Friday, December 11, 2009

Boy Blunder should stick to politics.

Miami Dolphins chop block Bobby Jindal - -
The Miami Dolphins had to correct Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday for wrongly claiming his 12-0 New Orleans Saints could be the first team in league history to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Maginnis is wrong on this score

I'm usually in Maginnis' corner, but this time he's siding with the jihad against regional universities on the mistaken presumption that it's too easy to get into college these days. But read the article and my comment.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

First, create the crisis. Then solve it with your pre-ordained agenda. | News | State colleges may lose some degree programs — Baton Rouge, LA
Commission member and former LSU Chancellor James Wharton pushed three other recommendations approved Tuesday.

“There may be graduate programs that don’t have anything to do with that region of the state,” Wharton said. “Should the state support graduate programs that don’t have anything to do with the region?”

Commission member Belle Wheelan, who is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools president, said some of the bachelor’s degree-focused universities “grew too far.”

Commission member Mark Musick, the Southern Regional Education Board president emeritus, said regional universities should focus more on teaching undergraduates, while LSU must do a better job of attracting and educating graduate students.

Wharton has complained, for example, that too many public schools have specialized engineering programs. LSU, Southern University, the University of Louisiana at University, Louisiana Tech University and the University of New Orleans all have multiple engineering degree programs. McNeese State University has a general engineering technology program.

Wharton on Monday and Tuesday has mentioned the University of Louisiana at Lafayette when discussing the outgrowth of regional universities and degree programs.

A case right out of Shock Doctrine (a political must-read by Naomi Klein.) We created the state shortfall last year when Jindal pushed through tax cuts. The shortfal is exactly the amount of the cuts. Now we can use that crisis as an excuse to get rid of iritating programs, James Wharton has the ax out for graduate education in Louisiana.

One of my contributors pointed out that while Wharton NOW wants to close "programs that have nothing to do with that region of the state," a while back he was a big promoter of LSU's LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) in Livingston Parish. What, Dr. Wharton, does LSU, Louisiana and Livingston Parish have to do with gravity waves? Does Louisiana have a space program I don't know about? Of course, the LIGO project is one worthy of state support, and Wharton's past support for it shows the hypocrisy of his very parochial and provincial stance now.

This is big. Real big.

BBC News - US Army Corps blamed for Katrina floods
A US judge has ruled that negligence by the US Army Corps of Engineers led to massive floods in parts of New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

The court upheld complaints by six residents and a business against the Corps over its maintenance of a navigational channel.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Consequences: Intended or Unintended? | News | Lawyer: Jindal ‘crippled’ La. ethics — Baton Rouge, LA
ouisiana’s ethics system has been “crippled” as a result of legal changes made during Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 2008 special session on ethics, the chairman of the Louisiana Board of Ethics said Monday.

“This is a convoluted and crippled ethics system we have today,” Ethics Board chairman Frank Simoneaux said. “It does not make sense. It does not work well.”

Simoneaux said the main culprit is a law that moved judicial power from the Ethics Board to administrative law judges, called ALJs. The ALJs are hired by an appointee of the governor.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Some sense enters the dialog, but it will not last in the Legislature.

Expert: Focus on La. universities | | The Advertiser
Instead of worrying about whether it has too many state universities, Louisiana needs to concentrate on making the ones it has the best they can be, says an out-of-state expert who is serving on a state review panel.

Critics of the higher education system have said having too many campuses — especially those close together — splits limited resources and leads to mediocrity.

David Longanecker, president of the Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education and a member of the Louisiana Postsecondary Education Review Commission, says every state has

similar situations, but the key is to define what each institution should do and then fund it appropriately.

"The real question isn't whether there are too many, but whether you have the critical mass to be viable," he said in an interview.

By "critical mass," Longa-necker said he means enough enrollment to economically warrant running a four-year university and "faculty adequate to do the task."

Vitter waffles.

Vitter Confronted By Rape Victim Over Franken Amendment Vote
At a town hall meeting this past weekend, meanwhile, the Senator was confronted by a constituent who, after recounting her tale of being raped, demanded to know why he opposed Sen. Al Franken's (D-Minn) amendment.

The exchange was contentious, heart wrenching, and potentially damaging.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Maginnis understands -- we're going to cut expenses by denying more students the opportunity to go to college.

Louisiana Politics by John Maginnis
Path Set to Change Colleges

On its surface, a policy recommendation from the higher education advisory commission to increase graduation rates seems like a nice idea with little real future impact. But if implemented the way the Jindal administration seems to want, it could dramatically decrease enrollments of four-year schools over the next few years by increasing admission standards.

The real action, however, must be taken by the Board of Regents, which can direct the college governing boards to set higher admission standards and to reduce exemptions. The Regents can do that on their own, without legislative approval. Higher education sources believe that is no accident but a strategy to down-size some schools without legislators having to take hard votes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kathleen Blanco defends higher education in Louisiana.

Don't give up on Louisiana | | The Courier | Houma, LA
Because of financial problems caused primarily by short-sighted fiscal decisions last year, state government is faced with budget shortfalls. This answer leads to penalizing our people when capable students are denied access to four year degrees. Draconian cuts to higher education simply result in a meltdown into mediocrity, something that will take generations to overcome.

Do not accept this flawed logic that says dumbing down Louisiana is the answer. Education is a cause worth fighting for. Let your voices be heard on this issue or Louisiana’s gains will perish, I guarantee. It behooves all faculty members, students, families and the business community to seize this moment and insist the madness be stopped.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ethics. Jindal style.

Jindal Fires State Employee Day After She Criticized Him
Gov. Bobby Jindal fired a state worker, Melody Teague, one day after she publicly condemned his plans to privatize state services. The worker's attorney claimed Teague was told that she was terminated for poor performance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, years ago.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Jindal vs Cao on high speed rail.

Jindal rejects $300 million in stimulus money for high-speed rail | | The Thibodaux Daily Comet | Thibodaux, LA
BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal is at odds with a fellow Louisiana Republican over the governor's decision not to seek $300 million in federal stimulus money for a high-speed rail line between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Like other governors, Jindal had a midnight Friday deadline to submit an application for the money. But Jindal aides have said the administration is not applying because of concerns about the project's ongoing costs. They said the state would incur an annual $18 million bill to run the rail system once it became operational.

But U.S. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, R-New Orleans, on Friday called on Jindal to apply for the money. Since all U.S. taxpayers will foot the bill for the stimulus spending, Cao said, the state's elected officials should see that Louisiana gets its fair share.

"It's our duty to obtain as much as we can to rebuild this region," Cao said at a news conference at his city's train station.

Blanco takes on idea that we have too many college graduates.

She took aim at state officials with the Economic Development and Labor departments who have said the state has a surfeit of four-year college graduates and not enough workers with two-year degrees, considering the demands of Louisiana's job market. "I don't think there's a soul in this country who has ever accused Louisiana of being overeducated," Blanco said. "This is a huge mistake, and we'll pay for it for generations." She said LSU System President John Lombardi has not been afraid to speak out against the cuts and "dumbing down" of the state's education system, but that "the political class will probably try to silence him" and "run him off." She finished by saying, "Add your voice to this fight. . . . March over to the state Capitol and demand proper funding for all levels of education"

A good, snarky letter to the editor

No brain, no drain -
Curt Eysink, appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal as executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, has found an easy way to fix Louisiana's brain drain, and his logic is impeccable: If there were no brains, there would be no drain.

So Louisiana, let's quit growing those pesky things. It might take a while to reduce the "surplus" of college graduates without some help. To that end, I propose we start by asking two to leave -- Curt Eysink and his boss, Gov. Jindal.

