Scientists outline danger of warming —The Advocate | At a climate science briefing held by the Environment and Public Works Committee of the U.S. Senate, a scientist claimed that New Orleans will be “gone” by 2100 due to global warming-induced sea level rise. The article noted that “no Republican on the committee, including Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who is the ranking GOP leader on the panel, attended the hearing.”
Flood Control in the Netherlands Now Allows Sea Water In – The New York Times
“The Dutch, with a knowledge of water, tides and floods honed by painful experience, can calculate to the centimeter — and the Dutch government legislates accordingly — exactly how high or low to position hundreds of dikes along rivers and other waterways to anticipate storms they estimate will occur once every 25 years, or every 1,000 years, or every 10,000. And now the evidence is leading them to undertake what may seem, at first blush, a counterintuitive approach: The Dutch are starting to let the water in. They are contriving to live with nature, rather than fight (what will inevitably be, they have come to realize) a losing battle. “
Marsh plants actively engineer their landscape — EurekAlert | A new scientific study says that some marsh plants in Venice are “secret gardeners” and subtly adjust their elevations by trapping different amounts of soil beneath them. Perhaps Louisiana’s vanishing wetlands are also more complicated than we assume (and therefore more difficult to fully restore).
Government & Politics
Louisiana tax overhaul mirrors ALEC policies, will hurt low and middle-income households: CBPP — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | A liberal think tank says Gov. Bobby Jindal’s “tax swap” proposal will benefit the rich and hurt the poor. The group traces the idea to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group that partners corporate interests with legislators. According to the article, an analyst from ALEC “could not confirm whether the governor has worked with ALEC staff on his tax overhaul, [but] he did say the organization believes the governor’s plan is ‘a definite step in the right direction.'” Jindal was a featured speaker at the 2011 ALEC conference in New Orleans.
Vitter files immigration bills — The Advocate | Undeterred by recent GOP moderation on illegal immigration, Sen. David Vitter filed six new bills on the issue that he believes are prerequisites to any discussion of “a path to citizenship.” Vitter pointed to President Reagan’s 1986 immigration reform as a horribly failed model that only worsened the problem. One of Vitter’s bills is titled “The Birthright Citizenship Act,” which largely prevents U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants from claiming U.S. citizenship.
Landrieu leads potential foes for reelection – Public Policy Polling | Results from a left-leaning poll have raised eyebrows. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s numbers have dropped, while Sen. Mary Landrieu’s have risen. In a hypothetical matchup between the two in the 2014 Senate race, Landrieu leads Jindal 49 percent to 41. Landrieu leads in seven other head-to-head Senate match-ups with top Louisiana Republicans who hold statewide office. Another recent poll by Voter Consumer Research shows Jindal’s approval at 46%, with a disapproval rating of 48%.
Whole Foods announces plan to open store at former Schwegmann’s in Mid-City — The Advocate | A Whole Foods spokeswoman said the store will anchor an unspecified “development” at the site.
Officials to study bike sharing program — New Orleans CityBusiness
New Orleans has been selected to receive technical assistance to explore the potential of establishing a bike sharing program. Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the program yesterday. Bike sharing programs are designed to provide free or affordable access to bicycles for short trips in an urban area as an alternative to motorized public transit or private vehicles.
The city and Bike Easy sponsored a demonstration bicycle-sharing in the days leading up to the Super Bowl.
Audit probing whether NOPD used Isaac reimbursements to compensate officers who worked Southern Decadence — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office is investigating claims that New Orleans police officers who worked Southern Decadence Festival were compensated with federal funds designated for emergency costs related to Hurricane Isaac.
Pa. Senate votes to KO Phila. Traffic Court—Philly.com | Only one traffic court judge remains in Philadelphia after nine others were charged with ticket-fixing in January. Now the state Senate has moved to remove the Traffic Court itself, saying it is unnecessary and has embarrassed the state. New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux has criticized New Orleans’ Traffic Court and suggested the city could save $2.5 million if it were merged with the city’s Municipal Court.
Tulane hires former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten – Fox 8 | Letten, the longtime U.S. Attorney who resigned after his top lawyers became part of an online commenting scandal, is now the new assistant dean for experiential learning at Tulane University.
Louisiana schools OK’d for voucher increase in 2013-14 — TheTownTalk.com | According to state education Superintendent John White, 133 schools have been approved to take part in the voucher program for the upcoming academic year, 16 more than the current year.
New College Scorecard shows average costs, loan default rates for colleges | NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The U.S. Education Department has unveiled “an interactive College Scorecard that provides students and their parents with data such as cost, graduation rates and percentages of students defaulting on loans for thousands of institutions — small and large, public and private.” The story includes data on local colleges and universities.
Early Education Far Short of Goal in Obama Speech – The New York Times | In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama expressed a desire for “high-quality” universal preschool. The story points to Alabama as a success story:
Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican, has called for a $12.5 million increase — or more than 60 percent — in the state’s preschool budget, with the eventual goal of increasing financing over 10 years to the point where every 4-year-old in the state could have a preschool slot. The governor’s proposal is supported by a coalition of early-education advocates and business leaders, who see preschool as an important component of future job readiness.
Special education funding change tackles subpar outcomes — Between The Lines blog | LSU Professor Jeffrey Sadow opines that Gov. Jindal’s proposal to reallocate funding to special education students could “improve the state’s dismal standing, where only half of the national average of such students earn a high school diploma. “