Monday, April 28, 2008

Corporate Pig Farms Make Headlines

Two pieces of information hit me today regarding corporate pig farms.

The first was a front page story in the KC Star regarding a corporate pig farm in Northwest Missouri. A soldier is away at war, so the corporate pig farm is arguing that it can be located 1300 feet from the soldier's front door because he has abandoned his home. This is a very interesting article by Karen Dillon and reveals just how ruthless a CAFO can be; 4800 pigs within 1300 feet of your front door!!

The second piece arrived in the form of a form of a press release from Rep. Jeff Harris, Democratic candidate for Attorney General

Harris Takes Factory Farm Issue to Nationwide Radio Audience; Harris discusses need for local control on Air America Radio Network, host Mike Papantonio praises Harris’ “courage” and “focus” on the issue

Columbia, MO – Representative Jeff Harris, a Democratic candidate for Attorney General, appeared this weekend on the national show “Ring of Fire Radio” on the Air America network. Harris discussed his leadership in tackling the issue of factory farms, their ecological impact and the importance of ensuring local control for Missouri communities.

Harris is sponsoring a bill in the Missouri House that would give local communities a voice in where CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) are located. Harris also has sponsored a bill that would prevent CAFOs from being sited near parks and historic sites. The House Republican leadership continues to hold his legislation hostage. Harris told host Mike Papantonio that local control is a vital tool for Missouri communities.

“When we look at this issue of factory farms, we ought to be looking at it with two goals in mind,” Harris said. “One is to protect our environment and our natural resources, and the second is to preserve family farms. And regrettably, in a lot of cases, in a lot of states, we haven’t seen either of those goals met.”

Papantonio praised Harris’ leadership. “I wish we had more people that had the kind of courage that you’re showing out there in Missouri,” he said. “It would just be such a great thing for Missouri to have an Attorney General with the kind of focus that you’ve shown here.”

Audio of Harris’ interview is available on his campaign website at:

Video of the broadcast is available at:

Papantonio co-hosts the program with environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. This weekend’s broadcast also featured activist and actor Matthew Modine.

Corporate Pig Farms - or CAFOs - are not just a rural issue. Its about regulating these small cities. A pig "produces" more waste than humans. Would we ever think it is ok for a new city to sprout up and have 4800 people dumping waste into a lagoon within 1300 feet of a home? Heck no - but that is a CAFO. The reason we dissect fetal pigs in science class is the same reason our noses hate the smell of pig crap -humans and pigs have very similar digestive systems. No 1984 jokes here, please. Water source issues are hugely important for big cities and little towns. Even the guys who like to go canoeing in the Jack's Fork River in Southern Missouri understand why CAFO's must be highly regulated.

Jeff Harris is going to pull every environmentalist's vote in the Democratic primary for attorney general (where all the Sierra Club members vote, anyway).

Rev. Wright & being right.

Saw Rev Jerimiah Wright on Bill Moyers and at the National Press Club and came to the following conclusion: I may support Hillary for Pres, but if I went to church it would be to Rev Wright's.

Great preacher. Unfortuantely, he will be used in snippets to swiftboat Obama. But none of us should have any problem with the very Christian message of liberation theology. Think camel/needles eye, Chaney/Kingdom of Heaven.

Rev. Wright & being right.

Republican Attempts to Reduce Min. Wage FAILS

The do-nothing Republicans in the Missouri House have never been impressed with our citizens' opinions, which is why they have tried repeatedly to throw out caps on political contributions. You might recall that the citizens of Missouri voted an increase in minimum wage - it was called Proposition B. The Republicans attempted to limit that successful petition drive, too. You sure can't have working people making a living wage! Here's a quick summary from Rep. John Burnett:

House vote is 69-82 with all Democrats voting No on Minimum Wage cut

This week week we debated House Bill 1851 which would have cut the minimum wage from $3.325 to $2.13 for tipped employees - the base wage for such employees prior to Proposition B almost two years ago. When voters went to the polls on this issue 76% of voters approved the minimum wage raise. Now Republicans are trying again to roll it back.

This is the third major setback for the Republican majority in the past three weeks. On April 9 House Dems defeated school vouchers. Then on April 17 House Democrats led the defeat of House Joint Resolution 49 the destruction of the Missouri Non-partisan Court Plan. This type of defeat was unheard of in the House during the past six years and now three times in three weeks. A sign of thing to come I think.

