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Jindal wisely keeps tax dollars from corrupt group

It might have seemed premature at the time, but Gov. Bobby Jindal either had advance notice or superior intuition when he correctly cancelled Louisiana’s service provision contract with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Inc., for reasons now so obvious.

When the Center for Medical Progress began to release video recordings of employees and officials of Planned Parenthood’s national organization and its regional affiliates discussing pricing for human body parts and ability to change procedures to best obtain these – both selling parts and altering abortion methods to harvest these are illegal under federal law – Jindal ordered an inquiry into PPGC operations to see if it engaged in such activities. PPGC is the Texas-based affiliate that oversees the organization’s two clinics in Louisiana, of which neither performs abortions (it does in Texas). The information came back from the head of PPGC attesting the group did none of that.

Yet within days a released video featured another PPGC official admitting it would alter procedures in order to harvest parts for sale, directly contradicting the assertions in the reply back to Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals. But the day before Jindal already had instructed DHH to cancel the contract, which can be done at will with 30 days’ notice by either party. The nearly $300,000 payment – about 1 percent of its revenues – was to cover other health services.


Harris must learn if you walk, quack like duck ....

It took him awhile, but state Rep. Lance Harris maybe has figured out the cause of his athlete’s mouth and seeks to begin a curative regimen. Whether that works remains to be seen.

Harris, co-chairman of the Louisiana’s Republican Legislative Delegation, famously opened wide for that foot when he sought to defend not just the rampant tax-raising (some of which is unconstitutional) too many of the GOP indulged in this spring during the regular legislative session, but also alleged in the process that the branch’s Republicans had held the line on other issues when in reality he helped oversee policy reversal in some areas. It was an amazing display of ineptitude, unawareness, and of claiming himself adorned in new clothes when actually naked.

Yet now, despite the fact that he spent much effort this spring voting for a few hundred million dollars in tax increases while trying to prevent the most defensible of hikes, in cigarette taxes, the owner of a chain of convenience stores has started a policy forum called “Take Back Louisiana” that reputedly will present an agenda to fix problems in fiscal, transportation, education, and individual freedom policy areas. Accordingly, one may add “chutzpah” to the qualities listed above, being that if he lifted a finger to back a number of good pieces of legislation in these areas in the recent session, he was entirely ineffective in their resolutions.


Redefinition of Scouting to cause concern for some

For those connected with Boy Scouting, the recent decision by the national organization to allow as leaders those men who openly engage in homosexual lives to serve in leadership positions challenges whether we should continue to support the organization.

Last week, the Boy Scouts of America reversed a ban on that in all situations, after a couple of years ago allowing boy members who view themselves as homosexually-inclined to join the organization. However, even without a ban imposed from above, individual troops may do so (states are divided into councils, which oversee troops that are sponsored by organizations, the majority by religious organizations) at their own discretions. As a point of reference, within 20 miles of the Shreveport or Monroe areas there are 32 troops, of which 27 are sponsored by a religious organization, of which 7 are sponsored by two sects – Baptists and Latter Day Saints – which initially have indicated their troops may no longer participate in Scouting, and several others are affiliated with Roman Catholicism that at the very least would not allow lifting of the ban.

Compatibility between a desire to engage in and advocate homosexual behavior and with Scouting is difficult. Two important components of the Scouting way of life, the Scout Oath (“On my honor, I will do my best to … keep myself … morally straight”) and Scout Law (“A Scout is … clean and reverent), traditionally have implied that demonstrating or advocating a homosexual lifestyle conflicts with behavior expected of Scouts and their leaders. Generally not understood by those unfamiliar with Scouting is that it has deep religious roots, to the point that a belief in a divine being is necessary for membership and is reflected in the Scout Oath, and as the national group in essence has blessed the participation of individuals who lead lives contrary the traditional understanding of “morally straight” and “clean and reverent,” this declaration changes the definition of these terms.


Regional transportation idea faces too many hurdles

In all of the clutter expressed about Louisiana transportation needs and funding options that almost always focus on raising gasoline excise taxes at the pump, gubernatorial candidate Sen. David Vitter came up with something different. Unfortunately, in this case, “different” does not mean “better.”

It’s not that Vitter’s idea for a taxation regime at the local level that could come from a variety of sources was worse than tacking on more cents to the gallon – it actually could turn out better by presenting more options – but that in his idea was to make it regional. Employed in a few isolated instances in the country – perhaps the best examples being the Metro government in and around Portland, OR, and the Metropolitan Council in the area containing and around Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN – the idea is that greater efficiency in use of tax dollars and better planning come from subgovernments working together instead of in uncoordinated fashion or even at cross-purposes.

Transportation systems provide a key input into how metropolitan areas grow and the economic development that comes from that. Haphazard structuring resulting from discrete units deciding independently would come substantially less often through chance if some kind of regional government made decisions about building roads, mandating that this unit takes care of collecting the revenues to finance building and executing that task.