Saturday, June 30, 2012

KSN Video: First signing held for Spirit of Hope

Thanks to KSN for sending out a crew for coverage of the first signing for Spirit of Hope: The Year After the Joplin Tornado. We had a great signing today and are looking forward to more in the future. In the video, my co-author John Hacker and Joplin High School sophomore Denton Williams, who contributed a chapter, talk about the book. The book can be ordered at the Amazon link on the upper right hand side of this page.

First signing for Spirit of Hope starts at 11 a.m.

As I write this, it is less than one hour until the first signing for Spirit of Hope: The Year After the Joplin Tornado, the new book by John Hacker and me which tells the story of the Joplin Tornado from May 22, 2011, through the Day of Unity one year later.

The signing begins at 11 a.m. at Always Buying Books, 3537 N. Main, Joplin (in the Airport Drive area) and will continue until at least 1 p.m.

Hope to see you there.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Facebook, drug companies friend Chris Koster

Apparently, Facebook has friended Chris Koster.

The funds didn't come directly, but Facebook, Astra Zeneca, Pfizer, and other big name mostly out-of-state companies poured $300,000 into Attorney General Chris Koster's re-election campaign, via way of the Democratic Attorney Generals Association.

Forty-eight hour reports filed today with the Missouri Ethics Commission show $290,000 in conributions to the Democratic Attorney Generals Association Missouri and then $300,000 going from the association to Koster.

The Democratic Attorney Generals Association received the following:

-Altria $25,000
-Anheuser Busch $25,000
-Pfizer $50,000
-Zeneca $25,000
-Visa $50,000
-Recording Industry Association of America $25,000
-Coca-Cola $25,000
-Dupont $25,000
-Facebook $25,000
-Leads Online $15,000

In addition to the $300,000 from the Democratic Attorney General Association, Koster received another $82,000 in oversized contributions today.

Billy Long: We must act now to secure our borders

In the second part of his most recent newsletter, Seventh District Congressman Billy Long explains his stance on illegal immigration.

All we have to do is look at the past to see that granting amnesty to select groups of illegal immigrants will not fix our country’s illegal immigration problem.  In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act became law and required employers to verify their employees’ immigration status.  This Act also granted amnesty to select seasonal agricultural immigrant workers and to any illegal immigrant who entered the United States prior to January 1, 1982 and resided here continually.  Around 2.5 million people applied for legalization under the 1986 law.  Today around 10-12.5 million people are estimated to be illegal immigrants.

You might ask why after granting amnesty to illegal immigrants in 1986 the number has risen from 2.5 million to today’s estimates of between 10 and 12.5 million?  The answer is simple – no one has lifted a finger to secure our borders since the implementation of the 1986 Act.  Until we get serious about securing our borders like most every other country in the world no solution will be possible to this problem.  Our lack of secure borders is not only an illegal immigration problem but a very serious security risk to our nation. We must act now to secure our borders.  

We must ensure that legal immigrants are integrated into our society.  We want people to immigrate to America because they want to become Americans.  Our ancestors were all immigrants too, and many of them were from different European nations that hated each other and had recently been at war with each other, yet we left all those things behind and became Americans.  

I am fed up with this administration’s disregard for our laws and will work with like-minded colleagues to ensure our country is not condoning illegal behavior. We welcome legal immigration but should not be advocating policies which give an incentive to people to break our nation’s immigration laws.

Dee Wampler representing Springfield elementary teacher in prostitution case

The most prominent criminal defense attorney in southwest Missouri will be on board when a Springfield elementary school teacher goes on trial for promoting prostitution.

 Dee Wampler filed a motion for a change of judge June 18, according to Greene County Circuit Court online records. That motion is scheduled to be taken up during a 9 a.m. hearing Friday, July 6.

Laura Fiedler, 35, and her husband, Mark, were both charged, but Wampler is representing only Mrs. Fiedler, according to court records.

Both Fiedlers claimed they were shocked to hear that prostitution was going on in the establishment (the Landmark Hotel) and thought they were just making arrangements for massages (Apparently, somebody got rubbed the wrong way.).

The following passage came from the Feb. 8 Springfield News-Leader:

But authorities say data from the cell phones of Mark and Laura Fiedler as well as the phones and testimony of several of the women thought to be involved in the alleged prostitution ring, say otherwise.
According to court documents, both Fiedlers received text messages and emails that indicated that sexual services were being offered.
The preliminary hearing for the Fiedlers is scheduled for Monday, July 16.

No new trial for sex-crazed Springfield hatchet killer

Sex-crazed Springfield hatchet killer Aaron Letterman will not get a new trial.

