Thursday, January 31, 2008

Neat Program

For you folks who are interested in learning more about the presidential race, here's a neat program

This weekend on the BLOOMBERG TELEVISION® program "Conversations with Judy Woodruff," Woodruff interviews Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill and Representative Emanuel Cleaver. Both lawmakers discuss their endorsements of presidential candidates Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, the role of race in the election and predictions for next week’s Super Tuesday in Missouri.

Senator Claire McCaskill is supporting Senator Barack Obama and Representative Emanuel Cleaver is supporting Senator Hillary Clinton.

"Conversations with Judy Woodruff" airs on Saturday at 11AM ET and is repeated throughout the weekend.

Bloomberg Television can be found on:
Charter Cable – Channel 120
Time Warner – Channel 227
Mediacom – Channel 128
DirecTV – Channel 297

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dualing Union Endorsements in AG Race

First I get an email from Koster about picking up the painters union endorsement, then this one from Harris:

Harris Receives Another Major Labor Endorsement
The 15,000 Member Missouri State Council of Machinists
Endorse Jeff Harris for Attorney General

Columbia – Former Missouri House Democratic Leader and Democratic candidate for Attorney General Jeff Harris has received the endorsement of the Missouri State Council of Machinists.

Mike Louis, President of the Missouri State Council of Machinists said today that, “Jeff Harris’ commitment to the working women and men of this state has been unwavering. Time after time Jeff has stood up to fight for what’s important to the labor movement, and I have no doubt he’ll continue to do the same as our next Attorney General.” Louis added, “The members of Missouri State Council of Machinists are enthusiastic about Jeff’s campaign and proud to endorse him."

”Our campaign gets better and stronger with every passing day," Harris said. “We’ve got the momentum.” Harris went on to say, “As Attorney General I am committed to protecting the rights of the working men and women of Missouri. I am proud to have the members of Missouri State Council of Machinists standing with me and supporting my candidacy for Attorney General.”

My understanding is that Margaret Donnelly has not picked up a single union endorsement. She has loaned herself lots of money. Looking more and more like a 2 person race.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Best Friends Forever: Bush/Cheney/Graves

Quick Quiz - who is the only Congressman to have BOTH president Bush and Vice President Cheney host fundraisers? Nope, not felon Tom Delay. Nope, not arm twister Roy Blunt. It is our very own Congressman Graves.

Graves hitched his wagon to Bush/Cheney and is in for the ride of his life. Graves stuck with the hugely unpopular administration 95% of the votes. For a great video detailing the BFF relationship, check out

"Movement" Candidates...

Sen Obama is certainly an inspirational speaker -- although snubbing Sen. Clinton at the State of the Union was more Chaneyesque than Kennedyesque. There is no doubt Obama would be a far superior President than ANY Republican, but that is true of HRC, John Edwards and about forty Democratic Senators, a hundred members of the House and a dozen governors.

But it is not unreasonable to question his electibility, nor is such speculation to improperly inject race into the process. (No one thinks it is improper to question HRC's electibility, or consider it sexist to do so. It would be sexist to urge voting against HRC because she is a woman, but not to point out that a large percentage of the electorate may not vote for her for that dumb reason.)
Sen. Obama is a one-term senator largely unknown to the American electorate -- the majority of whom will begin paying attention to the Nov., 2008, election in Oct., 2008. It is neither unreasonable nor racist to be concerned about his ability to defeat a Sen. McCain, for example. That is particularly true given the inevitable cynical "swiftboating" that will occur.

American political history is rife with "movement candidates" that have excited the Party & press. Some -- like Wendell Wilkie or William Jennings Bryan -- have gotten nominated. I am hard-pressed to think of any who became President.

Obama could be the exception: His "movement" is less policy than image -- much as Wilkie was a break with dour, isolationist Republicans. But the future of the Republic may well depend on getting a Democrat into the Presidency in this election and keeping control of Congress. So those with a knowledge of history worry about a Party that may be taken with too much a "sense" of it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why We Need the Missouri Plan: Rep. Lembke thrusts politics into custody case

You might recall that Rep. Jim Lembke (R - St. Louis) has managed to stir things up by advocating for changes in the Missouri Non-partisan court plan while at the same time pushing to inject politics into the neutral judicial branch. Lembke decided to write a letter to Judge Christine Hutson, telling her to recuse herself from a Lebanon, Missouri custody case. Rep. Lembke then filed documents to have Judge Hutson impeached.

Why would a St. Louis state representative stick his nose into rural custody case? Politics, plan and simple. Things just don't look good when even the Republicans are pointing out the ethical problems with Rep. Lembke's actions. As the Lebanon Daily Record notes "Lebanon’s representative in the statehouse, Republican Darrell Pollock, denounces as highly inappropriate the actions of a St. Louis lawmaker who is injecting himself into a Camden County divorce case." A guardian was appointed to represent the kids' best interests, that person called Rep. Lembke's tactics "very heavy handed." The local paper asked Rep. Pollock (R - Lebanon) why Rep. Lembke got involved on the side of the losing parent, Claire Noland Vance;

When asked why Lembke wanted Hutson to recuse herself, Pollock said Lembke mentioned that Hutson had been a past supporter of Congressman Ike Skelton, D-4th District, whose political opponent has been Jim Noland, father of Claire Noland Vance.

