Sunday, October 31, 2010

Early Voting Data May Bode Well for Republicans.

Is this a sign of things to come across the nation Tuesday or just a sign of things in Florida:

Of the more than 1.9 million Floridians who had voted through Friday, nearly 275,000 more Republicans than Democrats had cast their votes either by absentee ballot or at an early voting site.

Via NRO's Battle 10 blog, the enthusiasm gap in Florida is huge.  The gubernatorial race there is very, very close; the Florida Senate race is not quite as close.  In fact, it's probably less close now than it was yesterday with Crist now vowing to caucus with Democrats.  Of course, you can't believe that because you can't believe anything he says, but it's probably a safe bet.

In Nevada where the Reid/Angle race is still very close, reports there indicate "no enthusiasm gap whatsoever."   Of couse, that report was from Phoebe Sweet of the Nevada State Democratic Party.  A Democratic political consultant was quoted in The Hill as saying that Republicans vote early and Democrats vote on election day.

Locally, early voting was higher than normal as well.  Caddo Registrar of Voters Ernie Robertson said over 4,000 ballots were cast which was "on the higher end" of what he expected.  Early voting in Bossier Parish was also brisk.

Jim Geraghty did a post on some of the national numbers last week which seems to bode well for Republicans.  But again, it depends on who you ask.

Of course, we'll know Tuesday.

Profiles of the Shreveport Mayoral Candidates?

I don't take the print version of the Shreveport Times, so please tell me if I'm missing something.  They've been touting all week their upcoming profiles of Bryan Wooley and Cedric Glover which was to run today.

What I read online could hardly be considered a definitive profile of either candidate.  In the Wooley profile, I'm told that Wooley hits the gym at 6:30, we learn about his workout routine, his weight, that he eats a "hardy" breakfast (as opposed to a hearty one, I presume), that he likes The Wizard of Oz and that his dad used to check on him at night when he was a child.  The last paragraph gets down to any meat there is, and we learn then that he abandoned spiky hair, took an online speech class, and a quote from Wooley saying he wants to kill stereotypes.

Okay.  So we get to the Glover profile and we learn that he can write upside down, he's a little freaked out by social media, he left Grambling to care for his aging parents, sold cars, and still gets nervous in front of big crowds.  Again, the meat is supposedly in the last paragraph and we learn that after his mayoral life he will still be involved in civic affairs.

Wow.  What in depth profiles.

Nothing on the issues. 

Seriously, did I miss it?  Was there more in the print edition?  Because if this is all Shreveport voters are going to get from The Times to make their choices from, it's pretty weak.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mike The Tiger Does the "Thriller" Dance

Happpy Halloween!

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around: The Halloween Election Edition

I skipped the FMJRA last week (did you notice) because I had so much going on it just never got done.  Shameful.  I will make up for it this week.

It's election week, as you know, and there are big decisions to be made all over the country in both local and national elections.  I would advise Republicans not to "count their chickens" and get out there and vote!  I'd also advise all voters to educate themselves on their local candidates and amendments (if applicable) and make informed choices in the voting booth.  I'm hoping for a good, clean election across the country without voter intimidation, pre-checked ballots, or crooked shenanigans of any kind.  One can wish....right?

It's also Halloween weekend; I love Halloween.  I love the stupid scary movies and the dressing up.  I like the kid-fun of it.  Good times!

Bride of Rove is busy writing but weighs in on the non-benefits of work therapy.

Troglopundit suggests Paul Krugman might spend November 3 under his bed.

Doug Ross pronounces Obama to be like Jimmy Carter "without the spine."

Pirate's Cove points out that it's not exactly the Republicans who have a "war on reality."

Pundette evaluates Obama's response to the terror attempt.  Grandpa John hacked into TOTUS and gives us the real scoop.

Stacy McCain is on the road again, this time covering VA-9.

I think Paco is about to get initiated into the Axis of Fedora.  Fedorable!

Fishersville Mike declares Republican Rule the "new normal."

Mind Numbed Robot has a new game to play.  I agree with Obi's Sister - Sharron Angle should have sent a bar of soap to Behar instead of flowers.

Legal Insurrection is following RI-01 which is still very close; he's also hosting another LIVE election day event which should be good fun.

Left Coast Rebel points to a poll suggesting Christine O'Donnell is closing the gap with Coons - pre-Gawker, anyway.

A Cop's Watch made me laugh!

Adrienne points to a Daily Mail column suggesting Americans should be embarrassed by Obama (trust me, most of us are) and also to Michelle's appearance on Ellen.  Gag.

Reaganite Republican has your "Hope 'n Change Death Watch."

Bob Belvedere has the definitive post on Notes From the Campaign Trail.

Wyblog is in the Halloween spirit with a Pumpkin Post.

Speaking of Halloween, are you going to any parties?  Are you dressing up or staying home giving out candy?  I'm not sure what we're doing.  Right now I'm headed to mom's to watch my brother build a fence.  Key word:  WATCH.  Here's some Halloween fun for you:

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's Halloween Weekend: Let's Do the Thriller Dance!

Watch This Again

You've seen this before.

Watch it again.  This man is a winner.  Mark my words.

Charlie Crist On the Record

If you can stand to watch it, here is Charlie Crist confirming with Greta Van Sustern last night that discussions were indeed in which Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek agreed to withdraw from the Florida Senate race.  Crist says "those conversations did take place," and that Meek had agreed to "do what's right for the people of Florida and the people of America and stop a right wing radical" from getting elected to the U.S. Senate.

Crist, however, refuses to say with whom he spoke at the White House.  Naturally.

CNN reports Crist confirmed to them that the White House was involved.

Rubio's position on this:

“Secret deals, special favors, and political kickbacks,” the Rubio campaign wrote. “That’s the problem with Washington today, not the answer. Government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers. And typical politicians shouldn’t be cutting backroom deals to hold power at all costs.”
Amen.  Crist looks more like a slimy opportunist than ever in this.

Fundraiser for the Family of Sgt. Tim Prunty

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cedric Glover for Mayor

The Shreveport mayoral race has my blood pressure up.  I don't often write about local politics, and what a shocker, I'm about to endorse the Democrat.

Dear Shreveport - do NOT elect Bryan Wooley.  Wooley will get some votes simply because he's got the "R" after his name, but he is, in my own personal opinion, a worm.  I'm sorry, Bryan - I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but you have run the dirtiest, smarmiest, nastiest campaign I have EVER seen, and in Louisiana, that says a lot.

