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24.2.21

Brumley to foist woke theory on LA schools

Add Louisiana Superintendent of Elementary and Secondary Education Cade Brumley to the roll call of the woke.

Brumley signaled fealty to the notion that systemic racism built into law and the Constitution on behalf of the white majority against non-white minorities when he proclaimed a reeducation program wouldcommence for public school teachers and administrators. Ostensibly to reduce student suspensions, particularly among blacks whose rate is twice that of whites, it seeks to show adults and students how to set goals, demonstrate empathy for others, establish positive relationships and make responsible decisions.

All well and good. But the intended program contains a unit on social and emotional learning utilizing a “racial equity” approach. This paradigm claims that “implicit bias” towards minorities results in unjust outcomes in educator actions such as punishing through suspensions, that end up prejudiced unfairly against minorities – although statistics routinely show students of Asian background receive suspensions at lower rates than white students – in addition to the impact of explicit bias, although such overt racism supposedly emerges far less frequently.

23.2.21

Nungesser, Landry coming; Edwards staying

The big news surrounding the filing of 2020 campaign finance reports concerns the office of governor – both present and future.

With Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards term-limited, several candidates could jockey their way into succeeding him. The best gauge of that comes from the amount of money picked up three years out, because you have to start early to win this one. (Edwards’ out-of-nowhere win in 2015 being very much the historical exception; he didn’t start raising money in earnest until two years out).  Money doesn’t determine elections, but it does demonstrate breadth of support and faith in that candidacy. It won’t tell you who will win, but can tell you who can.

If several hundred thousand dollars raised in 2020, the candidate will be a serious contender in 2023. A couple of hundred thousand means that one could turn into a serious threat, but will have to pick up the pace. Below that, chances are pretty much zero unless you’re a big name in politics already and/or you can fund yourself approaching eight figures.

22.2.21

Bad LA weather cancels columnist's CAGW faith

If nothing else, arch-leftist Mark Ballard of the Baton Rouge Advocate has a lousy sense of timing that should shake his faith.

On Feb. 13, Ballard – who also files state government stories for the newspaper that often but not always hold his biases in check – used his weekly opinion column to discuss a Feb. 10 joint meeting of the Louisiana Legislature’s National Resources committees. He seemed none too pleased about the subject matter, comparing its breadth and depth to exercises performed under the auspices of the Communist Party of China, because it featured critiques of Democrat Pres. Joe Biden’s restrictive forays against the fossil fuel industry and little else.

Such is the blinding tunnel vision of a true believer of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, as Ballard verified when insinuating in his first three paragraphs that gases from burning such fuels causes the state to lose a “football field of wetlands … every 100 minutes.” In fact, science finds no such connection at all; if anything, the causality is reversed where rising temperatures come from changes in oceanic and atmosphere heat exchanges and soil moisture. These explain much better why almost next to no statistical correlation exists between amount of carbon dioxide produced by human activities and global temperature changes. And some of the acreage loss has a far more certain provenance: a slow, constant rise in sea levels for two centuries, beginning well before human-caused change theoretically occurred.

21.2.21

Futile storm response threatens BC incumbents

The recent lashing Mother Nature gave to northwest Louisiana also struck a blow against Bossier City politicians running for reelection.

Nearly a week’s worth of some of the coldest temperatures combined with some of the most voluminous wintry precipitation in Bossier City history paralyzed the city. During its worst couple of days, travelling major thoroughfares became impossible except for drivetrain-enhanced vehicles with experienced drivers, the city suffered rolling but short blackouts, and some residents lost water service entirely while the entire city underwent an extended boil order because of breaks in city water lines that reduced water pressure to half normal.

Things were so bad that the Bossier City Council cancelled its regularly scheduled meeting on Mardi Gras. It wouldn’t have to do that absent the negligence of Republican Mayor Lo Walker and the Council through their failure to prepare for these circumstances.

18.2.21

LA dodged TX overreliance on renewable energy

Texas may have made itself unprepared for extreme wintery conditions, but years ago it saved Louisiana from itself that made the latter suffer much less from the Mardi Gras freeze of 2021.

Across the Bayou State, the dip well below freezing with ample precipitation in some places triggered intermittent power outages left as many as three percent of the population without power for more than a short period of time. The cold can affect the extraction and transport of nonrenewable fuels that keep generators going, as well as generator operation itself, plus demand increases to stave off the cold, both from consumers and operators who need heating to keep transport and generation going. Yet few Louisiana consumers, fortunately, went without power for more than a few hours.

However, in the Lone Star State around a tenth of the population suffered sustained power outages. This was exacerbated by the state’s nonparticipation in any of the regional power grids, although some parts are outside of it, which doesn’t permit it to import power into about 90 percent of the state. That system also has few incentives to increase resiliency in transport and generation, including provision at peak times such as this.

