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Friday, May 30, 2008 

Aspen Institute's “Ghost Commissioner” Says He’s Running. Is It a Negotiating Ploy?

As OKPNS predicted, the intrigue regarding the corporation commission races is exploding as Monday’s three-day filing period approaches.

The Aspen Institute's candidate, incumbent Jeff Cloud, is upping the ante today with an announcement that he is going to file for re-election for the full six-year seat. That has left Chesapeake's favorite, Jim Roth, scrambling for a deal.

It is common knowledge that Cloud is squatting on the seat in which Chesapeake wants to place Roth. The lethargic Cloud is being wooed by “interested parties” in the private sector so that Roth, who is perceived to be a much brighter and energetic commissioner, can move to the full six-year term.

Today’s announcement gives Cloud leverage to negotiate a better salary, but at least one corporation commission insider says all the scenarios floated by pundits and even OKPNS have got it all wrong for one reason: Cloud’s penchant for slothfulness. “This man has the worst work ethic imaginable. Cloud arrives late, leaves early, have long breakfasts at Classen Grill, and jogs with his dog in the early afternoon. He consistently embarrasses his assistants with his ability to disappear when work beckons and he’s not real quick on the uptake even on the rare occasions when he actually is in the office. The fact is, Cloud wants Denise Bode pay for ghost commissioner work, and nobody wants to pay for that.”

So Cloud may have decided that short hours with little accountability are more important than big bucks with responsibility. But issuing a press release on Friday is a telltale sign that something fishy is going on: it is standard political operating procedure to issue bad news on Friday, and put good news out early in the week. Or perhaps in keeping in character, Cloud was just running behind schedule for his release.

If Cloud is running for real, what becomes of Roth? We know the Roth folks didn’t anticipate Cloud staying in, and reports are they’re freaked out. But this we know: if Roth files against Cloud, it means Cloud has cut a deal, with Cloud dropping out AFTER filing is over. Cloud would remain in the race until after filing to keep Dana Murphy and/or Rob Johnson from following Roth to the six year seat. But if Roth files for the two-year seat, it means Cloud really is staying, unless someone new emerges to take him on.


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Posted at 5/30/2008 08:28:00 PM |

Video: Murphey Legislative Update (June 2008)


UPDATE: First Amendment Think Tank Misreads Bill; Sends Out Erroneous Press Release

We have an update to a story we posted yesterday from The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) which supposedly highlighted serious First Amendment concerns with H.B. 2196, the "Oklahoma Clean Campaigns Act of 2008. The group sent a letter to Governor Brad Henry yesterday expressing their Constitutional concerns with the pending legislation awaiting Henry's signature. KTOK Capitol reporter Peter Ruddy provides us with a correction:

As heard on KTOK radio, this group has it all wrong.

They were looking at Senate amendments to the bill, not the enrolled version that is on the governor's desk.

The House rejected those Senate amendments and sent the bill to a conference committee. In that committee, the bill was changed so that the only thing it deals with is contributions to lawmakers or canidates for the legislature by lobbyists during the session and five days afterwards.

I talked with the spokesman for the Center for Competitive Politics and he was not aware the bill had been changed.

You can see for yourself by going to http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.u...tatus/ main.html and reading the nerolled version of the bill which is on the governor's desk.

Or you can take the word of someone in Washington who puts out a press release.

Your choice.

Peter J. Rudy

KTOK Radio

State Capitol reporter


Posted at 5/30/2008 02:29:00 PM |

Cong. Edwards Responds to OKPNS

By Hon. Mickey Edwards

I suppose if one is going to screw up, it's best to make it a real doozy. As OKPNS did with its really strange blog about Jeff Cloud -- a blog that somehow managed to get absolutely nothing right.

According to OKPNS, Jeff Cloud is a member of an ultra-liberal Aspen Institute, which, also according to OKPNS, is a front for left-wing financier George Soros.

Actually, not to let facts get in the way, but George Soros is not connected in any way, directly or indirectly, or even remotely, to the Aspen Institute. The Institute is not only not liberal but is studiously, and carefully, non-partisan and non-ideological. that is, in fact, its essence.

Jeff (just a minor mistake)is not a member of the institute. That's because the Institute has no members. Rather he was selected to be a part of a program for outstanding young elected officials which is run by Aspen Institute Vice President Mickey Edwards, a former member of the Republican leadership in Congress, a former national chairman of the American Conservative Union, Chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference, a founder of the Heritage Foundation, and Director of Policy Task Forces for Ronald Reagan's Presidential campaign. Participants in the program are evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, including, by the way, some very conservative Republicans. Among the people whose works they study when they come together are Milton Friedman, John Locke, and James Madison. Oh, and Ronald Reagan. Now that would be a strange thing for George Soros to be supporting, don't you think?

Walter Isaacson, who by the way is not a liberal (OKPNS got that wrong, too), is president of the Institute (that was right), and its board members include people like Newt Gingrich's close friend and ally Vin Weber, a former conservative congressman who is one of George W. Bush's closest advisers (and helped manage Mitt Romney's presidential campaign), and Robert Steel, one of the top officials in George W. Bush's Labor Department. At least 25 prominent Republicans are members of the advisory committee for the program in which Jeff participates, including Ralph Reed, former director of the Christian Coalition, and former conservative congressman and Reagan ally Jack Kemp.

I haven't checked to see whether the date at the top of the blog was accurate; if it was, it was the only thing in the blog that was.

Mickey Edwards

Mickey Edwards, a lecturer at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, was a Republican member of Congress from Oklahoma for 16 years (1977-92). He was a member of the House Republican leadership and served on the House Budget and Appropriations committees. Since leaving the Congress he has taught at Harvard, Georgetown, and Princeton universities and has chaired various task forces for the Constitution Project, the Brookings Institution, and the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, he is currently an advisor to the US Department of State and a member of the Princeton Project on National Security. His book, Reclaiming Conservatism (Oxford University Press), comes out in March 2008.

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Posted at 5/30/2008 11:12:00 AM |
Thursday, May 29, 2008 

First Amendment Think Tank: "Oklahoma Clean Campaigns Act" Poses Serious First Amendment Concerns

Oklahoma Bloggers Beware! The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) highlighted serious First Amendment concerns in H.B. 2196, the "Oklahoma Clean Campaigns Act of 2008," in a letter the educational group sent today to Governor Brad Henry. The bill would make it a crime for any person to intentionally participate in the dissemination of false political advertising. The engrossed bill currently awaits the governor's signature or veto.

CCP is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to protect the First Amendment political rights of speech, assembly and petition. If enacted, the bill "would place a chill upon political speakers of all varieties and undermine the robust nature of political debate in Oklahoma," writes CCP president Sean Parnell in the letter to the governor. While truth in political speech is important, the specific provisions of the bill, "puts the government in the position of determining what constitutes 'truth' in an arena where what is 'truth' is itself often the focus of fierce debate," Parnell counsels.

The bill relies on a vague standard that "allows the State to determine the 'truth' of any communication that relates to the 'character, voting record or acts of the candidate,'" Parnell continues. "Statements about the 'character' of a candidate are more opinion than fact; they are characterizations. A governmental system that determines the 'truth' of a characterization, under penalty of law, is a standard so vague and overbroad that to enforce it would chill speech of every variety."

Parnell notes that in an opinion overturning a similarly crafted Washington state law last year the Washington State Supreme Court wrote, "the notion that the government, rather than the people, may be the final arbiter of truth in political debate is fundamentally at odds with the First Amendment."

