Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jindal not the next Obama

From The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal the Republican Barack Obama?
A political podcast I downloaded asked that question recently, but it wasn't the first time I have heard it. It likely won't be the last, either.
We can answer the query unequivocally, here and now: No, he's not -- and he doesn't have to be. There are similarities between Obama and Jindal, but Republicans must realize that the 36-year-old Southern governor isn't a miracle GOP answer to the president-elect.
It is easy to see why some people want to cast the Pelican State governor as a conservative counter to Obama -- and it's not only the two men's shared skin tone. Both are reform-minded political and policy whiz kids who cut to the front of the political line, displacing notorious political machines in Chicago and Louisiana, and quickly zoomed to national prominence. Both also show the best of America: Obama, the highly educated son of an African immigrant, won a seat in the U.S. Senate and the presidency with so-called post-racial coalitions; uber-educated Jindal, whose parents emigrated from India in the 1970s, claimed the governor's chair in a region once wary of those who could be branded "outsiders."
The comparisons present a nice package, neatly tied, for Republicans who want to believe they have an Obama of their own ready to reclaim the mantle from the charismatic Democratic president-elect. Before Jindal said that he will not run for president in 2012, some members of the media also liked the Obama-Jindal narrative because they might have had the chance to bill that year's campaign as a clash-of-the-titans election.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jindal: on the move, on the money

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

'Just want to be governor', Jindal says from Virginia

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said today he's not interested in a 2012 Republican presidential bid and will seek a second term as governor in 2011.
Jindal, who appeared at a news conference in Richmond to back Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, was asked if he was interested in being president.
"No," he replied.

Jindal's trip to Iowa last month fueled speculation that he was laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign, and he did not rule out changing his mind over the next few years. Instead, he said Americans are weary after the longest, most expensive election cycle in U.S. history.
"I think anybody who is even thinking of running would be well served to roll up their sleeves and support our new president," Jindal said.

Makes perfect sense. He just got back from Iowa and Texas and is now in Virginia supporting a Republican candidate. All of this is part of his effort to 'not run' in 2012. He may be telling the truth. Depending on Obama's numbers in early 2011, Jindal may well wait until 2016 to make his run.
But run he will.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mimi says you know you're from Louisiana when

From Mimi at The Wounded Bird

1. You measure distance in minutes.
2. You've ever had to switch from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day.
3. You use 'fix' as a verb. Example: 'I'm fixing to go to the store '
4. All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect or animal.
5. You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.
6. You know what a 'DAWG' is.
7. You carry jumper cables in your car...for your OWN car.
8. You only own five spices: Tony Chachere, salt, pepper, Tabasco, and ketchup.
9. The local papers cover national and international news on one page but require 6 pages for local gossip and sports.
10. You think that the first day of deer season is a national holiday.
11. You find 100 degrees Fahrenheit 'a little warm'.
12. You know all four seasons: Deer Season, Duck Season, Crawfish Season, Summer.
13. You know whether another LOUISIANIAN is from, north or south, as soon as they start talking (speaking).
14. Going to Wal-mart is a favorite past time known as 'goin Wal-martin'or'off to Wally World'?
15. You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good gumbo weather. YEP!
16. A carbonated soft drink isn't a soda, cola or's a Coke, regardless of brand or flavor.Example: 'What kinda coke you want?' (Comment: I call them all soft drinks; Grandpère calls them soda pop.)
17. Fried catfish is the other white meat.
18. We don't need no stinking driver's Ed...if our mama says we can drive, we can drive.
19. You understand these jokes and forward them to your friends from LOUISIANA (and those who just wish they were).
Not EVERYONE can be a LOUISIANIAN, it's an art form and a gift from God.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jindal Texas Fundraiser

As Gov. Bobby Jindal continues to draw attention as a rising star and possible national candidate for Republicans in 2012 or 2016, he insists that he has the job he wants right here in Louisiana. But that doesn't mean he won't leave the state to raise a little cash for his campaign account. His next such trip starts today, with plans for a fundraiser tonight in San Antonio and Friday afternoon in Houston.

The fundraisers were described in his official schedule only as "private events" for Jindal's re-election campaign. Melissa Sellers, Jindal's communications director, declined to share more information about where the events would be, who is hosting and how much is being sought from potential donors.

The one-day swing through the Lone Star state follows several recent trips out of state for Jindal, including a previous trip to Houston, though on that October stop he was attending a fundraiser for a Republican congressional candidate. Jindal's most high-profile jaunt was a weekend in Iowa, long the first presidential caucus state, last month. He visited officials in communities affected by Mississippi River flooding and addressed an Iowa Family Policy Center dinner attended by several social conservative leaders with strong sway in the state's Republican presidential sweepstakes.

The 37-year-old governor also logged miles to Washington, D.C.; Greenwich, Conn.; and Gainesville, Fla., the last stop falling on the day of the LSU-Florida football game, which Jindal did not attend. Florida donors paid $1,000 each to attend the event at a private residence.

Times-Picayune by way of LaNewsLink

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Joe the Plumber likes Jindal

For what it's worth, The Times Picayune reports that Joe the Plumber likes Bobby:

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal picked up another admirer recently as his national profile continues to grow amid post-election Republican hand-wringing.
The latest member of the Jindal fan club is Joe the plumber, as in Joe Wurzelbacher, the Ohio man who became famous for questioning then-Demoratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's tax proposals.
Wurzelbacher, who eventually identified himself as a Republican and supporter of GOP nominee John McCain, told the Tufts University student newspaper last week: "The party should remember that they are conservative Republicans. That has been forgotten. They no longer hold to their ideals. They blow with the wind on just about every public opinion poll. So they are not right wing; they are trying to show that they're middle or even left-of-middle sometimes. . . .
Gov. Jindal of Louisiana seems to have the right idea. We have got to get back to the grass-roots of the Republican Party and not apologize for being conservative."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Louisiana moves from 50th to 49th in Economic Competitiveness

From C. B. Forgotston

People say I never bring good news. Today I bring you good news or what passes for good news when it comes to the performance of our state government.
LA has moved from 50th place to 49th place in economic competitiveness according to the latest national study.
See the report
We’re now one notch ahead of Mississippi which dropped from 49th to 50th.
Interestingly, I’ve not gotten a press release from Bobby Jindal’s office taking credit for this upward move. He claims credit for everything “positive” that happens in the state. Bobby should get all the credit he deserves for this latest ranking. Perhaps the national talk show hosts will ask him about it.

They may ask him, but it won't be today. He's in Iowa talking to the corn . . .

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Louisiana has cornfields too

I wasn't suprised when Bobby Jindal announced that he planned to attend a fundraising event in Iowa later this month.
After all, the election is over and the new one - 2012 - is beginning (these things get longer and longer).
I heard that he said on Tuesday that he "politely declined" the opportunity to be on John McCain's short list for the vice presidency.
No surprise there - 2008 was not a Republican year and everyone knew it. Jindal, who is proving to be a consummate politician, knew that he didn't need to be part of a losing team.
I wasn't surprised that his planned visit came two days after Mike Huckabee just happened to be there.
No, what puzzled me was his reason for going. "They’ve got cornfields. I’ve never been to Iowa before."
Cornfields, huh? We have cornfields in Louisiana; I'm sure Jindal has seen them on his travels. I spent some time in the midwest and I can tell you that one cornfield is hardly distinguishable from another, in other words, a Louisiana cornfield looks just like an Iowa cornfield.
No, there had to be a political connection. Perhaps some special communion between the candidate and the cornfield lends itself to discernment and understanding of one's role in the universe.
Then I found the answer, just as I suspected. Talking to the corn has a precedent.
If it worked for him, perhaps it can work for Bobby too.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jindal for President?

