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Missouri Columnist Needs To Pick His Own Brain
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October 08, 2007, 06:57 PM
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In the 1969 movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Butch (Paul Newman) repeatedly asks while being pursued by railroad detectives, "Who are those guys?" That`s the question I often ask when trying to make sense of journalists who think they have a clue about the immigration issue. Take, for example, the recent column by the Kansas City Star`s Steve Penn, Semler controversy puts mayor in tough position, Oct. 5, who begins by telling his readers that Mayor Mark Funkhouser`s decision to appoint 73-year-old Frances Semler, a member of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, to the city`s park board will cling to him like an incurable skin rash for the remainder of his days. In the next paragraph Penn lets fly with this from the yet uncharted regions of left field: "Yet if you really picked his brain, you’d see that Funkhouser is more a fan of the NAACP and the ACLU than of the Minuteman group." What? To borrow from a former editor of mine who really didn`t get it, I don`t get it. But I don`t want to spoil the fun you`ll have reading the column. Instead, allow me to give you a couple more examples of why today`s newsrooms are not exactly a favorable growing environment for common sense and critical thought. Noting that Funkhouser`s wife Gloria Squitiro has until now remained silent on her husband`s choice of Semler, which does not measure up to the National Council of La Raza`s (The Race) high moral standards, Penn lets go unchallenged this comment from Ms. Squitiro: �He didn’t create this race war. It existed. He came to try to help.� "Race war?" This whole brouhaha is about La Raza`s Janet Murguia shooting off her mouth and threatening to cancel "The Race`s" 2009 annual convention in Funkhouser`s city unless he shows Semler the door. The NAACP`s Julian Bond also has threatened to pull the plug on his organization`s meeting for the same reasons. Penn (e-mail) then gives center stage to Murquia`s brother Ramon, a local lawyer who would love to see Funkhouser "cave in" to the demands of both The Race and Julian Bond and certain of their local allies: �We have to get beyond this, I agree . . . �But we also have to stand against injustice. When we see it, we can’t ignore it." Funkhouser is guilty of an "injustice" when he exercised his right to appoint someone whose abilities he feels would benefit the entire community? Ramon rattles on:

�This is all about us as a community, getting together, united and standing up for these people who are voiceless. It’s time for us to say: �We’ve had enough. We’re standing up for our rights. And we’re standing up for this country. We helped build this country.’  Memo to Steve Penn: When the likes of Squitiro and Murguia spout off as they did in your column, why not give a little thought to what they are saying instead of, as my grandmother to say, "using your head only as a hat rack."