Wednesday, 25 August 2010 01:00
by IND Monthly Staff
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 Written by The Independent Staff C’est Bon Baton Rouge daily The Advocate was the sole newspaper honored last week with the national Sunshine Award by The Society of Professional Journalists. The Advocate won the award, given for important contributions in the pursuit of open government, for a package of stories earlier this year detailing police harassment and brutality of Katrina refugees. The Advocate spent four years and tremendous resources fighting to obtain access to information for the story. In July 2006, the paper sued the Baton Rouge Police Department for access to the documents related to its internal affairs probe of the allegations. It took a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling this year before the department finally relented and released the information. In today’s environment of dwindling newspaper budgets, the paper’s financial commitment to the public’s right to know is rare and deserves recognition. Kudos.
PAS BON The circumstances surrounding the firing of Assistant City Prosecutor Marcus Allen couldn’t be more bizarre. Asked to resign following a charge from last month that he assaulted a bail bondsman, Allen refused, and then was summarily fired. D.A. Mike Harson says Allen is accused of pushing bondsman Vaughn M. Swilley outside the parish courthouse. The two had begun arguing inside a courtroom over the bond on one of Allen’s defense clients and the argument ended up spilling out onto the street. While Allen appears to be one lawyer who will literally fight for his clients, we’d like to see our local attorneys engage in more civil discourse.
Couillion The state’s former head of Alcohol and Tobacco Control evidently couldn’t handle his Powerade. And then there was the unlimited access to the aptly named state database, “Voyager.” Former Commissioner Murphy Painter resigned abruptly on Aug. 16 amid allegations that he stalked his assistant, Kelli Suire, cruising past her residence at 5 a.m. and calling to let her know he knew she was up early, inviting her to sleep over at his house and attempting to coerce her into a romantic relationship she wasn’t interested in — frightening her into going to the Louisiana Office of State Inspector General for help. Painter is also accused of perusing the personal files of fellow employees, members of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s staff, Suire and her attorney, Jill L. Craft, on the state’s database. The governor’s office gave him a choice of whether to be fired or resign, based on Painter’s alleged abuse of power. Painter denies committing a criminal offense and declares he is sticking around. “I don’t care,” he told WAFB TV in Baton Rouge. “Beat me up, try to screw me all you want, I’m not going to surrender.”
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SEP 16 Here's something for LSU to be proud of. It's a video of some (presumed) 'frat boys' manhandling another young man who is not wearing a polo shirt and khakis on the parade grounds prior to Saturday's LSU football game. The best part of this brief video is the look on the face of the guy who shot it, who also is (presumably) responsible for the title of the tape.
SEP 16 Lafayette is up for inclusion in another pointless list, but if it makes you feel better, go vote for the city here. This contest, sponsored by that pillar of excellent journalism, USA Today, is seeking the top ten college towns that are able to conduct a social media campaign to get voted as the best college town.
SEP 16 Here's a weird post on LaPolitics about how many doctors we have in Congress. With Charles Boustany, John Fleming and Bill Cassidy, we've got a lot of physicians up there. Why is that? Jeremy Alford has some ideas.
SEP 16 Here's a post from the Facebook page of the Al Berard Music Festival, announcing the date of the new event to honor the musician's memory and to raise money for the Al Berard Memorial Music Fund at Community Foundation of Acadiana. They're seeking volunteers, if you want to help.
SEP 16 This post on the Oxford American magazine features the work of New Orleans-based photographer/artist Kevin Klein, as well as some of his amazing portraits of NOLA people. It's worth a few minutes of your time.
SEP 16 Just as Rod Dreher was marking the anniversary of his sister's death from cancer, he learned this his friend Dave's wife, Alison Neustrom, had died of cancer, he writes in this post. In searching online for info about her wake, he learned of Alison's testimony regarding medical marijuana, and marvels at the fact that this woman, who was fighting a battle herself, spent some of her precious, limited time to fight for others.
SEP 16 Finally, something useful from a daily newspaper. Here's a story in the Picayune about the Jambalaya Calculator, a free-to-download spreadsheet that helps hungry Cajuns calculate ingredients for the dish.
SEP 16 Columnist Jim Beam writes about cuts to the military in this post. It's a theme that has been repeated over our history, and it has never been a good idea, he argues. Beam remembers processing out of the Army in 1957 and sitting next to a captain who had been cut during one such drawdown.
SEP 15 Blogger Bob Mann is writing about the death of Victor White III, who died in New Iberia, handcuffed and in the back seat of a police car, from a gunshot wound to the chest. He wonders if perhaps the residents of that town should riot, as the residents of Ferguson did, in order to get national (and federal) attention for the case.
SEP 15 Here's the NOLA Defender blog's coverage of the Gulf Energy Forum, hosted last week in the city by The Atlantic magazine. Although the mag's people tried to ensure the discussion explored all types of energy, it focused on oil and gas, the post reports. Since the forum was held in Louisiana and underwritten by the American Petroleum Institute - how is that a surprise?
SEP 15 Blogger Tom Aswell gives us the details on a recent Legislative Auditor's report on Louisiana's obligations to Tom Benson, some of which he says "appear to border on financial irresponsibility." He's also detailing an audit of the seemingly endless problems with hurricane recovery contractors.
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