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New Orleans Attorney Profiles 2015
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Walt Handelsman for March 4, 2015

Now Playing at your local Louisiana Budget theater!!! Continue reading →

Our Views: Making sense of a Louisiana budget that appears to defy common sense

Gov. Bobby Jindal

Far more than his predecessors Mike Foster and Kathleen Blanco, the ideological matters to Gov. Bobby Jindal. So the tax-averse governor’s proposal to reassess some tax credits and exemptions in answer to the current state budget crisis is worthy of note. But Jindal’s suggested solution to the budget quagmire is less than comprehensive, and some of… Continue reading →

Lanny Keller: Given the budget-cut boom set to lower on higher education, maybe panic is a rational response

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Board of Regents pick Joseph Rallo as the new higher education commissioner.

The heads of Louisiana’s embattled colleges have a message: Don’t Panic! Given the challenges ahead, and the willingness of higher education leadership to kowtow to the governor in past years, the troops may require just a bit more convincing. “There is hope on the horizon,” LSU President F. King Alexander said in a Continue reading →

Letter: Online education standards review could lessen conflict

In 2009, Louisiana education professionals joined with colleagues from more than 40 other states to create shared, high expectations in reading, writing and math, called the Common Core State Standards. The shift to higher expectations has not been easy in the time since. The new expectations call on students to advance their… Continue reading →

Letter: Oil, gas suit lawyers running the show

The thud you heard around Louisiana the weekend before Mardi Gras was the Gladstone Jones/John Barry lawsuit hitting the floor. Media coverage and editorials have correctly pointed out that the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East should have known better than blindly following the advice of an ambitious lawyer and misdirected history professor. This is the same suit that… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for March 3, 2015

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

Our Views: Three cases of weakness

It is a frightening measure of courage, or rather lack of it, in Louisiana politics: Three of four leading candidates for governor quail before political pressure over Common Core school standards. The three are wrong. “We need to get out of the Common Core umbrella and the PARCC test,” said U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La.… Continue reading →

Letter: Thousands benefit from school choice programs

A recent Dennis Persica column in The Advocate on school choice misses the full story in describing school choice options available in Louisiana. Fortunately for thousands of families across this state, school choice is a distinct reality that is making a positive impact on children’s lives. Today, more than 96,000 students are enrolled in Louisiana school… Continue reading →

Letter: Keystone XL pipeline imperative to U.S. leading energy production

The United States sits on the precipice of a global energy revolution. Since we began increasing domestic production by utilizing new and innovative drilling techniques like fracking, oil-producing nations like Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia have begun to fear losing global market share, putting the United States in a prime position to lead. But we can’t become the… Continue reading →

Letter: Taxes must be raised to fill billion-dollar budget deficit

Perhaps it is paradoxical for someone to write this letter who has spent most of his professional life attempting to use federal and Louisiana laws to reduce taxes, but the current state budget crisis compels me to do so. We are all hearing daily volumes of information about the huge deficit in the state budget for… Continue reading →

Our Views: A runoff on schools

Pictures of Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus

No good deed goes unpunished, Rahm Emanuel. The former White House chief of staff is the mayor of the Windy City, and he’s made some tough calls in public education — enduring a teacher strike and earning the enmity of the Chicago Teachers Union, because he’s closed 50 failing schools in his first term. The… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: Common Core puts Dardenne at odds with opponents

Among Louisiana’s candidates for governor, Republican Jay Dardenne is alone in his support for the divisive Common Core education standards, a position that could help define his campaign. Stakeholders in the heated education debate disagree about whether that stance is wise or toxic for the lieutenant governor, and it remains unclear whether it could help determine Dardenne’s… Continue reading →

Letter: Immigration problem is nothing new

The debate on immigration didn’t just start in the last few years. Former Gov. Mike Foster served from 1996 to 2004, and the union that I am a member of had several informational picket lines during that time that I was a part of. From the picket lines, we handed… Continue reading →

Letter: Consider new approach to doling out tax breaks

Congratulations on your articles about the special tax breaks that certain companies (and even individuals) get. They were very timely, given the state budget troubles in the news. I think many people would agree that the tax breaks we give out should not come at the expense of the basic functions of state… Continue reading →

Letter: Fund should be used for its intended purpose

In 1989, Louisiana voters wanted to make sure that state taxes on gas and diesel were spent on transportation-related improvements, so they wisely passed a constitutional amendment to create the Transportation Trust Fund. Until recently, that fund was a stable, albeit inadequate, source to finance construction and maintenance projects for roads, bridges… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for March 1, 2015

What are Mr. Spock and Governor Jindal doing in a cartoon together? Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Perfidy and poison: What’s left of the levee lawsuit

When opponents of a Louisiana levee board’s lawsuit against energy-related companies wanted to kill the ill-advised legal action last year, they were right to be frustrated by a hideously expensive, so-called “poison pill” in the board’s contract with its lawyers. But if the poison pill was bad, there’s a separate, perfidious provision that’s even… Continue reading →