So, all we have is nasty, old politics finding its way into a courtroom. That is exactly why we have the Missouri NON-PARTISAN Court Plan. Rep. Lembke wants to get rid of the system because he can't use his political muscle to help out his friends in the courtroom.

You have to tip your hat to Judge Hutson for standing up to political pressure. You also have to be impressed with Rep. Pollock for standing up to his fellow Republican. Here is Rep. Pollack's letter to Rep. Lembke:

December 14, 2007

The Honorable Jim Lembke
House of Representatives
State Capitol
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Dear Rep. Lembke:

I am writing you this letter to continue the initiation of conversation that I began on Thursday, December 13, 2007, three days after your filing of a letter asking that Judge Christine Hutson recuse herself from a case that is presently before her, and your plan to file a House Resolution directed toward Judge Hutson seeking constitutional grounds for impeachment.

I reiterate our phone conversation that Judge Christine Hutson is an honorable person. She is held in the highest regard in the community, which she serves. Judge Hutson is a person of integrity and I have seen this demonstrated personally when I visit her courtroom. I have also shared with her that I appreciate her demeanor and decorum in the manner she runs the cases before her. Judge Christine Hutson is not of the same party affiliation as I am, but nonetheless a true servant of those that have chosen her to serve in this capacity.

The court case that we are discussing is currently before the Southern District Court of Appeals and they have returned a portion of the case back to Judge Hutson for further review. This is my understanding. You have asked in your letter that Judge Hutson recuse herself from this case. Jim, I have to ask, have you considered that what you are asking may have the appearance of being unethical on your part? What are your intentions in this case? I also ask what role do you believe the Missouri House of Representatives has in this particular case? These are important questions that deserve answers. It is my understanding, this case has not gone through the process of being brought before the Commission on Discipline that our courts have in place to deal with allegations such as these. There are measures in place to deal with this and to my knowledge they have not been requested. Jim, you had mentioned to me that your reason for this impeachment is that you believe there has been an act of oppression from the bench. I have to ask, is it that Judge Hutson gave full custody to the father and you believe that the father is unable to handle this? That I do not understand. Even the attorney representing the children’s best interests in this case sided with Judge Hutson that the choice should be made to give the father custody. This does not constitute impression. This decision came about from much deliberation and discernment. For us to take an outside look for only a few minutes at such an in-depth and difficult situation and determine that Judge Hutson used her bench for acts of oppression is beyond my imagination. Jim, I am asking that you withdraw your House Resolution (#3683L.011) immediately and that you recuse yourself from further activity in this case; allow justice to be done at the discretion of those experienced and have the ability to determine fairness, which are the judges that this case is before.

I have worked with you shoulder to shoulder on many issues and find that you are a true representative of the people you serve. I respect you and many of the stances you take. I am asking that you return the same courtesy to me and know that I too represent the people fairly and honorably. I disagree with your involvement in this issue and look forward to this being resolved expeditiously.


Darrell Pollock
District 146

Rep. Lempke responded, according to the Lebanon Daily Record:

Lembke replied to Pollock on Jan. 4, saying he had studied the court documents and sought legal opinions from “numerous attorneys and advice from state agency personnel.”

“The parties involved are not friends, relatives, or associates of mine or anyone I know, nor are they political supporters or even opponents. If you are implying that questioning the ethics of a member of the judiciary would be itself unethical, I feel that it is our right as citizens and, as representatives, our constitutional duty to challenge abuses of power,” Lembke’s reply says.

“How do we know that the persons sitting in judgment on the bench are the most experienced, qualified, and knowledgeable if, on occasion when brought before us, we do not exercise our constitutional check?” Lembke added.

I'm still trying to get a copy of the resolution (Jetton's office won't give it up) and will continue to try to get copies of the relevant letters. If you want to know why we need less politics in the judiciary, not more, all you have to do is look at this debacle.


Gotta love it when Bush opens his mouth

"The truth of that matter is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would still be in power if he were the president of the United States, and the world would be a lot better off." - George W. Bush, second presidential debate, St. Louis, Missouri, Oct. 8, 2004.

I think Edwards, Hillary or Barack being president (in 358 days) will make the world a lot better off.

Barack Coming to KC

KANSAS CITY, MO -- The Missouri Obama for America campaign today announced
that Senator Barack Obama will hold a "Stand for Change" Town Hall Meeting
in Kansas City, MO this Tuesday, January 29th.


Municipal Auditorium Exhibition Hall
301 W. 13th Street
Kansas City, MO

Doors Open: 3:45PM CST

This event is free and open to the public; however an RSVP is strongly
encouraged. Please RSVP by visiting
or by calling 816-531-1108.

Media Coverage: The event is open press. For credentials, please RSVP at

***For security reasons, bags are not allowed inside the event. Please limit
personal items. No signs or banners are permitted.***

Edwards Coming to Jefferson City

Senator John Edwards will travel to mid-Missouri on Tuesday to meet with voters and discuss his plans to make sure our government works for working families and the middle class, not just special interests. From guaranteeing universal health care to creating good jobs and enacting trade deals that help workers, not just big multinational corporations, Edwards will take on entrenched interests and fight for working and middle class families.

