by Max Brantley
Things are about to grind to a halt newswise, I suspect. Here's a week-ending open line. Final words:
* STORM DAMAGE: John Robinson of the National Weather Service did another storm damage tour today and provided the photo of some he saw north of White Hall above. He said trees were downed by a severe thunderstorm packing winds of 75 to 85 mph. There was damage to three houses and cars from wind, but most other damage came from falling trees. For the weather wonks from his report:
In the recent training that we had in which dual-polarization radar showed a possible debris signature but no tornado damage was found, it was speculated that there might have been enough rotation aloft to pull leaves, needles, and other very light debris aloft. Perhaps that's what happened here, due to the numerous pine trees in Jefferson County, and the fact that virtually the first thing the storm went through was a grove of pine trees.
* SPEAKING OF THAT WIND STORM: Thousands still without power in Entergy's area and some especially difficult customers may face no power through Sunday, still. Channel 4 provides an Entergy progress report.
* MANURE SPREADERS: Here's some fact-checking on the crap thrown around today by Wayne LaPierre and his sock puppet Asa Hutchinson at the no-questions-allowed-of-the-NRA news conference. You expect Asa! will distinguish himself in the gun nut endeavor as well as he did trying to hound Bill Clinton out of office as the lead House persecutor?
* COMMENTARY CONTINUES: Praise is hard to find for the NRA/Hutchinson effort. The following comes from an Arkansas School Board member:
Why do we always insist on addressing the last problem, like the next one will be the same?
What about the 40-50 kids on every school bus?
What about the kids in the morning at each bus stop?
What about the kids on the football field, track and baseball fields for practice after school?
Many of our school districts would need more police officers then the local town has
One good person with gun can stop a bad person with a gun? Sadly that didn’t work so well for Adam Lanza’s mother. Dozens of guns in schools scares the hell out of me. Imagine just one incident of a teacher or staff who accidently left their gun unlocked or had it stolen and it was used to shoot a kid? Or even worse if a teacher had to shoot a kid. I know of police officers who are haunted by shooting incidents
Bad idea by the NRA
* YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: I got a tip that the board of the Metropolitan Housing Alliance (LR Housing Authority) had voted a $120,000 payment last week to settle a complaint by Shelly Ehenger, the former director, that her firing in August was unfair. The vote was 3-1. My source is reliable, but I had scant luck getting a public employee to provide further information at 3 p.m. on a Friday four days before Christmas. The Housing Alliance has a new director, Rodney Forte. He went on payroll Dec. 1, but a spokesman said he's still working on his move as of Dec. 21 and not at work today and nobody else in the office knew nothing.
UPDATE: A message DID get through to the private world lawyer who represents the Housing Alliance, Ed Armstrong-Rial, and he will be providing me a copy of the agreement approved by the board. I wrote originally that the claim was to be paid by the publicly funded nonprofit risk management agency housed at Metroplan, but Armstrong-Rial said he didn't know about that. So I'm still up in the air about the precise source of the payment. He said the agency also has its own liability insurance.
Here's the settlement document. The total comes from a payment of $20,000 for lost wages; $60,000 in compensation and about $40,000 in attorney fees. The settlement also provides that Ehenger's rebuttal to the report on which her firing was based be placed in her personnel file. The settlement doesn't constitute an admission of any wrongdoing by the agency.
* END OF THE WORLD: When thousands of people pay attention to end-of-the-world nonsense, even call off school, we may not be near the end of the world but we are surely nearing the end of common sense.