Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Allegations emerge BP is dumping sand to cover oil

Posted in BP, environment, offshore drilling, United States by allisonkilkenny on July 1, 2010

Photojournalist C.S. Muncy at Grand Isle, Lousiana. (Photo by C.S. Muncy)

Yesterday, I contacted a friend of mine, C.S. Muncy, who is a photojournalist currently raising all kinds of hell down in southern Louisiana.

C.S.’s original goal was to gain access to some of the areas being guarded by BP contractors and deemed “off limits” to reporters, but yesterday he, along with Save Our Shores‘s Judson Parker, made an unexpected discovery.

They believe that BP has been dumping sand on the beaches in order to cover up oil. You can view some video Judson shot of the beach over here.

I called C.S. to ask him about the alleged cover-up.

AK: Is it true that BP has been covering some of the oil on the beach with sand?

CM: Yeah. Yeah, this is interesting…We went down onto the beaches, and we started inspecting them. There were tar balls, tar residue, and there was some oil on the beach. Apparently, the day before there was a lot of tar balls, and BP was working in the area pretty heavily, and we started noticing there was a different consistency in the sand.

(more…)

Bobby Jindal’s Weird Past

Posted in politics, Republicans by allisonkilkenny on February 26, 2009

Max Blumenthal 

Alex Brandon / AP Photo

Alex Brandon / AP Photo

Did you know about the exorcism? The name that came from The Brady Bunch? Those and other surprising facts about one of America’s fastest rising young politicians.

Last night, on the evening of President Barack Obama’s first major speech, the Republicans put forward Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as the face of the opposition, tapping him to deliver their response. As a 37-year-old Indian-American Rhodes Scholar, the first-term governor presented a deliberate visual counterpoint to Obama. His folksy speech last evening is meeting with mixed reviews. But with GOP politicians already jockeying for the 2012 primary, Jindal is emerging as a top contender.

“From the insiders I’m talking to, Jindal’s in the top three, right next to [Sarah] Palin and [Mitt] Romney. He’s the rock star of the Republican Party right now,” says Jeff Crouere, the former executive director of the Louisiana GOP and host of daily political talk show Ringside Politics.

“Whenever I concentrated long enough to begin prayer, I felt some type of physical force distracting me,” Jindal reflected. “It was as if something was pushing down on my chest, making it very hard for me to breathe…”

But as the country gets acquainted with the Bayou’s boy wonder, the stranger details of Jindal’s religious or personal background remain largely unknown, even among the Republican grassroots. How many Americans know that Jindal boasted of participating in an exorcism that purged the spirit of Satan from a college girlfriend? So far, Jindal’s tale of “beating a demon” remains behind the subscription wall of New Oxford Review, an obscure Catholic magazine; only a few major blogs have seized on the story.

Born in Baton Rouge in 1971, Jindal rarely visited his parents’ homeland. His birth name was Piyush Jindal. When he was four years old, Piyush changed his name to “Bobby” after becoming mesmerized by an episode of The Brady Bunch. Jindal laterwrote that he began considering converting to Catholicism during high school after “being touched by the love and simplicity of a Christian girl who dreamt of becoming a Supreme Court justice so she could stop her country from ‘killing unborn babies.’” After watching a short black-and-white film on the crucifixion of Christ, Jindal claimed he “realized that if the Gospel stories were true, if Christ really was the son of God, it was arrogant of me to reject Him and question the gift of salvation.”

Jindal’s Hindu parents were non-plussed. “My parents have never truly accepted my conversion and still see my faith as a negative that overshadows my accomplishments,” he wrote. “They were hurt and felt I was rejecting them by accepting Christianity… I long for the day when my parents understand, respect and possibly accept my faith. For now I am satisfied that they accept me.” (In a subsequent interview with Little India, Jindal claimed his parents were “very supportive. They felt like it was important that I was embracing God.”)

During his years at Brown University, Jindal pursued his Catholic faith with unbridled zeal. Jindal became emotionally involved with a classmate named Susan who had overcome skin cancer and struggled to cope with the suicide of a close friend. Jindal reflected in an article for a Catholic magazine (called “Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare”) that “sulfuric” scents hovered over Susan everywhere she went. In the middle of a prayer meeting, Jindal claimed that Susan collapsed and began convulsing on the floor. His prayer partners gathered together on the floor, holding hands and shouting, “Satan, I command you to leave this woman!”

While under the supposed control of satanic demons, Susan lashed out at Jindal and his friends. “Whenever I concentrated long enough to begin prayer, I felt some type of physical force distracting me,” Jindal reflected. “It was as if something was pushing down on my chest, making it very hard for me to breathe… I began to think that the demon would only attack me if I tried to pray or fight back; thus, I resigned myself to leaving it alone in an attempt to find peace for myself.”

