Monday, November 29, 2010

Words reveal an inclination for violence.

In today's SN-L, Michael Pulley has a column that the page editor decided to put under the headline Words reveal an inclination for violence:

Delicious violence shaped my youth, with destruction holding special delights. Hurling anything handy at inanimate objects or people was particularly gratifying. I threw gravel at stop signs, walnuts at the windows of abandoned houses, apples at dogs and cats, tomatoes at unsuspecting adults. No one, I thought, was watching. Until as a 10-year-old I was hauled with my parents into a good-natured session before the town sheriff, who told me to stop throwing things. I complied.

Then came the hitting phase. We whacked each others' arms until deliriously numb; we blindsided one another with jolting tackles; in "burn out" we slapped each others' hands until painfully acquiescing. This culminated gloriously in the town's sanctioned coup de grace: high school football. No Mighty Mites or junior high football in those days. At 14, in ill-fitting equipment from the 1950s, we offered ourselves as "live freshman bait" to be pummeled and smashed like gridiron roadkill by brutish seniors. Later, as seniors, we did the same, savoring the inflicted pain and occasional freshman bone-breaking. Sweet stuff, we thought. Violence meets humiliation.

Then college, where the twin charms of violence and humiliation were applied with subterfuge. Stealing. I did not participate but witnessed it: the violence of wrestling from unwilling hands books, papers, clothing -- even ideas. A dorm buddy happened to be working on a similar assignment and wondered what I was doing. I'd spent days on a project I found fascinating and fulfilling. I showed him my work.

"Thanks," he said.

Maybe I had helped him come up with something interesting. Days later, I asked him how he did, and the fool showed me. My paper exactly, nearly word-for-word. His an A. Mine a B. I lashed out verbally before he walked away, unfazed, even pleased. I've seen him occasionally over the years, a successful businessman, always greeting me warmly. Nice guy, really. Perhaps he's softened, as have I.I watched JFK's violent shooting, Martin Luther King's, RFK's, the brutality of the 1968 Chicago street protests, George Wallace's shooting, John Lennon's shooting, the assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan. Then the Vietnam War, Gulf War, World Trade Center disaster, Iraq War, Afghan War. Today I can watch only seconds of Mixed Martial Arts, where hitting and bloodying an opponent while down and helpless is high sport.

Yet, mostly I flinch in disgust at the verbal rampages I witness on talk radio, news stations, blogs, letters to editors. Words at their violent worst and, I suspect, meant to maim and humiliate. Some call it lack of civility. To be sure. But underlying must be a need to strike, to bloody. Destroy.

I wonder about the violence that informed my youth. Why did I once prize it so then and am repulsed by it now? I'll ask my shrink. Or perhaps just repeat the instructive words of that small town sheriff. "Stop throwing things."

Especially loaded words. Someone could get hurt.

In December, 2007, I posted the following photos under the blog title "How It Begins." Pulley and I were on the same wave length.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Loved Ones: Canaday, Blunt and Nixon

A frequent bus rider wrote me this this afternoon. I can only assume that after he had his afternoon of sleep inducing turkey, he decided to do some psiber sleuthing and came across this information that dovetails with this information.

The rider writers: I hope you had the chance to read about Doug Cassity's latest adventure in today's News-Leader and here, on November 23.

My family knew Doug's (his grandparents ran the local post office). They were well-respected although some thought they held themselves in a little too high regard.

It is still hard to believe that someone who was so liked and admired turned out to be such an incredible heel. After reading the SNL piece I googled "Doug Cassity" and discovered the item below. The link was dead but I found a cached version of s story that appeared on the WFLD, Chicago's FOX TV affiliate, website.

The SNL piece missed quite a bit. Not the least of which are political contributions made to Jay Nixon and Matt Blunt at the time his company was being investigated.

