Crooked Conversations Podcast
Priyanka Aribindi’s “Crooked Conversations” interview with her boss, Tommy Vietor, was fun to listen to. The ep’s titled, “What’s it like to work on a campaign?” Ms. Aribindi does well in getting Vietor to talk about his early political career. He talks about working on campaigns going back to 2004. That’s going back to ancient times. 2004 was the year I joined DailyKos.
First, Vietor spent a lot of time during the 2008 campaign in Iowa. He was part of the in-state team in 2007. The Iowa caucuses are, for better or worse, Yuge/Bigly. Losing Iowa may not do a candidate in, but winning the caucuses can really boost your campaign. Obama’s Iowa win in 2008 put him on top, going into New Hampshire. The narrative at the time was more, can Hillary catch Obama, rather than focusing on how strong a candidate she was.
Vietor’s public displays of affection for Iowa are consistent. It doesn’t sound like he’s saying these things just to be polite.
There’s a scene from The West Wing, from “In the Shadow of Two Gumnen, Part 2,” where Donna’s thinking back to the early days of the Bartlet campaign. The staff’s getting ready to leave New Hampshire (nothing to see there, Bartlet was governor and a CongressCritter from NH). As they’re packing up to go south to South Carolina, Josh tells Donna he can’t carry her in SC. She says, she’ll work as a volunteer, sleep on someone’s floor, etc. Eventually she knew he’d put her on paid staff, if the campaign continued. And so the relationship began.
Vietor’s thoughts echo what Donna did. Tommy tells listeners, get involved in a campaign for a candidate you believe in. Volunteer. Work unpaid. Work hard, be good at it. He reminds everyone that all the success stories you hear of from the Obama administration (Crooked Media, Plouffe, Axelrod, Alyssa) originated with volunteering and working for Obama’s Senate campaign.
Priyanka edits the “What a Day” newsletter for Crooked. Tommy joked that she can’t leave to work on a campaign.
It was 1976. I was a freshman at the University of New Orleans, and an Associate Member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. As a group, we sat around a table in the University Center’s snack bar. Even though I was an Education major (the college was on the other side of campus), I gravitated to the UC.
One day that fall, I walked up to the UC’s main entrance around lunchtime. A crowd had gathered there. That’s when I saw my first “stomp.” Men, pledges from Alpha Phi Alpha and Omega Psi Phi (didn’t know they were called “Q’s” at that time) did their dance routines, which I learned were called “stomps.”
Then came the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated, followed by the pledge class of the UNO chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Incorporated. That’s when I first heard the “Skee Wee.” So, when Senator Kamala Harris mentioned her sorority, AKA, at book promotion event at DC’s Politics and Prose on Wednesday, her Sorors did a “skee wee.”
As they fucking should.
I’ll let The Root tell the story of the event and the aftermath.
Exercise caution when messing with Sororities
It’s a Sorority thing. Honestly, it’s not even a Black thing as much as it’s a Sorority thing. What made it a black thing was a white woman. Ms. Chelsea Janes, recently assigned to political coverage after being on the Washington Nationals beat for years, covered the talk for the Washington Post.
And now she’s infamous. Ms. Janes forgot to check her privilege before entering an event with a mostly-black audience. When the Sorors of AKA did the Skee Wee, this is what she tweeted:
As I often do, I’d like to paraphrase Professor Tolkien by saying, I “cordially dislike” the term, “unpacking,” in the context of a photo, written work, etc. That said, there’s much to unpack here.
Just Fucking Racism
“Screech?” Like a sound a monkey makes? We’re off to a good start here, Chelsea.
I don’t know anything about Janes’ background (other than she’s a member of the Baseball Writers Association). I’ve heard the tone she uses from GDI (God Damn Independent) women from back in my UNO days. Sorority women? Nothing to see here, move along.
But Mz. Chelsea couldn’t help herself. As much as the screech/monkey thing sticks in my thoughts, It’s likely that remark wasn’t made to mock black women. It’s more likely she tweeted that because she just doesn’t like sorority women. Some of the cheers/calls/chants white sorority girls do are pretty screech-y as well. If you didn’t get the right recs, or if you got cut from Sorority Row at your school, this stays with you for life.
