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Our Views: A lesson for session

A state district judge has laid to rest a controversial retirement boost to two state troopers, one of them the State Police superintendent. Judge Janice Clark agreed with an attorney for state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, who filed suit challenging the new law. The lawsuit and Clark’s decision was not challenged by the troopers’ retirement… Continue reading →

Our Views: Two fans back Gulf

Photo provided by Liz Ammirato -- Rory and Maeve McCracken, ages 16 and 11, created Kids Love the Gulf in response to the BP oil Spill. The siblings have raised $8,000 to help marine animals and have published an ABC book about the Gulf for children.

You’re not too young to make a difference, as two Louisiana schoolchildren proved after the disastrous 2010 oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. The brother-and-sister duo of Rory and Maeve McCracken were raised by parents with a love of the water and, particularly, diving. So after the BP leak, the project of a T-shirt to… Continue reading →

Letter: Research contradicts assertion about nature of sexuality

In his recent letter, “Ordinance not fair to everyone,” Mr. Gene Mills claimed that “…sexual attraction, sexual conduct and transgender behavior...” are not “…inborn, involuntary, immutable and morally neutral characteristics…” as are a person’s race, gender and national origin. He appears to believe that being homosexual, bisexual or transgender is a personal choice, since he believes that the… Continue reading →

Letter: Common Core math example was telling

Any reader who had difficulty comprehending a recent letter captioned “New math requires actual comprehension,” is not alone. The writer, Ben Lanier-Nabor, devotes several hundred words to illustrate and tout how the teaching of math problems such as “11+9” is handled in Common Core-style curriculums. Trouble is, a gold star need be conferred upon anyone who actually comprehends… Continue reading →

Letter: Humane agencies did not get equitable share of funds

In response to the recent “Building a better humane society” article: Our humane society is grateful for the story, written by Christine Gacharna, that described our Barkitecture Competition (dog house building contest) and pledge walk at Lakeside Mall, sponsored by First Bank and Trust. In the story, I was quoted as saying that after Hurricane… Continue reading →

Letter: Social Secruity shifts with population

Seventy-nine years ago, when Social Security was signed into law, there were over 40 workers contributing to the fund for each retiree, and the average life span was 60 years. Today, there are approximately four workers contributing for each retiree, and, with people retiring earlier and living much longer, how long will it be before one contributing… Continue reading →

Inside Report: Uninsured care causes problems for hospitals

The Jindal administration came to the rescue recently when Baton Rouge General Medical Center-Mid City decided to close its emergency room because of mounting red ink. The General had long warned that the growing number of uninsured patients receiving emergency medical treatment — and not paying — threatened the hospital’s financial viability. Hospital… Continue reading →

Our Views: In records, a lesson

If it was silly of critics of the East Baton Rouge schools to call an investigation into student grade records the same as Watergate, what do we call it? RecordGate it’s probably not, and when outgoing Superintendent Bernard Taylor Jr. seeks a new job somewhere next year, he’ll probably point to this as evidence of… Continue reading →

James Gill: A business plan for Fair Grounds

It had been a splendid dinner, and I was in expansive mood as my manservant drove me home. “After you’ve put the car in the garage, bring me a glass of that 1915 Armagnac, Joe,” I said. “I’ll be on the bench at the end of the pergola.” The views of the… Continue reading →

Letter: Skilled leaders can guide victims of abuse

What is missing from the stories about Scott Rogers is the question of whether he might have had an abusive childhood himself that would have damaged any human being. This vital question is most important for the rest of us to explore, and we need spiritual healers and compassionate, mature, capable mental health leaders to explain… Continue reading →

Letter: Infringing on First Amendment rights through religious ban

A theocrat’s recent letter turned the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment upside down. It prevents Christians from using government to force people to participate in or financially support any religious activities. Yet theocrats like the letter writer argue it really means a government official can make everyone in a public government meeting participate in a prayer, invariably… Continue reading →

Letter: Don’t blame Cassidy for Social Security, Medicare problems

I read the recent letter by John Sanders with interest because changes in Social Security and Medicare directly affect my wife and me. I understand Mr. Sanders’ concern, but he’s blaming the wrong people for the problem. Mr. Sanders is obviously a backer of Sen. Mary Landrieu because he seems to think Rep. Bill Cassidy, her Republican… Continue reading →

Our Views: A bloat in the laws

This is an anniversary year for one of the landmarks in recent Louisiana history, adoption of the 1974 Louisiana Constitution. The previous constitution, written in 1922, had ballooned over decades of amendments into a long and unwieldy document. Voters had begun to rebel, turning down proposed amendments en masse, without regard to the… Continue reading →

Letter: Community support needed

The Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council is a coalition of independent education stakeholder groups with a common commitment to improve overall academic achievement, eliminate the achievement gap and increase the high school graduation rates of all students. Many of LaPESC’s current members have been working hand-in-hand since LaPESC was founded in 2009. Our shared vision is… Continue reading →

Letter: Using scripture to justify oppression

A local pastor, applauding the recent decision against same-sex marriage in Louisiana, claims that Scripture compels that decision. He was quoted in your paper as saying “We are confined and constrained by what has been set forth by God.” Similar claims have been made in the past to support mistreatment of other groups of people. For example,… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: Honor Constitution by funding public defenders

John Burkhart

On this date in 1787, the blueprint for a young nation was signed as the Constitutional Convention came to a close in Philadelphia. Two hundred twenty-seven years later, we still abide by and cherish the rights granted by our Constitution, not least our freedom of speech and right to bear arms. For a group so wary… Continue reading →

