LAFAYETTE  PUBLIC  POLICY -----------"Mais, C'est Politique, Cher" 
Welcome to Lafayette Public Policy, an on line publishing community of writers, readers, and educators who have come together to share their passion. This website is a destination for Internet users who want to learn, express themselves and share ideas, interests, experience and expertise with other like-minded individuals. All articles taken from selected reading materials are the sole property of the authors listed. In no way are these articles credited to this site. The material presented is a  presentation of writings and links from the publisher/writer of each editorial. Editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of this web master or web site.
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Acadiana:
(S. W. LOUISIANA)
Some people are not fond of the term used to describe our special little corner of the world. The term leads many to think only decendants of the old Acadia (Canada) settled this region and built its cherished culture.
  A more complete picture shows that Acadians, Creoles, Africans,French, German, Irish, Italians, Lebanese, Native Americans, Spanish, and other Ethnicities, made this region like no other on the planet.  
                              Lafayette North Development Plan      Archive Total   Dictionary    LEDA PUBLIC DATA pUBLIC  - 


What once was a “rash” has escalated into a “spike.”
The Daily Advertiser
Dec. 12, 2013

That’s how Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft described the recent increase in armed robberies to a council liaison meeting Wednesday. Craft said the police department has enacted internal operations to combat the growing problem. Police officers have been asked to sit in and monitor convenience store parking lots in their patrol areas. He also urged members of the public to be aware of their surroundings to help prevent some of these crimes from happening. Cpl. Paul Mouton, police department spokesman, said police have also been urging convenience store managers to go over proper protocol with their employees if they become robbery victims. “The key thing is to close the opportunity window on these (incidents),” Mouton said. “We need (the public) to be our eyes and ears out there because we can’t be everywhere.” Craft said investigators believe it’s not the same people responsible for all of these robberies. But police believe one suspect is responsible for four or five of the robberies because of the methods used to rob those stores and the descriptions given by witnesses. READ MORE

By Faith Karimi, CNN
December 5, 2013

(CNN) -- Freedom fighter, prisoner, moral compass and South Africa's symbol of the struggle against racial oppression. That was Nelson Mandela, who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead his country out of decades of apartheid.  He died Thursday night at age 95.  His message of reconciliation, not vengeance, inspired the world after he negotiated a peaceful end to segregation and urged forgiveness for the white government that imprisoned him. "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison," Mandela said after he was freed in 1990. READ MORE

New York Times
By ANNIE LOWREY
Published: December 2, 2013
 

WASHINGTON — The rollout of President Obama’s health care law may have deeply disappointed its supporters, but on at least one front, the Affordable Care Act is beating expectations: its cost. Over the next few years, the government is expected to spend billions of dollars less than originally projected on the law, analysts said, with both the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for private insurance plans ending up less expensive than anticipated. Economists broadly agree that the sluggish economy remains the main reason that health spending has grown so slowly for the last half-decade. From 2007 to 2010, per-capita health care spending rose just 1.8 percent annually. Since then, the annual increase has slowed even further, to 1.3 percent. A decade ago, spending was growing at roughly 5 percent a year. READ MORE

 
You have been diagnosed with lung cancer.
There is a bewildering array of drugs, and combinations of drugs, that may shrink the tumor and prolong your life. Or they could make matters worse and give you terrible side effects.  In the past, this decision was mostly a crude guess, and it was often wrong. No longer. Now, your doctor draws blood and tissue, sends the information to a medical Big Data center that, in seconds, sequences your entire genome and, more importantly, maps how the proteins and the cells in your body are translating your specific DNA mutation into tumor cells. Your doctor then accesses a secure global “bank” of cancer DNA and tissue, and develops an individual cocktail for you, administering it with precise nanotechnology. You recover at home, monitored by high-information devices connected through transmitters to your doctor and clinic. This is a glimpse of the future that Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong of Los Angeles has spent a decade imagining -- and is now rapidly assembling. The technology and science are all at hand, he says. It’s “just” a matter of putting them together into a logical and humane whole. “We now can create a pathway to fight cancer to a standstill,” Soon-Shiong tells me in an interview here. “Not to cure it, per se, but to make it a survivable feature of the human condition.” While he is focusing on cancer -- his specialty -- his basic idea is at once profound and simple: to map the molecular life of all of mankind in the service of better health for each individual. Linking research, treatment and careful monitoring is also the only way to control costs and create accountability in medical care, he says. The question is whether his approach is practical, or even possible. Soon-Shiong is out to prove that it is -- and that it is, in fact, the only way forward. READ MORE


University plan is to attract students
by koran addo
kaddo@theadvocate.com
December 01, 2013

