In the order received, the answers to this week’s question: “What will you do as Attorney General to defend workers’ rights?”
If you like any single answer, or if you like more than one, please show some support to the candidate(s) with some cash. Representative Margaret Donnelly’s ActBlue page is here, and Representative Jeff Harris’ Actblue page is here. Senator Chris Koster doesn’t have an Actblue page (yet – I hope), but we’ll add the link if he obtains one.
Representative Margaret Donnelly’s answer:
I have been a part of – and worked with – the labor movement all of my life. I am a former member of the Illinois CWA and the Wisconsin NEA. I have a 100% AFL-CIO voting record as a state representative.
It is a basic right of workers in our country not to be exploited: to be paid a fair wage and to have safe and decent working conditions. State attorneys general have not always done enough to protect this right, but as workers see their wages, pensions and safety constantly threatened, attorneys general must proactively defend workers’ rights. As attorney general, I will enforce wage and hour laws, workplace safety, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.
In Missouri, we especially need to be vigilant enforcing new state and federal minimum wage laws. Missouri voters last year increased the state minimum wage and required annual increases based on cost-of-living growth, and Congress this year raised the federal minimum wage. This will be confusing for employers and employees, as they try to keep up with which law requires the higher minimum wage. I will initiate an aggressive education and enforcement campaign to ensure that all workers are paid the required wage.
Recent events also call for attorneys general to keep a close watch on pension plans. A pension is a promise made to workers by their employer and must be respected as such. I will defend Missouri’s public pensions and make certain Missouri companies are complying with the 2006 Pension Protection Act.
Representative Harris’ answer:
Thank you again for your great work on behalf of Missouri’s progressive
community. As the House Democratic leader, I led the fight to stop the
Blunt agenda, which has been so devastating to Missouri’s working
Having served as an assistant attorney general, I know what must be done
to protect the rights of Missourians who work hard and play by the rules.
As attorney general, my labor division will enforce minimum wage laws and
will aggressively prosecute prevailing wage cases and employers that
violate labor laws. Worker protection will be a top priority in my
Since taking office, Matt Blunt has privatized countless state services at
the expense of hard working state workers, enabling him to reward his
friends with new state contracts.
As your attorney general, I will immediately examine the costs associated
with privatization and systematically review the status of worker
protections currently placed in contracts entered into by the state. I
will also initiate legislation that requires state contracts to have
strict penalty provisions for businesses that violate our labor laws.
Finally, I want to reiterate my support for public sector collective
bargaining. When the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Peter Kinder sued
the state to get Governor Holden’s collective bargaining executive
order rescinded, Jay Nixon turned to me as assistant attorney general to
handle that case. I successfully defended that executive order in court
and would do so again as attorney general.
Throughout my 13 years in public service, I have been proud to stand with Missouri’s working families. As the elected Prosecuting Attorney for Cass County, I was recognized as one Missouri’s toughest prosecutors of prevailing wage violations. One of the proudest accomplishments of my career was fighting successfully to have the Cass County Justice center built with a Project Labor Agreement. Today, that Justice Center is the envy of counties across Missouri.
In the Missouri Senate, I have been a staunch opponent of efforts to outlaw collective bargaining and make Missouri a right-to-work state. I have also sponsored legislation to crack down on employers who exploit illegal immigrants for cheap labor.
My record on workers’ rights has been recognized with endorsements of my candidacy for Attorney General by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Missouri State Council of Firefighters, SEIU Local #2000, the Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO, the Greater Kansas City Building & Construction Trades, the Carpenters’ District Council of Kansas City and Vicinity, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local #1287.
As Missouri’s next Attorney General, I will make the vigorous defense of workers’ rights a cornerstone of the office. I will crack down on employers who undermine our work force by exploiting cheap, illegal labor and show how an Attorney General who is focused on a single problem can end prevailing wage violations in the state of Missouri. And I will continue my unfailing support for the working family agenda by standing by my permanent and undying opposition to right-to-work in our state.
John Leo wrote an article about Troy Scheffler, who apparently wrote to Hamline University officials shortly after the VaTech massacre, asking them to reconsider their concealed weapons ban. The thrust of John’s article is that Troy’s email got him sent unfairly for mental evaluation. This could be a problem…what could possibly be a more straightforward case of the impingement upon a student’s freedom of speech? Most things, actually.
Troy Scheffler, a graduate student at Hamline University in Minnesota, thinks that the Virginia Tech massacre might have been avoided if students had been allowed to carry concealed weapons. After e-mailing this opinion to the university president, he was suspended and ordered to undergo “mental health evaluation” before being allowed to return to school. […]
Scheffler, it should be said, is something of a campus gadfly, with disdain for campus diversity programs and other policies. The university said Scheffler’s e-mails were threatening, but those messages, available on the FIRE web site, contain no semblance of a threat. Free speech was the core issue and still is.
Leo is spinning this like it is a 1st and 2nd amendment issue. Debating guns on campus will get you suspended pending psychological evaluating. Troy is being represented by FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education–hey! That’s what FIRE stands for! That’s so clever. Anyway, FIRE has made public edited versions of some of Troy’s correspondence, all of which are available in their almost entirety…right….HERE!
The original letter seems to have been fired off shortly after VaTech, which Phyllis Schlafley sort of approved of. And the conservative media seems to be picking up on the aftermath of the thing. We will likely hear more of this. This list is from the FIRE site referred to above:
OK, not really unbiased media sources, but whatever. As an academic, I am fiercely opposed to censoring students, no matter how ignorant they are (everyone has a right to be wrong!), and, man, it’s our life blood, this freedom of speech stuff. Don’t tread on it lightly, or you will have a faculty revolt. I’ve seen it at all of the (basically) conservative schools I have attended. An administrator goes a little too far and clamps down on a student publication–happens quite a bit, and usually the students win, justifiably, in my opinion. So I really want to know what’s going on here, because censorship strikes at the heart of free inquiry.
With a clear understanding of where my sympathies lie with respect to free speech on campus, let’s look at what FIRE has made available.
The earliest letter available is from Scheffler to the VP for student affairs from 17 April. You could still smell the gunpowder at VaTech.
From: Troy Scheffler
Subject: I dont think the students need the counseling…
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 10:54 PM
Considering this university also pushes “diversity” initiatives like VA Tech, maybe its “leadership” will reconsider its ban on conceal carry law abiding gun owners… Ironically, according to a few VA Tech forums, there are plenty of students complaining that this wouldnt have happened if the school wouldnt have banned their permits a few months ago…
I just dont understand why leftists dont understand that criminals dont care about laws; that is why they’re criminals… Maybe this school will reconsider its repression of law abiding citizens rights.
Considering that accoriding to the university president that there were recently serious “hate crimes” that were committed in the womens bathrooms; there may be people on the edge ready to snap. I cant say I blame them, I myself am tired of having to pay my own extremely overpriced tuition to make up for minorities not paying theirs. On top of that, I am sick of seeing them held to a different standard than the white students (Of course its a lower and more lenient standard).
Oh by the way, when is your “diversity” department going to include European ancestry?
On the edge and ready to snap? Is that only poorly worded? That’s a little worrisome. If I received this from a student, I would have printed this and put a flag on it. Maybe mention it (not the student’s name) to my supervisor. You know…just in case I end up face down in the river.
“I was wondering why a swastika painted by some frustrated ladies in their bathroom turned somehow into red flags of a hate crime but you dont consider an asian guy admittedly killing people because he hated them not hate motivated… Anyhow, in response to your most recent email concerning a vigil for people most likely nobody in the school knows; I would like to comment on your claims of upped “security”. I attend a MPLS cohort so I dont see any security in the area ever. Infact it seems the dirty bums on the street are the only ones patrolling anything.”
Eek! Lack of affect for human misery. Disjointed thought. Bum hater. And this is only the first paragraph or so, apparently. Not conclusive evidence that he should be committed, mind you. He does go on to make the point that there should be dialog on campus about guns. And, despite the tone, the argument is a fair one. He makes references to and synthesizes outside opinions about the issue…Again, except for the tone, utterly unremarkable.
But he goes on, to other issues:
On a lighter note… For a “Christian” university, I am very disappointed in Hamline. With the motif of the curriculum, the atheist professors, jewish and other non-Christian staff, I would charge the school with wanton misrepresentation.
