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Our Views: Some kick in the race for better public education

If Louisiana seems far back in the pack, the race for bettering public education is one where the state is showing some kick in its stride. And if this race is a marathon, not a sprint, the recent successes in Louisiana’s high school graduation rates should be applauded as building toward better results… Continue reading →

Lanny Keller: A new commuter line makes sense for Baton Rouge to Crescent City

The above headline is wrong, if you talk to people in the transportation funding world. The “commuter” part that is, not the making-sense part. That’s because cobbling together funding for the passenger train service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is dependent on the rules of various federal programs. Intercity rail is a different category, apparently, than… Continue reading →

Guest column: Louisiana is contributing in the mission to Mars

Todd May

Getting humans to Mars and back will be one of the most difficult undertakings humanity has ever taken. But we are up to the challenge. Louisiana plays a critical part and has made human space exploration possible since the beginning of the space program. Fifty-five years ago this week, the first American to fly in space was… Continue reading →

Letters: No humor found in Bizarro cartoon

I enjoy working the puzzles in The Advocate and usually look at the comics to the side. I was appalled at Bizarro in the paper on April 22. It shows a drawing of “God” on his throne in the clouds as an ape. He is speaking to a human dressed in a robe saying, “I created you… Continue reading →

Letters: Sanitation issues out of control at Jazz Fest

I have attended Jazz Fest for the last time. Beautiful weather, great food, fabulous entertainment. If you can get near any of it. Lines for beer, water, etc., are out of control. It takes 30 minutes to get anything. By 2 p.m. Saturday, the portolets are almost full to the top. Urinals are full… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Perhaps hard to believe, but there's one set of ex-Gov. Bobby Jindal’s ideas still in play in Louisiana

If there’s one thing that seems to unite the warring factions that make up the state’s political class, it’s the firm belief that many of former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s policies should be undone. Legislators, Republican and Democratic alike, are in the process of enthusiastically passing bills that can be read as direct rebukes to the former… Continue reading →

Our Views: On 70th anniversary of 'All the King’s Men,' a reminder of Huey Long's continued influence on Louisiana politics

All The King's Men

Even if a statue of Huey Pierce Long didn’t tower over the State Capitol, his continuing presence in Louisiana’s political culture would be vivid enough. Long centralized power in state government, meaning that local communities still come to Baton Rouge to fight for resources rather than raising them for themselves. That’s sharpened… Continue reading →

Grace Notes: Jurors found former St. Tammany District Attorney Walter Reed clearly crossed fuzzy line on use of political donations

Big-time prosecutor turned federal defendant Walter Reed spent nearly six hours on the witness stand Friday, explaining to the jury how a vast array of personal items and events he’d charged to his campaign fund, in some cases to funnel money to his co-defendant grown son through inflated bills, were all proper under a broad state ethics law… Continue reading →

Letters: Information on global warming still lacking

The April 26 edition of The Advocate included an interesting article in which the researchers had concluded an increase of two weeks in the growing season along the Mississippi Delta over the past three decades. My friends and others have concluded over the years that I did indeed fall off a turnip truck,… Continue reading →

Letters: Bill offers crucial support to caregivers in families

I have served as a caregiver for my mother, and I know the many challenges caregivers face daily. My mother, as she aged, suffered complications from a stroke, and she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. As the family caregiver, I was responsible for seeing that she took her medicine, even giving B12 shots, along with the many other… Continue reading →

Grace Notes: No surprise that Gov. John Bel Edwards’ education bills stalled

Gov. John Bel Edwards can argue that he has a mandate to do several things. Fixing the budget mess tops the list. This, more than any other substantive issue, dominated the debate during his victorious campaign last fall. Right behind were several related priorities, from rebuilding public investment in higher education to expanding Medicaid to putting Louisiana’s… Continue reading →

Our Views: Starting Monday, let Common Core in Louisiana roll on

Not with a bang but with a whimper: The overheated agitation against Common Core, new and higher standards for public school classrooms, appears to have subsided for this year. About 300,000 public schools students Monday begin taking what used to be called the Common Core tests — without any widespread… Continue reading →

Louisiana pastor: My argument against proposed ‘Pastor Protection Act’

Shane Kastler

Recently, the state House of Representatives passed House Bill 597, also known as the “Pastor Protection Act.” As a Louisiana pastor, you might think I would be excited about this bill, but I am not. While I agree with the basic philosophy of the bill — which states that pastors who refuse to… Continue reading →

Rheta Johnson: The spirit of New Orleans can’t be dampened

Rain falls differently here, in entire puddles, not individual drops. Nobody stops. Not for a little rain. The homeless street youth shrugs and shakes the wet from his dreadlocks, the bag ladies pull their plastic ponchos over tousled heads, the tourists squeal and run for the nearest bar. The day before New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival… Continue reading →

Jeff Sadow: Democrats change tune on contract limits

My, what a difference a couple of years can make for Democrats in Louisiana’s House of Representatives, for whom the litmus test for legislation depends largely on whether their party occupies the Governor’s Mansion. Last week, when no-party state Rep. Dee Richard stumped for his House Bill 74 in front of the House Appropriations Committee,… Continue reading →

James Gill: Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser's first 100 days not exactly filled with success; more like 'idiocy'

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser testifies on SB148 concerning monuments in the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Let’s see if you can fill in the blank in this headline: “Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser’s first 100 days filled with. ...” You probably think it’s too easy, but, no, the answer is not “idiocy.” Before you guess again, let me explain that I was quoting Nungesser’s own news release,… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Decoding Mayor Mitch Landrieu's New Orleans violence speech

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu speaks about violence will displaying a photo of Ka'Nard Allen at Tulane University's Dixon Hall in New Orleans, La. Wednesday, April 27, 2016. Allen lost his cousin 5-year-old cousin Briana Allen at his birthday party to a gun violence and he was also wounded in the neck, his father was killed by gun violence, and Ka'Nard was also grazed by a gun in the face during a mass shooting at a second line.

