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.