Governor Nixon Steps In

“What’s gone on here over the last few days is not what Missouri is about, it is not what Ferguson is about. This is a place where people work, go to school, raise their families and go to church, a diverse community, a Missouri community. But lately it has looked a little bit more like a war zone, and that is unacceptable.”

—Missouri Governor Jay Nixon at a press conference in Ferguson on Thursday

Things may be getting better in Ferguson:

Jay Nixon announcement

From The Washington Post:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) has given control of security operations in Ferguson to Missouri State Highway Patrol. Capt. Ronald S. Johnson, who heads the highway patrol’s troop in the region, and will now direct the law enforcement response in the riot-riven city.

Johnson—unlike the overwhelming majority of police officers who have been on the scene—is African American—like the majority of people living in Ferguson. He also happens to be a 27-year veteran of the highway patrol who says he grew up in the community and has made it his home. He also said something that should have hope-generating relevance and comfort-generating resonance for Ferguson citizens and protesters:

I understand the anger and fear that the citizens of Ferguson are feeling, and our officers will respect both of those.

Amen.

And thank you, Governor Nixon.

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Missouri Is Only One Vote Shy Of Insurrection Insanity

I’ve tried to avoid talking about it, but I can’t anymore.

Missouri, the state I’ve called home for more than twenty years now, the state that is in a tax-cutting, service-reducing race to the bottom against my old home state of Kansas, is an embarrassment to anyone with an IQ that exceeds air-conditioned room temperature.

And that embarrassment comes at the hands of extremist Republicans who, because there is a lot of apathy and even more electoral laziness in this state, overwhelmingly control the state legislature, even though, for now, we have a Democratic governor.

I speak of a successful vote—I said: successful vote—by the Missouri House to override Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of one of the most obviously unconstitutional and one of the stupidest bills in the history of governance by otherwise sane members of the Homo sapiens species.

As the Associated Press summarized the bill—which late Wednesday night failed by only one vote—one bleeping vote!—to get the needed two-thirds margin in the Missouri Senate to override—it is breathtaking in its affront to our federalist system of government and in its indifference to the Civil War in our past, not to mention a profound indifference to civilization:

The legislation declares any federal policies that “infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms” shall be invalid in Missouri. It allows state misdemeanor charges to be brought against federal agents who try to enforce those laws or against anyone who publishes the identity of a gun owner.

The AP continued:

Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, also raised concerns last week about the ramifications of a potential veto override. He said a court likely would strike down the nullification provision but could leave intact other sections of the bill that could potentially prevent local police from cooperating with federal authorities on crimes involving guns. He said the bill also could open Missouri police to potential lawsuits from criminals if they refer gun-related cases to federal authorities.

CNN opened a story on this nuttiness like this:

The Missouri state legislature is one step closer to accomplishing something that’s never been done: passing a law that will technically not only let residents own a machine gun, but also arrest federal agents if they try to take it away.

The Springfield News-Leader added this:

Democrats who spoke in opposition said the bill would “shred” the First Amendment, criminalizing the actions of journalists involved in the publication of the names of gun owners.

Locally, where all of our state legislators are rabidly right-wing and thus out of their minds, I suppose we can sort of praise Joplin senator Ron Richard—the Republican Majority Floor Leader in the Missouri Senate—who voted against overriding the governor’s veto on Wednesday night, except that Ron Richard, stupidly, voted for the bill originally. Here’s how the Joplin legislator, who wants to be governor of the state someday soon, explained his unexplainable position on this ghastly piece of legislation:

“The attorney general made some valid points about its constitutionality,” he said. “And after reflecting, reading it again, and talking to a lot of people including those in law enforcement, I’m not sure Missouri needs to be the only state in the union to impose this unconstitutional bill.”

He’s “not sure”? Oh, I guess that means if other states join us, Richard would have no problem with machine guns all over the place, and putting FBI agents and journalists in the hoosegow. But he wasn’t done explainin’:

Richard said officials in law enforcement with whom he talked were uneasy with a law that would nullify federal gun laws in the state and would make it a crime for federal agents to enforce them in Missouri.

