Leon Cannizzaro: Yep I did it too but the rest of ’em need prosecution

All I can tell you folks is the backstabbing involved with NOLA DA Leon Cannizzaro and the NOLA Criminal District Court judges is stunning as John Simerman reports today for the T-P.  I’ve been hearing rumors about discord in both the NOLA civil and criminal district courts for well over a year and that does not count the expense funds both courts maintain that are alleged to be slush funds. Worth noting is DA Cannizzaro evidently admitted that he also partook of the forbidden fruit during his time as a criminal district court judge but that is also water long under the bridge.  Judge Frank Marullo is shit outta luck though.

This animal has lots of heads and there has been some high quality work done on various subtopics such as the computer crash at Mortgages and Conveyances by folks like Dambala at American Zombie via Humid Beings.  For my part I think Slabbed will be a net beneficiary of the strife and discord as Louisiana Attorney General Buddy ‘Tickle my ass with a feather” Caldwell enters the fray. Stay tuned folks.


Jim Brown's Weekly Column: March Madness Are Athletes Being Short Changed?

Thursday, April 9, 2009
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Millions of rabid college basketball fans have been glued to their TVs over the past month as March Madness reached its crescendo this Monday night.  My North Carolina Tar Heels came close in an effort to win its second national title in the past five years.  And the big bucks have been rolling in.  There are lots of winners, with coaches getting big salaries, and colleges spiting up their percentage of huge TV and admission revenues.  But there is one group that is being both exploited and shortchanged. It’s the players, themselves.

There’s certainly not a shortage of income.  This year in the NCAA tourney, television income is estimated to be some $750 million, with an additional $50 million from ticket sales and sponsorships. The cost of a thirty second spot for Monday night’s championship game exceeds $1 million.  And college football is awash with the same increasing yearly income. More bowl games, and the ever increasing television revenue allows most college football programs to cover the cost of a growing array of minor sports. Continue reading “Jim Brown's Weekly Column: March Madness Are Athletes Being Short Changed?”

Just a thought – How big is the average mailbox in Jefferson Parish?

Yeah, it’s a slow news day on the slab –  probably, better stated as quiet before the next news storm.  However, it’s a good day to pick up the thought I dropped while covering the birchers so-called volley in the “Tournament of Trash“:

Is the average mailbox in Jefferson Parish large enough to hold a poster?

Unlike our Twice Right AG, I’ve been (ahem) twice wrong – the two River Birch epistles-to-the-voters of Jefferson Parish were not printed on an 5.5″x8.5″ card, as I guessed.

Instead, both were unfolded, full-size 8.5″x11″ posters – in other words, larger than a  residential mailbox meeting USPS standards!

  • Curb-size boxes are a standard 8.75″H x 6.5″W
  • Mail slots are a standard 2.25″H x 7.25″W

The standard size of a unit in the multi-unit mailbox found at most residential apartment complexes is 5″H x 4″W – the same width of typical black metal residential mailbox by my front door.

Oops!  IMO, the size issue means the only certain result of the birchers’ effort to trash Waste Management was more trash for Waste Management to pick up!

Just a thought!

h/t  thoughtful reader for providing SLABBED with a copy of latest poster (below) – abundant evidence the birchers need a new graphic designer in addition to the already evident need for a new interior designer! Continue reading “Just a thought – How big is the average mailbox in Jefferson Parish?”

Broussard and Whitmer charged with – surprise – violating state ethics laws

Email messages are pouring in with links to Rich Rainey’s story for the Times-Picayune – Aaron Broussard and Tim Whitmer charged with violating state ethics laws

Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard is facing state ethics charges for accepting $4,500 in Christmas gifts from his staff and for his involvement in 2009 with a private insurance agency owned by his top aide, Tim Whitmer, while the two men were running the parish government.

The Louisiana Board of Ethics alleged Broussard violated the state ethics code between 2007 and 2009 for accepting gift certificates from his staff. He is also charged with accepting “a thing of economic value” from Lagniappe Industries, the insurance agency Whitmer owned with his wife, Dawn, while Lagniappe “had a contractual or other business or financial relationship with his agency, Jefferson Parish,” the charges state.