With the sound defeat of the McCain-Palin ticket and the election of Barack Obama as president, the Republican party will be looking to 2012 to stage a comeback. A lot of people and pundits are touting the name of Bobby Jindal.
A few are suggesting a Palin-Jindal ticket. In my opinion, this will never happen. I think that by 2012 Palin fever will have cooled dramatically, while Jindal will have been working the rubber chicken circuit, fundraising and making lots of new friends.
Jindal says, of course, that running for president is the furthrest thing from his mind.
That's why he will be in Iowa later this month for a fundraising appearance.
Reprinted from My Bossier

Friday, October 31, 2008

Louisiana Voters are Irrelevant in presidential election

Thursday, October 30th, 2008
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana voters are gearing up for election day in record numbers. Spurred on by the presidential election, more than one quarter of a million people cast absentee ballots which is an all-time record. And for good reason. This is certainly one of the most important elections in modern history. But if you live in Louisiana, your vote is looked on as irrelevant to the process. Your sway on who will win American Idol has more influence than who will be the next president of the United States.
Louisiana has been written off as a “red state,” which means, for all practical purposes, your vote does not count. You might as well write in “none of the above” or leave a hanging chad. Why? Look no further than the Electoral College. We are about to elect our country’s and the world’s most powerful leader, but the system we have in place causes us to abdicate our right to have our vote count.
Under the present system, the Electoral College rules require that all the state’s electoral votes go to the winner, no matter how close the election might have been. If, for example, Obama gets 45% of the Louisiana votes, he still gets 0% of the Louisiana electoral votes. If McCain ends up winning by one vote in Louisiana, he receives all of Louisiana’s electoral votes. In fact, it is mathematically possible for one of the candidates to get 49% of the popular vote and 100% of electoral votes. Go figure.
Right now, there are fewer than 10 competitive “battleground” states that are receiving the focus and the money from the presidential candidates. In a state like Louisiana, where McCain will easily win, or a state like New York, where Obama is a cinch, why even vote for president? All of the electoral delegates get assigned to the winner, and we know who the winner is going to be, so your vote for president, for all practical purposes, has been taken away.
Now when it comes to other statewide races on the ballot, like Governor or U.S. Senator, strangely enough, we use the popular vote. So what is so important about having the electoral vote system that allows Louisiana voters and the voters in the majority of the states in this country to be disenfranchised in a presidential election? An idiosyncratic system that on four occasions in our nation’s history has created a quagmire where the winner of the largest number of popular votes did not win the largest number of electoral votes, and therefore did not become president. Remember some guy named Al Gore?
The system in place was confected in the early days of the republic by our founders, where electors were supposed to be independent agents exercising their best judgment in choosing a presidential candidate from a list of several contenders. Why? Because the Framers of the Constitution, our Founding Fathers, the champions of democracy, did not trust the voters to make an intelligent choice. Check out these quotes from the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
“The extent of the country renders a popular vote impossible, that the people can have the requisite capacity to judge of the respective pretensions of the candidates.” Delegate Mason, July 17, 1787.
“A popular election in this case is radically vicious. The ignorance of the people would put it in the power of some one set of men and throughout the Union, and acting in concert, to delude them into any appointment.” Delegate Gerry. July 25, 1787.
“The people are uninformed, and would be misled by a few designing men.” Delegate Johnson, July 19, 1787.
So what this all comes down to is that the Founding Fathers were trying their best to insulate the selection of the president from the whims of the public. They didn’t trust voters then and the system does not trust you now to make your choice. So because of conservative political persuasions, Louisiana is left out of any serious attention from the presidential candidates.
Since receiving their respective nominations, neither McCain nor Obama have set foot in Louisiana. Neither candidate has said a word about hurricane recovery, wetlands protection, or supporting a larger percentage of oil and gas revenues for the state off the Louisiana coast. From each of their perspectives, Louisiana issues are irrelevant in the current campaign. Their just is no political capital to gain by either coming to or speaking about the Bayou State.
By being so out of the mix, just what else is Louisiana missing? How about the lack of all that attention? No knocks on the door by college students from out of state with leaflets about what an old, unhealthy guy John McCain is. No robo-calls in the middle of dinner telling you that Barack Obama is a terrorist. And no presidential TV ads. In Louisiana, you are left out of the national political bombardment that is taking place in the likes of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida where those voters are taught that McCain is a Bush clone and that Obama will socialize the country. Besides those paid for by state and local candidates, all we get are ads about bladder control and erectile dysfunction.
There are a number of reforms being considered for future elections. A proportional electorial vote by congressional districts is as compromise solution that makes sense. In the meantime, don’t forget to go vote for a number of candidates and propositions on the ballot next Tuesday. Your vote might make the difference in many of these local and state races. That is except for President. In this election, you really are irrelevant.
"We've said it before, and we'll say it again - the American Electoral College system sucks. The Daily IowanThe Daily Iowan. (23 Sept 2004). Editorial/Opinion. "Long past time to fix Electoral College."
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown
Jim Brown’s column appears weekly, and is published in a number of newspapers and websites throughout Louisiana. You can read past columns by going to Jim’s website at Jim’s regular radio show on WRNO, 995fm out of New Orleans can be heard each Sunday from 11:00 am till 1:00 pm.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bobby in Bossier Parish

The guv stopped by the Bossier Parish Courthouse the other afternoon for a short Town Hall meeting, news interviews and a picture with a group of high-schoolers.
Not his first visit to Benton, and surely won't be his last. Bossier Parish is only one of two parishes in Louisiana with more Republicans registered than Democrats.
Next month, after the election, he's off to Iowa. Looks like he is starting early on a run for 2012; apparently he believes the polls and is looking for an Obama victory.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Senate Race: Which Democrat do you like better?

I am so unexcited by the Louisiana Senate race that I haven't posted anything about it yet. Mary Landrieu has 2 terms under her (ample) belt and has built up some deep support throughout the state.

John Kennedy. How can you trust anything he says? He was all for Kerry in 2004 when he was running against David Vitter and was actually considered more liberal than Landrieu. Now, he says he is a mavericky Republican like John McCain. I can think of better adjectives than 'maverick', but I won't use them here. Check their websites and make up your mind, none of my sage advice in this one.

On the Race for the Fourth Congressional District
The Fourth District Congressional race is in full swing. Runoffs will be held on general election day, November 4th, for the Republicans and Democrats. The election itself will be held in December. On the Republican side, Chris Gorman has just released an ad decrying the $700,000,000,000 bailout plan in this video:

This seems to be in contradiction to the wonderful words he had for Jim McCrery:"Louisiana’s Fourth District has been honorably served by Congressman Jim McCrery for many years. At the same time we honor him for his service, we look to the future and the opportunities that await us. I am a conservative Republican and I plan to bring our shared Louisiana values to the United States Congress."
I hate to tell Mr. Gorman, but McCrery voted for the bailout. The man he is praising is one of those big spenders he talks about in the video.
The race between Gorman and Dr. John Fleming promises to get very nasty.Democrats also face a runoff between Paul Carmouche and Willie Banks, but this one will be milquetoast compared to the Republican race.
There are also two independents on the ballot in December, Gerard Bowen, Jr. and Chester Kelley. My choice is Gerard Bowen, Jr., who says "If we keep sending the same kind of people to congress, we will keep getting the same results".

Think about it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Visit with Bobby Jindal (for $25,000)

