Voting Numbers and Parish Elections

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham, III

Election day is just days away, and while we can’t make any final calls with just early voting results, there are some trends we can look at to see where things are headed as Saturday approaches. The parish had (as of October 20) 2,931 early and absentee votes in. The breakdowns here by party and race can give us a clue as to what we could expect to see after Saturday.

In the early voting period, we see 2931 totals votes cast. Of those, 1768 were white and 1,073 were black. In terms of party, 1,542 were Democrats, 942 were Republicans, and 447 were labeled as “other.”

In looking at these numbers, we can see a number of implications in some of the Natchitoches parish-wide races, but let’s look at two in particular (these are two that I’ve made endorses for at The Hayride, if you care to see) If these are reflective of the overall turnout, then that it is likely, but not guaranteed that David Stamey walks away from the Clerk of Court race without a run-off. However, assuming the turnout on election day is the same as the turnout during early voting turnout is a pretty big assumption.

The reason we can consider the possibility of Stamey winning the race outright is based on the racial turnout. If we assume that the white vote went almost entirely to Stamey, then roughly 60% of the vote goes to him, with the other 40% being split between the Louis Byers and Betty Sawyer Smith.

What’s not so easy to predict is the Parish President race. This is an instance where neither party nor race will really tell you the story here. What we do know is that the black community will likely be split between Rick Nowlin and John Salter, with more going toward Salter. The white vote will also be split, but in this case, more toward Nowlin because they will largely come from the City of Natchitoches. Rural whites that do turn out will likely lean toward Salter, but perhaps not in great numbers.

If that scares you as a Nowlin supporter, it should – go out and vote for him. John Salter is promising something he cannot deliver in repaired roads, and Nowlin’s budgetary changes in the parish are the best chance you’ve got of getting those roads fixed more quickly.

Of course, there’s also the fact that Salter has openly called for a return to the police jury system

Oh, the Webs They Weave…

politics graphicThe Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission from J. Q. Collectif. The views and opinions expressed are those of Mr. Collectif and not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to

Have you heard the one about the politician whose promises are as abundant as the bad roads in Natchitoches Parish?  The latest one to hit facebook is that John Salter, at a private meeting of a select group, has promised the good folks on Pardee Road that he is going pave their road the first day he’s in office.  As election day draws closer, I can’t help but wonder how many other private meetings and empty promises have been made.

There are some very important FACTS that voters need to keep in mind:

1. The last Parish Council meeting before election day is this coming Monday, October 19th. The Parish will be presenting its 2016 budget and, based on the figures provided by the Tax Assessor’s office at the September meeting, the Parish is projected to receive about the same amount of money for Road District 40 as what it received in 2015.

2. Another source of revenue for the Hwy. Dept. is surplus from the Solid Waste sales tax. That surplus dwindles with each dump site that gets converted to a manned-site, which is what the sales tax is intended for.

3. All of the FEMA reimbursements for hurricanes Katrina and Rita have been paid to the Parish. A large chunk of it (almost $900k) was spent by the Police Jury in November, 2012, under the leadership of John Salter just prior to the new form of government taking over.

Before going out to vote, I greatly encourage everyone to educate themselves on how the Parish Hwy. Dept. is funded and to put pen-to-paper to see just how unrealistic all of these “pie-in-the-sky” promises are.  John Salter is preying on the fears and frustrations of the residents of this Parish and I sincerely hope that we are not as gullible as he clearly thinks we are.

If John Salter has promised to overlay or pave your road in exchange for your vote please attend the Council meeting on Monday and ask him to put it on the record. You will likely find that he has made the same promise to the residents of every other bad road in the Parish. If you choose not to ask him to put it on the record, you will have no one but yourself to blame when you are faced with the reality that you were the butt-end of a really bad joke.

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”  Albert Einstein

Ponderings with Doug – October 16, 2015

dougthumbI had a good article started yesterday. It was about the contractors across the street. They are remodeling a house. From watching them work, the interior of the house must be amazing. The other day I was watching the kitchen counters being cut and going into the house. Today the painters are across the street and I surmise the house is entering the final stretch. I was going to ponder the commonality that the construction trades share. Whether painters, carpenters, or those who cut the stone cabinet tops, all of the trades carried extension cords. The cords were twisted and worn, but everyone seemed to carry one at the beginning of the work day.

