I got a lot of things that I didn’t bargain for when I moved South. I’ve been here long enough that you must know that I am a New Orleanian. I usually have dreams about not being able to get back to New Orleans when I am anywhere else; and they are usually high anxiety dreams. It’s like I am Dorothy just trying to find her way home.
I want to share some state news with you because the Jindal administration makes every thing about my state seem so damned backward these days. I know many of you think that these kinds of things can’t come to a state near you because the south is–well–so damned backwards. I am not so sure that a lot of this kind of nonsense isn’t going to sneak into places that might surprise you, so I am going to give you a little feel of the news down here that should make you very afraid of how parts of this country can completely toss modernity and the constitution aside to creep back in time. Take North Carolina or Florida or Ohio or a number of states. We’re living in a time where powers that be want to reassert their right to throw away any one that doesn’t fit their agenda.
This story is from right up the street from me. It is about the urban neighborhood between my Bywater and the French Quarter. We are in the process of gentrification. There are a lot of tensions that go with that. Now, it seems we have our own version of the Zimmerman case and a test of “Stand your Ground” laws. Are you in imminent danger when you’re like 30 feet away from an unarmed teenager? Is a minor break in really worth taking a life for?
Louisiana has its own version of the “stand your ground” law that got so much attention last year after neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a Florida town.
The state’s law also embraces the “castle doctrine,” a centuries-old legal principle that grants people the right to legally protect their property — homes, cars, businesses — from intruders.
But some lawyers and legal experts said neither of those provisions seem to fit in the case of 33-year-old Merritt Landry, who was booked last week on an attempted murder count in the shooting of 14-year-old Marshall Coulter in his front yard.
If Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office decides to charge Landry, the case boils down to a simple argument over self-defense: Whether Landry could reasonably have felt himself in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm when he fired at Coulter, lawyers said.
Coulter reportedly jumped a gate into Landry’s Faubourg Marigny yard in the early morning hours of July 26. Landry, an inspector with the Historic District Landmarks Commission, told police he approached the boy “from his front yard, near his vehicle. As he grew closer, the victim made a thwarted move, as if to reach for something. At that time, Landry fired one shot, striking the victim.”
A witness, unnamed in the brief police account, gave a conflicting account, though the report doesn’t describe the difference.
Just what “thwarted move” means, or what Coulter did, is unclear. But the report says police found a single, spent shell casing some 30 feet from the boy’s blood — about the span from Landry’s back door to the gate.
That distance suggests Landry wasn’t in a “stand your ground” situation, and it may complicate his case for self-defense, local defense attorney Craig Mordock said.
“This is far worse than Zimmerman for the defendant. If Zimmerman had these facts, I think he would have been convicted,” Mordock said. “If you’re 30 feet away, are you under a threat of imminent harm? Remember, Trayvon Martin is on top of Zimmerman.”
According to police, Coulter was not armed.
We’ve also made news at Politico and I’m not really proud of how we are “reinventing high school with private sector help.” Here is yet one more way to filter funds to republican donors at the expense of public schools and of children. Also, notice that we’re not the only state trying to do this.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s latest plans to reinvent public education with the aid of the business community will accelerate this fall with the launch of a novel program that lets high school students take classes from the private sector on the public dime.
State Superintendent John White said Monday that nearly 3,000 students have enrolled in an array of private-sector classes that the state has agreed to pay for, from math and literature to Japanese and German to hair styling, welding and nail manicuring. The classes, which carry regular high school credits, are taught by an eclectic mix of nonprofits, unions, trade associations and for-profit companies, as well as local colleges.
White said he had only budgeted $2 million for the program but would find another $1 million to cover demand, perhaps by leaving some open jobs in the state education department unfilled. And he plans to expand the program substantially next year. White said he is particularly interested in adding more vocational classes, though an analysis of enrollments that the state provided to POLITICO shows one of the most popular offerings is ACT Prep.
Louisiana’s Course Choice program represents a first foray into a new approach to public education as an “a la carte” offering. States including Utah, Idaho and Florida let public-school students take some classes online from approved providers.
But Louisiana aims to go further still, allowing students of all income levels to customize their course lists using taxpayer dollars to pay a broad range of public and private providers for classes they can’t get — or don’t believe are well taught — in their neighborhood schools.