Um, what does this…er..have to…uh…
Yes, I obviously feel that Hamline has been a serious let down, so far I am almost finished with half of my MAPA degree and havent even cracked a book. All the books that came in plastic wrap are still in plastic wrap despite the ridiculous amounts students are charged. I have yet to hear a student in my cohort that is happy with the curriculum or quality of professors. Why does this school charge so much for such a substandard education?
OK, and you aren’t a particularly good student (do conservatives read?). Failure to understand how textbook pricing works. And the fact that he seems not to be working…could that be a sign of a mental disorder, not partaking in normal life events?
Furthermore, why are you diversity initiatives anti-Euro American (ie white folks)? All over the university grounds I see loads of leftist propaganda, why not warn a student before they enroll at Hamline? It took me complaining to a few different people before even the hamline website finally included white people in the random pictures on the main page.
Good point, but how often do you do this type of thing?
Now it is obviously better but just goes to show how biased this university is and the painstaking efforts of diversity pandering it does at the expense of people that are actually planning on contributing back to the TAXPAYERS that are footing the bill for your diversity initiatives. In fact, 3 out of 3 students just in my class that are “minorities” are planning on returning to Africa and all 3 are getting a free education ON MY DOLLAR. I bet the staff here is wondering how a swastika ended up in a bathroom… More people than you can imagine are tired of this all. It’s just sad that they resort to petty vandalism rather than speak their mind like I am.
OK, coming apart now…Raging against the poor, the evil Africans, gun restrictions, taxes (at a Christian University?), excessive use of “quotes,” and then trying to make the swastikas sound like the endpoint of a reasoned process. OK, not totally normal, but still, maybe we caught him on a bad day. Or two. And, remember, this was written shortly after VaTech.
Please stop alienating the students that are working hard every day to pay for their tuition. Maybe you can instruct your staff on sensitivity training towards us “privilaged white folk”. If your staff is going to continually berate the evil white male for this privilage and his racist tendencies, at least have them explain where to find the privilages and point out the evil people that are ruining the world. Strange for how horribly racist Europeans and other white people are that everyone seems to want to exploit our generosity. Maybe someday the favor will be returned but I doubt it seeing what I have so far…
Thanks for your time…
I don’t think he knows the meaning of ‘respectfully.’ The darkies are always leeching off of you? How could we possibly consider you to be racist? Or paranoid?
The next letter that FIRE posts comes from the University:
From: “Linda N. Hanson”
To: Troy Scheffler
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 17:09:55 -0500
Subject: Re: Excessive emails
I understand that you have concerns about a number of matters, including Hamline’s policy on banning concealed weapons, diversity and financial issues, and I appreciate that you are willing to engage in a dialogue. We are always interested in the concerns of students and suggest that you meet with some of our university personnel to discuss your views. If you will provide us with 2-3 times on Monday or Tuesday of next week when you are available to meet, we will arrange an opportunity at the Minneapolis Center for your convenience.
That maniac! I mean…what? They offered to talk. But there is something else in this email that I want to draw your attention to. It’s the subject line: “Re: Excessive emails.” There is apparently another problem here. May we assume, knowing how emails and email replies get their titles, that this is at least the second letter the university president has written with this subject (he, after all, would have been the one who thought the emails were “excessive”)? How many more are there? We can’t honestly say. But persistent badgering the president, I mean, that’s obsessive stalker behavior, right? I mean, you mentioned that you wrote numerous letters to several officials before about campus issues.
Now, FIRE puts forward a compelling argument in a letter to the school:
The third determining factor enumerated in your letter to FIRE contained new information-information that has not been explained to Scheffler himself. You wrote that you took into consideration “additional, critical input from various members of the Hamline community who had interacted with [Scheffler]. This includes individuals who came forward on their own prior to the April emails, expressing their concerns about Mr. Scheffler.” This added information is troubling for several reasons. First, Scheffler reports that administrators have not made him aware of complaints against him from other members of the Hamline community. The university’s decision to act on complaints waged against Scheffler without notifying him about the manner and substance of those complaints presents serious due process concerns and violates the Dean of Students’ “Student Judicial System” policy, which guarantees that the university will notify a student of charges brought against him or her. The “Student Judicial System” policy states, in relevant part, that “The respondent(s), and/or student organization(s) will receive written notification of charges and procedures for arranging a pre-hearing conference. Normally, the notice will be delivered no later than three business days after the complaint was filed.” The “Rights of Complainants and Respondents” section of that policy goes on:
· Each party will be contacted and given written notice of the charges stating the alleged facts upon which the charges are based, the section of the Judicial Code that has allegedly been violated, and the date by which the pre-conference hearing must occur.
