Monday, December 8, 2008

Mike Sanders Named to Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership

The CCP recognized Mike Sanders' leadership potential back when he was running against Charles Wheeler for the County Executive post, and the Aspen Institute has finally recognized the same thing.

The Aspen Institute chose Sanders for inclusion in a group of “America’s most promising young political leaders”, and has invited him to participate in a 2 year fellowship, with one session in Aspen, Colorado, and two other sessions, perhaps to be held in other regions of the world.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Much To Be Thankful For - What Can Santa Bring for Christmas

Looking back over the past year provides plenty of good feelings for the CCP. 5 of the 6 statewide offices are held by Democrats, and the legislature has some strong new progressive voices. Our out-going chair was chosen as chair of the Jackson County Democratic Committee. A heck of a year, indeed.

But the appetite for success is not so easily satiated. Here are a few things on the Christmas lists of many democrats . . .

1. Federal appointments. The Western District US Attorney's office has been battered in recent years. Until the likes of Schlozman disgraced its history, it has been one of the best-led US Attorney's offices in the nation. There are still some fine career people who have held on through the dark days of the Bush/Rove administration, and we all join in their hopes that President Obama chooses someone with integrity, judgment and intelligence to be their leader. If he needs a short list of suggestions, just have President Obama give me a call.

Less immediately, but in the coming years, there will be judicial appointments and a host of administrative appointments to be filled, and we look forward to the Federal Government not only appointing Democrats, but people devoted to the causes they are supposed to serve, instead of industry hacks devoted to undermining good government. A key difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Democrats believe in good government.

2. State Appointments. No single appointment stands out as the one that must be made immediately for the good of the state, but Jay Nixon has always been known for his talent in choosing bright, qualified people to work for him. I hope that Missourians' stockings are filled with great democrats in appropriate positions. Our own Theresa Garza Ruiz is already working hard on the transition team - here's where to learn more about the jobs, boards and commissions to be filled.

3. Better County Ethics Legislation. This promises to be the first mess of the Holiday Season, and I hope that somehow our County Legislature gets past its imperial delusions and accepts the well-drafted, well-thought-out Ethics Legislation drafted by a bi-partisan committee. Substitutes that exempt our Legislators from local oversight are not acceptable.

4. A Continued Blue Tide in Missouri. We may have 5 of 6 statewide offices in Democratic hands, but much work needs to be done. Missouri's electoral votes went to McCain, and its legislature remains in the hands of a Neanderthal mob. We can and must do better, for our citizens and our future. We have a long way to go before we can be satisfied with our governmental representation in Missouri and even here in Jackson County. Matt Bartle, Bryan Pratt and Will Krause still represent portions of our county in Jefferson City.

Perhaps, Santa, you had better leave a couple cases of Red Bull under our trees. Much work remains to be done.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Purging Stevens

As a good Democrat, I hope that Sen Stevens loses the senate election. As a citizen who worries about our rush to police state status, I am concerned about his treatment by the Bush Justice Dept.

To the Rapture Republicans that dominate the GOP, Stevens was an embarrassment -- not because of any corruption on his part, since the folks who lied us into war and stole billions in no-bid contracts for their friends are hardly capable of blushing over that. No, Stevens was one of the last Rockefeller Republicans -- pro-choice and moderate on social issues. Not a culture warrior. Heck, he probably doesn' even think the Earth is only 6000 years old! So, he was expendable (especially since they did not think the Dems could get a filibuster-proof majority when he was indicted.) The new Alaska GOP -- "reformers" like Sarah "Fire-My-Brother-In-Law" Palin -- need him to make way.

Actually, I agree with Stevens that this is an unjust prosecution. The Feds took a relatively trivial DISCLOSURE requirement and inflated it to a felony. Please spare me the sanctimonious "He lied to cover up the gifts" crap. If Stevens was being BRIBED, he should have been charged with receiving bribes and prosecuted accordingly. Instead, what we got was a not-very-subtle reminder to the Congress that Justice can indict even powerful members of Congress over what are trivial technical violations (NB any of you who might foolishly want to clean up the Justice Department after its KGB-style kow-towing to Bush & Rove.)

Putin would be proud.

Of course, Stevens has spent a career letting the "law & order" nuts undermine the Constitution, empowering the Feds to greater & greater criminal jurisdiction with less & less controls, and putting a bunch of semi-facists on the Supreme Court. In short, doing exactly what the Senate is designed to prevent. Now it has come back to bite him on the backside.

But I take no joy in a prosecution that was primarily a GOP culture purge and a means of intimidating Congress from its oversight role over Justice. Better a single senator who takes bribes to do what is wrong than a Congress that is too fearful to do right.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Presidential Legacy

As his legacy, FDR told the American people that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

W's legacy? To leave Americans with nothing left but fear.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Judicial Retention

While almost everyone in the State of Missouri knows how they will vote in the "big" elections, many of us get thrown off our game when we get "down ballot". It's easy to know who you're voting for at the President and Governor level, but when you get down to some of the propositions and the judicial retention ballots, it's easy to find yourself resorting to guesswork.

This year, Jackson Countians will face a list of judges and a decision on whether or not to retain each of them. The judges are as follows:

SUPREME COURT OF MISSOURI
Patricia Breckenridge

16TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT (JACKSON COUNTY)
CIRCUIT JUDGES
Michael W. Manners
John R. O'Malley
Ann Mesle
Peggy Stevens McGraw
Kelly Moorhouse (Judge Moorhouse died earlier this week, but her name will be on the ballot. I'll be casting my vote for retention as a tiny tribute to a fine woman and a great public servant.)
John M. Torrence
Robert M. Schieber
Brian C. Wimes

ASSOCIATE CIRCUIT JUDGES
Robert Beaird
Vernon E. Scoville, III
Robert L. Trout

Unless you're a lawyer or a courthouse regular, you've probably never heard of most of these individuals. How should you vote?

Despite a wide variety in their backgrounds and experience levels, I encourage you strongly to vote in favor of each of these judges. The links on their names will direct you to the Missouri Bar's Judicial Evaluation of each of them, and they are an impressive lot. If you live in Missouri outside of Jackson County, you will have a different list of judges to vote for, and you can get those judicial evaluations, as well, at the Missouri Bar judicial evaluation website.

Even if you're going to simply take my advice and vote to retain each of the judges, I'd encourage you to take a few minutes and look at the evaluations. They will demonstrate to you just how well the Missouri Plan works.

The process is above traditional politics. By all rights under traditional politics, for example, I ought to be vigorously opposing Judge Breckenridge. She's a Republican - and she got her initial appointment from John Ashcroft, and her Supreme Court appointment from Matt Blunt. Those are the sort of credentials that ought to have a "yellow dog democrat" like me demanding to have her driven from office.

But she's a fine judge brought to us by a good process. People who know the law and the judges nominated her to be considered as one of three candidates for her position, based on her judicial temperament, legal ability and other factors aimed at picking great judges instead of great partisans. As a Missouri citizen, I sincerely do not care how Patricia Breckenridge the citizen votes when she casts her presidential ballot, but I care deeply that when she votes on cases in her job as Missouri Supreme Court judge, she does so on the facts and the law. As demonstrated by her outstanding scores in the evaluation process, a vast majority of Missouri lawyers, of all political persuasions, agree with me.

The same thing goes for all the other judges on this year's Jackson County ballot.

