By:  Pat Austin

This is the time of year when everyone begins publishing their “Best _____ of 2014” lists; for example, The New York Times has published its Best Books of 2014 list (I’ve read only one of them).

So, following suit, here is my own random Best of 2014 list:

Best Books of 2014:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthoy Doerr: a simply stunning novel set during WWII.

Finding Ishmael by Michael Henry: a suspenseful legal thriller set in Israel.

Best Books I read in 2014 but published earlier:

Isle of Canes by Elizabeth Shown Mills: classified as historical fiction only because there is dialogue in it that the author would have had to assume but the characters are real people and the historical research is impressive.  It tells the story of Marie Thérèse Coincoin, an African woman in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana who was born into slavery, bought and freed by Pierre Metoyer, a Frenchman, and who went on to buy the freedom of her children.  Simply a fascinating read.

Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon:  the story of Famie and her life on Cane River is steeped in Spanish moss and moonlight.  Lovely writing.

Best Dance of 2014:

Sadie and Mark’s Super Mario dance.  Too cute for words.

Best Election Result of 2014:

Mary Landrieu’s loss to Rep. Bill Cassidy.

Best Television Show of 2014

True Detective.

Best Dog Story of 2014

Braveheart.  While his story actually began before 2014, it’s safe to say that 2014 has been his best year.

Best New Trend of 2014

The Little Free Library.  These are just cool; we have one in our neighborhood and it’s great.

Most Exciting College Football Player of 2014:

Dak Prescott.  I know he didn’t win the Heisman, but he’s still pretty cool!

Best Conservative Blog of 2014

This one, of course.

We’ll be inundated with these lists between now and the end of the year.  Might as well get started early.

Feel free to leave your own suggestion in  the comments.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — With a margin of 56% to 44%, Rep. Bill Cassidy sealed the deal and sent Mary Landrieu packing last night.  She won only about 16 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes and most of those were in the southern part of the state.

The results were not surprising as Landrieu had polled low, especially after the primary in November.

In her concession speech Landrieu clung to her Obamacare vote and touted it as one of her signature accomplishments even though her position raised the ire of many in Louisiana, especially those facing catastrophic insurance premium hikes next year:

She hailed the Affordable Care Act, the law Mr. Cassidy and his Republican allies hung around her neck at every turn. “We have fought a good fight, and it’s not over yet, for health care,” she said. “This is something to be proud of, and I’m glad we fought for it.”

Mary will, of course, land on her feet.  You can’t spend that many years in politics and get kicked to the curb, and it will be interesting to see if her Obamacare vote lands her some plum appointment now that she’s free from Senate encumbrances.  Surely Obama owes her something for that vote – besides the kickback she already received, that is.

To be fair, Rep. Bill Cassidy is a RINO – he’s not the conservative we need: Col. Rob Maness was that, but Cassidy at least gets us closer to where we need to be.  There will be a place for Col. Maness in Louisiana’s political future, I hope.

But honestly, even Edwin Edwards would have been better than Landrieu (and he took a shellacking, too.).

This is how the system works, and Landrieu knew that.  Last November she pointed out that if you don’t like the way she’s doing her job, and you don’t like Obamacare, you can vote against her:

If they do not like the bill, they can change the bill. We did not wake up one morning and declare this the law. The people of the United States declared this through us as their Representatives. If they do not like it, they can un-elect us. Believe me, they will have a great chance because I am up for reelection right now. They will be able to do that.

Well, here in Louisiana, we took her advice.

Bye, Mary.

DLTDHYITAOTWO.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

 

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — Probably nowhere in the world of social media can one find more of a cesspool of rumor, misinformation, immaturity, and drama than on Facebook.

There is maybe some merit for Twitter: I usually get breaking news faster on Twitter than anywhere else.  Tweets are, of course, thankfully limited to 140 characters, which helps minimize the damage one can do.

About the stupidest thing one can do is to get into an argument with somebody on Facebook.  I speak from experience.  In July, I jumped into an argument with “Miss Liberal” about the Hobby Lobby decision and whether or not it restricted personal rights to buy contraceptives.  In my defense, it was only because I was bored and hurtling down the interstate at 75 mph (as a passenger!) on vacation.  “Miss Liberal” insisted that women lost the right to contraceptives in the Supreme Court decision and I made the case that they did not.  “Miss Liberal” was never convinced and finally resorted to insults and personal attacks; I got bored with her and left the conversation.

