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Tuesday, April 15, 2003

30-year tax resister will refuse to pay again, protesting war in Iraq
By JIM GETZ Post-Dispatch
  Thirty years ago, St. Louis peace activist Bill Ramsey withheld his federal income taxes to protest the Christmas 1972 bombing of Haiphong in the war in Vietnam.
  Nothing has changed for him, 30 years later, except the bombing has shifted to Iraq. 
  Today, with about 30 others in the St. Louis area, Ramsey will again refuse to pay the taxes and instead will direct the amount to local humanitarian causes. 
  "I believe all the resources that come to me come as a trust," he said, "and I can't turn them over to somebody who uses them to kill people, and that's what the Pentagon does." 
  This infuriates some people who believe Americans should be willing to pay the tax bill that enables the benefits of living in the United States.
  They also are annoyed that the federal government seems to be more willing to prosecute tax resisters such as anti-government radical groups Posse Comitatus and the Freemen than protesters such as the anti-war St. Louis Covenant Community of War Tax Resisters. 
  Janine Meriweather investigated such cases for nine years for the Internal Revenue Service before becoming a spokeswoman for the agency last August. She has heard most of the claims, and many are found within the Department of Justice Tax Division's 56 pages of legal guidelines on tax resisters. 
  "They're basically the type of people who say, 'I'm not going to pay taxes because the Constitution doesn't say I have to pay taxes,'" she recalled. "Sometimes they put a religious angle on it or say that the type of income they receive isn't taxable." 
  Ramsey served 30 days in prison in 1993 for failing to pay taxes. Since then, though, Meriweather has not heard of any cases referred to the U.S. attorney in St. Louis, Ray Gruender. 
  "I would just say that we don't set criteria on the type of people we investigate," she added. "Each case is looked at evenly. There's no different standards for different types of people." 
  But Meriweather and Gruender say they can't comment on whether Ramsey or any other protester is being investigated - or why they haven't been in the past. 
  Gruender's office prosecutes based on evidence received from the IRS. Meriweather said the criminal division, when made aware of a case, tries to determine how much money is involved and how much "willfulness" there is to not pay. 
  The IRS investigation can take up to two years and another year after that before a charge is filed. 
  Nationwide, from October 2001 through March 2003, 346 people were convicted for failing to pay their income taxes. About 80 percent of them went to prison.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Day after war's beginning brings local calls for peace - Columbia Missourian: "They marched. They screamed. They prayed. They cried. They laughed. They sang. They spoke. They listened. Thursday was the day local peace advocates spent weeks planning for but hoped would never come."

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Students, faculty express opinions on war: "The 4th floor of Lucas Hall displays a bulletin board of anti-war sentiments. Patriots for Peace, as this montage of anti-war cartoons, information on patriotism, and upcoming events is titled, is maintained by Gerda Ray, associate professor of UMSL's History Department."

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

GREG FREEMAN 1956-2002: "Gregory B. Freeman, a Post-Dispatch columnist, unabashedly proud son of St. Louis and a tireless champion for racial harmony, died Tuesday (Dec. 31, 2002) at his home in the Central West End.
  Mr. Freeman, 46, joined the Post-Dispatch as a reporter on March 24, 1980, began writing columns in 1989 and became a full-time columnist in 1992. He attracted a large following for his column by writing about everyday life - his cats, his son's coming of age and his own struggle to control his weight - and time-honored virtues, such as courage, integrity and loyalty. He wrote frequently and passionately about civil rights and the need for St. Louisans of different races to look at the world through each others' eyes....
  Mr. Freeman's visibility and impact extended well beyond the newspaper. Since November 1999, he had been host of the KWMU-FM's "St. Louis on the Air," a current events talk and call-in show, and had been a contributor to the National Public Radio affiliate for a decade.
  Mr. Freeman also hosted a television show, "Mosaic with Greg Freeman," on KETC-TV (Channel 9), from 1997 to 2001. He was a leader in the National Association of Black Journalists and in several local journalism organizations, and took special pride in conducting workshops for black students who were interested in journalism.  "

