Tag Archives: Louisiana

Dear Donald: A Plea For Decency

19 Dec

trumpstampDear Donald:

How unfortunate that the only truth you managed in the past two years was that the “election was rigged.” Sadly it was rigged on your behalf. While I fear this plea will fall prey to your pathological narcissism and thus will not be heard, I make it nonetheless.

It looks as though you may be assuming the role of President of the United States. May I implore you to rise to the occasion — to comport yourself with the gravitas of the role of a world leader?  You are NOT representing yourself here, rather you are representing every person that lives in the United States. Sadly, you have “drained the swamp” (your words) directly into your cabinet and have caused great alarm for all targeted people and communities living in the US. This is not just about misogyny, but about how someone who demonstrates every day that his ego rules over all else and whose success is rooted in the oppression of women, people of color, the LGBT community, people with disabilities, and all of the intersections therein.

For you and your followers, we need something to prove you all are not racist, homophobes, misogynists, breeders of hate. Your appointment of white supremacist and homophobe Steve Bannon does not inspire hope. Your appointment of white supremacist and homophobe Jeff Sessions further deteriorates any modicum of trust in your judgement. Sessions who was declared “too racist” during the Reagan years is now fit to be in your cabinet? One can hardly take solace in your appointment of Rex Tillerson, the Director a US/Russian oil company, as the next Secretary of State–conflict of interest much?  In fact, every appointment you have made demonstrates great disdain for the office they will hold and nothing but contempt and disrespect for the American people.

According the the Southern Poverty Law Center, CNN, Time, The New York Times, and myriad other publications, hate crimes have increased exponentially since the election. Sadly, you have done nothing to disavow any of this horrific behavior. As such, your silence condones it. Your supporters have grown so emboldened that they are ushering in the New Fascism. Ohio has just passed some of the most restrictive laws that preclude women from governing their own bodies. Louisiana has now passed laws that declare LGBT protections illegal, thanks to eternal homophobe Jeff Landry.

Given the evidence of the intercession of the Russians to influence the election in your favor, I know many are now worried about war. Is this what you want to be your legacy? Your inability to understand diplomacy, the need for intelligence meetings, (I know you consider yourself “biggly smart”), your disdain for science and for education should alarm us all. This is where I hope I am categorically wrong. I hope we do not end up in another war because of you. I shall take no pleasure in telling your supporters that they have only themselves to thank for another war and the loss of human life for caprice.

Yes, while I suspect this plea will be wholly ignored, I also implore all people living in the United States to resist the New Fascism, for us all to stand in solidarity, to work together to ensure that your threat to democracy does not prevail. Mr. Trump, “Have you no decency sir?”

I shall end this letter asking everyone: who will you take action to stand with and harbor? Sweet Honey in the Rock: Would You Harbor Me?

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Hero of the Week Award, February 28: Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut

28 Feb
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

Far too often these days well-meaning people avoid calling out hard truths (interrupting oppressions) in the name of comity or “bipartisanship.” This week’s Hero refused to allow shallow expectations to stop bold, necessary action.

Connecticut governor Dan Malloy (D) was one of the many governors attending the meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, DC this week. One part of the meeting was a conversation with President Obama. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (R), notorious for his spotty attendance at these meetings over the years, rushed from the room as soon as the President left to attack him in front of waiting reporters.

Saying that “the Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy,” Jindal accused President Obama of “waving the white flag” because he is increasingly relying on executive orders to push forward his agenda — an agenda the American people overwhelmingly voted for and support. He neatly ignored the years of Republican obstruction (which ironically block minimum wage increases at every turn) that force the President to take whatever actions he can to move good policy forward. (Please note, we are not even talking about a Living Wage, but only minimum wage)

Gov. Malloy refused to let Jindal’s bizarre claims stand. After the meeting, he held a brief press conference, calling Jindal’s comments “the most insane statement I’ve ever heard.” He elaborated,

Here’s a guy who didn’t come to any of the meetings except this one today, and has the nerve to pull that stuff on everyone—ten feet from the West Wing. He doesn’t … come to the meetings of the organization, and then he wants to swing for the fences for obviously political reasons. I didn’t mind pushing back.