· Each party will be provided a copy of the complaint during the pre-hearing conference meeting.
· Each party may present relevant evidence including any written statements, oral statements, and/or physical exhibits, may question witnesses, and may present arguments.
Despite these stated protections, Scheffler is unaware that anyone has expressed concerns about him or his behavior. (MY EMPHASIS, always my emphasis)
Due process versus student and personnel safety. It’s a tough call. Now, written harassment alone is grounds for suspending a student…this was made clear in the University’s stated policy. Does the fact that concerns raised by written harassment (excessive emails) were not allayed by unsolicited (and thereby not technically “proceedings” or “charges”) testimonies mean that the university should continue to allow him on campus? I can’t say so.
There is another problem. Instructors like myself are severely limited about what we can report and to whom we can report it. Students have expectations of privacy that must be respected. For this reason, the University is really unable to put forward in a public way anything that might support their position. This, of course, means that they have to take the media clobbering of FIRE and conservo-persons. FIRE can selectively release whatever they like (not all documents referred to in the correspondences are posted–the most important one is the one explaining to FIRE the rationale for the action taken by the University). I take no comfort in the fact that they are only releasing edited versions of the letters, that they are not releasing all of the letters, and that they have taken their clients concerns not to court but to the public first. And can anyone see the problem with this link:”Hamline University: Student Suspended after Advocating Concealed Carry on Campus”. It is a clear post hoc fallacy, suggesting chronology is causality.
This is part of a general attempt to discredit universities. I see it a lot. Of course, I’m looking for it and may be more sensitive to unreasonable assertions about higher education. There was an interesting article released in the Chronicle of Higher Education a week or so ago that suggested that the radical leftist view of the university system is simply unfounded, that while there are comparatively few conservatives, the tendency is to the center or center-left and changes based on age. I could have told you that. But what do they know? They are just “elite” Harvard researchers. Funny how that wasn’t picked up on the conservanoid websites, who need that convenient fiction to bolster their claims that radical nerds are out to turn their kids into godless sodomite porn stars.
I recently saw the map of the TIF projects begun or proposed in Kansas City and I was frankly shocked. According to the chart I saw, east of Troost saw two TIF projects totaling 49 million dollars. They included 44 million for the Vine Street area and 4.8 million for 39th & Prospect area. The rest of the projects, which numbered 35 projects in Kansas City proper and totaled 5.5 billion dollars were located west of Troost. So lets’ go to the scorecards please, that is 49 million for the eastside(traditionally black) and 5.5 billion for the Westside (traditionally white), is it me or is there something wrong with this picture?
If I am not mistaken, the people east of Troost pay taxes just like everyone else. So my question would be why are they not receiving an equivalent portion of the new development going on in the city? Judging from the figures, and granted mine or not the most accurate, but 5.5 billion to 49 million is ridiculous. This is the type of economic injustice that keeps the Northeast mired in poverty and anemic economic development. I thought the purpose of these projects were to bring economic revitalization to areas in the city that needed them. From the looks of it, this is just another way for wealthy developers to siphon money away from the neighborhoods that actually need it.
I have two problems with this whole state of affairs, the first being that the board that oversees the program would allow this inequality to proceed and the second is the representatives of these areas on the Council who have not raised any disagreement with how these funds are being dispersed.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a financing and development tool that allows future real property taxes and other taxes generated by new development to pay for costs of construction of public infrastructure and other improvements.
TIF encourages development of blighted, substandard and economically underutilized areas that would not be developed without public assistance.
The powers of TIF are exercised by its Board of Commissioners who are citizens of the city, appointed by the mayor, and representatives of the affected taxing districts. EDCKC
So according to the TIF’s own website, it was designed to encourage the development of blighted, substandard and economically underutilized areas. Areas that would not be developed without public assistance, so the Plaza, River Market, and Westport would not be developed without public assistance. If this weren’t so shameful, it would be laughable. Where will the next TIF’s be? Ward Parkway or Waldo may need some new development funding sources, since we all know how blighted they have become.