"As the Supreme Court of Washington aptly put it, a provision like the Oklahoma proposal 'naively assumes that the government is capable of correctly and consistently negotiating the thin line between fact and opinion in political speech,'" Parnell concludes.


Posted at 5/29/2008 04:03:00 PM |

EXCLUSIVE: Commissioner Jim Roth Arrested for DUI in '95; Resolution of Case a Mystery

Monday June 2nd begins Oklahoma's filing period for elective offices, and thanks to the proliferation of blogs, Oklahomans will have more information about candidates than ever before.

Some of the information will be items that the old and slow media, dogged by conflicts of interest from their wealthy owners, simply will not share with their readers, listeners and viewers. Some information will get altered, due to people like Mike Turpen, who tried to kill an extraordinary, and true, story that was damaging to his buddy Drew Edmondson. Some information is tainted, as exemplified by Turpen continually pimping his clients, without disclosing that fact to his viewers on the formerly respected political affairs show Flashpoint.

Further, with the slow and lazy Oklahoma media, the last minute dirty trick has become standard operating procedure. Responses through traditional media seldom are successful. Sometimes the press makes value judgments that a particular claim is in fact a dirty trick when it is not: the press erred when it did not take seriously Gary Jones' campaign claims about disgraced Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan. The press didn't do its job, and the voters did not have the information they deserved before they re-elected McMahan. Some watchdog, huh?

But there's also the clever tactic some candidates use when, in the rare occasions the press actually does their job and uncovers real character issues, to denigrate the information by actually employing the 'victim' mode: "they're throwing mud,"as the saying goes.

At OKPNS, we think open and vigorous discussion is what the votes deserve. After yesterday's revelations about Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud's ties to the George Soro's radical-left Aspen Institute, it seems another issue that could dog corporation commission elections is beginning surfacing.

OKPNS has obtained a copy of an arrest report that is being circulated. Commissioner Roth was arrested December 12, 1995 after 2 AM in a section of town known for its gay nightlife. Roth was arrested for DUI and following too closely. He refused the arresting officer's request for the "implied consent request," most likely a blood or breathalyzer test, and he was accompanied by Joe Mark Elkouri, a special municipal judge, who according to the arresting officer's report, appears to bargain with the officers to make the officer "forget this happened." The officer refused, and called in a supervising official. Elkouri died less than a year later after what the paper referred to as a lengthy illness.

It should be noted that the report by the arresting officer is in a public document that represents the officer's opinion that Roth was intoxicated. There are no attachments to the documents detailing how the case was adjudicated, and there is no indication from the report that Roth was involved in the effort to make the officer "forget this happened."

Excerpt from the police report
. (Click here, here, and here to read entire report. Click on image to enlarge)

"(Elkouri) then stated to this officer, "There must be something I can do to make you forget this happened." I informed(Elkouri) that there was nothing he could do and that (Roth) was under arrest for DUI. (Elkouri) continued to state that he was a special judge and that (Roth) should not be arrested."

Undoubtedly, this document would have surfaced in the late hours of either the primary or general election. Now it's out in the open, regardless, the public will, and Roth's opponents, will demand an explanation for his behavior.

Some will say the incident, which happened in December 1995, is unfair to Roth because it was so long ago. That's non-sense. It's been nearly 40 years since Chappaquiddick, and Sen. Kennedy is yet to come clean. George W. Bush was hit with a DUI revelation less than 48 hours before the 2000 election. There were no Democrats screaming foul on that night. The public deserves to know, and Roth deserves time to make that explanation.


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Posted at 5/29/2008 01:00:00 PM |

Wilson Research Strategies May National Political Environment Assessment.

Wilson Research Strategies recently released its May 2008 edition of the National Political Environment Assessment. This edition analyzes this fall's match up between Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain. Here are a few quotes from the report:

"Despite reports in the press about the "revolutionary" status of Barack Obama, current data points to an election that could look much like 2000 and 2004."

"Compounding the problem with nationalizing an election is the fact that independent voters have not gotten the message they're supposed to dislike Obama. In fact, Obama's standing with independents is almost as strong with Democrats."

"McCain and Republicans continue to enjoy a significant advantage with voters on trust and to handle terrorism. Obama has gained since February."

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Posted at 5/29/2008 12:32:00 PM |

DSCC Video: Andrew Rice: Why I'm Running

In this latest Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee propaganda video, aspiring U.S. senator Andrew Rice, gives his reasons why he's embarked upon his suicide mission against Senator Inhofe.

If you don't have the time to watch the entire minute and a half video, we'll save you a little time and give you the Cliff Notes version. First 30 seconds, Rice is riding in a car talking about losing his brother on 9/11. The next ten seconds, a Democrat activist is surprised that Rice remembers his name. From what we can surmise in the short segment, the activist is going to vote for Rice because he's a "friendly and likeable guy." (Glad he didn't let issues get in the way)

The last 50 seconds, Rice is speaking with another gentleman about - losing his brother in the World Trade Center on 9/11. And we thought only Republicans used 9/11 for political advantage?

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Posted at 5/29/2008 10:13:00 AM |

Oklahoma Independents Want More Candidates on the Ballot

The Oklahoma Coalition of Independents (OKIES) wants all Oklahomans to know about the three days when they can file to run for office at the state Capitol: June 2nd to 4th. OKIES is hoping to bring more accountability to incumbents' actions and by encouraging Oklahomans to run for political office, whatever their party affiliation. From their press release:

The democratic process in Oklahoma is suffering. Over half of state legislative races went unopposed in 2006. So the names of most incumbents never even showed up on a ballot, yet they still "represent" the people of their district."

Clark Duffe, OKIES Chairman, said, "Campaigning for office is a great way to get out your message and affect your community." All that is required is having been registered with the same party affiliation for six months in your district and a $200 filing fee for most offices. Qualifications to run and a list of offices to be filled are available from the Oklahoma State Election Board.

James M. Branum, Secretary of the Oklahoma Green Party, said, "Since Oklahoma's ballot access laws kept me from being on the ballot as a Green, I ran as an Independent for state house in 2006. It was a empowering experience. I got to speak at several candidate forums and connect with my neighbors on the campaign trail, and in the end even got to see some of my ideas be adopted by the candidate who beat me. I recommend all registered Independents to consider running, because otherwise our voice won't be heard."

Richard Prawdzienski, past Independent candidate for State House 39, addressed concerns about the possibility of someone winning against a candidate of an established party. "If a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Oklahoma can be elected mayor in Muskogee, imagine what anyone can do."

Jacqueline Salit, founder and political director of the national organization, Committee for a Unified Independent Party, commented, "With 70% of Americans saying that the country is on the wrong track, the problem is not just that our policies have gone wrong. It's that our political process isn't working. That's a big reason why so many people are becoming independents and why independents feel that we've got to change the way our political system works. It's really a rebellion against the "divine right" of the major parties. Running for office with a message about the need for independent reform is a way to bring that challenge to a next step."

The Oklahoma Coalition of Independents (OKIES) seeks to expand voter choice by reducing the number of unopposed races for elected office in Oklahoma. OKIES also supports structural reforms that will engage more potential voters in the political process, such as ballot access reform and redistricting reform.


Posted at 5/29/2008 09:23:00 AM |
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 

Steve Russell Announces Candidacy

From press release:

Today, flanked by family and an enthusiastic crowd of supporters, Steve Russell announced his bid to run as a Republican in the State Senate race for District 45, the seat being vacated by term-limited Senator Kathleen Wilcoxsen.