If you don't trust lawyers to evaluate the judges, though, I strongly encourage you to look at the juror evaluations. These are submitted by jurors (your peers) who have personally witnessed the judge in action. The scores are virtually unanimous that the judges listed have treated people equally and with dignity and were well prepared, etc.

I fully expect that each of the judges listed above will be retained by wide margins. Ironically, the opponents of the Missouri Plan will argue that those margins demonstrate that the voters aren't smart enough to be trusted to retain only the good ones. They are all good ones. The system is working. Go look at the thorough information available to you, and you can vote with complete confidence.

The Missouri Plan has given you an excellent set of judges. Retain them, and support politicians from either party who promise to retain the Missouri Plan.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Debate Winners!

How can both participants win a debate that is not a draw?

Gov. Palin was rapidly becoming a joke because of her lack of depth. Expectations were so low that finishing the debate without piddling on herself would be declared victory. But, this debate gave her the chance to play her strength: Delivering prewritten lines to a camera, reading blocks from the note cards on her podium. Manual telepromptors, as it were. Stuff you learn when studying telejournalism. She did not look potentially presidential, but she did not look nearly as ignorant as she does when tough follow-up questions -- like "Seriously, what do you read?" -- are allowed. After her term as governor, maybe she can get a job with FOX (although she may not actually be conservative enough for them).

Sen Biden obviously knows a great deal and fortunately did not share it all with us at once-- a good thing. But he clearly showed the advantage of knowing stuff -- at least to the reality-based community. (E.g. If you are going to fight global warming, it really would be handy to understand what is causing it.)

Padin helped herself. Biden helped the ticket.

Debate Time!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last night I saw JFK.

One of the few advantages of being a 61 year old lifetime political junkey is what I experienced last night: I saw the next generation's JFK.

OK, I was for Hillary. And I never saw this in Obama when he and she were debating their own differences -- which were a lot like the differences between Advil and Nupren. And I am still fearful that our racist society may simply be too racist.

But, last night I saw the intelligence, the grace, the toughness that I first saw on a black and white TV on the same date forty-eight years earlier. Last night, I understood why Ted Kennedy did what he did -- not because of some dislike for the Clintons, but because he saw then what I did not see until last night: The man who should be President. Perhaps our chance to redeem this Republic for our children. To give them back a country to be proud of.

The pundits may be spinning the debate as "close". I did not see it that way. When he pointed at McCain and gave the litany of McCain's wrong decisions on Iraq, no one could think he was not able to confront Putin or anyone else for this country.

And, for a while, he made me a 13 year old boy again -- ready to forgive, ready to believe, ready to hope -- ready for a New Frontier for this Century!

Last night I saw JFK.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Brief summery of W's speech:

"My fellow citizens:

"Okey, you caught us trying to make off with $700 billion in the next 4 months. Dick thought it was worth a try. But seriously we probably do need to do something to fix the mess.

"Of course, it is not the fault of the greedy CEOs and their minions in my administration. It's all the fault of you guys for wanting a nice home to live in or a decent car to drive or money to send your kids to school. How could you expect the lenders to insist you be able to afford the loan. What are they, your mother?

"After all, you should have known that under my administration gas prices were going to double and real wages were going to shrink. And yet, twice, enough of you voted for me to put the election within stealing distance. So I stole it. Can't blame a guy for that.

"So, maybe it is doubly your fault. Get it? "'Dubbya' yer fault? Sorta like a pun?"

"Oh, and be sure to vote for John McCain -- 'cause if he gets to the White House maybe you can live in one of his houses when yours get forclosed on.

"And God bless America -- or is that God help us? Whatever. I'm a short-timer."

Brief summery of W's speech:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Daily KO's Knock One Out

This is a great insider story on Palin. Too bad she isn't taking questions from the media. The third star isn't recognized outside the state - EXCEPT FOR RETIREMENT PAY!!

A Sneak Peek at Palin as C-in-C.
by Kagro X
Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 11:30:54 AM PDT
Honoring military service by trading promotions for political favors, eh?


The Republican way.

VoteVets' Brandon Friedman has the story:

Sunday 31 August 2008: Major General Craig Campbell, Adjutant General of the Alaska National Guard, tells the AP that:

he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations.


The quote is used against Palin throughout the media for several days.
Then Brandon points out that three days later, General Campbell says it again, in the Boston Globe:

[T]he Alaskan governor is not in the site's chain of command and has no authority over its operations, according to Maj. Gen. Craig E. Campbell, the adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard who commands the roughly 3,800 state militia members.


But then...

Friday 5 September 2008: Only two days later, Campbell's story has completely fip-flopped. Now he's suddenly praising Palin, appearing on Fox News to gush about what a superb commander-in-chief she is:

"I'll tell you, in the last few days, I've been watching the press, and I've not been very pleased with what I've been seeing about the chastising of the National Guard by having it diminished by the insinuation that a commander-in-chief of the National Guard doesn't really control the military. The National Guard has 500,000 people in it around this great country, serving in states and overseas. National Guards are state military forces run by governors, and Sarah Palin does it great."


Result? Cha-ching!

Monday 8 September: After the weekend--and after his complimentary remarks--Major General Campbell is promoted within the Alaska National Guard to the rank of Lieutenant General. The promotion is not recognized outside the state of Alaska, but he is promoted with his third star, nonetheless.
Sign on the dotted line and get a promotion, General. Hell, you had no choice. You know she'd fire you if you didn't.

(Note: Brandon's up with this news as a top recommended diary right here at Daily Kos now, too.)

::

the Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance

As we approach the election -- here in the Democratic heart of a swing-state -- look for the Repubs in KC and St.Louis to hold press conferences about "voter fraud", with all the implied threats meant to discourage minority voter turnout. That was the centerpiece of the US Atty firing scandals, remember.

As many of as as possible should join up for the Obama campaign's lawyer program to be available to help on election day, and we should be vocal against any attempt to suppress turnout. Every legitimate voter who is afraid he might be arrested if he tries to vote -- and who then does not vote, even though entitled -- is a victory for McSame.

No Questions, No Answers, No Substance - Day 2



Day 2 of still no accountability, no questions, no answers, no substance. Steve Kraske even wrote about it in the KC Star today.
Palin relied on a teleprompter Monday, and she faced renewed criticism over the weekend that she wasn’t ready for the job because she won’t subject herself to interviews with reporters. Several requests from The Star were rejected in connection with her visit Monday. Palin’s first national interview will be Thursday with ABC’s Charles Gibson in Alaska.


Let's see how the first one goes. Will Charlie Gibson take the gloves off and challenge her or was he selected to give her a lay up (or, kinda like shooting bears from a helicopter)? Why is it so important, ask Pat Buchanan.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Jon Stewart - put them side by side

No Questions, No Answers, No Substance - Day 1


Why won't the McSame campaign let Sarah Palin talk to reporters? We all know why - she doesn't know ANYTHING about running our country. She landed in KC on Sunday at 4:00, didn't have a rally until 10 on Monday, but was too busy to talk to reporters. Obama, McCain and Biden - all on the Sunday morning talk shows. No Sarah Palin. They are hiding her.

So, everyday we are going to keep track of the number of days until she sits down without a script and answers tough questions (like what does HUD stand for, what are the 3 branches of government, name the capital of Kentucky).

The watch is on!!

A non-partisan challenge to all Americans

A friend of mine sent out her first "forward it on" email. A call to inform ourselves? What's next vote with intelligence, not fear?

