Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Scuzzbucket of the Week

Representative Steve King from the great state of Iowa.

During a tele-townhall event last week, King complained about an amendment to the farm bill that would criminalize attending organized animal fights and would impose additional penalties on people who bring children to the events.

Here's his quote: “When the legislation that passed in the farm bill that says that it’s a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight, but it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting, there’s something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that."

Um, Steve? People fight of their own will and usually make a hunk of money to fight.


Graceful Gabby Douglas courtesy of Huffington Post

Congratulations to the U.S. Womens Gymnastic Team for winning their first Gold Medal in 16 years!

Another Post-K Milestone

Almost seven years post Katrina, St. Bernard Parish is celebrating a brand new hospital.

The three-story, 40-bed hospital includes an Emergency Department and an Intensive Care Unit, along with a full range of healthcare services: general medicine, general surgery, orthopedics, urology, endoscopy, radiation therapy, physical therapy and skilled nursing. The hospital could be expanded to 60 beds without additional construction because its design calls for private rooms that would be large enough to be converted to semi-private rooms. The overall size of the hospital could be further increased to 100 beds through additional construction in the form of vertical and horizontal expansions.

Chalmette Medical Center, the parish’s lone hospital, flooded in Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and never reopened.

Virtually every structure in Chalmette was damaged/flooded after Katrina. Take a ride through St. Bernard Parish and you can still find empty slabs next to rebuilt homes.

Kudo's to the Parish!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Sad Day for NOLA

picture courtesty of Will T from Flickr

As I was driving into work this morning I heard about the 5 alarm fire at the Hubig Pie Company in New Orleans.

While walking from my car into work, I could both see and smell the smoke. It's a sad day. Not sure about the outcome of this tragedy. But you can be sure I'm going to the store after work and stock up on some Hubigs.

A Hubig employee on the radio said the building is completely gone. Sigh

But they'll be back. Here's a little history of the other tragedies they have come back from .

Here's an article from the New York Times about the fire.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Buying the 2012 Election

From politicususa dot com: Senator Bernie Sanders exposes the billionaires buying the 2012 election

According to the report, America for Sale: A Report on Billionaires Buying the 2012 Election, here are the 26 billionaires who are trying to buy your government:

1). Sheldon Adelson,78, owner of the Las Vegas Sands Casino, is worth nearly $25 billion, making him the 14th wealthiest person in the world and the 7th richest person in America. While median family income plummeted by nearly 40% from 2007-2010, Mr. Adelson has experienced a nearly eightfold increase in his wealth over the past three years (from $3.4 billion to $24.9 billion). Forbes recently reported that Adelson is willing to spend a “limitless” amount of money or more than $100 million to help defeat President Obama in November.

2. The Kochs (David, Charles, and William), 72 76 and 72 respectively, are worth a combined $103 billion, according to Forbes. They have pledged to spend about $400 million during the 2012 election season. The Kochs own more wealth than the bottom 41.7 percent of American households or more than 49 million Americans.

3. Jim Walton, 64, is worth $23.7 billion. He has donated $300,000 to super PACs in 2012.

4. Harold Simmons, 81, is worth $9 billion. He has donated $15.2 million to super PACs this year.

5. Peter Thiel, 44, is worth $1.5 billion. He has donated $6.7 million to Super PACs this year.

6. Jerrold Perenchio, 81, is worth $2.3 billion. He has donated $2.6 million to super PACs this year.

7. Kenneth Griffin, 43, is worth $3 billion and he has given $2.08 million to super PACs in 2012.

8. James Simons, 74, is worth $10.7 billion and he has given $1.5 million to super Pacs this year.

9. Julian Robertson, 80, is worth $2.5 billion and he has given $1.25 million to super PACs this year.

10. Robert Rowling, 58, is worth $4.8 billion and he has given $1.1 million to super PACs.

11. John Paulson, 56, the hedge fund manager who made his fortune betting that the sub-prime mortgage market would collapse, is worth $12.5 billion. He has donated $1 million to super PACs.

