Friday, June 10, was Bobby Jindal’s 40th birthday. I couldn’t be there to give him a present in person, and since the Big Four-O is, well, a big deal, I thought I would present him with a special gift in this space: a synopsis of my forthcoming book, Leadership for Dummies.
I’m thinking of dedicating the book to Gov. Jindal. After all, he inspired not only the book’s title but also its contents. His, um, not-quite-brilliant approach to governing these past three-and-a-half years gave me so many examples to cite. Plus, it’s obvious that everything he knows about leadership he read (or wrote) somewhere in a book, so what better way to wish him a happy birthday?
So, governor, I hope you enjoy my little primer on leadership. It’s a special edition, just for you.
1. Grow a pair. Quit being so afraid of offending every right-wing yahoo whose support you cravenly debase yourself to keep. Show some balls. No, not like Anthony Weiner; more like Ronald Reagan. This whole “tax virginity” thing only reinforces the fact that you actually look like a 40-year-old virgin.
Leaders don’t need to be pure; they need to show courage. Stop running from tough issues. Learn to take a punch — it might hurt you but it won’t kill you. In fact, it will make you stronger.
2. Stop faking it. You’re not a redneck, so stop trying to blend. You look ridiculous in camo, and I doubt you know which end of a shotgun to shoulder. Stop running away from your heritage, your Ivy League education, your Rhodes Scholar credentials — and stop pretending you’re not looking for the first ticket out of Louisiana.
3. Lead by example. You say you want to make Louisiana a place our kids will want to come back to. Great. Start by not leaving the state so often to raise money and build a network for the national campaign you say you’re not waging.
4. Keep your promises. As a candidate, you promised transparency; then you became the least transparent governor Louisiana has ever known. As a candidate, you promised ethics reform. As governor, you reformed everybody but yourself. As a candidate, you promised not to use one-time money for recurring expenses. As governor, you’ve done just that several years in a row. Stop it.
5. Own your mistakes. We all make mistakes. The difference between men and boys is boys hide from their mistakes, men own theirs. Man up, dude. Rolling back Stelly was a mistake. Pushing creationism in public schools is a mistake. Not addressing this year’s budget gap years ago was a mistake. Trying to sell off prisons to balance a budget is a mistake. Vetoing a 4-cent cigarette tax renewal is a mistake. These and other moves are your mistakes. Own ’em.
6. Walk the walk. Quit writing books about leadership when you clearly don’t know the subject. Once you master these baby steps, I’ll send you my sequel: Leadership for Rhodes Scholars.
Clancy DuBos is publisher of New Orleans’ Gambit. A version of this column first appeared in that publication.
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.