Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Don't Believe The Hype

For those of you who may be fans of our Governor, Bobby Jindal, here's a piece from National Public Radio that reports on Jindal's reemergence on the national scene due to the BP oil disaster. In seems, that running around looking angry, and bashing the President, and the federal response to the disaster counts as "doing something". What a load.

Don't forget that the Fed gave Jindal 6,000 National Guard troops, he still has only used 1,053. We just cited a CBS News report on this in our post Saturday, here's the link . And those sand berms he's so pissed about? Turns out they would do more harm than good. Here's the post we did citing a story in the LA Times.

Meanwhile, a new report shows that Louisiana is second only to Mississippi in percentage of population living under the poverty line. Almost %20 of our fellow Louisiana citizens live in poverty. Check the study here. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Photo by Arete 13

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Mini-Golf Coming to Lafayette

I drive by the old Global Golf location on Johnston Street almost every day and each time I do, I look at the empty lot with nothing left but some big pampas grass and think to myself how much I enjoyed miniature golf as a kid. The bigger and fancier the better. I remember going to giant miniature golf parks on vacation....not the wimpy little putt-putt courses, but big, pirate ship fancy miniature golf courses. Well, the mini-golf gods must have been listening to my opine because there's a new $20,000 miniature golf and batting cage recreation center going up on Duhon Road...not far from the old Global Golf. But in the meantime, if you need a mini-golf fix, visit Kart Ranch...they have one of the best courses around and lots of other fun stuff. Ok, there's no giant pirate ship, but they do have a lighthouse and it is still very nice. Plus, if you get hot, you can cool off in the bumper boats or start a Super Soaker war. Happy summer! jill :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Happy Monday

Well, it's a good news-bad news situation with our new friend Tropical Storm Alex. The good news is, it's probably going west of Louisiana and the BP glug. The bad news is the conditions are suitable for the storm to gain strength and become a hurricane. Don't take my word for it, read KATC's Dave Baker's blog here.

In other news, the "Cajun Navy" has reassembled. I think their last mission was helping rescue folks stranded in NOLA, during the Katrina aftermath. Now, they're using barges to block oil from entering into sensitive shrimp and oyster beds. National Public Radio ran this story about the efforts of Louisiana locals to save their coastline, and their livelihoods.

Elsewhere, there's more shenanigans from Gov. Bobby Jindal. He vetoed a bill that would allow public access to records detailing the state's response to the BP glug. So much for transparency. Read this account by The Washington Monthly.

And finally, for those who desire a wallop of human suffering to start their week, the Associated Press ran this article by reporters, Janet McConnaughey and Mitch Stacy, about the mounting psychological toll on Gulf Coast residents. Read it here. It's about what you'd think it would be. And it's very depressing.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ponies And Balloons

Righteous anger. Here are two reader submitted clips that will make your blood boil. Try and keep track of who is a true friend of Louisiana. CBS won't let me post their video, but you can watch it here. Thanks to Wayne and Paul for the submissions.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Water (((water)))

Wow, I'm starting the weekend a day late this week, and it's not like I did it on purpose. I suppose the Mimosa Girls distracted me. So, today is Friday, and I have a maritime theme going with our musical clip. First off, today's clip is dedicated Jill's Dad "Sailor Jim Johnson" who has come to live with us this week; secondly, this is a way to enjoy the water without getting all depressed about the Gulf; and finally, what place besides Louisiana could lay claim to an artist named Frogman? With that, let's sit back and recall one of my favorite scenes in the movie Diner which featured this same tune. Weekend starts (albeit a day late) now! Take it away Clarence!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

20 Billion Would Make It Rain....For A Long Time

With a couple Youtube videos making the rounds of what purports to be oily rain in areas along the Louisiana coast, one gets the sense that the wheels are just about to come off of this oil glug thing. True enough, the environmental damage began months ago, but now the real circus begins as folks line up for a piece of that $20 billion dollar pie.

