Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vacation Break


That, my friends, is the M.S. Westerdam -- my home-away-from-home for a family vacation in the warm breezes and tropical climes of the Caribbean!

I'll be absent from the blogosphere for about a week, so until then, be sure and check out the many blogs and websites I have linked to on the right sidebar.

The Battle over Texas House Speaker


On the other side of the Red River, a big fight is shaping up in the Texas State House whether or not to keep current Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican who was elected Speaker by 65 Democrats and 11 moderate/liberal Republicans in 2009.

The folks at RedState.com have covered this topic extensively, and to far greater detail than I can. Watch the video above, then go to this link to read more about this controversy.

Bizarre: TSA Pizza Box "X-Ray Vision" Ads


"A Career Where X-Ray Vision and Federal Benefits Come Standard" is the slogan on job ads the Transportation Security Administration has placed on pizza boxes in the Washington, D.C., area. More from the Washington Post here.

Is it just me, or does that x-ray vision quote seem a bit... creepy, given the new body scanner controversy?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

KOREA: On the Brink of War

Smoke rises from South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island after a North Korean shelling

In the most serious escalation of military conflict since the Korean War ended in 1953, North Korean artillery bombarded a South Korean island. The action prompted return fire from South Korea. Two South Korean soldiers were killed, and 15 wounded, along with several civilian injuries.

Your Thoughts: TSA Body Scanners and Patdowns

With all of the uproar in recent days about the new security measures being implemented by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), such as the new body scanners and new, more intrusive "enhanced" patdowns, I decided to post a poll to get your thoughts.

After voting on the right sidebar, discuss in more detail in the comments section of this post.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Must-read post on SAMHSA mental illness study


Blogger "streiff" over at RedState.com has a post tonight that you simply must read.  I won't re-post it here, but he has an interesting insight into the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's study that came out today on mental illness.

Click here for to read his post, "Facts and Science and Argument".  Enjoy!

The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother

The 'Israelification' of airports: High security, little bother
Cathal Kelly -- thestar.com

While North America's airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols, one word keeps popping out of the mouths of experts: Israelification.

That is, how can we make our airports more like Israel's, which deal with far greater terror threat with far less inconvenience.

"It is mindboggling for us Israelis to look at what happens in North America, because we went through this 50 years ago," said Rafi Sela, the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy. He's worked with the RCMP, the U.S. Navy Seals and airports around the world.

"Israelis, unlike Canadians and Americans, don't take [expletive] from anybody. When the security agency in Israel (the ISA) started to tighten security and we had to wait in line for — not for hours — but 30 or 40 minutes, all h... broke loose here. We said, 'We're not going to do this. You're going to find a way that will take care of security without touching the efficiency of the airport."

That, in a nutshell is "Israelification" - a system that protects life and limb without annoying you to death.

Despite facing dozens of potential threats each day, the security set-up at Israel's largest hub, Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, has not been breached since 2002, when a passenger mistakenly carried a handgun onto a flight. How do they manage that?

"The first thing you do is to look at who is coming into your airport," said Sela.

The first layer of actual security that greets travellers at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport is a roadside check. All drivers are stopped and asked two questions: How are you? Where are you coming from?

"Two benign questions. The questions aren't important. The way people act when they answer them is," Sela said.

Officers are looking for nervousness or other signs of "distress" — behavioural profiling. Sela rejects the argument that profiling is discriminatory.

"The word 'profiling' is a political invention by people who don't want to do security," he said. "To us, it doesn't matter if he's black, white, young or old. It's just his behaviour. So what kind of privacy am I really stepping on when I'm doing this?"

Once you've parked your car or gotten off your bus, you pass through the second and third security perimeters.

Armed guards outside the terminal are trained to observe passengers as they move toward the doors, again looking for odd behaviour. At Ben Gurion's half-dozen entrances, another layer of security are watching. At this point, some travellers will be randomly taken aside, and their person and their luggage run through a magnometer.

"This is to see that you don't have heavy metals on you or something that looks suspicious," said Sela.

You are now in the terminal. As you approach your airline check-in desk, a trained interviewer takes your passport and ticket. They ask a series of questions: Who packed your luggage? Has it left your side?

"The whole time, they are looking into your eyes — which is very embarrassing. But this is one of the ways they figure out if you are suspicious or not. It takes 20, 25 seconds," said Sela.

Lines are staggered. People are not allowed to bunch up into inviting targets for a bomber who has gotten this far.

At the check-in desk, your luggage is scanned immediately in a purpose-built area. Sela plays devil's advocate — what if you have escaped the attention of the first four layers of security, and now try to pass a bag with a bomb in it?

