Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Operation Cast Lead: The Latest

Israel has continued 'Operation Cast Lead', hitting at least 25 targets in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The number of targets struck since the operation began is in the hundreds.

Palestinian casualties have been mostly Hamas terrorists, with around 400 dead, and over a thousand wounded. Several Israeli civilians have been killed by terrorist rocket attacks, and several dozen injured.

Since the first Israeli airstrikes, Hamas has launched over 250 short- and medium-range rockets. A kindergarten school and an elementary school in Be'er Sheva have been hit in the last two days. Fortunately, no children were injured. Be'er Sheva, about 20 miles from the Gaza Strip, had never been hit by rocket fire.

Spokespeople for the Israeli Defense Forces said that Hamas is now firing rockets and mortars made in China and Iran, that have dramatically expanded their range and put more than one-tenth of Israel's population in danger. The IDF continues to upload videos of missile strikes in Gaza on YouTube. Hamas supporters complained to YouTube, and the videos were temporarily removed, but they are currently back online.

In other news, Hamas has now legalized crucifixion.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Obama: Don't Seat Blagojevich Appointee

The saga continues:

Obama backs Senate refusal to seat Blagojevich appointee

President-elect Obama says he supports Senate Democrats' decision not to seat the man that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich picked to replace him.

In a statement, Obama called former state Attorney General Roland Burris a fine man but said he agreed that the Senate cannot accept any appointment from Blagojevich, who is accused of trying to sell Obama's seat. Obama repeated his call for Blagojevich to resign and allow the seat to be filled by other means.

At the same time, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said he would refuse to certify any appointment by Blagojevich.

"I cannot co-sign a document that certifies any appointment by Rod Blagojevich for the vacant United States Senate seat from Illinois," White said in a statement.

Blagojevich said at the news conference that he favored scheduling a special election to fill the seat, but the Illinois General Assembly had taken no steps to schedule one. Without such legislation, Blagojevich has sole authority to fill Obama's seat.

On the Blagojevich topic, check out this post by Kristofer Lorelli at Race 4 2012 (formerly 'Race 4 2008').

IDF Launches YouTube Channel

The Israeli Defense Forces launched their own YouTube channel yesterday. You can view it right here.

One of the videos, grainy black-and-white images taken from military aircraft, shows Hamas terrorist loading rockets onto a pickup, shortly before an Israeli missile takes them out.

Most of the videos show different targets (i.e. Hamas government buildings, rocket launchers, tunnels) in Israel's "Operation Cast Lead".

Again, here is the link to the IDF's YouTube channel.

Blagojevich Names Burris to Obama's Senate Seat

Embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich defied U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well as numerous Illinois elected officials, and named former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to President-elect Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

"Please don't allow the allegations against me to taint this good and honest man," Blagojevich said.

Personally, the words "good and honest", coming from Rod Blagojevich, aren't very reassuring... but we'll see if the Senate seats Burris or not.

Blagojevich to name Roland Burris at 2pm?

Report: Blagojevich to name Obama successor this afternoon

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Gov. Blagojevich today is expected to name former state Comptroller and Attorney General Roland Burris to Illinois' vacant U.S. Senate seat, a knowledgeable source said this morning.

A news conference is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris, 71, had lobbied the governor for the position in recent weeks.

Burris made a previous attempt at the Senate seat in the past -- unsuccessfully. In 1984, he was beat out for the Democratic nomination by Paul Simon.

However, Senate Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid says he will not seat a Blagojevich appointee.

The action comes despite warnings by Democratic Senate leaders that they would not seat anyone appointed by the disgraced governor who faces criminal charges of trying to sell the post, sources familiar with the decision said.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada previously warned Blagojevich, following the governor's Dec. 9 arrest, that Senate Democrats would not seat any appointment the two-term Democratic governor made. Reid's warning was contained in a letter signed by all 50 sitting Democratic senators, including the No. 2 Democrat in Senate leadership, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
This will be interesting to watch unfold. Tune in at 2pm (CST) for the press conference.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israel, Hamas, Self Defense, and Western Hypocrisy

The Israeli Air Force conducted Saturday what experts are calling the most lethal single-day of bombing in 41 years. The IAF struck over 60 targets in about 170 separate attacks in the Gaza Strip, following another heavy day of rocket fire from Hamas.

According to both Arab and Israeli sources, around 200 Hamas terrorists died, with upwards of 400 wounded. Most of the targets were Hamas command posts and training areas.

In a televised address on Saturday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said "On Thursday I made it clear to the residents of Gaza that we are not acting against them. We will do everything possible to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Residents of Gaza – you are not our enemies and we are not fighting against you."

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said in a statement:
"Israeli citizens have been under the threat of daily attack from Gaza for years. Only this week - hundreds of missiles and mortar shells were fired at Israeli civilian communities including the firing of 80 missiles on a single day.

Until now we have shown restraint. But today there is no other option than a military operation. We need to protect our citizens from attack through a military response against the terror infrastructure in Gaza.

This is the translation of our basic right to self defense.

Israel left Gaza in order to create an opportunity for peace. In return, the Hamas terror organization took control of Gaza and is using its citizens as cover while it deliberately targets Israeli communities and denies any chance for peace.

We have tried everything to reach calm without using force. We agreed to a truce through Egypt that was violated by Hamas, which continued to target Israel, hold Gilad Shalit and build up its arms.

Israel continues to act to prevent humanitarian crisis and to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians. Unfortunately, Hamas cynically abuses its own civilian population and their suffering for propaganda purposes. The responsibility for harm to civilians lies with Hamas."
For months, years even, Israel has tolerated constant Kassam and Katyusha rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Lebanon. In 2005, Israel forcibly removed thousands of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, and turned the territory over to the Palestinians. The terrorist organization Hamas ended up in control of Gaza, and attacks on Israel have been continued almost daily (excluding a few cease-fires that Hamas ended up breaking). Throughout this whole ordeal, Israel has shown great restraint, endeavoring to minimize civilian casualties while dealing with terrorists, who have a tendency to use human shields.

Even with this history, a history marked with aggression few nations would allow, some in the West still call for a pacifistic response on the part of the victim, Israel. For example, here are a few responses.

Great Britain:
Prime Minister Gordon Brown "[is] deeply concerned by continuing missile strikes from Gaza on Israel and by Israel’s response today. Peaceful means are the only way of reaching a lasting solution to the situation in Gaza... I understand the Israeli government’s sense of obligation to its population. Israel needs to meet its humanitarian obligations, act in a way to further the long-term vision of a two-state solution and do everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties."
France: President Nicolas Sarkozy "strongly condemns the irresponsible provocations which led to this situation as well as the disproportionate use of force."
The UN: "The Secretary-General is deeply alarmed by today's heavy violence and bloodshed in Gaza, and the continuation of violence in southern Israel. He appeals for an immediate halt to all violence. While recognizing Israel''s security concerns regarding the continued firing of rockets from Gaza, he firmly reiterates Israel''s obligation to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law and condemns excessive use of force leading to the killing and injuring of civilians."
The EU:
"The EU condemns the Israeli bombardments as well as rocket attacks from Gaza. It demands that this stops immediately." Also, "I [Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief] call for an immediate cessation of military actions on both sides. The EU has repeatedly condemned rocket attacks against Israel. The current Israeli strikes are inflicting an unacceptable toll on Palestinian civilians and will only worsen the humanitarian crisis."

