C’EST BON Bishop Michael Jarrell struck a careful, conciliatory tone when he tacitly endorsed Boy Scout troops sponsored by churches in the \Lafayette Diocese welcoming gay scouts into the fold. Roughly half of all Boy Scout troops in Acadiana are sponsored by Catholic Churches, making the bishop’s leadership on this issue more than token. Jarrell’s carefully worded epistle to local branches of the Boy Scouts of America followed a contentious secret-ballot vote by the organization’s National Council to allow gay young men into scouting. The vote satisfied neither the left nor the right: Scouting’s progressive wing will still push for the BSA to remove its ban on gay scout leaders; conservatives see the outcome as a betrayal of scouting’s core principles. If you’re a supporter of LGBT equality, as we are, this should be seen as a critical first step. Arguably the most important aspect of the National Council vote — one that is rarely if at all mentioned — is the implicit recognition that sexual orientation is not a choice. What 12-year-old would “choose” to be gay?
PAS BON Moral leadership met the meat clever of politics when the state House of Representatives voted against an expansion of Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare. Opponents of the expansion cited concerns over future costs to the state, although the feds would have paid 100 percent of the expansion of Medicaid in Louisiana for the first three years and the lion’s share of the expansion costs thereafter, allowing an estimated 214,000 uninsured Louisiana residents to get health coverage. Both the Legislative Fiscal Office and state Department of Health and Hospitals, in separate analyses, projected Louisiana would save hundreds of millions of dollars over the first several years if it accepted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. DHH’s worst-case scenario suggested the state could be on the hook for as much as $1.7 billion over the first decade. But compared to the nearly $16 billion in federal dollars that would flow into Louisiana through the Medicaid expansion, even DHH’s worst-case scenario sounds like a reasonable admission price. Lost in this often-partisan debate is a central question: How does a Legislature dominated by Christians countenance hundreds of thousands of low-income Louisiana residents living without the benefits of health insurance?
COUILLON We would loved to have been a fly on the wall when Sen. Page Cortez, R-Testosterone, explained to the women in his life why he successfully pushed an amendment to water down to the point of what’s-the-point a bill that would have required all Louisiana employers to pay women the same as men. The bill, with the Lafayette Republican’s amendment making only state agencies subject to the equal-pay provision, was approved by the Senate 24-11. Cortez is a nice guy. We like him. And we believe the claim in his legislative biography that he “will always strive to work for the best for the citizens of District 23 and the State of Louisiana.” Well, half the citizens of District 23 and the state. Lady folk, back to your hearths!
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OCT 31 The National Journal posts another story from its visit to NOLA, this one about the struggling Vietnamese shrimpers in the area. The publication has been looking at how the state is recovering from Katrina, nine years later.
OCT 31 The New York Times posts this look at Louisiana politics, and how national issues are forcing out the old-time local politicking. Of course they mention EWE, aptly described as an old-time politician known for "charming one half of the state and mortifying the other."
OCT 31 Here's an AP story on the ABC site about Louisiana's chicken little response to an international medical conference planned in NOLA this weekend. Organizers (who are actual physicians, as opposed to the hand-wringing state officials who issued the edicts) say the orders are "unfortunate" given that a main focus of the meeting was Ebola.
OCT 31 Given the things Bobby Jindal has said and done since he's been governor, it's a pretty safe bet he thinks we're a bunch of dummies. Apparently, he's sure President Obama is one, too. This story on Huff Post quotes Jindal as saying the president - a graduate of Harvard Law - should sue to get his money back. (What should a Brown biology grad who doesn't believe in evolution do?)
OCT 31 Us old folks are used to a two-party system, although most of us aren't sold on its success. But what if that system wasn't in place; what if politics reflected the true level of diversity among voters? That's what an LSU student is dreaming of in this editorial. He sees the two parties' control of our politics as limiting.
OCT 31 And you thought the Senate race was dirty. This post on the Forward Now blog tells the story of a Shreveport mayoral campaign worker who was paid to "infiltrate" and "sabotage" an opponent's campaign. Karma's a beeotch, though, because turns out the guy really liked the "enemy," and now he's supporting her. For real.
OCT 30 The National Journal offers this analysis of Bobby Jindal's willingness to stump in any Senate campaign that's not in Louisiana. Why is that? The Journal asks some GOPers and finds that the answer is one we already know: he's so unpopular here, because he's been so busy running for President, that his support might be "toxic."
OCT 30 Blogger Tom Aswell is still all over the OGB mess - and all by himself, apparently. In this post, he's revealing orders from the Jindal administration to destroy records from the state employee health insurance plan. Those orders (he's heard) have angered the Secretary of State and caused an administration lawyer to quit her job. Wow!
OCT 30 A NOLA lady has alleged she was drugged and raped at a Bywater club that had a clothing-optional policy until recently, and she's now become the victim of a smear campaign, columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes in this post. She chose to reveal her story and her name, and she's being punished for that now, he says.
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