Southern University joined the ranks of Harvard, Princeton, Ohio State and a number of other prestigious universities this week with the opening of an international recruiting office. Southern administrators believe their newly christened Global Connections Center in Kirikkale, Turkey, is the first of its kind operated by a historically black college and university, or HBCU. The new outpost is part of a much larger overall plan that Southern hopes will result in attracting hundreds, if not thousands of international students to Baton Rouge. READ MORE

by koran addo
kaddo@theadvocate.com
November 29, 2013

NEW ORLEANS — Southern University’s Board of Supervisors spent its meeting looking back on a year’s worth of accomplishments ranging from granting employee pay raises to securing better terms on disaster loans to welcoming a larger than expected freshman class onto the Baton Rouge campus this fall. Meeting in New Orleans as part of the Bayou Classic week of events, the board moved without discussion its routine business, including short presentations on the system’s finances and upcoming construction projects. One high note was recognition of Southern’s Baton Rouge campus for increasing its fall freshman enrollment from 743 students last year to 1,115 this year. After the meeting, board members said the passage of President Ronald Mason’s “Reform and Renewal Agenda” was this year’s biggest accomplishment. The much-debated plan is intended to keep Southern viable after years of budget cuts. It has three main components, with the most controversial being the consolidation of so-called “back-office” operations. READ MORE

By Billy Gunn
bgunn@theadvocate.com
November 29, 2013

LAFAYETTE — Lafayette Parish youths ages 10 to 16 who are disruptive in class or headed toward becoming lifelong criminals now enter the juvenile justice system through one point, where they’re assessed, sent to an appropriate government agency or nonprofit for help, then tracked to measure the system’s effectiveness. The doors to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff Office’s Juvenile Justice Assessment Center opened softly in September. The only notice to the public was through word of mouth, said Kennis Metoyer, assessment center administrator and manager for the Sheriff’s Office’s Youth Services Division. “When the doors opened, they poured in,” Metoyer said. “It took off from the second we opened the doors.” There have always been programs to help youths in Lafayette, but there was never a department tasked with being the starting point, referral center and official program tracker, said Julio Naudin, a communications official for Sheriff Mike Neustrom. “Everybody was doing their own thing,” Naudin said. HOME


State lawmakers haven't tried to raise their salaries since 2008 when a plan to increase their pay to $37,500 sparked public outcry and disapproval. For now, legislators receive the same base pay they have since 1980, but the total payments they get from the state might actually be double or triple that number. We studied local legislator's supplemental pay and expenses billed to the state and the numbers may surprise you. READ MORE

Jemison helped inspire King - Our Views: TheAdvocate.com - November 24, 2013
This year, Americans have observed the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the half-century anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Both King and Kennedy, in different ways, helped deeply shape the emerging civil rights struggles of the 1960s. But that cause relied not only on the leadership of prominent national figures, but on the courage and creativity and activists across the Deep South. One such activist was the Rev. T.J. Jemison of Baton Rouge, who died recently at age 95. In 1953, Jemison helped organize a boycott of Baton Rouge buses by black riders who were forbidden by a city ordinance from riding in front of white passengers. The eight-day protest didn’t end segregation aboard public buses in Baton Rouge, but King used the boycott as a model for a similar, more widely publicized protest in Montgomery. Jemison’s contribution to King’s strategy for advancing civil rights is a reminder that King did not act alone in championing equality for all Americans. That goal depended on — and still depends upon — many people to carry the message. We hope that Jemison’s death is a continuing call to action, and not merely an occasion to remember battles of the past.


By MARK H. HUNTER
Special to The Advocate
November 25, 2013


The life of the Rev. Dr. T.J. Jemison Sr., who died Nov. 15 at age 95, was celebrated Saturday by his family, his congregation and a host of pastors and politicians who crowded into the sanctuary of Mount Zion First Baptist Church, the Baton Rouge church he led for more than half a century. Theodore Judson Jemison was credited for being the architect of the 1953 Baton Rouge bus boycott, a nonviolent protest that was successfully copied by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Ala., two years later. “Dr. T.J. Jemison is the father of the modern-day civil rights movement,” declared the Rev. Dr. Harry Blake, who was representing the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., the largest black Baptist organization in America, with millions of members and thousands of churches. READ MORE - READ MORE - READ MORE

Pat Cooper: District attorney dismissal is invalid - The Daily Advertiser -11-22-2013
Superintendent Pat Cooper said the Lafayette Parish School Board violated its own policy Wednesday night when it dismissed the district attorney’s office as its legal counsel.  The board voted 6-3 to discontinue using the office free legal services. However, it did so without eliminating any policies that deal with legal representation. One policy states that the district attorney’s office shall act as the counsel for the board and district. Until it is eliminated or repealed, that policy remains in effect. There were other items on Wednesday’s agenda related to the issue, including eliminating the policy in question. The board did not take any action on those items. “Therefore, the later action to remove the Assistant District attorney as General Counsel was invalid and broke the board’s own policy,” Cooper said in a statement Thursday. “By acting to relieve the Assistant District attorney as General Counsel, the Board has left the Lafayette Parish School System with no general counsel and in a precarious position legally.” Board President Shelton Cobb agreed that the vote was “absolutely” a policy violation. Cobb added that he doesn’t know what the ramifications of a violation might be. READ MORE

