Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Walking the line.... How do you like your eggs?

If you are out and about on Friday morning and want to share a meal with Billy Long, he'll be at the University Plaza for a breakfast fundraiser benefiting Greene County Republican Women.

Appearing with Billy will be Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. She's from Washington state, District 7, and she enjoys playing the piano, swimming, and reading American history. Cathy says she lives by former President Ronald Reagan's motto (quoting Harry Truman's remark about his Marshall Plan): "There's no limit to what a person can do or where one can go if one doesn't mind who gets the credit."

Tickets are $20. If you have any questions or to RSVP call Nick Maddux at (417)883-3387 or

Nick is one of Congressman Long's paid congressional staff. Legistorm lists Maddux as one of Long's Field Representatives for the first quarter 2011. Knowing that the Hatch Act has guidelines for federal employees and their involvement in political activities, we will have to trust that Maddux is keeping time logs as to when he is on the government payroll acting as Long's Field Representative and when he is engaged in political activities such as this event. We think Maddux is pictured in this photo below, but we are not sure which one is he.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Aiken's breaking my heart

November 1864. Aiken's Landing, Virginia. "Army of the James. Convalescent colored troops at Aiken's Landing. A.M. Aiken's house at right."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Transient Ishchemic Attack

On March 21, 2008, my mother started having Transient Ishchemic Attacks. A TIA is a "warning stroke" or "mini-stroke" that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce your risk of a major stroke.

Most strokes aren't preceded by TIAs. However, of the people who've had one or more TIAs, more than a third will later have a stroke. In fact, a person who's had one or more TIAs is more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn't.

TIAs are important in predicting if a stroke will occur rather than when one will happen. They can occur days, weeks or even months before a major stroke. In about half the cases, the stroke occurs within one year of the TIA.

What causes a transient ischemic attack?

TIAs occur when a blood clot temporarily clogs an artery, and part of the brain doesn't get the blood it needs. The symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time. Most TIAs last less than five minutes. The average is about a minute. Unlike stroke, when a TIA is over, there's no injury to the brain.

What are the symptoms of a TIA?

It's very important to recognize the warning signs of a TIA or stroke. The usual TIA symptoms are the same as those of stroke, only temporary:

Muscle weakness of the face, arm, or leg (usually only on one side of the body)
Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
Trouble speaking or understanding others who are speaking
Problems with eyesight (double vision, loss of all or part of vision)
Changes in sensation, involving touch, pain, temperature, pressure, hearing, and taste
Change in alertness (sleepiness, less responsive, unconscious, or coma)
Personality, mood, or emotional changes
Confusion or loss of memory
Difficulty swallowing
Difficulty writing or reading
Lack of coordination and balance, clumsiness, or trouble walking
Abnormal sensation of movement (vertigo) or dizziness
Lack of control over the bladder or bowels
Inability to recognize or identify sensory stimuli (agnosia)

On March 22, 2008, Mother suffered a major stroke and died on March 26, 2008.

I started experiencing the same symptoms last year, sparodic at first but graduallyu increasing in frequency and severity.

Since 2000, I have experienced three distinct episodes of severe chest pressure and severe pain radiating up my neck. The last episode occurred the latter part of April, right before I went for my annual physical.

I mentioned the episode to Stephen Reeder, my doctor. He sent me for test: carodid artrery ultrasound, abdominal aorta ultrasound, and a stress test. I had some blockage in my carodids but not severe enough for surgery. The stress test showed an artifact on the film in the same place as an artifact on the film from the stress test I took in 2005. Reeder sent me to cardiologist who ordered cardiac ultrasound-- which showed some leaking valves and an enlarged aorta.

Which lead to another test this morning whera tube is shoved down my throat and the doctor takes a look around.

He found something. A hole in the heart.

I'm getting it fixed.

Next stop, Dr. Otto, the neurologist on Friday

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Good Humor

I'm in a good humor frame of mind today!

When I cleaned out underneath the B's Nest last week, I hauled some old gutters and copper pipe to the scrap metal yard in the B's Nest truck. I made $88.45 for my efforts!

I missed the Studebakers.

I did see one long extended white Studebaker pick up on North Glenstone earlier this week as I was hauling a load of mulch to my sister's house up by Pleasant Hope. What a great name for a town, Pleasant Hope!

Austin and Trey were in an all day baseball tournament yesterday at Ewing park on South Scenic. I remember when that was the dump. This is Austin on deck. He plays third base and right field. The boys played three games yesterday.

This is Trey pitching. He also plays first and third. I enjoy watching my grandsons play baseball. I sit in my lawn chair with a big straw hat on and an umbrella to block the sun. Yesterday, after Trey hit the triple, my heart monitor went off. I don't know if the two events were connected.

When my son's father-in-law returned from St. Louis last night, he brought a case of White Castle hamburgers! He eight ate and I matched him!

