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STILL LOTS OF TIME

THE JOB I WANT

(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE)

As the days of his administration dwindle and the certainty of the numbers sets in, Gov. Bobby finally must come to the undeniable realization that his quest for the Republican nomination is a vanishing dream (actually, it was over long ago), he and his disciples of delusion must now turn their attention to their respective futures.

Many political observers believe Gov. Bobby may be already jockeying for a cabinet post in lieu of his non-existent chances of becoming POTUS. Others think he might hook up with some conservative think tank to continue spewing his archaic talking points.

We coaxed our mystery cartoonist to come up with an appropriate strip for this post—and we even included a couple from the cartoon archives for good measure.

Then we asked a few of our readers to offer suggestions as to what Gov. Bobby and some of his top appointees might look forward to now that their meal ticket is about all used up.

We asked them to consider the following questions:

  • What will post-term Bobby be doing? Think tank writer, Faux News commentator/host, cabinet slot, join the Duck Dynasty family, replace Rush Limbaugh, etc.
  • When he will finally admit he’s no longer considering a run for POTUS?
  • Will he resign early a la Sarah Palin?
  • What will his top appointees—Kyle Plotkin, Kristy Nichols, Stephen Moret, Timmy Teepell, Jimmy Faircloth—be doing post-Bobby?

Some of the answers we got were funny and some serious. Some were anonymous for obvious reasons. All were interesting.

Stephen Winham, former State Budget Officer, said Gov. Bobby will abandon his quest for the White House only “when his handlers finally let him come out of the delusional fantasy world in which he obviously exists—or when he is offered and accepts whatever it is he really has his eye on.”

Winham, who earlier half-jokingly said Gov. Bobby “could have aspirations to replace Pat Robertson on the 700 Club. There’s a lot of money to be made on religion and the faithful will buy into what’s being told them rather than attempt to find the truth on their own.” He said many powerful figures, including Adolph Hitler, “have used the human proclivity for escaping from personal freedom and responsibility to their advantages. Some use it to promote evil, like Hitler. Others use it to promote good, like Billy Graham uses religion.” Gov. Bobby, he said, “will use it to promote Bobby.”

Earthmother said Gov. Bobby would not concede until 2045, “when he is 75,” but she added that even then he would “still think he can be a contendah, limping around the country with a cane and dragging a huge belt buckle (and) still spouting hatred and irrelevance.”

As to the prospects that Gov. Bobby would step down before his term expires, she pointed out that “he’s already resigned as governor, performing no duties or even remaining in the state but is too greedy and craven to do the honest thing and forego his salary and perks, like living free in the governor’s mansion. So much for the fool’s gold standard of ethics.”

Earthmother suggested an appropriate vocation for post-Gov. Bobby would be slopping pigs. But she was quick to apologize for insulting pigs and went on to say he has no job skills. “I cannot think of any way he could actually earn a living,” she said. “Perhaps some conservative gazillionaire will feel sorry for his family and give him a handout as a flight attendant on one of those private jets he is so fond of.”

C.B. Forgotston believes Gov. Bobby will start a think tank in the Washington, D.C. area “funded by the out-of-state contractors he hired for hundreds of millions of dollars to accomplish zero.”

He said Gov. Bobby will probably move his family to a state in the D.C. area and after his children finish high school he will get Louisiana legislators to give them scholarships to Tulane “because the tuition costs will be too high at all the public universities in Louisiana.”

John Sachs was less charitable. “He will remain governor because he knows his crazy ideas and policies have alienated so many that he must keep his state police entourage around him. And it’s free.”

Sachs said he does not believe Gov. Bobby will land a cabinet or even a department head position “because he can’t keep his mouth shut and no president is going to stand being upstaged by a subordinate. He will probably become a pitch man for a speed reading and speaking enterprise so that his followers can read the Bible and misinterpret it in a rapid-fire manner.”

He said Gov. Bobby “has no sense of loyalty. His relationships are all, without exception, based on what someone can do for him. All human life is expendable to Bobby.”

