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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 →

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 →

Letter: Little done since VA scandal hit

Judging by the headlines, the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs must be over. Few media outlets or politicians have discussed the topic since Congress passed its reform bill in early August. But the problems haven’t been fixed. Louisiana’s veterans — myself included — know this all too well. Benefits and compensation claims at the New… Continue reading →

Letter: Citizens have right to vote on St. George issue

I live in the area where petitions are being circulated in an effort to put a proposal on the ballot regarding the creation of the city of St. George. I have lived in this area for over 41 years and am familiar with the issues involved. While I am yet to decide on whether or not to vote… Continue reading →

Letter: What’s the truth with Common Core?

We see all this talk on Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. David Vitter changing views on Common Core, but what is the truth on Common Core in Louisiana? Does Common Core dumb down education in Louisiana like it does in California and would have in Texas if they had foolishly installed it? According to a Wall Street… Continue reading →

Our Views: Tone deaf on beatings

FILE - In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. A new video that appears to show Ray Rice striking then-fiance Janay Palmer in an elevator last February has been released on a website. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Fans of the New Orleans Saints might well remember the high standard for conduct, and perhaps heavy-handed punishments, from Commissioner Roger Goodell in the Bountygate scandal. If ignorance was no excuse, as Goodell famously said then, he should be held responsible in light of revelations that the NFL may have had possession back… Continue reading →

Letter: Lack of ‘basic knowledge’ exposed

Columnist Billy Gunn says two members of the Lafayette City-Parish Council were pushing a locally produced plan to require any candidate for public office in Louisiana to be tested on their knowledge of the state and federal constitutions. Councilmen William Theriot and Andy Naquin say candidates should prove they have “basic knowledge” of them. May I suggest… Continue reading →

Letter: Let’s survive the sixth season in Louisiana

In Louisiana, it is said that there are five seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter and, of course, hurricane season. I would suggest that there is a sixth season: political season. Although much shorter than a weather-related season, its impact can be just as devastating and destructive. As we enter into another political season, proper preparation is essential to… Continue reading →

Letter: Red light cameras allow no appeals

Recently, I received in the mail a citation for running a red light, from a camera red light enforcement program based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The video’s first frame depicted my car’s license plate, followed by two more frames. Now get this: my brake lights were on and visible in the first frame. I thought you had to… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: Politics threatens levee board reforms

Russel Honre'

After Hurricane Katrina, voters approved a constitutional amendment with 81 percent of the vote statewide — over 90 percent in the New Orleans metro area — to create the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority, a reform levee board of nonpolitical flood experts. To protect this reform, a special nominating committee — not politicians — selects board members.… Continue reading →

Inside Report: Vitter talking to leaders in private

Republican gubernatorial candidate David Vitter has been holding “leadership forums” across the state on issues ranging from higher education to transportation. Vitter, currently in his second term in the U.S. Senate, wants you to know that. The events were publicized by his gubernatorial campaign weeks in advance — time, date, location, attendees, many… Continue reading →

James Gill: Landrieu campaign’s big whopper

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s flacks could have crowed and told the truth at the same time, but that proved too much of a strain. While lies are only to be expected in their line of work, the real pros will try not to be too transparent. You could see through the Landrieu… Continue reading →

Our Views: Long ago, and not

A fireball explodes from one of the World Trade Center towers after a jet airliner crashed into the building Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, in New York. (AP Photo/Carmen Taylor via KHBS/KHOG-TV)

The boys and girls who entered school in September 2001 faced a world altered drastically by the events of 13 years ago today. In the modern world, and certainly as those cohorts of students got older, it was impossible to shield the young from the tragedies of the World Trade Center or the… Continue reading →

Letter: Administration not forthcoming with truth

Once again, the Jindal administration resorts to peddling distortion and disinformation rather than coming clean with the truth. This time we’re writing about the coming increased health care costs to state employees and retirees insured through the Office of Group Benefits. The guest column by Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols in The Advocate on Sept. 4 is… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: Border Games: Playing Politics with Children’s Lives

David C. Aguillard

Thirteen hundred children crossed the U.S. border recently to be reunited with their families in Louisiana, hoping to find safety but landing in the midst of a political power struggle. To some, these “unaccompanied minors” seem to represent President Barack Obama annexing Grand Isle the way Putin took Crimea. To others, the Obama administration appears callous, leaving the… Continue reading →