‘Fix the Debt’ ads run in Missouri

The Missouri chapter of the national ‘Fix the Debt’ group has some pretty high profile members. Former U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, former Gov. Bob Holden chair the committee and current state treasurer Clint Zweifel and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder are listed as steering committee members.

The group plans to run part of the ad campaign targeted at the current budget standoff in Congress in Missouri and nine other states, according to the St. Louis Beacon. Missouri and the others were chosen partially because of their bipartisan, active steering committee members.

The ‘Fix the Debt’ group evolved out of the famously failed 2010 debt reduction plan produced by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. I believe that was the beginning of the long-running (still-running?) “Gang” era, when groups of legislators were likened to criminals because it sounds cool.

The ad itself is actually… kind of bland.

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Medicaid, Obamacare and Missouri lawmakers

October 1 is a very important day this year.

Not only are the new online portals for health insurance slated to open but also it’s my birthday. Plus I’ll be starting a five-day, crazy-awesome trip to New York City for my business reporting class.

But, more relevant for the rest of the interwebs, the health insurance exchanges or marketplaces run by the federal government are supposed to go live in just two short days. But both state-run exchanges and federally-managed ones are facing problems and delays that may inconvenience anyone eager to jump right in. The individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act won’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2014, though, and to meet that deadline, people won’t have to purchase through the online exchanges until Dec. 15., 2013.

In Missouri, there’s a federally-run exchange. Because, as we’ve covered already, the voters passed an initiative prohibiting the state from creating one back in 2012.

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Ads to promote Missouri healthcare exchange

Missouri residents may soon see television advertisements urging them to sign up for healthcare insurance through a federally-operated exchange.

Missouri is one of 13 Republican-dominated states (and the only one with a Democratic governor), where the Center for Medicare Services at the Dept. of Health and Human Services has reserved airtime starting Sept. 30. The total value of airtime reserved in these states? At least $12 million, according to Politico.

Missouri is one of 27 states where the federal government will be operating a health insurance marketplace for consumers to purchase insurance. Indeed, 61 percent of Missouri voters passed a ballot measure in 2012 banning the state from creating a health insurance exchange.

Because of this, any state involvement in the exchange has been indirect. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a St. Louis-based nonprofit pays the salary of an “invisible coordinator” who works with the social services director and is known as the state’s Affordable Care Act coordinator.

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Rick Perry’s new political campaign

The target? Missouri businesses.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears in television ads paid for by TexasOne, an economic development marketing non-profit he helped start. The ad is airing in St. Louis, Springfield and Columbia-Jefferson City.

The message? Texas is better for businesses – less regulation, no income tax, more incentives.

States market themselves and compete with each other to be the “best” for a company to locate in all the time. The difference here, though, is the public nature of Perry’s pitch to businesses. At least that’s the issue Missouri’s Secretary of State Jason Kander emphasized in an interview for MDN/KMOX, calling Perry out for “poaching” jobs and trying to “depress Missouri’s economy.”

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Tools for Tracking the 2012 Race

You have your Politico and your Drudge Report and your Instapundit and your Gawker and your Mother Jones and your lamestream media.

There’s also RealClearPolitics, whose poll database is quite impressive. I especially like to look at the extremely bumpy, crazy-looking graph of the national poll numbers for the GOP presidential candidates over the course of this primary. It’s pretty entertaining. And you get to reflect on all the different not-Romney front runners we’ve enjoyed. Read more of this post

I support the First Amendment, but…

If you ever hear those words, get ready to listen to someone demonstrate that they don’t understand what the First Amendment is really about.

Only 62 percent of Americans could name the freedom of speech as one of the freedoms listed in the First Amendment, according to a 2011 poll by the First Amendment Center. A minority, 18 percent of those polled, said the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees. Since 1997, a shift on an amendment to ban flag burning has occurred – the 2011 poll showed that only 39 percent think the constitution should be amended to ban flag burning.

Flag burning is protected speech under current law. In Texas v. Johnson (1989), the Supreme Court case on that issue, I think Justice WIlliam Joseph Brennan, Jr., said it best:

[The] principal function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute; it may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.

A neo-Nazi group held a rally on the National Mall in April 2008. Other people turned out to protest their presence and the police ended up having to protect the National Socialist Movement, swastikas and all.

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Technology to Fight the Digital Divide

As Prof. Mike McKean showed us all the interesting statistics on the changing place of laptops and personal computer and the emerging prominence of tablets and phones, I thought about a senior year project I did on Africa.

What if the move toward the cheaper, smaller devices for Internet access can help alleviate the effects of the digital divide in less developed countries?

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