Friday Reads from Louisiana La La Land

Good Morning!

So, I’m sorry but I have to go all local today on ya!  There are just so many deliciously nonsensical things going on here that I cannot resist.

First, you download (7)know about our “kissing Congressman” if you’ve been awake and on line for several days. I first wrote about Congressman McAllister back in November when he won the special election.  There were several things that separated him from the politics as usual up there in Crackerland Central.

First, he had never run for office before but he was rich enough from that old grifter business known as the funeral parlor to self finance and win.  Second his buddies the let’s get ducks all horny and shoot’em for fun dudes helped him with commercials and such.  Third, he’s been telling Louisiana that we really need to take that federal money and extend medicaid benefits under Obamacare.

Now, we already know that it’s worked for the poor folk in Kentucky.  The difficulty down here is that our Governor doesn’t govern, he prepares his resume for his next political office and he’s got a small, tiny hard on for at run a the presidency.    Which, brings us to Jindal Gate.  Some of us think some of his buddies leaked the photos of congressman kissy face with Mrs. Peacock in the Alley by the camera.

The day this story broke was basically a day the press jumped on the usual republican family values dude falls short kinda headline day. But, over on facebook, a bunch of us who watch Louisiana politics like most folks watch the Saints thought hmmmmmmm, this is a little weird.  Lamar–who actually manages to stay up later than me–got to writing the story first and he gets tremendous Scooby Snax for it.  His article basically went viral but it seems that some folks are still trying to get back to the Congressman up in your family values face who was caught on video passionately smooching a friend’s wife who was also one of his paid  staffers.

The deal is this folks.  Check out the date on the video that’s been every where.  The kiss happened before Christmas in his office with Mrs Peacock right in front of the security cameras which was also the office and the security cameras of his predecessor.  This is the predecessor that retired early so Bobby Jindal’s handpicked buddy could go to congress.  That hand picked buddy called McAllister a liberal for supporting the federal extension of medicaid that Bobby Jindal doesn’t like, won’t take, and has chosen as the first little policy roll out of his pathetic attempt to get national attention.  Then, notice how quickly Politico got the tape.  The story originated from the Oachita Citizen whose owner backed the opponent and basically runs a virtual small town paper that’s about as notable as the PTA minutes from your local elementary school. Lamar’s got a tick tock that really lays it all out for you.

The story was first broken at 12:19PM by The Ouachita Citizen, a fledgling website that claims to have a paid readership of more than 5,200 people but, based on third-party web traffic analytical data, likely has a daily audience of between 200-300 unique visitors. An hour and a half later, the story was on the front page of Politico. An hour later, it was covered by almost every national news outlet in the United States- Fox, CBS, The Washington Post, NBC.

With all due respect to John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman, the two Politico journalists who broke the story nationally, it defies logic that they somehow randomly stumbled on a story published on a website that even most Louisianians have never heard of and verified the authenticity and provenance of a blurry surveillance video (which, by the way, was behind a paywall) all within a span of 90 minutes. No, this leak was coordinated and planned, and more than likely, considering it was recorded nearly four months ago, it had been in the works for a long time.

Notably, The Ouachita Citizen strongly supported State Senator Neil Riser, calling Mr. McAllister a “liberal” in a bizarre, apoplectic rant, which, ostensibly was an endorsement of Riser but reads more like a scathing attack against McAllister for supporting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. In its report on the McAllister video, The Ouachita Citizen claims to have received the video from an “anonymous” source, but somehow, inexplicably, they were able to verify the video’s provenance. The Ouachita Citizen, in my opinion, bordered on recklessness in their reporting, publishing Mrs. Peacock’s home address and implying, without any evidence whatsoever, that she may have never actually married her own husband. It seemed, to me, nasty and personal, motivated by more than a mere desire to inform the public.

20140403-kiss-x600-1396549483So, the fun part started yesterday when the head of the Louisiana Republican Party and then Jindal got all in a righteous huff about the kiss.  They called for his resignation because you know!!!  Religious right wing indignation and all that!  Funny thing is that both these asses were not so outraged when Diaper Dave Vitter was found on the list of the DC Madam and his diaper escapades went viral on the internet.  So, blogger, journalism professor, and political junkie Bob Mann can’t help but wonder if Vitter’s wet dreams of being governor aren’t going to wind up in the diaper pail?  I’ll see your kiss and raise you a felony soliciting prostitutes.  You know, the same kinda thing that forced a New York Governor to resign. But, not David Vitter, he’s pathetic entitled lily white ass just keeps on going and going and going …

Vitter, as you will recall, was embroiled in a sordid sex scandal in the summer of 2007, finally admitting to a “serious sin,” which everyone knew meant he had paid prostitutes for sex.

