In Louisiana, the U.S. has its first ‘climate-change refugees’

In this 2015 photo, brackish sea water washes over the center line of a street in Charleston, S.C. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that nuisance flooding - that is flooding from ordinary high tides exacerbated by sea level rise and accompanying land subsidence - has increased 400 percent in Charleston since 1960. AP/Stephen B. Morton

In this 2015 photo, brackish sea water washes over the center line of a street in Charleston, S.C. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that nuisance flooding – that is flooding from ordinary high tides exacerbated by sea level rise and accompanying land subsidence – has increased 400 percent in Charleston since 1960. AP/Stephen B. Morton

With rising tides on the horizon, the New York Times records a first in boggy Louisiana:

In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems.

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One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. The divisions the effort has exposed and the logistical and moral dilemmas it has presented point up in microcosm the massive problems the world could face in the coming decades as it confronts a new category of displaced people who have become known as climate refugees.

“We’re going to lose all our heritage, all our culture,” lamented Chief Albert Naquin of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, the tribe to which most Isle de Jean Charles residents belong. “It’s all going to be history.”

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We told you last week of Billy Davis, the Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk who has had some unwanted background exposed – including a year of prison time stemming from charges that he lied on a federally guaranteed loan application.

Davis began his political career in Arizona as a state senator. He has a florid biography on Wikipedia, updated just last month, which includes this image of the local GOP ticket:

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Yes, in the middle, that’s the Jan Brewer who would go on to become governor of Arizona. Davis doesn’t say so, but he turned out to be a speedbump on her path to success. From a retrospective on the former governor at tucson.com:

It started with that 1982 run for the state House in a newly drawn Glendale legislative district with no incumbent to beat. And having husband, John, finance the more than $8,000 she spent allowed Brewer to avoid having to go out and raise donations.

Four years later she moved to the Senate, capitalizing on the financial problems of state Sen. Bill Davis and including a rebuke from the Senate Ethics Committee to beat him in the Republican primary.

Then in 1996 she got voters to oust Maricopa County Supervisor Ed King after he voted for a sales tax to fund the stadium where the Diamondbacks play.

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Why can’t Donald Trump be stopped? It has something to do with testosterone. Roll Call newspaper has this piece on a study that showed women were much more likely to be moved by anti-Trump TV spots than men.

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Clarkston’s push to decriminalize marijuana has given way to another controversial proposal, at least temporarily.

Mayor Ted Terry said the vote to make possession of less than an ounce of the drug a ticket-only offense has been delayed at least two weeks after the chair of the public safety committee had a sudden death in the family.

In the meantime, the DeKalb city is pushing what Terry calls “the toughest indoor smoking and tobacco ban in the state” through the regulation of vaping and e-cigarette products. “Cities are laboratories of democracy – we should be encouraging them to try different policy approaches on ubiquitous challenges we face as a nation,” he said.

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The focus Tuesday may be on “campus carry” legislation, but our AJC colleague Mark Davis reminds us that the battle over “religious liberty” legislation is heating up. From his Sunday opus:

Across the country — the South in particular — a wave of bills, proposals and court fights in recent months are again ramping up the culture wars. The measures come in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage, a decision many religious conservatives see as an assault on their beliefs.

The legislation may underscore Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations, too. The Republican front-runner has won wide support from religious conservatives worried about a nation loosed from its moral moorings.

In Georgia, lawmakers recently passed a “religious liberty” bill, spite of critics who argued that the measure was discriminatory. Supporters seethed as Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed it. They did not go away quietly: on a rainy Friday, hundreds gathered outside the Capitol to sing hymns and cheer for their Christian beliefs.

Read more here.

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The stellar students at The Red & Black, the University of Georgia’s independent student newspaper, have a killer scoop this morning about the mysterious departure of a high-ranking UGA administrator. Catch it here.

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Yesterday we highlighted a Washington Post story that prominently featured DeKalb County in its illustration of how race and housing prices are linked as communities seek to recover from the worst of the housing crisis.

Now U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, says he plans to push for a hearing on this issue:

“I have been fighting to get someone to shed light on this issue for years,” Lewis said in a statement that highlighted his previous work. “I am glad the Post finally did. But federal programs and state disbursement only represent a part of the problem. Appraisers, real estate agents, and mortgage companies also need to be held accountable for undervaluing these properties. A home is the most important investment most families will ever make…

“This month I was previously scheduled to meet with Treasury’s Inspector General on this issue. But I am going to be communicating with the committees of Congress that have jurisdiction over this matter to see whether a hearing can be called on this topic before the end of this session.”

 


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