State Troopers for Essence Fest makes sense...

Mayor Landrieu wants to beef up NOPD's street presence this holiday weekend with reinforcements from the Louisiana State Police. Not an unreasonable request, in the wake of the white-on-white shooting on Bourbon Street last week. Candidate Jindal's in a tough spot, though. Had the shooters in last week's incident been black, Governor Sociopath would have been able to score many points with Duck-believing Christians nationwide by stepping in. Now, it's more complicated:

That request was met with a cool response from Gov. Bobby Jindal, who pledged a typical deployment over the July 4 weekend for Essence Festival but made no promises beyond that.

State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said he would meet with New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas on Wednesday to discuss providing a contingent of troopers to augment the NOPD through Labor Day.

Edmonson doesn't get along well with NOPD (and that should not totally reflect poorly on him), so this will be strained. Landrieu is caught between a rock and a hard place, given the city's chronic underfunding.



Is Our Children Learning?

The Recovery School District proposal was controversial, even in the pre-Katrina world, but it passed because the common mantra was "how much worse can it be?" There's a lot of truth there. So many members of the OPSB from the decade before that were pushed out of office under clouds of suspicion and corruption, if not under indictment or in jail. Schools were a disaster.

Then the storm washed away all opposition, and in came the corps. Have we improved? Hard to tell--the metrics don't indicate much change other than who's profiting:

Even by the state’s own haphazard standards, the now all-charter RSD New Orleans continues to remain at the bottom of state rankings. In 2012, the RSD was given a “D” letter grade.” In 2013, the RSD was given a “C” – still withEven by the state’s own haphazard standards, the now all-charter RSD New Orleans continues to remain at the bottom of state rankings. In 2012, the RSD was given a “D” letter grade.” In 2013, the RSD was given a “C” – still within the state’s own definition as failing in terms of voucher the state’s own definition as failing in terms of voucher eligibility.

We shouldn't use taxpayer funds to pay corporations to do such a mediocre job.

More evidence that @BobbyJindal is a craven sociopath

So, the signature bill for Candidate Jindal for this session of the Louisiana State Legislature passed and is on his desk. You'd think that the Candidate (remember, he gave up being the state's governor a year ago, for all practical purposes), would have had pen ready to sign the bill banning lawsuits against oil companies for screwing up the wetlands. We're not dealing with a man of principle here, though. This is akin to something out of a Mafia movie--"That's a nice bill you got there, it would be a real shame if anything happened to it."

Candidate Jindal needs money to further his ambitions. He's got nothing left in Louisiana, unless he runs for Senate should Vitty-cent become governor. He needs a boatload of cash just to keep up the appearance of presidential aspirations. Who better to extort than the people he was just trying to help?

What's the NRA's next move?

Salon has a compelling but naive article about how the NRA should be scared of Richard Martinez, the outspoken father of one of the Santa Barbara shooting victims. Here's why Mr. Martinez is smart and the Salon writer isn't:

Right now, there hasn’t been much blowback from the other side,” Martinez noted during a Tuesday interview with MSNBC. “But I anticipate that once my grieving period is over, the gloves will come off. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. They are going to try to do to me the same thing that they’ve done to all of these people. But I have a message for them: My son is dead. There is nothing you could do to me that is worse than that.

Don't think for a moment that, as soon as this man started speaking out, the NRA didn't have private investigators and other opposition research teams digging up anything and everything they can to discredit this man. And they will use it.

If he can hang on, then maybe he'll be able to fight the gun manufacturers.

.@TellMeMoreNPR's "Barbershop" is the latest example of offensive false equivalence

It's supposed to be a roundtable. It's supposed to be a discussion of smart people. Unfortunately, though, it turns out to be quite the offensive experience, because the "Barbershop" segment on NPR's show, "Tell Me More," allows conservatives say things that are so factually wrong that it's hard to respect the rest of the show's efforts.

Tell Me More is a daily show on National Public Radio that is an omnibus news round-up. One of the regular features is the Friday "barbershop" segment, where host Michel Martin and a panel of journalists/writers/pundits, mostly male (if not all male), comment on the week's news stories. Today's segment on the minimum wage started with the news that The Gap plans to raise their starting salary to $9/hour this year, and $10/hour in 2015. The discussion then went to the President's push to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10/hour.

Today's Barbershop panel consisted of Jimmy Israel, a writer from Cleveland, Fernando Vila, program director for "Fusion," an ABC-Univision venture out of Miami, Kevin Williamson, "roving correspondent" for National Review, and Corey Dade, contributing editor for The Root. Here's what Williamson had to say when they came around to him on this topic:

What the President has done here and what the Democrats are pushing, is a raise in the minimum wage for its own sake, which is going to create these tradeoffs that you don't necessarily have to get, and the reason they're doing that is because they want to hand a victory to their political base that's clamoring for it, even though they don't understand what the consequences of it are...everyone supports the minimum wage, because people are idiots and they don't pay attention to the economics...

