THE SMOKING CAMEL: Joe Camel's the snaky dromedary who seduces kids to smoke the evil tobacco weed, right? Not according to Mike Males, defender of our nation's maligned teenagers. In his new book, Framing Youth, Males cites stats that reveal the true culprit: smoking parents and the lure of "adult" behavior. Males also points out that, in 1997-98, there were about two school murders a month -- and six parents murdered their children every day. It might be time to wag our fingers in the opposite direction. (JB)
GREEK TO THEM: In the white-out of stories following the Big One of '99, longtime Post-Dispatch reporter Vic Volland led a piece on mail nondelivery by roasting the old chestnut that the Post Office hadn't lived up to its motto of "Neither rain, nor snow.... " Problem is, the U.S. Post Office doesn't have a motto. The famous phrase is from the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, writing about the mounted carriers employed by King Xerxes of Persia, and although it appears on post offices in New York and Washington, D.C., it's nothing more than a quote that ornaments a couple of buildings. Because nobody owns it officially, maybe we'll adopt it as the motto of the RFT Circulation Department. (JB)
THIS TIME, THE BOZ BACKS DESEG: The voters can take the man out of politics, but they can't take the politics out of the man. Former Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr., currently in private law practice having "a lot of fun," is supporting the Feb. 2 sales-tax increase that is fundamental to the settlement of the school- desegregation case. Bosley couldn't attend the public endorsement by the Black Leadership Roundtable, but as a member of the group he wants to make it clear he's behind the tax increase. If the sales-tax proposal fails at the polls, the settlement falls apart and goes back to U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh for a ruling. Back when Bosley was mayor, he spoke out against the deseg program, saying neighborhood schools were a better option. That hasn't changed; he sees the current settlement as a "winding down" of deseg. "This preserves a portion of deseg, so those who want to be able to get on a bus and go to school in the county still have the opportunity," Bosley says. The expected $180 million in capital improvements from the state will go a long way toward building new schools in the city and refurbishing old ones. Always a master phrase-maker, the Boz offers this: "Our children won't be all they can be until our schools are all that they should be." He's voting for the tax on Feb. 2, but he surmises that it would have been better had the proposal been placed on the March ballot, when the contested aldermanic races "would have helped turnout." And although he prefers that the tax pass, if the tax fails and the case goes back to the court, it's not apocalypse now: "The courts and the judges have been kinder and more progressive than most politicians when it comes to the black community." In his own world, Bosley is content at Caldwell, Hughes & Singleton. "It's a lot less pressure. When I was mayor, I was pulling the wagon with 400,000 in it. Now I just pull it for three -- me, my wife and daughter, Sydney." That's not to say he hated being mayor. "I loved being the mayor -- if you cut me, I'm going to bleed some politics." Is he anxious to bleed some more? "It's a little early right now. It's time to continue what I'm doing. I'm in a reflective mood; I'm enjoying life." Reflective? Enjoying life? City Hall must be in his rearview mirror. (DJW)
THE CART WAR: Schnucks is waging battle against one of the costliest, most insidious abuses of a consumer society: The Loss and Theft of Grocery Shopping Carts (capitalization theirs). God's even on Schnucks' side, in the shape of the St. Louis Clergy Coalition, and city police stand ready to impose fines of up to $500. Bulletins have been issued: "It is unlawful to push a shopping cart off the Grocer's Parking Lot." A Cart Hot Line waits for tips from the street -- from any pay phone, call toll-free: 888-678-0421. There's even a Schnucks equivalent of a methadone clinic: "Heavy-Duty, All-Purpose, Two-Wheeled Pull Carts," supplied for $14.99. And if Schnucks ever browses the Net, they'll find the Center for Shopping Cart Abuse Prevention and Study, which purports to "compile and distribute information on known Abusers." (JB)
Contributors: Jeannette Batz, Joe Bonwich, Melinda Roth, D.J.Wilson
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