R. Kyle Alagood

Gadfly. Writer. Activist. Transparency Advocate. Proud Former Food Stamp & Medicaid Kid. Believer in Barbara Jordan's America. TBD.

Image of Chelsea Manning Poster

Obama Must Pardon Manning and Snowden Before Trump Takes Office

President Obama should pardon Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden before President-elect Trump takes office and makes two internationally embarrassing situations worse. In a 2013 article for The National Law Journal, I argued that neither Manning nor Snowden was a hero, and both deserved prosecution. But times have changed, and the leakers deserve pardons before Trump is sworn in. Manning…

Continue Reading

Where Are The Bodies? A Modest Proposal To Use Visual Aids For Gun Reform

It is a melancholic object to news consumers that an epidemic of gun violence is sweeping the nation. Each day 297 people in the United States suffer from the ailment described by medical professionals as a “gunshot wound.” Around 30 percent of those afflicted by the condition, which tears human flesh and may penetrate internal organs, will…

Continue Reading

Sinking Money Into Sunken Wetlands

The Clean Water Act aims to restore and maintain the integrity of U.S. waters, which include wetlands — those land forms once referred to as swamps, bogs, prairie potholes, or some other negatively connoted term. Wetlands are ecologically and economically important. The federal regime for protecting them, however, has failed its pursuit of “no net…

Continue Reading

A Hard-to-Obstruct Supreme Court Nominee: Diane Humetewa FTW

The first female, Native American federal judge in U.S. history should become the first Native American justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. As Senate Republicans prepare to obstruct any nomination to the Supreme Court made by President Barack Obama, the White House is surely gearing up for a strategic nomination and epic battle for the future…

Continue Reading

The Paradox of Public Health Policy Making in an Epidemic

Public health policy operates in a democratic paradox. The police power exists to protect individuals from harms they cannot themselves fend off, but every restriction of individual freedom in the name of public health runs against constitutionally protected individual rights. Public health officials are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.   “Opening the…

Continue Reading

Open Freedom’s Door to Syria’s Fleeing Families

by Cristina Tisa Capello, Guest Writer I never knew true fear until I had children. Nothing can cripple me inside more than fear for the well being of my children—not even the thought of losing my wonderful husband, my parents, or my brother. Not even in 2004 when my Humvee made the first lurch on the convoy into Iraq…

Continue Reading

Eliminate This Useless Tax, Period

John Bel Edwards and David Vitter have made a cottage industry of complaining about taxes, tax credits, or both. The need to reevaluate tax credits for big businesses is perhaps the only issue common to both men’s campaigns. However, there is one important issue neither candidate will address: Why does Louisiana still tax women’s periods?…

Continue Reading

Searching for #Katrina10 at the Bush 43 Presidential Library

On the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum’s special exhibit was all about… wait for it… baseball! Looking back, it was ambitious (or naïve) of me to think the museum would commemorate Hurricane Katrina’s tenth anniversary. After all, history is still working out who’s to blame for the…

Continue Reading

The Survey Says: Not All LSU Law Students Happy

When students in the fall semester 2014 raised concerns with diversity and discrimination at the LSU Law Center, Chancellor Jack M. Weiss’s response was dilatory at best. Rather than tackle tough issues head on, the chancellor appointed a task force to study whether there was a problem at all. Behind the scenes, Weiss and his spin…

Continue Reading

The Weiss Files: To Hell With the Independent Newsroom

On July 2, 2015, LSU Law Center Dean and Chancellor Jack M. Weiss announced he would be stepping down the following month, citing “major policy differences” with faculty. Weiss’s press release deftly avoided mentioning the increasing pressure Weiss felt from faculty and students concerned with the school’s institutional commitment to diversity and minority student success. In the…

Continue Reading

The Faulk Files: Why You Can’t Believe Everything You Read

A series of events during October and early November 2014 jump-started an important, complex conversation on race, diversity, and student experiences at the Louisiana State University Law Center. The Faulk Files pertain to coverage of the diversity initiative in the November 2014 issue of The Civilian, a self-described “student publication for the LSU Law Center community.” For…

Continue Reading

The Malinowski Files: Skin Color, Genitals, and Diversity

After LSU Law Center students called for diversity policy reform in 2014, the school’s faculty and administration internally debated the merits of my October 2014 letter on race and discrimination the Law Center. One professor’s responses shed light on how the mere mention of diversity may spark division and defensiveness. “Have we really come to this—Is this where we…

Continue Reading

The Dire State of Louisiana LGBTs

In his officially unofficial quest for the Republican presidential nomination, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has positioned himself as an unwavering champion for liberty. Back in his home state, Jindal’s rhetoric has rung hollow, particularly for LGBT people. Just last month, Jindal took to The New York Times’ opinion page and vowed to succeed where he claims Republican governors…

