I happened to be on Twitter yesterday when word of Prince’s death broke and when I was not tweeting I enjoyed seeing the reaction on social media, which included much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I’m personally a Prince agnostic so I wasn’t moved to grieve though I did wonder about an annual Dead pool some friends do instead of playing the lottery thus the post title. There was however, one tweet on the subject that stood out above the rest but since the Slabbed twitter account has an under age 18 component I didn’t re-tweet it. I am however happy to embed it below the jump: Continue reading “Friday Omnibus: Whoever picked Prince for their 2016 dead pool is going rake in some dough”
One thing I’ve learned doing Slabbed is established print media do not mix and match their state lines. Here at Slabbed the only rule is there are no rules. The benefit to this philosophy today is the following Anita Lee story, which traces its family roots to Thomas “Butch” Ward of the River Birch Ward family. Everyone should therefore read it.
For those of you from out-of-town Hewes is a former State Senator and the anointed next Mayor of Gulfport so when he sends in a piece to the paper they run it. That said I think Hewes offered a few euphemisms in his piece and a translation is in order:
4. Given the high cost and questionable work product we have seen from out-of-state consultants, there is no reason we shouldn’t replace them with a new team made up of Mississippi firms who have the credentials to develop and execute a port master plan. Certainly, there is enough local talent and expertise in our engineering and construction trades to design a model that is technically accurate, more reflective of our community, and more responsive to the needs of our Port. Talk about home-grown jobs creation. Their work would arguably be better and likely accomplished at a fraction of the cost.
Translation: I have in-laws and several cousins that need a job.
5. Speaking of locals, maybe it’s time we looked at hiring our next port director from within.
Translation: I have in-laws and several cousins that need a job.
Maybe we should have the MDA make the check to Friends of Billy.
I personally took this as a bad sign because I think Allee “got it” after Katrina. And what did he get? Mainly that monster Hurricanes hit the northern Gulf Coast, specifically the Mississippi Gulf Coast on roughly 40 year cycles or just long enough for what I’ll term institutional memory of the previous monster storm to fade. Anita Lee over at the Sun Herald covered this part of the Hazard Mitigation equation way back in July, 2009. A quick quote from that old story before we get to more current links on the mismanagement over at the State Port at Gulfport (website badly out of date):
As a result, Katrina hurtled containers, trailers and paper rolls into the neighborhoods of West Gulfport and East Long Beach. They heightened the terror of residents who remained in their homes, equally unprepared for the storm’s savagery. Essentially, containers that weigh 3 1/2 tons empty to more than 26 tons loaded, along with 5,400-pound paper rolls, pounded like battering rams against structures already compromised by wind and water. Continue reading “Ship for Brains Part Trois: Mayberry on 14th Street???”
Yes I said 99% of the national financial media were sold out corporate whores but that does not mean there isn’t high quality business journalism happening folks. The trick is knowing where to look and today, as is often the case, it is on the front page of the local paper. Today Geoff Pender and Anita Lee examine the economics behind the Panama Canal expansion that includes a looksie at the shipping industry and the competition that ranks at the top of all the business stories I’ve read so far in 2012. The main reason for my enthusiasm is this piece has implications for every existing eastern port expanding in anticipation of the Panama Canal widening.
This snippet blows the political pump of these east coast harbor projects out of the water:
You can bet yer sweet bippy I’m keeping up with the jackassery over at the State Port in Gulfport and I need to find some time to properly address the issues this Boss Hogg inspired stink fest has since brought to the fore. But alas time is short for me today thus this task must wait but there is no way I can let Monday’s meeting with the Port Authority and Mississippi Gov Phil Bryant pass without at least some satire since Sun Herald photographer Tim Isbell got some great pictures from the scripted Port meet and greet that reminded me of another Gov from long ago, William J. Le Petomaine.
I hope everyone understands my cynicism here because everyone I know with knowledge of the port expansion knew back in 2008 it would take far more than the housing money that was diverted to build out Mississippi’s port of the future and in turn this tells me there is some other force at play, one that is not being presented by the politicians with any semblance of transparency IMHO. This snippet from Anita Lee’s Sun Herald story on the topic explains it explains it:
Gov. Phil Bryant liked the progress he saw Monday on the state port’s West Pier, but said the port could use its restored and expanded ground more quickly if plans to elevate are scrapped.
