Monday, November 29, 2010

Missouri GOP head rips McCaskill

The Republican Party held on to Kit Bond's Senate seat and now it wants to regain the one currently held by Democrat Claire McCaskill. The following statement was issued today by Missouri GOP executive director Lloyd Smith:

"Claire McCaskill is one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country because she has been marching to the left in lockstep with Barack Obama," said Lloyd Smith, Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party.  "Now, at a time of nearly 10 percent unemployment and economic uncertainty, Claire McCaskill wants to slam Missouri families and job creators with a massive job-killing tax increase. And when Barack Obama needed McCaskill's vote for ObamaCare and the failed stimulus, she stood shoulder to shoulder with him and the extreme left in support of nearly $3 trillion of new spending and government takeovers."

Blunt: Wagner would be a great RNC chairman

Senator-elect Roy Blunt issued the following statement today supporting his former campaign director Ann Wagner for Republica National Committee chairman:

"Ann Wagner would be a great Republican National Committee chair. She has done everything at the party level from precinct captain to national co-chair, and Ann has been a winner at all of those levels.

She was a significant part of making the Missouri General Assembly Republican for the first time in half a century. She has good political instincts and always does whatever it takes. Ann will raise the money; she will be a full-time chairman."

Hot air's a coming: and they call that wind Sharia

(The following is my column for the Newton County News, KY3, and KSPR.)

A wave of hot air will pass through Missouri later this week, and if right wing talking points are any indication, we can call the wind Sharia.

State legislators begin pre-filing bills for the 2011 session on December 1, and we can expect some of the favorite hits of yesteryear to climb the charts again.

We will undoubtedly have legislation designed to protect gun rights that no one is trying to take away in the first place. Most likely there will be a bill or two that would increase the penalties for drunk driving and of course, Sen. Jane Cunningham will launch her annual attack on public schools and schoolteachers.

Everyone will be talking jobs, as well they should be, and that should result in shortsighted bills that would make Missouri a right-to-work state and others that will offer all kinds of tax benefits to those who will bring poverty level jobs to the state and make it look as if the legislators have done their jobs.

And then there’s Sharia.

If there is any hot button issue that has the right wing salivating these days it is the idea that there are armies of Muslims who plan on attacking our system from within through the use of Sharia laws.

Two of those who have been beating the drum about Sharia, representatives Cynthia Davis, R-O’Fallon, and Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, are term limited (though Mrs. Ruestman can perhaps save Newton County from Sharia laws in her new post as presiding commissioner).

In a recent column, Mrs. Ruestman warned of the dangers of Muslims spreading their laws into the American system, despite a complete lack of evidence that anything like this is happening, except, of course, for the scare-mongering tactics of those who see conspiracies around every corner.

Mrs. Davis also wrote a column about this so-called danger, explaining it in this fashion:

Last week, Oklahoma voters passed an amendment that prevents judges from relying on Sharia Law or international laws when deciding court cases. This was important because there are places where Sharia Law conflicts with our laws and standards of decency. For example, under Sharia law, it is acceptable to punish people by amputating limbs, beating your wife and stoning people to death. Our country already has laws that deal with crimes and domestic abuse. If our local or national legal system starts relying on what courts say in countries with opposing ethical standards, it will create confusion and allow some of our citizens to be treated differently than the rest of us.

It would be nice if the absence of Mrs. Ruestman and Mrs. Davis could prevent us from wasting taxpayer money on deliberation of a problem that does not exist. Sadly, even those two are no longer with us, there are others who are happy to carry this noble cause forward, especially since it has been a popular topic on conservative radio talk shows.

At first glance, this push against Sharia laws, which have no more chance of taking root in Missouri or Oklahoma than a franchise of Liberace theme restaurants. It looks like another chance for our elected officials to appeal to their base with feel good, accomplish nothing legislation.

If you look more closely, however, you will see this wave of Sharia law paranoia as exactly what it is- religious intolerance. Our country is still so close to September 11, that any shot at Islam is a winner at the ballot box.

So those who are expecting the state legislature to immediately work on jobs bills may have to be patient. After all, somebody has to save our judicial system from those imaginary Muslim infidels.

KSNF, KODE, Joplin Globe bosses: You talk to The Turner Report and you're fired!

In the spirit of the First Amendment, the folks at Nexstar Broadcasting, owner of KSNF and de facto owner of KODE have warned their employees abou the evils of talking with The Turner Report- If they do it, it is grounds for instant dismissal.

"They are tired of reading about KODE and KSN on your blog and they want the leaks stopped," a Nexstar source told The Turner Report.

The same edict has reportedly been handed down at the Joplin Globe, which is determined to prevent information about the inner workings of that legendary newspaper from appearing on this blog. "No one is supposed to talk to you," one Globe employee said while talking to me.

"They're paranoid about The Turner Report."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

McCaskill on Fox News: We need to go after leakers with "the force of law"

This video of Senators Claire McCaskill and Lindsey Graham show that Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace has forgotten how to ask a short, simple question. Often his questions are longer than the senators' answers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gatehouse: We're gutting your newspapers to make our product better

GateHouse Media recently announced it will close the publishing plants at several of its Missouri newspapers, putting people out of work, forcing earlier deadlines that make it difficult to publish a product, and moving its newspapers another step away from the communities they are supposed to be serving.

According to officials at one GateHouse newspaper, the Moberly Monitor-Index, this is the best news its customers could ever receive:

The Moberly Monitor-Index will continue publishing a newspaper Monday through Friday, informing our readers about local news happenings within and around the Randolph County area said MMI Publisher Bob Cunningham.
“The Hannibal printing facility will broaden and also have a better reproduction of color capabilities for our newspaper,” said Cunningham. “The Monitor-Index is not closing. There will also be some other content changes made that we believe will enhance the value of our daily newspaper to our readers.”

In lieu of this production change, newsroom and advertising deadlines for content to publish in the daily newspaper has had to make changes to accommodate printing schedules at the Hannibal facility. Instead of a late morning deadline for news content, for example, deadlines are now more than 2 hours sooner than normal.

Another difference will be newspaper deliveries. Because the newspaper will be routed here by delivery truck from Hannibal, subscribers should expect up to a 2-hour delay of receiving their newspaper than what they have been accustomed to receiving the newspaper. Efforts are going to be made to have newspapers delivered by 6:30 p.m.
So Moberly readers will now receive their afternoon newspapers at night with stale news and this is a good thing? I suppose I shouldn't be so skeptical since Cunningham explains why the reader will benefit.

There will be more color photos publishing on Monday and Fridays, including sports. Gradually, there will be additional reader enhancements made to both the appearance and local content of newspaper as well.

More color photos and reader enhancements. With that kind of innovative thinking no wonder newspapers are thriving.

(GateHouse Media owns The Carthage Press, Neosho Daily News, Pittsburg Morning Sun, and more than 300 newspapers in the United States.)

Globe reporters disappointed with lack of hard news after redesign

Last month, the Joplin Globe unveiled its highly touted new design and while Globe reporters had no major problems with the look of the new product, its fluff content irritated those who would like to see the newspaper investing its news dollar in something considerably more substantial.

"It was pretty," a veteran reporter told The Turner Report, "but there was not one solid hard news story in that first issue and that was the one that was supposed to set the tone for the new Globe."

The entire page one was filled with feature stories while another highly publicized area of the newspaper, the opinion section, seemed to be a hodgepodge of ideas that have not been successful at other newspapers, such as:

-Artificially choosing an issue for the cover page of the section and then finding someone to take one side and someone to take the other. It's a simplistic approach that forces writers into corners and prevents any nuanced exploration of issues.

