NOAA Estimate of Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Is Shockingly Large — TIME | Last year, drought in the Midwest reduced fertilizer runoff into the Mississippi River tributaries, which made for a smaller oxygen-starved “dead zone” in the Gulf. This year will be different.
“The culprits behind the dead zone are many, but one deserves special attention: corn. Unlike, say, soybeans, which can grow without fertilizer, corn can’t grow without it. It takes 195 pounds of fertilizer to grow an acre of corn. And the U.S. grows a lot of corn — more than any other country.”
Surviving the Next Gulf Oil Spill – New York Times | In an opinion piece, coastal activist Ben Raines suggests using a fraction of BP oil spill money to purchase new wetlands and marsh.
What Sickens People in Oil Spills, and How Badly, Is Anybody’s Guess — InsideClimate News | Federal guidelines are unclear about when to evacuate from an oil spill, and there are no long-term studies on the effects of chemical exposure associated with spills.
9 Years, Countless Gallons Spilled, No End in Sight — SkyTruth | Recent satellite images show a 20-mile oil slick emanating from an offshore well owned by Taylor Energy. The well has been leaking for nine years straight. SkyTruth blogger Teri asks, “Why aren’t Louisiana’s politicians hopping mad about this?”
City argues new law will snarl NOPD detail reform — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, believes the city is narrowly interpreting a law he authored — one pertaining to NOPD detail jobs — in order to bolster its case against implementation of the consent decree.
Stabbing at Orleans Parish Prison illustrates ‘epidemic of violence,’ critics say — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Sheriff Marlin Gusman described wounds an inmate sustained in a recent stabbing as “several superficial cuts.” However, photographs taken shortly after the stabbing show a cell splattered with blood.
State photo-ID databases become troves for police – The Washington Post | Facial recognition technology is not used in any capacity in Louisiana, or 12 other states. However, such surveillance and identification tools are controversial in the rest of the country.
As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face. “Where is government going to go with that years from now?” said Louisiana state Rep. Brett Geymann, a conservative Republican who has fought the creation of such systems there.
Orleans Parish School Board pulls back on OneApp, lets schools choose students — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The Orleans Parish School Board voted to pull out of the OneApp centralized enrollment system. This means that parents who enrolled students in OPSB schools using OneApp, must re-enroll through their school’s specific registration procedures.
One-third of staff in four Capital One-New Beginnings schools won’t return in fall — The Lens
One-third of employees who staff the four New Beginnings School Foundation network schools will not return to work this fall, following a school year in which three of four principals resigned.
Public Schools And Solidarity — The American Conservative | Columnist Rod Dreher is appalled by reports that the East Baton Rouge school district is moving talented students around to schools in order to prop up school scores to avoid being taken over by the state. He asks, “What kind of message does that send to those students and their parents? That these children are pawns in a game designed to protect a system that doesn’t work?”
(My column about “shadow schools” described a similar effort seemingly geared to game the system.)
NORA offers Road Home properties to businesses, churches under little-known program — The Lens | Three years ago, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority created a program called Near Miss, which opened the door for non-residential property owners to buy Road Home lots. So far, 59 properties have been acquired. But the City Council never approved the program, and most of those properties have not been zoned for commercial use.
Government & Politics
Opinion: GOP needs action, not navel-gazing – Gov. Bobby Jindal – POLITICO | Not long ago, Gov. Jindal advised Republicans to stop being stupid. In this widely-mocked opinion piece, however, Jindal advises against reflection. Now is the time to act, he says. Then he makes the case — and it’s a bizarre and unconvincing one, saturated with straw-man arguments— that conservatives should act by waiting for Americans to realize that the political left is full of absurd views.
New Orleans lawmaker racks up second tax credit program win — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | “A tax credit program with a price tag of almost $50 million has been signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal. The New Markets Jobs Tax Credit, sponsored by a New Orleans lawmaker, would provide incentives for private businesses to invest in low-income rural and ’emerging urban’ communities.”