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Both LSU and Tulane are rocking along with unexpected success this 2022 season, each heading into their season finales with identical 9-2 records, followed by Southeastern Louisiana University’s Lions who have run up an impressive 8-3 record thus far.

That’s a composite record of 26-7. Not too shabby.

Too bad the same can’t be said for the eight remaining Louisiana’s collegiate football teams who have struggled to surpass those 26 wins.

University of Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Grambling State, Northwestern State, McNeese, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Nicholls State, and Southern altogether have recorded a fairly dismal record of 32-54 with only Southern, with a 6-4 record, assured of a winning record for the 2022 regular season.

Tech in 1969, had the number-one NFL draft choice in Terry Bradshaw and in 1973 won the national championship in the NCAA’s inaugural year of Division II playoffs. Last year the Bulldogs finished at 3-9 and going into their final game this year, are 3-8. Ruston High School (10-1) has more wins than

Grambling, which at one time had more former players on NFL rosters (more than 100 former players, including four NFL Hall of Fame members) than any other school in the nation – including such football legends as Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, USC, or Alabama – has really fallen on hard times. Last year the Tigers were 4-7 and so far this year, they are 3-7. These once proud programs have combined for an embarrassing record of 13-31 over the past two years. And with one more game to play, the hurting ain’t over yet.

Ruston High School (10-1) has more wins than collegiate neighbors Tech and Grambling have combined.

This is the same Tech team, by the way, that still thinks it can swim in the deep end of the pool. And while the Bulldogs have had their moments, beating Mississippi State a couple of times and playing unexpectedly close games against Alabama and Nebraska, they are unable to shell out the big bucks for a marquee head coach – or if they’re lucky enough to get a good one, to be able to keep him – there will be no consistent winner in Ruston with Tech continuing to schedule the NCAA powerhouses in exchange for a big payday and led by a coach looking to move up.

Another program that has had its ups and downs is ULL, a team that went 11-1 a year ago. The Ragin’ Cajuns are hoping to just become bowl eligible by improving from its current 5-6 record in its final game of 2022. Like Tech, ULL had a good coach in Billy Napier but couldn’t keep him. When these smaller programs get a good coach, success usually is both good and bad. Napier was so successful that the Florida Gators waved big dollars under his nose and off he went to Gainesville. Tech’s Maxie Lambright (95-36-2) and Grambling’s Eddie Robinson (408-165-15) were rare breeds who built tremendous success – and stayed put.

The point of all this hand-gnashing and teeth-wringing is to point out that college football coaches are almost without exception, the highest-paid employees of a given institution of higher learning. Everyone loves a winner but when high salaries meet poor performance, something generally has to give. Especially in football.

We seem to have unusually high tolerance for mediocrity at universities not named LSU. In Baton Rouge, excellence is not only expected, it is demanded. Tiger fans are used to winning and if LSU manages to defeat ‘Bama, the head coach could probably run for governor and win – that week. But with the next loss, the grumbling will inevitably begin.

In Ruston, Grambling, Monroe, Natchitoches, Lake Charles, Thibodaux, Lafayette, or Hammond, they’ll wait a bit longer before showing the coach the door, but not too long.

With the following 2022 records, one has to wonder how long it will be before the revolving door begins spinning:

ULM               4-7

GSU                3-7

*Tech              3-8

NSU                4-7

McNeese         4-7

*ULL              5-6

Nicholls           3-8

SU                   6-4

*First-year coaches will be given a little more time to produce.

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Amanda Jones is due back in court on Monday in an effort to persuade a state district court judge to reconsider a curious ruling in September in Jones’s defamation lawsuit against two men she says defamed her on social media in the widening controversy over the content of school library books.

Jones is the school librarian for Live Oak Middle School in Livingston Parish and has been under relentless attack on Facebook by Livingston Parish resident Ryan Thames, with encouragement from St. Martinville resident Michael Lunsford and his self-appointed decency monitoring organization Citizens for a New Louisiana.