-A continued use of local writers commenting on national issues. Nothing wrong with that, but the Globe's stable of bloggers and writers has pretty much stuck to whatever the talking points are on the cable news channels, to the point where local news issues have been largely marginalized.

Subsequent Sunday editions have included more hard news, though not by much, but the first impression, the one that is so important, came from that first Sunday.

Fluff is in at the Joplin Globe.

And that has Globe reporters, many of whom are still steamed about decisions that have been made to steer clear of some hard news stories that might offend the Chamber of Commerce, frustrated and angry about the direction their newspaper is taking.


Tiffany Alaniz reportedly top contender for KODE anchor slot

Nexstar Broadcasting sources indicate the company has approached longtime KSNF anchor Tiffany Alaniz about returning to TV news as the new anchor of KODE's 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts.

Ms. Alaniz would replace Brian Dorman, who concluded a two-year run as KODE anchor Friday night and will be the new morning anchor at Nexstar's KTLA station in Shreveport, La. Dorman, who had been at KODE since December 2008, had been the sole anchor for KODE since Lauren Hieger left the station.

Reportedly, Nexstar's problems with Dorman as KODE anchor were not related to his talent or news sense, but his youth. At 26, he was one of the younger male news anchors, and was competing with two men, sister station KSNF's Jim Jackson and KOAM's Dowe Quick who have been at their posts for three decades.

For the time being, Gretchen Bolander, a KODE reporter since 1995, with considerable experience filling in as anchor on both the morning and evening newscasts, will be the anchor.

With Ms. Alaniz, the sources told The Turner Report, KODE will have a known commodity who will not have to be introduced and gradually win over viewers. She already has a fan base from her days co-anchoring KSNF's 6 and 10 p.m. news programs with Jim Jackson, and working on the station's morning show and 5 p.m. talk show/newscast with longtime weatherman Gary Bandy.

When Ms. Alaniz left KSNF in June 2009 to spend more time with her family, she was serving as assistant news director and anchoring First at Five with Bandy Except for a 14-month period around 2000, she was with KSNF from 1997 to 2009, working her way up the ladder from reporter to morning anchor to anchor of the 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dorman signs off as KODE anchor

Brian Dorman just completed his final evening as anchor of KODE's 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts.

Dorman, who will be morning anchor for Nexstar Broadcasting's Shreveport station, posted the following goodbye on his Facebook page:

Thank you for welcoming the KODE team into your home each night. It has been a great two years working with KODE/KSN. We have come so far from when I started here and after the tower fell. I've learned a lot and gave back as much as I could. This city, those of you living here have made me feel very welcome! I couldn't have asked for a better experience or for a better team, for that I'm very grateful!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Will KODE replace Oprah with local programming?

Less than one year from now, the 4 to 5 p.m. time slot will come into play at KODE for the first time in years and Oprah's replacement may not be a syndicated program.

In a recent question-and-answer session, Nexstar Broadcasting CEO Perry Sook indicated the Nexstar stations that carry Oprah may replace the show with local programming when the show ends next September. KODE is technically owned by Mission Broadcasting, but tthe station is operated by Nexstar.

Well, we do have a contract in I think nine Nexstar markets with a lady by the name of Oprah Winfrey, and that expires in September of 2011. That’s approximately 25% of our entire programming expense line. And that will be replaced by and large with local programming, so there will be a portion, a fraction of that license fee that will be reinvested into the news budget to create local news or information type programming in those time periods, by and large the bulk of those license fees will be put into our pocket as savings and go to the bottom line.

A move to local programming in a slot normally filled with syndicated programming would not be unprecedented locally for Nexstar, which recently expanded the 6 p.m. newscast at KSNF to one hour.

Cynthia Davis changes campaign committee to set up possible run for statewide office

It doesn't necessarily mean she is going to go through with it, but it appears that anyone expecting Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O-Fallon, to go away quietly is going to be severely disappointed.

Mrs. Davis filed documents with the Missouri Ethics Commission Nov. 2, changing her campaign committee status from this year's failed state senate campaign to a run for statewide office in the August 2012 primary.

Mrs. Davis, who was term-limited after spending eight years in the House, was defeated by incumbent Scott Rupp in the Senate primary, but has maintained a power base as chairman of the St. Charles County Republican Party and has indicated she will continue to write weekly columns.

In this week's column, Mrs. Davis boasted of the award she received recently from the Young Conservaties of America, designating her as the Most Constitutional Legislator in Missouri:

A committee evaluated all the bills that were passed and using objective criteria rated each legislator strictly on his or her voting record. When I found out this group was only considering actual votes, I knew I had a good chance of winning. The old expression is “Actions speak louder than words”. The YOUNG Conservatives of America really means it when they say it’s about how you vote; and frankly, that is what counts when it comes to honest representation. The country has suffered at the hands of those who have a smooth talk during election time, then side with the highest bidder or their “best buddies” when it is time to vote. The nature of a democratic republic form of government is that we are supposed to trust the person in office to vote according to the principles he stood for when he ran for office. Many voters have experienced that sense of betrayal when their office-holder pivots on important issues.

The questions the YOUNG Conservatives of America used to rate legislation are as follows:

1. Is this a proper function of government?

2. Does legislation *create* favoritism? (in any manner)

3. Does legislation have (favorable or negative) impact? (anything..?)

4. Does legislation create a fee for service scenario that only government can provide?

5. Does legislation impact personal liberty or freedom?

6. Does legislation undermine personal responsibility?

7. Does legislation create a means by which a government entity or government employees can abuse a taxpayer approved tax or amendment?

8. Can legislation be currently enforced under existing laws?
In last week's column, Mrs. Davis showed he had not lost any of her ability to generate controversy, something which brought her to national attention in the summer of 2009 when she commented that "hunger is a great motivator for children."

As I noted last week, Mrs. Davis wrote the following statements, which would have been about a year's work for many columnists all in one columns:
-Women who get abortions after rape or incest are compared to prostitutes.

-There is an "irreversible, eternal, transcendental bond" between a woman and the man who gets her pregnant (based on the way this is written, it seems to indicate that includes a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest).

-Military women who get pregnant are compared to thieves, cheaters, and liars.

-Men won't get pregnant. (God bless them!)

-Nobody gets pregnant without a man.

Dorman's last day at KODE is Friday

Brian Dorman, who has been the sole anchor of KODE's 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts will air for the final time Friday, according to an announcement on his Facebook site.

Dorman, who told Joplin Fuse that he was not leaving the job voluntarily, has landed on his feet, and will be the morning anchor at a Shreveport, La. station.

MSSU production of "Katz" canceled. replacement sought for embezzler

Sources close to Missouri Southern State University officials have revealed the names of five possible replacements for accounting teacher/embezzler Norman Katz, who resigned today after the campus newspaper, The Chart, revealed that he had embezzled at least $129,000 from the William McKinley Presidential Museum in Canton, Ohio.

The source also revealed the points university officials have raised for and against hiring each of the finalists:

O. J. Simpson- "This is a football college and it would add to our prestige to have a Heisman Trophy winner on staff." His current residence, prison, is cited as a possible problem. "It's not like Katz though," the official said. "At least we know about Simpson's problems."

Al Capone- "What's not to like?" the official said. "He knows how to get things done and being dead will enable him to fit in with the kind of faculty we want to hire at Missouri Southern."

Rod Blagojevich- "He was a clueless man in charge of a large budget. Bruce thinks he would be a perfect fit for Missouri Southern."

Eddie Haskell- "He's the dark horse. You can't trust the guy, but he's extremely nice to Mrs. Cleaver."


Yogi Bear- "The job was his until some picnic baskets went missing.. He was smarter than the average bear, though Bruce thought that might cause problems because we are Lions."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MSSU embezzler/teacher quits

The Joplin Globe is reporting that Norman Katz, the embezzler Missouri Southern State University hired as an accounting teacher, has quit.

Naturally, University President Bruce Speck, citing that all-purpose refuge for scoundrels, personnel, says he cannot discuss anything about Katz' departure:

University President Bruce Speck acknowledged Tuesday night that Norman Katz had resigned “effective immediately.” Speck said he could not disclose the reasons behind Katz’s resignation on personnel grounds.

Speck also was not yet disclosing whether the university would still have to pay Katz any money even though he will not be teaching on campus next semester and will no longer be teaching an online course this semester. Documents obtained Tuesday by the Globe show that the university and Katz earlier this year had inked a contract worth about $78,000 over a period of more than a year and a half. That was separate from a contract to pay Katz $1,800 this semester to teach an online accounting course.

“I don’t know where that ties into all this” yet, Speck said in reference to questions about money.

Many of the salient questions from last week, chiefly what happened and how it happened, still remain unanswered since reports that Katz had been hired to teach at Southern despite his felony conviction. Neither Speck nor A.J. Anglin, the university’s vice president for academic affairs, would comment Tuesday on Katz specifically or on the circumstances surrounding his hiring, again saying personnel matters were involved.

Speck is using the crutch of "personnel" in what will prove to be an unsuccessful attempt to avoid another huge public embarrassment for the university.

And so, the legacy of Dwight Douglas continues to grow.

Seahawks release Allen Barbre

The Seattle Seahawks released guard Allen Barbre today, the second time this season the former Missouri Southern State University and East Newton High School standout has been cut.

Barbre played three games for the Seahawks, with all of his playing time coming on the special teams unit.

Police won't comment on possible connection between Ron Erwin, West Mesa murders

The Albuquerque police chief refused to comment on any possible connection between Joplin businessman Ron Erwin and the murders of 11 women in the West Mesa area.

In an interview with KOAT, the chief said his department is continuing to investigate suspects, some of whom are deceased and some who are still living:

Police seized several items from Ron Erwin's home and business in Missouri last summer. He's never been named a suspect and Schultz wouldn't talk about any connection between Erwin and the slayings.

Albuquerque police have yet to disclose a profile of the killer.

Five questions Billy Long should avoid

When newly elected representatives were handed helpful manuals by second-in-command Eric Kantor, Billy Long did not need to read one of the sections- the one on how to handle the media:

“Certain members of the media will be looking to ‘ambush’ unsuspecting freshmen as they walk to the Capitol to vote. If it’s a contentious issue and you don’t wish to be interviewed, then take the tunnel,” (Rep. Greg) Harper, R-Miss advises in a testimonial letter under the “Wrap-Up” portion of the book with lessons learned in “hindsight.”

 Wise advice. Though it hasn't been confirmed, here is a list of potential questions that Long and his advisers are determined to avoid:

-Is there a Metropolitan Grill in D. C.?

-Nice weather we're having, isn't it?

-How about those Redskins?

-If Ida Lupino married Don Ho, would she be Ida Ho?

-Is that an earmark or are you just happy to see me?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Unions contribute $125,000 to Nixon re-election campaign

Two unions contributed $125,000 to Gov. Jay Nixon's campaign today, according to 48-hour reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

United Auto Workers Region 5, Pac 721, Hazelwood, gave $100,000, while Ironworkers Political Education Fund, Washington, D. C., chipped in with $25,000.

Nixon received $170,000 overall, including $25,000 from Missouri Professionals Mutual, and $10,000 apiece from J. E. Dunn Construction, Kansas City, and AT&T Missouri Employee PAC.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Videos from EMS Benefit Variety Show

As some of you have pointed out to me the last couple of weeks, I have not been posting as much on The Turner Report. Besides the normal work of teaching eighth grade communication arts (English) at East Middle School, I have been planning the benefit talent show that was held Saturday in the EMS Auditorium and the Nov. 11 Veterans Day Assembly. Hopefully, I will get back on a more regular blogging schedule now that the variety show is over.

The show was successful, giving us enough money to pay for lapel microphones for our drama classes and for use in the auditorium.

Following are some of the highlights from the show:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Benefit variety show to begin at 2 p.m.

Our benefit variety show at East Middle School will start at 2 p.m. today in the auditorium.

Proceeds will go toward lapel microphones for our drama department and for use in our auditorium and books for our library.

A silent auction of 24 gift baskets is scheduled to take place between 4 and 6 p.m.

Our performing lineup for the day:

2 to 2:45 p.m.- Josh Mullen, Joplin, lead singer of the prominent local group Toto Jojo, followed by Hannah and Tammy Cady and Friends.

3 to 4:15 p.m.- Natural Disaster

4:30 to 5:30 Various school groups and individual students, including the EMS Show Choir, Cheerleaders, and Drama Classes.

5:45 p.m.- The Joplin-based gospel group, the Victorymen.

The cost is $3. A concession stand will be open.

Chart: A student discovered MSSU teacher's guilty plea to embezzling

All it took was a quick Google search for a Missouri Southern State University student to find out about a new instructor's criminal background.

Apparently, that search was considerably more than university officials did since the guilty plea of new accounting teacher Norman Katz to a charge of embezzling at least $129,000 from his former workplace was printed in the Canton, Ohio, newspaper earlier this year.

That information is included in another exclusive story by reporter Brennan Stebbins of MSSU's campus newspaper, The Chart:

Kevin Bujarski, a financing and marketing double major who transferred from Ozark Christian College last spring, told The Chart he did a Google search for Katz and discovered an article from Nov. 1 in The Canton Repository that mentioned Katz receiving permission to teach in Missouri.

Bujarski said he forwarded the article to his advisor and asked if he was aware of Katz's criminal background. The advisor reportedly said he wasn't and forwarded the message on to the department head.

On Monday, Bujarski was told by an accounting instructor that "my news was news," he said, and another instructor told him he had "created quite the chaos."

"I started getting the impression they didn't know," he told The Chart.

"From what I've heard they are appalled that they didn't find this out on their own and the kind of reaction I'm getting, I assume that most of the professors assumed he wasn't going to be sticking around, that there was a mistake made, obviously."

Media alert: Billy Long wears cowboy hat in House freshman photo

The great hat question has been decided. Our newly elected Seventh District Congressman Billy Long wore his cowboy hat in the House freshman photo and joined the two member Cowboy Hat Caucus, as he began exploring the challenges he will face in Washington.

Just another chapter in Billy Long's Excellent Adventure:

While only nine of 93 freshman are Democrats, Long became quick friends with one, Frederica Wilson, who will represent Florida's 17th District.

The two saw each other -- and stood out to each other --because they both wear cowboy hats.

The two call themselves "The Cowboy Hat Caucus."

"I wear hats every day, I have for 20 years," said Wilson, whose campaign logo included a cowboy hat. "He saw me when we were sitting down to breakfast and he said he wears hats, too."


MSSU uses same thorough background checks for teachers that it uses for president

Judging from today's Joplin Globe article, Missouri Southern State University's background checks for prospective teachers are just as in depth as the one they used for selecting President Bruce Speck:

The revelation comes following the revelation Thursday by the campus newspaper, The Chart, that Norman Katz, who has been hired as a full-time accounting instructor scheduled to begin in January (and who has been working as an adjunct instructor) pleaded guilty to embezzling $129,000 from his former workplace in Canton, Ohio:

But Speck, who declined to comment on anything about Katz specifically, did generally acknowledge to the Globe on Friday that a criminal background check has not been part of the university’s hiring procedures for some time. He said his understanding is that practice — or lack thereof — predated his arrival in January 2008, and he said there have been no explanations yet as to why.

