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Wednesday, May 31, 2006 by Blogger

Times-Picayune: Labor Shortage in Alexandria May Crimp Recruitment

by Blogger

Warning: Lamar May Occasionally Rant Allow me to clarify my previous post: It seems to me that some of the anonymous posters are attempting to share important information (See Cenla Antics for good evidence of what I'm talking about). However, they are communicating this information in evasive language. My main point is that when you're trying to tell the public something anonymously, you should take better advantage of the luxuries anonymity can provide: Name some names and give us some specificity to back up your vague claims. Otherwise, you just sound like gossip. Of course, it is important to exercise responsibility, but if you KNOW something, tell it like it is. Just write in plain English. Some of you have something to say, but you seem too afraid to really say it. Well, you're anonymous. Just say it. By the way, toyota, I'm not talking about your comments; I've enjoyed your contributions. And as far as Mr. Gunn is concerned: From what I've read here in the "blogosphere," most of us appreciate Mr. Gunn's work and believe that he is one of the few exceptions to the reigning paradigm of the local media. I think there is a difference between the perogative of the entire newspaper and the agenda of a single journalist within that newspaper. Those of us who are upset at the Town Talk and KALB's coverage of local news are not upset at the individuals who work for these companies. We recognize that both the Town Talk and KALB are actually controlled by large, corporate interests, Gannett and Media General (I believe), and these corporate interests set the policies and procedures of their "investments.' And there's another thing that limits a local reporter's ability to do their job: People here don't talk. They protect themselves. Updated: I had just written a critique of KALB's lack of attention to the BIG story of the week when...all of a sudden... they cut in during commercial break and claim that they will be reporting it. Maybe the heat is on. Updated Again: KALB didn't actually report the story. What's going on? But they have published the following article on their website:

Legislative auditor to look into Alexandria goings on
City attorney sees no conflict of interest
Staff
AP
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Everyone is mum at Alexandria city hall over revelations that the wife if the city attorney and Mayor's chief of staff have been doing business or trying to do business with the city housing authority.

Meanwhile, the state legislative auditor has agreed to look into the entire matter.

City attorney Kelvin Sanders, whose wife has received a lucrative contract for re-location services connected to the housing authority, says he does not see any conflict of interest, though he declined an on-camera interview, saying he didn't have the time.

Chief of Staff and mayoral candidate Delores Brewer, who formed a complany to bid on the same contact herself, left a message with us, but we were unable to contact her for follow-up questions.

The state ethics board and the Louisiana legislative auditor are both watchdogs for such contracts and possible conflicts between the people who make the money and their relationships to public officians, both appointed and elected.

by Blogger

Question for the Anonymous Bloggers: If you're going to post anonymously, then why not report specific details? Some of you like to use euphemisms and nicknames for the events and people, and guess what? It just clouds the issues. Speak your truth! Tell us what we need to know. To Billy Gunn: Keep up the good work. If the blogosphere proves anything about Alexandria, it's that it is nearly impossible to find the real truth around here. It's all gossip and innuendo, and it seems like no one wants to go on the record about anything. Kudos for the latest series of articles.

by Blogger

The Fleecing of Alexandria: The basic story is this: The wife of our city's attorney created her own consultation company. This consultation company entered into a contract with the Alexandria Housing Authority. This company has been paid at the rate of $18,416 a month or $221,016 a year. Thus far, they have offered no explanation of the services that they have provided. I'm still waiting to hear two things: what they've done and why we've needed them. In other news, I enjoyed this letter in today's newspaper, which basically claimed that the President of LC should not be criticized, because, like God, he's an authority figure that should be respected by young people. I know I'm simplifying the letter, but it was just weird. This is one of my favorite quotes: "We charge people to abandon these pharisaical, relativistic, pseudo-intellectual perversions of the truth -- only then will LC be rid of the darkness." Hehe.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 by Blogger

Report: Hotel Bentley Repairs To Cost Between $7.6-$8.8 million. According to a recent report, the Hotel Bentley, which is currently on the market for $12.2 million, will need between $7.6 and $8.8 million worth of repairs and renovations in order to effectively function as a four-star hotel. The report was written by Glenn Stewart, a Lafayette-based real estate investor and entrepeneur, and Carol White, a local real estate developer and investor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Carol White is my mother, and she is not interested in purchasing the Bentley). The ten page report was composed after meeting with local and national engineers, local and national architects specializing in luxury hotel design, local government officials, current and previous ownership, and local business leaders. It is important to note that none of the repairs are the result of the decisions made by current ownership; they are simply the reality of running a four-star hotel in a 98 year old building. The report makes the following suggestions: 1. HVAC upgrades: $325,000 2. Individual Room Decoration: $1,408,000 3. Individual Bathroom Repairs: $264,000 4. Individual Bedroom Repairs: $226,000 5. Hallway Upgrades: $900,000 6. Basement Upgrades: $500,000 7. Remodel of Accessory Space at Corner of Jackson and Main: $300,000 8. Repair of External Wall Masonry and Wood Eaves, Soffits, and Fascia: $300,000- $1,000,000 9. Renovation of Main Floor: $500,000 10. Renovation of Mezzanine Level: $1,250,000 11. Addition of New Motor Entrance: $1,500,000- $2,000,000 12. Miscellaneous: $150,000 From an investor's perspective, the Hotel Bentley, even at a substantially reduced price, does not make sound financial sense. The report mentions several state and federal incentives for which the Bentley could qualify, but even with these in place, it will still be difficult to achieve an adequate return on investment. I am more than willing to answer substantive questions on the specific details of the report. Currently, I believe that the only way to ensure the future success of the Hotel Bentley is through a public/private partnership. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to find a buyer who can assume the risks involved in such a massive undertaking. Without the repairs, the hotel could function, but it wouldn't function as the type of hotel that patrons expect. Furthermore, without the HVAC repairs, the hotel's utility bills could be astronomical. In other words, the repairs are absolutely necessary for the Bentley to regain its stature. I am sharing this information with the community because I feel that the Bentley is a critical component of any plans for downtown Alexandria. It is also one of Alexandria's most recognizable landmarks, and we should all appreciate its historical significance in shaping the landscape of Central Louisiana. Will it sell? That question can only be answered if two things happen: 1) Current ownership must acknowledge the risks involved, appreciate the fact that the hotel does not come with goodwill (or an operating business), and reduce the asking price. 2) The local government must find a creative way of inticing a private investor(s) by offering to assume some of the risks involved. The hotel will never belong to any single owner; it will always belong to the people of Central Louisiana. To that end, the government should find a solution that creates some type of public/private partnership for the hotel's management. (Remember that the Holiday Inn in Downtown Alexandria also operates because of a public/private partnership).

Monday, May 29, 2006 by Blogger

The Onion: Hillary Clinton Is Too Ambitious To Be The First Female President

By Gerald Collins May 24, 2006 | Issue 42•21

I think it's about time we had a female president of the United States. I don't care what anyone says: Women can be just as smart and qualified as men—especially the clowns we've had in Washington lately. But Hillary Clinton? She's just a little too ambitious to do what no woman before her has ever done.

Hillary seems to think she knows what our country needs better than anyone else, and believes that she, among the hundreds or thousands of qualified politicians, is the only one who can do it. Is that really the sort of person we want at the helm of our federal government?

Not to mention that she's extremely self-promoting. She spends almost all her time these days going to fundraising events dedicated to raising money for—you guessed it—Hillary Clinton. She's always popping up in the news with a new initiative she's spearheading or some kind of complaint against the president. I don't want to use the B word, but she seems awfully bossy to head an executive branch that employs 450,000 people.

Sen. Clinton always wants to be throwing her opinion around about this bill or that law. I saw her on Meet The Press just last week. Every time Tim Russert would take her to task on one issue or another, she'd come right back at him with some sort of smart answer. She needs to learn that sometimes you need to just accept your place; it's not polite to always act like you know things. Not to mention the fact that, as a working woman, she should take those precious Sundays to spend some time with her family, not to meet with the press on national television.

I'd rather see a female presidential candidate who wasn't so focused on herself and her political aspirations. It seems like she puts a lot of thought into every decision that she makes, as if every little move were planned ahead of time down to the smallest little detail. It's hard to pin down exactly why, but it just wouldn't feel right to see someone who is so politically calculating win those precious 270 electoral votes in the next election.

Hillary doesn't shy away from tough situations, as she proved with her health- care proposal during her husband's first term. She likes to tackle the hard problems, no matter how entrenched the current failing system seems to be. Is it just me, or should the woman who overturns a 230-year-old tradition not have such a tendency to rock the boat?

Hillary has some very strong opinions, and she certainly doesn't hesitate to voice them. She's got an entire website dedicated to her positions on every last little thing. In debates, she always wants to have the last word. She's in love with the sound of her own voice. That's not the sort of person who should be in politics, much less the White House.

Do we really want the first woman leading the free world to be such an outright take-charge type?

What's more, nobody asked her to run. In fact, a lot of people on both sides of the aisle don't even want her to run, and many other politicians are planning on running against her. Yet she's stayed in the race, blatantly ignoring the wishes of some people. Shouldn't the first woman to break the gender barrier of the American presidency be the type of woman who listens to those who doubt her and bows to public opinion more often?

Ever heard of letting others take the lead, Sen. Clinton? If you're going to become the first woman in the Oval Office, you should start thinking about acting a little more ladylike.

by Blogger

Memorial Day Reminder: 2,448 American Soldiers Killed in Iraq Since the War Began

Monthly Summaries References
Month US Named Dead * US Reported Dead ** US Wounded *** **** US Army Evacuations from Iraq
Wounded In Action ***** Non-Battle Injury ***** Disease *****
March 2003 65 0 202 930 3212 5846
April 2003 73 0 340
TOTAL 138 0 542
May 37 0 54
June 30 0 147
July 47 0 226
August 35 0 181
September 30 0 247
October 43 0 413
November 82 0 337
December 40 0 261
January 2004 47 0 188
February 19 0 150
March 52 0 323 49 206 367
April 135 12 1214 203 355 262
May 80 8 757 106 348 146
June 42 2 589 141 138 389
July 54 7 552 71 157 337
August 66 5 895 139 74 379
September 81 3 706 122 84 391
October 63 5 647 100 94 457
November 137 3 1427 149 96 323
December 72 1 540 477 379 1474
January 2005 107 1 496 85 129 324
February 58 4 409 77 100 280
March 36 0 364 74 104 342
April 52 0 590 90 113 302
May 79 3 385 85 119 306
June 77 0 501 110 98 359
July 54 1 473 73 117 315
August 84 1 451 81 99 273
September 48 6 490 122 118 258
October 96 0 608
November 83 5 518
December 66 1 304
January 61 4 521
February 53 3 300
March 30 3 475
April 74 7 481
May 60 2 12
Subtotal 2,448 33 17,774 2,913 5,876 11,959
TOTAL 2,481 20,748

* Includes both hostile killed and non-hostile killed ** Reported Killed but Unidentified Pending Notification of Next of Kin *** Included both Wounded in Action and non-hostile prior to 01 Apr 04 **** Includes only Wounded in Action since 01 Apr 04 ***** Excludes all non-Army troops, and all troops treated in theater

Saturday, May 27, 2006 by Blogger

State to Investigate Alexandria Housing Authority (And Why This Looks Really Fishy to People Who Haven't Yet Formed Their Own "Consultation" Companies) I have a question. Perhaps someone can answer it. What do these consultants actually do? Why do we need them? As some of you know, I'm in property management, and as a result, I often work with the Alexandria Housing Authority. I don't understand why this consultation contract was even needed in the first place. To help relocate people? Isn't that a basic responsibility of the housing authority? Isn't that what they do anyway? And what all-star qualifications does this consultation company have that would help the housing authority increase efficiency while decreasing expenses?

Friday, May 26, 2006 by Blogger

Jefferson Must Go, Says Salon.Com For their own good and the good of the country, Rep. William Jefferson's allies in the Congressional Black Caucus should insist that he resign.

By Joe Conason

May. 26, 2006 | When FBI agents reach into a congressman's home freezer and pull out $90,000 in foil-wrapped bills, it is time for him to resign. When the Justice Department announces that the same congressman is on videotape taking a $100,000 bribe in a Virginia hotel garage, his resignation is overdue.

The case of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., is that simple. In a matter of public integrity, his party affiliation doesn't matter, and neither does his race, color, creed, Harvard law degree or the sad fact that his constituents happen to live in ruined New Orleans. If he somehow doesn't understand his position, then his political friends -- and above all his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus -- should be firmly explaining those realities to him.

During the past year, as federal agents have pursued the investigation of Jefferson, court filings and news stories have revealed substantial, compelling evidence against him. He is alleged to have taken part in a wide-ranging conspiracy to extort cash bribes and other payoffs from businesses seeking to invest in African countries where he has influence. One of the business executives involved wore a wire during meetings with the powerful Louisiana politician, and two of his former aides have pleaded guilty to participation in a bribery conspiracy.

Jefferson has yet to be indicted, let alone convicted of any crime. He is entitled to the presumption of innocence, no matter how strong the evidence against him. (It looks considerably stronger, by the way, than the evidence produced so far against certain Republicans held up to scorn every day by Democrats. That is why progressive public-interest organizations such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Public Citizen have been among his harshest critics.)

Ultimately Jefferson will have to answer for his conduct in court, where the government will have the burden of proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But there is -- or should be -- a difference between the standard for service in Congress and the standard for conviction and incarceration as a felon. Cooperation with law enforcement is a good measure of fitness for public service, which Jefferson has failed by resisting federal subpoenas for his records. That happens to be why the FBI finally conducted its constitutionally questionable raid on his House office last weekend.

The most powerful reason for Jefferson to quit, however, was displayed at his own press conference in the U.S. Capitol on Monday, when he announced that he would not step down (and cryptically suggested that there are "two sides to every story"). Asked directly whether he had taken a bribe, the congressman declined to answer. Anyone in public office who can't say "no" to that question should leave -- or be required to leave -- immediately.

In a midterm election year, with so many major stories of rampant Republican corruption on Capitol Hill and K Street, the disgrace of Jefferson is a reprieve for Republicans and a dilemma for Democrats. Faced with the prospect of his indictment, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has publicly asked him to step down from his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee. She is reported to have suggested privately that he resign from Congress. By doing so, she has already improved on the record of the Republicans, whose determination to protect Tom DeLay was appalling.

As a Louisiana machine politician with all the ethical baggage implied by that description, Jefferson has never been a paragon of political virtue. According to the Washington Post, he was overheard last year on an FBI wiretap asking his brother-in-law, a local judge, to help raise money for his daughter's state legislative campaign. (The judge was sent to federal prison in February for operating a corrupt bail-bonding scheme.) He also made ugly headlines in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when he commanded National Guard troops and trucks to help him empty out his house. By then, he was already known to be the target of a federal bribery probe.

Yet when Pelosi finally asked him to step down from Ways and Means, he rejected her mild request. He released a bizarre letter claiming that his beleaguered constituents in New Orleans cannot afford to be deprived of him. Evidently he believes that he can continue in office, come what may. Sustaining him in this destructive delusion, unfortunately, is the Congressional Black Caucus -- whose dean, Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., sits with him on Ways and Means and counts him as a close friend.

The Hill, a weekly newspaper that covers Congress, reports that "furious" caucus members came close to publicly scolding Pelosi after she asked Jefferson to quit his committee post. Only an "emergency meeting" with the minority leader averted an embarrassing incident. According to the Hill, the dispute over Jefferson "has brought into glaring public light long-standing resentments felt by black lawmakers toward the Democratic leadership in the House."

The same story quoted an anonymous caucus staffer complaining that by asking Jefferson to quit Ways and Means, Pelosi had created "a new precedent for how members are going to be treated. Unfortunately, she's chosen to single out an African-American for this honor ... The African-American community, which overwhelmingly backs the Democratic Party, will not take this lightly. I hope she enjoys being minority leader."

It is hard to imagine any remark more insulting to the African-American community -- or more indicative of the stupid priorities of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Can it really be true that black voters will punish Pelosi because she demanded a minimal concession from a corrupt lawmaker who happens to be black? Can it really be true that black communities, which have suffered disproportionately from Republican rule, and none more so than Jefferson's Louisiana constituents, will make support of that corrupt lawmaker a point of pride? Can it really be true that black Americans will regard Jefferson as a victim of "discrimination," as he tried to claim in his reply to Pelosi?

More likely is that black voters, like most citizens of all ethnic backgrounds, regard Congress with skepticism and even suspicion -- and that black voters feel much more strongly than most that the Republican majority must be ousted. In this instance they are being poorly served by the caucus, whose members evidently don't differ much from the rest of the Washington elite in their narcissism, myopia and arrogance.

The support for Jefferson among his caucus colleagues is especially misplaced, because defending him will jeopardize their own advancement as well as the greater good. Whatever quarrels the caucus may have with Pelosi, its members and their constituents have much to gain from a Democratic victory in November. Should Democrats regain the majority, at least four black members will get committee chairs -- with the most important being none other than Rangel, who would at last cap his long career with the Ways and Means chairmanship. (Meanwhile the Republican right can be expected to broadcast those possible chairmanships, none too subtly, as a racial campaign theme.)

The broad national interest in political change coincides here not only with African-American interests but with the demands of integrity as well. Obviously Jefferson doesn't understand that he should go for all those reasons, so someone to whom he will listen should tell him. It is a shame, in every sense, that Rangel and his caucus colleagues are not up to the occasion.

-- By Joe Conason

by Blogger

On a Positive Note: The Town Talk is reporting that Cenla's economic future looks good and that Alexandria should continue to be the second-fastest growing city in Louisiana, despite the fact that we seem to suffer from a lack of skilled laborers. This makes for a well-needed shot of good news. On a Not-So Positive Note: It's hard not to be repulsed by some members of the local blogging community. To Michele Godard, I hope that you don't let the voices of cynicism and blind pettiness convince you that the entire Cenla blogosphere is without merit. In the short time that I've been running this blog, I have learned that there are some people who just want to make you mad. They pretend like they speak for the good of the community and that they champion the common person, but they're really just insecure, jealous idiots who can barely compose a complete sentence (let alone a rational, substantive argument). Many of them seem like they are still living in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and their perception of "who controls Alexandria" hasn't quite kept up with the times. It's hard not to get infuriated by them, and I've probably spent way too much time on the subject. But I do know this: They don't matter. They've never mattered. And this has nothing to do with political clout or social status. They don't matter because they have nothing, absolutely nothing, positive to say about anyone or anything. They're more concerned with who your ex-husband was or how much money my grandparents have given to charity than they are about the mayor's race or the state of education or poverty or health care (all issues, by the way, that particularly affect the lives of those that they claim to champion). So you know what? I'm going to continue reading and contributing, and I hope that others do the same. If you feel like insulting me and my family and who I am and who I know and where I went to school, be my guest. Believe it or not, there are some people in the world who are proud of who they are, where they have come from, and what they have accomplished. And a final word on LC: I agree with WeSawThat's assessment of the true purpose of LC, and I want to see LC return to former glory with the least possible damage to the institution's reputation and student body. For this reason, I no longer think it is absolutely imperative that LC lose its accreditation immediately. The discussion regarding LC attracted some very interesting responses, and as a result, I now believe there is probably an easier solution.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 by Blogger

More Negative Press for Louisiana College Jim Leggett is reporting that four LC professors have "renewed" their lawsuit against the college, citing, among other things, that LC continues to violate the principles of academic freedom. (See previous posts on the definition of academic freedom and LC's responsibility to its shareholders). LC's attorney, Ted LeClercq, is attempting to downplay the allegations. He says this is just a "workplace dispute" and that these allegations are vague with no cause of action. But... that's not true. It turns out that Scott Peck's classic The Road Less Traveled is STILL banned at LC, despite the fact that the book was reinstated by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (that's the association that determines accreditation) and the Faculty Grievance Committee. I wonder if Joe Aguillard has even read The Road Less Traveled. If he had, he'd know that it's a harmless, wonderful book about the use of religion in the discourse of pyschology. The book was an international bestseller and remained on the NY Times Bestseller List for years. What worries me (and I assume these professors as well) is that if you ban a book like The Road Less Traveled, you're likely to ban anything that doesn't conform to your own personal religious views. And right after this story broke, the Town Talk published a letter from an LC student that lambasted Aguillard on his own terms. This is what you call imminent critique. Mr. Hand is building his argument within the context of Aguillard's religious beliefs. To: Dr. Joe Aguillard, Louisiana College:

I write to confront you regarding your decision to not renew Dean Thames' contract. Second, I decry your refusal to disclose your reasons for doing so. I write not in a spirit of anger or derision. Rather, I write as one who loves Louisiana College and the highest Christian values for which she has stood for 100 years. Dean Thames, as you already know, has tirelessly served her alma mater for over 20 years. Last fall, she was honored as a distinguished alumnus at Homecoming. She is loved by the students of LC. I have spoken with many students in the past few days, and even those who fell under disciplinary action by her decisions are shocked and profoundly saddened. In the three years that I have attended LC, she has been a unifying presence in an endless age of division. I appeal to you under I John 3:18 -- "Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action." The LC community deserves a complete and honest explanation for your actions. What you have done is not outside your authority, but it is outside the moral imperatives of scripture. Some may suggest that you do not need a reason for your actions, but such a message is Darwinian, and anything but biblical. You must understand: Dean Thames is a woman of strong Christian faith, which makes her your sister in Christ. To all public knowledge, she is above reproach, and innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, by acting in this loveless manner, you implicitly deny that she is your sister in Christ. Thus, you are making a liar of our God and undermining the spiritual unity of his church. I am fully aware that you acted according to the advice of your legal counsel. That is no excuse. Legal counsel should be taken seriously, but never may it be obeyed against the word of God. The Apostle James warns us against this very method, of professing to belong to God while looking to the fallen world for answers. Finally, let me make this plain: You have said and repeated many times that LC will seek in all things to lift up the name of Jesus. But until your actions are either sufficiently explained or rectified, they shall mock that glorious name and cripple our Christian witness more than any alcoholic beverage. As you listen to your lawyers, I remind you that a man reaps what he sows, and that what is whispered in darkness will ultimately be shouted from the rooftops. Therefore I urge you: don't be double-minded! Be unambiguously devoted to Christ in word and deed. As your brother in Christ, I charge you to unveil the light of truth, that LC may not be resigned to walk in darkness.