The minimum wage for all employees is still $6.65 an hour as set by Proposition B and would not have been affected by the bill.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Harris Video from Springfield

Jeff Harris traveled to Springfield to Jackson Days. The video makes clear he got a warm welcome and that folks are supporting him because, in part, "he's been a Democrat since day 1."

Republicans gave us high gas prices

Cheney had secret oil policy meetings, Bush gave tax breaks to oil companies, all while oil companies are experiencing the greatest profits in the history of man kind. Congressman like Sam Graves voted with the Bush Administration almost 100% of the time and is taking donations from oil companies. No wonder we need a new $5 bill

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Who Done It

OK, I've heard lots of rumors. The most prevalent one is Herman, Marcason, Ford and Jolly are all running for Mayor. 3 years out?? Isn't that a little early? Whoever sent this out had some bucks.

BARNES to Graves: Answer One Little Question


Kay Barnes, 6th District Congressional Candidate, called on incumbent Congressman Sam Graves to answer one simple question.

Barnes asked, "Congressman Graves, do you agree with President Bush's statement yesterday that the United States is not in a recession. Or do you agree with the 74% of Americans who believe we are in a recession?"

CNN reported yesterday:
"President Bush denied Tuesday that the United States' economy is in recession, calling it instead a 'slowdown'."

CNN reported in March:
"Seventy-four percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey say the economy has entered a recession."

Here's betting that Graves/Roe won't disagree with the Bush/Cheney machine. Graves has been their water boy for the last seven years, he's not going to start slapping the hand that feeds him now. Since Graves is the only congressman in America to get a fundraiser by both Bush and Cheney - the economy is just fine in the Graves world (especially with the Graves family getting all those fee offices from Blunt).

Friday, April 18, 2008

More Unions Supporting Harris for AG

The Missouri Attorney General's race continues to be the lead primary in our state. The Committee for County Progress will host a debate with all 4 candidates on May 22 at White Recital Hall at UMKC (check out our web page for more information).

The word from Koster's campaign was that he was going to get all the unions' endorsements. Clearly, he got the early ones, but the folks deciding most recently seem to be going with Harris.

Here's the Harris press release about the Boilermaker's endorsement:

Boilermakers Union Endorses Harris for Attorney General

Columbia, MO – The Boilermakers Local 27 announced today that it is endorsing Rep. Jeff Harris for Attorney General. The support union, which represents workers in Northeast Missouri, St. Louis and vicinity and Southeast Missouri, is another major labor endorsement for Harris’ campaign. Boilermakers Business Manager, David Snead, pointed to Harris’ strong record of defending issues important to working families across Missouri.

“No other candidate in this race has been as reliable an ally for working families as Jeff Harris,” said Snead. “We know that we can count on him to stand with us and to fight for the issues that matter most to Missourians and to our members. Time and again, Jeff has led the fight, not just on issues of labor, but also on issues like health care and education that matter.”

Harris thanked the Boilermakers for their support. “I am excited to have this strong organization joining our campaign,” Harris said. “We’re working hard to reach out to all voters in Missouri, and working families are a major part of the team we are building. I respect the hard work that these folks do day in and day out, and as Attorney General, I will always be on the side of Missouri’s workers.”

The Boilermakers join a strong list of labor unions backing Harris’ campaign. Harris already has won the support of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees), International Association of Machinists State Council, Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, Operating Engineers Local 513, IBEW Local 53, IBEW Local 257, Operating Engineers Local 148, Firefighters Local 1055, and the United Transportation Union

No doubt that Koster is raising more money - will TV ads be enough to win? Donnelly is a real nice democrat and has recently picked up the SEIU - what effect will that have?

Reich Endorses Obama

Robert Reich's blog is one of my favorites. I figured he was a Hillary supporter because he was the Secretary of Labor under Clinton, but he's supporting Barack for the same reasons I am. I think his blog posts are worth reading.

The formal act of endorsing a candidate is generally (and properly) limited to editorial pages and elected officials whose constituents might be influenced by their choice. The rest of us shouldn't assume anyone cares. My avoidance of offering a formal endorsement until now has also been affected by the pull of old friendships and my reluctance as a teacher and commentator to be openly partisan. But my conscience won't let me be silent any longer.

I believe that Barack Obama should be elected President of the United States.