Thursday, October 9th, 2008
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
For 25 GRAND
So you are going to the LSU – Florida game this Saturday night in Gainesville… right? And while you are there, why not stop off at a local residence in nearby Alachua, Florida. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will be there to greet you. For only $10,000, you can have a photo op with him. If you bring $25,000, you can participate in a roundtable discussion with Jindal. Who could possibly pass up an opportunity like this?
The fund raiser, by the way, is being co hosted by a large group of prominent Florida Republicans, including the Florida House Speaker and the House Majority Leader. (To read the full invitation, go to the homepage of This is just one of a series of political events that have either featured the Louisiana governor, or have been given in his behalf around the country in the past few months.
Vice President Dick Cheney was in Louisiana earlier this week to help raise money on behalf of several Republican candidates for Congress. A photo op with the VP would only cost you $2300. But here’s the difference. Cheney is a lame duck on his way out. Bobby Jindal’s stature as the Republican Party’s fair haired boy for the future continues to grow. And when people give you $25,000 just to sit around and talk for a while, he obviously has his sights set beyond the Louisiana borders.
The 08 presidential election is still some three weeks away, and anything can happen. But partisans on both sides are reading the daily tracking polls. Barack Obama’s numbers are on the rise, and Senator John McCain has an uphill battle to overcome the knock that Republican policies are a substantial cause of the present financial crisis. If McCain loses on November 4, all this talk of Jindal as a vice presidential candidate in 2012 will go by the wayside. A Louisiana Governor, merely thinking about reelection, does not fly off to Florida for the weekend and get $10,000 a pop just to have his picture taken with campaign contributors.
Why would any candidate start so early organizing and raising campaign funds for a race that is still more than four years away? This is exactly the path taken by a number of successful presidential aspirants in years past. Jindal is not the only one who was considered for vice president, not selected, then who immediately begin planning for a presidential run in the next election cycle.
Former President John Kennedy comes to mind when he made an all-out effort to be Adali Stevenson’s running mate back in 1956. Kennedy was bypassed on the ticket (just like Jindal this time around), but immediately began planning for a presidential run four years in advance. And Kennedy was just one year older than Jindal when he too missed out on the vice presidential nomination.
Former President Jimmy Carter hoped to be George McGovern’s pick at the Democratic convention in 1972. He had only been elected as Governor of Georgia less than two years earlier. Carter was a long shot, but he knew his political history. He had followed John Kennedy’s 1956 VP bid, and observed that, though unsuccessful, Kennedy’s efforts had paid great dividends in public awareness. Carter immediately began preparing for a successful presidential run that was four years away.
Bill Clinton’s first major foray into national politics occurred when he was enlisted to speak at the 1988 Democratic national convention, introducing candidate Michael Dukakis. Clinton’s address, scheduled to last 15 minutes, became a debacle as he gave a notoriously dull speech that lasted over a half an hour (he joked about the length of his speech at the 1992 convention).
Despite this setback, Bill Clinton prepared immediately after the 88 election for a run in 1992 against incumbent President George H. W. Bush. In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, President Bush seemed unbeatable, and several potential Democratic candidates – notably New York Governor Mario Cuomo –passed on what seemed to be a lost cause. But, ala Jindal, Clinton was persistent and worked tirelessly for the nomination four years in advance.
How about forays of Louisiana politicians who waded into the national political scene? We all know of Governor Huey Long’s interest in running for president back in the 1930s. And former Louisiana Governor John McKeithen was a serious contender for Vice President on a Hubert Humphrey ticket in 1968. Before his death, Senator Russell Long told me Humphrey had indicated to him he would pick McKeithen. At the last minute, he opted out for Maine Senator Edmund Muskie.
And you might be surprised at this Louisiana politician who considered running for president back in 1980. Would you believe Edwin Edwards? The former Louisiana Governor was at the height of his popularity in 1976, and though a democrat, actively supported then President Gerald Ford for re-election. Edwards felt Jimmy Carter was a light weight, and never had much respect for him.
About a year into Carter’s term, I was on airplane with the governor flying back to Baton Rouge following a dedication of a hospital up in Northeast Louisiana where I had been elected as state senator. As was my habit, I brought a book along to read during the flight. On this trip, I was reading “Marathon-The Pursuit of the Presidency” by longtime Washington correspondent Jules Witcover. Edwards inquired as to what I was reading, and I told him it was a step by step guide as to how the early efforts by Carter had won him the presidency.
A few days later, Edwards called me at my home in Ferriday, asked if I still had the book, and if so, could he borrow it. I asked him if he was considering running for president. He said he was far from impressed over the job that Carter was doing in the White House, and that he was going to be making some speeches around the country just to “pick up the pulse on Carter and see what response I might get.” A few months later, Edwards came under a negative light regarding his relationship with South Korean lobbyist Tonjun Park, and any national political hopes were put on the sidelines.
Four years used to be a lifetime in both national and local politics. But experience has shown that if you want to be a viable candidate on the national scene, then it is already time to start planning for 2012. Bobby Jindal has a full plate load of problems right here in Louisiana. But so did Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and a host of other governors who aspired to national office. With the accolades he is receiving throughout the country and his aggressive out of state fund-raising efforts, Jindal seems to be laying the framework for a legitimate run in 2012.
“Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn’t grow up can be vice president.” Johnny Carson
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown
Jim Brown’s weekly column appears in a number of newspapers and websites throughout the State of Louisiana. You can read Jim’s Blog, and take his weekly poll, plus read his columns going back to the fall of 2002 by going to his own website at
Jim also has a new book out on his views of Louisiana. You can read about it and order it by going to .
Jim’s radio show on WRNO (995 fm) from New Orleans can be heard each Sunday, from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
We know that all good things have to come to an end. In Louisiana, we have tried the statehood thing for 205 years, but “maybe it’s just not working out.” Hey, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has flirted with the same idea up in Alaska. The federal government continues to shortchange Louisiana on virtually every federal program, from hurricane recovery funds to a fair shake on offshore oil royalties. So since Sarah Palin has raised the issue, maybe we in Louisiana should start considering the option of seceding from the Union and becoming our own nation.
You have got to hand it to those folks in Alaska. They have done a pretty shrewd job of figuring out how to lead the nation in raising taxes per capita, yet making the rest of the country pay for it. Alaska is number one in spending for residents, and its tax burden is 2 1/2 times the national average per capita. Its spending is twice the national average per capita. Their trick up north is that Alaska’s government spends enormous sums on its own citizens, and taxes the rest of us to pay for it.
For all practical purposes, Alaska is an adjunct member of OPEC. More than 89% of the state’s income is produced through four different taxes on oil and gas. And consider this. The state government takes three quarters of the value of a barrel of oil before the oil is permitted to leave the state. Alaskans pay no income tax, no statewide sales tax, and no property tax. And every a resident gets a yearly check for about $2000 from oil revenues, plus an additional $1200 confected by Sarah Palin last year to take advantage of rising oil prices.
The disparities of the two states, one north and one south, are dramatic when it comes to receiving federal funds from Washington. A typical example is the comparison of federal reimbursement to nursing homes that take care of the poor under the Medicaid program. The same patient that only receives $79 a day in Louisiana receives $317 per day in Alaska. When it comes to federal highway funds, Alaska receives $1.30 for every dollar it sends to Washington as do other states like California and New York. What’s Louisiana’s take? A little over $.90 back for each dollar sent to the National Highway Fund.
They play hardball in Alaska, while in Louisiana, the state’s leadership for years has often been pictured sticking out their hat and almost begging for a handout. As Governor, Palin has carried on a flirtation with the Alaska Independence Party (AKIP), and her husband was a card carrying member for a number of years. In an address to the party convention this past spring, Palin told the secessionists: “Keep up the good work.”
Palin has received her share of criticism for her secessionist sympathies. The Washington Monthly recently said that the idea of succession is “un – American.” Oh come on now. Maybe those in the press that are taking pot shots at the Alaska Governor for considering secession need to brush up on their American history. A good starting point might be the Declaration of Independence that clearly states:
“That these United colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states…… and that, as free and Independent states, they have the full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all of the things which Independent states may of right do.”
And what better source than Thomas Jefferson in his first inaugural address who declared, “if there be among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”
It’s not just a phenomenon stirred up by the residents of the last frontier where there is a movement to break away from the Union. This past July, according to a Zogby poll, more than 20% of US adults—one in five, about the same number of American colonists who supported revolt against England in 1775—agreed that “any state or region has the right to peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic.” A number of polls in recent years have indicated that almost half of Louisiana citizens agree that “the United States system is broken and cannot be fixed by traditional two– party politics and elections.”
The bottom line is that Alaska shares the same abundance of natural resources as those found in Louisiana. In fact, when you consider seafood, sulfur, agriculture and the largest port in America, the Bayou State has a lot more wealth beneath the ground, on the ground, and along its waterways than our compatriots up in the Yukon. Alaska has rattled its sabers, stood up to big oil in behalf of its citizens, and demanded more than its fair share of the pie from the federal government.
In comparison, Louisiana has been groveling for years to get a bigger slice of the offshore oil payouts. Louisiana officials declared a big victory last year when the feds agreed to give a pittance of $20 million a year for the next 10 years. Alaska would have considered such a settlement chump change, and would probably have started a secession movement along with a wall around its borders.
Seceding from the Union and becoming its own nation might prove to be an attractive option for Louisiana. If Mississippi wants to join us, we might even agree to create “a coastal nation of Louisissippi.” The French would be appalled, but who cares.
As for leadership? I would probably stick with Bobby Jindal as president. But if LSU coach Les Miles pulls off another national championship, he would certainly be a contender. If Lindy Boggs were a bit younger, she would be my first choice as Ambassador to the United States. Harry Connick Jr. would fill the bill nicely. We would definitely need to bring back General Russel Honore’, who told me how much he loves Louisiana, as our Secretary of Defense. A piece of cake here, since the US would be our protector, just like it is for Mexico and Canada. And for free. Our national flag would be a combination of black and gold and purple and gold, and we would certainly want Randy Newman to write our national anthem.
Over the past 200 years, Louisiana has been in a marriage of convenience. In 1913, the state entered this marriage with the rest of the US, and got a lot out of it. They received access to the American markets, and the flow of goods through New Orleans. It was a two way street and benefits flowed both ways. But by the middle of the 20th century, the bargain disappeared. Both the oil and the royalties flowed out of Louisiana with little to show in return.
So don’t knock Sarah Palin when she flirts with secession. Alaska has cut a good deal for itself. Maybe Louisiana should rise up and do the same
“We used to root for the Indians against the cavalry, because we didn't think it was fair in the history books that when the cavalry won it was a great victory, and when the Indians won it was a massacre.” ~Dick Gregory
Peace and Justice.
Jim Brown
Jim Brown’s column appears weekly, and is published on a number of newspapers and websites throughout Louisiana. You can read past columns by going to Jim’s website at Jim’s regular radio show on WRNO, 995fm out of New Orleans can be heard each Sunday from 11:00 am till 1:00 pm.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Thursday, September 25th, 2008
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


