Monday, April 30, 2012

Mary Louise Bansbach Lee April 30, 1928

Happy Birthday MOM!

Mom and Dad, June 1960, 19 St. Charles Place, Shrewsbury MO.  That's our 1960 red and white VW micro bus.  Mom and Dad liked these cars.

Mom sitting in the family room at the house on Jefferson in Springfield, probably mid 1970s.  I think she looks a lot like our sister Ellen here.

Annual Christmas photo taken in the front room 1822 South National, Springfield, MO.  This is now the location of the St. John's parking garage (SE corner National and Sunshine).

Mary Lou and Bob Lee, Spring, 1948.  

Mom, Jim, Tom and Bob, probably winter 1950
 November, 2003-- Bob, 1947 Tampa FL; Jim, 1949 Springfield, MO; Tom, 1950 St. Augustine FL; Ed, 1960 Ormond Beach, FL; Jane, 1955 Republic, MO; John, 1959 Ormond Beach, FL; Mary, 1953 Ocala, FL; Carol, 1954 Panama City, FL; Joan, 1965 Pleasant Hope, MO: Mary Lou, 1928; Ellen, 1964 Tampa, FL.  This photo was taken at Jane's house on the occasion of my Dad's funeral service. It was the last time all of us children were together.

My Mom, Mary Lou Lee, was the eldest of three sisters, she grew up in Shrewsbury MO on Murdoch Avenue. She and my dad were married for 56 years. She has ten living children, 15 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. She enjoyed working in the dirt and planting flowers, sipping coffee on the deck of her lake cabin, quilting and needlepointing and embroidery. A friend of Bill's for over 25 years, she liked walking through hardware stores and visiting with her family and friends. She had a warm manner and was a sensitive and thoughtful soul. My grandsons have good memories of her. So do I. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Hey Kids! Let's Join Billy's Secret Club! MEMBERS ONLY!

Billy's now got a 'secret club', members only.   On the sidebar of his web page is this message: If you would like to access the members-only areas of the Billy Long for Congress web site or leave us information on how can volunteer, please take the time to share your details with us.

This website, Billy Long for is NOT to be confused with Billy's government website

The dot com website does contain, at the bottom of the page, the standard paid for by disclaimer AND a link to Billy's government website:
© 2012 Billy Long. All Rights Reserved. Paid for by Billy Long for Congress, Ron Neville, Treasurer, 88-FEDUP
For all legislative or casework inquiries, please click here.

Billy's secret "Members Only" club reminds me of  Ralphie and his Secret Society decoder pin from the Little Orphan Annie radio show. After weeks of anxious waiting, and missing out on the daily "secret message" (which to a kid appeared very important) Ralphie finally is able to participate. However, he learns a lesson in being ripped off, as the secret message turned out to be an Ovaltine reminder to 'drink more Ovaltine".

Will Billy's secret 'Members Only' message be to "Vote for Billy"?  Or maybe a change to win one of Billy's old jackets?


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Billy Long in D.C.--- That's Hollywood for Ugly People

 Billy Long attended the White House Correspondence Dinner as the guest of Howard Goller Washington Editor, Reuters Professional News. 

Earlier today, MSNBC had a segment on the WHCD. Included in that segment was this sentence:
"Some say Washington D. C. is Hollywood for ugly people."  or words to that effect

Of all the crowd shots NBC could have chosen to illustrate 'ugly people'.....  well just watch for yourself.

1.  Earlier this year Long was featured as the 'least effective'  congressional tweeter

2.  How much does it cost to drop a bill?  Last April, in an appearance before the Joplin Tea Party (Long told NPR he was 'tea party before tea party was cool'*) in Joplin, MO "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.

3. Fed up with Billy Long?  So's the Joplin Globe

4. In addition to making Keith Olberman's "Worst Person in the World" --- twice!-- Long's antics while in Washington are discomforting. During the primary, Long tried to pass off his playing in high stakes poker games --some with $25,000 entry fees) as just a way to relax.

5.  Billy is a combination class clown / bully. Recently at a meeting concerning the closing or rural post offices in MO7, Long said,

"You catch a lot more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. So, when you tell stories about me through some of your representatives that I want to privatize the Postal Service, which is an out and out lie, that doesn't help you any with me or my office. So...."
Unfortunately for Long, during the campaign, he did state he was in favor of privatizing the Postal Service, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the TVA.

