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Our Views: Optimism on state’s future

Louisiana residents feel slightly better about the state’s future, but that sentiment is far from overwhelming, according to a recent survey released by LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab. We think the new numbers reflect a well-warranted perception among our friends and neighbors that much remains to be done in helping Louisiana reach its promise. Results… Continue reading →

Our Views: Small move on reform

This week brought another report underscoring the fecklessness of Louisiana’s generous subsidies for the motion picture industry. LSU economist Loren Scott weighed in with a report saying that for every dollar Louisiana’s taxpayers give away to Hollywood, the state receives between 18 and 24 cents in tax revenue. Even for government, that’s towering inefficiency. But… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Don’t use Common Core math to count the Core’s deficiencies

Now that Gov. Bobby Jindal is actually engaging the Legislature in his fight against the Common Core (mis-)educational standards, it’s time for a refresher course on why the standards are so misguided. First, though, there’s this: Some usual Jindal allies, such as Speaker Chuck Kleckley, say they particularly object to Jindal’s idea of reverting back… 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 →

Our Views: Audubon art exhibit makes Louisiana proud

**HOLD FOR JENNIFER KAY STORY** In this March 17, 2015 photo, Rebecca Smith, Head, Special Collections at HistoryMiami in Miami, pauses to glance at one of the  Audubon paintings while conducting a tour. When John James Audubon set out to survey the birds of the United States in the early 1800s, people believed the young countrys natural resources were infinite. A new HistoryMiami exhibit showing every image printed for Audubons masterpiece, The Birds of America, evokes the same feeling of fresh abundance. Its believed to be the first exhibition of the entire 435-page portfolio at once. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

More than a century and a half after his death, John James Audubon remains the most famous bird artist in the world. That legacy has strong roots in Louisiana, where Audubon made more pictures for his mammoth “Birds of America” project than any other single place on earth. Those paintings, 435 in all, became the basis… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: How to blend athletic, academic success

Belmont head coach Rick Byrd directs his team against Virginia during the first half of an NCAA college tournament basketball game in the Round of 64 in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, March 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

I’m in the middle of a conversation when my cellphone rings. “Hello, I’m coach Rick Byrd. I’m returning your call.” Rick Byrd is probably one of the best college basketball coaches you’ve never heard of. He’s so good that none of his Belmont University Bruin teams will ever win the NCAA basketball championship. None of his teams… Continue reading →

Letters: ‘Benevolent society,’ ‘social club’ not same in practice or history

In her obituary for Alfred “Bucket” Carter, member of the Young Men’s Olympian Benevolent Association Junior (its formal, chartered name), Katy Reckdahl makes a common mistake confusing the term “benevolent society” with “social aid and pleasure club.” These are two different types of organizations. The Young Men’s Olympian Jr. should be recognized for what it is:… Continue reading →

Letters: Legislature, Jindal inviting state’s doom

On March 24, I attended a Press Club meeting in New Orleans, at which time LSU President F. King Alexander warned that proposed state budget cuts would hurt Louisiana’s business climate. The doomsday proposed budget scenario would be a potential 82 percent state budget cut for LSU. Alexander stated that this would lead to faculty layoffs, tuition increases… Continue reading →

Our Views: Stephen Moret’s take on film industry tax credits

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret speaks at a Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at the Cajundome Convention Center Wednesday in Lafayette.

