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Library Chronicles

Paradise plastic. Cheap and fantastic.

Updated: 2017-01-23T15:07:11.737-06:00


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Lance Harris has a budget proposal for you to consider. His idea was to demonstrate that the Legislature doesn't need to go into special session this year in order to plug the, now perennial,  budget shortfall.  Except all he did, basically, was he opened up his spreadsheet and just made zeroes in columns until the budget balanced. What that would mean in practice is we're just gonna shut down the state and hang a "We're Closed" sign on the door.
Alexandria Rep. Lance Harris' plan would levy the deepest reduction of $147 million on the health department. Public colleges, the state's social services department and the veterans affairs agency would be protected from hits.

Cuts would fall on roadwork, state prisons, K-12 education, agriculture and the state tourism agency, among others. Louisiana wouldn't use its "rainy day" fund under the plan -- and it could be enacted without calling the full Legislature back to Baton Rouge.
Of course, it's unworkable. But for Harris and the Republicans in the legislature, that's hardly the point. The objective here is to lay groundwork so that they can can claim, when the Governor does call them into session next month, that they tried to get everybody out of having to go.

In other words, the Governor is going to be the Grinch Who Stole Mardi Gras from a lot of these legislators and they want to make sure he is seen as such.

Trump's... er... John Bel Edwards's America


We're gonna have a hard time fighting the fascists in Washington when we keep enabling the fascists in our own backyard.

The state's new "Blue Lives Matter" law is already being used here in Acadiana. In the last year, Louisiana became the first state to offer hate crime protections to police officers.

St. Martinville Police Chief Calder Hebert hopes the law will not only save lives, but make offenders think twice before resisting arrest.

"We don't need the general public being murdered for no reason and we don't need officers being murdered for no reason. We all need to just work together," said Hebert.

Hebert is very familiar with the new hate crime law, having already enforced it since it took effect in August.

"Resisting an officer or battery of a police officer was just that charge, simply. But now, Governor Edwards, in the legislation, made it a hate crime now," said Hebert.
We'd love to blame this on Trump but the "Blue Lives Matter" law was endorsed and signed by Governor Edwards last year.

You know.. South Louisiana law enforcement (including the Sheriff's Department overseen by Edwards's brother) has been under a  fair amount of scrutiny for serious abuses of its power and privilege. And now resisting them may constitute a "hate crime."  Heckuva job, guys.



This right here is exactly why Clinton Inc. is poisonous to Democrats.
“She understands that a forensic exam of the campaign is necessary, not only for her, but for the party and other electeds, and for the investors in the campaign,” said a close Hillary Clinton friend in Washington who, like several others, declined to speak on the record because their conversations with one or both Clintons were private. “People want to know that their investment was treated with respect, but that their mistakes wouldn’t be repeated."
The company is doing its due diligence. We are performing a forensic audit to determine why the company failed to hit its numbers. Above all we must ensure the shareholders remain confident. Not a word in this about how your political operation actually connects with people's needs and concerns.  It's the "investors" who matter. 

Have we unlocked the mysteries of space yet?


Came down with a horrid sinus infection over the weekend so I spent most of it laying in bed shivering in the dark. Which seems appropriate given the state of the world.  I was conscious long enough to catch the magnificent inaugural lecture from our esteemed honered (sic) President. Also I made it to one of the marches before I fell out entirely. I'll have pics and stuff later.

Meanwhile, we've got bigger problems closer to home.
A year ago, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration unveiled redesigned brake tags that prominently feature the expiration year, perhaps making it easier for police to spot drivers who don’t keep their tags current.

But officials then gave the city's diminished police force even more help when it comes to ticketing drivers for expired stickers: They quietly decided to let the city’s parking enforcement officers begin scanning parked cars for the violation.
We'll never get around to smashing the fascists in Washington if we can't keep them off our backs in our hometowns. 

