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Editorial: Short takes on defunding Republicans and re-swiftboating Democrats

Editorial: Short takes on defunding Republicans and re-swiftboating Democrats

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Defunding Missouri Republicans

David Humphreys has had enough. The wealthy Joplin businessman, known for his multimillions in campaign support for Republican candidates and causes, has announced he is staying out of politics this year — in part because they have become so divisive, and “now is a time we should all come together.”

Humphreys’ support was instrumental in the rise of top Missouri Republicans like former Gov. Eric Greitens and Sen. Josh Hawley, but there have been signs lately that he’s unhappy with the state’s GOP leadership. As Greitens became engulfed in scandal in 2018, Humphreys called on him to step down. Last year, Humphreys publicly came out against legislation restricting abortion rights because it contained no exceptions for rape or incest. Republican Gov. Mike Parson signed the bill anyway.

A statement from Humphreys’ spokeswoman said he is staying out of politics this year to focus on his business, family and community during the pandemic. But the statement also said the nation is too divided under President Donald Trump, whom Humphreys didn’t support in 2016.

No kidding on no-kill effort

Sometimes, the thought is almost too unbearable to dwell on: stray dogs and cats being euthanized after a few days or weeks because no one wants to adopt them. The animal lovers among us cringe at the idea, but equally frustrating is the assumption that there’s little anyone can do because there simply are too many strays for people to adopt.

The Madison County animal control center is turning such notions on their head, achieving remarkable results with a pet adoption program demonstrating amazingly sustained results. The Post-Dispatch’s Rachel Rice reported that 32% of dogs and nearly 60% of cats brought into the county’s Animal Care and Control center in 2016 wound up being euthanized. The goal by the end of 2021 is to bring those percentages to zero, earning it official status as a no-kill community.

As of last year, only about 9% of dogs and 7% of cats were euthanized after being deemed non-adoptable for various reasons. That’s a turnaround well worth celebrating, especially considering Illinois’ ranking of 14th in the nation for the number of shelter pets euthanized.

“This isn’t just a trend here in the county, but all over the country …,” county board Chairman Kurt Prenzler said. “This involved a change of attitude in animal control [and] a different approach to working with animal rescue groups.”

Whatever they’re doing right in Madison County, other animal shelters need to learn from it and adopt the program so more people will adopt these lovable pets.

Day off and a paycheck to work at polls

Old Navy stores will try something radically different on Nov. 3 to boost voter participation. The national chain, owned by Gap, is giving its workers the day off — not just to vote but to serve as poll workers for a full eight-hour shift, with pay. The fear is that widespread poll worker shortages might result because of the pandemic.

Old Navy has an estimated 50,000 employees at 1,000 stores around the country. They are not required to work at polls, but the prospect of earning a paycheck to support democracy might prove enticing enough to get thousands of them to volunteer.

“Every voice in this country matters and deserves to be heard at the polls, and if we at Old Navy can be even a small part of making that process more accessible to the communities we call home, we are on board,” Nancy Green, the company’s top executive, said in a statement.

Swift Boat II

What could go wrong? A huge new political action committee in support of President Donald Trump’s reelection is going to be headed by the same conservative operative behind Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — the PAC that went after Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004 with a torrent of lies so shameless that “swiftboating” is now a verb that means to attack someone with false claims.

Kerry was a Vietnam War hero, which was a problem for incumbent President George W. Bush. So the Swift Boat group of Bush-supporting veterans claimed Kerry didn’t earn his multiple Purple Hearts, Bronze Star and other medals. The attacks were false, but effective.

As Politico reports, top Republican donors have now turned to Chris LaCivita, the Republican strategist behind the Swift Boat campaign, to head the new super PAC in support of Trump with a $30 million advertising blitz. Normally, a consultant associated with a famously misleading campaign might seem a strange choice, but for this president, it’s par for the course.

Mask debate goes Goofy in Florida

Right there in the shadow of Mickey, Donald and Pluto, a man visiting Disney World in Florida with his family hit a security guard in the head and threatened to kill him because the guard asked the family to follow the theme park’s policy on wearing masks.

Enrico Toro, 35, was visiting the park with his wife and three children, all of them wearing “improper masks,” according to the police report of the incident. When security insisted they wear proper masks, the family went back to the car and returned. However, one child still wore a mask that didn’t adhere to the park’s rules.

At that point, witnesses say, Toro became “irate,” striking the guard and threatening to kill him. Toro’s wife finally convinced him to leave. He was later arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery. Toro told investigators there was an argument but he denies using violence.

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