Archive for the ‘LSU’ Category



“No former elected official, including a legislator, no former member of a board or commission, nor agency head for two years shall assist another person for compensation in connection with a transaction, or render service on a contractual basis for or be employed/ appointed to any position involving the agency by which he or she was formerly employed or in which he/she formerly held office.” (LA Rev Stat § 42:1121)

“…Kristy Nichols is leaving the public sector to become Ochsner Health System’s vice president of government and corporate affairs, the Jindal administration announced today.” (Baton Rouge Business Report, Sept. 15, 2015)

So Nichols will be going to work for Ochsner as a lobbyist. And while state law precludes her lobbying the legislative or executive branches for two years, there appears to be no prohibition to her lobbying local governments (parishes and municipalities) on the part of Ochsner.

Kristy, anticipating the end of her boss’s rocky tenure in January, found her own golden parachute at Ochsner. We don’t know her salary at Ochsner, but we’re guessing it’ll be six figures. Taken at face value, that would normally be the end of the story.

But with this gang, there’s always more than meets the eye. And thanks to our friend C.B. Forgotston who helped us connect the dots, we’re able to shed a little more light into how she parlayed three years of repeated budget crises into such a high-profile private sector job.

Remember the great state hospital privatization fiasco and the contract with 50 blank pages? http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20130602/INFO/306029998

The contract obligated the state to long-term spending obligations that will extend decades beyond the Jindal years. Let’s ignore for the moment the fact that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has yet to approve the deal. Instead, let’s explore the Nichols-Ochsner connection.

It was two years ago that the LSU Board of Supervisors signed off on that contract to hand over operation of state-owned hospitals in Lake Charles, Houma, Shreveport and Monroe. The blank pages were supposed to have contained lease terms. Instead, the LSU board left those minor details to the Jindal administration (read: Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols).

Eventually details about the contracts emerged, including that of the Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma. And, thanks to the Louisiana Public Affairs Research Council, that is where we’re able to bring the picture into focus.

Leonard Chabert Medical Center was opened in 1978 as a 96-bed facility with 802 employees but by the time it was privatized, it was down to 63 beds.

In 2008, a hospital-based accredited Internal Medicine residency program was begun. In 2011, the hospital’s revenue was 47 percent uncompensated care for the uninsured, 29.5 percent Medicaid, 13 percent Medicare, 5.5 percent state general fund and 6 percent interagency transfer from other departments with only 1 percent being self-generated.

When the Jindal administration moved to unload state hospitals, Chabert was partnered with Southern Regional Medical Corp., a nonprofit entity whose only member is Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC).

TGMC was slated to manage Chabert with assistance with a company affiliated with (drum roll)…..Ochsner Health System, Louisiana’s largest private not-for-profit health system with eight hospitals and 40 health centers statewide.

So what were the terms of the agreement? Five years with an automatic renewal after the first year in one-year increments to create a rolling five-year term.

Though Southern Regional is not required to pay rent under terms of the agreement, the Terrebonne Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 is required to make annual intergovernmental transfers of $17.6 million to the Medicaid program for Southern Regional and its affiliates. Here are the TERMS OF THE OCHSNER DEAL AT LEONARD CHABERT MEDICAL CENTER

Here’s the kicker: the cooperative endeavor agreement (CEA) calls for supplemental payments of $31 million to Ochsner. It’s no wonder the Houma Daily Courier described the deal as “a valuable asset to Ochsner’s network of hospitals” and that the deal “expands Ochsner’s business profile.”

Between 2009 and 2013, Ochsner’s revenue doubled from $900 million to $1.8 billion and the deal only means more revenue for Ochsner, the Daily Courier said. http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20140325/articles/140329692?p=3&tc=pg

We’re certain it’s just coincidence that the LSU Board signed off on a blank contract that the Jindal administration would fill in after the fact.

And it’s just by chance that Kristy Nichols, as Commissioner of Administration, was responsible for that task.

And of course it was just happenstance that Ochsner received that $31 million payment and a mere two years later, just as her reign at DOA was ending, saw the need to bring Kristy aboard as vice president of government and corporate affairs.

So there you have it. All you have to do is follow the money.

