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Trump nomination to impact some LA contests

The uncharted waters that the Republican Party encounters with businessman Donald Trump as its presidential nominee will have an impact on Louisiana races down the ballot.

No major party ever has nominated someone without any experience in government office. All without any elective experience, or appointive experience to the executive or judicial branches at the state or federal level, served in high-ranking military positions. Even the least politically-experienced nominee, newspaper publisher Horace Greeley, served a few months in Congress almost a quarter of a century before receiving his nomination by the Democrats.

Trump’s success largely comes from frustration that many Republican voters have from Democrats in office who, with increasing success and brazenness, have transformed the country away from the fundamental principles behind its founding, and with Republicans officeholders seemingly unwilling to stand athwart of this sellout. Seen foremost by many as a successful businessman whose blunt style and win-at-all-costs attitude, reinforced by his celebrity status, this ultimate outsider status gave him cachet as someone so alien to current officeholders who themselves seem so alienated from the many that he has the greatest capacity to disrupt a system increasingly seen as detached from the people, if not corrupt.


Cost considerations should not outlaw death penalty

Louisiana increasingly grapples with its ability to offer capital punishment and its policy-makers debate the death penalty’s efficacy, to the point that even some past supporters of it now question it. Yet the data used to argue against it discount the restorative power of the penalty, a salutary feature of it illustrated by a recent, if unfortunate, event in the state.

Over the past couple of years, executions nationwide have slowed to a turtle’s pace as ideological opponents of capital punishment have influenced makers of the drugs used in the lethal chemical injection process not to make these available to states wishing to carrying out sentences. This reduced a rate already at a crawl as over the decades increasingly aggressive appealing of sentences has grown, although that has received a boost from technological innovations, for example which make DNA testing for potential innocence more available. And that has resulted in some reversals, which makes that exercise worthwhile and less likely to happen in the future as more criminal trials access this technology from the start, leading to fewer future mistakes.

But this desirable dragging out of sentence commission produces an unfortunate side effect, now compounded by the undesirable sitzkreig strategy of ideological opponents, of making capital punishment less effective as a deterrent. Research indicates that the death penalty saves lives by deterring murders, but only when it has consistent application. The start-and-stop, uncertain nature that it has taken on in recent years diminishes this effect, and in part highlights opponents’ strategy that if they can make the concept of this punishment take on that nature, that kicks out a prop to the argument favoring its maintenance.


Intemperate LA lawmaker owes colleagues apology

No Louisiana lawmaker quite merges inarticulateness and incoherence as well as does Democrat state Rep. Barbara Norton, but she also recently managed to throw intemperance if not hypocrisy into the mix.

Known for asking the House to honor (and subjecting it to listen to) her godson’s obscene music output, and notable for her unconventional use of grammar, Norton expanded her reputation with her response to last week's rejection of HB 101 by the House’s Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice, on which she sits.

Her bill would have required movie theaters, at their own expense, to install and monitor metal detectors, which also would entail additional personnel costs. After about 10 minutes of video presentation and opening remarks by her, and a few minutes of questioning and an amending to make an exception for holders of concealed carry permits, Republican state Rep. Tony Bacala said the end product would create a false sense of security. He pointed out that theaters that voluntarily did this in other states had trained personnel, and moved to defer the bill involuntarily.


Nungesser seems primed for top spot, not lt. gov.

It seems that doing the mundane as part of his job doesn’t satisfy Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. Whether that merely remains consistent with his political career to date and/or signifies ambitions to elevate his position by one notch remains to be seen.

To say the lieutenant governor has next to no relevant policy-making power and that performing the formal duties of the office delivers little political excitement overstates the position’s importance. In both of his runs, his previous in 2011 unsuccessful, Nungesser made clear he envisioned the post much more expansively than did statute and the Constitution.

That he would adopt such an attitude perhaps seems inevitable given his eight years at the helm of Plaquemines Parish. Elected in the wake of the hurricane disasters of 2005, one disaster after another plagued the parish through his eight years. He really rose to fame after the oil spill disaster of 2010, with a couple of bad storms mixed in, by his bombastic, shoot-from-the-hip style in pleading the parish’s case to statewide and national audiences for restorative assistance.