Monday, March 31, 2008

by Steve Fair
Will we get meaningful lawsuit reform in Oklahoma this legislative session? The State Senate is evenly divided, so reform will depend on Governor Henry. According to Co-Chair of the Senate Judicial committee, State Senator Jim Williamson- R,Tulsa, “A meaningful lawsuit reform bill is doable this year if the governor will get engaged in the process and make a formal counter-offer to the bipartisan proposals he rejected last year.”

In last year’s session, the legislature passed a bipartisan bill that included most of the tort reform proposals Henry had previously agreed to, but the Governor vetoed it with little explanation. A month later, Henry went fishing in Mexico with a bunch of trial attorneys, who had lobbied against his signing of the bill. Many in the media tried to connect the dots, but because most of the public was not paying attention, Henry’s fishing trip and the veto connection never gained traction. But the average Oklahoman better start paying attention to the tort reform issue for two reasons

First, the lack of lawsuit reform is hurting health care in Oklahoma. Survey data from the Oklahoma Alliance of Physicians for Tort Reform show that threat of lawsuits has nearly twenty percent of the state’s physicians considering leaving the state. Sixty percent of doctors in the Sooner state have stopped performing riskier procedures and delivering babies in order to avoid lawsuits.

It’s difficult enough to recruit physicians to rural Oklahoma. But when you have lack of lawsuit reform, it compounds the problem. Texas, who passed tort reform four years ago, is attracting physicians from non-reformed states like Oklahoma. In fact, Texas is having a difficult time keeping up with requests for new medical licenses.

When Governor Henry vetoed last year’s bill, it drew the attention of the nation’s largest business newspaper. In their 5/10/07 edition, the Wall Street Journal had an article entitled The Sooner Back Flip which stated, “Mr. Henry has been claiming to support reform for three years, and at one point he promised to "out Texas" Texas on the issue. Then again, Mr. Henry is himself an attorney and was elected with the help of trial bar donations. He may also have assumed he'd never have to act on his promises because a heretofore Democratic Senate could always be counted on to kill any reform.” Henry’s true colors were revealed last year after the Senate passed a tort reform bill and he vetoed it. The only industry in Oklahoma that would be negatively impacted by tort reform is the trial attorneys and it appears the Governor is firmly in their corner.

Secondly the average Oklahoman should be concerned about the lack of lawsuit reform because it hurts Oklahoma in recruiting business to our state. Directorship magazine ranks Oklahoma’s legal climate as 44th in the country. The issue of lawsuit reform is very important to business leaders.

In a 2006 interview in Directorship, Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot said, “When we started Home Depot years ago, everything we did was a risk. When we doubled in size, it was a major risk. If we had to worry about being sued every inch of the way, or worry about a board that was not willing to back us, we could never have become what we are.” Marcus said he could not start Home Depot today because of the increased governmental regs and out of control lawsuits. Lack of lawsuit control is a red flag to business and Oklahoma has the reputation that we cater to the trial attorneys.

If we want employers to expand in Oklahoma or relocate to Oklahoma, it will require the legislature taking on the trial attorney lobby. Oklahoma finally has a legislature in place willing to talk about tort reform, but unfortunately the Governor seems to be more interested in fishing than he is in Oklahoma health care or business interests.

Senator Williamson has extended the olive branch to Henry. Williamson says, “There was a lot of talk last year by the governor and his surrogates about how close an agreement was, yet Gov. Henry still has not provided legislative language to show what he supports. If he truly wants to reach an agreement on lawsuit reform, it is time for Gov. Henry to put his cards on the table.”

“Cards on the table” is a term Blackjack Henry can understand. After all, the Guv has been the primary advocate for the expansion of gambling in our state but it remains to be seen if Blackjack is willing to gamble his future political contributions to help the state move forward. The smart money is on the trial attorneys- after all they go fishing with him and they are willing to double down.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

4 Texas Cities Among Top 10 in Growth
by Steve Fair

The most precious export Oklahoma has is our children and grandchildren and from all indications, most are headed south. When the average Texan earns $3,500 more than the average Oklahoma doing the same job, that could be the reason. Fayetteville, Arkansas is within the top 50 growing areas in the county. Until Oklahoma fixes her broken workers comp system and tort system, we will doomed to watch our neighbors grow. You can read the entire story on which areas in the country are growing at the link below:

