Denham Springs Residents Forced to Elevate Based on Arbitrary, Idiotic Standards

Over a month ago, myself and thousands of other Denham Springs residents had their homes flooded. Since then, we have been gutting homes and letting them dry out and are at the point where we can start rebuilding.

The pure hell of  fighting  a bungling and incompetent  city hall has us longing for the days back in August when we were fighting the flood waters ravaging our homes.

Seriously. It’s that bad.

Many Denham Srpings residents are being faced with the nightmare prospect of being forced to elevate their homes.   The truly horrifying aspect in all of this is that it’s based on an idiotic and arbitrary formula.

In order to  rebuild their homes, those with more than 18 inches of water must apply for a permit.

In order to obtain the permit, you must present

A). An estimate by a licensed contractor and

B). Your property value assessment from the tax assessor’s office.

If the contractor’s estimate is greater than 50 percent of your home’s value  on the tax assessment, then you may be forced to elevate  your home.

The  idiocy of all this should be obvious to anyone with a brain larger than the size of an atom.

The dollar value attached to your house on your tax assessor’s document is, in most cases substantially less than what your house would actually sell for.

Estimates by contractors will vary wildly depending on the contractor; it’s  a completely random and arbitrary number.

 

NOTE: If you work for, or are otherwise an apologist for the abomination known as “Denham Srpings City Hall,” save your breath.  Don’t dare try to tell me that any of this is untrue.

Every word of this came straight from the horses’s mouth. I spoke with someone at city hall face-to-face.

 

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Lessons in School Choice as Louisiana Drowns

During much of the Louisiana 2016 flood, I was in Denver Colorado.  It all started in March of this year when a young man named Josh Kaib invited me to a conference called “Amplify School Choice.” The conference was presented by the Franklin Center, and covered the various facets of school choice:  charter schools, vouchers, homeschooling and a variety of other topics were covered throughout the conference.

Seeking to spread the message of school choice, the Franklin Center invited a vast collection of bloggers from every state.   I was among hose bloggers privileged enough to attend, and I found the information presented to be incredibly insightful.

My original intent had been to write my first blog entry immediately after the conference ended, but that’s right around the time when I learned that my house was under water 1,300 miles away and that I would not be able to get a flight home for several days.

Suddenly it was very hard to blog.  It was much easier to walk downtown and drown my sorrows at the infamous Coyote Ugly Saloon and that’s  pretty much what I did.

A video of some of the saloon’s antics is below.

 

Eventually I made it back home to my parents’ house because my house was still inaccessible and uninhabitable.

For the past week I’ve been gutting my house.  This is the first time I’ve actually had a chance to sit down and write about school choice conference, so here goes;

On the first day of the conference, Mr. Josh Kaib opened the conference with a simple yet profound statement: “A child’s destiny should not be determined by his zip code.”

Indeed, for most of us, the place where our children will attend school is determined by geography.  And for many years, many of us accepted this idea without really questioning or challenging it.

But there are better ways to educate the children of tomorrow, and the state of Colorado has been at the forefront in finding these new and improved ways.  Charter schools in particular have been proliferating in the state, providing educational opportunities for students of color and English Language Learners.

And they have doing so with a high degree of success. Keep in mind that charter schools have strict accountability standards, including the threat of immediate closure or state takeover if students  do not meet state performance requirements.  And so every three years, the Colorado Department of Education develops a report on the current status of charter schools because the law requires them to.

The Colorado League of Charter Schools recently published a report on the state of charter schools.   The highlights of those findings include:

• Colorado charter public schools are enrolling students of color and English Language Learners (ELLs) at higher rates than the state’s traditional public schools.

• Charter public school students — including those who are considered at-risk — continue to outperform their peers in traditional public schools on state performance measures.

Over the course of the conference, we had the opportunity to visit two of the schools that are at the forefront of Colorado’s education initiatives.  We also had the chance to meet alumni from these schools.  As indicated in the report, these were students of color whose charter school education had prepared them for colleges which that they were currently attending.  I plan to go into more specifics about the schools visited in a later post.

The takeaway here is that Colorado’s great educational experiment has been a net positive for that state. Other states, Louisiana included, might want to follow their lead in securing a better future for the next generation.

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AG Letter Reveals #ExxonKnew AG Campaign about Defending Obama Climate Legacy

Washington, D.C. – On the heels of the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) releasing the copy of the a secrecy pact between Democratic Attorneys General led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, obtained after a months-long fight with these AGs to keep it from the public, E&E Legal has posted a March 7th 2016 letter sent by Schneiderman and Vermont AG William Sorrell to other ideologically aligned AGs inviting them to join in using their law enforcement offices in an “informal coalition…to stem climate change and expand the availability and usage of renewable energy”.

