In Doubt? Close It.

Brad Goins Thursday, July 20, 2017 Comments Off on In Doubt? Close It.
In Doubt? Close It.

Southwest Louisiana schools continue to close because rain is in the weather forecast. Let’s take the case of McNeese State University — one of the area’s educational institutions for people who are the age of adults. By 2:50 on Tuesday (June 20), the university had announced that it would be closing on Wednesday (June 21)  and Thursday (June 22).

At 2:50 pm on Tuesday, the Weather Underground forecasters were predicting that the chances of rain on Wednesday would not go over 50 percent until 1 pm. Most McNeese classes are over by 1. But even if they weren’t, would a 74 percent chance of thunderstorms be a good reason to close down a university?

For Thursday, WU predicted the chances of thunderstorms would range between 75 and 92 percent on Thursday morning. After noon, chances of a thunderstorm steadily declined until they fell below 50 percent at 4 pm.

As for the total rain accumulation expected, at the time McNeese announced its closure, WU called for 3 inches of rain on Wednesday and 1 inch of rain on Thursday. That’s 4 inches of rain over a period of 48 hours. I don’t deny 4 inches is quite a bit. Is it enough to warrant the closing of a university? Is the prediction that the rain won’t start falling for 21 hours enough to close a university?

By 8 am Wednesday, predictions for rain accumulation had dropped dramatically. The prediction now was for 1.64 inches on Wednesday and .8 of an inch on Thursday. In spite of that, it was also announced that all Police Jury offices would close at noon. The City of Sulphur would close at the same time. It was announced that the attempted second-degree murder trial of Paul Walling had been put on hold and the Lake Charles City Council had pushed its scheduled meeting all into the next week.

This hysteria must have been what prompted Emergency Preparedness director Dick Gremillion to make an announcement he shouldn’t have felt obliged to make: an “evacuation [order] will not likely be issued.” Cut off my legs and call me shorty! What goes on here?

In scattered corners, calmer heads prevailed. The N.O. Advocate’s Jessica Williams reported that N.O. Mayor Mitch Landrieu would soon make a statement about Tropical Storm Cindy, which, Williams said, “has weakened.” (On Thursday she would report, “Tropical Storm Cindy hits with whimper on Wednesday.”) In his Wednesday statement, Landrieu said as far as he was concerned, New Orleans was not under a state of emergency. And on the same day, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso stated his opinion that Cindy was likely to be a “long thunderstorm.” Given time, a few adults will pop up here and there.

When I was an undergrad at the University of the South (Sewanee), I and my friends actually wanted to go to class. I guess you’d say we were book nerds. So we probably would have been annoyed if the university had closed because meteorologists called for rain.

But it’s pointless to speculate about that since it was impossible the university would have closed for that reason. As far as I can recall, not once in four years did it close for any reason. Of course, I was very young then and didn’t yet understand that things can get real screwy real fast when people aren’t constantly on the look-out for a reason not to work.


John Gavin Harp, self-styled “PR guru” and LSU Manship School grad, reported on June 21 that “two members of [the] Louisiana Legislature got into a fight about [the] Hamilton musical.” I can think of more destructive ways to avoid doing work on the state budget. I’m not sure I can think of more immature and silly ways.

It’s Only 2 Percent, Right?

So, what’s it going to mean to you that the Louisiana Legislature failed to craft a fix for this year’s budget gap? Well, here’s one thing that’s going to happen. LSU will be putting in place a 2-percent increase in school fees at all campuses. I wonder how long it will be until we learn just how much Louisianans are willing to pay for an LSU degree.

The Story On Storyville

Do you know what Storyville is? I know many of you do. Storyville was the red light district of New Orleans that flourished a century ago.

A new exhibit at The Historic New Orleans Collection, “Storyville: Madams and Music,” will give patrons an in-depth look at the old den of iniquity by means of  displays of photographs, maps, postcards, artifacts of the era and the infamous “blue books” that gave bad boys a long list of the prostitutes working in the hot spot.

In 1897, the government of New Orleans recognized the Storyville neighborhood as an area where prostitution would be legal. Storyville was located just north of the French Quarter.

Where there’s sex, there’s dancing and music. Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver were among the musicians who experimented with the new jazz music while they entertained johns in the parlors of Storyville. In 1917, the country’s first jazz record — “Livery Stable Blues” — was recorded in Storyville. These cultural aspects of the area are covered in the exhibit.

