Monthly Archives: June 2012
There, got that out-of-the-way? The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. This is big and great news. Thanks, Barack.
But, in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, he of “health care expert” fame, had a total meltdown. Let’s take a look at Jindal’s twitterstream, for example:
Today’s decision is a blow to our freedoms.—
Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) June 28, 2012
A blow to our freedoms? You mean, because Barack Obama passed a Health Care plan that is directly sourced from one that the freedom-hating Heritage Foundation (you know, the foremost conservative “thinktank” in existence) wrote?
Or because Obamacare is exactly the plan that Mitt Romney enacted in Massachusetts as Governor and then lustily touted and promoted on the talking heads circuit for years? The same Mitt Romney Jindal now begs for a Vice-Presidential spot on the GOP ticket?
Bobby, let’s be clear here. You are a monstrous hypocrite. You cannot have it both ways.
The Court should have protected our constitutional freedoms, but remember it was the President that forced this law on us.—
Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) June 28, 2012
Forced this law? You mean, by passing it in Congress by majorities? That’s forcing? I mean, Bobby my friend, you “forced” the taxpayers of Louisiana to fund fly-by-night nutcase religious “schools” by passing some egregious wingnut social engineering project via your “education agenda.”
Instead, in exchange for cutting costs, increasing access to health care, and reducing our deficit, Barack Obama is instituting a tax (or “fee” in your language, Bobby) on free-loaders who refuse to purchase health care coverage and instead make all of us pay for their dumb decisions by going to Emergency rooms and sucking our public health care dollars down a terrible drain.
But we digress. Back to Bobby’s wack-job hysteria:
Americans oppose it because it will decrease the quality of care, raise taxes, cut Medicare, and break the bank. All of this is still true.—
Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) June 28, 2012
Of course, Jindal is wrong about everything here. But that is nothing new.
And now the kicker. With all of his sputtering and flailing, Jindal slipped up and played from the wrong playbook. He forgot he wasn’t a Rick Perry acolyte anymore (you know, he of “the first thing, the second thing, and uhhh…ooops.”)
Ooops! Poor Bobby! Your Veep-stakes ranking might take a tumble. And you’d still be a blithering moron.
A month ago, the Jindal administration and State Superintendent John White announced a list of private and charter schools that had qualified to receive taxpayer-funded vouchers, the cornerstone of Governor Jindal’s controversial plan to “reform” the Louisiana education system. According to an analysis by my friends at The Daily Kingfish, of the 125 schools that were approved, 115 of them (or 92%) “are affiliated with a church or other religious organization.” This, in and of itself, should not be too surprising; after all, the overwhelming majority of private schools in Louisiana are either affiliated with a church or a religious organization, and when Governor Jindal first announced his intention to shift public education money to private schools through vouchers, it should have been obvious that religious schools and institutions would be the largest beneficiary.
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Bobby Jindal’s batshit-crazy Education agenda already passed the legislature and has been signed into law. Many”reasonable” Louisiana legislators, including some decent Democrats, voted for this monstrosity because…well because they’re just cowardly morons. Too afraid to face off with the Governor, or to lose some “plum” assignment, or to violate some unholy deal. Instead of working for the people, they work for themselves. Again and again.
One silver lining about this atrocious waste of public funds and the total trashing of the future of Louisiana is that the horrible outcomes that this bill will produce, in addition to those it already has, will likely destroy the standing of Republican Education policy for the next decade nationwide.
Thank you, Bobby, for making our state and our children an example of exactly what NOT to do.
Without further ado, the Guardian:
Romney’s proposal for private-school vouchers is red meat for the rightwing base of the Republican party, especially evangelicals. Vouchers have been the third rail of education politics since Milton Friedman proposed them in 1955; they have been put before the voters in several state referenda and have been consistently rejected. As a general rule, the public does not want public money to support religious schools. And many religious schools are wary about accepting public money and the regulations that eventually are tied to it. But in the past few years, vouchers have been revived by state legislatures in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Louisiana without resorting to a popular vote.
The results are already troubling. In Louisiana, where Governor Bobby Jindal’s education reform legislation was enacted in mid April, the new law declares that students in low-performing schools are eligible to take their share of state funding to any accredited private or religious school. About 400,000 students (more than half the students in the state) are eligible, but only some 5,000 places are available in the state’s private and parochial schools. When the state posted the list of participating schools, the one that registered to accept the largest number of voucher students was the New Living Word School, which offered to enroll 315 of them. But its current enrollment is 122, and it has no facilities or teachers for the new students, though it promises to erect a new building in time for the beginning of the school year this fall. Most of its instruction is delivered on DVDs.
Another school, the Eternity Christian Academy, which currently has 14 students, has agreed to take in 135 voucher students. According to a recent Reuters article:
“[Students] sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains ‘what God made’ on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.”
The pastor-turned-principal explained:
“We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children.”