The national financial crisis finds Wall Street and financial regulators scurrying for cover, and trying to find a quick fix to financial problems that have festered for years. It's puzzling that there is been nary a peep out of Louisiana officials, particularly in light of the fact that lack of regulation of the very financial institutions creating this meltdown has been part of the culture of Louisiana regulators for years. Where is the outrage by Louisiana members of Congress? And why have Louisiana legislators failed to address a number of serious financial problems right here at home?
Oh you will hear that this is a federal problem, and there is not much which Louisiana officials can do about the financial meltdown. But even though there is plenty of blame to go around, at least in other states, there is a scurrying of effort to tighten the regulatory system that in recent years has acquired a laissez-faire mindset.

So can we get a simple explanation as to exactly what happened? Here's a quick summary. In the old days (pre-1990s), if you wanted to buy a new home, you went down to your banker or savings and loan to submit a financial plan. A solid down payment was required, generally 20%, that you might have obtained by saving a little each month over a number of years. You had to show the bank or savings and loan that you had decent credit, and that you had a job. You had to have some income coming in. The financial institution would check out your credit, and if you qualified, then, and only then, did you become a homeowner. Your loan was approved.

That all changed in recent years, driven by Wall Street greed that required more churning of large blocks of money to create more fees to line their pockets. Your bank or savings and loan no longer required a down payment. And the money was cheap, often financed by state government. Banks were encouraged to loan to almost anyone, and if the loan defaulted, there always seemed to be some state or federal program to pay it off.

While the financial markets were churning and loaning all this money, they were supposed to hold something back in reserve. Loans fail. You have to have a safety net. And here' is where state and federal regulators really dropped the ball. For every $30 loaned out, there was often as little is only one dollar held back. That just was not enough. Not enough in reserve. So the economy began to slow down, a number of people lost their jobs, they could not pay their home loans, and defaults begin to take place in pretty sizable numbers. When major Wall Street firms like AIG, which has a major presence in Louisiana, began getting cash calls, they had to put up big bucks. And they just didn't have the money to put up.

Here is how companies like AIG got into trouble. They began insuring something called credit default swaps, which any way you slice it is an insurance policy. AIG was insuring against the possibility that a bank or other lender would not be able to pay on its obligations. Now I know all this sounds complicated. Simply put, AIG was selling insurance to be sure that banks or other lenders would continue financing new homeowners.

Now all these "credit default swaps” have been packaged in something called derivatives. These derivatives were bought by banks all over the world. And you know what? They were not regulated. Insurance regulators, including those in Louisiana, turned their heads, and let these insurance products be bundled and sold with no oversight.

Banks and insurance companies are supposed to have certain regulatory capital requirements. They have to have so much money on hand. They have to have funds available when it's time to pay claims. Surprisingly, these unregulated derivatives were able to be counted towards those requirements of having money available. Simply put, the derivatives were allowed by financial regulators to be bought by banks to get around their regulatory capital requirements. It was a sham. Because you just don't know what the derivatives are worth. A bank or insurance company may say the derivatives are worth $1 million, when in actuality, they end up selling for only $100,000. It's often very hard to tell just what they're worth. And that's why it's imperative the derivatives be regulated. But they, unfortunately, are not.

The New York insurance department has jumped into this financial mess big time, obviously trying to cover their you know what. They will immediately begin regulating the use of credit default swaps since they now admit that such products are insurance that should have been regulated all along. At least they have the courage to face up in New York about their failure to give proper oversight. Here is what the New York insurance commissioner said this week: "It's about the government choosing not to regulate, standing by and doing nothing. That is what is shaking up the world today."

Warren Buffett, who has always been considered one of the shrewdest financial investors and wealthiest men in America, recently called these insurance products, these credit default swaps, "financial weapons of mass destruction." Former President Bill Clinton was on the David Letterman show this week, and also laid blame at the feet of regulators, saying: "There were not enough financial reserves required, and there surely was not enough regulation."

AIG and other financial institutions have a significant presence in Louisiana. Many Louisiana homeowners are insured by AIG and its subsidiaries. A number Louisiana banks are directly tied to the bundling of these credit default swaps. If the Governor and other state officials continue to express concerns about Louisiana's image, they may want to focus in on the lack of financial regulation. It's not just a national problem. It festers right here in our own backyard


“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.”
Gordon Gekko- “Wall Street”

Peace and Justice.
Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s column appears weekly, and is published in a number of newspapers and on websites throughout Louisiana. You can read past columns by going to Jim’s website at Jim’s regular radio show on WRNO, 995fm out of New Orleans can be heard each Sunday from 11:00 am till 1:00 pm. It is streamed live, world-wide at

No Bailout!

Sign the petition here.
H/T to Central La Politics

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jindal could face new problems

Thursday, September 18th, 2008
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


To say that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s political stock continues to rise would be an understatement. He has been regularly profiled as a future presidential candidate in a number of national publications. And on the speaking circuit, the Louisiana governor is in high demand from coast to coast. But the perilous condition of the US financial system could cause some major economic problems in Louisiana. And the financial chaos that is taking place right now might well have a direct impact on the Governor's future plans.

If you want to get an idea of how Jindal is being perceived around the rest of the country, take a gander at the latest addition of Esquire magazine. The 75th anniversary issue profiles the most influential people in the world today. A one page profile is given to such luminaries as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Chinese Communist leader Deng Xiaoping, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Hezbollah Head in Lebanon Hassan Nasrallah, Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama. One page each. Bobby Jindal is given 10 pages.

Want to get in early and reserve the website addresses of or Jindal/ You are too late. The names and others that are similar have already been bought up. And with the Louisiana recovery efforts slowing down a bit, Jindal will receive homage from Vice President Dick Cheney when he comes to Baton Rouge on October 6th to attend a Cassidy for Congress fund raiser. Then the following day, the Governor will welcome Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin as she travels to New Orleans for a campaign stop.

And how about Bobby Jindal and the first lady posing for their official portrait by noted artist George Rodrigue in front of Louisiana's most famous tree, the Evangeline Oak. (You can view the painting at The Governor's press office seems to be working around the clock outlining all that the Governor has been doing, and how well he's been doing it.

Enter a crisis of confidence oozing out of those high temples of capitalism on Wall Street. The potential unraveling of a number of key financial institutions is not an abstract problem. The damage hits directly home to Louisiana businesses, individual investors, and insurance policyholders. Many Louisiana energy stocks dropped in value by 10% or more, and across-the-board, numerous Louisiana companies have suffered significant losses. Thousands of Louisiana investors have seen throughout this year a significant drop in their individual stock portfolios.

And yet another big hit for both Louisiana businesses as well as homeowners could be right around the corner. The nation's largest insurance group, AIG, is teetering and in desperate need of a major financial infusion. Company officials have prevailed on the federal government to guarantee more than $85 billion in loans, something unheard of and never before done for an insurance company.

This is not just any ordinary insurance company as far as Louisiana is concerned. AIG is a major player for both businesses and homeowners throughout Louisiana. And insurance regulators have often looked away as AIG's problems have mounted. The Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana was forced to sue AIG and its top executives for over $100 million, claiming that key operatives had siphoned off millions by steering business illegally to separate private companies. Louisiana is not the only state involved, yet insurance commissioners throughout the country stood by and did little. If these regulators have done their job, Louisiana citizens would not have had to foot the bill for the Teachers retirement System having to file such a suit in the first place.

