September 13, 2006
Friedman gets slapped

By Rep. Senfronia Thompson.

Friedman last week attributed a spike in Houston's crime rate to the "crackheads and thugs" who evacuated New Orleans.

"He has demonstrated a total lack of human sensitivity," said state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston. "The people of Katrina have lost everything and are suffering not only from the loss of loved ones, but the trauma of the event itself. What has precipitated from this tragedy is behavior that results from a disastrous event."

A spokesman for the Friedman campaign did not immediately return calls to The Associated Press.

"Kinky Friedman has called himself a 'compassionate redneck,' " said Thompson, chairwoman of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. "He would do well henceforth to highlight his compassion while de-emphasizing his redneck tendencies."

Remember when Kinky Friedman was this cute Celebrity Candidate who got fawning press coverage of his every oft-repeated one-liner everywhere he went? Boy, those were the days. Of course, Friedman was saying the same kind of thing back then, but as an official Celebrity Candidate, no one paid any attention, since all that mattered was that an Actual Celebrity was Running For Office. Well, all good things and all that. Sure does suck to be held accountable for what you say, doesn't it?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 13, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

Friedman is blaming Houston's spike in crime on the "'crackheads and thugs' who evacuated New Orleans.' He did not blame it on all evacuees, just on the "crackheads and thugs". Thompson castigates Friedman for the characterization, but does not deny that they are the cause; instead, she blames the trauma of the event for causing the unwanted "behavior".

So, apparently, Thompson agrees with Friedman that Katrina evacuees are responsible for increased crime; she takes issue with the name-calling, and says that the horrors endured by the evacuees have induced them to turn to crime.

But surely Thompson must admit that out of the entire pre-Katrina New Orleans population, at least some were "crackheads and thugs". And, when New Orleans was evacuated, some of these undesireables arrived in Houston with the great mass of innocent victims. And that, while a few of the malefactors may have used the experience to turn over a new leaf and reform, others may very well have maintained their pre-hurricane activities.

Doesn't it seem better to attribute any rise in crime to those who were criminal before the event, rather than to a newly-criminalized element?

Posted by: Joe White on September 13, 2006 10:49 AM

Friedman is running a populist, half-serious campaign. Nobody should take him seriously when he makes these silly pronouncements, although his crackhead remark is pretty accurate. Rick Perry could probably say the same thing and not lose a single vote.

Posted by: Dennis on September 13, 2006 10:55 AM

Wait, is Rick Perry a Crackhead or a Thug? I never remember.

Posted by: Michael on September 13, 2006 2:06 PM

Kinky's name calling is not a solution to real problems and actually creates more problems.


AMY GOODMAN: In Houston, we're talking about the number of evacuees who remain here from Hurricane Katrina and who could lose FEMA aid. You just heard the phone message that some evacuees have gotten. Our guests are Carolyn Schexnayder, she is a former New Orleans resident. And we're joined by Broderick Bagert, senior organizer with the Metropolitan Organization. He lives here in Houston, but did live in New Orleans years ago. Can you talk about the main issues today that you are dealing with as an organizer, Broderick?

BRODERICK BAGERT: Well, the main issues we're dealing with today is a mode of operating on the part of FEMA. FEMA's theory of how people get back on their feet is that what they need is the maximum amount of anxiety and pressure for them to be sufficiently motivated to find housing and jobs. And since the month after the storm, when through the hard work and organizing of a whole leadership team from New Orleans that we started organizing in the Astrodome, we've been able to have housing in Houston. In fact, the largest and most successful public housing system set up in the shortest period of time was right here, under the -- with a lot of organizing going on and the direction of some local political leaders.

But that has been counteracted by FEMA's constant effort to set deadlines that are a month away and keep people under a constant state of pressure and anxiety, that they’re going to lose their housing. And that's still going on. So far, we have been able to assure that the majority of evacuees haven't lost their housing and haven't been called ineligible by FEMA. FEMA has insane assumptions about who counts as eligible. So if you were in a household of eight members back home and half of that household went to Atlanta, say that it was cousins living with you, and half came to Houston, only one household member is eligible for FEMA assistance. If you lived in an apartment that is --

AMY GOODMAN: So they decide between the members of the family in Atlanta and the members in Houston?

BRODERICK BAGERT: Whoever happened to call in first is eligible for FEMA assistance. One head of household. That's just one of a whole series of rigidly bureaucratic assumptions about how FEMA gives assistance. Another is that if your house or apartment is structurally sound back in New Orleans, then you are eligible and able to return, even if it doesn't have electricity, even if the rent has doubled, even if someone else is living there. And so, it's the kind of things we have fighting about.

AMY GOODMAN: How do they determine whether your house is adequate to return to, when it seems that in New Orleans they are not encouraging people to return, especially, for example, in the Lower Ninth Ward? In places like public housing, that were not flooded, they are not allowed to go back home even when they want to?

BRODERICK BAGERT: Well, it's sort of a great mystery, and FEMA won't tell anyone, citing privacy concerns. So they are very vague and unclear about how and why certain decisions are made. And no one really knows exactly what criterion are in place. All people know is they keep getting letters saying at the end of this month you're going to be kicked out of housing, so that they can sufficiently motivate people. Now, the irony, of course, is that that keeps people in a constant state of anxiety and pressure, which is the opposite of what people need in order to get jobs, in order to start planning for the future.


Austin: Austin Community Television Ch. 16: 6-7 p.m., M-F
Austin: KAZI 88.7 fm: 12-1 p.m. M-F

College Station: KEOS 89.1 FM: 9-10 a.m., M-F

Dallas: Dallas Community Television (DCTV), Ch. 27: 7 a.m. & 11p.m., M-F

Denton: North Texas TV (NTTV), Ch. 22 & 42: 1:30 p.m., M-F

Galveston: KPFT 89.5 FM: 9-10 a.m., M-F

Houston: We The People TV Ch. 17/98: 7-8 a.m., M-F; Check listings for repeats on weekends
Houston: KPFT 90.1 FM: 9 a.m. & 6 p.m., M-F

* DirecTV: Link TV, Channel 375, M-F: 11am-12noon, 6-7pm EST

* DISH Network: Link TV channel 9410, M-F: 11am-12noon, 6-7pm EST and Free Speech TV, channel 9415, M-F: 8-9am, 12noon-1pm, 7-8pm & 12midnight-1am EST


Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on September 14, 2006 12:35 PM

I haven't heard this myself on the radio, but these guys have so they say.

URL to article:

Houston Gun Dealer Sells Guns by Aiming at Katrina Evacuees

Posted On 13th September 2006 @ In Media, NRA, Katrina, Culture of Violence, Texas

This is really crazy– in Houston, [1] a gun dealer is advertising on a radio commercial that calls out Katrina evacuees. And it’s not even that he’s trying to sell guns to them (the NRA recently tried to convince the evacuees, stupidly, that they needed guns to protect themselves). He’s trying to sell guns because of them.

One of Houston’s most famous voices is taking aim — both literally and figuratively — at Katrina evacuees living in Houston.

His name is Jim Pruett and he formed half of one of the most outrageous duos in Houston radio history — Stevens and Pruett — back in the 1990’s. He’s raising controversy on the airwaves again — this time as a gun shop owner. He says Houstonians must arm themselves, because of the rise in crime. But, as you would imagine, some Katrina evacuees say they are being publicly called out.


So the gun dealer riles citizens up against Katrina evacuees and sees a boost in gun sales. Then the gun dealer (and the gun lobby) riles evacuees up against citizens, saying they now need firearms “for protection” (as if such a thing was even possible), and the cycle repeats over and over until....

Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on September 16, 2006 1:47 PM


Please let this not be true, but just in case--poor FEMA which is now under Homeland Security. I want James Lee Witt back.
January 27, 2006 at 02:59 PM

Homeland Security addicted to porn

Homeland Security bureaucrats just look at pornography all day, a startling new government report suggests.

The terror bureaucracy’ s internal computer network logged a staggering 65 million security alerts in just 90 days, according to the study (PDF) released today by Homeland Security Department inspector general Dick Skinner.

The DHS computer network is such an ineptly run mess that it's unknown how many of those 65 million porn alarms are really caused by Homeland Security employees looking at naked pictures.

An expensive network of programs are used to constantly spy on all employee computers, but it all works so poorly that nobody can tell the difference between one cubicle drone looking for "oral sex" pictures or another typing the word "behavioral," Washington Technology reported today.

What is known for sure is that porn alarms are going off at an explosive rate.


Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on September 16, 2006 2:04 PM

The problem is not the Katrina survivors, so quit picking on the tramatized...which is something only the uncompassionate or authoritarian would do.


Violent Crime Rate Goes Up for First Time in 15 Years Following Massive GOP Cuts for Law Enforcement

Submitted by BuzzFlash on Fri, 09/22/2006

The rate of violent crime in America increased last year for the first time since 1991, according to a new FBI report. The increase coincides with dramatic cuts to state and local law enforcement funding by Republicans each year since President Bush took office. The $2.3 billion recently approved by the House amounts to nearly half of the $4.5 billion appropriated in 2001.

In addition to the jump in violent crime overall, the rates also increased last year for murder, robbery, and aggravated assault. The rates for every category dropped steadily under President Clinton and his massive funding boosts for law enforcement.

These findings indicating that Americans are less safe under the Bush Administration come as they continue to spend billions in Iraq while gutting domestic police support and underfunding vital Homeland Security projects.

Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on September 23, 2006 6:40 PM


What compassion Kinky admitted "cokehead" disparaging Katrina survivors as "crackheads" and blaming them for a rise in crime rather than rightfully blaming Bush's and his GOP's huge defunding of police.

When you do not learn about problems, you cannot solve them. What Kinky does is scapegoat. He will need a lot of "other scapegoats" to blame for problems he will never be able to really solve.

All this authoritarian hosility and lack of real problem solving of big, obvious problems now--our very survival with climate crisis, proving our democracy and people earning the lowest wages in 50 years--has a price that is being paid by all of us now and in the future.


The Age of Anxiety Redux

By William Fisher
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday 17 March 2006

Airplanes crashing into buildings. Daily body counts from Iraq and Afghanistan. Hospitals filled with hideously mutilated young service men and women. Prisoners being tortured and abused. People being beheaded. Religious leaders urging us to "take out" heads of state. Katrina survivors stranded on rooftops while FEMA fiddles. Tsunami victims stranded nowhere - just gone.

These are only a few of the kinds of grisly images bombarding the American people every day.


This is not pop-psych 101. This is real. We are living though an age of high anxiety (for which the government's favorite cliche is "the post-9/11 environment") that is likely to have a very long-lasting effect on the American psyche.

One of the public's responses to that post 9/11 environment is popping pills. Since that dreadful day, there has been a rapid and dramatic increase in sales of anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and sleep aid drugs, according to one Atlanta-based health information service provider, NDC Health, which tracks retail pharmaceutical sales.



Polls have been showing that the GOP is losing more and more who self identify as Republican while Democrats have been increasing their numbers of people who now self identify as Democrats. Nationwide there are more Democrats than Republicans.

Good Polls in Texas about changes in political party self-identification would be interesting.

However, with no evidence or hidden evidence voting, Kinky may just serve as a place holder to pour whatever needed number of votes, along with a built-in PR story to assure a Perry win even with low numbers. (as PDiddie says about Perry, : The hurricane left widespread damage throughout Texas and Louisiana -- from which parts of the area still struggle to recover -- but only killed eleven people. Ten times more than that died in the attempted evacuation of Houston, which I considered to be its own disaster. It warrants reminding that we were lied to by our government -- I'm looking at you, Rick Perry -- about the contraflow lanes to be opened, about the gasoline trucks being sent to refuel the thousands of stranded motorists and the calamity that could have occurred had Rita not turned to the east.)

So, something must change in our approach to elections in order for us to be able to vote the best problem solving people in--Chris Bell, David Van Os and other Democrats.

Perhaps, it would be a good idea, especially for absentee voters, to mail after they vote to their candidate a letter with their name, signature, address and precinct with a statement that states you voted for him/her. The promotion of this might have the effect of keeping everyone more honest which can only be good.

To note if you have requested, but not received your absentee ballot, perhaps this may be the problem for which you will need to resubmit:


Request for Application for Ballot by Mail

Attention: Due to technical difficulties, requests submitted on September 5th through September 6th, 3:30p.m. were not processed correctly. As a result, we ask that requests for voter applications be resubmitted. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for participating in the democratic process.


Also, to better understand what we have to overcome to win:

Eric Alterman is now at his new home at MediaMatters. Warning--Eric was right about 2004 and unless something changes he may be right for the long term.


Two books have come out in recent times outlining some of these reasons:
Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson...and Building Red America: The New Conservative Coalition and the Drive For Permanent Power by Tom Edsall.... There are others, but those are the two that made the biggest impression on me; and the topic is so complicated and multifaceted, it really does require book-length treatment, which is one of many, many, reasons the mainstream media covers politics as if these structural features do not really matter.


Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on September 25, 2006 1:27 PM

Pardon me....

Kinky an admitted former "cokehead."

Posted by: Support Science to Reverse Global Warming, if still possible on September 25, 2006 4:12 PM