Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kinder: My Obamacare lawsuit will be different

In this YouTube clip, posted by Fired Up Missouri, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder explains to talk show host Rusty Humphries why his lawsuit challenging Obamacare will be different. Kinder notes that his action will not be a state filing but individuals affected by the new federal healthcare plan, including a "senior citizen lady suffering with multiple health problems, including diabetes and congestive heart failure" and "the parents of an autistic child who makes a claim about the ruination of a child's healthcare based on the passage of this bill."

Carnahan ad stresses Blunt ties with lobbyists

In an ad designed to bring in the cash before tonight's midnight deadline for the quarter, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, through the use of words from other sources, emphasizes her opponent, Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt's connections with lobbyists, including his wife and children:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sowers within $50K of $1 million fundraising goal

Tommy Sowers, Democratic candidate for the Eighth District Congressional seat currently held by Jo Ann Emerson is just $50,000 short of reaching $1 million in campaign contributions for the quarter, according to a last-minute push by the campaign team.

The reporting period ends at midnight tomorrow.

Joe the Plumber supports state auditor candidate Icet in latest ad

Why it should matter to anyone, I have a hard time understanding, but in the latest commercial from the Allen Icet for state auditor campaign, Joe the Plumber, who has taken his 15 minutes of fame and stretched it beyond all reason, declares his support for Icet and compares him to a glass of "iced tea.:

I suppose this is a tea party reference. Whatever it is, this has to rank with the worst ideas for campaign advertisements I have seen this year:

Emery: Teach your children, tell your neighbors about state sovereignty

In his latest issue video, Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, a candidate for the 28th District State Senate seat, lectures on the subject of state sovereignty:

Carnahan: Stop the bailouts

During a speech in North St. Louis County, posted to YouTube by Show Me Progress, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan calls for no more bailouts:

Missouri Right to Life endorses Bill White in 129th DIstrict

Missouri Right to Life's slew of candidate endorsements continued today with the announcement the group is supporting Joplin Republican Bill White for 129th District state representative. White is facing Joplin attorney Shelly Dreyer in the GOP primary. The following news release was issued:

William “Bill” White of Joplin, a Republican candidate for Missouri State Representative (129th District) has received an endorsement from Missouri Right to Life as a result of his efforts to promote a culture of care and concern for the most vulnerable members of American society.

Bill is delighted to have been recognized by Missouri Right to Life for his ongoing commitment to the rights of the unborn. He will continue to work to make Missouri a place where the family is valued and the helpless have a voice. He is deeply devoted to seeing that the unborn, children, and elderly are shown the dignity and respect they deserve.

An attorney and educator, Bill is married to Dr. Ellen Nichols, a neurosurgeon at Freeman Hospital. He is also a former Boy Scout leader and was recently reappointed to a three-year term on the Parks and Recreation Board. The couple have four children, two of whom were adopted as foster children.

Having worked in the juvenile court system for a number of years, Bill is well aware of the need for all children to have a good home in which to grow up, where they are loved, nurtured and appreciated by others. He commented, “We have to create a climate where this is a real possibility, and it all begins with the extent to which we uphold the sanctity of life and are willing to protect the unborn.”

Missouri Right to Life endorsements are based, in part, on candidates’ responses to surveys and their participation in pro-life activities within the community. Organized in 1974, Missouri Right to Life is comprised of more than 250,000 Missourians and is dedicated to promoting the right to life of all citizens and especially the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly. The group was established in the wake of the 1973 Supreme Court decision (Roe v. Wade) legalizing abortion in the United States.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Kinder offers update on Obamacare lawsuit

Fired Up Missouri has posted audio of  Gina Loudon's interview with Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder on YouTube:

Plemmons: Amendment 2 reason Missouri Right to Life chose Billy Long

BIlly Long: Supreme Court handgun decision a good one

Today's Supreme Court decision which says Americans have the constitutional right to have a handgun in their homes has an enthusiastic backer in Seventh District Congressional candidate Billy Long.

Long told The Turner Report, "I'm glad the Supreme Court has decided in favor of the Second Amendment. It is important to work hard for the Second Amendment and work hard to get judges who will support it."

Noting that the vote was 5-4, Long said, "That is why we need to get the White House back, so we can put more conservatives on the bench."

Turner Report Video Commentary- MRL's endorsement of Billy Long

I am trying something new. This is my first shot at a video commentary, which with a face like mine, is probably not the wisest decision. In this commentary, I offer a few thoughts about this morning's endorsement of Billy Long by Missouri Right to Life, and compare it to a similar endorsement from a few years back.

Nodler supports Supreme Court handgun decision

Gary Nodler issed the following release moments ago:
Senator Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, today voiced his support for the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court affecting gun rights throughout the nation. The Supreme Court ruling, announced today, extends the federally protected right to keep and bear arms to all 50 states. Senator Nodler signed on to the amicus curiae, (friend of the court) brief filed in McDonald v. Chicago as a supporter of gun rights in all levels of government.

The case addressed the City of Chicago’s gun laws, which are some of the most restrictive in the country. The city was sued on the grounds that these local regulations violate the Second Amendment. Senator Nodler said this verdict by the court overturning Chicago’s ban on handguns upholds gun rights throughout the country.

“I am pleased that the court ruled in favor of Second Amendment rights, solidifying that no state or municipality can take away a citizen’s right to bear arms,” said Sen. Nodler. “This is a fundamental right that should not be infringed upon by any governing body.”

Two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s ban on handguns, but the ruling did not apply to cases outside of Washington D.C. McDonald v. Chicago sets precedent for laws throughout the nation.

In 2003, Sen. Nodler supported the Missouri Legislature’s passage of a concealed and carry law, giving Missourians the ability to obtain a right-to-carry license and carry concealed handguns.

“In Missouri, I am proud of the work we have accomplished to protect Missourians’ Second Amendment rights and ensure that citizens are able to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their homes,” said Sen. Nodler. “When I signed on to support this brief in 2009, my intentions were to uphold this legacy of protecting and supporting the rights of gun owners throughout the country.”

Nodler adds further comments at this audio link.

Post-Dispatch offers profile of Sinquefield

Retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield, whose efforts to spend whatever it takes to get what he wants have been chronicled often on this blog, is profiled in an article by Virginia Young in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Overall, since he returned to Missouri in 2006, Sinquefield's lobbying firm says he has spent $11.75 million on political contributions. A little more than half of the money went to issue-based campaigns rather than candidates.

The biggest chunk — $6.8 million — is funding the campaign to repeal the city earnings taxes in St. Louis and Kansas City.

Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, who received $5,001 last November, lauds Sinquefield for "putting big thoughts out there. All too often in government, people just come with the complaints, not alternative solutions."
The question I would pose to Sen. Lager is this- Would he and other legislators even listen to anyone, no matter how good that person's alternative solutions were, if the solutions were not accompanied by a sizable check?

I would say the quality of the ideas is a secondary concern.


Hartzler criticizes Skelton vote on Disclose Act

Former Rep. Vicky Hartzler issed the following news release this morning, criticizing Fourth District Congressman Ike Skelton's vote on the Disclose Act. Ms. Hartzler is running for the Democratic nomination for the Fourth District post:

Seventeen-term U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton (D-4th District) voted Yes on Thursday for grossly liberal and partisan legislation to attack the First Amendment freedom of grassroots issue groups nationwide.

Republican congressional candidate Vicky Hartzler said of Skelton's vote against the strong position of Missouri Right to Life and other citizen groups active in state and national issues of every description:

"This anti-freedom bill is akin to telling a local softball team they have to play with their hands tied behind their back. The Obama-Pelosi-Skelton agenda is sinking very low with voters in western Missouri and across the U.S. This plan is a trumped-up partisan effort to gag citizen groups that endorse issues or candidates or both. It is a panicked power grab to help career liberals like Mr. Skelton in November, that's all. This shameless power has two planks, exempt Democrat support groups by exempting national labor unions, while seeking to suffocate countless smaller groups with ridiculously heavy-handed federal tape. Ike Shelton just voted against American free speech. He voted to silence the advocacy work of Missouri Right to Life and countless other citizen organizations on issues across the board. He should be very ashamed."

The new government speech controls backed by Skelton would affect such activities such as voter guides and issue advertising.

