Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bobby Jindal Already in Trouble

The information below comes from a PDF called the Jindal action plan. Periodically, my wife, Elizabeth asks me if politicians realize that most of their statements are recorded. In this day and age of 24 hour news cycles you would think that anyone running for office would understand the media, but it appears that sometimes politicians don't remember basics of their own campaign platform. It appears that Bobby (Brady) Jindal, has now gotten caught in that same trap.

Prohibit Legislators from giving themselves pay raises that take effect
before the subsequent election. Any increase in salary approved by the Legislature should take effect after the next election so the public can decide who deserves that compensation.

If you check today's Times Picayune you will see a great article on the recall effort. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. Elizabeth doesn't think this is a legitimate reason for a recall. I have one major concern. If the state is in such dire financial straits that it can not get the necessary monies together to pay its part of the levee rebuilding, and affordable housing efforts are not being properly funded by the state, then I'm not certain that it is the right time for the legislature to get a raise.


Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Voting Republican

I saw this on Countdown last week.... I thought it was great.


Goodbye to a funny man

George Carlin passed away last night. He gave us many laughs. His routine was one of the reasons for the court case (Federal Communications Commission v. Pacifica Foundation) that limits language on the public airwaves. The world lost a wonderful comedian and social critic last night.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Please take a moment to read this

This goes beyond party loyalties... Please use this link, to sign the petition requesting that we protect our children from unsafe toys.

Dear Representative [Last Name]:

Please take the opportunity now to support the strongest product safety bill possible as conferees work out differences between the House and Senate versions.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has been under-funded and understaffed for too long. It needs new tools and resources to help ensure that dangerous toys, cribs and other hazardous products do not wind up on store shelves and in our homes.

I urge you to contact your fellow members of Congress who are conferencing on the final product safety bill to ensure that the package that is sent to the President brings together the best elements of each bill. For example, please fight to retain:
view more

-- A Consumer Complaints Website: The Senate bill creates a website that would make more safety information available to me, such as information about incidents associated with cribs and toys that could injure or even kill babies and children. The House bill requires a study and development of a feasibility plan for a future website.

-- Testing Toys to the Latest Safety Standards: The Senate bill will require that all toys be tested and certified to comprehensive safety standards, while the House language directs the CPSC to conduct a study on this topic.

-- Broader Inclusion of Products Used By All Kids: In families with more than one child, siblings wind up sharing toys, so a dangerous product intended only for a 12 year-old may still get into his seven year-old brother's hands. The final bill should recognize this reality. The "children's products" that receive the bill's protections should be defined as those of kids 12 and younger, as the House bill does, rather than the Senate bill's 7 years of age.

-- Low Lead Levels. Both the House and Senate bills have critical new restrictions on the lead allowed in toys and other children's products. Please combine the best of the House and Senate bills and make sure that we get to the lowest possible levels of lead, as quickly as possible. Last holiday season was a dangerous one for consumers please help make sure that the holidays are safer this year.

There are other important provisions to preserve, including giving states a key role in enforcing product safety rules and sufficiently increasing penalties for companies when they break the rules.

Please be sure that these are included in a final bill.

Help make 2008 the Year of Product Safety Reform, by fighting for the strongest Consumer Product Safety Bill possible!
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[Your name here]


Thursday, June 19, 2008

And you were worried about what was in the eggroll....

Since the school year is over, I've been surfing the internet and catching up on my reading trying to find a blogworthy topic. As you look around my house you will find numerous back issues of the New York Times. If you look in various rooms there are issues of Foreign Affairs dating back into 2006. There are about 6 boxes of books sitting in Metairie, awaiting my call. After some interesting reading I think I found a topic to write about.

As a youngster, around age 5, I would venture to say that we had a good deal more Chinese food than your average family. Or possibly, I just liked it a good deal more than most youngsters. For some reason at about that age I thought the entire world was encompassed by one country. No not Pangea , nor even these United States of America, but China. Now dear reader, you might ask, are either of your parents Chinese? The answer is not at all. The only connection I can think of is that most people think Chinese restaurants turn into Jewish Community Centers on Sunday nights.

Why do I bring this up? Well, most of you have probably heard about the earthquake in China recently. The current death toll from that tragic event is around 71,000 people. To put this in perspective, the terrorist attacks on our country killed approximately 5000 people. I realize that China has about three times as many people as the United States of America, but that number is just staggering.

If that problem were not bad enough, the environmental problems facing China are extraordinary. The country has an overwhelming problem of air pollution, water pollution and contaminated farmland. In other words China is a gigantic ecological disaster. The ramifications of these problems will unfortunately make the tragedy of the earthquake seem quite minor.