The Best and Worst Run States in America: A Survey of All 50 - 247 Wall St.com
By Michael B. Sauter, Thomas C. Frohlich, Alexander E.M. Hess and Ashley C. Allen - November 21, 2013
Louisiana
> Debt per capita: $4,045 (17th highest)
> Budget deficit: 25.1% (4th largest)
> Unemployment: 6.4% (15th lowest)
 > Median household income: $42,944 (8th lowest)
 > Pct. below poverty line: 19.9% (3rd highest)
While home values nationwide fell by more than 11% between 2007 and 2012, the median Louisiana home value rose by 10% during that time, one of the largest increases nationally. Still, even with a relatively healthy housing market, Louisiana’s population has other serious problems. As of 2012, just 83% of the state’s adults had a high school diploma and more than 16.9% of the state’s population did not have health insurance coverage, both among the worst in the country. There were nearly 500 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2012, making the state one of the most dangerous. Nearly under one in every five residents lived below the poverty line, worse than all but two states. The state’s finances are also in bad shape. Just over 55% of the state’s pension obligations were funded in 2012, fourth-worst in the country. And the state had to close a budget gap of more than 25% going into fiscal 2012. The average gap across the states was 15.5% that year.
Read more: The Best and Worst Run States in America: A Survey of All 50 - 24/7 Wall St.
http://247wallst.com/special-report/2013/11/21/the-best-and-worst-run-states-in-america-a-survey-of-all-50-2/#ixzz2lg9cw9Rs
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U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, might be looking at another challenge from the right, assuming he seeks re-election to a sixth term in Congress next year.  Can you say Boustany V. Landry, Round 2?  The Tea Party Leadership Fund, a political action committee, is soliciting funds to back far-right candidates — let’s call them patriots just for fun — in the districts of the 87 Republican House members who voted to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling. It’s called the “Primaries for Traitors Fund,” and its treasurer tells Buzzfeed Politics, “From our perspective, we see this as a signature vote. You can’t be a conservative and vote to raise the debt ceiling,” says Dan Backer. “I recognize there are some places where voters may actually think that was the right vote. And there may be places where you have an incumbent who wins with 90 percent of the vote every time and there’s not a credible challenger. I recognize that, but we’re certainly going to do our best.”  Backer mentioned Boustany by name, along with a handful of other GOP reps including House Speaker John Boehner, as “traitors” who will be targeted presumably with the greatest resources.  “Our goal is to keep going one after another after another as our resources allow. To get our feet wet, we’re starting out with a few, but nobody is going to get a pass,” Backer adds.  A spokesman for Boustany’s D.C. office tells The Ind he has no response to the fund or its aims. Read the Buzzfeed story here.

Opinion David Prejean: Pat Cooper takes low road in response to Nancy Mounce -The Daily Advertiser 11-19-2013
As one who follows Lafayette Parish School System issues mainly through the media, I feel that I don’t have enough information to have an informed opinion about the turnaround plan or who is in the right in Pat Cooper’s dealings with the school board.I do know a little about logical fallacies, and, based on Cooper’s Nov. 13 guest column reply to Nancy Mounce’s Nov. 4 column criticizing the state’s school rating system, I can safely say that he is very skilled in the straw man fallacy. This is where one distorts or ignores one’s opponent’s original points and “refutes” the inaccurately portrayed issues. READ MORE

No, I’m not going to let it go. Why should I? Someone or some people got away with murdering two young men. And, in this instance the killer or killers were wearing badges. Today is the 41st anniversary of the killing of Denver Smith and Leonard Brown, unarmed, non-threatening students on Southern University’s campus. For the most part, they have been forgotten. There are paintings of them on the hallway of a campus building that bears their names, the Smith-Brown Memorial Union. Occasionally, there will be mention of them in a program somewhere. I doubt if many graduates in the last 20 years know much about Smith and Brown. Time has a way of washing away things we really would rather forget. But I will continue to raise awareness of their deaths as long as I can because I was a student on the campus and less than 30 yards from where they were shot to death. READ MORE

Gender wage gap worse for African-American and Hispanic women - by |
The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) has released a new analysis detailing the significant gap in wages earned by African-American women and Latinas compared to white, non-Hispanic women and men. The November 2013 report, Closing the Wage Gap is Crucial for Women of Color and Their Families, states that while on average, women earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, black women earn only 64 cents per dollar, and Latinas earn 54 cents. Based on the most recent Census data, the analysis covers women working in full time, year round employment across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. “The current economy has left women of color in precarious economic circumstances and they continue to encounter substantial barriers to advancement,” the analysis states. “African-American and Hispanic women are more likely than white men to work in jobs that pay at or below minimum wage, and they have also experienced slower wage growth than women overall.” Top findings show that even in states in which white, non-Hispanic women face the lowest gender wage gap, black women and Latinas fare far worse in terms of earnings. READ MORE

Edwards reality show ends its run on A&E
By MICHELLE MILLHOLLON -
 mmillhollon@theadvocate.com - November 13, 2013

After three weeks and a dwindling viewership, the fairy tale appears to be over for former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ reality show. A&E announced Monday that “The Governor’s Wife” has aired in its entirety. The network yanked they show from its Sunday night time slot this weekend after the show lost tens of thousands of viewers. READ MORE

It’s one of those moments that just brings a smile to your face. A white supremacist who finds out that he is part black. Craig Cobb 62, who wanted to form a neo-Nazi town in North Dakota, had the surprise of his racist life when he received the results of his DNA test on The Trisha Goddard Show. Cobb learned that his genetic makeup is 14 percent Sub-Saharan African. Now, we’re not even talking single-digit percentages here, but double-digit. You can’t even dismiss that as a technicality. And yet, Cobb called the eye ening results “statistical noise.”  Rather, this is statistically significant, and begs the question, how many other Craig Cobbs are out there? And what does all of this tell us about race and its place in America? READ MORE

