Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Congregations Honor Workers With Focus on Tax Justice

Press Release:
Missouri Jobs with Justice hosts “Labor in the Pulpits”
Labor Day services

St. Louis, MO More than 50 congregations in St Louis and across the state will honor workers around Labor Day this year. Labor in the Pulpits/on the Bimah/in the Minbar is an annual nationwide event that celebrates the link between faith, work and justice. Thousands of congregations have focused Labor Day weekend services on the injustices facing workers and the religious communities’ efforts to support those workers’ struggles for living wages and family-sustaining beenfits. The program is coordinated nationally by Interfaith Worker Justice (www.iwj.org) and locally by Missouri Jobs with Justice (www.mojwj.org).

The Rev. Rudy Pulido, a St. Louis Jobs with Justice Workers’ Rights Board Member said, “The relationship of religion and labor is deep-seated in the basic tenets of many faiths. As such it elevates labor issues from the plateau of economics to the heights of humanitarianism and makes it incumbent upon faith leaders, labor leaders and corporations to respect and deal with one another as individuals of incredible worth.”

Because of continued attacks on public services and public employees, and because the Missouri legislature has prioritized corporate interests over the interests of working families, the 2011 Labor in the Pulpit Program will concentrate on the “Morality of Missouri’s Tax Structure.”

Faith leaders across the state are recognizing that the state budget is not investing in the educational and economic opportunties for Missouri’s children. The state is neglecting key components of our infrastructure, like transportation and the safety and health of Missourians. The faith communities participating in the Labor in the Pulpits program this year envision a better future for Missouri. Turning that vision into reality will involve making choices to invest in the public structures that reflect our values and build strong communities.

Tamara Cox, a Missouri social service provider, is quoted in this year’s Labor in the Pulpits’ materials, “I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is and say enough of this talk about cutting services for elderly people, poor people, and children. I want to live in a generous, fair society and I think that there are a lot of people who think the same way.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

Representative Carnahan To Give Update On Progress At Cochran Medical Center

Press release:
Tomorrow, August 30 at 12:15 p.m. Central Time, Russ Carnahan will hold a press availability to update the members of the press on progress at John Cochran Medical Center in St. Louis. Carnahan will discuss his recent oversight work on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and corrective actions taken at Cochran Medical Center to correct problems and give St. Louis-area veterans the quality care they deserve:
  • A turn-around plan to correct problems
  • Planned development of a new, state-of-the-art sterilization facility
  • Last week, Rep. Carnahan met with the Director of the Cochran VA Medical Center, Rima Nelson, to discuss the progress made at Cochran following the release of Veterans Affairs Inspector General and Government Accountability Office reports on Cochran earlier this year. In addition to the meeting with Veteran’s officials, he is scheduled to meet with area Veterans at a forum to be held tomorrow.

    Rep. Carnahan will be available for questions from the press at 12:15pm tomorrow, Tuesday, August 30. The availability will be held at Carondelet Rec. Center in St. Louis.

    Veterans’ issues are a priority for Rep. Carnahan who has served on the House Veterans Affairs Committee since January 2011. Tuesday’s forum is a continuation in a series of meetings and events hosted by Rep. Carnahan for area veterans.

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    St. Louis Public Radio Report Attacks Minimum Wage Based on Info From A Restaurant Lobbyist Front Group

    Several times throughout the day, St. Louis Public Radio aired a report about high unemployment among the young. The report claimed that it was harder for teenagers to find jobs because of, among other things, "rising employment costs" caused by a "higher minimum wage." The segment focused entirely on an interview with Michael Saltsman, a research fellow at the Employment Policies Institute (EPI). Unfortunately, St. Louis public radio failed to note that EPI is actually a front group for a guy who lobbies on behalf of restaurant and hotel industries which, you know, just might have a vested interest in criticizing the minimum wage. From Source Watch:
    The Employment Policies Institute (EPI) is one of several front groups created by Berman & Co., a Washington, DC public affairs firm owned by Rick Berman, who lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries.
    In addition to being ideologically opposed to the minimum wage, EPI also apparently ran advertisements against ACORN and lobbied against health care reform. Oh, and they also love the honorable tobacco industry:
    The Employment Policies Institute, in a 1994 R.J. Reynolds-drafted press release, predicted the loss of 2-3 million jobs if the Clinton Healthcare plan was enacted. The Clinton plan was to be funded through an additional federal tax on cigarettes.

    A 1997 internal Philip Morris presentation called indicates PM planned to "sponsor and participate" in the Employment Policies Institute to gain the organization's help in promoting PM's Accommodation Program, a strategy the company designed to fight smoking bans and preserve smoking in public places
    I don't know about you, but I'm pretty disappointed that our public radio station willingly legitimates a front group for lobbyists without even noting the group's conflict of interest.

    The First Honest Republican Criticism of the Kinder Debacle

    While I've certainly enjoyed watching Republicans taking shots at Peter Kinder's disastrous gubernatorial campaign, it also has been more than a little exasperating watching so many of them pretending to be shocked that a Republican politician went to a strip club 17 years ago. Let's get serious here people.

    So kudos to the conservative Missouri Record for actually offering an honest assessment of why many Republicans want Kinder to go:
    Kinder's real sin, however, is not what he did 17 years ago, but that in this race he was never in danger of actually defeating Governor Nixon. Everything is forgivable in politics—except losing. The top of the ticket is viewed as so weak that Republicans are hesitant to run for Attorney General or Treasurer.
    I do disagree with Patrick Tuohey on this last bit, though:
    Kinder's choice is between leaving at the height of his career with the gratitude of many, or to risk becoming a liability to the very causes and candidates he holds dear.
    Tuohey's trying to present this as if Kinder can still save face by leaving the race now. I have a hard time seeing that, considering how embarrassing the scandals of 2011 have been for him. And if he drops out and (as most people predict) Republicans lose anyway, he'll still get much of the blame.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Citing Kindergarten Marxist Indoctrination, Breitbart Launches "Big Education"

    Andrew Breitbart claims that Kindergarten children are subjected to "Marxist Indoctrination," so he has to start a new site to save 'merica:

    Fortunately for everyone, Breitbart already revealed exactly what his site will be like when he shamefully distorted the quotes of two Missouri professors teaching a Labor Studies Course:

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Todd Akin Refusing to Meet With Constituents About Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security

    Message from Jobs with Justice:
    Come join us at a community townhall meeting with Congressman Todd Akin.

    After weeks of outreach and requests for meetings, Congressman Todd Akin still refuses to meet with his constituents and community about our concerns regarding Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In the meantime, he has continued to take votes that would drastically cut those programs and cost Missouri jobs.
    But we want to ask him, "Rep. Akin, Whose side are you on?"