“They said, ‘You’re going to force us to arrest an FBI agent,’” he said. “That’s not going to work.”

You think? You don’t think state cops arresting federal cops for being federal cops is going to work? Brilliant, Senator Richard. What a brilliant insight. You should be Missouri’s governor with a brain like that. More:

The senator, who earlier was speaker in the House of Representatives, said he did not regret votes to pass the initial measure, which he said “makes a statement the feds need to stay out of state business.”

Yeah, that’ll show those meddlesome feds! Dammit, if you come near Missouri again, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll let citizens shoot you with their machine guns! And the senator, who earlier noted the bill was “unconstitutional,” nevertheless said “he did not regret” voting for it in the first place. Wow.

It’s insanity.  I feel like I’m living inside of Franz Kafka’s worst nightmare. This state is falling into a black hole of right-wing reactionary ridiculousness and every single one of my local representatives is contributing to it. And there isn’t a damn thing that can be done about it as long as Democrats, and other sane and civilized people, sit at home in large numbers on election day and let these people ruin our state.

By the way, a supporter of this insanity, Senator Brian Nieves, says “we’ll be back to visit it again”:

This fight ain’t over, it ain’t over, it ain’t over.

Kafkaesque, I tell you.

One vote, people. We’re only one vote away.

The President Remembers Joplin

The night of President Obama’s State of the Union speech, Ozark Billy Long, my congressman, greeted the President as he made his way up to the podium. No telling how long Ozark Billy waited to get the seat he had, but I am sure it was worth it, since he is such a great admirer of the President.

He’s not? Oh, well. In any case, here’s a picture of their encounter:

obama greets billy long at sotu

Long tweeted (while Obama was on the podium receiving an ovation before he began his speech) the following:

billy long tweet from sotu

On May 22, 2011, a tornado ravaged Joplin and killed 161 people. A week later, President Obama, Governor Jay Nixon, Senator Claire McCaskill and Billy Long visited our devastated city. The President said then:

This is not just your tragedy. This is a national tragedy and that means there will be a national response.

There was. Still is.

At a memorial service President Obama said:

 I can promise you your country will be there with you every single step of the way. We will be with you every step of the way.  We’re not going anywhere. The cameras may leave.  The spotlight may shift.  But we will be with you every step of the way until Joplin is restored and this community is back on its feet.  We’re not going anywhere.

The President came back to Joplin in May of 2012 to speak to graduates of Joplin High School. Some local conservatives thought he was doing so as a campaign event, even though there was no chance of picking up any votes in this Obama-despising part of the country. Indeed, the locals gave him a whopping 28.3% of the vote.

Obama told the graduates,

Now, just as you’ve learned the goodness of people, you’ve also learned the power of community.  And you’ve heard from some of the other speakers how powerful that is.  And as you take on the roles of co-worker and business owner — neighbor, citizen — you’ll encounter all kinds of divisions between groups, divisions of race and religion and ideology.  You’ll meet people who like to disagree just for the sake of being disagreeable. You’ll meet people who prefer to play up their differences instead of focusing on what they have in common, where they can cooperate. But you’re from Joplin.  So you will always know that it’s always possible for a community to come together when it matters most. 

On Tuesday, before the State of the Union Address, President Obama saw Billy Long and remembered Joplin. Good for him. Good for Joplin. And good for Billy Long for telling us about it.

Here is a short clip I put on YouTube of the President greeting Ozark Billy:

 

Missouri Medicaid Expansion: A Matter Of Life And Death

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was here in Joplin on Wednesday.

Susan Redden of the Joplin Globe reported that Nixon was in town “to assert that Medicaid expansion would be a good business decision for the state.” From the story:

With officials of area hospitals and health care providers standing behind him, Nixon told a Joplin crowd that rejecting the Medicaid expansion available under the Affordable Care Act would send tax dollars collected in Missouri to other states where the coverage has been expanded.

“The question is narrow: Will we bring back those federal tax dollars to help the state or not?” the governor said in a presentation at the Robert W. Plaster School of Business at Missouri Southern State University. “If we don’t, other states will get the help, and we’ll pay the bill.”

