Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘House, Senate’ Category

Bobby Jindal has completely lost touch with reality.

To be perfectly blunt, he is an imbecilic moron. (For those of you who think I should apologize for that characterization: okay, I’m sorry he’s an imbecilic moron.)

There, we’ve said it. We’ve tried to take the high road in our criticism of his actions and policies in the past but when he chooses to spend $2 million that the state does not have to build a monument that it does not need to his mentor who isn’t particularly memorable other than for the fact that he imposed and inflicted Bobby Jindal on the state, we can only throw up our hands in abject exasperation.

Our college and university physical plants are in desperate need of repairs and renovations—but there’s no money for that.

Most state employees have gone four years without pay raises because there’s no money.

The various state retirement plans have gigantic unfunded liabilities mostly because the state does not live up to its obligation to pay its share into those funds.

Higher education has been cut to the bone by this administration but there’s money to house the archives of former Gov. Mike Foster.

Our roads and highways are in deplorable condition—and there’s no money fix them. But we can erect a shrine to a former governor for the first time in the state’s history.

The administration has been conducting a fire sale of state property in order to raise one-time money to meet recurring expenses in an effort to plug a gaping deficit in the state budget but somehow we seem to need a museum for a governor who likes to ride a motorcycle without a helmet (and Lyndon Johnson once said that Gerald Ford played “too much football without a helmet.”)

Nearly a half-million people are without health care but Medicaid benefits have been cut.

What the hell?

Has anyone taken a look at some Jindal’s veto messages?

  • He killed a $190,000 appropriation for support services to the elderly;
  • He slashed $500,000 for the arts;
  • Appropriations for individuals with development disabilities in Jefferson Parish ($50,000), the Florida Parishes ($200,000), Capital Area ($200,000), the Metropolitan Human Services District ($50,000), the Northeast Delta ($50,000), Acadiana ($200,000), Calcasieu ($50,000), Central Louisiana ($50,000), Northwest Louisiana ($50,000): all vetoed because of a reduction to Medicaid utilization;
  • Continued operation of the Children’s Special Health Services Clinics across the state ($794,000);
  • Prevention and Intervention Services Program for the Family Violence Program ($1.17 million);
  • A $2 million reduction in the value of state contracts;

Yes, we are aware that these vetoes were from Act 1, the General Appropriations Budget and the $2 million appropriation for the Mike Foster Shrine comes from Act 2, the Capital Outlay Budget and yes, we know these are two different buckets. We know that, but waste is waste and payback is payback and this is both.

The state is spending the money to renovate the third floor of an old elementary school in Franklin (Foster’s home town) to house the archives of Jindal’s benefactor who served as governor from 1996 to 2004.

The first two floors of the former school building presently serve as the Franklin City Hall.

There are three very good reasons why the state should not be paying for this. One we’ve already mentioned: the state is broke, as in destitute—mostly because of Jindal’s penchant for giving away the store in the form of tax incentives, tax breaks and tax exemptions to business and industry and for the Louisiana Department of Economic Development’s designation of enterprise zones to businesses and industries, which awards more tax incentives even though the designation does not always translate to jobs.

The other two reasons are:

  • Mike Foster is a very wealthy man. If he wants to immortalize himself with a trophy room, let him pay for it.
  • Bobby Jindal should pay for it personally because he owes everything he has attained in his political life to the glaring blunder of Foster back in 1996: appointing Jindal head of the Department of Health and Hospitals at the tender age of 24 when he knew even less than he knows now about how things work.

The most absurd utterance of this entire sordid affair came from Foster himself when, in saying that the project came as a surprise to him, added, “I never liked to be the center of attention.” That ranks right up there with Jindal’s “I have the job I want.”

State Sen. Bret Allain (R-Jeanerette) said he included the project in the Capital Outlay Bill because he did not want Foster’s papers to be buried among a university’s collection, whatever that meant. Maybe he wants Foster to make him a governor the way he did Jindal.