Letterman, 29, Fulton, is serving a life sentence plus 30 years after entering an Alford plea (not admitting guilt, but acknowledging there was enough evidence to convict him) in 2009.

Letterman claimed his lawyer was ineffective, but he almost had one who was even worse, according to the court opinion, which was handed down Monday, Letterman fired his lawyer, Stuart Huffman of Springfield, and announced he was going to represent himself.

Judge Thomas Mountjoy gave Letterman the old admonition that he would have a fool for a client and by the time the trial came around, Letterman agreed. "I believe I am that fool," he told the judge.

Letterman asked if he could rehire Huffman and Huffman agreed. Letterman claims Huffman gave him a raw deal by talking him into the Alford plea on the chance that he might receive a lighter sentence.

The opinion, authored by Appellate Court Judge Daniel Scott of Joplin, concludes, "Having no good options, Letterman chose what he and Huffman considered the lesser of two evils.  That he still got the sentences he hoped to avoid did not render the plea involuntary or mean that Huffman was ineffective.  Letterman’s sole point fails.  Judgment affirmed."

Letterman's path to prison started when he got upset because his uncle was going to have sex and he wasn't getting any. The case was described this way in a June 16, 2009, post on Kathee Baird's Crime Scene Blog:

Letterman was charged two years ago with the hatchet slaying of 44-year-old Tyla Rhodelander of Lebanon. Letterman's uncle, Michael Humphrey, said the two met Rhodelander near a cemetery on E. Chestnut Expressway and asked her if she was looking for a place to stay.
All three of them ended up in a homeless camp not far from the cemetery. Authorities say that Letterman and Rhodelander had spent some time alone in a tent and when his uncle told him he was going to have sex with the woman and followed her into the tent, Letterman "lost it."
Humphrey told investigators that he was in a tent with Rhodelander when Letterman allegedly unzipped the tent and attacked the woman with a hatchet.
Humphrey was busted a few days later and led cops to the homeless camp where Rhodelander's body was discovered...still in her tent.

Billy Long: This is a harmful law that destroys the quality of health care in this country

In Seventh District Congressman Billy Long's latest newsletter, he attacks the Supreme Court decision on the federal health care plan.

I was very disappointed by the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare.   
At the crux of the Court’s opinion was their decision to uphold the individual mandate as constitutional.  The mandate requires virtually all Americans to purchase health care insurance and imposes a penalty on those who cannot comply.  While President Obama and the Democrats worked to pass this law, they consistently assured the American public that the penalty was not a tax.  Despite this fact, the Supreme Court held the mandate is a tax.  As a result, the Court held the mandate is constitutional under Congress’s authority to tax the public through legislation.
However, the Court also ruled the states can refuse to participate in the expansion of the Medicaid program without losing all of their funding.
The result is that beginning in 2014 many people who cannot afford health insurance will experience a tax increase.  For President Obama and Democrat leaders who claim they do not want to increase taxes on the low-income and middle class, such an increase is the exact result of their ill-advised health care reform law.
I, along with the overwhelming majority of Missourians who voted against Obamacare in August of 2010, believe this is a harmful law that destroys the quality of health care in this country.  This law enacts drastic cuts to the Medicare program and institutes a board of bureaucrats whose sole purpose is to deny care to seniors.  This law is wrong for the country and it is certainly wrong for Missourians.
Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, I took 30 votes to repeal or defund part or all of the president’s health care law.  I will continue to work to repeal the harmful aspects of this law, including the tax on the low-income and middle class, and replace it with fiscally responsible patient-centered health care.
As the American people struggle to make ends meet, too many also live with the challenge of affording basic health care for themselves and their families.
We have the finest doctors, nurses, and facilities in the world. That did not come about as a result of a government-run health care system.  As I work with my colleagues to address the cost drivers of our health care system it is imperative that we do not repeat the Democrat’s mistake of passing a massive health care bill that is not supported by the public.  We need to ensure that the American people are supportive of the changes to our nation’s health care delivery system and pass changes step by step with bills that are easy to understand and not filled with unknown negative consequences for American families and small businesses.
As we all work together in improving access to health care I believe that the American people want real solutions to get our economy back on track and bring down health care costs, not another excuse to raise taxes on small business and working families.

Dayton station fires Michelle Kingsfield, no reason given

WDTN, Dayton, Ohio, fired news anchor Michelle Kingsfield, a former anchor at KODE, Thursday, according to the Dayton Daily News:

Kingsfield told the Dayton Daily News that she was “abruptly” let go on Thursday and was not given a reason for her termination.
WDTN officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Kingsfield said she will miss her connection to area viewers, and feeling like she could make a difference in the community through her news stories. “I think I can still do that, just in a different capacity,” she said.
Kingsfield plans to pursue new career options in the areas of corporate communications and marketing.

