Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Rise of Teacher Unions in Missouri: Missouri Supreme Grants Collective Bargaining Power to Teachers

As reported in many Missouri including the Columbia Tribune, teachers now have the right to collective bargaining in the state. Though it doesn't compel the school district to meet any union demands, once a contract is made, the district cannot legally pull out of that contract. According to a news release from the MNEA, teachers will now have a voice on how decisions are made concerning them.

What effect will this have on Missouri school districts? The possibility of strikes comes to mind, especially in urban locales where the pay is low and the retention rate is poor. The court decision: Springfield vs. Clouse, that prevented teachers from collectively bargain, was made 60 years ago and now this author believes that the pent up pressure to organize will be released. Stay tuned, education policy will definitely be changing due to the recent court decision

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Politics of Mourning

Over the holiday, there was more parades and fighter jets roaring down Broadway here in Columbia. I get this feeling that we somehow bastardized the real meaning of memorial day, a day of reflection and remembrance. It has become of vehicle of muscle flexing and recruitment. It is ashamed that we choose remember those who have fallen by paying homage to our war machine

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Salute to Veterans Airshow: Rememberance of our fallen war dead or a recruitment tool

photo by Bill Monroe

I have been to the Salute to Veterans airshow off and on for the last 14 years and what I saw today was the most egregious show of disrespect to those who died for this country. Instead of having a tarmac full of old planes and stories by veteran pilots, it is now a show to recruit those into military service. All the military services were there. Their main demographic they were aiming at were children and young adults 13 or above. Not only did they have over sized mascots walking around, the Army had what was called the "Virtual Army Experience" This was a virtual reality game that one can go through and kill the "bad guys". In my opinion, this was very inappropriate. Memorial Day is a holiday to remember and mourn our war dead. When I was growing up, it meant going to the nearby military cemetery and paying your respects. Most of the time, we just went to the park and picnicked with family. But here at the Columbia Regional Airport it is about paying homage to our war machines. For those who would like the Wikipedia definition of Memorial day, just click on link.

Many military people were very friendly and insisted that they gave me the right to live free. Sorry folks, my constitutional rights are inherent, they are not given to me and especially not by the military. Comment and share your thoughts :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More Zoning options for Columbia.

According to an article in the Columbia Tribune titled: Local zoning ordinances in line for overhaul. There was a recurrent theme among candidates interviewed for Columbia's Planning and Zoning commission. That theme being that our zoning laws have become outdated. Many feel that the zoning laws does not take into account the push for big-box stores or mixed developments. The trend in many communities is to have mixed zoning in a neighborhood that blends single family homes, condos, apartments, and lofts along with nearby commercial property. The idea behind it is that it will allow people to work around in their communities and not have to drive 4-5 miles to shop, eat, etc. It is time to sit down and really figure out what zoning is appropriate for Columbia now and in the near future. Karl Skala, third ward councilperson, was quoted in saying that he would push for a periodic review of the zoning laws.

Blunt signs MOHELA bill

It looks like MOHELA is now the law of the land. Though it seems it is going to be held up in litigation for some time. It seems some students and bond holders might find this pork laden entity offensive. Rightfully so. It is a shame that the flagship university of this state was not slated for any of the "capital improvements" It is clear that this bill was meant to reward political loyalty than to improve higher education in this state. What many of these neo-cons don't know is not only are they "punishing" Columbia for being too liberal, but the many students who attend MU from around the state. Most of them reside in the St. Louis metropolitan area. I truly believe MOHELA will be litigated out and that those assets cannot not be used as political capital.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

McCaskill opens her new office in Columbia

Claire McCaskill was present at the grand opening of her new office in Columbia, Mo. She met with constituents and was greeted warmly by most. There were a number of people who questioned Claire about the Iraq War and her decision to keep funding it. During a brief speech, she did mention those concerns and reminded supporters that in a state that nearly was divided 50-50 last election, it wouldn't be political prudent to not fund the troops. This author suggested that she might help those in the House to start budgeting a redeployment. Of course, President Bush would probably veto the budget and a government shut down crisis would emerge.

The office is located at 915 E. Ash St. in Columbia. It on the corner of 10th street and Ash.
photo from

Friday, May 18, 2007

The 21st Annual James T. Blair Award

Governor Roger Wilson was the recipient the Blair Award tonight presented by the Cole County Central Committee. This honor is bestowed upon an individual that has shown to have served in public life with integrity, dignity, and reverence to the position they hold or once held. There were around 100 people that showed up at the Truman Hotel in Jefferson city. Among them were current office holders including Rep Judy Baker from the 25th District and Rep Jeff Harris from the 23rd district. Gracia Yancey Backer was the mistress of ceremonies and mildly roasted Gov Wilson a bit. Also speaking was former Senate Pro Tem Jim Mathewson who reminded the audience of more civil days in the legislature and asked for prayer for Gov Wilson's son Drew who has already served 3 tours in Iraq and can be called up again at any time. As Mathewson was making his closing remarks, he compared the cost of gas to the 300 billion cost of the Iraq war and called for the redeployment of troops back to the U.S.

Wilson's speech took us back to the days of compromise where tempers would flare, but concessions were made in the end and both parties respected each other. Gov Wilson pledged that he will do the best he can to get democrats elected in '08.

The Keynote speaker was Attorney General Jay Nixon, who is running for governor against presumably Matt Blunt in 2008. He campaigned on a platform of health care, education (from primary to higher education), and experience. He appeared fired up and ready to take on the governor.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Medicaid Drug Testing: A Conservative Attempt at Intimidating the Poor?