Political Horizons: Passenger train between Baton Rouge and New Orleans still possible, but far off

So, sitting in traffic, inching past the only part of Interstate 10 from Santa Monica, California, to Jacksonville, Florida, that narrows to a single lane, allows plenty of time for daydreaming. Will there ever be passenger railroad service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans? Actually, there’s a plan. Every morning at 7 a.m., a passenger… Continue reading →

Our Views: New Viking River Cruises on Mississippi River good for Louisiana

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- John and Nancy Yingling, from New Jersey, passengers from the American Queen riverboat, come ashore in Baton Rouge for an afternoon of touring. Last year, about 5,000 passengers visited Baton Rouge through 26 riverboat dockings

It’s difficult to believe possible after a successful 2015 Carnival season, but America’s great river is going to be even more fun in the future. Viking River Cruises, a major provider of high-end river cruises on other continents, will make New Orleans the home port for its first North American itineraries. In 2017, the European… Continue reading →

James Gill: Louisiana's coastal decline a national problem; does President Obama care?

Does President Barack Obama hate Louisiana? Citing a newspaper headline asking that question, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, at a recent budget hearing, seemed to think the answer is yes. While we cannot know what is in Obama’s heart, it would be reasonable to assume that Louisiana is not his favorite state. We don’t… Continue reading →

Our Views: Real war, budget war

There’s a war on, with the Congress debating the terms of the formal resolution of approval for military action against the Islamic State horrors in the Middle East. But that’s not the only thing on the plate of the nation’s 25th secretary of the Defense Department, and it may not even be the longest war that… Continue reading →

Letter: State should lift ban on same-sex marriage

The state should lift the ban on same-sex marriage. There is nothing wrong with gay people, and this is just a social stigma due to Louisiana’s predominantly religious background. America is a free country with the right to freedom of religion, so everybody should have the right to legally marry whomever they choose.… Continue reading →

Letter: Conservatives, liberals can find common ground

We read a lot of columnists and letters in The Advocate about how it seems to be impossible for conservatives and liberals to find common ground. A few weeks ago, I made a favorable online Advocate comment to Danny Heitman about his one of his recent “At Random” columns.… Continue reading →

Letter: Make keeping the state clean of litter a priority

Each year in Louisiana, municipalities, parishes and state agencies spend more than $40 million on litter abatement. As shocking as that sounds, that’s only the beginning of the true cost of litter in Louisiana. The indirect economic costs of litter are also considerable. A littered, neglected community decreases property values by 7… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Feb. 27, 2015

Is the dizzying array of misinformation coming from Bill O’Reilly catching up with him? Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: David Vitter is 'absolutely a problem' for Bobby Jindal's presidential campaign, and here's why

U.S. Sen. David Vitter; Gov. Bobby Jindal

Pretty much everyone who follows Louisiana politics knows that the state’s two leading officials, Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, aren’t allies. They’re not even “frenemies,” two people who don’t like each other but manage to work together toward common goals. Nope. The only apparent connections between these two are the… Continue reading →

Our Views: President Obama ignores the evidence, bows to politics with Keystone veto

Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall, left, with 350 DC, and Lindsey Halvorson, 20, a student at American University, gather up their signs after attending a celebration gathering with other opponents of Keystone XL oil pipeline, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in support of President Barack Obama's veto of the legislation, outside the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Ordinarily, we’d be somewhat sympathetic to President Barack Obama’s stated position on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, as it is a matter of a president’s prerogative on foreign policy. Because the pipeline will bring Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast, the U.S. government must approve its construction. As much as we… Continue reading →

Letter: Barry’s lawsuit targeting energy industry is incredibly misguided

John Barry’s recent column is just as misguided as the unprecedented lawsuit he initiated more than two years ago. Contrary to Barry’s assertion that “the lawsuit was never the problem,” it is worth noting that three different branches of government have now weighed in on the massive litigation targeting Louisiana’s energy industry filed by the Southeast Louisiana… Continue reading →

Letter: Beacon Hill’s report on EPA plan not a credible source

Earlier this week, Quin Hillyer published an opinion article titled “Obama carbon rule would choke Louisiana.” The basis for Hillyer’s argument is a joint report with the Beacon Hill Institute and the New Orleans-based Pelican Institute for Public Policy. Recently revealed documents by The Guardian show that a lobbyist named Richard Berman funded the Beacon Hill… Continue reading →

James Gill: Bobby Jindal misses chance to court extremists

Bobby Jindal must be kicking himself for letting Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, steal his thunder. That could have been Jindal making the Limeys howl with derision by refusing to say whether he believed in evolution. But when Jindal was in London a few weeks ago, there was no time to address the issue, because reporters kept asking… Continue reading →