Thursday, November 29, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
But Congressman Tom Cole- R-OK says it's due to individual decisions- not a wave of discontent. Read the entire story at the link below:
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday afternoon while on a trip in Virginia, former Chickasha, Oklahoma Mayor Jim Parker and his wife were involved in an accident. Diannah was killed at the scene and Jim was taken to an area hospital. He was treated and released. Diannah was the 4th District Committeewoman from Grady County. District Committee members will remember her from our last meeting. She was selling Oklahoma Christmas ornaments for the OFRW club at the meeting. Please remember Jim and the family during this time of loss. If you would like to send a card, the address is: Jim Parker- 219 Willow Creek- Chickasha, OK 73018.
Pat Buchanan has a new book out that declares the end of America. Day of Reckoning says America is coming apart from the inside and the United States is unlikely to survive past 2060. Buchanan says, “We are on a path to national suicide.” Pat cites several reasons for his doomsday forecast. First, the military is too small to meet our global commitments. Second, the dollar has plunged to historic lows and is being abandoned by foreign governments. Third, manufacturing in the U.S. is on the decline. Fourth, the out of control illegal immigration that has basically resulted in the loss of the Southwest to Mexico. Fifth, the culture is collapsing and people are now aligning themselves by race and class. And finally, a fiscal crisis is inevitable due to the unfunded mandates of Social Security and Medicare.
On the issue of trade, Buchanan is a “protectist” or some would call him an “isolatist”- that is one that believes the U.S. should protect itself from foreign competition by imposing stiff tariffs on goods imported into our country. Buchanan’s stance is not without support. Founding fahter, Alexander Hamilton of The Federalist Papers fame wrote: “Not only the wealth, but the independence and security of a country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufacturers. Every nation...ought to endeavor to posses within itself all the essentials of a national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitation, clothing and defense.” America's political independence, Hamilton was saying, could not survive without economic independence. The world has changed a tad since Hamilton wrote those words, but it’s a proven fact that America is losing the manufacturing base.
Trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT have made it easier for US companies to move their manufacturing operations to foreign countries where labor costs are less and governmental regulation is not as restrictive. Free trade has shipped jobs, factories, and technology to China. In the last twenty years, twenty percent of the manufacturing jobs in America have left the country.
Buchanan points out that in 1960, eighty nine percent of the United States population was European-Americans. That number is now sixty six percent and declining. Buchanan predicts by the year 2050, over 100 million Hispanics will be living in America, most in the Southwest U.S. states, including Oklahoma.
Buchanan offers several recommendations to turn the tide. He recommends closing most of the 1,000 military bases abroad and bringing the troops home. He says we need a return to federalism and the overthrow of our judicial dictatorship by Congressionally mandated restrictions on the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. He also urges that no amnesty be granted to the 12-20 million illegal aliens in our country and that a fence from San Diego to Brownsville be erected.
Pat has the problem diagnosed, but his treatment is one that is not rooted in reality. Take the issue of manufacturing for example. Not only is America losing manufacturing jobs, but so is Japan, Brazil, and China. That’s right- China. China the manufacturing capital of the world, lost 15% of their manufacturing jobs the past ten years. The reason- higher productivity and more automation. All over the world, factories are becoming more efficient. They've installed new equipment and utilized new technology. And that often means fewer jobs. Take a look at the automobile industry. Fewer people work in that sector but they're able to make a lot more cars. That's happening all over America and throughout the world, in any industry where you can use machines and know-how to make people more productive.
On the issue of federalism, Buchanan is right. True federalism accommodates profound national disagreement by allowing each state to tailor the local climate to suit itself. Federalism is an escape-valve that lets polarizing bitterness blow off into the stratosphere. The authors of The Federalist Papers knew that each state must be allowed to run its own show. "Everyone knows that a great proportion of the errors committed by the State legislatures," writes James Madison in Federalist 46, "proceeds from the disposition of the members to sacrifice the comprehensive and permanent interests of the State, to the particular and separate views of the counties or districts in which they reside." The US House and Senate do indeed work that way. The Federalist authors were right. The Representatives from each state “represent” their varied constituency. What Madison, Hamilton, and Jay failed to foresee was the transformation of the Supreme Court into a third chamber, a U.S. version of Britain's House of Lords in its heyday, with unelected members who serve for life and do not represent constituencies. Buchanan rightly advocates restricting the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
Can the Guv pull it off? If he can rally the base, get his vote out and explain away some of his fiscal decisions while Arkansas Governor, Huckabee could be the nominee. Can he beat Hillary? We have never elected a President who started with a 40% disapproval rating. Hillary is a polarizing figure with LOTS of baggage. Check out the Washington Post story about Mike Huckabee at the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2007/11/20/ST2007112002497.html?hpid=topnews
DOES HUCKABEE HAVE ETHICS ISSUES?
