The Heartland POD

Mid Map Media LLC


American politics from a Heartland perspective. Focusing on facts and fundamental fairness, but not afraid to embrace the funny where it exists. Dedicated to the quiet heroes of America's Heartland who are making a difference every day.
Monday: The Heartland POD with host Adam Sommer's opening statement & Talkin' Politics with co-hosts Rachel Parker & Sean Diller. Wednesday: a rotation of High Country, a report from the Mountain West with Sean Diller, and The Delta with science teacher Nicholas Linke and spouse Kristina Linke, an ASL interpreter and mother, bringing their experience and midwest family life to the issues of the day. Friday: The Flyover View for news & views from the Heartland with host, Kevin Smith. On most Tuesdays and Thursdays catch an interview show called "Let's Have A Chat" with politicians, authors, musicians, and folks across the country. Hosts: Adam Sommer, Sean Diller, Rachel Parker, Nicholas Linke, & Kevin Smith (All opinions shared are those of the speaker, and are not necessarily the adopted organizational views of Mid Map Media, LLC.)

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427 episodes

Let's Have A Chat | Maggie Garrett from American's United For Separation of Church and State

Host: Adam Sommer “Change The Conversation” Guest: Maggie Garrett Twitter: Americans United: Twitter: Facebook: Americans United (AU) is the only organization dedicated solely to defending the separation of church and state. We are the shield protecting the foundational American principle of freedom of religion — including the right to believe or not believe — for all.

Dec 06
Talkin' Politics December 5, 2022 | BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!; Georgia's Runoff; Jay's Letter and JoRsh's Vote on the Respect For Marriage Act; Yellen Says Crypto Needs Regulations; Dems Make Primary Changes; Newt Gingrich Is Concerned

Heartland POD on Twitter - @TheHeartlandPOD  Co-Hosts JOIN PATREON FOR MORE! “Change The Conversation” True or False __ __ Yeah…No  __ ______ Ya Don’t F***in’ say… __ __ ____ Buy or Sell __ ____ The Big One  __ ____ LAST CALL - HUNTER BIDEN’S HOG 

1h 19m
Dec 05
The Flyover View, December 2, 2022 | Heartland Politics, News, and Views

Host: Kevin Smith Dives into the weekly news most impactful to the Heartland. __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ ____

Dec 02
Let's Have A Chat | "Getting To Know You" Rachel Turns The Mic Around For A Chat With Adam

Heartland POD on Twitter - @TheHeartlandPOD  Co-Hosts “Change The Conversation”

Dec 01
The Delta, E38 - Unforgivable: The Pursuit of TEPSLF

Nicholas (former science teacher) and Kristina (educational ASL Interpreter) tell the story of his fight for TEPSLF and eventual denial of forgiveness of student loans despite 11 years of teaching in public schools. Through laughs they consider the impact removing this incentive for an overwhelmed and exhausted teacher workforce will have on keeping schools open while political interests continue to.defunding education.

Nov 30
Let's Have A Chat | Energy, Renewables, and The Decentralized Grid with James Owen of Renew Missouri

Host: Adam Sommer “Change The Conversation” Guest: James Owen with Renew Missouri Twitter: @RenewMO ​​ Clean Air Moms Find Their Podcast on Apple: Renew Missouri was founded in 2006 to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency in the state of Missouri. In that time, Renew Missouri has advanced legislation, passed statewide ballot initiatives, crafted local ordinances, and represented these interests before state regulators on hundreds of cases. Renew Missouri works through lobbying efforts as well as public advocacy to change the conversation around renewable energy in rural areas. 

Nov 29
Talkin' Politics Nov. 28, 2022 | What's Next? Moving On From The 2022 Midterms

Heartland POD on Twitter - @TheHeartlandPOD  Co-Hosts “Change The Conversation”

1h 5m
Nov 28
Thanksgiving 2022 Family Feast: "Eating Is A Spectrum"

Heartland POD on Twitter - @TheHeartlandPOD  Co-Hosts “Change The Conversation” Our entire podcast family comes together to talk about some Thanksgiving related topics including: Favorite Wednesday night before activity Early meal or late meal One item you have to have or it isn’t Thanksgiving Something you’re thankful for this past year Bonus: The “but why” dish

1h 5m
Nov 22
Talkin' Politics | November 21, 2022

Heartland POD on Twitter - @TheHeartlandPOD  Co-Hosts “Change The Conversation” __ ____ __ __ ____ __ ____ __ ____

1h 0m
Nov 21
The Flyover View, November 18, 2022 | Heartland Politics, News, and Views

