Monthly Archives: January 2013

Weak soup.

Something Like the Truth

As I’m sure you’ve read, Gov. Bobby Jindal went to Charlotte this week to speak to the Republican National Committee‘s winter meeting, where he dispensed some weak soup that, in Jindal’s world, seems to pass for wisdom and policy innovation.

Most famously, Jindal said: “We’ve got to stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. I’m here to say we’ve had enough of that.”

I have nothing much to add to the very good commentary on Jindal’s speech, except to note that Jindal never actually proposed any innovative or bold policy changes.  He simply said the GOP needs to do a better job of hiding its crazy, misogynistic uncles.

It’s sort of like saying, “I’ve got a ton of stinking manure in the back of my…

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“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Crazy Crawfish


BATON ROUGE, La. – In response to the feedback of pro-charter and reform groups, virtual  school operators, and testing companies, the Louisiana Department of Education today announced a complete overhaul of its website. The website’s URL has changed to, reflecting the state’s comprehensive plan to ensure every student is fleeced for the maximum state funding before they track to prison or an exciting chicken plucking career. With the change comes a redesign of the entire website with the goal of making navigation through the site easier, by eliminating all useful or historical content. The Department tailored the changes to address concerns that the old site was too revealing and contained accurate information that contradicted pithy press releases like this one. The new site reflects the premise of Louisiana Believes Anything. Based on this discovery, our true bosses expect high profit margins…

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Ladies and gentlemen, YOUR LOUISIANA STATE SENATE!


Louisiana State Senator Mike Walsworth may not understand evolutionary science, but after this week, he probably has a deeper appreciation of the ways in which a news story can evolve over the course of time. Senator Walsworth, a Republican from Monroe, is probably now the most well-known member of the Louisiana legislature. Last week, in a story about Zack Kopplin, Walsworth appeared on the front page of the website io9, and today, the rest of the media appears to have caught on.

MSN: Louisiana Senator Wonders, Out Loud, If E. Coli Can Evolve Into Humans

Slate: And These Are The People Making Laws In Louisiana

Gawker: Louisiana Senator Wants To Know If E. Coli Could Evolve Into Human

The New Civil Rights Movement: Video Of Creationist Republican Not Understanding Bacteria Can’t Evolve Into A Human Goes Viral

Upworthy: Senator Asks For Proof Of Evolution, Discovers He Doesn’t Actually Know…

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Surprise: “Dr.” Jeff Sadow loves @BobbyJindal’s regressive new sales tax hike!


Throughout the last several years, as anyone who follows Louisiana politics can tell you, whenever Governor Bobby Jindal’s policies are challenged, you can count on blogger and LSUS Associate Professor Jeff Sadow to rise to Jindal’s defense. Sadow has published hundreds of thinly-sourced and poorly-researched screeds on his website Between the Lines, screeds that are often reposted on other conservative-leaning websites and blogs, screeds that attempt to intellectually justify Jindal’s policies by referencing the work of none other than LSUS Professor Jeff Sadow. Suffice it to say, I’ve never been impressed with Sadow’s blog or the integrity of his self-referential “scholarship” (if that is even the right word).

He’s a radical conservative who frequently rants against the basic function and role of the government, lambasting the poor and those who rely on public services and programs and denouncing the legacy of populism in Louisiana. Yet, ironically, this is a…

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Tax the poor, end the public hospital system, destroy the higher education system. #JindalWay

Something Like the Truth

By Robert Mann

Hasn’t Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal done enough to hurt his state’s poor citizens?

After virtually destroying the public health care system, why would he want to deepen their anguish by increasing taxes on them by as much as 75 percent?

That could be the practical impact of a new tax plan, announced today, that Jindal is prepared to submit to the Louisiana Legislature — eliminating the most progressive tax, the income tax, and making up much of the difference by raising the state’s sales tax (by a whopping 75 percent) from 4 cents to 7 cents.

Jindal also plans to eliminate the state’s corporate tax and raise additional revenue by eliminating unspecified tax exemptions.

Until we see the exact details of his proposal, perhaps we should give Jindal the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he has a way to exempt poor people from paying…

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New Leaders Council Names 2013 Fellows

NLC training 2012

NLC Fellows at a training in 2012 – photo courtesy NLC-Louisiana’s Facebook page

Louisiana’s chapter of New Leaders Council just announced the 2013 class of Fellows for what will be their 4th annual statewide institute. The impressive, diverse group includes educators, attorneys, business and non-profit leaders, public servants, activists and social entrepreneurs.

Since 2010, NLC has conducted progressive leadership training for small groups of emerging young leaders. There is a rigorous selection process for the free program which is part of national network of chapters. In the Institute, Fellows meet monthly over five weekends to learn “political entrepreneur” skills – which emphasizes the application of risk-taking in the civic arena to achieve political goals.

NLC has a likewise impressive list of backers and alumni. The national alumni page includes current and aspiring elected officials, including State Representative Ted James of Baton Rouge who was part of the inaugural Louisiana class in 2010. Donors include former Governor Kathleen Blanco who also served as the chapter’s initial honorary co-chair.

While NLC has been operating across the country quietly since 2005, people are starting to take notice. In fact, last Sunday, the discussion on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show included New Leaders Council. Washington Monthly also published an article in September that sums up NLC’s work well:

The NLC is strikingly different from the typical DC think tank or policy shop focused on electioneering or fighting in the cable news trenches. For the last six years, its main operation is to run a kind of mini-graduate school in cities across the country for up-and-coming progressive political entrepreneurs, or “Fellows,” as they call them. In five weekends over five months, a class of around twenty fellows take classes in things like business, media and communications, campaign management, or political strategy. These fellows then serve as a network of communication and support as they move into their careers throughout the country.

And the NLC’s goal is not just to build a stable of potential congressional candidates—it has its eyes on every potential position of influence nationwide: city councils and school boards, boards and chairmanships of corporations, and of course state and national elected offices. The idea is to “infiltrate and take over all the levers of power—public and private, national and local,” says the NLC’s Executive Director Mark Riddle.

While local media and political commentators write off Louisiana as a permanent conservative stronghold, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact progressive groups like New Leaders Council can have.

Cassidy vs Landrieu: How will their fiscal cliff votes affect the 2014 Louisiana Senate race?

Thanks Prof Mann for setting the 2014 table!

Something Like the Truth

So, Sen. Mary Landrieu voted for the fiscal cliff deal in the Senate. Her likely Republican opponent, Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy, did not.

Northeast Louisiana Rep. Rodney Alexander, a Republican, and New Orleans-Baton Rouge Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat, were the only Louisiana members to support the bipartisan deal in the House.

But it’s the votes of Landrieu and Cassidy that are the most interesting because the fiscal cliff could be an issue in the 2014 Senate race and influence Landrieu’s re-election bid.

In one sense, the votes don’t change the equation at all.  Landrieu is a Democrat and was expected to support the deal. Even her Republican Louisiana counterpart, David Vitter, voted for the plan that raised income taxes on people earning more than $400,000.

And Cassidy, who once had a reputation around Baton Rouge as a fairly moderate Democrat, has firmly repositioned himself…

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