Over the 16 years Administrator Kathleen Allen has worked for the state Ethics Board, she cannot recall a single investigation or proposed sanctions for violations of aggregate limits on contributions from political action committees. Yet reporters for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and WVUE Fox 8 News identified nine officials who have exceeded the PAC limits, according to Ethics Board filings. The findings are part of a four-month review of campaign finances in Louisiana. The news organizations' process was labor intensive, with reporters and data analysts reviewing more than 740,000 records.
Following an unprecedented three-year wave of state legislative attacks on abortion and family planning services, a group of Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate plan to go on the offensive Wednesday with a historic bill that would make it illegal for states to chip away at women's reproductive rights. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) will introduce the Women's Health Protection Act of 2013, joined by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.). The bill would prohibit states from passing so-called Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which impose strict and cost-prohibitive building standards on abortion clinics, require women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds, and create other barriers to abortion access. The Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade that states cannot block women's access to abortion before the fetus is viable outside the womb, which is estimated to occur between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. But state legislators have found a number of ways to make it difficult logistically, financially and emotionally for women to have abortions before that point. "In states like Texas and Wisconsin, legislatures are passing bills with the false pretext of protecting health when their only objective is to obstruct and curtail access to safe and legal abortions and reproductive services. These laws are largely unconstitutional, and some measure of certainty and clarity is required to preempt these regulations and laws so women are not deterred in their very personal decisions based on their own values on how they want to use their constitutional rights," Blumenthal said. "The Women’s Health Protection Act will provide a clear and certain response to these regulations and laws that impose unnecessary tests, procedures and restrictions — including requirements for physical layout in clinics — on reproductive services." READ MORE


THE STATE OF THE JUDICIARY
Judicial Selection During the 113th Congress
 - ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE - OCT. 24, 2013
I. Executive Summary
Throughout President Obama’s nearly five years in office, the federal courts have experienced an unprecedented vacancy crisis. Congress returned from the August 2013 recess to a federal judiciary with 109 current and future vacancies, 45 pending nominees, and more than 60 vacancies without nominees, almost exclusively concentrated in states with at least one Republican senator. While several major Senate showdowns in the past year have set the stage for progress in filling judicial vacancies, and more than half of the current vacancies have nominees pending either on the Senate floor or in the Senate Judiciary Committee, there are more unfilled vacancies as of this report than there were as of AFJ’s last State of the Judiciary Report in March 2013. READ MORE

Why This Company Wants You in Prison - The Nation 11-5-2013
CCA” has become a dirty word. 
Kanye West cited it when rapping about America’s class of “New Slaves.” Anonymous invoked it to describe a bad financial investment that undermines justice. And for state after state, the word represents a failed approach to public safety. And that’s how it should be. Because profiting off mass incarceration is a dirty business. When private prison company Corrections Corporation of America—or CCA—squanders taxpayer money and runs facilities rife with human rights abuses, it’s dragging its own name through the mud. All private prison companies have corrupting incentives. One is to save money by cutting corners. Another is to promote their bottom line even when that’s not the best means to securing public safety, taxpayer value, fairness and justice. CCA isn’t the only company with these incentives. But it has done more than any other corporation to grow the private prison industry into a behemoth plagued by abuse and neglect that profits off our nation’s over-reliance on incarceration. READ MORE

Guest column: Louisiana is the world's prison capital The Daily Advertiser - 11-10-2013
As Congress debates daily about ways to cut expenses and our national debt gets higher and higher our prisons get fuller and fuller. You’ll be amazed to learn that we have 5 percent of the world’s population but have 25 percent of the prisoners.
More than 1.5 million Americans are in prisons. Another million are in county or city jails.That means more than 1 percent of Americans are in jail. An Aug. 15 report to the Louisiana Sentencing Commission, Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc said state and local prisons “lock up 860 people per 100,000. The national average is 540 per 100,000,” making Louisiana lead the nation in the percentage of its citizens behind bars. READ MORE


OPINION: Tea Party - The Daily Advertiser 11-8-2013
Recently, my husband and I, both in our 80s, drove down town to join the Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome. After the walk, we returned to our car and noticed immediately that something was different. Our Obama 2012 bumper sticker had been covered with a bumper sticker asking for the repeal of Obamacare Tax. This new sticker was sponsored by teapartypatriots.org.  This organization not only violated our personal property by placing an unwanted sticker on our car, it also violated our right to free speech by covering the sticker we had chosen to place there.  The members of the tea party claim to be patriots. Of what? Communism? Fascism? They are certainly not patriots of democracy.  Sarah Brabant, Ph.D. - Lafayette