Host: Kevin Smith Dives into the weekly news most impactful to the Heartland __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ ____

Nov 18
Government and Politics News from the American West - November 16, 2022

Song plays Intro by host Welcome to High Country - politics in the American West. My name is Sean Diller; regular listeners might know me from Heartland Pod’s Talking Politics, every Monday. Go to for information on all our political podcasts, and a link to support our work on Patreon. Sign up as an Official PODhead for just $5 per month to access all our premium podcast segments and political writing. To join the conversation on Twitter, find us at THE Heartland POD.  Alright! Let’s get into it:  NEVADA CURRENT: The Cowardly Lombardo. In his first public event since being elected governor of Nevada, Joe Lombardo refused to allow the Nevada Current and the Las Vegas Sun to cover what was billed as a victory speech.  Shutting the Current out of his celebratory event was an extension of the Lombardo team’s practice throughout the campaign – along with multiple Republican candidates nationwide – to refuse to provide campaign statements, notices of events, or other information to the press.  The campaign told the Current Monday morning that they couldn’t be allowed to cover the event because it was “at capacity for press right now.” Subsequent photographs of the event showed that statement from the campaign was patently false - with row upon row of empty seats in the sparsely populated high school auditorium where Lombardo gave his victory speech. Such mendacity from Lombardo and his team comes as no surprise.  But most concerning going forward, is the prospect that as governor, Lombardo, his office, and publicly financed executive branch government offices under his purview, will refuse to provide independent journalists and other media organizations with public information. Lombardo’s campaign presented its candidate to the public as an upright lawman of character, honesty, integrity and strength. But subverting the people’s right to transparent and accountable government, and hiding from the press is just cowardly. COLORADO NEWSLINE: With Lauren Boebert slightly ahead in Colorado, the race to cure ballots is on. The extremely tight race between MAGA darling U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and moderate Democrat Adam Frisch became a contest of cured ballots this week, as the two candidates worked to rally their voters and ensure every one of their ballots is counted. On Tuesday afternoon, the difference between the candidates’ totals remained at over 1,000 votes: a narrow spread for sure, but still above the threshold that would trigger an automatic, state-funded recount. At the current numbers, if Frisch comes within about 830 votes, then a recount would be triggered. Vote tallies will change through the end of Wednesday as ballots continue to arrive from military and overseas voters, and as flawed ballots are “cured'' by voters.  When tabulators reject a ballot, often due to a discrepancy between the voter’s signature on the ballot and the official state voter registration records, the voter has an opportunity to resolve, or cure, the problem and have their vote count. The Frisch team is trying to win cured ballots this week by getting the word out to voters about the curing process, encouraging use of the state’s TXT2Cure mobile phone-based curing system, and on-the-ground voter engagement. A Frisch campaign spokesperson said “A lot of the curable ballots tend to skew a lot younger, and others who don’t have as much experience voting. We think that we probably will perform better among younger voters, so we think that probably there’s more curable ballots for us than for Lauren Boebert.” The Frisch campaign also believes cured ballots from unaffiliated voters, not just registered Democrats, will skew their way. That sentiment was seconded by Matt Crane, a Republican who heads the Colorado County Clerks Association. Crane said. “Unaffiliated voters wanted to punish the hell out of the Republican Party in Colorado this year. And they sure did. It’s probably a better pool for Democrats to go and try to cure unaffiliated ballots than it is for Republicans, just based on the way the election went.” A spokesperson for Boebert did not reply to a message seeking comment. Ballot curing must be completed by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, and updated results are expected to be available Thursday. Colorado law requires an automatic recount, also known as a statutory recount, if the apparent winner is ahead by 0.5% or less. During such a recount, the secretary of state’s office would delay certification of the race and neither candidate would be declared representative-elect until resolution of the recount, which must be completed by Dec. 13. COLORADO NEWSLINE: Congresswoman Caraveo focused on healthcare and climate change. Yadira Caraveo, a Colorado state representative, stood at a lectern Thursday in the backyard of her childhood home in Adams County north of Denver. Her parents, who immigrated from Mexico and moved to the Denver-area home when Caraveo was in second grade, watched from a balcony as their daughter addressed reporters for the first time as the Democratic U.S. representative-elect from Colorado’s 8th Congressional District. And the first Latina to represent Colorado in Congress. Dr Caraveo said “This hill behind me is where my siblings and I used to slide down and make mud piles, and the house behind us is where I spent many, many hours studying to get through high school, through college and through medical school,” Dr. Caraveo is a pediatrician in the community. She went on to say she was able to do this because of the hard work of her parents. The new 8th District was the state’s most competitive based on previous elections, and unofficial results show Caraveo won by a margin of less than one percentage point. The district also has the highest concentration of Hispanic residents, at 39%, and includes the northern Denver suburbs, extending into parts of Weld County and Greeley.  