Showing posts with label fools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fools. Show all posts

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Dispatches from Trump's Amerika

Somewhere in Bumf****, Fla., there's a principal who apparently isn't obsessed with where one half of 1 percent of the American population gets to pee.

Unfortunately, he is obsessed with using authoritarianism to foster Americanism among his students. In other words, "Love your country . . . or else." A story Wednesday from WBBH television in Fort Myers proves that you can't make this stuff up:
A Collier County principal is requiring students to stand during the national anthem at school events or face ejection. 
Lely High School Principal Ryan Nemeth told students during video announcements they'll be ejected from school sporting events if they refuse to stand for "The Star-Spangled Banner." 
Nemeth told students the issue is very important to him, and the policy applies to students at all school-sponsored sporting events. 
"You will stand, and you will stay quiet. If you don't.. you are going to be sent home, and you're not going to have a refund of your ticket price," he told them.
NEVER MIND that respect -- or love -- coming at the barrel of a gun (or the threat of being kicked out of a football game) isn't. What it is, is a lie. A Potemkin pledge. It is standing for nothing before a national symbol that half-assed dictators have turned into full-fledged idolatry.

The only legitimately American response to a half-witted, authoritarian bully like a certain Florida principal is to quite deliberately, ostentatiously and quietly sit during the Star-Spangled Banner.

And students who do will find the Constitution is on their side.

"Over a decade ago, Chief Justice [Charles Evans] Hughes led this Court in holding that the display of a red flag as a symbol of opposition by peaceful and legal means to organized government was protected by the free speech guaranties of the Constitution," Justice Robert Jackson wrote for the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1943 when it decided West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnett.
Here, it is the State that employs a flag as a symbol of adherence to government as presently organized. It requires the individual to communicate by word and sign his acceptance of the political ideas it thus bespeaks. Objection to this form of communication, when coerced, is an old one, well known to the framers of the Bill of Rights. 
It is also to be noted that the compulsory flag salute and pledge requires affirmation of a belief and an attitude of mind. It is not clear whether the regulation contemplates that pupils forgo any contrary convictions of their own and become unwilling converts to the prescribed ceremony, or whether it will be acceptable if they simulate assent by words without belief, and by a gesture barren of meaning. It is now a commonplace that censorship or suppression of expression of opinion is tolerated by our Constitution only when the expression presents a clear and present danger of action of a kind the State is empowered to prevent and punish. It would seem that involuntary affirmation could be commanded only on even more immediate and urgent grounds than silence. But here, the power of compulsion is invoked without any allegation that remaining passive during a flag salute ritual creates a clear and present danger that would justify an effort even to muffle expression. To sustain the compulsory flag salute, we are required to say that a Bill of Rights which guards the individual's right to speak his own mind left it open to public authorities to compel him to utter what is not in his mind.

REMEMBER, this ruling came in the middle of World War II. The justice continued:
Government of limited power need not be anemic government. Assurance that rights are secure tends to diminish fear and jealousy of strong government, and, by making us feel safe to live under it, makes for its better support. Without promise of a limiting Bill of Rights, it is doubtful if our Constitution could have mustered enough strength to enable its ratification. To enforce those rights today is not to choose weak government over strong government. It is only to adhere as a means of strength to individual freedom of mind in preference to officially disciplined uniformity for which history indicates a disappointing and disastrous end. 
The subject now before us exemplifies this principle. Free public education, if faithful to the ideal of secular instruction and political neutrality, will not be partisan or enemy of any class, creed, party, or faction. If it is to impose any ideological discipline, however, each party or denomination must seek to control, or, failing that, to weaken, the influence of the educational system. Observance of the limitations of the Constitution will not weaken government in the field appropriate for its exercise. 
2. It was also considered in the Gobitis case that functions of educational officers in States, counties and school districts were such that to interfere with their authority "would in effect make us the school board for the country." 
The Fourteenth Amendment, as now applied to the States, protects the citizen against the State itself and all of its creatures -- Boards of Education not excepted. These have, of course, important, delicate, and highly discretionary functions, but none that they may not perform within the limits of the Bill of Rights. That they are educating the young for citizenship is reason for scrupulous protection of Constitutional freedoms of the individual, if we are not to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes.
WELL, this is the Age of Trump, and I suppose it's more likely than not that "to strangle the free mind at its source and teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes" is exactly what people want out of public education today.

This is precisely why we have a Bill of Rights. Perhaps it's not so much to protect us from an abusive government but, instead, to protect us from ourselves.
Language of fascists, racists and morons in this video definitely NSFW

IN TRUMP'S AMERIKA, the above video displays what "love of country" comes to when severed completely from any understanding of human dignity or the principles at the core of the American republic. 

