Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vote for the best Beck- Fox's Glenn, or the Yardbirds' Jeff

I have always liked the Yardbirds, especially their work from the Jeff Beck era (Beck was their lead guitarist between two other greats, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.) So I am going to run with this Beck thing again. Feel free to vote for your favorite Beck in the comment section.

Text, video provided for President Obama's Iraq speech

 Good evening. Tonight, I’d like to talk to you about the end of our combat mission in Iraq, the ongoing security challenges we face, and the need to rebuild our nation here at home.

I know this historic moment comes at a time of great uncertainty for many Americans. We’ve now been through nearly a decade of war. We’ve endured a long and painful recession. And sometimes in the midst of these storms, the future that we’re trying to build for our nation -- a future of lasting peace and long-term prosperity -- may seem beyond our reach.

But this milestone should serve as a reminder to all Americans that the future is ours to shape if we move forward with confidence and commitment. It should also serve as a message to the world that the United States of America intends to sustain and strengthen our leadership in this young century.

From this desk, seven and a half years ago, President Bush announced the beginning of military operations in Iraq. Much has changed since that night. A war to disarm a state became a fight against an insurgency. Terrorism and sectarian warfare threatened to tear Iraq apart. Thousands of Americans gave their lives; tens of thousands have been wounded. Our relations abroad were strained. Our unity at home was tested.

These are the rough waters encountered during the course of one of America’s longest wars. Yet there has been one constant amidst these shifting tides. At every turn, America’s men and women in uniform have served with courage and resolve. As Commander-in-Chief, I am incredibly proud of their service. And like all Americans, I’m awed by their sacrifice, and by the sacrifices of their families.

The Americans who have served in Iraq completed every mission they were given. They defeated a regime that had terrorized its people. Together with Iraqis and coalition partners who made huge sacrifices of their own, our troops fought block by block to help Iraq seize the chance for a better future. They shifted tactics to protect the Iraqi people, trained Iraqi Security Forces, and took out terrorist leaders. Because of our troops and civilians -- and because of the resilience of the Iraqi people -- Iraq has the opportunity to embrace a new destiny, even though many challenges remain.

So tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.

This was my pledge to the American people as a candidate for this office. Last February, I announced a plan that would bring our combat brigades out of Iraq, while redoubling our efforts to strengthen Iraq’s Security Forces and support its government and people.

That’s what we’ve done. We’ve removed nearly 100,000 U.S. troops from Iraq. We’ve closed or transferred to the Iraqis hundreds of bases. And we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of Iraq.

This completes a transition to Iraqi responsibility for their own security. U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq’s cities last summer, and Iraqi forces have moved into the lead with considerable skill and commitment to their fellow citizens. Even as Iraq continues to suffer terrorist attacks, security incidents have been near the lowest on record since the war began. And Iraqi forces have taken the fight to al Qaeda, removing much of its leadership in Iraqi-led operations.

This year also saw Iraq hold credible elections that drew a strong turnout. A caretaker administration is in place as Iraqis form a government based on the results of that election. Tonight, I encourage Iraq’s leaders to move forward with a sense of urgency to form an inclusive government that is just, representative, and accountable to the Iraqi people. And when that government is in place, there should be no doubt: The Iraqi people will have a strong partner in the United States. Our combat mission is ending, but our commitment to Iraq’s future is not.

Going forward, a transitional force of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq with a different mission: advising and assisting Iraq’s Security Forces, supporting Iraqi troops in targeted counterterrorism missions, and protecting our civilians. Consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year. As our military draws down, our dedicated civilians -- diplomats, aid workers, and advisors -- are moving into the lead to support Iraq as it strengthens its government, resolves political disputes, resettles those displaced by war, and builds ties with the region and the world. That’s a message that Vice President Biden is delivering to the Iraqi people through his visit there today.

This new approach reflects our long-term partnership with Iraq -- one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect. Of course, violence will not end with our combat mission. Extremists will continue to set off bombs, attack Iraqi civilians and try to spark sectarian strife. But ultimately, these terrorists will fail to achieve their goals. Iraqis are a proud people. They have rejected sectarian war, and they have no interest in endless destruction. They understand that, in the end, only Iraqis can resolve their differences and police their streets. Only Iraqis can build a democracy within their borders. What America can do, and will do, is provide support for the Iraqi people as both a friend and a partner.

Ending this war is not only in Iraq’s interest -- it’s in our own. The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people. We have sent our young men and women to make enormous sacrifices in Iraq, and spent vast resources abroad at a time of tight budgets at home. We’ve persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people -- a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization. Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now, it’s time to turn the page.

As we do, I’m mindful that the Iraq war has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it’s time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It’s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one can doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I’ve said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hopes for Iraqis’ future.

The greatness of our democracy is grounded in our ability to move beyond our differences, and to learn from our experience as we confront the many challenges ahead. And no challenge is more essential to our security than our fight against al Qaeda.

Americans across the political spectrum supported the use of force against those who attacked us on 9/11. Now, as we approach our 10th year of combat in Afghanistan, there are those who are understandably asking tough questions about our mission there. But we must never lose sight of what’s at stake. As we speak, al Qaeda continues to plot against us, and its leadership remains anchored in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda, while preventing Afghanistan from again serving as a base for terrorists. And because of our drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense. In fact, over the last 19 months, nearly a dozen al Qaeda leaders -- and hundreds of al Qaeda’s extremist allies -- have been killed or captured around the world.

Within Afghanistan, I’ve ordered the deployment of additional troops who -- under the command of General David Petraeus -- are fighting to break the Taliban’s momentum.

As with the surge in Iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the Afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future. But, as was the case in Iraq, we can’t do for Afghans what they must ultimately do for themselves. That’s why we’re training Afghan Security Forces and supporting a political resolution to Afghanistan’s problems. And next August, we will begin a transition to Afghan responsibility. The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground, and our support for Afghanistan will endure. But make no mistake: This transition will begin -- because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people’s.

Indeed, one of the lessons of our effort in Iraq is that American influence around the world is not a function of military force alone. We must use all elements of our power -- including our diplomacy, our economic strength, and the power of America’s example -- to secure our interests and stand by our allies. And we must project a vision of the future that’s based not just on our fears, but also on our hopes -- a vision that recognizes the real dangers that exist around the world, but also the limitless possibilities of our time.

Today, old adversaries are at peace, and emerging democracies are potential partners. New markets for our goods stretch from Asia to the Americas. A new push for peace in the Middle East will begin here tomorrow. Billions of young people want to move beyond the shackles of poverty and conflict. As the leader of the free world, America will do more than just defeat on the battlefield those who offer hatred and destruction -- we will also lead among those who are willing to work together to expand freedom and opportunity for all people.

Now, that effort must begin within our own borders. Throughout our history, America has been willing to bear the burden of promoting liberty and human dignity overseas, understanding its links to our own liberty and security. But we have also understood that our nation’s strength and influence abroad must be firmly anchored in our prosperity at home. And the bedrock of that prosperity must be a growing middle class.

Unfortunately, over the last decade, we’ve not done what’s necessary to shore up the foundations of our own prosperity. We spent a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits. For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. As a result, too many middle-class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation’s long-term competitiveness is put at risk.

And so at this moment, as we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad. They have met every test that they faced. Now, it’s our turn. Now, it’s our responsibility to honor them by coming together, all of us, and working to secure the dream that so many generations have fought for -- the dream that a better life awaits anyone who is willing to work for it and reach for it.

Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.

