Friday, April 29, 2011

Why Billy Long is afraid to hold a town hall meeting

This from Blue Dog Arkansas, Rick Crawford's Town Hall Disaster:

Earlier tonight, Rick Crawford held a “town hall” in Jonesboro, and of course I went with my handy video camera. I say “town hall” because Crawford was attempting to keep everything under control by reading questions from cards rather than let the audience get up and ask him directly. On top of that, Crawford had sent out lots of invites so the crowd that gathered there was overwhelmingly Republican and kept asking friendly questions about “Obamacare”, “czars”, NPR, the EPA and so on, going so far as to applaud at every word that came out of his mouth. You’d think that with such a friendly atmosphere the event would have run smoothly for Crawford. And you’d be mistaken. The whole thing seemed a total disaster, and Crawford found several of his constituents standing up to him.

Namely, Crawford got raked across the coals on Medicare, and at one point he not only admitted to having voted “to end Medicare as we know it”, but when the questioner objected that he was “mortgaging our children’s future” Crawford’s response was, and you can’t make this up:


Watch for yourself!
How tone deaf can you be? The exchange collapsed from there, with one member even throwing his “class warfare” argument back in his face as his supporters tried to drown her out by clapping.

But it got better.

At another point, Crawford was asked which he would rather do-cut Medicare or raise taxes on the rich. He couldn’t answer!
At the end of the video, you hear someone ask the questioner if Crawford answered his question and he snaps back, “No.”

What had to be the most jaw dropping moment of the whole thing though was the exchange Crawford had with several folks over whether he would vote to raise the debt ceiling or default on the national debt. Crawford said he would vote against raising the debt ceiling and immediately someone asked him “So you would vote to default…” Crawford’s response made my jaw hit the floor. He said he wouldn’t vote to do either! I’m usually pretty good about keeping my mouth shut when I’m behind the camera, but I couldn’t help but jump in with the group of flabbergasted people trying to convey to him that this is an either/or scenario. The guy just didn’t get it!
This man is playing Russian roulette with the global economy and doesn’t even understand it. It was a really frightening exchange when you think about the implications, made more so when he rattled out something about the Federal Reserve owning GM stock we don’t need that could keep us out of debt. I still have no idea what he was talking about there. I’ve heard the Paulbots spout out some wild stuff, but this was really insane.

Then he answered my question about his votes against protecting troop pay in the event of a government shutdown while voting to protect his own pay. Crawford said that was false and when I told him I had the record of the votes on the blog he got a little snippy with me and basically called me a liar.

Here’s the original Think Progress article that recorded the near unanimous House Republican votes on the matter. Crawford’s name is recorded voting twice (here and here. Billy Long voted the same as Crawford) against protecting the pay of soldiers serving overseas. And yes, he voted to protect his own pay(as did Billy Long).Who’s the liar here Rick?

Now again, Crawford was on friendly turf with an audience full of Republicans and only a small number of folks willing to argue with him rather than clap like a robot. One of his supporters even commented “We were way worse to Blanche Lincoln then you guys were tonight.” (To which I replied that that’s because Democrats have manners.) But apparently Crawford couldn’t take it. He was visibly upset at several points. The event was scheduled to go to 8:00 pm, but Crawford cut it short at 7:23 on the dot, saying he didn’t have time for anymore questions and then he high tailed it out of there. Wouldn’t even look at me or any of his other critics as he shot out the door. Talk about not having congressional temperament.

(Oh and FYI, this won’t be the last video I’ll be posting from Crawford’s “town hall.”)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Too much rain

been gathering animals two by two, and lumber 40 cubits worth.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tele-townhall: When you are afraid to face the voters in person

In years past, I would listen in to Roy Blunt's teletown hall and all the questions he answered were 'softball questions'. One time, even as Roy was speaking on the telephone to the tele-townhall listeners, he was also "twittering" at the same time.

Dang, can that guy multi-task!

Roy has called me before to ask my opinions about matters and affairs. I told him I felt knowledgeable enough to talk about matters, but I was uncomfortable talking about affairs. I said what he does in his private life is his own business, as long as it doesn't affect me.

Roy's boy, Matt, also called me several times, asking if I had any questions to ask him about him, Missouri, or just about anything that came to mind.

Last week, Billy Long conducted a tele-townhall. Was it a wasted hour? All the questions he answered were 'softball questions'.

Hot diggity dog!

Today, the Kansas City Star printed this letter: Hartzler shielded

About 8 o’clock one night I received a phone invitation to participate in a live teleconference in which I could ask U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler a question about any concerns. I indicated my interest and was told that I would be called on soon. After a half-dozen or more questions from some very supportive participants, I was asked for my name and question.

“I have to tell you my question before I can talk to Hartzler?” I asked. The reply was a firm yes. So I gave her my question:

“Why does Hartzler rail against government intrusion into our lives and government spending when her family has received thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical?”

I then heard, “He wants to talk to you about your farm subsidies.” Another voice, I assume Hartzler’s, replied, “I’ll deal with that later. Go to the next caller.”

My question opportunity disappeared.