Should Israel give up her right to self defense, and sit idly by as her citizens are killed, injured, and displaced by continous rocket fire? Hamas, and other terrorist organizations, has proven time and again that they will not abide by cease-fires or treaties.

Would Great Britain tolerate an Irish terrorist group to bomb Northern Ireland, or a Welsh terrorist organization to shoot rockets into Birmingham? Would France allow a rogue group to fire mortars into Marseille, or Paris without any retaliaton? Would these countries allow attacks such as these to continue, day and night, for years? No.

But, the great nations of the world refuse to give Israel the same rights to self defense that they themselves claim.

I say this; the government and military of Israel has but one goal, and one goal only: to defend, protect, and advance the interests of the Israeli people. What other nations wish Israel to do or not do has no bearing; if the Israeli people are endangered, as they truly are, then let Israel defend herself. Hamas has plagued Israel for long enough; let Israel rid the world of this terrorist cancer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Area State Reps Committee Assignments

House Speaker Chris Benge (R, Tulsa) announced the committee assignments for the 2009-2010 session of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives today. The following are the committee assignments for the Muskogee-area State Representatives.

State Rep. George Faught (R, Muskogee):

Administrative Rules and Agency Oversight Committee - Vice Chair
Business & Economic Development Committee
Government Modernization Committee
Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Health and Social Services

State Rep. Mike Brown (D, Tahlequah):

Administrative Rules and Agency Oversight Committee
Higher Education & Career Tech Committee
Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Transportation

State Rep. Jerry McPeak (D, Warner):

Energy & Utility Regulation Committee
International Relations & Tourism Committee
Appropriations Subcommittee on Revenue & Taxation


State Rep. Ed Cannaday (D, Porum):

Common Education Committee
Public Health Committee
Appropriations Subcommittee on Education


State Rep. Wade Rousselot (D, Wagoner):

Human Services Committee - Vice Chair
Energy & Utility Regulation Committee
Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services

Merry Christmas!

Have a very merry Christmas!

from the Muskogee Politico

The Christmas Account, from the Gospel According to Luke, Chapter Two

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Politico's 'Guide to the RNC Chair Race'

Here's Politico.com's 'A Guide to the RNC Chairman race':


A Guide to the RNC Chairman race
by Alexander Burns

The six contenders for Republican National Committee chair are rolling out every gimmick, plan and endorsement in the hopes of gaining an edge — any edge — in the tight contest for the GOP’s top job.

Just Tuesday, Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state, announced that he was forming a ticket with Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Tina Benkiser, who is running for national co-chairwoman of the party. Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele unveiled a set of ethics regulations designed to polish the GOP’s tarnished public image.

Earlier this week, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis contacted RNC members to advertise his “Blueprint for a GOP Comeback.”

Not to be outdone, incumbent Chairman Mike Duncan, who confirmed his intention to seek a second term last week, is making plans for the formation of a new conservative think-tank, the Center for Republican Renewal.

The attention-grabbing stunts are a necessity in a race where the candidates don’t have many chances to confront each other directly. Two of the few opportunities will take place during the first week of January, when candidates will face each other at a debate hosted by the fiscal conservative group Americans for Tax Reform and then later that week when they compete for support from the RNC’s Conservative Steering Committee, which will hold a straw poll and release a list of approved candidates.

There’s still a ways to go in the race, and experienced Republicans point to the 1997 contest for RNC chairman — when Jim Nicholson upset a crowded field in the party’s last competitive leadership election — as evidence that anything can happen.

Here’s a look at each candidate’s prospects six weeks out from the start of the RNC’s winter meeting on Jan. 28.

Mike Duncan — As the current committee chairman, Duncan knows the party’s insiders better than anyone else in the running. And while his present term in office has left Republicans with mixed feelings — his prolific fundraising doesn’t quite make up, in some leaders’ minds, for the GOP’s devastating November losses — he’s ended on a strong note thanks to Saxby Chambliss’s victory in the Georgia Senate runoff and the GOP’s two House wins in Louisiana.

Most of all, Duncan is benefiting from a divided field of opponents who haven’t developed a consistent critique of his leadership and against whom he could quickly become an unobjectionable consensus candidate.

“If there was a movement that could push Duncan out, I think it would be identifiable at this point,” said one Republican strategist who expects Duncan to be reelected. “I just do not get the feeling that there is going to be some great change.”

Saul Anuzis — Among the field of candidates seeking to become the anti-Duncan, Anuzis stands out for his energetic campaigning and his emphasis on technology. The Michigan GOP chair announced his bid on Twitter and has been hammering away at the theme of tactical innovation. Multiple Republicans noted Anuzis’s big, colorful personality — he rides a Harley-Davidson and sports a goatee as an asset in a race where candidates are struggling to distinguish themselves from an ideologically homogenous field.

Anuzis has also rolled out more public endorsements than any other candidate, drawing heavily on support from blue states like New Jersey and Connecticut and shaping a perception that his candidacy is picking up steam.

“If I had to assign momentum in what has been a very, very sleepy race, I’d assign it to Anuzis,” said another Republican strategist.

Anuzis’s weakness? Michigan has been very tough ground for the GOP in recent cycles, and the support he’s receiving from Republicans back home may not be quite enough to kick voters’ suspicion that he just hasn’t delivered the wins an RNC chair needs.

Michael Steele — Steele, a former state party chair who served as Maryland’s lieutenant governor before losing a Senate race in 2006 to then-Rep. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), is essentially tied in second place with Anuzis. Steele announced his candidacy on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity and Colmes” to great fanfare, touting his skills as a political communicator at a time when Republicans lack a high-profile leaders on the national stage.

Steele’s campaign hasn’t gone quite the way he expected it to, according to some Republicans, who believe Steele expected his star power to carry him farther than it has in a race in which many RNC members would prefer to elect one of their colleagues on the committee.

And though he’s consistently reaffirmed his commitment to conservative social positions, his association with the moderate Republican Leadership Council has some RNC members uneasy.

“I don’t think there’s any question that he is personally pro-life. I think the only question is how he views the role of social conservatives within the party,” said James Bopp Jr., the influential social conservative who serves as national committeeman for Indiana.

But despite these hiccups, Steele seems destined to make it to the finish line with the clout to make it through multiple ballots. And if he can edge out Anuzis on the first vote he could give Duncan a run for his money.

Katon Dawson — Running a little behind his fellow challengers, but still mounting an energetic and serious campaign, is South Carolina Republican Party Chair Katon Dawson. With a better win-loss record than Anuzis and a closer rapport with RNC members than Steele or Blackwell, Dawson could ride a wave of conservative and Southern support into the late stages of balloting — particularly if the Blackwell-Benkiser gambit falls flat.

