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Editorial cartoon showing rev. wright's shadow over the obama logo
John Sherffius | Boulder Daily Camera | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Tuesday’s Indiana and North Carolina presidential primaries will be the first ballot box tests of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s impact: a lifeline for Hillary Clinton, an anchor for Barack Obama or just some flotsam among the waves?

President Bush greets volunteer Jerron Johnson before giving him the President's Volunteer Service award, the highest award for service, at St. Louis Lambert airport on Friday. (300 pixels 2008)
Adam Wisneski | Post-Dispatch (pool) | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: President George W. Bush told high-tech workers at World Wide Technology in Maryland Heights on Friday that rebate checks will help counter slow economic growth and that he remained confident that the “economy is going to come on.”

Bush spoke to a receptive audience that interrupted him with applause several times during a session that included a discussion of gasoline prices, the mortgage crisis, slow economic growth and access to health insurance.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri boasts a veritable catalogue of unmet needs. These include education at all levels: Teachers' pay is low; the state's support of secondary and elementary education ranks toward the bottom; and college tuition in Missouri is higher than that in any other state in the Big 12 Conference. Health care is similarly starved for resources, and our transportation infrastructure is deteriorating. The state has yet to face the fact that a modern economy demands improvement in these areas, not a slide to the bottom.

King huddles with Pam Whitcraft of the Human Society in St. Louis. Until the trials are over concerning the dogfights King participated in, he can't be adopted.
Bill Smith | Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In a small, fenced exercise yard off Macklind Avenue, Humane Society of Missouri employee Pam Whitcraft and King -- a 3-year-old male pit bull with a coat the color of yellow sand -- were taking full advantage of the warm sunshine for a few precious minutes of outside playtime.

A strong wind was kicking up clouds of dust inside the pen, but it was not the wind that was bothering the animal this Thursday morning.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The case can be fairly made that the Democratic Party has spent the last 45 years searching for JFK. Like the star-crossed lover who broke your heart that you can never quite forget, Jack’s absence haunts the party faithful with a vague, but gnawing, institutional lament.

Photo provided by Matt Adler Adler (in blue shirt) makes his pitch for becoming a delegate during a Democratic congressional caucus in March. (300 pixls)
Provided by Matt Adler | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The millennial generation -- under 30 and Internet-savvy -- is known for its interest in service to others, volunteerism and social issues. After months of political networking before and after the Iowa caucus, Matt Adler began to sense that "millennials" were ready for something new -- a leap into the political arena.

Adler, 22, a Washington University senior who grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, is evidence of young people's deeper involvement. After hard work in local caucuses, he surprised himself by becoming one of the two youngest Democrats to win slots as delegates to August’s Democratic National Convention in Denver. The other young delegate is Sam Hodge, 21, a senior at Truman State University.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Why are you doing this? It’s a question the founders of the Beacon often get.

The short answer is we believe good reporting functions as the eyes of a community. Thoughtful analysis and commentary help all of us make sense of what we see. As traditional media have faltered economically, they’ve been providing less of these crucial services. We want to provide more.

Rocky Sickmann
Provided by Anheuser-Busch

For Rocky Sickmann of St. Louis, the U.S. war on terrorism began nearly 30 years ago -- on the morning he was taken hostage by Iranian militants and survived, along with 51 other American captives, 444 days of torment.

"If you talk to a lot of the hostages, you know the war on terrorism started on Nov. 4, 1979, when we did not retaliate on Iran. And it seems like Iran has humiliated us and taken us for granted ever since,'' Sickmann says.

2008 photo of Rocky Sickmann
Provided by Anheuser-Busch

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: For Rocky Sickmann of St. Louis, the U.S. war on terrorism began nearly 30 years ago -- on the morning he was taken hostage by Iranian militants and survived, along with 51 other American captives, 444 days of torment.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: After an absence of 27 years, as part of a centennial celebration, the Mother's Day house tour in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood will be up an running on Sunday, May 11. From noon to 5 p.m., visitors may tour 10 single-family homes and a recently rehabbed apartment.

Like many city neighborhoods, Skinker-DeBaliviere has single-family homes of various sizes, two- and three-family apartment buildings and multifamily structures. Most were built between 1908 and 1920 and have a similar style.

Soldier sleeps in a couch at the USo in Lambert Airport in 2008 before the place was improved. (300 pixels wide)
Provided by the USO

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The James S. McDonnell USO at Lambert airport could use a facelift, says Kathy O'Connor, executive director of USO of Missouri.

For starters, the maroon and navy-striped couches are showing wear. The walls could use a fresh color scheme. And there aren't enough electrical outlets for the personal laptops popular with today's "plugged-in" Armed Forces.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana's voter identification law on Monday by a 6-3 vote that avoided the normal ideological divisions. The decision won't revive Missouri's voter ID law, however, because the 2006 decision striking down that law was based on state, not federal constitutional grounds.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In a properly functioning democratic system, the legislature should make the key policy decisions, and executive officials should implement those decisions. There is no more important policy decision than determining what types of crimes merit capital punishment. In Missouri, the legislature has effectively delegated that decision to county prosecutors.

A thank you medallion from veterans celebration in 2008 (300 pixels)
Provided

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Welcome home, veterans. The VA is looking for you.

As part of a major national outreach, the St. Louis VA Medical Center is throwing a welcome home party for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan on May 17 at the Soldiers Memorial downtown. The VA will honor the veterans at a formal ceremony and present them with Global War on Terror medals.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Olan Horne, 48, a survivor of clerical sex abuse, believes that Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States marks a turning point in the way victims of sexual abuse are treated in the Catholic Church.

