Monday, April 30, 2007
Gas Company Sets Sights on Washington
By Jim Snyder Since opening for business in 1993, Chesapeake Energy has grown into a dominant player in the natural gas industry. Now the company is setting its sights on Washington. In the process, it is making the traditional energy lobby, which tries hard to avoid infighting, nervous that the détente could be over. Chesapeake’s push comes as Congress weighs global warming legislation, which could rearrange the country’s energy fuel mix. The company is a charter member of the American Clean Skies Foundation, which will promote natural gas interests. The formation of a new coalition itself isn’t particularly newsworthy since several already exist. But Chesapeake’s CEO, Aubrey McClendon, who co-founded the company with $50,000, indicated in an interview with The Hill that the foundation would not be afraid to challenge Big Coal, despite that industry’s powerful backers on Capitol Hill. “We will be an aggressive and forceful advocate of natural gas, and I should add, effective,” McClendon said. The foundation will be run by Denise Bode, a member of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission with ties to Washington’s oil and gas lobby. Bode was once the president of the IPAA and is a former staffer to ex-Sen. David Boren (D-Okla.). Read more...Posted at 4/30/2007 02:21:00 PM |
Istook-isms: "Lose Thousands of Dollars from Your Own Home In Your Spare Time!"
. . . and then thank Barney Frank You can lose thousands of dollars every week -- right from the privacy of your own home! Thanks to the modern miracle of Internet gambling, you don't have to plan ahead for a trip to a casino far-far away! Just imagine the gambling convenience:
Labels: Ernest IstookPosted at 4/30/2007 08:52:00 AM |
Oklahoma Consortium Bids to Land $450 Million Research Center
TULSA, Okla. (AP) A consortium led by Oklahoma State University hopes to land for the state a 450 million dollar research center for the federal Department of Homeland Security. Twenty-nine bids originally were made for the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility, and earlier this year, that number was trimmed to 14 after the first round of the selection process. A list of three to five finalists for the facility is expected to be released in June. Those who back the Oklahoma bid say winning the competition for the facility will be difficult, but that the state is one of the top contenders. The proposal would place the facility at a 67-hundred-acre U-S Agriculture Department research laboratory west of El Reno. Among Oklahoma universities, O-S-U, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Tulsa and Langston University are involved in the bid. The state's two largest private research organizations, the Noble Foundation and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, also are part of the consortium.Thursday, April 26, 2007
Labels: Homeland SecurityPosted at 4/30/2007 08:42:00 AM |
Loveless to Run For State Senate
April 25th, 2007 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kyle D. Loveless 405-640-0740 3rd Generation of South-Side Oklahoma City Family Files for District 45 Seat Oklahoma City, OK – Today, Kyle D. Loveless, a third-generation South Oklahoma City native, made it official and announced his candidacy for State Senate District #45. The seat is currently held by Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson who is retiring due to term limits. The primary election will be held in the summer of 2008. “Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson and Senator Helen Cole leave a fine and honorable tradition of leadership that I hope to continue if elected,” said Loveless. “Oklahoma is heading into a new century, and we need a new brand of conservative leadership that is not afraid to take on the tough issues. Priorities must be made. Our state government needs to make hard decisions. I am the type of candidate who is not afraid to make the changes we need.” “For too long, the Oklahoma State Senate has been in the back pocket of the trial lawyers, and the state has suffered because of it. We need entrepreneurs with the pioneering spirit that our state was founded upon, not relics of the past.” To kick off the campaign, Loveless is inviting the public to a reception at his campaign headquarters: WHEN: May 24th, 2007 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. WHERE: Loveless Campaign Headquarters 4400 SW 21st Street Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73108 (Just east of SW 21st Street and S. Meridian intersection) Loveless -- Conservative Leadership for a New CenturyPosted at 4/26/2007 11:04:00 AM |
Rep. Fallin "The HiIl" Interview
By Kelly McCormack If you could fire one lawmaker, who would it be? “I can’t think of anybody I’d fire. I have a great respect for [all lawmakers] even though I may differ. They are representing their districts.” If you could be one other lawmaker, who would you want to be? “[There are] many lawmakers that I have a great [amount of respect for]. They each have strengths in [their] various individual personalities. I can’t name one I’d want to be exactly like.” What five people, dead or alive, would you want to go to dinner with? “[Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice. I really admire her. She’s smart, capable, savvy and has a good heart. Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi (D-Calif.). Although we come from different political parties, I respect her elevation as a woman to Speaker of the House. [House Minority Leader John] Boehner (R-Ohio). He’s got knowledge to share. Margaret Thatcher — one of the early women to work in a man’s world. First lady Laura Bush.” What’s your middle name? “Oh, don’t ask me that! My daddy’s name: Newt. Whenever I see Newt Gingrich I tell him that we have something in common.” Have you ever had a near-death experience? “No, not to the point of being injured. I came close in car wrecks. Last year, [I was on a flight that] almost had a midair collision [with another plane]. I haven’t had any injuries.” What do you do to stay in shape? “I like to walk, work out and lift weights. It’s very important for one’s health and alertness, [especially] working the congressional hours that we do. My mom became ill at 73 and was bedridden. [It’s important] to enjoy life in the golden years.”Posted at 4/26/2007 09:17:00 AM |
By John J. Miller Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - The Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative is moving ahead with plans for a November, 2008 ballot measure banning government-sponsored race and gender preferences in the state. The Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative will be part of a 'Super Tuesday for Equal Rights' campaign that will offer citizens of several states the chance to end such practices in public employment, public education and public contracting. Similar measures have already passed in three other states, all by overwhelming margins. "We believe the people of Oklahoma are fair and believe in equal treatment under the law," said Rep. Randy Terrill. "Ward Connerly and his organizations have done excellent work exposing policies that divide us and now we are delighted to have his support in pursuing the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative," Rep. Terrill continued.
