Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You say yes, I say no......*

All reproduction rights reserved Wm. Greiner

La. Sen. Vitter says he'll vote against Sotomayor

BATON ROUGE, La. — Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana says he will vote against confirming Sonia Sotomayor to be a Supreme Court justice.

He said Tuesday that Sotomayor was ambiguous on gun rights and that he's concerned she would determine the outcome of cases based on personal biases.

Sotomayor is expected to be confirmed as the first Hispanic justice of the high court.

Louisiana's senior senator, Mary Landrieu, has said she supports Sotomayor's nomination, calling her fair-minded and praising her breadth of experience.

Vitter is running for a second term. Last summer, Vitter apologized for a "very serious sin in my past" after it was disclosed that his phone number was among those called several years ago by a Washington-area escort service that prosecutors have said was a front for prostitution.

*Hello Goodbye lyrics The Beatles

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mr. GO is GONE!

Shadow and Surf , 2009
All reproduction rights reserved Wm. Greiner

The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet,  also known as Mr. Go, has finally been closed by the Army Corps of Engineers.  352,086 tons of stone were piled in the channel at a cost of $11.2 million, the corps said.

The rock plug is 950 feet wide, has a 12-foot top crown, a 450-foot bottom width, and rises 7 feet above water level.

Mr. GO contributed to the storm surge which helped flood New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Goodbye Mr. Go , good to see you gone.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Rosemary Beach Dusk, FL 2009
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Hurricane season off to slow start

The 2009 hurricane season has been off to a slow start, but experts say the real activity usually doesn't begin until August. Although the first Atlantic named storm usually forms by July 10, the early season lull doesn't necessarily mean a weak overall season. A maturing El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, which tends to depress storm activity by 20% to 40%, makes the outlook for the rest of the season look quiet. But forecasters say it's no time to relax, and El Niño years can still produce destructive storms. The 2004 season didn't get its first storm until Hurricane Alex began developing on July 31. After Alex, the season finished with 15 storms and six major hurricanes, including Hurricane Ivan. One of the three most-intense storms to make landfall in the United States, Hurricane Andrew, developed during an El Niño in 1992. Some of the most famed storms to strike Texas and Louisiana have come during an El Niño, including the great storm of 1900, says Jill Hasling, president of Houston's Weather Research Center. Given this season's slow start and the onset of El Niño, most seasonal forecasters now say about 10 named storms will form, one of the lowest totals of the past 15 years. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

The Baton Rouge Business Report 7-24-09

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Shoes on Beach, Rosemary Beach FL 2009
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New Orleans two term mayor C. Ray Nagin has promised a lot of things and delivered on few! In todays Time-Picayune newspaper , writer Chris Rose , takes the good mayor to task for what he hasn't done. 

It's funny , sad and , unfortunately, true!

Friday, July 17, 2009


Blue Eyed Dog , Baton Rouge LA 2008
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Anybody following the Stanford Financial case is familiar with the term "clawback". Clawback allows the prosecutors/courts to go after investors who received income from fraudulent investments or Ponzi schemes , a la Bernie Madoff . This is a cruel law which allows those who have already been victimized once to then get victimized again by the prosecutors/courts.

News Alert: Stanford receiver files new clawback lawsuit against investors

In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Stanford receiver Ralph Janvey claims that funds obtained as interest by five investors in Houston are fraudulent, and he has requested the court allow him to clawback slightly more than $3 million.

According to the lawsuit, the investors were in possession of illegitimate proceeds that were “paid from funds supplied by new investors who bought CDs after the Relief Defendants (the named investors) purchased their CDs.” They are: Jim Letsos, president of construction firm Letsos Company; Felipe Gonzalez, president of engineering firm Pegasus International; and investors Charlotte Hunton, Richard Huton and Charles Hunton of the Hunton Group, which provides industry, commercial and residential clients with Trane products.

The funds which Janvey says in the suit belong to the estate are held in Pershing, the clearing broker for many of the Stanford International Bank CDs. One legal argument Janvey presents for clawing back on the interest payments is that the investors did not perform a service for which they were being compensated and, thus, have no claim to the funds.

The court overseeing the receivership has imposed a deadline on Janvey for releasing funds held with Pershing or another clearing broker SEI to investors. In order to prevent the release of these funds, which Janvey says are illegitimate returns, he must file suit against investors and allow the court to rule on the argument. To read the full lawsuit, click here.