If this happens again, I will have an innocent question ready, and when we go live, I’ll fire my zinger.

Frankly, I don’t blame the Hartzler camp. I wouldn’t let me on their program either.

Carl B. Foster Warrensburg, Mo

Monday, April 25, 2011

Billy Long is a "Code Talker"

Betchya didn't know that.
Yep, ol' Colonel Billy is not only a 'smack talking' auctioneer'*, he's also a code talker.

Remember this exchange that I had with the Colonel last September?

The bus made several stops at this stop.

At that time, Boehner had put out there a plan to raise the retirement age to 70. This is what we were talking about with Billy.

I was so effin' dumb that I never realized that was just a smokescreen to divert attention from the plan to do away with Social Security and Medicare entirely.

Here's a transcript of part of the convervsation:

BL: Yeah, we got to honor our commitment to people.

JL: Yeah.

BL: We can't, we got to honor our commitment to seniors.

JL: Well, then, are you saying that, uh, you would consider raising the Social Security retirement age to seventy?

BL: Listen, I'm, I think we need to honor our commitment to our seniors.

JL: So you would vote against, if John Boehner got to be Speaker of the House, you would vote against his plan to raise the Social Security age to

BL: I haven't looked at his plan, to be honest. But I'm not for raising the age of Social Security right now at all. (Another red flag we all missed. In September, 2010, Billy signals that he does not read anything with more substance than the talking points. Remember the kill the internet bill? I do.)

Female: For any reason? Not even for the future?

BL: We're talking about for now. (Billy was as nervous as worm in hot ashes when we was atalking about this)

Female: Ok.

JL: Well, well, well.

That's right, well, well, well.

Billy's code words were "honoring our commitment to our seniors" and "We're talking about for now."

Those are code words for "If you were born after 1957, all the money you paid into Social Security and Medicare" will be lost."

Or, in A 'Billyism' "You'll be staggering around like buckeyed calf" or Billy, it turns out, was conveniently born in 1955. He's as happy as a heifer in the corncrib.

Isn't that special.

I jist wish ol' Billy would driv a stake in MO7.**

*To see how Tuesday's midterm rout will change the face of Congress, look no farther than the Bible Belt of southwest Missouri. Voters there replaced Rep. Roy Blunt, a savvy insider, with Billy Long, a smack-talking auctioneer with no college degree but a pithy slogan: "Fed Up."

**Down in the Holler, A Gallery of Ozark Folk Speech, Vance Randolph and Geo. P. Wilson, University of Oklahoma Press, 1953, First Edition, page 220.

Billy Long Fed Up With Town Hall Meetings that Make Him Accountable to Constituents

This is a guest post written by Bungalow Bill on 04/25/2011 – 3:57 pm PDT -- Politics

USA reports that Congress has returned home to their districts and many are holding town hall meetings. Here in Missouri 7, Congressman Billy Long must be fed up of town hall meetings. There is not town hall schedule for Congressman Long.

USA Today writes that many members of Congress are experiencing town halls where voter anger resembles that of a couple of years ago when Obamacare what the key issue. Now it’s Medicare that is driving voter anger.

So why isn’t Fed Up Billy Long conducting town hall meetings in the ten counties he serves? His Congressional Web site shows no Town Hall schedule why other members of Congress are holding them. Is Billy Long’s ego too big to face voters, or perhaps its his incompetence on the issues that makes him want to hide at art contests in controlled environments. Whatever it is, Southwest Missouri is being cheated of face time with their Congressman.

Oh, that’s right, Billy Long already threw a town hall meeting. He did you ask?

Yes he did. On the telephone, where the questions can be controlled because the entire event is out of the view of voters. Long can hand pick who asks the questions and avoid taking questions in an uncontrolled environment just like we saw during the campaign. There were few times Long talked that wasn’t in a controlled environment and when he did talk in an uncontrolled environment controversy followed because of his incompetence on the issues. Billy Long isn’t going to face questions from voters that he can’t control.

While I don’t like Senator Claire McCaskill, I will say this about Claire Mama Caskill, she at least has the courage to face voters even in hostile environments. Long’s own arrogance combined with his ignorance makes him believe that you won’t notice that he won’t hold town hall meetings in his district. Considering the important issues currently debated in Congress, Long owed his constituents a face to face town hall meeting in every county in his district–an unscripted town hall meeting that gives voters like me and you a chance to ask him questions he hasn’t prepared for.

Agenda for Billy Long's next town hall meeting, complete with talking points.

From Thinkprogress:

As members of Congress return to their districts and conduct town hall meetings with constituents, lawmakers who voted for the Republican budget are facing a backlash from their constituents. The budget, written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), effectively ends Medicare, severely cuts Medicaid, cuts taxes on the rich, and lowers corporate tax rates. As ThinkProgress has reported, everyone from Ryan, to Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA), to Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), to Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH), and others have faced heated questions about the GOP plan.

