Commentaries

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 commentaries@stlpublicradio.org.

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Commentary
9:03 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Editor's Weekly: What I Learned From 'Fatha' Thimes

Lou Fatha Times
Credit St. Louis Media Archives

Gloria Ross’s obituary for radio icon Lou “Fatha” Thimes took me way, way back. Back to the hiss of static on an AM radio in a green Studebaker. Back to a time when the 1950s TV icons were Ozzie and Harriett  rather than Don Draper. Back to a grade school classroom where the African-American kids had only recently won the legal right to be present.

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Opera Theatre of St. Louis
12:30 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Reflections: Listen To The Serious, Radiant 'Dialogues Of The Carmelites'

Christine Brewer (center with hands raised) as Madame Lidoine with the nuns of Compiègne in "Dialogues of the Carmelites." This serious work by Francis Poulenc is the fourth of this year's festival season at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Credit Ken Howard | OTSL

Thirty-one years ago, Opera Theatre of St. Louis pulled off a season that resounds in memory as an artistic volcano, a bonanza, an operatic gold mine, a tour de force. It followed the defining 1982 season, one crowned with Jonathan Miller’s “Così fan tutte,” a show conducted by Calvin Simmons, who died the summer following his and Dr. Miller’s triumphant achievement.

Power of Poulenc

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On The August Ballot
10:29 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Commentary: Why Not Raise Missouri's Gas Tax Instead Of Sales Tax?

On I-70
Credit (via Flickr/KOMUnews)

During its recently completed session, the Missouri General Assembly passed a measure that would let voters decide whether to increase the state sales tax to pay for improvements to highways and for other transportation needs. This action is interesting for a couple of reasons.

First is the underlying assumption that voters are in fact capable of making an informed decision about how to generate revenue for the state.

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Tax Cuts
9:56 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Commentary: Policies Will Widen The Wealth Gap

Credit buzzybee | sxc.hu

It probably says something about our times that the book that’s sold out on Amazon is not the latest Twilight thriller but a dense, 700-pager by a French economics professor: Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty. He’s also making the rounds of TV talk shows like an A-list actor promoting a new movie.

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KWS Gateway Research Center
6:48 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Commentary: The Power Of WE

Sam Fiorello
Credit Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Years ago when I lived and worked in Washington, D.C., the city was crippled by an intense January snowstorm. My office was a short walk from my apartment so I was able to salvage at least an abridged day of work. While walking home, with snow still falling heavily, I came upon a homeless man named Charlie whom I had seen almost daily in the same spot. When I stopped to ask Charlie if he was OK, he stood transfixed, looking at a few flakes of newly fallen snow on his gloved hand. Charlie smiled at me and said, "Isn't it amazing? Individually these flakes are so fragile.

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Politics & Issues
8:00 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

Commentary: Part Of The VA Problem Was Setting An Unrealistic Standard

Eric Shinseki
Credit Veterans Affairs photo | Wikipedia

Too often governmental scandals become couched in blaming an administrator for the problem. Critics seldom look at a bureaucratic organization for its failings or how bureaus channel the behavior of their employees. One element that should be examined is how success is judged.

In the case of the Veterans Administration and Gen. Eric Shinseki, we see staff at VA hospitals responding to how they would be evaluated. Such evaluations affect compensation and promotion and hence behavior. Employees also tend to go along to get along.

Shinseki sowed the seeds of his own demise.

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Commentary
9:07 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Editor's Weekly: Searching For Coherence In An Atomized World

Mehlville Superintendent Eric Knost
Credit Mehlville website

Some of St. Louis Public Radio’s best work this week wasn’t breaking news. It was making sense of news that broke days or even months earlier.

It’s been a year since the court ruling that opened the door to student transfers from Normandy and Riverview Gardens to Francis Howell, Mehlville, Kirkwood and other districts. Reporter Dale Singer circled back this week to ask key participants to reflect on their hopes, fears and actual experiences.

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The Normandy Example
10:03 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Commentary: Schools Remain Separate And Unequal

Credit (via Flickr/KB35)

What progress can this country point to since the 1954 decision in Brown v Board of Education? It gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement, and that, ironically, has had greater success in parts of society such as housing integration and voting rights than it has in education. Today we still have separate and unequal schools -- not by legal mandate but by other de facto conditions in our neighborhoods. The trials and tribulations in the Normandy schools this past year have helped illuminate the stark contrasts in our public education system.

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Commentary
7:43 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Portrayal Of Women In The Visual Arts Throughout The Ages

Nancy Kranzberg

In discussing how women are portrayed in the visual arts, I realized that it's an endless topic.

Going back through the ages we think of the idealized goddesses and mythological characters portrayed in ancient Greek and Roman art. The Saint Louis Art Museum has wonderful examples. The Greek Kalistrate Stele is an excellent example of a memorial grave marker of an idealized beautiful young woman bedecked in jewels with flowing locks.

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Commentary
10:41 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Editor's Weekly: Why A News Organization Is Like A University

University of Missouri - St. Louis at Grand Center
Credit file photo

Forty two years ago this week, St. Louis Public Radio began broadcasting from its home at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Coincidentally, those of us from the St. Louis Beacon, which merged with the station six months ago, are about to complete probation and become full-fledged UMSL employees.

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