Political Translation



Bush inherited a $237 billion surplus that a 2001 report from the Congressional Budget Office projected would total $5 trillion from 2002 through 2011. That course has been reversed.

Shopping for a new look

The Parkade Center looks stripped down without its awnings, and inside, the smell of paints wafts up the stairs from the lower level — all proof of the adage that things usually have to get worse before they get better.

Columbia’s oldest mall is undergoing its first major face-lift since 1990, intended to make it more visible from Business Loop 70 and bring in new retailers and shoppers.

To this fan, Stan’s the man

Martha Spath’s favorite St. Louis Cardinals baseball player is Stan Musial.

Even as her memory fades, Spath, 85, remembers being a young teacher in Alton, Ill., and taking a passenger train with her brother south along the Mississippi River to Sportsman’s Park. Back then, Musial, a Hall of Fame legend of the 1940s and 1950s, led the Cardinals to three World Series titles from 1942 to 1946.

Medicare gap could be costly

If the words “doughnut hole” bring pastry to your mind, your thoughts are sweeter than DeForrest Cline’s. For him, as for many seniors and senior advocates, the phrase refers to a gap in prescription drug coverage left by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.

Under the new policy, which will begin in January 2006, low-income Medicare recipients will be reimbursed for part of their prescription drug costs if their spending is under $2,250. At that mark, the coverage will stop until costs exceed $5,100 (equivalent to $3,600 in out-of-pocket spending) and catastrophic coverage will kick in — a mark that could leave an estimated 19,080 Missourians paying full price for prescription medications.

Experience a major factor in four-candidate race

JEFFERSON CITY — Experience in elective office has become one of the issues of contention in the race to become Missouri’s secretary of state.

The race features Catherine Hanaway, the Republican speaker of the Missouri House, and Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, a first-time politician and the daughter of the late Gov. Mel Carnahan and former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan.

Audit looms over 25th District race

Bob Northup, Republican candidate for the 25th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives, is citing a 2002 state audit that found University Physicians lost millions of dollars as evidence that Democratic opponent Judy Baker lacks leadership skills.

While interim executive director of University Physicians for 21 months, Baker said, she identified problems in the system but was not there long enough to address the complex issues and fully implement solutions. Baker left after a full-time executive director, Patrick Thompson, was hired.

Flu shots represent a greater problem

As a matter of disclosure, let me say first that I have never had a dose of flu vaccine. That’s because I’m scared to death of needles. For years, my sister asserted if I ever had a shot of penicillin, it would cure any disease I might have. But most of my friends consider the vaccination a fall ritual, and I can understand how upset they are that there is a shortage and they are unable to get a dose.

New drug plan confuses many senior citizens

Nearly two months after her mother was approved for a drug discount card through AARP, Jackie Cruise is still struggling with red tape.

“Mom is 95 and lives in Kansas City,” Cruise said. “She is starting to become less sure of herself with paperwork and doesn’t even understand the cards, so my sister and I decided I should help her out.”

Name recognition plays role in low-profile race

JEFFERSON CITY — For a generally low-profile statewide office, a short list of past Missouri treasurers boasts some prestigious political names.

The office has become something of a political stepping stone; three of the past four treasurers went on to higher political office. Mel Carnahan and Bob Holden became Missouri governors, and Wendell Bailey was elected to the U.S. Congress.

Held in suspense

Performer Mario Manzini escaped from two pairs of handcuffs and a straitjacket Sunday afternoon while hanging upside down from a burning rope suspended 100 feet in the air.

Much to his surprise, he did so in 1 minute, 19 seconds, breaking his old record by 27 seconds.

Amendment 3 sparks debate over Mo. roads

Federal reports have shown the quality of Missouri’s highways ranks near the bottom when compared to that of other states. Although most local candidates agree the state’s highway funding method has serious potholes, there is no shortage of ideas for fixing the problem.

Most local state representative candidates support Amendment 3, which appears on the Nov. 2 ballot and would require that all taxes collected on fuel and automotive sales be earmarked for road improvements.