Again, I don’t know for sure, but there are many in the Sanders Cult who loathe Kamala Harris. They see her as a much greater threat to the election of their Dear Leader. Maybe Mz. Chelsea is a Berner?
A Cautionary Tale
There are two main takeaways for White People from this event:
- Don’t tweet analysis and reactions from an event with a mostly-minority audience. Say where you are. Say you’re enjoying the speaker. Save everything else for when you write up the event. THINK before Tweeting.
- If you forget the above, Black Twitter is going to eviscerate you. And you’ll likely deserve it.
Gunshot victims suffer long after the shooting
I can’t speak personally about what it’s like to get shot. I have friends who are shooting victims. I know a few people who lost their lives in shooting incidents. I sincerely hope that me and mine avoid this experience.
One does not have to be a gunshot victim to realize it’s a horrible thing to happen. It sounds trite to say, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. While that’s the extreme side of the equation, I certainly wouldn’t wish that anyone in Metro New Orleans shot.
Congressman Steve Scalise
Steve Scalise is the Representative from Louisiana Congressional District 1. That makes him my CongressCracka. He’s an awful human being. The aura of his horrible beliefs is almost visible. I don’t know if he really is a racist, or he just plays one in politics. It doesn’t matter. He appeals and nurtures the worst in the white people of his district.
On June 14, 2017, a gunman shot four people, including #KlanSteve Scalise. While most of the news coverage focused on Scalise, it’s important to remember that he wasn’t the only victim that day. Analysis of the incident suggests that Scalise was a target of opportunity. Standing on second base on a baseball field offered the shooter a clear shot.
The shooter’s bullet found Scalise’s hip. It traveled through his body, doing extensive damage. While the shooting was not a classic “gut shot,” the shot damaged organs and bone alike.
Getting gut shot is like when an automobile gets “t-boned.” There’s that saying that a car is never the same after a collision, and one car hitting another broadside severely damages the target. Insurance companies total out t-boned cars. They’re just not worth the money to repair.
We can’t total out someone who gets gut shot. If the victim survives, we take extraordinary measures to repair their damage. (Assuming the victim is insured, but that’s a different subject.) Physical and mental rehab, post-shooting, presents major challenges for the victim.
Even Steve Scalise.
I have empathy for Steve Scalise, as well as the three others shot on 14-June-2017. As well as other gunshot victims. They don’t deserve to suffer through the recovery process. Many choose not to suffer. They take their own lives. Others are like those t-boned cars. No matter what you do in the way of repairs, they’re not the same.
Steve Scalise is an angry, bitter man. His position in the House of Representatives put him at the top. Had his party maintained control of the body, he would’ve had a legitimate claim at Speaker.
Still, I have empathy. He didn’t deserve to get shot. Putting a bullet in this man did not change the political landscape of Jefferson Parish. Had he retired, or worse, had he died from his injuries, the horrible majority of LA-01 would have replaced him with someone equally awful. The Red/Blue calculus would be unchanged.
We can do a lot of things to stand in opposition to horrible people. We don’t have to wish them the suffering of getting gut shot.
Louisiana House District 82 – Cameron Henry
Louisiana House District 82
Current rep: Cameron Henry
|1539 Metairie Road|
Metairie, LA 70005
Legislative Aide: Myrna Schlesinger
Representing Parishes: Jefferson
Corresponding Senate Districts: 5, 9, and 10
Race and Ethnicity
Election 2019 Profiling
Election 2019 Profiling
Starting a new project for this election cycle. I’m going to research and profile each of the Louisiana House and Senate districts for Jefferson Parish. Here’s the list:
|54||Jerry “Truck” Gislcair||Dist. 54 MAP|
|78||Kirk Talbot||Dist. 78 MAP|
|79||Julie Skinner Stokes||Dist. 79 MAP|
|80||Polly Thomas||Dist. 80 MAP|
|82||J. Cameron Henry||Dist. 82 MAP|
|83||Robert E. Billiot||Dist. 83 MAP|
|84||J. Patrick “Pat” Connick||Dist. 84 MAP|
|85||Joseph A. “Joe” Marino, III||Dist. 85 MAP|
|87||Rodney Lyons, Sr.||Dist. 87 MAP|
|92||Joe Stagni||Dist. 92 MAP|
|105||J. Chris Leopold||Dist. 105 MAP|
This project has two objectives: Recruiting and Running.