Without going into Mr. Williamson's economic theories, this is where treating conservative pundits as intellectual equals falls apart. "Everyone" do NOT support a raise in the miminum wage. Congressional Republicans most certainly do NOT support the concept, mainly because

  • It would give POTUS a win in an election year
  • Teabaggers would use that support to bludgeon non-teabagger CongressCritters in primary season this year, leading up to November.
  • All too many Republicans object to a raise in the minimum wage because it would immediately benefit black and brown people.

Do any of the folks in the "Barbershop" call the conservative on it? NO. Ms. Martin makes a half-hearted attempt, prefacing her remarks with "I'm sorry," even.

When you treat extremists as equals, you lessen your own principles. Sad ahd shameful to see so much of this on public radio of late.


Is MeMe Roth the next AnnThrax?

The title of this Amanda Marcotte article caught my eye: 

Just Don’t Put Meme Roth On TV. There Is No Excuse. Not Even For Fox News.

So, I clicked through, and nope, I still had no idea who Marcotte was talking about. So, I clicked through from Pandagon to a profile of Roth in The Guardian, which is where this image originates.

OK, so, she's a moron. Even by Fox News standards, she's a moron. She certainly isn't qualified to speak on anything more than maybe farting in her chair. That's when it hit me.

Meme Roth is the next-generation Ann Coulter.

Nobody's been able to figure out how to duplicate that nutjob's schtick.

Methinks Roth has. Fat people are a target-rich environment for a skinny blonde to be as obnoxious as she wants.

Hello, AnnThrax II.


Don't enable the Cult of Creationism

I was disappointed when I saw Buzzfeed's 22 Messages from Creationists to People who Believe in Evolution. The site famous for lists and short attention spans asked creationists in the audience at the Nye-Ham debate to write questions for Nye, then they published photos of those folks holding those questions.

The best illustration of Creationism-as-cult is #12 on the list (above). Here's the response from Roxanne Palmer's fantastic article responding to all 22 photos:

Simply false. There are thousands of hominid fossils that have been discovered – not all direct ancestors of Homo sapiens, but cousins of a sort. ("Lucy," the nickname for a 3.2 million year old Austrolopithecus afarensis specimen discovered in 1974, is still a pretty impressive find. Paleontologists managed to find about 40 percent of her skeleton; usually they can only find bits and fragments of individuals.)

So, we have a young woman writing up a question she totally believes is factual. Any cursory inquiry into the subject (you know, looking it up on Wikipedia) would give her factual information, but that doesn't matter. She believes the leaders of the cult.

Buzzfeed does the country no service here, because they put these people on equal footing with scientists. That's one of the main reasons Nye is so outspoken on this issue. We heard him vocalize his concern several times in the debate that the United States is not training enough scientists and engineers, and this creationism foolishness contributes to that gap.

Creationists should be rejected and dismissed as quickly as any other cult would be.

Don't be so quick to dismiss @MayorLandrieu's black support

Andrew Vancore's article this morning offering "analysis" of Saturday's mayoral election in New Orleans overlooks a few important points. Vancore tries to make a big deal about Landrieu's drop in black support - from 64% four years ago, to only 49% Saturday. There are a number of factors for this, none of which have to do with black folks not approving of hizzoner:

1. The race in 2010 was more contested - Four years ago, Mayor Mitch ran against John Georges, Troy Henry, James Perry, and several other candidates. More money, more people on the street, more turnout.

2. Second-term races are rarely serious contests. With the exception of Dutch Morial's re-election bid in 1982, every mayor in the 20th or 21st Century won in their second term in the first primary. I documented this yesterday on my history/speaking blog,

3. The "Black Vote" comes out strongest when a candidate is perceived to threaten black interests. That didn't happen here. Nobody thought Judge Bagneris was a threat to black voters. That's how John Georges was perceived in 2010, as were various white Republicans in previous elections. Absent that "threat," the "black vote" fragments, usually based on neighborhood interests.

The bigger takeaway from The Advocate's article is Landrieu's numbers among white voters in District A. There are a lot of people up there who still see the Landireus as a bunch of evil libruls. For Mitch to rack up 84% of that district indicates just how racially polarized it is.

Had a white candidate challenged Mitch, his white support would have dropped. That would have been offset by an uptick in his black support.

The value of a Liberal Arts degree

My friend Julie (Ms. Wine Me, Dine Me) shared an article that reminded me of what I call the "Ambrose Theory of Higher Education."

Dr. Ambrose would always advise, get a Liberal Arts degree first. Then join the military. You ddin't need to make a career of it, but four years in the service would pay OK and what were you really doing anyway? (Now that the Army has 2-year enlistment, this is an even more persuasive argument).

When you get out after four years, you're usually a Corporal or buck Sergeant (E-4 or E-5), Petty Officer Second Class in the Navy. You've been responsible for managing a squad or more of your colleagues. That makes you entry-level management. Write your resume to translate your military skills into business skills, and you're quite the attractive hire. You've got experience, and you can read and write better than the overwhelming majority of business majors.