As I'm sure you're aware, the political climate in the United States is very charged right now. Americans today feel a resurgence of the political fire of old - passion and emotion often trumps logic and reasoned arguments.

As we enter into this presidential election season, I issue a challenge: VOTE, but do it right.

Do your homework - watch the debates, read what the candidates stand for, what they're saying, learn about who they are. (Use unbiased sources – we all know certain media outlets prefer certain candidates.) The biggest problem besides NOT voting is UNINFORMED voting.

"I vote Democrat because my parents have been Democrats since JFK, and they knew what was best for this country."

"I vote Republican because my dad and my grandpa voted Republican, and we have a strong Republican family tradition."

Notice a problem?

The world has CHANGED, politics have CHANGED, and the two parties have CHANGED in a big way, and they both say so. The Republican Party is not the same as it was during the Reagan era. The Democratic Party is not the same as it was even during the Clinton era. This is not the world in which our parents and grandparents grew up.

So know the candidates. Know the issues. Pray about it, if you believe. And please, PLEASE, DECIDE FOR YOURSELF who would lead this country best in this very different 21st Century world. Listen to your whole self - mind, heart, and gut. Make an informed decision. This is not a popularity contest; it's about real issues.

And then for your sake, your children's sake, and your grandchildren's sake: VOTE. This is too important.

We CAN change the world – let’s change it for the better.

Non-partisan election resources: www.procon.org, issuedictionary.com, www.dividedwefail.com

Non-partisan fact checking resource (we all get “the e-mails”): www.snopes.com

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quote of the Day

Sarah Palin mocked Barack Obama for leaving the comforts of a big firm and becoming a community organizer. "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities."

Quote of the Day - "Or, you know, maybe someone needs to remind Sarah Palin that Jesus Christ was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor."

Bad Theology

Sarah Palin says it is God's plan to go to war in Iraq. Let me summarize the entire Bible - love your neighbor ("red, yellow, black and white"). It is NOT God's plan to go to war. The Christian tradition says to also love your enemy - Matthew 5:43:

43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told ministry students at her former church that the United States sent troops to fight in the Iraq war on a "task that is from God."

In an address last June, the Republican vice presidential candidate also urged ministry students to pray for a plan to build a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in the state, calling it "God's will."

Palin asked the students to pray for the troops in Iraq, and noted that her eldest son, Track, was expected to be deployed there.

"Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God," she said. "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God's plan."

A video of the speech was posted at the Wasilla Assembly of God's Web site before finding its way on to other sites on the Internet.

Palin told graduating students of the church's School of Ministry, "What I need to do is strike a deal with you guys." As they preached the love of Jesus throughout Alaska, she said, she'd work to implement God's will from the governor's office, including creating jobs by building a pipeline to bring North Slope natural gas to North American markets.

"God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that," she said.

"I can do my job there in developing our natural resources and doing things like getting the roads paved and making sure our troopers have their cop cars and their uniforms and their guns, and making sure our public schools are funded," she added. "But really all of that stuff doesn't do any good if the people of Alaska's heart isn't right with God."

Palin attended the evangelical church from the time she was a teenager until 2002, the church said in a statement posted on its Web site. She has continued to attend special conferences and meetings there. Religious conservatives have welcomed her selection as John McCain's running mate.

Rob Boston, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, lamented Palin's comments.

"I miss the days when pastors delivered sermons and politicians delivered political speeches," he said. "The United States is increasingly diverse religiously. The job of a president is to unify all those different people and bring them together around policy goals, not to act as a kind of national pastor and bring people to God."

The section of the church's Web site where videos of past sermons were posted was shut down Wednesday, and a message was posted saying that the site "was never intended to handle the traffic it has received in the last few days."

Messy Facts

Damn the truth, man the swiftboats!

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.

Some examples:

PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."

PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

MCCAIN: "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply. I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America," he said in an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.

THE FACTS: McCain's phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more "responsible" for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state — by population.

MCCAIN: "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities," he said on ABC.

THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under "federal status," which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."

THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.

Why Federal Judges Matter


The Republicans get it, the president appoints federal judges for a lifetime. 10 trillion in debt, who cares. Endless war, no biggie. No substantive law, all is forgiven.

Federal judges and the Supreme Court - Thanks, W!!

Karl Rove is Right


Rove is no idiot - he's responsible for the horrible public opinion about Bush and Republicans - but he's no idiot.

Rove is right - picking Palin is a brillant political move. Rove got Bush elected by dividing our nation with religion and guns. Palin is a member of the Assembly of God. The Assembly of God is a far right denomination headquartered in Springfield, Missouri (swing state) and has produced folks like John Ashcroft. The far religious right is a key to achieving Rove's dream of a permanent Republican majority. Palin is also a life-time NRA member and those fine folks need to be engaged to not have good government, but to have the Rove/Bush/McSame dream of a permanent Republican majority.

Let's be real honest - no NRA member lost a gun in the Clinton administration. A little more honesty - Bush and the Republicans controlled all three branches of the government and didn't pass a single bit of legislation on abortion. This isn't about Hillary voters, its only about firing up the base.

What the Republicans Say When The Mike is Off

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Not Even An American

Missouri Needs Nixon


Guess where this came from? No, not Nixon. No, not the Missouri Democratic Party. This was a solicitation for a donation from Operation Breakthrough. Operation Breakthrough provides a warm and safe place for kids to go during the day. They often feed them 2 out of the 3 meals a day. They don't talk politics, they talk about feeding hungry children. They talk about how much cheaper it is to take care of them now vs. taking care of them in jail. How we treat the poorest of our society is how our country should be judged.

"Are WE better off now than we were 4 years ago?"

Palin No Longer Unknown


Obama says the kids are off limits - as it should be.

Gov. Sarah Palin, however, is fair game. If the Republicans are going to ask Missouri swing voters to elect the oldest president ever, we should at least know who we are electing as VP.

Gov. Palin used to be a member of the Independence Party in Alaska, whose platform is:

It seeks "the complete repatriation of the public lands, held by the federal government, to the state and people of Alaska" and aims to be "self-sufficient" by using profits from Alaskan oil and gas resources. It claims that the vote held in 1958 which led to Alaska becoming the 49th state of the US was corrupt and did not offer a proper choice.


These guys even advocate to leave the union. Well, I think McSame's maverick image has shifted over to desperate. If we are seriously taking into consideration experience, I think swing voters will pick Obama/Biden.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Church and State

I heard something yesterday that really ticked me off. If I see the guy again, I will have a little conversation.

This Democratic party leader said "God is on our side." You know what; he's wrong. God didn't create Republicans or Democrats on the 7th day. God didn't even create the electoral college map with Red and Blue states. Heck, God didn't even create the border between the United States and Mexico. God cares about all the hungry, all the sick, all the poor, all those in prison. Red, Yellow, Black or White - ALL MEANS ALL.

When the religious lawyers were trying to trick Jesus with a question about the most important commandment, that great prophet told them to love their God and love their neighbor. When even those two got too complicated, my faith tradition tells me that this is not a new commandment, just love one another. 2 John 1:4.

Democrats have allowed Republicans to high jack God. More importantly, the church universal has allowed Republicans to high jack God. God's message is very clear, you have to give Caesar his due, but love your neighbor. All people of faith (or without faith) should act as the moral compass of our government, but should never allow any one party to claim "God is on our side."

