The Bulletin—May 8, 2013
The Bulletin compiles news from in and around the U.S. South. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding issues of importance to those living in and intellectually engaging with the U.S. South.
- Brood II, a billions-strong legion of cicadas, is expected to emerge later this summer and overrun the East Coast from North Carolina to Connecticut. Despite the scary name, this bug muster is no cause for alarm as magicicadas, the particular type of cyclical cicadas Brood II belongs to, have no mechanism for chewing (meaning they cannot bite you), instead sucking nutrients from plant sap. To attract female cicadas, the males of the species congregate in trees to form a deafening chorus that can reach up to 100 decibels—roughly as loud as a Ducati Monster 796. After a two-week shore leave in cities such as Washington, D.C. and New York City, the brood spawned by Brood II will tunnel underground and remain there for the next seventeen years. Then, Brood II will rise again.
- Last year, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana State Legislature instituted a voucher system that would give parents the choice to use money the state had allocated to pay for their child's public education to pay private school tuition. Tuesday, May 7, 2013, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that using this money outside the public school system is unconstitutional. Louisiana Justices also noted that the funding mechanism for the voucher system was not really valid anyway, since it only received fifty-one rather than the required fifty-three votes in the House and was filed late. It is unclear now where the money for the vouchers will come from, though the state committed to funding the private education of almost 8000 students through the voucher program just last week.
- Also on Tuesday, South Carolina's first congressional district voted to elect former Governor Mark Sanford to fill Congressman Tim Scott's seat in the House of Representatives. Last December, Governor Nikki Haley appointed Congressman Scott to replace Senator Jim DeMint's seat in the Senate after the former senator stepped down to serve as president of The Heritage Foundation. This left a vacant seat in the House. Former Congressman Sanford, despite causing a great scandal in 2009 by covering up a romantic affair in Argentina with a story about hiking the Appalachian Trail, ran against Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the Director of Business Development at Clemson University and, incidentally, sister of faux-Republican comedian Stephen Colbert. Although this district has not elected a Democrat to Congress since conservative Democrat Mendel Jackson Davis retired from office in 1981, the race was too close to call coming into election day. Congressman Sanford will be up for reelection in 2014.