Showing posts with label Louisiana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Louisiana. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


State Rep. John Bel Edwards beat Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter in Saturday's election, marking a change in the political landscape in the conservative South.

Edwards will be the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, where Republicans dominate politically.

You could almost have predicted the outcome of the race based on the candidates' election night parties. Sen. David Vitter was set up at a hotel near the airport, while John Bel Edwards lodged in the historic Monteleone Hotel in the French Quarter.
NPR's analogy of the choice of hotels for election parties as predictive of the outcome of the election is brilliant.  Goodbye, David Vitter.  Though Vitter will be in the US Senate till January 2016, he said he will not run for another term.  The final count showed Edwards with a 12 percent lead, 56-44.

We are so pleased John Bel Edwards won the election for governor by a large margin, and David Vitter was soundly trounced. Fear-mongering, lying, spying, and running a generally nasty campaign don't always win elections. Edwards will take on an enormous challenge in cleaning up the mess he inherits from Bobby Jindal, beginning with the $1.4 billion budget gap the governor and the Louisiana Legislature will need to address. We wish him the best.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Louisiana's own Bob Mann writes masterfully in Salon of the race for governor in Louisiana.
Then, a strange thing happened on Vitter’s stroll to the Louisiana governor’s mansion. In the state’s Oct. 24 primary (candidates of all parties run in a so-called “open primary”), Vitter nearly missed the Nov. 21 runoff election. He earned only 23 percent of the vote, trailing his lone Democratic opponent, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, by 17 points.

Last Friday, Edwards released an explosive new spot alleging that Vitter missed a Feb. 27, 2001, U.S. House vote honoring slain American soldiers while he waited on a phone call from a prostitute. It was the first time anyone had credibly suggested that Vitter’s prostitution habit in the late 1990s and early 2000s had influenced the performance of his public duties.
Gratingly self-righteous and mean is how I think of Vitter.  As governor of Louisiana, Vitter would be disaster following upon disaster after Jindal's plunder and destruction of state institutions and programs and failure to produce a "balanced" budget that was not based on smoke and mirrors.
Famously thin-skinned and possessed of a nasty temper, Vitter often threatens and bludgeons recalcitrant politicians and reluctant supporters into submission. In the U.S. Senate, he is widely disliked by members of both parties for his quick temper and grating self-righteousness.

Vitter seems to operate by the following, unstated principle: “I’d rather have your fear and respect than your affection.” Vitter would undoubtedly dispute Albert Camus, who famously observed, “Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.”
The photo above shows a screen shot from the video of the press conference with Vitter and his wife, Wendy, when he made his confession of a "serious sin" after his phone number was found on the call records of the DC madam, Deborah Jean Palfrey.  The expression on Wendy Vitter's face says volumes more than Vitter himself in his "confession".  Whether or not I decided to stay with my spouse after learning he had been unfaithful, I damned well would not be standing beside him when he makes his confession.

The problem for Vitter is that his approval rating is not much better than Obama’s. Then there is Bobby Jindal, whose tenure as governor has been a disaster. (He’s presided over a fiscal train wreck in recent years and is even less popular in his home state than the much-despised Obama.) Jindal’s travails have undermined the reputation of Republicans as sound stewards of the public till. Although Jindal and Vitter personally despise one another, many voters see them as the state GOP’s most prominent leaders. And because Vitter and Jindal have many of the same policy positions, Jindal is dragging Vitter down.  
While John Bel Edwards' policies are not necessarily the same as mine, he's as honorable man as an elected politician can be, and he's most surely the only kind of Democrat who can possibly be elected in Louisiana.  Not only did I vote for him twice, I sent Edwards two campaign contributions.  I put my money where my mouth is.
He’s never met Obama and has never served in Washington. A West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, he is not soft on crime. Instead, he is the son, grandson and brother of Louisiana sheriffs. The influential Louisiana Sheriffs Association not only endorsed Edwards, a bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic sheriffs cut a TV spot defending him against Vitter’s attacks. 

Edwards is generally conservative. His record with the NRA is impeccable. A devout Catholic, he is pro-life. He opposes Common Core. Vitter calls him a tax-and-spend liberal, but Vitter has indicated that he, too, will raise taxes on Louisiana business to fix the fiscal mess Jindal is leaving behind.
Ouch!  Still, I'll take what I can get, and I didn't even hold my nose when I voted, because the dreadful alternative is David Vitter as governor of Louisiana. 