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Rural America's new problem: handling sprawl | "Missouri... represents trends taking place around the country. Joplin and the state's three other smaller metro areas grew faster during the 1990s than the state's two largest metro areas - Kansas City and St. Louis - according to a new report on Missouri growth patterns released Sunday by the Brookings Institution in Washington. More telling, unincorporated, "open country" areas of the state saw population rise an average 12.3 percent. That's 50 percent faster than the population growth in Missouri's cities and towns... The result is a thinning and spreading of population that looks all too familiar to smart-growth advocates:"

Monday, December 09, 2002

Hundreds opposed to war let their feelings be known at rally By JODI GENSHAFT Post-Dispatch 12/08/2002 10:28 PM"
  The "Instead of War" rally to display opposition to U.S. military action in Iraq drew an estimated 1,500 people of all ages Sunday afternoon in downtown St. Louis.
  Protesters marched to Soldiers Memorial, at 14th and Chestnut streets, carrying hand-drawn signs and chanting, "Down with war, up with peace." Cheering them on was a group of young adults - many with dyed hair and painted faces - calling themselves the "radical cheerleaders." The young people chanted anti-war and anti-globalization cheers as the march set out.
  "We don't want to see innocent lives destroyed, Iraqi and American," said Lubna Alam, academic vice president of St. Louis University's Student Government Association.
  Alam said many college students felt an acute responsibility to speak out about the "pre-packaged" war with Iraq, "complete with theme music, colorful graphics and catchy sound bites." 
  "Why should we punish an entire nation for the heinous actions of one man?" Alam asked the audience at Centenary United Methodist Church in St. Louis, during the anti-war rally held before the march. Participants spilled into the aisles and hallways of the church, which seats about 1,200. An organizer of the rally estimated the crowd at 1,500. 
  Jason Murphy, 31, of St. Louis, said the turnout "proves there's not a national consensus in favor of violence in the Middle East." 
  A Gallup poll, conducted Nov. 22-24, showed that Americans support 58 percent to 37 percent a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Polling has continually illustrated that Americans want U.N. and allied support before U.S. officials launch military action.
  "We should be working through the United Nations to apply pressure," said Elizabeth Case, 70, of Clayton. 
   Iraq submitted a declaration of its weapons programs Saturday to the U.N. weapons inspectors in Baghdad. 
  U.S. officials say Iraq is violating U.N. resolutions requiring it to give up all biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, but Iraq claims it no longer possesses any banned weapons.
  "I don't think they have weapons we should be concerned about," said Carolyn Griffeth, 30, of St. Louis. "This isn't about democracy. Now we're fabricating a threat. Saddam isn't a threat, but the sanctions are a breeding ground for terrorism. Our only defense to terrorism is to invest in peace relationships in the Middle East." 
  The poll showed that about 80 percent of Americans think Saddam would use weapons of mass destruction to attack the United States. 
  Ron Strawbridge, 31, of Webster Groves, sees the threat differently. "I think he's a threat if he's attacked," Strawbridge said. 
  Anthony Fotenos, 26, of St. Louis, said mainstream opposition to war could have a big impact on U.S. military involvement. He said the success of the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War set a good example for future protests. 
  "I'm sure we would win a war in Iraq, but it will invariably come back to haunt us," said Fotenos, as his 2-month-old daughter, Naomi, slept next to a poster that read "Babies for peace." 
  The Rev. Emery Washington, president of Congregations Allied for Community Improvement, said he feared the legacy being left for future generations. He said, "There has to be another way" to resolve the U.S.-Iraqi conflict. 
  Still, some protesters were skeptical that the anti-war sentiment would have staying power. 
  "I don't think support will last as long as it did in Vietnam," Murphy said.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Nurses' Association Says in Study that Big Hospital Chain Overcharges Patients for Drugs: "Tenet Healthcare, already under scrutiny for receiving unusually high Medicare payments in recent years, apparently charged patients high prices for drugs as well, according to a new analysis by the California Nurses Association to be released tomorrow. In recent years, Tenet-owned hospitals have raised their drug prices to roughly eight times actual costs, the association said. Tenet, one of the nation's largest commercial hospital chains, has come under intense scrutiny for the unusual amount of special Medicare payments it has received in recent years. By raising prices sharply at some of its hospitals, particularly in California, Tenet received hundreds of millions of dollars in special payments. "

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: UMSL still plans to open arts center next year: "The departure of its executive director has left the nearly finished performing arts center at the University of Missouri at St. Louis without a staff, an operating budget and a schedule of events.... A big setback for the center has been the state of Missouri's refusal so far to produce the $1 million in operating funds UMSL had been counting on to help plug the building's projected annual operating deficit of $1,245,000."