The article notes that some 300,000 Missourians will benefit from the expansion of Medicaid, and in the words of Governor Nixon,

the people it will help are working folks who otherwise are going to end up in the emergency room.

Naturally, since the expansion will help “working folks,” many Republicans are against it, including leadership in our right-wing-dominated legislature. But the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and some local chambers, but not yet including Joplin, are on board because they recognize the foolishness of rejecting the expansion, just to spit in the eye of Barack Obama.

Expanding Medicaid happens to be good for business and employment:

Nixon cited a study by the University of Missouri suggesting that the additional funding for health care would create 24,000 new jobs in Missouri the first full year of the expansion. And, he said, states that don’t expand coverage could be put at a competitive disadvantage when small businesses are looking to add jobs, which often start on the lower end of the wage scale.

“If businesses are paying the same wage, and workers are getting health coverage in one state and not another, it could make a difference,” he said.

Medicaid expansion is projected to bring back to the state $1.8 billion in the first full year of coverage, and $5.7 billion over three years, Nixon said. “If we take a pass, Missouri residents pay that money in taxes, but it goes to other states,” he said.

As most of us know, the Supreme Court, in upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, ruled that the provisions in the law that required states to expand Medicaid coverage to folks earning below 138 percent of the federal poverty level went too far. The Court’s decision allowed states to opt out of the expansion, even while staying in the Medicaid program.

Some Republicans claim our state can’t afford to expand Medicaid. But the entire cost of the expansion is covered by the federal government from 2014 through 2016. Then, until 2020 the states have to cover 5% of the annual cost, and after 2020, the states have to cover 10%. And that’s it.  Providing health insurance to 300,000 working folks in Missouri is a damn good deal.

And it’s a good deal for hospitals and other health care providers, who clearly recognize the foolishness of keeping poor people from getting health insurance. Those poor folks often seek care—expensive care—at emergency rooms, and much of that care—mandated by EMTALA—is uncompensated.

The federal government, through Disproportionate Share Hospital allotments, provides support to hospitals (“safety-net hospitals“) that treat the uninsured who can’t pay. In 2011, that support amounted to $11.3 billion, a little more than one-fourth of the estimated cost ($41.1 billion) to hospitals for providing care to those who can’t afford it.

The Affordable Care Act, because its purpose was to insure people and reduce uncompensated care, lowers federal payments to hospitals that treat those who can’t pay. But because the Supreme Court made the expansion voluntary and because many Republican governors and legislatures hate Obama and ObamaCare, the states who opt out are burdening the hospitals in their states with extra costs.

That’s why here in Joplin Governor Nixon met with local hospital leaders, who have given him their blessing. One of those leaders, Paula Baker, president of Freeman Health System, said,

He didn’t need to sell us on it.

But beyond the finances of the Medicaid expansion, there is the human element. Consider this from The Incidental Economist, a blog dedicated to studying America’s health care system:

First of all, Medicaid is good for health. Let’s start with a simple truth: having health insurance is better than not having health insurance. Not only is health insurance good for health, but it actually saves lives. Medicaid is, of course, health insurance. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that studies show Medicaid improves health. Now some people have garnered a lot of attention by claiming that Medicaid actually hurts people. They’re citing studies that show correlation, not causation. Medicaid doesn’t cause bad health; people who qualify for Medicaid are more likely to have bad health for other reasons. There’s a huge randomized controlled trial of Medicaid going on in Oregon right now, and that’s the kind of study you’d do to prove causation. It’s showing that Medicaid is good for health.

Expanding Medicaid is not only a good thing to do in terms of finances, it is “good for health.” It is good public policy. It is the right thing to do. And it does save lives, as was suggested in the Globe article. A woman named Patricia Bailey was visiting a local Joplin clinic that serves a significant number of folks on Medicaid:

Bailey, 61, of Joplin, said she has been on Medicaid for the past four years. Without it, she said, she wouldn’t have sought treatment that included three hospitalizations.

“I couldn’t have afforded it. I think I’d probably be dead,” she said.

More than the money, more than anything else, as Missourians, as Americans, we should expand Medicaid coverage because for some folks, it is a matter of life and death.

