Monday, March 1, 2010

Good Morning Monday

Well, today's search for Louisiana stories pulled up two that are very disturbing, and not really the way I want to start my week. That's OK, the world doesn't care about my week. On to the news.

Residents of Mossville Louisiana (right outside Lake Charles/Westlake), were featured in this CNN story about their high rate of disease possibly linked to the massive chemical manufacturing complex located in their backyard. There's a major racial component to the story too. Mossville was founded by African-Americans in the 1790's. "African Americans are more than 79 percent more likely to live in communities where there are dangerous facilities that pose health threats," says Robert Bullard, director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. Residents have complained for years to industry and State officials about the chemical plants to no avail. Now, Lisa Jackson, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, and the first African-American administrator of the EPA, has begun a study to determine if Mossville qualifies for designation as a Superfund site, reserved for the most polluted places in the United States. Superfund site designation would bring federal funding for cleaning up Mossville.

OK, let's turn our attention to our cousins to the north, in Bossier Parish. Drew Pierson, writing for the Shreveport Times, reports that the Bossier Parish sheriff's office is launching a program called "Operation Exodus," a policing plan for an end-of-the-world scenario involving a mostly white group of ex-police volunteers and a .50-caliber machine gun, inspired in part from the Book of Exodus in the Bible. Sheriff Larry Deen formulated the plan himself, and enjoys referring to himself in the third person as evidenced in this quote:
"The buck stops with Larry Deen," said Bossier Parish Sheriff Larry Deen. "The liability stops with Larry Deen. I am the chief law enforcement officer in this parish, and it is incumbent upon me protect all of the people in it."

Check out the story here. But I'll tease it with another quote:
These volunteers will be armed by the sheriff's office, using, among other things, shotguns, riot shields and batons. The members are mostly white men. Five are black. Women involved will only be used in "support roles," Deen said, which indicated non-combat activity.
Sorry ladies, no shotguns or riot shields for you.

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