The question for pondering was simple, are you connected to a source of daily power? Do you spend time in prayer and meditation connecting with God? If it is not a daily practice for you, I would suggest that God is “ever more read to hear than we are to pray.” If you stay connected your tool runs, if not then you face daily challenges without any spiritual tools. The thought would work for this home remodel but maybe not for subsequent ones, because power tools are beginning to be battery powered.

I was deep into the typing of the first draft, when I decided to give my keyboard a taste of my coffee. I have spilled coffee on my desk before. To tell the truth, I need a sippy cup for my morning coffee. I didn’t realize how much coffee I had dumped into my keyboard until I finished cleaning off the desk. I returned to my philosophical pondering about prayer and discovered I had a problem. When I typed the word “where” the screen displayed “@o00*****” when I hit the delete key the string continued “@o00******(((((+_.” I knew the problem.

The keyboard drying process is simple. The sun is a great drying tool. I had done this before, so I knew the formula to rescue the keyboard. Alas, the keyboard was sundried, office ceiling fan blown, prayed over and anointed with oil. The keyboard has died. Our secretary offered me a temporary keyboard to get my work done until I can replace my keyboard. I had one of those ergonomically correct keyboards. I could type on it for hours. This little keyboard has already caused a cramp in my right arm. I know for a fact now that people who use Apples are not typing. Those keyboards are even smaller than this one. Oh yes, Apples are for desktop publishing and such not.

When I finish this article, I’m going to Walmart and buy a replacement keyboard. I wonder if I can get one that comes with a plastic cover so I don’t kill another keyboard by baptizing it in coffee. I hope they still sell the old fashioned ergonomic keyboards. Walmart here I come.

I have returned from Walmart and there is no joy in Mudville. I can’t believe that Walmart does not stock my kind of keyboard! This is terrible.

We all do dumb things like spilling coffee. Some of our dumb things rise to the level of sin. We all sin too. The Bible tells us that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. The good news is that we don’t need to clean up our acts before we come to the Lord. He has already reached down to us to lift us out of our self-inflicted pain. He has the power to take our brokenness and make us whole. He offers us a new beginning which is way better than a second chance.

I hope you are connected to that source of power in your life. Having that daily connection with Christ allows you to meet all challenges, even coffee in the keyboard.

Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Primary

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham, III

It’s pretty clear that after last night, it is Hillary Clinton’s primary to lose. Her ability to debate and control a narrative within that setting showed why she was such a pain to Barack Obama in 2008, and why she is still leading the Democratic pack in 2015. She also got a big boost from the second place candidate, Bernie Sanders, who was equally dismissive of the e-mail scandal as she was.

That is not to say she is still set to win the debate. Her numbers in general election polls have plummeted along with her favorability. The word association polls that have been run show “liar” and “untrustworthy” to be synonymous with her name. And, of course, the specter of Joe Biden lingers over the primary like the threat of a civil war.

Biden in particular is the wild card. By all accounts, he is definitely going to run, but he has waiting so long that it’s going to be an uphill struggle to get his name on every state primary ballot. That starts in November, which means roughly two weeks to raise the necessary money and lay out the necessary infrastructure, and it’s unclear whether or not that is humanly possible. He of all the candidates knows how vulnerable Hillary is on the e-mail issue. This isn’t just an investigation into her server. The FBI is investigating her. That is a world of difference, legally, and he knows it. And he can take advantage of that.

Jim Webb wants to represent a Democratic Party that no longer exists. Sure, it existed in years past, as evidenced by the election of JFK, but he can’t make any headway in a race to the left of the political aisle because he is a more centrist candidate. I think that in a different time, he would poll well against some of the Republicans in the race. Lincoln Chafee is a candidate who is clearly in the race, because he was on the stage, but that’s about it. Martin O’Malley showed that being the youngest face in a crowd of old, white candidates doesn’t mean much when your ideas are the same ones from Bernie Sanders’ youth. Sanders himself did well in correcting his increasing senility on the stage by shouting out left wing talking points whenever he started stuttering.

