Saturday, June 30, 2007

Anonymity, Credibility, and Civil Discourse

I recently ran into a fellow CCP member at the grocery store, and, before I even mentioned the blog, she apologized for not posting. "It seems like bloggers get attacked, and I don't want to get attacked," she explained. I couldn't argue the point.

Here at BlogCCP, we've had our first heated thread, featuring a little name-calling and an anonymous commenter.

The first heated thread of a blog is kind of like a baby's first tooth. There's a lot of fussiness and slime, but no real harm is done, and it shows that we're ready to chew on some meatier topics.

The issue of whether to allow anonymous commenters was a difficult one for those of us involved in setting up this blog. From his comments in the heated thread, you can see that our President has some concerns about anonymous commenters, and feels that they can drag down the level of discourse. I agree with him about the risks, but feel strongly that the upside of allowing free conversation offsets the downside. The compromise reached was that we only allow personally signed posts, but comments may be anonymous or pseudonymous.

Anonymity and its close cousin, pseudonymity, have played an important role in political discourse historically. Benjamin Franklin and George Orwell wrote under pseudonyms. Many of the pamphleteers who helped inspire the Revolutionary War published their work anonymously.

Anonymity and pseudonymity are useful tools in today's interconnected world. If my career ambition were to become a federal judge, I would be wiser to publish my thoughts without my name, and avoid having to defend an off-the-cuff comment to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Similarly, many of us have employers, clients or customers who may be stumble across a post and take offense, to our financial and professional detriment.

Also, my friend in the grocery store is a thoughtful, intelligent woman. If she were able to blog anonymously or pseudonymously, she might be posting insightful posts in this space now.

As Bough points out, though, attaching your name to your thoughts demonstrates a certain level of commitment. When Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence, he signed in large print so King George III could read it without his glasses.

Using your name does not necessarily grant credibility. Only a history of accuracy and thoughtfulness will accomplish that goal. Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh demonstrate that some people's credibility sinks beneath the level of anonymity. They have soiled their reputation by repeatedly engaging in false, inflammatory attacks.

If you want to write a convincing comment, it makes sense to avoid personal attacks and focus on the substance. Similarly, criticizing a commenter for posting anonymously is not very persuasive without a demonstration that the points made by that person were flawed.

I hope we have a lot of lively conversation on this blog, and that a tone of respectful persuasion prevails. So far, I'd say we're doing pretty well . . .

Friday, June 29, 2007

Donnelly to Challenge Harris?

Sources from the East (Columbia and St. Louis) are chattering about the possibility that St. Louis County State Representative Margaret Donnelly may be tossing her hat in the ring to seek the Democratic nomination for State Attorney General. By all accounts, Donnelly is a fine person and a traditional Democrat, and I'll be happy to support her for a different state-wide office. But I really don't think her legal experience (Her website reports, "[a]s an attorney in private practice, she has been appointed regularly by the courts to represent children as the guardian ad litem in custody matters") stacks up to Jeff Harris' experience in the Attorney General's office.

I also appreciate the fact that Jeff has demonstrated more leadership in Jefferson City (House Minority Leader), and the fact that he has been all over the state introducing himself and asking for support. We need an Attorney General candidate with relevant legal experience and appeal to that portion of Missouri which lies outside of the I-270 loop. I think Jeff Harris is the better candidate, and I hope that the rumors of Margaret Donnelly's challenge are mistaken.

(As noted above, "Posts here do not necessarily reflect the official position of the CCP." The CCP has not endorsed Jeff Harris or anyone else for the post of Missouri Attorney General.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Old dog, new trick

Hopefully I have achieved blogdom on the CCP site

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Nolte (33rd) Supports School Vouchers and Open Enrollment

What better way to destroy the great public schools up North of the River than HB 808, which allows for school vouchers. Rep. Nolte - the Republican state representative from North of the River in Clay County - supports both vouchers and open enrollment.

Jerry Nolte won by on the closest of margins to pick up this seat. He beat Terry Stone by 50.5% to 49.5%. That was a difference of only 147 votes. This seat was held by Scott Lakin (D) and Phil Willoughby (D).

