Dumpstergate: Never a dull moment here in the Bay…..

Wes Muller is plowing fertile ground. The back story goes back a few years as this old story by Jennifer Lenain illustrates:

Bay beach restaurant plan faces new hurdles

As a small businessman, all I want from local government is a level competitive playing field. Maybe we should get government subsidized dumpsters for every restaurant in town to level the playing field. Or maybe the City should get out of the commercial trash business. Something is not right when the most expensive part of town gets government subsidy after government subsidy while the folks on Old Spanish Trail have to fight tooth and nail for a sidewalk, even after pedestrians have been hit and killed.

Bay St. Louis restaurateurs shoot down city dump idea ~ Wes Muller

Analysis: Rumors of sweetheart insider contracts swirling around Singing River Hospital (Updated)

UPDATE:
Since this post was published Slabbed was contacted by Singing River Hospital Spokesman Richard Lucas. This snippet tells the tale:

Our laundry contract, as it has been for many years, is with Crown Health Care Laundry Services out of Pensacola, Florida. We do not have nor have we ever had a contract with Mississippi Laundry Services.

I appreciate the fact that Mr. Lucas contacted Slabbed with that clarification. The other entities are now screaming “follow-up” and I will be doing just that to see if we can gain additional clarity. That will be in part two. ~ Doug

By now anyone with any sort of remote connection to the Jackson County political establishment has heard the rumors of sweetheart deals between the Singing River Health System and certain insiders.  Those rumors have been alluded to several different places and that makes this post a twofer as Slabbed will explore these rumors, why people are talking (beyond the obvious in the implosion of the employee pension fund due to management willfully not funding it) and plus that twofer in how this internet thingy works.

I begin with the DMR = SRHS meme, which first surfaced here in the local feedback loop with the feedback loop confirmed here.  The gang at Singing River Hospital are no doubt feeling a bit embattled and rightfully so.  Pundits, bloggers and muckrakers are a competitive group and there was no way I was gonna let Wayne Weidie have all the fun no sir. Two days ago I sent the following email (partially redacted for dramatic effect) to Hospital Spokesman Richard Lucas:

Mr. Lucas:

I am the publisher of the Slabbed New media website found at www.slabbed.org. I have been following and have covered certain aspects of the financial problems being experienced by the Singing River Hospital System. Along those lines several of my readers have sent me tips regarding alleged insider sweetheart contracts between the Hospital, Hospital <redacted> , and Mr. <redacted> son. Additionally one of the companies is allegedly also owned by Scott Walker, who is now in Federal Prison.

While these contracts may be shielded by the exemption enjoyed by the Hospital in the Mississippi Public Records statute I am contacting you to confirm or deny the existence of these related party transactions. If the answer is none of your business under the Mississippi public records law, that is fine too. I simply want to give you guys a chance to respond in advance of my upcoming publication on this topic and the rumors swirling around SRHS.

<redacted>

Thank you for any information you can provide me regarding these companies and their dealings with SRHS.

As I write this my email to Mr. Lucas has not garnered a reply but the next morning this appeared in the Mississippi Press: Continue reading

Jim Brown: So Do We and Should We Torture?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

SO DO WE AND SHOULD WE TORTURE?

And we thought Jack Bauer on the Fox TV show “24” was heavy handed in his use of torture techniques. Jack was a piker compared to CIA operatives who utilized about every method of pain infliction imaginable. And then, Vice President Dick Chaney make it clear America had to move to “the dark side.” The ends justified the means if we were to protect our freedoms. But did we, and at what cost?

The controversy ignited last week when the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a pejorative report claiming that post 9/11, the CIA undertook an elaborate scheme to torture purported terrorists in violation of federal law. The report also concluded that the program of “enhanced interrogations techniques” was incompetent and provided little useful information. Democratic senators cheered, but Republicans, with a few exceptions shouted it was all about politics. So what does a reasonable examination of the facts show?

First, torture is illegal under both U.S. and international law. Specifically, 18 U.S. Code § 2340A, states: “Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.” No exceptions for any government official. Cheney’s “dark side” argument doesn’t hold water under federal law. If America wants to torture, then change the law.

Secondly, did CIA operatives actually torture? I guess it’s how the “enhanced techniques” are defined. The senate report describes detainees being water boarded, rectally force fed, repeatedly beaten, hanged and handcuffed to an overhead bar for 22-hour periods, left in total darkness and cold temperatures, hooded and shackled, forced to stay awake for up to 180 hours while “standing or in painful stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste.” Pretty damning evidence that these detainees were more than just “roughed up” a bit. Continue Reading…………….

Looks like I was in the wrong courtroom yesterday…..

The business world always slows down in advance of the Christmas holiday so yesterday I took advantage and headed to US District Court in New Orleans and a major pretrial hearing in the Heather Hilliard civil suit against Jefferson Parish. The hearing was attended by all the finest people but before I get to that the following is spreading like wildfire in the NOLA legal community:

Judge berates lawyer in OPP case as new jail’s opening is delayed again ~ Jim Mustian

The judge also raised concerns Wednesday that the sprawling jail litigation has become “overlawyered,” noting Gusman now has two private law firms handling the case, while Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration also has engaged two firms. The city remains actively involved in the litigation because state law requires it to pay for inmate care.

Williams, of the firm Gauthier, Houghtaling & Williams, has joined attorney Blake Arcuri and the Usry, Weeks & Matthews firm in providing legal services to the sheriff. The city, meanwhile, has relied on Harry Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney who works for the firm Phelps Dunbar, and Ralph Capitelli, of Capitelli & Wicker, in addition to the advice of City Attorney Sharonda Williams.

The mounting legal fees are being doled out even as the city and the Sheriff’s Office continue to fight over how to spend limited resources on changes at the jail. “The taxpayers are paying for it at the end of the day,” Africk said.

It’s not clear why Gusman decided to hire a second law firm, though the sheriff has faced a torrent of litigation prompted by OPP’s violent conditions, even apart from the consent decree proceedings.

Spokespeople for Gusman and Landrieu did not respond to questions Wednesday about how much the Sheriff’s Office and city are paying the attorneys.

Its only money after all folks. Maybe Judge Africk remembered this: Continue reading

For Chuck the Red…..

Of the seven plus years I’ve been doing Slabbed, 2014 was the wildest, wackiest year of them all and then some folks. Those of you that remember the brutal Senate GOP primary between Thad Cochran and State Senator Chris McDaniel also recall it was also a three ring circus.  A journalist from California named Chuck C. Johnson came over to cover the race for his website and ended right up in the middle of the Rose Cochran nursing home picture scandal mess plus some. After receiving a return invite to Mississippi via a Grand Jury subpoena Chuck moved on to Ferguson and after Ferguson, the Rolling Stone UVA rape allegations and a retracted Rolling Stone article on same. He’s managed to piss off a few people along the way including the Clarion Ledger’s own Sam Hall and that brings me to yesterday:

Sowing Mayhem, One Click at a Time ~ David Carr

Before we get into a sampling, as Norm once famously said on Cheers:

“It’s a dog eat dog world, Woody & I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.”

Woman Falsely ID’d as UVA’s Jackie by Conservative Blogger Is Suing ~ Anna Merlan

Which of These Disgusting Chuck Johnson Rumors are True? ~ J. K. Trotter

The Daily Caller Can’t Quit Chuck Johnson ~ J.K. Trotter Continue reading