And that is another problem the party as a whole has. Erick Erickson is the one who put it best in this regard, when he said, “The danger here is that the American people saw just how out of touch the Democrats are. The Democrats, in playing to their crowd in the debate hall, went for the echo chamber… Hillary Clinton won the debate. She will win the Democratic nomination. And she will lose the general election because the Democratic echo chamber has completely drifted away from where the American people are.”

The Democrats are convinced the Republicans are too extreme in their views, however, they ignore the leftward drift of their own party. Hillary Clinton on more than one occasion talked about the people she talked to didn’t care about her emails, but reports have been out there that her campaign is carefully vetting who she talks to. She is living in the ultimate echo chamber, and it will cost her in the general election, when she has to get moderate voters to come to her side.

Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at, contributor to The Hayride, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and on Facebook at

John Stephens – Real Representation for Natchitoches Parish

Natchitoches Parish has been without real representation for some time now.  In the race for State Representative serving Natchitoches Parish, John is the only candidate that shares the same values we hold dear.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal is proud to endorse John Stephens for REAL representation of Natchitoches Parish in Baton Rouge.


Ponderings wth Doug – October 9, 2015


The car show was amazing.

One can only imagine the time and expense that goes into restoring those vehicles. One could see the owner’s pride as people complimented the craftsmanship and made inquiries about the process that created such marvelous examples of automotive restoration. It was awe inspiring and a cool way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I am preparing my entry for the 2045 car show.

The conversations overheard at the car show are worthy of repeating. The most prevalent conversation would include pointing to a vehicle and telling a child, “When grandmother first learned how to drive this is the kind of car I had.” The child would gaze into the vehicle and ask, “Where are the seatbelts and how did the car seat fit in the car?” Of course granny would be telling her friends of the same vehicle, “I can’t believe my dad made me drive that heap to school. I wanted a new car and I ended up with this old thing.” I think that was a universal response. As teens, what we saw as heaps and jalopies were now the stars of a car show. If we had only known that those cars would become collectable classics. If anyone has a 1971 Volkswagen bug I am interested!

The other conversation would happen in small giggling groups. Where grandpa would tell his posse, “I kissed her for the first time in the back seat of a car like this.” There was sufficient evidence from grandma’s response that indeed grandpa had kissed her in the backseat of a car like one of those. The benighted grandchildren wanted to know if the driving took place in the front seat how did nanny and pop end up in the backseat.

Can you remember those ancient days of yesteryear when the new models would arrive at the dealerships? The dealer would keep the big window shaded until they were ready to reveal the new model. I know some of you find this incredible, but back in the day you could tell the difference between vehicles. One could even identify, without much trouble, the model year of the vehicle. From a distance only a dealer can tell a Ford from a Toyota. Today the new models look like the old models except for a few tweaks, which always raise the price of the new models.

I looked at my automobiles and thought, in thirty years my cars will be a classics. Can you imagine a car show in the year 2045? I would have my Toyota Prius in the car show. People would snicker at the size of those ancient batteries and they would marvel that a car had a combustible fuel on board. I suppose by 2045 cars will run on solar power. Future car show folks will marvel at the steering wheel and the pedals for accelerating and stopping the car. Those pedals will be as foreign to my grandchildren as a clutch is to kids today.

For those of us who are not shade tree mechanics or automotive artists, the car show was about “the good old days.” And keeping with the automotive imagery, I remind you that you can’t drive forward looking in a rear-view mirror. Hope is stronger than memory. While we enjoy remembering “back when” the key to joyous living is to know that today is the only opportunity you have to live. As you are living mindfully you do so facingthe future not looking to the past. Looking backwards invites too many accidents. It is much better to have the hope while fully living in the moment. Tomorrow is not yet and yesterday is gone, so live out the joy of this day fully. Like the car show, look at every vehicle in front of you before moving to what is next.

Even as hard as today might be in your life, years from now you will look back on today and remember “the good old days”fondly.