A native Oklahoman, Russell retired as a Lt. Colonel after spending 21 years as an Army Infantryman. During his distinguished military career, Russell spent tours in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq where he was a central player in the hunt and capture of Saddam Hussein.

“After serving my country for so long, I now feel called to serve Oklahoma in a different way, by serving as a State Senator for Moore, Mustang and parts of South Oklahoma City,” said Russell.”

Russell believes his time away from Oklahoma has given him a unique perspective that will benefit the citizens of Oklahoma in general and District 45 in particular.

“I have witnessed firsthand the creation of a new democracy. I have seen how the rest of the world views Oklahoma, and I have developed an even deeper appreciation for the things that make Oklahoma and Oklahomans special: Love of God, love of family and an enthusiasm for individual respect and responsibility that, quite frankly, does not exist in many parts of the world.”

That renewed perspective also, he believes, sheds light on some of the biggest issues facing the Sooner State including transforming our business climate into one that rewards innovation and entrepreneurship, creating a dedicated funding stream for our state’s backlog of road and bridge projects and reforming our tort system to benefit the truly injured rather than the trial lawyers.

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Posted at 5/28/2008 05:30:00 PM |

So Why Is Commissioner Jeff Cloud Smiling?

"Aspen (Institute) is one vehicle whereby left-wing billionaires like George Soros work to influence politicians on Capitol Hill by bringing them to luxurious places, hotels and resorts, and listening to mostly liberal and left-wing speakers." - Accuracy in Media 4/7/08

It could be that he’s thinking of just how much money he’s going to make after he successfully concludes his job negotiations with a company he’s currently regulating. Or it could be that he’s thinking that the indolent Oklahoma press hasn’t bothered to check out the political leanings of the ultra-left liberal think-tank that sent him around the world and gave him a chance to pose for this picture in front of the pyramids.

Seriously folks, what in the world could Cloud have been thinking when he joined up with the liberal Aspen Institute, headed by former Clinton News Network President Walter Isaacson? Even a simple search of the internet reveals the effete and haughty notions behind the organization, whose major contributors include left-wing crazy and billionaire George Soros, who used the Aspen Institute from which to stage his effort to defeat President Bush in 2004. The Aspen Institute housed and “re-educated” (against capitalism no doubt) little Elian Gonzalez after former Attorney General Janet Reno kidnapped the little Cuban shipwreck survivor from his uncle. What so-called conservative would join an organization that helped force a little six-year old boy to leave the United States and go back into a brutal communist dictator’s regime? And why would Cloud, as rumors persist, be headed to Beijing in August with Aspen to observe the Olympics in another brutal communist country? Some political insiders, when contacted by OKPNS, expressed dismay when informed of Cloud’s participation in the organization. “Obviously Cloud didn’t do his homework. I can’t believe he would knowingly join if he knew. It’s just not the type of thing you do if you really are running for re-election,” one expert told us. “You just know that somebody is going to figure it out, so he’s not running or he’s incredibly imprudent.

The speculation running rampant is that Cloud is close to making a deal to leave to work for what insiders say is a ‘natural gas company’ but that Cloud’s opinion of his worth differ greatly from his potential employer. There is no confirmation as to which company he is negotiating with, but stories from Cloud’s last election indicate Chesapeake Energy was the primary financial driver in his 2002 campaign, an arrangement that fellow Corporation Commission Bob Anthony found at the time to be questionable and possibly illegal.

Regardless, Jeff Cloud’s opponents now have a potent campaign issue if he abandons his rumored job search, and now it is too late to resign his membership in the Aspen Institute, which would be a tacit admission he was wrong to join.

OKPNS will continue to follow this story.

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Posted at 5/28/2008 01:42:00 PM |

Video: J.C. Watts at TCU

The Tandy Executive Speaker Series hosts prominent business leaders to disseminate leading-edge thought to Metroplex business professionals, Neeley MBA students and faculty in order to improve the practice of business. Mr. Watts gives his thoughts on this year's elections.


Posted at 5/28/2008 08:56:00 AM |
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 

Sources: Fallin to Run for Governor in 2010

Sources tell OKPNS that Congresswoman Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, is making aggressive moves in what appears to be the beginnings of a campaign for governor in 2010.

The former three- term Lt. Gov and two-term state legislator was elected to the 5th District seat in 2006 and has announced she will run for re-election for another congressional term this year. She is expected to easily win re-election. Observers say Congresswoman Fallin is already putting together a team designed for but one thing: a run for governor.

Fallin's move comes as talk of Congressman Tom Cole's name as a potential gubernatorial candidate is being floated. Cole is currently head of the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), but is being roundly criticized, some say unfairly, for recent GOP loses in some key special elections. If the GOP suffers significant losses in the fall elections, Cole will receive blame, unfairly or not, and some observers can see the Congressman coming back to Oklahoma to run to succeed two-term Gov. Brad Henry. Fallin's moves could be designed to head off a Cole challenge.



Posted at 5/27/2008 02:10:00 PM |

Ghost Commissioner, Gay Commissioner: What You See Is NOT What You Get!

Judging by the information we at OKPNS are receiving, it's the two corporation commissioner races that will present the most drama this summer and fall, especially when considering the intrigue surrounding the two incumbents: Democrat Jim Roth and Republican Jeff Cloud.

While we know the U.S. Senate race between incumbent U.S Sen. Jim Inhofe and State Sen. Andrew Rice, D-Oklahoma City, will be entertaining, the musical chairs theater that is developing over at the commission promises multiple story lines.

Roth became the first openly Gay person to hold a state-wide elected office when he was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry in May of 2007, replacing Commissioner Denise Bode. Per the Oklahoma Constitution, Roth is running for the last two years of Bode's term.

Cloud was elected to a six-year term by the voters in 2002, and according to reports is running for another six years.

The only problem is, what you're hearing about these races is just not true.

Electing Roth is the number 1 priority for Chesapeake Energy. Chesapeake championed Roth's appointment in the first place, and their officials have made it clear that they want Roth in the six-year seat that Cloud now holds. Cloud, like Roth, supported Chesapeake's successful campaign that stopped construction a coal-fired power plant and is seen as such a good friend to Chesapeake and the petroleum companies that he has a standing job offer from an unnamed natural gas company. According to sources, the sticking point has been the salary: Cloud wants in the neighborhood of what Bode took to become CEO of the Clean Skies Foundation, but his potential suitor believes Cloud is nowhere near as valuable as former Commissioner Bode, a national energy policy expert who headed the Independent Petroleum Association of America prior to her ten-year run at the corporation commission. Further, Cloud has gained a reputation as being so uninspiring and lethargic that insiders tell OKPNS that Republican Commissioner Bob Anthony's pet name for Cloud is the "ghost commissioner."

It's a good bet that the puppeteers over at Chesapeake do not want two of their favorites running against each other, so based upon what Chesapeake officials are repeating, their expressed desire to have Roth in the six-year seat would indicate Cloud is in the way. Some are suggesting to OKPNS that Cloud knows he is leaving, but using time as leverage to increase the value of his compensation package. "Chesapeake would much rather have Roth than Cloud: he's sharper, harder working and has become an extraordinary ally for them, and besides, they have a much more energetic person than Cloud ready to put into the two-year term," one corporation commission insider tells OKPNS, "so while Cloud is a friend, Chesapeake has others they want on the commission that simply will work harder than Jeff."

So where does that leave the other announced candidates? Until Cloud divulges his intentions, or is forced by his potential employer to make finally make a move, the others are forced to wait. "It's not even out of the realm of possibility that Cloud and Roth will eventually reach an accommodation, and that Roth will file against Cloud, who would then drop out AFTER filing to thwart others," says another political observer familiar with Chesapeake's concerns.