An AP story appearing in the Columbia Missourian titled Medicaid drug tests eliminated reports that a measure to randomly drug test medicaid recipients was strap due to the fact that such a message would cost the state millions in federal monies. However one must wonder why someone would want to put in a drug test in order for someone to receive medical care? Is it perhaps to intimidate those who are poor and might be struggling with drug addiction?

Besides violating the fourth amendment's protection from illegal search and seizures, it is also denying the poor the proper care they need to fight their drug abuse. Society and particularly the state need to realize that substance abuse is a medical problem and cannot be solved by cutting off their medicaid.

As a side note, the state of Missouri is projecting a 200 million dollar surplus, but instead of restoring the cuts that were made in 2005 and getting those who lost their benefits back on Medicaid, the Republicans want to cut taxes and give it to the wealthiest of Missourians. It is a shame that many Republicans in this legislature at best feel philosophically that helping the poor and disabled is not the role of government and at worst show contempt towards them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Great LTTE From DFMo Prez Bill Monroe to the Columbia Missourian

Below is a letter to the editor to the Columbia Missourian by Democracy for Missouri president Bill Monroe in response to J. Karl Miller's misinformed opinion piece about "voter fraud"

Mr Warhover,

J. Karl Miller has finally gone too far in his call to end non-existent "voter fraud" in Missouri, thru the use of Voter photo IDs. His thinly veiled racist referrences are over the top:
"The dense populations — which include an abundance of the lesser-affluent, least-educated and most-defenseless people — naturally attract a criminal element and provide a fertile ground for the incidence of fraud."

R epublican efforts to suppress Black voting in this Country are legion. The firing of Federal Attorney Graves when he refused to play ball with the Alberto Gonzales' agenda and pursue so-called voter fraud cases in Missouri is a recent example. Miller refers to this in his opinion piece. It has been shown to have no merit and may contribute to Gonzales being impeached. Republican Ohio's voter suppression of African Americans in the last two elections are well documented: Lines blocks long in the Black areas, and no waiting in the white suburbs.

J. Karl sites cases in which ACORN's paid registration people faked documents to increase their reimbursement. ACORN has acknowledged that this took place in a handful of instances. The pertinent question is, whether these faked people voted. Of course they didn't. There is not one case cited in which someone actually voted fraudulently.

The photo ID scheme is nothing more than an poll tax aimed at preventing the poor and handicapped from voting. It is racist and needs to be recognized as such. The "dense" populations of "most defenseless people" have every right to vote unhindered.

Bill Monroe
Pres. Democracy for Missouri
505 E 10th St
Fulton MO
573 592 8328

Nothing Like An Original Thought....

In today's Columbia Missourian, an editorial by columnist J. Karl Miller, a retired Marine colonel, is putting out the fantasy that there is rampant voter fraud and that picture IDs will solve this problem. Never mind that there is no evidence of anyone voting fraudulently and that this is nothing more than a push for voter suppression. Mr. Miller also plagiarizes the Employment Policies Institute, a right wing economics site. In the EPI article titled ACORN in Hot Water Again for Voter Fraud, the following paragraph is offered:

"Missouri – The St. Louis elections director estimated that after investigating 5,000 registrations turned in by ACORN, only 10 to 15 percent were legitimate and it had appeared that names had been copied from the phone book. More egregious violations include registrations for three dead people and one 16 year old."

Now below is a paragraph from Mr Miller's article:

"The registration irregularities came from duplicate, questionable and unreadable forms, names, addresses and Social Security numbers not matching official records and multiple voter applications signed by the same person. In St. Louis, cards in alphabetical order and obviously signed by the same person appeared to have been lifted from the phone book. ACORN admitted some discrepancies, but dismissed most as merely the product of sloppy work by a few temporary hires. That may have been the case; however, when weighed against its transgressions in other states and that it is funded largely by the decidedly conservative-unfriendly AFL-CIO, ACORN has earned a closer scrutiny."

As you can see, Mr. Miller is not only stating opinion as though it was fact, but does not cite the source he is using. The "phone book reference was not attributed to either the St Louis official that allegedly said it or the EPI article.

Let me remind everyone that there has not been one instance of anyone voting when they were not supposed to, period.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kenny Hulshof, Next UM Prez?

I find it rather odd and not surprising that republicans on the MU board of Curators, most of them appointed by Blunt, have followed that dear old "conservative" motto: We don't need no stinking experience. Between Bush and the FEMA fiasco and Governor Blunt's appointment of "children" to high levels of government power. I don't know which is worse. I hope more rational people are running the university and are not making decision off of star or celebrity status. We shall see.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Don't trust anyone under 30

Well, it looks like Matt Blunt has done it again. He believes that a 29 year old woman who does not farm, her daddy does, should head our AG department. Been out of college of all of 5 years or so, this woman shoots up the ladder to head a major state agency. This is kind of like what Bush did with Fema, gave it to a political chum and didn't care about qualification. This will backfire on Blunt when dissention within the ranks takes its toll. There are many worthy candidates for that job, but since their daddy's aren't big Blunt contributors, they are out of luck.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


The best kitty in the world!!!

Voter Fraud and the Republican Agenda

Looks like the chicken are coming home to roost over the firings of those US attorneys. apparently they weren't giving the Repubs what they needed to push for "voter reform" Click on this article

Friday, May 04, 2007

MOHELA,'re breaking my heart!

I find myself wondering the state of our state and who let the inmates run the asylum. MOHELA is this confusing mess and no one knows if anything good is going to come out of it. It has given the opportunity for some politicans on the Republican side of the aisle a way to stick it to the Columbia liberals for "not playing ball". You see folks, a friend of mine reminded me of a very simple fact, Republicans can't govern because they want to rule. They feel that once they are elected, they interpret that as a vote for absolute rule, not a chance to serve citizens.