Blogtopia (y,sctp!) is in crisis. Now no one is certain who or what we’re referring to when we mention the “Great Orange Satan”.
Now John Boehner (r-Ohio) will be the next Speaker of the House – the people who caused this mess in the first place are back in charge.
A year and a half ago:
…And the nation now realizes that we are right and they are wrong. I mean John Boehner [R-Ohio] is a good guy, actually he’s a, he’s a good guy. He said on television, he said, “Well, you know these Democrats they just think different.” Yeah. [laughter] Yeah. [laughter] I mean, right on soul brotha, I mean. [laughter] Of course we do. [laughter] I’ve been trying to tell ’em, “We’re right, they’re wrong. If you’re right you think differently.” [laughter] [applause] [voice: “Yeah!”] They’ve been wrong for eight years. [applause] And the nation is tired of wrong. [applause] [cheers]…
January 7, 2009: Opening day of the legislative session – Missouri Senate.
Over the course of the last year we covered a number of government and political events in Missouri (and elsewhere), in the process taking thousands of photographs. Most of them didn’t make it into the blog. Some of the things we saw and heard made us smile, made us think, made us gasp, made us hope, and made us despair. We thought we’d provide a retrospective of some of the pictures and stories we consider to be memorable.
…We stopped by the House Communications office, signed in, and picked up our opening day press credentials. We then stopped by on the senate side and signed in. We would be announced from the floor and then we could start taking photographs. An aide to Blue Girls’ senator gave us an informative tour and gave us valuable insights much of the protocol.
We both started out at the press table “near” the senate floor, but at the last minute before the ceremonies started an old media personage asserted his turf, so I made my way to the balcony to watch the rest of the proceedings. Blue Girl remained at the press table…
Wouldn’t you know it, stabilizing the economy, protecting jobs, and creating new jobs were concerns of some people in Congress and state government.
February 8, 2009: Organized labor “Save Our Jobs Rally” in Kansas City.
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver:…These are some difficult times. In times like these you always discover who your friends are. At times like these you find out who is in fact for you and who is neutral and neutrality is opposition…
April 16, 2009: Vice President Joe Biden at the ABB plant in Jefferson City.
…Sure we need to do more for health care. But if we don’t have the basic backbone of professional services, trained workers, we will never be able to, to move forward in health care. And making sure we have this base done now is vitally important. I also think, not only at the state level, our efforts in health care are far from complete, but also at the national level. We sit here today on the precipice of a national debate about where we’re goin’ on health care. That is clearly gonna move this state and this country forward. Wherever that process ends in the coming months in Washington it will clearly expand access to health care, provide additional resources. We want to be the best positioned state in the country to have trained workers to provide those services. This provision will help us do that…
Missouri Boys State, held annually on the campus at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, is an opportunity for us to cover individuals in government and politics at the state and national level, their speeches, and the question and answer sessions with the citizens attending the week long event. We’ve been doing so for the last two years and wonder why most old media doesn’t bother to show up.
June 13, 2009: Congressman Roy Blunt (r) addressing Missouri Boys State in Warrensburg.
…Blunt is right: Lincoln was trying explain the essential differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. However, it was not about the role of government in people’s lives, but the position the Republicans had on slavery and particularly opposition to Douglas’s “popular sovereignty.” Popular sovereignty ended the Missouri Compromise and allowed territories to vote whether states would enter free or slave. It is why Kansas was bleeding at the end of the 1850s.
The Republican position, and the central issue in Lincoln’s contest with Douglas in 1858, was whether slavery should expand into new territories. The Cooper Union speech was Lincoln’s understanding of the Founding Fathers opposition to slavery’s expansion. The speech was crucial for Lincoln getting eastern support for the Republican nomination.
Thanks, Congressman Blunt, for getting history wrong at Boys State….
June 15, 2009: Former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage addressing Missouri Boys State in Warrensburg.
…Question: …My question, over the past few months, uh, we’ve seen that Vice President, the former Vice President Cheney’s been doing a lot of public criticism of the new Obama administration. Uh, as a former Bush administration official yourself, do you agree with what the former vice president is saying, and also do you think he’s within his rights to be criticizing him like this, or do you think he should kind of pipe down and stay quiet like, uh, President Bush has?
Richard Armitage: I completely disagree with former Vice President Cheney. I think he should, in your word ‘pipe down’. [applause] I think it’s unseemly. [applause] I think it’s unseemly and very much admire the way President Bush has, has said he owes President Obama his silence. And that’s right. Beyond that, as a citizen, obviously Mr. Cheney has a right to his point of view, but I think the, the burden of being a former vice president trumps it. And it makes him look so mean spirited now as it, it’s, I guess Leon Panetta, uh, the CIA, said it makes Mr. Cheney look as if he’d almost want a terrorist attack to kind of show up Mr. Obama. And look, I’m an out of work Republican right now, but I don’t want our president to fail, I’ll tell you that. And it seems Mr. Cheney’s kind of seen to put a lean in that direction. I don’t like it…
June 18, 2009: Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) addressing Missouri Boys State in Warrensburg.
