Archive for April, 2021

Today is the last day of our April fundraiser and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has chipped in to help LouisianaVoice in its efforts to keep you abreast of the latest political developments in Louisiana.

Today is the last day I will ask for contributions until our September fundraiser (promotions for the sale of my books excepted, of course).

You may contribute by credit card by simply clicking on the yellow DONATE button to the right of this post (not available on phones, I’m told). To give by check, send to LouisianaVoice, P.O. Box 922, Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727. All contributions are fully tax-deductible as we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

Those giving $125 or more will get a signed copy of my latest book, Murder on the Teche: A True Story of Money and a Flawed Investigation.

Again, thanks so much for your support of investigative journalism.

Tom Aswell


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The Presidential Search Committee, following a three-hour closed-door session on Tuesday, NARROWED THE SEARCH for a new president to try and sort out the mess that is LSU down to three candidates.

Two of the three finalists appear to be viable candidates for what will surely be one of the most difficult administrative jobs of any university in America, given the slew of charges, counter-charges, finger-pointing, lawyer-firing and lawsuits.

Those two are Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System, which oversees nine state universities with a combined enrollment of about 90,000 students, and William F. Tate, IV, provost at the University of South Carolina.

But a third has to raise eyebrows, given his immediate past employment.

Kelvin Droegemeier, a one-time University of Oklahoma vice president for research and a longtime faculty member, left that position in 2018 to become director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the administration of Donald Trump, the nation’s foremost science denier.

Now he wants to become the president of LSU, which finds itself embroiled in a spate of complicated, multi-front legal battles. Various lawsuits have been filed against the university, its New Orleans medical school, its board of supervisors, its athletic department, all outgrowths of separate sexual harassment claims. In addition, the head of the university’s Shreveport medical school has been placed on administrative leave for mishandling sexual harassment claims at that facility.

For a fleeting moment, I thought perhaps I was being too harsh on Droegemeier, that perhaps he was one of those who flew beneath the radar during the Trump years and who furtively did a job worthy of consideration for a university presidency.

Google is a wonderful tool, used properly. When I googled his name, up popped a story from Science Magazine, the 141-year-old peer-reviewed academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science originally founded with financial support from Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell and considered one of the world’s foremost academic publications.

Competition to publish in Science is intense. Articles published in such a highly-regarded magazine can – and do – lead to career advancement for authors. That is precisely why fewer than 7 percent of articles submitted see the light of publication.

One article that did get PUBLISHED was an October 13, 2020, story that was part of a series that examined how federal research agencies fared under Trump. This particular story carried the headline “’Very disappointed.’ Trump’s science adviser has left U.S. researchers wanting more.”

Included in its profile of Droegemeier was a passage that said there was “scant evidence that Droegemeier, who also holds the unofficial title of the president’s science adviser, has tried to mitigate any of the administration’s most controversial policies relating to science and innovation. The list includes its chaotic approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, rolling back a slew of environmental regulations, restricting immigration, and proposing deep cuts in the budgets of most federal research agencies.”

Droegemeier declined to be interviewed by the magazine (remember, this is a magazine in which scientists would kill to be featured in an interview) or even to answer questions from Science about his tenure in the Trump administration.

He did, however, provide a brief email in which he boasted of the Trump administration’s accomplishments and insisted that “President Trump values research and the great work of scientists.”

That would be the same Trump who wanted to nuke hurricanes and who wanted us to drink bleach as an antidote for Covid-19 – the same Trump who, drawing on his vast scientific background, predicted the path of a hurricane with a Sharpie.

I understand former Trump administration officials are having trouble finding gainful employment, but I had no idea things were this bad for them.

Of course, I would ever expect the LSU Board of Supervisors, comprised to a great extent of political campaign contributors who bought their way onto the most prestigious board in state government, to ever pay heed to any of my observations.

On the other hand, I was the only one who cautioned against the hiring of former President F. King Alexander. Those warnings were based on his professional resume.

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After today, there are only two days remaining in our April fundraiser.

I hate begging for money like some pinkie-ringed televangelist who has convinced himself that viewers need to sacrifice so he can afford that new Lear jet.

Unlike politicians who spend hours on end twisting arms from supporters for campaign contributions, I cannot – would not – apply pressure on anyone to support LouisianaVoice. I don’t have that kind of leverage and wouldn’t know how to use it if I did.

I ask support only from those who can afford to do so.

Having said that, if you believe in what we do at LouisianaVoice and if you can, any help would be greatly appreciated.

If not, we are equally appreciative of your continued readership.

That is why I refuse advertising and why I do not charge a subscription fee.

If you wish to contribute by credit card, please click on the yellow DONATE button to the right of this post (note: there is no such button if you’re reading this on your phone; you’ll have to use a laptop or desktop computer).

If you prefer, you may mail a check to: LouisianaVoice, P.O. Box 922, Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727.

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so all contributions are fully tax-deductible.

