Day: April 10, 2017


Chuck Berry given rock 'n' roll sendoff at St. Louis funeral

Family, friends and fans paid their final respects to the rock `n’ roll legend Chuck Berry on Sunday, celebrating the life and career of a man who inspired countless guitarists and bands.

The celebration began with a public viewing at The Pageant, a music club in Berry’s hometown of St. Louis where he often played. Hundreds of fans filed past Berry, whose beloved cherry-red Gibson guitar was bolted to the inside of his coffin’s lid.

“I am here because Chuck Berry meant a lot to anybody who grew up on rock n’ roll,” said Wendy Mason, who drove in from Kansas City, Kan., for the visitation. “The music will live on forever.”

Another fan, Nick Hair, brought his guitar with him from Nashville, Tenn., so he could play Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” while waiting in line outside.

After the public viewing, family and friends packed the club for a private funeral service and celebration of Berry, who inspired generations of musicians, from humble garage bands up to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The service was expected to include live music, and the Rev. Alex I. Peterson told the gathering they would be celebrating Berry’s life in rock `n roll style.

Former President Bill Clinton sent a letter that was read at the funeral by U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay because Berry played at both of Clinton’s presidential inaugurations. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Clinton called Berry “one of America’s greatest rock and roll pioneers.”

“He captivated audiences around the world,” Bill Clinton wrote. “His music spoke to the hopes and dreams we all had in common. Me and Hillary grew up listening to him.”

Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss wasn’t scheduled to speak but someone urged him to take the podium. Simmons said Berry had a tremendous influence on him as a musician, and he worked to break down racial barriers through his music.

Paul McCartney and Little Richard both sent notes of condolences. At the end of the funeral, a brass band played “St. Louis Blues” while Berry’s casket was carried out.

When Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards spoke about Berry at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 1986 induction ceremony — Berry was the first person inducted from that inaugural class — he said Berry was the one who started it all.

That sentiment was echoed Sunday by David Letterman’s former band leader, Paul Shaffer, who spoke to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outside the club.

“Anyone who plays rock `n’ roll was inspired by him,” Shaffer said.

Berry’s standard repertoire included about three-dozen songs, including “Johnny B. Goode,” “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” His songs have been covered by country, pop and rock artists such as AC/DC and Buck Owens, and his riffs live on in countless songs.

The head of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Greg Harris, said “anybody who’s picked up a guitar has been influenced by him.”

Well before the rise of Bob Dylan, Berry wedded social commentary to the beat and rush of popular music.

“He was singing good lyrics, and intelligent lyrics, in the `50s when people were singing, “Oh, baby, I love you so,”‘ John Lennon once observed.

“Everything I wrote about wasn’t about me, but about the people listening,” Berry once said.

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Sergio Garcia wins Masters playoff to capture first career major

After 19 years of near-misses and frustration, Sergio Garcia ended his wait for a major championship in dramatic fashion at the Masters. 

After missing a 5-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole, Garcia held his nerve and curled in a 12-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole that earned him the green jacket at the age of 37.

Playing the 18th hole minutes after missing a birdie attempt of his own that would have given him his second major, Justin Rose drove his tee shot well right of the fairway and could not recover. The Englishman, who won the 2013 U.S. Open and the gold medal last year at the Rio Olympics, missed a 14-foot par putt that could have put pressure on Garcia.

“Ser-gee-oh! Ser-gee-oh!” the delirious gallery chanted to Garcia, who couldn’t contain his emotion.

Rose lovingly patted Garcia’s cheek before they embraced. Garcia turned with arms to his side, blew a kiss to the crowd and then crouched down and slammed his fist into the turf of the green.

“If there’s anyone to lose to, it’s Sergio. He deserves it,” Rose said. “He’s had his fair share of heartbreak.”

Prior to this week’s Masters, Garcia had played 72 majors, 70 of them as a professional. He had finished in the top 10 a whopping 22 times, including second-places finishes four times — twice each at the British Open and the PGA Championship. After the first of those second-place finishes, by one shot to Tiger Woods at the 1999 PGA, many thought it was just a matter of time until the golfer they dubbed “El Nino” would win a major crown.

Little did they know it would take nearly two decades for it to happen. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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'JUSTICE WITH JUDGE JEANINE': Challenge to GOP — 'Put your big boy pants on,' get behind Trump

In her Opening Statement on Saturday, Judge Jeanine Pirro praised President Trump for conducting a targeted airstrike in Syria, and urged Republicans to show courage similar to their party’s leader.

“This is what we voted for,” she said.

Pirro demanded that Congressional Republicans “put on their big boy pants” and have the political courage Trump showed in responding to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad allegedly gassing his own people.

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She urged Republicans to unify as a “team” with the president and pass meaningful legislation like health care and tax reform, without squabbling over their differences in public.

