Feeds:
Posts
Comments

We’ve already seen that Louisiana has dismal RANKINGS in overall dental care (47th), oral health (44th), dental habits (dead last), in the percentage of adults who visited a dentist in the past year (dead last), and the fewest dentists per capita (dead last).

So, what happened when the legislature in 2009 passed House Bill 687 by votes of 96-0 in the House and 34-0 in the Senate that allowed the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry to promulgate rules and regulations for the operation of MOBILE DENTAL CLINICS?

Short answer: the number of mobile clinics in Louisiana went from three to zero.

Dr. John Reese, III, DMD, writing for DENTAL ECONOMICS in 2009, said, “Access to care is a major problem facing dentistry today. Many recall when the U.S. Surgeon General gave a failing grade to the level of dental disease in this country, and reported that the number-one reason children visit the school nurse is for dental pain.

Dr. Reese went on to say that with mobile clinics, patients can be treated on-site with minimal interruption of daily routines.

Two major obstacles stand in the way of adequate dental care: cost and access. By bringing dental services to schools and treating indigent children on Medicaid, the mobile dental clinics met both challenges.

Between 2010 and 2014, the number of school-linked

MOBILE_and_PORTABLE_DENTISTRY_PROGRAMS increased from 1,930 to 2,315, an increase of 20 percent. That includes health clinics as well as dental and every state except South Dakota and Louisiana participated.

So, what happened to the bill pushed so hard by Slidell dentist Dr. Edward Donaldson, the bill that became Act 429 with the signature of Bobby Jindal?

Quite simply, MCNA DENTAL (Managed Care of North America, Inc.), which certifies Medicaid dental programs, refused to credential mobile dental practices in Louisiana.

But a better question is how did HB 687 by Rep. Kevin Pearson (R-Slidell) change from its original form to the language in the final passage?

Well, in its original form the LEGISLATIVE DIGEST said the proposed law “prohibits the practice of dentistry in the buildings, improvements, grounds, or any other construction of elementary or second schools.”

Perhaps it was mere coincidence that Dr. Donaldson and Rep. Pearson both reside in Slidell, but it’s no secret that Donaldson was pushing hard for the bill because he seemed to think that mobile clinics were cutting into his patient base. Never mind that virtually all mobile clinic patients were not otherwise seeing a dentist.

The bill was amended 13 times before being voted on in its final form and the regulations as written were sound rules, or so it seemed, until MCNA entered the picture.

Diana Chenevert, a former employee of the State Dentistry Board, in her testimony before a Senate committee, referred to the coalition of the State Board of Dentistry, the Louisiana Dental Association, MCNA, and Molina (the firm contracted to approve Medicaid payments by the State Department of Hospitals) as the “Medicaid Mafia,” led by Donaldson.

She provided a graph that showed that (a) MCNA receives money for every child covered by Louisiana Medicaid, (b) MCNA pays mobile clinic dentists a fee for service for every child treated (thereby cutting into MCNA’s profit base), and (c) by denying mobile dental services, and in the process eliminating the fees paid to treating dentists, MCNA’s profits are increased.

She cited testimony by Donaldson and dental board member Dr. Claudia Cavalina “about mobile dentistry’s purported unclean, unsafe, unsanitary practice with no follow-up care. What you don’t hear were the initial pleas to the LDA board to fight against mobile dentists, including my favorite LDA member quotes:

  • “It’s gonna be more and more difficult for the private dentist to make a living trying to see these kids.”
  • “I sure, personally, would not like to see us giving all these groups a leg up to compete against our members.”
  • “They are eliminating the private sector. That’s not what I want.”
  • “(Mobile dentists) would be (happy) because they’re getting the first shot” (at potential patients and income).
  • “It’s unfair.”
  • “You can’t get the patients that you do need in certain areas. They will focus on certain areas obviously wherever the children are.”