Let me just start with Bryan Wooley for a moment.  The whole campaign sign issue tells me a lot about Bryan Wooley and how he intends to conduct business.  A city ordinance says that signs in commercial areas can only be 16 feet square, but Wooley, clever, sneaky little thing that he is, cut his 32 square foot signs in half so he would be "in compliance."

Seriously.  He cut them in half.

I have to agree with John Settle on this one:  Wooley was thumbing his nose at the law and it took a lawsuit to get him to comply.  As a city councilman, Wooley knows the ordinance, or at least he should.  He didn't care.  He found a way around it.

Wooley has taken what I consider to be cheap shots at Mayor Glover.  The mayor is, as many of you know, a very large man.  I watched one of the local stations interview Wooley after the primary; when asked what he was going to do next, Wooley said he was "going to the gym, going to stay in shape, and get back to work."  Was that a cheap shot at Glover?  Sounded like it to me.

Wooley says he will "demand that criminals be arrested," but I don't think Glover has ever said they shouldn't be.  Wooley says he will cut down on fire department and EMS runs; he says an AK-47 spray is "not acceptable" but again, I don't think Glover ever has said that it is.  Wooley says cops are just public relations officers in Shreveport and not law enforcement officers.  "We will not cater to criminals" he says.  I don't believe Glover does.  Wooley criticizes Glover for vetoing the police pay raise but wants to purchse more vehicles and equipment.  He says he's going to give the police offiers a raise and new equipment, but doesn't say how he'll do it.

When Glover vetoed the police pay raise in 2008 it was not because he thought their salary is sufficient as is;  it was because the $2 million plan was "imprudent and unwise" at a time when city leaders were struggling with an $8 million shortfall.  The City Council did not contest the veto.

In the mayoral debate last night and in currently circulating campaign ads, Wooley is trying to link Mayor Glover to drug use which is totally unproven and unfounded.  It's dirty politics.  Wooley said last night:

"Taking donations, major donations, from crack cocaine felons is not leadership," Wooley said. "And accusations of doing drugs in front of children is not leadership. And you would think this is the activity of a criminal. But instead it's the behavior of our mayor. And all of it has happened since he took office the last four years."

But he offers no proof.  Nothing.  The donations issue to which he refers was covered here (at a site paid for by Bryan Wooley.)

The drug use issue comes up in an interrogatory in a divorce case; again, no evidence that Glover is guilty of anything, yet Wooley is working it for all it's worth.  You can ask anything in an interrogatory; it doesn't mean it's true. 

All in all, Wooley is throwing mud and dirt in every direction rather than leaning on his own qualifications.

Glover, from my perspective, has run clean and pretty decent campaign.  To be honest, I didn't vote for him initially; I voted for Jerry Jones.  But, Glover has proven himself to be a true supporter of Shreveport and its citizens.  He's on the scene and on the job all the time.  He's traveled to China to lobby for Hummer jobs in Shreveport; he was on the bank of the Red River when those poor drowning victims were being recovered this summer.  He was at El Chico attending a fundraiser for Sgt. Greg Washam in July, encouraging citizens to come on out in support on his Twitter page.

Glover cut a personal check in support of the Highland Jazz and Blues festival last year in the amount of $500.00.  I believe he believes in this city and I believe he works tirelessly to drum up support and entice businesses to invest in this city.

Now, with regard to the "your rights have been suspended" argument, I still believe Glover was interpreted out of context.  He tried to clarify that remark:

When you have been pulled over for whatever suspected action that you have taken, at that point your right to continue to proceed has been taken away. If you chose to continue to advance down the road in your truck, despite the fact that you know that you have been properly and appropriately signaled by a law enforcement personnel to pull over, then you are in violation of the law.
So that's the first right that you've had at that particular point in time that has been suspended. Your choice to keep your driver's license in your pocket and away from even inspection has been suspended. Your choice to keep your vehicle registration and insurance information in your glove compartment or wherever it is that you keep it...has been suspended.

Your right to be able to hold onto your weapon and say whether I have a weapon or not is my own business at that particular point in time...has been suspended.

He might have poor communication skills sometimes, but what he means, at least as I interpret it, is that an officer's safety is paramount. If an officer asks you if you have a gun, you aren't really allowed to say "none of your business." I guess you COULD say that, but then the officer would be correct in assuming himself to be in danger. His life might be on the line.

Communication skills or not, Glover has the experience and the know how to solve Shreveport's problems. Wooley is not ready to be mayor. Wooley manipulates the city ordinances, he assumes facts that are not proven to be true, he has been intentionally misleading, and I'm always suspicious of a candidate who is more interested in slinging mud than promoting his own qualifications and agenda.

In short, I believe Glover has the interest of the City at heart and not the interest of himself. Shreveport is a city with problems; we've got crime and lots of it. There are lots of reasons for that; the economy is poor, unemployment is high, the mood in the country is tense and angry. Wooley advertises himself as the "great uniter" but we've heard that before and his actions are not backing that up.

Cedric Glover has my vote.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rocque Sean Payne: 1957 - 2010

On October 7, 2000, the funk band Little Feat was slated to play at the Red River Revel.  It was raining; not hard, but a cool mist drizzled all evening and threatened to keep a lot of people at home.  I really wanted to see Little Feat.

I'd listened to them throughout the eighties and their album "Waiting For Columbus" was one of my favorites.  It had "Willin'," "Dixie Chicken," "Don't Bogart That Joint," and "Oh Atlanta."  Pretty much all the Little Feat classics.  I wore the grooves out of that album.

I couldn't find anyone to go with me to the Revel.  Nobody, none of my friends, wanted to brave the weather.  I put on my off-white lamb-skin car coat and I went by myself.  I drove downtown in the dark, found a place to park, and went to the Revel by myself.  I made my way through the crowds, past the funnel cakes and stained glass artists to the Riverfront stage where Little Feat was to play.

I bought a big beer in a Revel souvenir cup and wandered around.  You always see someone you know at the Revel.  I hadn't wandered too long through the small crowd when I heard, "Pat!  Hey, girl!" and when I turned around there was Rocque. 

