Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day


As you go about your day this Memorial Day, take a moment and remember who it is that provided you the ability to live free. We owe the United States military, past and present, a tremendous debt of gratitude.





Here's some patriotic music for the day; I ran across this the other day. Simply incredible!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Melon-Sized Hailstone"?! Not So Fast....

Tulsa's News Channel 6 appears to have been fooled by a viewer-submitted photo that has now gone viral across the web. The picture claims to show a "melon-sized" hailstone that fell in Norman.

Here's the photo:

There's just one problem. That is absolutely not a hailstone.

Hail forms in thunderstorms when water freezes around a condensation nuclei such as dust or ice pellets. Thunderstorms have an air circulation system, if you will, comprised of rising air (updraft) and falling air (downdraft). Hail will rise with the updraft until it reaches a point where it is too heavy to continue to be blown upwards. During that time, it continues to pick up more liquid, which freezes around the hailstone.

The more times a hailstone goes through this cycle, the larger it becomes. Supercell thunderstorms have updrafts capable of producing very large hail (baseball to softball size). If you take a close look at a hailstone, you will notice that it has layers, like an onion or tree. This is due to how it formed. Each ring roughly corresponds to a trip through the updraft system. Eventually, the hailstone becomes too heavy, and falls to the ground.

Another thing that will happen with large hail, as you will see with the next picture, is that it will absorb other hailstones, giving it a rough and jagged appearance. Large hail simply is not as smooth as the photo above.

Here is a photo of softball-sized hail from South Dakota:

That is what large hail looks like.

The KOTV photo looks to me to be a frozen water balloon, and judging from the background of the picture, seems to have been a classroom experiment. Nevertheless, the photo was picked up by the Associated Press, the Drudge Report and others, and from there, it has permeated the web.

But...... it's not not a hailstone. I would guarantee it.




Friday, May 27, 2011

Supreme Court ruling should help HB1804's case


Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court ruled portions of Arizona's controversial immigration law relating to employer sanctions as constitutional.

These sections were similar to those found in Oklahoma's House Bill 1804, which was passed by the state legislature in 2007, but has been locked up in court ever since, mainly over provisions that punished employers for hiring illegals, and set up safeguards to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants.

I would expect that, given the Supreme Court's ruling on the similar Arizona legislation, HB1804 might finally get out of the legal logjam it has been in for years.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cain Wins Stephens County GOP Fish Fry Straw Poll


From SoonerPoll.com:

Herman Cain edges out Sarah Palin to win the first Stephens County GOP presidential straw poll conducted by SoonerPoll.  Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, won 66 out of 302 votes cast in the presidential preference poll of Stephens County GOP Fish Fry attendees.

That narrowly beat second-place finisher Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, who received 63 votes. In third place was U.S. Representative Michelle Bachmann with 38 votes.

The Fish Fry is the Stephens County GOP’s annual fundraiser.  Saturday marked the 7th annual Fish Fry and the first Stephens County GOP Straw Poll conducted by SoonerPoll.

More than 800 people attended the Fish Fry and 302 elected to participate in the poll.

“It’s our largest crowd yet and a reflection of the hard work that the Stephens County GOP has put into registering Republicans,” Steve Fair, Chairman of the Stephens County GOP, said. “Our organization is arguably the most active in the state and we hope to see the GOP be the majority party in Stephens County by the 2012 election.”

Three other candidates finished with more than 20 votes — the former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with 31, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who recently made his candidacy official, with 27 and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty with 21.

The ballot that was used for the straw poll was developed based on official announcements from candidates and media speculation concerning possible candidates.  One candidate who was included in the poll based on early speculation, Mitch Daniels, has since announced that he will not seek the nomination.

Daniels, the current governor of Indiana, received 15 votes in Saturday’s straw poll.  Texas Congressman Ron Paul was the only other candidate to register in double-digits in the poll with 15 votes.

Candidates who tallied single-digit totals included Rudy Giuliani with 8, Rick Santorum with 4, and John Bolton with 4.


I attended the Fish Fry for my first time, and let me tell you - it is quite the event! A big congratulations is due to Steve Fair and the Stephens County GOP folks for another great turnout.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Joe Biden for President, 2016?


