Talking Politics | KBIA

Talking Politics

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Missouri has long been a conservative state in its outlook, no matter the party in charge. So in January, when legislative leaders celebrated the 100th General Assembly and the 100th anniversary of the Assembly meeting at the Capitol building in Jefferson City, there were no fireworks over the Missouri River or a grand gala.

Instead, there was a special joint session of the General Assembly and a reception with a “massive” cake in the rotunda.

Jamie Hobbs / KBIA

Recently, I conducted a poll with my students at Columbia College. I asked 43 mostly-traditional age undergraduates four questions. The first three were:

Meiying Wu / KBIA

The Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in housing, employment and places of public accommodations based on certain protected classes including race, color, religion and disability.

A Roe v. Wade challenge could be coming. Will it come to Missouri?

Feb 25, 2019
Aviva Okeson-Haberman/KBIA

With multiple abortion-related bills on the table for the 2019 session, some are raising questions about the possibility of a future legal challenge or an eventual Supreme Court hearing.

“In order to get Roe versus Wade changed, we need to push it further than we’ve pushed it in the past,” Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, said.

Commentary: The 2020 Presidential Race

Feb 18, 2019

President Trump gave his State of the Trump Administration speech recently. As usual, I only listened so as to avoid the visual distractions. Evidently, I missed some cool stuff: Speaker Pelosi’s walrus clap and the female Democratic representatives decked out in white. The optics are the show but the words are the content, and President Trump’s words were the opener to his 2020 reelection campaign.

A bill that critics say would allow most government records in Missouri to remain closed to the public passed the House Thursday and now heads to the Missouri Senate. It reverses some of the transparency laws ushered in by voters in November.  It’s raising red flags among transparency groups, the press, and some citizen groups.

A refresher in civics:  why public records are important

Commentary: The Media and Politics

Jan 29, 2019

Earlier this month an op-ed in the New York Times entitled “Who Will Win the Internet?” caught my eye.  The author, Kara Swisher, did not begin by making the question a multiple choice quiz, and it’s a good thing, because in her column she left out the obvious correct answer: Russia.  She restricted the competition to domestic contestants and argued that the two primary combatants are President Trump and his followers and freshman Democratic Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her followers.  

Commentary: The Realities of Clean Missouri

Jan 9, 2019

Missouri voters used to be in the news because we were the bellwether state for presidential elections.  For 100 years with one exception Missouri voted for the winner – until 2008.

Now we are in the news because we are a trending red state that votes for progressive ballot initiatives.  Republicans have super majorities in both houses of the state legislature, control all but one statewide office, including both Senate seats, and six of eight congressional seats.  Yet in 2018 voters defeated right-to-work, approved a state minimum wage, approved medical marijuana and passed the “Clean Missouri” amendment, strengthening ethics laws and changing the way state legislative districts are drawn.

Some of you might be interested to know that this coming Saturday is the 666th day of the Trump presidency.

How did your party and candidate and ballot issue do last week? I feel the same way: Could have been worse, could have been better.

If you are a Republican you like picking up seats in the U.S. Senate, with Missouri being a big contributor to that. You don’t like losing the U.S. House, especially by more than the average number of seats after a presidential election.

Kathryn Palmer

On Nov. 6, Missourians will have a chance to decide if they want to raise the state minimum wage. Proposition B would increase the current $7.85 an hour minimum to $8.60 by next year. It would increase the state minimum wage 85 cents each year until it reaches $12 hour by the year 2023.

So how might this affect Missouri’s low-wage workers and business owners?

Dave Elman, the owner of Fretboard Coffee in downtown Columbia thinks it would help.

Commentary: A Peak at Political Literature

Oct 24, 2018

I read about politics and I read about politicians. Three fascinating books I’ve read recently have been about politicians from New York. I read Shattered, which is the gruesome account of Hillary Clinton’s misbegotten campaign in 2016. In case you’ve tried to forget, Clinton was a senator from New York from 2001 to 2009.


Those of us with October birthdays always get two gifts. One is that we often get gorgeous weather. The other is that each of us has a personal police radio code. Police codes, which are law enforcement shorthand for various incidents or situations, start with the number ten; so does our birth month.

  

It’s after Labor Day, and the campaigns are heating up. I visited with two friends, who share respect in the community, integrity and political acumen, and who prefer different political parties.

Both see the local races playing out as the partisan leanings of their districts dictate. Incumbents should win and, as is always the case, some very able candidates such as Kelly Schultz a few years ago and Mikaela Skelton in the 50th house district this year won’t be able to overcome the conservative tilt of their districts.

Certain affordable housing projects in Missouri have until Oct. 31 to take advantage in $140 million in tax credits. But nonprofits and developers are concerned the state board charged with approving the tax credits won’t act in time.

The 2019 Fiscal Year is right around the corner for  Columbia and city council is working to finalize the budget. This includes major amendments to current city employee wages.

This week 5th Ward Councilmember Matt Pitzer sits down to discuss proposed wage changes for city employees and other budgetary concerns for the 2019 fiscal year.

What changes are being made to the fiscal year 2019 budget for wages?

Commentary: Missouri's Confused Political Culture

Aug 21, 2018

I am about to conclude that the reason we are called the Show Me State is because we Missourians are confused about our identity and need someone to show us who we are.  I’ve lived in Missouri most of my life and am as curious as anyone.

Commentary: Youth and Politics

Jul 31, 2018

My wife Jane and I have four adult children and eight grandchildren, all brilliant and talented, of course.  Both of us have fulfilling professional careers that we value, but our family is our priority, and it is a deeply child-centered clan.