Here's the Edwards campaign video.

Wham! Pow! Bam!

Deborah Jean Palfrey died of apparent suicide in 2008, after she was convicted of  "racketeering, using the mail for illegal purposes, and money laundering" and faced a sentence of five or six years in prison.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


If you'd like to begin the long process to lift the state out of the abyss in which the Jindal maladministration plunged us, John Bel Edwards is your candidate.

Early voting continues tomorrow, Monday, November 8, 2015 through Saturday, November 14, 2015. If you are registered to vote in Louisiana, please go to your polling place and vote for John Bel Edwards.

If you approve of the last 8 years of governance by plunder and destruction of Louisiana institutions and programs by Bobby Jindal, then vote for David Vitter for more of the same.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


Louisiana Tech University hosted a debate among the four major candidates for governor Thursday night — one of the few televised debates Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter has agreed to participate in ahead of the Oct. 24 election.

But there were no students in the crowd to see it — no crowd at all, actually. The debate had no live audience, a point that Vitter’s opponents, Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards and Republicans Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, each labeled “ridiculous” and “disturbing.”
Following the debate, Angelle, Edwards and Dardenne met with reporters, but Vitter did not.

All three speculated that Vitter’s campaign was behind the lack of live audience and media viewing room.
Actually, I would like to move on from the discussion of the prostitution scandal, which the great majority of the voters in the state already know about, and address the many other reasons why Vitter would be a disaster as governor, but he himself continues to emphasize “family values” in his public appearances. During the debate, Vitter said he believes in “faith, family, education, and hard work”, thus reminding people of his “serious sin” against his family.

The present governor, Bobby Jindal, is possibly the least accessible and transparent in the history of the state. Will Vitter's fear of questions and comments about his past lead him to isolate himself from the media and the citizens of Louisiana in the same way as Jindal? Louisiana does not need another governor in hiding.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Are doctors and hospital administrators just now noticing lots of "ifs" in Jindal's health care budgets, or is it just now that they are willing to speak out?  I've been waiting.
The Jindal administration’s proposed health care budget relies on more than $500 million in funding that is contingent on several things happening first — and that’s making people in the health care community nervous.

“We have great concerns that it’s really not achievable,” said Paul Salles, who heads the Louisiana Hospital Association, the professional group representing most of the state’s hospitals.

“It’s something on paper,” Salles said, but “it leaves us really exposed to dire straits.”

“To say there are a lot of contingencies would be an understatement,” said Jennifer Marusak, governmental affairs director for the Louisiana State Medical Society, a professional association that represents physicians.
And they're just now getting nervous?  For years Jindal's budgets have relied on bait and switch, use of one-time funds, and contingencies that may not happen to fill the annual budget gap.
“It’s a mess,” said Berkeley Durbin, who heads MedicineLouisiana, a statewide physicians group.

“I don’t think anybody thinks that’s real. I don’t know where we find the money,” Durbin said, adding that he doesn’t consider legislative passage of the tax credit changes to be a sure thing.
I haven't believed Jindal's budgets were real in years.  Where have they been?

Jindal cares not a whit about the people of Louisiana, but only about his overweening ambition to become president of the United States, which we now know is highly unlikely, as Jindal hardly registers in the polls of likely GOP candidates.  He hopes to leave office before a complete and obvious collapse of the state health care system and other institutions and programs, leaving the state in dire straits and the next governor to clean up the mess.

Also, as I have said many times before, Jindal could not have destroyed or damaged institutions and programs in Louisiana single-handedly.  A compliant legislature was necessary to complete the plunder.  Jindal is not the only Louisiana official to sign Grover Norquist's pledge not to raise taxes.
Thirty-two elected officials currently serving in the state and federal government have signed "no new tax" pledges with the group, according to the Americans for Tax Reform website.

