Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Your Governor Wants To See You ... NOW!

News From the Bayouland (and in particular, Lake Charles, La.)

Your Governor Wants To See You … NOW!

This was the big news from WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge: “44 percent of Louisiana's public schools have received a failing grade in the newest school performance scores.

 … Bobby Jindal has been briefed on the scores, the source says, and is said to be very disappointed.”

Uh oh. Governor is very disappointed. I wonder what happened to the schools. Were they spanked, or grounded, or maybe something even worse? I’m not a school, but I’m going to try really, really hard to be good and not disappoint governor.

I Just Love Your New System

The mutual admiration society whose members are Govs. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry produced an interesting statement a while back, when Perry said, "When Bobby Jindal comes up with a new way to deliver health care … we'll snitch that in a minute and implement it in our state."

Perry, who was being interviewed on CNN at the time, apparently really did say "snitch" rather than "snatch." But I’m not one of those self-appointed arbiters of politics who judge a politician's performance in terms of whether he got a particular letter wrong. I’m a different kind of self-appointed arbiter of politics.

The key issue isn't Perry's vocabulary, but the little matter of whether Jindal's health care delivery system works. Then there's the equally little matter of whether Perry will in fact implement the system in Texas. Many of us are in the habit of thinking that when a politician promises to do a particular thing it's a clear sign the thing in question is exactly what he's planning not to do.

Almost Like No Election At All

For those who are overwhelmed by the tension of not knowing who the next Lake Charles, La., tax assessor will be, the upcoming election will be a matter of tremendous urgency. Others will be pleased that their nighttime viewing of True Blood and Dexter won’t be interrupted by any election updates.

In Baton Rouge, at least one major figure in the political sign business is on record as saying that the lackluster campaign is putting a hurt on revenue. "Business doubles in political years and triples in active political years," says Stephen St. Cyr, owner of Vivid Ink in Baton Rouge. "This is almost like an off year … The big races will be in 2012." Well, we've heard that before, haven't we? (St. Cyr was quoted in the Sept. 6 edition of the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.)

We can take consolation, though. This is Louisiana, and even if the elections are painfully bland, some shocking political event is bound to take place within days after the final results come in. Sooner rather than later, politics will once again get interesting in the Louisiana way.

Roemer’s Main Street Move

Some political junkies in Louisiana must have been surprised to read that longshot Republican presidential candidate Buddy Roemer supports the Wall Street protesters. But support them he does, and rather enthusiastically at that.

In a recent press release, Roemer wrote of “the young Americans currently taking part in the Occupy Wall Street movement.” The ex-governor went on to make these dramatic comments:

“Please know that I stand by you … It is Main Street that is being foreclosed on; and it is Main Street that is suffering while the greed of Wall Street continues to hurt our middle class … Both parties are guilty of taking the big check and are bought by Wall Street … 

Wall Street grew to be a source of capital for growing companies. It has become something else: A facilitator for greed and for the selling of American jobs. Enough already.”

It’s possible these statements were made to draw attention to the Roemer campaign, which remains conspicuously marginal. As late as Sept. 7, Roemer was excluded from a debate of Republican candidates because he had failed to earn 4 percent of support in a single major national poll. I’m not sure the Roemer bandwagon is picking up riders even in his own state. It took two days for the story I’ve reported here to show up on the state news service The Dead Pelican.

Apparently, even Lake Charles is doing a riff off the the Wall Street protests. The Occupy Lake Charles walk is set to take off from the corners of Ryan and Alamo Streets at noon on Oct. 15. I wouldn’t bet the family inheritance on the long-term success of this movement in Lake Charles. But I suppose it’s good that some people still have the spirit. If any readers want to learn more about this, go on to Facebook and search for “Occupy Lake Charles.”

Walk While You Can

Suppose there was was a rash of burglaries in the town you lived in. How would you like your elected officials to respond?

I suppose many folks would suggest that local police do whatever they need to do, within the law, of course, to target car thieves. That might be seen, by many, as a straightforward, sensible approach.

The mayor and city council of Ville Platte, La., have a better way. Their idea is to make it illegal for citizens to walk on the streets of Ville Platte.

That’s right. The powers that be decreed it was illegal to walk in Ville Platte after 10 pm. People who got caught breaking the law could be fined $200 and given a 30-day jail sentence. I guessing the rationale was that things would be pretty rough for car thieves who ply their trade on foot.

That busybody organization the ACLU filed suit against the Ville Platte law. As usual, the ACLU was advancing a wacky left-wing notion, in this case, the notion that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees U.S. citizens the freedom to walk in their neighborhoods. Oh, one other thing — the ACLU also alleged the walking ban was “creating a monetary windfall for the City and thus, a tremendous incentive to continue the curfew.”

The area NAACP also got involved, apparently on the grounds that a lot of poor black people can’t afford to own cars and find themselves obliged to walk whether they want to or not. It sounds like a small version of what was going on after Katrina, when a bunch of white folks were saying, “Why didn’t those people leave New Orleans?” and a bunch of black folks in New Orleans were saying, “We don’t have cars!”

At any rate, the ACLU suit must have annoyed either the mayor or city council, as the law was suspended, at least temporarily.

That’s really too bad. This law would have freed Villa Platte law enforcement from the heavy burden of having to keep an eye out for pedestrian car burglars. It’s true that citizens would have been unable to take a walk at night. But in hard times, everyone has to  make a sacrifice. That’s what I’ve heard.
I’m going to give Ville Platte’s law a 7 on the Silly Scale, which will put it quite a bit higher than Lake Charles’ droopy drawers law, which only merits a six. It’s one thing for politicians to tell people how they have to wear their pants. But to tell people they can’t even walk down their own street — now that’s doing something.

Newshound Carries The Day

The Woofstock Festival took place at the Lake Charles Civic Center on Oct. 8, and it was a tremendous success — for my dog Barnabas! My wife, Nydia, dressed Barnabas up as the Lagniappe Newshound. He wore a fedora hat with a press pass and a stylish tie. He worked the crowd and aimed to please his many fans.

Barnabas managed to earn the 2nd place award in the dog beauty contest. I’m not sure exactly what qualities a dog must possess to win a beauty contest. But whatever they are, Barnabas must have them in droves.

There was a good turnout for Woofstock, with booths stretching from Lakeshore Drive to Bord du Lac. Everyone was preaching the gospel of dog rescues. (Barnabas, a relaxed and happy mastiff, was a rescue.)

Johnny “New York” Latham was the emcee of the event. He introduced me to a few members of the Flat Out Roller Derby team. A couple more members came over to introduce themselves to the Up Fronter and Barnabas when we were taking a well-deserved rest on a park bench. Johnny “New York” will keep Up Front readers informed about the next Flat Out Roller Derby bout, which will take place Nov. 20 at 5 pm at Skate City on Nelson Road.

Another star of the show was the T&I Culinary Institute, which was selling very tasty apple turnovers for just 50 cents per. The crust in these savory treats was rich and buttery. High school students who want to learn to cook appetizing foods are invited to check the institute out.

The Up Fronter wishes future Woofstocks success in promoting the cause of animal rescue.

A More Informativer Headline

What was the outcome of LSU quarterback Jefferson Jordan’s recent arrest for participation in a 1:30 am bar fight? Intellectual growth. Consider the following comments, which  Jefferson made in a Oct. 3 news conference:

“I'm a lot more wiser and I'm a lot more smarter than what I was back in August.” That was one of two times he used the phrase “more wiser” in his remarks.

I know I always become a lot more articulater and a lot more lucider and a lot more intelligibler when I read statements by big-name athletes who’ve acquired great wisdom from their brawling experience.

A reporter asked Jefferson if he wanted to apologize for what he did to the team. No, said Jefferson, he figured he didn’t need to apologize to the team because the team was there when it happened. Makes sense!

Besides, it wasn’t as if Jefferson really did anything. Consider his words: “I was just being a college student. I wasn't trying to get myself into trouble. I was just enjoying myself with my teammates. And a certain situation happened to me off of my popularity.” He didn’t do anything in this situation. The situation happened to him. I get it. I wonder, does it always work that way? For instance, the next time Jefferson throws a touchdown pass, will he think he did that or will he think the situation just happened?

I don’t know. But there’s one thing I’m pretty sure of. Every football fan thanks his lucky stars that a basic grasp of English grammar isn’t a prerequisite for a starting position on a university team.

The 10/12 Exit

After only four years, the publication of the big, glossy 10/12 magazine is coming to an end. The last print edition of 10/12 will roll out in November. The online operations will wrap up at the end of the year.

The magazine had been printed for four years by publisher Rolfe McCollister and his Louisiana Business Inc. in an effort to report business developments in Louisiana along the 10/12 corridor.
McCollister didn’t skirt the issue of the magazine’s premature death; in fact, the story about it was the lead story in the magazine’s internet newsletter. McCollister cited “the need to focus resources on new technologies,” and in particular, “the development of new online and digital distribution opportunities,” as reasons for the departure of 10/12. New websites for Louisiana Business publications 225 and inRegister are among the projects planned.

In this case, it may be that the corporation is being up front. In the last three years, consumer migration to the internet, and particularly internet usage on such devices as smartphones, has gutted the magazine and newspaper industries. It may be that in spite of its sophisticated layout, graphics and color schemes, 10/12 just wasn’t able to stem the tide.

The Bounty of Reality TV

After the recent suicide of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Russell Armstrong, we shouldn’t really need any reminders of the bounteous gifts that have been bestowed on our culture by reality television. But it looks like we’re going to keep getting the reminders anyway.

The latest reality TV blessing comes courtesy of former 16 and Pregnant stars Josh Rendon and Ebony Jackson-Rendon, who were just arrested for endangering the welfare of their 2-year-old daughter Jocelyn. On  Sept. 27, Arkansas Children and Family Services removed the girl from her home in the Little Rock Air Force Base. According to the police report, "every room in the residence had human and dog feces on the floors, walls and clothing. The house was full of flies and, in some areas, maggots."
The daughter wasn’t the only one removed from the squalid domicile; animal control took away three dogs.

In addition to the endangerment rap, Rendon and wife were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, the maintaining of a drug premise and unauthorized use of another person's property to facilitate a crime.

We don’t want to let the sensational nature of this story distract us from the merit of other reality television blessings. For instance, the title 16 and Pregnant is a blessing in itself.

And if all of that isn’t blessing enough for you, there’s this, just in from ABC: pastor Ted Haggard, the former president of the National Evangelical Association, is set to appear on the spin-off series Celebrity Wife Swap with his wife Gayle. According to the story, Haggard, who, in 2006, more or less admitted to engaging in homosexual activity, will pair up with a wife rather than a husband in the swap.

You Compressor, You!

I’m sure we all realize that from time to time politicians provide explanations and arguments most people won’t find really compelling. Let’s take an example. Suppose you’re a Florida Republican who’s responsible for scheduling Florida’s Republican straw poll. Would you be swayed by the recent argument by South Carolina GOP chairmain Chad Connelly? Said Connelly:

“If you guys in Florida want to be the bad guys and compress this calendar and lose out for all the voters in America and have a calendar that’s chaotic and compressed even if it’s against your own state GOP, then go for it."

So bad guys are guys who compress calendars. This Connelly fellow seems to be arguing that he owns the moral high ground as a result of his opposition to the highly abstract concept of the compression of time — or more specifically, calendar dates. Even those Republicans who do know what a compressed calendar is may reason something like this: “OK, if the worse that can happen is that we wind up compressing the calendar, then we’ll risk it.” After all, they haven’t gotten into politics as a result of their overwhelming passion for the proper regulation of calendars.

Connelly’s comments will have a profound effect on such crucial themes of the philosophy of time as the relatively of simultaneity, the causation solution, endurantism and perdurantism, and, of course, the central issue of the nature of the compression of time. The comments will, however, have no effect whatsoever on the U.S. electoral schedule. Connelly’s remarks were reported by The Hill on Sept. 29.