Editorial: Obama for president: A second term for a serious man. : Stltoday

Four years ago, in endorsing Democrat Barack Obama for president, we noted his intellect, his temperament and equanimity under pressure. He was unproven, but we found him to be presidential, in all that that word implies.

In that, we have not been disappointed. This is a serious man. And now he is a proven leader. He has earned a second term.

Mr. Obama sees an America where the common good is as important as the individual good. That is the vision on which the nation was founded. It is the vision that has seen America through its darkest days and illuminated its best days. It is the vision that underlies the president’s greatest achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Twenty years from now, it will be hard to find anyone who remembers being opposed to Obamacare.“

He continues to steer the nation through the most perilous economic challenges since the Great Depression. Those who complain that unemployment remains high, or that economic growth is too slow, either do not understand the scope of the catastrophe imposed upon the nation by Wall Street and its enablers, or they are lying about it.

To expect Barack Obama to have repaired, in four years, what took 30 years to undermine, is simply absurd. He might have gotten further had he not been saddled with an opposition party, funded by plutocrats, that sneers at the word compromise. But even if Mr. Obama had had Franklin Roosevelt’s majorities, the economy would still be in peril.

Extraordinary, perhaps existential, economic challenges lie just beyond Election Day. The nation’s $16 trillion debt must be addressed, but in ways that do not endanger the sick and elderly, or further erode the middle class or drive the poor deeper into penury.

The social Darwinist solutions put forward by Republican Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, are not worthy of this nation’s history, except that part of it known as the Gilded Age.

Mr. Obama has not been everything we expected. In his first weeks in office, Democrats ran amokwith part of his economic stimulus package. His mortgage relief program was insufficient. Together with his Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, the president has been too deferential to the financial industry. The president should have moved to nationalize troubled banks instead of structuring the bailout to their benefit. Regulatory agencies and the Justice Department were unable to bring financial crooks to heel.

We had hoped that Mr. Obama would staff the executive branch with the best and the brightest. There have been stars, but there have been egregious failures, too. The "Fast and Furious”operation at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was a disgrace. The vastly expensive and unaccountable intelligence and Homeland Security agencies need stronger oversight. The now-renamed Minerals Management Service could have used some best-and-brightest inspectors before the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

People who don’t understand the word ‘socialist" accuse Mr. Obama of being one. But as president he has proven to be pragmatic and conciliatory. He is not one to tilt at windmills. He did not close Guantanamo. He cut deals with anyone who’d come to the table. In health care, banking regulation and most other policy areas, he has practiced the art of the possible.

In foreign policy, after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for doing little more than not being George W. Bush, he has been a centrist. He has stood with Israel, but not as its surrogate. He brought the last of the U.S. troops out of Iraq. He began to wind down the war in Afghanistan — too slowly in our view. He let the nations of the Arab Spring follow their own course to democracy. He used thumb drives instead of bunker busters in Iran.

Against the advice of his senior advisers, he approved the SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden. He has been almost ruthless in his pursuit of terrorists, reserving to himself the right to approve targets. Regretfully, he massaged "due process" to allow himself to assassinate an al-Qaida leader who was an American citizen.

As to Mr. Romney, we are puzzled. Which Mitt Romney are we talking about? The one who said of himself, in 2002, “I’m not a partisan Republican. I’m someone who is moderate and … my views are progressive.”

Or is it the Mitt Romney who posed as a 'severely conservative“ primary candidate? Is it the Mitt Romney who supported abortion rights and public health care subsidies in Massachusetts or the one who is pro-life and anti-Obamacare now?

Is it the Mitt Romney who wants to cut taxes by $5 trillion or the one who can’t remember saying that now? Is it the Mitt Romney who said in May that 47 percent of Americans are moochers or the one who said last week that’s not what he believes?