Monday, March 24, 2008

I'll get on my knees to beg the legislature to pass 2513 to protect students!
Steve Fair- Jelly Salesman
HB 2513 will protect students!
By Steve Fair
State House Bill 2513 by Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, passed by a 65-36 margin in the State House last week. It now goes to the Senate. If #2513 becomes law, the bill would allow veterans, active-duty military and National Guard and reserve personnel, and people trained in law enforcement to carry concealed guns on college campuses if they have permits. The students would have to be CLEET certified- that means they would have to have basic peace officer training and be licensed through the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. Murphey’s bill would not apply to students with Conceal and Carry permits, but only those who are CLEET certified.

Former U.S. Senator David Boren who is the President of the University of Oklahoma has said he opposes HB 2153 because it would hurt OU’s ability to recruit students and faculty to the campus. According to Boren, it would create a perception of an unsafe environment. Perception is not reality- just because you perceive you are safe doesn’t mean you are. Having a “gun free zone” didn’t stop the madmen at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois. Passage of HB 2513 would have the opposite effect. Students could be reassured that CLEET certified trained professionals were armed in the classroom and if a madman did come to the classroom, those trained professionals would be the first line of defense.

Currently, at least eleven U.S. colleges (all nine public colleges in the state of Utah, Colorado State University, and Blue Ridge Community College, in Weyers Cave, VA allow students with conceal and carry permits to have a weapon on campus. None of those campuses have experienced a single incident of gun violence, a gun accident or a gun theft. Murphey’s bill is not for conceal and carry students- it’s for CLEET certified students. Less than one percent of the population have conceal and carry permits, so we’re not talking about a huge number of students carrying guns on campus. We are talking about law enforcement officers and trained professionals who are taking college classes having a gun.

More guns in the hands of law-abiding people does not create violence- in fact it deters it. Forty U.S. states now have conceal and carry, including Oklahoma. None of those states have seen an increase in gun violence or gun accidents since legalizing concealed carry and carry. According to John Lott and David Mustard in Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns, “Independent researchers suggest that concealed handgun license holders are five times less likely than non-license holders to commit violent crimes. A comparison of arrest statistics from the mid-‘90s found that Florida concealed handgun license holders were three times less likely to be arrested than were New York City police officers. "

President Boren is out of touch with Oklahoma values. In a prepared statement, he said, "If it would help for me to get down on my knees to plead with the Legislature for the safety of our students, I would do so.” Boren is correct about this being about safety, but it’s also about rights. The 2nd amendment to the US Constitution guarantees Americans the right to keep and bear arms. We have a right to personally defend ourselves against the bad guys.

Another argument, Boren has against the bill is "Police would not be able to sort out dangerous gunmen from others on campus with guns." "Current law protects the constitutional rights of our people, but it wisely bans guns from schools and colleges," he said. "We should stick to the laws that have worked so well and allow our colleges to continue to improve safety on their campuses." Yeah- they have worked so well that three campuses have been shot up in the past year. Most of the times, by the time police arrive on the scene, it’s over and they are left with the task of counting bodies. What happens in the five minutes before police arrive? Innocent unarmed law abiding people die because the campus administration doesn’t trust them.

Gov. Brad Henry, has said that he has not yet reviewed the latest version of the bill and therefore cannot pass judgment on it, but he does have great concerns about the issue and will seek input from interested parties, particularly college presidents and the campus safety task force. Translation- Henry will do whatever Boren tells him to do.

Critics of HB 2513 say passage could create an environment like that at the O.K. Corral. That famous gunfight lasted thirty seconds and had only three fatalities- mostly the bad guys. Far less died at the OK Corral than at Virginia Tech and those at the Corral died defending themselves, not unarmed and scrambling for cover.

The media has reported college students on their knees begging for their lives during the recent campus shootings. Those students would have given anything to had a CLEET certified fellow student in the classroom with a weapon to fight back against those madmen, but that right was taken away from them in the name of safety. Where’s the logic and fairness in that?

Monday, March 17, 2008

By Steve Fair
The amazing thing to me is whenever someone criticizes a gay person’s lifestyle, instead of ignoring the criticism and moving on with their life, these militants immediately attack that person for their “intolerance.” The real intolerance is with the homosexuals. They are unwilling to allow anyone to express their opinion- if it differs from their own. They are unwilling to be treated just like anyone else- they want special treatment. They don’t want both sides of the homosexual issue to be discussed- only their tolerance doctrine. They don’t want anyone to tell them the truth because in their own eyes they are enlightened. They have zero tolerance for anyone who disagrees with them. Take for example, their response to State Representative Sally Kern’s statment that homosexuality is hurting our country more than terrorism.

State Representative Sally Kern- R, OKC, was not just expressing her opinion of homosexuality, but Almighty Gods. Any honest Bible student who has the simplest fundamental knowledge of the scripture knows the Bible repeatedly condemns homosexuality. God destroyed cities because of their bent toward homosexuality. Whether the homosexuals choose to accept that truth or not, it makes no difference. In the garden, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Even the animals in the barnyard are right on this issue. Whether the homosexuals believe the truth or not, it doesn’t change the fact that it is the truth. Their real disagreement is not with Kern, but with God.

Kern has been a consistent voice of reason in protecting our children from the militant gay agenda whose design is to desensitize our children toward the gay lifestyle by presenting it as normal in the public school system. Teaching kids the gay lifestyle is normal is not what most parents in Oklahoma want their children taught, but through effective lobbying efforts, many schools are presenting that very premise in the Sooner state.

Rev. Russell Mark of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, sent Representative Kern a letter that was supposed to remind what it is to be a Christian and how registering to be a Republican is not the same thing as following Jesus Christ's teachings of love and acceptance. The letter is below:

As a Christian I have to ask what kind of god (note the small g- steve)do you worship that you would seek the murder of children? Does your Jesus call you to spread lies, repeat gossip and innuendo about people you don't even know? Does your Jesus teach you to spread hate and to live in fear and teach others to live in fear? So very odd isn't it that your Jesus and my Jesus are so very different. You see, my Jesus teaches the power of love; to confront my enemies face to face; to embrace them and seek to understand them; to find commonality. Out of humility, seek understanding and out of love, to not be afraid. Even in my anger at what you have said, I would seek to understand how you, my sister-in-Christ would say such ignorant, offensive and incitful things. How do you take a few obscure passages and totally ignore all that Christ teaches and seek to bludgeon an entire people? How do you do this and then go to church and worship the Christ who gave everything to reconcile the world? What about bigotry and fear-mongering is Christ-like? How dare you treat the cross with such distain! And how dare you misuse the authority of your office. Be ashamed Representative Kern. Be very ashamed. More than your constituents are watching; God is watching.

Yes, He is watching Mr. Mark and your ignorance of God’s Word is apparent. What Christ teaches in the scripture is clear- that we are totally and completely depraved creatures spiritually. That we in and of ourselves will not seek to worship, serve, or even seek God. That we have nothing within ourselves that make us acceptable to God- That we are completely and utterly dependent on His Grace. That only He can atone for our wickedness. It’s a hopeless situation Mr. Mark- absolutely completely and totally hopeless- that’s the message of Christ.

I assume Mark is using Christ's words from the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7 to present his case to Kern. In fact in the Sermon, Christ presents standards no man can live up to and until one is spiritually awakened, they wrongly believe they can fulfill the standards. The great theologian Dr. Martyn Lloyd- Jones said the Sermon on the Mount was one of the most misunderstood passages in scripture. “Too often people see only the practical side of what the Lord was saying, but what He was commanding us to do was impossible to achieve in the flesh.” “The Sermon is one of the most theological passages in the Bible and one of the most condemning.” Mr. Mark, my prayer is that God will open your blinded eyes to His Grace.

Representative Kern needs our prayers and support. May God give her the strength to endure the onslaught of hateful criticism she is getting for speaking the truth.
by Ann Colter
This is a disaster for Hillary Clinton. According to the wiretaps, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was delighted to be getting the prostitute "Kristen" again. At least he knew her name. It took Monica Lewinsky's boyfriend six sexual encounters to remember her name (bringing his lifetime average to 8.2). You know that queasy feeling you get thinking about Bill Clinton back in the White House again? Now you remember why. Hillary Clinton couldn't feel worse about the Spitzer case if she were an actual New Yorker.......Read entire article at:
Black Liberation Theology not Biblical!
By Steve Fair
Should an individual be held accountable for remarks their pastor or spiritual mentor state in a public sermon? Should a political candidate be questioned on the tenets of their religion? If a person is running for the highest office in the land, should they be questioned on their theology- their view of God? That’s some of the questions being debated in the media today, primarily because Senator Barrick Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, made a number of very controversial statements in his sermons. To get a handle on the entire situation, we must examine the basis of what Wright believes.

