The Bayou Brief and Grits! – YatPundit’s Pub 24-July-2017 #podcast

Bayou Brief at Yatpundit’s Pub

yatpundit pub

Two segments today at the pub. We’ll talk about the new progressive news site for Louisiana, The Bayou Brief, then we’ll talk food, grits and the Holy Trinity.

The Bayou Brief

yatpundit pub

The Bayou Brief – Nevertheless, we will Progress!

The Bayou Brief is Louisiana’s news site for long-form stories with a Progressive focus. There are three basic types of stories produced by The Bayou Brief (my categorization, not theirs): Cultural/Louisiana, Goverment, and “Red Meat” for Democrats/Liberals. FULL DISCLOSURE: Lamar’s publishing the first chapter of my forthcoming book, Krauss: The New Orleans Value Store, on Wednesday. The concept for The Bayou Brief dates back to December, 2015. Lamar organized a group of progressives involved in media/communications to kick around ideas, in the wake of the election of John Bel Edwards as Governor of Louisiana. Yes, we’d chosen a Democrat, but the media in Louisiana was still overwhelmingly conservative The Bayou Brief offers progressives in the sate a place to read solid news and features, coming at issues from a progressive perspective. This is a Big Deal, and that’s why we discuss it today.

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Bayou Brief Coffee Mug, along with a Blue Dot Donuts orange donut at Wakin’ Bakin’

You know you need a Bayou Brief coffee mug in your life. While you may read other sites, your support progressive journalism in Louisiana is essential.

Grits Bowls at Wakin’ Bakin’

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Wakin’ Bakin’ on Banks Street in Mid-City New Orleans. Wakin’ Bakin’ is by far my favorite breakfast place in New Orleans.

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“Holy Cluck!” (Wakin’ Bakin photo)

“Holy Cluck!” – a Breakfast bowl with grits, swiss cheese, the Holy Trinity (sauteed onions, green pepper, and celery), topped with two eggs.

The Breakfast Bowl is the most popular item on the WB menu. So, they start with a base: grits, hash browns, or black beans. Add a meat (bacon, breakfast sausage, hot sausage, chorizo, chicken. Add cheese if you like, cheddar, swiss, pepper jack (occasionally they’ll use brie on a daily special bowl). Top with two eggs, any style. This bowl has grits, chicken, swiss cheese, the Holy Trinity, and two eggs. Delicious!

Republicans in Congress don’t care about the health of America

Republicans truly don’t care if people die unnecessarily.

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Republicans care more about the wealthy

I heard a story from a Facebook friend this morning, about how a family member needed medical assistance while traveling in Europe. It’s one of dozens of stories I’ve heard from friends over the years. Teens who don’t hydrate properly to professional colleagues who have serious medical problems while away from home. Stuff happens. All the stories have the same ending. Whether or not the patient pulls through, there’s no charge for the medical services provided.

Healthcare on vacation

Americans regularly do not understand how this works, because the overwhelming majority of them do not travel outside the United States. When they go to the mountains, the beach, or the city for vacation, they take huge financial risks. If something happens and a family member needs assistance while away from home, it’s likely they’ll get emergency treatment. But what about the dehydrated teen, or the smaller child who has a fever? How about the mom who develops a UTI, or other infection on the road? At home, you go to the doctor, and you pay the co-pay set up in your insurance policy. So, you’re at the beach? Suddenly you’re “out of network,” and you are on the hook for the full cost of that IV for your teen, or the antibiotics that will treat that fever or infection.

Now, the family’s got a decision to make. While the ill person ride it out, should the family have to decide if that’s necessary?

In Europe, this is a no-brainer. You got to a doctor. You get help. You get on with your life.

This is the part about ACA that Americans who have no serious travel experience don’t get. They don’t realize the smoke screen insurance companies put up to avoid paying up. Europe removed that smoke screen. They set up “public option” system. You’re from Amsterdam and you get sick in Eindhoven? No problem. You’re from Glasgow and your kid needs that IV in London? They get it.

Who pays the bills? They do! They pay taxes to cover the system. Americans’ refusal to pay taxes of any kind is why we fail.

Revisionist History is not limited to the right – Berners want to burn history, too

Revisionist History is a problem for everyone.

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Image courtesy the Washington Post

As a former History teacher, I take a conservative approach to revisionist history. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in calling out the Holocaust Deniers, the Sandy Hook Truthers, and other such idiots. It’s the statements of lower impact that are thorny. Came across one of those yesterday, when a commenter said, “Democrats could have passed single-payer [health insurance] in 2008.”

A number of issues here. I’ll come back to the “2008” reference last.