Recently we saw the documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor?, about Fred Rogers’ wonderful PBS program for children.  We were both inspired by and nostalgic for the days when his vision of childhood was mainstream and also sobered by the knowledge of what too many children these days must endure.

Commentary: Trump and the Communications Revolution

Jul 11, 2018

Two of the marvels of the modern age have directly impacted the developing world.  One is the Green Revolution, using artificial fertilizer to dramatically increase crop yields and keep billions of people from starving.  The earth is severely overpopulated, but mass starvation is not currently a problem.

The second marvel is how cellphone technology emerged at a moment that kept the developing world from having to spend billions and billions of dollars to build telephone landlines and other infrastructure.  In Africa, Asia and South America cell towers and phones are making landlines redundant, if not obsolete.

This communication revolution made me wonder if another communication revolution that is the spawn of cell technology is an explanation for the Trump Phenomenon.  Before Barack Obama, presidents communicated with their publics through traditional media: televised speeches, news conferences, press releases – all of it mediated by professional journalists.  Obama was the first president to use social media, and he used it most effectively in his two election campaigns. 


Commentary: Greitens and Trump

Jun 19, 2018

In early 2016 I watched the presidential and Missouri gubernatorial campaigns with great curiosity.  After the April GOP debate in Columbia not only did I believe that Eric Greitens would not be the nominee, I was fairly sure the most traditional candidate, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, would be.  During the spring GOP presidential candidate debates I did not know who the nominee would be, but I was fairly sure it would not be Donald Trump.  Silly me.  Silly lots of us.

Commentary: Permanent Interests

May 18, 2018

At Columbia College I teach and study American domestic politics.  I know only enough about foreign policy and international relations to be dangerous.  That said I willingly acknowledge that foreign and domestic policy are inseparably intertwined.  President Trump is betting that foreign policy successes will benefit him politically at home.  More about this in a minute.

Commentary: Is The Blue Wave Really Coming?

Apr 30, 2018

Recently I was asked if I had difficulty finding topics for these commentaries.  I said: “You’re kidding, right?”  Politics in 2018, to quote General Norman Schwartzkopf from the 1991 Gulf War, is a “target-rich environment.”

One topic that fascinates me is the prediction of the Blue Wave coming in November – Democrats will take back the U.S. House and keep Senate losses to a minimum, or possibly even pick up a seat or two, including holding Claire McCaskill’s seat.  Evidence presented includes:

Commentary: Jason Kander's Prospects

Mar 21, 2018

Even though it’s been a year and a half, you probably still remember the best ad from the 2016 election campaign:

Despite all the bad press, the Republican Party is riding high, holding more state legislative seats and governorships than any time since 1922.  They control all three elected branches of the national government.  By contrast, Democrats are fractured, leaderless and outvoted at every turn.

The GOP is certainly not without problems.  The Trump base is, shall we agree, firm.  But it’s only one-third of the electorate.  Establishment Republicans lurch between taking advantage of their current dominance plus Democratic disarray and plotting Trump work-arounds, often very cynically.

Evangelicals, 81 percent of whom voted for Trump, are discredited by their tolerance of Trump’s stormy assortment of misbehaviors.  Republican women are especially conflicted.


Commentary: A Political Book Review

Jan 29, 2018

If you live in Columbia you may know Larry and Jan Grossman.  They are respected business people and their son Matt, who graduated from Rock Bridge, is a respected political scientist who teaches at a Big Ten university.  Matt is a prolific author of textbooks, including one I have used for years in my political parties classes at Columbia College.


A year ago last week Donald Trump was officially chosen president by the Electoral College.  Had 77 thousand voters in three states – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – voted for Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump, Ms. Clinton would have not only won the popular vote by three million, she would also have narrowly won the Electoral Vote. 

In September, President Donald Trump announced he would end a federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The program was created in 2012 when then President Barack Obama signed an executive order.

DACA protects nearly 800,000 people around the United States who were brought here as children without documentation, giving them a chance to work or study without the risk of deportation. Missouri has about 3,500 DACA recipients, and nearly half of them are students.

KBIA’s Hannah Haynes talked with a young DACA recipient to find out how the program has changed her life and what the Trump administration might mean for the program going forward. 


Commentary: Premature Celebration

Nov 29, 2017

Earlier this month, according to many in the media, Democrats held an election and – guess what?  -- they won.  They won governorships in New Jersey and Virginia and made big gains in the Virginia state legislature.  Much has been made of this – Democrats are back, went the narrative.

Commentary: Soccer and Foreign Policy

Nov 14, 2017

  President Trump’s Asia trip makes me think of – soccer. I love soccer. Columbia College has two nationally-ranked teams and I’m a big fan. I help my daughter coach a recreation league team here in Columbia that my granddaughters and grandson play on. I coached youth soccer for many years when we lived in Kirksville.

Meiying Wu / KBIA

At the heart of the use tax measures Boone County residents will be voting on Tuesday, Nov. 7, is online shopping.

Local store around the country must compete with out-of-state retailers as more people shop online. Many of these out-of-state online businesses do not have to pay local sales tax, allowing them to sell some products for lower prices.

 


Talking Politics: Boone County Reviews Bids for New Inmate Phone System

Oct 25, 2017
Di Pan / KBIA

Boone County began reviewing bids this week for a new contract for its inmate phone system in the county jail. The county is looking to overhaul its current system after critiques of the high costs to detainees and their families making calls.

County jails across the state contract with private companies to provide phone services for inmates, in return the jail gets a cut of the phone charges.

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