12. Richard and J.W. Marriott, 73 and 80 respectively, are worth a combined $3.1 billion and they have donated $2 million to super PACs this year.

13.James Davis, 69, is worth $1.9 billion and he has given $1 million to super PACs this year.

14. Harold Hamm, 66, is worth $11 billion and he has given $985,000 to super PACs this year.

15. Kenny Troutt, 59, is worth more than $1.2 billion and he has given $900,000 to super PACs this year.

16. Louis Bacon, 54, is worth $1.4 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.

17.Bruce Kovner, 67, is worth $4.5 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.

18. Warren Stephens, 55, is worth $2.7 billion and he has given $500,000 to super PACs this year.

19. David Tepper, 54, is worth $5.1 billion and he has given $375,000 to super PACs this year.

20. Samuel Zell, 70, is worth $4.9 billion and he has given $270,000 to super PACs this year.

21. Leslie Wexner is worth $4.3 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.

22. Charles Schwab, 74, is worth $3.5 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.

23. Kelcy Warren, 56, is worth $2.3 billion and he has given $250,000 to super PACs this year.

The thing that these billionaires love most about Citizens United it is that it allows them to operate in total darkness. The American people couldn’t fight back because the billionaires were giving their money anonymously. This same cloak of invisibility is what made ALEC so effective for years. The conservative billionaire cabal works best in private, behind closed doors, far away from curious eyes.

With his report today, Senator Sanders has made it more difficult for thieves of liberty to keep operating in the night. We now have a list of names and we know what they are trying to do to our government. Sen. Sanders is one of the few federally elected officials who has the courage to talk about these people in public.

Most of the members of the House and Senate are too afraid to speak of, much less take on, the billionaires. Even those decent members of Congress who might speak out against them have been terrified into silence by threats of multimillion dollar negative ad buys that will run against the incumbent back home.

Bernie Sanders is displaying a brand of political courage that is sorely lacking in American politics today, and he needs you to stand with him to protect our liberties, our freedoms, and to battle to return the government back to the American people.

A laugh for a not-so-funny week

Thanks to Charlotte


Scuzzbucket of the Week

It's been quite a while since I've had a Scuzzbucket of the Week. Not that there's any shortage out there, I've just been lazy.

This is an election year when ALL of the super rich, racists, politicians and others come out of the woodwork with their crazy opinions. So I'm going to take advantage of it and bring back a weekly nominee.

This week's SOTW is Jon Llewellyn Kyl - the junior United States Senator from Arizona.

What got my blood boiling is this quote:(from huffpo)

“We have a president who talks incessantly about class, particularly the middle class,” Kyl said.

"I just think the whole discussion of class is wrong. it's not what we do here in America," said Kyl. He added, "I don't think there's anything called 'middle class values' that are different from the values of other people in this country. Tell me what's different about the values of someone who the president identifies as middle class?"

Kyl said he sees the rich very differently -- more like sports heroes along the line of Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan.

"When Michael Jordan came, after he established how great he would be, he was given an enormous, almost unheard of salary. Did the other players say, 'That's not fair?' No, actually all the other players got big salary increases, too," Kyl said. "The whole franchise did well, the people selling popcorn, the people parking the cars ... made more money than they ever would have had Michael Jordan never came to the team."

We can see here why Kyl is rich, as he doesn't leave tips in restaurants.

Here's what he thinks of unemployment benefits:

While he's not as rich as most politicians, his net worth is not in the "middle class" category.

An article in the New York Times discusses the "decline of the middle class. Excerpt:

...the relatively meager gains the American economy has produced in recent years have largely flowed to a small segment of the most affluent households, leaving middle-class and poor households with slow-growing living standards.

Monday, July 23, 2012

RIP Sally Ride

Gone too soon, America's first woman in Space, Sally Ride, succumbed to pancreatic cancer today

I have worked in the Space Industry for 30 years now, watched each Space Shuttle Launch with pride and awe. Sort of "knew" the astronauts thanks to NASA's distribution of each crewmember's biography before each launch.