I should have learned.

Last week I posted the “I’m NOT with Mary Landrieu” picture on my Facebook feed – I thought it was kind of funny.  “Miss Liberal” pops up again with a comment:  “I feel sorry for you.”  Again we get into a “discussion” about the merits of Landrieu.  “Miss Liberal” hurls more personal attacks and insults about my intelligence.  I am, she says, too ignorant to understand.

Again, I left the conversation.

Third strike:  “Miss Liberal” posts some gibberish on her own Facebook feed about how wonderful universal health care is and how the United States is the only country in the world not to provide this wonderful service to its people – and she tagged me in her post.  She called me out and said that I said that I didn’t believe everyone deserved health care.  (I never said that, of course).

This is just silly, right?  I don’t even know this person in real life and don’t know why we are even Facebook friends.  I’ve never met this person.

But she has called me out.  She tagged me.

So I defend my honor; the whole discussion devolves into a definition of the word entitlement.  “Miss Liberal” said that I get entitlements based on my government job.  When I explained to her that I am a school teacher for the state of Louisiana and I pay for every benefit I receive, she said I was ignorant and needed a dictionary.  The whole thing degenerated from there and she was back to insults and attacks which is how most liberals tend to debate, in my experience.

When my husband and another friend jumped in with me to try to explain to “Miss Liberal” the difference between entitlement and benefit, she started deleting our comments.  In this way, of course, it looked like she was winning the debate.

So – we simply went back in and deleted all our comments and I deleted the entire thread because she had tagged me.

It’s all a childish, silly bunch of middle school drama if you ask me.

I only bring it up to point out two things: Facebook is only a breeding ground for such drivel, and know that when you argue with a liberal you will never convince them.  Your argument can be rock solid and backed up with every academic source in the world, but a true liberal will never be convinced because they believe conservatives are cold blooded, unfeeling evil minions of the rich and elite and all of those people are bad.

That doesn’t mean we need to cave in to their ignorance, but just don’t debate them of Facebook.  I’ve sure learned my lesson.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT —  I don’t want to jinx anything but I think Mary Landrieu’s goose is cooked here in Louisiana.  The beleaguered Senator Landrieu made a stop in Shreveport a few days ago to kick off the early voting period; she led a march through downtown Shreveport to one of the early voting locations.  When asked about her prospects in the December run-off, especially since the Cassidy campaign has far outspent her, Senator Landrieu replied:

“In the North Carolina race, one of the candidates outspent the other four to one, and the candidate that spent less won, because it’s not always about the money, it’s about people voting.”

sign
Shreveport is NOT with Mary

The most recent poll has Landrieu behind Cassidy by about 15 points, but she’s right: it IS all about who turns out to vote.  That being said, it’s interesting to note this article in the Alexandria Town Talk by Bill Barrow who looks at the numbers:

In every one of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, Landrieu lost votes from her 2008 level. While that’s not entirely unexpected given lower voter participation in midterm elections, the depth of Landrieu’s losses compared with her Republican rivals is notable. She lost at least 5,000 votes in 21 parishes, at least 10,000 in nine parishes, at least 20,000 in four parishes, and 30,000-plus in East Baton Rouge and Jefferson parishes. Her smallest loss in an individual parish was 556 votes in sparsely populated East Carroll Parish, but even that was almost 20 percent of her 2008 total there.

There’s lots more of that kind of analysis at the link and it’s pretty revealing of things to come for Mary.

Ali Akbar, senior adviser to the Black Conservative’s Fund, is here in Louisiana helping drum up support in the black community for Rep. Bill Cassidy.  Akbar told the LSU Reveille  that in the preliminary election, according to exit polls, Rep. Cassidy garnered only 3% of the African-American vote – a number Akbar says is totally unacceptable.  The Black Conservative Fund wants to change that.

