Category Archives: Uncategorized
“Patriots” against law and order
In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service, already the least popular governmental agency in the country, became the target of intense investigations by members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, and the FBI, at the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder, after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Although we now know that the IRS actually targeted significantly more progressive and liberal organizations than Tea Party groups, conservatives in Congress and Tea Party supporters successfully convinced many in the mainstream media and the public that they were the victims of a political witch hunt and conspiracy. One of the IRS’s biggest critics was Cecil Cavanaugh of the Tea Party of Louisiana. “When you use the IRS in this fashion, you’re basically limiting free speech and that’s not good for any of us,” he told WBRZ…
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In the summer of 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed a Tulane Law professor to serve as a Judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and although the professor’s credentials and his political persuasion were probably more than sufficient to convince Eisenhower and the Senate of his qualifications, his name, an almost perfect aptronym, probably helped too. Today, Judge John Minor Wisdom, who died in 1999 at the age of 93, is generally considered one of the most towering and influential figures in the history of Louisiana law. When he was well into his eighties, in 1993, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian award, and a year later, the Fifth Circuit’s opulent headquarters (which, depending on who you ask, ranks as New Orleans’s first or second most beautiful office building, in a city that does not suffer from a lack of beautiful buildings) was named in his honor.
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More con-artists lobbyists.
The Louisiana Family Forum is the most powerful and successful lobbying organization in a state brimming with lobbyists and special interests, and Gene Mills, its President, is arguably Louisiana’s single most powerful registered lobbyist.
Mills would likely not dispute this characterization. In a recent video statement to supporters, he claimed that 2014 was his organization’s most successful year ever, boasting that, during a debate about a bill pertaining to surrogacy, he presented the bill’s author with a list of “non-negotiable” demands that “were required in order for his bill to move forward.”
“The author,” Mills said, “blocked nine of those ten repairs and found out that when the LFF says, ‘It’s not negotiable, well, it’s not negotiable.'”
“LFF blocked bad bills, advanced good ones, and amended dozens of others to remove their threats,” Mills said. (emphasis added).
Even though he has never been elected to public office, Mills talks…
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Louisiana has been atwitter about the topic of Medicaid Expansion for years now. Ever since the passage of Obamacare (and the subsequent Supreme Court decision making expansion optional), states throughout the country have been slowly coming around the idea that expanding Medicaid is a good idea.
This summer has been no exception. No fewer than 5 red states have been inquiring about how to submit to the horror that is the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion, including known liberal enclaves such as Wyoming and Tennessee.
A funny thing keeps happening though: As more states inquire, some of the places most in need of expansion continue to hold out. TPM explored this topic here:
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican powered to office in 2010 by the tea party wave, struck a deal with HHS last week to expand Medicaid. Indiana, led by Republican 2016 dark horse Gov. Mike Pence, is already negotiating with the administration on its own plan. Tennessee, a state like Wyoming where there’s no real Democratic threat to Republican dominance that would drive expansion talk, plans to submit a proposal for Medicaid expansion to HHS this fall.
Wyoming is perhaps the prototype for how Medicaid expansion might happen now that most of the easy states — either Democratic-led or with more moderate GOP leadership — have come around. It is a combination of selling conservative lawmakers on the financial benefits of expansion and crafting an alternative plan that is more palatable to conservative ideals in the 23 remaining states that have not yet accepted the expansion.
Yet, states most in need of the expansion seem to be holding pat. Where are these states? Why in the deep south, where the uninsured rate is among the highest in the nation:
A map of Medicaid expansion leaves out the five states that, at least by thestandard definition, comprise the Deep South. You can tack on two huge adjoining states — Florida and Texas — and go by the “original Confederate States” definition. Arkansas and Kentucky are the most Southern states so far to expand, and both are led by Democrats. GOP-led Tennessee is working on it.
In a June op-ed for Reuters, Lichtenstein used the South’s obstruction of Medicaid expansion as “Exhibit A” in his argument that the region was reverting to the “New South,” formerly the description of the period between the Civil War (or Reconstruction, more precisely) and civil rights.
“A ruling white caste (is) now putting in place policies likely to create a vast economic and social gap between most Southern states and those in the North, upper Midwest and Pacific region,” he wrote. “Of course, such regressive social policies… are supported by a fierce white partisanship.”
Among these deep south Governors fighting tooth-and-nail against Medicaid Expansion? Bobby Jindal, of course.
Oh, nothing to see here. Just a funny coincidence. States with historical racism are certainly not avoiding expansion just to withhold progress from lower-socioeconomic class minorities. Never.
WITH COMMON CORE BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST IT. WITH RACE TO THE TOP BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST IT. A PATTERN
Originally posted on Something Like the Truth:
By Robert Mann
If there was ever a politically motivated, frivolous lawsuit, it would be the thinly veiled campaign document that Gov. Bobby Jindal filed in federal court on Wednesday, alleging that the federal government coerced states like Louisiana to participate in Common Core.
In his suit, Jindal seems to say that he and other governors were forced by President Obama to apply for federal funds and join a national consortium, all of which supported the implementation of the Common Core standards in their states.