It’s hard for me to watch our state move backwards to a plantation system of economy while having these steps touted as progress by the media and right wing politicians. Jindal continues to be our absentee governor as he moves around the country stumping with his unusual gift for bad speeches and confused rhetoric. He was in Iowa recently and now he’s gone to Virginia to dis Terry McAuliffe.
Republican Governors Association Chairman Bobby Jindal called on Democrats on Sunday to drop Terry McAuliffe as their nominee for governor of Virginia.
The governor of Louisiana seized on a report that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating GreenTech Automotive, the electric car company McAuliffe co-founded, over its conduct in soliciting foreign investors.
This is laughable given the hot water Jindal is in here at home. Jindal’s in trouble on many fronts. First there is the number and types of donors to his wife’s ‘charity’.
- After Jindal’s administration signed off on Marathon Oil’s request to increase its oil refinery’s output, the oil giant committed $250,000 to the foundation.
- AT&T needed Jindal’s signature on a bill giving the company more freedom to sell cable TV services. It committed $250,000 to his wife’s foundation.
- Northrop Grumman, a military contractor, forged a deal with the government to build a maintenance facility at a former Air Force base. It has pledged $10,000.
- Dow Chemical, a petrochemical company, was under investigation for a spill at one of its plants and, in 2009, the state proposed fining the company. Dow has pledged $100,000 to the charity and thus far hasn’t been fined.
- Alon USA, an Israeli oil company, wanted approval to release more pollutants at one of its refineries. It has pledged $250,000.
- D&J Construction has won $67.6 million in state contracts since 2009. It has pledged $10,000.
- Governor Jindal hasn’t “entirely distanced himself” from the charty, notes the Times. He’s pictured with his wife on the charity’s corporate solicitation web page and his chief fund-raiser is the charity’s treasurer, according to its tax returns.
Did Governor Bobby Jindal’s staff and Louisiana’s state education superintendent conspire to suppress a news story that the state had ”not performed site visits or extensive review of voucher applications?” It looks like it. From reporter Barbara Leader in the Monroe News-Star:
Emails between Louisiana Education Superintendent John White, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s spokesman Kyle Plotkin and Jindal’s policy adviser Stafford Palmieri show White devising a scheme to “muddy up a narrative” and to “take some air out of the room” after a news report about the new voucher program that was published before his Senate confirmation hearing in May.
In the email exchange, White proposes creating a news story about the “due diligence” process for school voucher approvals to counter the impact of a News-Star article that revealed the sate Department of Education had not performed site visits or extensive review of voucher applications.
Read All of Louisiana’s ( School) Vouchergate Scandal Erupts
Louisiana’s health secretary, Bruce Greenstein, is resigning amid state and federal inquiries into the awarding of a Medicaid contract to a company where Mr. Greenstein once worked. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration last week canceled the nearly $200 million state contract with CNSI, which is based in Maryland, after details leaked about a federal grand jury subpoena involving the contract award. The governor’s office announced the resignation on Friday but said Mr. Jindal, a Republican, did not seek it. When the Medicaid contract was awarded two years ago, Mr. Greenstein denied any involvement in the selection of the company, but he acknowledged that a change he promoted in the bid solicitation made CNSI eligible for the contract. Mr. Greenstein gave no explanation for quitting in his resignation letter to the governor.
Immediately after the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority filed an historic lawsuit against over 100 oil and gas companies, Governor Bobby Jindal “demanded” the authority drop the suit. Curiously, though, neither he nor any member of his administration have ever criticized the actual merits of the litigation; instead, Jindal and company seem to be infuriated with the idea that lawyers may make money off of this. “This is nothing but a windfall for a handful of trial lawyers,” Jindal said. “It boils down to trial lawyers who see dollar signs in their future and who are taking advantage of people who want to restore Louisiana’s coast. These trial lawyers are taking this action at the expense of our coast and thousands of hardworking Louisianians who help fuel America by working in the energy industry.”
Governor Jindal, in doing the bidding of the oil and gas industry, failed to mention that the only way these “trial lawyers” could make a significant amount of money from this litigation is if they win. And if they win, Louisiana stands to gain billions that would be used for coastal restoration. If they lose the case, they make nothing. And if, for some political reason, the lawyers, whose contract was unanimously approved by the authority, are forced to abandon the lawsuit, they can only be compensated for the work they’ve already done. It’s a standard contingency fee agreement. Governor Jindal’s contemptuous comments about “trial lawyers” not only reflect a cynical politicization of the most critical issue in Louisiana, they also promote an insidious and ignorant disdain for the rule of law, the legal profession, and the judicial process.