Although Hillary Clinton has offered solid and sensible policy proposals, Obama's strike me as even more so. His plans for reforming Social Security and health care have a better chance of succeeding. His approaches to the housing crisis and the failures of our financial markets are sounder than hers. His ideas for improving our public schools and confronting the problems of poverty and inequality are more coherent and compelling. He has put forward the more enlightened foreign policy and the more thoughtful plan for controlling global warming.

He also presents the best chance of creating a new politics in which citizens become active participants rather than cynical spectators. He has energized many who had given up on politics. He has engaged young people to an extent not seen in decades. He has spoken about the most difficult problems our society faces, such as race, without spinning or simplifying. He has rightly identified the armies of lawyers and lobbyists that have commandeered our democracy, and pointed the way toward taking it back.

Finally, he offers the best hope of transcending the boundaries of class, race, and nationality that have divided us. His life history exemplifies this, as do his writings and his record of public service. For these same reasons, he offers the best possibility of restoring America's moral authority in the world.

Grisamore (47th) Takes Money from Pay Day Loan Companies and Faces Tough Opposition

KC Blue Blog does a great analysis of Rep. Jeff Grisamore taking money from pay day loan companies.

EXCLUSIVE: Vulnerable State Representative Jeff Grisamore (R-Lee's Summit) took over $2,000 in contributions from Predatory Loan Companies and their lobbyists.

Also, The Blue Blog has learned that since Grisamore has taken office in 2006, three or more Predatory Loan Companies have appeared inside his Lee's Summit district.

Grisamore's endorsement of Predatory Loan Companies and their practices is out of touch and unacceptable to the voters inside his district and across the State of Missouri.

By taking these dollars from Predatory Loan Companies, Grisamore is saying it is ok to have 400% interest rates on loans, and ok to have loan sharks inside our communities across Missouri, unchecked and unaccountable for the destruction they do to the lives and communities they prey on

Here's the good news. There's a great, young, hard working Democratic candidate taking on Grisamore. Jason Norbury is already working hard. Jason has some name ID from taking on Sen. Matt Bartle. Jason will get a 2 - 5% bump because of this being a presidential year (and Democrats coming out in greater numbers). Grisamore continues to get heat, including this Pitch article: Missouri State Rep. Jeff Grisamore uses the death of his infant daughter to ask for campaign cash.

Every little race counts. Every Republican with strong opposition helps out every Democrat running. Grisamore now has to stay at home and protect his seat from Norbury. All that means continued good things for our party.

Judiciary Committee Report

Despite stonewalling by the Bushies, the House Judiciary Committee has issued a report on the politization of the Bush Justice Dept.

This is truly a "read it and weep for the Republic" document. No one who reads this can doubt what has been going on in KC and across the nation. Unfortunately we may have to wait for a Democrat Administration to get the documents that haven't been shredded.

Rep. Emery (R) Called Out

Rep. Ed Emery is one of the lead Republican representatives in the Missouri House. If you like Ed, you like the Republicans.

As reported by Dan Margolies of the Business Section of the Kansas City Star, here's a great email from Judge Charles Curless to Rep. Emery of Lamar, Missouri:

Ed, Congratulations on reaching an all-time low in your so-called "representation" of the 126th District.

I am, of course, referring to your incredibly scandalous preferential treatment of the folks at Aquila, regarding the unlawful power plant in Cass County. Aquila knowingly built a plant in that county without a permit and in violation of county zoning laws. The trial court ordered the plant dismantled, and his decision was upheld by the Western District Court of Appeals. Now, you have led the charge in approving legislation to overturn the lawful and correct decisions of the courts. I wonder if your ruminations on the situation would have brought you to the same conclusion (to adjudicate from the legislature) had the plant been in your backyard. You certainly must be aware that the vast majority of us who, unfortunately, live within your district are respectful of the rule of law, and are disdainful of activist legislation, such as that which you have ramrodded through the House Special Committee on Utilities. Although I suppose we should not be surprised at your abhorrent actions in this situation after enduring incessant, baseless attacks on the judges of this state, and after six long years of your trying to undermine the constitutional provision of checks and balances by making the judicial branch subject to the political whims of the legislative and executive branches, it is deeply disturbing to see what is happening under your watchful eye.

Perhaps the most interesting and telling evidence of your true colors is your statement regarding your actions in committee, and I quote: "You have two competing principles involved. One is the principle that they should follow the law. The other is the principle of logic."

What in God’s name are you thinking? You have railed, both in your weekly "report" and in many orations, about how judges must follow the law. Now we find that it is your opinion that your friends at this powerful corporation, Aquila, are above the law, and that when it comes to your friends, "logic" trumps the law. Who else’s pocket are you in?

