Sunday, July 21, 2019

Local Swamp - Update

Opposing the toll bridge...…..

Engineers can be pesky critters. We are pesky because we read specifications and regulations for a living. So I read the Louisiana Statutes regarding Public Private Partnerships. It turns out that the proposing company is required by law to submit their proposal to "each local jurisdiction" and they then have 60 days to comment and "confirm that it meets the local transportation plan". This sounded to me like they needed local permission to proceed so I notified all the folks on the email list which included one of our councilpersons. He asked the parish lawyer if the proposal had been received. He could not find it so he sent an email to the Dept of Transportation lawyer asking where it was. Turns out that it had been delivered 30 days ago and our parish politicos had lost it. So now, there are 30 days left to comment and Hurricane Barely shuts everything down for another week.

This week we finally got someone to pay attention and realize that this was a chance, mandated by law, to influence the project.

Upon further reading, I noted the key word "each". So now I am checking to see if the neighboring parishes were informed and if the received a copy of the proposal. If not, we could re-set the 60 day clock.

The lesson here is that your politicians probably don't have a clue what the law says so it pays to spend some time and look into the details.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Hurricane (Barely) Barry

My 82 year old mother in law's air conditioning went out so she moved in with us to keep cool until repairs were made. Then along comes Barry and she stayed as she doesn't like to be alone in bad weather. She has stayed glued to the TV with its almost continuous coverage of the storm. The problem is that, with air time to fill, they spend time talking about all the things that COULD happen and they are scaring the crap out her. Try as I might, I cannot get her away from watching the doom and gloom. Even this morning, with the storm well west of us and going on shore, she was worried to hear that it had just been upgraded to a Cat 1 hurricane...… by 1 mph! What we are having in the burbs of New Orleans is really just a blustery, blustery day.

And I have a peeve about the reporting. They re reporting the storm surge as "above ground". That reference means absolutely nothing. They should reference "mean sea level". Then they can add the tide and storm surge to get a realistic number for the storm surge. For me, this is just another way the news reports false news and terrorizes the public to boost their ratings.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Unapologetic Kickstarter Solicitation

I am putting in a link to my nephews Kickstarter campaign. He is new film student and has completed his first production. He is seeking a few dollars to pay for the entrance fees  to film competitions. The entire production was filmed in his fathers garage. My wife and I donated a few items he needed for props to make up a 90s period office. The story concerns the mailer daemon, the guy that sends back undeliverable emails. Donate if you want to.

Mailer Daemon link.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Ross Perot

Ross Perot has died. Most people will remember his failed run for president and blame him for splitting the Republican ticket. But few remember, if they even knew, about his rescue of company executives in Iran.

In 1978, two Electronic Data Services executives were arrested in Tehran for bribery. Perot decided to get his people out and he recruited a team of ex military EDS employees and hired a retired Army officer to train them to go to Iran and rescue their colleagues. This officer was "Bull" Simmons who had led the Son Tay Raid to rescue POWs in North Vietnam. Once they arrived in Tehran, nothing went as planned but the two executives were able to escape during a prison transfer and get to Turkey. The story is told in Ken Follet's book, "On Wings of Eagles."

This is an example of corporate courage and loyalty that would be hard to find today.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Tail Count

The results of the 2018-2019 Nutria bounty program are in. The State of Louisiana pays $5 for every nutria tail turned in. The state payed out $1,115,775 to 241 hunters. 78 of those hunters turned in 800 or more tails. In order to maintain interest by the hunters, they have raised the bounty to $6 per tail next season.

Before you go getting all PETA on Louisiana for killing these poor, defenseless rodents, they are responsible for a continuing problem by damaging marsh plants and destroying the wetlands. It is estimated that they damaged over 14,000 acres last year.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Local Swamp - Update

As Groucho said, "I'm not sure I want to belong to any club that would have me as a member." For better or worse, I am on the email list of the group opposing tolls on the proposed bridge. We have had a couple of meetings with our state representative and have gotten the parish council to send a letter to governor opposing the tolls. The problem as I see it is that the DOTD has decided they want to do a public private partnership and is determined to proceed. There are a couple of rabble rousers in the group and they have been quite vocal in complaining to the local politicians. They have ignored my comments regarding design and construction and focused on going back over old issues that have already been approved by the public (redoing the design basis). While governor says he won't force the bridge on an unwilling public, it has not occurred to them that their options are (1) a new bridge with tolls, or (2) keep the current bridge and deal with the traffic when it lifts for boat traffic. If they raise too much hell, they will lose federal grant money.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 6, 2019


No visit to southern Alabama would be complete without a visit to Bamahenge. What do you do if you are the richest man in the state? Why you build a fiberglass replica of Stonehenge and throw in a few life size dinosaurs for good measure. And do it in the middle of the woods where you have to go looking for it.

That's exactly what George Barber, the milk billionaire of Alabama, did. He commissioned Mark Cline to build this roadside attraction in Elberta, AL.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Head Count

Had a brief vacay at the red neck Riveria and now I'm back. The area of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama provides the majority of the tax revenue for the state. Tourism is very important there. The area is also becoming increasingly gentrified. Orange Beach has several award winning chefs and is becoming a foodie destination.

But back to decapitation......Saudi Arabia beheaded a couple of druggies and several murderers adding 8 to their count. Year to date total is now 115.