Rocque and I had the knack for showing up at the same musical events.  It was no surprise that he was there, although we had not talked about it.  I threw my head back, laughed and gave him a hug.  "I just KNEW you'd be here somewhere!"  which is what I always said when I saw him places like that.  We found a seat on the sodden terraced lawn close to the front and stayed in the drizzle for all of Little Feat, singing along and yelling with the crowd.  They played everything we wanted to hear and of course, the encore was "Willin," "Don't Bogart That Joint," and "Let it Roll."

In mid-November 2008, I ran into Rocque again.  I'd seen him since the Little Feat performance of course, but the next time we randomly ran into each other outside of a club or restaurant, was at the 2008 Highland Jazz and Blues Fest.  It was a clear fall day, a perfect 60 degrees with a light breeze.  He was having lots of trouble walking then because of his injury and disability, but he had brought his boys out to hear the music.  I think Rocque really came to see Buddy Flett who was performing for one of the first times in public since his recovery from a disastrous illness.  It was tough for Rocque to mange those slopes and hills in Columbia Park with his cane but he did it.  He'd have done anything for those boys and Rocque loved good music.

Again, when I ran into him at the Highland Jazz and Blues Fest, I laughed and said, "I knew I'd find you here!"  I threw an LSU blanket down on the ground beside his chair and we listened to Jerry Beach, Bruce Flett and Miki Honeycutt.  I don't know if Rocque stayed for Buddy Flett or not; we split up after a bit and he went to find his kids who were busy in the playground.  I looked for him there last year but he wasn't there.

I first met Rocque Payne in 1991 through my husband at the time, Jim.  Rocque was working for Snyder Floor Covering as a salesman.  He was married to Sandy and we all hung out together for years.  Rocque, Sandy, and Jim all played foosball and that's what we did a lot at first.  I watched.  Rocque was the only person I ever knew who loved Eric Clapton as much as I do.  Rocque loved music and musicians and had a fabulous scrapbook of ticket stubs, pictures, and programs from concerts he'd been to.  In that book was everyone you'd possibly want to see, and many of them more than once.

Through the years we all drifted apart, went different ways, but still ran into each other as you do in a town this size.  I ran into Rocque at music events, restaurants and the occasional club.  We talked from time to time about other things, too.  He came by the house one afternoon to talk about Bossier Schools.  He was home-schooling his two boys, Dylan and Derek (loved those names!) and since I'm a teacher, we talked about school related things.  He wanted to do a good job for those kids.  He wanted to do it right.

In later years I would run into Rocque a lot at Nicky's Mexican Restaurant.  He took the boys there to eat fairly often, and in fact, that's where he was the last time I saw him a few months ago, during the summer.  Leaning on his cane, he made sure to stop by our table and say hello.

Through all the pain of his last years, I never knew Rocque to lose his good temper or his smile.  He never, ever failed to greet me with that big smile that stretched across his tanned, angular, face, light freckles sprinkled across his nose.  He always had a lean, thin frame and his brown eyes sparkled with laughter and mischief when he'd lean over for a hug.

I recently marked my calendar for this year's Highland Jazz and Blues Fest which is coming up in about three weeks.  I wondered if Rocque would be there.

He won't.

Rocque died Sunday, October 25.  There are a lot of people hurting right now because he's gone, but I know, as much of a cliche as it is, I know he's not suffering or in pain anymore.  His funeral is tomorrow (Thursday), but I can't go.  I have to work.  I'd cry and make a fool of myself anyway.  Instead, I'll sit quietly on my deck where we spent so many hours, have a beer, and say goodbye.

He was my good friend and I will never listen to Eric Clapton, Little Feat, The Black Crowes, The Rolling Stones...without thinking about Rocque.  I'll go to the Highland Fest this year, and I'll probably still look for him; he'll be there.  Most people won't see him, but he'll be there and he'll be having a blast.  He was my friend; I loved him like a friend, and I'll never forget him.

Godspeed, my friend, and rest in peace.

This one's for you:

Defending the Honor of "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Regular readers here know that To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books.  I teach it twice a year (once each semester) to my tenth graders.  Additionally, in my right sidebar, I had Mary McDonagh Murphy's new book, Scout, Atticus, and Boo, highlighted for several weeks.  Murphy's book is a collection of responses from celebrities (mostly) about their response to Harper Lee's iconic novel.

Now there's this review from The Weekly Standard of Murphy's book.  I don't wholly disagree with some of these conclusions.  Reviewer Philip Terzian is less than impressed with Murphy's book and came to basically the same conclusion I did:  Who cares what a bunch of celebs think of this novel?

Of course, it is altogether too tempting to recount, ad infinitum, the wisdom of celebrities as they seek to find meaning in life. But it is worth noting that their flattery of To Kill a Mockingbird is sincere, in such peoples’ fashion: This is an important novel because it helped to make them what they are today, and gave them a career boost at some strategic moment on the journey. Not a word about the language of the novel, or its structural qualities, or whether or not it is a work of consequence. Indeed, most reflections seem to come from the movie, not the written version, which tells us something about the witnesses and, of course, about Miss Lee’s bestseller.

But oh!  The painful derision of Miss Lee's book is more than I can bear.

Not only does Terzian call the novel - gasp - "mediocre," but he also criticizes the 1962 film and calls Gregory Peck's performance his "lugubrious worst."  Great Scott!

As if that weren't enough, Terzian links to a Wall Street Journal article from June of this year which, thankfully, I had missed.  There was much fanfare this summer about the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Lee's novel, and I missed this one.  Not so, now. 

In this WSJ piece, Allen Barra (who writes about sports and arts for the Journal) takes the classic novel to task in eviscerating form:

It's time to stop pretending that "To Kill a Mockingbird" is some kind of timeless classic that ranks with the great works of American literature. Its bloodless liberal humanism is sadly dated, as pristinely preserved in its pages as the dinosaur DNA in "Jurassic Park." 

What?  What?!  Are you kidding me? Good grief, Mr. Barra!  Have you no sense of the real beauty of the novel?  Has all the symbolism totally escaped you?  The beauty of the southern language?  Why, Atticus's closing argument at the end of Tom Robinson's trial is one of the most beautifully written passages I've ever read!  Harper Lee brings her novel full circle and thoroughly captures the innocence of childhood in her youthful characters while in the end revealing the painful reality of growing up in a world where people aren't really very nice to each other.

My sophomores love the novel and many totally "get" the themes of not fitting in (Boo, Mayella, even Tom, for that matter) or being unfairly judged.  The symbolism of the snowman is the first time that "lightbulb" goes off over their heads and many begin to understand what symbolism even IS for the first time; when the rabid dog, Tim Johnson, comes along, they get that one without my telling them. 

