Saturday, February 28, 2009

Democrat Forum Wants Williams as OKGOP Chair

On the Oklahoma Democrat forum DemoOkie, several of the main posters (and active Democrats) have been talking about the OKGOP Chair race.

2/07:
"I endorse [Cheryl] Williams for GOP Chair"
2/22 (emphasis mine):
"[Gary] Jones is challenging Vice Chairwoman Cheryl Williams, who represents the more libertarian wing of the party.

Williams would seem to have her work cut out for her. Under Jones, who has served two non-consecutive terms, the state party has prospered. In 2008, when most of the country turned Democratic, Oklahoma gave two-thirds of its presidential vote to the Republican nominee, John McCain, and strengthened the GOP's hold on the Legislature and the state's congressional delegation."

"Here's hoping Williams wins. The wackier the better at the Grand Old Party.
"
2/25 (emphasis mine):
"I am glad this organiztion [sic; referring to OCPAC] is growing and I believe pretty soon they will take out my friend Gary Jones as ORP Chair. Gary is a very competent and able person doing the job as the Repubs chair."
I always find it interesting to see what the other party thinks of our internal affairs. It can give a good perspective on the issues. For example, if they hate the party chair, we're probably doing pretty good. If they want the chair to stay the same, it's probably a sign that change is needed.

Report: Cheryl Williams Finds Running Mate

According to reports* received by this blog, OKGOP Chair candidate (and current vice-chair) Cheryl Williams has tapped Richard Engle for her running mate. Engle will be running against current Chairman and candidate Gary Jones' pick, Angie LaPlante, for Vice Chair at the 2009 Oklahoma Republican Party State Convention on April 18th.

Williams and Engle are closely affiliated with the libertarian wing of the party, mainly supporters of former presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who are disgruntled with the status quo in the party, whereas Jones and LaPlante are considered to be part of the 'establishment', and more in line with the larger social conservative wing of the party.

In my opinion, Williams' choosing Engle to be her running mate is a poor decision, bad strategy, and will backfire on her at the state convention.

Engle was one of the main spokesmen for the 'Liberty Values Coalition' at the 2008 ORP State Convention (the LVC was, again, mainly supporters of Ron Paul). His tone, manner, and argumentative interruptions of the convention made him the most annoying, irritating and aggravating person present. By the time the convention was over, I had a headache from listening to the man. He turned off many of the delegates who might have otherwise voted with his coalition. The same thing will happen with Cheryl Williams.

But, I'm fine with that, since I'm supporting Gary Jones.

* - unverified as of yet

CPAC Straw Poll Results

The 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) started on Thursday and came to a close today. At the conference, they took a straw poll for the 2012 GOP primary.

You just thought last election was the longest election cycle in history. Try to last through this one.

Anyway, here are the results:
CPAC 2009 Straw Poll (PowerPoint)
  • Mitt Romney: 20%
  • Bobby Jindal: 14%
  • Ron Paul: 13%
  • Sarah Palin: 13%
  • Newt Gingrich: 10%
  • Mike Huckabee: 7%
  • Mark Sanford: 4%
  • Rudy Giuliani: 3%
  • Tim Pawlenty: 2%
  • Charlie Crist: 1%
  • Undecided: 9%
Straw poll of 1,757 CPAC registrants, February 26-27th, 2009
First of all, here are some of the demographics of the participants. 52% described themselves as 'Students', 36% were non-students, and 13% were either co-sponsors of the event or affiliated with a co-sponsor (i.e. FairTax, NRA, ACU, Eagle Forum, etc.).

57% of the voters were between the ages of 18 and 25. The next highest group was 26-40, at 16%. 12% were 41-55, 7% were 56-65, and 5% were over 65 years of age, and 2% were under 18.

I think that those figures explain Ron Paul's high performance. The large number of the college-age crowd, Paul's main demographic, must have had an impact on his vote total.

Just from looking at the answers to some of the questions, the crowd seems to have been more libertarian of bent, with not quite as much emphasis on social conservative issues. Hence the success of Romney and Paul, and the lower numbers for Huckabee and Palin.

An interesting poll, nevertheless, I'd rather wait a year or so before seeing any more presidential election polls...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Israel Update: Government Situation

The Muskogee Politico's Israel Update

The Israeli elections held on February 10th resulted in Tzipi Livni's Kadima winning a plurality of seats in the Knesset, but Binyamin Netanyahu the presumptive prime minster, as the right wing parties won more seats than the left wing.

Israeli President Shimon Peres gave Netanyahu the official green light to begin forming a governing coalition on February 20th. Initially, Netanyahu voiced his hope to build a broad coalition, with the more left-wing Kadima and Labor joining his government along with right wing parties such as Yisrael Beitenu and Shas. However, Labor said they would not join a Netanyahu
or Livni government.