Enter the "Mimosa Dancing Girls". They are here to remind BP, that fishermen, after they fish, often enjoy a beverage whilst engaging in cultural studies of the female form....at da strip club. But if they ain't no fish, they ain't no fishermen...thus the employees of the Mimosa strip club ain't getting paid. They have filed a claim for lost wages with BP.

Newly appointed BP claim czar, Kenneth Feinberg, says, he was born in the night time, but not last night, a mantra he is sure to repeat ad nausem, for the next couple of decades.
"I’m dubious about that claim. I’m very dubious about that claim,” Feinberg said. “But I don’t want to prejudge any individual claim and I think we will study this and decide how attenuated claims can be that will be eligible or ineligible for compensation under this independent facility.”

Read the article here at George Stephanopoulos' blog, dimly titled, George's Bottom Line.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where Ya At Vermilion Parish?

We have been contacted by a Daily Meaux reader in Vermilion parish with a complaint about being unable to receive non-emergency medical transportation, a service which would be paid for by Medicaid. Apparently there are no businesses willing to provide this service in the parish, and providers from other parishes are unwilling to cross parish lines to provide the service.

I'm curious if any folks from Vermilion parish have had similar problems. If so, please email us or leave a comment on this post.

Why Am I Not Surprised?

OK, you think it's easy being an unpaid blogger? True, the dress code is flexible...very flexible, as are the hours, and really there's no boss or office politics to speak of. But, try watching the USA vs Algeria while composing a little story, and by story, I mean a paragraph, maybe two. Still, we got robbed again on another off-sides goal, which is made all the more infuriating by the fact that I don't understand the rules of soccer. Grr!
And yet, here comes the Whore Monger to bail me out with a story only he could provide. Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross report for ABC News that Sen. David Vitter has a longtime staffer who pleaded guilty in 2008 to attacking his then girlfriend with a knife. Bad, but not Vitter bad yet. The aide, Brent Furer, has been assigned by the senator to oversee women's issues. There, Vitter bad...and all wrapped up with a bow. There's more, like the fact that Furer still has an open DUI warrant in Baton Rouge, and has had repeated brushes with the law since the 1990's.
The attack on Furer's girlfriend was particularly brutal and the victim required medical attention. Here are some details of the attack taken from the police report and included in the ABC Story:
After drinking at a restaurant, the two returned to Furer's Capitol Hill apartment, the report says. Furer "would not let her leave." He "pulled on her coat, which caused it to rip," then "pulled out a knife and stabbed [her] in the hand," the police report says. Furer became angry when he found phone numbers for other men in her blackberry. He smashed her phone when she tried to call 911, the records say, and he shoved her to the floor when she tried to leave, then held his hand over her mouth and threw her on a bed. Furer "uttered the words to her, 'Do you want to get serious.'" Then, the arrest warrant states, Furer "grabbed an unknown object and held it under her neck. The suspect asked the complainant, 'Do you want to die?' The complainant replies and she stated, 'No, I don't want to die.'" After a 90 minute standoff, Furer made her promise not to call police, and then allowed her to leave. She fled to a friend's house, and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. A slash on her chin took eight stitches to close, the police report says.


The story goes on to report that Furer is a former Marine and veteran of the first Gulf War and takes medication for treatment of post traumatic stress disorder. If this is true, perhaps Vitter could help the man get the help he needs rather than giving him a tax payer subsided staff position.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

I hate being told what to do. I'm sure it comes from some combination of limited intelligence, massive ego, and a natural inclination towards the path of least resistance (hey man, water does the same thing, and nobody nobody questions its ability to be a "self-starter"). So, when I saw an article titled "An Open Letter To Louisiana", I bowed up a little. On a certain level, I knew we had it coming. Our legislature, just finished trying to get guns in church, and solve the oil flood in the Gulf with a day of prayer (not that praying isn't needed, I'd just prefer it was done silently, and without state endorsement).
Well, turns out this outsider, this guy from Washington D.C. makes a lot of sense. In fact, he says the same things that I've been saying (cue the ego). We as a state need to diversify, and see the oil industry for what it is...the past. Big Oil just takes, they don't give back. Here's a quote from the article written by Edward Flattau as it appeared in the Huffington Post:

So while you obviously cannot walk away from your oil industry employer, wouldn't it be wise to begin developing a fallback strategy to save your environment for future generations and preserve your economy when the existing offshore wells run dry? Shouldn't you press your politicians to diversify your local energy economy by obtaining federal seed money for new wind and solar energy manufacturing facilities? Louisiana is a state rich in natural resources. What about expanding commercial activity in biomass, hydro power and geothermal energy? Even if the end of the age of oil were no where in sight, you badly need energy diversification. Petroleum has not been the economic bonanza to your area that it has been made out to be. If it were, how come Louisiana is 40th out of 50 states in per capita income? Either the oil wealth is too concentrated, or it's just not as much of an economic game changer as you think.

Read the rest here.

Photo by toshihiko2001

Monday, June 21, 2010

Right To The Gut

OK, it's Monday, back to the depressing. This clip is from a documentary being shot by Olmos Productions. Click here to see their Youtube channel. Stick with the clip till the end for the full emotional donkey kick. Thanks for sending it Tim.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dat's Beautiful!

Well, this awkward. I just came back from a consultation with my private jeweler (it could happen) with designs for my new Saints ring. I just sketched out a few ideas for him, "nothing flashy" I said, "just a few dozen diamonds, maybe a Fleur-de-lis.....be a doll and squeeze in the words 'World Champions'."
Imagine my surprise when I see this article, by Susan Langenhennig in the Times Picayune about the ring ceremony held Wednesday in New Orleans. Boy, do I have egg on my face. It's the exact same design!
My concern is for the "little people" who upon seeing my giant head and athletic physique will undoubtedly assume I am a Saints player, and then insist on buying me dinner and drinks. Of course, it would be rude of me to decline.
True story: that birthmark on Drew Brees' cheek...not a birthmark at all. He voluntarily marks himself with a Sharpie each day to help Sean Payton tell us apart. That, my friends, is what is known as a commitment to excellence!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sportsman's Paradise R.I.P.

Aww, mes amis, it's breaking me down. It's been heavy on me, but this week I've felt a shift from anger to sorrow, with complete numb-out just around the corner. We're losing.

And I can't help feeling that this happened on our generation's watch. We've let ourselves become so divided and at the same time grown so comfortable, dumb, and entitled. It's not Repub vs. Dem, or liberal vs. conservative....it's giant corporations vs. the People and the Earth. Has this ever been more obvious than what we're seeing unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico?

I got the blues friends. Buddy Guy might be singing about his baby leaving, or maybe he's watching our Gulf fill up with oil. Either way, it's hard to imagine either one of them coming back.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Respirators Would Be Nice

Is there anything more fun than the "cautionary tale"? Of course there is. Hell, the very notion of the "After School Special" was based on the "cautionary tale", and those were never any fun. However, sometimes they are necessary, and unfortunately, this is one of those times.

For those of you volunteering to help clean up oil coming ashore, do not assume BP will protect you from the harmful affects of exposure to crude oil, and the chemical dispersant that is mixed in with it. Merle Savage volunteered to help clean up the Exxon Valdez spill, and this is what she got for her trouble:
Merle Savage has a wheezy, guttural smoker's cough. But the 71-year-old former Alaska resident and author of Silence in the Sound never smoked a day in her life. She did, however, spend four months as a general foreman during the Exxon Valdez oil spill recovery project in 1989. And she has a message for anyone working at the BP oil disaster sites: "You've got to use your common sense. Breathing crude oil is toxic." Savage moved to Alaska in 1988--just one year before the Exxon Valdez oil spill ravaged Prince William Sound. After the spill, Savage decided to take action. She was assigned to clean oil-coated rocks on the beach, but says that Exxon never provided legitimate safety training. And since Exxon never told her that breathing crude oil was toxic, she didn't think twice about spraying hot water onto the oily rocks.

Read the rest here.

Thanks Mothy for the tip-in!

Photo by Deepwater Horizon Response

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hmm.. A Good Idea...How Can It Be Screwed Up?

G. Paul Kemp, Ph.D. comes with this resume': vice president, Louisiana Coastal Initiative, for the National Audubon Society. A former associate research professor at Louisiana State University, served in the early 1990s as the first executive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, a nonprofit organization dedicated to returning Louisiana's Mississippi River delta to environmental and economic sustainability.

In this essay Kemp lays out a logical plan to close some of the gates that redirect the Mississippi River to the Atchafalaya River thus pushing more water through the mouth of the Mississippi in New Orleans and keeping the oil out of the marshes. Sounds good to me, all he needs is the Army Corps of Engineers to close the gates....the Corp? The folks who did such a good job with the levees? Lawd help us. Here's a little from the article:
By closing some gates leading to the Atchafalaya, the Corps could send more water past New Orleans, out to those areas where the oil most threatens the marshes. These are the nursery grounds for most of the commercial fish and shrimp caught in the Gulf, and home to a wonderful variety of resident and migratory birds with declining populations.

Monday, June 14, 2010

How Come We So Broke?

Here's two articles: one from 2008, and one from this past weekend. Both make the case for Louisiana's importance to the national economy. With all that oil and seafood money being made, why do our roads, education and health systems rank so low? Oh yeah, and now there's a giant underwater oil spew threatening the whole thing.

Here's James Carville's essay from yesterday, (complete with an admission that he didn't get it done for Louisiana when his candidate was in office for 8 years). Thanks for the heads-up Saundra!
Then the oil companies dredged canals in the marshlands in an attempt to grow an industry which now provides the country with more than 30 percent of its domestic oil and natural gas. Saltwater intrusion is killing the marsh. These marshlands provide jobs for tens of thousands of fisherman in an industry that provides over 30 percent of this country's domestic seafood supply. Canals were also dredged for shipping. Five of the nation's top 15 ports are located in South Louisiana. So in essence, we are the gateway of commerce to much of the lower 48 states. Add that to the fact that we have not seen a single penny of royalties for oil produced more than six miles off our coast. We assume all of the risk, produce seafood and oil and gas, with none of the reward. Royalties totaling $165 billion have gone to the federal treasury when they could go to help repair this pressing issue.

And here is an article by Georgianne Nienaber, from two years ago, that shows the situation was bad even before the the BP disaster.

The human sketch is surprising, sad, and begs many questions that the candidates should answer, noting Louisiana's importance to the US economy and how the local population supports an infrastructure that impacts the rest of the country. Consider the fact that Louisiana is ranked number 42 in per capita income in the United States, and 19.2 percent of Louisiana's population lives below the poverty line, and the reasons why someone should care about Louisiana become more compelling.


Photo by Ray Devlin


Friday, June 11, 2010

Cleaning Machine

Kevin Costner testified before Congress yesterday to talk about an oil filtering machine that he believes can make a significant impact in the Gulf clean-up. Costner invested $20 million of his own money to develop and the premise is pretty simple....water goes into the machine and the oil and water are separated through centrifugal force. Costner was inspired to invest in this after the Exxon Valdeez tragedy and said that for all the boom and old technology designed to capture or corral the oil, there wasn't really anything to clean it out of the water. Costner's machine can clean up to 200 gallons per minute and BP just ordered 32 of them so we're keeping our fingers crossed. To learn more about Ocean Therapy Solutions machine, visit their website here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lightin' Strikes Twice

Oh mais amis, it's deja-vu all over again. Seems like just last month a group from Mississippi came through, and Sam Rey (now w/Michael Juan Nunez!) opened the show, and the Gulf was being destroyed by a greedy oil company. Tonight, at the Blue Moon Saloon Cedric Burnside and Lightin' Malcom headline, and Me and Juan open...and the Gulf is still being destroyed by a greedy (and unethical, perhaps criminal) oil company. Come drown your sorrows in North Mississippi blues!

