Monday, October 16, 2017

New Look



Regular readers will notice that things look a bit different around here now. After at least five years with the same basic appearance, I decided things needed a little sprucing up. Call it MuskogeePolitico v5.0. For nostalgia's sake, v1.0 is here (2008 to mid-2010), v2.0 is here (mid-2010 to early 2011), v3.0 is here (early 2011 to early 2012), and v4.0 is here (early 2012 to today).

The current theme is more responsive and mobile-friendly. Regardless of the browsing format (desktop, tablet, or mobile), the site will automatically adjust for optimal viewing. It's a big improvement over the previous theme.

Other than looking different, all the old features are still present. Email sign-up, links, blogroll, comments, sharing, ads and special features are all still here, though some may be shifted around with the new layout.

At the bottom of the site in the footer section, I added two new features -- a 'cloud' of most of the top post tags, and a list of the most-viewed posts in the past 12 months.

Music Monday: When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass

This week's Music Monday is the When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass, written and performed by the bluegrass group Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.

Enjoy!



See below for all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.


October 9th, 2017: I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb
October 2nd, 2017: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major (Brahms)
September 25th, 2017: Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor ('Pathétique')
September 11th, 2017: Have You Forgotten?
September 4th, 2017: Bach's Double Violin Concerto
August 28th, 2017: Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord
August 21st, 2017: The Heavens Are Telling The Glory of God
August 14th, 2017: Beethoven's 5th Symphony
August 7th, 2017: 'Lift High The Name Of Jesus' medley
July 31st, 2017: Fanfare for the Common Man
July 24th, 2017: Variations on 'Happy Birthday'
July 10th, 2017: Summer (Presto) from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
July 3rd, 2017: Freelance Fireworks Hall of Fame
June 26th, 2017: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
June 19th, 2017: A Christian Home
June 12th, 2017: Ol' Man River
June 5th, 2017: Choctaw Cowboy
May 29th, 2017: Armed Forces Salute
May 22nd, 2017: Double Bass Concerto No.2 in B minor
May 15th, 2017: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major
May 8th, 2017: The Army Goes Rolling Along
April 17th, 2017: He Is Alive
April 10th, 2017: Surely He Hath Borne/And With His Stripes/All We Like Sheep
April 3rd, 2017: Here Comes Carolina
March 27th, 2017: 'Spring' from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'
March 20th, 2017: Symphony No. 5 ("Reformation") Finale
March 13th, 2017: The Pigeon on the Gate
March 6th, 2017: Finlandia
February 27th, 2017: When I Can Read My Title Clear
February 20th, 2017: William Tell Overture - Finale
February 13th, 2017: 'Romance' from 'The Gadfly'
February 6th, 2017: White Winter Hymnal
January 30th, 2017: Hail, Columbia
January 23rd, 2017: Hail to the Chief
January 16th, 2017: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
January 2nd, 2017: Auld Lang Syne
December 26th, 2016: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
December 19th, 2016: I Wonder as I Wander
December 12th, 2016: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
December 5th, 2016: A Christmas Festival
November 28th, 2016: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
November 21st: Beethoven's 'Hymn of Thanksgiving'
November 14th: Hymn to the Fallen
November 7th: This World Is Not My Home
October 31st, 2016: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 24th, 2016: 'Mars', from 'The Planets'
October 17th, 2016: My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
October 10th, 2016: Spain
October 3rd, 2016: International Harvester
September 26th, 2016: 'The Imperial March' from Star Wars
September 19th, 2016: Awake the Trumpet's Lofty Sound
September 12th, 2016: Before the Throne of God Above
September 5th, 2016: The Hunt
August 29th, 2016: Liberty
August 22nd, 2016: Summon the Heroes
August 15th, 2016: Bugler's Dream
August 8th, 2016: Olympic Fanfare and Theme
August 1st, 2016: 'Prelude' and 'Parade of the Charioteers' from Ben-Hur
July 25th, 2016: How The West Was Won
July 18th, 2016: Six Studies in English Folk Song
July 11th, 2016: From Everlasting To Everlasting
July 4th, 2016: The Stars and Stripes Forever
June 27th, 2016: Rule, Britannia!
June 20st, 2016: Bugler's Holiday
June 13th, 2016: Ride of the Valkyries
June 6th, 2016: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, Allegro Vivace
May 30th, 2016: Armed Forces Salute
May 23rd, 2016: Paid in Full (Through Jesus, Amen)
May 16th, 2016: Overture from 'Carmen'
May 9th, 2016: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1 - Prelude
May 2nd, 2016: My God Is a Rock
April 25th, 2016: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
April 18th, 2016: Paganini's Caprice No. 24 in A Minor
April 11th, 2016: Fantasia on a 17th Century Tune
April 4th, 2016: Hark The Sound/I'm a Tarheel Born
March 28th, 2016: Rustle of Spring
March 21st, 2016: 'Ode to Joy' sung by a 10,000-voice choir
March 14th, 2016: Hard Times Come Again No More
March 7th, 2016: 'The Suite' from Downton Abbey
February 29th, 2016: Moonlight Sonata
February 22nd, 2016: Liebestraum No. 3
February 15th, 2016: Help Is On The Way
February 8th, 2016: God of Grace and God of Glory
February 1st, 2016: 'My Story'
January 25th, 2016: Israeli Concertino
January 18th, 2016: What Grace is Mine
January 11th, 2016: "Meditation" from Thaïs
January 4th, 2016: Praeludium and Allegro
December 28th, 2015: Appalachian Carol
December 21st, 2015: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 14th, 2015: O Holy Night
December 7th, 2015: Christmas Fantasy
November 23rd, 2015: Simple Gifts
November 16th, 2015: Preacher Tell Me Like It Is
November 9th, 2015: Armed Forces Salute
November 2nd, 2015: Amazing Grace
October 26th, 2015: The Harmonious Blacksmith
October 19th, 2015: Liberty Fanfare
October 12th, 2015: The Majesty and Glory of Your Name
October 5th, 2015: Elgar's 'Enigma' Finale
September 28th, 2015: Stayed on Jesus
September 21st, 2015: Great Gate of Kiev
September 14th, 2015: Nearer, My God, To Thee