“Mafia dentists profit directly by closing mobile dental practices as the only model left standing is their brick and mortar offices, the inside of which will never be seen by hundreds of thousands of Medicaid children in Louisiana,” she said in her testimony. “And the children of Louisiana lose.”

So, it was simple math that the mobile clinics operated by Dr. Greg Foules of Lafayette and Drs. Luciana Sweis and Nikita Sarr, both of New Orleans, would be de-certified. In fact, when Dr. Sweis placed her equipment in storage after her forced closure, it would be destroyed by a mysterious fire. Hailed as a major gain for Louisiana when she moved to New Orleans from Chicago, she departed after her clinic was de-certified and her equipment destroyed.

It’s not that Donaldson neglected the necessary time-honored practice of taking care of Louisiana elected officials.

Included in the $143,000 in political contributions by Donaldson, his wife, and their clinic from 2003, were six contributions to Pearson totaling $5,250.

Other contributions by Donaldson included:

  • $13,000 to Senate President John Alario;
  • $5,000 to House Speaker Taylor Barras;
  • $9,500 to various campaigns of Jay Dardenne;
  • $9,000 to Sen. Jack Donahue of Mandeville;
  • $8,000 to Sen. Jim Fannin of Jonesboro;
  • $5,000 to Rep. Cameron Henry of Metairie;
  • $9,000 to former House Speaker Charles Kleckley of Lake Charles;

But Donaldson’s contributions are dwarfed by the investments in good government totaling more than $1.5 million made by private dental practices, dental PACs and other dental-related organizations since 2003.

Just imagine, if you will, how many indigent children could receive desperately needed dental care with that kind of money.

Among the more fortunate beneficiaries of that investment were:

  • $35,000 to Alario;
  • $3,500 to Sen. Conrad Appel of Metairie;
  • $8,550 to Barras;
  • $7,500 to Rep. Johnny Berthelot of Gonzales;
  • $6,000 to Rep. Robert Billiot of Westwego;
  • $11,000 to former Rep. Simone Champagne;
  • $8,000 to former Sen. Norbert Chabert;
  • $8,000 to Rep. Charles Chaney of Rayville;
  • $12,000 to Rep. Patrick Connick of Marrero;
  • $25,500 to Donahue;
  • $8,000 to Sen. Dale Erdy of Livingston;
  • $13,000 to former Rep. and former Sen. Noble Ellington of Winnsboro;
  • $23,000 to Fannin;
  • $7,000 to Rep. Franklin Foil of Baton Rouge;
  • $13,000 to former Rep. Brett Geymann;
  • $12,000 to former Rep. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas;
  • $8,500 to Henry;
  • $18,000 to former Rep. Lydia Jackson;
  • $31,000 to Jindal;
  • $17,000 to Kleckley;
  • $12,250 to former Rep. John LaBruzzo;
  • $16,500 to Rep. Walt Leger of New Orleans;
  • $15,500 to Rep. James H. Morris of Oil City;
  • $9,500 to Pearson;
  • $7,000 to Sen. Neil Riser of Columbia;
  • $10,000 to former Rep. Mert Smiley of Gonzales;
  • $14,500 to Rep. Patricia Haynes of Baton Rouge;
  • $10,000 to Sen. Gary Smith of Norco;
  • $11,000 to Sen. Greg Tarver of Shreveport;
  • $7,000 to Sen. Michael Walsworth of West Monroe;
  • $7,000 to former House Speaker Jim Tucker;
  • $11,000 to former Sen. Sharon Weston Broome;
  • $17,500 to Sen. Bodi White of Central.

And after all the bad publicity and legislative hearings about dental board actions, the board is now upping its game from extortion, intimidation, and exorbitant fines to witness tampering and cyber stalking.

And why not? Look at those campaign contributions which equate to a get out of jail free card.

If you can’t afford to buy good (for your interests) government, it’s always for rent.

Advertisements

Is it a mere coincidence that Louisiana has the FIFTH-WORST dental health in the nation? Or that our state has the eighth-worst oral health or the worst dental habits and care?

