Wednesday, 11 August 2010 01:00
by IND Monthly Staff
C’EST BON The 15th Judicial District’s Drug Court program works, and now there’s a long-term study to prove it. Headquartered in Lafayette, the program is funded in large part through the Louisiana Supreme Court, which commissioned an analysis that finds that graduates of Drug Court — a diversion program that offers first-offense, non-violent drug offenders an opportunity to enter a yearlong system of drug treatment, supervision, education and random drug testing and to have the arrest expunged from their record — are more likely to kick the habit and stay out of trouble. The study’s findings are stark. Among them: Drug Court graduates are six times less likely to be rearrested within six months of completion of the program than are offenders eligible for the program who opt instead to accept probation. Drug Court graduates are also far less likely to be arrested a year later than are eligible candidates who don’t enter the program.
PAS BON The avaricious among us never met a disaster they didn’t see as an opportunity for fraud, and the BP oil spill is bringing the shysters out of the woodwork. In just a matter of a few days last week, the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries arrested three commercial fishermen — two of them Iberia Parish men who conspired together; the third is from Chauvin — of falsifying documents showing earnings prior to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill. These so-called “trip tickets” are used by BP to establish an earnings average for out-of-work fishermen, who are then reimbursed for their lost wages. Each faces felony charges. With the recent announcement that beginning in September rig workers impacted by the moratorium can apply for financial assistance grants ranging from $3,000 to $30,000 — part of a $100 million fund BP established to bankroll the program — expect the fraud to continue. BP isn’t exactly a sympathetic victim here, but come on.
COUILLON It’s not so much “ethics reform” as it is “ethics, re-formed.” Gov. Bobby Jindal proves time and again that while he may still be a fresh face in politics, he can be plenty old-school in his style in governance. Last week LSU System President John Lombardi named Lafayette’s Elaine Abell chairman of the governing board for the planned teaching hospital in New Orleans. Lombardi is supposed to be the sole authority in such decisions. The LSU System released a statement announcing Abell’s appointment. So far so good. But the next day, in a tersely worded press release that wasn’t even issued on LSU System letterhead, it was announced that, woops, Abell wouldn’t be board chairman after all; that honor would go to Bobby Yarborough. Bobby Yarborough is Jindal’s campaign treasurer. Jindal’s ethics reformation: Do as I say, not as I do.
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JUL 27 The news gets worse in the case of the 11th hour bill that added a bunch of money to the retirement income of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson. Blogger CB Forgotston says here that the annual increase was not $30K, it was more like $55K. Also, it was Jindal buddy Neil Riser who tacked the action onto another bill - something he didn't feel compelled to tell us until now. But here's the best part - Edmonson turned down the money on Friday.
JUL 28 Finally, someone has pointed out that the far-right people who scream at immigrant children are not acting as Jesus would. Blogger Robert Mann runs a comparison of the actions of these alleged "Christians" against what the Bible says about their Savior -- and they come up lacking. Big time.
JUL 27 Here's the first of four pieces from Minnesota Public Radio about the horrible legacy of Gilbert Gauthe, the pedophile who also was a priest and used his position to obtain victims. The story gets into the most shameful aspect of that time - the protection Gauthe received from the leaders of the church. This four-piece story promises to be more comprehensive than anything we've seen, because it is looking back from so far. Some of the information here has only been released recently.
JUL 28 This story in the Picayune is a hopeful, happy one for a change. It's about a young woman who faced family problems that led to her dropping out of school. But now, just a few years later, she's completed two programs aimed at troubled kids and has landed a job in the kitchen of a John Besh restaurant.
JUL 27 Columnist James Gill has something for the Baton Rouge Metro Council -- and they could probably use it. He's giving them a piece of his mind in this post, taking them to task for being too (dumb, homophobic, gutless?) hesitant to pass the so-called tolerance ordinance, which basically says you can't discriminate against gay people in that fair city.
JUL 27 When you're telling people they have lost their jobs, you have to be careful about how you do it. When more layoffs were announced last week to the employees of the Office of Group Benefits, apparently that wasn't handled well, blogger Tom Aswell argues in this post. He's also got some info on who gets to stay - and how much they make. (Spoiler alert: It's a lot.)
JUL 28 After three years of revisions, the proposed new zoning ordinance for the city of New Orleans is ready for public review, this post on NOLA Defender reports. The plan is available starting today on the city's website and in several locations in the city, NoDef reports.
JUL 27 Here's an interesting infographic from LaPolitics on getting negative in political campaigning. There are several people who might want to take note - but chances are, they can't help themselves.
JUL 25 If you're not aware, there's a conflict among pro-choicers and pro-lifers going down in New Orleans. Anti-abortionists are protesting in the city this week, but those who support access to abortion have also been active in the city as a result. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow takes a look at what's going on in this clip, posted on Gambit.
JUL 25 Education Superintendent John White probably shouldn't sign a long lease on anything in Louisiana, Blogger Lamar Parmentel writes, because our reformer in chief is now in a situation "from which no amount of his own bs jargon or political hatchet work can extricate him." Lamar thinks that White is going to have to quit, and probably sooner rather than later.
JUL 25 This post on the Wall Street Journal examines the case of a Metairie physician who is making millions by filing whistle-blower lawsuits. His suits accuse corporations of defrauding federal agencies like Medicare, and when he wins he gets whistle-blower rewards - in the tens of millions of dollars. (You can view the story using your Facebook account, but if you don't want to do that, here's an abbreviated version in the Advocate.)
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