No governor in Louisiana’s history has had his own library, museum or archives building. That’s what makes Jindal’s approval of Allain’s project so absurd—and outrageous and irresponsible.

Most Louisiana governors simply turn their papers over to the Secretary of State’s office where they are stored in the State Archives but Foster sent only those records involving state boards and commissions. Supposedly, everything else was taken to Franklin in a U-Haul towed by Foster on a Harley-Davidson 1450 cc V-twin (yeah, we had to Google that).

Of course with Jindal’s obsession with secrecy and the “deliberative process,” there won’t be a need for a museum or a library; any papers and records that he leaves behind can probably be stored in a cabinet beneath the bathroom sink—with room to spare.

Read Full Post »

So what, precisely, is Alfred “Butch” Speer trying to hide?

And why?

Whatever he is hiding and the reasons behind his actions constitute déjà vu all over again.

Speer, clerk of the Louisiana House of Representatives, has refused to disclose the one-page application forms which all recipients of legislative scholarships to Tulane University must complete.

The New Orleans Advocate, WWL-TV and New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche requested copies of hundreds of the documents to see if the legislators were awarding the scholarships to relatives of fellow politicians.

A 130-year-old program allows each of Louisiana’s legislators to give one student per year a one-year scholarship—worth $43,000 annually—to Tulane. The mayor of New Orleans is allowed to give out five four-year scholarships per year.

It’s a trade-off dating back to Act 43 of 1884 that benefits Tulane financially. The school has to eat more than $6 million per year in free tuition but receives sales and property tax exemptions worth more than $23 million a year, according to one source. http://www.tulanelink.com/tulanelink/scholarships_00a.htm

http://www.tulanelink.com/tulanelink/scandalfinale_05a.htm

Ostensibly, the scholarships are supposed to go to deserving students in the respective legislator’s district—not to legislators’ family members—but that system fell into widespread abuse and news coverage in the 1990s created a public outcry that prompted some reforms to the much-coveted legislative perk. To no one’s surprise the House in 1996 killed a bill designed to abolish both the scholarship program and the Tulane tax breaks.

Victoria Reggie, widow of U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and the daughter of Crowley judge Edmund Reggie, along with her five siblings were awarded 27 years’ worth of scholarships by the late Rep. John N. John and in 1993 then-New Orleans Mayor Sidney Barthelemy gave a four-year scholarship to his son. Former New Orleans Mayor Ernest Morial likewise gave his son and daughter and the daughter of a top aide and the children of two judges scholarships and former Mayor Moon Landrieu gave a scholarship to his nephew Gary Landrieu.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune went to court—and won—in its attempts to obtain Tulane records that showed other recipients of the scholarships included the children of Sens. John Breaux and J. Bennett Johnston and U.S. Reps. Bob Livingston, Jimmy Hayes and Richard Baker.

But in 1983, Capitol News Service, operated by LouisianaVoice, broke a story that State Sen. Dan Richie of Ferriday had awarded his scholarship to a relative of State Rep. Bruce Lynn of Shreveport and that Lynn had given his scholarship to Richie’s brother.

The single-page document being sought by WWL, the New Orleans Advocate and attorney Goyeneche contains two statements: “I am related to an elected official,” and “I am not related to an elected official.” Each recipient is required to check the box next to the appropriate statement and if the student checks that he or she is related to an elected official, the student must list the official’s name and explain the relationship.

Simple enough.

Except that Speer is trying to keep nosy reporters from taking a peek at those records.

To illustrate to what length he is willing to go to protect those records, he first responded to the requests by claiming that the forms belonged to Tulane and were not in his possession.

But then Tulane officials promptly provided the forms to the legislative bodies, leaving Speer in a quandary. No problem, Deftly sidestepping state public records laws Speer, claiming to be speaking for Senate Secretary Glenn Koepp, said he had determined the records are not public and thus, he is not required to provide them.

