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President Obama Speaks on NYC Incident and BP Oil Spill in Louisiana

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Posted by Jesse Lee

A Massive and Potentially Unprecedented Environmental Disaster


[UPDATE 5/3/10 8:46PM: Read the comprehensive update from the Joint Information Center for May 3, 2010.]

[UPDATE 5/3/10 6:55PM: A readout of the President and Admiral Allen’s call with local government officials in the Gulf Coast Region.]

[UPDATE 5/3/10 5:53PM: Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spoke more on the details of ensuring BP pays for the costs of the spill in his Monday briefing.]

[UPDATE 5/2/10 9:30PM: Learn more from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ briefing aboard Air Force One on the return trip from the Gulf Coast.]

The President spent the day touring the Gulf Coast area and getting a first-hand look at the ongoing response from the federal government to the BP oil spill (the EPA has also dedicated a site to keeping the public up to date on that response).  After speaking to Admiral Thad Allen, who is serving as National Incident Commander, along with Coast Guard personnel, the President gave an update from Venice, Louisiana.  After commending the police officers and citizens of New York who reacted so swiftly to the incident in Times Square, he spoke at length on the terrible situation surrounding the spill:

They gave me a sense of how this spill is moving.  It is now about nine miles off the coast of southeastern Louisiana.  And by the way, we had the Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, as well as parish presidents who were taking part in this meeting, because we want to emphasize the importance of coordinating between local, state, and federal officials throughout this process.

Now, I think the American people are now aware, certainly the folks down in the Gulf are aware, that we’re dealing with a massive and potentially unprecedented environmental disaster.  The oil that is still leaking from the well could seriously damage the economy and the environment of our Gulf states and it could extend for a long time.  It could jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Americans who call this place home.

And that’s why the federal government has launched and coordinated an all-hands-on-deck, relentless response to this crisis from day one.  After the explosion on the drilling rig, it began with an aggressive search-and-rescue effort to evacuate 115 people, including three badly injured.  And my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the 11 workers who have not yet  — who have not been found.

When the drill unit sank on Thursday, we immediately and intensely investigated by remotely operated vehicles the entire 5,000 feet of pipe that’s on the floor of the ocean.  In that process, three leaks were identified, the most recent coming just last Wednesday evening.  As Admiral Allen and Secretary Napolitano have made clear, we’ve made preparations from day one to stage equipment for a worse-case scenario.  We immediately set up command center operations here in the Gulf and coordinated with all state and local governments.  And the third breach was discovered on Wednesday.

We already had by that time in position more than 70 vessels and hundreds of thousands of feet of boom.  And I dispatched the Secretaries of the Interior and Homeland Security; the Administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, who is here; my Assistant for Energy and Climate Change Policy; and the Administrator of NOAA to the Gulf Coast to ensure that we are doing whatever is required to respond to this event.

So I want to emphasize, from day one we have prepared and planned for the worst, even as we hoped for the best.  And while we have prepared and reacted aggressively, I’m not going to rest — and none of the gentlemen and women who are here are going to rest — or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil on the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of this region are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods.

Currently, the most advanced technology available is being used to try and stop a leak that is more than 5,000 feet under the surface.  Because this leak is unique and unprecedented, it could take many days to stop.  That’s why we’re also using every resource available to stop the oil from coming ashore and mitigating the damage it could cause.  And much of the discussion here at the center was focused on if we, and when we have to deal with these mitigation efforts.

Thus far, as you can tell, the weather has not been as cooperative as we’d like on this front.  But we’re going to continue to push forward.

I also want to stress that we are working closely with the Gulf states and local communities to help every American affected by this crisis.  Let me be clear:  BP is responsible for this leak; BP will be paying the bill.  But as President of the United States, I’m going to spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues.  And we will spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused.  And while there will be time to fully investigate what happened on that rig and hold responsible parties accountable, our focus now is on a fully coordinated, relentless response effort to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the Gulf.

I want to thank the thousands of Americans who’ve been working around the clock to stop this crisis — whether it’s the brave men and women of our military, or the local officials who call the Gulf home.  They are doing everything in their power to mitigate this disaster, prevent damage to our environment, and help our fellow citizens.

