Not sure what’s in the water up there in Monroe, but it done growed The News-Star staff some big ole swinging cajones. The Gannett-owned daily newspaper is keeping the pressure on an equivocating state Department of Education, which has shown no lack of resourcefulness and guile in dodging hard questions about its much-panned voucher program. The News-Star’s attorney filed suit at the end of August seeking to compel the DOE to comply with a public records request for employee emails detailing the process for approving the schools in the voucher program. A public records request filed by the daily was initially ignored then denied. DOE officials cited the governor’s exemption of deliberative process. The News-Star has been a mainstream gadfly for the department since first reporting on some of the small private schools that will receive millions in state tax dollars, and following through by revealing the disturbing anti-modernism of some of these schools’ curricula.
Hallelujah and pass the equality, the St. Martinville Senior High School class of 1973 is finally almost integrated. The seventy-three-ers will mark their 40th homecoming this month with their customary slate of reunion events. However, as a flyer for the shindig indicates, they’ll break with custom and engage in at least some integrated merrymaking. But the after-game get-together on Friday, Sept. 21? Well, that’s for “White Graduates Only.” Coincidentally, the class of 1973 was the first to be integrated at SMSH. Clearly it takes these things a while to stick. The flyer was anonymously posted online and soon spread through social media and into the national news cycle, leading one organizer of the reunion events to wonder what all the fuss is about. The black alumni will no doubt discuss and perhaps debate this at their segregated water cooler.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, who will face Lafayette GOP Congressman Charles Boustany this fall for the new 3rd Congressional Seat, has made much ado about his fiscal fortitude. On his website — and in ads, interviews and anywhere else he can trumpet the claim — Landry proudly notes that he “formally declined Congressional health care and retirement, following through on a pledge that is sure to shake up Washington and energize efforts to repeal Obamacare.” We’re not sure about seismic activity in D.C. or Obamacare’s future, but we do know when to poke a balloon with a pin and release the hot air. According to rules governing the Federal Employees’ Retirement System, members of Congress who were elected after Sept. 30, 2003, “may not elect to be excluded from such coverage.” Landry was elected in 2010. The rule applies to him. Moreover, and this is where it gets painfully obvious Landry is all hat and no horse, “Members become vested (legally entitled to) a pension benefit under FERS after five years of service.” Landry isn’t even entitled yet to the retirement benefits he pretends to eschew. But no worries, he’ll be out of our collective hair after Boustany dispatches him this fall.
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