Recruiting – You’re in the car line at, say, St. Louis King of France. You regularly run into a progressive mom while you’re waiting for the kids. Encouraging her is easy for you, but encouraging her for what? Here’s the information.
Running – Candidates need data. They familiarize themselves with the neighborhoods outside of their subdivision and church parish. We give them that data in these profiles, they take it from there.
House districts present interesting opportunities for aspiring politicians. They contain neighborhood clusters. The district boundaries aren’t overly gerrymandered.
Data for each district includes:
- Geographic boundaries
- Neighborhood/subdivision names
- Public schools
- Catholic church parishes
- Other churches
- Neighborhood asociations
- Shopping malls/strip malls
- Popular restaurants (pizza places, donut shops, etc)
Suggestions for more? Ping me at @yatpundit on Da Twittah, or in Metairie Indivisible on FB. Lists grow into spreadsheets. Spreadsheets grow into databases. Data is evergreen. We improve upon it for the next cycle and the next.
Senate and School Board
After profiling the House districts comes the School Board. Running for School Board requires less political experience than the legislature, but there’s a catch. While in the past, school board elections were “entry level” contests, voters demand more now. Candidates must have a more-direct connection to the school system than just, well, I live in the district.
Beyond House, School Board, Senate
Many more politicians stand for election in Jefferson Parish this November. From the Parish Council to the 24th Judicial District, to the District Attorney, there are many races for us to examine. We should determine which races make sense to run in.
Jefferson Parish Democratic Party
In addition to government positions, we choose the members of the Executive Committee of the party this November. We’ll examine these positions in detail as well.
I’d like to do this with other offices up in this cycle (November, 2019). That means I could use some help! If you’d like
Subtle antisemitism makes me sad.
Subtle antisemitism is problematic
There are a number of issues in our body politic that have origins in discrimination against Jews. While there are many reasons for ignorance on these, I’m still concerned. Therefore, it’s important to take a moment and talk about things that have their roots in hatred of Jews.
There was a protest against circumcision in my neighborhood (#themetrys) yesterday. I know a number of people who do not approve of circumcision. While their numbers are few, they make a solid case for not doing this to their infant sons. I respect that.
What I don’t respect is a group of men protesting this issue in public within days of a massacre of Jews. The Jewish people are the one single group in the world immediately connected to circumcision. Did those men standing on Clearview and Veterans in Metairie yesterday consider this when protesting this procedure? It’s unclear. It’s unclear because they did it in the wake of the massacre of Jews in Pittsburgh over the weekend.
Failure to recognize context
I saw the photos of this protest tweeted by a friend around mid-afternoon yesterday. My first reaction was, this is way too tone deaf. No legitimate group looking to promote an idea or issue could possibly be this unaware of the world around them. So, my process took the next step. Clearly these people were organized. They had to know what happened Saturday. They had to know those people in Pittsburgh were gunned down at a bris, of all events. Therefore, there was a good chance the protesters were antisemitic.
Reactions from social media
I said as much on Zuckerbook. Read the responses. A number of people know the group and its agenda. They claimed the protesters are not antisemitic. Commenters presented logical reasons for their beliefs.
My concern continued. These people have a website. They’re literally “on tour” with these protests. Zuckerfriends reported seeing them in Shreveport, Galveston, and Baton Rouge, before their appearance in Metairie. That level of commitment requires logistics. It requires communication.
So, now I’m even more skeptical. They’re not operating in a vacuum. A group concerned about the bigger issues would stand down, out of respect for others who disagree with them. This group didn’t. Are they ignorant, or do they have an an additional agenda?
Antisemitism has long roots
Pogroms in Russia. Turned away from the United States. Hitler and Himmler. These are but examples of discrimination and hate focused on Jews.
