Friday, May 30, 2008

Do they Hate Obama?

Just as the Jeremiah Wright issue is quieting down for Barack Obama, Father Michael Pfleger steps into the pulpit to deliver the coup de gras. Obama's ex-pastor made some inflammatory statements that offended a lot of people.
Although his political foes tried to make the most of it, it didn't seem to do major damage to Obama. The Obama campaign realizes that they have a problem with white blue-collar voters, a traditional Democratic constituency and are attempting to address it.
Along comes Roman Catholic Father Pfleger as a guest speaker at Trinity United Church of Christ and delivers a huge gift to the Republican Party. You would assume that Father Pfleger is not a stupid man, and he claims to be an Obama supporter. He cannot be unaware that we live in a YouTube society and that his remarks would be sensationalized. He cannot be unaware that his remarks will be used against Obama. Perhaps he just wants his 15 minutes of fame.
As the old saying goes, with friends like these, you certainly don't need enemies.
UPDATE: Bayou Buzz has an article on this in which they point out that Fr. Pfleger was on Obama's Spiritual Advisory committee.

Try Legal Weed

Vaune Dillmann, a 61 year old ex-cop in Weed, California, has run afoul of the Federal Government. Dillman, owner of Mt. Shasta Brewing Co., says he was just trying to grab attention for his beers by emblazoning his bottle caps with the slogan "Try Legal Weed".
On the bottle caps in question, "Try Legal Weed" is surrounded by the slogan "A Friend in Weed Is a Friend Indeed." To Dillmann's supporters, that spells civic boosterism, not drug pushing.
Weed has a tradition of exploiting the double-entendre of its name. A sign on the way out of town announces "Temporarily Out of Weed." Gas stations sell "High on Weed" T-shirts.
Big Brother is not amused. The U.S. Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau says those three little words allude to marijuana use.
"This is ludicrous, bizarre, like meeting Big Brother face-to-face," Dillman said recently. "Forget freedom of speech and the 1st Amendment. They are the regulatory gods, a judge and jury all rolled into one. This is a life-or-death issue for my business." Besides, he said, the town itself was named for a man, not a plant. Abner Weed was a lumber baron who served as a state senator from these parts a century ago.
But the agency does intend to keep an eye out for alcoholic beverage labels violating the regulatory rules, said Art Resnick, a federal spokesman. Dillmann's label faux pas, Resnick said, was twofold: "We consider it to be a drug reference, and find it to be false and misleading to the consumer in terms of what may or may not be the properties contained within that product," Resnick said.
What irks Dillman most, he says -- even more than the feds' lack of a funny bone -- is what he considers a double standard. While stomping on him, Dillmann says, the government treats Budweiser with kid gloves, despite the fact that "This Bud's for You" also could be mistaken for marijuana slang." They sell Bud. We sell Weed," he said.
"What's the difference?"
From The LA Times

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What does The Times have against Gerard Bowen, Jr?

There was an article in The Times today about Chris Gorman's son You Tubing his dad's campaign for the 4th District Congressional Seat. The article mentioned all the Democratic candidates and all the Republican candidates - and listed their websites.
The article totally ignored Gerard Bowen, Jr and did not list his website. I actually commented on the online edition and listed his website. I find this very interesting as they ran this article about his campaign so they are aware that he is running.
What are the motivations for this snub? Is it because Bowen has just been here for three years, having been relocated from his home in Metairie by Hurricane Katrina?
Is it because he is not 'connected' as all the other candidates are?
Or is it something else?
I have stated in another blog that I am not endorsing this candidate; I do not intend to vote for a Republican at all. They have created enough mess to last a lifetime. It is time for a breather and I feel that either John Milkovich or Paul Carmouche can offer that.
However, I do love an underdog and Mr. Bowen definitely fits that mold. Underdog or not, the snub by The Times was pretty blatant and should be explained.
From Jindal Watch

Monday, May 26, 2008

Congressional Candidate Bowen to hold Fundraiser

Gerard Bowen, Jr, a candidate for the Republican nomination in the race for 4th district congressman, will be holding a fundraiser on June 14th.
I ordinarily would not publicize a political fundraiser, but in this case I will make an exception. This is not to say that I will support Mr. Bowen - I fully intend to support the Democrat. Paul Carmouche will likely be that candidate, although I would be very comfortable with John Milkovich. The Republicans have had their turn and have failed miserably.
If I were going to support a Republican, however, it probably would be this one.
Chris Gorman has raised a lot of money and is running an effective campaign. Dr. John Fleming of Minden is also pushing hard, and has deep pockets. Jeff Thompson has Jim McCrery's blessing and should benefit financially in a big way.
This brings us to Bowen, who has virtually no institutional support. This is his biggest asset as far as I am concerned. While he faces an uphill battle, I believe that if he generates enough grassroots support he could possibly emerge in a runoff.

