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Browsing Posts published in March, 2015

Today, it was reported that Republican Spence Jackson had left a suicide note stating “I just can’t take being unemployed again.”   This tragedy speaksSorry to some deep problems within the Missouri Republican Party.

This event makes me wonder about the level of animosity Mr. Jackson must have felt from the Republican establishment to conclude he was not going to be able to find work in GOP politics.  Especially in a state in which the GOP has the vast majority of elected offices.  Had John Hancock put out the word that anyone associated with Tom Schweich was to be blackballed from Republican campaigns?  As Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party could John Hancock make that stick?  With such a highly credentialed career why would Spence Jackson have a problem finding a job in Republican politics?  I would like to think the business of the MO GOP would be handled more professionally but the whisper campaigns, sleazy commercials, and innuendo surrounding the Hanaway Gubernatorial campaign leave much to be considered.

This event also raises the disconnect with how Republicans act when making policy and the real world results of those policies.  The Missouri Republican Party has done much to make unemployment more difficult than it needs to be for all Missourians.  Former Republican Senator Brain Nieves pushed through legislation that reduced Missouri unemployment benefits from the standard 26 weeks to the current 20 weeks.  The GOP has proposed drug testing the unemployed, reduced funding for Career Centers, and generally cast the unemployed as takers from the system when in reality most of  these folks lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Thousand of Missourians including many from Franklin County have had to deal with the challenges of unemployment.  I helped many former Integram employees move from place to place as their lives were turned upside down due to being laid off. Lost houses, repossessed vehicles, and hectic schedules mixing job training and family responsibilities are hallmarks of these challenging times.

Republicans seem more than willing to make these times more challenging for everyone else but when reality hits home it all may be too much to bear.

How about in addition to cleaning up the cesspool that has become the Republican campaign industry they pursue policies that are not only good for them when taking money from donors but would be good for them if they had to live with the results?

Let’s hope this doesn’t take as long as it will for John Hancock to say he’s sorry.


Missouri NEA Legislative Update  Week 12, No. 1, March 30, 2015
By Otto Fajen  MNEA Legislative Director
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This week’s audio netcast: As we approach the anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr., two historians of the civil rights movement assess hisImage result for Image, radio legacy. Professor Julian Zelizer reviews the complicated relationship between King and LBJ, and he also has some thoughts on current presidential politics. Historian David Chappell reassesses the civil rights movement, noting that after King, a false trajectory developed. And Latina activist Eileen Truax tells us about her book featuring young immigrant DREAMers.

While this blog originates from the middle of America it is important to learn what others are doing and figure out if those ideas could make life better around here.  Readers know of my affinity for American made products as they create jobs, income, tax revenue, and opportunity for Americans.  Readers of this blog also know I like to look around the world and see what different folks are doing to improve their lives.  9 Things Many Americans Just Don’t Grasp is full of examples that we might want to learn from.  You be the judge

1. Universal Healthcare Is Great for Free Enterprise and Great for Small Businesses

In 2009, the Center for Economic and Policy Research published a study on small businesses around the world and found that “by every measure of small-business employment, the United States has among the world’s smallest small-business sectors.” People in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Belgium and other European countries are more likely to be self-employed—and the study concluded that universal healthcare is a key factor. According to CEPR’s study, “High healthcare costs discourage small business formation since start-ups in other countries can tap into government-funded healthcare systems.”

5. The Bible Was Not Written by Billionaire Hedge Fund Managers

Christianity in its various forms can be found all over the developed world. But the U.S., more than anywhere, is where one finds a far-right version of white Protestant fundamentalism that idolizes the ultra-rich, demonizes the poor and equates extreme wealth with morality and poverty with moral failings. The problem with hating the poor in the name of Christianity is that the Bible is full of quotes that are much more in line with Franklin Delano Roosevelt than Ayn Rand—like “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25) and “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

8. Paid Maternity Leave Is the Norm in Most Developed Countries

The U.S. continues to lag behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to maternity leave. Paid maternity leave is strictly voluntary in the U.S., where, according to the organization Moms Rising, 51% of new mothers have no paid maternity leave at all. But government-mandated maternity leave is the norm in other developed countries, including the Netherlands (112 days at 100% pay), Italy (140 days at 80% pay), Switzerland (98 days at 80% pay) and Germany (98 days at 100% pay).

How would you like an extra dose of arsenic in that glass of water?  Well, if you visit  near John Menard Jr’s house you may find out.  It seems the owner Image result for Image, corruptof home improvement chain Menard’s has been illegally funneling money to Wisconsin Governor and potential Republican Presidential candidate Scott Walker to help solve his habit of dumping arsenic back behind his house.  Sure it sounds bad and it is but Rachel Maddow sure has fun with it.

This week avowed Obamacare hater Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for President of the United States and then signed up for Obamacare.  I  know it Image result for Image, hypocritedoesn’t sound logical.  Andy Borowitz shares his perspective..

(The Borowitz Report) — Just hours after Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told CNN that he had no choice but to sign up for Obamacare, President Barack Obama signed an executive order making Cruz ineligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

“Clearly, the hardship of receiving Obamacare was causing Ted a great deal of pain,” the President said. “This should take care of that.”