Slate’s Dave Weigel reports that American Action Network, a relatively new conservative front group founded by a group of Wall Street bankers, is loading up conservative activists with softball questions and talking points to bolster Republican lawmakers on the Ryan plan:
Meanwhile, the American Action Network, the think tank and campaign shop run by former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, is making Ryan budget talking points and questions available for conservatives who want to buck up their members.

American Action Network did not return ThinkProgress’ request for more information on the budget talking points. As we reported last year, the group was founded by investment banker Ken Langone, former Goldman Sachs executive Robert Steel, and investor and former Nixon official Fred Malek.

As the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo has explained, the Republican budget also contains provisions to unwind new regulations imposed on major financial services corporations. The Ryan plan repeals provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that allow “the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to designate some firms as systemically significant and subject them to stiffer regulation” — a major reform Wall Street has lobbied aggressively to stop. The American Action Network board features a number of executives and lobbyists with a potential interest in rolling back financial regulations:

– American Action Network board member Fred Malek is chairman of the investment firm Thayer Capital Partners.
– American Action Network board member Isaac Applbaum the founding General Partner of Opus Capital.
– American Action Network board member Dylan Glenn is the Senior Vice President of Guggenheim Advisors.
– American Action Network board member C. Boyden Gray is a director of FreedomWorks and founder of a lobbying firm called Gray and Schmitz. Gray recently penned an article calling financial reform unconstitutional.
– American Action Network board member B. Wayne Hughes Jr. is the founder of American Commercial Equities Inc.
– American Action Network board member Ken Langone is the chairman of investment banking firm Invemed Associates LLC.
– American Action Network board member former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) is an executive at JPMorgan Chase.
– American Action Network board member Vin Weber is a lobbyist for a number of banks and insurance companies.

During the debate over health reform legislation, health insurance companies contracted a number of lobbying firms to bring people to congressional town halls and ask industry-friendly questions. Similarly, banks like JP Morgan and Bank of America worked through fronts like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to battle financial reform during the legislative debate last year.

Here is a copy of one of the Paul Ryan budget talking point lists distributed to conservative activists by the American Action Network.

Lots of Republicans, Billy Long included, made promises they had no intention of keeping

Here is what Billy was saying about social security last September.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Billy Long ain't afraid of anyone, anywhere, anytime

Except maybe me?

A Colonel of Truth? More like Senator Claghorn!* Or Foghorn Leghorn**

Last week, Billy Long's office, after losing an interviewer's faxed questions, denied the interview request of a Washington journalist because, "we are focused exclusively on our district press and our constituents."

Apparently Billy and his metro something staff not only have a problem with losing pre-submitted interview questions ("He had faxed in his questions to us, which is unusual, so regrettably his request was lost in the shuffle" --Bret Funk, Billy's press secretary), they also have a problem with geography.

No way no how can Ben Terris -- the author of the piece -- be even remotely considered "district press" or a constituent of Billy Long.

For those in MO7 who are unfamiliar with the National Journal, it is no wonder.
From wikipedia:

The National Journal is aimed at Washington insiders. It is mostly read by members of Congress, Capitol Hill staffers, the White House, Executive Branch agencies, the media, think tanks, corporations, associations and lobbyists. Most of the journal's content can be accessed only by subscribers. The yearly subscription rate is $1,160.

So, when Long gives a softball interview to the National Journal on line Colonel of Truth: Freshman House member Billy Long has gone from selling goods to selling ideas. This job may be harder and answers this question this way:
NJ How do you feel abou Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan?

LONG Anything Paul Ryan does budget-wise has to be pretty good. But it’s going to be tough. Each battle, I think, is going to get tougher. This one may have been tough and almost shut the government down, [but it] is probably going to look like a cakewalk compared to the debt ceiling, and the debt ceiling is going to look like a cakewalk compared to the budget.
You can be damned sure Billy is actively working to dismantle Social Security and Medicare.

Frequent bus riders will remember these bus stops:

September 2, 2010: Billy Long speaks at MSSU, says youth needs to be engaged in politics then ignores their attempt to engage him

September 2, 2010: Transcript: Billy Long and two reporters at MSSU, September 1, 2010

September 19, 2010: Of course he hedged his bets, he's a poker player!

September 25, 2010: Actions speak louder than words, trying to ferret out the auctioneer's stance on Social Security: he wants to dismantle it.

September 26, 2010: Stop da music! Stop da music! What a revoltin' duh-vel-up-min dis is!

October 7, 2010: "We get surveys, we get surveys, we get a jillion of them"

October 7, 2010: Billy Long on Social Security, unscripted, developing.

October 7, 2010: Debate Social Security TWO CONSERVATIVE CONGRESSES

October 7, 2010: No wonder Billy Long doesn't like bloggers, we ask follow-up questions.

October 8, 2010: Will Long throw his staffers under the bus?

October 9, 2010: Pedaling backwards as fast as he can.

January 26, 2011:Republicans (Billy Long included) want to gut Social Security. Does Long want these widows and orphans to go to the poor farm?

Watch these videos of how Billy Long answers question from his constituents during the campaign:

Long knows that when the voters of the 7th district realize he will vote "AYE" in support of Paul Ryan's budget which dismantles Social Security and Medicare he will be a one-term congressman.