Give WU a first-class performing arts center: "Washington University is the richest educational institution in the region. Its endowment (more than $4 billion before the stock market tanked) consistently ranks among the Top 10 for universities in the nation. It has a wealthy alumni base whose members give generously when called on. Its building projects provide seemingly nonstop work for construction companies. One would expect the university to have a performing arts center to match its business school, its law school and its other fine facilities. One would be sorely disappointed in that expectation. Many suburban high schools in the area have better setups."

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Ashcroft's Terrorism Policies Dismay Some Conservatives: "Many religious conservatives who were most instrumental in pressing President Bush to appoint John Ashcroft as attorney general now say they have become deeply troubled by his actions as the leading public figure in the law enforcement drive against terrorism."

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Moderate earthquake leaves impression -- but little damage: "The Evansville earthquake struck a fault about 6 to 10 miles deep and a half-mile long in the Wabash Valley Fault System.... Both fault systems were created about 600 million years ago.... The middle part of the United States was stretched too thin, and a tear called the Reelfoot Rift opened. The ripping ran out of steam around Cape Girardeau, Mo., giving rise to the New Madrid fault system... The same event produced a series of small cracks in the Wabash Valley region - at the junction of Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. It is considered by many to be the northern extension of the New Madrid fault system... Significant recent tremors on the Wabash Valley and New Madrid fault systems:
Nov. 9, 1968: Broughton, Ill.; magnitude 5.5
June 11, 1987: Lawrenceville, Ill.; magnitude 5.0
Sept. 26, 1990: New Hamburg, Mo.; magnitude 5.0"

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

There was a 5.0 quake in SW Indiana today, the first quake I've felt in Missouri. It felt like it lasted for about 10 seconds, but the seismograph showed the strongest activity lasting for about 30 seconds. Here are some seismograph plots. Unsurprisingly, but interestingly, they show it starting in St Louis at about 12:38:20 pm CDT (11:38:20 CST), but 40 seconds earlier in Bloomington:
St. Louis:
Bloomington Indiana:
NW Alabama:
Little Rock Arkansas:
Event summary page (slow):
List of recent quakes:

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

In Similar Cases, One Inmate Is Executed, One Wins Stay: "Napoleon Beazley, 26, of Texas, and Christopher Simmons, 26, of Missouri, both committed murder when they were 17. They filed identical claims before federal and state courts, arguing that executing an inmate who was younger than 18 at the time of his crime violates the Eighth Amendment's provision against cruel and unusual punishment. Today the Missouri Supreme Court granted Mr. Simmons, who was to be executed next week, a stay pending the outcome of a related United States Supreme Court case that will be decided by the end of June. Mr. Beazley was put to death by lethal injection in Huntsville shortly after 6 p.m. after the United States Supreme Court refused to hear his petition and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied his motion for a stay, and after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 10 to 7 against clemency. "

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Dams, and Politics, Channel Flow of the Mighty Missouri River: "By the end of this month, the Army Corps of Engineers will decide whether to alter flows in the Missouri. But no matter what the corps decides, there will be challenges in the courts and a long-running battle will continue in Congress among influential lawmakers representing far ends of the 2,341-mile-long river. In Congressional disputes over the Missouri, parochialism almost always trumps party loyalty and political ideology. The hundreds of biologists, hydrologists and other river experts who assembled here in April agreed that the scientific debate about how best to rescue the Missouri had been over for years and the restoration of seasonal river flows had won."

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

St. Louis: Hundreds demonstrate here against actions by Israelis: "With cries of "We want justice, we want peace," a line of vocal but orderly demonstrators about 500-strong made its way from Lewis Park in University City through the city's Delmar Loop to protest Israeli actions against Palestinians." Great crowd, lots of Palestinian families.

