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 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.