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.

Under The Fedora on Monday “Moderate” Opinion, Why Dems Attack, Selling China Rice, The Church following the rules, and a Pat’s still bring fear

If you want to know why people don’t give “Moderate” Muslims the benefit of the doubt this is why

It wasn’t long ago when such a piece would be too fringe even for the Guardian.


I think this tweet is the single best political justification for the media/left’s actions on Trump that I’ve read

if you are the party out of power looking to regain it the last thing you want is for the people being “the happiest they’ve ever been” when your foes are in charge.


At the Doug Ross Journal (where I found the above tweet) I saw something that jumped out at me.

It turns out this isn’t a new story:

The U.S. can now ship rice to China for the first time ever, signaling a win for President Donald Trump in his efforts to reshape the trade relationship just after talks between the nations broke down Wednesday.
Officials from the nations finalized a protocol to allow for the first-ever American shipments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a statement. China is the world’s biggest rice consumer, importer and producer.

That’s from 2017 and this is from Feb

While there’s no guarantee, farmers and millers are increasingly optimistic because the Chinese ban has been lifted, a handful of U.S. rice mills have been cleared for export, and China is looking to make the Trump administration happy with commodity purchases.
It was in December that China took a major step toward making that happen, changing its customs regs and officially lifting its ban on U.S. rice. Separately, China has now officially cleared seven of the 34 U.S. rice mills that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has asked China to certify under the country’s sanitary and phytosanitary regulations, U.S. industry and government officials tell Agri-Pulse. The remaining mills are still under Chinese consideration, sources say.

Oddly I don’t remember reading it before. Remember Media Bias isn’t just what gets reported, it’s what gets promoted.


Apparently a judge in Michigan believes it’s discrimination when a catholic priest decides not to enable her in a state of mortal sin to commit further mortal sin.

Judge Sara Smolenski, the chief judge of Michigan’s 63rd District Court, received a call from the priest at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, requesting she not attend communion.
“This is not about me against the priest, and it’s not really me against the church,” Smolenski told CNN. “This feels like selective discrimination. Why choose gay people, and why now?”
Smolenski, 62, said that the Rev. Scott Nolan, the priest at St. Stephen for approximately three years, called her on November 23 and told her, “‘It was good to see you in church on Sunday. Because you and Linda are married in the state of Michigan, I’d like you to respect the church and not come to communion.’”

Actually given the Pope we have the idea of a church actually enforcing the rules of the church might actually be newsworthy.


Finally thanks to my injury I was able to watch the entire Patriots game this weekend and see them one guy keeping his balance on an onside kick away from a shot at yet another miracle comeback.

It’s a testament to what Brady has done in the past that when they managed to score the 2nd of the three scores they needed for a chance that even with under a minute to go and no time outs kicking the ball that you could hear double in the voices of the announcers in a game that should have been over and feel fear in the stadium after Edelman caught that touchdown, but in reality the Texan response was classic Patriot defense by a former Pats defensive coordinator, leave the other team just enough space and just enough time to get close but still lose.

Could the Post Luck Colts Pursue Brady after this Season?

As I mentioned at the backup blog one of the funniest things I’ve heard concerning the retirement of Andrew Luck is the repeated meme that this was their year for the Superbowl.

The blunt Truth is that until someone in the AFC manages to figure out how to get Past Tom Brady it’s his year and nobody else’s.

But the Luck retirement has opened up one possibility that nobody has talked about.  In Brady’s newest contract he is able to become a free agent at the end of the season if he so chooses, if indy is really serious that their team as constructed was only Andrew Luck away from a serious superbowl run why not go all out and try to sign Tom Brady to fill that hole?

Not only would that unite Brady with his Superbowl partner and the only player in the league older than him in Adam Vinatieri but it’s likely that the Colts would offer him a hell of a contract with as much control as he wants.

Now in fairness all of this is dependent on Brady having another big year without injury and the Colts not making another long term move or Jacoby Brissett suddenly breaking out big and I mean REALLY big.

But if I’m the Indy front office I have nothing to lose by going all in on the Brady sweepstakes at worst it’s a short term hit that puts butts in the seats and at best it could mean another super bowl heading to Indy and wouldn’t it be something to see Brady and Vinatieri hoisting that trophy together again?

FYI If I’m the Patriots front office I’m making contract offers to prevent this possibility RIGHT NOW!

Brady vs Luck One Hit Away

At the backup site I noted with Irony that Andrew Luck is retiring before Adam Vinatieri but his situation should be a reminder to Patriots fans in general and to Tom Brady in particular just how lucky we are.

As a rule in any sport, basketball, hockey, baseball and football etc an athlete is only one injury away from retirement, but in football this is more true than any other.

This is a sport where one is continually hit by extremely muscular people weighing 200 pounds or more if they’re small or 300+ pounds if they’re not and this takes place every 45 seconds for a period of 15 minutes. Often a person will be hit by more than one such man and it’s not uncommon for a person being hit to not see the person about to hit him until it happens.

Even with the new rules every single person on that field understands that they are one hit away from surgery and extensive rehab.

And that brings us to Tom Brady.

Tom Brady has been playing this game for 20 years and has had only one serious season ending injury in that time. That’s pretty good when you think about it, but he has been constantly on the field every other year. When he scrambled for a 1st down in last Thursday’s preseason game every single Patriots fan was asking himself “What are you doing, it doesn’t count!” but Brady being Brady knows that if he’s on the field he’s expected to play to win.

Yet he knows and most importantly his wife knows that each year the odds of an injury that will force him to live in pain for the rest of his life (presuming he already isn’t already living in pain every day) increases. That’s why his wife has been pressuring him toward retirement (I also suspect that such a compromise with her is the reason he no longer shows up to voluntary pre-season camps). Every single snap there is a tackle or a defensive end who dreams about wrapping him up and taking him down and if he scrambles for a 1st down those linebackers are not going to show him any mercy of deference, nor should they and in fact Brady would he expect them to do so.

I expect Brady to have a good year this year and likely a good year next year too but he has defined the odds, not only in terms of skill and victories but in terms of injury and that as much as all his other attributes is why is has managed to become the greatest player every to play his sport.

So was we wish the 29 year old Andrew Luck well, let us remember how lucky we have been to have a healthy Tom Brady leading our team to victory for two decades and be grateful for it.

I’m sure Tom Brady and his wife and family are.