Politics 06.18.2008

Cravins to run against Boustany, Jindal on intelligent design and more CRAVINS JR. RUNNING AGAINST BOUSTANY When The Independent Weekly went to press with our feature on last week’s cover story subject, Democratic state Sen. Don Cravins Jr. of Opelousas, Cravins was preparing to head to Washington, D.C. to meet with the National Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to gauge its support if he decided to challenge Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. Cravins said at the time that he was “99.9 percent sure” he was going to enter the race.

Now he’s 100 percent sure: Cravins plans on officially announcing for the seat in the coming days. “We’re getting ready for it,” Cravins says. In the meantime, someone’s been busy behind the scenes getting Cravins’ online operations set up; www.cravinsforcongress.com is already live on the Web.
ERRORS RIFE IN LOCAL DEMOCRATIC VOTER DRIVE** Lafayette Parish Registrar of Voters Charlene Meaux says Lafayette has not been immune from a recent voter drive financed by the national Democratic Party that has been inundating registrars in Caddo, East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes. Those registrar offices have been working some 10 to 12-hour days trying to process thousands of new voter applications, many of which are rife with errors. Secretary of State Jay Dardenne announced last week that his office is investigating the situation to see if any election laws have been violated. Dardenne planned to meet with officials from the D.C.-based organization Voting Is Power, which was hired by the national Democratic Party to conduct the voter drive. VIP set a goal of registering 70,000 new voters in Louisiana, and paid canvassers to go door to door signing up unregistered adults.

In Lafayette, Meaux says her office has received four boxes, with a combined 1,236 voter applications, from VIP throughout the last three weeks of May. Meaux estimates as much as 25 percent of those applications may be determined invalid. In just one box, Meaux says her office flagged 54 applications from convicted felons. Another prevalent problem has been improperly filled out applications and duplicate applications. “What they’re doing a lot is registering people to vote who are already registered,” Meaux says. “A lot are duplicates. We had one guy who registered six times in the same day. It’s giving us an abundance of work for nothing because these people are already registered.” Her office’s fraud unit is looking into some of the cases of duplicate applications.

JINDAL ON INTELLIGENT DESIGN When it comes to “intelligent design,” Gov. Bobby Jindal told Face the Nation last Sunday that he doesn’t think it’s an issue that should be decided on the federal or even state level, but on the local level.

“As a parent, when my kids go to schools, when they go to public schools, I want them to be presented with the best thinking,” he told host Chip Reid. “I want them to be able to make decisions for themselves. I want them to see the best data. I personally think that the life, human life and the world we live in wasn’t created accidentally. I do think that there’s a creator. I’m a Christian. I do think that God played a role in creating not only earth, but mankind. Now, the way that he did it, I’d certainly want my kids to be exposed to the very best science. I don’t want them to be — I don’t want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from them because of political correctness. The way we’re going to have smart, intelligent kids is exposing them to the very best science and let them not only decide, but also let them contribute to that body of knowledge. That’s what makes the scientific process so exciting. You get to go there and find facts and data and test what’s come before you and challenge those theories.”

Jindal’s statements come on the heels of a letter sent last week to Louisiana Speaker of the House Jim Tucker by Alan I. Leshner, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s CEO and the publisher of Science magazine. Leshner wrote of the “Louisiana Science Education Act”:

“The bill implies that particular theories are controversial among scientists, including evolution. But there is virtually no controversy about evolution among the overwhelming majority of researchers. The science of evolution underpins all of modern biology and is supported by tens of thousands of scientific studies in fields that include cosmology, geology, paleontology, genetics and other biological specialties. It informs scientific research in a broad range of fields such as agriculture and medicine, work that has an important impact on our everyday lives.

“Backers of the bill, including the Louisiana Family Forum and the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, are longtime supporters of attempts to teach creationism or intelligent design as science,” continued Leshner. “The judicial courts have ruled that both of these are religious concepts that do not belong in public school science classrooms. In fact, it was Louisiana’s own ‘creation science’ law that the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in 1987.”

Jindal’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the letter.
Contributors: Jeremy Alford, Nathan Stubbs, Scott Jordan and R. Reese Fuller_