Posts filed under Missouri

Chesterfield Boy Finishes Fourth Place in National Spelling Bee

Filed in MiscellaneousTags: Missouri, Saint Louis

Chesterfield's Rajiv Tarigopula finished fourth place in the National Spelling Bee, having been done in by the word "odylic":

Rajiv Tarigopula was eliminated from the spelling bee today, misspelling the word "odylic." He had advanced several more rounds earlier, to the final four, by spelling the words "infundibular", "gomphosis", "inion", "arytenoid", "rejoneador", "zouave" and "plumassier", "mucedinaceous" and "tontiner."


W Does St. Louis

Filed in PoliticsTags: Elections, Missouri, Republicans, Saint Louis

President George W. Bush is in St. Louis this evening, helping raise funds for Senator Jim Talent.

Talent ’06

Filed in PoliticsTags: Elections, Missouri

On the way to turning the seat into a red-lock: Talent is building a war chest and the Dems are struggling to find a worthy contender:

President Bush will headline a St. Louis dinner that is expected to raise more than $1 million for Sen. Jim Talent's re-election bid next year...

Talent, R-Mo., has already raised more than $1.3 million this year, with slightly more than that in the bank, according to campaign finance reports. Thursday's $2,000-a-plate fund-raiser would be Talent's largest single haul since the 2002 race, when he ousted incumbent Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan...

Democrats hoping to turn back the tide have struggled to find a prominent candidate to take on Talent in 2006. National Democratic leaders have spent months courting State Auditor Claire McCaskill, who narrowly lost the governor's race to Republican Matt Blunt last year, but she has been reluctant so far to enter the fray.

Talent is popular, solidly conservative, and making a good name for himself. He's easily raising money while the Democrats scrape the barrel for someone to run against him. Off to a good start...

(Hat Tip: John Combest)

Well, At Least They Admit It…

Filed in PoliticsTags: Media Bias, Missouri, Saint Louis

Editor and Publisher reports that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch will remain "Liberal" under new owner Lee Enterprises:

When Lee Enterprises Inc. agreed to purchase Pulitzer Inc. for $1.46 billion, it also agreed that the flagship St. Louis Post-Dispatch will keep its longstanding liberal editorial slant for at least the next five years, according to the purchase agreement mailed to Pulitzer shareholders Friday.

Well that's comforting; wouldn't want the Compost-Disgrace to become, you know, balancecd or anything...

Columnists Gone Wild

Filed in PoliticsTags: Judiciary, Media Bias, Missouri

Several St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnists downed a full dose of Liberal Kool-Aid today...

First is Jo Mannies' giddy commentary on several examples of apparent conservative dissention:

"We're frustrated that we have to fight this issue with Republicans in charge," said Messer, who's also a lobbyist for the Missouri Baptist Convention. "We hadn't expected it."

That seems to be a frequent complaint among conservative activists as they head into the session's final week. Social conservatives eager to take on abortion, gambling and stem cell research are shocked at seeing their dreams stymied by those they'd helped elect last fall to control the state House, the state Senate and the Governor's Mansion.

The new Republicans in charge have chosen to focus primarily on economic and education issues, while also opposing some of the social conservatives' initiatives.

Ironic, isn't it, that the party constantly maligned for consisting of rank-and-file marching lock-step in tune to the "party line" - not to mention, for being under the control of "right-wing" special interest groups - elicits such elation from a liberal columnist for the implied detriment of doing just the opposite?

Next up is Robert Joiner, who is beside himself in reaction to President Bush nominating Catherine Hanaway as the US Attorney for Eastern Missouri:

Hanaway's nomination, in contrast, seems to belie her party's platitudes about merit and qualifications. If she were African-American and Democrat, I suspect you would hear hard-line conservatives mouthing the usual cliches about affirmative action run amok. There has been no such whispering from the right about Hanaway, once known as much for her vindictiveness in Jefferson City as for her trademark cigars.

No, what I expect to hear from hard-line conservatives this time is . . . silence, as they figure out how to rationalize this embarrassing contradiction between what they preach and what they practice.

Such vitriol from the Party of Tolerance. And what, pray tell, are your views on the US Senate Democrats' obstruction of Justice Priscilla Owen; or more telling: Janice Rogers Brown, who happens to be not only black, but also eminently qualified to fill the position to which she has been nominated? Which party is it, again, that consistently plays the Race Card?

