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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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 This post on the Morning Joe program's blog runs down Bobby Jindal's recent work to "raise his profile nationally." (Yeah? No kidding.) The best part of the story about the governor who coyly declines to say he's running for president? His long-time consultant who poo-poos the memory of his cringe-worthy response to the 2009 State of the Union by saying you can tell he's doing a good job on the current campaign trail. What campaign trail?
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.)
AUG 28 Scott Rogers, a television host who had a self-produced weekend morning show on WAFB, died in a shooting at his house, this story on the Baton Rouge television station tells us. He died in his St. Gabriel home, apparently at the hand of his son-in-law, who then turned the gun on himself, the story reports.
AUG 28 If you're one of those LSU football fans who think there is no greater sin than to fail as the school's football coach, this bad luck might make you happy. The son of former LSU Coach Gerry DiNardo was booked on drug and weapon charges, this post on the Picayune tells us.
AUG 28 If you lose in state court to your own constituents, the thing to do is sue the President. Right? Bayou Buzz takes a look at Bobby Jindal's legal "strategy," which basically seems aimed at getting his name in the papers. Hey -- looks like it's working!
AUG 28 Columnist Jeremy Alford takes a look at how the GOP and the Dems are approaching the Senate race in Louisiana. One study predicts a ho-hum outcome from this fall's elections, but in Louisiana the race is a focus for both parties, he says.
AUG 27 Columnist Stephanie Grace is writing about those bosom buddies (not), Bobby Jindal and David Vitter, in this post. On the one hand, the two politicians have so much in common, it's hard to tell them apart, she says. But Vitter has taken pains to distance himself from the governor, she says.
AUG 27 State retirees who get their health coverage through the state can look forward to paying more for premiums, drugs and out of pocket costs, blogger Tom Aswell tells us in this post. The problem is that Bobby Jindal's plan to privatize the system has resulted in a monthly $16 million deficit, Aswell says, so Bobby's trying to price retirees out of the system.
AUG 27 Blogger CB Forgotston is bumping up against shrill in this post, when he's talking about the taxpayer-funded house where State Police Commander Mike Edmonson lives on your dime. For instance, CB's complaining about the "servants," but the story he links to here reports that a convict cleans the house. CB also calls it a "mansion" but it sure looks more like a standard brick suburban house.
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