State Rep. Fred Mills, R-Parks, a GOP newbie who switched parties a few weeks ago and most recently announced his intention to seek the state Senate District 22 seat vacated by Troy Hebert, is being labeled a RINO — Republican In Name Only — by a conservative blogger. Suspicion of Mills’ motive in switching parties was already foreshadowed in the comment section at theind.com, and it’s a sentiment that could gain traction in what will be a short campaign. (The election will be held Jan. 22; other candidates to qualify are Republican Simone Champagne of Jeanerette; David Groner and Ruben LeBlanc, both of New Iberia and neither with party affililation; and Republicans Arnold Schwing of New Iberia and Ken Squires of Jeanerette.)
Seen in some circles as mere political expediency — Democrats just can’t catch a break in Louisiana’s current political climate — Mills’ party switch is increasingly becoming a topic in the blogosphere, most recently in a post titled “The Fred Mills File” at a site called Cajun Conservatism; the post was picked up by the right-leaning aggregator website The Dead Pelican.
Cajun Conservatism highlights political contributions by Mills ranging from $50 to $500 in 2008 and 2009 to Democratic politicians, Cedric Richmond and Don Cravins Jr. among them, as well as to the House Democratic Campaign Committee. The site also points to votes by Mills it considers antithetical to conservative principles, including voting against a bill that would require welfare recipients to be drug tested and a bill that would use public dollars for private school tuition vouchers.
The post further opines, “Fred Mills’ recent switch to the Republican Party prior to his qualifying for the special election for the District 22 Senate seat should leave one to question his true conservative principles. A cursory look at both his past political contributions and voting records show someone who is far from being within the mainstream Republican Party. Do we need another RINO to represent the people of District 22 in Baton Rouge?”
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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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