Our Views: The games of summer

If there were a gameday program for Common Core, it would have to be thicker than the programs for college football games. Look at the all the conflict now over what used to be a politically unremarkable decision, aimed at raising academic standards through research and study by a consortium of educators and state officials. Now, it’s a political brawl being waged on many fronts and it takes a program to keep up with the… Continue reading →

Letter: Alzheimer’s article misleading; aging population at risk

I found an article in The Advocate “Study: U.S. Alzheimer’s rate dropping” misleading. The report indicated the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease have decreased and the average age the disease was diagnosed rose. Yes, we are a healthier nation and are living longer, which is a positive factor. We should continue to eat healthier diets and incorporate exercise for both the body and the mind. However, the sheer number of Americans aging supports the fact… Continue reading →

Letter: Common Core is a standard, not curriculum

The letter from Judge Linda Holliday in the July 1 Advocate highlights the real problem with Common Core Standards. When even highly educated and intelligent folks like Judge Holliday are confused about the difference between standards (goals) and curriculum (instructional content, materials, resources and processes used to achieve those goals), it is no wonder that everyone is ready to burn Common Core at the stake. To clarify — Common Core is no more than a set… Continue reading →

Our Views: Fair shake on pensions

Advocate staff file photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Louisiana State Police superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson is seen in this August, 2012 photo.

When a public official of considerable prominence gets a substantial retirement break in the last hours of a legislative session, it is inevitably a cause of controversy. The break for Superintendent Mike Edmonson and one other long-serving State Police officer drew fire, including from members of the House and Senate who felt that the provision was not fully explained to them during the rush of the last day of the 2014 session. Edmonson decided not… Continue reading →

Our Views: A new bill for ports

While the newspapers are full of stories about gridlock on Capitol Hill, there is at least one bipartisan accomplishment: a new water projects bill. “It’s fully bipartisan legislation that serves as a real bright spot in an otherwise gridlocked Washington,” said U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La. It is also a measure that funds major water projects of obvious importance to Louisiana’s economy as well as the nation, and provides for better dredging of the Mississippi… Continue reading →

Letter: Time, space for worship sacred

On Sunday morning, July 20, the sacred time and space of a historic New Orleans congregation was violated. As congregants of First Unitarian Universalist Church, founded in 1833, held a moment of silent prayer to grieve a young woman of the church who had died the previous week, protestors from Operation Save America began to harangue the minister and spew words of hate to and at the congregation. In shock, but with increasing pain as these diatribes continued, the… Continue reading →

Letter: Which Jindal education policy wins?

Thank you for The Advocate stories and editorials citing PAR’s recent commentary on the unfortunate dispute between the governor and the state education board that has jeopardized the implementation of accountability tests for public school students this coming school year. In her response to PAR’s commentary, Kathryn Goppelt’s letter to the editor excuses the governor from any responsibility for this situation. I respect that Goppelt does not favor Common Core. But fervor for her cause should… Continue reading →

Letter: Common Core coverage should be in-depth

Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of Common Core, The Advocate seems obsessed with Gov. Jindal’s flip-flop on the issue and the political ramifications of such. I’d like to see more in-depth reporting on the substantive issues involved. Why is there such divided opinion among teachers who are charged with implementing the program? Why wasn’t teacher input involved in construction of the standards? If the idea of a common core in grade school is so overwhelming, why has “the… Continue reading →

Letter: Kids are children, too

In response to Dave Kalosky’s letter and his trivial pet peeve of the use of the word “kid” to refer to children: Relax, Mr. Kalosky. While your arguments about the misuse of the word may carry weight, you should realize that the English language is transformative and changes come as time passes. New words are added, others become antiquated, and others morph with usage and definition. Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary reflects this change: “3: a young person:… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Reedcare, for the whole family

A hospital’s primary mission is to take care of people, and I’ll give St. Tammany Parish Hospital this: For years, it sure took care of Walter Reed. The details remain somewhat muddled, but the picture of an inappropriately cozy relationship between the public hospital and the controversial district attorney is growing clearer by the day. It’s not cozy anymore, now that both reporters and federal investigators are trying to… Continue reading →

Inside Report: Heat of summer swells risk for firefighters

As exhausted Baton Rouge firefighters gathered under a tree following the rescue of 13 people — 10 adults and three children — from inside a 72-unit apartment building last Tuesday, department officials kept a watchful eye on their men, looking for signs of heat-related illnesses on the sweltering July day. According to a 2011 study by the U.S. Fire Administration, 25 percent of firefighter injuries were caused by stress and… Continue reading →

Our Views: Camp’s worries, nonworries

F. Scott Fitzgerald

A lot of youngsters across Louisiana have been heading off to boarding camps this summer, an experience that can bring worries for campers and parents alike. Those concerns apparently haven’t changed very much since 1933, when F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a letter to his daughter Scottie while she was away at camp. Fitzgerald, best known for writing “The Great Gatsby,” attempted to sort out for his daughter the things that she… Continue reading →

Letter: PAR’s commentary more about Jindal than policy

The recent commentary of Robert Scott with the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana is a disappointment. PAR has provided so much information in the past with thoughtful analysis, yet it seems PAR is now taking the position held by the media and business organizations that blindly support Common Core. The real dispute over Common Core relates to who will control the education of Louisiana children. Will out-of-state trade organizations that own the copyright to the “standards”… Continue reading →

