Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
There is a disturbing article in a recent issue of Atlantic Magazine by a prominent physician at the University of Pennsylvania. Ezekiel J. Emanuel is an oncologist, a bioethicist, and a vice provost of the University, and is the author or editor of 10 books, including Reinventing American Health Care. So he is a bright guy who knows a lot about health. His premise is that no one, in this day and age, should aspire to live longer than 75 years of age.
Is medical marijuana the next Louisiana boondoggle? The current Louisiana legislature seems bent on pushing through extended legislation that enlarges the number of medical conditions marijuana is supposed to treat. And even though the use of marijuana for any purpose, medical or recreational, is specifically prohibited under federal law, the legislature seems hell-bent on opening up the floodgates for any number of medical conditions.
Sad to say that the truth has become a diminishing commodity in America today. Particularly when it comes to many branches of government. Remember the old adage that “I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help you?” Too often, they are here to examine, investigate and even prosecute you.
So our President is a mafia boss, an unethical liar and “morally unfit” to be leading the country. At least that’s the opinion of former FBI chief James Comey. In his recent interviews, Comey also has a problem with Donald Trump’s orange skin, his ties that are too long, and even the size of his hands. Really important stuff from the nation’s former top cop.
Several quick financial fixes are being discussed in the current session of the Legislature involving the expansion of gambling. Here’s an interesting thought. Why is it that Louisiana and neighboring state Mississippi are always on the bottom of every national ranking involving virtually every aspect of a state’s quality of life? Yet casino gambling is widespread throughout both states at a level not found any place else in America outside of Las Vegas.
Let me begin right off by saying that I am a college basketball diehard through and through. Like most sports fans, I cheer on my favorite teams in a number of sports. But at the top of my list has always been college basketball.
There were several gatherings at the state capitol in Baton Rouge last week. Former legislators gathered for their annual reunion to catch up on old friendships and reminisce about past legislative accomplishments. And the few living delegates from the 1973 Louisiana Constitutional Convention were honored for their service as talk of a new convention was being debated in the capitol halls. One theme ran through both gatherings. Why aren’t problems being solved? Why so little cooperation? Where is the vision?
Fifty years ago this weekend, the focus of the Vietnam war dramatically changed. Many Americans were skeptical of why the war was necessary. There were scattered reports of American soldiers killing innocent civilians. But some would argue bad things can happen during wartime, and that’s the price a nation must pay. Then came My Lai.
The Louisiana Legislature just completed a “do nothing” session that proved to be a stalemate towards solving the state’s financial crisis. A new regular session has begun with few signs that anything substantive will come about. By law, no new tax matters can be considered in this even numbered year. So what’s the problem in getting some cooperative effort?
One million dollars down the drain to pay for a special session of the Louisiana legislature. And all for naught. The Governor is hollering that the financial sky is falling and the state is in dire fiscal straights. Legislators protest that their hands are tied by too many constitutional dedications. And since there is little appetite for trimming the budget, the legislature now begins its regular gathering at the state capitol with a shortfall of over one billion dollars.