As Louisiana Republican Party leaders from Gov. Bobby Jindal to the Louisiana Republican Party called for McAllister’s resignation, a logical question for many journalists and other observers was: “If simply kissing a female staffer is a moral outrage that should cost someone his seat in Congress, why is it a lesser offense for a U.S. senator to pay prostitutes for sex?”

It’s a very good question and one which neither Jindal nor party officials addressed today after condemning McAllister. Vitter, of course, refused comment, too.

I’ll save for another day a full review of the rank hypocrisy of Jindal and GOP leaders who think it’s just dandy for the morally challenged Vitter to continue serving in the United States Senate, but find themselves absolutely repulsed by the idea of McAllister’s on-camera lip lock.

That’s like forgiving a bank robber, and then throwing the book at someone who writes a bad check.

Regardless, the uncomfortable questions keep coming from reporters, from the Twitter-sphere and elsewhere. Sure, the questions will eventually go away once McAllister himself has gone away.

Yet, that almost every political observer in Louisiana – upon hearing about Jindal’s call for McAllister’s resignation – immediately thought of Vitter’s prostitution scandal should tell Vitter and his Republican allies something.

Vitter may have assumed his sordid past was behind him. It isn’t – and this time next year it may be front and center in the Louisiana governor’s race.

So what is Jindal all uptight about?  He doesn’t say ONE word about Vitter but wow, the kissing congressman should resign because he’s an download (8)“embarassment”. Rank hypocrisy stinks enough, but there are those of us that really think he’s known about this tape for some time, is dropping it to get rid of a problem, and that some one close to him got that tape.

“Congressman McAllister’s behavior is an embarrassment and he should resign,” Jindal said in a statement. “He says he wants privacy to work on his issues with his family. The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress.”

Notice Jindal’s response to Vitter’s gubernatorial aspirations and the one thing that really stands out in this announcement is what little issue here?

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R): “It is far too early for me to be making an endorsement.”
“I appreciate his working with us on an issue that I think is one of the most important issues in the state of Louisiana.” — regarding Jindal’s 2012 education overhaul.


“I also appreciate his steadfast opposition to Obamacare, to the ACA.”

Yeah.  Like I don’t smell that unique mix of Curry and Watergate salad coming from the Capitol City. Bobby and Diaper Dave may hate each other, but Jindal does not want any one messing with his foray into health policy wonkery.   I really really want the FBI to go for it, believe me. Just in case you want to see the response to the Vitter thing by Jindal.  Well, here it is.

While we are disappointed by Senator Vitter’s actions, Supriya and I continue to keep David and his family in our prayers. This is a matter for the Senator to address, and it is our hope that this is not used by others for their own political gain.

 

Wedding-candy-bulk-milk-chocolate-font-b-hershey-b-font-font-b-kisses-b-font-singleOther uber embarrassing things are just adding to my desire to see New Orleans ask France to negotiate a retake.  This one tops my list.  Please, please, please can some one read these idiots the first amendment with emphasis on the establishment clause?


Legislation
 that would make the Holy Bible the official state book of Louisiana cleared the House Committee on Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs with a vote of 8-5 Thursday afternoon. It will now head to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, originally filed a bill to declare a specific copy of the Bible, found in the Louisiana State Museum system, the official state book. But by the time he presented the proposal to the committee, he changed language  in his legislation to make the generic King James version of the Bible, a text used worldwide, the official state book.

Still, Legislators became concerned that the proposal wasn’t broad enough and did not reflect the breadth of Bibles used by religious communities. In particular, some lawmakers worried that singling out the King James version of the Bible would not properly reflect the culture of Louisiana. The Catholic Church, for example, does not use the King James text.

“Let’s make this more inclusive of other Christian faiths, more than just the ones that use the King James version,” said Rep. Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro.

A few committee members fought the bill vehemently, saying the legislation was likely to upset some citizens who are not Christian and open the state up to legal challenges.