Part of that responsibility is making sure that we honor our commitments to those who have served our country with such valor. As long as I am President, we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known, and we will do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as well as they have served us. This is a sacred trust. That’s why we’ve already made one of the largest increases in funding for veterans in decades. We’re treating the signature wounds of today’s wars -- post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury -- while providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned. And we’re funding a Post-9/11 GI Bill that helps our veterans and their families pursue the dream of a college education. Just as the GI Bill helped those who fought World War II -- including my grandfather -- become the backbone of our middle class, so today’s servicemen and women must have the chance to apply their gifts to expand the American economy. Because part of ending a war responsibly is standing by those who have fought it.

Two weeks ago, America’s final combat brigade in Iraq -- the Army’s Fourth Stryker Brigade -- journeyed home in the pre-dawn darkness. Thousands of soldiers and hundreds of vehicles made the trip from Baghdad, the last of them passing into Kuwait in the early morning hours. Over seven years before, American troops and coalition partners had fought their way across similar highways, but this time no shots were fired. It was just a convoy of brave Americans, making their way home.

Of course, the soldiers left much behind. Some were teenagers when the war began. Many have served multiple tours of duty, far from families who bore a heroic burden of their own, enduring the absence of a husband’s embrace or a mother’s kiss. Most painfully, since the war began, 55 members of the Fourth Stryker Brigade made the ultimate sacrifice -- part of over 4,400 Americans who have given their lives in Iraq. As one staff sergeant said, “I know that to my brothers in arms who fought and died, this day would probably mean a lot.”

Those Americans gave their lives for the values that have lived in the hearts of our people for over two centuries. Along with nearly 1.5 million Americans who have served in Iraq, they fought in a faraway place for people they never knew. They stared into the darkest of human creations -- war -- and helped the Iraqi people seek the light of peace.

In an age without surrender ceremonies, we must earn victory through the success of our partners and the strength of our own nation. Every American who serves joins an unbroken line of heroes that stretches from Lexington to Gettysburg; from Iwo Jima to Inchon; from Khe Sanh to Kandahar -- Americans who have fought to see that the lives of our children are better than our own. Our troops are the steel in our ship of state. And though our nation may be travelling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true, and that beyond the pre-dawn darkness, better days lie ahead.

Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America, and all who serve her.

Missouri Right to Life endorses Emerson in Eighth District

Missouri Right to Life endorsed incumbent Republican Jo Ann Emerson in the Eighth District Congressional race today:

The Missouri Right to Life Political Action Committee today announced it is endorsing Jo Ann Emerson in her bid for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District.

“Congresswoman Emerson has a 100 percent voting record for the last two years and is clearly the person we need in Washington to represent the pro-life majority in the Eighth Congressional District,” said Pam Fichter, President of Missouri Right to Life. “We look forward to working with her on important federal legislation to protect innocent human life.”

“It is a true honor to again receive the support of Missouri Right to Life and its thousands of members,” said Emerson. “The work they are doing each and every day on behalf of the unborn is critical to the protection of innocent human life, and I am proud to partner with them in this effort.”

Missouri Right to Life is the leading pro-life advocacy organization in the state, representing more than 250,000 Missourians who identify themselves as pro-life. Missouri Right to Life and its members work tirelessly to ensure the election of candidates who will work to support legislation ensuring the right to life.

Emerson continues to work in Congress to restrict the use of federal funds to provide for abortion. Under the new health care law, Emerson has pointed out; state insurance pools like the one already offered in Pennsylvania may use taxpayer dollars for obligatory insurance coverage for abortion. Most recently, Emerson opposed the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a new drug, "ella," which terminates a pregnancy up to 72 hours after conception.

In addition to considering candidate questionnaire responses and pro-life involvement in the community, Missouri Right to Life considers past pro-life leadership, sponsorship and voting records when determining which candidates to back.

Carnahan kicks off "Working Families for Robin"

Another part of Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's push to take charge of the economy question was unveiled today by her Senate campaign team:

Today, Robin Carnahan's campaign launched Working Families for Robin to bring together Missourians who share her commitment to getting our economy back on track and creating jobs in our state. The group is co-chaired by 4 working Missourians from across the state: Russ McCreary of Franklin County, Rudy Chavez of Jackson County, Mark Baker of Cape Girardeau County and Martha Ott of St. Louis County.

Robin understands that the heart of our economy is on Main Street - not Wall Street. She believes we need to work to strengthen the middle class and provide opportunities for our state. It is going to take a lot of hard work to dig our country out of the economic mess that Congressman Blunt's 14 years of failed leadership and flawed economic policies have created, but Robin has the common sense to help protect our families, rebuild the American dream, and ensure the mistakes of the past are never repeated.

Republicans inexplicably continue to attack Carnahan on lobbyists

The Republican party has the perfect strategy to combat Robin Carnahan in November- continue the ads attacking the secretary of state as Rubber Stamp Robin and associating her with President Barack Obama.

Yet, inexplicably, the GOP continues to bring up the subject of lobbyists, something which makes no sense when Carnahan's opponent is a man whose political career and family life is loaded with connections to lobbyists- Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt.

To recap, Blunt's rapid rise to the top of the House Republican Caucus came primarily because of the money he raised for fellow House Republicans' campaigns, most of which came from lobbyists and their clients through Blunt's leadership PAC, Rely on Your Beliefs.

Add to that, the fact that Blunt went to Washington married to one woman and ended up divorcing and marrying another, a powerful K Street lobbyist, and the reality that his children are raking in big bucks as lobbyists, and you would think the L word is one Blunt would be wise to avoid.

Instead Blunt and the Missouri GOP are tossing the word around like it could do more harm to Carnahan than to Blunt. The following news release was issued today:

Who is the number one recipient of lobbyist cash in Congress during the 2010 election cycle?

Hint: He also voted for the 2008 economic rescue package known as TARP.

The answer is Harry Reid—not Roy Blunt, as Robin Carnahan has falsely alleged in her latest negative attack ad.

Bonus answer: The #2 and #3 recipients of lobbyist cash are Blanche Lincoln and Charles Schumer, both of whom also voted for TARP.

But Robin Carnahan has not labeled Reid, Lincoln, or Schumer “the very worst of Washington.” Instead, they are Carnahan’s Washington allies who have actually contributed to her campaign and whose agenda she would rubberstamp.

“Robin Carnahan is desperately attempting to cover up the fact that she wants to go to Washington to rubberstamp the reckless Obama agenda. She has no new ideas about how to create jobs or get the economy moving again, so she has resorted to deceitful, untrue, and hypocritical attacks,” said Lloyd Smith, Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party. “Carnahan’s attacks have no basis in reality. The truth is, Carnahan’s liberal Washington allies are actually the top recipients of lobbyist cash, and Carnahan herself has taken money from lobbyists. But after a recent survey shows her trailing by 11 points, Carnahan has become so desperate that she is willing to tell any lie or spread any falsehood to deceive Missourians into voting for her.”

At issue is Carnahan’s newest ad, entitled “Mug,” which falsely accused Roy Blunt of being the top recipient of lobbyist contributions in Congress. The truth is, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the top recipients of lobbyist contributions are Harry Reid, Blanche Lincoln, and Charles Schumer. What’s worse: Robin Carnahan has actually taken contributions for each of these members of Congress, and she too has taken campaign contributions from lobbyists.

Further complicating Carnahan’s argument is the fact that the money has taken from Reid, Lincoln, and Schumer has come from their Leadership PACs, despite the fact that Carnahan pretends to oppose this practice.

For those keeping score at home:

-Robin Carnahan is attacking Roy Blunt for taking money from lobbyists, even though Carnahan has also taken money from lobbyists.