You're probably thinking You've got to be joking, but yes, the Vice President actually hinted at that this past week.

From Politico.com:
Vice President Joe Biden surprised a gathering of donors in Cincinnati last week when he floated the prospect of his succeeding President Barack Obama in the White House.

Biden, who started in the Senate young and would be just 70 in 2012, raised the possibility unprompted during a wide-ranging conversation at the May 19 dinner with major Democratic Party donors, a source in the room said.
Who knows - maybe he'll do it. I wouldn't count on it, though...



Friday, May 20, 2011

Netanyahu: It's Not Gonna Happen

President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following his controversial speech earlier this week in which Obama expressed support for Palestinian statehood along the 1949-1967 borders.

Here is Netanyahu's response to the press after his private meeting with the President.




To quote Bibi - "it's not gonna happen."

Nor should it. I'll post more of my thoughts on the topic later.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trump: I won't run


Donald Trump has announced that he will not seek the Presidency in 2012. Here is his statement:

After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency. This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.

I want to personally thank the millions of Americans who have joined the various Trump grassroots movements and written me letters and e-mails encouraging me to run. My gratitude for your faith and trust in me could never be expressed properly in words. So, I make you this promise: that I will continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politician’s thoughts.  My ability to bring important economic and foreign policy issues to the forefront of the national dialogue is perhaps my greatest asset and one of the most valuable services I can provide to this country.  I will continue to push our President and the country’s policy makers to address the dire challenges arising from our unsustainable debt structure and increasing lack of global competitiveness.  Issues, including getting tough on China and other countries that are methodically and systematically taking advantage of the United States, were seldom mentioned before I brought them to the forefront of the country’s conversation. They are now being debated vigorously. I will also continue to push for job creation, an initiative that should be this country’s top priority and something that I know a lot about. I will not shy away from expressing the opinions that so many of you share yet don’t have a medium through which to articulate.

I look forward to supporting the candidate who is the most qualified to help us tackle our country’s most important issues and am hopeful that, when this person emerges, he or she will have the courage to take on the challenges of the Office and be the agent of change that this country so desperately needs

Thank you and God Bless America!

Donald J. Trump

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Huckabee: "All the factors say GO, but my heart says NO"


Remarks from Mike Huckabee, on his Fox News show moments ago...

The pundits and members of the political class who have spoken with certainty about my decision to run or not for President in 2012 are amusing if not amazing to think that they knew what even I didn’t know until late this week.   The past few months have been times of deep personal reflection.  Even though I wasn’t actively establishing a campaign organization or seeking financial support to run again, polls have consistently put me at or near the top to be the Republican nominee.  When possible candidates were discussed in the media and despite polls that showed me in the lead, my name would often go unmentioned while a candidate barely registering single digits was touted as a “front-runner.”  I found comfort that the nomination would not be made by commentators, columnists, or consultants, but by the rank and file voters in the Republican primary, and their support is strong and has been growing.

Concerns that I had about raising the necessary funds to be competitive or being able to win in states outside the South were answered when signs of strong financial support materialized and when polls showed me winning in states like Pennsylvania, Maine, and even New Jersey.  That kind of shattered the notion that I was only a regional candidate or only supported by social conservatives.

I had not done much toward a race because my life was filled with work that I truly love here at Fox News, doing radio commentaries on my daily Huckabee Report on 600 radio stations, traveling the country for speaking engagements, and helping good conservative, pro-life candidates who were running for office.  Other people probably thought about it more than I did.

I don’t have an issue with my family being supportive.  My wife actually encouraged me to do it, despite knowing full well it would subject her and the rest of the family to brutal and savage personal attacks.  My adult children have also made it clear they would be with me no matter what.

When people asked me what it would take for me to run, I would tell them the same thing---pray for me to have clarity in the decision.  I don’t expect everyone to understand this, but I’m a believer and follower of Jesus Christ.  That relationship is  far more important to me than any political office.  For me, the decision is ultimately not a political one, a financial one, or even a practical one ---it’s a spiritual one.

The past few weeks, the external signs and signals and answers to many of the obstacles point strongly toward running.  When I am with people encouraging me to run, it’s easy to feel the strength of their partnership and commitment to help me to the finish line.  Only when I was alone, in quiet and reflective moments did I have not only clarity, but an inexplicable inner peace—a peace that exceeds human understanding.  All the factors say GO, but my heart says NO.  And that is the decision I have made and in it have finally found resolution.  I don’t fully understand it myself—but I’m sure the pundits will.  But I know that under the best of circumstances, being President is a job that takes one to the limit of his or her human capacity.  For me, to do it apart from an inner confidence that I was undertaking it with God’s full blessing is unthinkable.  I can’t know or predict the future, but I know for now my answer is clear and firm.  I will not seek the Republican nomination for President this year.  I will gladly continue doing what I do and helping others in their campaigns for Congress, governorships, and other positions.  I’ll certainly give more detail about this decision in due time and especially to those who have faithfully and so sacrificially been part of the process.   I know I will deeply disappoint many people I love.  So many good and dear people have put forth extraordinary effort without any assurance I would mount a campaign.  It pains me to let them down.   I also know my decision will delight just as many who aren’t that fond of me.  I am eternally grateful for the faithful support of my wife, children and real friends who promised to stand with me no matter what.  I had come to believe I would be in the race for President.  I won’t be.  But I will for sure be re-dedicating myself to standing for and communicating the principles of common sense, Constitutional government, and civil discourse that I believe are critical to the survival of our great Republic.  From New York, This is Mike Huckabee, goodnight God bless, and I’ll be back next week.

Will he, or won't he? Huckabee's decision tonight


Will he..... or won't he?

Tonight, former Arkansas Governor, 2008 presidential candidate, and Fox News host Mike Huckabee will announce his decision regarding running for President in 2012 - or not. The announcement is set to take place at the end of his TV show, on the Fox News Channel. His show starts at 7pm CST.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

State Senate Releases Redistricting Plan


The Oklahoma State Senate released their proposed redistricting plan this evening. Bloggers Peter Rudy of Oklahoma Watchdog and Paul Monies of the Oklahoman's Politics and DataWatch blogs both posted maps (I borrowed Monies' map for this post). The official Senate press release is here. Michael Bates of BatesLine has also posted on the topic.

I would expect this plan to be challenged in court, as portions appear to be gerrymandered (perhaps the by-product of using one of the state's top political consultants to run their redistricting program).

For more details on the urban areas, click here for Rudy's post, and here for Monies' post. Rudy's maps have more detail of the urban areas, while Monies' maps have outlines of the current districts, in addition to the new proposals.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Key: ObamaCare - Alive and Well in Oklahoma?

ObamaCare: Alive and Well in Oklahoma?


The overwhelming passage of SQ 756 this past November, left Oklahomans thinking that our state opted out of Obamacare. Unfortunately, that would be wrong. Likewise, most Oklahomans probably think passage of SQ 756 sent a strong message to state officials that they opposed Obamacare and wanted no part of it. Unfortunately, that would also be wrong.

A cornerstone of Obamacare is the mandate directing all states establish a “health exchange” (HE). (Creative names for HE’s such as HUBS or Enterprise are being used to make them more palatable.) Without the establishment of HE’s Obamacare cannot be implemented. Legislative leaders and the Governor have been pushing to establish a HE and accept a $54 million federal grant. Recently, because of public pressure and opposition by some conservative legislators, the Governor reversed herself on the acceptance of the $54 million grant. Rejecting the federal money is good, but the worst part of the proposal, the HE, is still being pushed by the Governor and legislative leaders.

I believe this is the most important issue we face this year and possibly in a generation for three reasons. First, it establishes the cornerstone of Obamacare that makes it possible to move to a single payer system controlled by Washington. Second, it will fundamentally change our political system allowing the federal government total control over all health care. Thirdly, it further changes what we think the federal government’s legal role and authority is over us as individuals and states and indoctrinates a new generation to believe that the federal government is the final authority in all things.

I have been asked many times why the Governor and legislative leaders are pushing for complying with this mandate. They claim we must implement an HE or Washington will force it’s version on us. But this doesn’t make sense because we are creating the HE because of their mandate. Furthermore, Obamacare gives the federal government full authority to change anything a state establishes so there are no guarantees states can control the final outcome. Another reason given by the Governor and legislators is that “we need to have a seat at the table.” This accomplishes little to nothing when Washington controls the agenda and we effectively accede to that control. Also, they say this is the best we can do while lawsuits run their course.

