Thursday, December 30, 2010

News9 chopper blows stranded calf off of icy pond


From News9.com:

WATONGA, Oklahoma -- SkyNews9 and pilot Mason Dunn came to the rescue once again for a stranded animal; this time for a calf stuck on the ice.

A rancher near Watonga called News 9 for help after his calf became stuck in the middle of an iced-over pond. Howard and Joan Hursh said they remembered seeing Mason rescue an animal years ago that was stranded on the ice, but couldn't believe he flew out to Watonga to save their calf.

Mason used the wind from the helicopter's rotor blades to push the calf back to safety. The ice eventually cracked, but the wind from the blades was enough to get the struggling calf back to shore.

This is the second time Mason and SkyNews9 have helped save an animal stuck on the ice. A few years ago, Mason received national recognition when he used the helicopter to push a deer back to solid ground.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pinnell, Dunn Endorse Reince Priebus for RNC Chair


Wisconsin GOP Chairman and RNC Chair candidate Reince Priebus picked up two of Oklahoma's three Republican National Committee votes, as State GOP Chairman Matt Pinnell and National Committeeman James Dunn endorsed Priebus.






State Chairman Matt Pinnell: "We have a number of qualified candidates for RNC Chair - but at the end of the day I was most comfortable with Reince's qualifications and vision for the RNC. Reince is a Young Gun GOP rising star, and represents the best and the future of this Party."





National Committeeman James Dunn: "Reince Priebus has consistently demonstrated his ability and desire to work with all Republicans with differing views to find the common ground required for the RNC to achieve victory in 2012.  Reince has a long history of leading his state party to record election victories and organizational fund raising while upholding the integrity and honor of Republican values.  His commitment to lead with a servant's heart convinces me that Reince Priebus is the right Republican for the 2012 campaign cycle as RNC Chairman."



Currently, National Committeewoman Carolyn McLarty is undeclared as to her support.

According to National Journal's Hotline On Call blog, Priebus leads the field of six candidates in public commitments thus far with 22. Current chairman Michael Steele is in second place with 12 commitments. It takes 85 votes to win the election; last time, it took six rounds of voting to whittle the candidates down enough for Michael Steele to emerge as victor.

Watch Priebus' YouTube candidacy announcement video here:



Sunday, December 26, 2010

Coburn: 'Apocalyptic pain' if debt is not brought under control

My friend Larry Jackson of Political Realities posted this video of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Muskogee) on Fox News Sunday, discussing the danger that our national debt poses to America's fiscal future. I recommend watching the interview.



Side note: I think Dr. Coburn's new beard is growing on me...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

First, a bit of Christmas music. I heard this piece on Classical 88.7FM KWTU, my favorite non-talk radio station. The song is by Benjamin Britten, and is titled Men of Goodwill (variations on the old carol God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen).





Next, in the poll we conducted on which greeting my readers preferred for this time of year, Merry Christmas was the overwhelming winner at 90%. Happy Holidays came in second at 8%, and Seasons Greetings was last with 2%.

Lastly, I will conclude with the text from the Gospel of Luke of the very first Christmas:


And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

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

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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Faces on State House Committees


There are a lot of fresh faces on the 26 different Committees and Appropriations Subcommittees in the State House this year, and that's not just because 21 of the 101 state representatives are newly-elected freshmen.

An analysis shows that retention of committee memberships from the last legislative session to this upcoming session (excluding two new committees and the 2011 freshmen) ranged from a high of 73% to a low of 20%. On average, 46% of committee members from the 2009-2010 term were re-appointed.

House Speaker Kris Steele's stated purpose in assigning committee memberships was to "match members to committees in a way that will best utilize each legislator's gifts and talents."

Two committees that did not exist last term were formed for this term: Insurance, and Long-term Care & Senior Services. Two committees were formed by merging committees, and one Appropriations subcommittee was split into two.

When freshmen are taken out of the equation, the retention rate is as follows:

Public Health: 73%
Energy & Utility Regulation: 72%
Veterans & Military Affairs: 70%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources & Regulatory Services: 70%
Agriculture, Wildlife & Environment: 69%
General Government: 67%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Education: 67%
Common Education: 64%
Higher Education & Career Tech: 50%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Health & Social Services: 50%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety: 50%
Appropriations & Budget: 47%
Economic Development, Tourism & Financial Services: 45%
Human Services: 45%
Judiciary: 43%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services: 43%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Judiciary: 43% 
Public Safety: 38%
Government Modernization: 30%
Appropriations Subcommittee on Revenue & Taxation: 30%
Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government & Transportation: 25%
Transportation: 23% 
Rules: 23%
Administrative Rules & Government Oversight: 20%

On the 24 committees that carried over, 11 chairmen and 6 vice-chairmen were retained. 2 chairmen and 6 vice-chairmen were demoted, but stayed on the committee, while 4 vice-chairs were promoted to chair. 7 new chairmen and 13 new vice-chairmen were placed on committees they were not previously members of.

Committee-by-committee details after the jump.

Terrill Comments on Bribery Charges


Embattled State Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore) made his first public comments regarding bribery charges filed against him by Oklahoma County DA David Prater. The following press release was issued today.

 Terrill Comments on Bribery Charges

Democrat District Attorney David Prater has charged me with offering a “bribe” to induce Senator Debbie Leftwich to withdraw as a candidate from a political contest. [1] He charged me despite the fact that Senator Leftwich never filed as a candidate [2] it was impossible for her to withdraw from an election she never entered [3] and in the 21 page "Affidavit of Probable Cause" hasn't offered a shred of evidence that I ever made an offer to give her anything.

The preceding filed against me is purely a political take-out maneuver without any factual or legal justification.  I am innocent, I’ve done nothing improper, and I'm confident I will be exonerated.  But the whole point of filing the charge is simply to damage me politically, and I seriously doubt there is even an expectation that it will succeed as a matter of law.  For my opponents, however, if they can abuse the process by forcing me to take a mug shot for the front page of the Oklahoman, then they will sadly consider that a victory.

