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This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 10, 2008 - Benjamin Franklin once commented on the universal inevitability of death and taxes. Leona Helmsley later dissented, remarking; “Only the little people pay taxes.” While her death last year would tend to confirm the first part of Franklin’s observation, there is increasing evidence that Leona may have been on to something when it comes to taxes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 10, 2008 - Sept. 30 may be the last day of public access to the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, Ill., Is that outrageous enough?

Well, that's also the last day for Fort de Chartres near Prairie du Rocher and the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site in Galesburg. Thirteen state historic sites in Illinois close that day, leaving 34 employees out of work.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 10, 2008 - The three finalists for superintendent of St. Louis public schools spelled out their visions to a generally receptive audience Tuesday night at Vashon High School in north St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 9, 2008 - Telling supporters that a deteriorating national economy has put "the whole notion of the American dream on hold," Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden said the Republican ticket presents a serious threat to middle-class workers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 9, 2008 - One morning after breakfast during the GOP convention in St. Paul, Phyllis Schlafly, head of the conservative Eagle Forum, searched her mind for the right metaphor to capture the impact of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the Republican presidential ticket. Dressed in red and flashing a ready smile, Schlafly finally settled on the image of Palin as the drum-beating bunny in the Energizer battery commercials. Turns out the description was right - not the bunny part but the term "energizer," which seemed to convey the spirit and vitality that Palin brought to the convention the minute she stepped onto the stage and accepted the vice presidential nomination.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 8, 2008 - Come down here. Step down the stainless steel stairs and out of the stands. Show your red delegate pass to the kind yet stern man standing guard at the bottom of the stairs. Step onto the thin red carpet.

Come walk with me on the floor of the Republican National Convention.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 6, 2008 - In life, Mike Swoboda seemed like a perpetual motion machine as he moved around his town of Kirkwood shaking hands, joking with old friends, listening to people's problems, tutoring elementary school students and always recruiting volunteers for community service. Swoboda died Saturday morning after difficult months recovering from gunshot wounds and fighting cancer. He was 69.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 6, 2008 - Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin will try to become the first female to hold that office in the United States. Will she get an extra bump from women voters?

Generalizing about women voters in any election year is a little like saying that the only difference between hockey moms and pit bulls is lipstick.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Sept. 5, 2008 - A film on white privilege had just concluded and the 140 people at Saturday's meeting of the Community for Understanding and Healing were about to break into discussion groups when they received the shocking news. Former Kirkwood Mayor Mike Swoboda had died earlier in the morning Swoboda had been gravely wounded in the Feb. 7 City Hall shootings at which five city officials had been killed by Charles L. "Cookie" Thornton. The killings had led to the formation of the community group.

A film on white privilege had just concluded and the 140 people at Saturday's meeting of the Community for Understanding and Healing were about to break into discussion groups when they received the shocking news. Former Kirkwood Mayor Mike Swoboda had died earlier in the morning. Swoboda had been gravely wounded in the Feb. 7 City Hall shootings at which five city officials had been killed by Charles L. "Cookie" Thornton. The killings had led to the formation of the community group.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008 - In 1975, Dr. G.V. Naidu and his wife, Rajyalakshmi, moved to St. Louis. The Indian couple knew nothing of the city, but both had jobs here. They found no Indian groceries, no Indian restaurants and few other Indians. When Rajyalakshmi wore a sari, people stared.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008 - A new judicial evaluation system run by the Missouri Bar recommended that voters retain all but one of the 41 judges up for retention in November. The one is St. Louis County Associate Circuit Court Judge Dale W. Hood of Kirkwood. Hood, a former assistant prosecuting attorney in St. Louis County, was rated poorly by lawyers for not "demonstrating appropriate demeanor on the bench" and not "weighing all evidence fairly and impartially."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008 - ST. PAUL – Sen. John McCain accepted the GOP presidential nomination Thursday night before a crowd of exuberant supporters who interrupted him repeatedly with cheers and applause as he spoke of domestic and foreign challenges facing the next administration and promised to reach out to "anyone to help me get this country moving again."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 4, 2008 - I marched with the unions, the nuns, the WAMM, SDS, teachers, Iraq veterans against the war, immigrants marching for their rights, college students for change, Clyde Bellecourt, Colleen Rowley of FBI whistleblower fame, etc., all very regular people, quite respectful. And also, the headline grabbing "Urinebombers" at the peace march in St. Paul on Labor Day - and they are a bunch of idiots.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 3, 2008 - When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin takes the stage tonight at the Republican National Convention, she will step into the primetime spotlight less than one week after her surprise selection as John McCain's vice presidential pick - an event that turned her private life into an Internet free-for-all, followed by all-out media frenzy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 3, 2008 - The mood inside the St. Paul Xcel Energy Center began with anxious anticipation. This was the night that the convention really started, with the big names giving big speeches. We were ready.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 3, 2008 - When John McCain takes to the floor Thursday night, he will surely sketch out his vision of the country and what he hopes to accomplish as president. The Beacon polled a number of delegates and guests to the Republican National Convention and asked what McCain's top priority should be, if he's elected president.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 3, 2008- Among the 280 people arrested Tuesday in events surrounding the RNC was Amy Goodman.  A YouTube video appears to show that the left-wing newscaster was arrested as she crossed a line established by police.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 3, 2008 - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin came prepared for a fight like the tough hockey mom she is Wednesday night, swinging back at critics and the media for turning her limited experience and family situation into the latest focus of this year's presidential campaign.

