Depressing video of the day

1/2 acre of Louisiana sinks into the Gulf of Mexico every 15 minutes

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Stelly plan reversal in the works

From what I understand, this is good news for the state of Louisiana.

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Reversal of 'Stelly Plan' moves through Senate's tax committee

via KATC – Louisiana Headlines on Jun 21, 2007

BATON ROUGE, La. — A proposal to reverse some of the tax changes known as the “Stelly Plan” advanced on Wednesday, which could mean breaks for Louisianians who itemize their state…

Sundown towns

I remember my first summer selling books in Tishomingo, Mississippi. I worked in small towns like Belmont, Iuka, and Burnsville, and meeting and dealing with the general public at 18 years old. I remember the first day Paul “The Rock” Dupuy trained me, during which we met a respectable white family. The father very casually made an extremely racist remark during the sale. I thought it was strange because Belmont was a small town (~1000) with not a lot of blacks in it (<100). Although this attitude was prevalent throughout Tishomingo, one of the top policemen in Iuka was a black transplant from Memphis (quite frankly my favorite customer that summer). I thought that there is a difference between racist guff and racist policy. Tishomingo, MS was no Cullman, AL. I heard that first summer about the signs posted in Cullman, Alabama informing certain groups about where they should not be when the sun goes down.

For the most part states like LA, MS, AL, and SC,have a lot of racist guff and less racist policy. My second summer, in Estille and Jones counties in Kentucky, was a marked contrast. Race wasn’t an issue, but people complained about city folk from Richmond. I met 3 or 4 black people in two Kentucky counties (most blacks lived in Richmond, home of Eastern Kentucky University). I always wondered how and why the demographics broke down like that.

The racial purity in rural Kentucky was no accident. I found an excerpt from a recent book called Sundown towns which discusses the formation of white’s only towns like Cullman, AL and Corbin, KY. After being in Columbus, Ohio for nearly six years (ugh!) I found this passage not surprising.

Even though sundown towns were everywhere, almost no literature exists on
the topic.7No book has ever been written about the making of all-white towns
in America.8 Indeed, this story is so unknown as to deserve the term hidden.
Most Americans have no idea such towns or counties exist,or they think such
things happened mainly in the Deep South. Ironically, the traditional South
has almost no sundown towns. Mississippi, for instance, has no more than 6,
mostly mere hamlets, while Illinois has no fewer than 456…

Dr James Loewen, the author, goes on to note that Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Connecticut were far more exclusionary in practice than was Louisiana or Alabama. I think I could quibble with the author about his parameters, but in general he has presented a good case of systematic racism. In my opinion, this was the impetus that essentially forced blacks into urban populations where they have been forced into poor school districts and the learned helplessness of subsidized housing and welfare benefits.

Often media elites ascribe racism to confederate states (or Republican voters), but Dr. Loewen presents an eye-opening case of persistent Yankee racism.

In my neck of the woods nearly a hundred years ago, blacks could own property out in the country without fear, which doesn’t seem to be the case in Kentucky or Indiana. Also, Louisiana has a population of rural Jews, a rare occurrence in the US (perhaps the world!). There is a lot more to the story than David Duke.

Sundown Towns website

Bobby Jindal and FEMA

Bobby Jindal takes up the case against FEMA. My take is that these things get slapped together in a hurry in an emergency. Many people looked the other way with regards to health hazards in the wake of disasters like Katrina. That doesn’t mean problems and mistakes should be swept under the rug. He may only be grandstanding, but I don’t see any other congressmen or Senators taking up the case here, if any other representatives are speaking out about this.

“Further, case studies show that even if residents followed FEMA’s guidelines on appropriate ventilation of trailers, high levels of formaldehyde can remain,” Jindal said.

Possible overhaul of Louisiana public defender policy

I don’t know if this will solve problems, but something needs to be done to address the sixty-day murders that plague the city.

Rep. Danny Martiny, chair of the House Criminal Justice Committee, is sponsor of a book-length bill that would create a new state board to take responsibility from the state’s local indigent defender offices, which are now overseen by 41 independent boards around the state.

Critics say the system is possibly unconstitutional, among the country’s worst, and suffers from a lack of oversight over public defenders and poor tracking of their caseloads. Prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges and public defenders themselves have long agreed that the system is broken, but they disagreed over how to fix it.

If you want a glimpse of crime in the Big Easy, check out NOLA-dishu, run by an engineer who plugs in crime stats for the city into Google maps. An indisposable resource.

Chinese seafood restrictions in Louisiana

Congratulations to Bob Odom, for taking time out of his busy schedule to do his job. As politics trend further toward federalism, states will have to take more initiative to keep their citizens safe.

Last week, the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce announced it had ordered a halt to the sale of Chinese catfish in Mississippi grocery stores after tests found ciprofloxacin and enrofloxacin, members of the fluoroquinolones family of antibiotics, which are banned for use in the United States.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries conducted similar tests and last month placed a stop-sale order on all catfish imported from China. Commissioner Ron Sparks said 14 of 20 Chinese catfish samples had tested positive for fluoroquinolones.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, an Arkansas Democrat, said that he has asked the FDA to ban imported Chinese fish being sold as catfish until an investigation is complete.

Catfish Farmers of America, a trade group based in Jackson, Mississippi, says fluoroquinolones “can cause serious side effects including nerve, muscle and heart problems, as well as allergic reactions.” Resistance to fluoroquinolones also can develop rapidly, causing possibly life-threatening consequences for some consumers, the catfish trade group said.

Anyone till craving Chinese crawfish?

Oh, yeah, and an epidemic in south China is causing pigs to bleed through their bodies…

Hong Kong television broadcasts and newspapers were full of lurid accounts today of pigs staggering around with blood pouring from their bodies in Gaoyao and neighboring Yunfu, both in Guangdong Province. The Apple Daily newspaper said that as many as 80 percent of the pigs in the area had died, that panicky farmers were selling ailing animals at deep discounts and that pig carcasses were floating in a river.

The reports in Hong Kong said the disease began killing pigs after the Chinese New Year celebrations in February, and is now spreading. But state-controlled news outlets in China have reported almost nothing about the pig deaths, and very little about the wheat gluten problem.

After Hurricane Katrina, guess who wasn’t in Maryland

A great article/lovefest over Bobby Jindal. I think any state would be lucky to have this guy as a serious candidate for governor.

An excerpt:

Bobby Jindal doesn’t tell a lot of stories about what he did during Katrina. Seeing the devastation firsthand does that to you. You have to hear it from the people around him, the people who saw what he did.

A few days after the storm, there was a meeting of the Louisiana principals. Blanco was there, FEMA’s soon-to-be-infamous Michael Brown, a handful of Congressmen, and every local political staffer worth shaking a stick at, and some not even worth that. It was supposed to start at Noon. At 12:30, it still hadn’t. People were milling around, chatting, giving quotes to reporters.

Jindal surveyed the room for a few minutes. Then he saw Blanco and the others pause to look at a television in the corner—it was footage from another press conference they’d had the previous day, broadcasting on CNN. The politicians all stood around, watching themselves on the screen.

Jindal turned to his chief of staff, and said, “Let’s go.”

You can imagine where it goes from there. Worth an honest read.