Tag Archives: black

Place … VENICE, LA. … In memory of Katrina


Fishermen Sign On to Clean Up Oil

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Kim Vo of Sharko Seafood, a local seafood company in in Venice, La., was selling the company’s final 50 pounds of shrimp.

By ROBBIE BROWN
Published: April 30, 2010

VENICE, La. — About 1,000 angry and frustrated fishermen packed an elementary school gymnasium here Friday afternoon. In a cruel occupational twist, they were seeking employment with the company they blame for an oil spill that may wipe out their industry this year and beyond.

Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Fishermen gathered at Boothville-Venice Elementary School and registered to take a safety awareness class so they will be able to participate in the oil spill clean-up efforts.

Life in this coastal community centers on seafood — mullet, shark, shrimp and oysters. From May to December, dozens of boats haul shrimp here from the Gulf of Mexico. But aside from two days of fishing allowed this week ahead of the approaching oil slick, the shrimp season has been suspended.

So the fishermen came to receive training in how to clean up the oil spill that was creeping up on the nearby coastline. They were hoping to be hired by BP, the company blamed for the spill and responsible for cleanup efforts.

“Either the seafood industry or the oil industry — that’s the only jobs down here, so I guess I’m trying to move from seafood to oil today,” said Bernel Prout, 55, a fisherman and Venice native.

Friday’s training session was led by local firefighters and law enforcement officials and attended by representatives from BP, the parish government and the local fishermen’s association.

BP has said it will hire as many local residents as possible to clean the beaches and distribute booms through the surrounding marshes and waterways.

But the fishermen said they were reeling from the loss of revenue. They were not told how many would be hired, at what wages, or when. But they were asked to fill out forms listing their names, contact information and available equipment and skills.

“This is not our fault,” Mr. Prout said. “It’s the fault of the oil company.”

The mood inside the crowded, hot gymnasium was one of confusion and growing anxiety.

“We have bills to pay,” said Acy Cooper, the president of a local fishermen’s association. “I don’t care if it’s the federal government or BP, but someone needs to step up and compensate us.”

David Kinnaird, a project director for BP who is coordinating the company’s response in Venice, said BP would hire as many local workers as possible. “We’re not asking the community to do this work for nothing,” he said. “BP is willing to compensate them.”

But Mr. Kinnaird could not say when local fishermen would be hired, how much they would be paid or whether they would be compensated for their lost revenue.

The fishing industry is just now recovering from the hurricanes of recent years, said Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, where Venice is located. But he said the oil spill could be an even greater setback, potentially changing fishing conditions for years.

“This could be six Katrinas, where for years and years and years there’s not as much work,” he said. “These people have fished their entire lives. They don’t know anything else.”

Still, he said, his job requires balancing the area’s two dominant local industries. He urged federal officials to not let this disaster lead to less oil excavation in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Don’t overreact,” he said. “We don’t ground every plane every time one plane crashes.”

All skiffs were docked in their harbors Friday. A local seafood company, Sharkco, was selling its final 50 pounds of shrimp and had already been depleted of oysters and fish.

“Last shrimp for a long, long time,” yelled Kim Vo, the owner of Sharkco, to passing fishermen, who paid $3 a pound.

“This is for us to eat,” one fishermen said. “We can’t use it for bait. There’s not going to be any fishing around here for months.”

“First Katrina, then Ike, Gustav, the fishermen’s strike — and now this,” said Thi Lee, 35, whose husband lost his 45-foot skiff in Katrina and only recently restored a second skiff to working condition after it was battered by another hurricane.

“We have no idea what to do,” she said.

A group of fishermen who were gathered around a car in the Sharkco parking lot grew more agitated as they listened to radio reports about the worsening spill.

“This spill isn’t going to be fixed in a day, probably even in a year,” said Chuc Nguyen, 35, who emigrated from Vietnam as a child and has fished his entire life. “What else can I do? I don’t know how to read and write. If you tell me to do something other than fishing, I don’t even know what it would be.”

Chan Tran, a dock owner in Venice, said insurance had risen more than 200 percent since Hurricane Katrina. Insuring her fishing dock now costs $50,000 a year, and she planned on paying the bill due this summer with money from the sale of shrimp.

“I cannot sleep for two days,” she said. “I’m done for business.”

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/04/30/us/1247467746961/a-livelihood-threatened.html

Progressive Breakfast: The Democrat/Republican Presidential Candidate Divide On Social Security


 


 

MORNING MESSAGE

Dave Johnson

The Democrat/Republican Presidential Candidate Divide On Social SecurityMost current Republican presidential candidates, with the notable exception of Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee, follow this “on your own” philosophy, offering plans to raise the retirement age, raise the early retirement age, means-test benefits, cut benefits, partially privatize it with some of the money going into Wall Street-managed personal accounts or just privatize the program entirely with all of it going into Wall Street-managed personal accounts.

