Benjamin Matthew Merrifield is born

Laura and Joel Merrifield were blessed with a 7 pound 10 ounce 20.5 inch baby boy at 12:54 AM November 28th 2008. Benjamin Matthew Merrifield was born at Skaggs hospital in Branson, Missouri.

Benjamin's father Joel has always been a great friend, savvy businessman and I believe he will be a great father.
Joel practices Judaism and intends to raise his child in the religious tradition. On the eighth day of Benjamin's life he will be ceremoniously circumcised as a reminder of Abraham's covenant with God. In the Judeo-Christian tradition it is written that Abraham circumcised himself (ouch) as an adult and that the family line would endure throughout the history of the world.
In 30 days another ritual will ensue, here are the details:

Pidyon Haben

(First-Born Redemption)

A pidyon haben, redemption of a son, takes place 30 days after the birth of a first-born baby boy. The tradition is based on the belief that first-born sons were to serve God in the Temple. To redeem them from that obligation, five shekels were given to the Temple priests, who then served in the Temple instead. The ceremony today usually involves a symbolic charitable donation.

As I understand it, the ceremony originates from when Moses brought commandments to his people liberated from Egypt. According to tradition, there were two groups of Levites that split paths when it came to obeying the law. The Levy's listened to Moses and the Cowen's did not and continued to worship idols. Traditionally, a Levy had to be paid five pieces of silver for the firstborn son's life.

The name Cowen means high-priest, is considered the true line of Jews and was the name of my Great Grandmother.

May Benjamin Matthew Merrifield live a blessed life and achieve success and live a happy life. May the Merrifield's fold continue to increase. They're great friends of mine and a blessing to the community.

Woodland Hills Donates Blankets for Taney County Jail

Ted Cunningham, Pastor of the Woodland Hills Community Church is in the process of donating 30 blankets on behalf of the congregation to the Taney County Jail. According to an active church member, the jail had a shortage of blankets due to a lack of funds.

Jason Pritchett performing at Grand Country

(Press Release)Branson, MO. - Grand Country Square, Branson, MO announced today that starting December 1, Jason Pritchett, a Top Ten Finalist on NBC’s Hit Show, America’s Got Talent will begin performing with Branson’s Best Quartet, New South. New South performs in The Grand Jubilee show, daily at 8 pm only at the Grand Country Square.

Jason is not new to Branson. He has performed in shows like, "Lost in the Fifties", "Stuck on the Seventies", "Echo Hollow Jubilee", "Fifties at the Hop", and "Magnificent Country". He has performed on cruise ships and most recently performed with other Top Ten Finalists at the Dutton Theatre in Branson.

“I am glad to be back in Branson and excited to be a member of Branson’s Best Quartet, New South,” said Jason.

Mike Patrick, Grand Jubilee producer commented, “All members of New South are excited that Jason will be joining us. What an AWESOME ADDITON!”

Singing today’s country hits as well as quartet classics from the Oak Ridge Boys to the Eagles, The Grand Jubilee is always a hit! The high energy and versatility of the entire case astound audiences. From Country to Gospel and 50’s to modern day, this show explodes with musical fun to satisfy any age, daily at 8 pm.

Branson Missouri Government - Power Perspective - Opinion

In a city council planning session Mayor Raeanne Presley stated, we
don't have as much power as you think.
The most frustrating element of being a citizen is that people don't
understand the strength, compassion and desire of other members of the
community. A business owner told me the other day that Branson City
Council doesn't care about him, his ideas and opinions. It really
bothered me for two reasons. The first is that he has invested over 2
million into the Branson economy this year and brings with him
experience and good ideas. The second is that he didn't give Branson
Board of Alderman a chance to communicate or prove they care. Though I
may disagree with actions taken by the city government, I believe they
care about the community and want to lead with the citizens interests
in mind. How can they prove their worth if this business owner didn't
take the time to get involved?

The context of my discussion with the Mayor and board on November 20th
during a city planning session was over charitable works on private
property. I expressed frustration because I believe more can be done
to make the community a better place to live and whats lacking is a
communication gap. The Branson Board has taken many steps to close the
gap between Branson's legislature and the public in order to alter
perception. Still, a gap exists. How do we close it so we can create a
better culture for ourselves and our families?

In the two circumstances above I physically acted to close the gap. I
took the time to connect the disconnected parties. It took a lot of
time, however the results were fruitful - the business's felt
empowered and connected and the ability for charities to collect funds
was increased.

The representative democracy of our local government is extremely
powerful individually and collectively. The officials are elected by
the people which means they are authorized, encouraged and appointed
to do the will of the people. The body itself is "fascist." Though
this word has been twisted to mean something other than what it stands
for - the term comes from the "fasces". The picture above is of the
fasces hanging at the capitol. It's origin is Roman. It's a bundle of
sticks tied together with an axe. A stick is easily broken but a
bundle is hard to break. The axe is a weapon - ie defense. The sticks
and axe together are a symbol used to describe our representative
democracy - for the common defense.

Each member of the board has incredible power - perhaps, far beyond
their understanding. Together - their will is done by dictate -
whatever they vote on becomes law. Individually, they have lobbying
power - they have the power to ask the community to help with a cause
and the power they have as a child of a creator.
Taking a few hours to look into and explore my ability to help was an
empowering experience. In the future, I'm going to use the power of my
web presence to communicate my message.
Part of the news writers job is to communicate what the government is
doing thereby enabling them to do their job. I try to take this a step
further by letting Branson citizens gain a better understanding on how
to access their government so they can understand the power they have
as citizens. It's far beyond what most people think.

