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Street Smarts

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Guest Columns

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Missouri is one of only a handful of states that prohibit early voting, leading to long lines, confusion and other obstacles at the polls. We need to protect and ensure the right of every Missourian to vote regardless of whether the person has job responsibilities, child care issues, or the country is facing a global pandemic.

With festive turkey-based feasts fast approaching, and having just re-watched a classic Thanksgiving-themed Steve Martin video, I thought it appropriate that I share a few of the things for which I am thankful. I apologize if the list is too predictable and schmaltzy, but please bear with me.

Speaking in 1910, former two-term president Theodore Roosevelt offered some practical advice that Elizabeth Warren and today’s progressive Democrats would be wise to heed. Although they probably won’t.

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It began with 25 candidates. It’s been reduced by half, yet concern persists among Democrats that the party should look beyond the still standing contenders and seek an individual capable of party unification and persuade him or her to enter the race.

In its season opener “Saturday Night Live” did a fine job of skewering political figures who dominated headlines during the show’s summer hiatus. The Trump stuff was funny, but even with new Ukrainian fodder it was routine. The Democratic parodies, however, were fresh and so spot-on that the…

WASHINGTON — We don’t yet know whether President Trump delayed some military aid to Ukraine as leverage to get Ukraine’s president to reopen an investigation into Hunter Biden. But if we are concerned about U.S. officials inappropriately threatening aid to Ukraine, then there are others who …

A question for this moment: If the Earth’s lungs were on fire and the doctor refused to treat it, would there be cause for a third-party intervention?

Andrew Luck, the superstar quarterback who just quit professional football at the tender age of 29, has received mixed reviews from the sports world. Colts fans booed him. And any number of sports writers see his decision to get out of football to avoid more injuries as tragedy combined with…

When I served on the Missouri Public Service Commission, my overriding priority was to ensure that Missouri residents didn’t experience power outages.

“Sometimes I worry that if I ever can retire and do get Social Security payments, they’ll be a lot less than what I’ve been promised,” I said to my CPA, Louie the Number Cruncher.

President Trump has warned China that it must respond “humanely” to the protests in Hong Kong if it wants a trade deal, for the first time suggesting that the United States would impose costs on Beijing if it launched a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown on the city. It’s about time. China is …

Our sixth-generation, family-owned company has been headquartered in Missouri for more than a century. We supply steel for bridges, buildings and pipelines. Our work has given us a close-up view of the challenges facing U.S. manufacturers due to subsidized imports. Lately, the only good news…

Amidst the latest bloodshed — the worst of it triggered by a white racist domestic terrorist whose El Paso manifesto echoes Trump’s racist rhetoric — I bet you’re jonesing for some good news. I’m happy to share what I have. Admittedly it isn’t much, but at this point we should probably be gr…

These “debates” are to serious policy discussions as a kazoo is to an orchestra. You can say a kazoo is an instrument, and you can say that these truncated thoughts are proposals, but you’ll invite smirks.

Missouri Western State University is a special place where students can learn, grow and acquire the tools necessary to succeed. As its new leader, now is a perfect time to talk about the university’s impact and the value of a four-year college degree.

WASHINGTON — Here we go again. President Trump appeared to renew his threat to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement if Democrats do not pass his new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. His threats may worry pro-trade Republicans, but they are music to the ears of anti-NAF…

WASHINGTON — Thirty months after setting the goal of sending a mission 239,000 miles to the moon, and returning safely, President John Kennedy cited a story the Irish author Frank O’Connor told about his boyhood. Facing the challenge of a high wall, O’Connor and his playmates tossed their ca…

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who, like nearly everyone, is running for president, presides over the largest and most media-centric city in America.

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WASHINGTON — President Trump’s detractors are trying to play down the significance of the U.S.-Mexico immigration deal, saying it is largely comprised of actions that Mexico already had agreed to many months ago.

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Fifty years ago this summer, Charles Manson went on a killing spree that shocked the nation and was the ghoulish “gold standard” for heinous crimes. While some killers have been more prolific (like the Rev. Jim Jones) and some have been more photogenic (like Ted Bundy), and some have been mo…

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WASHINGTON — The American people are sending a pretty clear message to Washington: They are sick and tired of the investigations into President Trump and don’t want Democrats in Congress to impeach him. But the Democrats aren’t listening.

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PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. — A new United Nations report projecting the extinction of one-eighth of all animal and plant species should rattle the cages of any remaining skeptics regarding climate change and the central role humans have played in Earth’s accelerating destruction.

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WASHINGTON — A man who worked in a boxer’s corner in a 1962 match against Cassius Clay, as he still was known, explained why the referee stopped the fight in the fourth round: “Things just went sour gradually all at once.” It can be like that when government dabbles in protectionism.

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WASHINGTON — If Shakespeare had titled Attorney General William Barr’s appearance on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he would have called it “Much Ado About Nothing.”

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With heartbreak, we have watched our friends and neighbors across the states of Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska suffer from the impacts of historic Missouri River flooding, caused by severe winter weather, which included the infamous “bomb cyclone” pattern, leaving behind record river stages, a …

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The Trump administration is upping the ante in its war on undocumented immigrants with a new proposal to boot them from public housing — all in the name of helping “the most vulnerable” Americans.

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My friend Jack Corrigan, one of the smartest politicos/lawyers I know, saw it right away. He called it “the key punch-pulling passage in the report.” It occurs on page two of volume two, where Robert Mueller says he and his team “determined not to apply an approach that could potentially res…

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WASHINGTON — That Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., went on FOX News for a town hall Monday night was controversial among Democrats. As Sanders told hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, “Not everybody thought I should come on this show. Your network does not necessarily have great respect in my …

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Joe Biden’s explanatory video in response to stories of his sometimes overly exuberant physicality was well-played. He seemed relaxed, sincere, unscripted and, above all, not supine.

Editorials

Donald Trump is the most unfiltered president in U.S. history. We have Twitter and an impulsive personality to thank for that.

St. Joseph received a sliver of good news — a rarity for 2020 — when the government released metro area unemployment data for June.

Those of us above a certain age can tell a few stories about our coaches. They were intense role models in our younger days, sometimes crossing the line between motivating and belittling.

Maybe that nasty cold you had back in February was more than a cold. It’s possible you had COVID-19 and didn’t know it. Perhaps you were infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and didn’t even feel sick.

A total of 518 public school districts are scattered across the state of Missouri. If each one shared a $200 million loss of state revenue, that would amount to a $386,000 cut for each. Throw in four-year and two-year institutions of higher education, and each one only loses $358,000.

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Your mailbox acts as a repository of unwanted material: credit card offers, nasty campaign brochures and catalogs for retailers that you haven’t done business with in years.

By now, voters are somewhat numb to another tax issue on another ballot. Whether it’s a new levy or an extension of an existing one, governments aren’t shy about asking, even with a pandemic or the economy sliding into recession.

Gov. Mike Parson makes the right diagnosis of violent crime as the biggest issue facing the state of Missouri. It’s no small feat, given last year’s decision to build a special session around the narrow issue of motor vehicle trade-ins.

The United States loves czars. Not the pre-revolutionary kind in Russia, but rather the modern American version tapped to take charge of complex problems like illegal drug use.

For fans of the Kansas City Royals, opening day arrives with more of a sense of relief than a sense of excitement.

The ability to compromise is a lost art. In today’s hyper-partisan, social-media-fueled climate, public debate sounds like a grade-school spat that teachers referee on the playground.

It won’t be pretty, but you could go three months without a haircut. If you skip a summer of golf, your swing gets rusty but the world pretty much spins as usual. Plenty of people stocked up on enough toilet paper, canned soup or beer to get through an extended period without frequent trips …

If you want to download the Small Business Administration’s data on 4.9 million coronavirus relief recipients, get ready for a computer crash. There’s that much data.

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On his third day in office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to remove the United States from the sprawling, 12-nation free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Located just across the Missouri River from Platte City, a federal prison and a military base give a unique vibe to Leavenworth, Kansas.

For Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, going around Missouri to talk about mail-in voting must be like John Elway touring Colorado to discuss the talent of Patrick Mahomes.

In the June 2 election, Michelle Traster came within 402 votes of winning a seat on the St. Joseph Board of Education.

Amid street demonstrations, a resurgence of COVID-19 and election posturing, it was possible to overlook one development that flew under the radar earlier this month.

Missourians who lost their jobs due to the pandemic could receive a jolt today when the Missouri Department of Labor reimposes rules that require a work search in order to receive unemployment benefits. Those rules had been waived as the coronavirus drove the economy into recession and new c…

For a brief period in 1791, only two nations on earth possessed a written constitution: the United States of America and Poland.

In the fall of 2016, blowing embers from a two-structure fire briefly forced the evacuation of the nearby Downtown hotel, known at that time as the Radisson. Guests were given the all-clear an hour or so later.

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Some accolades are merely for show, a check-the-box reflex that has all the meaning of a certificate of appreciation for sportsmanship or participation.

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Debating the finer points of a “spike” versus a “surge” might be like debating whether or not a hot dog is a sandwich.

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The primary election is less than six weeks away, but voters might have trouble learning about candidates in what has been a delayed and disjointed campaign season.

Missouri Western State University’s request for emergency support should serve as a wake-up call for those who view the institution’s financial condition as an overreaction or a temporary blip.

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The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass eulogized Ulysses S. Grant as a “man too broad for prejudice.”

A fresh face is voted into office with great hope of dragging St. Joseph into the modern era.

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U.S. Supreme Court justices don’t consider politics or put a finger to the winds of public opinion when ruling on constitutional questions.

Senate Bill 600 went through plenty of changes during its march toward final passage in what proved to be an extraordinary and bizarre legislative session. But the overall intent of the Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer’s legislation never wavered: to make Missouri’s streets safer by keeping some of the…

It remains to be seen whether a public records request will yield greater insight into the financial emergency at Missouri Western State University.

St. Joseph takes a big step toward normalcy today with the elimination of all citywide social distancing and safety requirements, even as other parts of the country raise concerns about a “second wave” of the coronavirus.

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Word on the street is that some of the municipal pools in our area are getting ready to reopen.

If any good came of the this newspaper’s decision to publish an inappropriate cartoon, it is that it generated a discussion about race.

This week’s metropolitan-area unemployment report lays out the reality of coronavirus-related shutdowns for the local economy.

What hasn’t been hurt by the coronavirus? Maybe Amazon or the stock value of companies that make toilet paper.

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At times, St. Joseph seems like a city with an inferiority complex. But the next time you want to brush this community off as the little town that couldn't, consider the interaction between St. Joseph police and those who gathered to protest treatment of blacks at the hands of law enforcemen…

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