[UPDATE: According to GAP's Sarah Damian, Sen. David Vitter's office on Friday confirmed that he was not the senator who placed the secret hold on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.]
The Government Accountability Project, in coordination with National Public Radio’s “On the Media,” has identified Sen. David Vitter as one of five United States senators who is refusing to say whether he placed a secret hold on the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act on the final day of the 2010 lame duck session in December. The bill passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support, but one senator, using a parliamentary procedure that allows a lawmaker to place an anonymous hold on the bill, scuttled the bill’s passage. According to GAP, the bill “would have strengthened rights for federal employees who report corruption, waste, or other wrongdoing.”
A whistleblower protection and advocacy organization, GAP teamed with NPR early this year to ferret out the senator who placed the hold on WPEA. They have whittled the list down to just a handful of senators who refuse to say whether it was them. Vitter is joined on this select list by Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Jim Risch, R-Idaho and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
“We are urging supporters to ask [Sen. Vitter] why he considers whistleblower protection to be something that his constituents don’t have a right to know his position on,” says Sarah Damian, social and new media fellow at GAP.
The New York Times, in a Feb. 10 editorial, also called for identification of the culprit: “The Senate could use its own whistle-blower right now to let the taxpayers and voters know who is to blame. ...what could possibly be more patriotic, or budget-minded, than protecting government workers who have the courage and good sense to raise the alarm when taxpayers are being cheated?”
MAY 23 Here's a story in the Picayune about some statistics that must come as a blow to folks who believe that any private school can do a better job of educating kids than any public school: Danielle Dreilinger reports that only 30 percent of the voucher kids are passing. That's less than half of the state wide average, she says. It's an interesting statistic because most of the schools (if not all) taking voucher kids have never had their students' standardized test scores released to the public before.
MAY 23 Stephen Sabludowsky blogs on Bayou Buzz about auditor requests here. Recently the state GOP started crowing about a request from the Legislative Auditor, claiming they were being targeted because of their anti-tax stance. (Uh, your what?) Denial and hyperbole aside, the state Democratic party blew holes in that theory with an email announcing they'd received the same request, Sabludowsky writes here.
MAY 23 Jim Brown blogs about the senate race in this post. He says that, given Bobby Jindal's "lack of traction" on the national stage, it might make more sense for the governor to consider running against Mary Landrieu for the senate seat. Since Tim Teeple left the Cassidy team, it makes sense he might land on a Jindal for Senate team, Brown opines.
MAY 23 In this Louisiana Voice post, blogger Tom Aswell writes of rumors that his nemesis, state Superintendent of Education John White, may be soon departing Louisiana for a federal post. It's hard to believe, given his performance, Aswell says, but stranger things have happened. An anti-White BESE member says that, if true, White is quitting before he can be fired.
MAY 23 In this post on American Zombie, blogger Jason Berry writes about the Mother's Day shooting. Mayor Landrieu said that "this is not who we are," but the fact is, this is New Orleans, Berry writes. The violence infused in the city is the result of a culture created by "sins of omission or sins of commission," Berry writes. It's not a problem that can be solved by legislating, policing, praying or publicizing, he says: Someone's got to understand what's happening first.
MAY 23 This post in the Westside Journal tells us what Port Allen Mayor Deedy has been up to lately: vetoing ordinances, apparently. This story is most interesting, however, when it delves into a petition that has been circulating around the city lately. It accuses the former mayor of a lot of nasty things; the former mayor says it is full of lies and "broken syntax" which may be a larger offense in his eyes.
MAY 23 This editorial posted in The Advocate is a bit confusing. The writing is poor - definitely not up to the usual editorial writing standard there - and the point is hard to grasp. Apparently, the writer is saying that privatization of state efforts is OK, as long as there is oversight and transparency, but Jindal's not good at that, and the legislature shouldn't over-react. Okey Dokey. Can't they get one of them Pulitzer-winning people to write an editorial?
MAY 23 This post on The Lens gives you links to a new Google Earth tool that allows you to see any spot on earth transform over the past 30 years. Bob Marshall, who covers the coast for the paper, says that in the case of Louisiana's coastline, it's possibly something you don't want to see, because it's not a pretty picture. There are several clips here, showing critical areas erode away. For Marshall, it was vindication for all those times he was met with eye-rolling when he talked about erosion.
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.