It is easy to try to write this off as just another Louisiana example of corrupt politics or just another example of a backward Southern state. But, remember, this man is running for president as a main stream republican candidate and on the grounds that he is modernizing and bringing a new environment of openness in government. This is hardly the case. All of these Republican governors need to be watched very carefully. I feel like our state is just one big Tea Pot Dome Scandal eruption every few months.
Here are some other headlines you may want to watch:
The State Department announced late Sunday it would extend the closures of 19 foreign embassies across the Middle East and Northern Africa through next Saturday, as the terror threat across the region remained high through the final days of Ramadan.
Santorum is heading to Iowa for three days next week, where he’ll attend a GOP fundraiser, a state fair and a leadership summit — a schedule that’s prompted speculation that he’s laying the groundwork for another presidential campaign. In 2012, he made stops in each of Iowa’s counties, ultimately winning the state by a slim margin.
Obama and the Republicans are likely to come to blows even as the deficit closes. Raise the deficit ceiling? Fiscal Cliff? Shut down the Government? Here we go again!
Obama is insisting Congress raise the debt ceiling with no strings attached, while a group of Republicans say they are willing to stop paying the government’s bills unless the president’s signature health care law is defunded.
“Both sides are more dug in than in the past,” said Jared Bernstein, a former chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden who is senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a fiscal research group.
Lawmakers return from a five-week break on Sept. 9, just three weeks before government funding runs out. For the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky favors a one- or two-month extension of current yearly spending levels, which are $988 billion, said Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman.
If Congress concurs, that would push the broader fiscal fight into November, when the U.S. is expected to reach its $16.7 trillion debt limit.
So, thanks for letting me let off steam over my freaking incompetent and corrupt governor. Pictures of the Bywater Riviera–that is the west bank of the Industrial canal two blocks behind my house most famously known for overtaking the Lower 9 after Katrina–are courtesy of Youngest Daughter. Those of you that have ever talked to me on the phone know the sound of the New Orleans Beltway Rail Road really well too. You gotta cross it to get to the Bywater Beach.
So, what is on your reading and blogging list today?
This will be a quick post, I will try and post a longer one later on this afternoon. My sleep patterns are way off and I am just too tired.
Check this out, a real literacy test that was used to get the okay to vote in the state of Louisiana: Voting rights and the Supreme Court: The impossible “literacy” test Louisiana used to give black voters.
This week’s Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder overturned Section 4(b) of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which mandated federal oversight of changes in voting procedure in jurisdictions that have a history of using a “test or device” to impede enfranchisement. Here is one example of such a test, used in Louisiana in 1964.
After the end of the Civil War, would-be black voters in the South faced an array of disproportionate barriers to enfranchisement. The literacy test—supposedly applicable to both white and black prospective voters who couldn’t prove a certain level of education but in actuality disproportionately administered to black voters—was a classic example of one of these barriers.
The test is unbelievable…
This test—a word-processed transcript of an original—was linked to by Jeff Schwartz, who worked with the Congress of Racial Equality in Iberville and Tangipahoa Parishes in the summer of 1964. Schwartz wrote about his encounters with the test in this blog post.
Most of the tests collected here are a battery of trivia questions related to civic procedure and citizenship. (Two from the Alabama test: “Name the attorney general of the United States” and “Can you be imprisoned, under Alabama law, for a debt?”)
But this Louisiana “literacy” test, singular among its fellows, has nothing to do with citizenship. Designed to put the applicant through mental contortions, the test’s questions are often confusingly worded. If some of them seem unanswerable, that effect was intentional. The (white) registrar would be the ultimate judge of whether an answer was correct.
Go to the link to try your hand at that test…it is a hell of a thing. When you want to see some of the answers, here is an answer key: Key for literacy test.pub – Key for literacy test.pdf
This next article is a good example of how expensive it is to…Just Have the Baby? A New Mom Reveals Why There Is No ‘Just,’ and Not Necessarily Any Justice Either
To say “Just have the baby” is to say “Just risk a prolonged illness, surgery, and the loss of your income when you have a lot of new expenses.” It’s to tell someone casually that they should sign up for the possibility of experiencing more physical pain and agony than they thought a person could live through, and maybe having a great deal of it continue for days, weeks, months, possibly even years.
