Search This Blog


Loyola NO invite continues diluting Catholic identity

In a sense, there’s nothing inconsistent about the invitation of Loyola University of New Orleans to talk show host Van Jones for his services as its spring commencement speaker. After all, both hold themselves out as something they are not.

In Jones’ case, for the past dozen years he has positioned himself in the political mainstream, culminating in a high-level appointment to former Pres. Barack Obama’s White House Office months after Obama assumed office. Almost immediately, he found himself out of that job upon the publicizing of his past, which included association with or membership in radical and communist organizations, his support of similar individuals and articulation of communist ideology, and his peddling of 9/11/2001 conspiracy theories alleging U.S. government involvement in causing the horrific event.

Jones was smart enough by the new millennium to stop calling himself a Marxist and trafficking in its rhetoric, following the trend of post-Watergate radicals who realized to increase their influence they had to avoid labels viewed overwhelmingly scorned by the public and to jettison Marxist terminology in their verbiage, all the while restating its concepts in ways less alarming to people. But little else changed with his associations and ideology. Recently, he became host of a CNN program, just after making comments that framed the 2016 election results in racist terms.


New rules on LA breweries need relaxation

Gov. John Bel Edwards has picked up a couple of nicknames in his short tenure: the Accidental Governor, because of his fluke victory, and, more derisively, Gov. Honor Code, because of his insistence during the campaign that he follows his alma mater’s version of that yet has been caught applying it inconsistently. Now might he add the appellation Gov. Blue Nose?

That may come from a decision by his handpicked Commissioner of Alcohol and Tobacco Control Juana Marine-Lombard that restricts the ability of state breweries to sell their products. She provided guidance in March and clarified it at month’s end regarding interpretation of statute that defines brewery operations.

Her conclusions took a restrictive approach and will hamper these establishments’ operations, some potentially severely. Among others things, she declared that on-site prepared food sales could not exceed 25 percent of total sales on premises; that off-site food preparers selling on premises could not have a license to serve alcohol even if not serving any on the premises; no other party could sell on or bring other alcoholic beverages onto the premises; and advertising of any other event involving alcohol cannot occur unless it involves sampling on the premises, which in that case cannot advertise retail pricing. Already, state law permits on-site sales only to a ceiling of 10 percent of total sales, or no more than 250 barrels, whichever is greater.


Politicized request, suit witch hunt against Landry

Louisiana Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry may hope all that he wants to that he’s not subject to a political witch hunt, but he is.

Some months ago, he received a pair of public records requests right out of left field. One asked for all correspondence between Landry or any member of his office and “any representatives of companies (and/or trade associations representing such companies) involved in the exploration for and production of hydrocarbons.” The other sought a broad range of documents related to Landry's travel to conferences, speaking engagements and public appearances as the state's chief prosecutor, including records for travel, lodging and meals, as well as records “showing all contracts awarded to attorneys and/or law firms … to represent the state and any state entities in litigation,” and documents regarding vehicles bought by Landry's office. Added to it a couple of weeks later was contracts and correspondence for legal representation that have been reviewed by his office since his inauguration.

In other words, these wanted just about everything involving Republican Landry’s conduct as a public official, his office’s relations with parties to his subcontractors and anybody remotely connected to energy firms, and his office’s dealing with approval of contracts let by other government agencies. By the look of the scope involved, this fishing expedition related to Landry’s cooling the jets on the Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration attempts to sue energy companies, his review and ultimate disapproval of language that courts found Edwards had unconstitutionally included in contracts, and to any manner of conduct in office that might conflict with state ethics laws.


Caddo schools provide test of new turnaround policy

In the resolution of what to do about its failing schools, Caddo Parish found itself at the forefront of continually evolving state practices of improving education.

Recently, the parish’s School District and the state’s Department of Education concluded a pathbreaking agreement to deal with schools previously identified as struggling academically. Extending and amplifying an approach now taken with several district schools, the deal forms a new entity governed by a district appointee, but advised by a state liaison officer and local stakeholders, that will run 14 schools, most of which in the past the state would have taken over and/or removed from district supervision with conversion of these to charter status.

Historically, as opposed to the two largest school districts in the state, with its troubled schools Caddo has largely retained control. The state vehicle for administering these schools, the Recovery School District, only ever has incorporated one Caddo school, and just a handful of others gained independent charter status, despite at any given time typically a dozen or so district schools’ performances would have merited state takeover and/or conversion.