But, once this system is in place, it will be practically impossible to undo the hundreds of new agencies and layers of bureaucracy. Milton Friedman once said, ’nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.’

Finally, it’s implied that the free market isn’t working and that the insurance industry hasn’t provided HE’s for consumers. The truth is the industry already does provide excellent options for consumers. Go online and you’ll find any insurance coverage you desire or just look in the yellow pages. Health care continually goes up primarily, because of government mandates and excessive regulation. Obamacare is a violation of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and we should use our constitutional authority to prohibit it from being implemented in Oklahoma.

State Representative Charles Key (R-OKC) is the Chairman of the House Insurance Committee, and represents House District 90.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gov 2.0a Conference this weekend


Last year, I was able to attend the Gov 2.0a conference in Oklahoma City. The 2011 sequel is being held this weekend, at the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it this year, but I highly recommend this conference if you can do it (registration closes tomorrow).

From the website:
The second annual Gov 2.0a conference is focused on applications of technology to government problems. The conference will be a forum to learn about successful Gov 2.0 applications through case studies, to learn about best practices for Gov 2.0 applications, and to network with other professionals from city and state organizations, community groups, non-profits and the private sector who share interest in the application of technology to improve the functioning of our government.

You will have the chance to see over a dozen talks on the Gov 2.0 themes of Open Data, Crowd Sourcing, and Citizen Participation. The speakers are nationally known Gov 2.0 experts who will share their experiences and lessons learned that will inform your own efforts to improve government. You will have the opportunity to meet and talk with speakers and attendees during one of the many scheduled breaks and networking events.
For more information on this truly outstanding event, go to Gov20a.com.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Details emerge regarding Bin Laden raid

Alleged location of the Bin Laden compound

As more time elapses, more details begin to emerge about the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

  • The raid lasted roughly 40 minutes, and was carried out by SEAL Team Six (officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group).
  • 22 people were killed or captured. No U.S. casualties. Osama bin Laden was killed by two shots to his left eye. Two Al-Qaeda couriers and one of Osama's sons were also killed, along with a woman being used as a human shield during the fighting.
  • One of the two helicopters used for the raid had mechanical issues, and had to be crash-landed at the compound. The chopper was blown up when the SEALs left the area.
  • Bin Laden's body was brought back with the SEAL team. Preliminary DNA testing confirms that it was Osama. 
  • Bin Laden was given a brief Islamic funeral ceremony aboard the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, and then buried at sea.
  • The compound was built in 2005, on approximately one acre. High walls surrounded the property, and were also present on upper floors of the building. The house had no telephone or internet service, and the residents burned their trash (instead of placing it out for collection, like their neighbors).
  • Intelligence discovered the name of one of the couriers bin Laden was living with back in 2007. They found the courier in 2009, and the compound in August 2010.
  • The original plan was to bomb the compound, but the President was told that there would be no evidence that could be recovered to prove Osama's death.

The Pentagon has released a briefing on the compound, viewable here (.pdf).

ABC's Jake Tapper is reporting that the Obama adminstration is debating on whether or not to release pictures of Bin Laden's body. "The argument against releasing the pictures: they’re gruesome. He has a massive head wound above his left eye where he took bullet, with brains and blood visible."  [On that note, the photos currently floating around are 2 years old, and are fake]

After the news broke, crowds gathered across the country to celebrate. In particular, thousands came to the White House in Washington, D.C., Ground Zero in New York City, and President George W. Bush's house in Dallas. In Philadelphia, at the Phillies vs. Mets baseball game, fans chanted "USA! USA!" when the news began hitting attendees phones.

ABC has photos and video from inside the compound.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

BREAKING REPORT: OSAMA DEAD, US HAS BODY



President Obama is set to make an statement any moment, but the news is that Osama Bin Laden is dead, and that the United States has his body.

President Obama said that Osama was shot and killed today in a Special Forces raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan. No US casualties, and Osama's body was recovered.