He said he only “recently” became aware of that, although he could not say precisely when.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Speck tells KOAM he's not sure if embezzler/accounting teacher will sing Pink Slip Blues

 President Bruce Speck told KOAM today that he doesn't know of any reason why someone convicted of a felony can't teach at Missouri Southern State University. The question was asked in regard to the news, first revealed by the campus newspaper, The Chart, Thursday, that Norman Katz, the university's newest accounting teacher, pleaded guilty to embezzling $129,000 from the William McKinley Museum in Canton, Ohio:

MSSU President Dr. Bruce Speck says he is not aware of a university policy banning convicted felons from becoming professors.

"It's a personnel issue, and we're in the midst of that, and it's very difficult for me to comment on it," says Dr. Speck.

Dr. Speck calls the situation "a problem and we're working to see how we can rectify it". Asked to explain what me means by "problem", Speck says "I think it's a problem, yes, when you have that type of situation, and so we're working through the process and trying to figure out how we can get that taken care of."

Speck says Katz is already under contract with MSSU and does not know the ramifications if the contract is voided.

Cleaver: It's difficult to see Rangel so broken

In his EC from DC column, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., offers his thoughts on this week's decision to ask for a censure vote against Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y.:

The week also saw a very difficult day for one of our oldest members,and my friend, Congressman Charles Rangel. When we return from the Thanksgiving recess, Rep. Rangel will face censure by his peers. Mr. Rangel found me after his hearing and asked if I would pray with him. In my time in Washington, as the Congress’s only practicing minister, I have been asked to pray with Members in times of trouble. President Bush and I even prayed together in the Oval Office. Yesterday was the saddest day in the life of Charles Rangel. There was no joy in his heart, only pain. Prayer can go a long way at that moment. Congressman Rangel has many more sad days ahead. Whatever his transgressions, it was difficult to see this Korean War hero so broken.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Round One: Billy Long vs. Nancy Pelosi in fight to the finish

The battle royal we all have anticipated since Billy Long ascended to Congressman-elect began this week as the former auctioneer squared off with the woman he described as evil incarnate (or words with fewer syllables to that effect). I can't wait to see how he handles Barack Obama.

Photo to the left comes from the Greene County Democratic Party Facebook page, which indicates it was sent by Billy Long to the media.

In the video at bottom, Long tells how he will battle Nancy Pelosi when he gets to Washington.

Cynthia Davis: Nobody gets pregnant without a man

In the space of one glorious column, soon to be former Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon, asserts the following:

-Women who get abortions after rape or incest are compared to prostitutes.

-There is an "irreversible, eternal, transcendental bond" between a woman and the man who gets her pregnant (based on the way this is written, it seems to indicate that includes a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest).

-Military women who get pregnant are compared to thieves, cheaters, and liars.

-Men won't get pregnant. (God bless them!)

-Nobody gets pregnant without a man.

Read for yourself:

What is the national government trying to spend our money on next? Abortion, which is always bad because somebody always dies. I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said something to the effect: “Abortion doesn’t erase the pregnancy; it only makes you the parent of a dead child”. Here is an article about congress pushing a proposal to allow our American-funded military hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan perform abortions on U.S. military women. Pentagon Bill to Include Abortion Amendment.

If we start with defining “abortion” as a health care bonus, we can understand why an anti-life congress would want to encourage military women to destroy their offspring. However, if we understand “abortion” as a mark of our failure to appropriately protect and care for women, then it is not health care at all. It becomes an act of degradation and abuse of humanity. Perhaps the crux of this issue is how we protect women. Surgically removing their offspring, even if they claim they want the abortion, is a mark of treating them like second class citizens, animals or chattel.

Unwanted pregnancies are not the problem; they are a symptom of another problem. Pregnancies don’t happen by accident. They happen by intentional acts between a man and a woman creating an irreversible, eternal, transcendental bond. You can’t separate the body from the soul. For every baby that was conceived, there is a mother and a father who joined their hearts and souls. Destroying the baby will never erase the act that created the baby.

Getting rid of the baby may end its life, but it never ends the fact that the baby existed. Offering abortions to our military will increase the pressure on women to destroy their unborn children and depreciate the value of women to being strictly utilitarian.

Even in the cases where people have argued that abortion is an appropriate reaction to the crimes committed women of rape and incest, remedying incest with abortions re-victimizes those women. Those who are ushered onto the operating table are made available for more abuse. The men who coerce women to abort their baby treat these women like sexual objects or prostitutes. Destroying the unborn will not correct the underlying problem and may actually exacerbate it.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 134 states that adultery is punishable by court martial in all branches of the military. While this is not always enforced, it sends a clear message that adulterous behavior, especially when it results in a pregnancy, is always a violation of the Military Code. How can we run a well trained military organization without rules and consequential discipline? Ask any parent of young children how well that works when we start being inconsistent with behavioral expectations.

Elisabeth Bumiller a New York Times author said, “With no access to safe abortions outside the base, regulations require that a woman be flown home within two weeks of the time she finds out she’s pregnant, a particular stigma for unmarried women that ends any future career advancement.”

Rightfully so; why should we excuse people from the natural consequences of their chosen behavior? Career advancement ought to be curtailed if you were, for example, caught stealing, cheating or lying. Why? Because character is foundational to job performance.

The men deserve just as much hardship as the women. Nobody gets pregnant without a man. Punishing those who participate in these indiscretions may prove to be a deterrent. Some may ask, “What if women were to get pregnant just to go home?” We have a volunteer military anyway. Send them home. War zones are inappropriate places for pregnant women and children. The men left behind to fight are guaranteed to not get pregnant.

During the discussion about the Equal Rights Amendment some raised the question of whether the amendment would require women to serve in combat. It appears that without the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment most of the provisions have been accomplished already.

Hartzler votes to ban earmarks

The following news release was issued today by Congresswoman-Elect Vicky Hartzler:

Missouri 4th District Congresswoman-Elect Vicky Hartzler, in Washington, D.C. for New Member Orientation, has taken a stand for fiscal responsibility by joining her U.S. House Republican colleagues in voting to extend their ban on budget earmarks - a controversial process which directs money to pet projects of federal lawmakers.

"It is time to get serious about attacking runaway government spending and balancing our budget," said Hartzler after casting her vote. "This is a good first step. We will begin the new session of Congress knowing we are protecting hard-earned taxpayer dollars."

Earmarks have been targeted by grassroots and Tea Party activists as a symbol of government waste. Hartzler and other new Members of Congress vowed, during the election campaign, to rein in wasteful government spending and to end the earmarks process.

In extending the ban on earmarks for the next two years Republican House Members adopted a policy similar to one approved by GOP Senate Members earlier this week.

Forensic accountant: MSSU instructor may have stolen more than $200,000

A forensic accountant hired by the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, Canton, Ohio, former workplace of Missouri Southern State University accounting instructor Norman L. Katz, says Katz may have stolen more than $200,000 from the company. Of that total, only $129,000 could be proven definitely and that was the amount given when Katz entered his guilty plea.

Katz resigned in September 2007, shortly after he was confronted about the missing $30,000. Yut said he never explained why he took the money. As Katz’s scheme continued to unravel, the museum contacted authorities.