Labels: Decision '08Posted at 4/26/2007 08:56:00 AM |
First Democratic Presidential Debate Watch Party
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mike Workman, DFA Tulsa, 918-743-8165 h/o Watch a live 90-minute broadcast of the First-In-The-Nation Democratic Presidential Debate in Orangeburg, SC, on MSNBC in our two reserved rooms with seating for 105 people. All eight Democratic presidential candidates have confirmed for this debate. Afterwards, representatives of their local campaigns will address us and a straw poll will be taken! Come learn more about the strong field and support your favorite Democrat! Space may be limited to the first 105 online RSVPs! Event Date: Thursday, April 26, 2007 Event Time: 5:30-8:00 PM Central Mazzio's Pizza, meeting room 5119 S. Sheridan Rd., Tulsa, OK 74145Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Labels: Decision '08Posted at 4/26/2007 08:32:00 AM |
OU Donates to Soldier's Angels
The Oklahoma Political News Service would like to recognize the University of Oklahoma for recently donating items to the Soldiers Angels organization. Those items will be sent to Oklahoma soldiers overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thank you University of Oklahoma for not only remembering our troops overseas but doing something to let them know they are remembered and appreciated. Soldiers Angels has been supporting our nation's military men and women since 2003. On their website, they state their mission is to "provide aid and comfort to the military and its families, provide immediate response to hard situations, and make sure no soldier feels unloved." SA send thousands of letters, care pacakges, and comfort items to our deployed. They also help their families here at home as requested. No matter how one feels about the war, our troops deserve our support, and financially supporting Soldier's Angels is a great way of showing your support.Posted at 4/25/2007 06:59:00 PM |
Williamson Vows to Continue Effort to Override Henry Veto of Pro-Life Bill
SB 714 author disappointed by Senator Laster’s flip-flop on abortion issue The evenly divided Oklahoma Senate fell one vote short today of the 32 votes needed to override Gov. Brad Henry’s veto of a pro-life bill after Democrat Senator Charles Laster of Shawnee flip-flopped by voting against an override motion after voting 3 previous times in favor of the legislation this session – once in committee and twice on the Senate floor. But Senate Bill 714’s author, Sen. James A. Williamson of Tulsa, said he will press on with future attempts to override Henry’s veto. “Today’s vote is just the beginning. Our fight on behalf of unborn Oklahomans will continue for as along as necessary until we override this veto,” Williamson said. “Sen. Laster’s flip flop on this life-and-death issue is surprising and disappointing. Sen. Laster will likely be hearing from many pro-life Oklahomans in the coming days. There will be a lot of prayers that he will have a change of heart on the next override vote,” stated Williamson. “Sen. Laster’s explanation for changing his vote on SB 714 involves the same arguments that were used against this bill during every previous vote, yet Sen. Laster still voted for the bill every time until today,” he said. Senate Bill 714 is a pro-life bill that prohibits the use of state funds, facilities, and employees to perform abortions. It also requires abortionists to file paperwork with the state showing they are following laws requiring informed consent of patients and the notification of minors’ parents before abortions are performed. Williamson noted that Democrat Sen. Nancy Riley of Sand Springs, who switched parties in 2006, has also changed positions on the abortion issue. “In the past, Sen. Riley consistently voted pro-life as a Republican. She never told pro-life supporters that rape and incest exceptions were important to her. As a Democrat, she even voted for SB 714 in committee before opposing the bill on the floor,” Williamson said. “Sen. Riley’s waffling on the issue of life is extremely disappointing.” Williamson said he will continue to bring up his motion to override Henry’s veto of SB 714 “as many times as necessary” until the end of next year’s legislative session.Posted at 4/25/2007 03:43:00 PM |
Saturday House Sessions Garner National Attention
The Heartland Voices, a community choir from the Midwest City-Del City area, performs in the rotunda during a special Saturday session of the House of Representatives. National Conference on State Legislatures Calls Session First in Nation Last week's Saturday session held by the Oklahoma House of Representatives has attracted national attention, and has been billed as likely the first of its kind. The National Conference of State Legislatures has noted on its blog, "The Thicket at State Legislatures," that the Saturday session is likely the first in the nation, and could serve as a model for similar events around the country. "We'll add this to our list of ideas for what legislators can do to improve public understanding of their work," writes NCSL program director of state services Jan Goehring. "At NCSL we're not aware of any other legislatures that have scheduled a Saturday session for the convenience of the public." Goehring noted that most Saturday session for other legislatures across the country come at the end when the clock is ticking and lawmakers haven't finished their work. By contrast, the Oklahoma House event was held as a way to reach out to working families and improve civic education among children. "We felt this event was a great opportunity for families to have the opportunity to come to the State Capitol to see the House in session outside regularly scheduled meeting times," said Speaker Cargill (R-Harrah). "Often families don't have the chance to come to the State Capitol during the work week." 98 year old Leora Henderson and her daughter Joan Woolley attend a Saturday session of the House of Representatives. The Saturday session on April 21 attracted a crowd of about 150 people - with the day highlighted by a singing choir, a brief power outage and a visit from a citizen only six months younger than the state. Lawmakers considered a dozen substantive pieces of legislation. The session continued despite a brief half-hour power outage at an OG&E substation that left the entire state Capitol without electricity. Lawmakers were left without microphones during the power outage, and votes were taken by a voice roll call. Speaker Cargill said the power outage was a great reminder of the state's Centennial - an example of how far the state had come since the horse-and-buggy era. "If lawmakers 100 years ago could conduct the legislative session without laptops, microphones and electronic voting machines we certainly can too," said Cargill. "It was a nice reminder of the progress we've made as a state."Posted at 4/25/2007 03:16:00 PM |
ACRC To Announce Race Neutral Ballot Initiative in Oklahoma
From The New Leadership Blog: By Christopher Arps I wrote several days ago that the American Civil Rights Coalition headed by Ward Connerly - a national leader striving for a "color blind society" - would be making an important announcement regarding ballot initiatives in several states next year. Yesterday in Kansas City, I attended and spoke at the press conference announcing the formation of the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative. It was the second stop on the five state tour of Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona, and South Dakota. The ballot measure will seek to ban government-sponsored race and gender preferences in public employment, public education and public contracting. Here is the actual proposed language: “The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting." Recent ballot initiative victories in Michigan, Washington, and California, have shown that that these measures passed with strong grassroots support. The internet has become a logical extension of the power of grassroots organizing; with its advantages of quick and cost effective communication. No doubt, the opponents of the measure will use scare tactics and blatant mistruths to distort the purpose of the initiative, but fortuntiately, the blogosphere will be able to counter them. Read more... FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday April 25, 2007 Contact: Ryan Steusloff at 405-286-6500 Or, Jennifer Gratz at (517) 281-6738 or (916) 444-2278 OKLAHOMA CIVIL RIGHTS INITIATIVE LAUNCHES ANTI-PREFERENCES CAMPAIGN Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - The Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative is moving ahead with plans for a November, 2008 ballot measure banning government-sponsored race and gender preferences in the state. The Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative will be part of a 'Super Tuesday for Equal Rights' campaign that will offer citizens of several states the chance to end such practices in public employment, public education and public contracting. Similar measures have already passed in three other states, all by overwhelming margins. "We believe the people of Oklahoma are fair and believe in equal treatment under the law," said Rep. Randy Terrill. "Ward Connerly and his organizations have done excellent work exposing policies that divide us and now we are delighted to have his support in pursuing the Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative," Rep. Terrill continued. Connerly, chairman of the Sacramento-based American Civil Rights Institute and longtime crusader for a colorblind America, will also be speaking at the event. "Getting our nation to the point of applying a single standard to all Americans is one of the most crucial issues of our time," says Connerly, who helped lead the earlier successful anti-preferences campaigns in California, Washington state and, most recently, Michigan. "Racial preferences are nothing but state-sponsored discrimination. How can we look the other way when Americans are being deprived of their right to full and equal treatment under the law? If events of the past couple of weeks have taught us anything at all, it is that race will continue to divide our nation as long as long as we insist on treating people differently based on nothing more than the color of their skin or the origin of their ancestors,” said Connerly. “Both Don Imus, in his appalling comments on the Rutgers women's basketball team, and those who rushed to judgment in the Duke lacrosse case made the same mistake: they looked at individuals and saw only skin color. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we have to get past that kind of thinking - and we must start by getting our government out of the business of privileging some citizens because of their race or gender and penalizing others," said Connerly. The operative clause of the proposed ballot initiative reads as follows: "The state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting."