“I am so bothered by this bill that I just called my pastor. My pastor just said that he thinks we are going to have a legal problem,” said Rep. Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, who voted against the legislation.

Rep. Ebony Woodruff, D-Harvey, tried to amend the bill to declare “all books of faith” the official state books of Louisiana, but the proposal failed 5-8. When asked if he would be open to making “all books of faith” a group of official state books, Carmody was fairly adamant in his opposition.

Well not even New Orleans is exempt from the usual asshattery.  After being found guilty of basically emptying the city’s accounts for personal trips, home improvements, clothes, family vacations, and all kinds of meals and stuff, we now have a plea for a legal defense fund for Ray Nagin.  Yeah, try kiss-part-12not to trip all over yourselves helping him get more money from others.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s legal defense fund is real, and it has at least one donation.

After rapper 9th Ward Gucci (@IAM9THWARD) tweeted a pic of a digital receipt acknowledging his donation, Nagin (@RayNagin) retweeted the shot, appended with a shout out. “Maximum respect. Donated, spoke out, not intimidated. U the man!”

Try not to spend that $10 all in one place Ray Ray!

I did want to point to a story about one recent story about a crime here in uptown near the Tulane Campus.  This crime is really strange for a variety of reasons.  Not the least is the name given to the victim by the perp.

She first encountered the man, who introduced himself as “Patrick,” on April 1. She was visiting the Carrollton home of a friend, and saw the man staring at her from behind cars parked in the driveway next door.

“He was this huge, beefed-up young guy,” she said, “and the neighbors are middle-aged. My friends and I are all in our 30s. This guy just didn’t fit in.”

She remembers him saying, “Hi, I’m Patrick.” Uninterested in engaging with him, she didn’t respond and he walked away toward Carrollton Avenue.

The next day, she returned to the Green Street home. She started getting out materials to finish painting the trim on her friend’s front porch. It was still daylight. She thinks it was 5:30 or 6 p.m.

Suddenly, there was “Patrick” again.

This time he approached within eight to 10 feet and began pestering her with questions, small talk, and overtures to go out. He even raised his tight-fitting T-shirt, trying to impress her with his hairless, hardened abs.

“I’m sure I rolled my eyes and probably snorted or something,” she said. “I can be pretty icy, but he just kept on. I was getting kind of pissy, because I came here to paint a house, not listen to some college boy chat me up. I’m old enough to be this guy’s mom, practically.

“He said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry if I offended you. Let me introduce myself.’ And I’m 90 percent sure he said his last name was Bateman.”

Patrick Bateman, she later learned, is the name of the fictional rapist, sadist and serial killer who narrates Bret Easton Ellis’ novel “American Psycho,” made into a 2000 film starring Christian Bale.

Tired of his advances, she packed up her paints and brushes and went back inside her friend’s house and locked the door behind her. She was alone.

The man in the front yard walked away, she recalled.

So a few minutes later, she went to the restroom, closed the door, and drew a bath. As she finished bathing, she heard the stereo turned on and assumed her homeowner friend was home early from work.

“But it was really loud, and it was NPR,” she said. “Like, who blasts NPR?”

The woman dried off and got dressed in a shirt, blue jeans and socks. Her boots, and a canvas bag with her cell phone, were left behind as she came out of the bathroom. She called out to her friend, then to her friend’s husband, momentarily forgetting he was out of town on business.

She came down the hall to find “Patrick,” staring at her impassively. A black rope was in his left hand.

“He looked so much bigger inside the house than he did outside,” she recalled. “This dude was massive.”

The woman — 5 feet, 5 inches tall and 130 pounds — says she has taken Krav Maga self-defense classes and is physically fit from a job requiring manual labor. “But this guy was probably 6-1 or 6-2, and he probably outweighed me by 100 pounds,” she said. “All that self-defense stuff just doesn’t work when somebody is that much bigger than you.

“It was like fighting a tree.”

It seems women and children are never safe.

Some times a kiss is not just a kiss.

 

Here are some other headlines that you may want to check out:

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Resigning via ABC NEWS.

CBS announces that Steven Colbert will be David Letterman’s Replacement and Rush Limbaugh gets the sads. “THE LATE

Some lady threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton in Los Vegas .

