Tag: Louisiana

Starvation is Better

See how fast your head hits the desk while reading this story:

Louisiana’s State Health Department forced a homeless shelter to destroy $8,000 worth of deer meat because it was donated from a hunter organization.

KTBS-TV reports that the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission lost 1,600 pounds of venison because the state’s Health Department doesn’t recognize Hunters for the Hungry, an organization that allows hunters to donate any extra game to charity.

“We didn’t find anything wrong with it,” Rev. Henry Martin told KTBS. “It was processed correctly, it was packaged correctly.”

Hunters for the Hungry is not some new thing. They’ve been doing this for years. They donate extra deer meat to a licensed slaughterhouse, which then distributes it. But, after hearing some complaints, the Department decided they didn’t know where the meat was coming from. God only knows what the hunters did to that meat before donating it! So they forced the homeless shelter to dump it and pour bleach all over it.

Yes. Bleach.

Rarely do we see such a perfect illustration of government thinking. If it is not mandatory, it must be forbidden. If meat comes from a source that they haven’t regulated, well, no one can eat it. Not even the homeless.

Idiots. Cruel idiots.

Jindal Strikes Again

You know, I’m really starting to like Bobby Jindal:

Gov. Bobby Jindal is proposing to eliminate Louisiana’s income and corporate taxes and pay for those cuts with increased sales taxes, the governor’s office confirmed Thursday. The governor’s office has not yet provided the details of the plan.

“The bottom line is that for too long, Louisiana’s workers and small businesses have suffered from having a state tax structure that is too complex and that holds back economic prosperity,” Jindal said in a statement released by his office. “It’s time to change that so people can keep more of their own money and foster an environment where businesses want to invest and create good-paying jobs.”

I spent five years in Texas, which does not have an income tax on either people or corporations (that’s as opposed to Pennsylvania, where I have both a state and local income tax). It was fantastic. It not only made Texas one of the most friendly places for business to move, including a Toyota plant that opened nearby; it meant that you only paid the taxes you wanted. If you saved your money, you didn’t pay taxes. If you spent it, you paid. And Texas was fairly generous with tax holidays to help families with school kids. A sales tax does have a tendency to be regressive since the poor spend a larger fraction of their income than the rich. But that’s usually balanced out by other taxes (property, franchise, etc).

This would be great for Louisiana. It would encourage businesses to move there, it would remove the deadweight loss of the tax system and it would probably work even better than it does in Texas because of the tourism in New Orleans.

Let’s hope that the legislature acts on this. It could be yet another lifeline to a state that badly needs them.

A Setback for Louisiana

As you may recall, Bobby Jindal has started a large voucher program for Louisiana schools. I’ve expressed support for this, even though some schools eligible for vouchers are teaching creationism. My point is that if it’s a choice between schools that don’t teach evolution and schools that don’t teach anything, that’s not really a choice. And it’s absurd to take some of the more nutty religious schools and claim this represents the entire system.

Yesterday, a Republican judge ruled the program unconstitutional. But it appears to be a much narrower ruling than the Left was hoping for (and thinks it is):

Kelley said the method the Jindal administration, state education leaders and lawmakers used to pay for the voucher program violates state constitutional provisions governing the annual education funding formula, called the Minimum Foundation Program or MFP.

“The MFP was set up for students attending public elementary and secondary schools and was never meant to be diverted to private educational providers,” Kelley wrote in a 39-page ruling.

Kelley, a Republican, didn’t rule on whether it’s appropriate to spend state tax dollars on private school tuition, leaving open the possibility for lawmakers to pay for the program in a different way. His decision was narrowly focused on the financing mechanism chosen by the GOP governor and approved by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and lawmakers.

Note what he did not do: he did not rule that vouchers can not be done because they go to religious schools, an issue the Supreme Court already ruled on in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris. So this has nothing to do with fundamentalism, evolution or religion. It is a matter of fiscal law.

I’m not a lawyer, least of all one in Louisiana, so I don’t know if Kelley is right on this. I suspect, given the narrowness of the ruling, he is right and the Louisiana legislature is going to have to find another way to do this (and provoke an entirely new spate of cartel-defending lawsuits).

What is striking, however, is the glee with which this ruling has been received on a number of Left wing blogs. The writers don’t really seem to care what this means for the rotten Louisiana school system (which actually spends more per student than neighboring states). All they seem to care about is that this is a defeat for Bobby Jindal and the evil religious nutbags.

I do think the critics make one valid point: vouchers are not a “magic bullet” that can cure our schools. In the end, the most important factor is having parents who are involved and committed to their child’s education. But I do think a voucher system gives those parents who are involved more power and leverage over the system. Not power over the teachers, mind you, who need some independence; but power over the over-arching administrative nightmare makes public schools difficult for students, parents and teachers.

Louisiana Considers Secession to Delight of Non-Residents

If you’re not following Victoria Jackson on Facebook (yes, her), you really need to.  She reads WND and believes it so you don’t have to.

Some intrepid people in Louisiana have submitted a petition to the White House to let their state secede from the Union.  Again.   It’s stupid, of course, because if they meet their quota, the White House will just say “no” and the president will no doubt take the opportunity to make a funny joke at the expense of people who dislike him.  And the press corps will laugh along and hoot at how stupid red state people are.  It’s already comical because 90% of the signatures I see on there already are from outside Louisiana and many are in blue states. 

Maybe this would be the good compromise Seattle Outcast was after: Let Louisiana out and let Puerto Rico in so we don’t have to change the flag. 

Up to you if you want to sign or not.  If you do choose to, I’d like to know why you did it.