Billy Long: I'm honored to have the endorsement of Missouri Right to Life

Springfield auctioneer Billy Long accepted the endorsement of Missouri Right to Life during a press conference this morning at Joplin Public Library:

Link provided to text of U. S. Supreme Court's handgun decision

The text of the U. S. Supreme Court's right to bear arms decision can be found at this link.

Supreme Court extends gun rights nationwide

In a long-anticipated decision, the U. S. Supreme Court moments ago voted to extend gun rights nationwide. I will post more information on this later.

Video: Emery campaigns in Dallas County

Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, has posted the second in a series of behind-the-scenes campaign videos on YouTube as he vies for the 28th District Senate seat currently held by term-limited Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City:

New ad features testimonials for Jack Goodman

An ad posted on YouTube this morning offers testimonials for Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, in his bid for the Seventh District Congressional seat currently held by Roy Blunt:

MRL endorsement of Long scheduled for 10 a.m. in Joplin

A joint press conference with Missouri Right to Life and Billy Long, announcing the organization's endorsement of his candidacy for Seventh District Congress is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at the Joplin Public Library.

A similar press conference will be held at 1 p.m. in Springfield.

Ritchey Mansion, Newtonia in the spotlight

One of the landmarks of my hometown Newtonia, the Ritchey Mansion, was in the spotlight Sunday with an open house and a signing for a new book covering the Civil War battles held in Newtonia. The accompanying video is courtesy of KY3:

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fred Barnes in Daily Standard: Blunt should win

Considering the side of the political spectrum Fred Barnes writes from, it is no surprise that in his latest Daily Standard column, he praises Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt and says why Blunt should win his U. S. Senate race against Secretary of State Robin Carnahan:

Dennis Hastert, the former House speaker, is gone from Washington and pretty much forgotten. In February, his son lost a bid for his father’s old seat. The last we heard of ex-majority leader Tom DeLay, he was briefly a contestant on the TV show Dancing with the Stars. But former whip Roy Blunt, the third member of the Republican triumvirate that ruled the House of Representatives until 2005, has survived. He’s running for the Senate from Missouri, and more likely than not he’ll win
The column is filled with compliments for Blunt and characterizes Ms. Carnahan as being lacking in substance.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Joplin signing today for Turner books

The latest signing for my books, including the latest one, Newspaper Days, is set for 1 to 5 p.m. today at Hastings Books, Music, and Video in Joplin.

I hope to see you there.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Governor signs bill curbing sexually-oriented businesses

The following news release was received from Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, a candidate for Seventh District Congress, concerning the signing today of a bill regulating adult businesses:

After several years of working to pass a bill that strengthens regulations on adult businesses, Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mt. Vernon, and Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, announce today that the governor has signed Senate Bill 586 & 617 into law.

Senate Bill 586 & 617 combats the negative secondary effects of sexually oriented businesses in Missouri by imposing several meaningful time, place and manner restrictions. After Aug 28, 2010, the legislation will prohibit a person from establishing a sexually oriented business within 1,000 feet of a pre-existing school, house of worship, state-licensed day care, public library, public park, residence or other sexually oriented business. It also bars a person who has been convicted of or imprisoned for certain crimes within the last eight years from establishing an adult business.

In addition, the bill prohibits nude performances and restricts semi-nude activity within sexually oriented businesses. It also prohibits adult establishments from operating between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., and bars anyone younger than 18 from being on the premises at any time.

“This is a hard-fought victory for family values,” Sen. Goodman said. “We have crafted an effective, yet well-measured and responsible bill that will regulate sexually oriented businesses within the defined parameters of the U.S. Constitution.”

Senator Goodman’s SB 617 was combined with Sen. Bartle’s SB 586 during the Senate’s committee approval process.

“This issue has been a top priority of mine for many years,” Sen. Bartle said. “It’s a tremendous relief to me that my colleagues recognized the importance of this issue and fought to get a bill passed before regular session ended. One need only take a short trip on any of Missouri’s major highways to see that the proliferation of smut shops is out of control. There’s no question that regulations need to be put in place so we can protect our communities from decreased property values and an environment ripe for crime.”

Senate Leader Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph, said Missouri communities will benefit from the bill.

“Adult businesses in Missouri have been allowed to open and operate with minimal oversight for far too long,” Sen. Shields said. “The actions of the governor today will ensure that our state continues to be a family-friendly place to live and visit.”

Missouri Right to Life to endorse Long in Joplin, Springfield

It looks as if Missouri Right to Life and Seventh District Congressional candidate Billy Long plan to trumpet the organization's endorsement for as much publicity as it can.

A joint press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at the Joplin Public Library, followed by

another one at 1 p.m. in the Kansas Room at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield.

 Long is the only Congressional candidate to receive Missouri Right to Life's stamp of approval.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rove to be host for two $500 a head Blunt fundraisers

Politico reports that former Bush advisor Karl Rove will be host for two fundraisers for Roy Blunt, one in Springfield, and the other in St. Charles, next week:

Donors who buck up the maximum $2,400 contribution get a private roundtable with President Bush’s top political adviser, while supporters donating $1,000 will receive a photo opportunity with Rove. The event alone is $500 a head.

Billy Long commercial: He's fed up

In this campaign commercial, Seventh District Congressional candidate Billy Long tells voters he will stand up to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and gets across the message that he is fed up:

Carnahan: Blunt is bought and paid for

In the latest video from her campaign, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan notes the campaign money her opponent in the U. S. Senate general election, Roy Blunt, received from BP. "Why has he taken more money from lobbyists than anybody in Congress," she asks at one point in the video:

TAMKO money continues to pour into Kinder campaign

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has received $125,000 from TAMKO interests over the past several days, including $40,000 today from Sarah Jane Atkins, Arlington, Va., according to Missouri Ethics Commission records.

Earlier, Kinder picked up $45,000 from Mrs. Atkins' mother, Ethelmae Humphreys and $40,000 from her brother, David Humphreys.
Kinder has collected $200,000 in oversized contributions in the last two weeks, including $50,000 from Jerry Hall and Jack Henry & Associates, Monett; and $25,000 from retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield.

Prominent national conservative women endorse Hartzler in Fourth District

The Vicky Hartzler campaign for Fourth District Congress announced endorsements by a number of nationally prominent conservative women leaders today:

Republican congressional candidate Vicky Hartzler announced today that she has won the support of several GOP women leaders who are active nationally in working to elect new conservative leadership in the U.S. House. Hartzler said she is “tremendously encouraged” by a recent trip to the capital that included a fundraising reception on Wednesday.

The Hartzler for Congress reception was hosted by Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, and Representative Jean Schmidt of Ohio; and by Maria Cino, Susan Hirschmann, Colleen Holmes, and Pam Pryor, all leaders on behalf of GOP or conservative candidates and issues.

In Missouri, Hartzler campaign treasurer State Senator Delbert Scott said, "It makes all of us so proud for national leaders to testify to what we already know - Vicky has everything it takes to win in August and November, vote Nancy Pelosi out of power, and start putting America back on track with the common sense and values of western Missouri. Last quarter she outraised her nearest primary opponent by more than two-to-one, almost entirely from individual grassroots support. The high-energy grassroots response to Vicky's campaign is like nothing I've seen."

Congresswoman Schmidt had the following supportive words: “I know why Missouri's 4th District is now seen as a victory in the making. The reason is Vicky Hartzler. Her passion, contagious optimism, tremendous energy, and proven principles and heartland values are why I believe she will win this. Vicky will be a leader who values the principles of the people she represents and reflects those principles in Washington. She will be a very strong voice for the people of western Missouri. We need Vicky Hartzler in Washington and I support her and look forward to working with her.”

Hartzler said: “This campaign will be won at the grassroots level in our 4th District, and I am so deeply grateful for the generous donations, time, and support we are receiving throughout our district. I am pleased by the added boost of this encouragement from national conservative leaders.

MRP continues with "Rubber Stamp" Robin mantra

The latest news release from the Missouri Republican Party shows it continues to use the strategy of identifying Secretary of State Robin Carnahan with President Obama and Nancy Pelosi to boost Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt's U. S. Senate campaign:

President Obama will come to Missouri to raise money for Robin Carnahan, who he called “one of my favorite people” at an event earlier this year. According to the Kansas City Star, the president will campaign for Carnahan on July 8 in Kansas City.

