Hashtag #RexComus – bitter, angry Twitterati

Hashtag #RexComus – bitter, angry Twitterati

Hashtag #rexcomus has been overrun by assholes

hashtag #rexcomus

Cover of the program for the 1867 Comus bal masque.

Hashtag #RexComus evolves into something awful

Live-tweeting the “Meeting of the Courts” as WYES broadcast of the bal masque of the Rex Organization isn established #NOLATwitter tradition for the last few years, The combination of the event’s television hosts and the activities at the ball make for fun Twitter fodder.

Rex Ball, Rex meets Comus

The “Meeting of the Courts” happens on Mardi Gras Night. The balls began at 9pm, back in the days when the Mystick Krewe of Comus paraded. Comus currently only presents their ball. The organization stopped parading in the 1990s. The tradition of the meeting dates to 1882, when Rex was ten years old.

As Carnival approaches its end, Comus extends an invitation to the King of Carnival and his court to join him at the senior krewe’s ball. Rex makes his farewells to his ball and heads to the Comus soiree. The two monarchs, along with their queens, perform a Grand March. After that march, general dancing continues. While  they march at Comus, Rex ball-goers continue their party.

Live-tweeting

So much fodder for satire and humor here! It’s as if the Meeting was created for Twitter. Local folks on Da Twittah comment on all aspects of the event. From Peggy Scott Laborde’s gaffes to Errol Laborde (her husband) being more of a curmudgeon than the Curmudgeon Class of #NOLAtwitter, to the antics of the two carnival organizations, local folks are merciless in mockery.

Anger is not a good look

Over the years, hashtag #rexcomus became a place of anger rather than mockery. The event offers an opportunity for folks who are angry at Trump and conservatives to lash out. What was once satire is now flooded with bitter remarks.

I empathize with people who are not OK since Trump became President. It’s back to the old adage that liberals have no sense of humor. It also doesn’t help that Senator Sanders’ stature within the Democratic Party’s race for a nominee is falling. That exacerbates the anger among what I call “nonpartisan liberals.” They hate All Things Democratic Party. Unfortunately, they use hashtag #rexcomus as an outlet.

Nothing is permanent

I like to think that most of these angry people will slink away after this fall’s election, should a Democrat defeat Trump. The nonpartisan liberals usually only come out for the Presidential election cycle. We saw this in 2018, when many red Congressional districts went blue, thanks to the hard work of mainstream Democrats. I anticipate a better, funnier, less-angry hashtag #rexcomus in 2021.

Chris Roberts Suicide and the benefit of the doubt

Chris Roberts Suicide and the benefit of the doubt

Chris Roberts suicide deserves the benefit of the doubt from us.

chris roberts suicide

Chris Roberts, dead at 42

chris roberts suicide

Chris Roberts died yesterday, most likely at his own hand.

Chris Roberts died yesterday, down off Engineer’s Road in Plaquemine Parish. From Da Paper:

The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into Roberts’ death, which an agency spokesman described as an apparent suicide. The spokesman declined to elaborate.

A law enforcement source with knowledge of the situation said Roberts’ parents had reported him missing to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office earlier Wednesday. The Sheriff’s Office tracked his cellphone to a wooded area off Engineers Road in Belle Chasse, near the Jefferson Parish line, and found his body there.

Roberts resigned his seat on the Jefferson Parish Council last year, under the shadow of an extensive federal indictment. He served on the Council for fifteen years. Before his Council service, Roberts sat on the Jefferson Parish School Board. For those unfamiliar with the workings of the Jefferson Parish Council, the body consists of five district and two at-large members. Since so much of Jefferson Parish is unincorporated, the district members function as the “mayors” of their respective neighborhoods. When a district member decides an issue, the others usually respect their decision and vote as they do. Therefore, politicians like Roberts carry a lot of influence.

chris roberts suicide

Until they’re indicted by feds, that is.

