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Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

So Bobby Jindal has endorsed the presidential campaign of Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Of course, he waited until the results of the Iowa caucus reflected a surge by Rubio. Like any typical politician, he tried to see which way the parade was going before jumping out in front and yelling, “Follow me!”

Only problem is Rubio, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry four years ago, stumbled badly after picking up the all-important Jindal endorsement.

Actually, if anyone outside Louisiana (or Iowa) actually knew who Jindal is, his endorsement might be considered the kiss of death. Fortunately for Rubio, Jindal is virtually unknown outside those two states—and the studios of Fox News. But Rubio is appropriately appreciative for Jindal’s and former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum for their support.

Is this the 1 percent (the polling numbers of both Jindal and Santorum in Iowa) the Occupy Wall Street protests were about? Who knew?

After hearing Jindal go virtually unchallenged in his robotic blathering (and Chris Christie says Rubio repeats himself) about balancing the budget, cutting taxes and fiscal responsibility, one has to wonder about similar claims by Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Of course, here in Louisiana we know Jindal’s record all too well.

There are those who say we should quit trashing the man and move on.

We can’t.

First of all, that endorsement of Rubio is nothing but a shameless attempt to grab a cabinet appointment should Rubio ascend to the White House. He missed out on the brass ring but his mega-ego simply will not allow him to be content to remain out of the public arena—and therein lies the danger. Turning Jindal loose at any post in the federal government (other than third deputy assistant in charge of stocking vending machines in the break room) would be a grave mistake. He already wrecked a state. Think what he could do as a policy maker for the departments of Health and Human Services or Education.

Put him at the head of the Department of Interior, and he’d privatize the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Everglades.

Put him as Secretary of Defense and he’d nuke those “no-go” zones in Western Europe.

As Secretary of State, can’t you just visualize him negotiating with Vladimir Putin?

As Secretary of the Treasury or head of the White House Budget Office….well, we can’t even allow ourselves to think about that.

No, I cannot let it go. I can’t simply move on. The man wrecked this state and we should never forget that.

To that end, Bobby Jindal: His Destiny and Obsession, a book that chronicles the eight years Jindal served as governor, is due out later this month. Published by Pelican Publishing, it is expected to run about 500 pages in length.

I wrote this book because it is crucial that we never forget how we were lulled into thinking that this wunderkind was the answer to Louisiana’s political, financial, education, and unemployment problems. In the end, sadly, he was not.

You may pre-order the book by clicking on the image of the book cover to the right of this paragraph. Cavalier House Books of Denham Springs will summon me (I live two blocks from the book store) to sign all books that have been pre-ordered. Should you wish to pre-order your book and you want it signed to someone other than yourself, please contact me at:

louisianavoice@yahoo.com

Please advise as to your instructions on signing.

 

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JINDAL BOOK COVER

            We have a book cover!

Just a reminder that my latest book, Bobby Jindal: His Destiny and Obsession, is scheduled for publication in early January but you may pre-order your copy now.

To make the deal a little more enticing, we have a cover for the book. The photo of Jindal is just as unflattering as the contents of the book which presently appears to be about 500 pages.

If you order by clicking on the book cover’s image at the right, your order will be placed through Cavalier House Books of Denham Springs, a locally-owned independent bookstore.

Why would I encourage you to order through Cavalier House?

Two reasons.

  • First, by placing your order this way, you support a local independent book store, a cause I strongly endorse.
  • Second, because I live only about two blocks from Cavalier House Books, proprietor John Cavalier will summon me to sign each copy before he ships them out.

If you opt to purchase through Amazon or a big chain store, you’re hurting local business owners—much like shopping at Walmart instead of patronizing locally-owned stores. Moreover, you won’t get signed copies through those outlets.

Unless otherwise instructed, each signed book will be personalized to the name of the person ordering it. If you wish your copy signed to someone else (if it is a gift, for instance), please email me at:

louisianavoice@cox.net

DO NOT ORDER YOUR BOOK FROM THIS EMAIL ADDRESS. Order through Cavalier by clicking on Jindal’s photo at above right and email me separately on signing instructions.

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Finally!

My latest book, Bobby Jindal: His Destiny and Obsession, is scheduled for publication in early January but you may pre-order your copy now.

Cost of the book is $27.95 plus shipping and applicable sales tax. (Sales tax rates are dependent on the residence of the buyer.)

If you order by clicking on Jindal’s image at the right, your order will be placed through Cavalier House Books of Denham Springs.

Why would I encourage you to order through Cavalier House?

Two reasons:

  • First, by placing your order this way, you support a local independent book store, a cause I strongly support.
  • Second, because I live only about two blocks from Cavalier House Books, proprietor John Cavalier will summon me to sign each copy before he ships them out.

Unless otherwise instructed, each signed book will be personalized to the name of the person ordering it. If you wish your copy signed to someone else (if it is a gift, for instance), please email me at:

Louisianavoice@yahoo.com

DO NOT ORDER YOUR BOOK FROM THIS EMAIL ADDRESS. Order through Cavalier by clicking on Jindal’s photo at right and email me separately on signing instructions.

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PLEASE MOVE TO THE END OF THE LINE(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

On the eve of Bobby Jindal’s anticipated earth shaking announcement that he is squeezing himself into the clown car of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, I thought we should let our readers know that I am still on the job, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding.

As we wait with collective bated breath for word that Bobby is not only available but more than willing to do for the nation what he has done for Louisiana (God help us all, Tiny Tim), I remain cloistered in my cluttered home office, working diligently on my book, as yet untitled, in which I intend to fully document precisely what he has done for to Louisiana.