Jeanie Rhea said she believes Gov. Bobby could keep the flame of hope alive as he plots his next move from within a command center in his D.C. fortress home—because he’s too good to live down here on the plantation—“with Mike Edmonson providing private security and black Tahoes.” She said his best bet is as the leader of a mega-church/cult of some sort while continuing to remain “on-message” and keep his coffers filled with sermons and white papers about Christian bigotry, hatred, and disdain for the poor. “And yes, even as his popularity sinks, there are still enough nuts out there to keep him in business by dropping something into the plate (Rolfe still loves him).”

Gov. Bobby’s experience with exorcising demons while a student at Brown University “would also work well with his divine leadership role,” she said. “Folks love a good spit-spraying, demon rassler.”

One writer who wishes to remain anonymous said Gov. Bobby’s “very high level of narcissism,” will keep him in the race until mathematically eliminated and then perhaps he will jockey for the vice president consolation prize. But he doesn’t see that happening because he has too much baggage to help the party. He thinks if a Republican wins the presidency, Gov. Bobby may be offered a cabinet position to appease the tea partiers. “I would not be surprised to see him refuse a cabinet position because his bully pulpit would be limited by his boss,” he said.

Our unnamed reader said he does not expect Gov. Bobby to resign because quitting would “adversely impact his image.” He did, however suggest that he might concentrate his efforts toward becoming chairman of the National Republican Party, which he would perceive “as giving him a national base of power.

“To paraphrase the character Dr. Thackery in the current Cinemax series The Knick, ‘You can’t run away and join the circus unless the circus wants you.’”

Shifting to Gov. Bobby’s supporting cast, our anonymous contributor predicted there would be a “stream of departures starting shortly after the 2015 legislature adjourns up through (Gov. Bobby’s) final days. Some will join lobbying firms,” he said. “I could easily see Kristy Nichols and LABI in bed with each other. Her political career is essentially done in Louisiana.”

He said Timmy Teepell might follow Gov. Bobby wherever he goes. “It just depends upon the direction (Gov. Bobby) takes.”

Forgotston said Teepell will teach a course at Gov. Bobby’s think tank “on the Machiavellian approach to political campaigns. It will include lessons in how to launder campaign funds and how to avoid being found in campaign disclosure statements.”

Jimmy Faircloth, Forgotston said, will “return to law school to re-take the courses about winning lawsuits.” Moret, who is pulling down $350,000 per year while pursuing his Ph.D. from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, “will become a pitch man for a new baldness cure,” and Kyle Plotkin “will remain Bobby’s manservant. He will be Bobby’s driver and carry his bags when Bobby attends important meetings to explain the ‘Louisiana Miracle.’”

Another reader, who also asked that we not use his name, said he believes Plotkin “should be a Wal-Mart greeter because he’s such a charming a**hole,” and that he sees Commissioner of Administration as “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial.”

Forgotston, however, said he believes Nichols “will start a beauty shop in the Capitol basement.”

Rhea, Winham and Earthmother chose to lump all of Gov. Bobby’s top appointees into one group with Rhea calling them “Jindalspawn,” and saying they “are well suited to be pseudo-ministers of propaganda, finance, legal affairs, education, etc., as they have consistently proven that they can suck the chrome off a trailer hitch.”

“Kristy Nichols will get a job promoting another politician via distortion of reality,” Winham said. “A lot of politicians look for people with that talent and, largely unchallenged, she has used it well in this administration.”

“I don’t know enough about Plotkin to speculate other than his possession of the same talent as Ms. Nichols. Stephen Moret, the smartest person working for (the administration), will be a success no matter what he does.

“Timmy Teepell will hang on to (Gov. Bobby) as long as he is able to use his home-schooled education to make a lot of money off him. When that dries up, he will find another right-wing religious figure to support him and his family.

“Jimmy Faircloth will continue to be among the ranks of high-profile, but incompetent attorneys who somehow make it in the world because of their perceived connections, real or imagined.”

