Short Takes on Death, Golf, Cemeteries and Billboards

By Daily Editorials

August 24, 2020 6 min read

Billboards and Cemeteries Don't Mix

It boggles the mind how anyone could have rationalized erecting billboards atop any cemetery. The local one in question, Washington Park Cemetery along Interstate 70 in Berkeley, somehow became home to several lighted billboards that towered over the graves of African Americans buried there since the 1920s. Attorney Mary Coffey took the case to court and achieved a settlement that, this week, led to the billboards' dismantlement.

"We just felt like you can't have businesses in a cemetery, just like you can't open a McDonald's in a cemetery," Coffey stated in July after the settlement was reached. She represented Wanda Brandon, a volunteer who filed the lawsuit.

"This is a victorious day," Brandon, 60, of St. Louis, said as she watched construction crews remove the signs. "Black Lives do matter even after death, and they deserve to be respected and protected."

New Name, New Times

St. Louis' Kennard Classical Junior Academy will, for now, be called simply Classical Junior Academy, dropping the previous name that had come from a Confederate Army lieutenant. At every level of society, Americans are dumping institutional names that honored the racism and treason of the old Confederacy. Good riddance.

The school's namesake, Samuel Kennard, worked as an aide to Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was later a co-founder and first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Kennard prospered in St. Louis after the war as a businessman and one of the city's elite. He died in 1916, and the school was opened in his name in 1930 — a period when Confederate names were being plastered all over things in large part to remind African Americans that they were still second-class citizens.

As the Post-Dispatch's Blythe Bernhard reported last week, the generic name the school is taking on now may yet be replaced with a new one. Anything's better than leaving it named for a racist traitor.

Big Bank Error in Your Favor

In Monopoly, the Community Chest card is the one everyone loves when it says: Bank error in your favor, collect $200. In real life, Citigroup made a $900 million error in the favor of several Revlon creditors who are hoping to recover money owed to them by the struggling cosmetics company. Now some of the creditors don't want to give the money back.

"When Citibank discovered the mistake, it promptly asked the recipients to return its money," America's third-largest bank stated in a filing this week after discovering its error. The bank said it had meant to make interest payments on Revlon's behalf, totaling about 100 times less than what went out.

Citigroup is now going to court to get the money back after what it says was "crystal clear evidence that the payments were made in error." Oops.

Islamophobes Find a Fan in Trump

Embracing a QAnon conspiracy believer apparently wasn't enough for President Donald Trump. He's gone full Islamophobic InfoWars with his newest embrace of a far-right politician only lightly tethered to reality. Laura Loomer, who just won the Republican congressional primary in the Florida district where Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is located, is a self-described "proud Islamophobe" who once called for creation of a "non-Islamic form of Uber or Lyft because I never want to support another Islamic immigrant driver."

In other words, she favors allowing businesses to discriminate specifically on the basis of religion.

Loomer, who is Jewish, won the primary with generous help from InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. After her Tuesday night victory, Trump tweeted, "Great going Laura."

Only a week ago, Trump offered words of high praise for another lightly tethered politician, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won the GOP primary in Georgia's 14th congressional district. Greene is another outspoken Islamophobe and fan of the QAnon conspiracy group. It'll be interesting if either of these candidates makes her way into the House, where a little document known as the U.S. Constitution could pose some serious obstacles to their political agenda.

Sad Day. Hand Me a 7 Iron.

Granted, people grieve in different ways. But there's a bizarre consistency to the way President Donald Trump handles the deaths of his closest siblings. Instead of pausing for some quiet reflection, the president apparently likes to look for ways in which he can gain some kind of personal growth from the experience.

His niece, Mary Trump, recently published a book in which she recounts the death of her father, Fred Trump Jr., the president's older brother. In 1981, Fred Trump suffered a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. No one accompanied him, and he died alone. According to Mary Trump, the patriarch of the family, Fred Sr., stayed away, as did Donald Trump. While the president's brother was dying that night, Donald Trump went to see a movie, his niece wrote.

The president was much closer to his younger brother, Robert, who died last Saturday. After announcing Robert's death and offering heartfelt remorse over his passing, Trump reportedly enjoyed a round of golf and posed for a photo at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey.

When Fred Sr. died in 1999, former Trump Organization consultant Alan Marcus recalled how the future president handled it: "Donald started his eulogy by saying, 'I was having the greatest year of my business career, and I was sitting having breakfast thinking of how well things were going for me,'" when he learned of his father's death. "Donald's eulogy was all about Donald, and everybody in Vincent Peale's church knew it," The New York Times reported. Or maybe that's just how he grieves.

REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Photo credit: 422737 at Pixabay

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