Letter: Hamas promotes culture of death

Most of the reporting on the latest war between Israel and Hamas focuses on the number of casualties in Gaza. Hamas has been identified by the U.S. as a terrorist organization that is funded by Iran. The government of Hamas claims it is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and, therefore, every Israeli man, woman and child is a legitimate target. The culture of Hamas is a culture of death. It celebrates those who deliberately murder Israelis (including… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: Nursing home lobby stifles change

Senior citizens have a vision for the future: Virtually every long-living adult wishes to live in their own home, and many say they would rather die than go to a nursing home. The wait list for in-home support is at 40,000 and growing; the nursing home vacancy rate is at 25 percent and growing. Ignoring the clear choice of seniors, the Department of Health and Hospitals continues to spend twice as much on nursing homes as on in-home… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: Political fireworks in Louisiana, Mississippi

The world is a politically tense place these days with hot spots ranging from the Middle East to Ukraine. In Louisiana and Mississippi, where the political chessboard tends to be a lot less threatening and at times entertaining, this election season is living up to expectations. Let’s start with the marquee match-up in Mississippi. Until the Republican primary many analysts had expected few fireworks among races for the U.S. House and Senate. The state’s only… Continue reading →

Our Views: Credible safety net

With great reluctance, its chief says, the agency charged with protecting the financial interests of bilked investors has seized on a legal argument that avoids paying the bilked investors of Allen Stanford — costing many Louisiana families millions of dollars in potential relief. Like all legal technicalities, the difference between scam artists like Bernie Madoff and Stanford, both now in prison, is arcane. The law creating the public-private Securities Investor Protection Corp. does not apply to… Continue reading →

Political Horizons: Governor takes stab at ‘transformative’ motivation

Mark Ballard.

“Transformative” is the vogue descriptor among the political set these days. From the old church Latin noun of action associated with communion, “transformative” picked up its current accepted definition — a new work that alters and supersedes the original — in a 1994 U.S. Supreme Court opinion on copyright infringement. A review of old clips show that the word was frequently applied to President Ronald Reagan, particularly during efforts beginning in the late 1990s to… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: On wetlands suit, know when to fold’em

The levee board for southeastern Louisiana is acting like one of those suckers in a “match the pot” poker game with lots of wild cards. Worse, in sticking with a radically sweeping lawsuit against as many as 97 oil companies, board members are playing with somebody else’s money, namely that of Louisiana’s taxpayers. It’s long past time for them to escape a losing game. To recap, critics rightly think the lawsuit is an Continue reading →

James Gill: Metro Council shows its lack of guts

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Metro Councilman John Delgado, right, speaks in favor of a fairness ordinance as time expires after lengthy debate from proponents and opponents in the regularly-scheduled Metro Council meeting Wednesday night. Listening left are Councilwoman Tara Wicker, left and Councilman Ryan Heck, center.

Time ran out Wednesday before the Baton Rouge Metro Council could tell gay people to go to hell, but that is clearly what is going to happen at the next meeting in a couple of weeks. We can only hope the council will content itself with a display of honest bigotry and move on to a different topic after rejecting the anti-discrimination ordinance. It would be a Christian act to spare us the hypocritical pieties to which… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Tolerance wins the argument

Wednesday’s emotional hearing on whether Baton Rouge should adopt a “fairness ordinance” to ban discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people featured a number of mind-blowing moments. There was the rousing appeal to the city’s better, more tolerant nature from legendary LSU basketball coach Dale Brown. There was the sudden reversal from the Rev. Reginald Pitcher, after he listened to his own words on the prior day’s Jim Engster radio show on WRKF.… Continue reading →

Our Views: La. fighting nutrition battle

Obesity and related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease are a continuing challenge for Louisiana. Nowhere is that more true than among low-income families who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. Healthy eating can be especially difficult in low-income areas where groceries with a range of healthy items are in short supply. And, of course, money is in short supply, too. We know much about these problems… Continue reading →

Letter: Abiding rules and laws, we should follow spirit

The controversy surrounding the legal and religious considerations regarding that priest failing to report the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl because of the “seal of confession” has brought a lot of concerns for me and for many others. Being a Catholic, a parent and a former priest, initially I find that the general concept of not sharing what is heard in confession is indeed a great blessing, allowing the one confessing to… Continue reading →

Letter: Governor’s fairy tales create student nightmares

I’m sure you remember “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Three Little Pigs,” right? Great stories your mom or dad told you at bedtime to lull you to sleep. While these well-loved stories were undoubtedly a core part of your early years, as you got older, you learned that these were, plain and simply, make-believe. While delightful and entertaining, they have no truth. Just like “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Three… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Facing challenge of social media world

Earlier this week, I got “straightened out” by some folks at a meeting of a group I lead. For those who don’t know the jargon, “straightened out” means someone corrected me and told me the right thing to do. I head a group that basically serves in an advisory position for another entity. There have been some issues that have crept up that neither the board nor the entity have caused to happen. But, in this… Continue reading →

Our Views: New judge on court

We join in the legal community’s congratulations for John W. deGravelles, newly confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a federal judge in Baton Rouge. Judge deGravelles will sit for the Middle District court, filling a seat made available when U.S. District Judge James Brady took senior status. The latter means that Brady will still hear cases, although he is eligible for a smaller load than the three judges on the Middle District bench. U.S. District Judge… Continue reading →

Our Views: Council leaves issue clouded

After hours of speeches from backers and opponents of a fairness ordinance aimed at prohibiting discrimination against gay people, the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council vexed observers by failing to take a vote on the proposal. We favor the ordinance, and we’re glad that the council allowed such lengthy testimony from the standing room-only crowd. That kind of debate, though heated at times, is what democracy is supposed to be about. But the odd conclusion… Continue reading →