Short Takes on Charity, Kindness, Meanness and the Weirdness of R. Kelly

By Daily Editorials

March 11, 2019 6 min read

Keeping Josiah on the Move

The thief who made off with a 3-year-old's prosthetic leg deserves all the scorn society can heap on him or her. Chances are the person had no idea what was inside the backpack that the kid's mother, Brie Rainey, inadvertently left inside her car as she carried her sleeping daughter into their Belleville, Illinois, apartment last week. It was akin to a smash 'n' grab. But at some point, the thief opened the backpack and realized that it contained a small child's prosthetic leg. Even for the lowest of lowlifes, that's the moment when a good conscience is supposed to take over and compel the thief to return the item to its owner.

The leg belonged to Rainey's 3-year-old son, Josiah, who was born with multiple birth defects that included a missing left leg. A $10,000 custom-made prosthetic leg allowed him to walk. Without it, Josiah lost what little mobility he had.

But Shriners Hospitals for Children stepped forward to announce that it would replace the prosthetic. Josiah was measured on Monday, and a new one should arrive shortly. Shriners Hospitals for Children has 22 nonprofit hospitals across the country, many of which provide orthopedic care for children regardless of their ability to pay. Sadly, Shriners hasn't developed a prosthetic conscience for those sorely in need of one.

'I'm Not Lucifer'

Grammy-winning artist R. Kelly came unglued in an interview that was slated to air Friday on "CBS This Morning." The interview was his first since being charged with sexual abuse last month. Kelly also was arrested in Chicago for failing to pay more than $160,000 in child support. So, clearly, there's a lot weighing on his mind.

When interviewer Gayle King attempted to drill down on specifics about the sexual abuse charge, Kelly exploded over all the wild accusations flying his way: "Got little girls trapped in the basement ... helicopters over my house trying to rescue someone that doesn't need rescuing because they're not in my house," he said. "Handcuffing people, starving people. I have a harem, what you call it — a cult. I don't even really know what a cult is. But I know I don't have one."

He continued: "Everybody says something bad about me. Nobody said nothin' good. They was describing Lucifer. I'm not Lucifer. I'm a man. I make mistakes, but I'm not a devil, and by no means am I a monster."

He stood up and began flailing his arms, hovering menacingly over King while shouting toward the camera. King flinched and braced as Kelly appeared to lose control. His publicist intervened. Not exactly the display of calm self-control Kelly's handlers were hoping for to repair his tattered public image.

An Easy Medicaid Fix

Missouri cancels Medicaid coverage when recipients are incarcerated, as their medical needs will be handled by the state. But after they're free, they have to reapply to get their Medicaid coverage back, with the usual paperwork and long wait times. Inevitably, there's a gap in their medical coverage.

A bill before the Legislature would change that so Medicaid coverage is suspended but not canceled. Newly released inmates who have mental health issues can wait more than a month during the Medicaid re-enrollment process before they're again eligible for their medication. For some, it means mental breakdowns that can lead them right back into jail.

As the Post-Dispatch's Blythe Bernhard reported, at least 35 other states already take the cost-free, commonsense approach of suspending rather than canceling inmates' Medicaid. The Legislature and Gov. Mike Parson should get this change on the books as soon as possible.

Bigotry on Display

A poster displayed at a Republican Party event in the West Virginia state Capitol featured a picture of the burning World Trade Center interposed with an image of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., one of Congress' first Muslim members. The poster showed the burning towers on the day of the 9/11 attacks, under the words, "'Never forget,' you said...." Under that is an image of Omar in her hijab, next to the words: "I am the proof — you have forgotten."

Omar, of course, had nothing to do with the attacks, but this crass display certainly tried to create a fake connection. It's unclear who brought in the poster, but it was set up at a GOP event. Yet when Democrats in the state's House of Delegates condemned the poster and its sentiments, Republicans delayed and changed the subject.

When Omar made allegedly anti-Semitic remarks recently, there were no delays by congressional Democrats condemning her. Why is it taking Republicans so long to respond when examples like this underscore religious bigotry in their ranks?

'Back to Kenya'

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., reacted with horror and was nearly moved to tears during a high-profile hearing last week when Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., implied that a tactic he used was racist. Meadows brought Lynne Patton, an African-American regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to challenge allegations by President Donald Trump's former lawyer that Trump was a racist. Patton was appointed by Trump.

Tlaib said the use of a black employee at the hearing was a racist act of tokenism. Meadows reacted emotionally to the comment, after which Tlaib clarified she was not calling him a racist. They later hugged it out.

But what explains the videos of Meadows, taken while he was campaigning in 2012, in which he made repeated racist tropes about sending President Barack Obama back to Kenya? Obama was born in America.

REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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