Politico: Does NPR Stand for ”No Pot Smoking Reporters’?
May 5, 2015

From Politico:
NPR reporter David Greene profiles entertainer Willie Nelson in a piece that was broadcast Tuesday.

“In which NPR stands for No Pot-smoking Reporters:”

“The first thing you notice when you get on Willie Nelson’s tour bus is a pungent aroma. Parked outside a gigantic casino and performance venue in Thackerville, Okla., Nelson offers NPR’s David Greene a joint, which Greene declines. Nelson says he understands.”

Jay Nixon’s Summertime Blues Featured in Politico
September 2, 2014

Jay Nixon was headed into a news conference last Wednesday, ready to announce his new choice to lead the Missouri Department of Public Safety, when he spotted one of his old law school classmates in St. Louis’ Wainwright State Office Building. Stopping to speak with Mary Nelson, the governor shared a terse appraisal of his new life at the center of a national firestorm.

“It’s been a hell of a week,” Nixon told his former study group partner.

The governorship has never been a smooth ride for Nixon, a 58-year-old Democrat who took office in the midst of a national recession. Under his watch, the state has been buffeted by ice storms, tornadoes and all-out political warfare pitting Nixon against an array of stridently conservative opponents.

Still, as he approached the midpoint of his second term, Nixon looked firmly secure in his role: limited in his power to enact a legislative agenda, but plainly in command of the Missouri political world.

That world has turned upside down in the three weeks since a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man. Now, Nixon’s early-summer trip to Iowa is all but forgotten. Far from preoccupied with 2016, he is working overtime to rescue his state and administration.

The governor himself is frustrated and exhausted amid the ongoing emergency, according to Missouri political veterans and Nixon’s longtime associates, some of whom were granted anonymity in order to speak bluntly. Already, Nixon has run repeatedly into the bounds of his own political capacity: a stubbornly procedural mind set shaped by 16 years as state attorney general and a long-tense relationship with leaders of Missouri’s black community.

Amid weeks of protests, Nixon has faced a barrage of questions about his management of the volatile situation and sharp denunciations from certain African-American leaders. There is no end in sight: A grand jury has only just begun to examine evidence in the case of Brown’s killing, a process likely to last until October. Nixon faces intense pressure from black officials to remove the local prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, from the case, a demand he has so far rejected
More: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/jay-nixon-ferguson-missouri-110501.html?hp=f1

Former Senate Adversaries, McCaskill & Gillibrand, Team Up
May 2, 2014

Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are at war once again. But this time, they’re fighting for the same thing.
It’s been less than two months since the Senate passed McCaskill’s bill over Gillibrand’s on improving how the military handles sexual assault. But with concern over campus sexual violence now approaching fever pitch in Washington, McCaskill and Gillibrand are ready to work on the issue — as partners.
“Sen. Gillibrand and I are doing this together,” McCaskill said in an interview, adding that she has spoken with her New York counterpart a half-dozen times about a forthcoming bill addressing campus sexual assault.
The pair shared an umbrella Tuesday as they exited a White House event where new recommendations on addressing and preventing campus sexual violence were unveiled. McCaskill tweeted a picture using the hashtag “together.”
It appears to be a new era of cooperation, at least for now: Both senators applauded the new White House recommendations. On April 4, they co-wrote a letter signed by several Senate colleagues on the issue. Both have been actively researching what policy changes may make the most sense. And the two are lining up behind some common priorities, such as mandating annual student surveys on sexual assault and changing the federal government’s options for enforcing Title IX violations, advocates say.


Helling Profiles Milton Wolfe in Politico
March 31, 2014

OVERLAND PARK –In a small office in this Kansas City suburb, Milton Wolf–doctor, columnist, distant cousin of Barack Obama–tells two dozen supporters he would make a better U.S. senator than the incumbent, Pat Roberts.

“He’s our senator, and he deserves our respect,” he says, to polite applause. “I hope that we can convince the senator that this should be a campaign about issues, instead of about personal destruction.”

Then: “I’d ask you to stand up for our Constitution. And I would ask you to stand up for the American idea itself, that American idea of individual liberty, of limited government and free market values.

“If you’ll stand for those things, we’ll be standing together, and we’ll be fighting, and we will win.”

Heads nod all around. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Milton, what with those strange Facebook posts, but maybe his Tea Party crusade is getting back on track. Maybe the lamestream media is moving on. Maybe the government can still be saved.

Or, maybe not. It’s possible Kansas is too conservative for Milton Wolf. Too conservative, in fact, for the Tea Party.


Kansas seemed primed for a Tea Party insurgency six months ago, when Wolf, who turns 43 on April 8, announced a primary challenge to Roberts, a fixture of the state’s Republican politics since Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural.

By almost any measure, the state was, and is, deeply red, perhaps the most conservative place in America. Every statewide elected official is a Republican, led by Gov. Sam Brownback, a tax-slashing social conservative and one-time presidential candidate. Secretary of State Kris Kobach is nationally known for his work to restrict immigration and voter registration. Koch Industries is headquartered in Wichita. All four of the state’s House members regularly top the lists of the most conservative Republicans in Congress. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, of the sprawling 1st District, fought with his House leadership over spending and the debt limitso publicly he was kicked off the Agriculture Committee – bothering some constituents, but making him a hero to the Sean Hannity crowd.
More: politico.com

Politico Looks at “Thin Bench” For Missouri Dems
March 28, 2014

The Missouri state auditor’s post has been a launching pad for politicians with higher aspirations like Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and former GOP Sen. Kit Bond. But this year, Democrats concede they won’t field a serious candidate against incumbent Republican Auditor Tom Schweich — sparking questions about the strength of the party’s bench in the red-trending swing state.

Schweich may also be using his position to mount a bid for higher office in 2016, making Democrats’ historic failure to recruit an opponent for Schweich even more costly.

“The reality is we believed we had a candidate who withdrew mid-cycle, so people who might have otherwise taken a hard look at it didn’t get that chance. So you were asking people to make decisions relatively quickly,” Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Roy Temple said in an interview. “We weren’t successful in finding a serious challenger.”

State Rep. Jay Swearingen, a North Kansas City Democrat, bowed out of the race in January, saying that he wanted to step aside for a Democrat who was better able to raise money for the contest.

Democrats last held the post in 2010, when Schweich defeated incumbent Susan Montee.

In an interview, Schweich said he was “pleased that for the first time in over a century the Democrats have failed to field a Democrat for a statewide seat in Missouri.” But he said he wasn’t sure if that was due to their lack of credible candidates, or his own fundraising strength.

“I think Missouri is basically a conservative state,” he said. “Governor [Mitt] Romney won by 9 or 10 points and we lost 5 out of 6 statewide elections in 2012 for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with the people of Missouri disagreeing with us.”

Temple pushed back against the idea that the Democrats lack talent that could ascend to top offices such as the U.S. Senate or the governor’s mansion, saying that there’s an “extraordinary talent base on the Democratic side.”

“We have very serious stars in Attorney General [Chris] Koster, State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, Secretary of State Jason Kander,” he said. “You have a two-term governor who has plenty of political energy left in his tank. There are skillful and talented politicians distributed widely around the rest of the state.”