He even promoted himself to a judgeship on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal which ruled in the 1990s legal battle that “All records related to the contract and the giving of scholarships fall within the broad definition of public records” when he said the application forms do not come under that definition because he was told the forms are only shown to legislators who request to see them.

“Therefore, only those forms Tulane University provided to a legislator for use in awarding a scholarship are public records,” Speer said in his letter.

Wow. What a legal mind.

So, is public servant Speer protecting the public’s right to know?

You can check that box “No.”

Public servant Butch Speer is in the business of protecting legislators from public embarrassment and by all measures, he does his job quite well.

Take our own experience with Speer in July of 2012. https://louisianavoice.com/2013/09/11/deliberative-process-defense-used-to-protect-alec-records-in-texas-reminiscent-of-2012-louisianavoice-experience/

Rep. Joe Harrison (R-Gray) is the state chairman for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and in July of 2012 he sent out a letter on state letterhead soliciting contributions of $1,000 each to help defray the expenses of “over thirty” state legislators to attend a national conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Salt Lake City on July 25-28.

Harrison (R-Gray) mailed out a form letter on July 2 that opened by saying, “As State Chair and National Board Member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, I would like to solicit your financial support to our ALEC Louisiana Scholarship Fund.”

The letter was printed on state letterhead, which would make the document a public record so LouisianaVoice immediately made a public records request of Harrison to provide:

  • A complete list of the recipients of his letter;
  • A list of the “over thirty” Louisiana legislators who are members of ALEC.

ALEC membership, of course, is a closely-guarded secret but once the letter was printed on state letterhead—presumably composed on a state computer in Harrison’s state-funded office, printed on a state-purchased printer and mailed using state-purchased postage—the request for a list of members was included in the request for recipients of the letter.

Harrison never responded to the request despite state law that requires responses to all such requests.

LouisianaVoice then contacted Alfred “Butch” Speer to enlist his assistance in obtaining the records and last Thursday, July 12, Speer responded: “I have looked further into your records request.” (Notice he omitted the word “public” as in “public records.”) “Rep. Harrison composed the letter of which you possess a copy. Rep. Harrison sent that one letter to a single recipient,” Speer said. “If that letter was distributed to a larger audience, such distribution did not create a public record.

“R.S. 44:1 defines a public record as: ‘…having been used, being in use, or prepared, possessed, or retained for use in the conduct, transaction, or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty, or function which was conducted, transacted, or performed by or under the authority of the constitution or laws of this state…’

“My opinion is that the solicitation of donations for ALEC does not create a public record. The courts have been clear in providing that the purpose of the record is determinative of its public nature, not the record’s origin.”

It seems a stretch to contend that the letter went out to only recipient soliciting a single $1,000 contribution to cover the expenses of “over thirty” legislators to attend the conference.

Still, Speer persisted, saying, “…it is my responsibility to consult with Representatives and make the determinations as to what records are or are not public in nature.”

No, it is apparently Speer’s responsibility to cover the backsides of wayward legislators.

“…The contents of (Harrison’s) letter speak for itself….The origin of a document is not the determining factor as to its nature as a public record. The purpose of the record is the only determining factor. Whether the letter was or was not ‘composed on state letterhead, on a state computer, printed on a state-owned printer and mailed in state-issued envelope(s) does not, per force, create a public record. If the letter were concerning ‘any business, transaction, work, duty, or function which was conducted, transacted, or performed by or under the authority of the constitution or laws of this state,’ then such a letter is a public nature,” he said.

Speer then offered a most incredulous interpretation of the public records statute when he said, “The fact that an official may be traveling does not place the travel or its mode of payment or the source of the resources used to travel ipso facto within the public records law. The purpose of the travel is the determining factor.”

You can tell Speer is a lawyer. They love to use ipso facto whenever they can. It appears to be their way of slipping in the Latin phrase which apparently means, “I’m way smarter than you.”

