Zurik: Orleans judges held 6 separate life insurance policies – FOX 8 WVUE | Documents released by Orleans Criminal Court show that nine judges each purchased “six separate life insurance policies — all funded with public money — that could have paid beneficiaries close to $500,000.” The policies included insurance on judges’ spouses and children. In the article, Metropolitan Crime Commission president Rafael Goyeneche indicates that public money used for insurance on non-public citizens likely violates state law. Investigative reporter Lee Zurik says the insurance documents raise “serious questions about the judges’ transparency during our investigation,” since the court only complied with the full set of requested insurance documents after a lawsuit filed by Fox 8 and NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune.
Guilty Plea in LSU Bomb Threat, Boston Tragedy Brings Local Calls for Vigilance — NOLA DEFENDER |
“I cannot stress enough the importance of quick and timely reporting of threats,” said [F.B.I.] Special Agent Mike Anderson … “The public cannot get complacent in their reporting.”
According to Anderson, [William Bouvay’s LSU bomb threat] case is not alone. Within the last ten months, several bomb and sniper threats in Louisiana have temporarily halted life and emptied schools, including an aircraft takeover in Baton Rouge, a potential school shooting in Lafourche, and a bomb threat at the Superdome.
The trouble with the frisk trial – NY Daily News | Contrary to claims from Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera, the New Orleans Police Department do perform “stop and frisks” like the police in New York City. This opinion piece defends the approach, and cites Robert Weisberg, co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, who claims that street stops are “the most important thing police can do to reduce crime.”
Stop and frisk: Good intentions gone bad — The Louisiana Weekly | In a guest column, local ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman argues that stop and frisks often cross the line: “While the reasons that officers choose to stop individuals are many, under the law an officer may search or frisk someone only under very specific conditions. In short, the officer must reasonably believe that the stopped person is actually committing or about to commit a crime and is armed and dangerous. It simply isn’t enough to have a suspicion or a hunch.”
New Orleans Aviation Board unveils $826 million overhaul of Louis Armstrong Airport — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu envisions a largely new airport completed in time for the city’s 300th anniversary in 2018. The plan includes building a new, $650 million, 30-gate terminal with three concourses and a parking garage, as well as a $17 million privately financed hotel, all on the north side of the airport’s east-west runway.”
Taking urban farming to new heights in New Orleans — Idealist Blog | Will hydroponic vertical “farms of the future,” inspired by Disney World’s EPCOT, proliferate on CBD rooftops? (Via noladder.blogspot.com)
Vieux Carré panel backs Morning Call proposal — The Advocate | “Decades after it left the French Quarter for the suburbs, Morning Call, the popular 24-hour beignet stand, could make a return to its original neighborhood.”
Ouch! Schools face last-minute funding cut; state denies vouchers are to blame — The Lens | Some city schools will receive “$181 less per student in local revenue, a cut of 4 percent. Education officials blame the decrease on an unplanned influx of students in elementary and secondary schools. They also say that local revenue decreased because of higher-than-expected fees for pensions, legacy costs and the like.” See education reporter Jessica Williams discusses the details on Fox 8.
Rather than fess up to a budget shortfall (and make Jindal sad), White chooses to steal money from schools — Crazy Crawfish’s Blog | Blogger “Crazy Crawfish,” who claims work experience at the Louisiana Department of Education, says trickery is afoot. He believes state education superintendent John White is stiffing New Orleans schools to save the state money. “This would be the first time I heard an increase in students resulted in a net decrease for a parish or school district.”
Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown — Reuters | “Scientists are struggling to explain a slowdown in climate change that has exposed gaps in their understanding and defies a rise in global greenhouse gas emissions.” If this trend continues, I might have to write a mea culpa to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Kenner), for mocking his claims that the earth is in a cooling period. Scientists think that deep ocean waters are absorbing more heat than anticipated.
Environmental leaders send BP a message: ‘It’s not over’ — The Advocate | Activists, business people and elected officials stress corporate accountability and coastal restoration as the oil giant faces civil environmental fines for its 2010 oil spill.
Government & Politics
Brown-Vitter Bill Could Reduce Bank Loans by $4 Trillion – The big banking and investment firms are pushing back on Sen. David Vitter’s bipartisan plan to break them up. They complain that increasing cash reserves will reduce their ability to lend, and there’s greater risk if they break up into smaller, less-diversified banks that are presumably not “too big to fail.” Here is the analysis by Goldman Sachs to which the article refers. The New York Times reports that Goldman Sachs reported profit growth last year, despite “operating with less borrowed money” which “drastically reduced profitability.”
Jindal needs to understand that Revelation is not always a Biblical term: Let my people know OGB financial status — Louisiana Voice | Blogger Tom Aswell has requested, but not received, monthly reports on Blue Cross Blue Shield. Aswell wants to see if savings anticipated by the Jindal administration, when it took over as the third-party administrator for the Office of Group Benefits PPO, were actually achieved. “Our open, accountable and transparent administration has not been forthcoming with financial information on the agency. We can’t seem to see any early evidence of that $40 million savings.”