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This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 25, 2008 - It was a crowd fit for a president. 

More than 200,000 people gathered in Berlin, in front of the Victory Column, to witness U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's speech on Thursday. Not only did this number exceed expectations, but the audience was largely teenagers and young adults. According to German media reports, Obama also managed to attract a roughly equal number of men and women. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 25, 2008 - 'A different kind of Republican': Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder cultivates black voters

Formerly a one-building campus, Harris Stowe State University now has a dormitory, a business school and a performing arts center. Add to these the early childhood and parenting education center that will soon rise on the west end of the campus. President Henry Givens credits his school's growth to influential state lawmakers, one of whom is Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

Analysis: High Court in the balance in election

Jul 25, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 25, 2008 - A year ago, the conventional wisdom was that the U.S. Supreme Court had veered in a conservative direction. One court expert even spoke about Supreme Court Inc. because business interests had won so many cases during the 2006-7 court term.

A year later, those prognostications look overstated.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 24, 2008 - In last night's final debate for the GOP nomination for governor of Missouri, candidates U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof and state Treasurer Sarah Steelman agreed on one thing: Each would make a better chief executive than Attorney General Jay Nixon, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Otherwise, the two GOP candidates dug in their heels and stuck to their usual campaign themes of low taxes and less government waste in an effort to sway voters before the August 5 primary.

2008
St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St.Louis Beacon: July 23, 2008- Quotations by starkly different commentators offer starkly different assessments of the common wisdom. "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public" is a wry observation by the famously sardonic H.L. Mencken, the pre-eminent American journalist of the early 20th Century.

Erik Lunsford | Post-Dispatch (pool)

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 23, 2008-  MAPLEWOOD -- The red pickup was on fire in a driveway on Zephyr Place. A small fire. Simply routine. Maybe 20 minutes tops for the crew to put it out, reload the hose and write a brief report. After all, veterans know, the biggest threat to firefighters on a vehicle fire like this is that the pickup's tires could explode from the intense heat.

No one expected an ambush.

​This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 22, 2008 - Karadzic's capture comes too late for some Bosnians

For those waiting for justice, 13 years is better than nothing, but not by much. Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb leader wanted for war crimes, was arrested July 22 in Belgrade, Serbia.

9th District profiles: Olivo, Moore and Bashir

Jul 18, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 16, 2008 - Bashir Brock Olivo might have been known for his years on Faurot Field, but YouTube intercepted.

The former football player for both the University of Missouri-Columbia and the Detroit Lions faced a reporter with a video camera in February after announcing his candidacy.

Olivo wasn’t prepared.

An old man prayed in one corner by Korans on a shelf. Suleimanya Iraq
Marc Thayer | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 17. 2008 -  Time is going too fast. Tuesday afternoon I visited a mosque for the first time just to see the inside. Men can wash their hands and feet before going in, but the only requirement is to take off their shoes. Inside is an ornate room with a silver dome from which hangs a huge chandelier.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 17, 2008 - Former Attorney General John D. Ashcroft testified Thursday that he withdrew a 2002 torture memo because he became convinced its legal reasoning was of "arguable appropriateness." But Ashcroft insisted that U.S. interrogation techniques -- including water boarding -- were legal and had saved lives.

Securities inspectors demand answers from Wachovia

Jul 17, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 17, 2008 - The last thing investors in Wachovia Corp. need is more bad news, given that the giant bank recently replaced its CEO and warned that second-quarter results would be dreadful.

Unfortunately, they got extra bad news Thursday as officers of the Missouri secretary of state inspected the St. Louis headquarters of its Wachovia Securities brokerage unit. The headquarters once belonged to A.G. Edwards, which was acquired by Wachovia last year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 16, 2008 - The human tendency to revel in the salacious details of someone else's scandal is nothing new, but the advent of the internet and the 24/7 cable news cycle has turned a guilty pleasure into a national obsession.

The latest victim of eternal vigilance is Jesse Jackson who was recently overheard recommending a rather painful surgery for Barack Obama. His intended stage whisper was caught by a microphone that he thought was turned off and broadcast around the globe. Gotcha!

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 16, 2008 - Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar and graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, has been held since 2001. Currently he is in military custody in Charleston, S.C. He and his family had reentered the United States the day before 9/11. He said he was pursuing a master's degree at Bradley where he had gotten his bachelor's degree a decade earlier.

The basis of his detention is a statement by Jeffrey N. Rapp, director of the Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism. It states al-Marri trained at an al-Qaida training in the late 1990s and was introduced to Osama bin Laden. It goes on to allege he was a "sleeper agent" who had information about poisonous chemicals on his laptop.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 16, 2008 -  St. Louis' unemployment numbers may not be as bad as they sound

9th district profiles: Onder and Luetkemeyer

Jul 15, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - The news wasn’t good for Rep. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, on the day of his second debate with former Sen. Ken Jacob, a Democratic candidate. The debate in Wentzville would again be about Onder’s abortion bill, which was the major abortion legislation in the House during the year.

Chris Britt | State Journal Register, Springfield, IL

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - Intent does not equal impact. After all is said and done, that phrase holds true - in the courts of law and in personal relationships.

If you hit someone with your car unintentionally, it does not make the impact (i.e. bodily harm and legal charges) any less real. If you make an honest statement about a friend or colleague and he or she is offended, you can talk at length about the person being overly sensitive or your motive not being malicious, but the impact will most likely remain.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - Intent does not equal impact. After all is said and done, that phrase holds true - in the courts of law and in personal relationships.