Fall from grace

chris roberts suicide

In 2018, the Department of Justice dropped a pallet of bricks on Roberts, with an extensive indictment filing. Again, from Vargas at Da Paper:

Most of the counts related to his work managing a Terrytown-based landscaping company from which he allegedly used money for personal purchases. Roberts was also accused of hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars in income over a seven-year period, and only filing amended tax returns accounting for the income after he learned of the federal inquiry.

The indictment painted a picture of Roberts as a profligate spender who used business and campaign funds to purchase a $16,000 engagement ring and spent thousands more at area casinos.

Then, to make matters worse:

In October, federal prosecutors added 10 new wire fraud counts to the indictment, ramping up the pressure on him. The new indictment also accused Roberts of improperly spending business funds.

So, the whole notion of deputies finding this guy dead in the woods, likely by his own hand, doesn’t sound far-fetched. When I read the initial tweets, it sounded like a classic case of, get your affairs in order and take care of your problems.

Benefit of the doubt

chris roberts suicide

Chris Roberts presented himself as an arrogant asshole on social media. His attacks on Mike Yennni were bush league. His supporters say he worked hard for his district. The feds say he’s a thief. Suffering from depression was never part of Roberts’ public persona. That doesn’t mean it didn’t exist! So many people struggle with depression, and it does indeed claim them. I can see the weight of his world crashing in on him taking that toll.

“Doing the right thing for the family” isn’t the same these days. People do time for white-collar crime regularly. They come back from prison and often do right by the community. It’s not like a guy like Roberts faced hard time for his crimes.

Influence of family and friends

People coping with depression need a support network. If someone doesn’t feel that support, their depression can deepen. That can lead to suicide attempts as a cry for help. Or worse, you go out to the woods and end it. It’s certainly unclear how much support for his condition Roberts got from friends and family. It’s too late for Roberts, but it’s not too late for those you care for. Check your people.

YatPundit’s Pub 21-May-2019

YatPundit’s Pub 21-May-2019

YatPundit’s Pub 21-May-2019

yatpudit's pub

YatPundit’s Pub 21-May-2019

Ranting about Short Term Rentals and the French Market this week.

Programming note: Yesterday’s Red Beans and Rice Monday moves to YatCuisine next week! We’re tweaking the present pod lineup. I created a “YatCuisine” group on Facebook. The pod fits better that way.

Short Term Rentals

With respect to the “strict” short-term rental ordinance passed yesterday by the New Orleans City Council:

1. This was not a final-passage. The ordinance will come back before the Council in a couple of months.
2. in the interim, the forces supporting unlicensed hotels in the city will open their wallets and dilute the ordinance.
3. It’s likely that, by the time of final passage, the ordinance will no longer contain the “domicile” requirement, where you can only short-term-rent the house you claim a homestead exemption on (i.e., you can only AirBnB the house you live in).

How the City Council screws New Orleans

4. By the time the ordinance comes back for final passage, the Councilmembers figure you think they did the right thing back in May. The unlicensed hotels continue on as if the vote yesterday never happened.
5. Advocates for limiting short-term rentals to the renter’s domicile, banning unlicensed hotels must remain vigilant. Demand any changes and amendments proposed to yesterday’s ordinance in advance. Watch the Council’s calendar. Don’t be sandbagged on the day of final passage.
6. Do not trust the Councilmembers who you believe are on “your side” – they know how this works, voted how you wanted them to yesterday, with confidence you won’t be looking when they vote the other way in a couple of months.
7. Follow the money.

Think I’m overreacting? This is why you fail at fixing things in New Orleans. Enjoy your protests, podcasts, and blogs.

French Market

yatpundit's pub 21-may-2019

New Orleans French Market

Mayor Cantrell considered some research on Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her staff looked into re-purposing public facilities in other cities. Da Paper published a good article on the status of the city’s research. Unfortunately, the headline was click-baity.

