Shooting death of Joe McKnight leads off the News from Nowhere

Welcome to a sad edition of News from Nowhere. The sad news is all about the story of former NFLer Joe McKnight who was shot to death in an apparent “road rage” incident in Terrytown, Louisiana.

But while this story is getting a lot of play in the USA, it has local implications because McKnight was a current member of the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders. So folks up here are as surprised and bewildered by what we are hearing about what is going on down there in Louisiana — particularly these stories about Louisiana’s “stand your ground” laws, and how the shooter was questioned by police and released

Anyway, I linked to a bunch of stories from New Orleans, simply to show the local folks up here in frozen Canada how much airplay this news is getting in the ‘States. People there are quite upset about this.

In other upsetting sports news, the public memorial was today for the Chapecoense soccer team, and after tuning in a little of it online on YouTube today, I had to turn it off. It was simply unbearable to watch as a sports fan. 

I ended up thinking of the teams I root for and how I’d feel if this sort of tragedy happened to any of them. Then I remembered that, in fact, this did happen before to one of my teams: in 1956, four Saskatchewan Roughriders all-stars were killed in a plane crash in BC after appearing in the All-Star Game. This was not on this scale of what happened to this Brazilian squad, but bad enough. Heck, just losing one player to death is bad enough.

Anyway, that was what happened today. On a happier note, Toronto FC won their two-game with Montreal in extra time, so they play Seattle next Saturday at home for the MLS Cup. Who knows what the weather will be like.

Other good sports news: I am happy to report that the recent end of both the NASCAR and Formula 1 auto racing seasons has freed up my time to watch plenty of football and soccer games on TV. 

Last week marked the end of the F1 season, and it turned out to be the last race for a lot of people. It really is the Year of the retirements in F1, when you think of it. That race in Abu Dhabi was the last for Felipe Massa and Jenson Button, and now we are also getting word that the newly crowned champion Nico Rosberg is also quitting, at age 31.

Apparently he wants to spend more time with his young family, which is fine. Before you start criticizing Rosberg’s decision, keep in mind auto racing is a dangerous sport where drivers get killed! So I don’t blame Rosberg, really. He’s quitting while he’s still ahead.

Enough about sports. Some news items to pass along — 

  • Tomorrow there is a big referendum in Italy to change the constitution and alter the electoral system to give the winning party bonus seats in the Parliament. The idea is to bring an end to all the instability from all these minority governments Italy has had. But it sounds like voters may vote “no” to it and deal another blow to the “Establishment” and the EU, and in the process sink the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. 
  • Quite honestly, if I were in Italy I’d be voting against this, too. This “bonus seats” plan really sounds ridiculous; it gives the sitting government way too much power. They also want to scrap direct elections to the Senate! I think people will be voting no for these reasons alone; it really has nothing to do with what they think of the EU! But these pundits want to make more of this vote than what it is.
  • The other vote tomorrow is the re-run of the botched Austrian presidential election, and it could result in a victory by far-right Norbert Hofer. If that does happen, it will be a huge story and will have everyone in liberal democracies across Europe shaking in their boots — not to mention financial-markets people.
  • In other news, people are freaking out this week because US President-elect Donald Trump took a phone call from the president of Taiwan.
  • I guess Cuba’s Fidel Castro is finally having his state funeral tomorrow. I had thought he already had a funeral this week, but I guess that event on Tuesday in the Plaza de la Revolution in Havana was more of a public memorial – one of several. Anyway, the real, and final, funeral goes tomorrow in Santiago de Cuba.

Finally, I have been watching the Boston TV news on my local cable system and they were covering this huge 10-alarm fire in Cambridge, where a few buildings were affected and at least one of them totally collapsed! The Boston TV stations were having fun covering that one today. Reminds me of a few big fires I’ve covered in my time. 

And that’s that about that.