    So Missouri Jobs with Justice and allies have asked him to join us at a community townhall meeting just one block from his office.
    The event will be Wednesday, August 24, 4pm at 300 Weidman Rd, Ballwin, MO 63011.

    Rep. Carnahan Kicks Off Week Dedicated to St. Louis Area Jobs and Businesses

    Press release:
    (St. Louis, MO) – This week, Rep. Russ Carnahan, will visit small businesses across the St. Louis region and work with businesses to promote jobs and development, including an “Export Workshop” presenting resources available to St. Louis businesses who want to start exporting products to foreign markets – one big step toward growing the Missouri economic recovery and creating jobs in St. Louis.

    “Jobs need to be our top priority,” Carnahan said. “Small businesses are the engine of our economy. That’s why I’ll visit with small business owners across the St. Louis region – to listen to what they need to expand their businesses and create jobs.”

    Rep. Carnahan will make stops at 10:00 am Central Time on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week at St. Louis businesses Seiler Instruments, Shelter Works and PrintFlex Graphics to meet with owners and employees, learn about the companies and tour their operations.

    The week will culminate with an Export Workshop at Washington University’s Knight Center hosted by Rep. Carnahan and featuring Suresh Kumar, Director General of the U.S. Department of Commerce for international trade. The forum will focus on federal programs in place to assist U.S. business who would like to expand and export to international markets.

    These events are the latest in an effort by Rep. Carnahan to meet with members of the community and advance business and job growth throughout St. Louis and surrounding communities.

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    More Embarrassment For Right Wing Coming? Kenneth Gladney Files Civil Suit

    According to the Post-Dispatch, despite the fact that it only took a jury 40 minutes to reach a Not Guilty verdict in the misdemeanor trial of two SEIU employees, the right wing's favorite alleged victim has decided to file a civil suit against the two employees as well as the President of SEIU:
    Kenneth Gladney filed the suit against Service Employees International Union members Elston McCowan of St. Louis and Perry Molens of De Soto , as well as SEIU president Mary Kay Henry and local president Tom Balanoff...

    He said McCowan and Molens attacked him without provocation after the meeting. The suit alleges the union "ordered, encouraged, and arranged McCowan and Molens to appear...to harass, abuse and beat those individuals who held political views."
    Gladney's attorney Matthew Hearn sounds like a piece of work:
    He "absolutely" believes that union officials brought in McCowan and Molens to beat Gladney, he said. "That tends to be the way that they operate," he said.
    Of course, the fact that Gladney is trying to get money out of the deal and that this is being used as an opportunity to attack SEIU doesn't come as much as a surprise to anyone who remembers when Gladney's spokesperson/employer/lawyer/self-proclaimed witness David Brown allegedly told an employee that this would be his "gravy train." The only shocking thing is that they didn't include President Obama and the ACLU in their suit.

    My guess is that they're hoping that SEIU decides it's not worth the lawyers' fees and settles out of court. Of course, this would be a huge mistake for SEIU, since any settlement would be used by the right-wing as evidence for their "union thug" conspiracy theories, even if Gladney personally signed a non-disparagement clause. In my opinion, as long as they need to hire lawyers anyway, they should consider counter-suing. I know Elston has been looking into filing suit to cover the medical bills for his shoulder surgery, which he says was caused by Gladney attacking him.

    When I first saw this news item, I was annoyed, but now I'm starting to think that it's a good thing. Even the people who somehow still trust the claims of Breitbart and the local tea party have to have their limits. They might be able to be duped into thinking that one trial was the result of a government conspiracy, but could even they still claim that it was "fixed" if two separate juries reach the same conclusion? I'm sure some of them can, but others will eventually start jumping off the crazy train.

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Why Won't Loesch Allow Ed Martin To Correctly Say He Was Part of the Tea Party's Leadership

    After previously criticizing tea party founder Bill Hennessy for declaring that Ed Martin is "the tea party candidate" in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District primary, and attacking him again for defending Martin against a Big Government hit piece, Dana Loesch went on a mini-Twitter rant today about some unnamed candidate claiming that they had been involved in organizing the St. Louis tea party:

    Unlike the time Loesch decided to publicly humiliate Sarah Steelman's campaign, this time she didn't mention the candidate's name, so I can't say for sure that she was criticizing Martin's campaign as she had done previously this year. However, she seems to be saying that no GOP candidates should emphasize their involvement in the St. Louis Tea Party, which is pretty weird considering that Ed Martin was an officer in the St. Louis Tea Party for the first several months of the group's existence. According to a post on the St. Louis Tea Party site in July of 2009 written by "admin;"
    Since the first week of the St. Louis Tea Party movement back in February, Ed Martin Jr. has served as one of the organization’s officers. Ed is a passionate, intelligent, and inspiring speaker who delighted the crowds at Tea Parties in February, April, and July. Because of our non-partisan pledge, we must remove Ed’s name from our list of officers. We will welcome him back if he decides to leave to public life.
    The post goes on to emphasize Martin's role in the Tea Party:
    Please thank Ed for his significant role in launching the Tea Party movement in St. Louis. He has been a vital link in the chain holding our republic together.
    So if Ed Martin was an officer for the St. Louis Tea Party for their first five months of existence and, according to the group, played a "significant role" in launching the group, why is Loesch declaring that he can't mention his previous roles in the tea party?

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Ed Martin Has Problems Telling The Truth Again

    Lost in the entertaining circus of Peter Kinder's inept crisis-handling was another excellent RFT post that seriously damages Ed Martin's congressional campaign. Of course, problems telling the truth are nothing new for Martin, who had to resign in shame while Chief of Staff for Matt Blunt, and has only been going downhill ever since. But this instance is different for a number of reasons and it sure looks like the evidence against Martin is compelling.

    The basic story is that Martin was sued a while ago by a former employee of his, Jeanne Bergfeld, when he ran the Elections Board. The employee sued Martin for allegedly firing her because she "wasn't Republican enough." They eventually reached a settlement out of court that included a provision that Martin would not disparage Bergfeld.

    However, in last year's RFT cover story on Martin, Martin said the following about Bergfeld:
    Martin denies [that he fired Bergfeld for not being Republican enough]. "She said she was a Republican; nobody ever questioned that," he tells RFT, adding that Bergfeld was a patronage employee who had enjoyed "twelve years of not having to do anything" and who "wasn't interested in changing."