So while Roth and Cloud are different in every conceivable way except their allegiance to Chesapeake, it appears that the two are very dependent on each other to get what they want. So even after filing is over next Wednesday, we may still have no clue how this drama is going to play out. OKPNS will keep following this developing story.

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Posted at 5/27/2008 01:43:00 PM |

CBS News Video: Coburn On USDA Conferences

Sen. Coburn is interviewed by CBS News on the U. S. Department of Agriculture's wasteful spending. He is particularly critical of the conferences USDA officials have been attending lately. He lists for example, officials attending Crayfish conferences in Australia, and trips to Hawaii to study the U.S. Congress.

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Posted at 5/27/2008 08:59:00 AM |

Quote of the Day: "Energy Crisis is Here, Warns Denise Bode" (2/8/2001)

Clean Skies CEO Denise Bode was warning the nation before 9/11 and the Iraq War, that our dependence on foreign oil and bans on domestic drilling would eventually lead to "price hikes." This excerpt was taken from a 2001 piece in Energy Houston magazine.

If the U.S. does not open up federal lands to exploration and production and support the rebuilding of the nation's energy production, refining and delivery systems, we can expect more price hikes and curtailments for energy, warns Denise Bode, vice chair of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and former president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Writing in the new issue of Energy Houston magazine, Bode says, "America's energy infrastructure and resource base is being shut down, and that is in turn causing a crisis from the gas pump to the electric meter." America is approaching being 60 percent dependent on foreign energy, up from 42 percent 10 years ago. Read more...

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Posted at 5/27/2008 08:43:00 AM |

Good News About Ethics Reform

By Rep. Jason Murphey Last week marked the end of the period during which the Oklahoma Legislature could act on legislation. During the normal course of business, a bill has to be placed on the agenda for a certain number of hours before it can be acted on, so that legislators and others can review it before a vote. However, in the last two days before the legislative deadline, these rules are waived. This year, due in part to negotiations over a number of issues, a significant amount of legislation was held up until right before the deadline. This meant a large number of bills were considered by the House and Senate without giving legislators much time to read them.

Because of these circumstances, there was opportunity for significant changes in the law to pass through without proper consideration. I enjoy the huge challenge of carefully but quickly plowing through hundreds of pages of legalise in an effort to discover these last minute changes, some of which may need to be opposed (more on that next week).

This time, however, I was happy to discover and support a very appropriate and positive change to this year's ethics reform bill. House Bill 2196, which I wrote about earlier this year, purported to place a ban on any political contributions during the legislative session. The logic followed that a politician should not be receiving donations at the same time he or she is voting on important laws. Read more...


Posted at 5/27/2008 08:36:00 AM |
Sunday, May 25, 2008 

The Casino and Mr. Chicken

While Oklahoma City's Mayor and, according to reports, all of the state's congressional delegation, are aggressively opposing a proposal by promoters to put a tribal casino in Oklahoma City fronted by a tribe located 200 miles away, Oklahoma's timid governor is attempting to run and hide on the issue.

This time, Gov. Brad Henry, is attempting to avoid involvement on the casino project that most observers say would put Oklahoma City's Remington Park into bankruptcy.

The Shawnee tribe, which is located in Miami, Oklahoma, has been “reservation shopping” and has selected a parcel of land less than two miles from Oklahoma City's "Adventure district," putting many businesses at a distinct disadvantage.

While Mayor Mick Cornett, Congresswoman Mary Fallin and other members of the congressional delegation have courageously and publicly opposed this outrageous distortion of tribal gaming statutes, the faint-hearted Henry, who has privately voiced his opposition to the casino, is publicly ducking for cover, primarily since he is buddies with the Shawnee Tribe's economic development chairman, Greg Pitcher.

One insider sums up the governor's lack of backbone this way: “He’s gutless. He knows the proposal is wrong, but he’s spent six years avoiding this kind of controversy, so why would we think he’d engaged now?”

Henry’s name is being drawn in the controversy because the Bureau of Indian Affairs is seeking public comment on the proposal until June 9th. Most believe the governor’s opposition would carry considerable weight with the BIA.

Observers tell OKPNS the whole deal is very suspect, and that today’s story by Oklahoman reporter Tony Thornton just scratches the surface of the proposed stinky deal.

Developing…. Video: Greg Pitcher, chairman of the Shawnee Tribe's economic development arm

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Posted at 5/25/2008 08:59:00 AM |
Friday, May 23, 2008 

Happy Memorial Day!

My great uncle Mellie Arps, Jr. (or Uncle E.A. as he is affectionately called) was recently profiled by the local ABC affiliate in Tyler, Texas on his service in World War II as a Buffalo Soldier. My great uncle fought from Italy into Berlin and was awarded two Bronze Stars for his bravery. After the war, he came back home to become a minister and a Master Mason, the Third Degree.

The most amazing thing about the men and women of the "Greatest Generation" is that they didn't brag about their exploits, they simply performed their duty to defend their country - and in the process saved the word. This was the first time that many in my family had ever heard of my great uncle's extraordinary bravery. We are all so very proud!

On that note, The Oklahoma Political News Service wants to wish everyone -especially our past and present veterans - a very happy Memorial Day.


Posted at 5/23/2008 09:01:00 AM |
Thursday, May 22, 2008 

House Votes to Protect Elderly in Nursing Homes from Criminals

We first brought you this story last week. The Oklahoma Legislature voted today to establish separate nursing home facilities for convicted sex offenders in need of long term care.

House Bill 2704, by state Rep. Kris Steele and state Sen. Tom Adelson (D-Tulsa), directs the Department of Health to request bids for the operation of a stand-alone, long-term care facility that will house only elderly, registered sex offenders.

"This legislation will allow for the operation of a home that includes additional security measures for offenders," said Steele, R-Shawnee. "This is a common-sense, fiscally responsible way to reduce the risk for abuse and protect our aging population from predators."

There are approximately 30 known sex offenders currently residing in Oklahoma nursing homes. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections estimates 2,250 inmates convicted of sex crimes will be released from prison in the next 10 years. Twenty-six percent of these convicts will be age 51 or older and potentially in need of long-term care. In addition, recent data indicates the number of registered sexual offenders in Oklahoma is increasing.

House Bill 2704 passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate.


Posted at 5/22/2008 07:29:00 PM |

Water Issues Set to Explode

Insiders are scratching their heads today wondering why a bill that would direct the water resources board to put Oklahoma’s water interests before Texas’ interests is stalled in the state senate.

House Bill 2238, by Rep. Colby Schwartz and Sen. Mike Johnson, calls for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to consider water permit applications from Oklahomans before applications from other states like Texas.

The bill states in part that "In the granting of water rights for transportation of stream water for use outside the State, pending applications to use such water within the State shall first be considered in order to assure that applicants within the State shall have all of the water required to adequately supply their beneficial uses."

Our sources tell us that Senate Democrats would find it difficult to face the voters this fall if they were to vote against such a measure, so they are working to keep the bill from coming to the floor altogether, a sort of reverse “wooly booger.” Even more curious, reports are that lobbyists retained by Texas interests are not involved in the bill slowdown, since that would undermine their assertion that Texas only wants the water Oklahoma does not use.

One person knowledgeable about the intrigue points the finger of blame squarely at the Senate Democrats. “While it would seem that most Oklahomans would prefer to see Oklahoma's natural resources utilized first by Oklahomans, that's not the case with the Senate Democrats. There’s a line they’re feeding people that it might hurt the state's defense of the lawsuit filed by Tarrant Regional Water District against Oklahoma's moratorium on-out-of state water transfers. That’s non-sense. If Texans end up getting Oklahoma's water and Oklahomans start rationing water, you'll know who to blame,” he says.

The House is scheduled to consider the bill on Thursday. Once through the House the bill will be in the Senate's hands for a vote before they adjourn on Friday. Our sources tell OKPNS that Democrats are counting on the bill getting lost in the last minute crush of business, allowing them to escape making a vote on the issue.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Rabon, D-Hugo, who our sources say is one of the Senators fighting to keep HB 2238 from reaching the Senate floor, issued a press release today blasting the House for passage of a resolution encouraging Attorney General Drew Edmondson to defend the state in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s moratorium on out-of-state sales of Oklahoma water.

Why would Rabon oppose a move that might help Oklahoma to win the lawsuit? No one seems to know, but it’s one of the more curious stances of the session: an Oklahoma lawmaker helping Texas win a federal lawsuit.

OKPNS will keep an eye on this developing story.


Posted at 5/22/2008 02:59:00 PM |

Dana Murphy Receives Endorsement from Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee

(Oklahoma City, OK) Dana Murphy has received the endorsement of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee for her candidacy for Corporation Commission.

“I’m truly honored to receive the endorsement of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee. It is very humbling to be supported by my fellow Conservatives,” said Murphy.

Murphy spoke to the committee on Wednesday, and besides her speech, spent 30 minutes taking in-depth questions from the audience. Afterward, the committee voted to give her its endorsement, spotlighting her conservative credentials and significant experience in the race for Corporation Commissioner.

“Her depth of knowledge, passion to serve in this office, and the belief by our members that she would be a fair Corporation Commissioner, and one who is above reproach, influenced our members to overwhelming vote to endorse her,” Chairman Charlie Meadows said of the committee’s vote.

“She earned it,” Meadows added.

The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee has built a reputation in Oklahoma as being a stalwart supporter of conservative ideology.

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Posted at 5/22/2008 02:13:00 PM |
Wednesday, May 21, 2008 

Boehner, Cole to Release Election Plan

The Politico:


After a week of tension and recriminations following a special election loss in Mississippi, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner and NRCC Chairman Tom Cole will unveil a series of changes Wednesday aimed at quelling criticism and positioning their party for November’s elections.

Cole is expected to add veteran Republican political operative Ed Brookover to his staff as a consultant and liaison with lawmakers, GOP insiders said. Brookover, who served as a National Republican Congressional Committee political director, has close ties to Boehner, Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam of Florida, according to one GOP aide.

A source with knowledge of the discussions between Boehner and Cole said the minority leader has insisted that Cole also give more power to an advisory committee formed after the GOP lost a special election in Louisiana earlier this month. Under the plan Boehner and Cole will announce Wednesday, that advisory committee will meet weekly with NRCC staffers to monitor operations and help coordinate fundraising and other campaign activities. It is possible that former NRCC Chairman Tom Davis of Virginia will play an expanded role in guiding the advisory committee and, through it, the NRCC.

The moves represent a modest détente between Cole and Boehner, but they might not be enough to mollify a restive party rife with fears that November 2008 will be a replay of November 2006. Read more...

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Posted at 5/21/2008 11:25:00 AM |

Who's to Blame for Monday's "Prison Disturbance" (Riot)

The media has joined the fracas surrounding Monday's prison riot. Editorials at the Oklahoman and the Tulsa World are fanning the flames regarding prison issues today. Prison issues took a backseat at the legislature this year, until the final week. Now it will be interesting to see how Democrats and Republicans react. So it appears that candidates will be scrambling to revisit this issue this summer and fall. Undoubtedly, with the session still underway, several legislators will be weighing in on the issue. Here's last night's News9 story about this re-emerging campaign issue.

OKPNS FLASHBACK: March 27, 2007

GOP Leaders: What is Henry Trying to Hide with Veto of Audit Funds?
Republican leaders questioned today Gov. Brad Henry’s line-item veto of funding for an independent performance audit of the Department of Corrections – which the governor described as his “first” line-item veto of HB 1234, the bipartisan general appropriations bill overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature last week.

“What is the governor trying to hide with this veto? Is Gov. Henry afraid that an independent performance audit might uncover his mismanagement of a critical public safety agency? Independent performance audits at public school districts have proven very effective at improving efficiency and saving taxpayers’ money. We believe independent performance audits can have the same positive impact on the Department of Corrections and other state agencies,” stated Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. Read more...


News9 Video: Prison Riot Raises Questions at the Capitol Only a couple inmates killed

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Posted at 5/21/2008 10:38:00 AM |
Tuesday, May 20, 2008 

Loveless Questions Opponents' "Lack of Plan" For Road and Bridge Funding

Loveless for Senate press release:

Oklahoma City, OK – Conservative Republican state senate candidate, Kyle Loveless yesterday reiterated his plan for improving Oklahoma’s dilapidated roads and bridges and questioned why the other candidate’s still lack a plan for this crucial issue.

“The most recent Sooner Survey identifies road and bridge funding as THE most important priority for Oklahomans, yet my opponents have failed to address this crucial issue. My transportation funding plan will transform our roads from a source of shame into a spur for economic development,” said Loveless.

The Sooner Survey is a publication of Cole, Hargrave, and Snodgrass and the most authoritative newsletter in Oklahoma politics. The most recent copy is attached.

“My plan is a four-step process. First, reduce administrative overhead at ODOT and put the funds into roads and bridges. Second, funds collected for a certain purpose should be spent for that purpose and that purpose ONLY. Gas taxes and tag fees were collected to be used for roads and bridges. They should be used for that purpose, period. Third, remove the cap on transportation funding. We don’t have a cap on other vital functions of government. We should not have one on roads and bridges. Finally, decisions about road project should not be political, but based on need and traffic counts instead of who is the Chairman of a certain committee.”

Loveless also questioned his opponents’ lack of a coherent plan for road funding.

“For the first time, according to the attached polling, roads and bridges are THE most important issue on people’s minds. Where and what are their plans? The people of senate district 45 need real leadership, not empty promises or bumper sticker politics. The most troubling thing, is that at the legislature now they are talking about going into debt to pay for roads – that is wrong.” “I have personally knocked on doors from Mustang to Moore, and people are tired of politicians taking orders from special interests and fat cat lobbyists. People want answers about issues THEY care about, and they want them now!”

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Posted at 5/20/2008 12:05:00 PM |

Sen. Gumm: Editorial Support Building for "Nick's Law"

By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant

Yogi Berra’s words – “It ain’t over until it’s over” – still has a slim chance of ringing true for families fighting for autism insurance, according to the bill’s sponsor.

Monday (May 19), two newspapers – both in predominantly Republican communities – published editorials in support of “Nick’s Law,” a measure by Senator Jay Paul Gumm that would require health insurance policies cover diagnosis and treatment for autistic children.

The Edmond Sun and The Enid News & Eagle both published editorials supportive of the proposal. The plan passed the Oklahoma Senate on four separate occasions only to be buried in the House of Representatives each time.

“Republicans, Democrats and independent voters across the state overwhelmingly support “Nick’s Law’,” said Gumm, D-Durant. “Supportive editorials in newspapers serving ‘rock-ribbed Republican’ communities further illustrate how amazingly out of step those are who will not even allow a vote on the bill.”