It seems to me that as you go about the area selling your "Character First" program, you should include this dichotomous anecdote in the "Integrity" chapter, or maybe use it to start another chapter entitled "Shame and Dishonor". "Character First", indeed.

You have pulled many boneheaded stunts during your time in the legislature which are contrary to the interests and wishes of the citizens of this district, but this one gets the blue ribbon.



Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Things That Carried Him

One of the most impressive pieces of journalism published in years is The Things That Carried Him: The True Story of a Soldier's Last Trip Home by Chris Jones. It appears in this month's Esquire Magazine. Its not political, it doesn't mention Bush, it doesn't point fingers. What it does is makes sure we all understand the human face of one U.S. soldier and his family.

From the digging of the grave to the bomb that killed Sgt. Joe Montgomery, Chris Jones traces this American's last ride home. We meet Gail, Joe's mom. Joe's dad had died in a car wreck. Gail had "taken to calling Joey 'my miracle baby,' because she learned she was pregnant with him the day after his father's funeral." We meet Micah, Joe's brother who is still serving in Iraq. I can see Joey's wife and their three kids (nine-year old Skyla, seven-year old Robert Joe and two-year old Ella) sitting on the front row of the church.

The piece describes when the hearse drove through Scottsburg, Indiana:

Behind the hearse, Gail sat in the car with her brother, Bill, the mayor, who was at the wheel. "It's hard to drive and cry," he said. The tears began flowing as soon as they pulled out of the airport and onto the main road in Seymour, bound for the I-65. Traffic had stopped. Townspeople lined the sidewalks, holding their hands over their hearts, waving flags, whispering to their children.

"It breaks your heart when you drive through and you see people and they're crying for you," Vicki said later. She was especially struck by the nameless mechanic in his coveralls, black with oil. He had crawled out from under a car, out of the pit, and he stood in front of the garage, perfectly straight, perfectly still, saluting the hearse, and lines formed under his eyes in the oil on his face

This is an incredibly moving piece of journalism. Please take the 30 minutes of time required to have your heart softened.


In a victory for good government and less politics in the selection of judges, I'm pleased to report that the Missouri Non-partisan Court Plan has survived another attack and the measure failed 69 - 83. Thank you to all the state representatives - Republican and Democratic - who voted to stop this measure.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kay Kicks Butt

Here's an email I got from Mayor Kay Barnes Chief of Staff, Corey Platt:

Yesterday, something incredible happened. Our campaign reported virtually the same amount of money raised for the first fundraising quarter as Congressman Graves. This is the same quarter that Congressman Graves had George Bush in town to raise money for his struggling campaign. Many of you answered the call to stand up to the Bush/Graves money machine, and your voices were heard.

Kay Barnes has taken away the incumbent advantage from Congressman Sam Graves. Having raised the same amount of money, in a quarter that should have been Graves' easiest, shows that Kay is in the driver's seat. This past quarter, Kay reported raising $402,068, her highest total to date, bringing her total raised in only 10 months to more than $1.4 million and our cash on hand to over $950,000.

In just the first three months of this year, over 1,100 individuals contributed to Kay's campaign. Compare that to just 137 people who contributed to Congressman Graves-- I'm not joking; Kay has ten times more donors than the incumbent Congressman. It is now more clear than ever that Congressman Graves is relying on his special interest friends to send him back to Washington, including another $5,000 this quarter from Exxon. Luckily, we have over 4,000 people who have joined Kay and donated to the campaign. There is no way that Congressman Graves, George Bush and Exxon Mobil can compete with all of you.

Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do. I'm honored to be working with all of you.

Corey Platt
Campaign Manager
Kay for Congress

This is a huge deal. Taking on an incumbent is hard work. Graves/Roe is the only campaign in the entire nation to have both Cheney and Bush do fundraisers.

Let's be real honest, Kay Barnes for Congress could be the final nail in the coffin for Congressman Graves/Roe. Graves took this spot from a Democrat and then used it as a spring board to 1) build Jeff Roe's company and 2) run the Democrats out of office in Northwest Missouri. Well, folks in that part of the state have had enough.

Sen. Claire McCaskill and State Auditor Susan Montee had great performance in the 6th District. Other things are happening, like Sandra Aust being a strong candidate for state senate in the Clay County area. How about Rep. Ryan Silvey (R) being in bad shape with a very strong Josh Reed running the best grass roots campaign for a house seat in the entire state.