Among the topics to be covered are public education, higher education, health care, the state budget, campaign contributions, political appointments, ethics, privatization, his ALEC connections, the explosion in corporate tax breaks during his two terms, the lack of progress as reflected in myriad state rankings and surveys throughout his eight years as our largely absentee governor, the lack of transparency, his thinly veiled use of foundations and non-profit organizations to advance his political career, his intolerance for dissent (teaguing), his actual performance as compared to campaign promises as candidate Bobby, and his general incompetence.

I was asked on a local radio show if I could be fair to Jindal, given my personal feelings about his abilities as reflected in more than a thousand posts on this site. The short answer is: probably not. The long answer is I can—and will—be as fair to him as he has been to the state I love and call home. Because I do not claim to be objective (as opposed to the paid media who cling to that word as if it were some kind of Holy Grail), I am not bound by any rules that place limits on the expression of my opinions. I see what he has done, I understand the adverse effect his actions have had on this state, and I will offer my take on them for the reader to either accept or reject. If that is not fair, then so be it.

I have written about 60,000 words of an anticipated 100,000-word manuscript thus far. A couple of other writers have volunteered to contribute chapters, which should add another 20,000 words. I have a self-imposed deadline of July 1—give or take a few days—in which to have the rough draft completed. I also have several very capable editors poring over the chapters as they are completed. Their corrections, deletions, additions and suggestions will be incorporated into the final manuscript which is to be submitted to the publisher by late August.

The publisher originally gave me a publication target date of next Spring but recently moved the anticipated publication date up to January, with an e-book to be released possibly as early as this Fall.

That would coincide nicely with Jindal’s second ghost-written book, scheduled out in September.

There will be one major difference in our books: Mine will be based on his record while the source of his claims of balanced budgets and other wild, unsubstantiated assertions are certain to remain a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma (with apologies to Winston Churchill).

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The Congressional elections are finally over and political junkies will have to wait several more months before the 2015 gubernatorial campaigns kick into high gear. With four candidates already announced and millions of out-of-state dollars looming to stoke the flames, there are sure to be plenty of fireworks to grate on our collective psyches by the time a successor to Gov. Bobby Jindal is chosen.

But for those who can’t wait that long, New Orleans author Steven Wells Hicks may have the appetizer as a prelude to the entrée of hard-nosed, in the gutter, take no prisoners Louisiana politics to which we have become accustomed.

Destiny’s Anvil (Pan American Copyright Conventions, 283 pages) is a rich mix of ambition, corruption, old money, oil and payback that keeps the action moving right through the final page.

The book’s title is drawn from a quote by German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “You must either conquer and rule or suffer and lose, be the anvil or the hammer.”

The story revolves around brothers Tucker and Carter Callahan and their boyhood friend Will Guidry, the sitting Louisiana attorney general who has the single-minded obsession of reaching one objective: the office of the governor of Louisiana. Guidry doesn’t let lifelong friendships stand in the way of his stated goal and everyone around him pays a hefty price for his political drive.

Carter is the protagonist through whom the story is told with skill and directness that lays bare the back room machinations of Bayou State politics.

Tucker is a political strategist who gets Will elected first as district attorney of Charbonnaux Parish and later as attorney general. Carter, meanwhile, stays home in New Acadia and takes over the family’s thriving oil exploration business.

And what story about genteel southern living would be complete without the obligatory love triangle? This one manifests itself in the person of Katherine Ormande (Kayo) Laborde who early on was in love with Carter but by the time we meet her, she is married to brother Tuck. But it is her deep-seeded and understandable hatred of Guidry that fuels this story.

All four are reared in Charbonnaux Parish and the political and legal conflicts that arise between Will and the brothers provides a sordid—and believable—backdrop into the free-for-all that has come to symbolize Louisiana politics right down to the inclusion of pigs in TV political ads (The pigs, by the way, will evoke memories among the older set of Earl Long once claiming that opponent Sam Jones fell into a mud puddle occupied by pigs. A passerby observed that one’s character could be judged by the company he keeps. “The pigs got up and left,” was Long’s zinger to the story.)

Hicks confuses the story somewhat by mixing real places like Shreveport and Baton Rouge with fictional localities such as Charbonnaux Parish and New Acadia but if you can get by that small inconsistency (and it’s easy to do), the book is an enjoyable read for those familiar with the uniqueness of Louisiana politics which at times passes for a contact sport which other states seem to be trying to imitate but are unable to quite duplicate.

As the story unfolds, events begin to spin out of control and the twists in the plot will transport the characters to the surprise ending in rapid fire fashion while leaving the reader wanting more.

There is one slight inaccuracy that can be attributed to a simple memory lapse or even a typo and is certainly forgivable.

On page 59, the political kingmakers of Louisiana are discussing the attributes of a candidate to whom they will lend their not insignificant support. Discussing the merits of a fictional senator from Louisiana, he is compared other powerful U.S. senators. “He was indeed a senator’s senator,” said J.X., “and a Southern gentleman to boot. Like John Stennis, Lyndon Johnson, and even our own Earl Long.”

Earl Long was never a U.S. Senator; he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1960 but died 10 days after the election and never took office. Hicks, of course, may have intended his reference to Earl’s brother, Huey Long, who did serve in the U.S. Senate until his assassination in Baton Rouge or more likely to Huey’s son Russell who served 39 years in the Senate. “I don’t know how I managed to make a mistake like that,” Hicks said when contacted about the error. “I certainly knew better.”

But he more than made up for that gaffe with a most profound sentence that should (but sadly, does not) sum up what should be the required mantra of all who hold political office:

“The responsibility for building and maintaining our way of open and honest government belongs in the hands of those who elected our leaders and not the leaders themselves.”

That one sentence speaks volumes about how our political structure should function but sadly, does not and the ethical code to which it should strive.

And it, in and of itself, makes the book well worth the read.

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