Sally Ride was so BIG in my eyes: such a smart woman, a brave woman. I'm sad to see her pass on - to my surprise - so young. Godspeed, Sally.

From Boston dot com

WASHINGTON—Sally Ride, who blazed trails into orbit as the first American woman in space, died Monday of pancreatic cancer. She was 61.

Ride died at her home in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, said Terry McEntee, a spokeswoman for her company, Sally Ride Science. She was a private person and the details of her illness were kept to just a few people, she said.

Ride rode into space on the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 when she was 32. After her flight, more than 42 other American women flew in space, NASA said.

"Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model. She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a former astronaut, said Ride "broke barriers with grace and professionalism -- and literally changed the face of America's space program."

"The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers," he said in a statement.

Ride was a physicist, writer of five science books for children and president of her own company. She had also been a professor of physics at the University of California in San Diego.

She was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1978, the same year she earned her doctorate in physics from Stanford University. She beat out five women to be the first American female in space. Her first flight came two decades after the Soviets sent a woman into space

"On launch day, there was so much excitement and so much happening around us in crew quarters, even on the way to the launch pad," Ride recalled in a NASA interview for the 25th anniversary of her flight in 2008. "I didn't really think about it that much at the time -- but I came to appreciate what an honor it was to be selected to be the first to get a chance to go into space."

Ride flew in space twice, both times on Challenger in 1983 and in 1984, logging 343 hours in space. A third flight was cancelled when Challenger exploded in 1986. She was on the commission investigating that accident and later served on the panel for the 2003 Columbia shuttle accident, the only person on both boards.

She also was on the president's committee of science advisers.

The 20th anniversary of her first flight also coincided with the loss of Columbia, a bittersweet time for Ride, who discussed it in a 2003 interview with The Associated Press. She acknowledged it was depressing to spend the anniversary investigating the accident, which killed seven astronauts.

"But in another sense, it's rewarding because it's an opportunity to be part of the solution and part of the changes that will occur and will make the program better," she said.

Later in the interview, she focused on science education and talked about "being a role model and being very visible."

"She was very smart," said former astronaut Norman Thagard, who was on Ride's first flight. "We did have a good time."

It was all work on that first flight, except for a first-in-space sprint around the inside of the shuttle, Thagard recalled by phone on Monday. He didn't know who won.

One of Ride's last legacies was allowing middle school students to take their own pictures of the moon using cameras aboard NASA's twin Grail spacecraft in a project spearheaded by her company.

"Sally literally could have done anything with her life. She decided to devote her life to education and to inspiring young people. To me, that's such a powerful thing. It's extraordinarily admirable," said Maria Zuber, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who heads the Grail mission.

Ride's office said she is survived by Tam O'Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years; her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear, a niece and a nephew.

ABC's of me

A. Age: 57

B. Bed size: King

C. Chores you dislike: window washing

D. Dogs: one huge lab

E. Essential start to your day: My redbull to get me thru my commute.

F. Favorite color: Green.

G. Gold or silver: Silver.

H. Height: 5' 5".

I. Instruments you play(ed): None .

J. Job title: Senior Cost Analyst

K. Kids: Sarah Mae

L. Live: Slidell, Louisiana

M. Mom’s name: Mae

N. Nicknames: Judy

O. Overnight hospital stays: a few weeks ago, thought I was having a heart attack, but all is good.

P. Pet peeves: Animal abusers and rude people

Q. Quote from a movie: "Toys" (from ET)

R. Righty or lefty:Lefty

S. Siblings: Tom, Patty, Ted and Terry

T. Time you wake up: 3:45 a.m.

U. Underwear: umm...yeah

V. Vegetables you don’t like: chick peas

W. What makes you run late: Nothing makes me run late unless I’m waiting on someone else. I like to be on time for everything.

X. X-rays you’ve had: My pinky toe that I fractured a few months ago (it's been a down year physically, LOL)

Y. Yummy food you make: I'm quite creative with leftovers.

Z. Zoo animal you like: all of them!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Five Obamacare Myths

Five Obamacare Myths
of nytimes.com

ON the subject of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare, to reclaim the name critics have made into a slur — a number of fallacies seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the result of unrelenting Republican propaganda and right-wing punditry, but it has gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats. The result is that voters are confronted with slogans and side issues — “It’s a tax!” “No, it’s a penalty!” — rather than a reality-based discussion. Let’s unpack a few of the most persistent myths.

The House Republican majority was at it again last week, staging the 33rd theatrical vote to roll back the Affordable Care Act. And once again the cliché of the day was “job-killer.” After years of trying out various alarmist falsehoods the Republicans have found one that seems, judging from the polls, to have connected with the fears of voters.

Some of the job-killer scare stories are based on a deliberate misreading of a Congressional Budget Office report that estimated the law would “reduce the amount of labor used in the economy” by about 800,000 jobs. Sounds like a job-killer, right? Not if you read what the C.B.O. actually wrote. While some low-wage jobs might be lost, the C.B.O. number mainly refers to workers who — being no longer so dependent on employers for their health-care safety net — may choose to retire earlier or work part time. Those jobs would then be open for others who need them.

The impartial truth squad FactCheck.org has debunked the job-killer claim so many times that in its latest update you can hear a groan of weary frustration: words like “whopper” and “bogus” and “hooey.” The job-killer claim is also discredited by the experience under the Massachusetts law on which Obamacare was modeled.

Ultimately the Affordable Care Act could be a tonic for the economy. It aims to slow the raging growth of health care costs by, among other things, using the government’s Medicare leverage to move doctors away from exorbitant fee-for-service medicine, with its incentive to pile on unnecessary procedures. Two veteran health economists, David Cutler of Harvard and Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, have calculated that over the first decade of Obamacare total spending on health care, in part by employers, will be half a trillion dollars lower than under the status quo.

Let’s be blunt. The word for that is “lie.” The main thing the law does is deliver 30 million new customers to the private insurance industry. Indeed, a significant portion of the unhappiness with Obamacare comes from liberals who believe it is not nearly federal enough: that the menu of insurance choices should have included a robust public option, or that Medicare should have been expanded into a form of universal coverage.

Under the law, to be sure, insurance will be governed by new regulations, and supported by new subsidies. This is not the law Ayn Rand would have written. But the share of health care spending that comes from the federal government is expected to rise only modestly, to nearly 50 percent in 2021, and much of that is due not to Obamacare but to baby boomers joining Medicare.

This is a “federal takeover” only in the crazy world where Barack Obama is a “socialist.”

To the extent there is a profound difference of principle anywhere in this debate, it lies here. Conservatives contend that if you give consumers a voucher or a tax credit and set them loose in the marketplace they will do a better job than government at finding the services — schools, retirement portfolios, or in this case health insurance policies — that fit their needs.

I’m a pretty devout capitalist, and I see that in some cases individual responsibility helps contain wasteful spending on health care. If you have to share the cost of that extra M.R.I. or elective surgery, you’ll think hard about whether you really need it. But I’m deeply suspicious of the claim that a health care system dominated by powerful vested interests and mystifying in its complexity can be tamed by consumers who are strapped for time, often poor, sometimes uneducated, confused and afraid.

“Ten percent of the population accounts for 60 percent of the health outlays,” said Davis. “They are the very sick, and they are not really in a position to make cost-conscious choices.”

The Republican alternative to Obamacare consists in large part of letting each state do its own thing. Presumably the best ideas will go viral.

States do have a long history of pioneering new ideas, sometimes enlightened (Oregon’s vote-by-mail comes to mind) and sometimes less benign (see Florida’s loopy gun laws). Obamacare actually underwrites pilot programs to reduce costs, and gives states freedom — some would argue too much freedom — in designing insurance-buying exchanges. But the best ideas don’t spread spontaneously. Some states are too poor to adopt worthwhile reforms. Some are intransigent, or held captive by lobbies.