Up and down the ticket, Democrats are looking great in the northland and Kay Barnes is going to win.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bushofascism, Part Too-Many

The Sunday Wash. Post has an excellant article on the Justice Department Scandal, interviewing former Ala. Gov. Seigelman -- now free on appeal after waiting in jail for more than a year for a TRANSCRIPT!

Dan Abrams of MSNBC made this Karl Rove Political Purge -- the Gov. was indicted on orders from Washington to keep him from running successfully for a second term and Rove let his phone call be overheard by a whistleblower -- a cause. Then 60Minutes ran the story -- and it was blacked out on the Republican-owned Alabama CBS affiliates. (Remember when that sort of thing would have cost a broadcasting license?)

Oddly, this -- like most of the Injustice department Scandals -- is somewhat under-covered in the Star.

I heard a political philosopher discussing our problem. He said that our Founding Fathers could have anticipated an arrogant, imperial President, an invertebrate Congress -- even a supine Supreme Court. But they could never have anticipated a press that would care more about Brittany's wardrobe than the Bill of Rights.

More dangerous than the Islamofascists are the Bushofascists. 9/11 may have been our Reichstag Fire.

HJR 41 - Some Republicans Wish to Abandon a Neutral Judiciary

The Missouri Plan is under attack in the Missouri House. Here's a recent email from Rep. John Burnett:

House leaders closed debate with Reps lined up to talk

After a brief debate House leaders closed debated by moving the "previous question". I was left standing at the microphone with a proposed amendment in my hand unable to get recognized to offer it. My friends consoled me that it was something I should be proud of. The Majority clearly did not want to hear what I had to say.

By a vote of 80-63 the House gave first round approval to the resolution. All 11 Democrat Lawyers in the House voted against it. Burnett, Bringer, Donnelly, Grill, Jeff Harris, Connie Johnson, Rachel Storch, Mike Talboy, Mike Vogt, Terry Witte and Jake Zimmerman.

On the Republican side only Flook, Pratt and Lipke opposed it. Stanley Cox (R-Sedalia) was the sponsor and handled the bill on the floor. Judiciary Chair, Bryan Stevenson (R-Jasper) gave a speech that some thought was hilarious talking about how he loved all judges, young or old and in fact hopes to be a judge himself someday soon. Then he joined Cox, Bob Onder (R-Lake St. Louis), and Tim Jones (R-Eureka) in supporting it.

Final approval in the House requites 82 votes but it appears that they will be there. Will keep you posted on the vote there too.

State Rep John P. Burnett

Here's the letter I sent to Rep. Bryan Stevenson (R - Joplin):

As a lawyer to a fellow lawyer, I would urge you to reconsider your vote on HJR 49.

Missouri is a swing state – it is currently held by Republicans and will one day be held by Democrats. That’s a good thing. The Missouri Supreme Court and our Courts of Appeals should not be subject to those same swings. We tell our children in civics classes that judges are fair, neutral and that they don’t play flavors. By abandoning the Missouri Plan in favor of a system more like the federal government, we are inviting partisan games to be played with our judiciary. While I’m a Democrat, I believe that the entire Supreme Court appointed by then Gov. Ashcroft was a good one. What was wrong with the Missouri Plan when it gave us Judge Holstein or Judge Price? Our system worked then and works now. Let’s be proud of a neutral judiciary that is hard to be influenced by politics – either Democrats or Republicans. Please join your Republican lawyer colleagues Pratt, Flook and Libke in voting NO on HJR 49.

Please give me a call if you have any questions

What do we tell our kids - well, we shut off debate because we don't care what other people think and we want judges who will always decide with our side instead of being fair and neutral. Can't the Republicans see that eventually this will back fire and some liberal governor will appoint incredibly liberal judges?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Silvey in the Corner - Reed landing Blows

Here's the blow by blow - Ryan Silvey is in the corner, he's bleeding and he can barely keep his gloves up. Challenger Josh Reed has strong legs and can take this the full distance.

KC Blue Blog does a great job of pulling together the evidence that Rep. Ryan Silvey is buckling to Billionaire Sinquefield pro-voucher efforts. Silvey took $30,000 from Sinquefield groups.

