CRAVINS JR. RUNNING AGAINST BOUSTANY When The Independent Weekly went to press with our feature on last week’s cover story subject, Democratic state Sen. Don Cravins Jr. of Opelousas, Cravins was preparing to head to Washington, D.C. to meet with the National Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to gauge its support if he decided to challenge Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. Cravins said at the time that he was “99.9 percent sure” he was going to enter the race.
Now he’s 100 percent sure: Cravins plans on officially announcing for the seat in the coming days. “We’re getting ready for it,” Cravins says. In the meantime, someone’s been busy behind the scenes getting Cravins’ online operations set up; www.cravinsforcongress.com is already live on the Web.
ERRORS RIFE IN LOCAL DEMOCRATIC VOTER DRIVE Lafayette Parish Registrar of Voters Charlene Meaux says Lafayette has not been immune from a recent voter drive financed by the national Democratic Party that has been inundating registrars in Caddo, East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes. Those registrar offices have been working some 10 to 12-hour days trying to process thousands of new voter applications, many of which are rife with errors. Secretary of State Jay Dardenne announced last week that his office is investigating the situation to see if any election laws have been violated. Dardenne planned to meet with officials from the D.C.-based organization Voting Is Power, which was hired by the national Democratic Party to conduct the voter drive. VIP set a goal of registering 70,000 new voters in Louisiana, and paid canvassers to go door to door signing up unregistered adults.
In Lafayette, Meaux says her office has received four boxes, with a combined 1,236 voter applications, from VIP throughout the last three weeks of May. Meaux estimates as much as 25 percent of those applications may be determined invalid. In just one box, Meaux says her office flagged 54 applications from convicted felons. Another prevalent problem has been improperly filled out applications and duplicate applications. “What they’re doing a lot is registering people to vote who are already registered,” Meaux says. “A lot are duplicates. We had one guy who registered six times in the same day. It’s giving us an abundance of work for nothing because these people are already registered.” Her office’s fraud unit is looking into some of the cases of duplicate applications.
JINDAL ON INTELLIGENT DESIGN When it comes to “intelligent design,” Gov. Bobby Jindal told Face the Nation last Sunday that 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 parent, when my kids go to schools, when they go to public schools, I want them to be presented with the best thinking,” he told host Chip Reid. “I want them to be able to make decisions for themselves. I want them to see the best data. I personally think that the life, human life and the world we live in wasn’t created accidentally. I do think that there’s a creator. I’m a Christian. I do think that God played a role in creating not only earth, but mankind. Now, the way that he did it, I’d certainly want my kids to be exposed to the very best science. I don’t want them to be — I don’t want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them because of political correctness. The way we’re going to have smart, intelligent kids is exposing them to the very best science and let them not only decide, but also let them contribute to that body of knowledge. That’s what makes the scientific process so exciting. You get to go there and find facts and data and test what’s come before you and challenge those theories.”
Jindal’s statements come on the heels of a letter sent last week to Louisiana Speaker of the House Jim Tucker by Alan I. Leshner, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s CEO and the publisher of Science magazine. Leshner wrote of the “Louisiana Science Education Act”:
“The bill implies that particular theories are controversial among scientists, including evolution. But there is virtually no controversy about evolution among the overwhelming majority of researchers. The science of evolution underpins all of modern biology and is supported by tens of thousands of scientific studies in fields that include cosmology, geology, paleontology, genetics and other biological specialties. It informs scientific research in a broad range of fields such as agriculture and medicine, work that has an important impact on our everyday lives.
“Backers of the bill, including the Louisiana Family Forum and the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, are longtime supporters of attempts to teach creationism or intelligent design as science,” continued Leshner. “The judicial courts have ruled that both of these are religious concepts that do not belong in public school science classrooms. In fact, it was Louisiana’s own ‘creation science’ law that the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 1987.”
Jindal’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the letter.
Contributors: Jeremy Alford, Nathan Stubbs, Scott Jordan and R. Reese Fuller
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
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.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.