"I once put this question to Jacques Duchesneau (the former head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): say there is a bag with play-doh in it and two pens stuck in the play-doh. That is 'Bombs 101' to a screener. I asked Ducheneau, 'What would you do?' And he said, 'Evacuate the terminal.' And I said, 'Oh. My. God.'

"Take Pearson. Do you know how many people are in the terminal at all times? Many thousands. Let's say I'm (doing an evacuation) without panic — which will never happen. But let's say this is the case. How long will it take? Nobody thought about it. I said, 'Two days.'"

A screener at Ben-Gurion has a pair of better options.

First, the screening area is surrounded by contoured, blast-proof glass that can contain the detonation of up to 100 kilos of plastic explosive. Only the few dozen people within the screening area need be removed, and only to a point a few metres away.

Second, all the screening areas contain 'bomb boxes'. If a screener spots a suspect bag, he/she is trained to pick it up and place it in the box, which is blast proof. A bomb squad arrives shortly and wheels the box away for further investigation.

"This is a very small simple example of how we can simply stop a problem that would cripple one of your airports," Sela said.

Five security layers down: you now finally arrive at the only one which Ben-Gurion Airport shares with Pearson — the body and hand-luggage check.

"But here it is done completely, absolutely 180 degrees differently than it is done in North America," Sela said.

"First, it's fast — there's almost no line. That's because they're not looking for liquids, they're not looking at your shoes. They're not looking for everything they look for in North America. They just look at you," said Sela. "Even today with the heightened security in North America, they will check your items to death. But they will never look at you, at how you behave. They will never look into your eyes ... and that's how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys."

That's the process — six layers, four hard, two soft. The goal at Ben-Gurion is to move fliers from the parking lot to the airport lounge in a maximum of 25 minutes.

This doesn't begin to cover the off-site security net that failed so spectacularly in targeting would-be Flight 253 bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — intelligence. In Israel, Sela said, a coordinated intelligence gathering operation produces a constantly evolving series of threat analyses and vulnerability studies.

"There is absolutely no intelligence and threat analysis done in Canada or the United States," Sela said. "Absolutely none."

But even without the intelligence, Sela maintains, Abdulmutallab would not have gotten past Ben Gurion Airport's behavioural profilers.

So. Eight years after 9/11, why are we still so reactive, so un-Israelified?

Working hard to dampen his outrage, Sela first blames our leaders, and then ourselves.

"We have a saying in Hebrew that it's much easier to look for a lost key under the light, than to look for the key where you actually lost it, because it's dark over there. That's exactly how (North American airport security officials) act," Sela said. "You can easily do what we do. You don't have to replace anything. You have to add just a little bit — technology, training. But you have to completely change the way you go about doing airport security. And that is something that the bureaucrats have a problem with. They are very well enclosed in their own concept."

And rather than fear, he suggests that outrage would be a far more powerful spur to provoking that change.

"Do you know why Israelis are so calm? We have brutal terror attacks on our civilians and still, life in Israel is pretty good. The reason is that people trust their defence forces, their police, their response teams and the security agencies. They know they're doing a good job. You can't say the same thing about Americans and Canadians. They don't trust anybody," Sela said. "But they say, 'So far, so good'. Then if something happens, all h... breaks loose and you've spent eight hours in an airport. Which is ridiculous. Not justifiable

"But, what can you do? Americans and Canadians are nice people and they will do anything because they were told to do so and because they don't know any different."

[originally published on thestar.com, December 30th, 2009]

Video: "The Middle East Problem"


For the video in a nutshell, start at 4:20. Dennis Prager makes a statement there that summarizes the entire issue, and is right on point.

Monday, November 15, 2010

'The Conservative View': Pizza and Politics

This week's Conservative View, by former Adair County Commissioner and conservative activist Russell Turner.
The Conservative View
by Russell Turner

Pizza and Politics

We Americans have had things so easy for so long that we expect all of our problems to be solved in about the time it would take to cook a pizza. All of us at one time or another have ordered a pizza, usually in about 10 minutes we can pick up our meal and avoid starvation. We have lived in a fast paced society for so long that we think that all of our problems should be solved in a short period of time; sadly that is seldom the case.

Just a little over a week ago we Americans made history by giving the liberals a stinging defeat. While it is reassuring to see that the American people remembered their conservative roots, we need to come to the realization that electing conservative leaders is merely the first step. The problems in our country didn’t come about over night and the solution to our country’s problems will not happen overnight. We Americans have become too comfortable with all of the government programs that our citizens take advantage of at an ever increasing rate. We Americans said with a loud voice that we want more fiscal responsibility and smaller government, but it will be interesting to see if that mentality holds true when the tough decisions have to be made.