“What Rep. Harrison was attempting is of no moment unless he was attempting some business of the House or pursuing some course mandated by law,” he said. “Anyone’s attempt to raise money for a private entity is not the business of the House nor is it an activity mandated by law.

“Your personal interpretation of the law is not determinative of the actual scope of the law,” he told LouisianaVoice.

Speer apparently was overlooking the fact that the House and Senate combined to pay 34 current and former members of the two chambers more than $70,000 in travel, lodging and registration fees for attending ALEC functions in New Orleans, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Austin between 2008 and 2011.

Of that amount, almost $30,000 was paid in per diem of $142, $145, $152 or $159 per day, depending on the year, for attending the conferences. The per diem rates corresponded to the rates paid legislators for attending legislative sessions and committee meetings.

That would seem to make the ALEC meeting House business and thus, public record.

ALEC advertises in pre-conference brochures sent to its members that it picks up the tab for legislators attending its conferences. That would also raise the question of why legislators were paid by the House and Senate for travel, lodging and registration costs if ALEC also pays these costs via its ALEC Louisiana Scholarship Fund.

We have to wonder if Speer hangs out with Superintendent of Education John White to share strategy for shielding public records from the public.

Read Full Post »

If public humility is your thing, all you have to do is appear before a state legislative committee or state commission unprepared to provide answers to even the most basic of questions.

That’s what happened last Friday in two separate legislative committee rooms during meetings of the State Bond Commission and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget (JLCB) during discussions of capital outlay projects and BA-7 requests, respectively.

BA-7s are budget request forms used to make changes in revenues and/or expenditure line items during the year. Agencies submit them to the Division of Administration (DOA) Budget Office and if approved there, they are placed on the monthly agenda of the JLCB for consideration.

Bond Commission Chairman State Treasurer John Kennedy was particularly rankled over the shifting of construction projects to be replaced by $5 million in capital improvements to the LSU Health Sciences Building in Shreveport which is being taken over by Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana (BRF).

After Mark Moses of State Facility Planning and Control submitted changes to the commission, Kennedy said, “In July, you said the list was top priority and shovel ready. Now you’re saying they are not. What changed?”

“Cash flow needs have changed,” Moses said. “We’re shifting money. Eighteen projects are complete and on 76 others, there has been no activity and if the need is not there, we shift the dollars.”

“Why did you say in July that they were top priority?” Kennedy asked again. “The problem is if we replace them with something else, the original projects go to the back of the line. We’re shutting 90 projects down even though we have already spent money on some of them and now we’re sending those projects to the back of the line.”

Kennedy then launched into his ongoing criticism of the privatization of the Louisiana Medical Center at Shreveport and E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe. “We’re making $5 million in capital improvements to the Health Science Center. Who’s going to own that?”

Liz Murrill, DOA chief legal counsel, said, “We own the building. They (BRF) are leasing it.”

“We’re spending $4.8 million on scanner clinical and research imaging equipment for Biomedical Research Foundation…”

“This is a non-state entity. The dollars are being used for a public purpose,” Murrill said.

“Like an NGO (non-government organization)? We’re just giving it to them?”

“We’re providing money for this piece of equipment,” she said.

“Do we require them to file quarterly reports?”

“It’s contemplated it will be used for a public purpose,” she said, failing to answer his question.

Kennedy then asked if the legislative auditor would be able to audit the expenditure of the funds to which Murrill said, “I assume so, just as with any capital outlay projects.”

“One of the conditions of the agreement is there would be no public record,” Kennedy said, referring to a clause in the certificate of agreement between the LSU Board of Stuporvisors and BRF which says, “Financial and other records created by, for or otherwise belonging to BRF or BRFHH (BRF Hospital Holdings) shall remain in the possession, custody and control of BRF and BRFHH, respectively,” and that “such records shall be clearly marked as confidential and/or proprietary,” and thus protected from Louisiana public records laws.

