Years of political inaction preceded latest cutbacks in Algiers ferry service — The Lens | Considering that the Algiers ferry has been a fixture on the river for years, its demise seemed to come suddenly. But politicians knew for years that this was a possibility, and few did anything to address the issue. Those that did were unsuccessful.
As Mississippi River Ferry Service Slowly Disappears, Many Are Searching For Answers — WWNO | Residents say long wait times make city bus service an unrealistic alternative to ferry service.
High-rise buildings threaten integrity of 9th Ward community — National Geographic | Caroline Gerdes, a “Earth National Geographic Explorer” weighs in on plans to build a tall apartment buildings in the Holy Cross neighborhood. The basis for her objection to it was new to me:
Most importantly, [a high-rise building] would diminish, or block, the view of the levee.
The Mississippi River levee is something all of my subjects reminisced fondly about when discussing their childhoods. I documented tales of skinny-dipping (even though they weren’t supposed to), the distinct smell of the river, large passing ships, flying kites and grazing horses. The levee is part of the Holy Cross experience.
Push for School Vouchers is Tactical — WWNO | Education writer Sarah Carr sees a political component to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s strong support for voucher programs that enable students at low-performing schools to opt for private schools instead.
State denies plan for two EBR schools to avoid takeover — The Advocate | “The state on Thursday shot down an East Baton Rouge Parish school system proposal to reconfigure two low-performing schools, a move aimed at averting a state takeover.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal praises construction of 3 barrier islands, while urging Congress to fund coastal restoration — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Jindal touted restored barrier islands as a flood protection success story, and urged the federal government to release funds to allow similar projects to get underway.
Tulane researchers using BP grant to develop less-toxic dispersant — WWNO | Tulane researchers received a $1 million grant from BP to develop an oil spill dispersant that is less toxic than Corexit, which was widely used during the 2010 oil catastrophe.
Government & Politics
Councilwoman delays home-elevation grants, criticizes lack of openness | The Lens – Approval stalled after The Lens raises questions about $11.8 million program to raise 48 homes.
What David Vitter got for blocking Gina McCarthy – Erica Martinson – POLITICO.com – During a block of Envionmental Protection Agency nominee, Sen. David Vitter negotiated a number of “small wins” with potential long-term implications:
One of his wins is a longtime goal of some GOP lawmakers and industries: getting access to the data that underly two major epidemiological studies backing up several major EPA air rules.
The agency has long resisted such calls, saying the raw data Vitter wants isn’t all in one place: It was compiled over many years from numerous scientists and private institutions, which often own the information.
But repeated prodding by Vitter has done the trick — mostly. The agency has contacted researchers to get the raw data behind those studies, using the leverage of an amendment that requires all federally funded research data to be available to the public.
Too many boards? Law cuts 15 state advisory committees — WVLA NBC33 | State Rep. Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales) supports new laws that will evaluate and the state’s many advisory boards and eliminate them if they determined to be ineffective. Schexnayder claims the main reason boards fail is because many of them fail to meet enough. “It’s hard to get 12, 15 people together every month to work on one common goal,” he said.”
A mission of peace for all New Orleanians: Editorial — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The editors note that the recent shooting of social worker Ashley Qualls “is reminiscent of the April 1 killing of AmeriCorps volunteer Joseph Massenburg, who was only 18. Like her, he was walking home at night. In his case, police say, he was mistaken for someone else during a gang battle. Like her, he had come to New Orleans in hopes of making a difference in the city.”
The horrible psychology of solitary confinement — Wired | This relates to yesterday’s story about a terminally ill prisoner in Angola who has spent the past 40 years in solitary confinement.
In the largest prison protest in California’s history, nearly 30,000 inmates have gone on hunger strike. Their main grievance: the state’s use of solitary confinement, in which prisoners are held for years or decades with almost no social contact and the barest of sensory stimuli.” The human brain is ill-adapted to such conditions, and activists and some psychologists equate it to torture. Solitary confinement isn’t merely uncomfortable, they say, but such an anathema to human needs that it often drives prisoners mad.