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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AUG 26 Here's blogger Ian McGibboney's take on the great NFL-Slap Ya Mama controversy of 2014. Ian's explanation of the expression is a lot better (and more accurate) than the PR nonsense that has come out, and he also raises a pretty good question: can Boudreaux's Butt Paste be far behind? (Wups! No pun intended...)
AUG 26 Sen. Elbert Guillory's bill aimed at preventing "armed and incapacitated geezers" from working as Justices of the Peace was a huge joke, columnist James Gill writes in this post. Nobody knows who really called Guillory asking for it, nor who sent him the text for it, but they certainly got a lot of mileage out of one phone call, Gill says.
AUG 26 This post on the NOLA Defender blog takes a look at the recent decision by the NFL to cancel the advertising it previously accepted from the "Slap Ya Mama" seasoning. In light of recent events in which the NFL's ability to take domestic violence seriously was questioned, the league felt it wasn't a good idea, the post reports. The best part of this (kinda ridiculous) story, however, is the explanation the PR people give for the expression.
AUG 26 If the indictment against Rick Perry is valid, and the Texas Governor goes to jail, then Bobby Jindal should get life, blogger Bob Mann writes in this post. Nothing Perry has done (that Bob knows about, anyway) comes close to Bobby's transgressions, Bob opines.
AUG 26 Here's another post from Tom Aswell about alleged shenanigans involving some State Police admins and their retirement. This time he's telling us about a retire/rehire situation in which the employee kept more than $40K in "incentive payout."
AUG 26 Blogger CB Forgotston steps away from his usual favorite topic of state government for this post about the Tangipahoa Parish desegregation case. The only strategy the school system lawyers seem to have is to continue to generate invoices, he says.
AUG 26 Blogger Rod Dreher shares a post here from a former neighbor of Ferguson, Missouri who now lives in Ireland. It is an interesting view of an American now living abroad, both his personal reaction and the reaction of his new neighbors, of what's going on in Ferguson.
AUG 26 Here are links to the results of Gambit's annual Best of New Orleans poll. There are the usual categories, but the best of course are the political choices. There's even a category for Ray Nagin's best "prison name."
AUG 25 Here's The Hill's coverage of Bobby Jindal's opinion piece about how the US should respond to the killing of an American journalist. Bobby's piece, which ran on that bastion of quality journalism we know as Fox News, sounds a lot like W's comments prior to the Iraq war, the post notes. When did Bobby learn about foreign policy? Hey: is that why he spends so much time in Iowa?
AUG 25 Author and attorney Ray Mouton is writing a lot about what's going on with the Diocese these days. Here's his latest Facebook post, in which he criticizes the Advertiser (again) for printing a pro-pedophile post from the head of the Catholic League. The paper tried to "balance" the post with its own editorial, but that's simply not enough, Mouton opines.
AUG 25 Thank goodness for the National Hurricane Center, here to tell us not to buy into the hurricane hype. Last week, a hurricane path prediction started making the rounds of the internet; it looked bad but was based on nothing, and has since been taken down, this post on the Picayune tells us. The NHC warns us to be prepared, but to avoid predictions that aren't based on science.
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