Governor Jindal Just Being Himself Saturday, Feb 28 2009 

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Governor Bobby Jindal is getting hit from all sides in a manic media mania for every word and action.  The volcano erupted after his GOP response to the presidential address to congress. 

This makes me shake my head and say, “did all of you just wake up and smell the coffee”?

Let me be clear.  I did not vote for Jindal.  Upon election, however, I chose to give him a break to see if I was incorrect in my evaluation of him regardless of his past behavior.  Everyone deserves a break, right?

Jindal has developed a pattern during his entire political career.  It’s called the ‘two year plan’.

This is no secret.  What annoys me are the political pundits and Jindal supporters who are suddenly surprised at his actions.  After all, this is not rocket science. 

Jindal’s ability to stay put in any given position is 2-3 years maximum:

  • Donned the ‘whiz kid’, Jindal, began his journey as a short-lived page in Washington, moving on to McKinsey & Co consulting firm as a ‘specialist’ in health care.  McKinsey consulted Enron but escaped public scrutiny.
  • Eighteen months later, claiming he was a ‘genius’, former Governor Mike Foster appointed Jindal as the secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals to save an ailing system.  Jindal was criticized for closing clinics and cutting back valuable services to the uninsured.
  • Two years later Jindal left his post in Louisiana to head to Washington to solve the federal Medicare crisis as staff director of the Medicare Reform Commission. 
  • One year later, Jindal returns to our state and is appointed by former Governor Foster as head of the Louisiana University system.
  • Again, two years later, Jindal heads back to Washington to serve as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation of the federal Medicaid program.  A timely move considering the investigation that ensued over Medicaid Chief Tommy Scully and five unnamed associates.
  • Yes, two years later, Jindal made his run for governor of Louisiana.  He lost to Kathleen Blanco.  Foster’s only criticism of Jindal came during this time when he said ‘Bobby didn’t listen to me’.
  • One year later Jindal decides to run for the U. S. House of Representatives. 
  • Two years later, Jindal begins his second run at governor of Louisiana.  He wins the gubernatorial race in 2007.

Here we are, two years later, and Governor Jindal seems bored with us already and is criticized for presidential positioning.  Imagine that? 

Why are we so surprised? 

Governor Jindal is simply being himself.  He is incapable of staying in any one place too long.  This works to his advantage as it is difficult to measure the performance of any individual who is not willing to stick long enough. 

Surely Jindal would receive less criticism if he would walk the walk.  As C. B. Forgotston reminded us in his blog:  Yogi Berra said, “you can observe a lot just by watching”

Don’t be so surprised folks, it’s just the Jindal way!

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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Here We Go Again Saturday, Jan 17 2009 

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As Ray Charles sang, “Here we go again…one more time”.  Mayor Kip Holden has announced that he plans to present his tax increase in the form of a bond proposal…one more time on a fall ballot to the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish.

Holden’s approach will be to wrap higher taxes up with a nice red bow called “an economic stimulus plan”.  The operative word is downtown

The only good news is that Holden said, “there will not be another study this government will fund”.  Great!

While we are in an economic recession, and president-elect Obama Barack plans to take the helms of the oval office on Tuesday, Holden has realized that there will be economic stimulus money up for grabs.  The Mayor has requested $500 million for EBR Parish.  These are the type of things that make me shake my head and say “interesting”.

The reason this is ‘interesting’ is that just a couple months ago Holden was willing to make taxpayers pay for $100 million in tax increases through former shadow mayor Walter Monsour’s bond issue.  Now that the plan was turned down by voters, suddenly there are other funds to be found.

This is precisely what should have been done in the beginning.  Before a bond issue for $100 million in tax increases was proposed, other options should have been researched. 

The most important question is:  How much more money is there in potential cuts to the city parish budget? 

Trimming the fat is what every family in our parish is having to do with the current recession.  Families are cooking at home more.  Packing a lunch and working at your desk is now an option more people are considering.  Lower gas prices have citizens smiling.  Water cooler talk is about clipping coupons, carefully reviewing investments and where the latest sales are in the retail world.

At what point will city-parish government realize that they must also cut the fat?  You do not spend more money in a recession, you save, cut back and search for more affordable options.

Holden’s office told Baton Rouge Business Report that the new proposed tax plan will include lower project costs.  Really?  Where these options available the first go round?

I don’t think we are asking much when we expect muncipalities to give us their best foot forward.  Not the second time around, but the first time around.  Not because voters refused to pay higher taxes, but because it was the right thing to do.  The first time.

When I read these type of articles, it confirms that my first assessment was accurate.  In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink!, he talks about your initial instinct when you know that you know that you know something is or is not right.  That is the instinct that led voters to turn down Holden’s mandate to pay more taxes last fall.  It’s just good common sense!

