It appears that President Barack Obama and Beltway Republicans have reached a compromise on the so-called Bush era tax rates. Obama, to be certain, took it on the chin, but it remains to be seen whether Democrats will follow course. Here’s the deal: the prez gave up his fight to more aggressively tax the rich and agreed to a two-year extension of all the current federal tax rates, plus a temporary 35 percent estate tax rate with a $5 million cap and a 2 percent decreases in payroll taxes. In return, the GOP leadership has expressed a willingness to support a provision allowing unemployment checks for individuals at the present 99-week cut off limit for a period of 13 months only — this means, for the first time in U.S. history, unemployed citizens will be able to collect a check from the feds for three consecutive years without having to enter the workforce. Both sides of the aisle call it a true compromise.
Now that the tax rate debate is settled — hopefully — lawmakers can begin focusing on what to do about that pesky food safety legislation. The Senate passed S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, earlier this month, but it included a fee, which must constitutionally originate in the lower chamber. Lawmakers have a number of options, yet it seems likely that the policy package will have to be re-routed through the Senate and then sent back to the House for consideration. There’s a great deal at stake for Louisiana. For example, the Senate-passed bill requires, among other things, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration conduct public health and cost assessments before issuing any new regulations affecting the processing and consumption of raw oysters.
It also includes language to prohibit “port shopping,” which is a tactic foreign seafood producers use to find ports with loose safety requirements to sell seafood that would otherwise be rejected. Farmers and other agriculture interests are on the hook, too, since the bill creates new standards for harvesting fruits and vegetables; expands the FDA’s recall authority; increases facility inspections; requires more testing; and strengthens oversight on imports. State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says the Senate food safety bill is “a major advance toward safeguarding the nation’s food supply” and added that Louisiana will be ready for the news regs — if and when they’re adopted. “As much as I dislike additional red tape for farmers to navigate, I believe these new measures will provide the framework to strengthen our food supply chain and prevent adulterated and contaminated food from entering the markets in the future,” Strain says.
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SEP 30 Here's another story that makes Louisiana look backward; blogger Manny Schewitz writes about a church that won't allow AA to use its facilities because those boozers might track in some gay. Every time he sees one of these, as he calls them "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" type of stories, he always starts wishing: "Please don't let it be Louisiana... Please don't let it be Louisiana..."
SEP 30 Blogger Bob Mann is asking a question that a lot of intelligent people have been asking for several years now - "How gullible does Bobby Jindal think we are?" In this post, Mann is taking a look at the Jindal administration's "smarmy, shameless reliance on our ignorance."
SEP 30 Ever wonder what goes on in a football locker room following a game like Sunday's embarrassment? Here's a post on ESPN about the "reality check" the Saints had. Among the comments: "Right now we're not a very good football team."
SEP 30 Just for fun, here's the Advocate's "Mike and Me" gallery, featuring submitted photos from readers who have taken pictures with LSU's mascot, Mike the Tiger. When the promotion started, the paper expected pictures with the big cat who lives outside the stadium, and they got those, but they also got pictures with the "human" version, and the big statue of Mike.
SEP 30 Anybody who has attended LSU since the late 1980s is pretty familiar with Highland Coffees. It's a cool little (non-chain) coffee shop near the north gates of the university. The recent announcement that it would be moving because the shop can't "come to terms" with its landlord has caused horror and anguish among LSU students and alums. This post on the Red Shtick pokes fun at the landlord who might have other plans for the spot. (The story includes links to a "real" post on Baton Rouge Business Report).
SEP 30 Bobby Jindal probably has a shiny idea of what his legacy will be, and it's a sure bet it doesn't match up with what columnist Clancy DuBos says in this post on Gambit, to wit: "Jindal will be remembered as the governor who lacked the guts and integrity to do what's right." Man, DuBos, don't hold back -- tell us how you really feel.
SEP 30 It's a good thing we got all that BP money to spend on tourism advertising, because plenty will be required to convince people that we aren't a bunch of gun-toting lunatics down here in the swamp. This post on TIME magazine can't help: it's about a Port Allen restaurateur who offers a discount to anybody with a gun. (Anybody? Hmmm.)
SEP 30 This post on PoliticusUSA, an extremely liberal blog, takes aim at Bobby Jindal's disingenuous attempts to play both sides against the middle on the evolution/creationism issue. Jindal is "dutifully serving his Koch masters" on the climate change issue as well, blogger Rmuse writes.
SEP 29 Here's another national media story on Edwin W. Edwards, this one from National Public Radio - despite the fact that, he says, "people who listen to public radio don't vote for candidates like me." His story, with the young lovely wife, new baby, political backstory and criminal history, seems to be irresistible to the media, especially after they've met him and experienced the full force of the Edwards charm.
SEP 29 Here's more speculation on what's next in the Bruce Greenstein situation from the fourth estate. James Gill calls it "the Greenstein problem." What's the problem? If Greenstein lied about the process of awarding a huge contract to his former employer during an investigation, as is alleged in his indictiment, what's the truth? And who else was involved?
SEP 29 To be fair, this story was posted on Business Insider before Sunday's game (and the wailing and gnashing of teeth that followed it). It's about a study that looked at the communities in which NFL teams are based, and what kind of support those teams have there. No team has stronger community support than the Saints, the study found. (But again, that was before Sunday.)
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