Merry Christmas, best wishes always and God bless!

For The Republic,

Rep. Randy Terrill

----------

[1] 26 O.S. Sec. 16-107 of Oklahoma’s Election Code prevents giving a thing of value to a “candidate” to “withdraw” from an election.
[2] 26 O.S. Sec. 5-101 of Oklahoma’s Election Code defines a candidate as person who has filed a Declaration of Candidacy.
[3] 26 O.S. Sec. 5-115 of Oklahoma’s Election Code details the specific time, manner, and procedure that allows a candidate to withdraw his candidacy.  These requirements are not synonymous with simply failing to file a Declaration of Candidacy.

# # #

Coburn Endorses Greg Treat in SD47


Dr. Coburn endorses Greg Treat for State Senate
Says Treat is “committed to limited government, passionate about pro-life issues, and dedicated to making Oklahoma a better place to work…”

(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today announced his endorsement of Greg Treat to be Oklahoma’s next State Senator for District 47.

“In the special election for Senate District 47 on January 11, I am proud to endorse Greg Treat for Senate,” Dr. Coburn said.  “Greg Treat has worked with me for several years and I know he is committed to limited government, passionate about pro-life issues, and dedicated to making Oklahoma a better place to work and raise our families.

“The voters of Senate District 47 can trust that Greg Treat has the courage and integrity to fight wasteful spending, hold politicians and bureaucrats accountable to taxpayers, and do what is right and best for the long term future of our state,” Dr. Coburn said.  "On Tuesday, January 11, I encourage the voters of Senate District 47 to elect Greg Treat to the Oklahoma State Senate."

Greg Treat welcomed Dr. Coburn’s endorsement today, saying, “I am proud to receive the endorsement of Dr. Tom Coburn in my candidacy to represent the voters of Senate District 47 at the State Capitol. I have worked side by side with Dr. Coburn over the years and admire his principled, uncompromising approach to life and politics. I am humbled by his support and will continue working hard to bring that same principled approach to the State Capitol while representing the people of Senate District 47.”

Greg Treat is a dedicated Christian, a devoted husband and father, and a lifelong conservative Republican who is working hard to be Oklahoma’s next state senator. As state Senator, Greg will focus on creating the best business environment possible in Oklahoma to help grow Oklahoma’s economy and create jobs. Greg has vowed to be a watchdog for Oklahoma taxpayers, sniffing out wasteful spending in the state budget.

A special election will be held on January 11, 2011 to elect the next State Senator for District 47.

For more information on Greg Treat, please visit: www.gregtreat.com.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

UK Islamic ad campaign: "The Evils of Christmas"


A Muslim group in the United Kingdom has distributed thousands of the above posters in time for Christmas.

The kicker is the last paragraph...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Steele Announces House Committee Assignments

Speaker-elect Announces House Committee Assignments

 OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele today announced committee assignments for the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions.

"Although Oklahoma faces significant challenges this year, I am confident the members of the House are more than up to the task," said Steele, R-Shawnee. "I appreciate each member’s willingness to serve and, after careful consideration, believe we have matched members to committees in a way that will best utilize each legislator’s gifts and talents."

The committee assignments for the Oklahoma House of Representatives are as follows:

Appropriations & Budget
Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, Chair
Scott Martin, R-Norman, Vice-Chair
Don Armes, R-Faxon                                   
Lisa Billy, R-Purcell
Gus Blackwell, R-Goodwell
Doug Cox, R-Grove
David Dank, R-Oklahoma City
Lee Denney, R-Cushing
Dale DeWitt, R-Braman
Guy Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City
Ron Peters, R-Tulsa
Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa
Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah
Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs
Chuck Hoskin, D-Vinita
Jerry McPeak, D-Warner
Purcy Walker, D-Elk City


Human Services
Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, Chair
Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, Vice-Chair
Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City                                              
Skye McNiel, R-Bristow
Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie
Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City
Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs
Ron Peters, R-Tulsa
Harold Wright, R-Weatherford
Donnie Condit, D-McAlester
Wade Rousselot, D-Okay
Seneca Scott, D-Tulsa
Ben Sherrer, D-Pryor


Government Modernization
Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, Chair
Wes Hilliard, D-Sulphur, Vice-Chair
David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow                      
Josh Cockroft, R-McLoud
David Derby, R-Owasso
Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa
Lewis Moore, R-Edmond
Aaron Stiles, R-Norman
Randy Terrill, R-Moore
John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow
Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City
Seneca Scott, D-Tulsa
Purcy Walker, D-Elk City


Higher Education & Career Tech
Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, Chair
Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs, Vice-Chair
Dennis Casey, R-Morrison
Marian Cooksey, R-Edmond
Lee Denney, R-Cushing
Elise Hall, R-Oklahoma City
Scott Martin, R-Norman
Lewis Moore, R-Edmond
Tom Newell, R-Seminole
Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City
Phil Richardson, R-Minco
T. W. Shannon, R-Lawton
Randy Terrill, R-Moore
Harold Wright, R-Weatherford
Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City
Anastasia Pittman, D-Oklahoma City
Emily Virgin, D-Norman
Cory Williams, D-Stillwater


General Government
Dennis Johnson, R-Duncan, Chair
Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City, Vice Chair
Lisa Billy, R-Purcell                                     
Elise Hall, R-Oklahoma City
Charlie Joyner, R-Midwest City
Guy Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City
Scott Martin, R-Norman
Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville
Dustin Roberts, R-Durant
Randy Terrill, R-Moore
Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa
Donnie Condit, D-McAlester
Larry Glenn, D-Miami
Wade Rousselot, D-Okay
Jerry Shoemake, D-Morris