In the case of other companies like AIG, Louisiana policyholders are at a particular disadvantage. Louisiana is one of the few states that have virtually no independent consumer protection office, and numerous companies like AIG charge at will without any pre-approval process. We have witnessed following the recent Hurricanes how property deductibles, the highest in the country, have caused major disruption in the lives of thousands of Louisiana homeowners. So policyholders are at a great disadvantage, and have to, for all practical purposes, go it alone in making a decision of whether to trust the insurance they are buying.

Not only does AIG and its subsidiary companies sell insurance directly to thousands of Louisiana customers, they often act as both broker and re-insurer to back up many other insurance companies that also do business in Louisiana. Bottom line? When AIG gets in trouble, there is the potential for widespread losses both directly and indirectly by thousands of Louisiana businesses and individual policyholders.

So how is Governor Bobby Jindal affected? In the vast majority of states, insurance regulators are appointed by the governor. And in the few states that do elect their regulator, the governor has been actively involved in a host of insurance issues. A typical example is Governor Charlie Crist of Florida, who has been in the forefront of pushing legislation to reduce the cost of insurance for both homeowners and drivers all across Florida. Even though Florida, like other key southern states (Mississippi and North Carolina for example) elect their insurance regulator, the Governor is in the middle of the mix. And for obvious reasons. If insurance rates stay high and problems like AIG mount in their respective states, the governor gets the blame.

The New York Insurance Department, where AIG is located, has stood by for way too long, and has allowed AIG to fritter a way billions of dollars. And if some quick action is not taken in other states including Louisiana, then Louisiana policyholders may not get their insurance claims paid, while having to bail out, through taxes, companies like AIG who acted irresponsibly.

So there's a lesson here for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Don't stand by and allow problems facing AIG and other insurance companies to fester. Without strong regulation, these insurance problems are only going to get worse. And particularly Louisiana, the Governor needs to take the lead. This is no time to lose some of the luster off his star that in recent weeks has been burning so brightly.
“It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I just beat people up.” --Muhammad Ali

Peace and Justice.

Jim Brown
Jim Brown’s column appears weekly, and is published on a number of newspapers and websites throughout Louisiana. You can read past columns by going to Jim’s website at Jim’s regular radio show on WRNO, 995fm out of New Orleans can be heard each Sunday from 11:00 am till 1:00 pm.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jim Brown: Jindal vs Palin

Thursday, September 11th, 2008
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

IN 2012?

For most of us living along the Gulf Coast, national politics has not been of major concern in the past week. Our focus has been post-Gustav and pre- Ike. Many homes did not have electricity in the waning days after Gestalt’s demise, so few were able to spend any time watching the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. Sarah who?

About the best I was able to do was to take an occasional look from my Clear Channel radio studio to catch a glimpse of my oldest kid on CNN, just to be sure she looked healthy. So last Sunday morning, with a generator riving up my small portable television set with rabbit ears, I sat back with the morning papers and listened to the Sunday morning talk shows.

Barrack Obama started off on ABC’s "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos. Talk about Mr. excitement. He rambled, hesitated, and could not been more diffident and blaze. When it came to the puzzling McCain pick of Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President, Obama was asked whether she met the minimum test of being "capable of being president?" You would have thought he would have jumped on that one. His answer? "Well, you know, I'll let you ask John McCain when he's on ABC.” Some knock out punch.

Stephanopoulos went on to ask Obama's reaction to an attack on him by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the Republican convention. "He immersed himself in Chicago machine politics,” said the former New York Mayor. Well, didn’t McCain jump full force into Arizona politics when he "chose" this state to go and run for office? All the candidates were involved in party machine politics. So how did Obama come back full force with an aggressive in-your-face answer? "It's a real puzzling thing." he said in a laid-back fashion. Some tough response.

Then it was time to look for Sarah. I had seen a lot of her on the Internet. Well, at least airbrushed photographs that had been e-mailed to me from friends across the country. I did listen to her well rehearsed acceptance speech in Minneapolis, obviously written by the McCain campaign. But I wanted to hear from the lady herself. The successes she'd had as the Alaska Governor. What she knows about foreign-policy. Is she qualified to step in as president if necessary to succeed her 72-year-old standard-bearer?

Now the other three national candidates (McCain, Obama, and Biden) all showed up for tough questioning on various Sunday news shows. But Palin was nowhere to be found. When McCain's campaign manager was asked on Fox news why she was a no-show, he made no bones about the fact that the Republican vice presidential nominee would not be available to the press "until they showed a willingness to treat her with some level of respect and deference." Respect? Deference? I can just hear Governor Bobby Jindal saying he will not be available to answer any questions until he has been given "deference" by the press.

All in all, it was a pretty bland Sunday for both political parties. The general public is just starting to get interested in the "sizing up process" of these candidates. Seems like it should be time for some straight talk, and certainly making the candidates available for questions. Hurricane coverage proved to be a lot more interesting.

Speaking of Bobby Jindal, his political star continues to rise without even attending the Republican national convention. There is almost universal agreement throughout the state that Jindal did a yeoman’s job in micromanaging both the pre storm preparation, and the post storm recovery of Gustav. And his efforts are being acknowledged across the nation.

A Sunday column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune speculated on who Republican political insiders might possibly nominate in 2012 if McCain loses this time. We're talking about President now. The two names at the top of the list? Mitt Romney and Bobby Jindal. According to the column, "Hurricane Gustav, a storm and seemed almost as kind Republicans in 2008 as Katrina was nasty and 2005, may have said another GOP governor's career are rising trajectory. Watch out for Louisiana's Bobby Jindal."

A California political consultant, John Pitney, was quoted in papers throughout the country in saying that Gustav enhanced Jindal’s chances of being the Republican presidential candidate in 2016 -- or even 2012 if McCain is not elected. "In either scenario," Pitney said, “Jindal will almost automatically be the front runner."

And conservative magazine “Politics and Critical Thinking” is already ballyhooing a Palin-Jindal ticket if McCain is elected and decides not to run for a second term. A quote from the publication stated: "If McCain does not run in 2012, where does that leave Sarah Palin? Obviously running for the Perez, but who would she run with? More than likely Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana."

But what if the McCain/Palin ticket looses? Would Bobby Jindal in the coming months dare venture out of Louisiana and consider building bridges for a national run in the future? For President of the United States?

Well here’s a hint. The Republican candidate for governor in the state of Washington is Dino Rossi. If you are unsure of your geography, Washington is up in the far northwest, halfway across the country. Rossi has his major fund raiser at the Bellevue Hilton Hotel in downtown Seattle next weekend. And guess who the principal speaker will be? Bobby Jindal. Hummmm.
"It's probably not a good idea to be chewing on a toothpick if you're talking to the president, because what if he tells a funny joke and you laugh so hard you spit the toothpick out and it hits him in the face or something." Jack Hand
Peace and Justice.

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s column appears weekly, and is published on a number of newspapers and websites throughout Louisiana. You can read past columns by going to Jim’s website at Jim’s regular radio show on WRNO, 995fm out of New Orleans can be heard each Sunday from 11:00 am till 1:00 pm.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

4th District Congessional race heating up

Reprinted from My Bossier:
The race for Congress in the Fourth Congressional District remains interesting, if somewhat confusing because of the rescheduling of the September 6th primary. It is tentatively rescheduled for October 4th, with early voting scheduled for September 20th through September 27th. The open election would then be held on November 4th, the same date at the presidential election, with early voting held October 21st through October 27th. If a runoff is needed, it would be held the first Saturday in December.
The candidates are chugging ahead, with the three Republicans, Dr. John Fleming, Chris Gorman and Jeff Thompson, each attempting to establish their credentials as more conservative than the others.
Polling for the Republican Primary indicates that Dr. John Fleming is in the lead. A poll conducted by the Kitchens Group for Paul Carmouche in June showed Fleming with 27%, Gorman at 20% and Thompson 14%. The latest poll conducted at the end of July by Southern Media and Opinion Research for Fleming shows Fleming with 43%, Gorman with 17% and Thompson with 15%.
Two independents are in the race, Gerard Bowen, Jr. (whom I support) and Chester T. Kelley.

