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No reason to reimpose harmful restrictions

Oh, no! Delta variant! Case counts going way up! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! One big Louisiana city already looks ready to hit the panic button, so should the state follow as after a subdued period the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic starts to boil higher again?

Absolutely not. By no means should the state or its subgovernments begin to reimpose restrictions that weren’t that effective anyway and probably cost more lives than they saved.

Predictably, case surges have started in areas with lower rates of vaccination. In fact, a high cluster of these exists in the center of the country running north-south from Missouri through Arkansas and swelling into Louisiana. This comes largely courtesy of the rising virus delta variant now becoming more prominent, which does appear more transmissible and does a bit better job of defeating vaccines.


Diluted UBI about to hit reeling LA hard

Louisiana’s problems will multiply as for the next 12 months the nation takes one step closer to a universal basic income.

This week, households with children can start receiving child tax credit monies courtesy of legislation rammed through Congress by its slender majority of Democrats and signed by their own Pres. Joe Biden. It provides $3,000-$3,600 in free (read: from increased taxes or debt) money to upper middle-class and below households per child, depending on age, with monthly installments available for half through the end of the year. Those invested in the idea, such as Louisiana’s Democrat Rep. Troy Carter, already shill it as great policy.

Far from it, and not because it's not a perfect universal basic income, or the idea that every citizen should receive a periodic government cash grant without strings attached. It tapers beginning at about six figures and disappears at a quarter million dollars in income, it only lasts a year with an option to receive the first half of payments in six monthly installments, and obviously the family must have a dependent child younger than 18.


Edwin Washington Edwards, 1927-2021

Two years ago, Louisiana had five ex-governors out and about; today, just one. The one of the quartet who stayed with us the longest, Prisoner #03128-095, went out in a way not inconsistently with his political career: with a wink and a nod. Last week, he entered hospice care, with him and his family saying it was for better care and that he looked forward to future birthdays. Days later ….

Known outside the big house as Democrat former Gov. Edwin Edwards, it’s perhaps difficult for many who follow Louisiana politics to understand the shadow he cast over state politics for a quarter-century starting in 1972. Obviously the center of attention when in office, he wasn’t too far away from that even when out of it during the 1980-84 and 1987-92 periods (he actually vacated the office after conceding defeat a couple of months prior to the official end of his third term in 1988). He probably really liked it that way.

I met Edwards the first time, briefly, when he attended the dedication of my employer’s new library in 1992. But where I actually had a few minutes to chat with him, the chastened version after prison, was almost a decade ago at the Louisiana Political Science Association annual meeting. From that second meeting I draw some of the impressions below.


Politics, not data, behind top cop veto wish

You might think Republican Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre, after nearly three decades in office, would have learned it is an asset in politics to know what you are talking about before you open your mouth. Only in office less than a decade, Republican Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington showed him how it’s done.

Last week, in an assemblage of a few dozen law enforcement officials that included a dozen of the state’s 64 sheriffs, Webre emerged as the most outspoken critic of efforts to overturn Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of SB 118 by Republican state Sen. Jay Morris. The bill would remove permit requirements to carry a concealed firearm for most citizens, which currently include a fee, paperwork, and mandatory training classes.

At the made-for-media, if not Astroturf, news conference, Webre expressed several sentiments. “I don’t want to be at a Mardi Gras parade with my daughter where someone jumps up to catch a bead and that gun falls out their waistband it hits the concrete, goes off and innocent people get killed …. I don’t want to go into a department store or restaurant and wonder who might be carrying a concealed weapon.” He further alleged that the bill “not only is going to endanger the law enforcement community, it will endanger the general public as well.” And, he claimed it could embolden untrained people to act like citizen vigilantes, unnecessarily escalating minor incidents into deadly ones.


Keep Shreveport ban to empower vulnerable

Shreveport’s City Council this week faces a choice between possibly more tax dollars from more economic activity and limiting the autonomy of vulnerable citizens.

Councilors will consider passing an amended ordinance that carves out an exemption from its commercial smoking ban for establishments that have gambling. An entire ban for indoor areas except for businesses specifically catering to smoking would have gone into effect last Aug. 1 but was delayed to this Aug. 1 because of the impact of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Now some want to dilute the prohibition by excluding gaming areas of casinos and bars and truck stops licensed for gambling.

As has become typical as jurisdiction after jurisdiction in Louisiana where such battles play out with casinos involved – and all resulting in restricting of smoking – opponents argue casinos will take a hit with this. Smoking, like gambling, is addictive behavior, so eliminating the practice of one vice by discouraging practitioners of another disproportionately eats into casinos’ potential clientele.