OCPA: To beat Texas, emulate their pro-growth policies

Another Red River rivalry
By OCPA President Jonathan Small

Each year in October, Oklahoma’s eyes turn south of the Red River to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas for the annual football rivalry between OU and Texas. Texas has won 61 of those games, OU has now won 46, and five were ties. Unfortunately, thanks to the tax, regulatory, and policy advantages Texas holds, we’re nowhere near that record when it comes to economic, versus athletic, competition with our southern neighbors.

We’ve heard the sad story for years now. The gross domestic product of Texas is an astonishing $1.6 trillion. Ours is barely more than a tenth of that. Forbes says Texas has the number one business climate in America, which may explain why there are 109 of the 1,000 largest companies based there.

Since 2000, the population of Texas has grown at twice the rate of the rest of the nation. Between 2010 and 2013, 1.3 million people moved there. By 2012, Texas boasted eight of the 15 fastest growing cities in the land, and for a period after the 2008 recession, Texas was creating a majority of all the new jobs in America.

Ask yourself how many people you know who grew up and may have been educated in Oklahoma who now live in Texas. If you’re typical, you’ll run out of fingers and toes in a hurry. The Texas economic growth record is strong and sustained, and even in our best years, we’ve never come close to matching it.

Of course we know why, and it has nothing to do with agile linebackers or nimble quarterbacks. The Texas advantage is simple: restrained taxation (including no state income or capital gains taxes), sensible regulatory policies, and prudent spending.

Generally, Texas policymakers control spending in tight times. This year, Oklahoma state government will spend $4,577 per capita. Texas spends less than $4,000 per capita, and they still manage to provide core services. IRS data report that from 1992 to 2015, Oklahoma lost a net $1.48 billion in adjusted growth income to Texas.

So what is Oklahoma doing right now? Some policymakers are forcing a special legislative session to raise taxes after three regular sessions that boosted taxes and fees by approximately $500 million annually and steadfastly refused to control spending. We also tax productivity and investment; Texas doesn’t and gets a lot more of it.