Those contributing $125 or more will receive a signed copy of my latest book, Murder on the Teche: A True Story of Money and a Flawed Investigation. Please provide your mailing address in order to get your book.

Thanks, as always.

Tom Aswell

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I’m making an earnest attempt for LouisianaVoice to veer away from national politics since there is more than ample political news to write about right here in good ol’ Looezeana but occasionally an issue presents itself that is so absurd as to beg debunking, venue notwithstanding.

So, no, President Biden is not coming for your Big Mac.

Last Friday, Fox News repeatedly aired a story that was based on a University of Michigan study which said that cutting back on red meat consumption would reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Somehow, Fox managed to distort that 2020 study by tying it to Biden’s plan for addressing climate change.

The British Tabloid The Daily Mail ran with the story and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) was quick to tweet that Biden should “stay out of my kitchen” while incorrectly citing a figure of a mandatory 90 percent reduction in meat consumption for the U.S. Meanwhile, Fox continued its usual practice of mauling the truth by running banners across the TV screen proclaiming “bye-bye burgers under Biden’s climate plan” and “90% of red meat out with Biden climate plan.”

But on Monday, Fox anchor John Roberts quietly walked back the network’s claim with a “CLARIFICATION,” noting that its reports “incorrectly implied that it was part of Biden’s plan for dealing with climate change. That is not the case,” Roberts said.

Of course, that didn’t stop our friends at The Hayride from jumping on the story on Monday with their own version of the distortion – with a few choice unrelated conspiracy theories thrown in just to make things interesting. But THEIR POST demanded to be examined more closely.

While I don’t mean to get into a pissing contest with The Hayride or anyone else, I’m fairly certain they’ll have an appropriate response to this post, so, I’ll let them have the last word and not drag this out any further.

In a rather amusing post under the heading “Don’t Tread on Meat,” The Hayride alludes to “leftist views on eliminating meat” that it says, in something of s stretch, dates to a 1993 episode of a sci-fi TV series called Seaquest which is somehow linked to Biden/Harris proposals of today. (I somehow get the feeling that the writer wasn’t even alive in 1993).

It gets better because it quickly cites a tweet from Ted Cruz, of all people, supposedly providing us with “details of Biden’s plan” for the Green New Deal. This is the same Ted Cruz, the Texas whacko, who is described by fellow Repugnantcan and former House Speaker John Boehner as a “reckless a**hole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else.” But I digress.

The Hayride diatribe continues by linking this evil plot to limit meat eaters to four pounds per year to court packing, a subject about which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell should be uniquely familiar.

The writer, who apparently is quite Google-friendly, then cites all kinds of statistics that show the devastating effects of a 90 percent reduction would have on the ranching, meat-packing, and restaurant industries. No doubt, his figures are correct and I don’t assume to dispute them – if such an effort to reduce meat consumption by 90 percent contained even a scintilla of accuracy, which, of course, it does not.

No matter. He writes, “It sure (sic) seems that this is just another attempt by the left to eliminate the middle-class lifestyle of Middle America, trying to dictating (sic) what you can eat…” Other than the redundancy of middle-class and Middle America, he might want to delve into how Repugnantcan policies and tax breaks for the wealthy have contributed to the growing income disparity before whining on behalf of the American middle-class.

“The lefts (sic) war on meat is should (sic) no longer be considered a joke. Seriously other than vegans who goes out…” (Punctuation, Dude, punctuation!)

“This war on meat goes against the principals (sic) of our founding father…” (and which founding father would that be?)

Finally, he writes, “If no one votes for these communists then it will be a lot harder form (sic) them to convincingly commit voter fraud to steal more elections…”

Two things:

First, I happen to be a recovering Repugnantcan who now is a registered Democrat. I just want you to know I served my country in the military because I love this country and I consider myself as patriotic as anyone and for you to label me or anyone I vote for as a communist is reckless and reeks of McCarthyism. You had better be damned careful about slinging a term around that you can’t even define about people you don’t even know. Consider that a word of advice. The next person might deck you for such a stupid remark.

Second, the argument about a stolen election is getting rather stale and trite. How many election audits and court decisions do you need before admitting that Biden won?

Time was, losers just said, “Shut up and deal.” Now they whine for months on end and make claims they can’t substantiate with facts.

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Time is running out on LouisianaVoice‘s April fundraiser. After today, there are only three days left. After that, no solicitations until September.

To contribute by credit card, click on the yellow DONATE button to the right of this post. If you’re like me and prefer to give the old-fashioned way, you may mail a check to: LouisianaVoice, P.O. Box 922, Denham Spring, Louisiana 70727.

All contributions are fully tax-deductible and contributions of $125 or more will get you a signed copy of my latest book, Murder on the Teche: A True Story of Money and a Flawed Investigation. It’s the true story of the 2010 murder of a New Iberia orthodontist and claims by the killer that he was paid by the doctor’s wife to carry out the crime.

Be sure to provide your mailing address to get your book.

As always for the past decade, your support of LouisianaVoice is humbly appreciated.

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