Earthmother simply said they all should get jail time “for malfeasance, fiduciary irresponsibility and general crimes against humanity and especially the citizens of Louisiana.”

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ANOTHER CLASSIC

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We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again; this guy, whoever he is, is a satirical genius. Perhaps it’s a stretch, but we’ll go out on a limb and declare him on a par with Will Rogers and Mark Twain.

We have also said we wish we knew his identity so we could give him proper credit but we are fairly certain this is a state employee and to do so would result in his/her instant teaguing.

Regardless, the people of this state are indebted to this artist for demonstrating how the top players in this administration have completely and consistently jindaled things up.

It’s not the artwork, which consists of a few computerized re-creations of stock photo images of the characters, that provides the humor. In fact, many of the images appear repeatedly throughout the collection of brilliant strips.

The key to this series is in the way the cartoonist uses dialog to capture the absurd buffoonery that currently permeates the entire fourth floor of the Louisiana State Capitol in lieu of any sound political and economic philosophy.

Why, we would not be at all surprised to learn that he works in the Division of Administration—right under Kristy Nichols’ nose.

Nah. That would be just too perfect.

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In our lowlights review for the first six months of 2014, we were reminded by State Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard (I-Thibodaux) that we had omitted a major low point in Louisiana politics.

Accordingly, we will preface our second half with the June veto by Gov. Bobby Jindal of HB 142 by Richard and Sens. Francis Thompson (D-Delhi) and Mack “Bodi” White (R-Central) which was pass unanimously by both the House (84-0) and Senate (37-0).

Called by Richard as the only “piece of legislation that would’ve done anything in the form of reform,” HB142 called for a reduction in consulting contracts. Richard said the bill also “would’ve provided transparency in the way the state hands out contracts” and would have provided savings that would have been dedicated to higher education.

“It just made too much sense to Bobby,” Richard said.

Jindal, on the other hand, said the bill would “hinder the state’s efforts to continue to provide its citizens with timely, high-quality services.”

Such high-quality services as paying $94,000 to a firm to assistant students to learn to play during recess; paying consulting fees to Hop 2 It Music Co. or to the Smile and Happiness Foundation.

Jindal also said the bill would “cause significant delays and introduce uncertainty to executing a contract” and would “discourage businesses from seeking opportunities to provide services to the people of Louisiana.”

Which now brings us to the second half of political news that could only occur in Louisiana.

JULY

Troy Hebert back in the news:

Three former ATC supervisors, all black, have filed a federal lawsuit in the Baton Rouge’s Middle District claiming a multitude of actions they say Hebert took in a deliberate attempt to force the three to resign or take early retirement and in fact, conducted a purge of virtually all black employees of ATC.

Baton Rouge attorney J. Arthur Smith, III filed the lawsuit on behalf of Charles Gilmore of Baton Rouge, Daimian T. McDowell of Bossier Parish, and Larry J. Hingle of Jefferson Parish.

The lawsuit said that all three plaintiffs have received the requisite “right to sue” notice from the U.S. Department of Justice pursuant to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints.

So, where are all those savings we were promised?

To probably no one’s surprise except a clueless Gov. Bobby Jindal, the takeover of the Louisiana Office of Group Benefits (OGB) by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana a scant 18 months ago has failed to produce the $20 million per year in savings to the state.

Quite the contrary, in fact. The OGB fund balance, which was a robust $500 million when BCBS took over as administrators of the Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) in January of 2013, now stands at slightly less than half that amount and could plummet as low as an anemic $5 million a year from now, according to figures provided by the Legislative Fiscal Office.

There is no tactful way to say it. This Jindal’s baby; he’s married to it. He was hell bent on privatizing OGB and putting 144 employees on the street for the sake of some hair-brained scheme that managed to go south before he could leave town for whatever future he has planned for himself that almost surely does not, thank goodness, include Louisiana.

