Joe Biden posts selfie with Barack Obama on new Instagram account

Since joining Instagram on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden has wasted no time posting an inside look into the vice presidency and even snapping a selfie with his pal the president. The White House even announced Biden’s new social media presence on their blog, saying, “The VP's Instagram followers will have access to behind-the-scenes photos from the road and around the White House.”

Missouri lawmakers cut taxes as they ponder raising them

On Wednesday, the General Assembly passed a bill incrementally cutting taxes by $620 million over at least five years, a measure Gov. Jay Nixon will probably veto. On Thursday, a Senate committee is expected to back a bill asking voters to raise the state’s sales tax by a penny for 10 years to fund updates to transportation infrastructure — money likely to rebuild I-70 nearly from Illinois to Kansas.

Dilemma in reporting on extremism: Ignore it, or expose it?

One of the central challenges in political reporting is figuring out how much exposure to give to people like Frazier Glenn Cross, aka F. Glenn Miller. The journalist’s usual answer is balance — expose what you can without overexposing the rantings of an anti-Semite. But sometimes balance is imperfect, too.

Do as I say, not as I do

There’s a little bit of hypocrite in everyone. What we call hypocrisy, though, is often complexity — surrounded by a sound bite culture.

Missouri legislature passes $620 million tax cut, Nixon signals possible veto

The Missouri House gave final approval Wednesday to a $620 million tax cut bill, setting the stage for a showdown with Gov. Jay Nixon. Nixon, a Democrat, is expected to veto the measure. But GOP legislative leaders are hopeful they’ll muster enough support for an override. Republicans hold 108 seats in the Missouri House, only one shy of a veto-proof two-thirds majority. Democratic Rep. Jeff Roorda of Jefferson County joined the GOP in support of the bill Wednesday.

Democrats turn up the pressure for pay equity

President Barack Obama signed executive actions barring federal contractors from retaliating against workers for comparing salaries and requiring those employers to report compensation data to the government by gender and race. That came as Democratic lawmakers blasted congressional Republicans for opposing legislation to expand measures aimed at preventing gender-based pay discrimination.

Rewards of a political convention are wrapped in risks

Bringing the 2016 Republican National Convention to Kansas City would mean millions of dollars, invaluable publicity and a chance for a newly vibrant community to pop its buttons before the world. That’s the promise. It would also mean a beefy and expensive police presence, potential confrontations with disruptive anarchists and pesky logistical hurdles for hundreds of businesses and thousands of residents. That’s the threat.

Medicaid expansion divides Missouri Republicans

An effort by some in the GOP to expand eligibility for the federal health insurance program, led by Sen. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City, will probably fall short this year. But it reveals fissures in the GOP blanket objection to anything related to Obamacare and may signal the possibility of a breakthrough next year.

GOP quest for right-to-work law stirs hornet's nest in Missouri

A push to bring so-called right-to-work laws to Missouri comes with multi-layered political ramifications and the attendant maneuverings. A bill prohibiting union fees as a condition of employment was the first to receive a committee hearing this year, but it remains on the legislative calendar four months later with no clear path to success.

Really, is it good for the children?

Grown-ups can still exploit kids, especially teenagers and young adults. The latest issue is whether Northwestern football players are employees and can unionize. And what about internships?

Kansas Senate leaders want to shift school funding and allow districts to raise taxes

The plan calls for adding $134 million to support local schools in response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that found a funding disparity between property-rich and property-poor districts. A key element to the plan would give local school districts the ability to raise more property taxes with voter approval, something long sought in Johnson County. That holds the potential to more than offset any money that Johnson County schools would lose because of changes made in the finance formula.

Funding for all-day kindergarten in Kansas appears dead

Gov. Sam Brownback’s election year proposal to phase in state funding for all-day kindergarten is being cast aside as lawmakers scramble to find money to resolve what the courts decreed an unconstitutional wealth disparity between rich and poor school districts.