Ponderings with Doug – October 2, 2015


I don’t know if Google is great or is a metaphor for a pot of slowly boiling water and you and I are the frogs. I do know that when I want to know something fast I “google it.” When I am homesick I can go to Google Maps and look at the house I grew up in. I can actually make the map function in a way that if I have the time I can “drive” across my old hometown. That is pretty cool on those afternoons when I have nothing to do. I have had six of those afternoons in the last six years!

Google is creating a new way to consume information. Here is the list of things Google will render obsolete or anachronisticwithin the next fifty years: cable and satellite television, broadcast and XM radio, newspapers (sorry guys), Walmart and most brick and mortar department stores. The good news is that places like Natchitoches should thrive because people will long for the days of mom and pop stores and places where you can actually walk out of a store with merchandise!

The seeds for the cyber economy are planted and growing. I will be pushing up daises before these seeds are fully grown. I’m sure my children and future grandchildren will have a cool time with all the new Google gadgets.

Google is testing a driverless car. You can google the google car and look at it. It looks like a Ping-Pong ball with wheels. It would not stand up well in any kind of accident, but with technology there will not be any more accidents. Computers and sensors will instruct cars to stop or turn to avoid accidents. Our kids are excited because they will be able to ride in the car and text at the same time. You can set your destination and fall asleep and the car will do all the driving. You can doze through the boring parts of the drive and wake up refreshed as you near your destination. You can spend time in your driverless car googling things. As a parent you could program the car to come home before curfew has arrived. The possibilities and opportunities afforded by a driverless car and mind boggling.

In tests the Google cars do a great job of driving on country roads and Interstate highways. There is only one thing a Google car can’t do. It is such a problem it has brought the program to a dead halt. Hard to believe that one small problem could crash such a noble and visionary technological advancement.

Google cars can’t do four way stops!

The cars are programmed to handle a four way stop legalistically. The car is to stop. Evaluate the other stopped cars at the intersection, determine the proper rotation and go at the proper time. The car can’t deal with the way humans do four way stops. Are you guys noting I have issues with four way stops? The Google car is confused because most real drivers don’t stop at a four way stop. There is movement that the computer defines as “not stopping.” We roll at a four way until it is time to roll through the four way. Along with our rolling stops the Google car has a problem with our inability to count at four way stops. When someone allows another to go out of turn, isn’t paying attention to the rotation, or when someone rudely goes out of turn the Google car computer stops functioning. The car must reboot to move on. I wonder what the car would do with our six-way-four-way stop.

I won’t feel so bad when we have one of those paralyzed-at-a-four-way-stop moments downtown. I’m going to grin and remind myself that the world’s smartest computer people can’t figure out a four way stop. If the Natchitoches traffic czar is reading, Google can’t figure out four way stops! Take the hint, put the lights back! At Amulet and 2nd if you are not going to paint STOP on the new pavement, at least bolt down the stop signs. Our out of town visitors don’t know that is a four way stop. That intersection would cause a Google car to completely break down. I wonder if there is a therapy that can help with my four way stop issues.

If Google is confounded by four way stops can we relax and let go of the idea thatwe must have all the answers. There are some questions that can’t be answered. Mystery makes life interesting. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.” He didn’t say you will know the answers and the answers will make you free.

That wasn’t the answer you were expecting was it?

Politically Correct War Crimes

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at, contributor to The Hayride, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and on Facebook at

There is a story that came out from the New York Times last week that discusses child rape in Afghanistan. That story details how American troops are being told it ignore Afghan soldiers and commanders who are raping little boys as a means of control or discipline. One solider described a commander who had a boy chained to his bed to be used as a sex slave.

This is being permitted on American military bases, even.

This is being permitted because, according to top political appointees in the military and their subordinates, we should not interfere with the Afghan culture. This political correctness calls for us to overlook a horrific crime that is forever going to affect the boys who are abused. They will grow up and continue the violence toward children in that society.

Not only could this be, in a very real sense, a war crime under the U.S. military code, but it is a sign that the U.S. is taking a backseat in fighting the true evils of the world. The Army has dismissed one soldier who beat an Afghan officer for what he was doing, and is actively trying to forcibly retire another. If the Army cannot stand for American values, why should the world take the U.S. and its military seriously?