-Carnahan falsely accused Roy Blunt of being the top recipient of lobbyist donations in Congress, even though the real top three recipients are Carnahan’s Washington allies and contributors—Harry Reid, Blanche Lincoln, and Chuck Schumer.

-Reid, Lincoln, and Schumer each voted for TARP, which Robin Carnahan said was "absolutely" necessary, yet she attacks Roy Blunt for the very same vote.

-Carnahan accepted money from the Leadership PACs of Reid, Lincoln, and Schumer, even though she pretends to oppose the practice.

Stop the presses! Steve Hunter endorses Billy Long

It's not likely to knock the economy and the end of combat missions in Iraq off page one, but former Rep. Steve Hunter, R-Joplin, an unsuccessful candidate for Seventh District Congress, has endorsed the man who beat him, Springfield auctioneer Billy Long

I could be wrong, but I can't see Steve Hunter's name being dropped as much as those of others who have endorsed Long, including Mel Hancock, Sarah Steelman, and Missouri Right to Life: From the news release:

 Billy Long, today, was endorsed by former State Representative and congressional candidate Steve Hunter. Hunter ran on a platform of limited government and less taxes. He believes that Long is the best person in the race to send to Washington.

“I am fed up,” said Steve Hunter. “That’s why I am backing Billy Long for Congress. It’s about time we sent a businessman to Washington to straighten them out. I got to see Billy in action in the primary and I know that he will not let Nancy Pelosi push our values around without a fight.”

Long won the Republican nomination by seven percentage points, racking up over 38,000 votes. Even though the Seventh District of Missouri hasn’t sent a Democrat to Congress in over 50 years, Long is taking nothing for granted.

“I appreciate the sacrifices that Steve Hunter made so that he could talk about his vision for our nation,” said Long. “We both agree that Washington is headed in the wrong direction and I am talking to folks everyday about what we need to change to get this nation back on track.”

Kander: The fight for ethics reform will continue

In a newsletter, Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City, a leading proponent of ethics reform, says the battle will continue and that the law that went into effect Aug. 28 is only the first step:

This past Saturday, for the first time in nearly twenty years and after a tough fight in 2010, significant changes in Missouri law regarding ethics and campaign finance went into effect. As an original author of several major provisions in the new law, Saturday was a proud day for me.

As of this past Saturday, the following positive changes are in place:

- It is now against the law to launder money from one Political Action Committee (PAC) to another for the purpose of concealing the donor. In fact, PACs are now prohibited from receiving donations from other PACs.

- The Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) now has substantially expanded authority to investigate the actions of elected officials, lobbyists, political candidates, and other major players in state politics.

- Just as it is against federal law to obstruct an investigation by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), it is finally against state law to obstruct an investigation by the MEC (Missouri’s version of the FEC). Previously, there existed no penalty for lying to an MEC investigator.

- ALL political contributions of more than $25 will be searchable online at the MEC website. In the past, some committees were not required to file electronically. This loophole enabled those seeking to launder and hide funds to do so in a way that was invisible in the public database of campaign contributors.

These and other aspects of the new law are explained in a video tutorial created by the Missouri Ethics Commission.

While I’m proud of my work to author and pass these reforms, I’m far from satisfied. We still must restore campaign contribution limits, close the revolving door that allows sitting legislators to accept jobs as lobbyists, and prohibit elected officials from paying one another as “political consultants.”

With these new laws acting as a solid foundation for progress, I will continue the fight for comprehensive ethics reform in Missouri.

Sowers: We must have jobs for returning veterans

Tommy Sowers, Democratic candidate for Eighth District Congress, released the following statement concerning the end of combat missions in Iraq:

“With the end of combat missions in Iraq, it’s an important moment to stop and thank the veterans that served, as well as take stock of where America stands. I served two tours in Iraq as a Green Beret, and was proud to stand with Iraqis during their first free and fair elections back in 2005. But we still have a long way to go, and 50,000 troops will stay in Iraq along with over 100,000 contractors.

“A report on Iraq in yesterday’s Southeast Missourian estimated that $5 billion has vanished in poorly overseen military contracts. While the Constitution gives the power of the purse to the House, incumbents have given the purse away. It is going to take a leader and a vet to put an end to wasteful military contracting, and when elected, I plan to lead on this important issue. We simply cannot afford to waste money overseas with a massive debt of $13 trillion threatening us at home.

“We honor our veterans by welcoming them home with educational and job opportunities. Yet today, Iraq and Afghanistan vets face unemployment levels 50% above the national average. We’ve got to have jobs available for our vets when they return home. When elected, I’ll start by pushing Congress to renegotiate the trade deals that Jo Ann Emerson voted for that subsequently shipped our jobs to China and south of the border. And that’s just the start. We need to invest in 21st century infrastructure across Southeast Missouri to create the right environment for job creation.

“Our vets also deserve high-quality healthcare. I learned how to lead by example in the military and once elected, I’ll stay on VA health care and not take the Cadillac health care program members of Congress give themselves. This will ensure that I always know firsthand how our vets are being treated."

McCaskill one of 50 wealthiest in Congress

In an article posted today, The Hill notes that the 50 richest members of Congress increased their wealth even at a time when the country is having severe financial problems.

One of those 50, ranking at number 17, is Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Another $90.000 from TAMKO's Humphreys

David Humphreys of TAMKO, Joplin, has contributed another $90.000, according to documents posted Monday on the Missouri Ethics Commission website.

Humphreys contributed $50,000 to Republican state auditor candidate Thomas Schweich and $40,000 to the Missouri Republican Party.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Democratic Party video emphasizes Blunt connection with Jack Abramoff

A video posted today by the Missouri Democratic Party emphasizes the relationship between Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, the Republican candidate for U. S. Senate, and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff:

Boehner to campaign for Vicky Hartzler

The GOP's number one man in the House, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio will be in Jefferson City Labot Day weekend to campaign for Fourth District Congressional candidate Vicky Hartzler. From the news release:

The Vicky Hartzler for Congress campaign is proud to welcome U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner to Jefferson City for a Labor Day weekend fundraiser. The Saturday afternoon event is another indication of Republican leadership's belief that Vicky Hartzler will win Missouri's 4th Congressional District seat in November.
"Congressman Boehner has a lot of requests for his time and he's focused on campaigning for the candidates he believes are going to win," said Hartzler campaign spokesman Steve Walsh. "He's convinced, as are so many voters in this district, that Vicky Hartzler is going to be among the many conservatives who will emerge victorious on Election Day and help return the U.S. House to fiscal responsibility."
Congressman Boehner's visit to the 4th Congressional District provides an opportunity for the Vicky Hartzler campaign to wonder whether Democrat Ike Skelton will invite his party's U.S. House Leader - Speaker Nancy Pelosi - to visit the 4th District to campaign on his behalf.

Beetle Bailey, inspired by Camp Crowder, turns 60

Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey cartoon, inspired by his stint at Camp Crowder in Neosho, is turning 60 and still going strong.

Today's Washington Times has a feature on the strip and its creator, Mort Walker:

Mort Walker, who conjured up Beetle and has been putting him on paper every day for all those decades, says he'll continue with his creation until he's no longer able.

"I don't know how I'd be retired," said Walker, 86. "I wake up every day with another idea."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pujols honored at Glenn Beck's rally

It is hard to believe St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa is naive enough to believe what he said about yesterday's Glenn Beck rally not being political, but the accompanying video shows LaRussa and his star first baseman Albert Pujols at the rally:

Don't expect any debates in the Seventh District

Debates have a long and cherished history in American politics, dating back to the beginnings of this country.