In September, 22nd JDC Judge Erika Sledge, with a courtroom full of Thames and Lunsford supporters ruled that Jones is a public figure under the US Supreme Court’s landmark Sullivan v. New York Times decision and THREW OUT Jones’s lawsuit against the two despite Thames’s having labeled Jones a pedophile on social media.

First of all, labeling Jones a public figure under the 1964 UNANIMOUS DECISION is quite a reach since its definition seemed to limit “public figures” to elected officials and figures of authority, not civil servants. Perhaps Judge Sledge felt the presence of the Thames-Lunsford supporters, who packed the courtroom, and, as an elected official, ruled on the basis of what she perceived as the desires of her political base instead of the rule of law.

Nevertheless, Jones was granted a rehearing of her case Monday in the Livingston Parish Courthouse. The case is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Even if Jones did fall within the legal definition of public figure, Sullivan v. New York Times said that if someone labeling charges against a public figure knew the allegation to be false and still uttered or wrote it with malice and forethought, then that person could be found guilty of defamation.

It would certainly seem that Thames had no basis, factual or otherwise, to call Jones a pedophile.

Lunsford said his efforts to remove/relocate objectionable books is not a censorship move but one of plain decency. But that would not explain why efforts are underway to ban books about Black Lives Matter, civil rights, women’s suffrage, and the US Civil War. And that movement certainly would not justify labeling one as a pedophile on social media.

NBC News has observed the trend toward library censorship and back in August, did a national FEATURE STORY on the travails of Jones and the threats to First Amendment freedoms.

On Thursday, The New York Times posted a 37-minute interview of Jones. You may read the transcript of that interview below:

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If it seems like I’m obsessing over Brandon Browning’s inappropriate ridicule of the physical handicaps of Joe Biden (stuttering) and John Fetterman (stroke), then perhaps I am.

Browning just can’t seem to get past the fact that Biden beat his boy Trump for President two years ago – two years, and he’s still not over it – and Fetterman was elected US Senator from Pennsylvania last week.

Browning, in case you need to be reminded, lost his bid for Livingston Parish assessor and he’s about to lose again in his announced candidacy for sheriff. Browning can’t even be elected to a parish office and he’s gonna throw darts at a US president and a US senator? Seriously?

It’s fine to disagree with any politician on policy and philosophy. But to zero in on a physical disability is hitting waaay below the belt and Browning should have the decency to know that.

He got into a running Facebook exchange with someone named DeAnna (who is obviously far more sensitive – and smarter – than Browning). The one thing any politician should know is when you start defending yourself or what you said or did, you’ve already lost the argument.

And that’s precisely what he did in their Facebook banter and the more he defended himself, the more absurd his position became, saying finally, that he wasn’t discriminating against Biden and Fetterman because they’re Democrats but that he was discriminating “against a lack of cognitive ability and function.”

Function. Hmmm. Wonder how he feels about Franklin Roosevelt’s being a victim of polio and confined to a wheelchair during his administration while actually making America great again – and not just slapping a slogan on a baseball cap?

Obviously, FDR was limited in his “function,” right Browning? Or do you lack the cognitive ability to comprehend history?

I mean, all he did was pull this country out of the Great Depression by creating all those socialist programs that put people to work – people who desperately needed jobs to put food on the table and clothing on their kids’ backs. And guess what? Those jobs FDR created weren’t just deadhead government jobs; they were actually productive. I’ll get to those in a minute but first, it’s probably appropriate to point out that that crippled president, who was of extremely limited physical function, also saw this country through World War II.

You do know about that war, don’t you, Browning? That’s the one where we defeated Hitler. We thought we’d eradicated fascism from the face of the earth but unfortunately, it’s back but this time it’s in this country. Well, we defeated them once and we can do it again if we have to – even if we have to rely on a president who stutters and a senator who is recovering from a stroke.

Oh, and about those government jobs FDR handed out in his socialist programs: besides roads and rural electrification that they brought to rural America, you might want to check out some of the other projects FDR’s socialist Works Progress Administration (WPA) was responsible for just in Louisiana. You can check them out by going HERE.

And speaking of socialism, Browning, what did you do with your socialist stimulus checks (two in 2020 and a third in March 2021) that you got during the pandemic? Just askin’.

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Louisiana’s Republican Party just got thrown a nasty curve ball.

US Sen. John N. Kennedy, fresh from pulling a 62 percent majority in his successful reelection campaign despite the presence of 12 other candidates in the race now says a week after that convincing win that he is considering a run for governor in next year’s election.

Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem for the state GOP; they’d just fall in line and endorse the lead horse and ride him right into the governor’s office.

Except that on the same day that Kenney announced that he is “seriously considering” the race, the state Republican Party officially announced its endorsement for…Attorney General Jeff Landry.

It had already been learned that Landry was getting the formal endorsement, much to the consternation of two other potential Republican candidates – State Treasurer John Schroeder and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, both of whom are also considering a run. Sounds like a rerun of 2015 when Republican candidates ganged up on each other, opening the door for Democrat John Bel Edwards to walk in virtually uncontested for the runoff with eventual Republican winner US Sen. David Vitter.

The announcement by Kennedy almost certainly gave Landry heartburn. He’s the only announced candidate and has already anointed Assistant Attorney General Liz Murrill to be his successor. If Kennedy does announce and send Landry scooting back to run for reelection as AG, it will upset a lot of plans.

And the Republic Party? Wow, now that’s a real problem. If they stick with Landry and Kennedy wins (which he most likely will) of if it switches allegiances and Landry somehow upsets Kennedy, there is going to be some reshuffling of personnel in the party and potentially a serious split in the party that will rival that of any Baptist church (or in more current terms, the Methodist Conference).

Kennedy must be experiencing a certain amount of overconfidence after coasting to reelection as senator a week ago. But at the same time, he must know that should he run for governor, the in-state politics of a governor’s race is certain to be down and nasty unlike either one of his runs for the Senate – and Kennedy is the kind who doesn’t like to get his hands dirty.

One thing’s for sure: if he does run and if Landry does stay in the race, Louisiana is going to see old-time mud-slinging politicking the likes of which this state has not seen since the days of Earl Long, Jimmie Davis and Willie Rainach. It will be ugly but it will be entertaining. And regardless of who eventually comes out on top, Louisiana once again will hog national headlines for its regressive politics and we will once again be the laughingstock of the nation.

Think about it: months of TV ads of the Cousin Eddie, Foghorn Leghorn, aw shucks rhetoric of Kennedy and the whiney, scratchy, fingernails-on-the-chalkboard screeching of Landry.

Thank goodness for mute buttons on the remotes.

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Warren J. “Puggy” Moity was a colorful character from New Iberia who, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, ran for – and lost – just about every statewide elective office there was. In the process of campaigning, he threw out charges against his opponents with reckless abandon – one being in the 1971 gubernatorial campaign that US Rep. Edwin Edwards (the eventual winner) was, of all things, gay. (Edwards responded by walking up to Moity at a debate in the old Capitol House Hotel and planting a wet kiss on Moity’s cheek.)

Moity is long gone from the political scene but there is a person in Livingston Parish who seems to be trying to emulate Moity by (a) running for whatever local office is available and (b) trashing other politicians with inappropriate attempts at humor – attempts that fall far short of the mark for several reasons.

Brandon Browning is nice enough person in a one-on-one setting but put him on Facebook where he can register his attacks without having to come face-to-face with his adversary, and it’s another story. He suddenly becomes brash, arrogant, and condescending.

Maybe he shouldn’t be so quick to cast aspersions on others lest his own double standard – and ignorance – be exposed.