He talks in vague generalities of "honoring our commitment to our seniors" and "don't believe what you read in the paper", while calling for "extreme" cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

He immediately backtracks from that statement but digs an other hole deeper than first with this comment: "It’s going to be another negotiating thing."

There is too much at stake for Billy Long to be playing auction games with our economy, our Social Security and our Future.

As John Stone said way back in February, 2007: "But I don't expect him to get the message."

This photo accompanied the National Journal's interview: Billy doesn't look well.

*"I refuse to drink unless it's in a Dixie cup!" It's a joke, son, it's a joke.

**"Looky here, son, I'm no loud-mouthed schnook. Lookit here son, I say son, did ya see that hawk after those hens? He scared 'em! That Rhode Island Red turned white. Then blue. Rhode Island. Red, white, and blue. That's a joke, son. A flag waver. You're built too low. The fast ones go over your head. Ya got a hole in your glove. I keep pitchin' 'em and you keep missin' 'em. Ya gotta keep your eye on the ball. Eye. Ball. I almost had a gag, son. Joke, that is.

OK, maybe Billy, with all his 'Billyisms' is channelling Senator Claghorn and Foghorn Leghorn.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Curbstone Critic on @Auctnr1-- Billy Long

John Stone, one of the first Springfield bloggers I met in person, wrote a blog he called "The Curbstone Critic" which is still out there in cyberspace.

John described himself like this:

I am an aging, liberal, balding, toothless, overweight, male whose idea of "good sex" is a piece of Key Lime cheesecake. So much for introductions.

I wish I could tell you that the name Curbstone Critic was a product of my befuddled mind. Unfortunately, it is not. It was used by an old friend who was the farm editor of the Springfield, Missouri, Leader and Press, and an occasional columnist who took great delight in annoying all the fundamentalists in this small midwestern town, Tom Ellis. RIP
John, who flew F4 fighter jets for our uncle, was a retired biologist and geneticist who had strong opinions about dang near everything (not only that,because he was retired he had the time to tell you). He took great photographs-- like this picture of Jesus in a tree over by Phelps Grove Park. The tree didn't make it through the 2007 ice storm...

"Sadly -- now Jesus lies on the ground cut by a chain saw into about ten pieces.... Even more gruesome than the cross.... SGF fundamentalists must have watched the Texas Chain Saw Massacre."

I have good memories of sitting in the Patton Alley Pub sharing simple thoughts with John, The Snarling Marmot, Fat Jack, Rhetorica, Desdinova and The Complex Mind.

Like Jesus in the tree, John didn't make it through 2007 either. He died on April 3, 2007, taking photographs at the downtown bus transfer station. John was 62.

My brother John, in addition to his blog, "By The Numbers" (linked on my link list on the sidebar) and "Hooniverse", has starting posting on "Curbstone Classics". His first post is about this wonderful 1972 Oldsmobile 98 Hardtop Coupe. Yeah!

Anyhow, I lost the link to John's post about the big black 98 (I'm partial to those early 70s big GMs-- Dad had a Buick Electra Deuce and a Quarter (225) that was bigger than most living rooms I've been in) and, in searching for it, I came across John's blog again. Yeah, it's still out there.

So, on a whim, I did a search of John's blog for any mention of Billy Long. Remember, John died of a heart attack in 2007, so anything he wrote about Billy Long pre-dates Long's foray into politics.

What did The Curbstone Critic have to say about Billy Long? Lots!

October 5, 2004: "Billy Long, a local businessman, who is willing to put his livlihood on the line to be a whore for any freep idea that comes down the line on his radio program on radio KWTO."

February 22, 2005: "Billy Long, a local used car salesman, and peddler of anything and everything, and a good Repug, said something that makes my IQ of 64 look like Einstein."

April 8, 2005: "But we can hold Billy personally responsible for what HE does, can't we? It's the old crazy right-wing idea of taking personal responsibility."

August 2, 2005: "Billy Long fitting in 18 commercials in a 30 minute period and Bonnie Bell doing some sort of Valley Girl talk imitation. So incessantly in-your-face right wing that Bill O'Reilly got an amplifier for his butt plug to drown out the noise."

September 14, 2005: "Billy Long got up early this morning to memorize the latest "talking points" memo for right-wing radio. Unfortunately, he actually believed it, since he didn't bother doing any checking of his own."

John thought Billy Long "half the time (he) doesn't have any idea of what he is talking about. And his only real interest in life is to sell me something."

Yep, I can just imagine what fun The Curbstone Critic would have with Billy Long.

Among the posts mentioning Long was this one, written on the occasion of comments made by Billy Long on his KWTO Morning Line Show on the occasion of the funeral of Coretta Scott King that John titled The Vile State of Local Radio:
The Vile State of Local Radio Thursday, February 09, 2006

I kinda' like local radio salesman Billy Long. I understand that half the time he doesn't have any idea of what he is talking about. And his only real interest in life is to sell me something. But that doesn't bother me since I can always laugh at him, note I said AT HIM, not WITH HIM.

