their solutions in more detail.”

During his news conference, Vitter implied that he didn’t have a detailed plan because he didn’t have enough information from the Jindal administration.

Commissioner of Administration Stafford Palmieri responded online, saying that her door is “always open to discuss the budget.”
Actually this article leaves out the best part of the exchange. Here is the rest of Palmieri's response.


So what's gonna happen on Saturday? I don't think anyone knows.  On Friday night I watched Jeremy Alford and Stephanie Grace struggle on Informed Sources. Alford referred a few times to the tightening margins and said something about "white voters coming home to Vitter" this week. That sounds probable but, like I said earlier, it's difficult to see in the polling with any certainty.

Here, in Huff-Po's chart you can see the averages narrowing in the final week.

But the numbers are so tight that it's hard to know what to read into that.

Sabato analyst Geoffrey Skelley moved the race into the "leans Democratic" column this week but, in the text, he emphasizes that they "can't say we're supremely confident" in this call.

Here, Tyler Bridges visits the "bellwether" House District 50 and just goes around asking people who they're voting for.  There's nothing conclusive here but that's by design. Still it's worth paying attention to why voters say they're making the choices they make.

Here, Adrastos explains why there are still probably more Vitter voters than people think there are.
In addition to my concerns that Vitter’s racist and xenophobic slurs might work, I’m convinced that Vitter is underpolling. Most recent surveys have him 15+ points behind Edwards. I’m convinced that there are a substantial number of Vitter voters who are too embarrassed to admit that they’re voting for the sleazy Senator. I’m not the only one.
On the positive side, there was one pretty conclusive poll taken this week. It's probably an outlier, though.

All indications are, your vote will definitely matter so do not neglect it. Part of me is rooting for the election to come down to something like 1,000 votes so we can do some recounts and lawsuits and spend the next several years arguing about who stole it and how. Seems an appropriate way to finish this.

Saturday is the Fat Tuesday of Election Week.  Do what you wanna otherwise but please get out and vote.  The polls are open from 7 am - 8pm. If you want to know where to vote, click here. If you need a ride to the polls, just keep an eye out for the big purple bus.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Here's Bernie Sanders talking

I've got some Governor's election stuff but let's put all that off until tomorrow.  Instead here's Bernie Sanders talking to Rolling Stone.  
A lot of progressives agree with your ideas, but they view Hillary Clinton as more electable. And given the dangers you just articulated in terms of the Republican agenda, does that not argue for moving ahead with a more traditional candidate?

The answer is that progressives who think that are wrong. And I mean that very sincerely. Look up the polls for a start. The last polls that I saw – check 'em out; they're in the machine – will show you that Bernie Sanders does better against Trump than Hillary does. On many of the matchups, I do better, OK? That's just a fact.

Number two, the only way that Republicans win elections is when voter turnout is low. We have brought out over 300,000 people to our meetings – a significant majority of those people are nontraditional voters. I would say 90 percent of the people who go to my meetings have never been to a Democratic Party meeting in their life, OK? The energy and the enthusiasm that we are developing in this campaign with young people, with low-income people, with working people, is the kind of enthusiasm that is needed to create large voter turnouts.

Frankly and honestly, Hillary Clinton is not generating enthusiasm. She has very strong establishment support. But establishment support will take you only so far.
Also, I would just like to add, for the sake of being thorough, Hillary Clinton is a terrible monster so there is that as well.

At this link, you can watch Bernie's speech he gave today at Georgetown University.

The best non-election thing to happen on the internet today

Craigslist really shouldn't take these things down.
In the now-deleted post, a delightfully anarchic and satirical screed against the slightly regulated short-term rental company and its network of hundreds of rooms and houses throughout the New Orleans area, "stealing indiscriminately" — rather than wishy-washy enforcement, full-blown legalization or letting things be to help out struggling artists (which "some dull person is probably saying right now, whilst painting a jazz guy with wavy music-lines coming out of his music-horn") — is the way to go. "Because Airbnb is an invisible middleman, we have no choice but to attack its physical expression within our city. A diffuse and decentralized campaign of petty theft is the best course of action."
Luckily Gambit has preserved the rest of it

Rabid Dogs

Republican Presidential contender Ben Carson, who thinks the Pyramids are grain silos, who doesn't quite know where states are, who is said to be "struggling to grasp foreign policy" and who, despite having been a medical professional, doesn't understand a whole lot about science or the history of science, made some news today by comparing humans displaced by a terrorist pseudo-state to "rabid dogs."
Discussing the Syrian refugee crisis, Carson said the United States must balance security needs against humanitarian impulses.

“For instance, if there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you’re probably going to put your children out of the way,” Carson said. “It doesn’t mean that you hate all dogs by any stretch of the imagination, but you’re putting your intellect into motion.”
Okay well at least he said he doesn't hate all of the "dogs." So that's something. 

Sean Payton is kind of a dick

Right here in the lede
There was a moment during Rob Ryan’s tenure when Sean Payton approached him on the sideline and asked him if he had his brother Rex’s phone number.

The former Saints defensive coordinator was confused and wanted to know why Payton was asking him this.