6.   Still wonder why we're "FED UP"?   "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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Billy Long straddles the fence on Springfield USPS closing

and we all know what happens when you straddle a fence...

The Springfield News-Leader, in a story Deidre Shesgreen (Bill would spare Springfield mail center) reports from Washington:
WASHINGTON — The Springfield mail processing center would be spared from closing under legislation approved by the Senate on Wednesday to overhaul the U.S. Postal Service.
The Senate bill, passed by a 62 to 37 vote, does not include an outright ban on closing mail processing facilities. But it does include a provision that would bar the USPS from easing its current overnight delivery service requirement, which would have the effect of forcing the USPS to keep Springfield and about 100 other such facilities open.
“The Springfield facility provides good-paying jobs and vital services to the community, and I’m proud the bill the Senate passed would likely keep these folks at work and mail arriving in a timely fashion in the region,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Both Senators McCaskill and Blunt voted for the final bill. (at the bottom of this post you will find a link to what Billy really thinks of Roy Blunt.)

Shesgreen adds that "Rep. Billy Long, R-Springfield, hasn’t taken a position on either the House or the Senate bill. “All the proposals I’ve seen so far use conflicting numbers,” Long said. “I have tried for months to drill down with postal officials and get real numbers. Postal officials have been less than forthcoming to all of my questions to date.”

Of course Billy Long hasn't taken a position on either bills--- these bills would save the Springfield Postal Service Center which is counter to Billy's position, as delineated by his own words, has been all along to privatize the USPS---

On June 10, 2010 Long signed his name signifying his agreement with this statement: "I will support legislation aimed at protecting taxpayers by privatizing government-sponsored corporations and enterprises such as the United States Postal Service, the housing government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Tennessee Valley Authority."

Further, Long added the following handwritten comment: "Entities like the USPS,Fannie and Freddie are proven economic failures that operate at losses constantly. Service and profitability would be enhanced by privatization."

When reminded of his position on privatization, Long said, "You catch a lot more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. So, when you tell stories about me through some of your representatives that I want to privatize the Postal Service, which is an out and out lie, that doesn't help you any with me or my office. So...."

In the later part of March, 2012, Rep. Billy Long’s office issued a statement from the congressman  indicating the congressman was supportive of keeping the USPS facility in Springfield open and running at capacity.

“I am deeply disappointed with the decision by the United States Postal Service,” Long stated. “As I have said all along, I want to make sure the Springfield Processing and Distribution Center got a fair shake during the evaluation process. I do not believe it did.”Long indicated he has a number of questions about the closing plan.

“I am not pleased with the Postal Service’s process and their apparent lack of care and concern,” Long commented. “I still have many questions left unanswered, such as why the Postal Service wants to close a facility in the fastest growing part of the state, and that is why I have asked the Postal Service Inspector General to conduct an investigation."

Hot diggity dog, Billy, hot diggity dog!

btw-- the Washington Post quoted our congressman "Just call me Billy" in a story earlier this week that didn't seem to fit in the local papers:
Summing up the attitude of many freshmen, Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), a former auctioneer, reportedly told lobbyists early last year that party elders such as Boehner and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a former House leader, should not be trusted. “John Boehner and Roy Blunt are what’s wrong with Washington,” he said. Bret Funk, Long’s spokesman, said Sunday: “Rep. Long denies this incident ever took place and has nothing but the utmost respect for both Speaker Boehner and Senator Blunt.”

Monday, April 23, 2012

Billy Long doesn't trust Roy Blunt? Coulda fooled me!

Freshman showdowns with GOP legislators, Washington Post article by Paul Kane:

Summing up the attitude of many freshmen, Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), a former auctioneer, reportedly told lobbyists early last year that party elders such as Boehner and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a former House leader, should not be trusted. “John Boehner and Roy Blunt are what’s wrong with Washington,” he said. Bret Funk, Long’s spokesman, said Sunday: “Rep. Long denies this incident ever took place and has nothing but the utmost respect for both Speaker Boehner and Senator Blunt.”

From the bus garage, September 2010: Billy Long's Explanation On Why He Made A $1,000.00 Campaign Donation To Career Politician Roy Blunt. Could It Be He's Not That "FED UP"?
This morning, I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural stop on the Billy Long Business tour. It was at the Trailliner truck lines terminal on East Blaine here in Springfield.

