This State Is Rank

by Kenneth Cooper

I’m worse at what I do best / And for this gift, I feel blessed!” So sang Kurt Cobain way back in 1992. 17 years later, Louisiana, in its own declaration of irony, has inverted those lyrics. For the 3rd year in a row, our beloved state is best at what it does worst – mainly education, economic opportunity, locking citizens up, infrastructure, providing non-toxic air quality, or just generally functioning as a state. According to U.S. News World Report’s annual state rankings, we citizens, denizens of the perpetually worst state in the nation, should definitely not feel blessed, as the headlines read: Louisiana ranked worst state in the nation for the 3rd year in a row. How does something like this happen? Let’s delve into the deplorableness.

U.S. News ranks states based on 8 categories. Here’s how Louisiana breaks down in those 8:  health care #45, infrastructure #48, education #48, economy #49, opportunity #50, fiscal stability #43, crime & corrections #50, and natural environment #50. As you can see, the state ranks last in 3 of the 8 categories, 2nd to last in one, and 3rd to last in two others. Even with last year’s budget surplus, it still only ranks 43rd when it comes to fiscal stability. Of these 8 rankings, 3 should be the most concerning.

Education

It all begins with education. Typically, when a school system is in bad shape, it ripples across most other metrics. Louisiana was ranked 48th overall in education. Surprisingly, the state was 10th overall in preschool enrollment, but only 45th and 42nd in the high school graduation rate and college readiness. Translation: even though parents are putting their kids in school earlier, they’re not seeing the results. Apparently, the only thing worse than enrolling your child in one of the state’s k-12 schools is enrolling them in one of its colleges. Despite being ranked 26th in tuition, and 20th in student loan debt, Louisiana is 49th in the 4-year graduation rate, and 44th in education attainment. This means that even though the state is doing a decent job of making sure students can afford to go to college, it’s not doing enough with them once they get there.

Opportunity

Even if students do manage to make it out of college, they don’t find much opportunity once they graduate. Louisiana was ranked dead last when it comes to opportunity. This lack of opportunity translates into an average household income of $46,145 (47th in the country), which translates into a poverty rate of 19.7% (2nd worst in the country), which translates into a high crime rate. Speaking of crime…

Crime & Corrections

No surprise here. Louisiana ranked 50th when it comes to Crime & Corrections. Equipped with low education and limited opportunities, citizens here too often turn to crime. Louisiana ranked 47th in property crime, and 48th in violent crime, which resulted in the highest incarceration rate in the country.

Louisiana has ranked not only last overall but last or near last in these 3 areas for 3 years in a row. That is…spectacular. You know how hard it is to do something spectacular 3 times in a row. Beethoven, for all his greatness, never wrote 3 great symphonies in a row. Miles Davis, for all his great quintets, never put out 3 great jazz albums in a row, and the Patriots, despite all their dominance, have never won 3 Super Bowls in a row. That type of rare air is reserved for Michael Jordan’s NBA championships, Ishmael Reed’s first 3 novels, Donald Barthelme’s first 3 short story collections, and of course Louisiana when it comes to being the worst of the worst. Side note: notice that I didn’t type “worst of the worse.” Why? “Worse” is a comparative adjective, which means it only describes the relationship between 2 things; whereas “worst” is a superlative one, meaning it describes the relationship between 3 or more things, and since there are more than two states in this country…yes, I’m from Louisiana, but I self educated. Judging from the Head Start the state provides our children, maybe it’s something we all should consider doing.

9 thoughts on “This State Is Rank

  • May 20, 2019 at 7:58 am
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    New Orleans used to be a wonderful place to live. When the focus wasn’t on education for all people and especially our youth crime and the corruption of the elected officials,police corruption and until this is cleaned up in this city Nola will always be last. The working class will remain at mimium wages except for the people in charge their families and associates will remain at the top of the city.

    Reply
  • May 20, 2019 at 8:01 am
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    Jeff, I don’t know if your long term solution will work but I can tell you the short term one Doesn’t. I represent a large community in Eastern New Orleans. We make it a priority to remind our community to follow your short term solution. That has stopped no one. The cars not in garages were broken into by blocks. These criminal don’t waste time looking inside cars to see if anything is in there. They check if the car is open and if it isn’t, they break the window. My short term solution, make the parents pay for these car damages that their under age children damage. Theses parents MUST know that these young people are up to no good when their children are not home at 2 a.m. They must take responsibility for their children’s action. They made them and raised them.; now be responsible for them.

    Reply
  • May 20, 2019 at 9:06 am
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    Thank You Jesus,,, !!!
    We are so proud of our successes of implementing demorat ideas! Just a few more and Louisiana will may win the award for lower than worse!
    For 50 years I have heard everything under the sun blamed for the continual decrease in what is alleged leads to this.
    Trillions spent, but failure still exits, quality in human competence reveals much.
    Society lowered standards, common core and others keep people in delusions, college educated installed new education methods, college ed adults relaxed the laws, cities and courts relaxed justice, and mocked the past, and so much more!
    SO, the results are in !!!
    LOSERS have been running the asylum and it has been successful!
    We hate Gods ways, we hate truth, we hate laws and discipline, we hate morality,
    we hate justice and accountability, we hate ethics, we hate virtue, and above all we hate those that tell us the truth, especially our Creator!
    Ohh,, but we love and for our children, continue to promote all the Idols of this world that harm us, hurt us, and make us follow illusions, delusions, and produce decades of confusion.
    Wow! And we wrap all that up and flaunt it, portray it and herald it before children and show them how to worship, Hedonism, drunkenness, debauchery, sorcery, witchcraft, envy, greed, covetousness, lust, adultery, fornication, murder, malice, gossip, and thus children are then educated (mind washed) to the lowest expectations and lowest achievements of scores and Tada, now, we have a State composed of humans who are blind and deaf to what really is hurting them.
    AND then they go out and vote for more of the same allusions because the mind washing from the King of Darkness who leads them slowly to their own eternal barbecue.
    Louisiana people lover their Idols, and Loathe their creator!
    2019, May 20.

    Reply
  • May 20, 2019 at 2:41 pm
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    This article needs to be mailed in bold black colors to the Governor, Parish Presidents, and Mayors and require an answer or response for all the money that was poured into this state from various sources for the recovery because of Katrina. I often wonder about all the corruption and mismanagement and expect and hope the constituency will revolt and make a stance to vote these people out of office. Where is the energy for change? Like the old adage says, you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. What is keeping newly elected and appointed officials from standing on their own morals and not being influenced by outside big and old money?

    Reply
  • May 22, 2019 at 12:23 pm
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    The Infinity Loop of Incompetence? Sometimes it has to be called what it is!
    LBRC- Incompetence is an “Infinity Loop”! Here’s 1 Political Algorithym-

    1. Poor Public Education = A Low Info Voter = Poor Results + Commensurate Politicians = More Rhetoric – Results Manifested aka Efficacy = More of The Same = De Facto Insanity!

    2. What Government Does?

    a. Tax “You” then Spend (The Park where you live is utterly Ghetto, but you Tax yourself to provide a “Quasi” one for? You flood each rain and the Politicos who appointed the Board Members to fix problems says more money on top of what’s been wasted is necessary aka What did The Temps say- “Politicians say more taxes will solve everything”, and ‘Simps agree! How easy is it to spend and not appreciate what others have earned? What’s the difference between “A Government Entitlement” and a “Government/ Politicos who feel entitled to and btw- Generally speaking on Politicos who feel entitled, add Hefty Pension and Medical Plans to include family members, then remember their “Retirement Plans” are generally 10X to 20X what average constutients earn. Ironically, Politicos turn around and boast about what they did with “Your” money. Years later and in due season, the poor dupes called “The Constuientcy” learn- oops…, some never do, otherwise they wouldn’t be electing the same ‘ole- same ‘ole over and over! De Facto Insanity!

    b. Fundamental types of Governments to include but not limited to- Democracy and  Parlimentary (Great for Brexit! Terresa is vulnerable before General Elections and she knows it! Not so for Trump, he can “Hawk” his circus until his whole term in office is over and Neither Parties will veer from “House” aka Game Rules aka “We’re the same bird with 2 Wings and lots of “Feathers” (‘Simps and The Pseudo Intellectuals will never Get it! Sorry…?). Forget about Impeachment! Impeachment only means to “Charge”! Remember? Nixon resigned and then was “Pardoned”! How many U.S. Presidents in the history ofnthe country, have actually been “Removed”? Jeporady music please…

    c. Totalitarian governments and Autocrats think and do for citizens what they will!  “Propaganda” aka “Fake News” rule! ***Get this- Didn’t Trump tell you U.S. Media is “Fake News” aka Propaganda? True/False? How Democracatic or Totalitarian is The U.S., especially when Corporations are called people and “Citizens” matter in negligable terms aka “Neglected”! Corporations are “Gangs” and ‘Gangsta, why Politicos fear ‘Dem not you! Duh…?  Uh oh…

    3. Grandma said- “if given the choice between dealing with a “Whole Fool” not “Foods”,  or a 1/2 Fool, pick The Whole Fool! Why? Because the 1/2 Fool knows just enough to believe they are more brilliant than most aka “Self Deceived” the worst deception of all! 

    *Warning- Never allow a Fool or Sycophant access to a microphone before comprehending who and what they are, and never be surprised how quickly their ranks can multiply! Why? What do Lemmings do? Ans. Follow their leader right over the cliff! Some with Buck Dancing and Minstrel Smiles!

    Peace Out…

    Reply
  • May 23, 2019 at 6:01 am
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    LBRC- Mainstream Media is an illiterate Talking Head! Learn the Truth here! Most never research, just believe! How many times have you heard from people who should know better and who tell you what to think- Branches of government are “CoEqual”? What does Federalist Paper #47 say about “CoEqual” Branches of Government? Ans. Nothing! Though you failed Civics “De Facto”, here’s what’s really Educational! Don’t be Status Quo Louisiana, Illiterate and Aoorgant!! A Great Poet said-!”There is no such thing as Free Thought when your writings and thoughts must conform to somebody else’s standards”! Free means “Unobstructed”!

    James Madisin says- Branches “Must be Separate and Balanced”! Proof? Let’s get Educated…

    Federalist Paper #47

    James Madison begins this paper by telling his readers that he is going to examine a specific principle of republican government: “separation of powers.” One of the principal objections to the constitution is that it violates this important principle. Its opponents claim that the three branches of government are not sufficiently separate and independent and that power is too unevenly distributed. It is feared that the new government will collapse, and that liberty will be threatened.

    Madison agrees with those who place great importance on the separation of powers, especially on the point that an unequal division of power could result in the loss of liberty. If one branch has too much power, it does not matter how many men govern or how they obtain office. Too much power in one branch of government “is the very definition of tyranny.” If these claims were true, Madison says that no other arguments would need oppose it. He, however, is convinced that this charge cannot be supported. How separate should each branch of government be?

    Montesquieu, the French political writer, formulated this principle of government. He took the British constitution as his model, which he called “the mirror of political liberty.” However, the most casual glance at that constitution reveals that the branches of the British government are far from totally separate or distinct. For example, the English king acts in a legislative capacity when he enters into treaties with foreign sovereigns: once treaties are signed they have the force of legislative acts. The English king not only appoints and removes judges; he frequently consults them. The judicial branch, then, acts in an advisory capacity to the executive branch. The legislative branch advises the king on constitutional matters and, in cases of impeachment, the Houses of Lords assumes judicial power. From these few facts, Madison infers that Montesquieu, when he wrote that “there can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person . . . or, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers,” did not mean that the powers should remain absolutely separate or that each branch should not have any control over the other branches.

    Madison continues that if one looks at the state constitutions, there is no state in which the branches of government are absolutely separate and distinct. The state constitutions do not violate the separation of power doctrine set forth by Montesquieu, Madison concludes, and neither does the United States Constitution.

    Analysis

    In this essay, Madison clearly delineates his philosophy concerning separation of powers. Calling the accumulation of legislative, executive, and judicial power in the same hands – whether of one, of a few, or of many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective – the very definition of tyranny, Madison considers their separation essential to the preservation of liberty. He points out that when the legislative and executive powers are united there can be no liberty, because apprehensions may arise lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws to execute them in a tyrannical manner. Furthermore, “were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subjects would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with all the violence of an oppressor.”

    This was not the only time that Madison had talked about the separation of powers. Before the first Congress, Madison said on June 17, 1789, that the principle of the separation of powers “is to be found in the political writings of the most celebrated civilians and is everywhere held as essential to the preservation of liberty . . . ; and if in any case they are blended, it is in order to admit a partial qualification, in order more effectually to guard against an entire consolidation.”

    The authors of the Federalist took a rather cautious attitude toward legislative supremacy. In their desire to secure free government, they were in favor of a system of government under which the legislature would not be more important than the other branches of government. This led them to follow the classic exponent of the separation of powers, Montesquieu. The Frenchman provided the additional machinery that was necessary to make a reality of the ideal of a government of laws and not of men, combined with the Lockeian concept of free government and the sacrosancity of property.

    Peace out…

    Reply
  • May 24, 2019 at 3:27 pm
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    Paper Bag Negroes and NYT? NYT ought to be ashamed?

    LBRC- Shame on You NY Times!…

    1. If your writers are “Free” thinkers- Then why what they submit is “Edited”?

    2. 1 of your so- called “Chief” Editors is a “Negro” from NOLA who claims “French” aka “Creole” Dominant DNA? Ipso facto, what aligns this “Negro” with “Black Sensitivities” when we know in NOLA these Negroes are “Paper Bag” proponents! Ask this,Negro to elaborate components!

    3. Don’t insult us NYT! Your “Preferrred” Negro has led astray who?

    Peace Out… 

    Reply
  • June 1, 2019 at 12:23 pm
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    NOLA is still a La. Sharecropper! We urge The Mayor to stay Strong!

    LBRC- NOLA Schools and The RSD have “Legislated” and enforced “Bills of Attainder”! The U.S. Constitution says, Bills of Attainder are “Unconstitutional”! btw- Friends internationally have asked about crazy Bills passed by The Louisiana Legislature. 4 Words- Last Place Education Ranking! Also a Red Racist State and lots of Negro Coons, Apostates and Sell- out Politicos!

    1. What are Bills of Attainder? Attainders are about creating classes of citizens and determining “who” deserves full protection of law, so “Laws” are legislated to fit the “Conviction of Whole Classes”! 

    The U.S. Constitution says-

    *Definition: Bill of Attainder. Definition: A legislative act that singles out an individual or group (Like What Happened to Black Schools in NOLA During Katrina. Black Teachers were fired en masse, only in NOLA/Majority Black! Also Black Support Staff!) for punishment without a trial. The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed.”*

    2. A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder or bill of pains and penalties) is an act of a “legislature” declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial. As with attainder resulting from the normal judicial process, the effect of such a bill is to nullify the targeted person’s civil rights, most notably the right to own property (and thus pass it on to heirs), the right to a title of nobility, and, in at least the original usage, the right to life itself. Bills of attainder passed in Parliament by Henry Vlll on 29 January 1542 resulted in the executions of a number of notable historical figures.

    The use of these bills by Parliament eventually fell into disfavour due to the obvious potential for abuse and the violation of several legal principles, most importantly the right to due process, the precept that a law should address a particular form of behaviour rather than a specific individual or group, and the separation of powers.

    3. The Right of “Women”/Citizen Class (Pro Choice) is nullified by ignorance and Attainder by which their Civil Right to determine “Medical Issues” has been legislated away! Vice Versa for Gays, Blacks et al! NOLA is a De Facto La. Sharecropper still! Lots of timid Negro Politicos and Coons! In majority Negro Districts, they worship and elect known obviously Caucasion Racist and 1st Generation Immigrants! What did The Hon. Harriet Tubman say- “Most don’t know they’re slaves”! She carried a pistol to keep Coons from sabotaging missions to freedom! What’s different in 2019? 

    4. The ignorant Louisiana Legislature voided the rights of Black NOLA when they fired “All” the Black Teachers in NOLA, but no where else, especially not in “Majority Caucasion Controlled School Districts”! Afterwards and after protest of Racism and Discrimination against Majority Black NOLA, the RSD was created elsewhere, but consequences like what happened in NOLA to Black Professionals are “Non Existant”! Negro Coons complicit in these moves have been “Re- Elected” over and over again! What explains this ignorance Stupidity? No need for reduce! 

    Peace Out…

    Langmippe: Federalist Paper #44-“No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make any thing but gold and silver a legal tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex-post-facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts; or grant any title of nobility. (*NOLA Teacher Contracts, Retirement and Medical Benefits were voided for Black School employees en masse as a “Class” in NOLA “During Hurricane Katrina”, without public hearings or debate! 

    ***Madison called Bills of Attainder a “Monster” whereby members of a body guide the Brain-

    “In the third place, as the constitutions of the States differ much from each other, it might happen that a treaty or national law, of great and equal importance to the States, would interfere with some and not with other constitutions, and would consequently be valid in some of the States, at the same time that it would have no effect in others. In fine, the world would have seen, for the first time, a system of government founded on an inversion of the fundamental principles of all government; it would have seen the authority of the whole society every where subordinate to the authority of the parts; it would have seen a monster, in which the head was under the direction of the  members.”//end quote//

    Reply
  • June 11, 2019 at 6:11 pm
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    This might be painful?
    LBRC- We Just ‘Sayin? ‘Sum ’em is wrong with ‘Dis ‘Pitcha! Why is it…

    1. You see throngs od Negroes “Endorsing” Caucasion Attorneys on The Idiot Tube, lots  of whom are “Ghetto Fabolous”. Some want their 15min. of Fame or Infamy, right? But conversely, where are the throngs of Caucasions endorsing Negro Attorneys?

    2. Next political contest, watch how Caucasion Candidates flood majority Negro Districts with Lawn Signs and Push Cards to “Ubiquitous Levels”! Conversely, when and if ever have Negro Candidates had their signs appear anywhere near “Negligable Numbers” in majority Caucasion Districts? 

    3. Why are Negro Media Types and ilk, so over accomodating in the “Physical” presence  of Caucasions in 2019, many times throwing “Soft Ball” inquires, hardly probing when an  “Honest Examination” is warranted? Some go so far as to confess, “I will protect”! Courtesy is not a vice, however, “Actual Dscourtesy” warrants intervention, not an anticipated or irrational “Apprehension! it’s “Sacriligous” to criticize or cause discomfort to ‘Massa? Never heard a Caucasion Media Outlet admonish their audience in similiar fashion. What does this say- Negroes need reminding about “Common Manners”? No edit 3 Sec. delay buttons? Hmmm… 

    4. Once elected, why do Negro Politicos easily ignore their constuitency with perceived impunity? Suddenly, most are bottom dwellers with respect to “The Political Caste”? They get sprinkled with The Fairy Dust of “Arrogance”! Wish it was “Genius” Dust!

    5. Church Apostates, non elected, generally stay in charge for life! Rape Allegations, Homosexual or other, Stealing Church Funds, Adultery and yada…, like their hymn says- “I shall not be moved”! What’s the difference with Negro Politicos? In fact, most only get impeached or moved via “Indictments”, Fereral Authorities, Federal Courts et al! Most can be re- elected! Conversely, what happens when a Caucasion Politico betrays the “Public Trust” of his office? Isn’t there a “New” Coroner in St. Tammany? Not only ‘Dat, new rules governing his office have been legislated!

    6. Question: What is a “High Standard” and who imposes it? A “High Standard” is indicative of “High Expectations”! A Healthy Self- Esteem is no more comfortable with “Low Outcomes”, than is a Fish with a Condo in The Sahara Desert!

    7. In 2019, “Self- Esteem” and Poverty is so crippling and deep in the “Psyche” (Conscious and Unconscious) of so many Negroes-

    a. They still  “Revere” and will defend ‘Massa in anticipation of his/her discomfort, in ways rivaling “Manchurian Candidates”! Maybe why they spend money with and support ‘Massa’s Economics against their own better interest? When ‘Massa, any ‘Massa, gives them a play, he/her is “Over Accomodated”? Why? Hmmm…

    b. Many Negroes crave to “Endorse” ‘Massa! A commercial in which they can express how “Great” ‘Massa is, “appear” to drive their Epinefferin Levels off charts! Lots will endorse ‘Massa  for “Free”! For accomplishing? Conversely, other than “Media Created High Profile Manufactured Negroes” for “Negroes”, where and what other Negroes “Float ‘Massa’s ‘Boat”? We missed their “Commercials”? We just ‘askin…

    Sum ’em is wrong with ‘Dis ‘Pitcha!

    Peace Out…

    Reply

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Uma Naidoo, MD

Uma Naidoo, MD
Contributor

My patients these days are expressing more angst and fear, and looking to find ways to cope with the pandemic and the “new normal.” With children and entire families home together all day, and work and school schedules disrupted, loss of a daily routine can increase anxiety and disrupt healthy eating. One of the drivers for this increase in anxiety seems to be uncertainty, which can throw plans for healthy eating out the window.

Meal planning for a family, a challenge on its own, can be more so now with seclusion at home, more people to feed with different tastes, and more food stores with limited groceries and shopping times. There’s also the uncertainly of bare shelves, with normal staples of a nutritious diet unavailable, at least temporarily. It’s tempting to buy whatever is available, even if it’s not something that’s part of your normal diet.

It’s hard to cope with being quarantined and not reach for your favorite salty, crunchy snack because of boredom or feeling on edge. A few pretzels or chips are okay, but many people may not be able to step away from eating the entire bag once it’s open. Also, if you’re already feeling blue, the quick fix of cookies or cake will ultimately make you feel worse. Processed foods and shelf-stable items like baked goods contain a lot of simple carbohydrates that create a yo-yo effect on our blood sugar, which can drive anxiety and worsen mood.

How then can we mindfully make good food choices?

You might be surprised to learn that certain nutrients in foods have been shown to reduce anxiety or spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine — and we all want to feel as good as we can during these times of uncertainty. People are feeling a lot of stress right now, and the unfortunate reality is that stress worsens feelings of low mood or angst, and it also suppresses our immune systems. Therefore, targeting immune-boosting foods will have a dual effect — you may feel less anxious and boost your immunity.

I’d suggest incorporating these foods as a way to include healthier options into your nutrition during this unusual time of stress and uncertainty. We all have to eat, so attending to our nutrition is something we can all control, and then reap the benefits of an improved mood.

Reduce anxiety and boost immunity by choosing:

The bottom line:

Staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone, and the increased anxiety (and boredom) can cause people to abandon their healthy eating intentions and snack on whatever is around. But with a little thought and planning, you can continue to make good food choices and maybe even boost your mood and immunity.

From Our Friends at MYSLUMBERYARD

Nearly everyone has experienced insomnia, or the inability to sleep at some point. Occasionally, transient insomnia lasts for a night or two and may be caused by such factors as stress or changes in sleeping habits. But chronic insomnia can last for months or even years and can have a profound impact on daily life. Did you know that teens are at risk for both transient and chronic insomnia? Here’s what parents need to know.

How Much Sleep Should Teens Get?

You may be surprised to learn how common it is for teens to survive on less sleep than they actually need. While every kid is individual, and some require less sleep than others, researchers have identified some overall trends. Studies in the United States show that:

What’s Going On?

There are many contributing factors to teen sleep deprivation. It’s important to check with your child’s doctor to rule out medical issues that could be limiting their ability to sleep. Experts have identified some major trends that are common causes for teen sleep deprivation. Below are some possible factors to take into consideration when helping your teen get a more quality sleep.

Schedule structure

School schedules are at odds with the natural bodily rhythms of most teenagers. During and after puberty, kids naturally fall asleep later than either younger children or older adults. Sending teens to bed early doesn’t usually turn out as expected, as they will lie awake until midnight or later, despite their best efforts at sleep. Yet school rarely starts later than 8 a.m. in most of the United States.

Approximately 17% of school districts have begun to get the message, moving their start times to 8:30 a.m. or later for middle school and high school students. Experts note that these experiments have been successful, leading to more sleep, fewer car accidents, and even better graduation rates.

Stress

Stress is also powerfully linked with insomnia, and most teens are under a lot of pressure. From exams to homework to social activities, the middle and high school years are fraught with tension. Research shows that 27% of teens report high-stress levels. The most commonly reported source of teen stress is school, at 83%, while 69% of teens are stressed out about getting into college or choosing a life path after high school.

Puberty and gender

Puberty throws the mind and body into chaos, and sleep cycles are not immune. In fact, the entire sleep-wake pattern tends to reorganize itself, delaying the natural sleep onset and rising times, and shortening the length of sleep. This leads to sleepiness during the day, as well as irregular sleep patterns in which kids attempt to catch up on sleep over the weekends.

Also, the growth spurts associated with puberty can cause physical discomfort. These “growing pains” tend to worsen around bedtime and may even cause teens to wake up in the middle of the night. Although they are not dangerous, these pains can contribute to poor sleep quality.

It also appears that gender also plays a role in teen sleep deprivation. Girls are more likely than boys to report short sleep duration. This could be due, in part, to sexually differentiated biological and social factors during puberty. For example, girls tend to have higher overall stress levels and greater reactivity to stress.

Other neurodevelopmental disorders

Research shows that teens with neurodevelopmental disorders may be at increased risk for sleep problems. Disorders such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and even fetal alcohol syndrome can increase anxiety and make it more difficult for kids to settle into sleep. They can also make it more difficult to maintain sleep throughout the night.

A note on COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the mental health of citizens across the globe, and teens are no exception. According to a June 2020 Harris Poll, approximately 70% of teens report that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the crisis. Stress, anxiety and depression, coupled with a collapse in daily school structure and increased screen time, can exacerbate the typical sleep issues that teenagers face. Parents need to carve out quality non-screen time with kids, as well as to help them build routines.

How does insomnia affect teens?

Although missing an occasional night’s sleep rarely has serious consequences, chronic insomnia can have a major impact on both physical and mental health in teenagers. Physically, researchers have found that poor sleep quality and insufficient sleep increase teens’ risk for diabetes, obesity and even injuries.

Psychologically, even sleep-deprived kids who do not meet any clinical definitions for mental health problems are likely to suffer from behavior problems and reduced performance in school. They are also at risk for anxiety, symptoms of depression and feelings of hopelessness. They are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors like drinking and driving, not using seatbelts, and risky sexual practices.

Although people of all ages can experience negative cognitive impacts from a chronic lack of sleep, adolescents are at higher risk due to the profound developmental changes that occur during this time. They may have trouble with learning and retaining new information, performing well on tests and assignments, and regulating their emotions throughout the day. They also tend to be less motivated.

Although it is not yet clear if teens react in the same way, younger children who are sleep deprived tend to show a strong performance gap when compared to their peers. Losing just one hour of sleep per night can cause a child to perform in school similarly to a fully rested child two grades below.

Executive function is the ability to process and organize incoming data, focusing the mind and filtering out extraneous thoughts to prioritize tasks and accomplish each in an orderly way. It is an essential skill for success in all aspects of life. Executive functioning begins to develop in early childhood, and it becomes more sophisticated throughout the teen years. Yet, sleep problems can interfere with this developmental process, potentially setting kids up for future difficulties in their future from their careers to their relationships.

Teen insomnia and mental health

The impacts of insomnia on teenagers’ mental health are well worth a closer look. Keep an eye on your teen, especially if you know that they are struggling with sleep problems. If you notice signs of a potential mental health problem, consult a professional who specializes in teenagers as soon as possible.

Negative mental health outcomes associated with poor sleep

Although you might assume that a minor reduction in sleep carries minimal risks, this is not necessarily true. Even a single hour of lost sleep can have a major impact on kids, and as sleep problems worsen, so do the risks. Every hour of lost sleep raises the likelihood of feeling sad or hopeless by 38%. It also increases the risk of substance abuse by 23%, suicidal thoughts by 42% and suicide attempts by 58%.

Even after researchers accounted for demographics, substance abuse, suicidal ideation and symptoms of depression at the beginning, those who suffered from sleep problems for a year were 20% more likely to have thoughts of suicide, as well as more likely to actually make a suicide attempt.

Of course, not everyone who is sleep deprived becomes suicidal. But in tandem with all the changes of puberty and the intense pressures that many teens feel, a lack of sleep could be enough to heavily offset the balance in teenagers.

Insomnia and depression: a special case

Insomnia and depression are often linked in complicated ways. Depression may make it more likely for teens to grapple with insomnia, while those with insomnia are at increased risk for depression. Here is what you need to know about these linked disorders.

Insomnia and depression comorbidity

Comorbidity is a technical term for two or more disorders that occur at the same time. Depression is one of the most common mental health issues among teenagers, and depression and sleep problems often go hand in hand. Studies show that among children and teens diagnosed with depression, more than 70% have insomnia or another sleep disorder, and those kids tend to be more severely depressed than those without sleep difficulties. This indicates that the depression and the insomnia likely influence each other, worsening both problems.

Insomnia and depression risk

In addition, insomnia seems to be a risk factor for developing depression. Kids with chronic trouble sleeping are more likely than their peers who sleep normally to report symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Interestingly, depression does not seem to be a risk factor for insomnia. Kids who report trouble sleeping are more likely to develop depression and even attempt suicide in the future, but those with depression are not more likely to develop future insomnia.

Insomnia interferes with depression treatment

Cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT, is an extremely popular and highly effective treatment for many forms of depression. The idea behind it is that our thoughts create our reality, and distorted thought patterns are responsible for our moods. Cognitive behavior therapy focuses on changing both thoughts and behaviors, replacing them with healthier responses to the stresses of daily life.

Unfortunately, insomnia can make CBT less effective, possibly due to the impact of sleep disorders on logical thinking and executive function. Kids with chronic trouble sleeping are more likely than those who sleep normally to have their depression recur after treatment ends.

If your teenager has been diagnosed with depression, let her therapist know about any symptoms of insomnia. Mental health professionals are used to dealing with comorbid disorders and may be able to tweak the course of treatment to address both the depression and insomnia simultaneously. This can increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Risk-taking behavior

Even the most logical and thoughtful teenager can fall victim to the effects of sleep loss. Kids who report sleeping seven hours or fewer on school nights are also more likely to report carrying weapons, using marijuana or tobacco, binge drinking, drunk driving, fighting or other potentially dangerous behaviors.

The reverse is also true. In school districts that have shifted to later morning start times, students tend to sleep more. They also have better rates of enrollment and attendance, are less likely to fall asleep in class, show fewer symptoms of depression, and even have fewer car accidents. When wide awake, teens tend to think more clearly and make better, more responsible decisions.

What parents need to know

Now that you know the important links between sleep and both physical and mental health, you may be wondering what you can do to help. Here is what every parent needs to know about promoting high-quality sleep in teenagers.

Parents are the key

Even in adolescence, kids need their parents’ help to wind down for bed. Everyone is different, but the majority of middle school students require at least nine hours of sleep per night, while high school students need at least eight. Setting a bedtime for a high school student may be difficult, but the CDC reports that “adolescents whose parents set bedtimes are more likely to get enough sleep,” suggesting that parents can have an impact on their child’s sleep by lightly enforcing it. 

Even if a strict bedtime is not in the cards, you can help your child wind down and get ready for sleep in the evenings. Set a good example by reducing noise and lowering lights as the evening progresses. Try to avoid late-night battles over homework or chores, and instead promote a relaxed environment.

Childhood sleep problems become teen and adult sleep problems

Even if your child is not yet a teenager, it’s never too early to start promoting good sleep habits. Many kids develop chronic sleep problems early in childhood, which may continue throughout life. In fact, early childhood sleep issues may indicate more risk-taking behavior in adolescence, including early use of marijuana, which can in turn lead to insomnia as an adult. Likewise, adolescent sleep issues are linked with a higher risk of depression in adulthood.

There is a bit of a chicken and egg conundrum in the research. Are some people genetically predisposed to sleep problems, depression and substance use? Or does one lead to another? The answers are not yet clear, but the links between these three issues are strong and the message is clear: Parents should intervene early to help children overcome sleep problems.

Teach kids to cope with stress

Stress reactivity is a response pattern in which a person has a low threshold for what is perceived as a threat, and a strong stress reaction to any perceived threat. It makes it harder to think clearly, and switches the brain to self-preservation rather than higher-order emotions such as compassion or empathy. Stress reactivity can develop after traumatic events, but many kids show a natural predisposition to it early on.

Research shows that stress reactivity is highly correlated with insomnia, and some experts suggest having younger kids assessed for it. The theory is that both stress and insomnia become more pervasive in adolescence, so identifying and intervening early with stress reactive kids could head off sleep problems as they grow up.

Even in teens without stress reactivity, worrying right before falling asleep can impact the quality and quantity of sleep. Therefore, it only makes sense to help your kids learn to process stress and worry in healthier ways. Work with them to name their feelings and develop assertive, proactive responses. Encourage them to participate in extracurricular activities. Help them break large tasks into smaller chunks and teach them to reframe negative thoughts. Promote downtime and help them practice for intimidating events such as giving a speech.

Create the right environment for sleep

While some people are blessed with the ability to fall asleep anywhere, anytime, the vast majority do better in an environment designed to promote sleep. You don’t need to invest a pile of money, just work with your teenager to make some intelligent tweaks.

Teach and model “good sleep hygiene”

Good sleep hygiene is a collection of healthy habits that encourage sleep. Kids watch what their parents do, so be sure to model these behaviors rather than just telling your teenager what to do. Examples of good sleep hygiene include, but are not limited to:

Make your child’s bedroom a comfortable and stress-free space

Help your child create a comfortable and relaxing bedroom oasis. From soothing paint colors to essential oil diffusers, the internet is filled with easy and inexpensive bedroom ideas — see our 101 Tips for Better Sleep for more ideas. One of the most important investments you can make, though, is a good mattress. Research shows that sleeping on a new, high-quality mattress can reduce nighttime pain, decrease stress and promote better sleep. Mattresses are available in a vast array of types and firmness levels, and comfort is highly subjective, so let your teen choose the mattress that feels right to her.

Get serious about screen time

Screen time is an inevitable part of modern life. An incredible 72% of teens use a cell phone before bed, 64% use an electronic music device, 60% use a laptop and 23% play video games. And 18% report being awakened several nights per week by their cell phone.

It’s vital to set limits, as nighttime screen usage can make it more difficult to sleep for several reasons. Exposure to the blue light emitted by these devices can suppress production of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Phones, game consoles and other interactive devices tend to increase arousal, making it difficult to drift off to sleep. The short sleep-wake cycles caused by incoming calls or messages can lead to chronic sleep deprivation, even in kids who otherwise sleep well.

Model responsible screen-related behavior by turning off your electronic devices before going to bed, and encourage your kids to do the same. Analog activities such as reading a book or drawing are much more conducive to falling asleep.

by Kala Hathorne

Have you ever failed at something in life not once but twice? You found yourself consumed, determined, and faithful towards a specific goal, but once again you came up short. As thoughts of discouragement consumed your mind, you started to entertain the idea of giving up. If you found yourself answering yes to the questions above you and I were once in the same boat.

What I have learned through experiencing failure is that failure is only final once you give up.

A couple of years ago, I found myself bound by the manifestation of failure in my life. It seemed as though my purpose in life was so far out of reach. And that the very thought of experiencing success was impossible. I failed my first year of college, and my finances were in a disarray. My personal relationships were hanging on by a thread. My overall quality of life declined drastically. The thought of picking up the pieces was too much to bear, so I became distracted and discouraged. I began to swim in the abyss of comparison.

How do you measure success or failure?

Success is Never Ending and Failure is Never Final

Somewhere deep down inside of myself I knew that God had a purpose for me, but it seemed so far out of reach. I knew that there had to be something greater underneath the blanket of failure that heavily rested upon me. So, I mustered up the little courage that I had left and continued to press forward. Deciding to move on in spite of my shortcomings was difficult indeed, but in the end I knew it was necessary.

On my journey to press on, I discovered that just because you may have a rough start doesn’t mean you have to have a rough finish. So, many  great leaders and game changers we recognize and celebrate today didn’t start out in the most ideal circumstances. Oprah Winfrey was not deemed fit for television by a producer on her first job, but that didn’t stop her from seeing her vision through. Michael Jordan, one of the most celebrated athletes in modern history was cut from his High School basketball team. Jordan’s persistence after he failed led to his setback becoming a setup for his greatest comeback.

So, remember that failure is the foundation to success. Failure is necessary, it is a teacher that we never stop learning from. Failure is a constant tool and reminder that we are on track towards something greater than ourselves.

As I conclude my message, I leave you with the words of the astute leader and motivator Les Brown in saying, “In life when you fall, fall on your back, because if you can look up then you can get up”. So, keep falling, keep rising, and in the midst of it all stay encouraged. Always remember that failure is never final.

by Love Dr. Rob

People Say We Can’t Be Friends Because We are Lovers?

For the life of me I don’t understand it. I have seen people of the opposite sex with the best friendships, and when someone tells them they make a cute couple the response is no we are too good as friends. Wait, what? Why would your friendship stop you having a relationship? Is there some kind of rule that says we can only be friends? Somebody help me, because I seriously need to know. 

It’s crazy because I have heard men say they can’t be themselves around their wives or girlfriends. At the same time I have heard women feel they need to tone down when they are around their husbands and boyfriends. Who made these rules? Could this be one of the main reasons relationships aren’t friendships too? I would have to say unequivocally YES. 

Since many don’t view their mates as friends, they end up being together and apart at the same time. Most of them act one way at home and are someone completely different when they are away. Effectively they become nothing more than roommates who only discuss the bills and the kids. Eventually, they become complete strangers. 

Friends not Lovers

The irony is all of the things that make their friends so valuable, they choose not to share in their relationships. If they shared half as much with their mates as they did with their friends maybe the relationship could last. It’s sad that you can share your body and bed with someone you can’t be all of you with. Most times it’s because you don’t want them to stop loving you. But they can’t love you because they don’t even know you. 

If you want your relationship to last make sure your mate is truly your friend. That doesn’t mean you can’t have other friends, but your mate should be your best friend. I know that’s an abnormal concept for the most part. Just imagine all the things you and your friends made it through and y’all are still together. At the end of the day we can’t be anything if we can’t be friends. 

Can’t Count on them to Count.

by Jordan Rock

This is old news, but the President doesn’t like mail-in votes. Is this a type of voter suppression?
His “reasoning” is this; “Mail-In Ballot fraud found in many elections. People are just now seeing how bad, dishonest and slow it is. Election results could be delayed for months. No more big election night answers? 1% not even counted in 2016. Ridiculous! Just a formula for RIGGING an Election,” Trump tweeted. “Absentee Ballots are fine because you have to go through a precise process to get your voting privilege. Not so with Mail-Ins. Rigged Election!!! 20% fraudulent ballots?”

Stop laughing. He’s serious. But besides that, he’s seriously wrong. There is no difference between mail-in voting and absentee ballots because they are literally the same thing.

Long Voter Lines Could be Voter Suppression Tactic


The real reason Trump doesn’t want you to vote by mail is as simple as it gets; he knows that most people who can’t get to the polls are Democrats. Likewise, for those who simply prefer not to go the polls during a pandemic and crowd into a polling place. They tend to be Democrats.

And he knows that as well.  Considering his plummeting approval ratings, he doesn’t want your vote counted. It’s easier to sabotage your say in the election from the voting booth than it is through the mail, but that’s not for lack of trying.

Right now, the GOP is doing everything it can to challenge your right to a vote, especially by mail. Here are a few methods they’ve used just recently;



1. North Carolina Election Fraud (February 2018)


Mark Harris, a prominent Republican pastor, lost a bid for the Republican primary over North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District. In 2018, he went up against Democrat Dan McCready for the same Ninth District seat. He won by some nine-hundred and five votes, thanking God for Bladen County in his last words on the result of the election.
What was suspect was how he won.
That December, the North Carolina State Board of Elections
refused to certify the very stack of votes that had won Harris the election in Bladen County, citing irregularities with the mail-in ballots. And after interviewing the people of Bladen County, they filed a lawsuit the following February over the election results. The evidence discovered by the NCSBE and testimony from Harris’ own son revealed a scandal. Harris hired a republican operative named Leslie McCrae Dowless (now a felon) to forge thousands of mail-in ballots and collect legitimate ballots from the citizens of Bladen County via a troop of “friends, family members, and other associates to pose as election officials and collect them”. Democrat votes were predictably thrown out.


2. Republican Lawsuit against late mail-in votes in Minnesota (October 2020)


The GOP has been trying to axe Minnesota’s rule that mail-in ballots are acceptable up to a week after Election Day.
The reasoning of the two presidential electors that filed the suit is that the potential for voter fraud is rampant and is “human nature to commit voter fraud if given the opportunity”.  The evidence against this claim is simple.
The rate of voter fraud in Minnesota has been 0.000004% since 1979. This case has since been dropped, as Minnesota lawmakers refuse to sustain a claim that voter fraud might happen if they allow people to mail-in a bit late without any substantial evidence.



3. Trump Supporters Harass Early Voters in Fairfax Virginia (September 2020)


Because no talks about Republican disregard for the law would be complete without Donald Trumps’ ravenous cult-base. On September 19th, a crowd of flag-waving Trump fanatics decided to show their support for the President by trying to stop people from casting their votes. At first, they blocked the entrance to an early polling site in Fairfax Virginia before being pushed back by local law enforcement. Then they settled on screeching slogans at the folks waiting in line to vote until those people were moved inside, out of earshot. Because nothing says confidence in your candidate like trying to bully people out of voting at all.



4. Fake Republican Ballot Boxes in SoCal (October 2020)


This is probably the most cartoonish addition to the list.
Over the last couple of weeks, a host of drop boxes with a flyer taped to the front designating them as “official ballot boxes” had been popping up on street corners in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties respectively. If you’ve seen the pictures of these things, they look sketchy at first glance. But after a brief investigation by state officials, it turns out that these ballot boxes were deployed by the California Republican party.

 According to their spokesperson, Hector Barajas, these “unofficial drop boxes” were an opportunity for “friends, family, and patrons to drop off their ballot with someone they know and trust.” You can imagine where this is going, and so could the California state authorities. State law does not allow any kind of ballot drop box to exist without oversight from a county election official. A cease and desist order has since been put out after Republican party officials refused to remove these boxes from the streets.



Here’s the bottom line; the Republican Party don’t want your votes to count because they can see the writing on the wall. The whole of America has seen how President Donald Trump leads America. We’re all paying for it, and so are the President’s lungs after he caught the virus he’s been downplaying all year.
Don’t let them cheat their way through another election.
Vote, and don’t let anyone stop you.



   We Love You Saints, But Really, Baton Rouge?

…and it was then that the Saints found themselves in an existential situation. In the wake of the Coronavirus and Phase 3 regulations, the team tried to pull off a power move, threatening to pick up their footballs, pack up their pads, and take their talents to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge for their remaining home games when the mayor up and said, Fine. Go ‘head. Ain’t nobody running behind you. At that point for the Saints organization, there was the door and the unknown that waited on the other side. They could either walk through it or turn around and apologize. Questions abounded. First and foremost:

Saints QB Aaron Brooks Playing in Tiger Stadium

The wind shear? Yes, the wind shear, and what would it do to Drew Brees’ deflating arm strength. Drew Brees, once their young and strapping, All-Pro QB known for precision passing and spreading the ball all over the field had now become a balding 40 year-old dink and donker who was having trouble pushing the ball more than 10 yards without throwing an incompletion or interception. And that was in the climate-controlled environment of the SuperDome. Placing him outside in the elements could be a detriment, a deflater to an already disappointing season. At 3-2 in his last hurrah and in what was dubbed a Superbowl or bust year, does the team really want to do that to their soon to be Hall of Fame QB?

RELATED: Socially Distanced Football

Built Dome Tough

Then there was the team design to consider. Under head coach Sean Payton, the Saints have always been regarded as a finesse team – sorta gimmicky. Or as Bill Parcels once said about Payton’s play calling, “a lil too cute at times.”  Sure, they were fine if you put them on turf in the finely tuned conditions of the SuperDome in front of 70,000 screaming fans. In that environment the team sets offensive records. But take it outside on grass, throw a lil dirt and mud on them, extend those cleats, and what do you know. The offense is less efficient, and the Saints often find themselves in nail biters with teams they would blow-out at home.

Now, except for one away game in Atlanta, the Saints were faced with living the outdoor life for the rest of the season. Payton tried to put on a good face. Yeah, he said, the thought of playing in front of fans at Tiger Stadium would be exciting. Ok, sure it would. There were 83 million reasons why Payton would say that, and none of them had anything to do with how the team would perform.

$83 million, that’s what the Saints tend to average in ticket revenue, and what they stand to lose by having no fans in the Dome. That’s not counting the other millions they stand to lose in sponsorships and concessions (think $11 beers, $14 doubles, and $7 popcorn). All in all, according to Forbes, the 2020 season could end up costing the Saints over $400 million. Ouch. That’s a lot of money.

Money Talks

…and it was then you maybe started to see things from their perspective. Football is just as much a business as it is entertainment. Yes, there’s a lot of team profit, but that also trickles down and spreads to not just a lot of profit and employing people in the Dome, but to a lot of people making money off of parking, a lot of bars making money off of pre and post game food and drinks, a lot of grocery stores profiting off the tailgate rush for food, a lot of hotels missing out on booked rooms. Without fans the downtown scene dries up on Sundays and a portion the city budget suffers because of it.

But Baton Rouge? Who in New Orleans benefits from that move except the Saints? Maybe it’s a bluff, but if so, then the Saints need to give it up because the mayor ain’t bluffing when it comes to the Coronavirus. And who knows, allowing a ¼ of fans in the Dome may be more trouble than it’s worth, revenue and virus wise. So knock it off, Saints. Think of Drew Brees and his arm. Think of the team’s design. And think of the city you’d be abandoning and leaving behind. We miss you too. And hopefully we’ll all get together soon for $11 beers and $7 popcorn. Until then, do what’s right by us and stay your ass in the Dome.

LOUISIANA REPUBLICANS ALL IN ON TRUMP’S SCHEMES TO STAY IN POWER

By C.C. Campbell-Rock

 

Louisiana Secretary of State Pulls Voter Suppression Tricks to Help Trump

The New Orleans City Council’s lawsuit against Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin is just the latest legal action taken against the state and Ardoin over voter suppression tricks.

Councilwoman-at-Large Helen Moreno last week said the Council was disappointed to learn that Ardoin had limited the number of drop-off locations for absentee ballots, ignoring the number of locations Registrar of Voters Sandra Wilson had initially cited. 

“We were incredibly disappointed to find out that the secretary of state would not be allowing our Orleans Registrar Of Voters to have multiple locations around the city, that she would only be able to have these curbside drop-off locations at her office and also possibly at the Algiers satellite office and that’s it,” Moreno told reporters.

Councilmembers said Ardoin was misinterpreting the law regarding such locations and engaging in voter suppression. Shortly after the announcement, a civil court judge  issued a temporary restraining order blocking Ardoin from limiting the drop-off locations.

Ardoin, whose office is responsible for elections in Louisiana, recently told WWL-TV has no choice in the matter. “The law requires the ballots be dropped off at the registrar’s office, so those curbside locations have to be at a registrar’s office,” he said on Oct. 8.

“The law is clearly being interpreted incorrectly by the secretary of state,” Moreno added.  “The word ‘office’ is never mentioned in state law.”

“This is voter suppression in its purest form,” District B Councilman Jay Banks said. “That is why this is being done, to discourage people from going.” A preliminary injunction hearing will be held Oct. 21.

Absentee ballot collection in person begins Oct. 28 and ends Nov. 2.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin speaks the House and Governmental Affairs Committee about his proposed emergency plan for the fall Louisiana elections (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

The City Council’s October 14th filing marked the second time in less than a month that Ardoin has been sued for pulling voter suppression schemes. 

Bowing to pressure from Louisiana’s Republican dominated legislature, Ardoin in August, watered down the Emergency COVID-19 Voting Plan for the November election, which would have relaxed restrictions around who could vote by absentee ballot.

The plan changed from an emergency voting plan in which anyone concerned about COVID-19 could request an absentee ballot, to only people who are disabled, away from Louisiana, over 65, and those who are ill could request the mail-in ballot. 

“Louisiana is one of only eight states that require an excuse for voters to access mail-in ballots,” The New York Times reported. “Another 33 states, representing 55% of voters, have absentee voting allowed for all voters, and another nine states mail ballots to all voters.”

In tabling Ardoin’s initial plan, Republican legislators were forcing people to go out and risk their lives to vote.

LEGAL BATTLE

Jennifer Harding and Jasmine Pogue of the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP and the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice last month filed suit against Governor John Bel Edwards, Kyle Ardoin, and state Attorney Jeff Landry over Ardoin’s mail-in ballot restrictions. 

Ardoin told the media in September that he wouldn’t appeal federal trial court’s decision that requires expanded availability to absentee mail ballots for the Nov. 3 presidential election. He said he may appeal the underlying law the judge used in her ruling. In doing so, Ardoin tipped his hand about ongoing plans to suppress the vote.

The judge also added more days for early voting. A 10-day early voting period begins Oct. 16 and continues through Oct. 27 (except Sundays)

Also, Ardoin indicated his office would not release unofficial election results on election night, writing in the plan that no results will be reported until the scanning and tabulation of all mail-in ballots is complete, “not longer than two weeks after election day.” Ardoin’s statement adds fuel to Trump’s declaration that if he doesn’t see results on election night, he’ll say the election was rigged.

The Secretary of State is a staunch Trump supporter as are his fellow Republican elected officials. Yet, when Trump campaigned in Monroe, Louisiana for gubernatorial Republican candidate Eddie Rispone, Ardoin shared a video of his campaign efforts at the Trump rally. 

Bayou Briefs called Ardoin’s participation in Rispone’s campaign event “illegal.” “According to La. R.S. 18:18.2, the Secretary of State is prohibited from publicly campaigning or participating in any activity in support of any candidate other than himself.”  

Add to Ardoin’s and Republican legislators’ efforts to block the black vote, the recent news about Trump’s shenanigans with the United States Postal Service, and you have a recipe for voter suppression.

“Leroy Chapman, president of the American Postal Workers Union’s New Orleans local, said mail delivery in New Orleans has slackened because postal officials have removed five of the 14 high-speed mail processing machines at the Loyola Avenue hub.”

Louisiana’s Long History of Voter Suppression

“I don’t trust Ardoin,” says Carl Galmon, a civil rights activist who has been sounding the alarm about voter suppression and a lack of polling places in Pontchartrain Park and the state’s overseeing of early voting in New Orleans.

In Voter Suppression in Louisiana, a 2019 report, Galmon, a board member of the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute and Ted Quant, a former staff member of the Voter Education Project, Inc., documented the history of voter suppression in Louisiana.

“In 1898, Louisiana held a state convention. The purpose of the convention was to come up with laws to systematically exclude African-Americans from the electoral process. The marching order for the convention was to whitewash the voter rolls as far as possible without running afoul of federal law. Our purpose is “to exclude every Negro from the electoral process,” said delegate L.J. Dossman.

Grandfather Clause

They adopted the 3-9 non-unanimous verdict, which was amended in the 1970s to a 2-10 verdict for felony convictions. Not until 2018 was it abolished in the legislature and in a statewide referendum that passed by a 2-1 popular vote. The second law passed was the Section 5 law of the Grandfather Clause, which mandated that no man eligible to vote on January 1, 1867, nor his grandson would be required to meet literacy or property-ownership requirements. Since black men were not granted the right to vote until the 15th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1870, they were excluded from the exemption.

However, when Oklahoma’s grandfather clause was deemed unconstitutional in 1915, the following year, New Orleans officials created a voter registration form just for blacks.

“Voter suppression in New Orleans in 2019 includes the placement of polling places outside the precinct where people live,” they wrote. Galmon and Quant say New Orleans is violating the Louisiana Constitution, which mandates a polling place for each precinct.

“The reality is that each precinct does not have a polling place and voters must travel miles to a location where polling machines from many precincts are packed. This is a tactic to shave black votes.”

“By any measure, attempts to dilute Africa n-American voting strength in Louisiana have been widespread,” Debgo P. Adegbile, the former director of litigation for the NAACP-Legal Defense and Education Fund wrote in a 2006 report calling for the renewal of the Voting Rights Act. “Louisiana violated the VRA 146 times” he wrote.

The Louisiana Legislature Does Not Reflect the State’s Diverse Population

Although Louisiana’s governor is a democrat, Louisiana is considered to be a  “red state” because of its Republican led state legislature. Both the state senate and state house are dominated by Republicans. The lopsided advantage in the state legislature speaks volumes about the amount of racial and partisan gerrymandering the Republican caucus has done to stay in power. The Republicans draw districts lines that either pack blacks into a single district or draw lines around predominately black areas to create predominately white districts.

 “Louisiana is the most gerrymandered state in the deep south,” Galmon explains. The use of gerrymandering during redistricting after the 2010 Census has led to the white Republican-domination Louisiana legislature. State Senator Hewitt’s district is a prime example of a racially gerrymandered district. Hewitt represents portions of Orleans Parish(white neighborhoods), and predominately white St. Tammany, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines Parishes.

State’s Population vs Elected Officials

“Elected officials in Louisiana do not reflect the state’s diversity,” Galmon affirms. Louisiana’s population is 58.5% white and 44% minority (32.2% African Americans).

Of 39 state senators, blacks make up 25.64% (10) and whites are 74.35% (29). Republicans in the Senate 69.23% (27) Democrats in the Senate 30.77% (12). In the House, Republican are 64.7% (68) of representatives, Democrats are 33.3% (35). Whites hold 74.2% (78) of the seats; Blacks hold 25.7% (27) of the seats.                   

Although many of Louisiana’s Republican officeholders seem to be aligned with Trump’s coronavirus denial;  his “Herd Mentality” (Trump made a Freudian slip while references Herd Immunity); white superiority views (Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry fought to retain the non-unanimous jury law and against allowing ex-felons to vote), and holding on to power at any cost, it’s clear that unless people of color in Louisiana form a voting bloc, Louisiana’s Republican state legislators will once again draw district lines that dilute the votes of people of color.

By Jeremy Stahl

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week has largely consisted of her refusing to answer any question of substance because, she argues, it wouldn’t be proper for a prospective justice to do so. This has made her appearance an epic performance of deflection even compared with past Supreme Court confirmation hearings. As I noted on Tuesday, being Donald Trump’s nominee means you have to refuse to answer even the most basic questions lest you defend the indefensible or criticize the man elevating you to the court. Those deflections have included Barrett’s refusal to say whether presidents should commit to a peaceful transfer of power (Trump hasn’t), whether they should be able to pardon themselves (Trump has suggested he might), whether voter intimidation is illegal (it is).