What:Meet John Edwards in Jefferson City Mid-Missouri Rally

When:Tuesday, January 29th at Noon

Where:The Eagles Club 1411 Missouri Blvd.

To RSVP – go to:

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rep. Nolte Bankrolled by Pro-Voucher Multi-Millionaire

Rep. Jerry Nolte (R - Gladstone) told the N. K. C. School District he is opposed to vouchers. The N. K. C. School district passed a resolution against vouchers. So, what does Rep. Nolte do - he takes over $27,000 from a pro-voucher, St. Louis multi-millionaire Rex Sinquefield.

Here is Jerry Nolte's campaign finance report from the most recent can see where he is getting his money. Bottom line...he is taking over 90% of his money from campaign committees controlled by one man...a wealthy St. Louis businessman that is a supporter of right wing causes including school vouchers, charter schools and tax cuts for big corporations. Rex set up a hundred PACS so he could funnel money to folks through committees called "Missourians Needing Education Alternatives" and "Your School Your Choice."

Nolte shows he raised $29,300 this last reporting period. Of that $29,300 not a single dollar was raised from any individual inside his district. There are only two contributions from individuals that total $425. Five contributions come from other Republican State Rep. candidate committees...$1,275 total. He took money from Enterprise Rent A Car - the folks who opposed the Sprint Arena.

The balance of $27,600 come from multiple political action committees controlled by one St. Louis businessman that supports right wing causes. Rex Sinquefield is buying school vouchers one politician at a time. Looks like Rep. Nolte is the most recent person to sell out.

You have to ask yourself who is Jerry Nolte representing and who is he obligated to!!

Edwards Coming to Springfield

Please come meet John Edwards in Springfield Monday evening. This will be John Edwards’ second event in Missouri in less than 2 weeks! John Edwards is serious about winning Missouri on February 5th – and is bringing his campaign to the grassroots!

5:30 p.m., Monday, January 28, 2008
Teamsters’ Hall
1850 Division Street

If you can attend, please take a moment to RSVP here:

This helps the campaign with planning this event.

If you’d like to volunteer with the campaign here in Missouri go to

361 Days Left of Bush

This guy can't keep it straight.

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him." George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., September 13, 2001

"I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority." George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002

Only 361 Days left!!

Good to be a Democrat

From an email that I got from the chairman of the Missouri Democratic Party:

It's a good day to be a Democrat in Missouri. Here are some reasons why:

While the Republicans embark on what looks like a nasty and expensive primary, we're proud to have a candidate in Jay Nixon that everyone can unite behind. The Republicans will spend the next few months spending money attacking each other instead of Democrats. Meanwhile, Jay Nixon will continue traveling the state, talking to Missouri families about the challenges they face and offering common-sense solutions.

None of the would-be Republican candidates have the statewide name recognition, statewide political organization or statewide fundraising base that Jay Nixon has built over the past few years.

All of the would-be Republican candidates have been part of the problem. Each candidate has either been lock-step with Matt Blunt in Missouri or with George W. Bush in Washington. Missourians are ready for change, and they know that change will only happen by electing a candidate with fundamentally different priorities - and that's Jay Nixon.

The Republicans have lost the power of incumbency. No matter how unpopular that incumbent may be, the advantages of incumbency were formidable, particularly when it comes to name recognition, fundraising and the ability to generate press. That advantage for the Republicans has now vanished.

Here's hoping the Republicans get a 3 way primary for governor. Nixon is going to be a great governor.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


For all you Democratic Debate watchers, here's one alleged Truth-O-Meter ( by Bill Adair regarding the debate:

SUMMARY: The Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach featured sharp comments by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. We found Clinton continued to distort Obama's comments about Ronald Reagan, while other claims were closer to the truth.

The Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Jan. 21, 2008, turned into such a battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that John Edwards had to remind the CNN moderators that he was on stage.

"There's a third person in this debate," he said.

But alas, the fireworks primarily came from Obama and Clinton, who continued to feud about Obama's statements about Ronald Reagan. And building on comments made over the weekend by her husband, Sen. Clinton continued to distort Obama's remarks.

She said that Obama had talked about "admiring Ronald Reagan" and said that "The facts are that he has said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years."

But that's not what Obama said. As we noted in this item on Bill Clinton's attack, Obama did not say he "liked" the Republican ideas or that "the good ideas came from the Republicans."

What he said was that "Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not" and that "it*s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10,15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.

But the Clintons continue to twist those words and have earned a False for repeatedly distorting them.

We also checked these claims from the debate:

* Obama claimed that while he was a community organizer in Chicago neighborhoods that had been hard-hit by plant closings, Clinton was a corporate lawyer on the Wal-Mart board of directors. We gave that a True.

* Clinton said she was fighting Republican ideas when Obama was "practicing law and representing your contributor, (Antoin) Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago." We gave that a Barely True because Obama did little work for Rezko and it was before the slumlord charges surfaced.

* Obama claimed that Clinton had once called NAFTA a "boon" to the economy. Although Clinton in the past has had measured praise for the trade agreement, we couldn't find any evidence she called it a boon and it appears the sole source for the Obama campaign's claim is a Newsday chart summarizing her position. We gave Obama's claim a False.

* Edwards had his facts right with his statement that the net worth of black families is one-tenth the net worth of white families. We gave that a True.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blunt Won't Seek Reelection!