    Martin concludes: "We did everything we could, appropriately, to have her do her job, but it wasn't in the cards."
    Bergfeld promptly sued Martin for violating the settlement agreement. In Martin's initial court filing, he denied the charges. In a later deposition, he claimed he "couldn't remember." But the problem for Martin is that the RFT has audio recordings of the conversation, and it sure looks like he said exactly what they reported (although, I should note, I'd be more confident about this claim if they provided the full, unedited part of the conversation rather than separate sound bites). Even more disturbing is the fact that Martin appeared to have tried to pressure his former press secretary into making false claims on his behalf. Her statement
    After the conference Ed pulled me out of earshot from everyone and asked me [to confirm his recollection that] the RFT reporter had divulged statements made by Jeanne and that only then did he comment. I told Ed I wasn't in the meeting he had with the RFT that day, and therefore did not know. That is when Ed looked at me with a stern, serious face and in a firm tone told me that that was indeed what happened.

    Given the delivery of his comment, in my opinion, he was implying he expected me to go along with it and back him up in his statement. I didn't say anything at the time, but knew I would tell the truth.

    I may have questioned a lot of things I had to write and put my name on while working for the campaign but I refuse to just stand by while someone, in this case a good, fair reporter, is unfairly called into question.
    Of course, Martin being dishonest is not news to readers of this blog. But this situation is different because (1) a lawsuit is involved, (2) he's playing by a new set of rules now that he's competing against another tough and well-funded Republican challenger, and (3) it sure sounds like he screwed over his Republican press secretary. Even conservatives who previously turned a blind eye to Martin's ethical problems might have trouble brushing this story aside.

    Breitbart's Big Government Botches Peter Kinder Defense

    As noted by many on Twitter yesterday, you know things are bad for Republican Lt. Governor Peter Kinder when his main media strategy seems to be leaking stories to his buddy Andrew Breitbart's blogs. Unsurprisingly, the stories on Brietbart's sites are full of speculation, unsupported assertions, and outright falsehoods.

    One story on Big Government by Michelle Moore said the following:
    Frankly, I find no evidence what-so-ever that he was a repeat visitor to said strip club OR that he had any interest in her at all. Pathetic.
    That's some incisive reasoning, except for the tiny problem that Peter Kinder admitted to multiple media outlets that he visited the strip club "around 10 times:"
    We were having a beer and the girls come by and chat. And you meet various of them, and that's where I met Tammy," Kinder said. "That much is true. Subsequently, I returned on a handful of occasions."

    A "handful" was about 10 times, Kinder said. He compared his fondness to Chapman to a line in a Dean Martin song, "Let's Be Friendly."
    A different post on Big Government suggests that either Chapman or her friend, John Ross, emailed the pictures to the Riverfront Times:
    Over three years later, Kinder innocently enters a restaurant where Chapman was working, she asked him for a photo with her – hardly a thing a woman does with a man she accuses of being overly sexually aggressive with her in the first place – then she either sent the photo to Ross, or the Riverfront Times directly for publication, purely as a rationale for raising a 16 year-old smear with nothing to it.
    This is false. The RFT noted that the original photo was not from Chapman, and said the following about Ross
    We can also say that Ross is not the person who supplied us with the photo.
    Finally, Big Goverment claims repeatedly that Ross worked for the Riverfront Times without offering any evidence for the claim:
    The story breaks at the River Front Times, where John Ross occasionally writes and also posts several comments on the actual stories.
    In fact, the RFT denies that he ever worked for them or wrote for them:
    Here at Riverfront Times, we're baffled as to how Kinder came up with this theory. For starters, Ross has never worked or written for our publication. We can also say that Ross is not the person who supplied us with the photo.

    Reached by phone today, Ross can't explain Kinder's conspiracy, either. Not only has he never written for the RFT, he says our publication tried to write a "hit piece" about him in 1998. He also says that he never saw the photo of Kinder and Chapman before its publication on the Riverfront Times'' website -- and advised Chapman against talking to the media after the picture went public.
    In addition to outright falsehoods, the Big Goverment posts are chalk full of claims that are supported by no evidence. For example, they claim (as does Kinder) that "Democratic operatives" tried to push a similar story in 2008:
    ...one year later, in 2008, during Kinder’s Lieutenant Governor campaign, Democrats start carrying posters w/ pics of Chapman saying “Who is this woman?” at events including speaking events in Missouri.
    However, they offer no evidence to support that claim, other than a link to a picture on Ross's website that they say was used in the campaign. Shouldn't they at least provide some shred of evidence to support a claim like this?

    They further imply that Ross is a Democratic operative trying to sabotage Kinder to help Jay Nixon. However, Ross is a huge gun advocate who wrote a book based on the idea that the government would take away people's arms and the people who have to rise up in response. In fact, he told the RFT the following:
    "One of the biggest efforts of my life was an eleven year effort to get conceal/carry passed in Missouri," says Ross. "I hired the original lobbyist for the bill out of my own pocket. For ten years, Peter Kinder supported us in our efforts. And for ten years, [then-Attorney General] Jay Nixon tried to block us. He was an opponent. I tell everyone who comes to my shooting school that. I tell them, if it comes down to voting for Kinder or voting for Nixon, I tell them to remember who's in favor of their right to self-defense."
    It seems pretty likely to me that the reason Kinder is sending this stuff to Breitbart's sites is because no self-respecting operation would be willing to publish the junk.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    The Secret Smear Campaigns of Dana Loesch and the St. Louis Tea Party

    One of the great things about my recent confrontation with Breitbart and Loesch is that Loesch repeated many of her standard disingenuous attacks and I was able to challenge her directly about them. This revealed just how sad and pathetic her smears really were.

    Let's start with one of the more shameful examples. Loesch and the tea party have frequently claimed that I'm "racist" because I "laughed" at a press conference where Kenneth Gladney was called "An Uncle Tom Negro." Here's video of Dana and her husband and fellow tea partier Chris Loesch claiming that I'm "on video" laughing at Gladney being called an "Uncle Tom:"

    A few clarifications about the press conference. First, the NAACP was one of the groups at the press conference, but the conference itself was actually composed of several different groups. Zaki Baruti, the guy who made the "Uncle Tom" comments because he believed that Gladney was faking his injuries and attacking the NAACP as a direct result of the fact that tea party and Breitbart's sites were continuously raising money for Gladney, might be a member of the local NAACP, but he's more commonly associated with the United African People's Organization (UAPO).