So ill-advised and so uninformed was Jindal that he rushed into his privatization plan and now has found it necessary to have the consulting firm Alvarez and Marcel, as part of their $5 million contract to find state savings, to poke around OGB to try and pull the governor’s hand out of the fiscal fire. We can only speculate as to why that was necessary; Jindal, after all, had assured us up front that the privatization would save $20 million a year but now cannot make good on that promise.

We can save, but we have to let you go…

The Jindal administration announced plans to jettison 24 more positions at the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) as a cost cutting measure for the cash-strapped agency but is retaining the top two positions and an administrator hired only a month ago.

Affected by layoffs are eight Benefits Analyst positions, three Group Benefits Supervisory spots, one Group Benefits Administrator, seven Administrative Coordinators, an Administrative Assist, two Administrative Supervisors, one IT Application Programmer/Analyst and one Training Development Specialist.

All this takes place at a time whe OGB’s reserve fund has dwindled from $500 million at the time of the agency’s privatization in January 2013 to about half that amount today. Even more significant, the reserve fund is expected to dip as low as $5 million by 2016, just about the time Jindal leaves town for good.

Completing the trifecta of good news, we also have learned that health benefits for some 200,000 state employees, retirees and dependents will be slashed this year even as premiums increase.

Neil Riser helps Edmonson revoke the irrevocable:

One of the single biggest state political stories of the year was the surreptitious attempt of State Sen. Neil Riser to slip an amendment into an otherwise nondescript bill ostensibly addressing procedures in handling claims against police officers that would have given State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson an illegal $55,000 per year retirement boost.

Events quickly began to spin out of control after Riser first denied, then admitted his part in the ruse and as retired state police opposed the move and public opinion mounted against the move, Edmonson, after first claiming he was entitled to the raise, finally relented and said he would not accept the increase.

Meanwhile, Jindal, who signed the bill, was eerily quiet on the issue despite speculation he was behind the attempt to slip the increase into the bill.

State Sen. Dan Claitor, just to make sure Edmonson didn’t go back on his word, filed suit to block the raise and a Baton Rouge judge agreed that the bill was unconstitutional.

The bill, which quickly became known as the Edmonson Amendment, along with the Office of Group Benefits fiasco, constituted the most embarrassing moments for a governor who wants desperately to run for president.

AUGUST

Selective—and hypocritical—moral judgments

Gov. Bobby Jindal weighed in early on the kissing congressman scandal up in Monroe. When rookie U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister was revealed on video exchanging amorous smooches with a female aide, Jindal was all over him like white on rice, calling for his immediate resignation.

Jindal’s judgmental tone was dictated more by the philosophical differences between the two (McAllister wanted the state to expand Medicaid, Jindal most assuredly did not) than any real issues based on morals as Jindal’s silence on the philandering of U.S. Sen. David Vitter who did a tad more than exchange affectionate kisses.

Edmonson Amendment spawns other state police stories:

LouisianaVoice, in its continuing investigation of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), learned that a number of DPS employees enjoy convenient political connections.

  • Dionne Alario, Senate President John Alario’s daughter-in-law, is a DPS Administrative Program Manager;
  • Alario’s son, John W. Alario, serves as a $95,000 per year director of the DPS Liquefied Petroleum Gas Commission.
  • DPS Undersecretary Jill Boudreaux retired on April 28 from her $92,000 per year salary but the day before, she double encumbered herself into the position and reported to work on April 30 in the higher position of Undersecretary. Commissioner of Administration Angéle Davis ordered her to repay the 300 hours of annual leave (about $46,000) for which she had been paid on her “retirement,” but Davis resigned shortly afterward and the matter was never pursued.
  • DPS issued a pair of contracts, hired the contractor as a state employee, paid her $437,000 to improve the Division of Motor Vehicles and ponied up $13,000 in airfare for trips to and from her home in South Carolina. The contractor, Kathleen Sill, heads up a company called CTQ but the company’s web page lists Sill as its only employee.
  • Boudreaux’s son-in-law Matthew Guthrie was simultaneously employed in an offshore job and was on the payroll for seven months of the State Police Oil Spill Commission.
  • Danielle Rainwater, daughter of former Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater was employed as a “specialist” for State Police.
  • Tammy Starnes was hired from another agency at a salary of $92,900 as an Audit Manager. Not only was her salary $11,700 more than state trooper Jason Starnes, but she is in charge of monitoring the agency’s financial transactions, including those of her husband.