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Louisiana, from Huey and Earl Long to Jimmie Davis, John McKeithen, and Edwin Edwards, has a well-earned reputation of electing colorful—and controversial—governors. It is, therefore, something of a paradox that the one who would aspire to play on the national stage would be described as a policy wonk with no personality and nothing in common with the others.

While Bobby Jindal is unquestionably intelligent, he, unlike the others, is woefully inadequate in his ability to relate to his constituents on a one-on-one basis or to field hard questions from a skeptical press. To put it bluntly, he simply lacks the skills to relate to the man in the street, forced instead to fall back on his time-worn but well-rehearsed rhetorical philosophy designed to appeal to his ultra-right-wing political base. Jindal perhaps is best described as Ben Stein (the economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) without the charisma.

Even when he does stray from his tightly-controlled script in an effort to draw a laugh, his efforts usually languish. In 2014, he made an appearance at the Gridiron Dinner in Washington and followed that the next night with an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and set up the same joke about Attorney General Eric Holder at both events by saying, “I see Eric Holder is with us…” The problem was Holder was not at CPAC (nor would he ever have been expected to be) and the gag fell embarrassingly flat (cue the chirping crickets).

A good politician, like a good standup comic, always knows his audience. Lyndon Johnson once said he had no use for any politician who, thirty seconds after entering a room, could not tell who was for him and who was against him. Lyndon Johnson would have no use for Jindal. Nor would Edwin Edwards who could always be counted on for a quip appropriate to the crowd or the event. No one but Edwards would, after getting a hug from a nun in Monroe, dare say something like, “Careful, Sister, I don’t want to get into any habits.” Nor could Jindal ever get away with saying (as did Edwards) the only way he could lose an election (against David Duke in 1991) would to be “caught in bed with a dead girl or live boy.”

Instead, when Jindal talks, he comes across as stilted and decidedly wooden, inflexible. He cannot speak off the cuff; everything is rehearsed, which is why every speech sounds like all the others. He is unnatural and exhibits absolutely no understanding—or compassion—for the single working mom, for the working poor unable to afford health care insurance, or for the tax burden of the middle class, a result of his generous tax breaks to business and industry. His limp handshake only serves to underscore his disdain for pressing the flesh (to borrow a term from LBJ).

His railing against Washington and President Barrack Obama is vaguely reminiscent of Robert F. Kennon in his run for a second term as governor in 1963. I spent a day with Kennon in 1983 and he relayed an interesting story to me. He had crisscrossed the state during the ’63 campaign, repeating his familiar slogan: “Send Kennon to Baton Rouge and (President) Kennedy back to Massachusetts.” The slogan caught fire and Kennon surged to the lead in the polls ahead of key rival New Orleans Mayor deLesseps Morrison (that would be “Dellasoups,” to Uncle Earl). Public Service Commissioner John McKeithen, meanwhile, slogged along with his own aw-shucks slogan: “Won’t you he’p me?” Then, on November 22, the eve of the governor’s election, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas and overnight, public opinion was turned on its head. Kennon was out, McKeithen finished second to Morrison and then won in a runoff. “Kennedy’s assassination beat me,” he told me 20 years later.

I also spent an entire day as a young newspaper reporter in 1971 riding with McKeithen near the end of his second term as he toured the LSU agriculture station in Homer in Claiborne Parish prior to an address to the local chamber of commerce that night. The tour was not one of those events where the politician breezes in, shakes a couple of hands and departs, leaving it to his press office to call it a “tour.” Instead, McKeithen, fascinated with innovations at the Ag station, spent the entire day learning about how the station personnel managed to get productive timberland to serve the dual purpose of grazing land for the farm’s cattle. “I’ve never seen cattle graze in timberland,” said McKeithen, himself a cattle rancher.

And during McKeithen’s entire visit at Homer that day, there was not a state trooper security detail anywhere in sight. Not one. Zilch. Jindal, on the other hand, never goes anywhere without a coterie of state police security, even during his presidential run which has taken him out of Louisiana for more than 45 percent of his final years as governor—all at the expense of Louisiana taxpayers.