Incredible! Too many graduates???? So create more jobs!!!!

4-year college graduates a surplus in Louisiana -
BATON ROUGE -- Louisiana has a "surplus" of college graduates getting traditional four-year degrees and needs to steer more people into community and technical college programs to meet future job demand, the state's top labor official said Monday.

Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, cited occupational forecasts that show the state will produce 10,312 more four-year graduates than there are jobs to fill between 2008 and 2016, while at the same time there are 3,892 more jobs available requiring associates' or technical degrees than there are people to fill them.

"We're producing a workforce that we cannot employ in Louisiana," Eysink told the Louisiana Postsecondary Education Review Commission, which is looking for ways to overhaul the state's higher education system.

The panel was created by the Legislature this year and is expected to deliver a plan to the Board of Regents by Feb. 12 outlining proposed changes to the state's colleges and universities. Gov. Bobby Jindal has directed the group to identify $146 million in possible budget cuts as the state prepares for years of likely budget shortfalls resulting from stagnant revenues and rising costs.

Eysink cited forecasting models that show the state's top-growing occupations to be low-skilled, service-industry jobs such as ticket-takers, cashiers and customer service representatives, as well as more skilled occupations such as nurses, teachers and trades such as welders and carpenters.

Several commission members were unhappy with the perspective, as Louisiana already trails the rest of the South and the nation as a whole in nearly every educational indicator, including the percentage of the population with college degrees. Only 21 percent of Louisiana residents ages 25 to 64 have a four-year degree or higher, compared to 26.4 percent for the South and 29 percent of the nation as a whole.

Saying a state has too many four-year graduates "is like telling a rich guy he has too much money," said Artis Terrell of Shreveport, a principal in the Williams Capital Group. "Can you ever have too many four-year degrees?"

Is this the best Jindal can do?  We chould cut higher ed to make sure that the number of burger-flippers and dial-readers is sufficient for our low level industries. A guarantee of mediocrity for the next hundred years!

In this article, the BoR Chariman fired back.
Commission members said while community and technical college enrollment needed to grow, they didn't think that needed to come at the expense of four-year university degrees.

"It's like telling a rich man he has too much money. Can you ever have too many four-year degrees?" said Artis Terrell, chairman of the Louisiana Board of Regents.

For example, Terrell said Shaw Group Inc. founder and CEO Jim Bernhard recently told state officials that he chose to locate an engineering office in Charlotte, N.C., because of a shortage of engineers in Louisiana.

And to make matters worse, we ALREADY have a horrible graduation rate.

Only 5 percent of students graduate from two-year colleges compared with 16 percent in the region, said Joan Lord, a vice president of education policies for the Southern Regional Education Board in Atlanta.

Lord said 37 percent of students in Louisiana graduate from four-year colleges and universities compared with a 52 percent average in the region.

This editorial in the Picaynue
makes the right argument -- let's not cut education, let's plan for an economy which provides more real jobs.
The state doesn't have too many educated people. Instead, it has a shortage of jobs that will attract and keep college graduates. Fortunately, that's how members of the Louisiana Postsecondary Education Review Commission seem to view the issue.

Recent Census statistics back up that position. Louisiana lost more than 2,500 college graduates between 2007 and 2008, one of only eight states that recorded a net loss of college-educated residents age 25 and older. The brain drain has long been a pattern of economic life in Louisiana, and it's discouraging to see it continuing.

Louisiana does need to meet current labor demands, but the state should focus on those residents who don't have any post-secondary training or education to beef up enrollment at community and technical colleges. Moving people from low-skilled, service-industry jobs into more skilled occupations such as welders and carpenters will help those residents and the economy.

Kennedy draws line against LSU head.

Treasurer, LSU System chief at odds on higher education | | The Advertiser
BATON ROUGE — Treasurer John Kennedy believes the state's public four-year universities should be governed by one board to help cut costs, but he said Monday he opposes any suggestion to limit spending under the TOPS free college tuition program.

Those ideas, along with the treasurer's opposition to college tuition increases for students, put Kennedy at odds with the leader of the higher education system that includes the state's flagship university.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Jindal endorses Democrats’ health care reform bill

The Political Carnival: Jindal endorses Democrats’ health care reform bill
8 out of Jindal’s 10 are already in the President’s plan and the variations wending their way toward a merge process. [...]

Jindal’s article makes it clear that conservatives agree with how we’re proceeding on health care reform. It looks like Democrats made a serious effort to bring conservative principles into play where they could as a proxy for the demagogues in Congress who decided stonewalling is the way to reform our health care system.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Vitter has a challenger. | News | Melancon to take on Vitter — Baton Rouge, LA
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Charles “Charlie” Melancon announced Thursday that he will challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter next year in what is expected to shape up to be a political donnybrook.

The Napoleonville Democrat’s entry into the race is expected to immediately attract national attention with ammunition in the form of campaign dollars from the national parties.

I might get my wallet out for this one.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Return of the Dust Bowl.

Small Midwestern States To Be Hit Hardest By Climate Change: Report

The map included in this article shows the worst effects will be on the old Dust Bowl states, so the Dust Bowl will return, but worse, and bigger.

Tucker commission gets free advice from consultant. "Graduate MORE students."

From the Advocate: "La. higher ed to get consulting assistance"

“Both of these foundations will tell you the most important thing that Louisiana can do is graduate 10,000 additional students,” Jones said.

But how do you do that while cutting the budget? It looks like the governor's voice will not be the only one heard.

“This will be the first time in history that our nation takes a step backwards in education.This economy can’t run on all cylinders if half of those that enter college don’t finish,” said Jones. “Louisiana is positioning itself so it can be competitive by focusing on graduating more students.”

Another commission heard from. Abolish boards, not colleges. | Legislature & Politics | Panel: Put colleges under Regents board — Baton Rouge, LA
The ex-governor told the advisory group that putting all public colleges under the Board of Regents would force the institutions to work together without closing a single university.

Roemer unsuccessfully pushed a similar idea in 1988 when he was governor. Former Gov. Mike Foster — who as a state senator opposed the idea when Roemer pushed it — also tried to put all colleges under a single board.

Another commission heard from. Abolish boards, not colleges. | Legislature & Politics | Panel: Put colleges under Regents board — Baton Rouge, LA
The ex-governor told the advisory group that putting all public colleges under the Board of Regents would force the institutions to work together without closing a single university.

Roemer unsuccessfully pushed a similar idea in 1988 when he was governor. Former Gov. Mike Foster — who as a state senator opposed the idea when Roemer pushed it — also tried to put all colleges under a single board.

New consultants for Tucker commission. | News | La. higher ed to get consulting assistance — Baton Rouge, LA
“Both of these foundations will tell you the most important thing that Louisiana can do is graduate 10,000 additional students,” Jones said.

But how do you do that while cutting the budget? Seems that the governor's voice will not be the only one heard.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For the poor, we're Burundi.

By T.R. Reid -- Five Myths About Health Care in the Rest of the World
In many ways, foreign health-care models are not really "foreign" to America, because our crazy-quilt health-care system uses elements of all of them. For Native Americans or veterans, we're Britain: The government provides health care, funding it through general taxes, and patients get no bills. For people who get insurance through their jobs, we're Germany: Premiums are split between workers and employers, and private insurance plans pay private doctors and hospitals. For people over 65, we're Canada: Everyone pays premiums for an insurance plan run by the government, and the public plan pays private doctors and hospitals according to a set fee schedule. And for the tens of millions without insurance coverage, we're Burundi or Burma: In the world's poor nations, sick people pay out of pocket for medical care; those who can't pay stay sick or die.