Blunt Won't Seek Reelection.

Look for Roy to retire, the Republicans put Matt into that lay up spot and Sara Steelman to run for governor! Don't forget Jim Talent or Congressman Kenny Hulshof.

Here's Matt's statement that he has done everything he promised - including kicking 100,000 people off Medicaid.

The Chair of the Republicans said "I also appreciate Governor Blunt’s commitment to ensuring the next governor of our state is a Republican who will continue to employ the principles of personal responsibility, fiscal conservatism and limited government so that we can be assured Missouri’s brightest days are ahead.” Ya, because Blunt was going to get beat and if the Republicans have any chance of winning, it would be without Blunt.

Why Medical Malpractice Premiums Are So High

President George Bush has a hard speaking English. Remember this good one from right here in Missouri:

"Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." George W. Bush, Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Sept. 6, 2004.

I'm sure the OB's spouses don't appreciate this kind of love around.

Claire Stumps for Barack

Sen. Claire McCaskill is going to the mat for Barack. Here's the email seeking volunteers.

This year, we can nominate a presidential candidate who will turn the page on the same old Washington politics -- a leader who will unite Americans to make progress. Barack Obama is that candidate. From his time as a community organizer working with churches in Chicago to his service in the U.S. Senate, Barack has shown the ability to unite Democrats, Independents, and even Republicans around a common vision for our country.

And, as we saw in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, America is hungry for a different kind of politics. Join me in supporting Barack Obama for president. Volunteer for Barack in Missouri and help grow this movement for change:

I have seen first-hand the power that a grassroots movement can have in Missouri. In 2006, I was able to beat Jim Talent thanks to the overwhelming support of ordinary citizens who came together and organized in their communities.

Some of the most exciting events in that race happened when Senator Obama joined me for rallies in St. Louis and Kansas City. Those were amazing experiences, and they brought together activists and volunteers whose efforts shifted the balance in the final stretch.

That's precisely the effect Barack can have again in 2008. Polls have shown that Barack is the only Democrat who can beat every single Republican candidate and win in every part of the country -- including right here in Missouri. Let's turn that enthusiasm into action. Sign up to volunteer for Barack here in Missouri:

A leader like this comes around once in a generation, and our great country should not miss this opportunity. Barack's intellect and his ability to bring people together are what we desperately need at this moment in history. Please join me in helping Barack,

Senator Claire McCaskill

Rothenburg Sums up Graves v. Barnes

Here's the (almost) unedited report from Roll Call

“At-risk” incumbents come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes their vulnerability follows from their voting records or their personal lives. Other times, it has nothing to do with them personally and everything to do with the quality of their opponents or the makeup of their electorates. And sometimes, it’s the fault of broad national trends.

Republican Rep. Sam Graves (Mo.) has more than one of these problems this cycle, and he’ll need all his political skill to fend off a high-profile Democratic assault on his seat.

Graves, who served in both the Missouri state House and state Senate, was first elected to Congress from his Northwest Missouri district in 2000, when he won an open-seat contest against Steve Danner, a Democratic state legislator who was trying to succeed his mother, retiring Rep. Pat Danner (D).

Graves hasn’t had a tough race since, winning with more than 60 percent of the vote each time. His 2004 opponent, Charlie Broomfield, was hyped for a time by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as a challenger with deep pockets and the potential to upset Graves. But that race never developed.

Missouri’s 6th district is politically competitive, but it isn’t quite the tossup district that Democrats like to portray it. Most of the state legislators who represent it in Jefferson City are Republicans, and George W. Bush carried it handily (winning all 26 counties in the district), with 57 percent, in 2004.

But Graves definitely is in for a fight for his re-election.

First, he has drawn a formidable opponent in Kay Barnes (D), who served two terms as mayor of Kansas City, the largest city in the state. She left office last May.

Barnes takes credit (and has received plenty of it) for revitalizing the city’s downtown, and like many Democrats, she is offering a “time for a change” message that should resonate with voters. She already has the backing of EMILY’s List, the pro-choice Democratic fundraising group, and she has the look of a feisty campaigner and a strong fundraiser.

Second, the national and state environments are not likely to benefit Graves. The president’s poll numbers are low, Congress is not held in high regard, and the state’s sitting governor, Republican Matt Blunt, who is up for re-election in November, has more problems than GOP strategists would like.

Third, Graves has not always helped himself. While the state’s senior Senator, Kit Bond (R), has endorsed the Congressman for re-election, the two GOP officeholders have not always had the warmest of relations.

In December, a Roll Call investigative piece by reporter Paul Singer raised questions about free use of an airplane that the Congressman received from a contracting firm in his district. Graves’ office has said that there is nothing wrong with him borrowing a plane. But in the wake of several recent articles about his financial holdings, Graves has amended his personal financial disclosure forms to clarify his family’s investments in ethanol plants.

One of Graves’ campaign consultants/ strategists, Jeff Roe, is so controversial — The Kansas City Star said he has a reputation for “ruthlessly laying waste to his opponents” — that he has rubbed even some Republicans the wrong way. For example, Missouri Speaker Rod Jetton (R), who has had his own run-ins with Roe, has been more than kind to Barnes’ Congressional bid.