History books, (at least those that have not been watered down with political correctness) note the debates that shaped our country as it broke with England, the debates among Congressional giants such as Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, and Henry Clay over the great issues of the early 19th Century, and the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates.

That type of spirited discussion of issues, often between candidates for elective office, is a thing of the past. Today's so-called debates are usually forums, in which moderators enforce rules, agreed upon in advance by the candidates, that are designed to prevent candidates from being able to break through their opponents' talking points and get down to their depth of knowledge and what they truly believe.

These forums have value. If a candidate is unable to cope with the pressure and is prone to misspeak, often those traits are clearly evident. At times, basic differences between candidates are revealed. But there is nothing that resembles a true debate.

That is why I have enjoyed the flareup over the past couple of weeks over proposed "debates" between the candidates for Seventh District Congress, Republican Billy Long and Democrat Scott Eckersley.

Eckersley proposed debates at each of the county courthouses in the Seventh District. The Joplin Globe and other media outlets say Long agreed to these debates, but the Long camp is now saying that it didn't, but is seeking other "debate" venues that are more accessible to the public.

My favorite part of the ongoing discussion came when it was noted that Long had participated in 10 debates, three of which included Eckersley.

Again, those were not debates.

Consider the one held at Missouri Southern State University in July. The Joplin Globe did the best possible job under the circumstances and had a far better forum than one that was held the previous evening in Springfield. The Globe reporters, as well as a questioner representing the community, asked pertinent questions, and the format allowed follow-up questions, something that served to enlighten those who were in the audience of watching the forum on television.

But when Billy Long refers to this as a debate and indicates that Seventh District voters have had ample opportunity to know exactly how he stands on the issues, he is ignoring some basic truths.

Take the Globe forum, for example. It lasted 90 minutes, certainly long enough for a good forum, or even for a true debate, but not with 10 candidates involved. Divide 90 minutes by 10 and you have nine minutes per candidate, nowhere near enough time for a voter to learn enough to make an informed decision.

That being said, the candidates did not receive even the nine minutes. Remember that the time also included introductions, a brief wrap up at the conclusion of the event, and various thank-yous from the candidates. At best, each candidate had six minutes to get across his message.

When the questioning is divided into categories of vital importance to voters, including the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, health care, and education, no candidate had a chance to speak for more than a minute, or a minute and a half at the most, on any issue.

That left just enough time for talking points and slogans. By the time Billy Long had mentioned how fed up he was, or by the time Scott Eckersley told us how he had stood up for the public in his battle with the Blunt administration, it was time for the next candidate to speak.

The forums can tell us something about how candidates perform under pressure, though even that is difficult when the time is divided among 10 contenders, but they tell us little or nothing about their beliefs or how they will vote on issues that are of paramount concern to voters.

No debates will take place this fall in the Seventh Congressional District. A few decent forums would be nice.

Former KC Star publisher writes first column as New York Times public editor

Former Kansas City Star Publisher Arthur Brisbane made his debut today as the new public editor of the New York Times.

His job, essentially, is to represent the public and explore what the Times does right and what it does wrong:

Wounded lovers, armed antagonists — alike they hold The Times to the high standards that have been in place since long before the digital age. “The acceleration of the news pace,” Mr. Keller said, “increases the risk that we will fall short of our standards. That calls for greater vigilance, not lower standards.”

This sets a huge challenge for the organization. News delivered digitally in rapid cycles — with much less time for editing and oversight — will create more lapses. It is simply physics.

The cure, or at least a salve, for this condition is transparency, accountability, humility. If The Times is going to publish more and faster, it will have to react faster to rectify more mistakes. The speed and volume of correction or response has to try to equal the speed and volume of error.

Is that where things stand now? I will have to see for myself. To fulfill the public editor’s charge, I plan to write columns and blog posts, publish readers’ letters, reply to readers privately, and otherwise mediate an exchange between The Times and its audience.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Message to all of you: Stop slamming Beck! He is truly remarkable!

I have grown increasingly tired of hearing all of the critics slamming Beck today. Jeff Beck is one of the greatest guitarists of all time as you can tell from his work on the Yardbirds' "Heart Full of Soul" from 1965:

McCaskill talks about health care vote on KZRG

In the accompanying video, posted by KZRG, Sen. Claire McCaskill explains her health care vote to the station's Josh Marsh. And she does a good job getting her points across, especially considering that Marsh takes a full minute to ask her his first question and tries to interrupt her throughout her comments:

Blunt talks about jobs plan on Dana Show

In this interview, posted today on YouTube, Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, the Republican candidate for U. S. Senate, discusses his job plan on the Dana Show on 97.1 in St. Louis:

Downloadable Natural Disaster album available

It's not a studio album by any means, but some of Natural Disaster's top live performances from 2009 and 2010 have been collected on a free, downloadable album on Tindeck.com.

Songs featured are: Santana's "Evil Ways," Johnny Rivers'"Poor Side of Town," Dwight Yoakam's "Guitars, Cadillacs," Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine," Charlie Rich's "Big Boss Man," Lobo's "I'd Love You to Want Me," Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock," Jimi Hendrix' "Red House," the Beatles' "Please, Please Me," and Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Two more from Natural Disaster

Two more MP3 downloads from our July 4 performance at Granby's Old Mining Town Days- Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and the Beatles "Please Please Me."

Natural Disaster audios: Evil Ways, Red House

These audios came from Natural Disaster's July 4 performance at Old Mining Town Days in Granby- our versions of Santana's "Evil Ways" and Jimi Hendrix' "Red House."

KY3/MSU poll shows Blunt and Carnahan in dead heat

It's just another poll in a long series of polls we will be subjected to between now and November, but a KY3/MSU poll released Thursday shows Roy Blunt and Robin Carnahan in a virtual tie in their race for the U. S. Senate seat currently held by Kit Bond.

The poll also gives Springfield auctioneer Billy Long, the Republican candidate for Seventh District Congress a whopping 50.8 to 23.4 percent advantage over Democrat Scott Eckersley and incumbent Fourth District Congressman Ike Skelton, a Democrat, a 46.7 to 36.6 advantage over Republican challenger Vicky Hartzler.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blunt campaign unveils another "winner"

The latest YouTube posting for Blunt for Senate continues the recent string of winners.

Why someone thinks 1:45 of Springfield radio personality Nick Reed giving the standard conservative radio take on Robin Carnahan. This comes on the heels of the infamous Ground Zero ad and yesterday's inexplicable decision to emphasize the word "lobbyist" in a Roy Blunt campaign:

Accounting procedures criticized in state audit of Neosho Municipal Court

A state audit issued today criticized the accounting procedures of the Neosho Municipal Court. The complete audit report can be found at this link.

Nodler explains new laws that go into effect Aug. 28

In his latest newsletter, Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, explains some of the new bills that go into effect Aug. 28:

August 28—90 days after the constitutional end of the legislative session—is the day when most bills passed by the Legislature go into effect. For these bills, this is the final step of the legislative process—putting the bills that the General Assembly passed officially into Missouri statute. This session, we passed several major initiatives that affect daily life in Missouri, and I would like to discuss a couple of these measures that will go into effect this Saturday.

House Bill 1695 works to strengthen Missouri’s DWI laws and crack down on repeat offenders. One provision of the bill focuses on the problem of alcohol addiction by allowing any circuit courts to establish a special DWI court to handle certain cases of repeat offenders. It also cracks down on drunk drivers by prohibiting any person who operates a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .15 or more from being granted a suspended sentence. The bill also increases the minimum shock time in jail from five days to 10 days for a prior offender and from 10 days to 30 days in order for a persistent offender to be eligible for parole or probation (unless the person performs a certain amount of community service or undergoes a treatment program).

