How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?
Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal drew national attention last year by posting on social media her hope for President Donald Trump's assassination. The Legislature censured her, and rightly so. We at St. Louis Post-Dispatch called on her to resign. So did her fellow Democrat, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.
That should have sent a clear message to Chappelle-Nadal about the importance of carefully measuring her words and always choosing civility over harsh language.
But no. Chappelle-Nadal flew into a Twitter rant after McCaskill told a television interviewer that she was not one of those "crazy Democrats." Fully aware of how every vote counts in McCaskill's tight race against GOP challenger Josh Hawley, Chappelle-Nadal is relishing her payback moment. Her rant included a tweet comparing McCaskill to a southern slave owner and calling her a piece of, well, excrement.
Classy stuff. Chappelle-Nadal has reached her state Senate term limit but, sadly, is now headed for a single term in the state Legislature. Republicans, no doubt, will shun her for her assassination comment, and Democrats should shun her for needlessly dividing the party.
Rapper Kanye West, after making a big, vulgarity-laced show of embracing President Trump and spearheading a black-conservative movement, now says he's tired of political activism.
West said on Twitter this week that he plans on "distancing" himself from the political fray and "completely focusing on being creative!!!" He said he was being used "to spread messages I don't believe in."
This comes weeks after a bizarre White House visit in which West — wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat — voiced his support for Trump in language that was incoherent and profane. He credited Trump with stopping "the war" in North Korea, and referred to himself as a "fine wine" that Trump was sampling.
More recently, West was credited — wrongly, he insists — with designing "Blexit" T-shirts encouraging African-Americans to leave the Democratic Party.
Whatever the reason, West is making it clear he wants out of politics. On behalf of politics, we thank him.
Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton recently told an assembly of young students that Santa Claus isn't real. He told another group that it's wrong to dress up for Halloween.
As reported by the Post-Dispatch's Nassim Benchaabane, Braxton made the comments during a visit to fifth- and sixth-graders at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic School. Dozens of parents subsequently expressed their frustration via social media.
"Many children still believed and came home crushed," one parent wrote of the Santa revelation. "In many cases, he took the last piece of childhood memories from many kids and their parents."
Reported another parent: "He kind of chastised the kids for dressing up for Halloween. He treated the whole Halloween concept as something kids shouldn't be doing."
For a church that is struggling for relevancy, especially among young people, it's hard to imagine a less productive approach than what appeared to be a campaign to take the fun out of childhood.
Conservative activists are finally paying attention to the power of the #MeToo movement — as a political sabotage tool. And now they're getting burned for it.
The FBI is investigating allegations a GOP activist offered money to women to make false claims of sexual harassment against Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller in an effort to discredit his investigation of Trump's 2016 campaign and its possible connection to Russia.
The scheme came to light when several journalists recently received emails from a woman claiming a firm hired by conservative lobbyist, radio talk show host and conspiracy-peddler Jack Burkman offered her money to "make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment."
Mueller's office promptly turned the matter over the FBI for investigation. Burkman denies involvement — though even his public denials claim the discredited allegation is true and that Mueller "may go down over this."
Or someone else may. The FBI investigation into the phony allegations continues.
Government By Referendum
Some area jurisdictions on Tuesday will see ballots so long and complex that there is a real danger many voters will give up halfway through it. Some blame can be laid on our growing trend toward policy-making via referendum.
Elected government representatives are supposed to be just that: representatives, who decide issues like these on the public's behalf for as long as they're in office. The breakdown of that trust is part of why the only option left, increasingly, is this clumsy government-by-referendum.
Rhino Horn Reversal
China has ended its 25-year-old ban on the use of rhinoceros horns and tiger bones for "medicinal" purposes. Ending the ban almost certainly will put endangered rhinos in the crosshairs on an increasing basis. The ban at least put a dent in demand for rhino horns and allowed some semblance of stabilization to return to endangered African herds.
But ending the ban means Chinese consumers can wallow in their superstition that rhino horns, when ground up, have the power to increase sex drive. Rhino horns come from the same protein that makes up hair and fingernails.
REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH