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.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.