Maybe we miss the real conflict

Councilwoman Cindy Circo’s announcement last week that she had taken a part-time job with Kansas City Power & Light is a reminder of an important feature of American democracy: It’s a part-time job. There’s a lot of truth and value to the myth of the citizen-legislator. Lawmakers who are close to voters usually reflect their interests and concerns, but it also means our laws and public policy are made by amateurs.

Let freedom ring

Schoolchildren are taught at an early age that the United States is a free country, but of course that’s only partially true. All of us surrender part of our freedom to government in order to enjoy the benefits of safety and order that government provides.

New television ads are rekindling the ‘border war’

Two nonprofit groups with ties to anti-tax crusader Rex Sinquefield lobbed fresh firecrackers this month into the business border war between Kansas and Missouri. The groups — Kansans for No Income Tax and Save Missouri Jobs — are spending a combined $200,000 during the tax filing season on cable TV ads promoting lower taxes in Kansas. They also portray Kansas City as a high-tax place to live and do business.

Buzz Chatter: Republicans feeling mighty gooood these days

Top o’ the morning to you: “We’re in for a tsunami-type election in 2014.” — Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee, on the GOP outlook for this year’s mid-term elections. No question that Republicans are feeling new confidence about their prospects this year.

Change is coming slowly, surely to Kansas City

Downtown has changed dramatically, yet standing there now is also a reminder that change comes at an enormous public cost, one Kansas Citians have been willing to pay. Kansas City’s political class grinds the change wheel slowly, but grinds it nonetheless. Now it’s grinding again, this time for improvements at the airport and a streetcar system.

Obamacare shapes politics in campaigns big and small

“Pretty much every race, from U.S. Senate to the city council, Obamacare is on people’s minds,” said Republican consultant Aaron Trost. Republicans see it as a winning issue in 2014. Democrats worry that it has become a broader critique of a federal government that many voters distrust, to their party’s disadvantage.

Missouri bill would ban laws targeting specific dog breeds

The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Brian Nieves, allows for local ordinances prohibiting dogs from running at large, as long as the regulation is not specific to breeds of dogs. If passed, it would undo any local ordinances already in place, including one in Kansas City that mandates pit bulls be spayed or neutered.

Missouri bill would cut taxes for families with children

Sen. John Lamping’s legislation would create a $400-per-child tax credit for single parents earning up to $46,000 a year and married couples earning $92,000 a year. Only a handful of states have anything similar, Lamping said, and Missouri’s tax credits would be by far the largest.

Kansas Supreme Court: Change school aid formula and study whether to spend more

The high court ruled that cuts in education funding since 2010 led to an unconstitutionally imbalanced playing field between rich and poor schools. Its decision means lawmakers by July 1 must close the gap or a panel of three district court judges will decide how to do it for them. On a grander scale, the court put off a decision on whether Kansas was spending enough on schools to meet its constitutional obligation to suitably finance public education.

Missouri contemplates tax breaks for angel investors

Bills pending in the General Assembly would establish a program in Missouri intended to increase the amount of angel capital for startup businesses. The House passed one version of the bill 114-36 after legislators amended a provision to ensure none of the tax credits go toward abortion services.

Missouri oral chemotherapy bill goes to governor’s desk

The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Sheila Solon, a Blue Springs Republican who has championed the measure for three years. It would prohibit insurance companies from charging patients more than $75 for a 30-day supply of oral chemotherapy drugs.

Sarah Palin knocks Obama for wearing 'mom jeans'

“People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.” — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Fox News Monday night.

Border war truce finds support in the Missouri General Assembly

Overwhelming majorities in the Missouri House and Senate have signed off on separate bills. To become law, one or both of the bills would still have to wind its way through the other legislative chamber. But any bill would go into effect only if the Kansas Legislature or governor enacted a similar measure in the next two years.

