The National Rifle Association as mainstream GOP PAC
Democrats see the NRA as the face of the gun lobby. It’s an accurate, but incomplete view. Digby points out that the relationship between the NRA and the Republican Party is so much more. Not only that, but the pair have a long history. Two elections in the 1990s illustrate how the pairing works. In 1992, when the NRA helped go after Oklahoma Congressman Mike Synar:
This lesson came about from a previous Oklahoma race in 1992 when they became involved in the race against Rep. Mike Synar, a very outspoken liberal Democrat and enemy of the NRA and other GOP-affiliated special interests.They worked with other organizations to run ads against him about flag burning and other issues but also ran against him on guns. It backfired on them when Synar fought back against the NRA as an extremist organization and won. They came after his again in 1994 by recruiting a Democratic primary opponent and helping him win with a whisper campaign that said Synar supported the banning of hunting rifles. A Synar aid is quoted in the piece saying “They were smart. It was like boxing ghosts.” That primary election was an earthquake that foreshadowed the electoral rout that was to follow in the fall.
The NRA vs. Dave McCurdy
The OK GOP, with the help of a lot of NRA cash, chipped away at Synar’s credibility in 1992, and defeated him in 1994. The NRA then threw money at the Republican in the general, Tom Coburn. Coburn spent ten years in the House, moving to the Senate in 2005. In the 1994 OK Senate race, the NRA directed some of the $70 million they spent nationwide in an effort to oust Senator Dave McCurdy. The GOP/NRA didn’t go after McCurdy on guns, but rather by calling him a “Clinton clone”.
This hasn’t stopped for over twenty years. Remember this when your Fox News-watching aunt tells you that the NRA is all about “gun safety” and “Second Amendment rights”.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R-Tea Party)
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R-Tea Party) wants to help New Orleans:
This weekend – 50 two-person teams comprised of special agents at the LBI, St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office, and Hammond Police Department will patrol the outskirts of the French Quarter and the Central Business District. Moving forward – specials agents from the LBI are expected to team with task force members from the Sheriff’s Offices in Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John, and St. Tammany and the Hammond Police Department.
I’m pretty much struggling to understand what white-collar-crime investigators from the AG’s office are going to do to help with the crime situation. Landry’s word is “visibility”, but simply being visible isn’t all that much of a help. Now, if these folks are real investigators, isn’t there, some, you know, investigating they could be doing? According to Landry’s website, the Criminal Investigation Division of the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation of the Louisiana State Police (how’s that for a mouthful?) has three field offices in the state, in Baton Rouge, Breaux Bridge, and Alexandria. None of these people are based in New Orleans. That makes me wonder about another of Landry’s statements:
“By reallocating time, this new effort will not cost the City or the State anything new; but it will support and assist the NOPD, State Police, and FBI here,” added General Landry. “If we are to bring an end to the smear of crime, fraud, and corruption that tarnishes our great State’s reputation and affects the quality of life of all in Louisiana – law enforcement must work together.”
Not true, General Landry. If these investigators don’t live in New Orleans, someone has to cover their expenses. That’s a bit more than “anything new”. If Landry plans for this task force to run “perpetually”, does that mean he’s permanently pulling these LBI folks from the three cities where they’re based now? Were their tasks in those offices so unimportant he can just uproot them?
Still, those of us in the New Orleans metro area should be thankful for this increased visibility of cops, right?
Not so fast. Support from the Tea Party always comes with a hidden agenda. The Advocate offers some insight in their coverage of this task force:
Landry clashed with Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration this spring when he championed a push for state legislation that would have allowed him to label New Orleans a “sanctuary city” because of local limits on police collaboration with federal immigration officials. The effort, which would have allowed Landry to strip state bond money from the city, failed.
General Jeff Landry doesn’t like how the city handles immigration? Imagine that. Clearly he doesn’t like how NOPD does things to the point where he’s dropping his cops into the city. It’s curious that he’s decided to do this over the Fourth of July weekend, for Essence Festival. It’s the weekend with the biggest influx of African-American visitors to the city.
If Jeff Landry wants to help lower crime in New Orleans, he should deploy LBI to augment NOPD detectives, assisting with clearing violent crime cases, arresting the offenders, and breaking up organized criminal activity. Dropping a bunch of state cops in the CBD is only good to show the white people in suburbia and outside the city that you’re doing something in their eyes.
It’s going to take years to put out the dumpster fire that Jindal left behind, but fully implementing Obamacare is a good start:
“Expanding Medicaid in Louisiana was the easiest decision I’ve made since taking office in January, and I meet people from all walks of lifewho will be positively impacted by expansion,” said Gov. Edwards. “All the research shows that people with insurance coverage, including Medicaid, fare much better than those who are uninsured. Although my goal was to take immediate steps to get people health coverage, the more important goal is for people to have better health. Coverage is the important first step, and in the process, we are saving Louisiana taxpayers more than $180 million in this year alone.”
