Government & Politics
Lawmakers seek to limit Jindal’s records exemption – Associated Press | A bill proposed by Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard (I-Thibodaux) and Sen. Rick Gallot (D-Ruston) would “limit the expansive public records exemption used by Gov. Bobby Jindal to hide nearly all documents in his office.” Despite campaign promises of transparent government, Jindal has shielded most documents and emails in his office on the basis that “internal decision-making is protected to allow for the free flow of ideas.” Richard’s and Gallot’s bill would strip that exemption and archive sensitive deliberations that would become publicly available after a decade. The Lens detailed Jindal’s use of the exemption in November.
Bobby Jindal holding firm on rejection of Medicaid expansion despite other governors’ change of heart — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Gov. Jindal will not join an increasing number of Republican governors who have signed on to the Medicaid expansion that is part of “Obamacare.” The article skillfully summarizes the political state of play, noting that Jindal has resisted pressure from various fronts to sign Louisiana on to the program. The federal government will cover costs of the Medicaid expansion until 2016, after which states will have to pay 10 percent. Jindal maintains that it is bad policy and Louisiana can’t afford it. Last week he wrote an editorial in The Washington Post asking President Barack Obama to discuss giving states more flexibility to implement the program.
Obama considering MIT physicist Moniz for energy secretary — Reuters | Nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz is a candidate for the cabinet position. “Moniz would bring scientific acumen to the job, but he also has worked closely with industry and promoted natural gas as a ‘bridge fuel’ to lower carbon pollution while new innovative forms of energy are being developed.” Former Shaw Group CEO Jim Bernhard is also considered to be in the running.
The Wisner Fund: Battle for the Bayou — American Zombie | Blogger Jason Berry continues a winding but interesting series on the politics surrounding control of the Wisner Trust, which owns valuable swampland that includes Port Fourchon and was heavily oiled in the oil spill. Berry speculates that recent disputes between Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office and the foundation that runs the trust were less about transparency and more about control, though Landrieu’s office denies it.
Nature Center fallow for seven years: IG urges feds to pull plug on funding — The Lens | Seven years after Hurricane Katrina, the Audubon Commission hasn’t restored the Louisiana Nature Center in eastern New Orleans. Now the feds want their $7.6 million back.
Two friends of the Louisiana coast have passed: A New York Times obituary for Asbury H. Sallenger Jr. describes Sallenger as “a leader in the nation’s research on the causes and effects of sea level rise, storms and other coastal hazards.” Oyster lover Mike Voisin is eulogized at in a tribute at LouisianaSeafoodNews.com.
Deep-Sea Drilling Muddies Political Waters — NYTimes.com | Amy Myers Jaffe, the executive director for energy and sustainability at the University of California, claims that drillers may be too routine in their approach to deep-water operations.
I think that we were a little blasé about how hard it is to do… And maybe the industry is now grappling with the difference between 2 percent tolerance and 0 percent tolerance [for mistakes]. Zero percent may be the new model, especially in places that have recently experienced public outcries over spills, including Australia, Brazil and the United States.”
Company with family, political ties does big business with OPSO | The Lens | Metro Business Supplies won an office-supply contract with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office by lowballing prices for pens and other items. But the spirit of thrift that infused its 2006 bid has diminished as the company has sold the department $1.7 million in products. “You might think Metro knows someone in the Sheriff’s Office; you’d be right. The man at Metro who helped land the account is the son-in-law of the No. 2 person in the Sheriff’s Office.”
Justice Department to City: Quit stalling on NOPD reform deal — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The Justice Administration is unimpressed with Mayor Landrieu’s argument that former federal prosecutor and online commenter Sal Perricone used his role in NOPD consent decree negotiations to make the “decree far more comprehensive, and costly, than perhaps it needed to be.”
Support NOLA’s Most Badass Assault Survivor — Indiegogo | A website has quickly surpassed its $10,000 fundraising goal for a Garden District woman who was kidnapped, raped and robbed by three men. “This fund will go towards the immediate costs of moving from her rental apartment, medical and mental health care bills, any legal fees, and when she’s ready, partial down payment on a home. “
10 Reasons Why our Food Trucks Need a Home in New Orleans | invadeNOLA – Such as: “Grabbing a quick meal at a food truck will increase foot traffic in areas, offering opportunities for new business development.” The first commenter writes a six-point rebuttal, arguing for more regulations and compliance with existing rules.
What Makes Urban Charter Schools Effective? – The Atlantic Cities | This article previews a study by an M.I.T. economist that inspects the performance variations between urban and rural charter schools in Massachusetts. Key quote:
Urban charter schools tend to boost performance for minority students from parts of the city with low achievement scores. In other words, they help students who enter school with lots of room for improvement. At the same time, the non-urban charter schools evaluated by Angrist and company struggled to boost academic achievement at all. In fact, the researchers think urban charters would outperform non-urban charters even if the student populations were (in a demographic sense) similar. True, non-urban charter students typically enter school with a higher baseline, but the schools themselves don’t seem to be elevating the level of achievement.
Psychiatric Hospitals Alter Rules on Patient Smoking – NYTimes.com | “Until recently, Louisiana law required psychiatric hospitals to accommodate smokers — unlike rules banning smoking at most other health facilities. The law was changed last year, and by March 30, smoking is supposed to end at Louisiana’s two remaining state psychiatric hospitals.” This is an in-depth piece about the changing assumptions about mental health patients being allowed to smoke. Formerly, cigarette breaks were often used as a reward in mental hospitals.