A Few Comments On The Tenth Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina

My daughter and son-in-law were living in New Orleans ten years ago. At that time they had a two-year old daughter and a six-month old daughter. They evacuated the city (with their two cats) the day before the storm and headed to my sister’s house a few hundred miles north of New Orleans. No one could have predicted what happened next. They returned to their home a few days before Thanksgiving.

There are a few things I would like to say about the storm and the aftermath. For a few months they lived in Kansas City where a local church adopted a number of families from New Orleans and helped them deal with their losses. My daughter and her family suffered very little actual loss, but we found out later what the impact of the experience on the young children was. Two years after the storm as they were preparing to move to another city, their older daughter asked, “When we move this time, can I take my bed and my toys with me?”

There were many people after the storm who came forward and helped those who had lost things. There were formal organizations like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Operation Blessing, and there were groups of people who simply saw a problem and did what they could to solve it.

One of my favorite Hurricane Katrina stories was how the city dealt with the abandoned swimming pools in the city that were becoming breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

In July 2006, National Geographic reported:

To battle the bugs, Sackett (Steve Sackett, an entomologist with the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board (NOMTCB). ) has turned to a natural predator—the western mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis).

The fish can eat up to a hundred mosquito larvae a day. And unlike commercial pesticides, the prolific breeders can replenish themselves.

No pesticides, no chemicals–just fish!

Another inspiring story to come out of this tragedy is that of the Sugarcane Academy. This is a story worth reading about.

Americans are special. We are capable of coming together after a tragic event, and we are capable of coming up with innovative solutions to problems. We need to develop those talents.

Rewriting History Subtlely

This is the opening paragraph in an article about President Obama’s second term posted by the New York Daily News:

This wasn’t a war started on a lie about weapons of mass destruction the way Iraq was for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Affordable health care for all Americans was Barack Obama’s war, one started with noble intent, the way so many big ideas all the way back to Social Security have started.

The opening sentence of that paragraph is amazing. First of all, America’s intelligence organizations showed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Britain’s intelligence organizations showed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and Israel’s intelligence showed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. There is also a book called Saddam’s Secrets which details Saddam Hussein’s wmd program. The book was written by one of Saddam Hussein’s top generals and details the program and the exportation of those weapons during the run-up to the war. Regardless of whether or not you believe the weapons existed, the President did not lie. He spoke based on the information he had at the time.

ObamaCare is a very different situation. As reported on rightwinggranny yesterday, four years ago it was obvious to many people that people would lose their health insurance under ObamaCare. Christina Romer did an amazing job of avoiding that very question in her testimony before a House Education and Labor Committee hearing of June 23, 2009.  You could make the argument that President Obama was not told that people would lose their insurance, but that would lead to the question of his basic competence.

The article at the Daily News points out that many Democrats are already supporting Hillary Clinton for President in an effort to distance themselves from the debacle of ObamaCare. The Democrats are also very anxious to change the subject.

The comparison of the ObamaCare roll-out to President Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina does not work either–President Bush did not create Hurricane Katrina–President Obama did create ObamaCare (or at least he allowed Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy to create it).

The article continues, smashing Republicans as it goes, but the bias is obvious. The rewriting of history is inexcusable, but until voters learn to do their own research, history will remain rewritten. Welcome to 1984.

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Why Leadership Matters

Français : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_...

Français : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Jindal en:Image:BobbyJindal.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the days of ballooning federal deficits and higher and higher debt ceilings, it is nice to see that some states are getting their spending under control. I am sure that it is simply an incredible coincidence that these states are run by Republican governors. Louisiana is one of these states. If you have read this blog from its beginning, you know that I have a soft spot in my heart for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Quite frankly, he would not remember me if I met him again, but I met him in New Orleans coming out of the elevator at the aquarium the year after Hurricane Katrina. He was pushing a stroller holding his youngest child. I was with my daughter who instantly recognized him and said hello. I told him at that time that I hoped the day would come when I would be able to vote for him for national office. I am still hoping for that day.

Yesterday the Louisiana Advocate reported that Louisiana is expecting a $163 million state government surplus.

The article reports:

In a prepared statement, Jindal attributed at least some of the surplus to fiscal responsibility. “Nationally, we faced one of the worst economic downturns in history, and in order to ensure that we weathered the recession better than other states, we reined in government spending and worked to improve Louisiana’s business climate. We made difficult decisions that are paying off and now our economy is growing. There’s still plenty of work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction,” the governor said.