According to the article that was in yesterday's paper, Long encouraged members of the community to turn out for discussion of business issues.

So, at 9:30 this morning I showed up at Trailliner. As did two other people. One was there because she was concerned about Social Security and the environment. The other guy, a known Democrat, was there because, as Myron Cohen said, "Everybody got to be someplace." It was just the six of us: The owner of Trailliner; A Long campaign aide; Long; the woman; the man; and me. No other members of the community showed up. No Republicans showed up either.

We had a very nice tour of the Trailliner facitities. The owner was very friendly as he showed us his operation, of which he was justifiably proud.

After the tour ended, the members of the community present (all three of us) had some questions for Billy Long.

I specifically wanted to ask Long about that thousand dollar donation he gave to Roy Blunt's PAC, Friends of Roy Blunt, in November of last year.

Here is an exchange I had with Long: (The donation can be followed on

Jim Lee (JL): Billy, I wanna ask you, I do wanna ask you a serious question because you campaigned against career politicians.

Billy Long (BL): Right.

JL: And, and on November 23, you gave a thousand dollar donation to, to Roy Blunt’s Friends of Roy Blunt. And yet you campaigned against career politicians. Is that, how is that in keeping with you’re against career politicians by giving a thousand dollars to a career politician?

BL: He’s got a lot more conservative voting record than people that he’s going to be running against on the Democrat side. At that time, I mean we didn’t know who his opponent was gonna be, for sure, we figured it’d probably be and he’s got a lot more conservative voting record.

Female: I don’t think he’s conservative at all.

JL: But I, you ran against career politicians and you’re giving money to help keep a career politician in Washington.

BL: Carnahans are not career politicians?

JL: I’m not, I’m talking about your donation to Roy Blunt for a thousand dollars.

BL: Right.

JL: When you campaigned against career politicians and you gave money to help keep a career politician , specifically Roy Blunt, in Washington, which seems to be the antithesis of what you campaigned for in the primary. You were “Fed Up” with career politicians.

BL: I’m “Fed Up” with everything that’s going on in D.C.

JL: What, then why are you giving money to keep Roy Blunt up there?

BL: I think that he’s more conservative and a better choice than Robin Carnahan.

JL: So then you’re really not “Fed Up” with career politicians.

BL: You’re putting words in my mouth.

JL: No. no. I. I’m trying to, I’m trying to follow this train of thought. If, if, if, if a tea party guy in Branson, Missouri’s against career politicians and he’s got your sign in the dairy queen building down there and I know where that building is, it’s next to where O’Reilly’s used to be and he’s voting for you because he’s “Fed Up” with career politicians and then you’re giving money to career politicians. It, it, it, it doesn’t, there’s a disconnect. Why didn’t you give the money to Purgason? I mean, Purgason was a tea party guy.

BL: silence.

Male: Chuck got real, he took off his toupee.

(minor discussion about Chuck Purgason and his toupee)

JL: But those are the kind of questions I have and those are the kind of questions when I’ve got to hold your feet to the fire.

At this point the conversation drifted into other areas.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How jet planes are made

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Another day, another embarassment.

Atlantic Magazine discovers State Senator Brian Nieves: Is Missouri About to Secede Again?

Here is the entire article:

Did you know that Missouri is (again) thinking about seceding from the Union? Neither did I until I stumbled across SJR 45, a wince-worthy measure introduced earlier this year by Tea Partyist Brian Nieves, a Republican state senator whose anti-government rhetoric is strident even by today's grim standards. The proposed state constitutional amendment -- it would have to be approved by voters even if it makes it by the politicians -- is patently unconstitutional but remarkably candid in expressing the seditious level of dissent circulating through some state legislatures around the country.

The official title of SJR 45 is: "Prohibits Missouri state government from recognizing, enforcing, or acting in furtherance of certain actions of the federal government" but that's quite an understatement. The bill first caught my eye for its odd provision that would require state officials to interpret the Constitution using the "original intent" analysis currently in vogue among conservative legal theorists. But then I read the measure more closely and realized that the "original intent" portion of it is probably the least crazy portion of it. Here is the text:

Upon approval by the voters, this constitutional amendment prohibits the Missouri legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government from recognizing, enforcing, or acting in furtherance of any federal action that exceeds the powers delegated to the federal government.