It is the principles that underlie the Bill of Rights (and the Fourteenth Amendment) that define the United States of America. Not race, not region, not class, not ethnicity and not religious affiliation, but those principles define what it means to be American.

And whether we're talking about half-witted, racist vulgarians in Massachusetts or authoritarian school principals in Florida, that shared contempt for those tenets that define us as Americans call into question the loyalty of those making "patriotism" such an issue in the first place.

Traitors are as traitors do.

HAT TIP:  Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Putting the 'NS' in NSFW

There's a new Ed Wood movie out . . . 34 years after the schlockmeister's demise -- Revenge of the White-Trash Half-Wits.

What appears to be an angry YouTube outburst by knuckle-draggers is really the unexpected piéce de résistance of the bad-movie universe. Unless, of course, it actually is the real deal.

Unfortunately, this probably is more likely than it being an Ed Wood anti-masterpiece or some sort of bizarro performance art. Disturbing performance art, but still. . . .

Here's the story thus far, which has gone viral on YouTube, Boing Boing, Tosh.0Gawker and the rest: Trashy-ass gal named Ashli Hall-Gay, apparently one of the biggest losers in life's genetic sweepstakes, likes to make rambling, profane and patently obscene smackdown videos with her hapless sidekick, Cindy, otherwise known as Mom. (And please note that hapless is a relative term here; this is because "haplesser" is not a real word.)

These videos -- to which I won't link because the one above is by far the least offensive, and even it's Not Safe for Work in giant neon letters above the entrance of the trailer park -- are directed toward people who have somehow disrespected Dumb and Dumber on the Internet. They've apparently directed the one above at a couple of teen-agers -- young teen-agers -- who posted a YouTube video making fun of Ashli's videos.

THAT'S RIGHT. That profane, whack tirade above (and stay with it past the 2:51 mark to see how bizarre and inappropriate it can get) seemingly is directed at a couple of little girls.

What the f***?

No, who the f***?


(By the way . . . where were those girls' parents? Kids were watching enough of this garbage that they could pimp on it?)

Again, if this is some sort of warped performance art, it's disturbing. If it's real, it's disturbing and tragic. Tragic that, yes, there are people who dove headfirst into the shallow end of the gene pool.

Then there's the much larger tragedy -- using one's limited resources for evil and not for good. Giving oneself over to a toxic wave of anger and spite rolling across an endless sea of futility. Abandoning any pretense of human dignity and grace . . . but there's more still.

The worst thing about Ashli Gay and her mom, Cindy Hall, is that they not only reject the notion that God has created each one of us in His image and bestowed upon us great dignity just because we are, but that they make us all question the premise. I look at these pathetic wretches in the wilds of Mount Vernon, Ill., and I think that maybe somebody lied.

That maybe I'm lying to myself when I say apparently ludicrous things -- Well, look at the damn video! -- like "God has created each one of us in His image and bestowed upon us great dignity just because we are." Really?

Look at 'em! What kind of a dumbass could believe that?


LOOKING at the wide array of humanity and asserting that each human is made in God's image and charged with the dignity of heaven is nothing if not a supreme act of faith. Sorry specimens like Ashli Gay and mom Cindy -- and it doesn't really matter whether they're real or a giant Internet ruse -- make that leap of faith a longer one than it was yesterday.

Sometimes, the World Wide Web is an amazing thing. Here, though, it's just a networking tool for the devil. Ain't that right, Cindy?


Monday, July 09, 2012

Pride and paradox in New Orleans

"Uncle Lionel" Batiste, I imagine, never made nearly as much money as he did sweet jazz music.

And when Katrina hit New Orleans, the co-leader, vocalist and bass drummer for the Tremé Brass Band floated to safety from his ground-floor apartment in the Lafitte project by hanging onto his drum.

Floating with Uncle Lionel in that big bass drum, some say, was the pulse of the Crescent City. That pulse survives him, as evidenced by the massive "second line" Sunday night on Frenchmen Street in the city's Faubourg Marigny district, outside some of his favored musical haunts just hours after Uncle Lionel died of cancer at age 80. Above is a picture of that.

In any other American city, there would be something deeply nonsensical about Paragraphs 1 and 2 naturally leading into Paragraph 3. A poor man, chased from public housing when the federal levees gave way and the waters rushed in, bore the pulse of a great city, kept the beat of the music of its soul and is sent to his heavenly reward with an outpouring fit for an earthly king.

In this country, in these times, that is just foolishness.

ALMOST 2,000 years ago, the people of Corinth probably thought much as Americans do. So much so that the apostle Paul had to set them straight with a little crazy talk -- a little nonsense now preserved in the New Testament to benefit wise guys such as your average American.
18 Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool so as to become wise.