The reason he needs this huge push out of the corner is Josh Reed is attacking from the left. Josh Reed is one of the best candidates that our party has right now. He grew up north of the river, he ran the grass roots for Obama, he's busting his butt in the district. Here's a sample of Josh Reed taking Silvey and Blunt to task:

Gov. Matt Blunt, Rep. Ryan Silvey from the 38th District in Clay County and the state Republican leadership have taken Missouri in the wrong direction on health care.

In 2005, the governor cut coverage and services for more than 400,000 Missourians. There are now 127,000 kids in Missouri without health insurance. As Gov. Blunt’s poll numbers continue to slide, he and other Republicans have been unable and unwilling to fix this mistake. A new report released by Families USA details the failures of Gov. Blunt’s new plan, “Insure Missouri.” This new program does not even come close to undoing the damage done. Nor does it restore coverage and services for all of the people hurt by these cuts. More than 1,071 children have lost coverage in Clay County since Rep. Silvey voted for Gov. Blunt’s Medicaid cuts. Expanding health care should be the priority in Jefferson City. We want real health-care reform that guarantees quality affordable health coverage for every Missourian.

The basic coverage and services that were cut in 2005 should be restored.
It is time to take Missouri and health care in a new direction. All of our children deserve coverage.

Joshua L. Reed

KC Blue Blog is correct that there are lots of rumors floating around about Silvey. All I know is that Josh Reed is a powerfully strong candidate, that this district was held by a Democrat for years and that 2008 is a Democrat year. With Silvey voting for corporate tax cuts, being pro-voucher and bad on health care, this could be the #1 race in Missouri for Democrats to take a seat from a Republican.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Memo From Councilwoman Beth Gottstein

TO: Ken Franklin
Executive Director, Missouri Democrats

CC: John Temporiti
Chair, Missouri Democratic State Party Chair

FR: Beth Gottstein
Councilwoman, 4th District at Large, City of KCMO

RE: Victory 2008

DATE: April 12, 2008

Ken, I am grateful to you for your dedication to the party, our principles and to raising participation. I believe that we Democrats are on the verge of a great victory, if we do not defeat ourselves with petty infighting. We must conduct ourselves with discipline. We must foster solidarity. Only then will we earn our victories at the polls.

The current passion, energy and engagement that I sense from the public for Democratic candidates and policies carry echoes of 1992. Voters had tired of failed promises and excuses from the Republican Party. Democrats, especially Young Democrats, found their voice and worked to send Mel Carnahan to the Governor’s Mansion and Bill Clinton to the White House. In those heady days, Democrats set aside our differences and focused on the priorities that united us: healthcare, education, jobs and a living wage, and safe communities. Our Party was rewarded on Election Day.

Yet there are other echoes in the air. In recent days and weeks, I have been reminded of times when our Party should have won, but was defeated because dissident personalities and factions put their agenda ahead of the Party’s interest. The forces of discord have already made themselves felt through ugly attacks.

I know you will agree when I state that it is imperative that we keep our primaries clean and civil. The Republicans, at all levels in the party, are banking that we will emerge from August, muddied, bloodied, and divided. It is vital that we do not permit our primaries to become so ugly that we damage our prevailing candidates and weaken his or her General Election viability. It is equally crucial that we do not tear each other apart so that we cannot unite for the General Election. Primary elections should be spirited competitions in which we elevate the best qualities of our chosen candidates. If a team must resort to nameless lies, what does it say about the merits of its candidate? It doesn’t bode well for anyone in our Party.

I am not unrealistic in my concerns when I call for solidarity, respect and discipline in our primary campaigns. As Democrats, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. Candidates are fair game, but the game must be fair. When I decided to run for City Council, I recognized that seeking public office opens your life for attacks. As a candidate, I focused on a debate of policies and politics. I was realistic when I entered the race. I was surprised by how quickly the contest became ugly when my critics resorted to anti-Semitism, sexism, exaggeration and absolute lies to defeat me. I remain truly grateful to my supporters who buoyed and believed in me. I have moved on, but many continue to speak of the brutal nature of those who took the spineless, dark road against me.

The same could be said about the 2006 Jackson County Executive primary. Mike Sanders and the most vulnerable members of his family suffered painful attacks from nameless, faceless assailants. Voters rejected the attacks, but they left deep scars within our Jackson County Democratic Party.

