Sunday, May 31, 2009

This is "pro-life"?

George Tiller shot to death at Wichita church | News Updates | Wichita Eagle
George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride. | News | LSU eyes deep cuts — Baton Rouge, LA
Higher education could be left at just one-quarter of its current state funding levels in three years, according to a worst-case scenario released Friday by the LSU System.

The end result could be reducing state funding for colleges from $1.48 billion in 2008 to only $388 million in 2012.

Even closing several colleges would only put a dent in the onslaught of budget cuts by 2012, said Bob Keaton, LSU System special assistant and a former state Senate budget official.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pay now or pay later.

Thank goodness, the business community in Louisiana has more sense than the governor. | News | Groups ask to kill cuts to colleges — Baton Rouge, LA
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber and the business-funded Blueprint Louisiana group asked the Legislature on Thursday to eliminate all proposed budget cuts for higher education.

The request to the Senate Finance Committee was to allow colleges to evolve and adapt to the recession economy before instituting any of the proposed “draconian” cuts of 15 percent of their state funds.

The arguments from the business community were even stronger than from higher education officials, who have asked that their proposed $219 million in cuts be halved.

Higher ed administrators should be screaming about the cuts -- are they afraid of retribution from the governor or the lege? Probably so.

Health system in trouble too. | News | Health execs blast slated budget cuts — Baton Rouge, LA

We need to change the constitution of th estate of Louisiana. Now!!!

Sanity in the lege.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jindal vs. Higher Education. Who wins?

It looks like the debate over higher ed cuts is heating uf in the lege. Apparently some legislators are askng constituents to weigh in --

Proposal to head off massive education cuts faces uncertain fate | News for New Orleans, Louisiana | Top Stories | News and Weather for New Orleans |

One House member said voters' reactions to the proposal will be key: a flood of e-mails and phone calls -- for or against the idea -- could determine its fate.

"This will depend on the public outcry," said Rep. Michael Danahay, D-Sulphur.

Sen. Lydia Jackson's bill would affect roughly a quarter of Louisiana taxpayers, most of them wealthy, who take federal itemized deductions on their state taxes. Those taxpayers can now take 65 percent of the deductions, but a 2007 law says they can take 100 percent of them starting with 2009 tax forms.

*WWLTV:* * Proposal to head off massive education cuts faces uncertain fate*

Advertiser: *Lawmakers question Jindal's motives*

*Advertiser: Commentary: Just what is Jindal thinking on higher ed?

*Advertiser: Shaw CEO urges lawmakers to fight higher education cuts

* Witnesses decry cuts *

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rumsfeld and Katrina. Murder or negligent homicide?


Though various military bases had been mobilized into a state of alert well before the advance team’s tour, Rumsfeld’s aversion to using active-duty troops was evident: “There’s no doubt in my mind,” says one of Bush’s close advisers today, “that Rumsfeld didn’t like the concept.”

The next day, three days after landfall, word of disorder in New Orleans had reached a fever pitch. According to sources familiar with the conversation, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff called Rumsfeld that morning and said, “You’re going to need several thousand troops.”

“Well, I disagree,” said the SecDef. “And I’m going to tell the president we don’t need any more than the National Guard.”

The problem was that the Guard deployment (which would eventually reach 15,000 troops) had not arrived—at least not in sufficient numbers, and not where it needed to be. And though much of the chaos was being overstated by the media, the very suggestion of a state of anarchy was enough to dissuade other relief workers from entering the city. Having only recently come to grips with the roiling disaster, Bush convened a meeting in the Situation Room on Friday morning. According to several who were present, the president was agitated. Turning to the man seated at his immediate left, Bush barked, “Rumsfeld, what the hell is going on there? Are you watching what’s on television? Is that the United States of America or some Third World nation I’m watching? What the hell are you doing?”

Via Washington Monthly

Monday, May 04, 2009

NYT on Mayor of NO

Term Limits Say New Orleans Mayor Can’t Return; Residents Say They Don’t Mind -
“The mayor is not a hands-on administrator,” Dr. Renwick said. “He’s more a big-picture guy. And fixing streetlights is small picture. There’s a bit of a disconnect there.”

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I'm a diehard Saints fan, but where are our priorities? | News | New Saints deal questioned — Baton Rouge, LA
Even as Gov. Bobby Jindal and Saints owner Tom Benson announced from New Orleans their proposed new deal Thursday, some legislators in Baton Rouge questioned whether the state could afford to support the professional football team.

“This is a great day for Saints fans and the whole state of Louisiana,” Jindal said at a news conference inside the Louisiana Superdome where he and Benson announced a complex deal to keep the team in New Orleans through 2025.

Members of the Legislature are being asked to make deep cuts in higher education and health-care programs. The state faces a $1.3 billion drop in revenue for the fiscal year that starts July 1 and must cut state services to balance Jindal’s $26.7 billion budget.

State Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, echoed the comments of some House colleagues when he said Benson is wealthy enough to operate his business without help from the state.

Jones called the deal: “A welfare check for one of the richest men in Louisiana and we’re emptying our schools out.”

David Vitter: FEMA obstructionist.

Did he submit questions for Brownie? I would guess that he didn't.

Louisiana senator blocks nominee to lead FEMA | McClatchy
"I have a hold on the FEMA nomination because I sent a list of hurricane recovery questions and projects to FEMA, many of which have not been adequately addressed," Vitter said in a statement. "I'm eager to get full responses and meet with the nominee immediately."

The hold — which comes a month before the start of hurricane season — was reported in CQ Today, a Capitol Hill newspaper, which noted that Vitter's home state "bore the brunt of the botched agency response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005."

At that time, FEMA was led by Michael Brown, who had little emergency management experience. Fugate, however, garnered widespread praise for deft handling of back-to-back hurricanes in Florida and won bipartisan support at his confirmation hearing and was expected to be confirmed swiftly.

We will be watching closely.

May Day

The Big Picture
Today is May Day, and while International Workers’ Day (Labour Day in the UK), means little in the USA, its a big holiday in Europe. Banks and markets are closed on the continent, (England celebrates on Monday).

Speaking with Mike Panzner this morning (his clients are mostly Europeans) made me think about this: Which region is the true Socialist state?

-Europe has cradle to grave health care plans, generous unemployment benefits, and free or subsidized college costs.

-The US gives away public assets (oil, gas, mineral rights) for pennies on the dollar, has huge subsidies and tax breaks, and bails out reckless speculators.

It turns out that both regions are welfare states — only in Europe, the natural population (i.e., people) is the recipient, while in the US, the corporate population is the beneficiary.