Rallies are planned throughout the country on Saturday including at City Plaza adjacent to Baton Rouge City Hall to protest what organizers are calling a “war on women” in legislatures across the U.S. The protest/rally is being conducted by a group known as Unite Women and targets a laundry list of legislative initiatives that include defunding Planned Parenthood, obstacles to obtaining abortion services and assaults on contraceptive access.
“We will not suffer the burdens of those whose ambitions would be fulfilled by the destruction of the human worth of mothers, sisters and daughters of this nation,” Unite Women national founder Karen Teegarden says in a press release announcing the rallies. “This war on women must be resisted and won before the toxic effects of the current national conversation become irrevocable reality.”
Meanwhile, Unite Women Louisiana Chair Ashely Baggett will appear before the House Education Committee on Wednesday to testify on behalf of House Bill 820 by Rep. Patricia Smith, a Baton Rouge Democrat. HB 820 would compel public school districts in Louisiana to include sex education courses as part of their standard curricula and that the curriculum include information on contraceptive use; currently sex ed is authorized, not mandated.
Smith’s bill attempts to ameliorate the religious right by stipulating that parents can opt their children out of the sex education classes, and it includes a caveat requiring abstinence be taught as “the most reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.”
The debate over HB 820 comes on the heels of a report finding that states that stress abstinence and “abstinence only” as their sex education curriculum have higher teen pregnancy rates than states that require comprehensive sex education that includes information on contraception.
Read more on that here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/11/states-with-abstinence-only-sex-ed-programs-rank-highest-in-teen-pregnancies/
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DEC 6 Here we are, at the top of another bad list: this time, Louisiana has the (dubious) honor of beating out all other states when it comes to gutting higher ed funding, this Picayune story reports. The American Association of Colleges and Universities says our cuts (nearly 18 percent this year alone) are the highest in the nation. Three-fourths of the states increased funding last year, with the top spender increasing funding by 28 percent. This is a great legacy for our governor, right?
DEC 6 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at the creepy effort over in Baton Rouge, wherein the southern, lily-white area of the city wants to secede from the union, er, create its own "city" and take all the really fat sales tax cows with it. Turns out the group campaigning for the move is a for-profit corporation, and Lamar says that means its effort won't pass legal muster.
DEC 6 Blogger Tom Aswell tells us about some fishiness he found in the state worker's comp office. There's some confusion about when one guy started working there, and there's also some involvement by a GOP lege from Hammond. It's all just another example of the Jindal administration's actions that "defy explanation," Aswell says.
DEC 6 Edwin Edwards may think it's possible he will be governor again, but columnist James Gill isn't so sure. Edwards would have to get a presidential pardon to run for governor -- unless he wants to wait until he's 99, Gill says. But even Edwards' many supporters should probably hope he doesn't get that, because there's no real chance he can win, Gill says.
DEC 6 Here's an interesting post on DIG Magazine for football history buffs. It's about the Pelican Bowl, the Bayou Classic and the history of black college football. It's a trip down memory lane and the story of a "mythical black college national crown." What killed it? Trying to compete with the Bayou Classic.
DEC 6 Nelson Mandela became famous while sitting in prison, where he was a symbol of apartheid. But his enduring legacy was his ability to forgive, to reach out a hand of peace to heal his country of division and oppression, and the Picayune talks about this aspect of his personality. The story also reminds us of the more light-hearted moments Louisiana shared with the former President of South Africa.
DEC 6 We've all been passed by a nut on the highway and assumed the driver was on drugs. Maybe that's not hyperbole: here's a story from the Picayune about a guy riding around with a meth lab in his back seat. One wonders if his insurance policy included coverage for random explosions.
DEC 6 Here's a new blog in the NOLA Defender; it's called Shift Change, and it's all about cocktails. This installment by Rhiannon Enlil focuses on the sazerac, the enigmatic cocktail made with absinthe. But Enlil also introduces herself, a long-time NOLA bartender who has "a lot of booze" in her house.
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