“It’s not surprising that President Obama will come to Missouri to raise money for Rubberstamp Robin Carnahan,’” said Lloyd Smith, Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party. “After all, Rubberstamp Robin is one for Barack Obama’s ‘favorite people’ because she has given her unquestionable support to every major component of Obama’s big-government agenda—including the government takeover of health care, the job-killing oil drilling moratorium, the failed stimulus bill, the devastating cap-and-tax energy scheme, and the transfer of some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists to American soil. Carnahan would remain one of the president’s favorite people if she goes back to Washington, DC, to advance the radical agenda of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama.”

Carnahan has announced that she supports every major component of the liberal Obama agenda. Most recently, she rubberstamped President Obama’s job-killing offshore drilling moratorium—a proposal that was thrown out by a federal court in Louisiana.

Carnahan would rubber stamp the health care bill

 Carnahan: “this legislation takes important steps…” (Carnahan statement, December 24, 2009)

Carnahan would rubber stamp the public option

St Louis Beacon, November 11, 2009: Robin Carnahan reaffirmed her support Wednesday for some sort of a public option when it comes to health-care coverage. "I'm less concerned about what we call it, than what it does," said Carnahan during a brief interview

Carnahan would rubber stamp the so-called stimulus bill

 Carnahan: “I don’t think it was an option to do nothing… People who kept saying no to everything … don’t have a lot of credibility on this stuff.” (Post-Dispatch, March 7, 2009)

Carnahan would rubber stamp cap-and-tax

 Columbia Missourian, July 21, 2009: Carnahan said she could "support some kind of cap-and-trade" energy policy

Carnahan would rubber stamp card-check

To St Louis Beacon, April 21, 2009: "Robin is supportive'' of the Employee Free Choice Act,'' said campaign spokesman Tony Wyche.

Carnahan would rubber stamp the closure of Guantanamo Bay

 Carnahan: “The Guantanamo Bay issue is one that we really need to get past. It has been used according to military experts, as a recruiting tool to get more terrorists to attack us, and so we need to do things that reflect our values. One of those is not to have these kind of off-shore prisons.” (Springfield News-Leader, February 7, 2010)

Cynthia Davis: Gambling increasing its stranglehold on Missourians

In her latest capital report, Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon, points out the differences between her stance on gambling issues and that of her opponent in August's senatorial primary, incumbent Sen. Scott Rupp:

Gambling continuously increases its stranglehold on Missouri, thanks to the shortsightedness of some of our elected leaders. Its devastating effects on families are seen by shattered lives and hopes. Draining tens of millions from our economy, from local merchants and expanding gambling during a recession is bad public policy.

Yet the siren song of gambling advocates continues. I once asked my own State Senator, Scott Rupp, why he was sponsoring the repeal of the loss limits on casinos. He repeated the mantra of the pro-gambling crowd that it would mean more money for public schools. As a pro-family conservative, I have a real problem with destroying families and people’s lives in the name of ‘education.’

Missouri once stood as an example for all other states by having a $500 loss limit every two hours. While you could still lose more than you could afford under the old law, it had a tempering effect. It slowed people down. While waiting for another two-hour period to start, some gamblers would decide to go home. That is why the casinos didn't like it.

Legislators who accept campaign money from the gambling industry often justify their acceptance of such support by claiming that “tax revenues generated by gambling are for a ‘worthy cause,’” i.e. funding public education.

To begin with, casinos are not in business to fund education. They exist to make huge profits. And, their primary targets are the citizens of the State who can least afford to lose their hard earned money; senior citizens, husbands and wives with a gambling addiction, and people in desperate need who think that by gambling they can some how strike it rich and solve all their problems. Gambling doesn’t solve problems, it creates them!

Now that we have seen the devastating effects of removal of loss limits, how about the honey-coated promises of the casino industry to generate big bucks for education? It turns out that the schools are getting less than 1/3 the promised amount!

This year the pro-gambling State Senate was at it again. This time it was to spend our scarce resources directly on inducing more people to gamble via the State Lottery. Mathematically, the odds are astronomically against those who play the lottery. Over the course of a year, those who gamble that extra dollar, or two, or five at the cash register are simply paying hundreds of extra dollars in taxes to the State.

While the State of Missouri is recoiling with budget shortfalls, there is one budget line item that is obviously benefiting from the hardship - the lottery advertising budget. The following is a breakdown of how much the state has spent on advertising the Missouri Lottery from 2005 to 2010, plus what has been allocated for promoting the lottery for 2011.

Advertising Budget:

Fiscal Year 2005 $2.1 million

Fiscal Year 2006 2.1 million

Fiscal Year 2007 1.5 million

Fiscal Year 2008 1.3 Million

Fiscal Year 2009 1.3 Million

Fiscal Year 2010 1.3 million

Fiscal Year 2011 $8 million Yes, this last number is 8 MILLION of our tax dollars!

Who’s Responsible?

Governor Nixon recommended that the Legislature increase the lottery advertising budget from $1.3 million to $5 million for 2011. That alone would have been a horrendous increase. However, that wasn’t enough for the Senate and the gambling industry, so they decided to increase the Governor’s recommendation to $8 million - more than six times the current amount to advertise the lottery!

Why such a huge increase? The pro-gambling forces said we needed to drive more people to want to gamble so the State Lottery could rake in more money. My Senator was one of three Republican Senators on the Conference Committee who advanced the Senate’s pro-gaming agenda.

I am proud to say that I voted against this horribly destructive plan to lure people into gambling and thus lose more of their hard-earned money, but the Senate position prevailed.

A common legislative question I’m asked is “What happened to all that gambling money that was supposed to go to education?” The short answer is that the expectations were lowered as to the State’s obligation to fund schools. Since ‘gaming money’ was going into the school fund, there was less pressure to spend regular State revenues on education so the net effect was far less.

The longer answer is that the predatory nature of gambling causes significant harm such as bankruptcies, broken homes, gambling addiction, increases in crime, and even suicides. So, as long as the State and local municipalities are picking up part or all of the tab for these unmentioned hidden costs, a percentage of the money extracted from gambling is little more than a redistribution of wealth.

I voted against the State Budget because I believe it violated the Missouri Constitution, which requires a balanced budget. The budget that was passed by the Missouri General Assembly was around $350 million over what we should have spent. Yet some Legislators are now lying to the public and saying they balanced the State Budget.

But balancing the budget on the backs of the poor -or those with a gambling addiction- is not the solution. The recession didn't sneak up on us. We all saw a tight budget coming as we watched our economy diminish. The answer is to first turn our economy around and create more wealth for individuals -not attempt to wring the last nickel out of those who can least afford it and do more harm to the citizens of Missouri!

However, there is hope. Some of us are willing to stand on principles, rather than pandering to the pro-gambling lobby. It is hard to be in the minority on social issues, especially when your party is supposed to be in the majority. However, history is full of examples of one person who made a difference by standing strong against evil. Our citizens deserve moral leadership and one by one some of those pro-gambling legislators are getting replaced.

A behind the scenes look at Ed Emery's senatorial campaign

In his latest YouTube posting, Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, a candidate for the 28th District senatorial seat, offers a behind the scenes look at his campaign:

Nodler responds to Missouri Right to Life endorsement of Billy Long

In his latest report, Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, a candidate for Seventh District Congress, responds to Missouri Right to Life's endorsement of his opponent, Billy Long, by stressing his own record in the state legislature:

An overwhelming majority of Missourians consistently and resoundingly place the gift of life above all other matters. Around family dinner tables, at lunch counters and at the polls, the view that life is bestowed by the Almighty and not a “choice” to be considered has been clearly expressed for generations. Protecting the lives of the unborn has been an ongoing effort for me throughout the time I have served in the Missouri Senate, and the work that was accomplished during my eight years as a state senator has reduced the number of abortions being performed in this state.

More than 30 years after the Roe v. Wade decision that effectively legalized abortion in the U.S., legislative and educational efforts are decreasing the number of abortions in our state. One of our main ways of accomplishing this is making sure that women who are making this decision are educated. In 2003, our work began by passing legislation that requires a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion can be performed to provide an opportunity to consider the gravity of the decision to abort a child. This year, we expanded on this law by requiring that a woman receives additional information including details on the emotional and physical risks of the procedure, information on the gestational age of her unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed, and the opportunity to view, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, an active ultrasound and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child.

