Sunday, March 28, 2010


COURAGE AND CONSEQUENCE!
A REVIEW OF KARL ROVE’S NEW BOOK
by Steve Fair

On a recent business trip to Mexico, I read Karl Rove’s book, Courage and Consequence-My life as a conservative in the fight. The 520 page book was interesting and gave a great deal of insight into Rove. A brilliant political strategist, Rove gives some insights into how to run campaigns that is both practical and insightful. The Rovian Campaign model is one that is well thought out. Few politicos can brag they ran two successful presidential campaigns, so when Rove talks strategy anyone who is interested in the mechanics of politics should listen.
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Where Rove gets off the tracks is when he begins to deal with the multiple attacks he endured while he served in the White House. He spends page upon page recounting the incidents that is designed to convince the reader there was never any justification for any investigation into anything Rove had done.
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He spends a inordinate amount of time on the “Joe Wilson/Valarie Plame’ incident and is critical of Patrick Fitzgerald, the Special Prosecutor assigned to investigate. Fitzgerald, a Chicago Republican, has earned a reputation of being hard nosed and fair, but Rove paints Fitzgerald as a being petty.
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Rove’s total life has been politics. He started volunteering in campaigns while in high school and has never done anything else. But unlike true political activists and most volunteers, Rove has made a very good living in the political consulting industry. In reading his book, you would think he was broke. Rove says the reason he left the White House was because he needed to provide more money for his family. No one begrudges a person who wants to make an honest buck, but Rove should not have painted himself as someone who has sacrificed while being involved in politics. He gets big bucks making speeches and commenting on politics on FoxNews. He still is a highly sought out political consultant, so the poverty line rings hollow.
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Rove defends former President George W. Bush throughout the book, which is understandable because not only are they friends, but Rove has earned a pretty good living running Bush's campaigns. I do believe Bush is a principled man, but he did expand government and Rove defends that action to preserve his conservative credentials.
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The most disturbing thing in the book is near the end- page 514 where Rove quotes Barrick Obama in his book The Audacity of Hope. Rove is mentioned in Obama’s book along with Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed as "‘conservative operatives’ who believe the fiery rhetoric of NO NEW TAXES and WE ARE A CHRISTIAN NATION."
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Rove says he never said ‘America is a Christian nation’ and goes on to detail how he confronted then Senator Obama in the White House for ‘misquoting’ him. The disturbing part is that Rove says he doesn’t believe America IS a Christian nation, but a ‘nation of faith.’ Whether the grandson of a Presbyterian minister was just trying to ‘spin’ the message to be politically correct or is intelligently lazy doesn’t matter. The majority of the fifty six signers of the Declaration of Independence would have disagreed with Rove, as well as George Washington.
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I would recommend the book for it’s ‘textbook’ on campaigns (Chapter 4), but all in all, Rove’s memoir is too self serving and detailed. Rove is a secularist whose reputation of situational ethics in politics and campaigns is not diminished by what he writes in the book.
Weekly Opinion/Editorial
OPT OUT!
by Steve Fair