House Bill 1695 also makes reporting DWI cases more uniform. The bill requires the State Highway Patrol, beginning Jan. 1, 2011, to maintain regular accountability reports of alcohol-related arrests, charges, and depositions based on the data submitted by law enforcement and prosecutors. To address the problem of repeat offenders not being held accountable on a local level, the bill also specifies that offenders facing their third DWI offense will be handled by state courts, rather than municipal courts.

Another important bill that was passed by the Legislature and will go into law is Senate Bill 793. The bill expands Missouri’s informed consent requirements, better informing women in the state that are considering an abortion about their options. The bill requires, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion being performed, that a woman be presented with various printed materials detailing the risks of an abortion and the physiological characteristics of an unborn baby; given an opportunity to view an active ultrasound and hear the baby's heartbeat; and provided information regarding the possibility of the abortion causing pain to the unborn baby past 22 weeks. The bill also requires the physician to discuss the medical assistance and counseling resources available, advise the woman of the father's liability for child support, and provide information about the Alternatives to Abortion Program.

For a full list of bills that have been approved by the Legislature during the 2010 regular legislative session click here. All bills not vetoed by the governor without emergency clauses or that note an alternative effective date will become Missouri law on August 28.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Carnahan: We need to get our priorities right on education

U. S. Senate candidate Robin Carnahan offered some thoughts on education at a conference in St. Louis Tuesday:

New campaign managers handling Blunt Senate run

From the look of things over the past few days, Roy Blunt's U. S. Senate campaign has three new managers.

Last week, they released the horrendous Ground Zero ad, using images of terrorism in a failed attempt to cash in on the mosque controversy.

Now, a new campaign commercial has been posted on YouTube, attacking Robin Carnahan for alleged misstatements about Blunt's acceptance of campaign contributions from lobbyists.

A Roy Blunt campaign wants to make lobbyists an issue?

The Roy Blunt whose Rely on Your Beliefs PAC is almost entirely funded by lobbyists and special interest PACS wants to shine the spotlight on lobbyists?

The Roy Blunt, who married a much younger lobbyist and whose children are lobbyists wants to make lobbyists  campaign issue?

Those three new campaign managers I mentioned earlier- their names are Moe, Larry, and Curly.

Hartzler: Don't stop with firing Geithner and Summers

In a news release issued today, Fourth Congressional Districte Republican candidate Vicky Hartzler suggests that voters improve on John Boehner's recipe for success:

4th Congressional District Republican candidate Vicky Hartzler agrees with U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner that top economic officials, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and adviser Larry Summers, should be fired. But Hartzler views getting rid of Geithner and Summers only as a vital first step.

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Pelosi-captive votes like Ike Skelton's have done more harm to America than Geithner and Summers," said Hartzler. "The fresh start America so desperately needs should begin right now with those in the Obama Administration being held responsible for their failed policies. From there we go after the architects of economic ruin in Congress, who put fiscally reckless and job destroying proposals into law. That includes Nancy Pelosi and liberal-voting Ike Skelton. Pelosi's reckless antics have this country on the wrong track and Ike Skelton has been riding shotgun all the way on her senseless spending spree."

Ike Skelton and Nancy Pelosi cannot run and hide from the Democrats' disconnect with mainstream America. Federal government statistics indicate job losses continue to mount as U.S. bankruptcy filings have reached their highest level since 2005. Add to this the sad fact that the number of Americans receiving federal aid through food stamps has grown to record highs, soaring to 40.8 million in May.

"People are hurting as a result of the failed Skelton-Pelosi policies," said Hartzler. "It's time to make a change in Washington. We can't wait any longer to end the misery."

No jobs and more people dependent on government. It's bad enough that Ike Skelton has happily engaged in taking our country down the road to economic ruin, but he still refuses to join Vicky Hartzler in a series of forums designed to give citizens the chance to ask the congressman why he has green-lighted Nancy Pelosi's ultra-liberal agenda.

Educators back Carnahan

An "Educators for Robin" initiative was announced today by Democratic U. S. Senate candidate Robin Carnahan:

Today, Robin Carnahan’s campaign launched Educators for Robin to bring together Missouri educators who share her commitment to fix what’s broken in Washington and put Missouri families first. The group is co-chaired by 7 educators from across Missouri - Sharon Yoder, St. Louis County; Leo and Shirley Langford, Christian County; David Sugg, Carroll County; Richard Pope, Camden County; Peggy Cochran, Morgan County; and Donna Cushman, Clay County.

Robin believes that strengthening our public education system is about more than just expanding opportunity and fulfilling the American dream—it’s also about making sure the U.S. remains competitive in the global economy. For her efforts to support educators and students, she has earned the endorsements of the National Education Association (NEA) and the Missouri NEA, as well as the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Missouri AFT.

Democrats file ethics complaint against Blunt, Rove organization

The Missouri Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint today alleging that the accompanying video, with Karl Rove endorsing Roy Blunt for U. S. Senate violated FEC regulations.

A portion of the party news release is reprinted below:
"It is one thing for Karl Rove and Congressman Blunt to use their shady out-of-state political tricks to try and deceive Missourians,” said Missouri Democratic Party Communications Director Ryan Hobart. "It is absolutely unacceptable for Congressman Blunt and Karl Rove to try and find a backdoor to let out-of-state Big Oil and special interest cash fund inappropriate political attack ads here in Missouri."
Congressman Blunt recently brought Karl Rove out to Missouri for an elite special interest fundraiser. During his time in Missouri, Karl Rove recorded a web ad for Blunt - paid for by the Blunt campaign.  Rove’s web ad was focused on health care – the very same issue that his front-group, American Crossroads, is now spending nearly $1 million on in TV ads across the state. [Kansas City Star, 11/30/02; CQ Today, 8/31/04; Real Clear Politics, 7/1/10]

Karl Rove founded American Crossroads and he has been actively raising funds for the organization, and because Congressman Blunt and Karl Rove continue to maintain their close political ties the Missouri Democratic Party believes there was coordination between the two individuals that could violate federal law.  It has been reported that Blunt and Rove spoke about political strategy on a weekly basis when Congressman Blunt was in the GOP leadership and Rove served in the White House. [Politico, 5/20/10; New York Times, 5/23/10; Kansas City Star, 11/30/02]

The complaint reads as follows:

Roy Blunt is a candidate for the United States Senate in Missouri. Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies ("Crossroads GPS") is a corporation that incorporated under the laws of Virginia on June 2, 2010, and that is tax exempt under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is a spin-off group of American Crossroads, a political committee that is registered with the FEC.1 According to multiple news sources, American Crossroads was founded by Karl Rove, and Rove has been active in raising funds for the organization. See National Journal. 4/22/10; Politico, 5/20/10; New York Times, 5/23/10 (identifying American Crossroads as Rove's"Brainchild"); Washington Post, 6/1/10; Politico, 7/20/10. Crossroads GPS was established as a spin-off group to permit large donors to contribute to it without having their identities disclosed to the IRS or FEC. Politico, 7/20/10. Rove is reported to have held a meeting at his home for American Crossroads and other outside groups that included a legal briefing about the FEC's coordination rules. National Journal, 4/22/10.

Blunt and Rove's close relationship is well documented. During former-President Bush's first presidential campaign, Blunt worked closely with Rove, and spoke with then-Governor Bush, Rove, or the campaign's political director at least three times a week. Roll Call, 5/6/99. In
2002, the press reported that Blunt and Rove "regularly" had breakfast together, and in 2004, Blunt noted that he and Rove had breakfast "almost every week." Kansas City Star, 11/30/02; CQ Today, 8/31/04.

