While establishment Republican big shots were praising one another at the their 2014 Leadership Conference in the Big Easy last week, something interesting happened.
While U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, the party’s anointed candidate to oppose Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu this fall, was enjoying the laudatory comments about his candidacy and an endorsement from former Speaker Newt Gingrich, another opponent of his was on a tour of the state with big news.
Rob Maness, the GOP Senate candidate who is a retired Air Force Colonel, stole some of Cassidy’s thunder.
At a press conference in Shreveport, the Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee, announced its endorsement of Maness. From Shreveport, Maness and the Tea Party Express held four other press conferences around the state.
But that isn’t all. At the Leadership Conference itself, Maness held a press conference where former Alaska Gov. and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin also publicly endorsed Maness.
One has to wonder what the Cassidy campaign camp thinks about all of the endorsements Maness is getting from these conservative groups. The big question is whether all of this Tea Party hoopla will translate into votes for Maness.
Cassidy maintains a huge lead, according to recent polls, over the other two fellow Republicans in the race – Maness and state Rep. Paul Hollis.
Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, who made disparaging remarks about homosexuals and suggested that blacks in the South were happy during the Jim Crow era in a GQ magazine interview, was a featured speaker at the recent Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.
However, he did not make any such remarks at the Conference, limiting his criticism to President Barack Obama, saying, “We’re up against evil like I’ve never seen in my life.”
He even went on to say, “There’s one race on this planet, and it’s called the human race. Therefore, you have no right to color-code anyone. We’re all the same family.”
Perhaps Robertson is finally getting the message that we live in an age where ignorant, hateful speech won’t be tolerated, one journalist opined.
That sentiment seemed to be reflected in the viewer numbers for the A&E reality show’s recent season premiere. The ratings were close to 30% lower than last season’s premiere.
That fact has entertainment analysts predicting that the show is fading in popularity and its run as one of TV’s most popular reality shows may be coming to an end.
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal again defended Robertson, contending that his remarks in GQ was a debate over religious liberty. “The left wants to silence anyone who has a different view or a different perspective,” he said.
Time for crime
It’s time for our annual report on crime and those controversial rankings from CQ Press, which analyzes data for cities with a population of at least 75,000, as well as metropolitan areas.
For its 2013-2014 rankings, CQ Press considered the following six categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and motor vehicle thefts.
Shreveport came in as the 109th most dangerous city out of 437 cities surveyed. In 2012-2013, it was ranked as the 95th most dangerous out of 432 surveyed. In 2010-2011 it was the the 85th most dangerous.
New Orleans, as expected, is the most dangerous city in Louisiana. It’s ranked nationally as the 13th most dangerous city.
Baton Rouge was not far behind. The state’s capital city was ranked as the 29th most dangerous city. Lafayette came in as the 141st most dangerous city.
The Top 10 most dangerous cities in the country are: Camden, NJ; Flint, MI; Detroit, MI; Oakland, CA; St. Louis, MO; Cleveland, OH; Gary, IN; Newark, NJ; Bridgeport, CT; and Birmingham, AL.
The Top 10 safest cities are: Fishers, IN; Carmel, IN; Parma, OH; Johns Creek, GA; Ramapo, NY; Amherst, NY; Newton, MA; Clarkstown, NY; Mission Viego, CA; and Colonie, NY.
When it comes to the most dangerous and safest metropolitan areas, a strange thing is happening. Many areas are not filing complete reports, therefore cannot be ranked. It is one way of not getting a bad ranking.
Among Louisiana metropolitan areas that could not be ranked because of a lack of data are:
*Shreveport-Bossier City Metropolitan Area, which includes, Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto, and Webster parishes. The last time data was available in 2011- 2012, the area came in as the 44th most dangerous out of 364 metropolitan areas.
*Lafayette Metropolitan Area, which includes the parishes of Lafayette, Acadia, Iberia, Vermillion, and St. Martin. In 2012-2013 it was ranked as the 148th most dangerous out of 358 metropolitan areas surveyed.
*Baton Rouge Metropolitan Area, which includes the parishes of East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, and St. Helena. In 2012-2013, it was ranked 43rd most dangerous.
*Alexandria Metropolitan Area, which includes the parishes of Rapides and Grant. In 2012-2013, it was ranked as 59th most dangerous.
For the first time, the Hammond Metropolitan Area, which includes Tangipahoa Parish was ranked. And it surprisingly came in as the 5th most dangerous out of 350 metropolitan areas.
The New Orleans-Metairie Metropolitan Area, which include Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. James and St. Tammany parishes, was ranked 15th most dangerous.
The Monroe Metropolitan Area, which includes Ouachita and Union parishes, was ranked 103rd most dangerous.
The Houma-Thibodaux Metropolitan Area, which includes Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, was ranked 231st most dangerous.
Stars at Barksdale
A four-star general could be coming to Barksdale Air Force Base to lead the Global Strike Nuclear Command.
That’s the word from Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who revealed that the Air Force has made that recommendation to the Secretary of Defense.
Landrieu, who led the Louisiana delegation’s efforts to locate the Global Strike Command at Barksdale, said that the entity should be led by a four-star general.
She said that a four-star general would demonstrate the important mission that the Command continues to play in our nation’s security.
Her positions as chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and chair of the Senate Energy Committee provided needed influence to make the decision a reality.
The effort to bring four stars to Barksdale was indeed a bipartisan effort. Also instrumental in this development were Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter and Republican 4th District U.S. Rep. John Fleming of Minden.
Vitter’s position on the Senate Armed Services Committee and Fleming’s membership on the House Armed Services Committee gave additional clout to the request.
Welcome to 2015: Part 2
Last week we reported on a poll on the 2015 governor’s race conducted by Southern Media & Opinion Research (SMOR) of Baton Rouge.
SMOR has now released the results of its poll on the lieutenant governor’s race.
Current Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has said that he will run for governor in 2015. If he does, that means the state’s number two position will be an open seat.
SMOR included in its poll Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who has already announced he is running, and potential candidates John Young, president of Jefferson Parish, and state Sen. Elbert Guillory, an African-American from Opelousas and a recent convert to the Republican Party.
Here are the results:
John Young (R) – 31.6%.
Billy Nungesser (R) – 23.1%.
Elbert Guillory (R) – 9.4%.
Undecided/Won’t Say –35.9%.
When asked for a favorable opinion on each, the respondents gave Nungesser a 41.4% favorable rating, Young 36.3%, and Guillory 31.3%.
It’s still early, of course. And one has to wonder if someone from north of I-10 may jump into the race since the three candidates polled are from south Louisiana.
And if Dardenne decides not to run for governor and seek re-election as lieutenant governor, that would be a whole new ball game.
You may want to think twice before going up to your state legislator and criticizing him or her for their votes.
The Legislature has passed legislation that added legislators to a special class of officials allowed to carry concealed weapons in most public buildings and other places, such as churches, restaurants, and bars.
However, the legislation prohibits lawmakers from packing heat in the state Capitol and in courthouses definitely a smart decision.
Among other officials who have the same authority are judges, constables, coroners, and district attorneys.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has already signed into law a bill that allows persons with concealed carry permits to bring their weapon into restaurants that serve alcohol.