 Well,  that’s it from me.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


Bobby Jindal: Right Wing Vote Troll

I’d like to suggest Brown University call the Governor of Louisiana up to yank his degree in science.  He obviously learned nothing.  I’d also like NBC to explain why it felt izyPZinterviewing a governor for an education feature that has the most anti-education agenda that’s ever come down the pipe in any state.  How many governors of states do you know have defunded higher education in their state by over 40% and bragged about draining state education funds to schools that teach that dinosaurs roamed the garden of Eden and the Loch Ness Monster is real?  Because, well, that’s Governor Bobby Jindal’s education plan.  However, we all know that he’s just trolling for right wing votes and funding for his upcoming presidential run.  Yes, good education for children is all about public funding of christofascist madrassas, NBC!  Way to give air time to the crazy!

Jindal also said he has no problem with creationism being taught in public schools as long as a local school board OK’s it. Since the state is committed to national academic standards, he said, as long as schools are teaching evolution they should be allowed to teach other theories as well. “What are we scared of?” he said. “Let (students) debate and learn … give them critical thinking skills.”

Once again this year, anti-creationism activists led by college student Zack Kopplin and state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, are trying to repeal the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act that permits science teachers to use “supplemental materials” in the classroom.

Also voicing support for vouchers earlier in the afternoon was state Education Superintendent John White, who tried to depoliticize the issue. When he was a child, he said, the kindergarten in his neighborhood was lousy, so his parents voted with their pocketbook and sent him to private school. He said he has trouble, “on a moral basis, explaining why I shouldn’t extend that right to a person whose wallet” isn’t as full as his parents’ was.

White also promoted his plans to unify the state’s disparate early childhood programs and improve career and technical education in high schools. For students who don’t want a four-year traditional college education, “What is their viable path to the American middle class?” he asked, pointing out that many jobs in Louisiana require advanced training but not a college diploma.

On the whole, White expressed optimism about the direction New Orleans schools are going, saying, “I think this is a Silicon Valley of public education in America.”

500x_ap100715028062Oh, be sure to take John White’s word for it.  Afterall, he’s a professional liar with the thinnest education resume ever but he’s Jindal’s pointman on trolling for evangelical support with dubious educational policies and figures that never stand up to fact checks.  Jindal’s antics are beginning to be outed in blogs and media every where.  It just seems NBC didn’t have enough researchers on staff to get the notice and Hoda Kotb is spending way too much time with wine and what’s her name up there in NYC.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is on the defensive; his far right social agenda has been soundly rejected by voters, and his popularity has imploded as the public understands exactly what Jindal has been trying to pull. And yesterday he gave an interview that made it even clearer: despite his talk about “moderation,” Bobby Jindal is just as much of a religious fanatic reactionary as any other Republican: Jindal Defends School Vouchers in NBC Interview.

I believe this is the first time Jindal has come right out and said he’s in favor of teaching creationism in public schools, although it’s been obvious from his political agenda. This is the GOP “reformer” — just another anti-science caveman.

In a way I’m glad to see him finally dropping all the pretense and openly admitting what his voucher program is intended to do: put right wing religious mythology on an equal footing with modern science, and instill government-sanctioned ignorance in the children of Louisiana. It’s nauseating, but at least it’s now out in the open.

You know this is totally anecdotal, but I’ve taught undergrad and grad classes in Louisiana in several universities.   I just don’t see any difference between kids coming out of the public schools and kids coming out of the private schools that stay here and attend local universities.  I think the folks down here are pretty deluded about the outcomes they think their kids are getting from private schools.  The public school where I come would kick the ass of the best private schools down here in no time flat but then, high property taxes there have always supported the schools.  Granted, the talented kids from both sets of schools here leave the state and go elsewhere pretty quickly.

The thing that drives private school attendance seems to be folks looking to stay within a very narrow social group, racial group, religious group or whatever.   The performance of the private charter schools down here are as varied as the public schools down here.  Same with the religious ones.  The one thing I will say thing New Orleans Public School now guarantee is a ‘creationist’ free zone.  That alone means some sanity you won’t find other places.  Just a reminder, here’s a link to MOJO and 14 completely whacky things that kids learn down here in schools that are now getting our precious state dollars.