Despite the Sooner win over the Longhorns, the state of Oklahoma gets beat every day of every year by the Texas economy. The win hardly offsets the losses of this and every year to the powerhouse Texas economy driven by sensible, pro-growth policies that we must emulate.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (www.ocpathink.org).

Friday, October 13, 2017

Glen Mulready kicks off Insurance Commissioner campaign



Glen Mulready Launches Campaign for Insurance Commissioner
Announces Campaign Funds of More than $300,000

TULSA, OK – More than a hundred supporters from across the state joined Glen Mulready last night to officially launch his campaign for Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner.

“I am humbled and energized by the number of people who attended the kick-off and who have supported my campaign,” said Glen Mulready, “I am grateful for every donation I have received. The campaign is growing and I look forward to continuing to travel the state to share my vision with voters about how we improve access to insurance, make our state more business friendly, and protect consumers.”

Mulready announced his statewide campaign’s first fundraising report numbers at the event. His upcoming report will show more than $302,000 in total funds and contributions. This includes $185,750 raised from more than 240 individual donors and PACs, as well as just over $1,000 in in-kind contributions. In addition, Mulready’s total includes $115,281 left over from his 2016 legislative campaign committee. As Mulready filed paperwork in July, this is the first fundraising quarter for this campaign.

“I am so happy to support Glen Mulready. I have known Glen, his wife Sally, and the boys for years. Not only is Glen an insurance professional, but he and his family are just good people,” stated event attendee Ken Wamble.

Mulready, who has more than 34 years of experience in the insurance industry, has also led numerous efforts to reform the state’s insurance laws in his capacity as a state legislator. A Republican, Mulready was first elected as to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2010. Former chairman of the Insurance Committee, Mulready currently serves as the Majority Floor Leader.

Vaughn Graham, President of Rich & Cartmill, is the chair of Friends of Glen Mulready, 2018 and Gip Gibson, President of Commerce Bank, is the Treasurer.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Session on hold: State Capitol closed for one week for electrical upgrade

As part of the ongoing restoration work at the State Capitol, the building's aging electrical infrastructure will be replaced, necessitating the complete closure of the Capitol building for an entire week, starting tomorrow evening.

This had been scheduled for quite some time, and will mean that the Legislature will be unable to meet for the ongoing Special Session until power is restored and the building is reopened on Monday, October 23rd.


State Capitol Building to be Temporarily Closed for  Electrical Upgrade

OKLAHOMA CITY – The State Capitol building, which will be without power, will be closed to everyone but workers from Manhattan Construction for one week starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, per direction of the Oklahoma Fire Marshal. The temporary closure is necessary to ensure the safety of construction workers, tenants and visitors while the Capitol’s outdated electrical infrastructure is being replaced. The building will be reopened to tenants and the public on Monday, Oct. 23.

“When you’re talking about this sort of voltage, there’s virtually no way to work it safely when you’re talking about the terminations. That’s why you have to completely shut down the power to do the work,” said Andrea Gossard in a video detailing the electrical power project. Gossard is the project manager for Manhattan Construction, the company handling the interior restoration work.

The upgrade will allow the old and new systems to run parallel during restoration. As restoration progresses, electrical service will be switched from the old to the new, thus limiting the need for future power outages.

“As in all aspects of the Capitol Restoration project, safety is our No. 1 priority,” Capitol Restoration Project Manager Trait Thompson said. “This work is necessary to make the transition from the Capitol’s outdated electrical system to a modern system. This is one more positive step in the restoration of the people’s building.”

Thompson says the Office of Management and Enterprise Services established a special project team for the outage and assigned key staff to partner with the agencies in relocating them to other state office buildings during the time the Capitol is without power.

Since the announcement of the outage was made in April, OMES’ entire project team has met in person twice with representatives from every Capitol tenant, as well as numerous times over the phone and by email to coordinate logistics for moving phones, printers, computers, specialized equipment and other necessary items to their temporary locations. Additionally, OMES worked out a plan with each tenant for mail delivery during the outage. For those tenants with IT servers in the building, there was a special meeting to review shutdown and power up procedures and timelines.