    I distinctly remember being uncomfortable with the term, and in fact the video Breitbart's sites used to claim that the NAACP was "racist" proves that I did not laugh at the claim. In the video, I'm sitting immediately to the left of Zaki (from the viewer's perspective), and it's obvious that I don't laugh when he uses the terms "negro" or "Uncle Tom:"

    It's pretty despicable for CNN contributor Dana Loesch to accuse someone of racism based on a completely dishonest claim about a video, but that's exactly what she does.

    Second, Loesch also claims multiple times during the discussion that I'm a "paid SEIU blogger." Now I happen to like the people I know in the local SEIU, and have no objection being associated with them, but I've never received a dime from the organization. Yet here's video of Loesch alleging that I'm paid by SEIU and, even more, that I was paid by them to ask Breitbart questions:

    So what's the evidence for this claim? Loesch says that SEIU "called me their blogger" at the same press conference referred to above. Actually, there were no employees from SEIU at the conference. Elston McCowan and Perry Molens were both former members of SEIU, and here's the video Loesch was basing her claims on:

    So, McCowan, one of the defendants in the Gladney case, referred to me as "our blogger" and the silly tea party claimed this was conclusive evidence that I'm being paid by SEIU. Of course, the NAACP and the Green Party were at the rally, so with similar flimsy logic they could have claimed that "our blogger" means that I'm a "Green Party Blogger" or an "NAACP blogger" or a "UAPO blogger." Of course, I'm none of those things. When McCowan referred to me as "our blogger," he just meant that I was the local blogger who has covered the case thoroughly from a standpoint that didn't immediately assume that McCowan and Molens were guilty (and, of course, the courts found them not guilty after only 40 minutes of deliberation). So, again, a ridiculous claim based on no evidence. I suppose, though, that it's easier for the tea party to try to invalidate me by tying me to one of their grand SEIU conspiracy theories than to admit that I'm just a local graduate student who happens to care about the truth in my free time.

    Speaking of trying to tie me to larger institutions in order to promote their unhinged conspiracy theories, Loesch also accuses me of "using Washington Unversity's resources to smear a private citizen:"

    No need to post video or links to respond to this one, since it's so ridiculous. Obviously, a student choosing to ask Andrew Breitbart questions on a Saturday afternoon in early August while using my phone to record the conversation is not the same thing as "using Washington University resources to smear a private citizen." This is nothing more than a lame "we know where you work" threat.

    Finally, and probably most despicably of all. Loesch accuses me of "stalking her children:"

    When I ask her what evidence she has for this obnoxious claims, she responsds, "you've clicked on the site where my children are at." Based on conversations with other tea partiers, I know that this obnoxious claim from Loesch comes from the fact that one time, after Loesch tweeted a link to her Mommy blog from her political twitter account, I linked to that post in one of my blog posts. You can read my post here.

    Now, I have to admit, the post is somewhat petty by my usual standards (though it would be typical fare from Breitbart bloggers or the tea party). I took her post demanding that people pay her if they want her to mention their products and used it as an opportunity to remind people of the legitimate political story that Loesch shut out and attacked Ed Martin's GOP primary opponent after Martin gave thousands of dollars to Chris Loesch's business.

    Though it is a serious ethical problem that Loesch refused to disclose this conflict of interest while cheering Martin's campaign, I admit the connection between that and her post claiming she requires money for product endorsements is a little bit of a stretch. However, that post I linked too was not at all about her children and was entirely about her patriotic desire to make money via endorsements, so to use this to claim that I'm "stalking her children" is absolutely despicable. The claim that someone involved other people's children is a serious allegation and not something to be tossed out as a cheap attempt to silence critics or demonize opponents.

    It's pretty amazing that CNN allows their name to be dragged into the mud and slime by paying Loesch as a "political analyst."

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Confronting Breitbart In St. Louis (VIDEO) - Short Version


    Confronting Breitbart In St. Louis (VIDEO)

    Several weeks ago, when I heard Andrew Breitbart was going to be in town for a conservative conference, I challenged him to finally have an honest discussion about his smear campaigns against two St. Louis institutions: UMSL and our local SEIU. I have to admit, this is a little personal for me, since Breitbart shamelessly tried to destroy people I know and institutions that do a lot of good for the city, but I also think there are pretty strong objective reasons why Breitbart should have this discussion with me if he wants to maintain his constructed image of someone who's willing to "take on all-comers" (see below).

    Despite the fact that I personally tweeted Breitbart at least 20 times over several days, that dozens of other people also asked him to accept the challange over Twitter (see examples here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), including people Breitbart obsessively follows on Twitter like Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, Karoli of Crooks and Liars, and Joan Walsh of Salon, and that many other people sent Breitbart Facebook messages asking him to accept the debate challenge, Breitbart not only did not accept the invitation, but was too cowardly to even respond. So when I saw he was going to be in St. Louis again I thought I would take the conversation to the guy who's been running away from real debate on the two topics for a lot longer than just the three weeks I've been asking him to debate.

    Breitbart was speaking at a black conservative conference in St. Louis, and my friend Brian Matthews and I had no interest in interfering with any of the conference, so we patiently waited in the lobby for Breitbart to come out. Several conference attendees recognized us, and we had nice conversations with them, including one of the conference organizers Chris Arps (former staffer of Jim Talent). Though the conversations were friendly, several people went back into the room to report that we were outside. Other people left the room and scoped out the layout of the building, and soon Breitbart along with Dana and Chris Loesch were power-walking towards an obscure side-entrance in order to avoid Brian and myself. Fortunately, I was able to catch up with them before the getaway was complete, and so was finally able to confront him with my camera rolling about his dishonest smear campaigns against St. Louis institutions.

    Since fully understanding the conversation requires some background knowledge, I'm going to follow the same format as I did with my run-in with Dana Loesch at the Tea Party Rally, posting links and info to help explain some of the points and in particular why Breitbart is full of it. I'll try to put most of the info after the videos, but there are a few points I'd like to make in advance since the conversation is initially a little hard to follow thanks to Breitbart's incoherent ranting:
  • Breitbart starts of by saying he's here to represent the rights of kitties and to talk about electrocuted cats. I originally had no idea what he was talking about but eventually figured it out. He was referring to some of the video he posted of a labor studies course where a professor describes a tactic unions used in Peru where it was illegal for utility workers to strike. The professor describes the workers releasing cats in powerhouses where the cats would be electrocuted and short out the system. The workers' behavior is pretty morally abhorrent in my opinion, but the professor was not making a moral argument that you should engage in this behavior; rather, she was describing tactics which had previously been used. So this claim by Breitbart has absolutely no relevance to the criticism that his website published deliberately distorted quotes from the professors.
  • Yes, that is CNN contributor Dana Loesch desperately trying to get attention while I'm speaking with Breitbart. More on her absurd claims below.
  • The one comment I regret making was joking about Loesch preventing Breitbart's ability to "defend his manhood" after one of the times Breitbart humorously had to tell Loesch to stop interrupting the conversation. Anyone who knows me would know that I don't take the concepts of "manhood" or "machoness" seriously at all, and mostly just think it's funny that anyone cares about them (this is not to say that I have anything against people who find these qualities sexy or admirable or whatever; just that I personally think they're funny). But I realize that something that might be funny among friends can be off-putting when said to strangers, so I regret using that term to make a joke.
  • At one point in the video, I say that I know more about these cases than Eric Boehlert. By this I certainly didn't intend any disrespect. My only point was that because I'm covering this from St. Louis I personally know many of the people and institutions involved and thus had access to information and context that Boehlert did not. Boehlert did an excellent job covering these events, and I have great respect for him as a writer and a thinker.
  • There's so much more nonsense and falsehoods from Breitbart (and Loesch) to discuss, but for now I'll post the video and save the further observations and links to the facts below: (apologies for the fact that my phone camera is turned sideways in the middle of the discussion)

