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.
I know some people are probably tired of hearing about the Trayvon Martin murder, but IMHO this case is every bit as important as the Supreme Court hearing arguments about the health care bill.
We live in a country in which suspicion still falls on African Americans even when they are just walking on the sidewalk or driving down the street. We live in a country in which the police can beat and kill and rape and and get away with it. We live in the land of “the new Jim Crow” in which “the mass incarceration of African American men” is the latest state weapon in our nation’s long and bloody history of vicious racial violence.
How far have we really come when a young boy can be shot in cold blood and the shooter isn’t arrested or even tested for drugs and alcohol?
Over the weekend, the second stage of the Trayvon Martin media circus kicked into gear. That’s the part where various interested parties use the media to defend George Zimmerman–the man who thought a skinny 140-pound 17-year old boy walking home from the store looked “up to no good” and “like he’s on drugs,” and so chose to stalk and then kill the boy in cold blood. The Zimmerman rehabilitation campaign has consisted mostly of smearing the unarmed teenager who can no longer defend himself because he’s dead.
For the past three days, there has been a deliberate campaign to paint Trayvon Martin as a terrifying aggressor who deserved to die and George Zimmerman as a victim who was in terror of Martin and was forced to shoot him at point-blank range. Minx summarized much of the smear campaign in her evening reads last night. But here are a couple of things she didn’t mention:
The witness told FOX 35 in Orlando that he saw evidence of a fight between Martin and Zimmerman, which could lend credence to the gunman’s claim that he was acting in self-defence.
‘The guy on the bottom who had a red sweater on was yelling to me: “Help, help… and I told him to stop and I was calling 911,’ he said.
Zimmerman was wearing a red sweater; Martin was in a grey hoodie.
He added: ‘When I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on top beating up the
Really? And did this witness call 911? If so, we haven’t heard the tape of it yet. Furthermore, this “new witness” isn’t even new. These same quotes were reported by Fox Orlando on February 27. But never mind, the quotes are helpful to Zimmerman, so they’re being reported as “new.”
An attorney, Craig Sonner, who says he is “advising” Zimmerman, but doesn’t yet “represent” him, has been making the rounds of the TV talk shows along with Joe Oliver, a former (maybe present?) TV news reporter, who says he is a close friend of Zimmerman’s and has known him for six years (actually Oliver’s wife is a friend of Zimmerman’s mother-in-law; it’s not clear how well Oliver knew Zimmerman before the shooting).
Sonner has been telling anyone who will listen that Trayvon broke George’s nose and cut open the back of his head, but yesterday we learned that Trayvon supposedly sucker-punched George in the nose, knocked him to the ground and then bashed his head against the sidewalk repeatedly. None of this was in the official police report.
Oliver says that George “couldn’t stop crying” for days after the shooting and he is now being treated for PTSD. Oliver says that George is very remorseful. He doesn’t say why George hasn’t contacted Trayvon’s parents to tell them he’s sorry about killing their son. In fact, Oliver even claims that if George hadn’t shot Trayvon, Trayvon would have killed George. Even though Trayvon was armed only with Skittles and iced tea.
Oh, and BTW, Oliver is an African American man. Therefore his close friend George Zimmerman could not possibly have been responding to racial stereotypes on the night of the shooting. AND, Oliver thinks calling someone a “fucking coon” is something to be proud of. And you don’t buy that, maybe Zimmerman was saying “fucking goons,” which is a “term of endearment” according to Oliver’s daughter.
All I can say is, I need to see pictures of Zimmerman’s injuries. I also need to have someone explain to me why Trayvon didn’t have a right to “stand his ground” and defend himself against an imposing 250-pound stranger who was stalking him with a gun.
Yesterday, the Zimmerman defense/smear campaign really doubled down, as the Sanford Police leaked information designed to smear the dead boy. Not to be outdone, the Miami/Dade School Police leaked selected portions of Trayvon’s private school records. Nothing about Trayvon acting violently, but hey–that will probably come out today, right? And all these leaks, along with the Sonner-Oliver media tour, are designed to make us forget that Trayvon Martin is DEAD at the hands of George Zimmerman.
I think this is a pretty good summary of the Zimmerman defense:
My client George Zimmerman is a very vulnerable individual weighing only 250 pounds. Fragile and delicate like a petite, gamine ballet dancer. His assailant Trayvon Martin was over 100 pounds lighter — making him much more agile and dangerous. Furthermore Trayvon Martin was armed with a bag of Skittles AND an iced tea. These are lethal weapons. It is no wonder that my client felt so threatened. And quite understandably felt that his life was in danger.
Read the rest of the “Monty Python twinkie defense” at Huffpo.
There were two witnesses who did some media appearances in support of Trayvon Martin–Mary Cutcher and Selma Lamilla, but their efforts were mostly drowned out by the Zimmerman defense/smear campaign.
Cutcher and her roommate, Selma Lamilla, say they went outside when they heard the gunshot and saw Zimmerman standing over Martin.
“We both saw him straddling the body, basically, a foot on both sides of Trayvon’s body and his hands pressed on his back,” Cutcher said.
Cutcher says Zimmerman told her and her roommate to call the police.
“Zimmerman never turned him over or tried to help him or CPR or anything,” Cutcher said.
Lamilla said that after the shot was fired Zimmerman appeared to be pacing.