—Olivia Watkins . The Baton Rouge Business Report 7-17-09

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Shaniqua Don't Live Here No Mo’ *

Pay Phone , near Grayton Beach FL 2006
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Corridor leaders upset with Nagin's census tactics

Corridor community leaders aren’t happy with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s call for people to be counted in the city’s population whether they actually live there or not. The Times-Picayune reported last week that Nagin is urging those still displaced by Hurricane Katrina -- and longing to return -- to record the Crescent City as their home when the U.S. Census Bureau conducts its decennial head count next spring. That goes against centuries-old federal policy requiring people to be counted at the address where they are “living or staying” on the official census day, which is April 1.

The census count is critical because it determines who gets how much of $300 billion annually in federal grants -- as well as the distribution of seats in Congress and the state Legislature -- for the next decade. Understandably, Nagin’s plea isn’t sitting well with community leaders in areas along the rest of the corridor that have experienced major growth since the storms -- namely St. Tammany, Livingston and Lafayette parishes.

"Fraudulent census reporting hurts everyone and helps no one," says St. Tammany Parish CAO William Oiler. "It leads to reduced essential services, including less funding for schools, fire districts and public safety." To read the full story, click here. For the rest of 10/12 Weekly, click here.—Penny Font The Baton Rouge Business Report 7/15/09

*Shaniqua Don't Live Here No Mo’

by Little T and One Track Mike

See the video:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Christie's Auction House, New York NY 2007
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So it appears that the Art Melt controversies continue with something involving one of the sponsors, Forum 35. A group which is supposed to promote art and cultural activities in Baton Rouge! It's a great mission, but these folks may want to consider what synergy might do for the cause?

From the Baton Rouge Business Report:

‘Artists affiliated with Boudreaux & Thibodeaux, a block down from the Art Melt festivities at the Shaw Center for the Arts, historically have set up a few tables on the sidewalk to showcase their work, piggybacking off the popular event. This year, however, it was a no-no.

Forum 35 volunteers told David Wandell, sponsor for the weekly art lounge at the Third Street bar, the artists who set up in front of the state parking garage hadn’t paid a fee to be there. So the group picked up the tables and set up just in front of the bar, Wandell says.

The Art Melt street closure permit stretched to Florida Street. Forum 35 volunteers returned, this time with a police officer, to have the 12 artists either leave or pay a vendor fee of $50 per table.

“They never approached us about our plans or collaborating,” says Wandell, who talked the volunteers down from $600. “Literally as soon as we gave them a couple hundred dollars we didn’t see them for the rest of the evening. They gave us handwritten receipts with no contact information on it, nothing official that it was Forum 35 or Art Melt business.”

Erin Monroe Wesley, president of Forum 35, says she is investigating the complaints.’

This latest development sounds more like a shake down , rather than an opportunity to promote the arts and cultural activities in Baton Rouge?

Monday, July 13, 2009


Take 1 DOWN - Game Wheel, Baton Rouge LA 2008
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There is this art "happening" held in Baton Rouge every year , called "Art Melt". As the name may suggest its a mess, based on the show I stumbled onto at the Shaw Center last year. I mean "mess", in the sense that there was art hanging everywhere , with the quality ranging from horrible to excellent , but no cohesion or continuity.

So today I read , an artist/photographer chosen for this years show , Kenneth Wilks , had his work removed and himself banned from the venue on opening night!

The story goes - his two photographs of a woman - one clothed and in the second nude, was determined to be offensive by Art Melt co-chair Christen Losey-Gregg , after a group of school children visited the exhibition.

I find it odd that a juried show would do such a thing? Maybe this exhibition should be renamed ART MELT DOWN.

The full story:

Friday, July 10, 2009


The Downtown Salon , New Iberia LA 2005
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I preponed shawarma with my frenemy while on staycation!*


I rescheduled (sooner than later) a lunch (of sliced lamb or chicken sandwich) with someone who acts like a friend but who really is an enemy, during a period of time that I am spending vacation at home, rather than going away.

*Frenemy, staycation, locavore added to Webster's Dictionary by Russell Contreras , Associated Press 7/10/2009

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Round Floats , Metairie LA 2005
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I don't want to by cynical! I am for any economic engines which will propel New Orleans with prosperity.

However , I am a bit skeptical about re-opening Six Flags over New Orleans East. This was an amusement park which financially suffered with a larger population base Pre-Katrina , so what makes these people think it can work with a smaller audience?

The answer may lay in $100 million in GO Zone bonds to redevelop the park?