GOOD

People Are Awesome: Father and Son Save 120 From Hurricane Isaac Floods

In 80 mph winds and through the dark of night, a shrimp trawler and his son stepped up when rescue crews were hours away.

One week ago, very early on Wednesday morning, Jesse Shaffer, a shrimp trawler, and his son Jesse Shaffer Jr. were taking turns keeping watch on the levee that separates their neighborhood from the Gulf of Mexico as the floodwaters from Hurricane Isaac reached their peak. Shortly after midnight the storm surged over the wall several miles south and sent a deluge into the streets. Residents of Braithwaite Parish scurried to their attics and rooftops, but with the high wind and the pitch black conditions, official rescue crews were many hours away.

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Swamp People: The Original Environmentalists

The History Channel's "Swamp People" isn't just about alligator-hunting--it profiles a conservationist subculture.

Every episode of the History Channel’s “Swamp People” begins with the following disclaimer: “The way of life depicted in this program dates back 300 years. Hunting, especially alligator hunting, lies at its core. Some images may be disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.” While this warning may titillate 5.2 million Americans enough to tune in, it masks the less sensational heart of the show: the relationship between the ecosystem of the Southeast Louisiana wetlands and its residents. Louisiana swamps may look like something out of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel and the characters populating it may seem equally otherworldly to viewers watching from the comfort of an air-conditioned living room. But behind the staged, almost-eaten incidents and the Cajun tagline “choot ‘em, choot ‘em,” “Swamp People” offers a message of conservation and respect. Swamp people are environmentalists without petitions or boycotts.

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This Guy's Going to Jail Forever for a Marijuana Conviction

An insane Louisiana law is sending a nonviolent father to jail for the rest of his life. How is this justice?

Cornell Hood II is only 35 and he's never been convicted of a violent crime. Still, last Thursday a Louisiana judge sentenced Hood to life in prison after his fourth marijuana conviction. In February a jury found Hood guilty of having two pounds of pot in his house during a 2010 police search, when Hood was already on probation for three other marijuana violations. Hood's fourth conviction should have carried a sentence of no more than 15 years, but under Louisiana's repeat-offender law, nonviolent drug offenders are subject to life imprisonment if convicted three or more times of a crime that carries a sentence exceeding 10 years. Now Hood, who has a young son and had been applying for student loans to go to college, is going to jail forever.

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Bad Idea: Louisiana Looks to Spend BP Cleanup Money on a Big Party Instead

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wants to use BP oil spill funds for the state's upcoming bicentennial celebration.


As another oil spill poisons the waters off Louisiana less then a year after the BP Deepwater Horizon spill fouled the Gulf of Mexico for months, you'd think Louisiana state officials would be pretty concerned with how best to clean up the multiple environmental disasters literally on their horizon. You'd be wrong.

Instead, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wants to throw a big party for the state's bicentennial celebrations, which begin September 2011. According to the Associated Press, Jindal has asked Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne to spend some of the money Dardenne's office received from BP after the oil spill—money to be used for, you know, the cleanup efforts—on the 200-years party. Dardenne oversees the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which got $6.5 million for spill-related advertising, not, one would think, for Jindal's celebration plans.

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The Senate Begins Impeachment Trial

Who's getting removed from office this time?

Not of Obama, don't worry. It's not that bad yet. However, today the Senate is considering the evidence in the trial of district court judge Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr., of Louisiana. The "high crimes and misdameaors" which Porteous is being charged with are lengthy:

He ran up gambling debts, used a fake name to file for bankruptcy, accepted cash and gifts from lawyers involved in cases he handled, and lied to the Senate and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation while he was being vetted to fill the vacancy on the federal district court in New Orleans– a pattern of conduct House lawmakers agreed made him unfit to hold office.

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