Could the fact that we rank dead last in the percentage of adults who visited a dentist in the past year somehow correlate with the fact that Louisiana is also dead last in the number of dentists per capita? Or second-worst in the percentage of adults with low life satisfaction due to oral condition?

Or could it be that the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry is just more interested in assessing fines and penalties as a means of amassing funds to perpetuate its existence than it is in promoting good dental health?

In 2010, the Louisiana Board of Dentistry revoked the license of Dr. Ryan Haygood of Shreveport. He was forced to endure a four-day hearing he describes as a “kangaroo court,” during which he had no rights and no due process.

“While this sounds unbelievable and extreme,” he told the Senate Commerce Committee last April, “the courts have agreed.”

A three-dentist panel found him guilty on eight specifics under two separate charges. In addition to taking his license to practice, the panel assessed him with more than $173,000 in fines and legal and investigative fees.

Incredibly, the conviction included several charges that the board had already dismissed and on the other charges, the board produced no evidence against him.

It took years, but the revocation was overturned by a unanimous ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. The court, in a strongly-worded rebuke of the dental board, said, “We hold this conduct is violative of the Louisiana Administrative Procedure Act and Dr. Haygood’s due process right to a neutral adjudicator and a fair hearing.

In 2011, Haygood filed suit against the board attorney, its investigator (who has since has his own private investigator’s license revoked), two unlicensed investigators and several local dentists who he said conspired with the board to take his license

Haygood, in his Senate testimony, said that in November 2013, the Second Circuit Court of Appeal cited the aforementioned Fourth Circuit ruling which suggested the potential of a corrupted investigation and a strong inference that members of the board engaged in the conduct attributed to Dr. Ross Dies (a local competitor of Haygood). If some of the allegations regarding Dies’ behavior are proved, the court added, they “would strongly suggest that Dies’ conduct was motivated less by altruistic concern for the public than animus to suppress a competitor. They would also prove that other board members agreed with Dr. Dies to engage in conduct to accomplish those objectives.

In December 2017, Caddo district court Judge Michael Pitman said:

This court reviewed many e-mails and correspondence between members of the board and the investigation team and the attorneys handling the matter before the board. I did so in-camera. Those matters are under seal because of the confidential nature of the investigation. But the things in those correspondence(s) were rather shocking with the unprofessionalism that was shown during this investigation, and I won’t go into specifics because those matters are under seal, but I was shocked at some of the things I read, some of the unprofessionalism that took place during this investigation by the board members, attorneys, so on and so forth…

The bottom line is there were—the proceedings that too place in this investigation were shocking. I just can’t think of another word to describe it. It was absolutely shocking.

Yet, despite overwhelming evidence of the board’s employment of a private investigator whose license was under threat of revocation (and eventually was revoked), despite testimony of destruction of records by the board, and despite former board employee Diana Chenevert’s meeting with investigators from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) on four different occasions during which she provided details of these, as well as citing examples of threats, extortion, and anti-competitive activities of the board, and despite having been told by OIG personnel that arrests were eminent, nothing happened.

In fact, in a January 25, 2018, letter to State Sen. Barrow Peacock, State Inspector General Steven Street said, among other things, “the evidence did not support criminal charges against any current or former Dental Board employees, board members or contractors.”

To read the full text of Street’s incredulous letter, go HERE.

Apparently, Street saw nothing wrong with the manner in which the board extorts money from dentists or the manner in which it conspired with the LSU School of Dentistry to ruin the career of one Dr. Randall Schaffer. To read his story, go HERE.

It’s not much of a stretch to say that Street has become something of a caricature of the clueless Sgt. Schultz character on Hogan’s Heroes who was best-known for his oft-repeated line, “I see nothing, I see nothing.”

Schaffer is the one who, back in 1989, realized that a joint replacement device for temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) sufferers developed at the LSU Dental School and being marketed by a Houston company named Vitek, was defective.

When Schaffer, then a resident at LSU, became aware of the 100 percent failure rate of the device, he informed Dr. John Kent, head of LSU’s School of Dentistry’s Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department, who had developed the device.