You’ve heard a lot about the Massachusetts law. You may not have heard about the seven other states that passed laws requiring insurers to offer coverage to all. They were dismal failures because they failed to mandate that everyone, including the young and healthy, buy in. Massachusetts — fairly progressive, relatively affluent, with an abundance of health providers — included a mandate and became the successful exception. To expand that program beyond Massachusetts required ... Barack Obama.

When Mitt Romney signed that Massachusetts law in 2006, the coverage kicked in almost immediately. Robert Blendon, a Harvard expert on health and public opinion, recalls the profusion of heartwarming stories about people who had depended on emergency rooms and charity but now, at last, had a regular relationship with a doctor. Romneycare was instantly popular in the state, and remains so, though it seems to have been disowned by its creator.

Unfortunately, the benefits of Obamacare do not go wide until 2014, so there are not yet testimonials from enthusiastic, family-next-door beneficiaries. This helps explain why the bill has not won more popular affection. (It also explains why the Republicans are so desperate to kill it now, before Americans feel the abundant rewards.)

Blendon believes that because of the delayed benefits and the general economic anxiety, “It will be very hard for the Democrats to move the needle” on the issue this election year.

He may be right, but shame on the Democrats if they don’t try. There’s no reason except cowardice for failing to mount a full-throated defense of the law. It is not perfect, but it is humane, it is (thanks to the Supreme Court) fiscally viable, and it comes with some reasonable hopes of reforming the cockeyed way we pay health care providers.

Even before the law takes full effect, it has a natural constituency, starting with every cancer victim, every H.I.V. sufferer, everyone with a condition that now would keep them from getting affordable coverage. Any family that has passed through the purgatory of cancer — as mine did this year, with decent insurance — can imagine the hell of doing it without insurance.

Against this, Mitt Romney offers some vague free-market principles and one unambiguous promise: to dash the hopes of 30 million uninsured, and add a few million to their ranks by slashing Medicaid.

If the Obama campaign needs a snappy one-liner, it could borrow this one from David Cutler: “Never before in history has a candidate run for president with the idea that too many people have insurance coverage.”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On the Recent Healtchare Ruling

Here's a breakdown of what the Healtchare Ruling means to you from this link via CNN.

Here are some highlights:

The uninsured

The decision leaves in place the so-called individual mandate -- the requirement on Americans to have or buy health insurance beginning in 2014 or face a penalty -- although many are exempt from that provision.

In 2014, the penalty will be $285 per family or 1% of income, whichever is greater. By 2016, it goes up to $2,085 per family or 2.5% of income.

Ruling on individual mandate explained Health care exchanges, which are designed to offer cheaper health care plans, remain in place as well.

American Cancer Society CEO John Seffrin said his organization was looking at the ruling on Medicaid, and is "concerned that the decision may limit the expansion of quality coverage to some of our nation's most vulnerable citizens."

The group Health Care for America Now, which spent tens of millions of dollars on ads supporting the health care plan, said it was "disappointed" and will work to make sure no states "choose to exclude the lowest-income uninsured adults from their Medicaid programs."

Medicaid Health Plans of America, the trade group representing Medicaid health plans, praised the court "for keeping in place key elements of this historic legislation" and said it remains "committed to a strong partnership with the states and CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to find a way to cover this population in need."

Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Georgia, a physician who staunchly opposed the health care law, told CNN he believes many who would have received Medicaid will now enter the health care exchanges, which offer subsidized plans. That, he argued, could cost taxpayers billions of dollars across the country.

Breaking down the court's decision

The insured

Because the requirement remains for people to have or buy insurance, the revenue stream designed to help pay for the law remains in place. So insured Americans may be avoiding a spike in premiums that could have resulted if the high court had tossed out the individual mandate but left other requirements on insurers in place.

