Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Clarence Jackson Jr. Jackpot

As I was reading today's N.Y. Times I came upon this article
. For those of you that choose not to read the article, Clarence Jackson Jr. bought a
ticket for the Connecticut lottery in 1995. By state law, he had 1 year
to collect his winnings. That ticket was worth 5.8 million dollars.
Everyone I know would consider that a good deal of money. This man was
taking care of an ailing father and the other hurdles that life brings
about. In the process of doing that he did not get around to cashing in
that ticket, until three days after the 1-year anniversary.

He has been lobbying the Connecticut state legislature for 10 years, in
an attempt to claim the money that was originally rightfully his. His
efforts have yet to be rewarded. The Hartford Courant conducted a poll
in 1997 that showed the public overwhelmingly supported enforcing the
deadline. The writer for the Times took an informal poll of individuals
purchasing tickets at a 7-11, and even those people don't think the
lottery commission should bend the rules for future winners.

What we have here is a man who was legitimately entitled to money from a
state government, who did not act in a timely fashion and therefore was
unable to collect. This man's life would have been permanently bettered.
This money was set aside, but only for a certain time and then that
money went back into the general fund of Connecticut.That is truly an
unfortunate tale. I wonder if that same thing could happen on a larger

What would happen if a major natural disaster hit a region of the
country? Of course, the President would come down to say Jackson Square,
or some other landmark, saying all the right things. Congress said and
did what was expected in the aftermath. Well, we all know how this is
playing out. My question is obvious. Is New Orleans the next tragic
recipient of the Clarence Jackson Jr. Jackpot, caused by the actions of
Gov. Blanco, and Mayor Nagin?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Today is the Deadline

I'm running a couple days behind. I thought this might be useful to some of you.

For Immediate Release

UNOP Planners Encourage New Orleanians to 'Weigh In' on LA Speaks Regional Vision

NEW ORLEANS, LA (February 1, 2007)

Today planners working on the Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) and members of the Community Support Organization (CSO) are encouraging residents to 'weigh in' on the Louisiana Speaks Regional Vision.

DEADLINE IS FEBRUARY 10: New Orleanians and residents across South Louisiana have an opportunity to weigh in and help decide the future of our region.

• Click here to complete the LA Speaks poll online.

• Call the LA Speaks toll free number (888) PLAN-2050 or (888) 752-6205 to complete the poll over the phone.

• Visit a LA Speaks community polling station to pick up a copy of the Louisiana Speaks newsletter or drop off a completed response sheet.

“Over the last six months, thousands of New Orleanians have provided valuable input that has resulted in the development of a comprehensive recovery and rebuilding plan for our city,” said Stephen Bingler, principal of Concordia, one of the local planning and architecture firms working on the unified plan. “Now, as the UNOP process draws to an end and we prepare to submit the unified plan for approval, its important that we look beyond city and parish lines and consider how New Orleans can strengthen the region and help Louisiana as a whole compete more effectively with other states for jobs and investment from around the world. The Louisiana Speaks Regional Vision will help us do just that.”

Last week, Louisiana Speaks launched a major public outreach campaign to engage citizens across South Louisiana on a range of issues including community growth, transportation, coastal protection and economic development. The responses generated from this unprecedented, privately-funded outreach campaign will serve as the foundation for the Louisiana Speaks Regional Vision.

“Citizens of New Orleans are getting a once in a lifetime chance to shape the way we plan for our future,” said David Voelker a member of the Louisiana Recovery Authority and the Community Support Organization. ?The Unified New Orleans Plan and the Louisiana Speaks Regional Vision are two complementary planning efforts that will work together to guide strategic investments for our city and our region.“

Spanning parishes from the Texas to Mississippi border (including the Houma/Thibodaux, New Orleans, North Shore, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Lake Charles metro areas), the Louisiana Speaks Regional Vision will provide the framework for local and parish plans to thrive in and serve as a guide for South Louisiana's long-term recovery and future growth over the next 50 years.

