Showing posts with label Huey Long. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Huey Long. Show all posts

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Share Our Suck

Are you better off now than you were 83 years ago?

The editors of Politico Magazine asked that question recently, wading through the fever swamps of demographics to rank these more-or-less United States from best to worst, with a nod to a similar 1931 effort by H.L. Mencken and
Charles Angoff in the American Mercury.

New Hampshire is tops. Guess which states are at the bottom.

For the last-place state (No. 51 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia), it's the same as it ever was -- Mississippi was the hellhole of the nation way back when, too. And for the first runner-up of national suck, things have changed for the worst since Huey P. Long was governor, free textbooks were a new innovation for Louisiana public schools and there were still more dirt roads than paved ones.

EIGHT SPOTS worth of worst, actually. Louisiana was No. 42 in 1931 -- "Bobby, you're doing a heck of a job!" If the Gret Stet's unrelentingly ambitious Gov. Jindal still wants to do for (to?) America what he did to my home state, I have two words on the campaign manager front: Michael Brown.

One thing in the Gret Stet does remain ever constant, though.  That would be the age-old Louisiana mantra of "Thank God for Mississippi!"
In a three-part series the magazine called “The Worst American State,” the pair compiled dozens of rankings of population data, largely from the 1930 census, determined to anoint the best and worst of the 48 states (and the District of Columbia), according to various measures of wealth, culture, health and public safety. In the end, Mencken and Angoff declared Connecticut and Massachusetts “the most fortunate American States,” and they deemed Mississippi “without a serious rival to the lamentable preëminence of the Worst American State” (diaeresis credit to Mencken, who, it should be noted, was from Maryland, No. 28 on his list). “The results will probably surprise no one,” they wrote. “Most Americans, asked to name the most generally civilized American State, would probably name Massachusetts at once, and nine out of ten would probably nominate Mississippi as the most backward.”
The methodology behind their exercise might not have been airtight, and the presumed definition of what is a “good” and “bad” state was clearly swayed by the writers’ prejudices and the time period; aside from the fact that many of their rankings had only partial data, consider that representation in the “American Men of Science” directory was factored into each state’s rank for culture, and lynchings for public safety. But the pair was onto something when they wrote that there are some aspects of daily life that most Americans can agree on: Education and health are good things, crime is a bad thing and “any civilization which sees an increase in the general wealth is a civilization going up grade, not down.”
 BOBBY JINDAL always did think H.L. Mencken was a commerniss.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Share Our Dumbth

Aux armes, Louisiane! Formez vos bataillions!

You could be amused when Illinois politicians made a run at the crookedest-state title. You could be mildly alarmed at the prospect of those damned Illinoisans whipping the Gret Stet something like 47 to 1 in incarcerated former governors.

BUT WHEN Illinois politicians start catching up in the sheer ignorance -- nay, dumbassery -- of their public utterances, it can only mean war. This from NBC Chicago should awaken the inner P.G.T. Beauregard of every loyal son and daughter of the bayou:
Former Illinois Lt. Gov. Judy Barr Topinka, who lost to Blagojevich in her bid for governor, said that he "lives in a delusional cocoon of his own."

"Illinois look like a bunch of buffoons," Topinka told NBC Chicago's Kim Vatis. "(Blagojevich is) B.S.-ing his way through life to get one possible juror to think they're not really sure."

"It's not Gandhi or King," Topinka said about the governor comparing himself to Gandhi, King and Mandela. "But
Huey Long, former governor of Louisiana. Long left office in disgrace."
THAT was who they had to run against Rod Blagojevich. Topinka must be pen pals with Dave Treen, doomed to be a one-term Louisiana governor the second the famously corrupt Edwin W. Edwards said of him, “He is so slow, it takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.”

Just like that was the best Louisiana could do in the Not EWE department, it seems Treen's soul sister in slow is the best Illinois can do in the Not Blago realm.

Good grief, y'all. Everybody with a slight recall of American history knows that Huey Pierce Long didn't leave the governor's office in disgrace.
A technical point, perhaps, but still. . . .

SO, for the sake of Illinois politicians and journalists, here's the short version of Life With the Kingfish:

Huey P. Long won the 1928 gubernatorial election on a populist platform, then immediately started making life miserable for Louisiana's entrenched business interests and the politicians in their pockets. He was impeached in 1929 and survived, but it wasn't about corruption. It was about Standard Oil.

Huey may have been a crook -- Lord knows he ended up de facto dictator -- but no one ever got him on it. Indeed, he went on to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1930, and finally took his seat there once his gubernatorial term was up in 1932.

Long went on to support, then oppose, Franklin D. Roosevelt and was running for president on his Share Our Wealth platform in 1935 when he was gunned down in a corridor of the skyscraper capitol building he built in Baton Rouge. He died two days later.

THAT'S HOW Huey Long -- the Kingfish -- left office. Dead.

And Illinoisans, now more than ever, "look like a bunch of buffoons."