Young adults

Millions of young adults up to age 26 who have gained health insurance due to the law will be able to keep it. The law requires insurers to cover the children of those they insure up to age 26. About 2.5 million young adults from age 19 to 25 obtained health coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Two of the nation's largest insurers, United Healthcare and Humana, recently announced they would voluntarily maintain some aspects of health care reform, including coverage of adult dependents up to age 26, even if the law was scrapped.

People with pre-existing conditions

Since the law remains in place, the requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing medical conditions remains active.

The law also established that children under the age of 19 could no longer have limited benefits or be denied benefits because they had a pre-existing condition.

Starting in 2014, the law makes it illegal for any health insurance plan to use pre-existing conditions to exclude, limit or set unrealistic rates on coverage.

It also established national high-risk pools that people with such conditions could join sooner to get health insurance. As of April, a total of only about 67,000 people were enrolled in federally-funded pools established by the health care law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

More than 13 million American non-elderly adults have been denied insurance specifically because of their medical conditions, according to the Commonwealth Fund. The Kaiser Family Foundation says 21% of people who apply for health insurance on their own get turned down, are charged a higher price, or offered a plan that excludes coverage for their pre-existing condition.

All taxpayers

No matter what the Supreme Court had decided, it would have been a mixed bag for all Americans when it comes to federal spending. There is heated dispute over what impact the health care law will have on the country over the long term.

The federal government is set to spend more than $1 trillion over the next decade to subsidize coverage and expand eligibility for Medicaid.

It is not immediately clear how the high court's ruling on the part of the law dealing with the expansion of Medicaid eligibility could affect spending.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the law could reduce deficits modestly in the first 10 years and then much more significantly in the second decade.

The CBO said a repeal of the mandate could reduce deficits by $282 billion over 10 years, because the government would be subsidizing insurance for fewer people. But the nation faces costs in various ways for having people who are uninsured. The Urban Institute's Health Policy Center estimated that without a mandate, 40 million Americans would remain uninsured.

Meanwhile, the Flexible Spending Accounts that millions of Americans use to save money tax-free for medical expenses will be sliced under the law. FSAs often allow people to put aside up to $5,000 pre-tax; as of 2013, they were to face an annual limit of $2,500.

Small business owners

The rules and benefits small business owners face as a result of the health care law remain in place.

As CNN has chronicled, the law brought a mix of both. The director of the National Federation of Independent Business is one of the plaintiffs who pushed the court to strike down the law. Meanwhile, a group called Small Business Majority fought to protect the law, saying its loss could be a nightmare.

As of 2014, under the law, small firms with more than 50 full-time employees would have to provide coverage or face expensive fines.

All Americans, in lesser known ways

The massive health care law requires doctors to report goodies they get from medical supply companies; demands more breastfeeding rooms; requires all chain restaurants to list calories under every menu item, and includes numerous other provisions, which now remain in place.

Doctors and other health care providers

Health care providers have already begun making changes based on the 2010 law, and in preparation for what will go into effect in 2014. Those plans continue.

In the short term, doctors avoid "chaos" that may have resulted from the law suddenly being dropped or changed, according to Bob Doherty, senior vice president of governmental affairs at the American College of Physicians, who wrote a blog post on the website kevinmd.com this spring.


Art Prints

A Letter to the Newhouse Family

Found on the Gambit website, here is a letter sent to the Newhouse clan regarding the Times Picayune's future. Read the whole story here.

TO: Robyn A. Newhouse, Mark Newhouse, Peter C. Newhouse, Jonathan E. Newhouse, David Newhouse, Si Newhouse Jr., Pamela Newhouse Mensch, Joseph Mensch, Samuel Newhouse III, Samuel Newhouse IV, Donald Newhouse, Katherine N. Mele, Michael Newhouse, Steven O. Newhouse, Julie B. Lobel, Amy B. Bermant-Adler, Robert J. Miron, Steven A. Miron, Nomi Bergman, Caroline D. Harrison, Alison Levasseur and Richard E. Diamond Jr.:

Dear ______ :

Nearly a half century ago, your family invested in the future of New Orleans by purchasing our daily newspapers. Norman Newhouse came to New Orleans, raised a family here, and was welcomed by our community.