My question is what are the two Affirmative Action chairpersons doing while all of these tax dollars are being poured into these “blighted areas” west of Troost? And what about the Councilpersons that represent these areas, where is their outrage? There is no outrage because once again the black elected officials have chosen to side with big money developers than with their constituency. The purpose of electing people of color to the Council is so they can represent the interests of those that elected them. With over 5.5 billion dollars in tax payer financing being divvied up and your district only gets 49 million, I think someone owes us an explanation as to why this is.
The sad part about it is the 49 million was only the beginning of the redevelopment that needed to take place in the Vine Street area. There are still scores of boarded up businesses and underused space. It is as if that project fell off the radar in the rush to redevelop the Downtown area. The full job was never completed and I have yet to hear anyone say anything about if or when the project will be completed. Many of those same shops and restaurants that are Downtown could have been developed in the Vine Street area, but of course again this project is on the wrong side of Troost.
In the history of Kansas City, Troost was always considered the dividing line between white Kansas City and black Kansas City; it is a shame that in 2007, it is still fulfilling that purpose. It may not be done through Jim Crow or publicly sanctioned segregation as in the past, but today it appears to be done economically which is more covert and easier to deny.
My question is who speaks for the economically disadvantaged in Kansas City? Mayor Funk, campaigned on a platform to unite the city and “the city that works”. I hope that was meant for all of Kansas City and not just the economically viable areas of the city. Let’s begin to use some of that TIF development money for those areas that are truly in need and won’t get any development without public assistance. I am not advocating any special treatment, I am just asking for the program to do what it was created to do.
Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence. – Henri Frederic Amiel
When I was a child, my family would travel,
To western Kentucky, where my parents were born.
And there’s a backwards old town that’s often remembered.
So many times that my memories are worn.
And Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg county,
Down by the Green River, where Paradise lay.
“Well I’m sorry, my son, but you’re too late in askin’.”
“Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.”
Then the coal company came, with the world’s largest shovel,
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land.
Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken.
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.
Listen to Prine sing the soulful lyrics:
A bill currently in committee, the Clean Water Protection Act (HR2169), a mere two sentences long, would reverse the Bush Administration’s 2002 decision that toxic “waste” from mountaintop removal sites could be classified as “fill material” and dumped into the local streams. That order has led to sickening environmental depradations by the coal mining companies.
At last count, the bill had 107 sponsors. Lacy Clay’s name is on there, but I don’t see any other Missouri representative. It is of especial importance that Russ Carnahan is not on the list since Carnahan is on the Water Resources Subcommittee, where the bill will go first. If you live in Carnahan’s district, you have an opportunity to get more bang for your phone call than usual (202-225-2671 or 314-962-1523). Call him and urge him to co-sponsor the bill. I’ve always been grateful to live in the district of a true progressive, Lacy Clay. But in a way, those of you who live in Carnahan’s district are more fortunate, because you have the opportunity to influence someone who often sits on the fence to do the right thing. Go for it!
By the way, why isn’t Cleaver’s name on this list? And where is Skelton on the issue? They need phone calls as well.
More than 1 million acres have been blasted away, and shoved recklessly into creek-beds and hollows. 1200+ miles of headwater streams have been buried, poisoning the water for us and those who live down stream.
All this damage is being done for what amounts to, at most, another 10-15 years of coal–coal that adds to global warming.
Another Missouri Democrat plays a part in this drama. Dick Gephardt is now a lobbyist, and one of his most important clients is Peabody Coal, headquartered in St. Louis and the largest private sector coal company in the world. He’s working to get funding for clean-coal technologies. There’s controversy about whether that’s worth the investment, but there’s no question that in the meantime, Peabody has “tortured the timber and stripped all the land.” There’s no excuse for such rape, and seeing Gephardt sell his soul like this puts me in mind of a scene from a famous play/movie of the sixties, A Man for All Seasons.
