Low Popahirum, March 16, 2015

LOUISIANA

“‘Sure, it’s a tax increase,’ said Steve Brinson, president of Royal Honda in Metairie, of the governor’s plan to alter a refundable tax credit Brinson’s auto dealership receives.” – NOLA.com

Is Grover Norquist the Darth Vader of conservative politics, with sinister powers beyond those of ordinary mortals? Or is he just another ideological tribune, the personalized right-wing equivalent of labor unions and other prominent leftist advocacy groups?” – Baton Rouge Advocate

“Bobby Jindal was on a donor’s private plane, jetting between two cities in South Carolina. He’d been to this state five times since 2013. But, in that time, he had fallen so low in the polls here that he wasn’t in them anymore. South Carolina survey-takers had stopped asking about him. So Jindal came back, to try harder.” – Washington Post

“The Louisiana Army National Guard released the names Monday of the four guardsmen killed March 10 when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed into Santa Rosa Sound near Pensacola, Florida, during a training exercise.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

There will be no sea-changing reforms from Jindal during his final legislative session that begins April 13, only a chance to somehow cobble together a budget with a $1.6 billion hole through methods that may further dent Jindal’s popularity. But the governor said he was elected to do hard things, and Jindal believes his legacy in Louisiana will return him to favor in his home state.” – Monroe News Star

Most New Orleans voters favor legalizing short-term rentals, and a quarter either rent out their own properties or know someone who does, according to a recent poll paid for by HomeAway, a network of rental listing sites that includes VRBO, one of the most popular vacation rental services in the country.” – NOLA.com

“Members of an anti-St.George volunteer group who have been combing over a copy of the incorporation petition say their analysis of the document found that St. George organizers will end up being 2,000 signatures short of what’s required to bring the new city proposal to a vote.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

“After failed attempts to derail the exams, Louisiana’s public school students are taking the heavily-debated Common Core standardized tests this week.” – Lake Charles American Press

“Turns out, Gray and the rest of the Tigers had no need to strain their giblets. The butterflies could wait until the next time they toe the free-throw line. LSU, despite its eccentric mood swings, its ability to come within a contested 3-pointer of toppling the best team in the nation, and its knack for losing to the SEC’s cellar dwellers, was in the NCAA tournament with room to spare.” – Scott Rabalais/Baton Rouge Advocate

“They probably would have begun 2016 $35 million over the cap if they remained status quo,” Fitzgerald told MMQB.” Even releasing the players with the worst contracts would have provided little relief. They were just a sinking ship taking on more water. The team really had no choice. The cap was going to ruin the franchise at some point, and they are at least able to turn some bad contracts into draft assets.” – NOLA.com

NATIONAL

President Obama is headed for disaster in the nuclear deal with Iran. The nearly completed agreement, as best we know, would allow Iran to keep its nuclear infrastructure intact and its centrifuges churning out enriched uranium. The mullahs would be free to build an arsenal of nuclear weapons in as few as 10 years from now. Given Iran’s record of cheating on international arms restrictions and hiding nuclear facilities, inspectors would have to be allowed unimpeded access throughout Iran—which the Iranians are certain to refuse. Meanwhile, their ballistic missile program, sponsorship of terrorism, and growing control over Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen would be unaffected. All this is frighteningly far from the original goal of the negotiations: to require Iran to dismantle its nuclear facilities entirely.” – Fred Barnes/Weekly Standard

What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? That, in fact, is probably the reality. Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world. Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond. A nuclear arsenal, even if it is only brandished, would vastly enhance Iran’s power to achieve that goal.” – Washington Post

“Even as the White House ramps up pressure on Congress to stay out of its negotiations with Iran on a nuclear agreement, Republicans are on the brink of veto-proof majorities for legislation that could undercut any deal. And that support has held up even after the uproar last week over the GOP’s letter to Iranian leaders warning against an agreement.” – POLITICO

“The days of unity and commonality of purpose within the Democratic Party are over. You don’t agree? Consider the Hillary Clinton email scandal, and the continuing revelations adding fuel to it in the media.” – Scott McKay/American Spectator

“When did the House Select Committee on Benghazi first learn that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kept a secret email system? When did the State Department finally turn over even some of those emails to investigators? When did State first admit it didn’t even possess all the former secretary’s documents? That information, and more, is contained in a timeline created by the Benghazi committee as investigators seek to piece together just what the Obama administration did in response to House requests for information about the September 11, 2012 terror attack that left four Americans dead.” – Byron York/Washington Examiner

Six separate probes into Hillary’s performance have been ­going on at the State Department. I’m told that the e-mail scandal was timed to come out just as Hillary was on the verge of formally announcing that she was running for president — and that there’s more to come.” – Edward Klein/New York Post

“In government emails that AP obtained in reporting about who pays for Michelle Obama’s expensive dresses, the National Archives and Records Administration blacked out one sentence repeatedly, citing a part of the law intended to shield personal information such as Social Security numbers or home addresses. The blacked-out sentence? The government slipped and let it through on one page of the redacted documents: ‘We live in constant fear of upsetting the WH (White House).'” – Gary Pruitt/AP

“For the third time in the last few years, Al Gore, founder and chairman of the Climate Reality Project, spoke at the festival on Friday. Naturally, his interactive discussion focused on addressing the climate crisis. The former vice president focused on the need to ‘punish climate-change deniers, saying politicians should pay a price for rejecting accepted science,’ said the Chicago Tribune.” – Eco Watch

“House leaders are closing in on a deal to permanently avert cuts in payments to physicians under Medicare, two House aides confirmed Friday. The deal would offset only about $70 billion of the more than $200 billion cost of making the permanent fix, however. This would likely draw opposition from conservatives over budget concerns.” – The Hill

Let’s imagine the first presidential debate in the fall of 2016 . . .” – Washington Post

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