Harper Lee may not have written War and Peace, but who reads War and Peace anymore?  She won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel and the adoration of so many readers can't be that far off base, even if some are a bunch of airheaded celebrities, as Murphy's book indicates.  When my students close the book after the last page and say to me with satisfaction, "I loved that book!", that's all I need.

No, I don't care what Mr. Barra says.  I will continue to teach and adore To Kill a Mockingbird and it will always have a prized spot on my shelf and in my heart.  If it's meant to be "a children's book" or for adults, I don't care.  Every time I read the novel I discover something new and to me, that's a sign of a great book.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Marco Rubio For Florida Senate!

Gawd I wish I lived in Florida so I could vote for this man!  Love this ad!

Services for Sgt. Prunty

Services have been set for Sgt. Tim Prunty who was killed in the line of duty this weekend.  Via The Times:

Visitation is 4-8 p.m. Wednesday in the sanctuary of Summer Grove Baptist Church, 8924 Jewella Ave. The funeral is 1 p.m. Thursday, also at Summer Grove.
Interment will follow at the Hillcrest Memorial Park, 601 U.S. Highway 80 East in Haughton.

The obituary is here.

KTBS has more on the supposed motive of the shooter.

PreviouslyOfficer Down


I wrote yesterday that my opinion of the WikiLeaks document drop this week is nothing short of pure treason.  Victor Davis Hanson seems to concur:

There has never been anything quite like WikiLeaks in American military history. We are engaged in a great experiment to see whether the U.S. military can still persist in a conflict when it knows that any and all of its private communications can become public — and will be selectively aired and hyped by people with a preconceived bias against it. Had the public known in real time from periodic media leaks about operational disasters surrounding the planning for the D-Day landings, intelligence failures at the Bulge or Okinawa, or G.I. treatment of some German and Japanese prisoners, the story of World War II might have been somewhat different.
Hanson points out that while Julian Assange claims to be dedicated toward "uncovering  bad behavior by governments around the world," he only  "targets the West."

Call me naive, but could someone explain to me how it's not treasonous when he's endangering the lives and revealing the secrets and methods of our U.S. military operations?  

Hanson doesn't scream "treason!" as I do, but he does foresee trouble on the horizon for WikiLeaks:

But WikiLeaks is now flitting around within the red zone, and any leaks about Afghanistan or Iraq post January 2009 reflect upon a left-wing Obama government. A public perception of inappropriate military policy would endanger an entire far-left social experiment at home.
Yes, indeed.   As Obama has adopted many of the Bush policies in the war, and retained Gitmo, after all, and as WikiLeaks begins to release documents of that nature, maybe the NYT won't feel the need to publish this sort of thing any longer.  Certainly our military would be safer.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Dregs

It's a super busy Monday ahead for me; after school today I've got to rush out to The Glen and grab Mom for a "home inspection" visit by the reps there, then get her back out to The Glen.  I might get home before dark! 

Meanwhile, you can sift through Paul Krugman's ramblings about how Obama inherited such a god-awful mess that his too conservative policies just couldn't fix things by now.  Hunh? 

If that doesn't get you going, you can take a look at Robert M. Goldberg's take on Dr. "Death Panel" Berwick and his plans for Obamacare.

Thomas Joscelyn reports on the WikiLeaks casualty numbers; I don't care what you say - I think releasing classified documents like this is treason and should be treated as such.

We're a week out from the big mid-terms and all signs are pointing to a huge Republican sweep.  All I've got to say to the Republicans is...don't blow it.  When you get in there, make it count.   Like everywhere else, we've got some contentious local races, too; the Shreveport mayor's race is something I'm going to be looking at this week in this space.  Our local Gannet paper endorsed Melancon over Sen. Vitter for Senate - no shocker there.  Sorry - can't do that.

Locally, I expect we might hear more today about the tragic loss of Sgt. Tim Prunty yesterday.  Steve and I were in a funk all day yesterday about the incident and I know the whole city is.  Was a quiet, sad day.  Here's the link to The Times latest update on things, as well as my day long post yesterday.

Behave yourselves today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Officer Down: (Updated)

Tragic news this morning.

A Shreveport Officer, Sgt. Tim Prunty, pictured below, was shot and killed while on duty last night.  From The Times:

The incident happened at around 3:30 this morning . Sgt. Prunty stood beside his patrol car outside the Circle K in the 3300 block of Bert Kouns Industrial Loop when a man pulled into the parking lot and opened fire, police said.  The suspect, 24 year old Chris Cope, fled the scene. Sgt. Prunty was taken to LSU Medical Center and was later pronounced dead.  Based on witness accounts of Cope's car, police located the car going north on Pines Rd. near W. 70th Street. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver refused, police said. Officers then pursued Cope until he pulled over on Rasberry Lane near Financial Plaza. He was taken into custody without incident.
Officers searched the car and found a firearm investigators believe was used in the shooting.  Police said Cope was then taken to the Shreveport Police Complex where he confessed to shooting Prunty.  [Cope] will be charged with first degree murder of a police officer.

This enrages me that this officer, just standing there in the parking lot, is gunned down in a completely unprovoked manner.  It's never okay, of course, but according to reports, this officer had no run ins or conflict this this suspect.  What kind of scumbag would do something like this?  One of the comments on the KTBS story suggested putting the hanging gallows back in the courthouse square for something like this.  I'd have to agree with him on that one.

You can follow the developing story at The Times, KTBS, KSLA, or over at My Bossier.

Sgt. Prunty's twin brother is also a Shreveport Police Officer.  Prayers, of course, to the family.

I'll follow up here with details of services or memorials for the family as news breaks.

Update:  Here's the video of the news conference by Chief Shaw via KSLA:

Update 10:55 The Times has the suspect's picture.  I'm not going to publish it, but if you want to look at the scumbag, it's here.

Update 12:30Mayor Glover has ordered all municipal flags to be lowered to half staff.  The Officer Down Memorial Page now has an entry for Sgt. Prunty.

 Update 5:10KTBS reported on their broadcast this evening that the suspect is the son of a retired SPD Captain.  Bless that poor family, too.  Good grief this world amazes me.  The suspect is 24 years old and had three prior misdemeanors.