Ms. Kingsfield had been at the station for nearly five years. She was in Joplin in the late 1990s. During her stint as an anchor at another Dayton station, she drew national attention with two appearances on Good Morning America when she was fighting leukemia during a pregnancy.

The following is taken from the Speakers on Healthcare Site from 2007:

When she was 14 weeks pregnant with her second son, Michelle Kingsfield was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. She not only shared the shocking news with family and friends, she also shared it with the thousands of people who watch her during the week on the news in Dayton, Ohio where she's a Main Anchor for the FOX and ABC affiliates.

The local newspaper, The Dayton Daily News, followed Kingsfield's amazing story, detailing her incredible strength and inspiration as she went through six rounds of intense chemo therapy and then delivered a healthy baby boy.

Kingsfield also shared her challenges with the nation during two appearances on "Good Morning America." In March 2005, Charlie Gibson did a story on her and then interviewed her via satellite to talk about being pregnant with cancer, her positive attitude fighting the disease, and her determination to deliver a healthy baby. In June 2005, Kingsfield flew to New York with her family to appear again on "Good Morning America" for a follow-up story with her "miracle son" Robert, who was just seven weeks old. Kingsfield shared some of the tough choices she encountered, her unwavering will to survive, as well as the added difficulties of being pregnant during her treatments.

In the March 2006 edition of O, The Oprah Magazine, Kingsfield authored a story on her struggle and survival with cancer while being in the public eye. She explained how food played a big role in her emotional and physical healing in a segment called "Dish Fulfillment."

Cleaver: This is a historic week for this country

(From Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver)

On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s healthcare law. While I believe this is an historic week in the country, I continue to hope that the decision does not further deepen our divisions or cause us to throw up our hands and feel our work is done. All Americans, no matter what their political party, deserve coverage that is functional, full, and fair. My sincere hope is that the states and the federal government will work together to make sure that happens. Because of healthcare, there are now big and important differences in the lives of millions of Americas, who are able to focus on their jobs and quality of life, instead of worrying about what will happen if they or their family members get injured or sick. Below are some facts I think are important as we take a look at what those changes mean for people across the country and right here in Missouri’s Fifth District.

  • 54 million Americans have received one or more free preventive services
  • The annual free wellness exam and the first “Welcome to Medicare” visit will remain free
  • The average Medicare beneficiary will continue to save approximately $650 a year
  • In August, millions of women will get free coverage for various comprehensive women’s preventive services
  • Last year – 32.5 million seniors got one of more free preventive services
  • 105 million Americans no longer have a lifetime limit on their coverage
  • 4,200 young adults in the district now have health insurance
  • 6,800 seniors in the district got prescription drug discounts worth $3.9 million – an average discount of $580 per senior
  • 72,000 seniors in the district got Medicare preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles
  • 28,000 children and 110,000 adults now have insurance that covers preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles
  • 480 small businesses in the district got tax credits to help maintain or expand health care coverage for their employees

Joplin Fire Department issues fireworks guidelines

(From the Joplin Fire Department)