If you hit someone with your car unintentionally, it does not make the impact (i.e. bodily harm and legal charges) any less real. If you make an honest statement about a friend or colleague and he or she is offended, you can talk at length about the person being overly sensitive or your motive not being malicious, but the impact will most likely remain.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008 - It's virtually impossible to read or hear the news without Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae cropping up.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are mortgage lending behemoths that own or guarantee nearly half of the mortgages issued in the United States. They buy mortgages, convert them into securities and sell them to investors. The mortgage foreclosure epidemic, sub-prime lending crisis and sagging housing market, coupled with other complex economic forces, all work against Fannie and Freddie.

Nine in the 9th

Jul 13, 2008
9th districtmapgovtrack.jpg
Govt Track

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 13, 2008 - The 9th Congressional District stretches across Missouri like a hand-stitched quilt. Some patches are rural, some urban, some red, some blue.

The district encompasses the progressive city of Columbia and parts of conservative St. Charles County. It borders the rural southwest corner of Iowa and western border of Illinois.

9th District profiles: Ken Jacob and Lyndon Bode

Jul 13, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 13, 2008

Ken Jacob

Lately, Ken Jacob might be known for the two primary debates he’s waged with Rep. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, over Onder’s abortion bill (more on that tomorrow.) But in the four years since Jacob left political life after losing the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor in 2004, the debates in Columbia and Wentzville were the first he’d participated in.

9th District profiles: Judy Baker and Steve Gaw

Jul 13, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 13, 2008

Judy Baker

Look at Democratic Rep. Judy Baker’s committees in the Missouri House of Representatives and you’ll find her main issue pretty darn quickly.

McCaskill criticized for FISA vote

Jul 11, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 11, 2008 - Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has been irritating liberals for months by joining in support of the new law that expands governmental authority to conduct foreign intelligence wiretaps. This week, liberal blogs reacted in dismay as the bill passed with McCaskill's yes vote. One, the KC Blue Blog, ran the picture of Sen. McCaskill presiding over the Senate as the bill passed. Accompanying the photo was the headline, "Claire Collapses in Defense of the Constitution."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 11, 2008 - The recent controversy regarding the Rev. Jesse Jackson's comments directed at Sen. Barack Obama along with the larger commentary drive home the complexities of the various levels of racism. If we fail to recognize these complexities, we miss the real issue at hand: Racism is not one-dimensional, rather it exists on individual, cultural and institutional levels.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 11, 2008 - The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine makes no apology for benefiting from a congressional “earmark” that has become an issue in Missouri’s Republican primary governorship contest. In fact, the institute says that it helps lobster marketers and consumers around the country.

Attorney general candidate forum hosts two contenders

Jul 10, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 10, 2008 - Two candidates for the Democratic nomination for Missouri attorney general found virtually no areas of disagreement during a forum Thursday night held at Webster University, but they strongly criticized a third candidate who didn’t attend.

Reps. Margaret Donnelly of Richmond Heights and Jeff Harris of Columbia criticized the third candidate, Sen. Chris Koster, D-Harrisonville, for supporting state government spending policies favored by the Legislature’s Republican majority. They also called into question Koster’s acceptance of large campaign donations from wealthy donors, such as Rex Sinquefield, who tends to give to pro-school voucher candidates.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 10, 2008 - This profile of Kenny Hulshof, the Republican candidate for governor, has been updated and revised since it first ran in July, before the August GOP primary election.

When U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof began his campaign for the GOP nomination for governor this year, he didn't put forth many positions on how his election would help Missouri. He offered few plans about how he would govern, focusing instead on his fight to beat Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the GOP primary.

Letters from Iraq: Baklava and Bartok

Jul 9, 2008
Chwas, at practice with Bzhwen, who brought Thayer to his home for a feast in Kurdistan. 2008. 300 pixels
Marc Thayer | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 9, 2008 - It's now 1 a.m. Thursday in Suleimanya and I just got back from a visit to a hookah bar with a group of guys from the Kurdish string orchestra. We sat on the roof of a new Internet café. We had pizza, roasted shish-kabob meats and apple-flavored tobacco in the hookahs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 9, 2008 - Sarah Steelman's roots in the conservative wing of the Republican Party run so deep that it's ironic that she's a political outsider. It's an image with which she feels comfortable as she takes on the party's consensus candidate, Kenny Hulshof, in the race for the GOP nomination for governor.

Commentary: Annie get your camcorder

Jul 8, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 9, 2008 -  It's been more than a year since the local chapter of the ACLU launched "Project Vigilant" in the Fairgrounds Park neighborhood of north St. Louis. This initiative, which issued video cameras to private citizens to record police misconduct, was announced with almost giddy fanfare and garnered widespread press coverage in June 2007.

Spy bill passes: Xmas at White House; chaos at myobama

Jul 8, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 8, 2008 - A bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - engineered by Bond and House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo. - has tied Sen. Barack Obama and his social networking site into knots. Obama's decision to back the bill after having said he would filibuster an earlier version, has outraged many of his most committed supporters. The largest group on Obama's social networking site, my.barackobama.com is the opponent of the bill, who are appealing to their candidate to reverse himself again.

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