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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APR 21 Blogger Bob Mann has been keeping track of all the yellow-bellied sapsuckers in the state capitol, and he's got a cringe-worthy list of examples of our leaders demonstrating a lack of intestinal fortitude. They seem to be willing to stand up to no one on our behalf, he says, on subjects including the budget, Big Oil and education.
APR 21 Now that some of the dust has settled on the McAllister affair, columnist Jim Beam takes a look at where we are. There seem to be three groups: those who think he should resign, those who think he should be forgiven, and those who have reserved judgment. The last group is probably the brightest, Beam writes. The first group, which includes the GOP establishment, has a credibility problem, he says.
APR 21 Gov. Bobby Jindal has so far refused to accept federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid, but the people should have a say in that decision, the Picayune argues in this editorial. A state senator from Bogalusa has offered a bill that would do that, and the legislature should pass it, the Pic says.
APR 21 Blogger Lamar White Jr. writes about the state Democratic Party in this post, and offers some advice. People (mostly Republican people) like to say that Louisiana is a Red State, Lamar says, but every major city, except for Lafayette, is led by a Democratic Mayor. So what's going on? Lamar has an interesting theory.
APR 21 Columnist James Gill rarely pulls any punches -- and he ain't starting today. In this post he's talking about the Louisiana Family Forum: anything this group proposes must surely be opposed by "rational beings," he says. But the Forum always seems to come out on top, he says, most recently when the legislature refused to repeal an (illegal) anti-gay law from "the dark ages."
APR 21 State Education Superintendent John White is doing a fantastic job - of destroying public education, blogger Crazy Crawfish opines in this post. To counter BESE's recent kudos to Mr. White, Crawfish has assembled several items, each of which he terms a "John White Fail."
APR 21 Former NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin may be thinking about appeal, but the feds are moving to forfeit any money he still has laying around from the bribes he was convicted of taking, this post on NOLA Defender tells us. Nagin's lawyers are arguing that some of it should be paid back only partially, because Nagin wasn't the only one involved.
APR 21 Here's an entertaining post in Gambit about "odd" places to get food in NOLA, including a laundromat, a pharmacy and an art glass gallery. Sarah Baird also includes a list of restaurants that inhabit former fast food joints.
APR 18 Pooyie! Robert Kennedy Jr. isn't pulling any punches in this column on Huffington Post about the flood board's lawsuit against Big Oil and Bobby Jindal's involvement in efforts to kill it. Kennedy, who is president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, describes Jindal as 'genuflecting to Big Oil's pressure' and 'the industry's chief indentured servant.' Dang!
APR 18 Blogger Lamar White Jr. comments upon the plan to make a Bible Louisiana's "official book" in this post. He argues his point by telling us the story of an immigrant couple who moved to Louisiana: Amar and Raj, whose oldest child is now our Governor. This action would have a much larger impact, he opines.
APR 18 Columnist John Maginnis offers some advice to Vance McAllister on this post: Don't quit. Republicans have demanded he resign, but offer no "sensible answer" to the question of why David Vitter shouldn't leave, too, he says. McAllister needs to do his duty and serve out his (abbreviated) term, Maginnis says.
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