Pirro said Republicans must also have the courage to continue their agenda in the face of Democrat criticism, and not recuse themselves every time someone on the left has a problem with them.

Earlier this week, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stepped aside from the Susan Rice probe because of such criticism, allowing subordinate member Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) to take over the investigation.

She called Democrats’ ability to create controversies like Nunes’ “partisan sideshows… worthy of Houdini.”

“Strap in, buckle up and start fighting like your leader,” Pirro said.

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DEADLY DRIVE Two killed when car carrying 9 teens hits tree

A car occupied by nine teenagers refused to stop for a police officer and then a short time later crashed into a tree in Kansas early Sunday, killing the driver and the front seat passenger.

The other occupants were injured in the crash which occurred around 5 a.m. on a residential street in Lenexa, police said. They were being treated at area hospitals.

The two teens who were killed were 14 or 15 years old. The driver was not old enough to legally drive, Lenexa police spokesman Danny Chavez told He said the injured were 14, 15 and 16.

Officer Chavez said the vehicle was a Mitsubishi sedan.

“We do believe the vehicle was over-occupied,” he said.

Police believe the vehicle was speeding when the car left the road and hit the tree. The cause of the crash was under investigation.

“There were no obvious indications of alcohol in the vehicle,” Chavez said.

The Shawnee Dispatch reported that a Lenexa officer on patrol tried to stop the vehicle for driving without headlights about 4:34 a.m.

The officer told his dispatcher that the car was going about “80 miles an hour,” the paper reported.

Seconds later a supervisor contacted the officer.

“I’m at 50, they’re going about 90,” the officer replied, according to the paper.

The supervisor then told the officer to “disregard” or abandon the pursuit.

The officer came upon the crash scene about a minute after that, the Dispatch reported.

Chavez told that investigators were still trying to determine who the vehicle belonged to, where the teens had gotten it and where they were coming from and where they were going.

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OBAMACARE HEAT GOP officials say avoiding gov't shutdown is priority

Congressional Republicans returned this weekend to their districts to get another earful about ObamaCare, while giving mixed statements about how close they are to replacing the health care law and suggesting that avoiding a looming government shutdown is now the priority.

California GOP Rep. Tom McClintock again held a town hall event in which residents expressed concerns about the GOP-led Congress repealing and replacing ObamaCare with more expensive and less comprehensive coverage.

“Are you aware that you don’t answer questions?” one town hall attendee asked McClintock at the event outside Sacramento.

Another attendee suggested McClintock was a “crappy” representative and that Republicans could vote with Democrats to replace him.

“That’s what elections are for,” responded McClintock, who in February faced such a rowdy town hall crowd that he exited with a police escort.

An ObamaCare replacement bill from House Republican leaders and backed by President Trump failed last month to even get a vote in the lower chamber, amid strong opposition from its most conservative members.

Trump and the leaders at first appeared ready to move ahead to tax reform and other big-ticket policy initiatives.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Thursday before leaving Washington for a two-week break that members have “come together” on a new amendment that would lower premiums and provide broad access to care.

However, Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Charlie Dent downplayed Ryan’s remarks and said the more immediate concern is passing a budget before the end of the month, when the federal government technically runs out of money and largely shutters.

“I don’t believe we are as close as many would say,” Dent told Fox News, while arguing the House still has nearly a dozen appropriations bills to pass to avoid a politically damaging shutdown.

“We’ll be applying all of our time in April making sure we complete our work,” he said.

In Kentucky, several dozen people — including doctors and patients — staged a town-hall style event on a sidewalk outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Louisville office.

Among those who attended was Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth, who said lawmakers have “no alternative” to ObamaCare, in which consumers can pick from private insurers, except the so-called “single-payer option” in which they pay state governments for health insurance.

“We need to talk to this man right here,” said Yarmuth, pointing to McConnell’s district office.

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Stephen Baldwin: Hollywood Trump-bashing shows their 'disconnect' from reality

Actor Stephen Baldwin sounded off on President Trump’s first few months in office and discussed his relationship with his eldest brother.

He said Trump is doing what he promised and had no qualms about his presidency thus far.

An early supporter of Trump, Baldwin said Hollywood’s reaction to the election is “funny in a bad way.”

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Baldwin, 50, questioned how liberals would react if a conservative actor made a video and said the things Robert De Niro did about Trump, except about ‘President’ Hillary Clinton.

He said “Saturday Night Live,” on which Alec Baldwin portrays Trump, is also too negative toward the president.

He criticized Hollywood overall for being “disconnect[ed] from reality” in that way.

Stephen also revealed that the election affected his family life, as he hasn’t spoken with Alec since Trump’s victory.

Instead, he wished his brother, who turned 59 this week, a happy birthday on-air.

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