For this country to get its financial house in order, there will have to be a major change of attitude across the entire country. It is a fact that whenever some program has to be cut we all want it to be someone else’s program and not ours. Our government budget has become so large that merely trimming the fat will not be sufficient. Over the years our elected leaders have been so concerned with getting re-elected that they would create programs and spend money that we didn’t have to garner votes for the next election cycle. While we like to blame the politicians for all of the problems of our country, we the citizens bear a large part of the blame ourselves. Whenever we adopt the attitude of asking the politicians “what can you do for me today” the simple politician will come up with some scheme to satisfy the voters for a day, whereas the true statesman is looking for a solution for the future and will not play the instant gratification game. Wanting a pizza in 10 minutes may not be inappropriate, but we Americans must be ready for the long haul if we are able to correct the excesses of the past. We are just like a person starting a diet; the decision has been made, now the work begins.
If you wish to contact Russell Turner, or want to subscribe to his email loop, email him at rdrepublican@windstream.net.

Sarah Palin's Open Letter to GOP Congressional Freshmen


An Open Letter to Republican Freshmen Members of Congress
by former Gov. Sarah Palin

Welcome to all Republican Freshmen and congratulations!

Congratulations to all of you for your contribution to this historic election, and for the contributions I am certain you will make to our country in the next two years. Your victory was hard fought, and the success belongs entirely to you and the staff and volunteers who spent countless hours working for this chance to put government back on the side of the people. Now you will come to Washington to serve your nation and leave your mark on history by reining in government spending, preserving our freedoms at home, and restoring America’s leadership abroad. Some of you have asked for my thoughts on how best to proceed in the weeks and months ahead and how best to advance an agenda that can move our country forward. I have a simple answer: stick to the principles that propelled your campaigns. When you take your oath to support and defend our Constitution and to faithfully discharge the duties of your office, remember that present and future generations of “We the People” are counting on you to stand by that oath. Never forget the people who sent you to Washington. Never forget the trust they placed in you to do the right thing.

The task before you is daunting because so much damage has been done in the last two years, but I believe you have the chance to achieve great things.

Republicans campaigned on a promise to rein in out-of-control government spending and to repeal and replace the massive, burdensome, and unwanted health care law President Obama and the Democrat Congress passed earlier this year in defiance of the will of the majority of the American people. These are promises that you must keep. Obamacare is a job-killer, a regulatory nightmare, and an enormous unfunded mandate. The American people don’t want it and we can’t afford it. We ask, with all due respect, that you remember your job will be to work to replace this legislation with real reform that relies on free market principles and patient-centered policies. The first step is, of course, to defund Obamacare.

You’ve also got to be deadly serious about cutting the deficit. Despite what some would like us to believe, tax cuts didn’t get us into the mess we’re in. Government spending did. Tough decisions need to be made about reducing government spending. The longer we put them off, the worse it will get. We need to start by cutting non-essential spending. That includes stopping earmarks (because abuse of the earmark process created the "gateway-drug" that allowed backroom deals and bloated budgets), canceling all further spending on the failed Stimulus program, and rolling back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels. You can do more, but this would be a good start.

In order to avert a fiscal disaster, we will also need to check the growth of spending on our entitlement programs. That will be a huge challenge, but it must be confronted head on. We must do it in a humane way that honors the government’s current commitments to our fellow Americans while also keeping faith with future generations. We cannot rob from our children and grandchildren’s tomorrow to pay for our unchecked spending today. Beyond that, we need to reform the way Congress conducts business in order to make it procedurally easier to cut spending than to increase it. We need to encourage zero-based budgeting practices in D.C. like the kind fiscally conservative mayors and governors utilize to balance their budgets and reduce unnecessary spending.

There in the insulated and isolated Beltway you will be far removed from the economic pain felt by so many Americans who are out of work. Please remember that if we want real job growth, we must create a stable investment climate by ending the tidal wave of overly burdensome regulations coming out of Washington. Businesses need certainty – and freedom that incentivizes competition – to grow and expand our workforce.

The last thing our small businesses need is tax hikes. It falls to the current Democrat-controlled Congress to decide on the future of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. If it does not permanently renew all of them, you should move quickly to do so in the new Congress. It would remove from households and businesses the threat of a possible $3.8 trillion tax hike hitting all Americans at the worst possible moment, with our economy struggling to recover from a deep recession! You must continue to remind Democrats that the people they are dismissing as “rich” are the small business owners who create up to 70% of all jobs in this country!

Another issue of vital importance is border security. Americans expect our leadership in Washington to act now to secure our borders. Don’t fall for the claims of those who suggest that we can’t secure our borders until we simultaneously deal with the illegal immigrants already here. Let’s deal with securing the border first. That alone is a huge challenge that has been ignored for far too long.

