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 20 Here's a Gambit post that's nothing but an entertaining waste of time. Sarah Baird has taken it upon herself to give us the top five "food raps" by New Orleans rappers. This includes references to ice cream, "little snacks," lima beans and salty pancakes.
AUG 20 This post on the Texas Observer is a good one to read if you haven't bothered to pay much attention to the Rick Perry indictment. The pundits have collectively dismissed it as partisan politics - but the special prosecutor is a Bush man, and the judge is GOP. (They didn't mention THAT, did they?) It's a pretty good round up of what we do know, and more importantly, what we don't.
AUG 20 In this post, blogger Rod Dreher takes a look at the Tea Party's horror at David Vitter's reluctance to say he hates the Common Core with every fiber of his being. He also includes some commentary on the Tea Party's inability to tell news from satire. Hey, maybe that's why Facebook as to add those labels. Mystery solved!
AUG 20 This story in the New York Times updates the rest of the nation on the Common Core issue here in Louisiana, proclaiming that it is "dividing" the state. Unfortunately for Gov. Bobby Jindal, it is only a few sentences in before the author mentions that Jindal "ardently" supported Common Core when Louisiana joined the movement a few years ago, and the implication is that he's agin it now because he wants to be president and thinks that will help.
AUG 20 Turns out $100 isn't worth $100 here in Louisiana, it's worth more, this post on NOLA Defender tells us. It's another one of those factoid maps, and this time it is comparing what $100 will buy in each of the 50 states. Louisiana came out at more than $109.
AUG 20 The bill passed last session to tack $75 onto the fee residents pay when they have to reinstate their insurance isn't constitutional, blogger CB Forgotston says in this post. The state constitution forbids new taxes during sessions held in even-numbered years, he points out, so nobody should collect that fee.
AUG 20 Blogger Tom Aswell is giving us another one of his lists in this post, going through the closets of the legislators who are contributing to Bill Cassidy. Why? Because he feels Hayride, a blog that's "slightly to the right of Attila the Hun," keeps doing the same for those who contribute to Edwin Edwards' campaign, and he wants to spread the joy.
AUG 20 Louisiana is second only to Alaska in the rate of our children killed by guns, this post on The Lens tells us. The story runs down the grim details and statistics regarding the gun-related deaths of children in America.
AUG 19 Here's the statement Ray Mouton sent to the Advertiser (at their request) to balance a story quoting the Bishop about why he won't release the name of 15 priests accused of molesting children. Mouton also gives us some background: The paper "ignored" the statement, Mouton says, adding that the paper was acting as a 'publicist' for the bishop, instead of as a newspaper for this community.
AUG 19 Crazy Crawfish gives us a primer here on how the state Department of Education, the Recovery School District, drop-out numbers and graduation rates. It's a long post, but it has a lot of data in it, and a lot of explanations, plus a couple of photoshoped pictures of Paul Pastorek thrown in for fun.
AUG 19 OK, so this is a story in the Picayune about the state's Tea Party being bent out of shape because David Vitter says he supports Common Core. Blah, blah, blah. You really need to click through and read the last two paragraphs of this story -- because THAT is where the real entertainment is here.
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