"I saw it in his face, heard his voice. He understands," said Horne, one of six survivors who met Thursday with the pope. Horne spoke with the St. Louis Beacon from his Massachusetts university food service office.

Phillip G. Gonzalez tries to make a point at 2008 GOP’s 2nd Congressional District Convention 300 pixels
Robert Joiner | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Delegates who support presidential contender Ron Paul were rebuffed Saturday when they tried to participate in the GOP’s 2nd Congressional District Convention at Kirkwood High School. The action was the most dramatic event to emerge as Republicans across Missouri held conventions in the state’s nine congressional districts to elect three national convention delegates each and three alternates. Paul's forces won all three delegates in the 5th Congressional District in Kansas City and one in the 8th district in Southeast Missouri.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A magnitude 5.2 earthquake roused St. Louis area and downstate Illinois residents just after 4:30 a.m. Friday. The quake, 38 miles from Evansville, Ind. and 128 miles from St. Louis, produced five aftershocks, each in the 2.0 magnitude range and a sixth aftershock that registered 4.6. The New Madrid Fault was not the culprit — this morning's quake originated in the Wabash Valley zone.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In the weeks since the Feb. 7 assault on the Kirkwood City Hall, a sizeable group of citizens has gathered regularly to discuss issues of race and to search for understanding and healing. In contrast to the larger community, no groups have formed at Kirkwood High School to specifically address these issues, although the Black Achievement and Cultural Club, the Social Justice Committee and students enrolled in the alternative education program, Atlas, have discussed them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It should be understood from the outset that the hanging of Jake Spoon was a task undertaken with a general lack of enthusiasm by all involved.

Spoon was a former Texas Ranger who had fallen in with a band of murderous horse thieves on the American frontier. Unbeknownst to him, a posse led by his old friends, Captains Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call, was hot on the trail of the desperados.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Last week, Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, had a chance to achieve one of his top legislative priorities this session. The senator, who faces a tough re-election, was pushing for Missouri to rename Route WW as “Carl Edwards Drive.” Edwards grew up in Columbia and is now a star on the NASCAR racing circuit.  

Graham’s bill, SB 1099, was called to the floor for perfection. Perfection is the most critical part of a bill’s journey to become law. Once a bill has been perfected, it can no longer be amended and often wins final passage.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Supreme Court’s recent ruling rejecting the argument that lethal injection is inhumane allowed some states to resume executions, but it only addresses a small sliver of the controversy. Justice Stevens went on record stating that the practice of capital punishment might very well be unconstitutional.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Two death penalty cases in the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday could affect Missouri. In one, a splintered court ruled that Kentucky could resume lethal injections, a decision that could restart executions in Missouri and most other states. In the other case, the court heard arguments that capital punishment should be permitted for child rape, a position that Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has urged on the court.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This being an election year, pundits are sure to admonish voters to study the issues. Campaign hype notwithstanding, citizens will be encouraged to soberly evaluate a given candidate's position on the pressing concerns of the day before making their choice. 

Unfortunately, facts are stubborn things and many of our fellow American Idol-izers are simply ignorant of those necessary to perform such an analysis. Worse yet, the things you think you know can be more dangerous than the ones you know you don't. Remember, at one time everybody knew that Saddam Hussein had WMDs.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Walking carefully with the help of his son but looking remarkably well, Mike Swoboda entered the room to a standing ovation. Fifty people stood around the edge of the spectator section, which seated another 75. More than 50 others spilled out the door and into the gentle spring air. A battery of five television cameras in the back of the room recorded the event.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I’ve decided that to achieve what Sen. Barack Obama referred to in his recent speech on race — the perfection of our union — we need to stop providing superficial remedies to social problems. I’ve begun to liken affirmative action to an anachronistic medical procedure that continues to be performed despite more advanced knowledge. It’s like treating the surface wounds and ignoring the underlying infection. Let me be clear: The need for affirmative action still exists. Unfortunately, race still powerfully affects individuals and shapes institutions. The malady still exists, but the remedy needs some updating.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In the venerable tradition of Lazarus, MacArthur and doggedly resilient souls everywhere, I return — again.

My writing career has acquired a zombie-like mystique because the damned thing just won’t stay dead. Some of you may recall that I used to author a weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That gig ended when I publicly disputed certain assertions made in a Post expose of the St. Louis Sheriff’s Department, where I presently work. Rather than debating the substantive issues I raised, the editors determined that I suffered from a “conflict of interest” and killed my column.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The politicians surely didn't intend it, but the recent debate over illegal immigration in the Missouri Legislature has provided an intriguing window into the innards of each party. A fair amount has been written about how the issue of illegal immigration exposes the fault lines in the contemporary Republican coalition, but in Missouri it’s the Democratic Party that shows greater strains.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Hurricane Katrina reinforced that race colors how we perceive the world and events around us. Our fear of talking about race paired with our flawed goal to be "colorblind" has left us having parallel conversations rather than a collaborative dialogue. Some say racism is anachronistic while others experience its relevance daily.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Missouri Democrats have now elected their full slate of superdelegates. Of Missouri's 16 superdelegates, five support Sen. Barack Obama, four line up with Sen. Hillary Clinton, and seven remain uncommitted.

They will join Missouri's 72 pledged delegates -- 36 for Obama, 36 for Clinton -- at the party's convention in Denver this August. Missouri has a total of 88 delegates.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Democratic candidate for president must win Missouri to win the presidency. To stop the Democrats from winning the presidency, the Republican Party must win Missouri's electoral votes for the third presidential election in a row.

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