James Gill: McAllister has plenty of company with scandal issue

James Gill

Two of our Republican congressmen have been vying for our attention recently, but Vance McAllister, of Swartz, beat Bill Cassidy, of Baton Rouge, hands down. They started off in tandem, co-authoring a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration. McAllister and Cassidy professed themselves alarmed over plans to shut down the American Midstream pipeline, which … Continue reading →

James Gill: Jindal against Common Core — well, sort of

James Gill

Converts are supposed to be particularly zealous, but Gov. Bobby Jindal’s sudden embrace of the anti-Common Core cause is distinctly lukewarm. He has barely lifted a finger to ensure that Louisiana retains its place at the bottom of the educational tables. Sure, he says he hopes Common Core will be scrapped in this legislative session, but the … Continue reading →

James Gill: Lawsuit a big gift to MoveOn.org

James Gill

Erecting a billboard alongside the interstate in Baton Rouge will draw a lot of attention to your cause, but for maximum statewide impact, you can’t beat getting sued in federal court by some prissy state panjandrum. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has sure played into the hands of MoveOn.org, a public benefit corporation out of California that objects … Continue reading →

James Gill: Jury rules aid sloppy judicial process in La.

James Gill

We are so keen to put citizens behind bars in Louisiana that we can’t afford to be too fussy about whether they did the crime. We lock ’em up, innocent or guilty, at a rate unmatched anywhere. We are the world incarceration capital, in large measure, because legislators go in mortal fear of being called soft on … Continue reading →

James Gill: Big changes is La. pot laws not likely

James Gill

Nobody in state government is going to get too excited about saving a lousy $19 million a year, although taxpayers might think it worth a try. It would be easy to accomplish. Legislators would merely need to make marijuana possession a misdemeanor in all cases. State Sens. Robert Adley, R-Benton, and J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, have … Continue reading →

James Gill: Driving while reading still a La. option

James Gill

You may be driving your car right now. So we’ll keep the sentences short. Give you a chance to check the road. Highway safety is our goal. You’re welcome. The staccato style may not be the most effective response to the growing threat posed by distracted drivers, but it is more than legislators … Continue reading →

James Gill: A nostalgia act attempts a revival

James Gill

Washington may be his middle name, but, after Edwin Edwards was elected to Congress half a century ago, he did not turn out to be its most dedicated member. By the time he left in 1972, he had failed to show up for almost half the votes. He was seldom absent for the first couple … Continue reading →

James Gill: Lawmakers have poor command of math

James Gill

You’ve heard of the Alliance for Good Government, but someone ought to establish a rival outfit. If we had an Alliance for Bad Government, its award for chutzpah this year would surely have to go to Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, D-Baton Rouge. Dorsey-Colomb is by no means the only legislator to have snaffled more in campaign contributions … Continue reading →

James Gill: Adley goes to bat for Big Oil

James Gill

The axiom says, if the law is against you, argue the facts, and if the facts are against you, argue the law. If the facts and the law are both against you, are you up the creek? Not in Louisiana, if you have some weight to throw around. The facts can’t be changed, but the … Continue reading →

James Gill: Claims on pot seem like bunk

James Gill

The proposition that marijuana users commit 95 percent of violent crimes in this country is so clearly absurd that state Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe, was quick to claim he had been misquoted. Kostelka wants you to know his actual words were that “95 percent of total crime can be associated with illegal drugs.” That’s … Continue reading →

James Gill: Jenkins on hot seat after Nagin verdict

James Gill

Robert Jenkins must have flung Sunday’s paper across the room when he discovered that the top story on Page 1 went on at some length about what a crummy job he just did. So spare a thought for Jenkins. Everyone quoted in the story seemed staggered by his ineptitude as defense counsel for ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray … Continue reading →

James Gill: Oh, the humanities; Sartisky exits LEH

James Gill

Amid all the speculation over Michael Sartisky’s abrupt removal as president of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, one theory we can probably discount. When a public figure gets canned after taking issue with Gov. Bobby Jindal, it is only natural to suspect a connection. But that does not appear to be the case here. … Continue reading →

