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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AUG 1 Blogger Mike Deshotels takes the gloves off in this post as he writes about education "reform" in Louisiana. It's not reform because it is not improving education - not even a little, he says. He's also taking the mainstream media to task here; they're not doing their job in reporting on these issues, he says.
AUG 1 Death Valley, Deaf Valley, Tiger Stadium, whatever you call it, it's been named the "most intimidating" college football arena in the country. This post on the College Spun blog looked at the top 15 and named LSU number one. It references the 1988 Tommy Hodson play -- when the crowd's reaction registered as an earthquake on the university's seismograph.
AUG 1 Fortune Magazine takes a look at a study by researchers in Indiana and Hong Kong (well THAT'S an interesting pairing) who looked at corruption in American states. Of course, we're in the top five, coming in second behind Mississippi. Hey, we'll do better next year!
AUG 1 Columnist Jeremy Alford is writing about secrecy in this post on LaPolitics, in particular "the dark side" of the legislative process, also known as conference committee. The loosey-goosey (and generally not open) process is rich with possibilities for problems, as was proven with the so-called Edmonson amendment, Alford writes.
AUG 1 Blogger Tom Aswell reports here on the emails he received in response to a public records request to State Police in his continuing investigation of the so-called Edmonson Amendment. In particular he's reporting the "talking points" created by one top State Police official about the bill, as well as some snide comments about one of Aswell's reporters.
AUG 1 Louisiana voters don't seem to be overjoyed by any of their choices in the Senate race, Jim Brown writes in this week's blog post. The polls don't show robust support for any of the candidates, Brown says, and he's thinking back to the time he floated legislation that would have allowed people to vote for "None of the Above."
AUG 1 Blogger CB Forgotston is keeping up with the reaction to the Edmonson Amendment, but the real problem isn't going to be fixed with more laws, he says. A major problem is a lack of integrity among legislators, he opines; without it, no amount of legislation is going to solve this problem.
AUG 1 Since the Washington Post story start circulating this week - you know, the one where the writer says that Congressional Candidate Lenar Whitney is the most frightening hopeful he's ever met - the lady has become notorious, this post on the NOLA Defender blog tells us. You can even watch her documentary (?) entitled "Global Warming is a Hoax." Ahem. Can we run away now?
JUL 31 Blogger Rod Dreher is offering excerpts, as he often does, from a blog he's found interesting. This time, the subject of his interest is the ubiquitous Facebook, but it's a creepy view of the social media format, and how predators can use it.
JUL 31 Here's a fun post on the Movoto blog about Louisiana stereotypes. These 10 are accurate, the blog posits, and it's really not wrong. Most of them are pretty positive - as opposed to other stereotypes about us, which also aren't all wrong.
JUL 31 State Treasurer John Kennedy, who also sits on the board that oversees State Police retirement, continues his push to have the so-called Edmonson amendment investigated, blogger Tom Aswell reports here. The director of that retirement system says an investigation is coming, but he's waiting on lawyers to tell him what to do.
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