    OK, so with that, here are some observations about the "discussion:"
  • Breitbart claims that Kenneth Gladney was called the n-word by Elston McCowan. At best this claim is disputed and I would argue the evidence against it is stronger than the evidence for it. At the trial, which I attended unlike anyone from the tea party, the three defense witnesses all were consistent in saying that what Elston McCowan, a black Baptist Minister, said was the word "negro" rather than The N-word. On the other hand, out of the three witnesses from the prosecution, one said that McCowan used the bizarre expression "son of an n-word," one said he used the expression "n-word" but didn't hear anything about a "son of a..", and Kenneth Gladney, after two years of saying that only Elston McCowan used the n-word, all-of-a-sudden changed his story to now claim that both McCowan and co-defendent Perry Molens called him the n-word. The inconsistencies between the prosecution's witnesses and the fact that Gladney changed his story no doubt counted strongly against the prosecution's case, as the jury took only 40 minutes to reach a "non-guilty" verdict for the SEIU defendants.
  • Breitbart repeated his absurd conspiracy theory that the White House sent a signal for "union thugs" to beat up innocent tea partiers at the town halls. He implicated the deputy White House Chief of Staff, the head of the AFL-CIO John Sweeney, and the SEIU in his grand conspiracy. Though the claim is clearly absurd that there was some massive government conspiracy coming from the White House to beat up a random guy selling buttons at a townhall, Breitbart actually showed remarkable constraint, at least considering that his sites and the tea party have collectively implicated all of the following groups and entities in their conspiracy theories about that night:
    the president of SEIU, the president of the AFL-CIO, the President of the United States, Congressman Russ Carnahan, Carnahan’s spokesperson Sara Howard, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, former OFA Missouri Coordinator Buffy Wicks, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, Field Director of Health Care for America Now Margarida Jorge, Prosecutor Bob McCullough, St. Louis County Counselor Patricia Reddington, County Executive Charlie Dooley, the NAACP, the ACLU, the head of the St. Louis County Dept. of Health, and even the local animal control department.
    If you believe that all of these entities were involved in a massive conspiracy to beat up a random guy in St. Louis, I don't even know what to tell you.
  • Some people might object to me saying that I thought some of the claims about Sarah Palin's targets causing violence were ridiculous. I don't mind there being a calm discussion about whether the use of such imagery is irresponsible, but I think claiming that it "caused" some particular act of violence is, in general, pretty silly. Considering that Breitbart clearly claims that comments from the White House caused the alleged attack on Gladney, his claims are also absurd.
  • Breitbart asks, "how many times have I met you?" I respond, "zero." he says, "No. One! You can't even get that right!" Pretty hilarious! I expected better from him.
  • It's also pretty hilarious that Breitbart continuously demands that I allow him to repeat his same old tired talking points that I've read 100 times. Notice how much of an opportunity I had to speak during the entire conversation? Yet he has the audacity to claim that I won't allow the truth to come out.
  • Breitbart claims that only Carnahan supporters were allowed in the townhall. This is not true. In fact, Dana Loesch and many tea partiers were in the townhall, as she admits. The claim is based on the fact that in addition to the main entrance there was a side door where some but not all people were being allowed in. My guess is that the door was being used to allow people in who had volunteered to help, but I honestly don't know the exact circumstances. Regardless, it doesn't have much relevance for the question of who started the altercation between McCowan and Gladney.
  • Regarding Breitbart's claim that he wasn't going out a side door to avoid Brian and myself. There's a pretty obvious main entrance to the building, and he did go out the side door. He first claims that he was going out the side door because that's where they were parked. Hilariously, he then starts to go back into the building and when I ask him why he says it's because he doesn't want Brian and I to see the car. And then he gets picked up in the car! Pretty funny. As noted above, he has clearly been avoiding this conversation for weeks.
  • He says that he offered to debate "anyone" on the Gladney case for $10,000 donated to charity. I've certainly never seen that offer to "anyone," though I've seen Breitbart routinely offer to debate Eric Boehlert since he knows that Boehlert has good reasons to not want to be put in a situation where the media could sloppily categorize him as "the liberal counterpart of Breitbart." What Boehlert does is far more respectable than what Breitbart does, and a debate would have the potential to cloud that fact. Anyway, I personally am happy to debate Breitbart on the subject, as I've made clear many times. If he's going to continue slandering innocent people, he should take me up on the offer.
  • Comedy gold: Breitbart said he wouldn't debate me because my tactics are "unfair." When I asked him what's unfair, he replies "you only care about your side." Classic!
  • As I've described previously, the witnesses for the prosecution that Breitbart cites are not credible. Two witnesses, Harris and Sandra Himes, originally suggested in the police report that they saw how the fight started. Later, Harris Himes said in an interview that his wife did not see how the fight started and that he had been walking away. Harris Himes also has a history of extreme right-wing politics. The other witness, John Mirelli, is seen on video earlier in the evening having to be held back from getting in an altercation with an SEIU member.
  • To try to get out of the discussion, Breitbart and Loesch demand that I debate a black conservative about Gladney. I told the guy demanding that I debate him, Martin Baker, that I would be happy to debate him later but I was here to talk to Breitbart since Breitbart led the smear campaign. As soon as Breitbart left I found Baker and told him I'd be happy to talk about it. I have video of the discussion that I'll be posting later.
  • Breitbart ridiculously suggests that you need to watch 31 hours of footage from a labor studies course to see if his web site deliberately distorted the quotes of two professors. Needless to say, you don't need to review every word ever spoken to know that omitting the fact that Judy Ancel was quoting someone else and cutting out the middle of Don Giljim's comments is a deliberate misrepresentation of what they said. I am glad, however, that Breitbart and Loesch admitted that they saw the full footage before it was posted on the site and Breitbart said he "stands by the video." Now they have no excuse for their dishonesty.
  • Breitbart's argument that UMSL should post the full 31 hours of video is a red herring. UMSL is prohibited by law from releasing the personal information of students, and for good reason. Academic freedom is, in part, based on the idea that students should be allowed to explore academic ideas in a classroom without fear of retribution or persecution. Breitbart's decision to post video of the students' comments on a public website is despicable. As for his suggestion that UMSL publish a transcript of the entire class with student names blocked out, I suspect that the reason they're not doing that is the same reason that he won't do it: it would be an absurdly time-intensive project.
  • Loesch's ridiculous comments deserve their own section:
  • At the beginning of the video Loesch asks "Does Washington University know that it's employee is here using its resources to smear private citizens?" It's true that I'm a graduate student at Washington University, but why Loesch thinks that I'm "using university resources" by engaging in a non-academic discussion on a Saturday afternoon in the summer is beyond me. Seems a little anti-free speech, doesn't it?
  • Loesch claims, and has been claiming for a year, that I'm an "SEIU blogger." I've never been paid anything by SEIU and have no idea why anyone would call me that. Loesch claims that someone referred to me as an "SEIU blogger" on a video, and suggests that someone from SEIU made that claim at an NAACP press conference. I'm skeptical that anyone from SEIU said that since I don't think anyone from the group was even at the press conference she mentioned, but whomever said it would be wrong.
  • Loesch also claims that I "laughed" at the same NAACP press conference when someone called Gladney an "Uncle Tom." It's true that I was at the event, but I'm sure I didn't laugh. I remember feeling uncomfortable with the comments. Another manufactured smear.
  • Finally, Loesch disgustingly claimed that I was "stalking her children," another tea party conspiracy theory I've heard before. I previously had no idea what the claim was referring to, but Loesch explained that it was in reference to the fact that, "you clicked the website where my children are on." In other words, despite the fact that I have never, ever, said anything about her children in any context nor do I know anything about them or want to, she's claiming that I "stalk her children" because one time I linked to a post on her Mom Blog that she had referenced from her political Twitter account. That's pretty despicable behavior from a CNN analyst, or from anyone for that matter.
  • So there you have it: more than you ever wanted to know about the dishonesty of Andrew Breitbart and Dana Loesch. It's no wonder that Breitbart is so afraid to have a real debate on these topics where both sides can be presented in full.