“He started walking back and forth like three times with his hand on the head and kind of, he was walking like kind of confused,” she said.
Lamilla said he was touching his head like “he was in shock.”
Police who responded to the scene noted that Zimmerman had injuries to his face and head.
When Lamilla was able to see who had been shot, she was stunned.
“And for me was a shock to see, ‘Oh my God, that it’s a kid. So skinny, no more than 20- years- old. So skinny, like baby faced,” Lamilla said.
Cutcher also told various media outlets that she had a really hard time getting the Sanford Police to listen to her story or even return her phone calls.
I’ve got a few more headlines to share. The first one is somewhat related to the Martin case. Another black teenager has been shot and killed by civilian neighborhood security guards, this time in Georgia. The two men, Curtis Scott and Gary Jackson have been arrested, but only for impersonating police officers so far.
Scott and Jackson, security guards for the apartment complex, were checking out a suspicious vehicle and had detained four women. They told the women they were police officers….the investigation shows that’s when the guards heard gunshots from a nearby residence. Around the same time, Ervin Jefferson, 18, pulled up to the scene.
The guards told police Jefferson approached them “aggressively and possibly even threatened to kill them.” ….that’s when Scott fired his gun at Jefferson, striking him once. The guard called 911.
Jefferson’s mother says she then saw the security guards hit her son with their car and drive over him. Police claim that Jefferson crawled under the car. Jefferson was declared dead at the hospital.
Ben Bernanke signaled yesterday that interest rates will remain low, because of the need to stimulate more job growth. Of course he means interest rates for the banksters, not regular people’s credit card or student loan rates. On the strength of that news, Wall Street surged.
Wall Street’s addiction to free money is on full display today.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 100 points at lunchtime on the East Coast, while the Nasdaq was up more than one percent and the S&P 500 was up nearly one percent.
The primary reason? Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made some notably downbeat comments about the economy today, seeming to put the kibosh on market expectations that the Fed could raise interest rates sooner rather than later.
Bernanke’s dedication to low rates also means the Fed is still capable of launching its third round of quantitative easing — buying up every bond that’s not nailed down in an effort to pump more cash into the economy. Pimco chief Bill Gross tweeted today that he thinks the Fed will hint at more QE, or “QE3,” in April. Of course, Gross stands to gain by cheerleading investors into thinking the Fed will buy more bonds, because Pimco has been buying bonds in a heavy bet on QE3, Reuters notes.
No word on when anyone in DC will do anything for us “small people.”
France has charged Dominique Strauss-Kahn in connection with a prostitution ring.
Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged in France on Monday with “aggravated pimping” for his alleged participation in a prostitution ring, prosecutors said.
He is not allowed to have contact with other people involved in the investigation, nor is he permitted to talk to the media about the case. Strauss-Kahn was released under a 100,000-euro bail, according to prosecutors.
Rick Santorum kind of lost it yesterday: Rick Santorum’s nice-guy persona is turning a bit testy lately
For a while, it had seemed that Rick Santorum’s crabby days were behind him. Gone were the sarcastic potshots at reporters and peevish outbursts aimed at his political opponents. He had transformed into the Mr. Rogers of the presidential race: good-natured, self-deprecating and downright likable.
But that nice-guy image has gone down the drain lately, with a series of provocative remarks and testy exchanges that have coincided with his slipping presidential fortunes. He may have hit a low point Sunday, when he uttered an expletive in response to a question from a New York Times reporter.
Asked what he meant when he said in a speech that rival Mitt Romney was the “worst Republican in the country” to go up against President Obama, Santorum lashed back at reporter Jeff Zeleny in an exchange that was captured by CBS.
“Stop lying!” he responded. “I said he was the worst Republican to run on the issue of Obamacare. And that’s what I was talking about!” In case there was any doubt that he meant it, he suggested that if he saw such a statement in print, it would amount to “bull—-.”
Finally, I got a kick out of this story in The Independent: Hippies head for Noah’s Ark: Queue here for rescue aboard alien spaceship
A rapidly increasing stream of New Age believers – or esoterics, as locals call them – have descended in their camper van-loads on the usually picturesque and tranquil Pyrenean village of Bugarach. They believe that when apocalypse strikes on 21 December this year, the aliens waiting in their spacecraft inside Pic de Bugarach will save all the humans near by and beam them off to the next age.
As the cataclysmic date – which, according to eschatological beliefs and predicted astrological alignments, concludes a 5,125-year cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar – nears, the goings-on around the peak have become more bizarre and ritualistic.
For decades, there has been a belief that Pic de Bugarach, which, at 1,230 metres, is the highest in the Corbières mountain range, possesses an eery power. Often called the “upside-down mountain” – geologists think that it exploded after its formation and the top landed the wrong way up – it is thought to have inspired Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Since the 1960s, it has attracted New Agers, who insist that it emits special magnetic waves.
Further, rumours persist that the country’s late president François Mitterrand was transported by helicopter on to the peak, while the Nazis, and, later, Israel’s Mossad, performed mysterious digs there. Now the nearby village is awash with New Agers, who have boosted the local economy, though their naked group climbs up to the peak have raised concerns as well as eyebrows. Among other oddities, some hikers have been spotted scaling the mountain carrying a ball with a golden ring, strung together by a single thread.
Soooooo…. what are you reading and blogging about today?