President Obama signed the health care bill into law last Tuesday. The highly controversial bill squeaked by in the U.S. House in a 219-207 vote late Sunday evening. No Republican voted for the bill. The Congressional Budget Office says the president’s health care plan will reduce the deficit over 10-years’ time, but voters are skeptical of the official government projections. According to a Rasmussen poll, eighty one percent (81%) believe the health care plan will cost more than projected. Voters overwhelmingly believe passage of the plan will increase the deficit and is likely to mean higher middle class taxes.
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On Tuesday, the Oklahoma State Senate approved House Joint Resolution 1054, authored by State Senator Randy Brogdon, (R-Owasso) by a bipartisan vote of 36-11. The Joint Resolution puts a state question on the ballot in November, which would allow Oklahoma businesses to opt out of Obama Care. Brogdon called the vote on an Obama Care opt-out measure an important step toward reasserting Oklahoma’s sovereignty as a state. “Overwhelmingly, the people who have contacted my office and those of Representatives Ritz and Reynolds ((the House authors) have expressed frustration and outrage at how Congress and President Obama railroaded the American people,” Brogdon said. “HJR 1054 would give voters that opportunity to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to include the “Freedom of Healthcare Choice Act." Brogdon is vying for the Republican nomination for Governor. Brogdon’s opponents are Congresswoman Mary Fallin and Yukon businessman Robert Hubbard.
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If the voters approve JR 1054 in November, it would prohibit any law or rule from directly or indirectly compelling an employer from participating in any health care system. It would also allow employers to pay directly for health care with paying fines or penalties. It would also stipulate that the purchase or sale of private health insurance not be prohibited.
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Other states are not just placing the issue on their ballots, but their Attorney Generals are suing the federal government. The list of states includes Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Utah, North and South Dakota and Washington.
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According to the new Rasmussen poll, forty-nine percent (49%) of U.S. voters favor their state suing the federal government; thirty seven percent (37%) disagree and oppose their state suing to challenge that requirement. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. The poll also found most voters (53%) oppose a provision in the new health care law that requires every American to buy or obtain health insurance. Just 42% favor it.
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Thus far, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson has not joined the other A.G.s. "We will review the bill once it becomes law,” said Edmondson, who was called on Monday by Fallin and both leaders of the Republican- controlled state Legislature to take action against the bill. “We also will review the case law and we will do what’s in the best interest of the state of Oklahoma, which may be filing litigation or joining litigation that’s already been filed. It is way too early.” Edmondson continued "I’ll not be stampeded into doing something by people playing politics with this issue.” Perhaps Edmondson has learned from past experience about filing lawsuits with other states.
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Back in 2000, Edmondson joined the state of New Jersey in suing the Boy Scouts to accept homosexual leaders. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Edmondson's position, ruling that the Boys Scouts of America had the authority to set the criteria for leadership within their organization. After the suit, three fourths of the state legislature condemned Edmondson’s action. It has widely speculated that is what kept Edmondson out of the 2002 race for Governor. He is a candidate for the Democrat nomination for Governor this year. His opponent is current Oklahoma Lt. Governor Jari Askins.
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The real question is; will the national health care bill pass constitutional muster? Randy Barnett is a Georgetown law professor and U.S. Constitutional expert who believes the bill violates the founding document. Barnett says, “A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.”
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If the health care bill is found to be constitutional, I suggest the next ‘federal mandate’ for purchase be peanut butter and jelly. Every consumer in America should be required to have at least two jars of peanut butter and jelly in their pantry at all times. That would substantially increase individual consumption and in the process, my income. You say that’s foolish, but that is what the health care mandate does- it requires businesses and individuals to purchase a product. Not only does this health care bill violate the Constitution, but it seriously erodes our individual personal liberty. Oklahomans should ‘opt out’ when the issue appears on the ballot in November and we should elect an AG who will sue the feds.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
DISTANCE LEARNING!
By Steve Fair