Imagine if the good schools in Clay and Platte Counties had students sucked out of them by a voucher program? That would mean some upper middle class folks could afford private educations. Poor folks could never benefit from vouchers because there is a gap between vouchers and the cost of private education. Instead of improving education options, you would get public schools with less money. In an odd twist on things, Nolte also supports open enrollment. That means any student could show up at a school, regardless of where the student lives or where his parents pay property taxes, and sign up for a school. How does that make since? I thought Republicans were all about local control. These kind of crazy ideas only allow for less control by local school boards.

I would much rather have the local school boards deciding what is best for students that the current crop of Republicans in Jefferson City. If people want to send their kids to private, religious schools - good for them. I do not, however, think that the Missouri or US Constitutions will permit forcing citizens of Missouri to pay for religious schools for some people. Don't get me wrong, I think faith based education is a good thing. It is up to the parents to decide if that is what is best for the kids. Missouri taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill.

If we only knew 74 folks in the 33rd District, we would have a smart small business owner like Terry Stone in that seat!!

Jeff Harris Plays 20 Questions

Simply stated, Jeff Harris is Missouri's next Attorney General. As noted here back in May, he is an extremely strong candidate who is likely to benefit from the inability of the Republicans to get along with each other.

At a fundraiser on Monday night, Jeff agreed to offer a rare opportunity to this blog and the members of the CCP. He has agreed to participate in a "blog interview", tackling questions posed by members of the CCP and commenters on this blog.

Post your questions here in the comments section, and I'll assemble them and get them to Jeff. Of course, I reserve the right to be arbitrary and capricious in choosing the questions to submit, but I encourage you to get in touch with your inner Barbara Walters.

As an aside, this is exactly the sort of thing that makes me excited to support Jeff Harris. He's not hiding behind some slick media machine, answering only the questions he chooses. Harris is unafraid to take on whatever issues and challenges are out there - exactly the attitude and personality that will make a great Attorney General.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jeff Roe Gets Sued for Libel, and Hires Graves

How far does Jeff Roe need to go to make his clients realize he is much more trouble than he is worth?

Check out the tide of nastiness reported on by The Turner Report. Over in St. Charles County, Jeff Roe got sued for libel by fellow Republican Joe Brazil. The case involves allegations of false and misleading stories surrounding the death of one of Brazil's high school classmates. It's going to be a nasty mess, as one would expect of anything involving Roe.

As if the nature of the case weren't nasty enough, Roe has hired the law firm of Graves, Bartle and Marcus to defend him and pursue a countersuit against one of the co-defendants. (Have you ever known a Republican who doesn't point the finger elsewhere when the stuff hits the fan?) In case you're wondering, yes, the Graves in the law firm's name is the same Graves who has been tied up in the Republican US Attorney scandals. In case you're wondering, yes, the Bartle in the law firm's name is the same Matt Bartle who has been at the center of the ineffective Republican Missouri Senate.

This is going to be a wild case. I have no idea who will prevail, but I know that a Republican will lose, and that's enough to make it enjoyable.

Oh, by the way, the next time you hear a Republican complain about tort cases clogging up our judicial system, tell them to talk to Jeff Roe about his lawsuit in St. Charles.

Grisamore (47th) Votes to Deny Treatment for Poor Women with Breast Cancer

Rep. Jeff Grisamore - a state representative in Eastern Jackson County/Lee's Summit area- must have missed the Sunday school class where they told the sheep and the goats parable. This is the one where Jesus said that people should provide care for "the least of these." Sheep got into heaven, goats didn't make the cut.

HB577 is the horrific health care bill that would allow for breast cancer screenings of poor women ages 18 to 35. If a woman gets a positive test, she gets no - ZERO - treatment. What could be any more cruel than telling a poor woman - "the least of these" - she has breast cancer and she can't get treatment. Grisamore voted for this terrible piece of legislation while also voting for tax breaks for big corporations.

The folks in Eastern Jackson County are God-fearing, compassionate folks. They are the "sheep." If the choice is tax breaks for the wealthy or treating a young, poor woman for breast cancer, these folks in Lee's Summit would choose health care for the poor women every time.