Neat old garage photo for Longrooffan.

No photo, but last night as Sophie was heading home from playing in our backyard, she gave me her last kiss to me as a 3 year old because tomorrow she is going to be four. This morning, as I went over to visit, she met me at the door and gave me her first kiss as a 4 year old.

Like Ida May Fuller, the first Social Security recepient, I am eagerly awaiting my first check from the Social Security. It is supposed to arrive on July 15!

Ain't life grand

Billy Long: Auction business sold piecemeal

Billy Long doesn't like it when people start nosing around into his affairs, financial or otherwise.

Roseann Moring, News-Leader political writer, has this story in this morning's News-Leader: Long: Auction business sold piecemeal:

Q: When Billy Long was campaigning for Congress last year, he told constituents that federal law would require him to dissolve or sell his auction business. Earlier this year, Long told the News-Leader he had done so.

But several readers have pointed out that the Missouri secretary of state's website lists Billy Long Auctions, LLC and BILLY LONG, INC. as "active" and "in good standing," respectively.

They wanted to know whether Long actually had dissolved his business.

A: Here is what Long had to say, through a spokesman: "We consulted with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, also known as the Ethics Committee, on what I had to do with my business before I was sworn in. The ... property was sold off piecemeal to various individuals and on July 31st it will be administratively dissolved for not filing the yearly paperwork."

A spokeswoman for the secretary of state said that is a common and legal way to end a business license.

It should be removed from the website at that point.

According to the Congressional Ethics Committee website, Congress members are banned from owning or participating in some kinds of businesses, including law practice. That is intended to prevent lobbyists from avoiding reporting requirements by funneling gifts through a politician's personal business.

Frequent bus riders will recall that earlier this month, when Long released his financial disclosure forms, the bus stopped here: million-dollar-billy-part-duex, Hot Diggity Dawg. Here's what Long reported to the FEC on his financial disclosure statement:

1. Sole Proprietor- Billy Long Auctioneer- this business was terminated on December 31, 2010- no business after that date.
2. Member- Billy Long Auctions, LLC - resigned this position on January 1, 2011, no longer a member after that date.
3. President- Billy Long Auctioneers, Inc -- resigned this position January 1, 2011, no long an officer or shareholder.
4. President- Billy Long, Inc -- resigned this position January 1, 2011, no longer an officer or shareholder"

Which Billy Long Auction business was sold piecemeal? #1? #2? #3? #4? Which one is Bob Kollmeier running. Why is Kollmeier on Billy's payroll as "Ag advisor" making $60,000 plus a year?

Remember when Billy said, “You have to sell your business. If you have a fiduciary business, you have to sell that, so I’ve gotta walk away from a business I built up for 30 years. Who’s gonna buy it without me there? Answer: Nobody. Whoever I sell it to has to take my name off of it. Now, what’s it worth? Absolutely nothing."

Despite his protesting "Who’s gonna buy it without me there?" Well, someone apparently did. As of 04/30/2011 Billy Long, Inc was still in business with a new president, treasurer and secretary: Barbara Long, Billy's wife.

"What's it worth?" We don't know because the transfer of ownership didn't show up on Billy's financial disclosure statement. We know who bought his hay and how much Billy got for selling his tractor and brush hog. What did Billy do with his shares of Billy Long, Inc? If he sold them or gave them away, shouldn't that have been reflected somewhere in his financial disclosure? If he put those shares in a blind trust, shouldn't that have been reflected somewhere in his financial disclosure? If he gave them to his wife, shouldn't that have been reflected somewhere in his financial disclosure?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I've been busy

So here's a couple of blasts from the past:

03/31/2008 10:28 PM, 22222 People have ridden the bus this far

06/25/2011, 11:47 AM, 239664 bus riders have boarded the bus. Thanks for riding and no need to tip the driver!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Million Dollar Billy -- A blast from the past from the guy who voted to kill Medicare: Billy LONG! (Get out the crying towel!)

Counting Billy Long jokes in a speech is like counting stars in a clear summer night sky: After awhile, you're doing to lose track. Long pretty much delivered the same stump speech he gave at his announcement. "I'm not from the government, but I'm here to help," will surely show up in Long's television ads next year. This time, the hulking Long opened with: "Can you all see me behind this mic stand?" And when KSFG staff instructed him to move the microphone to the right to avoid interference with the speaker, Long quickly delivered, "I knew you wouldn't want to move it to the left." It took just 20 seconds for Long to win the crowd over.

He bashed Obamacare, skewered earmarks and out-of-control spending and lambasted career politicians. He also was the only candidate to mention his pro-life and N.R.A. credentials. Oh, and he's for tax cuts too.

