Report from Louisiana: Checking in after Laura

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — Hurricane Laura came and went this past Thursday, leaving behind a wake of destruction throughout Louisiana.

The death count so far is fourteen, at least five of those from carbon monoxide poisoning from generator use. A fourteen year old girl in Leesville, Louisiana was killed when a tree fell on to her family’s home.

Lake Charles looks like a war zone; the pictures coming out of there are devastating. News reports indicate that it will be weeks before power is restored and in some parishes the entire power grid has to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Shreveport is in the far northwest corner of the state and Laura was still a Cat 1 hurricane when she reached us, which is very rare. The last major tropical storm we had through here was Rita in 2005, but it was not still a hurricane when it came through here.

We were without power in my neighborhood four days; in Shreveport we still have 18,000 without power as I write this just in Shreveport. Throughout the state is much more.

One thing I’ve realized is how spoiled and soft I am; my little tiny stint without power in the Louisiana heat and humidity is nothing compared to what other people are going through. If you want to destroy civilization, take away our air conditioning.

Donald Trump visited south Louisiana this weekend to survey damage; FEMA is on the ground and the Cajun Navy has been deployed to help. The resources to help are in place but it doesn’t make the current suffering much better when your home is destroyed and your possessions scattered across four parishes. A blue tarp doesn’t help you much.

That being said, Louisiana is strong and we have done this before. We will work together and rebuild, even stronger, and we will lift each other up and help each other get there.

I’m keeping this short today: I have some little minor problems to attend to today, like reinstalling a network driver on my laptop which has somehow disappeared, and cleaning out my refrigerator and the spoiled food that didn’t make it.

I’m counting my blessings, big time.

Feds have their net out for Illinois’ kraken monster, Boss Michael Madigan

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

By John Ruberry

The new year isn’t here yet but 2020 is shaping up to be the Year of Many Political Indictments in Illinois.

Three months and a day ago I posted this story at Da Tech Guy: Feds setting up a massive corruption net in Chicago area. In that entry I gave a summery of the recent raids on offices of several politicians, all with ties to Boss Michael Madigan, the kraken monster of Illinois. As I’ve explained numerous times in this space, Madigan is the most powerful pol in the Prairie State. He has been speaker of the state House for all but two years since 1983. He’s served as chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party since 1998. He’s been committeeman of Chicago’s 13th Ward since 1969. It was from that perch in 2007 that Madigan nominated Joseph Berrios to be the chairman of the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization, better known as “the Chicago Machine.” Three years later Madigan greatly assisted Berrios in his election of the seemingly obscure post of Cook County Assessor. That office determines how much your property is worth in Crook County–and therefore how much it will be taxed–and it’s a position that has long been associated with graft.

Like the legendary kraken, Madigan has very long tentacles and of course a large reach.

Among the updates I have for you today is that Berrios, who was–gasp!–ousted by a reformer last year in the Democratic primary for assessor, is now under federal investigation. With his power base gone, Berrios stepped down as party chairman shortly after his well -deserved defeat.

Madigan is the senior party in the tiny law firm Madigan and Getzendanner, which specializes in corporate property tax appeals.

Hmmm.

Also in that September DTG post I reported on the indictment of Ald. Ed Burke of Chicago. He represents a ward that borders Madigan’s. Burke has been an alderman since 1969 and is the longest serving Chicago alderman in history. Burke’s a lawyer too. His specialty? Property tax appeals. 

In May, federal authorities raided the home former Commonwealth Edison lobbyist Michael McClain. ComEd is the electrical utility for northern Illinois and the utility, which is owned by Exelon, seems to be a major focus of the corruption probe. And that’s a big problem for Madigan and other Illinois politicians. Exelon is a public corporation and it’s difficult for it to hide its dirty laundry. And ComEd is subject to local government regulation, which of course is why the utility cozied up to Madigan and other big shots. And customers, such as myself, have to pay a ComEd bill every month. And every ComEd user believes they are paying to much for electricity. Now they have another reason to hate ComEd.

Clearly the feds are in the midst of a far reaching corruption investigation in Illinois, its target appears to be our kraken, Madigan. But Madigan has been under federal investigation before and the tangible results of those probes were as elusive as those efforts by photographers trying to get a clear photograph of Bigfoot, or a real kraken. 

Madigan infrequently speaks to the media and he never uses email.

