Misti, Marli, Rindy, and I went for sushi the other night at a new place that opened in town. It's the best, by the way, but my opinion may be flawed as some family members work there. =)
Anyway, I ordered the city maki, which is shrimp tempura and crab meat, topped with some spicy salsa. Because I don't eat the raw stuff. I can't. I even tried a Philly roll with smoked salmon, and I couldn't even eat it.
The city maki is my FAVORITE. I ordered it the first time we went and swore it had some magical elements because it was so delicious (note: not as good as hubby's). I scarfed it down. Marli, who was visiting, also ordered the city maki because I told her it was the best on the menu (and I know that from only sampling three types, haha). As our order came, I started eating, enjoying the spicy flavors from the sushi, but having to wipe some of the salsa off the rolls because they were too big to fit in my mouth.
"The pieces are just too big with the salsa on top," I explained to Marli.
Misti's eyes widened as she looked at me. "Salsa?" she repeated. "What salsa?"
I pointed to the bright red salsa on top of the rolls. "This salsa!"
She died out laughing. "That's not salsa!" she exclaimed. "That's raw tuna!"
I could have gone my entire life without knowing this and been just fine.
I was shocked. "Are you SERIOUS?" I demanded, leaning forward, unable to mentally process that I had eaten -- and thoroughly enjoyed -- raw meat, and more than once.
"You're a real sushi eater now," Misti replied, grinning.
And it is delicious. I can't deny that. But it was a little hard to eat those last few pieces, good though they were.
Okay, now down to business, and this is mainly for my Louisiana readers. Have you heard about the tax cuts to higher education? It's scary -- especially for me, who is facing furloughs!!
All kidding aside (okay, the furloughs are serious, but I'll take that over laying people off), here's what we're looking at, people:
Higher education usually gets cut first because only 19 perecent of Louisianians have a bachelor's degree or higher. This is a sad statistic but one that will not change if we start cutting programs.
My university is facing about a 15 percent cut -- on top of a 4 percent cut that was issued midyear. That's about $11 million total.
Now that's a chunk of change.
The two biggest universities in north Louisiana (my own included) return $8 for every $1 the government gives them. Now, I'm not good at math, but that's a HUGE amount when they're talking about cutting our budget by $11 million. My university alone spends $462 million in Louisiana alone. What's going to happen when our budget is cut 15 percent?
These are hard times, but things must change. Even the lawmakers agree with this. Louisiana is the state with the highest amount of people leaving -- and the fewest moving in. We have to stop this, and higher education is one of the ways to retain individuals.
My desire is this: Please call your state senator and representative (you can find them by clicking here) and tell them that higher education is vital to our economy, and if we want to retain people in our state, we must preserve our universities and colleges. Cutting their funding is only going to hurt us. They know this, but I feel if more people call, more action will be taken.
There is a chance that our budget cuts could be reduced in this Legislative session, and that's what I'm desperately hoping for. While our university president, who's absolutely brilliant, managed to retain the core for our academic programs and faculty retention, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the brightest students may choose to attend a college in Texas (who is not facing budget cuts) over our own research university, which is strapped for cash.
Why would you want to do this, Louisianians? I have several reasons:
1. Our future. Most of you reading this are parents. Don't you want to preserve the institutions your child(ren) could attend (and probably will -- out of state tuition is a killer!)?
2. Better economy. Recent economic studies have shown that my university and another one in north Louisiana give back about $8 to the community for every $1 that the government gives to them. This creates jobs, increases sales revenues, and brings people to Louisiana.
3. Cultural aspect. Okay, maybe you live in a big city, where there are more cultural options, but for me, my university is basically it. We have international festivals, plays, world-famous musicians and speakers...the list goes on and on. And I could not get that without the university.
4. Athletics. Come on, even for a non-sports fan like myself, where else can you watch a football game for under $20 (and free if you have an old student ID, haha!)? If our athletics programs are cut, recruiting goes down, and our teams go down. It's a domino effect -- one that needs to be stopped!
And there are more. So if you are from Louisiana, I implore you to call your reps. It takes like two minutes, and for every call they receive, they estimate 200 other people feel the same way.
Thank you so much!