But he has a bad habit of collecting talking points from KKKarl Rove every morning and then mindlessly repeating them, as he did this morning. By slimeing the funeral of Coretta Scott King. He didn't like it -- said it was too political -- I choked on my oatmeal. That's the same way they threw slime all over Paul Wellstone after practically his entire family was wiped out. And by the way, Billy, who the hell asked for your opinion on this woman's funeral anyway. Who in the world gives a flying fuck at a rolling donut hole what the hell you think about it? When you are dead and gone ... no one will care. Her name will be remembered for hundreds of years.

When you think about it what is the difference between Billy slimeing the funeral of Coretta Scott King, who he didn't know, and the Rev. Fred Phelps, of the Westboro Baptist Church slimeing the funerals of soldiers that he didn't know either?

Billy Long is a vile racist ... but he would deny it ... which only shows how badly out of touch he really is ... perhaps if he had black neighbors, or lived in New Orleans, or was poor, or had the man on his back all day, he would be a little more gracious to those who are less fortunate than he is. But I doubt it. Coming from an area that ran the blacks out years ago.

So I dedicate this song, sung by the Pigman on Billy's radio station, hisself as an inspiration to Billy Long.

But I don't expect him to get the message.

posted by John Stone at 2:29 AM 0 comments links to this post
John Stone 1945-2007

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Say Billy, how'd it go? How'd you do? Aw, it was great, we're gonna make a Youtube video out of it!

It takes a lot of balls to play golf and to tell your constituents that everyday you are in Washington D.C. you'll be doing the right thing for the right reason.

Yesterday Long, in remarks to constituents, Long talked about reps who are in D.C. for 'window dressing':

"There are so many people that are there for window dressing. They'll run down there and make a floor speech and I'll be back in the cloakroom right off the floor there, watching it on C-SPAN because I can hear it better than I can on the floor....and they'll come back and say, 'How'd I do? how'd I do?' and alltheir buddies will say, 'Aw, you did great, we're gonna take that and make a youtube video out of it.' "

We've already seen how Congressman Long sponsored a bill to establish a "National Auctioneer's Day" because "they called his office and asked him to drop the bill."

Long speech on auctioneer's day was posted by Long's office to youtube.

The same afternoon, Long's office also posted the following video on you-tube:

This morning, the PGA website posts the following story: PGA Professionals, veteran give high marks for visit with lawmakers during National Golf Day.

In that story is this paragraph:
Following a series of meetings, Rep. Billy Long of Missouri, issued an address from floor of the House of Representatives on the benefits of golf, and spoke about the experience he had witnessing Padilla and how golf "adds great benefits to our country in many ways," including the source of 2 million jobs, charitable contributions and as stewards of the environment.

"Following a series of meetings, Rep. Billy Long of Missouri, issued an address from the floor..."

Say Billy, how'd it go? How'd you do?

Aw, you did great! We're gonna take that video and put it on youtube!

Billy has the time to have a 'series of meetings' with PGA golf lobbyists and then has the golf balls to bar me from a press briefing?

There's a major disconnect going on here.

You can't make this stuff up!

Billy is not the guy who would seem to be the poster boy for fitness and golf.

Of all the 435 reps in Washington, why did the PGA choose Billy to give the 'golf speech' on the House floor?

Why Billy?

Because he once went to school with Payne Stewart?

Because his father once owned a minature golf course?

Or maybe Billy did it for sheets and grins?

That thing you do.....

Last September I and two other friends were the only three people who attended the inaugural event of Billy Long's business tour.

Here's an excerpt:

BL: Where’s your bus?

JL: My bus is parked, I always park my bus.

BL: I want to see your bus, it’s, I wanted you to bring your bus.

MM: Well, I’m glad we came out here, I wanted you to hear

JL: I, uh.

BL: Well, thank you, I didn’t know this would be a public deal, we, we’re just touring and visiting with small business guy

MM: We don’t get to ask questions

JL: Well, that’s just

MM: The regular people don’t have much access to ask our questions. As you can see, we’re not here to attack.

BL: No. (overtalk about taking photos between group)

JL: You’re a public figure, we’re gonna make fun of you, no, not make fun of you, we’re gonna take, we’re gonna jab you. I mean, that’ part of the business.

BL: I know, Jim.

Freshman Legislator wants to do away with Electoral College

Roseann Moring, political reporter in Jefferson City for the Springfield News-Leader posted this story yesterday evening: Hough sponsors bill in favor of presidential election by popular vote

JEFFERSON CITY — The House Elections Committee heard a bill from Rep. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, that would move the country toward electing a president by popular vote rather than through the electoral college.

Representatives from National Popular Vote told the committee that the bill would give each person more of a say in presidential elections, particularly voters in states that are not considered battleground states.

“We’re talking about entire states being ignored,” said Tom Galisano, a spokesman for the national campaign.

But opponents say the bill would lead presidential candidates to focus on large population areas and the founders of the country specifically chose to make the country a republic rather than a democracy.

The bill also encountered opposition from several committee members.

Hough said he learned of the idea from constituents, and he contacted the organization pushing the issue.

