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Our Views: A fall too far?

How low can it go? That’s the question on the minds of those dependent on oil markets. And that question has particularly profound implications for the state of Louisiana, even going beyond the importance of the state budget’s current difficulties with the plunge in oil prices. A rule of thumb… Continue reading →

Letter: Not enough progress in nursing homes

Joe Donchess, Louisiana Nursing Home Association director (guest commentary, Dec. 3) made points in his commentary that demand clarification: He notes that a “substantial number” of Louisiana nursing homes improved their Five-Star Quality Rating between 2009 and 2014 on Nursing Home Compare, a rating system of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS.… Continue reading →

Letter: Pearl Harbor doesn’t get proper due

I was disappointed to see on Sunday, Dec. 7, that the only mention of Dec. 7, 1941, and the attack on Pearl Harbor was one paragraph and one picture in the Eat Play Live section of The Advocate. Set aside on a page between society activities featuring the umpteenth obligatory charity photo-op of Gayle Benson and… Continue reading →

Letter: Senate campaign not about Louisiana

A recent Advocate editorial mentions the overload of negativity that marked the recent U.S. Senate campaign and the lack of apparent interest in issues specific to Louisiana. I would like to point out one example in particular. On the day after the November primary, a group of students at East St. John High School sent letters to… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Dec. 21, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Might Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne make a run at U.S. Sen. David Vitter? Race for governor could surprise

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne leads a town hall meeting on tourism and economic growth Wednesday at Vermilionville in Lafayette.

Unhatched political chickens? Don’t count them, of course. Especially in a Louisiana governor’s race, like the one about to kick into gear early in 2015. In early spring of 1987, a Tulane law student and former intern in Bob Livingston’s congressional office named Bob Eitel produced a thoughtful memo for his friends in Livingston’s campaign for… Continue reading →

James Gill: A pandering contest on Common Core

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was presumably taking a swipe at Gov. Bobby Jindal when, during a recent speech in New Orleans, he averred that politics and education shouldn’t mix. Jindal, gracious as ever, had greeted Duncan by issuing a statement inviting him to learn his lesson from U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s failure to win re-election.… Continue reading →

Our Views: The road to giveaways

At $7 billion and counting, the cost of tax exemptions and credits to the state is huge. But as a practical matter, the Legislature’s chief economist says, the bulk of the state’s exemptions involve sensible issues that are built into the structure of the tax code. The Louisiana Constitution, for example, eliminates sales… Continue reading →

Washington Watch: In Louisiana, right marks the fight

When asked why he robbed banks, the career criminal Willie Sutton famously replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” The analog for politicians is to go where the votes are. And in Louisiana, it’s clear the biggest pile of votes is on the right end of the political spectrum,… Continue reading →

Our Views: The sins of extremists

A Pakistani Christian girl prays during a ceremony dedicated to victims killed in Tuesday's Taliban attack on a military-run school in Peshawar, at Our Lady of Fatima Church,  in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. The Taliban massacre that killed more than 140 people, mostly children, at a military-run school in northwestern Pakistan left a scene of heart-wrenching devastation, pools of blood and young lives snuffed out as the nation mourned and mass funerals for the victims got underway. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Father Abraham must weep. The attack of Taliban gunmen on a school in Pakistan killed more than 100 students. In Yemen, two car bombs exploded, one of them killing 20 small children in a school bus. In Sydney, Australian hostages were held and two killed before a crazed Iranian immigrant was shot dead… Continue reading →

Letter: U.S. greed destroys companies

How do you get 12, 15 or upward of 20 percent return on the bottom line? You do it by recklessly cutting training, safety, maintenance and/or employee benefits. Why does this happen? Well, the responsibility falls on everyone who holds a pension, 401(k), mutual fund or certificate of deposit — average Americans. We want, no, expect, those types… Continue reading →

Letter: President missed chance to heal race issues

Amid all the strife, rage, anger and racial tensions present in Ferguson, Missouri, for the past three months, it was sad to see the president struggle to hide his true feelings about the issue. His attorney general and Al Sharpton and the media continuously judged and convicted Officer Darren Wilson in the court of public opinion. They strongly… Continue reading →

Letter: U.S.-Cuba embargo never made sense

I praise President Barack Obama for revamping our country’s policy toward Cuba. The embargo never made sense in the first place. The U.S. has made many an accommodation with China, which is the largest communist country in the world. The country has regularized relations with Vietnam, which conflict cost the country more than 50,000 lives and… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: A little girl’s Christmas letter

