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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AUG 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
JUN 29 This bizarre story from the Advocate on the shooting of a Baton Rouge television personality reads like the script of a soap opera - but not a good one. The allegations against him include sexual abuse of children, including the alleged shooter, and a sham immigration marriage involving his own daughter. The other side? He was a chaplin for the Sheriff's Office in Baton Rouge and preached in a local church.
AUG 29 Here's a story from CBS News about a killer amoeba found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish. The story made all three networks (CBS, ABC, NBC) as well as Fox "News," although they have not yet found out how it is Obama's fault. Seriously, the good news is that so far officials know of no one sickened by the water.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 Blogger Bob Mann comments here upon Governor Bobby Jindal's federal lawsuit about Common Core. Mann calls it a "thinly veiled campaign document" and that might be the nicest thing he says in this post. Most troubling for Jindal and his aspirations, Mann has unearthed what Bobby said just a few years ago when he first decided to shove Common Core down our throats.
AUG 29 Blogger Tom Aswell has several developments here related to the so-called Edmonson amendment. The most entertaining one is possibly Tom's acknowledgement that a State Police official is (allegedly) calling the bloggers covering the story some colorful names. Listen up, cowboy: You really think two veterans like Tom Aswell and CB Forgotston care if you call them idiots?
AUG 29 Gotta love those journalists who write something with the enthusiasm that implies they're the first one to figure something out. Mostly, they're not. This is one of those times; the post on Slate Magazine says that Bobby Jindal's Common Core lawsuit is a political stunt. Well - Duh.
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
AUG 28 As the controversy surrounding the Office of Group Benefits intensifies, blogger Tom Aswell gives us some background on the current problems. The OGB, which handles health insurance for current and retired state employees, is deep in the red since it was privatized by Jindal, and Aswell gives us the skinny: this great plan was designed by ALEC. The company handling it? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana - a longtime member of ALEC.
AUG 28 Blogger CB Forgotston has a concept for a new reality show: the wives of the "Dork Dynasty." That's the name that some troopers have given to State Police Commander Mike Edmonson and his inner circle. The ladies CB has picked for his cast are not just housewives, however, and the connections here are pretty interesting.
AUG 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the strife in Ferguson in this post, and articulating what many people down south are saying. There's a fairy tale about how there's tons of racism in the South, but it's all hunky dory up North. (Really? Look again.)
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