Turn-out will have a lot to do with how this race ends up, but it’s hard to see Landrieu coming back from such an apparent disadvantage if the polls are to be believed, especially given the appearance that the national Democrats have given up on her.  And if the above sign is to be believed, Shreveport, at least, is NOT with Mary.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said on Meet the Press Sunday when asked about a 2016 presidential run, “we are praying about this.”

Governor Jindal remains fairly popular in Louisiana overall, but there are many who are not so enchanted with him.  In a recent forum with the 6th District Congressional candidates, Jindal received a mediocre 5.6 out of 10 rating.  Staunch conservatives have been disgruntled with Jindal for several years now, often criticizing his constant out-of-state travel which has been seen as a clear indication of his intention to run for president in 2016.  His frequent absences from the state prompted a line of “Where in the World is Bobby” merchandise.

In 2008, Governor Jindal approved a huge legislative pay raise, breaking a campaign promise to do no such thing; he refused to veto the bill because he might need their help later, he said.  After a huge public outcry (so drastic that people were ripping off their Jindal bumper stickers and mailing them back to him), Governor Jindal caved in and did in fact veto the pay raise.

In another move that raised the ire of conservatives, shortly after his re-election, Governor Jindal came out in support of Louisiana Democrat John Alario for President of the State Senate.  Alario had served in the Louisiana House since 1972 as a Democrat but when he was term-limited in 2007 he decided to switch parties and run for the Senate as a Republican.  All he wanted was to serve as president of both chambers and it didn’t make any difference to him what party designation he held.  In this case, it was politically expedient to switch to Republican so that’s what he did.

Senate President John Alario, the longest-serving Louisiana state legislator, said he changed to Republican because he wanted to be Senate president and he couldn’t get the backing of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal as a Democrat. Also, his new larger Senate district was redder than his smaller House district.

Governor Jindal’s huge flip-flop earlier this year on Common Core stunned even his closest advisers.  Jindal had lobbied for Common Core and had seemed committed to the initiative, but suddenly, as 2016 looms closer and public opinion turned against Common Core, Jindal reversed his position, prompting some harsh criticism from NOLA’s James Varney:

Politics makes strange bedfellows, to use a well-worn phrase. But the only one jumping from bed to bed here is Jindal. Regardless of what one thinks about those under the respective covers, it’s not a pretty picture.

All this is just to say that national conservative leaders and even some high profile talk radio folks seem to be under the impression that Governor Jindal is the great hope for the future of conservatism, but it might be wise to note that the good Governor can be as politically squishy as anyone else in the business and he may not be all that they believe.

Governor Jindal might be very, very good in a cabinet position working to unscramble and eradicate Obamacare, but as a presidential hopeful, probably not the best choice.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — So, you may have heard that Mary Landrieu didn’t fare so well in her bid for re-election to the Senate last week.

She didn’t win, but she didn’t lose, either.  Landrieu and Rep. Bill Cassidy will face each other in a runoff in December which means those of us in Louisiana can look forward to a few more weeks of nasty campaign ads.

louisiana
Louisiana Senate 2014

Of course, those ads won’t be paid for by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC); they’ve pulled funding for her ads.  And why not?  They don’t need her anymore.  With the Senate firmly in Republican control now, Landrieu is expendable.  Well, that’s not their line; what the DSCC says is that Landrieu is “a proven run-off winner” and she isn’t the best place for their money right now.  So, she’s on her own.

As both camps regroup for the runoff election, Team Landrieu comes out of the gate with a rather bizarre attack ad on Rep. Cassidy, asking where he was during Hurricane Katrina. Apparently Landrieu means to prop up her own Katrina response by attacking Cassidy, however, Hurricane Katrina occurred in 2005 and Cassidy wasn’t serving in Congress until 2009.

For his part, Cassidy responded to the Landrieu attack ad by pointing out that he was setting up a hospital for refugees in Baton Rouge at the time.

What would Landrieu hope to gain with this one?  And I personally am outraged that Landrieu is using veterans as props in this ad. In this ad she claims that Cassidy “also voted with President Obama 97% of the time,” as she did, however NOLA refutes that:

Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., backed President Barack Obama 97 percent of the time in 2013, a sharp contrast to Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, her top GOP Senate challenger, who supported his view only eight percent of the time, according to CQ.