“A public record is a public record,” Murrill said somewhat tentatively. “We have procedures to decide what is public record.”

“Who decides what’s public?” Kennedy asked.

“It depends on who gets the request.”

“Do you have a problem adding a condition to these purchases on the legislative auditor’s being able to audit the purchases?”

“I think that’s the case now,” Murrill said.

“Why are we buying this for the Biomedical Center instead of LSU?” Kennedy asked.

Mimi Hedgecock of the LSU School of Medicine—and formerly Jindal’s policy advisor—said the purchase was part of the partnership with BRF prior to the certificate of agreement between LSU and BRF.

“Is it accurate to say we have not picked an operator of the hospital yet?” Kennedy asked. “The testimony before the Louisiana Joint Budget Committee was they (BRF) were going to pick an operator. We’re entering a 99-year lease and don’t know who is even going to run the facility. The legislature has no say. How can we audit if we don’t know who’s running it? We can’t audit HCA (Hospital Corp. of America).

“This makes a mockery of the capital outlay procedure,” Kennedy said. “You’re supposed to be building a priority of projects. In July, you cam to us and said these projects were absolutely top priority and (were) shovel ready. Now they’re not shovel ready or top priority. Now we have new projects and these projects are going to the back of the line. I don’t think this is a good way to do business.”

Joint Budget Committee

Things got even testier at the Joint Budget Committee, thanks to the amateurish performance of witnesses appearing on behalf of the Recovery School District (RSD), just another ongoing embarrassment for the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE).

The fun began when committee member Jim Fannin (R-Jonesboro), who also serves as House Appropriations Committee chairman, questioned RSD’s claim to having $34 million in self-generated funds for the projects it was submitting.

“Explain how you self-generated $34 million,” he said. “It’s unusual for RSD to self-generate that many dollars.

The breakdown given was $27.13 million in new market tax credits, $3.37 million from insurance proceeds and $4.05 million from Harris Capital funding for construction of Wheatly and McDonough 42 schools.

Fannin responded that the way the budget was presented was “confusing.” He said he was seeing too many “other” expenditures on the BA-7 submitted by RSD. “You have legal expenses of $800,000,” he said. “I never saw legal expenses of $800,000 to rebuild two schools.”

“Those legal fees pay for 82 schools—the entire master plan,” said RSD spokesperson Annie Cambre.

But it was Sen. Ed Murray (D-New Orleans) who peppered the RSD types with a barrage of withering questions—withering because the RSD representatives were woefully ill-prepared with answers much as State Superintendent John White has been since his appointment in January of 2012.

Murray asked about the expenditure of $375,000 in funds for engineering and architectural costs before RSD had authority to spend the money. “Are we using any of this $375,000 to pay them already?” he asked.

“Most were paid from multiple fund sources,” responded a young, unidentified red-headed RSD representative who more resembled a high school FBLA member than a public education professional.

“Let me ask my question again,” Murray said. “Are we using any of this $375,000 to pay them already?”

“For some of them, yes. Some are eligible from FEMA, some not,” said Red.

“Then why are we just now getting this request if we’re already using the money?”

“We already had some authority but we just realized we need additional authority.”

Murray, beginning to show his exasperation, then asked, “How much of the $375,000 have we spent so far?”

“I don’t know,” said Red. “I can get that for you.”

“It disturbs me that we’re spending money without authority to do so,” Murray said. “Let’s go to the legal expense of $800,000. How much of that have we spent?”

“Again, I don’t have that exact number,” said Red. “I can get that for you.”

“Mr. Chairman,” Murray said to committee Chairman Jack Donahue (R-Mandeville), “can we get them to come back next month when they have answers?”

“That would seem appropriate,” said Donahue. “There’re a lot more questions than answers.”

Bordelon, in a last-ditch effort to salvage the request said, “It’s important that everyone understand the timing of the Wheatly-McDonough projects. There will be several thousand students affected by any delay. The New Market tax programs and closing times are specific. Timing is of the essence.”

