Monday, July 27, 2015

She's here!

Holding her a few hours after birth (hence the zombie look)

We officially welcomed our first child into the world on Friday evening -- say hello to Carmen Elise Faught!


I'm "hooked"!


Mother and baby are both doing great. It was a bit of an ordeal - Kristen was in labor for over 48 hours and ended up with an ambulance ride and emergency c-section, but 'all's well that ends well'! Thanks to Samaritan Ministries, our extra healthcare expenses (of which I'm sure there will be plenty!) will be handled by fellow members from across the country.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure she's the cutest baby ever... just saying... ;-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

#16: John Kasich launches presidential campaign

This morning, Ohio Governor John Kasich launched his presidential campaign, becoming the 16th major Republican candidate to announce.

Here's his announcement speech:



An interesting point about Kasich is that he is angling for the centrist/moderate wing of the party, much like Jon Huntsman did in 2012 (Kasich hired most of Huntsman's former campaign team), and John McCain did in 2000. Another similar tie between those three is that like Huntsman and McCain, Kasich is making New Hampshire his "do-or-die" state.


Kasich joins 15 other Republicans running for President (links go to the candidate's official website): Jeb BushBen Carson, Chris ChristieTed CruzCarly FiorinaLindsey GrahamMike HuckabeeBobby JindalGeorge PatakiRand PaulRick PerryMarco RubioRick SantorumDonald Trump, and Scott Walker .

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bridenstine endorses Ted Cruz for President

Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz for President in a column on Breitbart this morning. The only other prominent Oklahoman to pick a presidential candidate so far has been Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, who endorsed Scott Walker back in May.


Here is Bridenstine's endorsement column:

Beating Hillary Clinton requires a Republican nominee who will energize all elements of the Republican Party: fiscal conservatives, national security conservatives, values voters, and constitutional conservatives.

Nominating a milquetoast Republican who fails to gain the support of the whole party will cripple Republican enthusiasm and shrink turnout just as it has in previous elections. Since the media is going to chastise Republicans for rejecting the liberal agenda, let’s nominate a solid conservative, energize the Republican Party, and win.

At a time when judicial activism and DC’s perverse incentives are concentrating power in Washington, we need a tested candidate who has confronted the giants from the inside, rejected them, and defeated them. Selecting such a nominee is critical, because nobody comes to Washington and becomes more principled.

I have seen Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) meet the test by standing up to the Washington Cartel. In 2013, when both political parties suggested we needed to change our approach to the Second Amendment, Sen. Ted Cruz ought back and came out the winner. In the same year, when both political parties were moving at breakneck speed to pass a comprehensive immigration bill that included amnesty, Sen. Ted Cruz once again fought back, stood against the Washington Cartel, and came out the winner.

Some say he stands alone, but I say he stands with the American people. I saw that most clearly when he fought with everything he had to defund Obamacare. He told Republicans that funding Obamacare subsidies would create a dependency that Congress would never repeal and the Supreme Court would never overturn. He quoted Ronald Reagan: “A government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” After June’s Supreme Court ruling, we now know that Ted Cruz was correct.

Ted Cruz’s courage is grounded in his Christian faith and complimented by amazing intellect and legal training. Before shocking the establishment by overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds to become a U.S. Senator, Ted Cruz was the Solicitor General for Texas. During that time, he argued nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court — including a Ten Commandments case. The Ten Commandments monument still stands on the Texas State Capitol grounds. He also clerked for conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Even liberal Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz describes Ted Cruz as among the brightest students he has ever taught… not that Harvard professors are quality sources for political advice.

I have seen Ted with his beautiful family. I watched as his two little girls approached him at the dinner table, paused, yelled “Chase us!” and ran off. Surprisingly, Ted dropped his burger and ran after them as though members of Congress and staff were not even present. He loves his children and his wife. Ted is a man who wants his girls to grow up in the America we all remember and the America his Cuban father had the opportunity to escape to.

Ted Cruz is a proven fundraiser, and that will be necessary to defeat the Clinton machine. True grassroots candidates, like Ted Cruz, generally struggle after the first few primary states due to funding. Ted is different. He will go the distance. This alone should excite and motivate all of us who have been waiting for a full spectrum, grass-roots candidate to vie for the Republican nomination.