But Kent had been given stock in Vitek and was earning royalties of 2 percent to 4 percent on the sale of Vitek products, so the word of disfigurement, excruciating pain and at least eight suicides was unwelcome news. The obvious solution was to get rid of Schaffer and shut him up.

Today, Schaffer lives in Iowa, driven out of Louisiana by the Dentistry Board which joined with LSU to persecute the messenger even as 675 patients combined as a class for discovery purposes, leaving the state exposed to about $1 billion in legal liability.

Schaffer, you see, was named as a witness and consultant in the class action case and the Board of Dentistry retaliated by launching its investigation of Schaffer

In 1992, the first case was settled for $1 million.

Meanwhile, the board continued with its unique method of imposing its own brand of justice on dentists who it deemed troublesome or a threat. And of course, the board took no corrective actions regarding Dr. Kent and his joint replacement device.

 

Old habits die hard, especially when those old habits involve potentially criminal acts carried out under the guise of regulation of licensees whom you regulate and routinely browbeat into submission with massive fines for minor infractions—or even no infractions at all.

But those behind the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry’s unique brand of justice that involved having a single employee serve as accuser, prosecutor and judge have taken their actions to a new level that now encompasses the practices of reprisals against whistleblowers, witness tampering, and cyber stalking—all of which, by the way are felonies.

Here are links to just a few of the stories LouisianaVoice has done on the board in the past:

BOARD HARASSES DOC WHO NEVER TOUCHED A TOOTH

APPEAL COURT SLAMS LSDB TACTIC

WHISTLEBLOWER RUINED IN EFFORT TO PROTECT LSU DENTISTRY SCHOOL IN LAWSUIT

And one LouisianaVoice did not write:

TRIAL TO DECIDE IF BOARD CONSPIRED AGAINST DENTIST

There were many more stories on the board, but you get the drift. Basically, it was a board comprised of out-of-control executives, investigators and members who flexed their collective muscle to drive out competition.

In Haygood’s case, he was convinced that a direct competitor, Dr. Ross Dies, had conspired with board members to manufacture complaints against him. And the cooperative board did just that, coming up with eight violations and imposing fines of more than $173,000. Haygood moved out of state and filed suit against Dies, the board and its investigators, a couple of them, ironically enough, unlicensed investigators.

That Haygood decided to fight back must have come as quite a surprise to the board which had always bullied into submission dentists terrified of not only hefty fines, but the very real threat of license revocation.

Because the board had employed unlicensed investigators to pursue Haygood, the board negotiated a consent agreement whereby he paid substantially lower fines ($16,500) and was reinstated.

Part of the consent agreement also stipulated that Haygood, “other than presenting evidence, claims, and testimony,” he would refrain from publishing or making “any disparaging or critical remarks verbally or in writing about the board or any of the board parties.”

Well, on April 4, 2018, Haygood did just that. He gave his testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee in connection with Senate Bill 260 which dealt with…disciplinary hearings by professional and occupational licensing boards and commissions.

Also testifying before the committee were Dr. Randall Wilk, a doctor who holds a dental license but who has never touched a tooth (as more fully described in the first link above) who found himself in the board’s crosshairs, and Diana Chenevert, a former employee of the Dental Board.

Wilk was called in to a board meeting and told to pay a $5,000 fine and sign a consent decree over a false charge of his possessing no anesthesia permit or a certificate in oral surgery. Wilk refused to sign the consent decree without his attorney first reviewing the document. The board members left the room and returned with an adding machine “and told me that if I did not sign the document right then and there, that they could levy fines of over $100,000. This was a pure and simple shakedown,” Wilk said.

Board investigator Camp Morrison, who since has lost his own license as a private investigator, would show up at Wilk’s operation waiting room handing out business cards to his patients and advising them that he was the Dental Board’s investigator and that he was conducting an investigation of Dr. Wilk—even Wilk was not even a practicing dentist.

