Thursday, December 12th, 2013
FBI descends on Kenilworth charter school
State and federal agents descended Wednesday upon the Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School and carted away boxes from the Baton Rouge school.
But details of their investigation remained a closely guarded secret, as school and law enforcement officials refused to discuss the reason for the visit.
More than a dozen agents wheeled several boxes — stacked three to four high — on a dolly and fit them like puzzle pieces in the back of a large, unmarked white van parked by the front doors. Several people could be seen inside the school’s front office rifling through files as agents in the hall stacked boxes to be loaded into the van.
Louisiana congressional members mostly undecided on budget deal
by Bruce Alpert - Times-Picayune (excerpt)
WASHINGTON -- Louisiana's congressional delegation largely remained uncommitted Wednesday on the budget deal that would substitute some across-the-board cuts known as sequester for modest increases in military and domestic spending during the next two years. Some lawmakers said they were glad the agreement signaled there would not be a repeat of the government shutdown in October. "I am encouraged that a budget agreement has been reached between the leaders so we can move past governing from crisis to crisis," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. "We have many other challenges -- making flood insurance affordable, green-lighting Morganza to the Gulf and securing Louisiana's fair share of offshore energy revenue -- to address."
David Duke gets kicked out of Italy for holding racist views
by Julia O'Donoghue - Times-Picayune (excerpt)
David Duke, the former state representative from Jefferson Parish who ran for Louisiana governor and U.S. president, has been kicked out of Italy for holding anti-semitic and racist views, according to the Reuters news agency. Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who has denied the Holocaust, had been living in Italy for a year and half. A British newspaper, The Independent, said Duke was trying to establish a pan-European Neo-Nazi group there. Duke tried to fight his expulsion, but an Italian court ruled that he was "socially dangerous" because of his racist and anti-semitic views. He has already left the country, Reuters said.
Civil District Judge Bagneris resigns; challenge to Mayor Landrieu likely
by Richard Rainey - Times-Picayune (excerpt)
Judge Michael Bagneris, who has clashed for months with Mayor Mitch Landrieu over disparate plans to relocate the Civil District Court, will resign from the bench effectively at 5:30 today, spokesman Walt Pierce confirmed. The move clears the way for Bagneris to challenge Landrieu in his reelection bid on Feb. 1. Bagneris couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Some New Orleans residents were contacted last week by a telephone poll testing Bagneris' chances in the mayor's race.
Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
Obama Approval Plunge Pulls Down Democrats, Hits New All Time Low
President Barack Obama's job approval among American voters drops to a new low, a negative 38 - 57 percent, as the outlook for Democrats running for Congress and the U.S. Senate fades also, according to a national poll released today. He even gets a negative 41 - 49 percent among voters 18 to 29 years old and a lackluster 50 - 43 percent approval among Hispanic voters. The president's job approval compares to a negative 39 - 54 percent score in a November 12 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.
Today, Obama gets negative scores of 6 - 92 percent among Republicans, 30 - 62 percent among independent voters, 31 - 64 percent among men, 44 - 49 percent among women and 29 - 65 among white voters. Approval is 76 - 18 percent among Democrats and 85 - 9 percent among black voters.
American voters say 41 - 38 percent that they would vote for a Republican over a Democrat for the U.S. House of Representatives, the first time this year the Democrats come up on the short end of this generic ballot. Independent voters back Republican candidates 41 - 28 percent. Voters also say 47 - 42 percent that they would like to see Republicans gain control of the U.S. Senate and the House. Independent voters go Republican 50 - 35 percent for each.
Sen. Landrieu campaign begins ads
by Bruce Alpert - Times-Picayune (excerpt)
WASHINGTON - The first ad for Sen. Mary's Landrieu's 2014 re-election campaign deals with the issue that makes her most vulnerable -- her support for the Affordable Care Act. The 30-second ad, unveiled Wednesday, features TV and newspaper reports and interviews in which Landrieu, a three-term Democrat, urges President Barack Obama to keep his promise that Americans could keep their insurance plans when the Affordable Care Act is implemented. The president was on the defensive after reports that potentially up to 5 million people were losing their previous health insurance because the plans did not comply with the minimum benefits requirements of the Affordable Care Act. "This is a promise you made. This is a promise you should keep," Landrieu says in the ad, describing her message for the president. The ad doesn't mention that many Democratic members of Congress, including Landrieu, repeated the president's promise.
COMMENTARY: Spending a ton of money telling a lie doesn't make it the truth. Mary Landrieu should know better. The ad is clearly misleading and absurd on its face.
School aid plan likely to spark arguments
by Will Sentell - Advocate (excerpt)
A controversial public school program called Course Choice would be subsidized by Louisiana’s chief source of state school aid under a plan recommended Tuesday by the chairman of an education task force. Jay Guillot, who is also a member of the state’s top school board, spelled out his suggestions ahead of Friday’s final meeting of a panel set up to review the state’s $3.5 billion public school funding system called the Minimum Foundation Program. One proposal likely to spark arguments would revamp aid for the state’s new Course Choice program, which is aimed at offering students hard-to-get courses, including those required for college scholarships, dual enrollment and remedial work.
Council district races could see higher profiles
by Andrea Shaw - Times-Picayune (excerpt)
New Orleans City Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson abandoned the idea of retirement Tuesday, as she declared her candidacy for her former District C post on the council. Her entry into the race came on the eve of qualifying and one week after District C incumbent Kristin Gisleson Palmer said she would not seek re-election so she could spend more time with her family.
Flanked by nearly two dozen elected, civic and business leaders, Clarkson, 78, said, "I have been drafted back to battle. On we go.''
Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced Clarkson's candidacy, saying he asked her to run. District C has seen $150 million in projects, Landrieu said, recounting a list of accomplishments under Palmer and Clarkson, from expanding retail at Algiers Plaza, saving the ferries and retaining the military at Federal City to restoring the Treme Community Center.