How A Joplin Globe Columnist Reveals Why National Republicans Treat Obama Like An Uppity Negro

It is now official. The Scary Negro will have to stay seated in the back of the constitutional bus:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday launched an unprecedented blockade of President Barack Obama’s yet-to-be-named Supreme Court pick, saying they won’t give any nominee a hearing or even meet with the candidate.

obama is a communistLet’s please stop shying away from what that word “unprecedented” means in the context of Obama’s pigmented presidency and even before. From the beginning, he has suffered one unprecedented Republican-led assault on his dignity after another, whether it be absurd doubts about his birthplace and citizenship, or irrational claims that he doesn’t love his country and wants to destroy it, or embarrassing cheers for that infamous shout of “You lie!” during a speech to Congress.

He has been called “lazy” by a Romney surrogate. He has been called “uppity” by a Georgia congressman, and so too his wife by the most popular right-wing radio host in history. There has been constant talk of impeachment, constant charges that he is a Constitution-trampling, lawless dictator. Those and many more personal affronts were either authored by or quietly endorsed by national figures in the Republican Party.

So, what goes on in the minds of people so poisoned by hatred for Barack Obama?

Let’s take a frightening peek into one of those minds, one of those minds that Republican leaders play to when they do such unprecedented things like denying a hearing to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. This mind does not belong to a national figure, thank God. He is a local writer here in Hooterville, a regular columnist for the Joplin Globe. And this local columnist has referred to President Obama as a “monkey” (full explanation here) and yet he is still featured prominently in the paper. In the past, he has used Obama’s name in connection with the word “boy,” and that bothered no honcho at the Joplin Globe. He still refers to our president as Dear Leader, a reference to a dead North Korean communist dictator whose crimes against humanity can’t be numbered. Again, that witless reference is acceptable to his newspaper employer.

After Obama’s reelection in 2012, this regular Joplin Globe columnist called the president an “asshole” and “unAmerican.” He tweeted:

caldwell and obama destroying americaNow, I don’t have the credentials to accurately diagnose what exactly is wrong with someone who would write something so utterly stupid. But The Scary Negro’s reelection was so devastating to white conservatives, that at I am forced, through sheer decency, to at least pity their poor, broken souls.

Following that humiliating election defeat of a lily-white Romney, our lily-white local Joplin Globe columnist lamented that “we left God and he has left us as a country.” He tweeted, “unfortunately life as we all knew it ended…with a minion media sponsored coup by ignorant idiots.” A coup? And just who were those idiots? Why, they were sick Democrats of course:

caldwell and democrats disabledIn case you have never visited there, this kind of sophomoric nonsense passes for brilliance in the strange and nasty conservative Twitterverse. Here is more right-wing brilliance from the local Joplin Globe columnist:

caldwell and the enemies of AmericaYep. That’s so clever. And so insightful. Apparently it is such brilliance that qualifies you to be a regular columnist for our local paper of record. As does this bit of nastiness:

caldwell go fuck yourselves

For the uninitiated, “Argofyourselves” translates, “Ah, go fuck yourselves.” Isn’t that classy stuff, all you selfish bastards? And very worthy of a local Joplin Globe columnist who advertises his Christian faith and his love for his fellow countrymen.

I can and will go on. The Joplin columnist has written that “the world hates the Jews and Obama’s right in there withem.” That despite the fact that Obama wants to increase security assistance to Israel beyond the $3.1 billion we’re already giving them every year. And responding to the 2012 election fact that “Obama won Hispanics 71-27,” our local columnist said, “Racists want what racists want. We pay they take.” By “we” he means, of course, “we white folks” who are supporting all those greedy “brown folks.”

In order to try to understand how profound is the hatred of The Scary Negro, and why national Republicans continue to exploit white racial angst, I want to take you back to November 6, 2012, that great day when Obama was reelected. I want to show you how Obama-inspired hate began to ooze out of our local columnist right in front of God, the Globe, and everyone.

Let’s first start with his pleas to the Almighty Whitey at 4:46am:

caldwell prayer

As it turned out, either Dear Lord thought voters ought to make up their own minds on election day or Dear Lord guided the voters toward Barack Hussein Obama. But so early in the morning, our local columnist didn’t yet know what the will of the voters or the Lord would be. Three hours after that Twitter prayer, hope was still alive:

caldwell put god back in this house

Who knew that God had been homeless since 2009? Where the hell had he been living? In an alley behind Trump Tower?

