Wednesday, January 5, 2011Written by The Independent Staff
While the New Orleans Saints ended their season Sunday with a disappointing 23-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they still enter the so-called second season as double digit favorites in this Saturday’s wildcard match up against the Seattle Seahawks. We’re betting that with plenty of playoff experience to draw from, the team that shows up this Saturday will be more like the one that posted a showcase win over NFC No. 1 seed Atlanta just two weeks ago. That game — the highest rated cable telecast of the year — secured the Saints’ place in the post-season, keeping alive our goal of a repeat trip to the Super Bowl.
Recent tendrils of BP spill-related news climbing up our collective consciousness range from infuriating to bizarre. The Times-Picayune reported just before Christmas that the federal U.S. Chemical Safety Board is demanding that a forensic analysis of the Deepwater Horizon’s blow-out preventer be halted because representatives of the companies that manufactured and maintained the 300-ton device are participating, hands-on, in the probe — a clear conflict of interest. Then, the T-P reported that Transocean, the rig’s owner, is refusing to honor subpeonas for documents related to its role in the blow-out preventer analysis issued by the CSB, saying the Chemical Board doesn’t have jurisdiction. The icing on the cake was a report last week, also in the Picayune, that Ken Feinberg, administrator of the $20 billion compensation fund for spill victims, is using some of the fund’s money to pay New York University ethics professor Stephen Gillers to write a letter stating that Feinberg is a neutral party and not under BP’s control. When you have to pay an expert to insist you’re not in BP’s pocket, you’re in BP’s pocket.
In stark contrast to her predecessor, Ted Power, Leslie Hurst’s three-year tenure as publisher of The Daily Advertiser didn’t connote civic sainthood. Hurst’s reputation was more angel of death, sent down by Gannett to better consolidate and restructure (read: downsize) the paper’s operations, which she did with surgical precision. Hurst has now been summoned to The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., which recently introduced her with an article headlined “New ‘C-L’ publisher to ‘connect with community,’” in which Hurst says, “We need to know the people we serve and understand what is on their minds. Do we know what people go to bed worrying about? Do we know what keeps people awake at night?” If history is any guide, we know what Clairon-Ledger employees are going to bed worrying about: their jobs.
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