From the outside, it’s not entirely clear what New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu was getting at when he made what was billed as a major address on violence in New Orleans last week. Was the main goal of the emotional hourlong speech at Tulane University to explain how intractable the problem is? How it’s… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: A man buries his daughter, then his wife

For about 10 minutes last Saturday, I stared at Richard “Cooter” King, a man I have grown to admire over the years. My admiration is even stronger now. This is a column about love, loss and a man’s strength. I don’t see 84-year-old King very often, probably about twice a year at the most. But… Continue reading →

Letters: Real ID is a real good idea, but who’s going to pay for it?

The letter from Jim Harper regarding Real ID in the April 22 edition of The Advocate was a little misleading. Real ID was passed by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2005 during the Bush administration. It requires that air travelers carry a form of ID that complies with the requirements of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration (both… Continue reading →

Letters: A secession suggestion to solve the problems of New Orleans

The latest brouhaha from the Louisiana attorney general on the “sanctuary cities” issue and the meddling by the Legislature on the issue of the Civil War monuments presents New Orleans with an interesting dilemma. It’s nice to see they’re paying attention, but it’s really none of their business. Regardless of where you fall on the… Continue reading →

Letters: Disturbing display of historical ignorance

I happened to be at the National World War II Museum recently showing around a former Middle East adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. We were accompanied by another museum member. We were stopped by a gentleman who had some questions for us. He asked, “When was Pearl Harbor?” Followed by, “Didn’t we drop the atomic bomb… Continue reading →

Grace Notes: Is it too much to ask Airbnb hosts to meet basic safety measures?

Anyone who follows politics, particularly of the conservative variety, is bound to be familiar with certain Big Government bogeymen, from the all-powerful Nanny State to bureaucrats out to regulate people’s lives. But Big Fire Marshal? Really? State Rep. Helena Moreno, a New Orleans Democrat who, like many other city officials, is trying to… Continue reading →

Our Views: A caution to renters over safety of short-term stays

In a legislative committee, the good intentions of safety have collided with the worry about regulation and red tape, but there also is a healthy debate about the impact of short-term rentals over the Internet for full-time innkeepers. The panel eventually shot down legislation that would have required people who… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Here's why Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards shifted right on food stamps policy

AP file photo: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards

During his winning campaign for governor last fall, John Bel Edwards sharply criticized outgoing Gov. Bobby Jindal for trying to cut benefits provided through the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, commonly referred to as food stamps. Once elected, Edwards successfully petitioned President Barack Obama’s administration to reverse Jindal’s move and keep the benefits in… Continue reading →

Letters: Let’s update, not remove, New Orleans monuments

Advocate file photo by MATTHEW HINTON--The sun moves behind the statue of Confederate Robert E. Lee at Lee Circle in New Orleans shortly after the city council voted 6-1 to remove the Lee statue, a statue of Confederate Jefferson Davis, Confederate P.G.T. Beauregard, and a monument memorializing a White League white supremacist uprising, in New Orleans, La.

As someone who can see both sides of the New Orleans monument removal issue, I would like to propose what I think is a reasonable solution to the controversy. The monuments are a part of our history, honoring causes and people that were once respected and admired. Removing them will not erase the… Continue reading →

Our Views: Punished for a conscience behind bars

Amid all the self-dealing of the Burl Cain empire at Angola, an inmate appears to have been the ethical conscience of the place. Now, he’s been transferred to a punishment ward at another facility, transparently for blowing the whistle on the officials who have made the Louisiana State Penitentiary into a prison enterprise for the politically connected.… Continue reading →

Letters: Pope’s gesture to refugees not enough

On April 16, Pope Francis, along with the patriarchs of the Orthodox Christian Church and the Church of Greece, visited Syrian refugees on the Greek Island of Lesbos in what was billed as an attempt to highlight the plight of Syrian refugees as the European Union plans to deport the refugees back to Turkey. In a gesture… Continue reading →

Letters: Thomas column correct and hurtful

The Advocate deserves considerable credit for the straight-forward reporting of Cal Thomas in the column “Saudis practice mafia tactics.” It’s an astounding revelation, clearly correct and 100 percent hurtful in every possible way. Come on, Congress, show some real guts for a change; pass the bill with bipartisan support. Allow us as a nation to record our… Continue reading →

James Gill: Gun control plans in New Orleans a misfire

To judge from online comments, gun enthusiasts are frothing at the mouth over an ordinance New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu seems likely to get adopted by the New Orleans City Council. It does not take much to reduce Second Amendment zealots to that condition, and, naturally, they are greatly alarmed when Landrieu and council members claim to… Continue reading →

Guest column: Anti-media attacks have dark history in America

Dane Strother

The press being held in pens at presidential rallies, verbally assaulted, jeered and taunted creates an environment where Donald Trump’s call for loosening libel laws is more than an idle threat. If anyone believes that a full censure of the press cannot happen here in America, one only needs to look here in America to know it can.… Continue reading →

Letters: Don’t put 17 year olds in juvenile system

I recently retired from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office with 28 years of service. Fourteen years of that was either working at juvenile court or in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, which I think makes me qualified to comment on Senate Bill 324 to keep 17-year-olds out of adult jails and place them in a… Continue reading →

Our Views: Uphold Holden’s veto, work on real plan for north Baton Rouge

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden is right to worry about the long-term financial implications of a sweeping ordinance intending to spur economic development in north Baton Rouge. We support his veto of this ordinance, an election-year proposal that we feel needs a good bit more work before it can be considered a realistic approach to community… Continue reading →