SOME SAY HE DOES- READ THE DETAILS AT THE LINK
Jeremy Zilber has written a Childrens Book called WHY MOMMY IS A DEMOCRAT. Zilber's bio is below, which also explains why he wrote the book. Thanks to Amos Smith for sending me the link. You can find out more about the book and see some "sample" pages at http://littledemocrats.net/samples.html
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A lifelong Democrat and political activist, I have been teaching and writing about American politics for over a decade. Although Why Mommy is a Democrat is my first children's book, I've previously authored and coauthored numerous political essays and the book Racialized Coverage of Congress: The News in Black and White. After hearing for years that I should consider writing children's books, I finally decided to give it a try. But I didn't want to write a typical children's story; instead, I set out to write a book that would help parents communicate important political values to their children and offer an underlying theme of political satire for adults. The result, Why Mommy is a Democrat, reflects my passion for progressive politics, my sense of humor, and my academic training in fields such as political psychology and socialization.Operating on a shoestring budget, I was extremely fortunate to find a gifted and experienced local artist, Yuliya Firsova, who agreed to illustrate the book. Yuliya did a truly marvelous job of bringing my ideas (and some of her own) to life. Thanks to her, the final product exceeds my wildest expectations.Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, I received a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. I currently live in Madison, Wisconsin, with my partner Julia, her daughter Isabella (age eight), and our cat Zachary -- all lifelong Democrats. Zilber's next book is entitled WHY MOMMY IS A SLUT!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
10 years is what former news anchor gives newspapers.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Section 24, Article 3 of the Oklahoma Constitution states This article shall not impair the right of the people to amend this Constitution by a vote upon an initiative petition therefore. Currently in the Sooner state, it takes eight percent of legal voters that voted in the last general election to get on the ballot. The petition must be drafted, and then filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. A title is given to the petition and the petitioners then have ninety days to collect the required signatures- 74,117 legal Oklahoma voters - and get it back to the Secretary of State. One stipulation is the circulators must be by state law citizens of Oklahoma. The signatures are then verified, the petition is sent to the Supreme Court who reviews the petition and certify the signatures. A date is set for the election and the issue goes to a vote of the people. This is one area where Oklahoma voters have a definite advantage over some of bordering states. Texas and Kansas have no initiative or referendum petition mechanisms and New Mexico only allows for referendum petitions. Through the years, Oklahoma voters have been forced several times to take matters into their own hands when the legislature failed to do the job.
In 1992, Oklahoma state voters approved SQ 640, which required the legislature to bring any NEW tax to a vote of the people before it was implemented. It was in reaction to the out of control spending by the Democratically controlled state legislature. Other major issues Oklahoma voters have voted on through the years are legislative term limits, right-to-work, reduction in vehicle license tags, cockfighting, gambling, liquor by the drink, and many others. The initiative petition process has been good for Oklahoma citizens. It has provided the state’s citizens a way to bypass the legislature and improve our state.
Recently Oklahoma’s initiative petition process has been under attack and so have some of those who have been trying to get issues on the ballot. Last year, efforts to put a school funding formula on the ballot failed, as did a proposal to increase the minimum hourly wage. An effort to get a Taxpayers Bill of Rights on the ballot also failed, but not for lack of signatures, but for allegedly using out of state collectors to get the required signatures. Three people have been indicted on felony counts and face upcoming trials. That has prompted State Rep. Jabar Shumate to announce he will file legislation to crack down on fraudulent practices that have plagued Oklahoma’s initiative petition process.
Shumate says, "Too often, the paid signature collectors working in our petition process will say just about anything to get someone to sign his or her name." MUST HAVE BEEN DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS WITH THE CLIPBOARDS! Shumate, D-Tulsa goes on to say. "Several of my constituents have signed a petition only to later learn of the true contents of the ballot question they are ‘supporting.’ Unfortunately, there’s no way for them to correct their mistake." I love legislation that PROTECTS US FROM OURSELVES!
Under current law, there is no method for a voter to have his or her name removed from an initiative proposal. Shumate plans to file legislation in the 2008 session that will allow voters to contact the Office of the Secretary of State to have their name removed from a ballot petition.
Shumate concludes by saying, "Our initiative petition process must be above reproach," "My legislation will clean up the system and reduce fraud. I believe it will receive bipartisan support." Last week, Shumate’s proposal was attacked in an editorial by The Oklahoman and branded “nonsense.”
Oklahoma’s initiative petition process made The Wall Street Journal on Monday. In an article entitled, “Oklahoma’s Most Wanted” and subtitled “The latest thing in political felonies; a petition drive,” the editorial focuses on the plight of Paul Jacob, a political activist from Tulsa who has been charged with violating the state statute that requires petition circulators be legal residents of Oklahoma. Jacobs has said, “This indictment is not about the law, but about politics- ugly, anti-democratic politics,” The WSJ goes on to accurately observe, “Ironically, it is perfectly legal for opponents of a petition to solicit money and manpower from out-of-state. And sure enough, public sector unions opposed to the Tabor initiative recruited people from outfits like the Oregon-based Voter Education Project, an offshoot of the AFL-CIO that specializes in countering signature drives.” They rightly conclude that AG Drew Edmondson’s prosecution of Paul Jacob is politically motivated. This is the latest negative article mentioning Oklahoma in The Wall Street Journal. Because the WSJ is the nations most widely circulated and read business paper, these types of articles hurt our state’s image in the business community.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
By Klaus Marre Posted: 11/11/07 11:29 a.m. [ET] - THE HILL
November 11, 2007
Resurgent GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) guaranteed Sunday that he would win the New Hampshire primary.
Earlier this year, McCain seemed to be on the ropes with poor showings in national polls and the fundraising race. However, the senator, who has admitted that mistakes had been made during the early parts of his campaign, has begun raising more money and has rebounded in national polls. McCain said the critical race in New Hampshire is “wide open” and pointed to the state’s independent electorate.
“A lot of people haven’t made up their minds,” McCain said on Fox News Sunday, before making his guarantee. “I can tell you right now I will win New Hampshire.”
However, McCain said that he would not drop out should his prediction turn out to be false.
The Arizona Republican has recently been more aggressive on the campaign trail, criticizing former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, two of his main rivals for the GOP nomination.
On Sunday, McCain argued that he is the only one of the trio “with any national security experience.”
“I know these issues. I was involved in them ranging from the Cuban missile crisis to the issues we face today,” McCain said. “That’s what my qualifications are, and I think it’s well to point out that neither Governor Romney nor Mayor Giuliani have any national security experience.”
Using the example of the situation in Pakistan, McCain noted that he knows President Pervez Musharraf, visited the country and understands the problems facing the country.
