Politics & Issues

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When the cabinet of the Interfaith Partnership of St. Louis held a retreat last week, the main item on the agenda was to discuss faith as a bridge over the area's racial divide.

But Batya Abramson-Goldstein, chair of the cabinet, said she realized another topic cried out for the group to discuss and take a stand -- the controversy over a Muslim center planned for a few blocks from Ground Zero in New York.

The two current lines of attack lobbed at Missouri's two major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate -- Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan -- both revolve around the same word: Deceit.

He's accused of misrepresenting his role and votes in the federal bank bailout, while she's under fire for switching her stances on the Bush tax cuts.

Missouri voters are likely to hear a lot about both issues as the Senate race heads into its final two-month stretch.

In 1982, Ronald Reagan signed into law both the Highway Revenue Act and the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TERFA). The Highway Act raised gasoline and trucking industry taxes. And with a yield of about 1 percent of the gross domestic product, TERFA is commonly viewed as the largest tax increase in peace time American history.

But 1982 was just a start in that Reagan initialed new tax increases every year from 1982-87. His 1983 social security tax hikes are still being implemented today.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has retooled his lawsuit against the federal health-care law to make it clear that he's not suing on behalf of the state of Missouri.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, in turn, dropped his court challenge of Kinder's initial suit, which Koster said at the time was ambiguous as to the lieutenant governor's intent.

Karla May, left, and Hope Whitehead
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | file photo

State Rep. Hope Whitehead, D-St. Louis, is challenging her narrow defeat in the Aug. 3 primary by Karla May, who was backed by Mayor Francis Slay.

Whitehead has scheduled a news conference at noon today downtown, in front of the Civil Courts building, where she plans to file a lawsuit asserting that city Democratic Party chairman Brian Wahby improperly allowed May to post "challengers" inside the polling locations.

In what's already shaping up as a take-no-prisoners U.S. Senate contest in Missouri, the independent spending is about to explode.

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.

Joe Biden in stl
Bill Greenblat | UPI | 2010

Vice President Joe Biden exhorted fellow Democrats gathered here Friday to remember what they stand for, and what they've delivered, when they make their case to the American public to keep Democrats in control in Washington, and to elect more Democratic governors.

Biden contended that Democrats can fare best in this fall's elections if the party and its candidates "lay out honestly what we did and honestly what the alternative is."

As it stands, said Biden and other national Democratic leaders, Americans are hearing a earful of inaccuracies and some outright lies.

Calvin Coolidge made a typically terse observation that deserves attention now that a jury divided on 23 other counts unanimously agreed that former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich lied to federal agents. “No man ever listened himself out of a job,” the iconically laconic 30th president of the United States once said.

Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine asserted Thursday that the Republican emphasis on the proposed mosque near New York's Ground Zero, and the growing inaccurate belief that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, "confirm a narrative" that the GOP is "whipping up fear and division" in the hope that such destructive tactics will win votes.

"The party of 'No' is wanting to go backward," Kaine told reporters after addressing national Democratic officials during today's "executive committee" portion of its two-day meeting in St Louis.

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