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James Gill: For whom the whistle blows, like it or not

It’s the same old story. You try to do someone a favor, but there’s not a word of thanks. Rerouting freight trains from Old Metairie to Hollygrove is an idea that has been kicking around for years, but the feds cannot put off a decision much longer. Jefferson Parish President John Young says… Continue reading →

James Gill: Why Bobby Jindal is struggling to stand out, is going nowhere with his campaign

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

With Iowa knee-deep in ideologically indistinguishable GOP presidential candidates, standing out from the crowd requires an ability to beat the rest to the punch. Gov. Bobby Jindal has lately been the one with the fast hands. They can all abhor gay marriage, but he’s the one who came out immediately with an executive order to counter the… Continue reading →

James Gill: Why not replace Robert E. Lee statue with statue of Homer Plessy?

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Keith M. Plessy, left, of the Plessy & Ferguson Foundation and a descendant of Homer Plessy who was arrested on a Louisiana railroad car after he sat in a whites-only car because of racial segregation laws in 1892 that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, sits next to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and Phoebe Ferguson, right, with the Plessy & Ferguson Foundation and descendant of John Howard Ferguson, as they listen to Doratha 'Dodie' Smith-Simmons, bottom right, as she retells her story of trying to test a newly enacted federal law preventing racial segregation at bus terminals in 1961 in McComb, Mississippi. The panel discussion at Gallier Hall in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, July 2, 2014 was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

It might seem impossible right now to find common ground between black activists and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, but fortunately I have come up with a plan. All we have to do is remove Robert E. Lee and replace him with Homer Plessy. That way we would have a black hero on top of… Continue reading →

James Gill: Louisiana judge Jeff Hughes' same-sex marriage comments show he's 'clearly too dim for this job'

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- State Supreme Court Judge Jeff Hughes, attends the election-night party of 22nd Judicial District Attorney candidate Brian Trainor, on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, at the Castine Center at Pelican Park in Mandeville.

State Supreme Court Justice Jeff Hughes has never made any secret of his views on issues about which he is ethically obliged to keep his trap shut. He made his views on judicial impartiality plain when he won promotion from the court of appeal in 2012 after campaigning as a gun-toting, anti-abortion believer… Continue reading →

James Gill: Successful lawsuit by the Louisiana Chemical Association against tax increases could derail state budget

The blame will all belong to reckless politicians if the money runs out, but regular Joes must pay the price. Newspapers will be grim reading; the wires will hum daily with eyewitness accounts of privation and despair. Well, maybe the Greeks are worse off. But harrowing times could lie ahead for Louisiana, too. If the Louisiana Chemical… Continue reading →

James Gill: Where’s Yankee know-how on executions?

Whatever happened to good old American know-how? Sure, we are the only advanced society with the death penalty, but we must ask ourselves whether we are proving worthy of the distinction. We sentence ’em to death all right, but we are seldom up to the task of killing them. In fact, the process has gotten… Continue reading →

James Gill: Governor Bobby Jindal delighted to use gay marriage ruling to hornswoggle voters

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Celebrants daubed in rainbow colors could have been no more delighted than Gov. Bobby Jindal by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gay people have a constitutional right to marry. While gay activists rejoice that the fight is over, Jindal must regard it as a godsend, too, for he still has skin in the game. He is… Continue reading →

James Gill: Removing flags? Why not focus on the guns?

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- With the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee behind them, Malcolm Suber, left,  and Rev. Raymond Brown along with other protesters burn the Confederate battle flag at Lee Circle during a rally to remove the symbol, along with statues like the one of General Robert E. Lee at Lee circle, from public places in New Orleans, La. Friday, June 26, 2015.

The threat posed by armed lunatics draped in Confederate flags is one that will spur any prudent society to action. Fortunately, this country has risen to the challenge as a consensus builds about what should be done. The answer is obvious. Get rid of the flags that fly over statehouses in several parts of the old South,… Continue reading →

James Gill: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal as King John? Not quite

The legislative session ended just three days before the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, but the spirit of Runnymede failed to invade Baton Rouge. While the barons stuck it to King John, legislators, though a rebellious spirit was not entirely absent from the Capitol, did not in the end challenge Gov. Bobby Jindal’s right to lay down… Continue reading →

James Gill: Healthy lifestyle a blow to Harrah’s, New Orleans

Harrah’s profits at its New Orleans casino are way down, and, while you will probably receive this news without shedding a tear, the implications for the public treasury could be dire. The demands on that treasury are already crippling, and a reduction in the city’s share of the casino loot is bound to be reflected in the… Continue reading →

