When it comes to “intelligent design,” Gov. Bobby Jindal told Face the Nation recently he doesn’t think it’s an issue that should be decided on the federal or even state level, but on the local level. As a citizen of Louisiana, and very fully aware of the vetting so-called “intelligent design” received at enormous cost to the taxpayers in other venues, this response is frankly unacceptable. Moreover, Jindal seemed to imply that he is personally aware of attempts made for “facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them (his and other children) because of political correctness” (my italics). I followed the stream of discourse closely on this issue, and it seems to me that authoritative comments from people in possession of the “very best science,” as Jindal put it, have been contributed.
In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot require public schools to balance evolution lessons by teaching creationism. In 2005 an onerous court case in Pennsylvania determined that intelligent design was a fraud, the judge issuing a stinging decision, saying “we find that the secular purposes claimed by the [school] board amount to a pretext for the board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom.”
Can it possibly be that the governor of Louisiana scruples to call what the Supreme Court of the United States considers lawful conduct, being politically correct? This red herring of political correctness is, after all, the one-size-fits all cant of opprobrium heaped about the landscape by the nation’s neo-fascist ultra-far right radio entertainers. As such, it’s the kind of volatile skapegoatism which should be avoided by legitimate political figures.
Following the antics of their support of “intelligent design,” taxpayers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, were soaked in debt; the region mocked for being an idiot haven. The case judge was threatened with assassination by an impassioned Christian religious zealot. All of that being in the public record and well publicized. Now, our governor’s idea of leadership is to suggest that these same invent-the-wheel issues should be dealt with on the local level. Presumably for the purpose of wasting taxpayer money in the entirely predictable litigation flowing from the Louisiana Science Education Act (SB733 having passed 36-0 in the Senate and awaiting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature); the equally predictable mocking, surely to come, is free. Believe me, the rest of the nation needs precious little excuse to see Louisiana as a haven for idiots.
Failure to veto such a bill would be an astonishing abdication of the public weal by any elected official. We would deserve the mockery from thoughtful human beings not less than from mute and rude beasts of the fields. Yet, I’m hopeful: from this nadir of political legislative leadership, I can’t imagine worse in train.
MAY 21 Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos writes about the Mother's Day shooting, and how the stages of shock and blame and healing mirror those traveled by the same city following Hurricane Katrina. The city will recover, just as it did following the storm, by reaching out to help the people injured most seriously by the event, DuBos writes. It's how we heal, he says.
MAY 21 Here's a post on the Advocate (but buried on a subpage, not on the front) that reports something Louisiana Voice reported some time ago: a top DOE official lives in Los Angeles and "commutes" to Baton Rouge. The positioning of the story caused a stir on Facebook Monday, with several posters asking if the Advocate was covering someone's hiney. Sentell's stories on DOE are notoriously soft, and this one is no different: don't expect any hard questions in here.
MAY 21 Here's another post from blogger Tom Aswell about the "course choice" program. He's already reported on kids being signed up without their consent or knowledge, and has more here: For example, he tells of a six-year-old who was signed up for high school Latin. He also digs a little deeper into the sister companies of the main one operating in Louisiana; all of them seem to have complaints against them. Stinky.
MAY 21 Given the 80 percent cut in higher ed funding since he's been in office, it's clear Gov. Jindal would rather give tax cuts to out of state companies than have a functioning system, blogger Dayne Sherman argues in this post. The cuts have been such a disaster, Sherman says, that it will take 30 years to fix what's been broken. He says he believes the aim is to shut down most of the schools before Jindal leaves in 2016.
MAY 21 Blogger CB Forgotston says there are too many elections in Louisiana, and they're costing us too much money. The proof is in the pudding: turnout for most of these nonsensical pollings gets worse and worse, CB opines, even as millions of dollars that could be spent on health care or higher ed go down the tubes. The legislature must take action to stem the tide of pointless elections, he says.
MAY 21 Here's an interesting investigative piece by WVUE on the retirement benefits of some Jefferson Parish public employees. According to the story, the taxpayers are paying 100 percent of the retirement contributions of employees who started work prior to a certain date in April 1986 -- and have done for more than 30 years. It costs the parish millions annually, and might not be legal, the story reports.
MAY 21 This post on Bayou Buzz provides insight from Louisiana's intrepid pollster, Bernie Pinsonat, on the winners and losers from this year's legislative session. But to hear Bernie tell it, there's almost nuttin but losers: Jindal, the Republican party, the Fiscal Hawks all get big goose eggs in his win column.
MAY 20 This post on The Lens takes a look at a huge (either $500K or $250K) bill that one NOLA charter now has for school lunches. The RSD says the charter group didn't fill out the proper paperwork for federal reimbursement, but the story details how the RSD didn't ensure the people running the charter had the proper training, despite requests from hapless charter employees trying to fill out forms. Either way, somebody's asleep at the wheel.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.