31 January 2011

BP Oil Disaster Gets Worse

This story won't die. Oil from the Deepwater platform is still spewing, although at a much reduced rate, and oil that the toxic dispersant Corexit sank to the seabed is bubbling up again off the coast of Louisiana. The Corexit itself did not quickly break down and so killed any creatures that encountered it in the Gulf.

But now it turns out that BP introduced Genetically Modified oil-eating bacteria to the Gulf. This GM bacteria eats oil at twice the rate of natural oil-eating bacteria, but since its introduction it has been reproducing and mutating into bacteria about which we know nothing. Scientists are concerned

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission

The President of The Institute for Legal Reform, a group formed to protect corporations from being sued is not amused. The Congressional Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has released its final report. They also posted all of their investigative documents online.:

Lawyers for companies at the center of the crisis have wondered what might become of the documents, given that, as The National Law Journal reported in August, they had been internal to the companies and could be of interest to the plaintiffs’ bar.
Many of those companies have already been battling proposed securities class actions.The archive appears on the Web site of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and hundreds of documents are already up, including testimony and court filings.
 Phil Angelides, the commission’s chairman and a former California state treasurer, said the commission would be posting more, including “research and investigative documents, audio and transcripts.”
Lisa Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, criticized that plan. “The commission’s final report and its pledge to post raw materials — apparently including information obtained from companies as well as other government agencies — is an astounding abuse of process that would effectively create a government-sanctioned Wikileaks,” Rickard said in a formal statement today.

27 January 2011

Jindal's Latest Volley in His War on Louisiana

Last Septembre, Gov. Jindal declined to apply for $300 million from the US to build a high speed light rail line from New Orleans to Baton Rouge because it would cost $18 million a year to operate. He wants to build more highways to carry more cars and trucks.

But now he has rejected stimulus money that would help the state pay for people's medical bills. He claims, through Sect Alan Levine of the Department of Health and Hospitals, that the "funding would create long-term financial obligation to the state and create obligations difficult for the state to meet in years to come."

You see, the Gov doesn't want to help the poor and middle class, he just wants to cut taxes for the rich. Why else get rid of the increased income tax on the rich under the Stelly Plan?

Oh, he could get rid of the sales tax cuts on food and medicines caused by the Stelly Plan, but then he would soil his reputation of cutting, not raising, taxes. That would not sit well with Neo-Cons and the Tea Party.

22 January 2011

JP Morgan profits from Our Misery

For those of you not following the Big Banks and their antics:

JPM also profits off Child Care debit cards in 15 states and Unemployment debit cards in 7 states.
But it is even better, JPM outsources its Help Center to India! JPM just admitted wrongly foreclosing on 14 active Military family homes and overcharging thousands of other military families on their mortgages.
Remember that JPM was one of the primary banks in the "robo-signing" foreclosure disaster.

21 January 2011

Steve Scalise Lies with the Republicans

I got this email from Rep Scalise on the 20th:
Reform starts with repeal
On Wednesday the House voted overwhelmingly to repeal President Obama's health care law and sent it to the Senate.  The health care law that passed last year rations care, raises health care costs for families, and will actually push thousands of doctors out of the practice of medicine. in addition, when you remove all their budget gimmicks, the health care law adds more than $700 billion to the national debt. With the exception of liberals in Congress, only an Enron accountant would suggest that Obamacare will actually reduce the deficit.

This job-killing law is not reform. We need to start over by repealing this law and replacing it with real reform.  My colleagues on the other side of the aisle like to say that there are good things contained in Obamacare.  When this law was moving through Committee, I cosponsored an Amendment that would require all Members of Congress to join the government run healthcare option. Our amendment did not pass, and every single Member who voted for this law also voted to exempt themselves from it. Clearly if someone is not willing to put their money where their mouth is and vote to join that plan themselves, then they should not be so eager to force that upon American families.

