Friday, March 25, 2005

I dislike rudeness and incivility. Having said that, let me offer this contradiction. My new hero is an ...outspoken... Missouri Democrat named Callahan. You can just skim through the first half of the following article from the Kansas City Star. Get the gist of it, then concentrate on Callahan's latest campaign against Republicans:
Posted on Mon, Mar. 21, 2005
Panic buttons offer governor some peace of mind
The Kansas City Star

JEFFERSON CITY — When Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt took office in January, he asked the Capitol police to install four panic buttons in the Governor's Mansion, near the Capitol.
Is it the neighborhood?
Nope. Turns out, it's the staff.
As a new governor with a young first lady and a new first child, Blunt is concerned at the thought of prison inmates roaming around the house.
“I'm concerned about my family's security,” the governor said when asked about the panic buttons. “As you know, there are inmates in the mansion all the time.”
For at least 100 years, the state has used inmate labor for cleaning, cooking and maintenance duties at the mansion, Department of Corrections officials said.
To work at the mansion, the inmates must be nonviolent offenders with clean conduct records, corrections officials said. And the inmates, who are within a year or less of getting out of prison, must have already served in work-release programs to prove they can be trusted with minimal supervision.
Corrections officials said they were unaware of any instances of inmate workers ever causing problems.
Blunt and his wife, Melanie, have stayed in the mansion some since he took office in January. But the first lady has mostly stayed in Springfield, where she gave birth this month to the couple's first child, William Branch Blunt.
Blunt said his wife and son will move into the 134-year-old governor's mansion as soon as Melanie Blunt is ready.
Three corrections officers are on duty at the mansion when the inmates are there, not to mention the Missouri Highway Patrol troopers assigned to Blunt and the first lady. Other troopers are on site to provide 24-hour security at the mansion.
The state Division of Facilities Management installed the four panic buttons, purchased from a St. Louis company, at a cost of $811.
“It seemed to be a fairly low-cost way to enhance security at the mansion,” Blunt said.
Sen. Victor Callahan, the former chairman of the Jackson County Legislature, has been showing flashes of his old feistiness in recent Senate debates.
Callahan, an Independence Democrat, went after Republicans several times last week over bills that make it more difficult for workers to claim their injuries are work related and that end Medicaid coverage for many low-income and disabled workers.
Callahan's top objective: Gov. Matt Blunt. The senator repeatedly referred to Blunt as “his majesty” or “his excellency” and accused Blunt of ruling with disregard for working people and the poor.
His second target: Blunt's supporters in the business community.
“His Majesty Matt Blunt has overlooked the corporate element to the state's problems (with a costly Medicaid program),” Callahan said. Some of the state's largest corporations, he said, don't pay a living wage, which allows their employees to qualify for Medicaid, which pays for health care for the poor.
Callahan said such companies deliberately shift the cost of employees' health care to taxpayers. He said he would like to see a list of large companies not providing employee health insurance.
“Do you think this list would correspond to his majesty's campaign contribution list?” Callahan asked.
Sen. Gary Nodler, a Joplin Republican, called Callahan's attacks on Blunt demeaning. Nodler said Republicans were never so bold as to show such disrespect for Democrat Bob Holden when he was governor.
Nodler's memory is a bit short. It was less than two years ago — in April 2003 — when Senate Republicans began sporting stickers emblazoned with a large “OTB.” The phrase was a slap at Holden.
It stood for “One-term Bob,” which had become a rallying cry for Republicans. Democrats at the time said it ought to stand for the Republican budget — “On the Backs” of children, the elderly and the disabled.

I'm looking for Callahan's phone or e-mail so I can thank him for speaking out. I wish more of our Democrats were so outspoken.


At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Callahan has consistently and contantly kept the middle class in Missouri in the front of any legislation. He is an independent thinker and I thank God for that. Many times the local rag pillorized him for forcing the truth about the inner workings of government out into the light of day. Too bad many of us are too busy to make note. Many of Callahan's targets are now targets of the FBI.


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