Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A "Hare-y" Tale --- because some things bear repeating....

From Bungalow Bill comes this 'hare-raising tale': "We Can't Have You Talking Bad About Billy": The Untold Story of Congressman Billy Long, the USDA, and Some Rabbits

Billy Long

The timing of the Springfield News-Leader's story of Billy Long's first year in office couldn't have been better. In the article Long states, "colleagues in Congress just care about getting re-elected." In the same week, the USDA dropped their fines against the John and Judy Dollarhite. There is an untold story here about a Congressman who only cared when some rabbits started to become a political liability for his own reelection chances.

I broke the Dollarhite story in May with the goal of it going viral in a short period of time. My blog challenged Congressman Long to stand up for his constituents on multiple occasions, the Dollarhites wrote letters to Long, and We Are Change Branson organized a USDA protest in front of Congressman Long's office. Congressman Long's office moved us off the property and then made claims against the protest they could not support claiming the protesters shouted obscenities to Long's staff.

And so the summer went by and the Dollarhites continued to carry this weight pretty much without the help of their Congressman. Long's office did reach out to the Dollarhites and let them know they wrote a letter to the USDA, but other than that, little was heard from Congressman Long and follow up was non-existent.

The Dollarhites spent their year attending political functions telling their story and gaining more and more support. This quiet Nixa family soon became a powerful voice against the federal leviathan. Fortunately, there are members in Congress that are truly fed up with big government. Senator Rand Paul reached out to the Dollarhite's in the fall and invited them to testify in front of a Senate committee. John and Judy were soon on the road to Washington.

Before they ever got to Washington, both Rand Paul's office and the Dollarhites made multiple attempts to contact Billy Long's office in hopes he would get involved and help the Dollarhite family out while in they were in DC. Long's office never once returned any of the calls. Long's office made no attempt to meet the Dollarhites while they were in Washington even with Senator Rand Paul getting involved.

The Dollarhites returned to Southwest Missouri with no attention from their Congressman. They attended the November Christian County Republican Committee meeting and shared with those in attendance the progress that had been made. It was noted at the meeting that Senator Roy Blunt and Congressman Long weren't giving the Dollarhites much help.

It turned out Mavis Busiek. long time Friends of Roy Blunt PAC head, was at the meeting. She wasn't happy the Dollarhites weren't being helped. Busiek promised the Dollarhites she would make calls to Washington to both Blunt and Long's offices to find out why this wasn't being addressed.

John Dollarhite says the very next day Glen Chambers, Roy Blunt's Chief of Staff, called him letting them know Senator Blunt's office was ready to help. Dollarhites had all but given up on Blunt. They had sent Blunt a letter in the spring noting the fine, and Blunt's office sent them back a form letter regarding horse slaughtering. While they were in DC, Blunt didn't seem very interested in helping the Dollarhites out as he walked down the halls of the Capitol with John and Judy rushing to get to a meeting, but for the first time since the fines were issued, they were encouraged by Blunt's office.

Long's office was still MIA even with Busiek demanding his office do something about it. On November 30, the realization of how big of a voice the Dollarhites had become must have begun to set in. The Dollarhites were invited to speak in Mount Vernon, Missouri, where a meeting was addressing the latest attempt to push Proposition B in Missouri took place. The Dollarhite's story soon became the center of focus at the meeting, and one attendee asked the one question that exposed just how much influence the Dollarhites now have in Congressional politics in Southwest Missouri.

The question was where is Billy Long in this matter. John Dollarhite said, well he wrote a letter, but other than that they had not heard much from Long's office. These farmers and agriculture minded people who were realizing what the USDA was becoming grew concerned quickly that their Congressman wasn't even in the middle of this battle. Well, someone from Long's office must have been at the meeting, because it didn't take long for them to respond.

Both John and Judy shared with me earlier this month they were contacted the very next day by Billy Long's office. "We can't have you talking bad about Congressman Long. What is it going to take to make you happy?" The representative from Long's office assured Dollarhite the office was "working in secret" on this matter. In secret? What is this a national security matter?

John was brief. He wanted Congressman Long to call him. At this point, Claire McCaskill had called them to help multiple times. Roy Blunt at least offered a meeting even though he seemed disinterested. These are US Senators and senators are in Congress to do the business of the states according to the Constitution. This was Billy Long's issue since Long is supposed to do the work of the people in his district in Congress.