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written:

“He catches the wise in their own ruses,”

20 and again:

“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”

21 So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,

22 Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or the present or the future: all belong to you,

23 and you to Christ, and Christ to God.
IF NOTHING ELSE, we Americans think we know it all, that we possess the wisdom of the world. Especially since August 2005, we've been pretty sure that New Orleans folk are pretty foolish.

Foolish to live in a saucer too near the rising sea.

Foolish to rebuild after -- And isn't it all too obvious? -- God, or Gaia, or Mother Nature, or climatological science . . . or the wisdom of human civilization, for Socrates' sake, strongly suggested that rebuilding the next Atlantis might be a colossal waste of resources and federal funds. How dumb can you be?

Dumb enough to re-elect Ray Nagin, that's for sure. I think Paul would be on board with us "wise" Americans on that one.

In short, the Crescent City is a sinking ship of fools, according to
"the wisdom of the world."

The Almighty's mileage may vary, however.

, in a paradox of biblical proportions, it would seem the meek have inherited the cultural landscape in this caste-riven city near the drain plug of the class-obsessed American South. This in a riddle of a city, ensconced in an enigmatic region that has played so large a role in status-obsessed America's long-running mystery -- which revolves around how we reconcile our status-obsession with "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. . . ."

Common sense holds these truths to be self-evident, that there are bunches and bunches of ways in which we really don't want to follow New Orleans. We don't want to tolerate endemic poverty, for one, or endemic insouciance about the value of a good education, for another.

We don't want to be the nation's murder capital.

We want to believe that "Can we all just get along?" is a game plan worth implementing as a society. That's not one the Crescent City has been particularly committed to, not across the racial divide and not across the class divide, either.
They say if you's white, should be all right,
If you's brown, stick around,
But if you's black, well, brothers, get back, get back, get back.
IN NEW ORLEANS, the white, brown and black in the chorus of Big Bill Broonzy's "Get Back" transposes to white, Creole and black, a racial and caste system once rigorously enforced . . . and which holds considerable social, if not de jure, relevance even now. About as relevant to -- as defining of -- a sinking city near the mouth of the Mississippi as a dapper black bass drummer who embodied the soul of a city as he pounded out its heartbeat in second lines and night spots from the Tremé to Times Square. Sometimes, the heart of New Orleans beat on the two and the four . . . other times on the one and the three.

The Big Easy usually isn't -- not when so many bullets have someone's name on them, not when so many have so little, and not when the idea of hope sometimes seems about as tenuous as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' levees.


New Orleans hasn't mastered so many things. Honest and effective government, it probably never will. But it has paradox nailed. Pride of place, too. And soul. And heavenly music. And heavenly eating. And home . . . and Mama an' dem. And, Lord, those second lines!

It understands -- understands in a way we "wise men" never will, metaphysical fools that we are -- that the worth of a man isn't necessarily his net worth or how much power he amasses. It understands that, yeah, Warren Buffett might be a bazillionnaire, but Uncle Lionel was a hell of a drummer, and a mean dancer, and a great mentor for generations of musicians, and a faithful keeper of the cultural flame . . . and damn, Cap, didn't he look sharp?

Oh! didn't he ramble, ramble?

YOU CAN'T BUY that shit, brah. And you can't buy a sendoff like the one Uncle Lionel has earned from the city whose pulse he kept. Not any more than you can buy an immortal soul -- or the profound, life-giving wisdom of holy fools.

Long may they ramble.

Friday, July 06, 2012

'The mask I polish in the evening,
by the morning looks like s***'

From Moscow on the Hudson, Omaha's Conor Oberst tries to
keep up with underprivileged New Orleans teenagers busking
on a French Quarter street corner. Metaphorically, at least.

The other night at TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha officially -- in my mind, at least -- exposed itself as too big for its britches.

Simultaneously -- again, at least in the mind of this 24-year Omaha transplant -- it exposed itself as the cow-town version of a "hill William." You know, a hillbilly with pretensions. That often happens when your own great PR goes to your head like straight double bourbons on your 21st birthday.

To be fair, though, Omaha was goaded into it. It was confronted with something that wasn't
A) Journey, B) Keith Urban or Kenny Chesney, C) Conor Oberst whining in the key of Z about how woebegone is his life to an audience of angst-filled emo navel gazers . . . for a six-figure paycheck.

I should have figured that when a band like Cowboy Mouth is slated to be the entertainment sandwiched in between the TD Ameritrade Home Run Derby and the start of the
Omaha World-Herald 's Fourth of July fireworks show, nothing good could come of it.

