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Monday, August 20, 2012

Nixa City Council 8/20/12

Not sure how or why things happened the way they did tonight, and we still have to be vigilant to make sure they don't sneak this crap through when no one shows up for the meeting but...

Citizens showed up at the Nixa City Council meeting with concerns about a couple of ordinances up for a vote tonight and the mayor and council listened and tabled both pending more research.

The ordinances were Bill #2012-88 Adopting the Missouri Clean Energy District “Property Assessed Clean Energy Act (PACE)" and Bill #2012-89 Adopting The Nixa Green Community Program. Both smacked of Agenda 21 when we read the titles and then when we reviewed the language, it was even worse.

Whether or not Sam Clifton and company actually do the research and understand (or care) where the concerns were remains to be seen, but at least they listened. They didn't hear the public comments and then pass the ordinances anyway.

Don't worry, guys, we'll be paying attention.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vote your conscience

I'm not sure what brought this on today, but sometimes I apologize to people for Barack Obama winning the presidency because I did not vote for John McCain. But I've been hearing a lot about the conservative vote being split and then the Democrat winning. So I decided to do a little research today.

And guess what? It's not my fault Barack Obama won. Three states, Indiana, Missouri and North Carolina were super close but even if all three had broke for McCain, Obama still would have had 339 electoral votes to McCain's 199.

Ten states had two or greater per cent of ballots cast for third party candidates. John McCain still won eight of those states and in the other two, if all the third party votes had been cast for McCain instead, Barack Obama would have still won. Never mind that there were multiple left wing and right wing candidates from a variety of political parties and the right wing candidates got less than 2000 votes more than the left wing candidates. Just under 200,000 people cast third party votes (and 6251 in Nevada voted "none of the above") in an election where over 131 million votes were cast. Obama got just under 10 million more votes than McCain.

So if it's not my fault Obama won, whose fault is it anyway? I'm going to place the blame squarely on the Republican party. After all, they nominated a moderate instead of a conservative.

Anymore, in my opinion, there's not enough difference between the two parties to say that there is a choice. Seems like the Republicans are the same as the Democrats except they are against abortion.

One more myth to clear up...Ross Perot is the reason Bill Clinton was elected. On the surface, you could say that except...Ross Perot wasn't exactly conservative. Sure he was anti-NAFTA (anyone still remember what that is?) but he was pro-choice, pro-gay rights, anti 4th amendment, pro-Department of Education, and pro-Federal Reserve. He was for bigger government and higher taxes. He did want to cut spending and balance the budget, that's conservative. He wanted to test our children more and increase the length of the school year. He even wanted to take "at-risk" kids out of the home at birth to be raised by the state.

Maybe the reason people voted for Perot is that we Americans have a bit of a stubborn streak. Maybe Perot got his message out in such a way that it resonated with people but they didn't dig in to see his substance. Maybe it was a big ol middle finger to the Establishment.

Maybe Bush and Clinton were, deep down, a lot alike and it finally felt like there was a choice.

On November 6, you have a choice. People will tell you a third party candidate "can't win." But if you cast your vote for someone you actually believe in and not just against someone you dislike, you can't lose.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Election!