Weekend starts.....wait for it.....wait....no peeking....now!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hutslar Exhibit at the ACA

Photographer Kent Hutslar died of pneumonia earlier this year, but his art lives on as The Acadiana Center for the Arts has announced that they will feature an exhibit of Hutslar's fine art photography from June 12 through July 2. Hutslar was known for his talent as a photographer and an advocate for the arts. Over 50 pieces of Hutslar's finest artwork will be on display and for sale with all proceeds benefiting the Hutslar family.

Curator of the exhibit is UL professor and artist, Herman Mhire. He says "Kent Hutslar was an exceptional photographer and a dedicated, community volunteer / activist. His enthusiasm for the arts, and belief in the value of the arts, was an inspiration to all who knew him. Sought after by collectors from around the country, Kent Hutslar's photographs exhibit the influence of some of the 20th centuries' modern masters. There is no doubt Kent Hutslar will be remembered as a significant contributor to the evolution and history of photography in Louisiana."

For more information, visit the ACA's website at: acadianacenterforthearts.org

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fools Rush In...

I don't know any scientists. They don't really hang out in the same social circles as I do. And I think that's a good thing. I want them to be doing something important like collecting data....facts, and then relaying their finds to the dullards of society like myself.
One guy who doesn't put much stock in science or scientists is our Governor, Bobby Jindal. When you're representing Big Business and pandering to one of the poorest and most undereducated states in the nation, facts and data...well, the less heard about those the better. Get outta the way egghead.
Which brings us to the spewing oil in the Gulf, and Jindal's plan to build sand berms to protect our coast. Sounds great on the face of it. And when he had James Carville and Mary Matlin with him screaming for Obama to do something, it gave me pause. But now, an article in the LA Times by Julie Cart points out some of the problems with the plan. For one thing, the berms will take at least 9 months to complete; they won't survive even a mild tropical storm; and the dredging may actually increase wave activity.
Best of all, none of the plan was done with the input of scientists here in Louisiana.
Coastal scientists and oceanographers were brought in this week to present their views on the berm proposal to state and federal responders. Many said they were frustrated, wondering why their expertise was not brought to bear sooner. "You cannot do this without some sort of reasonable quantification as to what will happen, Stone said. " I understand we are in a jam right now, but, good Lord, we have sophisticated computer models that can do this in a matter of weeks.… It's sort of unconscionable that we've gone well over a month without scientific input."

Wha? Could this all have been just window dressing to make the Governor and his buddy the whore monger look good, and by implication the President look bad? Was Carville played? I dunno, but you can read the article for yourself here.

Look, I can't leave you with this cynical negativity on a Monday. Here's Jerry Lee Lewis in a sack race.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This Note's For You

This one goes out to our "friends" over at BP, particularly in light of their recent claims that they remain unconvinced of underwater oil plumes in the Gulf; for their consistent underestimations of how much oil was spewing from their botched well; to their CEO who wants "his life back"; for claiming relief workers from Louisiana were merely "sea sick" or overcome by the heat, rather than suffering from exposure to noxious fumes emanating from the oil and chemical dispersant; and lastly, to whore monger David Vitter for attempting to introduce a bill limiting BP's liability. They all got one helluva nerve.

James Booker don't take no mess, and neither should we. Weekend is here, have a can a beer! Thanks Tim.

video
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Trail Ride

Last May we did a story called 'Acadiana Bike Trail May Soon Become A Reality'.....and now, a year later, it really, really may soon become a reality. The $100k grant from the Community Foundation has been allocated and now, Lafayette Consolidated Government has 1 year to complete the project. So...yea! The $100k will cover construction costs and signage for the trail, which will start out running from Parc Sans Souci to Beaver Park. According to the story in the Advertiser, the eventual plan is for it to run all the way from Lafayette to St. Martinville.

Photo by: sasrigais