Politics? Graft? or just Incompetence?

Probe: New Orleans flood control pumps not reliable -
WASHINGTON — Huge flood-control pumps installed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina don't protect the city adequately and the Army Corps of Engineers could have saved $430 million in replacement costs by buying proven equipment, a federal investigation finds.

The investigation by the federal Office of Special Counsel finds there was "little logical justification" for the corps' decision to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the "untested" hydraulic pumps, which are meant to empty millions of gallons of water from the below-sea-level city during storm-related floods.

Citing the corps' $430 million plan to replace the hydraulic pumps by 2012, just five years after they were installed, the special counsel concludes that a "proven" direct-drive pump design would have been less prone to corrosion and breakdowns. Based on an independent engineering review, the counsel says direct-drive pumps could have been purchased "more quickly, more reliably and without planning for pump … replacement."

This is why no one wants the Corps involved in New Orleans flood plans.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another commission heard from on higher ed.

Interesting -- I'm not sure what the guv with think of this -- perhaps not in his instruction set?  Is this a "rogue commission"?

Commission focuses on job cuts and education - WAFB Channel 9, Baton Rouge, LA |
The commission passed a plan to abolish all state higher education boards, including those at Southern and LSU. Instead, their power would transfer to one joint board, the Board of Regents. Kennedy says that way each institution would have a purpose and focus. They could coordinate with each other, instead of overlap interests. The Commission also wants to eliminate thousands of state jobs. Kennedy suggests each get rid of at least 5,000 jobs each year for the next three years. "No one's going to be fired. No one will be laid off. We'll do this gradually over time," he said.

From The Advertiser
"I do not believe we have too many schools," Kennedy said after his Advisory Group on Efficiency and Benchmarking adopted his series of suggestions. "We have too many boards that promote too many schools that try to do the same thing."
. . . . . .
Kennedy's proposal for a single board was suggested by former Gov. Buddy Roemer, who told the panel Monday that having one board actually strengthens each university because it would be given a singular purpose.

"Do we have too many universities? No, we don't," Roemer said. "We don't use them well. We don't coordinate them.

No university would be closed, Roemer said, and they would work together.

"There can be only one flagship," Kennedy said, and other universities should not try to duplicate it. He said every school does not need nursing and engineering programs.

Eliminating the management boards created in the 1974 constitution would not be easy. Roemer and former Gov. Mike Foster tried to pass amendments to do it and failed.

Surprise!!! LSU will clear away any competition.

Harry Shearer: Obama neglecting New Orleans, playing politics.

Harry Shearer: Playing the Inside Game -- A Cautionary Tale
Experiment officially over. To be clear, I'm not upset I wasn't treated like a celebrity or given ego-satisfying access. Frankly, the inside game creeps me out, the flattery that you're "connected" can bring out the late Bob Novak in anyone. I'm just angry that New Orleans, which did not bring about its own disaster, is watching a second consecutive president trash his glib promises to "rebuild it better".

Obama supporters chided me, back in January and February, to "give him some time, he's only been in office for a month/two months/three months." I guess they knew what I didn't, that the presidency gets easier as you go along, that progressively fewer surprises get dumped on your desk as time passes. Obama's remarks about New Orleans during the campaign were anodyne boilerplate, and what he's giving us now is more of the same. He won't even do the obligatory photo-op in the city on 8/29; he told the Times-Picayune he'll come down "before the end of the year". He didn't say which year.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Obama will visit New Orleans this fall.

Rebuilding New Orleans still a priority, Obama says - Louisiana Politics | State Legislature News -
"I think that Katrina was really a wake-up call for the country -- about our need to fulfill our commitments to our fellow citizens, a recognition that there but for the grace of God go I, that all of us can fall prey to these kinds of natural disasters, " Obama said.

"I think to fail to follow through on that commitment would be a betrayal of who we are as a country. I also think that the Gulf region generally, but New Orleans specifically, has a unique place in America's imagination and American life and that's why it is so important now.

State drops rail plan -- not because Jindal was taking heat.

State drops proposed Baton Rouge-New Orleans line | News for New Orleans, Louisiana | Top Stories | News and Weather for New Orleans |
The state has dropped a plan to seek about $300 million of federal aid to launch passenger railroad service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
. . .

Ankner later said he was not pressured by Gov. Bobby Jindal's office to drop the proposal because of any political considerations.
You may recall that Jindal came out against rail subsidies in his famous speech.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Letter: Jindal's real agenda. | Opinion | Letter: Funding favors research schools — Baton Rouge, LA
By his statements and his actions, Gov. Jindal has done nothing but provide another platform to those who want to shut down Southern University, Baton Rouge, Southern University at New Orleans and Grambling, by hook or by crook. Going by his higher-education policy, Jindal’s health-care policy will be just another version of eugenics.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Excellent summary of what the Tucker Commission means to higher ed.

Higher ed needs major overhaul : Politics and People
Too many students attend four-year universities and fail to finish. More students should be encouraged to attend community colleges where tuition is less expensive and they wouldn’t have to go into deep debt to get an education.

One report said if 10,000 students went to community colleges instead of universities, $26 million would be saved.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said the state’s education programs should be geared to producing students that can foster in-state economic development. Otherwise, Louisiana graduates go elsewhere.

State economic development and workforce officials said 30,000 students get bachelor’s degrees or advanced degrees every year in the state, but there are only 13,000 jobs out there for them. So they leave Louisiana.

On the other end, there are thousands of jobs not requiring a four-year degree that go unfilled.

If we don't "need" more than 13,000 graduates to fill Louisiana jobs, that means we can cut universities in HALF or more! Then create lots of 2-year institutions to "produce workers" for low-skill jobs. (Hey, Louisiana Economic Development Person, how about attracting some more high-skill employers to Louisiana, instead of subsidizing chicken farms and sweet potato processors? How about keeping some of the raw material we produce in abundance here and finding new ways to process it her, instead of sending it upstream?)

There is just so much wrong with this idea that higher ed needs to be more "efficient" and "productive," as though students were not persons but simply units of labor. This article makes it clear that there are serious costs to society to making higher ed more "efficient." Among numerous other arguments for higher ed, this one seemed to me pretty persuasive:
It is true that we as a nation must educate for the skills/abilities that fuel our economy, and at reasonable cost. But we educate for the habits of mind and action that fuel a democracy as well. Educating for democracy as opposed to mere academic coursework is a global differentiator of American higher education.
That differentiator seems ever more necessary these days, and it's not cheap.

If, at last, you do not think that Jindal and Tucker are out for higher ed blood, check out the following.
A state budget official said the state faces a $939 million shortfall in its fiscal year 2010-11 budget and another $1.93 billion shortfall in the year after that.

Across-the-board cuts under that scenario would translate to a 54 percent higher education cut, according to a former legislative budget official now working at LSU.

Brits do not pull the plug on grandma, Senator Grassley. | Opinion | Our view: U.K. experts assail myths — Baton Rouge, LA
“It is neither true nor is it anything you could extrapolate from anything we’ve ever recommended to the NHS,” Dillon said.

Several experts told The Guardian the distortions of Britain’s experience verge on lunacy. “An e-mail widely circulated among U.S. voters, of uncertain origin, claims that anyone over 59 in Britain is ineligible for treatment for heart disease,” The Guardian noted.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vitter and the Tea-baggers.