Every Republican member of Louisiana's congressional delegation -- except Garret Graves -- has committed to it. Twenty-six members of the Louisiana Legislature have also taken the oath.
How anyone can still be surprised that Jindal's budgets are little more than flimflammery is beyond me, but welcome aboard, doctors and hospital administrators.  Better late than never.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Most of the worst stuff Jindal’s done lately has flown under the radar, so here’s a primer for those of you who haven’t paid much attention to the Louisiana pol since 2009, when he blew his State of the Union response by reminding everyone of “30 Rock’s” Kenneth. While Jindal still hasn’t formally announced his intention to run for president — and hasn’t even launched the pro forma exploratory committee, either — his desire to live at 1600 remains one of Louisiana’s “worst-kept” secrets.
Jindal flies under the radar only if you don't live in Louisiana. We are a backwater, and the national press doesn't pay much attention. With the assistance of a compliant legislature, the governor has plundered the state, destroying institutions and programs and leaving destruction in his path that will take years to rebuild, if the will is ever here to do so.

Worst governor ever and a man with so little awareness of the world outside his circle of sychophantic followers that he doesn't appear to know that his pathetic lust for the presidency, at the cost of the people in Louisiana, has zero chance of becoming reality.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Looks sort of official with the state seal and all, but if you read the fine print, you see the guide is from Louisiana Family Forum. Thanks, but no thanks. I will not follow your guidance.
Louisiana Family Forum is an organization committed to defending faith, freedom and the traditional family in the great state of Louisiana!
Our Mission…

To persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication and networking.
Yes, I know. LFF commands, and Bobby Jindal obeys. I had a laugh when the group noted that neither Sen. Mary Landrieu nor Edwin Edwards responded to their questionnaire. Former Gov. Edwards is the lone Democrat among 12 candidates in my 6th District, so he will get my vote.

Here's my friend Lamar White on Louisiana Family Forum.
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.

Even though he has never been elected to public office, Mills talks like someone who believes he controls the legislature, someone who thinks he possesses the same type of veto authority as the Governor, and it’s not puffery: He does.

Friday, October 17, 2014


From an excellent letter to the Advocate newspaper by David Hood, former secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Baton Rouge.
Several Louisiana health insurance companies have announced that they want to raise premium rates for some policies next year. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act are using this to again attack the law and its impacts on health insurance. But consumers — and voters — should keep a clear head and ask some basic questions.

The ACA requires companies to publicly justify rate increases of over 10 percent, and requires 80 percent of premium dollars be spent on health care, not administrative “overhead.” Consumers are better off because of those provisions, though some states like Louisiana have not allowed the law’s full benefits to be implemented.

Given that Louisiana has the third-highest rate of uninsured people in the nation, and that we rate 49th in poor health outcomes, we should support “Obamacare,” not fight it.
David Hood replaced Bobby Jindal as head of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals during the administration of Gov. Mike Foster, when Jindal was drafted by the Clinton administration as a bipartisan showpiece to serve as Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services.  Hood serves as Senior Healthcare Analyst for the Public Affairs Research Council and knows whereof he speaks.

Here's the link to a video of David Hood speaking great good sense about Jindal's refusal to accept federal funds for Medicaid expansion, which would provide health insurance for up to 400,000 uninsured citizens of Louisiana.  "What are we waiting for?" The funds that Jindal refuses go to other states.

Photo from Louisiana Public Square.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


A few months ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal traveled to Washington to introduce a new national health care proposal. While there, he arranged to meet privately with a small group of conservative journalists and policy experts at the offices of the Ethics and Public Policy Center think tank. 

Some of the experts engaged Jindal in debate about one of the plan's more arcane provisions. The back-and-forth between Jindal and his questioners went deep into the proposal's details, and it was soon clear that Jindal could dive as far into the health care policy weeds as any of the wonkiest wonks. He knew his stuff.
Never mind Jindal's eloquence in discussing arcane provisions and dives into the policy weeds of health care, did York explore how Bobby's arcane provisions and dives into the policy weeds in Louisiana are working out in real life with the Office of Group Benefits, the health insurance plan for state employees and retirees? Jindal and his appointees to high places are destroying the health insurance plan for 230,000 employees and retirees, so by all means Bobby should go national with his plan. His best bud, Tommy Teepel, says so, "He's an undervalued stock...” Indeed, Jindal is not popular in his home state, with his approval rating at 32%.

