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.
The board hopes to recover all fees paid, plus one-half, along with what could amount to hundreds of thousands in additional penalties.
Oh, the irony... or something like that.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
St. Patty's Day crafts
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.