The Rev. Wright advocates “black liberation theology,” which views the study of God from the perspective of an oppressed people. Black Liberation Theology seeks to interpret the gospel against the backdrop of historical and contemporary racism. The message of black theology is that the African American struggle for liberation is consistent with the gospel--every theological statement must be consistent with, and perpetuate, the goals of liberation.

The theology maintains that African Americans must be liberated from multiple forms of bondage- social, political, economic, and religious. This liberation involves empowerment and seeks the right of self-definition, self affirmation, and self determination.

In the preface of his book Black Theology and Black Power, the Rev. James Cone, a Methodist and the pioneer of Black Liberation Theology stated, "For me, the burning theological question was, how can I reconcile Christianity and Black Power, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s idea of nonviolence, and Malcolm X's 'by any means necessary philosophy?'"

Where did Liberation theology originate? According to fellow blogger, Dr. Bob, who is a physician in the Pacific Northwest, “Liberation theology sprouted from Marxist syncretism in Latin America, and has subsequently spread to many liberal Protestant denominations as well. Its core premise — the centrality of class warfare in human relationships — is inherently incompatible with the unity of Christians in Christ.” Black Liberation Theology emphasizes race instead of grace.

Basically, Liberation Theology is an attempt to interpret Scripture through the plight of the poor. It is largely a humanistic doctrine. If the liberationist would set aside his viewing of scripture with preunderstanding, he would discover that the gap between the rich and the poor is not the cause of man's predicament; it is merely one symptom of it (Jer. 5:26-29). It was not primarily the establishment that needed to be overthrown; it was man's sin - his selfishness and greed - that needed conquering (1 Pet. 2:24). It was not fundamentally a political revolution that was needed, but a revolution in the human heart - something found only in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), who came not to be a model political revolutionary but to die on the cross for man's sins as the Lamb of God (Matt. 26:26-28). Did Christ liberate His people? Yes, but from spiritual death, not financial poverty.

Does Senator Obama believe the tenets of Black Liberation theology and is he an evanglical Christian? It’s a fair question, particularly since former Governor Mitt Romney had to answer questions about his affiliation with the Mormon Church.

In an interview with his hometown newspaper, The Chicago Sun Times, Obama was asked if he considered himself an “evangelical.” He responded by saying, "Gosh, I'm not sure if labels are helpful here because the definition of an evangelical is so loose and subject to so many different interpretations. I came to Christianity through the black church tradition where the line between evangelical and non-evangelical is completely blurred. Nobody knows exactly what it means. "Does it mean that you feel you've got a personal relationship with Christ the savior? Then that's directly part of the black church experience. Does it mean you're born-again in a classic sense, with all the accoutrements that go along with that, as it's understood by some other tradition? I'm not sure." Obama said about the Rev. Wright, “Most importantly, Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life.” “In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he’s been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.”

In spite of his name and all the Internet trash you may have seen, Obama is not a Muslim. Obama is a professing Christian who evidently believes in a liberal humanistic theology of relativism that advocates wealth redistribution and racism. No one should be held accountable for what their pastor states in a sermon. All too often, pastors interject their personal editorial into the sermon and while it “fires” up the troops; those sidebar comments are not always biblically based. However, when you are a twenty-year member of a church where the pastor makes controversial anti-American, racist statements and you remain a member of that body, you have to believe the dogma. The Senator has some explaining to do.

Friday, March 14, 2008

‘Deceived’ NRCC lost $740,000
By Jackie Kucinich and Aaron Blake from The Hill
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said Thursday that former Treasurer Chris Ward apparently funneled several hundred thousand dollars to his personal and business bank accounts from the committee’s funds. The transfers caused the committee to severely over-report its cash-on-hand totals in recent financial reports.
In an update on its internal review of the accounting irregularities that were revealed in late January, the NRCC said the funneling dates back to 2004 and that its cash on hand in its most recent financial report is actually $740,000 less than it initially reported.
The NRCC also says Ward, who was the committee’s treasurer from 2003 to 2007, submitted “bogus audit reports” for all five years between 2002-2006. The last year the committee had a full audit was 2001. Ward was fired as an NRCC consultant when the irregularities were discovered. In a release, the NRCC said it was beginning to release some of the details of its review because it could do so without compromising a federal investigation into Ward.
On Thursday, NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) briefed GOP members about the situation.
“Paramount to my chairmanship is the integrity and success of the NRCC,” Cole said in a statement. “However, the evidence we have today indicates we have been deceived and betrayed for a number of years by a highly respected and trusted individual. From the moment we learned that bogus financial statements had been submitted to the bank on our behalf, we took decisive and speedy action by contacting the FBI, which opened a criminal investigation.” Read the entire story at

