It’s funny, really, how the opinions of Americans can change overnight.

Take Colin Powell, for example. You know, former Brigadier General of the Army. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Former Secretary of State of the United States of America.

A truly great man, all agreed.

Until of course he jumped ship on the administration (the first in a long, long list of departees if you recall) and most recently pointed out that "The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."

Now, all of a sudden, Colin Powell is a liberal menace, a Democrat-in-Republican’s clothing.

Oh, yeah, what prompted his remarks? Nothing major. Only the Bush administration’s attempts to rewrite the Geneva Conventions.

Colin Powell stood up to him on it. As a soldier, as a human being, as an American. Gen. Powell had the good taste to remain silent for a long, long time over what is clearly a long list of disagreements with the President over policy and such. It seems Gen. Powell could take it no more.

Anyone who disagrees with the administration is automatically dismissed as a liberal or a something-or-other-wing whatnot. If they break decades, centuries even, of military respect and protocol to say that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is "not a competent wartime leader" and that his "dismal strategic decisions resulted in the unnecessary deaths of American servicemen and women, our allies, and the good people of Iraq" and furthermore "what should have been a deliberate victory is now an uncertain and protracted challenge" as well as "a man who has proven himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically … and a man of extraordinary arrogance" who has "failed to adapt to the current situation and has tried and continues to fight this war on the cheap" then those generals are just whiners and cry-babies, right?

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And by the way, fellow Louisianians and Gulf Coast residents, did you know that Washington has blocked the release of a report suggesting that global warming is contributing to the increased frequency and strength of hurricanes?

Yup, it was a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report, which of course is debating claims that the administration curtailed the report from the journal Nature.

"In May, when the report was expected to be released, panel chair Ants Leetmaa received an e-mail from a Department of Commerce official saying the report needed to be made less technical and was not to be released," Nature reported.

Well. Hmm. Sounds like Washington still has the best interests of the coast in mind, doesn’t it?

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Did you know that nearly half of Americans believe that the recent decline in gasoline prices is because of the nearness of November elections which the ruling class fear to lose?

Of course everyone knows that markets and speculators and bidding drives gas prices, not the administration, the majority of which are or come from oil barons and magistrates. Silly people! It’s discouraging to know that nearly half of Americans are that stupid, isn’t it?

See, we Americans completely understand that we should pay more for gasoline in case there is a shortage, before that shortage happens. In other words, if we here at the Banner believe it’s possible a tornado will hit a neighborhood in Franklin this week, we should go up on your subscription rates. See how that works? If we’re scared there’s going to be a problem, we should run the prices up the flagpole just in case.

And we also understand that we should pay more at the pump because the distributor is basing his price on the next purchase of gasoline he’s going to make. Naturally, if the price of that next purchase proves to be cheaper than he expected, he’ll send us all a refund. Right?

It amuses me as well when Europeans chide us for not being grateful that our fuel has been "so cheap" for so long, since they pay something like $100 a liter (what’s that anyway? Half a bottle of Coke?) forever. My answer to them is always the same:

"That’s why I live in America instead of where you live, bub."

‘Nuff said.

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Our own U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who on the one hand champions the restoration of New Orleans and the Louisiana coast are attempting to amend the Water Resources Development Act to prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from forbidding landowners to destroy mature cypress stands for mulch. Many of these stands are located in areas where their presence is – you guessed it – protecting coastlines, preventing erosion and providing a buffer against storm surges.

In fact, it’s pretty much a misconception that cypress mulch is any better than pine mulch. It rots just as quickly because the ingredient in mature cypress trees that adds rot resistance, cypressene, does not occur in the bark.

According to The Gambit, this has raised the ire of some landowners and loggers, logging being the second biggest industry in Louisiana, surprise, surprise, think: Hurricane vulnerability, right?

The newspaper reported: To some loggers, it all amounts to needless red tape. "It’s crazy over there (in Louisiana)," says Jay Huber, a logger with Southern Timber Management based in St. Augustine, Fla. "Out there, if it’s got cypress on it, it’s like a dang cow in India."

No, Mr. Florida-based logger coming over here to take our cypress trees. Our sacred cows are our property, lives and well being, which despite the efforts of Mr. Vitter and Mr. Smith, are no longer for sale, thank you very much. We sold our marshes to the oil field and our shell reefs to Lake Charles Dredging and we saw what happened as a result. Most of us in Louisiana are ready to say, "Enough is enough!" The rest just refuse to see the forest for the trees, pardon the bad pun.

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Also from the "only in Lousyana" department from Louisiana Sportsman magazine:

The right of outdoorsmen to fish and hunt on navigable waters was issued a stunning defeat Aug. 29 when a federal judge ruled that the public has no "right to fish and hunt on the Mississippi River."

Seems U.S. District Court Judge Robert G. James has overturned a lower court ruling. That case involved some folks fishing on the Mississippi River during high water. In that case, they were charged with trespassing because they were fishing high water that was on a landowner’s property.

Certainly it would be unthinkable to have fisherman on someone’s patio, and certainly it’s understandable that high water of the flooding variety doesn’t give us the right to enter someone’s property.

However, James’ ruling didn’t take the time to make distinctions of such intricacies. He said that while navigable waterways are protected under state and federal rules, "the court denies to adopt (the lower court’s) recommendation that the plaintiffs have a federal common-law right to fish and hunt on the Mississippi River, up to the high-water mark, when it floods privately owned land."

So Judge James has ruled that the "high water mark" could be anything from a normal high tide to a 100-year flood.

And more importantly, Judge James specifically says fishermen do not "have a federal common-law right to fish and hunt on the Mississippi River."

This all-inclusive statement has rattled many sportsmans’ groups, state officials and the like.

The Louisiana Sportsman reported, "This is gigantic," said Mark Hilzim, president of Restore Our Waterway Access Inc. "He has opened up Pandora’s box. If I read that (ruling) right, does that mean nobody has the right to fish above the low-water mark?"

Only in Lousyana.