Mr. Romney apparently will say anything that will help him win an election. As a president, he might well govern as a pragmatic chief executive, or he might sell himself to the plutocrats and the crazies who have taken over his party. He is asking Americans to take a lot on faith — there’s nothing to see in his tax returns; he can cut taxes and whack away debt while trimming deductions he will not specify.

Mr. Romney's business career is the only way to judge his foundational beliefs: He did not run a company that built things and created jobs and strong communities. He became fabulously wealthy by loading up companies with tax-deductible debt, taking millions out up front along with big management fees. Some companies were saved. Others went bankrupt. Mr. Romney’s firm always got out before the bills came due, either in lost jobs, bankruptcies or both.

If the nation’s most pressing issue is debt, why elect a president whose entire business career was based on loading up companies with debt?

In picking Mr. Ryan as his running mate, Mr. Romney signaled that he’s ready to perpetuate that model in public office. The middle class hasn’t had a raise in 20 years. Income inequality has reached record heights. Mr. Romney is the very embodiment of what’s gone wrong with the economy: Too many people at the top create vast wealth that they do not share, either by creating jobs or by paying fair tax rates.

STLPD sports columnist Bryan Burwell dies at 59 | #RIPBryanBurwell

No one liked game day more than Bryan Burwell. He loved the camaraderie of the press box, the ebb and flow of that day’s athletic event, and the labor of love in bringing that event to life for Post-Dispatch readers.

Burwell, a longtime sports columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, died early Thursday (Dec. 4, 2014) after a short battle with cancer. He was 59.

It was Burwell’s desire to keep his illness private. He had hoped to keep working as long as he could and didn’t want people feeling sorry for him. He fought cancer like he lived life and wrote columns, with vigor, an upbeat attitude, and even a smile on his face.

Burwell joined the Post-Dispatch in 2002 after working as a sports correspondent for HBO’s “Inside the NFL.” During his long sports career, Burwell also wrote columns for USA Today, The Detroit News, and worked at the New York Daily News and New York Newsday.

Burwell also worked in radio and television, co-hosting an afternoon radio show in St. Louis on CBS Sports Radio 920. He was a regular on ESPN’s “The Sports Reporters” television show. Besides HBO and ESPN, he also once did work for Turner Sports.

In 2011, he wrote a book on longtime Raiders coach and football analyst John Madden, entitled: “Madden: A Biography.”

He pioneered video production at the Post-Dispatch with a studio built for his video blog, Upon Further Review, at the Post’s main office in downtown St. Louis.

With such a diverse and well-traveled background, Burwell knew a lot of people in the business, and the reaction to his passing Thursday was swift and heartfelt.

Among them, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King perhaps best summed up Burwell’s love of his job in describing a trip he made to Rams training camp this summer.

“Here’s a guy that’s 59, closing in on retirement and the end of his career, and you couldn’t believe how excited he was because that day he’s gonna interview Ethan Westbrooks,” King recalled. “Not Michael Sam. Not Sam Bradford. He’s interviewing the 41st guy on the roster, and he’s carrying around this little video thing (camera) and all excited.

"It says that he loved stories. He loved telling a good story. And he could adapt and adjust to our business, the changes in our business. … There’s such a great lesson in his verve and his excitement of doing his job.”

Burwell had a great sense of humor, and a booming laugh. Former Seahawks beat writer Danny O'Neil, now a radio talk show host in Seattle, described his favorite memory of Burwell this morning on Twitter (@dannyoneil):

“After 7-9 #Seahawks beat 7-9 #Rams to make the playoffs (Bryan said): "Should we just apologize to the country for this?”

Burwell loved the pureness of sport and athletic competition. The plight of the underdog and the swagger of the superstar. But he didn’t shy away from issues, be it steroid use in baseball or racism in sports. He wrote strong opinion and when called for, could be strongly critical. And he could break stories. The last column he wrote for the Post-Dispatch, on Oct. 14, broke the news of plans underway for a new football stadium on the north edge of downtown.