Thanks, retirees; here’s your bill for medical coverage:

LouisianaVoice was first to break the news that the Jindal administration was planning to force retirees out of the Office of Group Benefits by raising premiums astronomically and slashing benefits.

The news sparked waves of protests from employees and retirees alike, prompted legislative hearings at which Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols looked more than foolish in their attempts to defend the ill-conceived plan.

The entire fiasco was the result of the Jindal administrations foolish decision to cut premiums, which allowed the state to be on the hook for lower contributions as well. The money the state saved on matching premiums went to help patch those recurring holes in the state budget. Meanwhile, because of the lower premiums, the $500 million OGB reserve fund shrank to about half that amount as OGB spent $15 million per month more than it received in premiums.

All this occurred just three years after then-Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater, in a letter on the eve of the privatization of OGB, promised the continuation of quality service, rates that would be “unaffected” with any increases to be “reflective of medical market rates.” More importantly, he emphatically promised that benefits “will NOT change.”

HHS_2013_SNPS_35_Day

OCTOBER

What premium decrease?

Contrary to the testimony of Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols that Buck Consultants recommended that the Office of Group Benefits reduce premiums for members, emails from Buck Consults said exactly the opposite. State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) had asked Nichols during legislative committee hearings who recommended the decrease and she replied that the recommendation came from Buck. All witnesses before legislative committees are under oath when they testify.

Surplus, deficit, tomato, to-mah-to:

Nichols “discovered” a previously unknown “surplus” of $320 million in mystery money that set off a running dispute between her office and State Treasurer John Kennedy—an argument that eventually made its way before the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

With a tip of our hat to cartoonist Bud Grace, we are able to show you how that surplus was discovered:

JINDAL SURPLUS SECRET

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Murphy Painter vindicated, Jindal humiliated:

Jindal’s attempted prosecution persecution of fired Director of the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control Murphy Painter blew up in the governor’s face when Painter was first acquitted of criminal charges, costing the state nearly half a million dollars in reimbursement of Painter’s legal fees, but Painter subsequently won a defamation suit against his accuser.

Secret survey no longer a secret but “no one” more popular than Jindal:

A survey to measure state employee satisfaction in the Division of Administration (DOA) should be an eye opener for Commissioner of Administration Kristy Kreme Nichols and agency heads within DOA.

Meanwhile, LouisianaVoice has learned that Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-Iowa, R-New Hampshire, R-Anywhere but Louisiana) received some exciting news this week when a new poll revealed that no one was more popular among Republican contenders for the GOP presidential nomination.

The excitement was short-lived, however, when the actual meaning of the numbers was revealed.

It turns out that in a CNN poll of New Hampshire voters, Jindal tied with Rick Santorum with 3 percent, while “No one” polled 4 percent, prompting Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert to joke that Jindal should adopt the slogan “Jindal 2016: No one is more popular.”

To shred or not to shred:

The controversy surrounding the sweeping changes being proposed for the Office of Group Benefits just got a little dicier with new information obtained by LouisianaVoice about the departure of Division of Administration executive counsel Liz Murrill and the possibly illegal destruction of public records from the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) and the involvement of at least two other state agencies.

While it was not immediately clear which OGB records were involved, information obtained by LouisianaVoice indicate that Murrill refused to sign off on written authorization to destroy documents from OGB.

We first reported her departure on Oct. 14 and then on Oct. 22, we followed up with a report that Murrill had confided to associates that she could no longer legally carry out some of the duties assigned to her as the DOA attorney.

But now we learn that the issue has spilled over into two other agencies besides OGB and DOA because of a state statute dealing with the retention of public documents for eventual delivery to State Archives, a division of Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s office.