As an illustration how the board routinely extorted fines from dentists while giving them no opportunity to defend themselves, go to this LINK.

Chenevert, Haygood says, “witnessed unethical and potentially illegal informal hearing and consent decree methods, observed board members filing and directing penalties against dentists practicing in their own areas, illegal investigations and the destruction of documents.

The board’s reaction was immediate.

New complaints have now been filed against both Wilk and Haygood because of their “disparaging remarks” about the board in their Senate testimony. All three have been subjected to “additional threatening, intimidating, extortive, and retaliatory behaviors, including but not limited to: close surveillance and repetitive, unrelenting, and harassing text messages,” according to Haygood’s petition.

The board came after Wilk the very week after his Senate testimony, renewing the same charge of his lacking an anesthesia permit from the board which, to reiterate, is not required since he does not practice dentistry. The timing of the renewed charges cannot be written off as coincidence.

But the worst of those are the text messages directed at Chenevert. Whoever the despicable, disgusting, cowardly sleazebag is (and have a pretty good idea who it is), he is conducting his cyber stalking anonymously—and well he should, because what he’s doing could quite easily land him in jail. And I am fully aware that a news story should not editorialize, but this person is a special kind of lowlife, so I’ll exercise my option to call it the way I see it.

LouisianaVoice has copies of the texts, but they will not be published. But suffice it to say, besides offering her a cushy job in exchange for her recanting her testimony, the messages are explicit, vulgar, and more than a little suggestive—all designed to rattle her and intimidate her into recanting her testimony. The latest was received Monday morning (Feb. 18, 2019). I’m pretty sure the perpetrator gets his jollies writing them.

These latest actions by and on behalf of the board go way beyond the bounds of decency and are way beneath the mission of a public board appointed by the governor of Louisiana. Perhaps Gov. Edwards should just remove every single member, as well as the executive director, and start over because it’s quite clear that the board and its representatives, official or unofficial, are out of control.

State Sens. Fred Mills, Chairman of the Committee on Health and Welfare, and Danny Martiny, Chairman of the Committee on Commerce let their feelings about the board’s latest reprisals be known in a December 17, 2018 LETTER.

In their letter, Martiny (R-Metairie) and Mills (R-New Iberia) expressed their “profound disapproval of not only including a non-disparagement clause in a consent decree with a licensed dentist, but invoking that clause as a result of providing legislative committee testimony. We consider this a gross abuse of power as there is no compelling state interest in restricting the speech of a licensee simply because you find his comments derogatory to the board.”

The letter reminded the board that it was “created by legislature to protect the public,” adding that there was “absolutely nothing in this action by the board that has any semblance of public protection. Rather, it appears to be an unacceptable strong-arming of a government body for self-serving and retaliatory means.”

Board President Dr. Jerome Smith responded with his own LETTER on December 20 in an attempt to justify its latest attack against Haygood but ended by saying that “the charges pending against this dentist have been hereby dismissed since our 2018 board president has decided to turn this matter over to me.”

Amazing what getting a letter from a couple of pissed-off legislators can do.

But Haygood’s attorney Jerald Harper of Shreveport isn’t quite ready to let the matter drop so easily. His client, as well as Dr. Wilk and Ms. Chenevert have been subjected to harassment and Wilk and Chenevert, as pointed out, continue to feel pressure from the board.

In a February 13 letter to the two senators, HARPER pointed out that the “systematic, punitive” actions of the board were the result of testimony from the three. He said there “have been clearly extraordinary and plainly criminal efforts to exact a retraction from Ms. Diana Chenevert. These actions are continuing as of the date of this communication. I hope you share my concerns about protecting witnesses who voluntarily appear before the Louisiana Legislature to share their views, expertise and experience in order to permit it to properly exercise its oversight functions.”

Harper also took issue with Dr. Smith’s letter, saying he provided “false or misleading information on nearly every point provided in that letter, adding that while Dr. Smith claimed that the complaint against Dr. Haygood will be dismissed, the board “has provided no notice of this dismissal to Dr. Haygood as of this writing.”