Energy & Utility Regulation
John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow, Chair
Mike Jackson, R-Enid, Vice-Chair
Don Armes, R-Faxon                                               
David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow                      
Marian Cooksey, R-Edmond
Lee Denney, R-Cushing
Dennis Johnson, R-Duncan
Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa
Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville
Skye McNiel, R-Bristow
Charles Ortega, R-Altus
Ron Peters, R-Tulsa
Marty Quinn, R-Claremore
Todd Russ, R-Cordell
Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher
Colby Schwartz, R-Yukon
T. W. Shannon, R-Lawton
Weldon Watson, R-Tulsa
Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore
Wes Hilliard, D-Sulphur
Scott Inman, D-Del City
Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs
Jerry McPeak, D-Warner
Danny Morgan, D-Prague
Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa
Wade Rousselot, D-Okay
Ben Sherrer, D-Pryor


Public Health
John Enns, R-Enid, Chair
David Derby, R-Owasso, Vice-Chair
Doug Cox, R-Grove                                    
Randy Grau, R-Edmond
Corey Holland, R-Marlow
Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs
Ron Peters, R-Tulsa
Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow
Sean Roberts, R-Hominy
Colby Schwartz, R-Yukon
Ed Cannaday, D-Porum
Wes Hilliard, D-Sulphur
Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City
Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa


Administrative Rules and Government Oversight
George Faught, R-Muskogee, Chair
Purcy Walker, D-Elk City, Vice-Chair
Gary Banz, R-Midwest City                                                
David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow
Charles Key, R-Oklahoma City
Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa
Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa
Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City
Weldon Watson, R-Tulsa
Will Fourkiller, D-Stilwell                                       
Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City
Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City


Veterans & Military Affairs
Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, Chair
Lewis Moore, R-Edmond, Vice-Chair
Gary Banz, R-Midwest City                                                 
John Bennett, R-Sallisaw
Ann Coody, R-Lawton
Randy McDaniel, R-Edmond
John Enns, R-Enid
Rusty Farley, R-Haworth
Dustin Roberts, R-Hominy
Aaron Stiles, R-Norman
Chuck Hoskin, D-Vinita                                          
Scott Inman, D-Del City
Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa
Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo


Judiciary
Fred Jordan, R-Jenks, Chair
Colby Schwartz, R-Yukon, Vice-Chair
Gus Blackwell, R-Goodwell                                    
Marian Cooksey, R-Edmond
Randy Grau, R-Edmond
Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa
Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa
Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle
Aaron Stiles, R-Norman
Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa
Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa
Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore
Scott Inman, D-Del City
Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City
Ben Sherrer, D-Pryor
Emily Virgin, D-Norman
Cory Williams, D-Stillwater


Transportation
T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, Chair
Charlie Joyner, R-Midwest City, Vice-Chair
Josh Cockroft, R-McLoud                                       
Rusty Farley, R-Haworth
George Faught, R-Muskogee
Randy Grau, R-Edmond
Elise Hall, R-Oklahoma City
Tommy Hardin, R-Madill
Guy Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City
Scott Martin, R-Norman
Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie
Phil Richardson, R-Minco
Sean Roberts, R-Hominy
Todd Thomsen, R-Ada
Harold Wright, R-Weatherford
Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah               
Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs
James Lockhart, D-Heavener
Jerry McPeak, D-Warner
Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa


Public Safety
Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa, Chair
Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville, Vice-Chair
John Bennett, R-Sallisaw                                         
Josh Cockroft, R-McLoud
Doug Cox, R-Grove
Tommy Hardin, R-Madill
Fred Jordan, R-Jenks
Charlie Joyner, R-Midwest City
Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore
Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa
Todd Thomsen, R-Ada
Steve Vaughan, R-Ponca City
Ed Cannaday, D-Porum
Chuck Hoskin, D-Vinita
Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City
Brian Renegar, D-McAlester
Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo


Agriculture, Wildlife & Environment
Phil Richardson, R-Minco, Chair
Todd Russ, R-Cordell, Vice-Chair
John Bennett, R-Sallisaw                                         
Lisa Billy, R-Purcell
Dennis Casey, R-Morrison
John Enns, R-Enid
Rusty Farley, R-Haworth
Tommy Hardin, R-Madill
Mike Jackson, R-Enid
Tom Newell, R-Seminole
Charles Ortega, R-Altus
Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle
Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher
Steve Vaughan, R-Ponca City
Larry Glenn, D-Miami                                             
Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs
James Lockhart, D-Heavener
R. C. Pruett, D-Antlers
Brian Renegar, D-McAlester
Jerry Shoemake, D-Morris


Common Education
Ann Coody, R-Lawton, Chair
Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa, Vice-Chair
Gus Blackwell, R-Goodwell                                    
Dennis Casey, R-Morrison
Doug Cox, R-Grove
Corey Holland, R-Marlow
Fred Jordan, R-Jenks
Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City
Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City
Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs
Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore
Dustin Roberts, R-Durant
Ed Cannaday, D-Porum
Donnie Condit, D-McAlester
Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa
Emily Virgin, D-Norman


Rules
Gary Banz, R-Midwest City, Chair
Weldon Watson, R-Tulsa, Vice-Chair
Don Armes, R-Faxon                                    
David Dank, R-Oklahoma City
Dennis Johnson, R-Duncan
Guy Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City
Randy McDaniel, R-Edmond
Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa
Marty Quinn, R-Claremore
John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow
Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs
Larry Glenn, D-Miami
Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City
Seneca Scott, D-Tulsa
Cory Williams, D-Stillwater


Insurance
Charles Key, R-Oklahoma City, Chair
Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa, Vice-Chair
Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City                                       
David Dank, R-Oklahoma City
Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa
Marty Quinn, R-Claremore
Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow
Sean Roberts, R-Hominy
Steve Vaughan, R-Ponca City
Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs          
Danny Morgan, D-Prague
Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City
Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa


Economic Development, Tourism & Financial Services
Randy McDaniel, R-Edmond, Chair
Charles Ortega, R-Altus, Vice-Chair
Don Armes, R-Faxon                                               
Lee Denney, R-Cushing
George Faught, R-Muskogee
Corey Holland, R-Marlow
Mike Jackson, R-Enid
Charles Key, R-Oklahoma City
Skye McNiel, R-Bristow
Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa
Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle
Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore
Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City
Todd Russ, R-Cordell
Dan Sullivan, R-Tulsa
Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah                           
Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City
Danny Morgan, D-Prague
Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City
Anastasia Pittman, D-Oklahoma City
Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City


Long-term Care & Senior Services
Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, Chair
R.C. Pruett, D-Antlers, Vice-Chair
Lisa Billy, R-Purcell 
Gus Blackwell, R-Goodwell
Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City
Ann Coody, R-Lawton
David Dank, R-Oklahoma City
Tom Newell, R-Seminole
Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow
Ed Cannaday, D-Porum
Will Fourkiller, D-Stilwell
James Lockhart, D-Heavener


Appropriations Subcommittee on Revenue & Taxation
David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, Chair
Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore, Vice-Chair
Mike Jackson, R-Enid                                  
Steve Martin, R-Bartlesville
Tom Newell, R-Seminole
Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City
Todd Russ, R-Cordell
Weldon Watson, R-Tulsa
Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah
Anastasia Pittman, D-Oklahoma City
R. C. Pruett, D-Antlers


Appropriations Subcommittee on Education
Lee Denney, R-Cushing, Chair
Corey Holland, R-Marlow, Vice-Chair
Gary Banz, R-Midwest City
Dennis Casey, R-Morrison
Ann Coody, R-Lawton
Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City
Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs
Marty Quinn, R-Claremore
Todd Thomsen, R-Ada
Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa
Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa
Cory Williams, D-Stillwater


Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government & Transportation
Guy Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City, Chair
Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, Vice-Chair
George Faught, R-Muskogee                                   
Dennis Johnson, R-Duncan
Charles Key, R-Oklahoma City
Randy McDaniel, R-Edmond
Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie
T. W. Shannon, R-Lawton
Randy Terrill, R-Moore
Larry Glenn, D-Miami
Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa
Seneca Scott, D-Tulsa


Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Health & Social Services
Doug Cox, R-Grove, Chair
Marian Cooksey, R-Edmond, Vice-Chair
Josh Cockroft, R-McLoud                                       
David Derby, R-Owasso
Lewis Moore, R-Edmond
Glen Mulready, R-Tulsa
Sean Roberts, R-Hominy
Colby Schwartz, R-Yukon
Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore
Will Fourkiller, D-Stilwell                                       
Rebecca Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City
Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City


Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services
Ron Peters, R-Tulsa, Chair
Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, Vice-Chair
Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa                                             
Elise Hall, R-Oklahoma City
Dustin Roberts, R-Durant
Sue Tibbs, R-Tulsa
Steve Vaughan, R-Ponca City
Brian Renegar, D-McAlester
Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa
Anastasia Pittman, D-Oklahoma City


Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources & Regulatory Services
Don Armes, R-Faxon, Chair
Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle, Vice-Chair
John Enns, R-Enid                                       
Rusty Farley, R-Haworth
Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa
Skye McNiel, R-Bristow
Charles Ortega, R-Altus
Phil Richardson, R-Minco
Brian Renegar, D-McAlester                       
Jerry Shoemake, D-Morris
Purcy Walker, D-Elk City


Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety
Lisa Billy, R-Purcell, Chair
Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, Vice-Chair
John Bennett, R-Sallisaw                                         
David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow
Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City
Tommy Hardin, R-Madill
Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher
Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs
Donnie Condit, D-McAlester
Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo


Appropriations Subcommittee on Judiciary
Gus Blackwell, R-Goodwell, Chair
Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, Vice-Chair
Randy Grau, R-Edmond                                         
Charlie Joyner, R-Midwest City
John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow
Fred Jordan, R-Jenks
Aaron Stiles, R-Norman
Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City
Ben Sherrer, D-Pryor
Emily Virgin, D-Norman

Monday, December 20, 2010

RNC Chair Race Update

As the election for Republican National Committee chair gets closer, the picture as to who will be chairman for the 2012 election cycle is beginning to form.

Currently, there are six candidates in the running: current RNC Chairman Michael Steele, former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, former RNC Co-Chair Ann Wagner, Party chairman Reince Priebus, former Bush administration official Maria Cino and former RNC political director Gentry Collins. Steele and Anuzis were candidates in the last RNC chair election (2009).

According to NationalJournal.com's Hotline on Call blog, this is the current tally of plegded votes for each candidate. Only members of the Republican National Commitee (three per state/territory) can vote in the chair election.

Reince Priebus - 16
Michael Steele - 12
Saul Anuzis - 10
Ann Wagner - 10
Maria Cino - 3
Gentry Collins - 2
Undeclared - 115
[Steele and Priebus do not have a website that I could find]

The Daily Caller and Americans for Tax Reform will be hosting a debate with the candidates on Monday, January 3rd at 1pm EST.

Coburn Releases "Wastebook 2010" Report

 
Dr. Coburn Releases New Oversight Report:“Wastebook 2010: A Guide to Some of the Most Wasteful Government Spending of 2010”

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today released a new oversight report, “Wastebook 2010” that highlights some of the most egregious examples of government waste in 2010.

“As 2010 ends, millions of Americans are still struggling to find work. Even those lucky enough to have jobs have had to tighten their belts. Yet, Congress continues to find new and extravagant ways to waste tax dollars. In today’s economy, we can’t afford to spend nearly $2 million to showcase neon signs no longer in use at Las Vegas Casinos, nor can Congress and federal agencies afford to spend nearly $1 billion a year on unnecessary printing costs,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Our national debt is the greatest threat to our national security according to our own military leaders,” Dr. Coburn added. “Well-intentioned people across the political spectrum will argue about the best way to get us back on track. But we can all agree that cutting wasteful and low priority spending from the budget is not only sensible, but essential.”