It’s time to make a deal on budget

Perhaps to their regret, Republicans rejected President Barack Obama’s offer to address entitlement spending. Now, as Obama sends his budget to Congress, Democrats are poised to make a similar mistake.

Radiologist’s lawsuit becomes an issue in campaign for Senate in Kansas

Milton Wolf, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas in the Republican primary, is a partner in a radiology firm that is accused in a lawsuit of illegally limiting competition and driving up costs. Wolf denies the claims, saying Roberts is promoting the lawsuit to divert attention from his own record.

Kansas: Giving with one hand, taking with the other?

Companies pondering a move to Kansas probably give some thought to the state’s overall culture, in addition to whatever extra income they would get from tax cuts championed by Gov. Sam Brownback. But while some firms might like the state’s more conservative tilt, others might decide against trading culture for cash.

Longtime Kansas legislator Phil Kline dies

He was best known for his long career representing parts of Overland Park in the Kansas House. He was a moderate Republican who worked on infrastructure and spending issues. He was sometimes confused with Phill Kline, a controversial Kansas legislator who later became the state’s attorney general.

Missouri Senate committee will take up student transfer bill

Sen. David Pearce’s legislation represents a combination of bills aimed at altering the 1993 law permitting students in unaccredited school districts to enroll in accredited districts, with tuition and transportation provided by the failing districts. It does not, however, touch on issues such as charter schools or teacher tenure that several other lawmakers included in their bills.

Missouri lawmakers look at ethics reform proposals

A Senate committee discussed a bill that would ban lawmakers from serving as paid political consultants for their fellow legislators or from serving as a lobbyist until two years after they leave office. It would also ban lobbyist gifts assigned to a committee instead of to an individual lawmaker. It would also bar lobbyists from paying for out-of-state trips for lawmakers.

Missouri execution of Michael Taylor remains on track, governor says

Gov. Jay Nixon addressed the issue Tuesday, the day after an Oklahoma pharmacy agreed not to supply the drug for Taylor’s execution. But attorneys for Taylor, who is scheduled to be executed Feb. 26 for the 1989 kidnapping, rape and killing of 15-year-old Ann Harrison, said the state now has no lawful way to put him to death and filed a motion in federal court to stay the execution.

More bad dreams for the full GOP

With two candidates for Missouri governor already in the hunt for 2016, Republicans once again faces the prospect of a high-profile, and defeat-inducing, primary.

Is Jay Nixon considering a presidential bid?

Asked point-blank on Thursday if he would run for the White House, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon refused to say either “yes” or “no.” His answer: He’s focused on getting accomplished what he can before his term ends in 2017.

Missouri gun rights bill draws NRA's ire

The National Rifle Association is urging senators to kill a bill that seeks to nullify some federal gun laws and jail federal agents for enforcing them. The group is raising objections to an amendment giving gun owners three days to report a stolen firearm, something the NRA equates to mandatory gun registration.

A desire named streetcar

Other cities are pushing for streetcars, Politico reports, because cities think streetcars are catalysts for economic development and urban revitalization.

Pardon moi

Today’s question: Does anyone remember their high school French?

Missouri corrections chief defends secrecy surrounding execution drug

George Lombardi, director of the Missouri Department of Corrections, testified Monday to a state House committee that revealing the source of the state’s execution drugs would effectively halt the carrying out of the death penalty in Missouri. Lawyers for death-row inmates say the secrecy prevents their clients from getting information that would be critical in appealing their sentences.

Limiting terms by law — and by the ballot

A New York Times story on Pat Roberts’ Kansas residence may present a fundamental political problem for the incumbent U.S. senator that Milton Wolf, his Republican primary opponent, has pointed out for months: Roberts has been in Washington for a long time. While public clamor for laws setting term limits has cooled, voters only need a ballot.

Parkville lawmaker wants to impeach Gov. Jay Nixon

Rep. Nick Marshall, a Republican, alleges that Nixon, a Democrat, violated the state’s constitution by issuing an executive order in November allowing same-sex couples who were legally married in other states to file joint tax returns in Missouri.