“Bible-believing Christians cannot accept any evolutionary interpretation. Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on the earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years.”—Life Science, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2007

But then, if you are the poster child for stupid governors in the stupid party, you just gotta troll for votes where you can get them. Jindal is the master of vote trolling.

1. He permits Louisiana schools to teach creationism. Thanks to Jindal’s educational voucher system in Louisiana, students will be attending private or parochial schools on the taxpayer’s dime. But those schools don’t necessarily meet the standards of the state’s public schools, and may teach students creationism instead of standard science curricula.

2. He allows state employees to be fired for being gay. During his first few months as governor, Jindal decided not to renew an anti-discrimination executive order protecting LGBT employees who work for the state. Jindal has also said that same sex marriage opens up a path for courts to overturn the Second Amendment.

3. He has signed bills to intimidate women seeking abortions. Jindal compared women who have gotten abortions to criminals. But that unpalatable sentiment also came with a policy change — he signed a bill that requires all abortion clinics to post intimidating messages in their waiting rooms, and establishes a website that points women to crisis pregnancy centers instead of abortion-providing facilities. Jindal also signed a measure creating a 24-hour waiting period between a woman’s mandatory ultrasound and the date of her abortion.

4. He seeks to dramatically cut taxes for the wealthy, increase taxes for everyone else. Jindal’s latest tax proposal would raise taxes for 80 percent of Louisianians. The poorest 20 percent — with an average income of $12,000 — would face substantial tax increases, while those in the top one percent would on average get a tax cut of $25,423.

5. He refuses to provide health care for Louisiana’s poorest. Louisiana has the third highest uninsured rate in the country. Twenty percent of residents lack insurance of any kind. But as one of the governors vehemently opposed to Obamacare, Jindal turned down the Medicaid expansion offered under the law, ignoring the fact that it would drastically lower the numbers of uninsured and ultimately save the state money on emergency care.

Yup, NBC.  That is certainly the type of guy you want to interview on the value of a good education.  Way to go!!!


Poke a fork in his buns cause Jindal’s Done …

littletoughguy2Ah, the sweet sounds of media all over the country writing obituaries for Bobby Jindal’s political career. It’s hard not to gloat from my little corner of the state that finally wised up.  He’s just been called the “R” word.  That would be Romney.

Monday’s article on the nation’s least popular governors did not include Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, because he is not up for re-election in 2014. (Louisiana’s next gubernatorial election will be in 2015, and Mr. Jindal will not be eligible, having served two consecutive terms.) But recent surveys suggest that Mr. Jindal has become very unpopular in his home state amid a series of battles on fiscal policy. A March poll from Southern Media & Opinion Research put Mr. Jindal’s approval rating at just 38 percent, against 60 percent disapproval. His numbers had been similarly poor in a February survey by Public Policy Polling.

Some national political commentators are treating the news as being self-evidently injurious to Mr. Jindal’s chances of capturing the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Obviously, Mr. Jindal has plenty of time to turn around his image in Louisiana. But if he doesn’t, would Republicans really consider nominating someone who is so deeply unpopular among his own constituents?

Actually, you don’t have to go back very far to find a precedent for when Republicans did exactly that. Their nominee last year, Mitt Romney, was very unpopular among Massachusetts voters by the time he finished his single term as governor in 2006.

Can you hear the sound of the funeral pipes playin’ over Bayou Corne?  Maybe it’s just the bat phone in Baton Rouge ringing so that Grover Norquist and the Koch Brothers can call the Governor on his retreat from their pet ALEC policies. Excuse me whilst I enjoy my champagne.

In a short address Monday on the first day of the legislative session, Gov. Bobby Jindal described why his next big plan — a plan that had been applauded by conservative pundits nationally, pitched at meetings around the state and promoted in slickly produced commercials — was crucial to Louisiana’s success.

Then he announced he was shelving it.

“Governor, you’re moving too fast, and we aren’t sure that your plan is the best way to do it,” Mr. Jindal said, describing what he had heard from legislators and citizens alike.

“Here is my response,” he said. “O.K., I hear you.”

The plan, to get rid of the state income and corporate taxes and replace the lost revenue with higher and broader sales taxes, was not dropped altogether. Mr. Jindal emphasized that he was still committed to losing the income tax, but that he would defer to the Legislature to suggest how exactly to make that work.

