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Garland Robinette

Tune in to "The Think Tank" for independent, intelligent discussions with experts on matters of news, politics, science and much more!

Weekdays 10am-1pm

Twitter: @garlandWWL
Email: garland@wwl.com



Garland: Should Americans worry about Ebola?

Should the Ebola virus be a major concern to America and us Americans?

What about the CDC's initial concerns over critically ill crew members on a ship headed to New Orleans? The Marine Phoenix spent a short time in Panama and the Democratic Republic of Congo before docking in Belle Chasse for inspection. Medical experts said there were concerns about possible symptoms of malaria; and caution about Ebola. We know now that the risk of a widespread malaria outbreak is very low. That's a relief, but is anyone else confused?

So first, we're told Ebola could be contained in Africa. Then we were assured Ebola poses no threat to America. But we're told also being told that Ebola is a warning for an unprepared America. What or who should we believe?

This morning we started "The Think Tank" with two enlightening interviews. We were joined by Dr. Scott Gottleib, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and Dr. Fred Lopez, an infectious diseases expert from the LSU Health Sciences Center. Click the link below to listen to our conversations. And don't forget to think about it!

FULL AUDIO: Garland talks Ebola with Dr. Gottlieb and Dr. Lopez
 (0) Comments
Tags :  
Locations : New Orleans
People : Fred LopezGottliebScott Gottleib




 

Garland: Are we fighting ISIS or ourselves?

Are you ready to put troops back on the ground in the Middle East?

The latest polls shows 2/3rds of Americans back attacking ISIS militants and almost 1/3rd are ready to deploy troops. We've spent two trillion dollars getting the current results.

Are you ready to go again? To help me clear up some of the questions about how and where we're going to fight these people, I invited Hayes Brown, World Editor for Think Progress.org and Justin Logan of the Cato Institute to join us, and they really opened my eyes.

We know that ISIS is using American military equipment that they took from Iraqi soldiers, but where is their money coming from? We've talked a big game over the last decade about de-funding terrorists, so why can't we freeze their bank accounts? The answer I got will surprise you - or maybe not!


Click the link below to listen to the full podcast.

FULL AUDIO: Garland talks ISIS with ThinkProgress and CATO Institute
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Tags :  
Topics : War_Conflict
Social :
Locations : Middle East
People : Justin Logan




 

Garland: Louisiana doesn't even look like a boot anymore

What will save Louisiana's coastline?

The situation is desperate. In an article written for Medium.com, Brett Anderson explains how the iconic "boot" shape of the Bayou State may be outdated. If you re-drew the maps today and only included solid ground, you'd end up with something that looks radically different from I-12 all the way to the Gulf.

I've been saying it for forty years - we're gonna lose it all if we don't do something. Aren't humans interesting? We'll sit there and listen to people tell us our hair is on fire but until we actually see a side-by-side comparison we don't understand what the stakes really are.

Yet our leaders still don't agree what to do. Why? Many in Louisiana's fishing industry say efforts to save our coastline depend too much on diversions and not enough on dredging. State officials say they're totally wrong, in fact much more money is going into dredging. To try to get a little bit of perspective, I invited newly promoted Chair of the CPRA (Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority), Jerome Zeringue to explain the details.

FULL AUDIO: Garland talks to Jerome Zeringue about coastal restoration

 (0) Comments
Tags :  
Topics : Environment
Social :
Locations : Louisiana




 

Garland: Is ISIS building biological weapons?

After the NATO summit, President Obama declared: ISIS must be dismantled, not just contained. He said NATO agrees, and the international coalition needs to take immediate action against ISIS.

And, what if ISIS has the ability to engage in chemical weapons of mass destruction? A computer left behind in a Syrian firefight contains instructions about how to make a bomb to distribute bubonic plague. The computer was owned by an identified member of ISIS. If this type of bomb is possible, does it change the way we fight ISIS? As in, boots on the ground?


Take a listen to the full show from this morning, it's fascinating stuff.

FULL AUDIO: Garland talks to defense and security experts about ISIS
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Tags :  
Topics : War_Conflict
Social :
People : Obama




 

Garland: If we want to 'close the border,' someone tell me how!