It's not like Grisamore has any kind of mandate from the voters. He won the election by 51.3 to 48.7 - a difference of only 378 voters. I feel confident that the folks in Lee's Summit, given what they now know (or need to know) about Grisamore, would gladly switch their votes. We need someone with a heart to run in the 47th!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Why Roe/Graves Will Lose

There are many reasons to feel great about Kay Barnes as a future member of Congress from Missouri's 6th District. But, if you're looking for something a little less positive, go read this masterful takedown of Sam "6 Years of Nothing" Graves. The KC Blue Blog nails it.

Kraus (48th) Wants to Sell Political Favors

Rep. Will Kraus (R), the state rep from Lee's Summit/Raytown (48th district), voted to remove contribution caps in 2006. Now, Matt Blunt and Will Kraus are taking money like there is no tomorrow. If you are in power, you don't want caps because you can hand out political favors. The vast majority of Missourians support caps on political contributions.

The 48th District voted for Kraus by a whopping 48/52 % margin. The district never performs more that 52.4% Republican. Kraus voting to sell our State government to the highest bidder is not what this district wants or deserves.

Kraus has been bought and paid for by the monster telecommunication monopolies. He sponsored HB 1020 to keep cable company profits high by eliminating competition and by prohibiting local governments from protecting consumers from the $100 a month cable companies. Kraus also pushed HB 801, which limits suburban governments like Lee's Summit from providing a high quality, high speed, low cost Internet services to its citizens.

Let's put it all together: (get elected) - (caps so the cable companies can buy you) + (sponsor bills to help the telecom corps make bigger profits without competition or consumer protection) + (take donations from the Time Warners of the world) = Good Government for Sale by Will Kraus.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Time for KCMO Ethics Legislation?

Mayor Mark Funkhouser recently spent some uncomfortable time in the spotlight because of his decision to accept the use of a Hybrid Honda from a local dealership. After more than a week of media frenzy, he decided to decline the offer.

One of the things that struck me in the debate was the fact that it all took place in an ethical free-fire zone. The Star resorted to out-of-town "ethics experts" to opine that this was a bad thing, while supporters of the mayor pointed out that all mayors in recent memory have accepted gifts without criticism. Neither side could point to an on-point law, ordinance, or provision of an ethics code that addressed whether it's okay for the Mayor to accept Chiefs tickets but not something to park in the lot. The current Kansas City Municipal Ethics Code merely requires disclosure of such gifts within 30 days.

The Jackson County Ethics Commission is hard at work drafting an Ethics Code to guide County officials - perhaps it's time for Kansas City to take a fresh look at its own code. An attempt at putting some meat onto the bare-bones version we currently have could go a long way toward avoiding similar problems in the future. Perhaps they could even piggy-back on the work done by the Jackson County Ethics Commission . . .

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Al Gore

"The greatest non-campaign campaign I have ever seen."-- Democratic strategic Robert Shrum, in an interview with the Washington Post, on Al Gore.

Any takers on Gore getting into the race before December 2007?

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Jamison Foser over at Media Matters offered up a great discussion of "electability" yesterday evening, set in the context of Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency. He correctly points out that it is "little more than a catch-all that allows the speaker to express his or her approval for, or disapproval of, a candidate in seemingly definitive terms, based on ... anything at all."

While I enjoyed the discussion, I wonder about its applicability to state and local politics, and the role of a political club like the CCP in endorsing candidates. "Electability" is a short-hand way of conveying a host of related ideas. Sometimes it's a way of avoiding stating something ugly - people argued that Alan Wheat lacked statewide electability when he ran for Senate, because they didn't want to state flat out that Missouri wouldn't elect a black man to statewide office.

Sometimes the term is used more positively - Nixon is "electable" because he appeals to rural voters, and has sufficient urban support to mount a successful campaign for governor against anyone the Republicans may choose to run. Even Democrats who hoped for other candidates to emerge have to admit that he's our best chance to put the Governor's Mansion back into Democratic hands. And that's what we need.