Canton Police Lt. John Gabbard and a forensic accountant hired by the museum began to put the puzzle together.

Yut said she can only guess how much money was stolen.

The forensic accountant determined that Katz took approximately $206,000. By necessity, that amount was based on estimates — two years of Katz’s time cards were missing — and prosecutors didn’t think that dollar figure would meet the burden of proof in a criminal trial.

In January, the defense and prosecution agreed to a $129,000 restitution order, with Katz getting probation and paying $85,000 within a month of pleading guilty to aggravated theft.

Chart exclusive: MSSU hires embezzler to teach accounting

It appears Barney Fife has been placed in charge of background checks at Missouri Southern State University.

The campus newspaper, The Chart, broke the story today that newly hired accounting instructor Norman L. Katz pleaded guilty to embezzling $129,000. Naturally, the official contacted for the story would not offer any comment and probably was caught off guard.

The story does not mention if other applicants for the position also had criminal records or if Southern just managed to hire the only embezzler in the bunch.

Officials at Southern remained mum on the issue Thursday. Dr. AJ Anglin, vice president for academic affairs, said he had been made aware of a possible issue with a faculty member and declined further comment.

Dr. Beverly Block, interim dean of the school of business administration, said Thursday afternoon it was a personnel issue and that she was not at liberty to give any information.

When asked if she was aware of Katz's embezzlement conviction at the time he was hired, Block responded: "I can't give you that information."

She gave the same response when asked if he would still be teaching in the spring semester.

"I'm not sure when I can give you information or if I can give you information," she said.

Billy Long casts vote for Boehner

The Springfield News-Leader reports incoming Seventh District Congressman Billy Long voted for John Boehner as Speaker of the House. The News-Leader story also indicates the man Long is succeeding, Roy Blunt, cast his vote for Mitch McConnell as the GOP leader in the Senate.

Times are tough for new Gannett CFO

If you are looking for a poster child for the current economic crisis that has enveloped our country, look no further than Paul Saleh.

Hard times have fallen on Paul Saleh over the past few years, and in an act of desperation this week he latched onto the best job he can find. Though skeptics claim that these jobs should be outsourced because Americans simply won't do them, Paul Saleh is a different breed. He is a man who firmly believes that hard work builds character.

So, hat in hand, this week Saleh took a deep breath and became the new chief financial officer of Springfield News-Leader parent company Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the United States.

It's not the kind of money Saleh is used to, but in this seller's market, you have to take whatever is available. It was only three years ago that Saleh was at the top of his game, earning more than $6.3 million as CFO of Sprint Nextel. For a brief time, he even served as the company's interim CEO, but when the new CEO came to town, he had incredibly high expectations. He actually wanted Saleh and other top management officials to stop bleeding market share to Verizon and other competitors. So that put Saleh out on the street, a proud man pounding the pavement looking for anything to keep his family fed and clothed.

Finally, Saleh got in on the ground floor on a new management firm, Menza. And after about two and a half years (or two and a half Mensa), Saleh is back in business.

With that decision came an enormous sacrifice. SEC filings indicate Saleh is going to start at a rock-bottom $600,000 a year, less than 10 percent of what he made during his salad days. Of course, the philanthropists who run Gannett are helping tide him over with a $150,000 signing bonus and options to buy 180,000 shares and 65,000 restricted stock units.

And if Saleh happens to lose his job, the caring folks at Gannett will help him make a smooth transition into his next employment. The SEC filings indicate he will receive a going-away present of $600,000 plus the average of his bonuses over a three-year period.

It's a tough sacrifice for Paul Saleh to make, but sometimes to get back to the top, you have to start on the ground floor.

But in a supportive environment such as the one he will find at Gannett (don't pay attention to those naysayers who are upset because 130 jobs were recently eliminated at USA Today with no $600,000 cushion to and on, or positions have been trimmed at the Springfield News-Leader and the rest of Gannett's newspapers and don't listen to those whiners who are upset because they have had to take unpaid furloughs two or three times), don't be surprised if Paul Saleh, who was also a Disney official at one time, will find plenty of reason to whistle while he works.

Missouri taxpayers won't have to pay Westboro Baptist Church's legal fees...for now

Federal Judge Fernando Gaitan ruled Wednesday that Missouri taxpayers will not have to foot the bill for the Westboro Baptist Church's legal expenses in its battle against Attorney General Chris Koster and the state.

That may change after the state's appeal of the judge's decision striking down Missouri's laws regulating protests at funerals. Gaitan said the decision was "deferred" until "completion of the appeals process."

The law was passed by Missouri legislators after followers of the Topeka church protested at military funerals, claiming that God wanted American soldiers killed because of the country's tolerant attitude toward homosexuals.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blunt to KZRG: Earmarks will protect us from Obama

In an interview with KZRG, a defensive and irritated sounding Senator-Elect Roy Blunt explains how earmarks are his way of protecting us from Barack Obama:

McCaskill addresses screening procedures

During this CNN video, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., addresses airport screening procedures:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Carl Junction teacher to be honored tonight

State education officials will honor five teachers, including Carl Junction Junior High social studies instructor Doug Logan tonight. From the news release issued by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:

Missouri’s Teacher of the Year for 2010-11, Robert “Bob” Becker, from the Kirkwood School District, will be honored by state education officials this evening in Jefferson City.  The five state finalists in this year’s program also will be recognized.
The recognition banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.  A reception for all of the state finalists, their families and other guests begins at 5:30 p.m.  The reception is sponsored by Missouri’s professional teacher organizations.
Awards will be presented by David Liechti, St. Joseph, president of the State Board of Education; and Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. 
Mr. Becker teaches chemistry at Kirkwood High School in the Kirkwood School District.  He was selected in August to represent Missouri in the annual National Teacher of the Year program.
Five other outstanding public school teachers were chosen as state finalists and will be honored at tonight’s banquet.  They are: 
  • Rebecca Gooding, a fifth grade math teacher at Eagle Glen Intermediate School, Raymore-Peculiar School District.
  • Doug Logan, a social studies teacher at Carl Junction Junior High School, Carl Junction School District.
  • Abby Lowe, a kindergarten teacher at David Harrison Elementary School, Springfield School District.
  • Lori Mathys, a fourth grade teacher at Chesterfield Elementary School, Rockwood School District.
  • Lori Merrigan, a fifth grade teacher at Underwood Elementary School, Lee’s Summit School District.
The Missouri Teacher of the Year program is conducted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  Major support for the program is provided by the Boeing Company of St. Louis. 

Julio Leon selected for Colorado position

Former Missouri Southern State University President Julio Leon has been selected from three candidates as the finalist for interim president at Colorado State University-Pueblo. The announcement was made in a letter issued today by Chancellor Joseph B. Blake:

Dear Colorado State University-Pueblo Campus Community:
Today, I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Julio Leon has been recommended to the Colorado State University System Board of Governors as the finalist for the position of interim president of Colorado State University-Pueblo. In accordance with state laws, there is a 14-day grace period before a formal appointment can be made. Our intent is to have Dr. Leon start as early as Nov. 29, 2010.
In the meantime, Dr. Leon and I will be at CSU-Pueblo this Thurs., Nov. 18, for a campus reception from 9-10 a.m. in the Hearthwell Lounge. We hope you can join us. Dr. Leon is excited about this opportunity and looks forward to meeting the campus community.
Dr. Leon led Missouri Southern State University for 25 years before retiring in 2007. During his tenure as president, the institution earned university status and enrollment doubled to 6,000 students. He has a commendable level of community outreach and involvement, which makes him an especially qualified interim leader for CSU-Pueblo. You can learn more about Dr. Leon’s accomplishments in his curriculum vitae. 
I would personally like to thank CSU-Pueblo faculty and board representative Jennifer Mullen and student body president and board representative Steven Titus for their involvement and insight during last week's important interview process. I have enormous respect for them and the meaningful roles they serve on behalf of the campus community. I also would like to thank board members Dorothy Horrell and Scott Johnson who participated in the interview and selection process.
On behalf of the board and the entire campus community at CSU-Pueblo, I want to thank Dr. Tony Frank for his extraordinary service over the last several months. He is held in the highest personal and professional regard. We also know that accepting this important role was not done without a great amount of personal sacrifice, time, and energy.
The Board of Governors and I understand how important it is to maintain the great momentum CSU-Pueblo is experiencing. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that momentum continues during this transition period. Dr. Leon will be an effective interim president. He will work with the campus and community to lead the university along its positive trajectory, while the board begins a national search for a permanent president. In my email to the campus on Nov. 3, I outlined next steps regarding the search for a permanent president, the first two steps of which involve selecting a search committee and search firm. We hope to make progress on these two items in the coming weeks. I look forward to seeing many of you on campus this Thursday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Natural Disaster to play at benefit variety show at Joplin East Middle School

Our band, Natural Disaster, will perform next Saturday, November 20, during a benefit variety show at Joplin East Middle School. The show is scheduled to run from 2 to 8 p.m. with acts including Joplin High School's Sound Dimension, the nationally known Joplin-based gospel group, The Victorymen, the East Middle School Show Choir, Drama Class, and cheerleaders, as well as numerous student and teacher acts.

Natural Disaster is scheduled to play from 2:45 to 4 p.m. A more complete schedule will be released later this week.

Proceeds from the benefit will go toward purchasaing lapel mikes for our drama department and auditorium usage, and extra books for our library.

A couple of the songs we will be playing accompany this post.

Friday, November 12, 2010

TPM: Talent eyeing another battle with McCaskill

Real Clear Politics reports former Sen. Jim Talent is strongly considering a rematch with Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2012:

At least four well-known Republicans in Missouri are exploring the race against McCaskill, but GOP operatives say Talent is farthest along and has been positioning for another run ever since he stood down in early 2009 when Rep. Roy Blunt decided to pursue the seat GOP Sen. Christopher (Kit) Bond is vacating in January.

The other three Republicans mentioned were Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, and Ann Wagner.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

McCaskill offers a special thank you to veterans

In her latest newsletter, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. offers a special thank you to veterans:

Today, on Veterans Day, it is particularly important to send a special thank you to those who have risked their lives or died heroically serving in the United States Armed Forces. Join me and your fellow Missourians in saying thank you to America's veterans – you can share your family's thanks at

But I know words of thanks are not always enough. Part of my job as a United States Senator is working to make sure Congress also expresses the nation's gratitude to veterans and their families by delivering the benefits they earned and need.

Earlier this year I had the privilege of once again traveling across Missouri to hear to the concerns of veterans. At VFW halls around the state, I am always reminded of the Greatest Generation – the women and men (including my own dad) who protected this country's freedom during World War II.

But like you, I have also seen first-hand a new great generation of heroic warriors coming home from repeated deployments with new injuries, both physical and psychological. This year marked the end of combat troop deployment in Iraq, but conflict continues in Afghanistan and our forces continue to serve in Iraq in a new role. I worry about the dramatic increase in post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and suicide among our men and women in uniform, including our brave Guard and Reserve members. Unfortunately, the mental health and substance abuse services available to veterans have not kept pace with the overwhelming need.

During my time in the Senate, I've fought passionately for better health benefits for veterans. The HERO Act, which I co-sponsored, is now a law helping to evaluate the needs and improve the physical and mental health resources for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. After a whistleblower at Fort Leonard Wood revealed that the substance abuse programs in our Armed Forces were not sufficient to meet the growing needs of our service members who are seeking counseling, I introduced legislation to overhaul the Defense Department's substance abuse programs and provide a path for treatment to remain confidential so those who seek help are not disciplined for getting the care they need.

I'm also proud to have helped this new generation of veterans pay for their education. I was a cosponsor of and outspoken advocate for the Post-9/11 GI bill, which provides unprecedented educational benefits to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. Thousands of Missouri veterans are now taking advantage of this great program, just like my dad did with the original G.I. Bill when he returned from World War II.

Despite these improvements, there's still a lot of work to do to help veterans.

I've been working with my Senate colleagues to pass legislation that would expand access to mental health counselors covered by TRICARE and embed mental health professionals in National Guard units during stateside training. And young men and women coming home also need to be able to provide for their families: we need to look at better ways to incentivize employers to hire returning veterans and help veterans get their own businesses off the ground.

Following World War II, Missouri's own President Harry S. Truman said, "Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices."

65 years later, President Truman's words still ring true.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cynthia Davis: Keep an eye on those Muslims!

Muslims running amok.

Soon to be former Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon, vividly describes her Islamic nightmare in her latest report:

Last week, Oklahoma voters passed an amendment that prevents judges from relying on Sharia Law or international laws when deciding court cases. This was important because there are places where Sharia Law conflicts with our laws and standards of decency. For example, under Sharia law, it is acceptable to punish people by amputating limbs, beating your wife and stoning people to death. Our country already has laws that deal with crimes and domestic abuse. If our local or national legal system starts relying on what courts say in countries with opposing ethical standards, it will create confusion and allow some of our citizens to be treated differently than the rest of us.

Oklahoma adopted this as a preemptive measure because, for example, what happens in other countries is indicative of what could happen in America, if we don’t define our courts’ legal standards. In Great Britain, having two sets of laws has not served their citizens well. I have seen videos of children being maimed and having their heads cut with the permission of the government. It should make us all sick to think about the lack of civility that could be allowed in our country after years of crafting reasonable laws on how we handle problems such as stealing and adultery.

Curiously, the law is designed to limit the judicial branch, requiring them to listen to the citizens. The judicial branch of government is now blocking the certification of the measure. It passed by 70% of the vote. Why don’t judges understand they cannot declare something as unconstitutional when the people voted to put it into the constitution? The very act of passing the measure makes it constitutional.

The Muslims are fighting back because Sharia law is based upon the legal system promoted by the Koran. The first problem with basing a court case on another country’s primitive legal system is that it devalues women and children. The second problem is that Islamic extremist leaders are using this as a political movement rather than a religion. This type of political system teaches religious intolerance and world conquest through violence. Although we allow a variety of political philosophies in our country, we still have only one set of laws that can be modified only through one standard process. Even the Klu (sic) Klux Klan cannot change our laws nor have judges give special treatment to their ideology.

In America, our laws are opposite from Sharia Laws regarding many foundational points because we believe in:

1.) Equality for both men and women.

2.) Freedom of speech.

3.) Freedom of religion.

These are values we should never trade away.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Patriot Guard at Lamar featured on Washington Post blog

The Patriot Guard's stand protecting Pfc. Dylan Reid's family from Westboro Baptist Church protesters October 30 at the soldier's funeral in Lamar is featured on the Washington Post's BlogPost.