To begin with, who thinks a band that lives somewhere near the corner of Joe Strummer and Professor Longhair (just a short block from Lynyrd Skynyrd Avenue) will appeal to a general audience in a town that touts itself -- somehow -- as "the new Seattle" of the indie-rock world . . . but can't support one decent radio station? Where Saddle Creek -- the little record company that nearly made Omaha almost-famous -- can only get one act onto the playlist at the closest thing we have to an "alternative" FM station?

C'mon. This was an event where people willingly forked over $7 for really bad beer and enjoyed it. Where Journey droned over the PA system like a Dave Heineman press conference, and people sang along. Like Dave Heineman.

Because they like it . . . and him.

Where people itched for that grand moment in the fireworks show where the pyrotechnicians blow shit up to yet another "patriotic moment" of Lee Greenwood schmaltzing his way through "God Bless the U.S.A." And the crowd . . . goes . . . wild!

Because we're hip that way in the Big O. Er . . . I mean "O!"

After Cowboy Mouth's mistaken decision to willingly walk into such an ambush -- one where Journey- and Lee Greenwood-lovers booed and yelled "Nooooo!" when drummer-frontman Fred LeBlanc asked "Do you want us to play one more song?" then tweeted and Facebooked about how the band and the show "sucked it hard" -- the New Orleans quartet's only consolation (other than what one hopes was a big paycheck) had to have been "God Bless the U.S.A.'s" omission from the fireworks extravaganza.

I'LL GIVE the naysayers this: The audio mix for the miniconcert was awful . . . because nobody turned off the stadium PA system, which caused an unbearable echo. Presumably, Cowboy Mouth wasn't in charge of the speakers ringing the ballpark in addition to its own sound system in front of the center-field stage.

Presumably, that was an all-Omaha clusterf***.

Still, the ugliest audience this side of Bob's Country Bunker may have forgiven all if only Fred LeBlanc would have counted down into a stirring version of the Rawhide theme. Or maybe "Stand by Your Man."

But a rude audience and a disaster of a booking isn't what's pissing me off.

There's no accounting for taste, or cultural differences
(and on that account, Nebraska and Louisiana might as well be on different continents) . . . or even for what percentage of the booboisie ends up attending big events that feature bad beer and relatively cheap admission.

And fireworks.

To overuse an overused phrase just a little bit more --
it is what it is.

What pisses me off, for the record, is arrogance tag-teaming with invincible ignorance. What pisses me off is when someone, thinking he's stating a fact as obvious to all as "The sun rises in the east," says something that's instead as gobsmackingly arrogant as it is unspeakably stupid. Like a local newspaper acquaintance after the fireworks show announcing to all who could hear that Cowboy Mouth wasn't his "cup of tea," which is fair enough, but then that "there must be 1,000 bands in Omaha better than that."

You probably best know me as someone with a raging love-hate relationship with Louisiana, my native state. And as a Nebraska transplant who generally is thrilled to be one.

It may surprise you, on the other hand, to know that I'm someone who, more often than not, just keeps his mouth shut instead of interfering with a body's God-given right to make himself look like an idiot, an ass . . . or both.

IT USUALLY surprises me when -- and where -- my inner pissed-off, ready-to-kick-Yankee-butt coonass from Baton Rouge erupts with full force. And as a native Baton Rougean, it surprises me even more when it's in full-throated defense of New Orleans.

"A thousand Omaha bands better than Cowboy Mouth"? Really? Leaving issues of musical taste aside . . . really?

What I told the guy, rather loudly, was this: "I'll guarantee you that 999 of those Omaha bands aren't anywhere as good as Cowboy Mouth. And I'll lay money on that."

I can say that because I've actually listened to Cowboy Mouth apart from an ill-conceived gig with shitty sound. For example, in the case of the band's 2006 "Voodoo Shoppe" release, I was left dancing and crying in the space of a single CD. And all you need to defeat a know-nothing is to know a little.

The guy walked away kind of stammering after I committed the ultimate Midwestern sin of being impolite in the face of complete bullshit. The effect is enhanced when someone thinks they're stating the obvious -- and then you call bullshit.

On the Plains, that moment when a blowhard is left defenseless by the belief that he couldn't possibly require one might be called "All hat and no horse." When I was a kid in Louisiana, we had a more colorful way of putting it: "His mouth overloaded his ass."

We Louisianians may have our problems -- and God knows our native state has more than its share of bad ones -- but one of them is not being boring. Boring might be more of a concern someplace that aspires to be the next musical Seattle instead of the next musical New Orleans.

arrogant and silly are definite immediate-action concerns for people in "the next Seattle" who think any but a couple or three local bands could hang for five minutes with a ragtag assortment of teenagers from the Tremé (or the Ninth Ward, or Central City, or the Seventh Ward) learning how to be a proper brass band on a French Quarter street corner in "the first New Orleans."