Anyway, seemingly credible evidence of an Obama defeat was beginning to appear at 2:14pm that day, and it was starting to look like Dear Lord had heard our local columnist’s prayer:

caldwell before election results

You can feel the excitement building! America—excuse me, AMERICA—is coming home! Which would mean that Whites and God will get their House back! But, dammit, at 7:38pm some Almighty Whitey doubts were starting to creep in, and perhaps the earlier optimism was nothing but premature ejaculation:

caldwell on election night

Uh-oh. That didn’t sound very Christianly, did it?  Obama voters didn’t even have one ounce of decency? Or at least one working brain cell? Man. That’s getting close to hating on your fellow man. And by 10:04 in the evening, after even Karl Rove had finally figured out that Obama would live another four years in the White’s House, the Obama-inspired hate was totally unloosed:

caldwell go fuck yourselves2Praise God and the Joplin Globe for making this man a regular on its opinion pages! What Bible Belt class! How proud the locals should be of their Jesus-loving, editorial-writing hero. But our local columnist wasn’t done that night. Besides blaming Ohio voters, he gave a special shout-out to journalists:

journalists are traitors

You’d think that a man who once bragged to me that he had an IQ of 140, could at least correctly spell “traitors” on such a special occasion. But, dammit, he was pissed! God had let him down! This was no goddamned spelling bee! It was the end of the world!

There is this right-wing Twitterer out there who calls himself “White Fright,” for obvious reasons if you read through his tweets. Just to give you a taste, White Fright recently tweeted: “When Trump is elected, I’m going to act just like all the obnoxious blacks did with Obama, and call him ‘MY President.'” Nice expression of white outrage, huh?

Well, it turns out that White Fright was tweeting back in 2012 on election night, when Obama blew White Fright’s mind by beating Mittens. And it turns out our thoughtful and God-fearing Joplin Globe columnist, patriot to the core, had something inspiring to say in response to White Fright’s opinion of the 2012 results:
caldwell white fright response

It is more than ironic that our local Jesus-loving columnist would, in his moment of mental and spiritual agony, turn to atheist Ayn Rand’s goofy white fictional character to express his outrage at four more years of The Scary Negro. But given how much space Mr. Obama occupies in the heads of white conservatives, it is understandable. There is something about our president that brings out the stupid, reveals the nastiness, in white conservatives.

I wonder what it is?

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The Joplin Globe’s “Monkey House” Problem

In his response to my post about a local Joplin Globe columnist’s racist tweet, Anson Burlingame, a local blogger who sometimes contributes to the Joplin Globe and who often contributes to the comment section of this blog, wrote in to defend columnist Geoff Caldwell’s use of the term “monkey” in reference to President Obama:

…a monkey is another word for a funny and scatter brained like “thing”. When one is accused of “acting like a monkey” I never considered it a racist comment. Get off this liberal racist accusation against any and all opposing Obama.

Another frequent contributor to this blog, King Beauregard, wrote in response to Anson’s claim:

“Monkey” carries racial baggage and you know it, and more importantly, Geoff knows it. That was the entire point of his tweet.

Exactly. That was the entire point of the tweet, whether Anson realizes it or not. And another commenter, Henry Morgan, put some force behind King Beauregard’s claim:

Anson tells us that “a monkey is another word for a funny and scatter brained like “thing.”
Yes, and a “coon” is a small animal of American forests known for its fastidious eating habits.
And an “ape” is a member of a family of primates inhabiting tropical environs.
A “buck” is a male deer.
A “boy” is a young human male.
And most certainly, as Anson implies, one’s first meaning attached to these words when African-Americans are part of the discussion, is the denotative, not the connotative.
Gee, just nice, kindly words.

Brilliant stuff.

Another frequent contributor, Jim Wheeler, doubted whether Anson was unaware of the obvious fact “that the monkey reference is terminology historically used to deprecate the inferiority of the black race.” Jim writes:

Anson presents an apparently blind eye to this, despite having grown up in Kentucky. That he really didn’t understand the slur is about as likely as believing that Archie Bunker wouldn’t. But wait. I can picture Archie using it and not even realizing its effect, so never mind. 😉

Okay. I’m going to assume, for the sake of argument, that Anson genuinely was not aware that the term “monkey” has historically been used as a racial epithet and worse. I’m going to assume that Anson didn’t see the story earlier this year about North Korea’s state media describing President Obama as a “wicked black monkey.” I suppose it could be that the North Koreans were just saying that our wicked president was a “funny and scatter brained like ‘thing.'” They’re known for their playful chatter, right? Not even Anson Burlingame would believe that, I am sure.

In any case, in order to help make Anson—and others tempted to think that a local columnist comparing our first African-American president to a monkey was just a playful form of criticism—aware of the awful history behind the connection, I’m going to introduce them to Ota Benga, a Congolese man who actually became part of an exhibition at the Bronx Zoo in 1906.  According to Encylopedia Virginia,

…tens of thousands of people came to see the famous Pygmy who shared a cage with an Asian orangutan, several chimpanzees, and a parrot…The so-called man and monkey show was immediately controversial. 

As Wikipedia notes, Benga was displayed in the zoo’s famous “Monkey House,” which closed in 2012. But pay particular attention to this historical fact on the Wiki page:

Displays of non-Western humans as examples of “earlier stages” of human evolution were common in the early 20th century, when racial theories were frequently intertwined with concepts from evolutionary biology.