Update 7:15:  A Cop's Watch has memorialized Sgt. Prunty.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Louisiana Votes on Ten Amendments November 2

In Louisiana, the November 2 election will have ten constitutional amendments on the ballot.

The Public Affairs Research Council has prepared a document to help you become informed about the amendments which are notoriously obfuscating and confusing.  Our most recent constitution was adopted in 1974 and now has 155 amendments tacked on to it.

Here come ten more. Use this easy to read document to read up on them and be prepared when you go to the polls!

FLASH! It Rained in East Texas Today!

I heard LSU got beat today.  Not that I got to see it, or anything.

I missed the first half of the game because my mom had a little meltdown right as the game was about to kickoff, and I had to run out to The Glen and calm her down.  It's ten miles there and ten back, so it took me a little bit.

I finally settled in to watch the third quarter and had a couple more minor interruptions.  I got back in front of the TV with about five minutes left in the third quarter and it started to rain in east Texas. 

About 150 miles from here, it started to rain and a storm warning was issued.  So guess what?  The KSLA weather dude interrupts the game to tell us about the storms in east Texas and Arkansas.  MILES and MILES from here.  Sunny and warm here.  No rain.  No storm warning.  Nothing.  Nada. 

No game, either.

He talked and talked and talked and talked.  I finally pulled out the laptop and watched the last part of the fourth quarter on the CBS website.  Incredible.  Now, I'm not begrudging those people in the path of potentially dangerous weather access to news information or bulletins about impending peril nor do I mean to make light of weather danger.

But, seriously, I mean, could they not scroll the warning information for those affected and put a watch box in the corner?  Noooo....... of course not.  The guy talked all through the fourth quarter.

I'm glad I wasn't on the switchboard at KSLA this afternoon.  There's some ticked off Tiger fans around town now.

Oh well.  At least the Rangers won last night!

Michael Grady's "Nona Mae and Friends" Available Now!

Way back in the day my sister took me to The Lakecliff Club to hear a band.  We went to listen to her friend Michael Grady.  Let's just say it was a very interesting experience, and lots of good times were had at The Lakecliff!

Shreveport is known for its rich musical history and there are many who can write about it much better than I, but I did love to go to The Lakecliff , The Royal Room, the Rusty Nail, and later, clubs in Shreve Square to hear Michael Grady play;  Grady shared the stage with some of our best local talent and I even saw him with Willie Nelson once at Whiskey River on the Riverfront.

I stumbled across Michael's CD this morning and promptly ordered it.  Dennis Zimmerman, another fabulous local talent, is running a demo studio in Nashville and has produced a CD for Grady.  I had to have it.  I listened to the samples and Michael is ... well, Michael!   The only thing this CD is missing is "Goodnight Irene."

Any of you locals who remember Grady and his entourage will want to add this one to your collection.  Good times!

(See most recent Michael Grady updates here)

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Moon

Tsunami Alert

I have been reading Peter Ferrara's Broadside publication, Obama's Tax Piracy, and it's a real shocker.  I linked to his American Spectator article a couple of weeks ago which gives you a preview of what's in his Broadside.  (These "Broadside" publications are akin to Thomas Paine's Common Sense pamphlets: each is about 40 to 50 pages, small, portable, easy to read.  Ferrara's is No. 17 in the series.)

Ferrera outlines some 13 tax increases coming your way, to include the rise of the top two income tax rates, rise in the capital gains tax, new tax on investment income, increased Medicare HI payroll tax, return of the death tax, tax increase on banks, on oil, gas and coal producers, tax on "Cadillac" health plans, potentially a cap and trade tax and potentially a VAT, just to name a few.

Obamacare brings about a whole new "tsunami" of tax increases all its own.

All of this added to the fact that our corporate tax rate in the United States is rising to about 40% where the European nations we so want to emulate have figured out you've got to reduce that rate to stimulate growth.  The EU slashed their rate from 38% to about the 24% it is today, It's 15% in Germany, 18% in Canada and 12% in Ireland.  If you were a corporation, where would YOU want to do business?

The Democrats, for their part, have no plans to lower the corporate tax rate, by the way.

The Democrats have no plans to repeal Obamacare and it's massive entitlement expansion and multiple tax increases, either.

Most Americans have no idea what's coming at them in January when this wave begins to hit.

The Republicans have a plan.

Friday Sift - Williams, Noonan, and More

It's Friday morning and the end of a wild work week; not to go into too much detail here, but it's homecoming week and, well, things are a little out of order during homecoming week which always presents new challenges.  It seems students do best with structure and things during homecoming week are, well, shall we say a little less structured, so I think we're all actually looking forward to getting back to normal next week even though it's all been a lot of fun taking part in the various homecoming activities.  I've got to get to school a little early today so I'm in a rush this morning.  I'll share a Happy Friday picture with you of Milly's cute dogs for our Friday sift:

Here are some quick Friday links:

Be sure to catch Peggy Noonan's column; this makes two weeks in a row I've pointed to her work.  The woman that waxed rhapsodic over Obama seems to be coming back to the light, but let's not get our hopes up yet.  She does, however, correctly assess the role of the tea party, I think, when she writes:

The first: the tea party is not a "threat" to the Republican Party, the tea party saved the Republican Party. In a broad sense, the tea party rescued it from being the fat, unhappy, querulous creature it had become, a party that didn't remember anymore why it existed, or what its historical purpose was. The tea party, with its energy and earnestness, restored the GOP to itself.

The tea party did something the Republican establishment was incapable of doing: It got the party out from under George W. Bush. The tea party rejected his administration's spending, overreach and immigration proposals, among other items, and has become only too willing to say so. In doing this, the tea party allowed the Republican establishment itself to get out from under Mr. Bush: "We had to, boss, it was a political necessity!" They released the GOP establishment from its shame cringe.

There's more; read it all.

Charles Krauthammer is in classic form this morning:

Opening a whole new branch of cognitive science — liberal psychology — Obama has discovered a new principle: The fearful brain is hard-wired to act befuddled, i.e., to vote Republican. 

He seldom misses the mark and he is, this morning, discussing Obama's explanation for his falling numbers.

Emilio Karim Dabul has a nice defense of Juan Williams:

Anyone who cares about freedom of speech should protest what has been done to this decent and fair man. And even if that were not the case, even if Mr. Williams' views made him a detestable ogre to most, he still has the right to voice them. For many Americans, NPR's consistent tilt to the left has caused them to reject it as a viable source of news. 

