Chris Benjamin - another switch to the Democratic Party in Missouri

Posted at Show Me Progress

In the interest of full disclosure: I am chair of the 31st Senate District Democratic Committee. I have communicated with Chris Benjamin in that capacity and as an individual party member who is pleased that he has joined the Democratic Party.

Chris Benjamin, former Chief of Staff for Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton (r), has announced that he has joined the Democratic Party and will be running for the open senate seat in the 31st District. The seat is currently held by Chris Koster, a Democratic Party candidate for Attorney General. Previous to that, the seat had been held by Harold Caskey (D), one of the legendary legislative "lions" in the Missouri General Assembly. David Pearce (r) has already announced his candidacy for the senate seat.

The 31st Senate District includes Bates, Cass, Johnson, and Vernon counties. Chris Benjamin is a resident of Cass County and currently practices law in Harrisonville.

Benjamin resigned as the speaker's Chief of Staff on December 21, 2007:

Cass County Democrat Missourian

"...Chris was an invaluable Chief of Staff because of his knowledge of the legislative process," Jetton said. "But he was also someone who meant a great deal individually to the majority caucus and to me personally for his advice and friendship..."

With supportive past statements like that it will make it more difficult for the usual republican suspects to disparage Chris Benjamin's abilities and motivation.

There's more...

Huckabee and Dumond: now endorsements from "family values" republicans?

It just goes to show, even for so-called "family values" right wingers in Missouri, IOKIYAR. I read this item in Sunday's Kansas City Star:

....The Mike Huckabee bandwagon appears to be racing through Missouri.

On Monday, Missouri backers of Huckabee are set to announce endorsements from 27 state lawmakers. Among them are a slew of Kansas City-area Republicans, including state Sen. Matt Bartle of Lee's Summit and state Reps. Brian Baker of Belton, Will Kraus of Raytown, Brian Yates of Lee's Summit and Bob Nance of Excelsior Springs....

[emphasis added]
tiny URL

*it's okay if you're a republican

The paper's resident political stenographer did mention that Jeff Roe, notorious republican poltical operative, is on board with Huckabee's Missouri campaign, but neglected to mention the irony of the juxtaposition of those "family values" republican politicians with the former Arkansas governor's previous history with Missouri.

The Missouri problem: As governor of Arkansas Huckabee intervened with the state board of pardons and paroles to release Wayne Dumond who had been convicted of raping a young woman who just happened to be a distant relative of Bill Clinton. The Dumond case had become a cause for right wingnuts. Dumond was released and moved to Missouri where he raped and murdered at least one woman. Dumond was convicted in Missouri and later died in prison.

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So, you want to be a Missouri delegate to the DNC?

Well, yeah, you have to be a resident of Missouri.

Posted at Show Me Progress.

The Missouri presidential primary will take place on February 5, 2008. After that, the process for selecting Missouri's delegates who will nominate the party's candidate for president in Denver at the Democratic National Convention will unfold at various levels through the beginning of May.

The first step is to be registered to vote by January 9, 2008. The second step is to actually vote in the February 5th presidential primary. If you don't do so, you can't be a delegate. Period.

Missouri Delegate Selection Plan for the 2008 Democratic National Convention [pdf]

...Participation in the Missouri delegate selection process is open to all voters who wish to participate as Democrats, who are residents of and registered voters in the political subdivision (ward, township, county, legislative district) which is holding the mass meeting, who are at least eighteen (18) years of age, who declare themselves to be Democrats, and are not members of any other political party. Every person attending a ward, township, legislative district, or county mass meeting shall sign a standardized declaration furnished by the Missouri State Democratic Committee that states he or she meets the qualifications as set forth in this section and indicates the address and telephone number of his or her permanent residence. They shall then receive a pledge of support form to be submitted to their caucus leader at the time caucuses are formed. This form shall also include a declaration of affiliation to the Democratic Party and confirm that they voted in the 2008 Presidential Democratic Primary...

The party will check to see if you voted in the primary - it's a public record. If you didn't vote in the presidential primary and you somehow get selected in the early part of the process you will forfeit your position.

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Arkansas' Mike Huckabee (r) - one gets the feeling he won't do so well in Missouri

Posted at Show Me Progress.

A sitting governor intervenes in the parole process, setting up the release of an individual who then goes on to commit another horrible crime. Sound familiar? Well, our political media will only cover a story like that if that governor is running for president, right? Think again.

The Kansas City Star's resident political stenographer writes this gem in today's paper [tiny URL]:

....Stick this one in your bonnet: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will win either the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary.

Whaaaat? You've never heard of Huck?

Get him on your radar screen. Huckabee has supplanted John McCain as the hot GOP contender on the circuit these days....

