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The Best and the Worst of the Week


Clive Stafford Smith,
a local defense attorney and death penalty opponent, has been named the recipient of the Ben Smith Award by the Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The Louisiana ACLU chose Smith for its highest honor based on his advocacy for competent legal defense for indigent clients, his work with the Southern Center for Human Rights, and his founding of the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center.

Deveney Communication
of New Orleans was named one of the top five "boutique" public relations firms in the country by the industry publication PRWeek. The magazine, which classifies "boutique" agencies as those with an annual revenue of $2 million or less, bases its rankings on financial strength, growth and retention. It also listed Deveney's Nicholas Shapiro among the nation's top five young PR professionals.

Louisiana ACORN,
the New Orleans-based chapter of the nonprofit Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, last week opened an IRS-approved tax-preparation center that will provide free tax services to the public. The site also provides education on the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can save working families thousands of dollars, and on avoiding fee-heavy Refund Anticipation Loans.

Senate Secretary Mike Baer
says an erroneous keystroke was to blame last week for his sending an email containing sexually inappropriate jokes and a video file to several hundred people affiliated with state government. Though his mass email may have been accidental, Baer should be far more vigilant in preventing the large-scale release of such documents.

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