Even in retirement, John McKeithen kept the common touch. In the late 1980s, I resided next door to his son, Secretary of State Fox McKeithen. The younger McKeithen had a pecan tree in his front yard and on many mornings when I walked outside to retrieve my Baton Rouge Advocate, there would be Big John walking around the yard picking up pecans. Somehow, it’s just impossible to conjure up an image of Bobby Jindal walking around picking up pecans off the ground. He’d almost certainly have a state trooper from his security detail performing that task.

Jimmie Davis not only was an immensely popular singer, but a spellbinding storyteller as well. He told a great one about Edwards. When Davis left office in 1964, he built a new home behind the governor’s mansion. Both the Davis home and the governor’s mansion were across the lake from the State Capitol and Davis said once he was in his back yard “knocking down dirt dauber nests, wasp nests, pulling weeds and killing snakes,” out of the corner of his eye he caught then-Governor Edwards strolling purposely toward the lake. As he watched, he suddenly realized that Edwards was intent on walking to the Capitol…across the lake. “He’s going to try to walk on the lake,” Davis thought. Sure enough, Edwards did indeed begin walking across the lake and made it about halfway before suddenly sinking. “There wasn’t anything I could do,” Davis said, “but walk out there, pull him up out of the water and carry him the rest of the way.”

We can thank Davis, by the way, for the Sunshine Bridge over the Mississippi River at Donaldsonville, for the current governor’s mansion, and for the implementation of civil service as protection of state employees from political patronage.

As a political junkie, I have followed Louisiana’s governors all the way back to Uncle Earl. I vividly remember Earl’s mental breakdown, his commitment to a couple of mental hospitals and his subsequent escapes. I recall his defeat of incumbent U.S. Rep. Harold McSween in 1960 only to die of heart failure ten days later. As a teenager, I read every book about Huey and Earl Long that I could lay my hands on. Rather than cut funding for services, Huey increased the miles of paved highways in Louisiana from 300 to 3,000. Rather than deprive the poor of health care, he built Big Charity Hospital in New Orleans that operated as a teaching hospital for Tulane and LSU medical schools while providing care for the poor. Instead of slashing appropriations for higher education, Huey made LSU a top tier university. Jindal, hell-bent on cutting taxes for industry and the rich, allowed the state’s infrastructure to crumble. He denied Medicaid expansion, thus depriving 300,000 of the state’s poor adequate medical care. Budget cuts under Jindal’s leadership proved disastrous to higher education, forcing tuition increases that were unaffordable to low income students.

But after all is said and done, it was Earl Long who was the real visionary. Jindal beats his chest, refusing to accept Medicaid expansion. He fought Common Core, defiantly boasting that he would not allow Washington or the liberal media to sway him. But even as Mississippi’s Ross Barnett, Alabama’s George Wallace, and Arkansas’ Orville Faubus were pledging “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” Earl saw the writing on the wall early on and prepared for the future accordingly.

When Orleans Parish legislators approached him in the 1950s about locating a public university in New Orleans, Earl readily agreed—on one condition: the school would be open to whites and blacks alike. Higher education was integrated in Louisiana years before James Meredith entered Ole Miss and before George Wallace stood in the doorway at the University of Alabama. Rather than cutting education, Earl originated the hot lunch program in Louisiana’s public elementary and high schools, providing students affordable lunches—his proudest accomplishment.

Earl refused to take political advantage of the fever-pitch emotions that were boiling over in Baton Rouge over the desegregation fight with the federal government. His most famous confrontation was with Plaquemines Parish political boss Leander Perez, who refused to acknowledge the changing times and attempted to pass sweeping legislation in Baton Rouge to resist the growing tide of desegregation. “What’re you gonna do now, Leander?” Earl shouted at his nemesis at one point. “The feds have the A-bomb!”

Dave Treen, the quintessential Republican, who served as governor from 1980-1984, proposed a $450 million tax on oil and gas to hold the industry accountable for damage to the state’s coastal marshes. The Coastal Wetlands Environmental Levy (CWEL), which he said would place no undue burden on any individual or group, fell twelve votes short of the necessary two-thirds approval in the House after being vehemently opposed by oil and gas interests and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI).