Nixon Will Be Our Governor


Attorney General Jay Nixon and Rep. Clint Zweifel were two more of our speakers this morning at the Missouri delegation meeting.

Rep. Zweifel is one of those very rare politicians that you can put in the social studies books where they teach our children that some of our best and brightest go on to lead our government (government: the word we assign to the things we decide to do together). Clint is very intelligent and educates himself on the issues affecting the Treasurer's office. He is humble - not the fake kind - but genuinely humble. He also has this deep desire to improve the lives of the citizens of the state of Missouri. Clint Zweifel is who they should teach 4th graders about when they learn about our government.

Jay Nixon will be our governor. Cleaver told us this morning that Kenny Hulshof is a nice guy and that the nasty things that are about to be done in his name will turn Kenny's stomach (guess he should be a big boy and put a stop to it). We also heard from Jay Nixon about education, the economy and health care. All those issues are Missouri voters' issues. Public education and higher education have suffered under the Blunt administration. Jobs in our state are not increasing (especially jobs that provide a living wage, health care and retirement).

Blunt kicked over 100,000 people off health care, while giving big businesses tax breaks. Folks understand that the kind of low paying jobs from Blunt/Hulshof's corporate buddies are not the type of economic job growth we need. We need to teach science to public school students who can go to college and get a life sciences job in the state of Missouri. Blunt and Hulshof have rejected science and allowed a few right wing religious groups to dictate even the building of science labs at UMKC.

Jay Nixon will be our governor because Missouri voters have seen what you get when we give the Republicans control of the House, Senate and Executive branch in both Jefferson City and Washington DC. No swing voter can honestly answer yes to "are WE better off now than 4 years ago." Notice the big difference (politically, morally, theologically) to the question when you substitute the "we" for the "you."

Cleaver Has the Gift


Congressman Cleaver was one of the speakers at the Missouri delegation meeting this morning.

Frequent readers to this blog know I have deep respect for this man. His politics are my politics, his theology is my theology, his beliefs are my beliefs. I am proud to have the only ordained minister in Congress as my congressman.

Cleaver's sermon, oops speech, this morning included a story about how he was out in rural Kansas for the Methodist church for a revival. He was, of course, the only African-American in town. He sat at the counter of the local restaurant and waited 30 minutes to get a glass of tea. He then had the audacity to ask for more sugar and the waitress said "I already gave you some sugar, stir what you got." So, he stirred what he had.

Cleaver said that that waitress was full of wisdom, that as Democrats we should stir what we got. We've got the candidates, we've got the issues, we've got the solutions. We need to all stir a little harder this time, harder than we've ever stirred.

That will preach.

A Picture Tells It All















Senator Joe Biden gave a great speech, but you saw that.

Here's what I think will stick out in my mind - that kid holding his grandpa's hand. We all know that almost every second of the convention is staged. What cannot be staged is wrapping your arms around your grandpa's neck. 4 year old boys don't respond well to prompting, they don't hug people they don't love and they don't go walking around holding the hand of someone they haven't spent time with.

Clearly, that little kid knows and loves his grandfather. Joe obviously spends time with him. Several times in his speech (and in his son's, Beau Biden, speech), he got tears in his eyes talking about his family. Heck, I got tears in my eyes.

The picture in my mind that will stick out most from this convention is of grandfather and grandson. I'm sure glad that is the kind of man that will be our next vice-president. Oh ya, Obama showing up to support his VP was a great way to end the evening.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And she's a class act















I missed much of the roll call vote (bumped into MLK III), but got there after Missouri voted (Missouri, where our hard working, intelligent people demand that you Show Me . . .").

New Mexico gave the standard speech ("the great people of New Mexico who work hard and play by the rules . . ."), but then instead of voting 51% for Barack and 49% for Hillary, they gave their votes to Illinois. I thought that was a nice compromise for unity.

Illinois then gave the standard speech ("The intelligent and good looking people from the land of Lincoln . . ."), but then assigned the votes to New York. Just as that happened, something began to stir on the floor.

Hillary and a mass of about 30 other folks came marching onto the floor. After the standard speech ("New York, where our citizens care about liberty and truth . . .") Hillary Clinton ended the drama of the voting by moving to suspend the rules and electing Barack Obama by acclamation.

Hillary is a class act.

Hillary is Amazing
















I went to the "release the delegate" speech by Hillary today.

There I was, an Edwards then Obama supporter; would someone tell on me? This wasn't nationally televised, this was a speech to her pledged delegates.

Hillary said that some people would vote like her, for Barack. Some people would vote what they thought the people of their state wanted and some people would vote their hearts. I totally believed her when she said this election is too important to focus on your primary candidate, it was time to elect Obama.

She mentioned the Supreme Court and how it is a 5-4 split. The next president will get to appoint as many 3 new justices. Women's issues will be defined by the Supreme Court as much as the next president.

In this room filled with Hillary delegate, only one single knucklehead yelled some thing about 2012. The entire rest of the room was focused on a win in 2008. Now that is unity.

The Carnahans Rock















This morning's Missouri delegation meeting featured not one, not two, but three Carnahans.

Congressman Russ Carnahan told of how he graduated from college a semester early and drove his dad to every county in the state when Mel first ran for governor. Russ also talked about when Mel lost that first bid, he worked just as hard for the Democratic nominee.

Secretary of State Robin Carnahan is inspiring. She spoke of the need for hard work, about the need to address health care and about how we can work for party unity.

Senator Jean Carnahan makes me feel lazy. She's no spring chicken, yet she spoke of her work across the country for Obama. She tolds stories of her faith, of the need for God's people to work hard for justice and how this is too important of an election to sit on the sidelines.

Missouri is fortunate to have the Carnahans as our first family.

Josh Reed Can Eat
















Like that swimmer in the Olympics, Josh Reed can eat. With all the door knocking and hard work from Reed this election, he is back to his high school football playing shape (well, almost).

When he sat next to me at the Missouri delegation meeting this morning, I was still taken aback by the amount of eggs and pork this young man put away. I think the voters in his district will be impressed.

Compare a hard working farm boy to a current Republican state representative that just left his wife and kid. Which one represents Missouri's values?

Unity


Despite the media attempting to make a fight, everyone that I met at the convention is unified behind Barack Obama.

I'm glad Hillary got to speak - she lit up the place. People of all stripes (i.e. Obama people too) were trying to get the Hillary signs. I had invested lots of myself in Edwards, so it hurt when he lost (and even more when he admitted to cheating on Elizabeth). The Hillary folks had invested even more into thier candidate. She deserved to speak and her supporters deserved to raise the roof in her honor.

What a fantastic message Hillary delivered - the reason we are engaged in this campaign is not about Hillary or Obama, it's about health care for everyone, honoring our commitment to the troops, responsibly ending the war, having an energy policy.

It isn't a story line, people are unified. And, I bet that we have not seen the last of Hillary.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Faith Caucus at DNC


In what I hear is a first time ever, there was a 2 hour faith caucus today at the Democratic National Convention.

The moderator for both sessions was Rev. Jim Wallis (God's Politics; Why the Right is Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get it). The first topic was "What are the pressing moral values issues of the day? How can progressives and conservatives find common ground." The panelists included Rev. Jennifer Kottler, Bishops DeJesus and Rabbi Jack Moline. I confess I missed most of the first hour.