I am so over politics it's not even funny. I'm tired of the hate, mudslinging and casting of aspersions. Don't get me wrong...I care, very deeply, about the fate of Christian County, Missouri, and the United States of America. Tomorrow I will certainly go vote and you may even see me at West Finley precinct (Ozark South Elementary) campaigning. But I am just sick of all of it. Sick of Republicans being called Libertarians because they don't agree with the status quo. Sick of decent people having their names dragged through the mud because they are different than the status quo. But mostly sick of the people who ignore the above and continue to give power to the same old network of "good ol' boys." If you don't like how things are going, you can either ignore it, complain about it or try to do something about it. For the past year or so, I've been trying to fix the problem. I don't know how successful I've been but at least I'm trying. So tomorrow, if you choose to go to the polls, do some research on the candidates. Don't vote for someone because they have a nice smile or good hair or you knew his dad back in the day or her sister goes to your church. If you haven't had a opportunity to meet the candidates, Google them. Look at their website and Facebook page. See what's in the news about them. If they already hold an office, look at their voting record. See if they have any endorsements. And take everything with a grain of salt. Because the news may only reflect the negative and the candidate's website will probably only highlight the positive. Even voting records can be tricky to decipher...did Candidate X vote for Bill A because he truly believes in it or because he made a deal? Do you think they should even make deals on the county commission, city council, House or Senate? And then make an informed decision. Below, I'm going to list people I'm either voting for or people I would like to vote for but can't because I don't live in the right area. If I don't endorse anyone it's because I either haven't made up my mind or the person I support is not contested in the primary. I hope there's a great turnout tomorrow!! U.S. Senate: either Todd Akin or John Brunner (I still haven't made up my mind) 7th Congressional District: Mike Moon Governor: Bill Randles Secretary of State: Shane Schoeller State Rep District 140: Matthew Block Christian County: Eastern Commissioner: Robert Palmer Sheriff: Joey Kyle Coroner: Brad Cole Christian County Republican Central Committee (voting location): East Benton (Bruner Community Center): Robert and Bonnie Palmer Riverside (James River Assembly and Ozark Upper Elementary): Melissa Wagner East Finley (First Baptist Church, Ozark): Ronnie White North Linn (Victory Baptist Church, Ozark): Doyle and Mary Yoder McCracken (Ozark East Elementary): Bob and Kathryn Estep Oldfield (Oldfield Church of Christ): Mike Wasson Northview (High Pointe Elementary and Century Elementary, Nixa): John and Judy Dollarhite Union Chapel (Nixa Jr. High and Inman Intermediate, Nixa): Thomas and Conetta Taylor West Finley (Ozark South Elementary): Konni Hall (yes, I am endorsing myself) I have met and talked with each of the above people personally and among the potential committeemen and women, I consider each of them to be friends and would vouch for any of them. Well, except for that Konni Hall chick. She's kinda out there... See you at the polls!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thank you for visiting...have a nice day

I got mentioned in the local newspaper TWICE this week. See, I live in one of those small towns where the newspaper comes out once a week. The big city up the road has a daily paper but they don't pay a whole lot of attention to anything that goes on down here.

So why did I make the paper, you ask? Well, one mention was my failed bid at the Health Department Board of Trustees. Thanks to some last minute block campaigning by those who are already on the board, they were re-elected. Congratulations guys. I hope you do a good job.

If you'd like to see them in action, they meet on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:30 AM at the health department, 301 E. Brick St., Ozark. It's a public meeting. A little early but when I've gone I've had time to catch breakfast before the county commission meeting.

If you wonder what I mean by "block campaigning," well, they got some folks who were already working the polling places for other candidates to hand out cards with the three of their names on them. The cards didn't say what those guys stood for or why they should be re-elected. Nope, all it said was their names. When the woman handing out these cards at Ozark South Elementary was asked why the other candidate (me) was not on the card, she said she'd heard Ms. Hall has an agenda.

Yep. That's right. I had an "agenda," a PLAN for what needs to be done in the health department.

She should know all about my "agenda" because I e-mailed it to her. She's on my contact list because I've been working with her on a community back-to-school event.

Here's my e-mail, the one I sent to everyone in my address book who lives in Christian County:

Subject: Please vote for Konni Hall tomorrow

I've had a couple of people ask me why I'm running for the Christian County Health Department Board of Trustees. Here are a few of my reasons:

1. The current food code and the proposed updates to it tend to be unfair to farmers. I don't believe the government has any business in a private transaction between two individuals, whether it takes place at their home, business or at the farmers' market. If an adult wants to choose to buy raw milk or homemade banana bread or home grown tomatoes, they should be able to do that without government regulation.

2. Much of the health department budget has to be spent in certain mandated ways. I want to make sure what the department is doing is truly beneficial to citizens of Christian County and look for revenue sources without strings attached. The board should not be there to merely "rubber-stamp" whatever the administrator brings before them.

3. I am a registered nurse with a bachelor's degree and part of my coursework was community health. I want to make sure our health department is fulfilling it's mission of improving the health of the citizens of Christian County without overstepping the boundaries of privacy and personal responsibility.

