Happy Birthday, Mr. President 

There are presidents, and there are presidents. You can hold the position for four years, not scuff the furniture, refrain from starting any fires in the Oval Office, collect your gold watch on the way out the door and be considered a competent president (see: Rutherford B. Hayes). But only a select few define the very standards of the office. Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the country through the Louisiana Purchase, fought tirelessly for the separation of church and state while still supporting religious freedom, and helped create the idea of states’ rights — that right there is a president. That's why his mug is on Mount Rushmore, the nickel and the large back tat Mr. Night sports. (Yes, seriously. The tattoo depicts a majestic eagle soaring over Monticello, and Jefferson is perched on its back with a quill in one hand and a broadsword in the other. Jefferson rulez!) So you can darn-well bet every nickel in your piggy bank that Mr. Night will attend the Thomas Jefferson birthday party from noon to 2 p.m. today in the McDermot Grand Hall of the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org). The big man from Virginia would have been 264 years old today; the body may be dead, but the spirit lives on in every American heart. So come gather with other T.J. fans, enjoy some free cake, and maybe debate something political. If Jefferson were alive, you know he’d join right in.
Fri., April 13

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