A SISTER'S GIFT OF LOVE, HOPE & SURVIVAL: "Post-Dispatch columnist Greg Freeman was lucky. When he needed a kidney, his sister answered the call."

St. Louis Who'll step to the podium?: Hans Vonk's stepping down - "Of the 25 largest orchestras (in North America), over half have either installed a new music director this year, are in their final year of an old music director, or are actively searching"

Friday, April 12, 2002

Vonk's role at Symphony may change: "Hans Vonk, music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, has asked to redefine his role with the orchestra because of health concerns, according to Symphony sources"

Monday, April 08, 2002

St. Louis - GOP questions role union, nonprofit group play in Carnahan race: "Republicans are suggesting that the Service Employees International Union and Pro Vote are engaging in partisan campaign activities and questionable fund raising for Sen. Jean Carnahan. Democrats say the accusations are meant to take away attention from controversy over Jim Talent's work as a lobbyist. Every time President George W. Bush shows up in Missouri, several groups plan to greet him with pickets and protests. Their signs so far have singled out Bush, but Republican leaders say that the groups' real target is Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Talent. As evidence, the Missouri GOP points to the protest last month by the Service Employees International Union and Pro Vote, a nonprofit coalition, outside the America's Center. Inside, Bush was helping Talent raise money."

Thursday, April 04, 2002

House members urge UMKC to fire professor for writings about pedophilia - "send a message: Pedophilia is not something that should be discussed. Not even in academic journals. And especially not by an employee of a Missouri land-grant university."

Riverfront Times - Hartmann - Ashcroft $$: "Post-Enron, Ashcroft is finally getting recognition as someone willing to participate in that smarmy all-American game: politics as usual. Sure, Ashcroft remains holier than thou. But there's a growing recognition that his moral piety doesn't mean he acts like some goody-two-shoes when there are lucrative favors to be called in. ... What Monsanto gave Ashcroft over his Senate years amounted to more than $50,000, according to the Post-Dispatch. What its spin-off got was a consent decree -- blasted by state officials as a "sweetheart deal" -- that could save the company millions. ...What Adam's Mark gave Ashcroft was a total of $15,700 in contributions -- from CEO Fred Kummer, his family and his employees -- according to the Washington Post. What it was slated to get was early release from a costly consent decree stemming from a bodacious discrimination case involving black hotel guests in Florida. "

Thursday, March 28, 2002

No more cuts, say heads of colleges in Missouri: "Leaders of Missouri's public four-year colleges and universities have gone on the road, telling audiences around the state that their schools have taken more than their share of state budget cuts. They brought that word Wednesday to a meeting hosted by Harris-Stowe State College and the University of Missouri at St. Louis on the UMSL campus. Among the points made: * Missouri has reduced the share of general revenue going to higher education from 16 percent in 1980 to 12 percent this year."

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Missouri: Stop Studying and Do Something!: "Missouri River ecosystem is in a significant state of decline. There's been a lot of degradation of the ecological properties of the system. There's ample scientific evidence to credibly demonstrate that and there doesn't need to be any more research done to make that credible. The most important thing is to undertake some immediate action."

Saturday, March 23, 2002

UMSL unveils long-range plans for expansion of campus and programs: "University of Missouri at St. Louis intends to get bigger in every respect - land, students, degree programs and buildings. The campus laid out its vision of the future Friday in planning documents presented at a meeting of the board of curators"

Friday, March 22, 2002

Lead Company Agrees to Buy Homes. The owner of the nation's largest lead smelter has agreed to buy 160 nearby homes to protect the community's children from pollution. By The Associated Press.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Law firm calls anti-Talent accusations absurd: "Talent worked for almost 10 months for the Washington firm of Arent Fox Kinter Plotkin and Kahn. The firm's expertise includes lobbying Congress and the federal government on behalf of its clients. Missouri Democratic Party Executive Director Mike Kelley has asked Talent to make public his billing records because at least six of Arent Fox's new clients last year were Missouri firms or groups with ties to Talent. Kelley is accusing those clients of funneling money through Arent Fox to give Talent a private income while he considered running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Jean Carnahan, a Democrat. The companies deny it. Arent Fox registered all six with Congress as new lobbying clients on the same day. "

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

St. Louis : Chemicals turn up in well near old nuclear fuel plant: "Officials with Westinghouse Electric Co. have warned 18 homeowners who live near what used to be a nuclear fuel plant in Jefferson County that their drinking water might be contaminated. Company officials said Monday that a well tested last week showed traces of trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene. The chemicals were used as cleaning agents at the facility in Hematite, about 35 miles south of St. Louis, in the 1950s and 1960s. Westinghouse bought the plant about two years ago. The finding, at a home about a half-mile south of the plant, follows an announcement last month that contaminants had surfaced in another well north of the plant."

