President Obama’s bus tour will be trailing two Republican surrogates as he stumps for votes in Ohio today: Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, both of whom are considered possible running mates.
Ohio, which has 18 electoral votes, is a key battleground in this year's election. Obama carried the state in 2008, and no Republican has ever assumed the presidency without winning Ohio.
Jindal and Pawlenty will be in Pittsburgh Friday. Also just emerging as a possible running mate is Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Ann Romney was on CBS News on Thursday and said her husband could end up choosing a woman, a comment that immediately fueled speculation about Ayotte.
Here’s what Shreveport demographer Elliott Stonecipher, who is no fan of the guv, had to say Tuesday about a potential Jindal selection in an email titled “JINDAL FOR VEEP NOMINEE? TWO LOUISIANA NEWSPAPER REPORTS REMIND EVERYONE: “GOOD LORD! ... NO!”:
Mitt Romney, America is being told, is in the process of vetting our very own Governor Bobby Jindal to be his vice presidential running mate. For those of us who have experienced and studied the tactics - and, thus, the beliefs - of our governor, nothing could be more preposterous.
To tune-up for this subject, let’s take a few minutes to read a couple of newspaper articles: just two Louisiana newspaper reports, and just from the last two days. If we believe, as we say we do, that good government depends mightily on transparency, and on government officials keeping faith with those who elect or otherwise hire them, our governor is unqualified as Louisiana’s #1, much less America’s #2.
First, here is yesterday’s Monroe News-Star report detailing how John White, Jindal’s new hot-shot public education guru via New York, “created a plan to ‘muddy up a narrative’ and to ‘take some air out of the room’” after an earlier News-Star report revealed a serious and immediate failure in Jindal’s highly touted public school voucher program.
Second, here is today’s Baton Rouge Morning Advocate report about which attorney we taxpayers are shelling out our hard-earned money to represent “us” - that would be Gov. Jindal and John White, in fact - in legal arguments supporting their signature voucher program. That program diverts our locally assessed and paid public education taxes away from their funding mechanism, the MFP, Minimum Foundation Program, and sends the money instead to private/charter schools.
The two articles, taken together, are excellent shorthand for what Gov. Jindal and his cronies think of openness and transparency, which is to say, how they hate shooting straight with the citizenry.
What the News-Star has so definitively shown in its articles is not only that our MFP money is going to private schools which have no business educating our children, but also that wunderkind White is all about not telling the truth when such facts are proven. In other words, whatever Jindal’s education program really is, it isn’t what he and his guru say it is.
Mark Ballard’s Advocate piece is a reminder to readers that Jimmy Faircloth, the go-to Jindalista in our guv’s gutting of ethics enforcement is now is “our” lawyer in protecting the voucher program scam from legal challenges. As you have (or will hopefully) read, Faircloth can’t quite explain how Attorney General Buddy Caldwell was ordered by Jindal to hire him for this doubling-down on scammery, but nonetheless makes clear that Caldwell was, in fact, ordered by Jindal to do so.
For those of us who suffered through the specifics of how Jindal killed at least three decades of work on our governmental ethics system, the hiring of Faircloth is powerfully telling. The ways Faircloth found to ruin ethics enforcement were equally creative and fundamentally dishonest: while El Jefe Jindal was selling his “ethics gold standard” poppycock in his crusade to be veep nominee for John McCain, Faircloth was - quite literally - jamming the precise opposite through the legislative process. Yes, such a shakedown required a really ethically compromised bunch of legislative leaders, many of whom had ethics complaints in the pipeline at that very time, but the brains of the operation were Jindal, his then Chief-of-Staff Timmy Teepell, and Faircloth.
Now, this crew is back at it with their newest and most potentially damaging shakedown, “education reform.” We should not be surprised that John White has now been caught being as instinctively underhanded as the others on the Jindal team. Now we the proof, at least, that he, too, is a card-carrying grifter.
As Louisiana’s governor, Bobby Jindal has consistently and emphatically demonstrated his bona fides as a devout believer in closed, self-protecting government. He ruined ethics enforcement by putting an unclassified employee beholden to the governor for their paycheck in charge of the enforcement system. He rented/leased legislative votes necessary to install in law the worst “deliberative process” ruse in any state, making possible the hiding of anything - anything - his staff and others in the executive branch want to hide, including any breaking of laws. Now, too, he has imposed a diversion of constitutionally protected - we have long been told - local public education tax money to private schools.
Perhaps worst of all, Jindal mows down opponents in a way that banana republic dictators can fully appreciate.
Mitt Romney should note as he considers Jindal for his running mate that the most damning proof and evidence of the damage Jindal has done to Louisiana is well hidden by his specific acts in furtherance of that key personal objective.
Yes, it takes a lot of smarts to pull that off.
And, yes, it takes a pretty dark heart, too. Lord help us if that heart ends up a beat away from the Presidency.
MAY 21 Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos writes about the Mother's Day shooting, and how the stages of shock and blame and healing mirror those traveled by the same city following Hurricane Katrina. The city will recover, just as it did following the storm, by reaching out to help the people injured most seriously by the event, DuBos writes. It's how we heal, he says.
MAY 21 Here's a post on the Advocate (but buried on a subpage, not on the front) that reports something Louisiana Voice reported some time ago: a top DOE official lives in Los Angeles and "commutes" to Baton Rouge. The positioning of the story caused a stir on Facebook Monday, with several posters asking if the Advocate was covering someone's hiney. Sentell's stories on DOE are notoriously soft, and this one is no different: don't expect any hard questions in here.
MAY 21 Here's another post from blogger Tom Aswell about the "course choice" program. He's already reported on kids being signed up without their consent or knowledge, and has more here: For example, he tells of a six-year-old who was signed up for high school Latin. He also digs a little deeper into the sister companies of the main one operating in Louisiana; all of them seem to have complaints against them. Stinky.
MAY 21 Given the 80 percent cut in higher ed funding since he's been in office, it's clear Gov. Jindal would rather give tax cuts to out of state companies than have a functioning system, blogger Dayne Sherman argues in this post. The cuts have been such a disaster, Sherman says, that it will take 30 years to fix what's been broken. He says he believes the aim is to shut down most of the schools before Jindal leaves in 2016.
MAY 21 Blogger CB Forgotston says there are too many elections in Louisiana, and they're costing us too much money. The proof is in the pudding: turnout for most of these nonsensical pollings gets worse and worse, CB opines, even as millions of dollars that could be spent on health care or higher ed go down the tubes. The legislature must take action to stem the tide of pointless elections, he says.
MAY 21 Here's an interesting investigative piece by WVUE on the retirement benefits of some Jefferson Parish public employees. According to the story, the taxpayers are paying 100 percent of the retirement contributions of employees who started work prior to a certain date in April 1986 -- and have done for more than 30 years. It costs the parish millions annually, and might not be legal, the story reports.
MAY 21 This post on Bayou Buzz provides insight from Louisiana's intrepid pollster, Bernie Pinsonat, on the winners and losers from this year's legislative session. But to hear Bernie tell it, there's almost nuttin but losers: Jindal, the Republican party, the Fiscal Hawks all get big goose eggs in his win column.
MAY 20 This post on The Lens takes a look at a huge (either $500K or $250K) bill that one NOLA charter now has for school lunches. The RSD says the charter group didn't fill out the proper paperwork for federal reimbursement, but the story details how the RSD didn't ensure the people running the charter had the proper training, despite requests from hapless charter employees trying to fill out forms. Either way, somebody's asleep at the wheel.
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.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.