Edward Branley's blog

FAMU Band Story Just Doesn't Add Up

NPR did a story this morning on Morning Edition about the continued fallout from the death of a Florida A&M University (FAMU) Band drum major, Robert Champion. It's being described as a "hazing scandal" and the cops have ruled the death a homicide resulting from a beating:

Champion was a previously healthy 26-year-old who collapsed and died within an hour of the hazing incident, during which he suffered multiple blows to his body so severe that he bled out into his soft tissue, according to the summary. There were no signs of drugs or alcohol in his body.

OK, someone getting beaten to death, that happens. But "hazing?" I'm struggling with that part.

For openers, Mr. Champion was the Drum Major, one of the leaders of the band. Since when do underclassmen jump the drum major, beating him to death? Leaders of a fraternity (which is essentially what this band is) do the hazing; they don't die from it.

The second thing that makes me scratch my head is that Robert Champion was 26 years of age when he died. He's 26 and still in school? I was five years out of uni at 26. I'll concede that non-traditional students do start later, and often take longer, but that leads to the next point. Non-traditional students usually don't play the college game the same way their 18- and 19-year old classmates do.

I hope the cops don't look at this as simply an institutional issue. It doesn't help that FL-Gov Ric Scott is putting his nose in the situation. That piece of filth is most likely looking for any way he can to suppress black folks and their influence in the state.

Git yaself some cultcha this weekend at @NOMA1910...for FREE!

Ya know, y'all don't get out to Da Awt Museum often enough, and the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is giving you the perfect opportunity this weekend. NOMA celebrates their centennial birthday, marking the opening of the Delgado Museum, on December 16, 1911. The permanent collection started with nine pieces. Now? How about over 40,000!

Best of all...it's FREE for the 31-hour celebration. The party starts TOMORROW (Friday, 16-December) and runs until 5pm on Saturday, 17-December.

Here's a run-down of the events on tap:

Friday, December 16th:

5 pm to 8 pm: Art Making Activities
5 pm to 7 pm: Piano by Wayne Daigrepont
6 pm: Comedic Improv Tour by The New Movement
7pm to 8:30 pm: Isidore Newman Choir
7:30 pm 8 pm: Reading with Mark Yakich from Checking In/Checking Out
8 pm to 12 am: Art Making Activities by Prospect.2
8:30 pm: Tour by Modern and Contemporary Art Curator Miranda Lash
9 pm to 12 am: New Orleans Jazz Institute Quartet
9:30 pm: Irvin Mayfield performance and book signing
10 pm: Comedic Improv Tour by The New Movement

Saturday, December 17th:

Midnight to 3 am: Quintron – DJ Set
Midnight and 4 am film screening of Science of Sleep
2 am film screening of Basquiat
3 am to 6 am: DJ Kazu
8 am: Yoga in Second Floor Museum Galleries
9 am to 11 am: NOCCA Jazz Brunch in Café NOMA by Ralph Brennan
11 am to 4 pm: Art Making Activities (Young Audiences, YAYA, KIDsmART)
11 am: Roots of Music Second Line around NOMA leading to the front steps
11:15/11:30 am: Remarks by Susan Taylor on front steps
11:30 am to 2:30 pm: Educational Programming
2:30 pm to 4:30 pm: Amanda Shaw Finale Performance

All this, and the La Cocinita food truck will be out there, selling their delicious arepas and tacos starting at Midnight Friday night/Saturday morning.

The "Republicans Heart the Military" myth/meme

Because Republicans are stupid, they often get caught by the law of unintended consequences. The Solyndra "scandal" is a great example of this:

However, in gunning after the Department of Energy and its solar power loan program they have fallen prey to the law of unintended consequences, and are now heading on a collision course with the Department of Defense.

Why does the writer feel this is a problem? Because of the meme:

That is a rather odd position for the Republican Party to be in, given that it has built its brand on unequivocal support for the U.S. military, but for several years now DoD has been committed to transitioning out of petroleum fuels and into solar energy and other alternatives.

The meme is that Republicans <3 the military. Like most things Republican, it's a lie. Republicans love the people who give them campaign contributions. That is a very limited subset of the "the military." Veterans benefits? Forget it. Veterans aren't big-money Republican donors (although the American Legion and the VFW follow these people like stupid sheep). Alternative energy? Not only are the companies developing this technology off the donor-radar of the Republican Party, they're in direct conflict with one of the backbones of that party's financial base, Big Oil.

