Wednesday May 23, 2012
At last report the state Senate Finance Committee was demonstrating the restorative power of wisdom in the face of the House’s slash-and-burn budget priorities. Committee members late last week struck a receptive tone to state Inspector General Stephen Street’s pleas to restore his office’s budget, which the House cut as it finalized the state budget for the coming fiscal year. The 24-year-old IG office, established by former Gov. Buddy Roemer and made permanent by Gov. Bobby Jindal as part of his 2008 ethics reform agenda, has proven itself to be an effective, independent means of ferreting out corruption in Louisiana’s halls of power. As the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana correctly posits, Louisiana “needs a self-motivated watchdog agency to stop waste, mismanagement, abuse and fraud in executive-branch government.”
Louisiana’s representation in Congress — two senators and seven representatives — is a bunch of sophomores when it comes to the level of sophistication at work in their speeches delivered in their respective chambers. The state’s congressional delegation averaged out at a 10.6 grade level for the complexity of their speeches, based on an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan, open-government group whose researchers ran the Congressional Record through a computer algorithm. That’s dead-on average for Congress as a whole. The most troubling aspect of the data is not that the Louisiana delegation speaks collectively at the level of a sophomore in high school, it’s that the entire Congress’ speech has fallen nearly a full grade level since 2005 — from 11.5 seven years ago — when the foundation began rating congressional speeches. One could argue that the Tea Party has had a dumbing-down effect on Congress: Of the 20 members with the lowest scores for grade-level speech, 85 percent are Republicans, 65 percent are freshmen and 90 percent are members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Buttressing this supposition, Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia and a freshman GOP member of the Tea Party Caucus, scored the lowest in the Bayou State delegation — at the 8.6 grade level or 518th among the 531 members.
A sportswriter’s frustration with tardy statistics led last week to national notoriety and to his new persona: former sportswriter. Kade Siebold was canned by the tiny — it doesn’t even have a website; what newspaper doesn’t have a website? — Rayne Independent, a weekly paper in the small Acadia Parish town, after inserting into a story about the statistical achievements of the Rayne High softball team the line, “Hailey Habetz had great [sic] year on the mound but unfortunately no stats were available due to the coach’s bulls**t and laziness.” The asterisks are ours, but the sentiment no doubt is shared by every sportswriter who has ever had to wait for a coach to call in numbers as deadline looms. In fact, Siebold told KATC that although the insertion was a mistake and he regrets it, he heard from sportswriters and bloggers “telling me that I’m their hero because I printed something that they’ve always wanted to print.” In other words, Kade Siebold took one for the team.
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
See which events are taking place during INNOV8 Lafayette this Thursday.
It’s on, y’all. Fest fIND, our annual Festival International de Louisiana reader contest, is now accepting photo submissions.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
Fashion and music make great bedfellows
Producers, manufacturers, restaurants and chefs host roundtable and tasting
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
The easy one-piece way to style
Comfy feet for long days
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 23, 2014:
Newsy bits for the whole fam
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Don't forget: our annual Festival International contest begins Thursday! Win. Cool. Stuff.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
State bar foundation bestows honor on founder and managing partner of NeunerPate
This Wednesday, April 23, marks the first full day of INNOV8 Lafayette.
National awards recognize outstanding achievement in leadership development and leadership programs
A federal court magistrate has issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines leading up to January’s trial aimed at determining how much money BP will owe in Clean Water Act fines as a result of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The state’s “greedy trial lawyers” haven’t scared this oil giant away.
Local boutique celebrates all things green
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.