“Bryan was on top of his job at all times,” said Roger Hensley, assistant managing editor/sports at the Post-Dispatch. “And even moreso than that, if you ever needed help on anything — from a small feature on a local high school kid to a column on the Rams dome situation — nothing was too big or too small for Bryan. He delivered good stories, human stories, to our readers.

"It sounds corny, but I would describe him as sweet and kind and generous. He was the opposite of the curmudgeonly old journalist. He was a kid, and doing sports journalism was a candy store for him.

"And you could talk to any of our guys who cover our beats — the Cardinals, Rams, Blues, Mizzou, SLU — and they would all tell you Bryan Burwell was the best teammate you could ever have.”

A former hurdler at Virginia State, he loved track and field, college sports, basketball. And, oh, did he love covering football.

Burwell’s columns and feature stories were honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has also won awards from the Associated Press, United Press International, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Professional Basketball Writers Association, and the Pro Football Writers Association.

When Burwell joined the Post-Dispatch in 2002, Sports Editor Larry Starks wrote: “Burwell has an excellent record of writing strong, opinionated, insightful columns. We know sports in St. Louis are so important to so many of you that we’re thrilled that we can provide a strong voice in Burwell and Bernie Miklasz.”

Burwell is survived by his wife, Dawn, and a daughter, Victoria.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Reactions from around the country to Bryan Burwell’s death

Sign an online guest book for Bryan Burwell

Here is our original report on the death of Bryan Burwell:

Bryan Burwell, a longtime sports columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, died early Thursday (Dec. 4, 2014) after a short battle with cancer. He was 59.

Burwell joined the Post-Dispatch in 2002 after working as a sports correspondent for HBO’s “Inside the NFL.”

During his long sports career, Burwell also wrote columns for USA today, The Detroit News and worked at the New York Daily News and New York Newsday.

His columns and feature stories were honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors, and won awards from the Associated Press, United Press International, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Professional Basketball Writers Association and the Professional Football Writers Association.

The APSE named Burwell one of the top 10 sports columnists in the country in 2007. In 2013, his ground-breaking “Upon Further Review” video columns were recognized by Editor and Publisher in its Eppy Awards.

When Burwell joined the Post-Dispatch in 2002, Sports Editor Larry Starks wrote, “Burwell has an excellent track record of writing strong, opinionated, insightful columns. We know sports in St. Louis are so important to so many of you that we’re thrilled that we can provide two strong voices in Burwell and Bernie Miklasz.”

In his first column at the Post-Dispatch, Burwell wrote about his return to sportswriting after six years away.

“I left the sports writing business and became a full-time, pampered, TV talking head. But even as the voice got deeper, the suits got fancier, the expense account just a little heftier, and the hotels and plane tickets went five-star and first-class, deep down inside, I was still just another ink-stained wretch looking for a free meal and another game to cover,” he wrote.

He detailed big events he covered, including Michael Jordan’s comeback and sprinter Ben Johnson’s expulsion from the Seoul Olympics after a positive drug test. 

He wrote in that inaugural column he wanted his first one to be “just” a column. “But the folks who sign my checks suggested I introduce myself to you, because, I was told repeatedly, St. Louis sports fans were different.”

Burwell said he hoped to make readers laugh, cry or think. 

Sports Editor Roger Hensley said, “Bryan Burwell was one of the most well-respected sports columnists, not only in St. Louis, but in the nation. His work in sports video was truly innovative.

"But as great as Bryan was as a journalist, he was even better as teammate, as a co-worker and as a friend.”

Tributes to Burwell lit up Twitter as the news spread. St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long said “He was a really good dude. He was always a true professional, always upbeat. ”

Rams executive vice president Kevin Demoff tweeted, “Profoundly saddened by the passing of Bryan Burwell. His ability to find humor and optimism in life was surpassed only by his love of sports.”

Audio: Frank Cusamano on the death of Bryan Burwell

h/t: Jim Thomas at St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Bernie: Baby Birds earning their wings

Scary. And that would generally describe Shelby Miller’s imposing performance in Saturday’s early start against the San Francisco Giants.