The state also shall not recognize, enforce, or act in furtherance of any federal actions that: restrict the right to bear arms; legalize or fund abortions, or the destruction of any embryo from the zygote stage; require the sale or trade of carbon credits or impose a tax on the release of carbon emissions; involve certain health care issues; mandate the recognition of same sex marriage or civil unions; increase the punishment for a crime based on perpetrator's thoughts or designate a crime as a hate crime; interpret the establishment clause as creating a wall of separation between church and state; or restrict the right of parents or guardians to home school or enroll their children in a private or parochial school or restrict school curriculum.

The state is also required to interpret the U.S. Constitution based on its language and the original intent of the signers of the Constitution. Amendments to the U.S. Constitution shall be interpreted based on their language and the intent of the congressional sponsor and co-sponsors of the amendment.

The amendment also declares that Missouri citizens have standing to enforce the provisions of the amendment and that enforcement of the amendment applies to federal actions taken after the amendment is approved by the voters, federal actions specified in the amendment, and any federal action, regardless of when it occurred, that the general assembly or the Missouri Supreme Court determines to exceed the powers enumerated and delegated to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution.

Whoa. Is Missouri going to declare war on the United States? Are its citizens going to refuse to enforce laws they don't agree with? Are we seeing a form of "Interposition Light," a modern riff on anti-federalism, with all of the odious characteristics of the old, discredited doctrine except the word "interposition" itself? And exactly which elected officials in the Show-Me state, aside from Sen. Nieves that is, believe that a state can ignore or nullify federal court rulings or otherwise unilaterally cede its responsibility to recognize and respect federal law?

The last question is the most serious, of course, because SJR 45 is still pending in Missouri four months after Sen. Nieves introduced it. Earlier this month, in fact, it was passed out of the state's General Laws Committee. This week it might move even further along the path toward a future ballot (and future litigation, which will strike it down). As an expression of disdain for the federal government -- and for the rule of law itself -- it's quite a measure. But when you consider its source S.J.R. 45 reads more like a totem for this election cycle.

It's war. Sen. Nieves sees himself as an anti-government soldier whose duty is to protect his constituents from federal power and authority. He's walking the walk by introducing this measure and other controversial ones. And ever since the election of Barack Obama to the White House he's talked the talk of uprisings and battle. In 2009, for example, while he was a duly-elected state representative, Neives offered up this gem, a pitch chillingly familiar to anyone who followed the Oklahoma City bombing case a generation ago. Sen. Nieves said:

Sooner or later there's going to have to be a showdown. So be encouraged, be motivated... because 30 years from now, somebody's going to ask you what you did during the Patriot uprising... And it's my prayer that you'll be able to say you were right in the middle of it and that you had a piece of this fight.

Fighting about what? We know that, too. Nieves evidently is part of a conservative advocacy organization called State Legislators for Legal Immigration, a group with a focus and a zeal to its anti-immigration agenda that has drawn the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the civil rights organization that tracks anti-government activity. Here is how the Law Center describes the focus of the legislators' group:

Gay people are the "death knell" of America. The Confederacy fought for "individual liberties." One-world government, as predicted in the Book of Revelation, is around the corner. The federal government knew about the Oklahoma City bombing before it happened. President Obama is a secret Muslim and not an American citizen. The babies of undocumented immigrants are a "poison." State troopers should confine immigrants to special ghettoes (sic). A federal agency has secretly built a series of concentration camps for patriotic Americans.

It doesn't matter that Sen. Nieves' measure could never become Missouri law. It doesn't matter that it will likely cost Missouri's taxpayers millions to discover conclusively that this is so. Nor does it matter that the state for decades, for generations, has received a great deal more in tax revenue from Washington than it pays each year to the federal government. What matters instead is the symbol the measure suggests to a small segment of the public which believes it makes perfect sense for states to interpret federal law their own way. To these folks, Sen. Nieves isn't a kook or a secessionist or a traitor. He's a hero.

Which brings me to President Obama. I sure hope someone asks him this election cycle to make clear his views of politicians like Nieves and of legislative measures like this one. That's a national conversation worth having, don't you think? I'd also love to know whether Mitt Romney, the former governor of the original patriot state, thinks that states should be drawing the line here when it comes to defining their relationship with the federal government. The presidency would be a very different thing, indeed, in an America where each state is free to ignore the nation's laws.
Nieves has been on the bus before.

