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29.12.11

To defeat school reform, opponents try false portrayal

You could accuse supporters of the educational establishment in Louisiana, invested in a one-size-fits-all, command-and-control monopoly of secondary and elementary education in the state because it serves the needs of special interests comprised of politicians, unions, education bureaucrats and liberal ideologues, of just not getting it. You could argue that the massive repudiation for their failed ideas suffered at the ballot box this past election cycle they refuse to acknowledge. But that would sell at least some of them short as they try to stave off defeat by other means.

One such example comes from an opinion piece circulated to major newspapers across the state, dutifully reproduced by outlets. In it, the communications director of the leftist Louisiana Progress presents the group’s strategy to cope with forthcoming policy changes that threatens its worldview and that of its ideological fellow-travelers – by using straw men and distortions to attempt to create a consensus rejecting expansion of the very ideas that haltingly have begun turning around the system.

Several of its assertions present problems in coming to an honest appraisal about education policy in the state.

28.12.11

Jindal late start presidential nomination a pipe dream


At the perceptive The Hayride, the case already has been made as to why Gov. Bobby Jindal politically would not work as a last minute entry into the Republican presidential sweepstakes. This space has discussed why, from the standpoint of Jindal’s personal situation and presumed career goals, he would never enter the 2012 contest for the top spot, although perhaps for the vice presidency. Amid some continuing chatter about how the GOP could use another candidate with Jindal’s name being mentioned, the numerical case against Jindal, or anybody else jumping in at such a late date, needs making.

There are just two ways to win the Republican convention, having a majority of delegates pledged prior to the first ballot or, if no candidate receives that majority, by obtaining an absolute majority of delegates in any subsequent ballot. Any late entrant simply cannot fulfill the former requirement because, by the time of the Iowa caucuses, qualification for well over a quarter of delegates that would be pledged by various states and territories would be over.

27.12.11

LA state worker compensation issues still need fixing

With publication of the federal government’s 2012 pay tables comes a reminder about how much remains to be done in Louisiana concerning streamlining, right-sizing, and improving efficiency in the state’s bureaucracy.

On the positive side of the ledger, at least the state is not following the federal government example of Pres. Barack Obama’s policy that puts more emphasis on growing government than in setting up an environment for success in expanding private sector job opportunities and wage levels. Despite a couple of cost-of-living pay freezes for federal employees, their wage growth continues at a higher rate than that of the private sector, just not increasing as much as it had previously. Other forms of compensation remain more generous than ever compared to the private sector, and these civil servants know it, decreasing their low voluntary turnover rates even further that are much below that of the private sector’s.

At least in Louisiana, which, unlike the federal government, must live within means as it cannot use debt for operating budgets except in extraordinary circumstances, the Gov. Bobby Jindal Administration with the Legislature’s cooperation has started state government on a healthier diet.

26.12.11

Numbers suggest LA Democrat decline hard to reverse

As actually has occurred now for several decades, partisan dealignment nationally continues with no letup as the two majors parties lose affiliates while those who claim none increase in numbers. Louisiana’s history in this regard illustrates the evolving political culture and trends of the state that differ from the national scene.

Of the 49 states that observe voter registration, four-sevenths require some affirmation of partisan status. And of those 28 states, in 25 Democrat registrations have declined since 2008 and in three-quarters of them Republican registrations have followed the same course. Meanwhile, those not affiliated (often called “independents” but legally in Louisiana known as “no party” registrants) have gone down in only 10.

The last year of the quadrennial election cycle typically has the highest number of registrants while the midterm has the lowest, with a slight increase in the third year such as 2011, so the drop partly is a result of that cyclical dynamic.