The senator stated his belief that his experience on national security issues will help him win in New Hampshire.
Asked about what he would do about Pakistan, McCain said he would not, at this point, withdraw aid to the country.
“If you play that last card and it doesn’t work, then obviously you have no leverage whatsoever,” the senator said, adding that he would advocate “intensive behind-the-scenes negotiations” to show Musharraf that the “best thing for him, as well as the future of Pakistan, is to go ahead and schedule these elections and move forward with the democratic process.”
Ron Paul was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Gettysburg College and the Duke University School of Medicine. He served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the 1960s. Paul and his wife Carol moved to Texas in 1968, where he began his medical practice. As an OBGYN, Dr. Paul has delivered more than 4,000 babies. Paul served in Congress during the late 70s and early 80s, but he gave up his seat to return to his medical practice in 1984. He decided to run for Congress again in 1997 and has been there every since. He has been a member of Congress a total of twenty years. He is known as “Dr. No” because of his principled stands on fiscal issues.
On November 5th in one day, Congressman Ron Paul, R-TX raised 4.2 million dollars for his Presidential campaign. Paul has now raised more than $7 million since Oct. 1, which is more than half his goal of $12 million by the end of the year. Paul said the additional income would help his campaign step up operations in key primary states. "We can buy unlimited TV in New Hampshire. We already had the 5 (million dollars) left over in the third quarter. So with this coming in, we can expand our purchases not only in New Hampshire, which is not expensive, but now South Carolina is more expensive. We'll be doing a lot more in Nevada and now the organizational work we need over in Iowa," he said. To put it in perspective, Paul has raised about the same amount of money as John McCain- most over the Internet. Who is giving Paul money? He has little support among GOP party regulars. Is Paul was getting the money from the Libertarians within the Republican Party? Not according to Eric Dondero, founder of the Libertarian Republican Caucus.
Dondero, who worked for Paul for six years, says that Paul is not a Libertarian Republican, but a sort of Populist left-winger. Dondero says, ”Since 9/11 Paul has become a complete nutcase conspiratorialist quasi-Anti-Semitic leftwing American-hating nutball.” It’s safe to say Dondero is not a Paul fan. In fact, Dondero has announced plans to run for Congress against his boss in 2008. Paul has been quoted as saying, “if Eric Dondero is the only thing I have to worry about, then I don’t have a lot to worry about. “ But back to the money- as blogger Mike McCarville likes to say, “in politics- follow the money.”
According to official campaign fund raising filings posted at http://opensecrets.org/, Ron Paul’s top donor is well known internet giant Google. Former VP Al Gore serves on the board of directors of this solidly Democrat Company. Google has a history of progressive political activism, both in the way they censor search results to bury conservative slanted stories, and in their campaign contributions. They give money most of the time to Democrats, with the exception of Ron Paul. Because Paul is opposed to the war in Iraq, Google gives him money.
Among Ron Paul’s top donor zip codes are of course parts of Texas, but also heavily liberal districts in Chicago (60614), San Francisco (94117), more than 80% of which supports Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer, and Los Angeles--Long Beach, which is his second largest donor area after Dallas.
What we have here is a candidate trying to win the Republican nomination by raising money from liberals across the political aisle. But even with all the money, his poll numbers among Republicans hasn’t moved.
Paul has very real popularity among the liberals because of his opposition to the war in Iraq. It is not likely he will be successful to get enough people to switch parties in order to win the Republican nomination. But he is doing a great job of validating the perspective of all the negative propaganda uttered by leftists against Bush, Republicans, the War on Terror and national security. He is also doing a great job of helping the left undermine the war on terror and that’s why he’s so popular among anti-war leftists, including the press. The New York Times did a flattering story on him Sunday. And worse of all, Paul threatens the integrity of the Republican nomination process itself by relying upon liberals and their money to win the Republican nomination.
Paul has principles and his voting record in Congress is one that most conservatives would be proud of. That’s why it’s so puzzling that Paul is willing to partner with liberals to further his anti-war, anti-Republican campaign for President. That’s not a principled stand and one that contradicts Paul’s track record in the House.
Paul will not win the nomination. He doesn’t have enough Republican activists in his camp to win, but he can distract. In 2008, when the GOP needs to be in lock step and have every person engaged, we don’t need this irritation- particularly from a man who has always stood on principle.
State Representative Shane Jett -R, Shawnee- plans to introduce a bill calling for a GUEST WORKER program to fix what he says are the "unintended consequences” of Oklahoma's recently implemented immigration reform bill. You can read the entire story at the link below.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Esterday served Clinton, chatted with her and later ended up as an example of a hard-working single mom in Clinton's stump speech. She told NPR she's considering voting for Clinton, but was disappointed the senator and her staff didn't make sure she got a tip for her labor.
The tip issue was a small part of an eight-minute piece about how everyday people get caught up in political campaigns. Half the story was about an incident in which another presidential candidate, Barack Obama, failed to follow up on a letter he said he might send to a supporter he met at a rally. The Obama campaign Thursday said they fired off a letter to the supporter after the story aired. But that part of the story received little mention in the blogosphere after airing Thursday.
Not so the reference to Hillary Clinton and the tip. As soon as that story aired in the 5 o'clock hour Eastern Time, it was picked up by a number of political blogs. And the Clinton campaign immediately contacted news organizations to tell its side of the story. Clinton spokesman Phil Singer wrote to NPR in an e-mail: "The campaign spent $157 and left a $100 tip at the Maid-Rite Restaurant. Wish you had checked in with us beforehand."
Esterday said "nobody got tipped that day," and NPR should have checked with the Clinton campaign before the story aired to see if any tip was left and how it was done. We regret that this was not done. On Thursday, Esterday was sticking by her story.