The next panel addressed "How should the next presidential administration engage people of faith?" Panelists were Rabbi Saperstein, Prof. John DiIulio (first director of faith based community initiatives under W), Rev. Otis Moss and Joshua DuBois (national director of religious affairs for Obama). What a great hour! They grappled with

- "the blessing of separation of church & state,"
- quoted MLK that the church should not be the master of government, nor the servant of government, but the conscience of the government
- ways that government can support faith based initiatives without establishing a religion
- the need for the church to have a strong voice on moral issues
- instead of pursing grants from the government, being the voice of justice in every branch of government
- how to have faith based initiatives work with people of all faiths to avoid the establishment clause.

Wouldn't it be great to have folks from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths forming a 501(c)(3) to care for the "least, lost and the left behind"? People of all faiths (or even no faith) and all colors - not pushing their God, but caring for their neighbor. Now that is justice.

Who Do You Want in Charge? I Like Ike!















Every morning, the Missouri folks meet, pick up credentials and get to hear some great speakers.

This morning was Congressman Ike Skelton. He talked about when he first ran for Congress in 1976 that some junior senator named Joe Biden came down with Tom Eagleton to campaign for him. I sometimes forget how lucky we are to have Congressman Skelton. He is one of the most trusted folks in America - right up there with Colin Powell - when it comes to our military. Service members know that he's got their back. Contractors know to leave the lobbyists and games at the door. America's citizens trust Ike to do what is right - not just what is good for the Democrats - every time he leads a committee.

As a country, we are fortunate that people like Ike are willing to go to DC and serve.

You Know You're Unimportant when . . .















The really cool folks are staying downtown. Big hotels, walking distance to the meetings, great food. The folks who are not cool, well I get to take some really nice pictures of prairie dogs.

The reality is that it is very nice to be here, to be able to watch the process work and to be a part of changing the culture of our country from fear to a challenge and hope to be the best America we can be.

Brush With Greatness

We even get some of the A-List celebs up in the nose bleed section. Barney Frank is a great liberal and a great Democrat.

I also spoke with Tim Kaine (go Hawklets!). He seemed really nice. Told him we were rooting for him for VP if only for his Rockhurst/KC connection.

The food at the Pepsi Center is GROSS. I am bringing in some fruit tonight.

Lots of anticipation about Hillary's speech tonight. Heard a vicious rumor that she was going to speak at our breakfast this morning. Also the big Missouri party is tonight.

Claire Makes Us Proud















I brag on Claire to everyone I meet at the Convention. She was a state representative from my Brookside neighborhood. She was my Jackson County Prosecutor, my Missouri state auditor, now my US Senator.

There she was, up on the big stage, talking about the values of middle America, about Missouri being neither Red nor Blue, about us being one people, one nation under God. Like her or love her, she's always going to be herself. It was a great speech.

I guess if you are the first woman senator to endorse the nominee, there are some benefits.

Our First Family


If we had a Buckingham palace, the Kennedy's would be in it.

Pepsi Center was too full, all the seats were taken. I was standing in a hallway watching speeches when every living Kennedy started walking by. I even got a smile from Ethel Kennedy. All these messy haired teenage boys, red haired girls, Boston accents, and that one girl that married a Republican.

Eventually, they ran off everyone from the hallways, but it was a lot of fun to see the Kennedy's (and Tony Bennett in the suite with Pelosi).

Lion of the Senate















With Claire, Michelle Obama and Ted Kennedy all in one night, everyone is going to have a different favorite.

Ted Kennedy is an icon. Senator McCaskill calls him the lion of the senate. There was a video of all three Kennedy boys - it was moving. To know he is fighting cancer makes me appreciate that the conscious of the senate will not always be with us. Camelot has an end.

Caroline Kennedy introduced her uncle and recalled, "if you got an increase in minimum wage, Teddy is your senator. If you are on medicare, Teddy is your senator." Senator Kennedy promised to be on the senate floor in Janaury when President Obama is sworn in - I hope he is right on both accounts.

Pepsi Arena


The DNC is being held at the Pepsi Center. The place is pretty amazing, very similar to the Spring Arena. Journalists line the walk ways, over-priced hot dogs are generally available and two many tickets were handed out. The fire Marshall politely moved people out of the hallways were folks were watching speeches. Tomorrow night I will get there earlier and eat a nice meal before. Lessons learned.

Late to the Party



As is par for the course, I'm late to the party. Aimee is obviously doing the hard work. However, my son had his 5th birthday party and the DNC would have to wait.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Michelle Takes It Home

She was gorgeous in green. She knocked it out of the Park and the whole Convention was electrified by her speech. You can see the speech here and the tex of the speech can be found here.

A great day!

Platform Passed and view from the Nose Bleed Section

T
I am in the Pepsi Center. No lines whatsoever and was whisked through security with no problems. I think it pays to get here early because I think the lines will be held up later.

My alternate pass gets me to the upper level of the Pepsi Center. I am just a little left of the stage but way up.

There is a huge screen right in front of me. Also to my right, we have tvONE, the A.P. (fire Ron Fournier), a Spanish lanuage station and some other media.

Events on tap for the evening are Michelle Obama, our own Claire McCaskill. You can find a list of all speakers on my favorite Convention blog, DemConWatch.

I think I may get floor credentials tomorrow. But they will be tough to come by after that. I'm just pleased to be inside the Hall. We are about 3.5 hours away from Claire's speech and then Michelle's speech.

HRC slams against the media meme of a divided house.

The media meme of a divided house is picked up by the McCain campaign with a new ad.



Upon hearing of the ad, Hillary hit back and said, ""I'm Hillary Clinton, and I do not approve that message." Hillary is a great Democrat and is hitting it out of the park for Obama. Will post video if I can get ahold of it.

p.s. Word on the street is that Ted Kennedy will speak tonight. I can't wait!

Monday Morning Breakfast. Go Claire!


Delegate breakfast this morning. The delegate breakfast is not limited to delegates but also alternates (like myself), honored guests (such as former Governor Bob Holden) and many family members and friends. It was a real delight to be part of a Fired Up group of Democrats.

Senator McCaskill and Rep. Lacy Clay were the speakers for this morning. As usual, Claire gave a rousing speech to unite us for our common purpose for the week. I made a conscious decision not to bring my phone or computer to this event, so I could soak up the room rather than have my eyeballs on the Internet.

Logistics were done by the always fabulous Ylonda Wheat who gave clear directions about the day's events. Much to my dismay, I have learned that an alternate does not have access to the floor unless someone does not show up. Every day at 11:15 we will have a drawing for the few (if any) floor credentials. Monday may be the best shot as some delegates have not arrived. But I do get alternate credentials which allows me some access.

Lacy Clay did talk some trash about St. Louis being the bluest part of the State - I hope Kansas City can prove him wrong on November 4th.

Brought to you by Budweiser

The Bud folks have graciously agreed to host a Happy Hour every night for the Missouri delegation. As I arrived last night, I shared a beer with some great Democrats. Everyone is excited to be here.

The media is attempting to drive the narrative of an Obama/Hillary divide which is not present in the Missouri delegation at all. I have talked to two reporters and both tried to focus on the roll call and Hillary. I didn't bite.

Cheers to Budweiser (while we still have them in Missouri).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Eye on the Swing States

Don't you love swing states - like Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia.

Maybe the #1 Senate race in the country - where a Dem could knock off an R - is North Carolina. How's this for a report to make you smile.

