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Commentary: The Art of the Acceptance Speech

Jul 26, 2016

I am not a convention junkie.  Mostly I read the day after about what went on.  But I do watch two events live: the presidential nominee acceptance speeches.

At the conclusion of each speech I turn off the TV and write down my impressions.  I am not interested in what the talking heads have to say.  Sometimes the next morning when I catch the analyses I wonder aloud: “Did those people watch the same speech I did?”

Alex Hanson / Flickr

Some Missouri delegates to the Democratic National Convention who supported the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders are reluctant to heed his call to now back the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. 

PHILADELPHIA – Ralph Trask doesn’t want Donald Trump to become president. But that doesn’t mean he’s completely sold on Hillary Clinton.

Trask is a farmer from Iron County who is attending the Democratic National Convention as a Bernie Sanders delegate. He arrived in Philadelphia amid a somewhat tense time between supporters of the two campaigns, and national speculation over whether Sanders supporters can work this fall for Clinton.

If you’re wondering why there’s a competitive battle for Missouri state treasurer, look no further than the innards of the Missouri Constitution.

If the Show Me State’s pre-eminent legal document didn’t restrict a state treasurer to two terms, it’s a good bet that incumbent officeholder Clint Zweifel would be running for re-election – and probably without competition from his fellow Democrats. But it does. And with Zweifel taking a hiatus of sorts from electoral politics, two Democrats – former state Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, and Kansas City native Pat Contreras – are seeking to capture the weighty, but slightly low profile, statewide office.

CLEVELAND — Missouri U.S. Rep. Billy Long is arguably the state’s version of Donald Trump.

Long was a well-known auctioneer and radio talk-show host in Springfield, Mo., who emerged from a seven-person GOP field in 2010 to win the congressional seat that had been held by fellow Republican Roy Blunt until Blunt opted to make his successful shot for the U.S. Senate.

Long says he was impressed with Trump when he first met him in 2011, just months after Long arrived in Washington. The occasion was a charity event, and Long approached the billionaire businessman to thank him for his charity support.

Scott Davidson / Flickr

A Missouri state senator who's a former sheriff is condemning violence against police and says targeting law enforcement officers is a crime of hate.

Sully Fox / KBIA file photo

Missouri has had only two Republican secretaries of state since World War II, and both had the last name of Blunt.

You could say that the Republican primary election for secretary of state is a choice between a familiar name and a familiar policymaker.

The commission created by Republican lawmakers to review the University of Missouri System is about to hold its first meeting.

The commission was created by GOP leaders following last fall's unrest on the system's main campus in Columbia. Protests centered on accusations that university officials, in particular former UM System president Tim Wolfe, were ignoring a series of racial incidents.

missouri capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

A new Missouri law will require the state's Social Services Department to have a third party review welfare rolls.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday announced he'll let the law take effect without his signature.

Thursday is Nixon's deadline to sign or veto bills. If he doesn't take action on bills, they become law.

Let’s get something out of the way: Missouri’s lieutenant governor doesn’t have a lot of power or many defined responsibilities.

The lieutenant governor is charged with presiding over the Senate, serving on boards and commissions, and assuming the governorship if the state’s chief executive dies. That reality has often under whelmed people elected to the office: The late U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton once quipped that the lieutenant governor’s office is only good for standing at an office window and watching the Missouri River flow by.

via Flickr user Jere Keys

President Obama spoke told mourners the memorial service for five slain Dallas police officers that “we are not as divided as we seem,” following a week of police-involved shootings. How did the presence of video from two police-involved shootings move the dialogue forward? What caused conservative media to take notice of incidents of police brutality against people of color? And, did the media help the situation or hurt it? 

Commentary: How to Judge the Party Conventions

Jul 12, 2016

Want to be a political pundit?  Why not?  Everyone else is.

Here’s a starting place: Grading the success of the party nominating conventions.  Timing’s good – the Republican convention starts next Monday.

Challiyan / Flickr

A cloud of uncertainty is hanging over a proposed cigarette tax hike after a Missouri appeals court panel changed the wording voters would see on the November ballot. 

(Updated) Three weeks to go before the Aug. 2 primary, Missouri’s GOP candidates are hitting the road — and doubling down on the negatives.

Kurt Schaefer
Connor Wist / KBIA

An ad by a Missouri attorney general candidate that's drawing criticism accuses fellow Republican contender Josh Hawley of working for terrorists. 

A new law signed by Gov. Jay Nixon last week will make it easier for county law enforcement agencies in Missouri to assist one another in an emergency.