Biden and Warren Buzz

Vice-President Joe Biden meets with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, stoking speculation of presidential run. CNN:“Warren and Biden discussed economic policy during a meeting that lasted about two hours … the biggest indication yet that Biden is feeling out influential Democrats before announcing his intentions.”

Biden “is increasingly leaning toward entering the race” says WSJ:“Mr. Biden still could opt to sit out the 2016 race, and he is weighing multiple political, financial and family considerations before making a final decision.”

Some still want to draft Warren. The Hill:“‘I think she’d be beating Hillary. That’s my opinion,’ said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America … ‘She’d be doing as well or better than Bernie’ [Campaign for America’s Future co-director Robert] Borosage said, adding that it’s not too late for Warren to change her mind.”

Sanders Stumps in SC

Sen. Bernie Sanders make his case to African-American voters in SC. Politico:“[Sanders] marbled his stump speech with topics designed to appeal to African Americans: criminal justice reform, voter disenfranchisement, economic inequality among minorities, and preventing police brutality … The Sanders campaign also quietly reached out to local black leaders and activists for small-group sit-downs on subjects important to the black community.”

Bernie refuses to go negative on Hillary. The Hill:“‘You will never see us run attack ads against her,’ [campaign adviser Tad Devine] said. ‘You will never see, from him, the kind of personal, political attack that is common in presidential campaigns. He is not wired that way. He doesn’t believe in it. He thinks people are sick of it.’”

Trump Hits Hedge Fund Loophole

Trump suggests he will raise taxes on hedge fund managers. Reuters:“…Trump blasted hedge fund managers on Sunday as mere ‘paper pushers’ who he said were ‘getting away with murder’ by not paying their fair share of taxes … ‘The hedge fund guys didn’t build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky … They pay no tax. It’s ridiculous’ … Trump did not offer any specific detail on how he would like to reform the tax code.”

“Trump attended big-donor fundraiser last month” reports Politico:“…even as Trump publicly scorned other candidates’ use of super PACs, he tacitly gave approval to the Make America Great Again PAC by attending a fundraiser the group held in New York last month.”

Restaurants responding to higher minimum wage laws by offering no-tipping policies. NYT:“Managers say it would also allow them to better calibrate wages to reward employees based on the length of their service and the complexity of their jobs. Several also cited research showing that diners tend to tip black servers less and that the system can encourage sexual harassment of women.”

Pressure On Fed Keep Rates Low

Larry Summers urges Fed to postpone rate hike in W. Post oped:“There can be no question that tightening policy will adversely affect levels of employment as higher interest rates make holding onto cash more attractive relative to investing … This is especially troubling at a time of rising inequality.”

Theory guiding Fed, linking low unemployment to inflation, not proven, notes WSJ:“The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.3% in July, just above the 5% to 5.2% range that Fed officials expect in the long run. But annualinflation readings have remained below the Fed’s 2% target, while pay raises seem stuck in low gear … the simple link between U.S. unemployment and inflation described by the Phillips curve appeared to break down after the 1960s…”

China Market Tanks

“China to Flood Economy With Cash as Global Markets Lose Faith” reports WSJ:“…China looked to flood its banking system with new liquidity to offset effects of its recent surprise currency devaluation … Beijing’s struggles this summer have spooked many investors into viewing China as a threat to, rather than a rescuer of, global growth.”

NYT’s Paul Krugman warns of a “global glut”:“…policy makers [should] take seriously the possibility, I’d say probability, that excess savings and persistent global weakness is the new normal … [But] Wall Street doesn’t want to hear that an unstable world requires strong financial regulation, and politicians who want to kill the welfare state don’t want to hear that government spending and debt aren’t problems in the current environment.”

Reid To Whip For Iran Deal

Sen. Harry Reid backs Iran deal. W. Post:“‘I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure the deal stands,’ he said … Reid [said] he was ‘cautiously optimistic’ that he would be able to secure enough support to prevent an override of Obama’s veto…”

As does former George H. W. Bush National Security Adviser, in W. Post oped:“…the JCPOA meets the key objective, shared by recent administrations of both parties, that Iran limit itself to a strictly civilian nuclear program with unprecedented verification and monitoring…”

Iran, shutdown faces Obama as he returns from vacation. NYT:“…Congress will have to pass funding legislation by the end of September to avoid shutting down the government for the second time in two years … other pieces of must- and should-pass legislation [include] extending authority for highway and infrastructure spending, reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank and dealing with various expiring tax provisions … The deadline for the first [Iran] vote is Sept. 14…”