Now that Blunt is a candidate for Senate, Rove has been actively supporting his old friend. On June 28, 2010, Rove traveled to Missouri to headline two fundraisers for Blunt, a breakfast in St. Charles and a luncheon in Springfield. Politico, 6/24/10; St. Louis Post- Dispatch, 6/25/10; Kansas City Star, 6/25/10. While in the state, Rove recorded a web-video that was posted to YouTube on June 29. In that video, Rove states:

'Hi, it's Karl Rove, former White House aide. I'm out campaigning for Roy Blunt because there's a sharp clear difference between he and his Democrat opponent. Roy will be a strong voice for conservative values, for the values of Missouri, and will fight the Obama agenda when he thinks the president's wrong. His prospective democratic opponent on the other hand, she would go along with everything that the president wants and she shows no independence from him whatsoever and her reluctance to stand up and fight for the things that Missouri believes in. Roy's been a leader in fighting the Obama agenda on healthcare and fighting the Obama stimulus package. He was a leader in making certain Republicans stood up and fought against the cap and trade bill that would've raised taxes and would've taxed energy use by every person in the state of Missouri and all across the country and cost us jobs. It's really vital that we elect this good man to the United States Senate and your contribution and your active support are important. Thank you'

At the end of the video, the video states that it is "Paid for and authorized by Friends of Roy Blunt."2
On August 21, 2010, Crossroads GPS began airing an advertisement attacking Blunt's opponent, Robin Carnahan, for supporting healthcare reform.3

1. Legal Background

The Act limits the amount of money that any person may contribute to Federal candidates and political committees. 2 U.S.C. § 441a(a). It is illegal for anybody to contribute, and for any candidate to receive, contributions to candidates in excess of $2,400 per election. Id. The Act
also prohibits corporations from making contributions or expenditures in connection with Federal elections. 2 U.S.C. § 441b(a).

Federal campaign finance law treats coordinated expenditures by a non-party, noncandidate sponsor as in-kind contributions to the candidate or political party with whom they were coordinated. See 2 U.S.C. § 441a(a)(7)(B)(i)-(ii); 11 C.F.R. § 109.21(b). An ad is a "coordinated communication" if it is paid for by a person other than the candidate and it satisfies a content standard and a conduct standard. The content standard is met if, inter alia, a public communication references a Senate candidate and is publicly disseminated in the candidate's
jurisdiction 90 days or fewer before the candidate's election. 11 C.F.R. § 109.21(c)(4)(i). The conduct standard is met if the candidate requested or suggested the ad; if the candidate or party was materially involved in decisions about it; if the candidate or party and the sponsor had substantial discussions in which information material to the ad was conveyed; or if a former candidate or party employee, consultant, or common vendor used candidate or party information in producing the ad for the sponsor. See id. § 109.21(d).

2. Crossroads GPS May Have Made, and Blunt May Have Accepted, an Illegal In-Kind Contribution

The Commission should investigate whether the ad is a "coordinated communication" under Commission rules. The ad indicates that it was "Paid for by Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies." It also meets the content prong: it is a public communication that clearly identifies
Blunt's opponent and it is broadcast in Missouri during the 90 days before the 2010 general election.

There is strong evidence that Crossroads GPS's advertisement was coordinated with Blunt. News accounts closely tie Rove to American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, identifying him as a founder and advisor. Meanwhile, there is extensive evidence of close ties between
Rove and Blunt. Blunt and Rove's relationship extends back to at least 1999. Blunt worked closely with Rove during the 2000 presidential election, and in the years since, they have had breakfast together "regularly" and "almost every week." Kansas City Star, 11/30/02; CQ Today, 8/31/04.

Further, Rove has been active in supporting Blunt's campaign. In June 2010, the same month Crossroads GPS was created and less than 2 months before Crossroads GPS launched its ad, Rove traveled to Missouri to campaign for Blunt. He headlined two fundraisers for Blunt and recorded a web video for Blunt's campaign that was "paid for by" Blunt's campaign. In particular, the web video tout's Blunt's opposition to health care reform – just as the video attacks his opponent's support of it.

In recording the video, Rove would have learned valuable information about the Blunt campaign's messaging. And, given Rove's close relationship with Blunt, it is likely that the two had additional discussions of the campaign's plans, projects, activities, and needs. Further, given Rove's intimate and well-publicized role in the organization, it is unlikely that the Crossroads GPS created and aired the ad without Rove's involvement. Thus, there is strong evidence that the ad also meets the Commission's conduct prong.

Assuming that there was coordination, Blunt and Crossroads GPS violated 2 U.S.C. § 441a and 441b: Crossroads GPS knowingly made, and Blunt knowingly accepted, prohibited corporate contributions well in excess of $2,400. The FEC should also investigate whether this
violation was knowing and willful – as one news report indicated, Rove himself sponsored a briefing for American Crossroads that covered the FEC's coordination rules, so Rove should have been aware of the prohibition against coordination.

4. Crossroads GPS May Have Failed to Register as a Political Committee with the FEC

Any political committee that makes expenditures aggregating in excess of $1,000 during a calendar year must file a statement of organization with the FEC. 2 U.S.C. §§ 431(4), 433. If the ad was coordinated with Blunt, Crossroads GPS would have made an expenditure well in
excess of $1,000 and, thus, would have been required to register as a political committee. It failed to do so.

5. Blunt and Crossroads GPS May Have Failed to Properly Report Coordinated Communications

Political committees must report all expenditures to the Commission. 2 U.S.C. § 434. Candidates and their authorized committees must report coordinated communications made on their behalf to the FEC as both expenditures and receipts. 11 C.F.R. § 109.21(b)(3). Political
committees that make coordinated communications must report these as both contributions and expenditures. Id.

Assuming that the ad was coordinated with Blunt, Blunt would be obligated to report the cost of the expenditure as a receipt and as an expenditure, and Crossroads GPS would be obligated to report the communication as a contribution and an expenditure. The Commission
should investigate to see if respondents report the advertisement as required by law.


As we have shown, there is substantial evidence that Respondents have violated the Federal Election Campaign Act. We respectfully request the Commission to investigate these violations, including whether they were knowing and willful. Should the Commission determine
that Respondents have violated FECA, we request that Respondents be enjoined from further violations and be fined the maximum amount permitted by law.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Missouri Republicans: We believe what we read in the Daily Kos

I never thought I would see this. Missouri Republicans are touting the virtues of a Daily Kos poll.

Apparently, even that most hated of villains,the "far left wing" blog, has value if it says something the state GOP likes, in this case that Gov. Jay Nixon is not doing well in a Daily Kos poll:

Last week, Public Policy Polling released a new poll of Missouri showing Republican Roy Blunt up 7 points over Robin Carnahan. Keep in mind that PPP is generally considered a Democrat-leaning firm, and the survey was conducted on behalf of Daily Kos, a far-left blog.

Buried in the poll results is an ominous sign for Governor Jay Nixon, whose approval rating has plummeted to 43%. This dramatic fall comes after more than a year during which his approval rating consistently hovered in the mid-50s.

But Missouri’s stagnant economy and Jay Nixon’s lack of accomplishments seem to be taking their toll:

While many states saw their unemployment rates drop slightly from June to July, Missouri’s actually increased to 9.2%. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, see Table 3)

In the past 12 months, 57,500 Missourians disappeared from the labor force—many simply gave up their job search after not being able to find employment.

· Missouri’s home foreclosures increased 20% in July over the same period in 2009.