Carmouche Looms Large
On the Democratic side, four contenders are active: Paul Carmouche, John Milkovich, Willie Banks, Jr., and Artis Cash. It is being generally presupposed that Carmouche will win the nomination, and I wouldn't disagree with that. Nor would I disagree with the poll which he commissioned which shows that in the general election, he would defeat any of the three Republicans with leads ranging from 13% to 19%.
The Republicans will have a hard time painting Carmouche with liberal colors. I'm sure they will attempt to do so, as this is the usual modus operandi. In this case, it just won't work. He is well known, having served as DA in Caddo Parish for 30 years, and is generally well thought of.
None of the Republican candidates have any experience in public office, and none have the name recognition that Carmouche enjoys. The fourth district is a conservative district, not a Republican district. I suspect that most voters believe that Paul Carmouche has more truly conservative instincts and leanings than any of his Democratic or Republican opponents. Carmouche will not be controlled by the National Party and its leaders. I am not sure that the same could be said for the Republican candidates.
The race belongs to Carmouche at this point.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

For Cynthia and Grandmère Mimi

This video is for my niece and her family who left their home in Houma for shelter with her mother, for Grandmère Mimi, our wonderful blogger friend, and her husband. Even more, it is a prayer for all of those who had to leave their homes to seek shelter in strange places.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Michael Moore: Gustav is proof there is a God

I couldn't believe what he said to Keith Olberman. "Gustav is proof there is a God, hitting New Orleans on the first day of the Republican Convention?"
What is he, the left wing Glenn Beck?
First we heard that Gustav was hitting because Southern Decadence, a gay celebration, is this weekend. Now it is to wreak revenge on the Republicans.
The people of New Orleans, and all of South Louisiana, are the victims of a god intent on punishing one political side or the other?
Here's the video.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jim Brown: The Most Dysfunctional Agency in Louisiana

It looked like it was going to be a real horse race. Who would win the title of being the most dysfunctional political body in Louisiana? The final choices were whittled down to three. The mayors of both New Orleans and Mandeville made the final cut. But when all was and done, Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Company won the title of being the most inefficient, corrupt and dysfunctional agency operating in Louisiana state government.
The two mayors in contention, both in the greater New Orleans area, gave it their best shot and made last-minute efforts to show how inept and out of touch both could be. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who seems to create some major blunder monthly, is back in the daily headlines by trying to justify his way out of a rehab housing scandal that involves his brother-in-law. There is plenty of evidence that private companies billed the city of New Orleans for demolition work that they did not actually performed. Nagin brushed off both the criticism and calls for investigations by saying that those who criticize are “hurting the recovery efforts.”
He may soon be able to express his protests to a Grand Jury.

And there seems to be a new revelation about Mandeville Mayor Eddie Price as the sun rises each day. Price has been alibiing his DWIs and squandering of city funds for months now. And it’s hard to top his logic of misuse. When auditors raise questions about his using a city credit card to cover the cost of a cruise to Mexico and other personal travel, Price simply said that he is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week and (I love this part) "takes note of architecture and other things that provide a benefit to the city while he is on vacation." I've been around public life in Louisiana for almost 30 years, and I've never heard one like that.

But as disreputable as the antics of both Mayors were, they could not hold a candle to the continuing dysfunction of Louisiana's state created property insurance company. Last year, the Baton Rouge Business Report referred to Citizens as the single biggest financial disaster in the state’s history. Since those allegations were made, the scenario at the offices of this state run disaster has only gone from bad to worse.

The board of directors of Citizens was scheduled to approve a 41 % increase a few weeks ago, which was, by the way, the third such increase rubberstamped by the Louisiana Insurance Department since Katrina. The problem was that there was no board of directors to give such approval. There are presently eight vacancies on the board out of 15 members, so the company cannot even get a quorum to meet. The parameters for membership are set by the Louisiana legislature.

But several individuals who were approached for membership flatly turned the board appointment down. They pointed to the continuing scandals at Citizens and the staff’s inability to perform even the most basic financial oversight. As one potential member stated; “The Citizen’s mess is just going to get worse. There has been blatant incompetence in running this state company and I want nothing to do with it.”

Just last week, the Louisiana legislative auditor published evidence that Citizens is two years behind in filing financial audits required by law. Every other private insurance company is required by the Louisiana Department insurance to file both quarterly audited financial statements, and full annual audits. Citizens has been allowed to float without filing the required financial information for the past three years. A private insurance company so mismanaged would have been shut down long ago. Unfortunately, Citizens is the only option for thousands of homeowners in South Louisiana. But just as unfortunately, they are buying a pig in a poke with continually rising rates from a troubled company that has massive internal financial problems.

The final coup de grace that assured Citizens of becoming the state's most dysfunctional public body was the public disinterest on the part of the company's management in pursuing past wrongdoing. A federal class-action lawsuit had been filed some months ago alleging racketeering, money laundering and both wire and mail fraud on the part of board members and former executives. The judge in the case indicated that private individuals did not have standing to bring the lawsuit. The obligation would fall on those running the company.

But instead of directing their attorneys to bring legal action against those who have created massive losses in the past, the present chief executive for Citizens dismissed any corrective action simply by saying "we want to put this behind us and do something more productive." Apparently, holding accountable those who allowed major mismanagement and unlawful spending was not something that would be "productive" for Citizens. A company moves on, and the policy holders are the losers.

So after tallying up all the scores, the race was really not that close. For the third year in a row, Citizens Property Insurance Company continues to hold the title of the state’s most dysfunctional publicly run body. And in a place like Louisiana, there is always a lot of competition for such recognition. Way to go guys.


Once a man holds public office he is absolutely no good for honest work.
Will Rogers

Peace and Justice.

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s column appears weekly, and is published on a number of newspapers and websites throughout Louisiana. You can read past columns by going to Jim’s website at Jim’s regular radio show on WRNO, 995fm out of New Orleans can be heard each Sunday from 11:00 am till 1:00 pm.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Giuliani will give Keynote Address at Republican Convention

Rudy Giuliani has nailed the Keynote address for the Republican Convention. The Republican Convention website has posted a list of speakers for the convention. Governor Jindal will speak before the vice-presidential candidate, whoever that may be.
Looks like he didn't get his second-greatest wish either. . . .

Monday, Sept. 1
U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Conn.)
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Calif.)
Vice President Richard B. Cheney
First Lady Laura Bush
President George W. Bush

Tuesday, Sept. 2
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.)
Former Gov. Tom Ridge (Pa.)
Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska)
Gov. Jon Huntsman (Utah)
Rosario Marin, California Secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency and former Treasurer of the United States
Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.)
Gov. Linda Lingle (Hawaii)
Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (Md.)

Wednesday, Sept. 3
U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.)
Meg Whitman, National Co-Chair for McCain 2008 and former President and CEO of eBay
Carly Fiorina, Victory ‘08 Chairman for the Republican National Committee and former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.)
Mrs. Cindy McCain
Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.)
Republican Party’s Vice Presidential Nominee

Thursday, Sept. 4
Gov. Tim Pawlenty (Minn.)
Gov. Charlie Crist (Fla.)
U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.)
U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.)
John McCain

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Many naysayers have predicted that the family summer vacation, a venerable American tradition for over a century, has now passed away quietly after a lengthy illness. Supposedly, the final coup de grace was the recent rise in gas prices. But I say they protest a bit too much. I've taken a vacation during the month of August as far back as I can remember. Now I know the family dinner hour has gone by the wayside with an onslaught of television, cell phones, and way too many over-booked extracurricular activities. But I'm staying sanguine about the future of American mobility, and I’m back on the open road again.

Jack Kerouac initially took me on our country’s byways through his 1951 Beat classic, "On the Road." He showed us a route through his words that led to discoveries not only of our country by ourselves. He well could have taken his cadence and rhythm from turn-of-the-century poet Walt Whitman’s The Song of the Open Road, in his classic “Leaves of Grass.”

From the sour, freedom!
From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going were I list, my own master, total and absolute
Listening to others and considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.

One important step during my week in the North Carolina Mountains is to take a secular Sabbath and shake free of screens, bells and beeps. Unfortunately, even as I've gotten older, I've developed way too much dependence on laptops, and PDAs that can turn into a modem. But no more. As I started this trip, I looked in the mirror and told the face there that my name is Jim, and I'm a techno-addict. But on this journey, I've committed to unplug and try to be more connected to myself rather than my computer.