Troops get free family photos for Christmas

(Press Release) Area troops that can’t be home for the holidays will get a digital glimpse of their wives, husbands, parents or children thanks to Meadows Images. The photo studio has scheduled a free photo session on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Playtime Pizza, 3101 Gretna Road in Branson for family members of active duty military personnel serving in foreign countries The photo session, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes one digital image that will be e-mailed or posted on a Web site for each soldier to see. Blue star families that participate will also receive either a free 8x10 or a sheet of wallet sized photos of the selected image.

Studio owners United States Army veterans Marshall and Brenda Meadows came up with the idea of hosting the photo session because they recalled being absent from home during holidays or family gatherings.

"Since we are both veterans there were several times we missed Christmas or holidays with our families," said Brenda Meadows. "I also spent six months as a USO entertainer in Vietnam during the war in 1968. We know what it’s like to have an ocean or thousands of miles separating you from loved ones during special celebrations."

Subjects that travel to Playtime Pizza for the Dec. 15 photo shoot will get the complete professional experience with studio lighting and holiday backdrops.

"These are not going to be snapshots,” Meadows said. “Unfortunately we have to limit this offer to include those immediate families within a 40 mile radius of Branson and they will have to make appointments. We have a limited time frame to do this in and although we would like to photograph everyone, it would be impossible."

Playtime Pizza has also included a special buffet discounted price for those that take advantage of the free photo sitting.

Call (417) 334-8991 for information or to make an appointment.

Alderman Jack Purvis - Perspecitve on Governance

Jack Purvis is a strong believer in limited government. He serves as one of two members of Branson City Council from Ward II. Purvis believes economic development opportunities created through the boards actions have stimulated growth and increased wages for Branson residents. Purvis also believes that better conditions for workers isn't the objective for all members of the Branson community.

Tax Lobbyist Vonda Sheets requested Aldermen Dick Gass and Jack Purvis whether or not they will run for re-election. Purvis asked some time ago, "Do you think it's possible to beat Gary Groman in an election?" Gary Groman "the vulture" has made it his personal mission to attack Purvis at every opportunity. Any perspective of good report remains absent from "the vultures" correspondence. Accumulative knowledge would lead one to believe "The Vulture" has plans to install new leadership by hijacking the traditional use of unbiased reporting in the newspaper and replacing the precept of objective journalism with those who glorify the "Vultures" desires.
According to "The Vulture" the idea of ethics as set forth by the Society of Professional Journalists is impossible. For most journalists maintaining ethical standards is hard - for "the vulture" ethics are unnecessary.

Earlier today Jack Purvis sent me this note.

I would ask the voters of Taney County to read the following from these wise persons, none of whom possibly ever heard of Branson or Taney County.

Jack Purvis

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose
you were a member of Congress. But then
I repeat myself. - Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into
prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and
trying to lift himself up by the handle.
- Winston Churchill

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
- George Bernard Shaw

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt
to his fellow man....which debt he proposes
to pay off with your money. - G. Gordon Liddy

Democracy must be something more than
two wolves and a sheep voting on what to
have for dinner. - James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer
of money from poor people in rich countries
to rich people in poor countries. - Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown Univ.< /I>

Giving money and power to government is like
giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government is the great fiction, through which
everybody endeavors to live at the expense of
everybody else. - Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Government's view of the economy could be summed
up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps
moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
- Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government
and report the facts. - Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now,
wait until you see what it costs when it's free!
- P.J. O'Rourke

In general, the art of government consists
of taking as much money as possible from one
party of the citizens to give to the other.
- Voltaire (1764)< /SPAN>

Just because you do not take an interest
in politics doesn't mean politics won't take
an interest in you! - Pericles (430 B.C.)

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe
while the legislature is in session.
- Mark Twain (1866)

Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it.
- Unknown

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal
sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing
of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
- Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a
taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
- Mark Twain

There is no distinctly native American criminal Congress. - Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed
politicians. - Edward Langley, Artist (1928 - 1995)

A government big enough to give you everything you
want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
- Thomas Jefferson

"Gov ernment is not the solution to our problem;
government is the problem. if no one among us is
capable of governing himself, then who among us
has the capacity to govern someone else?"
- Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address, 1/20/1981

Corpus Delicti

The concept of Corpus Delicti should provide the "master dialogue" for what is reported in the media.

Black's Law Dictionary (6th ed.) defines Corpus Delicti as "body of crime". In the American Legal System admission of guilt is not evidence enough to prosecute the person that admitted guilt. In other words if I confess to a judge on my blog that I've committed a crime he cannot convict me unless he can prove my guilt through another source.

On this blog I've accused the Branson Media of participating in what could be consdidered "criminal or psuedo criminal" activity. To me, the journalism community is a group of friends and colleagues. In some cases, such as my correspondence on Branson Mediagate, I refrain from producing the "body of crime." I've refrained from producing the body of crime in hopes they will "convict themselves."

Usually, due to my reputation, mission and ruthless pursuit of truth I don't have to elaborate in detail backing up everything I report. Can I produce "corpus delecti" - of course. Raw video is the best and purest way of proving the reporters presence at an event. Of course, video can be altered, thus a film of a crime in action cannot be submitted to a jury unless it can be verified.

The City of Branson sued three merchants a few years agofor cutting down a tree without city approval . During discovery, a legal process where attorneys exchange information that will be submitted to the court a video of the tree massacre was presented to Branson's attorney. The city attorney attempted to submit the video of the crime into evidence during the trial to Tony Williams an associate judge in the 38th circuit.