“I hope this report will give taxpayers and concerned citizens the information they need to hold Washington accountable. As dysfunctional as our politics can seem, our system still works when ordinary citizens get informed and engaged,” Dr. Coburn said.

Examples of wasteful spending highlighted in “Wastebook 2010” include:

  • The city of Las Vegas has received a $5.2 million federal grant to build the Neon Boneyard Park and Museum, including $1.8 million in 2010. For over the last decade, Museum supporters have gathered and displayed over 150 old Las Vegas neon signs, such as the Golden Nugget and Silver Slipper casinos.
  • The National Science Foundation provided more than to $200,000 to a study of why political candidates make vague statements.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spends $175 million every year to maintain hundreds of buildings it does not use, including a pink, octagonal monkey house in Dayton, Ohio.
  • Medicare paid out over $35 million to a vast network of 118 “phantom” medical clinics, allegedly established by members of a criminal gang to submit phony reimbursement claims.
  • The Government Printing Office (GPO) is using a “video game space mouse” (and nearly $60,000 in taxpayer funds) to teach children the history of printing.
  • In July, nearly half a million taxpayer dollars went to the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, where wine tasting and castle tours were among the events planned for the conference participants.
  • The Internal Revenue Service paid out $112 million in undeserved tax refunds to prisoners who filed fraudulent returns, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
  • The National Science Foundation directed nearly a quarter million dollars to a Stanford University professor’s study of how Americans use the Internet to find love.
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) took the term “cold case” to a new level in 2010. The agency spent over $20,000 in taxpayer money “to unravel the anonymity of a 2,500-year-old mummy.”
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent nearly $442,340 million to study the number of male prostitutes in Vietnam and their social setting.
  • This year, taxpayers forked over $60,000 for the “first-of-its kind” promotion of the Vidalia onion in conjunction with the movie, Shrek Forever After. ”
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded over $600,000 to the Minnesota Zoo to create a wolf “avatar” video game called “WolfQuest.”
  • A $700,000 federal grant paid for researchers to examine “greenhouse gas emission from organic dairies, which are cause by cow burps, among other things.”
Click here for the full report.

Click here for a video clip of "Wastebook 2010" exclusively covered on Good Morning America.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Feds force Payne County Bank to remove Bible verse, crosses, Merry Christmas buttons

From KOCO News:
PERKINS, Okla. -- A small-town bank in Oklahoma said the Federal Reserve won’t let it keep religious signs and symbols on display.

Federal Reserve examiners come every four years to make sure banks are complying with a long list of regulations. The examiners came to Perkins last week. And the team from Kansas City deemed a Bible verse of the day, crosses on the teller’s counter and buttons that say "Merry Christmas, God With Us." were inappropriate. The Bible verse of the day on the bank's Internet site also had to be taken down.
Read the rest of the story on KOCO.com.

For those who want to take action, call the Federal Reserve Consumer Line at 1-888-851-1920 or submit an online complaint at www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Poll: Which Late-December Greeting?



Given the now-perennial controversy over which greeting to use around this time of year, I have posted a poll for my readers.

Do you prefer "Seasons Greetings", "Happy Holidays", or "Merry Christmas"?  Vote on the right sidebar!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Inhofe Earmarks $44.7M in End-of-Year Omnibus


As the Democrats try to pass an end-of-year Omnibus spending bill, Senators are larding up the bloated, $1.1 trillion dollar measure with earmarks. Sen. Tom Coburn's office has done a great job of exposing the vast amount of earmarks in the bill (over 6,700 earmarks) - with a database viewable here.

As usual, there is a great deal of difference between Oklahoma's two Republican senators. Dr. Coburn requested zero earmarks, while Sen. Inhofe's name appears on 42 separate earmarks. Inhofe's earmark requests total over $44.7 million.

Inhofe's earmarks range from a "green fuels" project at TU, to equipment for various medical facilities across the state, to Department of Defense spending. One of his earmarks even deals with the Tulsa river development project that Tulsa voters rejected, and which the state legislature attempted to fund through a bond (first ruled to be unconstitutional logrolling, then passed again in 2009 as a stand-alone measure).

I guess the lesson is if the local voters reject something, get the state -- or even better -- the federal government to pay for it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

And It Begins: First Presidential Primary Debates Announced


Get ready - the 2012 Presidential election is almost upon us!

Yes, the first Republican primary debates have already been announced. Nancy Reagan made public last month plans for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation to hold a debate in the spring of 2011, co-hosted by Politico and NBC News.

Today, CNN and the New Hampshire Union Leader announced that they will host a debate on June 7th, 2011, for the Republican candidates.

Along those lines, I'd like to point out that the old Race42008 blog has re-launched, now called Race42012.com (also affiliated with RightOSphere.com). R4'12 was a top site for news on the Presidential election, from the beginning of the primary. You will want to bookmark this site for Presidential primary information.

Monday, December 13, 2010

BREAKING: Federal Judge Rules ObamaCare Unconstitutional



Breaking: Federal judge in Virginia declares that ObamaCare is unconstitutional.

Eastern Virginia U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson is the first judge to rule against the legislation. This particular lawsuit was filed by Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and challenged the individual mandate found in the bill.

It is expected that ObamaCare will go all the way to the Supreme Court, but this is a victory nonetheless.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

OKC Mall 'Flash' Mob Sings 'Hallelujah'

In a more local continuation of this Christmas season's nationwide phenomenon/fad, a large (somewhat organized) "flash mob" sang G.F. Handel's Hallelujah at Oklahoma City's Quail Springs Mall this afternoon.


Hallelujah (often, and erroneously, called Hallelujah Chorus) happens to be my favorite song of all time, and although it technically wasn't originally a Christmas song, having been placed by Handel in the section of his Messiah oratorio dealing with Christ's resurrection and triumph over death, it has become associated with this season in recent years.

