Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Written by The Independent Staff

Since LUS launched its highly touted fiber to the home TV, phone and Internet service, one aspect of its system has fallen noticeably short of the promised technological revolution in home telecommunications. Digital cable and digital video recording subscribers have experienced numerous glitches and complained of a somewhat clunky operating system. These complaints will hopefully now be put to rest as last week LUS Fiber announced a significant upgrade to its cable service, switching the operating software in its digital set-top boxes to Microsoft Mediaroom, an established system that enables some of the most advanced digital cable features available today. The best part is the upgrade, part of an existing contract with equipment provider Alcatel-Lucent, comes at minimal cost to LUS and at no cost to LUS subscribers.


If you get Mirandized in the 15th Judicial District — Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion parishes — you better be able to afford an attorney, because if one is appointed to you, you’re liable to get substandard representation. That’s the gist of a report released last week criticizing the 15th Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, according to an article in The Advocate. The paper reports that the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, at the request of the Louisiana Public Defender Board, found numerous deficiencies in the local office, including an excessive case load for many public defenders, a lack of courtroom experience for some of those attorneys, no means of assessing their performance and a flat-fee contracting system that “pits [the public defenders’] financial interests against the interests of their clients.” The probe was conducted following complaints by the ACLU. The 15th JDC office’s director, David Balfour, disputes the findings, characterizing many of them as “a hatchet job.”

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Not Affected by Oil Yet, backpeddled faster than a crab on a blackened Venice beach following last week’s much-ballyhooed apology to BP CEO Tony Hayward on Capitol Hill. Barton insisted the apology, in which he parroted Republican Study Committee talking points by calling the $20 billion escrow fund BP agreed to establish for victims of the oil spill a “tragedy” and a “shakedown,”  was just a misconstrued misconstruction, or something like that. Democrats were quick with a response: “Thanks a lot, Joe Barton (for the gift)!” Republican leadership was equally quick to distance itself from the Texas Republican’s blunder, but the rank and file members, including Sen. David Vitter and Rep. Charles Boustany, have been disquietingly quiet. A tip of the hat then to Republican Rep. Jeff Miller, who represents the Florida Panhandle. Miller called Barton’s comments “reprehensible” and urged Big Oil Barton to resign his leadership post on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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