On foreign policy and national security, I urge you to stick to our principles: strong defense, free trade, nurturing allies, and steadfast opposition to America’s enemies.  We are the most powerful country on earth and the world is better off because of it.  Our president does not seem to understand this. If we withdraw from the world, the world will become a much more dangerous place. You must push President Obama to finish the job right in Iraq and get the job done in Afghanistan, otherwise we who are war-weary will forever question why America’s finest are sent overseas to make the ultimate sacrifice with no clear commitment to victory from those who send them. You should be prepared to stand with the President against Iran’s nuclear aspirations using whatever means necessary to ensure the mullahs in Tehran do not get their hands on nuclear weapons. And you can stand with the Iranian people who oppose the tyrannical rule of the clerics and concretely support their efforts to win their freedom – even if the President does not.

You need to say no to cutting the necessities in our defense budget when we are engaged in two wars and face so many threats – from Islamic extremists to a nuclear Iran to a rising China. As Ronald Reagan said, “We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.” You will also have the opportunity to push job-creating free trade agreements with allies like Colombia and South Korea. You can stand with allies like Israel, not criticize them. You can let the President know what you believe – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, not a settlement. And for those of you joining the United States Senate, don’t listen to desperate politically-motivated arguments about the need for hasty consideration of the “New START” treaty.  Insist on your right to patient and careful deliberation of New START to address very real concerns about verification, missile defense, and modernization of our nuclear infrastructure. No New START in the lame duck!

You can stand against misguided proposals to try dangerous, evil terrorists in the US; precipitously close the Guantanamo prison; and a return to the failed policies of the past in treating the war on terror as a law enforcement problem. Finally, you have a platform to express the support of the American people for all those around the world seeking their freedom that God has bestowed within all mankind’s being – from Burma and Egypt to Russia and Venezuela – because the spread of liberty increases our own security. You, freshmen lawmakers, can and will be powerful voices in support of foreign policies that protect our interests and promote our values! Thank you for being willing to fight for our values and our freedom!

In all this, you should extend a hand to President Obama and Democrats in Congress. After this election, they may finally be prepared to work with Republicans on some of these issues for the good of the country. And if not, we will all be looking forward to 2012.

Remember that some in the media will love you when you stray from the time-tested truths that built America into the most exceptional nation on earth. When the Left in the media pat you on the back, quickly reassess where you are and readjust, for the liberals' praise is a warning bell you must heed. Trust me on that.

I and most Americans are so excited for you. Working together, we have every right to be optimistic about our future. We can be hopeful because real hope lies in the ingenuity, generosity, and boundless courage of the everyday Americans who make our country exceptional. These are the men and women who sent you to Washington. May your work and leadership honor their faith in you.

With sincere congratulations and a big Alaskan heart,

Sarah Palin

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Inhofe on Earmarks: 2008 and 2010


2008: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe cosponsors U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint’s one-year earmark moratorium. (note: Inhofe was running for re-election in 2008)

2010:  U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe is one of the most vehement and public opponents to U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint's two-year earmark moratorium that is identical to the moratorium that House Republicans will put in place once the new GOP majority is sworn in.

Which one is it, Senator? You can't have it both ways.


While we're on the earmarks topic, OUDaily.com had the following graphic on a story today:


Friday, November 12, 2010

General Elections Results - Average Percentage




This is the granddaddy of all of my election results maps: the average percentage graphic. I plugged in all of the vote totals for every statewide race, plus the straight party voting totals, and this is what it came to.

Granted, this does not show results for state legislative and congressional races (although it does have straight party voting for each), but nothing shows the true extent of the GOP tidal wave here in Oklahoma like this map does.

Averaged out, only one county (Coal County) had more Democrat votes than Republican votes. It also shows that the Democrats traditional stronghold of Little Dixie is shrinking rapidly, from all directions.

Voter registration and voting are now trending heavily in the Republicans favor. Oklahoma Democrats, watch out for 2012...

General Election Results - Legislative Straight-Party Voting



This is the map for straight-party voting on state legislative races (State House and State Senate). For other straight-party voting maps, go here for the state-level statewide races, and here for the federal-level races.

This particular map is somewhat deceptive, as not all counties had legislative races (competitive or otherwise), and in many cases only a small portion of the county had a legislative election. For example, Pontotoc County had a grand total of 127 state legislative straight-party votes, while they had 2,850 federal straight-party votes, and 3,101 statewide-office straight-party votes. Take this particular map with a grain of salt.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coburn: Earmark Myths and Realities


U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Muskogee) penned an op-ed on NationalReview.com today, discussing earmarks. In the piece, he states, "As Senate Republicans prepare to vote on an earmark moratorium, I would encourage my colleagues to consider four myths and four realities of the debate."