July 14, 2009: Air Force One landing in St. Louis.
…Yeah, this is a process story. Since we cover politics and government in Missouri and President Obama was here yesterday, we went through the process to be able to cover his trip. Since we don’t cover major league baseball (pace RBH) we weren’t going to get credentials to cover the first pitch along with 2500 other media folks. Instead, we covered the arrival and departure of the President on Air Force One…
August 8, 2009: Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnhan at the 4th Congressional District Democratic Committee dinner honoring Congressman Ike Skelton (D) in Warsaw, Missouri.
…And you know this current debate? It seems like it’s just showing up all the time. And I want to say just a little bit about history. I know Ike likes history. And it strikes me that we have this same debate going on right now that we’ve seen through the whole course of American history. If you think about it just for second, sometimes we have leaders and there’s great progress and strides that get made and other times we kind of fall backwards and almost all the time the debate is the same. It’s the debate between progress and the status quo. Isn’t it? And then the arguments that the sides use are pretty much the same, too. The arguments are hope versus fear. Have you heard any fear tactics lately? [laughter] You hear anybody, the forces of the status quo who say, “You’re gonna lose your health care. Government’s gonna take over health care. Everything is gonna to go to hell in a handbasket.” Well I gotta tell you folks it just, I shake my head when I hear these things. You know, particularly this one about government taking over health care. Now, I’m not for government taking over health care and I don’t think anybody here is. And I don’t think anybody here is talking about that. But the notion that there’s not somebody standing between me and my doctor is wrong. I’m somebody who knows about this. You all prayed for me a few years ago when I was going through my breast cancer treatments. And I had my eyes opened about the health care system. And folks I’m telling you there is somebody standing between you and your doctor right now. It’s called the insurance company. They’re making out like bandits. [applause] And it’s time we do something to change it.
So, when you hear these debates just try to step back for a second. Step back and wonder who is it that thinks the status quo is good for what’s ailing America? How is it these Republicans who all the sudden say that it’s a miracle and they want to change health care – well goodness sakes they were in charge for how many years? [laughter] And what did they do? [voice: “Nothing.”] They didn’t do a thing. And so there are all of these issues, one right after the other we need to stand up about, we need to talk about…
August 8, 2009: Congressman Ike Skelton in Warsaw, Missouri.
Question: What was your reaction to the crowd today?
Senator McCaskill: You know, I, I wouldn’t, let me say it this way. This is hard, but, I’m proud of, overall, the people that came out today and that most of them wanted to stay through it and ask questions and answer questions. I think it is a healthy thing for Democracy. And I, I wouldn’t want to do it every afternoon for the rest of my life [laughter in room] because it was obviously contentious. But that’s okay….
August 11, 2009: A satirical sign held by a supporter of health care reform outside after the Hillsboro town hall.
August 11, 2009: Maxine Johnson and her Rosa Parks poster outside after the Hillsboro town hall.
Show Me Progress: So, what happened? What happened, did, after you sat down?
Maxine Johnson: When I sat down I put my sign in the chair in front of me. It was rolled up. And the reporter kind of, news reporter crawled over there, she was standing up and she asked could she take a picture of the sign. We unrolled the sign laying down in the chair. And she was taking a picture of Rosa Parks. This man comes out of the crowd, snatch my sign, I stood up, they said he pushed me. I don’t remember anything ’cause you know by that time my adrenaline going everywhere…All I’m thinking about is getting my sign back. I got up in…to proceed, go get my sign back. ‘Cause he was crumbling it up. I said, “Give my sign back!” When I said that, next thing I know I had four police officers on me and one on him. I’m the victim here, [laugh] you know. And then as I say, “I’m pressing charges!”…I said, “Obama, Obama!” So, you know what, you know like I said Rosa Parks fought for our freedom back then, now I’m fighting for our freedom now…So we’re fighting for the next generation…
August 26, 2009: An angry individual in the audience at Senator McCaskill’s health care town hall in Jefferson City. This individual made sure everyone in attendance knew that she was angry.
…I have to write it. These people are fucking batshit crazy. No sign of rational understanding that “death panels” are a myth. No sign of understanding that the “free market” (as pointed out by Senator McCaskill) is operating now and hasn’t fixed the problems.
They have this completely irrational fear, amplified by who know[s] what, and nothing is going to change that…
…SMP: And, and you’ve told your story in a variety of, of places. Last week you attended a, another forum for, in this area. Could you tell me about that?
Randy Huggins:…Last Thursday I went to a health care information forum, I guess you could call it, Vicki Hartzler [a declared Republican candidate for the 4th Congressional District seat] held here. And she had concerns about the legislation and she had things that she liked about the legislation. Then she said she had solutions. The solution that she offered for the pre-existing condition my grandson had was, she offered to bring the family a, a hot meal. [pause] We’re hungry, but that’s not gonna help his heart, so.
SMP: And so, do you, do you feel some frustration when, when dealing with this, you know, the subject of health care reform and when you feel like people give you solutions that really aren’t solutions?
Randy Huggins: Absolutely it’s frustrating. [pause] I, I just, I don’t understand where they’re coming from. Why they can’t see the need to fix, the system’s broken. And they don’t see any need to fix it or to change it in any way. Just….
September 2, 2009: An opposition sign at the Warrensburg health care march.
…Senator Al Franken:….The truth is, if we don’t fix the system most of us are gonna lose the health care because we’re simply not gonna be able to afford the health care. [applause] And at the Minnesota state fair that’s the question everybody was asking, Democrats and Republicans. But right now in Congress Democrats seem to be the only ones asking it. Republicans are busy asking Washington questions. They’re asking, “How do we break President Obama? How do we make sure he fails?” That’s what they’re asking…
December 14, 2009: Press conference with Representatives Jason Kander (D) and Tim Flook (r) on their ethics reform bill in the House Lounge at the capitol in Jefferson City.
The crowd waiting to see and hear Michelle Obama at 18th and Vine in Kansas City on October 1, 2008.
We sometimes tend to forget where we were and how we got here. It’s especially that way with campaigns and elections.
A year ago we hoped against hope that we were making it possible to accomplish the change for the good that was so desperately needed. Well, it did turn out to be true a month later for at least 53% of us.
As I watched the presidential campaign unfold in the months leading up to that moment of change in early November I was heartened by the number of people who showed up to volunteer to try and help make it happen. At the same time I also worried if they were going to stick around to help make the possibilities a reality when it came time for the hard part after the election – governing.
Health care reform. It’s they key to everything else. Barack Obama knew it then, and so did the interests who opposed him. And they know now, too. The question is, when it comes to health care reform will all those people who showed up to volunteer and who voted for change on election day show up for the difficult part?
On that pleasant day a year ago I looked out on the faces in the crowd and I knew I thought it would be possible.
Senator Harkin’s Steak Fry is always one of the most highly anticipated, time-honored Iowa political traditions. Every year thousands of Iowans gather in Tom’s home county, and this year we are pleased to announce Senator Al Franken as the special guest!
Please join us at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Indianola, Iowa on Sunday, September 13, 2009.
The Steak Fry will be from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Gates open at 12:30 p.m. (Warren County Fairgrounds are located 1 mile west of the intersection of Highways 65/69 and 92)
Missouri Boys State participants observed Flag Day with a brief noontime parade by the American Legion Warrensburg Post 131 “Legion Riders” along Missouri Highway 13 which bisects the University of Central Missouri Campus.
Each Boys State citizen was holding a small American flag.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s name is being bandied around today on the morning news shows as a potential replacement for U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, who reportedly has told the White House he’s retiring.
Granholm, 50, a Harvard law graduate and former state attorney general and federal prosecutor, is mentioned as one of a handful of candidates who may be appointed by President Barack Obama to replace Souter, a liberal jurist and 18-year veteran of the high court…
Back to Truman days. We plan on talking to people (this is all about politics, you know), maybe snagging a few interviews about this and that, and generally basking in the warm glow of Democratic Party and organized labor celebration(s) with like minded folks. If you’re attending and you see us hanging around, taking photos, or trying to interview someone, say “hello” and hand Blue Girl and RBH a cold beer. They’ll appreciate it. I guarantee it.
To amend chapter 115, RSMo, by adding thereto one new section relating to ballots.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Chapter 115, RSMo, is amended by adding thereto one new section, to be known as section 115.428, to read as follows:
115.428. 1. For each election in which a state or federal office or measure is on the ballot, each individual who is eligible to cast a vote in the election shall be offered the opportunity to cast their vote using a paper ballot card. It shall be the responsibility of each election authority to provide a sufficient number of paper ballot cards to comply with this section.
2. Any paper ballot card which is cast by an individual under this section shall be counted and otherwise treated as a regular ballot for all purposes, unless the individual casting the ballot would have otherwise been required to cast a provisional ballot.
3. The election authority at each location where ballots are cast shall post in a conspicuous place a notice stating that paper ballot cards are available at that location and that a voter may request to use such a ballot. Such notice shall be printed by the secretary of state as part of the voting instructions required by section 115.417 and provided to the local election authorities.
4. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 115.063, the direct cost incurred by an election authority for the actual physical printing of a sufficient number of paper ballot cards to comply with this section and section 115.247 for all elections in which a state or federal office or measure is on the ballot shall be paid by the state in the manner provided for in section 115.077.
That’s right, it would require that voters be given the right to request a paper ballot. Why is that so important (aside from the mistrust of electronic touch screen machines in the popular culture)?
First, lets take a look at an excerpt from recount procedures from the Missouri Secretary of State’s office (DRE is the terminology for a touch screen voting machine. LEA is the “local election authority”.):
NOTE: Only the LEA, LEA staff, and the bipartisan teams will conduct the recount, without additional assistance. Everyone else may observe, but may not handle the paper trails, containers, and DREs.
1. The LEA shall break the seal on the DRE component that contains the voter verified paper audit trail and retrieve the paper trail.
2. The voter verified paper trail shall be examined by the bipartisan team and the votes hand tallied for the State Representative, District 121 race using a separate tally sheet. The results will be recorded on the tally summary sheet (form provided) and added to the final results in the Report of Findings.
3. In the event that the voter verified paper trail is not usable for the recount, the LEA shall next use the audit trail* from each DRE that was created contemporaneously with the voter verified paper trail (*as defined in 15 CSR 30-10.010), and proceed with the process described in #2. The LEA shall then separately seal and secure any such DRE component for possible further inspection.
Let me spell it out for you. The Missouri Secretary of State’s office has a provision in its recount procedures which addresses the failure of the “voter verified paper trail” in an electronic device. That is, if it is not possible to use the printout that the voter used at the time they voted to verify their vote (and in a sense the direct artifact to the voter’s wishes is gone) then the recount must rely on an electronic record reproduced internally from the electronic machine. In addition, the procedures call for sealing the machine for possible future inspection if that internal audit rather than the voter verified paper trail is used.
A paper ballot is a direct artifact from the voter. We keep hearing that touchscreen machines allow us convenience. Try telling that to someone who has had to wait in line to use a machine. All you need to increase the volume of voters executing their vote at any one time on a paper ballot is more pens/pencils and a flat surface.
For the purposes of voter intent the only irrecoverable single point of failure on a paper ballot is the actual voter. They can and will sometimes screw it up, but ultimately it is their screw up. If the optical scanner fails then we still have the actual ballot which can be counted by hand.
Electronic machines can and do fail. If we have multiple points of failure and things get screwed up what would we have to do then?
From personal experience I will always chose a paper ballot if I have the option. If I ever lose that option you can bet I’ll scream bloody murder until I get it back.
Missouri-based Angry Black Bitch (AKA Pam Merritt) gets some space in Salon.com, writing about whom she would pardon if she had the power. Pam was also one of the few credentialed bloggers at the state Democratic Convention back in May.
David Pearce (r – advocate of automotive deer hunting), representing the 31st Senate District, is the sponsor of Missouri Senate Concurrent Resolution 7 (SCR 7) in this session of the General Assembly. The resolution:
Urges Congress to secure greater energy independence for the U.S. by allowing new off-shore drilling
LR Number: 0587S.01I
Last Action: 1/15/2009 – Resolutions Calendar–SCR 7-Pearce
Current Bill Summary
SCR 7 – This concurrent resolution urges Congress to secure greater energy independence for the United States by allowing new off-shore drilling in areas where there is a high likelihood of resource recovery.
I wasn’t aware that Missouri had an “offshore”. Why would David Pearce spend his time on this when there are numerous pressing concerns facing the state? You know, like the budget crises?
…Sixty-seven percent (67%) say offshore drilling for oil should be allowed, only 24% disagree. Most Missouri voters (55%) say that move is likely to lower the price of gas and oil….
What’s the attitude of people that actually have, you know, an “offshore”?:
…NEWSWEEK: In a statewide field poll taken less than a month ago [the article is from August 1, 2008], 51 percent of Californians opposed offshore drilling, while 43 percent approved. Your survey numbers are virtually reversed and come just a few weeks later. To what do you attribute this dramatic shift?
Mark Baldassare: The difference is in large part due to the state’s Republicans, who’ve become more favorably disposed to offshore drilling. We saw a 17 point increase in support among Republicans over our survey last year, and a 6 point increase among Democrats…
…[NEWSWEEK:] California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has consistently opposed offshore drilling. Is it conceivable that he’ll look at the numbers in this survey, particularly in his party, and rethink his position?
[Mark Baldassare:] I’d be surprised if a poll that finds voters still sharply divided on an issue would cause the governor to change his position. Schwarzenegger is looking for support of all Californians, and this is a topic over which Californians are still clearly divided. It’s a very slim majority, which suggests it is a very polarizing issue. Right now the governor is looking to take care of the budget situation, improve the economy and put out the fires in his state…