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ALL POLITICS IS NOT LOCAL: It's enough to make one ask: Who the hell is Steve Ehlmann, and what does he have against St. Louis? The first part is easy: Ehlmann is the meany Republican from St. Charles and a minority leader in the Missouri Senate. As for what he's got against the city, well, who knows? Maybe nothing, other than the fact that he needs the St. Louis media to pay attention to him, and what better way to do that than beat up on the city? First he filed measures allowing corporations to move liability suits against them out of the city because he thinks city jurors "favor" plaintiffs. Then he tried to phase out the city's 1 percent earnings tax, knowing full well it provides about one-third of the city's $300 million-plus budget. If that wasn't enough, he tried to take control of Lambert Airport away from the city, saying services at the airport are bad because only city employees work there. And last week, he introduced a "remonstrance" measure in the Senate chastising the city school board for including a provision in the recent desegregation agreement that buys the district two years of fix-up time if the district fails accreditation. This was a change from provisions included in last year's school desegregation bill (SB 781). There was only one problem with Ehlmann's remonstrance: He singled out the city district knowing full well that the deseg agreement had the approval of settlement coordinator William Danforth, Attorney General Jay Nixon, the representatives of St. Louis County school districts and the NAACP. No mention of the other parties; only a slap on the wrist to the city schools. Whatsupwiththat, Steve? To top off the week, Ehlmann announced on Sunday that he is seeking to succeed his idol, U.S. Rep. James Talent (R-2nd), who has announced he's running for governor. And where did Ehlmann make the announcement? At Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis, far from the 2nd Congressional District -- but close to the media headquarters. (SA)

STAR CHAMBER: It's witch hunters who never die. First they burned smart solitary women who were good with herbs. And now, when any civilized person knows that Wicca is really a benign pre-Christian earth religion, Lincoln Park High School has barred 17-year-old practitioner Crystal Siefferly from wearing its symbol, the five-pointed star, or pentagram. The Michigan school has also barred symbols of white supremacy, gang violence and Satanism. But what evil company! The pentagram's actually an ancient symbol of life and health, often worn as an amulet of protection or healing. Its single unbroken line left no room for evil spirits (with the exception of high-school principals) to enter. Of course, in medieval times it was said that a vampire or werewolf would show a pentagram on its sole or palm. So maybe Lincoln Park thinks Siefferly's a werewolf? If so, they better avoid night court, because she's suing, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union. (JB)

TINKY WINKY ISN'T, BUT CHILLY WILLY IS: The Teletubbies don't even have genitalia, but give Tinky Winky a purse, a triangle and a divine shade of purple and the Rev. Jerry Falwell cries "queer." Can you imagine what Falwell was like in high school? Act the least bit fey and he'd sic the bullies on you. So what's next? Bugs Bunny is prone to cross-dressing. The relationship between Bruce Wayne and his ward (yeah, right) Dick Grayson must harbor subtle depictions of a gay lifestyle. How about Bert and Ernie? Consider how the subliminal messages from The Wizard of Oz have influenced generations: Judy Garland is a favorite of gays, you know. (ES)

SAY WHAT? Mayor Clarence Harmon, Comptroller Darlene Green, Aldermanic President Francis Slay and others spoke in the City Hall Rotunda Friday, all espousing peace, brotherhood and sisterhood as part of the First Annual National Race Relations Day Celebration. Too bad hardly anyone could hear what they had to say, because the sound system was too weak. Two who spoke loud and clear for everyone to hear were St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Greg Freeman and new Circuit Clerk Mariano Favazza -- but because Freeman and Favazza have larger lungs than most land-based mammals, that shouldn't be a surprise. For the multitude of tables set up in the rotunda to represent various ethnic groups, the missed speechifying meant little as they spoke to passers-by. Marion Harris of the Hawaiian E Pili Ka'au society gave the best reason anyone would ever leave Hawaii: "They can't afford it." Bill Nicoll was wearing his kilt at the Scottish St. Andrew Society's table, where he explained the proper phrasing for an oft-asked question: It's "What's worn under the kilt?" and the answer is "Nothing's worn -- it's all in fine working order." (DJW)

Contributors: Safir Ahmed, Jeannette Batz, Eddie Silva, D.J. Wilson

 
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