Go read the whole piece, it is good.
This was something cool: Russian meteor shockwave circled globe twice
The shock wave from an asteroid that burned up over Russia in February was so powerful that it travelled twice around the globe, scientists say.
They used a system of sensors set up to detect evidence of nuclear tests and said it was the most powerful event ever recorded by the network.
More than 1,000 people were injured when a 17m, 10,000-tonne space rock burned up above Chelyabinsk.
The study appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The researchers studied data from the International Monitoring System (IMS) network operated by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO).
The detection stations look out for ultra-low frequency acoustic waves, known as infrasound, that could come from nuclear test explosions. But the system can also detect large blasts from other sources, such as the Chelyabinsk fireball.
Alexis Le Pichon, from the Atomic Energy Commission in France and colleagues report that the explosive energy of the impact was equivalent to 460 kilotonnes of TNT. This makes it the most energetic event reported since the 1908 Tunguska meteor in Siberia.
There is more at the link about some new discoveries over at the Tunguska site, you can give the link a click to read the rest.
Think of this as an open thread. Hopefully I will see you a bit later on, otherwise…please share what you are reading about this morning.
Plenty of links for you this morning, so let us just get down to it…
In the New York Times this weekend, more information was reported about the DOJ investigation into Fox News reporter James Rosen, as well as other DOJ press investigations during the Obama administration: Leaks Inquiries Show How Wide a Net Is Cast
Even before the F.B.I. conducted 550 interviews of officials and seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters in a leak investigation connected to a 2012 article about a Yemen bomb plot, agents had sought the same reporters’ sources for two other articles about terrorism.
The emerging details of these and other cases show just how wide a net the Obama administration has cast in its investigations into disclosures of government secrets, querying hundreds of officials across the federal government and even some of their foreign counterparts.
The result has been an unprecedented six prosecutions and many more inquiries using aggressive legal and technical tactics. A vast majority of those questioned were cleared of any leaking.
You can read the rest of the article at that link, it is rather a long read.
There is one thing about all this Rosen stuff I do find interesting, this little tidbit reported by Tommy Christopher at Mediaite: DOJ Document Reveals Fox News Reporter James Rosen Wanted To Impact U.S. Foreign Policy
The emails revealed in the government’s affidavit appear to show, however, that James Rosen’s solicitation of government secrets wasn’t nearly so narrow. The affadavit describes how Rosen assigned himself the codename “Alex,” and Mr. Kim the moniker “Leo,” and in their early contacts, explained the noble aims of their prospective relationship:
Thanks Leo. What I am interested in, as you might expect, is breaking new ahead of my competitors.
Sure, that sounds bad, as if James Rosen would jeopardize America’s contacts in a hostile foreign government just to get some eyeballs away from his competition, but surely, every reporter has this competitive urge. Although it was the first thing Rosen mentioned, there was another consideration. After outlining the kinds of secret information he hoped to get from “Leo,” Rosen summed up his intention to… report the news objectively? To serve the public?
Let’s break some new, and expose muddle-headed policy when we see it – or force the administration’s hand to go in the right direction, if possible.
Wait, what? Is that what a News reporter is supposed to do, force the administration’s hand to guide American foreign policy to the reporter’s whim? Separate and apart from the DOJ investigation, this email seems to indicate that James Rosen is not just a News reporter, but an activist intent on pushing his own agenda, with the stated goal of manipulating U.S. foreign policy.
Enough on that, check out the latest legislation getting passed in Dakinikat’s state: The Volokh Conspiracy » Louisiana Set to Criminalize Publishing That Someone Has a Concealed Carry Permit
The bill is HB8, though there’s a Senate amendment; apparently, the Legislature plans to enact the bill as amended. The bill bars the government from releasing information about who has applied for or gotten a concealed carry permit, and the Legislature certainly can impose such restrictions on the government itself. But then it also criminalizes speech by everyone else (I merge the House Bill and the adopted Senate amendment):
Absent a valid court order requiring the release of information or unless a recipient of a concealed handgun permit is charged with a felony offense involving the use of a handgun, it shall be [a misdemeanor] … to release, disseminate, or make public in any manner any information contained in an application for a concealed handgun permit or any information regarding the identity of any person who applied for or received a concealed handgun permit issued pursuant to this Section.