According to Coburn, the four earmarking myths are:
  • "Eliminating earmarks does not actually save any money."
  • "Earmarks represent a very tiny portion of the federal budget and eliminating them would do little to reduce the deficit."
  • "Earmarking is about whose discretion it is to make spending decisions. Do elected members of Congress decide how taxes are spent, or do unelected bureaucrats and Obama administration officials?"
  • "The Constitution gives Congress the responsibility and authority to earmark."
He addresses each of these common defenses of earmarks, and shares four realities that he sees.
  • Earmarks are a major distraction
  • This debate is over among the American people and the House GOP
  • Earmarking is bad policy
  • Earmarking is bad politics
 I highly encourage you to read Coburn's excellent article by clicking here.

General Election Results - U.S. Senate


General Election Results - State Treasurer




General Election Results - Lt. Governor



General Election Results - State Superintendent


General Election Results - Labor Commissioner


General Election Results - Insurance Commissioner




And yes, Doak and Holland tied at 899 votes apiece in Cotton County.

General Election Results - Federal Straight-Party Voting




This is the map for straight-party voting on federal races (U.S. House and U.S. Senate). Click here for the state-level statewide races.

General Election Results - Attorney General




Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010 Election: State House Makeup

In a follow-up to my State Senate maps post, here is the equivalent for the Oklahoma State House.

Map 1: pre-election

At this point, Republicans hold 62 seats, and Democrats control 39. The next map shows how that changed on Tuesday:

Map 2: GOP gains on Tuesday

The GOP picked up eight seats, to make the State House composition 70 Republicans to 31 Democrats. In 2012, four Republicans are term-limited, as are two Democrats (as denoted by the districts with white lines).

Friday, November 5, 2010

2010/2012 State Senate Races, Illustrated

To illustrate last Tuesday's Republican gains in the State Senate, I've put together three maps. The first shows the break-down of the Senate before Tuesday, the second shows it after Tuesday, and the third shows post-election - with the 2012 districts up for election shown.

The Senate before the election

Composition is 26 Republican seats, 22 Democrat seats. Now for the next map:

The Senate after the election

Composition is now 32 Republicans, and 16 Democrats. The next map:


In 2012, 24 seats are up for grabs: 15 Republican-held and 9 Democrat-held.

The bad news for the Democrats is that all of those 9 districts are east of I-35 -- and all of the 2010 GOP gains were east of I-35. 9 seats is just over half of the current 16-seat Democrat Senate minority.

Judging from how poorly the Democrats did this cycle, and add to that the fact that Barack Obama will be on the ballot, eastern Oklahoma and "Little Dixie" don't look that secure for the ODP.

Rural Gives Republicans the House


This map came from Yonder.com's article, Republicans Win Rural -- and the House. Click here for the entire write-up.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

General Election Results - CD2

A Time for Action

With the new gains in the State House and State Senate last night, Republicans now have an iron grip on the state legislature. The GOP holds 70 of 101 seats in the House, and 32 of 48 seats in the Senate.

Control of the legislature has been transitioning to the Republicans over the past decade, but last night the GOP hit the gas pedal. Democrats now cannot stop any procedure without Republicans joining them. In addition, every statewide office is now held by a Republican.

This means that the GOP is in total control of policy-setting from inception to implementation. This also means that the GOP has no one to blame for failure to follow conservative ideals.

The time has come to stop talking about reforming Oklahoma government; now is the time for action. And let's start with a new House Appropriations & Budget chairman.


I call on incoming Speaker of the House Kris Steele to appoint State Rep. Mike Reynolds as the 2011-2012 Appropriations & Budget Committee chairman.

No one in the State House knows as much about the appropriations process as Mike Reynolds does, and no one is as good a choice for reforming the way things are done. He owes no one, and is not afraid to step on toes to get things accomplished - two valuable traits when it comes to reform.

Reynolds is not owned by any special interest group, or any firm of political consultants. He will be a reformer that will make Oklahoma's budget process much more open, transparent, and accessible - for legislative members and the public alike. Currently, the budget process is decided by a tiny handful of people - the average legislator knows next to nothing about the budget numbers until the actual budget is revealed from behind closed doors. Under the current arrangement, our elected representatives have nothing to do except vote up or down on the final version; they have extremely little to no input on the budget. This must change.

