More Frequent Bus Service Should Begin Next Year

 

 A year from now transit service in St. Louis City & County will likely be different than it is today. Metro, AKA Bi-State, has held informational meetings and hearings on their new plan they call Metro Reimagined. Light rail (MetroLink) will be largely the same, the plan focuses on the …

Sunday Poll: Was the Greitens Affair Consensual?

 

 Last week a special House committee released a report on its investigation into the affair Eric Greitens had before he became Missouri’s governor: He blindfolded and bound a woman to exercise equipment, spanked her, and tried to kiss her without her consent. Those are among the scandalous allegations against Gov. …

Pruitt-Igoe’s William Igoe Died 65 Years Ago; St. Louis Board of Aldermen Started New Session This Week

 

 Sixty five years ago today the person for whom the intended white section of failed Pruitt-Igoe public housing project was named died at age 73: William Leo Igoe (October 19, 1879 – April 20, 1953) was a United States Representative from Missouri. Igoe was born in St. Louis to Irish immigrants. He attended the public and parochial schools …

A Decade Since Developer Pyramid Construction Collapsed; Guidelines Needed for Development Incentives

 

 A decade ago I was about four hours from St. Louis, still in a rehab hospital after my February 1st stroke. I got a call from a friend, a former Pyramid Construction employee, telling me he heard the heavily-leveraged company was shutting down that day. I immediately called someone still employed at …

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Readers: We Need More Gun Control

February 21, 2018 Crime, Featured Comments Off on Readers: We Need More Gun Control
 
Grand Theft Auto’s gun store Ammu-Nation

Every time we have a mass shooting in America I’m reminded the rest of the world doesn’t have this same problem. How can we have such a major problem but nobody else does? They have firearms, are not immune to mental illness, play the same video games, etc.

After the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Australia, the country made its previously patchwork state-by-state regulations more uniform and banned some semiautomatic and self-loading rifles and shotguns. A 1987 attack in Britain led to an outright ban on the ownership of high-powered self-loading rifles and burst-firing weapons. (The Washington Post)

We have far more guns than per person than any other country. Some argue this is why they need a gun — to protect themselves from other people with guns.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. (Cornell Law School)

The above language is a big part of our problem.  The late 18th century language doesn’t work in the 21st century. So we work at the fringe.

From October 2017:

Democratic politicians routinely profess their fidelity to the Second Amendment — or rather, “a nuanced reading” of it — with all the conviction of Barack Obama’s support for traditional marriage, circa 2008. People recognize lip service for what it is.

Then there are the endless liberal errors of fact. There is no “gun-show loophole” per se; it’s a private-sale loophole, in other words the right to sell your own stuff. The civilian AR-15 is not a true “assault rifle,” and banning such rifles would have little effect on the overall murder rate, since most homicides are committed with handguns. It’s not true that 40 percent of gun owners buy without a background check; the real number is closer to one-fifth.

The National Rifle Association does not have Republican “balls in a money clip,” as Jimmy Kimmel put it the other night. The N.R.A. has donated a paltry $3,533,294 to all current members of Congress since 1998, according to The Washington Post, equivalent to about three months of Kimmel’s salary. The N.R.A. doesn’t need to buy influence: It’s powerful because it’s popular.

Nor will it do to follow the “Australian model” of a gun buyback program, which has shown poor results in the United States and makes little sense in a country awash with hundreds of millions of weapons. Keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill people is a sensible goal, but due process is still owed to the potentially insane. Background checks for private gun sales are another fine idea, though its effects on homicides will be negligible: guns recovered by police are rarely in the hands of their legal owners, a 2016 study found.

In fact, the more closely one looks at what passes for “common sense” gun laws, the more feckless they appear. Americans who claim to be outraged by gun crimes should want to do something more than tinker at the margins of a legal regime that most of the developed world rightly considers nuts. They should want to change it fundamentally and permanently.

There is only one way to do this: Repeal the Second Amendment. (New York Times Opinion piece)

Repeal the 2nd amendment and adopt a new modern amendment. It’ll take generations to accomplish, if ever. In the meantime, with more guns than population, mass shootings will continue.

Results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: We don’t need more gun control legislation, just enforce existing laws/regulations.

  • Strongly agree 0 [0%]
  • Agree 8 [25%]
  • Somewhat agree 1 [3.13%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [3.13%]
  • Disagree 5 [15.63%]
  • Strongly disagree [16 50%]
  • Need LESS gun control 1 [3.13%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

 

I hope the students will succeed where us adults have failed over and over.

— Steve Patterson

New Book | The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America during the 1960s by Peter B Levy

February 19, 2018 Books, Featured Comments Off on New Book | The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America during the 1960s by Peter B Levy
 

I was alive during the 1960s…but only the last few years. As such, I have no memory of the many cultural changes that took place between 1960-1970. I asked my oldest brother, 67, about becoming a teenager in the 60s…in our hometown of Oklahoma City. His reply:

Race Riots, rampant drug use, and anti war protests were all prevalent around the country, but primarily on the coasts. Race, drugs, and war protests were virtually nonexistent in Oklahoma at the time. The were some sit-ins downtown OKC and Tulsa, but nothing that matched the rest of the country or the riots in Tulsa in the 20s.

You can read more about the Tulsa race riot here.

A new academic book, due out next month, looks at race riots in America. The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America during the 1960s is by Peter B. Levy:

Between 1963 and 1972 America experienced over 750 urban revolts. Considered collectively, they comprise what Peter Levy terms a ‘Great Uprising’. Levy examines these uprisings over the arc of the entire decade, in various cities across America. He challenges both conservative and liberal interpretations, emphasizing that these riots must be placed within historical context to be properly understood. By focusing on three specific cities as case studies – Cambridge and Baltimore, Maryland, and York, Pennsylvania – Levy demonstrates the impact which these uprisings had on millions of ordinary Americans. He shows how conservatives profited politically by constructing a misleading narrative of their causes, and also suggests that the riots did not represent a sharp break or rupture from the civil rights movement. Finally, Levy presents a cautionary tale by challenging us to consider if the conditions that produced this ‘Great Uprising’ are still predominant in American culture today. (Cambridge University Press)

You can read the introduction here. I was unable to find any reviews, other than those on the Cambridge site. Again, this is an academic book — not a coffee table book.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: More Gun Control or Just Enforce Existing Laws?

February 18, 2018 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: More Gun Control or Just Enforce Existing Laws?
 
Please vote below

Last week’s shooting in Florida has sparked heated debate about solutions to the rising number of mass shootings:

More than a dozen school shootings have already occurred so far in 2018.

According to non-profit organization Everytown for Gun Safety, a total of 17 shootings have occurred on school campuses across the United States as of February 14.

The Wednesday shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida marks the 18th incident so far this year. (ABC15 Arizona)

One issue raised is more gin control vs enforce existing legislation vs less gun control. Today’s poll question is focused on this aspect of the debate.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm. If mass voting is detected it’ll be closed sooner. Results, and my view, on Wednesday.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 34 of 2017-2018 Session

February 16, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 34 of 2017-2018 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 34th week of the 2017-2018 session.

NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 2/16/18:

*Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, bills not on the agenda might be introduced if they suspend the rules to do so. This information is based on the published agenda as of yesterday @ 8am:

  • B.B.#260 – Vaccaro – An Ordinance establishing a four?way stop site at the intersection of Pernod and Childress regulating all traffic traveling eastbound and westbound on Pernod at Childress and regulating all traffic traveling northbound and southbound on Childress at Pernod, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#261 – Roddy –An Ordinance recommended by the Tax Increment Financing Commission to amend the City Foundry Saint Louis Redevelopment Plan and Redevelopment Project areas by amending the Redevelopment Plan by: (1) combining Redevelopment Project areas 2 and 3 into a new Redevelopment Project area 2; (2) revising the boundary between Redevelopment Area 1 and the new Redevelopment Area 2; (3) changing the use in new Redevelopment Area 2 from residential to retail and office; (4) revising the financing plan to remove Tax Abatement as an Incentive in Redevelopment Area 2; and (5) activating the new Redevelopment Area 2; establishing the City Foundry Saint Louis RPA2 Special Allocation Fund; making findings with respect thereto; authorizing certain actions by City Officials; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#262 – Roddy –An ordinance affirming adoption of the City Foundry Saint Louis RPA2 Redevelopment Plan, the RPA2 Redevelopment Area and the RPA2 Redevelopment Project, authorizing the execution of a Redevelopment Agreement between the City and FOPA, for the City Foundry Saint Louis RPA2 Redevelopment Project; designating FOPA Partners, as developer of the RPA2 Redevelopment Area; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#263 – Middlebrook –An ordinance authorizing the execution of a Cooperation and Community Benefit Agreement with Discovery Pier Land Holdings, authorizing reimbursement in Accordance therewith, and containing a severability clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#264 –Guenther –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 3450 Wisconsin.
  • B.B.#265 – Davis – Honorary street name for, Elder Bernie Lee Thompson.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session.

— Steve Patterson

Readers Would Prefer A Less Commercialized Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2018 Featured Comments Off on Readers Would Prefer A Less Commercialized Valentine’s Day
 

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll more than half of the responses supported a more traditional celebration of Valentine’s Day over the current commercialized day.

Q: Agree or disagree: Valentine’s Day has become too commercialized, we should return to a traditional celebration.

  • Strongly agree 5 [21.74%]
  • Agree 5 [21.74%]
  • Somewhat agree 4 [17.39%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [13.04%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 3 [13.04%]
  • Strongly disagree 1 [4.35%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 2 [8.7%]

But what does “traditional” mean?

The history of Valentine’s Day, legend says, originated during the third century in Rome. During this time, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage for young men. A young priest named Valentine was furious with this injustice and defied Claudius by continuing to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Claudius eventually discovered Valentine’s actions and sentenced him to death (not quite the fate of those who fail to buy their significant others flowers on Valentine’s Day, but clearly a lesson to be learned from history!).

During his time in jail, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, who visited him in prison. Before he was put to death, Valentine sent a letter to the girl and signed it, “From Your Valentine” — an expression we still use today. Valentine was executed on February 14, 270 AD. Later, around 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14 a day to honor Valentine, who by that time had become a saint. (ProFlowers)

The above is the sanitized version, here’s more detail:

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival — or longer, if the match was right. (NPR)

Here’s one way to look at it:

Given that Valentine’s Day is a creation of the sentimental Victorian era and based on the flimsiest of traditions, rooted in an obscure reference by Chaucer to the saint’s day of an obscure early martyr who had no known interest in love or romance, it is surprising that, according to the US Greeting Card ­Association, about 1bn Valentine’s cards are sent throughout the world each year, fewer only than at Christmas. This must be due to the huge exploitation of Valentine’s commercial possibilities, especially in the US. Even a staid old newspaper such as the New York Times runs dozens of articles about what to do, what to buy, what to eat and how to behave on Valentine’s Day. It also defers to the modern sexualisation of a festival that, in Victorian times, was seen as a celebration of innocent love, often ­involving children. (The Guardian)

 

My husband and I usually have leftovers on Wednesday night, but tonight we’re going out — to a place he’s never been before. Today is also the 37th wedding anniversary of my oldest brother and his wife — congrats to them.

— Steve Patterson

 

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