Clay Christensen is an economist and teacher who coined the term- Disruptive Innovation- to describe the process that a product or service takes in moving ‘up market’ to displace more established, conventional competitors. He believes that ‘distance learning’ will eventually replace conventional education institutions, much like discount retailers(Wal-Mart) replaced conventional retailers(Sears). Christensen says when established institutions pursue only ‘sustaining innovations’ that perpetuate what has historically helped them succeed, they unwittingly open the door to ‘disruptive innovations.’ He maintains that ‘distance learning’ is one of those ‘disruptive innovations’ to conventional education.
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‘Distance learning’ is not just for college students According to a December 2009 report by a seven member Oklahoma legislative task force on ‘Internet based instruction,’ http://www.oksenate.gov/publications/issue_papers/state_govt/ok_iitf_final_report_2009.pdf 2,500 fulltime Oklahoma high school students are taking their high school classes completely online this school year. That’s up from 1,100 students last year- an increase of 163%.
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The task force cites Christensen in their report. In his book, Disrupting Class, Christensen says, “We anticipate that most of this on-line learning will occur within the schools. Teachers will be supervising, tutoring, helping and mentoring these on-line learners. Many of the activities in today's schools that provide important lessons in socialization, learning how to work with others, behaving responsibly, and so on, will continue to be done. But of the instructional component of the work in our schools, the trajectory suggests that 50% will come from on-line sources, rather than a teacher in front of the classroom, in 2019.”
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The legislative task force concluded that "we should strive to provide the best educational
experience for each student based on their individual learning styles and needs. While online learning will never replace traditional classrooms entirely, it does provide for the needs of many students to accelerate or broaden their learning experiences, as well as provide opportunities for credit recovery for students who have fallen behind."
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The legislative task force’s conclusion is much like the response that Sears had to Wal-Mart. Sears refused to recognize the ‘disruptive innovation’ the big box retailer brought to the marketplace until it was too late. By stating, ‘online learning will never replace traditional classrooms entirely,’ the task force displays the same na├»ve mindset of Sears. If Christensen is right that most learning will be via the Internet in ten years, then it is reasonable to expect that five years from then- 2025- the majority of formal education/learning will be via the web- from home. That’s right- homeschooling.
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Homeschooling is not a new concept. More than 2,500 years ago, Alexander the Great was taught ‘at home’ by Aristotle, who was trained ‘at home’ by Plato. Many of our early Presidents and national leaders were ‘home schooled.’ According to the US Census Bureau, over two million school age children are homeschooled in America, with that number growing at a 15-20% rate annually.
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This ‘distance learning’ presents a challenge to conventional education. According to BYI professors, Drs. Scott Howell and Peter Williams in their thesis, “32 trends affecting Distance Education," “Faculty members tend initially to try to use their conventional classroom methods to teach at a distance and then become frustrated when attempts are unsuccessful.” They also say the faculty tends to resist the change to online teaching and feel isolated. Teachers also want more money to teach classes via the net because they spend more time on their distance courses than they do on traditional courses.
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Higher education will need to train teachers proficient in written communication as well as verbal. The on-line educator will also need to be able to have strong computer skills and be less subjective and more analytical.
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The trend in distance learning could present traditional common public education with a dilemma. First, in the foreseeable future, the bulk of the educational dollar will not be spent on buses and buildings, but on bright innovative teachers who are technologically savvy. There will be less students in the classroom and more on-line. Both student and teacher will work from home and the hours of instruction may be flexible. The current model of buildings and infrastructure will be replaced by technology.
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Second, with children being ‘home schooled,’ parents would logically take more equity in what their child is studying. The options for parents in texts and courses could be more diverse. Parents may elect to procure a curriculum consistent with their educational or religious philosophy instead of using their taxpayer provided text. With the ‘start-up’ costs equal to the conventional educational institution, the options for a child’s education will be increased substantially.
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President Lincoln was our first ‘poor’ President. Before he was elected, virtually all the Presidents were fairly wealthy men with formal educations. Despite his humble beginnings and no formal education, Honest Abe had a thirst for knowledge. He is widely considered to be one of our wisest Presidents. Lincoln loved to read and would read Shakespeare by candlelight as a young boy.
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Who knows- perhaps a future President will boast they read Aristotle at home by the light of their LCD computer monitor.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
RINOS HURT SENIORS!
by Steve Fair
State Senator Jim Reynolds, (R-Oklahoma City) is the author of Senate Joint Resolution 57, which if approved by Oklahoma voters would have exempted people over the age of sixty five from ‘increases’ in their property taxes. The bill would not ‘exempt’ seniors from paying property tax- it would just freeze their property tax where it is. Reynolds has been working on getting the proposal through the Senate since he was first elected back in 2000, but it looks like he will have to wait at least another year. The estimated impact on the state budget would be a modest $3.2 million annually. Texas, California, Florida and several other states freeze property tax on seniors, so this is not a novel concept.
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Currently seniors in Oklahoma who make less than the county median income can apply for a property tax increase exemption annually, but few Oklahoma seniors know that or bother to apply for the exemption. Reynolds proposed to tie the freeze to age, which would make it easier for seniors. Reynolds got his resolution to a floor vote twice. The first time it failed, but a member of the Senate has the option to having it voted on again.
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SJR 57’s encore vote came up on Thursday and was defeated by a 25-22 margin. Four Republicans joined Democrats to defeat the proposal. Reynolds understands Ds not supporting the issue, but not the Rs. "If I have any frustration, it’s with members of my own party,” Reynolds said. "It’s been hard to get some members to understand the issue. I have fought for this issue for nine years at the Capitol. I did it when the Democrats were in control of the Legislature,” Reynolds said. "Republicans have always said they support tax relief. Now that we have the majority, it’s like pulling teeth.”
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I share Reynolds frustration with the Republicans whose vote on SJR 57 in effect expanded government. Three of those Republican Senators are up for re-election in 2010- Senators Anderson, Crain, and Schulz. I’m not sure if any have announced primary opponents, but if so, this vote will hurt them with conservative Republicans in a primary. With the current anti-government sentiment among voters, votes against stopping the growth of government could keep them from getting re-elected. Some Republicans in the legislature are so obsessed with getting re-elected, or afraid of crossing the education and county government lobby, they don’t deserve to have an ‘R’ behind their name
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Two reasons why Reynolds proposal should have passed the legislature unanimously.
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First, the proposal would not cost the state, schools or county government any money. Reynolds proposal would only stop the growth of taxes, not cut them. One of the arguments made by Republicans who voted to defeat the resolution was that it would hurt their county government and schools. Rural counties have higher percentages of seniors, so some rural Rs wrongly believe their counties will be hurt more because of the ‘potential loss of future income.’ I fail to see how ‘stopping the growth’ of taxes is a bad thing. Aren’t Republicans all about standing up against the growth of government and taxes?
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Second, even if you disagree with the resolution, what’s wrong with sending it to a vote of the people? Nothing! But some in the legislature (including the aforementioned Republicans) recognize the resolution would be approved by voters by a wide margin. Those legislators are more interested in trying to appease the education and county government lobby than they are about standing up for the seniors in their district. Legislators that display such lack of courage are RINOs- Republicans In Name Only- and should face tough questions about this vote from not only seniors, but every fiscal conservative.
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To add another twist to the vote, Senator Kenneth Corn, (D-Poteau) switched his vote from Yea to Nay at the last minute. Like John Kerry, Corn was ‘for’ the freeze before he was ‘against’ it. Senator Glenn Coffee, (R-OKC), said Corn "owes every senior citizen in the state an explanation of his flip flop on this important vote.” The vote will likely hurt Corn who is running for the Democrat nomination for Lieutenant Governor.
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Bottom line, this week Oklahoma seniors on fixed incomes needed help and the Oklahoma legislature failed them. These seniors wanted a chance to vote on stopping the growth of government. Sadly some members of the legislature failed to give them that chance.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