Seven Democrats And One “Visibly Distraught” Republican

Birth control is basic health care and is an economic issue for Missouri women and families. To make a woman pay for birth control on top of premium payments has real economic consequences.”

—Missouri State Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur.

aking a brief timeout from national politics, I want to call attention to what Republicans here in Missouri shamefully pulled off on Wednesday. From the AP:

Missouri lawmakers enacted new religious exemptions from insurance coverage of birth control Wednesday, overriding a gubernatorial veto and delivering a political rebuke to an Obama administration policy requiring insurers to cover contraception.

Overriding Governor Jay Nixon’s July veto wasn’t easy. In the House, Republicans had exactly the votes they needed—109—and not one vote more, thanks to seven Democrats—yes, I said Democrats—who unbelievably voted against Missouri women and reproductive freedom.

Governor Nixon said,

By their act today, the legislators who voted to override this veto are standing between women and their right to make their own personal decisions about birth control.

The deciding vote, as it turns out, belonged to Republican Chris Molendorp, of Belton. The Kansas City Star pointed out that Molendorp, an insurance agent,

was the only member of his party to oppose the birth control bill when it originally passed in May.

The only member of his party. The only one. And he caved into pressure from his fellow Republicans and, when it counted most, voted against Missouri women. The Star describes Molendorp’s behavior after the vote:

A visibly distraught Molendorp left the House floor and did not participate in a Republican press conference after the vote. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

If you want to try to reach Mr. Molendorp for comment or just to express your displeasure with his inexplicable vote, here is his Jefferson City contact info:

Phone: 573-751-2175   Email: Chris.Molendorp@house.mo.gov

Fortunately, a lawsuit has been filed by a Kansas City firefighter and the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women, asking a judge to restore some sanity to Missouri politics and toss the law out.

For the record, here are the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of the Democrats—Democrats!—who chose religious oppression over women’s freedom:

Ron Casey, from Crystal City. Phone: 636-937-5075    Ron.Casey@house.mo.gov

Joe Fallert, from Ste. Genevieve. Phone: 573-751-7735     Joe.FallertJr@house.mo.gov

Ben Harris, from Hillsboro. Phone: 636-221-1798         Ben.Harris@house.mo.gov

Paul Quinn, from Monroe City. Phone: 866-439-1422        Paul.Quinn@house.mo.gov

Ed Schieffer*, from Troy. Phone: 573-751-9459                     Ed.Schieffer@house.mo.gov

Tom Shively, from Shelbyville. Phone: 573-633-2484   Tom.Shively@house.mo.gov

Terry Swinger, from Caruthersville. Phone: 573-333-1861   tswinger2000@yahoo.com

______________________________

A special note about this Democrat from the AP:

In the House, Rep. Ed Schieffer, D-Troy, arrived in a wheelchair after suffering a staph infection from knee surgery in order to vote for the veto override.

If only he cared as much about the rights of women.

Missouri Politics Catch Up

I think I have neglected Missouri politics lately, so let’s catch up:

Whoops! Somebody call the cops!

First, the Missouri GOP caucus mess. For a party that likes to think of itself as the most competent to manage the world’s affairs, including lowering gas prices and taming foreign governments, a St. Charles County Missouri caucus proved more than it could handle:

One of Missouri’s largest Republican Party presidential-nomination caucuses got shut down early — and inconclusively — after a chaotic argument led two Ron Paul supporters to be arrested on Saturday.

Minimum Wage? What’s That?

Steve Benen wrote:

It’s no longer unusual for statewide GOP candidates to oppose the minimum wage, child-labor laws, the existing structure of Medicare and guaranteed benefits, restrictions on torture, collective bargaining, and unemployment benefits.

Not too long ago, this would have been largely unthinkable, and such candidates would have been labeled “extremists,” unable to even compete in a statewide primary.

Benen was referencing Greg Sargent at WaPo, who noticed the sad fact that the three GOP candidates hoping to end the senate career of Missouri’s Claire McCaskill not only didn’t know what the federal minimum wage actually is but two of them—Todd Akin and Jon Brunner—”seemed to come out for doing away with the minimum wage entirely.”

Well, here in Missouri these days it would be “unthinkable” for Republicans to not hold such extremist views.