Browning has already lost one race for Livingston Parish Tax Assessor. And he lost rather handily at that. But now, he’s running for sheriff against incumbent Jason Ard who, despite having his own heavy political baggage, is expected to dispatch Browning with relative ease. Even the scandal involving Ard’s pal and former head of the parish sheriff’s office’s S.W.A.T team isn’t expected to drag Ard down against a political novice such as Browning.

In case you’re wondering or might have forgotten, that S.W.A.T. team leader, Dennis Perkins and his wife were arrested and are awaiting trial on multiple counts of rape, sexual relations with animals, and handing out cupcakes spiked with Perkins’s sperm at the school where his wife taught.

And yet, even that won’t be enough to push Browning over the top.

But that hasn’t deterred him from one posting a message on Facebook that he was ready for the new Civil War. More recently, he has gone on the attack against the physical infirmaries of President Biden and Pennsylvania Sen.-elect John Fetterman – Biden for his stuttering and Fetterman for impairments from his recent stroke.

Keep in mind that Browning was a dedicated supporter of one Donald “Egg on Legs” Trump who ridiculed a physically HANDICOPPED REPORTER – and then denied doing it even though there was video evidence that clearly showed that he did.

When called out on his trashy attack, he attempted to defend his position by claiming that he was discriminating “against a lack of cognitive ability and function.” Remember, he supported Trump unconditionally despite Trumps demonstrated inability to complete a cohesive thought without wandering off-script.

Someone named DeAnna challenged Browning who replied that he was raising the issue because of the “tremendous amount of responsibility and stress. Cognitive aptitude is indispensable. Communication skills are essential. Furthermore, self-awareness is crucial. I’m discriminating against a lack of cognitive ability and function.”

Of course, Browning offered the ultimate proof that he was not biased when he said, “I’ve hired Democrats before.” Oh, well then, he probably has good friends who are black and gay, too.

The exchange continued in that same vein, so I won’t bore you with the rest of it, except to say that DeAnna reminded Browning that Trump was unable to pronounce Yosemite, Nambia, or diversity – not because of any physical disability but out of sheer ignorance. – and that it was Trump who said the US bombed airports at Fort McHenry during the REVOLUTIONARY WAR.

What Browning has yet to understand is that it’s perfectly acceptable to disagree with someone – anyone – on political philosophy. That’s why we have have Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, etc. But you don’t go after someone over a physical or mental disability. Those are off-limits to all people possessing a shred of decency, particularly political candidates. (Of course, when a politician deliberately dyes his entire body orange and breaks out the knives on opponents, that’s a bit difficult to ignore and all bets are off.) And for that reason, Browning will never elected to any office as long as he persists with his sophomoric attacks.

But the real reason that Browning probably should keep his opinions about cognitive ability to himself stems from a conversation I had with him a few weeks back at a parish council meeting.

I conducted a fake poll at that meeting and at coffee shops in the ensuing weeks with the intention of using the results in my annual April Fool’s column but now, after reading Browning’s asinine assessments of Biden and Fetterman, in which he conjectured about a one-on-one conversation between the two, speculating, I guess, that it would be a taxing effort by both men, I decided to go ahead with his response to my poll.

Remember, it was a fake poll done with the intention of displaying ignorance and prejudice against an individual and political party without benefit of knowing the facts.

My question was: What do you think of President Biden’s announcement today that he was going to ask Congress to mandate that the US use the Arabic numbering system exclusively?

One woman I encountered at the Whistle Stop Coffee Shop in Denham Springs said rather abruptly, “If it’s something Biden wants, I’m against it.” That prompted me to ask her what she did with her pandemic stimulus check. I never got an answer.

When I posed the same question to Browning and Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks, I got nearly identical responses. Each said he would have to study the issue more thoroughly in order to respond.

Yet Browning is eager to post his criticism of other men’s physical disabilities on social media while allowing his lack of mental acuity and basic civics to hang out there for all to see.

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