Accepting the Medicaid expansion and committing to fund programs that extend proper healthcare to everyone are essential. They’re compassionate. They’re the right feckin thing to do. When I travel to Europe, one of the common questions I’ll get asked is “Why don’t you Americans want to care for your sick?” I now tell them about my State Senator from #themetrys, Conrad Appel. Appel is currently my number-one “malaka”, as Adrastos affectionally refers to incredibly terrible people. Conrad here believes giving black people health care is a “luxury” that Louisiana taxpayers can’t afford. Such a shitty human being.
For all that John Bel Edwards is not a liberal, he is compassionate. There was a friend-of-a-friend comment on Lamar White’s Zuckerbook page where a #nonpartisanprogressive went on a rant about how un-progressive JBE is. Given that Lamar thinks rather highly of this individual, I was a bit confused. Nobody in Louisiana ever thought Governor Edwards was progressive. He’s a ConservaDem, and that’s not a bad thing. The Democratic Party is indeed the big tent, and JBE is an excellent example of how that works. Don’t like his position on abortion? Fine, work to re-establish the party outside of Orleans Parish and let’s elect more progressive Dems.
In the meantime, the poor get Obamacare. Go JBE!
There’s not much worse that can happen to someone than losing a child. Trust me on that one. You’re angry, hurt, and absolutely-fucking-insane with grief. I get the need to have someone pay for what happened, the need to have the death be someone’s fault, and for them to admit to you that it was their fault. Thing is, in the case of the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting, the fault doesn’t lie with Cinemark, the owner of the theater, even if they have the deep pockets:
U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson, who cited decisions in another Colorado mass shooting, said those failures could have contributed in some way but were not the substantial factors in the deaths and injuries. Instead, the shooter’s “premeditated and intentional actions were the predominant cause of plaintiffs’ losses,” Jackson wrote in his decision.
The fault belongs to the shooter, plain and simple. It is an unreasonable expectation that every public facility, such as a movie theater, shopping mall, nightclub, or school should be turned into armed camps with cameras, metal detectors, and security guards. The victims and families involved in this shooting knew that, yet they still went for the deep pockets. Cinemark aren’t fools, either; they were willing to settle:
Originally, 42 survivors and relatives of those killed filed federal lawsuits against Cinemark. Earlier this month, 27 of them signed agreements to resolve the lawsuit without a trial, according to federal court records. Details of the agreements were not available.
Better than half of the plaintiffs settled. Cinemark doesn’t need the bad publicity. As for the other fifteen, I’m going to chalk it up to rage and grief, the need for someone to be at fault, rather than perhaps, oh, I don’t know, greed, motivating their refusal to settle.
The villain is the shooter. It’s not even the State of Colorado, whose law allowing defendants in civil suits to recover expenses. Those 15 plaintiffs knew this might happen. Their attorneys knew. I totally understand the anger they feel over their loss.
For Cinemark to actually file to recover their expenses is interesting. It’s awful PR. There’s a petition asking Cinemark to withdraw the claims. The company should let it go, in full Elsa-style.
One of my favorite work-nerd things is the Amicus podcast from Slate/Panoply. I’ve been a fan of Ms. Dhalia Lithwick (I well and truly squeeed when she was on TDS last month) for years, and to hear her as well as read her column is a lot of fun. Her end-of-term podcast is an interview with outgoing Solicitor General Don Verrili, and it’s a fascinating look into arguing before the present-day SCOTUS. This is a great listen. If you know a Government teacher, I highly recommend you pass Amicus on to them as a teaching tool.
The entrance to the Louisiana State Penitentiary (courtesy Wikimedia Commons user msppmoore)
At a time when so many eyes are on Angola, which is widely regarded as a plantation run by slave labor, it’s odd that the DA would bump up a guy who steals candy to the point where he’ll end up doing 20-to-life:
On Feb. 3, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office chose to charge Grimes under a statute that boosts the alleged candy theft to a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. The statute applies to people who have been convicted of “theft of goods” at least twice before.
This isn’t something that one needs to do to retain elective office in Orleans Parish. Look at the judges, they’re elected officials, and even the judge presiding over this case is incredulous:
Grimes appeared Thursday for arraignment before Criminal District Court Judge Franz Zibilich, pleading not guilty.
“Isn’t this a little over the top?” Zibilich wondered aloud over the threat of a “multiple bill,” an approach that leaves little discretion to a judge.
“It’s not even funny,” the judge said. “Twenty years to life for a Snickers bar, or two or three or four.”
Judge Zibilich should nullify this with a not-guilty verdict, it’s that ridiculous.
But to the point, does anyone know what Cannizzaro’s endgame is? Is he looking to run statewide, where impressing white people by being tough on candy bar thieves is considered a good thing? Does he have a financial stake in Louisiana’s for-profit prison industry? Is he just a jackass?
Governor Edwards made reducing the prison population in the state a priority and a major promise in his campaign last November. He seems poised to make good on this, as his term progresses. Sending a nonviolent offender to the plantation to be a slave isn’t who we are. This has to stop.