In 2005, we passed an important pro-life measure during a special session. The law protects the safety of young women and the lives of the unborn by permitting lawsuits to be filed against people who help minors cross state lines to receive abortions. The measure is designed to support Missouri’s law requiring anyone under age 18 to have parental consent before receiving an abortion.

We again worked to protect life in 2007 when we passed legislation that prohibits abortion-providing or abortion referral organizations from conducting sex education courses in public schools. These entities bring an obvious and largely unaccepted bias into the classroom that simply isn’t helpful to building the futures of our schoolchildren. The bill also established the Missouri Alternatives to Abortion Services Program, which provides services and counseling to pregnant women as well as assistance to new mothers caring for their children or placing children up for adoption. The program also has an awareness component in which state agencies publicize alternatives to abortion.

Since 2003, we have worked to tighten restrictions on abortions performed in this state, educate women on the true nature of an abortion, and make sure that women are provided with easily accessible alternatives to abortion. I am proud of the work that was accomplished to save lives in this state.

Emerson: Obama using spill to ram through environmental policy

In her latest report, Eighth District Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson addresses the issues surrounding the spill int he Gulf of Mexico:

President Obama addressed the nation last week about the millions of barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. But his comments about the Big Spill didn’t focus so much on the terrible event happening to our Gulf States as they did about the political opportunity to force a legislative agenda on cap-and-trade through Congress.

That speech was a lost opportunity to rally the nation behind the fishing industry, the tourist industry, the ecological health and the energy future of the Gulf Coast. Instead, the president took up a divisive policy which is stalled in Congress – legislation to cap the emissions caused by the use of fossil fuels to create energy and surcharges or taxes for the use of electricity and fuel.

The Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill is a combined tragedy for our country. Eleven workers lost their lives, more were injured, and families are devastated. The spreading oil is a threat to wildlife, property and the economies of five Gulf Coast states. Instead of cohesiveness and problem-solving, however, we are getting more partisan gamesmanship – something the American people have had enough of from Washington.

Americans on the street know what needs to be done here: bring every resource to bear on stopping the leak, including taking the lead role in the disaster away from British Petroleum, the foreign-owned company that caused the spill. Do whatever it takes to get the specialized skimmers, ships and other technology from the countries which have offered it to us. And be supportive for the thousands left without a livelihood in the fallout from this disaster.

The Administration ought to already be demonstrating to the American people how it is closing the loopholes in federal agencies that were partly responsible for the safety of the drilling operation. Congress has a role to play, too, by holding offices like the Minerals Management Service accountable for their lazy approach to safety on the drill rigs they oversaw.

The Deepwater Horizon tragedy is a disaster, no two ways about it. It also demonstrates what is wrong with Washington, where placing blame supercedes taking responsibility, where rapid response is overshadowed by an overabundance of political caution, where the immediate future of the Gulf Coast is being put off in favor of a legislative agenda that has very little in common with an urgent mission there today.

In the days after Hurricane Katrina, I came home to Missouri, connected with some great members of our community, and loaded up a semi trailer full of relief supplies bound for Louisiana. What I saw, both in Missouri and on the way to the Gulf Coast, was nothing short of amazing: Americans inspired to do whatever they could to help their fellow citizens who had suffered a terrible misfortune.

The oil spill presents us with a stickier situation. Though people still need food and clothing as part of the response effort, people are still in their homes. Yet they have lost some things we may not soon replace: jobs, a beautiful coastline, and the hope of a rebuilt economic future. But instead of finding ways to help along a comprehensive recovery from the Big Spill, some in Washington are instead focused on using the disaster to leverage a separate agenda. Let’s not also take the energy industry away from a part of our country that has had enough misfortunes to last them a long, long time.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Budgeting the Neosho R-5 way

In an effort to make ends meet, the Neosho R-5 Board of Education "is not filling 7.5 teaching posts and 11.5 assistant posts for the next school term," according to the article posted earlier tonight on the Joplin Globe website. The positions came from the elementary, middle, and high schools.

Amazingly, the board had no trouble finding $100,593 to reinstate the position of assistant superintendent for finance, which had been left vacant following the resignation of Charles Brazeale.

From the Globe article:

The board this week reversed an earlier decision and agreed to hire an assistant superintendent of business and finance, possibly in a move toward grooming a successor to Page.

Page said Jim Cummins received a one-year contract worth $100,593. Cummins’ mother, Shirley Cummins, serves on the school board, and she abstained from voting on the contract, Page said..

The new administrator is a native of Neosho and previously worked for the Carl Junction School District.

The board had decided in April not to hire a replacement for Charles Brazeale because of budget constraints. Page said the panel reconsidered after receiving an update on fund balances before Monday’s meeting.

“His position will be another set of eyes on the budget, and help us make sure our budget is able to be prudent and we’re running an efficient operation,” Page said.

Trading 13 jobs for one. That certainly sounds like an efficient use of taxpayers' money.

New ad message- Jack Goodman, a conservative leader who works for us

Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon, a candidate for Seventh District Congress, has posted a new ad on YouTube stressing his conservative values and accomplishments in the state legislature:

Shelly Dreyer receives Missouri Right to Life endorsement

Missouri Right to Life has endorsed Joplin attorney Shelly Dreyer in the 129th District state representative race. The following news release was issued by the Dreyer campaign:

The campaign for Shelly Dreyer, a widely respected local attorney, and candidate for State Representative in Missouri’s 129th District is pleased to announce that she received an endorsement from Missouri Right to Life over the weekend. The endorsement ties directly in with Dreyer’s tireless work to strengthen Missouri’s families and her vow to do all she can to protect the unborn. Shelly and her husband, Mark, adopted their daughter, Marley, from a teenage mother. Because of her own personal experience, Dreyer works hard to make sure more expectant mothers know the alternatives to abortion that are available to them.

 “My husband and I are strongly against abortion. Our convictions only strengthened when we met the birth mother of our adopted daughter. She was a scared, single, poor teenager when she became pregnant with our daughter,” Dreyer said. “In that very difficult situation she could have chosen abortion. Instead she chose life. My husband and I thank God everyday for our beautiful daughter.”

 Missouri Right to Life (MRL) is our state’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Organized in 1974 in response to the outcry over legalization of abortion in the U.S., MRL works to educate citizens about pro-life issues; pass legislation that promotes and defends the sanctity of innocent human life from the inception of biological development through natural death; organize and promote effective witness among its members across the state; and maintain a Political Action Committee dedicated to electing representatives who share their mission and work to pass pro-life laws.

 “Missouri Right to Life is the leading pro-life advocacy organization statewide, representing over 250,000 pro-life Missourians. We take great care in choosing candidates to support in elections,” Dave Plemmons, Missouri Right to Life Chairman said. “In addition to survey responses and pro-life involvement in the community, we also consider past pro-life leadership, sponsorship and voting records in the Missouri legislature both in committee and on the floor.”

 “When I look at my daughter I know that I have a duty to be a voice for the rights of the unborn.” Dreyer said. “I am proud to receive the Missouri Right to Life Endorsement. I look forward to fighting for the rights of the unborn in Jefferson City.”

About Glenn Beck and public education

Our local talk radio station, KZRG, advertises heavily that it has all of the superstars of radio.

You can start the morning by listening to Glenn Beck, then just keep the dial on the station and hear the mellow tones of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Jason Lewis.

It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but hey, the people who run these radio stations have to make a living and this particular station has done an exemplary job of keeping on top of inclement weather problems and has become involved in numerous local charitable causes, so I am not going to complain too much about its roster of so-called superstars.

Except that one of those superstars, the aforementioned Glenn Beck, wants to put me on the unemployment line, that is if he doesn’t get rid of the unemployment line first.

On his radio program Tuesday, Beck went on a rant about the evils of public education, concluding with the statement, “You’re darned right we should abolish public education.”

And what would be the cardinal sin that public education has committed, according to Beck?

“We’re being indoctrinated in our schools,” Beck said, without any elaboration on how this indoctrination is being done or what evil thoughts we public schoolteachers are implanting in the minds of impressionable children.

