The Jim Engster Show

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Jan Moller, the Director of the Louisiana Budget Project, joins guest-host Bob Mann in studio today to discuss Louisiana's surplus money. Governor Bobby Jindal's administration says we have a $178.5 million surplus, but others are saying different. Jan and Bob discuss this, as well as the money in the reserve fund for the Office of Group Benefits which Jan says the Jindal Administration "blew through", and what that means for state employees.

Louisiana blogger at Lamar White, Jr. is with us for the last half of the show today to discuss Texas and Louisiana Politics. They start by discussing a controversial TV ad running in Texas by the Wendy Davis campaign that accuses opponent Greg Abbott of not supporting the disabled. Bob and Lamar also touch on the recent Senate debate on Tuesday night, the status of the 6th Congressional District race, how the Louisiana campaigns are doing thus far, and more.

Tonight is the Opening Night for the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor Timothy Muffitt joins us in studio with violinist Yevgeny Kutik. Tim starts his sixteenth year as Conductor for the BRSO, and he's invited the twenty-nine year old Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik to join the orchestra tonight in helping the BRSO kick-off the 2014-2015 season.

Also, Libertarian attorney Mike Wolf joins us today to discuss medicinal marijuana, and the recently announced approval of it's usage by Republican Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy. But, with a guest like Mike, the topic expands from medicinal marijuana to ebola hazardous waste dumping in Louisiana, strip clubs, "lying politicians", plagiarism, and back again to medicinal marijuana. 

Shreveport hosted the first televised Senate debate featuring all three candidates last night, and today we discuss what happened and how the candidates did. Trey Ourso, the former Executive Director of the Louisiana Democratic Party and Scott Wilfong, well-known Louisiana GOP pundit, both join us to examine the issues covered in last night's debate and discuss how the candidates are looking as we approach November 4th.

And, this Saturday in Death Valley the LSU Fighting Tigers take on the University of Kentucky Wildcats: two university's which happen to be leading the charge in pushing for smoke-free campuses in SEC schools. LSU's Dr. Judith Sylvester and Kentucky's Dr. Ellen Hahn are two figures spearheading the smoke-free campus movement, and they join us today to discuss what their respective university's have been able to accomplish thus far.   

Amanda Brunson is the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana, and she's with us today to discuss the recent national attention surrounding the sexual misconduct allegations involving two female Destrahan high school teachers and a male student. Amanda talks about what steps parents can take to help prevent this from happening to their child, and she also discusses misconceptions people can have about the role of gender in cases of sexual abuse.

Also, Beth Brewster the Executive Director of the Companion Animal Alliance of Baton Rouge joins us briefly to discuss the Louisiana Mega Match-a-thon Adoption Event on October 18th from 10:00am-5:00pm at the Companion Animal Alliance center. For more information about the event, visit:

Jarrod Coniglio, the Deputy Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Revenue joins us to discuss the upcoming Tax Amnesty program which begins October 15th. He tells about how delinquent tax payers, tax payers who failed to report all income, and certain tax payers under audit are eligible to participate in the amnesty program. For more information about the Tax Amnesty program, visit:

And, political consultant and frequent guest Roy Fletcher closes out today's show with Jim to discuss the recent updates on U.S. Sen. John McCain campaigning for U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, as Cassidy continues forward with his bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Author and activist John Barry is our first guest today, and he joins us to discuss his continued fight to protect Louisiana's coastal wetlands and hold those accountable whom he feels are aiding in its depletion. As a former member of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East, John is spearheading the lawsuit against the Oil & Gas Industry for not upholding the law and for violating the permits granted to them. According to the permits, the Oil & Gas Industry was required to pay for any damages that they may have caused, and according to studies they are responsible for 36% of coastal damage done to Louisiana's coastline which they have yet to pay for. John and the lawsuit were mentioned in a recent New York Times Magazine article


Also, longtime U.S. Representative from Georgia and veteran Civil Rights activist John Lewis joins us along with his co-author Andrew Aydin to discuss and promote their graphic novel  March: Book One. The graphic novel tells the first-hand account of John's lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, and includes detailed drawings by illustrator Nate Powell. Rep. Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin will be on campus at LSU October 21st for a book signing and presentation entitled "March with Congressman John Lewis" at the LSU Student Union.