St. Louis : Proposed asphalt plant would face tough scrutiny: "even if the asphalt facility met minimum standards, it would add to the pollution burden faced by residents of nearby neighborhoods. "There's no reason for them to place a dangerous facility in a low-income neighborhood so they can build roads in West County," Berg said. "North St. Louis already has a disproportionate share of air polluting facilities." The plant would be the second asphalt producer in the city,"

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Crowd of 150 is a mixture of Bush backers, opponents

Bush Revives Tax-Cut Plan Providing Aid to Businesses: "he helped raise roughly $1.5 million at the $1,000-a-plate dinner" in St. Louis... and the article makes no mention of the spirited protest outside the hotel, linking Enron and the Bush administration.

Sunday, March 17, 2002

Mizzou students flock to course on Islam, but it's not likely to be offered again soon: "The religious studies department has asked the university for years to hire a full-time Islamic studies instructor, only to be told it was not a priority. Now that it is, the university has imposed a hiring freeze on faculty because of a tight budget."

Carpenters' independence tests unions' Democratic leanings: "takes credit for helping put Republicans in control of the St. Louis County Council, and it hosted Interior Secretary Gale Norton when she dropped by recently to promote oil exploration on Alaska's protected lands."

St. Louis - Health care union loses its bid to represent four groups at St. Anthony's Medical Center: "The United Health Care Workers of Greater St. Louis on Saturday lost its latest bid to represent workers at St. Anthony's Medical Center, the area's third-largest hospital. ... Four groups of workers - registered nurses; skilled technicians, including licensed practical nurses; skilled maintenance workers; and service workers - voted against organizing and selecting United Health Care Workers."

Saturday, March 16, 2002

Support for Ryan's freeze on executions has fallen, poll finds: "Ryan spokesman Dennis Culloton said the [Illinois] governor was not worried about what people think. "This has never been about what is politically popular"

Friday, March 15, 2002

St. Louis Ballpark Village may be key to Cardinals' deal for new stadium

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

St. Louis Nurses might face firing for unpaid dues: "About 80 registered nurses at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in Creve Coeur might be terminated for not paying union dues, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655 said Monday. A union security clause in the nursing contract, the first in the state between an AFL-CIO union and a nongovernment hospital, requires covered registered nurses to pay dues or service fees. ... 1,358 of 1,478 eligible nurses have joined the union; the number fluctuates daily. Thirty-eight did not join but pay a service fee that is about 7 percent lower than the dues rate.... Jerry Tucker, an adviser to the United Health Care Workers, said the unionization process at St. John's has been raised several times by opponents in the St. Anthony's election."

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

St. Louis Workhouse long has housed city's most dangerous inmates

Monday, February 25, 2002

'Enemy Women': Odyssey in the Ozarks: "Paulette Jiles's first novel tells the story of southeastern Missouri during the Civil War, a place and a time when enemies were friends, friends were enemies and betrayal was common currency"

Sunday, February 24, 2002

Winter has been content to stand idly by so far: "all 48 contiguous states were warmer than normal in November, December and January. For Illinois and 22 other states, it was the hottest or second toastiest ever. In Missouri and six other states, the November-through-January period ranked among the five warmest. Last month was the warmest January on record globally, 1.24 degrees above normal and slightly warmer than the old record, set in January 1998, according to the climate center."

Monday, February 18, 2002

Bush Featured in G.O.P. Ads Criticizing 5 Senators: "Democratic senators who voted against his economic stimulus package. The advertisement is directed at Max Baucus of Montana, Jean Carnahan of Missouri, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Paul Wellstone of Minnesota."

Collected by Jonathan March with Radio Userland software