The GOP's Sex Scandal Dodge - Page 1 - The Daily Beast
Many of those attending Vitter’s town halls have been shepherded to the events by local chapters of, a supposedly grassroots network of national activists that happens to “partner” with the health-care and insurance industry-funded lobbying firm Freedom Works, which has directed angry mobs to Democratic events. At a town-hall meeting on August 10 in Jefferson Parish, many local constituents were reportedly turned away while Tea Party activists were allowed to enter. When the event concluded, Vitter rushed out of the back door and away from the press and his constituents, guarded by a phalanx of police officers.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh, yeah, that's what higher ed needs -- a two by four to the head. | News | Goal: Improve education — Baton Rouge, LA
Tucker: “We need you to take a 2-by-4, if that’s necessary, and smack us across the head.”

According to this article in the Advertiser, the commission has not a single new idea. It's all the same old stuff.

Jones presented data showing Louisiana well below the national average in enrollment in two-and four-year institutions, percentage of graduates and percentage of workers with degrees, both from four-year and two-year schools.

"There is no community college in the center of part of the state and as a result, low participation."(What happened to LSUA?)

Commission member James Wharton, former chancellor of LSU's Baton Rouge campus, agreed with presenters who said students would be better served if they attended community colleges prior to enrolling in universities.

Brit Kirwan, chancellor of the University of Maryland System, recommended that college and university systems work with high schools to assure that what's taught in high school to college-bound students aligns with what is taught in college.

Gov. Bobby Jindal agreed "It's not fair to students to start out a career with a huge debt."

Jindal laid out four goals: align degree programs to meet workforce needs; fund universities based on performance (something the Board of Regents has started doing); build on each university's high-performing programs and eliminate low-performing and duplicative programs.

This is the best they can do? All of these so-called solutions have been talked to death for years. The Regents created a community college system less than a decade ago, and it's working. Universities have instituted admissions standards, and they are working. The Regents funds universities based on performance, and that's working. So what do Tucker and Jindal have to add. Let's watch. I predict -- a push to close Southern and Northwestern. Demoting LSUA back to 2-year status.

In other articles Jindal and Tucker have complained about low graduation rates, yet in this article in the Picayune, he says that numbers shouldn't count: "For too many years we have funded based on head count instead of priorities and results,. . . seeking size over excellence."

And it 's interesting that Tucker won't even vouch for his own assertions,
Tucker said there's "widespread belief" that the state's colleges operate inefficiently, that Louisiana has too many universities and too many college boards and that the state has put too much emphasis on four-year colleges and not enough on the two-year schools. He urged panel members to be bold in their recommendations.
I hope that tucker is not recommending that we change higher ed based on "widespread beliefs" instead of facts. What some might describe as "bold" others might see as "unfounded" and "mmendacious."

If you really want to know what Tucker and Jindal want to accomplish, then read the following paragraphs from an article at the WAFB website carefully.
Tucker says another possible solution would be to consolidate some of the state's public four-year schools. "This commission in particular needs to look at issues that we have too many universities, too many boards, racial divides, underperforming universities, duplicate programs, and just general inefficiencies," Tucker added.

Louisiana's current graduation rate is 37%. Governor Jindal says that's the lowest in the region. He and Tucker agree the commission should start by re-evaluating the lowest performing schools in the state. The state school with the lowest graduation rate is Southern University in New Orleans, with about 10%. Nicholls State and UNO are tied for the second lowest rates among the state's four-year public universities at 28%. LSU in Baton Rouge had the best graduation rate at 65%.

There it is -- what schools are close enough to one another to consolidate efficiently? SUNO and UNO? Southern and LSUA&M? Grambling and La Tech? Is there a pattern here?

Louisiana voting machines hacked.

Raw Story » Computer scientists reveal new voting machine hack successfully changed votes
While the voting machines were older and had been discontinued by North Carolina, where they were originally used, the voting apparatus are still in use in Louisiana and New Jersey.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Even nuttier than I thought.

Bush saw Iraq war as fight against Gog and Magog.

Council for Secular Humanism
Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

Well at least he's a New Ager.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Maybe this will give her senate campaign the bump it's been needing.

Stormy Daniels Arrested for Domestic Violence: News Station

I hear from WWL that she didn't like the way her husband was doing the laundry.

Good grief!

Stormy Daniels' Political Advisor May Have Been Hit By Car Bomb: Reports
Porn star Stormy Daniels' potential senatorial campaign was rocked yesterday by an explosion that blew up her political advisor's car in New Orleans, according to local news reports.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

MSNBC nails Jindal as "phoney stimulus elf."

Countdown:Stimulus is Jindal’s secret source

Jindal called the stimulus plan a failure, and tried to stop it. But "big fat checks" to local officials are funded in large part by stimulus money. In a word, hypocrisy. No local papers gave any credit for the checks to Obama's stimulus plan. (What about that, Advertiser? Advocate? Town Talk?)

Chris Hayes: "It's smart politics. He gets the best of both worlds. . . . Nobody ever shot Santa Claus."

Next time some idiot politician says we shouldn't give money to Louisiana because of its corrpution, show them this.

There's also the allegation that they were selling human body parts -- no joke.

Mayors, rabbis arrested in corruption probe -

Among those arrested in the public corruption portion of the investigation are Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, New Jersey Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt and Leona Beldini, a Jersey City deputy mayor.

Several rabbis in New York and New Jersey also were arrested in connection with the money-laundering portion of the investigation.

Jim Tucker continues to diss higher ed.

Somehow, those most familiar with the workings of higher education in Louisiana, those with the most experience and expertise, those who have worked in actual classrooms, are not trusted because they have "vested interests."  Now we know. | News | Compromise puts college systems on Tucker panel — Baton Rouge, LA
Tucker, R-Terrytown, said he did not want any of the college systems to have voting members because they would have “vested interests.”

“I think it would violate the independence of the commission,” Tucker said.

Actually, it will make it herder for Tucker to run his con.

Clausen: Tucker has won, batten down the hatches.

It looks like Tucker, who has expressed his contempt for higher education, is in the driver's seat now.  Colleges and universities in the state will prepare themselves for the onslaught if they have any sense.  Clausen's acceptance of "a complete overhaul" of higher ed, is an admission of defeat. | Opinion | Letter: La. may need academic revamp — Baton Rouge, LA
The most feasible and efficient result, considering the totality of the circumstances, may require a complete overhaul of our academic system.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Raymond Blanco tells it like it is.

The Independent - House speaker doesn’t get it
I understand the need for cuts given the current budget forecasts, but it was Speaker Tucker’s angry tirade against the state’s colleges and universities that revealed how little respect our purported leaders hold for higher education in Louisiana, and how little understanding they have for the critical need to properly invest in higher education. In his fury, he made all sorts of negative accusations, but basically declared higher education to be dysfunctional.

Blanco has seldom aired his political opinions in public, preferring to stay in the background. But I suppose he has just decided that enough is enough. The governor and his people seem determined to create a crisis in higher education, possibly as a preliminary to a power grab. And it was about time someone called them on it. Kudos to Blanco for coming out with this -- it's not likely to make him many friends.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Catastrophe avoided, but the problem will return. "A downsized future." | News | Late-hour compromise reduces cuts in budget — Baton Rouge, LA
Lawmakers put an additional $100 million toward higher education, reducing the $219 million in cuts that Jindal proposed amid state budget problems.

They also found money for projects in their districts, firefighter training at LSU, the state agricultural department and judgments in lawsuits against the state.

Higher education and health care still will endure cuts in the $28 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts Wednesday.