Today, Tzipi Livni rejected Bibi Netanyahu's offer to join his coalition, meaning Netanyahu will have to turn to the nationalistic, right-wing parties to form a government. The parties in a right-wing coalition would be Netanyahu's Likud (27 Knesset Members, or MKs), Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu (15 MKs), Shas (11 MKs), United Torah Judaism (5 MKs), National Union (4 MKs), and Jewish Home (3 MKs). To form a governing coalition, Netanyahu must have at least 61 MKs supporting him.

It would appear that Bibi will easily break the 61 mark. However, a recent statement by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv could possibly mean that United Torah Judaism will refuse to join a coalition with Yisrael Beiteinu. The latter party has made marriage reform a central part of their demands. Currently, there are no provisions for civil marriage in Israel; the only approved marriages in Israel are those performed under the regulations of a recognized religion, and marriages performed outside of Israel.

Rabbi Elyashiv has said that it is forbidden to compromise in any way regarding civil marriage, and that civil marriage must not be allowed even between non-Jews.

Will this endanger a Netanyahu coalition? Only time will tell.

Bobby Jindal's Response and Oratory in General

If you haven't seen it yet, here is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's response to Barack Obama's recent address to Congress (apparently, the first 'State of the Union' for a new president is not called the 'State of the Union'):



I did not get to see his rebuttal live. Now that I've heard it, I have to say I was somewhat disappointed. The content of the speech was great, but the delivery was poor.

Now, I know that Jindal has never been on a stage like this before, giving the Republican rebuttal to a State of the Union, especially when it is delivered by a smooth (teleprompter-enhanced) speaker like Barack Obama. But, it sounded like Bobby Jindal was talking to a class of schoolchildren.

In that line of thinking, here's a great post by Matthew E. Miller at Race42012. He refers to a paper written by Winston Churchill in 1897, which is quite interesting to read. The Republican Party has not had a great orator since the Great Communicator.

Bobby Jindal has many years ahead of him to improve his speaking abilities. He has some massive intellectual firepower, and if he would polish his oratory skills, he could become a powerful speaker.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dumb Athlete Alert: MLB Edition

Dumb Athlete Alert: MLB Edition - by the Muskogee Politico
or, Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

Major League athletes make a lot of money, no matter how good they are, or how famous they are. After all, the minimum salary in Major League Baseball is $390,000, $457,588 in the NBA, and $310,000 in the NFL. How's that for a minimum wage?

And that's just the base salary. Oakland Raiders' cornerback Nnambi Asomugha will make $28,500,000 next year - the highest in the NFL (so far). Boston Celtic's forward Kevin Garnett makes the most in the NBA, at a mere $24,751,934. The New York Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez rounds out the major sports with a MLB-leading salary of $28,000,000.

So when an athlete makes money by the boatload like that, why is it that some of them put all their eggs in one basket?

Case in point: MLB players Scott Eyre, Johnny Damon, Xavier Nady, and Mike Pelfrey. These players all had accounts with Stanford Financial. The federal government has frozen Stanford's assets, and the SEC has charged Stanford with running an 8 billion-dollar scam, or Ponzi scheme.

Enter the 'eggs in one basket' problem.

Xavier Nady, salary of $6.5M, can't buy a new apartment because his credit card accounts are frozen due to the Stanford Financial situation.

Johnny Damon, salary $13M this season, doesn't have the cash to pay his bills or mortgage.

Mike Pelfrey, who made $1,987,500 in 2008, says that 99% of his money is tied up with Stanford Financial. He's having to use a small account with Bank of America to pay his bills.

And now, for the best of all - Scott Eyre. He made $3.8M in 2008. He has $13 in his wallet (that's right, thirteen dollars). His checks are bouncing, and if if takes a week or two to get his money from Stanford, he'll have to borrow from his teammates.

Just one more reason why you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket, especially when you have a lot of them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sudetenland 2.0?

Following up on the 'Netanyahu vs. Ahmadinejad = Churchill vs. Hitler' story; is Bahrain the new Sudetenland?

History buffs will remember Sudetenland as the predominately-German region of Czechoslovakia ceded by Great Britain and France to Hitler's Germany, without the consultation of the Czech government. Hitler claimed that after the Sudeten question was resolved, Germany had 'no more territorial ambitions' in Europe. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, upon returning to Great Britain, claimed that the ceding of Sudetenland to Germany brought 'peace for our time'. History shows what happened. Hitler took the rest of Czechoslovakia within six months, and Poland within a year, starting World War II.

Bahrain is a predominately Shiite Muslim island-nation, ruled by a Sunni monarch. Iran is also mostly Shiite. Bahrain has been a part of the Iranian/Persian lands for millenia, but in 1971 Bahrain became an independent state.

Now, an excerpt from a Reuters article:
Bahrain has criticised as irresponsible reported remarks by an Iranian official that questioned the Gulf Arab kingdom's sovereignty and caused a diplomatic furore in the region.

According to media reports, Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, a close adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said earlier this month that Iran had sovereignty over Bahrain.

"If these statements are meant to test the waters then the response was clear internally and externally, and this was affirmed by the magnitude of Gulf Arab and international condemnation to these irresponsible statements," Bahraini Interior Minister Sheikh Rashed bin Abdullah al-Khalifa told the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.

Here's another possible reason for the rhetoric coming out of Tehran:

The Islamic island country, populated by 500,000 people, has recently made many pro-Jewish gestures, despite the fact that only 50 Jews currently reside there.

In 2008, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa issued a royal decree appointing female Jewish lawmaker Hoda Nono to the post of ambassador, making her the first Jew in the modern Arab world to become an ambassador. The businesswoman and mother of two, who serves as one of two Jews on the king's 40-member legislative upper chamber, is stationed in Washington.

In November, the king extended an invitation for all Bahraini expatriate Jews to return to live in Bahrain, saying "It's open, it's your country."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, alternatively, has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, claiming that the Jews manipulated the Holocaust to gain sympathy for the Jewish state, calling Israelis the "most detested people in all of humanity."

(from IsraelNationalNews.com)

We shall see how President Obama and the rest of the world leaders deal with this situation, should Iran begin to press for annexation at any point. Thank God that Bibi is going to be Israel's Prime Minister.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Paper: Netanyahu vs. Ahmadinejad Reminiscent to Churchill vs. Hitler

An editorial in the Investor's Business Daily says that "the global stage is set for a confrontation reminiscent of Churchill vs. Hitler and Reagan vs. Gorbachev. How long will Benjamin Netanyahu tolerate an Iranian nuclear threat before acting?"

A very good question, especially since the inept IAEA just announced that Iran, with madman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the helm, has enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb. And that's just the stuff that the IAEA knows about. Does Iran have stockpiles of uranium that the IAEA does not know of? Quite possibly.

Anyway, here's a link to the whole editorial. Many very good points are made, especially regarding the ineffectiveness of the IAEA. It's a must read.

Arctic Sea-Ice Underestimated Due to Faulty Sensor

From Bloomberg:

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- A glitch in satellite sensors caused scientists to underestimate the extent of Arctic sea ice by 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), a California- size area, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center said.

The error, due to a problem called “sensor drift,” began in early January and caused a slowly growing underestimation of sea ice extent until mid-February. That’s when “puzzled readers” alerted the NSIDC about data showing ice-covered areas as stretches of open ocean, the Boulder, Colorado-based group said on its Web site.

(rest of article)

Yet another argument for Global Warming to be proven wrong, or exaggerated.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Vaclav Klaus: The Hero of Europe

Vaclav Klaus, the fiery president of the Czech Republic (who happens to be the current rotating president of the European Union), offended the liberals in the European Parliament today, essentially comparing the current path of the EU to the former Soviet Union. The free-market advocate, global warming critic, and conservative politician delivered a speech before the EP, which you can read in its entirety here.

Excerpts (emphasis Klaus'):
The present decision making system of the European Union is different from a classic parliamentary democracy, tested and proven by history. In a normal parliamentary system, part of the MPs support the government and part support the opposition. In the European parliament, this arrangement has been missing. Here, only one single alternative is being promoted and those who dare thinking about a different option are labelled as enemies of the European integration. Not so long ago, in our part of Europe we lived in a political system that permitted no alternatives and therefore also no parliamentary opposition. It was through this experience that we learned the bitter lesson that with no opposition, there is no freedom. That is why political alternatives must exist.

And not only that. The relationship between a citizen of one or another member state and a representative of the Union is not a standard relationship between a voter and a politician, representing him or her. There is also a great distance (not only in a geographical sense) between citizens and Union representatives, which is much greater than it is the case inside the member countries. This distance is often described as the democratic deficit, the loss of democratic accountability, the decision making of the unelected – but selected – ones, as bureaucratisation of decision making etc. The proposals to change the current state of affairs – included in the rejected European Constitution or in the not much different Lisbon Treaty – would make this defect even worse.

Since there is no European demos – and no European nation – this defect cannot be solved by strengthening the role of the European parliament either. This would, on the contrary, make the problem worse and lead to an even greater alienation between the citizens of the European countries and Union institutions. The solution will be neither to add fuel to the “melting pot” of the present type of European integration, nor to suppress the role of member states in the name of a new multicultural and multinational European civil society. These are attempts that have failed every time in the past, because they did not reflect the spontaneous historical development.

[At this point, liberal members of the EP began to walk out in protest. You can view this at the 7:35 mark of this video, unfortunately in Czech, not English.]

[...]

We must say openly that the present economic system of the EU is a system of a suppressed market, a system of a permanently strengthening centrally controlled economy. Although history has more than clearly proven that this is a dead end, we find ourselves walking the same path once again. This results in a constant rise in both the extent of government masterminding and constraining of spontaneity of the market processes. In recent months, this trend has been further reinforced by incorrect interpretation of the causes of the present economic and financial crisis, as if it was caused by free market, while in reality it is just the contrary – caused by political manipulation of the market. It is again necessary to point out to the historical experience of our part of Europe and to the lessons we learned from it.