That stands in stark contrast to Jindal, who, beholden to the oil companies for their financial support of his political campaigns, was in bitter opposition to (and eventually succeeded in killing) a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPA-E) seeking to force the companies to restore the state’s damaged wetlands.

These are the personality and philosophical traits sorely lacking in Jindal’s psychological makeup. He cannot champion the working people of Louisiana—or America—in the manner of Huey Long. He could never negotiate the peace between warring factions the way in which Edwin Edwards could get both sides to comprise—and like it. Jindal, with his disconcerting rapid-fire speaking manner, is devoid of the ease with which Jimmie Davis could hold an entire room captive with his homespun humor. His response to Obama’s State of the Union Address in 2009 proved that beyond any doubt. He could never be relaxed after more than five minutes of visiting something as ordinary as an agricultural station in north Louisiana but McKeithen, on the other hand, was right at home. Earl may have had mental issues, but even in his deteriorated emotional state, he stood head and shoulders above Jindal in his ability—and willingness—to do for people what they could not do for themselves.

There does not exist a hole sufficiently deep to bury the differences between Jindal and any one of those six governors. To somehow think he is presidential timber is simply beyond comprehension. He would be wise to consider the human element of leadership over any poll results.

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By Dayne Sherman (Special to LouisianaVoice)

Louisiana higher education has been cut by $750 million and is arguably the state with the worst budget cuts in America.

In addition, Louisiana has more schools on the American Association of University Professors Censure List than any other state. The disgraced schools include LSU, Southern, SLU, Nicholls, and Northwestern.

Recently, Dr. Teresa Buchanan http://www.teresabuchananlsu.com/, an associate professor of education at LSU, was fired. In short, she was accused of using profanity on occasion. Despite never receiving a poor work evaluation in almost 20 years, and not being told exactly when and where and what she said that was so objectionable, and the administration using dubious anonymous student comments to substantiate their witch hunt, she was terminated.

Oh, I failed to mention that the faculty hearing committee said she had done nothing to warrant dismissal, despite the salty language. They called for remediation not termination.

This story, however, is a part of a bigger myth. Some say college professors and K-12 teachers are rarely fired. That’s baloney.

I know dozens and dozens of professors: tenured, tenure track, and instructors that were fired. A few were fired through the formal process, while most others were told to resign (retire) or face termination. I also know hundreds fired by “layoffs.” Not dozens but hundreds. It is constant and very common. Few fight it. They give up and move on, which is often smart.

Typically only tenured professors have access to any due process. Tenure track, lecturers, instructors, staff, and adjuncts are at-will employees with no protection unless they are discriminated against for First Amendment or EEOC-protected reasons (For example, a Jewish woman being fired for speaking out against campus crime would be illegal, tenure or no tenure).

Of course, the victims have to sue—a tall order because the institutions will spend a half a million dollars in state money to fight the suit. Remember LSU’s Ivor Van Heerden after Hurricane Katrina?

In higher education, folks are often given the old “two letter treatment”: sign this letter and willingly resign, or we’ll give you another letter of termination. Most people choose the former, and Human Resources forbids the staff from talking about the departure. Hence, the silence.

Right now, I am not proud that my graduate degree is housed in the http://talkaboutthesouth.com/wp-admin/chse.lsu.edu, which is headed by Dean Damon P.S. Andrew. The college is a joke, and it harms the reputation of LSU as a whole.

At the end of the day, I believe LSU will not prevail in firing Dr. Buchanan. There’s more to it than what is on the surface, more than one person saying a few salty words.

To join the fight, speak up. If you are able, please send a check to Professor Michael Homan, Treasurer, Louisiana State Conference AAUP, 215 S. Alexander Street, New Orleans, LA 70119. Checks made out to: LA State Conference-AAUP. On the Memo line write: “Teresa Buchanan Legal Fund (Academic Freedom).”

Together, we can beat this silly attack on Dr. Buchanan, LSU, and Louisiana.

Dayne Sherman is the author of the novels Zion and Welcome to the Fallen Paradise http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00V0O48T4, both $2.99 ebooks. He blogs at TalkAboutTheSouth.com

(Editor’s note): Dayne’s byline was inadvertently omitted from the original posting. Our apologies for the oversight.