For further information on the health plan debacle, read Tom Aswell at Louisiana Voice, who has written article after article on the flimflammery of our absentee governor and the members of his inner circle, especially his Commissioner of Administration, Kristy Nichols, and Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, Kathy Kliebert.  Where does the buck stop?   

Note: Byron York is a conservative columnist for the Washington Examiner and a contributor to Fox News.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Tom Aswell, who writes at Louisiana Voice, has done excellent investigative reporting on the Jindal administration time and again, all the while putting big media in Louisiana to shame.
Former Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Secretary Bruce Greenstein has been indicted by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office on nine counts of perjury stemming from a lengthy investigation of his involvement in the awarding of a $183 million contract to a company for which he once worked.

Greenstein is accused in four counts of lying under oath to the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee during his confirmation hearings of June 8 and June 17, 2011 and five counts of lying to an East Baton Rouge Parish Grand Jury on June 3 of this year.
With all the shenanigans of the Jindal administration, it’s hard for me to believe that nothing illegal took place, and the governor was completely out of the loop. He’s certainly run roughshod over Louisiana law and had to pull back several times when his policies were declared unconstitutional.

Of course, there must be proof of illegal activity (innocent until proven guilty), and justice must take its sometimes slow course, but, if I were Kristy Nichols, Commissioner of Administration, or anyone in Jindal’s inner circle, I’d be a bit worried. If I were Kathy Kliebert, Secretary of The Department of Health and Hospitals, I’d be worried. Since Jindal doesn’t brook disagreement, would he even pay attention to legal advice that was not to his liking?
As legal setbacks begin to mount for Gov. Bobby Jindal with the indictment of a former Jindal cabinet member coupled with an attorney general’s opinion that recently announced changes to state employee group health plans are most probably illegal, one political observer intimated to LouisianaVoice that Jindal’s political career “may be coming unraveled” even as he remains fixated on the White House.

The attorney general’s office on Tuesday (Sept. 23) released a legal opinion that could signal a devastating blow to the administration’s plans to overhaul health benefit plans offered through the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) to some 230,000 state employees, retirees and dependents.
Two stories in the same day, one of alleged criminality by a former member of Jindal's administration and another of possible gross mismanagement of changes to the Office of Group Benefits health plan, which will affect 230,000 state workers and retirees. It's about time the Jindal maladministration was brought up short!  Jindal and his inner circle must be reeling.  Then again, perhaps Jindal is too busy chasing his dream to become president to notice and will leave the troubles to be addressed by his staff.

Voters who prefer Republican governance, might want to have a look at the destruction wreaked by the Jindal maladministration and his enablers in the Louisiana State Legislature to see untrammeled, extremist conservative  governance in practice.  Would you want Jindal to be your president?

Thursday, July 24, 2014


In a sign of rising tensions over Common Core, state Superintendent of Education John White told Louisiana’s top school board Wednesday that he is being unfairly targeted personally for possible wrongdoing by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration and its allies.

“I am no stranger to politics, and I know that political rhetoric can be heated,” White said in a four-page letter to members of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

White sent his letter on the same week that Smith said controversy over Common Core test contracts could spark charges of ethics violations by White and others in the state Department of Education.

Smith cast her concerns in general terms — a posting on Facebook and a telephone interview — and did not offer any documentation.

However, she said unnamed parties are investigating whether employees of the state Department of Education acted improperly.
How low will Governor Jindal sink in his vindictiveness toward his own appointee, Superintendent of Education John White, because of their disagreement over Common Core?

Are there any limits at all to what Kristy Nichols (Commissioner of Administration) will do and say to support her boss and his unbridled ambition? I guess not, or she'd quickly be out of a job, for Jindal brooks no dissent.

Jane Smith, a staunch supporter of the governor, lost her bid for election to a seat in the Louisiana Senate, so Jindal gave her the consolation prize of a seat on BESE (Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) to continue the march to destroy public education in Louisiana. Now, Jane Smith resorts to smearing John White by innuendo on Facebook.

Thanks Governor. You and your honchos are a real class act. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Igniting new controversy, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Wednesday he is ordering Louisiana out of the Common Core tests as part of a series of moves to drop the new academic standards after the Legislature refused to do so.

“We need to start this process over,” Jindal told reporters.

