Low Popahirum, August 19, 2015

NATIONAL

Ted Cruz is a man with a plan. The Republican presidential candidate, bete noire of his party’s establishment, has carefully calculated a path to becoming the right-wing standard-bearer.” – Al Hunt/Newsmax

“The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison Wednesday for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job.” – NBC News

“The cost of cleaning up a major toxic waste spill in the West caused by an Environmental Protection Agency contractor could soar as high as $27.7 billion.” – Washington Examiner

“Islamic State (IS) militants have beheaded an elderly archaeologist in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and hung his body on a column in a main square of the historic site to which he devoted half a century of study, Syria’s antiquities chief said.” – South China Morning Post

“Again, I have to ask: What the hell are you paying consultants for if they have absolutely no idea what the mood of the country is? And they don’t. This apparently all comes as a huge shock to the political class.” – Ace of Spades

To call Hillary Clinton’s press conference yesterday a disaster is to engage in understatement. In a brief two-minute exchange with Fox News’ Ed Henry, Hillary tried changing history by claiming totally voluntary transparency, and then put on a dumb-grandma act when asked about an act to which her attorney admitted months ago. Hillary then abruptly ended the presser when the questions about her e-mail server kept coming. It’s practically a primer on how not to handle crisis communications:” – Hot Air

“If Democrats acknowledge Hillary made a stupid and consequential decision, everything else built upon that perception of intellectual and judgmental superiority crumbles. Yes, it erodes the case for her to be commander-in-chief. But what’s more, it forces Democrats to look at what their foreign policy philosophy has really generated. Has the outstretched hand really thawed relations with hostile states? Has the concessions made to hostile states changed their behavior, rhetoric, or policies? Are international institutions really responsive to horrific mass violence? Is the world safer? Are human rights more respected? Are extremist groups waning or thriving and expanding?” – Jim Geraghty/National Review

“Since announcing his campaign in late June, Donald Trump has quickly leapt to the top of the Republican field, leading recent polls nationally, in Iowa and in New Hampshire. And now, for the first time in CNN/ORC polling, his gains among the Republican Party have boosted him enough to be competitive in the general election.” – CNN

“In an article called ‘All the Electable Republicans Are Losing,’ Kristin Soltis Anderson points out that the candidates whom the polls deem most likely to beat Hillary Clinton are faltering in GOP polling. She has in mind Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, both of whom are struggling, while candidates presumed to be unelectable, like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, have surged. The title of the article is somewhat misleading.” – Power Line

“Hackers who stole sensitive customer information from the cheating site AshleyMadison.com appear to have made good on their threat to post the data online.” – Wired

LOUISIANA

“In a settlement offer likely to be seen as a provocation by New Orleans firefighters, Mayor Mitch Landrieu proposed Tuesday (Aug. 18) a $42.25 million plan that would resolve years of litigation and impose a painful overhaul of the firefighters’ pension system.” – NOLA.com

“”Small business owners on Thumbtack have consistently told us that they welcome support from their governments but are frequently frustrated by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles,” said Jon Lieber, chief economist of Thumbtack.com. “In Louisiana, we’ve heard the state does a great job with entrepreneur-friendly regulations, and this year they saw a huge improvement in the quality of outreach from the state government.” – Lafayette Advertiser

“More than 200 people showed up Tuesday night at the state Department of Environmental Quality for a public hearing, most to express their opposition to an air permit that would allow a barge-cleaning facility to locate on the Mississippi River in south Baton Rouge.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

“The good news is the bad news is not as bad as it could be regarding Louisiana’s tremendously underfunded major state pension funds. Regardless, heeding these systems declarations that observers should go home for nothing is to be seen encourages a false sense of security.” – Jeff Sadow

“Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took aim during campaign stops in Iowa on Tuesday at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and other ‘establishment’ Republicans running for president. Walker, who was the Iowa favorite in the race until earlier this month, unveiled a plan Tuesday to repeal and replace the federal Affordable Care Act. It was praised by some conservatives but immediately denounced by Jindal, who released his own “Obamacare” replacement plan last year.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

“EPA’s not-so subtle methane rule announcement has the potential to undo the significant economic and employment gains that are a direct result of the expansion of Louisiana’s oil and gas industry, which is arguably one of the brightest spots in our economy,” Vitter said. “Even more outrageous is that this rule is only one of many attempts by the Obama Administration to disrupt growth and increase costs for Americans,” – NOLA.com

“The Capital Area Transit System will invest $3.6 million to buy eight new buses to begin replacing an aging fleet prone to breakdowns. The CATS board signed off at its monthly meeting Tuesday on purchasing the eight buses at $450,000 apiece.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

“A battle to fight graffiti and beautify an eyesore in New Orleans East hit a snag. A group of taggers who have painted on numerous buildings all over the city did it again at the old Grand Theater in New Orleans East after a muralist began working on a new piece there.” – WDSU

“An extensive failure to manage its workforce and a disregard of civil service rules that dictate overtime pay led the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board to overspend $4.5 million on its 2013 payroll, according to a new report from the city’s inspector general.” – NOLA.com

“During the LSU Media Day on Sunday, kicker Colby Delahoussaye and punter Jamie Keehn relinquished LSUSports.net Emily Dixon’s microphone and conducted their own interviews of fellow teammates.” – Baton Rouge Advocate

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