YatPundit’s Pub 23-April-2019 JazzFest and Public Schools

YatPundit’s Pub 23-April-2019 JazzFest and Public Schools

JazzFest and Public Schools in Jefferson Parish are on tap at YatPundit’s Pub 23-April-2019

yatpudit's pub

YatPundit’s Pub 23-April-2019

Strong brews in the pub this week! JazzFest approaches, so let’s talk about its past and future. Early voting is open for local elections to be held on 4-May. One of the items for consideration is a property tax renewal in Jefferson Parish that’s for public schools. We’ll talk about the complicated history and relationship between public and private schools in #themetrys.

Da Fest

YatPundit's Pub 23-April-2019

Alabama Shakes performing at NOJHF in 2017 (courtesy Nicholas Henderson)

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is almost fifty years old. Are the Foundation and the producers catering to the wrong audience. After cancellations by septuagenarians Mick Jagger and Stevie Nicks, it looked for a while like a satire site said, “Karaoke Craig from Gennaro’s” would headline the 2-May fest date. Rather than tapping an act that appeals to a younger crowd, such as Alabama Shakes (in the photo), Da Fest replaced Fleetwood Mack with Widespread Panic.

It’s not all on the Fest, though. Hotels and restaurants rely heavily now on Da Fest for booked rooms and tables. Is the NOJHF too big t fail?

Jefferson Parish Public Schools

There’s a property tax renewal on the ballot in Jefferson Parish on May 4th. It’s dedicated to schools. Residents of Jefferson Parish have an unusual relationship with their public school system. Initially, the schools were segregated, de facto. The small African-American population lived in specific neighborhoods. Local “districting” kept them out of the majority-white schools. Then federal lawsuits and consent decrees brought court-ordered busing to Jefferson Parish. Racial balance was the goal. By then, however, the Catholic schools in the parish created almost a de jure segregation system. Between requirements related to religion and tuition/fees, white folks kept their schools white. Forty years later, this complicates generating revenue for public schools.

Offbeat’s JazzFest Bible 2019

Last Tuesday’s Pod

YatPundit’s Pub 16-April-2019 Party Buses and School Zones

YatPundit’s Pub 16-April-2019

brown butter mid-city

YatPundit’s Pub 16-April-2019

Two brews on tap today, both local, but hopefully not too bitter. Mr. Tim Morris of T-P/NOLA.com wrote an interesting piece discussing party buses and school zones, raising concerns about how Mayor Cantrell is treating some of her constituents.

Our first tap in the pub talks about the party buses. So, hese are those converted school buses you see downtown. So, they have loud sound systems. They flash lots of disco-style lighting inside. Groups charter the party buses. Party-goers load them up with a few ice chests of beer and wine (and possibly some of Lady Goddess’ Own Herb).

Now, the problem with these buses is compliance. They’re not legal on many counts. Buses lack CPNC certificates. Electric lights don’t meet code. Cantrell ordered them to get compliant. They didn’t. She extended the time period.

I also mention a bit about the “curmudgeon class” on Da Twittah. When I do, let’s be clear, I’m not talking about Tim Morris and his colleagues at Da Paper!

School Zones

YatPundit's Pub 16-April-2019

St. Anthony of Padua on Canal Street, sight of a traffic-cam school zone

So, contrast that with the treatment some drivers in the city received in the last two weeks. The mayor’s office made a significant change in school zone enforcement.

Traditionally, we enforce school zone speed limits with a traffic cop out with a radar gun. You go over the speed limit, you’re breaking the law and could get a ticket. The cop would usually spot you five miles. So, if you’re going, say 23 in a 20, they’d let you slide.

Now that the traffic cameras and street-installed rollovers detect your speed and document who you are, things are quite precise and less human.

It’s still possible to toss out the violations that are less than 5 miles over the speed limit. Cantrell’s decided go zero-tolerance. Morris argues in his column that this is unfair. Like the business owners, drivers deserved fair warning.

I’m at the point with this where safety trumps whinging drivers. I discuss.

Monday’s Pod

 

Subtle anti-semitism of “Nice People” incites violence in America

Subtle anti-semitism of “Nice People” incites violence in America

Subtle antisemitism makes me sad.

subtle antisemitism

Protest against circumcision in Metairie, LA, 29-Oct-2018

Subtle antisemitism is problematic

There are a number of issues in our body politic that have origins in discrimination against Jews. While there are many reasons for ignorance on these, I’m still concerned. Therefore, it’s important to take a moment and talk about things that have their roots in hatred of Jews.

Circumcision

There was a protest against circumcision in my neighborhood (#themetrys) yesterday. I know a number of people who do not approve of circumcision. While their numbers are few, they make a solid case for not doing this to their infant sons. I respect that.

What I don’t respect is a group of men protesting this issue in public within days of a massacre of Jews. The Jewish people are the one single group in the world immediately connected to circumcision. Did those men standing on Clearview and Veterans in Metairie yesterday consider this when protesting this procedure? It’s unclear. It’s unclear because they did it in the wake of the massacre of Jews in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Failure to recognize context

I saw the photos of this protest tweeted by a friend around mid-afternoon yesterday. My first reaction was, this is way too tone deaf. No legitimate group looking to promote an idea or issue could possibly be this unaware of the world around them. So, my process took the next step. Clearly these people were organized. They had to know what happened Saturday. They had to know those people in Pittsburgh were gunned down at a bris, of all events. Therefore, there was a good chance the protesters were antisemitic.

Reactions from social media

I said as much on Zuckerbook. Read the responses. A number of people know the group and its agenda. They claimed the protesters are not antisemitic. Commenters presented logical reasons for their beliefs.

My concern continued. These people have a website. They’re literally “on tour” with these protests. Zuckerfriends reported seeing them in Shreveport, Galveston, and Baton Rouge, before their appearance in Metairie. That level of commitment requires logistics. It requires communication.

So, now I’m even more skeptical. They’re not operating in a vacuum. A group concerned about the bigger issues would stand down, out of respect for others who disagree with them. This group didn’t. Are they ignorant, or do they have an an additional agenda?

Antisemitism has long roots

subtle antisemitism

Pogroms in Russia. Turned away from the United States. Hitler and Himmler. These are but examples of discrimination and hate focused on Jews.

Hitler served in the German Imperial Army in World War I. The Treaty of Versailles ended that war. That accord dealt harsh terms and conditions to Germany. Those terms included demands for reparations that were unreasonable. Like many at the time, Hitler was hurt and angry and defeated. He channeled that anger not towards the British or the French, but towards German Jews.

Hitler believed the Jews came out of World War I way too nicely, while Christian Germans suffered. This is a common theme going back millennia.  Shakespeare created “Shylock, a Jew”, as his bad guy for The Merchant of Venice. That didn’t happen in a vacuum.

Pogroms in Russia

The Tsars treated their serfs badly for centuries. To make Christian serfs feel better about their lot in life, the Tsars and the Church focused the anger of the serfs on the Jews. Blood libel and profiting from Christians were two examples of “crimes” of the Jews. The Tsars allowed Christians to carry out “pogroms” against Jews. Thousands of Jews were displaced, turned out of Russian cities. Jews were attacked, injured, and killed.

Have you ever watched Fiddler on the Roof? Go back, now that you know what a pogrom is.

“Mutilation” of Christian boys

One of the common tropes of the 20th and 21st centuries with respect to Jews relates to circumcision. Groups spreading hatred of Jews claim there is a conspiracy involving Jewish doctors to mutilate Christians. This goes back long before the Nazis. That regime used this accusation as one of many to deny Jews civil rights in Germany between the World Wars.

Lack of understanding

Read. Learn. Understand. Do you have Jewish friends? Ask them why they circumcise their children. Do you think they’re part of an international conspiracy? Do you believe they should be shot down in their places of worship? Take a step back. Look at the entire picture.