I would appreciate your vote tomorrow. Also, in races where you can select more than one candidate (as in my race, where you can pick three), if you only know one of the people running, it's beneficial to that person to only vote for them. Many a tight race has been lost because of voting for two or three people instead of just the one you know.

Feel free to pass on to any other Christian County voters.

Konni Hall

That's my agenda. I'm still trying to figure out what's wrong with it.

My other newspaper mention hopefully will lead more people to this blog because it mentioned both me AND my blog by name (spelled correctly, I might add, no easy feat when your name is "Konni"). The parliamentarian of the Christian County Republican Central Committee wrote a guest editorial about the behavior of the minority contingent of the recent county caucus to rebut the article about the group that contested the caucus delegates to the district and state conventions.

He said I called Republicans "old and middle-aged, gray haired, retired, Bible-thumping fuddy duddies."

I actually said, "The GOP ain't so grand, but it sure is old. And no, I don't mean "old" as in it's been around for awhile. I mean old, as in...full of gray-haired retirees and middle-aged fuddy duddies. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those, if you still have an open mind and some common sense."

And, "But his stances on limiting freedoms of Americans are popular with the Bible-thumping social conservatives who have taken over the GOP, not only in Christian County, but in Missouri and much of the United States. He wants to limit the freedoms most Christians find distasteful." (I was referring to Rick Santorum).

C'mon Steve, at least get the quote and the context right!! Thanks to Miss Clairol my gray hairs are colored, I'm 38 so I'm smack in the middle of middle-aged, and just ask my kids, they will tell you I'm quite the fuddy duddy. I read my Bible almost every day, I go to church almost every Sunday and I do occasionally thump one of my kids upside the head with my Bible if they need it.

So I guess my string of "insults" was directed at...myself? I spent a lot of time in a therapist's chair getting over my own self loathing. I refuse to undo the good Dr. E did for me.

I'm not insulting anyone, Mr. Stewart!! I agree that those things can certainly be worn as a badge of honor. But to go along just to get along and to continue to support candidates who don't support what the Republican party is SUPPOSED to stand for will only get us four more years of Barack Obama. When people vote, they want to have a choice. Big government is big government, whether there's an "R" or a "D" after the name. The Dems and the Reps may be going after different "freedoms" but they both continue to figure out ways to separate We the People from more of our money to give it to those they deem more deserving and control what we can and cannot do.

My point is this...the GOP has Libertarian roots. Once upon a time Republicans stood for smaller government and more freedom. Yet under our last "Republican" president, our government grew by leaps and bounds (No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D) and curtailed our freedoms out of fear (Patriot Act). Those are only a few examples of "Republicans" acting like "Democrats."

On the other hand, our last "Democratic" president cut the welfare rolls (Welfare to Work) and balanced the budget.

Did Bush or Clinton do any of these things alone? Of course not. And you could certainly correctly argue that raising taxes and borrowing from Social Security didn't fix our budget problems. But neither of them stayed true to their party platform.

All I want is for the GOP to get back to what it once was instead of parading around like wolves in sheeps' clothing. That's it. And I know that by standing on the outside complaining I won't make a difference at all. So I show up and try to work to make changes within the party.

If you want to see the Christian County Republican Central Committee in action, they meet on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7 PM at the Christian County Courthouse, Room 201 (old courtroom). That's next Tuesday. I'll be there :-)

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Ca-ca caucus, part duh

The Christian County GOP caucus yesterday was, at best, a fiasco. I honestly think the "establishment" got a much bigger crowd than they were expecting. I have to admit, they did a good job of getting out the vote to the people they wanted to show up.

Not everyone, mind you, just the folks they wanted there. There were other people who showed up that they didn't really want to be there. That would be the non-"establishment" people. Some of them read about the caucus in the newspaper or heard about it on the radio. Some of them are called "Paulbots" by detractors.

That conjures up such a funny image for me. I picture a whole army of C3POs with Ron Paul faces. I wonder if the "Paulbots" would have British accents?

In reality, at least in Christian County, the Ron Paul supporters are quite varied. They range in age from 18 to a few in their 60s or 70s (I'm too polite to ask those old geezers their exact age) and they are students, stay at home moms, small business owners, farmers, railroad workers, parents and grandparents. They are a heterogeneous group that is not in any sort of lockstep as those who call them "Paulbots" attempt to imply. As a matter of fact, they seem to be a pretty normal cross-section of the community.

In addition to the "Paulbots," there were other concerned Republicans who live in Christian County who also showed up and had things been better organized they might have been able to join with the "Paulbots" to keep the Central Committee Cronies from monopolizing the process of electing delegates to the 7th congressional district and state conventions. There was at least one Mitt Romney supporter who wanted to vote for a Romney slate but she didn't have an opportunity to do so because she was not allowed to nominate a slate and neither of the two slates nominated represented her. Well, I guess it's possible the Central Committee slate might have. No one knows because when the Central Committee Chair presented their slate he did not state which candidate each delegate was going to vote for or at least that say, 20 delegates were planning to vote for Santorum, 10 for Romney, and 7 for Gingrich. The other slate was called "Restore America" and since this lady apparently had heard Ron Paul's campaign slogan, she knew that one didn't represent her either.

It was moved and seconded to take a recess, presumably so those who had not formed a slate and wished to could do so. While the recess motion was on the floor, another man made a motion to close nominations of slates. The motion was not seconded and was out of order because there was already a motion on the floor. However, after the recess motion carried and the caucus recessed and then reconvened, the chair stated that it had been moved and seconded to close nominations. In other words, he ruled that a motion that was made out of order and not seconded was to be voted on.

So we took a 10 minute break, presumably to be fair and allow another slate or two to be made so that everyone besides the cronies and the "Paulbots" could be represented, and then didn't even allow other slates to be nominated.

An attempt by some "Paulbots" to form a combined slate consisting of Christian County Republican Central Committee proposed delegates, Restore America proposed delegates and central committeemen and women who had been left off the Central Committee slate was met with contempt and vitriol by many of the people sitting on the left side of the room. What disappointed me the most was that some of the people on this proposed slate were our committeemen and women and elected officials and they couldn't even concede a few delegates so as not to shut out everyone but them.

It was not suggested that they get even get 2/3 and Ron Paul get 1/3. We didn't even get that far. They wanted their way and they had the majority and that was it. I thought the reason we have a Republic and not a democracy was to protect the rights of the minority.

Most of the people at the caucus yesterday had never been to one before. And the ones who hadn't been involved in the slate and strategy planning sessions that took prior to the caucus were completely left out of the process. Missouri has caucuses every four years to elect delegates to the congressional district and state conventions, but this is the first time in sixteen years that those delegates weren't bound to a primary vote.

The previous caucuses, at least those after 1996, were a formality. You could nominate whoever you wanted and they had to go vote bound to the primary results. Those caucuses didn't mean much so not a lot of people showed up.

This year's caucuses are contentious because they actually mean something. The people who showed up yesterday who weren't specifically contacted by the Central Committee Cronies came out because they wanted their interests represented at the district and state conventions. They wanted to elect delegates that would vote for the candidate they support. And while the 37 delegates are not bound, if you know the people involved, you know who they are supporting.

As a matter of fact, we didn't talk about presidential candidates at all! I thought that was the reason we were there.

I guess I was wrong.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Ca-ca caucus

The GOP ain't so grand, but it sure is old. And no, I don't mean "old" as in it's been around for awhile. I mean old, as in...full of gray-haired retirees and middle-aged fuddy duddies.

Not that there's anything wrong with either of those, if you still have an open mind and some common sense.

I went to the Christian County Republican Party caucus yesterday. It was eye opening to say the least. And I was very disappointed in the actions of some members of the Central Committee. I thought it was very disingenuous of the county chair to put up a slate with the name "Christian County Republican Central Committee" when not even half the proposed delegates were committeemen and women. Now considering the fact that the central committee has 52 positions (one man and one woman from each of 26 townships) and that not quite half of those seats are vacant, it is understandable that some of the delegates would not be committeemen and women if a full slate of 37 delegates was proposed.

But several committeemen and women, active people who are at nearly every meeting, were left off the slate. There were also active Republicans, who are not committeemen and women, who attend nearly every meeting and even volunteered on subcommittees to help with events such as the chili supper fundraiser, the caucus and the upcoming Lincoln Days, who were left off the slate. Why?