It’s no accident when someone who wishes to disparage an African-American uses the term monkey. It’s not just “another word for a funny and scatter brained like ‘thing,'” as Anson claimed. And it is especially no accident when someone who literally despises Barack Obama tweets the following:

caldwell and monkey tweet

Geoff Caldwell, a disturbingly reactionary columnist for the Joplin Globe, may never have heard of Ota Benga and his appearance as an exhibit in the Monkey House at the Bronx Zoo in 1906. But he most certainly knows the awful and racist meaning behind calling President Obama a monkey. And that is precisely why he did it.

The only question remaining is whether the Joplin Globe will tolerate such behavior.

Joplin Globe’s Local Columnist Writes Racist Tweet

Every Wednesday someone working on behalf of the Joplin Globe throws trash in my yard.

That trash comes in the form of a column on the editorial page inside the “free” newspaper that is distributed to non-subscribers. That column is written by a man who is now a regular columnist for the Joplin Globe. His name will be familiar to long-time readers of this blog: Geoff Caldwell.

Caldwell is a troll that I banished from commenting on this blog a long time ago, details of which I won’t go into now. Neither will I go into the details of why I think calling Caldwell’s columns “trash” is, well, an understatement. But even though I hesitate to even bring attention to him—because he is starving for attention from me or anyone—I do think that my fellow Democrats out there, as well as independents, who support the Joplin Globe through subscriptions or daily purchases should be aware of what your money is subsidizing.

As we all know, President Obama decided recently to take executive action to defer deportment of some undocumented immigrants, which would, among other things, help keep families together. You would think that keeping families together would be something that self-professed “family-values” Christians like Geoff Caldwell could appreciate. But hatred for Barack Obama has poisoned the minds of so many teapartiers like Caldwell that instead of appreciation of a humane act, or instead of reasoned criticism of what some consider executive overreach, we get this:

caldwell and monkey tweet

Now, Caldwell may think he can get away with this obviously racist tweet because of the “banana republic” reference, but he and I both know better. We’ve been down this road before.

I am sure the Joplin Globe will continue to litter my lawn with Caldwell’s columns on Wednesday mornings in an effort to more widely distribute the advertising that is stuffed into that edition, as well as to pick up new subscribers. But I am also sure that as long as my local paper publishes a column by a pedestrian writer who calls our first African-American president a “monkey,” I will never again be a subscriber.

By the way, for those of you interested in expressing your displeasure to the Joplin Globe, the phone number is 417-781-5500. If you want to make a written complaint to the Globe’s parent company, Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., here is a link to its site: http://www.cnhi.com/general-inquiries/

The Randy Turner Case (Updated)

For those of you who tune into this blog for political opinion, I apologize for the following post, but I feel compelled to comment on something happening in my local school district.

Randy Turner is a teacher assigned to Joplin East Middle School. Until recently he taught English to eighth graders, and judging by the accounts I have read from current and former students, he was good at it.  He was once a finalist for the district’s Teacher of the Year Award. Turner is also a local blogger (The Turner Report), does some writing for The Huffington Post, and has authored several books.

The 57-year-old middle school teacher is now on administrative leave, having been escorted from school premises by a police officer on April 8—a mere six weeks before the end of the school year.

The charges against him, as related by Mr. Turner himself, can be found here. For the sake of brevity, I will condense the charges down to the two essential ones:

1) That he directed his middle-school students to a book he wrote, No Child Left Alive, which the district claims contained “sexually explicit and violent passages,” and that he promoted “obscene material” in the book “to 12, 13, and 14-year-old children through his blog for his middle school communication arts class.”

2) That he “marketed for personal gain” another book he wrote, Scars from the Tornado, that incorporated “stories, essays, and comments” from his eighth grade students about Joplin’s horrific storm experience, and that Turner allegedly “instructed” his students to contribute to the book.

Mr. Turner offers his public (and to me, plausible) defense against these charges on his blog and I will leave interested readers to draw their own conclusions, but there are a couple of things that bother me about the actions the school district has taken.

Before I offer my criticisms of the district’s actions against Turner, I want to make a couple of things clear. Randy Turner is not a fan of mine. I used to read the Turner Report now and then and even linked to it for a while, but he didn’t seem to appreciate my writing or my efforts on this blog, particularly when it was connected to the Joplin Globe, so I sort of wandered away from what he was doing.

But I have appreciated his criticism of our education system and the attempts to reform it, and I endorse many of his views. (His recent piece for HuffPo—“A Warning to Young People: Don’t Become a Teacher”—was outstanding, if depressing—my youngest son wants to become a teacher.)

So, nothing I say is because Randy Turner is a friend of mine or an admirer. I don’t know him and have never met him.

That having been said, there is something fishy about what has happened to him. First, he has taught in this school district for ten years and has been honored for his efforts. No matter what one thinks of the charges against him, or his defense, any fair-minded person reading the essentials of those charges can easily see that the matter wasn’t so urgent that it could not have waited until the end of the school year, which was just six weeks away when a cop walked him out of the building—in view of the kids who were still at school at the time.

Second, if Randy Turner is known for anything outside of Joplin, it is for his general criticism of so-called education reform and the problems those reforms have caused and continue to cause for the classroom teacher. My daughter teaches high school English and I have heard her express nearly the exact criticisms of today’s classroom experience that Turner has offered, including his criticisms of what he called “overambitious administrators.”

