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You want heroes? I’ll give you one who never received the recognition he deserved.

Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, settled in Lafayette, flying helicopters for the petroleum industry. He died of cancer in Pineville on Jan. 6, 2006. He was 62.

One week from today will mark the 55th anniversary of one of the darkest stains on the U.S. military. But for the actions of Thompson and his crew members, Glenn Andreotta and Lawrence Colburn, the death toll of the My Lai massacre would have been considerably higher.

On March 16, 1968, Thompson was piloting his OH-23 Raven observation helicopter on a support mission for Task Force Barker’s search and destroy operations in Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam.

Army intelligence that said the four villages of My Lai, My Khe, Co Luy, and Tu Cung were Viet Cong strongholds proved inaccurate. The villages were comprised of rice-farming families but that didn’t deter Lt. William Calley, commander of 1st Platoon of Company C. Company C was attached to Task Force Barker, led by Capt. Ernest Medina.

“We kept flying back and forth, reconning in front and in the rear, and it didn’t take very long until we started noticing the large number of bodies everywhere,” Thompson told an academic conference on My Lai at Tulane University in 1994. “Everywhere we’d look, we’d see bodies. These were infants, two-, three-, four-, five-year-olds, women, very old men, no draft-age people whatsoever.”

It didn’t take Thomson and his crew long to realize that Americans were murdering the villagers when a wounded civilian woman they had requested medical evacuation for was murdered before their eyes by Medina.

“Then we saw a young girl about twenty years old lying on the grass. We could see that she was unarmed and wounded in the chest. We marked her with smoke because we saw a squad not too far away. The smoke was green, meaning it’s safe to approach. Red would have meant the opposite. We were hovering six feet off the ground not more than twenty feet away when Captain Medina came over, kicked her, stepped back, and finished her off. When we saw Medina do that, it clicked. It was our guys doing the killing,” Thompson said.

When Thompson saw that there was an irrigation ditch filled with bodies (people killed by Calley’s men, it would turn out), he told his crew, “There’s something wrong here. Seeing that some of the civilians in the ditch were alive, he landed his helicopter where a confrontation with Lt. Calley ensued.

Calley told Thompson, “This is my show. I’m in charge here. It ain’t your concern” and that “you better get back in that chopper and mind your own business.”

“You ain’t heard the last of this,” Thompson said.

Even as the exchange was taking place, Sgt. David Mitchell, who was under Calley’s command, fired into the ditch, killing any civilians who were still moving.

Enraged and shocked, Thompson and his crew returned to their helicopter and began searching for civilians they could save. Spotting a group of women, children, and old men attempting to flee the advancing soldiers, Thompson landed his helicopter between the civilians and the soldiers.

Turning to Colburn and Andreotta, he ordered them to shoot the soldiers if they attempted to kill any of the fleeing civilians. He called in two UH-1 Huey helicopters to help in the evacuation of the civilians.

Because he was low on fuel, Thompson was forced to return to a nearby supply airstrip but before they could depart, Andreotta spotted movement in the irrigation ditch full of bodies. Thompson looped his helicopter round and landed near the edge of the ditch. Andreotta exited as it touched down and walking on several badly mangled bodies, he arrived where he had seen the movement. Lifting a corpse with several bullet holes in the torso, he found a child no older than five or six, covered in blood and in a state of shock.

The child, Do Ba, was transported to a hospital in Quang Ngai. Nearly 40 years later, Thompson and Do Ba would reconnect through an intermediary.

Thompson would testify against Calley in the latter’s court martial. Calley was convicted in March 1971 and sentenced to life imprisonment, a sentence that was twice reduced by Richard Nixon’s Department of Defense before he was released in late 1974.

Nixon, meanwhile, with the assistance of Louisiana Rep. F. Edward Hebert, attempted to discredit Thompson.

It took 30 years but in 1998, Thompson, Colburn and Andreotta were awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the Army’s highest award for bravery not involving direct contact with the enemy. The medal was awarded posthumously to Andreotta, who died in Vietnam on April 8, 1968, just three weeks after the standoff in My Lai.

Despite the efforts of Nixon and Hebert to ruin Thompson’s reputation and credibility, he received hundreds of appreciative letters from people from all over the country. Among those who expressed their gratitude for his actions were U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston and U.S. Sen. John Breaux, both of Louisiana.