I'm guessing it's because they aren't for the "right" candidate. A candidate that is so far to the right that he's wrong. A candidate, who, quite frankly, scares the bejeezus out of me. But his stances on limiting freedoms of Americans are popular with the Bible-thumping social conservatives who have taken over the GOP, not only in Christian County, but in Missouri and much of the United States. He wants to limit the freedoms most Christians find distasteful.

What these ill-informed Christians don't realize is that when you start limiting freedoms you don't like, just give it time, they will eventually get around to limiting those you do like.

The slate really should have been called "Christian County Republicans for Rick Santorum." Or perhaps, "Christian County Republicans handpicked by the Central Committee Chair and co-chair and their spouses and the Rick Santorum county coordinator and all the other old cronies who are scared to death of those awful Ron Paul people."

Truth in advertising, people.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

21st century second class citizens

Seems like there's a lot of talk about adoption lately, both good and bad. I may have some bias, since I'm adopted I probably notice things mentioning adoption more than the average person may. Kind of like if you buy a blue Camry, suddenly you notice how many freakin blue Camrys are on the road (and maybe wish you'd bought a red Accord). Anyway, over the past couple of days I've heard about adoption right and left and I have some opinions (shocking, I know).

First of all, there are a couple of bills in the Missouri General Assembly (HB 1137 and SB 713) that may serve to allow SOME adopted adults access to a copy of their original birth certificate. That's right, not all, just SOME. The criteria: the birth mother must sign off that it's OK for the adopted ADULT to get a copy, or the birth mother must be dead, or the birth mother must be over 100 years old if she's still alive. That's right, first mommy holds the strings.

Can you imagine if something like this was passed for ALL adults, not just adopted adults? Your mom has control over whether you can have a copy of your birth certificate. Who cares if you're an adult and you have $15 and proof that it's you requesting it? Who cares if you lost your only copy, or if your mom never gave you the copy she got when you were born? Doesn't matter, mommy said no. No passport, driver's license, health insurance or marriage license for you.

I'm thinking that would not go over well AT ALL.

Most people don't think too much about their birth certificate because A. they have one and B. the information on it is true. However, for people who are adopted this is not the case. These days, with open adoptions, the veracity of the events surrounding the adoption, whether good or bad, are generally not called into question. But back in the "Baby Scoop Era," (Google it) there were many adoption practices that were poor at best and downright sinister at worst. Georgia Tann, Dr. Katherine Cole and other doctors, social workers, nurses and orphanage workers coerced young women into putting their babies up for adoption and some even stole the children from their mothers. Documents were signed while women were still drugged from childbirth. Birth certificates were falsified so that there was not even a "real" copy filed with the state that showed the child's name at birth and the birth mother's name. Birth dates and places were changed. Fraud was rampant.

Even Edna Gladney, who is said to have helped remove the stigma of illegitimacy from adopted children, had practices that are no longer used today. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were maternity homes across the country that young ladies could go to if they "got in trouble" and they could give birth and learn how to care for their babies and figure out what they could do. The goal, at least for many of the homes, was not for the young woman to put her baby up for adoption. But after WWII, it became our patriotic duty to produce as many children as possible (anti-communism) and maternity homes became an ideal place to find WHITE babies for those WHITE patriots who couldn't have their own. The Baby Scoop Era was in full swing by the 50s. If a white girl "got in trouble", off she went to a home (Edna Gladney, the Willows, Florence Crittenton, etc) where she had the baby, signed away her rights and showed back up at home a few months later. The focus of the homes moved away from helping a girl learn how to care for her child and herself and toward feeding a growing demand for white newborns.

This push for adoption didn't really happen in the African-American community. The same social workers who were telling white girls to give their babies up weren't giving the same advice to black girls. No demand for black babies.

And now, here we are, many years later. The "girls" of the Baby Scoop Era are anywhere from 50 to 80 years old or older. The "babies" are anywhere from 35 to 65 or older. Some of them are probably dead, likely more of the moms than the children. But they are all adults. And they've been adults for quite some time.