Monday, March 10, 2008


Ron Paul says he is still in the Presidential race, but is transitioning to a campaign that is "education" related. Read a recent press release on his web site at the link below:
Ron Paul hints he's quitting race
03/07/2008 10:37 AM
By: AP Wire Service

WASHINGTON (AP) - John McCain's last theoretical challenger for the Republican presidential nomination is apparently calling it quits. Longshot candidate Ron Paul hasn't formally bowed out of the race, but he does tell backers in a video on his Web site that there is not going to be victory in the conventional sense. He says their hard work and enthusiasm have achieved many other victories....more on the story at link below

Paul's supporters in Oklahoma are passionate and energized. We need their passion within our state and local party for local races. I hope they stay engaged and as passionate about getting a city councilman elected as they have been in working to get the Congressman in the White House.

Ron Paul's Earmarks

In the August 6, 2007 edition of the Wall Street Journal, the following article appeared. It is interesting to note the Congressman who is known as Dr. No in the U.S. House has accepted earmarks in his district. THE ONLY CANDIDATE on either side of the aisle that has not accepted an earmark is Senator John McCain. This article is worth reading.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul -- libertarian gadfly and current Republican Presidential hopeful -- has made a name for himself as a critic of overspending. But it seems even he can't resist the political allure of earmarks. After reporters started asking questions, the Congressman disclosed his requests this year for about $400 million worth of federal funding for no fewer than 65 earmarks. They include such urgent national wartime priorities as an $8 million request for the marketing of wild American shrimp and $2.3 million to fund shrimp-fishing research. When we called Mr. Paul's office for an explanation, his spokesperson offered up something worthy of pork legends Tom DeLay or Senator Robert C. Byrd: "Reducing earmarks does not reduce government spending, and it does not prohibit spending upon those things that are earmarked," the spokesman said. "What people who push earmark reform are doing is they are particularly misleading the public -- and I have to presume it's not by accident."
On the other hand, good libertarians should want to start cutting somewhere. The problem with earmarking is that each year the habit grows by leaps and bounds so that it now represents real money. It is also a gateway to political corruption -- a la Duke Cunningham, and other Congressmen currently under investigation for trading favors for earmarks.
Mr. Paul is one of Congress's better fiscal conservatives. So the fact that even he feels obliged to grab multiple earmarks is all the more reason to keep fighting for transparency in the earmark process, as well as for the line-item veto, which would give Presidents a chance to impose some spending discipline from outside Congress.
By Steve Fair
On Saturday, Illinois Democrat Bill Foster pulled off an upset in the special election for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s (R-Ill.) congressional seat. Foster defeated Republican Jim Oberweis, who was endorsed by the former speaker, and won the seat. It’s only until the November general election when a rematch is likely between the two wealthy candidates. Foster put over 2 million of his own money into the race and Oberweis almost 3 million.

That’s a lot of money for a special election. The National Republican Congressional Committee which Congressman Tom Cole, R-OK, heads spent about $1.3 million to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s more than $1 million. There is no doubt this was a big win for Democrats in a GOP-leaning district and against a candidate supported by Hastert.

NRCC Chairman Tom Cole acknowledged earlier this week that a loss would reflect poorly on Republicans, especially given that the race took place in the district of the former speaker. NRCC spokeswoman Karen Hanretty said the results shouldn't be over-interpreted."The one thing 2008 has shown is that one election in one state does not prove a trend. In fact, there has been no national trend this entire election season," Hanretty said. "The one message coming out of 2008 so far is that what happens today is not a bellwether of what happens this fall.” I agree with Hanretty- one election does not make a trend, but if Republicans don’t get energized, we stand to lose more than the White House in 2008. With over thirty Republicans members of the U.S. House retiring, this could be a tough year if Republicans don’t get fired up and show up.