My suspicions are that the hasty and apparently excessive actions taken against him have less to do with some naughty words in a novel than with silencing a contrarian, someone who is not afraid to speak up about what teachers actually experience in the classroom.

Third,  I’m especially bothered by the actions of the district’s superintendent, the much-praised C. J. Huff, who has become something of a local hero for the way he handled the devastation the tornado did to several of our schools, including my son’s high school. Huff, who deserved commendation for many of his actions after the tornado passed through (I thanked him in person myself), has enjoyed very positive publicity in our local paper.

But something I read in the Joplin Globe (amazingly, the story appeared two weeks after the teacher was placed on administrative leave) about the Turner case really bothers me. The paper reports that Huff said a “district employee” complained about Turner on April 4 and he was removed from the classroom four days later. Then the Globe reports:

After an investigation into the complaint by the administration, a 28-page “statement of charges” was given to Turner on Thursday, Huff said.

 That would have been on or about April 25. The Globe continued:

Huff said the investigation included “a review of any and all evidence” related to the complaint as well as interviews with people who might have had relevant information. Speaking in general terms, he said the people who were interviewed could have included district employees, students or parents.

Now, a fair interpretation of Huff’s statement, that the investigation included “a review of any and all evidence,” would lead one to believe that Turner himself was given the opportunity to substantially contribute to the investigation, to contribute “relevant information.” Yet, that didn’t happen.

Turner posted on YouTube the actual audio of an interview that the district’s human resources director did on the day Turner was removed from the school. The part of the interview in which she asked him questions lasted about four minutes. Four minutes. Turner said he was never questioned again, so those four minutes constituted his involvement in the so-called investigation.

I remind you that the subsequent charges against him were listed in 28 pages.  And I remind you that the so-called investigation began somewhere around April 4 and concluded somewhere around April 25. Thus, there were more or less three weeks to interview Turner and get more information before the charges were filed against him. But he got four minutes.

The Globe reported that Superintendent Huff said,

Under the school district’s due-process procedure, Turner can request a hearing in front of the Board of Education, at which time he would be allowed to “state his case,” Huff said. The board would review any evidence against him and then determine whether to continue his contract, Huff said. If a hearing is not requested, the board still would meet to consider whether to continue the contract, he said.

Now, that’s a funny way to do an investigation, isn’t it? You do an initial four-minute interview with a well-respected employee who has been accused of something, spend a couple more weeks talking to others and looking at websites and reading his books, then you never go back and talk to the accused again? Wasn’t there some other questions that the investigators might have had regarding something they discovered?

Or was the whole thing a done deal before Turner ever had a chance to speak on April 8?

Based on my extensive experience as a union representative, as one who has sat in on many “investigative” interviews of employees accused of wrongdoing, I can pretty much guarantee you that the district had determined before April 8 that Turner was guilty of some district policy infraction (there are many policies, of course, that one can trip over), and that the only reason for the “investigation” was to gather evidence to “convict” him before the Board of Education.

Again, based on my experience dealing with these kinds of matters, Mr. Turner, like many of the employees I represented, was already guilty in the eyes of management before he was asked the first question. The questions were designed not to obtain facts or shed light on known facts, but to build a case against him. Thus, there was no need to talk to him and have him further explain his side of the story as the phony investigation proceeded.

It’s true enough he will get his chance to “state his case” before the Board, as Superintendent Huff said. That hearing will happen on May 9.* But think about the odds against Turner. You have the school district’s superhero superintendent, and all the school district’s resources, stacked against a teacher who got four minutes—during an interrogation ambush and without any union representation—to contribute his side of the story, and obviously after conclusions were already drawn.

I don’t like his chances.

But there are, as the Globe reported, some local students and parents trying to help him. A site offering a petition to the school board to “Allow Randy Turner To Continue Teaching” has now reached 229 supporters. And a Facebook page has been created that now has 570 “likes.”

As for Turner’s state of mind at this time, he says:

I don’t want to let people know that I am worried to death about losing a job I love and worried that the steps that have been taken against me could end up marking the end of my teaching career.
 
Though I feel like a young man, let’s face it- I’m 57 and I have a pacemaker. Schools aren’t going to be lining up to add me to their faculties.
We should all hope, as citizens and as taxpayers, that the Board of Education will do its job and give Mr. Turner a fair hearing and actually give his defense the weight it deserves, considering his achievements as a teacher and the fact that we need folks in the classroom who give a damn about their profession of educating our kids.
_______________________________
* UPDATE: The Board of Education hearing that will decide Turner’s fate has been moved, according to Turner, from May 9 to May 23 at 9 a.m. He wrote:
I had been a bit concerned when I have heard that parents had planned to pull their students out of school May 9 to attend the hearing. Now that won’t be necessary, since the last day of school is Tuesday, May 21.On a sad note, this pretty much guarantees, barring some sensible intervention in this matter, that I have already spent my last day with this year’s eighth graders.