STEELE IS STEALING!
By Steve Fair
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is in Oklahoma today. He’s not here to congratulate the Oklahoma State GOP organization on a job well done. He’s not here to recognize Oklahoma grassroots volunteers and activists on helping elect the most conservative federal delegation in the country. He’s not here to announce the RNC is going to use the Oklahoma GOP as a ‘model’ of how to convince states with conservative Democrats to vote Republican. He’s not here to help the state and local Party to raise money for the 2010 elections. STEELE IS HERE TO SOLICIT MONEY FROM OKLAHOMANS TO USE IN CAMPAIGNS IN OTHER STATES! Now Lord knows other states need help in getting conservatives elected and Oklahoma Republicans recognize that, but Steele's idea to breeze into town, raise some bucks and hit the road is just flat wrong! Steele and the RNC’s campaign to raise money in Oklahoma is misguided and shortsighted. Here is why:
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First, any organization that wants to have long term success has to be built from the ground up. You must have a solid foundation. One of the major problems the modern Republican Party faces is that simple principle has been ignored. In the past, the RNC has paid lip service to ‘building the grassroots.’ Training sessions are put on by young people who have done nothing telling seasoned veteran volunteers how to do everything. It’s comical if it were not so sad. Tip O’Neil was right- politics is local- and while the RNC says they want a strong foundation, their past and now immediate actions dictate otherwise. Steele’s campaign to take money from Oklahoma to use in other states doesn’t build anything in Oklahoma- it hurts the Oklahoma GOP and our efforts. It’s difficult enough to get people to volunteer to serve in Party official positions- Precinct/County/District level. When they find out the RNC Chairman is coming to town to solicit money from their donor base, many will lose faith in the cause and who can blame them?
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Second, our Party bylaws clearly state we are to be organized from the PRECINCT level up. Steele should be meeting with Oklahoma activists within the Party and asking for their input as to how the RNC can help them in their efforts. It is difficult to get big donors to get involved with the grassroots- local candidates/county organizations. It will become increasingly more difficult when Steele gets on TV and tells those same donors to send a check to him and doesn’t mention helping the local county/state organization or candidates. That strategy might work for 2010, but it does nothing to build an organization long term- it undermines it! It fuels the disconnect with the grassroots that causes mistrust within the GOP.
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Third, the Oklahoma GOP has done a stellar job in the past few years! Against a Democrat tsunami in 2006, Oklahoma Republicans picked up seats in the state legislature. In 2008, Oklahoma was the only state in the country where EVERY county voted for John McCain. Oklahoma is the Reddest of the Red states. Oklahoma gets minimal fiscal help from the RNC. We have always been a donor state- sending more money to the RNC than we get back. But when Steele takes it to the next level and comes to town with a plan to tap more of our money and send it to other states, he better have a detailed itemized plan of how he is going to help Oklahoma. What Steele should do is sit down with a empty pad and a pencil in a meeting with Oklahoma GOP activists taking notes on how Oklahoma Republicans accomplished what they did in 2006 and 2008. Steele’s actions in Oklahoma should send a clear message to other state GOP organizations- DO A GOOD JOB AND WE’LL COME AND TRY TO TAKE YOUR DONORS AWAY FROM YOU! Lest you think, Oklahoma GOP activists are isolationists and not team members, the Oklahoma State GOP has organized efforts to send volunteers to campaign in Mississippi, Colorado, Missouri and other states, at their own expense. The Oklahoma GOP wants to see Republicans elected across the country, but not at the expense of losing precious hard fought ground in our state.
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Fourthly, there is just so much political ‘donor’ money in the marketplace. When Steele taps money from a donor in Oklahoma who might have given to a state legislative, county official, school board, or city council race, he has hurt the local effort. It has taken Oklahoma Republican activists years of hard work to get to the place where we are now. It’s hard enough for local candidates and Party organizations to raise a buck without the increased competition from the top. In effect Steele is stealing donor money from Oklahoma.
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A more prudent, wise and long term plan would have been for Steele to come to Oklahoma and ‘partnered’ with the State GOP to raise money. That would have done three things; (1) It would have rewarded Oklahoma for a job well done. (2) It would have sent a message of teamwork and cooperation. (3) It would have built the GOP from the grassroots up. A sample TV spot could have been:

I’m Michael Steele and I am so proud to be in Oklahoma. Oklahoma, a state which has the most conservative federal Congressional delegation in America. Oklahoma, a state that has voted Republican for President for over forty years. Oklahoma, a state that stands for traditional values. Oklahoma is a model for other states in our Party. I would ask you to get involved with your local GOP organization by attending meetings and helping on local campaigns. I would also ask you to write a check to help the local, state and national Republican Party. 50% of the money you donate will stay right here in Oklahoma to help elect solid conservatives. Oklahoma- you’re doing fine!