Reports indicate that Schedler became furious when he learned of the destruction or planned destruction of the records because records should, according to R.S. 44:36, be retained for three years and then delivered to the state archivist and director of the division of Archives, records management and history.

NOVEMBER

Secret grand jury testimony of Greenstein made public:

The Louisiana Attorney General’s office, in an unprecedented move, released the 100-plus pages of testimony of Bruce Greenstein, former Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals but the testimony did little in revealing any smoking gun related to the state’s $180 million contract with CNSI. About the only thing to come out of his testimony was the indication of an incredible bad memory in matters related to his dealings with his former bosses at CNSI and a razor-sharp recall of other, more insignificant events.

Approval? We don’t need no stinkin’ approval:

The very first state agency privatized by Gov. Bobby Jindal was the Office of Risk Management (ORM) and after the state paid F.A. Richard and Associates (FARA) $68 million to take over ORM operations and then amended the contract to $75 million after only a few months, the agency was subsequently transferred three times to other firms. The only hitch was a specific clause in the original contract with FARA that no such transference was allowable without “prior written approval” from the Division of Administration. The problem? When LouisianaVoice made an FOIA request for that written approval, we were told no such document existed.

Edwards’ Last Hurrah:

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards, one of the most successful, colorful and charismatic politicians in Louisiana history, lost—decisively. Republican Graves Garrett rode the Republican tide to easily hand Edwards his first political defeat, dating back to his days on the Crowley City Council. Some may remember when Buddy Roemer led the field in 1987, forcing Edwards into a runoff. Technically, though, Edwards did not lose that election because he chose not to participate in the runoff, thus allowing Roemer to become governor. But he would return in 1991 to win his unprecedented fourth term.

DECEMBER

Friends of Bobby Jindal seeking donations:

A new web page popped up seeking donations for the Friends of Bobby Jindal, raising speculations of an attempt at a higher office (president?) since Jindal can’t run for governor again.

The new web page cited a speech by Jindal at a foreign policy forum at which he called for increased military spending.

Gimme the keys to the cars:

The Public Service Commission (PSC) became the second state agency (the State Treasurer’s office was the first) to openly defy Jindal when the administration demanded that the PSC relinquish possession of 13 vehicles as part of the administration’s cost-cutting measures.

We have already examined State Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard’s attempt to cut consulting contracts which was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate but vetoed by Jindal.

But there was another veto that should be mentioned in context with Jindal’s penny wise but pound (dollar) foolish fire sale approach to state finances.

Earlier this year, State Sen. Jack Donahue (R-Mandeville) managed to get overwhelming passage of a bill that called for more oversight of the tax break programs by the state’s income-forecasting panel.

But Jindal, who never met a tax break he didn’t like, promptly vetoed the bill, saying it could effectively force a tax increase on businesses by limiting spending for the incentive programs.

Only he could twist the definition of removal of a tax break for business into a tax increase even while ignoring the fact that removal of those tax breaks could—and would—mean long-term relief for Louisiana citizens who are the ones shouldering the load. And for him to willingly ignore that fact borders on malfeasance.

Another (yawn) poor survey showing:

24/7 Wall Street, a financial news and opinion company, released a report which ranked Louisiana as the 11th worst-run state in America.

Louisiana, in ranking 40th in the nation, managed to fare better than New Jersey, which ranked 43rd, or eighth worst, something Jindal might use against Gov. Christ Christie if it comes down to a race between those two for the GOP nomination.

Louisiana had “one of the lowest median household incomes in the nation,” at just $44,164, the report said “and 10.7 percent of all households reported an income of less than $10,000, a higher rate than in any state except for Mississippi. Largely due to these low incomes, the poverty rate in Louisiana was nearly 20 percent (19.8 percent) and 17.2 percent of households used food stamps last year, both among the highest rates in the nation. The state’s GDP grew by 1.3 percent last year, less than the U.S. overall.

May we pray?