This sets a dangerous precedent in the world, and one that we may absolutely come to regret if we allow it to continue. We are allowing the continuation of an immoral and evil practice that will keep a violent and dangerous culture (sorry, PC brigade!) violent and dangerous for generations.

The U.S. Army should stand against this, prevent it from happening on its own bases, and work to train the Afghan forces out of the practice. If our job is to be leader in the world, and it should be clear by now that we are supposed to be but haven’t been, then we need to work diligently to eradicate these and other morally bankrupt practices.

Ponderings with Doug – September 25, 2015

dougthumbIf you are reading this, it didn’t happen.

If you don’t know, the end of the world or some other apocalyptic event was to happen on Wednesday, September 23rd. I am writing this article on Wednesday morning. I awoke very early just in case it was the last day. Of course, no last day would be complete without anEgg Mc Muffin.Then I went to Walmart for dog food. I bought enough dog food for six days. Did that show my lack of faith?

I can’t figure out what was ending on September 23rd.Too many things are mixed up in all this end of the world mess. The preppers want us to prepare for the end of America. On their websites you can find books about the supplies you will need at the end of time and the ammunition necessary to keep the zombie hoards at bay and the stocks that will grow during the apocalypse thus protecting your retirement. Why do we assume that the end of time means chaos, gunfire and a reordering of our retirement plans?If the EMP asteroid people are right, the earth is wiped out. End of story!

The Christians also pulled out their Bibles and calendars.One guy who has studied the Bible for fifteen years(I rolled my eyes at his credentials, but you couldn’t see that) came up with all these gruesome and far-fetched end of time scenarios happening this week. Did I mention that he has a book for sale? For those of you who are not ancient or a connoisseur of apocalyptic literature, you might not remember Hal Lindsey. Every four years or so, Hal moved his date back and published another book about the end of time. He is living quite comfortably right now on book royalties. What he predicted because he had a “secret” understanding of scripture never happened. End of time books sell, loving your neighbor books don’t. Go figure.

A growth industry was discovered when the preppers went Christian. Now you can purchase ammunition that has been blessed, declared kosher and guaranteed to shoot those heathen zombies who are coming for your stuff. Maybe all this end of times stuff is the adult version of going to a scary movie. We like to be frightened. There are some scary scenarios out there. What Jesus said about the end of time and what this growth industry touts are not close.

I can’t find one passage where Jesus commanded us to build bunkers, arm ourselves and wait for what should be a joyous day of redemption. It seems we are doing the opposite of what the Lord commanded. A better witness to our confidence in Jesus would be to do as He said do, “watch and pray.” Jesus’ idea of watch had very little to do with watching for “signs of the times” and more to do with “watching how you are living.” Are you showing your love for your neighbor or for the stranger? Ah, we don’t buy books on those subjects.

Y’all, by that I refer to my brothers and sisters in Christ, if any of you will claim me; we need to be about the business of Jesus. What is that business? How about telling your neighbor or a stranger about the love of God in Jesus Christ? Can we live with joyous confidence in Christ’s care for us, no matter what?

We are all sinners. Christ died for us while we were sinners. We are made right with God through the work of Christ on the cross. Jesus said, “Repent and believe the gospel.” But don’t stop there. Jesus also said, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

Is your joy complete? Or has your joy been stolen because you are trying to figure out what happens “in the end?” There is only one way to prepare for the end. His name is Jesus. Do you believe in the care of Christ for you? Really? Do you? I am celebrating this last day by asking Jesus to make my “joy complete.”

If you are reading these words, it didn’t happen—again! But don’t give up there is always that red moon on Sunday night!

Article on Confederate Flag Draws Threat


City Hall Flags – Provencal, Louisiana

By Edwin Crayton

An anonymous caller has threatened of one of the content providers of the Natchitoches Parish for running an article asking why the Confederate flag flies over city hall in Provencal, Louisiana. Read the article at

The fact that someone actually threatened a life merely for publishing an article questioning the flag’s legitimacy illustrates the vicious hatred that still surrounds the controversial symbol.  And it also demonstrates why a growing number of people across the nation are calling for it to be removed from government buildings.  In the interest of full disclosure, I must share that I wrote that article on the Confederate flag flying over the city hall.

