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One of the hallmarks of the political left is the hidden nature by which it tries to operate, knowing that its agenda if fully understood would be rejected by the majority of the American people. A propaganda broadcast financed by unknown elements in the heart of Louisiana reminds us of this in multiple ways.
Just completed (presumably, as the schedule of the television station involved, KLAX in Alexandria, reports only “Paid Programming” from 1-2 PM today) airing in central Louisiana, a repeat from last week at that time, is a documentary piece called “Bad Medicine.” Its trailer promised a shrill presentation about why Louisiana should expand Medicaid services to make 41 percent of its residents eligible, and why the state’s unique public-owned, public-run hospital should remain that way instead of having most of it turned over to nongovernment operators, a couple of institutions closed, and one to remain owned and operated by the state.
The trailer showed a number of individuals who remain personally, ideologically, or professionally invested in the current charity hospital system, the changeover from which is likely to save $100 million beginning this fiscal year, criticizing the deal. It also shows some of them and others decrying the refusal to expand Medicaid coverage, opposed both by legislative majorities and Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 14:00
Not only from a logical standpoint is the idea of “atheist chaplains” entirely deficient, as Rep. John Fleming observed yesterday on the issue, but from a procedural standpoint as well, as anybody (like Fleming) who has been in the service knows. But that such an effort had to be inserted in writing shows the continuing effects of the social experiment the Pres. Barack Obama Administration has foisted upon the military.
Fleming successfully got amended H.R. 2397 to exclude this concept from the defense appropriation bill for the upcoming fiscal year. During debate, he pointed out the completely oxymoronic concept involved, as chaplains are there to provide to offer prayer, spiritual counseling, and religious instruction. But if a member of the armed services declares himself “nonreligious,” which assumes agnosticism or atheism, how can prayer happen, what spirit is there to counsel about, and where’s the instruction to be given?
Dredging up similar arguments as had been rejected in committee last month, supporters said this would give an outlet to such members for life counseling. But chaplains are presumed to counsel on the basis of some kind of religious faith in a divine presence, so that is irrelevant in these cases. For those with no religious life at all, a counselor who assistance would be based upon concepts of the secular world would be appropriate and are available.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 08:55
What you can do I can do better, the two major candidates for Senate in Louisiana have told each other over the past few months on the issue of offshore petroleum drilling and revenue distribution thereof to the states. But unless she moves in a direction new to her, Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu will lose bragging rights on this issue to her main competitor Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy.
For her three terms, Landrieu fairly consistently has supported measures not to restrict and to expand this activity. It is a crucial part of her strategy to make a conservative voting public in Louisiana think she is not as liberal as her record indicates. With a lifetime American Conservative Union score barely above 20 (through 2012, where 0 is an unblemished liberal record and hers is about half as high as the chamber average), her tactic always has been to highlight the few conservative issue preferences she articulates and bring the state more money while hoping the mass public ignores the rest of her record.
This issue has been one of the ones on which she can appear to be compatible with the satte’s majority, and so in March she signed on as a co-sponsor to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s S. 630, which speeds up the timeline for coastal states already with offshore production to receive more in royalties from that, allows for a higher amount to be received, and would increase incentives for other states to enter into offshore production. Yesterday, hearings on the bill commenced with Pres. Barack Obama, with whom she has voted 97 percent of the time where he has issued a preference, administration officials providing a nice foil for her reelection efforts by testifying against the bill, saying it would detract funding going into research on alternative energy sources. She and supporters have argued that coastal states even after the increase begins in 2017 still don’t get their fair share of royalties and other related revenues; inland states have gotten 50 percent of funds going to the federal government from this for nearly a century.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:35
If the effort to transform the Louisiana State University System into producing better higher education delivery has any chance of success, the strategy that looks to have been chosen rests on an outdated paradigm that will doom the effort.
On Friday, indications are that the group looking into system transition – almost all members having been connected with Louisiana State University Baton Rouge or the LSU System as graduates, employees, or benefactors and with the lead consultant also having graduated from and taught there – will issue a report stating that the new consolidated system will need … wait for it … more money! The consultant says $200 million worth, which could attract prominent academics and researchers, more graduate students, could expand undergraduate research, begin replacing the 200 faculty members lost in the past four years, and could give remaining faculty a pay increase.
New system/institution President F. King Alexander aims a bit lower, admitting that higher education dollars for state-supported institutions are scarce everywhere. He said he’d just like to see $40 million to get back what he said was 220 faculty members let go over the past four years. Regardless, it’s the same tune, just played more softly: more money will make the institution highly respected and thereby better.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:00
While pro-life legislation received maximal publicity in North Dakota and Texas, with the attendant lawsuits after successful passage, this year as in all others Louisiana’s received little comment and no challenges other than complaints from miffed representatives of merchants of death. It is this protective atmosphere that should set the stage for greater vigilance of life in the future by the state.
Before the 2013 legislative session, the state was named the most pro-life of all on the basis of its laws, and the overwhelming majorities both laws and resolutions alike that protect life receive annually from legislators attest to the deep enculturation that reverence for life has in Louisiana. But more can be done, and the starting point to derive optimal policy in this area is to emulate the conceptualization behind smoking restrictions.
The two issue areas share many similarities. Both acts are considered threats to the life of those who engage in the practice and therefore deserve heavy regulation, yet with the presumption that the activity is legal under certain conditions. The extensive regulation extends not just to individual actions, but also to the those of the suppliers.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 10:55
There is a reason Louisiana Democrats from Sen. Mary Landrieu on down seem determined to ensconce themselves as a permanent minority: their flight from reality born of self-denial anchored in faith in liberalism.
Yet again, in the wake of more recent switches of former Democrat elected officials – three at the state level, another at the local – to the GOP, others of the party have been left to muse about why the stream flows steadily away from them, carrying support, politicians and, most importantly, power. And, it seems, nothing changes as they continue to fail to understand at the most basic level what is happening to them.
As noted previously, a combination of societal and political changes have reset the parameters of political contests in Louisiana. Given the heavy infection of populism in the state’s political culture, for decades primarily a personalistic style that attempted to wed voters as dependents to politicians on the basis of charisma and resource distribution from them carried the day. But with more access to education and information to the mass public, in the past two decades these bonds have frayed and increasingly have become supplanted by appeals to issue preferences, summed into the attitudes of partisanship and ideology. As the capacity for ideological thinking among the mass public has increased, to their credit Republicans have with greater and greater success have sought to induce the public to think about elections in more issue-based, less personality-based terms. This unmasks the internal contradiction created when liberal politicians try to obscure the content of their policies to the conservative majority, and creates escalating rejection of those politicians.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 12:30