In Us We Trust

A former banker writing in the Joplin Globe a few days ago (Devaluing currency to offset spending is risky” ), spent 827 words trying to tell us something about inflation and debt and, well, lots of stuff, but very little of it made much sense to me. Bankers often don’t make much sense to me.

But the column reminded me of something I have always wondered about: How does money itself work?

Turns out the great Wonkblog posted a piece on Friday about that very subject, about “the nature of money.” And it turns out that, just as I suspected,

Money really is just a symbolic, mutually shared illusion.

We can hold dollars in our hands. They are real physical things. But they aren’t “money” unless they can buy stuff. Thus, although dollars are real things, “money truly is an idea rather than a thing.” The Wonkblog piece points out:

…what makes money money is what you can do with it. If you can purchase the goods and services that you want and need with it, it is money; if you can’t, it isn’t.  Money is memory, said Narayana Kocherlakota in an important 1996 paper (he is now president of the Minneapolis Fed). It is the way we as a society record how much capacity to buy stuff each of us possess.

I broached this subject for one simple reason, which Wonkblog’s Neil Irwin put very well:

Once you accept that money truly is an idea rather than a thing, it becomes clearer that there is no single “right” way to run a monetary system. It is merely trying to figure out, through trial and error (and mankind has had plenty of error over our history), what system works best.

You see? As human beings, who presumably are trying to find ways to improve our individual and collective well-being, we are always experimenting, hopefully always learning from our successes and failures. And that doesn’t just apply to our monetary system. In all aspects of our culture, particularly regarding those things that require collective consideration and action, we should be getting better at figuring out what to do and what not to do as we address the inevitable change we see around us. Progress not regress.

But these days we see so many powerful forces around us that respond to the changes the modern world presents to us by demanding we go backwards—like, for instance, returning to the gold standard—rather than building on the advances we have made.

Neil Irwin ends his piece with what he calls a “fundamental truth”:

To function in a modern economy, you’re always putting your faith in something, whether you like it or not. And you may not like putting that faith in a powerful, independent central bank imbued with power from the state, but the alternatives may just be a lot worse.

And I will end this piece with my own related fundamental truth:

To function in the modern world, we’re always putting our faith in something. And we may not like putting our faith in a large and powerful government, but the alternatives, like just letting corporations and banks operate without oversight, or just letting folks starve in the streets, may just be a lot worse.

The Joplin Globe: A New Low, Indeed

Perhaps because its bread is mostly buttered by conservative readers and advertisers, or perhaps because all of our local legislators are Republicans and it wouldn’t do to make them mad, but there really is no excuse for what the Joplin Globe did—really, what it didn’t do—in today’s otherwise excellent editorial.

The piece rightly criticized the move in the Missouri legislature to force anyone wishing to vote in our state to present,

either a valid Missouri driver’s license or state-issued identification card, a passport, a military ID card or an unexpired state or federal photo ID card.

The Globe pointed out that,

The legislation would end the use of other forms of ID, including student ID cards, utility statements and expired Missouri driver’s licenses. A county-issued voter registration card wouldn’t even be good enough. If the bill is passed, Missouri would rank with Indiana for the strictest voter ID law in the country.

The paper mentioned the cost to the state of issuing the ID cards and also made the incontrovertible point that all of the fuss is over nothing. Missouri’s Secretary of State Jason Kander, according to the Globe, said in a report that,

no cases of voter impersonation fraud have been reported since the state’s current voter identification requirements were put into place in 2002.

That bears repeating: there is no fraud to fight with this new voter ID law. Nothing. Not one single case has come up in more than ten years. That is why the Globe asks,

Why are Missouri legislators so eager to invent problems that aren’t there?

Now, that is a very good question. The problem is that the Joplin Globe is in a position to answer it—and it didn’t. It failed Journalism 101.

First, the paper used the term “Missouri legislators” to describe the perpetrators of this scheme. While technically correct, the term manages to hide the truth: it is only Missouri Republican legislators who are inventing problems that aren’t there. Why didn’t  the Joplin Globe tell its readers that?

Second, the paper knows full well what is behind the scheme: disenfranchising Democratic voters. Couldn’t the paper have found a Democratic legislator to make that obvious claim and report that in its editorial? Sure it could have. I found a Democrat willing to call this for what it is on my first Google attempt:

“Jim Crow is alive in this room today,” said Rep. Chris Kelly, a Democrat from Columbia who served in the Legislature in the 1980s and ’90s before returning in 2009. “This is the single most immoral act that I’ve ever seen happen in my time in the General Assembly.”

Would it have been too much to ask that the editorial—which after all is expressing an opinion—present to readers at least what Democrats believe—and what the editorial writer actually knows—is behind the voter ID bill? But we must remember, again, who butters the Globe’s bread and the ultimate objective of bottom-line journalism: don’t piss off your subscribers or the people they put in political office.globe logo

Third, the paper has a very cozy relationship with area Republican legislators and we are often treated to favorable coverage in the paper of their mostly reactionary legislative exploits. Thus, since the offensive voter ID legislation has already passed the Missouri House, a reader of today’s editorial might wonder: How did our local representatives, like Bill Lant and Bill White and Charlie Davis and Tom Flanigan and Bill Reiboldt, vote? The paper doesn’t mention them.