That conversation got some lively play in the comments on this blog yesterday.

In a "got to see it to believe it moment," here is Harry Reid claiming to have saved the world.

Finally, would someone go down to The Keys and poke Bride of Rove?  She's too quiet and I'm getting worried about her. 

Have a Happy Friday; the weather is gorgeous here and I'm going to enjoy some of that this afternoon, then Steve and I are off for Prime Rib at the Barksdale Club tonight ... and then over to Hangar 2 to visit our mugs.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fox All Stars Ought to Be Interesting Tonight: Will Williams Be on the Panel?

Juan Williams has been fired by NPR for exercising his right to free speech.  NPR claims Williams was let go because he expressed fear of Muslims on airplanes while on The O'Reilly Factor Monday evening.  The real truth seems to be something a little different, however.  NPR has never approved of Williams doing commentary on Fox News and has chastised Williams for stepping off the reservation in the first place.  "He tends to speak one way on NPR and another on Fox," Alicia Shepard of NPR said.

This started when O'Reilly asked Williams about "the Muslim dilemma" in the United States.  O'Reilly said O’Reilly said, “The cold truth is that in the world today jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet.” Williams agreed and responded:

I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.” 
Mr. Williams also made reference to the Pakistani immigrant who pleaded guilty this month to trying to plant a car bomb in Times Square. “He said the war with Muslims, America’s war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don’t think there’s any way to get away from these facts,” Mr. Williams said. 

The context of the response is O'Reilly's reference to extremist Muslim jihad.  He was not referring to peaceful Muslims living quietly as the rest of us do.   It's all about the context.

Yet NPR saw an opportunity to get rid of Williams because he wasn't following the party line.  I've disagreed with Williams on many issues;  some of the things I've heard him say on Fox All Stars leave me agape, but I've never disputed his right to say them.

In February, Politico reported that NPR was receiving pressure from their listeners over correspondents Mara Liasson and Juan Williams appearing on Fox News.  NPR disputed this story.  Yet here we are.

If NPR wants to get rid of Williams because they want commentators all spewing the same "kumbaya" pablum rather than one who speaks the truth, challenges the issues, and expresses an honest opinion, then by all means cut Williams loose.  But don't challenge Fox News that they aren't "fair and balanced" when you dismiss any semblance of balance and don't pretend you're doing it in the pious name of taking offense when your real purpose is there in plain view for us all to witness.

Afterthought:  There may be more to the story, as there often is, and we should wait and see.  It occurs to me that this might be like the "firing" of Marc Lamont Hill from Fox in October 2009 yet Hill continued to appear on many Fox programs as an analyst.  Maybe that will be the case with Williams and NPR.  Time will tell.

(More on Memeorandum)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rangers Routing the Yankees

I'm no sportswriter - I'll leave that to Fishersville Mike - but I think Mike Potemra at NRO is off base with his Yankee optimism:

With any other team, beating them at home, two consecutive games, by 8-0 and 10-3, would mean they’re on the ropes. But the Yankees are the Dracula of major-league baseball; it takes that last wooden stake through the heart before you can even think of breathing easily. I turned on the game tonight when the Rangers were up 7-3; the Yankees took, like, three seconds to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. It didn’t work out for them in Game 4, but I hope the Texas Rangers know there’s still a long way to go before victory in this series. 

To be sure, we're certainly not popping champagne yet down here in Ranger-land, but we are certainly hyped up!  The Rangers lost their first game in this series and blew a commanding lead when they did it.  I'm chalking that up to nerves.  They've been spot on ever since and I would think beating the Yankees twice in Yankee Stadium would certainly give the Rangers the momentum to carry them over the line.  The Yankees certainly aren't out of it and I'd be surprised if it didn't actually go seven games, but I think the Rangers are in it to win it.

Go Rangers!

(Photo Credit:  Tom Dahlin/SI)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Coons and O'Donnell Spar Over the First Amendment

Much is being made on the left this afternoon about what they perceive to be Christine O'Donnell's ignorance of the First Amendment of the Constitution, however, if those folks would actually watch the segment in question and apply just a few reasoning skills, it is quite clear that O'Donnell has a full grasp of the First Amenedment where Coons is the one who misrepresents it.

The conflict centers over the phrase "separation of church and state."  Coons insists that phrase is in the First Amendment.  It is not.

Amendment 1 says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceable to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I don't see the phrase "separation of church and state" in there either.

O'Donnell clarified her question for Coons, who continued to insist the phrase is there (emphasis mine):

She interrupted to say, "The First Amendment does? ... So you're telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase 'separation of church and state,' is in the First Amendment?"
Yet the headline in the Washington Post is "O'Donnell Questions Separation of Church and State."  That's rather misleading, no?

When pressed to name the five freedoms in that Amendment, Coons could not.

O'Donnell was not without error; she had to be reminded what the Fourteenth and Sixteenth Amendments were.  But she had a full grasp of the First Amendment; when you watch the video clip, she presses Coons on the "separation" phrase, has him repeat it several times, and cocks her head in amusement, knowing she's caught him in a misrepresentation.  Yet all the left wingers hear is "You're telling me that separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"

As Michelle Malkin points out, that phrase is nowhere in the Constitution but comes from Jefferson's Danbury Baptist letter of 1802.

Criticize O'Donnell if you must, but let's recognize the limitations of Coons, too.   In truth, it's all semantics.  We all know what Coons meant, and we all know what O'Donnell meant.  It's the left wing media's ballyhooing about O'Donnell's "ignorance" that is ridiculous.

But what else is new.

(More at Memeorandum)

Multiculturalism Alive and Well

All the news yesterday was about Angela Merkel's comments on the failure of multiculturalism in Germany:

"This (multicultural) approach has failed, utterly failed," Merkel told a party rally at the weekend.

The talking heads debated all day yesterday about the same approach here in the United States.  Has a multicultural approach failed?   Charles Krauthammer, on Fox last night, favored the assimilation approach; the said that the reason immigration worked so well in the past is that those immigrants in decades past assimilated into the American culture and adopted the American ideals. 

Apparently Obama doesn't think multiculturalism is a failure because today he's signing an executive order that seems to foster that.  The Executive Order today...

...will establish a presidential advisory commission on Hispanic education and a federal interagency working group on improving Hispanic education and the lives of Latinos.

Because you can never have too many federal agencies.  Why can't we just focus on education in general and raise the level of education and quality of life for everyone?