Protest every day


No reason to stop now. Things are only gonna get worse.  Here they come to block grant Medicaid.

Keep em talking


Karen Carter Peterson will neither confirm nor deny rumors she is thinking about running for mayor.
Alford reported that Peterson is candidate for a vice chairmanship in the Democratic National Committee. As for a mayoral run, Peterson didn't say much about where she is in the decision-making process when contacted by | The Times-Picayune.

"Fair assessment of where things are," Peterson said in an email asking her about Alford's report.
Just keep the options open, the speculation running, and the donations coming. That's the game right now.  KCP and fellow potential mayor LaToya Cantrell are scheduled to speak at today's Women's March in Washington Square (as well they should be.) Also potential Council At Large candidate Helena Moreno will be there.

The Day of Re-Greatening is upon us


Plan accordingly.

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Here's a look at today's planned protests in New Orleans. At a glance, it looks like the first is for practitioners of smug performative virtue signaling while the second is for practitioners of self-righteous performative virtue signaling. I guess they're all my people in one stupid way or another so I'll have to get out and see for myself at some point.

We're never going to fix this



Clearing the way for everyone else to "teach the controversy" so to speak. But the temperature keeps rising and the ocean is coming to get us. As long as the friends and backers of Trump, Pruitt, Tillerson et al can continue to maximize profits in the meantime, then those men will have done their job. 

Doesn't anybody want this grift?


The city says it is a step nearer to shaking some money out of FEMA to restore the Municipal Auditorium. After that the task will be identifying which developer will be handed the public money in order to put the building "back into commerce" as, probably, some sort of for profit operation. We expect this is what will happen, anyway. Mostly becasue of how defensively insistent they are that it will not.
As a result, Grant said the city will hire a consultant to perform a market analysis that can be used to form a redevelopment plan. The plan is to then hold a competitive bid process with a developer who could use the FEMA money to restore the venue in a way that would make it a viable venue for events.

Asked whether it's possible that a developer could use the building for a non-public use, Grant said the city would do anything it could to avoid a situation like that.

"We'd have to be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt" that the building couldn't be put to public use again, Grant said. He added that people who used the building in the past "are absolutely adamant that it be for the public use."
Ok well we'll check back on this once they have the money. Let's just hope the auditor who wants to take our street repair funding back doesn't get involved.

Give us Barabbas


I don't mean to diminish this. Commuting Chelsea Manning's sentence is well and good and long overdue.  But from the President who led a vicious and unprecedented "war on whistleblowers," it doesn't make a lot of sense. There must be something else going on here but it's beyond my pay grade to parse out what it might be.

Maybe it's as simple as throwing a bone out so they don't have to pardon Snowden. The White House's statement today attempted to draw a pointed contrast between the two.
Asked about the two clemency applications on Friday, the White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, discussed the “pretty stark difference” between Ms. Manning’s case for mercy with Mr. Snowden’s. While their offenses were similar, he said, there were “some important differences.”

“Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,” he said. “Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.”
Ha ha, okay she said she's sorry.  That plus 7 years locked away in a dungeon and in and out of solitary confinement is all they wanted. A lot has been written about Manning's mental condidtion at the time of the leak. But putting aside questions of rationality, it's and act of remarkable bravery to have taken on something like this. Frankly, they should giver her Joe Biden's medal.

Notice also the other part of that statement reiterates and conflates Snowden's actions with the separate question of Russia's supposed "hacking" of the Presidential election.  It's a disturbing insinuation and is much more in line with the Obama Adminstration's dangerous and draconian hostility to government transparency, especially where it regards illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens.   After all, they wouldn't want anything getting out that might "undermine confidence in our democracy."

Update:  Like I said, this is beyond my pay grade.  Folks on the parallel internet point out the obvious, though. 

Wikileaks said its founder Julian Assange “will agree to U.S. extradition” if President Barack Obama commutes whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s jail sentence.

