All politics is localI've been super busy at work the last few weeks. My Darling Wife uses the expression, "working you like a rented mule." The blogging has been slow as a result, but here are a few thoughts about recent political developments.
Mayor Ray Nagin bested Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu to win a second, lame duck term as mayor of New Orleans. It's no secret that I would have liked to have Mitch at the helm. But you know, I'm only slightly disappointed because I do think Ray will still be good for the city. I still think Hizzoner did a good job up until Hurricane Katrina, and I am hopeful that now he's assured of another four years on the job, he can make the tough, controversial and unpopular decisions that need to be made.
Nagin only has two obstacles to overcome: the City Council, who will, of course, continue to fight for their respective districts and threaten to pull the whole city down instead of working for the good of the whole, and the media, who will continue to assassinate his character and exaggerate everything he says or does to make him appear silly, crazy or loony. Stay tuned.
I know our fellow Americans out are already drawing quick parallels between Ray and other famous local politicians like "Dollar Bill" Jefferson and Edwin Edwards. Let me say it as politely as I can: anyone who attempts to link convicted felon Edwards and future-jailbird Jefferson with our mayor doesn't have a flippin' clue. Ray runs the city like his chosen hairstyle: clean and bright. Any editorial or blog that uses the word "corrupt" against Ray is not worthy even of the electrons needed to display on my monitor.
What is it with the Louisiana Legislature's love of Quixotic, symbolic measures? Fellow local blogger Dangerblond shreds the Louisiana Legislature for their preoccupation with trivial, time-wasting measures like yet another unconstitutional law to limit or stop legal abortions.
More than a decade ago Governor Roemer vetoed an abortion law that was patently unconstitutional because he said it was a waste of taxpayer's time and money. The Legislature overturned his veto, the law was challenged in court, the state spent tons of money on lawyers defending it, the law was overturned, and Buddy Roemer was right. Of course, voters later dumped Roemer in favor of a fourth term of Edwin Edwards. It makes me think that Louisiana voters prefer leaders who do the wrong things for the right reasons over leaders who do wise, rational things.
Another vital issue they are working on is a bill to make it a crime to burn the US flag in protest. The punishment could be up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail! Hello, Legislators? Free Speech calling--remember me? Hello? Hmmm. I think they hung up…
A colleague of mine recently commented that he's been hearing a lot of politicians saying we need to do this or that in order to "send a message." Here's my suggestion: Don't send a message, send a solution! By your deeds will you be remembered, not by your words!
Unfortunately, legislative silliness is not limited to Baton Rouge. A bill recently passed the US House that would require communities to make emergency plans for pets following a major disaster. Yes, pets. Not a suggestion, not a recommendation, but a requirement or communities could be denied emergency funding.
This is not the work of some crackpot lawmaker--this bill has 110 cosponsors in the house and 11 in the Senate! They haven't yet appropriated the money to fix the levees, but by gum, they're well on their way to making sure that Fluffy and Marmaduke will be safe. File this under "So bizarre, you can't make this stuff up." (See "Bill Considers Pets in Disaster Plans" in the Washington Post.)
And a big FYI America: how many Louisiana representatives are co-sponsors of this bill? You know, those nutty, irresponsible, corrupt politicos from the Pelican State--you wanna guess how many are goofy enough to back a pet welfare bill? The answer is ZERO.
We can at least claim sanity this once.