Search This Blog


Defective decision highlights sentencing irony

Although a decision on the matter will apply to many fewer defendants across Louisiana now, a needed challenge to a badly flawed decision on jury sentencing points out in passing an unintended consequence of recent change to this policy.

Last year, voters amended the Constitution to sweet away the state’s requirement – shared now only by Oregon – that juries decide cases with only 10 of 12 votes (except, according to the criminal code, cases that could carry a capital sentence). However, the change to unanimity didn’t affect cases already in the pipeline.

Unless you agreed with rogue 41st District Judge Stephen Beasley. In a magnificent display of judicial activism, last fall Beasley declared the 10/12 standard unconstitutional as it disproportionately affected black defendants because – he alone determined despite far more persuasive explanations at hand – it was inherently racist from its origin, thus violating the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection clause


High-stakes testing doesn't create more crime

So, ditching the practice of social promotion has allowed serious crime to run rampant on the streets? Only if you believe an oversimplified interpretation of an incomplete study performed using Louisiana data.

Recently, researchers released a paper investigating whether preventing social promotion, or the practice of advancing children academically unprepared a grade level regardless, causes more adult crime. They hypothesized that holding back children between grade levels past research had identified as most crucial to lead to high school graduation, eighth and ninth, discouraged desire for schooling got those repeating eighth grade so that later in life they more likely turned to violent crime than did their peers.

Two decades ago, Louisiana halted its practice of social promotion and instituted the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program tests in English and mathematics, where students had to pass both to enter ninth grade. To come as close as possible to having experimental and control groups, these analysts reviewed years of data for students who passed the eighth grade standardized tests needed for advancement by one point to those who failed these by one point.


Zulu schools Landrieu on cultural symbolism

Former Democrat New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and those who think like him about cultural symbolism could take a lesson from his former fellow members of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club.

As Democrat activists ponder who to put up against Republican Pres. Donald Trump next year, some stump for Landrieu. For example, one recent booster from outside the party argued that Landrieu’s dismantling of historic monuments in New Orleans while mayor, all connected to the Confederacy, commends him for the nation’s top job.

Only in a world where his party increasingly tears itself away from reality and the real concerns of Americans would Landrieu’s actions in that regard be considered anything but an exercise in intolerance and an avenue to promote social engineering. Unwilling to conceive of the monuments in any terms but his own, he decided to follow the Islamic State model of scarring the city’s landscape and erasing its history.


The Advocate column, Feb. 24, 2019

Before giving statewide raises to teachers, Louisiana schools need to progress


Perkins sacrificing one openness for another

Keeping one campaign promise shouldn’t mean sacrificing another, new Democrat Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins should understand. Especially when the whole thing smells a bit fishy.

During his campaign, which he alluded to in his inauguration speech, Perkins spoke of more openness in city government. Then, a month later, with no consultation he served notice to the city’s two longtime insurance providers that he canned them.

That subsequently brought a flurry of public comments from representatives of the jilted companies, who will lose this business in the hundreds of millions of dollars in a few days, at the last City Council meeting. They pointed out that they had no chance to make offers, contrary to procedures that require a request for proposal when the city contracts in this fashion.