Billy Long likes cheap shoes from overseas. this probably explains that stress fracture in his foot.

Billy Long needs to explain this action.

He signed this letter (I know, he signs a lot of stuff that he doesn't comprehend)which includes this sentence:

Footwear tariffs are among the highest in the U.S. Tariff schedule despite the fact that less than 1% of the footwear sold in the U.S. is produced here, and the footwear that is produced here is largely manufactured with imported components that are duty-free or subject to low duties.
A press release from the RILA (Retail Industry Leaders Association):
The United States charged TPP countries nearly $250 million in footwear tariffs last year. These tariffs make footwear more expensive for American families, and updating the rules for footwear in the TPP would help to lower costs for a basic necessity. Modern footwear rules would also benefit American workers by recognizing the hundreds of thousands of high-value American jobs devoted to design, engineering, marketing and retail distribution for footwear.

I don't get the leap in logic here.

Reducing the footwear tariff will "benefit American workers by recognizing the hundreds of thousands of high-value American jobs devoted to design, engineering, marketing and retail distribution for footwear."

How many American jobs are tied to design and engineers of footwear? Hundreds of thousands?

How many American jobs are tied to engineering of footwear? Hundreds of thousands?

How many American jobs are tied to marketing and retail distribution for footwear? Now many this is where the hundreds of thousands of retail sales workers jobs come into play. But are these "high value jobs"?

Most places I know that sell shoes are all self service stores like Payless Shoes. (My experience as a kid was Hill Brothers Shoe Store on Lemay Ferry Road. I still remember the store's slogan: "Man alive, two for five!" How about "Brown Shoes Fit", remember that slogan?)

Where do residents of MO7 buy their shoes? Walmart? Target? Bass Pro? Plaze Shoe Store? I don't know.

But I do know there were a lot of shoe factories in MO7 Ozarks and across the USA that are no more. American Made Shoes. "Almost 99% of the 2.4 billion shoes purchased in the U.S. every year are imported, 86% of them from China." (Note to Bus Riders-- this WSJ article was free to access, not hidden behind a paywall.)

Billy and his fellow letter signers have nary a word about manufacturing footwear.

Today leader giants in the U.S. shoe retail business include Nike,, Ralph Lauren shoes, Crocs, Reebok, Red Wing Shoes and Justin Boots.

Footwear tariffs make footwear more expensive for American families? I thought the tariffs were designed to make imported goods (which are generally cheaper made and therefore cheaper) equal to American made goods.

It seems to me that Billy Long is advocating AGAINST American jobs here. How many factories in MO7 have closed (think clothing factories and shoe factories) because the factories closed and moved overseas?

Billy-- could you explain yourself on this one? Didn't those cheap shoes you wore while walking the parades give you a stress fracture in your foot that you didn't get fixed until you were on the government's health insurance?

I wonder if his cowboy boots were made in sweatshops?

The letter, which Billy signed, was spearheaded by spearheaded by Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and signed by twenty-seven members, including: Representatives John Barrow (D-GA), July Biggert (R-IL), Diane Black (R-TN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Paul Broun (R-GA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA), Fransisco Canesco (R-TX), Stephen Cohen (D-TN),

David Dreier (R-CA), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Mike Kelly (R-PA) Wally Herger (R-CA), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Billy Long (R-MO), Greg Meeks (D-NY), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Jared Polis (D-CO), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Greg Walden (R-OR).

Nike's headquarters is in Beaverton, Oregon.
Do the math.

Bus Driver's note: The Hill's Vickie Needham writes this story: Footwear industry, lawmakers call for reduction of tariffs in Asia-Pacific trade deal.

In her article, Needham writes:
Blake Krueger, chairman of FDRA (Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America), hailed the letter, saying, “300,000 Americans rely on the design, marketing, distribution and sales jobs of the 21st century footwear industry."
But again, not a word about manufacturing.