OPINION: Letter to the editor: Affordable Care Act has already paid benefits -  The Daily Advertiser 11-7-2013
In reference to the letter of Oct. 25 from James Bedore, who states: 1) that his freedom has been curtailed in an unspecified manner by the Affordable Care Act; and 2) that no one who supports the act has ever read it, including President Obama: I support the act. I have never read it. But I do know that because of the act, my 22-year-old son, a recent UL grad, is covered under my insurance. My California insurance just recently picked up my son’s $18,000 Lafayette General emergency room bill, which otherwise would have burdened the community, including, indirectly, Mr. Bedore. Now he is free of it. Mr. Bedore’s letter inspired me to look up the act. The language authorizing this can be found in Section 2714 of the act, which states: “(a) IN GENERAL. — A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage that provides dependent coverage of children shall continue to make such coverage available for an adult child until the child turns 26 years of age. Nothing in this section shall require a health plan or a health insurance issuer described in the preceding sentence to make coverage available for a child of a child receiving dependent coverage. Robin S. Tanner

Sometimes you have to smile and take the tea party with a grain of salt. Some rant against “big government” (unless a white Republican is in the White House). Others fluff off the values of the Grand Old Party, denying the mindset and accomplishments of their hero, Ronald Reagan. As president, Reagan raised taxes 11 times and supported gun control. As governor of California, he legalized abortion. A while back, Republicans even took seriously that silly nonscientific notion called “global warming,” for President Nixon is the flaming liberal who created the Environmental Protection Agency. Going back further, who was our first environmentalist? Teddy Roosevelt. To that end, Teddy created the U.S. Forestry System and the National Park Service. (Thus, the phrase “Teddy Bear.”)  Besides, dubbing President Obama a big tax-and-spender is not only false, it’s counterproductive. Come on, guys. Give him a break. Obama isn’t responsible for ALL the ills of the world. When he took office, America was a sinking battleship losing 818,000 jobs a month. Remember? No, Obama didn’t turn America on a dime. Nobody could have. But he has made fine progress despite the dedicated obstructionists who seem less realistic than Joe McCarthy, the un-American witch hunter. But never mind. Don’t cloud your mind with inconvenient facts. Jean Sellmeyer Smith Crowley

School board losing confidence in attorney - The Daily Advertiser - 11-7-2013
Member cries 'sabotage' when lawyer finds no cause to probe schools chief

Some Lafayette Parish School Board members said they have lost trust in board attorney Roger Hamilton and want to dissolve an arrangement with the district attorney’s office for legal representation. Board member Greg Awbrey said Hamilton, who was named board attorney in August, sent a letter to the state attorney general last month saying there was no basis for an investigation into Superintendent Pat Cooper. Awbrey said Hamilton did not send the letter to the board before sending it to the state. “To me, this is basically our general counsel sending a letter to a judge, essentially, telling that judge to rule against us,” Awbrey said. “I consider this sabotage. There has to be some other resolution. To consider with what we have is not acceptable, in my opinion. READ MORE

Tuesday night, Bill de Blasio became New York City’s 109th mayor in a landslide victory, one achieved through a coalition of constituencies, and no group turned out more for de Blasio than black voters. He was elected by a margin of nearly 50 percent, according to exit polls, securing an estimated 752,604 votes Tuesday. It was a victory that swept across the city: every borough, age group, racial category and income level. But in an election where black voters were expected to comprise nearly 30 percent of the electorate, black voters anchored de Blasio’s win with 95 percent going for the Democrat — up nearly 20 points from 2009. Voters in large wanted a change, specifically a shift from Bloomberg’s Stop and Frisk policing program, and De Blasio promised to reconcile New York from a tale of two cities and end its legacy of racial profiling and division. On Election Day, voters issued a mandate to do just that. “Public safety is a prerequisite for the thriving neighborhoods that create opportunity in this city. And so is respect for civil liberties. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we must have both,” de Blasio told a crowd in his victory speech from the Park Slope Armory in Brooklyn. “We must work to promote a real partnership between the best police force in the world and the communities they protect from danger, be it local or global. New Yorkers on both sides of the badge understand this. READ MORE


Without question, Louisiana and most of the American South have refused to adequately and honestly confront and acknowledge the legacy of slavery. We spend millions of dollars marketing our plantation homes as sleepy, nostalgic, and beautiful destinations for weddings and tour groups, and we spend millions more incentivizing renovations of these homes under the pretense of historic preservation. And maybe that would be okay and understandable, but at the same time, we’re scrubbing all vestiges of slavery from these plantations. With few exceptions, it is almost impossible to find a plantation in Louisiana that preserves its slave quarters with the same diligence and care as it does its main house. And again, with few exceptions, you’ll likely never hear anyone in the Louisiana tourism industry admit that plantations, for the most part, were actually concentration camps. That thousands of African-American families also lived, worked, and died in these places, that hundreds of African-Americans were brutally murdered in these places, that the majestic oak trees in the brochures were once used for lynchings, that right beyond the immaculately manicured gardens there are long-forgotten cemeteries.  READ MORE

Letter to the Editor: Antics of school officials disturbing The Daily Advertiser - 11-4-2013
As a former teacher in the parish, I am disgusted by the antics and actions of the Lafayette Parish School Board through the leadership of the board chair and superintendent. These individuals are selected and elected to lead our schools — one through policy and the other through direct supervision. Their behavior has indicated that they are more interested in selling our schools to charters, rather than supporting the teachers they manage. 
Our school board denied several charter school applications; however, Superintendent Pat Cooper undermined their decision by testifying on behalf of these charter schools. This is rank insubordination. This is not the first time this superintendent subverts the authority of the board. 
The superintendent should recognize his role as a subordinate to the majority decision of the board; however, he has been given a ticket to be willfully insubordinate because of the inaction of the minority. READ MORE