In order for the video to be presented to the judge it had to be verified. Unfortunately for the city of Branson all three sisters were being sued. A premise of the American legal system is that a person accused of a crime is not required to testify against themselves. Outside of the three sisters being accused, the city of Branson didn't have any witnesses to authenticate the video. As a result, the three sisters were found innocent after presentation of state evidence.

They were set free becuase the state couldn't establish corpus delecti. No harm no foul. The city couldn't prove that a crime had been committed.

The massacre of the tree in downtown Branson was a setup planned with political pundit Gary Groman which in future posts we will refer to as "the vulture." There is good reason to believe that "the vulture" helped stage the destruction of the tree.
The city of Branson was too aggressive in trying to prosecute the entrepreneurs.
If the city expunged the record (erased the record that a crime had ever been committed) and required the business owners to pay a fine the trial never would have occurred.
The city's arrogance forced tax payers to fork out thousands of dollars in legal fees (ie legal counsel's time)to pursue their case. The sisters only wanted to clear their name and keep their criminal record clean. One of the sisters was going to law school and didn't want the mark to keep her from good standing with the Missouri Bar.
The city of Branson forced Gary Groman out of the courtroom during trial. The move was a vindictive manueaver punishing "the vulture" for several unsubstantiated, biased and unfair attacks against the city manager in the newspaper. The city told Judge Tony Willams that they may call him to testify as a witness.
The city never intended to call "the vulture" as a witness - the move was made purely to attack him. The report ended up being a gift from the city of Branson to me - afterall - as they only reporter in the courtroom - I had an exclusive which was reported on this website. Ironically, if "the vulture" was called as a witness the three sisters might have been successfully prosecuted. The vultures attendance was a dangerous taunt which could have resulted in the sisters conviction. The city lost becuase they were grossly unprepared.
In the Christian tradition Corpus Delicti is a fundamental precept. Because the body of Jesus Christ could not be found the Roman soldiers that killed him can not be found guilty. No body - no crime.
According to Christians who killed Jesus Christ? The answer to Christians is everyone. The innocent was sacrificed for the guilty - the guilty being everyone that falls short of perfection. As a result, Christians claim to be joint participants in the crucification. They admit they killed their "Saviour" through their actions - that he couldn't be killed in the worldly sense and that they can be forgiven - the record taken away by asking for forgiveness. They believe their records are cleaned through the ultimate sacrifice. They can't show the body so they can't prove their case - they can only believe (ie have faith) such an incident ever occurred.
The two posts below are treatments for a book I'm currently authoring. Luckily, becuase of the legal concept of corpus delecti - I can admit to a crime without being convicted in a court of law.
In the political system past drug use is a dying theme. In Barrack Obama's book (page 72 I believe), Obama admits to having smoked marijuana and ingesting cocaine. Because he came clean the public hasn't convicted him. When George Bush was asked "Did you snort coke?" he said , "I haven't used drugs since ......" Bill Clinton said he never inhaled. Becuase Clinton didn't come clean the public embarrassed him with the topic throughout his administration repeating the statement "He never inhaled."
The Vulture tried to attack me by challenging the precept of truth as recorded in this blog. He was wrong. When I proved he was wrong he erased the record of what he wrote. The stain isn't yet "rubbed out" and we challenge him to restore the record; however, we'd prefer he study Journalistic ethics. We forgive him because the concept of Journalistic integrity is foreign to "the vulture".
The Master Dialogue for a journalist should be "ruthless pursuit of truth". If I'm biased, it is becuase I love the truth more than my own selfish desires. As a journalist in Branson this makes me feel very lonely.

Thanksgiving Poem

They take me and put me in a cell but cannot contain me, I am free.

I meet the guests of Dub Duston. I see a picture of his father crafted by John Logan. His thoughts of my captors are, "they are men of great peace to me, I assure you." He loves them as do I.

I call the judge, you can ask him I swear it. He loves me. His words mean more than mine - if he says it isn't so - believe him. Judges love me because I always speak the truth. He put a bounty on my head - they are lonely without my sweet presence - they love me so much. Their bounty totaled $6,500 - the equivalent of a $65,000 bond.

In the presence of judges prisoners stand in awe because of what they see. They love me - because I love correction. They too love correction. They are wise. The prisoners do not love correction so they fear him. They are but puny infants crapping in their diapers. He treats them like his own sons wishing only they loved justice.

I once was not even as wise as them. And when the judge threatened to take away my civil liberties, I almost crapped my own pants.

All of Taney County must pay bounty to him. His children come to me - they want to know - "How can I be as great as my father?" They know there is no way - he is too kind - too humble - too honorable, but I do not tell them this.

I treat them like brothers and sisters. It's Brandon's way of telling me - we are friends. His father has left a great bounty for him. He will never have to work. His father's work is so great he has the right to live happily without conviction - still - without prompting - he's convicted to do something great. His father is very proud.

In the restaurants of Branson he pays me tribute - he offers me the finest wines and tells me not to reduce my power. He knows I was born with a great mission. I will die before I share his secrets - he counts on this. He trusts me with his children's children's lives, I would swear it. In public I correct him. Judges higher than he punish him for his kindness to prisoners of the court - I taunt him only when greater judges demand. In Taney County he is the Shepherd. The higher benches bind him to a lower law and I tell everyone. It reaches the front pages of the newspaper.

He is too kind. I beg him to be harder on me - I taunt him. He is afraid to convict me - but the bench binds him. At any point in time for any reason - I can change the time or place where we debate. I have many rights - I take liberties you only dream of. See, he is wise, he knows I am arrogant enough to charge the state $50,000 to convict me of a traffic ticket. But I am innocent of the crime the 38th District prosecuting attorney has accused me of. The dockets are incorrect everywhere - the historians are lazy - they seek profit.