Stimulus Is Gone, Now What?

Speaking of extremism, let’s look at what our Missouri state legislators have planned for the new session. This is the way the St. Louis Beacon reported the return from spring break of Missouri’s plucky lawmakers:

House Floor Leader (and speaker-in-waiting) Tim Jones, R-Eureka, agrees with Senate leaders that economic development will take center stage again.

But so will the state’s financial problems, which have been softened by federal stimulus aid over the past three years.

You mean the stimulus helped Missouri? That can’t be right because everyone knows that Obama’s stimulus was a failure. Must be a misprint.

Missouri Vaginas Versus “Employers’ Wishes”

Most Missouri women will be happy to know that our legislators have not forgotten about their reproductive real estate and how it might be put to improper use:

Jones said the House and Senate also are working on similar bills that would allow employers to exclude contraceptives from their employees’ health insurance. The aim is “strengthening the employers’ wishes’’ about what they want their insurance to cover, he said.

In Missouri, Republicans are worried more about “the employers’ wishes” than about anything else. And to prove that, please read on.

Workers’ Rights Are Wrong In Missouri Legislature

Late last week, Nixon vetoed two…bills, which sought to tighten the state’s workers compensation laws and to curb workers’ ability to sue employers for discrimination. Both measures had been sought by business groups, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Republican leaders in both chambers, including [speaker-in-waiting Tim] Jones, blasted the governor’s action. But Jones acknowledged in an interview that it’s unlikely the House will override the governor’s vetoes. That means new versions must be crafted or the issues deferred to the next session.

“We spent a great deal of legislative time on two measures that are now gone,’’ said Jones.

Regardless of what Nixon’s vetoes may imply, said Jones: “We didn’t pass these bills to score political points.”

Oh, yes you did.

And thank you, Governor Jay Nixon, for helping to protect Missouri workers.

Republicans Not Too Proud To Make Workers Beg

Republican attacks on Missouri workers continue. The state Senate is itching to pass a “right-to-work beg” law, and “a compromise” between the Republican-dominated House and the Republican-dominated Senate (see? that is what we mean these days by a Missouri compromise!) on the “prevailing wage” issue is predicted by Jones.

Keep your veto pen inked up, Gov’nor.

For Sale: Missouri Legislators

The Missouri Supreme Court recently kiboshed, on technical grounds, ethics legislation designed to make ethics-resistant politicians ethical, or something like that. But Democrats are pushing the issue again this session. On Monday they introduced a bill that would restore at least some limits on purchasing our politicians:

The Democrats’ proposal would set the top donation limit at $5,000 per election, more than twice the old limits.

Perhaps many of you have forgotten that Republicans erased any limits in 2008, when they effectively and arrogantly overturned the will of Missouri voters, who approved Proposition A (The Missouri Campaign Contribution Limits Proposition) in 1994.

When one looks at the results of that state-wide vote (the statute provided for dramatically lower limits than politicians are willing to live with today), it is hard to see why Republicans felt free to give the finger to Missouri voters:

The truth is that Missouri Republicans are so confident that conservative rural voters will keep sending them to Jefferson City, they can flip the electorate the bird with each hand and get back a friendly wave.

The Blind Bleeding The Blind

As for budget issues, let me see, House Republicans are planning to kill “the state’s longstanding assistance for the blind.” Floor leader Jones called this “an extra benefit” (it helps 2,800 blind folks who don’t quite qualify for Medicaid), saying:

in tough economic times, extra programs that are specifically targeted to specific classes of individuals have to be looked at first.

Yes. Here in Missouri the first individuals to get a look in terms of budget cuts are the blind. I suppose somebody has to sacrifice to keep taxes low enough to attract all those bidnesses that never seem to get the message that they should pack up and move to Missouri.

Proper Role?

Speaking of bidnesses who aren’t moving to Missouri, I want to point out something important that House floor leader Jones said:

There’s a proper role for state government to create the environment by which businesses want to move here and create jobs here.

In Missouri, that means keeping taxes low, keeping wages low, keeping unions at bay, weakening already-weak workers’ compensation laws and other workers’ rights.