State Commissioner of Higher Education Sally Clausen said the reductions are very close to what she asked for when she requested that the $219 million in proposed cuts be halved.

“We’re very appreciative,” Clausen said. “We now focus not on obstacles, but on opportunities.”

The reductions in cuts allow colleges to avoid drastic layoffs and program eliminations in the immediate future so they can better prepare for a downsized future, she said.

The legislature basically punted on health and higher ed budgets in this session. The real problems are down the road. Clausen seems to have agreed to "a downsized future," and that will mean that higher ed and health care will remain the governor's target for cuts for the next three years. The legislature could have taken up the real problem but did not. That problem is the fact that most of the budget is constitutionally protected and cannot be cut. Higher ed and health care are the only two areas not protected in this way. Also there are special funds which siphon off money and then cannot be used in real emergencies. The solution would have been to pass constitutional amendments to even the budget playing field, giving each area of state government the same priority when it comes to cuts. There were some faint voices for doing so heard at the beginning of the session, but apparently the powers that be in the administration and the House would have none of it. Instead, the lege created the "Tucker Commission," tasked with the duty of "downsizing" the future of Louisiana's institutions of higher education.

For those with a long memory, this movement echoes the cries of "retrenchment" in the Treen administration. But at that time it was the entire budget under scrutiny, not just higher ed and health care. One wonders why the administration can find nowhere else to "downsize" in its bloated behemoth of a budget. Let's get this straight: Louisiana spends more per capita in its budget than Massachusetts (which the conservatives call Taxachusetts.) And yet our educational system ranks among the worst while "Taxachusetts" ranks among the best. This fact tells us loads about our priorities as a state.

Our governor, legislators and news media have let us down. This should have been a fiscal session, instead we were treated to debates on cell phones, motorcycle helmets and pharmacists who want to stand as moral judges. All to distract us from asking the simple question: "Where in the world is all that $28 billion going?" A simple chart showing what proportion of our state budget goes where, which would be easy to produce, would cause outrage across the state. But the governor's office and legislature put out confusing and unnecessarily complicated statistics, while the media are too lazy to assign someone to see exactly how our budget priorities compare to other, more rationally run states. A few accurate bar charts would start a revolution in Louisiana.

I forgot -- one of those 28 billions is going to bribe some marginal businesses to build plants in Louisiana. Meanwhile, our students will pay higher tuition as the state reneges on its promise to provide high quality health care and education to its people.

And congratulations to the Senate and Senator Michot for trying to restore the cuts against the strong opposition of the House and the Governor Jindal.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

We still don't know. But there may be a larger purpose in view by the administration. | News | Higher ed fund cuts still unclear — Baton Rouge, LA
Officials from the state’s top college oversight board, the state Board of Regents, are predicting 15 percent budget cuts of state funding for colleges could be reduced by at least $70 million to $80 million if the House and Senate can resolve some of their differences. But many questions remain.

“We thought we’d have a better idea of where we stand,” said Donnie Vandal, Regents deputy commissioner for finance. “There’s lots of ways things can get muddied and unclear.”
. . . . . . . .
Gov. Bobby Jindal and the House managed to blockade Senate plans to delay state income tax breaks to generate $118 million in extra dollars for colleges.

How does the well-educated Governor Bobby Jindal plan to reform the state with destructive cuts to higher ed? If these cuts stand, expect the closing of at least one college or university and several large programs at other universities within the next three years.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Melancon's statement on running for the senate.

Rep. Charlie Melancon considering challenge to Sen. David Vitter - Louisiana Politics | State Legislature News -
"For the past five years, I have been honored to serve the people of Louisiana's 3rd District as their Congressman. The challenges we have faced in the wake of four hurricanes and a national recession are deeply personal. I have worked to be a bipartisan leader that does not let party politics get in the way of Louisiana's progress. I want to continue to serve. Many Louisianians have encouraged me to run for U.S. Senate next year. I am discussing this opportunity with my wife and kids and will be making an announcement in the coming weeks.''

Maginnis says Melancon will challenge Vitter.

Louisiana Politics by John Maginnis
Melancon Set to Run

While he is not ready to make a public announcement, Congressman Charlie Melancon is said to have decided to run for the U.S. Senate next year, according to multiple political sources. The congressman has made no comment about challenging Republican Sen. David Vitter in 2010, but sources say he has told national Democratic campaign officials he will run.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Interesting buried lede.

Apparently the Senate is slowing down pet House projects in an effort to salvage funding for higher education.  The article buries the news on the second page. | News | Senators jab House in budget bill dispute — Baton Rouge, LA
The bills are the Senate’s biggest negotiation tools in a dispute with the House over funding for higher education and other services.

PAR weighs in on higher ed cuts. | News | PAR urges lawmakers not to make hasty cuts — Baton Rouge, LA
The session ends June 25.

PAR said there still is time to agree on a plan to buy higher education time to make changes.

The group said the state’s public colleges and universities need to decide:

* Which degree programs are essential.
* Which programs are duplicated.
* Which services can be privatized.
* How students and faculty can be eased through the changes.

PAR weighs in on higher education cuts. | News | PAR urges lawmakers not to make hasty cuts — Baton Rouge, LA
The session ends June 25.

PAR said there still is time to agree on a plan to buy higher education time to make changes.

The group said the state’s public colleges and universities need to decide:

* Which degree programs are essential.
* Which programs are duplicated.
* Which services can be privatized.
* How students and faculty can be eased through the changes.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

If there's serious unrest in Iran, what will that mean for gas prices?

Higher, I'd think.

There's that "draconian" word again that the governor hates so much.

College cuts face growing criticism from the Louisiana business community - Money
"The business council is not in any way supportive of the draconian cuts that are proposed," Brown said.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has proposed making a 15 percent, or $219 million, cut to colleges and universities for the next budget year, a blow that the Senate tried this week to soften by proposing to delay an income tax break and dip into the state's rainy day fund.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Good, but I bet they would prefer to have their homes back instead.

Hurricane victims get chance to buy trailers for as little as $1 - Los Angeles Times
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday that it would allow hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast still living in government-supplied trailers to buy their temporary homes for as little as $1.

The government will also provide $50 million to help other trailer residents, whose homes were destroyed by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, move into rental or public housing.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What the heck is this about?

From Gawker

Listen to your elders, Bobby. | News | Former governors meet with Jindal — Baton Rouge, LA
Four former Louisiana governors held a private meeting Thursday with Gov. Bobby Jindal, urging him to find a way to lessen planned budget cuts for the state's public colleges in a rare display of advice-giving from the people who once held Jindal's job.

The unusual meeting involved Dave Treen, Buddy Roemer, Mike Foster and Kathleen Blanco - all Louisiana's living ex-governors except the jailed Edwin Edwards.

"I hope we can convince the governor to take some steps to lower the disastrous impact of the higher education cuts," said Treen, a Republican who served as governor more than 20 years ago.

Roemer said he was responsible for organizing the meeting. Foster said the former governors were concerned the level of higher education cuts under discussion at the Capitol could be damaging to campuses.

Kisatchi Hills Wilderness, Louisiana

GOP senator: Governor using taxpayer money to attack higher ed advocates. | News | Senator: ‘Ledger’ blog use illegal — Baton Rouge, LA
A Republican state senator Wednesday accused the Jindal administration of advocating the governor’s agenda on a political Internet blog paid for taxpayers.

“It is a Web site for the purpose of pushing and implementing Gov. Bobby Jindal’s policies. That’s not legal,” said state Sen. Robert Adley, of Benton. “It’s against the law to use taxpayer money to further a proposal or proposition.”