Barnes portrays Graves as too conservative, criticizing his votes against the Democrats’ SCHIP proposal last year, against a bill that would have strengthened penalties against those involved in dog fighting and against a Democratic proposal to increase the minimum wage. And she promises to outwork him.

If Barnes is correct, the 6th district’s rural areas are accounting for less and less of the Congressional district’s vote, and even those voters in the rural areas have shown a greater willingness to vote for popular Democrats.

Democratic strategists are absolutely euphoric about Barnes’ candidacy, and during my interview with her late last year I found her to be both energetic and articulate.

But while Barnes is a strong challenger, she certainly isn’t a perfect one. Democrats seem to gloss over her weaknesses and liabilities in their understandable enthusiasm for her.

For example, while her work in Kansas City is an asset, only part of the city is in the 6th district, and it’s the more Republican part. Most of the city is in the very Democratic 5th district, which won’t help Barnes.

Unlike the last Democrat to hold this Congressional seat, Barnes will have trouble presenting herself as a cultural moderate. Her support from EMILY’s List means campaign cash, but it also tags her as pro-choice in a district that is culturally more conservative.

And Barnes’ appearance on the cover of a magazine published by Kansas City’s gay- lesbian-bisexual-transgender community isn’t likely to go over well in the district’s rural counties, where she hopes to make inroads because she was born and raised in St. Joseph.

Finally, Barnes’ “change” argument may not be so easy to sell as she hopes. Not only is she 25 years older than Graves, but she may not be helped by the kind of “change” epitomized by the Democratic presidential nominee, whether that is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) or Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.).

Democrats view Missouri’s 6th as an example of their ability to widen the playing field in 2008 by putting into play districts that were not seriously contested in 2006. They are right about that. But it’s too early to know whether they really can win it this year. Neither party can take this race for granted, which makes this a race worth watching.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Vouchers and Open Enrollment, one politican at a time

Rex Sinquefield is on a mission; to buy enough politicians to get school vouchers and open enrollment in Missouri. Those ideas are the exact opposite of the alleged Republican principles of smaller government and local control. Who wants Matt Blunt running the North Kansas City school district?

You will recall a previous post on Buying Vouchers, One PAC at a Time. That one discussed how Rex set up 100 PACS to pass his money through since the Missouri Supreme Court struck down the unlimited contributions that the Republicans put in place. You will also remember the hub bub about Missouri School's getting a bad report grade from President Bush's Department of Education. Getting told by Bush - a guy who struggles with the English language - that your schools stink really hurts.

So here's the question, who has been benefiting from Sinquefield's mission to get school vouchers? Rep. Jerry Nolte? Sen. Luanne Ridgeway?


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have benefited from Dr. King's work. My life is better because all people - red, yellow, black & white - are treated equal in the eyes of the law. While we still need to work on the application of "all people are created equal," today is the day we can all rejoice in the life of this inspiring leader and look for the hate and injustice in our world that he nonviolently fought every day of his life.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Romney the Flip Flopper

Mitt Romney, the guy who loves pharmaceutical companies because they sell drugs to Canadians for less than they sell to Americans, now that's a guy that should be President.

Remember him telling the citizens of Massachusetts that he was going to be more liberal than Ted Kennedy? How about this one, when he was speaking to Southern GOP conservatives about gay marriages in Massachusetts, Romney said "Some are actually having children born to them." Oh, no, not procreating!!

Thank goodness Romney's got Matt Blunt on his team!! The Democrats are blessed to have 3 great candidates for president. Go Edwards, Go Obama, Go Hillary.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Three great Democratic candidates - all on the same message. Boy howdy, it is a great time to be a progressive. The messages coming from Huckabee (supported by Jeff Roe, Sen. Bartle and Rep. Yates), Romney (supported by Gov. Matt Blunt), Guilani (supported by Sen. Bond) and McCain are dividing Republicans. They can't even agree that pharmacy companies are bad for making horrific profits off Americans while selling drugs cheaper in Canada while moving all the intellectual property assets to Jamaica to avoid taxes.

Remember this great quote by Bush - "I'm the commander - see, I don't need to explain - I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president." - George W. Bush, Washington Post, Nov. 20, 2002.

Any one of the Democratic candidates will be just fine as a replacement to the current occupant.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Jack Abramoff

As we move through the primaries, sometimes we forget that we are all on the Royals and that we are playing the Cardinals (substitute Tigers v. Jayhawks or whatever works for you). We are blessed to have 3 wonderful candidates for president. I'll try to give us some lighthearted reminders of our real opposition.

Remember Jack Abramoff - the guy who bribed his way through D.C. with the help of Tom Delay and Roy Blunt? Recall this quote:

"The president does not know him, nor does the president recall ever meeting him." - White House Pres Secretary Scott McClellan on Jack Abramoff.

Jack raised $100,000 for Bush's reelection effort and he is now serving 6 years in prison. Let's not allow our neighbors to forget Jack Abramoff.

Blunt Still Kicked 100,000 folks off Medicaid

Last night in the State of the State address, Governor Blunt talked about restoring health care to "some of" the 100,000 folks he kicked off Medicaid.

Blunt introduced a new government program called Insure Missouri, that does not get those 100,000 people out of extremely expensive emergency rooms. Pro Vote has set up a web site to give real Missourians a chance protest this politically opportunistic health care plan by Blunt. Go check it out.

