Joe McKnight was shot dead in a road rage incident on December 1st of last year. The shooter, Ronald Gasser, was originally arrested for manslaughter. That’s mainy because Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand never met a white guy with a gun he didn’t like. A grand jury saw things differently, however, and indicted the shooter Gasser with second-degree murder. That’s a distinction with a difference, because second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence. Gasser’s looking at life as a plantation slave.
Joe McKnight – murder victim
This is serious business, and the JP DA’s office must clean up the public relations mess Normand left them. Gasser, can afford private counsel. They’re hard at work, making motions to suppress evidence:
Among several claims, the motion states Gasser’s confession was not obtained “freely and voluntarily, but (was) made under the influence of fear, intimidation, threats or other duress, or because of promises or other inducements.” The motion also claims Gasser was not read his Miranda rights, and that investigators seized evidence without issuing a proper search warrant.
This is pretty much pro-forma for defense attorneys. It’s going to be tough for them to convince the court that a guy who started his self-defense claims as soon as he got out of his vehicle was intimidated or coerced.
Sheriff Normand can’t help himself
Sheriff Newell Normand, of Jefferson Parish (T-P/NOLA.com photo)
Of course, the Sheriff tossed the ADAs on the case under the bus:
“Our arrest is only as good as a prosecution,” Normand said. “We accomplish nothing if we make an arrest and we can’t put ourselves in the best posture to reach a successful prosecution.”
Yessir, that’s cooperation to get criminals off the street, I tell you. While Normand’s latest presser was a far cry from his December temper tantrums about social media, he really needs a PR consultant. He needs someone who will tell him to shut up and maintain his dignity. Jefferson Parish is already a #shitshow of politicians who don’t know how to act.
Still, at this point, things look good in terms of justice for Joe McKnight. Gasser is not an appealing defendant, even though he’s a white man who shot a black man.
Jefferson Parish Council Chairman Chris Roberts has been unable to get any traction on ousting Parish President (and admitted sexual predator) Mike Yenni for months now. It was revealed last September that Yenni admitted to having inappropriate and sexually explicit conversations with a 17-year old. The young man was a senior at Jesuit High School at the time he and Yenni texted. After the original #shitshow the revelations caused, which also included members of the Yenni family, the incident fell from public view for the most part. Councilman Chris Roberts wants to change that.
Yenni went to ground
I’ll say this about my fellow Brother Martin High alum, Greg Buisson: He’s good at what he does. When local politicians need help after doing Incredibly Stupid Things, they call Buisson. His main advice to them appears to be very simple, Shut The Fuck Up. They go to ground and stay there. That’s what Neil Abramson did, after he became embroiled in a controversy over choosing the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives last Spring. So, Yenni’s situation is exposed. He hires Buisson, and is told to go to ground. He stays out of the public eye until his advisor says the coast is clear enough to get back to work. Buisson must have decided this past week was the time, since Yenni appeared on a local talk radio show last Monday.
Chris Roberts and the recall
Westbank Councilman Chris Roberts doesn’t like Mike Yenni. Their animosity goes back further than when we all learned that Yenni wants to blow young men. Since the effort to recall Mike is halfway through and they have only amassed half the necessary signatures on the petition, Roberts decided to raise the awareness level of the scandal in the wake of Yenni’s radio appearance. Da Advocate describes the letter Roberts circulated:
The letter Roberts sent Tuesday gets more graphic than any media account of the text messages in question. Citing sources familiar with the texts, Roberts’ letter contains a reference to a form of oral sex Yenni is said to have offered to perform on the 17-year-old.
Graphic gay sex is not the sort of thing the Good Republicans of Jefferson. Roberts knows that.
Yenni Fights Back
Buisson knows how to push back. A letter released by Yenni claims that Chris Roberts wrote a bad check for $6500. That ups the ante from a debatable text conversation to check fraud. Thieving politicians are something the Good Republicans Of Jefferson like even less than blowjobs.
An article in Breitbart about Nazi Stephen Miller is not surprising. But saying AnnThrax Coulter is a Breitbart contributor? How the disgusting have fallen.
One of the Breitbart drones, John Hayward, uses a good SEO technique to boost the site, writing about one of his colleagues. Ann Coulter? Hayward claims AnnThrax is a Breitbart contributor, but there’s no link to any of her work for the site. No matter, he’s essentially dropping a name to beat his drum. Or whatever else he was beating when he wrote this article.
I really thought I was done with Breitbart when my friend Lamar gained fame for killing the turd with a tweet back in 2012. We Democrats were riding high, working to put Barack Obama back into the White House for a second term. Like most of what has now become known as the “alt-right”, the writers at Breitbart were a bunch of whining racists, looking for something to latch on to. Breitbart himself was never that person. He had more money than the average wingnut blogger, and a lot of free time to promote himself, but there were others. Son of Erick was getting teevee-pundit gigs, and other leaders of the conservative crazy overshadowed him. Most assumed his death would cause his site and infrastructure to fold.
Clearly we were wrong.
Nazi Stephen Miller is a distasteful individual, and AnnThrax is all about praising him:
“I was describing Steve Miller to some reporter recently. I was on a plane at the time, so I was writing out adjectives, and at the end of the sentence, I said, ‘I’m not just listing adjectives; I’m actually pausing and thinking about each one. But the main ones are brilliant and patriotic,’” she recalled.
Of course, our friend Hayward here didn’t actually discuss this with AnnThrax. He’s quoting an article by talk show host Alex Marlow. He provides no links back to Marlow. Guess he isn’t a Breitbart contributor.
Senator Schumer takes the lead, and that’s a good thing.
Michelle Goldberg’s piece in Slate last Monday, “How Chuck Schumer Found His Spine” is more about the overall #resistance to #Trannon, but it’s still encouraging to see that the efforts of Democrats are being felt in the DC Senate offices.
The main focal point of #resistance at this point is the “Indivisible” document. It’s full title is, “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda”. “Indivisible” was written by Democratic Congressional staffers to organize Democratic resistance. This is important for those of us who want the party to take the lead and grow into a force that will once again lead the country from the White House and Capitol Hill. As Goldberg points out, one of the authors of “Indivisible”, Ezra Levin, nails it:
“The idea that we can treat this administration as if it is normal, as if it is not actively undermining democracy, is really inappropriate to the moment. And I think the base feels that.”
Leading the Minority
And there it is. But let’s come back to Senator Schumer. With “Indivisible” groups springing up across the country, as well as other efforts to resist #Trannon, Democrats like Leader Schumer recognize just how upset we are:
We need to keep it up.
Judge James Robart
#Trannon’s Muslim Ban was blocked nationwide by a sweeping order issued by Judge James Robart in Washington State. This prompted Senator Schumer to speak out once again:
Another big takeaway here is the CNN article that Schumer cites. Since Kellyanne Conway, AKA “Patriot Barbie” announced that #Trannon surrogates would no longer appear on CNN, the network is, for now, telling the truth about 45* and his people. When POTUS* took to Da Twittah to attack Judge Robart, CNN did this excellent short profile on the man.
A CNN that tells the truth and a leader in the Senate spreading that message is an excellent boost to our opposition.
Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton at the Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007, with Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall
I’ve always been a purist about this song. The Blind Faith version on the Blind Faith album. Blind Faith were arguably the first “super group” in rock. Formed out of the wreckage of Cream, Blind Faith were Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech. Guillot would get mad at me for playing this and/or Traffic’s “Uninspired” at his house, complaining, I was chilling things down wayyyy too much.
When I answer online memes dealing with music, I usually point to The Beatles, then The Who as my big influences before diving head-first into ELP, Yes, and other syntho-rock. After graduation from UNO, I took a more mellow turn, which had something to do with not having to study. Therefore the consequences of partying didn’t loom large. Traffic and Blind Faith morphed into Winwood’s solo career, giving me a body of work to complement Jimmy Buffett for sitting and reading and thinking.
And writing. I’ll crank it up with the best of y’all in the car, but when I’m writing, I prefer it mellow. For the Dragons stories, I usually go for jazz. There’s too much of a disconnect for me to play tunes from my college years while writing teen stuff. The nonfiction and Talents stories, on the other hand, spring from so much of who I am and what I’ve done that the old stuff works out just fine. Whether it’s Southern rock, or acoustic Clapton or Winwood, I go right into a zone. As I get older, the trick is not to fall asleep while in the zone.
Writing is about teleporting to the places where the stories are. Music takes me there. It’s an overnight wonder and sensation. Sometimes it’s good for the story if I can’t find my way home…right away.
I was in eighth grade when Don McClean’s “American Pie” came out. WTIX-AM, “The Mighty 690” ran the song on an intense rotation, including their own interpretation voice-over. At that time, I was wrapped up in The Beatles and The Who. I knew who Buddy Holly was, but I was just too young for his music to have been an influence on me. I was just a couple of months old on February 3, 1959, and wouldn’t venture out of my cocoon of British Invasion and electronic rock until I hit university and started go going to “50s parties” in the late 70s. There were many other references in the song that hit closer to home, stuff from the late 1960s that were much more important to a 13-year old.
McClean held back for years when it came to discussing interpretations of “American Pie.” I like this particular quote of his on the subject of what the song means:
It means I don’t ever have to work again if I don’t want to.” Later, he stated, “You will find many interpretations of my lyrics but none of them by me … Sorry to leave you all on your own like this but long ago I realized that songwriters should make their statements and move on, maintaining a dignified silence.
Eventually he did admit that the song was his way of working out his feelings about the death of Buddy Holly. I can see how that grew into a run-down of many things music-related that struck him over time.
Buddy Holly wasn’t the only musician who departed on The Day The Music Died. Richie Valens was in that plane, along with J. P. Richardson, “The Big Bopper”. While certainly Holly and Valens were the bigger stars, Richardson was still popular, with that deep base voice.
One of the subjects I taught as a Social Studies teacher at Redeemer High in New Orleans in the early 1980s was Psychology. It was an elective, primarily for kids not taking World History as seniors, and some juniors who wanted to take four years of Social Studies. While I didn’t want the course to be a “blow off class”, I didn’t want it to be a hassle for the kids in Armbruster’s classes, which were honors/college prep. I also didn’t want the workload to be a burden for kids busting their asses just to graduate.
So, we watched a few movies. VCRs were a thing by then, so I wasn’t limited to 16mm school films. I could show theatrical releases. A couple of the kids suggested we should watch a film that had just come out on tape, “Ordinary People“. The film was based on the novel by Judith Guest, and was directed by Robert Redford. It was about a high school-aged young man, Conrad, (played by Timothy Hutton), who attempted suicide. The story explored Conrad’s relationship with his parents, played by Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland.
I was hesitant about showing the film in class, because of its R-rating, but it did win Best Picture. The R was for language and not nudity/sex, so I was on safe ground. Teens swear, after all. I booked the TV/VCR cart and I had a week where I felt like the football coach from the “Funky Winkerbean” comic strip. The film worked out nicely, because the boy, Conrad, saw a therapist regularly.
Psychology and Psychiatry
The therapy sessions were the hook/justification I needed to show the film in class. Though there are a lot of movies out there where characters see a shrink, this one was new and involved a teen. It really was a good fit. Conrad was a likeable character, and his parents were, well, parents. His mother, Beth was cold and always favored Conrad’s older brother, Buck. When Buck died in a boating accident and Conrad attempted suicide, Beth turned cold and mean. The character brought out a side of Mary Tyler Moore that was so different from Laura Petrie or Mary Richards. Here was the woman we all loved from comedy, playing a role where she was a really awful person. She played the character so well she won a Golden Globe and received an Oscar nomination. (Hutton won the Oscar for Supporting Actor, Redford for Director, and Hirsch was nominated.)
I never saw Mary Tyler Moore as just a comedienne ever again. When she passed earlier today, I immediately thought of “Ordinary People”.
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