C’EST BON Tehmi Chassion might be the worst, most obstructionist member of the Lafayette Parish School Board in memory, but he might also be a one-termer. Enter Joshua Broussard, the camera-ready 32-year-old former president of the NAACP’s Lafayette chapter, who announced his candidacy for Chassion’s District 4 seat this fall. A Northside High alumnus and UL student, Broussard told us soon after announcing that he’s “running for this position because we need a strong front and to get behind Dr. Cooper, his vision and his plan for this community, our schools and our children. If we focus on his vision, we can unite this school system.” Broussard will have to beat a well-oiled political machine maintained by former City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams; Williams’ protege, Councilman Brandon Shelvin, is Chassion’s half brother. But Broussard can probably also bank on backing, financial and otherwise, from some influential powers in Lafayette fed up with dysfunction on the board driven in no small part by Chassion’s frequent shenanigans.
PAS BON Briggs’ utter disregard for truth and honesty has left many in Lafayette wondering what the hell Daily Advertiser brass was thinking when it offered the LOGA leader a seat on its editorial board. Maybe we’re just not understanding Gannett’s idea about what an editorial board should be, but we’ve had this odd notion that an editorial board consults with and advises the editors, helping to establish and drive a newspaper’s editorial viewpoint and how it covers stories. If that’s the case at the Advertiser, expect a lot of industry cheerleading at the expense of skeptical journalism.
COUILLON Pity poor Don Briggs. The head of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association — a trade group he founded and one that has provided a nice source of income for himself and his son — felt a stroke a-comin’ after being exposed as a high-chutzpah, low-information fraud during a deposition about LOGA’s suit against Attorney General Buddy Caldwell over that levee board lawsuit against Big Oil. Two tenets have long been central to the Briggs Doctrine: “greedy trial lawyers” are behind “frivolous” lawsuits against oil companies, and Louisiana’s litigious climate is driving those companies out of the state or preventing them from doing business here in the first place. But under questioning from attorneys, Briggs’ utterly calculated and craven hyperbole blew up like the Deepwater Horizon. The oil industry shill admitted he didn’t have a shred of evidence that Louisiana’s legal climate affected jobs in oil and gas. He even admitted he hadn’t even read the levee board’s suit against the oil companies. The humiliation of acknowledging the emperor’s nudity reportedly caused Briggs’ blood pressure to spike, forcing him at doctor’s orders to skip court hearings in Baton Rouge over the LOGA suit against Caldwell.
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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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