· Jay Nixon has refused to take a stand on contentious issues—and this lack of backbone has been especially apparent on an issue like Proposition C, which passed in 114 of 116 election jurisdictions and with 71% of the statewide vote.

Hartzler: Ike's dodging debates and showing San Francisco values

In a news release issued today, Vicky Hartzler, the Republican candidate for Fourth District Congress, accused incumbent Democrat Ike Skelton of dodging joint appearances, and heaven help him, of having "San Francisco values:"

Professional politician Ike Skelton continues to duck an opportunity to defend his Nancy Pelosi-inspired voting record before the people of the 4th Congressional District and is now going so far as to stretch the truth regarding appearances with Vicky Hartzler, his Republican opponent.

The Hartzler campaign has set aside Friday afternoons through October 22 and has called on media outlets and civic organizations to schedule forums in which the two candidates could state their views and take questions from citizens. Not only has Congressman Skelton failed to agree to one or more of these joint appearances, his campaign has told the Associated Press that, "... the congressman already has appeared in a forum with Hartzler before members of the Farm Bureau." What the congressman refers to as a "forum" was the dinner, last Wednesday, prior to the Missouri Farm Bureau's endorsement in the 4th District. That endorsement was awarded to Vicky Hartzler, marking the first time since 1996 that Ike Skelton did not earn the prestigious prize.

A forum? Far from it! The only time the two were in the same room was during the dinner. Hartzler campaign press secretary Steve Walsh, who covered politics in Washington and Missouri before joining the campaign, is somewhat surprised at what Ike Skelton considers a "forum."

"Only a career politician who has spent too much time in Washington, D.C. could consider a dinner attended by two opponents sitting at different tables to be a forum," said Walsh. "If sharing a room with someone counts as a forum then running into each other on a street corner and exchanging pleasantries must pass as a full-fledged debate."

The 17 term congressman is not only hiding from forums, he is hiding from his record, which is a mirror image of Nancy Pelosi's record 95 percent of the time. He recently told the Missourinet that claims regarding his track record in the House of Representatives are not true, adding, "As a matter of fact, I reflect the values of the district I represent, the values of Missouri, small-town values.”

Really, Congressman Skelton? Cap-and-tax! Union-bullying-inspired card check! Stimulus legislation! Support for these atrocious bills reflects the values of the 4th District?

It's time for Congressman Skelton to join Vicky Hartzler before the people of the 4th District to explain and defend his votes in favor of job killing legislation that is embraced with glee by his boss, Nancy Pelosi, but is soundly rejected by residents of the 4th. Vicky Hartzler is making it clear she would have voted against this odious legislation. Ike Skelton had the chance to say "no" and let us down. Vicky Hartzler will say "no" to San Francisco values and "yes" to the ideals and beliefs of residents of the 4th District.

ACLU wants taxpayers to foot the bill for Westboro Baptist Church's legal fees

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri today asking that the taxpayers foot the bill for the Westboro Baptist Church's legal fees to the tune of $172,046.25, plus $3,335.40 in expenses.

The request was made possible when Judge Fernando Gaitan ruled in favor of the church Aug. 16, striking down Missouri laws which restricted the times protests could be held at funerals and required protesters to maintain a distance of at least 300 feet from the funerals.

The Westboro church has made a practice of protesting at military funerals, claiming that the deaths of American servicemen is God's method of punishing the country for its tolerance of homosexuals.

In documents filed today, ACLU attorney Anthony Rothert says the taxpayers will benefit by the awarding of attorney fees:
"Not just Plaintiff, but the entire community benefits from Plaintiff’s success in this case. Accordingly, this case has a public value that transcends Plaintiff’s personal success by protecting the constitutional rights of the general public."
The attorneys' fees were computed at a rate of $225 an hour.

The documents indicate Shirley Phelps-Roper, the oldest daughter of Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps, is only asking that certain defendants in the case, Missouri state officials, including Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster, pay the attorney fees, which ultimately would come from our pockets.

Blunt: Debates would be a good idea

Don't tell Chuck Purgason.

it's too late now, but in the accompanying video posted by Fired Up Missouri Roy Blunt, suddenly going through a conversion now that the primaries are behind him, says debates are a good idea:

Missouri Democratic Party to Hartzler: There's no naval base in Missouri

It did not take long for the Missouri Democratic Party to jump on former Rep. Vicky Hartzler's misstatements when she criticized her general election opponent Ike Skelton for the lack of a naval presence in Missouri.

In the accompanying video, an announcer points out to Ms. Hartzler that Missouri has no naval presence because "Missouri is in the center of the country. It doesn't border the ocean. There's not place to park the battleships and submarines."

Confessed killer of Carthage couple may testify from the grave

Thanks to a ruling issued Monday by Jasper County Circuit Court Judge Gayle Crane, jurors in the murder trial of Darren Winans, Jasper, may hear testimony from Winans' co-defendant Matthew Laurin, who commited suicide one day after pleading guilty to killing Bob and Ellen Sheldon of Carthage.

Crane's ruling, according to the Joplin Globe report, shortly before his death, a videotape was made with Laurin saying that he stabbed the Sheldons, owners of the Old Cabin Shop in Carthage:

A Jasper County sheriff’s detective wrote in an application for a search warrant at the time of the men’s arrests that Laurin told him that Winans entered the house first and stabbed the couple to death. But a Springfield woman testified at the co-defendants’ preliminary hearing that Winans told her that he did not enter the house until after Laurin had gone inside and killed the Sheldons.

Laurin changed his story at his plea hearing last month. On a petition to enter the plea change, he wrote that he alone stabbed “both of them until they died.”
As noted in the July 28 Turner Report, that Springfield woman, Teresa Adkins, died June 1 at age 43.

AFSCME ad blasts Blunt for voting against minimum wage increase, but voting to increase his salary five times

In  an ad released by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, and posted to YouTube by Fired Up Missouri, the union rips Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt for voting to increase his own pay five times and pocketing more than one million dollars since first being elected to Congress while voting against a minimum wage increase:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hartzler rips Skelton for "deceptive TV ad"

Fourth District Congressional candidate Vicky Hartzler fired back at incumbent Ike Skelton following the release of what she terms as a "deceptive TV ad."

Desperate to hold onto a seat once thought of as safe but now considered up for grabs Congressman Ike Skelton and those doing his bidding in the Democrat Party continue using a deceptive TV ad to distort the General Assembly voting record of Republican Vicky Hartzler.

A retired member of the United States military has had enough of these lies about her military votes. Colonel Dick Hobbs, USMC (Retired), who served as Commander of the Marines at Fort Leonard Wood from 1999-2002, is calling on Congressman Skelton to stop the attacks on his opponent.

"Vicky's conservative values match mine," said Colonel Hobbs. "She has spent her time listening to us, not Nancy Pelosi and the radicals in Washington, D.C. I am confident that Vicky, whose father was a member of the Army Reserves for many years, will take care of our veterans because she understands the challenges faced by those of us who have served and are serving."

Colonel Hobbs, who served his country for more than 28 years, is disappointed in the 17 term congressman.

"I never thought Congressman Skelton would resort to such despicable politics," said Colonel Hobbs. "He has been a friend of the military for years, but many veterans are losing faith in him as a representative of our Missouri values. Instead of fighting for us and against the Washington bailouts, the Pelosi-driven agenda and the socialist approach to health care he turns to deceptive operations and negative politics by twisting the truth about his opponent, Vicky Hartzler. It's time for this kind of campaigning to stop"

Veterans group supports Sowers in Eighth Congressional District

Veterans and Military Families for Progress endorsed Democrat Tommy Sowers in his battle against incumbent Eighth District Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, The following news release was issued:

Veterans and Military Families for Progress (www.vmfp.org) enthusiastically and proudly endorses Tommy Sowers in the upcoming Missouri Eighth Congressional District election. Founded in 2005, VMFP is dedicated to ensuring that the rights and needs of veterans, active-duty service members (including national guard and reservists), and their families are understood by the American public, endorsed by our elected officials, and protected by legislation, regulation, and public policy initiatives.