Labels: Decision '08Posted at 4/25/2007 10:26:00 AM |
"Bumper Sticker Politics" Serves State Poorly
By Senator Jay Paul Gumm The serious discussion of critical issues sometimes gives way to what I call “bumper sticker politics.” By that, I mean when an extraordinarily complicated issue gets reduced to a few words that fit on a bumper sticker. The Senate considered one of those issues last week when we considered Senate Bill 507, the so-called “Tort Reform” or “Lawsuit Reform” bill. This was a long and complex bill. It would fundamentally change the ability of everyday Oklahomans to ask a court to put right what once went wrong. Despite its complexity, senator’s votes on this bill will be distilled down to being “for” or “against” the whole of tort reform, an issue very important to our medical and business communities. Since becoming your senator, I have voted for just about every tort reform bill to come before the Legislature. Read more...Posted at 4/25/2007 10:20:00 AM |
Worthen: Norman Lawmaker Should Apologize for Remark Insulting Teachers
Rep. Wallace Collins insults public education and his own literacy/intelligence at the same time! An Oklahoma City lawmaker Tuesday renewed calls for Rep. Wallace Collins to apologize for insulting remarks he made about public education on the House floor. "Collins claims he was just joking," said Rep. Trebor Worthen (R-Oklahoma City). "But I don't think professional educators find his remarks amusing. I certainly don't. If he is able to be so flippant about something like this, I think it calls into question his so-called commitment to public education." On April 12, while discussing a bill on the House floor, Collins (D-Norman)stated, "I'm only a public school graduate, so I'm not very literate, if you could talk to me in a manner I can understand." "This is an insult not only to public educators, but also to the students who go through Oklahoma's school system every day," said Worthen. "I don't think these kinds of comments on the House floor are becoming of a lawmaker. Instead of continuing to dismiss calls for an apology, Wallace Collins should do the right thing and say he's sorry."Posted at 4/25/2007 10:15:00 AM |Monday, April 23, 2007
Sunday Morning Puff Piece
We presented a piece a couple of weeks ago on the political affiliations of the Capitol press corps. We posted a list of several reporters who were registered as Democrats. Now that's not a crime within itself, or, even suggests that these fine reporters aren't capable of writing stories without inflicting their personal biases. But a story yesterday by Tulsa World reporter Barbara Hoberock, makes us seriously question her motives behind her Brad Henry, Drew Edmondson puff piece. OKPNS fully understands that reporters do not write the headlines for their stories, but the following headline for Hoberock's story gives you a gist of the angle of the piece: "AG Gave Advice on Abortion Bill" with the sub headline: "Henry Was Told About Problems With a Hotly Debated Abortion Measure." Why does a story of the attorney general performing his duties - dispensing legal advice to the governor and other state agencies - warrant a 15 paragraph story? Many could surmise that this story is meant to deflect from the question of the morality or immorality of abortion, and instead, turn Henry's controversial veto last week into a question of legalities only. Martin Luther King wrote about obeying "just and unjust laws" in his famous letter from a Birmingham jail. "One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all" Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust." We can't imagine aborting a fetus or a baby "squares with the moral law or the law of God."Posted at 4/23/2007 08:24:00 AM |
Ambitious Bode Leaving After Spotty Political Career
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) After 10 years of political ups in downs, Denise Bode is leaving as a member of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to head a foundation that will promote the use of natural gas. ``I think this is a wonderful opportunity to go change the world,'' Bode said Friday as she announced she is resigning effective May 31 to form the American Clean Skies Foundation. She said the new group will operate primarily in Washington, D.C., joining the national debate over climate change and energy. Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. will be among its sponsors. Among the foundation's top goals will be to persuade policymakers that natural gas offers the best solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Bode said. Only 53, Bode has had a three decades of experience in the political realm. She is a former Democrat who was general counsel to then-U.S. Sen. David Boren, specializing in energy and tax issues. Boren is now president of the University of Oklahoma. Read more...Friday, April 20, 2007
Labels: Denise BodePosted at 4/23/2007 08:15:00 AM |
Bode Accepts Job In D.C.
From The McCarville Report Online: "Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode announced today she is resigning effective May 31st to head a new natural gas trade association, Clean Skies Foundation, in Washington. A major member of the association, she said, is Chesapeake Energy Co. of Oklahoma City."Posted at 4/20/2007 03:00:00 PM |
"Mainstream Baptist" Praises Abortion Veto
"It was just the right thing to do for women facing tragic decisions." There are two religious camps within the modern Democratic Party. There is the pantheist, environmentalist doomsayers, with Al Gore as their messiah, who claim human beings are destroying the planet - specifically us Americans. They indoctrinate our children in learning institutions with the theory of global warning as if it is proven science, needlessly frightening them with thoughts of their mortality, when they should be enjoying the innocence of childhood. The second camp within the party are the "Progressive Christians" who have a knowledge of a higher being and profess Christianity; but it is a Christianity married with the liberal philosophy of secular progressivism. A case in point is the Dr. Bruce Prescott, Executive Director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists, and President of the Oklahoma Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. On his website "Mainstream Baptist" and using the vernacular of the abortionists, Prescott writes: "Henry vetoed a bill that would restrict access to abortion." he says further: "Under the advice of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, the Oklahoma section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Osteopathic Association and the Oklahoma Nurses' Association, Governor Brad Henry vetoed a bill that did not include exemptions for rape and incest victims or for women with fetuses that have fatal birth defects." Prescott seems to believe that these medical organizations, who have a financial interest to keep abortion "safe, legal, and rare", gives Henry's veto credibility. Many would say that those who take oaths to protect and preserve life, lose credibility when they advocate the taking of a life, simply because it inconveniences the mother.Posted at 4/20/2007 01:57:00 PM |Thursday, April 19, 2007
Theater of the Absurd, Act II?
Speaker Lance Cargill issued the following statement today after Governor Henry indicated he would veto five budget bills passed today that match his own executive budget: “Oklahomans won’t let the governor’s smoke-and-mirrors press release cloud this simple fact: The governor is getting ready to veto his own budget. The absurdity of this speaks for itself. He doesn’t like our plan. Now he doesn’t like his own plan. And he still refuses to publicly submit a new plan.”Posted at 4/19/2007 06:04:00 PM |
This Week's Oklahoma Legislators' Blog
From Our Oklahoma Legislators' Blog: Dorman Calls for Additional Protections from Credit Card Companies Although lawmakers voted this week to restrict the sale of college students' private information to credit card companies, state Rep. Joe Dorman said additional safeguards are still needed. "We took a step in the right direction today, but too many loopholes remain that allow credit card companies to target college freshmen," said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. "The door is still open for teenagers to be lured into a debt spiral that will take years to escape." Read more... Stopping Our Tax Dollars From Financing Terrorists By Rep. Jason Murphey As your State Representative it is my goal to work hard in advocating for the concerns of House District 31 constituents. The most frequent requests I receive are for a change in the law or advocacy for a new piece of legislation. Over the first few months in office, I fielded a number of suggestions and developed a long list of potential legislation. I believe it is important to give every constituent's proposal due and fair consideration. Such was the case earlier in the year when a citizen contacted me with a request to investigate whether or not Oklahoma pension funds were being used to invest in foreign companies doing business in the terrorist-sponsoring countries of Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan. This type of information is rather hard to come by, but after some research, I obtained a 2004 report developed by The Center for Security Policy, showing several startling facts. Read more...Posted at 4/19/2007 05:59:00 PM |
OK GOPers Would Sooner Wait