The Palmetto State Republican is billing his campaign as a vehicle for outside-the-Beltway competence and emphasizing the need to return control over the RNC to successful state-level leaders — a message that’s certainly in tune with the mood on the committee.

Dawson’s major obstacle is, in a word, Southernness. At a moment when some are labeling the GOP a regional party, Dawson may not look (and sound) like the change the GOP needs. And his critics are only too eager to hype up a damaging story that Dawson belonged to an all-white country club as recently as last summer.

Ken Blackwell — The former Cincinnati mayor and Ohio secretary of state entered the RNC campaign late — on Dec. 5 — and has lagged behind the other contenders. While his candidacy hasn’t exactly caught fire, it got a potentially significant boost this week in the shape of his partnership with Benkiser, who could help Blackwell appeal to the significant social conservative bloc on the committee.

Blackwell has also moved forward with a series of moves that appear designed to capture the RNC’s fiscal conservative vote, receiving the endorsements of publisher Steve Forbes and Club for Growth head Pat Toomey. Endorsements don’t necessarily pack much of a punch in an internal election like this one, but every little bit helps.

Like Steele, however, Blackwell’s not a member of the RNC and he still faces skepticism about both his qualifications and his viability. The Ohioan still has some catching up to do in this race and a running mate alone won’t do the trick.

“He’s a very plausible candidate,” said one member of the RNC, who cautioned: “He’s neither fish nor fowl. He’s not a figure with national prominence and he’s not a figure with experience keeping the trains running on time.”

Chip Saltsman — A former chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and campaign manager to Mike Huckabee, Saltsman has more to gain than any other candidate from a protracted, multi-ballot knife fight for the chairmanship. The 40-year-old has been running a vigorous race against more established candidates, though he’s had to distance himself from the Huckabee campaign in a race where no one wants to support a stalking horse for 2012.

Saltsman knows he’s an underdog, but as a student of GOP politics he also knows that once an RNC race gets past the first or second ballot, all bets are off. If Saltsman can become a second- or third-choice candidate for a significant number of RNC members, and survive the first ballot, he could try and follow the Jim Nicholson path to victory. Yet even if he is unsuccessful, he’s established himself as a name to be taken very seriously in years to come.

The MuskogeePolitico has not yet decided which candidate to support. Certainly not Mike Duncan, with the terrible performance and leadership the RNC has had the past few years.

As we reported, Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones endorsed Ken Blackwell; so far, he has been the only Oklahoman to endorse a candidate.

RNC Chair candidate websites:
(Current RNC Chairman and candidate Mike Duncan does not yet have a website.) [CORRECTION: Duncan does have a website]

I have added a list on the sidebar with the candidates websites linked.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Schmoozing With Ahmadinejad

Excerpts from a column by Maj. W. Thomas Smith, Jr.:

Schmoozing With Ahmadinejad
by Maj. W. Thomas Smith, Jr.

Following a recent lecture I gave to a group of extremely bright, young US Navy and Marine Corps officer candidates, I was asked why the Shi'a terrorist group Hizbullah - being the global threat it is - rarely headlines any major daily newspaper in the mainstream media.

It was an excellent question, one I am often asked and one which I am unable to adequately answer. After all, Hizbullah is perhaps the most dangerous terrorist army in the world. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff once said Hizbullah “makes al-Qaeda look like a minor league team.” [emphasis mine]

So why isn’t wartime America being adequately informed and educated in this regard?

I won’t begin to guess beyond the insanity of political correctness or who knows what. But I will say that this lack of information has served as an enabler of Hizbullah and its Iranian-Syrian overlords. It has bought time for the Iranian-Syrian-Hizbullah axis. It has seriously undermined the majority pro-democracy movement in Lebanon (including the brave resistance against Hizbullah), and it has utterly failed the American taxpayer.

(Read the rest of the column at Arutz Sheva.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Duggar Family Welcomes No. 18

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the Arkansas couple with 17 children, welcomed their 18th (yes, eighteenth) child into the world yesterday.

Read more:

Arkansas family welcomes 18th child, a girl

ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas woman has given birth to her 18th child. Michelle Duggar delivered the baby girl by Caesarean section Thursday at Mercy Medical Center in Rogers. The baby, named Jordyn-Grace Makiya Duggar, weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 20 inches long.

"The ultimate Christmas gift from God," said Jim Bob Duggar, the father of the 18 children. "She's just absolutely beautiful, like her mom and her sisters."

The Duggars now have 10 sons and eight daughters.

[...]

Jim Bob Duggar is 43, a year older than his wife. Their oldest child, Joshua, is 20.

The other Duggar children, in between Joshua and Jordyn-Grace, are Jana, 18; John-David, 18; Jill, 17; Jessa, 16; Jinger, 14; Joseph, 13; Josiah, 12; Joy-Anna, 11; Jeremiah, 9; Jedidiah, 9; Jason, 8; James, 7; Justin, 6; Jackson, 4; Johannah, 3; and Jennifer, 1.

"Our whole family is excited about Jordyn's addition to our family," Jim Bob Duggar said. "She's just perfect in every way."

I've had the privilege to meet the Duggar family, although they only had about 13 children at the time. Wonderful family.

You can visit their website here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Meteorologist: Global Warming "Arrogant"

Ice in New England and the Midwest, snow in Las Vegas and Malibu.

Global Warming?

Residents impacted by the recent winter weather certainly aren't thinking about anthropogenic (man-caused) climate change, although, the incoming administration might be, as I posted last week.

A meteorologist with CNN (who used to be with KOCO-TV Oklahoma City) criticized global warming frenzy as "arrogant".

CNN's Chad Meyers went on 'Lou Dobbs Tonight' Thursday the 18th, saying that "to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant. Mother Nature... the world... the oceans are so big - I think we're going to die from lack of fresh water or die from ocean acidification before we die from global warming, for sure."

You can read more about this on Business & Media Institute's story here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Muskogee-Area Reps Gain Leadership Positions

With today's announcement of the Democratic Party leadership in the State House, along with House Speaker Benge's announcement last week of the new Republican leadership, three Muskogee-area State Representatives have made leadership positions.


State Rep. George Faught (R, Muskogee) was named one of eight Assistant Majority Floor Leaders. The Republican Party extended their lead in the state house, after gaining control in 2004. In 2006, Rep. Faught became the first Republican in state history to win the House District 14 seat.

State Rep. Mike Brown (D, Tahlequah) will be the Minority Floor Leader for the 52nd Legislature. Rep. Brown has represented House District 4 since 2004.


State Rep. Jerry McPeak (D, Warner) was selected to be one of two Deputy Minority Floor Leaders. Rep. McPeak has held the House District 13 seat since 2004.


State Rep. Wade Rousselot (D, Wagoner) was appointed as one of five Assistant Minority Floor Leaders. Rep. Rousselot has represented House District 12 since 2004.

OKGOP Chair Endorses Ken Blackwell

Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones has endorsed Ken Blackwell in the RNC Chair race. Here is the letter from Chairman Jones and Lousiana GOP Chair Roger Villere. Blackwell has made them the co-chairman of his RNC chair campaign.

