Friday, August 31, 2012

The Kansas City Star and its holier-than-thou attitude toward bloggers

From time to time, the Kansas City Star, in its Midwest Democracy Project online political section, links to something I have written and it pulls some extra traffic to The Turner Report. For that, I am grateful.

Sometimes, however, I am not thrilled with the brief description that is given of what I have written. That was the case today when the Star linked to last night's post about former Speaker of the House Steve Tilley's newly found vocation as a lobbyist.

I have been checking the Missouri Ethics Commission filings each day, waiting for the official notification that Tilley had joined the merry-go-round of elected officials who go directly from representing their constituents (hopefully) to peddling influence with their former colleagues.

With Tilley, it was a bigger story and that story was missed entirely by the reporters at the state's largest media outlets, including the Star. Not only was Steve Tilley moving from being speaker of the house, an extremely powerful position in Missouri state government to being a lobbyist, but he was the sponsor of a bill filed just two years ago that would have prohibited such a move.

That was what I reported about. It was a news story, plain and simple, the kind I have been writing about for 35 years. This was how Jonathan Bender at the Kansas City Star described it today:

The Turner Report is frustrated that only three years after sponsoring ethics reform, former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley registered as a lobbyist.
No, I was not frustrated. I had an exclusive story, as far as I can tell, about a politician who went from promoting a highly-publicized, but ultimately unsuccessful ethics reform bill, to doing the very things he said he considered to be wrong in the first place.

I was not frustrated with Tilley, I was doing what the Kansas City Star should have been doing- reporting the news.

The Star's Jason Hancock, a reporter whom I am sure is overworked considering all of the budget cuts McClatchy has made in what was once a gold standard newspaper, had a by-the-numbers report in which he capably noted all of the developments from this calendar year in the Tilley saga. The problem for Hancock, is that he has only been at the Star since late 2011 and has only covered Missouri politics for about two years. In other words, he was not at the Star when Tilley was pushing his ethics legislation.

In the past, the Star might have had someone with the institutional memory to recall the omnibus ethics bill. Through a series of firings and buyouts, that institutional memory has nearly vanished.

I have no quarrel with Hancock's reporting or his coverage of the Tilley story. He does solid work.And I am not frustrated with Steve Tilley, no matter what it says on the Star website. What I am frustrated with is the condescending attitude the Star and some other newspapers, takes toward bloggers. If a blogger breaks a story, the newspaper maintains a haughty distance from it, as if a story broken by a blog is not a story at all, but some biased hit job. If it is mentioned at all, it is treated as so much gossip or it is ignored for a while until the newspaper's reporters figure the public has forgotten who initially broke the story and then it is treated like it was the newspaper's story all along with the blog's role left unsaid.

Or the story is treated like the Springfield News-Leader recently treated the stories The Turner Report broke about Seventh District Congressman Billy Long's repeated trips, financed by his campaign contributors, to Las Vegas. The News-Leader, instead of doing its own reporting (and all of my information came from FEC documents) simply quoted from my blog and from the Bus Plunge blog in Springfield, got a response from the politician and considered that to be a story. Apparently, it was a tainted story because it came from bloggers.

I am frustrated with the attitude some reporters have toward bloggers. I was breaking stories before many of the reporters who exhibit holier-than-thou attitudes toward blogs were even born. And I do not think I am anything special because of my lengthy background as a newspaper reporter.

Some of the best reporting going on in this state and across the country is being done by bloggers, including some in the Kansas City Star's home territory. Quite frankly, Tony's Kansas City covers a sizable portion of Kansas City news territory that rarely, if ever, sees a Star reporter.

I am frustrated that the newspapers that I grew up with have been neutered by chain ownership to the point where they can no longer provide an investigative function, but are limited to stenography and get a quote from both sides and call it a day journalism.

I am frustrated, but not with Steve Tilley. What Steve Tilley did, I have been expecting for a long time. That's just a politician catching a ride on the old merry go round. As someone who grew up reading newspapers and loving them and had the joy of working for newspapers for 22 years, I am disappointed with what they have become.

That is the source of my frustration.

Read more here:

Rove: If Todd Akin is found murdered, don't look for me

It was a joke, but not a very funny one.

Political kingmaker Karl Rove, speaking at a fundraiser for his American Crossroads super PAC on the final day of the Republican National Convention. made it clear that he would like to see Todd Akin vanish- at least from his U. S. Senate race against incumbent Claire McCaskill:

During the more than hour-long session, Rove explained to an audience dotted with hedge fund billionaires and investors—including John Paulson and Wilbur Ross—how his super PAC, American Crossroads, will persuade undecided voters in crucial swing states to vote against Barack Obama. He also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, “We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

Sinquefield pours quarter of a million into Shane Schoeller campaign

The campaign bank account of Republican secretary of state candidate Shane Schoeller received a quarter of a million boost today, thanks to retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield.

Sinquefield's contribution was featured in a 48-hour report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Schoeller, a Springfield representative, has received $400,000 from Sinquefield this year, including a $150,000 contribution on June 22.

Video: Mitt Romney GOP acceptance speech

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Flashback to 2010: Speaker Tilley, now a lobbyist, sponsors bill banning legislators from going directly to lobbying

Less than three years after he sponsored legislation that would have prohibited elected officials from jumping right from the legislature into lobbying, former Speaker of the House Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, did just that.

Missouri Ethics Commission records indicate that Tilley, who resigned as Speaker and from the House of Representatives less than three weeks ago, registered as a lobbyist today with three clients- his own firm Strategic Capitol Consulting, Fred Weber, Inc. of Maryland Heights, and Supermarket Merchandising, St. Louis.

Tilley's proposal to stop the merry-go-round between the legislature and influence peddling was part of a sweeping ethics reform bill that he proposed for the 2010 legislative session. That proposal, first revealed in the December 14, 2009, Turner Report, came after Tilley had a long discussion with his father about a continuing series of reports in this blog about Tilley's acceptance of lobbyists' gifts:

Tilley says he read the posts and did not like what he was reading. "I knew that no lobbyist gift was going to buy my vote, but I printed a couple of the stories out and showed them to my dad. He told me he knew I hadn't done anything wrong, but he said it sure looks bad."

From that point on, Tilley has reimbursed any lobbyist who paid for a meal. It is not a matter of legislators going hungry if they don't get fed by lobbyists. "We get paid for our food," he noted. "We receive a per diem."

This is not the first time he has looked at a wide-ranging reform bill, Tilley said. "We discussed doing something like this a year ago. We wanted to take a serious look at ethics. With all of the controversy surrounding a number of Democrats, including Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis, Rep. Steve Brown, D-St. Louis, and Rep. Talibdin El-Amin, D-. St. Louis, pleading guilty to charges including bribery and obstruction, "it was time for something to be done to restore people's cnnfidence in government."

Tilley's bill also targets some of the problems that have been noted within his own party. One provision calls for the elimination of legislators also serving as political consultants, an ethical problem noted during the tenure of former Speaker of the House Rod Jetton.

Tilley says he will not be alone in seeking governmental reform. For the past several weeks, he has been talking with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and to senators as well as other House members. "Overall, the bill has received a positive reception," he said. "Obviously, when you try to change the way things have always been done, there are going to be challenges, but I think this bill will pass with bipartisan support."

In a news release Tilley will issue Tuesday, he notes, "The vast majority of eople who serve in the legislature are here for the right reasons, serving their constituents, and advocating their positions, but a few have the ability to taint the rest. My goal is to create a higher standard for all of us and remove the incentives that tend to be abused and cause problems."

Key provisions in the bill include:

-An end to lobbyist gifts and meals to individual members of the legislature

-An end to political consulting while serving as a member of the legislature

-A moratorium on serving as a legislative lobbyist for 180 days after a member leaves the general assembly

-Full disclosure of all members, spouses, and staff of any political employment

-Full disclosure of any financial interest of any general assembly, executive, or statewide offices, including staff and contract agents.

-Prohibition on accepting political contributions for any compensated appointment made by the governor, speaker of the House, or speaker pro tempore of the Senate that requires Senate approval for a period before and after the appointment

-A moratorium on appointing members of the general assembly to executive department positions for 180 days after they leave office

-Prohibition of any political donations being made to the governor by any entity that has a pending decision before an executive department or decision making body.

Tilley says his bill requires one thing that other ethics reform bills have not. His legislation would not only prohibit legislators from accepting gifts from lobbyists individually, but it would also end the practice of contributing to legislative committees.

The legislation that eventually passed in 2010 obviously did not include the end to the governmental merry-go-round, the elimination of gifts from lobbyists, or many other provisions that were in Tilley's initial proposal.

The gravy train rolls on in Jefferson City and Steve Tilley, despite his earlier effort to stop it, is ready to take the ride.

Neighbors rally in Joplin after mosque burns

Missouri GOP chairman: Romney is the leader we desperately need

(From the Missouri Republican Party)
David Cole, Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, released this statement following Gov Mitt Romney’s speech to the Republican National Convention:
“This election presents a choice between two competing visions for our nation’s future, and over the past three days, Republicans have taken our case to the American people. We’ve highlighted President Obama’s multiple failures, which have resulted in the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression, and we’ve presented a hopeful alternative in the Romney-Ryan ticket.
“Tonight’s speech by Mitt Romney makes it clear that he is exactly the leader our country and our people desperately need at this moment in our history.  He has a deep respect for free enterprise, and he understands what it takes to create jobs and opportunity.  Mitt Romney believes in America—and instead of trying to remake the nation, he will rebuild it while remaining true to our founding principles.”

Transcript provided for Mitt Romney GOP acceptance speech

Mr. Chairman, delegates. I accept your nomination for president of the United States of America.
I do so with humility, deeply moved by the trust you have placed in me. It is a great honor. It is an even greater responsibility.
Tonight I am asking you to join me to walk together to a better future. By my side, I have chosen a man with a big heart from a small town. He represents the best of America, a man who will always make us proud— my friend and America’s next vice president, Paul Ryan.
In the days ahead, you will get to know Paul and Janna better. But last night America got to see what I saw in Paul Ryan— a strong and caring leader who is down to earth and confident in the challenge this moment demands.
I love the way he lights up around his kids and how he’s not embarrassed to show the world how much he loves his mom.
But Paul, I still like the playlist on my iPod better than yours.
Four years ago, I know that many Americans felt a fresh excitement about the possibilities of a new president. That president was not the choice of our party but Americans always come together after elections. We are a good and generous people who are united by so much more than what divides us.
When that hard fought election was over, when the yard signs came down and the television commercials finally came off the air, Americans were eager to go back to work, to live our lives the way Americans always have— optimistic and positive and confident in the future.
That very optimism is uniquely American.
It is what brought us to America. We are a nation of immigrants. We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones, the ones who woke up at night hearing that voice telling them that life in that place called America could be better.
They came not just in pursuit of the riches of this world but for the richness of this life.
Freedom of religion.
Freedom to speak their mind.
Freedom to build a life.
And yes, freedom to build a business. With their own hands.
This is the essence of the American experience.
We Americans have always felt a special kinship with the future.
When every new wave of immigrants looked up and saw the Statue of Liberty, or knelt down and kissed the shores of freedom just ninety miles from Castro’s tyranny, these new Americans surely had many questions. But none doubted that here in America they could build a better life, that in America their children would be more blessed than they.
But today, four years from the excitement of the last election, for the first time, the majority of Americans now doubt that our children will have a better future.
It is not what we were promised.
Every family in America wanted this to be a time when they could get ahead a little more, put aside a little more for college, do more for their elderly mom who’s living alone now or give a little more to their church or charity.
Every small business wanted these to be their best years ever, when they could hire more, do more for those who had stuck with them through the hard times, open a new store or sponsor that Little League team.
Every new college graduate thought they'd have a good job by now, a place of their own, and that they could start paying back some of their loans and build for the future.
This is when our nation was supposed to start paying down the national debt and rolling back those massive deficits.
This was the hope and change America voted for.
It’s not just what we wanted. It’s not just what we expected.
It’s what Americans deserved.
You deserved it because during these years, you worked harder than ever before. You deserved it because when it cost more to fill up your car, you cut out movie nights and put in longer hours. Or when you lost that job that paid $22.50 an hour with benefits, you took two jobs at nine bucks an hour and fewer benefits. You did it because your family depended on you. You did it because you’re an American and you don’t quit. You did it because it was what you had to do.
But driving home late from that second job, or standing there watching the gas pump hit $50 and still going, when the realtor told you that to sell your house you'd have to take a big loss, in those moments you knew that this just wasn’t right.
But what could you do? Except work harder, do with less, try to stay optimistic. Hug your kids a little longer; maybe spend a little more time praying that tomorrow would be a better day.
I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division. This isn’t something we have to accept. Now is the moment when we can do something. With your help we will do something.
Now is the moment when we can stand up and say, ‘‘I'm an American. I make my destiny. And we deserve better! My children deserve better! My family deserves better. My country deserves better!’’
So here we stand. Americans have a choice. A decision.
To make that choice, you need to know more about me and about where I will lead our country.
I was born in the middle of the century in the middle of the country, a classic baby boomer. It was a time when Americans were returning from war and eager to work. To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. When President Kennedy challenged Americans to go to the moon, the question wasn’t whether we'd get there, it was only when we'd get there.
The soles of Neil Armstrong’s boots on the moon made permanent impressions on OUR souls and in our national psyche. Ann and I watched those steps together on her parent’s sofa. Like all Americans we went to bed that night knowing we lived in the greatest country in the history of the world.
God bless Neil Armstrong.
Tonight that American flag is still there on the moon. And I don’t doubt for a second that Neil Armstrong’s spirit is still with us: that unique blend of optimism, humility and the utter confidence that when the world needs someone to do the really big stuff, you need an American.
That’s how I was brought up.
My dad had been born in Mexico and his family had to leave during the Mexican revolution. I grew up with stories of his family being fed by the U.S. government as war refugees. My dad never made it through college and apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter. And he had big dreams. He convinced my mom, a beautiful young actress, to give up Hollywood to marry him. He moved to Detroit, led a great automobile company and became Governor of the Great State of Michigan.
We were Mormons and growing up in Michigan; that might have seemed unusual or out of place but I really don’t remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we went to.
My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all— the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would BE, and much less about what we would DO.
Unconditional love is a gift that Ann and I have tried to pass on to our sons and now to our grandchildren. All the laws and legislation in the world will never heal this world like the loving hearts and arms of mothers and fathers. If every child could drift to sleep feeling wrapped in the love of their family— and God’s love— this world would be a far more gentle and better place.
Mom and dad were married 64 years. And if you wondered what their secret was, you could have asked the local florist— because every day Dad gave Mom a rose, which he put on her bedside table. That’s how she found out what happened on the day my father died— she went looking for him because that morning, there was no rose.
My mom and dad were true partners, a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example. When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, ‘‘Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation?’’
I wish she could have been here at the convention and heard leaders like Gov. Mary Fallin, Gov. Nikki Haley, Gov. Susana Martinez, Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
As Governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman Lt. Governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.
I grew up in Detroit in love with cars and wanted to be a car guy, like my dad. But by the time I was out of school, I realized that I had to go out on my own, that if I stayed around Michigan in the same business, I'd never really know if I was getting a break because of my dad. I wanted to go someplace new and prove myself.
Those weren’t the easiest of days— too many long hours and weekends working, five young sons who seemed to have this need to re-enact a different world war every night. But if you ask Ann and I what we'd give, to break up just one more fight between the boys, or wake up in the morning and discover a pile of kids asleep in our room. Well, every mom and dad knows the answer to that.
Those days were toughest on Ann, of course. She was heroic. Five boys, with our families a long way away. I had to travel a lot for my job then and I'd call and try to offer support. But every mom knows that doesn’t help get the homework done or the kids out the door to school.
I knew that her job as a mom was harder than mine. And I knew without question, that her job as a mom was a lot more important than mine. And as America saw Tuesday night, Ann would have succeeded at anything she wanted to.
Like a lot of families in a new place with no family, we found kinship with a wide circle of friends through our church. When we were new to the community it was welcoming and as the years went by, it was a joy to help others who had just moved to town or just joined our church. We had remarkably vibrant and diverse congregants from all walks of life and many who were new to America. We prayed together, our kids played together and we always stood ready to help each other out in different ways.
And that’s how it is in America. We look to our communities, our faiths, our families for our joy, our support, in good times and bad. It is both how we live our lives and why we live our lives. The strength and power and goodness of America has always been based on the strength and power and goodness of our communities, our families, our faiths.
That is the bedrock of what makes America, America. In our best days, we can feel the vibrancy of America’s communities, large and small.
It’s when we see that new business opening up downtown. It’s when we go to work in the morning and see everybody else on our block doing the same.
It’s when our son or daughter calls from college to talk about which job offer they should take..and you try not to choke up when you hear that the one they like is not far from home.
It’s that good feeling when you have more time to volunteer to coach your kid’s soccer team, or help out on school trips.
But for too many Americans, these good days are harder to come by. How many days have you woken up feeling that something really special was happening in America?
Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and change had a powerful appeal. But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama? You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.
The president hasn’t disappointed you because he wanted to. The president has disappointed America because he hasn’t led America in the right direction. He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government.
I learned the real lessons about how America works from experience.
When I was 37, I helped start a small company. My partners and I had been working for a company that was in the business of helping other businesses.
So some of us had this idea that if we really believed our advice was helping companies, we should invest in companies. We should bet on ourselves and on our advice.
So we started a new business called Bain Capital. The only problem was, while we believed in ourselves, nobody else did. We were young and had never done this before and we almost didn’t get off the ground. In those days, sometimes I wondered if I had made a really big mistake. I had thought about asking my church’s pension fund to invest, but I didn't. I figured it was bad enough that I might lose my investors’ money, but I didn’t want to go to hell too. Shows what I know. Another of my partners got the Episcopal Church pension fund to invest. Today there are a lot of happy retired priests who should thank him.
That business we started with 10 people has now grown into a great American success story. Some of the companies we helped start are names you know. An office supply company called Staples—where I'm pleased to see the Obama campaign has been shopping; The Sports Authority, which became a favorite of my sons. We started an early childhood learning center called Bright Horizons that First Lady Michelle Obama rightly praised. At a time when nobody thought we'd ever see a new steel mill built in America, we took a chance and built one in a corn field in Indiana. Today Steel Dynamics is one of the largest steel producers in the United States.
These are American success stories. And yet the centerpiece of the President’s entire re-election campaign is attacking success. Is it any wonder that someone who attacks success has led the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression? In America, we celebrate success, we don’t apologize for it.
We weren’t always successful at Bain. But no one ever is in the real world of business.
That’s what this President doesn’t seem to understand. Business and growing jobs is about taking risk, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always striving. It is about dreams. Usually, it doesn’t work out exactly as you might have imagined. Steve Jobs was fired at Apple. He came back and changed the world.
It’s the genius of the American free enterprise system— to harness the extraordinary creativity and talent and industry of the American people with a system that is dedicated to creating tomorrow’s prosperity rather than trying to redistribute today's.
That is why every president since the Great Depression who came before the American people asking for a second term could look back at the last four years and say with satisfaction: ‘‘you are better off today than you were four years ago.’’
Except Jimmy Carter. And except this president.
This president can ask us to be patient.
This president can tell us it was someone else’s fault.
This president can tell us that the next four years he'll get it right.
But this president cannot tell us that you are better off today than when he took office.
America has been patient. Americans have supported this president in good faith.
But today, the time has come to turn the page.
Today the time has come for us to put the disappointments of the last four years behind us.
To put aside the divisiveness and the recriminations.
To forget about what might have been and to look ahead to what can be.
Now is the time to restore the promise of America. Many Americans have given up on this president but they haven’t ever thought about giving up. Not on themselves. Not on each other. And not on America.
What is needed in our country today is not complicated or profound. It doesn’t take a special government commission to tell us what America needs.
What America needs is jobs.
Lots of jobs.
In the richest country in the history of the world, this Obama economy has crushed the middle class. Family income has fallen by $4,000, but health insurance premiums are higher, food prices are higher, utility bills are higher, and gasoline prices have doubled. Today more Americans wake up in poverty than ever before. Nearly one out of six Americans is living in poverty. Look around you. These are not strangers. These are our brothers and sisters, our fellow Americans.
His policies have not helped create jobs, they have depressed them. And this I can tell you about where President Obama would take America:
His plan to raise taxes on small business won’t add jobs, it will eliminate them;
His assault on coal and gas and oil will send energy and manufacturing jobs to China;
His trillion dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk;
His $716 billion cut to Medicare to finance Obamacare will both hurt today’s seniors, and depress innovation— and jobs— in medicine.
And his trillion-dollar deficits will slow our economy, restrain employment, and cause wages to stall.
To the majority of Americans who now believe that the future will not be better than the past, I can guarantee you this: if Barack Obama is re-elected, you will be right.
I am running for president to help create a better future. A future where everyone who wants a job can find one. Where no senior fears for the security of their retirement. An America where every parent knows that their child will get an education that leads them to a good job and a bright horizon.
And unlike the President, I have a plan to create 12 million new jobs. It has five steps.
First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.
Second, we will give our fellow citizens the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow. When it comes to the school your child will attend, every parent should have a choice, and every child should have a chance.
Third, we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.
Fourth, to assure every entrepreneur and every job creator that their investments in America will not vanish as have those in Greece, we will cut the deficit and put America on track to a balanced budget.
And fifth, we will champion small businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.
Today, women are more likely than men to start a business. They need a president who respects and understands what they do.
And let me make this very clear— unlike President Obama, I will not raise taxes on the middle class.
As president, I will protect the sanctity of life. I will honor the institution of marriage. And I will guarantee America’s first liberty: the freedom of religion.
President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My to help you and your family.
I will begin my presidency with a jobs tour. President Obama began with an apology tour. America, he said, had dictated to other nations. No Mr. President, America has freed other nations from dictators.
Every American was relieved the day President Obama gave the order, and Seal Team Six took out Osama bin Laden. But on another front, every American is less secure today because he has failed to slow Iran’s nuclear threat.
In his first TV interview as president, he said we should talk to Iran. We’re still talking, and Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning.
President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus, even as he has relaxed sanctions on Castro’s Cuba. He abandoned our friends in Poland by walking away from our missile defense commitments, but is eager to give Russia’s President Putin the flexibility he desires, after the election. Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone.
We will honor America’s democratic ideals because a free world is a more peaceful world. This is the bipartisan foreign policy legacy of Truman and Reagan. And under my presidency we will return to it once again.
You might have asked yourself if these last years are really the America we want, the America won for us by the greatest generation.
Does the America we want borrow a trillion dollars from China? No.
Does it fail to find the jobs that are needed for 23 million people and for half the kids graduating from college? No.
Are its schools lagging behind the rest of the developed world? No.
And does the America we want succumb to resentment and division? We know the answer.
The America we all know has been a story of the many becoming one, uniting to preserve liberty, uniting to build the greatest economy in the world, uniting to save the world from unspeakable darkness.
Everywhere I go in America, there are monuments that list those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living. They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose. They pledged allegiance to the United States of America.
That America, that united America, can unleash an economy that will put Americans back to work, that will once again lead the world with innovation and productivity, and that will restore every father and mother’s confidence that their children’s future is brighter even than the past.
That America, that united America, will preserve a military that is so strong, no nation would ever dare to test it.
That America, that united America, will uphold the constellation of rights that were endowed by our creator, and codified in our Constitution.
That united America will care for the poor and the sick, will honor and respect the elderly, and will give a helping hand to those in need.
That America is the best within each of us. That America we want for our children.
If I am elected President of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future together tonight.

Billy Long: I've been calling Paul Ryan 'Mr. Vice President" for months

In this video clip of a St. Louis Beacon interview, Seventh District Congressman Billy Long says that Mitt Romney's decision to add Paul Ryan to the ticket strengthened his chances in Missouri.

Vote Vets ad: We've got Claire McCaskill's back

McCaskill, Webb tout efforts to eliminate military waste, fraud

(From the Claire McCaskill campaign)

Today, Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia visited the Truman Courthouse in Independence to discuss their successful efforts to institute a modern day Truman Committee to root out billions in waste, fraud and abuse in wartime contracts. Fulfilling one of her earliest campaign promises, Claire used her experience of holding people accountable as a former prosecutor and State Auditor to collaborate with Webb to reform no-bid military contracting and uncovered at least $60 billion in wasted taxpayer dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

In contrast to the efforts by McCaskill and Webb to reform wasteful and corrupt no-bid military contracts, Todd Akin voted in 2003 against an amendment to require competitive bidding procedures for all government contracts relating to Iraq's oil infrastructure. His opposition made him complicit in a Republican-majority Congress that failed to use its oversight authority over taxpayer dollars during the early years of the war in Iraq, allowing billions of dollars to be lost as a result of waste, fraud and abuse. 

"Six years ago, I made a promise to Missourians that I'd be a Senator on their side, working to protect their tax dollars and root out the waste, fraud and abuse that was common practice during wartime," said McCaskill. "This Truman-style commission was Missouri common sense that got to the heart of what's wrong with Washington, and because of it, we're enacting real, lasting changes that give our troops the equipment they need while protecting taxpayer dollars for Missouri's families. These investigations certainly weren't popular in Washington, but the end result is a more efficient and accountable government that ensures war profiteers aren't wasting your taxpayer dollars while selling our troops short." 

In 2006, Claire made contracting accountability and protecting taxpayer dollars a lynchpin of her campaign and, through her partnership with Senator Webb, successfully fulfilled her promise of establishing a Truman-style wartime contracting commission during their first year in the Senate. Over the next three years, the independent Commission on Wartime Contracting, established by McCaskill and Webb, held 25 public hearings and conducted more than 1,000 meetings in the U.S., Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait to uncover the scope of the problem and make recommendations for reforms. 

"For too long, our government contracting processes resulted in unacceptable costs, excessive waste, and substandard performance in far too many areas," said Senator Webb. "It took a solid dose of common sense and a lot of integrity to bring an end to this kind of wasteful spending. Over the past six years, Claire has been a senator who has fought tooth and nail to protect tax payers and our troops." 

After his election to the Senate in 2006, Webb joined with Claire to establish the Commission on Wartime Contracting in 2007. Together, Claire and Webb introduced legislation in 2012 to enact the Commission's final recommendations for reforming the government's flawed system of contract oversight into law. 

Sen. Webb, who was was born in St. Joseph, MO, served as a highly-decorated Marine Corps officer in Vietnam and served as Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. Also on Wednesday, Claire and Webb visited St. Joseph to meet with veterans and discuss their work to pass the Post-9/11 GI Bill into law. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Family Research Council poll shows Todd Akin leading McCaskill

A new poll by the Family Research Council, admittedly not exactly an unbiased source, shows Congressman Todd Akin is leading incumbent Claire McCaskill in the U. S. Senate race:

A survey commissioned by the Family Research Council — the prominent social conservative group standing with Akin — and shared with POLITICO found that Akin now pulls 45 percent support to McCaskill’s 42 percent.
That’s not to say Akin hasn’t sustained damage: his personal image is weak, with 44 percent of voters having a favorable impression of him and 50 percent having an unfavorable impression. But he still leads McCaskill by 10 points among independent voters and in the conservative-leaning state, Akin wins about the same percentage of Republicans (78 percent) that McCaskill wins among Democrats (82 percent.)

Planned Parenthood delivers petitions to Todd Akin

(From Planned Parenthood)

On August 19th, Todd Akin made a medically and factually erroneous statement during a television interview about pregnancy resulting from rape.  Representative Akin alleged that women’s bodies somehow naturally prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”

In response to this ignorant, appalling and insensitive message, Planned Parenthood Action Fund created a petition letting Todd Akin know this dangerous ideology has no place in Missouri politics.

Today, ADVOCATES of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri headed straight to the source and delivered 40,000 petitions to Representative Todd Akin declaring that “our anger is legitimate and so are our votes.”

In the last week, voters and leaders have made clear that they don’t think Todd Akin deserves to represent the people of Missouri. Today, ADVOCATES of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri asked people to imagine what life would be like if Todd Akin represented every woman in America because that’s exactly what’s at stake in this election. 

People across America expressed outrage over Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape,” but sadly this idea is nothing new and Todd Akin is not alone. 

Just last year, Akin co-sponsored a bill with vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan that would redefine rape to exclude a number of individuals from receiving coverage for abortion. The bill would exclude women who are unconscious at the time of the rape, women who have been drugged, women who have been threatened, and minors who are victims of statutory rape. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Todd Akin and Paul Ryan are exactly the same on women’s health issues.

Not only were they original co-sponsors of H.R. 3 which redefined rape, but they also co-sponsored a dangerous and out of touch personhood measure (which could ban forms of birth control) and voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Neither Akin nor Ryan is apologetic of his views. In fact, while Akin tried to dig himself out of his hole by suggesting that women may be making “false claims” about rape, Ryan said:“I’m proud of my [abortion] record.”

ADVOCATES of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri asks: “If you think Todd Akin’s Missouri record is bad, what would life be like under a Vice President Ryan?”

Dennis Miller: Todd Akin is a moron; also, Todd Akin is an idiot

Todd Akin Ad: I made a six second mistake; Claire McCaskill is a six-year mistake

Sports Illustrated "Underdogs" profile of 2012 Joplin High School football team

In this video, the second installment in Sports Illustrated's "Underdogs" series, the 2012 Joplin High School football team, competing in the aftermath of the May 22 tornado is profiled.

Nixon ad: Doing things differently

Nixon presents Flag of Freedom Award to Able Manufacturing in Joplin

Kanakuk officials refuse to reveal victims' names, Pete Newman's employment records

Discussions between the two sides in a lawsuit filed by the family of one of the sex abuse victims of former Kanakuk Kamp director Pete Newman have bogged down over Kanakuk officials' refusal to turn over names of Newman's other victims.

Lawyers representing the victim, referred to in court records as John Doe, are asking for the names to reveal a pattern of abuse by Newman that Kanakuk officials allegedly allowed to continue for years.

Kanakuk officials have said they won't release the names because of concerns about the victims' privacy.

That claim was ridiculed in documents filed today in U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

For years, Defendants’ actions and omissions allowed these persons to be victimized; and only now, since a lawsuit has been filed, are Defendants concerned about these persons’ rights.  Defendants should not have the power, now, to assert privacy on behalf of a third-party who they allowed to be victimized years ago. 
The names are not the only things Kanakuk officials are attempting to keep confidential, according to the filing. They also have refused to turn over Pete Newman's employment records, including any posisble disciplinary actions that were taken against him prior to the revelation that he had sexually abused a large number of children.

Kanakuk officials indicated they did not want these documents to fall into the hands of the media and the public.

Defendants in the lawsuit, in addition to Kanakuk, are its CEO Joe White and Newman.