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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NOV 21 Bobby Jindal is headed to Iowa again, the Des Moines Register reports here. The paper outlines what's going on with Bobby's non-campaign for president, and there's a lot of stuff here -- too bad none of it sounds like somebody running Louisiana. Hey, wasn't that the job he wanted?
NOV 21 The end of the term has come for the grand jury investigating a lucrative Medicaid contract and a former state health official's ties to the company that won it, the Advocate reports here, but that doesn't mean the investigation into this stinkiness is over. There are still some things to look into, the lead prosecutor says.
NOV 21 With the passage of two amendments to Louisiana's much-amended constitution (it has been amended almost 200 times now) higher education has an even bigger target on its collective back, columnist Jim Beam opines in this post. Higher ed used to share the spotlight with health care, but that has changed, he says.
NOV 21 Here's a weird one: The Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association has endorsed Bill Cassidy for the U.S. Senate. Apparently, Mary Landrieu said she wouldn't consider support of medical marijuana but Cassidy said he would, WWL reports here.
NOV 21 Solange Knowles, possibly best-known for assaulting her brother-in-law in an elevator while wearing an ugly dress after the Met Ball, got married in the Marigny Opera House this past weekend, the New York Times reports here. Knowles, who has a house in the Faubourg Marigny district and owns a boutique in the Quarter, married Alan Ferguson.
NOV 21 This post on the Fuel Fix blog outlines a $1.4 billion move announced this week by the Apache Corp. that includes the sale of assets in south Louisiana. The company's interests in more than 90,000 acres in south Louisiana are some of the assets being sold, the post reports.
NOV 21 One (possible) positive from Hurricane Katrina is a comprehensive zoning ordinance for New Orleans. Nine years later, we're getting closer to that being finalized, but the current version has some problems. Here's the latest in a series of posts on The Lens in which residents give their views of the draft; this one is more amusing than most.
NOV 21 The new NOLA smoking ordinance is going to harsh your (nicotine) buzz, man. This post on Gambit outlines the high (or low, as the case may be) points: it includes electronic cigarettes and hookahs in its bans; eliminates smoking within 25 feet of any building's public entrance and in any public space - or near any public space - operated by the city.
NOV 20 Politico reports here that Bobby Jindal won't be kept out of the presidential race by anyone else's candidacy. (If he's running, which he's not, 'cause he's not done prayin' on it) So he's not interested in who is running, or what the polls say, or how much money he's got? K.
NOV 20 NOLA Defender's Tiny Daiquiri has a little fun with Bobby Jindal's Meet the Press appearance in this post. Bobby is still prayin' on whether or not he'll run for the job he's been running for over the past three years, Tiny says.
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