Don't be distracted by the meme, even when it dupes a liberal website. Republicans don't give two fucks about the military or national defense. They're war profiteers.

Landing in a Soyuz...

Older Americans who were around to see the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo space missions remember "splashdowns." Most everyone else knows the glider landings of the Shuttle Orbiter fleet. An American in command of a Soyuz spacecraft landing in the desert in Kazakhstan? Wow...

The Revolution Will Not Be Occupied...

It's good to see the "Occupy" movement move to a new stage. Since the cops in a number of cities are clearing out various "encampments," tactics are shifting.

The revolution will not be won by squatters in a public park.

It will be won on the Internet.

It will be won on the bus/train/subway heading into work.

It will be won when suburbanites leave a trip to Wal-Mart out of their Saturday plans.

It will be won when enough working families pull their money out of Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

The revolution will not be won by people who refuse to live in the real world.

Happy Birthday, USMC!

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps! This is a mine (or "torpedo" in 19th Century usage), that's mounted at NAS Newport, RI. A few feet away is a matching mine, painted blue with the Navy logo on it. NAS Newport is the home of Officer Candidate School for the USN. My firstborn, Ensign Justin Branley, was in Class 15-11 this summer. On graduation day, he was commissioned, then they all walked over to these two mines. His class RDC (Recruit Division Commander), a Navy Chief Petty Officer, and his DI (Drill Instructor), a USMC Gunnery Sergeant, stood between the mines and gave the newly-commissioned Ensigns their "first salutes."

Best wishes to the Marines!

"Space Taxis"

It's good to see the new-capsule project continuing to move forward:

Boeing’s CST-100 is one of several proposed commercial crew spacecraft, or “space taxis,” that NASA is partially financing to replace the Space Shuttle, which flew its final mission in July. The CST-100 is being designed to carry a crew of seven into low-earth orbit, to the International Space Station and a proposed private space station from Bigelow Aerospace. Boeing also anticipates being able to take civilian tourists up into low-earth orbit on the craft no earlier than 2015.

With the shuttle program now officially over, and issues surrounding the integrity of the Soyuz spacecraft, this whole concept is way behind. It's also interesting to see NASA using a military-style competitive model, where various companies are bidding to get the job. In its earlier incarnations, there could be only one.

Since this article is from TPM, there's a dig at douchebag governor Scott Brown, and how he wouldn't take federal $ for high-speed rail but gladly welcomes Boeing, but that's no surprise from a left-leaning blog.

From the "they-all-look-alike" department...

If I was a black man, I would never set foot in Jefferson Parish. Consider the case of Henry W. James, Jr, released today from prison after serving 30 years for a rape he didn't commit:

The woman told investigators she did not know her attacker and identified James from a book of photos two days later.

However, James lived nearby, was an aquaintance of the woman's husband and had several encounters with the victim the day before she was raped -- all of which Maw said casts doubt on the woman's identification of James after first saying she did not recognize her attacker.

Hey, white woman picked out a black guy...he must be guilty, right? Oh wait a minute...

After DNA test results cleared James last month, prosecutors dismissed his indictment, and 24th Judicial District Judge Henry Sullivan signed an order Thursday vacating James' conviction and ordering his release from prison.

Oops...

NOPD must step up on organized crime

And I'm not talking the mafia here, I'm talking about well-organized drug gangs. It's not enough to put murderers behind bars if they can still kill:

The man killed outside a Claiborne Avenue daiquiri shop Saturday night was the brother of a key witness in two cases against Telly Hankton, described by law enforcement leaders as one of the most dangerous in New Orleans.
Multiple sources said the victim in the weekend shooting was Curtis Matthews, and the WDSU I-Team has learned that the victim is the brother of John Matthews.

Curtis Matthews was 61 years old. These people were willing to kill an old man for revenge.

NOPD must step up and put these people down. It's one thing for an older man to come forward and testify. Clearly he didn't think his brother would be threatened. This will definitely have younger folks in fear of testifying in the future.

It's time for NOPD to worry less about their paid details and more about what's on the streets.

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