02 May 2015

Freddie Gray, Dr. Seuss, and Aretha Franklin

All kinds of theorists are trying to explain what’s going on in Baltimore and around the country in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department. Mary Sanchez of the KC Star cuts through a lot of the rhetoric, and makes it plain for all to see, and suddenly a number of other powerful voices came to mind.

“All I’m askin’ for is . . .”

25 Apr 2015

KC Bishop Resigns Under Fire, and SF Archbishop is Nervous

Friends from San Francisco sent me links last week to stories about a group of prominent Roman Catholic laypeople who took out an ad to call for Pope Francis to remove Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. I laughed, not because I think Cordileone should stay, but because (a) Francis is picking his battles right now, and trying to remove Cordileone like this might derail some of his larger projects, and (b) if Francis was going to lean on a bishop to resign, there are at least two others where the case against them continuing in office is much, much stronger.

On Tuesday, one of those bishops resigned, and I stopped laughing.

So did Archbishop Cordileone . . .

18 Apr 2015

Missouri Republican State Senators Sure Don’t Like Sunshine

Progress Missouri has been a thorn in the side of the Republicans who run the Missouri state legislature for quite some time, and last January they thoroughly embarrassed the Missouri House into abandoning their time-honored tradition of holding lobbyist-funded “committee hearings” held in places like the Jefferson City Country Club, by livestreaming one such meeting and putting it up on YouTube. Now Progress Missouri is stepping up the fight for transparency, filing a lawsuit accusing the state Senate and three of its committee chairs of violating the Missouri Sunshine Law for prohibiting Progress Missouri from using their cameras to record their hearings.

Gotta love progressives with cameras.

11 Apr 2015

150 Years After Appomattox, the GOP Revises Their Views

The more things change, the more things change.

Consider the remarks of a certain Republican president from 1865, and how the Republican candidates for president in 2016 might rewrite those words today. They certainly wouldn’t sign on to them as Lincoln wrote them.

04 Apr 2015

Planning the Holiest, Godliest, Bestest Wedding Ever

If you are a Truly Holy and Godly young woman, trying to plan a Holy and Godly wedding, Indiana’s original Religious Freedom Restoration Act seemed like a gift from God. Now, with it being somewhat rolled back, trying to plan a truly Holy and Godly wedding got more difficult. To demonstrate just how difficult, let me introduce you to Chelsea, and the story of her wedding . . .

21 Mar 2015

Kansas Wants to Fund Discrimination, Missouri Ready to Follow

For years, California has had the reputation of being the incubator of policies that eventually become national, from environmental concerns to social concerns to economic concerns. But in the flyover land of Kansas, Sam Brownback is the leader of an ultra-conservative Republican party, purged of its merely-conservative elements. They control the legislature in Topeka, and are bent on taking that mantle of national trendsetter from California. Across the border in Missouri, the GOP-dominated legislature is turning the state motto on its head, by looking west and saying “show me which far-right policies to enact next,” rather than saying “show me the proof that they work.”

Tax cuts have always been high on the list of priorities for the Kansas GOP, and while they wait for those to magically work (don’t hold your breath, say the economists), they’re turning to laws to promote state-sanctioned and state-funded discrimination.

14 Mar 2015

Smarter Policing Trumps More Policing, From Ferguson to Kansas City and Beyond

Interstate 70 is the main east-west highway across the state of Missouri, with St. Louis on one end and Kansas City on the other. While the events in Ferguson during this past week have garnered the attention – the continuing protests stemming from the release of the DOJ report; the departures of Ferguson’s city manager, police chief, two police officers, the city’s municipal judge, and the clerk of the municipal court; and the shooting of two police officers – a radio interview in Kansas City shines a very powerful spotlight on what’s underneath the unrest in Ferguson.

07 Mar 2015

The DOJ Report on Ferguson, US Catholic Bishops, and the Failure of Very Sternly Worded Letters

I’ve pored over the report from the DOJ about Ferguson, and read and re-read Eric Holder’s remarks upon releasing it. They are powerful documents, filled with page after page of discriminatory and racist behavior, with story after story of specific episodes of documented unnecessary use of force. They paint an ugly picture, and a sadly familiar one to those who have lived in Ferguson, North St. Louis, and North St. Louis County.

It was also familiar to me because it reminded me of the way in which prosecutors handled allegations of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests. And not in a good way.

28 Feb 2015

The UnReal World of House Republicans, and Jon Stewart’s Departure from The Daily Show

Alexander Bolton over at The Hill has a nice piece about the implosions going off in the GOP on Capitol Hill, but it’s far too restrained in its observations.

I, on the other hand, feel a bit freer to read between the lines . . .

21 Feb 2015

Giuliani’s Old Elementary Teacher is Not Happy With Him

If only I could get regular mail. Instead, I get anonymous phone calls.

This time it pointed me to an old schoolhouse near Kansas City. “Go behind the south wing, and you’ll see where there used to be a garden. Walk past it, and when you find an old compost pile, look for an envelope. I think you’ll be very interested in what’s inside.”

Curious, I pushed back a bit. “Lots of things might interest me. What’s in that envelope that’s so special that I should go looking for a pile of compost?”

The voice on the phone paused, then said “It’s a letter from one of my grandparents to Rudy Giuliani.”

“Why can’t your grandparent simply put it in the mail?” I asked.

“Two reasons. First, you need a mailing address, and we don’t have one. Second, though, and more important, is privacy. You see, my grandparent was Rudy Giuliani’s elementary school teacher. Go find that letter, please.”

I did . . .