Brian Williams: Dowe Quick had it right along

During KOAM's tribute to Dowe Quick on his three decades in the Four States, his former co-worker Brian Williams offers a few recollections:

Missouri GOP: McCaskill doesn't get it

As expected, the Missouri GOP, fresh from holding on to Kit Bond's Senate seat, is aiming its guns at Claire McCaskill in an effort to win back that seat. The following news release was issued today:

Claire McCaskill’s Democrats suffered historic setbacks in Missouri and across the nation on November 2 when Americans overwhelmingly rejected the reckless liberal agenda that has dominated Washington for the past two years. But instead of listening to Missourians, McCaskill has dug in her heels. In an interview with Missourinet, McCaskill echoed Democrat talking points by claiming that her party’s massive losses were the result of a failure to communicate, instead of what they really were: a rejection of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda.

“Claire McCaskill just doesn’t get it,” said Lloyd Smith, Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party. “Like her liberal friends in Washington who think that Missourians don’t know enough to make informed decisions, McCaskill still believes that her party’s ‘shellacking’ in last week’s election resulted from failed communication rather than the failure of the liberal agenda. Missourians know exactly what Barack Obama and Claire McCaskill are selling, and on November 2, they took the opportunity to overwhelmingly reject it.”

Throughout 2010, Claire McCaskill’s fellow Democrats repeatedly insulted Americans by claiming the nation’s overwhelming opposition to their liberal agenda was the result of a lack of knowledge. Barack Obama argued that Americans aren’t “thinking clearly” because they’re “scared,” John Kerry claimed that “we’re in a period of know-nothingism,” and Harry Reid dismissed Missouri’s 71% against the federal health care bill by claiming that people “have a lack of understanding” about the bill.” McCaskill supported the health care takeover and later dismissed the passage of Prop C because, she claimed, Missourians “don't realize” what’s in the bill.

Now, Obama and McCaskill are reading from the same sheet of music by claiming that a lack of communication—not failed policies—are the result of the Democrats’ massive losses. In reality, Missourians listened to McCaskill’s defense of her party’s reckless spending and debt, the failed stimulus, and the health care takeover, and they sent a clear message that enough is enough.

McCaskill has further revealed her tone-deafness when, following the election, she claimed that she’s not going to have to “pivot.”

So it’s no wonder that Public Policy Polling released a new survey this week showing her as second most vulnerable Senator up for reelection in 2012. The poll, available here, puts McCaskill’s disapproval ratings at a whopping 53%.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Billy Long to take pay cut to go to Washington

Gannett Washington Bureau has an interview with Billy Long, which runs in today's Springfield News-Leader, and features the revelation that the Congressman-elect will have to take a pay cut when he goes to Washington:

"As a practical matter, you can't run a business like an auction company while you're in Washington. So whether they force me to or not, I'm going to have to liquidate," he said, acknowledging that the $174,000 annual salary for House members may end up being a pay cut.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Judge denies Carnahan's motion to expedite Fox News lawsuit

U. S. District Court Judge Gary Penner has denied the Carnahan for Senate campaign's motion to expedite the lawsuit filed by Fox News and Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace.

The scheduling order for the case is supposed to be filed by Nov. 26, according to court records.

Fox News and Wallace sued the Carnahan campaign after it used a snippet of an interview with Roy Blunt conducted by Wallace in 2006.

Leon interviewing for interim university president post in Colorado

Longtime Missouri Southern State University President Julio Leon is one of three candidates for interim president at the Univercity of Colorado-Pueblo.

The current president of the university was elected lieutenant governor Tuesday.

The newspaper offers the following description of Dr. Leon:

Leon retired in 2007 from Missouri Southern State University, as one of the longest-serving presidents in the nation with 25 years of service.

He spent 38 years at MSSU, beginning in 1969 as an assistant professor of business administration.

Leon worked his way up to become dean, interim president and president.

During his tenure as president at MSSU, Leon led the school in attaining university status in 2003 and adding master's degree programs.

Leon proposed the university's concept of international education that allows for students to travel in the fall semester to learn in different regions or countries in the world.

Leon assisted in the development of the university's online distance learning program that offers full bachelor's degree programs via the Internet.

The university received the Hesburgh Certificate of Excellence in 2001 for faculty development to enhance undergraduate teaching and learning under Leon's tenure.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Push is on to reduce Congressional salaries

When Billy Long and Vicky Hartzler join the U. S. House of Representatives, they may already be facing a paycut. The Hill reports that Congressional leaders are under pressure to show they mean business in dealing with the nation's fiscal problems by cutting their own salaries:

“There has to be a visible gesture that people can immediately relate to,” said Pete Sepp, the executive vice president of the conservative National Taxpayers Union.

“And cutting pay would be one of the best symbols, because unlike virtually anything else the federal government does, when Congress spends money on its own salaries and benefits, people can make a direct comparison to their own situation,” Sepp said.

Cleaver pays tribute to Ike Skelton

In his weekly EC from DC column, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., pays tribute to long-time colleague Ike Skelton, who lost his re-election bid Tuesday night:

Tuesday was a difficult evening. Many of my friends and colleagues will not be returning to Washington. There are dynamics in each of their own districts that caused that to happen. I do not mean to question the voters, only to say that it has been an honor to serve with some of these men and women, and I will miss some friends.

Chief among those is my friend, Congressman Ike Skelton. Many times in this newsletter I have talked about his friendship and counsel. He is the Dean of the Missouri delegation, and is respected and admired by soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines across the globe.

He is a kind and gentle man. He is a man whose 34 years of service to our nation should be revered and understood for what it was --- heroic.

Ike was unable to serve in battle like so many of his peers, because polio had crippled his arm when he was a child. His father, also named Ike, and President Truman were friends, and the President called him “Little Ike”. I performed the funeral for his late wife Suzie, and was able to perform his wedding to his longtime friend Patty a few years later.

Our politics were not always the same, but he is a good friend and I will miss sitting next to him on the floor.

In reflecting on Tuesday, that is perhaps what strikes me the most. So many were turned down not because of who they were or what they stood for, but because of their party.

We all need to do some soul searching over these results. Democracy works, although not always easily, and a new path will be found. I stand ready to work, as always with my friends on the other side of the aisle. Luckily, they all know that about me so this is not something new to any of them.

Thank you to all who came out to vote, regardless of who you voted for on Tuesday. I continue to be honored to serve each of you in Congress.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Crowell: it's time to look at eliminating tax credits

In his latest Crowell Connection, Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, says it is time to do something about the increasing amount of the state budget that is used for tax credits:

This week, you elected your representatives to the 96th General Assembly and there is no doubt they will be faced with extraordinary economic times. Missouri’s past two state fiscal years have seen major revenue declines of -6.9% ($585 million) in 2009 and -9.1% ($676 million) in 2010 and next year our state faces a projected budget deficit of possibly $900 million. With Missouri’s economic circumstances, now is the time to take a long look at where we are, where we are going, and what must be done to ensure that your tax dollars are used effectively and efficiently.

This is an opportunity to reshape state government to behave exactly as you and other Missourians are; looking carefully at their budgets to see where their money is going and how they can balance their finances. The bottom line is, you are making less and spending less. And just as you are finding ways to live within your means, Missouri’s government should do the same.

In my opinion, one area in need of reform is tax credits. Tax credits are one of Missouri’s economic development and social engineering tools. The state offers many tax credits for a diverse list of causes, including historic preservation, low-income housing, livestock breeding, job development, and on and on. If you can name it, there is probably a tax credit for it. Tax credits are an indirect appropriation of tax payer dollars to another and have grown by 266 percent in the last eleven years in large part because there is no oversight and accountability in how these tax credits are issued.

Last year alone, $521.5 million in tax credits were redeemed and budget experts predict that number to increase to $698.4 million this year. This explosion in tax credits has created an unfunded (issued but yet redeemed) tax credit liability to you of $1.5 to 2 billion. To put it in perspective, in SFY 2009, Missouri was first in the nation for historic preservation tax credits ($186 million) and second for low-income housing tax credits ($106 million). Yet, Missouri was 45th in per capita funding of higher education and 32nd in per capita funding for K-12.