Landrieu voted with fellow Democrats in the Senate 90 percent of the time, while Cassidy backed the GOP position in the House 96 percent of the time.

It’s an odd direction for her to attempt; the local response to Hurricane Katrina was far from impressive and one would think Landrieu wouldn’t want to cover that ground again.

Who could forget “Katrina Mary” and Anderson Cooper?  It wasn’t pretty.

Republican Rob Maness has now endorsed Rep. Bill Cassidy, it looks grim for Mary Landrieu.  There were some of us who hoped Maness would pull out of the election as he was polling in a distant third place all along, and had he done that, Cassidy possibly could have won the election outright, but you never know.  And here we are, gifted with these bizarre campaign ads.

It should make for an interesting month on campaigning.

How low will she go?

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — Bad news on today on the Dead Pelican – that’s the Louisiana version of The Drudge Report.    The headline there links to a Washington Times story predicting yet another month of negative campaigning here in Louisiana:

While voters around the country eagerly await Tuesday as the end of the campaign ad season, Louisiana’s residents need to brace for another month of the onslaught of negative TV ads and mailboxes spilling over with attack flyers.

The quirk of the state’s election calendar for congressional races means the barrage of ill will from campaigns and outside groups is expected to continue through the Thanksgiving holidays and most of the college football regular season.

The national focus is on our Senate race with Mary Landrieu trying to keep her career position in the Senate; opposing her is Rep. Bill Cassidy, a RINO but giving Mary a run for her money, and the more conservative (and Palin-endorsed) candidate Rob Maness who is polling a distant third place and just barely out of single digits.

Much has been made of Landrieu’s statement last week in which she criticized her constituency, calling the Louisiana voters who elected her three times racist and sexist.  She’s getting desperate.

Locally, in Shreveport, we have as big a mess of a mayor’s race as anything I’ve ever seen, and the smear attacks are just embarrassing.  One candidate is accused of double-dipping reimbursement expenses, one candidate’s mental competency has been challenged, and yet another has admitted to shooting her husband in a domestic abuse situation.  If there was ever an election where you just didn’t want to vote, our mayoral race would be it.

The flyers and cards I’m getting through my mail slot are enough to make me want to tape the thing shut; I need to wash my hands after picking them up.  It’s downright nasty.

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but in addition to sorting through all that mudslinging, we also have fourteen constitutional amendments on the ballot, as well as a plethora of other local races from school board to City Marshall.  I printed my sample ballot and it is three pages long.

I’m not complaining, though – I’m proud to be able to vote and will certainly exercise my right to vote on Tuesday.  It might take twenty minutes in the voting booth, but it will be worth it all just to vote against Mary Landrieu.

I guess on the bright side, it will be interesting to see what kind of smears she will come up with to insult her constituents as we wait for the run off.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By Pat Austin

 

SHREVEPORT — Remember when “Swatting” was all the rage?  I think I know now how those victims felt.  I wasn’t a victim of Swatting last night, but I was indeed the victim of an over-zealous cop and his team who swarmed my house and came through the door with guns drawn.

As the wife of a retired police officer, I appreciate more than most people the dangers that police officers face on a daily basis.  It’s a dangerous job and most people wouldn’t do it.

Scene:  Saturday night, about 8:30.  My husband and I are sitting in our living room with the World Series on television.  Kansas City was leading the Giants 4 – 1.  My husband can’t stand listening to Joe Buck so the sound was turned way down.  He was working on his computer and I was reading a book on my iPad, and all three dogs were sleeping around us.

We have relatively new neighbors in the house directly behind us and these people have small children.  Lately the weather has been cool, turning to fall, and the evenings pleasant so the children are often playing out in the backyard, squealing and screaming as kids will do.  Yesterday their father was out there with them doing some home repair because I heard saws going and some hammering.   The kids don’t bother me; I’m glad kids play outside and are not stuck in front of video games.

So as we are watching the game, we can hear the kids playing and screaming; hubby asked me if I heard that because cause he wasn’t sure what he was hearing; it could have been on the TV, which as I said, was turned way down.  I confirmed that I heard the kids screaming and we went on about our business.

