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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SEP 20 Jim Brown is blogging about ISIS and the Middle East in this week's post. Mostly, he's posing questions about our involvement there, now and over the past 10 years. Should we be there? Why are we considering involvement now? All good questions - and most without easy answers.
SEP 20 Louisiana is once again winning a race nobody is running, by topping the nation in the gap between what women and men are paid for the same work, WWL reports here. Women here are paid about two-thirds of what men are paid, the story reports. Great.
SEP 20 This isn't the first story, and it won't be the last, written about the apparent conflict between Bobby Jindal's biology degree from Brown and the far right evangelicals who (he perceives) hold the key to his burning, blinding desire to be President. But this one's on ThinkProgress.org, a left-leaning blog, and gives an interesting view of how his dilemma might be attacked in a campaign.
SEP 20 The Lens updates us on the continuing saga of the levee board that dared to challenge Big Oil. The terms of two members of the board have expired, and the committee recommending replacements voted Thursday. The vote, which was narrow, would preserve the suit's majority on the board, Bob Marshall writes.
SEP 20 This post on the Dads Gone Wild blog is an ode to the education bloggers who have been akin to voices crying in the wilderness on the subject of "reform." He compares his experience, listening to the "reformers" and wondering why anybody gave them any weight, with loving punk rock in the 1970s. It's an interesting read.
SEP 19 Here's an interesting post from the Advocate's Mark Ballard about some of the maneuvering that preceded a court ruling this week on the so-called Edmonson Amendment. It seems that some weirdness did occur on the eve of the hearing, and when this was written, Ballard wasn't even sure the ruling would occur.
SEP 20 Jeremy Alford examines the Family Forum's influence on the Legislature in this post. The ultra conservative lobby's annual "report card" keeps up with how well our elected officials are following its dictates, he reports, but also shows us how conservative our Legislature has become.
SEP 20 This post on NOLA Defender details the current discussion in New Orleans about accommodating bicycles in the CBD. Unfortunately, the catalyst was the terrible death of a bike rider, the post reports. Adding space for bikes sounds good - but it means the loss of travel lanes and parking spaces already at a premium in the city, the debate goes.
SEP 18 Here's a story in the New York Times about a New Iberia man who is trying to save his own little corner of Louisiana. A lot of people spend their spare time clearing their land, but Matt Conn works to restore the natural state of his property. It's a fascinating story.
SEP 18 This post on Howard Fineman's Political Read blog takes a look at the fine line that Bobby Jindal will have to walk if he wants to be the guy who can unite the creationists who don't believe in evolution with the Christians and others who do. On paper, Jindal could be the guy to do it, Fineman says, but politically, he'll have to start with the far right if he wants to get anywhere in the GOP.
SEP 18 Sure, Louisiana Congressional candidate Lenar Whitney made the first page of Politifact's "Pants on Fire" statements section, and of course that's always entertaining. But really you need to go check out the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking website, which is run by former Lafayette journalist Angie Drobnic Holan, because it has a great new design.
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