Caraveo said her top priorities in Congress include health care and climate change. She cited the obstacles she faced as a doctor trying to treat young patients. “The medical training that I had was not enough to beat the system that we had,” she said. “And so a lot of my effort is going to go into that system to make sure that it’s not about insurance companies or drug companies.” Caraveo alluded to striking a balance on her environmental agenda. The 8th District includes parts of Weld County, which produces the most oil and gas in the state, by far . “We have a very important oil and gas industry that gives people like the families at my clinic great jobs, but I also see kids struggling to breathe every single day and I’ve had to send them to the hospital to be put on oxygen.” she said The Colorado delegation from Colorado that will join Congress in January will also include Democrats Diana DeGette from the 1st District, Joe Neguse from the 2nd District, Jason Crow from the 6th District and Brittany Pettersen from the 7th District; and Republicans Ken Buck from the 4th District and Doug Lamborn from the 5th District. The race for the 3rd District between Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert and Democratic challenger Adam Frisch is still too close to call. ARIZONA MIRROR: Republicans are falsely claiming that Arizona used to know final election results on Election Day. Republicans in Arizona and elsewhere have insisted that the days-long tabulation of early ballots, particularly in Maricopa County, is a sign the election might be being stolen.  They’re flat wrong about the history, however: Final election results have never been available on Election Night in any Arizona county.  What’s changed isn’t anything about the vote-counting, but that Arizona has gone from a ruby red state where Republicans dominated most elections — to a deep purple state where races up and down the ballot have been extremely close.  Those close races mean candidates, voters, pundits and the national media are focusing intently on Arizona’s post-Election Day tallies. For example: in the Nov. 2, 2004 presidential election, the final results came on November 15, 13 days later. In the Nov. 7, 2006 midterm election Final results: Nov. 19 Lag time: 12 days Nov. 4, 2008 presidential election Final results: Nov. 21 Lag time: 17 days Nov. 2, 2010 midterm election Final results: Nov. 17 Lag time: 15 days Nov. 6, 2012 presidential election Final results: Nov. 20 Lag time: 14 days Nov. 4, 2014 midterm election Final results: Nov. 18 Lag time: 14 days Nov. 8, 2016 presidential election Final results: Nov. 18 Lag time: 10 days Nov. 6, 2018 midterm election Final results: Nov. 20 Lag time: 14 days Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election Final results: Nov. 13 Lag time: 10 days None of that has stopped Arizona GOP candidates and their allies across the country from crying foul about the process that has existed in the Grand Canyon State since the early 1990s, when Republicans here pioneered no-excuse early mail-in voting. Kari Lake, the GOP nominee for governor, has insisted that Arizonans knew the Maricopa County results and the overall result of their elections on Election Night - until 2020. Records from Maricopa County elections over the past 22 years show that has never been the case. Media outlets, like the Associated Press, might have called races in the past when election night returns showed that one candidate would clearly win, but the fastest the county has released final results in a midterm election since 2000 was six days, in 2002.  In Maricopa County, a record 290,000 people dropped off their early ballots on Election Day this year. Elections workers didn’t even begin to start counting those ballots until Wednesday morning. Before those ballots are tabulated, their barcodes are scanned to ensure that they came from a registered voter who hasn’t cast another ballot in this election. Then elections workers check the signature on the envelope against past signatures from the voter. After that, a bipartisan team separates the ballot from the envelope and checks that the voter received the correct ballot.  Once all those steps are completed, the county can tabulate the ballot. All the ballots have never been counted in one day. ROCKY MOUNTAIN PBS: Colorado legalizes psychedelic mushrooms. Ten years after leading the nation in legalizing the sale of cannabis, Colorado became the second state in the U.S. to permit psilocybin, or "magic," mushrooms. Oregon was the first state to do so. As of 2 p.m. on Nov. 10, data from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office showed the Natural Medicine Health Act — voted on as Proposition 122 — was on the path to a slim approval, with 51.6% of voters supporting the measure. The measure will allow people 21 and older to grow and share psilocybin mushrooms, as well as create state-regulated centers where people could make appointments to consume the fungi. The proposition will also create “healing centers” to give clients mushrooms in a supervised setting, but will not create "mushroom dispensaries," in the same way cannabis is sold and purchased. Proponents of the ballot measure claim mushroom consumption has helped address their mental health issues in ways traditional pharmaceuticals did not, particularly when the mushrooms were taken in small doses, a method called microdosing.  Gov. Jared Polis has until Jan. 31 to appoint 15 members to the Natural Medicine Advisory Board, which will report to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. CONCERT PICK OF THE WEEK: Next Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving - The Last Waltz - with Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson, Kathleen Edwards, and more. Tickets at Welp, that’s it for me! From Denver I’m Sean Diller. Original reporting for the stories in today’s show comes from the Nevada Current, Arizona Mirror, Colorado Newsline, Rocky Mountain PBS, and Denver’s Westword Thank you for listening! See you next time.