As Independence Day approaches this year, the Joplin Fire Department encourages citizens to keep safety in mind as they handle fireworks to avoid any problems. With the current weather pattern of high temperatures, lack of rain fall and low humidity levels the possibility of fires from fireworks usage will be increased. If you encounter a fire as a result of Fireworks you are encouraged to call the Fire department quickly to minimize the damage and spread of any fire.
The public should also know and adhere to all regulations involving the sale and discharge of fireworks in the City of Joplin to provide a safer environment for their families, neighbors and the community as a whole. Also citizens are encouraged to be a good neighbor and remove any trash or debris from the fireworks they discharge.
Fireworks may be sold within the City of Joplin on July 1,2,3,4 only; and may be discharged only on July 1, 2, 3, and 4 from the hours of 12 Noon to 11 pm. The City prohibits the sale, possession or discharge of bottle rockets within the City. Any bottle rockets found will be confiscated immediately, and any variances of these rules may result in appropriate fines and confiscation of all possessed fireworks.
It should also be noted that during the set-up and event of “Freedom Fest 2012”, the July 4th Celebration at Landreth Park, all private fireworks will be prohibited in Landreth Park, as ordered by the Joplin Fire Chief . The notice is being posted in the interest of safety and is in accordance with the City of Joplin Code (SEC. 58.65 Item C). The order will be in effect on July 3 and 4, 2012 for Landreth Park in Joplin.
The notice will be posted at all fireworks stands in the City of Joplin, as well as posted at the main entry points of Landreth Park. The Police Department has set a protocol in handling violations of this order, starting with a verbal warning to the possibility of arrest if repeated violations occur.
Other fireworks safety tips include:
1.Think first and foremost of SAFETY when discharging fireworks.
2.Follow all of the Manufacturer’s instructions.
3.It is recommended that children do not use any firework. However, if they do, always have adult supervision.
4.Only discharge fireworks in an area clear of any obstructions, and that has short grass or a noncombustible surface.
5.Clear the area of any trash, wood piles, yard debris, etc.
6.Make sure that everyone is a safe distance from the discharge area.
7.Have a method of extinguishing devices immediately, i.e. a garden hose, bucket of water, fire extinguisher.
8.DO NOT HANDLE DUDS. They may go off several minutes later.
9.Always use punks to light the firework. Using lighters or matches may cause the firework to ignite prematurely.
10.Do not hold a firework in your hand and light it.
11.Do not discharge fireworks toward or near people, houses or other structures, flammable or combustible items.
For more information about fireworks safety, contact Dale Brooks, Fire Safety Officer, at 417-624-0820 ext. 1307.

Adopt-A-Neighborhood meeting set for July 11

(From the City of Joplin)

City officials will host an Adopt-A-Neighborhood meeting at 2 p.m. meeting on Wednesday, July 11, in the Basement Conference Room of Joplin City Hall, 602 South Main. The City’s Adopt-A-Neighborhood program is an organized effort for interested residents, volunteers, businesses, faith-based groups and other groups to help clean up neighborhood areas of Joplin.
The first meeting of the program was held in June with many attending to show their support and willingness to help in the cause. Organizing this program is Connie Chrisman in the Planning Community Development division. Chrisman has worked with community volunteers for a number of years and was pleased with the showing.
“We have great citizens willing to help their fellow neighbors,” she said. “This was never more evident than following the tornado. We continue to have this support and now have others wanting to help in areas throughout Joplin. This program helps to organize the efforts.”
Chrisman will provide various tips and suggestions to those working in neighborhoods, and will address questions about dumpsters, the Tool Lending Library operated by the City, and how to get fellow neighbors involved, as well as seeking assistance for elderly needing help with lawn-mowing and other light yard duties.
Those interested in helping with this effort are welcome to attend this meeting and learn more, or call Connie Chrisman at 417-624-0820, ext. 570.

New blog offers one-stop shop for Joplin Tornado books

My new blog, Joplin Tornado Books, offers something that, as far as I can tell, has not existed before- one spot where someone can find books and video about the May 22, 2011, Joplin Tornado, not only including 5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado and Spirit of Hope: The Year After the Joplin Tornado, by John Hacker and me, but also the other books that have been published since the day when one-third of this city was destroyed.

Included are books by the Joplin Globe, Kansas City Star, meteorologist Michael Smith, Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr, and even a novel by Julie Jett.

I plan on adding links to other sites that offer information about the tornado and the recovery efforts and will continue to add books and videos as I become aware of them.

Ed Emery: Health care decision is the end of freedom in America

I don't know about you, but I would say Ed Emery, a State Senate candidate, is overdoing it as he describes the U. S. Supreme Court's health care rule as the end of civilization as we know it.