Many of you certainly know the name of the French economist Frederic Bastiat and his famous Petition of the Candlemakers, which has become a well-known and canonical reading, illustrating the absurdity of political interventions in the economy. On 14 November 2008 the European Commission approved a real, not a fictitious Bastiat’s Petition of the Candlemakers, and imposed a 66% tariff on candles imported from China. I would have never believed that a 160-year-old essay could become a reality, but it has happened. An inevitable effect of the extensive implementation of such measures in Europe is economic slowdown, if not a complete halt of economic growth. The only solution is liberalisation and deregulation of the European economy.
There is hope for Europe after all. Here's another video to see, from Nigel Farage (MEP from southeastern England, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, and co-chair of the Independence and Democracy "caucus" of the European Parliament).

UPDATE: Here's an AP article on the issue.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

ND House Effectively Bans Abortion

KXMC TV (Minot, ND):
North Dakota's House of Representatives has passed a bill effectively outlawing abortion.

The House voted 51-41 this afternoon to declare that a fertilized egg has all the rights of any person.

That means a fetus could not be legally aborted without the procedure being considered murder.

Minot Republican Dan Ruby has sponsored other bills banning abortion in previous legislative sessions - all of which failed.

He also sponsored today's bill and says it is compatable with Roe v. Wade - the Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion.

(Rep. Dan Ruby, -R- Minot) "This is the exact language that's required by Roe v. Wade. It stipulated that before a challenge can be made, we have to identify when life begins, and that's what this does." But Minot Democrat Kari Conrad says the bill will land North Dakota in court, trying to defend the constitutionality of a law that goes against the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

(Rep. Kari Conrad, -D- Minot) "People who presented this bill, were very clear that they intended to challenge Roe versus Wade. So they intend to put the state of North Dakota into court defending Roe vs. Wade"

The bill now goes to the North Dakota Senate.
The North Dakota Senate is controlled by the Republican Party.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gary Jones Announces OKGOP Team

Official press release from OKGOP Chairman Gary Jones:

(EDIT: That didn't work... try this instead)

This will make for an interesting state chair race. This blog is fully behind Gary Jones; the OKGOP has flourished under his lead like it has for no other.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Angie LaPlante Announces for OKGOP Vice Chair

Today, Angie LaPlante, former Oklahoma County chairman and current Legislative Assistant for State Rep. Ken Miller, announced her candidacy for Oklahoma Republican Party Vice Chair. The announcement was made in the following email obtained by the Muskogee Politico:
Greetings all,

I am running for the State GOP Vice-Chair position! It is imperative that we keep our Republican party in tact and strong. I can bring many great things to the table. I am a strong grassroots activist, proven solid leader, work extremely well as a team player and believe that those who work from the bottom up get more accomplish and succeed. It's about the party and our values. I am going to be quite honest and frank with you all... if you don't want to see our party taken over by the Libertarian agenda, we need to make sure we elect those who do not have a personal agenda to destroy our party.

If you missed your precinct meeting (due to weather - which many did) it is not too late to participate in the upcoming conventions. Just contact your county chairman and you can be included in the upcoming process.

The OK County Convention is Saturday, Feb 28 at 8:30am at the Christian Heritage Academy in Del City. Our county chairman is Pam Pollard. She can be reached at 820-8154 or pampollardgop@aol.com. The state convention will be held Saturday, April 18 at 8:30am at the Clarion Meridian in OKC. In order to voice you vote you must be able to attend these conventions. If you are in another county, just check with the state HQ at 528-3501 and Jay Mandraccia can assist you.

I hope I can count on your voice and vote in the upcoming conventions. It's about our party and keeping our conservative values. Please spread the word!

Thank you
Angie LaPlante
Thus far, LaPlante is the only publicly announced candidate for Vice Chair. Candidates for the Chairmanship are current Chairman Gary Jones and current Vice Chair Cheryl Williams.

Resolution Deadline for Muskogee GOP Convention

If you wish to submit a resolution for the Muskogee County GOP Convention, there is a deadline.

From the Muskogee County Republican Party website:
Resolutions for the 2009 Muskogee County GOP Convention must be submitted by February 21st. This will allow the Resolutions Chairman and the Executive Committee to prepare the resolutions for the convention, in order to give every delegate a copy.

Resolutions should be sent to the Resolutions Chairman, Jamison Faught (contact here) by February 21st, in order for them to be presented at the county convention on March 7th.

The 2008 County Resolutions are posted here for your reference.
The Muskogee County GOP Convention is March 7th.

Presidents Day... or not?

Today is Presidents Day... or is it?

The cultural hijacking of Washington’s Birthday

It is fitting that if we are to celebrate just one President on a national holiday, that it be the Father of our Country, without whose leadership and character there would be no Shining City on a Hill.

And yes, today’s federal holiday is still, and always has been, declared in federal law, as Washington’s Birthday, not any so-called amorphous “President’s Day” requiring celebrations of 43 Presidential oath takers:

Click here for the rest.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Democratic Corruption: Roland Burris

Was there "pay-to-play" between disgraced (and impeached) former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and new U.S. Senator Rolad Burris, Barack Obama's successor?

The answer is, we don't know. Sen. Burris keeps changing the story. Read here for the latest story of his.