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, the governor’s chief financial adviser, told legislators that Louisiana is registering an increased number of jobs. She said the labor market is performing well and more people are moving into Louisiana than leaving the state.

The article points out that the Louisiana constitution only allows the surplus to be spent on construction projects, coastal restoration, state debt reduction and deposit into the “rainy day” fund.

If spending can be brought under control at the state level, it can also be brought under control at the federal level. All we have to do is elect people to office who are willing to do what is necessary to bring spending under control.

 

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The Key To Racial Equality Is Equal Education For All Children

One of the major keys to racial equality is to make sure that children of all races have access to a good education. Because of the makeup of most of our major cities, the only way to achieve that is through vouchers and school choice. Most Republicans have been encouraging these programs for years. Unfortunately, because of their relationship to the Teachers’ Unions, the Democrats have worked very hard to oppose both vouchers and school choice.

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line detailing the latest battle on the school choice front. The source for the Power Line article is a Fox News story from yesterday.

One of the unexpected consequences of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was the birth of a new school system. Many failing schools were replaced by Charter Schools and other schools that were not failing. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has worked very hard to provide children in New Orleans a good alternative to the failing city public schools. However, the Justice Department is blocking his efforts.

Fox News reports:

The Justice Department is trying to stop a school vouchers program in Louisiana that attempts to help families send their children to independent schools instead of under-performing public schools.

The agency wants to stop the program, led by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, in any school district that remains under a desegregation court order.

In papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, the agency said Louisiana distributed vouchers in 2012-13 to roughly 570 public school students in districts that are still under such orders and that “many of those vouchers impeded the desegregation process.”

The federal government argues that allowing students to attend independent schools under the voucher system could create a racial imbalance in public school systems protected by desegregation orders.

John Hinderaker at Power Line states:

This Louisiana case is typical: Holder wants to keep the archaic residue of the civil rights movement alive forever, as a club with which to beat the Southern states, and as a means of screwing African-Americans. After all, if blacks can’t escape from terrible schools, their employment prospects will be lousy. They likely will be welfare-dependent, and therefore reliable Democratic voters for decades to come. That is, as best one can infer it from the facts, the calculation that Obama and Holder have made.

Eric Holder’s Justice Department is a disgrace. They have become totally political. I would suggest that Eric Holder be replaced, except that I think President Obama would simply find someone equally bad.

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From A Friend On Facebook

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it…. no one will know you did. But if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

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Changing Education In Louisiana

Baton Rouge, LA, September 3, 2008 -- Presiden...

Baton Rouge, LA, September 3, 2008 -- President George W. Bush and Governor Bobby Jindal greeting EOC employees, during disaster recovery efforts for Hurricane Gustav. Jacinta Quesada/FEMA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Governor Bobby Jindal took the oath of office as Governor of Louisiana on January 14, 2008. He has worked hard to bring ethical reform to the state and has now brought education reform to the state.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune posted an editorial on April 8 about the education reforms the governor has enacted and is enacting. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, and as the people of the city returned, they had to find a way to educate their children. Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans schools were among the worst performing in the state. The state took over most of the New Orleans schools after the Hurricane.

The editorial reports:

Since the state took over most schools post-Katrina, that is changing. Recovery School District students, including charter and traditional campuses, posted their fourth consecutive year of improvement last year. The proportion of students scoring at grade level or above grew to 48 percent in 2011 ­– more than double the percentage in 2007.

That progress has come as most city schools became public charter schools, a concept that the governor’s legislation would expand statewide.

The new education reform legislation Governor Jindal would expand the program that was successful in New Orleans throughout the state.

The article concludes:

Gov. Jindal’s reforms are the most far-reaching since the Foster administration, when BESE crafted accountability standards that included high-stakes tests for students and performance scores for schools. This reform effort goes beyond that, though, by making teachers accountable for students’ progress and giving parents far more educational options for their children.

Some teachers went to Baton Rouge to protest the changes to tenure. But others have expressed an understanding that the current system isn’t working.