“Don’t you think it should be fair and equitable nationally?” he said.

He doesn’t expect the bill to move forward this session.
Isn't the Electoral College part of the U.S. Constitution? Is Hough advocating changing the Constitution? I thought he was, like Billy Long, one of those guys who kept his constitution 'rode hard and put away wet'.

In 2008, Hough stirred the pot with an interview he gave to
Springfield's GO magazine.

Controversy also followed Hough in 2010 over whether or not he paid personal property taxes on $100,000 worth of hay hauling equipment.

What's the difference between a duck? Reflections on meetings with Representative Billy Long and Senator Claire McCaskill 04/19/2011

Representative Billy Long in Springfield, MO earlier this morning.

Senator Claire McCaskill in Billings, MO earlier this evening.

When we were growing up, my Dad used to tell my brothers and I two old riddles. One riddle explained why fire engines are red and the other riddle was "What's the difference between a duck?"*

Today, I had one of the 'what's the difference between a duck' days, only instead of a 'duck', I'd like to substitute 'politician'.

Like, What is the difference between a politician?

My morning started at the Experience Works Billy Long Senior Forum. Some 100 seniors gathered in the Boys and Girls club gymnasium to hear our Congressman, Billy Long, discuss "discuss issues impacting the lives of Southwest Missouri seniors.".

The unspoken irony was that Experience Works operates the federal government's Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) with funding from Title V of the Older Americans Act, and state and local grants-- And we all know how Billy feels about government money.

In a talk billed as "free and open to the public" Long said he gets 80 to 85 people wanting to see him 'every single day' but if you mention you are from the 7th district he will "push you to the top of the list".

Long told the seniors he thinks "government spending is out of control".

As he related how he voted for budget extensions before voting against the budget extensions before voting for them before voting against them, Long said, “A business cannot budget two and three weeks at a time."

A person sitting next to me commented upon hearing this, "They certainly can if it not doing so would wreck the economy."

Long said during the budget discussions they were "throwing out so many numbers I couldn't keep up with them." I thought this was a cue for this. Didn't happen. I guess this audience was more sophisticated than the Joplin Tea Party audience.

About this time Long started losing his audience and he started talking about our troops and how Congress was "playing chess with our troops". Long was referring, I think, to this press release he issued: Congressman Long: Support the Troops.

In an unintended irony, Long said that after he voted NO on the house budget compromise, a New York Times reporter asked him "Are you happy?" Billy wasn't, perhaps finally realizing that by voting against the budget compromise, Long was voting AGAINST our troops.

Long said we need people in Washington who are not afraid to take the hard vote, who don't care if they are not re-elected.

"There are so many people that are there for window dressing. They'll run down there and make a floor speech and I'll be back in the cloakroom right off the floor there, watching it on C-SPAN because I can hear it better than I can on the floor....and they'll come back and say, 'How'd I do? how'd I do?' and alltheir buddies will say, 'Aw, you did great, we're gonna take that and make a youtube video out of it.' "
I'm not sure, but is he talking about congressman giving floor speeches and making youtube videos like this one?

Or maybe this one?
Ah jeez.

Long also said "he was not popular with leadership" because he's "not voting how they tell me to vote."

Once again alluding to the mythical "THEY", Long closed his remarks by saying "They shouldn't come up here with common sense ideas."

At the entrance to the gym, attendees were given the opportunity to write down questions to ask Long. Someone, maybe these two, chose which questions Billy would answer, or attempt to answer. Unlike Senator McCaskill's town hall meetings where the questions are pulled from a jar, the questions at today's event were pre-screened.

The first question was when would seniors receive a pay increase for Social Security. Long's long involved answer was that seniors vote and Washington listens when they speak. Later, when Long was asked which senior programs are on the chopping block, Long again did not give a direct answer. But he did tell the audience not to believe everything they read in the newspaper.

As one reader phrased it:
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, 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.

Another questions was about domestic oil drilling (Long's for it), one question was about debit card increases (Long didn't have a position)

When asked "How influential is the Tea Party?" Long said he had not joined the Tea Party Caucus because "(I) don't have time to go to every caucus there is." Luckily for us, he did have time to join the "Cowboy Hat Caucus".

In another easily checked comment, Long said "I'm voting more conservative probably than the tea party is right now."

Billy talked a little more about cardboard boxes, nails from China and Mexico which means it's time to cue this important video, "How do you keep a free market free?"

After Long's prepared remarks and the pre-screened questions, some from the audience came up to Billy for more "Billyisms". I was part of this group, we had a question to ask Billy.
Unfortunately, this was as close as I got. A phalanx of young men surrounded Long, continually cutting me off at the pass.
I soon tired of playing hide and seek with the congressman and headed over to the anteroom for the press conference.

What happened next has gone viral: Representative Billy Long Doesn't Play Well With News Media

Not able to attend the press briefing, I waited outside by the side door, patiently, thinking maybe I might be able to ask Long a question as he exited the building.

I too saw the black F150 with Bozo the Clown on the dash. The driver was furiously texting.

When I walked down the side of the building, I saw who the driver was texting.

