JINDAL FINDS AN ENEMY TO RUN AGAINST With no incumbent running for re-election, U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, a Kenner Republican, was at a slight disadvantage coming out of the gate in his gubernatorial bid because he had no one to demonize and run against. This might be why he led off his issues campaign with corruption and ethics reform. But thanks to the Louisiana Democratic Party and its attacks on Jindal's religious writings, the frontrunner finally has a foe worthy of targeting: The Dems. Michael DiResto, a Jindal spokesman through the state GOP, is scrambling to find a way to link the ads, which ran largely in north Louisiana, to particular party donors. "I think the voters would like to know certain things about them, like how many of them come from out of state," he says. From a strategic standpoint, the attack on Jindal worked in one sense: It has knocked him off of his free media message. But his nonstop, statewide bus tour is keeping his public conversation alive. The ads have clearly backfired on the state Democratic Party and in the end could energize the evangelical base for Jindal, anointing him the Louisiana head of a national get-out-the-vote trend started by uber-consultant Karl Rove and President George W. Bush... SPEAKING OF RELIGION It may be difficult to recall, but the 1983 Treen-Edwards match-up had its own religious flare-up. Luckily for former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who was victorious in that race, the news didn't reach the masses until the week before his inauguration. Shreveport Journal Editor Stanley Tiner got Edwards on the subject of religion during an interview where he discovered in Edwards' bathroom "Tocqueville's Democracy in America, the Bible and the latest issue of Playboy," John Maginnis writes in The Last Hayride, which chronicles the historic contest. Tiner asked Edwards ' who was raised Catholic, born again Nazarene, then reconverted Catholic ' if he believed Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried and resurrected. "No," Edwards responded. "I think Jesus died, but I don't believe he came back to life because that's too much against natural law. I'm not going around preaching this, but he may have swooned, passed out or almost died, and when he was taken down, with superhuman strength, after a period of time he may have revived himself and come back to life." Edwards also said he was more than likely not going to heaven, "just as will most people I know." While the interview did little to stir emotions in south Louisiana, the piney woods up north were all in a tizzy. It's the same base that the Louisiana Democratic Party targeted with its religious ads regarding Jindal, and the same demographic that was seemingly turned off by the attempt. In the end, surprising even himself possibly, Edwards got away with his bold faith-based gesture, but the modern Democratic Party may not... VOTER PURGE DRAWS NAACP LAWSUIT The NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed suit last week against state election officials after Secretary of State Jay Dardenne announced that about 19,000 people are being dropped from the state's voter rolls. The suit, filed in federal court in New Orleans, complains of discrimination, citing the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which mandates that Louisiana ' because if its history of racial discrimination ' must have federal approval before purging its rolls. Louisiana's gubernatorial primary is weeks away, on Oct. 20. Qualifying began on Tuesday. On June 15, Dardenne mailed out more than 55,000 letters to Louisiana voters living out of state since Hurricane Katrina, whose names and birth dates matched registered voters in other states. The letters told voters they must give up their registration in other states or lose the right to vote in Louisiana. One month later, on Aug. 17, nearly 20,000 voters were dropped from the rolls, 7,000 of them from Orleans Parish. According to The Times-Picayune, state Rep. Juan LaFonta, D-New Orleans and chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, wrote a letter to the Justice Department calling Dardenne's action "a veiled effort to bleed the voting rolls of African-American and minority voters before an important election season in the state of Louisiana." Dardenne is a Republican. Defendants named in the suit are Dardenne, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Attorney General Charles Foti and Louisiana Elections Commissioner Angie LaPlace... POPPING FOTI'S BUBBLE Attorney General Charles Foti, a Democrat who has pulled the state into court over some of the most controversial public cases in recent memory, did a little touchdown dance last week when a federal court named him special master to file suit on behalf of all unrepresented parties suing the feds for levees breaks in New Orleans and damages caused by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. The decision certainly made Foti an important voice for the voiceless. "I consider this a victory," he says. But his tone changed Wednesday when a federal appeals court ruled Foti wouldn't be able to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval says the previous ruling was made without proper authority and Foti will not be able to play Robin Hood to voters... NANCY LANDRY DRAWING REPUBLICAN HEAVY HITTERS Nancy Landry, a registered independent running for District 31 state representative, is drawing in some notable GOP donors in her bid to unseat Republican incumbent Don Trahan. Last week, her campaign pulled in approximately $10,000 at a Baton Rouge fund raiser hosted by Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, at the Jimmie Davis House, where LOGA's office is located. While not a LOGA affair, the $250 per couple event drew in contributions from several oil industry conservatives including Mark Goodyear, Mark Miller of Merlin Oil, landman Todd Fontenot, and Neil Buckingham, a lobbyist for Shell Oil. Landry has reported raising more than $100,000 for her campaign thus far, with a list of Republican contributors including former state Rep. Ron Gomez, River Ranch developer Robert Daigle and Dwight Andrus III. Trahan, who has been endorsed by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, reported having $32,000 in the bank on his last campaign finance report, filed at the beginning of the year.