It would be like Nebraska touting far and wide the quality of its football program and the warmth and classiness of Memorial Stadium fans, only to have the "sea of red" raining Jack Daniels bottles upon visiting opponents after the Cornhuskers lose yet another game by 75 points.

Let's you and me examine some facts, Omaha.

Cowboy Mouth has been together for two decades. It's made more or less a go of it nationally. More importantly, it has made a go of it in New Orleans which, for all of its myriad problems and poverty, probably has more inherent cultural depth and musical talent in an average neighborhood than 21st-century Omaha has had to work with altogether as it pulls itself up toward the emo-wracked cultural nirvana of . . . Seattle.

I dunno, maybe a venerable and successful New Orleans rock band might get more respect here in Coolsville if Fred LeBlanc and company wore more plaid flannel. Sang more about the sheer psychic hell of living life in one's pasty white skin. Drank more Pabst Blue Ribbon and less Abita Turbodog.

And likewise, maybe people might really start to think Omaha really was Coolsville if Omahans started acting a lot less like Hicksville.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A confederacy of dunces

Getting between the oil industry's posterior and Louisiana politicians' lips is a tight spot only Rhett Butler could love -- "I've always had a weakness for lost causes once they're really lost."

Odd that it was a Yankee academic and not Capt. Butler embarking on such a quixotic scheme Monday before a joint meeting of state House and Senate natural-resources committees. Either he was making the kind of profit the fictional Butler did from running guns to the Confederates, or the man just had no idea what he was walking into.

The Oregon economics professor's first mistake, sad to say, was in going to Louisiana in the first place. Nothing good could come of it.

His second mistake was in telling Louisianians --
politicians, no less -- what he took to be the truth, instead of what they wanted to hear.

THE THIRD mistake, as reported by The Advocate in Baton Rouge, was a doozy. He told the legislators that an LSU professor was dead wrong (and guilty of sloppy research) in his report arguing that the state was losing beaucoup revenue and jobs by not throttling lawsuits over environmental damage from old oilfields.
W. Ed Whitelaw, a professor of economics at the University of Oregon, said the widely quoted analysis omitted relevant facts, including any mention of two hurricanes.

David Dismukes, an LSU professor who works for the LSU Center for Energy Studies, released an analysis in February that found that during the past eight years, Louisiana missed out on more than 30,000 oil and gas jobs and support positions because of what
are called “legacy lawsuits.”

The lawsuits are over the extent of cleanup of environmental damage caused by oil producers’ drilling practices years ago.

A joint hearing of the Louisiana House and state Senate committees on Natural Resources met Monday to “informally discuss the issues” involving legislation that would change the procedures leading to lawsuits over the environmental damage.

“Legacy lawsuits are strongly and negatively correlated with Louisiana drilling activity,” Dismukes’ report says. “Increases in legacy lawsuits are correlated with reductions in conventional Louisiana oil and gas drilling.”

Whitelaw, founder of ECONorthwest, a Portland, Ore., company that provides financial
analysis for businesses and governments, said Dismukes’ widely quoted analysis has several major flaws.

“Understand that these errors, and there are three or four big ones, any one of which is enough to render his analysis nonsense,” Whitelaw said. “These are rookie errors.”

In the Gret Stet, legislators reserve the right to starve Louisiana universities to death, but they'll be damned if some damn Yankee is gonna come down and tell 'em they're getting what they pay for. Or not getting what they refuse to pay for.

At any rate, ancestral hatred, a raging inferiority complex, a genuine lack of intelligence and good old bayou buffoonery combined for a quite predictable display of pique and posturing. Like I said, I hope Whitelaw's making obscene money for his expert testimony.
In the joint committee hearing, state Sen. Norby Chabert, R-Houma, came to Dismukes’ defense, asking former U.S. Rep. Chris John, who now heads the Baton Rouge-based industry group Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, how he felt about Whitelaw’s testimony.

“It always chaps my hide when folks come in here from out of state and degrade our universities and our faculty,” Chabert said.

John agreed, saying the oil and gas industry works closely with LSU, his alma mater.

“It is something that we should consider when a person from the Oregon Ducks would actually sit at this table; we’ve had our issues with the Oregon Ducks,” Johns said.
WHAT (expletive deleted) morons. What clowns.

It says nothing good about Louisiana that it's occurred to no one that so many of the state's political maladies could be solved by no longer reminding its politicians to breathe.

It also says nothing good about the place that it's occurred to so few there that the rest of America isn't laughing
with Louisiana, but instead at Louisiana.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

From the More $$$ Than Sense department. . . .

Never, ever pay $999,900 for a creepy mask of some notorious person whose name we won't remember in 20 years. And whose name I won't mention now.