Revisionist History – the ignorance of the Bern-it-downers

We hear this foolishness from #nonpartisanprogressives. They declare a pox on both parties. It’s possible the OP is just an uneducated/unaware individual, who heard someone else make this statement, and now they’re parroting it. This is more than possible, given the extent to which Berners of all striped parroted the lies of the Republicans about Clinton last year. It would not surprise me to learn that someone like Sarandon or Stein said this, and now the parrots go off. Angry people get angry, and there’s often no dealing with them. We see this regularly with Catholics, on the abortion issue. Close-mindedness is certainly not limited to any particular ideology.

ACA before Stimulus

Could the Democrats have passed single-payer in 2009? Doubtful, for a number of reasons:

  • The economy was a hot mess. President Obama and his team decided that passing his very-successful economic stimulus package was a greater need, out of the gate. Keeping Congress focused to accomplish something is tough on a good day. Throwing two huge agenda items at them at the same time risks the failure of both. Obama went for the economy first. Given that one of the biggest raps against the Clinton campaign last year was a lack of a clear.focused, economic message, this decision made a lot of sense.
  • Healthcare took time. One of the biggest arguments against TrumpCare was how quickly “repeal and replace” happened. Paul Ryan handled it badly for Team Trump. President Obama took the time to put ACA together. Teams were working on healthcare in the White House while the public face of the administration worked on the stimulus. It takes time to put a big package like healthcare reform together. They listened, kicked around ideas, and considered what would and would not pass muster, even in a Democratic-controlled Congress. This sort of thing doesn’t get done overnight. Adults know this, but #nonpartisanprogressives think there’s a magic wand that makes things happen.

Compromise

  • The ACA required compromise. Ironically, the Affordable Care Act was initially a compromise proposal. It was created by the Heritage Foundation. Newt the Gingrich offered it in 1993. It was a counter to President Clinton’s single-payer proposal that year. The dynamics had changed significantly by 2009. The ability of Gingrich to defeat “Hillarycare” outright in 1993 emboldened the Republicans. They believed they could beat back any future attempts to take down the industry. President Obama recognized that. His team put forward a variant of the Heritage Foundation’s plan. ACA kept the insurance industry intact, giving it a better chance to pass. That’s how compromise works. It’s what adults do. Still, #nonpartisanprogressives wrap themselves in purity.

The Public Option

  • Obama’s proposal had a “public option” component. Many believe (as do I) that the public option was a bargaining chip. When the Dem leadership in both houses began to whip votes, it was clear that both caucuses didn’t have the fortitude to vote for the public option. You take what you can get. Adults don’t run home crying; they make the best out of the situation. They don’t try to Bern down the house.
  • Final passage of ACA was a still a near-run thing. The Dem caucuses had the votes to pass in both the House and Senate. The Senate filibuster was the main problem. Obama’s team knew 60 Senators was a problem. No way the public option was going to survive that process. Dems liked the private insurance framework. Those holding out for local pork got things thrown at them. Had Obama taken the all-or-nothing stance of #nonpartisanprogressives, the whip count was more like 56-58 votes.

It’s complicated.

So, I’m simplifying a lot here, and I welcome comments elaborating on specific points. I stand by the notion that the public option was dead on arrival when ACA was pitched.

Yet, we’re almost eight years on and the left’s purity police are making claims that are patently wrong. They don’t rise to the level of Sandy Hook Truthers, and that’s the problem. A crazy spouting such incredibly stupid things is easily dismissed. Revisionist history with respect to policy wonkery just doesn’t stand out in the same way. The #nonpartisanprogessves in the lead or in the punditocracy know this. Their followers most likely don’t.

This is is why there’s no compelling reason to try to bring #nonpartisanprogressives into a coalition. We’d love it if they stopped throwing rocks and grew up, but it’s not necessary to push the Republicans out. Their penchant for revisionist history makes things worse.

2008

Anyway, I said I’d come back to the “2008” thing. This is a common mistake.  Of course, the president starts his term on January 20th of the year after the November election. In a serious discussion, however, most folks care when it comes to dates. Of course, #nonpartisanprogressives aren’t serious. That’s why many of them voted for Stein. She said the many things she said that were factually inaccurate. The “2008” sort of error indicates someone who doesn’t take any of this seriously. So-called leaders engage in revisionist history because their people won’t call them on it.

Chris Roberts is out of his league in the Yenni fight

Chris Roberts can’t help himself

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Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Chris Roberts has been unable to get any traction on ousting Parish President (and admitted sexual predator) Mike Yenni for months now. It was revealed last September that Yenni admitted to having inappropriate and sexually explicit conversations with a 17-year old. The young man was a senior at Jesuit High School at the time he and Yenni texted. After the original #shitshow the revelations caused, which also included members of the Yenni family, the incident fell from public view for the most part. Councilman Chris Roberts wants to change that.