This is not the first time Beck has addressed, perhaps the better word would be created, this problem. He has devoted an entire television show to this “indoctrination,” taking a handful of film clips and using them to buttress his cardboard-thin argument against public schools.

When Glenn Beck and others have targeted public education, they base this conclusion on flawed evidence:

American students have fallen behind students in other countries

Every self-serving politician who wants to garner a few votes has used this falsehood to champion calls for educational reform. What none of them ever mentions is what we should be bragging about to the entire world- We are the only nation that fights to make sure that every child, no matter what his or her socioeconomic background receives an education. In other countries, the children are divided at an early age into those who will receive higher education and those who will be delivered into the workforce. We not only provide free education from kindergarten through 12th grade, but we focus on moving a high percentage of our young people into college.

Teachers are filling children’s minds with liberal doctrine

Contrary to what Glenn Beck and other enemies of public education have claimed time after time, year after year, public schoolteachers do not spend every waking moment devising ways to turn empty-vessel schoolchildren into liberal zombies. When I teach writing to students in my eighth grade classes, I don’t care if they agree with me on even one political issue, much less all of them; my sole concern is whether these students can handle the kinds of writing that will help them succeed in high school, college, and beyond.

If you go along with Beck’s assertions, you have to believe that the vast majority of schoolteachers are wild-eyed liberals, insistent on forming everyone in their image. The political makeup of school faculties is largely dependent on the political makeup of the communities in which they live. In Joplin, Missouri, where I teach, the majority of teachers are conservative and have strong family values, even as those terms would be defined by Beck. At lunch each day, the teacher in the room next to mine listens to Rush Limbaugh. Does he teach conservative talking points during his class? Last I heard, the only thing he was teaching was eighth grade science.

Private schools and home schooling are better options for education

Beck even included a reference to the “superiority” of private schools in his rant Tuesday. How often have we heard that private schools do not have the discipline problems of the public schools, that they provide a superior education, and that a higher percentage of their graduates go on to higher education?

As with all myths that are pushed as absolute truths on our society, there is some basis in fact to this one. Private schools do not have the discipline problems that public schools have because THEY CHOOSE THEIR OWN STUDENTS.

Even the ones that pride themselves on providing scholarships to needy students, which is undeniably an admirable thing to do, are failing to point out that the students who receive those scholarships are the ones whose parents care about their children’s futures. The children who cause the most problems in public schools are often the ones whose parents have not provided the solid foundation that children need to succeed in life.

The same reasoning explains why so many of the children who attend private schools go on to higher education. That foundation is there.

Undeniably, many of those who attend private schools receive excellent training. There are superb private schools, just as there are superb public schools.

What Glenn Beck and the others who have made a cottage industry of trash-talking public education never mention is the efforts that public schoolteachers go to make sure that those children who do not have that solid foundation of parental support have the opportunity to succeed. And despite all obstacles, it is amazing how many times public schoolteachers have been able to reach these seemingly unreachable children and head them down the path to success.

While Beck and others have attacked public education at every opportunity, when public schoolteachers defend themselves, they are consistently attacked as being self-serving, union-dominated automatons who are feeding at the public trough. It is sad, and self-destructive that our nation has reached this point.

We live in an American society which has always prided itself, at least until recent years, and justifiably so, on its one-of-a-kind public education system with its guarantee that any child is welcome. Those who feel uncomfortable with that system have always had the option of home-schooling their children, or sending them to a private school. In recent years, however, the public portion of that system has been under attack, labeled as failing through No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, while proponents of funneling public tax money into private schooling and home schooling have continued to whittle away at the foundations that have provided a solid public education to generations of Americans.

The sea change Glenn Beck is recommending, one which would eliminate public schools and send our children to private schools or have them home-schooled, is far more dangerous than anything that is being taught to our children in public schools.

Glenn Beck’s vision of education would be the very definition of indoctrination.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This year is a pivotal one for Allen Barbre

(The following is my column for this week's Newton County News.)

A quick examination of Wisconsin newspaper websites and sports radio programs would give an outsider the idea that the failure of the Green Bay Packers to reach the Super Bowl last year can be explained in two words- Allen Barbre.

Now, just how one offensive lineman can be blamed for a team’s failure is something that is not exactly clear, but to read the newspapers and Packer fanzines and listen to the blowhards who so frequently populate sports talk, it seems that the burden of the Packers’ so-so season has been placed on the East Newton High School graduate’s shoulders.

The anti-Barbre sentiment continued after the final snap of the 2009 season, with some fans calling for his quick departure from Lambeau Field. In late May, Pro Football Weekly listed Barbre along with several others as veterans who could be cut before opening day.

But as folks who watched him star for the Patriots and for Missouri Southern State University knows, the word surrender is not in Allen Barbre’s vocabulary and thanks to his own strong work ethic Allen appears to be an important part of Green Bay’s plans for the upcoming season.

As off-season workouts continued this week, Packer Coach Mike McCarthy, the only man whose opinion matters when it comes to evaluating the former Patriot, presented Allen Barbre with the best birthday present an offensive lineman could hope for. The following quote comes verbatim from Coach McCarthy’s press conference on Tuesday, Allen’s 26th birthday.

“Allen Barbre has been working exclusively on the left side. He has been working at left guard and at left tackle. Allen has matured through his experience last year, both in the weight room and I feel on the field. I think he has done an excellent job at left guard. He has done some very good things. We have looked at him on some special teams, so we’re just trying to create opportunities for all of the players, particularly Allen, following suit with not exactly what we did with Spencer Hayner, but more in that mindset. We feel we have some very talented football players and we know there is going to be some players that we are going to have to make some tough decisions on. We want to make sure we have as many opportunities throughout for as many guys that have that flexibility. You see Allen Barbre running down on a kickoff cover, it’s pretty impressive. He’s had a good offseason.”

This year’s exhibition season should prove to be a vital one for Barbre. A string of solid performances will either put him in good stead at Green Bay, or will convince another team to take a crack at him if he is not on the Packers’ opening day roster.

Latest Blunt ad features Nancy Pelosi, Batman and "Rubber Stamp" Robin

Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt continues his strategy of associating his Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan with Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership in his latest campaign video, which features Batman and "Rubber Stamp" Robin:

McCaskill questions military officials on suicide prevention measures

Testimony: Newton County deputies coerced confession of Rowan Ford's stepfather

In the accompanying KY3 video, Dr. Richard Leo, an expert for the defense claims that the confession obtained by Newton County deputies from accused killer David Wesley Spears was coerced. Spears, 27, Stella, is accused of raping and killing his nine-year-old stepdaughter, Rowan Ford, a fourth grader at Triway Elementary School, in November 2007.

The reporting on the video is provided by Chad Plein, formerly of KOAM: 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pete Newman arrives at Fulton Reception & Diagnostic Center

The Missouri Department of Corrections has added former Kanakuk Kamp director Pete Newman, 34, in its online offender database. Taney County Circuit Court Judge Michael Orr sentenced Newman to two life sentences plus 30 years after Newman pleaded guilty to committing numerous sex crimes involving underage boys. Information provided about Newman on the DOC website includes his height, 6-1, weight, 214 pounds, and a profile photo.

Humphreys family contributes $85,000 to Kinder

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder continued to rack up the oversized contributions today, receiving $85,000 from the Humphreys famliy of Joplin, owners of TAMKO.

Missouri Ethics Commission documents show Kinder received $45,000 from Ethelmae Humphreys and $40,000 from her son, David Humphreys.

That makes a total of $160,000 in oversized contributiosn Kinder has received during the past two weeks, including $50,000 from Jerry Hall of Jack Henry & Associates, Monett, and $25,000 from retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield.

Decision delayed on whether to toss confession of Rowan Ford's stepfather

KY3 reports that more testimony was heard today in Waynesville today on whether a confession given to authorities in 2007 should be admitted as evidence in the murder trial of David Wesley Spears, Stella.

An expert testified today that Newton County Sheriff's deputies wore down Spears and guided a recollection of the events that occurred leading to the rape and murder of Spears' nine-year-old stepdaughter, Rowan Ford:

David Spears of Stella sat quietly, listening to the defense's witness on the stand, Richard Leo, a sociologist from the University of San Francisco. The defense says Leo is a specialist in criminology and, in particular, interrogation tactics.