Mr. Speaker, do you want to get rid of waste, fraud and abuse in Oklahoma's budget? A&B Chairman Mike Reynolds, together with State Auditor Gary Jones, will be the best team to accomplish that. Do you really believe that less government means more freedom? A&B Chairman Mike Reynolds will work toward that goal more so than anyone else in that position would. Do you want an A&B Chairman who is not controlled by consultants, lobbyists, unions or other special interest groups? Do you want an A&B Chairman who will stand resolute against corruption, and will expose and end the waste, fraud and abuse that we know exists in our budget? Do you want an A&B Chairman who will resist the all-too-common urge to grow government, and will instead seek to restrain it? If so, State Rep. Mike Reynolds is your man.

Will it make you popular with the powers-that-be who always seek to influence Oklahoma government? No. Will it make you popular with the political consultants who have run the show for years? No. Will it make you popular with bureaucrats and lobbyists? No.

Mr. Speaker, if you truly wish to really reform Oklahoma government… if you want to end the ‘good ole boy’ budget process… if you desire to advance conservatism, then Oklahoma needs you to appoint Mike Reynolds as chairman of the Appropriations & Budget Committee.

Major Pickups for State GOP in Legislature

Republicans picked up SIX seats in the State Senate this evening, with Mark Allen (SD4), Josh Brecheen (SD6), Eddie Fields (SD10), Frank Simpson (SD14), Kim David (SD18) and Ralph Shortey (SD44) expanding the GOP ranks to 32 seats, and knocking the Democrats down to 16.

In the State House, the GOP picked up EIGHT seats, with Rusty Farley (HD1), John Bennett (HD2), Dustin Roberts (HD21), Tom Newell (HD28), Steve Vaughan (HD37), Aaron Stiles (HD45), Tommy Hardin (HD49), Jadine Nollan (HD66) growing the GOP majority to 70, and putting the Democrats at 31 seats.



Of these victorious candidates, the biggest shocker to me is Rusty Farley. Farley ran for this seat in 2008, and lost to Democrat Dennis Bailey 56.7%-43.3%. House District 1 contains (and only contains) McCurtain County in far southeastern Oklahoma. A whopping 11.8% of voters are registered Republicans, and 5.2% are Independents. This time, Farley received 50.83% of the vote against Bailey.

Did I mention that Bailey spent over $20,000 on his reelection bid, while Farley spent.... $70? Yes, Farley spent $70* and won the race.

See, I told you it was a shocker.


* - I have since learned that it was a newspaper ad. A newspaper ad. A, as in one.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election 2010: Democrat Slaughter

No time for anything longer, but this election has proved to be a tremendous slaughter for the Democrats in Oklahoma. Legislators that shouldn't be in trouble are losing. This is incredible.

Election 2010: The First GOP Pickup

The first polls in the nation to close were in Indiana and Kentucky, just over an hour ago. Now, we already have the first of many GOP-steals of the night.


Meet Dan Coats (R-IN) -- the first of the evening's victorious Republican U.S. Senate candidates. This particular seat was vacated by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN).


1 gained, 9 to go to a GOP majority in the Senate...

Election 2010: My Predictions

Election 2010 has finally arrived. All of the door-knocking, pie suppers, campaign signs, robocalls and negative ads are ending in just a few short hours.

The election polls will be shortly replaced with The Actual Election Polls. All of the guessing and predicting and assumptions will be replaced with cold hard facts about who won and who lost. Well, barring another Florida '00/Minnesota '08 recount ordeal.

So, since everyone is issuing their pre-election predictions, I finally have gotten around to posting my own thoughts.

U.S. Senate: Tom Coburn wins with his largest margin ever - and finally wins his home Muskogee County. Coburn takes 70%-75%.
U.S. House, District 1: John Sullivan, facing only an Independent, coasts to re-election, receiving over 80%.
U.S. House, District 2: Dan Boren remains the lone Oklahoma Democrat in Congress, but Charles Thompson rides enough of the anti-Democrat sentiment to keep Boren just under sixty percent. Boren 59%, Thompson 41%.
U.S. House, District 3: Frank Lucas easily wins, gets around 75%.
U.S. House, District 5: James Lankford becomes Oklahoma's newest Congressman. Lankford with just over 60%.
Governor: Mary Fallin wins, albeit with a lower percentage than the polls had shown. Fallin 56%, Askins 44%.
Lieutenant Governor: Todd Lamb beats Kenneth Corn, 58%-39%-3%.
State Auditor: Gary Jones ekes out a win (finally!) - riding the Republican tidal wave to success. Jones with 54%.
Attorney General: Scott Pruitt wins, but with a lower percentage than he would have had if the election were held in September. Pruitt 59%, Priest 41%.
State Superintendent: Janet Barresi holds on to defeat Susan Paddack. 56%-40%-4%.
State Treasurer: Ken Miller wins easily, 65%-35%.
Labor Commissioner: Mark Costello beats incumbent Lloyd Fields, 61%-39%.
Insurance Commissioner: Kim Holland holds on in the closest of the races. Holland 51%, Doak 49%. Holland staves off a GOP sweep of statewide offices.
State House: GOP picks up seven seats (Bennett in HD2, Burmeier in HD18, Roberts in HD21, Smith in HD34, Vaughan in HD37, Stiles in HD45, McKay in HD78). State House now becomes 69-32.
State Senate: GOP gains at least four seats (Brecheen in SD6, Fields in SD10, Simpson in SD14, David in SD18) to make the State Senate 30-18. Possible pickups, or at least close races, in SD8, SD16, and SD44.