James Gill: Block raises controversy again

James Gill

They’re handing out pink slips at Loyola University, where much of the faculty would love to see the back of cantankerous old Walter Block. Won’t happen, for Block is a tenured professor, and thus can offend with impunity. He does it so often that you have to figure he enjoys it. The rest of us … Continue reading →

James Gill: Galvan now knows what happens to losers

James Gill

Then-St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan responded with characteristic grace in 2011 when an opposing attorney congratulated him for winning a civil court case. “You know what happens to losers?” Galvan said. “I f--- with you until you die.” If federal Judge Susie Morgan was tempted to borrow that line when Galvan came up for sentencing … Continue reading →

James Gill: Law’s repeal faces uphill battle

What Gene Mills says about Louisiana’s sodomy laws isn’t true, but maybe that’s an honest mistake. Mills, as president of the Louisiana Family Forum, is a professional Christian. He knows his 10 Commandments backwards and forwards. So it would be a serious knock to assume Mills is lying just because he gets something wrong. It happens, after … Continue reading →

James Gill: Managing complications of capital punishment

James Gill

The state plans to execute Christopher Sepulvado with a combination of drugs Wednesday that has been used only once before — with horrific consequences. Prison officials have taken precautions in case anything should go wrong, however. They have arranged for a gynecologist to be in attendance. They did not originally plan to kill Sepulvado with the … Continue reading →

James Gill: Jindal gets behind medical marijuana

James Gill

Bobby Jindal just became the fourth Louisiana governor to favor legalizing marijuana. No, do not say you always figured they were smoking something funny in Baton Rouge. No mellow dude ever inhabited the Mansion. Shoot, three of these guys were Republicans. We are talking medicinal weed here. After the possibility of a more relaxed approach to … Continue reading →

James Gill: Pot illegal, but still popular in La.

James Gill

Many marijuana users in Louisiana may not much care if it is legalized or not. There is no shortage, for instance, of solid citizens, no longer in the first flush of youth, who enjoy a toke, and have no fear of arrest whatsoever. Securing an ample supply, moreover, is clearly a breeze. After a hearing … Continue reading →

James Gill: Turner a gift to Gusman’s challengers

James Gill

To Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s challengers in the upcoming election, a single court appearance by Willis “Lil Brother” Turner must be worth 20 prime-time commercials. When Charlie Foti and Ira Thomas get on their hind legs at forums to declare that Gusman runs a lousy jail, the audience may nod in agreement, but it’s still … Continue reading →

James Gill: How the Brits feel about the War of 1812

James Gill

While last week saw the annual re-enactment of Old Hickory’s famous victory over the British in 1815, the historical view in London’s House of Commons was somewhat different. There, Bob Russell rose to laud “British success in the North American War of 1812-14.” That was truly a remarkable war. Not only does Russell have it ending … Continue reading →

James Gill: BP execs show sharp sense of humor

James Gill

BP, alleging it is being forced to pay bogus Deepwater Horizon claims, is hoping to get the public on its side through national newspaper ads. This just goes to show that multinational corporations can have a sense of humor. It is hard to imagine any circumstances in which we could be outraged on … Continue reading →

James Gill; Songwriter changes tune on plantation plans

Photo by SHERVIN LAINEZ -- Ani DiFranco

Although singer-songwriter Ani Difranco has canceled her retreat at Nottoway Plantation, she is clearly inclined to pooh-pooh the hoo-ha. Her plan, according to a massive online petition that helped change her mind, was “insulting to black feminists and black queer individuals,” which is evidently how some in the African-American gay community prefer to style themselves. … Continue reading →

James Gill: How Cajun salmon came to England

James Gill

In 1995 the Queen of England apologized to the Maories for the injustices of colonial rule in New Zealand. Two years later her new prime minister, Tony Blair, apologized for the Irish potato famine. So long as the Brits were wringing their hands over ancient wrongs, the Cajuns had to be … Continue reading →