The Average Joe's Madoff

Regulators and congress are outraged and appalled, as they always are, at the enormity and longevity of the Madoff ponzi scam. Despite the fact that for years the writing was on the wall, with flashing strobe lights, and at times right in their hands, somehow it was overlooked that Madoff was delivering miraculous returns, using a "trading strategy" that in no way could generate returns of that magnitude for long periods of time in various economic environments, and the auditor of this multi-billion fund was a one-man shop in a strip mall. Huh? I could go on and on, but Madoff is not my point.

The ponzi that should be in the spotlight involves a maze of intertwined companies under the umbrella of Missouri-based National Prearranged Services, including Lincoln Memorial Life Insurance Co. and Memorial Services Life Insurance Co., which was relatively quietly forced into liquidation in March 08.'s a thumbnail sketch...

NPS sold pre-need funeral contracts through funeral homes in 19 states, over 200,000 contracts nationwide. The pitch is to pre-pay funeral expenses at today's prices and avoid higher inflation adjusted prices later. What did my grandma always say...when it seems to good to be true, it probably is...then she would promptly box my ears for failing to see the obvious.

In a perfect world, NPS would take a percentage of the pre-paid funds and place them in a trust, which is used to buy a whole life insurance policy on the contract holder, which generates interest. When you die, NPS pays the funeral expenses within 24 hours and are reimbursed from cashing out the life insurance policy with interest. The insurance policies are, of course, purchased from their sister companies, Lincoln Memorial and Memorial Services. Keeping it all in the family...

In an imperfect world, a/k/a reality, NPS allows the insurance policies to lapse or cancels the whole life to buy a cheaper, non-interest bearing term-life policy. When you die, they "honor" the old contract with proceeds from new contracts sold. No harm, no foul. Except that you cannot sustain this model, it is illegal and is by any definition a classic ponzi! Aside from the fact that the percentage they are required to put into trust varies by state, with Missouri law allowing NPS to keep 20% of funds in commissions, and of course keep the interest. From the get go, a $10,000 contract is really worth $8,000, allowing consumers the privilege of paying $2,000 in inflation protection. I can feel my grandma's hands coming...

But, like Madoff, NPS operated with a relatively deaf ear from regulators. With it's various, cemeteries, funeral fell into one of those gray, murky areas of funeral industry? contract law? Like a quick game of hot potato...don't be the last to hold it, or you are the state agency forced to do your job!

NPS was poison from inception. Founded in 1979 by James Douglas Cassity, a disbarred Springfield, MO attorney who served time in federal prison in the early 80's for an unrelated tax shelter fraud. His name rarely appears, instead placing the ownership interests of all of the kissing cousins in various Cassity family trusts and other family members.

In 1992, the attorney general of MO began investigating NPS, resulting 8 years later in a 2000 court ruling which scolded NPS and told them to tighten up their financial records and make sure proper coverage is in place, with no further or ongoing regulatory monitoring guidelines.

In 2005, under the cleverly named "Operation Grave Concern", the MO attorney general targeted funeral homes and pre-need contract sellers. A handful funeral directors and contract sellers were charged, and NPS, the godfather of pre-need contract fraud, was harshly scolded for failing to ensure proper coverage in relation to one charged funeral director, and paid an out of court settlement of $10,000 and once again agreed to tighten their financial records, with no further or ongoing regulatory monitoring guidelines.

MORE SPOTLIGHTS It apparently was not important that according to the National Institute of Money & Politics, NPS ranked in the top 10 funeral industry lobbyists and political contributors, giving around $109,000, much to none other than MO attorney general Jay Nixon and MO governor Matt Blunt. It almost feels like I'm talking about Illinois! Where's Blago when you need him...

In March 08, Texas forced NPS into liquidation, as the two primary insurance companies wereheadquartered there, noting that the businesses were "inextricably intertwined". Not surprisingly, the Chap. 11 agreement personally exempts the Cassity's and about 50 other entities, including the Nantucket home that Doug Cassity sold last year for over $16M to Google CEO Eric E. Schmidt. In receivership, the unfortunate individual appointed to try to unravel this mess has stated that NPS will honor the existing contracts, but does not state at what value, and the payout will come no later than 60 days of filing the claim. 60 days! That's not much solace for the family who is forced to pony up thousands now for the at-need funeral they believed was paid for in advance, with the pat on the head that they will receive some to all of that money back within 60 days.

