St. Louis Parking Ticket Policy Is a Racket, Class-Action Suit Alleges

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Courtesy of Flickr/Lance McCord
Pissed about a parking ticket? Former St. Louis City Counselor Eric Banks has filed a class-action lawsuit against the city in circuit court, challenging its parking enforcement practices as a violation of constitutional rights. The suit seeks to represent anyone who received a citation for parking at an expired meter -- and was found liable after enduring the city's administrative hearing process.

Those hearings are the main issue in Banks' lawsuit. As the attorney describes it, he arrived for a hearing after getting a parking ticket he was convinced was unfair -- only to be told by the hearing officer that, unless he had evidence that the parking meter in question was broken at the time of citation, the officer would rule against him.

Then the officer did just that, even though the city hadn't bothered to send anyone to testify on its behalf, and even though Banks believed he'd identified procedural errors. The burden was entirely on Banks.

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MO Rep. Shane Roden: Protect the Pledge of Allegiance from Arabic, Other Languages

Categories: Politics

simpleinsomnia via Flickr
If lawmakers love the traditional pledge so much, why don't they restore its traditional salute?
Talk American, dammit!

That's the basic message some Missouri's lawmakers want to send to the state's roughly 360,000 multilingual residents, and specifically to public school students. On Wednesday, the Missouri House gave initial approval to a bill that would mandate the Pledge of Allegiance -- the statement of belief that embodies American's spirit of inclusion and unity -- be only spoken in English.

The bill comes courtesy of freshman Republican Representative Shane Roden of Cedar Hill, who backed the measure with iron-clad logic of, well, xenophobia:

"Next thing you know we're reciting our Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic," Roden told the Associated Press. "The Pledge of Allegiance needs to be recited in the English language because that is the official language of Missouri."

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Rep. Jeffrey Pogue Bill Would Ban Unisex Bathrooms

Categories: Politics

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Flickr via sylvar.
The 1820s are not pleased.
Watch out, Missourians: Your state is being threatened by people who do not respect the "social norms" of nineteenth-century bathrooms.

So claims Jeffrey Pogue, a Republican state representative from Salem, who yearns for the halcyon days of the Missouri's infancy, a time when men were men, women were women and transgender individuals weren't clamoring for the right to use facilities that aligned with their gender identity.

"I'm wanting to protect the social norms of our state, the same social norms that have operated in our state since the organization of Missouri in 1820," Pogue told the Columbia Daily Tribune, defending two bills he proposed last month that would prohibit the state from accommodating the needs of its transgender citizens. One bill would mandate that all public bathrooms, unless they are single-occupancy, be divided by gender. The other would make it illegal for state funds to go to "any entity" that tries to implement a "project, program, or policy that creates or attempts to create a gender-neutral environment."

"These Missourian cultural rules, the status quo, are nearly 200 years old, and have operated well throughout our state," Pogue said.

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Missouri Lawmakers Think Welfare Recipients Waste Money on Fish, Steak and Porn

Categories: Politics

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Flickr via Mike Mozart
Seafood: A luxury Missouri's welfare recipients don't deserve?
They say if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. But teach the man to fish, and you will feed him for a lifetime.

Some Missouri lawmakers have seemingly taken the old saying and distilled it down to its most reductive lesson: Don't give fish to poor people.

Indeed, there seems to be something a bit twisted in Republican Representative Rick Brattin's House Bill 813, which would bar Missouri's roughly 930,000 food-stamp recipients from using their government payouts to buy seafood. The bill would also ban energy drinks, soda, cookies, chips and steak.

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MO Auditor Tom Schweich Dead at 54, Reports Suggest Suicide [UPDATED]

Categories: Politics

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Missouri State Auditors office/UPI
Missouri auditor Tom Schweich.

Missouri auditor Tom Schweich died today in an apparent suicide inside his Clayton home. The Republican gubernatorial candidate was reportedly hospitalized for self-inflicted gunshot before official statements from his office confirmed his death.

"What we know at this point suggests an apparent suicide," Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said during in a news conference this afternoon. He added that there is "nothing to support anything other than that at this point." He said Schweich died from a single gunshot wound.

According to the Post-Dispatch, a 911 call was placed from Schweich home at 9:48 a.m. reporting a gunshot wound. That was minutes after he'd left a voicemail with Post-Dispatch editorial page editor Tony Messenger requesting an interview in with one of the newspaper's reporters.


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Ferguson Protests and "Outside Agitators" Factor in Race for 15th Ward Alderman

Categories: Politics

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Danny Wicentowski
15th ward Alderwoman Megan Ellyia-Green (holding mic) debated challenger Beth Branzell Wednesday night at the Royale. The two Democrats are facing off during the March 3 primary.
With St. Louis city's primary election less than a week away, candidates are rolling out their their juiciest negative ads to rally their backers and, they hope, to sway those last undecided voters. That's politics as usual.

But supporters of incumbent 15th ward Alderwoman Megan Ellyia-Green say challenger Beth Braznell's campaign has gone too far. For the past week, residents of the ward -- which includes Tower Grove South, Tower Grove East, and Tower Grove Heights -- have been finding flyers on their doorsteps that criticize Green's participation in protests on November 24. That night, hundreds of people marched along South Grand Boulevard after a grand jury chose not to indict former-Ferguson officer Darren Wilson for killing an unarmed black teenager.

Some of the flyers claim Green "openly embraced outside agitators and invited them into the ward" during the protests. In response, Green's supporters showed up to a Wednesday night debate wearing t-shirts bearing the words "Outside Agitator."

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Todd Akin Considers Running for Senate, Is Working on a Mysterious "Invention"

Categories: Politics

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YouTube
Todd Akin apologizes for his comments on "legitimate rape." He took the apology back in his book, published last year.
Todd Akin, the former Republican congressman who famously wrecked his 2012 Senate bid by taking an unintelligible stance on "legitimate rape," says he may challenge Senator Roy Blunt for his seat in 2016.

In an interview with U.S. political news site The Hill, the GOP pariah says he's considering another bid for the Senate.

"I have not ruled anything out," Akin told The Hill Wednesday.

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Bill Introduced To Release Jeff Mizanskey From Life Sentence for Marijuana Charges

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Ray Downs
Jeff Mizanskey has languished in prison since 1993 for three nonviolent pot charges.
It's not every day that a Missouri lawmaker proposes a bill to free one man from prison.

This week, however, Republican representative Shamed Dogan did exactly that with House Bill 978, which would allow a parole board to release any prisoner serving a life sentence for nonviolent marijuana charges.

There's only one Missouri convict who fits that description: Jeff Mizanskey, a 61-year-old grandfather who has spent more than two decades behind bars because of the state's draconian three-strike law for drug crimes.


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Cynthia Davis Defends Catherine Hanaway's Ideas About Unwed Sex Leading to Child Porn

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cynthiadavis.net
Cynthia Davis (in pink) agrees with Catherine Hanaway that unmarried sex is dangerous.
Amid the avalanche of scorn that followed GOP gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway's speech on how slutty feminist culture leads to kiddie porn, an infamous former Missouri politician is now standing up to defend her.

No, not Todd Akin -- it's Cynthia "hunger can be a positive motivator" Davis.

Davis, you may recall, rose to national prominence in 2009 as a state representative when she questioned the need for summer food programs for children, arguing that hunger would probably motivate kids to get jobs at McDonald's. Yesterday, Davis sent out a newsletter praising Hanaway and calling her remarks "spot on."

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How a Missouri Republican Turned Opposition to the Affordable Care Act Into a Dick Joke

Categories: Politics

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Missouri Representative Mike Moon.
The seven men and three women who represent Missouri in Congress just aren't hard enough for Republican state representative Mike Moon, apparently.

Moon wants Missouri's U.S. representatives and senators to repeal the Affordable Care Act and, in House Resolution No. 99 set for a hearing Tuesday, asks them to do so with "manly firmness:"

[W]e, the members of the Missouri House of Representatives, Ninety-eighth General Assembly, hereby insist that each member of the Missouri Congressional delegation endeavor with "manly firmness" and resolve to totally and completely repeal the Affordable Care Act, settling for no less than a full repeal.

Missouri's Congressional delegation includes three women: Senator Claire McCaskill, Representative Ann Wagner, who represents St. Louis County, and Representative Vicky Hartzler. But Moon tells the Columbia Daily Tribune he didn't mean for his archaic phrasing to demean Missouri's women lawmakers.


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