The letter, also obtained under state open records laws, targets “Attorneys General who share this mission” of protecting and advancing “climate” policies, through “the formation of an Attorneys General climate change and energy coalition”.  This coalition’s members have launched investigations targeting industry and non-profit think tanks toward this end, under the guise of racketeering laws to promote this inherently political agenda.

This makes the AGs’ claims to “privilege” to keep their otherwise public records secret — grounded in that purported “Common Interest Agreement” (CIA) which plainly lacks the hallmarks such an agreement must have to be proper — not just implausible but patently unlawful.

The now infamous March 29 press conference among recipients of this letter and former Vice President and current “green” investor Al Gore immediately prompted questions about the actual intent of the campaign, particularly since the podium placard featured the president’s Clean Power Plan.

Indeed the very first of four sweeping, supposed common legal interests set forth in the purported CIA is “to compel or defend federal measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions.” “This letter makes inescapable the fact that the AGs’ goal was to defend and extend Obama’s environmental agenda,” said Craig Richardson, E&E Legal executive director. “That is a political cause, which the AGs seek to extend by improper means, circumventing the proper, democratic political process.”

“It is unprecedented to have the top state law enforcement officers waging a political war on behalf of the president at the cost of the First Amendment protections they are charged with upholding,” added E&E Legal Senior Legal Fellow Chris Horner, “This letter lays bare that the purpose of their investigations was to launch a political campaign to silence critics of the Administration.”

E&E Legal intends to pursue all public records these AGs are trying to keep secret by this purported CIA, or secrecy pact drafted by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office. The group has already filed several lawsuits toward that end.

The AGs’ supporters responded to last week’s revelation of the terms of the purported CIA,insisting that “common interest agreements are common”. This is true: Common interest agreements are common; what the AGs entered into does not qualify as a common interest agreement; what the AGs entered into is not common.  It also therefore is not a shield to keep discussions of this abuse of their offices, which are otherwise public records, from the public.

Despite the claims that this agreement is routine, it is anything but.  As the New York Attorney General knows, and the highest court in New York just reaffirmed, the sheer breadth of the supposedly privileged areas of discussion, the lack of any litigation, the now-confirmed fact that few if any of the other states who signed this agreement ever intended to undertake so-called ‘investigations’ let alone pursue litigation, and the overtly political vs. legal nature of the campaign the document all reveal this agreement would never be accepted as legitimate by any court to hide the machinations of an overtly political campaign.

It was less than two months ago that New York’s highest court reaffirmed New York’s long-standing rule on common interest agreements in Ambac Assurance Corp.v. Countrywide Home Loans Inc, N.E.3d, 2016 N.Y. Slip Op. 04439 (June 9, 2016), ruling that the doctrine “applies only where pending or reasonably anticipated litigation is involved.”  That, alone, informs anyone who reads the AGs’ document that it is inherently far too sweeping in its breadth and vagueness about what the common interests might be; its sweeping terms also betray the reality that there was no litigation they can point to as being reasonably anticipated among the parties.1

Instead, the AGs’ secrecy pact was drafted in anticipation of open records requests, which it aims to frustrate.  In fact, the Illinois OAG has already expressly claimed it as a reason the office cannot release public records sought by E&E Legal. These AGs are quite attentive to the document’s emphasis on only sharing discussions of their scheme with approved outside parties, stonewalling E&E Legal every step of the way since the first release, by Vermont’s OAG, led to terrific public blowback against the scheme.

Nonetheless, E&E Legal will continue to fight to make all public records relating to the AGs’ abusive scheme public.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.

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Poll: Kennedy Leads U.S. Senate Race

Kennedy leads U.S. Senate race
Results from a statewide poll of 500 likely Louisiana voters commissioned by Lane Grigsby conducted by Southern Media & Opinion Research, May 19-23, 2016.

