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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NOV 25 Here's a link to the petition that has been created to save Zeus, a family dog who is targeted for death by the learned fathers of the Avoyelles Parish village of Moreauville. They passed an ordinance based on nothing that outlaws pit bulls and Rotweillers. As of Tuesday morning, the petition had more than 230,000 signatures - a number that's a wee bit higher than the village population of 929.
NOV 25 Blogger Tom Aswell is writing about the latest in a federal lawsuit against Du Pont that claims the chemical company's Ascension Parish plant has been leaking toxic fumes on a regular basis for years without reporting it. The company is asking the court to prevent the plaintiff from talking about a fatal toxic leak that happened in Texas, Tom writes.
NOV 25 Louisiana Democrats are limping, but don't count them out, Jeremy Alford writes in this post on LaPolitics. They've come back before; but the one thing the D's can't do is just twiddle their thumbs while waiting for the pendulum to swing left, Alford opines. They need to rebuild and rebrand, he says.
NOV 25 Blogger Mike Deshotels offers this primer on predatory charter schools and how they operate, specifically in Louisiana. They're not just profiting from our tax dollars, they're using children and shortchanging them to do so, Deshotels says.
NOV 25 Blogger Rod Dreher is writing about the increasing number of retail establishments who are open on Thanksgiving in this post. He's got a list of stores that will be open and a list of stores that won't.
NOV 25 Edwin Edwards took off the gloves on Monday, this post on WAFB tells us. At a Press Club appearance, he wondered how his 6th Congressional District opponent, Garret Graves, could be an expert in all the areas in which he claims to be - when he has no college degree in anything. (Five years - FIVE YEARS - in college, but no degree. Huh?)
NOV 25 This story in the LSU Reveille assures students that the Jindal administration's removal of millions from the TOPS fund won't affect students. Oh, ah. K. Is that like the raid on the OGB wasn't going to affect state employees? Who is the adviser for this paper?
NOV 25 Apparently the Jindal administration can't handle old folks, either. This post on The Advocate outlines a legislative auditor's report critical of the administration's handling (or not handling) of the state agency that oversees services for the elderly.
NOV 24 Blogger Bob Mann is blogging about race and the Senate campaign in this post. Sure, everybody knows that Mary Landrieu doesn't do too well with white folks, but how come the GOP can't get arrested in the black community? Bob is asking.
NOV 24 The GOP has a boogie-man for anybody thinking about voting for Mary Landrieu: President Obama. But the Dems have one for Bill Cassidy, too, Melinda Deslatte writes in this AP post on The Reading Eagle -- and his name is Governor Jindal.
NOV 24 Columnist Stephanie Grace is writing about Bobby Jindal's continuing refusal to accept federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid. It's purely an attempt to benefit him politically, meaning the decision is "cruel, short-sighted and remarkably self-centered." Well, yeah. Have you met him?
NOV 24 Because of a town ordinance, the police will come to a disabled girl's home this week to take away her service dog and kill him. Sound like a bad Lifetime movie? Nope - it's real life in Moreauville, blogger Lamar White Jr. tells us in this post. The dog's crime? Being born a pit bull. What's the reason for this ordinance? Well, the town fathers are a little vague on that one. Maybe Obama?
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