Jean Armstrong’s Cloak-And-Dagger Confab

From our favorite Baton Rouge left-wing loon and the Advocate’s writeup of her event yesterday bashing Gov. Jindal’s efforts to shrink state government comes this nugget of general awesomeness…

“Jean Armstrong, president of the League of Women Voters of Baton Rouge, ordered reporters and photographers not to identify anyone in the audience. She said state employees were part of the luncheon crowd and their attendance could lead to their firing.”

We got into this a little yesterday, because Armstrong went to great pains to publicize the names of people who weren’t going to attend her event – including Kevin Kane of the Pelican Institute, Stephen Waguespack and Paul Rainwater from the Jindal administration, Richard McGimsey from the attorney general’s office (Armstrong advertised that McGimsey was going to be at the event, but we heard he begged off) and yours truly.

Instead, the LWV confab was a full-fledged howling at the moon, complete with former LSU system head Fred Cerise saying that the administration is going to kill LSU Medical School by not building a 600-bed Charity Hospital in New Orleans for the residents to be able to get a broad-based education from (and it was those comments the Advocate’s Mark Ballard used for the lede in his story).

The battle over how big a hospital the state would build to replace what Katrina wiped out is one which was fought last year, and the $1.2 billion plan Cerise wanted was Jindal’s idea – that one only had 424 beds anyway. There weren’t enough resources to build that and independent analysis indicated it would end up as a major drain on the state budget.

So a compromise was crafted. And Cerise didn’t like it. Now he’s out.

The market in the New Orleans area is already oversaturated with hospital beds as it is, though the Big Government crowd doesn’t want to believe that and will say that the indigent and public-sector patients in the city can’t access the system without a gigantic Charity Hospital. Independent analysis indicates that’s a dubious proposition.

In any event, from the sound of the Advocate article the crowd at Armstrong’s gathering of incognito bureaucrats would have been all the happier the bigger the facility the state could build.

We weren’t able to find out whether the attendees at the meeting were issued overcoats and dark sunglasses at the door, or if they brought their own. Or if they sported Guy Fawkes masks. Or paper bags on their heads.

One purported attendee told us “I know nothing.” And  we believe him.

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