"Electability" can also mean that a candidate has that charisma and smoothness that makes voters feel like he or she's a winner. Looking across the aisle, I think Matt Bartle is a good example of good appearances making him electable where his far-right views would make a less attractive candidate a fringe candidate, at best. Matt is probably one of the most vulnerable Republicans in Missouri, because his appeal is based solely on "electability" - he doesn't represent the values of his moderate suburban district. A solid Democrat with the ability to pull back the curtain and allow the voters to see the real Matt Bartle will win.

When people talk about "electability", they're talking about something else. As we choose our candidates, we need to think about the myriad issues behind the word, and look at them honestly. Let's make sure we know what we're really talking about.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Colin Powell says Close Guantanamo

General Colin Powell said this week that we should close Guantanamo Bay as a prison for terrorists. I say let's give these terrorists a trial that the world will proclaim as fair, and if guilty, throw them into the general population of a prison in my native Southwest Missouri. Justice will be achieved.

One of the deepest and most thoughtful articles I have read on this subject is The American Way of Justice By Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift. The first paragraph will remind you of who Lt. Cmdr. Swift is: It's time for some perspective, please. It's time to close Guantanamo Bay. Yes , I am the military officer who sued my commander in chief and the secretary of defense on behalf of a Guantanamo Bay detainee named Salim Hamdan.

What I sought was simply that the president, just like the soldiers, sailors, and marines under his command, be required to comply with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions. Because I believe that resorting to secret prisons, coercive interrogations, and the abandonment of the rule of law is not the way to keep our country safe from a handful of fanatics. Last summer, with the help of my civilian co-counsel, Professor Neal Katyal, and the law firm of Perkins Coie, I won the case in the Supreme Court of the United States. The problem is that the victory, as big as it was, was disdained by the administration, which has attempted to defy the Supreme Court and the rule of law by building Guantanamo up in the wake of the decision, instead of down. That needs to change.

Read the entire article at

You will agree with Gen. Powell and Lt. Cmdr. Swift, Guantanamo must be closed and the U.S. must reclaim our position in the world as the leader of justice and fairness.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Claire McCaskill Speaks Out Against Gonzales

The national media loves our Claire McCaskill!! The New York Times published the opinion letter below about 1) how bad Gonzales/Bush/Rove have ruined the Justice Department 2) how eloquent Senator Claire McCaskill is 3) how even Sen. Kit Bond says there is no leadership in the DOJ and 4) how the former US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri (which is in downtown KC), Brad Schlozman, had to write and say he gave untrue testimony. Claire is a wonderful advocate for real Missouri values. Harry Truman has to be proud. What is sad is how the Graves/Roe/Blunts machine have made Missouri this hot bed of Republican game playing. Graves/Roe/Blunts don't care about impartial judicial systems or fairness in the justice system. Time to elect some more Claire McCaskills and get rid of Graves/Roe and both Blunts.

Silence in the Senate
Published: June 13, 2007

The most remarkable thing about the debate on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales this week was what didn’t happen. Barely a word was said in praise him or his management of the Justice Department. The message was clear even though the Republicans prevented a no-confidence vote through the threat of a filibuster — a tactic that until recently they claimed to abhor. The sound of Mr. Gonzales not being defended was deafening.

The senators who rose to speak in favor of the no-confidence vote made a compelling, and by now well-known, case. Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, and Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, both former prosecutors, were especially eloquent about the way in which Mr. Gonzales has betrayed the ideals of American law.

The senators who defended Mr. Gonzales clearly did not have their heart in it. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, went off on such a long and belabored attack on Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who has done a commendable job on this matter, that he seemed to think Mr. Schumer, not Mr. Gonzales, was the subject of the resolution. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, complained that the Senate was wasting a “whole day” on the vote. Actually, it took just a couple of hours, and anyone who watches C-Span knows how little the Senate can accomplish in two hours. For Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi, the issue seemed to be that the vote would not matter. In other words, since the president does not care what Congress thinks about the integrity of the Justice Department, it is a waste of time to tell him.
President Bush said the investigation of Mr. Gonzales and the Justice Department over the firing of nine United States attorneys was being “drug out” by the Democrats, and that it was purely partisan political theater.