If he is found to have lied to the Illinois House impeachment committee, how will the Senate react, since they agreed to seat him only if there were no such actions. But then again, they weren't going to seat any of Blagojevich's appointees, so perhaps nothing will be done. Count on the latter.

Corrupt birds of a feather flock together.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Homosexual Pastor Prays for House Session

Yesterday, State Rep. Al McAffrey (the only openly homosexual member of the legislature) sponsored the 'Pastor of the Day', the Reverend Dr. E. Scott Jones, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, Oklahoma City.

Before praying, Dr. Jones made the following comments:
Mr. Speaker and esteemed representatives, I thank you for the opportunity to be present with you today as chaplain for the day. I want to thank my representative and good friend, the Honorable Al McAffrey for the invitation. I would also like to acknowledge guests who are present in the gallery – members of my congregation, the Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ. Joining them are dear friends, my wonderful parents, and my loving partner, Michael Cich.
Dr. Jones is openly homosexual. And to my knowledge, he is the first openly homosexual pastor to become Pastor of the Day at the State House.

Later in the session, Rep. McAffrey moved to place Jones' prayer in the House Journal, a common practice, but State Rep. John Wright (R, Broken Arrow) objected. In my observations of the state legislature, I have never seen a legislator object to placing a prayer in the Journal, but then again, I have never heard of a homosexual pastor become Pastor of the Day.

A vote then ensued, and the prayer was placed in the Journal by a vote of 64-20, with 17 excused. The vote was as follows, with Republicans italicized:
  • Aye: Armes, Auffet, Bailey, Banz, Billy, Brannon, Brown, Cannaday, Carey, Collins, Cooksey, Cox, Denney, Derby, DeWitt, Dorman, Fields, Glenn, Hamilton, Harrison, Hilliard, Holland, Hoskin, Inman, Jones, Jordan, Joyner, Kiesel, Kirby, Lamons, Luttrell, Martin (Scott), Martin (Steve), McAffrey, McDaniel (Jeannie), McMullen, McNiel, McPeak, Miller, Morgan, Morrissette, Nelson, Peters, Peterson, Pittman, Pruett, Renegar, Richardson, Roan, Rousselot, Schwartz, Scott, Sears, Shannon, Shelton, Sherrer, Shoemake, Shumate, Smithson, Steele, Thompson, Watson, Williams, Mr. Speaker. -- 64
  • Nay: Blackwell, Christian, Coody, Duncan, Enns, Faught, Johnson, Kern, Key, Liebmann, Moore, Murphey, Osborn, Ownbey, Reynolds, Ritze, Sanders, Terrill, Thomsen, Wright (John). -- 20
  • Excused: Buck, Dank, Hickman, Jackson, Jett, Kouplen, McCullough, McDaniel (Randy), Nations, Ortega, Proctor, Sullivan, Tibbs, Trebilcock, Walker, Wesselhoft, Wright (Harold). -- 17
Dr. Jones has a blog, and posted about the incident here, here, and here. The Daily Oklahoman had an article here. The House Journal is here (the vote occurs at the end).

I am very disappointed at how some of the Republican legislators voted; however, we are glad that among the brave few voting against it was Rep. George Faught (R, Muskogee).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Local School Board Results

From the Muskogee Phoenix:

In Muskogee, Saunders received 388 votes, or 63.61 percent to Bonney’s 222 votes or 36.39 percent. [...]

Bonney said after the election that he wishes Saunders “the best.” [...]

He said he was shocked at the low turnout in Muskogee.

The voter turnout was abysmally low; only 610 votes were cast. However, we are glad to see that Bonney was not the victor. We certainly hope that Muriel Saunders will do a good job in her next term, and do a better job at being present for school board meetings.

In
the Hilldale school board election, challenger Shawn Kuykendall smashed incumbent Eldon Schoonover 686 (91.59%) to 68 (8.41%).

On another race, here's what the Phoenix had to say:

However, Kuykendall didn’t have the night’s biggest margin of victory. In the Cherokee County dependent school district of Woodall, David Sevier defeated Jeremy L. Hitchcock by taking 98.41 percent of the vote. One person voted for Hitchcock.

Talk about a smashing victory...

Australian Fires Set By Jihadists?

As Australia undergoes devastating wildfires, suspicion for some of the fires believed to have been started by arsonists has turned to Islamic terrorism.

In September of 2008, The Age (Australian newspaper) reported the following:

Australia has been singled out as a target for "forest jihad" by a group of Islamic extremists urging Muslims to deliberately light bushfires as a weapon of terror.

US intelligence channels earlier this year identified a website calling on Muslims in Australia, the US, Europe and Russia to "start forest fires", claiming "scholars have justified chopping down and burning the infidels' forests when they do the same to our lands".