Inside Report: Rogers’ death leaves big questions behind

How local TV personality Scott Rogers kept his sordid past in England a secret from everyone in the United States — including federal and state officials — has been a lingering question since his slaying on Aug. 27. On the day Rogers’ son-in-law Mathew Hodgkinson apparently shot… Continue reading →

Our Views: A tough pledge to keep

With the American people rightly aware of how tough it is to get out of foreign entanglements, they know that a test is ahead to fulfill President Barack Obama’s pledge of “no safe havens” for terrorists. The direct threat of the Islamic State extremists to this country is not great, but the fragile… Continue reading →

Our Views: More than a lobbyist

The death of the heir to one of the more famous names in Louisiana politics also comes at a high-water mark for the Washington lobbying culture that Thomas Hale Boggs Jr. exemplified. Tommy Boggs was the creator of one of Washington’s powerhouse lobbying firms. Having been raised in Washington by two political parents,… Continue reading →

Letter: Healthy IT means a healthy state

In support of National Health IT Week, observed Sept. 15-19, the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing health information technology in our state, aims to provide residents with information about what the increased use of electronic health records and health information exchange could mean for health care. An EHR is an… Continue reading →

Letter: Keep politics out of the doctor’s office

Louisiana’s doctors are protesting the government’s intrusion into health care. These protests aren’t taking place in the streets, however. They’re taking place behind the scenes — and they’re affecting how Louisianans receive health care. I have personally witnessed this protest develop. When I graduated medical school in 1986, medical decisions were made predominantly between doctor and patient. Today,… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: La’s economy benefits from the Export-Import Bank

Michael Hecht

In recent years, Greater New Orleans’ — and Louisiana’s — economy has been stronger than ever. The region was recently ranked the top region in the country for export growth by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and in 2012, the state was ranked the top state for business growth by Business Facilities. Our low-cost environment, renowned culture and… Continue reading →

In Toon With Walt: We have a winner!

Wow! When it comes to politics you folks really get it! With over 180 entries, I believe these were some of the best punch lines we’ve seen since we started this contest. Short, punchy, witty, clever and Fuuuuuuny! This time, there were several clever, mini song parodies as well as jokes about BP money, mud… Continue reading →

Our Views: A limit to big plans

The health care industry is growing in Louisiana as elsewhere, and that trend promises to continue. New Orleans boasts an expanding biomedical presence, and the increasing health care sector in Baton Rouge is provoking more long-range planning for the complex of hospitals in the Essen Lane/Bluebonnet Boulevard area. It’s the capital region’s equivalent of the… Continue reading →

Letter: Social Security answers needed

My letter is in response to Randy Hayden’s recent letter. When Social Security started 79 years ago, it totally belonged to the people who paid into it. Starting with the LBJ administration, Congress suddenly discovered a “big cookie jar,” namely Social Security. They started borrowing a “cookie” at the time and filling the jar with IOUs. Why… Continue reading →

Letter: ‘New math’ requires actual comprehension

I read with interest Quin Hillyer’s “Common Core’s Fuzzy Math, Other Problems.” Maybe Hillyer and other smart critics of the Core are right to claim that the new standards will obstruct instead of improve learning, that the creators of the standards and aligned instructional materials are disconnected from pedagogical realities. I myself have some problems… Continue reading →

Letter: Government not the true culprit here

The growing influence of special interests is imperiling our democracy. A healthy democratic government consists of an informed electorate capable of influencing and shaping policies that benefit the whole of society. A well-informed citizenry is aware that the social and economic fabric of this nation is much more resilient when there is maximum happiness that is shared… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: Longevity a central issue in U.S. Senate race

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s bid for a fourth term could be determined by how the remaining undecided voters view the Democratic senator’s longevity in Washington. Do they consider her 18 years a power-building time that gives her significant clout, beneficial to her state and its needs? Or do they consider her years in the nation’s capital too… Continue reading →

James Gill: Party endorsement makes good comedy

The Democratic State Central Committee is not a larky kind of outfit, so its latest news release couldn’t have been a hoax. It sure read like one, though. The committee had “voted overwhelming” to endorse Edwin Edwards for Congress. As if endorsing an ex-con weren’t enough of a joke, we read that Edwards completes “a slate of… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Edwards doesn’t help Democratic brand

The first thing Edwin Edwards told audience members at last week’s congressional forum before the Central Chamber of Commerce was that they were right, and he was wrong. Edwards said he’d had serious reservations when the city incorporated in 2005 and created its own school district separate and apart from East Baton Rouge Parish. But seeing what they’ve… Continue reading →

Our Views: Heavy toll for highways

People in Louisiana are upset with the condition of highways and bridges. But it’s difficult to convince people that we get what we pay for. The buying power of the state’s gasoline tax — 20 cents a gallon for general highway and bridge construction and repair — has been declining for years. That’s… Continue reading →

Guest Column: Louisiana’s students face historic school year, if politicians can stay out of the way

Every new school year starts with great excitement and anticipation for students, teachers and parents alike. This year will carry special significance throughout much of the country, including Louisiana, as schools complete the transition to the Common Core standards. This spring, students statewide will, for the first time, take the PARCC test, a next-generation exam aligned to the… Continue reading →

Our Views: What a time to forget

To have Edwin W. Edwards flaunting your party’s label on a ballot is disreputable. For the Democratic Party to support him is degrading. We take comfort in the fact that the decision of the Democratic State Central Committee was not unanimous, even if the body voted “overwhelmingly” for the endorsement. The… Continue reading →