James Gill: D.C. taking pointers from Legislature? Think again

Ray Garofalo

A federal constitutional convention could get out of hand, with delegates going way beyond their instructions, opponents of the latest move to call one point out. That warning may have helped legislators last week decide that Louisiana would not join the campaign to make Washington mend its profligate ways. A Senate committee refused to adopt a… Continue reading →

James Gill: The yanks rescue soccer

Not so long ago, many Americans had probably never heard of Qatar, but New Orleans had a connection. Drive along the Pontchartrain Expressway, and you can’t miss Xavier University’s Qatar Pharmacy Pavilion, which was donated after Katrina. So you probably looked it up and don’t need me to tell you that Qatar could afford to be generous,… Continue reading →

James Gill: Possible Louisiana gubernatorial runoff between black man, Jew would be nightmare for bigots

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Tony Clayton

It is almost too delicious to contemplate. Louisiana could have a gubernatorial runoff between a black man and a Jew. Louisiana’s plentiful supply of bigots wouldn’t know which way to turn. Polling stations in the tonier sections of New Orleans would be virtually deserted. For the rest of us, though, it would be most diverting election ever.… Continue reading →

James Gill: Bobby Jindal-bashing has got to stop (a sarcastic take, of course)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City on Friday, May 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

Time has come to stop the constant Jindal-bashing on the editorial pages. Readers must be growing weary of all the attacks on our esteemed governor’s record, and the pooh-poohing of his presidential prospects. There is a long way to go yet, and we can’t keep sounding the same note. And we can’t just ignore Jindal,… Continue reading →

James Gill: Why U.S. Sen. David Vitter's colleagues dislike him 'more than ever'

Senator David Vitter (The Advocate)

His fellow U.S. senators dislike David Vitter more than ever as he continues to denounce them for giving themselves benefits denied to regular citizens. Vitter evidently doesn’t mind being unpopular on Capitol Hill, as, indeed, he was in the corridors of the State Capitol at the start of his political career. He presumably… Continue reading →

James Gill: Do lawmakers believe what they say? Not likely

Sometimes, it would be a slur on the mental powers of state legislators to suggest they believe what they say. Take, for instance, reports that legislators are “confident” all those tax hikes they approved last week were legal. Perhaps, deep in the bowels of the Capitol, lurks the odd tribune from the sticks… Continue reading →

James Gill: Remember, Irvin Mayfield's goofy appointment as New Orleans public library chair traces back to crooked, inept Ray Nagin

Irvin Mayfield

It is not always the corrupt politicians who do the most harm. The stupid ones can be a bigger menace. One way to test this proposition might be to compare the legacies, say, of two mayors: one crooked and one inept. But such comparisons are not totally reliable, for each era brings different challenges and… Continue reading →

James Gill: Assault on liberty? Well, maybe not

It made the blood boil to read about “a deliberate and willful attack on state workers,” a plot to “trample on” their constitutional rights. Such tyranny should not be inflicted on any citizen of these United States, but the press release denouncing this outrage explains that the victims here are practically saints. What’s the price of… Continue reading →

James Gill: British campaigns not pretty, but over quickly

This is election day in Britain, which boasts the “mother of parliaments” but now seems poised to produce the mother of all political imbroglios. Americans, weary of electioneering that never seems to stop, will sometimes sing the praises of the British system, with a campaign season lasting only a few weeks and strict… Continue reading →

James Gill: Sentencing publicity an exercise in theater

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite announced in a press release that Hollywood producer Peter Hoffman, his wife Susan and Michael Arata, of New Orleans, respectively face 405, 45 and 185 years in prison. The newspapers know this is utter nonsense but report it anyway. That’s the game we play at the end of high-profile trials. The standard caveat… Continue reading →

James Gill: Now, some equal time for the Creation story

Gov. Bobby Jindal opposed the annual attempt to repeal the creationism law because, his flack said, it is designed to “promote the discussion of different views.” There wasn’t much discussion Wednesday before a Senate committee decided to let the law stand, but the margin was only one vote. It’s never been anywhere near that close before, and… Continue reading →

James Gill: Street-naming tussles have long history

The recent, ill-advised decision to rename parts of two New Orleans streets puts Jack Maguire in mind of a similar idea rejected 20 years ago. Then-City Councilman Joe Giarrusso wanted to change Poydras Street to Victor H. Schiro Avenue in honor of the 1960s mayor. But Schiro’s widow, Sunny, and Maguire, his director of public relations at… Continue reading →

James Gill: Gay rights ‘protection’ bill contains some tortured logic

Gay people, you have a new champion in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Meet Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, who has filed a bill that he says will protect you if, one day, “an overzealous, uber-conservative governor” should want to punish you for approving of same-sex marriage. “Wait,” you are saying. “I’ve heard of this Johnson.… Continue reading →

James Gill: Latest sad turn in LEH controversy

Michael Sartisky

The allegation that Michael Sartisky is an art thief cannot be allowed to stand. That it is a lie is apparent from the very lawsuit the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities filed against him. The LEH not only accuses Sartisky of running off with its pictures but depicts him as a malingerer — another demonstrable falsehood.… Continue reading →

James Gill: Gray might have perfect mind for politics

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER --  New Orleans City Council District E Councilman James Gray.

James Gray is obviously correct to pooh-pooh any suggestion that the suspension of his law license renders him unfit to remain on the New Orleans City Council. Gray can’t practice law for the next two years because the state Supreme Court established that he told lies, failed to honor his commitments and glommed onto other people’s… Continue reading →

James Gill: Adversarial? ‘Bellicose’ seems more like the relationship between New Orleans DA's and Public Defender's offices

Defense attorneys who publicly revealed a rape victim’s name are making a big song and dance about the ethical lapses of New Orleans prosecutors. We pride ourselves on America’s “adversarial” criminal justice system, but that sometimes seems to mean that the kettle is obliged to call the pot black. In New Orleans these days, moreover,… Continue reading →

James Gill: Yesteryear had some ugly buildings, too

Advocate photo by VERONICA DOMINACH --The HDLC denied the demolition of six buildings on Canal and Tchoupitoulas street to make way for a 21-story Marriott Hotel in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

Any plan to build a huge hotel in the center of New Orleans will bring on an attack of the vapors among preservationists, and the latest one is indeed a depressing prospect. But, after reading repeatedly about greedy developers who are out to destroy still more of our architectural gems, I went for a… Continue reading →

James Gill: Bobby Jindal might stand out in Iowa -- as a 'financially irresponsible ideologue who wrecked healthcare and higher education'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the free market Club for Growth winter economic conference at the Breakers Hotel Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Palm Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)

Political experts quoted in The Advocate say that the peculiarities of the presidential nominating system give Gov. Bobby Jindal a chance. Clearly, we need either to change the system or bring in a fresh supply of experts. If these guys are right, we must tremble for the future of the republic. Their rationale is that… Continue reading →

James Gill: Is Broussard’s rise Buddy Lemann’s fault?

Advocate staff photo by Jim Mustian --  Defense attorney Arthur "Buddy" Lemann walks of of the Federal courthouse in New Orleans Wednesday, November 5, 2014. He had been defending former New Orleans police Officer Donald Nides in a case there. Nides killed himself last night.

Perhaps you are wondering how former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, two years into a 46-month federal prison sentence, could afford to hire such a leading light of the defense bar as Buddy Lemann. The answer is he couldn’t. Lemann provided his services gratis on the whimsical grounds that Broussard’s predicament is all his fault. Lemann… Continue reading →

James Gill: A duke’s sad legacy to history

State Library of Louisiana photo -- The Duke and Duchess of Windsor at the Boston Club, Carnival Day, 1950.

Among the most oft-told tales from the history of Carnival in New Orleans is the visit paid by the former King Edward VIII of England and his wife, the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The implication has always been that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, as they were then styled, honored the local swells with their presence.… Continue reading →

James Gill: Louisiana's coastal decline a national problem; does President Obama care?

Does President Barack Obama hate Louisiana? Citing a newspaper headline asking that question, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, at a recent budget hearing, seemed to think the answer is yes. While we cannot know what is in Obama’s heart, it would be reasonable to assume that Louisiana is not his favorite state. We don’t… Continue reading →

James Gill: Bobby Jindal misses chance to court extremists

Bobby Jindal must be kicking himself for letting Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, steal his thunder. That could have been Jindal making the Limeys howl with derision by refusing to say whether he believed in evolution. But when Jindal was in London a few weeks ago, there was no time to address the issue, because reporters kept asking… Continue reading →

James Gill: How the Stelly plan’s demise has doomed Bobby Jindal, too

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), a potential 2016 GOP candidate, speaks at a APPs State luncheon discussion on Common Core at the Mayflower Hotel on Feb. 5, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Picking out just one dumb move to blame for the stillbirth of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign may seem quite a stretch, but the numbers match uncannily. Jindal’s hopes always seemed the product of a disordered imagination, but even he must see that the dream is over now that the rest of… Continue reading →