Paul Hand, Pineville

Monday, May 22, 2006 by Blogger

A Discussion on Class Warfare A few weeks ago, I wrote a little confessional post on the blog about my life, sort of a "getting to know you" type of piece addressed to my friends in real life. Well, it turns out I made a mistake. I said, "Friends, you also know that I am not rich. Although my family has money, you know that I live on less than $35,000 a year, that I live in an apartment, and that I am currently in debt because of college." I understand that the wording of that particular passage may leave some readers with the impression that I am "barely making it," and I understand that for many in our community, $35K a year is a lot of money. I apologize for leaving anyone with the impression that I am out of touch with reality. According to this report (scroll down), 52.3% of people living in Alexandria make less than 30K a year, and only 14.6% have a bachelors degree. There is a serious rich/poor gap in our community, and this creates a social dynamic in which the "average" citizen feels disconnected from the decisions affecting his or her daily life. I definitely do not have all of the answers to this problem, but I know that a discussion is both healthy and necessary. The discussion breaks down, however, when we attempt to project the entire problem onto one person or one group of people. For some reason, many Central Louisianans prefer to play the blame game when it comes to the problem of poverty. The rich tend to believe that it's easy and painless to simply "lift yourself up by your bootstraps," and they offer little empathy for those who struggle daily to provide for their families. At the same time, those who "speak" for the poor like to stage the discussion from an emotional and untenable starting point: "You can't participate in this discussion because you don't know what reality is." This creates a barricade to discussion, and it alienates those who truly want to help.

Demographic Report
Center:5401 JACKSON ST 71303
Distance:5 miles
Population (2005)
Total%
2005 Population 57,502
Population (2010)
Total%
2010 Population 55,564
Sex (2005)
Total%
Male 26,99546.9%
Female 30,50753.1%
Age Distribution (2005)
Total%
0-4 4,2747.4%
5-9 4,0307.0%
10-19 8,35314.5%
20-29 8,21514.3%
30-39 6,93412.1%
40-49 7,96913.9%
50-59 6,52311.3%
60-64 2,5254.4%
65+ 8,67915.1%
Race Distribution (2005)
Total%
White 28,16349.0%
Black 27,36347.6%
American Indian 1920.3%
Asian 9431.6%
Pacific Islander 200.0%
Other 1570.3%
Multirace 6641.2%
Hispanic 8131.4%
2005 Total Households
Total%
Households 22,384
Families 14,27663.8%
2005 Household Income Distribution
Total%
<$10 K 4,28119.1%
$10-$20K 4,03718.0%
$20-$30K 3,41115.2%
$30-$40K 2,61011.7%
$40-$50K 1,8778.4%
$50-$60K 1,5436.9%
$60-$75K 1,4706.6%
$75-$100K 1,3175.9%
> $100K 1,8388.2%
2005 Household Net Worth
Total%
$0 or Less 3,04713.6%
$1-$5000 3,46715.5%
$5000-$10000 1,6047.2%
$10000-$25000 2,67311.9%
$25000-$50000 2,81412.6%
$50000-$100000 3,47415.5%
$100000-$250000 3,91517.5%
$250000-$500000 1,4736.6%
$500000 or More 7483.3%
2005 Labor Force Status
Total%
Labor Force 23,944
Employed 22,44193.7%
Unemployed 1,4205.9%
In Armed Forces 83
Not In Labor Force 20,480
2005 Total Number of Housing
Total%
Total Dwellings 25,274
Owner-Occupied Dwellings 12,01453.7%
Renter-Occupied Dwellings 10,37046.3%
Housing Units Occupied 22,38488.6%
2005 Education Attainment
Total%
Population Age 25+ 36,293
<>3,0108.3%
Grade 9-12 6,16417.0%
High School 9,69126.7%
Some College 7,79521.5%
Assoc Degree 1,4554.0%
Bach Degree 5,29214.6%
Grad Degree 2,8868.0%
2005 Size of Household
Total%
1 Person 7,21832.2%
2 Person 7,21532.2%
3 Person 3,60916.1%
4 Person 2,54011.3%
5 Person 1,1945.3%
6+ Person 3811.7%
Sex (2010)
Total%
Male 26,26547.3%
Female 29,29952.7%
Age Distribution (2010)
Total%
0-4 4,1967.6%
5-9 3,9697.1%
10-19 7,55113.6%
20-29 8,20414.8%
30-39 6,50811.7%
40-49 6,99312.6%
50-59 6,65612.0%
60-64 2,7595.0%
65+ 8,72815.7%
Race Distribution (2010)
Total%
White 28,10550.6%
Black 25,69146.2%
American Indian 1910.3%
Asian 9731.8%
Pacific Islander 200.0%
Other 1590.3%
Multirace 4230.8%
Hispanic 9691.7%
2010 Total Households
Total%
Households 22,114
Families 13,84362.6%
2010 Household Income Distribution
Total%
<$10 K 4,09018.5%
$10-$20K 3,61716.4%
$20-$30K 3,14014.2%
$30-$40K 2,48911.3%
$40-$50K 1,8518.4%
$50-$60K 1,5747.1%
$60-$75K 1,4866.7%
$75-$100K 1,4736.7%
> $100K 2,39410.8%
2010 Labor Force Status
Total%
Labor Force 23,166
Employed 21,69493.6%
Unemployed 1,3856.0%
In Armed Forces 87
Not In Labor Force 19,865
2010 Total Number of Housing
Total%
Total Dwellings 25,064
Owner-Occupied Dwellings 11,36251.4%
Renter-Occupied Dwellings 10,75248.6%
Housing Units Occupied 22,11488.2%
2010 Education Attainment
Total%
Population Age 25+ 35,587
<>2,8227.9%
Gr 9-12 5,78016.2%
High School 8,77924.7%
Some College 7,66921.6%
Assoc Degree 1,6734.7%
Bach Degree 6,05617.0%
Grad Degree 2,8087.9%
2010 Size of Household
Total%
1 Person 7,46833.8%
2 Person 7,49433.9%
3 Person 3,45515.6%
4 Person 2,33310.5%
5 Person 9904.5%
6+ Person 2511.1%
Source: Applied Geographic Solutions, Thousand Oaks. CA

by Blogger

Unsolved Murders? A Letter From Saturday's Town Talk: What happened to them?

Have a number of murders ever been resolved in the town? I remember a partner, Ronnie Isles, back in 1982 or 1983 was found murdered and never heard any more about it.

I remember Harold Chew and Jimmie Lee Jacob also. Have these murders been resolved or were these murders important enough to be investigated? I also had a brother, Robert Wright, who was found in the river in Alexandria in 2003. Was his death ever solved? The lifestyle of a person does not exclude that person from equal justice. If the cases are unsolved, then why are taxpayers paying these city officials for not doing their jobs that they should be out there doing?

Raymond Wright, Fayetteville, N.C.

Sunday, May 21, 2006 by Blogger

$90,000 Found In Jefferson's Fridge

by Blogger

Interrupting my vacation because this hasn't been reported by the local media: Lee Deal, formerly of Alexandria and West Monroe, Louisiana, was killed in Iraq late last week. I knew Lee and his brother Justin while a student at Nachman Elementary. He was a dear friend of many of my friends, and I know that he will be sorely missed. Coincidentally, when Lee moved to West Monroe, he became friends with the girl I took to prom. Lee was a Navy Corpsman attached to a Marines unit. He had been in the military for about three years. Here is an article about Lee from the News Star: Deal a 'strong, brave man' Friends remember lost soldier as a magnetic, infectious person By Greg Hilburn ghilburn@thenewsstar.com Lee Deal was quick with a smile and a joke, but also had a serious side and was driven to succeed, those who knew him said on Thursday. Deal's friends and family were mourning the loss of the gregarious West Monroe man who died a hero on Wednesday in Iraq, where he was serving his country as a petty officer, third class in the Navy. "It still doesn't seem real to me," said Michael Peterson, one of Deal's two best friends along with Andrew Whitworth. "I talked to him about two weeks ago and he sounded confident and strong." Deal, 23, was a medic attached to the Marine B Company 2nd Recon Battalion. A Navy spokesman said details of Deal's death as well as when his body would be returned home will be released during the next few days. Peterson said he, Deal and Whitworth were inseparable at West Monroe High School, where they all played football, and continued to be close after high school. "It was always us three," said Peterson, who was notified of his friend's death by two Navy officers at Peterson's parents' home on Wednesday. "I still have a suitcase with his clothes in my trunk because he stayed at my house sometimes when he was home. I'm just going to leave that suitcase in my trunk." Deal's grandparents, Charlotte and Nick Hamilton of Oak Grove, said the family wasn't yet emotionally ready to talk publicly about Deal, although Charlotte said, "He was a great kid." His mother Melanie Deal is staying with the Hamiltons. His father Harry Deal lives in Sipan, Australia. "The biggest thing about Lee is he never wanted anybody to feel bad," Peterson said. "You'd hook up with him and you couldn't help but feel better if you were down." Deal made friends easily and quickly became popular with classmates when he moved to West Monroe in junior high school. "Lee didn't move here until junior high school, but he was elected president of the student council," said Lisa Miller, who taught Deal at West Monroe Junior High and later was his guidance counselor at West Monroe High. "People just loved him. This just breaks my heart." Mark Banks, a West Monroe High School classmate, said Deal "got along with everybody, and he was always a happy guy. He was fun to be around," Banks said. West Monroe classmate Jarred Frost had similar recollections of his friend, saying Deal "always made something fun. He could make something fun out of nothing," Frost said. But Deal did experience disappointments after high school, his friends said. An All-State kicker on West Monroe's national championship team in 2000, Deal hoped to continue playing football in college and followed Whitworth to LSU. He roomed with Whitworth, who was drafted by the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals earlier this month, for a year, but later left for Northwestern State University in Natchitoches." "He had some ups and downs; we both did," Peterson said. "He went to two colleges and I went to four. But he finally made a decision to join the Navy, grew up and found his passion. "Lee finally found his place. He was a strong, brave young man, and I couldn't be prouder of him." Originally published May 19, 2006

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 by Blogger

CenLamar will be on vacation until next Monday. Pretend like you're glad.

by Blogger

For those of you who are interested, please review the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Principles of Accreditation. Please allow me to quote from a particularly important passage: The product of accreditation is a public statement of an institution's continuing capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon requirements. The statement of an institution's accreditation status with the Commission of Colleges is also an affirmation of that institution's continuing committment to the Commission's principles and philosophy of accreditation. The Commission on Colleges supports the right of an institution to pursue its established educational mission; the right of faculty members to teach, investigate, and publish freedly; and the right of students to access opportunities for learning and for the OPEN EXCHANGE OF IDEAS. However, the exercise of those rights should not interfere with an institution to offer its students a sound education.

by Blogger

Responding to Remarks Concerning LC (Originally Posted on Cenla Antics): As a follow-up to the article I wrote this morning: Obviously the business analogy is what we're working with here, so let's expound on that a little bit. LC isn't like a privately-held small business; it's more like a publicly-traded mid-sized business. The Board doesn't "own" LC, and although the Southern Baptist Convention claims ownership, they don't actually "own" LC either. LC is owned by shareholders: its students, its alumni, its donors, its professors. These groups have the most "stock" in the future success of LC, because their worth in "human capital" is directly correlated to the value of their degree and/or job. Like a publicly-traded company, LC is also beholden to regulating bodies that determine whether or not it's violated established guidelines for accreditation, Title 9, etc. "Ownership" can make decisions contrary to these established guidelines, but by doing so, they risk violating the regulations of their accreditation. I believe LC should lose its accreditation, because accreditation bodies typically require that colleges practice academic freedom. I believe that any dogmatic directive instructing professors on what to believe and how to teach is a flagrant violation of the principle of academic freedom. I believe this because I respect the professors and students of LC, and I believe that the current administration is in the process of significantly "devaluing" their degrees through a series of decisions based on a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible. While I understand that a loss of accreditation would be a major shock to the system, I believe that students as well as the community at large needs to wake up and fix this problem before it's too late. In my opinion, there is only one other solution: The present board and administration need to resign in order to avoid future embarassment. Again, I am NOT the lone voice calling for this. There are many people, including many LC alumns, who feel that the present administration needs to be reprimanded for their actions. Think about it like this: What if, ten years from now, LC does become a Bible School? What if fundamentalists continue to control its curriculum? Any student who is serious about getting a job with a major employer and any student who wants to seek an advanced degree from a reputable university will be met with skepticism because their degree is from LC. That's not the way things are now, but people are making a mistake if they think that all of the professors who left were "just the bad apples." In time, it will be difficult (perhaps impossible) for LC to hire anyone with a phD from a serious institution. Why? Because most professors don't like to be told what to teach. You may disagree with that philosophy, and that's your perogative. But serious professors committed to research and teaching do not like taking orders on what to research and how to teach. Look, you can call me an elitist. Fine. Keep shooting the messenger. You can label me whatever you want to. I'm just conveying my opinion. I want to see LC succeed, because I know that a good, private college is good for our entire economy. It's good for our art scene, music scene, nightlife, and tourism. It can put us on the map as a destination, and it can create wealth and opportunities for its students and alumns.

by Blogger

Bill Would Require State Flags to Show Blood on Pelican's Chest

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- An eighth-grader's school project could change the appearance of Louisiana's state flag. Urged by 14-year-old Joseph Louviere of Houma, a House committee has approved a bill that would require all new state flags to show three drops of blood on the pelican's chest, part of the description of the state's earliest flags. Louisiana's blue state flag shows a mother pelican feeding her brood of chicks in a nest over the state motto of "Union, Justice and Confidence." Historical renditions and descriptions of the flag also include three drops of blood on the mother's breast. Louviere wrote a school report last month on the flag. He presented it to his local legislator, Representative Damon Baldone, who is sponsoring the bill that would require Louisiana flags -- along with the official state seal -- to have three blood drops. The idea quickly hit home with members of the House Judiciary Committee, who unanimously approved the bill and sent it to the full House for debate.

by Blogger

Louisiana College: Let's Stop Pretending. I've written before about my opinion of Louisiana College's new administration and the direction the school's Board of Trustees has decided to take. Although I did not attend Louisiana College, several of my friends and relatives have. Just last week, one of my best friends earned a degree in history from LC. The latest news out of LC is that its administration opted not to renew the contracts of Lori Thames, Dean of Student Affairs, and Maradee Kern, Professor of English. To the general public, this may just seem like a routine personnel decision, but to many current and former students, this is yet another sign that their school is being taken away from them. Until today, I hadn't heard of Ms. Thames, but I know that her job at LC was an important one, essentially a liason between the student body and the administration. It makes sense to me that the new administration would want to install their own person (crony) in this position. Although I have never met Professor Kern, I have heard a lot about her. Ms. Kern has a great reputation with her students, and I know many of them who will be very saddened to learn of LC's decision. (One of my friends had signed up for a class with Ms. Kern next semester). Ms. Kern also seems to be a bit of a blogger herself, and as evident from her last entry, she was not anticipating that she'd be terminated. But why, you ask, does all of this really matter? It matters to me for a few reasons. Louisiana College calls itself Louisiana College. It's not Louisiana Baptist College. We all know it's affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church, but many other fine schools have religious affiliations. Religion should not impede on the ability of a school to create an environment that promotes the OPEN exchange of ideas. I believe LC should lose its accreditation immediately. I believe that the present administration has sufficiently demonstrated its unwillingness to compromise on issues of personal belief and academic freedom. They have pillaged the school of many of its best professors. They have trampled on the individual rights of students and professors. They have made a mockery of higher education by instructing professors of all fields to adhere to a manifesto drafted by the Southern Baptist Convention. And they have added insult to injury by demanding that all professors agree to relinquish their God-given right to enjoy a glass of wine in a nice restaurant (or anywhere else deemed with the ambiguous label of "public"). I must remind readers that LC accomplished all of this because the Board of Trustees wanted to install their own man as Dean, no matter who or what stood in their way. They took this school over from the outside, and then, they somehow convinced people in their moral and religious superiority. It didn't matter that they broke precedent. It didn't matter who the Search Committee had selected. They claimed to know the righteous path for LC's future, and because of their direct relationship with the Almighty, they could skip around whatever they wanted in order to get their man in control. They were sued for this, but it didn't matter. Ultimately, colleges are self-governed, and if the Board wants to turn LC into a Bible School, they can do just that. I know many of you are probably thinking that LC is not really becoming a Bible School. Well, yes it is. Bible School is one of those umbrella terms. It doesn't mean that soon LC will only be teaching the Bible. In this case, it means that LC is attempting to inject the Southern Baptist belief system into every academic discource. If LC truly wants to become a Bible School, then it should go ahead and join the leagues of the other prestigious fundamentalist schools, Bob Jones University and Liberty University. Like LC, Bob Jones and Liberty also offer courses in the hard sciences and the humanities, though every lesson is set against the backdrop of their own unique Christian dogma. I know LC was on academic probation not long ago. Remember? (Oh, and you can't forget that they BANNED Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled and Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying. Banned because they were intimidated by the lowest common denominator). I'm not sure much has changed since they were taken off of academic probation, and although I know it will pain many students and professors to see their beloved school stripped entirely of its accreditation, I believe it's the only way to force a real decision from the new administration. Rather than let them slowly erode your school, choking departments of resources, terminating good professors, and censoring lesson plans and textbooks, give them an ultimatum, make them decide.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 by Blogger

That Karl Rove post was definitely infected. Sorry about that. I removed it. It's gone. If the site is still acting slowly, let me know. (It took forever just to delete that post).

by Blogger

9/11 video tape, The Hotel Bentley, and Another Word on Racial Politics Today, the Department of Defense released a video of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. This is an important video, because its secrecy, up until today, formed the backbone of most 9/11 conspiracy theories. A few months after 9/11, a French book entitled 9/11: The Big Lie created quite a bit of controversy throughout Europe. Among other things, the book claimed that the Pentagon was actually hit by a missle. (I don't understand why this was such a "logical" theory, but it convinced a number of people nonetheless). Richard Clarke said something about government conspiracy theories the other day that made a lot of sense to me: 1. They assume the government works. 2. They assume the government can keep secrets. Both assumptions, he says, are foolish. Hopefully, this video will answer some of the questions people had about 9/11. The Hotel Bentley: Today, the Town Talk published a letter about Bob Dean's relationship with the city. I'd written a long entry on Dean about a month ago; it was also an attempt at seeing things through his eyes. I should say this: Knowing what I know now, I don't think there are any heroes in this saga. And I've always thought that 12.2 million is a ridiculous asking price, basically eliminating the possibility that any buyer could reasonably expect a return on their investment. Racial Politics: I caught some grief yesterday for copying what I consider to be racially inflammatory remarks on Cenla Antics. At least, I guess that's what I was catching grief over. Well, instead of making the issue about me (which seems to be an increasingly popular method of debate), why don't we make this substantive? I have some questions. I wasn't living in Alexandria when the Sonia Quarters shooting went down, but I've heard some absolutely crazy rumors. 1. Who was this young man and what made him so imminently dangerous? 2. Is it true that there is a "memorial" for this young man in Sonia Quarters? If so, what type of "memorial?" 3. Who organized the protests against the APD and what was their motivation? 4. Did the APD have an arrangement with this young man? (This is the rumor most often heard: That he was a drug dealer and the police received kickbacks. It sounds completely ridiculous to me, but people continue to say this). 5. Can we heal from this?

Monday, May 15, 2006 by Blogger

Jefferson Says He Will Not Resign or Plead Guilty. Like DeLay, He Doesn't Want You To Be Distracted By His Friends Behind Bars. Here's the backstory on this:

Businessman Pleads Guilty To Bribing a Representative

By PHILIP SHENON (NYT) 720 words Published: May 4, 2006 WASHINGTON, May 3 - A Kentucky technology executive pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of bribing a member of Congress in an investigation that has centered on Representative William J. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat.

While court papers have not referred to Representative Jefferson by name, they leave no doubt that the congressman and his family are the focus of the Justice Department's investigation. Mr. Jefferson's homes in New Orleans and Washington were searched last year by federal agents.

The Kentucky businessman, Vernon L. Jackson, chairman of iGate Inc., based in Louisville, offered his plea in Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., admitting guilt to one count of bribing a public official and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

Mr. Jackson acknowledged that he had paid $367,500 over four years to a company controlled by the family of a member of Congress described in court papers only as ''Representative A, a member of the House of Representatives.'' In exchange, the court papers say, the lawmaker helped promote iGate's technology products to federal agencies, as well as to African governments and companies.

In January, a former aide to Mr. Jefferson pleaded guilty to charges of aiding and abetting the bribing of Representative A, a clear reference to Mr. Jefferson because of other details revealed in the court papers.

The former aide, Brett M. Pfeffer, said Representative A sought bribes, jobs for his children and other favors in exchange for official acts on behalf of a company seeking to set up an Internet and cable-television service in Nigeria.

In a statement released by his House office, Mr. Jefferson said he was ''surprised and disappointed to learn of Vernon Jackson's guilty plea and his characterization of our relationship.'' He added, ''I have never over all the years of my public service accepted payment from anyone for the performance of any act or duty for which I have been elected.''

The investigation of Mr. Jefferson, who is in his eighth term, has given Republican leaders an opportunity to try to divert public attention from recent federal corruption investigations involving House and Senate Republicans and their ties to corporate lobbyists.

Jack Abramoff, a once-powerful lobbyist and Republican political fund-raiser, pleaded guilty in January to trying to corrupt public officials and has agreed to cooperate in investigations of several Congressional Republicans. In a separate inquiry, Representative Randy Cunningham, a California Republican known as Duke, pleaded guilty in November to taking $2.4 million in homes, yachts and other bribes, and resigned his seat.

Mr. Jackson, the Kentucky businessman, faces up to 20 years in prison as a result of his guilty plea Wednesday.

In court papers outlining his agreement with prosecutors, he acknowledged that he bribed Representative A for help to promote high-speed and broadband Internet technology developed by iGate. In exchange for the payments, the plea agreement says, Representative A helped iGate to obtain federal certification for the company, allowing its technology to be sold to the Defense Department and other agencies.