During this visit, I am hoping to have the opportunity to speak with some of the individuals who are directly affected by the disaster.  I’ve heard already that people are, understandably, frustrated and frightened, especially because the people of this region have been through worse disasters than anybody should have to bear.

But every American affected by this spill should know this: Your government will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to stop this crisis.

This is one of the richest and most beautiful ecosystems on the planet, and for centuries its residents have enjoyed and made a living off the fish that swim in these waters and the wildlife that inhabit these shores.  This is also the heartbeat of the region’s economic life.  And we’re going to do everything in our power to protect our natural resources, compensate those who have been harmed, rebuild what has been damaged, and help this region persevere like it has done so many times before.

That’s a commitment I’m making as President of the United States, and I know that everybody who works for the federal government feels the exact same way.

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Filmmaker Who Broke ACORN Story Arrested For Attempted Bugging Of Landrieu’s Office

Posted by: Audiegrl

James O'Keefe

James O'Keefe


A conservative activist who posed as a pimp to target the community-organizing group ACORN and the son of a federal prosecutor were among four people arrested by the FBI and accused of trying to interfere with phones at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.

Activist James O’Keefe, 25, was already in Landrieu’s New Orleans office Monday when Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel, both 24, showed up claiming to be telephone repairmen, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office said Tuesday. Letten says O’Keefe recorded the two with his cell phone.

In the reception area, Flanagan, the son of acting U.S. Attorney Bill Flanagan in Shreveport, and Basel asked for access to the main phone at the reception desk.

After handling the phone, Letten’s office said, they asked for access to a phone closet so they could work on the main phone system. The men were directed to another office in the building, where they are accused of again misrepresenting themselves as telephone repairmen.

They were arrested later by the U.S. Marshal’s Service. Details of the arrest were not available. A fourth man, Stan Dai, 24, was also arrested, but Letten’s office said only that he assisted the others in planning, coordinating and preparing the operation.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Federal officials did not say why the men wanted to interfere with Landrieu’s phones or whether they were successful. Landrieu, a moderate Democrat, declined comment Tuesday. She has been in the news recently because she negotiated an increase in Medicaid funds for her state before announcing her support for Senate health care legislation.

Bill Flanagan’s office confirmed his son was among those arrested, but declined further comment.

An FBI criminal complaint charging the men was unsealed Tuesday, and a magistrate set bond at $10,000 each after they made their initial court appearances wearing red prison jumpsuits.

Much more on the breaking story @ TPM

UPDATE: What Is The Pelican Institute?

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Hat tip Media Matters

With O’Keefe arrest, Breitbart develops new-found appreciation for “facts”

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Haitian Ambassador Raymond Joseph Responds To Pat Robertson

Posted by: Audiegrl

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A Brief History Lesson on Haiti and the Louisiana Purchase

On October 1, 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of France, concluded the Treaty of San Ildefonso with Spain, which returned Louisiana to French ownership in exchange for a Spanish kingdom in Italy.

Napoleon’s ambitions in Louisiana involved the creation of a new empire centered on the Caribbean sugar trade. By terms of the Treaty of Ameins of 1800, Great Britain returned ownership of the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe to the French. Napoleon looked upon Louisiana as a depot for these sugar islands, and as a buffer to U.S. settlement. In October of 1801 he sent a large military force to retake the important island of Santo Domingo, lost in a slave revolt in the 1790s.

Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, was disturbed by Napoleon’s plans to re-establish French colonies in America. With the possession of New Orleans, Napoleon could close the Mississippi to U.S. commerce at any time. Jefferson authorized Robert R. Livingston, U.S. Minister to France, to negotiate for the purchase for up to $2 million of the City of New Orleans, portions of the east bank of the Mississippi, and free navigation of the river for U.S. commerce.

An official transfer of Louisiana to French ownership had not yet taken place, and Napoleon’s deal with the Spanish was a poorly kept secret on the frontier. On October 18, 1802, however, a strange thing happened. Juan Ventura Moralis, Acting Intendant of Louisiana, made public the intention of Spain to revoke the right of deposit at New Orleans for all cargo from the United States. The closure of this vital port to the United States caused anger and consternation, and commerce in the west was virtually blockaded. Historians believe that the revocation of the right of deposit was prompted by abuses of the Americans, particularly smuggling, and not by French intrigues as was believed at the time. President Jefferson ignored public pressure for war with France, and appointed James Monroe special envoy to Napoleon, to assist in obtaining New Orleans for the United States. Jefferson boosted the authorized expenditure of funds to $10 million.