The problem is that China is trying to industrialize their whole economy. For years China has been basically an agrarian society with some factories. As I write this, I feel the need to put this in context. China has over 1.3 billion people, as compared to just over 300 million here in the U.S. Now this is not really news in itself. However, the Chinese are trying to make their economy more competitive for the 21st century. Considering that the Chinese had not fully modernized for the 20th century this is going to bring some significant changes.

Why bring this up? It is China after all. That country on the other side of the world, good for Mardi Gras throws and Moo Goo Gai Pan. Well the short version was originally stated by someone working for that Mouse in Orlando.... "It's a small world after all". The air pollution from China can drift over the Pacific and not just cause problems in Japan or South Korea, but also in Honolulu and even Los Angeles. The country of China has 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world as far as air quality is concerned.

Sure their economy is expected to double by the year 2020, but at what cost? Neo-conservatives in America often point to China as a shining example of how are economy should be run. "Deregulation is a wonderful policy" or "The market will take of itself" are mottos I'm not exactly sold on. What is the cost of this mass industrialization for the Chinese? According to the State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) there are significantly higher cancer rates in China since 2005. It is estimated that 190 million Chinese are sick because of contaminated water supplies. The Yangtze and most other rivers are significantly polluted. For those of you in South Louisiana the prawn catch in one major river is down 90% in the last 15 years. Last but not least, 80% of the East China Sea, a major fishery, has been declared unsuitable for fishing. Again, what does this matter?

Well, as the U.S. relies more heavily on China for everything from peanuts to pet food we might want to make certain that the items we are importing are properly regulated. Some people think deregulation is the cure to all of the ills that might befall an economy. Those individuals can look at the state of society little more than a century ago, or they can just take a look at China. China had 51,000 public protests caused by environmental conditions in the year 2005. If we are going to continue importing goods from China, we need to fully fund our own Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the last 12 months we have had scares regarding pet food recalls and toys for toddlers. Both of these products originated in China. Maybe the EPA, and appropriate regulation are not such bad things.

*For this blog I read an article in the Foreign Affairs September/October 2007 titled China's Coming Environmental Crash by Elizabeth Economy.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This pamphlet was being distributed in Tel Aviv 23 years before I was born

O.K. , I don't have a professional quality scanner. If you can make it out, above you will find a pamphlet proclaiming the establishment of the state of Israel. A friend of mine is working on a museum worthy collection of Jewish related items and came across this pamphlet. He gave a copy to post, apparently this was passed around in bars, restaurants and the like to promote people celebrating at the stroke of midnight. If there is one thing every Jew I know supports in some fashion it is the state of Israel, and here is a pamphlet from its very beginning.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Their names are Righty and Lefty

I've never been a fan of Beanie Babies.... but when I saw these two I figured I had to get them... For Cassie...


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

I want to take a moment this evening to wish everyone the happiest of hallmark holidays. Happy Father's Day to all of you fathers reading this blog. I'm pretty new at this, but I hope it stays as pleasing as the last three have been. We did nothing unusual (for a Sunday) we went to Elizabeth's parents house, my in-laws, swam and had barbecue. We saw Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show on TiVo, (It was really enjoyable I highly suggest it) and just relaxed. So why was this such an enjoyable or pleasing day? Dear reader, it wasn't really what we did.... Like I said we've done those sorts of things numerous times, always enjoyable, but not unusual.

It was much more intangible than that. I was always one of those teenagers that made fun of "Hallmark Holidays". If you would like to know the history of this holiday click here. I was the resident radical at my high school that argued against things that smacked of corporate creation and/or greed. Don't get me wrong I always got my father, and stepfather cards or gifts but I thought the idea of the holiday was a bit on the absurd. Why not honor your parents each and every day, why is such a day necessary?

Well, this was the first time that I think my three year old (Cassie), actually got some idea of the concept of Father's Day, and it was really nice to hear her say 'Happy Father's Day'. Now my question is what does this holiday mean to me. First and foremost, I feel the need to thank numerous people in this vein. My father and I have a complex relationship that I think is probably not uncommon once both child and parent are both adults. He has taught me many things about choices and how to make the right ones.

I would like to thank my stepfather for the many things he does. He has shown a great deal of wisdom in helping me handle some challenging situations. He has always been there for my mother and my brothers and sisters. I have had some challenging times, and he has always been there. It is important that fathers be there, for their children or stepchildren.

It is also very nice to know that I have been blessed with in-laws that I can go to with problems or concerns. I imagine that this positive relationship is unusual based on common stereotypes. My in-laws have been very supportive, and have made me feel comfortable in a city far away from New Orleans. It is nice to have that relationship, not everyone does.