The Justice Department said the bribes began in 2001 and were made to a company ''ostensibly maintained in the names of Representative A's spouse and children'' and were fraudulently described as consulting fees. ''In fact,'' the plea agreement said, ''those payments were designed to be in return for Representative A performing official acts in promoting iGate products and business.''

In 2003, it said, Representative A traveled to Nigeria on official business and met with officials of a Nigerian television company to promote iGate's technology, an effort that resulted in an agreement by the Nigerian company to invest $45 million in a joint venture with iGate. That same year, the agreement said, the lawmaker visited the offices of the Export-Import Bank in Washington to introduce Mr. Jackson to the bank's officials ''for the purpose of promoting the Nigerian deal.''

The court papers said iGate helped to sponsor and pay for a trip to Nigeria by Representative A, where he met with the country's president, vice president and chief commerce minister and ''promoted iGate'' and its communications technology.

As part of the investigation, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Mr. Jefferson's homes in Washington and Louisiana last August. They also raided the Maryland home of Nigeria's vice president, Atiku Abubakar, citing warrants for documents linking him and his wife to Mr. Jefferson and the business deals.

Photos: A bribery investigation focused on Representative William J. Jefferson, top, and a Kentucky businessman, Vernon L. Jackson. (Photo by Caleb Jones/Associated Press); (Photo by Bas Czerwinski/Associated Press)

|W|P|114912913388306225|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/31/2006 05:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Question for the Anonymous Bloggers: If you're going to post anonymously, then why not report specific details? Some of you like to use euphemisms and nicknames for the events and people, and guess what? It just clouds the issues. Speak your truth! Tell us what we need to know. To Billy Gunn: Keep up the good work. If the blogosphere proves anything about Alexandria, it's that it is nearly impossible to find the real truth around here. It's all gossip and innuendo, and it seems like no one wants to go on the record about anything. Kudos for the latest series of articles.|W|P|114912190880497714|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/31/2006 08:08:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Fleecing of Alexandria: The basic story is this: The wife of our city's attorney created her own consultation company. This consultation company entered into a contract with the Alexandria Housing Authority. This company has been paid at the rate of $18,416 a month or $221,016 a year. Thus far, they have offered no explanation of the services that they have provided. I'm still waiting to hear two things: what they've done and why we've needed them. In other news, I enjoyed this letter in today's newspaper, which basically claimed that the President of LC should not be criticized, because, like God, he's an authority figure that should be respected by young people. I know I'm simplifying the letter, but it was just weird. This is one of my favorite quotes: "We charge people to abandon these pharisaical, relativistic, pseudo-intellectual perversions of the truth -- only then will LC be rid of the darkness." Hehe. |W|P|114908909541607948|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/30/2006 12:55:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Report: Hotel Bentley Repairs To Cost Between $7.6-$8.8 million. According to a recent report, the Hotel Bentley, which is currently on the market for $12.2 million, will need between $7.6 and $8.8 million worth of repairs and renovations in order to effectively function as a four-star hotel. The report was written by Glenn Stewart, a Lafayette-based real estate investor and entrepeneur, and Carol White, a local real estate developer and investor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Carol White is my mother, and she is not interested in purchasing the Bentley). The ten page report was composed after meeting with local and national engineers, local and national architects specializing in luxury hotel design, local government officials, current and previous ownership, and local business leaders. It is important to note that none of the repairs are the result of the decisions made by current ownership; they are simply the reality of running a four-star hotel in a 98 year old building. The report makes the following suggestions: 1. HVAC upgrades: $325,000 2. Individual Room Decoration: $1,408,000 3. Individual Bathroom Repairs: $264,000 4. Individual Bedroom Repairs: $226,000 5. Hallway Upgrades: $900,000 6. Basement Upgrades: $500,000 7. Remodel of Accessory Space at Corner of Jackson and Main: $300,000 8. Repair of External Wall Masonry and Wood Eaves, Soffits, and Fascia: $300,000- $1,000,000 9. Renovation of Main Floor: $500,000 10. Renovation of Mezzanine Level: $1,250,000 11. Addition of New Motor Entrance: $1,500,000- $2,000,000 12. Miscellaneous: $150,000 From an investor's perspective, the Hotel Bentley, even at a substantially reduced price, does not make sound financial sense. The report mentions several state and federal incentives for which the Bentley could qualify, but even with these in place, it will still be difficult to achieve an adequate return on investment. I am more than willing to answer substantive questions on the specific details of the report. Currently, I believe that the only way to ensure the future success of the Hotel Bentley is through a public/private partnership. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to find a buyer who can assume the risks involved in such a massive undertaking. Without the repairs, the hotel could function, but it wouldn't function as the type of hotel that patrons expect. Furthermore, without the HVAC repairs, the hotel's utility bills could be astronomical. In other words, the repairs are absolutely necessary for the Bentley to regain its stature. I am sharing this information with the community because I feel that the Bentley is a critical component of any plans for downtown Alexandria. It is also one of Alexandria's most recognizable landmarks, and we should all appreciate its historical significance in shaping the landscape of Central Louisiana. Will it sell? That question can only be answered if two things happen: 1) Current ownership must acknowledge the risks involved, appreciate the fact that the hotel does not come with goodwill (or an operating business), and reduce the asking price. 2) The local government must find a creative way of inticing a private investor(s) by offering to assume some of the risks involved. The hotel will never belong to any single owner; it will always belong to the people of Central Louisiana. To that end, the government should find a solution that creates some type of public/private partnership for the hotel's management. (Remember that the Holiday Inn in Downtown Alexandria also operates because of a public/private partnership). |W|P|114902077033838005|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/29/2006 04:35:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|

The Onion: Hillary Clinton Is Too Ambitious To Be The First Female President

By Gerald Collins May 24, 2006 | Issue 42•21

I think it's about time we had a female president of the United States. I don't care what anyone says: Women can be just as smart and qualified as men—especially the clowns we've had in Washington lately. But Hillary Clinton? She's just a little too ambitious to do what no woman before her has ever done.

Hillary seems to think she knows what our country needs better than anyone else, and believes that she, among the hundreds or thousands of qualified politicians, is the only one who can do it. Is that really the sort of person we want at the helm of our federal government?

Not to mention that she's extremely self-promoting. She spends almost all her time these days going to fundraising events dedicated to raising money for—you guessed it—Hillary Clinton. She's always popping up in the news with a new initiative she's spearheading or some kind of complaint against the president. I don't want to use the B word, but she seems awfully bossy to head an executive branch that employs 450,000 people.

Sen. Clinton always wants to be throwing her opinion around about this bill or that law. I saw her on Meet The Press just last week. Every time Tim Russert would take her to task on one issue or another, she'd come right back at him with some sort of smart answer. She needs to learn that sometimes you need to just accept your place; it's not polite to always act like you know things. Not to mention the fact that, as a working woman, she should take those precious Sundays to spend some time with her family, not to meet with the press on national television.

I'd rather see a female presidential candidate who wasn't so focused on herself and her political aspirations. It seems like she puts a lot of thought into every decision that she makes, as if every little move were planned ahead of time down to the smallest little detail. It's hard to pin down exactly why, but it just wouldn't feel right to see someone who is so politically calculating win those precious 270 electoral votes in the next election.

Hillary doesn't shy away from tough situations, as she proved with her health- care proposal during her husband's first term. She likes to tackle the hard problems, no matter how entrenched the current failing system seems to be. Is it just me, or should the woman who overturns a 230-year-old tradition not have such a tendency to rock the boat?

Hillary has some very strong opinions, and she certainly doesn't hesitate to voice them. She's got an entire website dedicated to her positions on every last little thing. In debates, she always wants to have the last word. She's in love with the sound of her own voice. That's not the sort of person who should be in politics, much less the White House.

Do we really want the first woman leading the free world to be such an outright take-charge type?

What's more, nobody asked her to run. In fact, a lot of people on both sides of the aisle don't even want her to run, and many other politicians are planning on running against her. Yet she's stayed in the race, blatantly ignoring the wishes of some people. Shouldn't the first woman to break the gender barrier of the American presidency be the type of woman who listens to those who doubt her and bows to public opinion more often?

Ever heard of letting others take the lead, Sen. Clinton? If you're going to become the first woman in the Oval Office, you should start thinking about acting a little more ladylike.|W|P|114894578351622604|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/29/2006 04:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Memorial Day Reminder: 2,448 American Soldiers Killed in Iraq Since the War Began
Monthly Summaries References
Month US Named Dead * US Reported Dead ** US Wounded *** **** US Army Evacuations from Iraq
Wounded In Action ***** Non-Battle Injury ***** Disease *****
March 2003 65 0 202 930 3212 5846
April 2003 73 0 340
TOTAL 138 0 542
May 37 0 54
June 30 0 147
July 47 0 226
August 35 0 181
September 30 0 247
October 43 0 413
November 82 0 337
December 40 0 261
January 2004 47 0 188
February 19 0 150
March 52 0 323 49 206 367
April 135 12 1214 203 355 262
May 80 8 757 106 348 146
June 42 2 589 141 138 389
July 54 7 552 71 157 337
August 66 5 895 139 74 379
September 81 3 706 122 84 391
October 63 5 647 100 94 457
November 137 3 1427 149 96 323
December 72 1 540 477 379 1474
January 2005 107 1 496 85 129 324
February 58 4 409 77 100 280
March 36 0 364 74 104 342
April 52 0 590 90 113 302
May 79 3 385 85 119 306
June 77 0 501 110 98 359
July 54 1 473 73 117 315
August 84 1 451 81 99 273
September 48 6 490 122 118 258
October 96 0 608
November 83 5 518
December 66 1 304
January 61 4 521
February 53 3 300
March 30 3 475
April 74 7 481
May 60 2 12
Subtotal 2,448 33 17,774 2,913 5,876 11,959
TOTAL 2,481 20,748

* Includes both hostile killed and non-hostile killed ** Reported Killed but Unidentified Pending Notification of Next of Kin *** Included both Wounded in Action and non-hostile prior to 01 Apr 04 **** Includes only Wounded in Action since 01 Apr 04 ***** Excludes all non-Army troops, and all troops treated in theater

|W|P|114894502272715940|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/27/2006 01:33:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|State to Investigate Alexandria Housing Authority (And Why This Looks Really Fishy to People Who Haven't Yet Formed Their Own "Consultation" Companies) I have a question. Perhaps someone can answer it. What do these consultants actually do? Why do we need them? As some of you know, I'm in property management, and as a result, I often work with the Alexandria Housing Authority. I don't understand why this consultation contract was even needed in the first place. To help relocate people? Isn't that a basic responsibility of the housing authority? Isn't that what they do anyway? And what all-star qualifications does this consultation company have that would help the housing authority increase efficiency while decreasing expenses?|W|P|114876252447726482|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/26/2006 03:21:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jefferson Must Go, Says Salon.Com For their own good and the good of the country, Rep. William Jefferson's allies in the Congressional Black Caucus should insist that he resign.

By Joe Conason

May. 26, 2006 | When FBI agents reach into a congressman's home freezer and pull out $90,000 in foil-wrapped bills, it is time for him to resign. When the Justice Department announces that the same congressman is on videotape taking a $100,000 bribe in a Virginia hotel garage, his resignation is overdue.

The case of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., is that simple. In a matter of public integrity, his party affiliation doesn't matter, and neither does his race, color, creed, Harvard law degree or the sad fact that his constituents happen to live in ruined New Orleans. If he somehow doesn't understand his position, then his political friends -- and above all his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus -- should be firmly explaining those realities to him.

During the past year, as federal agents have pursued the investigation of Jefferson, court filings and news stories have revealed substantial, compelling evidence against him. He is alleged to have taken part in a wide-ranging conspiracy to extort cash bribes and other payoffs from businesses seeking to invest in African countries where he has influence. One of the business executives involved wore a wire during meetings with the powerful Louisiana politician, and two of his former aides have pleaded guilty to participation in a bribery conspiracy.

Jefferson has yet to be indicted, let alone convicted of any crime. He is entitled to the presumption of innocence, no matter how strong the evidence against him. (It looks considerably stronger, by the way, than the evidence produced so far against certain Republicans held up to scorn every day by Democrats. That is why progressive public-interest organizations such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Public Citizen have been among his harshest critics.)

Ultimately Jefferson will have to answer for his conduct in court, where the government will have the burden of proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But there is -- or should be -- a difference between the standard for service in Congress and the standard for conviction and incarceration as a felon. Cooperation with law enforcement is a good measure of fitness for public service, which Jefferson has failed by resisting federal subpoenas for his records. That happens to be why the FBI finally conducted its constitutionally questionable raid on his House office last weekend.

The most powerful reason for Jefferson to quit, however, was displayed at his own press conference in the U.S. Capitol on Monday, when he announced that he would not step down (and cryptically suggested that there are "two sides to every story"). Asked directly whether he had taken a bribe, the congressman declined to answer. Anyone in public office who can't say "no" to that question should leave -- or be required to leave -- immediately.

In a midterm election year, with so many major stories of rampant Republican corruption on Capitol Hill and K Street, the disgrace of Jefferson is a reprieve for Republicans and a dilemma for Democrats. Faced with the prospect of his indictment, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has publicly asked him to step down from his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee. She is reported to have suggested privately that he resign from Congress. By doing so, she has already improved on the record of the Republicans, whose determination to protect Tom DeLay was appalling.

As a Louisiana machine politician with all the ethical baggage implied by that description, Jefferson has never been a paragon of political virtue. According to the Washington Post, he was overheard last year on an FBI wiretap asking his brother-in-law, a local judge, to help raise money for his daughter's state legislative campaign. (The judge was sent to federal prison in February for operating a corrupt bail-bonding scheme.) He also made ugly headlines in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when he commanded National Guard troops and trucks to help him empty out his house. By then, he was already known to be the target of a federal bribery probe.

Yet when Pelosi finally asked him to step down from Ways and Means, he rejected her mild request. He released a bizarre letter claiming that his beleaguered constituents in New Orleans cannot afford to be deprived of him. Evidently he believes that he can continue in office, come what may. Sustaining him in this destructive delusion, unfortunately, is the Congressional Black Caucus -- whose dean, Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., sits with him on Ways and Means and counts him as a close friend.

The Hill, a weekly newspaper that covers Congress, reports that "furious" caucus members came close to publicly scolding Pelosi after she asked Jefferson to quit his committee post. Only an "emergency meeting" with the minority leader averted an embarrassing incident. According to the Hill, the dispute over Jefferson "has brought into glaring public light long-standing resentments felt by black lawmakers toward the Democratic leadership in the House."

The same story quoted an anonymous caucus staffer complaining that by asking Jefferson to quit Ways and Means, Pelosi had created "a new precedent for how members are going to be treated. Unfortunately, she's chosen to single out an African-American for this honor ... The African-American community, which overwhelmingly backs the Democratic Party, will not take this lightly. I hope she enjoys being minority leader."

It is hard to imagine any remark more insulting to the African-American community -- or more indicative of the stupid priorities of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Can it really be true that black voters will punish Pelosi because she demanded a minimal concession from a corrupt lawmaker who happens to be black? Can it really be true that black communities, which have suffered disproportionately from Republican rule, and none more so than Jefferson's Louisiana constituents, will make support of that corrupt lawmaker a point of pride? Can it really be true that black Americans will regard Jefferson as a victim of "discrimination," as he tried to claim in his reply to Pelosi?

More likely is that black voters, like most citizens of all ethnic backgrounds, regard Congress with skepticism and even suspicion -- and that black voters feel much more strongly than most that the Republican majority must be ousted. In this instance they are being poorly served by the caucus, whose members evidently don't differ much from the rest of the Washington elite in their narcissism, myopia and arrogance.

The support for Jefferson among his caucus colleagues is especially misplaced, because defending him will jeopardize their own advancement as well as the greater good. Whatever quarrels the caucus may have with Pelosi, its members and their constituents have much to gain from a Democratic victory in November. Should Democrats regain the majority, at least four black members will get committee chairs -- with the most important being none other than Rangel, who would at last cap his long career with the Ways and Means chairmanship. (Meanwhile the Republican right can be expected to broadcast those possible chairmanships, none too subtly, as a racial campaign theme.)

The broad national interest in political change coincides here not only with African-American interests but with the demands of integrity as well. Obviously Jefferson doesn't understand that he should go for all those reasons, so someone to whom he will listen should tell him. It is a shame, in every sense, that Rangel and his caucus colleagues are not up to the occasion.

-- By Joe Conason

|W|P|114868212230785889|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/26/2006 01:51:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|On a Positive Note: The Town Talk is reporting that Cenla's economic future looks good and that Alexandria should continue to be the second-fastest growing city in Louisiana, despite the fact that we seem to suffer from a lack of skilled laborers. This makes for a well-needed shot of good news. On a Not-So Positive Note: It's hard not to be repulsed by some members of the local blogging community. To Michele Godard, I hope that you don't let the voices of cynicism and blind pettiness convince you that the entire Cenla blogosphere is without merit. In the short time that I've been running this blog, I have learned that there are some people who just want to make you mad. They pretend like they speak for the good of the community and that they champion the common person, but they're really just insecure, jealous idiots who can barely compose a complete sentence (let alone a rational, substantive argument). Many of them seem like they are still living in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and their perception of "who controls Alexandria" hasn't quite kept up with the times. It's hard not to get infuriated by them, and I've probably spent way too much time on the subject. But I do know this: They don't matter. They've never mattered. And this has nothing to do with political clout or social status. They don't matter because they have nothing, absolutely nothing, positive to say about anyone or anything. They're more concerned with who your ex-husband was or how much money my grandparents have given to charity than they are about the mayor's race or the state of education or poverty or health care (all issues, by the way, that particularly affect the lives of those that they claim to champion). So you know what? I'm going to continue reading and contributing, and I hope that others do the same. If you feel like insulting me and my family and who I am and who I know and where I went to school, be my guest. Believe it or not, there are some people in the world who are proud of who they are, where they have come from, and what they have accomplished. And a final word on LC: I agree with WeSawThat's assessment of the true purpose of LC, and I want to see LC return to former glory with the least possible damage to the institution's reputation and student body. For this reason, I no longer think it is absolutely imperative that LC lose its accreditation immediately. The discussion regarding LC attracted some very interesting responses, and as a result, I now believe there is probably an easier solution.|W|P|114868080962713907|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/23/2006 08:38:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|More Negative Press for Louisiana College Jim Leggett is reporting that four LC professors have "renewed" their lawsuit against the college, citing, among other things, that LC continues to violate the principles of academic freedom. (See previous posts on the definition of academic freedom and LC's responsibility to its shareholders). LC's attorney, Ted LeClercq, is attempting to downplay the allegations. He says this is just a "workplace dispute" and that these allegations are vague with no cause of action. But... that's not true. It turns out that Scott Peck's classic The Road Less Traveled is STILL banned at LC, despite the fact that the book was reinstated by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (that's the association that determines accreditation) and the Faculty Grievance Committee. I wonder if Joe Aguillard has even read The Road Less Traveled. If he had, he'd know that it's a harmless, wonderful book about the use of religion in the discourse of pyschology. The book was an international bestseller and remained on the NY Times Bestseller List for years. What worries me (and I assume these professors as well) is that if you ban a book like The Road Less Traveled, you're likely to ban anything that doesn't conform to your own personal religious views. And right after this story broke, the Town Talk published a letter from an LC student that lambasted Aguillard on his own terms. This is what you call imminent critique. Mr. Hand is building his argument within the context of Aguillard's religious beliefs. To: Dr. Joe Aguillard, Louisiana College:

I write to confront you regarding your decision to not renew Dean Thames' contract. Second, I decry your refusal to disclose your reasons for doing so. I write not in a spirit of anger or derision. Rather, I write as one who loves Louisiana College and the highest Christian values for which she has stood for 100 years. Dean Thames, as you already know, has tirelessly served her alma mater for over 20 years. Last fall, she was honored as a distinguished alumnus at Homecoming. She is loved by the students of LC. I have spoken with many students in the past few days, and even those who fell under disciplinary action by her decisions are shocked and profoundly saddened. In the three years that I have attended LC, she has been a unifying presence in an endless age of division. I appeal to you under I John 3:18 -- "Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action." The LC community deserves a complete and honest explanation for your actions. What you have done is not outside your authority, but it is outside the moral imperatives of scripture. Some may suggest that you do not need a reason for your actions, but such a message is Darwinian, and anything but biblical. You must understand: Dean Thames is a woman of strong Christian faith, which makes her your sister in Christ. To all public knowledge, she is above reproach, and innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, by acting in this loveless manner, you implicitly deny that she is your sister in Christ. Thus, you are making a liar of our God and undermining the spiritual unity of his church. I am fully aware that you acted according to the advice of your legal counsel. That is no excuse. Legal counsel should be taken seriously, but never may it be obeyed against the word of God. The Apostle James warns us against this very method, of professing to belong to God while looking to the fallen world for answers. Finally, let me make this plain: You have said and repeated many times that LC will seek in all things to lift up the name of Jesus. But until your actions are either sufficiently explained or rectified, they shall mock that glorious name and cripple our Christian witness more than any alcoholic beverage. As you listen to your lawyers, I remind you that a man reaps what he sows, and that what is whispered in darkness will ultimately be shouted from the rooftops. Therefore I urge you: don't be double-minded! Be unambiguously devoted to Christ in word and deed. As your brother in Christ, I charge you to unveil the light of truth, that LC may not be resigned to walk in darkness.

Paul Hand, Pineville

|W|P|114839983951423399|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/22/2006 09:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|A Discussion on Class Warfare A few weeks ago, I wrote a little confessional post on the blog about my life, sort of a "getting to know you" type of piece addressed to my friends in real life. Well, it turns out I made a mistake. I said, "Friends, you also know that I am not rich. Although my family has money, you know that I live on less than $35,000 a year, that I live in an apartment, and that I am currently in debt because of college." I understand that the wording of that particular passage may leave some readers with the impression that I am "barely making it," and I understand that for many in our community, $35K a year is a lot of money. I apologize for leaving anyone with the impression that I am out of touch with reality. According to this report (scroll down), 52.3% of people living in Alexandria make less than 30K a year, and only 14.6% have a bachelors degree. There is a serious rich/poor gap in our community, and this creates a social dynamic in which the "average" citizen feels disconnected from the decisions affecting his or her daily life. I definitely do not have all of the answers to this problem, but I know that a discussion is both healthy and necessary. The discussion breaks down, however, when we attempt to project the entire problem onto one person or one group of people. For some reason, many Central Louisianans prefer to play the blame game when it comes to the problem of poverty. The rich tend to believe that it's easy and painless to simply "lift yourself up by your bootstraps," and they offer little empathy for those who struggle daily to provide for their families. At the same time, those who "speak" for the poor like to stage the discussion from an emotional and untenable starting point: "You can't participate in this discussion because you don't know what reality is." This creates a barricade to discussion, and it alienates those who truly want to help.
Demographic Report
Center:5401 JACKSON ST 71303
Distance:5 miles
Population (2005)
Total%
2005 Population 57,502
Population (2010)
Total%
2010 Population 55,564
Sex (2005)
Total%
Male 26,99546.9%
Female 30,50753.1%
Age Distribution (2005)
Total%
0-4 4,2747.4%
5-9 4,0307.0%
10-19 8,35314.5%
20-29 8,21514.3%
30-39 6,93412.1%
40-49 7,96913.9%
50-59 6,52311.3%
60-64 2,5254.4%
65+ 8,67915.1%
Race Distribution (2005)
Total%
White 28,16349.0%
Black 27,36347.6%
American Indian 1920.3%
Asian 9431.6%
Pacific Islander 200.0%
Other 1570.3%
Multirace 6641.2%
Hispanic 8131.4%
2005 Total Households
Total%
Households 22,384
Families 14,27663.8%
2005 Household Income Distribution
Total%
<$10 K 4,28119.1%
$10-$20K 4,03718.0%
$20-$30K 3,41115.2%
$30-$40K 2,61011.7%
$40-$50K 1,8778.4%
$50-$60K 1,5436.9%
$60-$75K 1,4706.6%
$75-$100K 1,3175.9%
> $100K 1,8388.2%
2005 Household Net Worth
Total%
$0 or Less 3,04713.6%
$1-$5000 3,46715.5%
$5000-$10000 1,6047.2%
$10000-$25000 2,67311.9%
$25000-$50000 2,81412.6%
$50000-$100000 3,47415.5%
$100000-$250000 3,91517.5%
$250000-$500000 1,4736.6%
$500000 or More 7483.3%
2005 Labor Force Status
Total%
Labor Force 23,944
Employed 22,44193.7%
Unemployed 1,4205.9%
In Armed Forces 83
Not In Labor Force 20,480
2005 Total Number of Housing
Total%
Total Dwellings 25,274
Owner-Occupied Dwellings 12,01453.7%
Renter-Occupied Dwellings 10,37046.3%
Housing Units Occupied 22,38488.6%
2005 Education Attainment
Total%
Population Age 25+ 36,293
<>3,0108.3%
Grade 9-12 6,16417.0%
High School 9,69126.7%
Some College 7,79521.5%
Assoc Degree 1,4554.0%
Bach Degree 5,29214.6%
Grad Degree 2,8868.0%
2005 Size of Household
Total%
1 Person 7,21832.2%
2 Person 7,21532.2%
3 Person 3,60916.1%
4 Person 2,54011.3%
5 Person 1,1945.3%
6+ Person 3811.7%
Sex (2010)
Total%
Male 26,26547.3%
Female 29,29952.7%
Age Distribution (2010)
Total%
0-4 4,1967.6%
5-9 3,9697.1%
10-19 7,55113.6%
20-29 8,20414.8%
30-39 6,50811.7%
40-49 6,99312.6%
50-59 6,65612.0%
60-64 2,7595.0%
65+ 8,72815.7%
Race Distribution (2010)
Total%
White 28,10550.6%
Black 25,69146.2%
American Indian 1910.3%
Asian 9731.8%
Pacific Islander 200.0%
Other 1590.3%
Multirace 4230.8%
Hispanic 9691.7%
2010 Total Households
Total%
Households 22,114
Families 13,84362.6%
2010 Household Income Distribution
Total%
<$10 K 4,09018.5%
$10-$20K 3,61716.4%
$20-$30K 3,14014.2%
$30-$40K 2,48911.3%
$40-$50K 1,8518.4%
$50-$60K 1,5747.1%
$60-$75K 1,4866.7%
$75-$100K 1,4736.7%
> $100K 2,39410.8%
2010 Labor Force Status
Total%
Labor Force 23,166
Employed 21,69493.6%
Unemployed 1,3856.0%
In Armed Forces 87
Not In Labor Force 19,865
2010 Total Number of Housing
Total%
Total Dwellings 25,064
Owner-Occupied Dwellings 11,36251.4%
Renter-Occupied Dwellings 10,75248.6%
Housing Units Occupied 22,11488.2%
2010 Education Attainment
Total%
Population Age 25+ 35,587
<>2,8227.9%
Gr 9-12 5,78016.2%
High School 8,77924.7%
Some College 7,66921.6%
Assoc Degree 1,6734.7%
Bach Degree 6,05617.0%
Grad Degree 2,8087.9%
2010 Size of Household
Total%
1 Person 7,46833.8%
2 Person 7,49433.9%
3 Person 3,45515.6%
4 Person 2,33310.5%
5 Person 9904.5%
6+ Person 2511.1%
Source: Applied Geographic Solutions, Thousand Oaks. CA
|W|P|114831695910035774|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/22/2006 09:04:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Unsolved Murders? A Letter From Saturday's Town Talk: What happened to them?

Have a number of murders ever been resolved in the town? I remember a partner, Ronnie Isles, back in 1982 or 1983 was found murdered and never heard any more about it.

I remember Harold Chew and Jimmie Lee Jacob also. Have these murders been resolved or were these murders important enough to be investigated? I also had a brother, Robert Wright, who was found in the river in Alexandria in 2003. Was his death ever solved? The lifestyle of a person does not exclude that person from equal justice. If the cases are unsolved, then why are taxpayers paying these city officials for not doing their jobs that they should be out there doing?

Raymond Wright, Fayetteville, N.C.

|W|P|114831456030238779|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/21/2006 06:52:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|$90,000 Found In Jefferson's Fridge|W|P|114826279887224610|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/21/2006 09:54:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Interrupting my vacation because this hasn't been reported by the local media: Lee Deal, formerly of Alexandria and West Monroe, Louisiana, was killed in Iraq late last week. I knew Lee and his brother Justin while a student at Nachman Elementary. He was a dear friend of many of my friends, and I know that he will be sorely missed. Coincidentally, when Lee moved to West Monroe, he became friends with the girl I took to prom. Lee was a Navy Corpsman attached to a Marines unit. He had been in the military for about three years. Here is an article about Lee from the News Star: Deal a 'strong, brave man' Friends remember lost soldier as a magnetic, infectious person By Greg Hilburn ghilburn@thenewsstar.com Lee Deal was quick with a smile and a joke, but also had a serious side and was driven to succeed, those who knew him said on Thursday. Deal's friends and family were mourning the loss of the gregarious West Monroe man who died a hero on Wednesday in Iraq, where he was serving his country as a petty officer, third class in the Navy. "It still doesn't seem real to me," said Michael Peterson, one of Deal's two best friends along with Andrew Whitworth. "I talked to him about two weeks ago and he sounded confident and strong." Deal, 23, was a medic attached to the Marine B Company 2nd Recon Battalion. A Navy spokesman said details of Deal's death as well as when his body would be returned home will be released during the next few days. Peterson said he, Deal and Whitworth were inseparable at West Monroe High School, where they all played football, and continued to be close after high school. "It was always us three," said Peterson, who was notified of his friend's death by two Navy officers at Peterson's parents' home on Wednesday. "I still have a suitcase with his clothes in my trunk because he stayed at my house sometimes when he was home. I'm just going to leave that suitcase in my trunk." Deal's grandparents, Charlotte and Nick Hamilton of Oak Grove, said the family wasn't yet emotionally ready to talk publicly about Deal, although Charlotte said, "He was a great kid." His mother Melanie Deal is staying with the Hamiltons. His father Harry Deal lives in Sipan, Australia. "The biggest thing about Lee is he never wanted anybody to feel bad," Peterson said. "You'd hook up with him and you couldn't help but feel better if you were down." Deal made friends easily and quickly became popular with classmates when he moved to West Monroe in junior high school. "Lee didn't move here until junior high school, but he was elected president of the student council," said Lisa Miller, who taught Deal at West Monroe Junior High and later was his guidance counselor at West Monroe High. "People just loved him. This just breaks my heart." Mark Banks, a West Monroe High School classmate, said Deal "got along with everybody, and he was always a happy guy. He was fun to be around," Banks said. West Monroe classmate Jarred Frost had similar recollections of his friend, saying Deal "always made something fun. He could make something fun out of nothing," Frost said. But Deal did experience disappointments after high school, his friends said. An All-State kicker on West Monroe's national championship team in 2000, Deal hoped to continue playing football in college and followed Whitworth to LSU. He roomed with Whitworth, who was drafted by the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals earlier this month, for a year, but later left for Northwestern State University in Natchitoches." "He had some ups and downs; we both did," Peterson said. "He went to two colleges and I went to four. But he finally made a decision to join the Navy, grew up and found his passion. "Lee finally found his place. He was a strong, brave young man, and I couldn't be prouder of him." Originally published May 19, 2006|W|P|114823127651628492|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 10:45:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|CenLamar will be on vacation until next Monday. Pretend like you're glad.|W|P|114793139102731307|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 08:25:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|For those of you who are interested, please review the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Principles of Accreditation. Please allow me to quote from a particularly important passage: The product of accreditation is a public statement of an institution's continuing capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon requirements. The statement of an institution's accreditation status with the Commission of Colleges is also an affirmation of that institution's continuing committment to the Commission's principles and philosophy of accreditation. The Commission on Colleges supports the right of an institution to pursue its established educational mission; the right of faculty members to teach, investigate, and publish freedly; and the right of students to access opportunities for learning and for the OPEN EXCHANGE OF IDEAS. However, the exercise of those rights should not interfere with an institution to offer its students a sound education. |W|P|114792416649456300|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 03:26:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Responding to Remarks Concerning LC (Originally Posted on Cenla Antics): As a follow-up to the article I wrote this morning: Obviously the business analogy is what we're working with here, so let's expound on that a little bit. LC isn't like a privately-held small business; it's more like a publicly-traded mid-sized business. The Board doesn't "own" LC, and although the Southern Baptist Convention claims ownership, they don't actually "own" LC either. LC is owned by shareholders: its students, its alumni, its donors, its professors. These groups have the most "stock" in the future success of LC, because their worth in "human capital" is directly correlated to the value of their degree and/or job. Like a publicly-traded company, LC is also beholden to regulating bodies that determine whether or not it's violated established guidelines for accreditation, Title 9, etc. "Ownership" can make decisions contrary to these established guidelines, but by doing so, they risk violating the regulations of their accreditation. I believe LC should lose its accreditation, because accreditation bodies typically require that colleges practice academic freedom. I believe that any dogmatic directive instructing professors on what to believe and how to teach is a flagrant violation of the principle of academic freedom. I believe this because I respect the professors and students of LC, and I believe that the current administration is in the process of significantly "devaluing" their degrees through a series of decisions based on a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible. While I understand that a loss of accreditation would be a major shock to the system, I believe that students as well as the community at large needs to wake up and fix this problem before it's too late. In my opinion, there is only one other solution: The present board and administration need to resign in order to avoid future embarassment. Again, I am NOT the lone voice calling for this. There are many people, including many LC alumns, who feel that the present administration needs to be reprimanded for their actions. Think about it like this: What if, ten years from now, LC does become a Bible School? What if fundamentalists continue to control its curriculum? Any student who is serious about getting a job with a major employer and any student who wants to seek an advanced degree from a reputable university will be met with skepticism because their degree is from LC. That's not the way things are now, but people are making a mistake if they think that all of the professors who left were "just the bad apples." In time, it will be difficult (perhaps impossible) for LC to hire anyone with a phD from a serious institution. Why? Because most professors don't like to be told what to teach. You may disagree with that philosophy, and that's your perogative. But serious professors committed to research and teaching do not like taking orders on what to research and how to teach. Look, you can call me an elitist. Fine. Keep shooting the messenger. You can label me whatever you want to. I'm just conveying my opinion. I want to see LC succeed, because I know that a good, private college is good for our entire economy. It's good for our art scene, music scene, nightlife, and tourism. It can put us on the map as a destination, and it can create wealth and opportunities for its students and alumns.|W|P|114790486893820631|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 09:33:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|

Bill Would Require State Flags to Show Blood on Pelican's Chest

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- An eighth-grader's school project could change the appearance of Louisiana's state flag. Urged by 14-year-old Joseph Louviere of Houma, a House committee has approved a bill that would require all new state flags to show three drops of blood on the pelican's chest, part of the description of the state's earliest flags. Louisiana's blue state flag shows a mother pelican feeding her brood of chicks in a nest over the state motto of "Union, Justice and Confidence." Historical renditions and descriptions of the flag also include three drops of blood on the mother's breast. Louviere wrote a school report last month on the flag. He presented it to his local legislator, Representative Damon Baldone, who is sponsoring the bill that would require Louisiana flags -- along with the official state seal -- to have three blood drops. The idea quickly hit home with members of the House Judiciary Committee, who unanimously approved the bill and sent it to the full House for debate.|W|P|114788361113749888|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 07:47:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P| Louisiana College: Let's Stop Pretending. I've written before about my opinion of Louisiana College's new administration and the direction the school's Board of Trustees has decided to take. Although I did not attend Louisiana College, several of my friends and relatives have. Just last week, one of my best friends earned a degree in history from LC. The latest news out of LC is that its administration opted not to renew the contracts of Lori Thames, Dean of Student Affairs, and Maradee Kern, Professor of English. To the general public, this may just seem like a routine personnel decision, but to many current and former students, this is yet another sign that their school is being taken away from them. Until today, I hadn't heard of Ms. Thames, but I know that her job at LC was an important one, essentially a liason between the student body and the administration. It makes sense to me that the new administration would want to install their own person (crony) in this position. Although I have never met Professor Kern, I have heard a lot about her. Ms. Kern has a great reputation with her students, and I know many of them who will be very saddened to learn of LC's decision. (One of my friends had signed up for a class with Ms. Kern next semester). Ms. Kern also seems to be a bit of a blogger herself, and as evident from her last entry, she was not anticipating that she'd be terminated. But why, you ask, does all of this really matter? It matters to me for a few reasons. Louisiana College calls itself Louisiana College. It's not Louisiana Baptist College. We all know it's affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church, but many other fine schools have religious affiliations. Religion should not impede on the ability of a school to create an environment that promotes the OPEN exchange of ideas. I believe LC should lose its accreditation immediately. I believe that the present administration has sufficiently demonstrated its unwillingness to compromise on issues of personal belief and academic freedom. They have pillaged the school of many of its best professors. They have trampled on the individual rights of students and professors. They have made a mockery of higher education by instructing professors of all fields to adhere to a manifesto drafted by the Southern Baptist Convention. And they have added insult to injury by demanding that all professors agree to relinquish their God-given right to enjoy a glass of wine in a nice restaurant (or anywhere else deemed with the ambiguous label of "public"). I must remind readers that LC accomplished all of this because the Board of Trustees wanted to install their own man as Dean, no matter who or what stood in their way. They took this school over from the outside, and then, they somehow convinced people in their moral and religious superiority. It didn't matter that they broke precedent. It didn't matter who the Search Committee had selected. They claimed to know the righteous path for LC's future, and because of their direct relationship with the Almighty, they could skip around whatever they wanted in order to get their man in control. They were sued for this, but it didn't matter. Ultimately, colleges are self-governed, and if the Board wants to turn LC into a Bible School, they can do just that. I know many of you are probably thinking that LC is not really becoming a Bible School. Well, yes it is. Bible School is one of those umbrella terms. It doesn't mean that soon LC will only be teaching the Bible. In this case, it means that LC is attempting to inject the Southern Baptist belief system into every academic discource. If LC truly wants to become a Bible School, then it should go ahead and join the leagues of the other prestigious fundamentalist schools, Bob Jones University and Liberty University. Like LC, Bob Jones and Liberty also offer courses in the hard sciences and the humanities, though every lesson is set against the backdrop of their own unique Christian dogma. I know LC was on academic probation not long ago. Remember? (Oh, and you can't forget that they BANNED Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled and Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying. Banned because they were intimidated by the lowest common denominator). I'm not sure much has changed since they were taken off of academic probation, and although I know it will pain many students and professors to see their beloved school stripped entirely of its accreditation, I believe it's the only way to force a real decision from the new administration. Rather than let them slowly erode your school, choking departments of resources, terminating good professors, and censoring lesson plans and textbooks, give them an ultimatum, make them decide.|W|P|114788230140694798|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/16/2006 01:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|That Karl Rove post was definitely infected. Sorry about that. I removed it. It's gone. If the site is still acting slowly, let me know. (It took forever just to delete that post).|W|P|114781068195062931|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/16/2006 12:06:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|9/11 video tape, The Hotel Bentley, and Another Word on Racial Politics Today, the Department of Defense released a video of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. This is an important video, because its secrecy, up until today, formed the backbone of most 9/11 conspiracy theories. A few months after 9/11, a French book entitled 9/11: The Big Lie created quite a bit of controversy throughout Europe. Among other things, the book claimed that the Pentagon was actually hit by a missle. (I don't understand why this was such a "logical" theory, but it convinced a number of people nonetheless). Richard Clarke said something about government conspiracy theories the other day that made a lot of sense to me: 1. They assume the government works. 2. They assume the government can keep secrets. Both assumptions, he says, are foolish. Hopefully, this video will answer some of the questions people had about 9/11. The Hotel Bentley: Today, the Town Talk published a letter about Bob Dean's relationship with the city. I'd written a long entry on Dean about a month ago; it was also an attempt at seeing things through his eyes. I should say this: Knowing what I know now, I don't think there are any heroes in this saga. And I've always thought that 12.2 million is a ridiculous asking price, basically eliminating the possibility that any buyer could reasonably expect a return on their investment. Racial Politics: I caught some grief yesterday for copying what I consider to be racially inflammatory remarks on Cenla Antics. At least, I guess that's what I was catching grief over. Well, instead of making the issue about me (which seems to be an increasingly popular method of debate), why don't we make this substantive? I have some questions. I wasn't living in Alexandria when the Sonia Quarters shooting went down, but I've heard some absolutely crazy rumors. 1. Who was this young man and what made him so imminently dangerous? 2. Is it true that there is a "memorial" for this young man in Sonia Quarters? If so, what type of "memorial?" 3. Who organized the protests against the APD and what was their motivation? 4. Did the APD have an arrangement with this young man? (This is the rumor most often heard: That he was a drug dealer and the police received kickbacks. It sounds completely ridiculous to me, but people continue to say this). 5. Can we heal from this?|W|P|114780640901265589|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/15/2006 02:54:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P| Jefferson Says He Will Not Resign or Plead Guilty. Like DeLay, He Doesn't Want You To Be Distracted By His Friends Behind Bars. Here's the backstory on this:

Businessman Pleads Guilty To Bribing a Representative

By PHILIP SHENON (NYT) 720 words Published: May 4, 2006 WASHINGTON, May 3 - A Kentucky technology executive pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of bribing a member of Congress in an investigation that has centered on Representative William J. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat.

While court papers have not referred to Representative Jefferson by name, they leave no doubt that the congressman and his family are the focus of the Justice Department's investigation. Mr. Jefferson's homes in New Orleans and Washington were searched last year by federal agents.

The Kentucky businessman, Vernon L. Jackson, chairman of iGate Inc., based in Louisville, offered his plea in Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., admitting guilt to one count of bribing a public official and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

Mr. Jackson acknowledged that he had paid $367,500 over four years to a company controlled by the family of a member of Congress described in court papers only as ''Representative A, a member of the House of Representatives.'' In exchange, the court papers say, the lawmaker helped promote iGate's technology products to federal agencies, as well as to African governments and companies.

In January, a former aide to Mr. Jefferson pleaded guilty to charges of aiding and abetting the bribing of Representative A, a clear reference to Mr. Jefferson because of other details revealed in the court papers.

The former aide, Brett M. Pfeffer, said Representative A sought bribes, jobs for his children and other favors in exchange for official acts on behalf of a company seeking to set up an Internet and cable-television service in Nigeria.

In a statement released by his House office, Mr. Jefferson said he was ''surprised and disappointed to learn of Vernon Jackson's guilty plea and his characterization of our relationship.'' He added, ''I have never over all the years of my public service accepted payment from anyone for the performance of any act or duty for which I have been elected.''

The investigation of Mr. Jefferson, who is in his eighth term, has given Republican leaders an opportunity to try to divert public attention from recent federal corruption investigations involving House and Senate Republicans and their ties to corporate lobbyists.

Jack Abramoff, a once-powerful lobbyist and Republican political fund-raiser, pleaded guilty in January to trying to corrupt public officials and has agreed to cooperate in investigations of several Congressional Republicans. In a separate inquiry, Representative Randy Cunningham, a California Republican known as Duke, pleaded guilty in November to taking $2.4 million in homes, yachts and other bribes, and resigned his seat.

Mr. Jackson, the Kentucky businessman, faces up to 20 years in prison as a result of his guilty plea Wednesday.

In court papers outlining his agreement with prosecutors, he acknowledged that he bribed Representative A for help to promote high-speed and broadband Internet technology developed by iGate. In exchange for the payments, the plea agreement says, Representative A helped iGate to obtain federal certification for the company, allowing its technology to be sold to the Defense Department and other agencies.

The Justice Department said the bribes began in 2001 and were made to a company ''ostensibly maintained in the names of Representative A's spouse and children'' and were fraudulently described as consulting fees. ''In fact,'' the plea agreement said, ''those payments were designed to be in return for Representative A performing official acts in promoting iGate products and business.''

In 2003, it said, Representative A traveled to Nigeria on official business and met with officials of a Nigerian television company to promote iGate's technology, an effort that resulted in an agreement by the Nigerian company to invest $45 million in a joint venture with iGate. That same year, the agreement said, the lawmaker visited the offices of the Export-Import Bank in Washington to introduce Mr. Jackson to the bank's officials ''for the purpose of promoting the Nigerian deal.''

The court papers said iGate helped to sponsor and pay for a trip to Nigeria by Representative A, where he met with the country's president, vice president and chief commerce minister and ''promoted iGate'' and its communications technology.

As part of the investigation, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Mr. Jefferson's homes in Washington and Louisiana last August. They also raided the Maryland home of Nigeria's vice president, Atiku Abubakar, citing warrants for documents linking him and his wife to Mr. Jefferson and the business deals.

Photos: A bribery investigation focused on Representative William J. Jefferson, top, and a Kentucky businessman, Vernon L. Jackson. (Photo by Caleb Jones/Associated Press); (Photo by Bas Czerwinski/Associated Press)|W|P|114773020641333266|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com-->

|W|P|114912913388306225|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/31/2006 05:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Question for the Anonymous Bloggers: If you're going to post anonymously, then why not report specific details? Some of you like to use euphemisms and nicknames for the events and people, and guess what? It just clouds the issues. Speak your truth! Tell us what we need to know. To Billy Gunn: Keep up the good work. If the blogosphere proves anything about Alexandria, it's that it is nearly impossible to find the real truth around here. It's all gossip and innuendo, and it seems like no one wants to go on the record about anything. Kudos for the latest series of articles.|W|P|114912190880497714|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/31/2006 08:08:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Fleecing of Alexandria: The basic story is this: The wife of our city's attorney created her own consultation company. This consultation company entered into a contract with the Alexandria Housing Authority. This company has been paid at the rate of $18,416 a month or $221,016 a year. Thus far, they have offered no explanation of the services that they have provided. I'm still waiting to hear two things: what they've done and why we've needed them. In other news, I enjoyed this letter in today's newspaper, which basically claimed that the President of LC should not be criticized, because, like God, he's an authority figure that should be respected by young people. I know I'm simplifying the letter, but it was just weird. This is one of my favorite quotes: "We charge people to abandon these pharisaical, relativistic, pseudo-intellectual perversions of the truth -- only then will LC be rid of the darkness." Hehe. |W|P|114908909541607948|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/30/2006 12:55:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Report: Hotel Bentley Repairs To Cost Between $7.6-$8.8 million. According to a recent report, the Hotel Bentley, which is currently on the market for $12.2 million, will need between $7.6 and $8.8 million worth of repairs and renovations in order to effectively function as a four-star hotel. The report was written by Glenn Stewart, a Lafayette-based real estate investor and entrepeneur, and Carol White, a local real estate developer and investor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Carol White is my mother, and she is not interested in purchasing the Bentley). The ten page report was composed after meeting with local and national engineers, local and national architects specializing in luxury hotel design, local government officials, current and previous ownership, and local business leaders. It is important to note that none of the repairs are the result of the decisions made by current ownership; they are simply the reality of running a four-star hotel in a 98 year old building. The report makes the following suggestions: 1. HVAC upgrades: $325,000 2. Individual Room Decoration: $1,408,000 3. Individual Bathroom Repairs: $264,000 4. Individual Bedroom Repairs: $226,000 5. Hallway Upgrades: $900,000 6. Basement Upgrades: $500,000 7. Remodel of Accessory Space at Corner of Jackson and Main: $300,000 8. Repair of External Wall Masonry and Wood Eaves, Soffits, and Fascia: $300,000- $1,000,000 9. Renovation of Main Floor: $500,000 10. Renovation of Mezzanine Level: $1,250,000 11. Addition of New Motor Entrance: $1,500,000- $2,000,000 12. Miscellaneous: $150,000 From an investor's perspective, the Hotel Bentley, even at a substantially reduced price, does not make sound financial sense. The report mentions several state and federal incentives for which the Bentley could qualify, but even with these in place, it will still be difficult to achieve an adequate return on investment. I am more than willing to answer substantive questions on the specific details of the report. Currently, I believe that the only way to ensure the future success of the Hotel Bentley is through a public/private partnership. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to find a buyer who can assume the risks involved in such a massive undertaking. Without the repairs, the hotel could function, but it wouldn't function as the type of hotel that patrons expect. Furthermore, without the HVAC repairs, the hotel's utility bills could be astronomical. In other words, the repairs are absolutely necessary for the Bentley to regain its stature. I am sharing this information with the community because I feel that the Bentley is a critical component of any plans for downtown Alexandria. It is also one of Alexandria's most recognizable landmarks, and we should all appreciate its historical significance in shaping the landscape of Central Louisiana. Will it sell? That question can only be answered if two things happen: 1) Current ownership must acknowledge the risks involved, appreciate the fact that the hotel does not come with goodwill (or an operating business), and reduce the asking price. 2) The local government must find a creative way of inticing a private investor(s) by offering to assume some of the risks involved. The hotel will never belong to any single owner; it will always belong to the people of Central Louisiana. To that end, the government should find a solution that creates some type of public/private partnership for the hotel's management. (Remember that the Holiday Inn in Downtown Alexandria also operates because of a public/private partnership). |W|P|114902077033838005|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/29/2006 04:35:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|

The Onion: Hillary Clinton Is Too Ambitious To Be The First Female President

By Gerald Collins May 24, 2006 | Issue 42•21

I think it's about time we had a female president of the United States. I don't care what anyone says: Women can be just as smart and qualified as men—especially the clowns we've had in Washington lately. But Hillary Clinton? She's just a little too ambitious to do what no woman before her has ever done.

Hillary seems to think she knows what our country needs better than anyone else, and believes that she, among the hundreds or thousands of qualified politicians, is the only one who can do it. Is that really the sort of person we want at the helm of our federal government?

Not to mention that she's extremely self-promoting. She spends almost all her time these days going to fundraising events dedicated to raising money for—you guessed it—Hillary Clinton. She's always popping up in the news with a new initiative she's spearheading or some kind of complaint against the president. I don't want to use the B word, but she seems awfully bossy to head an executive branch that employs 450,000 people.

Sen. Clinton always wants to be throwing her opinion around about this bill or that law. I saw her on Meet The Press just last week. Every time Tim Russert would take her to task on one issue or another, she'd come right back at him with some sort of smart answer. She needs to learn that sometimes you need to just accept your place; it's not polite to always act like you know things. Not to mention the fact that, as a working woman, she should take those precious Sundays to spend some time with her family, not to meet with the press on national television.

I'd rather see a female presidential candidate who wasn't so focused on herself and her political aspirations. It seems like she puts a lot of thought into every decision that she makes, as if every little move were planned ahead of time down to the smallest little detail. It's hard to pin down exactly why, but it just wouldn't feel right to see someone who is so politically calculating win those precious 270 electoral votes in the next election.

Hillary doesn't shy away from tough situations, as she proved with her health- care proposal during her husband's first term. She likes to tackle the hard problems, no matter how entrenched the current failing system seems to be. Is it just me, or should the woman who overturns a 230-year-old tradition not have such a tendency to rock the boat?

Hillary has some very strong opinions, and she certainly doesn't hesitate to voice them. She's got an entire website dedicated to her positions on every last little thing. In debates, she always wants to have the last word. She's in love with the sound of her own voice. That's not the sort of person who should be in politics, much less the White House.

Do we really want the first woman leading the free world to be such an outright take-charge type?

What's more, nobody asked her to run. In fact, a lot of people on both sides of the aisle don't even want her to run, and many other politicians are planning on running against her. Yet she's stayed in the race, blatantly ignoring the wishes of some people. Shouldn't the first woman to break the gender barrier of the American presidency be the type of woman who listens to those who doubt her and bows to public opinion more often?

Ever heard of letting others take the lead, Sen. Clinton? If you're going to become the first woman in the Oval Office, you should start thinking about acting a little more ladylike.|W|P|114894578351622604|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/29/2006 04:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Memorial Day Reminder: 2,448 American Soldiers Killed in Iraq Since the War Began
Monthly Summaries References
Month US Named Dead * US Reported Dead ** US Wounded *** **** US Army Evacuations from Iraq
Wounded In Action ***** Non-Battle Injury ***** Disease *****
March 2003 65 0 202 930 3212 5846
April 2003 73 0 340
TOTAL 138 0 542
May 37 0 54
June 30 0 147
July 47 0 226
August 35 0 181
September 30 0 247
October 43 0 413
November 82 0 337
December 40 0 261
January 2004 47 0 188
February 19 0 150
March 52 0 323 49 206 367
April 135 12 1214 203 355 262
May 80 8 757 106 348 146
June 42 2 589 141 138 389
July 54 7 552 71 157 337
August 66 5 895 139 74 379
September 81 3 706 122 84 391
October 63 5 647 100 94 457
November 137 3 1427 149 96 323
December 72 1 540 477 379 1474
January 2005 107 1 496 85 129 324
February 58 4 409 77 100 280
March 36 0 364 74 104 342
April 52 0 590 90 113 302
May 79 3 385 85 119 306
June 77 0 501 110 98 359
July 54 1 473 73 117 315
August 84 1 451 81 99 273
September 48 6 490 122 118 258
October 96 0 608
November 83 5 518
December 66 1 304
January 61 4 521
February 53 3 300
March 30 3 475
April 74 7 481
May 60 2 12
Subtotal 2,448 33 17,774 2,913 5,876 11,959
TOTAL 2,481 20,748

* Includes both hostile killed and non-hostile killed ** Reported Killed but Unidentified Pending Notification of Next of Kin *** Included both Wounded in Action and non-hostile prior to 01 Apr 04 **** Includes only Wounded in Action since 01 Apr 04 ***** Excludes all non-Army troops, and all troops treated in theater

|W|P|114894502272715940|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/27/2006 01:33:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|State to Investigate Alexandria Housing Authority (And Why This Looks Really Fishy to People Who Haven't Yet Formed Their Own "Consultation" Companies) I have a question. Perhaps someone can answer it. What do these consultants actually do? Why do we need them? As some of you know, I'm in property management, and as a result, I often work with the Alexandria Housing Authority. I don't understand why this consultation contract was even needed in the first place. To help relocate people? Isn't that a basic responsibility of the housing authority? Isn't that what they do anyway? And what all-star qualifications does this consultation company have that would help the housing authority increase efficiency while decreasing expenses?|W|P|114876252447726482|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/26/2006 03:21:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jefferson Must Go, Says Salon.Com For their own good and the good of the country, Rep. William Jefferson's allies in the Congressional Black Caucus should insist that he resign.

By Joe Conason

May. 26, 2006 | When FBI agents reach into a congressman's home freezer and pull out $90,000 in foil-wrapped bills, it is time for him to resign. When the Justice Department announces that the same congressman is on videotape taking a $100,000 bribe in a Virginia hotel garage, his resignation is overdue.

The case of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., is that simple. In a matter of public integrity, his party affiliation doesn't matter, and neither does his race, color, creed, Harvard law degree or the sad fact that his constituents happen to live in ruined New Orleans. If he somehow doesn't understand his position, then his political friends -- and above all his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus -- should be firmly explaining those realities to him.

During the past year, as federal agents have pursued the investigation of Jefferson, court filings and news stories have revealed substantial, compelling evidence against him. He is alleged to have taken part in a wide-ranging conspiracy to extort cash bribes and other payoffs from businesses seeking to invest in African countries where he has influence. One of the business executives involved wore a wire during meetings with the powerful Louisiana politician, and two of his former aides have pleaded guilty to participation in a bribery conspiracy.

Jefferson has yet to be indicted, let alone convicted of any crime. He is entitled to the presumption of innocence, no matter how strong the evidence against him. (It looks considerably stronger, by the way, than the evidence produced so far against certain Republicans held up to scorn every day by Democrats. That is why progressive public-interest organizations such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Public Citizen have been among his harshest critics.)

Ultimately Jefferson will have to answer for his conduct in court, where the government will have the burden of proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But there is -- or should be -- a difference between the standard for service in Congress and the standard for conviction and incarceration as a felon. Cooperation with law enforcement is a good measure of fitness for public service, which Jefferson has failed by resisting federal subpoenas for his records. That happens to be why the FBI finally conducted its constitutionally questionable raid on his House office last weekend.

The most powerful reason for Jefferson to quit, however, was displayed at his own press conference in the U.S. Capitol on Monday, when he announced that he would not step down (and cryptically suggested that there are "two sides to every story"). Asked directly whether he had taken a bribe, the congressman declined to answer. Anyone in public office who can't say "no" to that question should leave -- or be required to leave -- immediately.

In a midterm election year, with so many major stories of rampant Republican corruption on Capitol Hill and K Street, the disgrace of Jefferson is a reprieve for Republicans and a dilemma for Democrats. Faced with the prospect of his indictment, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has publicly asked him to step down from his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee. She is reported to have suggested privately that he resign from Congress. By doing so, she has already improved on the record of the Republicans, whose determination to protect Tom DeLay was appalling.

As a Louisiana machine politician with all the ethical baggage implied by that description, Jefferson has never been a paragon of political virtue. According to the Washington Post, he was overheard last year on an FBI wiretap asking his brother-in-law, a local judge, to help raise money for his daughter's state legislative campaign. (The judge was sent to federal prison in February for operating a corrupt bail-bonding scheme.) He also made ugly headlines in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when he commanded National Guard troops and trucks to help him empty out his house. By then, he was already known to be the target of a federal bribery probe.

Yet when Pelosi finally asked him to step down from Ways and Means, he rejected her mild request. He released a bizarre letter claiming that his beleaguered constituents in New Orleans cannot afford to be deprived of him. Evidently he believes that he can continue in office, come what may. Sustaining him in this destructive delusion, unfortunately, is the Congressional Black Caucus -- whose dean, Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., sits with him on Ways and Means and counts him as a close friend.

The Hill, a weekly newspaper that covers Congress, reports that "furious" caucus members came close to publicly scolding Pelosi after she asked Jefferson to quit his committee post. Only an "emergency meeting" with the minority leader averted an embarrassing incident. According to the Hill, the dispute over Jefferson "has brought into glaring public light long-standing resentments felt by black lawmakers toward the Democratic leadership in the House."

The same story quoted an anonymous caucus staffer complaining that by asking Jefferson to quit Ways and Means, Pelosi had created "a new precedent for how members are going to be treated. Unfortunately, she's chosen to single out an African-American for this honor ... The African-American community, which overwhelmingly backs the Democratic Party, will not take this lightly. I hope she enjoys being minority leader."

It is hard to imagine any remark more insulting to the African-American community -- or more indicative of the stupid priorities of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Can it really be true that black voters will punish Pelosi because she demanded a minimal concession from a corrupt lawmaker who happens to be black? Can it really be true that black communities, which have suffered disproportionately from Republican rule, and none more so than Jefferson's Louisiana constituents, will make support of that corrupt lawmaker a point of pride? Can it really be true that black Americans will regard Jefferson as a victim of "discrimination," as he tried to claim in his reply to Pelosi?

More likely is that black voters, like most citizens of all ethnic backgrounds, regard Congress with skepticism and even suspicion -- and that black voters feel much more strongly than most that the Republican majority must be ousted. In this instance they are being poorly served by the caucus, whose members evidently don't differ much from the rest of the Washington elite in their narcissism, myopia and arrogance.

The support for Jefferson among his caucus colleagues is especially misplaced, because defending him will jeopardize their own advancement as well as the greater good. Whatever quarrels the caucus may have with Pelosi, its members and their constituents have much to gain from a Democratic victory in November. Should Democrats regain the majority, at least four black members will get committee chairs -- with the most important being none other than Rangel, who would at last cap his long career with the Ways and Means chairmanship. (Meanwhile the Republican right can be expected to broadcast those possible chairmanships, none too subtly, as a racial campaign theme.)

The broad national interest in political change coincides here not only with African-American interests but with the demands of integrity as well. Obviously Jefferson doesn't understand that he should go for all those reasons, so someone to whom he will listen should tell him. It is a shame, in every sense, that Rangel and his caucus colleagues are not up to the occasion.

-- By Joe Conason

|W|P|114868212230785889|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/26/2006 01:51:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|On a Positive Note: The Town Talk is reporting that Cenla's economic future looks good and that Alexandria should continue to be the second-fastest growing city in Louisiana, despite the fact that we seem to suffer from a lack of skilled laborers. This makes for a well-needed shot of good news. On a Not-So Positive Note: It's hard not to be repulsed by some members of the local blogging community. To Michele Godard, I hope that you don't let the voices of cynicism and blind pettiness convince you that the entire Cenla blogosphere is without merit. In the short time that I've been running this blog, I have learned that there are some people who just want to make you mad. They pretend like they speak for the good of the community and that they champion the common person, but they're really just insecure, jealous idiots who can barely compose a complete sentence (let alone a rational, substantive argument). Many of them seem like they are still living in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and their perception of "who controls Alexandria" hasn't quite kept up with the times. It's hard not to get infuriated by them, and I've probably spent way too much time on the subject. But I do know this: They don't matter. They've never mattered. And this has nothing to do with political clout or social status. They don't matter because they have nothing, absolutely nothing, positive to say about anyone or anything. They're more concerned with who your ex-husband was or how much money my grandparents have given to charity than they are about the mayor's race or the state of education or poverty or health care (all issues, by the way, that particularly affect the lives of those that they claim to champion). So you know what? I'm going to continue reading and contributing, and I hope that others do the same. If you feel like insulting me and my family and who I am and who I know and where I went to school, be my guest. Believe it or not, there are some people in the world who are proud of who they are, where they have come from, and what they have accomplished. And a final word on LC: I agree with WeSawThat's assessment of the true purpose of LC, and I want to see LC return to former glory with the least possible damage to the institution's reputation and student body. For this reason, I no longer think it is absolutely imperative that LC lose its accreditation immediately. The discussion regarding LC attracted some very interesting responses, and as a result, I now believe there is probably an easier solution.|W|P|114868080962713907|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/23/2006 08:38:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|More Negative Press for Louisiana College Jim Leggett is reporting that four LC professors have "renewed" their lawsuit against the college, citing, among other things, that LC continues to violate the principles of academic freedom. (See previous posts on the definition of academic freedom and LC's responsibility to its shareholders). LC's attorney, Ted LeClercq, is attempting to downplay the allegations. He says this is just a "workplace dispute" and that these allegations are vague with no cause of action. But... that's not true. It turns out that Scott Peck's classic The Road Less Traveled is STILL banned at LC, despite the fact that the book was reinstated by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (that's the association that determines accreditation) and the Faculty Grievance Committee. I wonder if Joe Aguillard has even read The Road Less Traveled. If he had, he'd know that it's a harmless, wonderful book about the use of religion in the discourse of pyschology. The book was an international bestseller and remained on the NY Times Bestseller List for years. What worries me (and I assume these professors as well) is that if you ban a book like The Road Less Traveled, you're likely to ban anything that doesn't conform to your own personal religious views. And right after this story broke, the Town Talk published a letter from an LC student that lambasted Aguillard on his own terms. This is what you call imminent critique. Mr. Hand is building his argument within the context of Aguillard's religious beliefs. To: Dr. Joe Aguillard, Louisiana College:

I write to confront you regarding your decision to not renew Dean Thames' contract. Second, I decry your refusal to disclose your reasons for doing so. I write not in a spirit of anger or derision. Rather, I write as one who loves Louisiana College and the highest Christian values for which she has stood for 100 years. Dean Thames, as you already know, has tirelessly served her alma mater for over 20 years. Last fall, she was honored as a distinguished alumnus at Homecoming. She is loved by the students of LC. I have spoken with many students in the past few days, and even those who fell under disciplinary action by her decisions are shocked and profoundly saddened. In the three years that I have attended LC, she has been a unifying presence in an endless age of division. I appeal to you under I John 3:18 -- "Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action." The LC community deserves a complete and honest explanation for your actions. What you have done is not outside your authority, but it is outside the moral imperatives of scripture. Some may suggest that you do not need a reason for your actions, but such a message is Darwinian, and anything but biblical. You must understand: Dean Thames is a woman of strong Christian faith, which makes her your sister in Christ. To all public knowledge, she is above reproach, and innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, by acting in this loveless manner, you implicitly deny that she is your sister in Christ. Thus, you are making a liar of our God and undermining the spiritual unity of his church. I am fully aware that you acted according to the advice of your legal counsel. That is no excuse. Legal counsel should be taken seriously, but never may it be obeyed against the word of God. The Apostle James warns us against this very method, of professing to belong to God while looking to the fallen world for answers. Finally, let me make this plain: You have said and repeated many times that LC will seek in all things to lift up the name of Jesus. But until your actions are either sufficiently explained or rectified, they shall mock that glorious name and cripple our Christian witness more than any alcoholic beverage. As you listen to your lawyers, I remind you that a man reaps what he sows, and that what is whispered in darkness will ultimately be shouted from the rooftops. Therefore I urge you: don't be double-minded! Be unambiguously devoted to Christ in word and deed. As your brother in Christ, I charge you to unveil the light of truth, that LC may not be resigned to walk in darkness.

Paul Hand, Pineville

|W|P|114839983951423399|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/22/2006 09:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|A Discussion on Class Warfare A few weeks ago, I wrote a little confessional post on the blog about my life, sort of a "getting to know you" type of piece addressed to my friends in real life. Well, it turns out I made a mistake. I said, "Friends, you also know that I am not rich. Although my family has money, you know that I live on less than $35,000 a year, that I live in an apartment, and that I am currently in debt because of college." I understand that the wording of that particular passage may leave some readers with the impression that I am "barely making it," and I understand that for many in our community, $35K a year is a lot of money. I apologize for leaving anyone with the impression that I am out of touch with reality. According to this report (scroll down), 52.3% of people living in Alexandria make less than 30K a year, and only 14.6% have a bachelors degree. There is a serious rich/poor gap in our community, and this creates a social dynamic in which the "average" citizen feels disconnected from the decisions affecting his or her daily life. I definitely do not have all of the answers to this problem, but I know that a discussion is both healthy and necessary. The discussion breaks down, however, when we attempt to project the entire problem onto one person or one group of people. For some reason, many Central Louisianans prefer to play the blame game when it comes to the problem of poverty. The rich tend to believe that it's easy and painless to simply "lift yourself up by your bootstraps," and they offer little empathy for those who struggle daily to provide for their families. At the same time, those who "speak" for the poor like to stage the discussion from an emotional and untenable starting point: "You can't participate in this discussion because you don't know what reality is." This creates a barricade to discussion, and it alienates those who truly want to help.
Demographic Report
Center:5401 JACKSON ST 71303
Distance:5 miles
Population (2005)
Total%
2005 Population 57,502
Population (2010)
Total%
2010 Population 55,564
Sex (2005)
Total%
Male 26,99546.9%
Female 30,50753.1%
Age Distribution (2005)
Total%
0-4 4,2747.4%
5-9 4,0307.0%
10-19 8,35314.5%
20-29 8,21514.3%
30-39 6,93412.1%
40-49 7,96913.9%
50-59 6,52311.3%
60-64 2,5254.4%
65+ 8,67915.1%
Race Distribution (2005)
Total%
White 28,16349.0%
Black 27,36347.6%
American Indian 1920.3%
Asian 9431.6%
Pacific Islander 200.0%
Other 1570.3%
Multirace 6641.2%
Hispanic 8131.4%
2005 Total Households
Total%
Households 22,384
Families 14,27663.8%
2005 Household Income Distribution
Total%
<$10 K 4,28119.1%
$10-$20K 4,03718.0%
$20-$30K 3,41115.2%
$30-$40K 2,61011.7%
$40-$50K 1,8778.4%
$50-$60K 1,5436.9%
$60-$75K 1,4706.6%
$75-$100K 1,3175.9%
> $100K 1,8388.2%
2005 Household Net Worth
Total%
$0 or Less 3,04713.6%
$1-$5000 3,46715.5%
$5000-$10000 1,6047.2%
$10000-$25000 2,67311.9%
$25000-$50000 2,81412.6%
$50000-$100000 3,47415.5%
$100000-$250000 3,91517.5%
$250000-$500000 1,4736.6%
$500000 or More 7483.3%
2005 Labor Force Status
Total%
Labor Force 23,944
Employed 22,44193.7%
Unemployed 1,4205.9%
In Armed Forces 83
Not In Labor Force 20,480
2005 Total Number of Housing
Total%
Total Dwellings 25,274
Owner-Occupied Dwellings 12,01453.7%
Renter-Occupied Dwellings 10,37046.3%
Housing Units Occupied 22,38488.6%
2005 Education Attainment
Total%
Population Age 25+ 36,293
<>3,0108.3%
Grade 9-12 6,16417.0%
High School 9,69126.7%
Some College 7,79521.5%
Assoc Degree 1,4554.0%
Bach Degree 5,29214.6%
Grad Degree 2,8868.0%
2005 Size of Household
Total%
1 Person 7,21832.2%
2 Person 7,21532.2%
3 Person 3,60916.1%
4 Person 2,54011.3%
5 Person 1,1945.3%
6+ Person 3811.7%
Sex (2010)
Total%
Male 26,26547.3%
Female 29,29952.7%
Age Distribution (2010)
Total%
0-4 4,1967.6%
5-9 3,9697.1%
10-19 7,55113.6%
20-29 8,20414.8%
30-39 6,50811.7%
40-49 6,99312.6%
50-59 6,65612.0%
60-64 2,7595.0%
65+ 8,72815.7%
Race Distribution (2010)
Total%
White 28,10550.6%
Black 25,69146.2%
American Indian 1910.3%
Asian 9731.8%
Pacific Islander 200.0%
Other 1590.3%
Multirace 4230.8%
Hispanic 9691.7%
2010 Total Households
Total%
Households 22,114
Families 13,84362.6%
2010 Household Income Distribution
Total%
<$10 K 4,09018.5%
$10-$20K 3,61716.4%
$20-$30K 3,14014.2%
$30-$40K 2,48911.3%
$40-$50K 1,8518.4%
$50-$60K 1,5747.1%
$60-$75K 1,4866.7%
$75-$100K 1,4736.7%
> $100K 2,39410.8%
2010 Labor Force Status
Total%
Labor Force 23,166
Employed 21,69493.6%
Unemployed 1,3856.0%
In Armed Forces 87
Not In Labor Force 19,865
2010 Total Number of Housing
Total%
Total Dwellings 25,064
Owner-Occupied Dwellings 11,36251.4%
Renter-Occupied Dwellings 10,75248.6%
Housing Units Occupied 22,11488.2%
2010 Education Attainment
Total%
Population Age 25+ 35,587
<>2,8227.9%
Gr 9-12 5,78016.2%
High School 8,77924.7%
Some College 7,66921.6%
Assoc Degree 1,6734.7%
Bach Degree 6,05617.0%
Grad Degree 2,8087.9%
2010 Size of Household
Total%
1 Person 7,46833.8%
2 Person 7,49433.9%
3 Person 3,45515.6%
4 Person 2,33310.5%
5 Person 9904.5%
6+ Person 2511.1%
Source: Applied Geographic Solutions, Thousand Oaks. CA
|W|P|114831695910035774|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/22/2006 09:04:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Unsolved Murders? A Letter From Saturday's Town Talk: What happened to them?

Have a number of murders ever been resolved in the town? I remember a partner, Ronnie Isles, back in 1982 or 1983 was found murdered and never heard any more about it.

I remember Harold Chew and Jimmie Lee Jacob also. Have these murders been resolved or were these murders important enough to be investigated? I also had a brother, Robert Wright, who was found in the river in Alexandria in 2003. Was his death ever solved? The lifestyle of a person does not exclude that person from equal justice. If the cases are unsolved, then why are taxpayers paying these city officials for not doing their jobs that they should be out there doing?

Raymond Wright, Fayetteville, N.C.

|W|P|114831456030238779|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/21/2006 06:52:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|$90,000 Found In Jefferson's Fridge|W|P|114826279887224610|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/21/2006 09:54:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Interrupting my vacation because this hasn't been reported by the local media: Lee Deal, formerly of Alexandria and West Monroe, Louisiana, was killed in Iraq late last week. I knew Lee and his brother Justin while a student at Nachman Elementary. He was a dear friend of many of my friends, and I know that he will be sorely missed. Coincidentally, when Lee moved to West Monroe, he became friends with the girl I took to prom. Lee was a Navy Corpsman attached to a Marines unit. He had been in the military for about three years. Here is an article about Lee from the News Star: Deal a 'strong, brave man' Friends remember lost soldier as a magnetic, infectious person By Greg Hilburn ghilburn@thenewsstar.com Lee Deal was quick with a smile and a joke, but also had a serious side and was driven to succeed, those who knew him said on Thursday. Deal's friends and family were mourning the loss of the gregarious West Monroe man who died a hero on Wednesday in Iraq, where he was serving his country as a petty officer, third class in the Navy. "It still doesn't seem real to me," said Michael Peterson, one of Deal's two best friends along with Andrew Whitworth. "I talked to him about two weeks ago and he sounded confident and strong." Deal, 23, was a medic attached to the Marine B Company 2nd Recon Battalion. A Navy spokesman said details of Deal's death as well as when his body would be returned home will be released during the next few days. Peterson said he, Deal and Whitworth were inseparable at West Monroe High School, where they all played football, and continued to be close after high school. "It was always us three," said Peterson, who was notified of his friend's death by two Navy officers at Peterson's parents' home on Wednesday. "I still have a suitcase with his clothes in my trunk because he stayed at my house sometimes when he was home. I'm just going to leave that suitcase in my trunk." Deal's grandparents, Charlotte and Nick Hamilton of Oak Grove, said the family wasn't yet emotionally ready to talk publicly about Deal, although Charlotte said, "He was a great kid." His mother Melanie Deal is staying with the Hamiltons. His father Harry Deal lives in Sipan, Australia. "The biggest thing about Lee is he never wanted anybody to feel bad," Peterson said. "You'd hook up with him and you couldn't help but feel better if you were down." Deal made friends easily and quickly became popular with classmates when he moved to West Monroe in junior high school. "Lee didn't move here until junior high school, but he was elected president of the student council," said Lisa Miller, who taught Deal at West Monroe Junior High and later was his guidance counselor at West Monroe High. "People just loved him. This just breaks my heart." Mark Banks, a West Monroe High School classmate, said Deal "got along with everybody, and he was always a happy guy. He was fun to be around," Banks said. West Monroe classmate Jarred Frost had similar recollections of his friend, saying Deal "always made something fun. He could make something fun out of nothing," Frost said. But Deal did experience disappointments after high school, his friends said. An All-State kicker on West Monroe's national championship team in 2000, Deal hoped to continue playing football in college and followed Whitworth to LSU. He roomed with Whitworth, who was drafted by the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals earlier this month, for a year, but later left for Northwestern State University in Natchitoches." "He had some ups and downs; we both did," Peterson said. "He went to two colleges and I went to four. But he finally made a decision to join the Navy, grew up and found his passion. "Lee finally found his place. He was a strong, brave young man, and I couldn't be prouder of him." Originally published May 19, 2006|W|P|114823127651628492|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 10:45:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|CenLamar will be on vacation until next Monday. Pretend like you're glad.|W|P|114793139102731307|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 08:25:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|For those of you who are interested, please review the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Principles of Accreditation. Please allow me to quote from a particularly important passage: The product of accreditation is a public statement of an institution's continuing capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon requirements. The statement of an institution's accreditation status with the Commission of Colleges is also an affirmation of that institution's continuing committment to the Commission's principles and philosophy of accreditation. The Commission on Colleges supports the right of an institution to pursue its established educational mission; the right of faculty members to teach, investigate, and publish freedly; and the right of students to access opportunities for learning and for the OPEN EXCHANGE OF IDEAS. However, the exercise of those rights should not interfere with an institution to offer its students a sound education. |W|P|114792416649456300|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 03:26:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Responding to Remarks Concerning LC (Originally Posted on Cenla Antics): As a follow-up to the article I wrote this morning: Obviously the business analogy is what we're working with here, so let's expound on that a little bit. LC isn't like a privately-held small business; it's more like a publicly-traded mid-sized business. The Board doesn't "own" LC, and although the Southern Baptist Convention claims ownership, they don't actually "own" LC either. LC is owned by shareholders: its students, its alumni, its donors, its professors. These groups have the most "stock" in the future success of LC, because their worth in "human capital" is directly correlated to the value of their degree and/or job. Like a publicly-traded company, LC is also beholden to regulating bodies that determine whether or not it's violated established guidelines for accreditation, Title 9, etc. "Ownership" can make decisions contrary to these established guidelines, but by doing so, they risk violating the regulations of their accreditation. I believe LC should lose its accreditation, because accreditation bodies typically require that colleges practice academic freedom. I believe that any dogmatic directive instructing professors on what to believe and how to teach is a flagrant violation of the principle of academic freedom. I believe this because I respect the professors and students of LC, and I believe that the current administration is in the process of significantly "devaluing" their degrees through a series of decisions based on a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible. While I understand that a loss of accreditation would be a major shock to the system, I believe that students as well as the community at large needs to wake up and fix this problem before it's too late. In my opinion, there is only one other solution: The present board and administration need to resign in order to avoid future embarassment. Again, I am NOT the lone voice calling for this. There are many people, including many LC alumns, who feel that the present administration needs to be reprimanded for their actions. Think about it like this: What if, ten years from now, LC does become a Bible School? What if fundamentalists continue to control its curriculum? Any student who is serious about getting a job with a major employer and any student who wants to seek an advanced degree from a reputable university will be met with skepticism because their degree is from LC. That's not the way things are now, but people are making a mistake if they think that all of the professors who left were "just the bad apples." In time, it will be difficult (perhaps impossible) for LC to hire anyone with a phD from a serious institution. Why? Because most professors don't like to be told what to teach. You may disagree with that philosophy, and that's your perogative. But serious professors committed to research and teaching do not like taking orders on what to research and how to teach. Look, you can call me an elitist. Fine. Keep shooting the messenger. You can label me whatever you want to. I'm just conveying my opinion. I want to see LC succeed, because I know that a good, private college is good for our entire economy. It's good for our art scene, music scene, nightlife, and tourism. It can put us on the map as a destination, and it can create wealth and opportunities for its students and alumns.|W|P|114790486893820631|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 09:33:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|

Bill Would Require State Flags to Show Blood on Pelican's Chest

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- An eighth-grader's school project could change the appearance of Louisiana's state flag. Urged by 14-year-old Joseph Louviere of Houma, a House committee has approved a bill that would require all new state flags to show three drops of blood on the pelican's chest, part of the description of the state's earliest flags. Louisiana's blue state flag shows a mother pelican feeding her brood of chicks in a nest over the state motto of "Union, Justice and Confidence." Historical renditions and descriptions of the flag also include three drops of blood on the mother's breast. Louviere wrote a school report last month on the flag. He presented it to his local legislator, Representative Damon Baldone, who is sponsoring the bill that would require Louisiana flags -- along with the official state seal -- to have three blood drops. The idea quickly hit home with members of the House Judiciary Committee, who unanimously approved the bill and sent it to the full House for debate.|W|P|114788361113749888|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 07:47:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P| Louisiana College: Let's Stop Pretending. I've written before about my opinion of Louisiana College's new administration and the direction the school's Board of Trustees has decided to take. Although I did not attend Louisiana College, several of my friends and relatives have. Just last week, one of my best friends earned a degree in history from LC. The latest news out of LC is that its administration opted not to renew the contracts of Lori Thames, Dean of Student Affairs, and Maradee Kern, Professor of English. To the general public, this may just seem like a routine personnel decision, but to many current and former students, this is yet another sign that their school is being taken away from them. Until today, I hadn't heard of Ms. Thames, but I know that her job at LC was an important one, essentially a liason between the student body and the administration. It makes sense to me that the new administration would want to install their own person (crony) in this position. Although I have never met Professor Kern, I have heard a lot about her. Ms. Kern has a great reputation with her students, and I know many of them who will be very saddened to learn of LC's decision. (One of my friends had signed up for a class with Ms. Kern next semester). Ms. Kern also seems to be a bit of a blogger herself, and as evident from her last entry, she was not anticipating that she'd be terminated. But why, you ask, does all of this really matter? It matters to me for a few reasons. Louisiana College calls itself Louisiana College. It's not Louisiana Baptist College. We all know it's affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church, but many other fine schools have religious affiliations. Religion should not impede on the ability of a school to create an environment that promotes the OPEN exchange of ideas. I believe LC should lose its accreditation immediately. I believe that the present administration has sufficiently demonstrated its unwillingness to compromise on issues of personal belief and academic freedom. They have pillaged the school of many of its best professors. They have trampled on the individual rights of students and professors. They have made a mockery of higher education by instructing professors of all fields to adhere to a manifesto drafted by the Southern Baptist Convention. And they have added insult to injury by demanding that all professors agree to relinquish their God-given right to enjoy a glass of wine in a nice restaurant (or anywhere else deemed with the ambiguous label of "public"). I must remind readers that LC accomplished all of this because the Board of Trustees wanted to install their own man as Dean, no matter who or what stood in their way. They took this school over from the outside, and then, they somehow convinced people in their moral and religious superiority. It didn't matter that they broke precedent. It didn't matter who the Search Committee had selected. They claimed to know the righteous path for LC's future, and because of their direct relationship with the Almighty, they could skip around whatever they wanted in order to get their man in control. They were sued for this, but it didn't matter. Ultimately, colleges are self-governed, and if the Board wants to turn LC into a Bible School, they can do just that. I know many of you are probably thinking that LC is not really becoming a Bible School. Well, yes it is. Bible School is one of those umbrella terms. It doesn't mean that soon LC will only be teaching the Bible. In this case, it means that LC is attempting to inject the Southern Baptist belief system into every academic discource. If LC truly wants to become a Bible School, then it should go ahead and join the leagues of the other prestigious fundamentalist schools, Bob Jones University and Liberty University. Like LC, Bob Jones and Liberty also offer courses in the hard sciences and the humanities, though every lesson is set against the backdrop of their own unique Christian dogma. I know LC was on academic probation not long ago. Remember? (Oh, and you can't forget that they BANNED Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled and Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying. Banned because they were intimidated by the lowest common denominator). I'm not sure much has changed since they were taken off of academic probation, and although I know it will pain many students and professors to see their beloved school stripped entirely of its accreditation, I believe it's the only way to force a real decision from the new administration. Rather than let them slowly erode your school, choking departments of resources, terminating good professors, and censoring lesson plans and textbooks, give them an ultimatum, make them decide.|W|P|114788230140694798|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/16/2006 01:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|That Karl Rove post was definitely infected. Sorry about that. I removed it. It's gone. If the site is still acting slowly, let me know. (It took forever just to delete that post).|W|P|114781068195062931|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/16/2006 12:06:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|9/11 video tape, The Hotel Bentley, and Another Word on Racial Politics Today, the Department of Defense released a video of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. This is an important video, because its secrecy, up until today, formed the backbone of most 9/11 conspiracy theories. A few months after 9/11, a French book entitled 9/11: The Big Lie created quite a bit of controversy throughout Europe. Among other things, the book claimed that the Pentagon was actually hit by a missle. (I don't understand why this was such a "logical" theory, but it convinced a number of people nonetheless). Richard Clarke said something about government conspiracy theories the other day that made a lot of sense to me: 1. They assume the government works. 2. They assume the government can keep secrets. Both assumptions, he says, are foolish. Hopefully, this video will answer some of the questions people had about 9/11. The Hotel Bentley: Today, the Town Talk published a letter about Bob Dean's relationship with the city. I'd written a long entry on Dean about a month ago; it was also an attempt at seeing things through his eyes. I should say this: Knowing what I know now, I don't think there are any heroes in this saga. And I've always thought that 12.2 million is a ridiculous asking price, basically eliminating the possibility that any buyer could reasonably expect a return on their investment. Racial Politics: I caught some grief yesterday for copying what I consider to be racially inflammatory remarks on Cenla Antics. At least, I guess that's what I was catching grief over. Well, instead of making the issue about me (which seems to be an increasingly popular method of debate), why don't we make this substantive? I have some questions. I wasn't living in Alexandria when the Sonia Quarters shooting went down, but I've heard some absolutely crazy rumors. 1. Who was this young man and what made him so imminently dangerous? 2. Is it true that there is a "memorial" for this young man in Sonia Quarters? If so, what type of "memorial?" 3. Who organized the protests against the APD and what was their motivation? 4. Did the APD have an arrangement with this young man? (This is the rumor most often heard: That he was a drug dealer and the police received kickbacks. It sounds completely ridiculous to me, but people continue to say this). 5. Can we heal from this?|W|P|114780640901265589|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/15/2006 02:54:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P| Jefferson Says He Will Not Resign or Plead Guilty. Like DeLay, He Doesn't Want You To Be Distracted By His Friends Behind Bars. Here's the backstory on this:

Businessman Pleads Guilty To Bribing a Representative

By PHILIP SHENON (NYT) 720 words Published: May 4, 2006 WASHINGTON, May 3 - A Kentucky technology executive pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of bribing a member of Congress in an investigation that has centered on Representative William J. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat.

While court papers have not referred to Representative Jefferson by name, they leave no doubt that the congressman and his family are the focus of the Justice Department's investigation. Mr. Jefferson's homes in New Orleans and Washington were searched last year by federal agents.

The Kentucky businessman, Vernon L. Jackson, chairman of iGate Inc., based in Louisville, offered his plea in Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., admitting guilt to one count of bribing a public official and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

Mr. Jackson acknowledged that he had paid $367,500 over four years to a company controlled by the family of a member of Congress described in court papers only as ''Representative A, a member of the House of Representatives.'' In exchange, the court papers say, the lawmaker helped promote iGate's technology products to federal agencies, as well as to African governments and companies.

In January, a former aide to Mr. Jefferson pleaded guilty to charges of aiding and abetting the bribing of Representative A, a clear reference to Mr. Jefferson because of other details revealed in the court papers.

The former aide, Brett M. Pfeffer, said Representative A sought bribes, jobs for his children and other favors in exchange for official acts on behalf of a company seeking to set up an Internet and cable-television service in Nigeria.

In a statement released by his House office, Mr. Jefferson said he was ''surprised and disappointed to learn of Vernon Jackson's guilty plea and his characterization of our relationship.'' He added, ''I have never over all the years of my public service accepted payment from anyone for the performance of any act or duty for which I have been elected.''

The investigation of Mr. Jefferson, who is in his eighth term, has given Republican leaders an opportunity to try to divert public attention from recent federal corruption investigations involving House and Senate Republicans and their ties to corporate lobbyists.

Jack Abramoff, a once-powerful lobbyist and Republican political fund-raiser, pleaded guilty in January to trying to corrupt public officials and has agreed to cooperate in investigations of several Congressional Republicans. In a separate inquiry, Representative Randy Cunningham, a California Republican known as Duke, pleaded guilty in November to taking $2.4 million in homes, yachts and other bribes, and resigned his seat.

Mr. Jackson, the Kentucky businessman, faces up to 20 years in prison as a result of his guilty plea Wednesday.

In court papers outlining his agreement with prosecutors, he acknowledged that he bribed Representative A for help to promote high-speed and broadband Internet technology developed by iGate. In exchange for the payments, the plea agreement says, Representative A helped iGate to obtain federal certification for the company, allowing its technology to be sold to the Defense Department and other agencies.

The Justice Department said the bribes began in 2001 and were made to a company ''ostensibly maintained in the names of Representative A's spouse and children'' and were fraudulently described as consulting fees. ''In fact,'' the plea agreement said, ''those payments were designed to be in return for Representative A performing official acts in promoting iGate products and business.''

In 2003, it said, Representative A traveled to Nigeria on official business and met with officials of a Nigerian television company to promote iGate's technology, an effort that resulted in an agreement by the Nigerian company to invest $45 million in a joint venture with iGate. That same year, the agreement said, the lawmaker visited the offices of the Export-Import Bank in Washington to introduce Mr. Jackson to the bank's officials ''for the purpose of promoting the Nigerian deal.''

The court papers said iGate helped to sponsor and pay for a trip to Nigeria by Representative A, where he met with the country's president, vice president and chief commerce minister and ''promoted iGate'' and its communications technology.

As part of the investigation, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Mr. Jefferson's homes in Washington and Louisiana last August. They also raided the Maryland home of Nigeria's vice president, Atiku Abubakar, citing warrants for documents linking him and his wife to Mr. Jefferson and the business deals.