Political consultant, commentator, and author Dick Morris joins us today for the better part of the first two segments to talk politics with Jim. Dick discusses his worries that President Obama is trying to turn America into a one-party country that favors the "left" by illegally taking power from the Courts and Congress. His new book he co-wrote with wife Eileen McGann, Power Grab: Obama's Dangerous Plan for a One Party Nation addresses these worries and others. 

Also, Deana Martin, daughter of the famous singer and Rat Pack member Dean Martin, joins us for the second half of today's show to discuss her own career as a singer and her upcoming performance in Baton Rouge. She and Jim discuss how her fathers career and her childhood growing up around guys like "Uncle Frank" shaped her life and helped her decide upon a career in show business as a singer. Deana also discusses her recent book Memories are Made of This: Dean Martin Through His Daughter's Eyes.

And Heather Kleinpeter is with us for the last few minutes to discuss her upcoming event "Bust Breast Cancer." The event is an art and fashion show fundraiser this Sunday from 6pm-9pm at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge for the Woman's Hospital Outreach Program. For more info, visit

Louisiana State Representative Edward "Ted" James joins us in studio this morning to discuss and rebut some of the remarks made by Senator Elbert Guillory on yesterday's show. Ted defends U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's support of not only the black community but all communities of Louisiana, and he refers to Guillory's political ad against Landrieu as a slap in the black community's face. Furthermore, Ted turns the tables and begins to ask where Senator Guillory has been lately for the community he serves. 

Also, local attorney Cassie Felder joins us in studio to announce that she is withdrawing her candidacy for Congress to represent Louisiana's sixth district, and announce instead her full support for State Senator Dan Claitor. Cassie cites her lack of experience in fundraising as a key reason for her withdrawal from the race, saying simply that she could not afford to compete for local television ad space.

Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory is our first guest today, and Elbert has been in the news recently for a number of reasons. He first made waves when he switched parties from the Democrats to the Republicans about a year ago, and last week he was back in the news again for his political attack ad against U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. Elbert discusses this, his bid for Lieutenant Governor, and fields a number of questions from callers on today's show.

Composer Augusta Read Thomas is our second guest today and she joins us to discuss her upcoming appearance at LSU. She will be on campus October 13th & 14th to give a lecture on the composition of classical music, meet with students, and then join the LSU Wind Ensemble to perform her music.

Also, author Mike Kelly closes out the show with us today to promote his latest book The Bus on Jaffa Road​, and he discusses with Jim the real events which took place in Jerusalem on February 25, 1996 which inspired Kelly to write his book. The Bus on Jaffa Road takes readers through the streets of Jerusalem on that day in February when two buses were attacked by Hamas suicide bombers, then follows the victim's families all the way back to Washington where they filed lawsuits against Iran for the attacks. Kelly even takes readers all the way back to the man who created the bombs himself.

Bob Mann, the LSU Manship Chair in Journalism at the Manship School of Mass Communications and former Press Secretary for Governor Kathleen Blanco joins us in studio as our lead off guest on today's show. He and Jim discuss how Louisiana's growing conservativism and President Obama's approval rating could have an impact on helping U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy win the upcoming Senate election; and, how Cassidy's reluctance to debate could help U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's chances at winning a fourth term in the Senate. They discuss this, and much, much more.

Also, journalist and author Allen Salkin is with us today to discuss his latest book From Scratch: The Uncensored History of the Food Network. Allen's book tells us the story of how The Food Network went from a long shot idea to a cable network staple shown over 100 million American homes a year with profits into the upper billions. Paula Dean, Rachel Ray, Emeril Lagasse, Anthony Bourdain are among the many stars associated with The Food Network, and Allen's book cover's their stories and more.

Former Gretna, La., Mayor and current Executive Director of the Louisiana Municipal Association Ronnie Harris joins Jim in studio as our leadoff guest for today's show. Two amendments are on the upcoming November 4th ballot (Amendments III & X) that deal with property blight, the rights of property owners and the collection of property taxes; and Ronnie is in studio to discuss LMA's support of the passage of these amendments.

Also, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author Rick Bragg joins the show to promote and discuss his biography Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story. Jerry Lee Lewis was at the forefront of Rock and Roll in the late 1950's, and Rick tells us how Jerry lived a rockstar lifestyle filled with drugs, alcohol, and crashing his Lincoln into the gates of Graceland. Rick also talks about Jerry's marraige to his 13 year old cousin, his relation to Jimmy Swaggart, and how Jerry always coveted Elvis's title of "The King of Rock and Roll."