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 20 The Globe and Mail, a Canadian paper, has posted its story on Louisiana's coastal loss here. In it, author Omar El Akkad clarifies it neatly: it's "a battle between prosperity and the planet's well-being." Are jobs and money worth the trade we're making? As Jonathan Foret says in the story, Mother Nature may come and answer that question for us.
OCT 20 Remember those great posts from blogger Jason Brad Berry that featured emails and letters related to the BP claims process? Well, apparently Patrick Juneau (who was featured, but not in a positive way, in those documents) ordered a background check on Berry because of it, this story in Louisiana Record says. Huh?
OCT 20 The Washington Post and ABC ran a poll on several issues here, but of course the presidential fields are most interesting. Hillary Clinton has commanding numbers on the D side, and Mitt Romney is leading the R side, with 21 percent. He's followed by Jeb Bush, with 11 percent, and 12 other guys polling in single digits. Bobby Jindal brings up the rear with 2 percent, with only John Kasich and Scott Walker polling worse.
OCT 20 Blogger Tom Aswell quotes two former Commissioners of Administration in this post, both of whom are not impressed with the magical surplus that current COA Kristy Nichols and her boss, Bobby Jindal, have found. There's some pretty interesting detail here about the origin of these magic beans.
OCT 20 Blogger Robert Mann paints a pretty amusing (or alarming, depending on your point of view) picture of how DOA Kristy Nichols and Gov. Bobby Jindal came up with the "balanced" budget they revealed last week. An unbalanced budget would blow a hole in Jindal's "already dim presidential hopes," Mann says.
OCT 18 Columnist James Gill tells a sordid tale of a Port Allen judge facing sanctions -- shortly after he was re-elected without opposition. District Judge J. Robin Free accepted a free ride on the private jet of an attorney who had just one a big case in his court, and also failed to recuse himself from a class-action case in which his mom was a potential plaintiff, Gill says.
OCT 20 The blogger known as Crazy Crawfish is writing about Superintendent John White in this post, taking issue with White's claim that it is only pockets of isolated "troublemakers" who are opposed to Common Core in Louisiana. Gosh, Johnny, that's the best you can come up with? That's not even original.
OCT 17 Here's a weird one on WVUE from investigative reporter Lee Zurik. In it, he's quoting a guy who was in a car accident and filed suit against the other guy who (he says) caused it and is responsible for a lot of medical bills. What's weird is what he was told by his lawyer (whom he recorded -- Huh?)
OCT 17 Here's another document from the BP claims library that was delivered anonymously to blogger Jason Brad Berry. It is written on what appears to be BP stationery and is directed to Patrick Juneau. In it, the BP guy complains about a $14 million bill for an audit BP has never seen, as well as a conflict between Juneau's "public boasts of transparency" and the manner in which he has really operated.
OCT 17 Bobby Jindal's poll numbers still stink in Iowa, this post on the Bloomberg Politics blog says. A recent poll found him tied with Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 1 percent, trailing Cruz, Perry, Christie, Rubio, Bush, Walker and a partridge in a pear tree.
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