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I'm not going to debate whether anything described below is right or wrong or results in better outcomes. I just want to give you insight into the insanity of the environment under which public schools in Missouri have to function.

Under Missouri state law students in a district which has lost its accreditation were allowed to transfer to wealthier suburban schools which sounds good (to some), right? EXCEPT. The home school district would have to pay the "tuition" for the student in the accepting district, as well as transportation costs. So, in Normandy's case, the district loses the funding for NOT having a student, and has to PAY the other district for taking the student as well as take a hit for their transportation. We're talking about the poorest districts in this situation paying the wealthier ones to take their kids.

Normandy district was paying $1.3 million per month under this scenario and was approaching bankruptcy.

It gets better. Since the district was approaching bankruptcy, the state was allowed to take it over for mismanagement which resulted in (drum roll please) a district which was no longer technically unaccredited which meant the surrounding districts no longer were required to take the students.

More Kafka fodder: My own school district (Ladue) is uber-wealthy and was heavily invested in the now defunct desegregation program. That was a traditional busing setup where poor inner-city kids were distributed to the wealthier schools. When the deseg program was deemed no longer legally necessary by the courts, the Ladue district tried (unsuccessfully) to sue the state for the costs it had incurred in building extra resources (e.g., extra classrooms) for the poor students that would no longer be coming into the district. Read that again. The definition of chutzpah.

Kafka. Badabing.

Disclaimer: I live in possibly the wealthiest public school district in the state (Ladue). It's a GREAT district if your kids are going to those schools. You have to prove you live in the district (legal papers on file) in order to have your kids allowed into the schools.

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I've read so many diaries attacking places where shit happens (Arizona - Kansas - Virginia - California) and understand the attacks on these places. But those of us who live in St. Louis/Ferguson/Phoenix/Kansas/etc. are not all the pig-dog racist ignoramuses you think we are. Yes, we LIVE amongst pig-dog racist ignoramuses, but there's always a bit more going on.

I'm a 56 year old, white, progressive, pro-Obama (with all the reservations rational people have about this wonderful man) who was born in Richland, Washington, lived in Oregon (Hood River), Seattle, Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs(CA), Westwood, Venice (CA), Florence (Italy), and a huge number of other places and ... St. Louis, Missouri (Missour-EEEEEE) since 1991. I'm an evolving Midwesterner. Why do I love this place? Read below the orange puked up hairball of cat liberalism below:

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I'm an appointed member of a campus diversity council consisting of faculty, staff, and students at a public University near Ferguson, Missouri (which is kind of outing my place of employment if you know the area - yeah, UMSL). Our Diversity Council is having a hastily called meeting tomorrow to discuss what our institution can do with regards to the ongoing situation in our neighboring community of Ferguson. Many of our employees and students live in Ferguson; many of us frequent the businesses and know the area well; the surrounding communities are very similar, i.e., we are "an urban institution" and proud of it.

I am an old (56 years old), white, male who fled Los Angeles 23 years ago, and who feels out of my league here and am looking for suggestions and advice to bring to this meeting. Our group is as diverse as the campus with various ethnicities, multiple genders, LBGTetc., veterans (me), young, old, in-between, etc.

I'm not politically naive and have been involved in anti-war protests in the past (helped shut down and occupy UCLA's Murphy Hall in 1991 protests against Gulf War I). BUT. Hanging out here for the better part of a decade tells me that I am likely to fall in to mansplaining and whitesplaining things against my will or better judgement.

So, I'm looking to the diverse KOS hive mind for suggestions and thoughts. What would you do as a member of a group that has the ear of the Chancellor and the role of developing local policies and actions?

I'm not desperate for advice. But I think I can only benefit from it.

Discuss

Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:32 AM PDT

Ferguson: What it is, it is

by fugitive

The St. Louis American is the major African-American print media outlet here in "The Lou." In the "Political Eye" column today, the editorial staff writes (for me, a transplanted St. Louisan from Los Angeles by way of Eastern Washington) a truly heart rending point of view of what is going on in Ferguson (down the street from where I work, the home of several friends and colleagues, both black and white). I've lived here since 1991 and consider myself an 'evolving midwesterner.' For the first time since moving here, I understand every bit of subtext, every name dropped, everything said with the clarity that makes me realize this is where I live, where I want to live.  And with what's going on here, it hurts.

But then the people erupted – that was new in St. Louis – and the police responded literally as the jack-booted thugs typically described by people who fear the police and suffer at their hands. We are talking riot gear, rubber bullets, tear gas, rifles pointed in the faces of civilians, slathering dogs. What it is, for once, it is.
The motto of the column is an inside joke to St. Louisans, "what it is, it ain't" referring to the paradoxes of St. Louis culture and politics.

People, this is my adopted home town. Lots of us are crying over this. There's nothing good in this. So, read the full editorial. Give the St. Louis American some love. And pray for us. (Disclaimer: I'm an atheist but I'll take whatever magic mojo anyone's got to make this better.)

Sad and scary on oh so many levels:

Conflicts in the black community that are always silently glossed over came out in the raw. A prominent pastor pulling up for the candlelight vigil on Sunday, before it went to hell, saw a Muslim activist radicalizing some public housing youth who also were headed for the vigil.
“What is he saying to those boys?” the pastor asked a bystander he knew.
“Just what you think he is,” the pastor was told.
“O, Lord,” said the pastor.
O, Lord. What it is, it is.
Peace.
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Watching Italian striker Mario Balotelli pose in black defiant majesty in yesterday's victory over Germany in the European Championship brought back some memories ...

When I first lived in Italy for a year in 1978 I was asked by my Italian friends, "why is there so much racism in America?" And I replied, after looking around and seeing nothing but what appeared to me to be all white Italians, "Because we HAVE races in America and you don't."

Ten years later I was in Florence, Italy, reading in the day's newspaper (La Repubblica) about a young Sicilian stripped naked at the city's Parco delle Cascine, "crucified" against a tree with syringes piercing his hands, holding him until the police arrived and took him to the hospital.

As usual when it comes to issues of race anywhere, things are never as simple as "Because we HAVE races and you don't."

Continue below for my ramblings and memories . . .

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Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 08:18 AM PDT

How to look under the hood of the NRA

by fugitive

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires all non-profit organizations, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) to file an annual report that is publicly available. These reports are meant to make transparent the workings of non-profit organizations. E.g., in 2010 the NRA had $244 million in expenses of which $52 million went to salaries and compensation, $8 million went to professional fund raisers, and $25,000 went to "LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING" in "Central America and the Caribbean" (the NRA also invested $4 million in the same "Central America and the Caribbean").

If you want to learn how to get form 990's, I'm using the NRA as an example, with all the "sausage making ugliness" I can find. Continue below the little orange squiggle. This is a "how to."

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In a bid to oust Arizona as the official "National Joke State," the Missouri state legislature, at the behest of Speaker of the House, Steve Tilley (R-Perryville ph: 573-751-1488 Email: Steven.Tilley@house.mo.gov) will be placing a bust of Rush Limbaugh in the Hall of Famous Missourians in the Capitol rotunda. Limbaugh's visage will reside next to bronze busts of prominent Missourians such as Harry Truman, Mark Twain, Edwin Hubble, Stan Musial, and Walt Disney.

See St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 6, 2012.

A little bit more below the funny orange squiggle . . .

Poll

Which other famous Missourians should be added to the Hall of Famous Missourians in the MO Capitol Rotunda??

27%13 votes
16%8 votes
20%10 votes
6%3 votes
2%1 votes
4%2 votes
6%3 votes
16%8 votes

| 48 votes | Vote | Results

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I recently went looking for the latest version of the "Women for Herman Caine" web site to revisit some good times. Right off the bat that entire part of site is totally fubar (luckily I have a cached early version for my personal perverse political delight), as is the online store which is "Coming Soon!" For a business man he's not very good at running an online business.

The clincher in today's Herman Cain clown show is the main article entitled, "Up in Smoke $139 Million." Mr. Cain spends his entire rant decrying what he considers bogus investment by the Obama administration.

Hello, I’m Herman Cain. They think we are stupid.

Another 193 million dollars of our money—up in smoke.

He mentions the $193 million dollar figure in the body of his rant a second time as well.

Yep. The title of his rant is $54 million different than the figure he cites in his rant. Which, remember, started with "Hello, I’m Herman Cain. They think we are stupid."

Yes. Yes we do.

Poll

Do we think Herman Cain is stupid?

85%48 votes
3%2 votes
1%1 votes
8%5 votes

| 56 votes | Vote | Results

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Mon Oct 10, 2011 at 05:41 AM PDT

Uniform of the day - Union kepi cap

by fugitive

When I saw Jesse La Greca (Jesus the Greek) being (non) interviewed by Faux News in a recent diary, I couldn't help but admire his head gear: a Union soldier kepi cap. I am now wearing this pro-American, anti-secession and anti-slavery bit of headgear as part of my uniform of the day, every day. Jesse's vid and a pic of a kepi cap below the fold.

Anti-slavery, pro-Union, and pro union. USA! USA!

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If this were April 1st I'd be suspicious, but how to explain a figurine of an armed Obama standing on the dead body of Osama? Entitled "Obama Kill Osama" figurine, I'm discombobulated about this. Ignore and carry on, or "More (and YouTube video of the figurine)" below the fold.

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Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 05:35 AM PST

Horton hears a Jew

by fugitive

Reading the latest "Hate mail of the week" main page entry (March 5, 2011) and its major anti-Jewish entry reminded me that I always find it easier to read these Jew-based diatribes by pronouncing (in my head) "Jew" in the southern California, Spanish language influenced way. That is, the "j" is pronounced like an "h." Re-read the diatribe substituting "Who" for "Jew." Then picture Horton the Elephant coming to the rescue of the poor, beleaguered "Whos" trying to survive the boiling of their dust speck world by the crazies.

E.g.,

Who power play

i have followed the events in the middle east with increasing alarm. it appears that the entire region might fall into the hands of Whos or Who associates. take egypt for example. wael ghonim is an employee of google, a Who financed and Who controlled corporation. mohammed elbaradei is a special case; not only has he worked for a Who controlled entity, the iaea, but he's in fact a Who himself, more specifically a crypto-Who. crypto-Whos are an interesting subset of Whos, who basically pretend to be followers of another religion (usually islam) while maintaining a secret Who identity and practicing Who rituals in secret.

The rest of the re-transcribed diatribe below the fold!

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Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:19 PM PDT

Southerners rock ... Dixie rising

by fugitive

Disclaimer: I'm a Yankee originally from eastern Washington state.

"I'm not ready to make nice,
I'm not ready to back down ..."

Beware of stereotypes that paint southerners as dicks. It's a (Fox) media "the south are victims" creation. Here is the south that I see:

More southern goodness below the fold ...

Poll

Pie?

100%14 votes

| 14 votes | Vote | Results

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