Barricaded roommate

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West – Tammy Parsons noticed the young man’s strange behavior when he came in the corner grocery store singing, growling, shouting – at about 7 a.m. “He was pretty stoned out,” she said, “throwing his hands and arms all around.” She and dozens of other spectators waited in radiant sunshine to find out what happened when the SWAT Team later flushed Jimmy Bolden from a bedroom where he had barricaded himself in Don Davis’ home in the 100 block of S. Reagan Street, just across the street from the Fire Station and City Hall.

When a couple hours later, his behavior became more than Davis could handle, he called police to get their assistance in having him leave his home. “He was way out of hand,” he said.

Bolden, who is in his 20’s, had been living with Davis for the past couple of months. “I need someone to watch over me,” Davis told newsmen following the tense hour and a half standoff. “I have lots of seizures.” He said they had never before had any friction.

As SWAT Team members from the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office surrounded the residence, a detective took a statement, learning the interior layout of the house and Bolden’s location. Officers sent in a remotely controlled robot to scope the situation out.

At 11:25 a.m., just as the detective told Davis to wait in a safe spot across the street, two shots rang out. Officers later told the crowd the reports were caused by tear gas canisters fired from launchers.

Within 10 minutes, the SWAT team began to disperse. A tactical operator stowing his body armor and weapons in his vehicle told anxious spectators everything had turned out all right. Bolden was on his way to an area hospital for observation. His face lit up like a sunny day when he nodded, “Yes,” to a newsman’s shouted question, “Did the guy make it?”

He grinned with pleasure. “Yeah. He made it. He’s gonna be OK.”

In a curbside interview, Davis choked back sobs brought on by the emotional wringer he had endured. He cautioned area youth that “If they live the kind of life I have, this is what you’re going to face – and, uh, they certainly don’t want to do that…”



Judge McMachiavelli

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Entrepreneurs are those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advance. – Niccolo Machiavelli

Waco – It’s all about the numbers and the numbers are all about racial politics, according to Baylor University Law Professor David Guinn. He’s had a successful 40-year career litigating redistricting battles with the federal government.

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In a recent public hearing, Professor Guinn explained that within a short time, Texas will be composed of 80 percent “minority” race persons, most of them Hispanic – many of them ineligible to vote. It’s the elephant in the living room no one cares to talk about, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, he said. For a YouTube report of his remarks, follow this link:

And it’s all about racial politics. That is as constant as the north star. When Judge Jean Laster Boone, a black woman of the east Waco ghetto, entered a guilty plea to falsification of government documents in a dispute over employee overtime pay, she was forced to resign. That created a second vacancy during the previous term. Judge Billy Martin did not choose to seek re-election after a Baptist preacher’s conviction for murder in a case in which he at first declared his wife’s death a suicide.

The McLennan County Commissioners Court now seeks to eliminate either one, or two Justice Court precincts. But they did not begin their preparations until after  the filing deadline for the primary elections. That creates a conundrum, the consequences of which are classic, complicated and hard to comprehend. But there it is.

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Randall Scott Gates perhaps holds the distinction of being the only person in history to serve a term as the Judge of a non-existent Justice Court – 2006 – 2010. His precinct was eliminated. He has since developed some interesting ideas about matters of political patronage…

To hear his assessment of matters, follow this link:




On engineering an ‘irrelevant’ vote

Will Jones

Waco – Desperate to deliver on a campaign promise, first-term Tea Party member of the County Commissioners Court Will Jones quizzed the Elections Supervisor closely about the relevancy of a Justice of the Peace primary last Tuesday.

Jones and at least two other members of the court are looking to cut a minimum of one JP precinct – maybe two – to realize some minimal cut in expenses.

So they waited until a few days after the deadline for filing for the Primary election as a GOP candidate, then announced plans to study a redistricting plan that would guarantee them a chance to appoint the member Justices of the Peace in the wake of the resignation of Precinct 7 Judge Jean Laster Boone. Boone resigned after admitting to falsifying government documents in a crooked scheme to make double entries on employee overtime hours. She stepped down in October and Judge Pete Peterson took over her duties. A retired Highway Patrolman, he was recently appointed following the retirement of Judge Billy Martin, a retired DEA agent.

In questioning the County Elections Supervisor and Herb Bristow, the lawyer who advises the Court of these matters, Jones made sure he understood that the primary election will be “irrelevant” and “mute” (sic) if events transpire as planned.

To hear their remarks, listen to the audio: 

To learn more, follow this link:

Carnival Crossroads


New Orleans – At a place called ‘the father of waters,’ people are making a comeback from a place they never left – a city that time forgot, a place filled with ceremonies in dark old men, the sound of marching feet, swooning cries of woodwinds, blasting brass horns, and the ivory tinkle of women’s laughter, playing across the keys of black lacquered pianos, by both day and night.

