The state of Louisiana is broke.
Like, no money anywhere to the point that it can't afford crawfish or money to augment the no-shirt-under-the-overalls movement that has become a statewide staple.
In fact, Louisiana's budget is so strapped — it faces a $940 million shortfall between now and June — that Thursday night Gov. John Bel Edwards said if the state doesn't explore a tax increase it could threaten every state department.
Yes, all of them — including higher education finances and even (gasp) LSU football.
"If you are a student attending one of these universities, it means that you will receive a grade of incomplete, many students will not be able to graduate, and student-athletes across the state at those schools will be ineligible to play next semester," Edwards told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "That means you can say farewell to college football next fall.
"These are not scare tactics. This is reality."
Talk about putting your money where your mouthpiece is.
Maybe someone should remind Ol' John Bel that LSU football actually made $14 million last year.
This screams of the overused political ploy of school cuts in the 4 B's — band, buses, books and ball — by the governor. (And this from a state that has spent billions of local and national funds to rebuild a city on the coastline that is under sea level.)
Full eyes, clear hearts
Valentine's Day is this weekend.
Guys, please be smart.
It is completely your right to despise this made-for-profit, trumped-up pseudo holiday. In fact, you are right to do so.
But know this: Just because you hate the Hallmark-induced facade that is Valentine's Day — ask yourself this: It has to be more than timing that the love holiday and the most famous massacre happened on the same date — doesn't mean your significant other feels the same way.
Here are three tips, and this comes from someone who has messed this up more than once:
First, handle whatever you are going to do no later than noon today. Valentine's Day is Sunday, and if you are peeling the box of chocolates out of the Walgreen's bag before church tomorrow, well, you are destined to fail.
Second, be very careful buying a gift with a plug. If she wants a fancy coffee-maker or juicer, well, walk carefully. And know that no one wants a vacuum cleaner or a toaster oven — no matter how much you may need one — on the day reserved for love. (The message there, of course, is "I love how you take care of the house." And that may be true, but again, not exactly a Hallmark message.)
Finally, no matter how much your significant other tells you they share your view of Valentine's Day being a fraud, they still want something on Valentine's Day.
Other big story coming up
The South Carolina primaries are coming up this month and the story lines are intriguing.
Where else but in 2016 presidential politics do we get the following?
* GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is now throwing immigration stones at the pope.
* Bernie Sanders is equal parts Saturday Night Live skit, workout routine slogan — "Feel the Bern" is downright clever — and socialist.
* Hillary Clinton would be a white-collar criminal if she was not in politics, but since she's in politics, sadly she's no worse than even money to be the next president.
* Ted Cruz, who looks a lot like a grown-up Eddie Munster, has been forced to apologize for hiring a soft-porn actress for his commercials.
* Jeb Bush is, well, he's still Jeb Bush.
* And somewhere lost in all of this madness is the fact that Marco Rubio is getting crucified for repeating an answer during a debate before a primary of voters roughly the size of the metro Nashville area.
Man, bring on the dancing bears. This presidential circus is crazy.
Big biking news
By goodness, we as a city are a mix between Alabama football and Ronald Reagan when it comes to online/magazine lists about outdoorsy stuff.
Bring it, Boulder. Whatcha' got, Albuquerque?
In news that falls somewhere between the VW emissions dilemma and whether or not your cousin Drew changed his socks Tuesday, the city of Chattanooga has been ranked among the best places for retired bicyclists to retire.
When's the parade? This is huge.
Maybe next we'll get a nod as the best place for retired folks to ride a motorized wheelchair through the Wal-Mart. (Well, let's hope not. The last thing we need is people campaigning for Rascal lanes downtown.)
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6273.