Several states, including Iowa, Texas, Missouri, Kentucky and Ohio are investigating, as is the FBI, who preliminarily have stated the loss at around $500,000,000. And various knee-jerk, sloppy and reactionary pieces of legislation have been proposed, with all of them failing to pass.

And the sordid story continues today...with no conclusion and little to no press coverage. At least they weren't deemed too big to fail.
A couple of days ago, another bus rider emailed me asking if I had read the November 23 piece on Cassity, saying, in part, "Hop-Along-Cassidy rides again. I thought Doug was already locked up a Club Fed?"

When I replied that I remembered the original story (and more as I refreshed my memory via he fired this back at me: "Notice how they said "complicated" scheme. Cassity is so good at putting these things together I bet they never convict him. I hope he gets off so we can get in on the ground floor next time... He developed a huge thirst for cash flow to fuel his lifestyle and has ran scams ever since college."

The St. Louis Beacon has this fstory on line :
James Douglas Cassity returned to the area Wednesday to appear in court on charges that he and other leaders of his Clayton-based funeral empire embezzled as much as $600 million.

A 50-count indictment made public this week accuses Cassity and five others at his company — National Prearranged Services Inc. — of embezzling and laundering money that was supposed to be used to pay funeral expenses for about 150,000 consumers.

The indictment was the latest chapter in the downfall of a multimillion-dollar empire that reaped huge rewards for Cassity and his family, including homes across the country, and featured holdings in multiple funeral homes, insurance companies and cemeteries.

But on Wednesday, when a federal magistrate judge was determining bail for Cassity, 64, the accused embezzler claimed to be pinching pennies.

"He is not living the high life," his lawyer, Scott Rosenblum, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Frederick R. Buckles at the downtown federal courthouse. "He drove up here in a Jeep without windows and rented an apartment here. ... He lives on Social Security and is using credit cards for expenses."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Muchnick had a different argument, saying his office was worried that Cassity might flee. Muchnick said $2.1 million was recently moved from accounts "nominally controlled" by Cassity's wife, Rhonda.

"We believe those proceeds came out of the fraud schemes," Muchnick said.

Rosenblum said that the Cassitys are separated and that his client had no influence over the transfers.

Regardless, Buckles set bail at $500,000, requiring Cassity to deposit $50,000 in cash with federal marshals by noon Monday. Just minutes after describing his client's financial woes, Rosenblum said Cassity would provide the $50,000 on time.

At the hearing, Cassity also pleaded not guilty to numerous fraud and money laundering charges. Buckles ordered him to check in weekly with the government and obtain court permission to travel to Naples, Fla., where Cassity has enjoyed a gulf view from the high-rise Le Jardin building. The luxury condo — valued at $2.6 million, according to tax records — is one of several properties owned by Cassity and his relatives that federal authorities hope to seize.

Cassity told the judge he recently rented an apartment in Chesterfield and will be living there as his case unfolds.

After the hearing, Cassity declined to talk with a reporter. Rosenblum said during the hearing that Cassity "believes he will be vindicated. He believes that in his heart, he believes that in his soul."

Others indicted include Cassity's son, Brent Cassity, 43, of Clayton; Randall K. Sutton, 65, of Chesterfield; Sharon Nekol Province, 66, of Ballwin; Howard A. Wittner, 73, of Chesterfield; and David R. Wulf, 58, of St. Louis County. All served as officers, directors or advisers of National Prearranged and affiliated insurance companies controlled by Cassity family trusts.

Bail has varied by defendant. U.S. Magistrate Judge Terry Adelman ordered Wittner, a lawyer, to wear a GPS monitoring device and pledge $200,000 in property. Adelman freed Brent Cassity on a promise to pay $50,000 if he were to flee.


Wednesday wasn't the first time Cassity has had to appear in court as a criminal defendant.

Before moving to the St. Louis area, Cassity was a young lawyer in southwest Missouri. In the 1970s, he ran an investment club in Springfield, Mo.