Then I realized what they were texting. As I turned back to the black F150 with Bozo the Clown on the dash, I saw the passenger door shutting as the truck pulled away.

I went home, got in my dump truck and went to the leaf dump.

This evening, I went to a Claire McCaskill function in Billings. About 40-50 people were gathered in a side room waiting for McCaskill to arrive. And when she arrived, what a difference to this morning's event.

McCaskill is accessible to her constituents,





McCaskill is in the crowd,

No phalanx of young metro somethings running interference

I was welcome to wander about and take photos

Senator McCaskill spoke from the heart.

Senator McCaskill shares a moment with a long-time supporter

In her remarks, McCaskill said she was "looking out for our pocketbooks." She is working hard with her collegues taking care of the people. She spoke of the last 13 months of private sector job growth, of protecting Medicare and Social Security, not that there aren't some changes that need to be made.

McCaskill "won't balance the budget on the backs of seniors and the middle class."

After her remarks, the Senator came up to me and introduced herself, and asked about my day -- I was glad to share my opinions with her.

As the Senator and her entourage left in her black Ford, I couldn't help thinking about the last time I saw a politician getting into a black Ford.

Oh yeah, the difference between a duck? One of its feet are both the same. Long and McCaskill are both my elected representatives. Long's demeanor today was that of a tired, angry old man who looked exhausted and angry and not welcoming of any dischord, in complete contrast to McCaskill.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

How much does it cost to 'drop a bill'?

I don't know, let's ask Billy.

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:

Saturday, at the Joplin Tea Party, now Congressman Billy Long spoke for about 20 minutes to the 150 or so people who came to the party.

Long's speech was noteworthy not only because he avoided the local media afterwards, ("at the moment we are focused exclusively on our district press") but also because at the end of his speech, just before he auctioned off the national debt, he made this comment:

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'.

Here, listen for yourself. You have wade through his explanation for why he has Bozo the Clown on the dashboard of his truck first, though.

Billy Long, our congressman, who wasn't going to Washington to scratch other people's backs, dropped a bill because someone asked him to do so.

I also know that the same group that asked Billy to "drop the bill", the National Association of Auctioneers, their PAC gave Billy Long $5,000.00 that was reported in June, 2010. Some think the lobbying group also gave Long another $5,000 later on in the campaign.

Sort of reminds me of how he co-sponsored this bill because someone asked him to do so. Long, by his own admission, didn't know what was in the bill and that he only co-sponsored it because Peter King asked.

At least King is a representative and is the Chair of the Homeland Security.

Now Long is dropping bills because a lobbying group asked to do so.

I am reminded of how important lobbyists are to Congressman Long. Remember how he skipped the reading of the U.S. Constitution on the House floor because he was meeting with a lobbyist? I do.

Billy Long co-sponsors bills he hasn't read.

Billy Long 'drops a bill' because a big campaign contributor asks him to do so.

Billy Long skips out on House business to meet with a lobbyist.

Something ain't right here."oops!"

Billy Long - the man behind the mask: "It's all about me!"

Earlier this week, in reply to a request for an interview focusing on Congressman Long's campaign promise to sell his auction company, Long, through his spokesperson, said, "that at the moment we are focused exclusively on our district press and our constituents."

It came as somewhat of a surprise then when reports started filtering in that Long was unavailable for reporters who were poised to question him about his votes this past week in congress. Long was reported as skirting reporters who were awaiting him in Joplin.

Last year, in Joplin, Duane Graham, "The Erstwhile Conservative", was able to interview Long.

Last year, while at the Tea Party event in Joplin, Duane Graham, author of the blog "The Erstwhile Conservative", videotaped an interview with Billy Long.

Here it is again, in slow-motion, with sub titles:

Is it any surprise then, that during this year's Tea Party event Billy Long refused to go on camera with Graham.

Here is Graham's account of his interaction with our Congressman, Billy Long yesterday in Joplin, MO:

Ozark Billy Snubs The Erstwhile Conservative
By R. Duane Graham

On Saturday, I continued my tradition of attending the annual Joplin Tea Party rally.

Unfortunately for organizers, though, there weren’t that many teapartiers who were willing to continue their tradition of attending. This year’s contingent was much smaller than last year’s, which was much smaller than the year before. But the sparse crowd—maybe 150 folks—was nevertheless thrown lots of blood-red meat from the speakers, which besides the usual locals, included would-be senator Rep. Todd Akin, who has never met a Democrat who wasn’t also a socialist, and, of course, Colonel Ozark Billy Long.

Now, I happened to be standing in the back of the crowd, when I spotted Colonel Billy trying to slip away from the area where the speakers were huddled.

Sensing a chance to talk to the Colonel one-on-one, I hurried over to where I thought he was heading, camera in tow. I was prepared to make and post a newsworthy video for my faithful readers. As I was walking, I looked up and saw Ozark Billy staring at me as I approached, with an unwelcoming look on his face. Nevertheless, I pressed on, again, with camera in tow.