InsiderAdvantage/Poll Position: McCain holds narrow lead, Dole-Hagan tied in North Carolina

By Tom Baxter
Southern Political Report

August 20, 2008 — In the latest InsiderAdvantage/Poll Position survey of North Carolina, John McCain holds a narrow lead over Barack Obama, while Republican incumbent US Sen. Elizabeth Dole is locked in a dead heat with Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan.

In the president race, McCain leads Obama by two points, 45-43 percent. That's within the poll's margin of error of 3.8 percent. Libertarian candidate Bob Barr was pulling 5 percent of the vote in the Tarheel State, which Green Party candidate Ralph Nader polled about 1 percent.

While Obama hasn't overtaken McCain, this poll comes after what some have taken to be a shaky period for the Democratic nominee, climaxed by the two candidates' appearance over the weekend at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, a session in which McCain was widely judged to have helped mend his differences with conservative religious voters.

The Dole-Hagan race could not be closer, according to the poll, with the two candidates essentially tied at 40 percent each.

The poll of 614 registered likely voters was conducted Aug. 19, and was weighted for age, race and political affiliation.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Chairman, Whatever

Congratulations to CCP president, Steve Bough -- the new chair of the Jackson County Democratic Committee. He'll do a great job.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Name One

AG Race Ain't Over Yet

Here's a press release from a few minutes ago

Representative Margaret Donnelly, 2008 candidate for Attorney General in the state of Missouri, today announced her intention to file a formal request for a recount of the Democratic ballots cast in the state’s primary election August 5. Donnelly was second to Chris Koster by a 0.2% margin, with a 794-vote differential out of more than 346,000 votes cast. (Results are still unofficial until they are certified by the Secretary of State.) With the smallest margin in a statewide race in Missouri history, a one-vote swing in as few as 25% of the precincts in the state would result in a Donnelly victory.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

CONVENTION FRENZY


Our US Senator continues to shine!!

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

McCaskill speaking on opening night at Dem convention

By: Jo Mannies


The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and the campaign of presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama plan to announce shortly that Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., will be among the prime time speakers on the convention’s opening night.

McCaskill will join U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s brother, will address the convention on Monday, Aug. 25, the first night of the four-day extravaganza in Denver, Col.

The choice of McCaskill, one of Obama’s national co-chairs and a favorite campaign surrogate, appears to signal one of the ways she’s being rewarded for her early and outspoken endorsement of his candidacy.

What’s unclear is whether her address will end up on prime time TV or on cable.

According to the release, the Monday night theme is One Nation. The headline speaker is Michelle Obama, the candidate’s wife.

McCaskill and Pelosi “will speak late in the program about the changing Democratic Party and the efforts of leading Democrats to reach out to Independents and Republicans to get the country moving in the right direction,” the release says.

Monday night will also feature a tribute to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who is battling cancer and is close to Obama.

More from the release:

Craig Robinson, Michelle Obama’s brother, will introduce his sister, who will be Monday’s headline speaker in prime-time. As the person who knows him best, Michelle will talk about the Barack Obama she knows and loves, the values that shape him and why she believes he’ll be an extraordinary president. In an effort to highlight the setting of the Convention and the importance of the Mountain West to the Democratic Party, Monday’s program will also feature a video segment introducing delegates and other Convention attendees to the natural beauty and strong voices of leadership in the region.

Blogging the Convention






I have been asked to begin contributing to the CCP Blog about my experience as an Obama delegate to Denver. I am more than thrilled to share what I believe will be a high-light of my life and political activism. Already the invitations are coming in fast and furious for the many events that fill up the week. Law firms and railroads along with advocacy-based groups such as Emily's List and ONE. I will post some of the invitations such as the Planned Parenthood one to the left.

When I was first elected at the State Convention in May, the Denver Convention seemed years away. A full summer with vacations and volunteer activity, I didn't think the last week of August would ever arrive. But it is coming like a rocket ship now, and I bursting with excitement.

The Missouri delegation is staying at the Embassy Suites-Tech Center. Although it is situated eighteen miles from the action of the Pepsi Center, the light rail and frequent shuttles should keep us in business for the week. All delegates are required to attend the Delegation Breakfast each morning where we will receive our credentials for the day.

The days are filled with meetings and caucuses while the evenings will be the actual Convention itself. Michelle Obama is slated to speak on Monday while HRC has the prime-time slot on Tuesday. Wednesday has President Clinton and the VP nominee and Senator Obama accepts the nomination on Thursday from Invesco Field.

If you are interested in Convention News, please see the great blog DemConWatch and check out their calendar for the Convention. The calendar lists every single event happening in Denver for those five days. Use the Agenda view for a listing of all events.

I am also participating in the Big Tent which is a meeting place/working space for bloggers, journalists and community activists. Plus - it has free beer!

More updates as Convention Week arrives.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Women Who Know Chris Koster Best

(Admin's note - this came in the email from someone named Greg Liebovitch. Normally, we only post things from CCP members, but this is a pretty good compilation of some of the issues faced by one of the candidates in the Democratic primary for AG.)

Usually a candidate’s family, friends, and staff are their most ardent supporters, volunteering time and resources to help win the election. But the opposite seems true for Chris Koster. In recent weeks, it’s become apparent that the women who know Chris Koster best, both personally and professionally, are not only not supporting his bid for Attorney General, but they are questioning his motivations, ethics, and ability to both follow and apply the law. In fact, they are so certain that Koster cannot be trusted to serve as Missouri’s chief law enforcement officer, that they are putting their own credibility – and finances – on the line to make sure voters know the truth.

1) Koster’s former campaign manager, Susan McNay, was so distraught over Koster’s money laundering and potentially illegal activities that she resigned from her position and detailed the activities to officials.

McNay said, "I trusted the candidate, even though I had questions about whether we were doing something that was not right," McNay said. "He assured me everything was fine, and now I have concerns that we broke the law." (Associated Press, July 7, 2008)

2) Sharing those concerns is Rebecca Bowman Nassikas, who was married to Koster from 1996 to 2003. Last week she donated nearly $200,000 to a political committee that created a Web site and television ads that raise concerns over Koster’s potentially illegal campaign fundraising methods – methods that have been the focus of ethics complaints filed by both Republicans and Democrats.

“I hope this gets people to look into (the allegations),” Nassikas said. “They might still decide to vote for Chris. But this will be a way to make it more fair.” (Kansas City Stat, July 31, 2008)

3) Shellie Rebman, who served as Assistant Cass County Prosecutor from 1995-1997 under Koster, is speaking out about his management of the office and inability to apply the law fairly.

Rebman said, “… Chris Koster was rarely in the office…and when he was in the office, he spent his time discussing his political career…the only criminal charges that Chris Koster became involved in were those that could have a political impact on his political ambitions. During discussions concerning charging decisions in high-profile criminal cases, I never heard the words ‘justice’ or ‘victim impact’ come from Chris Koster, rather he was concerned with potential backlash and how his decision would impact his political career. I truly believe that his only interest while serving as the Cass County Prosecutor was how the position could further his personal political career. In fact, this is why I finally left a job that I truly loved, the frustration of working for a Prosecutor who was not interested in justice or doing the right thing was just too frustrating for me.”