Hitler served in the German Imperial Army in World War I. The Treaty of Versailles ended that war. That accord dealt harsh terms and conditions to Germany. Those terms included demands for reparations that were unreasonable. Like many at the time, Hitler was hurt and angry and defeated. He channeled that anger not towards the British or the French, but towards German Jews.
Hitler believed the Jews came out of World War I way too nicely, while Christian Germans suffered. This is a common theme going back millennia. Shakespeare created “Shylock, a Jew”, as his bad guy for The Merchant of Venice. That didn’t happen in a vacuum.
Pogroms in Russia
The Tsars treated their serfs badly for centuries. To make Christian serfs feel better about their lot in life, the Tsars and the Church focused the anger of the serfs on the Jews. Blood libel and profiting from Christians were two examples of “crimes” of the Jews. The Tsars allowed Christians to carry out “pogroms” against Jews. Thousands of Jews were displaced, turned out of Russian cities. Jews were attacked, injured, and killed.
Have you ever watched Fiddler on the Roof? Go back, now that you know what a pogrom is.
“Mutilation” of Christian boys
One of the common tropes of the 20th and 21st centuries with respect to Jews relates to circumcision. Groups spreading hatred of Jews claim there is a conspiracy involving Jewish doctors to mutilate Christians. This goes back long before the Nazis. That regime used this accusation as one of many to deny Jews civil rights in Germany between the World Wars.
Lack of understanding
Read. Learn. Understand. Do you have Jewish friends? Ask them why they circumcise their children. Do you think they’re part of an international conspiracy? Do you believe they should be shot down in their places of worship? Take a step back. Look at the entire picture.
Dear Prudence tackles an interesting letter
Dear Prudence advises
The latest number of the “Dear Prudence” podcast presented an easy but thoughtful situation. A woman wrote, seeking advice on how to discuss playful/casual groping by her boyfriend. The boyfriend gives her the occasional caress on her butt, or boob-grab. She’s been OK with it. Until lately, that is. The whole #metoo thing triggered her. She’s less interested in in random touching. That boob-grab that was once fine now concerns her.
The letter-writer expressed problems with the groping and touching of late, but did not really offer a reason beyond #metoo, in her letter. That’s her privilege, of course. If a person wants more space, end of discussion. Many things trigger this sort of reaction. Cat-calls, a work colleague who doesn’t respect personal boundaries might be the issue. Maybe it’s just too much time on social media, listening to other womens’ stories.
So, let me re-iterate: Whatever her reasons, if she doesn’t want to be touched, that’s that.
What about the boyfriend?
The letter-writer seeks advice on how to explain this to the boyfriend. She factors in potential reactions from her partner. Daniel and his guest made it clear, this is about what she wants. While the hosts understood her concerns, they wanted to be clear, this is about HER. They understood. This is a relationship, therefore, a dramatic shift should be discussed. The writer wants an approach. The reply was simple: tell him how you feel!
That’s rarely bad relationship advice. So, hopefully the boyfriend will get it. Understanding and empathy are important.
What if he doesn’t?
Short letters allow Daniel and his guests opportunity for expansion. They moved from specifics to general observations. Boyfriend behavior in #metoo shouldn’t be a challenge. Still, defense mechanisms kick in when we tell someone they’re doing something unwelcome. The hosts explained that this presented an opportunity to the letter-writer. After presenting her thoughts on the boob-grabs, she receives the opportunity to observe. Will he understand? Will he freak out? This issue changes boundaries, even temporarily. Reactions tell both partners if they’re a good fit.
I wish we could see how this turns out.
#metoo means working on relationships
Guys often resist change. They resist challenges to their masculinity. A woman rejecting an advance, even in a consensual context like this relationship is problematic. What was once playful may now be triggering. Guys need to understand how that works and adjust.
Punditocracy ignores racism – #whiteprivilege on the podcasts
The Punditocracy ignores racism
Pundits like the ObamaBros of Crooked Media dance around the main issue. In last Thursday’s Pod Save America ep, Favreau and Pfeiffer say all the right things, except one. They fail when it comes to addressing racism.