The main character is Sir Thomas More, who was put to death because he wouldn’t publicly approve of Henry VIII’s marriage to Ann Boleyn. At More’s trial for treason, he listened to an erstwhile friend, newly appointed as Attorney General for Wales, commit the perjury that doomed More to death. As Richard Rich left the stand, Sir Thomas fingered the medal of office hanging around Rich’s neck and said: “Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. But for Wales?” Let me reword that piece of dialogue: “Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. But for Peabody Coal?”
When an attorney fired by Gov. Matt Blunt tried to get records from the governor’s office about his termination, he was told those documents were closed for personnel reasons.
The refusal to provide the records came the same day Blunt’s office released hundreds of pages of e-mails and documents to reporters that included intimate personal details about Scott Eckersley, the administration lawyer who was fired Sept. 28.
In a letter to reporters the day the documents were released, administration officials insinuated Eckersley may have liked “group sex” and illegal drugs.
Eckersley, the former deputy chief counsel for Blunt’s office, has said he was fired after challenging the administration’s position that it did not have to save e-mails and could routinely delete them. He said he is now the victim of character assassination in retaliation for speaking out….
Hmmm. They’ll release records to the media in order to smear a person, but they won’t release records to the person they smeared because it’s a “personnnel matter.”
In 1940, following an era of machine politics in St. Louis and Kansas City that out-Tammanied Tammany Hall, Missourians amended the state constitution to change the way judges were selected to fill vacancies on the benches of the Missouri Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals and the circuit courts of Jackson County and the municipality of St. Louis.
The amendment was placed on the ballot and enacted in response to the hijacking of the justice system by the powerful political machines of Tom Pendergast in Kansas City and Edward Butler of St. Louis. Under the Bosses, justice resided in their pockets, and nowhere else.
The amendment offered was dubbed “The Missouri Plan” and under it, judicial elections were replaced with a judicial commission comprised of judges, lawyers and citizens which reviews and interviews applicants for vacancies on the bench and winnows the field to three choices. The Governor then has sixty days to select the new judge from those three candidates. If he fails to do so in the allotted time, the decision reverts to the recommending body. At the first General Election following one year on the bench, the new judge faces the voters who decide whether the appointed jurist shall be retained.
This system has worked very well for us for 67 years, and has served to keep the state courts as apolitical as possible, while efficiently and promptly filling vacancies on the bench with qualified jurists. In the years since 1940, it has been expanded to include all circuit court judges in Clay, Platte and St. Louis Counties.
One of the most elegant features of the plan is the way it defangs the money monster. Success in partisan elections depends on money, on the financial contributors of donors (a very iffy proposition when we are talking about the very concept of Justice).
The Missouri plan works so well that in the intervening decades, 36 additional states have adopted the plan in whole or in part.
Unfortunately, last summer the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Ronnie White (famously “blue slipped” by Ashcroft and denied a hearing after Clinton nominated him to the Federal bench) created a vacancy on the Missouri Supreme Court and gave little Matty Blunt the opportunity to stamp his wittle feet and pitch a hissy-fit and try to break another part of the state government that actually works. Injecting politics back into the process appeals to him, too, of course. And as a bonus, he got to throw a tantrum because he doesn’t think the commissions pay him proper homage as the elected executive of the state.
Don’t be fooled, his hissy-fit is pure political theater. Blunt is attacking the nonpartisan judge selection because he wants total control of the appointments. But there is a more insidious undertone to it, too. He’s firing a warning shot across the bow of the judges not covered by the non-partisan system who do have to stand for election. It makes the Governors position crystal clear – if he doesn’t like their decisions, he can orchestrate a deluge of money for opposing candidates. It has already happened.
(Jefferson City) – The Adam Smith Foundation is proud to announce its official launch as an organization committed to promoting conservative principals[sic] and individual liberties for Missouri. Our Foundation seeks to provide Missourian’s with information they need to hold their State and local elected officials as well as activist judges directly accountable for their actions.
“There are countless leftist political groups in Missouri, but only a handful of conservative organizations. We strive to fill an important void by holding politicians in Jefferson City accountable.” said John Elliott, organization President. “Big spenders in state and local governments have forgotten that tax dollars belong to the citizens, and we will promote ways to reduce the size of government.”
A while back upon reading the Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal [no link – this paper is still in the 19th century] I noticed a commitment announcement for two individuals (along with a formal photo) who both happened to be male. The announcement appeared on the “People & Events” page (always page 2) of the paper.
A few days after the announcement a letter to the editor appeared in which an individual congratulated the two and wrote something to the effect “invite us to the reception, my husband and I give good gifts.” A few days after that another individual wrote a letter to the editor, which the paper published, criticizing the paper for publishing the announcement
This past Friday the paper published seven letters to the editor criticizing the publication of the announcement.
A Kansas City television station picked up the story, no doubt due to a concerted public relations campaign:
….John Scott and his partner Elijah Davidson have been together for awhile, so when it came to announcing their commitment, they didn’t think twice about doing things the traditional way.
But after their announcement was published in the Warrensburg newspaper, their love became a community issue…
….”I’m disappointed in it, and that’s why I expressed my concern in the newspaper. I hope they wouldn’t do something like that again,” Megan Moore, resident, said.
Moore said her pastor encouraged his congregation to write the newspaper with their concerns.
“I wouldn’t say that I was surprised, because that’s what the world is coming to at this point. I know it’s becoming more and more acceptable,” Moore said of the announcement’s publication…..
Moore wrote the following in her letter to the editor:
“…I am disgusted to hear that your paper would publish an article that attacks family values. I am disappointed to know that you put an article in your paper about the marriage of two men…”
There appears to be a little bit more upset in the letter than in the television interview.
Others wrote, too:
“…This decision [to publish the announcement] indicates a lack of respect for family values and a lack of concern for the unnatural lifestyle…”
“…The majority of people in this community, myself included, still believe that marriage is set apart to be a union of a man and a woman…”
Well, the voters of the state settled that a while back. But, the funny thing is, the announcement wasn’t about a marriage.
Still, another letter:
“…This kind of behavior is illegal in our state and as a large majority of our citizens consider themselves to be Christians, is a grossly immoral act against God…
…In the love of Jesus”
Is having a same sex partner illegal in Missouri? I didn’t know that.
“…This is a blatant attack on true marriage, the family, and the community. I call on you to offer an apology to us, the citizens of Johnson County and the surrounding area, for this egregious disservice…”
Well, speaking for myself, I’m okay with the announcement. It didn’t disturb me in the least. I won’t need an apology from the newspaper.
…Your bold decision to promote this lifestyle is a flagrant attack on the traditional family God has instituted for us…”
And here I was thinking that newspaper readership was down.
All those children without health insurance, instability across the world, global warming [oops, sorry, these folks probably don’t believe in global warming], a war in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, an all out assault on the Bill of Rights and the rule of law – and all it took was a simple little photo in the paper along with a commitment announcement for all these good people to clutch their pearls, cover their mouths in gasps of astonishment, and get a serious case of the vapors? My, my. Look what the world has come to.
Of course, you never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. The paper printed the following below the letters:
Editor’s note: The word marriage was not used in the announcement.
…we progressives constantly find ourselves banging our heads against the wall or just shaking our heads as we read, see or hear about yet another situation where our core values are being sold out for reasons that I can’t fathom.
Why is this? Is it out of fear? Is it out of complacency? Is it out of not wanting to rock the boat in order to potentially win big next year? Either way, the answer isn’t a good one. Right now, we are at a crossroads as the general public still trusts Democrats more on nearly every issue, yet we have always been good at being ahead of the curve.
What happens if a few things that I mention above backfire?
If Americans prove incapable of even admitting we have a problem, let alone working on solutions, in the coming months, then America might be in need of an intervention.
It appears that that intervention is happening, and has been in the works for some time.
The world has had enough of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and of those who enable them.
Time to pay attention, Nancy. Now you are free to concentrate on avoiding an electoral debacle in 2008, by ending the occupation of Iraq.
Iran’s Capital, Tehran.
This is the country that Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Leadership, through their complicity and their refusal to do what they were elected in November 2006 to do – stop funding and end the Iraq Occupation – are helping George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to expand their Iraq Debacle into with the continued funding that they provide to Bush.
Fortunately, there are clearer heads in the world than Bush’s, Cheney’s, or Pelosi’s, and if the Democrats will not put a stop to or set a limit to Bush’s insanity, it now appears that our old “enemies” the Russians, will.
Pepe Escobar wrote in Asia Times on Friday of something that has been, as many things are, almost completely ignored by our complicit mainstream media:
The barely reported highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tehran for the Caspian Sea summit last week was a key face-to-face meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify the George W Bush administration’s relentless drive towards launching a preemptive attack, perhaps a tactical nuclear strike, against Iran.An American attack on Iran will be viewed by Moscow as an attack on Russia.
Iranian hawks close to Ahmadinejad are spinning that Putin’s proposal involves Iran temporarily suspending uranium enrichment in exchange for no more United Nations sanctions. That’s essentially what International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammad ElBaradei has been working on all along. The key issue is what – in practical terms – will Iran get in return. Obviously it’s not the EU’s Solana who will have the answer. But as far as Russia is concerned, strategically nothing will appease it except a political/diplomatic solution for the Iranian nuclear dossier.
US Vice President Dick Cheney – who even Senator Hillary Clinton now refers to as Darth Vader – must be foaming at the mouth; but the fact is that after the Caspian summit, Iran and Russia are officially entangled in a strategic partnership. World War III, for them, is definitely not on the cards.
And it’s not only the Russians drawing a line in the sand. China and other Asian countries are also doing their best to box Bush and Cheney and the necocons in and render their imperialist ambitions impotent. Unfortunately their strategies will likely impact all of us.
Pluto, a currency trader, noted in a comment at Docudharma last Thursday that from a monetary standpoint:
…the World is killing us:
Last night (while you were sleeping) Japan, China and Taiwan sold U.S. Treasuries at the fastest pace in at least five years in August.
Japan cut its holdings by 4% to $586 Billion, China cut its holdings 2.2% to $400 Billion, and Taiwan’s holdings slid 8.9% to $52 Billion… Japan’s selling was at the fastest pace since 2000, China’s since 2002, and Taiwan’s since 2000…
This sell off was the biggest sell off of Treasuries since Russia defaulted in 1998.
Stick a fork in the U.S.
We can’t borrow any more money to kill people.
The funny thing is that the entire world knows this. And is talking about it today. Only the Americans are kept clueless.
My focus is on global markets and currencies (with side orders of petroleum and commodities). Meanwhile, the world’s focus is on deliberately kicking America’s ass (even if it hurts them in the short term). Many nations are willing to take a hard economic hit to rid the world of a dangerous invading nation with an insane leader threatening to “throw atomic bombs” at his make-believe enemies. As a result, experienced U.S. investors have been dumping their US dollars (frantically over the past ten days)
The world has had enough of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and the neocons, has run out of patience, and is now sending multiple messages that make it obvious that if we don’t put a stop to the idiocy ourselves, we will be slapped down by the world.
That’s right, time again to jaw and munch with your Progressive/Liberal/Democratic friends! No agendas! No talking points! No speakers! Nothing but talking, eating and having a couple of hours of fun!
Join us Wednesday November 7th from 11 AM to 1 PM (though you can stay a bit longer if you want and you’re having too much fun). The place is once again the lovely St. Louis Gast House at 1740 Choteau in St. Louis. It’s across from AmerenUE.
And please mark your calenders for the December 1st Wednesday. It will be Wednesday December 5th. Same time, same place.
Here are the ground rules:
No, absolutely NO agenda, speakers, goals, rabble-rousing, nothing EXCEPT having a great time sharing political war stories and personal tidbits with like-minded fun people who happen to be Democrats, Progressives or something similar.
Everyone orders separately and off the menu so there is no pre-set menu or amount you have to spend. We do ask folks to buy something since Maritza and Bill Stock, who own the marvelous German restaurant, are opening it up to us at no extra cost.
Please bring any literature you want to share about your group or upcoming meetings. While you won’t have time to talk about it (remember this isn’t a meeting; it’s just lunch) you will be able to place them where others can take a handout or flyer home with them.
Please do share this email announcement with everyone and anyone who might be interested.
Please RSVP to let us get a bit of a count for the Gast House staff. But if you don’t RSVP, come on anyway! (We’re all Democrats/Progressives/Liberals here and we know sometimes planning ahead just isn’t our best thing.)
Join us and plan on meeting some fascinating, fun people!