From Bowen's website:

You’ll notice I’m not charging hundreds of dollars per plate like most politicians do. I need contributions, but I refuse to alienate the very people that I am trying to represent. To buy tickets with a check, mail check to:
Gerard J. Bowen Jr. for CongressPO Box 5453Bossier City, LA 71171-5453• write “Ming Fundraiser” on check memo lineORFor Credit/Debit Card orders contact me by e-mail at

What:Gerard J. Bowen Jr. for CongressFUND-RAISING DINNER
Where:Ming Garden1250 Shreveport-Barksdale Hwy.
When:June 14, 20085:00 pm
How Much:$40 / individual$70 / couple

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Haynesville Shale Play big for Oil & Gas Landmen

Oil & Gas Landmen representing a variety of companies are flooding into Northwest Louisiana in search of leaseable property.
They usually work in teams at the Clerk of Court's office, scouring section by section for ownership and status. When they find unleased property, they contact the owners and offer a lease. This is putting it simply, as it is a very complicated and intricate process.
Most oil and gas leases are for a term of three years. If no well is drilled in that period, then the owner may lease to a new company. If there is production, however, the lease remains in effect.
Some companies, notably Twin Cities Development, are aiming for five year leases, but the standard remains at three years.
The standard lease is usually for a 1/8 royalty share. Most companies will go up to 25%. The bonus paid at signing has been going as high as $2,000 to $2,500 per acre if you are in a prime location. Just remember, if a discovery is made that includes your property, the royalty share is the big number to consider.
If you think that you own property that could be affected, your best bet is to talk to a lawyer or possibly the oil and gas division at your bank. Get some professional advice before signing.
Below, landmen busy at work in the office of the Bossier Parish Clerk of Court.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Haynesville Shale

If you live in Louisiana and don’t know the meaning of the term Haynesville Shale, you’d better read up. If it turns out to be what some predict, it would not only affect Northwest Louisiana but would be a boon to the state’s treasury.
Until now, the production of oil and gas in Louisiana has been obtained from the conventional subsurface reservoirs that are located in sandstone or limestone formations.
The Haynesville Play is predicated on shale as the subsurface source of natural gas, according to information from M.B. Kumar, Office of Conservation geologist administrator.
The shale is a rock formation mainly composed of consolidated clay-sized particles deposited and buried in the north Louisiana geological basin more than 170 million years ago during the geologic Jurassic time. It's characterized by ultra-low permeability in contrast with the conventional sandstone/limestone reservoir rocks that have high permeability.
To date, there have been 30 units (a unit being 640 acres) formed for the Haynesville Shale in the Caspiana, Metcalf and Johnson Branch fields.

A similar play in the northwest Louisiana area is the Jurassic Zone Play, Kumar said, which involves the combination of several formations, the Cotton Valley, the Bossier, the Haynesville and the Smackover or combination of the Cotton Valley and one or more of these formations.
The Haynesville shale debuted on the energy stage early last month during conference calls by small operators Goodrich Petroleum and Petrohawk Energy. But the play really captured rave reviews when shale slugger Chesapeake Energy revealed its presence there a couple of weeks later.
Chesapeake said it already believed it had 7.5 Tcfe of Haynesville reserve potential across its net 200,000 acres, but estimated up to 20 Tcfe with anticipated company acreage increases to 500,000 net acres. Those kind of numbers, coupled with whatever Petrohawk and Goodrich acreage might hold, potentially class the Haynesville in almost the same league as the Barnett Shale, whose estimated 29 to 39 Tcfe (3 Tcfe of which have already been produced) have ranked it among the US' biggest gas fields.
Chesapeake, which said it had hoped to keep Haynesville secret but largely devoted a conference call to its initial findings in the play after the two smaller operators leaked out news of its existence, has been by far the most vocal on the Haynesville's potential.
Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon is putting his money where his mouth is, personally buying all the Chesapeake stock he can get his hands on. So far, that is about $100,000,000 worth.
Meanwhile, Devon Energy Corp. chairman and chief executive Larry Nichols addressed some 800 attendees at this year’s Developing Unconventional Gas conference in Fort Worth this week, hosted by Oil and Gas Investor and E&P magazines, publications of Hart Energy Publishing.
His thoughts on the Haynesville shale: “You don’t drill a couple of wells and say anything is the next Barnett shale.”
The Times
Oil Voice

The New Bishop of Shreveport

(Msgr. Duca says mass with Fr. Mangum and Msgr. Provenza in the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel at St. John Berchman's Cathedral)

Msgr. Michael Duca will be ordained Bishop and installed as the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese of Shreveport in a ceremonial Mass on Monday, May 19th at noon at the Shreveport Convention Center. The ceremony will be attended by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, as well as other bishops and of course, friends and family of the new bishop.