How Mayor Sly James weathered the big snowstorm

Sly James doesn’t run Kansas City; the city manager does. And the city’s snow removal response would have likely been the same if James had stayed home. But most people like to see someone they voted for in charge, and they judge the results accordingly.

Missouri bill would let parents pull kids from evolution classes

Rep. Rick Brattin, a Harrisonville Republican, said forcing students to study the natural selection theories developed by Charles Darwin a century and a half ago can violate their religious faith. Critics of the bill say it would allow religious faith in biblical explanations to crowd out sound science.

Proposal to legalize pot filed in Missouri

You knew it was coming. And you could’ve guessed that when it finally came, the proposal would be made by a lawmaker from Columbia, Missouri’s big college town. Shocker: He’s a Democrat.

Farm bill easily passes Senate, will change operations for farmers nationwide

A trillion-dollar farm bill sent to President Barack Obama on Tuesday substantially alters farmers’ lives and moves toward overhauling the way they’ve done business for a generation. While the bill stopped short of completely remaking federal subsidies to farmers, it nevertheless causes them to restructure their operations and expectations.

Mitt Romney might have been a victim of D.C. gridlock, too

“Mitt,” the new behind-the-scenes documentary about Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, shows a more human side of the famously stiff Republican candidate, but it doesn’t prove that, had he been elected, he would have had a better relationship with Congress than Barack Obama.

Will the circle be unbroken?

A new survey takes a look at how religious people are, by state. No surprise, at least on the presidential level: religious states vote for Republicans, non-religious states vote for Democrats.

Advocates for the disabled dread KanCare shift from Medicaid to managed care

Heather Osipik has battled mental disability, deafness, cerebral palsy and limited eyesight and now has a job piecing together medical kits. But Osipik’s family is worried that she is battling the odds again. Long-term Medicaid services for Osipik and about 8,500 others with developmental disabilities have been moved into a managed care program run by private insurers. Driven by profits, critics say, insurance companies will cut services to achieve savings.

Kansas Republicans feel a persistent pull toward the right

Kevin Yoder, Lynn Jenkins, Mike Pompeo and Tim Huelskamp are already thought to comprise the most conservative delegation in the nation. But the potential of tea party primary challenges, coupled with ambition and conviction, may have led the four to conclude it’s impossible to be too conservative in 2014 Kansas.

Delay by Missouri puts housing projects in peril

A shift in state tax breaks designed to lure Boeing could threaten the construction of housing for the homeless near Ninth Street and Troost Avenue and an expansion of St. Michael’s Veterans Center, both in Kansas City, and dozens of other housing projects across the state.

Freedom of religion — and business

A pending U.S. Supreme Court ruling could have much further-reaching consequences on religious freedom — for both employer and employee — than the famed Citizens United case had on campaign finance.

Push to expand Medicaid gains an ally in Kit Bond

The Republican has been hired as a lobbyist by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. His goal is to persuade a skeptical General Assembly to add 300,000 uninsured Missourians to the public health insurance program for the poor.

Nixon speaks

Missouri governor calls for hundreds of millions more for education. Here’s the text of his speech

Dunns to chair KC finance committee for 2016 GOP Convention

Peggy Dunn, the mayor of Leawood since 1997, and Terry Dunn, CEO of the JE Dunn Construction Group, will chair the committee. They face a formidable goal of having to raise $50 million-$60 million from local and national givers to stage the convention here, a statement from the group said.

Kansas Supreme Court justices are bracing for the backlash

We may never know exactly what went through the minds of the Kansas Supreme Court justices Wednesday night during the civics lesson that Gov. Sam Brownback bestowed on them during his State of the State address. The court will be criticized as political no matter how it rules on a historic school funding case.

