Politics & Issues | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics & Issues

Racial memory: Clear as black and white

Jun 27, 2008
miles_davis300olivernurock.jpg
Photo by Olivr Nurock

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 27, 2008 - In the past four years, since I began work on my new book on the terrible 1917 East St. Louis race riot, my wife and I have told hundreds of people from the St. Louis area about the project, and have discovered a fact that is both remarkable and thoroughly understandable.

In general, white people, even those who have lived in this area for most or all of their lives, have never heard of the riot - a riot that arguably was the deadliest of the 20th century.

Newspaper photo from "made in USA: East St. Louis" (Virginia Publishing), by Andrew Theising 300 pixels  2008
St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 27, 2008 - Note from the author:

July 2, 2008, is the 91st anniversary of the East St. Louis race riot, the first and officially the deadliest of a series of devastating racial battles that swept through American cities in the World War I era.

Arch grounds: change or not?

Jun 26, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 26, 2008 - Former Missouri Sen. John C. Danforth believes the National Park Service has made up its mind against any changes or improvements to the grounds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

He described a meeting last night in Forest Park, and another one next week at the Old Courthouse downtown, as  "window dressing."

Supreme Court upholds individual right to keep a gun

Jun 26, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 26, 2008 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for the first time in history that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep a handgun in the home for self-protection. Through much of the 20th century, the Second Amendment had been viewed by the courts as protecting a collective right necessary to running state militias.

Countdown to Missouri's Aug. 5 primary

Jun 26, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 26, 2008 - Like determined safe crackers, Republicans labored for 84 years before they figured out the combination for breaking the Democrats' lock and taking complete control of state government in Missouri. Republicans already held majorities in the state House and Senate in 2004 when all the numbers fell into place and -- presto! -- Republican Matt Blunt took the governor's seat.

African diary - Kenya

Jun 26, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 26, 2008 - Kenya was the brightest spot on my first trip to Africa a year ago when our State Department-sponsored group traveled from Uganda to Kenya to Ethiopia. Kenya's economy was booming, the middle class growing and a robust election campaign was underway. The press was freer in Kenya than anywhere we went.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 25, 2008 - The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced on June 25 that it would hold the interest rate on banks' overnight loans at 2 percent. It also warned that inflation will get more scrutiny in future meetings. What the economists on the committee fail to comprehend is that actions really do speak louder than words.

Commentary: This Bud's for them

Jun 25, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 25, 2008 - A friend of mine stopped by the office the other day to ask me to sign a petition. Normally, I'm not much of a joiner, but it's hard to refuse a buddy so I asked him what we were protesting. Turns out I'm against the takeover of Anheuser-Busch.

Light the lights for Big Brothers and Grand Center

Jun 25, 2008
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Tom Nagel | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 25, 2008 - "Ma'am, are they taking applications in there?" the gentleman called from his white pickup Monday afternoon at the corner of Olive and Grand. "I've been wanting to do that.''

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 24, 2008 - From the back window of her shop, Tina Henley has quite a view.

To the right, she looks out on a bridge stretching over the Lake of the Ozarks. To the left, she sees the Lodge of the Four Seasons. Straight ahead flows the main channel.

kneedeepbeattie300.jpg 2008 caption "Corn is supposed to be knee high by now ... not the water."
Bruce Beattie | Daytona Beach Journal | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 23, 2008 - Devastating floods along the Mississippi River may have caught most of the media attention in recent weeks, raising fears of higher food prices and damaged crops in an increasingly global food market.

For weeks, however, farmers throughout Missouri and, to a lesser extent, Illinois, have been struggling through the wettest planting season on record, not to mention paying high prices for fuel, fertilizer and seeds.

Highway 79, Revisited

Jun 23, 2008
johnboatonroad300.jpg While Joe Landrigan can get around with an ATV, some people need boats to check on their homes. 300 pixels. 2008
Kristin DiFate | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 23, 2008 - ANNADA -- Joe Landrigan's utility terrain vehicle cut a frothy wake through caramel waters, the lone sound -- and sign -- of life in this speck of a town along Highway 79 in Lincoln County.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 22, 2008 - The Highway Department (I know its formal name is the Missouri Department of Transportation but its popular name in accordance with its habit and current practice is "Highway Department") recently gave its latest and most graphic display of dysfunction in Missouri transportation policy. It published a video of its proposed rebuild of I-70 across the state featuring an exclusive four-lane separate highway for trucks at a projected cost of $4 billion -- yes with a "b."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 19, 2008 - Chris Gebke knows her clients are starting to feel the pinch.

Trips to St. Louis for a Cardinals baseball game or an evening at the Muny are disappearing for the dozens of adults with developmental disabilities who rely on Community Link, a social service agency based in Breese, Ill.

Foreclosures: The problem is growing; seek help early

Jun 19, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Over the coming weeks, the Beacon, in partnership with KETC Channel 9, will be reporting on the sticky web of issues surrounding foreclosure - a crisis for nearly 2 million Americans, including thousands in the St. Louis region who have lost their stake in the American Dream.

Commentary: 13 o'clock in the land of the free

Jun 18, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 18, 2008 - "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." Thus begins George Orwell's dystopian classic, 1984. Published in 1949, the book envisions a totalitarian society 35 years hence, ruled by an omnipotent oligarchy personified as "Big Brother."