I am proud to be the sixth Member of Congress to endorse Ted Cruz for President. I believe he is the strongest candidate and that he will beat Hillary Clinton for the Presidency in 2016.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Heat and a campaign trail story

There's no getting around it - summer has arrived in Oklahoma. We've really been fortunate so far this year, as temperatures haven't been all that unbearable. Until this past week. It's been pretty miserable the last few days, with heat indices between 105°F and 110°F.

I clean carpets for a living. Heat is something that just comes with the job. For one, our truckmount machine heats the cleaning solution to between 210°F and 230°F. That's more than scalding hot (as both my dad and I have found out on different occasions). That liquid then moves through a high-pressure solution hose to the cleaning wand, where it sprays out in the cleaning process. Needless to say, the solution hose gets pretty hot. Your hands get accustomed to the temperature after time, but only to a certain degree (pun intended).

Heat comes with the job in other ways. For example, the air conditioner had been stolen out of one of the houses I cleaned this morning. It felt like a sauna inside, especially when I added some more humidity to the atmosphere during the cleaning process. It was already 90-some-degrees outside, with a heat index near 100°F. The van I work out of is not compartmentalized, so the machine is open to the rest of the vehicle inside. When I finished the job and headed to the next, it had "cooled down" inside the van to 110°F, with a heat index of 130°F (I took a temperature/humidity reading). It was a fun drive for the thirty minutes it took for the air conditioning to finally win the temperature battle.

Anyway, as I was melting in the heat today, it reminded me of a funny story about politics.

Back in 2010, I did some work on Josh Brecheen's insurgent campaign for State Senate District 6. I'd spend three days a week down in the Durant area, knocking doors, putting up signs, and accompanying Josh on the campaign trail, among other things. My standard campaign "uniform" was a black "I'm with Josh" shirt, shorts, and a good pair of tennis shoes.


One particular stop will always stick in my mind.

First of all, Josh is a rancher from the top of his hat to the bottom of his boots, and was running for office in a agriculturally-heavy rural district. Farmers and ranchers were a natural fit for him, and overwhelmingly supported Brecheen's candidacy.

On this one day, while with Josh on the road, we pulled into a feed store parking lot. Josh had a handful of fliers in hand, and got out to do a little campaigning. As was the usual drill, I started to hop out of the truck with Josh. Before I could get out, though, Josh somewhat hesitatingly stopped me.

The issue was my shorts. Josh was a rancher, dressed like one, and fit in with the feed store crowd. Me? I looked like a city slicker who didn't belong in a feed store. For the sake of the campaign, me and my shorts stayed in the pickup while Josh went and won some more votes, unencumbered by the "short pants" that could have been a distraction for the old-timers inside the store.

After that day, I wore jeans on the campaign trail. No shorts.

In fact, Josh Brecheen is to blame for part of why I get hot while working. I got so used to wearing jeans during that campaign, that I quit wearing shorts on carpet cleaning jobs. Ever since then, while working I've worn jeans exclusively. For the first 20 years of my life, I wore shorts frequently. Since then? Not so much.

It's not a bad thing. Jeans do give a more professional presentation than shorts, both on the campaign trail and as a service technician. It's just not the most comfortable on hot days! ;-)

So, for both the good and the bad, I owe Josh Brecheen a big "thank you"!

Lankford speaks on Senate floor about Planned Parenthood video

U.S. Senator James Lankford expressed his thoughts on the Senate floor today about the Planned Parenthood video that came out earlier this week. In his talk, which I encourage you to watch, he discusses the irony between Congress debating this week about animal rights (specifically, horse slaughter and orca whales) while babies across the country have their right to life violated and are literally torn apart during abortions.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On tape: Planned Parenthood exec discusses selling aborted baby parts

The following story is, quite frankly, very disturbing. Days away from the birth of our first child, I find this to be almost nauseating. Words are inadequate to describe how despicable, barbaric, and inhuman the act of abortion is, and the fact that this baby-murder has been allowed (even encouraged) to go on in America is the greatest blot on our nation's history and character.