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Clay Announces $2 Million Federal Transportation Grant to Begin Engineering and Planning for the Gateway Arch Connector

    Press release:
    Big Win for Downtown St. Louis Will Spur Arch Grounds Redevelopment

    WASHINGTON, DC-Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D) Missouri announced today that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (the Gateway Arch) a $2 million grant to begin engineering and planning for the long-awaited pedestrian connector that will link the Arch grounds with downtown St. Louis.

    “This is a big win for downtown St. Louis that I was proud to support,” said the Congressman. “We have been talking about building a lid to connect the Arch grounds to the rest of downtown for more than two decades. This $2 million grant will fund the first step in that long-anticipated project. It will also give the entire Arch grounds redevelopment project a big boost. As the Congressman who has the honor of representing the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in Washington, I will do everything in my power to help provide the resources needed to complete the project in time for the 50th anniversary in 2015."

    The $2 million DOT grant was awarded under the Public Lands Highways Discretionary (PLHD) Program. The (PLHD) provides funding for transportation planning, research, and engineering and construction of, highways, roads, parkways, and transit facilities that are within, adjacent to, Federal public lands, including national parks, refuges, forests, recreation areas, and grasslands. The program is administered by the Federal Highway Administrations Federal Lands Highway Office.

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Breitbart Says It's OK to Call CODEPINK Women "Slutty" Because They're "Sub-Human"

    As noted earlier, Andrew Breitbart is proud of the fact that he calls the women of CODEPINK "slutty" just because they have political views that differ from his:

    When he was called out on his sexism by Helen Caddes on Twitter, he responded by suggesting that it was OK because CODEPINK women are "sub-human:"

    Could someone explain how this isn't the textbook definition of misogyny?

    Dana Loesch's Boss Degrades Women

    Dana Loesch's boss Andrew Breitbart is proud of the fact that he called the women of CODEPINK "slutty" because they have different political beliefs:

    When Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a slut, Dana Loesch and others justifiably criticized him (though I should note that a number of the claims she made were false, as usual). Here's what Loesch had to say about Schultz:
    When I heard Ed Schultz’s remarks, I heard an angry, older man lashing out at a woman because she thinks differently about politics than he....I heard a different level in his voice yesterday though, a new level of rage that removed the humanity from his target so as to make her seem more vulnerable to him. If he stops thinking of her as a mother with children who is also conservative and more like a sexual object that can be degraded, then she’s less of a threat.
    If Loesch correctly thinks it is "despicable" for a liberal man to call a woman a "slut" because "she thinks differently about politics than he," then surely she should also criticize Breitbart for calling a group of woman "sluts" for "thinking differently about politics than he." Why does she give Breitbart a pass in his reckless, degrading, and sexualizing behavior? Many, many liberals were willing to criticize Schultz when he stepped across the line. Why won't conservatives criticize Breitbart for literally the exact same behavior?

    Peter Kinder Ridiculously Blames Governor Nixon for His Latest Scandal

    Peter Kinder finally has a statement out about his embarrassing scandal that has many Republicans wondering if they might be better off with a different sacrificial lamb to run against Governor Jay Nixon. Like any good Republican, Kinder thinks his problems are entirely the fault of some Democrat rather than his own decisions, and he explicitly blames Jay Nixon for the story. The KC Star's Steve Kraske tweeted a portion of the statement:
    Kinder putting blame on Nixon's shoulders for news coverage: "Jay Nixon may want to make up false stories about the past..."
    However, the idea that Nixon's people planted this story is ridiculous, as can be seen from even a cursory glance at the Riverfront Times' description of how the story unfolded. The RFT first posted a photo of Kinder in a joking post. Then commenters who frequent local bars recognized the woman in the picture and the RFT tracked her down for an interview. Here's the RFT's description:
    ...the whole sordid tale began unfolding last Thursday, when we jokingly published a photo of Kinder "pressing the flesh" at a St. Louis bar. We (honestly!) had no idea that the bar, Verlin's, was known for its "pantsless parties," in which bartenders sling drinks in their panties. Or that he was posing with a former "Penthouse pet of the month" -- or that the "pet," now a 39-year-old, openly gay bartender, would be interested in sharing her story when we tracked her down. We just thought the picture was moderately amusing.