Besides, Holden’s ‘new’ plan, according to the Business Report, is about downtown.  After speaking at the Downtown Development District board meeting, even The Advocate reported that Holden has bigger plans for downtown.  Though you cannot be all things to all people, what about the rest of the parish? 

Don’t the citizens of our parish deserve strong bridges instead of emails that claim we have 38 unsafe bridges that will only be improved if we vote for a tax increase?  Holding taxpayers hostage with threats of this type will not win a tax election.

With all due respect, grants for new uniforms, logos and branding for the Sheriff’s office could have better served the public improving our infrastructure.  Do we care what they wear as long as they are protecting and serving?  Then again, that story is for another day since rumors have it that it was tied to a political promise. 

The bottom line is that we need the incoming Chief Administrative Officer, Mike Futrell, to delve deep into our city budget and make the necessary cuts.  Futrell needs to cut the contracts of Holden’s private security detail, public relations personnel, etc. and seek grant funding to address our infrastructure needs.   We are spending untold dollars that are buried in the budget only for true researchers to dig up.  

We want our city-parish government officials to spend our tax dollars wisely, to budget them effectively, and to realize that while we are making these changes to our own pocketbooks, they need to do the same.

Is that too much to ask of our public servants?  I think not.  Treat our tax dollars as if they were your own money.  Pretty simple approach.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

The Enemies in Obama’s Camp Tuesday, Oct 21 2008 

“Obama Campaign Public Enemy #1”:  Joe Biden

I’m not sure what on earth possessed Joe Biden to make the kind of statements he did in Atlanta on Sunday, but it almost seemed as if he were speaking assuredly, prophetically – or maybe it’s Joe Biden gone wild?  His words still echo in my mind:

“Mark my words.  It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.  The world is looking.  Remember I said it standing here.  If you don’t remember anything else I said.  Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.  And he’s gonna have to make some really tough I don’t know what the decision’s gonna be, but I promise you it will occur.”  

Phew!  I’ve got to take a real deep breath after hearing Biden’s words.  What can we make of such insanity?  What running mate would even imagine to utter these kind of statements on a campaign trail?  No one would wish this type of situation on any potential leader or candidate – friend or foe.  No one in their right mind.  And if they did have such machinations, surely they would not utter them publicly.  Screwy thinking is all I can say.  Self-fulfilling prophesies often come to fruition when we utter such blasphemies.  Joe, please take your meds and calm down!  Seems the enemy is in Obama’s own camp and his name is Joe Biden.

“Obama Campaign Public Enemy #2”:  Bill Ayers

Yes, I know that some would like to dismiss the Obama-Bill Ayers relationship.  I won’t belabor it much, just suffice it to say that Ayers was a cofounder of the Weather Underground and admittedly bombed public buildings.  Obama says they only lived in the same neighborhood, had lunch, served on a board together and the amount of money he gave his campaign was nominal.   I guess that means Ayers is only on the fringe of Obama’s campaign?  Ask Hillary Clinton, she was the one who expressed concerns when she was running against Obama.

“Obama Campaign Public Enemy #3”:  Reverand Jeremiah Wright

Far be it for me to criticize a man of God, so I will let his own words speak for himself:

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America’.  No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people.  God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human.  god damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

Phew!  Another deep breath.  This pastor married Obama and his wife, Michelle, baptized their two daughters, was given credit for Obama’s book title, ‘The Audacity of Hope”, and served as the Obama family pastor for 18 years.  Enough said.

“Obama Campaign Public Enemy #4”:  Reverand Jessie Jackson

Unfortunately Jackson has developed a love-hate relationship with Obama.  Jackson endorsed Obama in 2007, while in 2008 when caught on camera speaking under his breath, Jackson said he wanted to cut off his (Obama’s) nuts.  Gee, with friends like these in your camp, who needs enemies? 

I suppose that’s enough enemies for one day.  We won’t revisit the fact that Hillary Clinton ripped Obama publicly as too big of a risk for America to take, or any of the other flip floppers that once spoke against Barack Obama and now stand in the camp shadows hoping they have bet on the right horse.  Some call them fair weather friends, I call them enemies in Obama’s Camp.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Palin & Jindal Answer the Call Monday, Sep 8 2008 

When the going gets tough the tough get going is the adage used to describe strong people rising to the occasion when situations are difficultLast week Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin both showed their moxie during the two highest profile storms in America – Hurricane Gustav and the Presidential Nomination Storm.