“If I were not doing a good job as a teacher, I should be fired,” Kaycee Eckhardt, who teaches ninth-graders at Sci Academy, a charter high school in eastern New Orleans, told a reporter. “We’re not building machine parts here. We’re talking about the lives of children. If you have an ineffective teacher in the classroom, you’re hurting kids.”

That is the bottom line.

Gov. Jindal is right to be bold. Despite those earlier reform efforts, Louisiana students still lag behind their counterparts in most other states. Implemented wisely, these reforms could make students more competitive — and improve their lives and the state’s economic future.

One of my daughters and her Marine husband were stationed in New Orleans during the time of Hurricane Katrina. They saw the devastation and they saw the road back. They still own a house there and are hoping to retire there, but one of their concerns was the school system. It sounds as if Governor Jindal is doing a fantastic job of addressing that concern.

 

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An Example Of A Successful Reform Of Government

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Image via Wikipedia

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, one of the problems with the families who returned to the city quickly was how to educate their children. Many of the families who returned after being evacuated came home to destroyed schools and a limited number of teachers. The city had no choice but to reform the school system.

The Wall Street Journal reports today (sorry, subscribers only) that:

Post-Katrina New Orleans is already the nation’s leading charter-school zone, with 80% of city students enrolled, academic performance improving dramatically, and plans to go all-charter by 2013. To spread the model statewide, the Governor would create new regional boards for authorizing charters and offer fast-track authorization to high-performing operators such as KIPP. He’d also give charters the same access to public facilities as traditional public schools.

Needless to say, the Louisiana Association of Educators is opposed to Governor Jindal’s plans to go all-charter by 2013. Governor Jindal has also stated that he would only grant tenure to teachers who are rated “highly effective” five years in a row–the top 10% of performers. Tenure would not be a lifetime thing–any tenured teacher who rates in the bottom 10% would return to probationary status. The “last in, first out” policy would also be banned. This sort of reform improves the schools, but I suspect the unions will be working hard against the Governor in his next campaign for governor.

This is the kind of government reform we need in all states. It is unfortunate that it took a devastating hurricane to reform the system. I wish Governor Jindal total success in implementing his plans–they will make a big difference to the children of Louisiana.

 

 
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It’s Great To See One Of The Good Guys Win

New Orleans, LA, August 31, 2008 -- Governor B...

Image via Wikipedia

On Saturday, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has won re-election as governor in a landslide.

The article reports:

His margin was so overwhelming that Jindal was able to deliver his victory speech a little more than 45 minutes after polls closed at 8 p.m., arriving on stage at the Baton Rouge Renaissance hotel in the company of LSU football coach Les Miles, whose team had just defeated Auburn, 45-10.  

I love Louisiana–they have their priorities in order!

The Baton Rouge Business Report had endorsed Bobby Jindal, saying:

Four years ago there was much promise as Bobby Jindal was elected. Four years has passed quickly but much has been accomplished, despite some tough times, and our state’s image—and business rankings—have dramatically improved. Now, Jindal deserves re-election for his performance, though the next four years hold even more promise for a better Louisiana.

Our LSU football team isn’t the only one with a No. 1 ranking. Louisiana’s economic development efforts now lead the nation. And we have a governor who is admired and respected as a national leader, instead of providing material for jokes by late-night comedians. And Jindal has done things in education reform I never thought I would live to see. The number of government employees is at a 20-year low, and taxes are lower, too.

Besides being a bright leader, he is a man of character and a good father to his children—as well as a really nice guy. I respect that.

Our state has momentum and our in-migration has been growing for the last three years. There is still much work to be done, but I am optimistic about the next four years with Jindal still at the helm.

I have a personal story about Bobby Jindal to relate. My military children were stationed in New Orleans for a few years. They still own a house there because they hope to retire there. I was visiting them the Halloween after Hurricane Katrina and was at the ‘Scarium at the Aquarium’ with my daughter and her children. We were getting ready to get into the elevator (her youngest child was still in a stroller) when a nice-looking young man pushing a stroller stepped out of the elevator. My daughter recognized him as Bobby Jindal and immediately said hello. He stopped to say hello and thank her for her support when he ran for Congress (he lost) and was very gracious. I told him then that as a person who lives in Massachusetts and can’t vote for him in Louisiana, I hope to be able to vote for him on a national ticket some day. I still feel that way. Bobby Jindal has truly been a blessing to Louisiana.

 

 

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