The Taney County Sheriff comes to pick me up from the county jail. It is a K9 unit. The officer is kind - he treats me well.

My belly is full of Salisbury steak from my friend Carroll McCullough. McCullough is in charge of an army. The dictate of his army is to protect me. He commands many men to lay their lives before mine. I am not worthy. They are twice the men that protect you - I promise - they deserve twice the wages he pays them. I will testify to it - ask me. He is not generous enough with his soldiers. They work too hard for too little. I know it is not his fault. Seven rulers dictate his budgets - I know and love all of them - I will prove it to you.

A fresh florescent orange jumpsuit is given to me. There is no room for me in the jail; they take me to a darker place. Even the judges cannot hide me - I grant them three days -I am arrogant, I grant them no more time than this - I am busy. My beautiful sisters Dayna and Dawnell come to see me. They worry to much. The prisoners think I'm popular with the ladies. They have no idea.

Even in jail I cannot hide and in the darkest corner I am called out. I meet a man I write about. He recounts a drug bust. The prisoners love me. They beat each other often but will not touch me. They are proud. They eat much. Some are feared - I am loved by them. They treat me kindly. The jailer gave me no blanket - no toothbrush - the prisoners gave me shelter on the concrete floor. They give me nicknames - they fear me, they think I am powerful though I am not.

I speak of one thing that I am ashamed of: In my entire existence I never thought I would consider beating an innocent man for food. This precept haunts me, I demand justice. I call the father of Jimmy Russell and tell him what I saw. He knows I accuse a powerful man. He can kill with his bare hands - In one blow he broke the arm and ribs of a woman. His scorn knows no boundaries - many are afraid to testify against him but I am not one. I will testify against him without fear. I am on the record now.

Let it be known. If I am killed by fault of the Branson Police Department or the Taney County Sherriffs I ask them to be found innocent. These armies have no fault - ask me I will tell you.

Christian County is coming. These judges are more powerful. They know me. The judges recite poems to me about justice in their private chambers - they love me because I love wisdom. Now I try to call an attorney. I am far away from home, I am scared. They lock me in a tank with many men. Some are illegal immigrants, my patience is endless - neither days nor nights matter - the sunrise and sunset have evaded me for so long the concept is meaningless. I am only alone in my thoughts.

The man I'm being taken to is the second most powerful in the circuit. His words flow like sweet waters - criminals everywhere love him for the immense respect he gives them. His wrath is harsh but delivered with nectar. His kindness is a snake - he's not to be reckoned with. He sets the heads of high men low.

When he punishes the wicked they say thank you and hold him harmless.

He will speak to me for days - he loves everyone - he does not have to.

His best friend sits a floor above him.

I dare not speak this judges name. He has the right to take away my vote. He can sentence me to death. Ask the sophist nearest you about him - they know more.

Judge Waters tells me a one-eyed man is coming to see me. He is too kind to me. I love him and he knows it. He treats the prisoners with respect higher than they could ever reserve. His voice is like medicine to the sick, strong medicine - short and sweet. They feel loved. Nothing is greater than a father's love. Those who don't know it are dangerous men - they lurk everywhere. Their fathers beat them without cause - hurt them. They are so hurt - they cannot fathom love until they meet Judge Waters. Women hear his wisdom and find a baldhead sexy. I owe him much - he does not know I'm innocent. I beg him not to wait for the one-eyed man who can hurt me without knowing it. Still, he will not convict me - not yet. He is merciful to all but me and sends me back to jail before I can hear his wisdom.

I've been here before with a friend I hold dear - he was sentenced to years away from his most precious. I can't wait to tell Ross - I love you - I am an activist but I will not tell him. I am innocent I swear it - but they cannot hear my plea.

Ron Cleek has brought me before the judge - he charges me with a crime punishable by death by tribal law. While people view the accusations - they hate me - I am hated by strangers - I have no friends - the judge is my only friend and I do not pray that he loves justice. I know I am guilty of 100 deaths by this land's law - I cannot help it - I am an outlaw. Judge Waters will find me innocent - I promise - because he is like me - he loves the truth.

I confess my sins, he will not punish me. He calls strange words, "Corpus delecti."

I am comforted knowing I am innocent of the crimes. He is far more powerful than me. When I see him I pay tribute. He is not a man subject to bribery - he is happy. I bring beautiful women to him. He tests them for me - speaking sweetly. The women I speak of have rare beauty. He would not dare look at them in public, men turn their eyes quickly when she catches their gaze- they are so beautiful great men are humble. For the first time, I'm in a dangerous place. I dare not let fine women battle with me in his court.

He tells me a secret that I already know. They cannot say it outloud. I do not know if we are on the record. You will have to take his word for it because I have no recording. He does not lie and shepherds many. He loves me so much that he sent emissaries to take me for a beautiful tour of Southern Missouri. Taxes pay for my journey - I know I am important now.

I lie to him. It's my first time. I don't know why - he asks me a question that I cannot answer. I cannot stop the one-eyed man - he tells the judge I am kind. I am punished for my inequity. The law does not permit me to be kind. I have no right. I am already a bond-servant.

I am angry at the one-eyed man and tell him I will scold him in public. He takes the private places of my heart and places them on the judge's bench. It is not his right. I will call him when it is time. He does not know what he does, so I forgive him. The one-eyed man is a leader who wants my favor - we are breaking rules I have sworn not to violate.