Meanwhile, Jindal prompted more controversy by having his favorite publisher and LSU Board of Supervisors member Rolfe McCollister run interference in securing the LSU Maravich Center for a political prayer event in January of 2015. The event will be sponsored by the controversial American Family Association and will not (wink, wink) be a political event, Jindal said.

And that, readers, is where we will leave you in 2014.

For 2015, we have an election campaign for governor to look forward to.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse.

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Timing, as they say in comedy, is everything.

And to be honest, we have no idea if Bobby Jindal, Governor of the State Denial, was trying to be funny this past week or if he is simply clueless.

We suspect the latter.

Jindal’s latest comedy tour began shortly after a comment about southern race relations by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu who is locked in a heated contest against U.S. Congressman Bill Cassidy in what has become one of the ugliest, most negative and vindictive campaigns on the part of both candidates in the last half-century.

The campaign’s mudslinging and misleading claims have sunk to such depths in fact, that voters appear to have turned on both Landrieu and Cassidy with equal disgust.

Landrieu, when asked why President Obama was so unpopular in Louisiana, responded, “I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans.”

That one sentence was likely the most accurate claim made in this entire election cycle—by any candidate in any race.

Yet, Jindal chose that remark as his cue to lambast Landrieu, calling her statement “remarkably divisive,” and adding, “She appears to be living in a different century. Implied in her comments is the clear suggestion that President Obama and his policies are unpopular in Louisiana because of his ethnicity. That is a major insult by Senator Landrieu to the people of Louisiana and I flatly reject it.”

Well, Governor, perhaps if you shut your eyes tightly and click your heels together, the old prejudices and bigotry will disappear. But, unfortunately, just because you close your eyes to something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. And those of us who get out into the real world as opposed to tightly controlled support groups understand this.

A good example of the mindset that still lingers fifty years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was handed to me on Monday, Oct. 13 when I went to check my post office box at the Denham Springs post office. A woman, probably in her late fifties or early sixties entered right behind me. Unlike me, she wanted to do business at the counter only to find it closed. I reminded her it was Columbus Day and her response was: “Well, that must be for Mr. Obama. They wouldn’t close it for anyone else.”

I never bothered reminding her that the post office has been closed on Columbus Day since long before Obama was ever born in Hawaii or Kenya or wherever it is they claim—from personal knowledge, obviously—that he was born.

So, what century is it in which you reside, Governor?

Not satisfied with making an absolute fool of himself in Louisiana by insisting from behind his rose-colored glasses that the South is devoid of racial tensions and that everything is just peachy, Jindal immediately made himself a national laughingstock by repeating his comedy act on twitter and on Faux News. “The only colors that matter are red, white and blue,” he deadpanned on Your World with Neil Cavuto, even expanding on Landrieu’s own words, misquoting her as “calling all of us in the south racists. We don’t think in terms of black and white, in terms of racial colors.”

She never accused “all of us” of being racist; she said the South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. There’s a huge difference, Governor, and you, of all people, should know that.

Nevertheless, if there is a living, breathing person, white, black, brown, pink or green who can truthfully say he or she harbors no prejudices, I want to meet you. There is not a person alive who does not have his or her prejudices or biases. I have mine, you have yours. We have to admit that if we are totally and completely honest with ourselves. Virtually every one of us has told or listened to jokes about blacks, women, gays, Cajuns, Polacks, Asians, fat people, ugly people, short people, Catholics, Jews and Baptists. Did I leave out anyone? Oh, yes, the neo conservatives’ latest favorites to fear and loathe: Mexicans and Islamics.

Oh, man. So many people to hate and so little time. C’mon, Guv, you can’t arbitrarily call an end to discrimination yet. We’re just getting started. We haven’t even started on South America or Australia or Canada.

And as we said at the beginning of this diatribe, timing is everything. Among the comic strips that I read daily online is one called Candorville. Today’s (Sunday) strip was particularly well-timed given Jindal’s proclamation of racial bliss and harmony:

(CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE):

JINDAL'S VIEW ON RACE

 

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Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727-0922

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