News Briefs

Boustany gets a "D," more sensitivity from The Times and more


Non-profit, non-partisan organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America just issued the results of its comprehensive study into legislators' records on voting for or against measures that would support U.S. troops and veterans. It assigned each legislator a letter grade from A+ (best) to F (worst).

Lafayette Rep. Charles Boustany received a 'D.' Here are the complete results of Louisiana's delegation, in descending order:

William Jefferson, Democrat: A-
Mary Landrieu, Democrat: B+
Charlie Melancon, Democrat: B+
Rodney Alexander, Republican: B-
Jim McCrery, Republican: C
Richard Baker, Republican: C
Charles Boustany, Republican: D
Bobby Jindal, Republican: D
And coming in last, and the only legislator to receive a failing grade:
David Vitter, Republican: F

To view the complete state-by-state list and legislator grades, visit ' Scott Jordan


From the same paper that said missing an episode of American Idol was worse than Hurricane Katrina's damage, The Times of Acadiana once again brings you another unbelievably offensive tidbit. Last week's The Times of Acadiana's featured a column from UL economics professor Rand Ressler on the death penalty as a deterrent to crime. Here's Ressler's conclusion:

"An honest debate regarding the pros and cons of capital punishment must acknowledge its effectiveness as a deterrent to murder. Furthermore, the more gruesome the method of execution, the greater its deterrent effect. So what'll it be, regular or extra crispy?"

The Times, with all its sensitivity and wisdom, of course used "Regular or extra crispy; the death penalty as a deterrent" for its headline on the story.

The Times aside, if this is the kind of "humor" Ressler uses in his classroom, I feel sorry for his UL students. ' SJ


There may be a move afoot to squash the law that limits how much tax-supported debt the state can have ' at least in the way that it's applied to one area of conservation. The case for such a change has been building for months as Congress is inching toward approving an increase in the amount of money the state receives from oil and gas royalties. If that should happen, voters recently endorsed a constitutional amendment that requires the monies be spent on coastal protections. Additionally, Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced last week that the state has settled its lawsuit to halt federal oil and gas lease sales until an environmental study is conducted, which should link drilling to erosion. All of this leads toward one thing ' more money from the feds over a series of years. If history is any indication, the state will likely borrow against any future revenue streams, which could be billions, to make a big impact early on. "We are exploring all options, including that one," says Sydney Coffee, the governor's adviser on coastal activity.

If that's the case, the Legislature will need to change the state law that limits the issuance of tax-supported debt, a threshold established annually by the Louisiana Bond Commission. Whether borrowing against the increased stream of oil and gas revenues anticipated over a number of years would result in bonded debt or tax debt is a question the state Department of Natural Resources is expected to pose soon to the attorney general's office. ' Jeremy Alford


Opelousas accordion wunderkind Guyland Leday is one of 20 finalists in the Oscar Mayer "Sing the Jingle, Be a Star" contest. Leday beat out thousands of other contestants across the nation who sang their hearts out in their own renditions of the "Oscar Mayer Wiener Jingle" or the "Oscar Mayer Bologna Song." (Leday went with the wiener jingle.)

Of all the contestants, there are only a few that actually play instruments in addition to singing. And only Leday, the great grandson of Delton Broussard, sports a single-row diatonic accordion and plays it left-handed. To view the finalists and to place your vote, visit Five grand prize winners will win $5,000 and the chance to appear on a nationally televised commercial.

The New York Times recently wrote of Guyland: "Guyland Leday, a 7-year-old Louisianan, plays zydeco accordion like a boy possessed." ' R. Reese Fuller