Tammy Porter holds her son Trentin, 17 months, as Jan Mills gives Brenden, 8, cupcakes for his recent birthday. 300 pixels  2008
Kristen Hare | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 18, 2008 - A white minivan travels through the streets of St. Charles, past homes with blooming gardens, businesses and churches.

Jan Mills watches the road ahead. In the back seat sits a week's worth of food -- cereal, peanut butter, jelly, Spaghetti O's, diapers, Kool Aid. Mills, the coordinator for social services with Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service, drives toward the home of a woman she met a little more than a year ago.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 17, 2008 - In an ironic twist, concern over the environment -- global warming and greenhouse gas emissions -- may help revive the long dormant nuclear power industry in the United States. For the first time since 1978, applications for new licenses to build new plants are being submitted. Moreover, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has already extended the licenses of roughly half the 104 nuclear plants already on line, which produce about 20 percent of the nation's electricity. 

Understanding the language of foreclosure

Jun 17, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 17, 2008 - If you -- or someone you know -- are worried about making house payments, it's time to take action. Trouble is, mortgage talk is a language many homeowners do not understand. ARMs, resets, balloons ... and the dreaded F word: Foreclosure.

Avoiding foreclosure: The options

Jun 17, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 17, 2008 - Get help now. Open your mail. Answer the phone. Don't avoid those calls from your lender; deal with your mortgage problems while you still can.

Ready to make the call? Here's your checklist

Jun 17, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 17, 2008 - When you call the hotline, you will be asked for some basic information before being referred to a HUD-approved nonprofit housing counselor. The counseling is free and private.

Ashcroft's actions after 9/11 subject of Supreme Court case

Jun 16, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 16, 2008 - The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear the government’s appeal from a decision permitting a Pakistani man to sue Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller for keeping him locked up after 9/11 based solely on his nationality.

Will air cargo take flight at Lambert?

Jun 16, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 16, 2008 - A tentative agreement announced Monday marks a step toward making Lambert St. Louis International Airport a cargo hub for Air China, China's state-owned carrier. Political and business leaders hope it will eventually result in a big economic boost for the region.

Commentary: Progress on race doesn't mean the end of racism

Jun 16, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 16, 2008 - What does it all mean? Landmark after landmark. Contradiction after contradiction. What does it mean when in the past weeks we have seen a biracial man clinch the Democratic nomination and a town in Mississippi host its FIRST integrated prom?

Water street in Grafton during 2008 flood. 300 pixels
Bob Criss | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 16, 2008 - Heartbreaking flooding is destroying thousands of homes and endangering their inhabitants, in an arching belt that extends 500 miles: from Des Moines to Milwaukee to Terre Haute. As the waters gather and flow downstream, they will affect numerous cities along the Mississippi River. Levees will be overtopped in many areas, streets are already flooded in many river cities and acre after acre of crops will be lost, too late to replant this year.

Mercifully, drier conditions are forecast for a few days, but the die is cast: The Mississippi River at many sites in eastern Iowa, western Illinois and northeast Missouri will attain record or near-record levels this year.

In memoriam: Tim Russert

Jun 15, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 15, 2008 - With a receding chin, puffy cheeks, hair that never quite looked neat and a self-described "face for radio," Tim Russert should never have made it to the top in an age of telegenic vacuity, dominated all too often by empty, but beautifully coiffed talking heads reading from teleprompters. The fact that he not only "made it," but was the dominant and most respected presence in American political journalism at the time of his death, says much about this Horatio Alger-style version of the "Rags to Riches" myth many had assumed long passé.

Editor's weekly: Journalism at the crossroads

Jun 13, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 13, 2008 - A few days ago, Sam Zell, who owns the Tribune Co., announced that he plans draconian cuts  for his news organizations. Because Tribune owns such luminaries as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, the announcement set off much gnashing of teeth in newsrooms.

"What has become clear as we have gotten intimately familiar with the business is that the model for newspapers no longer works," Zell told employees in a memo - a conclusion that I reluctantly agree with.

With the opening of the bike path on the McKinley Bridge, residents have another way to monitor water levels. So far, predictions indicate that the St. Louis area is not in danger. 2008 300 pals
Tom Nagel | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 12, 2008 - Mississippi River towns north of St. Louis are bracing for flood levels just short of record 1993 readings, but many community officials remained hopeful Thursday that damage to homes and businesses will be minimal.

Luckily for the immediate St. Louis region, this area likely will be spared the brunt of any significant flooding, said a Washington University geologist. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 12, 2008 - In an extraordinary rebuke to President George W. Bush and Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Thursday that prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay have the right to go to federal court on a writ of habeas corpus. This is the third time since 9/11 that the Supreme Court has found that the president violated the law or the Constitution in limiting the opportunities of prisoners in the war on terrorism to obtain a fair hearing.

Can adoption be colorblind?

Jun 12, 2008
braiding a young African-American girl's hair 300 pxls 2008
Kristen Hare | St. Louis Beacon archive

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 12, 2008 - Maryanne Dersch's white fingers reach into a slippery tub of conditioner. She smoothes it into her daughter's soft black hair.

"Are you gonna be a good girl? Good beauty shop?" Dersch asks Taylor, 2, who's seated at the island in her new family's St. Louis kitchen.

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