Stephen Moret is leaving his job as Louisiana’s chief economic development officer to lead the LSU Foundation, so presumably he can be more candid in his views on state tax policy, even when it doesn’t square with the priorities of his current boss, Gov. Bobby Jindal. Maybe that’s why Moret was fairly direct… Continue reading →

Letter: Sending a letter isn’t a treasonous act

This is a reply to Rhonda Browning’s comments of March 21, concerning the 47 senators who sent a letter to the Iranian government. The senators were stating a fact about our rule of law. If a treaty with any nation is not ratified by the Senate, it does not have the weight of law behind it. And yes,… Continue reading →

Letter: Planned Parenthood clinic offers much more to New Orleans than abortions

Regarding your recent story,

Guest commentary: Lack of funding hampering justice in Louisiana

For many Louisianans, the judiciary is most visible to them during election season when campaign signs appear in every neighborhood and on virtually every street corner. Judges or aspiring judges seek from voters the privilege of wearing the robe, serving the people and upholding the Constitution. Other than this high-visibility moment, most of our citizens pay… Continue reading →

Our Views: Donald ‘Boysie’ Bollinger’s gift to National World War II museum credits all of Louisiana

Louisiana’s shipping industry did much to help win World War II, as evidenced by the famous Higgins boats that proved so critical to the Allied victory at D-Day. So it’s fitting that the largest donation ever made to the National World War II Museum, a New Orleans star attraction, should come from former shipbuilding executive Donald “Boysie” Bollinger.… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: Let's save Louisiana money by revamping its criminal justice system

Many ideas have been floated to fill Louisiana’s pending $1.6 billion budget gap. One suggestion, unraised but that should be obvious, is revamping our criminal justice system. The United States leads the world with its incarceration rate while Louisiana has the highest rate in the U.S. We lock up a greater percentage of our own than anywhere else,… Continue reading →

Letter: Schools should push students to excel, not push them out

Currently, Congress is considering bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The new iteration of ESEA must ensure that our schools are safe and equitable, and that our students are able to learn and thrive in positive school climates — but not all versions of the bills pending in Congress are equal. Families and Friends… Continue reading →

Our Views: Cajun food on the launching pad

In this Thursday, March 19, 2015 photo provided by NASA, astronaut Scott Kelly, left, plays pool with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Kelly and Kornienko will travel to the International Space Station to begin a year-long mission living in orbit. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

This week, American astronaut Scott Kelly is scheduled to begin one of the most ambitious projects that NASA, America’s space agency, has ever undertaken. If he’s lucky, he’ll have a little Louisiana cuisine along to help him along. Kelly is slated to hitch a ride Thursday on a Russian spacecraft that will take him to the… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: FEMA asks Louisiana to do the impossible — or else

Last fall, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a draft proposal that will require Louisiana to do the impossible or face the loss of disaster relief funds. Specifically, state governments will be required to assess the risk of future disasters in a changing climate. FEMA has solicited public comments and will, as per usual, ignore most… Continue reading →

Letter: Commissioners pursued case against oil and gas industry with intent to see it through

Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East Commissioners Stephen Estopinal, Paul Kemp, Rick Luettich, Wilton Tilly and Louis Wittie would like to vigorously dispute recent portrayals that SLFPAE is unwillingly trapped into continuing litigation against the many oil and gas companies that are undeniably responsible for land loss within our authority and more broadly across southern Louisiana. Since the… Continue reading →

Our Views: New Orleans-area residents should expect full review of violent airport incident to learn from how it was handled

The ramp to departures is seen blocked off by emergency vehicles  at the New Orleans International Airport, Friday, March 20, 2015, in Kenner, La. Richard White sprayed a TSA agent in the face with wasp killer then slashed a second guard with a machete before a third agent shot him three times at a security checkpoint in the New Orleans international airport Friday. (AP Photos/Jonathan Bachman)

In the aftermath of a violent incident at New Orleans’ major airport, there’s anxiety and puzzlement, but also relief. This is a terrible tragedy that, truth be told, could have been a lot worse. Richard White, the apparently troubled 63-year-old assailant, attacked security agents at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport on Friday night with a machete and… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Louisiana lawmakers appear to be reaching their limits with Gov. Bobby Jindal

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Remember all those lessons from grade school about the separation of powers? You know, the ones about how the executive and legislative branches of government are supposed to be independent and co-equal, part of a system of checks and balances designed to make sure that no one branch amasses too much control?… Continue reading →