Dear RNC Member,

Today we join Steve Forbes and Chuck Yob in announcing our support for Ken Blackwell for Chairman of the Republican National Committee. As part of that support we have agreed to serve as Co-Chairs of Ken’s campaign.

We believe that Ken Blackwell will make the strongest RNC Chairman for the following reasons.

- Ken is a conservative who has experience working with important segments of our base such as the National Rifle Association, the Family Research Council, and the Club for Growth.

- Ken has experience representing our party on national television and has the authority to be taken seriously by the media and the American people.

- Ken knows what it takes to win elections having been successful in thirteen out of the seventeen times he has been on the ballot.

- Ken understands the mechanics of our party having worked in all fifty states across the country to fight Democrat attempts to rig the census.

This year Louisiana Republicans experienced one of the best years ever, winning two congressional seats in runoffs this past Saturday by a combined 2% while ousting an incumbent Democrat in a Democrat district. It was a phenomenal ending to a phenomenal cycle in Louisiana.

Oklahoma Republicans also had a successful year, winning majority in the Oklahoma Senate for the first time in state history while delivering every county for John McCain.

We want to thank Mike Duncan for his service on the job he did under difficult circumstances and appreciated the help provided by Chairman Duncan and commend him for his many years of service to our party.

That said, we believe it is time to go in a new direction and that Ken Blackwell is the best person to lead our party against Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi.

While we realize there is an effort to make sure that a current member is Chairman of the RNC, we believe it would be a mistake not to field our best team against the Democrats.

Ken understands the importance of working with RNC members in building partnerships between the RNC and the states. Ken pledges to appoint RNC members as deputies and to use their experience and knowledge to prepare our party utilizing the best training and technology available going into the next round of elections.

We look forward to working with each of you in the years to come and urge you to join us in helping make Ken Blackwell RNC Chairman.

Sincerely,

Gary Jones, Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman
Co-Chairman - Blackwell for RNC Chairman

Roger F. Villere Jr., Louisiana Republican Party Chariman
Co-Chairman - Blackwell for RNC Chairman

(link)

You can visit Ken Blackwell's campaign website here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Iraqi Reporter Throws Shoes at Pres. Bush

President Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq today. During his visit, he held a joint press conference with Iraqi PM Nouri Al-Maliki.

At the press conference, an Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at the president (the soles of shoes are considering to be very great insults in the Arab world; for example, when Saddam's statue was toppled in Baghdad, many residents hit it with their shoes), and shouted an insult. Here's the video:

Saturday, December 13, 2008

FINAL RESULT: Wins Heisman

Here's the winner of this year's Heisman Trophy:


Congratulations, Sam Bradford - Oklahoma Sooners.

(Looks like I was right after all...)

BREAKING: Bradford Wins Heisman

Actually, not yet. Or perhaps not at all; we'll see.

If you do want to see who does win the 74th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy, tune into ESPN tonight at 7pm CST. Will it be OU's Sam Bradford? Can Florida's Tim Tebow become the second two-time Heisman winner? Or will Texas' Colt McCoy take it? We will find out this evening...

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Wright Ad That Never Ran

Watch the Jeremiah Wright ad that the McCain campaign never ran here (profanity warning).

Transcript:
"Long before anyone knew who John McCain and Barack Obama were, one chose to honor his fellow soldiers by refusing to walk out of a prisoner of war camp. The other chose not to even walk out of a church where a pastor was spewing hatred. [Jeremiah Wright ranting, profanity.] Character matters, especially when no one's looking. I'm John McCain, and I approved this message."
That was a very hard-hitting ad. One can't help but wonder if the outcome might have been different.

Kerry: Obama can sign U.N. climate pact BEFORE U.S. passes it

A must-read article from Reuters:
Kerry: Obama can sign U.N. climate pact before U.S. law
This has the potential to fly under the radar, with bailouts being tossed around, and the Fairness Doctrine still out there.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

84% Say Blagojevich Should Resign

In a Rasmussen poll today, 84% of Illinoisans said that Gov. Rod Blagojevich, now embroiled in a political corruption scandal, should resign. Only 9% disagree.

79% say that Blagojevich should go to jail. Just 7% give the governor a "good" or "excellent" job rating, while 83% gave him a "poor" rating.

Constitutional Crisis Averted?

Congress has lowered the salary for Secretary of State to its pre-2007 level, in order to clear up a violation of the Constitution should Sen. Hillary Clinton be confirmed for the office.

Congress used what is called a "Saxbe Fix" to resolve the situation.

Here is the section that Clinton's nomination would run afoul of:
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
[Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2]
From First Read:

The usual workaround is for Congress to lower the salary of the job back to what it was so that the nominee can take it without receiving the benefit of the pay increase that was approved while the nominee was in Congress. This maneuver, which has come to be known as "the Saxbe fix," addresses the clear intent of the Constitution, to prevent self-dealing.

But many legal scholars believe it does not cure the Constitutional problem, because the language of Article I is so clearly an absolute prohibition: No senator or representative, period.

"The content of the rule here is broader than its purpose,” said Professor Michael Stokes Paulsen, a Constitutional law expert at St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. “And the rule is the rule; the purpose is not the rule.”

"A 'fix' can rescind the salary,” he added, “but it cannot repeal historical events. The emoluments of the office had been increased. The rule specified in the text still controls.”

I may not be a Constitutional law expert, but I would agree with Prof. Paulsen. Time cannot be turned back; the salary was raised. That cannot be undone. Therefore, I am of the opinion that Hillary Clinton is inelligible for Secretary of State.

Edmondson Considering Run for Governor

Attorney General Drew Edmondson has announced that he will not be seeking re-election to a fourth term as Attorney General, and expressed interest in a gubernatorial race for 2010.

He said Thursday his gubernatorial candidacy hinges on “the level of support that we find during 2009, the success of our fundraising effort and the reaction of folks as I visit them around the state.

“If it is strong, then I’ll make the race. If it is not, I’ll look at that third option [retiring to private law practice].”

Edmondson grew up in Muskogee, and was the Muskogee County District Attorney from 1982 to 1992. He was elected as Attorney General in 1994.

Edmondson has been rumored to be considering a run for Governor; other potential candidates include Democrats Jari Askins, Scott Meacham, and Lloyd Fields, and Republicans Tom Cole, Mary Fallin, and Randy Brogdon.

(H/t to McCarville)

Kid climbs into vending machine

Just how badly do some kids want stuffed animals in vending machines? Watch this to find out:



I love the ending of the video. Observe the reactions from the onlookers. H/t to zTruth (via deathby1000papercuts).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Update to RNC Race

Current RNC chairman Mike Duncan will be running for re-election, and has launched his own website.

Here's the current list of announced candidates:

Mike Duncan
Michael Steele
Saul Anuzis
Chip Saltsman
Katon Dawson
Ken Blackwell

UPDATE: Added Ken Blackwell to the list.

Expelled from the Zoo

A simple business relationship between two popular attractions in the Cincinnati area has turned into a national controversy.