Gotta win that Bama game every once in a while


Coach O's number one job this year. Otherwise, the tanking could happen fast.
Southern Lab linebacker Chris Allen and Alabama commitment confirmed what Tiger fans suspected when he was asked Tuesday morning about why Louisiana football prospects are so drawn to play for the Crimson Tide.

"Mainly because, probably, every year ... they're beating LSU. And they're winning national championships," Allen said on the Culotta & The Fan show on 104.5/104.9 ESPN-FM in Baton Rouge.

The charter school con


There are multiple reasons people have gotten on board with "school reform" over the years. Most of them are bad. For many it is an end run around integration. For others it is an ideological experiment with "market princilples." For others, still, it is a desire to use public institutions as a vehicle for promoting and enforcing  their religious practices.   For Donald Trump's incoming Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos it is a little bit of all three.
DeVos is married to Amway scion Dick DeVos (whose father, Richard DeVos, is worth more than $5 billion, according to Forbes) and is seen as a controversial choice due to her track record of supporting vouchers for private, religious schools; right-wing Christian groups like the Foundation for Traditional Values, which has pushed to soften the separation of church and state; and organizations like Michigan's Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which has championed the privatization of the education system.
This week, Bobby Jindal praised Trump's choice of DeVos  calling her, "the breath of fresh air we needed."

Beyond the larger politics of it, the internal impetus behind the charter movement is economic.  Its implementation has meant a direct transfer of income away from teachers and toward administrators.
That's according to a report the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans released Tuesday (Jan. 17) that's sure to make waves.

New Orleans public schools now spend $1,358 more per student than a 17-district comparison group. But they spend $706 per student less on instruction, including teacher salaries and benefits

There are more administrators, and they typically earn higher salaries than they would have without the reforms," authors Christian Buerger and Doug Harris write.
New Orleanians apprehensive about the coming vicissitudes of Trump's America at least have the advantage of familiarity as they are already living a lot of it.

The Stah-mi-nah


Every now and then we get the impression that Susan Guidry is done with politics. At one point there was talk that she wasn't interested in running for reelection. She did, though, and easily won her second term.  Maybe that contributed to my impression that she was done after this one was up but, well, here she is.
New Orleans City Councilwoman Susan Guidry, who is term-limited in her District A seat, is considering a run for one of the council’s two At-Large seats this fall, and two attorneys from Uptown and Lakeview are planning to run for the seat she will vacate.
Like all councilmembers, Guidry has made some bad decisions in office. But she is very far from the worst of this lot. She made a good effort to make the recent Short Term Rental deal less bad. Unfortunately her proposal to tie STRs to homestead exemptions failed, but it's something voters should remember if she runs citywide.

More recently, she did this which is a big deal
NEW ORLEANS -- After a tie vote in September, the City Council unanimously approved a bail reform ordinance Thursday during a city council meeting.

The ordinance would allow people who've been arrested for relatively minor, non-violent offenses to be released without posting bail on a promise to appear in court. The reform applies to municipal and traffic courts.

Introduced by Councilmember Susan Guidry in September, the ordinance was developed to address the concern among various legal and civil rights groups that the existing bail system for minor offenses unfairly punishes poor defendants.
With idiots like Leon Cannizzaro and Jeff Landry deliberately trying to ruin people's lives for the sake of their own political advancement, it might be good to that Guidry is thinking about sticking around.

