Friday, October 21, 2016

Shocker- Billy Long in Springfield during Las Vegas debate

The biggest news to come out of Seventh District Congressman Billy Long's weekly interview with KZRG this morning was that he was in Springfield Wednesday night when the final presidential debate took place in his home away from home Las Vegas.

Long, who has yet to hold a town hall meeting in Joplin (or anywhere else for that matter) since he was first elected in 2010, told KZRG Morning News Watch host Chad Elliot he was headed to Joplin for events today.

"It's great to hear from the local people about what's going on."

Long also weighed in on the debate, declaring Trump was the hands-down winner.

"It was his best debate yet. I thought he did really well. He won it going away. People were texting me during the debate about how well he was doing and then you wake up the next morning and the mainstream media says Hillary won the debate last night. Can you believe that Donald J. Trump said maybe he wouldn't accept the election results?"

Long, who was one of the first Missouri politicans to endorse Trump said the election appears to be going well for his candidate. "Trump's staff is really encouraged by the numbers they are seeing."

But then again, he notes, if Trump loses, you can lay the blame on the doorstep of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and the Republicans who are not behind Trump. "They care more about their own hides than the next 50 years in this country," he said, referring to Supreme Court justices the next president will likely appoint.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Preliminary hearing next week for Ace Mohr

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, October 26, in Jasper County Circuit Court for Ace Nolan Mohr, 23, Carthage, on a charge of receiving stolen property.

Joplin Police arrested Mohr September 3 at Ernie Williamson Music, 925 South Range Line Road, with guitars stolen from a Newton County church and drug paraphernalia, according to the probable cause statement from Officer Joshua Dykstra.

At the time of his arrest, Mohr was already out on bond awaiting trial on seven felony counts involving possession and trafficking in heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The JPD arrested Mohr August 30 following an armed robbery at 7th and Moffet on robbery, armed criminal action, and possession of a controlled substance. Nearly eight weeks have passed and Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson has yet to file any charges against Mohr in connection with the robbery.

Mohr is in the Jasper County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond. Judge Joseph Hensley, who will preside at the preliminary hearing, rejected the motion of Mohr's attorney, Jonathan Pierce, to have Mohr's bond reduced.

Joplin man pleads guilty to child pornography charge

Ernest W. Haney, 50, Joplin, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Springfield to child pornography charges.

A federal grand jury indicted Haney in May 2015, with the indictment indicating that Haney received and distributed child pornography between January 1, 2006, and August 5, 2013.

Billy Long: Donald Trump won the debate

(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)

Once again, Donald Trump won the debate. 

He showed that we have a clear choice between Hillary Clinton's four more years of the same failed policies of President Obama, or Mr. Trump's vision to bring positive change to the American people through a renewed economy, pro-growth tax policies, repealing and replacing Obamacare, defeating ISIS and regaining respect for the United States on the world stage.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Winners and losers from tonight's presidential debate

Just 20 more days.

Thank heavens!

Tonight was the last debate and just like the first two it made me cringe that we have fallen so far from the types of debates we have known in the past. We have always had respectful debates in the past, even when the candidates could not stand each other.

Not this year.

A few years ago, I received quite a bit of criticism when I wrote negatively about the Congressman who shouted, "Liar," to President Obama as he was delivering his State of the Union message.

Now I look back on that shout and wonder if I was mistaken. Could that shout possibly pass for civility now?

Tonight, just as in the first two debates, candidates interrupted each other, the term "liar" was strewn about casually to the point where it nearly lost all meaning, and both candidates continued talking over moderator Chris Wallace on several occasions, far beyond the time-honored tradition of slipping in an extra sentence or two after time has expired.

On the other hand, we still probably learned more about the two candidates' positions on various issues tonight than in the first two debates combined.

Following are my winners and losers from tonight's debate. Please feel free to leave a comment or your own thoughts on the debate. I would love to hear from you.


Chris Wallace- Hands down, the winner of the debate. He asked questions designed to pin down both candidates, and kept control of the debate far better than Anderson Cooper, Martha Raddatz, and Lester Holt. The choice of a Fox News anchorman as moderator was criticized by some on the Democratic side, but Wallace has always been a top notch interviewer and a fair and tough one, just like his father. Fox News does emphasize different stories and angles than the other 24-hour news stations, but it has some top notch reporters. It also has Sean Hannity, but that's another matter entirely.

Hillary Clinton- She did not make any major mistakes and though that is a low barrier, that is all she had to do. She did not say anything that might convince Bernie Sanders supporters to stay home or take a flyer at Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

Education- Three debates passed without one question being raised about education. Considering that neither Trump nor Clinton has anything worthwhile to say about K-12 education, it was probably just as well.

The American People- The debates are over.

Claire McCaskill- After I watched tonight's debate, I kept wondering if McCaskill, a Hillary Clinton supporter, might not have advised Clinton to make sure she faced a candidate like Todd Akin in the general election. Trump has done everything except talk about legitimate rape.


Donald Trump- I am sure there were many people who cheered when Trump referred to Clinton as "a nasty woman," but those are the people who were already going to vote for him no matter what he says or does. It's not a presidential comment but then, that should come as no surprise to anyone.

Trump, who has campaigned on the slogan "Make America Great Again," showed he has little or no understanding of what makes America great. His comment about leaving America in suspense about whether he will accept the results of the election if he loses, shows he does not understand that the peaceful transition of power after a change in president, which we will have this year no matter who wins, is part of what makes America great. This even applies in situations where we do not have presidential elections. It is not mentioned much any more, but in 1973 and 1974, during the height  of the Watergate crisis, there was a genuine fear that President Nixon would declare martial law to maintain power. Instead, he resigned August 9, 1974, an appointed vice president Gerald Ford became president with the support of both parties and government continued as it has always done.