Leo was able to review this case, interview Spears, and give his opinion of what happened in November 2007. Leo concluded Spears suppressed memories of what happened on Nov. 3, the night that Rowan died in Barry County, and used what police fed him to make his own conclusions -- not nessessarily the facts; it's something he calls a "persuaded confession."

Leo said the officers presumed Spears was guilty to begin with, and it led them to build a biased case against him over a week of interviews.

"The longer you interrogate someone, there's more stress, and you get a persuaded confession," he told Circuit Judge Tracy Storie.
Defense attorneys say Spears later admitted guilt, saying, "Any way you look at it, I didn't save her.
Spears' trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 10, 2011. The other man charged with the murder, Spears' friend, Chris Collings, Wheaton, is set to go to trial next January.

Carnahan "Stop the Bull" Tour hits Joplin

The news release I received moments ago was the first I had heard of it, but apparently Secretary of State's Robin Carnahan's campaign for U. S. Senate hit Joplin today. The news release follows:

Today Robin Carnahan made stops in Florissant, Jefferson City, and Joplin as she continued her "Stop the Bull" Tour. Robin laid out a 3-point plan to put Missouri families first and stop the bailouts in Washington:

Stop the bailouts and start protecting taxpayers

Stop the corporate giveaways and start looking out for small business

Stop letting the corporate special interests run Congress and start putting the people first

Among other things, Robin announced her support for ending bailouts for Big Oil and Wall Street, cracking down on corporate giveaways that ship jobs overseas, and real transparency in Washington. Today's stops were the second in a series of announcements that will focus on putting middle class families first and stopping the bull in Washington. Recently, Robin laid out her plan to crack down on wasteful spending in Washington.

"Whether it is Wall Street or Big Oil, Washington cannot let these big corporate special interests run hog wild, make these mistakes, fail to keep us safe, and then expect us to bail them out. It is wrong and it's time to stop the bailouts," said Robin Carnahan.

In Florissant, Robin was introduced by Norma Linke who thanked Robin for recovering their family savings after their bank wrongly froze their investments. In addition, Robin was joined in Joplin by Barbara Lane from Carthage who thanked Robin for helping her get her savings back after being scammed by an investment advisor that tried to turn her savings into a personal slush fund.

Robin called "bull" on Congressman Blunt's 14- year Washington record of putting corporate special interests first and highlighted how he has "gotten caught up in the culture and very worst ways of Washington," including:

Orchestrating and even twisting arms to push through the $700 billion bailout that left taxpayers on the hook [Post Dispatch, 11/23/08; Vote #681, 10/3/08; MSNBC, 5/28/10, Henry Paulson, On the Brink]

Taking more than $1 million in Big Oil and energy interests and protecting Big Oil at every turn through tax breaks and turning a blind eye to Big Oil's risky practices - even taking cash from Halliburton after the Gulf oil spill began [, accessed 6/01/10,, 05/17/10]

Taking more money from lobbyists in 2009 than any other member of Congress [USA Today, 10/4/09]

Being the #2 Recipient of PAC Money in the House [Center for Responsive Politics, Accessed 6/20/10]

While Congressman Blunt has been in Washington cozying up to corporate special interests, Robin has built a record of putting Missouri families first. When Washington was asleep at the switch, Robin stood up to big financial institutions and got back over $10 billion for wronged investors. Robin always has and will continue to fight for Missouri families.

Missouri Right to Life endorses Hartzler

Missouri Right to Life has endorsed former Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who is running in the Republican primary to face Fourth District Congressman Ike Skelton in November. The following comes from a Hartzler news release:

Vicky Hartzler announced today that Missouri Right to Life is endorsing her as the only Republican candidate for the U.S. House “who will be an effective voice for the protection of innocent human life.”

Hartzler seeks the GOP nomination to challenge 34-year Democrat congressman Ike Skelton in November. She was advised by MRL Political Action Committee Chair Dave Plemmons that the statewide grassroots group endorses her and no other Republican candidate in the August 3 primary election for the 4th District seat in the U.S. House.

Hartzler said: “MRL is the gold standard of independent and non-partisan advocacy for the sanctity of life in Missouri, especially the unborn, disabled and elderly. I am very deeply honored to have their support as the only MRL-supported candidate for nomination to face Ike Skelton in November.”

MRL speaks for 250,000 pro-life Missourians statewide. It is the Missouri affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee. MRL and the national committee support pro-life laws and policies at the state and federal levels, endorse and evaluate candidates without respect to party, and work to educate citizens and voters on issues.

A nearly lockstep follower of House Speaker Pelosi, Skelton openly supports anti-First Amendment legislation sought by Washington liberals to gag MRL and other non-partisan grassroots advocacy groups. (H.R. 5175; National Right to Life, ( Skelton’s bill seeks to harass and burden grassroots issue groups by targeting them for heavy new red tape and regulations, while exempting traditional areas of Democrat political support, such as national labor unions.

On Skelton’s long-running alliance with the ultra-liberal Pelosi, a matter little known at this time in the district, Hartzler said: “Nancy Pelosi is a militant and extreme advocate of abortion on demand, including using taxpayer dollars for abortion. Mr. Skelton votes with her more than 90 percent of the time, has voted to make her Speaker four times, and will do so again unless he is replaced with someone who will stand up for our 4th District values. In my opinion, a principled supporter of the right to life could not possibly support putting Nancy Pelosi in control of the House, but Mr. Skelton has voted to do exactly that four times in a row, and will do it again if given the chance.

“If I am nominated in August, Ike Skelton will have much to explain for November, on this issue and many others, beginning with his support for job-killing tax increases and his lockstep votes for the explosion of deficit spending and public debt that threaten the very future of our country.”

Emery explains what patriotism means to him

In this YouTube video, Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, a candidate for the 28th District Senate seat, tearfully explains what patriotism means to him:

Latest Nodler ad promotes his work as head of Budget Committee

Branson Agent interview: Turner talks about coverage of Pete Newman/Kanakuk scandal

Darin Codon of Branson Agent has posted an interview he conducted with me last week, primarily concerning the scandal surrounding Pete Newman and Kanakuk Kamps.

Salazar murder trial set for next year

Three possible 2011 trial dates were set today for Eddie Salazar, Carthage, charged with murdering his eight-month-old son, Eddie Salazar, Jr.

Jasper County Circuit Court Judge Gayle Crane set Feb. 7 as the earliest possible trial date with backup dates of April 4 and May 16.

Eddie Salazar Jr's body was found Feb. 6 in Spring River.

KSNF/KODE CEO's favorite shows are on KOAM

In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable Magazine, Nexstar Broadcasting CEO Perry Sook, whose company owns KSNF (an NBC affiliate) and operates KODE (an ABC affiliate), said his favorite shows are on CBS:

"I primarily watch sports. I'm also a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory and CSI Miami. CSI Miami in high definition-it's great eye candy on Monday night when you get home from work."

Both of those shows are seen on Monday nights on KOAM. Of course, it should be mentioned that Nexstar Broadcasting has CBS affiliates in other markets, including KOLR, which it operates in the Springfield market.

KOAM dominates May Nielsen ratings

Nielsen ratings for the May sweeps are out and, as usual, KOAM news dominated during all time periods, garnering a larger audience than KOAM and KSNF combined.

The 9 p.m. news of KOAM owner Saga Communications' other station, KFJX, also continued to grow by leaps and bounds, recording 18,000 viewers, more than that of any newscast on KODE or KSNF, according to the ratings.

6 a.m.- 7 p.m.: 1. KOAM 13,000, 2. KODE 5,000  3. KSNF 4,000

Noon- 1. KOAM 16,000, 2. KSNF 3,000

5 p.m.- 1. KOAM 23,000, 2. KODE 10,000, 3. KSNF 8,000

6 p.m.- 1. KOAM 31,000, 2. KODE 12,000, 2. (tie) KSNF 12,000

9 p.m.- KFJX 18,000

10 p.m.- KOAM 35,000, 2. KSNF 13,000, 3. KODE 12,000

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Natural Disaster to perform at Granby Old Mining Town Days

Our band, Natural Disaster, will play two nights during this year's annual Old Mining Town Days celebration at Dick Smith Park in Granby.