As the war over illegal immigration heats up, we hear more and more calls for "closing the border.”  

These calls follow years of both sides saying we couldn't build a 650-mile fence on our southern border. So once again the question is; if we want to close the, border how do we do it?

To try to get some answers we called FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) Spokesman Bob Dane and Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian.

How did we get here?

Like many pundits and analysts, Bob agreed right off the bat that Obama has not done enough to secure the border, but added "our lax enforcment goes back several administations,  left and right... but when the President took office he took about the task of sytematically dismantling most interior and perimeter enforcement to such an extent that we find ourselves living in a bizarre new world of thinking about immigration enforcement.. simply violating immigration laws in and of themselves appears to be entirely inconsequential."

Is it even possible to "close the border?" Should we?

Krikorian said "We have a much better handle on the border than we used to. The reason for the current crisis is that we are letting them in, giving them papers and then letting them go. That's almost not even a border security issue, that's this administation not even attempting to maintain a border."

I didn't let anybody off easy today. I need to understand this - we have built 670 miles of border fencing and can't even get an estimated figure for what it would take to do the whole thing. There's no money for that, there's no proposal for that. So where are the answers?

Take a listen.

FULL AUDIO: Garland talks immigration policy with Bob Dane and Mark Krikorian
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Tags :  
Topics : Social Issues
Social :
People : Bob DaneMark Krikorian




 

Garland: Do we pay for a cell, or a pill?

“Neurocriminology” is a whole new field of research that deals with minds of violent criminals.  The big question -- how much of who we are and what we do -- is because of our brain chemicals?  Through years of hosting the "Think Tank" and anchoring and reporting TV news, I’ve learned if you simply raise that question, you get one response from scientists and another from the general public.  Scientists say, “our actions are based on environment and very little chemistry.”  The general public pounces, “you’re one of those liberals, who wants to find more reasons to go easy on violent criminals!”
 
No, no, no. Not a liberal. You can’t put me in one of your boxes.  My questions are based on common sense.  So, let me ask you; if violent, schizophrenic people are made calm by a pill or injection, isn’t that a chemical change, not environmental?  If depressed people snap out of moderate or even severe depression by taking pills that influence neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine… is that not chemical too?
 
Let’s look at the other common sense aspect of this. We can no longer afford the largest prison system in the world.  If we hate additional taxes, if we hate government bureaucracy, shouldn’t we be looking for ways to reduce costs, crime and recidivism?  To me the question is simple. Do we pay for a cell (for years, if not decades or a lifetime)… or a pill to change brain chemistry?
 
The author of “The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime,” Adrian Raine asks: “If bad brains do cause bad behavior, if brain dysfunction raises the odds that somebody will become a criminal offender – a violent offender – and if the cause of the brain dysfunction comes relatively early in life… should we fully hold that adult individual responsible?”
 
We’re not talking about brain chemicals being destiny.  We’re considering an option that is currently not part of the discussion about crime and criminals.  Just another possible solution to a problem we have to solve, because the current situation is unsustainable.
 
There is some slight evidence to support the brain chemsitry/criminal activity relation.  In the 50’s, 60’s and 70s lead was everywhere. Gas, paint, and even in the soil.  In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s violent crime went up in America.  Then, in the 90’s (and continuing today) violent crime started to come down.  Some scientists believe the prevalence of lead in the environment, and the subsequent removal of lead from that environment, may have been a major factor in both the increase and the decrease of crime during that time period. Lead removal became a national campaign in the 70’s.  Scientists tell us, in fact, if you map environmental lead levels over time, lead can explain 91% of those violent crime changes.
 
Let’s look at this in simple, every day terms. If someone meets you for the first time and you’re suffering from a headache, that person may label you grumpy or distracted. Maybe even label you a bad guy or lady.  Not a person they or society want to deal with.  If you take medication for that headache, you may revert back to your pleasant, amiable self.  Did the person meet a bad guy, a good guy or simply a person who had not changed his brain chemistry?
 
It’s just a thought.  No reason to cling to dogma. No reason to get angry.  No reason not to look for needed answers.
 