A commentator on Needham's article nailed it:
They want lower tariffs because they had to start paying their foreign sweatshop workers higher pay and overtime,they also have been blocked from working their slaves around the clock,that's how they stole our jobs in the first place,and now that their greedy little slavery ring has been busted,they want to get rid of tariffs and get tax holidays on their blood-money to pay their billions in corporate managements salaries and bonuses.I hope they all go bankrupt and we go back to the small shoe company like Brown Shoe used to be here in Missouri,the greedy migration of the corporate shoe manufacturing monopoly to cheap slave foreign labor and their gargantuan corporate salaries were born of un-American traitors that don't deserve our respect nor our tax dollars.I hope you pay till it bankrupts you just before the President tears up your passport and citizenship and ships your greedy-A@@ to Indonesia to live with those you tortured for so many years..

Sunday, April 15, 2012

All the news that fits. All the news that's fit. Either way it's gonna cost you more. Springfield News-Leader unveils new pricing plan

Today the Springfield News-Leader unveiled its new subscription plan:

A new subscription plan, reserving full digital access to subscribers and offering attractive rates for digital usage and home delivery of the print edition.

Smartphone apps, a tablet version and access to the daily e-Newspaper, along with 24/7 coverage from

New content, including added columnists, more ideas for enjoying the great outdoors, features on the rich history and traditions of the Ozarks, and helpful tips for women with busy family lives.

Earlier publication of content to digital users, plus more video clips and up-to-the-minute news.

More digital services for advertisers and businesses in the Ozarks.

Effective May 1, our new subscription model will change the way you use — and pay for — our content.

Online users will no longer have unlimited access to our content. Full access will be limited to subscribers, who will pay a minimum of $12 per month and up to $22 per month on an automatic payment plan if they want 7-day home delivery of the newspaper.

...On any given week, you’ll find dozens and dozens of stories, plus photos and other content, you cannot get from any other news source in Springfield. We provide more in-depth and watchdog reporting than other media, plus have unique local content in news, features, sports and opinion.

During the past two years, we’ve been working hard to improve the News-Leader — with new features and content across the board — plus, we have expanded our community involvement and leadership with efforts like our Every Child public-service journalism project.

We’re adding even more new features, including:

A new weekly column from Juliana Goodwin, who will write about the fascinating people and interesting places and things of the Ozarks. (See her first column on today’s front page.)Twice-weekly sports columns from Kary Booher.

Expanded outdoors coverage, with reporter Wes Johnson focusing on helping you enjoy the great outdoors in the Ozarks, including practical tips on how and where to go.

New consumer and family information aimed at helping busy women make the most of their family and personal lives.

More news stories and features on Ozarks history, traditions and values.
Some of the stories in the bus garage: sexual harassment lawsuit in the Ozarks; local office seeker has bankruptcy problems (NOT Steve Helms); gas company goes bankrupt, employees find other jobs; Republicans for Obama Springfield connection; vacant lots and pregnant women.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Eric, Shane and ALEC party in New Orleans and we foot the bill. Mike Colona nails it: ALEC is too extreme for Missouri!

Shane Schoeller is sponsoring the ALEC voter photo id bill in Missouri.

From The Turner Report October 2, 2011:

While lobbyists were taking care of Missouri Republican legislators and their spouses' every need during the three-day American Legislative Exchange Council annual conference in New Orleans Aug. 3-5, Missouri taxpayers, already reeling from cuts those legislators made to state programs, essentially paid for their travel and lodging expenses since the legislation they will return with is generally designed to benefit only the wealthiest in the state.

Among those attending were Speaker of the House in waiting Rep. Tim Jones and Rep. Shane Schoeller, R-Springfield, who is expected to be a candidate for secretary of state next year.

The list of ALEC members were printed recently on the Franklin County Democrats website after it obtained a letter sent from Missouri Association of Electric Cooperatives lobbyist Mary Scruggs to ALEC members:

From: Mary Scruggs []
Sent: Friday, June 24, 2011 1:58 PM
Subject: ALEC invitation
Importance: High

Attached you will find an invitation for Missouri Night at the ALEC Conference in New Orleans. The ALEC Conference is August 3-6, with state night on Friday, August 5th. We are a little over a month away and are trying to get an accurate head count of attendees, please RSVP to me ASAP, but no later than July 25th at 573-659-3409 if you are attending and have guests.

These are the Legislators that I have from June 15:
Legislators if you have family members attending with you, it would be great to get them in our head count for the restaurant.

Rep. Sue Allen
Rep. Ellen Brandom
Rep. Eric Burlison
Rep. Sandy Crawford
Rep. Charles Denison
Rep. Tim Jones
Rep. Shelley Keeney
Rep. Bill Lant
Rep. Cole McNary
Rep. Darrell Pollock
Rep. Shane Schoeller
Rep. Jason Smith
Sen. Ron Richard

The following companies are paid sponsors to date:

Allergan – pending
Ameren -
AstraZeneca -pending
AT & T –
Bryan Cave -
CenturyLink –
Comcast –
Express Scripts -
Peabody Energy -
MO Assn. of Realtors-
MO Cable Telecommunications Assn. –
Reynolds American Inc. -
Sprint – pending
St. Louis Community College -

Please notify me with any changes or omissions. I need to give the restaurant final numbers on July 26. Call with any questions.

Of the list above, Missouri Ethics Commission records posted Saturday document the presence of all except Richard at the conference. Hopefully, Richard would have better use for his time during a period in which his home town of Joplin is still reeling from the May 22 tornado. However, Ethics Commission documents indicate some lobbyists, rather than recording gifts to individual legislators, said the gifts were given to the Missouri House Caucus, the Missouri General Assembly, or the Missouri Senate Caucus. The Scruggs letter lists only one senator, Richard, on the list of those who were scheduled to attend.

The following lobbyists gifts were reported for individual legislators:

-Rep. Darrell Pollock, R-Lebanon, received an $88 meal from Drue Duncan, Pfizer, and a $23.33 meal from Ashley Varner, National Rifle Association.

-Rep. Sandy Crawford, R-Buffalo, an $88 meal from Duncan

-Rep. Charlie Denison, R-Springfield, $88.41 meal from Duncan, and a $20.33 meal form Ms. Varner

-Rep. Bill Lant, R-Joplin- $88.41 meal from Duncan

-Rep. Caleb Jones, R-California- $45 meal from Heath Clarkston, RAI Services; $5, $120.41, and $11.49 meals from Duncan, $5 and $7 meals from Tracy King, Missouri Chamber of Commerce

-Shane Schoeller, R-Springfield- $23.33 meal from Ms. Varner

-Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem- $39 meal from Doug Galloway, Centurylink; $90 meal from Tracy King, Missouri Chamber of Commerce; and $25.25 meal from Ms. Varner, National Rifle Association

-Rep. Cole McNary, R-Chesterfield- $196 ALEC Golf Tournament outing from Heath Clarkston, RAI Services

-Rep. Shelley Keeney, R-Marble Hill- $36 meal from Doug Galloway, Centurylink

-Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka- Jones had a $44 meal with Ms. Varner of the National Rifle Association, but reimbursed her for the cost.

-Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield- $45 meal from Heath Clarkston, RAI Services

-Rep. Sue Allen, R-Town and Country- $80 and $8 meals from Michael Gibbons, Peabody Energy

The Ethics Commission records also show that Duncan, the Pfizer lobbyist, and Ms. Varner, the NRA lobbyist, bought meals for legislators' wives.

Duncan bought meals for Mrs. Denison, Mrs. Pollock, and Mrs. Lant, while Ms. Varner paid for meals for Mrs. Denison, Mrs. Pollock, and Mrs. Schoeller.

Richard and Rep. Ellen Brandom, R-Sikeston, are the only ones named in the SCruggs letter whose presence at the conference is not documented in the Ethics Commission records.

ALEC charges low membership rates for legislators with special interests who are seeking influence with those legislators paying much higher fees. The special interests take care of the legislators' travel and lodging fees through so-called "scholarships," which, in turn, enable them to submit ready-made bills that the legislators claim as their own.
Eric Burlison and Roy Blunt. Eric is a member of ALEC.

Representative Mike Colona of St. Louis released the following statement today regarding the American Legislative Exchange Council's extreme agenda:

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is not the innocuous, bipartisan organization it purports to be. Their agenda is radical and wrong for Missouri. I was a member and saw firsthand the sort of extreme legislation they push on state legislators around the country.

I disagree with ALEC's extremist agenda and encourage my colleagues in the Missouri General Assembly to end their affiliations with the group. If ALEC is too extreme for Coke, Pepsi, McDonald's, Kraft, Wendy's, Intuit and the Gates Foundation, it's too extreme for me and the people of Missouri.

Rep. Colona may be contacted with any questions at or 573-751-6736. Mike Colona dropped his membership in ALEC.

