From improper online posts, scandal grew to mire a U.S. attorney and Justice Department | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune
Experts and court observers expressed dismay at the misconduct [U.S. District Judge Kurt] Engelhardt cited, calling it a major blow to the Justice Department … “It’s one of the most hard-hitting condemnations of the conduct of the Justice Department and several prosecutors in the Justice Department that I’ve ever seen,” said Pace University professor Bennett Gershman, a national expert on prosecutorial misconduct. “It’s a powerful expose of sleaziness, dishonesty, misconduct, egregious, flagrant — these are words the judge uses, and he’s right.”
Danziger order brings new revelations | The New Orleans Advocate – The Danziger order for a retrial revealed that “former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten knew his top deputy, Jan Mann, had posted online comments about subjects of federal probes, but turned a blind eye while carefully choosing his words for judges and media.”
Jim Letten deserves blame for New Orleans police in Danziger case winning new trial | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune – Columnist Jarvis DeBerry claims that the misconduct that resulted in the Danziger retrial should make us re-evaluate former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s track record. DeBerry writes: “Jan Mann, who served as Letten’s second-in-command, is a liar.”
Did This Little Election Strike a Big Blow to Education Reform? | The Atlantic – Molly Ball writes that former New Orleans Recovery School District Superintendent Paul Vallas, who moved on to turn around the school system in Bridgeport, Ct., has become a lightning rod for reform opponents.
You can’t fight something with nothing | The Fordham Institute – Writer Kathleen Porter-Magee finds a level of fanaticism in those who oppose Common Core standards. Facts are ignored while outfits like the Pioneer Institute wage a “seemingly unending effort to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the standards.”
School air conditioners: Kids need to learn | Slate – Hear, hear. It bugs me that students — like those in my daughter’s fourth grade class — are sweating right now in a classroom with no working air-conditioning.
Government & Politics
The tricky business of measuring progress eight years after Hurricane Katrina | The Louisiana Weekly
“There are two New Orleans,” says Deon Haywood, executive director of Women With a Vision, an advocacy group for sex worker rights, drug policy reform, reproductive justice, and people with HIV. “The city is rebuilding and it’s making a comeback,” says Haywood. “There’s a new medical district, new schools, new businesses, new hip and happening areas, new housing options, and more technology. But in the other New Orleans, the poverty rate is the same as it was in 1999, the HIV rates are higher, the sheriff is building a larger jail, and adult education is at an all-time low. Oh, and bicycle lanes are growing.”
‘Old Vitter’ Drives Them Crazy in D.C. | LA Politics – Sen. David Vitter has a singular genius for being able to irritate colleagues on both sides of the aisle, while simultaneously amassing comfortable electoral majorities come election time. Political analyst John Maginnis observes: “The sudden re-emergence of old Vitter is taken as one more sign that he doesn’t plan to stick around Washington past the 2015 governor’s election.”
Wildcatter hunch unlocks $1.5 trillion oil offshore US | Fuel Fix – Exploration and deep-drilling technology reveals an abundance of mineral wealth around Louisiana’s coastal shelf.
Tuscaloosa shale drilling revs up in Louisiana and Mississippi | Susan Buchanan
[Dan S. Collins, a Baton Rouge minerals consultant] discussed the recent flurry of interest in Mississippi. “Mississippi passed a severance-tax reduction law this year that’s a little better than Louisiana’s,” he said. “It trumped Louisiana.” A severance tax is a levy on the removal of nonrenewable resources, including oil and natural gas. Effective in July, Mississippi’s tax rate on hydrocarbons from horizontal wells was cut to 1.3 percent from 6 percent for the first 30 months of production or until the well pays out. During the first two years of drilling in Louisiana, the state has no severance tax on sales of oil produced. But Louisiana’s tax jumps to 12 percent after two years.”
A house moved to make way for the hospital complex finds new life in Mid City | The Lens – A success story — for a change — from the city’s snake-bitten program to preserve houses from the bio-medical center footprint by trucking them to different neighborhoods.