Maybe, just maybe, she’s doing something right, Qiana Thomas-Armstead thought when she saw a Christmas letter that her 7-year-old daughter wrote to a terminally ill little girl. “It brought tears to my eyes,” Thomas-Armstead said. “It got me over a tough period I was going through.” Sometimes, it takes our youngest celebrants and their innocence to… Continue reading →

Guest Column: Don’t lower standards for TOPS

Amnesia seems to be running rampant as it relates to Louisiana’s Taylor Opportunity Program for Students and its intended purpose, with Dillard’s Walter Kimbrough’s recent op-ed piece and AP’s Melinda Deslatte certainly providing pointed examples. Many do not seem to recall that Pat Taylor conceived and promoted a scholarship program in an effort… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Dec. 19, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Our Views: For Castro, a victory

FILE - In this July 31, 2004 file photo, Cuba's President Fidel Castro, left, and his brother, Minister of Defense Raul Castro, attend a Parliament session in Havana, Cuba. The 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union devastated the Cuban economy, but the country limped along, first under Fidel and then, after he fell ill in 2006, under his brother Raul, head of the Cuban military. On Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, the U.S. and Cuba agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War. (AP Photo/Cristobal Herrera, File)

Not to be too personal about this, but it’s a shame that Fidel Castro has lived to see this day. He’ll see it as a victory in his lifelong struggle against the United States and the values that it stands for. Ailing and pushing 90, the tyrant relinquished power years ago. But it… Continue reading →

Our Views: Hiding in theaters

The last thing anybody was going to do the second week of September in 2001 was hide. We gathered in churches and temples and mosques, in public plazas across the land. We flew on airplanes. We refused to allow terrorism to disrupt our daily lives. Now, we’re not showing… Continue reading →

Letter: Insurance solutions lie with Jindal, lawmakers

I have been observing with great interest the problems as they relate to retiree insurance. Retirees and others did not cause this problem. Why is the governor’s answer to solve the problem being handled with such hastiness? When this problem was brought to the public, few lay people were aware of the problems. According… Continue reading →

Letter: Grace gets it wrong about tax pledge

In Stephanie Grace’s Dec. 14 column, “The pledge against common sense,” she wrote that I insist that the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a promise to Louisiana taxpayers. In truth, I don’t have to insist as much; the clear language of the pledge, which Grace quotes after the first sentence, makes clear that it is a commitment to taxpayers,… Continue reading →

Letter: Look to the Dutch for land-loss solution

An article published on Oct. 6, “Plans for port still in motion,” by Bill Lodge, described a new container port to be built south of Venice, in open water owned by the state. Looks like a nice idea, since it will be located at the very mouth of a waterway, the Mississippi River, that touches more states than… Continue reading →

Guest column: Sony shows spine deficit in pulling movie

This photo provided by Columbia Pictures - Sony shows, James Franco, center left, as Dave, and Seth Rogen as Aaron, in Columbia Pictures'

At LSU, we teach that American political satire has popped super-sized egos and made the country better for 250 years. After this week, we need to change our curriculum. That’s because a repressive government 7,000 miles away decided that Americans should see James Bond or Elvis Presley movies this Christmas rather than “The Interview,” a comedy… Continue reading →

Our Views: Despite its inflammatory views, let American Family Association, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have their prayer rally at LSU

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal addresses the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, La., Thursday, May 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Universities, of all places, should be forums that accommodate many kinds of views, even those that are controversial. Free speech and vigorous debate, after all, are what campuses are supposed to be about. That’s why a conservative religious group should be allowed to stage a rally at LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center,… Continue reading →

Letter: Comment falsely attributed to president in cartoon

I am puzzled by the political cartoon on the opinion page of your Nov. 28 issue. It depicts President Obama inserting the word “stupid” before the word “people” in the “We the People” preamble to the Constitution of the United States. I initially thought that the president must have said something that possibly could be construed… Continue reading →

Letter: Affordable Care Act working better than previous insurance

As I read letters from the Rev. Pam Hartman and Kevin Williams to The Advocate’s Opinion section, I feel compelled to write and express my support for the Affordable Care Act. As a self-employed, 59-year-old woman, I am grateful to finally be able to have health insurance coverage that works. For the last seven… Continue reading →

Guest column: Health insurance premiums poised to spike in 2017

Louisianans have been knee-deep in the Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period, which began on Nov. 15 and closed Monday. Many are finding what appears to be a pleasant surprise: Average premiums for the cheap “bronze” plans have increased by 3.9 percent, while premiums for the middle-of-the-road “silver” plans are rising by 4.1 percent. The Affordable Care… Continue reading →