State Treasurer John Kennedy leads an eight candidate field. Kennedy draws 32% of first choice votes followed by Congressman Charles Boustany with 10%. The other candidates are in single digits with Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell at 9% and Congressman John Fleming at 5%.
Vote for U.S. Senate (may not total 100% due to rounding)
John Kennedy…….. 32% Rob Maness ………..4%
Charles Boustany .. 10% Caroline Fayard …..4%
Foster Campbell …… 9% Troy Hebert ………..2%
John Fleming ……….. 5% Eric Skrmetta ……..1%
Undecided ………..32%
Taking a look at the likely voters who are undecided, a total of 32% of the sample, the poll shows that there are certain demographic groupings which are heavily undecided. This helps explain why the two Democratic contenders, Campbell and Fayard, are in single digits.
Democrats — 42% undecided Republicans — 21% undecided
Blacks — 52% undecided Whites — 25% undecided
Cong. Dist. 2 — 42% undecided Cong. Dist. 6 — 26% undecided
John Kennedy has far more name recognition than the other candidates included in the poll. While only 13% of the voters did not express an impression of Kennedy, the percent of voters not expressing an impression of the other candidates ranged from a low of 43% for Foster Campbell to a high of 67% for Eric Skrmetta.
Voter impression of the candidates (may not total 100% due to rounding)

Charles Boustany—32% favorable /19% unfavorable/49% not familiar
Foster Campbell—32% favorable /26% unfavorable/43% not familiar
Caroline Fayard—21% favorable /21% unfavorable/58% not familiar
John Fleming—29% favorable /18% unfavorable/53% not familiar
Troy Hebert—22% favorable /24% unfavorable/53% not familiar
John Kennedy—62% favorable /25% unfavorable/13% not familiar
Rob Maness—31% favorable /19% unfavorable/50% not familiar
Eric Skrmetta—14% favorable /19% unfavorable/67% not familiar

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Guest Commentary: 340-B Drug Program Hurts Small Businesses

-by Hiliary Solet

As a conservative who believes in limited government, I am always
suspicious when I learn that the government is using its power to
advantage certain industries even when they claim to do so in the name
of helping the poor.  As a native American, whose community is
disproportionately disadvantaged, I am especially concerned when I
learn that those industries so benefited are not passing along the
benefit to the poor.  It is crony capitalism at its worst.

Not many Americans are aware of a little know government program
called 340Bwhich was created in the 1990s to help not-for-profit
clinics and hospitals to provide life-saving prescription drugs to
uninsured and underinsured patients.  The program requires those who
manufacture drugs to sell them at a steep discount (up to 40%) to
qualified entities.  The clear intent of the law was that this
discount be passed on to the poor to help them afford their
prescriptions.

But increasingly, large public hospitals and some chain drugstore who
are their partners, have hijacked the program.  They now claim the
discount drug price for all their patients – including those who are
fully insured and not even poor.  The hospitals buy the drugs at a
deep discount and resell them at full price to their patients making a
significant profit.  These sales often occur through chain drugstore
with whom the hospitals have special arrangements.  Most patients
don’t even know this is happening and very few patients see any
benefit from this discount.  The hospitals simply keep the money.

This government program generates hundreds of millions of dollars --
so much revenue that even some hedge funds have invested in businesses
that show hospitals how to legally game the 340B program.

The 340B Program is properly used by some not-for-profit clinics to
genuinely help poor people.  It can be important to many people in my
native American community.  But lack of Congressional oversight has
led to abuse of the program and the program needs to be reformed and
returned to its original purpose.

As a physician, our US Senator Bill Cassidy, understands both the
importance of this program to the poor but also sadly the way in which
it is increasingly abused.  During his years in the House of
Representatives, Senator Cassidy was a leader in seeking more
oversight and reform of the program.  Now as a member of the Senate
Health, Education and Labor Committee we need to encourage him to
continue his reform efforts.  We need to contact Senator Cassidy and
encourage him to keep up this effort to bring about reform.
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Unhinged Caller Rips Michael Berry for not Backing Donald Trump

So it looks like talk radio host Michael Berry is a fan of Ted Cruz.  And apparently he’s learning that if you are a Cruz fan, and you have a public forum to express yourself, Trump fans have a way of becoming very irate.

I can relate.

On the night of the Iowa caucuses, I had a rather interesting Twitter exchange.

CHAD: Congratulations to Senator Cruz.

MR. BUTT HURT:  F**K off.

CHAD: I’d be glad to! Blocked asshole!

The clip of the irate caller and Berry’s response is below.

The caller flips out and goes on an angry extended rant because Berry has failed to fall in line behind the orange-haired, womanizing gambling tycoon running for president.

The caller gives no real reason why anyone should support the tycoon, of course.

In his Nevada victory speech, the gambling tycoon did said “I love uneducated people.”

Apparently uneducated people love him back. According to that audio, some of them think that  radio hosts should be fired for daring to support someone other than Trump. They also think that said radio host deserves to get his ass kicked if he dares disagree with someone’s wife/ Trump supporter- according to the above audio, that is.

 

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Rubio’s Opposition Reaserach Team Likes to Watch Porn

So it looks like a porn actress has turned up in a Ted Cruz campaign ad, which they have now pulled:

In the ad, softcore porn veteran Amy Lindsay’s character tells a member of the group that he “should vote for more than just a pretty face.”

A spokesman for the campaign told Buzzfeed that Cruz’s campaign said Lindsay had responded to an open casting call and the production company did not properly vet her.

Since the ad targets Marco Rubio, it’s safe to assume that  Rubio’s opposition research team is responsible for exposing  this non-scandal.

Which raises the question: how exactly was team Rubio able to easily identify a porn actress? I guess her face must have been pretty familiar to them!

By contrast, she managed to squeak past team Cruz because apparently no one on the Cruz camp recognized her.

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RINO Establishment Candidate Rubio says Cruz, not Trump is the Enemy

Via Mofo Politics comes this video of card-carrying RINO Marco Rubio discussing his strategy in Iowa. Is he targeting Trump? Kasich? Bush?

Of course not.

You’ve surely heard plenty talk about how the “establishment” is trying to figure out a way to deal with Donald Trump’s candidacy.

But it’s becoming increasingly clear that the candidate which they hate the most is Senator Ted Cruz.

In the video above, Rubio is repeating the familiar talking point about how Cruz “stole” the election in Iowa by telling people that Ben Carson had dropped out of the race.

Those of you who have took the time to examine the facts  know that this is pure hogwash.

Mark Levin has completely debunked this nonsense, and you can listen to the whole thing here.

On the evening of the Iowa Caucus, CNN reported that Dr. Ben Carson was going back home to Florida and was not going to New Hampshire.  Do these sound like the actions of someone who plans to stay in the race? Of course they don’t.

Based on the information reported by CNN, a Cruz campaign staffer sent out an email reading:

BREAKING NEWS: The press is reporting that Dr. Ben Carson is taking time off from the campaign trail after Iowa and making a big announcement next week. Please inform any Carson caucus goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz.

So the Cruz camp sent an email basically urging people to round up more support for their candidate.

Which is kinda what staffers  are supposed to do because, like, a staffer’s job is to help his candidate win. The way to win is to get more votes and the way to get more votes is to ask for them.

 

As the RINO establishment continues to bludgeon Cruz over this nonsense, the very real scandal of Donald Trump’s imminent domain abuse is being largely ignored:

For more than 30 years Vera Coking lived in a three-story house just off the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Donald Trump built his 22-story Trump Plaza next door. In the mid-1990s Trump wanted to build a limousine parking lot for the hotel, so he bought several nearby properties. But three owners, including the by then elderly and widowed Ms Coking, refused to sell.

As his daughter Ivanka said in introducing him at his campaign announcement, Donald Trump doesn’t take no for an answer.

Trump turned to a government agency – the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) – to take Coking’s property….

Peter Banin and his brother owned another building on the block. A few months after they paid $500,000 to purchase the building for a pawn shop, CRDA offered them $174,000 and told them to leave the property. A Russian immigrant, Banin said: “I knew they could do this in Russia, but not here. I would understand if they needed it for an airport runway, but for a casino?”

This Washington Post article from August explains Trump’s trampling of property rights in more detail.

As for Carson, he emerged from New Hampshire with fewer votes than any Republican candidate.

Did Cruz pull some shady stunt in New Hampshire too?

Or does Carson simply suck as a candidate?

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Dead Pelican declares Ted Cruz winner of New Hampshire Primary

My logic is rather simple.

I learned from Fox News that in any given caucus and/ or primary, the first place finisher is irrelevant and that third place is where it’s at.

Fox News declared victory for Marco Rubio because he finished third in Iowa.

According to Fox News, the second- best loser is the actual victor.

Who am I to question them?

UPDATE:

According to Breitbart News, Cruz is now looking forward to Fox News giving him extened coverage for his 3rd place finish.

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Hilarious New Anti- Trump Commercial by Ted Cruz Camp

So now the Republican primary moves into South Carolina and it’s about to get rough!  This ad is put out by a Ted Cruz super PAC and targets Donald Trump.

It highlights the fact that Trump has given money to people like Nancy Pelosi and Anthony Weiner.

It also touches on a well- known imminent domain case where Trump tried to use the power of government to force a woman to sell her property.  This was so Trump could build a parking lot.

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