Franklin County Democrats

The official site of the Democratic Party of Franklin County, Missouri

Browsing Posts published in April, 2011

After all of their infighting, Gov. Jay Nixon today rejected the redistricting map Republicans sent to him. Nixon was quoted by The Associated Press as saying the map they had approved “does not adequately protect the interests of all Missourians.”

Lawmakers must now either draft a new proposal or try to push through their original plan by overriding Nixon’s veto, which would require a two-thirds vote. The Senate exceeded that margin when it voted to approve the map, but the House would need to pick up 13 more votes on top of those who endorsed the map in the first place. If lawmakers fail to override a veto and do not develop a map that Nixon signs, Missouri’s congressional districts are likely to be redrawn by the courts.

The courts should be in charge of this sort of thing in the first place. It’s always struck me as perfectly undemocratic to task the majority party with redrawing the Congressional District map. It’s a recipe for mischief and looking at what Republicans sent to the governor rather confirms this. They eliminated Russ Carnahan’s district and merged other Democratic strongholds with more rural districts that reliably vote Republican.

This map is not designed to make Missouri more competitive as Republican lawmakers claim. It’s designed to lock in a permanent GOP majority for another generation. Nixon did the right thing.

For the last several years I have been hearing about Ayn Rand.  Mrs. Rand has been cited by many conservative/Republican figures as their intellectual guidepost.  Her name and philosophy have been even more in the spotlight since Republican U.S. Representative Paul Ryan and his Medicare-busting budget passed the U.S. House several weeks ago.  It seems Representative Ryan strongly encourages all his staff members to read Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged to understand the strong influence she has had on his thinking and consequent policy making.

She seems like an odd choice for a intellectual foundation considering her position of selfishness as a virtue, admitted atheist, and the fact that when the time for all the “go it alone” talk was over she used her maiden name and collected Social Security despite railing against it for her entire career.  Here are a couple of interesting video interviews of Mrs. Rand that you may enjoy.

A Mike Wallace interview from 1958, that comes in three parts this is part one.  The other parts are on YouTube.  The second video interview on her religious views will be particularly interesting for those that still believe the Republican Party is the morally correct way to vote. Hint: The members of the party that idolize Ayn Rand do not share that belief.

Who could have predicted this?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Wal-Mart’s core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday.

“We’re seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure,” Duke said at an event in New York. “There’s no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact.”

Wal-Mart shoppers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, typically shop in bulk at the beginning of the month when their paychecks come in.

Lately, they’re “running out of money” at a faster clip, he said.

“Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year,” Duke said. “This end-of-month [purchases] cycle is growing to be a concern.

Rising fuel prices may be a factor but it’s not the only one. When you eliminate good-paying American jobs by importing cheap merchandise from China, and drive down wages by paying your workers jack, that’s going to have an impact too.

Chapter 6, The Early Role of Corporations in America is essential reading to understand how corporations went from being a very subservient, short-term charter of the state to the all-encompassing, powerful special interests they are today.

[There] is looming up a new and dark power…the enterprises of the country are aggregating vast corporate combinations of unexampled capital, boldly marching, not for economical conquests only, but for political power….The question will arise and arise in your day, though perhaps not fully in mine, which shall rule—wealth or man [sic]; which shall lead—money or intellect; who shall fill public stations—educated and patriotic freemen, or the feudal serfs of corporate capital….1

Surprise, surprise. Last week a spokesman for Gov. Jay Nixon was trumpeting the governors so-called “compromise” on SB 113, the bill that overturns Prop B, a ballot item voters passed by 51 percent. But what was not explained was Nixon’s compromise would be an amendment to SB 113 and before Republicans could even debate it, SB 113 must be signed and become the law of the land.

And that’s what Nixon did today.

It was hard to believe Nixon did not veto SB 113 for the reasons expressed here. It seemed like the smart thing to do. But it’s even harder to believe he would sign a bill into law overturning the will of the People hoping Republicans would pass his compromise in a separate vote. That seems like a pretty risky proposition to me.

Thankfully Nixon’s amendment passed not long after SB 113 was signed, but the damage is done. Nixon is on record as agreeing with Republican lawmakers that Missouri voters aren’t bright enough to punch the right hole at the ballot box and democracy in Missouri has taken another hit.

How do political activists now go out and tell our friends and neighbors that their vote counts?

Have you noticed the ad buys on TV from the American petroleum industry recently? They feature ordinary Joes expressing concern over legislation that would raise taxes on the poor, beleaguered fossil fuel industry. Next time you see one of those ads or are buying gas for $4.00 a gallon, keep this in mind …

Booming crude-oil prices and improved refining profits are poised to put a firecracker under Big Oil’s first-quarter earnings and set the stage for a year that could come close to rivaling the industry’s record year in 2008.

First-quarter crude prices averaged about $100 a barrel, or about 20% higher than a year ago, pushed upward by oil-supply concerns due to political unrest in the Arab World and a recovering global economy. That spike is expected to lift earnings by about 50% at Exxon Mobil Corp., and about 33% each at Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, compared with a year earlier.

And also this …

Source: Opensecrets.org

Note: This is an extended version of a letter to the editor that was published in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Watching the local TV newscasts about the widespread devastation in the St. Louis and surrounding areas it is not unusual to hear meteorologists casually reference some manor of divine intervention as a possible reason no one was killed by the extreme weather on Good Friday. But what you will never hear, as we witness what might turn out to be a record number of tornadoes for a single month in U.S history, and record rainfall from coast to coast, is any reference to global warming or climate change as a possible factor for the extreme weather itself.

continue reading…

Check out Father Cletus Kiley and his invocation at the Building and Construction Trades Department Legislative Conference.  He points out the obvious and how the powerful assume everday people aren’t aware of what is going on – outstanding.

Add this travesty to invading and occupying Iraq under false pretenses, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and the torture of prisoners …

More than 700 leaked secret files on the Guantánamo detainees lay bare the inner workings of America’s controversial prison camp in Cuba.

The US military dossiers, obtained by the New York Times and the Guardian, reveal how, alongside the so-called “worst of the worst”, many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment.

The 759 Guantánamo files, classified “secret”, cover almost every inmate since the camp was opened in 2002. More than two years after President Obama ordered the closure of the prison, 172 are still held there.

The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence. Among inmates who proved harmless were an 89-year-old Afghan villager, suffering from senile dementia, and a 14-year-old boy who had been an innocent kidnap victim.

The Bush era will surely go down as one of the most shameful episodes in American history. But as is so often the case, Obama now owns Bush’s mess because he did not fight for change and stand on principle. After Congress refused to fund the transfer of prisoners stateside, instead of resolve, we got more “bipartisanship” and triangulation.

Liberals have been consistent and unyielding in our opposition to Guantánamo, and now we’ve been proved right once again. Just like with the Iraq invasion and occupation. Just like with torture. Gitmo has also turned out to be a disastrous policy both morally and politically.

Perhaps some day Obama will listen to us instead of trying to reconcile with his political adversaries who only want to destroy him.

Republicans in the General Assembly remind me of a pack of wild Hyenas fighting over the carcass of a freshly-killed Wildebeest in their redistricting effort. They all smell blood and want some of that delicious red meat but Luetkemeyer’s alpha-male status is causing problems.

[Sen. Scott Rupp, R-WentzvilleRupp] today verbally jabbed [Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country] but placed much of the blame for the continued stalemate on U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth.

Rupp said that Senate negotiators presented various compromise options, to no avail, and acquiesced to several House demands regarding various boundary lines.

Rupp asserted that Diehl was running all the conference committee’s actions past the congressman and his staff, and that Luetkemeyer had opposed most of the Senate conferees’ proposed compromises.

“Chairman Diehl promised Blaine Luetkemeyer that he would not pass a map that Blaine didn’t like,” Rupp said in an interview today. “Until they decide they don’t have to make Congressman Luetkemeyer happy, that’s when the logjam will break.”

Simmer down boys. There’s enough to go around for everyone. Gerrymandering is hard work.

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