This Is Incredibly Misguided And Sad

The New Orleans Times-Picayune posted a story yesterday (updated today) about the removal of the statue of Jefferson Davis from the monument site on Canal Street at Jefferson Davis Parkway. That is so sad. Jefferson Davis was a Democratic U.S. Representative and Senator from Mississippi, the 23rd U.S. Secretary of War, and the President of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. He is guilty of doing what he thought was right and what the people of his state thought was right. We are wrong to judge him in the context of today rather than the context of the time in which he lived.

Admittedly, slavery was a horrible thing, but it was a worldwide acceptable practice at the time. Jefferson Davis was guilty of complying with the norms of society at the time. It is unfair to judge him by today’s standards. Slavery is part of America’s history, just as it is a part of the history of most of the countries in the world. Unfortunately, there are countries where it is still practiced today.

The article quotes a resident who came to watch the statue being removed:

Pat Gallagher, who lives in Jefferson Parish, said she decided to go out to the intersection because she is concerned about the preservation of all monuments, both Confederate and others.

“I think it’s a slippery slope,” she said of taking down monuments. “It’s part of history — whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. You can’t change history.”

She expressed a special concern for monuments to those who served in the military, ticking off a list of wars and battles in which she said her ancestors have served, beginning with one who fought at Valley Forge and continuing through the Battle of New Orleans, the Civil War, World War II and a nephew now stationed in Afghanistan.

“This is about monuments to military men who fought for their country,” she said. “This is very personal for me. That’s why I’m here — to stand up for my ancestors — all of them.”

“I’m getting sick at heart because they’re getting ready to take this down,” she said, tearing up. 

The article includes a statement by the Mayor:

“There are four prominent monuments in question. The Battle of Liberty Place monument, which was removed three weeks ago, was erected by the Crescent City White League to remember the deadly insurrection led by white supremacists against the City’s racially integrated police department and government. The statue coming down today is the Jefferson Davis statue on Jefferson Davis Parkway. The statues slated to come down next include the Robert E. Lee statue at Lee Circle and the P.G.T. Beauregard equestrian statue on Esplanade Avenue at the entrance to City Park.

“‘Three weeks ago, we began a challenging but long overdue process of removing four statues that honor the ‘Lost Cause of the Confederacy.’ Today we continue the mission,’ said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. ‘These monuments have stood not as historic or educational markers of our legacy of slavery and segregation, but in celebration of it. I believe we must remember all of our history, but we need not revere it. To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in some of our most prominent public places is not only an inaccurate reflection of our past, it is an affront to our present, and a bad prescription for our future. We should not be afraid to confront and reconcile our past.'”

This is the sort of thing that happens in third-world countries. I would ask those who see these monuments as a celebration of slavery that need to be removed, what other parts of our history do you want to remove? We can’t change history because we did something that was acceptable at the time that we now realize was wrong. We need to look at the monuments in the context of the time they were erected and realize that we have grown since then. The monuments should be a reminder that even good men make mistakes. As I said, slavery was a worldwide, accepted practice. The fact that those in the southern states wanted to continue it and expand the territory it was allowed in is a reflection of the culture they lived in. We need to understand that despite the fact that slavery and the Civil War represent a very dark period in American history, they are both part of our history. These statues represent that history and need to be left alone.

 

Parts Of The Story You May Not Have Read In The Media

It is unfortunate that the police shot Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge. However, there is some history to the story that you may have missed. My sources on this are CNN and a website called Clash Daily. The police were called to the scene by a homeless man who claimed that Sterling threatened him with a gun. Sterling was a felon with a rather long rap sheet who could not have legally purchased a firearm. He was also a registered pedophile. There were also warrants out for Sterling because of his involvement in gun running.

I am sorry that the man was killed and that this incident is being used by some to gin up racial discord. However, there is obviously considerable more to the story than is being reported. We are being manipulated.

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.

The Propaganda Machine Rolls On

On Saturday, Haaretz reported that a Palestinian-American was killed on Friday in the West Bank as he attempted to throw a firebomb.

The story reports:

According to the military, the boy, 14, was about to throw a firebomb towards Route 60; an IDF unit positioned nearby opened fire after he had lit the firebomb’s fuse, and was preparing to hurl it. Palestinian officials denied these claims.

A relative identified the teen as Orwa Abd al-Wahhab Hammad and said he was born in New Orleans and came to the West Bank at age six. Hammad’s cousin Moath said he was among a group of Palestinians who were throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers.

An Israeli army spokesman told Reuters Israeli forces “managed to prevent an attack when they encountered a Palestinian man hurling a molotov cocktail at them on the main road next to Silwad. They opened fire and they confirmed a hit.”

This is the U. S. State Department response:

The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the family of a U.S. citizen minor who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces during clashes in Silwad on October 24.  Officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem are in contact with the family and are providing all appropriate consular assistance. We call for a speedy and transparent investigation, and will remain closely engaged with the local authorities, who have the lead on this investigation.  We continue to urge all parties to help restore calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of the tragic recent incidents in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

How about telling the Palestinians not to train their children to throw rocks and firebombs at soldiers? This was not a ‘tragic recent incident.’ It is the result of years of indoctrination of hatred toward Israel in the Palestinian educations system.

Below is a picture of some kindergarten children at the graduation in Palestine that I posted in June 2012. Until this sort of training in school stops, there will not be peace between Israel and its so-called Palestinian neighbors.

As usual, the State Department is on the wrong side of this conflict.

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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Confusing Giving With Taking

Investors.com posted an article yesterday which clearly shows a basic difference in philosophy between Governor Romney and President Obama. The article deals with the current debate over extending the tax rates put into place by President Bush about ten years ago. The Democrats are still fighting the battle to raise those taxes.

The article reports:

Speaking last Wednesday in New Orleans at a campaign event, Obama talked about “another trillion-dollar giveaway for millionaires” in reference to an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.

A day later, White House spokesman Jay Carney did the same thing. He called the extension “another $1 trillion giveaway to the wealthiest Americans.”

What they are talking about is the House Republicans’ opposition to legislation approved in the Senate that would raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year, a sum less than the president makes yet is somehow considered to be the mark of wealth.

ABC’s Jake Tapper questioned Jay Carney about the idea that tax-cuts are the same as giveaways:

ABC’s Jake Tapper wanted to know what he would “say to a small-business owner who says that’s not a giveaway, that’s my money, and by the way, I’m going to need some of that money in order to help pay the health care of individuals that I’m now mandated to do?”

Tapper further said, “It’s not giving anything away; it’s allowing me to keep my money.”

Needless to say, Jay Carney never directly answered the question.

The article concludes:

Americans should be deeply offended that anyone would categorize the act of keeping one’s own money as a giveaway. And they should be profoundly alarmed when policymakers and their aides hold that view because they can turn their beliefs into oppressive law.

Remember, government creates neither wealth nor jobs. It has to take everything that it owns, and that requires force — real or implied.

Obama was elected in 2008 on a platform of hope and change. The promises sounded good to many even if they were not defined.

Now those terms have taken shape — unmistakably and unsettlingly.

If a government that owns all is the change Obama promised in 2008, and it becomes the dominant governing philosophy of this country, then there’s not much hope left.

That pretty much says it all.

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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

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

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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