The article simply polled whites and African Americans and asked them what they felt when they saw the Confederate flag flying. While several whites and African Americans differed on whether the flag is positive or negative, most agreed that some saw it as a symbol of heritage and people in both groups also acknowledged that it stirred up division.

Indeed, one thing no one can deny, the flag is indeed divisive and tends to open up old wounds. Perhaps this is why even General Robert E. Lee, the south’s top general in the Civil War distanced himself from the flag. In a story from, quite surprisingly, Lee is quoted as having said about the flag, “I think it wiser moreover not to keep open the sores of war,” Lee is said to have written this in a letter declining to attend a battlefield Memorial in Gettysburg. The CNN article goes on to comment that there were no flags flown at his funeral, “Confederate or otherwise.”Read the article at:

Before the Journal article ran, the city hall at Provencal flew two Confederate flags. But curiously after the news story ran, one of the Confederate flags was replaced with an African Liberation flag but it was flown upside down for some reason. I wondered if that was on purpose or just an accident resulting from ignorance of the flag. So I called Provencal’s mayor to ask about that and about the Confederate flag they’re still flying, but did got get a response by press time.

Supporters of the flag claim that they support it because it’s part of their heritage. But what heritage are they referring to? A look at the history of the Confederate flag, which is technically referred to as the “battle flag” reveals that the truth is, the flag’s entire history has been connected to hate and violence. After a lull in popularity for years, in the 1950s and 60s, the flag began to experience a rebirth, as the Klux Klux Klan and other racist groups began to use the symbol in their opposition to integration and to demonstrate support of white supremacy. Indeed the KKK uses it today quite prominently. In the1950s, angry white mobs who tried to prevent 9 black children from integrating schools in Little Rock, waved the flag as they attacked and cursed the brave high school students, who had to be led into schools by armed federal officers for protection. In the tragic murder of white Civil Rights worker Viola Liuzzo, the flag appeared at rallies as people actually celebrated her killing. But its impact as a racist symbol isn’t limited to America. In a story on, Matthew Speiser wrote an article that reported that in Germany today, because Nazis are banned from flying the Swastika, they fly the Confederate flag. He adds, “Nazis have adopted the Confederate flag and variations of it because of its historical association as a symbol of racism and white supremacy.” And then of course, we know that Dylan Roof, the young racist who shot the African American church goers in church, prior to the act, had a photo taken of himself holding a Confederate flag. Ironically, despite his act of hatred, in this case the hate crime didn’t inspire racial violence, but offers of Christian forgiveness from the church.

With a heritage of violence, division and racism like that, the question should be, why would anyone really try to claim with a straight face that the flag is just about heritage? And again, if it is, is it a heritage we need to celebrate? To be fair, people have a right to wear it or display it at home. But the question is, should a government building fly such a clearly divisive symbol since government facilities are supposed to represent all the people? When a person feels he must threaten someone simply for an article that criticizes the flag, the final question we all need to ask is, is flying any flag really worth all that?

Rebel Flag

The flag we’ve come to know as the Confederate Flag is really the Battle Flag of the Confederacy and was not the original flag. The sad but historical reality is the flag is most famous for being the one used by white supremacist groups starting in the 1950s and continuing today.

Staying the Course

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham, III

We have sat through the first term of a new parish council and, more importantly, a parish president in Natchitoches Parish. The transition from one form of government, the police jury, to the other, a president-council (a transition I took active part in helping create), went smoothly despite the crying out of those who lost a tremendous amount of power. It’s just not fair, after all, for those with power to lose it. They feel themselves entitled to that power.

The crying out by several of the old police jurors was due in large part to the fact that they lost a big part of their power to a new parish executive, and in the case of Natchitoches, one who had experience in government prior to running for that job.