So blogging that you happen to know that a gun control advocate actually has a concealed carry permit himself would be a crime. Or say that you know someone has a concealed carry permit, and that person is sued for supposedly making death threats, or is criminally prosecuted for a felony offense involving a shotgun, or otherwise seems dangerous and unstable — mentioning the permit in publicly discussing the situation would be a crime. Mentioning applicants’ names in giving examples of cases where you think a concealed handgun permit was wrongly issued, or wrongly denied, would be a crime, too. So would talking about a person’s concealed carry permit in a biography of the person, or in a newspaper or magazine story that is trying to give a sense of the kind of person he is.
There is more analysis at the link.
That bridge collapse in Washington could have been a lot worse, at least there were no fatalities. Click here on this link for a infographic on bridges in the US: Bridge Collapses And Structurally Deficient Bridges Across The Country (INFOGRAPHIC)
In his State of the Union address this year, President Obama urged repairs of “the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.” He proposed a plan called “Fix it First,” which would have invested $50 billion in repairing transportation infrastructure, starting with the most urgent repairs.
Instead, Congress failed to avoid the sequester and transportation repair spending faces a $1.9 billion cut.
The collapse of the Interstate 5 Bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State on Thursday once again sounded alarms over our nation’s aging infrastructure. While this incident had no fatalities, there are hundreds of other bridges in Washington with worse sufficiency scores and more than 150,000 structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges across the nation.
And when this bridge collapsed, there was another article that caught my attention as reported by a local Seattle news station: 911 Dispatcher Tells Woman About To Be Sexually Assaulted There Are No Cops To Help Her Due To Budget Cuts « CBS Seattle
An Oregon woman was told by a 911 dispatcher that authorities wouldn’t be able be able to help her as her ex-boyfriend broke into her place because of budget cuts.
Oregon Public Radio reports that an unidentified woman called 911 during a weekend in August 2012 while Michael Bellah was breaking into her place. Her call was forwarded to Oregon State Police because of lay-offs at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office only allows the department to be open Monday through Friday.
“Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there,” the 911 dispatcher told the woman. “You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”
The woman told the dispatcher that Bellah previously attacked her and left her hospitalized a few weeks prior to the latest incident. The dispatcher stayed on the phone with the woman for more than 10 minutes before the sexual assault took place.
“Once again it’s unfortunate you guys don’t have any law enforcement out there,” the dispatcher said, according to Oregon Public Radio.
The woman responded: “Yeah, it doesn’t matter, if he gets in the house I’m done.”
Police say Bellah choked the woman and sexually assaulted her. He was arrested by Oregon State Police following the incident.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t have another victim,” Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilberson told Oregon Public Radio. “If you don’t pay the bill, you don’t get the service.”
The sheriff’s department had to cut 23 deputies and the entire major crimes unit after it lost a multi-million dollar federal subsidy, according to Oregon Public Radio. There are now only six deputies left.
The sheriff’s department even put out a press release warning domestic violence victims to “consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services.”
You can read more about this and hear the 911 calls at the OPB report quoted by the CBS article: Josephine County Tax Levy Would Add Deputies, Fund The Jail » News » OPB
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma…look what got defunded on the quiet: Oklahoma Senate Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood Two Days After Tornado
In the wake of one of the most destructive tornadoes in history, Oklahoma state senators passed a bill on Wednesday that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood.
Senate Bill 900, which re-allocates family planning funds to public providers and hospitals instead of private providers like Planned Parenthood, passed by a vote of 33 to 8. The state Senate was able to pass the bill somewhat under the radar because it was not posted on Wednesday’s legislative agenda.
Planned Parenthood operates five clinics in Oklahoma and serves about 8,400 men and women there a year. The family planning provider has faced scrutiny from Republicans in recent years because it provides abortions, even though it cannot use public family planning funding to pay for abortion services.
State Rep. Doug Cox (R), a family physician, said he will vote against the legislation when the House takes it up on Thursday. “To defund a program like Planned Parenthood would be a mistake,” he told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. “They perform a valuable service as far as breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, parenting classes, many things that benefit our state that we’re sorely in need of.”
Cox said he believes that some of his Republican colleagues in the House also support Planned Parenthood, but they still feel pressured to vote for bills that would defund it. “I have people who tell me they feel the way I do, but are afraid to vote the way I do,” he said.
