Democratic Louisiana flag
Volume 1, Number 7
By Democrats For Democrats
April 28, 2010
Welcome to Democratic Louisiana!

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of Democratic Louisiana!

The Jindal administration/campaign has gone full tilt against implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the most important piece of domestic legislation approved by Congress in almost 40 years.

Ironically, Jindal's refusal to let the state participate in the expansion of high-risk pools to provide coverage for adults who have pre-existing conditions will result in a wider federal role in healthcare in Louisiana — something Jindal claims he is against.

But, for Jindal, this is all about his national ambitions. What's good for our state and the nearly 1,000,000 people who will have access to affordable care as a result of this new law does not figure into the Governor's thinking.

It occurred to me that Jindal might have something like an empathy deficit. I Google'd the phrase and found a psychotherapist had given the subject a good bit of thought. That forms the basis for the Big Blue 1 article today.

Thank you for reading!

There is now an archive page available to afford access to earlier editions of Democratic Louisiana. Here's the link.

Mike Stagg, Editor

Democratic Louisiana

Fourth Time May Be The Charm on Financial Reform

Senate Republicans blocked consideration and debate on a bill to reform the nation's tarnished financial system for the third time on Wednesday, but their filibustering ways look to be coming to an end.

Talking Points Memo and wire services are reporting this afternoon that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, having wrung as much campaign money as he can out of Wall Street bankers, has told members of his caucus that they can now vote their consciences on this legislation.

Search parties have reportedly been sent out by some Republican offices in search of said consciences which have been missing on this and a number of other issues at least since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

According to the Associated Press, Republicans have dropped complaints that Senate Democrats' financial overhaul bill would perpetuate bailouts, and are shifting their criticism to a consumer protection provision that they say goes too far.

Yes, protecting consumers is too much for Republicans, but it looks like the bill will at least be able to be debated now. No word on whether Republicans plan to filibuster against passage later.

Bobby Jindal: Mr. E.D.D.?

Governor Bobby Jindal has great numbers sense. He is a wiz with budgets. But, as good as he is with numbers, Jindal is equally poor at making the connection between the numbers in budgets and the people that those budgets impact.

There might be a name for Jindal's inability to "feel the pain" of those whom his policies adversely impact — usually the poor and underserved, but increasingly middle-class and working families — as he clings to his commitment not to raise taxes in the face of rising human need and a shrinking state revenue base.

Might Jindal suffer from "empathy deficit disorder" (EDD)? It would explain a lot about the former boy wonder's policy initiatives as he pursues his national political aspirations while running the State of Louisiana. It also portends a bad ending for his relationship with the voters of this state — unless he undergoes a metamorphosis.

Psychotherapist Douglas LaBier, PhD, described the disorder in a 2007 column in the Washington Post. “People who suffer from EDD are unable to step outside themselves and tune in to what other people experience,” LaBier wrote.

Since the day he took office in January 2008, Jindal has been all about taking care of the well-to-do. It started with a $10 million token of his gratitude to a heavy hitter in Southeast Louisiana. The state later ponied up another $4 million for the project.

When Jindal gave $50 million for a California company to buy a bankrupt chicken plant in Union Parish, word has it that the state’s intent was to help banks on the hook at the plant, not the chicken ranchers in the area who provided ‘stock’ to the plant (or even the hundreds of undocumented workers who live in Union Parish, apparently connected in some way to the operation of the chicken plant).

He helped fund a new ConAgra plant in northeast Louisiana which set that company up in direct competition with a Louisiana firm that had long been in the same line of work and had sought funding for a similar project in the New Iberia area.

And while Jindal and his cabinet secretaries demand accountability out of departments and agencies dealing with human need, it turns out that there’s not much resembling a paper trail on the money that’s been flying out of the Department of Economic Development as incentives to companies to locate here.

And, therein lies the rub. Jindal’s enthusiasm for helping those who don’t need help is matched only by his disdain for helping those that do.

It should be clear to most observers that Jindal’s policies here are predicated on advancing his national political ambitions; What’s good for Louisiana comes in second on a good day. Clearly, running for president is an expensive operation and Jindal’s fund raising trips across the country (ostensibly to help his re-election bid) are designed to help him build a national financial base.

Psychotherapist LaBier: “EDD develops when people focus too much on acquiring power, status and money for themselves at the expense of developing those healthy relationships.” He wrote about EDD again this year in PsychologyToday.

Louisiana remains a poor state. With federal disaster recovery dollars dwindling, our per capita income is once again falling. Human need is rising. Jindal is running for president and can’t afford to be bothered by the needs of the little people. No where is that more clear than his administration's all-out assault on implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Click here to continue reading "Mr. EDD"

Gay Adoption Defeated in LA Senate

If it's spring time, there must be an opportunity for the Louisiana conservatives to get whipped into a frenzy over some existential threat to the republic caused by the presence of gay people amongst us.

This year's provoker of the hysteria was Senate Bill 129 which would have allowed unmarried couples to jointly adopt and allow an existing parent to petition a court to add a second adult as a legal parent. The bill would have applied regardless of the adoptive parents' sexual orientation, but the debate centered on the rights of gay parents and their children.

Louisiana law restricts adoption to married couples or single individuals, meaning gay couples or unmarried heterosexual couples can adopt but must choose which adult has parental rights.

Lots of people got to justify their salaries and the direct mail and email campaigns were flying upto and after the vote.

At the end of the day, the committee voted 3-1 against the measure, proving once again that we don't have the worst education system and the highest incarceration rates for nothing. We can do the petty with the best of them.

Bill Would Allow Concealed Guns in Churches

The Advocate reports that that House Committee on Criminal Justice approved a bill today that would make it legal to carry a concealed weapon into churches.

HB-68 by Rep. Henry Burns of Haughton would allow the guns in places of worship only with the approval of the priest, rabbi, or imam.

No word on whether the fire arms could be used to help the flock leader see the wisdom of having an armed presence in the congregation.

Vitter's Past Offenses Focus of New Democratic Site

The Louisiana Democratic Party has a new website dedicated to helping keep David Vitter's legal issues fresh in the minds of Louisiana voters.

The "Forgotten Crimes" site brings together the story lines of Vitter's involvement with the "DC Madam" case when he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and an earlier involvement with a Louisiana prostitute at a brothel that operated on Canal Street in Mid City.

Vitter played a solid family man in a series of campaign commercials that aired during the 2004 race to succeed Senator John Breaux who had announced his retirement. Voters later learned that Vitter was actually leading a quite different life in the nation's capitol, where he was a customer of what was called an escort service, but what federal prosecutors called a prostitution ring. A jury concurred with the feds' description.

But, it turned out that the DC thing was not his first fling with lovers of the paid kind. Wendy Cortez was a prostitute at that Canal Street brothel that was busted in 2001. She said Vitter was a regular customer of hers.

Vitter owned up to consorting with the DC Madam's escorts, including making phone calls from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to arrange the paid trysts.

But, Vitter denied the claims by Wendy Cortez about his visits to Canal Street.

Deborah Jeanne Palfrey, the DC Madam, committed suicide in 2008 after being convicted of racketeering, money laundering and using the mail for illegal purposes.

Vitter's phone number turned up in Palfrey's business phone logs.

He was never named in the criminal prosecutions that resulted in either the Washington or in the Canal Street Brothel case.

That could change, though, as someone has filed a motion in court to have the list of customers of the Canal Street brothel unsealed. Apparently, this is not going away any time soon.

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