A cursory glance at YouTube shows that similar events quite have literally taken place all across the United States and Canada in the past few weeks (Seattle, Syracuse, Vancouver, Toledo, Regina, to name a few).

I'm thrilled that thousands of people, both at these events and across the globe via the internet and other forms of media, have been exposed not only to truly great music by these "flash mobs", but to the powerful message contained in the song: the sovereignty and power of Christ, and the praise duly owed him.

And for that, I say Hallelujah!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Lucas Lands Agriculture Chairmanship


U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) has been confirmed as the next chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. The 3rd District congressman, a lifelong farmer/rancher, will be the first ever Oklahoman to chair the committee.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sen. Coburn speaks on Senate floor about debt crisis

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Muskogee) gave the following speech on the floor of the Senate yesterday.

Part One:


Part Two:



Script:

Mr. President, I hope the American people are watching Washington right now. We are at a defining moment in our country. There is not anybody in this body who does not recognize that our country is on an unsustainable course. They know it. It is well known. The world knows it. We can argue about how close we are to the debt crisis and the liquidity crisis, but no one disputes that one is coming. We just don't know when. Yet in the next 2 weeks Congress is going to make that problem $1 trillion worse.

We can say that a lot of what we are doing is the right thing to do, but what we are not doing is addressing the real issues that need to be accompanied by grownups as we look at this. What should the American people make of this? It is kind of like we are on the Titanic here in America and everybody is saying: The bar is open, we will just have a party the next 2 weeks. We are going to spend another $900 billion or we are going to set it up so that it can be spent.

I do not often agree with a columnist by the name of Thomas Friedman, but he has a column today that I think everyone in our collective body should read. It is aptly titled ``Still Digging.'' Here, he writes: Given where we need to go, this tax deal--this tax deal, opportunity scholarship deal, unemployment deal, tax holiday deal--is just another shot of morphine to a country that needs to do things that are big and hard and still only wants to do things that are easy and small. He concludes: Economics is not war. It can be win- win. So it can be good for the world if China is doing better, but it can't be good for America if, every time we come to a hard choice, we borrow more money from a country that is not just outsaving and outhustling us but is also starting to outeducate us. We need a plan.

I couldn't agree with him more. I was part of the deficit commission, taken a lot of criticism for saying we needed to have that debate on the Senate floor. I still think we need to have that debate on the Senate floor. But this body will not even agree about having a debate about having a plan.

Last week, the members of the debt commission refused to even debate the plan--the Members refused to even debate the plan in Congress. We didn't get 14 out of 18 votes; we only got 11.

I wish to congratulate Senator Durbin, Senator Conrad, Senator Crapo, and Senator Gregg for their efforts on that commission. You see, they think we need a plan. Senator Conrad had a wonderful statement about it. He said this: The only thing that is worse than being for this plan is being against it. What he was really addressing is the fact that we are not willing to make the hard choices. We will not come together and do what is best for America. What we will do is just take another shot of morphine, drink another drink on the Titanic, and hope that somehow it gets better.

The fact is, we already have a debt commission. It is called the U.S. Congress. That is why I voted initially against the debt commission. I spent 8 months, had a full-time staffer working on that commission for the last 8 months. We are the debt commission. We have to have a plan to avert the catastrophe that is in front of us.

America needs to know it is urgent. It is not something that can wait a year. We are going to have a major liquidity crisis, and we are also going to have a major interest rate crisis. Nobody knows when it comes. But the one thing we do know is that if we don't have a plan, we will no longer control our ability to get out of our problem; the people who own our debt will control how we get out of our problem.

So if, in fact, we want to hand over our responsibility in the Senate to the bondholders of the world, then we should continue to not have a plan. But if, in fact, we want to embrace the oath we were given, then we should have a plan.

As we debate over the next 2 weeks coming up to Christmas, part of that debate has to be whether we are grown up enough to recognize that the party is over and that we better start bailing water, we better form the line, the bucket brigade; otherwise, we are going to go down with the ship.

Now, people can say: You are scaring people.

That is realism. That is what is getting ready to happen to us. Mr. Bernanke cannot solve our problems in this regard. Only we can solve these problems for the American people.

Cutting spending should be the easy part of our solution. We can document hundreds of billions of dollars a year that are either wasted, defrauded, or duplicative in the Federal Government. I have given hundreds of speeches over the last 6 years outlining those things, whether it be the $5 billion the Pentagon pays to contractors for performance bonuses when those contractors do not meet the performance requirements to get the bonus or the $80 to $100 billion a year in fraud in Medicare and Medicaid. Those are facts--the fact that we pay three times as much for a motorized wheelchair as it costs. We have not done anything to address any of those issues. It is not hard to cut spending. It is hard to get the will to have a plan that recognizes that we have to keep on keeping on until we get America out of this very dangerous time period we are experiencing.

We just learned that we rank 25th in the world in math, 17th in science. Yet we have 105 different, separate government programs to incentivize excellence in science, technology, engineering, and math. This is just a tiny little example of the work we need to do. We need to have one plan. It needs to have measurements on it. We need to oversight it. Then we need to look at it the next year. Is it working? Is it effective? We have 105 sets of bureaucrats, and we have not made the headway we all know is required for us to be competitive in a global economy. Yet not once this year, not once last year, not when Republicans were in control, not when Democrats were in control, did we do the effective oversight that is necessary to get us out of the jam we are in.

Oversight is hard work. It is not easy. It requires that we actually know what is going on in the government, which is part of our oath to begin with. We have to do the work, we have to read it, we have to go to the hearings, we have to interview the people, and we have to have investigators so we know what is going on. Yet we do not do that.