Adley said the administration is using the blog, called “The Ledger,” to defend Jindal’s proposed budget cuts.

Adley said the blog, which is part of Jindal’s Division of Administration Web site, presents false information and editorially attacks higher education advocates and the Council for A Better Louisiana, which have been vocal against college cuts.
. . . . . .
“My question to the division is who are you going to send to jail?” Adley asked. “You broke the law.”

The Advertiser has lots more detail.

And here's the Ledger's weaselly reply
It’s true, of course, that the previous post employed a rhetorical device – analogy, or, more precisely, allusion – but did so simply as a way to draw attention, in a more easily accessible and understandable manner, to a set of facts that seems to have been lost in the discussion over higher education funding, in a way that a dizzying set of facts often is.
No harm, it was just an allusion. Neat. He can call opponents "angry" and imply that they are greedy, but it's just a figure of speech paid for by you, the taxpayer. Move along. Nothing to see here.

The Economics of higher education. Cuts will injure more than just the colleges. | News | Holden: College cuts would hurt BR — Baton Rouge, LA
Mayor-President Kip Holden warned that steep cuts to state funding for higher education being considered by the Legislature would have a devastating economic impact on Louisiana’s capital city.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in the Metro Council chambers, Holden said the university system plays a significant role in the area’s economy.

“When I read the details of what the budget cuts will mean to these institutions, it is obvious we are moving down a dangerous road that can lead to long-term consequences,” Holden said.

The mayor was flanked by the chancellors of LSU, Southern University and Baton Rouge Community College and a representative from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.

Each warned of layoffs and other dire consequences if $219 million in proposed cuts to higher education — about 15 percent of state funding for colleges — are made by the state.

“All three institutions in Baton Rouge are facing layoffs, which weakens consumer confidence and consumer spending and ultimately impacts our sales taxes,” Holden said. “It begins to take on a life of its own in negatively impacting a local economy, even one as strong as Baton Rouge.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chas, son of Buddy Roemer -- critical of governor. | News | BESE’s Roemer criticizes Jindal — Baton Rouge, LA
Gov. Bobby Jindal is unwilling to risk his political capital to help repair Louisiana’s public schools, a member of the state’s top school board charged Tuesday.

Even Republicans now critical of Jindal's inaction on education.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Governor to veto help for higher ed. | News | Tax break delay goes to House — Baton Rouge, LA
The Senate advanced a controversial measure Wednesday that would generate more money for higher education by delaying a tax break.

The Senate voted 29-9 in favor of sending the legislation to the House, where many lawmakers warn it will be defeated.

Senate Bill 335 by state Sen. Lydia Jackson, D-Shreveport, would freeze the amount of federal excess itemized deductions that state income tax filers can deduct at current levels through 2011. Instead of being able to claim 100 percent, tax filers would only be able to claim 65 percent.

The savings to state government would be $118 million.

Gov. Bobby Jindal is vowing to veto the legislation. Many in the House have said the bill is dead on arrival.

See this article about Senator Landrieu's testimony in favor of the bill.

And this article from the Daily Advertiser

Higher ed funding fail. | News | Changes foil funding shift try in panel — Baton Rouge, LA
A state senator’s attempt to free up at least $150 million for higher education and health care from tax amnesty revenue failed in committee Monday.

Just what higher ed needs: politicians with a "study" from a "commission." | News | Representatives approve higher education review — Baton Rouge, LA
A plan to do a sweeping study of higher education in Louisiana won House approval Monday.

“I think this is one of the most important bills of the year,” said House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Terrytown and sponsor of the proposal.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

This is "pro-life"?

George Tiller shot to death at Wichita church | News Updates | Wichita Eagle
George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride. | News | LSU eyes deep cuts — Baton Rouge, LA
Higher education could be left at just one-quarter of its current state funding levels in three years, according to a worst-case scenario released Friday by the LSU System.

The end result could be reducing state funding for colleges from $1.48 billion in 2008 to only $388 million in 2012.

Even closing several colleges would only put a dent in the onslaught of budget cuts by 2012, said Bob Keaton, LSU System special assistant and a former state Senate budget official.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pay now or pay later.

Thank goodness, the business community in Louisiana has more sense than the governor. | News | Groups ask to kill cuts to colleges — Baton Rouge, LA
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the business-funded Blueprint Louisiana group asked the Legislature on Thursday to eliminate all proposed budget cuts for higher education.

The request to the Senate Finance Committee was to allow colleges to evolve and adapt to the recession economy before instituting any of the proposed “draconian” cuts of 15 percent of their state funds.

The arguments from the business community were even stronger than from higher education officials, who have asked that their proposed $219 million in cuts be halved.

Higher ed administrators should be screaming about the cuts -- are they afraid of retribution from the governor or the lege? Probably so.

Health system in trouble too. | News | Health execs blast slated budget cuts — Baton Rouge, LA

We need to change the constitution of th estate of Louisiana. Now!!!

Sanity in the lege.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jindal vs. Higher Education. Who wins?

It looks like the debate over higher ed cuts is heating uf in the lege. Apparently some legislators are askng constituents to weigh in --

Proposal to head off massive education cuts faces uncertain fate | News for New Orleans, Louisiana | Top Stories | News and Weather for New Orleans |

One House member said voters' reactions to the proposal will be key: a flood of e-mails and phone calls -- for or against the idea -- could determine its fate.

"This will depend on the public outcry," said Rep. Michael Danahay, D-Sulphur.

Sen. Lydia Jackson's bill would affect roughly a quarter of Louisiana taxpayers, most of them wealthy, who take federal itemized deductions on their state taxes. Those taxpayers can now take 65 percent of the deductions, but a 2007 law says they can take 100 percent of them starting with 2009 tax forms.

*WWLTV:* * Proposal to head off massive education cuts faces uncertain fate*

Advertiser: *Lawmakers question Jindal's motives*

*Advertiser: Commentary: Just what is Jindal thinking on higher ed?

*Advertiser: Shaw CEO urges lawmakers to fight higher education cuts

* Witnesses decry cuts *

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rumsfeld and Katrina. Murder or negligent homicide?


Though various military bases had been mobilized into a state of alert well before the advance team’s tour, Rumsfeld’s aversion to using active-duty troops was evident: “There’s no doubt in my mind,” says one of Bush’s close advisers today, “that Rumsfeld didn’t like the concept.”

The next day, three days after landfall, word of disorder in New Orleans had reached a fever pitch. According to sources familiar with the conversation, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff called Rumsfeld that morning and said, “You’re going to need several thousand troops.”

“Well, I disagree,” said the SecDef. “And I’m going to tell the president we don’t need any more than the National Guard.”

The problem was that the Guard deployment (which would eventually reach 15,000 troops) had not arrived—at least not in sufficient numbers, and not where it needed to be. And though much of the chaos was being overstated by the media, the very suggestion of a state of anarchy was enough to dissuade other relief workers from entering the city. Having only recently come to grips with the roiling disaster, Bush convened a meeting in the Situation Room on Friday morning. According to several who were present, the president was agitated. Turning to the man seated at his immediate left, Bush barked, “Rumsfeld, what the hell is going on there? Are you watching what’s on television? Is that the United States of America or some Third World nation I’m watching? What the hell are you doing?”

Via Washington Monthly

Monday, May 04, 2009

NYT on Mayor of NO

Term Limits Say New Orleans Mayor Can’t Return; Residents Say They Don’t Mind -
“The mayor is not a hands-on administrator,” Dr. Renwick said. “He’s more a big-picture guy. And fixing streetlights is small picture. There’s a bit of a disconnect there.”

