Monday, April 1, 2013 Written by IND Monthly Staff
C’EST BON Treating marijuana like cocaine and methamphetamine has had hugely unnecessary social and fiscal costs for American communities since the War on Drugs ramped up a few decades ago. Nearly half of the roughly 1.5 million drug arrests annually in the U.S. are for marijuana possession, and the cost of enforcing marijuana laws and incarcerating pot smokers is enormous: an estimated $5.5 billion annually. This is arguably even more germane to Louisiana, which has the highest incarceration rate in the nation. But a sensible bill by New Orleans Democratic Rep. Austin Badon addresses this issue. Badon’s House Bill 103 amends the criminal penalties for second and subsequent pot possession offenses, slashing the maximum jail time defendants face, and prevents prosecutors from applying habitual offender statutes to people convicted of marijuana possession. Long overdue. Now here’s hoping the bill gets a serious hearing on April 20.
PAS BON Badon’s colleague in the House, Republican Frank Hoffmann of West Monroe, is at it again. The chief water boy for the Louisiana Family Forum has again filed a bill, HB 116, that would effectively neuter the state school board in its oversight of textbooks used in public schools in Louisiana. The LFF is a well-known proponent of setting Intelligent Design — creationism in a lab coat, in other words — right beside Darwinian evolution in biology classrooms, and getting the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education out of the text-selection equation is a nice place to start. Hoffmann’s bill among other things takes that authority away from BESE and gives it to local school boards, opening the door for Louisiana’s more evangelical parishes to introduce stunningly unscientific curricula into science classes. Sorry guys, but dinosaurs and homo sapiens — ermahgerd we said homo! — were not contemporaries. A similar bill filed in the 2011 session withered on the vine. We hope this one does, too.
COUILLON There’s a Democrat in the White House, and he’s black, probably socialist and possibly Muslim. If that ain’t a Petri dish for cultivating crazy, we don’t know what is. Just check out the creeping fungus known as the SOAR (Save Our American Republic) Project, a bunch of Bible-thumping “patriots” pushing lawmakers — any lawmaker — to sponsor in the upcoming session the Louisiana Balance of Powers Act, a law that would give the Pelican State the “authority” to ignore federal law because, you know, guns and FEMA Death Cathedrals and stuff. Nary a state suckles Uncle Sam’s hammy man-teat more than Louisiana, but hey — don’t matter. As of this writing no lawmakers have pre-filed a bill along those lines, but the SOAR Project did find a compatriot in the “oath-keeping” sheriff of Iberia Parish. In a full-page ad in The Iberian, the SOAR Project thanks Louis Ackal — and reproduces his endorsement letter — for “Taking a Stand Against a Tyrannical Federal Government.” Citing an absence of [the Christian] religion in public places, Obamacare and the dire threat to the 2nd Amendment occasioned by background checks, Ackal vows to “defend the citizens of my parish from unconstitutional abuse or harassment by federal agents.” We wish him well in that noble endeavor. By noble endeavor we mean paranoia.
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SEP 22 This bit of video from Saturday's LSU game is appalling, whether you're a fan of LSU or not. In it, you can see a Mississippi State player literally stomping on two LSU players during the game, which his team won. Twice the player, Dillon Day, can be seen jumping on the abdomen of LSU players during the game, the Picayune reports here. Day is a senior from West Monroe.
SEP 22 Whether you like him or not, you have to admit that Edwin Edwards has an irresistible story - on so many levels. Here's a post from CNN, which also has been unable to resist. His comments are classic EWE.
SEP 22 Blogger Tom Aswell, who spent about 50 years working for "mainstream" media, gives the Advocate what-for in this post. At issue is an editorial the Advocate printed last week, pretending that State Police Commander Mike Edmonson is some kind of saint for his part in the amendment debacle. The problems start with the paper's inability to spell Edmonson's name correctly (a common Advocate problem - inexplicably) and go downhill from there, he writes.
SEP 22 Blogger Crazy Crawfish is reflecting back on what was discussed during the Rising Tide conference, at least in terms of education. He's broken down some of the basic tenets of the current "reform" agenda in education, and explained why these ideas are flawed.
SEP 22 Six of the "privatization" agreements created by the Jindal administration for public hospitals are being renegotiated, at the order of Medicare/Medicaid officials, the Advocate reports here. Lafayette's public hospital is included, the story reports. Part of the order? No "side agreements," the story says. Hmmm.
SEP 22 Blogger Robert Mann tells an amazing story in this post. Cries for revenge and vengeance may be the usual response to violent death, but he's telling the story of people who have, instead, practiced forgiveness and grace.
SEP 22 Seems like there is nothing the interwebs likes more than listing stuff, and ranking states for good and bad things is a common practice. Columnist Jim Beam takes a look at some of the recent good and bad rankings that Louisiana has racked up.
SEP 22 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the Adrian Peterson case in this post. A lot of people are saying "My parents spanked me, and I'm fine," but they usually are not fine at all, Ian says. (The best example: Sean Hannity.) It's not OK to hit kids, Ian says, and it needs to stop.
SEP 20 This isn't the first story, and it won't be the last, written about the apparent conflict between Bobby Jindal's biology degree from Brown and the far right evangelicals who (he perceives) hold the key to his burning, blinding desire to be President. But this one's on ThinkProgress.org, a left-leaning blog, and gives an interesting view of how his dilemma might be attacked in a campaign.
SEP 20 Jeremy Alford examines the Family Forum's influence on the Legislature in this post. The ultra conservative lobby's annual "report card" keeps up with how well our elected officials are following its dictates, he reports, but also shows us how conservative our Legislature has become.
SEP 20 This post on the Dads Gone Wild blog is an ode to the education bloggers who have been akin to voices crying in the wilderness on the subject of "reform." He compares his experience, listening to the "reformers" and wondering why anybody gave them any weight, with loving punk rock in the 1970s. It's an interesting read.
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