Holy crap - they are gutting LSU. Included in the cuts are getting rid of the Masters program for Library Science, the Center for French and Francophone Studies (set up after the mandate of the Legislative Act No. 409 stipulating the "development, utilization, and preservation of the French language as found in Louisiana for the cultural, economic and touristic benefit of the state"), the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History (one of the premiere oral history centers in the country) and the United States Civil War Center (located on Raphael Semmes street, named after the famous Civil War admiral and LSU professor). So this year our state has suffered the man-made disaster of the oil spill (killing our coastline) and now the decline of LSU (killing our education and heritage).
It's funny how you can be looking for somebody for so long and then one day they just pop up. Chris LeBlanc was my roommate at LSMSA when I was a junior and we always had a blast together. After he moved several years ago we lost touch and, as those of you who have ever tried Google stalking know, sometimes there are too many people with the same name. Of course, in South Louisiana having a name like Chris LeBlanc is like being called Jones or Smith elsewhere. Well, unlike me Chris just went to the LSMSA Alumni database and looked me up. I'm looking forward to hanging out with him Friday. So if you're a giftie, be sure to update your information in the database:
I've been sick the past few days, and without a significant other to pamper me during my grouchiest times, I've been treating myself with the copious amounts of drugs I have in my bathroom. Unfortunately, I've come to the realization that they all came from 2002 (an apparently sick time in my life although also a time when I did not believe in taking the drugs I spent oh so much money on). Even the stupid dayquil was more like daygel - the viscosity alone should have tipped me off, but hey, by that point I'd already been hitting the stuff a few times that day. Hopefully I didn't send any of you readers (all three of you) anything, but if I did, let me know if it's publishable or not. Probably in the not category. I just bought me (yeah, even high I know it should be myself, but got to keep the stylization going) a new gallon jug of the dayquil and nyquil so I can at least comment on the "new improved flavor" - tastes like Q Classic to me. You just can't deny that Q fraking death taste - it's what tell the germs and other bad stuff in your body "hey, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here!" That's telling them, Q!
What have I wrought on my state? I really thought I was doing well by voting for Bobby Jindal. He's a Rhodes scholar, about my age, and I thought he might be able to handle crisis and issues better than previous governors. And, he's a big LSU fan. Or is he?
The gist of it is that Jindal believes that our students are ill-prepared for 4 year colleges and we would be better served sending them to technical colleges. I can't even begin to express how screwed up that thinking is - basically, it's like he's saying "this is the best Louisiana can do" as he shrugs his shoulders.
I have to say that Jindal has come through in some ways in North Louisiana from an economic development perspective - sort of. The two big developments (getting Foster Farms to buy a chicken processing plant and the V Vehicle factory) are notable, but let's be honest here - the state paid around $36 million dollars to help subsidize the purchase of the plant and so far there have been no jobs created from the V Vehicle plant (which is really a crap shoot - it could be a successful venture or it could end up failing completely). And some would point out that both of these still don't replace all the jobs lost by the Guide plant and the Pilgrim's Pride plant (as well as the Start Farm operations center - although in all fairness that happened before he took office) closing. So, the end result is the state had to spend money bandaging a gaping wound in our ability to keep our citizenry employed, and the reaction is to cut off education at the knee caps? Maybe we don't all want to work at an auto plant or at a chicken processing plant - maybe we want to be doctors, lawyers, scientist, artists?
Right now colleges across the state (not just LSU) are looking at a fourth consequetive round of budget cuts. Here's a quick breakdown:
January 2009 - colleges were cut by $55 million
June 2009 - additional cuts at almost $110 million
January 2010 - Jindal asks for ways to cut at least $146 million more for the 2010-2011 fiscal year
Money is not everything, but you do need to spend something at least - it just seems that we are spending money on trying to keep industrial jobs in the area in a post-industrial era while slashing any opportunities we might have to create new and better paying jobs. Bobby Jindal, if you think we're too stupid to go to four-year universities, the solution is not telling us we need to go to technical or community colleges, it's improving all education from pre-K up. Any LSU graduate could tell you that.
Update: Because of the budget cuts, there will be a total of 484 faculty members who will lose their jobs at LSU alone. To keep tings in perspective, LSU currently has approximately 1300 faculty members - that constitutes a 37% reduction in force. And of course, that's not even taking into account any staff reductions which may occur.
(Source: The Advcate, January 23, 2010 - http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/82467112.html)
OK, I'm a little late but I've been trying to shop for everybody. Right now I'm shopping for a 5 year old. Here are some of the Amazon.com suggestions - see if you agree with their assessment:
Trivial Pursuit the Beatles - I guess because kids born in the 21st century are just packed with knowledge about the 1960s (a time when their parents were probably not born)
Scene It? Deluxe Star Trek Edition - I shouldn't be too critical about this - I mean I thought the Darth Vader robotic arm was a perfect gift for a 5 year old (because, come on, how cool is that!), but I just don't think that the game is going to hold much allure for a five year old
Spring Swings Fun Ride Original Zip Line - ok, if I was 5 years old and I got this I would totally love it - however, the prospect of little tikes zip lining from a tree into a wall may be a little disconcerting for both me and the parents