That is a real shame, too bad those GOP Reps don’t have the cahones to stand up to the PLUBs who got them into office.
On with the rest of the morning’s post after the jump…
I heard Bobby Jindal was a big hit at the Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington DC on Saturday night. Supposedly his speech was hilarious–comedy gold. Lynn Sweet of The Chicago Sun-Times gave it a rave review:
WASHINGTON–Proving once against that there are second acts in politics, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was a big hit Saturday night at the 128th annual Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner, more than making up for his disastrous 2009 State of the Union speech.
Which of course he used as fodder, since the best political humor is self-deprecating– and Jindal had an abundance of material.
Noting that some people ask him if he intends to run for president, Jindal said, “My answer is I have no plans to run. I have made that clear over and over again. In Iowa. In New Hampshire and in South Carolina,” he said, naming the states with the first caucus and primaries.
After all, he said with faux modesty, “What chance does a skinny guy with a dark complexion and a funny name have to get elected president of the United States.”
The crowd roared.
“The truth is, I am too skinny to run. At least that’s what my friend, Chris Christie, keeps telling me,” Jindal said of the overweight New Jersey Governor, also mentioned as a 2016 prospect.
On a roll, Jindal went on to compare himself with Obama and mock his own party.
He said earnestly that Obama and he had the “exact same campaign slogan years ago but unfortunately UPS sued both of us and made us stop using it. You remember our slogan, ‘What can Brown do for you?”‘
“Speaking of brown, I was hoping to see my good friend, John Boehner, here tonight,” Jindal said of Boehner, the House Speaker who is always tan. “We actually go to the same tanning salon here in Washington.”
Har har har. Are you laughing yet? Me neither. But it apparently went over big with the pols and journalists at “white tie and gown affair.” Chris Cillizza was so impressed with Jindal’s comedy routine that he requested and got a full transcript from the Governor’s staff. Here are a few more choice howlers:
They say this is a place where you can come and tell jokes about the President…poke fun at yourself…set political ambition aside and just generally say anything you want.
Kind of like the Romney campaign.
I spoke to Mitt the other day…told him that I was doing the Gridiron dinner…he said that 47 percent of you can’t take a joke.
Great to see the new Senator from Massachusetts – Elizabeth Warren. My staff tells me we’ve got a lot in common.
Well from one Indian politician to another, I want to wish you all the best in your new job.
I ran into Joe Biden earlier today. I don’t think he recognized me though. He asked me to go get him a Slurpee.
You know, sometimes I wonder where we would be without Vice President Biden. And then I realize: Pretty much exactly where we are right now.
I figured Jindal would take the opportunity to joke about the disaster area back in his home state–that giant Bayou Corne sinkhole in Assumption Parish. I searched through the whole transcript, but there was nary a word.
But a funny thing happened while Governor Jindal was in Washington DC. Environmental activist Erin Brockovitch paid a visit to Assumption Parish.
Relief is a word frequently heard around the Assumption Parish sinkhole, but as Bayou Corne residents will tell you, it’s not a word they use to describe their attitudes. But now the now 8-and-a half acre sinkhole has caught the attention of California based environmentalist Erin Brockovich.
On Saturday, hundreds of Bayou Corne residents packed into a community meeting to hear what Brockovich and California based attorney Tom Girardi plan to do to help them out.
Girardi has offered his legal services to any resident who decides to take further action against Texas Brine and all parties responsible for their troubles over the past seven months. Brockovich says litigation, if things come to that, could take months or even years to resolve. She says her role, as it has been for nearly two decades in dozens of cases like this one, would be to keep the community united.
“We as states all over America, need to be paying more attention to what the corporations are doing…old records, what we need to do to come in and see that disaster before it happens…and not wait until after it happens and then go and argue on the legislative floor for the, what, next two or three years,” said Brockovich.
Brockovich said before Saturday’s meeting, they were representing 50 residents in the Bayou Corne area. After the meeting dozens more stayed behind to decide if they would join the lawsuit.
Suddenly Bobby J. has decided he’ll go visit the sinkhole in his state for the very first time since the hole opened up last August. The announcement was maid in an “e-mail statement,” so it’s not clear if the Governor was actually in Louisiana at the time.
Something tells me when Jindal shows up, the residents of the area won’t be laughing.
Time to do your day job, Governor.
I 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.