“We’d like to help you guys,” Donahue said, “but when you come here you don’t have sufficient information to answer questions. I don’t know how you think we can approve something when you can’t answer questions about the money you’re asking for that you’ve already spent and how many dollars are involved.”

“We were utilizing previously granted authority,” Bordelon said.

“I appreciate that,” Bordelon said, “but on the other hand, you’re already spending it and didn’t come for authority to do that until you started spending the money. And when members ask how many dollars have already been spent, and you can’t answer, that’s a problem.”

“It was my understanding we were operating under previously granted authority,” Bordelon persisted.

“That’s not what was said,” Bordelon said. “That was not the testimony. The testimony was you were already spending that money but you don’t know how many dollars were spent.”

Murray’s motion to defer action until next month passed unanimously and Murray then had one last word of advice to Bordelon.

“You say this is going to affect ‘several thousand students.’ I’m pretty familiar with Wheatly and McDonough 42. You don’t have several thousand students in those two schools. We want you, when you come before this committee, to tell us accurate information.”

Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge) added, “When you come back, be prepared to discuss the oddly round legal expenses and issues related to that.”

Read Full Post »

While we normally do not delve into national politics (we have quite enough to do to keep up with the jesters on the fourth floor of the State Capitol), we have decided to offer up our solution to the impasse in Washington, aka the federal government shutdown.

If the board of a larger corporation like, say, Wal-Mart disagrees with the company’s CEO or president, there are no closures of Wal-Mart stores. That would be self-defeating in every respect. Corporate profits would plummet, consumers would buy elsewhere and the stockholders would elect new board members and new officers.

So how is it that Congress—America’s corporate board—can shut down company operations because of disagreements among themselves and with the President—the country’s CEO? Is our national company that near bankruptcy, financial collapse, that hysteria is now the order of the day when it comes to running the store?

To borrow a line from the television sitcom Two and a Half Men, our elected representatives appear to have the emotional stability of a sack of rats in a burning meth lab. Come to think of it, the analogy might not be that far off.

When either side of the aisle in Congress, whether Republicans or Democrats, takes it upon itself to hold the entire country hostage over its inability or unwillingness to compromise, drastic measures are in order.

When 535 men and women can cancel services to more than 300 million Americans on a whim, the system is broken and is in immediate need of repair.

When either side of the issue comments that it is “winning” and that it “doesn’t matter” to them how long the shutdown lasts—and please remember that there are cancer patients and wounded veterans who run the risk of not receiving needed medical treatments—then arrogance has supplanted diplomacy and common sense in our nation’s capital and something must be done.

When Rep. Randy Neugegauer (R-TX) can publicly insult a park ranger for doing her job in closing access to the temporarily closed World War II Memorial in Washington because of the government shutdown—a shutdown brought about by congressional stupidity and not by any action of the park ranger—then he, not she, should be ashamed.

And then we have Rep. Lee Terry (R-NEB) who said he cannot afford to give up his salary during the shutdown. He was dismissive of those who are declining their pay, saying, “Whatever gets them good press.” Good press seems the do-all, end-all for elected officials these days but they often miss the mark by a wide margin. “I’ve got a nice house and a kid in college,” Terry sniffed in refusing for relinquish his salary. “Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That’s just not going to fly.”

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) expressed similar sentiments, saying he’s keeping his money because he’s “working to earn it.”

Certainly not like those federal employees who also have houses and kids in college and credit card debt and utility and grocery bills but who aren’t working because they were furloughed as a result of increasingly recurring—and tiresome—congressional gridlock and 535 megalomaniacs jockeying for “good press.”

Unfortunately, the solution to this idiocy cannot be implemented overnight; it will take several years.

Nevertheless, here is our solution:

Fire every damned one of them.

