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.
LSU Health Sciences Center says people with a common, hard-to-treat kind of lung cancer can join a new national trial to test drugs faster.
As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.
The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
"The solutions are obvious: undo consolidation, or amend the charter to make this hybrid attempt at a new form of government work better."
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
A refreshing twist at a Lafayette institution comes served with a black bean salad stuffed avocado
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Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier.
Three bedroom Sunset Victorian or three bedroom Opelousas Acadian home
Louisiana designer commissioned for NYC Awards gift
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.
Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
INDEats and EatLafayette want to give one lucky foodie and friends the most memorable meal — here’s how you can win
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.
Three bedroom traditional Lafayette home or three bedroom Breaux Bridge home
Style market slated for old Artesia
The city prosecutor has released the case file for Lafayette Parish School Board member Tehmi Chassion’s simple battery complaint against Superintendent Pat Cooper, and the seven witness statements given to police illustrate two very different scenarios.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Citing conflicting witness accounts, the city prosecutor will not pursue Tehmi Chassion’s allegation of simple battery against Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Smoked meat, fresh sides and the best boudin around
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opens on Johnston.
Cirque du Soleil effortlessly combines circus art with beloved Michael Jackson hits.