Pooyie! 10.07.2009

C’est Bon
It’s refreshing, to be sure, to see a couple of Louisiana politicians showing signs of real leadership on the health care debate. First, despite his sharp criticism of the president’s health care speech,  U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany pointed out a few areas where Democrats and Republicans could agree, including access to coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions (he is himself a disabled surgeon). Departing from the vitriol that has infected the debate, he played it straight in the rebuttal — no crowing about socialism. And now comes yet another Louisiana ally for bipartisan reform: Gov. Bobby Jindal, who was assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the Bush administration and one-time head of the state’s health department under Gov. Foster. “I think now is the perfect time to pivot and to say, not only here’s what we’re against, and not only here’s how we’re going to contrast ourselves, but here’s what we’re for,” Jindal said in an interview last week with Politico. The Republican Party for years has been too slow to stake out positions on the health care debate “to our peril and the nation’s peril,” the governor noted. “I think that in some circles, it was viewed as a Democratic issue,” Jindal continued during the interview, urging congressional Republicans to go to the White House and find common ground with Obama. “Let’s start anew,” he said they should tell the president. Now Jindal may get a chance to deliver that message in person to the president, who this month is scheduled to visit areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Let’s hope he does.

Pas Bon
Louisiana once again distinguished itself in the most infamous of national rankings. The Violence Policy Center just released its annual report on domestic violence in conjunction with the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This year’s report, based on FBI crime statistics from 2007, ranks Louisiana highest in the nation in domestic killings. Louisiana reported a rate of 2.53 per 100,000 women murdered by men. That’s nearly double the national rate of 1.3 per 100,000.

Last week, a Shreveport drug dealer ’fessed up to bartering crack cocaine for one talking parrot named Bubba. Bubba was stolen from his home five days before being traded for a fix. He has since been returned to his rightful owner, who noted that Bubba had expanded his vocabulary during his five day odyssey into Shreveport’s underworld. We can only imagine the phrases he picked up: “Polly wants a crack rock?”