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Deadbeat Congress goes home

In the ultimate act of Congressional do-nothingness, Congress has abruptly cancelled the few remaining work days scheduled between now [Sept.18] and the Nov. 4 election, packed up and gone home. Of course, I use the term “work days” loosely, as many of our Congressional representatives define their jobs as not deliberating, not voting, not even…

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The political grandmaster behind the big chess tournament in St. Louis: Rex Sinquefield

I have nothing against chess. But for those of you following the big chess tournament here in St. Louis, it might be interesting to know that Rex Sinquefield, the man who named the tournament after himself, plays a big game of political chess, too. Sinquefield is Missouri’s equivalent of the Koch Brothers. A self-made billionaire…

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An amazing tribute to Nelson Mandela

In 2012, artist Marco Cianfanelli created a sculpture as a reminder of the fiftieth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s arrest in 1962, and subsequent 27-year imprisonment. I’m a little tardy in discovering this, but I’m glad I did—even though I’ve only seen it online. The sculpture stands just across the road from where Mandela was arrested,…

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Ferguson, as seen by editorial cartoonists

There’s nothing funny about what has been happening in Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the shooting–by a police officer– of Michael Brown, an unarmed, African-American teenager. But there is plenty of anger and sadness–and a lot to think about. Sometimes, there are no words. And sometimes, some of the best commentaries are visual, as…

invisible man

The unbearable invisibility of political underdogs

In theory, Americans love the underdog. In practice—especially in 21st century media coverage of political campaigns—underdog candidates might as well be wearing Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility. Here’s a particularly egregious example: In the August 2010 primary election in Missouri, Democratic candidate Arthur Lieber won the right to appear on the November ballot as the…

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“I can buy a firearm, but I can’t get assistance to buy a sandwich”

In a move that demonstrates a small—and too rare—step toward common sense in lawmaking, Missouri has rescinded [mostly] an 18-year-old law that banned people with felony drug convictions from ever receiving food stamps under the SNAP program. The new law is not a “get-out-of-jail-free,” though. It retains a one-year waiting period following a drug felon’s…

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