Fred McKissack Jr.

If a police officer’s first duty is “to serve and protect” the people, there could be no more damning condemnation than the Ferguson department’s primary goal: to “maximize revenue.”

St. Louis arches. Image credit: Zak Pullen

Hate is a strong word, and its banal use doesn’t do any good. I passionately dislike my hometown. That fits, even though it doesn’t quite capture my deep, fatalistic feelings for a town that I thought was the greatest city when I was, well, my son’s age. Image credit: Zak Pullen

Getty Images

Every generation has its moment where an older politician brings the fire and brimstone and plays cultural Moses. Invariably, he or she looks like a fool. Image credit: Getty Images

Darren Wilson is free to go back to his job policing the citizens of Ferguson, if he wants. Michael Brown is dead. Image credit: Rick Majewski


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was right to ban L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million.

Missouri Landfill Owner’s Smelly Amendment

By Fred McKissack

Just days after the Supreme Court decided that the nexus between big money and elected officials wasn’t corrupt comes a hot mess from Missouri that shows how private interests influence public policy.


Safely nestled inside of a state senate bill designed to hold St. Louis-area landlords accountable for crime-infested properties is an amendment that would give immunity to Republic Services and its troubled landfill located in north St. Louis County.



The gap in graduation rates between black and white male basketball players is a whopping 24 percentage points.

A healthy debate is raging over whether the National Football League should adopt a rule calling for a 15-yard penalty for use of the N-word.

Fifty years ago, a depraved and savage crime rocked the civil rights movement: the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

But rather than succumb to fear, the movement held together and marched forward to the passage of the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

We owe that movement, and the four girls who lost their lives on Sept. 15, 1963, our eternal gratitude.


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This time we’ve got some advantages.

We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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