James Gill: Voucher program not living up to promises

James Gill

Imagine if the law required voucher schools to be “academically acceptable,” as the legislative auditor has recommended. By any rational standard, that would rule out all schools that tell kids evolution is a lie. A lot of the schools wouldn’t make the cut, because vouchers have been a godsend to the fundamentalists. Kids transferred out … Continue reading →

James Gill: It’s official: Louisiana is a ‘hell-hole’

James Gill

Louisiana has just been named a “judicial hell-hole” by the American Tort Reform Foundation, but modesty compels us to note that we really didn’t do much to deserve the accolade. And accolade it is, if you believe in an even break for the average Joe, for the American Tort Reform Foundation was established in 1986 by doctors … Continue reading →

James Gill: Vouchers no guarantee of quality schooling

James Gill

The Good Shepherd Nativity Mission School on Baronne Street in New Orleans is prayerfully grateful for its many blessings and provides an “excellent education paid for by benefactors,” according to its website. Perhaps you find such generosity touching and wonder who these staunch supporters of Catholic education can be. Well, one of them is you. Of the … Continue reading →

James Gill: Law change could mean more guns for criminals

James Gill

Had Louisiana voters been asked last year whether guns should be dished out to criminals, the likely response would have been, “Are you nuts?” The constitutional amendment they passed was supposed, as any expansion of Second Amendment rights always is, to make it easier for upstanding citizens to protect their lives and property. Whether it actually put … Continue reading →

James Gill: DA staffer’s p.r. role gets him in trouble

James Gill

It was unfamiliar roles all around at a hearing Monday, when a judge appeared in the role of victim, a prosecutor was the alleged perp and his boss testified for the defense. Their lawyers devoted much of the time to semantic quibbles for the benefit of a three-member panel, which will decide in the fullness of time whether … Continue reading →

James Gill: Are payday lenders the new Scrooge?

James Gill

There is no reason to doubt payday lenders when they say they just like getting the less fortunate out of a jam. In fact, they enjoy it so much that they will do it over and over. It is not always so much fun for their customers, however. Borrow $100 and keep recycling it for a year … Continue reading →

James Gill: Slim chance of an Edwards revival

James Gill

To hear former Gov. Edwin Edwards tell it, he has “people working” on either a presidential pardon or what would presumably be known as a “Vote for the Crook” amendment to the state constitution. He says he may run for election again and would need one or the other to do so, unless … Continue reading →

James Gill: Mussolini touches Senate campaign

James Gill

Check out that photo online of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s head superimposed on Mussolini in full pomp. Landrieu gazes sideways, her blond hair protruding slightly under the black fez that rounded off Il Duce’s regalia. It is such a striking image — those dictators sure liked a stylish uniform — that Landrieu should … Continue reading →

James Gill: Fleming comments provoke squirms

James Gill

Talk about a cheap laugh. President Barack Obama had them rolling in the aisles a few weeks ago and all he had to do was quote Louisiana Congressman John Fleming. That was not the first time Fleming had made an ass of himself far beyond our borders, and now he has done it … Continue reading →

James Gill: Race pitted Jindal against ‘Duck Dynasty’

James Gill

Both candidates, being wealthy Republicans, ran against Obamacare, but one of them strayed somewhat from the party line. Vance McAllister came out in favor of the provision that makes more of the poor eligible for Medicaid. His opponent, state Sen. Neil Riser, denounced his apostasy from the rooftops. Riser got whooped and pundits have advanced … Continue reading →

James Gill: Tide turning on oil industry

It took a while, but the resistance is making headway. The occupying forces, while not exactly on the run, may soon be forced to the negotiating table. The quisling government is starting to look rattled. Citizens want their country back. Such is the current condition of Louisiana, which has been … Continue reading →

James Gill: Election laws a study in cynicism

James Gill

Laws that are supposed to prevent fat cats from buying elections sometimes seem to have succeeded only in raising chicanery to a new level. Take, for instance, Calvin Fayard, who evidently decided in 2010 that the office of Lt. Governor would make a nice present for his daughter Caroline. A lawyer who cashed in on … Continue reading →