We also made it through the 1960 and 2000 elections thanks to the gracious concessions of Nixon and Al Gore after the final results were announced (though it took five weeks in 2000) Considering that we also have an electoral college system that has resulted in candidates winning the presidency who did not win the popular vote and we still have peaceful transitions of power, it makes Trump's assertions even more reprehensible.

Hillary Clinton- She dodged some of Wallace's questions, but she did not do it in an artful manner. It was clumsily obvious she was dodging the questions The dodging on the Clinton Foundation question was painfully obvious. Wallace said beforehand he did not think it was his job to fact check the candidates. That choice worked with both Trump and Clinton. With Clinton, it showed that she was dodging. If she is not Crooked Hillary, as Trump termed her, she at least earned the title of Shifty Hillary. By launching into a dissertation about all of the wonderful things the Clinton Foundation has done and taking a brief shot at the Trump Foundation, she made it painfully obvious that her critics have her dead to rights on their claims that the Clinton State Department intervened to make sure the friends and contributors to the Clinton Foundation received special treatment.

Wallace leveled that charge. Clinton let it remain unanswered. The American people are not stupid enough to overlook that.

John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, heck even Bobby Jindal- They have to be watching these debates and thinking about how they could have exploited Hillary Clinton's flaws far better than Trump.

The Republican Party- John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, heck even Bobby Jindal, and you nominated Donald Trump?

Joplin R-8 Board hires two new officials, accepts resignation

During closed sessions September 27 and October 11, the Joplin R-8 Board of Education filled two vacancies and accepted the resignation of a top official.

The tenure of Brandon Webb as human resources director ended after only three months as the board approved his letter of resignation. Webb had been hired to handle the job formerly held by Tina Smith, who had acted as the attack dog for the C. J. Huff-Angie Besendorfer administration. Smith resigned effective June 24.

The district took the unusual move of announcing the hiring of former Webb City R-7 Superintendent Ron Lankford as the interim H. R> director, even though the board has yet to officially approve the hiring. That move is expected to take place at the Tuesday, October 25 board meeting.

The board approved the promotion of David Pettit to the position of director of buildings and grounds, and tapped Michael Blevins to take Pettit's former position as director of transportation.

Watch the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debate live

So you want to be a head baseball coach at Joplin High School

The position of head baseball coach at Joplin High School was posted on the R-8 District website Tuesday:

Position:                     JHS Head Baseball Coach

Term:                         Supplemental Position 

Classification:            Exempt

Reports to:                 Athletic Director

Joplin Schools is looking for an energetic individual that enjoys working with high school age students and has the ability to teach those students the skills needed to succeed in baseball.
In addition, previous baseball coaching experience is preferred.

 General Expectations:
  • Supports the mission of Joplin Schools.
  • Supports the value of education.
  • Complies with the privacy rights of students.
  • Safeguards confidential and/or sensitive information.
  • Communicates effectively with all the members of the school district and community.
  • Provides excellence in customer service both internally and externally.
  • Reacts to change productively.
  • Keeps abreast of new information, innovative ideas and techniques.
  • Maintains accurate records and filing systems for accountability and audit purposes.
  • Ensures that all activities conform to district and state guidelines.

Supervisory Duties
Supervise students at all times
Regular and consistent attendance is an essential function of this position. 

The work conditions and environment described here are representative of those that an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.

Conditions and Environment
The individual who holds this position will regularly work in a school environment that is noisy and active.  

Note:  The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees, and are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified.  Furthermore, they do not establish a contract for employment and are subject to change at the discretion of the employer.

The people who gave to Ron Richard

It seems like a small figure in these days where candidates in Missouri have now received contributions as large as $4 million but for Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, it was business as usual during the last quarter with $87,000.06.

Richard now has $471,462.49 in his campaign account, according to his campaign report filed October 13 with the Missouri Ethics Association.

Richard's list of contributors included everyone from payday loan companies, health interests, pharmaceutical companies, lawyers, and energy companies.

The following gave at least $1,000 to Richard:

Pharmacist PAC of Missouri $1,000
Express Scripts Inc. $5,000
Polsinelli $1,500
Phillips 66 $1,000.66
Missouri Health Care Association $2,500
Friends of Mike Cunningham $10,000
HealthPAC $5,000
Supporters of Health Research and Treatments $3,000
Pyramid Home Health Services $2,500
Dealers Interested in Government $2,500
Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers PAC $2,000
Union Pacific Railroad $2,000
Missouri Criminal Defense Lawyers PAC $1,000
Hallmark Cards $1,000
Cerner Corporation $1,000
HCA Misosuri Good Government Fund $1,000
Altria $1,000
Norfolk Southern Corp. $1,000
Missouri Beverage PAC $1,000
UPS PAC $1,000
Advance America $1,000
Schnuck Markets $1,000
Northpark Partners $2,500
QC Holdings $1,000
Lawrence P. Chapman, Chapman Ventures, $2,500
RGA Reinsurance Company $1,000
Pfizer Inc. $1,000
David and Thelma Steward, World Wide Technology $15,000
Missouri Energy Development Association $1,000
MOSFA PAC $5,000
Missouri Soybean Association $2,000
Liberty Energy $5,000
Cummins, Inc., Washington, D. C. $1,000
MO Truck PAC $1,000

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book signing Saturday at Joplin Public Library

I will be among the local authors participating in a book signing this Saturday, October 22, 1 to 3 p.m. in the Joplin Public Library.

I will have copies of Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: Greed, Corruption, and the Joplin Tornado, the 10th anniversary "Banned in Joplin" edition of my novel Devil's Messenger, No Child Left Alive, the other Joplin Tornado books and Let Teachers Teach available.

I will also take subscriptions for the Turner Report/Inside Joplin.

Hope to see you there.