Meanwhile, Napoleon’s plans in the Caribbean were being frustrated by Toussaint L’Ouverture, his army of former slaves, and yellow fever. During ten months of fierce fighting on Santo Domingo, France lost over 40,000 soldiers. Without Santo Domingo Napoleon’s colonial ambitions for a French empire were foiled in North America. Louisiana would be useless as a granary without sugar islanders to feed. Napoleon also considered the temper of the United States, where sentiment was growing against France and stronger ties with Great Britain were being considered. Spain’s refusal to sell Florida was the last straw, and Napoleon turned his attention once more to Europe; the sale of the now-useless Louisiana would supply needed funds to wage war there. Napoleon directed his ministers, Talleyrand and Barbe-Marbois, to offer the entire Louisiana territory to the United States – and quickly.

Click here for more…

If you’d like to see what the country looked like before the Louisiana Purchase, please click on the map below to enlarge.

Click on the map to enlarge

Check out A Tribute to Haitian Soldiers for Heroism in the American Revolution 1797

UPDATE: Haitians react to televangelist Pat Robertson’s ‘devil pact’ remarks

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Help for Haiti~Learn What You Can Do

Complete Haiti Relief Coverage Main PageHaiti Relief Coverage Main Page

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New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees and President Obama Team Up for Children’s Fitness

Posted by Buellboy

Dallas Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware, President Barack Obama, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu with Washington, D.C.-area children at the White House. Brees said it was the only time he had thrown a pass to someone wearing a Chicago Bears jacket.

Times-Picayune—In support of his United We Serve initiative, President Barack Obama and NFL stars Drew Brees, DeMarcus Ware and Troy Polamalu team up to highlight the importance of fitness for America’s children.

Obama joins Saints quarterback Brees, Steelers safety Polamalu and Cowboys linebacker Ware in a special public service announcement debuting during each of the three NFL games played on Thanksgiving.

The 90-second PSA is a joint effort of the NFL’s PLAY 60 campaign, a league-wide effort to fight childhood obesity by getting kids active for 60 minutes a day, and United We Serve, the president’s initiative encouraging all Americans to participate in community service.

The spot will continue airing throughout the rest of the season in a shorter format.

Through United We Serve, I have challenged all Americans to roll up their sleeves and engage in sustained service to strengthen our communities,” the president said. “For some of us that means volunteering at a soup kitchen or cleaning up a local park. For others, it means taking time to build a playground or volunteering your time to improve the life of a child.

Quarterback Drew Brees

No matter how we serve, we find common purpose when we dedicate ourselves to helping others. This holiday season, I am asking all Americans to find their own way to give back to their communities.”

The Saints’ Brees, who has been a national spokesman for the PLAY 60 campaign for the past two years, said, “We had about 25 minutes and did three different takes. I threw him a couple of passes. He was wearing his Chicago Bears jacket, so there was some ribbing about that.

Thanksgiving is a time when families come together, and it is also a perfect time to focus on the importance of keeping kids healthy and active,” Brees said. “I was honored to spend time with the president on an issue that is clearly important to him. I was also impressed by his wide receiver skills.”

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Louisiana Justice of the Peace Quits After Interracial Wedding Incident

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E. Keith Bardwell

AP/Melinda Deslatte—A Louisiana justice of the peace who refused to marry a couple because the bride was white and groom was black resigned Tuesday.

Keith Bardwell, who is white, quit the post with a one-sentence statement to Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne and no explanation of his decision: “I do hereby resign the office of Justice of the Peace for the Eighth Ward of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, effective November 3, 2009.”

Bardwell refused to perform the ceremony for Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay because they are of different races.

