Coastal Snow. Be Prepared.

Brad Goins Wednesday, October 1, 2014 0
Coastal Snow. Be Prepared.

I hear there’s been a little press around Southwest Louisiana about what supplies area law enforcement agencies may have gotten from the Pentagon.

To bring a new perspective to this coverage, I thought I might cast an eye toward Orleans parish, and see what police over there are picking up from the gubment.

It’s clear that in Orleans Parish, officers are getting their federal supplies because the supplies are specifically suited for the unique environmental surroundings in which the police work. For instance, Orleans police have received 26 pairs of cold-weather boots and six pairs of ski boots. The Feds say these are worth more than $100 a pair. I think it’s more likely that the plates at the meal at which some defense contractor locked in those prices were worth more than $100 a pair.

I’m not finished with the Orleans police already. Feds have also passed on 20 snow-camouflage parkas and 10 sets of snowshoes to the parish.

Well, yeah, yeah, yeah, we all agree that snowshoes are helpful anywhere on the Louisiana coast. But what about those full-tracked personnel carriers — the ones that looked so scary in telecasts from Ferguson? Here’s the low-down on that. Jefferson Parish, St. Charles Parish and St. John the Baptist Parish received one full-tracked personnel carrier each.

The NOLA defender, which provided these numbers, reported that East Feliciana Parish has two of the carriers. That’s the exact same number Manhattan, N.Y. has. Now, we can see that East Feliciana could very easily need these vehicles one day, as it has a massive urban population of 20,000. But when a place like Manhattan, which only has 1.6 million, has two military personnel carriers sitting around, you can see how people start thinking it’s excessive.

Here in the Lake Area, reports the American Press’ Andrew Perzo, the sheriff’s office got a lot of stuff. As for the LCPD, it got, among other things, 76 rifles, “one Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected armored vehicle” and a 1,500-gallon water tank.

A mine-resistant vehicle — that I can understand. Lake Charles is a great place, but you’ve got to admit the mines are a problem. We all struggle with them — all day, every day. The other day, “English” Billy Boynton was driving me around town in his orange ‘67 Corvette when we saw a Hummer run over a mine. KA-POW! As English Billy put it, “I never saw a car fly so high.”

And let’s face it — the ambushes are a bit of a problem as well.

But when I read about the 1,500-gallon water tank, I started to get a bad feeling. Is it too late to send this stuff back?


My 4 Beats Your 9

When I was doing my research (such as it was) on the NOLA Defender I got the feeling that the Defender wants to give readers the sense that the pub has a hip, edgy vibe. I thought I would click on the crime section, on the assumption the Defender had written about some far-out weirdo crimes. Just look at the headlines I found: “Truck Burglars in French Quarter” … “Violent French Quarter Mugging” … “More Murder” … “French Quarter Hijacking” … “Shooting on Dreux”  … “French Quarter Stabbing” … “Two Shootings Overnight” (with the text that followed describing “another bloody night in New Orleans”).

That list of headlines is a good example of what people mean when they use the phrase “same old same old.” Would you believe that all the events reported in these headlines took place between Aug. 31-Sept. 3 — a period of just four days? You probably would. If everyone worked as hard and put in as many hours as New Orleans criminals do, this would be a much more bustling state than it is.

It was sort of a big deal in Lake Charles when there were eight shootings in seven days. But really, how can you compare that to what New Orleans does in four days?

When the spate of Lake Charles violence took place, the American Press ran a headline titled “Remember the value of human life.” I see how it works. If shooters just read the editorial page, they would remember the value of human life and not shoot people.

If you see a bunch of gangstas walking around your neighborhood do a public service and tell them to read the editorial page.


Some Hard News. Finally!

As you know, we rarely have the big, hard news story in Lake Charles. It’s just not that kind of place.

That’s why when we do have a huge story once in a blue moon, we should really sit up and take note.

We had one of those rare blockbuster news stories on Sept. 1. KPLC-TV broke it with this shocking headline:

“The big debate: Will you wear white after Labor Day?”

As you can imagine, the ripples from that story are still spreading. People are still not talking about it and will continue not to talk about it.

Sadly, we aren’t the only people who’ve had to deal with this soul-stirring issue. I remember that in the movie Serial Mom, the mother killed a woman because she wore white after Labor Day.

Big news? Yeah, when somebody is actually willing to kill somebody over the matter, I’d say that’s big news.


And You Thought Your Gas Was Expensive

A while back, The Times-Picayune ran a story titled “Louisiana Purchased,” in which the newspaper published the amount and source of every contribution received by every politician in Louisiana in recent years.

One of the politicians who didn’t fare so well in the story was Rep. Joe Harrison (R-Gray).

In a recent Fox 8 (New Orleans) report on Harrison, reporter Lee Zurik stated that Louisiana Purchased records showed that over the course of four years, the Louisiana House paid $24,892 of your money for Harrison’s gas mileage. And in the same period, Harrison paid himself — I guess you’d say it that way —almost exactly the same amount — $25,746 — for gas out of his campaign account. Of course, this adds up to $50,000 for gas.

Here are some of the funny evasive responses to the many requests Zurik made to Harrison for records or more information:

“I don’t even remember seeing anything about that.”

“You look at my schedule; it’s pretty well documented where I go.”

“You travel with me and tell me how much travel I do… You can look at the vehicles. I change vehicles at least every two years, because they always get close to a hundred-thousand miles.”

“I didn’t look at this [account of funds for gas]. And I’m being honest with you. I’ll talk to my CPA, but it’s up to them to do that. I actually sent them to the campaign school that they have, in order for them to understand what they were doing.”

The campaign school? Is that Trey Trey’s Fine School of Campaigning or “English” Billy Boynton’s Dollar Discount Campaign School?

Zurik checked out state Rep. Richard, whose district borders on Harrison’s and who is considered to represent Thibodaux, just as Harrison does, to see how much she was reimbursed for gas. Can you guess how much? Guess pretty low. Richard got zero — that’s zero cents, zero dollars, zero anything. Guess that Richard isn’t much of a driver, huh?

Now Harrison has called Zurik’s story about the mileage reimbursements “an erroneous news report.”

Just in case you — my readers — didn’t already know this, I label all my stories “erroneous” before they’re printed. That way, if anybody ever complains about anything, I just say, “Well, hell, it was an erroneous story to begin with.”

The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office in New Orleans have begun a federal grand jury investigation into Harrison’s alleged double dipping. The federal subpoena that was sent to the La. House of Representatives asks for records of funds awarded to Harrison. No word yet on whether the subpoena was erroneous.


The King Of Everything

For some time now the Up Fronter has expressed amazement about just how many subjects our governor is an authority on. Take a recent email I got from team Jindal. This one told me right away that Jindal was issuing a “Statement on ISIS Murder of Second American.”

Wow. Who knew he was in a position to hold forth on that?

Let’s start with a grammar, capitalization and style check of the email:

“The President said last week that his Administration currently has no strategy to deal with ISIS.” Administration should not be capitalized. President is only capitalized when it comes before the president’s name.

“There is no need to even comment on that, it speaks for itself.” It is a run-on sentence.

“Peace through strength is not a slogan. It is a truth.” “Peace through strength” is a slogan. A person may believe a slogan states the truth. But the slogan is, nevertheless, a slogan.

Now, to the gist of the argument: “It’s not that we have a flawed foreign policy; we don’t have a foreign policy. The President appears to simply careen from international crisis to international crisis, with no discernable governing principles.”

It’s right about now that I expect Jindal to state the guiding principles of his foreign policy and to state specifically what he would do about ISIS. Here’s what I get:

“The world is safest when America is strongest. We can have peace through strength, or we can have chaos and war through weakness.”

Those aren’t slogans.

When a big-shot politician accuses his opponent of having no foreign policy, there are two things the politician can do. First, he can do what Jindal did: suggest that he does have a foreign policy then refrain from saying anything about the foreign policy he is supposed to have.

The second option is to state specifics of his alternative foreign policy. I think it was good for Jindal to avoid that second option, because as soon as a candidate states specifics, reporters ask, “And how will you pay for that?” In 57 years, I’ve never heard an answer to that question.

Of course, the real problem with this email wasn’t anything relating to foreign policy. The problem was that Bobby Jindal was using taxpayer money — your money — to disseminate the talking points of his presidential campaign.


The News

At 1:30 pm on Sept. 4 CSPAN ran a headline to the effect that Eric Holder would soon speak about events in Ferguson, Mo.

Most news sources don’t run a graphic on Twitter. I think it’s best that way. The fewer graphics there are the more room there is for news.

But for this story CSPAN did run a graphic. I assumed that meant the network felt that there was some visual or symbolic element of the story that it was crucial to convey to the public.

In this case, the visual component in question was an empty podium.

I admit the whole thing goes way over my head. If CSPAN was trying to suggest that absence is more significant than presence, all I can say is it’s been so long since I got my doctorate in metaphysics that I no longer get all that stuff. But maybe the story was something real simple; something like “dumbasses shouldn’t post pointless photos on Twitter and take up valuable space.”

I don’t think there’s anything especially attractive about the podium in the picture. If you’ve been desperate to get your hands on a photo of a podium with nobody standing at it CSPAN has just brightened up your life for a little while.


The Real News

“The question is … will Aaron Samuels wear his hair pushed back on DWTS?”

— E! News headline Sept. 4.