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Our Views: Grateful for our problems

This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for America’s challenges. They reveal blessings worth remembering on this day devoted to gratitude. Consider these national issues, and what they say about the state of the country this year: The rancor on the midterm campaign trail this year has been exhausting, and we’re as… Continue reading →

Letter: George Washington’s words make holiday

Halloween is over and Turkey Day is soon upon us. It would be appropriate if you would publish the memorable words of the president of the United States dealing with Thanksgiving: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and… Continue reading →

Letter: Wind energy plummets from the sky without tax credits

With the clock running out on the current U.S. Congress, lawmakers must turn their attention to the raft of issues they’ve ignored over the past year. Chief among them: whether to revive the Production Tax Credit, a taxpayer-funded handout that in 2012 gouged Louisiana taxpayers for $40 million. That fact alone should be enough for Congress to… Continue reading →

Letter: Keystone expansion not key to La. jobs

How many Keystone XL pipeline jobs are at stake in Louisiana? According to investigations from a respectable Ivy League university, no permanent jobs would be gained by Louisiana. Sean Sweeney is a researcher at Cornell University. When asked about Keystone and jobs in Louisiana, Sweeney laughed and said, “I do not think KXL is passing through… Continue reading →

Our Views: Deaths show need for fire safety

Metro Newspaper Service photo

The deaths of a mother, grandmother and three small children in a New Orleans house fire are a terrible reminder of how quickly flames and smoke can claim human lives. That reality looms especially large during the winter months, when space heaters and fireplaces increase the risk of mishaps. The New Orleans deaths, though, underscore… Continue reading →

Letter: Laws protect voting rights of those with disabilities

I was disappointed but not surprised to read Glen Wesley’s letter to the editor on Nov. 21 about being denied the right to vote. The Advocacy Center has sought to protect the voting rights of people with disabilities for over a decade; too often, we hear about experiences like Mr. Wesley’s. Both Louisiana and federal laws protect… Continue reading →

Letter: Police trained to shoot at threat disregarding consequences

Regarding the decision in Ferguson, Missouri, there will be repercussions throughout this country. Having been involved in investigating police shootings for a number of years, there is one thing I know is certain: No police officer wants to shoot and kill ANYONE! I don’t know if the officer in Ferguson acted legally or not. If he… Continue reading →

Lanny Keller: The best No. 2 rating, ever

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Advocate Columnist Lanny Keller.

Congratulations, Baton Rouge. You’re No. 2 — behind Lake Charles. Something to celebrate? Yes, in fact, something very suitable for celebration this Thanksgiving. The bouquets to Lake Charles come from Loren Scott, the economics professor-emeritus at LSU, and his team, who produced a two-year forecast for the state’s economy. Scott’s been on this beat for… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Nov. 25, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman.… Continue reading →

Our Views: What hath man wrought?

It is the season of holidays and beheadings. The death of an American aid worker, Peter Kassig, at the hands of the Islamic State terrorists was accompanied by the killing of a dozen Syrian soldiers, captives of fighting in what was once called quaintly the Levant. In Jerusalem, the sanctity of a… Continue reading →

Letter: Home ownership improves lifestyle

The benefits to home ownership are many. Studies have shown that families who own their home experience increased job opportunities, better educational results for their children and more overall stability. As the number of homeowners increases, the amount of blight, crime and overgrown lots decreases. Fewer absentee landlords mean better-maintained properties, which raise our city’s overall… Continue reading →

Our Views: Bringing shame to Tigertown

One of the sobering realities of our national life is that the sports beat and the crime beat too often converge. And that wrongdoing, sadly, can involve not only errant athletes but misguided fans. The LSU community got an unpleasant reminder of that recently when a student went to… Continue reading →

Our Views: UL student’s big break

A little bit of curiosity can go a long way, especially if you’re a student. Just ask Stephen Saltamachia, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette senior majoring in microbiology. While visiting a Lafayette nature reserve, he spotted a carpenter ant queen wandering outside — odd behavior, because ant queens rarely leave their nests.… Continue reading →

Letter: La. can learn from Miss. over teacher retention

On Sept. 16, The Advocate ran an article, “La. Public School Teacher Retirements Remain Up,” positing that veterans of the profession have accelerated their exit rate due to dissatisfaction with the direction our state has taken on public education under the leadership of Gov. Bobby Jindal. At least that is what many school officials think, including Scott Richard,… Continue reading →

Letter: Clearing the air on charter schools

I was recently asked about my opposition to charter schools. I’m not opposed to charter schools as they were originally intended to exist. The original intent of charters was to operate outside the red tape and bureaucracy that traditional public schools face. As a public high school administrator, I’ve often had my hands tied.… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: Big Oil lawsuit survives, so far

Kevin McGill, Associated Press staff, in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Facing opposition from a powerful industry, the governor and many in the Legislature, a New Orleans-area flood board’s lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies seemed doomed early on. But that was roughly 15,000 billable hours ago. That ever-growing number means ever-increasing pressure on opponents of the lawsuit, filed in summer 2013, to let… Continue reading →

James Gill: Former juror still makes no difference

It’s supposed to be a runoff, but it looks more and more like a retrial as Victor Durand, former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ recalcitrant juror, attaches himself to the campaign. Make that the recalcitrant juror from the trial Edwards lost. There was one the first time he went on trial, too — Clifford West — but that, in… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Nov. 23, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Our Views: No reason to ditch Core