One of the larger post Katrina rebuilding stories here on the coast was then Governor Haley “Boss Hogg” Barbour and his economic development people diverting over $500 million dollars of recovery money meant to build housing for displaced storm victims to build “The Port of the Future” at the State Port in Gulfport. Wild promises of the port’s potential were made and I highlighted some of those promises in this post way back in 2008 where coastal residents were promised sunshine in the process due to the doubts many local area residents were harboring way back in 2008 when the money was diverted.
I mention all this because while I have been neck deep with my gabby cousin Slabb O’Leak, Anita Lee over at the Sun Herald blew the port’s BS out of the water this week because it turns out those plans Boss Hogg so publicly touted have been revealed to be BS and the locals are furious. This could well grow into a major scandal and it is my hope the OIG from HUD and possibly the Office of the Attorney General take a peeksie at how the recovery money was diverted, based promises that have since proven to be fictitious since the federal government may well have been misled.
That said I hope it is lost on no one the same political power brokers out of Jackson that brought us the port disaster have already annointed career politician and legacy political hack Billy Hewes as the next Mayor, almost a full year ahead of the election. Now for some links to various stories by the Sun Herald’s Anita Lee on the subject:
Since Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in 2005 and subsequent legal battles between homeowners and insurance companies, Buckel has lobbied lawmakers for more protections and rights for insurance policyholders. He’s thus far been defeated by the powerful insurance lobby. And what started as a more comprehensive “policyholders’ bill of rights” years ago has been whittled down to one item: adopting into law rulings by the state Supreme Court and federal court that insurance companies have the burden of proof when they deny a homeowners claim.
Sun Herald column Political buzz on former New Orleanian turned Long Beach resident Kevin Buckel’s efforts to get some consumer protection from corporate predators like State Farm into the Mississippi Code. Big business claims to be for the rule of law except when it runs counter to their financial interests. I’ve always held the opinion that 90% of the policyholder disputes after Katrina originated with baseless legal positions initially taken by insurers.
West Pier rising: Port will begin elevation work soon ~ Anita Lee on post Katrina reconstruction at the State Port of Gulfport. To the extent port debris played a large part in the destruction of my neighborhood I’ve followed the doings there closely. The West Pier elevation to 25 feet should help mitigate such problems in the future.
This morning’s Sun Herald front page lead story was a bittersweet treat for me this morning to the point where I actually read the print story rather than the on line version which is my custom. (Mrs Sop insists on keeping the print edition coming to our doorstep) The subject matter is one that I am very familiar in the destruction caused by unsecured containers and break bulk cargo that was left on the port by the shipping companies. Today Anita Lee ties up all the loose ends from the past and tells us about the lessons learned response from the port’s management and it is there we begin:
The S.S. Camille bore witness to a hurricane’s formidable surge.
In 1969, Hurricane Camille beached the 72-foot tugboat north of U.S. 90 in Gulfport, not far from the state port. The property owners accepted nature’s bounty by setting up a souvenir shop beside the tug.
The men who managed emergency plans for the port and companies operating there frequently drove past the hurricane relic. They would later testify they saw no need to dwell on Camille’s ferocity or, if they were new to the area, to delve into the dynamics of storm surge at a port that sits over the water, 9 to 12 feet above sea level.
As a result, Katrina hurtled containers, trailers and paper rolls into the neighborhoods of West Gulfport and East Long Beach. They heightened the terror of residents who remained in their homes, equally unprepared for the storm’s savagery. Essentially, containers that weigh 3 1/2 tons empty to more than 26 tons loaded, along with 5,400-pound paper rolls, pounded like battering rams against structures already compromised by wind and water.
Lawsuits prompted by the damage ended badly for property owners, but their attorneys say Katrina reinforced lessons lost after the 1947 hurricane and Camille. Both of those storms forced the enormous paper rolls ashore, before containers became part of the operation.