Oh yeah, I forgot about booting the blind from the budget. That’ll get bidnesses’ attention.

Ozark Billy, Meet Ozark Bill

Since Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a family values Republican, has stumbled over a Penthouse Pet on his way to becoming our next governor, I thought I would bring to your attention the only Republican officially running against Missouri governor Jay Nixon at this time: Bill Randles.

Bill who?

That’s Bill Randles, from the little ol’ “Ozarks town of Springdale, Arkansas,”  who says he “is still just a country boy at heart,” who has “never lost that Southern accent.”  And, he says:

His garage is stacked with trout fishing gear and his mind is stacked full of ideas for how to make Missouri the standard to which all other states will aspire.

I think I know who the trout is in this scenario, and I say to the trout, watch out.

This latest Ozark Billy, let’s call him Ozark Bill, has been a minister and a Haarvard-trained big-city lawya (the big city was first St. Louis and then Kansas City) and perhaps most interesting:

But by the end of 2008, Bill’s professional focus changed.  After watching his former law school classmate, Barack Obama, run for president, and a mediocre career politician ride Obama’s coattails into the Missouri governor’s office, Bill decided it was finally time for him to reclaim the goals he had when he left Harvard. 

Ozark Bill made this claim in his website bio:

Despite the liberal orthodoxy taught by most of Harvard’s esteemed professors, and swallowed whole by most of his classmates, the liberal teaching helped Bill to further analyze his own conservative views, to carefully understand and dissect the other side’s accounts of the world we live in, and to better articulate his own.  As a result, Bill left Harvard even more conservative than when he arrived. 

Damn!  Those Harvard lefties didn’t fool this Ozarkian conservative! Why, he didn’t go to Harvard to swallow whole any of that liberal nonsense like the rest of his classmates, including Barack Obama. And he certainly didn’t go there to be one of them there mediocre career politicians like Jay Nixon. Rather than alter his Baptist-preacher worldview, those dumb liberals merely helped him sharpen his game as a future leader of our state!

In any case, those of us in Southwest Missouri may see this new Ozark Bill around here a lot, as he thinks a lot of us.  From CBS St. Louis:

…he says it’s important the party pick a candidate who energizes conservative Christian voters in southwest Missouri.

“If you go to the southwest part of the state, the buckle of the Bible belt, it’s the determining factor,” Randles said, “For a Republican in Missouri, if you can’t win the southwest part of the state, you can’t win.”

Randles was asked if those conservative Christian voters in southwest Missouri might stay home or even vote for Governor Nixon  — if faced with a choice between Nixon and Kinder. 

“I do think that’s a factor that has to be considered, of course,” Randles said…

By the way, you can probably guess some of the policy positions of this brand of Billy, but in case you’re stumped:

Fair Tax—check.

Pro-bidness—check.

Eliminate public-sector unions—check.

School choice—check.

Tort reform—check.

Cut government and kill state agencies—check.

Scale back eminent domain—check. (This one won’t come in time to help the woman standing in the way of constructing a new high school in Joplin, dang it.)

As I said, watch out trout!

(h/t: FiredUp!Missouri) (Images from http://www.billrandles.com/)

Schweich Versus Nixon

The Joplin Globe‘s Thursday editorial offered some criticism of Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich’s peevish lawsuit against Governor Jay Nixon. 

The paper said Schweich’s “timing couldn’t be more wrong.”

The Republican Schweich is suing the Democratic governor over Nixon’s methods—”unconstitutional” says the auditor—of making disaster relief funding available to Joplin and other disaster areas in the state, which methods involved withholding $170 million in funds that had already been appropriated for other uses—including an extra $300,000 for Schweich’s state office—and diverting them into disaster relief, a hefty chunk of which is designated for Joplin.

The Globe mentioned the issue of Schweich’s political motives involving the pantless party-troubled Lt. Governor Peter Kinder:

Schweich, in an interview Tuesday with the Globe, brought up Kinder before we did. He said the lawsuit has absolutely nothing to do with Kinder or politics. Asked if he would have filed the lawsuit had he been working with a Republican governor, Schweich was emphatic with his answer.