SQ744: Fails; 38-62.
SQ746: Passes; 77-23.
SQ747: Passes; 78-22.
SQ748: Passes; 61-39.
SQ750: Passes; 55-45.
SQ751: Passes; 84-16.
SQ752: Passes; 60-40.
SQ754: Fails; 48-52.
SQ755: Passes; 67-33.
SQ756: Passes; 71-29.
SQ757: Passes; 56-44.

And for pure "step-out-on-a-limb"-ness, the anti-politician/incumbent tide sweeps at least one statewide judge out of office. Who knows -- it could happen!

A big story in Oklahoma is the emergence of the GOP in eastern Oklahoma (or rather, as contained in the 2nd Congressional District), as Republicans win three House seats (HD2, HD18 and HD21) and two Senate seats (SD6 and SD18).

U.S. Senate: GOP gains 10 seats (AR, CO, IL, IN, ND, NV, PA, WA, WI, WV), but only after a few weeks of recounts in races like Washington, West Virginia and Nevada. Christine O'Donnell cuts it close, but not close enough. Barbara Boxer manages another win. Linda McMahon is a disappointment for the GOP in Connecticut. GOP leads 51 to 47+2.

U.S. House: GOP takes the House, getting between 55 and 65 new seats.

Governorships: GOP gains 10 governorships (gaining IA, KS, MA, ME, MI, NM, OH, OK, OR, PA, TN, WI, WY and losing HI, MN). Lincoln Chafee (I-RI) wins, so the total is 33 Republicans to 16 Democrats to 1 Independent.


These are my pre-election (and post-midnight!) thoughts; post yours in the comments.

Monday, November 1, 2010

"We're Never Gonna Stand For This"

Pinnell: Our Closing Argument


Our Closing Argument
by Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, our clients have been to your communities, you’ve seen them on television ads, heard them on radio spots, received mailers and phone calls. It is now time to hand down your final verdict.

I’ve argued throughout this trial that there is something more dangerous than a Democrat. And that is a Democrat who campaigns like a conservative, but then legislates like a Democrat when elected. Oklahoma Democrat candidates have been hiding and ducking all cycle. Hiding from their President and his national agenda, and ducking tough questions from you, the jury.

They’ve told you they don’t want to talk about national politics because they want to focus on Oklahoma issues. I’d ask you this- is healthcare reform not an Oklahoma issue? Each Oklahoman will carry the burden of $8,470 in new government spending under Obamacare.

Is immigration reform not an Oklahoma issue? Each year, the Oklahoma prison system spends an estimated $11.7 million to incarcerate illegal criminal immigrants. The costs in other areas such as health, education and other programs top hundreds of millions of dollars.

When the government gets bigger, the people get smaller. Ladies and gentlemen, our federal government is too big. But even worse, it believes it can be all things to all people.

This year the federal budget deficit is projected to climb to $1.3 trillion. Our national debt stands at a whopping $13.6 trillion. The interest that taxpayers pay on the national debt totals more than $20 billion a month.

My clients are talking about these deficits. They're talking about right-sizing government here in Oklahoma, and fighting back against the spending in Washington, D.C.

These races are not about personalities but positions. Not about who loves this state more, because we all love Oklahoma, but who will stand up and fight for this state. It’s time to move past status quo policies that have only resulted in failing grades and instead choose candidates who have presented conservative solutions to the challenges we face as a state and country.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm asking that after you consider all the evidence, you will cast your vote for my clients. It’s a vote for conservative solutions over the failed, liberal status quo policies of the past. My clients have made me proud to work for them, now let them make you proud too.

We rest our case.

If you wish to contact Chairman Pinnell, you can email him at mattpinnell@gmail.com.

Most Important Race: Gary Jones for State Auditor


As fellow bloggers Michael Bates and Ron Black have said, the most important election tomorrow may well be the race for State Auditor.