This is utter hogwash. 
Anyone who has been paying just a little attention knows he is lying. Why do I keep hearing this crap about Scalise being a great guy, one of the most amiable and smartest Repubs in the House? He is working to hurt ordinary (not Rich) Americans and is willing to lie to do it. This is more than a farce, it is a misuse of office and it is hurtful and deceitful. 

15 January 2011

Jindal's Plans

I just found this courtesy of jindalwatch.com/wheresbobby/ I consider Jeff Crouere a phony pundit and a fairly brain-dead Neo-Con but he got this right:

After spending the past few months fundraising and campaigning for out of state Republican candidates, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal began a jammed packed eight day book tour today. This morning, the Governor was interviewed on the Today show and Fox and Friends. He is also being featured on Fox News as one of the top 12 GOP presidential prospects for 2012. He will soon jet to California for meetings and fundraisers and then travel back across the country to Washington D.C. for more book promotion. He finally arrives back in Baton Rouge next Tuesday. In a poll on www.TheDeadPelican.com  67 percent of respondents believe that all of this travel is purely for self promotion that solely benefits the Governor.
 All of this publicity will help Governor Jindal sell copies of his book, “Leadership and Crisis,” make plenty of money and raise his profile nationally. However, while he is busy travelingand promoting, Chad Rogers, publisher of the Dead Pelican, and many others are asking a very simple question, “Who is running Louisiana?”
 I guess the state is just running itself. So, if a Governor is not needed, maybe we can save the salary and let the Lt. Governortake the job. From the minute he was elected GovernorBobby Jindal has been consumed by an overwhelming desire for the national spotlight. In recent months, his national ambitions have reached an obscene level. During the fall campaign, he traveled all across the country, raising money, collecting political favors and helping various GOP candidates. Curiously, he refused to endorse any Louisiana candidates and neglected our state’s severe problems.
I think Jindal is destroying Public Health, Public Schools, Public Transportation, and fighting Social Security so he can cut taxes. The only reason to do this is to put it on display as being "Fiscally Responsible" to the Republican Party, the NRC, for a reach for some national office. It is clear that Bobby will have to hightail it out of the Bayou state pretty soon because his vultures will come home to roost and things will get very ugly here and for him. 

The only reason he is running for reelection is that LA has an off-year election for the Governor, so he won't have a shot for a National spot until next year. 
I don't think Fox would hire him, as they did hire Palin, as a pundit, so he'll need a job until that National offer comes.

14 January 2011

National Oil Spill Commission Report

The report is finally in and it isn't good for Jindal

They accuse him of showboating and wasting resources on building the useless berms. As early as July 2010, scientists were calling on the Gov. to end the berm project. Of course, his popularity remains high in the state but I see it falling badly before the election. Going after LSU, public schools and teachers will backfire.

His new idea is to get businesses to partner with Charter Schools so they can tailor the instruction to ensure a stream of new workers.

This is a very bad idea. It would turn public schools into factories, each one with a different curriculum and no standard degree program. It would also help Jindal to fight teachers by destroying tenure. So education would spiral down and would most likely make a college education not an option, certainly not a Liberal Arts education.

13 January 2011

Dept of H&HS Lowers Fluoride Level in Drinking Water

Today the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) published their recommendation for lowering the level of fluoride to 0.7 parts-per-million for all public drinking water that is artificially fluoridated.  Their proposal appeared in the Federal Register and is available at

Public comments on the recommendation can be submitted by email on or before February 14 to CWFcomments@cdc.gov
· 0.7 ppm is too high. It neither protects teeth from dental fluorosis, the stated reason for the lowering, nor does it protect the baby's developing brain, an issue not even mentioned in today's announcement.