Toward the conclusion of what Jindal called “the tremendous battle between the Susan we knew and loved and some strange and evil force,” Jindal and his friends forced Susan to read passages from the Bible. “She choked on certain passages and could not finish the sentence ‘Jesus is Lord.’ Over and over, she repeated “Jesus is L..L..LL,” often ending in profanities,” Jindal wrote. Finally, evil gave way to the light. “Just as suddenly as she went into the trance, Susan suddenly reappeared and claimed ‘Jesus is Lord.’ With an almost comical smile, Susan then looked up as if awakening from a deep sleep and asked, ‘Has something happened?’”

During the 2006 gubernatorial campaign, the campaign of Jindal’s Democratic opponent, incumbent Gov. Kathleen Blanco, attempted to inject his religious views into the race by running an ad promoting a website called JindalonReligion.com, which featured his essay about participating in an exorcism. However, Jindal immediately fired back, denouncing the commercial as an assault on his faith and on the deeply religious culture of Louisiana. “Jindal turned that one around and tried to play the victim before [the Democrats] could get any traction,” Crouere told me. “Then the Blanco campaign just backed off”

Though Crouere is a Republican, he harbors strong doubts about Jindal. To him, the young governor is still too green for the national stage. “I just find it odd that the GOP seems to have as its savior a guy who has been in Congress for three years and governor for one year,” Crouere said. “The same criticism that was leveled against Obama for being untested could easily be leveled against Jindal.”

Because Obama entered the presidential campaign without an extensive political track record, the video histrionics of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright, remained unexposed until the middle of the Democratic primary. Could similar exposure of Jindal’s tales of “spiritual warfare” complicate his ascendancy as well? “The Louisiana Democrats don’t really have their act together, and weren’t able to get the word out,” Crouere remarked. “I still don’t think a lot of people are aware of the nature of Jindal’s religious background.”

Max Blumenthal is a senior writer for The Daily Beast and writing fellow at The Nation Institute, whose book, Republican Gomorrah (Basic/Nation Books), is due this spring. Contact him at maxblumenthal3000@yahoo.com.

Bobby Jindal Stocks “Marriage Commission” With Anti-Gay Crusaders

Posted in civil rights by allisonkilkenny on January 6, 2009

Bilerico Project

bobby-jindalLouisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is often cited as a rising star in Republican politics. One of the party’s most visible state executives, he has worked hard to endear himself to the GOP faithful, and has been widely mentioned as a possible White House candidate in 2012. And, true to form for some of those who seek to carry the Republican mantle on a national ticket, he is already beginning to pander to the most extreme factions of his party and his state.

In December, Jindal announced the formation of the Louisiana Commission on Marriage and Family, billed as “an entity within the executive department that serves to propose programs, policies, incentives and curriculum regarding marriage and family by collecting and analyzing data on the social and personal effects of marriage and child-bearing within the state of Louisiana.”

In other words, Jindal’s Commission is going to be looking at – and making recommendations regarding – marriage and family issues within the state. And a quick look at some of those appointed by the Governor to serve on the panel leaves no doubt that, in the end, the line-up will do nothing more than promote an extreme, anti-gay agenda that sets back, blocks and battles any attempts to recognize or respect Louisiana’s same-sex families.

Among those who have been appointed by Jindal to serve on the Commission are Tony Perkins (who hails from Baton Rouge), the president of the anti-gay advocacy group known as The Family Research Council . . . Gene Mills, executive director of the far-right Louisiana Family Forum . . . Mike Johnson, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund . . . and numerous members of the clergy. All, Jindal has said, “have significant academic and/or professional expertise” on issues of marriage and family.

And each has a long history of spouting anti-gay rhetoric, too.

Perkins and Mills, especially, are vociferous anti-gay advocates, and have been the driving forces behind attempts to ban legal protections for same-sex couples. And on his website, Mills promotes publications with titles such asMorally Straight, Protect Your Children, and Three Myths About Homosexuality. All are inflammatory, inaccurate and outrageously biased papers that demean and degrade lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. (The Family Research Council’s list of similarly harmful publications is too long to list in a single blog entry.)

Every family in Louisiana should be alarmed by Jindal’s “Commission.”

Following the passage of Proposition 8 in California, and a successful bid to strip same-sex couples of adoption rights in Arkansas, there is little question that Perkins and Mills, especially, will push for similarly anti-gay measures in Louisiana. By giving the movement to deny lesbian and gay couples adoption rights a facade of credibility via a gubernatorial panel, the two will no doubt use the resulting recommendations to spread inaccurate, unproven and harmful rhetoric about the issue . . . and then push their anti-gay agenda in the legislature, and at the ballot box.

Governor Jindal is setting Louisiana up to be one of the next battlegrounds in the fight for family equality.

Following his decision to roll-back an LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination order implemented by his predecessor, the Governor is now taking another, unmistakable step to the right in an attempt to shore up a base he believes he may need down the road.