Working the visitors over during the Cardinals’ 8-0 victory in the first of two scheduled games at Busch Stadium, Miller pitched seven shutout innings, struck out seven, and added to the growing collection of exceptional showings from the Cardinals’ freshmen arms.

Through 11 starts, Miller is 6-3 with a 1.82 ERA. As of Saturday afternoon that ERA ranked second in the NL to the 1.71 ERA sculpted by Arizona’s Patrick Corbin.

And who is to say that Miller is the finest of the St. Louis fledglings? He’s done the most so far, but Michael Wacha and Tyler Lyons aren’t exactly, say, Mike Busby and Rigo Beltran.

By the way, that isn’t a shot at Miller. He’s the real deal, and one of the most exciting young talents to arrive in St. Louis in any professional sport in many years. But what does it say about the quality of the rookie hurlers when we can’t state, conclusively, that Miller will go on to have the best career?

And top pitching prospect Carlos Martinez isn’t even in the rotation yet; that day is coming. Wait until Baby Pedro signs in.

This pennant chase feels more like an inevitable, resolute charge by defending champs with all sorts of motivational chips on their shoulder.

Because they live way off the main grid of baseball’s daily national awareness out here in the heart of Middle America, self-conscious Cardinals fans often squawk about how it often feels like the Redbirds are The World Series Champion That America Forgot.

We apologize for this brief moment of Midwestern insecurity and our endless local preoccupation with the real or imagined notion of television’s obsession with that dark and sinister force called Big Market Baseball.

Instead, we’ll allow Cardinals loyalists a moment of chest-puffing pride, because now that St. Louis is on the verge of another World Series it might be time to at least start preparing the acceptance speech for the case that the Cards ought to be considered baseball’s best franchise over the past 10 to 12 years.
Bill O'Reilly Says St. Louis Post-Dispatch Is "Dumb & Corrupt" - NewsHounds

Along with Bill O'Reilly’s narcissism, his hypocrisy knows no bounds. While he feels free to attack any and all who disagree with his “traditionalist” world view, he gets just a wee bit thin skinned when it comes to any criticisms of Bill O'Reilly. While he had no problem accusing an abortion provider of  illegally “killing babies,” he’s rather annoyed about an editorial, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch which dared to mention his name in an article titled “Screaming at Each Other, Won’t Improve Our Democracy.” The theme of the article was about how people are losing trust in the media due to the tone of the discourse. Their mortal sin is a bit of mild snark about how both MSNBC and Fox talkers, like Bill O'Reilly, can increase one’s blood pressure.  For mentioning his name, they have earned the rebuke of the great and powerful Bill O'Reilly who, while not issuing a boycott, is ordering his minions to stop reading this “dumb & corrupt” newspaper which accurately discussed the type of toxic talk that Bill O'Reilly specializes in!

After citing a poll shows that 60% of Americans don’t trust the media because it’s “inaccurate and slanted,” he launched into his attack on the “left wing” St. Louis Post-Dispatch because this newspaper used its First Amendment rights to gently critique Fox News which, as we know, is a paragon of accuracy and fairness.

Fact Check: In May of this year, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that its average weekday circulation declined 4.2%. Where is O'Reilly getting his number from? They also note that their average weekday digital circulation grew 61.6%. The bankruptcy filed by Lee Enterprises was part of a debt refinancing plan negotiated with creditors. They state that this “will have no impact on its business and that its papers will continue to publish.” Additionally, "employees, suppliers and customers will not be affected, the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday.“

Bill then ordered his "folks” not to read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Underneath all that bronzer, Bill O'Reilly has some mighty thin skin which the St. Louis Post-Dispatch got under. And if “the folks” don’t trust the media, they should just stick to Fox News where it’s all, as clearly demonstrated on “The Factor,” “fair & balanced.” (Not)

H/T: Priscilla at Newshounds