Just a thought.
 (1) Comments
Tags :  
Topics : Health_Medical_Pharma
Social :
People : Adrian Raine




 

Garland: Do we pay for a cell, or a pill?

“Neurocriminology” is a whole new field of research that deals with minds of violent criminals.  The big question -- how much of who we are and what we do -- is because of our brain chemicals?  Through years of hosting the "Think Tank" and anchoring and reporting TV news, I’ve learned if you simply raise that question, you get one response from scientists and another from the general public.  Scientists say, “our actions are based on environment and very little chemistry.”  The general public pounces, “you’re one of those liberals, who wants to find more reasons to go easy on violent criminals!”
 
No, no, no. Not a liberal. You can’t put me in one of your boxes.  My questions are based on common sense.  So, let me ask you; if violent, schizophrenic people are made calm by a pill or injection, isn’t that a chemical change, not environmental?  If depressed people snap out of moderate or even severe depression by taking pills that influence neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine… is that not chemical too?
 
Let’s look at the other common sense aspect of this. We can no longer afford the largest prison system in the world.  If we hate additional taxes, if we hate government bureaucracy, shouldn’t we be looking for ways to reduce costs, crime and recidivism?  To me the questions simple. Do we pay for a cell (for years, if not decades or a lifetime)… or a pill to change brain chemistry?
 
The author of “The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime,” Adrian Raine asks: “If bad brains do cause bad behavior, if brain dysfunction raises the odds that somebody will become a criminal offender – a violent offender – and if the cause of the brain dysfunction comes relatively early in life… should we fully hold that adult individual responsible?”
 
We’re not talking about brain chemicals being destiny.  We’re considering an option that is currently not part of the discussion about crime and criminals.  Just another possible solution to a problem we have to solve, because the current situation is unsustainable.
 
There is some slight evidence to support the brain chemsitry/criminal activity relation.  In the 50’s, 60’s and 70s lead was everywhere.Gas, paint, and even in the soil.  In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s violent crime went up in America.  Then, in the 90’s (and continuing today) violent crime started to come down.  Some scientists believe the prevalence of lead in the environment, and the subsequent removal of lead from that environment, may have been a major factor in both the increase and the decrease of crime during that time period. Lead removal became a national campaign in the 70’s.  Scientists tell us, in fact, if you map environmental lead levels over time, lead can explain 91% of those violent crime changes.
 
Let’s look at this in simple, every day terms. If someone meets you for the first time and you’re suffering from a headache, that person may label you grumpy or distracted. Maybe even label you a bad guy or lady.  Not a person they or society want to deal with.  If you take medication for that headache, you may revert back to your pleasant, amiable self.  Did the person meet a bad guy, a good guy or simply a person who had not changed his brain chemistry?
 
It’s just a thought.  No reason to cling to dogma. No reason to get angry.  No reason not to look for needed answers.
 
Just a thought.
 (1) Comments
Tags :  
Topics : Health_Medical_Pharma
Social :
People : Adrian Raine




 

Garland: Wake up! Demand state lawmakers protect your family and property

If you’re not paying attention to what happens with this lawsuit and the actions of our state leaders… wake up!   The future of your home, your family, your business…our community is at stake.  Over 40 years ago I began warning in news story after news story about the dangers lurking as our wetlands began to disappear.   Very few listened.  I hope you’re listening now.   

A Louisiana House committee voted Wednesday to kill a lawsuit filed by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East against 97 oil and gas companies, claiming that these companies failed to follow through on their duty to repair and restore more than 10,000 miles of canals dug through our wetlands. Studies show that oil and gas industry activity is responsible for 36.7 percent of coastal erosion in this state.

By amending Senate Bill 469, the House Committee on Natural Resources have specifcally and directly made it impossible for SLFPA-E to bring legal claims against those companies, limiting that privlege to government agencies with a Coast Zone Management Plan. The vote was 12-5 in favor of the amendment, and now the vote will go to the full House sometime next week.

We've been talking about this lawsuit for weeks and weeks with John Barry, formerly with the SLFPA-E. He joined me on "The Think Tank" this morning to discuss this development and had this to say about it: reaction? 