"Why would I lie about not getting a tip?" she told NPR. She also maintained that her co-workers at the restaurant had not received tips.
A Clinton campaign staffer called on Esterday at the restaurant Thursday after the story aired. The staff member apologized to her and gave her a $20 bill, according to Esterday. The Clinton campaign confirmed that visit. The campaign also produced photocopies of receipts showing $157.46 was paid to Maid-Rite on a VISA card on Oct. 8 for meals consumed by the candidate's entourage. The tip was supposed to have been paid in cash, and the campaign insisted such a payment was made but has declined to make available a staff member who was present at Maid-Rite and left tip money.
Maid-Rite's manager, Brad Crawford, said Thursday that while he was not present at the restaurant on Oct. 8, he knew that a bill was paid by the campaign that day. He also said that he believed three of six servers working that day received tips from people he thought were working for or affiliated with the Clinton campaign.
Crawford said he didn't know if campaign staffers meant "for their tips to be distributed to everybody" or whether they were meant only for individual servers.
The manager said he can't say for sure if Esterday was tipped for serving Clinton and her guests, Christie Vilsack and Ruth Harkin. (Vilsack is the wife of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and Harkin is the wife of Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin). But Crawford said he believes Esterday's account that she received no tip.
"Where Hillary was sitting, there was no tip left," Crawford said.
The restaurant has a lunch counter, where Clinton and her guests were seated. Esterday and several other servers were working behind that counter. There are a dozen or so other booths and tables around the restaurant, and other servers were helping diners seated there.
Esterday, speaking to NPR from home later Thursday, said the Clinton campaign staffer who visited the diner apologized to her and said a $100 tip was left on a credit card the day of Clinton's visit. Esterday said the staff member said the money was meant to be shared.
"I explained to her that our credit card machine, you know, doesn't add on the tip," Esterday said. "And she said, 'Well, then, they left a $100 bill there.' And I said, 'Well, it didn't get divided up amongst us, because I had gotten nothing.'
"She just said, 'Well, there was one left,'" Esterday said. "She just kept repeating, 'There was one left.'
After the campaign staffer stopped at the diner Thursday, Esterday said, the $100 tip was a hot topic.
"Two others that had worked with me that day turned around and said, 'We didn't know about any $100 tip,' because they both turned around and said 'We didn't get a part of it.' And they didn't. So, it's like 'OK, where did it go?' That's the mystery question: Where did it go?"
Esterday said it would surprise her if money that was intended to be split among the staff was never shared.
"The ladies that were working that day have been working there for years — some of them for 30 years, some of them for 25 years," Esterday said. "And I've known a lot of these ladies most of my life living here, too. And I can't imagine them pocketing it."
The campaign has made the the tip question the top feature on a new Web site it has created called "Fact Hub." Campaign spokesman Phil Singer said in a statement: "In the minute-to-minute media cycle we live in, we believe it is critical to correct the record in real time."
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence Over the next next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. " A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. If I were that little boy, I would still be driving nails into the back of the fence or at the lumber year buying a truckload of nails. Great story- Thanks to Steve Hallam for sending it my way.
$30 million dollars in this bill is going to continue the buy out of TAR CREEK According to an informational website about TAR CREEK, "The land in the very northeastern corner of Oklahoma has been deeply wounded by almost a century of lead and zinc mining. Now abandoned and neglected, that wound is poisoning the land, water, and air and through them, the people. Lead poisoning has taken a toll on many of Ottawa County's children and lead is but one of many heavy metals of concern. Everyday tons of metal leaves the flooded mine workings in rust-colored acid mine water and flows downstream, extending the injury." Inhofe has been at the forefront of the fight to help this area of Oklahoma and these poor people. It is a worthy cause. Senators Coburn and Inhofe disagree on this subject, but to be fair, both are consistent in their stance on the bill. Coburn because he says the bill has too many unworthy projects in it and Inhofe because he realistically realizes this is the only best hope these Oklahomans have to alleviate this terrible situation. Rational people can disagree. This appears to be one of those times.
Inhofe's own words
“As a staunch fiscal conservative, I have long argued that the two most important functions of the federal government are to provide for the national defense and to develop and improve public infrastructure. That means I am not shy about voting for increased authorization and spending on national defense needs or public infrastructure. This WRDA bill authorizes and modifies numerous critical projects in the areas of navigation, flood damage reduction, hurricane and storm damage reduction and environmental restoration. The bill also includes many important policy provisions for the Army Corps of Engineers to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the current process. The President’s veto message asserted that the bill ‘lacks fiscal discipline.’ In fact, enactment of this bill will constitute our best tool for enforcing fiscal discipline. Let’s be clear – the WRDA bill is not a spending bill. It is an authorizing bill that establishes which projects and programs are eligible for future funding, thereby setting a maximum limit on what can be appropriated in the future...
“Without regularly enacted WRDA bills, the Appropriations Committee faces enormous pressure to use the annual spending bills to authorize and fund projects that haven’t gone through a full Congressional review. The authorization committees, such as the Environment and Public Works Committee, should provide the first Congressional review, and that is what we have done with this WRDA bill.”
U.S. News & World Report
As the Senate hammers out next year's spending bills, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is on high alert. The physician turned lawmaker has become known on Capitol Hill as the chief fiscal whistleblower, irritating Republicans and Democrats alike when he holds up bills he deems wasteful. Several weeks ago, he embarrassed Democrats by removing a $1 million spending earmark from the Labor appropriations bill that would have gone to a performing arts center in New York that included a tribute to the 1969 Woodstock festival.
The senator recently spoke in his office about why he's so fired up against pork barrel spending. How did you become the spokesperson against earmarks? Earmarks is the symptom of the disease. What's the disease? The disease is a comparison of us versus what's best for our country. When I ran, what I said is that the biggest problem in our country was the culture of Congress because the culture is the thing that limits the Congress from doing what is best in the long term for the country. The people up here are good people. But they are human, and their desire for themselves oftentimes gets in the way of the desire for the best interest of the country. Earmarks cause us to think short term about, "How do I satisfy the desires of people from my state?"... Earmarks really aren't about helping your state. They're really about helping you look good in your state. And if it is about helping you look good in your state, then it is about you, which means it's about your next election, not what's in the best long-term interest of the country. How did this become your bailiwick? (Coburn points to a photo of his four grandchildren.) My grandkids. Don't we all want them to have the same opportunities or better to advance themselves, live free, be personally responsible, and take advantage of this greatest economic experiment and greatest experiment of freedom that's ever been? Don't we want that to continue? We're walking on a ledge. We're letting the political dynamic of partisanship and parochialism undermine the future of our country. The dollar fell to its lowest level today again. The index was down again. Why is the euro worth $1.42 now? Does it have anything to do with people thinking that perhaps we can't repay our debts and maybe we're living beyond our means? What I'm partisan for is the next generation, and we're really loading them [down with debt]. We're loading them to such an extent that most of them probably won't own a home, won't get a college education, because they will be carrying just the interest on our debt. When you start looking, even with a growth rate of 4 or 5 percent, we can't grow out of the problem. So we aren't ever going to be trusted to fix those big problems until the American people have confidence that we're doing with the discretionary budget what we should be doing. I don't have a sophisticated strategy other than, "Here's what I believe." And I'm not worried about losing friends to get there because our country is worth more than that. Our future is worth more than that. Do you think this has hurt you politically? Sen . Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, was quite annoyed about you going after that bridge in Alaska earmark. It already has. If I had an idea for an amendment today, I'd try not to run it. I'd try to give it to someone else because if it had my name on it is automatically going to get no votes from the appropriators. That may be a little bit harsh. It's probably not that bad. But there's no question that I'm an irritant. I understand that. But this body needs an irritant. It needs us to focus on the long run. It needs us to focus on the next generation. But I'm not discourteous. And I'm consistent. They know I'll be out there and I'm not partisan when I attack somebody and I really am thinking about the future. So, it's kind of like Phil Gramm said, I didn't come here expecting to find a lot of friends, and I have not been disappointed. Barack Obama said recently that if he were elected president you would be one of the people he would reach out to across the aisle. He called you a friend. We met back in orientation.... We kind of hit it off...and I think he's a neat guy, a smart guy. I wish him the best. He actually believes in transparency in government and believes that we shouldn't waste money. Now, he'll spend a whole lot more than I ever would. But lobbyists and interests from your state must come to you asking for you to secure funding for various museums, stadiums, etc. They did the first three months. Here's what I asked them: "What program do you want to cut for us to do this?" And they didn't have any answers? No, they didn't. They just want more. So they stopped coming?
They still come; they just stopped asking. They know that I'm not about to sponsor an earmark. I'll never sponsor an earmark.... If you start doing earmarks, what you do is not do the rest of your job and that's this: oversight. You hear all the appropriators say, "We can't just let the bureaucracy spend this money. We need to direct it." Well, what our Founders say is, "It's our responsibility to make sure the government is spending it the right way and hold them accountable when they make poor choices."... Earmarks take your focus off what your job is. Do you think it's hurt you with constituents back home? No, I get letters all the time that say: "I didn't vote for you. I voted for your opponent, but you're doing exactly what you said you'd do. I trust you now and I'll vote for you." That's Democrats and Republicans. I poll about equally in both parties right now. And that's in the mid to upper 60s.... So, for every Chamber of Commerce that's irritated because I won't direct a sewer system to them, I'll get 150 regular citizens who say, "We'll pay for our sewer system. You fix the rest of the problems so our kids are going to be OK." I heard that you returned about $200,000 of unused Senate office funds.
It's about $350,000 now. Where did you cut corners? I expected to come in here and find an understaffed office with paint peeling off the walls. We get plenty of money. If I were a big state and had a whole lot of constituents to take care of, it might be different. But I have seven field representatives—we're in every town all the time.... I have a great staff. They do a super job. We're just efficient. I was a businessman before I was a doctor. I know how to run an organization.... I see when we spend money in our office, we're taking money away from the next generation. If I don't have to spend it, I won't. What made you decide to get into politics back in 1994 when you ran for the House? I was just irritated. I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired, like a lot of other people. I didn't really think I'd come back. Earmarks wasn't your focus back then, though. No, but spending was. Look, you can't do much about earmarks in the House. I did filibuster in the House for the first time in its history. Some of your critics have portrayed you as crazy. The Daily Show mocked your presentation against embryonic stem cell research. The Wall Street Journal has called you Coburn the Barbarian. Does this ever get to you? No.... If I see a bill that is wrong, I'm going to hold it, no matter what the political or press pressure is. Members up here run to the press to try and make me look bad, but what they've now figured out is that it doesn't work. I'm not moving. I don't care how many editorials are written. If I think I'm right, I'm not going to move until I get a bill fixed. How many bills have you held up? Well over 100. On the first of this year, I sent a letter to every member of the Senate that said, "I'm going to object to moving anything by unanimous consent if you are authorizing new spending without deauthorizing old spending."... The paradox in politics, I've found, is the more you stand on principle, the more criticism you get—but the more support you get from your constituency. What do you make of all the spending on the war in Iraq? We should be paying for it.... But the politicians here are not willing to cut expenses here in the country or raise taxes. I don't want us to raise taxes because I know how much waste we've got. But politicians here won't make the hard choices of cutting waste in this government to be able to pay for this war. What they do is just charge it to our grandkids. And that's what we're doing. You're still a practicing physician? I delivered a baby last weekend. A 9-pound, 13-ounce girl. I've delivered over 4,000 babies. Is being a physician at all similar to being a senator? It's a real advantage to being a physician up here because you're taught about how to read people through their body language. You read all the signs instead of what they say. I've heard you prefer being called Doctor Coburn to Senator Coburn. Oh, it doesn't matter to me. You call me to dinner and I'll come.