Let’s take a look at where one of those tentacles reached. The City Club of Chicago is a tweedy, or seemingly so, good government group, dismissed as “goo-goos” by the cynics. It’s known for its weekly luncheons featuring prominent public officials. For years its president was Jay Doherty, a lobbyist for ComEd. He resigned earlier as head of the group after the feds raided the City Club offices and he no longer lobbys for Commonwealth Edison. Among the speakers at the City Club during Doherty’s tenure were ComEd reps–and Lisa Madigan, Michael’s daughter, who spoke to them in 2009. At the time Lisa was the Illinois attorney general and her office was investigating Doherty and the City Club.

The focus of this part of federal probe appears to be handing out of ComEd jobs for the politically connected in exchange for state actions favorable to the utility.

Last year a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago named Illinois the second most corrupt state. Louisiana was tops. 

Man oh man, Louisiana must be horrible. Illinois surely is. 

Here at Da Tech Guy Pat Austin regularly reports on Louisiana.

John Ruberry blogs at Marathon Pundit from Illinois, where is not under federal investigation.

Report from Louisiana: Fete Dieu du Teche

By: Pat Austin

ARNAUDVILLE, LA – I’m not Catholic by faith, but this is the coolest thing I’ve seen lately. Just beautiful.

Each year on August 15, Acadians participate in Fete-Dieu du Teche, which is “a 38-mile, all-day boat procession down the Bayou Teche that celebrates the arrival of the Acadians more than 250 years ago.” This year was the fifth year for the procession to travel Bayou Teche. While many communities host the feast of the Assumption procession by foot, this boat procession is believe to be fairly unique.
It is something to see.

As reported by the Lafayette Daily Advertiser:

“The procession of dozens of boats memorializes the Acadian’s exile from Canada and migration to south Louisiana.The feast is also important for Catholics, as the Blessed Virgin Mary is the patroness of Acadiana and its people.

Thursday morning began with a French Mass at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Leonville. Along the way were four stops — behind St. Francis Regis in Arnaudville, behind St. Joseph Church in Cecilia, the Pavilion behind St. Bernard Church in Breaux Bridge and the park behind St. Joseph Church in Parks, before ending at the Old Market Street in St. Martinville.”

There is a Facebook page for the event where folks could watch live videos of the procession all day.

The day began at 8:00 a.m. with a Mass in French at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Leonville and then proceeded down Bayou Teche with stops along the way with stops in designated towns for Rosary and Benediction.

The Catholic News Service explains:

“Having a Eucharistic procession by boat on the waters of the Teche rather than by foot in the streets makes a lot of sense,” said Father Michael Champagne, a priest of the Community of Jesus Crucified, who is the organizer of the event. “Fete-Dieu du Teche on the feast of the Assumption recalls our rich Acadian history and, in a way, reenacts the journey made by the Acadians 250 years ago.”

“The Acadians were persecuted for their Catholic faith and sent into exile from Nova Scotia. Many ended up settling in Louisiana. Champagne explained that having a boat procession with the Blessed Sacrament and a statue of the Assumption involving priests, religious and laity is basically what happened in 1765.”

As the boats move down the river one can see the statue of Mary in front and priests and laity members in their vestments kneeling in the boats as they proceed from one town to the next, stopping to disembark and minister to crowds gathered on the banks.

It’s a powerful and moving thing to see.

I’m Episcopal by faith, (my husband calls it “Catholic-lite”) but no matter what faith you are, you can’t help but be moved by the sights and sounds of this procession.

Raw links for this post:
Photos of the procession: https://www.theadvocate.com/acadiana/multimedia/photos/collection_88635440-bf89-11e9-9d1e-d3bd1ca3c33f.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share&fbclid=IwAR0ZUWt-1my401cPWnqQjGgIeJoVUQZ9Uzyi9Vjq2bS-FZYWx2UUj2ueac8#1

Lafayette Daily Advertiser: https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/2019/08/15/acadians-and-blessed-virgin-mary-celebrated/2003527001/?fbclid=IwAR2xpTPHHv0YVmiVLohUyeS9qIPIRV92PDC8JIoNGUIXUIaMqmm9-3KTolU

Crux: Catholic News Service: https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2019/08/03/eucharistic-boat-procession-to-mark-assumption-acadiana-history-faith/