We are scheduled to play from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, July 2, following Duke Mason, and then we will play from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday before the Thunderbird Band from Branson and the fireworks show.

For more information about Natural Disaster, check out our Facebook page.

Turner book signing scheduled for next Saturday

Copies of my books will be available at a signing next Saturday, June 26, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Hastings Books, Music and Video in Joplin.

For those who are not able to make it, but who would like an autographed book, feel free to call Hastings and order a book and I will be happy to sign it for you.

My books, Newspaper Days, The Turner Report, Devil's Messenger, and Small Town News, are also available online from, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble, and other outlets.

Nodler ad offers testimonials to his character

He's a veteran, he's pro-life, he's one of us.

Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, posted a few testimonials from supporters (mainly because you seldom have testimonials from people who don't support you) on YouTube and I am assuming this ad will soon be seen across the Seventh District as his battle for Congress rolls into the home stretch:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sinquefield has spent nearly $7 million on earnings tax issue

Retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield's attempts to make government over in his own image continued today, with another $2.7 million plus in contributions, according to 48-hour reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

The biggest chunk $2,534,000 went to Let Voters Decide, which is working to repeal earnings taxes in St. Louis and Kansas City. Up to this point, Sinquefield has poured $6,788,000 into Let Voters Decide.

The Ethics Commission documents also show Sinquefield contributed $100,000 to Progress for the St. Louis Region and $75,000 to the House Republican Campaign Committee.

As noted Tuesday in The Turner Report, Sinquefield also gave $25,000 to Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's campaign committee this week.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Searcy named sports director at KODE

Andy Searcy, who has been with KODE since 2003, has been promoted to sports director, replacing Brett Newtson, who is leaving the station.

Newtson's final newscast will be Friday, July 2.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Former Lamar Democrat reporter featured in GRIT magazine

Cherie Thomas Schenker, who worked for me at the Lamar Democrat, in 1989 and 1990, is featured in an article in this month's GRIT magazine.

The article, entitled "Grassfed beef from Kansas farm feeds overseas soldiers," details how Cherie, whose husband, Kevin, is stationed overseas, has used her farming operation to support our troops.

More information about Cherie and her business can be found in the Jan. 10 Turner Report .

Missouri Right To Life endorses Ed Emery

Missouri Right to Life has endorsed the bid of Rep. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, for the 28th District Senate seat currently held by Delbert Scott, R-Lowry City. Scott cannot run again due to term limits.

Drunk driver who killed two to remain behind bars

(The following is my column for this week's Newton County News.)

If things had worked out differently, Jessica Mann might have been one of my eighth graders this year at Joplin East Middle School.

From all accounts, it would have been a pleasant experience. Those who knew Jessica at the time of her death on July 30, 2004, when she was only seven, spoke of how bright and full of life she had been.
That life was taken away in one horrifying moment when a drunk driver ran off Highway 86 going at a high rate of speed and ran into Jessica and her grandfather, Jim Dodson, killing both of them. Those deaths were the driving force behind a bill sponsored by Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, during the 2005 legislative session that toughened the penalties on drunk drivers. That law, however, did not apply to the man who killed Jessica and her grandfather.

Instead of charging Edward Meerwald of Noel with second-degree murder, the Newton County prosecuting attorney's office was forced to charge him with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. After a change of venue to McDonald County, Meerwald pleaded guilty March 8, 2005, and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Three years ago this week in this space I wrote about Edward Meerwald:

There is nothing our judicial system can do to make things any easier for those have who lost loved ones to drunk drivers.
The one thing they can, and should, expect, is that once those drunk drivers are convicted that they should serve their sentences... and not have appeals financed by their own tax money.
Apparently, something about life at the Jefferson City Correctional Center did not sit well with Meerwald. Despite the fact that Meerwald knowingly and willingly entered a guilty plea, less than three months later, on June 6, Meerwald filed a notice of appeal and was given permission to proceed as a pauper, meaning that our tax money was used to hire a public defender to appeal the sentence of a man who made up his own mind not to go to trial.

Anne Wells of Neosho was appointed to handle the case, which has languished in McDonald County Circuit Court for more than two years. Eventually, Ms. Wells filed a motion to withdraw as Meerwald's attorney, and the motion was granted.

Earlier this month, Meerwald asked to have another public defender appointed, and naturally, that motion was approved. Though court records do not indicate to whom the case has been assigned, a notation was made on Monday that the state public defender's office will once again represent Meerwald.

The idea that the accused is entitled to a competent defense is deeply ingrained in our judicial system. We are justifiably proud that we protect the rights of everyone whether or not they have the money to hire a lawyer.

However, the line needs to be drawn when a man has already admitted to the crime and has been sentenced. Why should the family of Jim Dodson and Jessica Mann have to pay one more time?

Three years have passed since I wrote those words, and it took most of that time for Edward Meerwald’s case to finally come before the judge.
A hearing was held March 26 and it must have slipped under the media’s radar since I do not remember reading anything about it until I looked up the case last week.
The judge rejected Meerwald’s bid for freedom and Meerwald remains behind bars. That decision only delays the inevitable. At some point, Edward Meerwald will be a free man, able to resume his life- an opportunity he never gave Jessica Mann and Jim Dodson.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kinder picks up $75,000 in oversized contributions

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has received $75,000 in oversized campaign contributions over the past two days, according to documents filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Kinder received $50,000 from Jerry Hall of Jack Henry & Associates, Monett, Monday, and $25,000 from retired billionaire Rex Sinquefield today.

Funeral service scheduled for Kellenbergers

Funeral services for Orlan and Mary Kellenberger who died in a plane crash Sunday in Iowa, are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at the Apostolic Christian Church in Lamar.

Des Moines station offers more information on crash that killed Kellenbergers

KCCI in Des Moines has more details on the Sunday plane crash that killed Mr. and Mrs. Orlan Kellenberger of Lamar:

Carroll County Sheriff Doug Bass said the plane was coming from the Algona airport. The pilot and passenger had been visiting family in the West Bend area and were believed to be heading back to Missouri, said Bass. The plane went down near the town of Lidderdale around 5:30 p.m.
The Arthur Neu Airport in Carroll is about three miles from the crash site, but Bass said the pilot did not radio the airport as far as he knows.Airport manager Don Mensen said that's not unusual that the airport wasn't contact. He said in an emergency situation the pilot's first priority is to determine what's wrong."If he's having an issue that's what he's doing. He's trying to keep the airplane upright and fly the airplane, which is what he should have been doing," said Mensen.The investigation was slowed down Monday by wet conditions and the wide debris field scattered for about a half mile across two farm fields.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lamar couple killed in Iowa plane crash

Iowa authorities have confirmed that Orlan and Mary Kellenberger, Lamar, were killed when a single engine plane crashed Sunday:

Missouri Right to Life supports Blunt

In an announcement that should come as no surprise, Missouri Right to Life announced today it will back Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt for U. S. Senate. From

Voters in Missouri have a clear choice in the campaign for the United States Senate. The Missouri Right to Life political action committee today announced the pro-life candidate to support of Roy Blunt, while noting Robin Carnahan is pro-abortion.
As a seven-term Congressman, Rep. Blunt has been a consistent voice for life with a 100% pro-life voting record.
Missouri Right to Life greatly appreciates Roy Blunt's commitment to the sanctity of human life, the group told in making the endorsement announcement.
"Missouri Right to Life PAC urges Missourians who respect life to strongly support Roy Blunt's campaign," Pam Fichter, the president of Missouri Right to Life, said.
"We know his opponent, Robin Carnahan, has the backing of the abortion industry, and if elected, would be a consistent anti-life vote. In contrast, Roy Blunt has proven his desire to protect innocent human life from conception to natural death, as well as to prevent taxpayer support for abortion in federal health-care legislation," she said.
Fichter added that "Roy Blunt has proven he has the experience and knowledge to stand up for the sanctity of human life."
"As America faces the challenges ahead, Missouri needs a Senator who understands these issues and has consistently demonstrated his pro-life commitment," she said.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Catanese to be on C-SPAN

Former KY3 reporter Dave Catanese, now with Politico, tweets that he will discuss the South Carolina Senate race 7:30 a.m. Monday on C-SPAN.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nodler stresses experience in speech to Pachyderms

Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, stressed his experience, and without naming Billy Long, the lack of experience of his opponent during a speech to the MSU Pachyderms Friday morning:

Friday, June 11, 2010

From KSPR: Pete Newman's apology to victims, Kanakuk

GateHouse, former Rolla advertising manager reach settlement in age discrimination lawsuit

During the same week in which a lawsuit was filed in federal court alleging GateHouse Media fired a 62-year-old publisher to replace her with a 39-year-old, the company settled another age discrimination lawsuit.