Southern Strategy Racism
LBJ got it right when it comes to Southern Strategy racism. He knew that signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would set the Democratic Party back generations in the rebel states. Nixon turned LBJ’s concern into a full-blown strategy. He ran on it and won in 1968. While Nixon’s corruption ended his administration, racism remained.
Carter’s defeated Ford because Nixon was a crook. Reagan defeated Carter because Ronnie ran as a racist. Reagan knew how to bring fear from a simmer to a boil. His rhetoric on the Black Panthers in California contributed to the fear and uncertainty of white voters. Nixon teed up the racism. Ronnie added the fear. Carter wanted people to practice compassion. Reagan wanted a 600-ship Navy.
Nixon to Reagan to Trump
The racism never left. Radical clerics like Falwell and Robertson gave racism a cross. Trump expanded the hate. Now it includes brown folks from the Middle East. When Al Qaeda and ISIS cooled down, Donnie added MS13, promoting fear.
Why don’t the pundits address racism?
It’s simple: #whiteprivilege. The Crooked Media pundits outsourced race relations to Deray McKesson. A former teacher, now full-time activist, and author, Deray hosts Pod Save The People on Crooked Media.
While Deray, along with regulars Brittany Packnett, and Sam Singyangwe, and Clint Smith, III, address racial issues, the white guys focus on white pundits. In Thursday’s ep, Favs describes how Republican pundits freaked out when talking to reporters. They told the world the nomination was on life support.
Talking to the Punditocracy
But, of course, it wasn’t. That’s because McConnell had the votes. So-called knowledgeable liberals pointed out the delays. They argued McConnell didn’t have the votes. By Saturday, they all lined up.
And the guys can’t figure out how that happened? They understand the strategy. They know Republicans raise the flags of racism and fear. While they get it, they soft-pedal the whole thing. MS13 becomes “immigration”. They don’t even mention black folks.
Those Republicans knew they had the votes. They operate with different motives. Republican operatives want guest editorials. They want spots on Tapper’s CNN show. The never-Trumpers want mentions from Hayes and Maddow. If they say, we have the votes, those opportunities dry up.
Favreau and Pfeiffer need to get off twitter. They need to talk more to their own colleagues. We’re not going to affect change by ignoring racism.
New Orleans Saints – LSU? Nope, nope, nope.
New Orleans Saints – LSU
That’s just an abomination. An abomination before King Cake Baby Jeebus. 247 Sports did a what-if article on NFL team colors. What if the pro team used the “local” school’s colors? The article paints the Saints helmet in LSU colors. It’s a failure on multiple levels.
These teams aren’t local
UT at Austin for Dallas? SMU is IN Dallas. Texas A&M for Houston? What about, you know, the University of Houston? How about Rice? They get Florida totally wrong. Tampa – Florida makes more sense. Jacksonville should pick up the school in the panhandle, Florida State.
Georgia Tech matches better with Atlanta than the hours-away University of Georgia. GaTech is ACC, not SEC, sure, but they’re in Midtown Atlanta.
Some teams make sense
Los Angeles Chargers matching up with UCLA, Los Angeles Rams pairing up with USC, those make sense. Indiana with the Colts keeps Notre Dame out of the article. I’m good with that.
LSU and Georgia are just wrong
LSU and the Saints, simply wrong. It’s lazy. While LSU is closer to New Orleans than Georgia is to Atlanta, still, no. Yes, the two schools chosen are bigger football schools. They’re not the right matches, though. Tulane and Georgia Tech both were originally in the SEC. While Tulane’s program dropped significantly, they’re still New Orleans. They played in Tulane Stadium, then the Superdome, now in their new stadium. Georgia Tech plays at Bobby Dodd Field, on their campus. The writer looked for the big names, not the geographic fits. I concede that my University of New Orleans Privateers don’t have NCAA football, but Tulane does.
Phoning it in
The writer totally phoned this in. The tells are the Florida teams. The others indicate the writer either didn’t know or didn’t care about teams situated in the NFL cities. Fail. And an abomination!