Carnival time, the fortnight before Shrove Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, is alive, well, neat, compleat, and fussed over like never before, as everyone from the cab drivers to the Mayor, the cops on the beat and hoteliers and restaurateurs worry about the weather, the crowds, the clouds, da gumbo, da King Cake, da oystahs, da po-boys – and every other little thing in the world. Nothing new about that…

The cat driving me in from the airport: “Oh, it’s all right, a little slow, but, that’s how it go…

The weather? (cold, rainy)

Naw, baby, we gonna party, come rain or come shine…Nothing will ever change that. Put on a garbage sack and party out in the rain – It’s the little things…”

Little things like what?

Oh, you know, man, since that thing happened, that, how you call, Katrina, y’know…things just, I dunno. They got all these new people, okay. They got to have more…”

More what?

More everything. More jails, more cops, more fines and fees, rules and regulations for Mardi Gras, no charcoalers, no ladders, no nothin’, and everwhat all that whodat stuff like that there, don’t y’see…”Gas Lighting

And how. We’re talking YAT dialect in the key of Ybanex, creole style with a lilt of lament known so well – nursed, rehearsed, coaxed out the horn in baby steps and little growls.

First, he says, it was the child support. “Then I paid off that little three grand I owed, thought it was gonna be a cool breeze, and next thing you know, FEMA hit me for another 14…”

FEMA? Fourteen what?

Grand, baby. Grand. Large and in charge, Jim…Started off as a grant for 8 thousand, now it’s interest on top of interest, almost a hundred percent…”

For why?

Receipts and goin’ on about that. Who knows?”

Then, there’s the jails. They need more, and FEMA led the charge, great pre-cast modular block houses built of bolt-together epoxy-hardened fly ash concrete boxes, all reinforced with tool steel, prewired and plumbed, lifted into place by crane, stacked like Lego toys – and a Sheriff’s race as red hot and dirty as any on record, complete with arguments over who gets to make money off the candy bars and powdered soups, microwaved popcorn – and all that jazz.

Looks like they be buildin’ them just to be putting folks in there…”

Mountain Lion Hotel

In the barber shop of the Monteleone, founded early in the 19th century by the Sicilian nobleman, Antonio Mountain Lion, they speak of the same things while Pat O’Connell works me in, and the stereo plays windy arias, sung in Italian, tarantellas, belted out in Sicilian dialect, and the hotel men talk in numbers and bookings. Rain falling from an iron gray sky rolls off the black slate roofs in sheets.


They laugh about former Governor Edwin Edwards’ bid for U.S. House of Representatives, his wife’s remark about having three eggs left and how she will make him a papa again…

It’s the federal government, they all agree. They sued the Sheriff for more humane conditions for the thugs who get busted every year during Mardi Gras, making things unpleasant for decent people. In the old days, they cuffed them to traffic barriers where they waited all night long to catch chain and go to The House of the Rising Sun.

Every morning during carnival, they were made to clean the streets of all the trash, sometimes nearly ankle deep.

But it’s much better today,” Pat says. “Back when I was a kid – well, Mardi Gras was terrible, just terrible.”

The Sheriff has tents, now, with benches. The streets are as clean as a pin. You can see the difference. Feel it.

The new regulations?

They needed them,” he snorts. “People were just ridiculous. Just ridiculous! They roped off the neutral ground, spaces as big as the barber shop, here, brought their barbecue pits, lawn chairs. Ridiculous.” The neutral ground.

Another mystic concept, unknown to the uninitiated, the outsiders, the unaware. Carnival pulses with a thousand unwritten rules, some of them as elaborate as the Old World medieval game of hide and seek called Ringolevio, some of them just common sense, the kind of things your mama taught you about courtesy, manners.

On television, there is a young City Councilman who seems to be everywhere – at every ribbon-cutting, open house, handshaking, and grin and grab fest. He led the junta that demanded the new rules – and got them.

He says something very profound on the visitors’ bureau channel that is piped in to the major hotels:

There are limits. You can be free,” he explains, his eyes shining, glazed with unshed tears. “But in your freedom, you must observe limits, or there is no such thing as freedom…It’s not the same New Orleans; it’s the New Orleans we always knew it could be.”


The smiling interviewer brushes past the moment. Later, the young politician appears on a local network outlet talk show, speaking of the unpleasant fact of an abnormally high murder rate among young men, men who think their lives are of little value, and as a consequence value the lives of others in equally small proportions.

Once branded as a criminal, he explains, they rarely do anything else for the rest of their short lives.

As the Mystic Krewe of Druids rolls down Canal, a silver-haired daddy on a green and yellow Harley sweeps by in formation with the rest of the Shriners; he backhands a string of beads, slinging them into the face of a swish young queen who is wearing hoop earrings and elaborate makeup. His eyes water from the stinging blow.