When questioned about his refusal, Bardwell acknowledged he routinely recuses himself from marrying interracial couples because he believes such marriages cause harm to the couples’ children. In interviews, he said he refers such couples to other justices of the peace, who then perform the ceremony, which happened in this case.

mckaycouplenterracial

Newlyweds Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay

Humphrey has said she and McKay received their marriage license from the parish clerk of court, where they also received a list of people qualified to perform the ceremony. When she called Bardwell’s office to ask about the ceremony on Oct. 6, Humphrey said Bardwell’s wife told her that the justice wouldn’t sign their marriage license because they were a “mixed couple.”

Humphrey and McKay have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Bardwell.

More @ Associated Press

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Some Unanswered Questions on the Justice of the Peace Who Refuses to Wed Interracial Couples Story

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HBO’s True Blood: Our Guiltiest Pleasure

trueblood-mouth2final

In the not-too-distant future, vampires have “come out of the coffin”. Thanks to the invention of mass-produced synthetic blood, vampires no longer need humans for their fix and can walk freely, if not yet comfortably, among their living counterparts – though they can still come out only at night.

Meanwhile, in the backwoods Louisiana town of Bon Temps, Sookie Stackhouse works as a waitress at the down-home bar Merlotte’s. Though outwardly normal, she has unusual qualities of her own: Sookie can read minds, which complicates her world in endless ways. But Sookie’s life becomes a lot more interesting when Merlotte’s gets its first vampire patron – the 173-year-old Bill Compton – and the two outsiders are immediately drawn to each other.

True Blood is HBO drama series created and produced by Alan Ball. It’s based on the The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris. It premiered on September 7, 2008.

Ball and Harris use vampires as a on-screen metaphor of the Gay communities quest for rights and equality. Through out the show the parallels can readily be seen. During the opening credit sequence there is a lone highway sign reads “God Hates Fangs”, vampires are said to “come out of the coffin”, and it’s mentioned that Vermont was the first state to legalize marriage between humans and vampires.

True Blood mixes horror, drama, comedy, sex and all other genres in an occasionally uneven but always entertaining show. Just think of it like this…True Blood is like Twilight for grown-ups…~~Audiegrl

True Blood Characters

sookie

Sookie Stackhouse

Portrayed by Anna Paquin
Raised by her grandmother alongside her brother Jason after her parents were killed on a bridge in a flash flood. Grew up with people thinking she was crazy, when really she just couldn’t handle hearing everyone’s thoughts all the time. Her parents once sent her to a therapist as a child. Though Sookie tried to explain she could hear people’s thoughts, the therapist convinced herself and Sookie’s parents that Sookie could just naturally interpret people’s body language. Never really dated anyone because she could always hear the crude, sex-crazed thoughts of her dates. Lived her entire life filtering out people’s thoughts until she met vampire Bill Compton whose vamp mind she couldn’t hear at all.

Best Line: “You might be a vampire, but you will respect me and treat me like the lady I am

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bill

Bill Compton

Portrayed by Stephen Moyer
Bill was born in April 9, 1835. He lived in Bon Temps, Louisiana and fought for the South during the Civil War. He was a married farmer with three children. In 1868, on his way home from the war, he was made a vampire by Lorena, with whom he had a long and stormy relationship. His return to his ancestral home of Bon Temps has been anything but tranquil. In love with Sookie–and struggling to reconcile their complicated lives–Bill also finds himself warding off threats from a growing cadre of powerful vampires. Throw in the responsibilities of his newly turned fledgling Jessica, and its almost enough to make Bill yearn for the good old days of lurking in the shadows.

Best Line: “You are different. The beauty and the tragedy of it is you don’t know how different you are.”

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eric

Eric Northman

Portrayed by Alexander Skarsgård
Born in 1046, made Vampire in 1077. As a teenager in Ninth century Scandinavia, Eric joined with a rogue band of warriors who refused to swear allegiance to any kingdom because, in his own words, “My destiny is to answer to no man.” Eric quickly became the leader of the group, which was briefly infamous for marauding on the coast of what is now Germany and Poland, until they mysteriously vanished after a battle in 1077. Eric did not speak about how he was made Vampire, or who made him, but has recently revealed that Godric is his Maker. Eric is of Norse “Viking” descent. He “made” Pam and she has been his friend & coworker numerous times over the years. He owns the tourist-y gothic vampire bar called Fangtasia in Shreveport.

Best Line: “You know how you feel with my blood inside you? Well, being a vampire is like that… times a million.”