Mary Landrieu loves pipelines


This week an "extremely large number" of protesters gathered at a public hearing in Baton Rouge to speak against Energy Transfer Partners' proposed Bayou Bridge pipeline across the Atchafalalya basin. This pipeline would form the ass end of ETP's infrastructure associated with the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline you may have heard about.  The Bayou Bridge Pipeline would form the tail end of the now infamous Dakota Access route. The Dakota Access Pipeline would carry crude oil from the North Dakota oilfields to an oil tank farm in Illinois, where it would then be transported to Nederland, Texas. A newly completed pipeline connects Nederland to Lake Charles, Louisiana.The Bayou Bridge Pipeline would carry 480,000 barrels of oil per day a final 162 miles across the state to refineries and ports, through eight watersheds and long stretches of fragile wetlands.Climate change activists, indigenous residents, crawfishermen, rice farmers, health care professionals, conservationists, and Louisianans who live along the proposed route all showed up to protest the pipeline’s construction. The hearing lasted five and a half hours, as speaker after speaker weighed in on how the pipeline would affect them.Speaking on behalf of the ETP was career oil stooge Mary Landrieu.   The Bayou Bridge builders argue pipelines are the safest way to transport crude oil that would otherwise use less efficient trains or trucks to get to refineries. Former Democratic senator-turned-energy lobbyist Mary Landrieu was among the proponents of this argument at Thursday’s hearing.“I would be testifying for this pipeline [even] if I did not work for them,” she said, amid boos and jeers from the audience.But past pipelines have proven to be less airtight than the industry claims.A new report by the Bucket Brigade found that there were 144 oil and gas pipeline accidents in 2016. Many of these accidents were caused by corrosion or ruptures in the pipe, prompting the advocacy group to conclude the existing pipelines are in “deplorable condition.”Even if she did not work for ETP Mary would have just gone there and talked about the pipeline. It's a personal passion of hers, apparently.  [...]

All they care about is tax cuts for rich people


I've been reading a lot the past week about "moderate" Republicans  (among the moderates in that article, hilariously, are Bill Cassidy and Rob Portman) getting ready to rescue Obamacare... or at least "the good parts" of it... at the last minute. 

That's not gonna happen. Republicans only care about tax cuts for rich people.  Repealing Obamacare is, basically, a huge tax cut for rich people. Of course, they're going to repeal it. No need to worry about what comes next.

None of these guys has his own one word billboard yet


By that measure, at least, they've got a ways to go before they're ready to replace The Toya. If that is what they want. All three of them certainly sound interested in this article.
When City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell recently announced that she was mulling a run for mayor of New Orleans this fall, she also set in motion consideration of who might succeed her in the District B seat — and so far, the possible field includes former School Board member Seth Bloom, Zulu king Jay Banks and economic development expert Eric Anthony Johnson.
Read the rest of that if you want to see their opening pitches. Short version: Bloom thinks "tough on crime" talk isn't the best way to fight crime, Banks is worried about gentrification, Johnson spits out a word salad about "bringing community groups together to create a forward-thinking progress agenda blah blah blah zzzzzz." Oh and he says inequality is bad. So there.

Also Seth Bloom sent his constituents a "Happy New Year" post card this month. So we know he's thinking about us. We'll know more about all of this after Cantrell officially announces for Mayor.

Un-fix my streets


I know at least one federal auditor who is not interested in getting purged by Trump.
A draft audit by a federal inspector general recommends taking back most of the $2 billion for repairs to streets and underground pipes that the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded to New Orleans in a global settlement for damage related to Hurricane Katrina.

The award was meant to pay for harm done to the city’s streets and other infrastructure by the flooding caused by 2005’s levee breaches. But the audit — first reported Friday by — says there’s little evidence that the poor condition of streets and pipes around the city is attributable to the floodwaters.

“We found strong documentary and other evidence that New Orleans’ sewer and water systems were in very poor condition before the hurricanes due to years of deferred maintenance,” the audit says in part. It does not allege any misspending by the city.
God forbid we spend one cent more helping cities rebuild their infrastructure than we have to.  At least not until we make sure the right people's friends have a piece of the graft
Trump wants to “invest” $1 trillion in fixing and building roads, bridges, water pipes, and other infrastructure. But by “invest” he means using massive tax breaks to convince private investors to spend the money.

As Michelle Chen at The Nation writes, “The goal isn’t fixing bridges so much as fixing the corporate tax codes to promote privatization and unregulated construction with virtually no public input.”