But state Superintendent of Education John White, who Jindal pushed for the job, took the unusual step of publicly charging that the governor is wrong on the law and that Common Core plans will continue for the 2014-15 school year.
Though I'm not a great fan of Common Core, what Jindal is about is disallowing intrusion by the feds in schools in Louisiana and allowing instructions in creationism, a 10,000 year young earth, and humans walking with dinosaurs in science classes because of pressure Christian fundamentalists including the likes of Tony Perkins and his Focus on the Family tribe. Also, students in some of the junk charter schools that the state supports with tuition vouchers will never pass the tests, but Jindal does not want anyone to know.

I hope his latest maneuver to throw out the tests without the approval of the State Superintendent of Education, John White, whom he appointed to great fanfare, and Chas Roemer, president of BESE (Board of Elementary and Secondary Education), is illegal. I hope he does something illegal that has consequences, because Jindal is a virtual dictator, since even the usually supine state legislature would not vote to throw out Common Core, and he's determined to act on his own.

He's living a fantasy if he thinks he will be the candidate of the Republican Party, but, in the meantime, he is destroying the state. Since John White is defying Jindal at the moment, I would not be surprised if Jindal fired him.

Jindal is under great pressure from fundamentalist Christians like Tony Perkins and his gang. He graduated with a degree in biology from Brown University and was a Rhodes Scholar. Presumably, he knows the science, but he operates from pure personal lust to be president or, at the very least, vice-president of the US.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


After waiting four days, Gov. Bobby Jindal on Friday finally signed controversial legislation that provides an avenue for killing a coastal erosion lawsuit filed by a New Orleans-area levee board against 97 oil and gas companies.

In so doing, he dismissed warnings from some legal experts, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and some parish officials that the measure will imperil claims against BP arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Sneakily done on a Friday slow news day. And if that wasn't enough...
Jindal signed Senate Bill 469 just hours before dealing a second blow to the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, which sued the oil and gas companies for their destruction of wetlands, by replacing Tim Doody, the board’s longtime president and a supporter of the suit, with someone who has previously worked in the energy industry.
Just what we need on the board - a watchdog FOR the energy industry, rather than a watchdog for the welfare of the people of the state.


The Louisiana Legislature is very much complicit in passing the legislation in the first place, but I give credit to some members for trying to introduce sanity into the process. The state will be decades in recovering from the depredations of Bobby Jindal, if we ever do.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


If the free market is free, why do we have to pay companies to move to Louisiana?
The Port of New Orleans is set to regain its position as one of the main entryways for the billions of bananas imported to the United States each year, a windfall officials hope will create a few hundred new jobs and boost shipping container traffic in New Orleans by as much as 15 percent.

Jindal cited three types of incentives that eventually helped persuade the company to relocate. He said Louisiana will give Chiquita $11.3 million to help offset the company’s costs over the next 10 years. That grant will be performance-based, tied to the number of units the company actually ends up shipping through the port, with clawback provisions in case of shortfalls.
(My emphasis)
Chiquita Brands is the old United Fruit Company, which once owned the governments of several Central American countries.   My father was born in Honduras when his parents were visiting relatives there who worked for United Fruit.

Here's another.
AM Agrigen LLC, a Delaware company formed in 2013, has an option on 650 acres in St. Charles Parish as the site of a proposed $1.2 billion fertilizer plant.

LED said it began working with AM Agrigen on the project in October 2012. To secure the project, Louisiana offered the company a performance-based $5.6 million grant to offset infrastructure costs of the project. AM Agrigen would receive help from the state’s LED FastStart workforce training program and is expected to use the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.  (My emphasis)
Great care must be taken by fertilizer plants to prevent air pollution and soil pollution.  The plant will be located near the Mississippi River, the source of drinking water for a large population.  Should any of the chemical containers used in the manufacturing process spring a leak,  river water contamination would result.  Further there is the danger of explosion and fire unless fertilizer plants are duly inspected and held accountable for maintenance of equipment and safe working conditions.

Louisiana's history of weak regulation and oversight of manufacturers is less than encouraging for citizens who live near the the construction site of the plant, but I hope for the best.  I understand the need for well-paying jobs, but the jobs should not come at the cost of quality of life for those who live near the plant.