Over the weekend, the famed Cincinnati Zoo announced on its website that it was featuring a combo ticket package with Answers in Genesis’ Creation Museum, one that would save visitors $9. By Monday morning, the zoo had received such a firestorm of criticism from atheists and other evolutionists about the business relationship (much of it coordinated from outside the region) that the zoo pulled the plug on the short-term arrangement.

(Click here for more from AiG on the story)

Poll: More View Oklahoma Favorably

According to a new poll, more Americans have a favorable view of Oklahoma than two years ago.

I'll tell you why Americans are liking Oklahoma better. Click right here to see what I mean.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Saltsman Launches RNC Chair Website

Chip Saltsman, former Tennessee GOP chairman and campaign manager for presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, has launched his website for RNC chair candidacy. You can visit it here.

Other candidate for the RNC chair that have websites include Michael Steele and Saul Anuzis.

The Politics of Change

"Change has come to America," proclaimed President-elect Barack Obama upon defeating John McCain in the recent general election. In a sense, change has come. There will be a new administration; a change from the old.

With Sen. Obama leaving the Senate for the White House, there will be a change in the second Senate seat from Illinois. Governor Rod Blagojevich will appoint a new senator to replace Obama.

Here is what "change" means to Gov. Blagojevich:
Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff, John Harris, were arrested today by FBI agents on federal corruption charges alleging that they and others are engaging in ongoing criminal activity: conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits for Blagojevich by leveraging his sole authority to appoint a United States Senator; threatening to withhold substantial state assistance to the Tribune Company in connection with the sale of Wrigley Field to induce the firing of Chicago Tribune editorial board members sharply critical of Blagojevich; and to obtain campaign contributions in exchange for official actions – both historically and now in a push before a new state ethics law takes effect January 1, 2009.
Change, you see, means cash. Here's more of the details:
A 76-page FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich, a Democrat, was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps during the last month conspiring to sell or trade Illinois' U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife. At various times, in exchange for the Senate appointment, Blagojevich discussed obtaining:

A substantial salary for himself at a either a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions;

Placing his wife on paid corporate boards where he speculated she might garner as much as $150,000 a year;

Promises of campaign funds – including cash up front; and

A cabinet post or ambassadorship for himself.

Just last week, on December 4, Blagojevich allegedly told an advisor that he might "get some (money) up front, maybe" from Senate Candidate 5, if he named Senate Candidate 5 to the Senate seat, to insure that Senate Candidate 5 kept a promise about raising money for Blagojevich if he ran for re-election. In a recorded conversation on October 31, Blagojevich claimed he was approached by an associate of Senate Candidate 5 as follows: "We were approached 'pay to play.' That, you know, he'd raise 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a Senator."

On November 7, while talking on the phone about the Senate seat with Harris and an advisor, Blagojevich said he needed to consider his family and that he is "financially" hurting, the affidavit states. Harris allegedly said that they were considering what would help the "financial security" of the Blagojevich family and what will keep Blagojevich "politically viable." Blagojevich stated, "I want to make money," adding later that he is interested in making $250,000 to $300,000 a year, the complaint alleges.

On November 10, in a lengthy telephone call with numerous advisors that included discussion about Blagojevich obtaining a lucrative job with a union-affiliated organization in exchange for appointing a particular Senate Candidate whom he believed was favored by the President-elect and which is described in more detail below, Blagojevich and others discussed various ways Blagojevich could "monetize" the relationships he has made as governor to make money after leaving that office.

"The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," Mr. Fitzgerald said. "They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States Senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism. The citizens of Illinois deserve public officials who act solely in the public's interest, without putting a price tag on government appointments, contracts and decisions," he added.

Mr. Grant said: "Many, including myself, thought that the recent conviction of a former governor would usher in a new era of honesty and reform in Illinois politics. Clearly, the charges announced today reveal that the office of the Governor has become nothing more than a vehicle for self-enrichment, unrestricted by party affiliation and taking Illinois politics to a new low."
Click here for the whole article from CBS 2 (Chicago). The charges leveled at Gov. Blagojevich are extremely detailed and I see no way that the Governor can avoid a very long time in prison.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chevy Player of the Game and Bailouts

Congratulations to OU, on smashing Missouri in the Big 12 title game, and on making it to the National Championship game.

Just a thought on Chevy's 'Player of the Game' scholarship program; if GM gets a federal bailout, should they continue spending your money on their 'Player of the Game' program?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Must-reads for tonight

Here are some must-read articles for tonight:
Proposed fee on smelly cows, hogs angers farmers (excerpt)

For farmers, this stinks: Belching and gaseous cows and hogs could start costing them money if a federal proposal to charge fees for air-polluting animals becomes law.

Farmers so far are turning their noses up at the notion, which is one of several put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases emitted by belching and flatulence amounts to air pollution.

"This is one of the most ridiculous things the federal government has tried to do," said Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, an outspoken opponent of the proposal.

It would require farms or ranches with more than 25 dairy cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee of about $175 for each dairy cow, $87.50 per head of beef cattle and $20 for each hog.

The executive vice president of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, Ken Hamilton, estimated the fee would cost owners of a modest-sized cattle ranch $30,000 to $40,000 a year. He said he has talked to a number of livestock owners about the proposals, and "all have said if the fees were carried out, it would bankrupt them."
and...
New England border protection chief charged with hiring illegal immigrants (excerpt)

The regional director of Homeland Security, Customs, and Border Protection was charged today with repeatedly hiring illegal immigrants to clean her Salem home after one cleaner wore a wire during an undercover investigation.

Lorraine Henderson is the director of the Port of Boston, overseeing 190 armed federal officers who patrol major airports and shipping terminals in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

"She’s supposed to be deporting aliens, not hiring them," said Assistant US Attorney Brian T. Kelly, chief of the public corruption unit.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Texas Fans Paid for "Hey Mack" Banner over Austin

If you haven't heard, a plane flew over Austin, Texas, for two hours today, with the following banner:



Apparently, now it has come out that University of Texas fans paid for the banner. Originally, Oklahoma fans took the blame, or praise (depending on your perspective), but at one point Texas Tech fans got the nod. Now it appears that, for some strange reason, it was Texas folks.

The Art of Persuasion

Max Borders at The Next Right has a very interesting post entitled "The Art of Persuasion No. 1: Emotional Wedges". Here's an excerpt from it:

But how does social change happen at the individual level? I’d argue, by in large, you have to invert the structure, i.e. reverse the process. In other words, you don’t start with big ideas for most people. You start with messages. Stark. Emotional. Once you resonate with someone emotionally, then you can begin to propose policies or offer big ideas. But the initial prick of emotion is the wedge-point upon which the rest gets built (even principles).

So, begin with emotional appeals. How do you get someone’s attention? Narratives, images, stories of real people with real feelings and vaguaries like ‘change’. Emotion. Consider the following two narratives:

- More than 140,000 people died in the bombing of Hiroshima during WW II.