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You have to love Rolfe McCollister, Jr. The man has done the following:

  • Was an unsuccessful candidate for mayor-president of Baton Rouge;
  • Contributed $17,000 to the campaign of Bobby Jindal in 2003, 2006, and 2008;
  • Served as treasurer for Jindal’s 2007 gubernatorial campaign;
  • Served as chairman of Jindal’s transition team following Jindal’s 2007 election;
  • Served as a director of Jindal’s first fundraising organization Believe in Louisiana;
  • Currently serves as treasurer of Jindal’s super PAC Believe Again;
  • Been appointed by Jindal as a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Moreover, McCollister’s Louisiana Business, Inc. partner, Julio Melara has:

  • Contributed $7,500 to Jindal’s campaigns in 2007, 2010, and 2011 (his wife also contributed $1,000 in 2007);
  • Been appointed to the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District (Superdome Board).

At the same time, McCollister, apparently with a straight face, attempts to pass himself off as an objective news executive as Publisher of the Baton Rouge Business Report, even publishing a story by his staff today (Monday, April 27) on the long-running court battle by real news organizations to obtain the names of 35 candidates for the LSU presidency. https://www.businessreport.com/business/along-alexander-lsu-board-considered-candidates-texas-alabama-east-carolina-presidential-search-2012

Before the finger-pointing begins, let’s set the record straight. While McCollister carries the water for Jindal on such issues as protecting what should obviously be public records, firing an LSU president (thus, making the new hire necessary) and giving away LSU hospitals to a foundation run by a fellow LSU board member, he also purports to be an objective chronicler of political news.

We at LouisianaVoice, on the other hand, make no pretense at objectivity. We are opinionated and we freely express those opinions—and invite readers to do the same, both pro and con. We spent a quarter-century working for the so-called objective publications. But a political blog is very much like an op-ed opinion piece. McCollister should be familiar with those; he’s certainly seen enough of them from Jindal in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

Louisiana Business, Inc., led by McCollister and Melara, is the parent company of the Business Report, so both men are in the news business but nevertheless have continued to curry favor from the man they apparently believe will one day occupy the big house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C.

What is so particularly galling about Monday’s story about the release of the documents by the LSU board attorney is that a reader unfamiliar with the story would have no way of knowing that the publisher was complicit not in attempting to shine the light of transparency on a secretive board, but in participating in the board’s harboring of the information. Nowhere was a single word devoted to revealing that the piece’s publisher was a party to attempting to hide information from the public—an effort, by the way, that cost the state tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars in legal costs and fines.

As if that were not enough, McCollister, in his ever-diligent vigil to defend the public’s right to know, turned his guns on an LSU faculty member who was bold enough to criticize the LSU board in print over its efforts to keep its business away from the public’s prying eyes.

On April 1, McCollister, in a column titled The Two Hats of Bob, attacked LSU journalism professor Bob Mann who also writes a political blog called Something Like the Truth, which is also published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Man is one to take full advantage of free speech and faculty tenure as he pontificates in his columns on all that’s evil,” McCollister sniffed. https://www.businessreport.com/politics/rolfe-mccollister-survey-reveals-contradictions-confusion

He was writing about Mann’s blog and the accompanying column that ran in the Times-Picayune in which Mann said the LSU Board was more loyal to Jindal than to the students at LSU and that the entire board needed to resign or be fired. In that column, Mann quoted from another McCollister essay in which McCollister “chided those in the news media who ‘sound like Chicken Little. Let me predict here and now, the world will not end for Louisiana or higher education during the upcoming session. Solutions will be found.’ What those magic solutions are, McCollister does not say,” Mann wrote.

“I asked a former seasoned journalist about the ethics of a faculty member who has a second job as a journalist and (who) writes about his university,” the publisher continued in that April 1 column. “He said, ‘Every good journalist knows that you cannot ethically cover the institution that pays your salary and the people who supervise the work you do for that salary.”

Oh, really? And just who was that “former seasoned journalist”? And was he a former journalist or just formerly seasoned?