I also feel the need to mention a few parental figures I have had in teaching. I've had fellow teachers, with much more seniority, that have helped me along the way. They've helped me with the obvious teaching questions and with the not so obvious ethical issues that sometimes arise in the workplace. I've been invited over for holidays, taken out for meals, and treated like family. These various people have tried to teach me office politics, among other things. For those of you that know me personally, I have not learned this lesson very well.

All in all, I've learned that this holiday is beneficial for the obvious. And yes it should not be necessary. But how often do we actually take a day to think about and thank the people that have made us the lovable, dysfunctional people that we are? I hope and pray it takes Cassie a lot less time to come to some of these conclusions than it took me.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

State of Louisiana Launches Rebuilding Registry through the Road Home

June 10, 2008
Media Contact:
Christina Stephens

Louisiana Recovery Authority


BATON ROUGE, La. (June 11, 2008) - The state has launched an online Rebuilding Registry to serve as a resource for Louisiana homeowners affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as part of the Road Home program, the Louisiana Recovery Authority and Office of Community Development announced today.
Developed as a part of the Road Home contract, the Rebuilding Registry is a feature of the LSU AgCenter's Home Design and Construction Portal, which provides information about the rebuilding process and helps connect homeowners with building professionals serving their area.
"Now that the majority of Road Home grants have been awarded to homeowners, it is important that we make sure they have the other, non-financial, resources necessary to rebuild their homes and their lives," said Paul Rainwater, Executive Director, Louisiana Recovery Authority.

Homeowners can access this portal through the Road Home Web site,, or by going directly to This free service is provided by the state and the LSU AgCent! er, in collaboration with Tulane University and the University of New Orleans. It is designed to provide homeowners with the resources to rebuild a safer, stronger and smarter Louisiana.
The site contains fact sheets and information on a number of rebuilding topics, ranging from how to repair a damaged home or build hurricane-resistant, energy-efficient homes to the types of licenses and permits that are required before beginning any building project.
The Rebuilding Registry tool helps homeowners find licensed building professionals to assist them with their home construction projects. Through this Rebuilding Registry, homeowners can:
0. Locate professionals who work in their parish and offer the types of services they are looking for. The registry lists the professionals randomly, showing the company name, their state licenses and their primary office location.
0. Send inquiries to professionals of their choice. The homeowner's message will be sent through the registry, and will give the contractor information about their project needs. Contractors who are interested in the homeowner's project can reply through the registry, sending an electronic "business card" to the homeowner. Further contractor selection and contract negotiations take place outside the system.
This free service is a part of ICF International's Road Home contract with the state and was designed to aid Road Home applicants. The registry is not limited to these applicants and can be a valuable resource for any homeowner who is planning a building project.
"Many homeowners are frustrated as they try to find building professionals to complete repairs to their homes," said David Moore, homebuilding information specialist with the LSU AgCenter. "This is a critical service that offers them the resources they need to find licensed professionals and to develop a greater understanding of the rebuilding process," he said.
To facilitate access to the registry and other online resources, the state is offering an outreach center. Located next door to the Lindy Boggs Conference Center near UNO's Lakefront campus at the lake end of Elysian Fields, the Rebuilding Information Station (RIS) also houses literature on a number of rebuilding topics. The RIS is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.. Through the LSU AgCenter, the state also offers one-on-one or group training for non-profit agencies and others who wish to help non-Internet users take advantage of these resources.
The registry and other building information can be found on The Road Home Web site,, under the "Building Resources" section. All homeowners have access to the fact sheets and information on the site, but in order to use the registry services, homeowners will need to create an online profile that will include the location and description of the project for which contractor services are being sought.
For more information on The Road Home program, visit or call 1.888.ROAD.2.LA (1.888.762.3252). TTY callers use 711 relay or 1.800.846.5277.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Email humor

Breakfast with the President...

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush were having breakfast at the
White House.

The attractive waitress asks Cheney what he would like, and he replies, "I'd like a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit...

"And what can I get for you, Mr. President?"

George W. looking up from his menu, replies with his trademark wink and slight grin,.... "How about a quickie this morning?"

"Why, Mr. President!" the waitress exclaims "How rude! You're starting to act like Mr. Clinton!

As the waitress storms away, Cheney leans over to Bush and whispers..........

"It's pronounced, 'Quiche'


Sunday, June 01, 2008

This guy is worse than Kerry!!!

Rather than focusing on what Mrs. Obama said, it would be nice to see Senator flip-flop (McCain) keep his own story straight. I hope he does his best to run the campaign of ideas that he originally suggested. Boy, I wonder where Karl Rove is during all of this. He might be the one suggesting these sorts of smear tactics that helped President Shrub win the last two elections.