A federal investigation uncovered a scheme full of intertwined corporations and missing funds. Cassity pleaded guilty of conspiracy and tax fraud violations in 1982, lost his law license and served six months in federal prison.

After Cassity got out, he moved his family to St. Louis to focus his efforts on National Prearranged Services, which aggressively sold prearranged funeral policies.

He had started getting involved in the death business years earlier, after one of his legal clients — a door-to-door seller of prepaid funerals — couldn't come up with the money to pay Cassity's fee and offered him an ownership stake instead.

Business grew rapidly, and by the 1990s, the Cassity family controlled several related companies and was held up as the leading innovators in the funeral business. It operated from a building overlooking Shaw Park in downtown Clayton, and the marble floors, wood-paneled walls and leather furniture were testaments to its success.

Forever Enterprises — one of the Cassity companies — envisioned graveyards where video monitors stood side by side with age-old headstones. Mourners would be able to watch tribute videos of the departed.

Eventually, the Cassity empire would include ownership of several funeral homes and seven area cemeteries as well as control of two insurance companies.

In 2005, Cassity sold a Nantucket, Mass., home for $16 million to Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive. In July, Cassity and his wife sold their New York City condo for $750,000.

In addition to the Florida condo, the indictment seeks recovery of homes in Clayton and Chesterfield, and Oak Hill Cemetery in Kirkwood. Authorities also are seeking real estate elsewhere, including:

• The 62-acre Hollywood Forever Cemetery — the final resting place of stars like Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille and John Huston — next to Paramount Studios.

• A four-bedroom Nantucket residence known as the Hydrangea House, according to an online real estate listing advertising that the house is for sale for $5.9 million.

• An 1,828-square-foot Nantucket house that Rhonda Cassity sold to one of the family businesses in 2002 for $1.5 million, according to tax records.

Most consumers who paid for funeral plans are protected by state insurance-guarantee associations. In some cases, however, the insurance pays only a small portion of the actual cost of the arrangements, and participating funeral homes must make up the difference, funeral directors said.

Connie James, with James & Gahr Mortuaries in St. James, Mo., won't say exactly how many of pre-need contracts her business is on the hook for.
"A few thousand," she said.

But James doesn't hold back when asked about Cassity.

"He's the Bernie Madoff of Missouri," she said.
There's more here

There's more here: adn here

Thanksgiving Day preparations at the bus garage

1. Get a turkey. This year I had purchased a 10lb bird from Price Cutter on Wednesday evening. Later that evening, my sister Joan called me and, due to a change in plans, she and Greg had a 18 free range bird from Momma Jeans. She wanted to know if I was interested in it.

2. Take all the stuff out of the inside of the turkey, stuff like this turkey neck. Someone in our family cooked a turkey one Thanksgiving day with the neck and giblets still in the bird's cavity. The relative is reminded of that instance everything Thanksgiving.

3. Grease up the bird with Crisco or, if you forgot to get crisco when you went to the store because you, Mr. "I don't need a list, I can remember this, there's not that much" not only forgot to buy coffee creamer but also forgot to buy the Crisco, (hey, I've got a lot on my mind, I'm a busy man), vegetable oil or olive oil is a satisfactory substitute. Salt and pepper bird.

4. If not equipped with a popup temperature thermometer, use a meat thermometer stuck in a meaty portion of the thigh but not touching a bone. This is a job for the PvtRN, she has experience giving shots and this meat thermometer is the same principle as giving a shot, only bigger, much bigger.

Turn oven on and preheat oven to 335.

Buy plenty of bread

The night before, have teh bus driver pick bread apart in bite-sized pieces and spread out on table to dry out. Drying out the bread, in theory, makes for a less soggy dressing, but it take a fine touch to cook the dressing until moist but not soggy. My wife and her mother had that touch.

Put bread into the top of the roasting pan. This is the basis for the family tradition dressing. Bread, onions, celery, broth and pan dropping. Oh yes, an butter, lots of butter. set aside.

Tell husband to smile for camera as he is pulling bread apart. (Yeserday, Regina and I celebrated out 37th wedding anniversary. We went to Pizza House on Commercial Street for dinner. It was wonderful. One of our first dates was at Pizza House. I'm a lucky fella!)

Put turkey into oven.

Take turkey out of oven, put tin foil tent over top of turkey, put turkey, now with tin foil tent (to keep top of bird from burning) back in oven.

Cook the bird for the length of time obtained by doing a complex algebraic formula involving feet above sea level, oven cavity temperature, denseness and weight of turkey, ambient outside temperature and a graphing calculator. Or, you can stick a fork in it and when it comes out easily, it's done. (Thus the origin of the phrase, "Stick a fork in it, it's done."

Now, usually at this part of the preparations, the PvtRN and I will sit down, drink a couple cups of java and read the SN-L. However, because it rained and our paper was thrown in the driveway and slip back down to the ditch, it is soaked and un readable. I can get the news on line, but The PvtRN can't get the ads on line. bummer.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I get our potato salad at the Pricecutter.

Never underestimate a woman who can get both legs behind her head and wrap her feet around her face. Whoah!

from Clotho98's notes: Solid Potato Salad? No, it's not what you get when you leave the deli container out of the fridge too long. It's a 1940s term for...something (I have no idea what. ) In this classic footage from the movie "Broadway Rhythm" (1944), the Ross sisters, Aggie, Maggie and Elmira, sing and move in ways that don't look humanly possible. Yoga anyone? Movie buffs will recognize the tune as one of the background instrumentals from "The Godfather."

It starts out looking like another kitschy 40's tune, but give it a minute. Things get wild! Now if I can just figure out what apples have to do with potato salad...

(Extra trivia: While the Ross Sisters are billed in their act as Aggie, Maggie and Elmira Ross, their real-life names were actually Vicki, Dixie and Betsy Ross.)

Back yard cook out, year 2

Last year, when Regina's brother Sam and his wife Frankie came to visit, we grilled sausages and onions. We all had a grand time!

This year, Sam and Frankie got here on Thursday, Little Jim's birthday. Sam, Pride and I took down the gates and got the trailer situated in the backyard. It seemed that it was harder to park this year than last year, that gate opening must have shrunk or the trailer got wider.

Remember how hard of a time it was getting the trailer out of the yard last February? I do.

So Saturday night, we had another installment on our yearly "Sam and Frankie came to visit, lets grill some meat, drink some beer and have a grand time!" cookout.

Neighbor Jack Pettijohn didn't make the event this year, he was down at the farm deer hunting with his nephew Steve. No word whether or not they got a deer. But I am sure they are having fun and staying warm. Jack built a new farmhouse a couple years ago after a disastrous flue fire burned down the old farm house.Jack and son Jim unloading supplies at the old farm house.

We fired up the grill, put some hamburgers on and everyone had a grand time.

Neighbor and good friend Sharon Pettijohn, DIL and neighbor Kristin Lee, daughter Sara Lee, niece Peggy Crable, SIL Frankie Crable and her husband and Regina's brother Sam Crable cutting up jackpots in our kitchen.

Frankie Crable (partially obscured), Kristin Lee, Regina Lee and Sharon Pettijohn sitting at the kitchen table.

The cute little girls! Mattie (Pride and Peggy's daughter), Sophie (Jim and Kristin's daughter), Skyler (Brooke's daughter), Maya (Travis' daughter) and Sadie, who looks up to them all (Jim and Kristin's daughter). (See how they've grown!)

I asked Ganey to look at the camera so I could take her picture. Since I was using her camera and wasn't quite familiar with the controls, it took several tries before I was able to snap this shoot. Patiently, Ganey humored me. Notice the smoke beginning to billow out of the grill?

When Ganey opened up the lid of the grill, the fat from the burgers caught fire and flared up. You can't hear it but she is hollering, "Somebody bring me some water, quick, the burgers are burning!"

Quick thinking son Jim, who is carrying Sadie (You can barely see her through all the smoke) arrived in the nick of time and, while he didn't have any water, he did have a can of Coor's Light. That's why the burgers are savored with the essence of smoke and beer! They were good!

Frankie and Ganey taking the burgers off the grill by the light of a flashlight. Yesterday, I put in some more outdoor lights so we can see through the smoke when we grill.

Good, grilled burgers!

Ganey's brother Sam Crable and our son Jim chit-chatting on the back porch.

Daughter Sara and 12 year-old grandson Trey enjoying an after dinner cigarette and a slouch.

Grandson Austin (and Kristin's red-headed step child!) balances a plate of food on his lap while his dad drinks some "no, Sadie, you can't have any of that, that's Daddy's 'juice'."

While Mattie and Sophie enjoyed their chocolate cupcakes,

Sadie was quite content with her cheese sandwich.

Sadie passed a milestone during this cookout. Her older brother Trey taught her how to step down from the stoop to the porch floor. She hasn't quite mastered going up the stoop standing, but she did good going down. Which she did for quite some time, each time looking at us watching, expectantly awaiting our cheers and applause!:Sadie climbing up.

Sadie stepping down.

Sadie climbing up.

Sadie getting some practical advice on navigating the stoop step from her older brother Trey.

Later that evening, Sadie gave me a rock.

Ain't life grand!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Scooter Zen

Billy Long, he wore the hat, he wore his black cowboy boots

no American flag label pin....yet.Representative-elect Billy Long, D-Mo., and his staffers kill time as they wait for the roll call for the House of Representatives office lottery in the Rayburn House office building Friday. Long drew sixth from last and decided to not even look at offices, opting to look at what was available after the other 78 incoming representatives have chosen. SHFWire photo by Adam Liebendorfer

Read more here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

He wore the hat.

He wore the hat.

Incoming members, and hat aficionados, Frederica Wilson (R-Fla.) and Billy Long (R-Mo.) The SN-L's Cory De vera reports that the Representative from Florida is a democrat. Christina Wilkie, reporter for the "The Hill -- The Washington Scene", identified her as a republican.

For more photos of Billy Long and the Freshman class click here

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm FED UP too, Billy Long! The Whole World Is Watching!

It's not just me and Bungalow Bill who are concerned about the actions of our congressman-elect "Call me Billy" Long. There are others out there who are watching Billy and Roy and Vicki.

And they are Americans who cut a broad swath across the political spectrum: Democrats, Republicans, Independents, conservatives, liberals, moderates, progressives.

The whole world is watching!

Read this post from An Even Keel:

In his recent campaign for Congress Billy Long picked up the tea party chant "I'm fed up" and made it his tag line. Well, Billy, I'm fed up too.

I'm fed up with politicians who go to Washington pledging not to take earmarks and upon arrival declare that they will bring home all the money they can get their hands on ala Rand Paul. (Who got a knot jerked in his tail!)

I'm fed up with politicians who pledge to work for their constituency but link up with outfits like Halliburton and big oil companies bent on continuing their rape of the planet. Gee, Billy, what newly elected politician do suppose has done that?

I'm fed up with politicians who will spread any lie they think will get them traction. Lies like "Obamacare" is a government takeover of health care that will establish death panels and cut Medicare coverage. I'm completely fed up with politicians who say they will repeal "Obamacare" when they know darn well they can't and wouldn't if they could because it suits their private insurance industry friends from whom we must all now buy health coverage. While they say they're against this law because it forces purchase of a product, they will be working behind the scenes to modify it so that the forced purchase won't also force the insurance companies to provide the coverage required by the new law.

I'm also totally fed up with politicians who claim they will work for the needs of the people but argue that those who make significantly more than the average person should be exempt from taxation that could help those out of work get through tough times. It seems to me that if those on top were true patriots they would be not just willing but eager to contribute what they could to the well-being of the nation. Instead of patriotism they display only hunger for more wealth and power. I'm fed up with them, Billy, and the politicians who betray their constituencies to toady up to them.

And I'm fed up, too, with politicians who say they want to restore the Constitution, but support a Supreme Court that grants corporations human rights as unidentified, unbridled campaign spenders. I'm also fed up with an Executive Branch that usurps the powers of Congress and spies on the people.

Politicians who say they want to restore ethics but do nothing to stop the runaway system of false attack ads and huge advertising budgets that take the influence of the common voter completely out of the equation ought never to be reelected.

Yes, I'm as fed up as you are, Billy, so I want you to know that I, along with a great many Ozarkers, will be watching very closely to see how Congress goes about its business, and the next election will be even harder on those who said they were going to clean things up but don't than it was on those they just replaced. Keep watching.

Congressman-Elect "Call me Billy" Long was walking down the

street in front of the Capital, talking on his government issued cell phone when three attractive women approached him.
Long quickly ended his conversation struck up a conversation with the women, two of whom were identified as Americans and the third was a foreigner.

They asked Long if he would take their photo in front of the, as Billy tweets it, "the Capital".

Long agrees and sets down his government issued cell phone, you know, the one with all the codes in it, and he takes their picture.

If this were the opening scene of a movie, what would follow would be ninety minutes of spies, car chases, murders and congressional inquiries.

Luckily for Long, this time it was nothing more than an apparently innocent encounter in front of the capitol. This time.

I really don't want to believe that our newly elected congressman is so naive that he lays down his government issued iphone with all these secret government access codes in it, lays it down on the street while he takes a picture of three women whom he doesn't know! Doesn't he have any pockets in his pants? I know they are not like a cheap hotel.

"Call me Billy" is lucky he wasn't the latest viction of a variation on the oldest scam in the book: pretty ladies distract gentlemen while other pretty lady picks his pocket. "Call me Billy" is so lucky this didn't happen to him.

Wasn't he told to never let that phone get out of his possession? Did they teach him that's how those things get stolen?

Or maybe Long was so busy tweeting that he missed that part of the lecture.
Ah jeez, it's going to be a long two years.

btw--- if you can, and I know it will be hard for you to do, but try to not play any cards up there in D.C.

Can Billy Long be trusted with state secrets?

Do we WANT to trust "Call me Billy" with state secrets?
Congressman-elect "Call me Billy" Long has been in Washington D.C. attending freshman orientation and, as the Kansas City Star puts it, it was a bit like walking into high school on the first day.

"Call me Billy" has been busy, his tweets and cellphone photos flowing at a rapid pace to his followers in Twitterland and to his SWMO comrades at the SN-L (not me, it's is now day 9 since "call me Billy" blocked me from following him on twitter).

"Call me Billy" is tweeting about his activities and taking photos of people and places. All of this seems pretty much what one would expect from someone who has never visited the Capitol before, much less been elected to office. He is tweeting the places he's been and the people he's met and his impressions of D.C.

Based on the photos "Call me Billy" sent to his comrades at the SN-L, including one with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, I thought "Call me Billy" was laying the groundwork to be a leading consensus building in Washington.

He told us all election season how "Fed Up" he was, maybe this would be his niche in D.C., consensus builder. Read the previous post Is Billy Long the new consensus builder?

I Think I may have been wrong.

Sandwiched between his tweets about taking photographs of a French lady and speaking on an unsecure phone, his accounts of eating John Boehner's birthday cake and of the spread Nancy Pelosi put on, are tweets and photographs of a more disturbing note.

Is this the photo of a guy who we want to entrust with state secrets? (Alex Brandon photo)
He can't even keep the existence of a double secret members only meeting room a secret.

In an e-mail Long sent to his SWMO comrades at the SN-L, he included a photo of the "Siena Marble Fireplace from Double Secret Members Only Reading Room @ Library of Congress"

Not only that, He's tweeting that he's got the secret code to the chapel, fer cryin' out loud!

He's telling us when they vote in secret!
And what color secret ballots they use!
He's telling us he's got the secret access codes for his Government issued Cellphone!
He's telling us about the secret meeting places in the Capitol!
And just like those spies in a John Grisham novel, he's telling us he's gonna hide the secret messages in flowers or candy!