And another cardinal rule this week. Absolutely no TV and talk radio. I can get the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on DVD a few weeks from now, and I really don't care about John Edwards’s love child. Radio shows on the east coast have constantly complaining hosts taking calls from a miserable whining public that I can do without.

And quite frankly, as I try to enjoy the mountain breezes, daily hikes, and get myself in better shape, television does little more than feed an endless stream of information about what's wrong with us and what we need to buy to make it right.

There is a constant bombardment of medical solutions including Advair, Aleve and Ambien; Celebrex, Cialis, Claritin and Crestor; Flomax, Lipitor, Valtrex and Viagra to list a handful. Then you are given grave warnings about all the terrible things that could happen to you if you do use one of these products. So if you don't suffer terrible consequences from the disease, the side effects of the drug could make your life really miserable anyway. Living is worse than dying. I'm not taking a vacation to listen to an endless stream of that claptrap.

When the commercial ends, the news comes on to report about all the things our government is warning we should be worried about, and that apparently only they can fix. All with our tax money of course. Terrorists, sexual predators, pesticides, light bulbs, cell phones that cause cancer, cigarettes, fast food, cholesterol, SUVs, asbestos, lead paint and a whole list of other hazards where a government program is needed to correct. Enough already. I'm trying to enjoy my vacation.

So no communication tools. Just a few good books (fiction, nothing serious, good tune outs), some comfortable hiking boots, a little fresh fruit from highway stands along the way, a few bottles of wine from home, and my 20 year old banjo I swear I’m going to learn to play well some day.

I’ll make a deal. You stay abreast of the political radio gossip and TV drivel while I’m gone, and I’ll get back to the task next week of second guessing those who govern us. In the mean time, let me get on with my travels. Or in Whitman’s words: The road is before us.../ Be not detained.


“I envy people who can just look at a sunset. I wonder how you can shoot it. There is nothing more grotesque to me than a vacation.”
Dustin Hoffman

Peace and Justice.

Jim Brown

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Republican Activist mailed flyers attacking Kip Holden

Member of Republican State Central Committee mailed out flyers for money
From The Advocate

A self-described Republican activist acknowledged Monday he sent out a political mailer smearing Mayor-President Kip Holden, but refused to say who paid him to do it.
Scott Wilfong said he was paid through his business, Capital Business Services, to send out the mailers that allege the mayor had an affair with a married woman and was beaten up by her husband.
“I didn’t write it, I didn’t print it and I wasn’t responsible for its content. I simply did a job for a client and sent them out,” said Wilfong, whose post office box and postal permit were on the mailings.
Holden has called for a criminal investigation by the FBI and the state Attorney General’s Office into the brochure distributed through the U.S. Postal Service last week.
Wilfong said he doesn’t think any laws were broken, noting that Holden is a public figure.

Video of Wilfong interview

Monday, August 4, 2008

Chris Gorman: Spoof video on YouTube

Okay, first off - I didn't do it and I don't know who did. This hasn't been a good couple of weeks for Chris Gorman; first, two polls that show Dr. Fleming ahead in the Republican race, and then a poll today that shows Democrat Paul Carmouche blowing all three Republicans out of the water.

If that isn't enough, this shows up on You Tube. My better angels told me not to post it, but they have been so outnumbered for so long . . .

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kip Holden calls for criminal investigation

Baton Rouge Mayor's race getting uglier

From The Advocate (includes video)
A mailer filled with personal charges against Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden is causing a storm in the Capital City. Holden says the charges are false, and he says Kurt Sharper, the brother of Metro Council member Byron Sharper, has distributed some of the flyers.

Thanks to The Dead Pelican

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Thursday, July 31, 2008
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana State Senator Derrick Shepherd gets in a tussle with his girlfriend over the weekend and he's hauled off to federal court. Is there any violation of the law that is not considered a federal offense? If anyone actually takes the time to read the U.S. Constitution, there are only three crimes specifically enumerated. Treason, piracy and counterfeiting. So why has Congress undertaken an overzealous expansion of criminal laws?

A report from the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies recently determined that there are some 4500 federal crimes listed in the US Code. It used to be that Congress would create one particular crime by passing a new law. But in recent years, multiple crimes are listed within the same statute. One new law enacted right after 9/11 contained 60 new crimes. Were they really necessary?

Our representatives in Washington now want to delve into any number of local crimes, flaunting the intention of our country's founders. Drugs, robbery, car theft, the list goes on and on. What happened to the 14th amendment and states rights?

Many of the federal crimes seem to be punitive, arbitrary and bewildering. Harvard law professor William Stuntz puts it this way: "We are coming even closer to living in a country where laws on the books makes everybody a felon, and prosecutors get to decide what the law is and who has violated it."

Did you know that it is a federal crime to deal in the interstate transport of unlicensed dentures? For this you get one year in jail.

How about the fact that you can go to jail for six months if you pretend to be a member of the 4-H club? I'm not making this up.

You can also get six months for degrading the character of Woodsy Owl, or his associated slogan: "Give a hoot -- Don't pollute.”

And you'll love this one. It is a federal crime to disrupt a rodeo. Now in Louisiana, we yield to no one in our desire for orderly rodeos. But a federal crime? Give me a break!

You can see from these examples, it's not a liberal or conservative thing. Many of the laws listed make little sense. In this day and age, the average citizen can get hauled off to jail for trivial things that no sane person would regard as a crime at all. There is a new alliance in Washington. An unholy alliance between anti-big business liberals, and tough-on-crime conservatives. They all seem to be trying to show that they are serious prognosticators cracking down on the social problem of the month, whether it be corporate scandals or steroid use.

The Louisiana legislative delegation is not immune from federalitis, and has joined in the parade of parochialism within the federal system. Senator David Vitter has proposed legislation to make it a felony for the interstate sale of paraphernalia that straps on a rooster’s leg during a cock fight. And Senator Mary Landrieu wants to ban the transportation of horses across state lines to be shipped out of the country for consumption. Can we just imagine the future disruption of our American way of life if their efforts are unsuccessful?

Our members of Congress go to Washington today and seem to be immediately aphrodisized with the power they obtain. Something similar to Tolkien's ring. Often decent and intelligent people who get the ring of power and it changes them. They can't put it down; they can't let it go. The more laws you pass, the better you look back home. And when there's crime involved, you really come across as a tough guy, right?

Many members of Congress seem not to understand the difference between violation of a regulation and a crime. But there are a number of actions that are illegal but not criminal, and if criminal, then do not necessarily have to be federally criminal. Have we reached the point where people in Louisiana and throughout the country have come to accept that any federal agency with power is somehow a police power? Both conservatives and liberals ought to be worried about the expansion of federal criminal law if we value our liberty, which our Founders specifically understood to mean leaving general police powers at the local level.

In 400 B.C., the Greek orator Isocrates stated: "Where there is a multitude of specific laws, it is a sign that the state is badly governed." Tasedus wrote in the 1st century A.D. of Rome: “Formerly we suffered from crimes. Now we suffer from laws."

A little common sense, often not attributed to Washington, would go a long way in allowing Congress to deal with problems of national concern. Leave the parochial to the states. And for goodness sake, let us get a little rowdy at our rodeos.


“Herein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor;
that he will pick people he thinks he should get,
rather than cases that need to be prosecuted.
With the law books filled with a great assortment
of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at
least a technical violation of some act on the part of
almost anyone.”

Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson

Peace and Justice.

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s weekly column appears in a number of newspapers and websites throughout the State of Louisiana. You can read Jim’s Blog, and take his weekly poll, plus read his columns going back to the fall of 2002 by going to his own website at

Jim’s radio show on WRNO (995 fm) from New Orleans can be heard each Sunday, from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jindal on the California Earthquake

The Governor of Louisiana is becoming a regular on Fox News: Today it was discussing the California Earthquake.

Bobby does love the national media, and especially Fox.

Thanks to We Saw That for the video.

The Sorry State of Ethics Enforcement in Louisiana

New ethics laws argued as 'not the gold standard'
Since Louisiana adopted the nation's first ethics code in 1964, it has been the gold standard used as a model by other states and Congress, says Gray Sexton, who spent 40 years as the director of the Ethics Board.
But the new process pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal and adopted by the Legislature this year "is not the gold standard," Sexton told the Press Club of Baton Rouge Monday.

Also, he said "ethics" is a misnomer because it really is a "conflict of interest code."

