Search This Blog


Edwards mistakes exacerbated LA virus plight

While other states have begun “flattening the curve” of Wuhan coronavirus cases, Louisiana hasn’t yet. Policy mistakes by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and big city mayors explain why.

Two errors stand out in particular, although in retrospect avoiding one would have demanded expert crystal ball-reading skills even as it fed into the other. That was failure of attenuation, if not cancellation, of Carnival parading and celebrations. The first U.S. case cropped up in Washington on Jan. 19, and when Carnival started in earnest on Feb. 14 the country as a whole had just a baker’s dozen of cases, a number that barely rose by Carnival’s close on Feb. 25.

Edwards engaged in some minor finger-pointing in this regard when queried about his inaction. “There was never any hint from anyone to me … that there should be any consideration to downsizing or canceling Mardi Gras,” he told a national television audience. On Mar. 11, after Louisiana’s first case popped up Mar. 9, he issued the first of a series of proclamations that increasingly have confined citizens and closed businesses.


LA virus testing, death data don't add up

With little attention or fanfare, this week Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards extended a series of proclamations limiting gatherings and commercial activity to stave off the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. He did this using data that appears increasingly questionable.

Observers such as MacAoidh already have pointed out not only errors in data collection that affect perceptions about the disease’s contagion in Louisiana, but also have noted timing involved in releasing specific numbers on specific days fits a pattern designed to produce messaging that promotes a political agenda. Certainly, continuation of the Edwards bans throughout the entire state idles further a Legislature chomping at the bit to enact policy contrary to Edwards’ liking while it embolden actions comporting to his general philosophy of expanding government through increased taxation and spending.

The extension again raises the question of whether a blanket approach serves the state’s best interest. The figures for today continue to show the virus, at least in a critical form, remains largely a New Orleans-area phenomenon. Orleans, Jefferson, and their surrounding St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, LaFourche, and St. Charles Parishes have but 28 percent of the state’s population but 69 percent of the cases and 73 percent of the deaths.


Order defiance charge may end political careers

The legal drama starts, and it might cost some political careers along the way without accomplishing much of anything.

Tuesday, Central’s Life Tabernacle Church minister Tony Spell received summons from the Republican Police Chief Roger Corcoran, with six charges of violating R.S. 29:724.

That law gives the governor emergency powers including the issuance of proclamations to limit gatherings, and lists penalties up to a $500 fine and six months imprisonment. Spell allegedly violated it when he preached to considerably more people on several occasions than allowed since Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards began issuing orders with limitations because of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

It didn’t change anything. That night, Spell conducted regularly-scheduled services before another crowd, which produced another set of summonses. And he’ll keep on going until he’s cuffed and jailed, which would be a public relations disaster for any politician involved.


Will Facebook cushion Advocate from its ills?

Will Facebook come to the “rescue” of Louisiana’s home of “there’s more to the story”™ and “reporting you can trust?”

Undoubtedly, snickers arose in newsrooms from Shreveport to Thibodaux and among news consumers from Vinton to Mound when reports surfaced that the source of these phrases to describe itself, the Baton Rouge Advocate, which includes allied operations in Ascension, Lafayette, and Orleans Parishes and several weekly newspapers – with competition from another daily newspaper only in Lafayette – sent out an e-mail plea to its subscriber base to “donate” money to it. This came in the wake of staff cuts and furloughs about a week after Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ first of three proclamations that progressively have brought a fair portion of the state’s economy to a standstill to combat encroachment of the Wuhan coronavirus.

Understand that, as the media landscape has changed with the advent of broadband delivery via Internet, cable, and satellite plus the social media revolution that in part cuts out information intermediaries, print newspapers have suffered tremendously. However, Advocate owner John Georges – a former gubernatorial and New Orleans mayoral candidate – since his 2013 purchase of the operation had pursued an aggressive expansion strategy that gobbled up or created outlets big and small, while smaller operations in particular have had difficulty in adapting to rising fixed costs and in getting a handle on increasingly important targeted digital advertising.


Congregants defying orders won't see penalties

They have been getting away with it. And they will continue to get away with it.

Central’s Life Tabernacle Church hasn’t missed much of a beat since Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued a series of proclamation over the Wuhan coronavirus invasion into Louisiana. The orders began at limiting gatherings to 250, then went to 50, and the current iteration places the maximum number at ten. But the church continues tohold services and events that draw hundreds and even over a thousand participants.

Drawing national attention, pastor Tony Spell claims the virus won’t affect his congregants. He calls the matter a question of religious freedom, and suggests that the First Amendment’s free exercise and assembly clauses overrides any attempts at state government restrictions.