Again, this has not been confirmed by any official from any country, but it is an interesting scenario.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Latest Israeli Results

Here are the latest results from the Israeli elections as of 4:15pm CST (taken from Arutz Sheva):

Results updated to: 12:15 a.m. (4:15pm CST)


Nationalist/Religious Bloc

Knesset Seats

Likud

25

Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Is Our Home)

15

Ichud Leumi (National Union)

4

Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home)

4

Shas

11

United Torah Judaism

4

Total for Nationalist/Religious Bloc

63



Left-wing Bloc


Kadima

27

Labor

13

Meretz

4

Ra'am Ta'al (Arab party)

3

Balad (Arab party)

2

Hadash (Arab/Jewish party)

2

Total for Left-wing Bloc

54

Initial Reports: Kadima Leads, but Right beats Left

According to initial exit polls and results, Tzipi Livni's Kadima party leads Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud by about 2 mandates (seats). Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu is currently being reported as having 14-15 mandates, and Ehud Barak's Labor party is fourth, with about 13.

So far, the exit polls say...

Right-wing parties:
  • Likud: 27-28
  • Yisrael Beiteinu: 14-15
  • Shas: 9-10
  • National Union: 3
  • Jewish Home: 3-4
  • United Torah Judaism: 5
Other left-wing parties:
  • Kadima: 28-30
  • Labor: 13
  • Meretz: 4-5
  • Ra'am Ta'al (Arab): 2-4
  • Balad (Arab): 2-3
  • Hadash (Arab): 4, or none
That gives the right-wing, most likely supporting Netanyahu for Prime Minister, 61-65 mandates, and the left-wing, supporting Livni, about 49-59 seats. However, there are rumors that the Arab parties may not join any coalition, protesting the banning of other Arab parties considered to be "anti-Israel". If so, the left-wing could potentially receive as few as 45 seats.

This gives Netanyahu a very good chance at becoming the next Prime Minister, in spite of Likud coming in second to Kadima.

Updates will be provided when they come in.

Israeli Polls Have Closed

The Israeli polls closed at 10pm Israel time (2pm CST). Results will be forthcoming. See my post here for more information, and a link to live coverage (in English) of the returns.

Editorial on Israeli Race

Here's one reason to hope Benjamin Netanyahu beats Tzipi Livni for Prime Minister in Israel: Haaretz's editorial endorsing Livni.

If Haaretz is against Bibi, that a great reason to support him.

Live Coverage of the Israeli Elections

The polls in Israel will close at 10:00pm local time; 3:00 Oklahoma time. If you want to follow the elections results live, Israel National News' website will have a live broadcast in English (located here).

We hope for a Likud/Bibi Netanyahu victory, but also for a strong showing by other right wing parties such as Yisrael Beiteinu, National Union, Jewish Home, and United Torah Judaism. A strong conservative faction of the Knesset will ensure a strong, conservative Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Muskogee School Board Election Today

Today is the school board election in Muskogee. The candidates are incumbent Muriel Saunders and local attorney Mark Bonney.

Both candidates are Democrats, and neither are conservative. However, we have decided to endorse Muriel Saunders, mainly because Bonney is openly homosexual. We believe that homosexuality is an unbiblical, immoral lifestyle, and we do not want to elevate someone of that character to a position of influence, especially when children are affected.

Monday, February 9, 2009

139th Anniversary of the NWS

Today is the 139th "birthday" for the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service has its beginnings in the early history of the United States. Weather has always been important to the citizenry of this country, and this was especially true during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The beginning of the National Weather Service we know today started on February 9th, 1870, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the Secretary of War to establish a national weather service. This resolution required the Secretary of War

"to provide for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the States and Territories...and for giving notice on the northern (Great) Lakes and on the seacoast by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms"

After much thought and consideration, it was decided that this agency would be placed under the Secretary of War because military discipline would probably secure the greatest promptness, regularity, and accuracy in the required observations. Within the Department of War, it was assigned to the Signal Service Corps under Brigadier General Albert J. Myer. General Meyer gave the National Weather Service its first name: The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce.

This agency was placed under the Secretary of War because"military discipline would probably secure the greatest promptness, regularity, and accuracy in the required observations." Within the Department of War, it was assigned to the Signal Service Corps under Brigadier General Albert J. Myer. General Meyer gave the National Weather Service its first name: The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce.

Later that year, the first systematized, synchronous weather observations ever taken in the U.S. were made by "observing-sergeants" of the Army Signal Service at 22 stations and telegraphed to Washington. An agency was born which would affect the daily lives of most of the citizens of the United States through its forecasts and warnings.

(Read More.)

Also on the weather front: the National Weather Service office in Tulsa provides spotter training classes throughout their warning area. You can view the schedule here.

Homeschool Capitol Day

Oklahoma Home Educators' Capitol Day - Feb. 10, 2009

From OCHEC:
All Oklahoma home educators are invited to exercise vigilance as we stand together to protect our freedoms at the state capitol on February 10, 2009. We cannot over-emphasize the importance that positive, face-to-face communication with legislators has on protecting our liberties. A polite, articulate parent or child can go a long way toward persuading legislators that homeschoolers are worthy of their freedom. You and your family can be an integral part of putting a “face” on home education for our state legislators.