Further, the bill is now before the Missouri Senate and a reader might want to know what our local senator, Ron Richard—the majority floor leader and recipient of many puffy pieces in the local paper—thinks about it. But the reader is left to wonder.

The Globe offered us nothing in the way of discovering what our local representatives think about this bill, this bill the Globe calls in the headline of its editorial,

A new low

A new low? That’s pretty strong language. Yet the paper doesn’t bother to call out Republicans in general for what they are doing nor does it bother to name names locally.* Again, think about the butter and the bread.

I guess I should be satisfied that at least the Joplin Globe is on the right side of the issue, but it would help much more if the paper used its clout to call out our local legislators for their disgusting attempt to disenfranchise large numbers of Missouri citizens, uh, Missouri Democrats.

__________________________________

*For the record, all of our local House members (except an absent Bill White) voted for the bill the paper called “A new low.”

I also called state Sen. Ron Richard’s office in Jefferson City and asked what his position on the pending legislation was. The nice lady who answered the phone told me that he had supported voter ID bills in the past but she couldn’t say for sure what his position was on this present legislation. She took my number and said she’d get back to me.

Oh, she also told me that lots and lots of voter fraud is going on, including buses full of folks hauled into the polls to vote illegally. I asked her to send me the evidence for this startling claim. I’ll let you know what I get, if anything.

Socialism’s Surprising Supporters In Southwest Missouri

Let’s begin with a relatively lengthy selection from the Joplin Globe’s endorsement of Mittens Romney in 2012, and please follow the logic the paper used to toss its 2008 Obama endorsement under the editorial bus:

And on the issue that most threatens our nation’s future well-being — unchecked federal spending — this nation is more than stalled. It is in reverse. […]

During the first debate, Romney bluntly warned moderator Jim Lehrer that he would cut off funds for public broadcasting if the nation was having to borrow money from China to pay for it. If true, it’s the kind of thing a debtor nation must do.

The Obama campaign attacked Romney on that point.

Sure, funding for public broadcasting is an insignificant part of the budget, but if Obama isn’t even willing to cut one one-hundreth of 1 percent of federal spending for something that is non-vital to America, then the president is not serious about reducing spending at all.

If Obama is not serious about that, he is the wrong person for the job.

Let’s review:

♦ “Unchecked federal spending” “threatens our nation’s future well-being”

♦ A “debtor nation” should not spend money on “non vital” stuff, if it has to “borrow money from China to pay for it”

♦ Because Obama doesn’t  recognize what “non vital” stuff is and won’t therefore cut it out of the budget, “he is the wrong person for the job”

Got it? Okay. Now, we can proceed to this morning’s banner headline in the same paper that endorsed Mittens:

joplin globe headline on federal money

Just where, you might ask, will Joplin “get” all that dough? Oh, that’s easy:

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin will receive $113 million from a $125 million state grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for disaster recovery.

And:

HUD statements said the award came from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act that President Barack Obama signed Jan. 29 that designates $16 billion for U.S. disaster recovery.

“President Barack Obama signed…” Ouch. That’s gotta hurt. The scary socialist president sent our city some socialism-tainted simoleons.

Amazingly, Joplin’s city manager wasn’t expecting the windfall:

City Manager Mark Rohr said the grant was a surprise to city officials, who earlier had applied for $1.72 billion from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program for tornado recovery and received $45.2 million.

Rohr said city officials thought the $45 million award, made in January 2012, was the result of the application and did not know that more money would be on the way.

“We’re very pleased and grateful for the assistance we’ve gotten, and we intend to use the money wisely to help the city recover in the best way possible,” Rohr said.

The city manager didn’t exactly say this money was “vital” to the needs of Joplin, did he? In fact, he sort of sounded like he—we—had won the lottery.

Well, this liberal—and Joplin resident—says good for Joplin.

But conservative readers of the Joplin Globe, especially readers who lauded the paper’s endorsement of socialism-hating Romney, had every right to expect, upon reading this story, that the paper would publish an editorial this morning expressing grave concerns about all that “unchecked federal spending,” right?

I mean, the Globe told us that we should not borrow money from China to pay for “non vital” stuff because we are such a “debtor nation,” so logic would dictate that the paper tell the city manager to wrap up the money and send it right back to President Obama, right?

Wrong.

In today’s paper, there was no such send-the-money-back-to-the-treasury editorial. Nope. Nothing about unchecked federal spending, debtor nation, or China. And I would bet ten-thousand Romney dollars that there will never be such an editorial in the Joplin Globe. Never.

Oh, by the way, speaking of the money the feds—no, the good people of the United States—have sent here to J-Town since the tornado in 2011, the Globe reports:

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said the block grant raises the amount of federal funding Joplin has received to more than $350 million. 

I’m not a math whiz but I think that amounts to about $7,000 for every man, woman, child, and editorial writer in this Romney-for-president town.