House Bill 1936 removes language in state law that only allowed a county sheriff's office to lend immediate assistance to a bordering county. Cole County Sheriff Greg White says the new law will reduce red tape.

Regardless of whether Missouri becomes a battleground in the presidential contest, national labor leaders see the state as one of their top priorities this fall.

“Missouri has the most important governor’s race in the country going on right now,” said Richard Trumka, national president of the AFL-CIO, during an exclusive interview while he was in St. Louis over the weekend.

If Missourians tuned into their NPR affiliated station Wednesday night expecting an easy-going session from Lake Wobegon, they were in for a big surprise.

That’s because the debate between Missouri’s four GOP hopefuls for governor was a, dare I say, lively event. It came as Catherine Hanaway, Eric Greitens, John Brunner and Peter Kinder head into the final stretch of the high-stakes and expensive campaign.

The Hill, The Atlantic and POLITICO are among the news organizations offering sponsorship opportunities for events at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions later this month. In many cases, special interests are footing the bill. Is it a conflict of interest or creative way to create and alternative revenue stream… or both? Also, the influence ‘Serial’ might have had in getting Adnan Syed a new trial, why PBS used video from a past fireworks show Monday night, and how Facebook’s new algorithm may hurt publishers. From the Missouri School of Journalism professors Amy Simons, Earnest Perry and Brett Johnson: Views of the News.

On July 6, St. Louis Public Radio hosted Missouri's GOP gubernatorial contenders ahead of the August primary so you could hear their stances during a debate. Scroll down to listen to the audio, watch a video of the debate or read our reporters' analysis of the night.

via Flickr user Matt Stoller

The Hill, The Atlantic and POLITICO are among the news organizations offering sponsorships opportunities for events at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions later this month. In many cases, special interests are footing the bill. Is it a conflict of interest or creative way to create and alternative revenue stream… or both?

Lee Fang, The Intercept: “Major political news outlets offer interviews for sale at DNC and RNC conventions

On July 6, St. Louis Public Radio will host a live debate with the Missouri candidates running to become the GOP candidate-of-choice in the August 2 primary for governor.

Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

Gov. Jay Nixon says Planned Parenthood can continue receiving funding for women's health services for a while, despite a Missouri budget provision attempting to stop it.

Nixon said Thursday that his administration will eventually implement a ban on Medicaid funding for organizations that perform abortions. The budget takes effect Friday.

But Nixon says the state must first solicit public comments and then get federal approval to change its women's health program. He said that could take until 2017 and all providers will continue to be funded until then.

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is CNN’s newest political analyst, offering insight and analysis into his former employer. Why did the cable network plop down $500,000 to bring him on board? How will non-disclosure agreements affect his ability to offer insights? And, does that hurt CNN’s credibility? Also, live streaming the House sit-in using social media apps, covering the Brexit vote and a reporter’s undercover reporting inside a for-profit prison. From the Missouri School of Journalism professors Amy Simons, Earnest Perry and Mike McKean: Views of the News.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is CNN’s newest political analyst, offering insight and analysis into his former employer. Why did the cable network plop down $500,000 to bring him on board? How will non-disclosure agreements affect his ability to offer insights? And, does that hurt CNN’s credibility?

Updated 3:14 p.m. with reaction -- Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a wide-ranging bill that would have eased regulations on people seeking to obtain or renew a conceal-carry endorsement or permit.

Nixon cited one of his main concerns with Senate Bill 656 when he told reporters last week that it could rob county sheriffs of the authority to deny conceal-carry privileges when they see fit. He expanded on that concern in his veto message today.

As with so many mass shootings in this country, the events at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub raised many questions about access to guns, terrorism, radicalized Islam – and homophobia. But now critics are questioning whether a journalist’s sexual orientation or gender identity may influence their ability to cover the story fairly. Is that criticism fair? Also, the FAA relaxes regulations on commercial drone use, Disney’s coverage of Disney, and Donald Trump’s decision to pull the Washington Post’s credentials. From the Missouri School of Journalism professors Amy Simons, Earnest Perry and Mike McKean: Views of the News.

As with so many mass shootings in this country, the events at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub raised many questions about access to guns, terrorism, radicalized Islam – and homophobia. But now critics are questioning whether a journalist’s sexual orientation or gender identity may influence their ability to cover the story fairly. Is that criticism fair?

ALEX HEUER / St. Louis Public Radio

Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens' campaign says it has no relationship with the treasurer of a political action committee that's behind attack ads, even though the man made calls at a campaign event. 

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