Senate Votes to Renew Flood Insurance Program Part 2: The Politics

Rather than adding on to Nowdy’s post I’ll add the text of today’s Sun Herald Op-Ed on the S. 2284 vote. For what ever reason they mixed in this Reuters story in the online page by Kevin Drawbaugh on the Senate vote which I thought was both fact based and well written. On the front page of today’s Sun Herald is this AP story. We duly noted both Senators Wicker and Cochran voted in favor of S. 2284 while Florida’s Bill Nelson joined Mary Landrieu and David Vitter in voting against passage.

The Mississippi politics behind the vote are somewhat ironic. I suspect Wicker and Cochran’s final yes vote was the price for getting a vote on the wind amendment. Given Travis Childer’s victory in the first district yesterday, 3 of 4 Mississippi’s US Representatives are Democrats. Even hard core Republicans like Alan Lange at now concede the macro political trend away from the GOP may indeed wash over entire state as surely as Katrina’s water washed away the coast. In all honesty I’ve never cared much for Thad Cochran but not for political reasons – he’s always struck me as the Senator for the wealthy but he’ll occupy the seat as long as he wants it. Roger Wicker is the one that is vulnerable as Alan Lange acknowledged today. I personally think Ronnie Musgrove is a deeply flawed candidate but the race is shaping up to be very competitive.

At slabbed we’re happy Senator Wicker’s wind amendment got a vote. But we need more than a vote. We need a solution. In these months leading up to the November election we’ll continue to evaluate the candidates for Trent Lott’s old Senate seat.

Few who come here leave unchanged in some way. Continue reading “Senate Votes to Renew Flood Insurance Program Part 2: The Politics”

Judge Mills to Moultrie “Where’s the Beef”? Denies Moultrie’s Polygraph Motion

You heard the other side of the story on why this motion would be turned down here on slabbed. We’ll be watching to see if the Oxford Eagle covers this setback for team Moultrie. We have Judge Mill’s order on our growing USA V Moultrie page here. These excerpts pretty much tells the tale:

The court finds that the defendant has not established that the science behind polygraph examinations is sufficiently reliable to be deemed admissible. Accordingly, Moultrie’s motion to admit the results of his polygraph examinations must be DENIED.

The judge goes on to wonder why this ever ended up before him to begin with given that Robert Moultrie was never willing to take an honest polygraph administered by the FBI: Continue reading “Judge Mills to Moultrie “Where’s the Beef”? Denies Moultrie’s Polygraph Motion”

Corban V USAA Makes the News

We first mentioned this case here, which recapped the various 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rulings on anti concurrent causation. The importance is that the 5th Circuit follows state law and legal precedent in insurance cases. Since virtually all the cases have been tried in federal court the opportunity for the Mississippi Courts to speak for themselves on wind water issues has been very limited. Anita Lee reports on Corban V USAA, which originated in the Harrison County Circuit Court and now finds itself waiting legal clarification with the Mississippi Supreme Court due to inconsistencies between the Tuepker and Leonard decisions.

Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson followed the 5th Circuit’s ruling in the case (ostensibly Tuepker), but said a common-sense reading of the insurance clause indicates to her that only water damage is excluded from coverage. Her ruling will stand unless the Supreme Court agrees to decide the issue.

As we pointed out earlier this case has the potential to reverse some or all of the 5th circuit’s rulings thus far on anti concurrent causation which is precisely what attorneys for the Corbans are arguing, that anti concurrent causation is ambiguous and thus invalid. Continue reading “Corban V USAA Makes the News”

Twofer Tuesday: Isn’t Mississippi fixed already?

Locally the Carter-Habitat work project continues to dominate the local headlines. There were two stories in today’s Sun Herald that read better from the back to the front of today’s paper. So first is the perspectives of some Habitat volunteers and then those of former President Carter.

Perhaps the most common misconception about the Mississippi Gulf Coast is that rebuilding is over.

Like Nowdy said, 2 years and 256 days seems like a long time.

Almost three years of bouncing around? Isn’t Mississippi fixed already?

Adele Lyons of Biloxi puts it better than anyone I’ve heard in my nine months on the Coast. At a recent conference in Washington, she heard the dreaded, “Oh, you’re not finished yet?”

“Look how long it takes to build a new store. A year? And that’s with a perfect planning process. Three years would not be unheard of for a big development,” she said. Obviously, our conditions are far from perfect.

Lyons works for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has donated more than $1 million for the weeklong housing blitz. Continue reading “Twofer Tuesday: Isn’t Mississippi fixed already?”

Slabbed Welcomes our Georgia Based Readers

I’ve been reading some of our incoming links and found some very insightful analysis of the Facility Group including some of the problems the indictments of Robert Moultrie and others has impacted business back in Georgia. First is the news story then some juicy message board tidbits.

Executives with the firm hired to design the new Madison County jail have been indicted in Mississippi, accused of bribing a state official in hopes of securing a lucrative building contract.

Three executives with The Facility Group were indicted on 15 counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to corruptly influence a public official.