On February 5th- Super Tuesday- 14.6 million Democrats went to the polls and only 9 million Republicans. That has been the national trend- Democrats have been voting 1.4 to 1 vs. Republicans in the primary election. A primary turnout does not necessarily mean a party will stay energized through a general election and historically it has been a challenge to keep people engaged in the process through the general.

Fellow blogger Don Surber says, “Democrats are great at electing presidents in March when the election is held in November. Dukakis, Gore and Kerry were all locks in their races — until the fall campaign actually began. In this cycle, Democrats prepared for November, but the November they picked is 2007, not 2008.” Surber is right- the three elections he referenced were close in the general election, but the Republicans won. The reason they won was because the base was energized. The voter turnout was good for the Republicans. When the conservative base votes, the GOP wins. When it stays home, we lose. It’s as simple as that.

Conservatives must be energized about 2008 for a couple of reasons. First, we have our nominee selected and he is a principled American patriot. While Senator McCain is not the first choice of many conservatives, but he’s an infinitely better choice to lead our country than Senators Clinton or Obama. McCain has been a consistent advocate for the military and is a fiscal conservative. McCain has never taken an “earmark” for his state. Earmarks are those appropriations for pet projects that members of Congress use to get re-elected. Most of the projects are worthy of funding, but to give any politician sovereign reign over what gets funded or not is wrong- no matter what party they are a member of. McCain has never taken one. Senator Tom Coburn- R, OK, says McCain if he is elected President has the courage to veto any appropriations bill sent to his desk that has earmarks included. McCain recognizes that government spending is out of control and has been a consistent voice for fiscal restraint in our country.

Secondly, Senator Clinton is ethically challenged and Senator Obama is a novice. Clinton’s track record of truthfulness and transparency in her business and political career has been inconsistent and many times dishonest. Obama has not yet served one half term in the U.S. Senate. He is rated as the most liberal member of the body. While the junior Senator from Illinois is an inspiring speaker, his list of accomplishments is non-existent. Even his supporters struggle to come up with anything he has done during his short tenure in the Senate.
John Maynard Keynes, the English economist said, "the best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens." With the devaluing of the dollar, Keynes words are just as applicable today as they were in 1939. We need a true fiscal conservative in the White House and the only one in the race is Senator McCain.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Guv would have to file by March 10th
Mike Huckabee for U.S. Senate
by Rod D. Martin
March 5th, 2008
He ran a great race for President, one that only a handful of people (like me) imagined that such an underfunded, unknown former preacher could run. But now it’s over. So what’s a newly famous term-limited ex-governor to do? Well, he could certainly wait around to be picked for Vice President. But given the mercurial nature of that selection process, he could be in for a very long wait if he did.......
Fellow blogger Rod Martin has an interesting article on why Governor Huckabee should run for the US Senate seat in Arkansas- first and foremost because he would win and we need more "R"s in the Senate. Read the entire post at:
Good Republican from Chester, IL forwarded this story to me
Rezko was friends with Obama, attorney tells jury
ByKevin McDermott
CHICAGO — Antoin "Tony" Rezko's attorney on Thursday invoked presidential front-runner Barack Obama's name in telling jurors what good judgment Rezko has in picking friends — an unwelcome compliment for Obama — as yet another federal corruption trial involving Illinois politics gets under way.As if to make sure jurors were getting the point, the defense also noted that the star witness against Rezko was a disciple of disgraced former Gov. George Ryan. Read the whole story at the link below:
Tom Cole is upbeat while House GOP plays defense
By Aaron Blake from The Hill
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) is fond of saying things could be a lot worse for his party, but heading into the sixth and seventh special elections of the 2008 election cycle, House Republicans remain very much in a defense mode. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which Cole heads, is spending precious millions to save conservative districts and not registering an independent expenditure on either of its potential takeovers. Voters in Illinois will head to the polls Saturday to tap a successor to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), and the race to replace the late Rep. Julia Carson (D-Ind.) will follow three days later.

In Illinois, despite having a candidate in businessman Jim Oberweis who has spent nearly $3 million of his own money on the race, the NRCC has been forced to sink more than $1.2 million into retaining a district that gave President Bush 55 percent of the vote in 2004. Losing Hastert’s seat would be a significant blow to the GOP. At a breakfast Monday with reporters, Cole said he recognizes “the symbolic importance of the race” and acknowledged that he is well aware of the public relations fiasco that may be looming, saying a Democratic win will “be spun out of all proportion.”

Meanwhile, in Carson’s district, where an unknown and cash-strapped Republican took 46 percent last year, the GOP has apparently resigned itself to letting the race play out largely on its own.

Cole likened the Indiana race to a Massachusetts special election from October of last year, where retired Air Force Lt. Col. Jim Ogonowski (R) came within six points of an upset of now-Rep. Niki Tsongas (D). The NRCC hasn’t made an independent expenditure in either race.
“We did a lot [in Massachusetts], but we didn’t go bet the barn because you had two races coming on Dec. [11] — open Republican seats,” Cole said. “Those were infinitely more important and more winnable for us.”

If it’s a preview of things to come, the GOP won’t be spending much money on offense this cycle, because there will be more than a dozen swing or GOP-leaning districts vacated by Republican incumbents this cycle. And those open-seat races are often the most expensive. The NRCC reported a net bankroll of just $4 million at the end of January, meaning there likely won’t be much left over for lots of uphill takeover attempts. On Dec. 11, the NRCC wound up spending $440,000 on a 14-point special election win for Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and another $90,000 on a 24-point special election win for Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.). Those two districts both went at least 60 percent for Bush, while Tsongas’s and Carson’s seats went 57 and 58 percent, respectively, for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

The GOP also could be forced into some more defense with a pair of special elections in the next two months. The campaigns for the seats of former Reps. Richard Baker (R-La.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who is now a senator, both feature well-funded Democratic candidates, and both districts voted around 60 percent for Bush in 2004. Democrats are eyeing Baker’s seat in particular.

Republicans insist the Democrats were on the defensive in Massachusetts but already had a large cash advantage thanks to outside groups like Emily’s List. The GOP is also setting the bar very low in Indiana, with Cole calling it a “long shot.” NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said the committee is exercising care in dealing with GOP-held seats up for grabs in special elections.
“For Democrats to expand their majority, they will have to win in Republican-leaning districts just like the ones they have heavily invested in,” Spain said. “As we have stated all along, anything can happen in a special election, and we are taking nothing for granted.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has long insisted that it will be on the offensive this cycle. It has now spent more than $1 million on Hastert’s seat after spending $240,000 on Latta’s. The only defense it has played is $200,000 for the Indiana seat.
The NRCC listed 24 targeted districts in a memo distributed this week, including many held by Democratic freshmen and one open seat. The DCCC has said it has strong recruits in upwards of 50 GOP-held seats. Each committee has scoffed at the other’s lists of targets. An Illinois Republican consultant said the GOP’s problem is not so much the national environment as a preponderance of circumstances — namely, a sub-par candidate in Oberweis and a GOP nominee who just withdrew in the conservative-leaning battleground district of retiring Rep. Jerry Weller (R-Ill.).

The consultant said these two will take precedence over going after perennial target Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) and that a victory in the Democratic presidential primary by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) could further hurt GOP offense in Illinois and nationwide.
“Frankly, I think, if Obama’s on the ticket, win or lose Saturday, we lose that district in November,” the consultant said.

DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) wrote in a briefing for supporters last month that the committee is trying to rewrite history by staying on the offense the year after a wave election — generally a difficult proposition. After shoring up their most vulnerable freshmen and other endangered members with lots of campaign cash, Democrats say they’ve positioned themselves to give it a shot.

“They’re defending seats that they never thought they would have to worry about,” said DCCC spokesman Doug Thornell. “At the same time, they haven’t been able to do the same to us, because they’ve been stretched financially and the fact that they have to defend so many seats.
“It’s hard for them to spend money on Democratic targets when they are forced to spend money on a seat like Illinois’s 14th district,” Thornell added.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

by Steve Fair
On Saturday March 1st, the 4th District of the Oklahoma Republican Party held their district convention. The district convention is convened each presidential year to elect three National Delegates and three Alternates to represent Oklahoma at the National Republican Convention. We also elect an elector- a person whose name appears on the ballot in November and who casts their ballot in the electorial college. This year’s national convention will be in Saint Paul, Minnesota the first week in September. Over 400 delegates and guests from throughout the district and state attended the 4th district convention and events. Congressman Tom Cole keynoted a fundraising banquet the evening before and Senator Jim Inhofe was the keynote speaker for the convention on Saturday morning.

The fourth district encompasses sixteen counties in central and southern Oklahoma. Fourteen of those counties were represented at the convention. The fourth district is an area where Republican numbers are growing. In the past three months, Republicans out registered Democrats by over 1,000 voters in the district.

To kick off Saturday morning, a prayer breakfast was well planned and executed by Stephens County delegates Betty Smith and Cindy Hale. Rev. Ed Moore, a former Republican State Senator has a prayer ministry called Prayer Force One. He spoke at the breakfast and did an outstanding job. Ed has a bus painted to look like Air Force One and drives it around the country to promote praying for our country. We hope to have it parked at our annual 4th annual Fish Fry on May 10th at the Fairgrounds.

Former Stephens County resident Carissa Darling was the luncheon speaker. Carissa is the coordinator of the 72-hour task force, which is the Republican Party’s “Get out the vote” mechanism. Carissa did an outstanding job presenting to people who primary objective at that point in time was to fill their stomach. She is a talented young lady who is a credit to Stephens County.

There were a number of delegates who were attending a political convention for the first time. Some are skeptical of what they call the “old guard” of the party. They wrongly believed that because someone has been involved in politics for a long period of time, they are prone to compromising and have developed “blind loyalty.” Some commented to me they felt out of place and unwelcome at the convention. Welcome to politics. If you want to stay involved in politics for the long haul and truly make a difference in government, you have to develop a thick skin. You must recognize that anyone who is involved in political activism will at some point feel like a skunk at the family picnic. Politics is that way- there is not a lot of graciousness or tolerance for the other persons view.

Most of those who came to the 4th district convention for the first time were supporters of Presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul. Paul incites passion in his followers and I applaud him for that. While their numbers at the voting polls are small, those who support him are not just causal voters. They are willing to put signs on their cars, distribute literature, and attend political conventions to espouse his philosophy on government. Paul got less than ten percent of the 4th district vote on February 4th in the Presidential Primary, but 25% of the delegates at the 4th district convention were openly supporting Ron Paul. That’s impressive, but it should shame supporters of Huckabee, Romney and McCain. Where were they on a beautiful Saturday morning? Engaged in the process or sitting this one out? We can learn something from Ron Paul. The issues he brings to the table are real and the medical doctor has a pretty good diagnosis on the problems. I don’t agree with him on the solutions, but to his credit he gets people up and involved in their government. That’s not a bad thing. I would hope Paul would exhort his supporters to be as passionate about their local, county, and state elections as they are for federal issues. At the local level is where you really make a difference in politics.

Oklahoma has forty-one delegates to the National Convention. Fifteen of those are elected at the five district conventions throughout the state and twenty-three are elected at the state convention on May 3rd in Tulsa. The 4th District convention was the first district convention held. Nominated by State Representative Dennis Johnson and seconded by Senator Anthony Sykes, I was the first delegate elected from the 4th district, so technically I was the first National delegate elected from the state of Oklahoma. The two other delegates elected were Carter County GOP Chairperson Marjorie Brown and Oklahoma County GOP Chairperson Pam Pollard. We also elected Bobby Cleveland, a long time party activist from Norman, as Elector.

Since I serve as 4th district Chairman, I had a definite advantage over the other thirteen candidates for delegate, but it took a runoff to decide the race. I look forward to representing the Oklahoma GOP in St. Paul at the Republican National Convention.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I was elected as a Republican National Delegate at the 4th District Convention in Ardmore on Saturday. I was elected to the first slot, so technically I was the first national delegate elected in 2008. Thanks to Representative Johnson and Senator Sykes for nominating and seconding me respectfully. Their superior persuasive skills and my being the 4th district Chair probably were the reason I was the first delegate selected.
Also elected as delegates were the 4th district Vice Chair Majorie Brown and Oklahoma County Chair Pam Pollard. Cleveland County activist Bobby Cleveland won the elector slot. Over 300 delegates gathered in Carter County for the first time in state history to hold a Republican convention. The facility was outstanding, the food great and the reviews on the convention have been good. I am honored and humbled to be elected as delegate and look forward to attending the national convention. For more information on upcoming Oklahoma GOP events, go to