Baseball practice becomes target practice
For those who don’t know yet, United States Representative Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) was shot and wounded this morning in northern Virigina while he was working out with Congressional colleagues in preparation for Thursday’s annual Congressional baseball game in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Nationals’ park. The game is an annual tradition which raises money for charity, and also allows members of Congress on both sides of the aisle get together and enjoy camraderie.
Scalise represents Louisiana’s first district, which includes much of Jefferson Parish, the most populous parish in Louisiana, located to the west of New Orleans. Scalise represents a large swath of southeastern Louisiana outside of the city limits of New Orleans, including St. Bernard Parish, where I grew up and was living at the time Hurricane Katrina struck. Scalise did not represent St. Bernard at the time of Katrina, but it was drawn back into the district when Louisiana lost one House seat (going from 7 to 6) after the 2010 census.
The shooting occurred just before 7 a.m. CT (8 a.m. ET). I first saw it on Twitter, then the news spread like wildfire across the Internet and all the television networks. Such is the 24-hour news cycle. It was reported around noon CT that Scalise was out of surgery and in stable condition, but as I pulled into Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina just after 3, Sean Hannity said Scalise had taken a turn for the worse. He is listed in critical condition.
Scalise was shot in the hip, which I’m guessing will mean hip replacement at the very least. I’m worried he won’t make it. For him to take a turn for the worse after surgery is a very distressing sign. I should know, becuase I was near death myself in late 2004 battling pneumonia and a collapsed lung following a buildup of fluid.
Jefferson Parish has produced some very powerful politicians over my lifetime. To wit:
- Dave Treen, who represented most of Jefferson in the House beginning in 1973, was elected Governor in late 1979, becoming the first Republican to be elected as Louisiana’s chief executive, and the first GOP governor, period, since federal Reconstruction following the Civil War.
- Bob Livingston, who was first elected to the House in 1977. More on him below.
- David Vitter, who was elected to succeed Livingston in 1999 and later served two terms in the U.S. Senate.
- Piyush (Bobby) Jindal, who succeeded Vitter in the House and was elected Governor in 2007.
- John Alario, who is currently president of the Louisiana Senate. He was Speaker of the Louisiana House for two terms in the 1980s and 1990s.
It could have been a lot worse if it weren’t for two Capitol police officers who were assigned to Scalise as a security detail. Scalise qualified for a security detail since is the House Majority Whip, which is a leadership position. Of the 435 members of the House, only five automatcially qualify for such protection: the Speaker (Paul Ryan of Wisconsin), Majority Leader (Kevin McCarthy of California), Majority Whip (Scalise), Minority Leader (Nancy Pelosi of California) and Minority Whip (Steny Hoyer of Maryland). In the Senate, the Vice President (President of the Senate) has Secret Service protection, while the leaders and whips have security all the time. Any member
The Capitol police officers gamely took out the deranged shooter, 66-year old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois Hodgkinson later died of his wounds.
Hodgkinson was a known progressive due to his rants on Facebook, where he was a member of several groups devoted to bashing president Trump and all Republicans. He was a volunteer last year for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. The Vermont senator denounced the attack.
If Scalise does not make it, it would continue a long line of heartbreak for member of Congress from Louisiana who rise into leadership positions.
In 1972, the Bayou State was hit with a double whammy.
First, Senator Allen Ellender, who was the Senate’s President Pro Tempore, the second-ranking position in the body behind the Vice President and third in line of succession to the presidency behind the Vice President and Speaker of the House, died of a heart attack in Washington. He had served in the Senate since 1936, when he assumed the seat once held by Huey Long, and was chairman of the Appropriations Committee, probably the most powerful in the Senate since it controls all government spending, although bills have to originate in the House under the Constitution.
Ellender was running for a sixth term, although he was facing a strong challenge from then-State Senator J. Bennett Johnston, who had barely lost the Democratic primary for governor in late 1971 to then-U.S. Rep. Edwin Edwards, who was elected to the first of his four terms in February 1972.
Johnston won the seat and served for 24 years, but never rose to Ellender’s lofty status. His bid to earn a leadership post was defeated in 1988 when he lost the race for Majority Whip to George Mitchell of Maine. Mitchell later became Majority Leader, then chaired the infamous Mitchell Commission, which produced the report which named hundreds of Major League Baseball players as steroid users.
Less than three months after Ellender died, Rep. Hale Boggs, then the Majority Leader, flew with Alaska Rep. Nick Begich on a private plane from Anchorage to Juneau to attend a fundraiser.
The plane never made it. It was lost in the Alaska wilderness forever and ever. Boggs, Begich, pilot Don Jonz and a Begich aide basically vanished from the face of the earth. Boggs was declared dead in absentia when the new Congress convened in January. Hale’s widow, Lindy, was elected to the seat and served through 1990. Lindy Boggs, the mother of journalist Cokie Roberts, later served as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican and lived a fulfilling life before passing away at 97.
Ellender and Boggs aren’t the only members of Congress from Louisiana in positions of power to see their careers end prematurely.
In 1998, Rep. Bob Livingston, who represents the same district Scalise does now, was poised to become Speaker after the resignation of Newt Gingrich. That all came unraveled the week before Christmas when Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, that upstanding citizen, revealed Livingston had an extramarital affair. Livingston, who was Appropriations Committee chairman during the 104th and 105th Congresses, resigned his seat.
If Scalise does not pull through, it would be a devastating blow to Louisiana on Capitol Hill.
Two representatives, Clay Higgins of Port Barre (3rd) and Mike Johnson of Benton (4th), are in their first term. Two more, Ralph Abraham of Alto (5th) and Garret Graves of Baton Rouge (6th), are in their second terms. Cedric Richmond of New Orleans (2nd) is in his fourth term, but he is a Democrat, and the minority party has very little pull in the House, much lesss so than the Senate.
On the other side of Capitol Hill, both Louisiana Senators are in their first terms. Bill Cassidy was elected in 2014, unseating three-term Democrat Mary Landrieu, sister of New Olreans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and daughter of former Crescent City Mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Maurice “Moon” Landrieu. John Neely Kennedy was elected last year, replacing David Vitter, who served two terms and was struck down by the a sex scandal where it was revealed he was a client of a notorious madam. Vitter ran for Governor in 2015 but was crushed by Democratic State Rep. John Bel Edwards of Amite City.
Louisiana’s delegation would be very, very weak without Scalise. Possibly the weakest it has been since the start of the 20th century.
Even after Ellender and Boggs died, Louisiana still had plenty of clout, due to Rep. F. Edward Hebert, who was chairman of the Armed Service Committee, and Sen. Russell Long, Huey’s son, who was chairman of the Finance Committee.
James Hodgkinson’s political leanings are irrelevant here. He CHOSE to drive from western Illinois (Belleville is on the opposite bank of the Misssissippi River from St. Louis) to northern Virginia and open fire at a Congressional baseball practice. What kind of person does that? Someone with an evil heart. Hodgkinson is just as much of a piece of shit as Jared Loughner, the asshole who shot Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head (how did she survive?) in Tucson in 2011. Loughner did kill people, though, including a federal judge and Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year old granddaughter of former MLB manager Dallas Green, who led the Phillies to the 1980 World Series championship.
I’m not sad Hodgkinson died, but I would have loved to see him have to face a jury of his peers and be sentenced to the federal supermax prison in Colorado, which houses the Unabomber, shoe bomber Richard Reid, and other high profile criminals.
Yes, it is your right as an American citizen to vent, to write whatever you feel like on an Internet site, no matter how poor in taste it might be. However, nobody has the right to take a gun and shoot someone in cold blood.
If Scalise doesn’t make it, he would be the first member of Cognress to be shot to death since Rep. Leo Ryan (D-California), who was shot by Jim Jones’ minions in Guyana in Novmeber 1978, only hours before the members of the People’s Temple drank the poisoned Flavor-Aid, killing 907. The last member of Congress to be murdered was Rep. Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), who was aboard Korean Air Lines Flight 007 when it was shot down by Soviet fighter jets in September 1983.
Prayers are needed for Steve Scalise, his family, and each and every person living in Louisiana’s First Congressional District.
Let’s also hope we don’t have to put up with this nonsense any longer. Sadly, I fear it will continue.
Jimmy Hoffa STILL missing
Today was the 40th anniversary of the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.
Hoffa, who greatly expanded the membership and power of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in the 1950s, was scheduled to meet associates for lunch on July 30, 1975 at the Machus Red Fox restaurant near Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, approximately 25 miles northwest of General Motors headquarters in downtown Detroit, and not too far from the then-brand new Pontiac Silverdome, home to the Detroit Lions from 1975 through 2001.
Hoffa was the subject of several major criminal investigations, the most notable of which were that of the Senate committee headed by Arkansas’ John McClellan, and later by Robert F. Kennedy, who stepped up his pursuit of Hoffa after he was named Attorney General by his brother in 1961. The Teamsters president was convicted of bribery in 1964, but did not report to prison until 1967 following
On Christmas Day 1971, Hoffa was pardoned by President Nixon, although the pardon stipulated Hoffa could not seek the presidency of the Teamsters until 1980. Hoffa ignored the provision, and by 1975, was planning his comeback to the top.
There were numerous leads and searches for Hoffa’s body, but it has never been found. He was declared dead in absentia by the state of Michigan in 1982.
The most likely scenario is he was kidnapped and murdered by a group of Teamsters with deep connections to the mob, led by Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, a caporegmie (captain or capo) in New York City’s Genovese crime family. Provenzano was staunchly against Hoffa regaining the Teamsters’ presidency. The probable explanation is Provenzano and associates Anthony (Tony Jac) Giacalone and Salvador (Sally Bugs) Bruguglio, among others, took Hoffa, beat him to death and then either encased his body in concrete or shred it to small pieces.
In June 1978, Provenznao was convicted of the 1961 murder in upstate New York of Anthony Castellito, whose body was shredded in much the same manner as which happened to Hoffa.
The joke for many years was Hoffa was buried underneath Giants Stadium, which was under construction at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey at the time of Hoffa’s disappearance. It opened a year later and hosted the Giants for the next 34 seasons, and then the Jets from 1984-2009. When the stadium was razed after Met Life Stadium was built, no trace of a body was found.
Hoffa’s son, James R. Hoffa, is currently president of the Teamsters. His daughter, Barbara Ann Crancer, was a judge for many years in St. Louis.
Those who grow up in New Orleans know all about famous people disappearing.
Hale Boggs, a longtime U.S. Representative from the Big Easy, was in an airplane which disappeared over the Alaska wilderness October 16, 1972. He was flying from Anchorage to Juneau for a fund raiser with Alaska Rep. Nick Begich. It was the largest search in United States history at the time, spanning 39 days and involving the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. Boggs, who became House Majority Leader in 1971, was declared dead by the House three days into 1973. His widow, Lindy, was elected to his seat in March of that year and served through 1990. Lindy, the mother of former ABC commentator Cokie Roberts, was later the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican before she passed away in 2013 at age 97.
Hoffa, Boggs, Natalee Holloway…where are you?