Former Missouri Rep. Ed Emery today reflected on the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, on a five-to-four ruling with Chief Justice John Roberts casting the swing vote. Emery is running for state Senate in the 31st District comprising Barton, Bates, Cass, Henry and Vernon counties.
“I believe the Supreme Court failed to defend the U.S. Constitution and the people from the tyranny of an overreaching federal government,” Emery said. “Their ruling also flies in the face of the will of the people of Missouri.”
Emery noted that Missouri overwhelmingly rejected Obamacare when voters passed Proposition C in 2010 by a 71 percent majority. Prop C blocked the federal government from requiring the people of Missouri to buy health insurance and banned any punishment for those without health insurance, both central tenets of Obamacare.
“We can mourn the loss of freedom with this ruling,” Emery said, “but we must not give up the fight simply because we have lost the skirmish. We must continue our fight to return to the principles guaranteed in our Constitution.”
Sen. Jane Cunningham, sponsor of the Heath Care Freedom Act, Prop C, noted, “That the U.S. Supreme Court could rule that it is constitutional for the federal government to order American citizens to purchase a product they do not want or need is astonishing and flies in the face of freedoms given by God and recognized by our founding fathers in the Constitution. It is a sad day for freedom, a sad day for our nation. It’s up to Congress now to repeal it and start over.”
Emery pointed to the fact the court was ruling on the constitutionality of a congressionally imposed national health care system as evidence of how far the country has strayed from the vision of our Founding Fathers. “Their purpose in the Constitution was to constrain government because they did not trust it to constrain itself,” he said. “When an ambitious government imposes its will on you, it takes away your freedom — your choice of what is best for you and your family.
“However, many Missourians still recognize that liberty is more precious than security, and I believe the freedoms we are protecting are too important to give up or even to slacken the fight. I want to spend the next four years defending Missourians against such threats to their liberty, and that is why I am running for state Senate in the 31st District.”
Emery pointed out that voters will have another chance for their voices to be heard with an initiative on the November ballot that prohibits the Governor or any state agencies from establishing the Obamacare health insurance exchanges in Missouri without authorization from the legislature.
“It is more critical than ever for voters to get out and vote on November 6th, and pass this ballot measure,” Emery said. “Health care is important, but government control, which removes personal choice and drives up the cost to all taxpayers, is a failed idea.”

Lampe to speak at Southwest Missouri Democrats breakfast

(From the Southwest Missouri Democrats)
The Southwest Missouri Democrats are pleased to announce that Lieutenant Governor Candidate Sara Lampe will be the guest speaker at their July Breakfast. This month's event will be held at Cooper’s Coffee Shop and Eatery located at the corner of 2ndand Main Street in Joplin on Saturday, July 7th at 10am.   
The event is free and open to the public and attendees are encouraged to patronize this locally owned business. The Southwest Missouri Democrats encourage anyone interested in finding out more about Lampe Campaign to attend. “We are happy to see Representative Lampe visit the Joplin area and look forward to the opportunity to find out more about her campaign and what she has to offer Missourians” said Jordan Overstreet, one of the event organizers. “Our monthly breakfasts provide local Democrats the opportunity to meet informally on a monthly basis in local businesses to socialize and hear candidates and leaders speak on issues relevant to Missourians.”
Representative Sara Lampe (D-Springfield) is running for Lieutenant Governor in a 7-way primary. Prior to her bid for Lt Governor, Lampe served in the Missouri House of Representatives for the 138th District for eight years.

McCaskill to kick off campaign with RV tour

(From the Claire McCaskill campaign)

 This Saturday, Claire McCaskill will officially kick off her 2012 reelection campaign with the "In Our Town, On Our Side" statewide RV tour. During the weeklong tour, Claire will meet with Missourians, visit small businesses, thank volunteers and supporters for their hard work and open several of the Missouri Democratic Party's Coordinated Campaign Offices. Over the course of the week, Claire will visit 24 Missouri communities and all four corners of the state.

"This RV tour is just the beginning, because we're taking this campaign everywhere in our state. It doesn't matter if it's the reddest of red territory or the bluest of blue," said McCaskill. "In my book, we are one Missouri. I work for all Missourians, and as a daughter of rural Missouri I know how important it is to reach out to our small towns and communities to make sure they know what is at stake in this election."

"While the three extreme Republicans are campaigning against compromise and for the special interests, Missouri's middle class families can count on me to always be on their side -- fighting efforts to privatize Medicare and Social Security, protecting affordable student loans and doing everything possible to rebuild a strong and vibrant economy that works for Missouri, not just the big banks on Wall Street. Over the next four months, the people of Missouri will see me traveling across the state and making sure they know they have a Senator on their side who stands up to the special interests."

McCaskill's "In Our Town, On Our Side" RV tour will kick off Saturday morning in St. Joseph when Claire will attend the Missouri Democratic Party's coordinated campaign office opening. Events will be advised throughout the week as details become final.

As reported by the Associated Press, Claire's made fighting for the middle class and using compromise to achieve real solutions two of the centerpieces of her campaign, while her three extreme opponents "are mounting a no-compromise campaign."

The "In Our Town, On Our Side" RV tour allows Claire to bring her case directly to Missourians and remind them that the anonymous special interests who've already spent nearly $7.5 million in secret money attack ads aren't from Missouri and are supporting Claire's three extreme opponents because all three would be just another rubber-stamp for the Washington special interests, not Missouri's families.

First signing for Spirit of Hope set for tomorrow

The first signing for Spirit of Hope: The Year After the Joplin Tornado, the second book I have co-authored with veteran reporter John Hacker is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday) at Always Buying Books, 3537 N. Main, Joplin.

The signing will feature a number of the people who contributed chapters to the book.

Copies of the first book John and I wrote, 5:41: Stories from the Joplin Tornado, will be available, as will copies of three of my earlier books, Small Town News, The Turner Report, and Newspaper Days.

Hope to see you there.

Excessive heat warning continues for Joplin area through Saturday

(From the National Weather Service)








No Child Left Behind waiver approved for Missouri

We will just have to wait and see how much of our soul we had to sell to get this waiver.

(From the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

Today the U.S. Department of Education approved Missouri's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver giving the state flexibility from burdensome No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements. The waiver allows Missouri to use its own accountability system to more effectively identify struggling schools, to efficiently direct resources to struggling schools and to recognize schools achieving exemplary results.
"We are celebrating the approval of Missouri's ESEA waiver, and we greatly appreciate the hard work and feedback of all those who were involved," said Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. "While this is the culmination of the application process, the real effort is just beginning. Our goal is to ensure that all students graduate from high school college- and career-ready and for Missouri to become one of the top 10 states in education by the year 2020."
Missouri's ESEA waiver:
  • Implements higher academic standards
  • Creates one state system of accountability
  • Allows more flexible Title I spending for schools
  • Focuses on school improvement
  • Improves the teacher evaluation system
Missouri's flexibility waiver will go into effect immediately for the 2012-2013 school year, although there will be some implementation and phase in throughout the year.
The final waiver application, answers to frequently asked questions and other supporting documents can be found on the Department's website at
Missouri was one of five states to receive approval today in round two of the waiver request including Arkansas, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia.

Biden to join McCaskill for July 9 fundraiser

(From Claire McCaskill's Senate campaign)

On Monday July 9, Vice President Joe Biden will join Sen. Claire McCaskill in Kansas City for a fundraising event to benefit McCaskill Senate Victory 2012.

“It's always a pleasure to welcome Vice President Joe Biden to the great State of Missouri and I am humbled by his support for my re-election campaign,” said McCaskill. “Whether it was during our time together in the Senate or over the past four years, Vice President Biden has been a good friend and a strong advocate for middle class families across America. Like me, Vice President Biden has always worked to achieve commonsense, compromise solutions to the challenges we face and it's an honor that he's willing to come to Kansas City and help my campaign.”

This event will be the first time Vice President Biden has joined Claire in Missouri during her re-election campaign. Vice President Biden will be able to help present the choice Missourians have in November between a Senator, like Claire, who has fought tirelessly for Missouri's middle class families and the three extreme Republican candidates who are competing to be a rubberstamp vote for special interests in Washington.

The event will be hosted at a private residence.

Billy Long: It's darned sure Obama will be a one-term president

Seventh District Congressman Billy Long just told KZRG that the Supreme Court's health care ruling guaranteed one outcome.

"It's darned sure Obama will be a one-term president."

Long encouraged southwest Missouri Republicans to work to make sure that Obama does not win in November.

Earlier in the interview, Long said the health care ruling would enable the GOP to regain the White House and the Senate.

Billy Long: Health care ruling will win Republicans Senate and White House

In an interview being conducted right now (about 7:45 a.m.) on KZRG's Morning News Watch, Seventh District Congressman Billy Long promised that the U. S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act will enable the Republican party to win the White House and the Senate.

"People are infuriated by this," Long said.

Rupp: Supreme Court ruling woke up a sleeping giant

Brunner: I will lead the fight to repeal Obamacare

In his latest radio ad, U. S. Senate candidate John Brunner says he will "lead the fight to repeal Obamacare."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Access Family Care offers response to Supreme Court decision

(From Access Family Care)

“Right now the dust is still settling on the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Affordable Care Act,” said ACCESS Family Care’s CEO Don McBride, “Tomorrow we’ll still be serving patients as usual, providing them with the same high quality care we demonstrate through goals and outcomes. That will never change.”

Last year, ACCESS exceeded chronic care measurement goals with its patients. 86% of diabetic patients and 81% of patients with cardiovascular disease were within goals. 

“One of the special characteristics of community health centers is that they work to increase wellness in the communities they serve. We are highly regulated, we monitor and report on patient health outcomes, and we meet high standards for excellent care,” said McBride.

The National Association of Community Health Centers released these points following the Supreme Court’s decision:
·         The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) means that Community Health Centers will be able to continue to expand access to cost-effective and affordable health care to more people in more communities that lack services. Every penny of the ACA investment in Community Health Centers means real benefits for more Americans.
·         The only disappointment in the ruling for health centers and the patients they serve is the weakening of the Medicaid expansion. This potentially leaves some of the 16 million eligible low-income people with no affordable coverage alternative, and it possibly denies many of these hard-working Americans the security of having insurance for their health care needs, no matter how complex or serious they may be.
·         In the coming years, 32 million uninsured Americans across the country will have the opportunity to gain insurance coverage through Medicaid or through an Insurance Exchange. But an insurance card alone will not provide access, particularly in medically underserved communities. The role of our health centers will be to provide true access by bringing doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, and quality cost-effective primary and preventive services to new communities in need.
Under the Affordable Care Act, ACCESS Family Care (ACCESS) built a new state-of-the art community health center in Cassville that provides increased access to quality medical and dental care. The expansion allowed space to add another full-time doctor, two dentists, and two dental hygienists.  This increases total patient visits by 10.212 appointments serving 5,000 additional patients who didn’t have access to affordable health care.

ACCESS Family Care (ACCESS), was founded in 1996 as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) for the purpose of increasing access to primary health care for those who lack medical insurance coverage. As an FQHC, ACCESS receives a 330 Federal grant from the Bureau of Primary Health Care designed to offset the expenses associated with providing sliding fee discounts to patients who demonstrate economic need. ACCESS is not a free clinic; everyone pays based on their ability as determined by federal poverty guidelines and other related criteria.

“Missouri ranks as one of the nation’s unhealthiest states. ACCESS is working hard and with patient cooperation, we’re making a difference and improving wellness in our communities.  That’s our job,” adds McBride.
·         ACCESS Family Care—Anderson, offers both medical and dental services
·         ACCESS Family Care—Cassville, offers both medical and dental services
·         ACCESS Family Care—Joplin, offers medical, pediatrics, and dental services
·         ACCESS Family Care—Neosho, offers medical services only
ACCESS Family Care’s administrative offices are located at 4301 Doniphan Drive, Neosho, Missouri.

I am sick of class warfare

(The following is my latest Huffington Post blog)

The cold day in hell has arrived.

If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever agree with Congressman Paul Ryan about anything, you would have either received derisive laughter or a challenge to a duel.

After all, this is a man who is praised by people who should know better because he is willing to sacrifice Social Security and Medicare “for the good of his country.”

But when he told an interviewer last September, “Class warfare ... may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics,” Paul Ryan stumbled onto the truth.

This election season has been marred by people who have tried to stoke a feud between those who struggle to make ends meet and those who worry if the elevator they installed for their cars is down for repairs.

Class warfare does make for rotten economics and it is time to tell Paul Ryan and his colleagues, whether they classify themselves as simply conservative or Tea Party, that we are sick of it.

It is class warfare when a bunch of white middle-aged men with six and seven-figure incomes fight tooth and nail to keep people from having affordable health care, making the same arguments that were made before Medicare and Social Security were passed.

 It is class warfare when public school teachers are attacked for being the cause of education problems in the United States while these same men do everything they can to eliminate the programs designed to battle the poverty that is the biggest cause of failures in our inner-city schools.

 It is class warfare when anti-union and anti-worker legislation is touted as vital to bringing jobs to states when the whole idea is to get every state to pass these bills and reduce the wages and benefits that these “job providers” offer.

It is class warfare when you lower taxes again and again for these “job providers” who never seem to provide any jobs. With taxes so low, no money is left to pay for essential services, which makes it necessary to launch attacks against the middle class public servants whose jobs relied on that money.

It is class warfare when you blame the educational system for not providing job-ready workers (which was never the purpose of public education in the first place), to cover up the shipment of those same jobs to other countries to save a few dollars.

It is class warfare when you begin the systematic elimination of campaign finance limits, the only thing that offered the possibility of an even break in the electoral process to those who cannot afford to wine and dine their politicians and offer them carpet bags full of cold cash.

It is class warfare when the corporations are given unlimited free speech, while one impediment after another is placed in the path of unions or anyone else who represents workers.

It is class warfare when legislators continue to offer bills designed to strip money from public schools and have it sent to private institutions, while making no effort to make sure that those same private institutions will open their doors to anyone, including those with physical, emotional, and behavioral problems.

The most horrific part of the class warfare that the American people have been subjected to the past few years is that the more times we are told that class warfare (against the one percent) won’t work, the more effectively it is working for that same one percent.

We automatically accept, almost without question, that Medicare and Social Security, success stories by anyone’s definition, must be altered, or perhaps dismantled, in order to save the programs.

We accept the statement that public schools are failing, when the overwhelming majority of them are not and the inner-city schools that are having problems are being hurt just as much by politicians’ disdain for dealing with poverty and societal problems, as by poor teachers.

We accept the idea, and it is far more insidious than anything else I have mentioned, that those who are poor, those who are diseased, those whose religion or sexual preference is different from the majority, those who have come to this country because of what the United States represents, and I pray will continue to represent, are somehow the root of this nation’s problems.

We have all been victims of class warfare. What has been most shameful has been the way the word “conservative” has been destroyed by these zealots. There is nothing conservative about systematically destroying the ideals and values that have made this country great.

There is nothing conservative about an America with an economic Jim Crow landscape.


Planned Parenthood: Millions of women will benefit from Affordable Health Care Act

(From Planned Parenthood of Missouri)

The U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act will have a “profound and concrete impact on millions of people’s lives,” Planned Parenthood said today.  Calling the Affordable Care Act “the greatest advance in women’s health in a generation.” Planned Parenthood said the law will provide access to birth control and cancer screenings without co-pays, guaranteed direct access to OB/GYN providers without referrals, and an end to discriminatory practices against women, such as charging women higher premiums and denying coverage for “pre-existing conditions.”

“This decision will have a profound and concrete impact on millions of people’s lives. Affordable, quality health care will now be available to millions of women who had no coverage or inadequate coverage before. Today, we are closer than ever to realizing the promise of health care for all.  This is a victory for the American people, and we thank President Obama and the members of Congress who passed the Affordable Care Act for their leadership on this issue.” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

In May, the Missouri Legislature sent Governor Nixon a bill (SB749) designed to undermine the incredibly popular proposal requiring most health insurance plans to cover birth control as preventive care with no additional co-pays. The governor has until July 14th to veto the bill or allow SB 749 to become law.

“Now that the highest court in the nation has upheld access to birth control, Governor Nixon should veto SB749 which would undercut this popular, important women’s health provision,” said Mary Kogut, Vice President of Patient Services at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri. “Why should women in Missouri have less health care coverage than women in other states?” Kogut asked.

“At Planned Parenthood, we know how important this law and this decision are for women and families, because we see the need for affordable health care every day. Women who come into Planned Parenthood health centers often struggle to balance paying for birth control and health services with paying for textbooks, groceries, or gas for the car. The Affordable Care Act will make those decisions easier for women across the country,” Richards said.

Specifically, Planned Parenthood pointed to key benefits of the Affordable Care Act that will have an impact on millions of American’s lives:
·         More than 45 million women have already received coverage for preventive health screenings at no cost since August 2010 thanks to the Affordable Care Act – including mammograms and Pap tests – and millions more will be able to get free screenings in the coming years.
·         3.1 million young adults have already been able to stay on their parents’ insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. In the next year, millions more who would have otherwise lost coverage will continue to be insured under their parents’ plan.
·         Women are guaranteed direct access to OB/GYN providers without a referral, as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
·         Starting in August, birth control will be treated like any other preventive prescription under the Affordable Care Act, and will be available without co-pays or deductibles to over 203,000 Missouri women – if the Governor vetoes SB749.  

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, 17 million women will be newly insured. Health care providers that focus on family planning increasingly contract with private insurance companies. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 33 percent of all family planning providers now contract with private insurers – and 49 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers have contracts with private insurance companies.

Nearly 800 Planned Parenthood health centers serve nearly three million patients every year, and one in five women in America relies on Planned Parenthood at some point in her life. More than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers’ services are preventive, including cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing.

Sarah Steelman: Chief Justice Roberts is a tool of the establishment

(From Republican U. S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman)

I am disappointed and angry that the United States Supreme Court passed down a ruling which will alter the fabric of our nation by creating a fundamentally socialist healthcare system.

Today's ruling is not a republican ruling. It is not a democrat ruling. It is an establishment ruling. Lead by Chief Justice Roberts, an establishment appointee, more focused on keeping power in the hands of Washington politicians. This is why the status quo has got to go, we cannot afford more of the same.

For months, ObamaCare opponents have said that the individual mandate was a tax while Obama and his liberal enablers in the media mocked us. All this grand expansion of the taxing authority will do is lead to more uncertainty, less growth, and fewer jobs. Once again the Establishement of both parties have increased their power at the expense of our nation.

I will vote to repeal Obamacare. And I know you don't have to attend Harvard to be a good judge or public servant. I will only support judicial nominees who are strict Constitutionalists, that recognize the Constitution is the Supreme law of the land and who understand that God gave us freedom not government and that our Constitution protects those liberties. And unlike the establishment candidates, I will do what I say I am going to do.