Morning Digest: Florida Republicans tear themselves to shreds, refuse to draw new congressional map


  • FL Redistricting: In an epic descent into acrimony and recrimination, the Florida legislature concluded its special session on redistricting without producing a new congressional map, as ordered by the state Supreme Court. Even though—or perhaps because—Republicans control both chambers, the state House and Senate absolutely loathe one another: Earlier this year, the state government nearly shut down after the House refused to sign off on a Senate budget that would have expanded Medicaid. (Ultimately, the House prevailed, tanking the expansion.) With that history, it’s not so surprising that Republicans could reach no agreement on revising Florida’s congressional lines, which the court ruled were unconstitutional last month. But what makes this so amazing is that the differences between the two chambers’ proposals were really minimal. No one seemed to care that they were fighting over nothing, though, and the whole capitol collapsed into chaos: The Senate demanded the House pass its map; the House declined and called for a joint conference; angry senators proceeded to stalk out of that meeting; and then, finally, the House refused to extend the session past Friday’s noon deadline, which the Senate had voted in favor of earlier in the morning, thus sending everyone home. Insanity. It’s particularly nuts because now the court will almost certainly have to draw a new map itself. That’s all well and good for Democrats, but Republicans have been seething about what they (wrongly, comically) view as improper judicial interference in the redistricting process. Yet instead of retaining a measure of control over that process for themselves, they’ve decided to fully cede it back to seven judges who make up the state Supreme Court. It’s so crazy and so stupid that you have to wonder if there’s something else at play here, and the answer is “probably.” Matthew Isbell, one of the foremost experts on Florida cartography, points out that the legislature is due to reconvene for another special session in October, when it will redo the state Senate map (which faces similar constitutional infirmities). The House, says Isbell, is likely trying to assert its dominance ahead of that session, because the stakes will be much higher: Given Florida’s term limits, members of the lower chamber will want to maximize their opportunities to advance to the upper chamber. Those desires, though, will likely come into conflict with what senators want for themselves, and since any new map will have an immediate impact on them, they might be willing to demonstrate some more flexibility now that they know the House is willing to shoot the hostage. Or maybe not! Things are so poisonous in Tallahassee now that the Senate could very well strap some dynamite to its chest and light the fuse anyway. Whatever happens, Democrats have to be quite pleased. Their congressional gains won’t be huge—based on what the Supreme Court has said, we might be talking about a net change of one seat in the Democrats’ favor—but it’ll be better than the current state of affairs. And watching the GOP immolate itself in spectacular fashion for no good reason? Now that is a pearl beyond price.

Senate:

  • KY-Sen: On Saturday, the Kentucky GOP voted to switch from a May presidential primary to a March caucus in order to accommodate Sen. Rand Paul. Paul has insisted on running for president and for re-election at the same time, but Kentucky law forbids a candidate from appearing on the same ballot for two different offices. Now, Paul will be able to run for president in March and for renomination in May, when the Bluegrass State will hold primaries for its federal and state offices. The one catch is that Paul is required to transfer $250,000 to the state GOP by Sept. 18 to pay for the caucus, but this shouldn’t be much of a hurdle. If Paul somehow does emerge with his party’s presidential nomination the GOP may have a hard time replacing him on the Senate ballot, but right now it looks like his presidential campaign is going nowhere.
  • Primaries: So far it’s just talk, but in an internal memo obtained by the AP, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggests it might get involved in a number of Democratic primaries next year, with the idea of helping to nominate weaker candidates or damaging nominees no matter who they are. The memo, which discusses four Senate and five House battlegrounds, specifically cites Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s highly successful effort to ratfuck the 2012 Missouri GOP primary to her advantage. Fortunately for Democrats, Republicans don’t have many targets that fit the Todd Akin mold. The only race where it seems like there’s a realistic chance of a less electable option winning a primary is Florida’s Senate contest, where the incendiary Alan Grayson is trying to thwart fellow Rep. Patrick Murphy, the establishment choice. All of the other races involve situations where one candidate is an overwhelming favorite for the nomination (like IL-Sen or OH-Sen), or where there’s little reason to think there’s much difference between the alternatives in a general election (like PA-Sen and basically all the House elections). That’s not say the Chamber or its allies couldn’t cause plenty of trouble. It absolutely could, and in fact, the Club for Growth has already run a quarter-million dollar TV ad buy trying to tarnish Murphy with Democratic voters while boosting Grayson. But let’s see if the Chamber actually follows suit, or if it’s just yapping.