Nov 16
Wisconsin, Missouri, and Midterm Lessons & Outcomes | Ada m Sommer has a chatwith Anders Hanhan of "Our Wisconsin Revolution


Nov 15
Post Midterm 2022: The Purple Drank, Our Main Takeaways From 2022 Midterms, Our Victory Laps, MAGA Death Rattle, JoRsh Hawley Runs Scared (AGAIN) and more!

Heartland POD on Twitter - @TheHeartlandPOD  Co-Hosts “Change The Conversation” TRUE OR FALSE: __ ____   YEAH… NO: __ __ BUY OR SELL: __ ____ ______ The Big One: __ ______

1h 35m
Nov 14
The Flyover View, November 11, 2022 | Heartland Politics, News, and Views

Host: Kevin Smith Dives into the weekly news most impactful to the Heartland __ __

Nov 11
The Delta, E37 - Blue Dots in a Red State

Following the midterm maps, Nicholas (educator) and Kristina (educational ASL interpreter) reflect on how their family is reframing views on being "blue dots in red states."  From drawing a comparison to squid skin, they ask: Are we defeating ourselves because being unique requires loneliness? Family Projects:

Nov 10
2022 Midterms LIVE (Audio Replay POD)

Heartland POD on Twitter - @TheHeartlandPOD  Co-Hosts “Change The Conversation”   __ __ __ __ __ __ ________

2h 13m
Nov 09
Adam's Final Midterm Message for 2022

Host: Adam Sommer @Adam_Sommer85  "Change The Conversation" Sign Up For Patreon here

Nov 08
Talkin' Politics | Lawyers, Guns, and Money & Our Midterm 2022 Best Bet Predictions & Last Call Preview!

Heartland POD on Twitter - @TheHeartlandPOD  Co-Hosts “Change The Conversation” __ ____   __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ ______ LAST CALL: HOLY SHIT, DOING A POLITICAL PODCAST IN CYCLE - WHAT WE LEARNED

1h 47m
Nov 07
The Flyover View, November 4, 2022 | Heartland Politics, News, and Views

Host: Kevin Smith Dives into the weekly news most impactful to the Heartland with a Special Midterm Election Report __ __

Nov 04
MO Votes! | Missouri Ballot Initiatives for 2022 Midterm Ballot Explained

Co-Hosts: Adam Sommer, Rachel Parker Guest: Reece Ellis Sign Up  at Heartland POD  Patreon For Extras! All Ballot Measures:\ Amendment 1: This one comes to us FROM the Missouri general assembly, in other words Republicans wanted to put this on in order to add it to the constitution.  The question: Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to: __ __ This basically shifts greater discretion to the State Treasurer to make decisions on how to invest money. It COULD have a monetary benefit to the state of a couple million dollars, but that is not a guarantee. The reality here is that there is a huge push by the GOP to end what they call “woke” investments - basically divest all public money from anything that looks like green energy or touches a company that might be friendly to equity and equal rights.  This one is an EASY NO for me, we don’t need this change. It’s a political move - not a public benefit move. Just another way for the GOP to fight a culture war that they have invented.  Current Text of Constitution in question:,_Missouri_Constitution#:~:text=Section%2015,-Text%20of%20Section&text=The%20state%20treasurer%20shall%20be,by%20the%20department%20of%20revenue. Proposed Change: Amendment 4:  this one is really simple - yet again we have the missouri GOP majority trying to take over local control wherever they can to keep democrats from having any say in policy - Amendment 4 would change a current provision of law that requires the city of Kansas City to provide 20% of its city budget to the city policy department by requiring that be a 25% allocation. Why? Because the KC City counsel, a local government body made up of locally elected official took money from the budget and that made people made. It’s really that simple. Republicans from hours away want to tell the folks in KC how to spend their money. Another very easy NO vote for me.  Amendment 5: This amendment moves the control of the national guard into amore direct line from the Governor’s office. I’ve seen democrats opposed to this one, I’ve also talked to folks involved with the national guard and overall this amendment seems to make Missouri’s set up similar to nearly every other state - I understand the argument from some Democrats that this is just a political power move here, I’m not so sure that argument holds water. That being said, I’m also not sure I see the point of this amendment OTHER than to give the Governor more power. And for that reason alone, Im a NO vote on amendment 5, but I’m not sure in the end it truly matters which way this goes.  Constitutional Convention: Missouri law requires that every 20 years the voters have a chance to vote to have a constitutional convention. The law provides for procedures and, in reality, would be quite a show. It would be interesting, but unlikely to be worth much. Even IF the convention came up with proposals, all of those proposals would then have to go to the voters for ratification. I’ve seen a handful of Dems pushing this issue as a chance to use the ballot box for issues - in a reliance that MO voters continue our streak of supporting more progressive measures when they are not tied to a political party - but I think that is a drastic miscalculation of how the parties will interact with proposed amendments. I’m a  NO  on this one.  Amendment 3: Perfect or good? Reece Ellis very smart thread on twitter:   Emerson college pollWhen it comes to Missouri Amendment 3, legalizing the recreatiooters-back-marijuana-legalization-ballot-initiative-in-new-poll-but-support-is-tightening-a-week-before-election-day/ use of marijuana, 47% of the respondents plan to support the measure. Meanwhile, 39% plan to oppose it, and 14% are still unsure. Summary Articles:

Nov 03
High Country - Politics, Government and Elections News from the American West - November 2, 2022

Follow the money in Colorado's U.S. Senate race | Sen. Michael Bennet smacks down dishonest attack repeated by GOP challenger Joe O'Dea | Arizona cannabis sales set to top $1 Billion for 2nd year in a row - monthly tax revenue is about $20 Million | Flagstaff Arizona bond issue would provide $20 Million for affordable housing | Smashing Pumpkins and Jane's Addiction tour wraps in L.A. on November 19

Nov 02
Let's Have A Chat | The Kids Are Alright - Truman State Students Discuss Their Political Science Projects Looking at Missouri Elections “Change The Conversation”   Adam Sommer is joined for a chat by  Truman State students, Jack Eichholz, Megan Nesbitt, Emily O'Leary, and Colleen O'Reilly. The group are all part of a class project looking at Missouri political races in the midterms for 2022 including fact checking both Republicans and Democrats along with a project aimed at blogging in favor of Trudy Busch Valentine, for Senate.   

Nov 01
Talkin' Politics | Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics; Record Oil Profits During Crisis; 2022 Early Voting Advantage for Dems?; Paul Pelosi Attack and Ratcheted Up Political Rhetoric

HEARTLAND POD ON TWITTER - @THEHEARTLANDPOD Co-Hosts __ __ ____   __ __ __ __ __ ______ __ ______

1h 29m
Oct 31
The Flyover View, October 28, 2022 | Heartland Politics, News, and Views

Host: Kevin Smith Dives into the weekly news most impactful to the Heartland __ __

Oct 28
Disinformation, Propaganda, and Dark Brandon | With Guest Julie Hotard, PHD and Disinformation Expert

Adam on Twitter:  @Adam_Sommer85 Julie on Twitter:  @upine Adam Sommer chats with Julie Hotard, an expert in disinformation. Julie, a PHD, helps us better understand the messaging happening right now coming from the extreme right wing and the dangers of allowing lies, propaganda, and disinformation to go unchecked. Plus, learn about why she thinks "Dark Brandon" is a great lead and example of how we can all push back.  Learn more about Julie and her writing: Click/Tap here:  Sing up for Patreon for exclusive access to extras!

Oct 27
The Delta, E36: Voting for Vacuums

Are they really gonna make us vote for these vacuums? Nicholas (educator) & Kristina (educational ASL interpreter) tie polls about the general election to predictions in science classes and door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales.

Oct 26
Trish Gunby Is Back For a Chat About Her Run For Congress In The MO-2nd District

Adam on Twitter:  @Adam_Sommer85 Trish on Twitter:  @TrishForMO Adam Sommer chats with Trish Gunby, Missouri State Rep. and current Democratic nominee for the Missouri 2nd district Congressional race. Trish is putting in the hours and the miles and building a team that is ready for the home stretch in her attempt to unseat the incumbent Republican, Ann Wagner. Trish talks about town hall meetings, the messages she's hearing from voters, and the "something's in the air" kind of energy out there on the campaign trail.  Learn more about Trish: Click/Tap here:  Sing up for Patreon for exclusive access to extras!