It’s not the World War II Museum in New Orleans.

It doesn’t have huge grants underwriting its operations.

It doesn’t have a famous movie star promoting it.

Machine gunner

And it’s not exactly overrun with visitors

But the War Museum in Ruston, while operating on a meager budget and with a single curator, is built on the very personal memories of every person who contributed a gun, a uniform, medals, or other memorabilia.

 

Contributors like Chaplain James White of Minden

Or Ruston’s Major General Hal McCown

Museum curator Ernest Stevens is owner of a sheet metal company he took over from his dad.

Ernest is a veteran of Vietnam and for decades I, along with a lot of other folks around Ruston thought that was him wading across a river on the cover of Life Magazine back when the war was going full bore. During a recent visit to Ruston, I dropped in on Ernest to take the tour. That photo came up in the conversation and Ernest assured me that the soldier in the photo was not him. So much for that local legend.

I’ve know Ernest for the better part of 55 years now and he, like me, is a bit heavier and a lot grayer but the handshake and warm welcome is just as fresh and enthusiastic as it was before he left for that awful war. He, like so many hundreds of thousands like him, was just a boy then.

What would a Vietnam veteran running a military museum do

without a couple of relics from ‘Nam?

Ernest (forget that, I’m calling him by the name I knew 55 years ago). Ernie said veterans who gathered for meetings of the VFW (where the museum is housed) began bringing souvenirs to meetings to show fellow members. “Before long, we just started an informal display and that grew to what we have today,” he said.

Daily warning for wartime workers during WWII

“Pretty soon, veterans of various wars were bringing in all sorts of items, from vintage radios, to wartime equipment, even uniforms worn by the enemy,” Stevens said.

Uniforms of the Axis Powers

Survivors of Bataan never forgot; some never forgave

 

A mighty U.S. naval fleet, nearly destroyed at Pearl,

rose to dominate the seas

 

Back home, there was the German P.O.W. camp between Grambling and Simsboro—later a hospital for tuberculosis patients and later still, the site of Ruston State School

 

Weapons and uniforms of War

 

Playing war games while listening for news

from the front on upright radio

If you’re in Ruston, drop by the museum on East Georgia next to the old swimming pool and say hello to Ernie. He’ll drop everything he’s doing and give you the tour. And when you do, don’t forget to sign the register and leave a donation. The ones who contributed these artifacts sacrificed much and when you thank them for their service, look them in the eye and say it like you mean it.

Donald Trump, Jr., you pampered little daddy’s boy mealy-mouthed sonofabitch!

I could stop there and my description would be sufficient, but I won’t. The little twit committed what I consider to be an unpardonable sin when he described teachers as “losers” at his daddy’s rally in El Paso Monday.

I can take just about anything from the Trumps and even laugh at them but when they start calling teachers “losers,” that’s a trip-wire for me.

I had the same reaction a few years back when another little dips**t named Jindal had the audacity to tell members of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) that the only reason some teachers were still in the classroom “is by virtue of their ability to breathe.” You will note that he would never have had the guts to say such a thing before a teachers’ group—only some half-baked organization like LABI which drinks the Republican Kool-Aid while lobbying for billions of dollars in tax breaks for its corporate members.

That’s because Jindal, like Donald Trump, is a damned coward who will only go before one of his wacko LABI or MAGA crowds and say something so asinine. At the first sign of a hostile crowd, they’d run like the wimps they are. Now that’s the definition of a loser—I don’t care how rich and successful one is in monetary terms, that’s still a loser.

And before you Trump supporters start in with your comments about how wonderful our Buffoon-in-Chief is, don’t even bother. You can say what you want, but you’ll be wasting your breath because I’m not about to back down on this. It’s kind of the reverse of trying to get you to see through how idiot Trump is making you think he gives a crap about you.