If the investigation is dragging on, it’s the fault of the administration, not the Democrats in Congress. The Justice Department has withheld critical documents and released the uncritical ones in dribs and drabs. The White House is refusing to let Karl Rove; Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel; and others testify under oath.

What has slowed things down the most are the repeated misstatements by Mr. Gonzales and other officials. Just this week, Bradley Schlozman, a former United States attorney in Missouri who appears to have used his office to help Republicans win elections, wrote to the Senate to say that he had made untrue statements in his testimony last week.

As for the charge of politics, seven Republicans voted with Democrats to end debate, and many more have been critical of Mr. Gonzales. Christopher Bond, Republican of Missouri, stuck with his party on the vote, but told The Associated Press, “The president might decide that the current leadership remaining at D.O.J. is doing more harm than good.”

That so many Senate Republicans supported an attorney general that they cannot bring themselves to defend shows that politics is not behind the drive to force him out. It’s behind the insistence that he stay.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Seeing a Mentor

At last week's CCP meeting, I saw one of the people who has had a major impact on my development as a person. Harold Fridkin, one of the best of the "old school" Democrats, attended the meeting, and seeing him again after a few years was a breath of fresh air.

I had the pleasure of practicing law with Harold for five years. In a profession that tends to reward the brash and obnoxious, Harold was a gentleman. I worked with him on heated litigation, but he was always cool and professional. When we had major conflicts with opposing counsel, Harold kept me focused on the conflict, and not on the opposing counsel. I recall in particular one case involving some public figures and a referendum. If ever a case called for political posturing and self-righteous abuse of opposing counsel, this was it, but Harold would have none of it. We won at the trial court, and Harold's dignified treatment of opposing counsel helped our opponents dismiss their own appeal. If he had less class, we could have litigated that silly case for another year or two.

When I worked for Harold, I decided I wanted to join the Centurions program with the Chamber of Commerce. I needed to have Harold sign my application, because the program would take me out of the office for significant chunks of time. I approached him and asked him for his support, and he looked at me and asked, "If I let you do this, will you bring in lots of clients?" I thought about lying, but told the truth, instead. "No, not really. I'll meet people, and maybe they'll become clients someday, but, no, I'm not going to bring in clients because of this."

"Good," he growled. "Because if that's why you were doing it, you'd stink. If you want to get involved in something, make sure it's something you really want to do. That's the only way you'll be worth a shit."

There aren't many senior partners who would offer that kind of perspective to a younger lawyer, but that's the way Harold is. You can always count on him to stick to his principles, and share them if he knows you're open to them.

You can't know Harold without knowing about his kids, and, now, his grandchildren. Too many men of his generation lived for their profession, and maintained a stone wall between work and home. Harold never played that game. His pride in his children is a huge part of who he is. And, if you get to know his children, you see that the feeling is mutual. I can imagine few tributes to a father that could be better than the warmth with which his children speak of him.

The thing about Harold isn't that you see him and you think, "I want to be him." He's faced troubles and challenges you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. But, if you get to know Harold, you'll think, "He inspires me to be the true me." He did that for me, and I suspect he's done that for a bunch of Kansas City's best Democrats - and a few Republicans.

House Democrats Working Hard to Take Back the Majority in the House

I have never seen the House Democrats so darn organized!!

The House Dem’s are working hard right now to take back the majority in 2008. With Minority Leader Jeff Harris at the helm, they made a dent in 2006 and stand a good chance of taking back the House in 2008. They need our help. The House Democratic Campaign Committee has scheduled a fundraiser in KC on June 21st at 5:30 at Californo’s in Westport. They are also doing an event in St. Louis. Here’s the deal – we can’t elect any more Democrats out of Brookside. We must do what the Republicans did to us – take back the majority one suburb and one district at a time.

Don’t believe it can be done? Look at Rep. Steve Hodges from S.E. Missouri. Steve ran in an open seat in the Bootheel held by an 8 year Republican who was term limited. Steve owned a grocery store ran out of business by Wal-Mart, his kids grew up in the community and he knew his district. He worked hard, knocked on doors and won. He had the support of the HDCC. This can happen all over the state if it can happen in Mississippi County; they just need our support.