Obama acknowledged that the executive order, which makes Cruz the only American expressly forbidden from signing up for Obamacare, was an extraordinary measure, but added, “I felt it was a necessary humanitarian gesture to protect Ted from the law he hates.”

In an official statement released later in the day, Cruz blasted the executive order and accused Obama of distorting his position on Obamacare: “I never said I didn’t want to have it. I said I didn’t want everyone else in the country to have it.”

How Skipping Vaccinations and Right-to-Work Threaten Your Family

By Darin Gilley


How would you feel watching your newborn child suffer through a solid week of spreading skin rash, coughing, fever, muscle aches, and light sensitivity?  How would you feel after all this to see your little one’s life changed forever as blindness darkens their windows to the world?

Would it make you feel any better to know the parents of one of your child’s contacts had exercised their “freedom” to not get a measles vaccination?

The ability of an individual to express themselves is part of the constitution, right?  As long as the decision is convenient for that individual your child’s suffering and the impact on your family are a sacrifice that had to be made in order to ensure this person’s “freedom.”

That is the implicit argument made by many members of the anti-vaccination movement.  In fairness, many of these folks are concerned parents who believe they are doing the best they can for their kids.  Unfortunately for them, the credibility of this argument is lost when it fails the concept of “one person’s rights end where another person’s begins.”

Their freedom ends when your child’s health is endangered. At that point it is no longer freedom but irresponsibility.

Imagine watching your wages stagnate or go down, health insurance costs go up, pension eliminated, workplace safety reduced, as poverty grows in your community.

Would it make you feel better to learn that someone in your state had found a job at a unionized facility, chose to work there because it was a good job, and decided they shouldn’t pay dues for the collective bargaining and representation services they receive?  The same services that made it a job worth having?

The ability of this individual to express themselves is obviously important to them.  As long as this decision is good for them, your wages and family’s standard of living are sacrifices that have to be made to ensure one person’s “freedom.”

This is the implicit argument made by advocates of Right-to-Work.  They contend that even though a person has a choice whether to work at a unionized facility, they also have the “freedom” to not pay for the representation services the union is mandated by federal law to provide.

Unfortunately, the credibility of this argument is diminished in two distinct ways.  First, like the vaccination case above, one person’s rights end where another person’s begin.  Second, taking a good or service without paying for it is called stealing unless made legal by a state legislature passing a right-to-work bill, in which case it is irresponsible.

In both cases the freedom to free-ride on the backs of responsible citizens and co-workers presents serious risks to the well-being of you and your family.  As individuals choose not to vaccinate their kids they destroy what scientists describe as ‘herd immunity.”   When one is protected, all are protected is another way of looking at it.

If these free-riders assumed all of the risks of their decision it would indeed be an expression of their freedom.  But they don’t.  The decision not to vaccinate puts the health of others at risk.  The decision to take the sacrifices made by co-workers to create a better workplace for granted, to take representation benefits without paying for them is likewise irresponsible and forces others to pay the price for their “freedom.”

The recent 17 state, 150 person outbreak of the measles has many state legislatures looking to enforce vaccination standards in order to protect society from deadly diseases we thought had been put into the hazardous disposal bin of history.  It is clear that an individual “freedom” cannot come at the expense of your child’s health and well-being.

Conversely, the explosive rise of income inequality and a disappearing middle class are not generating the same response.  Many state legislatures are considering “right-to-work” statutes that legislate an individual “freedom” to demand a service without paying for it and give that practice precedence before the wages and standard-of-living of all residents.

The tension between freedom and responsibility have always been part of American life.  In the case of vaccinations and right-to-work, placing an individual “freedom” to be irresponsible before the needs of a moral, orderly society is threatening the American way of life.


Hosted by the Office of U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill

My name is Brendan Fahey and I am a staff member for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. On Wednesday, March 25, 2015, on behalf of the Senator, I will be hosting a “Kitchen Table Talk” in Franklin County at the Scenic Regional Library, Union Branch (308 Hawthorne Dr.) from 12:00p.m. to 1:00p.m. The purpose of this meeting is to reach out to you, to listen to your thoughts and ideas about federal policies and legislation and to take them back to the Senator.

These “Kitchen Table Talks” also serve, in part, to inform you of the services that are available through Senator McCaskill’s regional offices. The Senator’s staff throughout the state are able to assist you on a range of federal government issues. If you are currently having an issue with a federal agency, I will be happy to discuss that with you and put you in touch with the member of the Senator’s staff best suited to help with your issue.

Should you have any questions, please contact me at or by calling (314) 367-1364. I hope you will be able to join me in Union on Wednesday, March 25, 2015.


Brendan Fahey
Field Representative
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill

This week’s audio netcast:   High school seniors are waiting to see what college they will get into, and Harvard Law Professor Lani Guinier says true Image result for Image, radiomerit admissions should be based on how well a student will contribute to society. Sociologist Caroline Lee explains the movement toward “public engagement,” a form of activism that brings diverse stakeholders together. And Bill Press talks with Congressman John Larson about the future of Social Security.

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