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93246_ryan-kwanten-as-jason-stackhouse-in-character-art-for-hbos-true-blood-season-22

Jason Stackhouse

Portrayed by Ryan Kwanten
Jason Stackhouse is Sookie’s older brother. He’s the handsome philanderer of Bon Temps. His best friend is Hoyt Fortenberry.
Jason was accused of murdering four women. The first two, known as “fang-bangers,” were Dawn Green and Maudette Pickens. The other two were the “V” addict and short-time waitress at Merlotte’s, Amy Hurley, and his own grandmother, Adelle Stackhouse. However he got out of jail after the real killer, Rene Linier, was caught, who was one of his good friends. Jason was a briefly a member of the Fellowship of the Sun Church, a cult that believe vampires are abominations and all deserve to burn in hell.

Best Line: “I need something stronger, not true blood something better. You know something more like the color of the walls in here

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sam

Sam Merlotte

Portrayed by Sam Trammell
Ever since vampires arrived in bon Temps, manning the local bar has felt a lot more like running an asylum. Amidst the commotion, Sam has yet to come to terms with his own crisis–that he’s a shapeshifter living secretly among humans. Sam was adopted. When his adopted family started realising that there was something different about Sam they started distancing themselves from him. His Stepmother witnessed Sam shape-shifting into a dog as Sam ran into the woods. One day Sam returned home to an empty house. His adoptive parents had left. He had been abandoned. And as long as he keeps running from his past and hiding the truth from those he’s closest to, it will continue to haunt him.

Best Line: “I’m a social animal

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tara

Tara Thornton

Portrayed by Rutina Wesley
Ever the sharp wit, Tara can tell something is fishy about her new living arrangements with Maryann Forrester and company. But after being kicked out, condemned and disowned by a mother who’s done nothing but abuse her, Tara has no intention of hunting down more troubles. Though she won’t win any congeniality awards, Tara has been Sookie’s loyal best friend since childhood. She’s built up a tough exterior by taking care of her alcoholic mother at home, but the stress can make her quick to anger. She may have found her perfect job at Merlottes Bar, where she can turn her temper to keep unruly customers in line. Still, she has a soft spot in her heart for Sookie and her brother, Jason.

Best Line: I’m an excellent driver. But you can not prepare for a naked lady and a hog in the middle of the road!

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charlaineharrissm

NYT Bestselling Author Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris has been a published novelist for over twenty-five years. A native of the Mississippi Delta, she grew up in the middle of a cotton field. Now she lives in southern Arkansas with her husband, her three children, three dogs, and a duck. The duck stays outside.

Harris decided to write the book she’d always wanted to write. Not a traditional mystery, nor yet pure science fiction or romance, Dead Until Dark broke genre boundaries to appeal to a wide audience of people who just enjoy a good adventure. Each subsequent book about Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic Louisiana barmaid and friend to vampires, werewolves, and various other odd creatures, has drawn more readers. The southern vampire books are published in Japan, Great Britain, Greece, Germany, Thailand, Spain, France, and Russia.

Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries

Dead Until DarkLiving Dead in DallasClub DeadDead to the World
Dead As a DoornailDefinitely DeadAll Together DeadFrom Dead to WorseDead and GoneA Touch of Dead

True Blood Rocks the 2009 Scream Awards

The Scream Awards is an award show dedicated to the horror, sci-fi, and fantasy genres of feature films. Originally only having Scream Queen and Heroic Performance awards for actors, the personnel awards have expanded to include actors and actresses of all three recognized genres.

This year True Blood walked away with four awards.

    Best Horror Actor~~Steven Moyer
    Best Horror Actress~~Anna Paquin
    Best Horror Villain~~Alexander Skarsgård
    Best Horror TV Show~~True Blood

True Blood Fan Sites

HBO: True Blood

True Blood Fan Wiki

Loving True Blood in Dallas

Official Charlaine Harris Website

True-Blood.net

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Some Unanswered Questions on the Justice of the Peace Who Refuses to Wed Interracial Couples Story

Posted by Audiegrl

Mildred and Richard Loving

Mildred and Richard Loving

It’s ironic that last Wednesday Louisiana was visited by the President of the United States, who just happens to be a biracial child of a interracial marriage. It was also the day that the story broke about the Louisianan Justice of the Peace who refused to marry a interracial couple. We all thought that in 1967, in the case Loving vs. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot prohibit marriages simply because of the race of the spouses. But E. Keith Bardwell has other ideas.

One of the things the National media has not picked up on yet… In the past, Bardwell has always campaigned as a Democratic Justice of the Peace (1996, 2002, 2008). His ward is in a historically Democratic area. As of 12/31/2008 Bardwell switched parties and is now listed as a Republican. We would like to know what prompted this abrupt change in political parties? What happened that would make a long time Democrat in a Democratic district change party affiliations?

Another thing the National media has not picked up on yet… Due to some great investigative journalism by local reporter Don Ellzey of the Hammond Daily Star, we know that:

Bardwell said the State Attorney General told him years ago that he would eventually get into trouble for not performing interracial marriages.

I told him if I do, I’ll resign,” Bardwell said. “I have rights too. I’m not obligated to do that just because I’m a justice of the peace.”

The 44 Diaries has contacted the Louisiana State’s Attorney’s office to get further clarification. We contacted Jennifer Roche, the Public Information Officer for the Louisiana Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell. We specifically asked if the LSA office had any official statement on this incident. We also asked if the LSA office had any comment on Bardwell’s claim that a “State Attorney General told him years ago that he would eventually get into trouble for not performing interracial marriages.” If a previous AG knew he was doing something illegal, then why was he allowed to run for and serve as justice of the peace all these years? We contacted the office Friday afternoon by both phone and email, and have not recieved a reply yet. We will gladly provide an update once those questions have been answered.

Newlyweds Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay

Newlyweds Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay

CNN/AP—A justice of the peace in Louisiana who has drawn widespread criticism for refusing to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple says he has no regrets about his decision.

It’s kind of hard to apologize for something that you really and truly feel down in your heart you haven’t done wrong,” Keith Bardwell told CNN affiliate WAFB on Saturday.

Bardwell, a justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward, refused to issue a marriage license to Beth Humphrey, 30, and her then boyfriend, Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond.

Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal

Bardwell’s actions have elicited reactions from some top officials, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who called for Bardwell’s dismissal.

This is a clear violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law. … disciplinary action should be taken immediately — including the revoking of his license,” the Republican governor said Friday.

AP—Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

E. Keith Bardwell

E. Keith Bardwell

I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”

There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”

AP—Bardwell has said he always asks if a couple is interracial and, if they are, refers them to another justice of the peace. Bardwell said no one had complained in the past and he doesn’t marry the couples because he’s worried about their children’s futures.

William P. Quigley

William P. Quigley

Perhaps he’s worried the kids will grow up and be president,” said Bill Quigley, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice, referring to President Barack Obama, the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas.

Obama’s deputy press secretary Bill Burton echoed those sentiments.

I’ve found that actually the children of biracial couples can do pretty good,” Burton told reporters aboard Air Force One as it flew to Texas.

Bardwell maintains he can recuse himself from marrying people. Quigley disagreed.

A justice of the peace is legally obligated to serve the public, all of the public,” Quigley said. “Racial discrimination has been a violation of Louisiana and U.S. law for decades. No public official has the right to pick and choose which laws they are going to follow.”

A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Judiciary Commission said investigations were confidential and would not comment. If the commission recommends action to the Louisiana Supreme Court, the matter would become public.

U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA)

U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA)

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said in a statement Bardwell’s practices and comments were deeply disturbing.

Not only does his decision directly contradict Supreme Court rulings, it is an example of the ugly bigotry that divided our country for too long,” she said.

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Gordon Burgess, Tangipahoa Parish President

Gordon Burgess, Tangipahoa Parish President

Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess said Bardwell’s views were not consistent with his or those of the local government. But as an elected official, Bardwell was not under the supervision of the parish government.

However, I am certainly very disappointed that anyone representing the people of Tangipahoa Parish, particularly an elected official, would take such a divisive stand,” Burgess said in an e-mail. “I would hope that Mr. Bardwell would consider offering his resignation if he is unable to serve all of the people of his district and our parish.”

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Groups Upset Man Wouldn’t Marry Interracial Couple

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