The Two-Way
11:25 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Obama Assures Japan Of U.S. Security Commitment

President Obama and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe depart Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant in Tokyo, on Wednesday. Obama met with Abe on the first stop of a four-nation visit to Asia.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama, at the start of a four-stop trip to Asia, sought to reassure Japan that the U.S. is on its side in a dispute with China over the tiny Senkaku islands chain, which has led to bluster and naval jockeying between the two countries in recent years.

Read more
The Salt
11:23 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Bake Bread Like A Pioneer In Appalachia ... With No Yeast

Salt rising bread is a yeastless Appalachian soul food.
Susan Brown and Jenny Bardwell

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:10 am

Growing up in West Virginia in the 1960s and '70s, Susan Brown would have a slice of salt rising bread, toasted, for Saturday morning breakfast. Her grandmother baked the bread with the mysterious and misleading name.

There's little or no salt in the recipe. No yeast, either. The bread rises because of bacteria in the potatoes or cornmeal and the flour that goes into the starter.

The taste is as distinctive as the recipe. Salt rising bread is dense and white, with a fine crumb and cheese-like flavor.

Read more
It's All Politics
11:19 am
Wed April 23, 2014

A Path Out Of Prison For Low-Level, Nonviolent Drug Offenders

The new guidelines are part of the Obama administration's effort to address long mandatory minimum sentences. Antwain Black (left) was released early after sentencing laws were first eased in 2010.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 2:44 pm

Thousands of nonviolent drug offenders serving time in federal prison could be eligible to apply for early release under new clemency guidelines announced Wednesday by the Justice Department.

Details of the initiative, which would give President Obama more options under which he could grant clemency to drug offenders serving long prison sentences, were announced by Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:55 am
Wed April 23, 2014

American Journalist Kidnapped By Ukraine's Pro-Russia Insurgents

In a photo taken earlier this month, U.S. reporter Simon Ostrovsky stands with a pro-Russian gunman at a seized police station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk. Ostrovsky has reportedly been seized by the pro-Russian insurgents.
Efrem Lukatsky AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 6:34 pm

An American journalist operating in eastern Ukraine has been kidnapped by pro-Russian gunmen, the separatists said Wednesday.

Simon Ostrovsky, working for Vice News, was seized at gunpoint early Tuesday by masked men in the restive eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk.

Read more
Economy
10:35 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Spirit Airlines To Begin Service In Kansas City

Spirit Airlines will begin service from Kansas City to five cities in August.
Credit Courtesy / Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines announced Wednesday they will begin service in Kansas City beginning August 7.

The Florida-based airline will provide non-stop service from KCI Airport to Chicago O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit and Las Vegas on August 7 and Houston beginning August 8.

“We look forward to help customers traveling to or from the Kansas City area to save money with our ultra-low fares and optional services for a total price that is tough to beat” said Mark Kopczak, Spirit’s Vice President of Network Planning in a release.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:13 am
Wed April 23, 2014

7 Weeks Before World Cup, Rio Is Rocked By Riot

An officer from Brazilian Police Special Forces took aim Tuesday during the violent protest that broke out in one of Rio de Janeiro's slums. People there blame police for a young man's death, and say authorities are clamping down too hard in advance of this June's World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Summer Olympics, both of which will be held in Brazil.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:12 am

"A Rio de Janeiro slum erupted in violence late Tuesday following the killing of a popular local figure, with angry residents setting fires and showering homemade explosives and glass bottles onto a busy avenue in the city's main tourist zone," The Associated Press writes.

Read more
The Protojournalist
10:13 am
Wed April 23, 2014

The Joys Of Spoiling

Game of Thrones: spoiler magnet.
Courtesy of HBO

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 4:41 pm

In the age of the Internet, the act of spoiling is easier than ever before. Through live-tweeting and message boards and comments sections, the information is out there and spreads quickly.

But why do some people enjoy revealing certain information about stories — surprises and finales and more — before others have had the opportunity to experience it?

We could tell you what we think now. But that would spoil the rest of this story.

Spoliation Nation

Read more
Government
9:39 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Nixon's Latest Tax-Cut Battle With General Assembly Resembles Earlier Fight

Missouri Capitol

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 10:36 am

With a new tax-cut package on his desk, Missouri Gov. Nixon has zeroed in on a new “fatal flaw’’ that his administration says could wipe out 65 percent of the state’s general-revenue income used to fund most state services and aid to public schools.

Read more
Government
9:38 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Missouri Tax Cut Could Cost Some Districts 20 Percent Of Their State Appropriation

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 5:07 pm

When the Missouri General Assembly passed its tax cut bill, SB509, the Missouri School Boards Association released a chart showing how much money each of the state's school districts stood to lose if the bill became law. The chart compares the difference between Nixon's recommended level of funding for each district and the lower appropriation request that would result as a result of the tax cuts — a total of $223 million statewide.

Read more

Brent Jones is a journalist who works with data and design. He joined the St. Louis Beacon after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2007. In the past five years, he has shot photos of the Pevely Dairy fire and flooding in Cairo, Ill.; compiled data on St. Louis' hottest days and whitest Christmases; edited a 30-minute video on music in Iraq; designed a 150+ page ebook; and produced audio from an improv show and more than 100 Beacon Roundtables. Jones lives in St. Louis, where he has completed a half- and full marathon and sings in a 16-member a capella madrigal ensemble.

Pages