    Really, the only reason any of this came to light is because RFT readers are such barflies, they almost immediately recognized the bar -- and the bartender. The GOP may want to claim this was an organized effort, but it looks a whole lot more like that new-fangled "crowd sourcing" thing to us.
    If you were going to plant an attack piece on an opponent, there'd be better ways to go about it then sending a random photo, then hoping the outlet would track down a woman based on comments on the web site.

    Furthermore, the sad fact for Kinder is that Nixon's campaign wouldn't want to plant a hit piece on Kinder because they want to run against him. At this point, it's pretty obvious that Kinder has little to no chance of winning, barring some dramatic turn of events. Why would Nixon's campaign want to force him out of the race in August of 2011 for a November 2012 race? It's just silly, and journalists like Jo Mannies and Jake Wagman should know better.

    Mark Reardon Says Pointing Out Inequalities Is "Class Envy" and "Jealousy"

    The Post-Dispatch included an excellent editorial today pointing out the fact that sales of luxury items, such as $2,500 boots and $1,500 face cream, have been increasing even while 17% of Americans are living in poverty during a brutal economic period. The whole editorial is excellent, so I hope your read it, but here's a small sampling:
    So for the sake of the economy and, especially, for the men and women working the selling floors of luxury retailers and the showrooms and service departments of expensive automobile brands, we all should hope that the latest spasms of the stock market don't scare upscale Americans into tucking away their Amex black cards.

    At the same time, we can't help noticing how far removed a Mercedes S-class sedan is — for gas savings, consider the S400 Hybrid, starting at $91,000 — from Americans who don't know if they'll have a job next week.

    We think about families who have no option but to keep squeezing miles out of aging cars that are just a paycheck away from being unfixable — AAA (the auto association) reported this week that a quarter of all Americans couldn't afford a $2,000 car repair bill if they were faced with it.

    We imagine couples now living on one income instead of two, worried about meeting the payments of adjustable-rate mortgages. We know middle-aged, middle-class parents who've lived modestly and saved responsibly and wonder from semester to semester if there will still be federal Pell grants and subsidized loans to allow their kids to stay in college.
    But of course pointing out the fact that there are economic inequalities rankled KMOX's Mark Reardon, who claimed that it was nothing but "class envy:"

    Great to know that such caring and thoughtful people are given their own radio shows. I'm sure it's because Mark Reardon is just so much more intelligent and works so much harder than all of the people who live in poverty, right?

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Prominent Conservative Gives Up On Kinder

    Renee Hulshof, host of a talk radio program and wife of former GOP Congressman Kenny Hulshof, went there earlier today. That's right: she shook her head at Peter Kinder:

    Kudos to Hulshof for saying aloud what every Missouri Republican must be thinking. The problem, though, is that it just doesn't seem worth it for any up-and-coming Republican to take on Nixon next year rather than waiting for a winnable race in 2016.

    In Blow To The Show Me Institute, Another Business Decides to Create Jobs in Downtown St. Louis

    Tim Logan at the Post-Dispatch reported on the decision of Stifel Financial Group to purchase the downtown office building that houses their corporate headquarters. Much of the subsequent analysis has focused on the fact that this is a setback for the "ballpark village" concept the Cardinals have been pushing (since the group was previously thought to be interested in building a new office building as part of the village), but I think there's another noteworthy feature of the decision. Namely, in spite of the fact that Rex Sinquefield's Show Me Institute repeatedly claims that St. Louis's tiny earnings tax of 1% acts as a major disincentive for businesses to locate in the city, Stifel has decided to remain in the City of St. Louis and add approximately 225 jobs over the next three years.

    So the region apparently can add jobs and residents while still generating revenue for vital public services! Who would have thunk it?

    KMOV Unsuprisingly Misrepresents McCaskill's Comments

    KMOV, which enjoys running lazy hit pieces on defenseless food stamp recipients, claims they were "surprised" to find out that Senator Claire McCaskill disagreed with President Obama's position that unemployment benefits should be extended. What is not surprising, however, is that KMOV got the story completely wrong and failed to provide an accurate description of McCaskill's position. Here's what KMOV quoted McCaskill as saying:
    MCCASKILL: I’m not for extending unemployment benefits any further. The payroll tax cut, I’m always for tax cuts for working folks, because I think that helps our consuming economy.
    But, the Huffington Post's Arthur Delany, who unlike KMOV apparently knows enough about the issue to ask follow-up questions, found out that McCaskill actually agrees with the President's position:
    Claire McCaskill actually DOES support keeping extended benefits, like Obama wants, her office says. She's against MORE weeks
    Now I suppose it'd be easy to just claim that KMOV, being a TV news organization, is just too darn busy to understand the issues enough to accurately describe McCaskill's position, but on the other hand they have a long history of grinding an ideological axe, including:
  • The aforementioned hit pieces on food stamp recipients.
  • Ignoring rallies of 4,300+ union supporters while doting on the tea party.
  • Lazily attacking stimulus funds being used for important research.
  • Getting angry at Wash U students after they refused to pay $20,000 for abstinence lessons from Bristol Palin.

  • So I hope you'll forgive me for thinking that KMOV is now far beyond the point of deserving the benefit of the doubt.

    Update: I called it correctly. KMOV got the story wrong:
    McCaskill's office says additional context omitted from KMOV's report would show that she was responding to a question about giving the unemployed extra weeks of benefits. Her office said she supports preserving the existing extended benefits.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Wheel of Cuts at Emerson: No Takers at Lunchtime "Fundraiser" for Rep. Todd Akin

    If you've read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch coverage of the Missouri Senate race, you've heard about the appalling letter from Emerson Electric Co. CEO David Farr to his employees, 'encouraging' them to give generously to the campaign coffers of Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO).

    Since tonight is the night of the big fundraising shindig, it seemed like a great day to go to Emerson's Headquarters in North County and talk with workers there directly. As reported in Political Fix, CEO David Farr will be rewarding Emerson employees that write a hefty check to the Akin campaign
    ($5000 or more!) with an intimate dinner with the boss after the event.