Continue Reading

Secret Settlements, Hidden Dangers

Confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements have muzzled virtually every plaintiff in hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) suits, aided the Catholic Church’s alleged child molestation cover-ups, and helped shield manufacturers from public scrutiny of hundreds of deaths and injuries stemming from tire failures. Why then is secrecy virtually always a condition of settlement, and what can the legal system…

Continue Reading

LSU’s Possible ‘Bankruptcy’: The Bell Tolls for Louisiana Higher Education

The budget outlook for Louisiana State University is so dire that its main campus is drafting a financial exigency plan–the university equivalent of bankruptcy. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s current budget slashes statewide higher education funding by 82 percent. Speaking about LSU’s flagship campus in Baton Rouge, LSU president F. King Alexander said bankruptcy is “how we are going to…

Continue Reading

Reducing Mass Incarceration One Offender at a Time

Despite nearly every U.S. state having created a parole system, incarcerated offenders do not have a constitutional right to early release on parole, and parole hearings do not automatically invoke due process. The resultant discretion afforded to parole decision-makers, coupled with the administrative regime’s relaxed evidentiary standards, risks erroneous, vindictive, or politically motivated information tainting…

Continue Reading

Breaking the Code of Silence on Race in Law School

Editor’s Note: According to students present during the Black History Month celebration described below, the professor involved in the incident was LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack M. Weiss. The group of students described as “mostly black” was “all black.” As one student wrote me, “I think it is important to let people know that it wasn’t…

Continue Reading

Racial Diversity at LSU Law: Where’s the Beef?

Author’s Note: In mid-October 2014 the Louisiana State University Law Center announced it had selected seventeen legal practitioners from across the country to teach one-week intersession courses (called Apprenticeship Week) on a variety of practical subjects. The Law Center’s criteria for selecting the intersession faculty has not been made public; however, many students noted the practitioners chosen…

Continue Reading

Rule 76a: Could Texas Courts Solve the Secrecy-Science Dilemma in Fracking Disputes?

When a Texas family won their lawsuit against Aruba Petroleum in April [2014], anti-fracking activists hailed the victory as “landmark.” True, virtually every lawsuit alleging harms caused by fracking has settled, generally out-of-court and subjects to a confidentiality agreement that hushes all discussion of underlying claims, so any decision by a jury would have been the first of…

Continue Reading

Does “Tranny” Matter to a Slave?

While LGBT Internet activists and news sites cover the great “tranny” debate, news from Louisiana is that a trans woman was found on the side of the road last week after allegedly having been held in slavery for months. Police in rural Louisiana found the bruised, battered, and cut-up woman wandering near an interstate, attached to a heavy…

Continue Reading

Tea Party Rep. John Fleming Flip-Flopped on Abortion — And No One Noticed

 Dr. John Fleming, an anti-abortion Republican Congressman from Louisiana, flipped the script yesterday, coming out as an apparent advocate of some abortions — namely, safe ones. Dr. Fleming’s turnaround on one of his core platform issues — outlawing abortion — has gone largely overlooked. But it happened. Dr. Fleming apparently has changed his mind, with…

Continue Reading

Louisiana’s Culture at Stake in Anti-Abortion Bill

With one vote, Louisiana legislators will change Louisiana’s culture for years to come. House Bill 388 will determine whether Louisiana is a state that dictates the kind of medical care a person receives. It will decide whether we have become a state that favors the rich. And it could lay to rest that Kingfish notion…

Continue Reading

What It’s Like to be Gay In the State of Duck Dynasty (Hint: It’s Very, Very Bad)

Conservative, religious white people scare me. I live in a constant state of fear. I’m a law school student in Louisiana. Why? It’s cheap. It’s also where I grew up and where my family has lived for the past two centuries. The state is full of history, culture, food and nature. For the five years…

Continue Reading

Ensure NYC Public Safety: Override Bloomberg

The New York City Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation both pursue potential national security threats, but in many ways the two organizations are vastly different. The NYPD has more than 34,000 uniformed officers. The FBI has just under 36,000 total staff, secretaries and mailroom clerks included. It has fewer than half the number of agents as…

Continue Reading

Manning and Snowden: Wakeup Call on Overclassification

If there’s one lesson to learn from Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, it’s that America’s classification system is broken. Both cases raise legitimate questions about the ever-expanding cloak of government secrecy. Roughly 4.2 million people in America have security clearances, but nearly a third of them, like Snowden, are not even on the government’s payroll….

Continue Reading

1 2