We can do this if we all stick together. Early help has double the value. Sure would be nice to replace Rod Jetton (R) with Paul LeVota (D) in the Speaker's chair.

Monday, June 11, 2007

If you are against "English Only" you are the "lunatic fringe"

Ever wonder where Democrats fit into the picture with Republicans in Jefferson City. Well, as detailed in the article below and according to the Republican leadership in the house, we are the "lunatic fringe."

"English only" is a manufactured wedge issue designed to get people distracted from fixing our health care system or working on reducing higher education costs. Has anyone seen a City Council conduct the hearings in Spanish, French or German in Missouri? Rep. Nieves, the Majority Whip, allows his ego to take over and he takes SOLE credit for 1) pushing English only through BOTH the house and the senate and for 2) stopping an apology for slavery. Rep. Nieves - who is elected by his fellow Republicans to this leadership post so we can safely assume he speaks for his fellow Republicans - says if you disagree on English only you are similar to the Russians at the height of the Cold War and a member of the "lunatic fringe."

Well, sign me up (for the fringe part, not the Russian part). I believe that our Missouri Constitution is a sacred document. It spells out our beliefs. Discrimination is not a core belief. All across Missouri people speak many languages. It's that whole melting pot, Statute of Liberty, thing. We should not willy, nilly amend our Constitution to reflect the beliefs of Rep. Nieves - a person who compares those who disagree with him to war enemies or lunatics. As to apologies for slavery - SLAVERY WAS WRONG!! I learned growing up in the First Baptist Church that you say sorry when you have done something wrong. I tell my kids that all the time. Saying you are sorry is not about payments, its about fessing up and moving on.

Rep. Nieves predicts he will win the Speaker of the House race in the near future. How about let's send some more Democrats to Jefferson City and take back the majority to keep Nieves from spreading his intelligence around anymore than he already has?

Rep. Nieves Takes Credit for Decisions in 2006-07 Session

By Gregg Jones
Union Missourian Editor

State Rep. Brian Nieves takes sole credit for what he considers two major issues that state legislators faced last session.

He claims those issues — English as the official language resolution and an apology for slavery — would have a different outcome if he were not in office as a leader in the House.

“This is the first year that I can say ‘Me, Myself and I’ got a few things done that wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t there,” Nieves boasted.

Nieves sponsored a resolution to ensure government decisions throughout the state will be made in no language other than English. He said the question to make English the official language now will appear before voters in November 2008.

“Now we are going to have the opportunity to amend the Constitution to have English as the official language,” he said.

“Anywhere you go, or anyone you talk to, there is overwhelming support (of making English the official language),” he said.
Nieves said that 80-90 percent of Missourians believe that English should be the “official language” of the state. He calls those who feel differently the “lunatic fringe.”

Nieves noted that he has been working on a bill since he was first elected to the House in 2002. He said the bill is inspired by a town in Texas where Spanish is used during government proceedings and there is nothing in the Missouri Constitution that would ban such a practice.

Nieves said each year he sponsored the bill it was passed by the House but it died in the Senate. This past legislative session, the resolution passed 30 minutes before the session closed for the year.
Nieves said there was opposition from three Democrat senators who filibustered the bill.

He said he negotiated with the senators to try and “shut down” the filibuster, as well as the Republican leadership in the Senate to begin a parliamentary procedure to override the filibuster.
Nieves said he convinced one senator to “stand down” which prompted the Senate leadership to override the filibuster. That move allowed the Senate to vote, and pass, the resolution at 5:30 p.m. the final day of session.

He added that the parliamentary procedure may have opened the door for similar actions in the future. He compared the situation to Cold War America and Soviet Union.
He said the minority party can filibuster, which he compared to nuclear capability.

“There were a handful of Democrats who filibustered for the purpose of being obstructionists,” he said.
In turn the majority party has the option of a preliminary procedure to override the filibuster.

“They both have the nuclear option and basically what they (majority party) are doing is saying they are willing to go nuclear,” said Nieves.

He said that move by the Senate Republican leaders will give a chance for Missouri voters to decide the English language resolution.