About 15 minutes later, about 8:45, Steve looks up from his computer and says, “Hey, there are police outside, I mean RIGHT outside.”  He could see the lights flashing through the blinds.  He got up and peeked out the blinds and saw patrol cars, and he saw officers with flashlights running down the driveway that cuts between my house and the neighbor’s house: it’s a wide double driveway that we share.

I stood up from the couch to look and as I crossed my living room I saw officers with flashlights running between my house and the neighbor’s house on the other side.  One was shouting “It’s back here, it’s back here!”

I said, “Steve, they’re over here now,” and pointed to the window.  About that time there is a fierce pounding on my front door and lights pointed at my house.  “Open up!  Open up right now!”  Pounding, pounding on the door.

Steve tells me to grab the dog (the Lab who is very protective, but not barking) opened the front door and starts to ask what in the world is going on when this cop with his gun drawn and aimed at Steve’s chest starts screaming “Get back!  Get back!  Who is screaming in this house?  Who is screaming!”  The cop props one foot on the threshold-step and continues screaming at us.

Steve raises his hands in an open gesture, the way you do when a cop is aiming a gun at you, and said, “What are you talking about?  Nobody is screaming in here!”

The cop, with the gun still aimed at Steve, looks at me and yells:  “Who else is in this house, who is doing that screaming?!”

I said, “Nobody is screaming in here!  It’s those children behind us!  We have kids living behind us and they play in their backyard!”  And Steve is saying “We’re just sitting here watching the baseball game!”  And the dog is standing there, who I’ve never managed to grab because this happened so fast, but he isn’t barking or charging at the cop, thank goodness.

Steve tells him, “I’m a police officer, I’m a retired Bossier City police officer; we are just sitting here watching baseball!”

At that point the cop turns his gun so he’s no longer aiming it at Steve but still has it in a firing grip, he turns to the officers standing behind him and in the driveway, and says “It’s the house behind, on the other street!”  and takes off running.

Steve hollers after him, “What’s your name!” and the officer gives it to him.

We closed the door in stunned silence.

We stared at each other, in silence, and then the fear and adrenaline hit me.  I started shaking and trembling and could not stop.  I sat back down on the couch, got back up, Steve is dumbfounded and then furious.  He gets on his cell phone and calls to speak to a supervisor and I walked outside on the back deck to see if I could hear anything.

I saw flashing police lights and the neighbor’s back flood light was still on.  I heard a stereo playing, maybe from their house, maybe another house.

I went back inside and Steve was still on the phone demanding to speak to a supervisor.  He finally got a lieutenant to come to the house to talk to us; he came within about thirty minutes and he had Mr. Over-Zealous Cop with him.  We had the door open, watching through the storm door for the lieutenant to show up and we saw Mr. Over-Zealous walking the supervisor through the run down the driveway and down the other side of the house, explaining what they did.  Then Mr. Over-Zealous walks back to the street, crosses his arms, and leans against his patrol car watching us as we speak to the supervisor.

In the end, the whole thing was terrifying.  I know it could have been much worse; I kept thinking what if my dog had jumped at the cop?  He would have shot him.  What if the cop thought Steve was making a threatening move?  Would he have shot him?  He was definitely drawn down on him.  What if my 22-year old son had come out of his room, walked around the corner into this scene – would he have shot him?  What if Steve and I had gone out and my son was home alone to face this craziness?

The what-ifs kept me up all night long and haunt me.

Like I said, I know it could have been worse, because no shots were fired in this case, and you certainly read about incidents that have gone wrong all the time.

I blame all this on the over-militarization of the police force.  Officers dress like SWAT teams now in all black or in riot gear with cargo pockets all over them.  What happened to first assessing the scene before you draw down on a civilian?  What happened to knocking on the door and saying, “Hey, we’ve got a noise complaint and just need to be sure everything is OK in here.”

And if he really thought someone was in mortal danger, why just take our word for it before running off to terrorize someone else?  When they were running between the houses, we had open windows (actually OPEN windows, as well as open blinds and curtains) and any officer could have looked inside or listened to see what was going on before drawing down on us.

I know police work is dangerous and I know that domestic calls are often the most dangerous.  I appreciate the difficulty of their job.  But with any job, your first responsibility is to do no harm, to avoid making any situation worse, and to act responsibly.

This could have gone very bad very quickly last night.