Special Report By Michael D. Bates OKLAHOMA CITY -- Delivering his post mortem for the 2006 mid-term elections, Sen. Tom Coburn told delegates at Saturday's Oklahoma Republican Convention that the voters lost confidence in Republican integrity, not Republican ideas: "If Republicans will stand on ideas and have courage to back up those ideas, the courage to challenge the status quo, then the Republican Party both in Oklahoma and this country will be very successful in the future." As Coburn took a breath, a woman in the crowd cried out, "Tom for President!" It was the biggest applause line of the day. Oklahoma boasts the most conservative Senate delegation in the nation -- both Coburn and his senior colleague Jim Inhofe have a perfect score from the American Conservative Union -- and every county went red in 2004. Most of the convention's 900 delegates are waiting to find a candidate like Coburn to back in a bid for the White House -- someone with integrity who can confidently articulate conservative ideas. None of the candidates already in the race has captured their hearts. Read more...Posted at 4/19/2007 11:56:00 AM |
Frank Keating to Stand in for McCain
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating will be the stand-in for Republican presidential hopeful John McCain at conventions in South Carolina. McCain's campaign says his schedule prevents him from attending the conventions in which Republican delegates will meet other G-O-P presidential candidates. Keating will speak for McCain at conventions in three counties on Saturday. RELATED: Former Governor Among 2007 Promising Children's Book Award WinnersPosted at 4/19/2007 11:48:00 AM |
Henry Vetoes Abortion Funding Bill
Gov. Brad Henry vetoed yesterday - overwhelmingly bi-partisan legislation - that would have banned the use of public funds for abortions. The so called centrist governor, surrounded by doctors and other medical professionals at a Capitol press conference, chose to side with NARAL, The National Organization for Women, and Moveon.org over life. Henry claims the measure doesn't protect the rights of women who are the victims of rape or incest. Speaker Cargill Released this statement: "It's especially sad that on a day when the U.S. Supreme Court is advancing the cause of life, Oklahoma is moving backwards thanks to the Governor. I don't think the Governor's actions today are in line with the beliefs of most Oklahomans, who value the sanctity of life and are in favor of stronger protections. But we can take heart in the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision is a victory for efforts to protect the unborn. The idea that taxpayer dollars could be used to perform abortions is terrible. Most Oklahomans oppose it and I am very disappointed that our Governor supports it." Senator Coburn released this statement last week after the bill's passage in the legislature: "The reality is that every tax dollar that is spent to perform an abortion is a dollar that has been taken away from providing medically necessary health care for patients," he said. "More than 18 percent of Oklahoma's population is uninsured, the seventh-highest rate in the country," Coburn added. "How can we justify spending limited public resources on abortion when our fellow Oklahomans cannot even afford basic health care?"Posted at 4/19/2007 10:47:00 AM |
Oklahoma House of Representatives Will Hold a Special Saturday Floor Session
The Oklahoma House of Representatives will hold a special Saturday floor session to make the House more accessible to the state's working families. Speaker Cargill said in a statement: Too often, Oklahoma's citizens don't have a chance to see the work of their lawmakers. Those with regular jobs have a difficult time accessing the Capitol during the work week. So the House will give citizens a special opportunity to watch the House in session outside of regularly scheduled meeting times. Speaker Cargill hopes working parents will attend the April 21 session with their children as one way of boosting civic literacy in the state. After the conclusion of session, the public is invited to attend a cookies-and-punch reception on the fourth floor of the State Capitol underneath the rotunda. Many representatives will also hold open office hours for their constituents in the afternoon following the Saturday session, to allow working citizens the opportunity to present their concerns and issues directly to lawmakers.Posted at 4/19/2007 10:07:00 AM |
Former Congressman Istook Starts Blog
Ernest is now off the Congressional merry-go-round Former Congressman Ernest Istook is the newest entrant into the blogosphere with a blog aptly named "Istook-isms". From 1993 until 2007, Istook represented Oklahoma's 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, and served on the Appropriations Committee. He was a founder of the Republican Study Committee, the largest group of conservatives in the U.S. House. Ernest saw the "Republican Revolution" through its rise and its fall. (And he admits his own "mea culpa's" for the mistakes.) Now he is a Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, working to further conservative causes and thought.Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Labels: Ernest IstookPosted at 4/19/2007 09:41:00 AM |
NRCC Woos Indian Tribes for 2008 Campaign Money
By Susan Crabtree Tribes have historically donated overwhelmingly to Democrats, a trend that NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) wants to change. Cole makes no apologies for leading a fundraising drive aimed at tapping into tribal money. As he puts it, Native Americans should be involved in politics, and for him the issue is personal. A Chickasaw, Cole is the only registered member of a tribe in Congress, and he maintains close ties to the tribal gambling community, which has donated heavily to his personal campaigns in the past. His mother was a member of the Chickasaw Nation’s Hall of Fame, his great-grandfather served as the tribe’s treasurer, and his great-great-grandfather was clerk of the tribe’s Supreme Court. The Chickasaw tribe owns 12 casinos in Oklahoma, just one piece of a business portfolio that includes ownership of several banks, a chocolate factory and seven tobacco outlets. Cole’s ties to the Indian gaming industry are so close that he was interviewed for the position of assistant interior secretary in charge of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which oversees the National Indian Gaming Commission, early in 2001. The future Oklahoma congressman said he was not interested and suggested that then-Interior Secretary Gale Norton instead offer the job to his longtime friend, Neal McCaleb, who was hired. McCaleb resigned in 2002 after becoming embroiled in a long-running lawsuit involving the government’s handling of Indian trust funds and now works for the Chickasaw Nation’s business arm, which runs the casinos and other businesses. Now that Cole is charged with pulling the House GOP reelection committee out of its deep debt, he is tapping into his background and extensive knowledge of Native American issues to educate fellow GOP lawmakers and reach out to the tribal community in the hope that they will reach back with donations to the NRCC. Cole says only that the NRCC is doing “pretty well” so far in its Native American donor drive. Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that in the first two months of this year, three tribes donated a total of $82,000 to the NRCC, including the Chickasaw Nation, the Mississippi Band of Choctaws (a former Abramoff client), and the Soboba Band of Leisene Indians. “Tribes have every right to participate in the political process,” Cole said in an interview with The Hill. “I don’t think other people should make that decision for them. The most dangerous time for tribes is when they’re not participating in the political process.” Cole is not alone in his efforts. Even though the Abramoff scandal was a liability for Republicans and spawned a flurry of ethics reforms, it has done little to dampen both parties’ appetite for Indian gambling largesse. Earlier this year, Senate Democrats held a fundraising event during a national gathering of Native Americans in Washington. The reception was hosted by lobbyists and the political action committee for tribal casinos. Read more...Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Labels: Cong. Tom ColePosted at 4/18/2007 11:47:00 AM |
Jones Trailer Culprit Charged
UPDATE: Tecumseh city employee charged in campaign trailer theft Sources tell OKPNS to stay tuned to how close this city employee is to State Auditor & Inspector Jeff McMahan. We were the first to break this story last week: Exclusive Wednesday, April 11, 2007 Sources close to the Tecumseh police investigation, tell OKPNS that the unsolved mystery of who swiped former auditor candidate Gary Jones'campaign trailer may be solved soon. Once the arrest(s) are made, many will owe Jones an apology, including the current auditor Jeff McMahan, who accused Jones of staging the disappearance. McMahan's campaign vehemently denied any involvement in the disappearance.Posted at 4/17/2007 03:16:00 PM |
Edwards Campaign Raises 200K In Oklahoma
The first quarter campaign finance reports have been filed, and the John Edwards presidential campaign did very well in Oklahoma. Okies gave over $220,000 to Edwards, second only to Barak Obama's $300,000 take. Seventy five percent of the $800,000 raised in Oklahoma went to the Democrats. Insiders within the Edwards campaign tell OKPNS that - although the campaign is raising competitive amounts of money, unfortunately, the campaign is burning through that money at an unsustainable clip to be competitive for next year. Instead of hiring grassroots organizers and field staff, campaign insiders say excessive amounts of money are being spent on celebrity hairstylists, hair gels, shampoos, and once a week facial sessions for the Senator. When asked about the expenditures by staff, Edwards purportedly exclaims, "Don't you know I'm the son of a millworker?" A campaign worker who got tired of the abuse and tirades, smuggled out this video of Edwards primping.
Labels: Decision '08Posted at 4/17/2007 01:26:00 PM |
Senate Legislation to Foster Charter Schools Clears House Committee
The measure mirrors a House bill backed by Republican leaders Senate legislation to encourage charter schools in Oklahoma is headed for a vote of the full state House of Representatives after the measure garnered approval from a House committee Monday. Speaker Lance Cargill praised passage of the legislation, part of the House Republican "Year of Ideas" legislative agenda. "Charter schools encourage new and better approaches to educating our children," said Cargill (R-Harrah). "These innovative schools should be a major component of education reform in Oklahoma, which must also include meaningful testing requirements for students and the highest standards from our educators." Senate Bill 661 closely mirrors House Bill 1589, authored by House Education committee chair Tad Jones (R-Claremore). That bill currently awaits a floor vote in the Senate, and has attracted bipartisan support by lawmakers like Shumate. "I hear from my constituents all the time that they want more and better options for their children's education," said Shumate. "I've seen the tremendous positive impact that charter schools are having on children's lives in my own community. We should be encouraging the formation of these schools, not discouraging them."Posted at 4/17/2007 01:13:00 PM |Saturday, April 14, 2007
Gary Jones Is New GOP Chairman
Jimmie Martin over at viewsok.com and a supporter of Gary Jones, sent to us the Chair and Vice Chair election results: "Jones wins by 12 votes in a runoff with Daxon. Cheryl Williams upsets the vice chair and wins." Thanks Jimmie!Posted at 4/14/2007 07:50:00 PM |Friday, April 13, 2007
Cargill Calls Budget Impasse 'Theater of the Absurd'
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) House Speaker Lance Cargill sounded off today about the state budget impasse. He is urging Governor Brad Henry to share his budget ideas with lawmakers. He criticized Henry's refusal to sign appropriations bills that he said mirror the governor's own executive budget. Henry has threatened to veto those appropriations bills. He says legislative budget writers have put together a spending plan without properly consulting the governor's office or many state lawmakers.Posted at 4/13/2007 09:58:00 AM |
Governor Orders Study of State Employee Pay
Governor Henry shoring up votes for a Senate run in '08? OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Governor Henry is ordering a task force to study and develop a long-term pay plan for state employees. The governor named a nine-member task force which will develop a market compensation study recommending a pay plan to attract and keep state employees. The study is to be complete by January first. The task force will include representatives of the Office of Personnel Management, the state finance office, the Department of Human Services, the Corrections Department and the Oklahoma Public Employees Association. There will also be four senior-level executives from the private sector
Labels: Brad HenryPosted at 4/13/2007 09:30:00 AM |
Mike Mass Indicted
There is a popular board game called Jenga, that we believe symbolizes perfectly the alleged tangled and complicated financial scheme unraveling before our very eyes involving Gene Stipe, Steve Phipps, and State Auditor & Inspector Jeff McMahan. The object of Jenga, is for each player to take take turns taking a block out of the tower of narrow wooden blocks, and then replacing it at the top. The remaining structure, sometimes seems to defy the laws of nature, but eventually, the whole thing comes crashing down and you lose. The Mike Mass indictment is another block removed from the Rural Development Fund Jenga tower. The Tulsa World has a surprisingly in depth piece on the indictment and scandal. UPDATE: Former Lawmaker Pleads Guilty MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ Former state Representative Mike Mass pleaded guilty Friday to a charge that he earmarked state money to benefit a businessman. Mass, 55, entered the plea in federal court in Muskogee to mail fraud conspiracy. Mass admitted that he received payments from the unnamed businessman in return for money he sent the businessman's way. The businessman has been identified in other court documents as Steve Phipps, who owns a dog food plant and a gambling machine company, both in McAlester. The maximum penalty for the conspiracy to commit mail fraud charge is 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, however Mass could face more time than that, according to the financial loss calculated by prosecutors.Posted at 4/13/2007 08:46:00 AM |Thursday, April 12, 2007
OKPNS FLASHBACK: OKGOP Spends Over $130,000 on Door Hangers and $80,000 on Consultants, Staff, and Travel in Final Month of Election 2006
Monday, January 08, 2007 Christmas may have come a month early for certain consultants and staffers associated with the Oklahoma Republican Party’s “Victory 2006” effort, according to reports recently released by the Federal Election Commission. Perhaps the most stunning fact revealed by the document is the amount spent on door hangers (pictured), over $130,000. The strategic centerpiece of the Victory program, the hangers were received with trepidation by GOP activists over their aggressive nature and ridicule by some political analysts over their ineffectiveness. According to the disclosure, a total of $93,887.15 was spent on the handouts in the final weeks of the campaign in addition to the $36,500 paid on October 16. Consultants also made out well on Republican Party Victory. In the final month of election alone, they earned $34,188.75, including $20,000 paid to DC-based Clinton Key. Hired in August by Chairman Tom Daxon, Key was responsible for overseeing the effort. The program’s chairman, Marsha Funk, came away with $7,643.45 for her efforts in the last 30 days of the campaign. Party staff had a busy travel month, reimbursing almost $15,000 in expenses. This is not the first time Tom Daxon’s leadership has come under scrutiny in his 6 month tenure as chairman. Questions have arisen in the past over unity (“House, Senate GOP Dumps Daxon Over ‘Victory ‘06’”), leadership (“Political Novice Marsha Funk In Consideration for OKGOP Victory?”), spending (“GOP’s Funk Raises Salary, Not Confidence” and “Oklahoma GOP Desperate for Cash in 11th Hour”), and effectiveness (“One Week Later, a GOP Post-Mortem”). Click here to download the complete analysis of OKGOP Victory’s final month.Posted at 4/12/2007 05:37:00 PM |
Henry Threatens Veto of Appropriations Bills
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Governor Brad Henry says appropriation bills passed by the Legislature are "dead on arrival" if they're unchanged from appropriations in the general budget bill he vetoed two weeks ago. Leaders in the state Senate are planning to introduce five appropriation bills they say contain the same amount of money for separate state agencies that was contained the original budget. The lawmakers would not say which agencies would be included in the bills. But Henry says he'll veto those bills if they're just "repackaged" from the budget bill and he says legislative leaders should stop wasting time on what he calls an "exercise in futility." Henry wants leaders in the House and Senate to negotiate with him and House Democrats on what should be included in the budget.Posted at 4/12/2007 08:04:00 AM |
Speaker Cargill Statement Regarding State Budget
Oklahoma House Speaker Lance Cargill issued the following statement yesterday, after Governor Henry threatened to veto five agency budget bills that match his own executive budget: "The Governor continues to sit on the sidelines and throw rocks at our ideas without submitting any of his own. Our bipartisan plan has been released for weeks, and there are only six weeks left in session, butthe Governor still refuses to submit an alternative budget based on current projections. The Governor is now threatening to veto his own executive budget. The five budget bills that passed today are identical to the numbers in his executive budget. It makes absolutely no sense for him to veto these bills. This is theater of the absurd. The Governor needs to quit worrying about who gets credit and playing obstructionist games. He needs to put in the effort and show us his detailed planinstead of just criticizing ours."Posted at 4/12/2007 05:14:00 AM |
Stipe's Personal Photographer Called By Grand Jury
MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) The personal photographer of former state Senator Gene Stipe says he's been called to testify before a federal grand jury. Allen Cherry of McAlester says the subpoena also tells him to bring every photo he's taken of Stipe during the past five years. Cherry says he'll be taking about 150 photos with him to the federal courthouse in Muskogee. The grand jury initially looked into a McAlester dog food plant built on land owned by Stipe. The investigation now includes allegations of kickbacks to three former lawmakers and possible illegal campaign contributions. Stipe resigned from the state Senate in 2003 and pleaded guilty to a straw donor scheme involving the 1998 congressional campaign of Walt Roberts. RELATED: Political observers are scratching their heads. Why would a man who was given a great deal after being convicted of paying straw donors, turn around and allegedly commit the same crime again? This 1998 interview by the The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, regarding President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewsinsky, may give us insight into Stipes' thinking. GENE STIPE, Oklahoma State Senator: There's always a temptation to jump on somebody on somebody that's down. KWAME HOLMAN: Sitting in the office of his successful law practice in McAllister, Oklahoma, Democrat Gene Stipe reflected on the rough and tumble world of politics, of which he's uniquely qualified to do. Stipe, an Oklahoma state senator, has served 50 years in the legislature, longer than any other state legislator in America. Considered one of the last of the old political deal makers, Stipe is also as much a legend in Oklahoma as Carl Albert, himself. When we asked him about President Clinton's trouble, Stipe blamed it on the tabloid-minded media. GENE STIPE: It's no different than it's always been, except that the exploitation of the media of problems that used to be ignored because they were private, that no longer exists. No one has any privacy. KWAME HOLMAN: But Stipe said President Clinton shouldn't be counted out yet. GENE STIPE: The first year I was elected I rode the train with Harry Truman-if you thought of the national press, he didn't have a chance-we were all wasting our time riding around with him because he had no future-but he won the presidency and became one of the greatest presidents in a long time in my opinion. I still think there's hope for Bill Clinton.Posted at 4/12/2007 05:10:00 AM |
Sen. Coburn Speaks at Heritage
By Nathaniel Ward Health care reforms based on principles of free enterprise will bring about “increased health, increased quality of life and decreased costs,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said today (Tuesday) at The Heritage Foundation. Speaking in Heritage’s Lehrman Auditorium, Coburn argued that his free-enterprise reforms would provide “universal access to affordable care.” He would achieve this goal through various regulatory reforms and the mechanism of a refundable tax credit, which he said would benefit “the vast majority of Americans.” Read more...Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Labels: Sen. Tom CoburnPosted at 4/12/2007 05:00:00 AM |
EXCLUSIVE: Stolen Campaign Trailer Mystery Solved?
Sources close to the Tecumseh police investigation, tell OKPNS that the unsolved mystery of who swiped former auditor candidate Gary Jones'campaign trailer may be solved soon. Once the arrest(s) are made, many will owe Jones an apology, including the current auditor Jeff McMahan, who accused Jones of staging the disappearance. McMahan's campaign vehemently denied any involvement in the disappearance.Posted at 4/11/2007 02:10:00 PM |
Capitol Press Corps Party Affiliations
As a public service to our readers, we had our crack research team (one intern) perform a diligent search of the party affiliations of a few of the capitol reporters who bring us the news each day. We'll be sharing with you periodically the results as we receive them. To many of you, the results will be no surprise, to others, it may make you read the news with a little bit more of a critical eye towards the source. *Mark Beutler – OETA (Democrat) *Erin Boeckman – Oklahoma Publishing Today (Democrat) *Janice Francis-Smith – Journal Record (Democrat) *John Greiner – The Oklahoman (Democrat) *Darwin Maxey – Oklahoma Publishing Today (Democrat) *Jeff Packham – Journal Record/Legislative Report (Democrat) *Marie Price – Journal Record (Democrat) *Tim Talley – Associated Press (Democrat)
Labels: Press BiasPosted at 4/11/2007 12:52:00 PM |
PAC to PAC Transfers Questionable
Oklahoma lawmakers are wrestling with an ethics rule change that could alter business as usual at the Capitol. The leaders of both the House and Senate and Gov. Brad Henry have not committed to the change so it’s unclear whether the measure will move forward this session. We think they should commit to the change. The proposed change, promoted by Ethics Commission member Ken Elliott, prohibits political action committees from contributing to each other. Currently, one PAC can give another one up to $5,000 per election cycle. Donors to one PAC may not always align with the purposes and politics of the PAC that ends up with their money. Transparency is also a problem as the public may not know the ultimate source of the funds. Read more...Posted at 4/11/2007 12:35:00 PM |
"What In Blue-Blazes Is Going On?"
This anonymous mass email was apparently sent by a delegate to all the delegates. First, the "Not Again Gary" email, then the "Buchanan gave money to Democrats" YouTube video, and now the "Daxon's moral character is in questioned"(sic) article on the biased OKPNS website. So, what is next? Will there be a real fist fight on the convention floor? 'Cause we've definitely moved past the mudslinging. It's been more like stoning and crucifixion. Besides, after reading everything that's going on I'm ready to watch some real action. Enough with the written word...let's see some flesh hitting flesh, Fight Club style. So what in blue-blazes is going on? I mean, come on...this is Oklahoma for crying out loud. It's not like we're Florida, New York, or Texas where real power lies. Seriously, what's to gain by the chairmanship that's made one (or two) candidates (and their cohorts) so desperate that they've become avarice? So cut the crap out. For the person who sent out the "Not Again Gary" email, let your candidate be man enough to say those things in public. For the person who posted the "Buchanan gave money to Democrats" YouTube video, kudos to you for being smart enough to record that meeting. But shame on you for being tacky in parading the video around with amateur editing and funny music. As for OKPNS, you've lost significant credibility with your reporting and journalism. This country was founded on the principle that every one is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. And not only was Daxon acquitted in a court of law, there was a serious lack of evidence to support the accusations. Posting an affidavit that's several years old and deemed unreliable by our justice system shows a serious lack of journalism credibility on your part. If you were going slander any of the two candidates that you do not support, at least have the decency to present hard evidence like the two individuals with their email and video. As a concerned delegate, it greatly bothers me to see all the GOP diarrhea showing up so close to the convention. I pray this is not a symptom of a deeper internal problem, 'cause if it is, we're not going to be "Republican Rising" or "Oklahoma Rising" anytime soon. I imagine that I am not the only delegate who feels like sleeping in on Saturday and working peacefully in my garden as I till the manure in with the dirt. Sincerely, Stopping the OK GOP Horse Manure FoundationPosted at 4/11/2007 08:32:00 AM |
By Default, Mugging Taxpayers
By Ernest Istook Special to washingtonpost.com's Think Tank Town There's about to be a mugging, and American taxpayers are the unsuspecting victims. Worse, the cop on the beat is looking the other way. The mugging will lift $3.3 trillion from purses and wallets because the 2003 tax cuts will begin expiring soon. That means the average American family will have to pay an extra $2,641 each year, according to Heritage Foundation analyst Brian Riedl. Congress could stop it by renewing the tax cuts -- but it's looking the other way instead. The budget resolution moving through Congress is the blueprint for what's coming. Higher spending -- by hundreds of billions -- is in the plan. Renewing tax cuts isn't. The 2003 tax cuts, which President Bush wanted to be permanent, were approved only as "temporary" tax relief. Permanent relief was blocked by the very group that now denies responsibility. The old higher-tax policies will make their comeback unless Congress acts to prevent it, something the new majority says it won't do. Eventually, a small fraction of the tax relief might be renewed, but that will still be a net loss to taxpayers and a damper on America's economy. Personal and business income tax rates will climb. Capital gains taxes will go up. The death tax will have new life. The marriage penalty will once more punish husbands and wives. Child tax credits won't continue. And the AMT (alternative minimum tax) will hit more and more middle-income workers. The sneaky thing is that instead of voting to raise taxes and going on the record -- something even liberal members of Congress are loathe to do -- Congress won't have to do a thing. No tough committee vote. No pesky taxpayer revolt to deal with. Fewer angry calls from constituents. No, the budget resolution itself doesn't raise taxes. What it actually does is fail to halt higher taxes. And the reason that lower taxes are expiring is because Democrats last year blocked the Republican majority from making the 2003 tax cuts permanent. The budget resolution accepts -- with approval -- the fact that tax rates will rise as the tax cuts expire, and then endorses those higher taxes while trying to deny blame. What will the average American family get after it starts paying this extra $2,641 each year? The revenue is being treated as a spending windfall -- enabling a $3.3 trillion spree of new and expanded government programs during the next 10 years. The goal of balancing the budget takes a back seat. Unfortunately, the issue is being obscured by typical party bickering over whether higher taxes are "in" the bill. And not enough attention is being paid to the higher spending that's proposed. Many conservatives have a credibility problem in attacking spending because of our behavior when Republicans held the majority. But the GOP is playing to its strength by talking about the need to keep taxes low, because that has spurred significant economic growth and more jobs. Washington is a busy place. Confrontations over Iraq, hearings about U.S. attorney firings and subpoenas, and a pork-filled emergency war spending bill that declares the 2008 political conventions are a $100-million "emergency." Crafty politicians, like magicians, always keep their audience distracted so they don't notice the sleight of hand, such as this back-door tax increase. Taxpayers should keep their eyes focused on their own pockets. They're about to get picked. Ernest Istook, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, is a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation (heritage.org). He was principal sponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment.Posted at 4/11/2007 08:21:00 AM |Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Can Tom Daxon Lead His Party?
One of the recurring criticisms of OKGOP Chairman Tom Daxon's leadership, is his aloofness and silence in advancing the agenda of his party within the state. Mr. Daxon seems to have chosen to be the chief bureaucrat of his party instead of its leader. Granted, his party controls the House and has a tie in the Senate with very capable leaders, but the GOP doesn't control the governor's mansion. It is relatively understood that at the national and state level, the president and the governors are the de facto leaders of their parties. Mr. Daxon has abdicated that leadership responsibility to his legislative leaders. His silence has been deafening in regards to the separate Jeff McMahan, Drew Edmondson, and Gene Stipe scandals. Many within his party have been asking why? Many have speculated that the sexual harassment lawsuit the Oklahoma Corporation Commission lost while he was Acting General Administrator, is the reason Mr. Daxon purposely has chosen to stay in the background. The Oklahoma Political News Service has obtained the Letter of Determination and the sworn affidavit of the former employee who was terminated for complaining of sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Below is from the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's determination letter:Monday, April 09, 2007
"[The] investigation revealed sufficient evidence to establish that charging party was retaliated against for engaging in protected activity....She was subsequently discharged, and investigation has established a causal connection between protected activity and adverse action taken. Respondent's justification for the discharge is not believable and has been considered by the Commission as pretext to cover retaliatory motive."The former employee makes disturbing allegations against Mr. Daxon regarding her very first meeting with him:
She later describes her second meeting with Mr. Daxon:
Tomorrow: We will post the entire affidavit.