But it was a rare admission of defeat for Mr. Jindal, 41, a constant Republican in the mix for 2016 and rising conservative luminary since his early 20s. And it was only the latest in a season of setbacks.

In the fall, Mr. Jindal was tapped to lead the Republican Governors Association and after the 2012 election appeared often on national op-ed pages and at Washington forums, diagnosing the party’s ills and earning a reputation as a politician who could deliver straight talk.

Back home in Louisiana his troubles were piling up. Unfavorable polls, once discounted as the byproduct of an ambitious agenda, were only getting worse — recently much worse.

The governor’s statewide school voucher program, a pillar of his education reform package, was blocked by a trial court judge on constitutional grounds.

Judges have since also blocked his revamp of teacher tenure rules and a change of the state retirement system (the administration has appealed the rulings and is pushing for legislative action should they stand).

Then at the end of March, Mr. Jindal’s health secretary, Bruce Greenstein, announced his resignation amid reports of a federal grand jury investigation into the awarding of a $185 million state contract. Mr. Greenstein had also been the point man for one of the administration’s most complex, consequential and potentially risky projects: the accelerated transfer of the state’s safety-net hospital system to a system of public-private partnerships.

All along, opposition to the tax swap was growing broader and more bipartisan by the day. Clergy members urged the governor to drop the plan, saying it could hurt the poor, while the state’s most prominent chamber of commerce group came out against the plan for its potential impact on businesses.

Yes, there will be no obvious robbing from the middle class poor in the land of the Kingfish this year! Can we just use TPM’s words and say POLITICAL COLLAPSE!

Sure the GOP may need a little outreach here and a little fine tuning there, but Republicans in Washington say they’re confident that a principled message of low taxes and cuts to social services will eventually propel them back to victory. They may want to take a look at Louisiana first.

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), considered a leading presidential contender in 2016, is suffering a political meltdown in his home state. His approval rating plummeted to 38 percent in a poll last week by the non-partisan Southern Media Opinion & Research, down from 60 percent just a year ago. In an ominous sign for national Republicans, the immediate cause is a sweeping economic agenda with strong parallels to the House GOP’s latest budget.

On Monday, Jindal scrapped his own proposal to eliminate the state’s income and corporate taxes and replace them with a statewide tax on sales and business services. His retreat was a concession to the reality that the proposal was headed towards a humiliating defeat — and taking Jindal down with it along the way. Jindal said in a speech to lawmakers that the backlash against his plan “certainly wasn’t the reaction I was hoping to hear,” but that he would respect the public’s wishes and start again.

Jindal’s proposal was different than tax plans by national Republicans like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in that it planned to eliminate income and corporate taxes entirely instead of just lower rates, but the provisions that inflamed the public against it overlap plenty with national GOP proposals. Namely, both plans generated complaints from economists that they would require regressive tax increases on the poor and middle class to pay for lower taxes for the wealthy.

Grover Norquist, the intellectual leader of the anti-tax crowd in Washington, had praised Jindal’s plan as “the boldest, most pro-growth state tax reform in U.S. history.” He noted that it was particularly significant, because with Obama positioned to veto anything resembling the House GOP’s budget for the next several years, Louisiana might be Republicans’ best chance to show off their tax ideas on the state level.

“The national media and Acela-corridor crowd continue to focus on the bickering Washington, but they can learn what real tax reform looks like by looking to Louisiana,” Norquist said.

It didn’t turn out that way. Only 27 percent of Louisiana voters supported the plan in the latest SMOR poll versus a whopping 63 percent opposed. The idea didn’t even garner majority support among Republicans.

I guess we’re not as dumb as they think we look.  However, I think Jindal is not as smart as they think he is either …


Jindal proposes a huge tax increase on the Middle class

BJ-WIPThis is almost unbelievable. Jindal’s released his tax plan in a push to eliminate all corporate and income taxes in the state. This plan is likely to kill many small businesses and will push up taxes for the majority of folks in Louisiana. It is also a killer tax for tourist-related industries.  This is an ALEC-inspired scheme so it’s possible the plan will pop up in other states with Republican governors. I can’t say enough about Louisiana being the Petri dish for the virus that is ALEC.  It is hyper-regressive.  It’s a total slam to the purchasing power and incomes of most families and is unlikely to inspire any movement to the state.  Most corporations rank life style and availability of good education, cultural events and sports teams above corporate tax schemes when listing relocation criteria.