    When he wrote the letter, he may not have expected as much attention to the offer. But for a group of St. Louis activists, reading about it wasn't enough. This morning, they sent over a tongue-in-cheek invitation to Farr, offering to lend a helping hand to the collection efforts:

    With 2010 earnings such as yours, it is understandable why you're so committed to putting Todd Akin in the U.S. Senate. His positions have reliably favored CEOs over the interests of middle class workers and the poor. CEOs and Wall Street bankers can sleep a little easier knowing that Todd Akin is in their corner, even if it means the vast majority of his constituents get left behind.

    Many of your employees are probably busy this week getting their kids ready for back to school and may have run short of time before tonight's Ladue fundraiser. So to help ensure that as many Emerson workers as possible are able to chip in to Todd Akin's election war-chest, a group of volunteers will come by at lunch time to help personally collect funds for the Senate race.

    A collection box was set up so that workers could donate their paychecks to Todd Akin, but there weren't any takers. Instead, workers on their lunch hour just stopped to take a flyer for more information. One put it this way: "I'll take your flyer but I'm not giving him my paycheck!" For Emerson employees concerned about a long record of policies that hurt middle-class workers, including Rep. Akin's outspoken support for Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to end Medicare, the group brought a special carnival game.

    The "Wheel of Cuts" lets the player spin to select just one of the critical public services that would be slashed if Akin has his way. But just like in the Ryan budget, CEOs' pay are bonus spaces--Akin is, after all, working for the David Farr's of the world, not the middle- class voters of Missouri's Second District.

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Greatest Hits of Debunked St. Louis Tea Party Conspiracies!

    Andrew Breibart tweeted a link to a Big Government article about the "corruption he witnessed" while he was in St. Louis (and afraid to debate). The Big Government article is like a Greatest Hits of debunked St. Louis Tea Party conspiracy theories.

    Here's a sampling:
    • Kenneth Gladney case conspiracy? Debunked.
    • UMSL promoting violence conspiracy? Debunked.
    • Innocent Adam Sharp assaulted by UMSL prof? Debunked.
    • Hilarious conspiracy of "Voter Fraud" after Ed Martin lost to Russ Carnahan? Debunked.
    • Carnahan wind farm conspiracy? Debunked.
    • Jake Zimmerman crony capitalism conspiracy? Nonsense.
    • Firebombing? Never any evidence whatsoever.
    So yeah, great article, if you're someone who refuses to engage with reality.

    St. Louis Fire Department to Award Russ Carnahan With Ceremonial Fire Helmet

    Press Release:
    (ST. LOUIS, MO) – To thank him for his efforts to help secure a federal grant that helped save 30 firefighters’ jobs, the St. Louis Fire Department will present a ceremonial firefighter’s helmet to U.S. Representative Russ Carnahan this Thursday, August 4, at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. This event officially recognizes Congressman Carnahan’s efforts, which were informally conveyed by members of the Firefighters’ Union Local 73 in May.

    In April of this year, St. Louis was awarded a $3.2 million SAFER grant to rehire 30 firefighters who were laid off due to budget cuts. Carnahan worked with the Department of Homeland Security, which administers the grants, the City of St. Louis and local firefighters to help secure the grants.

    The ceremonial fire helmet will be presented by Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson on behalf of the department. Representative Carnahan and Chief Jenkerson will be available to members of the press after the presentation.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Breitbart Chickens Out of Debate, But Manages to Blame ACLU, SEIU, and AFL-CIO For His Gladney Conspiracy Theories

    As expected, it turns out that all of Andrew Breitbart's blustery chest-thumpings and challenges to debate are nothing more than part of his circus act. When he was provided with ample opportunity to debate his smear campaigns against SEIU and UMSL, he ran away scared. Not only was Breitbart afraid to accept my debate challenge while he was in St. Louis, he was afraid to even respond, despite the fact that he received many Twitter and Facebook messages challenging him to debate. Honest debate is like holy water for Breitbart's vampires, so the fact that he ran away from having to actually discuss the evidence is not at all surprising.

    However, while he was here, he did have time to go to a Cardinals game, visit the Lemp Mansion, and most interesting from my perspective, to claim that the ACLU, the White House, SEIU, and the AFL-CIO were all involved in a massive conspiracy against Kenneth Gladney that somehow slipped past the twelve jurors who found the SEIU members not-guilty of misdemeanor assault after only 40 minutes of deliberation. Oh, and he called St. Louis a "Godforsaken town" while Dana Loesch cheers and claps:

    And with that it becomes pretty obvious why Breitbart won't debate the topic. His claims are so ridiculous they wouldn't hold up for 2 minutes in a real discussion. He doesn't have even the most basic understanding of what happened, yet he continues to spread lies about it. What do you even say about someone so diametrically opposed to all of the best characteristics of humanity (reason, honesty, courage, etc.)?

    Ann Wagner Parties With Editor Who Ran Hit Piece On Ed Martin

    As reported earlier, Andrew Breitbart's website Big Government uncharacteristically got involved in a Republican primary by running a hit piece on Ed Martin, Ann Wagner's opponent in the Missouri 2nd District Republican Primary. Last week, I asked the following about the hit piece:
    Are [Big Government Editor] Mike Flynn and/or Dan Riehl exchanging favors with Ann Wagner? Why would they avoid their site's usual protocol to get involved in a Congressional primary fight in Missouri? It's worth noting that Riehl advocated for Ann Wagner on Big Government during the race for RNC chairs as well. Editor Flynn also spoke positively about her. Is there some reason they're intervening on her behalf rather than letting Missouri voters make up their own mind?
    This question, I think, takes on additional significance considering that Ann Wagner proudly posted party pics of herself along with Big Government editor Mike Flynn and Andrew Breitbart outside of the so-called "Smart Girl Conference:"

    They sure seem to be getting along swimmingly. But would Big Government editor Mike Flynn allow his site to be used as a weapon in Republian primaries based only on his personal relationships?

    Ed Martin Says He Doesn't Believe Debates Should Be "Negotiated"

    Yesterday, Ann Wagner's campaign put out a press release calling for 10 candidate forums between herself and Ed Martin. In response, Ed Martin said that he didn't think debates should be "negotiated between candidates:"
    By accepting these invitations as they are offered, Ed seeks to honor the community leadership role of these organizations. Ed believes all such events hould be offered and scheduled by the organizations not “negotiated” by the candidates as suggested by Ambassador Wagner.
    Ten debates seems to allow a pretty good opportunity for people to get to know the candidates. However, Ed Martin routinely accused Russ Carnahan of "skipping debates" that Carnahan hadn't agreed to, and now has been involved in a similar stunt with Wagner, leading to a reported shouting match. So I have to wonder if Martin refuses to agree to 10 debates because that would diminish his ability to use alleged invitations from friendly groups to claim that his opponent was afraid to debate with him.