2 high-ranking officials at Orleans sheriff’s office charged with conspiracy to commit bribery – NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “John Sens, who was the purchasing director at the sheriff’s office before being demoted amid a federal probe, and then [resigned] last week, and Col. Gerard Hoffman, the director of maintenance, were charged in bills of information.” For more, see The Lens’ previous coverage of the story.
Private group upgrades criminal-justice computers, but who’s in charge? — The Lens | A private, non-profit organization that is integrating and expanding New Orleans’ various criminal justice computer systems “has no written agreement with the City of New Orleans even as it routinely works with sensitive information.”
Louisiana prison reform will take bolder approaches than we’ve seen: Jarvis DeBerry — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | DeBerry notes that Louisiana is the “world’s most enthusiastic jailer,” and too often “dispenses life sentences to nonviolent criminals.” He hopes that legislators can endure lobbying from sheriffs and pass laws to steer our criminal justice system “onto a more humane path.”
Hope Against Hope — Gambit | The weekly’s top story is an excerpt from Sarah Carr’s new book on the post-Katrina transformation and challenges of New Orleans schools. Gambit interviews the author about her findings and insights.
Military academy reports $31,000 missing through fraudulent checks — The Lens | Police are investigating checks that were invoiced as expenses to Office Depot but were “actually made out to ‘POS Inc.,’ a nonprofit organization registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State that also goes by the name “People of Substance” and is linked to New Orleans Military/Maritime Academy’s former business manager.
BP oil spill trial opens with finger-pointing — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | A digest of reports from various news outlets recapping the first day of the BP oil spill civil trial. The trial is to determine BP’s degree of negligence in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout, which led to the largest offshore spill in history. Billions of dollars in fines, slated to fund coastal restoration, hang in the balance.
Judge in BP civil trial providing public with unusual access to web, records — The Lens | Bravo to Judge Carl Barbier, for allowing the media to use laptops and other communication devices in the courtroom, as well as other services normally allowed only to lawyers.
Kill Zone: Cleaning up oil junk, killing thousands of fish – FOX 8 WVUE | “A government mandate to clean up the oil industry’s junk in the Gulf of Mexico results each year in the killing of tens of thousands of fish.”
Malware on oil rig raises security fears — Houston Chronicle | Article explores whether malicious software unintentionally downloaded by offshore oil workers could compromise safety systems on drilling platforms. (Via Nola Defender.)
Government & Politics
Jindal: Obama administration using scare tactics as sequestration nears —The Town Talk | Gov. Bobby Jindal accused President Barack Obama of failing to lead, as automatic spending cuts are set to begin Friday. “‘He’s been involved in almost non-stop campaigning, trying to scare the American people, trying to scare states and others,’ said Jindal.” Here, the Washington Post provides a comprehensive state-by-state breakdown of the White House’s projected effects of the sequester spending cuts on each state.
Jindal faces troubles in his home state — The Advocate | A look at the growing discontent at home, as the Governor’s national profile is on the rise.
Our Views: Mr. Jindal, road scholar – The Advocate | The newspaper takes the governor to task for his national travels at, they contend, the expense of the state. In the title they use C.B. Forgotston’s longtime pun/epithet, mocking the Governor’s penchant for travel (and his Ivy League education).
RICO Part 1: The beginnings of a comprehensive timeline, from a Slabbed contributor — Slabbed | As former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard is headed to federal prison for four years, Slabbed contributors have assembled a timeline of key events in the wide-ranging Jefferson Parish corruption cases.
Katrina cottages more expensive than similar housing, plus program took too long, audit says – NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Delays, bloated expense, and an unclear mission characterized the failed post-Katrina housing program, a focus of prior coverage by The Lens.
Report: Levees prevented $234 billion in damages in 2011 flood – Mississippi Business Journal | The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pats itself on the back and says the Mississippi River levees held during the 2011 floods and prevented catastrophic overflow and $234 billion in damages.