I often hear from my colleagues on the other side that we need to pay for the so-called Bush tax cuts, which are really your tax cuts. The assumption is that once the money comes to the government at a certain rate, it is always going to come, and it is not yours, it is the government's.

Let's grant that premise for a minute. Let's grant the premise that it is the government's money and not the individual's. I would issue this challenge: Anyone who thinks we ought to pay for tax cuts ought to have to put up a list of programs that we ought to eliminate to pay for them. I put up, every time, when people are wanting to spend money, a list of options we can do to make it to where we do not increase the very problem holes we keep digging in.

The fact is, the body is not interested in cutting spending, and the proof is what we did last year. The very same people who claim we need to pay for the tax cuts uniformly voted to override pay-go to the tune of $266 billion last year, just in this last year--not this whole Congress, just this last year.

So what we need to do is move away from that rhetoric. The problem is too big for us to take pot shots at each other on what we think is a political point. And we need to get down to the real business of having a plan that gets this country out of the very real difficulties we face. The very fact that we do not know when the problem is coming, the very fact that we cannot control our own destiny unless we start taking action now should give us all chills, that we are about to be the Senate, the Congress of the United States that allowed this to happen.

We cannot let that happen, no matter what our positions are. The only way we get out of the hole we are in is if we make shared sacrifices. That means political sacrifices. That means position sacrifices. That means monetary sacrifices. That means sacrifices against our wish list. It means we all have to sacrifice.

Some people say it is suicide to tell the American people they have to sacrifice. I adamantly disagree with that. They are grown up. They get it way ahead of us. They have already seen what is happening to us. They are feeling it now. They have this innate sense that we are disconnected from the very real problems they are seeing. They are ready to do their part.

I will borrow a line from someone far more eloquent, J.F.K. I remember; I was in high school.

Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.

It was a great statement then. It is more appropriate now than ever.

What does a shared sacrifice mean? It means that if you live in this country and make a decent income, you need to be more responsible with your health care and retirement than you are today. If you have gamed the system to get disability benefits or workmen's compensation, sorry, your free ride is over. If you are receiving a special tax break because you have a good lobbyist, you are going to have to give that up. If you are a defense contractor, you might only get a bonus for doing exceptional work, not standard work, not for just showing up to work. And if you are a politician, it might mean you have to lose an election to do what is best for this country.

If we think about what is required and how we would achieve real change, we have two truths in tension: One, we have a government we tolerate; two, the American people have the power to change that government.

We can solve all of the difficult challenges before us, but we can't solve them if Washington will not even debate the problem. And if we can't overcome our courage deficit, the American people have a responsibility to replace us all--to replace every one of us.

Courage is having the fortitude to do the right thing for the right moral reason at the right time regardless of the consequences to you. And we lack that in our body politic today.

I know a lot of people see this tax deal as a big political victory. I do not see it as a victory at all for the country or for our side.

Actually, a former Bush staffer, Don Bartlett, is quoted as saying:

We knew that, politically, once you get it into law, it becomes almost impossible to remove it. That's not a bad legacy. The fact that we were able to lay the trap does feel pretty good, to tell you the truth.

This gentleman just ignored the magnitude, severity, and urgency of the problems that face America.

The political cynicism that accompanies this should give us all pause to think for a minute on the games that are being played in Washington. Congratulations. Somebody embarrassed somebody else.

How does making our entitlement dilemma worse by passing Medicare Part D feel? It is now up to $13 trillion in unfunded liability, and the rich get the same benefit as the poor; does that feel good? How about doubling the size of the government since 1999; does that feel good, especially at a time when fraud, waste, and abuse has doubled? Does it feel good that we have done nothing to reform Social Security in the years since people applauded in the middle of the State of the Union address because of President Bush's failed effort to fix Social Security? Does that feel good? Did that solve something or was that political showmanship? That belies the history of this body of coming together.

Our Founders created the Senate to try to force consensus. That is what the rules were all about. What we need to do, Democrats and Republicans and our Independent colleagues, is recognize the depth and magnitude of our problem right now. There needs to be a great big time out. Who cares who is in charge if there is no country to run that can be salvaged? It doesn't matter.

Economists worldwide and some of the brightest people at Harvard and MIT, the University of Texas, Pennsylvania, they don't sleep at night right now. They know we are on the razor-thin edge of falling over a cliff.

The fact is, both parties have laid a trap for future generations by our inaction, our laziness, our arrogance, and a crass desire for power. We are waterboarding the next generation with debt. We are drowning them in obligations because we don't have the courage to come together and address or even debate a real solution.

The reason I voted for the deficit commission report? It had a lot of stuff in it I absolutely hated. It had one thing in it Oklahoma can't tolerate that will have to be changed. But the fact is, I believed the problem was so big and so urgent and so necessary that we ought to have that debate. We ought to make sure the American people know the significance of the problems facing us. Both Senator Conrad and Senator Durbin have taken heat. Guys on our side of the aisle have taken heat because we dared to say we should have a debate about the real problems that face this country. The special interests immediately started attacking from both sides.

That tells me we were doing some good. I often hear my colleagues assert the power of the purse when it comes to earmarking, but I never hear the same thing when we talk about trying to cut spending. The bias is to spend, not to cut spending. We are either going to do it or outside financial forces are going to force us.

Look what has happened so far this year with some other countries. In the first column of this chart, we see the debt in U.S. dollars in fixed terms. The second is what they have done in terms of government spending. In terms of debt, we, of course, lead the world, $13.8 trillion. We have France at $2 trillion, Germany at $1.46 trillion, Spain $602 billion, United Kingdom $1.47 trillion, and Canada. Every one of them froze or reduced the pay of their Federal employees. Every one of them cut their Federal workforce. Every one of them cut Federal spending by significant amounts. What have we done? A big goose egg, zero. That is what we have done. So no wonder the world does not have confidence and no wonder our business investment isn't coming in. We haven't created an environment where they would have confidence.