He said the governor and Legislature "basically eviscerated" the ethics board by transferring its powers to a team of administrative law judges appointed by the governor. That move, he said, led to resignations of 10 of 11 members and its administrator.

Read the entire News Star article at the link above

Greg Aymond also has an interview on his website with Gray Sexton.
Listen to Gray speak upon such issues as the weakening of the Ethics Board, the real reasons for the mass resignations of its Board members, the Administration's history and the over 100 exceptions to the ethics code.

GM lays off 800 in Shreveport

GM officials announced Monday that they were cutting production of 117,000 more pickups and SUVs in a number of ways, including cutting shifts at the Shreveport plant. The move leaves a total of 765 workers at the plant — 675 hourly and 90 salaried. Just last year, the GM plant employed 2,159 people — 1,965 hourly and 194 salaried.

Governor Jindal and Mayor Glover say they are working on getting GM to get back in full production.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jim Brown: Lege's ignore rising insurance rates


Two years ago, Louisiana legislators were demanding rate relief for thousands of homeowners and drivers who were witnessing skyrocketing insurance rates. Cries were heard from the steps of the state Capitol urging the Governor to support subsidies in order to lower the cost of insurance. Lawmakers were calling for an insurance summit to deal with a growing crisis throughout the state. So where are we now? Louisiana continues to lead the country in high insurance rates. And in this past session of the Legislature, lawmakers passed legislation that will raise the cost of insurance across the board even more.

Not only does Louisiana have the highest insurance rates in a broad range of categories, the average citizen also faces a deeper debt than any state in the country. State Bond Commission records show that Louisiana's per capita debt has jumped dramatically. Where the debt per capita in other states average is $700 for each person, Louisiana's per capita debt is approaching $1400, with a jump of over $100 this past year alone.

Just last week, national credit reporting figures were released showing that Louisiana car owners carry more auto debt than any other state. The average Louisiana car owner has an outstanding auto debt a $14,705, up 3% over last year. Nationwide, the average driver has an outstanding auto debt of $12,833. Simply put, the average Louisiana citizen pays more but has less to spend compared to any other state in America.

Affordable homeowners insurance has continued to be a massive headache for states along the Gulf Coast. But while other states have taken aggressive action by funding reinsurance programs and creating catastrophic funds, Louisiana is simply raising rates on homeowners across the state. The state created boondoggle, Citizens Property Insurance Company, raised its rates again just a few weeks ago by an average of 18%. And while Citizens rates increase, the legislature has failed to build in the necessary checks and balances on this public company that has been called the single biggest financial disaster in Louisiana's history.

Because of mismanagement and improper oversight, Louisiana policyholders have been forced to incur debt of some one billion, four hundred million dollars. Not because of Katrina. But because of the failure of both insurance officials and the legislature to ensure that once created, the company was run properly. And despite the scandal of how Citizens has been allowed to operate, the legislature in this past session punted taking no definitive action to bring about substantive oversight.

The legislature did make one major change in the law that will affect homeowners’ rates all over Louisiana. The allowable deductible on your home is being raised from 2% to 5%. So for a property owner who has a home worth $300,000, the deductible under the old law would have been $6,000. Under the new law, homeowners are stuck by having to pay the first $15,000 out of pocket. So instead of taking any remedial action to lower the cost of what a homeowner pays, the legislature’s action will cause the average cost of insuring your property to take a significant leap.

In the area of car insurance, the news is just as bad. For years, Louisiana has always hovered in the list of the top 10 or 15 states in the country when it comes to the basic cost of auto insurance. But it hovers no more. The Bayou state is at the top of the heap. Numero Uno. Number one in the country. For the first six months of 2008, the average car owner in states throughout the country paid an average of $1893 per year to ensure their vehicle. Louisiana led the nation as being the most expensive state to drive a car, with an average premium of $2600.

So what did the Louisiana legislature do about this growing problem? They more than doubled the mandatory required amount to drive on Louisiana highways, which will raise the rates of the average car owner by anywhere from 20 to 30%. Governor Bobby Jindal would not touch this proposal with a 10 foot pole, and let the huge auto insurance increase become law without his signature.

A number of states are aggressively addressing auto insurance costs with some creative approaches. Our neighbors in Texas have joined a number of other states in allowing insurance to be sold based on the amount one drives. The car owner receives a monthly bill just like they do for the use of utilities. The more you drive the more you pay. Some states have seen the average insurance rate drop by as much a 30% when mileage is a factor in what insurance costs. Driving less means savings in both what a driver pays for insurance as well as gasoline. There are a number of other ideas being considered by states across the country. Unfortunately, all Louisiana did was to significantly raise the price the average driver has to pay to be on the highways.

Insurance rates to cover health costs will also rise in Louisiana. The legislature added additional mandates that are required to be included in any health insurance policy. And although such mandates or laudable, the bottom line is that when additional mandates are added, the cost goes up. Governor Bobby Jindal ran on a platform of revamping health care delivery Louisiana. Get a better bang for the buck. So far, this critical issue has not been addressed by the legislature.

This column has written before about the leadership role taken in Florida when it comes to reducing the cost of property insurance. Florida Governor Charlie Crist (who is in the running along with Jindal as a possible running mate on the McCain presidential ticket) was lauded recently by The Wall Street Journal for his innovative reforms in dealing with the high cost of health insurance. Florida is moving towards getting the government out of the healthcare marketplace. Insurance companies are now authorized to sell stripped - down, no - frills policies exempted from the more than 50 mandates that Florida otherwise imposes. Florida citizens can get a health insurance policy for as little as $150 a month.

The bottom line in all these proposals is that Louisiana's does not give its citizens the consumer choices that are available in a number of other states. Laws have been put into place setting specific standards that must be adhered to. The system is much too rigid.

Few suggestions are coming from the insurance department. If the Governor and the legislature do not accept the challenge of allowing its citizens more flexibility and more consumer choices, than Louisiana will continue to be the most expensive state in America to buy insurance. Economic development and creating new jobs? The state will be wasting its efforts until the insurance crisis is addressed.


"Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course.' Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America not the damned Titanic."
Lee Iacocca

Peace and Justice.

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s column appears weekly, and is published in a number of newspapers and on websites throughout Louisiana. You can read past columns by going to Jim’s website at Jim’s regular radio show on WRNO, 995fm out of New Orleans can be heard each Sunday from 11:00 am till 1:00 pm. It is streamed live, world-wide at

McCain cancels trip to Big Easy


From The Dead Pelican

Monday, July 21, 2008

McCain headed to meet with Jindal; Novak says Veep pick by weekend

From The Fix
John McCain will huddle with vice presidential aspirant Bobby Jindal during a trip to New Orleans later this week, sources close to the campaign confirm to The Fix.
McCain's trip to Louisiana on Wednesday was the cause of much head scratching in the political world as it was not in keeping with a week of planned stops in battleground states.
At the same time, Bob Novak is reporting that McCain will make his pick for VP by the end of the week.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Louisiana gold standard for ethics is 'fool's gold'

excerpts from Central La Politics:

The sole remaining member of the Louisiana Ethics Board, Dr. Cedric Lowrey of Alexandria, disagrees with Gov. Jindal's claims as to why there were 10 resignations out of the 11 member board at the end of last month. . . . . .

So I ask you, does Louisiana truly have a "gold standard of ethics" when there are so many exceptions, there is currently no ethics administration, violations will now be determined by an agency controlled by the governor, and it will be more difficult to prove ethics violations?

Read the entire article here

Friday, July 18, 2008

Run, Jennifer, Run

The Caddo Sheriff's office announced that the Governor will make a stop Tuesday in Vivian in north Caddo Parish.
Jindal will give an update on his ethics legislative session, discuss state surplus spending in northwest Louisiana and work force development. He also will take audience questions. He will be at the Vivian Elementary School.
Now ordinarily, this might seem must a normal political stop, then we remembered that last December in My Bossier we published this about Jennifer Harmon, a blue-haired substitute teacher who was from, where else, Vivian Elementary.
This poor woman was terminated because people were really questioning her piercings, her blue hair and most of all her religious views. Perhaps she was a Wiccan? If you're a Wiccan in Vivian, you're just a satan worshipper flat-out; you'd might as well admit it.
And now the Exorcist himself is visiting Vivian Elementary. Is there more to this trip than meets the eye?
Just wondering.