- Elizabeth White is only three years old. Yesterday, her father held her wrist firmly against the kitchen table and hit her fingers one-by-one with a hammer.

Which one has more rational gravity? Okay. Which one has emotional gravity? Emotional gravity almost always wins.

The Left figured this out a long time ago. That’s why everything goes back to “the children.” Think of the global warming commercial with the kid on the train tracks—engine bearing down. Think of the piecemeal regulation and socialization of healthcare (they started with SCHIP, children’s Medicaid). How can you deny any child healthcare?

This is one area that the Left has definitely gotten down to an art. Ever wonder why it is that when the economy goes sour, the electorate tends to rush to the Democrats? It's not necessarily the ideas that the Left has; it's the marketing. They package it in a better box than the Republicans traditionally have.

It's a thought-provoking post. Here's the link to the whole thing again.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Merry Red Oklahoma Christmas" Card

The Oklahoma Republican Party has put out a "Wishing You A Merry Red OK Christmas" e-card. You can view it here; I highly recommend.

Use Your Neighborhood Currency

Check this out:
Neighborhoods Propose Printing Their Own Currency To Encourage Local Shopping

Two neighborhoods in Milwaukee are considering printing their own currency, which could be bought with U.S. dollars, but would be only accepted at local businesses, in order to encourage people to shop at home instead of Walmart.

It's not a new concept — the Chicago Tribune says that lots of towns and neighborhoods relied on their own local currency during the Great Depression. It's also perfectly legal.

So what's the advantage for shoppers? Well, the currency could offer incentives — trading $100 US for $110 in the local currency would give shoppers a 10% bonus, for example.

What do you think? Would you use a local currency in order to support your community? Or are you going to shop at Walmart until they pry the cart from your cold dead hands?

[UPDATE: Also, here's the Chicago Tribune's version.]

There's a poll on the article (Q: Would you use a local currency? A1: Yes! A2: This is for Hippies.). Currently, the 'Yes' voters lead with 63%.

A Tempest in a Teapot

The latest brouhaha involving Muskogee mayor John Tyler Hammons could be accurately described as a tempest in a teapot, a mountain out of a molehill, or any other pun that implies exaggeration.

Background: On November 10th, Mayor Hammons issued an order specifying the mayoral line of succession. The order would only go into effect if the mayor and vice-mayor were unavailable, and the President or Governor declared an emergency. Mayor Hammons issued his order two days before he, the city manager, the city clerk, and five city council members departed for the National League of Cities convention in Orlando, Florida.

Councilman Ritchey took issue with the wording ('order'), as well as the fact that the mayor did not consult the council beforehand. Things swiftly blew up, and the story generated several stories in the Muskogee Phoenix. Several councilors called for a special city council meeting, so the mayor called one. I'll attempt to give a synopsis of it.

First of all, Muskogee is a charter, or home-rule, city. The charter is the ruling document of the city, and if state law conflicts with it, the charter prevails.

The City Charter states that
"The Mayor shall have no administrative duties. He shall be a member of the Council and shall preside at meetings of the Council. He shall be recognized as head of the City government for all ceremonial purposes."

The meeting began with Interim City Attorney Roy Tucker giving his legal opinion on the powers of the mayor. Mr. Tucker said, "It is my opinion that the articulated powers in the charter are the only powers the mayor has." He went on to say that there is no legal standing for an order of the mayor.

However, Mayor Hammons was correct; the Emergency Interim Succession Act does not conflict with the charter, so the mayor could state the order of succession in the case of an emergency. (The Emergency Interim Succession Act states that officials, including mayors and city councilors, "shall" appoint three to seven successors.)

The
Emergency Interim Succession Act only goes into effect if the mayor and vice-mayor are unable to perform their duties (i.e. due to death, incapacitation, absence, etc.), and the Governor of Oklahoma or the President of the United States declares an emergency.

Councilman David Jones said, "[It's my understanding that] the only reason for a successor is that only the mayor or five councilors can call a special meeting, and a special meeting would be needed in an emergency." Mr. Tucker agreed, and said that the only act an appointee could do would be to call for a special meeting. Upon the commencement of a special meeting, the City Clerk can then start the meeting, and the City Council votes on who will run the meeting.

Mayor Hammons, on asked why he issued his order, stated that "It seemed incumbent upon me to provide for the citizens in my absence [in the case of an emergency]."

Councilman Jackie Luckey, in his remarks, stated that it's time for a full charter review, since the charter was last amended in 1971; Councilman Bob Luttrull disagreed. "If it's worked fine for so long, we don't need to overhaul it." he said.

Councilman Jim Ritchey said that "if the mayor would get the council's blessing, things like this would not happen." He didn't neccesarilly have a problem with the order, except for the use of the word 'order' and the fact that the Council did not know of this beforehand. Mayor Hammons said that the reason for the lack of notice was that he was only made aware of it on November 10th, and there was not time to put it on the agenda for the next council meeting on November 11th.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Barack Obama Day - Perry County, Alabama

Perry County, Alabama, government employees will now get the second Monday in November of as a holiday. What is it called?

'Barack Obama Day'. See for yourself.

On a side note, the county's website is down. Too much traffic to handle, perhaps?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sense-less Letters to the Editor

Let us get more involved. Let us help you prevent war, poverty, disease and all the other problems that seem to plague us.There are some poor souls whose sole object in life is to write bafflingly ridiculous letters to newspapers, local or not. Here are two prime subjects who wrote to the Muskogee Phoenix in the past week.

Example One:
Give us all a break and an Internet page

Leaders of all nations, give us a break, all six billion of us.

Please set up a Web page on the Internet for your nation and on it talk about any issues that involve the advancement of civilization. Please include blogs for communicating and linking with viewers, YouTube for visual displays and RSS feeds to alert us by e-mail when new information is available.

We could then have a town hall meeting all day, every day, in every home and office on the planet. Each site will grow and soon all people who want to get involved will know what works and what does not work.

Then we simply flow chart the work to be done, and do it.

The payoff for all people is going to be a better life forever.

David R. Oliver - Oklahoma City

Example Two:

Disco, dancing proposal could help save world

Fort Gibson could help by building a “Green Dream Motel.” The builders of the dream green hospital that honors Muskogee, the state and our nation in striving to be the first LEED certified hospital in the country (It’s very sad about the drainage problem. Let’s help out).

“In the War against Nature, I am sorry to say, we are winning” is a favorite quote environmentalists repeat a lot because it is so true.

Fort Gibson could also put in a disco like those built in other places, so when people dance the vibrations on the floor generate electricity. Oklahoma, fortunately, has net metering, so with solar panels, electricity could be sold back to the electric company.

During times of disaster it might be the only structure people could go to. It could be a weight-loss center. If you danced enough and became happier and healthier, you could get free health care at the green hospital in case of emergency. We could advertise, begging people to come and dance with us as we save the world.

Jean McMahon - Fort Gibson

(McMahon is a local Green Party activist, whose area claim to fame comes from attending various public events dressed as a polar bear.)

Debate Raging Over Muskogee Mayor's Powers

Sparked by an order by Mayor John Tyler Hammons, there is a debate raging over exactly what the mayor of Muskogee can do. Here is a time-line of events.

