Report from Louisiana: A sampler

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – A sampling of news items from Louisiana this week:

John White:  Louisiana’s long-time State Superintendent of Education, John White, has decided to move on to other endeavors. I wish I could say I was surprised, but alas, Mr. White has been working without a contract for the past four years.

White became Superintendent in 2012 and his tenure has never been without controversy. He immediately instituted sweeping reforms, came under criticism for his position that the fault that Louisiana ranks so poorly in education is the fault of the teacher, and the fact that there has always been discussion as to whether or not he ever taught in the classroom.

One of the most controversial aspects of White’s tenure has been his implementation of the Louisiana version of the Common Core curriculum. White and Governor John Bel Edwards have always had a contentious relationship although they have managed to grudgingly work together; one of the Governor’s initial campaign promises was to replace White, but he could never quite get the votes of the education board to do so.

Personally, the current curriculum situation is one reason why I’m retiring at the end of the 2021 school year, and I’m not sorry to see White move on, however, I have real concerns about who comes next. I believe it will be critical for Governor Edwards and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to listen to teacher voices and input as the next superintendent is selected.

Storms: Northwest Louisiana experienced an unusual violent weather system this past weekend as strong storms and tornadoes swept across east Texas, Louisiana, and on toward the east coast. Here, in our area, we had three fatalities and much property damage.

The storms rolled through just after midnight Friday, and into Saturday morning.

Benton Middle School lost part of their roof and classrooms were inundated with water.

We are counting our blessings that this did not happen during the school day.

National Championship:  New Orleans is rocking right now as Mardi Gras season is underway and LSU is in town to take on Clemson for the National Championship. LSU has had a beautiful, perfect season and quarterback Joe Burrow has been a joy to watch. Very exciting.

President Trump with be in attendance and will be watching the game in a suite with the Louisiana delegation. Security is amped up right now, obviously. Trump figures in to sever of the current prop bets, which you can see here, including whether or not he will wear a red tie. (I’m going with yes on that one).

I’m making gumbo for game day, of course.

Geaux Tigers!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.

Spot the “Maverick” Paul, Lee (but NOT Gabbard)

Over the last week the MSM has developed a great affection for a pair of Republican “Mavericks” Rand Paul (R-KY) & Mike Lee (R-UT).

Both had serious objections and had a very different opinion of the White House briefing on Iran than other senators and those differences of opinion were highlighted & Lionized by the MSM. Mike Lee in particular was highlighted on MSNBC , CNN, NBC News & CBS.

As you might guess the MSM loved it because nothing is more popular than a republican who is willing to publicly hit a republican, particularly if it’s Donald Trump.

Paul’s or Lee’s moves which incidentally are both consistent with their previous positions. Those positions are coincidentally shared by their position on the President’s recent decisions on Iran. However a month ago there was another act of a Maverick that took place, one even more significant than either.

Tulsi Gabbard a Democrat candidate for President, when the vote for impeachment came up, voted “Present” on both articles of impeachment, in defiance of both the house but of the base if the party that she is seeking the nominate.

However you might have noticed that while there were several different words used to describe her, the one which was not employed was “Maverick”.

That’s because during the time of John McCain the word “Maverick” was always given a positive connotation because any person who took the side of the Democrats on a key issue, must be lionized across the press. In fact during the presidential campaign that language was used to describe Lindsey Graham, until of course he started supporting Donald Trump.

However a Democrat refusing to support impeachment, the single cause most dear to the left/media, is, as far as the media is concerned, beyond the pale, and a Democrat candidate for president doing so is even worse and Maverick is now identified as a complement of honor.

To put it simply because of her vote on Impeachment, Tulsi Gabbard couldn’t get herself described as a Maverick by the MSM if she came into congress wearing black broadcloth and wielding a deck of cards