The Enid newspaper acknowledged the effort by families with autistic children, relating the families “have not been deterred in trying to make lawmakers see the light.” Further, the newspaper wrote it believes “this situation deserves more consideration and that families of autistic children need consideration by insurance companies.”

In the Edmond paper, which serves the hometown of 10-year-old Nicholas Rohde, the Nick of “Nick’s Law,” editorial writers noted, “Bearing the cost of autism alone is hurting these Oklahoma families.” Read more...

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Posted at 5/20/2008 11:44:00 AM |

Last Week of the Session?

It looks like insurance mandates and 'insurance companies behaving badly' issues will remain on the front burner in what could be the last week of the legislative session.

Already this session we exposed a plan by greedy life insurance companies to screw old people and charities out of the freedom to sell their life policies in arrangements called "life settlements." After further media exposure, the life companies and their lobbyist Frank Keating were forced to remove many of the more outrageous aspects of the bill, such as turning senior citizens into felons if they did not receive 50% of the face value of the policy. A 'trailer' bill is in the works that would remove the last outrageous aspect: Kim Holland, the toady insurance commissioner owned by Keating's association. Current statutes would allow Holland to harass companies that buy the policies from seniors to such an extent that few would want to do business in Oklahoma. Even Democrats know the commissioner needs to be put into a position where she can do no harm as they regard her as "intellectually-challenged" on most insurance issues, so a trailer bill stands a good chance at passing.

We'll keep watching this one.

And the Oklahoman is attempting a last minute feeble effort to rescue Rep. Ron Peterson as his clumsy handling of the insurance mandates for autism treatments keeps the issue alive for yet another week. Peterson also was an advocate of the shameful anti-senior life settlement bill. Yesterday, the increasingly irrelevant paper slams Sen. J. Paul Gumm, who is for the mandates but has outflanked and out-maneuvered Peterson from the beginning. As Jim Bowie is aid to have told Col. Travis at the Alamo, "It's not what you say Travis that bothers me, it's how you say it."

Communicating public issues as often more important than the issue itself, something Peterson and the paper need to improve: did you catch the strange reference to global warming? Regardless, insurance issues appear to be ready to explode into the news yet again this week, meaning the press corps will screw it up, so we'll be cleaning up that mess. Stay tuned!

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Posted at 5/20/2008 11:23:00 AM |

Minority Leader Boehner: "Cole Staying"

After several days of speculation, Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, is giving a public vote of support to National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chair Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole. Cole, the 4th District representative, had come under fire after yet another special election loss, the latest one last week in Mississippi. Most observers think Cole is being set up for blame by Boehner, who has criticized Cole in the past. "I don't know what Tom Cole is supposed to do about visionless dolts like John Boehner," one Washington insider tells OKPNS.

From The Hill:

“Boehner's leadership has been lacking,” a GOP lobbyist and strategist said.

Boehner last year reportedly called for staffing changes at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), but none happened after NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) refused to make them.

After the party’s devastating loss last week in a Mississippi special election, Boehner did not directly answer the question about whether Cole would stay on at the NRCC. With some of his GOP colleagues calling for quick and decisive action, Boehner lauded a 20-page strategic memo crafted by Rep. Tom Davis (Va.), a former NRCC chairman.

It wasn’t until five days after the Mississippi loss that Boehner provided clarity on whether Cole would be ousted.

“He’s staying,” Boehner said on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday. “And we know the kind of changes that need to be made in order to help our members and help our candidates go out there and do their best in a very difficult environment.”

Boehner said he met with Cole late last week to discuss those changes, but the minority leader’s office declined to detail them on Monday. Read more...

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Posted at 5/20/2008 10:31:00 AM |
Saturday, May 17, 2008 

Defining Oklahoma Democrats

As Republicans continue to eat their own wounded and wonder why they are losing elections (see post below) Democrats are enjoying a little human flesh of their own. Evidently, cannibalism is not exclusive to Republican politics.

Calvin Rees has his tidy whities in an extreme bunch. Reese is claiming that Pat Hall has sold out and is "whoring himself out to Republicans."

As the Democrat blogs attempt to rally around the Obama candidacy, it is becoming increasingly evident that not all is well in Democrat City and the flesh eating virus that has become the liberal blogosphere is showing its true colors. The concept of good government, for liberals anyway, is a thing of the past and the "true believers" in the party are supposedly the only ones who have the intellectual ability to discern which Democratic standard bearer will be their champion. The final result is an implosion not unlike what Republicans have experienced during the last two years of the Bush Administration.

In the now famous words of John Kerry, "bring it on!"

By way of illustration, no one can argue that Pat Hall isn't a Democrat's Democrat - he was at the 2004 convention and some even argue that he returned home to Oklahoma with a Kerry/Edwards tattoo across his posterior. But even a broken clock is right twice a day and his financial support of a well respected State Senator from Norman (Nichols) does show that there still may be hope for Pat Hall. Unfortunately, his flesh is far too tasty for the likes of Calvin Rees. Once again, boys and girls, the Democrats are about to snatch defeat from the hands of victory.

One final note: It is painfully ironic that Calvin Rees, who tars and feathers Democrats who support Republicans, has been pictured with numerous Republican operatives and even considers the uber-conservative Representative Mike Reynolds to be a friend.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Democrat Blogosphere.

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Posted at 5/17/2008 02:13:00 PM |

Election Post Mortems

We're the OKLAHOMA Political News Service, and if we can't localize national news, we don't bother: after all there's about a billion national blogs dealing with the national elections.

But this weekend we thought you would enjoy two postmortem commentaries: one by insiders about the fatal mistakes made by the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign, and a scathing analysis about where the GOP went wrong by the always insightful former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan. They're both great reads.

Republicans should pay particular attention to Ms. Noonan's take on the death of the Reagan coalition, and as for the deep pocket Clinton supporters such as Daddy Fatcakes Mike Turpen: go ahead and jump.


Posted at 5/17/2008 02:00:00 PM |

Environmentalist Wackos in OK; The Heck With the Planet, Someone Save the Humans!

So how's that 'eco-friendly' feeling now? When corporation commission officials nuked a proposed coal generating plant last year, ostensibly because coal fired plants are just too "dirty", the environmentalists and their buddies at Chesapeake energy cheered. Now folks in northeast Oklahoma are finding out the real dirt is in their electricity bills because of the rapidly escalating cost of natural gas.

The phony coalition formed by Chesapeake to oppose the construction of cheaper and more economically-reliable coal plants in favor of plants fired by price-volatile natural gas beat back a proposal fronted by the incompetent team at Oklahoma City-based OG&E. OKPNS chronicled the hapless effort the utility made on behalf of coal, but the natural gas syndicate won primarily because they own two members of the commission: Jim Roth, the official Chesapeake errand butt boy, and light weight commissioner Jeff Cloud, who is rumored to have a standing job offer from a "natural gas" company. One can only guess who.

Ironically, both Roth and Cloud, if he files, face re-election this fall. Insiders say Cloud is being offered far, far below the salary former commissioner Denise Bode took to head up Chesapeake's anti-coal working group based in Washington.

From (4/27/06):

Even in this “era of corporate social responsibility,” brazen violations of honesty, transparency and accountability standards occur regularly. Exhibit 1: the recent “Coal is filthy” ad campaign.

Prominent advertisements in major US papers featured an ethnic spectrum of smudge-faced California models, whose misleading claims about emissions from coal-fired electrical generating plants were reinforced by a website. The campaign urged citizens to tell government officials, “No more filthy coal plants.”

But the Coalition wasn’t another gaggle of environmental pressure groups, like those listed on the website. It was a cabal of natural gas companies, led by Chesapeake Energy of Oklahoma. Their goal wasn’t really helping Americans get “clean skies” and “live longer,” as their ads proclaimed. It was fattening corporate wallets.

Cloud, unlike Bode, doesn't posses an impressive body of work and is rumored to be, shall we say, not that enthusiastic about hard work, which is important if the offer comes from Chesapeake, since screwing the public, like rust, never sleeps.

Regardless, some Oklahomans can soon experience for themselves the results of the phony global warming scam that allows greedy power companies to exploit the public's fear so that long-term energy policies are based on emotions rather than reason. Ethanol anybody?

So now some Oklahomans will see their electric rates take a major hike in a few days, and based upon some estimations, natural gas prices will double in the next couple of years. So any money you have left over from purchasing artificially-inflated food and automobile fuel will fly out of your pockets for your electric bill. Shunning coal for natural gas may sound great, until reality hits. Thanks to the climate change hysteria created by idiots like Algore, Chesapeake has committed daylight robbery, and gotten away with it. So it's grab your ankles time in Oklahoma:

Dr. natural gas will now administer your treatment.

So here's the environmental scores for tonight: Chesapeake is going to make more obscene profits, Oklahomans will soon begin sending corporate welfare to Chesapeake's basketball team and in gratitude, Chesapeake will now return the favor by screwing those same people on their utility bills.

It's been a very busy year for the folks at 63rd and Western, but there's much more lying, stealing and even a few folks they haven't hosed out there yet. Now THAT's an inconvenient, and unfortunate, truth.

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Posted at 5/17/2008 09:15:00 AM |
Friday, May 16, 2008 

Is This Our First Reported Case of "Wooley Booger?"

Regular readers will remember that OKPNS trumped Oklahoma media last year when we broke the news about the House GOP campaign finance scandal. Now the fallout from the subsequent investigation is surfacing in the last days of the legislative session.

The House of Representatives yesterday increased the budget for the state ethics commission by 30%. The commission monitors election campaign financing, and despite the increase, notable campaign ethics watchdog Rep. Mike Reynolds is purportedly not happy.

Is this our first reported case of "wooley booger?"

As we've reported, it's the "witching hour," the time in the session where lawmakers bring forth legislation from shadowy conference committees, proclaiming them the equivalent of the Magna Carta. The compliant, and lazy, press then reports verbatim the legislative spin. While the headline on today's story appears to indicate that some sort of campaign finance enforcement reform has been achieved, the truth apparently lies much deeper in the story.

Rep. Ken Miller, a Lance Cargill lieutenant, brought forth the so-called reform. Regular capitol observers tell us that Miller is not well respected, but holds the powerful Appropriations and Budget position as part of the delicate balancing act Speaker Chris Benge performs daily to keep the various House GOP factions together. Rumors persist that Miller, from a conservative Edmond house district, may draw a more conservative opponent in the primary as a result of his antics under his buddy, former speaker Lance Cargill.

"Having this Miller kid carry campaign ethics reform is like Obama or McCain declaring they will appoint Bill Clinton to beef up security for female White House interns for the next president," one insider, choking back laughter, tells OKPNS.


Posted at 5/16/2008 10:26:00 AM |

Senator Gumm: Peterson Shows "Lack of Understanding" About Autism Crisis

OKLAHOMA CITY – An analysis by Rep. Ron Peterson of an actuarial study on “Nick’s Law” shows the representative’s “serious lack of understanding” about the autism crisis, according to Senator Jay Paul Gumm.

“Rep. Peterson may know his former profession – insurance – but his analysis of the actuarial study we provided to him shows he simply does not understand the autism crisis,” said Gumm, a Democrat from Durant who has fought for passage of autism insurance.

“Every autistic child is different with different needs. To suggest that every autistic child presents the same exposure to the insurance industry is flat wrong and not borne out by the experience in other states – or the experience of parents of autistic children.”

The key premise of Peterson’s news release was that the study, provided by Gumm to House leaders earlier this week, did not reflect that every autistic child would take the maximum benefit allowed under “Nick’s Law.”

Peterson’s estimate of a 5.22 percent increase in rates has not happened in any state with an autism insurance law. Further, the fiscal impact statement on state employees’ insurance – touted by Peterson as justification for killing “Nick’s Law” – did not reflect anything more than a 1 percent impact on claim payouts. Read more...

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Posted at 5/16/2008 10:14:00 AM |
Thursday, May 15, 2008 

DNC Names as Official Convention Blog

The Oklahoma Political News Service would like to congratulate on acquiring blog credentials for the Democrat Convention this summer. How ironic that, which put out the below racist tripe two years ago on future Rep. T.W Shannon, will cover their party's convention that will nominate the first African American for president. Has Dr. Dean seen this?

"The members of the DemConvention State Blogger Corps represent a broad spectrum of voices that illustrate the 'big tent' nature of our Party."- DNCC CEO Leah D. Daughtry


The Reese Brothers and Comanche County Democratic chair "Cut & Run" Mike Weddington, are continuing to demonstrate their limitless and racist "sense of humor." This latest attempt to imply that District 62 candidate T.W. Shannon is only "qualified to be a chauffeur," was posted on on October 27th. The picture mysteriously disappeared yesterday after a self described African American woman Democrat labeled the pictures - in a post on October 29th - as "reminiscent of the Jim Crow caricatures of my youth." Equally mysterious is that the poster - "Running on Empty" - is a "new" member with only two posts. The Reese Brothers are infamous for accusing another owner of a competing chat site of using multiple screen names to hide his identity. Hmmm.

She continues in her post:

"Anyone sensitive to the history of African Americans in this country should find these photos deplorable or at least in poor taste."

"These Shannon attack caricatures remind me of a couple of month's ago when the Weekly Standard's cover featured Al Sharpton in "Driving Miss Daisy" fashion. Democrats--including me--called the Standard's attack ad everything from racially insensitive to out-and-out racism. The fact that Mr. Sharpton is a (D) and Mr. Shannon is a (R) doesn't change the fact that the photos are in poor taste (in my humble opinion) and are racially insensitive."
Read entire post

It's almost hard to fathom that a Democratic county chair and Tim Reese - a delegate to the 2004 Democratic convention - would stoop to this level of race baiting to win an election. It begs the question. Does the Oklahoma Democratic Party - the self described party of "tolerance and diversity" condone this offensive behavior? The Oklahoma Political News Service emailed the above picture to Chair Lisa Pryor and called party headquarters for a statement. Our intern was met with a rude response from ODP Headquarters and no statement. We guess that about says it all.


OKPNS: (9/20/2006) BUSTED! Posts Edited Recording Of DA Wes Lane

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Posted at 5/15/2008 12:18:00 PM |

Domestic Partners: Aubrey McClendon & Jim Roth

Since the mainstream media has rolled over and played dead on this issue, it's great to see Mark Shannon and the blogosphere do their jobs for them.


Why AUBREY MCCLENDON would be an Honorary Co-Chairman for a homosexual candidate for CORPORATION COMMISSIONER. Mighty convenient when you're in the OIL AND GAS BUSINESS, don't you think? No conflict in interest there, huh? No ethical questions? No appearance of wrong-doing, do ya think??!!!?!?!

In a letter mailed to friends by Mr. Bennett and Mr. McClendon they state, "Moving Oklahoma forward by making it a better place to work and live is a mutual goal. Jim Roth also shares our vision of a pro-growth Oklahoma." They continue, "As the Incumbent, he is a leader that demonstrates the vision, integrity and experience necessary for the responsibility of this position."

(Insiders tell me that AUBREY is upset with REPUBLICANS because they won't rescind 1804, making it easier for Chesapeake companies like TOTAL ENVIRONMENT to more easily hire cheap, illegal, labor.

Apparently one of McClendon's minions has been calling in Republicans on various levels of government and reading them the riot act, TELLING THEM they should bend to his will. Apparently only Harry TURN Coates is willing to do his bidding, because 1804 still stands.) Read more...


EXCLUSIVE: Candid Emails Reveal Depths of 1804 Repeal Conspiracy; Ambush Planned for Rep. Terrill

EXCLUSIVE (Pt 5): Candid Emails Reveal Depths of 1804 Repeal Conspiracy; The Poll They Didn't Want You to See

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Posted at 5/15/2008 11:23:00 AM |

House GOP Points Fingers After Loss; Cole Out As NRCC Chair?

The man tasked with retaking the House of Representatives for Republicans, Oklahoma 4th District Congressman Tom Cole, is on the hot seat after yet another special election loss, but this time after a loss Tuesday night in a Mississippi district President Bush once won by over 25%.

It's no secret that Cole, the National Republican Campaign Committee chair, is disliked by Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, and Boehner sees Cole as the perfect fall guy in the event House Republicans lose significant ground in the November congressional elections. According to reports, the long knives are coming out.


The House Republican Conference was rife with rumors of quick fixes. According to one rumor, retiring Rep. Tom Davis (Va.) would replace Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Another had Boehner recruiting a top White House political aide to revamp the NRCC. Neither seemed likely to happen. Both underscored the desperation Republicans felt to do something, anything, to avoid the November disaster that the special election losses seem to portend.

Cole and his top staff at the NRCC were at the center of this quickly churning rumor mill, but the griping also touched Boehner, who spoke privately with his campaign chief Wednesday.

The two leaders, who sparred last fall over operations at the committee, offered contradictory messages about what changes were afoot.

Cole said speculation about his resignation or the firing of NRCC staff amounted to nothing more than a “Washington parlor game.” Boehner, hinting that a shake-up was coming, said Wednesday morning that he expected House Republican leaders would discuss the party’s problems, and what “changes” might need to be made to address them, in a meeting later in the day. Read more...

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Posted at 5/15/2008 10:30:00 AM |

Move Over Randy Terrill, Mick Cornett Is Everywhere!

Move over Randy Terrill! Looks like you have some serious competition from Mick Cornett for national media attention. Cornett has been everywhere lately; Taco Bell spokesman, appearance on The Ellen Degeneris Show, success in bringing the Supersonics to town, and now, a positive write up for OKC in USA Today:


By Dennis Cauchon

Oklahoma has a radical solution for repairing the state's busiest highway.

Tear it down. Build a park.

The aging Crosstown Expressway — an elevated 4.5-mile stretch of Interstate 40 — will be demolished in 2012. An old-fashioned boulevard and a mile-long park will be constructed in its place.

Oklahoma City is doing what many cities dream about: saying goodbye to a highway.

"We've always been a good place to live, but we've never had a city we could show off," Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett says. "Moving the expressway makes it possible for a day to come when hundreds or thousands of people will live downtown." Read more...


Posted at 5/15/2008 10:16:00 AM |

We Just Can't Let This One Pass; Oklahoman Advocates Increasing Global Warming!

We know an Oklahoman editorial writer didn't intentionally call for thousands of cars - causing huge traffic jams in and around our public schools - parents being late for work, enormous increases in fuel consumption and hundreds of transportation workers getting pink slips, but that's the effect of a strange and curious editorial in Wednesday's Oklahoman. It had to be a mistake, right?

School buses are mass transit, and it's the most efficient way to get thousands and thousands of children to school: one vehicle transporting dozens instead of dozens transporting one. Why anyone would call for abolishing mass transit in these times of $4 per gallon fuel is more than inane, it's insane!


Posted at 5/15/2008 09:51:00 AM |

Legislation Removing Sexual Predators From Nursing Homes Close to Law

Some good news! Captain Courageous, also known as Wes Bledsoe, the nursing home reform crusader, sent OKPNS an email Wednesday night predicting his legislation aimed at removing sexual predators from nursing homes may be on its way to becoming law. Bledsoe also mentions in the email, the report done by a NBC affiliate in Kansas City which ran a news report about the Predators in Nursing Homes issue.

"The report cited more of our investigative work, including the sexual assault by a registered sex offender of a young woman suffering from severe impairments…that we also brought to the news teams’ attention. The reporter, Keith King did a great job with the story… please send him some kudos"

Opponents of the bill, such as the greedy nursing home owners association, have tried to derail the legislation several times, but there has simply been too much media attention to this worthy cause.

Here's Wes' message to concerned Oklahomans. As we've mentioned, it's witching hour and malevolent forces are at work. The nursing home association is still paying our favorite wine expert, Otie Ann Fried and her employees to represent their interests. So if Oklahomans want this bill to pass, they need to light up those phone lines. For citizens once represented by Dirty Harry Coates and Patrick Anderson, you should consider snail mail as they have great difficulties with their e-mail and phones.

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Posted at 5/15/2008 08:40:00 AM |
Wednesday, May 14, 2008 

Peterson Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot.....Again

Fresh on the heels of speculation that a powerhouse patient advocacy organization is being planned, State Rep. Ron Peterson is jumping right back into dangerous water with advocates for autistic children.

Rep. Peterson's tone deaf handling of the situation regarding mandated insurance coverage for autism treatments was just the kind of red meat the liberal press corps thoroughly enjoys. On Tuesday, Peterson issued a press release that suggests studies by autism advocates cannot be trusted. That may be true, but as Charlie Brown says, "Good Grief."

Several pundits have weighed in on behalf of Rep. Peterson's reasons for slowing down this legislation, and we at OKPNS agree. But Sen. Gumm is thrashing Rep. Peterson with the public and the press, and ill-conceived press releases just make matters worse. The message may be legitimate, but the messenger's errors are obscuring that message.

Beginning with last year's ethics problems, Republicans have shown indifference to good communication skills and strategies. This indifference has cost them dearly.

The capitol press corps dislikes conservatives, and the weak get eaten. Like wildebeests crossing the river, the crocs have eaten their share this past year, but the R's just keep on inviting the crocs to take a bite. Peterson just waded in the deep end again.

When will they ever learn?

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Posted at 5/14/2008 08:53:00 AM |

The "Witching Hour" Approaches the Legislature

It's the "witching hour," the time in the legislative session when bills emerge from conference committees filled with "wooley boogers" and pork.

While there is some limited public scrutiny of what goes on in the legislature prior to mid-May thanks to the lazy and liberal capitol press corps, all bets are off as we move into the last few days. That's when legislators cut their backroom deals, hide outrageous amendments and issue misleading press releases, all designed to fool the public (hard) and the press (not so hard).

Among bills ripe for exploitation are the bills such as the one the insurance industry and their lapdog insurance commissioner Kim Holland are using to try and rip off senior citizens and charities, SB 1980. Others include the endowed chairs backlog, not yet in a bill but could emerge at any time to hurt medical research efforts. Senate liberals will be searching for openings to get their phony official English bill out of the way so as to remove that issue before the Fall campaign.

The list goes on and on.

We invite OKPNS readers to share their knowledge: if you get wind of phony, deceptive legislation that is about to emerge, send in your information to the OKPNS tip line. We'll follow up and try to shine the light truth on the last minute shady deals we get every May.

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Posted at 5/14/2008 08:10:00 AM |

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