Given the way things are going in Washington, I'd think you'd want to place that kind of money in a safe place, not on a gigantic bet that fools bigger than oneself will have money from which they can be parted.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What Would William F. Buckley Do?

Love him or hate him -- agree with him or disagree -- no one could say the late William F. Buckley, father of the equally late conservative movement, wasn't a serious and thoughtful man.

As it turns out, those present-day "conservatives" who presume to freeload off the legacy of Buckley and the other political "grown-ups" of years gone by stand upon their backs much as does a "monkey" upon the back of a junkie. It's there, it's unwanted, it's destructive, and you just can't shake it.

That's where a once-serious political movement lies today -- in the gutter, enraged and puking all over itself, desperate for just one more fix of stupid. And its friends -- Moe, Larry and Curly -- don't even notice its in a world of hurt.

They're sexting pictures of their genitalia to Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter.

CONSIDER, as you read this CNN report about the latest misadventure of the right wing's Pimp Boy, James O'Keefe, that it has been a mere 59 years between God and Man at Yale and this sorry spectacle:
For months, CNN had been following a group of young conservative activists, including Christian Hartsock, the director of the music video. The activists will be featured in a documentary, "Right on the Edge," that will air October 2 and 3.

Hartsock said O'Keefe did not want CNN to shoot on the set of the music video, but said he would encourage O'Keefe to call CNN to discuss the request.

O'Keefe called Boudreau on August 10. During the conversation, he said he preferred that Boudreau meet him in person in Maryland and asked that she come alone.

"I just want to talk," O'Keefe told Boudreau on the phone. "I just want to have a, you know, meeting with you, and talk to you face to face about this. Because, I don't, I feel sort of, let's just say reserved about, about letting people into my sort of inner sanctum, about letting, letting people sort of take a glimpse into, into, behind the scenes, so that's why you know, I just feel more comfortable if it was just me and you and we just had a face-to-face meeting before I agree to, to let you guys come out and shoot the video shoot out there."

The phone call was recorded without Boudreau's knowledge, but CNN obtained a copy of the recording after O'Keefe e-mailed it to friends and colleagues. Boudreau agreed to the meeting, which she understood would be in his office.

"The purpose of the meeting was to explain [the CNN story] in person to James," Boudreau said.

CNN was forwarded an e-mail, sent from O'Keefe's e-mail address, to the executive director of Project Veritas, Izzy Santa; and two conservative activists, Ben Wetmore of New Orleans and Jonathon Burns of St. Louis, Missouri, dated after the call with Boudreau.

"Getting Closer," the e-mail states. "Audio attached conversation with Abbie. What do you think of her reaction guys. She said she could do it Monday, Tuesday. Ben, you think I could get her on the boat?"

Boudreau flew to Baltimore, Maryland, on August 17, rented a car, and drove to suburban Lusby, where O'Keefe wanted to meet. O'Keefe sent a text message to Boudreau that morning, saying that Santa would meet her when she got there.

When Boudreau arrived at the address, a house located on a tributary of the Patuxent River, Santa approached her with a tape recorder in her hand and said she wanted to talk in the car, Boudreau said.

"I noticed she had a little bit of dirt on her face, her lip was shaking, she seemed really uncomfortable and I asked her if she was OK," Boudreau said. "The first thing she basically said to me was, 'I'm not recording you, I'm not recording you. Are you recording me?' I said, 'No, I'm not recording you,' and she showed me her digital recorder and it was not recording."

Santa told Boudreau that O'Keefe planned to "punk" her by getting on a boat where hidden cameras were set up. Boudreau said she would not get on the boat and asked Santa why O'Keefe wanted her there.

"Izzy told me that James was going to be dressed up and have strawberries and champagne on the boat, and he was going to hit on me the whole time," Boudreau said.

A short time later, O'Keefe emerged from a boat docked behind the house. In that brief conversation, Boudreau told O'Keefe that he did not have permission to record her, and reminded him that the meeting was solely to discuss the upcoming music video shoot, and he had never mentioned that he wanted to tape their meeting.

Boudreau ended the meeting and left. After the incident, Santa gave CNN a series of e-mails she says shows O'Keefe intended to try to embarrass both the network and Boudreau through an elaborate plan.

The day of the meeting, she wrote to someone she described as a financial donor to Project Veritas. She would not identify the individual.

"I have a problem on my hands that I think has the potential for unnecessary backlash," Santa wrote. "Today, James is meeting with a CNN correspondent today on his boat. She is doing a piece on the movement of young conservative filmmakers.

"She doesn't know she is getting on a boat but rather James' office. James has staged the boat to be a palace of pleasure with all sorts of props, wants to have a bizarre sexual conversation with her. He wants to gag CNN."

