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The manufacturing of outrage against Rep. Steve Scalise tells us far more about the fortunes, strategy, and tactics of Democrats in an era of decline than provide any useful information about issues of the day.
Essentially (an excellent summation of the events is here), the Republican was invited 12 years ago to give a speech to a civic association in Metairie by his next-door neighbor who ran the group. What he didn’t know what the same guy also headed a small group that endorsed former state Rep. David Duke’s white supremacist philosophies and had booked in the same room later that day a meeting of the group. The room had no paraphernalia regarding that group visible at the time, and while the majority of the audience that heard Scalise’s 15-minute speech on state and local issues dealing with taxation, a pitch he apparently gave often that year as the state House of which he then was a member was dealing with controversial changes, some participants from the other group also wandered in. Joining Scalise were representatives of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and the American Red Cross.
Scalise did not remember the event (not surprisingly given its datedness and that he probably has spoken at thousands of similar events), and upon jogging his memory really only recalled the subject matter and that he saw no visible sign that any white supremacists lurked about. Even if he had known the group would be using the room later, he didn’t know specifics about the group, with this lack of knowledge being commonplace among Louisiana politicians (if former Sen. J. Bennett Johnston is any indicator), with the only public information about it apparently having been circulated in a lightly-read local shopper. The rest of the details reported in the media were filled in by the guy who invited him. This was why he made a blanket apology about the appearance even as he didn’t know of the presence of group members at the time.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:40
No, there won’t be a significant political party in Louisiana called the Independent Party beginning in 2015, because of the dynamics involved in why people identify politically as “independents.”
The Baton Rouge Advocate took notice of a change in state law in this year’s legislative session that removed the singular prohibition against a party in Louisiana giving itself that name for official purposes, beginning next year. To become an official party that has a label under which candidates for office may run, documents organizing such a party and a $1,000 filing fee can be submitted if the Secretary of State’s office has at least 1,000 people who registered with the identical label. In the state, at registration to vote if one puts down a label other than Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, or Reform, that is tracked but counted in the “no-party” category for classification purposes. The office reports more than 79,000 no-party registrants as having written in “independent.”
This led to speculation that such a new party could form. Since the 1960s, but particularly accelerating in the past two decades, Louisiana has followed the rest of the nation in the trend for people registering to vote not to choose a party label. Many appear to think that these people who refuse thereby signal overwhelmingly that they mean to desert the two major parties out of dissatisfaction with them and hunger for something else. They also point to the occasional success of candidates, in Louisiana such as state Reps. Dee Richard and Terry Brown, who label themselves as independents as the appeal a party with that could have.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:35
To understand whether New Orleans should ban smoking in public places and what impact this could have throughout Louisiana, it’s necessary to understand the arguments behind the issue that, on the whole, favor such a ban.
Its City Council has served notice that the issue will be considered sometime soon, with the initial contemplated legislation covering not just inside almost every place of public commerce or within 25 feet of the entrance of such a place or in the case of schools 200 feet, but also includes any publicly-owned property indoor or outdoor. The only exceptions would be some lodging rooms, some assisted living quarters, and places where large quantities of tobacco are sold or manufactured. State law sets down minimum standards where smoking may be banned but allows local governments to go further.
This argument occurs over three dimensions. The economic component looks to see whether far-reaching bans would impact negatively economic activity, which implies a loss of government revenues as well. Opponents to bans historically in many different locations trot out alleged evidence that bans would create such a negative impact.
Twenty years on, while the impact of the presence of casinos in Shreveport and Bossier City is unclear, with certainty it’s not unambiguously positive. And it provides potential validation for those place in the state that have rejected the siting of casinos.
This spring marked the anniversary of the establishment of the first in Shreveport, and by 2000 there were two on the west bank and three on the east bank of the Red River. Almost a year ago, the latest entrant camped in Bossier City. When in 1991 these were legalized beyond the one land-based casino in New Orleans, after a lengthy process of licensing then building, then-Harrah’s in Shreveport became the first to operate outside of New Orleans.
At the time, proponents said that not only would local governments cash in well with casino gambling, but also they would indirectly from sales and property taxes generated by employees of the jobs created. As it transpired, such sentiments have been proved questionable.