Missouri lawmakers look at penalizing revenge porn

Vengeful exes, online snoops and Internet swindlers, beware. A rush of legislation this year is aimed at reining in sleazy online behavior — under the banner of protecting privacy. But critics worry the bills run afoul of the First Amendment.

Brownback ties ‘Summer of Mercy’ anti-abortion effort to the fight against slavery

Gov. Sam Brownback says Kansas has been called to be a national leader on moral issues, comparing past anti-abortion protests in Wichita to the abolitionist movement that helped end slavery. In his annual State of the State address Wednesday, the Republican governor referenced the 1991 and 2001 "Summer of Mercy" protests that were held outside of the late Dr. George Tiller's clinic. Tiller, a late-term abortion provider was gunned down in 2009.

Issue of Sam Brownback’s tax cuts to dominate Kansas governor’s race

In his re-election campaign, Sam Brownback, the Republican governor of Kansas, will have to defend his broad-based 2013 tax cuts and the anemic job growth that the state has seen since they took effect. Likewise, Brownback’s Democratic challenger, Paul Davis, will have to weigh whether he would reverse those policies, effectively raising taxes.

New numbers for Obamacare

Government estimates more than 37,000 now have health insurance in Kansas, Missouri, through federal Obamacare marketplace.

School funding case holds the key for Kansas

A ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court, which could come any day, could spin the fate of teachers, schoolkids, taxpayers and politicians in any number of uncharted directions as the Legislature returns.

A decision on KCI’s fate may be on final approach

A firm decision on the future of Kansas City International Airport may be approaching more quickly than we realize. The petition drive to put any change in the airport’s design to a public vote may prompt elected officials to answer the question, one way or another, by year’s end.

Fourteen questions for 2014

I’m not a fan of predictions. On the other hand, it’s important to at least understand what questions the public might face in a given year, even if their likely responses aren’t clear.

Report challenges welfare policies in Kansas

A Johnson County social service agency contends the state has not adequately paired tighter welfare rules with efforts to place poor people in jobs. But Phyllis Gilmore, secretary of the Kansas Department of Children and Families, says: “There is a great deal of caring.”

Kansas follows Missouri’s path in testing suspected drug users on welfare

Next year, Kansas starts testing suspected drug users on welfare. If Missouri and other states are any indication, Kansas will spend a lot to nab very few. Missouri this year became the most recent state to install drug testing for welfare recipients. After eight months and 636 drug test requests, the program turned up 20 people who tested positive and about 200 who refused to comply. The program’s price: nearly $500,000.

As Missouri and Kansas eye Boeing, bigger choices are coming

While Kansas and Missouri assemble incentives to lure a Boeing Co. aircraft plant to the Midwest, Kansas City’s corporate and political communities are preparing for a more important debate: the 2014 legislative donnybrook over incentives, tax breaks, and subsidies for scores of other businesses and business owners in the region.

Kansas and Missouri battle for Boeing with incentives

The Missouri Senate approved an incentives package that could top $1.7 billion over two decades as a way to tempt Boeing Co. to build its next-generation airliners in St. Louis. Meanwhile, Kansas officials are putting together “a very robust bid” for Wichita.

The business of politics a billion-dollar industry

The business of politics now channels up to $10 billion a year — much of it pocketed by the pros who conduct the polls, craft the ads, buy the airtime, spin the news releases. They flourish at the intersection of democracy and capitalism, their influence both obscure and undeniable. And a growing number of critics claim the industry is a profit-first enterprise that can sully public discourse.

Visitation is tonight for former KC councilman Evert Asjes

The former councilman was prominent in city financial issues. Visitation will be Friday, November 29, 6 to 8 p.m., Stine and McClure Chapel, 3235 Gillham Plaza. A celebration of Evert’s life will be Saturday, November 30, 2 p.m., Unity Temple on the Plaza.

Only 1 in 4 new health insurance enrollees signed up on Obamacare website

About one in four people nationwide who have enrolled in health coverage on the new insurance marketplaces have done so through the troubled HealthCare.gov website — even though the site serves 36 states. Just 751 Missourians were able to fully subscribe to health coverage through the exchange, the government said, while 371 Kansans completed the task.

(Update) Charles Wheeler estate sale planned

Former mayor, state senator, doctor, lawyer to sell some of his belongings. He’s holding an estate sale Friday from (updated with correct time) 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the old Westport Shopping Center, 1004 Westport Rd.

Rand Paul’s staff on Ted Cruz: 'Chief of wacko birds'

The political yak on this Monday morning: “Chief of the wacko birds.” — the staff of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul referring to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a fellow Republican, according to a piece by Jonathan Martin of The New York Times. Martin’s story chronicled the growing rivalry between the two conservative senators as Republicans start to look toward 2016.

Tough battle for tax to fix Missouri roads

Supporters of a penny sales tax hike, stiffed by the legislature, now aim to put the question on the statewide ballot themselves. If they succeed, voters will decide in November 2014 whether to increase the sales tax for the next 10 years to rebuild a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 70 and fix hundreds of bridges, off-ramps and smaller highways.

Kansas’ Kathleen Sebelius is at the center of the storm over Obamacare

Finally, Republicans and Democrats agree: Kathleen Sebelius now faces the biggest crisis of her 27 years in politics. Three weeks after the Health and Human Services secretary and former Kansas governor launched the campaign to sign up millions of Americans for health insurance, the ongoing technical meltdown connected with that effort has prompted increasingly loud demands for her resignation — or firing.

Republican infighting rages

A new week, and Republicans are trying to see the way forward. The party is split over whether to pursue another government shutdown early next year.

Health tax supporters say levy could improve medical procedures

UMKC says passage of the Jackson County tax would provide money for additional scientists and equipment to study and develop products like a better bone glue. Tax opponents say the research is important but it should be paid for by the federal government, the state or private companies.

Debt debate is holding Uncle Sam hostage

“This isn’t some damn game,” House Speaker John Boehner angrily insists. That seems precisely wrong — it’s nothing but a contest, far more about political winners and losers than actually solving problems. “Both sides have played games with the debt limit,” said Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan deficit watchdog group. “It’s almost irresistible.”

Poll reveals why Republicans are losing the blame game

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll suggests that it’s because Americans view the Republicans’ motives as more political. The poll found that seven in 10 people agreed with the statement that Republicans are “putting their own political agenda ahead of what is good for the country,” The Washington Post said.

Tea party activist Milton Wolf will challenge Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas

Leawood radiologist Milton Wolf, 42, announced Tuesday evening in Overland Park that he will oppose the veteran lawmaker in next year’s Republican primary. Wolf — a cousin of President Barack Obama — is well known among conservatives and tea party activists. He has been mentioned on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, has appeared on various Fox News programs and writes a conservative-leaning column.

Bygones are bygones

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts welcomes LGBT activists into his office after shooting incident near the Capitol

President Obama's KC visit Friday closed to public

The Presidential arrival and visit to Liberty are closed to the public. Travelers north of the river can expect some delays around the noon hour. It’s possible some members of the public may gather near the plant to catch a glimpse of the presidential motorcade before the visit.

Democrat Paul Davis enters Kansas governor race

The House minority leader, who is a Lawrence attorney, announced his plans through Facebook, Twitter and a YouTube video. It is the 41-year-old Davis’ first attempt at statewide office. No other Democrats have joined the race.

Missouri House speaker says he will close outside company

House Speaker Tim Jones has told a St. Louis-based news website that he will close the Missouri Freedom Alliance, the company he set up to handle outside legal work for private clients. Some critics called the business, and the way in which it screened its clients from public scrutiny, a potential conflict of interest for Jones, a Eureka Republican.

McCain talks tough after signing off on Obama's Syria plan

McCain has angered conservatives in his home state for coming out in support of President Obama’s plans for a military strike against Syria. Here he’s talking tough about the president and dropping the “I” word — impeachment — to give him some political cover. Boots on the ground ain’t happenin’, and he knows it.