Finally, to top off the amazing account of all that federal money rolling into the Republican-red, socialism-hating streets of Joplin, we have this from the Globe’s story:

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s office issued a statement saying that the award was the result of legislation Blunt sponsored that made the $45 million available to Joplin. He also has sought continued aid that is earmarked for the areas in most need, his staff said. Blunt, R-Mo., met at City Hall with Joplin and Duquesne officials within weeks after the May 2011 tornado to ask them what would be needed for recovery.

“When a disaster exceeds the ability of communities and states, the federal government has a responsibility to help people rebuild,” Blunt said in the statement. “I’m pleased these funds will continue to help local leaders, businesses and families in Missouri recover and reinvest for the future.”

If you made it through that without spewing up your breakfast—because you remember that small-government Roy Blunt voted against helping victims of Hurricane Sandy—then maybe you can agree with me that the headline of this story should have been:

Joplin Benefits From More Socialism, Thanks To Selective Socialist Senator Roy Blunt

Is The Joplin Globe Rising From The Dumb?

Remember when the Joplin Globe endorsed Mitt Romney? Of course you do. How could anyone forget, “Joplin Globe Doubles Down On Dumb And Endorses Romney” or the related, “The Joplin Globe’s Dumbest Editorial Of All Time” ?

And remember during the election when Republicans were openly calling Obama a socialist, and Romney, who didn’t want to directly call him one, suggested instead that the president “takes his political inspiration from Europe, and from the socialist-democrats in Europe” ? romney socialist adAnd remember a Romney campaign ad that The New Republic said linked “Obama with a triumvirate of famous socialists,” including the late Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara?

So, we had Republicans directly saying Obama was a socialist and Romney indirectly saying it and the Joplin Globe siding with Romney and endorsing him. It was enough to make a guy cancel his subscription.

Well, I don’t know exactly what energetic Democratic mole has dug into the hardened ground of the Joplin Globe editorial staff, but I applaud his or her efforts. Believe it or not, via an “Other Views” editorial written by the Scripps Howard News Service, the Globe published this sentence that could have been written by yours truly:

Those figures should give the lie to the charge that Obama is a socialist. If he is, he’s a very bad one.

“Those figures” were these figures:

While the private sector was adding 246,000 jobs in February, the public sector cut 10,000. Newsweek notes that since the spring of 2010, the private sector has created 6.35 million jobs; the public sector has cut 1.5 million jobs.

Let those numbers sink in. Government employment over the last three years has declined by 1.5 million. That’s 1.5 million Americans who could be working and spending and paying taxes and helping to reduce the deficit that has freaked out so many people, including the Joplin Globe editorial board.

Remapping Debate published an article in January (“The incredible shrinking federal workforce“) that examined the ratio of federal employees (federal only, mind you) to population, using the year 1978 as a basis. And get this: The population has grown 40% since 1978 and yet there are 20% fewer federal employees! If the the employment-to-population ratio were the same today as it was in 1978, there would be nearly 350,000 more Americans employed in the federal government. Let that number sink in, too, as you add it to the 1.5 million public sector jobs lost since 2010.

Finally, while you’re thinking about the incredible drag on the economy that a shrinking government workforce represents, keep in mind that it was the Joplin Globe that brought this fact to the attention of its many conservative readers, many of whom believe Barack Obama is a big-government-loving socialist. That is progress, people.

And speaking of the local paper’s progress, the Scripps Howard-Joplin Globe editorial actually made the point that there is “real progress” going on in the economy, even as “lawmakers lurch from one budget crisis to the next.”

Now, if the Globe will go all the way and start to acknowledge that those “lawmakers” responsible for all the lurching are Republican lawmakers, perhaps the paper can regain some of the credibility it lost by that very dumb Romney endorsement.

Fixing The National Debt, One Meal At A Time

Tuesday’s Joplin Globe editorial noted the effect sequestration, which has become reality at last, is having on “our area senior centers,” as they try to “meet the demands of a growing homebound meals program” :

Now, federal cuts that went into effect on Friday could result in an 8.5 percent reduction in funding for the Area Agency on Aging. Stan Heater, the executive director for our agency, said that could reduce the annual number of meals served by about 12,000.

The Globe didn’t publish this editorial, however, to criticize sequestration, President Obama, or, God forbid, the real cause of the sequestration mess, the Republican Party. Nope. The paper was merely urging folks to donate to the local senior centers to help offset the cuts.

Fine. If local folks want to do that, good for them. The Area Agency on Aging, a 501 (c)(3) organization, does good work. But the Joplin Globe at least should explain to folks who happen to read this editorial why it is that 12,000 fewer meals may not be served. Perhaps the paper should also tell us if it endorses the sequester, the result of austerity-drunk conservatives holding President Obama and the nation’s credit rating hostage in 2011.

In its endorsement of “severely conservative” Mitt Romney last year, the Joplin Globe also endorsed austerity-drunk conservatism. The paper explained to us that we should be very worried about the national debt and “unchecked government spending,” which it called “the issue that most threatens our nation’s future well-being.”