“Storyville: Madams and Music,” will run through Dec. 9 at the Williams Research Center at 410 Chartres St. Hours are Tu-Sat 9:30 am-4:30 pm. Admission is free to the public. Those who want to can buy the Historic Collection’s brand new book Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans.

Inattentive But Super-Smart

Twitter has become a major pain since the Twitter people started loading up everybody’s Twitter feed with giant “Promoted” ads. The other day, Twitter ran a huge “Promoted” ad for itself. It began with a Tweet, which started with these words:

“Consumers are savvy. Attention is scarce.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Help me out here. Are you saying a person can be super-smart but have a really short attention span? Would you also tell me a person can wake up dead? Do you think a person can turn up missing?

Let’s just do the basic thing and apply common sense claims. If a guy is savvy, he must have a really long attention span, right? If he didn’t, how would he have acquired the knowledge he has to have to be savvy? And even if he’d gotten that knowledge in some kind of magical way, wouldn’t he have to have a long attention span to be able to use that knowledge in such an efficient way that he comes to be known as “savvy”?

The pay-off in this ginormous ad was the assertion that the Twitter folks “can make your brand stand out.” So, I’m going to let the same folks who think a guy with a short attention span can be James Bond handle my advertising? Not bloody likely, Buster Brown.

For Your Reading Pleasure

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a hybrid with an extraterrestrial and travel freely about through the extraterrestrial universe? You have? Of course you have!

Well, wonder no longer. The answers are all there in a fantastic new book called The Star Table Trance Missions: Telepresence Conferences with ETs and Celestial Guides (The Five Star Series Book 1).

The book is written by Ted Denmark, who puts a “PhD” after his name so you’ll know he’s really, really smart and therefore could never possibly make this stuff up.

So you can get an idea of what it’s like to travel through space on ET “trance missions,” let’s read part of Doctor Ted’s story as it’s written in his book’s promotional copy:

“Even though they were previously aware of themselves as ‘contactees’ … Julie and Ted found themselves … in their seventh decade, being given nearly full access to the depth of detail of their secret lives as extraterrestrial hybrids … by members of their star families.

“J&T were told they are among a group of about 100 Earthuman hybrids in a genetic seeding experiment being carried out by Pleiadians from the star system of Taygeta … The first installment of a movie waiting to be made.”

Reader, believe me, this is one movie you don’t want to invest in. But the book is a hoot and holler. And it’s cheap! You can get the Kindle edition for just $6.99. That’s the cheapest alternative to actual space flight you’re going to find.

The ‘It’s Only A Penny’ State

I often hear people say, “I don’t like politics” or “Politics is too complicated” or something of that sort. Be that as it may, readers may want to at least skim the “Solve The Budget” section in Jeremy Alford’s political column in this issue.

Alford reports that The Advocate newspaper and the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs questioned more than 5,000 Louisiana residents for its recent “Solve The Budget” project. Residents were asked how they would solve the state’s problem with budget gaps. Results show they didn’t do too well. (That is, they tended to be unable to figure out a way to bridge the budget gap.)

Alford reports that “The least popular option [for fixing the budget] was ‘remove a penny from state sales tax.’ Only 27 percent were in favor of that.”

Let’s unpack that a little. A sales tax for the general population is one of the most regressive taxes a government can levy. The only tax that would be more regressive would be a sales tax that was levied only on those at the poverty level. (Some may recall the time when Margaret Thatcher levied a “poll tax” on the entire British population in 1990. The people rioted and Thatcher’s government gave her her walking papers.)

So, here in Louisiana, only 27 percent of the populace would like to cut the sales tax by a penny. Can we interpret that to mean that in Louisiana, only poor people want to cut a tax that hurts only poor people? If that interpretation is correct, those numbers go a long way in explaining why Louisiana is in the condition it’s in.

The News

To do The News section up right this issue, we’re going to have to start with a headline that was featured in The News of the last issue. That headline read:

“’Bachelor in Paradise’ cast talks about scandal” — CNN, June 15.

Let’s pick up this breathtaking story from there:

“More ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ fallout” — CNN, June 21.

“‘Bachelor in Paradise’ contract exposed” This headline had a subhead: “This deal is so one-sided, experts say” — CNN, June 22.

I am like so into this story because I feel like journalists who use so a lot are like so open-minded and like not one-sided at all and like write so good too.

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