An order filed Thursday in U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri says GateHouse Media has reached an agreement with former Rolla Daily News advertising manager Lonna Sowers, who was also 62 when she was fired and replaced with a 33-year-old.

Terms of the settlement were not included in the court documents.

In the lawsuit, filed May 5, 2008, in U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, lawyers for Ms. Sowers claimed she was fired on May 10, 2007, "because of her age."

Ms. Sowers, 62, was replaced by Alissa Martin, who was 33 at the time. Ms. Sowers also claims she had been "treated less favorably than her younger co-worker by defendants."

The company listed the reasons for firing Ms. Sowers in a June 21, 2007, letter sent to Ms. Sowers by a St. Louis law firm, which said, "Ms. Sowers was discharged on May 10, 2004 (sic) after the advertising sales figures were and had been dramatically lower than were acceptable. In addition, in the course of the company's investigation as to the cause of this downturn in advertising business, the company learned that a major part of the problem was significant antipathy toward Ms. Sowers from the advertising public and her co-workers."

Wrongful dismissal, age discrimination lawsuit filed against GateHouse Media

After GateHouse Media bought the Norwich, Connecticut, Bulletin from Gannett in April 2007, the changes began, the type of changes I remember occurring after the company, then known as Liberty Group Publishing bought The Carthage Press in the mid 1990s.

GateHouse began stripping the newspaper of any connections with the local community. Jobs that had been done in Norwich for decades were now farmed out so the new owners could milk every cent out of the publication, without adding anything of value.

When the printing was shipped off to Auburn, Mass., Publisher Ellen Lind, a holdover from the Gannett operation, explained it this way to her readers:

The unblemished truth is, newspapers are changing. Some will survive and some won’t.

Here in Norwich, we’re working mighty hard to be on the list of survivors. Last Monday in this space, I wrote about the move of The Bulletin’s manufacturing operation to Auburn, Mass., next week. As a follow-up to those comments, I want to explain further the transition and the process.

A local team of approximately a dozen key people here at The Bulletin is working to redefine trucking patterns, ensure accurate electronic transmission of pages, working with preprint advertisers to make sure preprints are delivered to the correct locations and myriad other details.

Meanwhile, our colleagues in Auburn are performing press test runs, evaluating electronic transmission feeds, modifying production schedules and ensuring equipment and supplies are ready.

There will be some changes made to the paper as a result of this transition, changes we believe will make the paper better. We have never stopped trying to make the paper better, nor do we intend to stop. All the elements that are in the paper will remain, although it may be necessary to move some to other parts of the paper.
Those words were printed in the March 8, 2009, Bulletin. Ms. Lind did not write a column explaining the next step GateHouse took to cut costs. Five months later, the 62-year-old veteran publisher was kicked out the door, replaced by the newspaper's 39-year-old advertising manager.

That step has landed GateHouse Media in federal court.

Ms. Lind's wrongful dismissal lawsuit, initially filed in state court, but transferred this week to U. S. District Court for Connecticut, outlines the way GateHouse gave her the old heave-ho.

Ms. Lind had never been given a negative evaluation and had received performance bonuses for the previous two years, but from the way GateHouse treated her, you would have thought she was caught skinny dipping in the company till.

"On July 31, 2009, plaintiff's manager, a younger male, Rick Daniels, president and CEO of GateHouse  Media New England, traveled to Norwich from GateHouse Media's New England headquarters located in Massachusetts to advise plaintiff that defendants intended to temrinate plaintiff for cause

"At no time during plaintiff's employment with defendants was she informed of any deficiencies in the performance of her job duties.When plaintiff discussed the reason for cause with Mr. Daniels, demonstrating the underlying facts were not well founded, Mr. Daniels stated he would get back to her.

"On Aug. 5, 2009, Mr. Daniels returned for a second time to the Bulletin and informed plaintiff that she was 'at will' and no cause was required to fire plaintiff. Mr. Daniels then stated that plaintiff was going to be replaced by Paul Provost, a significantly younger (39 years of age) male who would take on plaintiff's duties because the newspaper was going in a new direction."

During a meeting five days later, according to the lawsuit, Daniels refused to tell her why she would not be capable of leading the newspaper in this different direction, and wouldn't even tell her what the new direction was.

Provost was announced as the newspaper's publisher in September 2009.

Mrs. Lind is asking for a jury trial and for damages in excess of $50,000, according to the petition.

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

Buzz Ball makes his case for Newton County presiding commissioner

(Note: Earlier this week, noting that Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, has transferred more than $90,000 from her state representative campaign account into her run for Newton County presiding commisisoner, I offered space on The Turner Report to her opponents in the August primary. One of those opponents, Buzz Ball, has taken me up on the offer.) 

I’m Buzz Ball and I’m seeking the Republican nomination for Newton County Presiding Commissioner.

Longtime Newton County resident moving to Neosho when I was 4 years old from Carthage. I was raised here and attended and graduated from Neosho Public Schools and from Crowder College. I then graduated from Harding University in Searcy, Ark., in 1978. After working for newspapers in Marshall, Mo., Newton, Kan., Pratt, Kan., Keokuk, Iowa., and Fulton, Mo., we moved back to Neosho in 1999 to become the general manager and editor of the Neosho Daily News. I stayed there until 2007 when I was promoted to the Carthage Press and worked there until 2009.

My wife, Lanette, and I have been married almost 32 years. We have two children – Jeremy and Emily – and both graduated from Neosho High School. Jeremy and his wife, Amber, have twin sons.

I am a member of the Rocketdyne Road Church of Christ and was quite active in the community when I worked at the Daily News.

I am seeking the office of Presiding Commissioner because I feel that I can best serve the people of Newton County at this time. I have always wanted to get involved in politics, but with my position at various newspapers, I could never seek public office.

I have covered literally hundreds of county commission meetings throughout my 31 years in the newspaper industry. I have seen both good and bad county commissions. I believe you can learn just as much from the bad examples as you can from the good examples. That knowledge will serve me well when elected.

I know Newton County, but most importantly I know the people of Newton County. I believe that the citizens want good common sense in a presiding commissioner leaving politics on the doorstep. We need someone in office who will listen to the people and act accordingly. I realize that every decision cannot please everyone. However, listening and comprehending are the keys. 

I advocate an open government, one that is accessible to everyone. Everyone has a right to be heard and to voice opinions. When elected, that will continue.
Newton County is very fortunate that the governor signed a bill increasing the assessed valuation threshold, keeping Newton County as a Second Class County. The cost at this time would be astronomical and we simply could not afford the unfunded mandates. In addition, we do not need to be giving elected officials automatic salary increases when so many of our citizens are in dire economic situations.
This next year will be very difficult budget-wise. From what I have heard from various state legislators, 2011 will be a more difficult budget year than this this year. 

My No. 1 priority will be to keep the budget balanced and solvent. Everything basically is based on the budget. Yes, I have several “wants and wishes,” such as improved roads and bridges, a high quality Web site, etc. But until I see what the budget numbers look like and see what we can and cannot afford, I am very hesitant to state what we need and want beyond what is provided for in the budget.

My No. 1 goal is to continue to provide high quality services by wisely spending our tax money.
I am not a professional politician. Far from it. I’m just an ordinary Newton County citizen interested and willing to serve the people of this great county. I don’t believe that we need big time politics involved in Newton County government. Yes, I believe that contacts in Jefferson City are important. But that is why we have state representatives and senators representing us in Jefferson City.

My campaign is simple: Meet as many people as possible and get from them first-hand what they want, need and desire in an effective county government. While I will not be able to meet every Newton County resident by Aug. 3, I plan to be as assessable as possible to hear the citizens’ wants and needs.
It is my firm belief that I am the most qualified and willing person on the ballot. My promise when elected will be to be as open as possible and honest. I want the very best for Newton County.