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I'm a diehard Saints fan, but where are our priorities? | News | New Saints deal questioned — Baton Rouge, LA
Even as Gov. Bobby Jindal and Saints owner Tom Benson announced from New Orleans their proposed new deal Thursday, some legislators in Baton Rouge questioned whether the state could afford to support the professional football team.

“This is a great day for Saints fans and the whole state of Louisiana,” Jindal said at a news conference inside the Louisiana Superdome where he and Benson announced a complex deal to keep the team in New Orleans through 2025.

Members of the Legislature are being asked to make deep cuts in higher education and health-care programs. The state faces a $1.3 billion drop in revenue for the fiscal year that starts July 1 and must cut state services to balance Jindal’s $26.7 billion budget.

State Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, echoed the comments of some House colleagues when he said Benson is wealthy enough to operate his business without help from the state.

Jones called the deal: “A welfare check for one of the richest men in Louisiana and we’re emptying our schools out.”

David Vitter: FEMA obstructionist.

Did he submit questions for Brownie? I would guess that he didn't.

Louisiana senator blocks nominee to lead FEMA | McClatchy
"I have a hold on the FEMA nomination because I sent a list of hurricane recovery questions and projects to FEMA, many of which have not been adequately addressed," Vitter said in a statement. "I'm eager to get full responses and meet with the nominee immediately."

The hold — which comes a month before the start of hurricane season — was reported in CQ Today, a Capitol Hill newspaper, which noted that Vitter's home state "bore the brunt of the botched agency response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005."

At that time, FEMA was led by Michael Brown, who had little emergency management experience. Fugate, however, garnered widespread praise for deft handling of back-to-back hurricanes in Florida and won bipartisan support at his confirmation hearing and was expected to be confirmed swiftly.

We will be watching closely.

May Day

The Big Picture
Today is May Day, and while International Workers’ Day (Labour Day in the UK), means little in the USA, its a big holiday in Europe. Banks and markets are closed on the continent, (England celebrates on Monday).

Speaking with Mike Panzner this morning (his clients are mostly Europeans) made me think about this: Which region is the true Socialist state?

-Europe has cradle to grave health care plans, generous unemployment benefits, and free or subsidized college costs.

-The US gives away public assets (oil, gas, mineral rights) for pennies on the dollar, has huge subsidies and tax breaks, and bails out reckless speculators.

It turns out that both regions are welfare states — only in Europe, the natural population (i.e., people) is the recipient, while in the US, the corporate population is the beneficiary.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Protest the firing of LSU scientist Ivor Van Heerden for speaking out about levees.


Dr. Ivor van Heerden, the coastal scientist who saved lives in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish, and led the state's independent Team Louisiana investigation into Hurricane Katrina levee failures, has been fired by Louisiana State University - without explanation.

The New York Times quotes Dr. Charles Delzell, an LSU professor and president of the LSU chapter of the American Association of University Professors as saying, “It’s a clear case of retaliation for his (van Heerden's) criticism of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”

Please go and sign the petition.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Governor slashes higher education.

Critics say Jindal's budget proposal "destroys" higher education | News for New Orleans, Louisiana | Top Stories | News and Weather for New Orleans |
State Rep. Page Cortez voiced his budget concerns in Baton Rouge following the Governor's budget presentation, saying "we're destroying higher [education].”

Cortez says while the plan would use $3.6 billion in federal stimulus money to ease the financial pain, those funds dry up two years which would leave educators with a bigger hole down the road.

"I think from an economic development stand point we start sending our best and brightest to other states to get an education than we've lost that industry," said Cortez.

This budget will set Louisiana back to the pre-Edwards days.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Governor slashes higher education.

Critics say Jindal's budget proposal "destroys" higher education | News for New Orleans, Louisiana | Top Stories | News and Weather for New Orleans |
State Rep. Page Cortez voiced his budget concerns in Baton Rouge following the Governor's budget presentation, saying "we're destroying higher [education].”

Cortez says while the plan would use $3.6 billion in federal stimulus money to ease the financial pain, those funds dry up two years which would leave educators with a bigger hole down the road.

"I think from an economic development stand point we start sending our best and brightest to other states to get an education than we've lost that industry," said Cortez.

This budget will set Louisiana back to the pre-Edwards days.

Gill: Jindal "mealy-mouthed."

Jindal's bad year about to get worse - James Gill - Times-Picayune -
For his latest renege there can be no excuse. He is supposed to represent the repudiation of old-time Louisiana politics, but governors never came more mealy-mouthed than this.

When Jindal took office last year, he promised never, ever to endorse candidates in legislative races, such was the purity of his devotion to the sound governance.

But that was before Lee Domingue, who had donated $116,000 to Jindal's campaign and associated causes, decided he wanted to be a state senator from Baton Rouge. It is, to say the least, unusual for a governor to intervene in a local primary, but Jindal up and endorsed Domingue over two other Republicans.

What is the state doing buying into a chicken processing firm?

Jindal: Do as I say, not as I do. | Opinion | Political Horizons for March 15, 2009 — Baton Rouge, LA
The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana recently noted Jindal’s inconsistency.

In a report released in time for “Sunshine Week,” a national initiative promoting open government, PAR said: “Few will forget the 2008 ethics session, where the new administration fought for increased disclosure and transparency from legislators but defended an overly-broad public records exception for the governor’s office.”

It has been Jindal who has pointed to dismal national rankings by groups that look at ethics and disclosure laws. He said those rankings would soar with the changes he proposed.

Jindal doesn’t mention the poor rating that the Louisiana Governor’s Office gets in a nationally recognized analysis done by the University of Florida’s Citizen Access Project.
The project analyzes the constitutions and laws of the states when it come to public records access.

Okee-dokee, Bobby J. We call yer bluff.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The story that would not die.

LA-Sen: Vitter's Meltdown - The Fix
Unfortunately for Vitter, however, the story lives on. Not only were there scads of stories in today's papers about the incident but the Transportation Security Administration is also looking into the fact that Vitter allegedly opened a security door and set off an alarm in the process.

Taking back the lies about New Orleans.

New Orleans Folk Shocked and Dismayed Over Levee Lies (Part One) - Digital Journal: Your News Network
So many stories have been written about Hurricane Katrina. Those who were victims of the flood were hurt afterward as well. Some of that victimization came innocently, from writers without all the facts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Vitte3r needs some self-control

Heard on the Hill: Vitter Goes From Hookergate to Gate-Crashing - Roll Call
According to an HOH tipster who witnessed the scene, the Louisiana Republican arrived Thursday evening at his United Airlines gate 20 minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart, only to find the gate had already been closed. Undeterred, Vitter opened the door, setting off a security alarm and prompting an airline worker to warn him that entering the gate was forbidden.

Vitter, our spy said, gave the airline worker an earful, employing the timeworn “do-you-know-who-I-am” tirade that apparently grew quite heated.

That led to some back and forth, and the worker announced to the irritable Vitter that he was going to summon security.

Vitter, according to the witness, remained defiant, yelling that the employee could call the police if he wanted to and their supervisors, who, presumably, might be more impressed with his Senator’s pin.

Vitte3r needs some self-control

Heard on the Hill: Vitter Goes From Hookergate to Gate-Crashing - Roll Call
According to an HOH tipster who witnessed the scene, the Louisiana Republican arrived Thursday evening at his United Airlines gate 20 minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart, only to find the gate had already been closed. Undeterred, Vitter opened the door, setting off a security alarm and prompting an airline worker to warn him that entering the gate was forbidden.