This year it is our goal to have Every District Represented. Each year we hear from legislators that they attended the luncheon but no one was there to meet with them, therefore they get the impression that if it is not important enough for us to attend, then the legislators don't want to waste their time coming to the luncheon. Let's pull out all the stops this year and let our legislators know how important our homeschooling freedoms are to us. Make your plans now to attend Capitol Day 2009!

The objectives for Capitol Day are:

  1. To protect the right, granted in the Oklahoma constitution, of parents to home educate their children;
  2. To bring home education to the legislature, demonstrating that it is a viable option for providing an excellent education and that regulation is not necessary; and
  3. To build positive relationships with our lawmakers, allowing them to meet and visit with homeschooling families and students.
You can view more about Capitol Day here. This is the most important event at the State Capitol for homeschoolers; if you homeschool, please try to come.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Israel Update: Elections on Tuesday

The Muskogee Politico's Israel Update

Tuesday, February 10th, is the national election in Israel. The control of the Knesset, and the next Prime Minister, will be decided in the vote.

Israel has a parliamentary system of elections, more like Great Britain than the United States. For a party to gain seating in the Knesset, they must receive approximately 2% nationally, which would give them two seats. A party that gets anything below that threshold does not receive seating, and is essentially thrown out of the reckoning.

Currently, the parties of Likud, Kadima and Israel Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) are the leading parties; the candidates for Prime Minister are, in order of party listed above, Binyamin Netanyahu, Tzipi Livni, and Avigdor Lieberman.

Below, I've put together a rolling graph of the public poll results since the first of the year.


As you can tell, Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party has made tremendous progress, surpassing Ehud Barak and the Labor party, traditionally one of the strongest parties. However, Yisrael Beiteinu is not expected to place higher than third.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gary Jones Endorsed by Tom Coburn

From The McCarville Report Online:
Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones said today he'll seek reelection.

Jones has been chairman during the GOP's historic increase in power, winning control of the State Senate and solidfying its control of the House. In 2008, Oklahoma was the only state in the nation where every county went red for the McCain-Palin presidential ticket, helping Oklahoma down ballot candidates, Jones said. McCain's 65.4% share of the vote in Oklahoma was the highest in the nation.

Senator Tom Coburn applauded the announcement by Jones: "Chairman Jones has put together a good team at the Oklahoma Republican Party that is proven and ready to lead us in the critical 2010 elections. Our statewide wins in 2008 helped take the majority in the Oklahoma Senate for the first time in state history, and we will need this type of leadership going into the 2010 election cycle. I wholeheartedly support Chairman Jones in his re-election," Coburn said.

Jones was instrumental in publicizing campaign finance irregularities in the campaigns of former Auditor & Inspector Jeff McMahan, who subsequently was convicted on multiple felonies in federal court and now faces nine years in prison. Jones opposed McMahan in the 2002 and 2006 general elections.
This confirms our report that Jones was in, with Vice-Chair Cheryl Williams his only opponent, thus far. And this article from the Norman Transcript confirms our source that said Jones would not run for Auditor.

Baby Born Alive At Abortion Clinic, Then Killed

From Drudge:
On Tuesday, January 27, 2009, suit was filed by the Thomas More Society in Miami on behalf of Shanice Denise Osbourne, an infant girl who was allegedly murdered in July, 2006.

The case claims that Shanice was born alive and then murdered by abortion clinic owner, Belkis Gonzalez. Thirteen defendants (including Gonzalez, abortionist Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacques Renelique and their conglomerate of four South Florida abortion clinics) have been sued for unlicensed and unauthorized medical practice, botched abortions, evasive tactics, false medical records and the killing, hiding and disposing of the baby.

(Read more)

and...

Eighteen and pregnant, Sycloria Williams went to an abortion clinic outside Miami and paid $1,200 for Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique to terminate her 23-week pregnancy.

Three days later, she sat in a reclining chair, medicated to dilate her cervix and otherwise get her ready for the procedure.

Only Renelique didn't arrive in time. According to Williams and the Florida Department of Health, she went into labor and delivered a live baby girl.

What Williams and the Health Department say happened next has shocked people on both sides of the abortion debate: One of the clinic's owners, who has no medical license, cut the infant's umbilical cord. Williams says the woman placed the baby in a plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.

Police recovered the decomposing remains in a cardboard box a week later after getting anonymous tips.

The state Board of Medicine is to hear Renelique's case in Tampa on Friday and determine whether to strip his license. The state attorney's homicide division is investigating, though no charges have been filed. Terry Chavez, a spokeswoman with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office, said this week that prosecutors were nearing a decision.

(Read more)

I'll be interested to see what comes of this. Updates will be posted as soon as I find them.

Insanity! Another Obama Appointee With Tax Problems

This is insanity! Yet another Obama appointee has been found to have tax problems! This time it's Rep. Hilda Solis (D, CA), Obama's nominee for Labor Secretary.

Her husband paid, yesterday (according to the Washington Post), $6,400 to settle tax liens against his business, some of which have been outstanding for as long as 16 years.

We will await the next appointee with tax problems...