We really need Gary Jones to win.

He ran for this office in 2002 and 2006, and although he narrowly lost both times, his opponent (Jeff McMahan) is now sitting in jail. Gary is a tremendous corruption hound, and it is largely through his efforts that the Gene Stipe scandal was uncovered, and why Jeff McMahan is now in jail for bribery and corruption charges.

Gary also served the Oklahoma Republican Party with distinction, as chairman from 2003 to 2010. During his tenure, the GOP took the State House and State Senate, and made great gains in rural, traditionally-Democratic Oklahoma.

However, Gary will by no means turn a blind eye to corrupt Republicans while in office. Gary will actively go after anyone who is corrupt, regardless of party. Our state government desperately needs an Auditor who will vigorously shake this state up, and root out wrong-doing.

Gary is a Certified Public Accountant, and a Certified Fraud Examiner. He is eminently qualified for this position, and could prove to be Oklahoma's best State Auditor in history if elected.

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., had this to say about Gary:
Gary Jones is the watchdog Oklahoma voters need as our next State Auditor and Inspector.  When it comes to exposing fraud and corruption in state government, Gary has proven himself to be up to the task.

Gary Jones understands that just as important as exposing corruption, we must also address the issues of waste, duplication and inefficiencies in our state.  Oklahoma citizens work too hard to see their tax dollars wasted.

Gary knows that we must make tough decisions today if we expect to give our children and grandchildren the same opportunities we were given by our parents and grandparents.

Please join me today in supporting Gary Jones, CPA, for Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector."   - U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D.
Ron Black said "Bean-counting is a turn-off for most of us who have long ago thrown away our pocket protectors, but it is the State Auditor and Inspector who will hold the keys to good, conservative and accountable government over the next four years.  Accountability in government has been one of the critical elements we have lacked in Oklahoma and there really is only one man for the job - Gary Jones.  [...]  The role of the Auditor is to do just that and as a private citizen, he has found more corruption than the elected officials who have held that post.  [...]  Those who know Gary know that he is an equal opportunity destroyer where corruption is concerned."

Michael Bates posted "[Gary Jones] has the intellectual firepower to look at a financial statement and to know where to start digging. He has the persistence to keep digging in the face of resistance. In fact, he knows that resistance means you've found the right place to dig. Gary Jones has the courage to step on toes when he needs too, even when those toes belong to fellow Republicans."

Although the other races on the ballot are each important, I think the race for State Auditor is THE most important, and no one is better for this job than Gary Jones.

You can learn more about Gary and his campaign by visiting his website at www.JonesAuditor.com. He is also on Twitter (@JonesAuditor) and Facebook.
 
[modified from the original post on July 16th]

10... 9... 8...

Countdown To ELECTION DAY...

The Conservative View: Paychecks and Payment Books

This week's Conservative View, by Adair County Commissioner and conservative activist Russell Turner (R-Stilwell).

The Conservative View
by Russell Turner

Paychecks and Payment Books

We Americans have become a people that, for the most part doesn’t ask what something costs but rather how much our payments will be. Whenever we want to purchase something we want to know if our paycheck is large enough to cover the additional payments that will be required for the new purchase. When I was growing up most of my neighbors, like my parents, tried to avoid going into debt for anything. Many of them lived through the great depression and knew firsthand the pitfalls of being in debt. They understood that anything that you owe for can potentially belong to someone else if you fail to make the monthly payment. I can remember one of my grandfathers telling the story about the time during the depression that he almost lost his home because he owed a small amount of money on it and the payment was due and he had no job or cash to make his payment; fortunately he had a friend that was able to loan him the funds to save his home. Making payments based upon what your paycheck is can be a risky form of economics. Even in the best of times there can be downturns that can cause any of us to be without an income for a period of time.

Borrowing money is always a risk but it can be necessary for economies and business to grow. I was raised to save a nest egg and to have a substantial down payment then borrow the rest. The point that I am trying to make is, while debt can be necessary, we need to be cautious when borrowing. I believe that our government should exercise the same cautions that any good businessman would use in his business.

How would you feel if your grandparents, when they were young, could purchase items on credit and delay the payments for their grandchildren to pay? Any logical person would not think that would be a good idea, especially if he or she was the grandchild that had the inherited responsibility to pay for their grandparents spending spree. If we would only take the time to look at what is going on with our national spending, we are doing the exact thing to future generations of Americans.

It was Thomas Jefferson that said, “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes”. We Americans will be voting on November 2nd for the people to run our government, I urge you to choose the ones who understand the proper use of paychecks and payment books.     
If you wish to contact Russell Turner, or want to subscribe to his email loop, email him at rdrepublican@windstream.net.