Or would that be too easy?

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Problem With American Education

The debate over what ails American education has been roiling for decades now and we are no closer to discovering the real answer than we ever were.

Michelle Rhee's announcement last week that she would be moving on from her controversial position which she has held since 2007 as chancellor of the DC school system has brought this conversation back into the forefront.  Rhee, as you recall, raised hackles in DC by firing 266 teachers she said were "incompetent."  This ran afoul of the unions.  I would venture to say that Rhee would be well within the limits of her job description to fire incompetent teachers; I'm not going to second guess her on that one and, to be sure, some of those teachers did in fact have real ethics problems.

My issue with Rhee stems primarily from the fact that she has only three years classroom experience and no previous experience running a school system, yet presumes to advise teachers on how to achieve brilliance in their own classrooms.  Rhee, it should be noted, had her own learning curve in the classroom and her own share of misadventures while she was there:  she admits to taping the mouths of her students with masking tape so they would be quiet in the halls.  One hopes she learned from that little experience.  She also took four kids out on an after-school expedition without knowing where they all lived so she could get them home after the event.  How does that even happen?  No emergency contact forms or parent permission slips were filed?  While Rhee is lauded for raising test scores in DC, there are questions as to how this was accomplished.

My point is only that Michelle Rhee is not Superwoman.  She's fallible like all the rest of us.

In today's American Spectator, Roger Kaplan writes about Rhee and her decision to move "out of the way" in DC so that "reform can continue."  The article is interesting enough, to be sure, but the comments are equally interesting and reflect today's discussion in America about the fate of American education.

One of the problems, as reflected in the comments following Kaplan's article, would be those folks with lots of degrees but no practical experience imposing direction and regulation on teachers.  Another comment addresses the fact that it should all begin in the home:

More to the point of addressing problems in education, learning is hard work, both for the teacher and the student. The excellent performance of Asian students, as a group, owes to their attitude and effort. They work hard, in part because of the attitudes taught in the home.  The interference of politicians in education results in adopting a "program of the month" approach as well as causing teachers to jump through more hoops.  Education starts in the home and will not succeed unless students are taught and disciplined to work hard to learn and to respect the authority of the teachers and administrators.
This comment was disputed by another that suggests the "obey authority" approach isn't exactly correct as it creates automatons who blindly obey; instead we should teach kids to "value others" and "cooperate with others."  That too, I suggest, begins in the home.

In fact, in the home is exactly where a growing number of children are being educated today.  The numbers of kids enrolled in home school programs has grown significantly over the past few years.
Rhee says that the "quality of education that we're providing is not good enough."  I think in many, not necessarily all, but in many classrooms the quality is there but the desire of the student to learn is not always there.  At some point, doesn't the student have some obligation as well as the teacher and the district?  Or should teachers do as Rhee did and just tape students' mouths shut so they can teach?  Motivating students is just one of the challenges teachers face every day.

I don't have the answer to the problems with American education.  The problems are as diverse and as different as the districts across the country.  I would suggest that the federal government get out of the education business and get it back to the state and local level where the individual needs and criteria for each district can be better assessed.  What works in Stuyvesant High School in New York may not work for South Delta High School in Rolling Fork, Mississippi.  I don't think a "one size fits all" criteria works when it comes to education; the needs are as different as the students themselves.

As far as Michelle Rhee, I think she probably did some necessary things in her tenure as DC chancellor, but she wasn't perfect and she leaves behind some unanswered questions.  The problems in DC are not the same problems everywhere.  To assume Rhee has all of the answers, or none of the answers, misses the whole point.  The answers are as diverse as the districts themselves.

(Photo credit:  Gary Landsman)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around: The Long Weekend Edition

Headed out to The Glen today to pick up mom and take her home for a few hours.  My plan for this weekend was to get some much needed rest and slow down for a few days, but it's not really working out like that!  We have tomorrow off for "Fall Break" so maybe tomorrow I'll just stay in my pajamas all day and read books!  Yeah, that's going to happen.

The Rangers won yesterday and so did LSU, even though the LSU game was blacked out here.  The Rangers play next on Monday.  What else is happening in the world; I stay perpetually behind:

Fishersville Mike started my day with a giggle.

The Pirate's Cove highlights Obama's continued derision of the American voter.  Pundette also has some thoughts on the matter.

DaTechGuy has pictures and video from the rally yesterday in Newton.  He's preparing for another Road Trip with The Other McCain.

Professor Jacobson's Saturday Night Card game is about Obama's meeting with black journalists and bloggers.

Reaganite Republican highlights five statists who need to go away.

No Sheeples Here highlights one of Sarah Palin's money quotes from the California rally yesterday.  American Power has a full report.

Left Coast Rebel shares some thoughts from an Independent Conservative.

Awesome!  Althouse shows you The Miss Havisham cake, banned from the Melbourne Cake Show!

Don't miss Doug Ross's post on Obamacare's path to destruction.

Another Black Conservative has video and commentary of the O'Donnell/Coons debate.

Mind Numbed Robot has an important post on The Progressive States Network.

Wyblog highlights some fallout from the mortgage meltdown.

Bride of Rove has been quiet...what's she up to?

I've got to get moving; it's almost 9 and by the time I get out to get mom it will be after ten which means my day is going to run long.  You all behave yourselves.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Sift and Milly Rose Sings

, I'm thinking about my friend Milly Rose today; Steve and I spent the day with her last Saturday.  Last week, Milly told me about the video Johnny Wessler did of her singing so I set out to find it.  I did.  Here she is singing "Them Old Cotton Fields" a couple of years ago.

Milly Rose Sings from Louisiana Travel on Vimeo.

I'm off to visit my mom this morning, tending to some errands, then back in time to see, hopefully, The Rangers come back against their meltdown against the Yankees last night, and tonight, LSU football!

Rest assured, the FMJRA will be in there somewhere.

Take Yet Another Trip to Second Hand Rose
A Birthday Trip to Second Hand Rose
Take a Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take Another Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Great Debate

I didn't get to watch the Reid/Angle debate last night, but from most accounts she cleaned his clock.  Did you watch?  What did you think?

Oh what joy to be able to show Harry the door in November!  Oh I hope, I hope, I hope!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le!!!

Peggy Noonan's column this week is why I used to love reading her;  she's writing about the Chilean mine rescue and she nails the heart and emotion of the story.