Tonight, I’m traumatized and a little unsteady but grateful that nothing worse happened.  But I remain convinced that the world is out of whack, the police are pushed and stressed beyond measure, and nobody trusts anybody anymore.

 

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — I am sick to death of reading about Ebola.  Everywhere I turn, every paper, every website, every radio program – Ebola hysteria.

Shepard Smith’s Ebola smackdown has been all over Facebook and the blogs this week; he’s about the only person I’ve seen that’s making sense on this thing, and it pains me to say that.  But, he is correct that this is much ado about nothing.  Not that this isn’t a serious and scary disease, but the media wants so desperately for this to be “a big story” that everybody that sneezes or pukes at a DART station makes headlines.

The problem with this hype is that if something really newsworthy does happen, nobody is going to pay attention because that “cry wolf” thing only works so many times.

It’s like our weather forecasters down here in Louisiana: a band of thunderstorms rolls in from the west and all of a sudden they interrupt programing and go into full panic mode.  Their websites post up a “Severe Weather Live Blog” and panicked looking weathermen stare intently at their computers while people ask about the weather in their particular neighborhoods.  It is ridiculous.  Every storm that rolls in is not the next Katrina.

This Ebola panic is the same thing.

All the top stories at Memeorandum Sunday morning are about Ebola.

CNN wants to know where is the sympathy for Africa’s Ebola victims.

Byon York writes about the Ebola czar.

Drudge, who has been in full panic mode for weeks now, has the headline “Disaster of our Generation” at the top.

And the New York Times has a story about families in Ebola quarantine.

Enough already.

Can’t we just get back to looking at cat videos?

Seriously, I’d be much more concerned about catching the flu than catching Ebola.

I think the problems, as I said, is more with the media than with our own obsession for Ebola news.  Never letting a good crisis go to waste, the media would prefer we not think too much about mid-term elections, the lousy economy, and hey, this thing has been a great distraction for the illegals still pouring across the border.  Nobody’s talking about that anymore.  Unless it’s a connection between Ebola and illegals…

Nothing to see here.

Move along.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport

 

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — Mary Landrieu’s most threatening challenger didn’t show up for the debate at Dillard University last week.  On Thursday, Senator Mary Landrieu and challenger Rob Maness joined forces in hammering Republican Bill Cassidy who attended his own campaign event in Alexandria.  Maness and Landrieu took turns taking pot-shots at Cassidy:

Landrieu:

“Our opponent that is not here tonight, I used to think he was kind of afraid of me because I can be a little tough at times,” said Landrieu, a Democrat. “He’s afraid of the people of our state.”

Maness:

“No amnesty, no pathway to citizenship. Both of my opponents support either amnesty for illegal aliens or a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens,”

Cassidy was not present to refute the claims.

When approached about his absence, Cassidy said “a debate about a debate is silly.”  He does plan to attend the LPB debate Tuesday.

Meanwhile, at the debate that Cassidy skipped, both Landrieu and Maness weighed in on Obamacare:

Landrieu asserted, “[t]he Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but it is working in many important ways.”

Maness, appearing in his first political debate ever, countered, “Obamacare is an abomination. One of my top priorities,” he added, “is not to repeal or defund it, but pull it out by the roots because it’s a job killer.”

People in Louisiana are talking about Obamacare this week as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, among other companies, announced double-digit rate increases:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, the state’s largest provider, filed papers that it is moving forward with its original plan to increases rates between 18.3 percent and 19.7 percent for policyholders in its Blue Saver, Blue Max and its Multi-State individual health plans. The plans cover 52,638 people.

In addition to BC/BS, Humana and Vantage plan to raise rates.

Mary says it’s working, though, no matter how expensive it is.

Maness stands little chance to win the election; his poll numbers are still dismal.  Every vote for Maness likely is a vote for Landrieu in the end result as each Maness vote would probably be a Cassidy vote were Maness not in the race.  Cassidy could win the election outright if Maness were to withdraw – an unlikely option.

Landrieu and her long-time Louisiana political machine are not to be trifled with and Cassidy should refrain from playing silly games with her.  Flipping that seat from blue to red is more important than any campaign event Cassidy thinks he might be more important than a public debate.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport