NOTE TO GOV: SHUT UP AND LISTEN
Last week, op-ed page columnist Lanny Keller of The Advocate nailed — in his distinctive, witty style — what is probably the biggest obstacle facing our enormously talented, freshly minted young governor in his ultimate quest for the presidency: his propensity to over-talk and under-listen. There’s been little in south Louisiana mainstream media (including this paper) about Jindal’s obvious problem, but Keller’s “Inside Report” column lays it out with refreshing, dry style.
Keller quotes conservative national columnist Cal Thomas who, like Jindal, was also on hand to speak in Baton Rouge recently at the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s annual meeting. “I had a wonderful interview with your governor,” said Thomas. “Forty-five minutes, one question.”
Keller’s piece opens with, “Memo to meeting planners: Invite the governor at your own risk,” and continues with nuggets like, “Whether in the audience or at the podium, one of the most-dreaded phrases in the Jindal administration has to include, ‘I just want to make five or six more quick points.’”
Later, Keller writes, “The audience of business people was almost entirely Jindal enthusiasts. At least at the start. Many of them work for companies, so they know the feeling of sitting at an event that is run with the give-and-take of one of Saddam Hussein’s Cabinet meetings.”
It’s funny and painful at the same time. The 37-year-old governor is a hugely talented, ambitious guy with — in all probability — a great national-level future. But as Keller points out, “This is not simply a matter of style. The governor typically will filibuster so long, and scoot out of meetings so quickly, that he’s not there long enough to do any listening, or — heaven forfend! — answer questions.”
Someone close to the gov needs to tell him — before Jan. 22, when he’ll be in Lafayette delivering the keynote address at the chamber’s annual banquet.
ANOTHER CRAVINS GOING TO BATON ROUGE?
The day after Don Cravins Jr. announced that he is accepting a new job in Washington and will be leaving the state legislature, his mother, Pat Cravins, has announced that she aims to keep her son’s state senate seat in the family. The legislature is expected to soon call a special election for the District 24 seat, which will likely come before the legislative session begins in late April. Pat Cravins says she reached her decision to run after seeing her son grapple with his decision to leave. “I told him, ‘Don’t you worry,’” she says. “If mama is given that opportunity, I’ll take care of it. What better hands can you leave your unfinished work in but your mom’s hands.” Cravins adds that because she hails from North Lafayette and now lives in Opelousas, she is connected with people throughout the sprawling district.
Pat Cravins currently is the speech and theater director at the Magnet Academy for the Cultural Arts in Opelousas. She also taught at Paul Breaux Middle School in Lafayette for 25 years, is a playwright, and briefly ran Pat’s Café Creole restaurant (now Laura’s II) on North University. Aside from Cravins, the only other announced contender is Opelousas state Rep. Elbert Guillory. Others rumored to be eyeing the race include former state Rep. Wilfred Pierre, Lafayette city-parish councilman Brandon Shelvin, former Lafayette city-parish councilman Chris Williams, and retired state Police Superintendent Terry Landry.
Since it was created in 1991, State Senate District 24 has always been represented by a member of the Cravins family. Don Cravins Sr. served the district for 16 years. When he stepped down in 2006, Don Cravins Jr. was elected to replace him without opposition. Cravins Jr. easily won re-election last year with 74 percent of the vote. To those who may argue against the family continuing their hold on the district, Pat Cravins has this to say: “If we had had a bad reputation in this so-called dynasty, I’d probably be running in another direction. I think those [in my family] who served before me served well with honor and with dignity.”
VITTER GETS BUSY
Note to D.C. prostitutes: Senator David Vitter is way too busy to hang out with you anymore. A year after admitting a “serious sin” involving a D.C. prostitution ring, Vitter is making it clear that he’s not messing around at the office anymore.
Fresh into their new session, many members of Congress are yet to file any bills. Not David Vitter. He filed 34 on the first day. The Times-Picayune reported last week that Vitter’s filing frenzy is of a predictably hardline conservative agenda: abortion, public prayer, stem cell research, home schooling, drugs, the death penalty, illegal immigration and protecting the American flag. You name it, he’s got it covered. Modest as always, Vitter says it’s just business as usual.
“It’s pretty much my normal procedure, “ he tells the T-P. “Between the election and the end of the year is a pretty quiet time in most offices. We’re not particularly quiet. We’re pretty organized, and we want to get to work on these things from the get-go.”
And don’t be mistaken. Should you be thinking that these polemical issues are taking up all Vitter’s time, he clarifies that he is still working nonstop on bringing home funding for levees and I-49. “No one should take the list of bills I put in the hopper the first day as some sort of conscious list of my top priorities,” he says. “These are certainly things I care about, but a lot of things would rank even higher than some of them but don’t take the form of a discrete bill. There are the huge priorities that I work on all the time.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, December 09, 2013:
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.
Hushed plans for a commercial development along the Louisiana Avenue portion of the Holy Rosary campus put the future of longtime tenant EarthShare Gardens in jeopardy.
If a recent advertisement in The Daily Advertiser is any indication, speculation the local daily will be implementing the “Butterfly Project” could be more of a reality than the Gannett-owned paper’s top execs are willing to admit.
Mettenberger injured his left knee while unloading a 32-yard completion in the fourth quarter of No. 14 LSU's 31-27 victory over Arkansas last Friday, and LSU coach Les Miles confirmed the severity of the injury on Wednesday.
An ordinance to phase out a 2 percent rebate to Lafayette merchants for collecting and remitting on time sales taxes cleared the City-Parish Council by a 6-3 vote.
Louisianans are the fourth most likely to use profanity yet also the fourth most likely to be courteous. So, please, just kiss my a** ... if it’s not too much trouble.
The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority voted Tuesday to authorize two lawsuits against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
A long night on the field in Seattle got even worse off of it, and now the Saints are operating on a compressed time-frame as they brace for surging Carolina with first place in the NFC South at stake.
Public school letter grades, teacher evaluations and student promotion won't be affected by Louisiana's shift to more rigorous educational standards for two years, the state's top school board decided Tuesday.
Vitter told The Associated Press that he is sending an email to supporters Wednesday and is in discussions with his family about the possibility.
The Ragin' Cajuns go for New Orleans Bowl three-peat, this time against the Tulane Green Wave, which is making its first postseason appearance since the Hawaii Bowl in 2002.
Louisiana has joined four other states in filing a so-called “friend of the court” brief in support of Mississippi’s lawsuit against the federal government over new flood insurance rates set to go into effect.
Kerry Wayne Bertrand was charged Monday for the alleged killing of his stepdaughter, Skylar Lee Credeur, a UL Lafayette chemistry major found dead in the bathtub of her family home in August.
Louisiana's state school board is considering a two-year delay for some consequences tied to the phase-in of more rigorous educational standards, called Common Core, at public schools.