Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
It could be the most recognized American song worldwide. Go to a small Asian community were little or no English is spoken. Then start humming “You Are MySunshine.” More likely than not, the locals will join in singing along. Everyone knows the words to a down home tune written by a Louisiana country singer and movie star. And he was sworn in as Louisiana Governor seventy years ago this week.
Just what is America’s favorite pastime? Is it politics or baseball? Politics has always been a major spectator sport, particularly here in my home state of Louisiana. But don’t sell baseball short. Not only has baseball been around longer than any of America’s professional team sports, the game’s highs and lows have been injected in national politics almost from the sport’s inception.
Last week’s column discussed the election of judges and the undue influence of campaign funds. A number of responses suggested doing away with judicial elections and following the federal path of presidential appointment. But is the appointive process really better than electing judges?
According to several watchdog organizations, Louisiana has one of the worst judicial climates in the country. The state has been given the dubious title of the nation’s judicial hellhole by several neutral watchdog groups. Campaign funds given to a judicial candidate are often cited as possibly influencing future judicial decisions. Some are advocating the appointment of judges in order to do away with the pressure on judicial candidates to raise campaign contributions. So is this the solution? Is appointing rather than electing judges the way to go in Louisiana?
Louisiana’s two-term governor and aspiring presidential candidate, Bobby Jindal, just returned from a 10-day junket to the Far East. Stops were made in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan for the expressed purpose of seeking out foreign investment in the Bayou State. But if industrial development in the state by foreign companies was his goal, Jindal missed the mark by some 1300 miles.
Roseanne Roseannadanna summed it up pretty well in trying to make sense to make sense out of the trials and tribulations of Louisiana. “Well, it just goes to show you, it’s always something,” she said. We are hearing cries that Louisiana is unable to take care of its problems, and should be treated differently than other states. Some even say, OK, then — make it a protectorate of the federal government. And you know what? Maybe that ain’t too bad of an idea.
Throughout the current NFL season, I have remained a die-hard New Orleans Saints fan. But I have also admired the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are one of the best examples of how a sports franchise should operate. They don’t go to the state capitol hat in hand, looking for a handout. The team is owned by citizen stockholders from all over Wisconsin, and the Packers’ management doesn’t regularly try to blackmail public officials into giving them more handouts under threat of picking up and moving the franchise.
Ten years ago, NBC newscaster Tom Brokaw wrote a book about what he called “The Greatest Generation.” In contrast, there’s a new best seller out now calling America “the dumbest generation.” And since Louisiana is at the bottom of the barrel on most national lists, you can imagine how folks in the Bayou State are viewed.
The Governor of Louisiana called me last night. I was just about to doze off when the phone rang. And can you believe it? He wanted my advice on how to deal with his plummeting poll numbers and his growing list of governing and political problems. The conversation went something like this.
The 34th President of the United States was assassinated 50 years ago this week under controversial circumstances that leave a number of questions unanswered to this day.