Tommy Sowers is a strong supporter of our nation’s armed forces. An Army ROTC graduate as an engineer, he attended special forces training and commanded a Green Beret unit in Iraq, earning two Bronze Stars. Sowers’ strong commitment to the issues that are critical to veterans, those serving now, and their families is unsurpassed. His public support for priority funding of the Veterans Administration and his declared determination to provide for the establishment of a national veterans and military family policy give veterans and their families hope that at long last a Congressman will vote in such a way as to keep faith with those who have served and sacrificed.

Additionally, Sowers’ decision to support legislation for improving the treatment of veterans with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD, and his deep understanding of the need for providing and guaranteeing full health coverage for National Guard and Reserve personnel, demonstrate that he is a candidate who has the character and courage to do what is right for those in service to our country. We feel that veterans, active duty, military families, and in fact, all people of Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District will be well-served with Tommy Sowers as their representative by ensuring that America remains strong in national defense and in fighting terrorism.

KOAM dominates July ratings; KODE moves past KSNF

Television viewership is down for everyone in the summer months, but the end result was the same locally- KOAM's newscasts had more viewers than KODE and KSNF combined.

KODE pulled past its sister station in all time slots, while KFJX continued to have more viewers in its 9 p.m. slot than either KSNF or KODE could manage at 10 p.m.

KSNF's numbers have plummeted for its morning, noon, and 5 p.m. newscasts.

The Nielsen numbers are listed below:

5:30 to 7 a.m.- KOAM 10,000 viewers, KODE 4,000, KSNF 2,000
Noon- KOAM 13,000, KSNF 4,000
5 p.m.- KOAM 21,000, KODE 9,000, KSNF 4,000
6 p.m.- KOAM 26,000, KODE 11,000, KSNF 8,000
9 p.m.- KFJX 11,000
10 p.m.- KOAM 26,000, KODE 9,000, KSNF 8,000

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wisdom endorses Billy Long

Former Republican Seventh District Congressional candidate Jeff Wisdom announced his support of the man who beat him, Billy Long, today:

In the two weeks since the primary election, speculation of a divide in the Republican Party has emerged in Southwest Missouri. While this perception seems pervasive in media circles, local Republicans are united and resolute in opposing the liberal agenda in Washington. The Seventh District is one of the most heavily Republican strongholds in the country. Our party must work diligently to ensure that we remain a district defined by our traditional conservative values.

My name was used without my permission in a press conference and press release from Democrat Scott Eckersley’s campaign on Tuesday, August 17. No one from the Eckersley camp contacted me or requested consent to include me prior to crafting the press release. I was not at the aforementioned press conference and was never scheduled to attend. I was disappointed that the Eckersley campaign opted to employ this tactic.

Scott Eckersley and Billy Long have already participated in several debate forums. It is up to the discernment of Mr. Long and his campaign to schedule additional debates with Mr. Eckersley within parameters agreed upon by both. While I have indicated my support of debates between candidates seeking office at all levels, including this congressional race, it is in the interest of public discourse on issues facing our local communities, our district, and our country. Republicans have real ideas and practical solutions that promote economic growth, uphold constitutional principles, and ensure limited government. Democrats have controlled Congress since 2007. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have concurrently presided over massive expansion of the national debt, financial devastation, and encroachments on individual liberties.

As a lifelong Republican, I support the party and our slate of candidates in the November general election. Despite minor differences of opinion or ideas, a united Republican party is the greatest unwavering line of defense against the socialization of America. Following the recent primary, I, along with members of my campaign staff, have decisively moved to help local Republican candidates win in the upcoming general election. I plan to be actively involved in electing conservative Republicans this fall because we need our party’s common sense approaches to the vast array of problems we face.

Throughout this election cycle, I have gotten to know Billy Long. He garnered a significant plurality of votes in the Republican primary, easily distancing himself from the field. As a Republican candidate for Congress, my goal was winning the party’s nomination. However, voters in the Seventh District chose Billy as the Republican nominee and I respect their will. That is democracy in action.

It is time for us to come together as Republicans to support all our candidates. This week, I had the opportunity to meet with Billy and his staff. We discussed the congressional race and our shared goals for the future of the district and the nation. I trust he will represent us fairly and effectively in Washington. I hereby pledge my full support for Billy Long and his campaign in their quest to win the Seventh District congressional seat in November.

Attorney general withdraws objection to Kinder health care lawsuit

Two days after Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder filed an amended motion, stipulating that he was not representing the state of Missouri in his lawsuit against the federal  health care program, Attorney General Chris Koster dropped his objection to the action. Koster's objections were first revealed in the July 9 Turner Report.

Kinder issued the following statement today:

"Late today, Attorney General Koster withdrew his motion to intervene in our constitutional challenge against the overreaching federal health care mandate. "This action is a tremendous victory for the people of Missouri who have overwhelmingly voiced their opposition to the policies of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. "We will continue our progress in federal court in the coming months. My hope is that together we will repeal this law and replace it with real reform for all Americans."

Camdenton to name stadium after Bob Shore

One of my seventh hour students approached me after class Thursday, letting me know that her sister had been one of my students when I was teaching at South Middle School.

It didn’t immediately click with me just who her sister was, and to be totally honest, it was only the second day of school, so I did not know the girl’s last name yet.

Shortly after she told me that, I remembered the student, who was one of my favorites during my first year at South, but for the girl’s sake I hated that I could not come up with the name.

It’s just like those many times when I will be at Wal-Mart or at the mall and a former student will come up to me and though I immediately recognize that this was one of my students, the name somehow manages to elude me.
It happens to almost all teachers, especially after you have been in the business for several years. It is virtually impossible to keep thousands of students’ names straight, especially when many times they are much taller, have grown facial hair, or have an entirely different look.

It’s impossible that is unless you’re Bob Shore.

Anyone with a knowledge of East Newton High School football history knows that Bob Shore fielded the first winning teams in the school history, during the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons. After that, he moved on to Camdenton High School, where he has been the last 35 years, winning five state championships and compiling a stellar winning percentage.

Twenty-one years ago, about 16 years after Shore left East Newton, I called him for a story I was doing for the Lamar Democrat on the undefeated Jasper High School football team of 1968. Shore was an assistant coach for that team.

It didn’t take two seconds after I said my name for Shore to say, “Randy Turner from East Newton?”

I said I was, and before I could say anything else, he was reliving old memories and bombarding me with questions about people from the old school.

That would be enough of an accomplishment to remember a student after 16 years, but what made it all the more remarkable is that I did not play football- and I never had Coach Shore as a teacher.

Tonight is a special night for Bob Shore. The veteran coach, who reluctantly left East Newton to take the Camdenton position, will receive yet another in a long list of honors.

School officials are naming the football stadium after him, a fitting tribute to a man whose name has become synonymous with winning football in Camdenton.

Bob Shore is still prowling the sidelines for the Lakers, so this is one of those rare times when someone receives the honors he richly deserves while he is there for people to appreciate him.

And when that day finally comes when someone else takes the reins, the name above the stadium will ensure that people will never forget Bob Shore’s name, just as he never forgot theirs.