Monday:
Mayor names successors
Hammons sets order of succession in case of emergency

If Muskogee’s mayor and vice mayor are unavailable during a state or national emergency, Councilor James Gulley would take the reins of city government, according to orders by Mayor John Tyler Hammons.

Hammons issued an order before he and five other members of the Council left for the National League of Cities convention in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month.

[...]

Both orders state Hammons is authorized by City Charter and by state law to determine who would be in line to succeed him and Vice Mayor Robert Perkins in case of disaster.

[...]

Councilor Jim Ritchey questions Hammons’ authority to issue an order of any sort.

“I don’t know of a mayor previous to him ever doing it, ever granting that,” Ritchey said. “This is news to me.”

Pam Bush, who has been city clerk since 1992, said she has never received a mayoral order before.

[...]

While Ritchey questions, Hammons’ authority to issue orders of any kind, Gulley said he didn’t have a problem with that.

“To me, it was kind of a non-issue because I didn’t think it was going to happen (a national emergency),” Gulley said.

Wednesday:
Mayor’s power topic of meeting
Special session set to discuss recently issued orders

Just how much power the mayor has will be taken up by the City Council in a special called meeting Tuesday afternoon, according to an agenda posted Wednesday by the City Clerk’s Office.

Mayor John Tyler Hammons said he called the meeting at the request of Councilors Jim Ritchey and Bob Luttrull.

They asked the mayor’s powers and duties to issue orders be clarified after Hammons recently issued two orders designating who would succeed him and Vice Mayor Robert Perkins in case they were unavailable during a national or state emergency. The agenda calls for a review of the mayor’s powers both under the City Charter and the state Emergency Interim Succession and Judiciary Succession Act.

Hammons says he is authorized by both to issue an order of succession.

[...]

Ritchey says the charter specifically precludes the mayor from doing so and sets out the order of succession.

Interim City Attorney Roy Tucker said he is preparing to address both issues at Tuesday’s meeting.

Tucker said the entire issue of succession could be a moot point under the Emergency Operations Plan the city adopted several years ago.

[...]

Tucker said he believes the law requires that if a state of emergency was declared, emergency management officials would take over.

Today, Muskogee Phoenix editorial:

Whose authority?

If Muskogee is faced with a disaster, residents’ main concern would not be the mayoral line of succession.

They also would not want a part-time, ceremonial mayor directing emergency services.

That’s why Mayor John Tyler Hammons’ supposed order denoting a line of succession for himself in case of disaster is ridiculous and tragic.

Hammons filed an order recently with the city clerk in an attempt to establish a line of mayoral succession. He claims the state gave him power to do that.

What Hammons overlooks is that the state gave the respective officers of each city the authority to determine lines of succession, and the respective officers of Muskogee who make official decisions, according to our City Charter, are the members of the City Council acting as a body. The Charter clearly states, “All powers of the City shall be vested in the Council” and the mayor is only the presiding member of that council.

He is not the king. He only has one vote.

The council, it seems, should decide whatever order of succession there is, and our council made that decision several years ago. If Hammons wants to alter that order, then he needs to take his proposal to the council for approval, not assume powers that he doesn’t have.

That’s the real issue here, and why the City Council is correct to hold a special meeting to discuss it. We don’t need someone giving orders who doesn’t have the authority to make them. It only causes confusion.

It’s also clear, and wise, that the Charter states our weak mayor has no administrative duties.

The mayor is not involved with day-to-day operations of the city, so we would not want someone stepping in to make orders regarding something he doesn’t understand completely.

For instance, if a disaster were to occur, we would not want someone unfamiliar with the city’s day-to-day operations directing any rescue or emergency efforts. The heads of city departments under the direction of the city manager or an emergency official should do that. They are paid for that and have been trained as well.

That’s why this question of who’s in charge in case of a disaster is important. We agree with City Attorney Roy Tucker that if an emergency is declared, emergency management officials should handle the emergency — not a ceremonial part-timer.

The City Council will meet at 4:15pm this Tuesday, to debate this issue. If you wish to go, the meeting will be held downtown at City Hall (Okmulgee and 3rd), on the third floor in the Council Chambers. I plan on being there to cover the meeting. Things might get interesting.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Muskogee Fifth Least Expensive City in the US

This from the Muskogee Phoenix:
Muskogee fifth least expensive city to live, report says

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

Three months after being ranked the sixth least expensive city in the United States, Muskogee moved up a notch to No. 5.

A report released this week by Muskogee Development quotes the ACCRA Cost of Living Index as ranking Muskogee as the America’s fifth least expensive city, 14.8 percent below the national average, for the third quarter of 2008.

(Rest of article)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Likud Takes Solid Lead in Israeli Polling

With the Israeli Knesset elections set for February 10th, 2009, Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud party have taken a solid lead in polling over Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni (Kadima), Ehud Barak (Labor), and other political parties.

For those unfamiliar with the Israeli political process, the Knesset (parliament) has 120 seats. These seats are split proportionally, according to the election results. Vote cast their ballot for a specific party, with the head of that party being that party's nominee for Prime Minister. Parties must break 2% (approximately two seats) to earn a seat in the Knesset. Also, the ruling party must have a at least 61 seats to form a government. As the likelihood of getting so many seats is extremely slim, this leads to coalition building among the parties. (That's the basic gist, and I hope I got it right. Parliamentary forms of government can get very confusing...)

I will proceed to post the average of four of the latest polls for the Knesset elections, with the current seats held by that party in parentheses.
  • Likud: 34.3 seats (12)
  • Kadima: 25.5 seats (29)
  • Shas: 11.3 seats (12)
  • Arab parties: 10.3 seats (10)
  • Yisrael Beteinu: 9.3 seats (11)
  • Labor: 8.3 seats (19)
  • Meretz: 8 seats (5)
  • United Torah Judaism: 6.5 seats (6)
  • Jewish Home: 5.3 seats (9)
  • Green: 1.8 seats (0) *
  • Retirees Party: 0 seats (7) *
* - do not break the 2% threshold for representation
Kadima is facing a drop of 4-5 seats, as Likud looks to gain over 20 seats. The demise of Labor leaves the party staring at a potential loss of over 10 seats, and putting the former second-largest party (2006) fighting for 5th or 6th.

As these now stand, Bibi Netanyahu is likely to be Israel's next Prime Minister, with the Likud coalition gathering enough seats to have a stable government in the Knesset.

This blog fully endorses Bibi Netanyahu and Likud. We hope that they come out with a resounding victory.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vaclav Klaus - the Next Head of the EU?

Latest news on the European Union:

A Fiery Czech is Poised to be the Face of Europe (excerpts)

PRAGUE — In the 1980s, a Communist secret police agent infiltrated clandestine economics seminars hosted by Vaclav Klaus, a fiery future leader of the Czech Republic, who had come under suspicion for extolling free market virtues. Rather than reporting on Marxist heresy, the agent was most struck by Mr. Klaus’s now famous arrogance.

