Short Takes on Badly Named Streets and Badly Informed Federal Staffers

By Daily Editorials

November 4, 2019 6 min read

Naming Rights

The last thing the St. Louis region needs is to continue offering accolades to a team that benefited from millions of dollars in public expenditures, only to skip town with a hearty one-finger salute. St. Louis County should move swiftly forward with County Executive Sam Page's proposal to obliterate the name Rams Way, the Earth City street formerly known as Innerpark Drive.

Had owner Stan Kroenke departed with even a touch of class, it might have been worth keeping a few Rams memories around as a way of celebrating what once was a happy marriage. Instead, Kroenke and the National Football League allowed the city, county and state to invest heavily in plans to build a new stadium in hopes of keeping the team from leaving for Los Angeles. Upon the team's abrupt departure after the 2015-2016 season, Kroenke did his best to bad-mouth his former hosts while leaving St. Louis heavily in debt.

Page offered his own dig at the Rams, saying his preliminary numbers suggest that more people drive down Rams Way than attend Rams games in Los Angeles. (Television ratings for Rams games last season were among the most abysmal in the league. So sad.)

Page proposes to rename Rams Way as Athletic Way, which is fine, albeit a bit boring for the street leading to the practice facility now to be used by the new St. Louis XFL BattleHawks franchise. We can think of a few other names that might preserve the Rams' memory while sending a message about how folks here really feel: RamitStan Way, perhaps?

Trump Escalates War on Informed Thought

The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House is urging all federal agencies to cancel their subscriptions to The New York Times and The Washington Post. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham stated in an email that "not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving — hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be saved."

President Donald Trump already had ordered the White House to cancel its subscriptions to the two newspapers. The last thing the Trump administration wants, apparently, is a bunch of federal staffers walking around being informed with actual facts — especially when the facts so consistently get in the way of their boss's daily tweets and pronouncements. (Psst, federal employees, don't tell the president, but you can still take advantage of free access to Washingtonpost.com using your government email address.)

Boxed In

A school in India found a creative but disturbing way to prevent cheating by students during tests: It made the kids wear boxes over their heads with eyeholes cut out, essentially creating blinders like those used on horses, to prevent the kids from looking at neighboring desks.

Once you start treating kids like horses, where does it stop?

The Bhagat Pre-University College in Haveri, in southwestern India, conducted what it called a "trial run" with the boxes as a way of combating cheating. Maybe it sounded better in concept than it looked when someone snapped a photo — rows of kids with box-covered heads bowed over their desks, some of them with ponytails sticking out — and posted it online.

Among those outraged by the stunt was a state education minister, who correctly noted that "nobody has the right" to treat "students like animals." The school quickly backed off the practice and issued an apology.

Constitution 101

First it was "fake news." Then it was the Russia investigation "witch hunt." Now President Donald Trump has turned his talent for reality-bending phrases to the U.S. Constitution, complaining to reporters about "you people with this phony emoluments clause."

Um, no, it's actually real, and he's been violating it from Day One.

Trump, you'll recall, broke longstanding convention by refusing to either divest himself from his businesses or put them into a blind trust when he assumed the presidency. His subsequent, blatant monetizing of the presidency has been well documented, with his properties hosting both U.S. government events and foreign dignitaries — all of it money in Trump's pocket. And that was before his brazen (now abandoned) plan to host next year's G-7 global economic summit at his Doral, Florida, golf resort.

Two different clauses in the Constitution specifically prohibit the president from receiving anything of value from a foreign government, and anything other than his salary from the U.S. government. How hard is that?

Facebook 'Friends' Like These ...

A Republican critic of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., shared on Facebook an image that he claimed showed a rifle-wielding Omar at an "al-Qaida training camp in Somalia," rallying the faithful. One problem: The photo was taken four years before Omar was born. Tell us again, Mark Zuckerberg, why you insist that politicians' Facebook posts shouldn't be fact-checked.

Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, recently made the pronouncement in a speech addressing criticism toward the platform for allowing President Donald Trump's reelection campaign to promote out-and-out lies about the Ukraine-Joe Biden controversy. Zuckerberg argued that "free expression" requires that Facebook not interfere with political commentary, even when it rests on clearly false claims.

That policy worked out well for North Dakota state Sen. Oley Larsen, a Republican who spread the lie about Omar and al-Qaida on his Facebook page. "Share it everywhere," he urged his followers. He later deleted it, but only after allowing the smear to take root — a predictable outcome to Facebook's head-in-the-sand approach to today's toxic political lies.

REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Photo credit: bboellinger at Pixabay

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