As I walked up to my congressman, my representative, I introduced myself and told him I was from Joplin, clearly identifying myself as one of his constituents. I asked him if he minded if I interviewed him with my camera on. No, he said. Really? I asked. No, he said, I don’t want you to do that. Well, I protested, why can’t I use it? He anxiously looked around as if he were waiting on someone, then responded again that he didn’t want me to use the camera. He said, what is it you want to ask me?

Okay, I thought. No camera, thus, no record of our conversation, but I must soldier on.

I told him I wanted to talk about his vote on the Ryan budget plan the previous day, which essentially does away with Medicare while giving tax cuts to the wealthy. I asked him how he justified that vote. We have to do something, he said. He told me that what the plan does is merely give people a “cafeteria” plan like he gets as a government employee. Since Ozark Billy didn’t know I had been a government employee, I suppose he thought that his response would suffice to shut me up. But, of course, it didn’t.

I hurriedly explained to him—he was getting fidgety waiting— that the Ryan Medicare plan would end Medicare as we know it, and the so-called voucher proposal for those under 55 would not be sufficient to purchase insurance and people would have to pay much more out of their pockets. I added that those under 55, even while receiving reduced benefits themselves, would be forced to pay for the current Medicare system, the beneficiaries of which will continue to receive the current generous benefits for many, many years.

He didn’t dispute that but merely reiterated that something needed to be done because the system was designed when people only lived to be “48 years old.” Aghast at that, I responded with a “that’s simply not true,” and was poised to explain why. Except that a vehicle—the one Ozark Billy had been so anxiously awaiting—pulled up beside us. And without even saying goodbye, in went the Colonel and off went the car.

I, one of Congressman Long’s constituents, was left standing on the sidewalk, camera in tow.

Long returned a short time later and gave a speech that was mostly a repeat of an interview he gave on local right-wing radio station, KZRG. He even gave us another rendition of his now-famous “auction chant.” The small crowd cheered. I turned red with embarrassment.

But toward the end of his speech, Ozark Billy said the following to the crowd, and to me, the camera-toting constituent he had earlier snubbed:
We’re just having a lot of good success helping people. But it is the House of Representatives. Never forget that. It is the House of Representatives.

I’ve got a Bozo on the front of my truck—a lot of people say how come you got Bozo on the dash?—that’s to remind me—and I’ve had it on there for years—that’s to remind me not to take myself too seriously. I’m doing your work in D.C.*, and I was standing right down there last year with ya and I’ll be back down there in a minute…

Good! I thought to myself. He’s doing “our” work. And he’s coming down here among “us,” the folks. That would give me a chance to continue my conversation with him. What a man of the people! Colonel Ozark Billy Long, man of the people!

Except that after he finished his speech, I watched him leave the podium, walk over to his Bozo-guided truck, and get in the passenger side. Then someone drive him away.

Still holding my camera, all I could think to say was, Bye-bye, Colonel Billy! Thanks for stopping by and chatting with your constituents!
*Here is a video of Billy 'doing our work' on the floor of the House this past Friday.

Yes. He's speaking about golf.

ah jeez. It's not about us, it's all about him.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fed Up with Billy Long? So's the Joplin Globe

From The Joplin Globe, April 16, 2011, "Our View: Now we're fed up"

JOPLIN, Mo. — The political blogosphere went nuts this week over hearing U.S. Rep. Billy Long, the Springfield auctioneer, conduct an “auction” of the national debt on the floor of the House. Videos of Long’s auction-speak spread across the Internet like sales of Rolaids before tax day.

While that part of the video was entertaining, we were much more disturbed by what came before all the auction babble.

Long was on the floor to address the first bill with his name as sponsor. If passed, it would establish the third Saturday of April to be National Auctioneers Day. He and another auctioneer-turned-lawmaker are pushing the bill to recognize auctioneers’ role in America’s economy.

This is not what we had in mind when Long made election promises of less government, or no more business as usual. It sure doesn’t work toward cutting spending and reducing the deficit.

In fact, according to the bill’s language, this day of observance might actually cost taxpayers extra money. No Congressional Budget Office numbers have been released, but the bill would request the president to call “upon the people of the United States to observe the week with appropriate ceremonies.”

We understand that Long has spent only a few months in the House. Budget problems and other national issues have kept Congress busy, so we can understand the need to start slow.

And a new day of observance is hardly something to get riled about. In the big picture, National Auctioneers Day (if passed into law) would be one of a myriad of similar days, where the sheer quantity of them erases any meaning.

But for our new 7th District representative’s first bill to heap lavish praise over his chosen industry just doesn’t sit right with us.

It’s the principle of the whole thing: When Long campaigned for the 7th District, we heard him talk about how members of Congress weren’t meant to be career politicians. They were supposed to serve their term, then go back home and live under the laws they created.

If that’s true, then it makes an unpleasant statement about Long’s true motivations for seeking office.

Long is acting in poor taste by backing this bill. We’d like to see him get back to work on the important mission of actually cutting government.

Reports are filtering in that following his remarks at the Joplin Tea Party, Rep. Long skirted past four local reporters set up to ask questions and quickly left the area.