“Absolutely. I sent Nixon a letter about the audit findings and he’s blown me off. I would have done the same thing if that type of response had come from a Republican governor.”

You see?  Nixon’s real sin, apparently, is that he blew off the sensitive auditor.

The issue is interesting for another reason.  There is a battle of editorial positions of the state’s two largest newspapers over Nixon’s admittedly sneaky end-around.

A Kansas City Star editorial criticized Nixon for acting “at least unwise and arrogant” and for taking his “cutter in chief” reputation “too far“:

The Democratic governor has arbitrarily been altering the 2012 budget sent to him by the Republican-controlled legislature. He’s cut money appropriated for colleges and universities, the Parents as Teachers program, the state transportation department and other functions.

The paper suggests that Nixon’s motive for helping places like Joplin involves some politics:

Nixon can meet emergency expenses without further penalizing universities and people in need of social services. The obvious option is to tap the state’s $527 million rainy day fund. If flooding and tornadoes don’t qualify as a rainy day, why have an emergency account?

Using the fund would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature, and the money would have to be paid back over three years. Key lawmakers from both parties say they would be willing to authorize the spending. Nixon would have to share the credit for helping tornado victims, but at this point some esprit de corps would be a welcome change.

Yes, shame on a politician up for reelection for not wanting to share any credit that might come his way.  Shame, shame, shame.  But the Star does have a point about some of the budget cuts.  Part of the amount will come from general revenue, but the majority of it will come from cutting funding for state agencies and programs, including Medicaid and children’s services.

If a Republican were to do that, I think state Missouri Democrats would be, shall we say, not so supportive.

On the other hand, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorialized this way:

On its surface, the action might seem like just another example of a politician who equates governance with campaigning, a typical attempt at blatant partisanship wrapped up in legal arguments weaker than a first-year law student’s paper written after an all-night bender.

Ouch.

There’s more about that $300,000 increase in Schweich’s office budget:

In a nutshell: The governor is wrong to cut the auditor’s budget to pay for rebuilding the devastation caused by the Joplin tornado.

That’s right. Mr. Schweich wants the court and the public to believe that his budget is more important than helping a city rebuild from one of the worst natural disasters in our state’s history.

Mr. Schweich, were he granting interviews, probably would take issue with that characterization, but that’s what his lawsuit does.

And the final touché:

Were Mr. Schweich to win his legal argument, he would get access to his $300,000. The folks in Joplin would have to wait for the Legislature to decide whether they were as worthy.

As for the Joplin Globe, home of the largest disaster in state history, its editorial ended with this:

Now it will be up to the courts to decide if Nixon has overstepped the authority that comes with being governor.

We doubt the people who lived in the 7,000 homes destroyed by the tornado are going to care. We doubt the 545 business owners who are trying to get up and running are going to care.

It may turn out that Schweich is right about the process the governor used to find money to pay for Joplin’s disaster relief.

But his timing couldn’t be more wrong.

Another Family-Values Republican Gone Down

David Humphreys, who lives in Joplin and owns Tamko Building Products, has given a lot of money to Republicans over the years.  He and his family are nationally-known donors to conservative candidates and causes, including the Republican aspirant for Missouri governor, Peter Kinder.

According to FiredUp!Missouri, the Humphreys family has given Peter Kinder $766,903 since 2008. Man, what I could do with that kind of money. I bet I could talk and write like a teapartier for that kind of dough.

Anyway, Kinder, in case you forgot, is currently our state’s Lt. Governor.  I have largely avoided writing about him because a) I don’t like him, and b) I never thought he had much chance of defeating Democrat Jay Nixon, for a lot of reasons that pale in comparison to the one that currently has him in deep, family-values doo-doo.

It seems that Mr. Kinder, with his family values in tow, has, shall we say, parked his Winnebago in the wrong campground a time or two or, well, we don’t know how many times, really.  The campground was a bar-place in St. Louis called Verlin’s, a hot spot famous for—I am told—”pantless parties.” 

Now, if you are a family-values Republican, you sort of don’t want your name and “pantless parties” in the same sentence, let alone have a photograph of you and a hottie floating around for all to see.