>This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 -  A crowd estimated at 22,000 gathered at T.R. Hughes Stadium in O'Fallon, Mo., to hear presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain speak alongside his pick for vice president, Sarah Palin.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 - Life at the convention is busy but great. Monday I spent some time on the floor and was there for the opening gavel. Lots of famous faces -- NYT's David Brooks, CNN reporter Dana Bash, Sean Hannity and the fabulous McCain women. The main focus, while celebratory, was on Hurricane Gustav and those affected by it. We were excited to hear from the First Lady and Cindy McCain.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 - Hanging out with Gov. Matt Blunt

I had the privilege of speaking with Gov. Matt Blunt this morning. I asked him about what he was most proud of during his term in office. Without hesitation, he mentioned the budget and jobs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 - ST. PAUL - With the wrath of Hurricane Gustav fading, some speakers at the luncheons dropped the courtesies and picked up their knives, not to eat but to carve out sharp GOP positions on domestic and foreign policy issues. In the process, some took a few jabs at Barack Obama, too.

By far the sharpest attack came from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who wondered at one point what's so politically incorrect about the term "Islamic terrorist."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 2, 2008 - ST. PAUL — On the first full night of a GOP national convention that has seen plenty of surprises, Republicans put aside bread and butter issues and focused voters' attention on the character of John McCain. Speaker after speaker portrayed McCain as the nation's best hope for bringing the country together to solve tough problems at home and abroad.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 2, 2008 - Drinking alone in my rathskeller, I was unexpectedly visited by the ghost of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson, you'll recall, was the original national affairs editor for Rolling Stone and inventor of an iconic style known as "Gonzo Journalism."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 1, 2008- Sunday - The Missouri delegation has arrived in Minnesota. The attitude here is subdued, with our hearts and minds turned towards the Gulf. John McCain's campaign has been centered around putting country first, and that principle does not waver, even for a party's convention. So the Republican Party will be the second priority this week; America will come first. I think that is not only the right move politically; I think that it is the right thing to do.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 1, 2008 -  ST. PAUL -- Few Republicans were more gleeful Monday morning than Phyllis Schlafly, the anti-abortion conservative founder of the Eagle Forum, was when she showed up at the Missouri GOP breakfast. Schlafly suggested that she and Sen. John McCain were on the same wave length when it came to picking a running mate that would appeal to conservatives.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Mon., Sept. 1 - 9:45 p.m. - Word spread quickly among the delegates Monday about Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter and her pregnancy. I believe that this is a personal matter; in our society today, situations such as this are part of life. I am glad that Bristol will be keeping the baby and marrying the father, but like her mother, I am sad that she must begin to live such a different life at such a young age. Those that I have talked with feel the same way.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 31, 2008- Just arrived at the Missouri delegation hotel, which is in Brooklyn Park, a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul and actually about 45 minutes away from the convention center.

Gov. Sarah Palin's chief of staff was on our flight from St. Louis this morning! We were all standing in line waiting for our bags after the landing, and someone said, "Hey, this guy's from Alaska, you must be thrilled."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: August 30, 2008 - Like Lucinda, I could not be happier with John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for vice president. When McCain won the nomination, I reviewed all the potential Republican vice presidential nominees. Of all the possibilities, my favorite was Sarah Palin. And as I re-examined the field in the following months, Gov. Palin always was No. 1 on my list.

Palin has a wonderful story to tell the American people, one that I believe will connect with families, conservatives and women.

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