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Desperate McAllister pandering to left likely fails

You’re a conservative voter eyeing the Fifth Congressional District’s special election and don’t know who to vote for? A desperate statement gives you a good answer to that question that will need resolution this Saturday.

Last month, in the general election for this seat triggered by its early surrender by current Louisiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Rodney Alexander, the majority of voters, mirroring the district’s demographics, chose candidates that held themselves out as conservatives on all issues. However, the majority of them split between the leading vote-getter, state Sen. Neil Riser, who despite having served only six years in the Legislature as his sole elective office was seen as the most establishmentarian candidate, and the one behind him but ahead of all others Vance McAllister, who many saw as the most outside of politics with no elective experience at all. Fueling these perceptions were the vast number of endorsements from other elected officials and influential organizations that Riser received, while McAllister drew support from populist, politically inexperienced sources such as area reality television stars.

As both had run as conservatives, differing impercetibly on issues, this crude “insider/outsider” cleavage served as the only real distinction to a large swath of the electorate. And given that, the numbers from that initial contest, no doubt supplemented by polling done by both Riser, who has pulled in large funding from across state and country, and McAllister, who almost exclusively funded his own campaign to match Riser dollar for dollar, showed that Riser had the advantage, and that a lot of things would have to go wrong for him and/or right for McAllister for Riser not to win the runoff – if that dynamic held.


Limiting remedial teaching best for taxpayers, students

While it may seem an intramural debate to some, much larger implications for taxpayers and students come from decisions where to offer college remedial coursework as well as what role this has in Louisiana’s system of higher education.

Now into its second year of evaluation, the Board of Regents is experimenting with offering these courses at both community colleges and baccalaureate-and-above institutions. The literature seems inconclusive on whether these should be offered at just community colleges or at both levels. For entry into senior institutions, first-time freshmen students must show proficiency in at least one of English and mathematics through minimum American College Test scores well below the national average in each to gain admittance. If coming up short in one, a remedial course must be taken.

The case for not having them taught at both levels is that they dilute these institutions’ resources that should concentrate on students who already have demonstrated capability to succeed. More crucially, faculty members at these senior institutions are a more expensive resource to utilize in this endeavor, which gets passed on to the taxpayer and student, because they have additional service duties and research expectations.


Failed series' exploitation echoes EWE's reign in power

And so The Governor’s Wife crashes and burns, but in a weird way it can serve as a metaphor for the politics that its male lead, Prisoner #03128-095, inflicted upon Louisiana. And the gift keeps on giving.

Known outside the prison walls as former Gov. Edwin Edwards, this reality television series sought to chronicle the trials and tribulations that the octogenarian faced with a wife some five decades his junior, both thrice married and twice divorced, as they blended families and sought to become parents. After a sustainable draw of over a million viewers at its debut, viewership appeared to drop off rapidly and led to the network showing it to offload the remaining episodes quickly and throwing its reruns onto a sister network.

But the drive-by-slowly-to-rubberneck-an-accident quality to it, which leading trade publication Variety called “creepy,” overlay a much darker aspect to it all that no doubt turned off potential viewers and sent others who actually laid eyes on it reaching for their remotes. It was exploitative, of its most prominent victim willingly on his part, and on others not so willingly.


Veterans' Day, 2013

This column publishes every Sunday through Thursday after noon (sometimes even before; maybe even after sundown on busy days) U.S. Central Time except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Independence Day or Christmas when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, there are six of these: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas.

With Monday, Nov. 11 being Veterans' Day, I invite you to explore the links connected to this page.


Empirically defeated, DOJ clings to radical reasoning

The champions of bigger government and the government monopoly education model, having realized the data are against them in their lawsuit against Louisiana’s school voucher program, continue to cling to the hope that judicial fiat produces a radical shift in American jurisprudence to eviscerate the policy.

The Pres. Barack Obama Administration sued Louisiana and its Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program, which pays for students in underperforming schools to attend private and public schools that qualify for the program, on the basis that it defied desegregation orders. The remedy it initially asked for was for courts to halt the program, but it amended the suit to asking for court review to give approval for each and every use of a voucher that took a child out of a public school and into a private school in order to see whether, in the court’s opinion, this ran counter to desegregation efforts.

That alteration happened because it soon became apparent just how big of a deviation from the existing jurisprudence on the subject this suit represented. The Gov. Bobby Jindal Administration and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education took issue with that attempt by pointing out that the presumed beneficiaries of desegregation, minority race students, were in fact the overwhelming beneficiaries of the program.