Cleaver gets an earful on Syria

Something unusual happened Thursday night in Kansas City when Rep. Emanuel Cleaver conducted a town hall meeting to hear from citizens on a single topic — Syria. What transpired was fascinating if only because, for once, a member of Congress listened, and listened intently. Syria, he said, is without question the toughest call he has ever made.

The motion picture

A blogger for the Show Me Institute thinks wealth is leaving Jackson County for Kansas, proving the need for smaller Missouri government. The truth is more complicated.

Candidate's uncle gets probation in voting fraud case

John C. Moretina has been sentenced to five years of probation for violating federal election law. Moretina had pleaded guilty to fraudulently registering to vote in July 2010, in what was then the 40th Missouri House district. His nephew J.J. Rizzo was a candidate in the Democratic state House primary that August.

Missouri tax collections up in August

Missouri budget director Linda Luebbering says income tax collections jumped 4.6 percent in the month, year-over-year, compared with the 17 percent slump in income tax revenue in Kansas in August 2013, compared with August 2012.

Rick Perry may provide an important lesson

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who came to Missouri to tout the Republican tax-cut bill and urge businesses to relocate to his state, may provide an important lesson: The robust competition among some states to lure jobs and employers isn’t always about the government.

Gov. Jay Nixon is making the GOP nervous

Why were Republican Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Rick Scott of Florida so wrapped up in Missouri politics this week? The reason probably had a lot less to do with a tax cut and a whole lot more with politics 2016.

What are we missing?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants Missouri to override the tax cut veto and recruit businesses to his state. Is there something wrong with that picture?

Stop trying to undo elections

Elections have consequences. In 2010 and again in 2012, Kansans elected conservative lawmakers and a conservative governor. It’s reasonable to assume they expected, and support, a conservative judiciary, too. If Kansas Democrats are really worried about the appointment of conservative judges, their remedy is to get more votes.

What’s Jim Ryun up to?

The former Kansas congressman heads a conservative PAC that’s pushing hard to elect members of Congress who will seek “transformational change”

KCI forum set for Monday

Rep. Sam Graves, who opposes construction of a new single-terminal KCI, plans to meet with the public on the subject.

Is Congress again ignoring an easy solution?

Members of Congress and their employees have to purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, which means the government can’t pay its share of their premiums. There’s an easy fix.

Missouri tax cuts and the truth

Supporters of Missouri’s big tax cut would do everyone a favor if they explained where the state spends too much money and why reducing state spending is important. Show voters why putting more money in individuals’ pockets is more important than Highway Patrol officers, or teachers, or Medicaid, or prisons.

In Missouri, President Obama focuses on the economy, especially the middle class

He called for a restoration of what he described as an implicit American bargain that rewards hard work with security and more fairly shares the spoils of the world’s largest economy. His speech in Warrensburg and an address earlier in the day in Galesburg, Ill., came just weeks before expected battles this fall over the debt ceiling, the budget and the automatic spending reductions known as the sequester.

Railroading the health care law

Some voters oppose Obamacare because it doesn’t go far enough. If the new health care law collapses, they may insist on another look at Clinton-style, single-payer national health insurance.

Fore

The Missouri Supreme Court has given golf course operators a mulligan: Sales tax not needed on golf cart rentals.

Obama plans to visit Warrensburg on Wednesday

President Barack Obama will visit Warrensburg next week, White House officials said Thursday. The visit will be on Wednesday, and the subject will be the economy, but officials released no other details.

Former KCK Mayor Joe Reardon to join law firm

Joe Reardon, the former mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, on Wednesday ended a long silence about his future by announcing he was joining the Kansas City law firm of McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips.

Cutting ribbons, not taxes

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon again denounces GOP tax cut package -- after cutting ribbon on new facility built with tax incentives.