An important election is here. I have studied the texts - I have written the histories. I am scared for my people. I tell the people the tax is unholy. Many many men hate me for it - some are powerful and kind - they throw money down on chance - they have too much - they test the hearts of men to see who will get it. I need none of it but I love them and want to hear their wisdom. In the presence of great rulers they challenge me - I tell them to look at my shoes - they have holes - though I stand in mans high places they bow to look at my feet and marvel. There money is nothing to me - only honor and respect are important in this room which is the bounty me in high places give me. I am the only one who stand with conviction against the tax - everybody knows it. If I lose I am nothing to the politicos - If I win a prophet. My power is tested. My words compel the masses - the most powerful men cannot tax the people without me. I am blameless in my writing and dare them to challenge me. I love correction and learning.

I carry their voice and send it in packages to the radio station. The printed newspaper will not hear me. They have larger turkeys to fry - a governor to roast. They make me angry.

My vote is nothing, my words are mighty - they control thousands of votes. They know I love them and I speak the truth. They trust me more than I am worthy and I know this but do not doubt it.

They do not even know me but my words are sweet.

The vultures cannot pick my bones - wise men love me - they seek me everywhere I promise - Check the public record.

Only one man can hurt me without cause. He is greater than a prophet - he is my dad. His power is crushing but he does stands in front of judges everwhere and asks them to be fair. Thousands wait but his presence is overwhelming. The move to the side while he walks me to the judges. Strangers stand in awe. In two words the judge erases my record - I am repeatedly blameless though I am guilty. I do not even deserve his punishment - it is too kind. I am young.

He only asks that I speak truth. If I do not - he will beat me. I am so greatful for his correction in my youth. He is wise and shares his knowledge so I may bring such honor to my children - this is impossible I can never be greater than them - he is a prophet - only I have read his book - I am the keeper of my family's history. My history you study but do not know. I'll prove it - invite me to your house - it will be blessed - I seek the knowledge of your teachers. I want them to beat me so I may be wise. I will no longer listen to the ramblings of fools. They will have to wait in line until they become wise.

Judge Jim Justus looks at me - his hair is long. He pretends to not know me. He loves me I assure you because I record his family history and bring him honor. His job is the most dangerous. He cannot think of love - if he is wrong in his judgment men will hunt him down. Stirring his anger is not wise. He determines what happens with children's lives when they are born and men's riches when the pass. Test my knowledge - I assure you of this.

Do you think I know nothing of law? Test me, try me - I will love you for it. My clan has a secret place where they feed me - you are never allowed to enter. There are secrets you will never know - things blind men see and deaf men hear.

Do you accuse me of stealing, lying bribery? I accuse you - but I am kind - I give everyone an equal voice. Do you think I care about Democrats and Republicans? Are you so foolish that you believe I pay the Missouri Bar to stand in court? I can crush my enemies but I do not because I'm surrounded by friends.

I would rather mock the lot of them than join them. 28,000 in the Missouri Bar and not one will stand to the integrity of half their clients. I do not write them grievances. I know their rules - I study their precepts - I am one of them - ask the best you know. They will beg me to study at their institutions. All their works are fruits of a poisonous tree - I cannot be convicted but they're not angry. They tell their clients not to speak to me but I've already uncovered their secrets and watch to see what the judges do.

I let the courts judge then tell the story. My investigative reporting is beyond the police detectives; I choose my words more carefully than the finest men of law. They marvel at my knowledge and shudder when they enter the room. I know their secrets and cover them so their enemies cannot hurt them.

As I said - they are sophists - the entire bar - I do not need them to answer the judge when he says, "Your money or your life." They have asked me. Ask Jack Purvis he will tell you. I debate the lot of the them on the courthouse steps and listen to thier private negotiations. Men live and die by their actions. They are important - I do not interfere. Because of this they talk to me.

For the reporters out there........How easy it is to get the Prosecuting Attorney's opinion? You cite them often as do I - this is nothing - he is elected. My works cite the defense attorneys - the newspapers know not what a privilege this is- I am careful and they know this. They trust me with their secrets. I am honorable and they know this. I give them respect though they know they deserve none. We have an equal love of justice - they are my peers.

Purvis is my friend, he picks me up and I scold him. He's driven hours to see me with his loving wife. She cooks for me when I am hungry. He humbly asks me for advice when I enter his living room. He understands and I am grateful. He is the only man I know who enters darker places than I - things you cannot nightmare properly about - I hold him blameless and promise to criticize him harshly in the open corridors of public affairs. He wants to do God's work. He smiles at me with love. It's my personal job to judge them. I have made it such. He loves when I mock him for his iniquities. See his joy yourself on Monday nights. Watch me play, taunt and criticize him. He will love me for it - I know this. He seeks wisdom.

Drink this cup of prophecy. My weapons are words - they are chosen carefully. I will come at you hard. I will interrogate you in the streets and you will happy I have taken the time to speak to one as lowly as I know you are. If I can, I will cover up your blackened history and make it white as snow.

I am a refugee and as petty as a vulture. The lowly love me. I am friend to the tired, naked poor. I have friends who've spent so much time in their prisons they would kill for the opportunity to return to prison. You have belittled them. You put yourself in high places and think you are wise. You are not. You will not take liberties with me or my children. My heritage is richer than you can imagine - as I said even the wicked respect me.

I am a soldier - a man who loves correction and I love you - so I will correct you. Call me, write me but don't waste my time. This is my only limited resource.

When I was tired you gave me no place of rest - when I was hungry you did not feed me - when I suffered you laughed. You tried to shame my name. There is nothing you can do to me that I haven't endured. I know men far more evil than you and I fear them none.

