Low Popahirum, March 17, 2015

NATIONAL

“Beginning on Monday, Starbucks baristas will have the option as they serve customers to hand cups on which they’ve handwritten the words ‘Race Together’ and start a discussion about race. This Friday, each copy of USA Today — which has a daily print circulation of almost 2 million and is a partner of Starbucks in this initiative — will have the first of a series of insert with information about race relations, including a variety of perspectives on race. Starbucks coffee shops will also stock the insert.” – Fortune

“House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a $3.8 trillion budget plan for next year that effectively breaks tight budget limits on military spending while promising a familiar roster of big cuts to social programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.” – Yahoo! News

“House Republicans, unveiling their first budget blueprint since the party took control of Congress, issued a sweeping spending plan Tuesday that calls for complete repeal of ObamaCare, major changes to Medicare and controversial moves to boost defense spending despite tight budget limits. GOP leaders say their budget would balance in less than 10 years, and in that time cut spending by $5.5 trillion compared with current projections.” – Fox News

“Two of the governments counted among the Clinton Foundation’s foreign donors aren’t exactly generous global givers. In fact, Algeria and the Dominican Republic, which both contributed to the Clinton Foundation, receive hundreds of millions of dollars yearly in foreign aid — including from the U.S. government.” – National Review

“A group of Iranian dissidents and political prisoners have lashed out at the Obama administration, lambasting its ongoing diplomacy with Iran, according to two open letters sent to the White House in recent days.” – Washington Free Beacon

“Secretary of State John Kerry compared himself to Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and other great historical luminaries for having the courage and tenacity to tackle the most heinous enemy plaguing mankind — climate change.” – BizPAC Review

“Hard-line conservatives think that, after a decade of trying, 2016 is the year they can finally knock John McCain out of the Senate. Arizona’s conservatives remain furious over the senator’s perceived selling-out of their movement, and Washington’s conservative elite has united behind a champion: Rep. Matt Salmon, a founding member of the House’s far-right Freedom Caucus and—conservatives hope—the candidate perfectly positioned to take down McCain by running to his right. Trouble is, someone else appears to be trying to do the same thing.” – National Journal

“And for Seattle restaurateurs recently, there is also another key consideration. Though none of our local departing/transitioning restaurateurs who announced their plans last month have elaborated on the issue, another major factor affecting restaurant futures in our city is the impending minimum wage hike to $15 per hour. Starting April 1, all businesses must begin to phase in the wage increase: Small employers have seven years to pay all employees at least $15 hourly; large employers (with 500 or more employees) have three.” – Seattle Magazine

“While the glories of capitalism may have turned St. Patrick’s Day into an opportunity to make some good money, it is still a religious feast day. I am not at all asserting that a parade is some sort of sacred religious event, but if the local cardinal is your grand marshal, there are still some ties to the Church. The Roman Catholic Church isn’t obligated to overhaul doctrine to accommodate the angry activist group du jour or a commie like Bill de Blasio. There are always activist groups and commies angry with the Church and there just isn’t that much time, even for an ancient institution.” – Stephen Kruiser/PJ Media

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, that 24-hour sloshfest during which you forget about your mother’s Polish cooking and that Union Jack your Congregationalist father proudly hung on his wall to brag about the 15 percent of you believed to be Irish, which you generously rounded up from 13 percent. Everyone exaggerates their Irishness on St. Patrick’s Day, and you can bet that gripping stories of the O’Purple clan from Cork will be making the rounds on the D.C. bar scene tonight.” – Matt Purple/Rare

LOUISIANA

“You might think that U.S. Sen. David Vitter would be the best positioned to be attacked in Louisiana’s race for governor, given his past controversy and frontrunner status. Think again. Right now the honor falls instead to Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, a fellow Republican who has been the target of the most direct hand grenades so far.” – Jeremy Alford/Shreveport Times

“The four Louisiana men killed last week in a National Guard helicopter crash in Florida were husbands, fathers, ‘larger-than-life men’ with decades of experience under their belts after having spent thousands of hours in the sky, the military said Monday.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

“Ten years after Big Charity hospital in New Orleans was closed, a new hospital–University Medical Center — is nearing completion. This 446-bed teaching hospital cost taxpayers $1.1 billion. Don’t trip over the dog racing to call for an appointment, however. It appears that the new hospital built with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars is going to sit empty for a while. University Medical Center was supposed to open in May. The opening has been delayed at least until August. The official reason is that more time is needed for training.” – State Treasurer John Kennedy/NOLA.com

“As Louisiana’s public colleges and universities brace for another significant round of budget cuts, higher education officials said during a public forum Monday they need more autonomy to improve their institutions without the hassle of bureaucracy.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

The state owes you an attorney, but staffing at public defenders offices is about to take a hit. It’s a money issue. Attorneys available to clients who can’t afford lawyers will become fewer in number, the still-working ones will have heavier case loads and the state bar is expected to provide private attorneys, some of whom have never handled criminal cases before, to pick up some of the slack.” – Shreveport Times

“On a day that House Republicans unveil a budget that would attempt again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Bobby Jindal Tuesday (March 17) appears with a panel of conservative policy wonks to discuss the best step forward for opponents of President Obama’s signature health law.” – NOLA.com

Louisiana’s job market sputtered in January as the state recorded the third-highest unemployment rate among the states. The state’s jobless rate fell to 7 percent from 7.2 percent in December. That’s well above the 5.5 percent the state recorded in January 2014.” – Lake Charles American Press

“One of the results of remaking your roster on the fly is that teams accumulate a good amount of dead money. And in New Orleans’ case, it equates to a $21.7 million hit.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

“Louisiana State Police have charged real estate heir Robert Durst with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with a controlled substance.” – WDSU

LSU softball made program history Tuesday. The Tigers (27-1) ranked No. 1 in the nation in the latest USA Today/NFCA top 25 poll, marking the first time the program has reached the top spot. LSU won two of three games at Florida, the previously undefeated and No. 1 team, this past weekend.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

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