Government & Politics
Louisiana unemployment could surpass national rate as Katrina rebuilding tapers | The Lens – The state has traditionally had higher unemployment than the national average. The post-Katrina boom pushed it lower.
Pay for delay: Now it’s Congress’ turn to come to bat | The Hill – Sen. David Vitter has teamed up with Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to propose legislation to curtail “pay for delay” settlements, in which Big Pharma settles litigation on drug patents by paying generic firms to stay out of the market. Franken and Vitter believe their bill will spur greater competition and save consumers and the government money.
Ex-trooper says Selvaratnam gave order not to turn on LSP emergency communications transmitter following Katrina | Louisiana Voice
A former Department of Public Safety radio technician has claimed that DPS Director of Information Technology Jeya Selvaratnam ordered that an emergency radio transmitter not be placed into operation in the hours following Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans despite the loss of normal radio communications by State Police.
Board games | Gambit — The Gambit editors are unimpressed with the recent “antics” displayed in recent Orleans Parish School Board meetings, which have been heated but unproductive.
How Common Core could affect every state — even those that reject it | The Washington Post
Students in every state take the high-stakes college admissions exams, the SAT and the ACT, as well as the newly designed GED, the high school equivalency test used as an alternative way to get a high school diploma. And all of those exams are going to be aligned to the Common Core standards, at least that is what their respective owners say.
David Coleman, one of the co-authors of the Common Core English Language Arts Standards and now the head of the College Board, which owns the SAT, has said that the exam will be Core-aligned, though when is not known. ACT, the organization that owns the ACT test, is an “active partner” with the Core initiative and says that the exam is already aligned to the standards.
Sheriff Gusman keeps jail plans under wraps | The Advocate – As the new city jail nears its completion in January, Sheriff Marlin Gusman claims his design team is making 11th-hour revisions so the jail will meet federal standards for inmates with special needs and mental health problems. A hearing on the jail consent decree is scheduled for tomorrow; The Lens will live-blog it.
Lee Zurik Investigation: Public pays for judge’s beach trip | FOX 8 WVUE
Long-time New Orleans Judge Ronald Sholes will retire at the end of this month. But weeks before he steps down as a traffic court judge, the public paid for him to attend a continuing legal education seminar, or CLE, out of town.
The benchwarmer playbook | American Zombie — Blogger Jason Berry looks into the Louisiana Supreme Court’s process of appointing Ad Hoc Judges to temporarily fill empty seats in Civil District Court. He is troubled by the apparent lack of vetting, public notice and documentation.
Vulnerable Maryland weighs threat of sea-level rise | The Washington Post — Sea levels are projected to rise six feet by 2100, and states like Maryland and Louisiana face the most risk. Coastal scientists believe rising water levels will compound storm surge and flooding. “A Web tool … allows readers to make like a god, sliding a scale over pictures of state landmarks until a creeping tide washes them away.” (Via @SkyTruth)
The unintended cost of insurance reform | Daily Comet – Flood insurance premiums for some South Louisiana residents will increase by 5,000 percent if changes to the National Flood Insurance program take effect.
Shell Orders $1 Billion Ultra-Deepwater FPSO for Gulf of Mexico | gCaptain – Oil giant Shell inks a contract for what will become the deepest oil production platform in the world. It will operate in the Stones field in the Gulf of Mexico, about 200 miles southwest of New Orleans.
Demolition proposed for buildings near where 6-year-old girl’s body found | The Advocate – “Following the discovery of 6-year-old Ahlittia North’s body outside a vacant and derelict apartment building in the Woodmere subdivision, Jefferson Parish Councilman Mark Spears is calling for the immediate demolition of that complex and similarly blighted properties in the surrounding area.”
Action Report: Abandoned home collapses into neighbor’s yard | WWL-TV — Two weeks after an abandoned townhouse collapsed in eastern New Orleans, it looks like the city will take action to tear down the portion that remains.