“This is my baby — it is the first thing I have taken exclusive credit for in five years,” Nieves said.

No Apology

Nieves also said he is responsible for overturning a possible official state apology for slavery.

He said Speaker of the House Rod Jetton co-sponsored the bill that was on the fast track through the House. When Nieves learned of the bill, he went “head to head” with Jetton.

Nieves said an apology for slavery could lead to the state paying reparations to descendants of slaves.

“It legally opens the door for reparations,” he said. “I’m not having any part of that — it’s symbolism over substance but it opens the door for reparations.”

Nieves added that he has been asked if he is “prejudiced” because of his opposition to the apology.

“If we are going to do an overall apology to every race, creed or color we’ve done wrong, I’m probably for that,” he said. “But to single out one — I’m not for that.”

Session as a Whole

Nieves said the 2006-07 session “in general was good.” He said legislators passed an abortion bill, a correction to the second amendment and “cut back” on taxes on Social Security and taxes for retired teachers.

He said taxes on Social Security is “black and white a double taxation.”

“We did a lot of tax cuts on retirees to have more of their own dollars,” said Nieves.

He added that in the House, there was little bickering between the Republican and Democratic parties.

“It seemed like the Democrats and Republicans got along. We moved a lot of Democratic legislation,” he said. The fight this year was between the House and Senate.”

New Leadership Role?

Nieves, who is the Majority Whip — the fourth-highest leadership seat in the House, said he anticipates the No. 2 seat (speaker pro tem) to be open within a year. He said he will run for that seat and will “likely win.”

“I think it is good for people around here to know that,” he said. “The higher in the pecking order you are the more you can do. If I’ve got to be up there anyway I’ll be as effective as I can — I think I’ll move into that position within the next year.”

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Jeff Roe is Out to Destroy the Non-Partisan Missouri Plan on Selecting Judges

Across the Country, states use the Missouri Plan (yes, even Kansas calls it the Missouri Plan) to select judges in a non-partisan manner. Politics should never play role in picking judges. Who wants a judge that owes people favors? Jeff Roe does! Below is an article about how his mudslinging took out a Missouri judge.

Jeff Roe, the Missouri political consultant, laid it on the line today at a Washington conference on judicial elections.
"Modern-day politics has arrived in the judicial branch," Roe said in an interview with Prime Buzz. "They (judges) run as partisans. That means the modern-day campaign has arrived at the judicial branch."
The session, sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and, was titled "Mudslinging in Judicial Campaigns: Beginning to Look a Lot Like Congress."
Roe, who heads Axiom Strategies of Kansas City, was called to the conference because of his work on a 2006 campaign to oust former Cole County Circuit Judge Tom Brown. Voters booted him from office after the a campaign by a group that said it opposed judicial activism.
Cole County is the home of the state Capitol, which means meaty issues pertaining to state government often wind up in the court.
Brown was a Democrat seeking a third six-year term. He lost to Republican challenger Jon Beetem in an election that took place outside Missouri's non-partisan court plan that involves the screening of candidates for judicial posts and appointments by the governor.
Roe said arguments can be made about whether judges should be appointed, elected or retained in office.
"Under the current system, there are some of each," he said. "Those who run for public office must make their case to the voters."
If you don't like that system, "Change the Constitution," he said.
Judicial seats are becoming more politicial as more interest groups opt to engage in the process, Roe said.
Following the Brown election last year, Roe told a forum in Kanas City that, "There are large groups around the country that are in place to defeat judges."
At the forum, Roe said those groups know that spending a significant amount of money in a local judge's race is more cost-effective than spending perhaps $250,000 or more to oppose the retention of a statewide judge.
"If you place large sums of money quickly in a judicial race, you have the immediate impact," Roe said.

YouTube Videos about MO Republicans

Some of the most educational and entertaining videos you can watch are located on YouTube. It just so happens that someone is having lots of fun pointing out the moral failures of the Republicans leading our state. Check out the videos below.

