Editorial: Obama for president: A second term for a serious man. : Stltoday

Four years ago, in endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president, we noted his intellect, his temperament and equanimity under pressure. He was unproven, but we found him to be presidential, in all that that word implies.

In that, we have not been disappointed. This is a serious man. And now he is a proven leader. He has earned a second term.

Mr. Obama sees an America where the common good is as important as the individual good. That is the vision on which the nation was founded. It is the vision that has seen America through its darkest days and illuminated its best days. It is the vision that underlies the president’s greatest achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Twenty years from now, it will be hard to find anyone who remembers being opposed to Obamacare.“

He continues to steer the nation through the most perilous economic challenges since the Great Depression. Those who complain that unemployment remains high, or that economic growth is too slow, either do not understand the scope of the catastrophe imposed upon the nation by Wall Street and its enablers, or they are lying about it.

To expect Barack Obama to have repaired, in four years, what took 30 years to undermine, is simply absurd. He might have gotten further had he not been saddled with an opposition party, funded by plutocrats, that sneers at the word compromise. But even if Mr. Obama had had Franklin Roosevelt’s majorities, the economy would still be in peril.

Extraordinary, perhaps existential, economic challenges lie just beyond Election Day. The nation’s $16 trillion debt must be addressed, but in ways that do not endanger the sick and elderly, or further erode the middle class or drive the poor deeper into penury.

The social Darwinist solutions put forward by Republican Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, are not worthy of this nation’s history, except that part of it known as the Gilded Age.

Mr. Obama has not been everything we expected. In his first weeks in office, Democrats ran amokwith part of his economic stimulus package. His mortgage relief program was insufficient. Together with his Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, the president has been too deferential to the financial industry. The president should have moved to nationalize troubled banks instead of structuring the bailout to their benefit. Regulatory agencies and the Justice Department were unable to bring financial crooks to heel.

We had hoped that Mr. Obama would staff the executive branch with the best and the brightest. There have been stars, but there have been egregious failures, too. The "Fast and Furious”operation at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was a disgrace. The vastly expensive and unaccountable intelligence and Homeland Security agencies need stronger oversight. The now-renamed Minerals Management Service could have used some best-and-brightest inspectors before the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

People who don’t understand the word ‘socialist" accuse Mr. Obama of being one. But as president he has proven to be pragmatic and conciliatory. He is not one to tilt at windmills. He did not close Guantanamo. He cut deals with anyone who’d come to the table. In health care, banking regulation and most other policy areas, he has practiced the art of the possible.

In foreign policy, after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for doing little more than not being George W. Bush, he has been a centrist. He has stood with Israel, but not as its surrogate. He brought the last of the U.S. troops out of Iraq. He began to wind down the war in Afghanistan — too slowly in our view. He let the nations of the Arab Spring follow their own course to democracy. He used thumb drives instead of bunker busters in Iran.

Against the advice of his senior advisers, he approved the SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden. He has been almost ruthless in his pursuit of terrorists, reserving to himself the right to approve targets. Regretfully, he massaged "due process" to allow himself to assassinate an al-Qaida leader who was an American citizen.

As to Mr. Romney, we are puzzled. Which Mitt Romney are we talking about? The one who said of himself, in 2002, “I’m not a partisan Republican. I’m someone who is moderate and … my views are progressive.”

Or is it the Mitt Romney who posed as a 'severely conservative“ primary candidate? Is it the Mitt Romney who supported abortion rights and public health care subsidies in Massachusetts or the one who is pro-life and anti-Obamacare now?

Is it the Mitt Romney who wants to cut taxes by $5 trillion or the one who can’t remember saying that now? Is it the Mitt Romney who said in May that 47 percent of Americans are moochers or the one who said last week that’s not what he believes?

Mr. Romney apparently will say anything that will help him win an election. As a president, he might well govern as a pragmatic chief executive, or he might sell himself to the plutocrats and the crazies who have taken over his party. He is asking Americans to take a lot on faith — there’s nothing to see in his tax returns; he can cut taxes and whack away debt while trimming deductions he will not specify.

Mr. Romney's business career is the only way to judge his foundational beliefs: He did not run a company that built things and created jobs and strong communities. He became fabulously wealthy by loading up companies with tax-deductible debt, taking millions out up front along with big management fees. Some companies were saved. Others went bankrupt. Mr. Romney’s firm always got out before the bills came due, either in lost jobs, bankruptcies or both.

If the nation’s most pressing issue is debt, why elect a president whose entire business career was based on loading up companies with debt?

In picking Mr. Ryan as his running mate, Mr. Romney signaled that he’s ready to perpetuate that model in public office. The middle class hasn’t had a raise in 20 years. Income inequality has reached record heights. Mr. Romney is the very embodiment of what’s gone wrong with the economy: Too many people at the top create vast wealth that they do not share, either by creating jobs or by paying fair tax rates.

Mo. cop shot during traffic stop after turning back to suspect
A St. Louis-area cop was shot Friday — just a day after five police officers were killed in Dallas.

A St. Louis-area cop was shot during a traffic stop Friday — just a day after five Dallas police officers were killed while protecting an anti-police brutality protest.

The cop was walking back to his patrol car after ticketing a driver for speeding in Ballwin, a suburb of St. Louis, KSDK reported. The driver got out of his pulled-over car, shot the officer in the neck three times and fled, sources said.

The Ballwin officer was rushed to a local hospital in an unknown condition.

The suspect was caught shortly after the attack following a foot chase, police sources told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Neither the gunman nor the cop has been identified, and police have not detailed a motive in the shooting.

No other details were immediately available.

The St. Louis County Police Department said detectives recovered the weapon and are continuing to investigate the shooting.

Ballwin is about 20 miles from Ferguson, where the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in 2014 set off waves of protests, largely organized by activist group Black Lives Matter.

Late Thursday, five Dallas police officers were killed and seven more were wounded when a gunman opened fire during a Thursday night protest demanding justice for two black men killed by police this week.

Man believed to wounded police officer just arrived via ambulance to Mercy Hospital. Taken on stretcher into ER.

— Mike Colombo (@Mike_Colombo)

July 8, 2016

The Texas shooter was killed by a police robot bomb after an hours-long standoff with cops.

During the tense negotiations, he allegedly told police he “wanted to kill white people, especially white cops,” officials said. He said he was not affiliated with any group, including Black Lives Matter, but said he was furious over the recent police killings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

The sad week continues.

h/t: Meg Wagner at NYDN
Missouri police officer 'was ambushed,' shot in neck during traffic stop: reports
A Missouri police officer was shot in the neck during a Friday morning traffic stop, according to reports.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the Ballwin police officer was transported to a St. Louis hospital for treatment. The officer is in critical condition.

Sources told the newspaper that the officer was shot at least once from behind. At least three shots were fired at the officer.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the shooting occurred at around 11:10 a.m. when the officer was conducting a traffic stop on a speeding motorist.

When the officer was walking back to his cruiser following the stop, the driver got out, “advanced quickly” and fired three shots at the officer, police told reporters Friday afternoon.

“Make no mistake, we believe that Ballwin officer was ambushed,” Belmar said.

St. Louis County police tweeted that the shooting suspect has been captured, and his weapon recovered.

“We are handling the investigation but have no further details at this time,” the tweeted stated.

The suspect was captured several miles from the scene after a foot chase, according to the Post-Dispatch. The vehicle the suspect was believed to be driving, a, older-model blue Ford Taurus with an Illinois temporary license plate, was located.

The name of the 32-year-old suspect has yet to be released. He had previous weapons charges out of California and St. Louis. He was charged with stealing a vehicle in Oklahoma in 2011.

Ballwin, with a population of 30,000, is located in west St. Louis County.

I went to the Pokemon go meet up at the history museum today and it was so much fun! There were tons and tons of people. While I was standing outside a guy from the St. Louis post dispatch came and took my picture and asked me a few questions about myself and why I was playing Pokemon go, it was awesome! I even bought a team valor shirt while I was there and got lots of compliments on my hat. )

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After robberies and injuries, how to stay safe while playing Pokemon Go

A number of players of the new “augmented reality” game Pokemon Go have gotten injured while hunting the digital creatures, and robbers in Missouri even have targeted players of the game. However, experts say following some simple safety tips can allow for fun and safe play of the popular game. 

Four teens in O'Fallon, Mo., committed robberies after staking out locations they knew would attract players of the game, police told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The teens are accused of almost a dozen armed robberies, including some victims who were playing the game.

In the game, the newest creation of the $1.5 billion per year franchise, players need to go to real-life public locations to capture Pokemon characters, whose images spring up on their smartphone screens as players scan their surroundings. Local landmarks serve as “Pokestops,” where players can find virtual supplies used to capture and develop their Pokemon for eventual battle.

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The game, released last week, is now the most popular in the iTunes store. It has been praised for encouraging interaction between users and promoting exercise for those players willing to walk long distances to capture Pokemon. Nintendo, which owns 33 percent of the Pokemon company and has shares in the game’s creator Niantic, saw shares jump 10 percent overnight following the game’s July 6 release, as Reuters reported. 

In Missouri, the alleged robbers picked out secluded locations that would draw players of the game, O'Fallon police said.

The game has also been tied to real-life injuries, mostly twisted ankles and bruised shins, of players who were not paying attention to where they were walking as they chased the characters.

“People really need to watch what they’re doing and make sure their kids understand where this game could lead them,” O'Fallon Police Sgt. Phil Hardin told the Post-Dispatch. “Our concern is that some of the way points in this game are in geographically more dangerous areas than others. Other people are using the machinations of all this to put people in danger.”

Mike Schultz, a 21-year-old in Long Island, New York, fell off his skateboard and cut his hand while looking at his phone for Pokemon, he told the Associated Press. 

“I just wanted to be able to stop quickly if there were any Pokemons nearby to catch,” he said, adding he didn’t think Niantic, the game’s creator, was responsible. 

John Hanke, chief executive officer for Niantic, told Business Insider that the game was designed with safety in mind. Once a Pokemon appears on a user’s screen, they do not have to move to capture it. If Pokemon appear in a dangerous location, for instance, in the middle of a busy roadway, players do not have to put themselves into a dangerous location to capture it.

“That was a very deliberate choice,” Mr. Hanke told Business Insider. He also encouraged players to be alert to their surroundings while playing the game. 

There are a variety of ways to ensure players of the game, especially children, stay safe, the Philadelphia Police Department told local news station NBC10. Parents should talk about the dangers of meeting strangers with their kids, and limit where they can go to capture Pokemon in order to keep an eye on them. It’s also important to pay attention to one’s surroundings, Philadelphia Police spokesman Eric Gripp told NBC10. 

“I’ve already seen a number of people – both kids and adults – so engrossed while staring at their phones and following a map, that they’ve walked right into the street and into objects,” he said. “Pay attention!

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