Edwin Edwards plays along on must-miss TV,  (OPINION) John Maginnis
When the previews of “The Governor’s Wife” first aired, my response was that it would be both unwatchable and unmissable, much like a train wreck. It was that way in viewing its debut on A&E Sunday night, but when the second 30-minute episode started right afterward, two train wrecks were too many. This is pretty awful television, as it makes “Duck Dynasty” look like “Masterpiece Theater.” But given that “American Hoggers” and “Swamp People” have secured their places in the vast wasteland of reality programming, who’s to say that “The Governor’s Wife” won’t find its audience? For its image, Louisiana should be so unlucky. The premise of the show, as set up in the opening voiceover by Trina Edwards, is that of a fairy tale. That it is, starting with the title. “I am the governor’s wife,” she declares to open the show. She is not. Supriya Jindal is the governor’s wife. Trina is the ex-governor’s wife. That hasn’t the same ring to it, but A&E isn’t going to let truth in labeling get in the way of ratings and commercials. READ MORE

District Attorney Mike Harson recently informed the Lafayette Parish School Board it had violated the state’s open meetings law earlier this year by not providing detailed information on an agenda item prior to discussing it. It was the second time. Harson had warned the board of an open meetings violation on the part of some of its members in 2011. These violations were most likely not deliberate. And although two occurrences could not rightly be called a trend, it is disturbing nonetheless. READ MORE

Food stamp aid reduced with the start of November The Daily Advertiser
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Most of the nearly 388,000 households in Louisiana that receive food stamps will be hit with a drop in their aid Friday, when a temporary boost in the federal benefits disappears. The reduction is estimated to be anywhere from $11 to $43 or more each month, depending on how many people live in the household. That’s about a 5 percent reduction, according to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. The federal stimulus bill passed by Congress in 2009 temporarily increased the maximum amount of food stamp aid that a household could receive. The increase falls away at the start of November.  DCFS spokesman Trey Williams didn’t have an exact figure of how many Louisiana food stamp recipients will get an aid cut, saying it would affect most recipients.

The reason advanced by the Jindal administration for privatizing Louisiana’s charity hospitals is that a private hospital — Lafayette General or Ochsner, for example — can manage a hospital more efficiently, and therefore cheaper, than the state. That’s why I was taken aback when the chairman of the private entity taking over the Shreveport state hospital testified before the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget that the private contractor’s costs to run the Shreveport facility will be the same as the state’s. Where, then, will the Jindal administration’s promised annual savings of $150 million come from if not from achieving operational efficiencies? Dig deeper into the details, and it becomes apparent that the planned “savings” won’t result from lower costs but from getting more money from the federal government through an accounting change. This won’t make the charity hospitals or Louisiana’s Medicaid program, which pays for the hospitals, more efficient. It will just make them more expensive, fueled by additional federal (American taxpayer) money. READ MORE

Report recommends changes in state prison sentences
Study says mandatory sentences costly, counter-productive -Mike Hasten - The Daily Advertiser - 10-28-2013
BATON ROUGE — A study of Louisiana’s prisons and court system suggests that the Legislature’s “get tough on crime” laws haven’t worked. Instead, the laws that are primarily directed toward nonviolent crimes have filled prisons with nonviolent offenders who run up a huge tab for taxpayers. The study, titled “Smart on Sentencing, Smart on Crime: Reforming Louisiana’s Determinate Sentencing Laws,” is being released today by The Pelican Institute, Reason Foundation, Texas Public Policy Foundation and Right on Crime. Lawmakers over the past several decades have adopted numerous laws, many of them imposing minimum sentences that keep convicts in jail for inordinate spans. READ MORE

Judge blocks Texas abortion restrictions - By NATALIE VILLACORTA | POLITICO- 10/28/13
A federal district court has ruled that one abortion restriction passed by the Texas state Legislature over the summer is unconstitutional and has partially blocked another. District Judge Lee Yeakel has blocked the state from enforcing a requirement that abortion-providing doctors obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals — a restriction that would have ended abortion services at one-third of the health centers currently providing them. He also blocked restrictions on the use of medication abortion. Both restrictions would have gone into effect on Tuesday. Planned Parenthood and more than a dozen other women’s health providers that filed the suit successfully demonstrated that the admitting privileges provision puts an “undue burden” on a woman seeking an abortion in Texas, as the provision creates a “substantial obstacle” to accessing such service, Yeakel wrote. The court concluded that admitting privileges provisions does not necessarily improve patient care or protect the life of a woman and her fetus, as the state had argued.

With a little more than a month remaining until the 40th annual Bayou Classic is played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, organizers are scrambling to move beyond Grambling State University’s recent public relations nightmare involving a walkout by members of its winless football team and a recent lawsuit filed by a Southwestern Athletic Conference rival that says GSU’s failure to show up on Oct. 19 ruined its homecoming weekend. Grambling’s players staged the boycott two weeks ago because of many issues with university leaders, including the school’s rundown facilities, long bus trips to road games and coaching changes. The players were also reportedly not happy about the termination of former GSU quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams. The GSU Tigers, who have not won a game this season, are 0-8 and have lost 18 straight games. Williams was fired after just two games this season and replaced by George Ragsdale, who was reassigned within the athletic department on Thursday and replaced by Dennis “Dirt” Winston. After grabbing national headlines and being the topic of discussion and debate on talk radio and major sports networks like ESPN, GSU’s gridiron athletes returned to the practice field last week. READ MORE

Bobby Jindal On 2016: 'I Don't Know What I'm Going To Do'
WASHINGTON — In an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Louisiana's Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal deflected a question about whether he plans to run for president in the next election."I don't know what I'm going to do in 2016," Jindal said. Instead, he pitched the new conservative policy group he launched earlier this month, America Next."What's even more important than who's running is what we're going to do," Jindal said. "That's what America Next is about."He cited health care, education, and energy policy as three areas where conservatives should be offering constructive alternatives. "What I'm going to be focused on is winning the war of ideas," he said. "Once we win that fight we'll deserve to be the majority party."Jindal appeared on the show to discuss health care in particular, and he bashed the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. "Is this administration the most incompetent or the most liberal in history?" Jindal asked. "Once the government gets involved it's inevitable that you're going to have problems."Host Chris Wallace asked Jindal about his refusal to take $16 billion in federal funds to expand Medicaid in his state, which will leave an estimated 242,150 low-income residents without access to health care. Many other conservative governors have accepted the funding provided by the health care law, including Rick Snyder of Michigan, John Kasich of Ohio and Jan Brewer of Arizona, in a bid to expand insurance coverage in their states.Wallace noted that 20 percent of the residents of Louisiana are uninsured, the fourth highest percentage in the country. In response, Jindal suggested that they visit Louisiana's network of state-operated charity hospitals. He also said creating new jobs will give people "the ability to pay for their own health care."

The Most Controversial Sentence I Ever Wrote
by Jim Wallis 10-24-2013 
The most controversial sentence I ever wrote, considering the response to it, was not about abortion, marriage equality, the wars in Vietnam or Iraq, elections, or anything to do with national or church politics. It was a statement about the founding of the United States of America. Here’s the sentence:
            "The United States of America was established as a white society, founded upon the near genocide of another race and then the enslavement of yet another."
The comments were overwhelming, with many calling the statement outrageous and some calling it courageous. But it was neither. The sentence was simply a historical statement of the facts. It was the first sentence of a Sojourners magazine cover article, published 26 years ago titled “America’s Original Sin: The Legacy of White Racism.”
An extraordinary new film called 12 Years a Slave has just come out, and Sojourners hosted the premiere for the faith community on March 9 in Washington, D.C. Rev. Otis Moss III was on the panel afterward that reflected on the film. Dr. Moss is not only a dynamic pastor and preacher in Chicago, but he is also a teacher of cinematography who put this compelling story about Solomon Northup — a freeman from New York, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery — into the historical context of all the American films ever done on slavery. 12 Years is the most accurate and best produced drama of slavery ever done, says Moss. READ MORE

Wickham: Cruz's rising star helps Democrats  --  USA Today-10-21-13

Texas senator's star may be rising for 2016 with conservatives, but it'll also split GOP.
Democrats have got to love Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, almost as much as members of the Tea Party, the GOP fringe group that hoisted him into national office. In office just ten months, Cruz has slashed and burned his way to the front ranks of would-be candidates for the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination. He's gotten more national news media exposure during his short time on Capitol Hill than many senators get during a full six-year term. Cruz's swashbuckling political moves during the partisan fight over funding the federal government's operations and paying the nation's bills turned him into a rock star for Republican radicals. Cruz was, by far, the most outspoken leader of GOP resistance to any compromise with Democrats. Even when Senate Republican and Democratic leaders were arriving at a last-minute compromise, Cruz met secretly with a group of Tea Party members in the House -- presumably to help them plot a strategy to defeat the deal and defy their Republican leaders. Despite his efforts, the compromise was first passed by the Senate with the backing of more than half of its GOP members and easily won approval in the House, where a third of the Republicans voted for it. READ MORE.

Acadiana People: Embargo changed Lafayette forever. Pain at the gas pump was offset by newly created wealth here. Bill Decker - The Daily Advertiser Oct. 20, 2013
Aaron Walker of Lafayette was just out of school in 1979. He was looking for work in the oilfield. He was in the right place at the right time.“Some went to work as roustabouts,” said Walker, who still works in the energy industry as a Chevron operations specialist. “Those people would go to work and make $10 or $12 an hour, and that was big time back then.” That $10 or $12, adjusted for the Southern Urban Consumer Price Index, would be worth $22 to $26 now. The decade that started in the early 1970s brought big-time wealth to the whole state, especially to Lafayette. This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War and the oil embargo imposed by Arab states in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries against nations that supported Israel against Egypt and Syria. The embargo lasted less than six months, but its effects echoed throughout the 1970s. It launched Lafayette’s economy on a 20-year roller coaster ride. Read More