Bravo, Gov. Malloy! Despite the longstanding tradition of courteous conversation and collaboration when the President addresses the NGA, Jindal tried to make political capital of the moment for his own political agenda. Clearly seeing an opportunity to raise his profile as 2016 GOP hopefuls like Chris Christie are crumbling, Jindal tried to put his personal agenda above actual progress for the people of his country and his state. A bit of judicious truth telling is the perfect comeback.  Thank you, Gov. Malloy for interrupting Jindal’s lies and interrupting his continued oppression of those already targeted.

Louisiana, Where Women are Chattel: The Scarlet P

7 Aug

Unfortunately, Louisiana is yet again the subject of how backwards can a society go.  They misogyny in this particular story is sickening. Thank you to Never Contrary for inspiring me to write about these events.  Louisiana is proving to be a state not safe for women or the LGBTQ community.

Astonishingly enough. young women attending a public school in Louisiana are being policed and profiled.  Female students just suspected of possibly being pregnant must submit to a pregnancy test. Here is the real illegal kicker: if the female students refuse the pregnancy test or prove to be pregnant they are kicked out of school.  Yes, you just read that correctly. Refusing to submit to the pregnancy test or being pregnant automatically gets one kicked out of school.  What are the consequences for the young men that got them pregnant? Oh, of course, NONE.

The Delhi Charter School, in Delhi, Louisiana, is a school that does not believe its female students have a right to education free from discrimination and is in direct violation of Title IX.  I guess the United States Constitution is only valid if you are a heterosexual male in the state of Louisiana.  Title IX makes it perfectly clear (for those who can read)  that schools cannot exclude any student from an education program or activity, “including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student’s pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom.”  Seems pretty clear to me, but then I don’t have tea bags in my ears or eyes.

One of the many things that I find profoundly dangerous is the message being sent to these young women: you are just an object with no voice, sex is only for men, you must submit to anything men tell you to do or be punished.  Thank you Louisiana for bringing us back to the 17th Century.  What might be next on your agenda?  You certainly have proven this state will support Mitt (I am in control of all vaginas) Romney.

Valarie Hodges: I Love Seeing White Heterosexual Christian Faces

15 Jul

So nice to see so many white faces.

Thank you to my friend Never Contrary for inspiring me to write this article.  TSM readers might remember Never Contrary’s story on Gutting Public Schools.  In response to Louisiana’s Republican Governor Bobby Jindal pushing for a voucher system, thus gutting the Public School system, Republican Valarie Hodges was very supportive.  To Hodges’ great astonishment (a big word for her, I fear) she realized that meant money would not only go to Christian schools, but would also go to Muslim schools:

I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools…Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion. We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.

The Charm Free Bigot, Hodges seems in desperate need of a history lesson regarding our Founding Fathers and the issue of religion. She also seems to need a lesson on Freedom of religion meaning all religions, not just Christianity. Of course I would like to ask Hodges, why do you get to decide? Why do people who don’t fit your idea of being human need your approval? Talk about white privilege!  You and Jindal are sad commentaries for the state of Louisiana!  Our Muslim brothers and sisters have every right to education as you do, Ms. Hodges.  How sad that you, Ms. Hodges, are on the wrong side of history and you are a white bully with power.

Louisiana: A Model for Gutting Public Schools

3 Jul

Education should be reserved for those who can afford it.