Submitted by Councilperson Beth Gottstein

Aug 1

Four days out. The Friday before election day is always a crucial time. It is the last full business day to collect checks, finalize GOTV details, and sadly, launch the negative. I have always approached this time with both relief and dread. Relief as I know that the campaign stress is almost behind me. Dread because I know that the ugly seems inevitable. Having worked with candidates, ballots and as a candidate, I know, firsthand, you become sleep deprived, stressed, impulsive and vulnerable. I have watched good candidates go down and bad candidates prevail because of negative attacks. Some of this week’s messages remind me of times when our Party should have won, but we defeated ourselves. Dissident personalities and factions put their agenda ahead of the Party’s interest, often cloaked in anonymity or shell clubs. Not only did we lose elections, but we lost ground on our war on poverty and inequality.

There is a great deal at stake for Democrats in this election year. We can take back the statehouse. We can take back the Governor’s mansion. We may even take back the White House. However, please don’t lose sight of why we are in the game. This election is not about winning, it is about justice.

As Democrats, our guiding principle is to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. We must not lose sight of why it is so important to win. We must succeed to assist nearly 100,000 Missourians who lost their healthcare in the last administration and raise their quality of life; end a senseless war that has both killed and permanently destroyed the lives of our children and families; create meaningful workforce opportunities so that all can live comfortably and without fear; and save our environment so that our children’s children and their children’s children can breathe and drink clean. To both repair the damage of this past decade and build our future, Democrats must place the party ticket above petty agendas.

After the negative was launched against me, and let’s face it, my campaign for City Council was a tough one, I knew I had to put behind me any bitterness I had for my critics, opponents and their supporters. I could not effectively serve Kansas Citians without a fresh start. I haven’t been perfect but I have tried. (I am lucky as my opponents committed to working with me after our race.) Without vendettas on my agenda, it has been much easier to pick priorities and make decisions.

Knowing that we can be our own worst enemy and the difficulties to overcome post-election bitterness, I ask my fellow Democrats to take the high road in these waning campaign hours. Negative attacks can have many unintended consequences. They can:

• Alienate potential voters in the general cycle who we so desperately must recruit;
• Render it impossible for the failing camp to support a primary campaign’s victor;
• Arm the Republicans with ideas and info that they can turn on us in
the general; and
• Boomerang and impact the mudslinger.

Remember that people are listening closely to you, regardless of how small or large your role is in a primary race. Your voice is louder than you think, so it is all the more important to think about how your actions and words reach voters.

This is an exciting time. Even greater days lie ahead for us. And, as a Democrat, remember that Wednesday morning begins a whole new contest. It is essential that we keep our campaigns clean, no matter how close the race. Your best route to a Tuesday victory (and a clear conscience) as a campaigner or supporter is to forget the names or campaign efforts of your opponent and focus on your message. Remember the grander stakes we fact and use your powerful voice wisely.

What endorsement?

I went to Roe's link, and I see no endorsement of Kandar. Nothing even close.

I voted to endorse Amy, but I do not think this kind of "guilt by association" with Roe would help much, even if it were accurate.

This has become a race long on innuendo and more than occasionally short on facts. Neither of these young people is the Anti-Christ, folks. Neither advocates a policy of sacrificing small children on the altar of Baal. Both are talented and intelligent. We can choose to support one without impugning the character of the other.

Jeff Roe Endorses Jason Kander for the 44th

It's often said you're judged by the company you keep. If that's true, voters who are undecided about whom to support in the race for the 44th District should take a look at The Source, the blog operated by Republican political consultant Jeff Roe. Roe has now publicly thrown his support behind Jason Kander in this race. http://thesource.typepad.com/thesource/.

Roe has made himself well-known to all of us for his sleazy tactics. Dan at Gone Mild -- a staunch supporter of Jason Kander -- said it best when he observed that "Roe has shown himself to be incompetent at anything other than self-promotion" and that he lacks any "discernible shred of morality." (May 25, 2007).

Amy Coffman has recently been the subject of negative Kander mailings in the 44th District which, in addition to making flatly false statements, accuse her of being nothing more than a greedy lobbyist, surrounded and supported by more greedy lobbyists -- surprising attacks from a candidate who has so often sought to have himself portrayed as running a campaign marked by a commitment to integrity and "leadership by example." These mailings and Roe's public support should weigh heavily on the minds of folks who support Kander, or are considering doing so.

I decided to support Amy Coffman in this race because I believe she brings the experience and commitment to public service to represent us with passion and effectiveness in Jefferson City. CCP members agreed, overwhelmingly giving her the organization's endorsement. I certainly don't need another reason to back her for the 44th -- but thanks to Jeff Roe for giving me one.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

56% Democratic Performance District Ready for the Taking


Wanna know the answer to the House Democrats questions? Barbara Lanning.

The 36th House District (Ray and Clay Counties) has a 56% Democratic performance. It is currently held by Bob Nance. Nance is not a bad guy, but he tows the party line (kicking 200,000 people off health insurance, cutting funding to education, supporting Matt Blunt). Nance knocked off Gary Kelly in 2004 by 456 votes. Kelly was the incumbent and I am told did very little in this race. You will recall 2004 as the year John Kerry dumped our state and Democrats sat at home on election day.

Who is Barbara Lanning? For 12 years she was elected to the Lawson School Board, the city where she grew up. For 15 years she was a small business owner and for more than that was involved in the real estate business. Her husband is retired UAW from GM. She is a very nice, white-haired grandmotherly type who is spunky enough to walk the district and is passionate about child care.

What about the district in 2006? Ray County voted for Claire McCaskill 56% to 40% for Talent. Montee - 61% to 34%. Nance beat Jerry Cline by 58% to 41%. I understand that Mr. Cline was a nice person who didn't knock on doors and wasn't well known in the district. His final ethics report showed a whopping $5,974.91 for the entire election cycle.

This race is simple - if you care about education, vote Lanning. If you care only about tax cuts for corporations, vote Nance.

Donnelly Makes Frontal Attack

Rep. Margaret Donnelly is making a frontal attack on Chris Koster. No mention of Jeff Harris in her spot. Obviously, her polling shows that the more a Democratic primary voter knows about Koster, the less likely they are to vote for him. Will this ad help or hurt CCP endorsed candidate Rep. Jeff Harris (who actually got the Star's endorsement)?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Un-American

Let's face it, telling lies about a person's patriotism is wholly Un-American.

Here's the lie:

Hello everyone,

As you know I am not a very political person. I just wanted to pass along that Senator Obama came to Bagram Afghanistan for about an hour on his visit to 'The War Zone'. I wanted to share with you what happened. He got off the plane and got into a bullet proof vehicle, got to the area to meet with the Major General (2 Star) who is the commander here at Bagram.

As the Soldiers where lined up to shake his hand he blew them off and didn't say a word as he went into the conference room to meet the General. As he finished, the vehicles took him to the ClamShell (pretty much a big top tent that military personnel can play basketball or work out in with weights) so he could take his publicity pictures playing basketball. He again shunned the opportunity to talk to Soldiers to thank them for their service.

So really he was just here to make a showing for the American's back home that he is their candidate for President. I think that if you are going to make an effort to come all the way over here you would thank those that are providing the freedom that they are providing for you.

I swear we got more thanks from the NBA Basketball Players or the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders than from one of the Senators, who wants to be the President of the United States. I just don't understand how anyone would want him to be our Commander-and-Chief. It was almost that he was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for him and our great country.

If this is blunt and to the point I am sorry but I wanted you all to know what kind of caliber of person he really is. What you see in the news is all fake.