There is no question when the tax bill goes through we will see a bump up in confidence. When people get 2 percent more on their paycheck, we will see some bump up. But it will be short-lived.

The problem is not the tax deal but the fact that we are not addressing our real problems. We are addressing the symptoms of the problem. Does a 2-year extension give businesses, small and large, the confidence they need to plan for the future? I certainly hope so. But tax reform that had a meaningful effect on future capital investment would do a whole lot more. The problem is, we are not even willing to consider the hard choices. We will not even have an honest debate about a debate about hard choices. We just want to take our shot of morphine and go on down the road, have another martini on the deck of the Titanic.

The history of our country, at least what I saw growing up from the 1940s to the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s, was that our Nation thrived because we always embraced the heritage of service and sacrifice when our future was at stake. We actually have seen some of that in the last 10 years. I challenge my colleagues to go to Gettysburg or Philadelphia or visit ground zero and ask: What went through the minds of the brave young Americans when the doors of their landing craft opened on Omaha Beach? What motivated the heroes on flight 93 on 9/11 when they stormed a cockpit occupied by terrorists? What did our Founders think when they signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing their lives and fortunes were on the line? They were thinking about the future. They were making that critical decision to have courage in the face of adversity and take with it what may come. But they knew doing the correct and honorable and right thing was more important than their reputation or any other thing they had.

Here is what one of our Founders thought. Almost 234 years ago, on December 19, 1776, Thomas Paine was contemplating the great and uncertain struggle that lay ahead in our battle for independence and freedom. He said: ``If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.''

At the time of Christmas and Hanukkah, isn't that what we want for those who follow, peace of mind to not be threatened by what we have set up as an unsustainable debt dungeon?

I think we ought to have it in our day. Let it be our day. Let it be today. Let it be started with this debate we will have on the tax bill that will come before us. Let's make the effort to come to a consensus that we have to have a plan. It doesn't have to be my plan or the plan of Senator Bennet, but we have to have a plan. We have to signal to the rest of the world that we are willing to start making some of the appropriate sacrifices and generate the austerity that will allow us to continue this wonderful experiment. We are now facing the most predictable crisis in our history. We are doing nothing to avert the catastrophe, nothing, zero. In fact, we are still digging. It is time we stopped digging.

How will we be remembered? As a generation of politicians who saw a gathering storm and took action or a generation of politicians who put off the hard choices of honor and dishonored the sacrifices of our past?

We do have a choice. We can choose to come together and work to solve this problem in the very short term that will have a tremendous impact in the long term. What we don't have is a lot of time. As I heard somebody say today: Time fritters away so fast in Washington. It goes by so fast. We are all so busy. There is no problem in front of us in any committee, on any issue that is greater than the problems facing this country. We need to come together across the aisle to put a plan together that will give security to not only the generations that come and are here already but the peace of mind to know we are listening, we understand, and we are willing to make and lead by example in the sacrifices that have to come for us to solve the problems.

I yield the floor.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

OKGOP Launches "Operation RedZone"

 
OKGOP Launches Voter Registration Program- Operation RedZone

(OKLAHOMA CITY) Oklahoma may be the 'reddest state in the nation' but voter registration figures still lean heavily towards Democrats - something the Oklahoma Republican Party hopes to change with today's launch of Operation RedZone.

"The OKGOP has a committee for just about everything other than one of its most fundamental responsibilities- voter registration. We're fixing that today," said State Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 150,000 registered voters (see chart here). But that lead is shrinking rapidly: since January 1st, Republicans have had a net increase of over 30,000 voters. Democrats, less than 1,000.

"The next two years are arguably the best opportunity Oklahoma Republicans have ever had to make major strides in closing the voter registration gap," said Pinnell. "It's not that Oklahomans are any more conservative than in the past, but instead voters are now more likely to see their own views aligning with the Republican Party - and not their granddaddy's Democrat Party."

4th District Congressman and former OKGOP Chairman, Tom Cole, commended the announcement: "I'm pleased the OKGOP is making voter registration a priority. I agree with Chairman Pinnell that one of the Party's fundamental responsibilities is registering Republicans, and in this political environment, it is an ideal time to focus on this effort."

The Committee will include grassroots representatives from each congressional district, including the State Republican Party's District Chairmen. The committee will meet on a regular basis to coordinate voter registration efforts and activities. For more information, please contact the Oklahoma Republican Party. 

To contact the Oklahoma Republican Party, call  405-528-3501 or email matt@okgop.com.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Senate Earmark Ban: GOP Hall of Shame

This is old news now, since it happened while I was on vacation, but it deserves a post all the same. On Tuesday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) brought a ban on earmarks to the floor of the United States Senate; the proposal failed 39-56, with 8 Republicans voting against it (with the majority of Democrats) and 7 Democrats voting for it (with the majority of Republicans).

Republicans in the House have already pledged to ban earmarks, and the Senate GOP has adopted a "voluntary" ban on earmarks within the caucus, and yet, in spite of the tremendous public outcry over earmarks and the need for Republicans to finally "get it", eight GOP senators decided to thwart the will of the people, and voted with the liberals.

Here is the Senate Republicans Hall of Shame from this vote:

Bob Bennett (R-UT)
Lost re-election this year

 Dick Lugar (R-IN)
Up for re-election in 2012


 George Voinovich (R-OH)
Did not run for re-election

 Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Up for re-election in 2014

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Lost re-election in 2010 primary, presumed general election victor as write-in

 Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Won re-election this year


 Susan Collins (R-ME)
Up for re-election in 2014


Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Up for re-election in 2014


The following Democrats supported Coburn's earmark ban: Evan Bayh (D-IN), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bill Belson (D-FL), Mark Udall (D-CO) and Mark Warner (D-VA). Bayh did not run for re-election, and Feingold lost his re-election bid.

Senators Kit Bond (R-MO), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) missed the vote.