Governor Bobby Jindal proved his leadership skills when the path of Hurricane Gustav targeted the state of Louisiana.  Jindal rallied the troops from Louisiana to Washington to provide detailed plans and powerful communication to residents of our great state.  For the first time in our colorful political history, we have a governor that took the bull by the horns and met the needs of the people over himself.  A weathered-looking Jindal stood before media taking personal responsibility as commander-in-chief and responded quickly and appropriately to provide manpower, services and the tools necessary to meet the needs of the voters.  Jindal answered the call.  We are grateful.

Governor Sarah Palin also made political history last week as she accepted the nomination for vice president of the United States as Senator John McCain’s presidential running.  Palin spoke eloquently and powerfully at the Republican National Convention taking no prisoners.  No pun intended.  Vice presidential nominee Palin cited her past accomplishments of placing her state government on the side of the people by taking on special interests and the good ole’ boys network – groups that voters abhor.  Smaller government is what Palin is about.  Palin answered the call.  Again, we are grateful.

Jindal and Palin have much in common.  Both are christian conservatives, target wasteful spending, believe in lower taxes, supports higher education, seeks improvements in transportation, fully supports law enforcement and tout public safety as a major priority.

Maverick politicians, Palin and Jindal, join the ranks of Republican presidential hopeful Senator John McCain for real change.  In politics talk is cheap, promises are the order of the day – but with these proven leaders at the helm of our state and country, we truly have hope in an improved economy and leadership that will stand against the power brokers and bring positive change in the lives of Americans.

Kudos to McCain for his choice of Palin.  Jindal was on the short list for McCain as well.  Fortunately we were able to keep Jindal as our commander in chief.  It is refreshing to see leadership in action.  In the words of Palin:

“Politics isn’t just a game of clashing parties and competing interests.  The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it.  No one expects us to agree on everything.  But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and …a servants heart.”

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Train Wreck of Ethic Proportions Thursday, Mar 20 2008 

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Ever wonder if politicians lose sleep at night?  I do.  We are facing an ethical and moral dilemma among political figures today.  It’s a train wreck.

According to The Advocate, state democratic party chairman Chris Whittington is calling for the resignation of Senator David Vitter, republican.  Is this an anomaly?  Will Whittington also call for the resignations of all democrats that have had marital indiscretions and apparent ethics violations in our state and parish, or just those exposed by the national media?

Do not misunderstand.  I am totally against any marital indiscretions.  Period.  End of sentence.  I do, however, challenge Whittington to call all political appointees out openly, not just those exposed by the media. 

The last few days have been peppered with charges of ethical violations and moral indiscretions across our country, state, parish and in the Red Stick.  Expect more to come out locally before 2008 ends.  

Regardless of your spiritual belief, we all understand the law of sowing and reaping.  Voters are now more savvy than ever in this information age of breaking news, blogs, email and text messages.  Just ask Obama, Spitzer, Vitter, or the Clintons to name a few.

Politicians say ‘I speak for the people who elected me.’  No, you do not speak for us when we see you eating at an area restaurant or dancing in a dimly lit nightclub with your girlfriend and not your wife.  Nor do you speak for the voters when you commit ethics violations by not disclosing vital information about your campaign and business practices.

We truly have a train wreck of ethic and moral proportions.  What you do when you think no one is watching is of ethical and moral consequences, whether you are a republican or democrat, or a U.S. Senator or a local Red Stick politician.  Let’s stop the train wreck of ethic and moral proportions at the voting booth this fall.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Obama: Actions Speak Louder Than Words Saturday, Mar 15 2008 

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Obama said today in an Indiana Town Hall Meeting that our country has a lot of pent up anger about race, but he believes the people want to move past this issue.  With all due respect to both sides of the race issue, we are frail humans, challenged every day to incorporate idealistic goals into practical application.

Life Lessons 101:  The open discussion and acknowledgement of Obama, an african-american, and Hillary, a woman, are not going to go away in the presidential election.

Hillary’s tears, choice of clothing, hairstyle, demeanor, strength and role as a wife and mother define who she is –a woman.  Unless you are blind and have not read any of Obama’s books where he has defined his own heritage and life story, you can’t overlook the fact that he is — an african-american.

Watching Obama last night during a taped interview reminded me of a deer in the headlights as I noticed him verbally stumbling for the first time in this presidential campaign.  Obviously, he was shaken at the latest headlines while attempting to disassociate himself from his long-time pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.’s divisive words.

It does not take a political analyst or lie detector to answer this question:  How can a man who sat under a pastor for 20 years claim ignorance only after the media reveals the pastor’s beliefs?

No, Obama, I do not believe you.  You may be persuasive, articulate, intelligent, and even inspirational — but you are too intelligent to win the argument that you were not mentally acute of Rev. Wright’s beliefs.

Red flag:  Obama has mentioned the close relationship of Rev. Wright and Louis Farrakhan in the past.  No explanation needed!