After the judge asks the sheriff to unshackle my chains I punish the jailers with words sharp as knives for their treatment of my friends. A man dares look at me and says, "You'll leave and forget this place - happens every time." I'm yelling at him with the loud voice I reserve for elected officials. "You have no idea who I am." As I leave the jail they shout my name - they love me - try to tell them I'm not worthy. You do not want to be tested by these characters I assure you unless you are ready to witness the shadow of death.

I mean no harm. I'm really angry at you people for not realizing who you are and what you're capable of. Your power is beyond your wildest fantasies and you tell me you have none. If I don't speak the truth, question me. If I don't have the answer, I will seek it for you. On this day I give you thanks for the greatness you will achieve and what you do to negate Rousseau's statement, "Man is born free but everywhere he goes he is in chains'.

I have many battles but have only one job. I speak truth - correct me and I will love you - find it and you will be free - no walls can stop you - judges will love you - I promise this with all my heart - you will fall to your knees and give thanks.

Do not Pass Go - Do not get the opportunity to defend your honor

Gary Groman, the most visible writer in the region slandered me in his online newspaper while I was imprisoned for failing to appear before the 38th circuit. My response is posted below. He calls himself the Ole Seagull - a bird that poops on people while they're eating lunch. An Old Seagull has especially good aim.

So there I was chillin’ with the governor (my yearlong goal) hours before I’d be taken away by order of the 38th circuit court.

Before honor comes humility and blatant disregard for a requested presence with a 38th Circuit Judge can land you in a place a Tijuana jailer would be ashamed of. Thus my lack of posts on my blog the last couple of weeks.

They say a good man gets knocked down six times and rises seven.

For now, I'm very tired having walked from the cliffs of Hollister - across the Taneycomo Bridge - to the landing - the length of 76 boulevard - then Green Mountain Drive to Pointe Royal where I met with Kid Future, Gary Groman and Branson’s Mayor.

I began walking at 4:30 AM this morning and arrived at 7:00 AM just in time to have coffee with Gary Groman the Ole Seagull (a local political pundit) and the Mayor.

I go to great lengths seeking truth- pay everything I have to get it – sell it for no price and share it freely.

I'm grateful to have the opportunity to respond and defend my honor after Gary Groman – the Ole Seagull – “Champion of Higher Taxes” took the opportunity while I was knocked down to lay an aggressive assault on my character. I'm equally grateful to have friends - many of you - who told me of this post.

As practice, I make myself visible both in the community and on-line. I maintain accountability for what I write and use a singular handle. I have never hid from correction and post criticism on my websites as long as appropriate language is used – especially if the author discloses their identity. I give even my enemies a voice.

Thank you citizens of Taney County for wisely casting your vote on Proposition A. Some really good creative energy that those trying to pass the tax invested will not be wasted. I personally believe that refinement of some interesting ideas proposed (though not in the proper manner) through work sessions could benefit the community. In this, I include ideas submitted in work sessions involving Vonda Sheets, a reporter for Ozark Mountain Newspapers and Donna Clevenger who coresponds for the Branson Daily News.

I strongly objected to the tax. Branson’s official city minutes read:

“Darin Codon, P.O. Box 2065, Branson, Missouri, stated he has been following this county tax
proposal and he feels there are some major issues in this county that need to be addressed. He said
this special interest tax upsets him because he knows there are a limited amount of funds and the levy
can not continue to be put on the backs of the people. He said the transportation aspect was needed
and was a good aspect to the proposal but Proposition A as a whole (sic)provides little or no economic value to the county. He also
added there are some very serious problems in the community that needs to be looked at that could
destroy the tourist economy and one of them is the Meth problem. He said he has looked at some stats
which show us as number one in the region. He said this is the wrong tax, at the wrong time. “

(Proposition A was inserted to avoid confusion)

Vonda Sheets and Donna Clevenger were negotiating for the tax as a representative of a private psuedo-government entity called the White River Valley Historical Society. It evolved through a multi-month process. I called it snake oil reporting – again I elaborate on this website lengthily and hold a great grudge against the Springfield Newsleader for giving the issue no coverage.

I have accused them of simultaneously lobbying for money and writing for the paper promoting the Tax. It’s my belief that citizens weren’t getting a fair shake nor were their actions helping us remain “free and self governed.” I believe the public deserved better and that Sheets and Clevenger should adhere to the basic standards prescribed by the Professional Journalism Society’s Code of Ethics - especially when they're being published on the front page of the newspaper.

I frequently discuss this concern and try to practice it. I’m not perfect, but seek perfection and see reporting as an awesome responsibility – I take this very seriously and the part of the code which demands we fulfill a moral obligation by calling out infractions when the code of ethics are violated. I hated writing it, but after a month of what I have labeled misrepresentative reporting I didn’t feel I had another choice.

A discouraging post was created by Vonda Sheets (she didn't publish her name directly hiding behind an alias “SheIsIndependent.”

I've written extensively on the topic which I dubbed [URL=""]Branson Mediagate.[/URL]

To summate: There is universally accepted journalistic code of ethics (Society of Professional Journalists Elaborates) the community expects from reporters – Below are links to adaptations by three different media outlets. Al Jezeera adopted the most lenient guidelines with the minimum standards.

A few of adaptations of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics as applied to journalists.
Business Week
Al Jezeera

The idea is that you want your reporters to be interested in telling you the truth and not beholden to any other interest - a violation of this standard will get you fired from any major publication. It seems to me – from firsthand experience - in Branson, following it could get you fired. How sad for the citizens.

Gary very elegantly asked a question to the public begging “Did Darin Codon lie about the old Seagull.” Of course, I did not. It’s not uncommon for Gary Groman to edit and delete sections of writers posts so I’ve opted to place this article here – the only way I can be assured my work will be maintained with integrity.

Let’s look shall we?

“Groman had the audacity to ask me if I thought corruption was involved with the creation of the tax - to which I answer patently, thoroughly, by definition.”

(In the article the dictionary definition of corruption is posted)

Did Groman ask the question? If he did I’m innocent. If Gary didn’t I have an error which deserves correction.

Proposition A - was created for and by the corrupt. (Darin Codon)

Gary Groman responded, “Wish it had been handled differently but isn't that a bit strong?)

This is what he wrote after I posted 14 articles elaborating on the activities of Sheets and Clevenger. Since Gary Groman published articles citing terms posted on this website we can assume Groman reads this site (though he doesn't always site his source - we're glad to help Gary so he can better serve the public)

I stated, "Groman wants us to ignore the corrupt and underhanded methods used to illicit public support for a tax levy created by and for special interests and ignoring Taney Counties most needy."

Gary elaborates on the issue in a previous article citing “appearance created” in a 13 point endorsement of an economic development tax in Taney County.

My assumption is based off the statement “he would recommend ignoring what has happened up to this point.” I assumed Gary Groman was stating “he recommends ignoring (insert whatever gave an “appearance” of something shady) We’re assuming Gary means “appearance” of something that wasn’t right and that we should trust the commissioners --- because……(he didn't insert a reason).”

I believe the official record is very clear in what I mean when I say “most needy” and the lengthy posts on Proposition A as covered in the 14 article series called Branson Mediagate clearly elaborate on my position.

We have serious issues and it’s my belief that we need to fund the “Departments of Saving Lives” before the “Department of Fun and Games” The citizens apparently agreed and while some tax proposals passed on Nov. 6th Proposition A was not.

I understand Gary’s anger. I called him out for taking a hard left turn relating to his stance on taxes. I called him out on several counts and have a couple major concerns which will be addressed shortly. Unfortunately, Gary's website at times seems like more of a dictatorship than a democracy. Gary reserves the right to edit posts and break rules at will for his own purposes whenever he sees fit.

I would encourage readers to follow the timeline of my posts on Proposition A ( and the verbiage entered into the dialogue regarding Proposition A by Gary Groman.

I would encourage Gary to read the Professional Journalist Code of Ethics and more importantly encourage Gary to promote the standards and encourage others to do the same.

I acted slowly – not quick to anger - hoping the journalists covering the issue of a new tax levy would change their ways and disclose their participation in creating the tax long before any names were mentioned.

It seemed the temptation to endorse the tax was greater than the responsibility of educating the public about it. This is my opinion and a slew of stories published by Ozark Mountain Newspapers (not published here) gives great clarity to the motivation behind the journalists addressing the topic.

As officers of an organization lobbying for tax funds disclosure should have been given as a minimum instead of speaking about an organization they control as if it were a third party they have no affiliation with.

It would be fair to assume that the writer isn’t benefiting directly by having their hobby financed on the tax payer dime. Don’t the citizens deserve that?

Proposition A is the first issue I’ve ever taken a stance on. I felt obligated to say something even though it wasn’t popular and could cause me great harm. I hated having to attack the powerful and oppressive press in Taney County , but I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do. I had a moral obligation. As you can see from my posts I feared the "corruption tax" would pass because due to an uninformed public and

Ordinarily, I like to cut out windows for the public to view their government – (elected for and by them). But the best I could do in this case was create a reflection.

Of course it harmed me- read the posts on this site, I had to take on a band of multi-millionaire politicos in an incestuous political community. Do you think I wanted the nightmare of the repercussions ? Do you think I wanted to criticize individuals far more powerful than myself?

I hope my writing has given perspective, increased awareness and provoked thought. I hope I will be remembered as one who took the cause of the helpless; - who stood up for what he believed was right even when bullies tried to terrorize him.

After I pass – in my professional life – I hope to be viewed as a Government Watchdog instead of a Government Lapdog. I hope I can stand up as someone who was fair and told both sides of the story.

After many many warnings to the journalists I accused of violated the code of ethics - I came out…..and came hard against Proposition A. I believe the information I shared helped Gary Groman – the ole seagull - compile material while he was writing for the paper. I believe I did.

With Proposition A, a one side of the story was being told repeatedly in two publications – one of which Gary – “gains his silver from”.

I took the other side to try and balance out the dialogue. I went hard – maybe too hard.

The newspaper’s stance on taxes has been followed by voters in several of our last elections.

Gary Groman’s endorsements for public office were also followed…repeatedly. A politician once asked me – “Do you think it’s possible to beat Gary Groman in an election?”

How sad.

I believe there are two sides to most stories when conflict is involved and taxes are always categorized as a conflict issue. Citizens can only be taxed so much and when taxes are allocated the governments priorities are solidified. It’s like a game of Jinga – you can only pull so many pieces out of a free market economy before it collapses.

I believe we need to consider the least of our citizens first – before special interests.

It seemed to me, after a dozen articles were posted by area publications – without disclosure of the journalist’s direct affiliation with an entity benefiting from the tax – great damage was done. It’s disrespectful in the most heinous way to the process of democracy and the expectation of the public. I believe this with all my heart.

I went to jail a couple weeks ago for missing appointments with a judge. I confided that I had missed the appointment with an attorney. The same attorney alerted Groman, perhaps to gain favor when he looked at the court docket and found I was incarcerated for failure to appear.