Photo from Wikipedia.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


The State of Louisiana can't come up with the cash to fund the Greater New Orleans Community Health Connection program in New Orleans, which provides services to people and families with income that exceeds the limit for eligibility for Medicaid but who do not earn enough to purchase private insurance.
The population covered by GNOCHC falls within the income limits of the Medicaid expansion that is part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. But that expansion, which would be fully paid for by the federal government in its early years, has been opposed by the Jindal administration, and an effort to get around the governor’s opposition was shot down in a state Senate committee last week.
Neither the governor nor the members of the state legislature care enough about the people who will lose access to health care to fund the program, nor will they allow Medicaid expansion. This policy of exclusion is either madness or group hardheartedness beyond what I can imagine. The so-called "good Christians" in the governor's office and in the legislature need to spend time reading the Gospels in the Holy Bible, which they recently considered making the official state book. Their neglect of the 240,000 citizens who could be helped by Medicaid expansion is shameful and downright immoral.

My nomination for official state book is A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, the title of which is also an apt description of the present governor and most, but not all, of the members of the state legislature. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


From Houma Today:
The Blanchards are a gay couple, married in Iowa last year, who live in Lafourche. They, along with two other gay couples, have sued the state claiming Louisiana’s refusal to recognize their marriage violates their constitutional freedoms.  

Driving through their Raceland subdivision past the single story, cookie cutter red brick homes, the Blanchards’ home would be difficult to distinguish from those of most bayou families. 

Courtney argued that those still resisting will be remembered in the same light as those who resisted civil rights for blacks. She added the couple feel nothing but love from their neighbors and others.

“We are accepted around here,” Courtney said. “My grandma knows, and she understands it. I would never imagine that kind of stuff.”
I wish the Blanchards and the other couples in Louisiana success in their litigation to have their marriages recognized.  In other states which do not allow same sex marriages, courts have ruled in favor of recognition.  If the litigation is successful, you'll hear hootin' and hollerin' from folks who disagree with the ruling, but recognition of the marriages is inevitable, and, if not now, then it will come, probably sooner, rather than later.  Seventeen states allow same sex marriages, and the number will surely grow.

The reporter paints a sympathetic picture of the Blanchard family, portraying them as "normal" and unthreatening, which I do appreciate, but I was amused at the description of their house as just like any other house in the neighborhood.  You'd never know from passing by that a family with a young child with two mommies lived there.  What are the expectations about the homes of lesbian and gay couples?   I have no idea.  Norman Bates' house in Psycho

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Many of you have already heard that Senator David Vitter will run for governor of the State of Louisiana. Oh joy! Are we lucky, or what? I choose, "Or what?" If you know me at all, you know I do not want David Vitter to be my governor.
State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, chairwoman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, released a scathing statement Tuesday about Vitter’s gubernatorial bid. Peterson, D-New Orleans, called Vitter an obstructionist and a failure. She questioned his ability to work across political lines. She assigned him a .000 batting average for the success of his legislation last year. What she didn’t mention was his sex scandal.
 Pretty much my opinion, too, and smart of Carter not to mention the scandal.

I expect that few voters in Louisiana are unaware of Vitter's association with a prostitution ring that continues to dog him 7 years later, and the opposition will very likely use against him what Vitter himself called a "serious sin". I hope most Democrats are as smart as Karen Carter and do not bring up the matter repeatedly, thus appearing to pile on, with the result that Vitter will get sympathy votes. He was reelected senator by a landslide, so the connection with the prostitution ring is not likely to sway voters in the election for governor one way or another.  And here I am talking about it, but I hope not to in the future.

With Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and state Treasurer John Kennedy, both Republicans, considering a run, either would be more acceptable to me than Vitter, with Dardenne as my preference between the two.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Only until the weak are born. If parents in Louisiana need help for the child after birth, well good luck with that. Gov. Jindal will not implement Medicaid Expansion, though it would not cost the state one cent for 9 years, and thereafter only 10% of the expenses of the programs.

The group that awarded Louisiana the "prize",  Americans United for Life, apparently does not follow up on the care given to the "weakest and most vulnerable among us" after they're born, or they would remind Gov. Jindal that babies, indeed all vulnerable human beings among us, need care throughout their lives after they're brought into the world.

At least one Louisiana state senator is trying to provide health insurance for low income people in Louisiana. 
State Sen. Ben Nevers said Tuesday that he would propose two constitutional amendments aimed at guaranteeing that low income Louisiana adults get basic health care coverage.

Nevers, D-Bogalusa, said he wants Louisiana voters to either authorize expansion of the state Medicaid program called for in the federal health care revamp or to provide health care coverage for residents whose income falls below the federal poverty level.

The Kaiser Commission estimates 242,000 Louisiana residents, who make too much for Medicaid but too little to purchase adequate insurance, would qualify for Medicaid coverage through the expansion. For an individual, 100 percent of the federal poverty level is $11,490. For a family of four, it’s $23,550. At 138 percent for an individual it’s $15,856 and family of four $32,499.

Nevers said people are ending up in hospital emergency rooms with serious illnesses because of lack of health care and that “cost all of us millions.”
There's no such thing as free emergency room care; someone pays.  I hope other legislators take note and support Sen. Nevers in his efforts to provide health insurance for those who cannot afford the premiums, since the governor refuses to address the problem.

And further, if you click the link, you will read about two success stories from people who were able to buy affordable health insurance through - Gasp! - the Affordable Health Care Act, aka Obamacare.
'Tierney Brinkman, a New Orleans server and bartender, said she went without insurance for 10 years. “It’s not that I didn’t want it. I had a pre-existing condition,” said Brinkman, explaining she had lumps in her breast and breast cancer in her family. She said either no company would insure her or the monthly premiums were “well beyond my means.” That 10 years without coverage was “terrifying,” she said.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, Brinkman said she now has a quality plan with a low deductible: $108 a month.
Despite the horror stories, the ACA is working as it should to provide health insurance for those who previously could not obtain coverage or who paid very high premiums because of preexisting conditions.  Insurance, any insurance, is about spreading the risk throughout a large number of people.  For the young and healthy who say they don't need health insurance, I remind them that even among their age group, even if only a small number, some will be diagnosed with a medical condition that requires expensive treatment.  Further, no one is able to predict an accidental injury that would require long-term medical treatment.  

Friday, January 10, 2014


Heading to a state motor vehicles office to get your driver’s license? A legislative report suggests you might want to bring a book or Kindle device and expect a wait.

Wait times at locations for the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles have shot up to as much as 1½ hours in some places as Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration slashed staffing levels amid continuing state budget cuts, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Office.

Here's the money quote.
OMV is rolling out a program that allows a public tag agent — a private business that processes vehicle title registrations — to also renew state driver’s licenses, for up to an extra $18 fee."
Reduce the number of state employees and, if citizens are annoyed by long waiting times, provide more convenient service by hiring a private, profit-making business, and make them pay extra for a service that the state should provide for all citizens in a timely manner. There you have it. Shrinking government and privatization in action. Thank you, Governor Jindal.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


States not expanding Medicaid under Obamacare will be collectively lose more than $35 billion in federal funds in 2022 alone, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.

The Commonwealth Fund further explained the study's methodology as follows:
Federal funds that pay for state Medicaid programs are raised through federal general revenue collection—taxes paid by residents in all states—whether or not they participate in the program. Therefore, taxpayers in states not participating in the Medicaid expansion will bear a share of the overall cost, without benefitting from the program. Glied and Ma estimated the net loss of federal funds to states that do not expand Medicaid by using projected federal Medicaid spending in each state and calculating the federal Medicaid-related taxes paid by each state.
According to Healthrender, Louisiana stands to lose 1.566 billion dollars.  That's billions lost to the state budget that is often in arrears and requires last minute cuts in programs and institutions that have already been cut to the bone.

Almost certainly people in Louisiana will die from treatable diseases and conditions because of the lack of health insurance, either because treatment was started too late, or because treatment was inadequate.

So far as I can make out, Jindal refuses the money for the sake of furthering his political ambitions on the national scene.  He has campaigned around the country since he first assumed the office of governor in Louisiana.  His extensive travels for political purposes leave him little time in the state which he governs so incompetently.  Even so, Jindal has managed to destroy or maim multiple institutions and programs that took decades to build and will require generations to recover if the people of Louisiana ever have the will to elect governors who will build up rather than destroy.