Next Sunday, May 25th, the new bishop will be
received at his Cathedral at the 11 AM mass.

Ordination live web cast

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bob Barr announces for President

Don't want to vote for John McCain or Barack Obama? Former congressman Bob Barr of Georgia has announced his candidacy for president as a Libertarian.
Make your vote count without favoring the evil political establishment.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Roundup of 4th District Congressional Candidates

UPDATE September 7th:
Updated post here:

Several people have announced their intention to run for the 4th District Congressional election in the fall. With the retirement of 10 term Republican Jim McCrery, the race is wide open. The district would seem to lean Republican by most standards, but that is not necessarily true. It is a conservative district, but I believe that a conservative Democrat could be elected.
Qualifying for the seat will be July 9-11. The following people have announced that they will seek the office.

John Milkovich of Shreveport
Milkovich, a Shreveport attorney, is an evangelical, pro-life, pro-2nd amendment Democrat who has announced (again) for the 4th District Seat. Milkovich ran in 2004 and garnered 27% of the vote against incumbent McCrery.
McCrery isn't running, the Republicans are in disfavor and the race is wide open.
Milkovich gained a high profile locally years ago when he proved the innocence of James Monds, who was on death row at the time. Milkovich fought against all odds for his client, incurring the displeasure of the system. He was even physically attacked in a hallway at the Bossier Parish Courthouse by a Bossier City detective.
But he got his man off death row. John Milkovich is a fighter.
He is well known in the area for his church work and is a regular speaker at different venues. Milkovich has been having a problem with his website, but has this one up at the present time. Visit his issues section; no party line there.

Willie Banks, Jr. of Leesville
For the last ten years, Banks, a Democrat, has served as Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee for the Western District of Louisiana, Alexandria Division. He is a graduate of Southern University, where he received both Bachelor and Juris Doctorate Degrees.
Since his Military retirement as a Colonel in 1994, he has resided in LaCamp, La., a community in rural Vernon Parish. He has served on the Board of Directors of numerous Civic Organizations., and is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, The American Bar Association, National Bar Association, the Vernon Parish Bar Association and the National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees .
Mr Banks' challenge will be in finding support in the Shreveport/Bossier area, which contains more than half the population of the district.
His website is here.

Gerard Bowen, Jr. of Bossier City
Bowen, a native of Metairie, was displaced by Katrina in 2005 and relocated to the Shreveport-Bossier area. He graduated from East Jefferson High School in 1989, served in the Navy and holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from Washington State University as well as a Masters of Health Administration from Tulane University. Bowen is married and the father of two children.
A fair tax advocate, Bowen is the populist candidate on the Republican side. "I don’t have political connections, I don’t have deep pockets, and I don’t have political 'experience'. Some people will have you believe that these things make me a poor choice as your congressman, however, to you and I, it means that I owe no one any favors and that my loyalties are to my convictions and my only obligation is to the people of Louisiana.
I feel a Representative should be accessible to the people he represents, not just to deep-pocket contributors. Not only will I run a grassroots campaign, but I will run a grassroots office. I will be approachable and available to concerned citizens. I will continue to visit neighborhoods as much as Congressman as I do as a candidate and I will return phone calls."
The Bowen for Congress website is complete and includes personal information and his views on some of the issues.
He is definitely in an underdog position and may not recieve a lot of support from the entrenched Republican establishment. It will be interesting to see if he can resonate with the people and gain some traction.

Paul Carmouche of Shreveport
Carmouche is the Democratic District Attorney for the 1st Judicial District (Caddo Parish) since 1978.
This is sure to make the Republican establishment nervous, as Carmouche is a very popular proven voter-getter in Northwest Louisiana. Carmouche received his undergraduate degree from Nicholls State University and his law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, where he was elected President of the Law School.Carmouche also served as an Assistant District Attorney and as Chief Counsel for the Caddo Indigent Defender’s Office. He was elected District Attorney for Caddo Parish 1978 and has served as Caddo Parish’s Chief Prosecutor for five terms. Carmouche has a website up, but it is new and the issues section isn't complete yet.

Dr. John Fleming of Minden
A Mississippi native, Republican Fleming has practiced medicine in Minden for the last 25 years. He is also an entrepeneur who owns thirty Subway Restaurants in North Louisiana and is also a sub-franchisor for The UPS Store, a subsidiary of UPS.Fleming is responsible for 130 UPS Stores across Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. On his website, which is very impressive, he has a personal narrative. It is worth reading as it will give you insight into who he really is and where he came from. "I haven’t forgotten eating Peanut Butter from surplus commodities cans. It’s the hard things in life that make us better. It’s remembering not having, that makes us appreciate what we have."
He also goes into great detail on the issues page.
We will be examining the issues more closely as the candidate field becomes more defined. Dr. Fleming does say that he wants to protect the constitution. I hope that means that he would stand in opposition to such intrusive laws as the USA Patriot act.

Chris Gorman of Shreveport
Gorman, a Republican, was born in Shreveport in 1969. He graduated from Trinity Heights Christian Academy where he was an all-state football player. In 1995, he earned a B.A.A.S. in Computer Information Systems from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. In 1999, Chris furthered his education and attended the Executive MBA Program at Harvard University. Gorman is the Executive Vice President of Tango Transport. In this capacity, he is responsible for leading the Sales, Information Systems, Maintenance, Billing and Collections Departments. He serves as a member of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s Energy Policy Committee and its Health Care and Education Task Force. He also has volunteered for the Shreveport-Bossier Community Renewal, Toys For Tots, the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank and his church. Gorman and his wife Jaci have two sons, Hunter and Lee. His website is not yet complete. I am anxious to see the issues section completed. I'm hoping that he will display some libertarian tendencies, and not just be another Republican rubber stamp. He will be an attractive candidate. It is an interesting twist, and speaks well for both father and son, that his 14 year old is manning a YouTube site with three videos posted so far. I'm impressed to see a teenager taking an active interest in his father's race.

Jeff Thompson of Bossier City
A lot of people were surprised when Jim McCrery endorsed Jeff Thompson as soon as he announced for the 4th Congressional District Seat.
Lanewslink offered in its commentary on the announcement that "Congressman Jim McCrery (R-Shreveport) raised more than a few eyebrows with his endorsement of unknown Bossier City attorney Jeff Thompson to replace him in the Fourth Congressional District seat. Even more puzzling is the fact that a supposed pro-business, Republican Congressman would get in bed with a known trial lawyer who makes a living off government contracts suing taxpayers."Politico noted that "Thompson is the first high-profile candidate in the Republican field, and with the congressman’s endorsement, should be the favorite to win the primary."Note to Politico: Thompson is not high-profile, thus the surprise from everyone.John Maginnis in his noted that other, more experienced potential candidates were baffled by the choice. "Rep Wayne Waddell, R-Shreveport, went into a meeting with Congressman Jim McCrery at the State Capitol on Tuesday expecting to get his support in the fall election to fill his 4th District seat. But the three-term legislator was surprised and chagrined when McCrery told him he would instead back Bossier City attorney Jeff Thompson. "McCrery is stepping down for a simple reason, regardless of what he gives as his official reason. In his last election, he pulled only 57% of the vote. Being accustomed to landslides, this, combined with the fact the the Republicans lost the house, was the handwriting on the wall. McCrery simply didn't want to take the chance of being forced into a runoff and losing. In any event, he was poised at the last election to become chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committe, and instead has had to sit at the table with Chairman Charlie Rangel. I'm sure this taken a lot of the fun out of the job for him.Yahoo News reported that "Jeff Thompson, the latest candidate for the open U.S. House seat in Louisiana's 4th District, was not the first Republican to enter the contest to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Jim McCrery. But Thompson entered with a credential that could be particularly helpful to him: the endorsement of the popular incumbent, who has served in the House since 1988 and is leaving as ranking Republican on the influential Ways and Means Committee." Which raises the question: Is McCrery's endorsement a help or a hindrance to Thompson? He certainly has not generated good feelings with Dr John Fleming or Chris Gorman, who are already running active campaigns for the seat. Apparently, State Rep Waddell is not too thrilled either.
My judgment is that McCrery's endorsement is not worth much. I'm not sure that it will even get Thompson the Republican nomination, but whoever does represent the Republican Party in the election will have a battle on their hands.
If Thompson has a website up, I was unable to find it in any search.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Redneck Gardening

Some great ideas to make extra money and beautify your yard at the same time by taking advantage of what's already there:

ALEXANDRIA -- An investigation into possible drug activity in an Alexandria neighborhood led city police to an abandoned car with 53 marijuana plants growing in it.
Sgt. Newmon Bobb said the plants, which would have an estimated value of $53,000 when fully grown, were seized, and two people were arrested. Jerome Thompson, 23, and Mahogany Morris, 23, both of Alexandria, were booked with possession of marijuana in a school zone and cultivation of marijuana, police said.

Also some great suggestions from this website:

String your used beer cans together as a wind chime. Once they are faded you can make them again and recycle the old ones for cash. A simple excuse to drink more beer.

Line your garden beds with beer bottles. Be sure to put them upside down to not invite more mosquitoes than the kiddy pool already does. Old tires also work well to outline anything, cut them in half for the loch-ness monster look or turn them inside out for an impromptu planter.

Use broken down appliances or cars in the yard as center pieces to build around. It is a bonus if the car is on blocks with hood up and weeds working their way through. A washer makes a wonderful planter and a refrigerator can be used to store your garden supplies

Invite the flowers that others might be short sighted enough to call weeds. It is only a weed if you didn't want it. Dandelion wine is a great output of a redneck flower garden

Pick up that used toilet from the curb that would normally end up in the dump. It makes a great bird bath or another planter.

Ornament your lawn with whirly gigs that don't whirly anymore. This is a great way to add color and the anticipation of motion for the casual observer. No matter how long the observer stares expecting some show in the wind, they will only be met with stoic stillness and a nice splash of motionless color. It's good to keep your visitors expecting the unexpected.

Fill that boat that doesn't float anymore with an assortment of artificial flowers. No sweat if you forget to water these guys, their color is almost as permanent as the peroxide in a box.

Leave up the Christmas lights year round, they become party lights outside of the traditional holiday season and are a lovely accent to the nighttime view of your redneck garden. Your neighbors will be very impressed to get both a daytime and nighttime view of your work of redneck yard art.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

GOP Buzzing over Bobby

From the U S News & World Report comes this article:

Conservatives are buzzing this week about whether one of the party's young up-and-comers, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, has made presumed GOP nominee John McCain's short list for his running mate.
Democratic strategists, meanwhile, say they'd welcome the contrast between the 36-year-old Indian-American and the 71-year-old senator. "There's a mixed bag on [Jindal]," one high-ranking Democratic Party official told U.S. News. "With McCain, a young vigorous running mate is potentially a negative—it highlights his age."

From Bill Kristol's column in the New York Times:
Maybe that’s why, in separate conversations last week, no fewer than four McCain staffers and advisers mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick the 36-year-old Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal. They’re tempted by the idea of picking someone so young, with real accomplishments and a strong reformist streak.It might also be a way to confront the issue of McCain’s age (71), which private polls and focus groups suggest could be a real problem. A Jindal pick would implicitly acknowledge the questions and raise the ante. The message would be: “You want generational change? You can get it with McCain-Jindal — without risking a liberal and inexperienced Obama as commander in chief.” I would add that it was after McCain spent considerable time with Jindal in New Orleans recently, and reportedly found him, as he has before, personally engaging and intellectually impressive, that the campaign’s informal name-dropping of Jindal began.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Eliminate State Income Tax?

Are you in favor of eliminating the state income tax? It could happen.
Last week the Louisiana Senate, to their own surprise, voted to do just that. Senator Nick Gautreaux added an amendment to Buddy Shaw's SB 87 which proposed to cut tax rates. Gautreaux proposed going all the way by just eliminating the income tax. Unbelievably, the amendment passed.
Gautreaux says "It's taxpayers' money and Louisianans have been overtaxed too many years,." Gautreaux said the governor's proposed budget has $400 million in new spending in it and "if it goes into the bill, it's there forever. For them to say there's not money to afford this is absolutely not true."
Our own Sen. Robert Adley of Benton told the Senate "the governor will veto the bill with $4 billion (in budget reductions) and he ought to."
The hot potato bill is in the house waiting for attention.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Cardinal Egan Presides over Mass in Shreveport

Edward Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York, presided over a Red Mass today at Holy Trinity Church in Shreveport. The last Cardinal to visit Shreveport was Cardinal Cushing of Boston in 1968. The Red Mass, held for the legal profession, was attended by most area attorneys and judges, as well as ministers of other faiths and members of the lay public.
Egan presided over the Mass, and also served as its principal celebrant.
Describing the law as “a splendid calling” and contrasting that with the view of it as a profession, he said people must be inclined to “love the law and embrace it,” just as they must discharge it “so civilization may progress in a manner worthy of the children of God.”
The event was ecumenical, with concluding prayers by ministers from a variety of fellow Christian beliefs, including the Rev. Brady L. Blade Sr., Ben Songy, Barbara Jarrell and Durell Tuberville.
Source: The Times

Holy Trinity was built in 1896 and is a landmark in downtown Shreveport.