Oct 25
Competent State Leadership Is A Luxury | Bannon Sentenced, Trump Did Crimes With His Lawyer | Increased Abortion Education | Bold Midterm 2022 Predictions | Last Call Preview

Heartland POD on Twitter - @TheHeartlandPOD  Co-Hosts   __ ____ ____ ____ ____ ______ LAST CALL The Media Trump Darling Complex Kari Lake “Trump has been laying the groundwork” a drinking game now? Tulsi is back The great Taylor Branch gets it:

1h 25m
Oct 24
The Flyover View, October 21, 2022 | Heartland Politics, News, and Views

HEADLINE 1: Contamination in Springfield’s groundwater, and Missouri knew for Decades - STLPR An investigation by the Midwest Newsroom and St. Louis Public Radio has found that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the company Litton Systems, a former defense contractor that had employed thousands of people in Springfield to make circuit boards for the Navy and telecommunications industry, knew as early as 1993 that contamination beyond the company’s property into the surrounding community “had undoubtedly occurred,”. Litton used a toxic solvent called trichloroethylene (TCE) to wash the circuit boards and for years improperly disposed of it The pollutant leached into the groundwater and into aquifers deep below the ground. It then spread to nearby properties, where it made its way into wells that supplied water to those who lived and worked near Litton.  A review of thousands of pages of government records and interviews found that DNR employees raised concerns about the contamination and implored the agency to force Litton to investigate further. But in the years that followed, neither the company nor DNR sought to determine the extent of the problem or alert the public about the potential risks, our examination found. Instead, both relied on a remediation system to remove the TCE, a measure that the government later determined did not work to effectively contain the contamination. The problem was not broadly known in Springfield until TCE was detected and publicized in 2018 at Fantastic Caverns, a tourist destination about five miles north of the former Litton site. As a result, some people bought property without knowing that they would be exposed to a chemical linked to cancer and other medical conditions. Others are left wondering how long they’ve been drinking and bathing in water tainted with TCE. And people are upset that an agency tasked with protecting the environment did not do more to warn the public about the risks of contamination.  When you hear a story like this there’s a lot of anger and frustration to be had. The carelessness of Litton cannot be overstated, but we have come to expect a company to hide in the shadows on issues like this. The thing that hits me hard is the fact that the DNR failed to adequately do its job, and there should be consequences. It may be tempting to point to the failure of the DNR as an example of how government doesn’t work, but take a step back and realize without that governmental body, this would have NEVER come to light. Yes, it functioned poorly, but that can be fixed and hopefully better handled in the future. Leave it to private enterprise and we never find out. HEADLINE 2: Joplin, MO woman left helpless with non-viable pregnancy - Springfield News-Leader At 6:30 a.m. on August 2, nearly 18 weeks into her pregnancy, Mylissa Farmer experienced what doctors call a preterm premature rupture of membranes — her water broke before labor, followed by vaginal bleeding, abdominal pressure and cramping. She went to Freeman Hospital in Joplin, where she'd been just the day before. Everything had been normal then. She and her boyfriend, Matthew McNeill, had already picked out a name for their daughter: Maeve. But the doctors had devastating news for them on Aug. 2. If Maeve was delivered right then, chances of survival at 17 weeks and 5 days were zero, according to the assessment and plan section of Farmer's medical records outlining the visit. And the outcome wasn't much better if they tried to hold off on delivery. The doctors recommended terminating the pregnancy, but 39 days after the state of Missouri banned abortions, that wasn't an option, at least not in Missouri. A year ago, the hospital could have offered a chance for the couple to say goodbye and hold their daughter, even though they knew she wouldn't survive outside the womb. Instead, Farmer and McNeill were left to make a series of trips across three states and countless phone calls. The couple wanted to be able to grieve the loss of their daughter, not sit at home or in a hospital "with a baby dying inside me," Farmer said. "I know it sounds horrible, but we just wanted to finish the process," she said.  In the end, Farmer didn't just lose Maeve; she lost her friends and her trust that Missouri would allow medical professionals to do their jobs. "It was hard. You could tell the doctors were trying to tell us what we needed to do, but at the same time, trying to protect themselves. We’re not angry with them," Farmer said. If her vitals plummeted or infection set in, or the fetus' cardiac activity stopped, the doctors could intervene, but not before then. At 41, Farmer worried that by the time there was an emergency, it would be too late for both her and Maeve. And even if Farmer did live through it, she worried about what her recovery would be like. She was already at "risks of maternal thrombosis given her history of (deep vein thrombosis during a COVID-19 infection), infection/sepsis, severe blood loss, hysterotomy, hysterectomy and even mortality," according to the medical record. Farmer then did something she, who describes herself as "pretty pro-life" and Christian, never thought she would do: She began to look for abortion clinics. Farmer and McNeill