It seems that Daddy Trump has latched onto another catch-phrase to ignite his brain-dead supporters: socialism. And that’s the word Donnie invoked Monday as he warned students against “loser teachers…trying to sell you on socialism from birth.”

What a crock. First of all, I love it when people throw around the word as if it were synonymous with the word communism. It’s not. Social Security is a form of socialism. So is Medicare. So are public highways, garbage pickup, municipal sewer and water lines, police and fire protection.

Hell, the very idea of health and life insurance—and auto and fire insurance—is a form of socialism: it’s the idea of shared risk. Everyone pays a little into the pool so that those among us who have losses or health issues can benefit.

Trump proclaims to love the military, even though he dodged the draft with a stone bruise on his heel—and couldn’t remember which heel it was when asked a few years later. But that aside, military housing, military clothing and mess halls represent applied socialism in the purest sense of the word.

And for those who equate socialism with welfare, the most successful corporate citizens in this country are the beneficiaries of what we affectionately refer to as corporate welfare that dwarfs all the benefits received by all the low-income citizens of this country combined. The tax breaks, incentives, write-offs, and exemptions received by our fine corporate citizens are the epitome of classic socialism.

For that matter, the biggest advocate of socialism in history was a fellow named Jesus Christ. His ministry taught us to care for one another, to heal the sick and comfort the poor. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these brethren, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:40).

But back to Donnie’s NONSENSE. “You don’t have to be indoctrinated by these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth,” he told Monday’s rally in El Paso.

Indoctrinated? Give me a flipping break, you little moron.

I’m 75 and well past my school years but I still remember the wonderful teachers I had at Ruston High School like it was yesterday: Coach Perkins, Coach Garrett, his wife, Mary Alice Garrett, Charlotte Lewis, Maggie Hinton, Mrs. Edmunds, Earvin Ryland, Morgan Peoples, Ruth Johnson, Oscar Barnes, Denman Garner, Moose Phillips.

Then, later at Louisiana Tech: Dr. C.C. Chadbourne, Dr. Phil Cook, Dr. Winters (the hardest professor I ever had, but one helluva teacher) and Morgan Peoples (again, after he moved up to Tech).

These people had a profound influence on me, a poor student who was taken under their wings and nurtured until I came out with first a diploma and then a degree, the first in my immediate family to do so.

There was another who, though I was never in his class, taught me a lesson with only five little words.

Registering for my first semester at Tech, I was directed to the desk of Dr. Tony Sachs, head of Tech’s English Department to sign up for my English course (under Dr. Chadbourne). “What’re you doing here?” he asked.

“I was told to come over here, so this is where I’m at,” I replied.

Signing my registration card without ever looking up, he corrected me: “This is where I am.”

Lesson learned. Don’t end a sentence with a preposition. I’ve never forgotten that brief exchange.

But the real lesson that Donnie (and Jindal) obviously are too dense to absorb is this:

  • Columbine High School, April 20, 1999: teacher Williams Sanders, 47, among those shot and killed.
  • Sandy Hook Elementary School, December 14, 2012: teacher Anne Marie Murphy, 52, shot and killed while covering the bodies of children to protect them; Victoria Leigh Soto, 27, shot and killed when she stood between shooter and children; Rachel D’Avino, 29; principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, Lauren Rousseau, 30, and Mary Sherlach, 56, all shot and killed.
  • Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida, February 14, 2018: Scott Beigel, 35, shot dead while trying to get kids to safety inside his classroom; Aaron Feis, 37, shot dead when he threw himself in front of students to protect them, Chris Hixon, shot dead.

How’s that for being a loser, Donnie, you idiot child? Think you could ever muster the courage to be that brave? Ask Daddy, if he’s still nursing those stone bruises on his heel that kept him out of the military during Vietnam —if, that is, he can even remember which heel it was.

Here’s something to ponder: There are 3.2 million members of the National Education Association, and 1.7 million members of the American Federation of Teachers and another 1.7 million college teachers.

They all have family members—parents, siblings, children.

They vote.