The truth is that Perkins and Mills are no experts on our families. Their appointment to the Louisiana Commission is a thinly veiled attempt to tip the panel to the far right and begin the process of eroding civil liberties in the Bayou State.

On November 5th, many LGBT families rightly feared that he vote tallies on election day would lead to further attacks on our rights. Jindal has wasted no time in proving that prophecy to be true. By shoring up extremists’ support for a potential White House bid, he has put the safety, and rights, of Louisiana families in jeopardy.

Tell Governor Jindal to put families first and remove anti-gay bigots from his Commission. Call the Governor’s Mansion at (225) 342-0991.

“Reform,” Bobby Jindal Style

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on December 17, 2008

James Rucker

Albert Woodfox

Albert Woodfox


We may be on the brink of inaugurating a Black president, but the miscarriage of justice unfolding in Louisiana with the case of the Angola 3 tells a different story about race, power and accountability in our criminal justice system. At the top of the food chain is self-styled reformer and the GOP’s supposed answer to Obama,Governor Bobby Jindal.

Albert Woodfox has spent the last 36 years in solitary confinement — 23 out of 24 hours each day in a 6×9 cell — for the murder of a white prison guard, a crime he didn’t commit.

Despite increasing evidence of Woodfox’s innocence, the State of Louisiana is digging in its heels. They’ve pushed back against a federal judge who has overturned Woodfox’s conviction and ordered his release. The reason is becoming crystal clear: It’s not because they believe that Woodfox or the other two people referred to as the “Angola 3″ murdered anyone. It’s because the three men were organizing within the prison for better conditions, an end to sexual abuses, and the fair treatment of inmates. Apparently, in Louisiana, seeking justice means you deserve to be framed for murder and locked away forever.

James “Buddy” Caldwell, the state’s Attorney General, has led the state’s fight and Burl Cain, the warden at Angola, is acting as Caldwell’s henchman. Ultimately, it’s Governor Bobby Jindal who is giving them cover despite being presented with all the facts and being asked repeatedly to intervene. So much for the promise of Jindal and his self-description as a “reformer.”

A look at recent proceedings shows that the desire to keep Woodfox behind bars has nothing to do with whether Woodfox is guilty or innocent. Cain has made it clear that he doesn’t care. Cain wants him behind bars for no reason other than the fact that Woodfox has been a force for reform from within the prison walls. Says Cain, “The thing about him is that he wants to demonstrate. He wants to organize. He wants to be defiant.” Cain has said that even if he knew Woodfox hadn’t killed the guard, he would still want the man isolated. “I still would not want him walking around my prison because he would organize the young new inmates,” Cain said. It’s not that Woodfox is dangerous. It’s that he is unrepentant in organizing inmates to achieve a basic sense of decency and livable conditions.

Several months before Judge James Brady overturned Woodfox’s conviction, more than 25,000 ColorOfChange.org members appealed to Governor Jindal to get involved. The head of the state legislature’s judiciary committee, Cedric Richmond, delivered the petitions to Governor Jindal and requested he intervene. Around the same time, Congressman John Conyers, chair of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, met with both Woodfox and Herman Wallace (one of the other Angola 3) and has publicly called for intervention. Jindal’s response has been utter silence.

In recent weeks, as pressure has mounted for Woodfox to be released, Caldwell, the Attorney General, has gone deeper in attempting to demonize Woodfox. He has taken to publicly referring to Woodfox as a “serial rapist,” a completely unsubstantiated claim. Once bail was ordered and it was expected that Woodfox would be released, Caldwell’s office clandestinely contacted members of the gated community where Woodfox was supposed to live, telling them that a murderer would soon be living among them. Woodfox had been planning to live with his niece. She and her family have now been subject to harassment, and the option of Woodfox living with her has been made virtually impossible.

We’ve seen unequal and unfair justice before in Louisiana. We can just look back at the case of the Jena 6 a year and a half ago. In that case, six black boys were charged with second-degree murder at the hands of a District Attorney who threatened that he could “take away [the students'] lives with a stroke of [his] pen.” The threat followed black students protesting the hanging of a noose above a “white tree” at their school, with the charges coming after a racially-charged fight characterized by some as a school-yard fight, where the victim was white.

In the case of the Jena 6, there was an outcry from across the country, culminating in a march of more than 20,000 in the town of Jena. While leaders across the country decried the injustice in Jena, surprisingly, Jindal called those protesting “outside agitators” – a phrase that echoed racist Southerners’ response to Civil Rights-era organizing efforts.

While Governor Jindal claims to be a reformer and has his eyes on the White House, his silence in the Angola 3 case and his language around the case of the Jena 6 tell a different story. His idea of “reform” seems more like an empty slogan and catchy rhetoric than something he’s willing to put into practice. Perhaps it’s time to confront Jindal and ask him what his idea of reform looks like.

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