The proposal — which would tax $1.4 billion in services not currently taxed by the state — will be debated in the legislative session that starts next month.

Legislation detailing the proposal has yet to be filed. However, the Jindal administration gave an overview of the plan, which would take effect in January. The details include:

  • Raising state sales tax by 47 percent. The state sales tax would increase from 4 percent to 5.88 percent.
  • More than tripling the state cigarette excise tax by raising it from 36 cents a pack to $1.41 a pack. The increase would put Louisiana in line with what Texas charges.
  • Eliminating half of the tax exemptions used by the oil and gas industry.
  • Creating rebates for poor families and some retirees.
  • Erasing scores of tax exemptions, many of which would disappear with the elimination of the state’s personal income and corporate taxes.

The governor’s changes would punt Louisiana to the top of the list of states with the highest combined state and local sales taxes. The average combined rate now would top 10 percent.

Just to give you an idea of what that means to those of us that live and shop in New Orleans:

The planned increase in the sales tax would raise the current rate by about 47 percent and would come on top of local sales taxes. Residents in New Orleans, for example, would pay a combined rate of about 11 percent under the plan.

The proposal also calls for increasing the state’s cigarette tax from 36 cents to $1.41 per pack.

Louisiana already has one of the highest combined average state and local sales tax rate in the country and the increase would put the state at the top of that list, according to information from The Tax Foundation.

Sales taxes would be expanded to some services under the plan, said Tim Barfield, Jindal’s point man on the tax proposal. A number of professional services, such as healthcare, legal services and construction, would be exempt from sales taxes but the administration has not yet produced a definitive list of which services would be taxed.

I think this would just about sew up my already firm habit of buying just about everything but food on the internet.


Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Jindal Supporters

Repiblican PrayersI thought I’d take a break from discouraging Beltway political news to give all you folks that aren’t Louisiana Taxpayers and residents a reason to feel cheery. Here’s the kinds of things that Bubba Jindal thinks are terrific uses of tax payer resources: “Hippies Demonized in Louisiana Voucher School Textbook; Will Louisiana taxpayers continue funding Bobby Jindal’s right wing revisionism and biblical pseudoscience?”.  Yes, Bobby Jindal–the one who lectured the Republican party to stop being stupid–strikes again.   Evidently, Jindal likes his voters stupid.

If Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) gets his way Louisiana taxpayers will continue funding private school curricula rife with right-wing revisionism and biblical pseudoscience.

Jindal’s voucher program spends tens of millions of dollars in state funds to send low-income students to  one of 134 approved private schools. But the Louisiana Supreme Court will rule this month whether it’s constitutional to divert public funds to private institutions. Also of concern is the misinformation peddled in several approved voucher schools, many institutions espousing a right wing, Christian bastardization of social studies and science.

Most recently, AmericaBlog discovered a rather cartoonish depiction of one of the largest counter-culture movements in American history printed in a Louisiana voucher textbook. The 8 th grade history book, titled  America: Land I love, gives this lesson on hippies:

Many young people turned to drugs and immoral lifestyles; these youth became known as hippies. They went without bathing, wore dirty, ragged, unconventional clothing, and deliberately broke all codes of politeness or manners. Rock music played an important part in the hippie movement and had great influence over the hippies. Many of the rock musicians they followed belonged to Eastern religious cults or practiced Satan worship.

Of course, the devil’s influence extends beyond America’s “immoral” youth. Reads another textbook: “It is no wonder that Satan hates the family and has hurled his venom against it in the form of Communism.”

There are those of us that would like to see the state turn this situation around.  The emerging spokesperson is himself a young student. He was recently interviewed by Bill Moyers.

Religious fundamentalists backed by the right wing are finding increasingly stealthy ways to challenge evolution with the dogma of creationism. Their strategy includes passing education laws that encourage teaching creationism alongside evolution, and supporting school vouchers to transfer taxpayer money from public to private schools, where they can push a creationist agenda. But they didn’t count on 19-year-old anti-creationism activist Zack Kopplin.

From the time he was a high school senior in his home state of Louisiana, Kopplin has been speaking, debating, cornering politicians and winning the active support of 78 Nobel Laureates, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the New Orleans City Council, and tens of thousands of students, teachers and others around the country. The Rice University history major joins Bill to talk about fighting the creep of creationist curricula into public school science classes and publicly funded vouchers that end up supporting creationist instruction.