Families USA, a non-profit from DC, has reviewed the plan and issued a report. The well reasoned report says that too many Missourians are left out, the cost shifting to consumers is too high and the coverage is too low. Sounds like much of the rest of the Blunt administration!

Don't be fooled. If you kick 100,000 people off and then let 10,000 half way back on, there is still a bunch of sick Missourians going to emergency rooms. Jay Nixon has a specific plan to restore health care to the sickest and poorest of Missourians. Go, Jay, Go.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


The fact that Hillary's comment was dragged out of context and misanalyzed as demeaning to Dr. King is one of those media manufactures that will take on a life of its own, regardless of the facts -- much as the Howard Dean non-scream (Look at the actual video, in context, and it is a shout much like any coach uses to urge on a team.).

Since no one -- especially journalists -- know ANY history, it is not surprising that they know LBJ only as a stubborn war president, not as a great civil rights leader whose personal commitment and political courage was the absolute prerequisite to the success of the civil rights legislation that is the basis of minority progress in this country.

(Talk about political courage: All Democratic presidents up till then had been elected by a "solid South", as was a big chunk of the Democratic congresses. LBJ used all of his considerable political skill and power to get the civil rights legislation passed that had been stalled in Congress for 20 years. On signing the civil rights bill, LBJ told one of the bystanders that he knew that by doing this, the Democrats would lose the Southern states for at least a generation, but that it was the morally right thing to do. that was the beginning of the Republican South, under the leadership of Strom Thurmond -- Trent Lott's hypocritical, racist hero.)

Martin Luther King was a great and courageous moral leader. But, the historical fact is that without LBJ's courage and committment, there would be no legislation that revolutionized our society by putting the federal law (and federal law enforcement) behind the right.

HRC's point was that you cannot just hope change into being. Being right is not enough. The man who had the dream -- and the courage to stand up for that dream -- needed the man who had the experience and ability -- and an equal if different courage -- to make that dream a political reality.

This is not pro or anti HRC or Obama or Edwards. It is a plea not to let a bored or ignorant media twist every comment (in this case, one about the value of political experience) into a feeding frenzy on race, gender or anything else. That is the surest way to get another 4 years of Republican mismanagement.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Edwards in Missouri

Obama may have an office in Missouri and Hillary may have just opened one. Edwards, however, is actually coming to Missouri!

John Edwards is speaking at the Carpenters Hall (1401 Hampton) in St. Louis this Saturday (January 19th). Doors open at 8 - Edwards speaks at 9:30.

Edwards is surging in Nevada. The latest NV poll shows Obama at 32, Hillary is at 30, Edwards is at 27. Those are all within the 4.5 point margin of error. This race has not been won - it's not about being against someone (we are all for the Democrats). The Democratic party is blessed to have great leadership at the top. If you are undecided, go to St. Louis and hear Edwards in person.

Blunt's Numbers STINK

On the eve of his annual State of the State address, Missouri governor Matt Blunt has a 41% approval rating, a 54% disapproval rating, and a Net Job Approval of Minus 13. In 33 months of SurveyUSA tracking, Blunt’s Net Job Approval has ranged from a high of Plus 2 in July 2007 to a low of Minus 30 in February 2006.

Research conducted for KCTV-TV in Kansas City.

Koster Picks Up Union Endorsement

Koster picks up another endorsement in his bid for AG - looks like the unions are splitting between Harris and Koster.


Unanimous support from 4000- member Springfield Building and Construction Trades Council

SPRINGFIELD, MO – Citing his ten years experience in the Cass County Prosecutor’s office and his commitment to championing Missouri’s working families, the Springfield Building and Construction Trades Council has endorsed State Senator Chris Koster for Missouri Attorney General. Koster received a unanimous vote by the Springfield delegates.

“After watching your work to fight prevailing wage violations and expand workers’ compensation benefits over the years, I am confident that you will work for the betterment of Missouri’s workers,” said Jim Tyson, President.

“I am proud to stand with the men and women of the Building and Construction Trades Unions and I am honored to have the support of those workers who build Missouri,” said Koster. “Throughout my career in public service, I have worked to bring people together and get things done. As Attorney General, I will protect Missouri’s workers against those who would violate their rights on the job. The Attorney General’s office is where that protection begins.”

“Senator Koster has shown that his commitment to organized labor is unwavering and no one knows as well as building and construction trades unions in our state of Missouri how important it is to have a strong Attorney General who will fight for workers’ rights,” said Tyson

Legislature is Back in Session

The Missouri Legislature is back in session. For an enjoyable look at the first week, check out the latest Youtube post by the Missourian. Whoever makes these videos is extremely clever and knows the inside baseball in Jefferson City.

Remember, the Republicans control everything in Jefferson City. All the Dems can do is vote no. If we want some progressive ideas to be turned into law, we must work to put Nixon in the Governor's mansion and give him a legislature that will send him a bill to sign.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Why we need less politics in the judiciary

St. Louis Republican State Representative Jim Lembke is the lead opponent of the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan. He filed HJR 51 to eliminate from our state Constitution the Commission of Retirement, Removal and Discipline of Judges. Rep. Lembke sponsored HJR 52 to change the state Constitution to get rid of the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan.