In the spotlight

When it comes to playing music before a crowd, band class doesn’t count. Neither does a 30-person audience of family and friends.

For The Juice, a high school rock band in Ashland, a real audience can be found at the Battle of the Bands at Southern Boone County High School.

Losing Big

Walking down the hall at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Tennessee, Kiesha McGaughy called out to her old boss, whom she hadn’t seen since movinAg to Columbia from Nashville in 2000.

“It’s me!” said McGaughy, 33, an administrative assistant in the MU computer sciences department.

Community Sketchbook

Title: “River scene Bed and Breakfast of Boonville, Missouri”

Artist: Byron Smith

Shooting to hit the high notes in a key speech

Several weeks ago. I was asked to speak at a state convention. As a matter of fact, they asked me to be the keynote speaker. Gulp… I found my dictionary and looked up the definition for keynote. The second meaning listed said, “the basic idea.” OK, I thought. This is a convention of educational office personnel. I’ve been in the school office (in trouble) in every educational facility I had attended. I could talk about that. However, the first meaning of the word keynote read, “the lowest basic note.” That definition struck terror in my heart.

“Great,” I thought. “I’ll bomb, and my speech will be remembered as the worst in the history of the organization.”

Passionate Potter

The artist:

Irene Alexander, a Columbia artist, took her love for art to the next level when, at 47, she decided to quit her job at a bank and enroll in the Stephens College art program in 1980. Now 71, she has a bachelor’s degree in art and sells her pottery in the Poppy art gallery.

Life in black and white

To many, traditional black-and-white photography is an out-of-date practice. At first glance, a colorless image may seem like a representation of the past — a piece of history captured for personal or collective posterity. And because today’s digital cameras can transform the most fumble-fingered into an accidental pro, black-and-white photography may hold little appeal for some beginners.

But for amateur and professional photographers, shooting and developing black-and-white pictures can present a unique challenge to their creative and technical skills. The craft of taking black-and-white photographs is what Michael Lising, who teaches a photography class at the MU Craft Studio, finds most appealing about the medium. Lising compares it to cooking, another pursuit with rules that beg to be broken.

Voter Preference or Visual Pollution?

With the campaign season at its height, election propaganda has saturated our lives. Yard signs, buttons and live debates all try to persuade us to cast our votes in a particular direction. Political society scrutinizes everything from size and placement of signs to the potential backlash and spin of negative advertising. Taking a casual glace at our landscape, some could debate whether campaign advertising has reached a point of diminishing returns. Does a discarded sticker really aid political understanding or simply litter the sidewalk? Does a flurry of campaign signs actually encourage voting or simply mar the ambience of downtown? Are we visually shouting so loud that we have become numb to the process?

Air filters can improve quality of air, quality of life

When Lindsey Suntrup, an MU junior plagued by 39 allergies, found herself in the heartland of allergens, she frantically searched the Internet for some relief.

Suntrup, a 20-year-old from St. Louis, said she has difficulty enjoying fall in mid-Missouri because of its high weed pollen index. Kansas City and St. Louis are among the top six worst U.S. cities for allergies, according to a study by Sperling’s BestPlaces, a research firm that analyzes quality-of-life data.

Cooper wins liquor license appeal, for now

The sign reading “No beer until we obtain a new liquor license” has faded and cracked since it was taped to the cooler at Cooper’s Landing in Easley four months ago. But Cooper now has reason to remove that sign — as long as it sticks.

Four months after the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control refused to renew owner Mike Cooper’s liquor license, a state commis-sion ruled Thursday that his license should be reinstated.In its ruling, the Administrative Hearing Commission — an organization that handles disputes involving state agencies and the public — ruled that Cooper did not lack good moral character, as the division had alleged. The division has been ordered to reinstate his license, but it can appeal.“It makes me feel like there’s some hope that when an injustice has been done, sensible people will realize that and fix the problem,” said Jim Karpowicz, a coordinator of the Missouri River Relief Project and one of Cooper’s character witnesses at the August appeal hearing.