The Buzz

BuzzChatter Friday: New questions raised about Missouri executions

Updated: 2014-01-02T21:40:37Z

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

Ahhhh, the first Friday of the new year. Nothin’ beats ‘em, even after a short week:

• “When you violate Missouri law to carry out Missouri law, that seems contradictory.” — Tony Rothert of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, which has challenged Missouri executions.

Rothert is talking about an investigation by St. Louis Public Radio and The Beacon that determined that execution drugs used in Missouri are coming from a pharmacy not licensed to do business in the state. Questions about how Missouri executes prisoners have been hanging around awhile now. It’s time to get the issue cleared up before costly lawsuits start flying.

• “People are going to be surprised by how little happens” right away. “We’re all thinking there will be this new flood of people. And there will be some people with pent-up demand. But I think there’s a lot more slack in the system than we give it credit for.” — Ashish Jha, a Harvard University professor, on the start of actual coverage under Obamacare. Jha has studied the implementation of the universal health-care law in Massachusetts.

The Washington Post reported a quiet first day of health coverage on Jan. 1 for about 6 million Americans. You can bet President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, are holding their collective breaths this week, hoping that no new problems surface.

• “We could not be prouder of the overwhelming response.” — Gov. Jay Nixon on how state residents responded to his “100 Missouri Mile Challenge” in which the governor urged residents to get out and walk state roads, trails and waterways.

We’re not sure how you gauge success on a program like this. Nixon said Thursday that 12,700 folks signed up for the challenge with 3,715 actually logging the 100 miles. That doesn’t sound like many, but Nixon pointed out participants logged enough miles to circle the Earth 46 times. That sounds a little better. Say what you will about Nixon. But he ranks as the most active sportsmen of our recent Missouri governors, championing state fishing and hunting with genuine enthusiasm.

• “`Meet the Press’ has languished since (David) Gregory took over for the late Tim Russert in 2008.” — Politico media critic Dylan Byers.

Byers says that NBC should replace Gregory with Chuck Todd. Gregory, he points out, hasn’t scored many major “gets” during his tenure. But Byers also notes that’s not likely to happen. Gregory last year renewed his contract to host the venerable Sunday morning show. And let’s face it: Following the legendary Tim Russert was a losing proposition. Still, we think Byers has a point. The “must-see” tag has drifted away from MTP.

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