Louisiana Press Journal

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The Buck Stops Here

Posted on Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Merry Christmas to all and Happy Holidays to everyone who is offended by a simple yuletide phrase. Whatever, it’s time for some three-dot journalism.

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I find it interesting that the first internet slander/defamation lawsuit I’ve ever seen was filed by Louisiana Mayor Bart Niedner and his wife.
I thought I would have come across one long before now. I kept waiting for one in the Sierra foothills town where I lived in California, because people were beyond vicious when it came to politics.
But I never saw or heard of one until the Niedners recent filing in Pike County Superior Court.
That’s probably because the internet and Facebook are havens for anonymous cowards and how do you sue someone you can’t positively identify? It may also have something to do with how seriously people take the internet.
I’ve often heard people refer to local newspaper articles during public meetings but I’ve never heard them try to make a point with “I read it on the internet.”
That’s because newspapers strive for accuracy and integrity, which appear to be novel concepts to many Internet posters.
So it may seem strange to some that the Niedners have filed a lawsuit against an as-yet unidentified perpetrator. But what else were they to do?
Frankly, I thought it was a great way to bring this growing problem to the attention of locals and the rest of the country, which was their intent.
Mr. Niedner surely expected some heat when he ran for mayor, but I would venture to say he did not think his wife would be slandered by some jerk or jerks who don’t have the guts to say who they really are.
The repercussions from this lawsuit could reverberate far beyond the borders of Pike County.

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So here’s the difference between New York and Los Angeles.
When a bomb threat was recently sent to their local school systems on the same day, Los Angeles closed its schools in a millisecond. New York said “Forgedda about it.”
You can judge whether either reaction was too much or too little. All I can say is that I’m glad I live in the Midwest.
Both coasts might find us boring, but at least we know the meaning of pragmatic.

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Don’t fret baseball fans. The loss of John Lackey and Craig Heyward to the Cubs is not the end of Cardinal Nation.
There are plenty of young players on the roster and coming up through the minors who can and will replace them.
A real loss will be the day Yadier Molina can’t play at a high level anymore, which we may see next year. Catchers like Yadi don’t grow on trees.
Molina is the best Cardinal catcher I’ve ever seen and in my all-time MLB top three along with Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench.
A lot of catchers can stop bad pitches and many are good hitters these days. My top three all-time are about equal when it comes to throwing out baserunners.
But Yogi and Bench couldn’t frame a pitch from a ball into a strike like Molina can. Few have handled a pitching staff as well as he does.
Yadi always sets the tone for hard play and makes it clear slackers are not allowed. He is the ultimate field general and with those neck tattoos, he’s very intimidating.
As my son said, “Dad, really, look at him. Would you mess with Yadi?”
I wouldn’t unless I had the 101st Airborne Division behind me and then there would still be extreme reluctance.