You can imagine my disappointment on Friday, when I received several copies of an email that merely repeated the ugliness of the 2006 primaries. Again, anonymous assaults attempted to soil the reputation and question the integrity of our Democratic leaders using innuendo, exaggeration and false charges. Ashamed to show their faces in a public forum, they again chose to hide behind unsigned emails and blog comments. Employing the acid of doubt, fear and even hate, they tried to weaken the credibility of our Democratic institutions and leaders. The homophobic, angry nature of these outlaws’ statements does not merit recitation for correction, but we cannot just write off their actions, either. We have experienced this type of effort in the past. If we do not condemn it, we are sure to see it again.

I would ask that the leadership of the party send a strong message that the party condemns negative campaigning of any kind, and will censure anyone caught anonymously attacking our colleagues with lies or exaggerations. Primaries should be spirited, but we should practice ethical self-discipline. We need to save our energy for November.

Thank you very much.

Spring is Coming

The season of the family farm is HERE.

The Farmer's Community Market at Brookside opened again yesterday. Not much to choose from - a little organic lettuce. The Amish farmer was selling lamb, I saw his two kids sneak over to Bella Napoli for hot chocolate. The important part is the little white tents are back, which means if I get up early before the kid's soccer games that fresh, non-chemical laden food can be had at a reasonable price. Shopping at the farmer's market, inviting friends over for dinner on Saturdays, cooking local food, sitting on the deck - I'm ready for Spring!

One of my favorite family farms is Campo Lindo. They stick a little note into every carton of eggs. Carol (I'll not insult her by calling her the farmer's wife) captures my feelings perfectly:

Good day from Campo Lindo Farms. I may be exaggerating just a bit, but I swear that I saw a hen with a big grin on her beak when it got to 70 F last week. It has been a long, hard winter for us here at the farm and the hens are not the only ones looking forward to a change. The cows, sheep and horses are worn out from standings on hard, frozen ground and I'm sure they are looking forward to green pastures. The peek at warm temperatures was a real emotional booster and you can bet we'll all be grinning when winter is behind us for another year. Thanks for buying our local eggs! Carol, Jay, Brandon & Isabel

I'm grinning, too.

Friday, April 11, 2008

AG Race Heats Up - AGAIN

You Tube videos - do they play any roll in educating Democratic primary voters or are they just for political junkies? Does anyone beside for the 3 people who read this blog every see something like this? Waste of time or smart politics?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

AG Race - the Introduction of a 2nd Woman

The AG's race took an interesting spin - another woman entered the race. Molly Korth Williams is a very nice woman, resident of Brookside, a mom, lawyer and school teacher. She sits on the Jackson County Board of Equalization.

There's been at least two pieces connecting Chris Koster to Molly Williams getting into the race. The first was in the Pitch, in a well written article by David Martin, which connected Koster to Williams thru Judge Dandurand (a recent appointment to the Court of Appeals). Second up was Steve Kraske's article in the KC Star that has the following quote. “I’m 100 percent convinced — I’ve never been more convinced of anything — that Koster was behind this,” said Donnelly adviser Richard Martin. Richard Martin ran Bob Holden's campaign, Claire McCaskill's campaign and he's tight with the Carnahans. Richard carries alot of weight in our party.

The Blogs are eating this story up. Gone Mild includes a picture of Molly and Judge Dandurand. Pub Def says Koster and Dandurand are "chummy." Big Muddy Politics points out that when two men are running against a women, the woman wins.

So, here's my question, do liberal women in KC really just vote for the woman candidate? I think KC women, like the Greater KC Woman's Political Caucus, will endorse the best candidate who is strongest on woman issues. Am I wrong here?

44th Race

I have to say I was proud to see 2 candidates for the 44th out working hard in the rain yesterday. Amy Coffman was at my polling place at the Baptist church on Wornall Road. She was handing out this very nice piece.

Jason Kander had a nice woman handing out this flyer to a Mother's Day Celebration. Both candidates are obviously very serious and very motivated. No Mary Spence sighting. Clearly, there are different styles. Amy has a more professional piece that shows some impressive endorsements. Kander lists lots of folks in the 44th that have endorsed his campaign and a Mother's Day celebration is clearly showing his softer side in a race against two women.

What do you think? Is one piece more effective for the very progressive 44th?

Roe Loses - AGAIN

Who does anonymous hatchet jobs? Who does sleazy robocalls? Who loses with more and more regularity? Jeff Roe.

Jeff Roe is the Karl Rove for Congressman Sam Graves. The dirty tricks, the spreading of rumors (like Rove planting the rumor in the S.C. presidential primary 8 years ago that McCain had a love child), the game playing - all indications of Roe. Well, according to Prime Buzz Blog, Jeff Roe has being doing it again in the KC Bus Tax Renewal. And, to make it uglier, he slams Mayor Kay Barnes just for fun.