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Steele’s media campaign to solicit money in Oklahoma to take to other states just reinforce a common observation the average citizen has about Republicans- elites that don’t listen to the working class.

I’m Steve Fair and I approve this message

PS: Call me Chairman Steele- I would love to discuss this with you at your convenience- 405.990.7449

Monday, March 8, 2010

LEONARD ANNOUNCES ADVISORY BOARD!

Ryan Leonard, Republican candidate for Attorney General, today announced a statewide advisory committee for his campaign. "I will work day and night as Oklahoma’s next Attorney General to protect our families and fight those who threaten our constitutional freedoms. I am grateful for the support of so many Oklahomans who have worked so hard to make this state great." Committee members include Honorary Chair, former Attorney General G.T. Blankenship, former U.S. Senator Don Nickles, former Governor Frank Keating, Hobby Lobby CEO David Green, Tulsa businessman Ken Lackey, Sandridge CEO Tom Ward, rancher Bob Drake and conservative leader Marc Nuttle.
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Other Advisory Committee Members are:
Stanley Barby, Mike Cantrell, William Chapman, Herschal Crow, Charlie and Julie Daniels, Dan Dillingham, James Everest, Dr. Joseph Ferretti, Jerry & Jane Jayroe Gamble, Dr. Gib Gibson, Joe Neal Hampton, Ralph Harvey, Skip & Sue Healey, Tom Hill, Jason Hitch, Grant Humphreys, Dan Keating, Albert "Kell" Kelly, Jr., Tom and Susan Kimball, Jay Lemon, Duke Ligon, Rob & Karen Luke, The Hon. Neal McCaleb, Robert McCampbell, Aubrey McClendon, Chad McDougall, Frank McPherson, Rodd & Donna Moesel, Bond Payne, Bill Price, Tom Price, Carl Renfro, Ambassador Francis Rooney, Bob Ross, Dustin P. Rowe, Meredith Siegfried, Tom Seth Smith, Renzi Stone, Robert J. Sullivan, Jr., Bill Swisher, Lew Ward, The Hon. Wes & Lou Watkins and Lynn & Donna Windel
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Ryan Leonard bio

Ryan Leonard is an attorney, former state prosecutor and former senior aide to U.S. Senator Don Nickles. A fourth-generation native of Beaver in the Oklahoma panhandle, Ryan presently resides in Oklahoma City with his wife Carrie and their three children. Ryan is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Attorney General.
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Ryan was shaped by the values he learned growing up in western Oklahoma. As a young man, he worked on the farm with his grandfather where he learned the traits of hard work, honesty and integrity. Ryan earned the rank of Eagle Scout, and he applies the common sense, conservative values he learned in western Oklahoma to everything he does.

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As a state prosecutor in Canadian County, Ryan fought to protect our families and children, and to put dangerous criminals behind bars. As an attorney in private practice, Ryan has fought for small businesses, which form the backbone of this state’s economy. Ryan has also been proud to defend the rights of individuals, including representing pro bono children in the state’s foster system.

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Ryan previously served for four years as a senior legislative aide for U.S. Senator Don Nickles in Washington, D.C. In that capacity, Ryan served as the Senator’s chief aide for issues involving agriculture, transportation, the federal judiciary, natural resources and Indian affairs. While working in the Senate, Ryan was intimately involved in crafting federal legislation benefitting Oklahoma farmers and ranchers, building Oklahoma roads and bridges, securing the rights of hunters and fishermen and working with tribal governments. Ryan was also honored to assist Senator Nickles in the drafting and passage of legislation aiding victims of the Oklahoma City bombing and establishing the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

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Ryan is dedicated to his community, having served on numerous civic boards, including the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the Board of Directors of the Central Oklahoma Red Cross and the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals. Ryan has also served on the Legal Ethics Committee of the Oklahoma Bar Association, and currently represents the state of Oklahoma as a national commissioner on the Uniform Law Commission. Ryan is also a member of Leadership Oklahoma, Rotary Club 29 and the State Chamber of Commerce.

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Ryan earned his law degree from the University of Oklahoma and undergraduate degree from Boston College. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys spending time with his family, coaching his childrens’ activities, reading, fishing and travel. Ryan and his family attend Westminster Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City. For more information about Ryan Leonard, please visit:
WWW.RYANLEONARD2010.COM
PRUITT TO SEEK AG POST!
A STATEMENT FROM SCOTT PRUITT

After much prayerful consideration with friends and family, I’ve decided to launch a campaign for Attorney General. While a formal announcement is still forthcoming, I’m now in the process of filing the necessary paperwork and getting my campaign team in place.
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I’d like to thank my good friend, Charlie Polston, for his guidance and encouragement in regards to this decision. He began a Draft Pruitt blog many months ago, (www.pruitt4okag.blogspot.com ) and I’d ask that you please sign up for updates there until my website is up and running.

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I look forward in the coming days and weeks to sharing with you my vision for the office of Attorney General. In the mean time, I leave you with this quote:
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." -Ronald Reagan
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Thank you and God Bless,


Scott Pruitt

PRUITT'S BIO- FROM OKLAHOMA REDHAWKS WEBSITE
As a kid in Kentucky, Pruitt could most often be found on a baseball field. And in college, he played second base for the Kentucky Wildcats, whose winning record brought them within one game of the College World Series. After graduation, he hung up his cleats and moved to the great state of Oklahoma, where he attended law school at the University of Tulsa.
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In addition to his involvement with the RedHawks, Pruitt was elected to the State Senate in November of 1998, where he completed two four-year terms. After winning his bid to the Oklahoma State Senate over a 16-year incumbent, Pruitt became one of the most respected and influential voices in the Senate on crucial economic and social policies. He was elected by the Republican caucus to serve as Republican Whip in 2000 and as Assistant Republican Floor Leader in 2002, a position he held until 2006.
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In 2004, Senator Pruitt returned to his baseball roots by becoming the Managing General Partner of the Oklahoma RedHawks, Oklahoma City's lone Triple-A baseball club. Under his first season of leadership, the RedHawks saw a 25% increase in attendance. The club broke the all-time record for attendance in 2005. In 2007, despite 22 games with rain and two rainouts, the club ranked second-highest in attendance in franchise history.
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Under Pruitt's leadership, RedHawks fans have enjoyed a renaissance in Triple-A baseball that leads the nation in quality and authenticity. Whether it's serving the true Fenway Frank on fresh lobster rolls flown in weekly from Maine, or ticket collectors greeting you with a smile in pinstriped suspenders and seersucker suits, Pruitt believes no detail is too small in working to create the most timeless and classic experience of America's favorite pastime.
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His investment, along with Bob Funk, into Oklahoma City baseball has come at a time in which the RedHawks rank among the premier sports attractions in the region while playing in a showcase stadium - AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. In baseball, business, and at the legislature, Pruitt has achieved much in his young life, but he is most grateful for his wife Marlyn, and their two children, McKenna and Caden. He is devoted to his family and to his deep faith in God. The Pruitt's are members of First Baptist, Broken Arrow, where Scott serves a Deacon.

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
MAJOR ON THE MAJORS!
by Steve Fair

Some Republicans in the state legislature want to sell CompSource aka The State Insurance Fund. State Representative Dan Sullivan, (R-Tulsa) and Senator Cliff Aldridge, (R, Midwest) are pushing to sell CompSource to the highest bidding private insurance company. Other legislators want to turn it into a cooperative- owned by the policyholders.
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A seven member Task Force considered what to do with CompSource. They released a 303 page summary in December 2009. You can access it at http://www.okhouse.gov/Documents/Privatization%20of%20CompSource%20Task%20Force%20Report%202009.pdf. The seven members of the Task Force were:
Senator Cliff Aldridge, Task Force Co-Chairman
Representative Daniel Sullivan, Task Force Co-Chairman
Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland
James Stergiou, Chairman and CEO, SGRisk, LLC
Michael Clingman, Director, Office of State Finance
Mike Seney, Senior Vice President, Operations, The State Chamber
Lee Ann Alexander, Liberty Mutual

Dan Ramsey, President & CEO, Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma

They voted to move forward with a proposal to try to sell/privatize CompSource.
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HB 2262 authored by State Representative Dan Sullivan, (R-Tulsa) has already cleared the House. It would sell CompSource to the highest biding private insurance carrier. Several companies have expressed an interest, if not for no other reason than to just to get it out of the marketplace. “We are very much behind the effort to privatize CompSource because frankly, the government should not be in the insurance business. We don’t do this in any other line of insurance,” Sullivan says.
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CompSource is an insurance company created by the state government in 1933 at the height of the depression because there were not enough private companies willing to write the ‘required’ workers compensation insurance for businesses in the state. CompSource was established as a non-profit, self-supporting entity. Sullivan and Aldridge believe the need for CompSource has past and it should be eliminated and let the free market work. In most instances, any limited government, conservative Republican would agree, but this issue is not typical. I disagree with the sale of Compsource.
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Currently, CompSource writes about a third of the workers comp policies in the state. They are the carrier of choice for most municipal government, schools, and volunteer fire departments because private insurance will not write them because the chance of paying claims is too high. These organizations are required to have workers compensation and often CompSource becomes their last resort option to obtain the ‘required’ coverage. If they are forced to move to a private carrier whose rates are higher, taxpayers will pick up the tab.
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Sullivan estimates the sale of CompSource would add $350 million to the state’s general fund. In a down budget year, that could be the motivation behind the selling of CompSource. After all, that gives the lawmakers more money to spend. Trying to raid the State Insurance Fund is not a new concept. Back in 1975, the legislature tried to gain control of certain assets in the fund, but the State Supreme Court declared those efforts unconstitutional because it violated the intent of the State Insurance Fund act. “No one is suggesting that we raid the assets," Sullivan claims. But it remains unclear why Sullivan and Alridge want to have a garage sale at CompSource.
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Oklahoma businesses do not support the sale of CompSource. Fifty five percent of the members of the National Federation of Business in Oklahoma oppose the sale, as does the State Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. James Stergiou, the actuary for CompSource estimates that rates would increase ten to twenty percent if the sale goes through. With high workers comp rates already, that’s something Oklahoma business and consumers don’t need. If workers comp premiums go up, prices go up in the state. Businesses and corporation don’t pay taxes- individuals/consumers do.
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Selling CompSource is not a well thought out idea for the following reasons.
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First, if government requires businesses, cities, schools, organizations to carry workers compensation insurance, then government should be also provide a way for that mandate to be satisfied. CompSource does that. Some entities can’t get private insurance to write them coverage because of past claims. CompSource cannot turn down anyone. They are often the carrier of last resort. I realize having government involved in private industry is not ‘Republicanlike,’ but CompSource is not a typical ‘moneypit’ governmental agency that drains taxpayers. It costs the taxpayer nothing and provides a service to business/municipalities/schools.
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Second, if getting the state out of the insurance business is that important- why not make CompSource a cooperative by mutualizing it? That would allow the insured to have a stronger voice in the carrier’s operation. It would leave CompSource intact and ‘privatalize’ it by giving the people with the most skin in the game ownership and equity.
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Third, Oklahoma has much bigger issues in our workers comp system than CompSource. Oklahoma has some of the highest workers comp premiums in the country and the lowest benefits paid to injured workers because attorneys are involved in workers comp disputes. If rates will go up with the sale, then Oklahoma businesses would pay more for workers comp coverage. Sullivan(a lawyer) and Aldridge(insurance agent) should be working to try and get the lawyers out of the workers comp system, not working to eliminate CompSource.
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Republicans have had control of both chambers of the legislature since 2008, but Oklahoma businesses are still paying high workers comp premiums and trial lawyers are still getting the majority of settlement money. Oklahoma businesses and injured workers continue to wait patiently for true workers comp reform. When time is wasted on issues that don’t deal with the root problem, creditability is damaged. Come on Republicans- major on the majors!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The mother of all bailouts to come
Opinion/editorial by J.C. Watts Jr.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal
February 28, 2010 edition

I'm all for bipartisan agreements that make sense. However, when I look at what is unfolding in Congress in the name of bipartisanship on banking reform, it makes me extremely nervous.
Here we go again. Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., are working on bipartisan legislation to revamp the regulatory structure of the financial services industry. The House passed Rep. Barney Frank's version Dec. 11. The bill from Frank, D-Mass., would create a controversial Consumer Financial Protection Agency and codify a permanent bailout authority for the federal government.
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The big question for Americans who hate bailouts is whether the Senate will follow the House's lead and grant the Federal Reserve the statutory authority to bail out individuals, partnerships or corporations to the tune of $4 trillion.
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On Page 506 of the House-passed bill, which is titled the "Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" is the following language: The amounts made available under this subsection shall not exceed $4,000,000,000,000.
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This so-called "reform" and "consumer protection" legislation authorizes a $4 trillion bailout fund for Wall Street. That is more money than President Obama's 2011 budget ($3.8 trillion), the gross domestic product of Germany ($3.7 trillion), and between five and six times the amount of the Troubled Assets Relief Program. A majority of House members actually voted for a bill containing $4 trillion in new bailout authority. You just can't make this stuff up. It is really in the bill.
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David Reilly, a columnist for Bloomberg News, said the bill "authorizes Federal Reserve banks to provide as much as $4 trillion in emergency funding the next time Wall Street crashes. So much for 'no-more-bailouts' talk. That is more than twice what the Federal Reserve pumped into markets last year. The size of the fund makes the deal-making in the Senate's health care bill look minuscule."
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Current law allows the Federal Reserve to open the lending window in "unusual and exigent circumstances." According to the Congressional Research Service, this authority had been used in the past to authorize entities created by the Federal Reserve's Bear Stearns merger and bailout of AIG. Nowhere near $4 trillion has been committed under existing authority.
An explicit authority would be created under the Frank approach to financial services reform to allow the Federal Reserve to make $4 trillion in commitments in unusual and exigent circumstances.
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This provides the Federal Reserve with more authority to bail out failing industries without the need for getting the prior consent of Congress. The words "unusual" and "exigent" are vague and ambiguous enough to give the Federal Reserve sweeping new bailout authorities to dispense massive commitments to private and public entities.
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Here's how it would work: The Fed would have to make a written determination that a "liquidity event exists that could destabilize the financial system" with a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Financial Oversight Council. The next step would be to secure the written consent of the secretary of the treasury as another condition to the commitment of monies, and the president would have to certify that an emergency exists. The Fed then would authorize a Federal Reserve bank to make a commitment in consideration for "notes, drafts, and bills of exchange" consistent with the order from the Fed, Treasury and the president. The House and Senate would be notified of the action by the Fed. There is a requirement that the secretary of the treasury believes that the funds will be paid back.
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I remind you these are all the same entities who were asleep at the wheel in oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allowing them to run amok. There is a provision for a joint resolution of congressional disapproval, but the commencing of any resolution would not happen until after the commitment of funds had already been made. It is unlikely that members of Congress would be able to unravel any action.
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The Senate has the power to run away from this new bailout authority or to embrace it when senators debate financial services reform legislation. The direction that Dodd and Corker take in negotiations on this important issue will have severe ramifications for government policy on the proper role of the Federal Reserve to prop up failing companies in times of crisis.
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If this bill passes the Senate with bailout authority intact and gets one step closer to the president's desk, then voters will be mad at yet another abuse of the taxpayers' dollars. The idea of a small and limited government is inconsistent with the idea that the Federal Reserve should have $4 trillion more in bailout authority.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekly Opinion/Editorial

REDUCE THE IMPACT OF CUTS?
by Steve Fair
The normal course of action for individuals and families when money gets tight is to cut expenses. No one in their right mind says, ‘we need to spend our way out of this situation.’ Only the most irresponsible would say, “Get the checkbook- we need to spend more!” That is exactly what the federal government did with the stimulus and bailout monies. The question is- will Oklahoma government be more prudent than the feds?
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You have to understand that government lives in an ‘alternate’ state of reality. In the real world, the definition of a budget cut means you get less money than you did the year before. In government, a cut means you get more than last year, but less than you ‘expected.’ So when you hear CUT, that doesn’t necessarily, mean CUT. By that defination, I've had a cut every year of my life!
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Oklahoma state agencies are facing budget shortfalls this year (up to 1 billion), just like Oklahoma taxpayers, businesses and families. Estimates are that agencies could face up to 18.5% less than what they expected to get. That’s substantial, but so are the budget shortfalls for taxpayers, businesses and families. Government is facing the same economical challenges the private sector is, but their response is not the same. Businesses and families face economical downturns by reigning in their spending and cutting back to essentials. Government agencies respond by hiring taxpayer funded lobbyists to lobby lawmakers to ‘reduce the impact of cuts’ by raiding the Rainy Day Fund. Their goal is to continue business as usual- and who can blame them.
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Last Thursday, the Oklahoma State House voted to spend three fourths of the State’s Rainy Day Fund- $447 million- to make up for shortfalls in the next two year’s budgets. "This agreement is consistent with our desire to spread out our reserves over the current and forthcoming fiscal year, while also saving some in the Rainy Day Fund for future use," said Rep. Ken Miller, R-Edmond and chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. "This is a fiscally responsible compromise that protects core government services like education and public safety as much as possible, while streamlining government and using taxpayer dollars in an efficient manner." The House also voted to give ‘supplemental’ monies to several agencies to ‘reduce the impact of cuts.’ Education (Common and Higher) got $130 million dollars, Corrections and Public Safety got 10.2 million, and Health Care and Rehabilitative Services got $34.2 million.
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Reduce the impact of cuts? What does that actually mean? Allow me to illustrate- If a parent told their child they were going to cut their child’s allowance from $5 a week to $4 a week because times were tough, the child would not be happy. If the parent then reached into their other pocket and gave the child three quarters to ‘reduce the impact of the cut,’ the child would be sent a mixed message. The child would ask themselves: “If they have that ‘extra’ money to give me, perhaps they have enough to give me my entire allowance. Are they playing games with me? Is there really a crisis? It’s my duty to try to get ALL my allowance back.” Because politicians have ‘played games’ with bureaucrats for years, state agencies never take budget cutbacks or reductions seriously.
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While a parent who tries to “reduce the impact of the cut” may have honorable intentions, the lesson they teach their child is not one a good one. They are not teaching personal responsibility. They are not stimulating creativity by challenging the child to find a solution for a very real problem. Teaching a child to be dependent on the parent by providing a ‘safety net’ may make the parent feel good, but it’s not responsible parenting. Tough times- economically, spiritually and physically- present excellent opportunities for us to grow as individuals. They build our character and prepare us for life.
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When a parent never lets their child stumble or fall, they are not doing them any favors. When the legislature doesn’t let an agency struggle, they don’t do them any favors. It doesn’t allow them to seriously evaluate what is ‘essential’ to their mission. It’s doesn’t allow them to intimately evaluate personnel who may have skills sets and abilities not being utilized. The Oklahoma House, like an indulgent parent, did not do several state agencies any favors last week by ‘reducing the impact of cuts.’ They provided a safety net that will guarantee business as usual.