Congressman Long did call John Dollarhite. Long was clearly out of touch on the issue noting he thought the fines were dropped months ago. Long said his office had been working on it, but when John drilled him on what they had done, Long couldn't cite any examples other than the letter. Judy asked Long why his office never reached out to them with a phone call to give them updates on what Long's office was doing. Long, a lifetime salesman, tried to wiggle his way out asking the Dollarhites to forget the past and just move forward, but it was apparent Long was out of touch on the matter and finally got involved knowing his reelection was coming with a challenge.

So from when the story broke in May, it took Long seven months to get fed up with big government coming down on one of his constituents. This story went viral quickly hitting Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh's show twice, and media all over the country. It was only when Mavis Busiek and other Missouri 7 Republicans pointed out to Long he was going to face a primary challenger and must take action as this story was hurting Long did Long finally get involved. By this time he did, the USDA had already been beat up by the support of freedom loving Americans who called the USDA in support for the Dollarhites, Missouri farmers, bloggers, conservative talk radio, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Claire McCaskill, and others. Long showed up to the fight late and piled on.

It's apparent Long is not much different than his colleagues. Reelection is the name of the game for Billy Long. Like Judy Dollarhite posted on Facebook, "we aren't naive about the timing."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Billy: "Do what you can, have fun with what you are doing for as long as you can, and don't let the place screw you up too bad."

Another perspective on the Billy Long story in yesterday's paper:

These comments all read like people looking for a forum to bash the new congressman over a bunch of ignorant crap because they (the commentators) are probably out of step with the rest of the electorate in the district who sent Billy to DC because they felt he represented their views on the direction of government and what a congressman is supposed to be.

Admittedly, Congressman Long does not come off as a flaming intellect or a policy WONK, but if the voters wanted that, they would have voted for Gary Nodler; if they had wanted an establishment guy, they would have voted for Goodman; if they wanted a tea-partyin' fair taxin' true believer, they would have voted for Mike Moon or whatever; if they wanted a 21st century JFK/TR/Abe Lincoln type, they would have voted for Jeff Wisdom. If they wanted to vote against the establishment, they would have voted for Ekersly. If they wanted the Obama agenda, they would have voted for Monroe three years ago. They didn't.

I am not entirely thrilled with Billy Long as a congressman, frankly I think he is a little bit goofy and homey and makes the area look like Dogpatch, but I know enough about politics to realize that he is doing EXACTLY what the voters here in the Ozarks wanted him to do and be EXACTLY what they want him to be. This area likes a slightly dumb sounding, 'countrified', hick, rube, self-made millionaire as their congressman. Billy Long, Mel Hancock, Gene Taylor, Charlie Brown, Doc Hall--all were much brighter than any of their detractors ever gave them credit for, but they all fit that persona. (The only area congressman that didn't fit that profile was Roy Blunt, but what can I say, money, party backing, and connections can still trump conventional wisdom in politics.)

Before you dismiss my comment as an unabashed defense of Billy Long (it's not intended as such) let me state that I think there is another lesson or story in this article that deserves amplification.

I've read a couple of stories like these in other cities, one about a new congressman who is trying to be the next Abe Lincoln/JFK, but is making no headway and is just spinning his wheels. This seems to be a sort of 'formula story' about a town's freshman congressman's first year in DC. Billy isn't trying to set the capitol on fire with his political skills and erudite oratory, but the same story comes through: a picture of a freshman congressman who is basically irrelevant except as a seat warmer and safe vote for party upper classmen, regardless of what they hope to accomplish, but they are generally well liked by their party collegues and their state caucus. All of these articles paint the same picture: Freshmen congressmen are all but entirely irrelevant. The real policy is made by people that have been there a decade or two or three, and nothing of the message that the voters were trying to send in 2010 will probably have any real influence for ten years. In the mean time, the press reports puff pieces like this on your local congressman so you can have a warm spot in your heart for the Federal Government.

What I get out of this article is that Billy if 56. He won't have any significant influence until he's probably 70 or 75, say 2025, about the same timeframe that Social Security and Medicare are projected to go totally and irreversably T-U. The country voted in 86 new congressman, all individually irrelevant, and the Washington establishment has just yawned and gone on as business as usual. In a way, I feel like we voted, and Washington just gave us the finger.

Gene Taylor was sent to DC to be a good old boy and peddle Republican political influence in a democratic state, and he did that very well. By 1988, the voters around here were fed up with DC and sent Mel Hancock to say we were simply not going to participate anymore by voting no on everything and setting a self imposed term limit. He didn't actually accomplish anything, but he sent a message to DC that this area was dissatisfied with the direction government had taken at the time. He did that very well, and the direction of government, I think, has changed in some part because of Mel Hancock (despite the fact that you can't really cite any significant direct legislative accomplishment). By the time Roy Blunt rolled around, the voters were interested in having somebody in leadership, and Roy Blunt did that (possibly with questionable methods and unintended consequences). The voters that sent Billy Long to DC want him to continue the change in direction of government started by Mel Hancock, but they want some general business sense to begin to be applied to government.

What this article tells me is that that is not going to happen. He can go there and vote the party line, but he's probably not going t
o have any real influence, he's not going to make leadership, so it doesn't make sense for him to even try, and its probably only a matter of time before he gets sucked into the entire system.

All I want to say to Billy is "Do what you can, have fun with what you are doing for as long as you can, and don't let that place screw you up too bad."
Here is a link to the newspaper story on Long in yesterday's Springfield News-Leader: A year later Long still fed up

Here is a link to the Busplunge post Billy's still fed up.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Still Fed UP?

"Long has taken a low-profile path in his first year. He has joined the Republican Study Committee, a group of House conservatives, as well as the Songwriters Caucus and the Sportsmen's Caucus. But he declined an invitation to join the more high-profile Tea Party Caucus." Luckily he did have the time to join the "Cowboy Hat Caucus"

Low profile? You bet! Long is hard to find No live town hall meetings, screened press briefings, screens visitors to meetings, doesn't return phone calls. And in contrast to what Long told you, (The first-term lawmaker doesn't attend many news conferences or blast out a blizzard of press releases) he or someone in his office IS firing out press releases:§iontree=6,49

Long appears to be gearing up for a re-election campaign, using the theme of "I spent a year learning the ropes, you got to send be back up there because I know what to do now."

Last January, Billy Long gave to the F.B.I. the names of 6 bloggers who, in the words of the Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott, "were worrisome to Long". Arnott and an F.B.I. agent started visiting the bloggers, all of whom had written posts critical of Long. and

Last March, Long co-sponsored a bill because Peter King asked him to, Long later said he didn't know what was in the bill. When bloggers broke the story, the SN-L interviewed Long: "But when asked about the provision in the bill that would sell off the frequency used by amateur radio operators, Long said that was news to him. He said he co-sponsored the bill because King, the homeland security chairman, asked him to and because the bill is supported by many organizations that are committed to public safety, something he values."

Last April, "The National Auctioneer's Association called the office and they said, "We want you to proclaim the third Saturday in April, which a lot of states already have an auctioneer's day, a lot of cities already have an auctioneer's day. They say, "We'd like for you to 'drop that bill'." The NAA was a major contributor to Long's campaign, giving $5,000 in June 2010 and another $5,000 after Billy dropped the bill.

The day after chastising fellow representatives who are just there for "window dressing", Long, following a series of meetings with PGA officials (Professional Golf Association), Long spoke on the House floor about the benefits of playing golf. and

Long has the time to have a 'series of meetings with PGA golf lobbyists and then bars members of the press from meeting with him at a press briefing in Springfield

Long has a reputation for 'tweeting' --- two most glaring examples were his tweet on the death of Amy Winehouse. Comparing what he thought was her addiction to drugs to Congress' addiction to spending money and his mocking of the NWS tornado warning tests that are broadcast on the radio. Long also made Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" list ..... twice. and

Just yesterday he posted this tweet: auctnr1 Billy Long
"Congress won't be home for Christmas - a lot of our Troops won't be either - I think we can handle Christmas in DC - God Bless Our Troops" Long likes to wrap himself in a flag, up to the point of lacing up combat boots.

Then, there's that chicken business.....

But of course, Long is in his element when he explains to Sarah Steelman how you keep a free market free:

Last April, both Long and Senator McCaskill held meetings in MO7-- I attended both meetings and wrote about what I saw:

As for Billy ---"Despite his lack of political experience and his outsider status, Long also seems comfortable in Washington. He's already made a half dozen or so good friends in the first year and seems to enjoy kibitzing with his colleagues (although he avoids Washington's night-time social circuit, preferring to go home for another sandwich and some rest.)" What Billy says he does and what Billy does are sometimes not the same: and

Our "smack talking auctioneer" who boasts of carrying around a dog-eared copy of the constitution in his pocket showed his true colors on the very first day the House was in session when he skipped the reading of the constitution to meet with a lobbyist.

It looks as if Long is getting himself in gear for a re-election campaign, It's an easy job, pays $14,500 a month, you only work two weeks a month and summer's off and great benefits. As Billy told you: "This job is not hard, It's not hard work. But it's long hours, and they keep you hopping all day."

Not too shabby of a quote from a guy who talks large and knows how to bluff.

If I were interviewing Billy, I would have asked him if he protested the fact that the congressional calendar has scheduled 145 days to not work in Washington. (Source: Congress At Your Fingertips, available in Long's office).

Then I would have asked what Long had done with all of this free time and what did his hand-picked group of 17 staffers do during that time.

Billy, being 'fed up' and all, I would have asked him to give specific details on how many times he met in his committee assignments and for copies of the speeches or his remarks or documents submitted outlining the specific cuts he recommended to downsize government and spending.

After all, he serves on the Homeland Security Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees, both big spenders. Why hasn't the fence been built between usn's and them's. Did he take a trip since he had 145 days off to investigate?

I would have asked Billy about his support of the Ryan budget plan which, despite Long's assurances that "we've got to honor our committment to our seniors, effectively kills Medicare and Social Security as we know it.

Billy Long's salary is $14,500 a month, plus benefits. The average Social Security recipient in MO7 doesnt' receive anywhere near $14,500 a year with no benefits from Social Security. But Billy, despite his assuring us "I ain't afraid of nobody" has phalanx of young men surrounding him, protecting him from those who are 'fed up' with Billy Long.

I would have suggested to Billy that if you are going to stand in front of a group of your constituents and tell them not to believe what they read in the paper,(as he did at Experience Works in April) you should at least tell them why. You should be well versed enough in the budget you voted for to explain what the misconceptions are and what the effects will or might be.

I would also ask Billy if this article in today's SN-L "A year later, Long is still 'fed up'" is an example of one of those things we read in the newspaper that we shouldn't believe.

For another perspective on Billy Long ascension to political office, read Do what you can, have fun with what you are doing for as long as you can, and don't let that place screw you up too bad."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm not dead

I'm not dead

I'm getting better

I feel fine

I think I'll go for a walk

I feel happy

I feel happy

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I just love getting checks in the mail.....

Monday, December 05, 2011

Christianity and Social Progress by Pope John XXIII

Encyclical (Latin title Mater et Magistra ) written by Pope John XXIII on May 15, 1961.

Main points: Enumerates the economic, scientific, social, and political developments that have taken place since Rerum novarum and Quadragesimo anno. Says there's not just a disparity between rich and poor classes anymore—there's a disparity between rich and poor nations. Decries arms race and the plight of the world's farmers. Arms spending contributes to poverty; peace would be possible if economic imbalances among nations were righted.

It's the duty of wealthy, industrialized nations to help poor, nonindustrialized nations; but in giving aid, it is every country's duty to respect the latter's culture and to refrain from domination. Since technological advances have made nations interdependent as never before, cooperation and mutual assistance are necessary. Says all Catholics should be reared on Catholic social teaching

Context: Advancements such as nuclear energy, automation, space exploration, and improved communication technologies pose complex, new problems for industrialized nations. Meanwhile, millions live in poverty in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Innovation: "Internationalizes" social teaching by addressing, for the first time, the plight of nonindustrialized nations.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Looking at the redistricting maps....Sellars and Leach in same district? Hough gets special district drawn just for him?

It looks like Rep Leach (R) who lives on West Calhoun west of Grant and announced candidate John Sellars, who lives on Loren east of Kimbrough and south of Grand, are drawn in the same district 132

132 Southeast boundary:

And it looks like Lincoln Hough, who lives on East Commercial (some say in his grandparents' house) had a special district drawn just for him, see that blip on the 135th, west of Glenstone, east of National, with Commercial going right through it? To see the Office of Adminstration map of Greene County lookee drawn just for him here.

Meanwhile, it is not known if Nelly will ever play Branson again.

Here are links to all the Greene County maps:

Map 1--- Overview

Map 2--- NE SGF

Map 3--- NW SGF

Map 4--- SW SGF

Map 5--- SE SGF

Bus Riders-- leave comments if you find anything else interesting. All addresses were taken from the 2011 names and numbers phone book.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A dog, a panther and a squirrel

An old German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old German Shepherd thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in deep shit now!"

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly,

"Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder, if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees.

"Whew!," says the panther, "That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes.

The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther.

The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?," but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says...

"Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"

Moral of this story...

Don't mess with old dogs...