C’EST BON Lafayette has good reason to watch the new season of American Idol. Last week Jacee Badeaux, a sophomore in Lafayette High’s Performing Arts Academy, made the cut in the New Orleans auditions with a splendid rendition of “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.” And if you watch Idol, you know the auditions are typically a capella. Pure talent. And he’s only 15. Jacee is a long shot — and we mean long shot — to make it to the top of the heap: He’s really young and isn’t the prototypical “idol” in terms of physique and stage presence. But he has an angelic voice, and we admire any 15-year-old boy who will put himself out there like that. It’s not like that’s an awkward age or anything. We’re pulling for you, Jacee. Make us proud!
PAS BON We have to wonder how Walter Guillory, the former executive director of the Lafayette Housing Authority who resigned last October amid alarming questions about the Lafayette’s agency oversight and expenditures — he served simultaneously for a time as director of the Opelousas Housing Authority — has now landed a job at another non-profit agency that receives millions of federal (read, our taxes) dollars. Guillory is now at the SWLA Center for Health Services, an agency whose raison d’etre, like that of the LHA, is aiding the poor. Adding tendrils to this web, former (or current, depending on whom you ask) LHA board members Leon Simmons and Joe Dennis also serve on the SWLA board. With so many of the same names — and we’re also referring to the consultants, attorneys and others tangentially connected to the LHA and its various projects — popping up in connection with these federally funded programs that heretofore have had little public oversight, we’re beginning to suspect that helping poor folks is a profitable racket.
COUILLON Bite thy tongue, Joey Durel. Our city-parish president spewed gasoline on a simmering fire last week by referring to former Lafayette Housing Authority case manager Chris Williams as a “piece of garbage” in an article in The Daily Advertiser. Durel was responding to the embattled Williams calling him a liar. Like a monger in a fish market Williams is obviously flinging red herrings to the compass points as he tries to divert attention from his very questionable and possibly illegal role with the LHA’s Disaster Housing Assistance Program, but Durel could have — and should have — tacked a more diplomatic course. Williams, a former city-parish councilman, clearly remains a bur under Durel’s saddle. Acrimony between the two goes back at least four years to that ugly, public fight over renaming a prominent Lafayette thoroughfare after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Durel referred to Williams back then as “evil.” But upon further consideration, if Williams has gone from evil to merely garbage, we’re thinking he’s risen some in Durel’s estimation.
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DEC 10 The state's tax amnesty program paid off in a big way, with more money collected than expected, Jeremy Alford writes in LaPolitics. There are laws that govern how that money is supposed to be spent -- but surely the leges will find a way around that, Alford predicts. After all, it has happened before: if there's one thing we're good at, it's robbing Peter to pay Paul.
DEC 10 Tom Aswell continues his coverage of the New Bethany Home for Girls in this post. Although the school shut down years ago, the story has been revived -- especially after several former residents returned to Arcadia last week to file sexual assault complaints against the man who ran the school. Only two of the women filed complaints; the others came (from other states) to lend support. It's a compelling story Tom tells here.
DEC 10 Blogger CB Forgotston isn't buying what the legislature's selling (to itself) regarding Louisiana's fiscal outlook. Leges are telling everybody they don't need to worry about mid-year budget cuts. The Legislative Fiscal Office's predictions aren't being questioned like they should -- except by reporters, CB says.
DEC 10 The Picayune's Jarvis DeBerry writes about Nelson Mandela in this post. The former President of South Africa, who died last week, was not the simple, sanitized "cuddly" guy being portrayed in the simple-minded, easily-distracted American pop media, he says. He's hoping that Mandela's legacy will not receive the same "whitewash" that has been perpetrated against MLK.
DEC 10 Sen. David Vitter's continued efforts to force a vote on lawmakers' health care doesn't pass the "moral high ground test," columnist Stephanie Grace writes in this post. There's no "real policy argument" here and the vote he's trying to force (in true Vitter style, by embarrassing his colleagues) will accomplish "almost nothing" except hurting people, she says. So if he runs for guv and wins, we can look forward to more pointless, empty political posturing? Great.
DEC 10 So who is behind David Vitter's SuperPAC? Blogger Bucktown Pirate takes a look in this post on the Kingfish. With "the internets" and "a modicum of free time," Pirate has done some digging and it's pretty interesting stuff. So why should citizens have to do this much digging to find out who is behind organizations that raise tons of money then spent to influence elections? Good question.
DEC 10 Bob Marley's children and widow have sued Raising Cane's for use of the words "One Love," this blog post on Spin says. The words were registered by the chicken chain years ago, but the family says they're owed damages, attorney fees and all profits attributed to the use because it also was the name of a song recorded by Bob Marley with the Wailers.
DEC 10 Here's Gambit's take on Gov. Jindal's refusal (so far) to take the Medicaid expansion money. He's done this before, the editorial post says: posture and pose for the cameras, then show up in a dark alley to take the money anyway. That time, he handed out the money using big goofy checks with his name as the payer, the post reminds us. So he's not "entirely allergic" to federal bucks after all, the post says.
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