BP’s false oil flow claims may have delayed plugging of Macondo well, Transocean claims — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Transocean attorneys claim that BP’s initial wildly low estimates about how much oil was flowing out of the Macondo well led to the so-called “junk shot” option, the failed attempt to plug the runaway well with rubber balls and plastic debris.
Tough road ahead for BP in Gulf oil spill trial, legal experts predict — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Key quote from Garret Graves, senior coastal advisor to Gov. Bobby Jindal: “You really just have to scratch your head after sitting in court and watching this. How in the world could they [BP] subject themselves to this and think that they’re going to get any further ahead?”
…In sinkhole news — Library Chronicles | A weekend recap of sinkhole news, real and imagined, along the Gulf Coast.
Judge throws out tenure law — The Advocate | “State District Judge R. Michael Caldwell, who in December upheld key parts of the law, reversed himself after hearing arguments from both sides. … Caldwell said that, after a second review of the title of the bill, he concluded that it was unconstitutional by spelling out multiple subjects included in a single bill.”
Education interview — Bloomberg EDU podcast | A 30-minute interview about New Orleans schools with Sarah Carr, former Times-Picayune reporter and author of “Hope Against Hope.” Carr is encouraged by improved test scores and graduation rates in New Orleans, though she believes people are “too quick” to make overarching judgments about reforms. The ultimate barometer, Carr says, is for New Orleans high school graduates to graduate from college as well, and hopefully return home to work in their local community.
PBS education correspondent John Merrow notes that productive experimentation—the point of the charter movement—has fallen by the wayside as boards emulate each other and focus on test scores. Loyola professor Andre Perry, interviewed at the end of the podcast, says New Orleans had to decentralize. “The days of a single board running a hundred schools are over.” Perry stresses, though, that “schools don’t fix society. Society fixes schools.” Thus, school reform can’t ignore the need for community investment in the local education system. More on Perry’s education vision at Good.is.
Colleges get a shaky start in Jindal plan — The Advocate | The governor’s budget would decrease state spending on higher education, as tuition rises for students and parents.
Delay in serving suit on criminal court bench leads judge to postpone hearing — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “A hearing scheduled for Friday morning in the lawsuit against the Criminal District Court brought by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and WVUE-TV has been postponed for two weeks because Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office was unable to serve the criminal court with the lawsuit.”
U.S. Marshals task force tracks down fugitives — The Advocate | A multi-jurisdictional task force comprised of local and state officers shows amazing effectiveness at nabbing criminals on the run. Local police and sheriff’s departments applaud the squad for saving them time and money and note that the task force has more flexibility and resources than they do.
Law Review with Joe Raspanti: Federal Consent Decree — FOX 8 WVUE | Legal analyst Joe Raspanti says Mayor Mitch Landrieu is aware that his opposition to the federal consent decrees mandating reforms of the police and city jail is a public relations fiasco. However, he says, Landrieu is digging in and “throwing the kitchen sink” against the decrees because he believes the city cannot afford them.
For Troubled Teenagers in New York City, a New Tack – NYTimes.com | “The New York City Police Department has embarked on a novel approach to deter juvenile robbers, essentially staging interventions and force-feeding outreach in an effort to stem a tide of robberies by dissuading those most likely to commit them.” Is preemptive “outreach” the new trend?
Government & Politics
Crescent City Connection referendum trial to focus on voters given provisional ballots — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Hundreds of citizens were denied their legal right to vote on the Crescent City Connection toll referendum in November “when they were handed provisional ballots limiting their participation to federal elections, according to a Harvey civic activist who seeks to have the election nullified.” For in-depth background on this issue, see this prescient Lens article on provisional ballots.
Bribery likely, says red light firm Redflex – Chicago Tribune | Redflex, the red-light camera firm formerly used by Jefferson Parish (among others around the state) has admitted that its business in Chicago was built around a $2 million bribery scheme. According to the Tribune article, “By its sheer size, the alleged plot would rank among the largest in the annals of Chicago corruption.” (Via Nola.com/The Times-Picayune’s Drew Broach.) Applause to we saw that, a controversial Louisiana blog that has led the charge against the “Redflex scam” for about six years. More links at Slabbed.
Modern apartment design in the oil patch — Fuel Fix | Click through to see these apartments made out of containers. They remind me of FEMA trailers.