Photos: A bribery investigation focused on Representative William J. Jefferson, top, and a Kentucky businessman, Vernon L. Jackson. (Photo by Caleb Jones/Associated Press); (Photo by Bas Czerwinski/Associated Press)|W|P|114773020641333266|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com-->

|W|P|114912913388306225|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/31/2006 05:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Question for the Anonymous Bloggers: If you're going to post anonymously, then why not report specific details? Some of you like to use euphemisms and nicknames for the events and people, and guess what? It just clouds the issues. Speak your truth! Tell us what we need to know. To Billy Gunn: Keep up the good work. If the blogosphere proves anything about Alexandria, it's that it is nearly impossible to find the real truth around here. It's all gossip and innuendo, and it seems like no one wants to go on the record about anything. Kudos for the latest series of articles.|W|P|114912190880497714|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/31/2006 08:08:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|The Fleecing of Alexandria: The basic story is this: The wife of our city's attorney created her own consultation company. This consultation company entered into a contract with the Alexandria Housing Authority. This company has been paid at the rate of $18,416 a month or $221,016 a year. Thus far, they have offered no explanation of the services that they have provided. I'm still waiting to hear two things: what they've done and why we've needed them. In other news, I enjoyed this letter in today's newspaper, which basically claimed that the President of LC should not be criticized, because, like God, he's an authority figure that should be respected by young people. I know I'm simplifying the letter, but it was just weird. This is one of my favorite quotes: "We charge people to abandon these pharisaical, relativistic, pseudo-intellectual perversions of the truth -- only then will LC be rid of the darkness." Hehe. |W|P|114908909541607948|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/30/2006 12:55:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Report: Hotel Bentley Repairs To Cost Between $7.6-$8.8 million. According to a recent report, the Hotel Bentley, which is currently on the market for $12.2 million, will need between $7.6 and $8.8 million worth of repairs and renovations in order to effectively function as a four-star hotel. The report was written by Glenn Stewart, a Lafayette-based real estate investor and entrepeneur, and Carol White, a local real estate developer and investor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Carol White is my mother, and she is not interested in purchasing the Bentley). The ten page report was composed after meeting with local and national engineers, local and national architects specializing in luxury hotel design, local government officials, current and previous ownership, and local business leaders. It is important to note that none of the repairs are the result of the decisions made by current ownership; they are simply the reality of running a four-star hotel in a 98 year old building. The report makes the following suggestions: 1. HVAC upgrades: $325,000 2. Individual Room Decoration: $1,408,000 3. Individual Bathroom Repairs: $264,000 4. Individual Bedroom Repairs: $226,000 5. Hallway Upgrades: $900,000 6. Basement Upgrades: $500,000 7. Remodel of Accessory Space at Corner of Jackson and Main: $300,000 8. Repair of External Wall Masonry and Wood Eaves, Soffits, and Fascia: $300,000- $1,000,000 9. Renovation of Main Floor: $500,000 10. Renovation of Mezzanine Level: $1,250,000 11. Addition of New Motor Entrance: $1,500,000- $2,000,000 12. Miscellaneous: $150,000 From an investor's perspective, the Hotel Bentley, even at a substantially reduced price, does not make sound financial sense. The report mentions several state and federal incentives for which the Bentley could qualify, but even with these in place, it will still be difficult to achieve an adequate return on investment. I am more than willing to answer substantive questions on the specific details of the report. Currently, I believe that the only way to ensure the future success of the Hotel Bentley is through a public/private partnership. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to find a buyer who can assume the risks involved in such a massive undertaking. Without the repairs, the hotel could function, but it wouldn't function as the type of hotel that patrons expect. Furthermore, without the HVAC repairs, the hotel's utility bills could be astronomical. In other words, the repairs are absolutely necessary for the Bentley to regain its stature. I am sharing this information with the community because I feel that the Bentley is a critical component of any plans for downtown Alexandria. It is also one of Alexandria's most recognizable landmarks, and we should all appreciate its historical significance in shaping the landscape of Central Louisiana. Will it sell? That question can only be answered if two things happen: 1) Current ownership must acknowledge the risks involved, appreciate the fact that the hotel does not come with goodwill (or an operating business), and reduce the asking price. 2) The local government must find a creative way of inticing a private investor(s) by offering to assume some of the risks involved. The hotel will never belong to any single owner; it will always belong to the people of Central Louisiana. To that end, the government should find a solution that creates some type of public/private partnership for the hotel's management. (Remember that the Holiday Inn in Downtown Alexandria also operates because of a public/private partnership). |W|P|114902077033838005|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/29/2006 04:35:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|

The Onion: Hillary Clinton Is Too Ambitious To Be The First Female President

By Gerald Collins May 24, 2006 | Issue 42•21

I think it's about time we had a female president of the United States. I don't care what anyone says: Women can be just as smart and qualified as men—especially the clowns we've had in Washington lately. But Hillary Clinton? She's just a little too ambitious to do what no woman before her has ever done.

Hillary seems to think she knows what our country needs better than anyone else, and believes that she, among the hundreds or thousands of qualified politicians, is the only one who can do it. Is that really the sort of person we want at the helm of our federal government?

Not to mention that she's extremely self-promoting. She spends almost all her time these days going to fundraising events dedicated to raising money for—you guessed it—Hillary Clinton. She's always popping up in the news with a new initiative she's spearheading or some kind of complaint against the president. I don't want to use the B word, but she seems awfully bossy to head an executive branch that employs 450,000 people.

Sen. Clinton always wants to be throwing her opinion around about this bill or that law. I saw her on Meet The Press just last week. Every time Tim Russert would take her to task on one issue or another, she'd come right back at him with some sort of smart answer. She needs to learn that sometimes you need to just accept your place; it's not polite to always act like you know things. Not to mention the fact that, as a working woman, she should take those precious Sundays to spend some time with her family, not to meet with the press on national television.

I'd rather see a female presidential candidate who wasn't so focused on herself and her political aspirations. It seems like she puts a lot of thought into every decision that she makes, as if every little move were planned ahead of time down to the smallest little detail. It's hard to pin down exactly why, but it just wouldn't feel right to see someone who is so politically calculating win those precious 270 electoral votes in the next election.

Hillary doesn't shy away from tough situations, as she proved with her health- care proposal during her husband's first term. She likes to tackle the hard problems, no matter how entrenched the current failing system seems to be. Is it just me, or should the woman who overturns a 230-year-old tradition not have such a tendency to rock the boat?

Hillary has some very strong opinions, and she certainly doesn't hesitate to voice them. She's got an entire website dedicated to her positions on every last little thing. In debates, she always wants to have the last word. She's in love with the sound of her own voice. That's not the sort of person who should be in politics, much less the White House.

Do we really want the first woman leading the free world to be such an outright take-charge type?

What's more, nobody asked her to run. In fact, a lot of people on both sides of the aisle don't even want her to run, and many other politicians are planning on running against her. Yet she's stayed in the race, blatantly ignoring the wishes of some people. Shouldn't the first woman to break the gender barrier of the American presidency be the type of woman who listens to those who doubt her and bows to public opinion more often?

Ever heard of letting others take the lead, Sen. Clinton? If you're going to become the first woman in the Oval Office, you should start thinking about acting a little more ladylike.|W|P|114894578351622604|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/29/2006 04:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Memorial Day Reminder: 2,448 American Soldiers Killed in Iraq Since the War Began
Monthly Summaries References
Month US Named Dead * US Reported Dead ** US Wounded *** **** US Army Evacuations from Iraq
Wounded In Action ***** Non-Battle Injury ***** Disease *****
March 2003 65 0 202 930 3212 5846
April 2003 73 0 340
TOTAL 138 0 542
May 37 0 54
June 30 0 147
July 47 0 226
August 35 0 181
September 30 0 247
October 43 0 413
November 82 0 337
December 40 0 261
January 2004 47 0 188
February 19 0 150
March 52 0 323 49 206 367
April 135 12 1214 203 355 262
May 80 8 757 106 348 146
June 42 2 589 141 138 389
July 54 7 552 71 157 337
August 66 5 895 139 74 379
September 81 3 706 122 84 391
October 63 5 647 100 94 457
November 137 3 1427 149 96 323
December 72 1 540 477 379 1474
January 2005 107 1 496 85 129 324
February 58 4 409 77 100 280
March 36 0 364 74 104 342
April 52 0 590 90 113 302
May 79 3 385 85 119 306
June 77 0 501 110 98 359
July 54 1 473 73 117 315
August 84 1 451 81 99 273
September 48 6 490 122 118 258
October 96 0 608
November 83 5 518
December 66 1 304
January 61 4 521
February 53 3 300
March 30 3 475
April 74 7 481
May 60 2 12
Subtotal 2,448 33 17,774 2,913 5,876 11,959
TOTAL 2,481 20,748

* Includes both hostile killed and non-hostile killed ** Reported Killed but Unidentified Pending Notification of Next of Kin *** Included both Wounded in Action and non-hostile prior to 01 Apr 04 **** Includes only Wounded in Action since 01 Apr 04 ***** Excludes all non-Army troops, and all troops treated in theater

|W|P|114894502272715940|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/27/2006 01:33:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|State to Investigate Alexandria Housing Authority (And Why This Looks Really Fishy to People Who Haven't Yet Formed Their Own "Consultation" Companies) I have a question. Perhaps someone can answer it. What do these consultants actually do? Why do we need them? As some of you know, I'm in property management, and as a result, I often work with the Alexandria Housing Authority. I don't understand why this consultation contract was even needed in the first place. To help relocate people? Isn't that a basic responsibility of the housing authority? Isn't that what they do anyway? And what all-star qualifications does this consultation company have that would help the housing authority increase efficiency while decreasing expenses?|W|P|114876252447726482|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/26/2006 03:21:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Jefferson Must Go, Says Salon.Com For their own good and the good of the country, Rep. William Jefferson's allies in the Congressional Black Caucus should insist that he resign.

By Joe Conason

May. 26, 2006 | When FBI agents reach into a congressman's home freezer and pull out $90,000 in foil-wrapped bills, it is time for him to resign. When the Justice Department announces that the same congressman is on videotape taking a $100,000 bribe in a Virginia hotel garage, his resignation is overdue.

The case of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., is that simple. In a matter of public integrity, his party affiliation doesn't matter, and neither does his race, color, creed, Harvard law degree or the sad fact that his constituents happen to live in ruined New Orleans. If he somehow doesn't understand his position, then his political friends -- and above all his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus -- should be firmly explaining those realities to him.

During the past year, as federal agents have pursued the investigation of Jefferson, court filings and news stories have revealed substantial, compelling evidence against him. He is alleged to have taken part in a wide-ranging conspiracy to extort cash bribes and other payoffs from businesses seeking to invest in African countries where he has influence. One of the business executives involved wore a wire during meetings with the powerful Louisiana politician, and two of his former aides have pleaded guilty to participation in a bribery conspiracy.

Jefferson has yet to be indicted, let alone convicted of any crime. He is entitled to the presumption of innocence, no matter how strong the evidence against him. (It looks considerably stronger, by the way, than the evidence produced so far against certain Republicans held up to scorn every day by Democrats. That is why progressive public-interest organizations such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Public Citizen have been among his harshest critics.)

Ultimately Jefferson will have to answer for his conduct in court, where the government will have the burden of proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But there is -- or should be -- a difference between the standard for service in Congress and the standard for conviction and incarceration as a felon. Cooperation with law enforcement is a good measure of fitness for public service, which Jefferson has failed by resisting federal subpoenas for his records. That happens to be why the FBI finally conducted its constitutionally questionable raid on his House office last weekend.

The most powerful reason for Jefferson to quit, however, was displayed at his own press conference in the U.S. Capitol on Monday, when he announced that he would not step down (and cryptically suggested that there are "two sides to every story"). Asked directly whether he had taken a bribe, the congressman declined to answer. Anyone in public office who can't say "no" to that question should leave -- or be required to leave -- immediately.

In a midterm election year, with so many major stories of rampant Republican corruption on Capitol Hill and K Street, the disgrace of Jefferson is a reprieve for Republicans and a dilemma for Democrats. Faced with the prospect of his indictment, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has publicly asked him to step down from his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee. She is reported to have suggested privately that he resign from Congress. By doing so, she has already improved on the record of the Republicans, whose determination to protect Tom DeLay was appalling.

As a Louisiana machine politician with all the ethical baggage implied by that description, Jefferson has never been a paragon of political virtue. According to the Washington Post, he was overheard last year on an FBI wiretap asking his brother-in-law, a local judge, to help raise money for his daughter's state legislative campaign. (The judge was sent to federal prison in February for operating a corrupt bail-bonding scheme.) He also made ugly headlines in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when he commanded National Guard troops and trucks to help him empty out his house. By then, he was already known to be the target of a federal bribery probe.

Yet when Pelosi finally asked him to step down from Ways and Means, he rejected her mild request. He released a bizarre letter claiming that his beleaguered constituents in New Orleans cannot afford to be deprived of him. Evidently he believes that he can continue in office, come what may. Sustaining him in this destructive delusion, unfortunately, is the Congressional Black Caucus -- whose dean, Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., sits with him on Ways and Means and counts him as a close friend.

The Hill, a weekly newspaper that covers Congress, reports that "furious" caucus members came close to publicly scolding Pelosi after she asked Jefferson to quit his committee post. Only an "emergency meeting" with the minority leader averted an embarrassing incident. According to the Hill, the dispute over Jefferson "has brought into glaring public light long-standing resentments felt by black lawmakers toward the Democratic leadership in the House."

The same story quoted an anonymous caucus staffer complaining that by asking Jefferson to quit Ways and Means, Pelosi had created "a new precedent for how members are going to be treated. Unfortunately, she's chosen to single out an African-American for this honor ... The African-American community, which overwhelmingly backs the Democratic Party, will not take this lightly. I hope she enjoys being minority leader."

It is hard to imagine any remark more insulting to the African-American community -- or more indicative of the stupid priorities of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Can it really be true that black voters will punish Pelosi because she demanded a minimal concession from a corrupt lawmaker who happens to be black? Can it really be true that black communities, which have suffered disproportionately from Republican rule, and none more so than Jefferson's Louisiana constituents, will make support of that corrupt lawmaker a point of pride? Can it really be true that black Americans will regard Jefferson as a victim of "discrimination," as he tried to claim in his reply to Pelosi?

More likely is that black voters, like most citizens of all ethnic backgrounds, regard Congress with skepticism and even suspicion -- and that black voters feel much more strongly than most that the Republican majority must be ousted. In this instance they are being poorly served by the caucus, whose members evidently don't differ much from the rest of the Washington elite in their narcissism, myopia and arrogance.

The support for Jefferson among his caucus colleagues is especially misplaced, because defending him will jeopardize their own advancement as well as the greater good. Whatever quarrels the caucus may have with Pelosi, its members and their constituents have much to gain from a Democratic victory in November. Should Democrats regain the majority, at least four black members will get committee chairs -- with the most important being none other than Rangel, who would at last cap his long career with the Ways and Means chairmanship. (Meanwhile the Republican right can be expected to broadcast those possible chairmanships, none too subtly, as a racial campaign theme.)

The broad national interest in political change coincides here not only with African-American interests but with the demands of integrity as well. Obviously Jefferson doesn't understand that he should go for all those reasons, so someone to whom he will listen should tell him. It is a shame, in every sense, that Rangel and his caucus colleagues are not up to the occasion.

-- By Joe Conason

|W|P|114868212230785889|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/26/2006 01:51:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|On a Positive Note: The Town Talk is reporting that Cenla's economic future looks good and that Alexandria should continue to be the second-fastest growing city in Louisiana, despite the fact that we seem to suffer from a lack of skilled laborers. This makes for a well-needed shot of good news. On a Not-So Positive Note: It's hard not to be repulsed by some members of the local blogging community. To Michele Godard, I hope that you don't let the voices of cynicism and blind pettiness convince you that the entire Cenla blogosphere is without merit. In the short time that I've been running this blog, I have learned that there are some people who just want to make you mad. They pretend like they speak for the good of the community and that they champion the common person, but they're really just insecure, jealous idiots who can barely compose a complete sentence (let alone a rational, substantive argument). Many of them seem like they are still living in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and their perception of "who controls Alexandria" hasn't quite kept up with the times. It's hard not to get infuriated by them, and I've probably spent way too much time on the subject. But I do know this: They don't matter. They've never mattered. And this has nothing to do with political clout or social status. They don't matter because they have nothing, absolutely nothing, positive to say about anyone or anything. They're more concerned with who your ex-husband was or how much money my grandparents have given to charity than they are about the mayor's race or the state of education or poverty or health care (all issues, by the way, that particularly affect the lives of those that they claim to champion). So you know what? I'm going to continue reading and contributing, and I hope that others do the same. If you feel like insulting me and my family and who I am and who I know and where I went to school, be my guest. Believe it or not, there are some people in the world who are proud of who they are, where they have come from, and what they have accomplished. And a final word on LC: I agree with WeSawThat's assessment of the true purpose of LC, and I want to see LC return to former glory with the least possible damage to the institution's reputation and student body. For this reason, I no longer think it is absolutely imperative that LC lose its accreditation immediately. The discussion regarding LC attracted some very interesting responses, and as a result, I now believe there is probably an easier solution.|W|P|114868080962713907|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/23/2006 08:38:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|More Negative Press for Louisiana College Jim Leggett is reporting that four LC professors have "renewed" their lawsuit against the college, citing, among other things, that LC continues to violate the principles of academic freedom. (See previous posts on the definition of academic freedom and LC's responsibility to its shareholders). LC's attorney, Ted LeClercq, is attempting to downplay the allegations. He says this is just a "workplace dispute" and that these allegations are vague with no cause of action. But... that's not true. It turns out that Scott Peck's classic The Road Less Traveled is STILL banned at LC, despite the fact that the book was reinstated by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (that's the association that determines accreditation) and the Faculty Grievance Committee. I wonder if Joe Aguillard has even read The Road Less Traveled. If he had, he'd know that it's a harmless, wonderful book about the use of religion in the discourse of pyschology. The book was an international bestseller and remained on the NY Times Bestseller List for years. What worries me (and I assume these professors as well) is that if you ban a book like The Road Less Traveled, you're likely to ban anything that doesn't conform to your own personal religious views. And right after this story broke, the Town Talk published a letter from an LC student that lambasted Aguillard on his own terms. This is what you call imminent critique. Mr. Hand is building his argument within the context of Aguillard's religious beliefs. To: Dr. Joe Aguillard, Louisiana College:

I write to confront you regarding your decision to not renew Dean Thames' contract. Second, I decry your refusal to disclose your reasons for doing so. I write not in a spirit of anger or derision. Rather, I write as one who loves Louisiana College and the highest Christian values for which she has stood for 100 years. Dean Thames, as you already know, has tirelessly served her alma mater for over 20 years. Last fall, she was honored as a distinguished alumnus at Homecoming. She is loved by the students of LC. I have spoken with many students in the past few days, and even those who fell under disciplinary action by her decisions are shocked and profoundly saddened. In the three years that I have attended LC, she has been a unifying presence in an endless age of division. I appeal to you under I John 3:18 -- "Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action." The LC community deserves a complete and honest explanation for your actions. What you have done is not outside your authority, but it is outside the moral imperatives of scripture. Some may suggest that you do not need a reason for your actions, but such a message is Darwinian, and anything but biblical. You must understand: Dean Thames is a woman of strong Christian faith, which makes her your sister in Christ. To all public knowledge, she is above reproach, and innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, by acting in this loveless manner, you implicitly deny that she is your sister in Christ. Thus, you are making a liar of our God and undermining the spiritual unity of his church. I am fully aware that you acted according to the advice of your legal counsel. That is no excuse. Legal counsel should be taken seriously, but never may it be obeyed against the word of God. The Apostle James warns us against this very method, of professing to belong to God while looking to the fallen world for answers. Finally, let me make this plain: You have said and repeated many times that LC will seek in all things to lift up the name of Jesus. But until your actions are either sufficiently explained or rectified, they shall mock that glorious name and cripple our Christian witness more than any alcoholic beverage. As you listen to your lawyers, I remind you that a man reaps what he sows, and that what is whispered in darkness will ultimately be shouted from the rooftops. Therefore I urge you: don't be double-minded! Be unambiguously devoted to Christ in word and deed. As your brother in Christ, I charge you to unveil the light of truth, that LC may not be resigned to walk in darkness.