Here’s a list of things being killed by Jindal’s current budget “priorities”. I should actually use the phrase list of programs that will be eliminated that will kill people due to his current budget “priorities”.  That’s a bit more appropriate.  I would just like to add, please some one, help us!

First it was the closure of Southeast Louisiana Hospital, shutting off mental health services to residents of the state’s most densely populated area, then there was the move to “partner” state hospitals across the state with private facilities, followed by an unsuccessful attempt to terminate Hospice care.

Now Gov. Bobby Jindal, in submitting his executive budget, has announced intentions to cease immunizing the state’s indigent children at parish health units throughout the state.

Instead, private pediatricians will take over the duties of immunizing children under the state’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

Through the VFC program, vaccine is made available at no charge to enrolled public and private health care providers for eligible children, according to the Department of Health and Hospitals web page.

Children 18 years of age and younger who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, American Indian or native Alaskan are eligible for VFC.

But even if the immunizations themselves remain free, pediatricians will probably charge for an office visit—particularly those who do not accept Medicaid patients.

The cuts to the program were included in the Executive Budget presented to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget on Feb. 22. “One of the items included (in the budget) was restructuring of the administration of the DHH Office of Public Health’s (OPH) Vaccines for Children program,” said a statement released by DHH on Wednesday.

This is the man who calls himself a committed Catholic by the way and is hyper “pro-life”.

A good portion of Jindal’s ALEC-inspired laws are being stopped by the courts here in Louisiana by Republican judges. Just this month, his attempt to eliminate teacher tenure in public schools was thwarted.  He’s been in a hurry to shove as much stuff as possible before the 2016 presidential pre-election season starts.  He’s obviously courting the corporate and billionaire donors who want our country to look a loose affiliation of corporate-owned plantations.  Just keep watching him because many of these same things are popping up in states run by Republican governors.   Here’s a great rundown of Jindal’s agenda as well as a focus on how he’s becoming increasingly unpopular here in Louisiana.  We know he’s trying to take this stuff nationwide even though he says he’s focused on Louisiana.

He’s pushing to eliminate all corporate and personal income taxes, in favor of sales tax increases. He’s refused to expand Medicaid under Obama’s health-care overhaul, and he’s dismantling the state’s unique public hospital system, in no small part through his control over the leadership of the Louisiana State University System that runs the health-care enterprise. He has privatized parts of the Medicaid insurance program for the poor along with state workers’ health-care plan.

He’s dramatically cut the number of state workers, though mostly by issuing contracts to pay private firms to do the same work. He’s created one of the nation’s largest school voucher programs, with a price tag of $25 million this year and more than 4,900 students enrolled.

Yet for all his criticism of a big federal government, Jindal has approved its excess and accepted its bounty. As a congressman, he supported deficit budgets under President George W. Bush. Jindal, like every other governor, used federal stimulus money – provided through an Obama law that Jindal assailed – to balance his state budget for at least two years and, in many instances, he traveled to small towns to hand out checks to local government leaders, while sidestepping the explanation that the dollars came from federal coffers.

As many program cuts as Jindal has pushed in Louisiana, he’s feuded with his fellow Republicans in the Legislature who say he’s not done enough.

Jindal’s state government helped spend billions of dollars in federal rebuilding aid after multiple hurricanes, including Katrina. Louisiana just hosted the Super Bowl in a publicly owned stadium restored and upgraded with taxpayer money.

I know you all probably get a bit tired of my rants on this guy, but really, I’ve never seen one person destroy so many people’s lives in such a short time.  This is probably the most important part of the HuffPo piece that I just cited by Bill Barrow and Melinda DeSlatte.

Over his five years in office, Jindal has traveled to three dozen states to collect campaign dollars, meet voters and help other Republican candidates. He’s tapped into an extensive network of GOP fundraising and consulting firms that could help launch future political campaigns and built political relationships across key presidential states like Iowa and New Hampshire. And, as he pushes his tax overhaul, he’s hired former communications aides who worked for Romney and Mike Huckabee.

He’s trying to break into prime time and I’m joining as many of my Louisiana Krewe as possible to warn you all.  This man needs to be taken out of public disservice.