“In short, through regulatory and rule making authority, Defendants [the federal government] have constructed a scheme that effectively forces States down a path toward a national curriculum by requiring, as a condition of funding under the President’s Race to the Top programs, that States join ‘consortia of states’ and agree to adopt a common set of content standards and to implement the assessment protocols and policies created by that consortium, all under…
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LouisianaVoice learns of Jindal plan to force state retirees out of OGB by raising members’ premiums, cutting benefits
Originally posted on Louisiana Voice:
Remember less than two weeks ago (Aug. 14, to be precise) we wrote that members of the Louisiana Office of Group Benefits (OGB) should prepare themselves for health insurance premium sticker shock? http://louisianavoice.com/2014/08/14/nichols-pens-op-ed-on-soundness-of-ogb-even-as-legislative-fiscal-office-prepares-members-for-premium-sticker-shock/
Well, LouisianaVoice has obtained new information that indicates we weren’t entirely accurate in our portrayal of what’s in store for some 230,000 state employees, retirees and their dependents.
The reality is much worse.
Much worse indeed, particularly for state retirees.
To recap briefly, we told you in that Aug. 14 posting about the report of the Legislative Fiscal Office on pending major changes in medical coverage for state employees and retirees. Some of those anticipated changes provided in the Legislative Fiscal Officer Report, authored by Legislative Fiscal Officer John Carpenter and Legislative Fiscal Office Section Director J. Travis McIlwain, include:
- An increase in premiums state employees and retirees pay for health coverage;
- Significantly increase the out-of-pocket maximum…
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Originally posted on Crazy Crawfish's Blog:
Student performance in Louisiana is dropping rapidly. The decline started just about the time John White became superintendent of Education and has accelerated rapidly with the introduction of Common Core in Louisiana schools. Based on a sample analysis of the very meager data LDOE finally released under threat of lawsuit it is clear that not only is student performance not increasing or staying steady, it Is in fact declining, and being masked by a lowering of the number of correct answers required to pass LEAP and iLEAP tests. Please refer to this post by Mike Deshotels and the analysis provided by Herb Bassett for the details. Below is an excerpt from Mike’s blog.
Here is the table supplied by the LDOE as a result of my public records request:
Notice that for 4th grade ELA, 4th grade Math, and 8th grade Math, there was a significant lowering of the…
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So far, the forces of righteous freedom have failed to convince any court that #CommunistCore is a threat to humanity. According to the Advocate, the Jindal Admin’s “suspension” is gone and the horrid hellscape of high standards currently torturing our children will continue for the time being:
District Judge Todd Hernandez cautioned that the judicial branch should “rarely, if ever” enjoin the executive branch of government, but said the evidence he heard in the case Monday left him with no other choice.
“As it stands in Louisiana today, according to the law, students in the fourth grade will take some form of high-stakes leap test at the end of the 2014-2015 fourth-grade school year and each of these students must perform to a certain standard in order to be promoted to the next grade,” the judge wrote.
“However, the evidence presented at the hearing of this matter proves that the content of these assessment tests to be issued to these students as well as the materials needed for teachers to prepare these students for these tests are unknown; therefore, the evidence is clear that this state of the unknown has caused anxiety and other harm to the parents, teachers, administrators and students in Louisiana,” he said.
“Plaintiff’s harm is time and the loss thereof. The loss of time is irreparable.”
Oh, but what about da children!
New ‘Friends of’ web page leads to speculation of PSC member Scott Angelle’s entry into 2015 governor’s race
Oh, so what do we have here?
Originally posted on Louisiana Voice:
Does Scott Angelle have his eye on the 2015 governor’s race?
The Public Service Commissioner, Democrat-turned-Republican, former interim lieutenant governor, erstwhile Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and one time member of the LSU Board of Supervisors would seem to be rounding out his resumé while carefully moving up the pecking order in Louisiana politics.
The governor’s race isn’t until 2015 and Angelle isn’t up for re-election to a new six-year on the PSC from the Second District until 2018. He was first elected in 2012 to succeed Jimmy Fields who retired after 16 years.
But an Internet web page created by an outfit calling itself Friends of Scott Angelle and apparently chaired by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s favorite fundraiser Allee Bautsch certainly looks like that of a candidate considering his options for higher office as opposed to that of one running for re-election to the PSC this far out. In other…
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You’d like professional con men like those situated in all facets of the Jindal experience would be able to spot one of their own. In fact, we see, they cannot.
We might remember back last winter when Bobby Jindal announced that he would hire an “efficiency expert” to find more savings in state government. The cost was reported to be $4 million, to which many legislators responded that they immediately found $4m in savings.
Nevertheless, in the parody-upon-parody that is the Jindal Administration, the “efficiency experts” have now needed their own contracts extended, almost doubling their original cost. Efficiency!
The price tag has nearly doubled for Gov. Bobby Jindal’s hiring of an outside consulting firm to recommend new ways to balance the state budget.
The contract for Alvarez & Marsal was worth $4.2 million when the New York-based company was hired in December. But the contract since has been bumped up to $7.4 million, according to the Legislative Fiscal Office.
They claim they have found over $2 billion in cost savings. Unfortunately, many of the departments they’ve visited have responded that their ideas are either obvious or impossible to implement. For example, one of their brilliant ideas is selling advertising on the side of state property. Like Nascar.
But in this topsy-turvey world, up is down, left is right, and efficiency efforts cost twice as much as planned.