VIDEO: Atheist Mother Begs Ballwin Not to Put Up "In God We Trust" Sign

"This is what an atheist looks like," Nikki Moungo tells the Ballwin City Council.
Nikki Moungo, a self-proclaimed atheist and a mother, made an impassioned plea to the Ballwin City Council asking it not to put up a planned "In God We Trust" sign on city property.

Instead, Moungo told the council she'd like a sign with the motto "E pluribus unum" (Latin for "Out of many, one"), and she brought a $1,000 check to the meeting to fund it.

"If you want to put up 'E pluribus unum,' you've got my money. If you want to put up 'In God We Trust,' then it will be a fight I'm ready to take on," Moungo told the council at Monday's meeting. "This is my kids' lives. This is their town. And they deserve to be included as much as Christian children do."

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Ferguson Reduces Fines, Adds Police Review Board to "Improve Trust, Transparency"

Ray Downs
Ever since Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed eighteen-year-old Michael Brown, one of the main topics of concern has been the deep rift between police and the community, including the city's court system and policing tactics, which residents say unfairly targets black people and overly impacts low-income people.

Some of that might change with the Ferguson City Council announcing it will make moderate policy changes in an effort to build trust within the community.

The proposed changes, announced Monday night, will include a cap of how much the city can collect for its general city operations, a citizen review board to give the community more oversight of its police department, the abolishing of several court fines, payment plans for outstanding fines and a one-month warrant recall period.

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Rachel Maddow to Claire McCaskill: You Could Be the Next President [VIDEO]

Categories: Politics

Sen. Claire McCaskill gets a little uncomfortable when Rachel Maddow asks if she's running for president.
The drum beat for the 2016 campaign to put Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Oval Office has already started, but MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has another female candidate in mind: U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.

Maddow put the Missouri senator on the spot during Thursday night's The Rachel Maddow Show, asking straight up: "Why shouldn't I be asking you if you're running for president?...If I were you, I would be running."

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"Blame Charlie A. Dooley": St. Louis County Executive Apologizes to Ferguson

County Executive Charlie Dooley apologizes for the events in Ferguson with St. Louis mayor Francis Slay beside him.
Charlie Dooley, the long-time head of St. Louis County government, is sorry.

In a rare showing of humility and apology from a public official after the death of Michael Brown, Dooley went off-script at the Economic Development Partnerships luncheon Thursday to take responsibility for the traumatizing violence that gripped Ferguson in August -- and for the still-fuming public anger that led to it.

"I want to apologize to this community," Dooley said. "This happened on my watch, and I take it very seriously."

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Too Good for Goodwill? Eureka Blocks Proposed Goodwill Store By Doing Nothing

Categories: Blowback, Politics

MERS Goodwill
If Eureka ever does get a Goodwill store, this is what it will look like.
With silence and obtuse inaction, Eureka city government is preventing MERS Goodwill from opening a store in the town.

Goodwill officials say they've never experienced such a resounding-yet-mysterious refusal to their stores, which they say create jobs, bring shoppers to the area and support their mission to help the unemployed. Chief of staff Dave Kutchback says he hasn't seen a community reject Goodwill like this in the thirteen years he's been working there.

"They've been unwilling to give us a reason for not wanting (a store,)" Kutchback tells Daily RFT. "We directly asked for that reason, and the city attorney explained to us that they don't have to give us a reason for not approving the store."

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Election Results: Stenger Wins Primary, Transportation Tax Dies

Categories: Politics

Steve Stenger.
In a night with few surprises, area voters rejected County Executive Charlie Dooley's re-election bid and kicked to the curb a controversial sales tax designed to improve roads. Voters also approved Missouri's inalienable right to guns and strengthened electronic privacy rights.

The highly-debated "Right to Farm" amendment also passed, but the margin of victory is so narrow -- with only 2,528 votes -- that a recount is likely.

Steve Stenger, who served as the chair of the St. Louis County Council, will now face in November's general election Republican Rick Stream, who handily won the primary over challenger Tony Pousosa, in the election for the county's top spot. Stenger won 66 percent of the countywide vote, defeating Dooley 2-1.

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Go Vote, St. Louis! Officials Predict Low Voter Turnout Despite Contentious Races

Categories: Politics

Theresa Thompson via Flickr
Cast your ballots today, STL.
It's Election Day, St. Louis! Time to head to the polls and make your voice heard.
If you are planning to go vote today, you'll likely be one of the few. Experts only expect about 10 percent of Missourians to cast a ballot in this primary race.

Local primary races typically see a much lower turnout than, say, a presidential or statewide election. But this year's ballot includes a heated race for St. Louis county executive and ten statewide ballot measures on topics including agriculture, gun rights and transportation taxes.

See also: Police Chief, Circuit Attorney Say "Unalienable" Gun Rights Amendment Misleads Voters

The question is, do enough Missourians care about the issues on the ballot to spur a voting percentage higher than a measly 10 percent?

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Dooley Campaign Accidentally Calls Stenger Supporter Sexist Slur, Won't Apologize

Categories: Politics

County Executive Charlie Dooley.
With just 36 hours left before the primary elections, County Executive Charlie Dooley's campaign team tweeted a sexist attack against a supporter of challenger Steve Stenger.

The tweet, which the campaign admits was poorly worded, refers to one of Stenger's supporters, attorney Jane Dueker, as a "trick," a derogatory term for women who are seen to sexually manipulate men and analogous to other slurs, including hoe, slut and bitch.

Linda Goldstein, Dooley's campaign communications director, says the campaign never intended to insult Dueker and will not be apologizing.

"She's trying to distract them from the issues at hand," Goldstein tells Daily RFT. "In my opinion, she had a disingenuous response to this unintentional wording, and by having this type of response, she is simply calling more attention to Stenger's outrageous comments."

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St. Louis Applies to Shelter Migrant Children Overwhelming U.S. Border

Categories: Politics

Lindsay Toler
Mayor Francis Slay announces St. Louis' plan to bring 60 children crossing the U.S. border here.
As the gang violence and drug wars ravaging Central American countries propel waves of homeless, needy children to the southern border of the United States, St. Louis city and county governments are applying for federal dollars to pay for 60 migrant children to find shelter in St. Louis.

Mayor Francis Slay, County Executive Charlie Dooley and an alliance of nonprofit organizations announced the plan to apply for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement program Friday. If St. Louis is approved, the federal government would relocate about 60 of the children waiting in border detention centers to residential facilities in the county for housing, health, food, counseling and educational services.

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Gina Loudon Writes 2,000-Word Essay About Her Teen Daughter Dating a 57-Year-Old Actor

Categories: Politics

Missouri's top Tea Party, reality-show D-list family is in the gossip headlines this week, and they seem to be soaking up the attention in the strangest way possible.

Here's the deal: Eighteen-year-old Lyda Loudon, daughter of former Republican state senator John Loudon and conservative pundit Gina Loudon, a couple best-known for starring on reality TV show Wife Swap, is dating fifty-seven-year-old actor Steven Bauer, best-known as Al Pacino's right-hand man in Scarface, and who now stars in TV show Ray Donovan.

The 39-year age difference was big enough for virtually unknown Lyda to get ink in tabloids such as Us Weekly and the Daily Mail. And as with just about every Hollywood relationship age gap story, the regular eye-rolling and tisk-tisks ensued.

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