Vitter, our spy said, gave the airline worker an earful, employing the timeworn “do-you-know-who-I-am” tirade that apparently grew quite heated.

That led to some back and forth, and the worker announced to the irritable Vitter that he was going to summon security.

Vitter, according to the witness, remained defiant, yelling that the employee could call the police if he wanted to and their supervisors, who, presumably, might be more impressed with his Senator’s pin.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

NYT finally catches on to Jindal's exorcism exploit.

Bobby Jindal, the Exorcist - By the Numbers Blog -
A day after Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s widely ripped Howdy Doody-meets-Mister Rogers response to President Obama’s address, Max Blumenthal piled it on with an interesting article on The Daily Beast reiterating some things not widely known about the “Bayou’s boy wonder.”

One of the most interesting facts in the piece, titled “Bobby Jindal’s Secret Past,” was that Jindal said he witnessed, and then haltingly participated in, the exorcism of his very close friend (a woman named Susan) when he was in college.

The article credits Max Blumenthal's blog for the information.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

It's a good thing she remained anonymous.

Because if we knew who she was, she'd never get another client, she's that stupid. And she's in my home town, to boot.

If you don't know why what this woman is planning is moronic, read the article.

Update: Apparently there are more morons that I thought.

Media Matters - Does ABC News understand how income tax works?
A 63-year-old attorney based in Lafayette, La., who asked not to be named, told that she plans to cut back on her business to get her annual income under the quarter million mark should the Obama tax plan be passed by Congress and become law.

So far, Obama's tax plan is being looked at skeptically by both Democrats and Republicans and therefore may not pass at all.

"We are going to try to figure out how to make our income $249,999.00," she said.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

BartCop's most recent rants - Political Humor and Commentary
Subject: On Bobby Jindal's lame response

Just caught this on MSNBC
Republican strategist Kevin Madden on Jindal's response:

"It was like following Led Zeppelin with nothing but a harmonica."

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nice Headline: Jindal to take money he said was wasteful (but forget about the unemployed.)

Great work, Govnor!

Louisiana to seek New Orleans-Baton Rouge passenger rail line from federal stimulus pot that Jindal called wasteful - Breaking News from New Orleans - Times-Picayune -
BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's transportation department plans to request federal dollars for a New Orleans to Baton Rouge passenger rail service from the same pot of railroad money in the president's economic stimulus package that Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized as unnecessary pork on national television Tuesday night.

The high-speed rail line, a topic of discussion for years, would require $110 million to upgrade existing freight lines and terminals to handle a passenger train operation, said Mark Lambert, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

If you're gonna pick a pork barrel project, maybe monitoring volcanoes is not a good choice. Jindal drops the ball!

Hurricane Katrina: All Washington's Fault - The Plank
One more laff line from Jindal's speech:

Why Jindal won't get the GOP Nomination.

National Journal Online - Jindal Has To Reckon With 2011, Not 2012
To be sure, Jindal isn't the first politician to let his name be floated for an office he doesn't plan to seek. What's more curious is the apparent willingness of Republicans to help him raise his profile and solidify his image as a GOP savior, all the while knowing there's no chance he'll be their next nominee. Doing so diminishes other prospective luminaries and sets activists up for disappointment when Jindal doesn't run.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Les't unemploy Jindal and see how he likes it. | News | Landrieu: Jindal wrong on funds — Baton Rouge, LA
Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said in a telephone conference call that Jindal needs to choose whether to represent the state of Louisiana or be the spokesman for the national Republican Party, which has been critical of the spending package pushed by President Barack Obama and passed largely on the votes of Democrats in the U.S. Congress.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jindal and Palin. The "" crowd.

Key Republican Governors Like Palin Oppose the Obama Stimulus Package - Robert Schlesinger (
In terms of presidential politics, the most notable name in the Times piece is Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who campaigned with Obama for the stimulus package last week. Glaringly absent from the Times piece were governors like South Carolina's Mark Sanford, Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Mississippi's Haley Barbour and Alaska's Sarah Palin—all governors recently named in the Washington Post's excellent "The Fix" column as being among the five most influential and powerful voices in the Republican Party (the other person named was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney). Palin and Jindal are often named as contenders in 2012, and Barbour gave 2008 a long look before passing on it. Sanford is chairman of the Republican Governor's Association.

None of these sitting governors liked the stimulus package.

Go ahead, Bobby, make my day.

Good article -- this is part of what Jindal is thinking of turning down.

ISS - KROMM REPORT: Will Jindal really turn down federal money for Louisiana?
The state's $3.8 billion share of the federal stimulus -- while a far cry from the full-scale Gulf Civic Works program many advocated -- would still be a welcome boost to many. It includes:

* $1.7 billion for the state's troubled Medicaid program

* $587 million for public education -- especially important in places like New Orleans, where school enrollment is still down 23% since Katrina [pdf]

* $455 million for road and bridge repair

* $130 million in flexible dollars to help offset budget cuts

Well, Darn it, he IS!

Katie Couric Paints Gov. Jindal, State of Louisiana As Foes of 'Scientific Community' |
Well, the saints might go marching into New Orleans, but the scientists are marching right on out. A group of more than two thousand biologists have decided NOT to hold their 2011 annual meeting in the Big Easy," "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric noted at the open of her February 18 video blog entry.

Couric proceeded to turn a biologists convention's PR stunt into evidence that Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) is an enemy of the "scientific community.":

The reason? Louisiana has a law that allows teachers to use supplemental materials in science class - things other than the state approved curriculum. Republican-up-and-comer Bobby Jindal signed it last summer after it passed the state legislature with overwhelming support.

The scientific community says the law is nothing more than a free pass for the teaching of creationism, and that religion has no place in a biology class.

The writer is a conservative, and call's Couric's piece "biased." But the biologists are staying away from N.O. because of Jindal. Thanks, governor. If you're going to run for President at Louisiana's expense, why not just resign? I for one would be glad to contribute to your foredoomed campaign if you did.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

OH, PLEASE Bobby. Please turn the money down.

GOP Governors Consider Turning Down Stimulus Money
.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the No. 3 House Democrat, said the governors _ some of whom are said to be eyeing White House bids in 2012 _ are putting their own interests first.

"No community or constituent should be denied recovery assistance due to their governor's political ideology or political aspirations," Clyburn said Wednesday.

In fact, governors who reject some of the stimulus aid may find themselves overridden by their own legislatures because of language Clyburn included in the bill that allows lawmakers to accept the federal money even if their governors object.

He inserted the provision based on the early and vocal opposition to the stimulus plan by South Carolina's Republican governor, Mark Sanford. But it also means governors like Sanford and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal _ a GOP up-and-comer often mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential candidate _ can burnish their conservative credentials, knowing all the while that their legislatures can accept the money anyway.

Jindal said he, like Perry and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, is concerned about strings attached to the money even though his state faces a $1.7 billion budget shortfall next year.

Woo hoo! High speed rail for Louisiana in $8 billion appropriation in stimulus bill.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is Brownie still in charge?

$3.9B in hurricane aid still unspent -
Nearly 3½ years after those storms hit, new FEMA accounting reports show two-thirds of the money to pay for permanent rebuilding work still has not been spent, the latest bottleneck in a recovery long beset by criticism that it has been too slow and inefficient. And despite a handful of high-profile successes, officials who had vowed to speed up the pace of repairs concede it is still going far more slowly than it should.

If the government spends the stimulus money at this rate, we'll all be dead before we see a dime.