I believe, in America, a man/woman has the right to a trial before he/she is convicted. The thread assumes I’m guilty; though my plea before the judge is one of innocence.

Back to ethics. Can someone here cite the Associated Press recommendations for handling a divorce? It’s pretty clear.

A woman posts above that ” I’ve paid a debt”. By reading the ramblings of Gary’s lapdogs, one would assume that I’m guilty of a crime. What crime was I convicted of?

Perhaps, an attorney among us can clarify the difference between being accused and convicted and elaborate which category my case falls into.

Thank God we live in country where one is tried before convicted – it’s drafted by our forefathers into the constitution. It’s pretty important for a darn good reason.

Psst…Gary, which “crafter of words” which Taney County reporter understands the Missouri court system best?

Vonda Sheets – a newspaper reporter - found great joy in my incarceration for failing to appear and wished that I had spent more time in a place where I watched a man beaten for a sandwich. Hmmm. I’m sorry you feel that way Vonda but am happy I could bring some joy to you in your life.

To Vonda Sheets:

More importantly Vonda, I hope you consider the importance of your work as a journalist as a historian and as a participant in democracy. There is no greater role you have than giving us the information we need to be free and self governed. You have additional responsibilities as a custodian of fact and to disclose your affiliations. If you fall short, I’ll be there to make sure the work is done to the best of my ability. Our future depends on it.

As God as my witness, I never wanted to battle one as powerful as you. In the confines of the newspaper offices, I learned of your wrath well. I learned what it meant to be assigned to a position you once held and just how cruel you and your friends could be. I only won that spot because I worked harder, was fairer to public officials and was bolder in my pursuit of truth.

May democracy win.

I could be wrong – perhaps like the sign said over the Taneycomo bridge (the sign falsely represented the tax proposal might “build a bridge” – the printed slogan though the crafters of the tax designed the proposal in such a way that no fiscal responsibility to build a bridge was entailed.

I figure after 100 stories published through 6 media outlets that I’ve earned the right to call myself a journalist – Gary challenges the notion. If I’m not, I hope those greater than I can teach me what journalism is. I’m ready and willing to listen.

To Gary:
You’re a great writer Gary, I hope I’ve inspired passion in you. Vonda, you too are an extremely talented wordsmith and may your liberal sprinklings remain a joy to the downtrodden.

For the rest of you, I hope the three years I’ve posted video, pictures and editorial have benefited and/or enlightened you in some way. At least, I hope I’ve entertained you.

May freedom endure and the prison walls that contain us both seen and unseen be shattered.

Grand Plaza Hotel Robbed - Police looking for suspect

The Branson Police Department is investigating a report of an armed robbery that occurred overnight at an area motel. Shortly before 2 a.m. two men entered the lobby of the Grand Plaza Hotel located at 245 north Wildwood Dr. and inquired about a room. One of the males then displayed a handgun and demanded money. After receiving an undisclosed amount of money, the suspects left the scene. There were no injuries during the incident.

The suspects were described as white males, both being in their mid 20’s, one male was approximately 5’7”, 145 pounds, with short dark hair, wearing a dark jacket with red sleeves and blue jeans. The second male is described as tall and lanky, approximately 6’ 150 pound, having dirty blonde hair that covered his ears. He was wearing a dirty white ball cap, brown suede jacket and blue jeans. Suspects were seen leaving the hotel in a full size, white extended cab pick-up.

The investigation continues at this time. Anyone having information to offer regarding this incident is asked to contact the Branson Police Department at 334-3300 or to offer information anonymously, the department’s CATCH line at 334-1085.

Caroll W. McCullough

Chief of Police

Senator Kit Bond endorses Guiliani

Kansas City Star reports:
Sen. Kit Bond made good on his promise to endorse Rudy Giuliani for president today.

"He has the right vision for America," Bond told a press conference at a downtown Washington hotel. "I think it’s time we make ‘America’s mayor’ America’s next president."

Bond becomes chairman Giuliani's Missouri campaign and co-chairman of his national effort.

Giuliani was "very happy" to have Bond’s support. He noted that the Missouri primary would be held Feb. 5, basically a national primary day when voters in more than 20 states will cast ballots. The former New York mayor called Missouri and the early states "enormously critical."

"He knows that al-Qaida and the brand of terrorism that it brings is the greatest danger and greatest threat to our country in the years to come," he said.

Bond opposes abortion. Giuliani supports a woman's right to choose, although since he has been running for president he has called it "morally wrong."

Asked how he squares their opposing views, Bond said afterward that Giuliani was for "strong parental notification" and opposes partial birth abortions.

"Frankly, I'm very comfortable with his position," Bond said.

The four-term senator also took a stab at some humor.

"Rudy’s a big city mayor from New York and I’m a small town boy from Missouri and governor," Bond said, referring to his hometown of Mexico, Mo. — population 11,000. "He’s a Yankees fan and I’m a Cardinals fan. We both had bad years last year."

Full Story...

KC's Blue Girl Thinks Red On Energy Dependence

Fascinating rant by one of Kansas City's most outspoken "lefty" bloggers.

Smoking For Health - SCHIP & Branson's Bloodmoney Reduction Act

Funny video regarding SCHIP and smoking.

Soon, the "Bloodmoney Reduction Act" will be submitted to Branson Alderman. The initiative sponsored by "People against corruption and Faux-change" will propose the city of Branson utilize an estimated $70,000 collected annually through cigarette sells to be used to fund provision of smoking cessation devices.

A similar program was initiated by the State of Missouri with great success. In fact, the program was too successful.

As a result, the health department moved to "education goals" where true results will never actually have to be measured nor accountability an issue.