When around 800 folks show up at a public meeting, the politicos tend to sit up and take notice. They did recently when that kind of turnout occurred in Moss Bluff, a suburb of Lake Charles, where state Rep. Brett Geymann has been agitating against Common Core school standards. He has… Continue reading →

Our Views: Vote early, but wisely

Today is not Election Day, at least with capital letters. That will be Dec. 6, when the runoffs for U.S. Senate and other offices around the state are held. Today, however, is the start of early voting. That means that it is already Election Day for the thousands of voters who opt to get ahead and cast… Continue reading →

Letters: The big fail on Keystone

Rarely will you see a politician so obviously try to save their own skin — and fail so publicly. On Nov. 12, Sen. Mary Landrieu walked onto the floor of the U.S. Senate and demanded that Congress approve a bill green-lighting the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Her transparent… Continue reading →

Letter: Golf course/parking lot swap makes no sense

I recently read an article in The Advocate that TAF/LSU might destroy the LSU Golf Course and convert it into a parking lot. Really? Let’s think about this idea. In exchange for a beautiful oasis on the increasingly cluttered campus, the source of recreation for hundreds of students and area residents, a second home for a number of… Continue reading →

Letter: Cassidy needs to address his own image

Although Mary Landrieu’s support of “Obamacare” has proven not to be very successful and a waste of taxpayer dollars, she is correct in challenging Bill Cassidy. She has much more experience in office, and Cassidy seems to do a better job at dodging his own criticism than formulating a logical argument in debates. The people… Continue reading →

Ed Pratt: The cold ‘cold case’ at Southern

I was very busy last week, so I didn’t get to write about an injustice that I have written about several times. But I have made time this week. Forty-two years ago last Sunday, on Nov. 16, 1972, two unarmed, innocent Southern University students were shot to death by Baton Rouge law enforcement officers on Southern University’s… Continue reading →

A Thanksgiving to the people of Lafayette

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Superintendent Pat Cooper answers questions from Dennis Blunt, the attorney hired by the school board to investigate Cooper, during Wednesday's hearing at board offices. The investigation resulted in five charges being brought against Cooper.

I want very much to take an opportunity to thank the people of Lafayette for allowing me to serve you for the past three years as your school superintendent. I make this my home now and will continue to be engaged with the community and especially with education of our children and youth. Lafayette is a community with… Continue reading →

Our Views: New look for DPW

Pity the poor voters of East Baton Rouge Parish who have to plow through the legalese of the proposition on the Dec. 6 ballot relating to the city-parish Plan of Government. It’s almost unreadable, but having looked behind the opaque language, we believe parish voters ought to agree to the proposal. The… Continue reading →

Our Views: Back tax for airport

W riter Robert Heinlein quipped that there is nothing so permanent as a temporary government emergency. Yet, in Lafayette this year, there is the very rarest of birds — a temporary tax that is actually temporary. It is a novel idea, although not unique: A 1-cent sales tax will be levied in… Continue reading →

Letter: Frustrations at polling place

The recent election was the first time I was voting at a new polling place. My polling place is now located in Lafreniere Park. While I did receive a voter card in the mail, it contained the name of a building in the park that I was not familiar with and the address of the park… Continue reading →

Letter: Three minutes in the voting booth isn’t long enough

I am outraged by the Louisiana statute that limits voters to three minutes in the voting booth. The recent New Orleans ballot contained two national races, seven judgeships, 14 constitutional amendments and several other items depending on a voter’s precinct. That leaves a voter, at most, 7.8 seconds to consider each item.… Continue reading →

Letter: Education putting Louisiana on the map once again

The fact that a charter school advocacy group ranked Louisiana second nationally in growth, performance and innovation is putting our state back on the map when it comes to education. Usually, when people hear about New Orleans or Louisiana, the first thing that comes to mind is crime. Although, Louisiana’s future is brightening… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Nov. 20, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

James Gill: Officials waving a big unconstitutional stick

JFK was still alive, so New Orleans DA Jim Garrison had not yet had a chance to earn his global reputation as a crackpot. He did, however, come across as a bit of a wildman when he called a news conference in 1962 to denounce the city’s criminal court judges as lazy, incompetent and… Continue reading →

Our Views: Just about perfection

Adam Knapp

Before Adam Knapp began to riff through a long series of slides about the regional economy, the president of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber said that he wanted to focus on data and not boosterism. That turned out to be something of a challenge, because the numbers are so positive — even more so than last… Continue reading →

Letter: U.S. should help fight Ebola

High fever, excruciating headache, diarrhea, vomiting and finally hemorrhaging: symptoms describing the Ebola virus, which has killed thousands of people in West Africa since March. Americans all over read the headlines, rolled their eyes and proceeded with the rest of their day, appreciative that the virus affected “them” and not “us.” I mean, why should we… Continue reading →

Letter: Gill snooty, ill-informed on concealed carry

James Gill’s “Bullets & Biscuits” column is not even thinly disguised propaganda, and it reminds me why I rarely read The Advocate anymore except to follow LSU football. Gill’s preachy opinion piece garners nary a laugh, but then again, it wasn’t intended to be funny. It was designed to malign us “ignorant rednecks” using the typical… Continue reading →