Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
Twenty-eight years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan traveled to West Berlin, and at the Brandenburg Gate admonished: “Mr.Gorbachev, take down that wall.” The Berlin Wall had been erected by the puppet Soviet state of East Germany. Unless you are over sixty-five or are a history buff, you may not understand the tensions that existed then had many observers feeling that we could be on the brink of war with the Soviet Union.
Iraq is imploding as Republicans and Democrats alike are scratching the heads as to what went wrong. Meanwhile, party gridlock in Washington has brought any sense of responsible governing to a standstill. The President faces what may well turn out to be his single biggest crisis during his time in office, and he spent most of last week vacationing on California golf courses. Are we observing a freak show or what?
Kids all over Louisiana graduated last week from kindergarten, grade school, high school, college and graduate schools. And there was always a commencement speaker. Most of you will never give a commencement address. But as a public official, I was called on to give a number of them. And guess what? I don’t remember any of the advice that I gave to these newly minted graduates.
A popular Louisiana Governor died 15 years ago this week. John McKeithen was the first Governor I ever met. When he was elected as chief executive in 1963, Louisiana was still a 19th century state struggling to operate in the 20th century. McKeithen was the catalyst that caused a major realignment of priorities.
There is a great deal of whining going on down in the Crescent City over the loss of the 2018 Super Bowl. Many New Orleanians who were part of the bid process felt they were far and away the front-runners to host the big game for the 11th time. After all, the year would be the city’s 300th anniversary.
A week doesn’t go by without Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal taking a potshot at President Obama. The Prez has kept a tight lip and publically ignores Jindal, but it’s obvious from press reports that there is no love lost between them. Despite the animosity, Bobby Jindal and President Obama have a lot in common.
Millions of campaign dollars from all over America are pouring into Louisiana in a calculated effort to influence the outcome of the state’s up and coming U.S. Senate race. Incumbent democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is in the fight of her political life and republicans are leaving no stone unturned in an effort to beat her in November. But who is going to decide the outcome of this race -- voters in Louisiana or political PACs in Washington, D.C.?
Achievement in U.S. elementary schools lags behind many industrialized countries. The U.S. comes in 16th in science and 23rd in math. Our major economic competitors -- China, Japan, Canada, Germany and Korea -- are far ahead. So why is it so hard for us to implement new approaches that will improve our kids’ performance?
Legislation is working its way through the Louisiana legislature that would strip levee districts of their autonomy. Board members of several large levee boards are crying foul and charge that flood protection will suffer and emergency responses will slow down. Louisiana has twenty-three levee boards that cover the state’s waterways from the Arkansas border to the Gulf of Mexico. But here’s the question. Why have any levee boards at all?
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal made a splash of headlines a few weeks ago by proposing his alternative to Obamacare. Many of his ideas are the part of the same list he’s been shopping around for years, some of it pieced together from a litany of Republican proposals. He’s being blistered by a number of state and national columnists for not putting forth anything new or original.