Missouri Attorney Jay Nixon is running for his fourth term this year and our Campaign Watch-ers examine why he’s been so successful as AG while failing in two runs for the US Senate. The creation of Missouri’s No Call List –the model for the national list– has made Nixon one of the most popular politicians in the state. His political future may depend on the outcome of the November election. Should Claire McCaskill win, Nixon takes a secondary role. If she loses, party leadership shifts to Nixon. His opponent, Chris Byrd, is something of an unknown –and long shot– without hugh war chest or name recognition. Missouri’s GOP focusing on other races.
Archives for August 2004
Well, the last day of August brings another hot and muggy day to the Big Apple. But when you spend most of your day in the air conditioning, who cares?
Monday brought about the official start to the Republican National Convention … and, if it’s possible, it seems security is getting tighter. The cops patrolling the lobby of the Westin New York at Times Square are insisting that their bomb sniffing dogs go through my bags everytime I return from an assignment … and they get upset with I try to get the dogs to roll over. Go figure.
One negative note regarding this “Heavenly” hotel. As I climbed aboard an elevator Monday to race up to my room to grab a much needed piece of equipment, a woman and her little girl jumped on and the youngster proceeded to start pushing elevator floor buttons. Her mother giggled, thinking it was cute. I have news for you lady … to you, it’s cute … to those of us who are trying to get on with our own lives … it’s not “cute.” Actually, it’s a pain in the buttocks! Not that I hate kids or anything … but I think they should be forced to behave.
Okay, into the convention center – Madison Square Garden – where Senator John McCain delivered a speech that seemed to fall flat on most of the people with whom I was sitting. They wanted to be inspired to storm the gates of the Garden … but the speech didn’t seem to do it for them. But these same people who thought McCain was flat were up and jumping when former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani took the stage. Folks, here’s a guy who knows how to bring a crowd to its feet!
After the first night of the convention, I found myself invited to a party thrown by General Motors at a hall near the Garden. Alright … I wasn’t invited … I crashed it. But that’s okay because it was a private party given by country superstar Travis Tritt. What a show! Sara Evans will be here on Wednesday. I’d really like to meet her. Have I mentioned earlier how I think she’s gorgeous? Later.
Breakfast with the Secretary. Missouri delegates were told to get up early to be bused through Manhattan to a breakfast event featuring several speakers including Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. Thompson told the delegation about President Bush’s accomplishments, saying the President deserves four more years. He then launched into an attack on liberals. It was then time to take aim at specific people – especially Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry. Thompson spoke of how the media will make fun of President Bush’s sometimes awkward style of speech and the comments he makes … but several Kerry-isms have slipped under the radar. Thompson’s bottom line: President Bush and the Republicans are optimists, while John Kerry and the Democrats are pessimistic about America’s future.
New standards for foster parents are now the state law. The state is requiring more information to be gathered about people who want to become foster parents. The Children’s Division of the Social Services Department has run background checks by name for prospective foster and adoptive parents. Earlier this year it started checking fingerprints. The new law makes those fingerprint checks mandatory. Division Director Fred Simmons says the fingerprinting and expanded checks does not make it harder to become a foster parent; it just gives the foster parent system more protection. He says the process should not delay the awarding of a child to a foster or adoptive parent. Simmons say the training and assessment of each family is a two or three month process anyway and that will give the State Highway Patrol time to process the prints and report back with its findings.
Stock car racing legend Rusty Wallace will call it a career after the 2005 season. At a press conference in Daytona Beach Florida Monday, Wallace, who hails from St. Louis, announced his intent to retire next year. Wallace said yesterday that he’s been thinking about retiring since Dale Earnhardt’s death at the Daytona 500 in 2001. “It really…kind of got to me. (It) made me a little nervous, made me think hard about it. And you know what? I’ve won a lot of races and I want to have fun in the sport and I don’t want to get hurt.” Wallace recalled a conversation he had with NASCAR president Bill France Jr. In the night of Earnhardt’s death, “Mr. France told me at the hospital that night, “You know, don’t stay in this thing too long, kid. You’ve done a lot for this sport. You don’t need to keep grinding; you don’t need to prove nothing. You’ve won a ton of races, you’ve done enough.’ And that stuck in my mind a long time.” Wallace broke into the NASCAR full time in 1984 and was named the rookie of the year after finishing 14th in points. In 1989, Wallace won the Winston Cup championship. Earlier this year, he snapped a 105-race winless streak with a victory at Martinsville, Virginia. He was named to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. He plans on taking a more active role behind the scenes with Team Penske.
Chiefs’ wide receiver Marc Boerigter opted against surgery on his right knee yesterday. He was expected to have it operated on yesterday, but decided to seek a second opinion instead. Boerigter was injured the Chiefs loss to the Brown on Saturday night in a non-contact play. With Johnnie Morton nursing a sore Achilles tendon, Boerigter was expected to be the No. 3 receiver. That spot will likely be filled by rookie Richard Smith.
Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel is serious when he means every spot on the depth chart is open. In 2002, Pinkel sent shock waves through Tiger Nation when he sat senior quarterback Kirk Farmer for red shirt freshman Brad Smith. The freshman-over-senior announcement was made again yesterday as Martin Rucker edged out Victor Sesay for the starting tight end spot in Saturday’s season opener against Arkansas St. Pinkel said yesterday that Rucker earned the job during summer practices, “He’s had very good two-a-days. He obviously a very good athlete, he’s a very bright young man, he learns well. He’s just got a lot going for him.” But that doesn’t mean Sesay won’t get playing time—Pinkel said he plans on using two tight ends. Rucker shouldn’t get too comfortable with the starting role, according to Pinkel, “We tell the player that moved up, ‘Congratulations. And you better keep your job because the guy that just moved down, we’re going to tell him to get it back.’ This competition makes your football team better. “
In the Royals four previous losses—all in a row—they blew leads. They wouldn’t be saddled with that burden last night. Why? Because they never led in a 9-1 defeat to the Tigers. Royals starter Mike Wood allowed a two-run homer to Craig Monroe in the second inning to give Detroit a 2-0 led. In the third Pudge Rodriguez belted a two-run shot of his own to make it 4-0 and Monroe struck again with a three-run homer in the fifth inning. Calvin Pickering’s solo shot in the bottom of the fifth proved to be the Royals only run of the day. Kansas City has dropped five straight.. Starting center fielder David DeJesus had to leave the game in the top of the second inning after colliding with shortstop Angel Berroa. DeJesus had a strained neck and mild concussion.
State health officials are officially worried about West Nile Virus. Late summer, early fall, the upcoming Labor Day Holiday weekend; a combination that has seen a rise in West Nile Virus in the past. As of Monday, Missouri had recorded six human cases of West Nile Virus. Karen Yates with the State Health Department, though, points out most people infected with the virus don’t develop symptoms. About 20% of those who do can develop long-term health problems. Yates suggests wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active and she says you should use repellents with DEET. House mosquitoes are the culprits and they need to be fought in their homes: standing water in wheelbarrows, flowerpots, wading pools, used tires, clogged gutters and the like. That standing water needs to be drained. West Nile Virus was first detected in Missouri in the fall of 2001 when eight dead crows from the St. Louis region tested positive. Missouri reported 64 cases last year, eight were fatal.
Related web sites:
State Health Department Information on West Nile Virus
Many people consider it the true start of fall and all of the activities the season brings; the start of dove hunting season in Missouri. In fact, many consider it the “unofficial” start of the fall hunting season as dove season opens September 1st in Missouri. John Schulz, a research scientist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, says taking aim at the fleet-winged birds is the perfect hunt for the novice or veteran hunter. Schulz says surveys indicate there should be pretty good numbers of doves migrating through Missouri this year, except there could be one problem: the cooler weather this summer might have made many birds already push through ahead of the opening day. But Schulz says the cooler weather has brought better production of food sources for the doves and that could keep them in those areas longer. And he says the cooler weather has also slowed down the growth of a microscopic protozoa that kills many birds every summer.