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.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)