JUNE 19 Former Saint Steve Gleason, who is paralyzed by ALS, released a statement Tuesday in response to the Atlanta radio station's skit making fun of him and the disease, this Picayune post reports. What did he say? He said he'd accepted the apology of the DJs who did it, notes that at least the incident has got people talking about ALS, and asks anyone who is burning to take action about it to do so -- by helping him fight ALS.
JUNE 19 Blogger Ian McGibboney takes a look at the Gleason incident in this post. He makes a good argument about the difference between having free speech and being free from consequences for your speech (which none of us is). He also admits that many of us got upset before we listened to the skit -- but lets us know that the reality is far worse than we can imagine. It was the incredibly bad judgment, even more than the actual speech, that probably got those DJs fired, he opines.
JUNE 19 Washington Post blogger Aaron Blake writes about Sen. Guillory's switch to the GOP in this post. He writes what most political watchers in Louisiana know: Guillory was a Republican before he decided to run for the senate seat in a mostly-D St. Landry district, and has switched back now that he plans to run for Lt. Gov. in a mostly-R state. But how come Blake missed Guillory's appearance on a TLC pageant show? Now that is a video we'd like to see. (Again).
JUNE 19 Here's another Washington Post blog post about a Louisiana politician, and it's just plain scathing. Ezra Klein says Jindal's Politico post was "insulting" to the intelligence of voters, and adds that Jindal is personifying the "stupid" he's railed against, by being an "elite" who convinces GOP activists of "things that aren't true." Me-ow.
JUNE 19 Here's Gov. Jindal's post in Politico, in which he asks the GOP to get over losing to Obama (again) and stop "the bedwetting." (Uh, what?) He gives his Republican buddies what is probably a nerd's idea of a coach's motivational talk, which starts with a list of accomplishments that they can't seem to exploit and ending with an absurd description of liberals that sounds like a character treatment for a Fox "News" movie scripted by Gordon Liddy. Sure, he's preaching to the choir, but even the choir's not this gullible.
JUNE 19 Lamar Parmentel read Gov. Jindal's post on Politico, but thinks it was so dumb it probably was published in the wrong paper. This post by Lamar on the Daily Kingfish opines that possibly Jindal's post was destined for the Onion -- because the governor couldn't possibly be serious here. If you listen closely, you can hear the staff of the Kingfish giggling.
JUNE 19 Blogger Robert Mann posts from Turkey, a country he has visited several times in the past few years. Mann gives an interesting overview of the current political and societal climate of the country, which -- if you're living under a rock and don't know -- is experiencing protests and turmoil these days. Mann promises to post as much as he can during his trip, which should be fascinating reading.
JUNE 19 Blogger CB Forgotston says the legislature is keeping the vicious cycle going with its funding of new buildings for the community college/technical college system. Universities across the state need maintenance and improvement on existing buildings, and the solution is to build new buildings at other schools? By the time the bonds are paid off, those buildings will be falling down, too, CB says.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.