Labels: Tom DaxonPosted at 4/10/2007 09:55:00 AM |
Anybody Miss Me?
Governor Henry gets back from spring break just in time to veto bipartisan-crafted budget. Critics speculate why a do-over necessary after Senate and House overwhelmingly agree on general appropriations bill BY BRIAN ERVIN Throughout his career as Oklahoma's chief executive officer, Gov. Brad Henry has built a reputation as a voice for bipartisanship. He reiterated his standing call for cooperation between the two parties in this year's State of the State address when he appealed to the evenly split Senate to put politics aside in order to be about the people's business. "There are some skeptics who predict little of worth will come from this legislative session. They expect to see only political gamesmanship and partisan bickering," he said. "Divisiveness destroys success, and too much is at stake for us to surrender to the pitfalls of partisanship. There is no glory in gridlock, but the rewards of working together--of joining forces on behalf of our fellow Oklahomans--are truly without limit." Some might find it ironic now that, despite the fact that the Senate has indeed heeded his call to bipartisan cooperation by coming to unanimous agreement on the state budget along with House leadership, Henry is sending the Legislature back to square one by vetoing it. Read more...Posted at 4/09/2007 02:00:00 PM |
Day 17 & Counting: Where'd You Go On Your Vacation Governor?
"Most of us in this chamber are here because our constituents sent us here. They placed their trust in us, and in return we must pledge to them a government of complete openness and transparency." Gov. Brad Henry - 2007 State of the State Address "Henry spokesman Paul Sund says the location of first family outings are kept secret to avoid interruptions from people who want to talk or perhaps have dinner with the governor. Sund says the governor's office will reveal the location when the governor returns..." (AP) March 23, 2007 RELATED: Gov. Henry & Family Vacationing at Trial Lawyer's Vacation Home?Posted at 4/09/2007 10:37:00 AM |
Sen. Coburn Strips Pork From War Appropriations Bill
Before their recess, Sen. Tom Coburn introduced an amendment to successfully strip a $2 million supplement inserted in the emergency war appropriations bill by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. The $2 million dollars was to set up an institute at the University of Vermont named after former Sen. James Jeffords. Leahy aides claim the proposal should have been considered an emergency because of Jeffords' failing health. Leahy said on the floor of the Senate that Sen. Coburn's effort to strip this non-emergency supplement from the emergency war supplemental bill a "disgrace." "Senator Leahy has agreed to work again on that later this year, in the regular appropriations process," said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy. A $3 million measure for the same UVM institute was in an appropriation bill last year that died, Carle said.Posted at 4/09/2007 09:45:00 AM |
Oklahoma House Ignores Doctor in Abortion Debate
By Tim Talley Associated Press Writer OKLAHOMA CITY — As the Oklahoma Legislature’s only physician, Rep. Doug Cox often is sought out for counsel and advice on matters of public health. But Cox’s colleagues in the state House have largely ignored him and other medical professionals as they debate proposed anti-abortion regulations that, among other things, would bar state hospitals, clinics and workers from performing abortions at state expense unless the mother’s life is threatened. Cox and other doctors believe the measure, overwhelmingly passed by the House and awaiting final passage in the Senate, will drive a wedge between them and their pregnant patients and cut off treatment for women with troubled pregnancies who are uninsured or underinsured. “I consider myself to be pro-life. But I want to be pro-life with compassion,” said Cox, R-Grove, an emergency medicine physician at Integris Grove General Hospital who said he has delivered hundreds of babies and never performed an abortion. Read more...Posted at 4/09/2007 09:21:00 AM |
Draft Brad Henry for U.S. Senate?
The anonymous Dem4ever - or most likely a Henry staffer - wrote on the Swing State Project blog over the weekend that they have started a "Draft Brad Henry" website to convince Henry to take on conservative Senator Jim Inhofe next year. Dem4ever has proclaimed Inhofe as the "worst Senator around right now" and an "embarrassment" to Oklahoma. Excuse us, but Gene Stipe, Jeff McMahan, Drew Edmondson, and Carrol Fisher- to name a few- are role models for our kids? We warn you to put your coffee down while you read this so you don't spit it all over your computer. Funny!Saturday, April 07, 2007
"I do not want my state to suffer under another six years of embarrassment. We do have plenty of Democrats that could give Inhofe a run for his money. Our Attorney General, Drew Edmondson, would definitely make for a strong candidate."
"Not only is Henry one of our state's most popular Democratic politicians, he has also been a solid governor. Frank Keating, his wingnut Republican predecessor, ran one of the worst, if not the worst, budget deficits in state history. Put simply, our state was a total mess. Henry amazingly turned this deficit into a surplus without massive cuts to education and health care." (I'm sure $70 a barrel oil helped) Read morePosted at 4/09/2007 08:33:00 AM |
OK Press: Day Late, Dollar Short
New media lesson of the day The Oklahoma Political News Service posted yesterday at 1:00 in the afternoon that Drew Edmondson's campaign had given an illegal contribution to Jeff McMahan. We actually had the tip in our inbox at 8:38, but due to other pressing commitments, we couldn't post it till early afternoon. If Simian sycophants and the mainstream OK press want to declare this morning that Rep. Mike Reynolds discovered the discrepancy, Fine. Our readers know where they read it first. (By the way, thanks for reading Representative!) It only illustrates another example of the lazy press in Oklahoma and the "pseudo consultants" who really don't understand the power and emergence of the blogosphere and the "new media." Blogs will always be more timely and scoop the old school press simply because of the immediacy of the internet. While the old school media have a staff of reporters, blogs have legions of citizen reporters, tipsters, and insiders who have access to vast amounts of information a beat reporter will never have. Sorry to have to break news to you that you probably already know old school press, but your industry is dying, and unless you become more "progressive" (a word we hate but is applicable here) you will go the way of the Dodo bird and the Ford Edsel. Blogs ARE your competition but don't necessarily have to be your enemy; they can and actually do compliment your efforts. You now see all around the country, major newspapers embracing the blogosphere. In the neighboring state of Missouri, the newspapers in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia, each have political blogs and a reporter assigned to update that blog. They frequently link to posts by popular local and statewide bloggers and have no problem giving a "hat tip" to a blogger who breaks a story before they do. They've learned you can either try to beat the blogs (impossible) or join them. Unfortunately as incestuous as the relationship is between the press and Democratic politicians in Oklahoma, don't expect much change anytime soon.Posted at 4/07/2007 10:23:00 AM |Friday, April 06, 2007
Birds of a Feather...