17.2.21

Kennedy riles Cassidy-like Never Trumpers

Although Louisiana’s junior senator has stirred a lot of controversy this month, don’t sleep on the state’s senior senator who stimulated debate about populism in politics, particularly among conservatives. And in the end, the topic loops back unto itself.

Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy shocked his political base first by accepting the fair-to-middling contention that the Senate could try an impeached private citizen, then by assenting to the extraordinarily weak case that GOP former Pres. Donald Trump incited insurrection. Wiser heads prevailed to reject that, including Republican Sen. John Kennedy.

However, Kennedy provoked his own hullabaloo when he held forth on national television about the new U.S. special climate envoy, former Sec. of State, and failed Democrat presidential nominee John Kerry. Kerry travelled to and from Iceland by private plane in 2019 to receive an award for his environmental activism, and faced questioning from the local media about the appropriateness of it all, which he defended as necessary “for somebody like me.”

16.2.21

Cassidy missteps encouraging closed primaries

Louisiana’s Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy’s votes to proceed with an impeachment trial of GOP former Pres. Donald Trump and to convict will affect his political career, perhaps fatally. If so, a major contributor to that extinguishing may come from a spillover effect regarding the state’s election system.

Republican elected officials, party organs, and activists almost universally have condemned Cassidy for his actions. And they appear ready to visit punishment on Cassidy through changing the method by which the state votes for federal elected officials.

After using it in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles for national elections, Louisiana abandoned a closed primary system and reverted to its current blanket primary system. Elected officials at all levels of government have revived talk of reinstituting it, at least for national elections.

14.2.21

Unprincipled votes jeopardize Cassidy future

Can Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy rehabilitate himself, or does he want to?

In the span of a few days, Cassidy put himself in hot water with a significant segment of his constituents by first assenting to the constitutionality of an impeachment trial for GOP former Pres. Donald Trump, then by voting to convict him. He and six other Republicans ended up on the losing side, joining all Senate Democrats.

Perhaps more significantly, while three of those GOP votes came from swing-state senators – two planning on retiring and one who always has displayed unpredictablilty, and three others came from red states from senators who in the past had a pattern of criticism of Trump, Cassidy’s was the only one from a red state with a history of strong support for Trump’s actions. Further, on a prior motion in January to dismiss the impeachment on the grounds of unconstitutionality, Cassidy voted against holding the trial.

13.2.21

Disingenuous Cassidy completes his disgrace

His explanation, and he, were bogus all along.

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy drew an avalanche of criticism concerning his vote to proceed with the Senate trial attendant to (another dubious) impeachment of GOP former Pres. Donald Trump, Cassidy took to social media to attempt a defense of it. He had the raw material to do a credible job; while the case that trying a former officer of the U.S. has merit through a reading of the Constitution and past argumentation during impeachment trials, the case against is stronger. Still, he could have offered a principled defense of his decision that he used reasoned judgment to make the call.

Instead, he mostly rehashed his initial explanation. He said the Democrats who comprised the majority in the House of Representatives managing the trial – the prosecutors, in essence – spoke to an learned case for permissibility of late impeachment, although briefly adding that the sources for this came from Constitutional scholars, including some allied with the Federalist Society which is an organization that promotes interpreting the Constitution through original source materials supplemented by learned extrapolation, often favored by conservatives. By contrast, he said the defense lawyers provided little of the same, which clinched his affirmative vote.

11.2.21

Another failure to justify LA gas tax hike

When somebody starts disgorging any and every argument to buttress his position, you know he’s losing the debate. Recently, Republican state Rep. Jack McFarland exemplified that concerning his putative bill to jack up the gasoline tax at the pump.

Speaking to the media earlier this week, McFarland outlined his conception of the as-yet unfiled bill for the Louisiana Legislature’s 2021 regular session, which would increase the gas tax by 10 cents, then add 2 cents a year until the increase reaches 22 cents. Besides the usual litany that the state has a huge road maintenance backlog – he said $15 billion – and a wish list for new capacity on top of that – he said $13 billion – he tossed in a new wrinkle: that relieving drivers and consumers of this additional money would help the state recover from the negative economic effects of commercial restrictions laid down by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards in response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

That statement only goes to show how McFarland misunderstands the nature of this man-caused crisis. When Democrat former Gov. Huey Long suggested something similar, spending more for a massive increase in roads improvement and building that would increase the state’s transportation capacity, and eventually to dovetail under his successor with New Deal demand-stimulative policy pursued by the federal government, that came in response came from a perceived liquidity trap holding back the economy. That is, with an undersupply of investment resources due to adverse equity declines, an oversupply of labor from economic contraction, and low confidence in future business success, the private sector had reduced incentive to engage in capital-intensive economic activities. People preferred to hold onto cash rather than invest because they saw perceived future returns as too close to zero, so they don’t invest in enterprises that create jobs.