Is the Obama-Press Honeymoon Over?

Watch this exchange between ABC News' Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.



Is the honeymoon over?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rose Day

Short update on Rose Day at the Capitol...

I didn't get an exact count on the legislators who attended. Three Democrat Pro-Life Senators and 15-20 Republican Pro-Life Senators were present; committee meetings were going on, so some from both parties were not there. 25-30 Democrat Pro-Life Representatives and 40-50 Republican Pro-Life Representatives were in attendance as well. Again, some were not present from both parties. The emcee was State Rep. Pam Peterson (R, Tulsa); introducing pro-life Democrats were State Rep. R.C. Pruett (D, Antlers) and Sen. Kenneth Corn (D, Howe). State Rep. Dan Sullivan (R, Tulsa) and State Sen. Todd Lamb (R, Edmond) introduced the pro-life Republicans.

It was standing room only in the House Chamber; a quick estimate put the total, excluding legislators, at around 600, give or take 50 or so. A very large crowd, the largest I've ever seen at the House Chamber.

Pelosi: 500,000,000 Americans to Lose Jobs Every Month Without Stimulus

According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, California), if the monstrous Stimulus/Porkulus is not passed, 500,000,000 (that's five hundred million) Americans will lose their jobs every month.

The population of the US is only 300 million. Maybe Pelosi knows that there actually are more than 12 million illegals in the US... perhaps she thinks there's over 200,000,000 of them...

Rose Day, and a Pro-Life Column

Today is the annual pro-life Rose Day at the State Capitol, when pro-lifers are encouraged to visit lawmakers to urge them to support the pro-life legislation presented during the session. Red roses are handed out to the legislators to represent the sanctity of life.

In honor of Rose Day, I will post a recent column written by local State Rep. George Faught (R, Muskogee) on the importance of life. This ran in the Muskogee Phoenix and the Tulsa Beacon.

Life is Precious - by Rep. George Faught

Our Declaration of Independence contains the following words in the second paragraph – “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that are among them Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It then begins to lay out the case for protecting these rights and what should be the people’s role and that of government. I wonder if we as a society still believe in these rights the way they positioned in the Declaration of Independence.

January 18-25 was ‘Sanctity of Human Life Week’, which brought into focus the preciousness of all life; from the elderly to the most innocent of lives, those of the unborn.

It is important to note that of the three unalienable rights listed in the Declaration of Independence, “life” is first mentioned. I believe it is no accident that our forefathers listed it thus, because it is the most important.

Yes, we have personal “liberty” as long as it does not interfere with the life of someone else. Yes, we may engage in the “pursuit of happiness” as long as it does not interfere with someone’s liberty.

But it all starts with “life.”

The Bible has a lot to say about life. In Psalms 139:14 it says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God’s Word speaks volumes of how precious the gift of life is and how it should be protected.

Our society has turned upside down those rights in the Declaration of Independence, emphasizing the pursuit of happiness, rather than life.

The common thought is, “If it makes me happy, then it is okay, regardless of the consequences.” Our personal desires are selfishly elevated above the liberties of others.

Is there any room in this equation for life? Only for convenience sake, if it fits our schedule.

Our society has judged those babies who have come at an inconvenient time or whose medical condition shows an abnormality to not have value, and says that they can be discarded with a simple procedure. When the elderly become weak and feeble we seek to place them out of sight so as to not cramp our lifestyle.

We as a nation stand at a crossroads. Who will stand up and become the voice for those who are yet to be born and the elderly? The unborn did not choose their parents or circumstances surrounding their birth. Our elders spent their entire lives caring for us. Don’t the weakest and most vulnerable in our society deserve the same rights guaranteed the citizens of this great nation, of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”?

We have placed a greater value on our personal happiness and liberties than we have the God-ordained gift of Life. All life is precious, and must be protected from conception to natural end.

George Faught, R-Muskogee, is the state representative for House District 14, which covers portions of Muskogee and Cherokee counties.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Obama's Appointees and Tax Problems

For some reason, President Obama's appointees seem to have one common streak among them: tax problems.

Timothy Geithner, Treasury Secretary: $34,000 of late income taxes.
Nancy Killefer, Chief Performance Officer: Tax lien for non-payment of unemployment compensation taxes.
Tom Daschle: Health and Human Services Secretary: $145,000 of late income taxes.

As a result, both Killefer and Daschle have now withdrawn.

The question of the hour is, can President Obama appoint someone who has no tax problems?

Session Begins

Yesterday, the first session of the 52nd Legislature began. It looks to be an interesting session, this being the first time the Republican Party controls both the House and the Senate.

And to kick things off, this afternoon the Economic Development & Financial Services Committee will take up two bills related to Autism. House Bill 2027, by Rep. Kris Steele (R, Shawnee), and House Bill 1312, by Rep. Mike Brown (D, Tahlequah), will be heard at 4:30pm today in Room 412C at the State Capitol. HB1312 is also known as Nick's Law. Word from the Capitol is that it will be a very interesting meeting, not unlike the Autism bill hearing last session.