Broussard has admitted to doing $5,000 in “legal work” for Lagniappe Industries in the summer of 2009.

Whitmer faces 30 charges that he violated the state ethics code. The majority of those stem from Lagniappe’s work selling health insurance to West Jefferson Medical Center while Whitmer was the parish’s No. 2 executive and serving on the parish’s Insurance Advisory Committee. Continue reading “Broussard and Whitmer charged with – surprise – violating state ethics laws”

Demographics Americana

An interesting piece from the Washington Post notes that there is now a broad decline across the broad spectrum of the lower to lower-middle class of America. The article notes correctly that this downturn preceded the current recession/depression. While the article correctly notes our previous propensity for borrowing our way out of problems, it ignores the wage leveling effects of global competition, immigration, and the lump that is the the baby boom cohort.

It also does not address that to some extent, the prevalence of higher degrees is not a sign of more education per se, but an outgrowth of a credentialing crises. As upper end positions within the normal hierarchy become hard to get, there is a race toward increased credentials by those who want to grab up these positions. Jack Goldstone noted that under similar demographics, this occurred in late 17th century England: so it is not a new phenomena.

The social pathologies long associated with the inner-city poor – single-parent households, births out of wedlock, drug and alcohol abuse – now stalk the white working class in rural and post-industrial regions far removed from big cities. The middle is falling. Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review, has noted that as wages and employment levels have fallen for the Americans who have graduated high school but not college, their level of out-of-wedlock births (44 percent) has approached that of Americans who haven’t completed high school (54 percent). Americans with college diplomas or more, by contrast, have a rate of just 6 percent.

The great sociologist William Julius Wilson has long argued that the key to the unraveling of the lives of the African American poor was the decline in the number of “marriageable males” as work disappeared from the inner city. Much the same could now be said of working-class whites in neighborhoods that may not look like the ghettos of Cleveland or Detroit but in which productive economic activity is increasingly hard to find.

Life Insurance Companies Don’t Like to Pay Either

The Wall Street Journal has a piece titled “Insurers Sued Over Death Bets: Scrutiny on Secondary-market Policies That Paid Investors When Others Died” by Leslie Scism

The story runs something like this.  Old people take out insurance on themselves.  Then they sell it to investors, who collect on the insurance if the old person dies.  It is very similar to the same racket that various companies, such as Wal-mart, are involved in with taking policies out against their employees.

The insurance companies were taking their fees, and occasionally one of the old people would die, but of course the actuary tables should be able to take that into account: right?

Apparently not.  Because the insurance companies have been denying benefits, and preemptively canceling policies.  Why?

Well buried in the seventh paragraph we find out:

The life-policy secondary market was one of many sent reeling by the global financial crisis of 2008-09, but it also has been hurt by revised actuarial tables, which show older people living longer

What, say it is not so!  The insurance companies denying benefits because they found an error in their tables!  It is not possible.

The insurers contend they are acting in the name of good public policy: State insurable-interest laws require an insurance buyer to have a bigger stake in the insured person’s continued well-being than in his death.

Mind you these are the people that have begun data-mining social networking sites to help to obtain additional information on prospective client that would likely not pass muster with the FTC if asked on an insurance application link.  But that is different:  they aren’t losing any money doing that!

Insurance P&C Meltdown Alert

From the Wall Street Journal’s Hear on the Street: State of Alert for Insurance Firms (may hit pay wall)

Some property and casualty insurers are particularly vulnerable to a downturn in the municipal bond market.

The list: value of municipal securities holdings as a ratio to common equity:

  • W.R. Berkley  153%
  • Travelers  152%
  • Chubb 1 27%
  • Allstate  87%
  • Everest RE  58%

Munis account for about 30% of property-and-casualty insurers’ invested assets. And companies like Travelers and Chubb have more than half of their fixed-income investment portfolios in the securities…

Those exposures—Travelers has $41 billion in munis; Chubb, $20.2 billion—may hit insurers’ book values if the recent selloff doesn’t reverse, or gets worse. As of Nov. 16, Travelers had likely recorded losses on its muni portfolio of about $1.4 billion, and Chubb, about $670 million, according to a report by UBS.