I believe we must change our use of tax credits and I am calling for fundamental reform. All tax credits should be required to be approved like every other state expenditure of your tax dollars; through the appropriations process.

The appropriations process is where Missourians, through their elected representatives, have the ability to decide their priorities. By treating tax credits just like every other state expenditure, the General Assembly could weigh the benefit of a tax dollar spent on a credit against other state services. In this process, advocates of their tax credits will have to present their case why your tax dollars should fund tax credits over say education or access to healthcare; now they don’t because tax credits come off the top as entitlements.

I believe that you put in the hard work and therefore the money you earn is yours; not the government’s. Therefore, government needs to be fully accountable for taxpayer dollars and the new General Assembly needs to take this opportunity to scrutinize how state government is spending your hard earned money. In this environment, as you are painstakingly prioritizing where you spend your limited amount of money, so too should your state government.

Billy Long wants to keep protection for those with pre-existing conditions

Seventh District Congressman-Elect Billy Long has said he wants to get rid of the federal health care plan, but he told KY3 Wednesday that he favors keeping one part of that plan- coverage for those with pre-existing conditions

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Barbre to start Sunday for Seahawks

Former East Newton and Missouri Southern State University standout Allen Barbre will start for the Seattle Seahawks when they play host to the New York Giants.

Barbre signed with Seattle earlier this season after being cut by the Green Bay Packers. Barbre will start at offensive guard.

Carnahan concession speech: This is not the end of our cause


Missouri GOP: Americans stood up for freedom

David Cole, Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party released the following statement regarding the outcome of the 2010 elections:

“Across the nation and throughout Missouri, millions of Americans stood up for freedom and against Barack Obama’s big government policies. In race after race and state after state, overwhelming Republican victories serve as both a repudiation of the Democrats failed agenda and a call to return to responsible, common-sense solutions that will create jobs, jumpstart the economy, and rein in a national debt that is threatening our future.

“The Missouri GOP would like to congratulate our Republican candidates at all levels of government for their hard-fought campaigns and thank them for their desire to serve their fellow Missourians—especially Senator-elect Roy Blunt, Congresswoman-elect Vicky Hartzler, Auditor-elect Tom Schweich, Congressman-elect Billy Long, and the new and returning GOP members of the Missouri General Assembly.

“Their historic victories will be remembered for generations to come.

“Most importantly, we would like to humbly thank the Missourians who put their trust in the Republican Party and our candidates. Elected Republicans will strive every day to uphold the highest ideals of our nation and our constitution, to govern responsibly, and to be responsive to the people who have entrusted us to lead our state and nation during these perilous times.”

Kinder: We will not raise taxes

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder issued the following statement concerning Tuesday's election results:

“Tonight, I am humbled and gratified that Missourians have chosen many of our Republican candidates to help lead us through this difficult time in our nation's history. At a time when Missouri families are struggling, new federal health care mandates are hurting businesses and Missouri continues to lose jobs, our state needs experienced leaders with common sense values to navigate the course ahead.

"The people of Missouri have overwhelmingly chosen my friend, Roy Blunt as the next senator from the Great State of Missouri. Roy will bring our values back to Washington where he will continue in the legacy of Sen. Kit Bond. I am also excited to congratulate Congresswoman-elect Vicky Hartzler (MO-4), Congressman-elect Billy Long (MO-7) and State Auditor-elect Tom Schweich. Voters also reelected Congressman Todd Akin (MO-2), Congressman Sam Graves (MO-6), Congresswoman JoAnn Emerson (MO-8) and Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9). Voters have also increased the majority of conservative leaders in the Missouri House and State Senate.

"These elected officials will work together to ensure that state and federal government tightens its belt and learns to live within its means. And regardless of what circumstances we face, we WILL NOT raise taxes on the hardworking families of Missouri."

GateHouse Media revenues down 4.8 percent

GateHouse Media revenues were down 4.8 percent during the last quarter, according to its quarterly report issued Tuesday. The company issued the following news release:

GateHouse Media, Inc. (the “Company” or “GateHouse Media”) (OTC Pink Sheets: GHSE) today reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2010.

Third Quarter 2010

Total revenues were $137.9 million for the quarter, a decline of 4.8% as compared to the prior year. As Adjusted Revenues for the quarter were $136.7 million, a decline of 4.7% on a same-store basis. Total advertising revenue for the quarter declined 3.7% on a same-store basis. The decline in total advertising revenue on a same-store basis was driven by declines in local retail and classified revenue, which were down 4.2% and 5.2%, respectively, partially offset by strong growth in online revenues, which grew 17.6%. Commercial print revenues declined 21.2% in the quarter on a same store basis from the prior year.

Operating costs and SG&A expenses were $113.8 million in the quarter, a decline of $5.3 million or 4.4% from the prior year, despite a $1.2 million increase in newsprint expense related to increased pricing levels. The expense declines were driven primarily by lower compensation expense and hauling and delivery costs. The Company has been able to successfully reduce compensation expense as part of its overall cost savings initiatives begun in 2009. Compensation expense was down 4.3% in the quarter versus the prior year on a same store basis. Hauling and delivery was down 10.7% versus prior year on a same store basis driven primarily by increased distribution efficiencies throughout the Company.

Operating income for the quarter was $12.0 million, a decrease of $2.0 million as compared to the prior year. As Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $25.0 million, a decrease of $2.3 million or 8.5% on a same-store basis from the prior year.

Levered Free Cash Flow for the quarter decreased 21.3% to $8.8 million as compared to $11.1 million for the prior year.

Non-cash compensation expense for Restricted Stock Grants in the third quarter was $0.4 million.

One-time costs incurred and other non-cash expenses in the quarter were $1.2 million, and related primarily to reorganization efforts and initiatives introduced to realize permanent expense reductions.

Commenting on GateHouse Media’s same store results, Michael E. Reed, GateHouse Media’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “Overall revenue trends improved slightly in the third quarter versus the second quarter with revenues down year over year by 4.7%. I was particularly encouraged by our newspaper advertising revenue, where declines improved to down only 2.7% year over year, and our online revenue growth, which remained very strong, showing a year over year increase of 17.6%. The investments we have made in our online programs continue to help make positive contributions to our total revenues.

“While we continue to navigate through a very choppy revenue environment, the total decline was significantly impacted by our commercial print business which has been very challenged by the economic pressures felt by all. Commercial print is a small category for us, however, the 21.2% decline experienced in the quarter from this category made up almost a quarter of our total revenue decline. We do expect improvement in this trend looking forward into 2011 as we begin to cycle some of the larger job losses we saw this year.

“We continue to operate more efficiently as well, evidenced by our costs being down in the quarter despite rising newsprint costs, which have resulted in a 13.7% increase in newsprint expense. Through September of this year our aggressive expense initiatives have resulted in As Adjusted EBITDA growth of 8.3%.

“In the very near term our revenue visibility remains limited as a result of the choppiness of our month to month revenue trends. While we remain dedicated to operating more efficiently by identifying permanent cost reduction opportunities, we are placing even more emphasis on audience and revenue development through new product and business innovation as well as a more highly energized sales culture.

“Our operating results and cash management activities continue to have a positive impact on our overall liquidity We ended the quarter with $31.6 million of cash on the balance sheet, with all short term debt paid off. We remain highly focused on de-levering through both growth in our business and debt reduction.”