As for ethically covering “the institution that pays your salary” (or in this case, appointed you and your business partner to two of the more prestigious boards in state government), doesn’t McCollister provide Jindal glowing press coverage at every opportunity? (Of course, whether that can accurately be called real “coverage” is still open to debate. There’s another word for it in the reporting business. It’s called fluff.)

“The ethical equation doesn’t change if a reporter vilifies those people (for whom he works),” McCollister continued. “Who is to say the reporter’s self-interest isn’t involved. When journalists don’t recognize this fundamental aspect of journalism, everything they write, on any topic, lacks credibility.”

Wait. We’re confused. Is McCollister still talking about Mann—or about himself? It’s really impossible to tell, considering all the self-interest and conflicts of interests involved in everything McCollister writes about Jindal.

But let’s review. McCollister, it seems, was also a member of the LSU Board back in 1992 when the state was in the throes of another financial crisis and cutting budgets. At that time, McCollister, indignant over the cuts to LSU, called for the arrest of the governor.

The governor? Edwin Edwards. http://www.nola.com/opinions/baton-rouge/index.ssf/2015/03/higher_education_budget_cuts_l.html

Mann responded to McCollister, of course. Anyone would. But rather than delve into their “he said, she said” exchange, let’s look at what others are saying.

The Hayride blog, which is somewhere off to the right of Rush Limbaugh, trumpeted its headline: “Bob Mann goes after Rolfe McCollister, but doesn’t have the numbers on his side.”


Repeating the Chicken Little quote by McCollister, it added a quote by him which it accused Mann of omitting: “Business is strong in Louisiana and getting even better. I hear from many company CEOs who had a record year and look to grow and expand in 2015.”

(Perhaps that’s why Louisiana continues to rank third in the nation in our poverty rate and why Louisiana’s colleges and universities are looking seriously at declaring financial exigency.)

We’ll get back to The Hayride momentarily.

Red Shtick, a Baton Rouge publication that specializes in parody, took its turn at lampooning McCollister for his obvious double standard. http://theredshtick.com/2015/04/03/jindal-crony-who-pens-pro-jindal-editorials-accuses-professor-of-unethical-journalism/

Likewise, the Independent of Lafayette, one of the state’s better political publications, noted with some irony that McCollister found it necessary to reach out “to an anonymous source” to obtain an opinion about journalistic ethics—after all, “hasn’t he run a newspaper for more than 25 years?” the Independent asked somewhat rhetorically, adding, “I’m sure that untenured, junior faculty at LSU will take note that one of the governor’s best friends, who serves on the LSU Board, has this opinion of academic freedom. http://theind.com/article-20612-rolfe-mccollister-faculty-who-criticize-lsu-in-print-are-unethical.html

“Did McCollister threaten my LSU job? The Independent quoted Mann as asking. “Not really. He just finds some gutless anonymous source to call me unethical for criticizing a group of public officials.”

As promised, we now return to The Hayride and one of its regular columnists who seems to fit comfortably in Jindal’s back pocket and who slings darts and arrows at anyone who dares criticize his governor.

We’re talking, of course, about one Jeff Sadow who works as…(ahem), ah…well, as a full time political science professor at LSU-Shreveport. Correction. Make that associate professor. And one who has (gasp!) a political blog.

Rather than go into a lot of Sadow’s qualifications to speak his opinion in a blog as opposed to those who would censure Mann, we’ll let yet another blogger lay it out for us.


But at the end of the day (to borrow a phrase from Bobby Jindal), we still believe in tolerance and we will defend with our last breath the First Amendment rights of McCollister, Sadow, and Mann. They have every right to voice their opinions, though two of those three do not appear to agree.

To sum it all up, it appears we have an LSU Board member who is a Jindal operative in every sense of the word and who just happens to own a news publication. But that board member/journalist steadfastly refuses to advocate for openness on the board (as would just about any member of the Fourth Estate), who votes to fire an LSU president only because the governor wants him to, who votes in favor of giving away teaching hospitals to a fellow board member, and who calls for the censuring of free speech by a journalism professor and newspaper columnist. And, coincidentally, we have an associate professor who does the same thing as Mann, but who gets a free pass because his opinions happen to dovetail nicely with those of  McCollister, Jindal, et al.

Okay, as long as we understand the ground rules.