set out for Granite City, Illinois. Early in the morning on Aug. 5, Farmer began to have back pain while on their way to the place just 15 minutes outside of St. Louis. When she got to HOPE Clinic, she was in labor. After the fact, Farmer said it was almost reassuring that the labor came on. Friends in Joplin who knew of the situation had been telling her that she "could give birth at 17 weeks, that they knew people who have done it, that I was killing my child." "It did my heart good to know I was doing the right thing," she said, as if her body was telling her that it was OK. But still, the experience was harrowing. Protesters in front of the clinic echoed the things her friends had told her, "saying we were killing our baby and that we were evil." "It was awful, you know? We were just going through so much. We didn’t want this ... but at the same time, we had no choice," Farmer said. Since their ordeal, Farmer has lost trust. While she still feels her obstetrician at Freeman Hospital in Joplin is a good doctor, she's worried about whether medical professionals in Missouri will be able to offer patients necessary care. Despite reaching out to various legislators, she has yet to receive an answer that satisfies her: Why is this law written this way? If it's to protect women, why did she have to be in danger before she could get care in-state? Why is it such a binary law? "The world is too nuanced to put such strict rules in place," Farmer said. HEADLINE 3: Supreme Court Considers Pork Producers’ Plea - The Intercept On Tuesday, oral arguments will begin in National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, a case in which the pork industry is challenging the constitutionality of a California law regulating the worst cruelties of mass meat and egg production. The pork producers are arguing that California’s law ends up forcing them to change their procedures outside California’s borders at significant cost. If the justices rule on the side of the pork producers, it will be only the latest case to expose the illusion of so-called states’ rights that conservative legal forces have spent 200 years pushing on the public. There would also be widespread implications: Ruling in favor of industry would set yet another grim precedent, potentially curtailing the ability of states to enforce progressive industry regulations and protections. Everything from state laws on workers’ rights to environmental standards to further animal welfare issues could be challenged. Meanwhile, there could be another layer of irony: With the court’s proven federalism, we can be sure that any such precedent would be no barrier to conservative states enacting laws with economic consequences far beyond their state lines in future. THE LAW IN question at the Supreme Court this week is California’s Prop 12, passed through a resounding 2018 ballot victory. The law bans the sale in California of meat and eggs from animals raised in extreme and brutal confinement, including in gestation crates where pregnant pigs are held, barely able to move, for most of their lives. Such confinement has been condemned by all major animal welfare and veterinary organizations, and has been deemed a “profound danger to food and public health,” given the rife spread of disease, according to a brief written by the American Public Health Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, among others, for the case. The pork producers contend that the law creates unconstitutional constraint on their business, as farmers in other states must change their practices to abide by Prop 12’s standards if they hope to sell pork in the nation’s most populous state and since most of the pork consumed in California is indeed produced out of state, and that the state is a market too big for major producers to forego, there’s little doubt that the Californian regulations would indeed affect interstate practices. It’s not a foregone conclusion that a majority of justices will side with the National Pork Producers Council. Both conservative justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have, from an originalist stance, previously criticized the dormant commerce clause. And, of course, all six of the court’s right-wing justices have ruled in favor of state laws that have significant economic effects on the lives of those outside those states — such is the nature of living in an entangled national body politic. Just ask the abortion clinics now overwhelmed by out-of-state travel Yet we should never underestimate the conservative majority’s pro-business bent, and its unabashed desire to quash any and all liberation struggles — be they for human or nonhuman lives. If the pork producers succeed in overthrowing Prop 12, many millions of animals will continue to live and die in the most appalling suffering. The message will be sent too that when big business wants to challenge democratically passed state laws, they have several right-wing Supreme Court justices — those storied defenders of states’ rights — on their side. This situation on the Federal scale reminds me immediately of Missouri’s own quashing of local politics. The Missouri GOP claims to be the protector of local politics but when CAFOs in Missouri began polluting groundwater the State told counties they couldn’t enact regulations locally to hinder big business. It’s certainly evident the Right favors big government when it serves them.   