EXCLUSIVE: Edmondson campaign illegally gives to Jeff McMahan (Go figure???) One would think that the chief law enforcement official for the state of Oklahoma would know that it is illegal for a campaign committee to contribute to another candidate. Edmondson's campaign gave the embattled and ethically challenged state auditor $500 back in '05. Was this a simple oversight, or another example of the sheer audacity and arrogance of Edmondson? Edmondson and his cronies probably assumed they didn't have to worry much about the OK press, especially when you have the Tulsa World publisher giving you $2,000. Don't expect the OK lapdogs to cover this story or follow up on it. The Oklahoma Political News Service will continue to investigate. Related: Edmondson Says He Plans to Keep $1,000 Contribution From StipePosted at 4/06/2007 03:04:00 PM |
Accused Former Lawmaker, County Commissioner Surrender
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart and political consultant Tim Pope surrendered to authorities Friday, one day after they were accused of felony violations of state campaign laws. Rinehart and Pope arrived at the Oklahoma County Courthouse about 9:45 a.m. They were each with an attorney and Rinehart was also accompanied by a sheriff's deputy. They were arraigned and were to be booked at the Oklahoma County Jail. They face accusations of perjury, conspiracy and money laundering in connection with the funneling of illegal campaign contributions to Rinehart's 2004 race for county commissioner, the state Attorney General's office said. UPDATE: Rhinehart unexpectedly shows up at county commissioners' press conference (Video)Posted at 4/06/2007 03:00:00 PM |
Fallin Votes No
Tecumseh Countywide News & Sun: Fifth District U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin called the budget which the House of Representatives passed this week “the largest tax increase in American history.” The budget allows the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire while introducing $392.5 billion in new spending. It also fails to address the looming entitlement spending crisis for social security and Medicare. “This Congress has a duty to allow American families to thrive,” Fallin said. “The budget we voted on today, brought forward by the liberal, tax and spend leaders of this Congress, does just the opposite. You cannot say you support our families while draining their bank accounts.” Read more...Posted at 4/06/2007 02:56:00 PM |
Brothers Lose Round in Eminent Domain Battle
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) A Payne County judge rules against two brothers who hold the last piece of property Oklahoma State University needs for its planned athletic village. District Judge Donald Worthington ruled that Kevin and Joel McCloskey can't challenge the validity of O-S-U's board of regents, which initiated proceedings to acquire the home. The McCloskeys had claimed the board was unconstitutional because it hadn't abided by a long-forgotten requirement that a majority of its members be farmers. The judge ruled the brothers may not make this claim in their court case. The brothers plan to continue to challenge the university's right to seize the property through eminent domain, the legal concept under which private property can be taken for public use. The next court hearing in the case is planned for July 23rd.Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Labels: Eminent DomainPosted at 4/06/2007 01:56:00 PM |
Sen. Brownback Speaks to House
By Jaclyn Houghton CNHI News Service OKLAHOMA CITY — Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., recognizes the field of presidential hopefuls is crowded. But he is not discouraged. “I’m the tortoise in the race; I start out slow and just have been inching forward,” said Brownback, 50, of Parker, Kan. “We’re raising sufficient funds to be able to move forward. We’re going to stay in this. And at the end of the day I’m the son of a Kansas farmer and this is America. I still believe anyone can grow up and be president of the United States and they don’t have to start out with $100 million in their pocket.” (Audio) Instead Brownback, like many other hopefuls, is touring the country in preparation for next year’s primary elections. Oklahoma’s primary comes Feb. 5, 2008. Brownback stopped at the Oklahoma Capitol Wednesday to speak before the House of Representatives. “I can assure you as a Kansan I feel right at home in Oklahoma,” he told his Republican and Democratic onlookers. Read more...Posted at 4/04/2007 10:35:00 PM |
The Bumblin' Stumblin' Oklahoma Press
Heaven knows we've taken our fair share of deserved shots at the lazy Oklahoma press. We've chronicled the startling conflicts of interest of major and small town newspaper publishers and television executives giving campaign contributions to the attorney general, while in return, giving negligible or non existent coverage of alleged misdeeds by the AG from a former employee in his office. We've posted audio of ethically challenged State Auditor & Inspector Jeff McMahan, admitting to a former employee that he's firing her for strictly political reasons, but promising to "find her job." The press never followed up on it. We could go on and on. Click here for more examples of Oklahoma press bias. What's the old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words?" The above video sums up the OK press succinctly in 44 seconds. Enjoy!
Labels: Press BiasPosted at 4/04/2007 06:24:00 PM |
Murphey Legislative Update
From the Oklahoma Legislator's Blog: By Rep. Jason Murphey This week the legislature took action on two important measures both of which I have been privileged to co-sponsor. While the House of Representatives prepared to debate pro-life legislation (SB 719), a Senate committee was taking action on HB 1804, the immigration reform proposal. SB 719 is a comprehensive approach to stopping the use of taxpayer funds for abortions and establishing more in-depth disclosure reporting requirements from Oklahoma's abortion industry. The bill became elevated in profile after two major Oklahoma medical groups came out in opposition to it. This unprecedented action seemed to give courage to opponents of the proposal and so debate on the floor of the House became vigorous. Those opposed to the bill argued that by taking away the ability of people to use Medicaid for abortions, we are punishing the poor who can not afford it. Proponents debated in favor of the bill by stating that taxpayers should not be forced to provide for an action which is in such opposition to the deeply felt values held by many Oklahomans. SB 719 passed the house by a margin of about 3-1. I appreciated the number of House District 31 residents who contacted me to encourage support for this bill. It was a privilege to represent your values on the issue. Read more... RELATED: Oklahoma House Approves Bill Stopping Medicaid-Funded Abortions Controversial Immigration Bill Closer To Becoming LawPosted at 4/04/2007 12:57:00 PM |
Picture of the Day
Posted at 4/04/2007 12:15:00 PM |
CAP Releases Children's Health Insurance Issue Brief
Expanding access to health insurance for Oklahoma’s children would have significant, far-reaching impacts that benefit all Oklahomans, according to a new issue brief released today by Community Action Project, a Tulsa-area anti-poverty agency that conducts policy analysis on issue affecting low- and moderate-income Oklahomans. The issue brief cites research that shows that children with health insurance are more likely to receive early, preventive health care, are less likely to visit emergency rooms or be hospitalized, are less likely to be absent from school, and are more likely to perform better academically. The brief was released in conjunction with a press conference at the State Capitol urging the Legislature to support SB 424, a bi-partisan measure that would extend eligibility for publicly-subsidized health insurance to children in families with income between 185% and 300% of the federal poverty level. Currently in Oklahoma, about 130,000 children, or 15 per cent, have no health insurance, the 6th highest rate in the nation. The moderate-income households targeted by SB 424 are a "gap population" that often experience the greatest obstacles to obtaining coverage, earning too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to be offered or be able to afford family coverage through their employers. Under the SCHIP program, the state would be eligible for an enhanced federal matching rate of $3.48 for every state dollar spent on health care costs for children between 185% and 300% of poverty.Posted at 4/04/2007 12:05:00 PM |Tuesday, April 03, 2007
BREAKING: Insurgent Challenger Jerry Buchanan Leads Field of GOP Chairman Candidates with 11 Days 'til Convention
Incumbent Tom Daxon’s recent momentum stalled As the April 14 Republican State Party Convention looms only 11 days away, speculation has reached an all time high as to who will be elected to lead state Republicans for the next two years. A race which many speculated would amount to a two way contest between incumbent Chairman Tom Daxon and former State Chairman Gary Jones has been turned on its head with the results of a three day phone survey commissioned by the Oklahoma Political News Service.
The statewide survey, which was conducted over the phone March 31-April 2, 2007 to a random sampling of 300 registered State Convention delegates, shows Tulsa native Jerry Buchanan leading the pack of three. Perhaps most surprising, the survey shows that Jones is in a strong second place position, while Daxon trails in a distant third. Results also show that the race will likely be decided on the second ballot, with no candidate netting the requisite 50% of delegate votes to win.Posted at 4/03/2007 04:00:00 PM |
Damage Control 101
That "Republican outfit" Tulsa World is reporting today that Broken Arrow state Representative John Trebilcock has missed more than a fourth of the votes in the House so far this session. Trebilcock was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of driving under the influence and not using headlights. The paper looked at legislative voting records (probably because of a tip from a Democratic colleague) that found the representative has missed 226 votes out of 786 cast in the House of Representatives. That translates into six missed days. Rep. Trebilcock, a little unsolicited advice from the Oklahoma Political News Service. You've handled this terribly from the moment you refused a breathalyzer test because you had "kissed a girl who had been drinking." It's time for major damage control. Have a press conference SOON apologizing to your constituents, colleagues and friends; check yourself into rehab - even if you don't have a problem, and stop the bleeding. UPDATE: Trebilcock Issues Apology At 4:43 this afternoon on its website, the Tulsa World is reporting that Rep. Trebilcock has issued an apology for his "poor decision making." He goes on to say in the statement that "driving and alcohol don't mix" and that he is "prepared to accept the consequences, legal and otherwise, for my actions." Not only does he take responsibility for his mistake but he thanks the police for their "professionalism." "Unquestionably, I should not have put myself in a situation where such a determination should have had to be made. I take full responsibility for doing. I would like to express my appreciation to the officers on the scene for their professionalism and for the job that they do."Posted at 4/03/2007 12:32:00 PM |