As we approach this coming election cycle, we see two names preparing to run for parish president. One of those men already holds the office, and the other has said openly that he wants to take the parish back to the police jury system. After just four years. Much like a teenager today, the prevailing sentiment is that it’s just too hard to make it work.

It’s not working immediately, and therefore we should go back to the old ways, which also didn’t work. That kind of logic is astounding. A parish government with more than a dozen representatives and no captains to steer the ship. A simple majority can shut things down quickly and permanently. That sounds like a much better option than have a legislative body and an independently operating executive, doesn’t it?

The police jury had left parish government with more than $300,000 worth of debt, and there was no trust in parish government for any sort of tax to get passed. The fiscal year budget for 2014 saw a spending decrease of more than $200,000. Two years’ worth of those kinds of saving would wipe out that deficit. With the cuts and restructuring of parish government, a chunk of the parish’s debt to the sheriff’s department for the detention center was paid in 2014. Furthermore, extra money was saved given that the current parish government was not using parish money for political battles. The police jury wasted parish money to fight the change to a new form of government, costing the parish a decent amount by forcing an election when it could have piggybacked off a statewide or federal election.

So, while one candidate says “It’s not working,” another candidate has shown us it can work. Rick Nowlin has affected a great deal of change in the parish, and to foolishly throw that change away because John Salter says it’s too hard would hurt the parish in ways only the police jury could. So, ask yourself if the police jury needs to come back and bring that kind of pain to Natchitoches Parish again. If you think they don’t, then you don’t need John Salter.

Ponderings with Doug – September 4, 2015

dougthumb“Houston, we have a problem.” They are the most famous words ever uttered in the history of space travel. One single sentence, five small words, but they signal what could have been the greatest disaster in the history of NASA.

It was April 13, 1970; astronauts Jim Lovell, John Swigert, and Fred Haise were in the command module – Odyssey. They were two hundred thousand miles from Earth, 5/6th of the way to the moon, 55 hours into their flight when disaster struck.

A mysterious explosion rocked the ship and left it less than two hours from becoming a permanent tomb in space. The crew watched in horror as the cockpit grew darker, the air grew thinner and instruments went blank. Then Captain Jim Lovell got on the radio and uttered those famous words – “Houston, We Have a Problem.” Yet these words marked what would become in the annals of American space travel our finest hour.

If you think about it, life is a lot like Apollo 13. You can be cruising along in that cozy little space ship of your life, enjoying the scenery, except you are not just looking at the moon, the stars, and the galaxies, but you are watching your little boy play soccer, your beautiful wife napping on the couch, enjoying a great game of golf until all of a sudden there is an explosion in your life. Your spouse walks in and says, “Houston, we have a problem – I don’t love you anymore.” The principal from school calls and says, “Houston, we have a problem – your daughter is on drugs.” The doctor looks you in the eyes and says, “Houston, we have a problem – there is something on the x-ray that doesn’t look good.” All of a sudden the walls of your life can crumble right before your very eyes.

In the movie, Houston answered. The story of Apollo 13 is a story of collaboration between the engineers at NASA and the astronauts in space. Together they took what could have been a disaster and worked the problem to a successful conclusion.

When you have a problem and call out for help, who answers? With whom do you collaborate when your protective walls are falling down all around you? Who comes running when you have fallen?

I began my prayer this morning, “God, I have a problem….”

What blacks and whites feel when they see the Confederate flag

The Confederate flag flies over Provencal City Hall. Is it promoting heritage or racism?

The Confederate flag flies over Provencal City Hall. Is it promoting heritage or racism?

By Edwin Crayton

Perhaps few debates give you a sense of the changing times as the one about the role of Confederate flag in American life today.  Ever since a hate crime in which black church goers in Charleston were killed by a demented racist young man, a media-hot spotlight has focused on the flag, it  has been under attack as many in the nation debate whether it should be flown over government buildings. It’s a sign of our changing culture that the debate is happening at all. The Confederate flag has been a staple of the south and even Hollywood has used it to create memorable stories about the south. In Provencal, it flies over the city hall. But for how long?  I went to the streets to see what locals feel when they see the flag. In a tongue in cheek gesture, I have listed the opinions of African Americans and whites in separate but equal “black” and “white” columns. Although I have corralled the comments into categories, you’ll find that the opinions of people don’t fit as neatly into racial categories and stereotypes as the media hype might have you believe.