Signs announcing the closure will be posted at each Capitol building entrance. On Oct. 13, prior to powering down the building, OMES and the Department of Public Safety will physically inspect every area of the building to ensure everyone has vacated. Once the all-clear is given, OG&E will commence action to bring the power down.

Visit capitolrestore.ok.gov for more information on the Capitol Restoration project, including documents related to the electrical work on the blog "VIDEO: Electrical Shutdown Necessitates Capitol Closure in October."

Yen excludes Midwife group from Interim Study on Licensure of Midwives



Following up on a story I ran early in the 2017 legislative session, here's the latest on State Sen. Ervin Yen's efforts to regulate midwifery in Oklahoma. Yen (R-OKC) had filed two measures that would dramatically restrict midwifery practice in Oklahoma -- one failed in committee, while he held the other over for further discussion at an interim study.

Since January, a coalition of the Midwives Society of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Midwives Alliance, and NACPM Oklahoma chapter has been working with Sen. Yen on his proposals, giving input from their perspective and attempting to come to a reasonable solution.

Sen. Yen held his interim study yesterday, and despite comments to me in January expressing his willingness to work with the Oklahoma midwives, he excluded their group from participating in the interim study.

That's right. Sen. Yen cut the largest association of out-of-hospital midwives in Oklahoma out of a legislative study on licensing midwives.

Here's what the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives had to say:
Today, October 11th 2017, Oklahoma Senator Ervin Yen conducted an interim study entitled “Licensure of Midwives” intended to explore licensure of out-of-hospital midwives in Oklahoma. This study was held at our request after he submitted a bill last session that would have inadvertently criminalized our profession.

Even though we initially reached out to him, and have consistently stayed in touch with him through our representatives, he intentionally excluded us from participating in this study. Instead of choosing to hear from the foremost expert on out-of-hospital midwifery regulation in the US, who we brought in at our own expense to testify, he invited a physician, a hospital CNM, and a legislative analyst to present testimony.

We are shocked and disappointed that, despite our efforts and willingness to cooperate, our voice was intentionally silenced. We are frustrated that many of the questions asked could have been more accurately addressed if we hadn’t been excluded. It is inexplicable that professionals from the singular industry that is being threatened with regulation were censored. 
From what I have been able to ascertain, Yen had given the midwife group the impression that they would be allowed to participate, before he abruptly pulled the rug out from under them in the last week or so. There's no good reason for Yen exclude the largest midwife group from being heard at his interim study.

Perhaps Senator Yen wanted his interim study to be an echo chamber, rather than a productive exchange of ideas and investigation of solutions. Indeed, he seems dead-set on destroying a productive set of entrepreneurial health-care workers that have benefited thousands of Oklahoma mothers and families over the years.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Stitt matches donations to reach $1.6M, claims record quarter



KEVIN STITT SETS OKLAHOMA FUNDRAISING RECORD

TULSA, OK – Today, conservative Tulsa businessman, Kevin Stitt announced his campaign for governor amassed more than $1.6 million in his first three months as a candidate. The amount is a record for first-time candidate and is the all-time Oklahoma record for one fundraising quarter.

“I’m humbled so many Oklahomans are joining our campaign to turn our state around,” Stitt said. “Our state faces some big challenges that can’t be solved by the career politicians who got us into this mess. It’s time for a new generation of leadership in Oklahoma.”

In the third quarter of 2017, the Stitt campaign raised $811,147 from more than 560 individuals. More than 79 percent of the donations came from Oklahomans.

In addition, Kevin contributed $800,000 to the campaign.

“I never ask anyone to do anything I’m not willing to do myself, I will be matching contributions to my campaign dollar for dollar,” Stitt said. “Oklahoma has given my family tremendous opportunities, but I’m worried about the next generation. I’m running for governor because I know our state can do better.”

Kevin, a pro-life conservative, is the founder and CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group (GMG). GMG is one of the nation’s largest privately held mortgage companies and employs more than 1,100 people providing mortgage services in 40 states.

Stitt grew up in Norman. He and his wife, Sarah, have been married for 19 years and have six children. They attend Woodlake Church in Tulsa.

For more information go to www.StittForGovernor.com.