“His behavior and attitudes reveal that he feels like a rejected genius,” the agent noted in his report, which has since been made public. “He shows that whoever does not agree with his views is stupid and incompetent.”

Decades later, Mr. Klaus, the 67-year-old president of the Czech Republic — an iconoclast with a perfectly clipped mustache — continues to provoke strong reactions. He has blamed what he calls the misguided fight against global warming for contributing to the international financial crisis, branded Al Gore an “apostle of arrogance” for his role in that fight, and accused the European Union of acting like a Communist state.

Now the Czech Republic is about to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union and there is palpable fear that Mr. Klaus will embarrass the world’s biggest trading bloc and complicate its efforts to address the economic crisis and expand its powers. His role in the Czech Republic is largely ceremonial, but he remains a powerful force here, has devotees throughout Europe and delights in basking in the spotlight.

[...]

To supporters, Mr. Klaus is a brave, lone crusader, a defender of liberty, the only European leader in the mold of the formidable Margaret Thatcher. (Aides say Mr. Klaus has a photo of the former British prime minister in his office near his desk.)

[...]

While even many of the world’s most ardent free marketeers acknowledged the need for the recent coordinated bailout of European banks, Mr. Klaus lambasted it as irresponsible protectionism. He blamed too much — rather than too little — regulation for the crisis.

A fervent critic of the environmental movement, he has called global warming a dangerous “myth,” arguing that the fight against climate change threatens economic growth.

Perhaps his greatest ire has been reserved for the European Union. In 2005, he called for it to be “scrapped.” Now, he is a vocal opponent of the Lisbon Treaty, which aims to help Europe become more of an international player, but which he argues will strip countries of sovereignty.

This is great news for the conservative movement in Europe. Vaclav Klaus is the latest European leader in the type of Margaret Thatcher, standing for free-market capitalism and against the global warming pseudo-science religion.

Drudge: Russian Analyist Predicts US Decline and Breakup

From Drudge:
RUSSIAN ANALYST PREDICTS DECLINE AND BREAKUP OF USA
Tue Nov 25 2008 09:04:22 ET

A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts.

Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily IZVESTIA published on Monday: "The dollar is not secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse."

The paper said Panarin's dire predictions for the U.S. economy, initially made at an international conference in Australia 10 years ago at a time when the economy appeared strong, have been given more credence by this year's events.

When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: "It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator."

When asked who would replace the U.S. in regulating world markets, he said: "Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia."

Asked why he expected the U.S. to break up into separate parts, he said: "A whole range of reasons. Firstly, the financial problems in the U.S. will get worse. Millions of citizens there have lost their savings. Prices and unemployment are on the rise. General Motors and Ford are on the verge of collapse, and this means that whole cities will be left without work. Governors are already insistently demanding money from the federal center. Dissatisfaction is growing, and at the moment it is only being held back by the elections and the hope that Obama can work miracles. But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

He also cited the "vulnerable political setup", "lack of unified national laws", and "divisions among the elite, which have become clear in these crisis conditions."
And now, for my favorite part:
He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong.

He even suggested that "we could claim Alaska - it was only granted on lease, after all." Panarin, 60, is a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare.

Developing...
It's interesting to see how the Russians view the United States: Chinese in the Pacific, Hispanic in the South, Native American in the central portion (Oklahoma, and the upper Great Plains states?)... I have a feeling that they would be surprosed if they walked through our streets, and saw how different it really was. There's no way the American Indian tribes are going to secede and return to their ancestral ways of life, Russia.

Monday, November 24, 2008

RNC Chair Candidates

The two-year term of the Republican National Committee's current head, Mike Duncan, is up in January, and there are already several candidates running for chairman.

The current candidates:

Michael Steele (website)
Saul Anuzis (website)
Chip Saltsman (platform [PDF])
Katon Dawson ('First Read' blog post)

Potential candidates:

Chairman Mike Duncan
Newt Gingrich

Bush Pardons Oklahoman, 13 Others

President Bush issued 14 pardons today, his first since March (he has less than two months to issue pardons). The crimes ranged from tax evasion, bank embezzlement, drug crimes, and theft of government property.

More on the pardons:

Bush has been stingy during his time in office about handing out such reprieves.

Including these actions, he has granted a total of 171 and eight commutations. That's less than half as many as Presidents Clinton or Reagan issued during their time in office. Both were two-term presidents.
(full article)

Among those the President pardoned: Paul Julian McCurdy, of Sulphur, OK. McCurdy had been sentenced for misapplication of bank funds.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

State Rep. Morrissette Wants Kids Weighed

A liberal Democrat state representative wants all Oklahoma school-age children to be weighed:
Oklahoma state lawmaker wants schoolkids to be weighed
Under proposal, some cases could be turned over to DHS
By Michael McNutt - The Oklahoman

Concerned by estimates that half of Oklahomans are overweight, a state legislator said Tuesday he will file legislation requiring students to be checked annually to identify possible weight problems.

All students 16 years and younger would be required to have a screening to check their body mass indexes, said State Rep. Richard Morrissette.

Students would be weighed and measured, and the BMI data would be used to determine whether they have excess fat or are underweight.

The cost for scales and other equipment is estimated to be less than $3 million, said Morrissette, D-OKC.

Students in public schools would be checked during the school year. Arrangements would be made for homeschooled students also to be screened, Morrissette said.

"This is not a Democrat or Republican issue; it’s an Oklahoma issue clearly,” Morrissette said.

The checks would find children in the "red zone — those that are in danger of being malnourished or on the other end that their obesity levels are so high that their health is at risk.”

Morrissette, who still is drafting language for the bill, said letters would be sent to parents of students found to be either overweight or underweight.

The letter would tell parents to take the information to a doctor.

However, if parents don’t work with school and health officials, the matter could be turned over to the state Department of Human Services for possible investigation, he said.

"If they’re malnourished in some way, that is some form of abuse,” Morrissette said.

"This is not meant to be punitive; it’s meant to help children,” he added.

Not the first state

About 11 states are performing body mass index checks and related health programs, he said.

Some opposition developed in those states from parents concerned that collecting height and weight data violates the children’s privacy and intrudes into long-held cultural practices.

Morrissette said his legislation would focus on children’s nutrition, not how they appear, saying the shape of someone’s body has little to do with general health.

The intent of his legislation is to educate parents and to bring about opportunities for better health for children who aren’t eating the right kinds of food, he said.

"Oklahoma ranks 45th for overall health,” Morrissette said.

"This is not a physical fitness proposal, nor is it a mandate on personal body type. It is a nutrition bill with a near-zero fiscal impact that has the potential to improve every aspect of life in Oklahoma, as children need to learn at an early age the importance of eating healthy.”
(link)

This bill has practically a zero percent chance of making it through. However, I can see some important Republican lawmakers (such as the new Speaker Pro Tempore, Rep. Kris Steele, R-Shawnee) supporting it. There are so many problems with this, it's not even funny.

I suppose that Rep. Morrissette, in the spirit of President-elect Barack Obama, is going to make you lose weight now...