Some of the other schools that have been approved to receive state-funded vouchers “use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don’t cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution”.
The Reuters reporter described the Louisiana law as “the nation’s boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children”. Next year, all students in Louisiana will qualify for a voucher to take courses from private vendors or corporations offering courses or training. Expect a boom in new education businesses in Louisiana.
What Governor Jindal is doing sounds like a template for the Romney plan. With no increase in funding, all the money for vouchers and private vendors and online charters will be deducted from the state’s public education budget. Governor Jindal and Mitt Romney should explain how American education will be improved if taxpayer dollars are used to send more students to sectarian schools and to take their courses from profit-making businesses and online schools.
We’ll leave the snark to the Wonkette:
did you know about Mitt Romney’s plan to destroy public education, which he revealed a couple weeks ago in a White Paper that no one paid much attention to? This is an actual White Paper, by the way, not an offhand comment like the one he made about how much he likes firing people who provide teaching to you. You will be shocked, just shocked, to learn that the “ideas” in this 35-page-long White Paper are about the same as the ones that John Sununu said on TeeVee, and can be succinctly summarized as follows.
- Privatize K-12 education to give people Choices and whatnot.
- Loosen regulations on for-profit college education to stimulate Competition and the subsequent lowering of prices.
- Destroy Teachers’ Unions because they are Communist, basically.
To be fair, there’s stuff in there about how no one actually needs to go to school (Higher education will flourish when “innovation and skill attainment” matter more than “time in classroom” and “Eligible students remaining in public schools will also have the option to use federal funds to purchase supplemental tutoring or digital courses from state-approved private providers rather than receiving Title I services from their district.”) Also, tax payers will give money to private corporations instead of public institutions (“charter school programs [must be able to] expand to meet demand, receive funding under the same formula that applies to all other publicly-supported schools, and access capital funds.”) And no Romney campaign materials would be complete without a bunch of flagrant lies! (“after three months,” he says, “students [in the DC voucher program] could already read at levels 19 months ahead of their public-school peers,” which, as the Guardian points out, is not true.) But basically, it boils down to destroying unions and free public education, which means that if Romneybot has his way, we will all be living in Louisiana and it’s going to be AWESOME.
Read the entire Romney “Education” White Paper here. AND YES IT IS INSANE. Brace yourselves.
It seems some of Jindal’s rivals in the Republican thunder-dome that is statewide elected office decided to step out and question Jindal’s governance philosophy.
Oh hell, let’s call it what it was: Jindal’s big-spending, one-time-money-loving, patchwork budget-ways are hypocritical from his own ideological perspective. And for a while now, a certain junior US Senator and his friend, a certain State Treasurer, have been trying to call him out on this fraudulent behavior.
David Vitter and John Kennedy had engineered a mini-coup within the Republican Party, which has been slowly building over the past two years. This legislative session, however, shit has finally hit the fan.
When Vitter and Kennedy pressed House Fiscal Teahadists to nearly shut-down the budget process, Jindal was none-too-pleased. The Kennedy/Vitter wing circulated hypocritical Jindal quotes on fiscal responsibility during the budget debate. Then, Kennedy fired off a letter out-lining his plans to cut funds from Jindal’s state budget. This is one of several times when Kennedy offered his solutions to the State Budget crisis, only to be rebuffed by the Jindalistas. We all remember the Streamlining Commission, personally led by Treasurer Kennedy, which pointed out many of the inefficiencies that Kennedy still harps on today.
When Kennedy tried his letter stunt in the House, Commissioner Rainwater fired back a nasty response that disassembled Kennedy’s arguments in vicious fashion:
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater responded with an open letter of his own to Kennedy answering the treasurer’s plan point-by-point and jabbing at Kennedy in the preamble: “We appreciate your input, but with all due respect, the numbers that you continue to use to support your case are not based in reality and the ideas you continue to advocate for will not work.”
The bon mot wrapped in tongue-in-cheek irony came from Jindal flack Kyle Plotkin, who said in a statement, “John Kennedy has a long history of using numbers that don’t add up and proposing the same-old, same-old half-baked gimmicks. There’s nothing new here. These gimmicks haven’t worked before, and they aren’t going to work now. He’s just one confused politician.”
That “confused politician” line is the icing for sure. We all remember Senator Landrieu’s constant refrain from her 2008 victory over Kennedy, don’t we?
With this back and forth, someone was bound to get whacked. You know, somewhere it hurts.
And it turns out, with his line-item veto pen, Don Jindal whacked Kennedy straight in the mouth:
Treasurer John Kennedy, a critic of the Jindal administration’s financial policies, has found his budget cut with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s line-item veto.In his veto message, Jindal said he’s stripping more than $511,000 from Kennedy’s budget next year to “streamline” the agency, to reflect spending patterns over the last three years and to strip money for four vacant jobs.