Finally - and still on the subject of judicial activism - we have a Post-Dispatch editorial that still can't understand how judicial activism undermines the role of the judiciary in the check-and-balance system:

Under the proposal, known as House Joint Resolution 23, impeachment trials would be conducted by the state Senate instead of by leading judges. Let us count the ways this is a bad idea: One, it ignores the lessons of Missouri history. Two, it would subject judges to political pressures in violation of the concept of separation of powers. Three, it stems from a profound ignorance of the role of the judiciary in a democratic society.

The only "profound ignorance of the role of the judiciary" apparent here is that of the Post-Dispatch editorial board. A fundamental premise of the check-and-balance system is that powers are separated between the three branches, and that the three branches cannot act independently of each other. How can the judicial branch be truly "checked" if it polices itself - as is the case with the judiciary carrying out impeachment proceedings on judges? Apparently, most of the rest of the United States agrees:

He says he simply wants Missouri to follow the same procedure for impeachment that is followed in 48 other states and the federal government, with the Senate holding trials. That also was the Missouri procedure before the 1945 state constitution was enacted.

And what was it that happened prior to 1945, that was so egregious that the rules were changed? Somebody almost was convicted by a partisan state senate in an impeachment trial:

In 1931, Democratic state Treasurer Larry Brunk was acquitted by the state Senate of converting state money to his own use, thus frustrating the House member who managed the effort to remove Mr. Brunk... Mr. Brunk got off because he was a former state senator himself. Mr. Limbaugh said that only the partisan politics of the Senate trial saved Mr. Brunk.

So... what? By most counts, the impeachment of Andrew Johnson happened for purely partisan reasons, and to this day, democrats whine that President Clinton's impeachment for obstruction of justice and perjury before a federal grand jury was a similar ploy of partisan politics. Would supposedly impartial judges provide any better balance than a bicameral legislature buffered by a two-party system? As if we need any more evidence of the editorial board's bias, they state it here, explicitly:

The group says that judges should be impeached if a decision is "clearly in opposition to the plain meaning of the constitution," even if a judge "simply misunderstands" the law.

The proposed amendment might be dismissed as the rantings of fringe groups and legislators...

Holding judges accountable to uphold the law, as written by the legislature and enacted by the executive, against bench-legislation and incompetence, embodies rantings of fringe elements? And the Post-Dispatch editorial board deigns to presume whom does and does not understand the role of the judiciary in a democratic society...

(Hat Tip: JohnCombest.com)

Talent ’06

Filed in PoliticsTags: Elections, Missouri

Challenger #1 is wooed. According to ArchPundit:

This will be a meeting where Chuck Schumer and the DSCC try and court her and convince her they can support her bid well enough to win.

Which is exactly why I'm already on TalentWatch. One of the first things I did when moving to St. Louis in September 2002 was change my voter registration, so I could be sure to help Jim Talent beat that political hack, Jean Carnahan. My involvement in the '06 race - whether officially or, more likely, unofficially, will be considerably more than simply casting my vote. More details to come...

UPDATE: The Kansas City Star covers the same story.


Filed in Science, Social IssuesTags: Missouri, Saint Louis, Sanctity of Life

I'm off to walk with the St. Louis Young Republicans in Missouri Pregnancy Resource Center's Walk4Life. Come out to the Tremayne Shelter at Creve Coeur Park and join us!

Absolutely Fascinating

Filed in PoliticsTags: Missouri, Saint Louis, War on Terror

Samir with captured dictator Saddam HusseinWhile I don't often agree with their politics, I generally enjoy reading the sub-/counter-culture weekly Riverfront Times. It usually has well-written articles of local interest, like this one, which ConservativeDialysis found and wrote about. (Ditto the caveat: RFT doesn't fall under "family-friendly" in the language department.)

Some choice nuggets:

Samir says a soldier fired several blank rounds into the bunker's exposed opening, and a man's voice cried out from the spider hole, pleading for his life.

"He said, 'Don't shoot. Don't kill me,'" recounts Samir.

How appropriate. The last, defiant words uttered in freedom by the murderous tyrant were a plea for mercy. Mercy, I might add, he would never have dreamed of giving anyone.

Later, when the world's most wanted man was whisked onto an awaiting helicopter, Samir remembers Saddam muttering to himself in English, asking the same question again and again: "America, why? America, why?"

And the cries continue to rise from the mass graves, filled with those killed by the Saddam regime, the silent din crying out in unison: "Why, Saddam?", "Why, Saddam?"

Samir was a twenty-year-old college student living in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah when he joined a civilian uprising against Saddam. It was 1991, and U.S. and coalition fighters had just declared a ceasefire after liberating Kuwait.

Encouraged by the Republican Guard's swift defeat, Samir grabbed the family AK-47 and joined thousands of southern Shiites organizing a massive rebellion. In hindsight, Samir says, the revolution was doomed from the start.