But, Chicken Little, it appears the sky really is falling. And as for those solutions McCollister promised “will be found,” they now appear more distant than ever.

And meanwhile, he calls Bob Mann unethical.

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If there was any lingering doubt that Bobby Jindal has been committing payroll fraud, that doubt was erased in last Monday’s State of the State address to legislators at the opening of the 2015 legislative which, thankfully, will be his last such address.

Fraud is defined as:

  • The wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain;
  • Deceit, trickery, or breach of confidence perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage;
  • A person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.

Payroll fraud is further defined as the unauthorized altering of payroll or benefits systems in order for an employee to gain funds which are not due. The person making financial gain could be the employee or could be an associate who is using the employee to commit the fraud while taking the funds for himself.

There are generally three types of payroll fraud but for our purposes we are interested in only one:

  • Ghost employees—A person, fictional or real, who is being paid for work he does not perform. In order for the fraud to work the ghost employee must be added to the payroll register. If the individual is paid a monthly salary this is easier for the fraudster, as once this has been set up there is little or no paperwork required. In order for the fraud to work, the ghost employee must be added elected to the payroll register. Once this has been set up, there is little or no paperwork required.

Under that definition, Jindal could certainly be considered a ghost employee. One person even suggested that it was not really Jindal speaking to legislators, that Jindal was actually in Iowa and they were being addressed by a hologram.

We maintain that Jindal is committing payroll fraud by vacating the state so often and leaving the details of running the state to appointed subordinates as inexperienced and naïve as he. The point here is this: No one on his staff was elected; he was. And he has not been at the helm of the ship of state and by absenting himself so frequently and so consistently as he gins up his presidential candidacy, he is committing payroll fraud, theft, and malfeasance. Others, like former Desoto Parish School Superintendent and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Walter Lee have been indicted and been prosecuted for payroll fraud.

Before we really get into his speech to legislators, JINDAL ADDRESS TO LEGISLATURE we simply must call attention to the feeble effort at humor he (or someone) injected into the third line of his speech:

“Well, here we are…at the moment that some of you have been waiting for a long time—my last state of the state speech.”

After an apparently appropriate pause, he continued: “No, that was not supposed to be an applause line…and I do appreciate your restraint.”

Seriously? You actually wrote that line in your speech? If you have to write that in, if you are incapable of ad-libbing that simple line, then we now understand that idiotic response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address in 2009.

Before getting to the real meat of his legislative agenda for this year (if you can call it that), he touched ever-so-lightly on a few other points he generously referred to as his administration’s accomplishments. Our responses to each point are drawn directly from statistics provided by 24/7 Wall Street, a service that provides a steady stream of statistical data on business and government:

  • “We cleaned up our ethics laws so that now what you know is more important than who you know.” (A quick look at the appointment of Troy Hebert as director of the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control after the baseless firing of Murphy Painter could quickly debunk that bogus claim. So could several appointments to the LSU Board of Supervisors and the equally egregious firing of key personnel like Tommy Teague who did their jobs well but made the fatal mistake of crossing Mr. Egomaniac.)
  • “We reformed our education system…” (Louisiana is the fifth-worst educated state and we are the third-worst state for children who struggle to read);
  • “We reformed our health care system…” (Really? Is that why the privatization of our state hospitals remain in turmoil? That same reform ultimately forced the closure of Baton Rouge General Mid-City’s emergency room because of the overload brought on by the closure of Earl K. Long Hospital? Can we thank your “reform” for the fact that Louisiana still has the nation’s third-lowest life expectancy rate or that we enjoy the nation’s third-most unhealthy rating, that we are fifth-highest in cardiovascular deaths or that we have the highest obesity rate in the nation?);
  • “…Our economy is booming.” (Seriously? Louisiana is rated as the worst state for business in the U.S.; we rank sixth-highest among states where the middle class is dying; we remain the eighth-poorest state in the nation with a poverty rate that is third-highest, and we’re saddled with the fourth-worst income disparity in the nation and we’re rated the 10th-worst state in which to be unemployed.);
  • “We have balanced our budget every year…and have received eight credit upgrades.” (This one of those claims so preposterous one doesn’t know how to respond, but we’ll give it our best. Jindal has repeatedly patched budget holes by skimming funds from other agencies, like more than $400 million from the Office of Group Benefits reserve fund, from the sale of the tobacco settlement, from ripping funds for the developmentally disadvantaged (to fund a race track tied a political donor—what was that line again about “what you know, not who you know”?), by cutting health care and higher education, by selling state property, and now he’s trying to cover the current $1.6 billion budget hole by selling the State Lottery. As for those credit upgrades, we can only point to the February action by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s bond rating agencies to move the state’s credit outlook from stable to negative—and to threaten the more severe action of a downgrade.);
  • “The end result is a stronger, more prosperous Louisiana for our children. I measure Louisiana’s prosperity not by the prosperity of our government, but by the prosperity of our people.” (So, why are the fifth-most dangerous state in the nation? The 10th-most miserable state? Why do we have the eighth-worst quality of life? And the 11th-worst run state in the nation? And why have you never once addressed in your seven-plus years in office our ranking as the number-one state in the nation for gun violence or our ranking as first in the world for our prison incarceration rate?)
  • “We don’t live by Washington’s rules of kicking our debts down the road.” (For the love of God…);
  • “We have laid out a budget proposal that seeks to protect higher education, health care and other important government functions.” (And that’s why higher education and health care have been cut each of your years in office and why more cuts are anticipated that could conceivably shut down some of our universities. You really call cuts of up to 80 percent “protecting” higher education?);
  • “We have a system of corporate welfare in this state.” (Wow. After more than seven years of giving away the store to the tune of billions of dollars in corporate tax breaks, you finally come the realization that perhaps your generosity to the Wal-Marts, chicken processing plants and movie production companies may have been a bit much—that those policies may have actually hurt the state? What brought about this sudden epiphany? Bob Mann, in his Something Like the Truth blog, was all over that when he called attention to Jindal’s latest comment in the face of his claim a couple of years ago that we were “crushing businesses” with oppressive taxes. We’ll let him take this one.) http://bobmannblog.com/2015/04/17/bobby-jindal-is-now-against-corporate-welfare/
  • “We have identified over $500 million of corporate welfare spending that we think should be cut…” (Why the hell did it take you seven years?)

After all was said and done, after his hit-and-run sideswipes at all his purported “accomplishments,” Jindal devoted the bulk of his address to only two issues: Common Core and religious liberty. Of the latter issue, he said, “I absolutely intend to fight for passage of this legislation.”

Jindal was referring to Bossier City Republican State Rep. Mike Johnson’s HB 707 which would waste an enormous amount of time and energy—time that could be better spent on far more pressing matters, like a $1.6 billion deficit—on preventing the state from taking “any adverse action” against a person or business on the basis of a “moral conviction about marriage.”

Despite claims by Jindal and Johnson to the contrary, the bill is nothing more than a clone of the Indiana law that constitutes a not-so-subtle attack on gays or anyone else with whom any businessman deems a threat to his or her definition of marriage.

So, after eight addresses to the legislature, Jindal has yet to address any of the issues like inadequate health care, violence, poverty, pay disparity or equal pay for women, increasing the minimum wage, poor business climate (his rosy claims notwithstanding), our highway system (we didn’t mention that, but we are the seventh-worst state in which to drive, with the 15th-highest auto fatality rate), or our having the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Instead, the thrust of his address is aimed at Common Core—he called it federal control even though Common Core was devised by the nation’s governors and not the federal government—and something called the “Marriage and Conscience Act.”

And he expects those two issues, along with something he calls “American Exceptionalism,” to thrust him into the White House as leader of the free world.

And, of course, attacking national Democrats like Obama and just today, Hillary Clinton, on her claim of having immigrant grandparents. Jindal, of course, wants exclusive rights to that claim and says so with his oft-repeated platitude: My parents came to this country over 40 years ago with nothing but the belief that America is the land of freedom and opportunity. They were right. The sad truth is that the Left no longer believes in American Exceptionalism.”

Well, to tell the truth, if Bobby Jindal is the example—the standard-bearer, if you will—for what is considered “American Exceptionalism,” then frankly, we don’t believe in it either.

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