UPDATE: This post has been getting some search engine attention so I’m going to seriously address the questions I’m seeing.

These petitions mean absolutely nothing.  Even if the White House approves such a thing, your state would still need to hold a referendum or pass an ordinance of secession in its state legislature to finalize it.

None of this is serious.  The position of the federal government is that the United States is indivisible.  I’ll refer you to the Supreme Court case Texas v. White.   Any attempt to secede from the US by any state or group of states would certainly lead to the federal government intervening and arresting every state official responsible.

We had the Civil War because the Confederate states voted to secede and President Lincoln chose to stop them from doing so with military force.  There isn’t any reason to think Obama would do any differently, really.  Peaceful secession is simply out of the question at this time, with or without a petition. 

Save your state some embarrassment and ignore these petitions.  Let’s get a Constitutional Convention going instead.

Competition Will Not Be Tolerated

This surfaced a few weeks ago, but it’s worth bringing up:

In Louisiana, there’s a new voucher system to help poor kids get out of failing schools. Students who come from households with income below 250 percent of the poverty line who are enrolled in public schools that have been rated C, D, or F by the state accountability system are eligible for a Student Scholarship for Educational Excellence—a voucher they can apply toward tuition at a private school of their choice.

Needless to say, the teachers unions aren’t thrilled about the prospect of kids bailing out of schools under union control and taking their funding with them. The union sued, but on July 10, a Baton Rouge court refused to stop the law from going into effect, so the teachers union launched Plan B: Bully private schools by sending them threatening legal letters, so that they will be afraid to accept students bearing the new vouchers. The union’s lawyers, Blackwell & Associates, sent out nastygrams to 95 private schools.

You can read the letter at reason.

This is pure legal thuggery. Any lawyers out there can comment, but I can’t imagine a school can be sued for participating in a legal, court-sanctioned state program. The unions are hoping that the private schools, most of whom can’t afford a legal fight, will buckle under the pressure and the voucher program will be gutted from within.

It’s a times like this I really wish Louisiana had a loser pays system. Imagine the teacher’s unions having to forget out legal funds to 95 schools they tried to threaten.

A Tale of Two Cities’ Schools

You haven’t heard much about Bobby Jindal lately, have you? You probably should have:

Post-Katrina New Orleans is already the nation’s leading charter-school zone, with 80% of city students enrolled, academic performance improving dramatically, and plans to go all-charter by 2013. To spread the model statewide, the Governor would create new regional boards for authorizing charters and offer fast-track authorization to high-performing operators such as KIPP. He’d also give charters the same access to public facilities as traditional public schools.

As for tenure, Mr. Jindal would grant it only to teachers who are rated “highly effective” five years in a row, meaning the top 10% of performers. And tenure wouldn’t equal lifetime protection: A tenured teacher who rates in the bottom 10% (“ineffective”) in any year would return to probationary status. Ineffective teachers would receive no pay raise. Louisiana would also ban the “last in, first out” practice under which younger teachers are dismissed first, regardless of performance.

He’s also proposing a massive expansion of the pilot voucher program. One of the untold stories of Hurricane Katrina is that the New Orleans school system has been completely rebuilt in the aftermath, with massive improvement in student performance. Of course, this doesn’t fit the narrative that we need to spend more and shrink class size (an idea questioned by research). So media seems to have a massive lacuna where NO schools are concerned. They just can’t grok the idea of fixing schools without tons of money and loyalty to unions.

Now let’s contrast, shall we? Let’s look at the other end of the scale with one of the most broken bureaucratic systems in the country. Meet Alan Rosenfeld, getting paid $100k a year to do nothing:

Accused in 2001 of making lewd comments and ogling eighth-grade girls’ butts at IS 347 in Queens, Rosenfeld was slapped with a week off without pay after the DOE failed to produce enough witnesses at a hearing.

But instead of returning Rosenfeld to the classroom, the DOE kept him in one of its notorious “rubber rooms,” where teachers in misconduct cases sat idle or napped. As The Post reported, Rosenfeld kept busy managing his many investment properties and working on his law practice. He’s a licensed attorney and real-estate broker.

Since the DOE closed the teacher holding pens in June 2010, those facing disciplinary charges were scattered to offices and given tasks such as answering phones, filing and photocopying.

Rosenfeld could have retired four years ago at 62, but his pension grows by $1,700 for each year he stays — even without teaching. If he quit today, his annual pension would total an estimated $85,400.

Another rubber room veteran retired at 76 after being accused of molesting a kid … 14 years after being accused.

One of our parties supports this bloated out of control system. One thinks the only real problem is a lack of federal control. One had its leader recently propose the insane idea that even the worst kids should be kept in school until they are 18, no matter what. And one of our parties is supposed to be the Party of Education while the other doesn’t care and is even described as “anti-teacher.”

Guess which is which?

Jindal Reelected

Missed this. Bobby Jindal was re-elected governor of Louisiana yesterday, dominating the primary so thoroughly — in a Democrat-dominated state — that they are skipping the general election. The reason?

Within months of taking office, he won approval for laws prohibiting public officials from holding state contracts and requiring them to disclose information about their personal finances.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune endorsed Jindal for re- election this month for those efforts as well as for his management of hurricanes, including Ida in 2009 and Lee in 2011, and the 2010 BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Jindal has cut taxes and supported outsourcing government services to private companies. Louisiana’s jobless rate of 7.2 percent ranks below the national average of 9.1 percent.

Competent governing. Good economy. It’s a recipe. Of course, to the Keynesians, the real reason Louisiana is doing well is because Hurricane Katrina broke so many windows, stimulating the economy.