“Because I want to call a Ryan who’s not afraid to blitz,” Payton replied.
The rest is about how Dennis Allen might blitz more and such. 

All over but the stamp

City Council finalized but did not officially approve the 2016 budget today. Something to do with how calendars work.
The council did not actually approve the budget on Thursday, as it was expected to do, because of a technical glitch that will push the vote back to Dec. 1. But the council spent Thursday morning making changes to the spending plan that have been hashed out in meetings with the administration since Landrieu unveiled his original proposal last month.
The most notable late change is an extra $250,000 for the public defender's office which, combined with whatever they raked in on kickstarter, should mean they won't have to furlough anyone

Also worth mentioning (again).  Enjoy the boom times, New Orleans, because these are they.
The council was able to budget extra spending in part because of some unexpected, last-minute revisions to next year’s revenue projections. About $2 million of the total will come from payments for permits and fees related to the redevelopment of the former World Trade Center building. A roughly equal amount comes from rosier projections on the amount the city will collect in motor vehicle taxes and hotel/motel taxes.
Bizarre contrast with the tire fire in Baton Rouge notwithstanding, these are flush days in New Orleans. Curious that hasn't translated into any meaningful effort at relieving the affordable housing crisis or making the public transit work for someone besides the tourists downtown.

Curious, also that, even though these are the good times and we're rich and all,  we're still broke enough to jack up the parking meter rates and not feel bad about it.  That apparently didn't even come up for discussion today. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Our brand is budget crisis

Here, via NOLA.com, is the plan Jindal released this afternoon to plug up $500 million worth of mid-year budget holes.  The next governor (whoever that is) is sure to revisit some of this in a special session a few months from now.  And then the next disastrous budget process can begin.


This is from a Deadspin Jindal post-mortem by Albert Burneko
Bobby Jindal’s shtick is that he is a wonkish, Ivy League- and Oxford-educated dweeb who will debase himself shamelessly with gun-fuckin’, evolution-denyin’, demon-exorcisin’ extremist cosplay for the sake of presenting as a face of conservatism in the Time of Barack Obama. It almost seemed like it’d work for about a minute there!


No further comment necessary

David Vitter is an absolute menace on the roads

2007: Nervously backs into a stop sign driving away from reporters.

Primary Day 2015 (Correction. Primary Day Eve. Sorry) : Hurried away from the scene of an accident involving his driver/campaign staffer/SuperPAC coordinator.

Later, unspecified date in 2015: Another staffer backs into something in a parking lot.

Something about David Vitter on the road makes people nervous.

A new thing we're trying

Might be getting the hang of it three (but really six) episodes in. This one covers Bobby Jindal, Vitter vs Edwards, Rob Ryan, other stuff.  Plus the strangest Allen Toussaint tribute yet offered by anyone. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

No way Just when the big breakthrough was coming

Just like the one Rob Ryan kept saying was right around the corner.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday said he was ending his presidential bid, saying “this is not my time.”

Jindal had struggled to gain traction in the race, often failing to poll at even 1 percent in some surveys. He also underwhelmed in the money race, and had just $261,000 in the bank heading into October.
If only he'd found a little more bandwidth.

With Jindal out of the way we can reset our figuring as to which non-Trump and non-Jeb candidate is going to be the surprise post-Iowa frontrunner.  Jindal was always a long shot for that. But he was a much better long shot than many observers gave him credit for.  At least, his rhetoric and positioning was always well calibrated to meet what GOP primary voters are responding to this year.  Jindal's real problem was always that the candidate himself was just too obviously smug, too obviously phony, too.. much of an obvious nerd, really.

Anyway, there's an argument to be made that the next best positioned candidate due for a boomlet is Ted Cruz.  I thought it was interesting that Trump gave him this backhanded stamp of approval today. Remember, Trump will not be the nominee. But, as the unofficial mascot/ID of the party, it does matter that he approves of what the more "serious" candidates say and do.

On the other hand Cruz, very much like Jindal, can also be described as smug, phony, and nerdy.  But maybe just a little less... oh what is it?

Update:  I just remembered. Jindal says 2016 is "not my time."  He once told us how much he preferred the 19th Century so maybe he's right about that.

The backlash election

The Trumpists are coming to punch some hippies in 2016
In a new poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) on Tuesday, a whopping 43 percent of Americans told researchers that discrimination against whites has become as large a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minority groups. And an even bigger share of Americans — 53 percent — told pollsters American culture and "way of life" have mostly changed for the worse since 1950.
Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee. But there's a reason his style and rhetoric has been striking a chord with Republican voters this summer and fall.  This is going to be an angry angry backlash election dominated by white middle and working class voters who correctly perceive that their prospects have diminished but incorrectly diagnose the reasons for that.  All of the Republican candidates are following Trump's lead in playing to this anxiety and misdirecting it at immigrants/blacks/"lazy millenials"etc. The eventual nominee (it won't be Trump) will be the candidate who best connects with voters via this message.

There's a more progressive populist argument to be made that might counter some of this poison. But "The Left" is not making it.  Instead its institutions, such as they are, are rallying behind the terrible Clinton monster and doing their best to hide even the mild debates the Democratic candidates even bother to appear in.  2016 is going to be awesome.