Bob Mann thinks Louisiana legislators should be working with a greater sense of urgency given our state’s dire financial circumstances, and I agree completely.
“Louisiana government is burning and lawmakers are fiddling around. To be sure, lawmakers must address important non-fiscal matters. But remember, our fiscal house is on fire. Unless lawmakers find another $750 million in cuts or tax increases before July 1, state hospitals will close and universities will be crippled. The work of the regular session, no matter how important, pales in comparison to our immediate fiscal emergency.
“Given the dire situation, lawmakers should consider working longer hours, including weekends, and wrap up their current session a bit early, maybe by late April or early May. That would give them time for another special session to fix the fiscal disaster they only partly addressed in February. …
“It’s not that we lack a way out of our crisis. We lack the political will.”
Instead of directing water toward the burning house, lawmakers have been busy considering some very urgent and important legislative initiatives like:
- Allowing hunters to wear bright pink instead of bright orange
- Perennial political legislating around the periphery of a woman’s right to choose
- Discussing the monuments and statues in Louisiana cities
- Wondering whether we should allow people to be buried with their pets (no, really)
- Suggesting that would-be exotic dancers should have to wait until they’re 21 to take the stage (who knew this was an issue?)
And on top of everything, legislative leaders are suggesting no cuts for their budgets despite the state’s $750 million budget gap for next fiscal year. Amazing.
A bit of a departure for today’s spotlight…
“We were thinking about a lot of stuff with rebuilding, and getting our lives back together – getting the lights back on, getting the economy back up. But we didn’t think about our children, we didn’t think about what the children need to get back to their normal life.” ~ Derrick Tabb, Roots of Music founder
As a North Louisianan, I realize that I’m probably a bit late to the party (as usual – see “Shreveport Mardi Gras”), but it was only a few months ago that I first got to experience a tiny slice of the amazing work that The Roots of Music organization has been doing in New Orleans since 2007. I heard a small Roots of Music ensemble perform at the state capitol prior to the inauguration of Governor John Bel Edwards and was excited to learn about how the group uses music education to connect, mentor, and empower middle school age youth from low-income households all across New Orleans. Derrick Tabb, New Orleans native and snare drummer for the Rebirth Brass Band, co-founded Roots of Music along with Allison Reinhardt to fill the void created when many schools discontinued marching band programs after Hurricane Katrina, especially at the middle school level. Read the rest of this entry
The Daily Kingfish needs more contributors to be the vibrant outlet for original political analysis that it can and should be. Because there’s only so much time in a day, I am limited in how much I can write. We’ve had a few good contributors thus far, yet we need more. Ideally, we need a few folks willing to write on a regular basis. Read more on what we’re looking for!
Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer recently penned a guest column in the Advocate calling for sweeping tax reform in Louisiana. His lamentations about the problems were quite familiar to anyone who has been paying attention to the state’s budget crisis lately.
Our university system is antiquated and built on the principle of quantity, not quality.
Our economic conditions are not diverse and innovative.
We are dependent on individuals for spark, rather than on systems. …
The working poor are in ruins in Louisiana, underfinanced and underappreciated.
Our kids are leaving the state to find jobs and opportunity.
On and on it goes. Things are a fraction of their true value: newspapers, television stations, law firms, partnerships, car dealerships.
In the unfortunate case you haven’t seen it, Idiocracy is a 2005 Mike Judge film (maker of Beavis & Butt-Head, King of the Hill, and Office Space) that depicts a future America that has gone off the rails. The country has been overtaken by anti-intellectualism, or more accurately, the population has been dumbed down to a ridiculous extent. In this fictional dystopian future, the country has elected a professional wrestler as President, and commercialism and advertising have become the only things anyone cares about. An “Average Joe” who awakes from a 500-year suspended animation experiment is suddenly the smartest man in America, by far. If you think this doesn’t sound so far from today’s reality, you aren’t the only one. Even one of the show’s writers is there with you.
But how much truth is there to this? Are we really becoming a society of anti-intellectualism? Read the rest of this entry