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Random Thoughts

With a tip of our cap to longtime contributor Thomas Sowell, we offer the following random thoughts on the passing scene:

President Trump claimed that his first State of the Union was the most watched in history. CNN’s Jake Tapper points to numbers that show it was the least watched in the last quarter century. One thing they both agree on? It easily more than doubled the number of viewers who tuned in for the Grammys.

In other media news, Emmis Communications sold off all of its local radio properties last week. While the impact of the sale on the individual stations is not yet clear, people are understandably nervous. Emmis has been a fine steward of iconic St. Louis rock brand KSHE-95 for the last 30-plus years. We hope the new owners respect that legacy and understand that their acquisition was built on the shoulders of giants. We wish everyone at the stations well going forward.

The Nextdoor app is a fascinating view into modern living. In theory, it helps connect you to human beings in your direct vicinity. In practice, it is another way of digitizing humanity and making our neighbors feel further away than ever.

This is being written just as the much-contested House Intelligence Committee memo is being released. Our initial reaction? The contents do not rise to the level of the hype, but that would have been a nearly impossible hurdle to clear. That said, it should be incredibly difficult for the government of this country to spy on its own citizens. This memo certainly suggests that it is far easier than it should be, and that fact threatens to undermine our democracy. Attacking the rule of law in this country does the same thing.

Is it baseball season yet?

Most of the news surrounding tech giant Apple recently has leaned toward the negative. Despite that, it was able to squeeze out a quarterly profit of more than $20 billion, the highest in company history. We think rumors of its demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Google also just recorded its 32nd consecutive quarter of more than 20 percent revenue growth. That is staggering. Google accounts for 90 percent of all web searches. This internet thing might be for real.

Last week, St. Louis County Councilmember Mark Harder [R-District 7] sat down with the “Politically Speaking” podcast team and acknowledged some “personality issues” within county government. Ya think? On Jan. 31, County Council Chairman Sam Page released a letter accusing County Executive Steve Stenger of “targeting members of the County Council with petty and baseless threats.” Stenger, later, dismissed the accusations as “election-year ankle-biting.”

In West County, election-year ankle-biting is turning Wildwood ugly. The latest evidence of this comes in the form of an audit. On Jan. 25, we reported online that Councilmember Glen DeHart [Ward 1] had called for, and the council approved, an audit of the 2011-2016 Founders Day [Celebrate Wildwood] events. Comments on our Facebook page were swift and pointed – as in pointing fingers at one side of Wildwood’s fractured city government. Reader Karen Kozlowski Sheeley commented, “This is nothing more than a political attack made on the part of the incumbents to distract you from the new class of candidates which have stepped forward to try to return sanity to the government of Wildwood.” Later, Councilmember Greg Stine [Ward 7] described the audit as “a cynical ploy.” With the municipal election less than two months away, it seems the mud-slinging has begun.

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