On Wednesday, though, Barrett’s failure to respond reached a new height when she refused to discuss whether removing children from their parents at the border as a deterrent, as the Trump administration illegally did in 2018, is wrong. The moment came when Sen. Cory Booker asked Barrett if she believed it is “wrong to separate children from their parents to deter immigrants from coming to the United States.” Barrett responded that she couldn’t weigh in on government-sanctioned kidnapping, as it is “a matter of policy debate” that she can’t “be drawn into as a judge.”

Here is the video of the exchange: https://www.youtube.com/embed/nr5k0zRR8B4?rel=0&enablejsapi=1

And here is the full text:

Booker: Do you think it’s wrong to separate children from their parents to deter immigrants from coming to the United States?

Barrett: Sen. Booker, that’s been a matter of policy debate and obviously that’s a matter of hot political debate in which I can’t express a view or be drawn into as a judge.

Booker: I respect that a lot, but I think the underlying question is actually not hotly debated. And just maybe I’ll ask it one more time. Do you think it’s wrong to separate a child from their parent, not for the safety of the child or parent, but to send a message? As a human being, do you believe that’s wrong?

Barrett: Senator, I think that you are trying to engage me on the administration’s border separation policies, and I can’t express a view on that. So I’m not expressing assent or dissent with the morality of that position. I just can’t be drawn to a debate about the administration’s immigration policy.

Booker: Of course, the question does have implications, but a very simple—as I stated yesterday, that we’re debating things that to me are basic questions of human rights, human decency, and human dignity. I’m sorry that we can’t have a simple affirmation of what I think most Americans would agree on.

Amy Comey Barrett and President Trump

Early in the president’s term, the Trump administration was warned repeatedly that any “policy” of ripping babies, infants, and other children from their parents at the border in order to deter immigration would not only be illegal but would traumatize many of those children for the rest of their lives. The White House went ahead with the “policy” anyway and only abandoned it after widespread horror when details of the practice emerged to the public. Thousands of children were separated from their parents, including at least one nursing 4-month old.

A George W. Bush–appointed District Court judge in California, Dana Sabraw, ruled in 2018 that the separation policy was “brutal, offensive, and fail[ed] to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency” as well as a blatant violation of the due process clause of the Constitution. He ordered that separated children must be returned to their families, which became a Herculean task for the government because, as multiple inspectors general later found, there was no plan in place to ever return the children when they were taken. The ACLU, which brought the lawsuit, still hasn’t been able to confirm whether hundreds of separated children who were discharged from government custody were ever able to reunite with their parents.

In other words, what Barrett described as a “policy debate” is really an unconstitutional case of government-run kidnapping whose impacts on individual children will reverberate for generations. It has been roundly rejected in court without the Trump administration even attempting to appeal. The question of its legality is also not the subject of active litigation, which means it is not a pending controversy she is liable to face as a member of the court.

In 2018 when Brett Kavanaugh was asked about the legality of child separation by Sen. Kamala Harris, he declined to answer because at the time, it was a matter of pending active litigation before the courts. Barrett faces no similar dilemma. She was asked a question about her opinion on the morality of this administration’s horrific efforts to subvert the rule of law, not about any pending legal case, and she refused to answer because, apparently, this policy is still something that is up for debate in her mind.

Children in countries like South Korea and Russia are more obedient, while American kids tend to be more self-indulgent.

Read when you’ve got time to spare.file-20181127-76743-vw5ir1.jpg

In some societies, kids are taught that they’re in control of their own happiness – which makes them more indulgent. Photo from Oleksii Synelnykov / Shutterstock.com.

As early as the fifth century, the Greek historian Thucydides contrasted the self-control and stoicism of Spartans with the more indulgent and free-thinking citizens of Athens.

Today, unique behaviors and characteristics seem ingrained in certain cultures.

Italians wildly gesticulate when they talk. Dutch children are notably easygoing and less fussy. Russians rarely smile in public.

As developmental psychologists, we’re fascinated by these differences, how they take shape and how they get passed along from one generation to the next.

Our book, “Toddlers, Parents and Culture,” explores the way a society’s values influences the choices parents make – and how this, in turn, influences who their kids become.

The Enduring Influence of Cultural Values

Although genetics certainly matter, the way you behave isn’t hardwired.

Over the past two decades, researchers have shown how culture can shape your personality.

In 2005, psychologist Robert McCrae and his colleagues were able to document pronounced differences in the personalities of people living in different parts of the world. For example, adults from European cultures tended to be more outgoing and open to new experiences than those from Asian cultures. Within Europe, they found that people from Northern Europe were more conscientious than their peers in Southern Europe.

Recently, we were able to trace some of these differences to early childhood.

Parenting – perhaps not surprisingly – played a role.

To conduct the research for our book, we worked with colleagues from 14 different countries. Our goal was to explore the way broad societal values influenced how parents raise their children. We then studied how these different parenting styles shaped the behavior and personality of kids.

We did this primarily by administering questionnaires to parents around the world, asking them to describe their daily routines, hopes for their kids and methods of discipline. We then asked them to detail the behaviors of their children.

We also relied on the work of Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede, who, in the 1970s, asked IBM employees around the world about factors that led to work satisfaction.

We were able to compare his findings to ours, and we were surprised to see that his results correlated with our own. The cultural values that were revealed through work preferences in the 1970s could be seen in parenting practices and child temperament 40 years later.

This is important: It shows cultural values are relatively enduring, and seem to have an effect on how kids develop over time.

To Think About Yourself, or to Think of Others?

Perhaps the most well-known of these broad cultural values are individualism and collectivism.

In some societies, such as the U.S. and Netherlands, people are largely driven by pursuits that benefit themselves. They’re expected to seek personal recognition and boost their own social or financial status.

In more collectivist societies, such as South Korea and Chile, high value is placed on the well-being of the larger group – typically their family, but also their workplace or country.

We found that the way parents discipline their children is strongly influenced by these social values, and likely serves to perpetuate these values from one generation to the next.

For example, compared to parents in individualist cultures, collectivist parents are much more likely, when reprimanding their kids, to direct them to “think about” their misbehavior, and how it might negatively impact those around them.

This seems to promote group harmony and prepare a child to thrive in a collectivist society. At the same time, if you’re constantly being told to think about how your actions impact others, you might also be more likely to feel anxiety, guilt and shame.

Indeed, we’ve found that kids in collectivist cultures tend to express higher levels of sadness, fear and discomfort than children growing up in individualist societies.

Free to Pursue Happiness?

A second set of values we studied was indulgence versus restraint.

Some cultures, such as the U.S., Mexico and Chile, tend to permit and promote self-gratification. Others – like South Korea, Belgium and Russia – encourage restraint in the face of temptation.

These values seem to be connected to a specific set of parenting goals.

In particular, parents in indulgent societies tend to emphasize the importance of developing self-esteem and independence. For example, they expect children to entertain themselves and fall asleep on their own. When one of their kids misbehaves, they’ll often suggest ways he or she can make amends and try to repair the damage.

The message kids may get from this kind of treatment is that they’re the ones in control of their happiness, and that they should be able to fix their own mistakes. At the same time, when kids are expected to pursue gratification, they may be more likely to impulsively seek immediate rewards – whether it’s eating candy before dinner or grabbing a toy off a shelf at a store – before getting permission.

Meanwhile, in societies that prioritize restraint, parents were more likely to shout or swear when disciplining their children.

This might make them more obedient. But it might also cause children to be less optimistic and less likely to enjoy themselves.

Is Individualism the Future?

Parents seem to be motivated to best prepare their kids for the world they’re likely to inhabit, and what works in one culture might not necessarily work well in another.

But as our world becomes more interconnected, this diversity of parenting approaches may dwindle. In fact, most countries have become more individualistic over the last 50 years – a shift that’s most pronounced in countries that have experienced the most economic development.

Nonetheless, there’s still a huge difference in parenting styles and childhood development across cultures – a testament to the enduring influence of societal values.

Samuel Putnam is Professor of Psychology at Bowdoin College.

Masha A. Gartstein is Professor of Psychology at Washington State University.

A Collection of Political Cartoons by John Slade









































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