Tuesday night, Bill de Blasio became New York City’s 109th mayor in a landslide victory, one achieved through a coalition of constituencies, and no group turned out more for de Blasio than black voters. He was elected by a margin of nearly 50 percent, according to exit polls, securing an estimated 752,604 votes Tuesday. It was a victory that swept across the city: every borough, age group, racial category and income level. But in an election where black voters were expected to comprise nearly 30 percent of the electorate, black voters anchored de Blasio’s win with 95 percent going for the Democrat — up nearly 20 points from 2009. Voters in large wanted a change, specifically a shift from Bloomberg’s Stop and Frisk policing program, and De Blasio promised to reconcile New York from a tale of two cities and end its legacy of racial profiling and division. On Election Day, voters issued a mandate to do just that. “Public safety is a prerequisite for the thriving neighborhoods that create opportunity in this city. And so is respect for civil liberties. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we must have both,” de Blasio told a crowd in his victory speech from the Park Slope Armory in Brooklyn. “We must work to promote a real partnership between the best police force in the world and the communities they protect from danger, be it local or global. New Yorkers on both sides of the badge understand this.”

How Prisons hange the Balance of Power in America - THE ATLANTICOct 7, 2013
The 14th Amendment, when combined with the War on Crime, has paradoxically disenfranchised vast swaths of the population  and given the rural, white areas surrounding the prisons unforeseen political power. Read More

What time is the next government shutdown? And what is the future of everything?
Glad you asked, because even though the federal government is re-opened and the threat of a debt default has been forestalled, it doesn't pay to get too comfortable. Life inside the Beltway will largely return to its typical status quo of atomic constipation, threadbare competence and small-minded backbiting. And that's the good part! In just a few short months, everyone will probably blunder back into a crisis. Here's the basic roadmap for the days to come. Read More...

Iberia sheriff responded appropriately
  (The Daily Advertiser - Oct. 17, 2013

Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal was right to terminate a deputy who allegedly clubbed a handcuffed suspect during a Hopkins Street block party that got out of hand. The firing took place Oct. 9 at the conclusion of an internal affairs investigation into allegations of excessive force. It was undoubtedly a difficult decision on Ackal’s part, but in making it, Ackal showed leadership by taking prompt action in the face of a controversial and potentially acrimonious situation.

Louisiana’s women received a string of bad news recently about their status compared to their counterparts in other states and compared to the men at home.  A raft of recent reports and census data showed Louisiana fared poorly in pay equity, economic security, safety, representation in government and health outcomes.  The data suggested the state has the second-largest pay gap between women and men in the nation, ranks ninth in the rate of women murdered by men and offers women worse access to health care and economic opportunities than most other states across the country.  The news for females was grim but not surprising. The trends have been consistent for years. Read More

Democracy for America
10-13-2013
Eden James - Political Director, Democracy for America
3,083,897.  Outraged by the government shutdown, that's how many phone calls DFA members have pledged to make to voters in 2014 to defeat Republicans and take back the House of Representatives from Tea Party extremists. And the number is surging with each day the shutdown continues.
217,324. -- That's how many DFA and Daily Kos supporters have signed on to a petition asking 21 moderate House Republicans to buck John Boehner and sign a "discharge petition" that would force a vote to end the shutdown -- and could prevent the impending debt ceiling disaster.
30. That's how many Republicans could lose their seats because of the shutdown, according to Sam Wang, a Princeton professor called "one of the best poll aggregators out there" by Paul Krugman. Wang's analysis of recent polling shows that the GOP would lose the House "if the election were held today."
Republicans made this mess, gambling on our future to force an ideological point that the majority of Americans continue to reject. Let's make sure they learn a lesson.


DES MOINES, Iowa -- DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — From county chairmen to national party luminaries, veteran Republicans across the country are accusing tea party lawmakers of staining the GOP with their refusal to bend in the budget impasse in Washington. The Republican establishment also is signaling a willingness to strike back at the tea party in next fall's elections.

Federal regulations are loosening to offer more benefits to same-sex married couples around the nation, but not so in Louisiana, where Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is complicating how couples can get those federal benefits. Leaders in the Jindal administration made two decisions last month that are at odds with federal policies and, in one instance, put legally married gay couples out of compliance with state law:
• The state revenue department said it won’t recognize same-sex marriages for tax filings, despite a new IRS rule that allows legally married gay couples to file joint federal tax returns and a Louisiana law requiring taxpayers to use the same filing status on state and federal tax forms.

• The Louisiana National Guard said it won’t process requests from same-sex couples seeking benefits, despite a Pentagon directive to do so. National Guard personnel have to instead seek to file benefit requests with federal military installations around the state for processing.
The leaders of both agencies were appointed by Jindal, a gay marriage opponent. In both instances, the agencies cited Louisiana’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. READ MORE

Gov. Bobby Jindal, along with his hand-picked superintendent of education, John White, and Republican leaders across the nation, have sold the American people a false bill of goods. On Aug. 23, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a memorandum in a desegregation case involving Louisiana. Jindal, White and national Republican leaders would have us believe the feds came and stood in the doorways of private and religious voucher schools, preventing entry to poor, minority students.
But this is far from the truth. Superintendent White drew the ire of DOJ by refusing to provide data on more than 1,300 Louisiana students receiving vouchers, after he had already failed to ask for court permission for changes in student assignments in districts under active desegregation court orders, something districts under desegregation orders are required to do. READ MORE


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