"Well, I'm sure if this bill does pass, the attorneys will challenge it in court, but there is a precedent where the Supreme Court upheld the legislators' ability to do this. There is a reasonable possibility that this would be held unconstitutional, but there's also a reasonable possibility that it would be held constitutional. So the key is for the House to kill it when they vote on it next week."

So it looks like oil and gas companies may not have to pay up the money to repair our wetlands. Why does it matter to our listeners?

"First, there's no money in the Master Plan to protect people and rebuild the coast, and the Flood Authority doesn't have any money. Here's a single example of one project. The landbridge that juts out from New Orleans East into the lake - goes most of the way across the lake into Slidell - that is eroding away. If that disappears, then the entire Gulf of Mexico will pour unimpeded into the lake when there's a storm. That means people all around the lake who never dreamed they'd be threatened by a hurricane will suddenly be threatened."

What about the levees we already have in place? 

"The levees constructed with the idea that that peninsula remained in place t block storm surge, those levees will be overtopped by any kind of major storm. Just to keep that landbridge in place would cost $1.2 billion. That's one of the highest-priority items if the authority wins the lawsuit and gets the money. That would protect every person who lives around the lake."

There's a lot more to the story and there's still time for your voice to be heard. You can call the House of Representatives switchboard at 225-342-6945 and tell your legislators what to do when the bill comes up for a full vote next week.

FULL AUDIO: Garland talks to John Barry about Flood Authority lawsuit


 
 (3) Comments
Tags :  
Locations : Gulf Of MexicoSoutheast Louisiana
People : John Barry




 

Garland: Who pays for Paradise Lost - the oil companies, or you?

Your good friend lives next door.  He has a tree trimming service and is very rich.  He’s helped you financially for a very long time, and with his help, you’re not wealthy, but you do okay financially.

This rich, good friend, who happens to be your neighbor, decides to trim a giant oak that towers over your house and his.  You agree to the tree trimming, if he guarantees to pay for any cleanup because you don’t have cleanup money.  He agrees to your terms and even gets a permit from you to assure you that a cleanup will be taken care of. 

In the process of trimming the mighty oak, part of the tree falls on your house.  The costs of repairing your home are extreme.  You can’t afford to pay all of it, so you ask your friend to pay a portion of the repairs. Although you hate to make that request, you reason that he is rich and can afford the costs, and the bottom line? You can’t remain in your home without his financial help.  You need him to pay for a piece of the damage he caused. 

Time goes by… a fairly long period of time… and your rich-good friend-neighbor doesn’t volunteer to clean up, so you tell him you have no choice but to take the issue to court, if he won’t help.

Is that fair on your part?

On the flip side, would it be fair on his part if he uses his extensive wealth and political clout to convince politicians, who he helped elect, to take action that would retroactively remove any law requiring compensation for situations like yours?

Have the oil companies not been our good friends?   Did we not agree to work together so we could all benefit?   Do we not see the unintended damage that could force us out of our homes and ruin our future but is partially responsible for doing just that? 

I can find no one who believes future generations can live here if we don’t find money to repair our wetlands, and we do not have enough money.  So, if we can’t afford the repairs do we abandon our businesses, our homes, our culture, our future?  Do we leave South Louisiana? 

Who pays for the house with the oak tree on top?

Really interested? Give these podcasts shows a listen

FULL AUDIO: Garland talks with Jim Swanson and John Barry about wetlands lawsuit (1 of 2)

FULL AUDIO: Garland talks with Jim Swanson and John Barry about wetlands lawsuit (2 of 2)
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Tags :  
Locations : South Louisiana
People : Jim SwansonJohn Barry




 

Garland on Rodrigue Death

Famed Louisiana artist George Rodrigue, who found fame with his enigmatic "Blue Dog'' images, died over weekend in Houston after a long battle with cancer.

WWL's Garland Robinette, a fellow artist, says Rodrigue was definitely one-of-a-kind.

"I don't think we'll see another artist in this generations lifetime that his levels of talent, business acumen and kindness," Robinette said.

Listen to Garland:


George Rodrigue was 69 years old.
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