Wednesday, 29 June 2011 01:00
by IND Monthly Staff
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 Written by The Independent Staff
C’EST BON It was a textbook case of protecting and serving when The Advocate obtained and posted online video of the January 2010 traffic stop that resulted in a drunk driving charge against state Rep. Bobby Badon, D-Carencro — a charge that was recently thrown out on a technicality. On the one side you had a nervous, stammering, slurring-his-words Badon trying to protect his reputation and serve his own interests after being pulled over on his way home from a party. On the other was State Trooper James Lazard — composed and professional despite Badon’s name dropping and good-ole-boy appeals for deference to his status and “a little leniency.” Kudos to Lazard for standing his ground and following the law. And ditto to The Advocate for pursuing the public’s right to know.
PAS BON The kayaker who spotted the body of 29-year-old Cory Sonnier in Lake Martin the morning of June 24 was undoubtedly shaken up by the discovery of an apparent homicide victim. But when The Daily Advertiser tried to interview the unfortunate witness, he didn’t decline because he was too disturbed by what he found; rather, he told the Lafayette daily that he was “instructed by police not to speak with the media.” Since the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case — and said sheriff’s office has been known in the past to give the same “instructions” to other witnesses when newsworthy crimes take place in its jurisdiction — presumably the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office was again the issuer of an illegal gag order. What’s not explained in the daily’s crime story is that no law enforcement agency can prohibit witnesses from talking for the sake of preserving an investigation. That’s thanks to a little protection known as the First Amendment, which specifically gives Americans the freedom to speak about almost anything to Uncle T-Bob, Maw-Maw Barbara, friends and even the media. Also included in the First Amendment is the added protection of a free press, though nowhere in the document did our Founding Fathers outline the importance of a police state. We kindly ask the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office to brush up on its high school civics or Google the term “Bill of Rights.”
COUILLON Pity poor Washington. The little town that butters its bread with an interstate speed trap just can’t get its act together. The latest exhibit of incompetence came last week when it was learned that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is demanding the St. Landry Parish hamlet return more than $72,000 it was allocated following Hurricane Katrina for housing evacuees. Washington, it turns out, never provided the proper documentation demonstrating how it spent the money and, what’s more, it’s now been two years since the town was notified about the problem. This follows a recent revelation that Washington owes the state $200,000 for speeding tickets issued to motorists who were traveling less than 10 miles over the posted limit on I-49. While Washington Mayor Joseph Pitre, who is black, has suggested his town is the victim of a racially motivated conspiracy, we prefer to think of it as a karma.
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JUL 23 This post on Mashable says Louisiana is poised to be the next (and better) Hollywood. Sure, blogger Travis Andrews is talking Louisiana in general, but the focus really is on New Orleans. And that's fine, because if NOLA and Hollywood get into a ambiance/food/style/crazy contest, we like NOLA's chances.
JUL 23 Here's New York Magazine's profile of Edwin Edwards, a well-written, thoughtful (and still unvarnished) look at Louisiana's most famous felon. There's a lot of history, but author Mark Jacobson doesn't get bogged down in pedantic rehashes here. It's a really good read.
JUL 23 Tom Aswell turns over his blog to Fred Aldrich for this post, in which Aldrich offers his critique of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson's recent radio appearance. During that visit, Edmonson commented upon the 11th-hour bill that added $30K to his annual retirement income. Spoiler alert: Aldrich was not impressed.
JUL 23 Blogger CB Forgotston has more on the Edmonson retirement issue in this post. This time, he's trying to ascertain exactly who offered the 11th-hour amendment that added $30K to the State Police chief's annual retirement check. Six legislators are claiming that a Senate staffer stuck it in, CB says.
JUL 23 Choice Foundation, which owns and operates charter schools, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing Bobby Jindal of overstepping his bounds in cancelling Common Core, the Washington Post reports here. The lawsuit (there's a link to it here) alleges that Jindal does not have the authority to remove the curriculum from Louisiana.
JUL 23 Here's an interesting perspective on the 2015 governor's race from Picayune reporter Julia O'Donoghue. She's looking at David Vitter, John Bel Edwards and Jay Dardenne. But instead of looking at their differences, she's examining their similarities.
JUL 23 Here are the first jewels unearthed from the Vault, a new database of public records that The Lens is making available. In this post, The Lens is taking a look at what municipal employees are paid over in NOLA. There's some pretty interesting stuff here.
JUL 23 Blogger Stephen Sabludowsky is attempting to clear away some of the smoke that Bobby Jindal's been blowing about our economy. The press releases and "presidential campaign claims" of Jindal notwithstanding, the outlook is not that rosy, Sabludowsky says. He's got some comment here from the head of GNO Inc. as well.
JUL 22 This is a fascinating piece in the Picayune about the murder of a doctor in her St. Charles Avenue home 50 years ago. It's fascinating because of the mysteries and myths that have swirled around the incident for those decades, and because of the possible connection to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. There are a lot of interesting names in here, including Ochsner and Marcello, and as usual the comments below the story are nearly as entertaining as the story itself.
JUL 22 The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is "a lock" to win the Sun Belt Conference in football, Fox Sports opines in this post. There's a rundown of the other teams in the conference, but ULL is predicted to win the conference, thanks in large part to an "explosive" offense. Is it football season yet?
JUL 22 Columnist Stephanie Grace says Gov. Bobby Jindal may be meeting with state education officials (hey - you mean HIS education officials, don't you, Steph?) but it is clear he's not looking for a solution in the Common Core fracas. Bobby wants an issue he can take on the road, and this one seems to be it, she says.
JUL 22 Here's a love letter from New York Daily News' Alex Palmer to Louisiana. In some ways it is the typical tourism article (with pronunciation guides and food definitions) but in another way it goes beyond that to list lesser-known spots to visit for food or tours.
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