· An infant who receives formula reconstituted with fluoridated tap water at this new level (0.7 ppm), will receive approximately 175 times more fluoride than a breast-fed infant. These infants are not being protected with this new level.
  Doubt that fluoride is toxic, doesn't protect teeth and actually damages them? Read 50 Reasons to Oppose Fluoride

11 January 2011

Jindal's War on Louisiana

No word on mental health, but as I posted a month or so ago, closing access to mental health will have severe repercussions and look what happened last Saturday in Arizona.
The Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals’ Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Unit provides these facts about Louisiana on their website:
  • Approximately 208,000 adults or seven percent of adults in Louisiana have been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • African Americans have the highest prevalence of diabetes, with a nine percent diagnosis rate, compared to five percent of Hispanics and six percent of the white population.
  • Over 20% of adults currently do not have health insurance of any kind, including Medicaid or Medicare.
  • Nearly one out of four adults is obese.
  • Louisiana has the fourth highest cardiovascular death rate in the nation.
  • One in four adults in Louisiana are current smokers.
  • One in four Louisiana children have tried cigarettes by the 6th grade.
  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Louisiana, accounting for almost 40 percent of all deaths in the state.

Sidney Bechet's House is Gone

With so much news in the past 4 days, I almost missed this piece in the T-P. It is great that Da Mayor is working on our blighted neighborhoods, but really! Sidney Bechet's house couldn't be saved? And the city is about to demolish The Outer Banks Bar, Dixie Brewery and Das Deutsche Haus (I know, there is a plan to move it, but that is not definite yet). New Orleans used to be the city that care forgot, but since Katrina and the Federal Flood, we can't be the city that forgot to care. These places need to preserved and celebrated. Especially the homes of people that created America's music, Jazz.

10 January 2011

Don't fear the Reaper

What is with these girlie men Congressmen announcing they will now go in public packing heat? There were several people at Gifford's event who were carrying weapons and none of them could prevent 20 people being shot.
And if our elected officials are going to carrying weapons, shouldn't we? Come on, step it up a notch!

Huey Long

Something you need to remember: Huey Long, a man who was not a progressive, not a liberal, he actually did good stuff for Louisiana. Was he corrupt? Sure, but balance his corruption with what he did for the state, think highways, Charity Hospital, LSU; you have to give the man his due, and compare him to Jindal, Huckabee and that stupid man in Mississippi.
I am not for corruption, I would like to see it gone, but Huey did more for Louisiana, more than any other politician in our time.

09 January 2011

I used to read the Daily Howler on a regular basis, but not so much in the last 5 years. Here is an example of what turned me off:

What’s it like to teach Huckleberry Finn in public schools these days? More specifically, how do teen-age public school students respond to all those N-words? What happens when this usage is confronted in all-black schools? In all-white schools? In schools where a few black kids may be found among a white majority? Does this create a problem for students—for black kids, let’s say? It doesn’t seem to occur to most journalists to wonder or to care. After all, these overseers possess a magic solution:
KAKUTANI: Haven’t we learned by now that removing books from the curriculum just deprives children of exposure to classic works of literature? Worse, it relieves teachers of the fundamental responsibility of putting such books in context—of helping students understand that “Huckleberry Finn” actually stands as a powerful indictment of slavery (with Nigger Jim its most noble character), of using its contested language as an opportunity to explore the painful complexities of race relations in this country. To censor or redact books on school reading lists is a form of denial: shutting the door on harsh historical realities—whitewashing them or pretending they do not exist.
It sounds so easy when Ole Massa says it! That said, that is a very strange construction. Kakutani is concerned that children are being deprived of exposure to a classic work. But she’s more upset by something else. To her, it’s even “worse” to think that teachers are being relieved of a fundamental responsibility!
Good lord, but that’s a strange reaction! It’s bad that the kids don’t read the book. It’s even worse that those lazy proles are getting away with a fast one!

Some people are just good


My friend Ronnie Boudreaux sent me interesting things now and then. This is the latest:

In 1923, who was: 
1. President of the largest steel company? 
2. President of the largest gas company? 
3. President of the New York Stock Exchange? 
4. Greatest wheat speculator? 
5. President of the Bank of International Settlement? 
6. Great Bear of Wall Street? 

These men were considered some of the world's most successful of their days. Now, 80 years later, the history books don't reflect what ultimately became of them. 