Nixon: I expect to win the big tax fight in Missouri

The political fight over big tax cuts in Missouri reached Kansas City on Thursday. First, Gov. Jay Nixon told reporters at the Kauffman Foundation that he expects to win a fight over a bill that would phase in $700 million a year in tax cuts for businesses and individuals.

Cleaver rejects farm bill plan in thunderous floor speech (video)

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver took his rhetorical gifts to the well of the House this morning to urge rejection of a pared-down farm bill. House Republicans have decided to split the bill into two parts — one part dealing with farm subsidies, the other with nutrition programs like food stamps.

Sebelius gets NYT attention

The newspaper profiles the former Kansas governor’s role as HHS secretary, and concludes some Sunflower state skills haven’t transferred to the nation’s capital.

Quote of the day

The House is considering splitting food stamps from farm bill -- a good idea, one congressman says

More on the farm bill failure

Rep. Tim Huelskamp’s vote against the farm bill last Thursday tells us all we need to know about why Congress is failing — and why, interestingly, both parties are to blame.

McCaskill continues push to crack down on sexual assaults in military

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri on Wednesday hailed a key vote endorsing a series of reforms aimed at cracking down on sexual assaults in the military. After the hearing, McCaskill told reporters that the changes represent “some of the most aggressive and historic reforms that the military code of justice has ever seen.”

Sen. Roy Blunt is briefly detained at a military base

An Air Force official said the Missouri Republican and an unidentified senator were stopped until they could be identified by base personnel. The senators were traveling through Joint Base Andrews to the New Jersey funeral of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Blunt’s spokeswoman blamed the incident on miscommunication.

What’s in a name?

Bachmann retirement increases chances for House to be become Graves yard, but other last names even more popular

Brownback to Kansas Legislature: Shut it down

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has seen enough. In a terse, four-sentence news release Wednesday, the governor demanded that lawmakers end the 2013 session. “The Kansas Legislature has accomplished a great deal of work during the 2013 session,” he said.

Jay is AAA all the way

Governor warns lawmakers -- again -- that Missouri is maintaining AAA credit rating that results in lower interest payments

First Sanford, now Weiner?

If Mark Sanford can survive his mistress and the Appalachian Trail story, can former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner get past his Twitter mini-scandal?

Congress nearing new debate on Obamacare

When Congress returns from its spring break, look for a massive fight over whether members and their employees should be removed from the health exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

Charlie Wheeler at front of planned veterans salute

The financially embattled politico has been named Grand Marshal of the May 18th Armed Forces Day “Salute to Heroes” event. It’s set for Washington Square Park, across from the Crown Center hotel. But Salute to Heroes apparently struggling to raise money locally

The car wash follies

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, by choice, is a public figure. And public figures trade some privacy rights for the ability to make the laws the rest of us have to follow. So Cleaver should release the agreement he made with Bank of America over his debt for the purchase of a car wash.

Bank, U.S. Rep. Cleaver settle lawsuit over car wash

Bank of America on Wednesday settled its yearlong legal dispute with U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver over a loan he obtained more than a decade ago to buy a car wash. But the settlement still leaves Cleaver, wife Dianne and Cleaver Co. LLC on the hook for more than $1.2 million in future payments to the bank.

Sweet old jet airliner

Royals home-opener fans may get a glance this afternoon at the growing argument over a single terminal at KCI.

Thatcher remembered

Sometime in the 1990s — early research suggests 1992, but I’m willing to consider other dates — former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher held a news conference at the Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City.

A helping hand

Flush from its electoral victories Tuesday, the KC Council ponders helping Washington too

Scenes from a watch party

Ann Murguia and friends would have watched the returns come in Tuesday night at their election party, except returns don’t really “come in” anymore. In the computer-voting age, the results are dumped all at once, like a 9th inning hanging curveball in a 0-0 game. In this case, Murguia swung and missed around 9:35. She conceded five minutes later.