Wednesday January 25, 2012

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The nine local civic groups that came together to bring education talks to the forefront in Lafayette Parish over the last couple of years may soon have an new (and old) member of its team. Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper tells The Ind that LPSS rejoining the Lafayette Parish Education Stakeholders Council is a “no brainer.” The nine organizations that comprise LaPESC are the705, 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette, Citizens Action Council, Concerned Citizens for Good Government, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, State of Greater Black Lafayette, Southwest LA Black Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Acadiana and UL Lafayette. The groups’ collective membership is more than 5,000. The Lafayette Parish School System was a member at the outset, but former Superintendent Burnell Lemoine withdrew its membership after LaPESC began planning candidate forums for board elections. Cooper says he believes he can reinstate the school system’s membership without any action from the school board. If he’s wrong, however, he says board approval likely won’t be an issue.


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As expected by the state Department of Health and Hospitals, the “Bayou Health” privatized Coordinated Care Network for privatizing Medicaid in Louisiana is off to a rough start. According to The Advocate, approximately 12 percent of eligible Medicaid recipients have enrolled with one of five privately administered, publicly funded health insurance plans, which are slated to take over Medicaid coverage in February and have so far left doctors and hospitals with endless unanswered questions about the new insurance. State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein (pictured) tells the Baton Rouge paper that the agency expected to experience problems with the rollout, since “this is a pretty major change in the way we do business.” Indeed, the $2.2 billion privatized Medicaid program is a substantial change in the Medicaid business in Louisiana. As New Orleans’ Gambit newspaper publisher Clancy Dubos points out in a December column, “Jindal is privatizing health care for a segment of the population that already ranks among the cheapest to treat.” Something about “if it ain’t broke ...” is coming to mind.


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State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, the recently appointed chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee and senior member of the Lafayette delegation at the Capitol, stunned no small number of local Republicans including, according to sources, several friends over the weekend when he came out in support of Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s long-shot bid to win the GOP presidential nomination. Not only did Robideaux announce his support for Paul, the independent-turned-Republican lawmaker is co-chair of Paul’s Louisiana campaign. In hitching his wagon to Paul, is Robideaux taking on the taint of racism, whack-job conspiracy-ism and anti-scientific ding-battery that have long marked Paul’s public persona? Paul has yet to adequately explain those knee-jerk, racist newsletters published under his name in the 1980s and ’90s, or his routine praise during the Clinton years of the militia movement that produced domestic terrorists like Timonthy McVeigh, or his claims that Israeli spies were behind the first World Trade Center bombing, or his opposition to the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the establishment of the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; or his dismissive views of the scientific consensus on climate change and evolution or his vows to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency and leave the safety of Americans’ drinking water and food supply to conscientious corporations.

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