Not only is he stripping money from Kennedy’s budget, he’s “streamlining” it. Sound familiar?
To make matters more complicated, Representative Geymann, a leader with the teahadist Vitter/Kennedy wing in the Legislature, resigned from the Natural Resources Committee:
State Representative Brett Geymann (R – Lake Charles) has resigned from the Natural Resources Committee of the Louisiana House of Representatives to focus on budget reform full-time as a Member of the Appropriations Committee. Geymann is also surrendering an apartment in the Pentagon Complex.
“I have resigned from the Natural Resources Committee effective immediately, so that I can focus on budget reform full-time in my role as a Member of the Appropriations Committee” Representative Geymann said. “I was unable to devote the necessary time to the Natural Resources Committee this session due to the challenges that have arisen in implementing real budget reform” said Geymann. “I will also give up the Pentagon Complex apartment so that there will be no confusion regarding my priorities for the rest of the term” Geymann continued. “I look forward to continuing a robust and open dialogue with leadership, and the Administration, on the core budget reform issues that are critical to a healthy and growing Louisiana for our families and businesses” Geymann concluded.
Representative Geymann notified the Speaker by a formal letter of resignation.
Geymann would be the second fiscal teahadist to leave the Natural Resources Committee this week, except he was the only one who did it on his own accord. Rep. Morris was ousted as Vice-Chairman this week for his role in criticizing Don Jindal during the budget debate.
Looks like this intra-family war is only getting started. Grab the popcorn.
Over at his blog, CB Forgotston points out an uber-ironic happening on the Northshore:
On July 13, 2010, Bobby Jindal announced that Globalstar would move its headquarters from California to St. Tammany Parish.
LED committed to provide Globalstar with a performance-based grant of $4.4 million to reimburse expected relocation costs, as well as $3.7 million in performance based incentives to offset facility costs for Globalstar’s new headquarters and research and development operations in Covington. Jindal Press Release July 13, 2010.
Globalstar has committed to relocate or create more than 150 new jobs by the end of 2011, increasing to more than 200 new jobs by 2013. Additionally, the agreement calls for Globalstar’s total Louisiana employment to increase by more than 500 by the end of 2019. LED further estimates that the Globalstar project will result in $26.1 million in new state tax revenue and $8.3 million in new local tax revenue over the next 10 years. Ibid.
Thursday, there was an on-line story in New Orleans CityBusiness that raises grave concerns over the future of Globalstar.
By the time the company had settled into its Covington headquarters in September, two former executives had announced their departure, a $1 billion project to refurbish the satellite system promised to improve service was months behind schedule and the company’s stock price was plummeting. New Orleans CityBusiness, June 14, 2012.
Globalstar stock fell from a high of $1.91 per share in October 2010 to 26 cents as of May 18. Ibid.
Commitment not met
Globalstar committed to relocating or creating more than 150 jobs in the area by 2011 and an additional 50 in 2013. The company employs 91 in Covington now. Ibid.
Yes, this is the same Bobby Jindal who is mentioned as Romney’s “dark-horse in plain-sight” VP nod, generating massive buzz over his zingers against the Obama administration (including is infamously stupid “Obama never ran a lemonade stand” line).
But this is much worse, and much “realer” than Obama’s investment in Solyndra. See, Jindal didn’t just offer Globalstar a loan. He literally gave Globalstar more than $7m in taxpayer money. Gave it away. And Jindal has repeated this again and again, without any accountability regarding the effectiveness of giving State money away to private enterprise in hopes they might create a couple jobs here and there.
Move along, nothing to see here of course.
As Bobby Jindal basks in the glow of VP speculation, his school voucher plan continues to garner national, as well – just not the positive kind.
From a Washington Post blog:
One of those schools is the church-affiliated New Living Word School, which was approved to increase its student enrollment from 122 to 315 — even though it doesn’t have the space, computers or the teachers to handle the students, according to the News-Star.
This means that this school will have 100 more voucher slots than any other school in Louisiana. The state Department of Education chose schools to qualify for vouchers without visiting any campuses.
According to the News-Star, Rev. Jerry Baldwin, the school’s principal and pastor of New Living Word Ministries, said that construction will begin this summer on a metal school building though he isn’t sure when it will be done. Current students now attend class in rooms used by the church’s Sunday school. If the new building is finished by the fall, he said, new students can hold class in the church gym.
The school’s mission, according to its Web site, is: “The mission of NLWM School is to provide a foundation built on biblical principles that will create an atmosphere for scholastic advancement and spiritual development.”
The school, Baldwin was quoted as saying, is moving forward “on faith.”
Education historian Diane Ravitch also reported on her blog that another school, the Eternity Christian Academy in Calcasieu Parish, will benefit from the voucher program. It now enrolls 14 students but has said it will take in 135 new students, a move that will result in some $1 million in taxpayer funds.