This information “is extremely troubling,” said Madison County Sheriff John Ledford, “and could be devastating to the (plans for the) jail.”

The Facility Group was hired in November to design the new Madison County detention center because the firm said it could provide “all the services” needed in design and construction.

But now, Ledford and Larry Leake, who was county attorney when the plans for a new jail were first discussed, say the federal indictments throw a shadow on The Facility Group’s credibility. Continue reading “Slabbed Welcomes our Georgia Based Readers”

Chip Merlin Weighs in on Multi-Peril

Chip Merlin has an excellent blog entry on multi peril insurance. He is a free market guy and his arguments are compelling. I’m going to cheat and play to how Chip has been sterotyped. His conclusions, along with the problems with the underlying business theory at play now are thought provoking.

So what do the oligopoly of State Farm, Allstate and Nationwide do regarding the wind risk along coastal states?  They leave, raise rates and then start a national debate about government taking on the risk that they do not, but do not want new competitors replacing them.   What “free enterprise” champions they are!!

Policyholders want one stop shopping for their insurance.  They also want to know that they will be able to get insurance, so there exists some strong argument for the coverage.  However, it is amazing that an industry built on spreading risks, and making money from it, transfers the variable catastrophic risks to the government—which is really the people—whenever it is to their advantage.

Meanwhile the Long Promised State Farm Market Conduct Study Almost Complete

At his insurance forum in early March of this year Insurance Commissioner Chaney mentioned his office’s market conduct study of State Farm was almost complete. It looks to be comprehensive too as the Anita Lee’s story makes clear it not only will cover State Farm’s behavior but will also include Jim Hood and the Rigsby sisters.

At this point I’ll acknowledge the rumors on the street predict the study will be a complete whitewash of the events here after Katrina. Lee Harrell acknowledges those rumors too. After reading the story I now wonder if they are true.  Here is today’s Sun Herald story:

The state will finish a study of how State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. handled claims after Hurricane Katrina by month’s end, Mississippi Deputy Insurance Commissioner Lee Harrell said Wednesday.

The study, anticipated before the end of 2007, began 18 months ago. Former Insurance Commissioner George Dale ordered it because of consumer complaints about how insurance companies handled Hurricane Katrina claims. Continue reading “Meanwhile the Long Promised State Farm Market Conduct Study Almost Complete”

Senate Defeats Wicker’s Wind Amendment

As we expected Senator Wicker’s multi peril amendment went down in flames as an ill wind blew through the Senate.  Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama were MIA. McClatchy reporter Lesley Clark has the story. Nowdy has some analysis in the works for later today.

A Gulf Coast-backed effort to add wind coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program was soundly defeated Wednesday in the Senate amid concerns it would be too costly. 

The drive to add the amendment to the flood insurance bill failed, 73-19. Opponents said they were leery of the cost and opposed federal intervention in private markets.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, urged a vote against the amendment but said he was “determined to come up with some answers” on providing affordable insurance to homeowners in disaster-prone states. Continue reading “Senate Defeats Wicker’s Wind Amendment”

Good Job Brownie! The Rigsby Sisters & Why We Need to Clean House in DC

In Scott Bloch we find another striking example of why a thorough house cleaning and GOP purge is necessary in Washington DC this November. With this group of right wing ideologues in charge at DoJ is it any wonder Dunn Lampton still can’t make up his mind on intervening on Ex Rel Rigsby? How ironic the strange beds in which our Rigsby-hating State Farm apologist find themselves. What a mess.

The Wall Street Journal has the story.

Federal agents raided the Office of Special Counsel, a government agency involved in several high-profile and politically sensitive investigations. The agents seized computer files and documents from its chief, Scott Bloch, and his staff.

Mr. Bloch, who was appointed by President Bush, has been under investigation since 2005 by the Office of Personnel Management for employee claims that he abused his agency’s authority, retaliated against its staff and dismissed whistleblower cases without adequate examination. Mr. Bloch couldn’t be reached to comment. Continue reading “Good Job Brownie! The Rigsby Sisters & Why We Need to Clean House in DC”

But for the S.S. Camille it was time to say goodbye

What better anology to symbolize our recovery than having Grass Lawn brought back from the dead on the same day the S.S. Camille was demolished. As a child I remember both that boat and the barge that Camille laid across that section of Highway 90 back in 1970.  With the tug boat gone the trip on Highway 90 in West Gulfport just won’t be the same. Here is the Video report from WLOX. Following is their print story:

“We’re getting ready to move it. Tear it down. Time for it to go,” said owner Lucille Moody, as demolition crews prepared to tear down the S.S. Hurricane Camille tugboat.

Moody is bittersweet about losing the 72 foot long landmark.

Long a popular tourist attraction, in recent years the landmark deteriorated into more of an eyesore.

“It’s rusty. It’s been sitting there for 35 years. And it was built in 1943. So, it’s time for it to go,” said Moody.

As friends joined her in a champagne toast, a growing crowd gathered to watch or photograph this bit of coast history. Continue reading “But for the S.S. Camille it was time to say goodbye”