Republican PDA

Missouri Republican Monsters

Governor Blunt's Pay for Play


CRAZY Rep. Cynthia Davis

Republican Family Feud

CCP Endorses Jay Nixon

The Committee for County Progress became one of the first organizations in Missouri to endorse Attorney General Jay Nixon (D) in his bid to defeat Governor Matt Blunt (R) when the membership unanimously voted on June 6, 2007.

Attorney General Jay Nixon has fought hard for the progressive values of this state and our citizens. Governor Matt Blunt has systematically rewarded donors and corporations with tax breaks, while balancing the budget on the backs of the poorest and the sickest in our society. Attorney General Nixon promises to make educational systems in Missouri a priority, setting forth a plan to reduce college tuition so that Missouri taxpayers can afford higher education for their children. Under Blunt, even in a year where the state has a large surplus, tuition costs continue to go up and Missouri taxpayers are faced with even a heavier financial burden.

The Committee for County Progress is proud to continue our tradition of endorsing progressive candidates.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Jeff Roe Wants to Destroy Our Judicial Branch

I heard Jeff Roe speak at the KCMBA Bench-Bar-Boardroom convention in May of 2007. He spoke about the politicalization of judicial races in Missouri. Jeff Roe, and anyone who hires him, is causing our judges to be influenced by political pressure.

Partisian races for judges are ugly. Who wants a judge that has accepted $100,000 donations from someone else, especially someone on the other side of a case? That is what we have in IL and GA. Favors will be expected. That is what Graves/Roe want. They want to dismantle the Missouri Non-Partisian Court Plan that allows us to pick great judges. Graves/Roe don't want neutral judges, they want judges to do them favors.

Jeff Roe talked about how he took $200,000 from unnamed people, attacked Judge Brown from Cole County and knocked him off. Why - because he could. No other reason. Jeff Roe never met Judge Brown, Jeff Roe never met Judge Brown's opposition. Jeff Roe told the FBI that Judge Brown was misusing state funds to get an investigation opened and the investigation went nowhere because it was false. Even with that, Jeff Roe ran direct mail pieces to say the Judge Brown was under a federal investigation.

There is but one way to stop Graves/Roe - vote against anyone who hires Jeff Roe.

Mayor Barnes v. Graves/Roe

Mayor Barnes needs our help now. Why get involved early? Well, as we all know from Sen. McCaskill’s campaign, early in-state support and money are essential to getting early national support and money. June is the end of the quarter and people are watching how Mayor Barnes performs. The DCCC and the Democrats in the U.S. House are picking their top races (the KC Star recently reported on a visit by Rep. Van Hollen). This race is one of the few that the D’s can knock off an R, extend our majority in Congress and get enough votes to override Bush’s veto. From a Missouri perspective, Congressman Graves and Jeff Roe have committed themselves to the destruction of democrats in N.W. Missouri and the dismantling of our judicial system. Graves/Roe will do everything in their power to make Missouri a place that elects Republicans via the most nasty-in your face-hostile politics. We in the Missouri Democratic Party stand against this kind of mean-spirited politics. Graves/Roe hate good government and progressive values and will stop at nothing to destroy the basic principles and institutions of our government – but don’t get me started.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Rep Sam Page will anounce for Lt Governor

Rep. Sam Page will announce Tuesday that he is running for Lt. Governor in the 2008 election.

Rep. Sam Page (D-Creve Coeur) is a third term State Rep from the St. Louis area. But Sam has Kansas City ties. He is a physician and obtained his M.D. degree here at the UMKC Medical School.

He intends to announce at a series of press conferences around the State on Monday and Tuesday.

Columbia will be the first stop and then at 3:00 P.M. Tuesday he will hold a press conference in the courtyard of the Medical School at UMKC.

Sam is a practicing physician and has been a major voice in the health care debate in Jefferson City. He will be a great candidate for state wide office. Here is a link to his website.

Sam was elected to the House in 2002 in the same class as me and Paul LeVota. He has been a leader since he walked in the door and I expect he will demonstrate that in the campaign.

He is scheduling some events here in Kansas City this summer so CCP members will get a chance to meet and talk with him soon.

You know he will be a great candidate because within hours of his telling people he was going to run the Republicans started attacking him on their blogs.

State Rep. John Burnett