Paul Hand, Pineville

|W|P|114839983951423399|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/22/2006 09:18:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|A Discussion on Class Warfare A few weeks ago, I wrote a little confessional post on the blog about my life, sort of a "getting to know you" type of piece addressed to my friends in real life. Well, it turns out I made a mistake. I said, "Friends, you also know that I am not rich. Although my family has money, you know that I live on less than $35,000 a year, that I live in an apartment, and that I am currently in debt because of college." I understand that the wording of that particular passage may leave some readers with the impression that I am "barely making it," and I understand that for many in our community, $35K a year is a lot of money. I apologize for leaving anyone with the impression that I am out of touch with reality. According to this report (scroll down), 52.3% of people living in Alexandria make less than 30K a year, and only 14.6% have a bachelors degree. There is a serious rich/poor gap in our community, and this creates a social dynamic in which the "average" citizen feels disconnected from the decisions affecting his or her daily life. I definitely do not have all of the answers to this problem, but I know that a discussion is both healthy and necessary. The discussion breaks down, however, when we attempt to project the entire problem onto one person or one group of people. For some reason, many Central Louisianans prefer to play the blame game when it comes to the problem of poverty. The rich tend to believe that it's easy and painless to simply "lift yourself up by your bootstraps," and they offer little empathy for those who struggle daily to provide for their families. At the same time, those who "speak" for the poor like to stage the discussion from an emotional and untenable starting point: "You can't participate in this discussion because you don't know what reality is." This creates a barricade to discussion, and it alienates those who truly want to help.
Demographic Report
Center:5401 JACKSON ST 71303
Distance:5 miles
Population (2005)
Total%
2005 Population 57,502
Population (2010)
Total%
2010 Population 55,564
Sex (2005)
Total%
Male 26,99546.9%
Female 30,50753.1%
Age Distribution (2005)
Total%
0-4 4,2747.4%
5-9 4,0307.0%
10-19 8,35314.5%
20-29 8,21514.3%
30-39 6,93412.1%
40-49 7,96913.9%
50-59 6,52311.3%
60-64 2,5254.4%
65+ 8,67915.1%
Race Distribution (2005)
Total%
White 28,16349.0%
Black 27,36347.6%
American Indian 1920.3%
Asian 9431.6%
Pacific Islander 200.0%
Other 1570.3%
Multirace 6641.2%
Hispanic 8131.4%
2005 Total Households
Total%
Households 22,384
Families 14,27663.8%
2005 Household Income Distribution
Total%
<$10 K 4,28119.1%
$10-$20K 4,03718.0%
$20-$30K 3,41115.2%
$30-$40K 2,61011.7%
$40-$50K 1,8778.4%
$50-$60K 1,5436.9%
$60-$75K 1,4706.6%
$75-$100K 1,3175.9%
> $100K 1,8388.2%
2005 Household Net Worth
Total%
$0 or Less 3,04713.6%
$1-$5000 3,46715.5%
$5000-$10000 1,6047.2%
$10000-$25000 2,67311.9%
$25000-$50000 2,81412.6%
$50000-$100000 3,47415.5%
$100000-$250000 3,91517.5%
$250000-$500000 1,4736.6%
$500000 or More 7483.3%
2005 Labor Force Status
Total%
Labor Force 23,944
Employed 22,44193.7%
Unemployed 1,4205.9%
In Armed Forces 83
Not In Labor Force 20,480
2005 Total Number of Housing
Total%
Total Dwellings 25,274
Owner-Occupied Dwellings 12,01453.7%
Renter-Occupied Dwellings 10,37046.3%
Housing Units Occupied 22,38488.6%
2005 Education Attainment
Total%
Population Age 25+ 36,293
<>3,0108.3%
Grade 9-12 6,16417.0%
High School 9,69126.7%
Some College 7,79521.5%
Assoc Degree 1,4554.0%
Bach Degree 5,29214.6%
Grad Degree 2,8868.0%
2005 Size of Household
Total%
1 Person 7,21832.2%
2 Person 7,21532.2%
3 Person 3,60916.1%
4 Person 2,54011.3%
5 Person 1,1945.3%
6+ Person 3811.7%
Sex (2010)
Total%
Male 26,26547.3%
Female 29,29952.7%
Age Distribution (2010)
Total%
0-4 4,1967.6%
5-9 3,9697.1%
10-19 7,55113.6%
20-29 8,20414.8%
30-39 6,50811.7%
40-49 6,99312.6%
50-59 6,65612.0%
60-64 2,7595.0%
65+ 8,72815.7%
Race Distribution (2010)
Total%
White 28,10550.6%
Black 25,69146.2%
American Indian 1910.3%
Asian 9731.8%
Pacific Islander 200.0%
Other 1590.3%
Multirace 4230.8%
Hispanic 9691.7%
2010 Total Households
Total%
Households 22,114
Families 13,84362.6%
2010 Household Income Distribution
Total%
<$10 K 4,09018.5%
$10-$20K 3,61716.4%
$20-$30K 3,14014.2%
$30-$40K 2,48911.3%
$40-$50K 1,8518.4%
$50-$60K 1,5747.1%
$60-$75K 1,4866.7%
$75-$100K 1,4736.7%
> $100K 2,39410.8%
2010 Labor Force Status
Total%
Labor Force 23,166
Employed 21,69493.6%
Unemployed 1,3856.0%
In Armed Forces 87
Not In Labor Force 19,865
2010 Total Number of Housing
Total%
Total Dwellings 25,064
Owner-Occupied Dwellings 11,36251.4%
Renter-Occupied Dwellings 10,75248.6%
Housing Units Occupied 22,11488.2%
2010 Education Attainment
Total%
Population Age 25+ 35,587
<>2,8227.9%
Gr 9-12 5,78016.2%
High School 8,77924.7%
Some College 7,66921.6%
Assoc Degree 1,6734.7%
Bach Degree 6,05617.0%
Grad Degree 2,8087.9%
2010 Size of Household
Total%
1 Person 7,46833.8%
2 Person 7,49433.9%
3 Person 3,45515.6%
4 Person 2,33310.5%
5 Person 9904.5%
6+ Person 2511.1%
Source: Applied Geographic Solutions, Thousand Oaks. CA
|W|P|114831695910035774|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/22/2006 09:04:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Unsolved Murders? A Letter From Saturday's Town Talk: What happened to them?

Have a number of murders ever been resolved in the town? I remember a partner, Ronnie Isles, back in 1982 or 1983 was found murdered and never heard any more about it.

I remember Harold Chew and Jimmie Lee Jacob also. Have these murders been resolved or were these murders important enough to be investigated? I also had a brother, Robert Wright, who was found in the river in Alexandria in 2003. Was his death ever solved? The lifestyle of a person does not exclude that person from equal justice. If the cases are unsolved, then why are taxpayers paying these city officials for not doing their jobs that they should be out there doing?

Raymond Wright, Fayetteville, N.C.

|W|P|114831456030238779|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/21/2006 06:52:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|$90,000 Found In Jefferson's Fridge|W|P|114826279887224610|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/21/2006 09:54:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Interrupting my vacation because this hasn't been reported by the local media: Lee Deal, formerly of Alexandria and West Monroe, Louisiana, was killed in Iraq late last week. I knew Lee and his brother Justin while a student at Nachman Elementary. He was a dear friend of many of my friends, and I know that he will be sorely missed. Coincidentally, when Lee moved to West Monroe, he became friends with the girl I took to prom. Lee was a Navy Corpsman attached to a Marines unit. He had been in the military for about three years. Here is an article about Lee from the News Star: Deal a 'strong, brave man' Friends remember lost soldier as a magnetic, infectious person By Greg Hilburn ghilburn@thenewsstar.com Lee Deal was quick with a smile and a joke, but also had a serious side and was driven to succeed, those who knew him said on Thursday. Deal's friends and family were mourning the loss of the gregarious West Monroe man who died a hero on Wednesday in Iraq, where he was serving his country as a petty officer, third class in the Navy. "It still doesn't seem real to me," said Michael Peterson, one of Deal's two best friends along with Andrew Whitworth. "I talked to him about two weeks ago and he sounded confident and strong." Deal, 23, was a medic attached to the Marine B Company 2nd Recon Battalion. A Navy spokesman said details of Deal's death as well as when his body would be returned home will be released during the next few days. Peterson said he, Deal and Whitworth were inseparable at West Monroe High School, where they all played football, and continued to be close after high school. "It was always us three," said Peterson, who was notified of his friend's death by two Navy officers at Peterson's parents' home on Wednesday. "I still have a suitcase with his clothes in my trunk because he stayed at my house sometimes when he was home. I'm just going to leave that suitcase in my trunk." Deal's grandparents, Charlotte and Nick Hamilton of Oak Grove, said the family wasn't yet emotionally ready to talk publicly about Deal, although Charlotte said, "He was a great kid." His mother Melanie Deal is staying with the Hamiltons. His father Harry Deal lives in Sipan, Australia. "The biggest thing about Lee is he never wanted anybody to feel bad," Peterson said. "You'd hook up with him and you couldn't help but feel better if you were down." Deal made friends easily and quickly became popular with classmates when he moved to West Monroe in junior high school. "Lee didn't move here until junior high school, but he was elected president of the student council," said Lisa Miller, who taught Deal at West Monroe Junior High and later was his guidance counselor at West Monroe High. "People just loved him. This just breaks my heart." Mark Banks, a West Monroe High School classmate, said Deal "got along with everybody, and he was always a happy guy. He was fun to be around," Banks said. West Monroe classmate Jarred Frost had similar recollections of his friend, saying Deal "always made something fun. He could make something fun out of nothing," Frost said. But Deal did experience disappointments after high school, his friends said. An All-State kicker on West Monroe's national championship team in 2000, Deal hoped to continue playing football in college and followed Whitworth to LSU. He roomed with Whitworth, who was drafted by the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals earlier this month, for a year, but later left for Northwestern State University in Natchitoches." "He had some ups and downs; we both did," Peterson said. "He went to two colleges and I went to four. But he finally made a decision to join the Navy, grew up and found his passion. "Lee finally found his place. He was a strong, brave young man, and I couldn't be prouder of him." Originally published May 19, 2006|W|P|114823127651628492|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 10:45:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|CenLamar will be on vacation until next Monday. Pretend like you're glad.|W|P|114793139102731307|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 08:25:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|For those of you who are interested, please review the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Principles of Accreditation. Please allow me to quote from a particularly important passage: The product of accreditation is a public statement of an institution's continuing capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon requirements. The statement of an institution's accreditation status with the Commission of Colleges is also an affirmation of that institution's continuing committment to the Commission's principles and philosophy of accreditation. The Commission on Colleges supports the right of an institution to pursue its established educational mission; the right of faculty members to teach, investigate, and publish freedly; and the right of students to access opportunities for learning and for the OPEN EXCHANGE OF IDEAS. However, the exercise of those rights should not interfere with an institution to offer its students a sound education. |W|P|114792416649456300|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 03:26:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|Responding to Remarks Concerning LC (Originally Posted on Cenla Antics): As a follow-up to the article I wrote this morning: Obviously the business analogy is what we're working with here, so let's expound on that a little bit. LC isn't like a privately-held small business; it's more like a publicly-traded mid-sized business. The Board doesn't "own" LC, and although the Southern Baptist Convention claims ownership, they don't actually "own" LC either. LC is owned by shareholders: its students, its alumni, its donors, its professors. These groups have the most "stock" in the future success of LC, because their worth in "human capital" is directly correlated to the value of their degree and/or job. Like a publicly-traded company, LC is also beholden to regulating bodies that determine whether or not it's violated established guidelines for accreditation, Title 9, etc. "Ownership" can make decisions contrary to these established guidelines, but by doing so, they risk violating the regulations of their accreditation. I believe LC should lose its accreditation, because accreditation bodies typically require that colleges practice academic freedom. I believe that any dogmatic directive instructing professors on what to believe and how to teach is a flagrant violation of the principle of academic freedom. I believe this because I respect the professors and students of LC, and I believe that the current administration is in the process of significantly "devaluing" their degrees through a series of decisions based on a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible. While I understand that a loss of accreditation would be a major shock to the system, I believe that students as well as the community at large needs to wake up and fix this problem before it's too late. In my opinion, there is only one other solution: The present board and administration need to resign in order to avoid future embarassment. Again, I am NOT the lone voice calling for this. There are many people, including many LC alumns, who feel that the present administration needs to be reprimanded for their actions. Think about it like this: What if, ten years from now, LC does become a Bible School? What if fundamentalists continue to control its curriculum? Any student who is serious about getting a job with a major employer and any student who wants to seek an advanced degree from a reputable university will be met with skepticism because their degree is from LC. That's not the way things are now, but people are making a mistake if they think that all of the professors who left were "just the bad apples." In time, it will be difficult (perhaps impossible) for LC to hire anyone with a phD from a serious institution. Why? Because most professors don't like to be told what to teach. You may disagree with that philosophy, and that's your perogative. But serious professors committed to research and teaching do not like taking orders on what to research and how to teach. Look, you can call me an elitist. Fine. Keep shooting the messenger. You can label me whatever you want to. I'm just conveying my opinion. I want to see LC succeed, because I know that a good, private college is good for our entire economy. It's good for our art scene, music scene, nightlife, and tourism. It can put us on the map as a destination, and it can create wealth and opportunities for its students and alumns.|W|P|114790486893820631|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 09:33:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|

Bill Would Require State Flags to Show Blood on Pelican's Chest

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- An eighth-grader's school project could change the appearance of Louisiana's state flag. Urged by 14-year-old Joseph Louviere of Houma, a House committee has approved a bill that would require all new state flags to show three drops of blood on the pelican's chest, part of the description of the state's earliest flags. Louisiana's blue state flag shows a mother pelican feeding her brood of chicks in a nest over the state motto of "Union, Justice and Confidence." Historical renditions and descriptions of the flag also include three drops of blood on the mother's breast. Louviere wrote a school report last month on the flag. He presented it to his local legislator, Representative Damon Baldone, who is sponsoring the bill that would require Louisiana flags -- along with the official state seal -- to have three blood drops. The idea quickly hit home with members of the House Judiciary Committee, who unanimously approved the bill and sent it to the full House for debate.|W|P|114788361113749888|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/17/2006 07:47:00 AM|W|P|Blogger|W|P| Louisiana College: Let's Stop Pretending. I've written before about my opinion of Louisiana College's new administration and the direction the school's Board of Trustees has decided to take. Although I did not attend Louisiana College, several of my friends and relatives have. Just last week, one of my best friends earned a degree in history from LC. The latest news out of LC is that its administration opted not to renew the contracts of Lori Thames, Dean of Student Affairs, and Maradee Kern, Professor of English. To the general public, this may just seem like a routine personnel decision, but to many current and former students, this is yet another sign that their school is being taken away from them. Until today, I hadn't heard of Ms. Thames, but I know that her job at LC was an important one, essentially a liason between the student body and the administration. It makes sense to me that the new administration would want to install their own person (crony) in this position. Although I have never met Professor Kern, I have heard a lot about her. Ms. Kern has a great reputation with her students, and I know many of them who will be very saddened to learn of LC's decision. (One of my friends had signed up for a class with Ms. Kern next semester). Ms. Kern also seems to be a bit of a blogger herself, and as evident from her last entry, she was not anticipating that she'd be terminated. But why, you ask, does all of this really matter? It matters to me for a few reasons. Louisiana College calls itself Louisiana College. It's not Louisiana Baptist College. We all know it's affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church, but many other fine schools have religious affiliations. Religion should not impede on the ability of a school to create an environment that promotes the OPEN exchange of ideas. I believe LC should lose its accreditation immediately. I believe that the present administration has sufficiently demonstrated its unwillingness to compromise on issues of personal belief and academic freedom. They have pillaged the school of many of its best professors. They have trampled on the individual rights of students and professors. They have made a mockery of higher education by instructing professors of all fields to adhere to a manifesto drafted by the Southern Baptist Convention. And they have added insult to injury by demanding that all professors agree to relinquish their God-given right to enjoy a glass of wine in a nice restaurant (or anywhere else deemed with the ambiguous label of "public"). I must remind readers that LC accomplished all of this because the Board of Trustees wanted to install their own man as Dean, no matter who or what stood in their way. They took this school over from the outside, and then, they somehow convinced people in their moral and religious superiority. It didn't matter that they broke precedent. It didn't matter who the Search Committee had selected. They claimed to know the righteous path for LC's future, and because of their direct relationship with the Almighty, they could skip around whatever they wanted in order to get their man in control. They were sued for this, but it didn't matter. Ultimately, colleges are self-governed, and if the Board wants to turn LC into a Bible School, they can do just that. I know many of you are probably thinking that LC is not really becoming a Bible School. Well, yes it is. Bible School is one of those umbrella terms. It doesn't mean that soon LC will only be teaching the Bible. In this case, it means that LC is attempting to inject the Southern Baptist belief system into every academic discource. If LC truly wants to become a Bible School, then it should go ahead and join the leagues of the other prestigious fundamentalist schools, Bob Jones University and Liberty University. Like LC, Bob Jones and Liberty also offer courses in the hard sciences and the humanities, though every lesson is set against the backdrop of their own unique Christian dogma. I know LC was on academic probation not long ago. Remember? (Oh, and you can't forget that they BANNED Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled and Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying. Banned because they were intimidated by the lowest common denominator). I'm not sure much has changed since they were taken off of academic probation, and although I know it will pain many students and professors to see their beloved school stripped entirely of its accreditation, I believe it's the only way to force a real decision from the new administration. Rather than let them slowly erode your school, choking departments of resources, terminating good professors, and censoring lesson plans and textbooks, give them an ultimatum, make them decide.|W|P|114788230140694798|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/16/2006 01:17:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|That Karl Rove post was definitely infected. Sorry about that. I removed it. It's gone. If the site is still acting slowly, let me know. (It took forever just to delete that post).|W|P|114781068195062931|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/16/2006 12:06:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P|9/11 video tape, The Hotel Bentley, and Another Word on Racial Politics Today, the Department of Defense released a video of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. This is an important video, because its secrecy, up until today, formed the backbone of most 9/11 conspiracy theories. A few months after 9/11, a French book entitled 9/11: The Big Lie created quite a bit of controversy throughout Europe. Among other things, the book claimed that the Pentagon was actually hit by a missle. (I don't understand why this was such a "logical" theory, but it convinced a number of people nonetheless). Richard Clarke said something about government conspiracy theories the other day that made a lot of sense to me: 1. They assume the government works. 2. They assume the government can keep secrets. Both assumptions, he says, are foolish. Hopefully, this video will answer some of the questions people had about 9/11. The Hotel Bentley: Today, the Town Talk published a letter about Bob Dean's relationship with the city. I'd written a long entry on Dean about a month ago; it was also an attempt at seeing things through his eyes. I should say this: Knowing what I know now, I don't think there are any heroes in this saga. And I've always thought that 12.2 million is a ridiculous asking price, basically eliminating the possibility that any buyer could reasonably expect a return on their investment. Racial Politics: I caught some grief yesterday for copying what I consider to be racially inflammatory remarks on Cenla Antics. At least, I guess that's what I was catching grief over. Well, instead of making the issue about me (which seems to be an increasingly popular method of debate), why don't we make this substantive? I have some questions. I wasn't living in Alexandria when the Sonia Quarters shooting went down, but I've heard some absolutely crazy rumors. 1. Who was this young man and what made him so imminently dangerous? 2. Is it true that there is a "memorial" for this young man in Sonia Quarters? If so, what type of "memorial?" 3. Who organized the protests against the APD and what was their motivation? 4. Did the APD have an arrangement with this young man? (This is the rumor most often heard: That he was a drug dealer and the police received kickbacks. It sounds completely ridiculous to me, but people continue to say this). 5. Can we heal from this?|W|P|114780640901265589|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com5/15/2006 02:54:00 PM|W|P|Blogger|W|P| Jefferson Says He Will Not Resign or Plead Guilty. Like DeLay, He Doesn't Want You To Be Distracted By His Friends Behind Bars. Here's the backstory on this:

Businessman Pleads Guilty To Bribing a Representative

By PHILIP SHENON (NYT) 720 words Published: May 4, 2006 WASHINGTON, May 3 - A Kentucky technology executive pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of bribing a member of Congress in an investigation that has centered on Representative William J. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat.

While court papers have not referred to Representative Jefferson by name, they leave no doubt that the congressman and his family are the focus of the Justice Department's investigation. Mr. Jefferson's homes in New Orleans and Washington were searched last year by federal agents.

The Kentucky businessman, Vernon L. Jackson, chairman of iGate Inc., based in Louisville, offered his plea in Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., admitting guilt to one count of bribing a public official and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

Mr. Jackson acknowledged that he had paid $367,500 over four years to a company controlled by the family of a member of Congress described in court papers only as ''Representative A, a member of the House of Representatives.'' In exchange, the court papers say, the lawmaker helped promote iGate's technology products to federal agencies, as well as to African governments and companies.

In January, a former aide to Mr. Jefferson pleaded guilty to charges of aiding and abetting the bribing of Representative A, a clear reference to Mr. Jefferson because of other details revealed in the court papers.

The former aide, Brett M. Pfeffer, said Representative A sought bribes, jobs for his children and other favors in exchange for official acts on behalf of a company seeking to set up an Internet and cable-television service in Nigeria.

In a statement released by his House office, Mr. Jefferson said he was ''surprised and disappointed to learn of Vernon Jackson's guilty plea and his characterization of our relationship.'' He added, ''I have never over all the years of my public service accepted payment from anyone for the performance of any act or duty for which I have been elected.''

The investigation of Mr. Jefferson, who is in his eighth term, has given Republican leaders an opportunity to try to divert public attention from recent federal corruption investigations involving House and Senate Republicans and their ties to corporate lobbyists.

Jack Abramoff, a once-powerful lobbyist and Republican political fund-raiser, pleaded guilty in January to trying to corrupt public officials and has agreed to cooperate in investigations of several Congressional Republicans. In a separate inquiry, Representative Randy Cunningham, a California Republican known as Duke, pleaded guilty in November to taking $2.4 million in homes, yachts and other bribes, and resigned his seat.

Mr. Jackson, the Kentucky businessman, faces up to 20 years in prison as a result of his guilty plea Wednesday.

In court papers outlining his agreement with prosecutors, he acknowledged that he bribed Representative A for help to promote high-speed and broadband Internet technology developed by iGate. In exchange for the payments, the plea agreement says, Representative A helped iGate to obtain federal certification for the company, allowing its technology to be sold to the Defense Department and other agencies.

The Justice Department said the bribes began in 2001 and were made to a company ''ostensibly maintained in the names of Representative A's spouse and children'' and were fraudulently described as consulting fees. ''In fact,'' the plea agreement said, ''those payments were designed to be in return for Representative A performing official acts in promoting iGate products and business.''

In 2003, it said, Representative A traveled to Nigeria on official business and met with officials of a Nigerian television company to promote iGate's technology, an effort that resulted in an agreement by the Nigerian company to invest $45 million in a joint venture with iGate. That same year, the agreement said, the lawmaker visited the offices of the Export-Import Bank in Washington to introduce Mr. Jackson to the bank's officials ''for the purpose of promoting the Nigerian deal.''

The court papers said iGate helped to sponsor and pay for a trip to Nigeria by Representative A, where he met with the country's president, vice president and chief commerce minister and ''promoted iGate'' and its communications technology.

As part of the investigation, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Mr. Jefferson's homes in Washington and Louisiana last August. They also raided the Maryland home of Nigeria's vice president, Atiku Abubakar, citing warrants for documents linking him and his wife to Mr. Jefferson and the business deals.

Photos: A bribery investigation focused on Representative William J. Jefferson, top, and a Kentucky businessman, Vernon L. Jackson. (Photo by Caleb Jones/Associated Press); (Photo by Bas Czerwinski/Associated Press)|W|P|114773020641333266|W|P||W|P|LamarW@gmail.com-->