Politics & Issues | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics & Issues

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 27, 2008 - The U.S. Supreme Court broadened the legal protection of workers who face retaliation for complaining about discrimination at work. The court ruled that workers who complained about race and age discrimination were protected from reprisals, just as are those who complain about sex discrimination have been protected since a 2005 decision.

Commentary: Personal observations of 'Tomorrow'

May 27, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As we settled into our seats in the cavernous performance hall, murmurs of shock and sadness spread with word of the Hamas rocket attack on Ashkelon. Just the night before in this hall, the murmurs had been of an alleged corruption scandal and the consequent impending downfall of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Yet for three days soaring above these whispers were the words of Elie Weisel, “Our history should not be others’ nightmare. Our hope should not be others’ despair.” Or of Amos Oz, Israeli author and humanitarian, who reminded us that realized dreams always bore an element of disappointment.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Two different efforts to make an end-run around the powerful teachers union lobby met with vastly different fates.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: By a 7-2 vote in U.S. v. Williams, the Supreme upheld the federal PROTECT law making it illegal to advertise, present, distribute or promote material that purports to be child porn. The law was Congress' response to a Supreme Court decision several years ago throwing out a law that made virtual child porn illegal. The court threw out that law because it had traditionally based its child porn decisions on the need to protect the children depicted. With no real victims involved in virtual child porn, that justification disappeared.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Sen. Barack Obama is a bi-racial man running for president. Most people label him as African-American. Any way you slice it, some people do not support him solely because of his race. There, I said it.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Last month, Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States and promised to do everything he could to rid the priesthood of predators. Before even touching down on U.S. soil, he said, “We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry.”

This is a good time to assess how his local representative is doing on that front.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The prosecution of Lori Drew in the MySpace cyberbullying case appears to be the first time that a federal prosecutor has tried to make it a federal crime for a computer user to violate one of those "terms of service" agreements that no one reads. As despicable as Drew's alleged conduct was, the prosecutor's legal theory would make most of us federal felons.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Good deeds don't need a holiday.

Sometimes, they happen just because ... it's spring.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A year later, you can almost see the egg on Terry Jones' face. About 12 months ago, the political scientist at the University of Missouri at St. Louis was among pundits who saw the political campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as the equivalent of a colt signing up for the Kentucky Derby.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: You won't catch me saying anything provocative in an email, no ma'am. Actually, that is not true. I routinely send missives that provoke and irritate half the recipients, simultaneously titillating the other half. I do not use expletives, which garishly punctuate certain bloggers' tirades and try not to embarrass my wife or my mom. In other words, I will defend every last word I write -- with today's technology you might as well be skywriting.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: More than the honorary degree Phyllis Schlafly is about to receive, the controversy surrounding her is itself fitting testament to the outsized role she's played in the national debate for most of her long life.

Once again, she stands in the spotlight - smiling and quotable - as opponents fulminate about the attention she's getting. This is vintage Schlafly.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The state Supreme Court's 4-3 decision upholding same-sex marriage is likely to face an almost immediate challenge at the ballot box.  Opponents of same-sex marriage already had been collecting names to put the issue on the ballot in November - a move that could affect who comes out to vote in California during the presidential election. (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he respects the court decision and will not work in favor of the ballot initiative to overturn it.)

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Political campaigns are often likened to horse races. If you saw this year's Kentucky Derby, you'll understand why. That contest offered the perfect metaphor for the Democratic presidential primary in that the only female running wound up dead in second place, while Big Brown cruised to victory.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Replacing Justice John Paul Stevens with a Thomas/Scalia/Alito clone could move the court more dramatically to the right than any Supreme Court appointment in the past half century. The balance of the court on issues like religious freedom, affirmative action, gay rights and flag burning could switch. Hence the importance of the next president's selection of a new justice.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, two talented, evenly matched candidates, are nearing the end of an epic battle for their party's presidential nomination. It's hard to remember that the Republican contest was even more unpredictable than the Democratic one after three different candidates each had won important contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Caitlin Ellis wants to know what Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton has to say about the economy, the war or the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for that matter, she doesn't tune into CNN or wait for the evening network news. Instead, she's more likely to get her version of the truth by tapping into some of the so-called new media on the Web, such as YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace.

Commentary: Oud sings the song of peace

May 9, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Israel at 60 can be proud of many accomplishments, and one glaring failure: the elusive peace. I have an experience of Israel across its great divide that few people in the world have had. In a country of Jews and Arabs that rarely mix, I have mixed with both.

Melissa (holding Ditto), Derek, David and Steve Squires have Mother's Day together.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Beacon Archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Staff Sgt. Melissa "Missy'' Squires can look at her photos from Iraq now.

The dramatic pictures of her Missouri National Guard unit, the 203rd Engineer Battalion, Company B, digging through the rubble of the U.N. building after a terrorist attack in August 2003.

The dozens and dozens of pictures of life on base, her unit's construction projects and posing with friendly Iraqis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri House's action on Thursday is the latest in a complicated series of legislative actions and court decisions on the voter ID issue. Missouri and Indiana were among the states where Republican legislatures passed voter ID laws in the name of limiting voter fraud. Democrats claimed the purpose of the laws was to disenfranchise poor voters less likely to have IDs. The Missouri Supreme Court threw out the state law based on the high level of protection that the state constitution provides for the right to vote.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Should the law continue to require all drivers to carry liability insurance?

I think this requirement is one of our silliest and most damaging. Let’s look at the issue from both sides: the side of a person who has assets to protect and who carries insurance, and the side of a working poor person who has enough money for a car to get to a job, but not enough money for insurance.

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