In service,
CPT Jeffrey S. Porter
Battle Captain
TF Wasatch
American Soldier


Here's the truth:

"After checking my sources, the information that was put out in my email was wrong.

Kuddos to Snopes.com for finding and reporting the truth.
Bush/Cheney/Rove started this unpatriotic crap with the swift boat attacks. All of us agree that America is the greatest country on earth. Let's talk about how to improve life for our citizens, not to tell lies or use fear and lies to bring out the worst in our country.


Surprise! Bush Justice IS corrupt...

...just like anybody paying attention should have known.

Turns out that there is way more evidence that Brad Schlozman conspired to violate federal law than there ever was against the Democrats he filed charges on -- and his is in writing, signed by him, & in the Justice Dept files!

The NY Times is calling for investigation and charges -- but I do not advise holding one's breathe.

Unfortunately, there is unlikely to be full justice for the 600 or so victims of this Administration's political terrorism. Worse, they may have ensconced their political operatives in the "professional, non-patronage" Justice jobs to carry out their political agenda for the next 20 years.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Graves' Energy Policy


Lee Judge's cartoon is only funny because it is true.

Star Endorses Jeff Harris


The KC Star endorsed Rep. Jeff Harris in his bid for the Democratic nomination for attorney general. After saying nice things about Margaret Donnelly, the KC Star sings Jeff's praises and gets in a few digs at Koster.

Harris and Donnelly both show integrity. Harris, however, has an edge based on his leadership role and prosecutorial experience. As the former Democratic leader in the Missouri House, he effectively managed diverse interests, which is no small task.

Moreover, Harris has sound ideas. He wants to use the office to emphasize open government and preservation of public records, for starters. He would work to protect consumers. One of his good ideas is to transfer the Office of the Public Counsel, which represents consumers in utility rate matters, to the attorney general’s office to give it more independence.

As a legislator he worked to protect Missouri’s environment from pollution by factory farms. He also championed limits on campaign donations.


Jeff recently picked up the Columbia newspaper's endorsement, but that was his back yard. Wait, isn't this Koster's backyard? Leaving Koster out of the integrity line - BANG! Koster's corporate pig farm friends - ZING! Campaign donations - POW!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Grubb for the House


We can take back the House. It will require a lot of work, a little luck and a few great candidates like Dr. Beth Grubb.

The 122nd District is a swing district. Rep. Mike McGhee is the current occupant of the seat. He’s taking his money from the pro-school voucher folks. He received ZERO contributions to his campaign from any real, non-PAC contributors. Not one single person in the district donated to him in the last quarter. A recent blog story – “Mike McGhee Hates Teachers and Schools” – is very insightful. You can learn more about Beth and Mike’s voting record at Beth's web site.

Beth has her Ph.D in Public Policy from St. Louis University and an MBA and BS degree from CMSU. For twenty years, she has worked with children and adults with disabilities. Beth is currently the Executive Director of the Sunshine Center in Independence, MO. She is highly qualified to represent the citizens of the 122nd District, and to defeat the current GOP incumbent.

How about the 122nd and why can she win? Susan Montee won this district in 2006 by 52%. Ike Skelton won the district by 79%. The last Democratic candidate lost 45% to 55% - she didn’t even put up a race, raise money and was not well know in the district. Minimum wage won by 76%. Claire McCaskill lost the district by a mere 343 votes (Beth has almost that many relatives in the county). Beth’s family goes back generations. Her son played football in Odessa. She attends church there. Folks not only like her, they love her. Beth is working hard (she had a booth at the Methodist Farmer’s Market, according to the Odessa newspaper). She’s id’ing voters. She is the perfect out-state candidate.

Remember Steve Hodges from East Prairie – no one thought he could win in the Bootheel. Well, he’s now Representative Hodges. Beth Grubb is one of those candidates that makes you proud to be a Democrat and will be a great addition when we take back the majority

Clint Zweifel is NOT Matt Blunt

Wanna know what Democratic primary voters want to hear?

"I'm Clint Zweifel - and this is Matt Blunt.

We don't agree on anything. I'm running for Treasurer to fix the things Matt Blunt's broken."


Barb Shelly Hits Koster Out of the Park

Barb Shelly has always been one of my favorite writers with the Star. This piece on Koster is a great summary on Chris Koster's political career.

Is Koster ambitious for himself or for the people?
By BARBARA SHELLY
The Kansas City Star

Chris Koster is visible in Missouri these days as a lavishly financed Democrat vying for the party’s nomination in the attorney general’s race. But he started his political life as a prosecutor who managed to make a name for himself in the mostly rural environs of Cass County. Next he was a freshman Republican senator who spoke out in opposition to restraints on stem-cell research and immersed himself in the complexities of Medicaid fraud.

Koster gained a reputation as a talented legislator unafraid to take on the special interests and socially conservative core of his own party. But those credentials don’t win Republican primaries in Missouri, and Koster, from the start, had his sights set on being the state’s attorney general. He tried tacking to the right, sponsoring bills that would crack down hard on illegal immigrants and protect large hog-raising operations from regulation by county and city governments. But those efforts drew him deeper into a political wilderness.

Though neither made it into law, the immigration and hog-farm bills damaged his standing with people who’d seen him as a refreshingly moderate lawmaker in a conservative Republican delegation.

And his defense of stem-cell research had placed him permanently on the outs with groups like Missouri Right to Life, which often call the shots in Republican primaries. So Koster decided to remake himself. Last summer he announced his incarnation as a newly minted Democrat. “I think it’s been good for my internal soul,” he told a group of editorial writers a few months later.

But has it been good for his political career? Koster may have resolved his identity crisis in his own mind, but not in the public’s. Many Democrats, it turned out, liked him better and found him more useful when he was a maverick Republican.

His opponents in the Aug. 5 primary election, dyed-in-the-wool Democratic legislators Margaret Donnelly and Jeff Harris, point out Koster’s many votes that advanced Republican causes. At the top of the list are his support for cuts in Medicaid benefits and a photo ID requirement for voters. Koster’s oversized war chest — it easily tops $1 million — is an issue with Democrats who had sought to limit campaign contributions.

His money comes mostly from political party committees and political action committees set up to avoid limits on contributions from individuals. At least $100,000 is from Rex Sinquefield, a semiretired millionaire who favors eliminating the state income tax and offering tax credits to families who send their children to private and religious schools — causes supported more frequently by Republicans than Democrats.

The one constant in Koster’s political wanderings — prosecutor to lawmaker, Republican to Democrat, maverick to suspected imposter — has been his towering ambition. About this he is upfront. It’s “up or out,” Koster says. If he can’t ascend to statewide office, he’ll move on to a prosperous law practice. Ambition is the engine that powers all political careers. But it’s pertinent to ask what candidates are ambitious for.

Donnelly wants to use the attorney general’s post to continue her work of advocating for vulnerable populations and underserved groups. She is convincing when she says that office is the height of her ambition. Harris, the leader of the House Democrats, seems driven by a combination of personal ambitions, issues he wants to pursue and aspirations for his party. And Koster? Hard to tell.

He speaks passionately about certain issues, but he has not yet articulated that his ambition extends to a higher call beyond moving to the next rung on the political ladder. Perhaps that’s what happens when you spend too much time in the wilderness. You forget to talk about the mountaintop.

Barbara Shelly is a member of the Editorial Board. She can be reached at 816-234-4594 or at bshelly@kcstar.com. She blogs at voices.kansascity.com.