Gubernatorial:

  • LA-Gov: Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has yet to launch any significant ad buys, but his allied super PAC Now or Never is up with their first spot. The group didn’t give out a specific size of the buy, only saying that it’s “well into the six figures” and running for “500 gross rating points.” (The group had a little less than $100,000 in the bank in mid-July.) The commercial isn’t online yet, but the Times-Picayune says it emphasizes Dardenne’s record as lieutenant governor while praising him for the tourism industry’s growth.

House:

  • CA-44: Democratic state Sen. Isadore Hall has consolidated support from nearly every quarter in his bid to succeed retiring Rep. Janice Hahn—including from Hahn herself, who is running for a spot on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. But one fellow Democrat, Hermosa Beach City Council Member Nanette Barragan, just earned the endorsement of EMILY’s List, so she might have some staying power. Barragan hasn’t raised much money so far (she took in $165,000 in the second quarter of this year), but then again, neither has Hall (who brought in $221,000). But Barragan also faces some issues, like the fact that Hermosa Beach isn’t actually in California’s 44th District, and that she has to resign her seat—which she only began serving in 2013—to move back into the district, where she’s originally from. Hall camp has taken a few shots at her over this stuff, though it may not be the kind of thing voters wind up caring about. Since the 44th is overwhelmingly blue, two Democrats are all but certain to advance from June’s top-two primary to the November general election, so there’s a good chance that Hall and Barragan face off twice next year.
  • IN-04, AG: GOP Rep. Todd Rokita spent months mulling a Senate bid before declining to go for it, but he may have another statewide office in his sights. In the Aug. 21 edition of his newsletter, Brian Howey tells us that his sources are saying that Rokita is considering a bid for attorney general next year. The incumbent, Greg Zoeller, is giving up his post to run for IN-09. It’s rare to see entrenched House members run for a statewide office that isn’t governor or U.S. senator, especially when they’re in the majority. It might be that Rokita just really hates the House and wants to leave: Maybe Louie Gohmert stole his lunch money one time too many? If Rokita bails, the GOP won’t have any problem defending his central Indiana seat. Romney won 61-37 here, and even Richard Mourdock carried the 4th 49-44 during his disastrous 2012 Senate campaign.
  • IN-09: Former congressional aide Jim Pfaff is the latest candidate to open up a campaign account with the FEC without making a formal announcement. Pfaff has a long career in conservative politics but while he got his start with the Indiana GOP, he hasn’t been active there in a while. Pfaff used to work as a talk radio host in the Denver area before signing on as Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp’s chief of staff in 2010, and he was named the chair of the Douglas County, Colorado Republican Party at the beginning of this year. Pfaff joins state Sens. Erin Houchin and Brent Waltz and state Attorney General Greg Zoeller in the GOP primary for this red southern Indiana seat. (Hat-tip Politics1.)
  • PA-02: Perhaps indicted Rep. Chaka Fattah got a bit lucky, since the judge overseeing his corruption case just set his trial for a week after April’s Democratic primary. But that’s just likely to make the charges against him loom ever larger, and his rivals won’t hesitate to blast him.

Other Races:

  • WA Senate, House: There’s a key retirement in Washington’s state Senate, where the GOP coalition holds a 26 to 23 majority (nominal Democrat Tim Sheldon caucuses with the GOP). First-term Republican state Sen. Bruce Dammeier, from the 25th District in Tacoma’s suburbs, will forgo re-election in 2016 in order to run for Pierce County executive. That opens up this 51-47 Obama district, which could tip the balance back to the Democrats. However, the bench is a little depleted here; both of the House members in the 25th are also Republicans. Even if the Dems did pick up the 25th next year, they’d still need to flip one more seat to have a Sheldon-proof majority, though, and unfortunately most of the swingy seats are elected in midterm years instead. The 41st, currently held by the GOP’s Steve Litzow, is probably the other opportunity here, but Litzow survived 2012 without much trouble. And what the state Senate could giveth, though, the state House could taketh away. In the 30th District in suburban Federal Way, there’s a special election in November. Democrat Carol Gregory was appointed to fill the seat after the 2014 election, which Democrat Roger Freeman won despite having died shortly before the election. Because the appointment was early in the year, though, she faces a special election this year. While this is a 59 percent Obama district, the low-turnout, off-year dynamics seem to be hampering Gregory: She wound up finishing in second place in August’s top-two primary to Republican challenger Teri Hickel, 51-49. (Bear in mind this is the same district where Democrat-turned-Republican Mark Miloscia was elected to the Senate in 2014, and the other House seat is also held by a Republican, so the 59 percent is sort of misleading.) The Democrats would keep the majority even if they lost this seat, but the edge would be paper-thin; their current majority is only 51 to 47.

Grab Bag:

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir and Jeff Singer, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, and Daniel Donner

‘Sex is like pre-chewed chewing gum … Is that what you want to present to your husband?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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