A lot of the young women who put their babies up for adoption were told to go home and forget about it. Have your own life, never think about your baby again. And certainly don't ever try to find him or her. Georgia Tann and Dr. Cole were even said to have told young women who had given birth that their babies had died. That way they didn't have to worry about that minor detail of a birth certificate or the mother relinquishing her rights. The baby could simply be spirited away to a waiting adopted family, who could claim that the baby was born at home. Back then most women did not work outside the home and they weren't as open about being in "a family way" as women are today. A pregnancy could be hidden fairly easily. So if Grandma didn't realize you were pregnant but you showed up with a new baby, well, it was plausible.

So in this generation, we have a lot of unanswered questions. Story after story has come out about what happened in the Baby Scoop Era, how children were stolen, how birth mothers were coerced, how adoptive parents were fed untrue stories about the origins of their children. Lies were told, people suffered unspeakable pain. Relationships were destroyed.

By the time I was born in 1974, the Baby Scoop Era was all but over. But at the time, the practice was still closed adoption and a veil of secrecy. I had the advantage of knowing both the doctor who delivered me and the attorney who handled the private adoption. When I turned 18, I asked him about my birth mother. He said I had good parents and a good life, I didn't need to know that. I accepted it. About four years ago I contacted the attorney to ask for my birth records. She denied even handling my adoption without even looking into her old records. I know because I received the return receipt on the registered letter I sent her on the same day I received her reply letter, which she typed on a typewriter herself. I guess she didn't want to leave that letter laying around her office for anyone to accidentally come across.

When secrets and lies are involved, you can only assume that what is being hidden is something sinister. At first I thought maybe it was something to do with my birth mother, that she was a promiscuous or a criminal. But now I've come to suspect that what is being hidden is the events around the adoption itself. I don't pretend to think that Dr. G and VA, the attorney, specifically remember the details of my birth and adoption. I have a feeling that likely both of them did things they'd rather not come to light and so they've brushed aside my attempts at finding information.

Fortunately for them, the law is on their side. I was born in Arkansas and to date, birth records are sealed and are to be opened only by court order. My adopted parents can get a copy of my adoption decree, but I cannot.

I know the search for the truth about my adoption and my birth parents has been painful for my adopted parents, especially my mother. I know they love me as much or more than they would have had they conceived me and she'd given birth. I am thankful that they have been supportive. My dad was from the get go, my mom took awhile to warm up to the idea and but she was the one who met me at the county clerk's office to get the adoption decree they wouldn't give to me and turned around and handed it to me in front of them. I don't think I will ever forget how I felt at that moment. I finally had a name. And mom was on my side. As she should be.

Now whether or not that name is real is another story. And due to circumstances beyond my control, my search came to a screeching halt soon after. I haven't found any new information since then.

Those who wish to keep adopted adults from getting access to their records claim to be doing so to protect the privacy of the birth parents. This is complete and utter BS. At no time when children were relinquished were birth parents promised privacy. Sealing the records protects the privacy of the CHILD. The CHILD is the only one in the adoption who has no say in what is happening. The birth parents know what they are doing. So do the adoptive parents. The people who know the birth mother knew she was pregnant and see she does NOT have a baby. The people who know the adoptive mother know she was not pregnant but she HAS a baby.

Sealing the records does protect privacy, alright, the privacy of the adoption system. If the birth parents and adopted child never meet, they can't compare stories to see if what they were told was true.

Just like African Americans and women in the early to mid 1900s, adopted adults are being treated like second class citizens. We are being denied information about ourselves "for our own good." Think back to history class and what was said about giving the "Negro" or the woman the vote or equal rights. Think about how society was going to fall apart, that they would no longer know their place, that they needed to be led by men who knew what was best. Jim Crow laws and denying women rights had nothing to do with protecting society or children. It had everything to do with keeping white men higher than the rest. I think any reasonable person can look back and see that these things were wrong. That we were all created equal, just like it says in the Declaration of Independence. Not that we're all equal, but some of us are more equal than others, like it says in Animal Farm.

Right now I feel the adoption industry is more equal than the adopted adult, and that everyone else, for that matter, is too. And if the bills in the Missouri Legislature pass as written, a few more will get to step into the "more equal" column, if their first mommies will let them.

As for me, well, I'm just hoping if every other state surrounding Arkansas opens records, they will too.