Your family has been a blessing to our city. You built one of the greatest local newspapers in the United States, became one of our most respected employers, grew with us as our people spread out across seven parishes, and stood selflessly with the citizens of New Orleans when a vicious storm knocked us down.

In return, our city has supported your family. The Times-Picayune, a recipient of four Pulitzer awards, likes to boast that it has the best readership of any major metropolitan market. And that makes us proud too, because it shows how our community is loyal, engaged and dedicated to civic discourse. In other cities, newspapers were hemorrhaging money but The Times-Picayune remained profitable and loyal to the employees who have served New Orleans so well.

Unfortunately and sadly, the considerable goodwill your family enterprise has created in New Orleans in the last 50 years has dissipated in just a few short months because of the decision that took our entire community by surprise. Advance Publications and its leadership have lost the trust and credibility of a significant segment of the community. Citizens have publically protested the proposed new format; prominent civic and business leaders and advertisers have stepped up to speak out against the plan, and an online petition is climbing toward 10,000 signatures, including celebrities like Ed Asner and Garrison Keillor and ordinary New Orleanians whose comments are a tribute to the towering impact of the newspaper you built. Clearly, the voices of our community are strongly opposed to what you are doing.

It is painful to report that right now it is nearly impossible to find a kind word in these parts about your family or your plan to take away our daily newspaper. Our community leaders believe that your decision is undermining the important work we continue to face in rebuilding New Orleans. Whether you intended to or not, you have already created the impression that our recovery is so tepid that we cannot support an important civic institution like a daily newspaper.

In the end, we fear our community has already made its judgment on the three-day publication plan and the damage already realized cannot be undone. But the relationship between your family and our community does not have to end sourly. If your family does not believe in the future of this great city and its capacity to support a daily newspaper, it is only fair to allow us to find someone who does.

If you have ever valued the friendship you have shared with our city and your loyal readers, we ask that you sell the Times-Picayune. Our city wants a daily printed paper, needs a daily printed paper and deserves a daily printed paper

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Olympics for Animals


UrtheCast (pronounced “EarthCast”) is a company created around a unique vision: to provide the world’s first ever, live HD video feed of Earth from space.

Working in an exclusive relationship with world-famous Russian Aerospace giant RSC Energia, UrtheCast is building, launching, installing, and operating two cameras on the Russian module of the International Space Station. Starting next year, video data of the Earth collected by our cameras will be down-linked to ground stations around the planet and then displayed in near real time on the UrtheCast web platform.

Here's a link to their website.

Monday, July 02, 2012

For the last of the Creole Tomatoes

One of my favorite chefs Michael Ruhlman tweeted this recipe tonite and now I know what I'm going to do with the last batch of creoles I purchased. Enjoy!

Death on an Indian Reservation

I will never understand why some people are allowed by nature to procreate. Just last week a precious 4 year old boy suffered at the hands of a sociopath who happens to be the boyfriend of the child's mother.

Carnel Chamberlain

According to the two-page criminal complaint, Jaimee Chamberlain told the FBI that she saw her son with a bruised and swollen face as well as a cut lip in late May or early June. She said he had been struck by Bennett when she was away from the home.

A few days later, she saw Bennett pick up her son by the neck and drop him before dragging him into a room by his foot, according to the court document.

It wasn't known why Jaimee Chamberlain allowed her son to be in her boyfriend's company if she believed he was abusing the boy. She answered her phone when contacted by The Associated Press but hung up without commenting.

Listen to this telephone interview. The mother sounds a bit on the "duh" side.

Here is the murderer, Anthony Bennett

In a statement made to the FBI, Jaimee Chamberlain admits to witnessing prior incidents of abuse by Bennet.

I certainly hope that he faces the death penalty and the mother is prosecuted for failing to report child abuse.