That’s right. Put them on the street for a change. Let them struggle to make ends meet each month. In short, put them back in touch with their constituents by making them one of us. We at LouisianaVoice have long felt that if we sent the politicians into battle before sacrificing our young men and women, there well might be fewer unnecessary, foolish, and costly wars like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly Syria that benefit only the defense contractors.

So why not take that idea further and whenever federal employees are placed on furlough because of a federal shutdown resulting from sheer pigheadedness and some philosophical point, stop the pay for members of Congress and put them on furlough—permanently.

Constitutionally, it cannot be done in one fell swoop. Senators are elected on a rotating basis—one-third every two years. But in 2014, we could fire 468 of ‘em—all 435 members of the House and one-third, or 33 senators. Two years later, in 2016, send another one-third of the senators home and the final one-third in 2018. (Somewhere along the way, of course, there would be 34 senators up for re-election to account for all 100, but it should be just as easy to fire 34 as 33.)

None are righteous, no not one. All 535 have lost touch with the American people. Witness the shabby way in which 5th District Congressman Rodney Alexander “retired” with little advance notice, all so that (a) Gov. Bobby Jindal could install his choice, State Sen. Neil Riser, into Alexander’s seat and (b) Alexander could be rewarded for opening the door to Jindal’s boy via his appointment as head of the State Department of Veterans Affairs, a position which, incidentally, will bump his state retirement from his tenure in the state legislature before his election to Congress from approximately $7500 to about $82,000 per year.

He’s not alone, of course. Far too many members of Congress have parlayed their time in Washington into small—and not-so-small—fortunes.

Jindal, for example, spent a tad more than three years in Congress and emerged a multi-millionaire, a status he was far from enjoying when he entered.

And at least four of our own former congressmen—Sen. John Breaux and congressmen Bob Livingston, Richard Baker and Billy Tauzin—simply retired and moved over to K Street as highly paid lobbyists. There are others, but those come to mind quickly. Tauzin, it should be noted, used his position in Congress to set up his future employer—and himself—in a way we can only dream of. He rammed through a Medicare bill that prohibited the federal government from negotiating the cost of prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies, meaning that the pharmaceutical companies set the prices—and that was that. And then he resigned and went to work as a lobbyist for (you guessed it) the pharmaceutical industry.

Other members of Congress (and some governors) establish non-profit, tax-exempt foundations that allow well-heeled donors to circumvent laws that limit campaign contributions to $5,000 per election cycle. Donations to foundations such as the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children and Jindal’s Believe in Louisiana, however, have no such restrictions placed on them.

As might be expected, contributions to these foundations from individuals seeking lucrative appointments and corporations seeking favorable legislation tend to spiral out of control.

And there are members of Congress, Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid among them, who use their positions to garner inside information that allows them to anticipate and profit from stock market fluctuations or to make property investments that enrich them personally.

There is less controversy in Congress over the issue of the NSA’s spying on American citizens—an issue that should prompt outrage on the part of the American people.

And now these self-righteous hypocrites beat their breasts as each side waits for the other to blink—all over the issue of ObamaCare which, good or bad, passed Congress and was ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American people should be asked to tolerate only so much from these miscreants. Our patience should be wearing a bit then with these spoiled brats.

The only reasonable solution, therefore, is to fire them all.

No exceptions.

Read Full Post »

“Proposed law creates the Louisiana Health Insurance Exchange in the Department of Insurance. Provides for the powers, duties, functions, responsibilities and obligations of the Exchange.”

—The Digest of Senate Bill 307 of the 2007 Louisiana Legislature by then-State Sen. Bill Cassidy. The bill, had it passed, would have created a Louisiana version of ObamaCare while Barrack Obama was still a U.S. Senator from Illinois and more than a year before he was elected President.

“The House has repeatedly passed legislation to fund the government and protect millions of American families from the devastating effects of Obamacare.”

—Sixth District Congressman Bill Cassidy, in a prepared statement on Tuesday, Oct. 1 about the government shutdown.

Could there be a reason that public opinion of Congress is at an all-time low?

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »