Poor Shandi Finnessey. This could have been her year. This should
have been her year. Our very own Miss Missouri USA turned into Miss USA and then came within a blond hair's width of being crowned Miss Universe. (Damn you, Miss Australia!) How, then, has she become the Lou's favorite whipping girl? Do we hate her because she's beautiful? Maybe, but more likely it has to do with her political fence-straddling. After accepting a raccoon coat from the Missouri Trappers Association on the occasion of her Miss Missouri title in 2002, she claimed to be a "huge" animal lover and then spouted this doozy: "But they were giving it to me as a gift and I think it would be rude to not accept it." Things got worse when, during the Miss USA competition, she cited her hometown as "Florissant," failing to note its geographical and cultural debt to St. Louis. "How dare she flaunt around on stage and have the audacity not to claim that she was from St. Louis?" fumed St. Louis citizen Rodney M. Norman in a letter to the Riverfront Times
. How dare she, indeed!