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Quick LA climate change study requires leap of faith

Keep the grains of salt handy when evaluating a recent report claiming to tie in last month’s heavy rains in the Baton Rouge area that caused extensive flooding to significant anthropogenic climate change. If you don’t believe me, that’s the judgment coming from the report itself.

These researchers, including some who have peddled the hypothesis in various forms for many years, came together to issue a “rapid attribution study” that alleges the odds of a “50-year” storm in reality have dropped to more like occurring every 30 years because of man-made global warming. Intended for publication in a scientific journal, this kind of submission, in the authors’ words, “arises from the current intense public discussion that results from the significant societal impacts of this particular event” reporting results recently after an extreme event may enhance the societal understanding of climate change and extreme weather, and provide often requested information for management decisions following the event.”

In other words, don’t let a crisis go to waste: appropriate it as fodder to advance the data- and theoretically-challenged man-made global warming crusade. Even if this effort really cannot do that: as the authors note, “specific scientific statements for the event as observed in south Louisiana cannot be made based on general assessments of the connection of global warming and extreme rainfall.”


Privatization can lead way to reduced incarceration

A new report adds impetus to the idea that Louisiana can save money by rearranging resources in correctional policy.

Last week my column for The Advocate noted how greater reliance upon private operation of state prisons could save the state money, contrary to the budgetary decision this year that cut reimbursement to private operators. By doing that, those operators need no longer provide rehabilitative and treatment programs, on par with local facilities holding state prisoners that receive the same $24.39 per day per inmate. About half of all state prisoners at any given time serve time in a local facility, but fewer than half of those institutions provide this kind of programming standard in state lockups.

The value of such programs a recent audit from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor emphasized, which said that a comparative study with other states showed increased usage of these could save an unknown amount of money by reducing recidivism generally, but specifically an expanded re-entry program would save $14 million annually. Currently the state pays for nine regional centers to provide the 100-hour course as well as funding other for some other local initiatives.


Fleming failing to stop Kennedy Senate express

North Louisiana’s hopes of sending one of its own to Washington to serve as a U.S. Senator for the first time in two decades looks increasingly dim, according to the latest poll of that contest.

A joint effort between the website The Hayride and Remington Research found Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy leading the field with 27 percent, with north Louisiana’s Public Service Commissioner Democrat Foster Campbell a distant 11 points behind, followed closely by Republican Rep. Charles Boustany and lawyer and former statewide candidate Democrat Caroline Fayard. Northwest Louisiana Rep. John Fleming, 2014 Senate candidate Rob Maness, and white supremacist and 1990 Senate candidate David Duke, all Republicans, lag around each other in the middle single digits.

The race’s future jumps out from these numbers: it’s Kennedy’s to lose. As things stand, only those in double-digit territory as of now have a chance to join him in the runoff, and the dynamics show they have little chance of defeating him. The poll’s only heads-up match with him and Campbell showed him over 50 percent with Campbell garnering barely half of the remaining electorate. As for the others, another indicator shows they would have great difficulty in eating into Kennedy’s current support: he pulls in higher support than any of them across all of Republicans, Democrats, and independents.


Obscure issue illustrates return of good old boys

If you make a bluff, you don’t need to fold at the first hint of trouble. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon seems to know that as he continues to place obstacles in the way of giving the state’s citizens more control over one of its natural resources in the hopes of winning the hand.

H.R. 3094 by Republican Rep. Garret Graves would transfer authority to manage red snapper from the federal government to a consortium of states. Until earlier this year, every state stakeholder of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas supported the bill, which they called necessary to ensure more vigorous and inclusive management of the species.

Then Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards took office and named Melancon, a former Democrat congressman and lobbyist who runs in the same political circles as Edwards, to head up the agency. The secretary runs it administratively while the gubernatorial-appointed Wildlife and Fisheries Commission makes policy – which voted to support the bill that Edwards and Melancon then proceeded to announce opposition to it.