Joe Hayes: “I don’t think it’s offensive. But I don’t fly it either.  People don’t study their history so some use it for wrong reasons—for hatred. But I don’t’ find the flag to be offensive.”

Billy Fair: “I grew up in the south so I see it is connected to heritage.  I don’t see it as racist. But I’m not going to fly it because as a Christian I don’t’ want to be a stumbling block to my black brothers.”

Joe Matheson: “When I see the flag, I see plantations, slaves, everything the south stood for. God gave us a way to take care of our families without having to enslave people. I can’t believe that having slaves falls under the heading of being a Christian.”

Rebecca Myer: “It’s from a war that was fought and it’s from a part of history.”

Brian Barrett: “When I see it I think it symbolizes racial bigotry.  For the time period it represented it represented racial division or the white man’s oppression of African Americans. I’ve lived outside the south so I see things differently. Not all whites who wear it or wave it are prejudiced.”

Vide Gordon: “It is the flag of a defeated enemy. But it has a particular relevant history. If you fail to remember your past you will repeat it. You have to teach history openly and honestly. You need  the memorabilia.”


Alex Zeno, 34: “It reminds me that racism is still around.”

Troy Moore, 28: “it’s about racism. Whites hating blacks.”

Tye Daucette, 21, NSU student: “I know some see heritage. I just see a piece of the past.”

Ralph Wilson: “For some it’s a symbol of celebration embracing their heritage but to me and millions of others it’s a symbol of disrespect.”

Phillip Davis, spoken word poet: (Here from East St. Louis) “for some it’s a symbol of heritage. But for blacks it’s a symbol of oppression. Just like the Swastika.”

So what are we to gather from these comments? The flag sends weird mixed messages. Some see it as being about heritage. Others see it as a threat and reminder that racism still exists. Therefore it’s not fair to say that everyone who wears or flies it is racist. Yes, people should be able to fly it on their property. But should a symbol that causes such pain for so many Americans fly over government buildings? Our government facilities are supposed to represent the people.  In some southern towns and cities blacks are the majority. Some people are saying it will be progress to take it down. I think it would be better if one day no one felt the need to run it up some flag pole in the first place. Now that would be real progress.

Adapt or Perish, GOP

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at, contributor to The Hayride, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and on Facebook at

The Republican Party faces a dilemma. That dilemma is a real estate mogul who decided to run for president. Donald Trump is proving to be a thorn in the GOP’s side as he continues to poll with about a quarter of the GOP vote. While polls fifteen months away from the election prove very little at this stage, we do see that he has staying power many people, including myself, were not sure he had.

Ross Douthat at the New York Times and Erick Erickson at RedState have come to the same conclusion: How the Republican Establishment handles Donald Trump will determine whether they live or not. There is a major discontent within the base of the Republican Party, and it is a discontent caused by the Establishment of the party constantly refusing to keep the promises they make upon their election and re-election.

It is exactly this behavior, and the constant and very public rejection of the base that rubs salt in the wounds, that has made Donald Trump the man of the hour and has put the GOP at risk. The Whig Party refused to change with the times and get behind the rejection of slavery. This refusal led to their death as a party and gave rise to the Republican Party. Now, the Republican Party is refusing to change, though in this instance, it is a refusal to change back to what they once were – a party that stood for smaller government, lower taxes, and the free market.

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell specifically have themselves to blame for this problem. Their actions (and in many cases, their inaction as well) has created a void from which they are struggling to escape. If Boehner, who is a known political survivor, cannot adapt to the times, then he could lose his seat as Speaker. We saw Eric Cantor, the majority leader in the House, lose his own primary in a spectacularly embarrassing fashion because he was not paying enough attention to his own district, and was in the pocket of corporate interests. John Boehner could very well be headed for the same scrap heap, as will McConnell and the others of their kind in D.C.

This primary is opening up a lot of eyes around the country. The party will need to decide whether or not they wish to adapt or perish.