But throughout his humorous and off-the-cuff repertoire, Long has a tendency to make some statements that could come back to haunt him. He mocked the plight of the uninsured ("Get out the crying towel") and claimed that 26 million people under 35 probably don't want health insurance anyway. Claiming that President Obama's healthcare plan might have taken his mother's life back in March of 2008 is also quite a strong charge. It's all done in the loving-aw-shucks Long way...those statements may rub some the wrong way.
Ky3 Political Notebook, August 16, 2009.

On April 15, 2011, Congressman Billy Long for "AYE" in favor of the Paul Ryan Budget Bill which replaces Medicare with a 'voucher system', essentially "Killing Medicare as we know it."

57% of the American people think the Ryan plan is bad for America.
From Politico:
The issue has already tripped up numerous leading Republican Senate contenders who can’t help but notice national polling that shows a majority of voters oppose the Ryan budget plan.

In Missouri, former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman said she “would love to be able to” vote for the plan — an unconvincing answer with plenty of wiggle room.

A representative for Steelman, who faces Rep. Todd Akin in the Senate primary, explained, “Her answer is very explicit. She liked almost everything about the Ryan plan. The Medicare plan, in her view, is that it can’t work. She will stand up before the false vote and point out what’s wrong with it.”
Meanwhile, Billy Long thinks that for those 26,000,000 people under 35 with no health insurance --- we ought to just 'get out the crying towel'.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Million Dollar Billy, Part Duex; Hot Diggity Dawg!

On Nov. 9, 2009, then-candidate Long sat down for a short interview (see video below) with Josh Marsh, Morning News Watch host on KZRG radio in Joplin, Mo.During the interview, he spoke about the hardships and sacrifices he was willing to make if voters in southwest Missouri elected him to Congress:

“You have to sell your business. If you have a fiduciary business, you have to sell that, so I’ve gotta walk away from a business I built up for 30 years. Who’s gonna buy it without me there? Answer: Nobody. Whoever I sell it to has to take my name off of it. Now, what’s it worth? Absolutely nothing.

“I own a third interest in the largest real estate company in Springfield; I have to sell that. Do you want to buy a real estate company today? You know, they’re not worth anything, and I have to give up my real estate broker’s license.”

On 04/30/2011 Billy Long was, according to documents filed with the MO Secretary of State's office, the president of Billy Long, Inc.

On his financial disclosure form for 2010, Billy Long states that he resigned his position on January 1, 2011 and "no longer an officer or shareholder."

On 04/30/2011, the following document was filed with the MO Secretary of State's office: Barbara Long is now the president of Billy Long, Inc. Billy Long is no longer an officer of shareholder of Billy Long, Inc.

Couple of things....what did Billy do with his shares of Billy Long, Inc? If he sold them or gave them away, shouldn't that have been reflected somewhere in his financial disclosure? If he put those shares in a blind trust, shouldn't that have been reflected somewhere in his financial disclosure? If he gave them to his wife, shouldn't that have been reflected somewhere in his financial disclosure?

Then there is that quote of Billy's: “You have to sell your business. If you have a fiduciary business, you have to sell that, so I’ve gotta walk away from a business I built up for 30 years. Who’s gonna buy it without me there? Answer: Nobody. Whoever I sell it to has to take my name off of it. Now, what’s it worth? Absolutely nothing."

As of 04/30/2011 Billy Long, Inc was still in business with a new owner. Despite his protesting "Who’s gonna buy it without me there?" Apparently his wife did.

"What's it worth?" We don't know because the transfer of ownership didn't show up on Billy's financial disclosure statement. We know who bought his hay and how much Billy got for selling his tractor and brush hog....

And that bit about "Whoever I sell it to has to take my name off of it." -- well that didn't happen either because accordign to the document filed with the MO Secretary of State's office, BILLY LONG, INC is still in business and Barbara Long is the President, Secretary, Treasurer and appears to be the sole member of the board of directors of BILLY LONG,INC.


Million Dollar Billy

Billy Long photo by Alex Brandon

It shouldn't come to a surprise to anyone who follows Billy Long that despite his efforts to pass himself off as 'just a good old boy', Long is part of the congressional millionaire club.

We all know that Billy lives in a $750,000 Highland Springs house, a wealthy enclave with gates to keep the constituents outBilly Long's four walls and a roof.

We all know that Billy frequents a posh restaurant often enough to have a dish named after him. The Metropolitan Grill offers a "Billy Long Cut" 11 ounce ribeye filet served with pot roasted Heirloom baby bakers and apple brined Haricots Verts $28.50.

We can't vouch for where he shops, but it looks like it. We don't know if, as Billy told NPR's Andrea Seabrook on November 16, 2010, if he liquidated his 1/3 interest in Murney and Associates. "Gotta liquidate my auction company, liquidate my third interest in the largest real estate company in town, so there's a lot of things you gotta get up to school on, up to speed." Billy Long, November 16, 2010

Malia Rulon, in her blog, "Inside Missouri Politics", picks up the trail: Billy Long part of congressional millionaire's club:Rep.