She wrote that "the idea is incredibly bad" and "the more I think about it we should not be doing this."

O'Keefe had also instructed Santa to print a "pleasure palace graphic" on a large poster, according to an e-mail.

CNN later obtained a copy of a 13-page document titled "CNN Caper," which appears to describe O'Keefe's detailed plans for that day.

"The plans appeared so outlandish and so juvenile in tone, I questioned whether it was part of a second attempted punk," Boudreau said.

But in a phone conversation, Santa confirmed the document was authentic. Listed under "equipment needed," is "hidden cams on the boat," and a "tripod and overt recorder near the bed, an obvious sex tape machine."

Among the props listed were a "condom jar, dildos, posters and paintings of naked women, fuzzy handcuffs" and a blindfold.

According to the document, O'Keefe was to record a video of the following script before Boudreau arrived: "My name is James. I work in video activism and journalism. I've been approached by CNN for an interview where I know what their angle is: they want to portray me and my friends as crazies, as non-journalists, as unprofessional and likely as homophobes, racists or bigots of some sort....

"Instead, I've decided to have a little fun. Instead of giving her a serious interview, I'm going to punk CNN. Abbie has been trying to seduce me to use me, in order to spin a lie about me. So, I'm going to seduce her, on camera, to use her for a video. This bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five will get a taste of her own medicine, she'll get seduced on camera and you'll get to see the awkwardness and the aftermath.

"Please sit back and enjoy the show."
OH, WE'RE enjoying the "show," all right. We're really enjoying the show.

I wonder what they'll call it? Beavis and Butthead Do Fascism?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Barbara Norton: My ace in the hole

The next time some overly content (yet somehow angry) Louisianian writes to tell me I revel in trashing the Gret Stet and am just a bitter expatriate, I now can invoke the Barbara Norton defense.

Rep. Barbara Norton of Shreveport is the Einstein who invited her godson, the potty-mouthed rapper (Is that too blatantly redundant?) Hurricane Chris, to perform a "clean" version of his hit "Halle Berry (She's Fine)" on the floor of the Louisiana House. And when that didn't go over so well among relatively sane people from sea to shining sea -- Thanks, YouTube! -- the solon defended her boneheaded move by saying, basically, ain't no big thang, 'cause you can't make Louisiana look no worse than it look already.

Uh . . . oh, yes, you can! And Rep. Norton was just the woman to do it -- twice, now.

I BELIEVE Norton's exact quote was: "They been making a joke out of Louisiana and politics for even before I became in the House of Representatives so they're not just now start making a joke out of Louisiana.

"Louisiana has always been a joke."

I rest my defense. One, I'm not a Louisiana legislator and, two, I don't go around telling TV reporters "Louisiana has always been a joke" without at least some elaboration or qualification.

Oh . . . and I usually make at least some sense.

The articulate legislator also introduced House Resolution 134 to "commend Hurricane Chris of Shreveport for his outstanding musical accomplishments and does hereby extend to him best wishes for continued success and happiness in all of his future endeavors."

Because, after all, says the proud godmama, "It's not out there shooting, it's not robbing, it's not killing, it's not selling guns. Let me ask you this right here -- what do you think about the uh, the uh, congressman in Washington who they just said on TV about going out and having a marrited affair?"

Marrited? Uh . . . OK.

Something tells me that, like the rest of us, Halle Berry isn't much amused.

HAT TIP: My Bossier

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How stupid can you get?

This stupid, proving there's never a dull day when you work for the New Orleans Times-Picayune . . . even if you're covering Covington, La.
A Covington jewelry store owner and five teenagers were arrested Monday night after police responded to the store where a make-believe armed robbery was being carried out and videotaped as part of a school project, authorities said.

A witness called police about 4:45 p.m. after seeing what appeared to be an armed robbery at Expressions in Gold jewelry at 842 North Collins Boulevard, Covington Police spokesman Capt. Jack West said.

The caller said two teenagers had put on ski masks, got an assault rifle and a pistol out of the trunk of their vehicle, and went into the store, West said. The teens pointed the weapons at the people in the store, and the witness saw the people raise their hands into the air, he said.

Police arrived within 30 seconds, and the SWAT team was called out, West said. A police sniper was in position before store owner Janet Deluca came outside and said the group was simply making a movie, he said.

The video was being shot as part of a school project, West said.

When officers went inside and asked to see the firearms, the teenagers said they did not have any weapons, West said. After further questioning they showed officers where they had hidden the guns in the store, he said. Officers confiscated an SKS assault rifle, according to the police department.

JUST WHAT THE HELL did these kids -- not to mention the jewelry-store owner, who's old enough to know better -- figure people would think when they saw young people get out of a car, put on ski masks, draw weapons and run inside?