Perhaps it is. And perhaps it is so serious that it is worth reducing funding to organizations that serve meals to old folks. What’s missing a meal or two when we have all that debt to worry about?

In the mean time, we have this:

House Republicans are proposing this week to restore upward of $7 billion to operations and maintenance accounts for the four military services hit hard by the automatic cuts that went into effect Friday night.

I just wonder how many meals organizations like the Area Agency on Aging could serve to seniors with that $7 billion?

Yeah, I just wonder.

 

Guns, God, Hemp, And Ozark Billy

The local wingnuts have been busy.

The Joplin Globe reported:

More than 150 residents, local politicians and rally organizers attended what was described as a “peaceful demonstration to support and defend the Second Amendment” Saturday at Landreth Park in Joplin…

One of those residents is a man named John Broom, who the Globe said is trying to start a “permanent group” of locals in order “to support firearm rights.” Apparently for Broom the NRA isn’t doing enough.gun rally in joplin

Broom, I must say, did an excellent job—much better than I could do—of exposing just how misguided gun enthusiasts can be:

We want people to know what we are about and why we support this right. The Second Amendment isn’t about hunting. It’s not about competition or sport, and it really isn’t about self-defense. It’s about rights of the people to protect themselves from invaders and from tyrants. We have to start educating folks really quick.

Yep, really quick, I mean, quickly: before people figure out how dumb it is to sit around the house with a small arsenal, waiting for invaders and tyrants. In any case, thanks to John Broom for that enlightening interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Last Saturday proved to be a busy day for local reactionaries. The Jasper-Newton County Lincoln Days brought into Joplin none other than Tom Schweich, who is Missouri’s auditor. Schweich told his Republican congregation:

God is a part of the Republican Party.

Yep, he said it. And, as the Joplin Globe reported, he said it “to applause from the crowd.” God always gets an ovation around here, don’t you know.

Apparently, the Globe couldn’t get God to comment on the remark, or, more likely, the paper didn’t bother to ask Him. Maybe next time. Oh, and maybe the Globe could ask God about that ass whippin’ that Barack Obama and the Democrats gave His party last November and just what He intends to do to get even. Democrats would do well to remember: Vengeance is mine, I will repaysaith the Lord.

During his keynote speech, Schweich estimated that 70 percent of the gathered locals were Christian conservatives. He was way off on that one. I doubt you could have found anyone in the crowd who would have courageously testified to being, say, an Allah-loving Republican. It’s GOP Jesus or nothing around here.

And speaking of GOP-Jesus-loving Republicans, Ozark Billy Long was in attendance. My congressman did not disappoint. He gave my president a compliment:

We spent all our time saying Barack Obama was nothing but a community organizer. He organized his community and got out the vote.

That had to hurt the Sarah Palin fans in attendance. The former fractional governor and former Fox babe made a small fortune by making fun of the community organizer. But fearless Billy had more to say, as reported by the Globe’s Susan Redden:

Long, speaking at the local Lincoln Days event, noted that a recent National Journal ranking had placed him as more conservative than Reps. Michele Bachmann and Paul Ryan.

Only in Southwest Missouri would a congressman actually brag about being nuttier more conservative than Michele Bachmann. And although Redden didn’t report it this way, I’m guessing that Long made his I’m-crazier-than-Bachmann statement “to applause from the crowd.”

Finally, Ozark Billy has been called out by, uh, The Weed Blog: Marijuana News and Information. It seems one of Billy’s constituents wrote him, asking support for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013. Yes, there is such a bill, and it has several bipartisan co-sponsors in the House (the Senate version includes Mitch McConnell as a co-sponsor).billy long and hemp

For those of you who don’t touch the stuff, industrial hemp is not marijuana, although both are prepared from Cannabis plants. As Wikipedia points out,

Hemp is refined into products like hemp seed foods, hemp oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, pulp, and fuel.

The stuff in the Cannabis plant that gives you the munchies (THC) is very low or nonexistent in industrial hemp. Thus, when we’re talking about hemp farming we’re not talking about growing pot, as disappointed as that may make some of you out there, and you know who you are.

In any case, Billy Long responded to his constituent with a letter that, as The Weed Blog noted, indicated Long didn’t have the slightest idea what industrial hemp was. In the response letter, Long said,

While I am a strong believer in personal freedom, I do not support the recreational or medical use of illegal drugs regardless of whether the drug is marijuana, cocaine, or any other illegal substance.

The Weed Blog writer, Johnny Green, wrote:

I find it odd that someone who dislikes hemp so much, doesn’t even understand what it is. Is he serious?

Well, it’s hard to answer that question, Johnny. Perhaps Billy Long, somewhere in his past, had a bad experience smoking industrial hemp. Who knows? Smoking industrial hemp may explain a lot about Billy Long.

But I certainly don’t find it “odd” that Long, like so many Bachmannish conservatives, can dislike something without understanding it. That’s how they manage to stay in power in places like Southwest Missouri. From evolution to global warming to hemp farming, the less they understand, the more popular they are.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em, everyone!

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