I was enthralled with the story, as were millions around the world who watched.  One by one those guys were pulled from what was very nearly their grave and every man had a story.  I talked with some people at work today who were of the same mind as I was;  the water cooler talk was, "Hey!  Did you watch those miners last night?!"  Everyone did.

Noonan gets this one right:

So many nations and leaders have grown gifted at talk. Or at least they talk a lot. News talk, politics talk, spin talk, selling talk: There are nations, and we at our worst are sometimes among them, whose biggest export seems to be chatter. But Chile this week moved the world not by talking but by doing, not by mouthing sympathy for the miners, but by saving them. The whole country—the engineers and technicians, the president, the government, the rescue workers, other miners, medics—set itself to doing something hard, specific, physical, demanding of commitment, precision and expertise. And they did it. Homer Hickman, the coal miner's son turned astronaut who was the subject of the 1999 film "October Sky," said Wednesday on MSNBC that it was "like a NASA mission." Organized, thought through, "staying on the time line, sequential thinking." "This is pretty marvelous," he said. "This is Chile's moon landing," said an NBC News reporter
 Speaking of Homer Hickam, during the course of this story I wondered what his thoughts were.  I wondered why Fox didn't have him doing some commentary.  Apparently, according to Hickam's Facebook page, he wondered the same thing:

I'll be on CNN around noon tomorrow to comment on the Chilean miner rescue. I guess Fox News is still mad at me after the Shep Smith interview on NASA and the President's plan. Shep liked it. I didn't and still don't.

So, Hickam narrated this story from CNN and from MSNBC.  I'm a longtime fan of Homer Hickam and his books.  The Coalwood Trilogy is simply classic.

At any rate, be sure to read Noonan's column this week; it's a keeper.  And it's a reminder to me of how sweet her writing can be!

And if you missed it, here is the rescue of number 33 and the celebration:

Of Course We Understand Obamacare

Via Mark Hemingway at The Washington Examiner, Obama still seems to think that the problem with Obamacare is that he just hasn't explained it well enough:

“We probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. There is probably a perverse pride in my administration — and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.”

This is from yet another interview Obama has given, this time for The New York Times Magazine.  Hemingway notes that Obama has given 54 speeches on Obamacare and multiple interviews.

Obama is blathering.  He knows what's wrong with this legislation; he knows why the majority of the American public wants it repealed.  He fully understands the power it grants the government with regard to decisions over your personal care.  He completely gets the fact that Medicare will be slashed to help pay for it, yet that still won't cover the huge expense of added millions to the Medicaid system.  I could go on...

...but the point remains, Obama knows it's not just a matter of "explaining it right."  He doesn't care if we understand it or like it at all.  He won.  We gave him the power to transform America's social contract when he won the election.  Oh, giving 54 speeches on it makes it appear as if he cares; but most of those 54 speeches were just to get it passed.  Now that he's got the votes, it doesn't matter if we "get it" or not.

All that is to be done now is to vote in November.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Chilean Mine Rescue: UPDATED; LAST MAN OUT

The rescue of the Chilean miners is underway; what a dramatic moment.

Michelle Malkin has a great post about the involvement of American ingenuity that has helped expedite this day for the miners who were, at one time, looking to a Christmas rescue date.

This is all reminiscent of the 2002 Quecreek mine rescue of course, and in a small way it reminds me also of the Baby Jessica rescue years ago.

I can't begin to imagine the drama that must be present at the site in Chile; Fox News is doing wall to wall coverage and reports "a thousand journalists" are on scene and "they all want the story."   I sincerely hope these miners are protected on scene and are shielded from the overpowering media deluge; they've reportedly asked for a couple of weeks to privately adjust and reunite with their families, and I'd say the press should at least honor that.

These guys have stuck together for survivial since August 5 and I expect they may want to tell their story together.

A black screen has been set up now in front of the deck where the capsule will bring the men up from 2000 feet.  

There's a live feed here which is reporting that as each man arrives he will be greeted by three members of his family.  The extended family will have to wait.

Word now is that the capsule will first take a paramedic down; it's a 20 minute trip down and 20 back up, so the first miner, depending on conditions below and the assessment of the paramedic, may not come up for several hours yet.

Will update as news warrants.

Update 7:35 - The capsule is making a final test run now.  It has disappeared from site into the earth.

Update 7:56CNN also has a different angle video feed.  Family members are being taken to the rescue shaft.

Update 8:21:  The capsule has been sent down for another test.  Reports are that the atmosphere on scene has become celebratory as time nears for the first man to come up; video feeds show some wearing party hats in the colors of the Chilean flag.  Others are overwhelmed with emotion and shielding their faces.  The press is everywhere.  This is all likely to go on for some 36 hours or so as each man is brought up.

Update 9:05:  The first of two rescuers is heading down now.  When he has reached bottom, the capsule comes back up and the second rescuer goes down.

Update 5:00 a.m.:  I stayed awake as long as I could watching the rescue and saw the first two miners come up.  What a sight!  At this point, eight of thirty-three have now been rescued and things seem to be going smoothly; there's a long way to go still, but it's looking good! 

Update 6:15 a.m.:  The New York Times has continuing coverage of the rescue with several multimedia items.  I just watched miner no. 9 come up; I think this one was the oldest of the 33 and had some breathing issues; he was a bit weaker than the others, but is okay.  He hugged his wife: that scene brought a tear to my eye.  She looked so worried standing there, waiting for the capsule to come through, for them to open the door, for him to come out.  She looked so stricken.  But when he stepped out and she could finally hug him she beamed.  It was just beautiful.  He dropped to the ground and said a prayer; she stepped back and when he finished she reached down and helped him back up in an embrace.  I couldn't keep a dry eye.

Number 10 is on his way up.

Update 7:37:  The last miner is about to go into the tube.  What drama this has been; I've teared up several times at these reunions.   Every one of these guys has a story and family and loved ones and oh my goodness.  The little girl of Pedro Cortez, one of the last ones out...she had those huge balloons and she just looked so overwhelmed and emotional.  Each story is amazing.  The whole drama has been incredible and I know they're probably already casting a movie.  The spirit and courage of all of these people is just unfathomable to me and quite inspiring. 

God bless them all, and may they be in the continued thoughts and prayers of everyone in the days ahead.  They've still got a load road.

Amazing story.

And with that, the tube with the last miner is leaving the floor.  Godspeed.

More at Memeorandum.