Anyhow, pantless entertainment is not that prevalent around these parts, but then this part of the country isn’t exactly sexy Las Vegas.  Just about the most exciting pantless time around here for a guy is in the change-rooms at Wal-Mart, just after the latest shipment of Genuine Dickies comes in.

But despite its lack of excitement, this is where David Humphreys lives and this is how Politico reported what the GOP donor had to say about Mr. Kinder:

David Humphreys, a southwest Missouri businessman and major GOP donor who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the party, is abandoning his support for Peter Kinder’s gubernatorial bid and calling on him to resign.

Humphreys tells POLITICO in an email that he has asked the lieutenant governor to forego a 2012 campaign, requested his donations be returned and warned he will support Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon if Kinder is the GOP nominee.

Humphreys’ move is a devastating blow to Kinder and the strongest signal to date that the lieutenant governor’s support is beginning to erode in light of a story that detailed his interactions with a former Penthouse Pet.

“If I had known this about him I would not have supported him in the past,” Humphreys told POLITICO.

Humphreys, a deeply conservative and private man, also conveyed he believes Kinder should step down from his current post immediately as a matter of principle and “so that he is not a liability to other Republicans in the upcoming elections.”

That pretty much ends Mr. Kinder’s political career, but before he goes, if you want all the details of what led up to Mr. Humphrey’s statement, Sean at FiredUp! has thoroughly documented the saga, so start here and ENJOY!

The Socialist Capital Of Missouri: Joplin

As I have mentioned before, the EF-5 tornado that blew through Joplin on May 22, killing 160 people and destroying or damaging more than 7000 homes and businesses, also seems to have destroyed or damaged the anti-government sentiments of a lot of folks around here. 

At least until it’s time to elect more anti-government politicians to office.

In the wake of the deadly storm has come a tsunami of socialism to this notoriously fed-up-with-gubmint part of the country.

Consider just the last two days of reporting in the Joplin Globe.  On Friday, the above-the-fold news was:

In that article we learn:

JOPLIN, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon at a news conference Thursday afternoon announced state funding of up to $1.5 million for the Joplin School District to offset a projected drop in property tax revenue as a result of the damage wreaked by the May 22 tornado.

And:

Without the state funding, state and local officials said, the district would have had to contemplate raising the local operating and debt-service levies to meet financial needs for fiscal year 2012.

Think about that, all you anti-government types in Joplin.  In order to keep from raising local property taxes, our school district needs the help of other Missourians.  That’s called democratic socialism, my friends.

Or consider Saturday’s Joplin Globe:

In the first story we learn:

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin’s city administration will ask the City Council at its meeting Monday night to allow the city to make application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for individual storm shelter funding.

Assistant City Manager Sam Anselm said that if the council authorized submission of the application and it was eventually approved, residents could build storm shelters or safe rooms and be reimbursed for 75 percent of the cost.

In the second story we learn how eager some other area communities are in getting in on the federal program that would help with storm shelter funding.

Now, you can call this stuff anything you want, but when other Americans are helping Joplinites purchase and install storm shelters, I call it democratic socialism.

Finally, Saturday’s Globe also brought us this headline:

Contracts total $31 million for temporary schools

FEMA to pick up most of the cost.

In that story we find out many details about to whom this particular FEMA money—courtesy of democratic socialism in America—will go.  The money, only part of what FEMA has done for Joplin, is designated for contracts to establish temporary schools to replace those that were destroyed in the tornado. 

Here is a partial list of some of the local direct monetary beneficiaries of democratic socialism around the area:

Crossland Construction of Columbus, Ks.: $9,456,774

R.E. Smith Construction of Joplin: $5,786,104

Intelligent Investments of Neosho: $2,485,498

KIR Joplin, which owns the space in Northpark Mall that will house half of Joplin High School: $1,000,000 per year

Northpark Mall‘s management company: $134,250 per year

Joplin Business and Industrial Corporation for leasing space for East Middle School students: $432,000 per year

Bentley Investments, owned by Joplin resident Gary Hall: $420,000 per year

Joplin Memorial Hall, owned by the city: $400,000 per year

There you have it.  Socialism is alive and well in our fair city, but few dare call it that. 

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