Rep. Lembke loves inserting politics into the neutral judiciary so much even his Republican colleges think he has an ethics problem. The January 7, 2008 edition of Missouri Lawyers Weekly includes an article about Lembke attempting to impeach Judge Christine Hutson, associate circuit judge in Laclede County. According to the article, "Lembke filed a resolution in early December with Speaker Rod Jetton's office calling for a special House committee to investigate allegations [that Judge Hutson] committed certain acts and omissions that would be grounds for impeachment." Lembke sent Judge Hutson a letter saying this was in relation to a child custody case and took the highly unusual act of telling Judge Hutson to recuse herself. You guessed it, Judge Hutson is a Democrat and out-state judges have to run in partisan races. Can you say separation of powers?

Rep. Darrell Pollock - the Republican representative from Laclede County - asked Lempke to withdraw the resolution "in a Dec. 14 letter that questioned whether Lembke's actions might themselves appear unethical and asking Lembke to recuse himself from further activity in the case." Rep. Pollock's letter asked "What are your intentions in this case? I also ask what role do you believe the Missouri House of Representative has in this particular case?" I'll answer that question - Rep. Lembke thanks judges should be bullied around like he was the King of England. Politics over justice. Pollock went on to say "I feel its not our responsibility to look over a judge's shoulder every two or three minutes and make a claim they're using their bench for oppression." Republican Representative Pollock is right, we don't want that. Friends of the politically powerful should not get one version of justice and everyone else gets screwed. That is un-American.

Lembke wouldn't say who brought the divorce case to his attention. The case is Claire Noland v. Brent Vance and involves custody of the kids. Messy, messy, messy. Vance's lawyer, Ed Clausen, said he didn't ask Lembke to get involved and that Lembke was "doing the bidding" of an unhappy party. Noland's father, Jim Nolan, was a Republican state legislator who ran unsuccessfully for Congress.

This is the kind of nastiness that is caused by confusing politics with the rule of law. This is the docket entry resulting from Lembke's letter in case #26V010500459.

Case called. Petitioner appears by her Atty Thompson. Respondent appears by his Atty Clausen. GAL C. Allen appears. Court files letter to attorneys regarding letter received on December 12, 2007, from Representative James Lembke. Court allows all attorneys to address issue of recusal. Based upon the facts and case law, this Judge does not find that recusal is needed or warranted. Therefore, the Court does not intend to recuse and will proceed. However, both parties are offered an opportunity for a continuance to take this issue up with the Appellate Courts. Atty Thompson states that he needs opportunity to confer with his client. Hearing on all pending motions and any motions filed after this date is continued to January 23, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. Court orders both Petitioner and Respondent to appear personally with attorneys. Clerk to send notice of entry to parties. CH/js

Who wants a judiciary that gets micro-managed, told what to do and bossed around by politicians? Rep. Lembke does. No thanks, I'll take a judiciary that is fair and impartial, one that does not have to be subject to the whims of the crown, one that ensures the rule of law is enforced. I'll take the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan.

Really, is this bribery or extortion, technically speaking?

Latest in the saga of the most politically corrupt Justice Department in American history is in the NY Times.

Let's see: One of the U.S. Attorneys John Ashcroft got appointed in New Jersey has instituted a "deferred prosecution" program for corporate thieves and lawbreakers. The USA agrees not to prosecute if and only if the corporations agree to pay restitution amounts -- and agree (at the USA's specific insistence) to pay to have their payment process "supervised" by John Ashcroft's firm at the rate of $895 per hour. The latest deal guarantees a minimum of $28 MILLION to the Ashcroft firm.

I am trying to figure some theory under which this is not either bribery or extortion, but damned if I can. Restitution agreements are one thing, but, "If you agree to hire my friend for a lot of money, I will agree not to file criminal charges," seems a bit cheeky even for the Bushies.

This is the same Justice Department that is prosecuting the Democratic coronor in Pittsburg for using his office fax to send some private messages.

Of course, NJ's non-corporate miscreants who cannot afford to have a $895/hr babysitter still do hard time.

Really, is this bribery or extortion, technically speaking?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

HOGS for Edwards

On my recent trip to Iowa to door knock for John Edwards, I managed to find a Hogs for Edwards bumper sticker in the Newton office. Newton is the union town which lost the Maytag plant to Mexico, which is why that office still had some but they were all out in every other Edwards' office

These were the most popular bumper stickers in Iowa. Edwards came out against corporate pig farms. Preserving the family farm from these monster septic pools is a pig deal in Iowa, and Missouri.

Representative Jeff Harris is going to sponsor a bill that will ensure local governments, like Clay and Platte Counties, can regulate CAFOS. Maybe there will be Hogs for Harris bumper stickers sprouting up in rural Missouri in this year's attorney general's race.

Cascone's Smoke Free

The KC Star is reporting on efforts by our City Council to make KC smoke free. As a person who likes his lungs, I scream YEAH!

Even more great news - smoke free is starting to happen. I know that this feeds into the pro-lung cancer, go on Medicare or jack up private insurance costs, keep tobacco the lawyers at Shook Hardy busy, let the economy decide defense, but I don't care. Two of my favorite places to dine are Cascone's in the River Market and Jalapeno's in Brookside. January 1, 2008 saw both of them go smoke free. I've eaten at both, tipped big in case the smoker's quit going and had a great meal. I will spend my money there - locally owned, smoke free and bad for my heart restaurants.

Now's the Time to Speak Up on the Missouri Plan

Normally, I'm cynical about online petitions. In this case, though, the people working to head off efforts to increase the influence of money and partisanship on our judicial selection need to demonstrate that they can reach and motivate a significant number of Missouri voters. Many of the political consultants in Jefferson City believe that this complex issue is over the heads of average voters, and that they can get away with injecting more partisanship into our judicial selection.

Now is the time to shape the understanding of those who want to undermine the Missouri Plan. Now is the time to let them know that a significant bloc of us are watching. Now is the time to let them know that their political football is a hot potato.

Please go here and sign the online petition. It's a rare opportunity to define the terms of an important debate and head off pointless fights. There are a lot of members of the General Assembly who are on the fence on this issue, and if they see that 1500 Missourians are watching, they'll back away from it now, before it really gets started.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Hampshire Saves!

New Hampshire has saved what is left of the soul of the Republican Party from Plasticman and Elmer Huckabee.

It has saved the Democratic Party from a rush to elect a Republican President.

Even if Hillary is not your first choice -- even if Obama is -- ending the campaign this early would be unhealthy. I am concerned that Sen. Obama -- still an unknown quantity to 98% of the electorate -- will end up being defined by the Repubs in Sept & Nov. If he is to have any chance at all as a nominee, he cannot be a "unanimus consent" candidate in February. We must make him walk through fire, because Karl Rove & the Swiftboaters will surely see to it that he needs asbestos underwear come autumn.

Re Hillary, NPR had a great story. Sixty year old woman gets a call from her daughter, who had been supporting Obama, who tells her,"You remember how I always said 'don't call me a feminist' -- and you always said that it hurt you when I said that because it showed I was ungrateful? You were right. Hillary's got my vote."

It is hard for us to remember that those "kids" in their thirties have never lived in an officially segregated society, where an interracial couple wasn't just unusual, but often criminal. Or in a society where women were housewives -- or if they did work, they not only were likely to be chased around a desk by the boss, but were expected to run real slow if they wanted to keep their jobs.

JFK. MLK. LBJ. Bette & Bella & Gloria & Shirley. When you can see further, it never hurts to remember whose shoulders you are standing on.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Blunt Bankrolls Attacks on Missouri Plan

In a fine piece of investigative journalism, the Springfield Newsleader points out how Matt Blunt is financing attacks on the Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan. Fired Up Missouri takes it one step further and connects the dots on how not only does Blunt reward his faithful soilders with cash, but also with appointments.

Here's the deal - The Adam Smith Foundation is run by James Harris - Blunt's former appointment secretary. According to Missouri ethics reports, the J. Harris Company gets paid lots by Blunt. Jeremy Ketterer gets paid money by Blunt, too. Jeremy Ketterer co-writes an article with Prof. Bill Eckhardt concluding the Missouri Plan stinks. Jeremy Ketterer sends op-eds to the Newsleader from both the J. Harris Company and the Adam Smith Foundation, proving that the hacks are not acting independently or in good faith. Blunt appoints Ketterer to the Board of Truman State.

If there is any doubt, "the Adam Smith Foundation is a shill for the governor's campaign, and not an independent group," according to Blunt's hometown newspaper, the Springfield Newsleader. Let's hope that the New Year's resoultions for Republicans are to figure out how to use email and stop trying to purchase the judiciary.

Prayers for Huckabee

Born again Christians may have made up to 60% of Republican Iowa caucus. These ladies and I shared a prayer; that Huckabee would win. Nothing like the Republican party being torn apart by the corporate guys (who only want to allow hedge fund managers to be taxed at 15%) who fund the party and the religious right who get led around with gay marriage and abortion carrots.

For the record, Matt Blunt supports Romney. Jeff Roe and State Senator Matt Bartle support Huckabee. Sen. Kit Bond backs Guiliani. Let the blood letting begin.

Barack and Edwards Impressive in Iowa

WOW - talk about a painful blocked shot of the Billary machine!!

Barack and Edwards both had a message of change. Hillary had a message of experience. The Des Moines Register said 100,000 first time caucus goers would show up and vote for Barack - they were right. Clearly, these folks did not care about the money spent by Barack or Hillary. Iowa voters - and all of America - want a massive change in DC.

The monkey is clearly on the back of Hillary. She has to win New Hampshire. The debate on Saturday night is the chance for Hillary to stop Obama's massive momentum - look for a change in message to "experience to bring about change." Edwards also has to perform well, but the fact that he was out spent by massive margins and lacked Bill Clinton or Oprah shows that he is a huge force. And, if his speech last night wasn't amazing enough, Obama gets to look even more presidential.

I spent 3 freezing days in Iowa for John Edwards knocking on doors, handing out lit and hanging stuff on porch screens. Iowa is a political science major's fantasy. Concerts with John Mellencamp, Jim Dean being at the Steelworker's hall, even KY3 from Springfield was there. I have much more respect for the caucus process. I spent 30 minutes in a coffee shop in Indianola talking about Edwards v. Obama with wonderful woman. The folks there cared enough to be informed and to go out on a horribly frigid night and wait in line. As Missouri native Sheryl Crow says, a change will do us good.