Of course, our political chattering classes can't be bothered to do a little bit of research:

....Suttlar noted that just prior to Huckabee's appearance before the board the board had voted 4-1 against Dumond's parole. After Huckabee's board appearance, her colleagues largely reversed themselves, voting 4-1 for Dumond's release.

"Why did all the votes change?" Suttlar asked. The board members knew the governor's position. And Huckabee knows what influence a governor has over a board. Who's going to turn down a governor?"

A board member, who only agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said, "We are not talking rocket science here. The board jobs are known to some degree [to be] political patronage...

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Barack Obama and "The Star Spangled Banner"

A compilation from Show Me Progress:

Of all the dumb things...
The Raw Story

...Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama is again facing questions about his patriotism from some conservative blogs -- this time for apparently failing to put his hand over his heart during a rendition of the national anthem at an Iowa campaign event....

I was there. I wrote about this over a month ago (and also at MyDD):

...A singer performed the national anthem with pre-recorded accompaniment. Her rendition was heartfelt and definitely unique. Most people would have had difficulty singing along with her. I noticed that all of the candidates except Obama held their hands over their hearts. Obama held his hands folded in front of him throughout [This is not criticism - the "hand over the heart" looked awkward on the stage - I was standing in the same fashion as Obama]...

Barack Obama stood respectfully for the "Star Spangled Banner" and paid respectful attention to the singer.

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Torture "R" Us

Posted at Show Me Progress.

A guy is in Manhattan in a hotel next to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The hotel is evacuated and he's not able to take all of his belongings with him. Later he tries to claim his belongings from the hotel - a passport, a religious book, and other items. Somehow the FBI is apprised of the situation - the claim is made that a radio transceiver was found with those belongings. The FBI interviews the guy. The guy says "that's not my radio."The FBI continues, more or less saying, "'fess up, or we'll turn your family over to people who'll make their life miserable." He confesses, out of fear for his family, in a confused sort of way. Later, an airline pilot shows up to recover his belongings and tells the hotel, "Where's my radio?" There's no connection between the two individuals.


Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C, Section 2340.(1) "torture" means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control; (2) "severe mental pain or suffering" means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from - (A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (C) the threat of imminent death; or (D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and (3) "United States" includes all areas under the jurisdiction of the United States including any of the places described in sections 5 and 7 of this title and section 46501(2) of title 49.

It gets worse.

There's more...

Christopher Hitchens - he hates everybody, he just can't remember in what order and when

Posted at Show Me Progress.

Years ago I stopped my subscription to The Nation because I couldn't stand their choice of resident bad boy writer. I remember thinking to myself, "I'm not going to continue paying good money for this guy's...."

Yet, like any number of media favourites, he still pops up from time to time (you know, a book here, an article there, the occasional cable television appearance with those lovely perks in the green room). One of his latest mud pies appeared September 24th in Slate:

Run, Al, Run

....Apart from the awards, not only could Gore claim that he had been a fairly effective senator and a reasonably competent vice president, he could also present himself in zeitgeist terms as the candidate who was on the right side of the two great overarching questions: the climate crisis and the war in Mesopotamia. Should I add that, whether or not he really won the Electoral College in 2000, he did manage to collect the majority of the popular vote? Several people, some of them well-informed, have been saying to me that Gore will wait until the Nobel committee's announcement before he makes up his mind. Should he make up his mind to run, he could alter the entire equation....

Except, that wasn't always his tune.

There's more...

The Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa - What? No mud?

A compilation from three diaries at Show Me Progress - here, here, and here.

Well, after a day's total of nine hours of driving we just got back [last night] from the Harkin Steak Fry. As a surreal experience it certainly exceeded expectations.

When we arrived into town at Highway 92 - heading east toward the balloon field - we encountered one of the slowest moving traffic jams I have ever experienced. It took us 45 minutes to get the three miles from a highway junction to the balloon field.

There's more...

Road Trip! - The Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa - getting ready to go

Posted at Show Me Progress.

Early tomorrow morning a small group of us from Warrensburg will pile into two vehicles for the 4 1/2 hour drive to that muddy (probably) balloon field near Indianola, Iowa for the 30th Harkin Steak Fry. This to hear Democratic presidential candidates  Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson speak.

I wrote about some of my experiences at the event four years ago here.

There's more...

There's only one way to make this true: bring our troops home now

Posted at Show Me Progress.

Nancy A. Youssef of McClatchy Newspapers has an article on American military casualties in Iraq on the front page of today's Kansas City Star. The Star headline (front page, above the fold) in this morning's  printed "Kansas City Edition"?

American casualties plunge in Iraq
[This headline is not available on the Star web site.]

The headline on McClatchy Newspapers national website?

Combat deaths in Iraq decline; reasons aren't clear

There's more...


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