Billy Long has something in common with the leaders of his party — they’re all millionaires.

Personal financial disclosure reports released this week show, in broad ranges, the assets and investments owned by each lawmaker. The reports, filed with the U.S. House Clerk, are designed to provide transparency so voters can be aware of any conflict of interest.

According to the reports, the Springfield Republican is worth at least $1.5 million. He could be worth more than double that, but lawmakers aren’t required to report the value of their primary residence and all assets are reported only in broad ranges.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is worth at least $2 million and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is worth at least $3.4 million.

Long is among at least 19 Republican freshmen who own assets worth more than $1 million, according to The Washington Post. However, he’s also among 19 GOP freshmen who have personal liabilities of more than $100,000, the Post reported.

Many of the 87 GOP freshmen ran on a platform of reigning in the U.S. debt.

Long owes between $865,000 and $1.8 million in mortgages on a commercial building, rental condominium and other properties.

As for income, it’s unclear whether Long is earning more or less as a congressman than he did as an auctioneer. That’s because all income and assets are also reported in broad ranges and lawmakers aren’t required to report how much their spouse earns.

According to documents filed this week, Long earned $43,096 last year from auction commissions and the sale of hay, a tractor and a brush hog. He also earned rental income between $20,000 and $65,000.

He reported capitol gains of between $50,000 and $100,000. He also earned between$22,400 and $68,800 in interest and dividends from several bank accounts and stock worth between $349,000 and $811,000.

All together, Long’s report indicated that he made between $135,500 and $276,900 last year. As a congressman, he makes a $174,000 annual salary.

You can look up Long’s report for yourself on the House Clerk site.
Well, we did. And page 13 is of interest:Remember back in late January the Heritage Foundation paid for Billy's trip to California, a trip they called "In the Steps of Reagan", the 2011 Conservative Member's retreat. The Heritage Foundation spent $2,878.00 getting Billy out there, wining and dining him and bringing him back. Lobbying Reform: Travel Rules for Congress:
g) After each trip taken by a Member, Senator or staff a travel disclosure form that lists the expenses by the private source must be completed, signed and filed with the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate. [12]The form must include good faith estimates of the transportation, lodging, meal and other expenses paid, set out separately, and a determination that such expenses were ‘necessary’ and related to the individual’s official duties. In the House, this disclosure form must be filed within 15 days of returning from the trip. In the Senate, the disclosure form must be filed within 30 days of the trip. Furthermore, Members, Senators and officers, as well as employees who file a Financial Disclosure Statement, must also disclose each such trip on Schedule VII of their annual financial disclosure statement.
Billy Long's trip to California in January, paid for by the Heritage Foundation, was not listed on Schedule VII of his annual financial disclosure because it was taken in 2011. But it should be listed on Long's 2011 financial disclosure form.

Also, if Long sold his 1/3 share in Murney and Associates AFTER 12/31/2010, it too will have to be listed on his 2011 financial disclosure. Likewise, if Long, as he said he did, shut the doors on Billy Long Auctions and sold the assets to competitors, that too would show up on Long's 2011 financial disclosure.

At face value, Long's financial disclosure statement raises more questions than it answers.

Bob McCarty is among the many who have repeatedly asked substantive questions of Long and his staff and has repeated been ignored, also questions if the congressman failed to report all his assets:
Another thing the second report shows is handwritten explanations of how Long terminated one of his business enterprises and resigned from positions at three others. It does not, however, explain what happened to the “…third interest in the largest real estate company in Springfield” about which he told Josh Marsh, “I have to sell that.”
Springfield locals tell me that Murney Associates is the biggest real estate firm in town. According to Active Network, they’re correct; the company ranks as the 40th largest independent real estate company in the United States. Unless Congressman Long has a larger firm which he operates “below the radar,” one must assume the first-term congressman has twice failed to report all of his assets on his disclosure forms. After all, there’s no mention of Murney except as a source of earned income.
Others are suggesting that Long sold the bulk of Keller-Williams to a relative of the owner of the grocery store at Glenstone and Bennett and went over to Murney and Associates.

As to Long's claims, “I own a third interest in the largest real estate company in Springfield; I have to sell that. Do you want to buy a real estate company today? You know, they’re not worth anything, and I have to give up my real estate broker’s license.” some insiders insinuate that Long never owned any of Murney's company and that this statement is 'just so much bull'.

It is known that Long has never filed paperwork with the Missouri Secretary of State dissolving Billy Long Auctions, LLC; Billy Long Auctioneers Inc; and Billy Long,Inc.

It is not surprising, after all, Billy himself told us he is not a detail person. From the bus garage, January 5, 2011: "Like a horse, it's rode hard and put away wet," quipped Long.
A flashy Southern auctioneer with as much a penchant for cowboy hats as for telling voters that he’s “fed up,” Rep. Billy Long struck electoral gold with his campaign as a bona fide Capitol Hill outsider.

But Long not only met the insiders, he hired one of them as his chief of staff. Joe Lillis has been legislative director to Rep. Lynn Westmoreland since 2005, and before that, he worked for the Georgia Republican’s predecessor, Rep. Mac Collins (R), and former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).

Long declined to comment for this report, but Westmoreland recently recounted giving the inexperienced legislator the advice to hire someone who can guide him through Washington.

“I said, ‘Billy, you’re not a detail person are you?’ He said, ‘Nope,’” Westmoreland told Roll Call. “I said, ‘If you’re not detail-oriented, you better hire somebody who is detail-oriented.’ The ropes are going to be hard enough for a new Member of Congress to learn. If he has eight people or seven people there who are learning the ropes together, that’s going to be a long ride.”
How long is that piece of rope? Long enough to hang yourself with.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Billy Long in top 10 of highest-paying freshman members of Congress

Billy Long is surrounded by members of his 10th highest paid staff (among the 94 House Freshman) at an event that took place last April and was billed as 'free and open to the public'.

Wide range of staff pay by House freshmen

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) was the most generous freshman member of Congress, with a payroll of $243,431 in his first three months of office. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), on the other hand, had by far the lowest total payroll, not even breaking six digits.

Walsh's payroll was nearly $35,000 less than Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), the next lowest-paying member. Walsh, a self-identified Tea Party activist, only had three employees when he took office on Jan. 3, although by the end of March his staff totaled 12 people (representatives are allowed to have up to 18 full-time employees).

Tipton, by contrast, had 16 full-time aides when he took office on Jan. 3, and he expanded his staff to the maximum 18 full-time employees, along with three interns and a part-time shared staffer.

The 2011 first quarter House salary data was released last week, providing the first look at the salaries paid by the large class of 94 House freshmen in the 112th Congress. The average payroll for the group was $176,342. Although these members generally took office with a core group of staffers, most built up their staff over the first few months, so their payrolls lagged behind the average of $246,911 for members returning from the 111th Congress.

10 highest-paying freshmen members of Congress:
Amount Member
$243,431.38 Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.)
$232,101.35 Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)
$220,819.43 Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.)
$220,032.23 Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.)
$216,122.20 Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.)
$212,000.01 Rep. Mike Grimm (R-N.Y.)
$209,570.64 Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.)
$205,191.65 Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio)
$205,138.86 Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.)
$204,497.76 Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.)Two members of Long's 10th highest paid staff among the 94 House freshman discussing, we surmise, why the bus stops here.

10 lowest-paying freshmen members of Congress:
Amount Member
$98,900.33 Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.)
$123,547.30 Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.)
$126,636.09 Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.)
$131,704.99 Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.)
$132,963.90 Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.)
$138,378.33 Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.)
$138,985.01 Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.)
$142,811.55 Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.)
$143,337.73 Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.)
$143,676.06 Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If your weekend plans are ruined because of the weather, don't blame the weatherman, blame Billy Long

IMAGE: An artist's rendering of a polar orbiting satellite to be launched in October. The satellite, critical for weather forecasting, is expected to last five years. Congress eliminated funding for its replacement. (NASA)

Earlier in this legislative session when Billy Long voted "YEA" on H.R.#1 and "YEA" on the Ryan Budget "Kill Medicare Bill", the bus pointed out some results of those votes that are going to have an effect on us down here in The Ozarks, the land of a million smiles: Billy Long voted to slash National Weather Service Budget which provides advance warning for tornadoes; suggests 'thoughts and prayers' instead.

Kate Spinner, a reporter for the Herald-Tribune expounds on the consequences, unintended or otherwise, of Billy's "YEA" vote: Satellite gap could put hurricane forecasts at risk:

A looming gap in U.S. weather satellite coverage could jeopardize the seven-day forecasts people have relied upon for everything from planning weekend picnics to preparing for hurricanes.

Hit hard by federal spending cutbacks this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been forced to delay a critical satellite scheduled to be in orbit by 2016. The postponement could cause an unprecedented year-and-a-half loss of weather data, undermining hurricane track forecasts and public warnings on the potential for deadly tornadoes.

The satellite data feeds into computer models that forecasters use for long-range predictions. For instance, in May, forecasters warned that Southwest Missouri would be at a higher risk for tornadoes several days before the deadly EF-5 twister devastated Joplin. Such warnings may not be possible in the absence of the satellite data.
To read the rest of the story, click this link.

Long and Hartzler attracting attention of national TV shows....and not in a good way

Our congressmen and women are making waves in Washington. First it was Billy Long making Keith Olbermann's "Worst person in the world" earlier this past week.

Last night, on the Lawrence O'Donnel show, The Last Word, it was Vickie Hartzler:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Do you believe in miracles?

I do.

Long votes for disaster relief for Joplin....with a catch

When Billy Long finds a sound bite he likes, he uses it again and again. Take this one for instance:

While we need to look everywhere to make spending cuts, making sure our first responder, disaster relief and national defense communities have the tools they need always will be a priority while I’m in Congress.
That's from the Joplin Globe story by Susan Redden: Disaster funding bill faces hurdles.

The hurdle the bill is facing is where the offset for the $1 billion in aid comes from. The GOP, and Long, want to get the money through cuts to the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program at the Department of Energy. The program was funded by Congress in fall 2008 to provide debt capital to the U.S. automotive industry for the purpose of funding projects that help vehicles manufactured in the U.S. meet higher millage requirements and lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Democrats want to raise the cash by cutting subsidies for big oil companies.

Long called the DOE program “under-performing,” noting that it was first funded in 2009 and that about $4.2 billion remains unused from the $7.5 billion appropriated.

For Russ Carnahan (MO) the discussion about cutting funding for clean energy versus cutting subsidies for big oil companies “is a debate that should be left in Washington and not put on the backs of the people in Joplin.”

Cue the Long sound bite: “While we need to look everywhere to make spending cuts, making sure our first responder, disaster relief and national defense communities have the tools they need always will be a priority while I’m in Congress,” Long said.

Long said the same thing May 25, 2011 in the Springfield News-Leader story by Maliaa Rulon House majority leader: Don't let disaster funds add to growing deficit:
Rep. Billy Long, a Springfield Republican whose district includes Joplin, said he was happy to see Cantor's tweet that House Republicans had found the offsets.

"Our deficit is not because we are taxed too little but because Washington spends too much," Long said. "I was sent to Washington to rein in wasteful government spending. While we need to look everywhere to make spending cuts, making sure our first responder, disaster relief, and national defense communities have the tools they need will always be a priority while I am in Congress."
"Making sure our first responder, disaster relief, and national defense communities have the tools they need will always be a priority while I am in Congress."

On February 11, 2011, Billy Long voted "YEA" on House Resolution #1 which cut $410 billion from the National Weather Service budget The service operates a nationwide network of weather monitoring stations intended to provide advance warning for natural disasters.

On April 15, 2011, Rep. Billy Long voted "Yea" on the GOP 2012 Budget Plan aka the "KILL MEDICARE BILL" which included the following cuts which directly affect the nation's preparedness for natural disasters (like a tornado in Joplin):

$1.2 billion cut in funding for NOAA, the government agency with “primary responsibility for providing tsunami warnings to the nation, and a leadership role in tsunami observations and research.”

$1.5 billion cut in grants for first-responders to disasters of “mass destruction.”

12 percent cut to Emergency Management Planning Grants, which provide critical funds to help communities conduct “effective catastrophic all-hazards planning.”

Closure of local National Weather Service offices and a furlough of NOAA employees for more than 27 days at a time. The closures would essentially silence the government’s warning system during disasters.

Cuts in NOAA’s satellite maintenance budget, putting satellites out of commission more quickly and crippling the government’s ability to track tsunami wave patterns, hurricanes and even routine weather patterns.

Billy "I was Tea Party before Tea Party was cool" Long has apparently been too busy shouting "FED UP" to acknowledge his own hypocrisy: he desperately needs the very programs he has been trying just as desperately to kill.

Long voted for the Joplin relief appropriation on June 2, 2011, effectively saying that Big Oil Companies can keep their subsidies, we'll screw the environment to pay for the Joplin relief.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lake Taneycomo 06/11/2011

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Hey Billy Long! Remember this?

That was from one of Billy Long's campaign commercials, you remember, the one he called "Doing the right thing", you know, the one where he said he was 'Fed up" with "politicians in Washington and their cronies", the one where he said "I'll do the right thing for the right reason everyday I'm there", yeah, that one.

Here's the whole commercial:

Was this just something you said to get elected? Were these just words you said?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Billy Long pays AG Liaison $15,888 1st Qtr 2011.

Not only did Billy put his buddy on the gov't payroll for almost $16,000 so far this year, the same guy runs Long's old auction company.

When Billy Long told the Springfield News Leader last April that he dissolved his auction company he didn't tell them that Bob Kollmeier took it over.

Long also didn't tell us that he hired Kollmeier to be his agricultural liaison and paid Kollmeier $15,888.90 through the end of the first quarter, 2011.

Yesterday, in Forsyth, Long said that Bob Kollmeier was his "ag adviser and goes to all the ag meetings". This raised some questions in my mind about just what does an agricultural liaison do and what "ag meetings" does he attend.

Last Fall, shortly after the election, in a conversation that took place in Braum's on West Sunshine, a prominent agricultural leader from SW Missouri told me that Long had hired Kollmeier as his agricultural liaison. The discussion focused on the lack of expertise in that selection.

I made the comment if being an auctioneer qualifies one to serve in congress, then certainly being an assistant auctioneer qualifies one to be an "ag guy".

Kollmeier, in addition to earning almost $16,000 every three months while on Billy's government payroll, also runs Bob Kollmeier Auctions and Appraisals. If the phone number looks familiar, it's because it is Billy Long's old phone number. Remember his ads on KWTO? I do. I can hear them now: "I'll buy your house, I'll auction your house, I'll list your house, don't call the wrong number, call the Long number 882-LONG"

But wait, there's more! link to

And then there's still that sticky little issue of did Billy sell his 1/3 interest in Murney and Associates? We'll soon find out when his financial disclosure statement is released later this month. And you know we'll be watching for it.


Monday, June 06, 2011

Billy Long: "I'm a Representative. I don't need an entourage or a security detail."

Congressman Billy Long talks to a constituent who is wearing a blue coat last April. Long's head is bare visible over the shoulder of one of those guys who are not part of his entourage or his security detail. The other two guys are also not part of Billy's entourage or security detail. They just travel everywhere with Billy and block access to him as they are doing here. Billy said today in Forsyth "I'm a representative, I don't need an entourage or a security detail." Apparently these three members of Long's entourage/security detail didn't get the memo.

This message was delivered to the bus garage this past weekend:

It has come to my attention that Congressman Billy Long will be at the Taney County Courthouse Monday, June 6 at 9 AM.

He will be in the Commission Hearing Room and we need everyone that can attend to be there.

Our support is very important to the Congressman.

If you have questions or comments he will be there to answer them.

Please attend and bring a friend.
Frequent bus riders will recall last September Billy Long announced his business tour. Myself and two other voters attended the inaugural event. It would be the last time Long attempted to explain his political philosophy to anyone. (Actions speak louder than words).

Since that time, Long has isolated himself from any real scrutiny by the press, mainstream or new media.

Last April, in an event billed as "free and open to the public" (which was only half right) Long stonewalled anyone who dared ask him a question that required more than talking points as an answer. (What's the difference between a duck)

Shortly after that event, Long announced that he was going to do no more live town hall meetings, instead he would focus on tele-townhalls (NO more live townhall meetings for Billy Long).

Billy would be at the Taney County Courthouse on Monday, June 6, 2011 at 9 AM, live and in person, to answer your questions or comments.

Since I have a summer home in Taney County (ok, so it a weekender cabin in Rockaway Beach-- it's one of the original Brookside Bungalows in Rockaway, from the 1920s. I go there to relax adn relax I do. I have no internet access there other than through my phone- so I don't post too much while I'm at the cabin, which may be old, but it's paid for) I decided to attend and perhaps get a chance to ask Billy a question.

Specifically I wanted to ask him, that in light of Eric Cantor's remarks on the Joplin tornado relief funds and Long's own votes AGAINST FEMA, NWS, First Responders, Emergency Readiness, etc (Billy Long voted to slash National Weather Service, etc) if he still felt that need to defund those programs. I never got a chance.

The meeting was actually a Taney County Commission meeting. Billy spoke about 15 minutes.

I left my notes at the cabin but I am able to reconstruct them from the live tweeting I did during the meeting. What I don't touch upon here, I will revisit when I get back to my notes.

About 16 people were present, most of them appeared to be county employees. There was one elderly couple present. Obviously the plea for Billy's supporters to show up didn't yield any results.

Billy talked about the Branson floods and how the Corps of Engineers didn't use common sense in flood control. He was concerned that 'they' blew up a levy and ruined Missouri farmland so as not to flood an Illinois town (Cairo) but flooded a Missouri town (Branson) so as not to flood farmland in Arkansas.*

Billy said the Corps listened to him (he suggested opening the flood gates to lower the lake levels when rain is forecast) but that their 'hands were tied'. He said this several times.

Long told the commissioners that he urged Governor Nixon to declare Branson and Taney County a disaster area a full week before Nixon did what Long told him to do. Long also said he was displeased with the Governor's stalling in declaring the area a disaster area. (I have Long's exact words written in my notes. While I did find evidence of Long being in Branson during the flooding - he went to a realtor's breakfast - I could find no evidence of him visiting the flooded areas. His tweets for that period are not, meaning if he is doing something that he thinks is going to make him look good, he tweets about it. No tweets from Branson during the flooding. Others noted Long's conspicuous lack of concern about the flooding. (Flooding in Seventh District prompted U.S. Representative Billy Long to issue a press release)Main Street, Rockaway Beach, MO, April 2011.

Observers of Long have noticed that frequently he will criticize someone or something, then praise it. For instance, he voted to repeal HCR but he told us there are a lot of things he likes about it. (Billy Long: "There's a lot of things about the healthcare bill that are good") Today, he criticized Governor Nixon but later praised him for his actions in Joplin.

Long also told the commissioners later that he "was on their (FEMA's) radar" because he was on their case for not setting up assistance in Branson sooner.

Long said that the day after the Joplin tornado, FEMA's head called him up and told him that FEMA was coming to Joplin. Long told the caller that FEMA was already there. (Again criticizing then you ever wonder what kind of relationship Billy had with his parents while he was growing up?)

While speaking about the aftermath of the Joplin tornado, Billy said, "Somebody high up is coming on Wednesday. They told me not to make it public." wtf? Does this guy hold a security clearance? What does this statement mean and why did he even say it? Is this another on of Billy's "I know something you don't know" moments? Maybe he needs a shirt?

Billy then waltzed right into this statement: "I'm a Representative, I don't need an entourage or a security detail."

Then Billy transitioned into talking about his agricultural adviser, who used to work for Billy at his auction house. Billy said that Bob Kollmeir was his agricultural adviser and 'goes to all the ag meetings'. I am not sure what 'going to all the ag meetings' or being Billy's 'agricultural adviser' entails, but as Bungalow Bill points out, Long and Kollmeir have an interesting if not potentially ethically challenged relationship. Has Billy Long Created an Ethics Problem with Auction House and Agriculture Adviser?
Lot's of sticky questions contained in that post that I will probably never get to ask Billy.

Billy started talking about flood gates and flood levels, roads and bridges (he must have read the morning paper).

When a commission member asked Billy what his position was on the transportation committee, it appeared Billy didn't understand the question. Finally, Billy's befuddled reply was, "I'm on it."

Then, she arrived.

(to be continued)

update 06/07/2011 The Springfield News Leader's Cliff Sain also reports on the meeting: Representative Long calls for review of Corps' policies on reservoirs.

*Long's statement, viewed in context of the Corps spokesperson's remarks in that article ("There is a White River plan and there is a Mississippi River plan," she said. "It's comparing apples to oranges.") are further indication that once again Billy and his staff didn't do due dillegence before making this statement. In plain English, Billy doesn't know what he is talking about... what with his simplistic solutions to complex problems. Sound bites. The congressman talks in sound bites-- full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

I wonder if Billy likes strawberries?

Billy Long: Worst Person in the World!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Olbermann calls Billy Long. Worst person in the World

The message was delivered to the bus garage this evening:

It has come to my attention that Congressman Billy Long will be at the Taney County Courthouse Monday, June 6 at 9 AM.

He will be in the Commission Hearing Room and we need everyone that can attend to be there.

Our support is very important to the Congressman.

If you have questions or comments he will be there to answer them.
Please attend and bring a friend.

In other news it has also been reported that Billy made Keith Olberman's worst person in the world! I just heard, KO said Billy needs to resign

Thursday, June 02, 2011

I'll be busy.....

Heading down to the lake to open up boat, powerwash the deck.

Taneycomo is full of silt from the floodgates, Bull Shoals is flooded until August, so it looks like we'll be heading over to Tablerock.

ps-- Happy Birthday to my brother Tom! June 5, 1950.

Who's the biggest loser here?


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Billy Long featured in story in San Jose Mercury,,,, and not in a good way

Earlier the bus stopped at the Forbes magazine piece on Billy Long and The St. Louis Examiner piece by Tom Appelbaum on Long.

The Forbes piece it’s easy to be an ideologue when you can’t see the faces or don’t know the names of the people you are hurting and that's enough to make Billy a one term congressman.

Another national voice has opined on the congressman from MO 7. Byron Williams, a writer for the San Jose Mercury:

When we need government and when we don't:Between the opposing polarities that too often dominate our discourse, lies the reality that dislike for government ultimately is a luxury. It is a luxury because it assumes that one has no reason to need government in that moment.

Rep. Billy Long, whose congressional district includes Joplin, spoke in April at a tea party rally lamenting about government spending. He boasted that he voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Long told the enthusiastic crowd, "Your tax dollars should not be going to kill innocent babies." Never mind that this ruse has been categorically debunked.

But Long, whose brief congressional career is based on what's wrong with government, sang a different tune in the aftermath of the tornado that devastated Joplin. He recently praised the initial response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"On a scale of one to 10, they are a 12," he said. "I think they are doing an excellent job."
earlier, on May 26, 2011, in a ribbon cutting cermemony, Congressman Billy Long, R-Springfield, praised the work of federal officials, and said his job was to make sure the town could move forward “in a timely fashion.

If anyone has a photo of Billy Long in Joplin where he DOESN'T have his hands in his pockets, please share it with us.