The Answers: 

1. The president of the largest steel company: Charles Schwab, died a pauper. 
2. The president of the largest gas company: Edward Hobson, went insane. 
3. The president of the NYSE: Richard Whitney, was released from prison to die at home. 
4. The greatest wheat speculator: Arthur Cooger,  died abroad, penniless. 
5. The president of the Bank of International Settlement:  shot himself. 
6. The Great Bear of Wall Street: Cosabee Livermore, also committed suicide. 

However, in that same year, 1923, the  PGA Champion
the winner of the most important golf tournament, 
 the US Open,
 was Gene Sarazen. 

What became of him? 

He played golf until he was 92, died in 1999 at the age of 95.
 He was financially secure at the time of his death. 

The Moral of the story: 

Screw work.  Play golf 

07 January 2011

Huck Finn

This story is old but there is nothing new about rewriting important works. Thomas Bowlder rewrote Shakespeare and Gibbons to make their writing more acceptable to the Victorian society of Britain. Apparently, American society is more delicate.

06 January 2011

The Constitution

I enjoyed the spectacle in the House this morning as they read selected portions of the Constitution. They left out so much that embarrassed the Republicans-- Slavery, only landowners had full citizenship, woman had no rights, the stupid amendment to prohibit alcohol.
The Constitution is an historical document that begins with "In order to form a more perfect Union", the implication being that the Constitution was not a perfect document, which is why the writers provided a method to amend it.
And you have to love the choices the Republicans have made for committees, Like Ralph Hall for Science and Technology, Bachman as head of Intelligence Oversight, Virginia Foxx to head the subcommittee on higher education. It is going to be a fun year.

05 January 2011

Do it Again

Watching Boner tearfully manhandled his massive gavel (no sexual insecurity here) reminded me that the next 6 months, if not the next 2 years, are going to be dismal and non-productive. So, here, enjoy:

03 January 2011

News! New Orleans Now Has Good Food!

Okay, I am late to this, but, like Ms Palin, I don't read Time Magazine. I found this while trying to ferret out some info about a sex scandal at Rummel HS (nothing found, yet). I don't know Josh Ozersky, and he has won a James Beard Writing Award, but he has the temerity to write this drivel? And he has the nerve to mention Alan Richman's stupid article (he actually pans Brigsten's! The only good thing about this piece is the amazing aquamarine eyes of the Cafe du Monde waitress in the accompanying photo).
So he has family here and has been visiting New Orleans for his whole life, and they couldn't tell him where to eat? Now he visits and finds La Provence, but he couldn't find it when Kris was there. Quel Dommage.
A quote: Restaurants in tourist areas are rarely any better than they have to be, which is to say not great. But Sylvain really tries, and the effort pays off. The thing that struck me was the minimalism, previously a rare commodity in New Orleans. Chef Alex Harrell serves beef cheeks that are just beef cheeks, oleaginous and tender, with a side of potato puree; a crispy-duck confit, finished with Pernod and served with some sumptuous white beans; garlic sausage with napa cabbage; a massive, imposing fried-chicken sandwich; and a very, very good hamburger. (I should note that Harrell knew I was coming as did the other chefs I visited; I always make reservations under my own name, rather than trying to dine anonymously.) Sylvain is not the final word in gastronomy, but the food there would be at home in New York City, Portland, Ore., or San Francisco — which isn't true of anyplace else I know of in the Quarter.

 In the touristic Vieux Carré there are many that would shine in New York or San Francisco (who knew Portland, Oregon is a mecca of cuisine?), Iris, Stella, Bayona, Mr B's -- the list goes on. Sylvain, by the way, has the most useless website I have encountered--I have the link, but you are warned.
When I think of all the outstanding restaurants that New Orleans has produced, Jonathan's, Henri's, Christian's, LeRuth's, Blue Plate Café, The Beacon, Bistro at Maison de Ville, Herbsaint, Brigsten's, Gabrielle, The Bank, The Commerce, Gee & Lil's Jamaican Restaurant, Daniel's, I can only lament this Ozersky has so ignorant a palate. Alas, that such sloppy writing can frame what the country thinks of us.