The damn fools are lucky they didn't get shot.

The cop in the WGNO television report was right -- if the numskulls had told the police what was up and gotten a permit, there would have been no problem . . . and no bystanders would have been making panicked phone calls to 911.

At a bare minimum, it should have been made clear to passers-by that a movie was being filmed.

BUT NO. The little darlings do something idiotic, get arrested by rightly ticked-off Covington police officers, and they (along with their equally foolish parents) are wondering why they're in dutch with the law.

Here's why: It's because they scared people witless, endangered officers and others as police descended upon the scene at breakneck speed, diverted city resources from preventing actual crime, and wasted what was, I'm sure, a not-insignificant amount of taxpayers' money.

Really, what were they thinking? And what are they thinking now, all incredulous that they're in trouble?

What, that New Orleans is the only place folks might reasonably assume there was a violent crime being committed when they see such? That only black folk rob people?

I'm almost sorry the cops didn't rough the little twerps up (and that goes double for the alleged "adult" of the bunch) just for the hell of it.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Turn your radio . . . off

Good Lord, it's carnage out there in Radioland.

AND WHEN you're talking about radio, that was before the economy went royally south. Now. . . .

But the small minds in expensive suits who run today's broadcasting conglomerates -- and, increasingly, public radio organizations -- need to reflect upon just one thing, which Inside Music Media's Jerry Del Colliano keeps pointing out.

How long do the suits expect they can produce any revenue at all if they keep firing all the people who produce content, which draws an audience, which attracts advertisers (or underwriters . . . or donors)?

It's carnage out there.





And the final carnage, which is yet to come, will threaten the existence of the medium itself. And there won't be a federal bailout to save the day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mother of the Year

Pity poor Lynne Spears. She might have to work for a living now that one showbiz kid is a chemical-dependency spokesmodel -- so whacked out that she neither can hang on to her kids nor her drawers -- and the other gravy train is with child.

At 16.

And on top of all that, the hootchie-mama mama has seen the Thomas Nelson publishing house, which used to be known for Bibles, shelve her guide to good parenting,
Pop Culture Mum.

Yes, all
this is true. Even Brit Brit doesn't have big enough of a stash for me to go on that wild a flight of fancy. Ditto for the news sources cranking out the stories on what happens when you move a south Louisiana trailer park to Malibu.

Actually, it's pretty much the same thing that happens when the trailer park stays down on the bayou. Only with more paparazzi and fewer pickup trucks.

THIS SOUNDS MEAN, I know. Thing is, though, having grown up in Britneyland, I've seen this tired act for as long as I can remember from people different only in that nobody wants to buy their CDs or watch them on TV --
unless, of course, they turn up on an episode of COPS.

And just to what,
pray tell, do you liken such as this:
Jamie Lynn is the star of Nickelodeon’s hugely successful “Zoey 101,” and her future there — and income — are up in the air. Nickelodeon issued a statement to TMZ on Tuesday saying, “We respect Jamie Lynn’s decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation. We know this is a very difficult time for her and her family, and our primary concern right now is for Jamie Lynn’s well being.”

As for whether she’ll return to the show, Jamie Lynn told OK!, “I don’t know, I don’t know.”

“I don’t know how she can go back,” said the family friend. “And, what’s worse for the Spears is Britney doesn’t want to be a part of that Spears gravy train any more. That’s part of why Britney is freaking right now. With Jamie Lynn to focus on, she [Britney] was no longer the family’s only focus, and their only hope for income."

At the end of the day it also doesn’t help the Spears image that the father of the baby is Casey Aldridge, 19, who met Jamie Lynn in church and started dating her when she was only 13½. “Lots of people have been worried that this relationship was moving too fast. I guess there was a good reason to worry,” said a friend of the Spears family.
LET'S SEE. Not only did Lynne Spears let her 13-year-old daughter date -- a recipe for trouble right there, and I don't give a damn that they met in church. No, she let her barely-teen-age daughter go out with a 16-year-old.

Who had Jamie Lynn good and knocked up less than three years later.

If the pattern holds once Jamie Lynn moves back to Louisiana for a "normal life'' -- read: "I want me a pickup and a pack of Marlboro Reds" -- the girl could be one hot grandmama at age 32.

She could fellowship after church with all the other grammaws and complain about "the niggers down in New Orleans." Irony often is lost on the folks back home.

YES, AS SOME PEOPLE much holier than I am have said, it's good Jamie Lynn isn't going to kill her baby. Then again, there are lots of ways to kill a kid -- only a few of which actually involve physical death.

Maybe that's one way Thomas Nelson can retool that book by their Mother of the Year. Package it with a carton of hot-pink WWJD condoms.

Trust me, it'll be big.