Rep. Landry least hypocritical among Tea Party frosh
The 15 freshman GOP representatives in the House Tea Party Caucus rode a populist, anti-bailout wave into Congress in 2010, castigating the federal government for its bailouts of Wall Street and the auto industry and their attendant contribution to the national debt. If they shared one thing in common it was the ire they reserved especially for the Wall Street “Too Big to Fail” bailout, otherwise known as the Troubled Assets Relief Program, a Bush administration initiative they hung around the neck of Bush’s successor.
Yet according to an analysis of federal campaign contributions, voting records and public statements by the 15 conducted by the group ThinkProgress, each of those Tea Party freshmen has taken thousands of dollars from political action committees representing TARP-rescued financial institutions — most have also taken campaign cash from the American Bankers Association — and now they’re effectively shills for Wall Street. What an amazing transformation. Not.
It turns out that Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, is the least compromised among the group in terms of accepting gold from the dragon he promised to slay. According to ThinkProgress’ tabulation, Landry only received $2,800 from PACs representing TARP-rescued institutions, and he received nothing from the ABA. In fact, Landry was the only member of the group to receive no contributions from the ABA. That’s a far cry from the gargantuan haul of Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, whose coffer swelled by more than $156,000 thanks to cash from TARP entities and the American Bankers Association.
Twelve of the 15 have signed on as co-sponsors of House Resolution 3461, otherwise known as the Financial Institutions Examination Fairness and Reform Act, a Wall Street-friendly piece of legislation characterized by Americans for Financial Reform as a way to “tilt the playing field further in the direction of excessive deference to industry interests and tie the hands of regulators attempting to protect the public interest.” In other words, a way to decrease federal oversight over the industry that crashed the U.S. into the Great Recession. The ABA has lobbied heavily — and dropped plenty of cash — for passage of HR 3461.
Landry joined on as a sponsor of the bill in March, as did his opponent this fall, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, who co-signed five days after Landry.
The Tea Party freshmen: From Earl Grey to Da Hong Pao.
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.