LIGHTNING ROUND: LR 1 - Lone Candidate shows up for Missouri’s 3rd - News Tribune Only one candidate was present for the News Tribune's election forum Tuesday night, but two issues emerged to dominate the discussion: the nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and federal student loan forgiveness. Bethany Mann, agricultural scientist and the Democratic challenger for Missouri's 3rd Congressional District, said the pandemic is ongoing and that student loan forgiveness isn't the ultimate solution to skyrocketing higher education costs, but a good policy nonetheless. Mann states that The country's student loan system is predatory, because it traps financially inexperienced young people into accumulating mass amounts of debt they don't know they can repay. The real issue is a lack of regulation on the banking industry, she said. Mann said more corporate regulations can insulate consumers from market shocks. "We need to fix the root cause and not penalize people for trying to make a better life for themselves," she said. As far as Blaine Luetktemeyer, he couldn’t be bothered to show up to the conversation. LR 2 - Kansas ranks among the worst in the country on both mental illness and its treatment - NPR A new report by Mental Health America tracking mental illness and the ease of accessing care found high rates of addiction among young people and mental illness and suicidal thoughts among adults put Kansas in last place. The report, based largely on data from 2019 and 2020, found 9% of Kansas youth had a substance use disorder, more than any other state. Over a quarter of adults had a mental illness and over 6% had serious thoughts of suicide, both well above national averages. In part, that’s because the state doesn’t have enough psychiatrists, therapists and other mental health care workers to go around. Compared with a national rate of one provider for every 350 people, Kansas only had one for every 470 people — and experts say the shortfall is particularly dire in rural areas.  Kansas also got low marks on insurance rates and the ability to afford mental health care. Around 18% of adults with mental illness in Kansas had no insurance, compared with 11% nationwide. And only around 7% of youths with severe depression received consistent treatment for it, compared to 28% nationwide. LR 3 - Commission recommends salary increases to address Missouri teacher shortage - Missouri Independent A state commission Tuesday laid out its recommendations to improve teacher recruitment and retention in Missouri, including a push to raise starting salaries that currently rank among the lowest in the nation. The State Board of Education approved the commission’s nine recommendations and pledged to bring the findings to the public and lawmakers. Nearly 8% of available full-time teaching positions in the school year 2020-2021 were vacant or filled by not fully qualified individuals, according to the report. One of the commission’s immediate recommendations was for the legislature to amend the state’s base teacher salary, which is currently set by state law at $25,000 for a beginning teacher, to “at least $38,000” and to conduct annual reviews of the starting salary level. According to the National Education Association’s review from earlier this year, Missouri’s average teacher starting salary ranks second-to-last in the nation, at $33,234, higher only than Montana. At a public hearing in August,, educators recounted taking on second jobs to get by. Per the Report, the legislature should also establish a state fund to help local school districts pay more competitive salaries overall, the report recommended.  The average teachers salary in Missouri ranks 47th in the nation, at $51,557, according to the National Education Association. It’s good to see that last bit tacked on, the focus on teacher pay in Missouri almost always centers on starting pay, which… is admittedly terrible, but we want to retain teachers too. A pay bump for every teacher in Missouri is way overdue. LR 4 - Will the next Farm Bill be climate friendly? Depends on the Midterms - Mother Jones This year’s midterm elections decide the direction of a massive legislative package meant to tackle the nation’s agricultural problems. Ahead of the November elections, House Republicans have already released insight into their priorities for this upcoming legislation. The Republican Study Committee, whose members make up 80 percent of all Republican members of Congress, released its draft budget in July. This draft document outlines a plan that completely defunds federal programs that support conservation efforts, as well as slashes federal food stamp and crop insurance programs. As Farm Bill debates continue, a group of over 150 progressive, agriculture, and environmental groups, from the nation’s largest federation of labor unions to the Sierra Club environmental group, have urged President Joe Biden to add climate reforms in the upcoming legislative package. In a letter to Biden, organizations urged the President to pass a Farm Bill that would help mend economic and racial divides in the industry, increase access to nutrition, support fair labor conditions in farming communities labor conditions, as well as tackle the climate crisis with a focus on agriculture.  LR 5 - Kansas Republicans downplay abortion in legislative races. Some change campaign sites - Kansas City Star Mike Pence recently tweeted out “I’ve got news for President Biden. Come January 22nd, we will have Pro-Life majorities in the House and Senate and we’ll be taking the cause of the right to Life to every state house in America!” Which sounds a little funny when hearing reports of   Multiple Kansas House GOP candidates removing anti-abortion material from their campaign sites in the wake of voters’ rejection of the constitutional amendment in August. We keep seeing this play out, the Republicans, the proverbial dog in this idiom, have caught the car on Abortion and frankly don’t know exactly how to move forward. Hopefully a full blown referendum is coming down the pipe in November!

Oct 21