The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

BuzzChatter Tuesday: Claire McCaskill wants answers on 'fake' arrival ceremonies

10/29/2013 6:00 AM

10/28/2013 5:57 PM

Tuesday’s hot quotes from the world of politics:

• “Families in this community just want officials to be honest and forthright about the government’s efforts. Instead, what they’re often getting is false hope and fake ceremonies.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill citing

an NBC News report

that suggested that phony “arrival” ceremonies were being staged for missing service members that used military props, such as airplanes that can’t fly. The report also said the remains of soldiers in the ceremonies had sometimes been returned to the U.S. months prior.

McCaskill said she’s sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel demanding answers. “It appears that the Department of Defense even towed planes to the ceremonies to create the impression that the remains had just arrived from the recovery location,” McCaskill’s letter to Hagel read.

• “Kathleen Sebelius has been an unmitigated disaster in Washington just as she was an unmitigated disaster before that in Kansas, and we wouldn't be in this mess today if Sen. Pat Roberts had not supported her controversial nomination, publicly endorsed her and voted for her -- not once but twice -- to run ObamaCare.” — Milton Wolf, the Tea Party candidate who’s challenging Roberts in next year’s GOP Senate primary.

Wolf is banging on Roberts for his past backing of Sebelius even though many viewed Roberts’ backing of the former Kansas governor as something of a home-state courtesy. Wolf has pointed to Roberts’ support for Sebelius several times since he launched his campaign this month. He’s going to need to move on to other issues soon.

• “Revenue is certainly looking better. We don't have as much of that hole to fill up as we have other years. Hopefully there will be some room to do a few more things.” — Linda Luebbering, the budget director for Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, on the news of an unexpected 10.1 percent jump in state revenue last year.

State agencies are lining up for more money based on the good revenue news. So far this year, revenues are nearly 3 percent above last year’s pace. Even some leading Republicans are acknowledging that there may be more money to spend. Nixon, meantime, is talking about more money for public schools and universities.

• “He’s in fighting mode.” — an unnamed attendee at a GOP retreat this weekend for big donors at Sea Island, Ga., referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Politico reported

that McConnell pledged that the GOP would not be part of another government shutdown early next year.

This is yet one more sign that the shutdown didn’t play well for Republicans. McConnell was trying to ease concerns in the group that the GOP had been hijacked by the far right.

• “People often wonder: How do workers live on the money that they earn in the fast-food industry? And now we know the answer. They don’t. They have to rely on other sources of public assistance.” — Allen MacNeill, a Webster University professor.

According to the St. Louis Beacon,

MacNeill was discussing a study that showed how many fast-food workers rely on public assistance.

The study estimated that 52 percent of the families of fast-food workers rely on welfare programs, and that costs taxpayers nearly $7 billion a year. MacNeill said this amounts to a subsidy to fast-food restaurants, which he described as belonging to some of the most profitable corporations in the nation.

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