Breaux in 2000 nominated Thompson for the Nobel Peace Prize, writing to the Nobel Committee, “Hugh Thompson’s story is a shining example of ethical, humane treatment of civilians and prisoners-of-war during wartime. His actions serve as a powerful statement having the power to inspire others to act justly and compassionately toward their neighbor, regardless of nationality.”

Author Trent Angers wrote an excellent book about Thompson entitled The Forgotten Hero of My Lai. Published by Acadian House Publishing of Lafayette, the book is available on Amazon or by ordering it from Cavalier House Books of Denham Springs by clicking on the Cavalier House logo in the column to the right of this post.

Please take the time to read about a true American hero. There are so few of them left anymore.


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At the risk of becoming redundant, saying the same thing over and over, and repeating myself (a line by Frasier in the Cheers sitcom), I will once more address parish councils’ growing trend of suddenly concerning themselves with the content of local libraries. Whether you patronize your library or not, you should be concerned over the creeping national movement toward censorship being pushed by right-wing conservative Republicans.

The Livingston, St. Tammany, and Bossier Parish Libraries are the latest to come under the scrutiny of parish councils which in at least two cases have apparently violated the state’s dual officeholding law by appointing council members to local library boards.

Bossier Parish was the first to do so and last week St. Tammany followed suit. This week, the Livingston Parish Library Director abruptly RESIGNED in the wake of the parish council’s passage of a ridiculous – and restrictive – RESOLUTION aimed at limiting access to objectionable material by children. These include any books with graphic content (not necessarily sexual) and drag queen shows held by some libraries.

During a meeting of the St. Tammany Council last week, one Fran Smith told the board, “My brother read books like these and hurt me very badly. Do you know how many kids have died because of pedophilia?” I don’t know her personal details, but I do know no book was responsible for any “hurt” done to her by her brother.

I would ask Ms. Smith if she happens to have a hard number on the number of children who have been killed by books versus the number who have been killed by guns. That would be an interesting statistic. I would also ask Ms. Smith just who the PEDOPHILES are who she claims are killing children. For that matter, I’d love to know if she also is advocating control over churches because of SEXUAL ABUSE within the confines of houses of worship? Church pedophilia has been found in the Catholic, Southern Baptist, and Mormon churches, to name just three. To my knowledge, not a single one these offenders is or was a drag queen.

Now, should there be a movement develop toward controlling churches because of sexual abuse, you will hear a howl of protest come up from the right wing evangelicals that will sound like Armageddon itself. And it would be no less vociferous if some effort was initiated to censor parts of the Bible because of violence and genocide (God instructing the Israelites to invade opponents’ villages and to bash babies’ heads on the rocks and rip babies from their mother’s wombs while saving the virgin women for themselves, for example), sex, adultery, and graphic punishment. It’s all in there.

And just to show how things come full circle, I can remember when it was the right-wing conservatives (read: white supremists) who protested the most vehemently when books like Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Little Black Sambo were pulled because of racist content. I guess it really does depend upon whose ox is being gored (for the uninitiated, an expressing implying that the shoe’s on the other foot now) because it is they who are now advocating censorship.

I find it odd that these parish councils are looking to library content as a solution to deplorable roads and bridges that the parish council are charged with maintaining. I find it equally curious that library scrutiny is going to somehow solve chronic flooding conditions in Livingston and St. Tammany parishes.

Why the sudden attention to library content?

Simple: herd mentality. Just as the term “fake news” never seemed to cross anyone’s lips until we got a fake president, the sudden hysteria over library content is being pulled along by the tide of opposition to BLM, CRT, Antifa, and something called wokeism. Marjorie Taylor Greene, for example, plans to INTRODUCE A BILL declaring Antifa a terrorist organization.

Problem is, Antifa does not exist as an organization. There are no members, no headquarters, no mailing address, no letterhead, no nothing. It simply stands for “anti-fascist,” something that the U.S. as a nation proudly stood for in World War II, when many of our military personnel died fighting fascism. So now, MTG wants to declare anti-fascism a terrorist organization. Interesting.

That’s the same mentality we find with this growing hysteria over libraries. Whether you choose to accept it or not, it is a direct attack on the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of expression.

Don’t believe it? Well, just ask Florida State Sen. Jason Brodeur. He has introduced a bill in the Florida Legislature that would require all bloggers who write about any state official to REGISTER WITH THE STATE not once, but every single time a story is posted. At the same time, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to make it infinitely easier to sue reporters and media outlets – in direct contravention to established 1964 law called NEW YORK TIMES v. SULLIVAN.

That might not resonate with many who are disillusioned with the media, but if the news media is ever silenced, that will be the death knell for freedom. It’s true that democracy dies in darkness.

So far, we have two bills submitted for our own upcoming legislative session that deal with library control i.e., censorship.

Reps. Paul Hollis (R-Covington) and Beryl Amedee (R-Houma) have submitted HB 25, which would change library board membership from set terms to service at the pleasure of the parish council.

Sen. Heather Cloud (R-Turkey Creek) has likewise submitted SB 7, which would govern the “access to certain materials in public libraries.”

They are just part of the growing feeding frenzy being stoked by the Republican Party.

It wouldn’t surprise me if a few more bills are thrown into the hopper before the legislature convenes on April 10.

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Here’s yet another example of an incremental step in the steady effort by Republicans to create an authoritarian fascist regime right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Republican Florida State Sen. Jason Brodeur, who bears a striking resemblance to Ted Cruz, has actually proposed a bill that would require bloggers who write about Gov. Ron DeSantis, his cabinet officers and/or members of the Florida legislature to REGISTER WITH THE STATE.

Perhaps it’s appropriate that that kind of control freak would be named Jason.

All that’s missing is the hockey mask.

While exempting the websites of newspapers, the bill would require that bloggers who receive compensation for a given online post about any elected state official register with the Florida Office of Legislative Services or the Commission on Ethics.

Ethics? They got ethics in Florida? When did that happen?

You have got to be kidding, Brodeur. You Republicans have been screaming for years now against any effort to require registration of firearms – even in the aftermath of wholesale slaughter of schoolchildren and minorities.

One of the most ridiculous claims is that you have a God-given right to own assault weapons under the Second Amendment.

I have news for you, bonehead, it ain’t a God-given right. I don’t think God addresses gun rights anywhere in his manual, aka The Bible.

So, where’s your righteous defense of the First Amendment? You know, the one that guaranties freedom of assembly, press, speech, etc. Let’s show a little consistency here.

Brodeur’s bill is absurd and unconstitutional on so many levels it’s difficult to know just where to start. I’ll just say it’s a classic first bold step toward the creation of a fascist state.

“If a blogger posts to a blog about an elected state officer and receives, or will receive, compensation for that post, the blogger must register with the appropriate office … within 5 days after the first [post] by the blogger which mentions an elected state officer,” the BILL READS.

If a blogger posts subsequent stories about elected state officers, the blogger would be required to file monthly reports detailing where, when and by whom the post was published – and the amount of compensation received. Failure to file the required reports could lead to fines.

The proposed bill leaves unanswered the question of how the law would apply to out-of-state bloggers like yours truly?

I have no intention of registering in Florida or anywhere else but what if I write a story and post it here about DeSantis, or any other state official, including Brodeur? I have a few readers in Florida, so I know my posts go there, albeit on a limited basis. But what if they attempt to make me register and I resist?

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Today’s test will consist of a single multiple-choice question.

Is LSU’s Athletic Department:

  • a subsidiary of a major academic institution exempted of any real oversight;
  • a multi-million-dollar enterprise that places scant emphasis on academics;
  • a silent partner with sports betting companies in promoting organized gambling.

The answer, of course, is all three.

That may seem to be a harsh indictment of one of the premier sports programs in the country, but consider this:

An ANALYSIS of graduation rates for the 2012-13 school year at LSU (More recent objective figures were difficult to come by) showed that the overall graduation rate for the school was 64 percent compared to 53 percent for student-athletes.

Report by the Baton Rouge media and news releases by he university tend to put a more positive spin by citing higher rates achieved by men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, women’s soccer, women’s golf, and volleyball which led LSU with perfect scores of 100. Other sports with scores of 90 or better included women’s swimming and diving, women’s track and field, baseball, softball, gymnastics, women’s basketball and men’s golf.

But a closer look shows that women’s sports propped up the men in student-athlete graduation rates. The women athletes had a graduation rate of 73 percent compared to a dismal 36 percent for male athletes, primarily football and men’s basketball.