I'm glad that the Bus Tax Renewal passed. It passed in the Northland, where Jeff Roe blasted Kay. Jeff Roe's tactics have grown old. Jeff's school yard tactics fail in the Northland, just look at Councilman Russ Johnson's huge victory despite Roe's last minute anonymous robocalls. Congressman Graves gives Roe his legitimacy. Once the head is cut off this fall by Kay Barnes, the beast will die.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Why We Need a Democratic Majority

We are going to elect Jay Nixon, I'm certain of it. However, he provides common sense Missourians only with a veto pin. We need a Democratic majority to allow good laws to be passed - good laws like a pay increase for teachers as sponsored by Rep. Jason Holsman.
Missouri teacher pay hike in peril

By Lee Logan



JEFFERSON CITY - A state House committee approved a teacher pay boost Wednesday but not without including several hot-button issues that could put the plan in jeopardy.

The plan includes a cornucopia of stipends to reward teachers who increase test scores, gain certification to teach math or remain in school districts where educators are scarce. But several changes were shepherded through by Rep. Scott Muschany, the chairman of a committee that studies education matters.

The bill now includes: scholarships for autistic children who attend private schools; a provision that allows school districts to consider other factors besides experience for salary levels; and a portion that requires teachers to give yearly consent of payroll deductions for teacher associations.

The additions left some lawmakers angry.

"Scott Muschany hijacked my bill," said Rep. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, who authored the stipend package. Muschany, R-Frontenac, contends that Holsman had every opportunity to remove his name from the package and called those statements inflammatory. "There was no hijacking," he said. "He's been involved in every conversation on the bill."

Increasing teachers' pay is a key goal of House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill. Concerning the future of his pet project, he would say only, "We have a lot of work to do." Regardless of the committee's changes, the plan's $50 million cost will face pushback from budget leaders who want to trim state spending during an economic downturn.

The committee received a copy of the new plan Tuesday night and debated it for about an hour before voting 6-1 to send it to the full House. Holsman said acting so quickly on a 105-page bill wasn't good government. Muschany said that he provided a breakdown of every new provision and that each element had already been considered previously by the committee.

Besides the process, Holsman also objected to the plan's merit pay elements. About $20 million was directed toward a performance-based stipend that he said encouraged competition among teachers and "breeds an environment where it's every man for himself." Holsman had drafted a schoolwide performance bonus that he called more teacher-friendly. Those bonuses were stripped from the bill.

The proposal "will not pass in its current form," Holsman predicted. He said he would try to alter the proposal before the House voted on it. After the hearing, the state's two large teacher organizations withdrew their support of the bill. "It's no longer a salary bill," said Mike Wood, the lobbyist for the Missouri State Teachers Association, which came up with the idea of a pay boost.

The Missouri National Education Association has long been neutral on the plan, arguing instead for a boost to the state's funding formula. The group is now opposed to the plan, Otto Fajen, the group's lobbyist said.

The bill is HB 2040 - 2430.

Ashcroft Embarasses Self, Us ... Again

In a recent speech, our least favorite son, former USAG Ashcroft referred to Senator Obama as "Osama". So did Mitt Romney -- the plasticman who has never had a word or hair out of place.

Of course it was an accident -- again & again & again, etc.

Oddly the GOP that spent years not mentioning Osama Bin Laden's name -- lest the American people notice that they had failed miserably at apprehending the real terrorist while getting us into an unwarranted war in Iraq -- seems unable to stop saying "Osama" in reference to Sen. Obama. He was Osama Been Forgotten until W. needed a tape of him released in Oct. 2004 to help swing Ohio. Now his name is on the tip of every GOP tongue.

But, let's be honest: If you got the same $54 Million payoff from the Bushie Injustice Department as Ashcroft, you'd probably be photoshopping pictures of Barack, Hillary & Osama with Saddam in a barbershop quartet!

It ain't a slip of the tongue. More a slipping in of the knife blade. The same GOP propaganda machine that convinced 60% of the voters that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks -- a fantasy more absurd than Star Wars -- are busy making Sen. Obama just an "Islamofascist Terrorist Manchurian Candidate" in the minds of the fearful public. Dr. Goebbels may be dead, but his heirs are alive and well -- and determined to hold on to power and $120 a barrel oil!