Joel M. Hefley (born April 18, 1935) is a Congressman who served the 5th Congressional District of Colorado from 1987 to 2007. His wife, Dr. Lynn Hefley, served in the Colorado State House. They have three daughters.
He was born in Ardmore, OK, earned his BA at OBU and his M.A. at OSU. He worked as a management consultant, executive director of the Colorado Community Planning and Research Council, and a member of the Colorado House and Senate before entering the U.S. House of Representatives.
He served as chairman of the House Ethics Committee until 2005. His tenure propelled him from being "among the most obscure members" in the House to gaining national attention, when the Committee formally admonished Tom Delay three times over actions that allegedly went "beyond the bounds of acceptable conduct." Hefley also handled the expulsion case of James Traficant who went on countless tirades and used derogatory language before the committee.
When the new Congress opened in January 2005, House Republicans pushed through new rules curtailing the ways ethics investigations can be launched. While Hefley voted for the rules, he criticized the procedure, "saying he thought the changes were a mistake since they were done without bipartisan discussion." Within a month, Hefley was ousted as chair, because, he said, that "he was too independent." Doc Hastings of Washington was chosen as his replacement.
On February 16, 2006, Hefley ended speculation as to whether he would seek re-election in 2006, instead retiring after 10 terms in Congress. Now he's an Okie- hopefully we will see him at some future party functions. A very principled, unassuming man of character. Welcome back home Congressman and Ms. Representative. The McCarville Report has a story on their move at the link below.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Rasmussen has a DAILY national tracking poll for the Presidential race- both major parties. Check it out at the link below:
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
By LIBBY QUAID
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Televangelist Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, endorsed Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday.
"It is my pleasure to announce my support for America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, a proven leader who is not afraid of what lies ahead and who will cast a hopeful vision for all Americans," Robertson said during a news conference with Giuliani in Washington.
The former New York mayor backs abortion rights and gay rights, positions that put him in conflict with conservative GOP orthodoxy, and has been trying to persuade evangelical conservatives like Robertson to overlook their differences on those issues.
Evangelicals have split in their support for the leading Republican candidates. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a favorite of Christian conservatives who dropped out of the race last month, endorsed fellow Sen. John McCain of Arizona on Wednesday. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney recently announced that Paul Weyrich and Bob Jones III were on board with his candidacy.
Asked about the Robertson endorsement, McCain, at a news conference with Brownback in Dubuque, Iowa, said: "Every once in a while, I'm left speechless. This is one of those times."
Giuliani is best known to voters for leading New York in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Shortly after 9/11, Robertson released a statement in which he said the attacks occurred because Americans had insulted God and lost the protection of heaven by allowing abortion and "rampant Internet pornography."
Robertson made no mention of his differences with Giuliani on social issues in Wednesday's statement.
"Rudy Giuliani took a city that was in decline and considered ungovernable and reduced its violent crime, revitalized its core, dramatically lowered its taxes, cut through a welter of bureaucratic regulations, and did so in the spirit of bipartisanship which is so urgently needed in Washington today," Robertson said.
Robertson, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988, founded the Christian Broadcasting Network, the Christian Coalition and Regent University in Virginia Beach.
Also Wednesday, Giuliani said he asked two GOP friends in Congress, Rep. Peter King of New York and Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, to introduce bills to keep states from giving licenses or similar identification to illegal immigrants.
The Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, was criticized after a televised debate last week when she hedged an answer on whether she supported New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's effort to grant licenses to illegal immigrants. Her aides say she generally supports the idea in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform. Talk about a surprise! Robertson has definitely compromised with this endorsement. There is no doubt that Rudy is probably the candidate the terrorists would hate to see at the helm, but I'm not sure he could convince SWING voters where he is that much different than Hillary.
Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign is hardly being taken seriously by the major media in this country, and that fact was on full display Tuesday night when NBC's Tim Russert took time from the Democratic candidates' debate to ask Kucinich's views on little green men.
Russert asked Kucinich about a recent claimby actress Shirley MacLaine, a longtime friend to the Ohio congressman, that he saw was very moved by an encounter with a UFO many years ago. Kucinich acknowledged the encounter with a mysterious, hovering, triangular craft, but he left open whether he thought it was carrying space invaders.
"I did," he said. "It was an unidentified flying object, OK? It's like, it's unidentified; I saw something." MacLaine wrote that Kucinich found the experience "extremely moving."
"The smell of roses drew him out to my balcony where, when he looked up, he saw a gigantic triangular craft, silent, and observing him," she wrote. "It hovered, soundless, for 10 minutes or so, and sped away with a speed he couldn't comprehend. He said he felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind." Dennis does have a trophy wife- 6' tall red haired Elizabeth Kucinich. She is 30 years younger than "K" and talks a lot about karma.
AND IN A RELATED STORY........
GOP turns impeachment resolution against Dems
By Jonathan E. Kaplan- The Hill
November 07, 2007
House Republicans on Tuesday nearly forced Democratic leaders to vote on a resolution to impeach Vice President Cheney.
Anti-war presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced a privileged resolution, used to circumvent the committee process, to get his impeachment measure to the House floor. Read the full story at: http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/gop-turns-impeachment-resolution-against-dems-2007-11-07.html
By Jackie Kucinich- THE HILL- Full Story below
November 07, 2007
House Republican leaders called on rank-and-file members Tuesday to step up their contributions to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) or face life in the minority for many cycles to come.
During a closed-door meeting, NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) told members that donations to the campaign committee should be a major priority, according to sources in the room. Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) said it is normal for leaders to nudge members to part with some of their campaign funds since many have a natural tendency to be stingy. “[Cole] was encouraging members to meet their obligations to the committee, attend dinners and regional events,” he said, adding that it was common to have speeches such as Cole’s when Republicans were in the majority as well. “Members work hard to raise money, and it is a lot harder [in the minority],” he said. “They can get a little tight-fisted.”
Boehner and Cole clashed earlier this fall over fundraising and staffing issues at the NRCC. Both men downplayed the dispute and claim their differences have been settled.
Cole said in an interview later that appealing to members is a part of the job. “We are in the middle of our dues drive,” Cole explained, adding he was confident members had a “pretty good handle” on what they need to do financially to win back the majority.
According to sources in the room, Ogonowski explained that his anti-Washington establishment campaign resonated with voters. Ogonowski blasted both parties throughout his campaign, going so far as to criticize Boehner over controversial comments on Iraq. Cole described Ogonowski as the GOP “Rocky,” adding, “He was playing in some very tough terrain.” Asked whether the Massachusetts Republican would run again next year, Cole said Ogonowski had not decided.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007 07:21:53 AM
from the Conservative Voice
Sam Brownback, a Kansas conservative and favorite of evangelical Christians, will endorse his former Republican presidential rival John McCain, GOP officials said Wednesday.
The nod could provide a much-needed boost, particularly in Iowa, for the Arizona senator and one-time presumed GOP front-runner whose bid faltered and is now looking for a comeback.
Republican officials said Brownback will announce his support for McCain later Wednesday in Dubuque, Iowa, and then travel with the candidate to campaign in two other cities in the state. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid publicly pre-empting the announcement.
It's uncertain how much weight the Brownback's backing will carry; the Kansas senator dropped out of the race last month with little money and little support. While he is a favorite of religious conservatives, he failed to persuade them to embrace him as the GOP's consensus conservative candidate. He spent months emphasizing his rock-solid opposition to abortion, gay marriage and other issues important to the party's right flank, but left the race ranking low in national polls and state surveys.
Still, Brownback's backing could signal to evangelical Christians that they can trust McCain and could help solidify McCain's credentials on social issues. The endorsement could be especially important in Iowa, where McCain trails in polls. This is a surprise because most thought Brownback would endorse fellow social conservative Mike Huckabee, however Brownback and McCain serve in the Senate together and that is a tight fraternity. Read the entire story at the link:
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Evidently, a Pete Lamb sent a letter to the Norman Transcript that ran Sunday attacking State Representative Scott Martin for not accepting the Centennial Qur'an. I have stated my opinion in previous posts and while I see nothing wrong with taking the book, others disagree. Lamb is using the issue to attack a good legislator and that is wrong. Below is a letter to The Transcript that defends Martin and I have obtained the authors permission to post.
Dear Editor Rieger:
Pete Lamb’s open letter to Rep. Scott Martin published on The Transcript’s Nov. 1st editorial page revealed that Pete was perplexed concerning Scott’s decline of an offer to receive a copy of the Quran from the Governor’s Ethnic Advisory Council, which I understand consist of Muslin’s only. Let me shed some light on this for Pete: The Muslim members were providing these copies at their own personal expense, and to avoid ordering more copies than would be accepted, they sent e-mails to each representative to determine how many to order, asking for a "Yes" or "No" response to their offer.
Those making the offer are well acquainted with Scott and some of the other legislators, and the Muslims who made the offer are too polite to embarrass anyone or put them on the spot. It was a good-will gesture, and it was not their intention to make a big deal of their offer being refused or accepted.
Let me explain further: If a hospitable Okie invited his Muslim friend to Van’s Pig Stand for some pork ribs, a devout Muslim might appreciate the invitation, but would refuse the offer, and the Okie should not take offense at the refusal to dine with him, particularly when the Muslim explains that he understands it is wrong to eat pork. And chances are, the Muslim won’t mind if his Okie friend does go alone and enjoy lunch at Van’s.
Scott is a devout Christian, and his decline of the Quran copy was a reflection of his own convictions. Being straightforward sort he is, Scott did not pretend that he would accept the book, but then turn and let it gather dust: Being painfully polite Scott thankfully declined their offer, allowing them to accurately count those who wanted a copy. Yes, maybe it would be better politics to accept it and pretend to have intentions of reading or studying it. But with Scott, what you see is what you get!
Mr. Lamb has let the rude response from a Sands Springs State Representative get confused with the polite decline from our Representative Martin. The Muslims who know Scott Martin are not upset with him, and we can all be proud of him!
Diane Blair Papers Detailing 1992 Clinton Campaign Won't Be Released Until 2009
By JAKE TAPPER
Nov. 6, 2007 —
Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has been taking heat from her Democratic and Republican opponents for the reams of papers detailing her various activities as First Lady that the National Archives has yet to release from the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library.
And now questions are being raised about why another set of papers relevant to her political career at yet another Arkansas library will not be available to the public until well after election day 2008, despite earlier indications that the papers would have been released by now.
Those papers were written by Diane Blair, a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who taught and engaged in Arkansas politics until her death due to lung cancer in 2000. This is an obvious attempt to keep damaging information out of the public eye until after the November 2008 election. Does the public have a right to know? When we are electing the President of the United States, we not only have a right, but a responsibility to know what is in those documents Hillary doesn't want released until after the election. Read the entire story at http://www.abcnews.go.com/print?id=3825609.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, 04 November 2007
(OKLAHOMA CITY) Conservative Republican leader Oklahoman Dana Murphy announced her campaign for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission today. She pledges to use common sense conservative principles to ensure consumer protection and fundamentally fair regulations for regulated entities while helping advance Oklahoma into the future. Murphy is running for the seat vacated by former Commissioner Denise Bode earlier this year. Dana is a very principled lady who did a great job as our State Vice Chair. She has a great website- check it out and look for my picture. Dana finished third at our 2nd annual Stephens County GOP Chili Cook-off with her WHITE CHILI- not bad stuff. The link for her website is
“As he travels across the country, Governor Romney has outlined a blueprint to build a stronger America rooted in our common conservative principles,” Weyrich stated.
Weyrich’s backing is a major coup for Romney, who has sought to calm whatever fears religious and social conservatives might have about his Mormon faith and concerns they might have about his stances on key issues, such as abortion and gay marriage.
“Paul Weyrich has put his stamp on the conservative movement in this country,” Romney said. “It is an honor to have his support and counsel. Through our efforts, we can work to ensure that Washington always stands on the side of building stronger American families.”
WHO IS PAUL WEYRICH?
Oklahoma State Senator Mary Easley, D, Tulsa, has introduced a bill that will be considered in the upcoming legislative session. SJR #35 would reverse the results of the 1990 statewide ballot issue for legislative term limits. That referendum was approved by a 2 to 1 margin by Oklahoma voters. Easley believes Oklahoma citizens have changed their minds about term limits since 1990, but a 2001 poll conducted by The Oklahoman, showed that 82% of those polled supported term limits for their elected officials. And not all of Oklahoma’s State Senators agree with Easley.
Senator Owen Laughlin, R-Woodward, is serving his final year in office. Laughlin was elected in 1996. The lawyer/pilot has been an effective conservative voice for Oklahoma. He says, “Term limits were overwhelmingly approved by the people, and they have been a wonderful thing for the Legislature and for the state of Oklahoma.” “Getting rid of term limits would be a very bad idea,” stated Laughlin, the Senate’s Republican floor leader. “I can’t think of a single good reason to repeal term limits,” Laughlin stated, “If anything, we need to look for ways to expand term limits to other office in our state.”
That’s exactly what James Dunn of Oklahoma City is trying to do. Dunn, the 2006 GOP nominee for AG, heads up an organization called, Yes on Term Limits officials.http://yesontermlimits.org/. Yes on Term Limits was formed last summer to explore the possibility of expanding term limits to secondary state officeholders. A Pulse Opinion Poll sponsored by YTL in July found that over 80% of Oklahomans support such a concept. According to Dunn, “Government is supposed to work for the people, not powerful special interests. Oklahoma has long supported term limits on elected officials.” Dunn goes on to say, “Yes on Term Limits is organizing a petition to amend Oklahoma’s State Constitution, placing a two term lifetime limit on these un-restricted statewide offices, which limits each office holder to 8 years in a seat.”
Currently in Oklahoma only the Governor and the legislature is term limited. Several powerful statewide offices are currently not term limited. These include: Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor, Superintendent of Public Education, Insurance Commissioner, and the Corporation Commissioners.
Term limits are a controversial subject, even among conservatives. Some argue that we have “term limits.” Citizens can vote out elected officials at the ballot box if we don’t like the job they’re doing and that’s “practical” term limits. They reason that good legislators and elected officials should not be forced out of office when their constituents want them to stay? The argument has validity, but when you consider that 97% of incumbents win elections, you realize its nearly impossible to “term limit” an incumbent. The power of incumbency is a huge advantage to the incumbent.
Some argue term limits “dumb down” the offices that are term limited. They claim public service is like any other vocation- experience is gained as tenure is gained. That’s the stance of Wayne State University Professor Marjorie Sarbaught-Thompson. She says the inexperience of the Michigan Legislature, caused by term limits, were the reason for the state government shutdown and the failure of the Michigan Legislature to pass a balanced budget on time this fall. “This is a perfect example of the lack of experience," said Sarbaugh-Thompson, author of the book, “The Poltical and Institutional Effects of Term Limits.” Perhaps that’s the case in Michigan, but in Oklahoma, term limits have been a good thing.
Last year’s Oklahoma Republican led State legislature cut the income tax rate, passed lawsuit reform (it was vetoed by the Guv), spent less money in 2007 than the previous year, passed the toughest immigratation law in the country, and pushed through a permanent increase in funding for the Teachers Retirement System.
In 2007, Oklahoma’s GOP led “inexpereinced” legislature placed the state budget online in a searchable database so the average citizen can see where tax dollars are being allocated and spent. They increased Medicaid payment rates to doctors, hospitals and nursing homes to ensure that thousands of Oklahomans who need it will have access to healthcare.
Because Dems were in control of our state for the first 96 years, term limits have benefited Republicans. Oklahomans grew tried of being 47th in per capita income, #13 in state burden, and #1 in divorce rate nationally. So in 2002, Oklahomans got sick of it and gave the GOP control of the State House. In 2006, Republicans matched the Dems in the State Senate. Easley’s desperate proposal to change the outcome of an election shows an arrogant out of touch attitude toward Oklahoma citizens. That is exactly the reason most Oklahomans don’t want lifelong representation and voted so overwhelmingly for term limits.
Term limits should be expanded in 2008 to include all statewide and county elected officials.
Friday, November 2, 2007
President Bush has vetoed the water resources bill key to Arkansas River development, and the Tar Creek Clean-up. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., sponsored the Oklahoma provisions and has vowed to help lead the effort to override Bush’s veto. Still developing..... Back in August, Senator Inhofe had a post on his blog that addressed this issue.