Saint Louis

Posts filed under Saint Louis

Rose-Hulman St. Louis Area Alumni Habitat For Humanity Project

Filed in PersonalTags: College, Missouri, RHIT, Saint Louis

Saint Louis area Rose-Hulman alumni and friends participate in St. Louis Habitat for Humanity in North St. Louis, 20 August 2005.
(Originally uploaded by Chip Bennett)

On Saturday, August 20, 2005, several St. Louis area Rose-Hulman alumni participated in a build project for St. Louis Habit For Humanity.

Alumni Ted Jaenke (ME'60), Eric Hopf (CS'02), Chip Bennett (CH'00), and Anna Johnson (non-alum) helped with Phase III construction of the Kennedy Household in North Saint Louis.

With the weekend forecast threatening thunderstorms, the RHIT alumni were blessed with a day of beautiful, sunny weather on a perfect summer day. The group helped with construction of the outdoor shed, back porch and stairs, front porch support columns, preparation of the exterior foundation for stucco work, and painting of the interior and basement walls and ceilings. Bennett volunteered to be the Site Safety Observer for the day.

The event - the first of its kind for the St. Louis area alumni group - was a success, and the group hopes to continue to work with Habitat For Humanity in the future.

Breaking: Explosion in St. Louis

Filed in MiscellaneousTags: Missouri, Saint Louis

Right now I'm watching coverage of an explosion at Praxair Distribution in south St. Louis (Jefferson and Chouteau).

Early coverage from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The blaze began around 3 p.m. at Praxair, a gas and tank company at 2210 Chouteau. As of 4 p.m. a policeman at the scene said no injuries had been reported. Explosions had slowed to perhaps one per minute from the frenetic pace of earlier in the afternoon. More than a dozen emergency vehicles were at the scene.

As I write this, Highway 40 is being shut down between the Poplar Street Bridge and Kingshighway - though tonight's Cards game is not expected to be interrupted.

Additional coverage: KSDK News Channel 5 (including photo gallery), KMOV News Channel 4

Stepping On The Rights of Business Owners

Filed in Politics, Social IssuesTags: Missouri, Saint Louis

The St. Louis County Council is about to consider a proposal to ban indoor smoking:

After months of contentious debate and careful negotiations, members of the county's Justice and Health Committee unveiled the latest draft of the proposed smoking ban Wednesday.

The legislation, which could be sent to the full council next week, bans smoking in restaurants and bars, while allowing Harrah's casino, area bowling alleys and Lambert Field to maintain separately ventilated smoking areas.

Of course, the proposal is selective - and therefore discriminatory.

The fundamental issue, though, is what right the government has to tell a private business-owner whether or not smoking (which, last I checked, was still a legal activity) is allowed in his establishment. A private business owner has the right to operate his establishment as he sees fit, and has the right to take the risk of losing patronage by allowing or prohibiting smoking at his establishment.

Personally, I detest cigarette smoke. It smells disgusting, it makes me sick, it tastes disgusting, and it lingers on clothes. I think smokers, as a group, are among some of the most inconsiderate people with respect to violating public fresh air (huddling around building entrances, and forcing non-smokers to traverse the second-hand smoke "gauntlet"), and littering their cigarette butts wherever they want. At the same time, smokers are among the most maligned group in the country.

While an equal-protection and equal-opportunity balance needs to be struck in public, owners of private establishments (be they businesses or homes) have the right to manage them as they see fit. I think "smoking sections" in restaurants are about as effective as "peeing sections" in swimming pools. That said, I vote with my feet and with my wallet. If I do not want to subject myself to a restaurant, bar, or other business that allows smoking, I can choose not to go there. If I want to support smoke-free businesses, I can likewise do so with my own feet and wallet. If enough people agree with me, then the free market will dictate which establishments stay in business.

The government has no right dictating.

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.

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...


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.