LeaderJones didn't.

Friday, April 06, 2012


Pathetic voter turnout reason sales tax passed-- Steve Helms

Jess Rollins reports in today's SN-L "Critics: Low vote boosted tax.

Presiding Commissioner Jim Viebrock said the 11 percent turnout “is not a reflection of the total population.”said that 11% voter turnout "is not a reflection of the total population."

This isn’t a game where there are winners and losers,” he said. “It’s a principled conversation about how government should be run.”

He added that his leadership changed the conversation in county government.

He said he played a big role in reducing potential tax proposals from 1/2-cent when he took office to the 1/8-cent that was passed by voters on Tuesday.

“I made them prove they needed it. I made them fight for it, I made them fight for it publicly. So, there is a victory in it for me as well.”
Viebrock also reiterated his belief that "I'm a winner too."

"Greene County Circuit Clerk Steve Helms, who also opposed sending the tax to voters, cited “pathetic” turnout and voter apathy for the sales tax success Tuesday. Helms, who is running to unseat Bentley on the commission, calculated that only about 7 percent of voters actually approved the tax increase. "It wasn’t a majority. It just passed,” he said. The final tally was 14,086 in favor, 6,909 against."

These guys just don't get it.

When Helms won the three way Circuit Court primary in August 2008, it wasn't a majority, it was barely a plurality. In August 2008 there were 183,263 registered voters in Greene County. 10,777 voted for Steve.

When Billy Long won the 8 way MO7 primary it wasn't a majority. He won 37.5% of the votes cast in the Republican primary.

When MO voters voted to repeal the individual mandate of ACA in August 2010 it wasn't a majority.. 71% to 29% voted to repeal but only about 20% of registered voters weighed in on the question.

Using Viebrock's and Helms' reasoning, we ought to throw all these results away because it wasn't a majority.

Look at the sales tax election numbers AND the school board election numbers-- it looks like those who voted no for the sales tax also voted for Aubrey.

If I were Helms, (and I'm not thank Allah!), I'd be looking very close at the voting results in the eastern district.

IF the sales tax passed there and Aubrey lost big there then that doesn't bode well for Steve Helms and he probably ought to be thinking about dropping out of the race.

Helms said he came to Springfield in the mid 1990s as an army recruiter. Six years later he bankrupted 3 companies, owed 132,000 dollars in credit card debt and a debt to his dad. He got $767,000.00 in debts wiped out leaving us holding the bag.

This is the same Steve Helms who complains about big government.... seems to me he gets his paycheck from the government and big government did him a heckuva job in forgiving his 3/4 million dollar debts.

Anyone else see the disconnect?

When Steve comes up with a plan for paying back his debts maybe then we'll start taking him seriously.

Steve is a posterboy for what is wrong with Republican politics in Greene County and MO7.

PS--Helms published an internet newspaper called the Springburg Gazette. It's off the internet now, but finding cached copies make for interesting reading.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

"Those who will change the world are those who don't like it the way it is."Bertolt Brecht

"The worst illiterate is the political illiterate.
He hears nothing, sees nothing, takes no part in political life.
He doesn't seem to know the cost of living, the price of beans, of flour, of rent, of medicines -- all of which depend on political decisions.
He even prides himself on his political ignorance, sticks out his chest and says he hates politics.
He doesn't know, this imbecile, that from his political non-participation comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber and, worst of all, corrupt officials, the lackeys of exploitative multinational corporations."

“Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are.”

“Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the running to spread the truth among such persons.”

“What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank?”

“It is easier to rob by setting up a bank than by holding up a bank clerk.”

"Und der Haifisch,der hat Zähne,und die trägt er im Gesicht und Macheath, der hat ein Messer.Doch das Messer sieht man nicht."

Bertolt Brecht.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Election Day

Sunday, April 01, 2012

How it all started

Photographic recreation of Billy Long during his first years as a talk radio host. This recreation shows Billy at the peak of his cognitive development and clearly demonstrates that even early he had a love for animals.

"Here kitty, kitty."

In those early days Long had no sponsors. He would raid the candy machines at his father's miniature golf course (some say the course was adjacent to the old Shady Inn thus explaining not only Billy's bulk but his affinity for aged meat) and give out nickel snickers bars to listeners who called it. At an early age Billy the value of a well placed bribe.

Not much has changed since then.