Yenni went to ground

I’ll say this about my fellow Brother Martin High alum, Greg Buisson: He’s good at what he does. When local politicians need help after doing Incredibly Stupid Things, they call Buisson. His main advice to them appears to be very simple, Shut The Fuck Up. They go to ground and stay there. That’s what Neil Abramson did, after he became embroiled in a controversy over choosing the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives last Spring. So, Yenni’s situation is exposed. He hires Buisson, and is told to go to ground. He stays out of the public eye until his advisor says the coast is clear enough to get back to work. Buisson must have decided this past week was the time, since Yenni appeared on a local talk radio show last Monday.

Chris Roberts and the recall

Westbank Councilman Chris Roberts doesn’t like Mike Yenni. Their animosity goes back further than when we all learned that Yenni wants to blow young men. Since the effort to recall Mike is halfway through and they have only amassed half the necessary signatures on the petition, Roberts decided to raise the awareness level of the scandal in the wake of Yenni’s radio appearance. Da Advocate describes the letter Roberts circulated:

 

The letter Roberts sent Tuesday gets more graphic than any media account of the text messages in question. Citing sources familiar with the texts, Roberts’ letter contains a reference to a form of oral sex Yenni is said to have offered to perform on the 17-year-old.

 

Graphic gay sex is not the sort of thing the Good Republicans of Jefferson. Roberts knows that.

Yenni Fights Back

chris roberts

Buisson knows how to push back. A letter released by Yenni claims that Chris Roberts wrote a bad check for $6500. That ups the ante from a debatable text conversation to check fraud. Thieving politicians are something the Good Republicans Of Jefferson like even less than blowjobs.

Pass the popcorn.

 

 

Senator Schumer joins the #resistance

Senator Schumer hits home

Senator Schumer takes the lead, and that’s a good thing.

Michelle Goldberg’s piece in Slate last Monday, “How Chuck Schumer Found His Spine” is more about the overall #resistance to #Trannon, but it’s still encouraging to see that the efforts of Democrats are being felt in the DC Senate offices.

Indivisible

The main focal point of #resistance at this point is the “Indivisible” document. It’s full title is, “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda”. “Indivisible” was written by Democratic Congressional staffers to organize Democratic resistance. This is important for those of us who want the party to take the lead and grow into a force that will once again lead the country from the White House and Capitol Hill. As Goldberg points out, one of the authors of “Indivisible”, Ezra Levin, nails it:

“The idea that we can treat this administration as if it is normal, as if it is not actively undermining democracy, is really inappropriate to the moment. And I think the base feels that.”

Leading the Minority

And there it is. But let’s come back to Senator Schumer. With “Indivisible” groups springing up across the country, as well as other efforts to resist #Trannon, Democrats like Leader Schumer recognize just how upset we are:

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We need to keep it up.

Judge James Robart

#Trannon’s Muslim Ban was blocked nationwide by a sweeping order issued by Judge James Robart in Washington State. This prompted Senator Schumer to speak out once again:

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Another big takeaway here is the CNN article that Schumer cites. Since Kellyanne Conway, AKA “Patriot Barbie” announced that #Trannon surrogates would no longer appear on CNN, the network is, for now, telling the truth about 45* and his people. When POTUS* took to Da Twittah to attack Judge Robart, CNN did this excellent short profile on the man.

A CNN that tells the truth and a leader in the Senate spreading that message is an excellent boost to our opposition.

Senator Cory Booker is a leader of the #resistance

Cory Booker takes the lead

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) is a true leader. Watch this video. This is how a leader acts.

A Leader:

  • Doesn’t denigrate others working in the resistance.
  • Brings everyone in the effort together.
  • Works to make things better.
  • Sets a positive example.
  • Establishes goals, works to meet them, then goes further.

This is what we want and expect from our Democratic Senators. They are truly a Thin Blue Line. There are times when they will be overwhelmed by the foolishness that is the Trump administration, yes. Overall, though, we want them to stand up for us in this dark time.

2018 isn’t far away

I look to and expect Senator Booker to do the right things for the United States. Is he Presidential? Absolutely? Will he be the right person to lead the Democratic effort to evict Trump from the White House in 2020? That remains to be seen. We’ve got four years on that. We’ve got midterm elections, where all of the House, 1/3 of the Senate, and over 35 governors will stand for election. For us to stop the evil that will come forth from the White House and Congress under Trump control, we need leaders who will motivate and encourage Democrats. We need leaders who, by their actions, demonstrate they have the best interests of the people and their states in mind.

So, we need women and men like Cory Booker.

While there are others in the Senate who will also stand up and make it clear they are part of the resistance. Senator Booker is not our only leader. He is a good model for others to observe and emulate.

I plan to commit to doing at least one thing for the #resistance and one thing to build up everyone working to better our country and our homes.