Today it is an honor and pleasure for me to introduce a new TSM contributor.  Never Contrary was gracious enough to provide this fantastic post.  Never Contrary has an amazing voice for social justice and understands the intersections of oppression and why we must change systems.  There are many times when I am in awe of Never Contrary’s voice and ability to speak truth to power. In this first article by Never Contrary, the Voucher system is exposed as the tool to gut public schools and create a classist society where only the wealthy may benefit from an education. For me this article addresses so many different issues all at once: class, race, gender, and–because Never Contrary is part of the LGBT community–multiple identities experiencing oppression.

Louisiana is consistently in the bottom three states in education every year. It is quite apparent that change is needed. Change has come.

I will start at the beginning. Three years ago I walked into my principal’s office. I was given a login to a program that included every kid I had taught in the past two years and their grades in my courses and state tests. I asked what this was for and was told it was for an upcoming law that would track student performance to their teachers. I found it odd that the state had not only already paid for the computer program to be built but was already using it before the laws had even begun discussions in the legislature. Flash forward three years. The news laws are finally being discussed. I knew that of course they would pass, as they had already been paid for. The whole debate was simply a show.

What exactly passed?

A voucher system. This will allow students in failing schools to have access to a scholarship to attend any private school of their choosing. Including the school in North Louisiana that believes that the proof that evolution is false is the Loch Ness monster.  I wish I was making this up.

Each student that leaves a public school takes their money with them. In October, the private school receives the money from the state. At that point the school can kick the student out for behavior, or grades, or frankly anything, and the student goes back to public school. The private schools keep the money, of course.  There will be no accountability for the private schools in any way about what they are doing with the students while their attend their schools.

Students that stay in public schools are now being tracked. It is being called “value added.” Teachers are given a score every year. Half of that score is your evaluation from your administrator. Because those reviews with your boss are always fair and free of the politics of the work place, of course. The other half comes from a score based on your students’ state scores that year, their attendance, their socio-economic background, their scores the previous year, etc. These scores will then be tied into teacher’s pay. It has yet to be decided exactly how.

The tenure program has also been axed. In order to receive tenure, a teacher must perform in the top 5% of their district for five out of six consecutive years. If a teacher has two years of unacceptable scores they will be terminated regardless of past performance.

Teachers can go through a rigorous process to become national board certified. It is very challenging to pass. Only the best teachers are able to. It used to come with a $5,000 pay raise, as motivation for teachers to improve their craft. The governor also took this away. Why reward the excellent teachers, when you can just punish the bad ones? Of course the state superintendent of education in Louisiana makes $349,249.00 a year.

Bigot of the Week Award: April 6, A.G. Crowe and Bobby Jindal

6 Apr

Bigot of the Week

Thank you to my friend Bonnie for this week’s nomination for BWA.  Wow!  What a whopper of a Bigot Award this week!  Crowe is one of those true monsters that will do anything and everything to keep white heterosexual Christian men in power.  Crowe’s recent bill, which is now law allows charter schools to refuse to admit gay students.  Gee, does this sound like discrimination to anyone else?  Crowe defended his bill of HATE by saying:

…the bill is designed to ensure that executive branch agencies and local governments stop including bans on discrimination against characteristics not listed in state law as a condition for private companies to do business with their agencies.

How lovely, you amazing bigot.  The new law also allows the schools to deny students on their ability to speak English–Racist much?

The ever enlightened (cough, cough, cough)  Gov. Bobby Jindal responded: “We’re against discrimination, but we don’t believe in special protections or rights.”  Special rights?  Did he really just say that?  What special rights?  I worry most about the impact this will have around LGBT youth–they are clearly not safe in the state of Louisiana.

And we have a dishonorable mention this week going to another Southern Republican Governor, Nikki Haley of South Carolina. She seems to have accepted the role of apologist for her party’s attacks on women, as demonstrated by her appearance on The View this week. Making a confusing argument against the government interfering with contraception choices (which is EXACTLY what her party is trying to do), she is the latest in a series of self-loathing minorities trotted out by the GOP.  Obviously, Haley is a modeling herself off the Stepford Wives!  

Stepford Smile

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