During Morning Edition and All Things Considered, or on Cityscape

Commentaries are opinion pieces provided by a wide variety of individuals in the St. Louis region. They are not necessarily the opinion of St. Louis Public Radio, but are intended to reflect diverse viewpoints on issues affecting our region. To submit a commentary or proposal, email

America is a peace-loving nation. — George W. Bush

My parents were born in the decade following WW I -- also known as "The Great War," "The War to Make the World Safe for Democracy" or "The War to End All Wars." Their children were born in the decades following WW II -- an armed conflagration of global proportions that demonstrated that the first one hadn't ended wars, after all.

On Aug. 14, I attended a first-of-its kind event in St. Louis. The result was about six hours of conversation among people who live in the St. Louis area and people who work in public media. We talked about things ranging from empowering young women and non-accredited schools to how the Internet is changing local news and what media literacy means in the age of the Internet.

We're getting our basic information together for the general election page that will be going up fairly soon on the Beacon. And I was double checking the Illinois districts.

Shimkus, check. Opposed.

Costello, check. Opposed.

Hare, hmmm. I haven't been following Illinois politics as closely as I once did. Who is Hare? He was first elected in 2006 and was unopposed in 2008. Since the race wasn't contested two years ago, he was under my radar screen.

Beacon & Eggs

Aug 19, 2010

As a Beacon newbie I was especially pleased when my first bright idea several weeks ago received a green light.

I was working on my laptop one morning at Cafe Ventana when it hit me.

"Hey," I thought to myself "most of the people at the Beacon have wireless capacity. Why do we have to stay holed up in our office? We could all be here right now working away, and our readers could join us!"

And so Beacon & Eggs was born. We go for our first test-drive on Friday Sept. 10.

The news that China has surpassed Japan as the world's second largest economy sent a shiver through the collective soul of economic pundits. It needn't have.

During the late 1980s, we were warned of Japan's expanding economic machine. The Japanese economy was then expanding at a rate that made ours look puny. Everyone looked to Japan as the source for economic inspiration and guidance: Recall the movement to adopt their management techniques or face economic defeat?

Theories have limits. Some account for phenomena quite well when applied within given parameters, only to fail miserably when expanded beyond them. Ironically, it is often the more limited theory that appeals most strongly to common sense. Consider the case of Ptolemy.

Ptolemy (ta-le-mi) was a 2nd-century astronomer who, like virtually all of his contemporaries, believed that the heavens revolved around the Earth. This geocentric conception of the universe worked quite well for the ordinary living of his day. In fact, it still does.

The following is adapted from a presentation earlier this summer by Mark S. Wrighton, chancellor of Washington University, to the Shanghai Forum.

I think everyone can agree that the challenges we face in providing abundant energy at an affordable cost without adverse consequences on the environment is one of the largest, and arguably, most expensive challenges we face as a global community.

Illinoisans have experienced a governmental tsunami without fully realizing it.

The toll mounts daily, and so do the odds against robust recovery. It's not just the smothering deficit. It's not just the lack of political will to confront and correct it. It's also the insidious mangling of a management structure crucial to the effective expenditure of our tax dollars.

I'm a transplant.

It was 1991 and the city was experiencing one of its highest murder rates in years.

I showed up as new college graduate ready to perform a year of volunteer work for a local community service agency. The housing they provided was on the site of a community center in the College Hill neighborhood near O'Fallon Park on the city's north side.

Executive compensation is a hot-button topic. Numerous reports document that chief executives of major corporations earn salaries that far exceed those of their workers. And, amid the financial crisis and recession, we have seen that compensation and performance are not always linked.

Oh see, CC Rider, oh see

What you have done...

On a brutally hot Tuesday in early August, about 22.9 percent of Missouri's registered voters went to the polls to deliver their verdict on ObamaCare. For the Democrats on Capitol Hill who'd struggled so valiantly to reform health care, the results were less than encouraging.

I have long believed that we should instruct our politicians:

Ask not what programs you can enact to burnish your legacy -
Ask what programs you can repeal to set our people free.

The recent dust up over the extension of unemployment benefits has given me an idea.

To succeed, small businesses need fertile ground in which to grow as well as protection against predators and unfair competition. Whether we like it or not, government plays the role of "traffic cop" in our economy; ensuring for everyone, including small businesses, that we are headed in the right direction and avoiding calamitous outcomes.

It was not as dramatic as Confederate forces firing on the Union troops at Fort Sumter in April 1861, but Missouri's passage of Proposition C is certainly a notable skirmish in the 2010 reappearance of the states' right struggle. Channeling their inner John Calhouns, State Sens. Jane Cunningham and Jim Lembke have emerged as the new preachers of the nullification doctrine.

Tens of thousands of Illinoisans in cities and hamlets throughout the state relish the intellectual stimulation, companionship and shared humanity of book clubs. Why not voter clubs?

The off-year elections are looming and, fairly or not, they figure to be a referendum on the Obama administration. If the polls are even close to accurate, it looks as though the "Yes, We Can!" crowd could be in for a "That's What You Think" awakening.