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A member of the Darren Wilson grand jury is suing St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, claiming that McCulloch publicly mis-characterized the grand jury’s deliberations, and asking for an injunction against the prohibition on grand jurors discussing cases. Some people think it’s a frivolous lawsuit. As a former member of a St. Louis County grand jury, I support it,

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The decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown is wrong in multiple ways, not the least of which is the unorthodox way that County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch presented his “case.”

There’s a lot to question: Police procedures immediately following the shooting; the hard-to-believe story told by Wilson; the fact that Wilson—the potential indictee– even testified to the grand jury; the undirected data-dump of evidence.

One thing I’m not hearing, though, is a more “meta” view of the grand jury proceedings. As I have written previously, I served on the St. Louis County Grand Jury a number of years ago, and it’s clear to me that McCulloch’s approach to the Wilson case was totally unorthodox—and perhaps even calculated to result in a non-indictment.

Floating above all of my doubts about the sincerity of McColloch’s attempt to get an indictment is the fact—in itself—that he treated this one case so differently—so unequally. In this one case—this case only—the possible indictment of a white police officer in the death of an unarmed black teenager—McCollogh decided to go “separate and unequal” in his approach to the grand jury.

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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s declaration of a “state of emergency” in Ferguson is bad news in many ways, but I’ve been struggling with finding a way to express my outrage. Then, yesterday, someone did it for me.

In a short interview on CNN, Ferguson activist Tory Russell—one of the founders of Hands Up United—said it all.

Asked by CNN interviewer Brooke Baldwin for his response to Governor Nixon’s state of emergency declaration, Russell said:

I live in one of the poorest zip codes in the state. I constantly live in a state of emergency. People—black and brown bodies walking down the street—I don’t think that’s a cause for a state of emergency.

    If you look at the unemployment rate in Missouri and St. Louis—that’s a state of emergency. If you look at homeless veterans who sleep at [St. Louis City] Mayor Slay’s City Hall—that’s a state of emergency, not black and brown bodies hitting the floor and being chalked down or even chanting. I can’t understand it.

[Note: In that last section, Russell was referring to a demonstration over the weekend during which protesters lay down in the street and had their bodies outlined with chalk, to symbolize black victims of police shootings.]

Gov. Nixon’s action is not only premature, it’s downright inflammatory, and as Russell said so well, it’s misdirected. And when asked why he did it and whether he’s the person who will be in charge and accountable for the consequences, Gov. Nixon couldn’t even come up with a coherent explanation.

To hear his babbling, incomprehensible, hem-and-haw backpedaling response to the simple question of “who’s in charge here,” listen to the shockingly awful sound bite.

Based on what each of them has just said, I’ll take Tory Russell  over Jay Nixon any day of the week.


Standing in the rain outside a polling place today, touting my spouse/candidate for U.S. Congress– I struck up a conversation with a young guy doing the same for two other Democrats. His name is Rasheen Aldridge, and he was a ray of sunshine on a wet Election Day.

We talked for more than an hour, only stopping when the occasional voter showed up. It took only a few minutes for me to realize how remarkable this 20-year-old really is. And, if there are a lot more young people like him, a cynical old liberal like me can feel some renewed hope for the future.

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What the hell are democratic township clubs good for, anyway? I received an email this afternoon from the one in my area, imploring me, as a member, to help get out the vote next week for “our candidates.” Then came the list of candidates I’m supposed to work for. Five dandy, local candidates, from state representative and state senator to county tax assessor. But there was one glaring omission: the Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress. They must have made a mistake, right? Read on...

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Talk about overinflated: Missouri’s own right-wing billionaire and political meddler—Rex Sinquefield—has found a novel way to pump up support for his latest pet project. He’s renting a huge blimp and is flying it around the state.

The 200-foot-long, 60-foot-wide airship is allegedly one of the biggest blimps in the world–and a great excuse for puns.

Ostensibly, it’s floating over Missouri cities this fall as a way of supporting a Republican state lawmaker’s “public listening tour.” The cost of renting the blimp is covered by part of a $2.5 million donation Sinquefield made to the “Create a Great State” effort. But the listening tour–which is touted as vehicle for soliciting “great ideas” for Missouri—has been less than public, as it doesn’t publish a schedule, and the media has not been invited. In fact, the most public and visible aspect of the program is the blimp itself–and Sinquefield’s puffed-up ego, of course. The listening tour is somewhat of a joke, actually.

But the biggest joke is the blimp itself. Emblazoned on the side of the blimp is the slogan “Grow Missouri,” and the hashtag #GrowMO.

Unfortunately for Sinquefield and friends, that’s the same hashtag adopted by Grow More, an organization that advocates for legalizing marijuana in Missouri. Oops.


As my mother approaches her 101st birthday, her mind is on fire with long-ago memories. Today, she told me the story of her grandmother, Sarah Plotkin Weintraub, who, in the early 20th century, was the medicine woman and exorcist in the Jewish ghetto of Chernosk, in Ukraine, before she packed up and landed in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Unaccustomed as I am to writing about sports, I beg for indulgence just this once. I’m still breathless from this evening’s amazing come-from-behind win by my local team, the St. Louis Cardinals. But as caught up as I have been for the past three hours in the play-by-play, the strategic moves, the psychological analysis and my city’s sense of reflected glory lived through a baseball team, I can’t resist turning this into a political story.

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Based on my experience as a former member of the St. Louis County Grand Jury, I predict that Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, will not be indicted. Here’s why:

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Campaign debates have gone into a state of decline. It’s becoming harder and harder to get political opponents to appear together live to discuss issues. Here's a sampling of what's going on in campaigns around the country...


Should candidates for political office be required to participate in live debates?

80%16 votes
10%2 votes
10%2 votes
0%0 votes

| 20 votes | Vote | Results

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Mon Sep 22, 2014 at 09:43 AM PDT

Deadbeat Congress goes home

by gloriasb

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.

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If you want to enlist or re-enlist in the U.S. Air Force, you have to take an oath of allegiance, both in writing and aloud. At the end of the oath, you have to say, "so help me God." You can't refuse. It's mandatory. It's not just an abstract policy, either: It's being enforced. Recently, according to Air Force Times, an airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, who labels himself an atheist, was denied reenlistment because he crossed out the phrase on the written version and refused to say it.

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Should members of the military be required to say, "So help me God" in their enlistment oath?

6%23 votes
0%1 votes
12%45 votes
80%286 votes
0%0 votes
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| 355 votes | Vote | Results

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