The ceasefire allowed Saddam to regroup and launch a counterattack against his own people. It soon became clear that the United States never planned to assist the Shiites with any tactical support. The failure of the U.S. government to provide military assistance during the uprising still strikes a sour chord with Samir and countless other Shiites.

"We were defenseless," fumes Samir. "Saddam began a retaliation campaign with tanks and helicopters. Our guns were useless."

George Bush Senior's worst mistake: not finishing what he started. How long did it take Coalition forces to rebuild the trust lost by this perceived betrayal?

The next morning Samir hopped on a Humvee for the half-hour drive to his parents' home. The entire neighborhood, some 700 residents, poured into the streets to greet him."It was an awesome feeling," he says. "I felt like I was coming with the U.S. forces to free my family. It was the best feeling of my life."

Not a bad homecoming, for someone who left in fear for his life - returning like the conquering hero from the Hollywood westerns he loved as a child.

Samir is quick to anger when people dismiss the necessity of the U.S. invasion of Iraq -- or, even worse, when they question the validity of Saddam's capture.

Not that they elaborated on this point, but kudos to RFT for even writing it; it pretty well flies in the face of the beliefs of most of their readership.

Late last month Samir returned to Iraq for the third time since the fall of Saddam's regime. This time he's working not as a interpreter but as a political and cultural consultant in the U.S. government's rebuilding efforts. The job can earn Samir in excess of $100,000 a year, though he says he'd do it for half as much.

As to the risks of arbitrary suicide bombings, Samir says he'd rather die in Iraq than here in a car accident or from a heart attack.

"Everyone dies one day," he muses. "Dying with honor is better than dying with nothing. At least you're going to be remembered."

And this man will be remembered well, of that I am quite sure.

Weinstrasse Season – How Safely To Enjoy A Wine-Tasting Trip

Filed in MiscellaneousTags: Food/Wine, Missouri

'Tis the season... now that spring has arrived, it's time to resume the weekend drives to the many wineries in the St. Louis area. My usual weekend-afternoon trip involves a drive down MO-94W between US40 and Hermann, MO - a stretch of road better known as the "Weinstrasse." I normally make stops at Sugar Creek Winery, Montelle Winery, Augusta Winery, Mount Pleasant Winery, and depending on how much time I have, and how far I want to go, Balducci Winery and Stone Hill Winery.

Now, lest you get worried about drinking and driving, there are important rules to the winery road trip:

First, you have to take your time at and between wineries. Generally, it's a good idea not to rush at the tasting itself, as doing so would be inconsiderate of the hosts, who are serving you wine for free. Also, the longer you take, the more you will enjoy the experience, and the longer you allow for the alcohol to metabolize. While you are at the tasting, get to know your host, and their selection - known as the flight - of wines. If you take a genuine interest in the winery and their offerings, I guarantee it will be appreciated, and you will be remembered.

Second, limit the selection and amount of wine you sample. Probably a no-brainer, but herein lies one of the biggest abuses of wine-tasting. Especially for we amateur wine-tasters, the pallette can probably only handle 4-5 different wines before the tastes become indistinguishible. And you really only need an ounce or so of a given wine sample in order to ascertain the smell, bouquet, color, body, taste, mouthfeel, etc. of the sampling. And doing so, you'll only drink the equivalent of one glass of wine, at most, at each winery.

Third, drink plenty of water, and eat before and/or during your tasting trip. The water will keep you hydrated, help prevent inebriation, and help clean your pallette to allow you better to taste each sampling. Eating will also help prevent inebriation, and can also add a really enjoyable element to the trip. Most wineries have outdoor patios or dining areas that often offer great views of the surrounding country, and that make a great place for a picnic, or just to sit down, relax, and unwind. In addition, while most wineries have rules prohibiting bringing outside alcohol on the premises, they encourage you to bring your own food.

Fourth, try to include wineries that offer tours of the facilities (in this area, Mount Pleasant and Stone Hill both have great tours). In addition to learning a lot about the facility, wine production, and the history of the region, you will do a fair bit of walking, and again will be adding more time between drinking occasions.

Fifth, try to end your wine trip by visiting a winery offering some form of entertainment, which can range from free to somewhat expensive and may include live music, dancing, chef-prepared dinner, or even a murder-mystery event. The entertainment provides a great way to spend an evening, and again, will give you plenty of time to assure that any alcohol has had ample time to run through your system.

Follow these guidelines, and you will have a great, and safe, time on your wine-tasting trip. And if you are ever in the St. Louis area and would like a guided tour, let me know!