Letter: Same ‘ole’ attacks from liberals

More of the same ole, same ole from liberal Steve McMurray in the recent Advocate. McMurray attacks conservative columnist Rich Lowry not with facts, figures and reason but with the tried and true liberal use of personal insults and insinuation. Lowry is critical of President Barack Obama’s policy, ideology and critical decisions just like millions of other… Continue reading →

Letter: U.S. House of Representatives didn’t have a choice

It seems to me that the U.S. House had three options how to proceed regarding the amnesty/Department of Homeland Security funding matter: 1) Block President Barack Obama’s illegal executive order in the courts. A federal judge has done just that. So far so good on this front. 2) Attach riders to the funding bill for… Continue reading →

Letter: Do I pass standards test?

I took the challenge and tried to answer the three test questions on the front page of the March 16, 2015 Advocate. I made it through third- and fourth-grade OK, but apparently I would not pass seventh-grade by today’s standards. I answered the seventh-grade question, “Place the three friends’ reading rates in order from greatest to least,”… Continue reading →

Letter: Reviewer’s credentials prompted

On behalf of the Louisiana theater community, I ask that The Advocate’s not-so-good “reviewer,” George Morris, present his credentials to his readers. I, for one, was not aware that viewing the film “Weekend at Bernie’s” was qualification enough to write for a “serious” newspaper. Evan Roider professional music director/pianist Baton Rouge… Continue reading →

Our Views: Moral case not there to accommodate parish governments on inventory tax

The whining of local governments, getting undeserved fat checks indirectly from the state, cannot be entirely disregarded by the Legislature when it meets to consider the fate of the inventory tax credit. It is part of a larger problem of state-local relations in government. That unhappy relationship needs marriage counseling. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget plan… Continue reading →

Letter: Instead of violence, love God, one another

Violence seems to have become the norm in our society today (including the U.S.). In Bible verses John 13:34, John 15:12 and John 15:17, God commands us to love one another. The dictionary defines “command” as an authoritative order. God wasn’t suggesting that it may be a good thing if we would love one another, he ordered us… Continue reading →

Letter: Democrats hypocritical in Iran letter criticism

The Democratic Party, with national media support, is piling on the Republican Party. A Republican senator, Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, with the support of 46 other Republican politicians, posted on his website an open letter to Iran. The letter detailed the difficulties inherent in negotiating agreements with a president who does not enjoy the support of his Legislature… Continue reading →

Our Views: Finding the roots of 'structural deficit' in Louisiana

In many parts of Louisiana, we’ve seen years of relative prosperity since the stock market crash of 2008. Recovery is somewhat shadowed now by the low price of oil, which has hurt drilling and oilfield services in parts of the state. No one blames that on Gov. Bobby Jindal, nor should they. But many folks in… Continue reading →

Political Horizons: Need cash now? La. looks at selling tobacco settlement

Please forgive putting that catchy “877-CASH-NOW” jingle in mind, but the Jindal administration is basically singing that the multibillion-dollar structured settlement with Big Tobacco is their money and they need cash now. Nobody pays dollar-for-dollar on these transactions that turn settlements paid out over years into immediate cash. But Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols… Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Tax reform can’t wait another year

Louisiana’s system of taxes and budget desperately needs some short-term tourniquets to stem the gaping wound of a $1.6 billion deficit — but the system also needs long-term reforms, and the effort ought to start this year. A large part of Louisiana’s long-term budget problem, which will require another whole column to discuss, involves the state’s practice… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Louisiana's GOP governor hopefuls are showing up in unexpected places ... to court Democrats

Pictured from left, David Vitter, Jay Dardenne, Scott Angelle and John Bel Edwards

If Louisiana had a typical party primary system, Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards would be talking to Democrats right now, and Republicans David Vitter, Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne would be making their case to GOP voters. That’s not the way things work in the open primary system, of course. One dynamic is that, while Democrats… Continue reading →