Now we learn, no thanks to Baton Rouge media, that a four-month INVESTIGATION by the Shirley Povich Centers for Sports Journalism and the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland has revealed that LSU is one of five major universities are participating in multi-million-dollar CONTRACTS with sports betting companies in an apparent effort to rake in even more money for their programs.

LSU, at least, has been a bit furtive in setting up its 10-year partnership with an outfit called PLAYFLY SPORTS PROPERTIES that currently calls for payments of about $8.5 million to the school. Playfly, headquartered in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Playfly, in its role as a third-party company, has entered into promotional agreements with sports gambling companies for advertising at school sporting events, raising the question of why LSU is shilling for a gambling casino.

The answer, of course, is money.

In addition to the $8.5 million to be paid LSU by Playfly this year, the school also receives 50 percent of all revenue generated from subscriptions, sponsorships, commercials, vendor agreements, and any other revenue “specific to LSU Gold.

And while both LSU and Playfly will evenly share the operating expenses each year for LSU Gold, LSU’s share is limited to a maximum of $800,000 in any calendar year. That’s against that $8.5 Mil, of course.

Here’s the shame of it all:

The contract between LSU and Playfly went into effect for the 2016-17 fiscal year and runs through 2025-26 and yet, the local media, with notable exception of the Baton Rouge Business Report, has been uber-silent on the agreement, choosing instead to focus on the controversy over the naming of the basketball court in the Maravich Assembly Center. It took an investigative team from Maryland to peer into the specifics of the agreement between universities like LSU and sports gambling companies.

Even as politicians are fretting over the literature available to young impressionable minds in our public libraries, no one seems to be paying attention to the efforts of universities on the make for more and more revenue to inundate thousands of students with a barrage of glamorous advertisements selling them on the potential of big winnings.

And LSU, by climbing in bed with casinos via a third-party contractor, can questionably claim that while the contract with Playfly is a public record, Playfly’s contract with the sports betting company is not. By structuring its agreement in this manner, LSU is attempting to shield its business from the public.

There is a Louisiana Supreme Court decision, however, which could force LSU – or Playfly – to make that agreement public. The case, NEW ORLEANS BULLDOG SOCIETY v. LOUISIANA SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS New Orleans Bulldog Society v. the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, more or less ruled that if public funds are involved, then the record should be made available.

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The saga of Mandy Miller, the former longtime employee of the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office who has admitted to stealing nearly $160,000 from her employer, took a new twist Wednesday when LouisianaVoice learned that she was arrested eight years ago for criminal trespass and battery on an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy.

Miller, who worked for the WBR Sheriff’s Office FOR DECADES,” was earning $72,000 as a clerk processing traffic tickets for the office when she admitted to the theft from the department.

She also is the president of Advanced Builders, Inc., a company that constructs high-end houses.

Even after she admitted to the theft, Sheriff MIKE CAZES inexplicably kept her on the department’s payroll for about three months.

Cazes, who has announced he will not run for reelection this year, has refused interviews about Miller or his office and he grilled deputies for hours about a suspected leak to media on when Miller would surrender to authorities.

LouisianaVoice on Wednesday obtained a two-page ARREST REPORT completed by EBR Deputy James Jamison which indicated that Miller became confrontational and attacked a deputy after she and a companion had refused to leave the L’auBerge Casino in Baton Rouge in the early morning hours of April 4, 2015.

Miller, who includes 18th Judicial District Attorney Tony Clayton and Assistant DAs Kristi Jarreau Marbury, and Nedi Alvarez Morgan among her Facebook friends (the 18th Judicial District includes West Baton Rouge Parish), was in the casino along with companion Natasha Valez. Both had been previously banned from the property and when the two were asked to leave the premises, they refused, the arrest report said.

Jamison wrote in his report that the casino’s security supervisor advised that the two had been asked to leave the casino several weeks earlier and told not to return. The report said that Valez “became irate” when asked again to leave and verbally attacked one of the deputies. Jamison wrote that he asked Valez to calm down whereupon she verbally attacked him, as well, and failed to obey his commands.

When Valez was subsequently handcuffed, Miller got up from her chair and started toward Valez. When a deputy reached for her arm to detain her, she punched him in the chest and attempted to hit him again, but missed. Miller was then also handcuffed.

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