New Orleans Mayor Landrieu Speaks Out On Confederate Monuments

Amplifying Jim, Foolish Literalist’s, posts. This is an important speech. Read the whole thing, but here is a sample.

You see: New Orleans is truly a city of many nations, a melting pot, a bubbling cauldron of many cultures.

There is no other place quite like it in the world that so eloquently exemplifies the uniquely American motto: e pluribus unum — out of many we are one.

But there are also other truths about our city that we must confront. New Orleans was America’s largest slave market: a port where hundreds of thousands of souls were brought, sold and shipped up the Mississippi River to lives of forced labor of misery of rape, of torture.

America was the place where nearly 4,000 of our fellow citizens were lynched, 540 alone in Louisiana; where the courts enshrined ‘separate but equal’; where Freedom riders coming to New Orleans were beaten to a bloody pulp.

So when people say to me that the monuments in question are history, well what I just described is real history as well, and it is the searing truth.

And it immediately begs the questions: why there are no slave ship monuments, no prominent markers on public land to remember the lynchings or the slave blocks; nothing to remember this long chapter of our lives; the pain, the sacrifice, the shame … all of it happening on the soil of New Orleans.

There are good people in this country, politicians who understand they represent all the people. Remember that.


Explosions in the UK

Apparently something horrible has happened at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Excellent Read: “Presidential Libraries Are a Scam. Could Obama Change That?”

Anthony Clark (yes, you’ve heard of him), in Politico:

Last week, Barack Obama unveiled the plans for his presidential center, to be built in the historic Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. Architects, city planners, educators, community organizers, activists, pundits, boosters and critics all have weighed in on the look and on the plans. But if you blinked, you might have missed something important: Obama will not follow the example of his 13 immediate predecessors. He will forgo the creation of a traditional presidential library and museum.

The National Archives and Records Administration—which operates presidential library-museums for every president from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush—won’t be operating either for Obama. His private Obama Foundation, not the government, will own and operate the museum. And there really won’t be a presidential library. The Obama Foundation will pay for NARA to digitize unclassified records and release them to the public as they become available, but the center’s “Library,” which may or may not house a local branch of the Chicago Public Library, will not contain or control presidential papers and artifacts, digital or otherwise. Instead, according to a NARA press release that called the museum “a new model for the preservation and accessibility of presidential records,” those records will be stored in “existing NARA facilities”—meaning one or more of the agency’s research or records centers across the country.

The notion that a federal presidential library would contain no papers, and not actually be federally operated, is astonishing. But to those like myself who have advocated for years—without much success—that it’s time to reform the broken presidential library system, it’s also an important positive development, and one that could be revolutionary.

Presidential libraries are perfect examples of just how far presidents will go to control their own legacies. Since the first one was created in 1941, what were intended to be serious research centers have grown into flashy, partisan temples touting huckster history. Built with undisclosed, unlimited donations, often to sitting presidents, libraries have traditionally been donated to the government after their construction. But even though they are taxpayer-funded and controlled by a federal agency, the private foundations established by former presidents to build the libraries retain outsize influence. The libraries’ whitewashed exhibits are created by presidential boosters; they host political events; their boards are stacked with loyalists; and many of their important historical records may never see the light of day…

The Obama Presidential Center could break this pattern, and solve at least some of the major flaws of the system, by creating a new model for a privately run presidential museum that can be laudatory in its exhibits and partisan in its programming, but not while under the troubling imprimatur of the federal government—and without the taxpayers footing the bill. At the same time, the new arrangement will leave presidential records and the terms of their release to the public in the hands of the government, where they belong. Freeing NARA to process and produce those records without the interference of the Obama Foundation will be our best hope for learning what really happened during the Obama presidency—and, if others follow his example, future presidencies as well…

Presidential records matter because they inform us about what presidents do and how they do it. American citizens give our chief executives a great deal of power to keep much of this information secret, at least temporarily. In exchange, at some reasonable time after they leave office, we get to pierce that secrecy and find out what really happened. Except, the development of the powerful presidential library altered that deal, allowing “history” to be written (rewritten, actually) by presidents themselves. Critics have long charged presidential libraries with politicization, from questionable decisions to withhold certain papers (or sometimes, temporarily “lose” them, as happened with Chief Justice John Roberts’ files at the Reagan Library during his confirmation process) to highly skewed “history” exhibits (such as the Nixon Library’s Watergate display; when the government took control of the facility in 2006, the first thing it did was to dismantle the “fundamentally inaccurate” mess) to years-long Freedom of Information Act request backlogs…

Special Investigator or Congressional Investigation?

The question came up earlier about clarifying the ways of dealing with the mess Trump and his cronies have inflicted on the nation. The options basically come down to two: a special investigator or a congressional investigation.

A special investigator can be appointed only by the Attorney General. That’s right, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. Read more

Say you wouldn’t kid about it

I kind of like this defense, it seems like it could be lots of situations:

A senior Trump administration official acknowledged Monday that Obama raised the issue of Flynn, saying the former president made clear he was “not a fan of Michael Flynn.” Another official said Obama’s remark seemed like it was made in jest.

I thought US intelligence was kidding when they said “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S”!

Late Night Open Thread


Zooey says it’s time for a new thread. He is fascinated by the many varieties of running water in the house.


Right back where we started from

You will be shocked to learn that David Brooks and Matt Bai have both gone anti-anti-Trump and, thus, are now effectively pro-Trump. Here’s how being anti-anti-Trump works: yes, Trump isn’t perfect but the dirty hippies and the elites in their Accela Corridor bubble are worse.

In other words, Trump changes nothing. We’re back to square one. We’ve always been at war with the Oberlin College student council.

The anti-anti-Trump coinage comes from the Weekly Standard, and it’s noteworthy that, for whatever reason, conservative writers are more likely these days to recognize that the American right is now unified primarily by its list of enemies. Tom Nichols, for example, nails it:

There is a more disturbing possibility here than pure ignorance: that voters not only do not understand these issues, but also that they simply do not care about them. As his supporters like to point out, Trump makes the right enemies, and that’s enough for them. Journalists, scientists, policy wonks — as long as “the elites” are upset, Trump’s voters assume that the administration is doing something right. “He makes them uncomfortable, which makes me happy,” Ohio Trump voter James Cassidy told the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale. Syria? Korea? Health care reform? Foreign aid? Just so much mumbo-jumbo, the kind of Sunday morning talk-show stuff only coastal elitists care about.

Cleek said it even better, of course:

today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today: updated daily.

And it’s not just mythical Trump voters drinking Buds in a bar next to the shuttered auto factory, it’s establishment media types like Bai and Brooks.