”It is crucial that we lend Louisiana Speaks our voice not only as proud New Orleanians, but as proud South Louisianians,“ said Anthony Patton, President, CEO and Founder of EBONetworks. ”This is not just about planning for physical infrastructure. This is about planning to make our lives better. I'm not going to miss this chance, and I hope you won?t either.“

More than 150 community polling stations have been set up at public libraries and coffee houses throughout South Louisiana. Public libraries in Orleans Parish that are operating as LA Speaks Community Polling Stations include:

• Algiers Regional Temporary Library, located at 3014 Holiday Drive

• Alvar Branch, located at 913 Alvar Street

• Children's Resource Center (Napoleon Branch), located at 913 Jackson Avenue

• Cita Dennis Hubbell Branch, located at 725 Pelican Avenue

• Milton H. Latter Memorial Branch, located at 5120 St. Charles Avenue

• New Orleans Public Library, located at 219 Loyola Avenue

• Nix Branch, located at 1401 S. Carrollton Avenue

• Robert E. Smith Branch Bookmobile, located at 6301 Canal Boulevard

Louisiana Speaks is a community planning initiative of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) Authority that is supported with private funds made possible by the LRA Support Foundation. To learn more about the Louisiana Speaks Regional Vision, or to 'weigh in' now, visit

Louisiana Speaks is the long-term planning initiative of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. With support from the LRA Support Foundation, Louisiana Speaks has engaged a team of top local and national planning experts to gather public input and support the development of a regional vision for South Louisiana that will guide long-term recovery and future growth. This work combines the efforts of many experts, stakeholders and citizens into a comprehensive approach that will be used to guide investments and secure additional resources for Louisiana.

The Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) is a process that will link all New Orleans neighborhoods under an equal, unified infrastructure plan. By developing a common, unified set of priorities for the recovery of New Orleans, this process will play a critical role in shaping public and private investment in rebuilding our city. The UNOP process will incorporate all community, professional and volunteer driven planning work, as best identified by UNOP and the community, which is complete and or underway.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The State of My Union

President Bush gave the state of the union recently. I decided to examine the state of our union. The most immediate union that I can impact, mine with Elizabeth, is in fine shape. Trust me, I just asked her. I tend to think that many of these speeches seem irrelevant. I will attempt to show relevance in the issues President Bush spoke about.

In doing this piece I drew on numerous websites, but mostly

As Sunday drew to a close I spent time with my daughter, Cassie, on my lap. We were looking at Noggin and NickJr, playing games and watching videos from Dora the Explorer, and Diego. These programs are supposed to help with cognitive development. Thankfully, it appears that Cassie’s cognitive development is fine if not above average. Now I mention this because I enrolled us in the Florida Prepaid College Plan. This allows me to purchase 4 years of state university tuition, dorm, and fees at today’s prices for Cassie. Considering that college tuition costs have gone up about 35% in the last 5 years, I can only imagine how much those costs will be in 2021. But it does not appear that President Bush considers this a worry for most Americans.

While college costs do not appear to worry him, President Bush did cover his plan for tax breaks to help Americans purchase health insurance. I am remarkably blessed to have a good job with full benefits. My whole family is fully covered. Unfortunately, according to the census bureau there are 6.8 million more Americans without health insurance than in 2000. Now, let me see if I have this straight. If I can’t afford health insurance you are going to give me a tax incentive to purchase something I can’t afford. This is why President Bush and his wise men have been steering this country on such a wonderful course the last six years, and I am but a simple schoolteacher. It is sage logic like these tax breaks that are symbolic of the legacy this man will leave.

I work with a student population that is reliant on free lunches, and breakfasts. We have family living in a city still trying to recover from the country’s worst natural disaster in recent memory. There was not any significant mention of the recovery efforts. President Bush is focusing on a plan to benefit those that are in the wealthiest suburbs, and the wealthiest regions. Apparently, I misunderstood the definition of compassionate. A compassionate conservative is apparently someone who looks out for himself, and his kind. As soon as I finish this blog I intend to look up selfish, and incompetent.

This is the first part of a series… More later.

A Joke to get me back in blogging mode

Boudreaux died and was on his way down to Hell. In anticipation,
the Devil turned up the thermostat to make it extra warm for
When Boudreaux arrived, the Devil asked, "Hey Boudreaux, how do you
like the heat down here?"
Boudreaux says, "Mais, it's just fine. It reminds me of Bayou PonPon in July."

That made the Devil mad. That night, he turned the thermostat up all the way it could go. Man it was hot! When Boudreaux woke up, the Devil asked him, "NOW how do you like it down here?"

Boudreaux says, "Mais, it's fine. It reminds me of August on
Bayou Lafourche."

As you might expect, that made the Devil all the more mad. Well,
that night,he turned the thermostat down all the way it could go! The
whole place frosted over. Icicles started forming from the rafters. When
Boudreaux woke up, the Devil asked him, "How you like it NOW,

Boudreaux, shivering, through blue lips, says, "Mais cher, I'm
one happy Cajun!"

The Devil was infuriated! He yelled, "What do you mean you're
onehappy Cajun?!!"

Boudreaux, still shivering says, "The Saints done won the