Red flag:  Obama originally planned for Rev. Wright to speak at his presidential announcement one year ago and pulled him from the agenda after Wright’s sermons were exposed publicly.  Self-explanatory!

Always trying to bring this back into perspective for Red Stick citizens:  This reminds me of two local politicians who quote scripture, believes they live a secret lifestyle outside of their marriage, and then publicly go on the offensive by trying to squelch ‘rumors.’ 

No, we do not believe any of you.  Your life as a public figure is an open book.  While you may be self-delusional that no one is watching, the people are more attentive than you think.  The red-light cameras in the Red Stick are not the only ones watching.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

A Place Called Hope Monday, Feb 25 2008 

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“I still believe in a place called Hope.”  Hope IS the anchor of the soul.

Hope, Arkansas has a population of about 10,000.  Two natives from Hope include  42nd president, Bill Clinton, and 44th presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee.

Is Hope the birthplace of another “comeback kid?” 

Huckabee and Clinton seem to be polar opposites with the exception of their musical prowess, service as governors of Arkansas, and running for the position of leader of the free world. 

Clinton drowned in controversy for numerous indiscretions including Whitewater,  Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky.  I can still hear him saying “I did not sleep with that woman” and later admitting “yes, I did have an affair with Miss Lewinsky.  I misled people, including my wife Hillary, and I deeply regret that.”  So did we!

Huckabee, on the other hand, is a southern baptist minister, weight loss and health advocate, and married to Janet McCain Huckabee,ironically born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has little controversy other than his affinity to humorous metaphors.

Here are some reasons to take a strong look at Huckabee: 

  • Post-Katrina — Huckabee stood in the fray and rallied the people of Arkansas to come to the assistance of many driven from their homes in Louisiana and on the Gulf Coast
  • 2nd Amendment — Huckabee is a strong advocate of the right to bear arms
  • Roads — Huckabee sponsored the largest road construction package in Arkansas as governor
  • Budget — Huckabee did an excellent job with the budget as governor turning a $200 million deficit into a $800 million surplus
  • Children –Huckabee worked to help low-income families by increasing the number of children covered by health care and put into effect a program called Smart Start that pushed for children to learn the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic
  • School funding — Huckabee worked to make school funding more equal across the board as governor
  • Leadership — when former governor Jim Guy Tucker was charged with fraud, agreed to resign and then tried to rescend his resignation Huckabee stepped forward and showed leadership by forcing Tucker to resign or face impeachment proceedings

Anyway you look at it, there are pros and cons of every candidate.  Huckabee is someone to take a hard look at because he seems to be a man of conviction.  I like his humor, ability to think on his feet, record, stand for christian conservative values and style of leadership. 

No one is perfect, but maybe, just maybe “we can still believe in a place called hope.”

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

Obama-Maniacs Saturday, Feb 23 2008 

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Something about this picture bothers me.  Anyway…

There is a strange movement among democratic circles across the country.  I refer to these Obama followers as Obama-Maniacs.  My father used to say you were known by the company you keep.  Who’s keeping company with Barack Hussein Obama?  Obama-mania club members include an interesting array of characters.

Key words come to mind when considering this first group of Obama-maniacs:

  • Ted Kennedy:  Chappaquiddick
  • Marion Barry:  Cocaine
  • Teamsters:  Jimmy Hoffa
  • Rev. Jessie Jackson:  Rainbow Coalition
  • Gary Hart:  Donna Rice

Of course, there are many others caught up in Obama-mania with more positive word associations (depending upon who you ask):

  • Oprah:  Philanthropic
  • Stephen King:  Popular writer
  • Robert Dinero:  Great actor
  • Maria Shriver:  Journalist
  • Hulk Hogan: Champion

Why does this array of individuals subscribe to Obama-mania?  Perhaps it is his near messianic speeches.  He does have a way with words — especially if they were used by someone else previously.  (Just a little humor based on Hillary’s constant annoyance with Obama’s speech content.) 

You Tube videos of women fainting at the sight of Obama are a good example of Obama-maniacs.  Other newscasts of crowds swooning while Obama speaks remind me of years gone by when girls screamed at the sight and sounds of the Beatles and Elvis – swooning, fainting, grabbing their heads and screaming in derision.  It’s all so emotional and manic – and somewhat disturbing.

What does all of this equate to?  Is it because he is the first viable black candidate for president?  Is it because he is so articulate?  Is it his ability to borrow words from some of history’s most well known speeches?  Or is it because of the promise of hope and change in a world that constantly craves more of something that will ‘make it all better?’  Whatever the reason, I do not subscribe to this fan club and choose to remain republican with my feet planted firmly on the ground.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican