Saturday, January 19, 2008

Other People's Petsblogging

Because ours are the awesomest, but these guys... well, they're pretty awesomest too.

Exhibit A: Mali. Mali excels at the sad, sad, sad look. Mali is very, very good at pretending that no one ever pets her, loves her, takes her for walks, or pays her any attention at all. The fact that all of this is wholly untrue is completely beside the point. Don't she just make you want to love on her???

Exhibit B: Max. Max is a lovely cat who knows how to open the bathroom door and will, at any hour of the day, accost you with his rather unique version of the meow, which is, essentially, "mrraw!," but said in the voice of a cranky old man. Max is totally adorable, and his cranky old man voice just offsets his really sweet personality, which he probably keeps under wraps for the sake of appearances.

Exhibit C: Queen Beatrix. She knows she is the lord, or rather, empress of her household, and composes herself accordingly. Pay obeisance, peasants.

Last but by no means least, Exhibit D: Charleston, the bar cat. Charleston is probably the most even-tempered, mellow cat I have ever encountered, and mind you, this is a cat who's been through not only numerous drunken "but I lurves kitties!!" bar patrons, but also Hurricane Katrina. Charleston lives at MRB on St. Philip, a half block off Decatur, in New Orleans, and he accepts the admirations and homages of his fans with impressive equanimity. He sometimes sits atop the video poker machines, offering good luck to his admirers/worshipers. Overall, he is just totally cool, and I was so, so happy to see that he was still there, and had his kitty bed atop the bar so that his worshipers fans could pet him at will.

Good trip, great pets.


Yeah, Right, Oops

They're not even bothering
to try to lie convincingly anymore:
Apparent gaps in White House e-mail archives coincide with dates in late 2003 and early 2004 when the administration was struggling to deal with the CIA leak investigation and the possibility of a congressional probe into Iraq intelligence failures.

The gaps — 473 days over a period of 20 months — are cited in a chart prepared by White House computer technicians and shared in September with the House Reform and Government Oversight Committee, which has been looking into reports of missing e-mail.

Among the times for which e-mail may not have been archived from Vice President Dick Cheney's office are four days in early October 2003, just as a federal probe was beginning into the leak of Valerie Plame's CIA identity, an inquiry that eventually ensnared Cheney's chief of staff.


Stupid Enough to Make My Eyes Bleed

Here's just a sample. Read the whole thing if you dare; each sentence is stupider than the last:
Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court unilaterally struck down state laws restricting abortion, the cost of that decision continues to increase our moral deficit, which will have far greater (and eternal) consequences than the impact from economic challenges during a possible recession.

Depending on how one counts the number of abortions per year since 1973, more than 50 million people who might have been are not. These were people who, regardless of the circumstances of the women who carried them, had the potential to contribute to the country and to the world. But now they cannot, because they are not. Would we be fighting the battle over immigration had we not rid ourselves of a generation of humans who likely would have done the work for which we are now importing illegal aliens? Actions have consequences.


Huckabee for Hate

Once again, this guy is scary:
As South Carolina's Republican primary election draws nearer, Mike Huckabee has ratcheted up his appeals to the racial nationalism of white evangelicals. "You don't like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag," the former Arkansas governor told a Myrtle Beach crowd on January 17, referring to the Confederate flag. "If somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell them what to do with the pole. That's what we'd do."

Making coded appeals to white racism is nothing new for Huckabee. Indeed, well before he was a nationally known political star, Huckabee nurtured a relationship with America's largest white supremacist group, the Council of Conservative Citizens. The extent of Huckabee's interaction with the racist group is unclear, but this much is known: he accepted an invitation to speak at the group's annual conference in 1993 and ultimately delivered a videotaped address that was "extremely well received by the audience."

Descended from the White Citizens Councils that battled integration in the Jim Crow South, including at Arkansas' Little Rock High School, the Council (or CofCC) has been designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Do You Know What It Means?

Pics by Miriam, of course.


Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?


Can't Really Imagine...

a better night.

Tipitina's 30th anniversary, with the Soul Rebels, Rebirth Brass Band, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.


Thursday, January 17, 2008


US Neglects Katrina Victims
A United Nations official who has toured parts of Louisiana and Mississippi devastated by Hurricane Katrina says the thousands of victims of the storm resemble poor people displaced by natural disasters in other parts of the world.

"Whether you're displaced in a rich country or a poor country, what remains the same is you need to get the help, the assistance of the authorities, of the communities, to be able to restart a normal life, and the people I have met are not there yet," said Walter Kalin, the UN secretary general's representative on the human rights of internally displaced persons.

Kalin spoke Wednesday, a day when he also saw hard-hit areas of the two states. He met Tuesday with evacuees in Houston.

The United Nations' human rights committee has been critical of the Bush administration's efforts to help people displaced by Katrina, particularly those without the financial means to rebuild.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Healthcare Against the Law

I think it may be time for some sort of change:
Several states and communities are moving to provide universal health coverage for their residents, but a federal law is blocking their efforts.

Many of the proposals require employers either to offer health coverage themselves or pay into a public fund to help cover the uninsured.

Some employers say that conflicts with a federal law that bars states from requiring or regulating employer-provided benefits such as health coverage. The law, which protects private-sector companies from having to meet a patchwork of state and local demands, is supported by businesses.

The dispute has set off a legal battle pitting lawmakers against employers. Its resolution could determine how far state and local lawmakers can go with their plans to cover the uninsured.


F***ing Bats*** Insane

Huckabee just gets scarier and scarier:
The United States Constitution never uses the word "God" or makes mention of any religion, drawing its sole authority from "We the People." However, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee thinks it's time to put an end to that.

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

When Willie Geist reported Huckabee's opinion on MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski was almost speechless, and even Joe Scarborough couldn't immediately find much to say beyond calling it "interesting,"

Scarborough finally suggested that while he believes "evangelicals should be able to talk politics ... some might find that statement very troubling, that we're going to change the Constitution to be in line with the Bible. And that's all I'm going to say."

Geist further noted of Huckabee that if "someone without his charm," said that, "he'd be dismissed as a crackpot, but he's Mike Huckabee and he's bascially the front-runner."


Unwelcome Even in Rome

That's one bad pope:
Pope Benedict XVI last night called off a visit to Rome's main university in the face of hostility from some of its academics and students, who accused him of despising science and defending the Inquisition's condemnation of Galileo.

The controversy was unparalleled in a country where criticism of the Roman Catholic church is normally muted. The Pope had been due to speak tomorrow during ceremonies marking the start of the academic year at Rome's largest and oldest university, La Sapienza. But the Vatican said last night it had been "considered opportune to postpone" his visit.

The announcement followed a break-in and sit-in at the rector's office yesterday by about 50 students and a furious row over a letter signed by more than 60 of La Sapienza's teachers, asking that the invitation to the Pope be rescinded.

The signatories of the letter said Benedict's presence would be "incongruous". They cited a speech he made at La Sapienza in 1990, while he was still a cardinal, in which he quoted the judgment of an Austrian philosopher of science who wrote that the church's trial of Galileo was "reasonable and fair".

The letter said: "These words offend and humiliate us." Among the signatories was the physicist Prof Luciano Maiani, who was recently appointed to head Italy's main scientific research body, the Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche.


ACLU Defends Craig

I know it's for the greater good and a higher principle and all, but sometimes I rather wish that the ACLU would tell these right-wing hypocrites to sod off:
In an effort to help Sen. Larry Craig, the American Civil Liberties Union is arguing that people who have sex in public bathrooms have an expectation of privacy


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

First Impressions

We got into New Orleans after sunset today, having opted to travel along 90 from Lafayette rather than sticking to I-10. The inordinate traffic on 90 certainly made me rethink the wisdom of this, but winding up at Suzie's Seafood just outside Morgan City rendered it all worthwhile.

Now we're here in the Quarter. And I know it's a Monday night. And I know we're still off-season for a couple weeks. But I still am struck by the scarcity of people, both denizens and tourists.

When I popped back in to the bar I used to manage down on St. Philip, I was disheartened to learn that the graveyard shift that used to be mine no longer exists. This is a bar that never shut its doors once from the moment I first walked in as a customer, back in 1993 or so. But now, 24/7 is a thing of the past.

And when the bartender there told me of the rash of robberies that hit the bars in that stretch of the Quarter a couple months back, my heart sunk further.

At any rate, we got some Verti Marte food, still as good as ever. And tomorrow is another day.

Meanwhile, for more extensive expostulations on the Oshkosh-Little Rock leg of this holiday break's crazy roadtrip, check out M's narrative and photos.


More Ol' Time Religion

The previous post was the violence part.

Here's the sex part:
An 80-year-old leader of a suburban megachurch who is at the center of a sex scandal has been charged with lying under oath for saying he had sex outside marriage with only one other woman, court documents show.

A warrant for the arrest of Archbishop Earl Paulk, co-founder of Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill Harvester Church, was issued Monday, according to court documents. Paulk was making arrangements Monday night to turn himself in, WAGA-TV reported.

His attorneys did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Former church employee Mona Brewer is suing Paulk, his brother and the church on allegations that Paulk manipulated her into an affair from 1989 to 2003 by telling her it was her only path to salvation. In a 2006 deposition stemming from the lawsuit, the archbishop said under oath that the only woman he had ever had sex with outside of his marriage was Brewer.

But the results of a court-ordered paternity test revealed in October that Paulk is the biological father of his brother's son, D.E. Paulk, who is now head pastor at the church. As part of Brewer's lawsuit, eight women have given sworn depositions that they were coerced into sexual relationships with Earl Paulk.


That Ol' Time Religion

It's all about the punitive:
Carrying a family Bible, a state representative-elect kicked a photographer who took a picture of him during a statehouse prayer - then was sworn into office.

Douglas Bruce went to the House floor Monday morning as a guest of Rep. Kent Lambert, a fellow Colorado Springs Republican.

When Rocky Mountain News photographer Javier Manzano took his photo during the traditional morning prayer, Bruce, who was standing, brought the sole of his shoe down hard on the photographer's bent knee.

"Don't do that again," Bruce told him.

Later, Bruce refused to apologize.


Monday, January 14, 2008

A Sign of the Times

Mortgage fraud cases through the roof:
Federal mortgage fraud convictions have more than doubled in the past year, and the FBI expects a growth in foreclosure scams as the crisis over substandard, high-interest home loans escalates.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ira Glass Rocks

That's all for the moment.

Tomorrow, we strike out east, for New Orleans...