From LifeSiteNews.com:

Undercover video catches Planned Parenthood 
selling aborted baby body parts

LOS ANGELES, July 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – An undercover video released this morning shows a national leader of Planned Parenthood admitting that the abortion provider uses the illegal and highly controversial partial birth abortion procedure to sell intact fetal body parts.

The average asking price for fetal body parts? Between $30 and $100 per specimen.

Dr. Deborah Nucatola has been senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood since February 2009, where she oversees medical practices at all Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide. She has been employed by Planned Parenthood for more than a decade. She also performs abortions up to 24 weeks in Los Angeles.



In the video, she met with investigators posing as buyers from a human biologics company on July 25, 2014.

While casually sipping wine and eating salad, Dr. Nucatola revealed that she charges $30 to $100 per specimen, and that fetal livers are especially in demand – although “a lot of people want intact hearts these days,” and she has had requests for lungs and “lower extremities.”

Planned Parenthood affiliates “absolutely” want to offer such organs, she said.

Nucatola admitted that Planned Parenthood's abortionists take great care not to appear to be profiteering off fetal body parts. She said, “They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as, 'The clinic is selling tissue. This clinic is making money off of this.'”

The issue is not merely PR – there is also the little matter of federal law. Trafficking in human body parts is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.

The method of abortion she describes, on video, also appears to violate federal law.

Dr. Nucatola said she has “a huddle at the beginning of the day” to determine what fetal body parts consumers are requesting, and which patients that day will have babies from which they will be able to harvest them. Then Planned Parenthood abortionists tailor the procedure to assure they do not destroy the organs, maximizing profitability.

“For that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps,” she said.

She revealed that, as abortionists are dismembering the child, they decide, “I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

In order to procure intact organs, she seemed to describe herself and others performing the illegal partial birth abortion method.

“Some people,” she said, taking another sip of wine, “will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex [head first],” she continues. “So, if you do it starting from the breech presentation [feet first]...often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium [the head] at the end.”

President George W. Bush signed a law outlawing partial birth abortion in 2003. It, too, is a federal felony punishable by two years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

But, Dr. Nucatola told the undercover investigators, there are ways around the law.

“The federal abortion ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation,” she said. “So, if I say on day one that I don't intend to do this, what ultimately happens doesn't matter.”

“At the national office, we have a Litigation and Law Department which just really doesn’t want us to be the middle people for this issue right now,” she says. “But I will tell you that behind closed doors these conversations are happening with the affiliates.” (You can read a full transcript of the conversation here.)

In a separate video, the investigators meet with Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, saying that Dr. Nucatola has been incredibly helpful in their efforts to procure unborn babies' body parts.

“Oh good,” Richards replies. “Great. She’s amazing.”

In addition to overseeing all medical practices at the abortion giant, Dr. Nucatola has frequently been a media spokeswoman promoting the organization's political concerns.

The video was the fruit of a nearly three-year-long undercover investigation by the Center for Medical Progress.

“Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization,” said Project Lead David Daleiden. “Elected officials must listen to the public outcry for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable to the law and for our tax dollars to stop underwriting this barbaric abortion business.”

National pro-life leaders immediately called for a Congressional investigation. “This video provides a shocking reality check about the grisly, inhumane business model of Planned Parenthood,” said Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life (AUL). “Under Cecile Richards’ leadership, breast screenings are down, abortions are up and profits are up, as even the bodies of the unborn become something else for her to sell. We call for an immediate Congressional investigation into these alleged atrocities. And just as important, the time is now to defund Planned Parenthood. The American taxpayer should not be in business with such callous profiteers.”

Organizers are asking that this information be shared on Twitter with the hashtag #PPSellsBabyParts. They also request that everyone contact Congress and demand a full investigation.

Contact Congress:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
(202) 224-3121

Monday, July 13, 2015

#15: Scott Walker makes it official

Earlier today, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker officially joined the race for President, as he was widely expected to do for some time.

Here's his announcement speech:



He gave his speech with no teleprompter or notes, and released a transcript before the event began. Reporters noted that he followed the prereleased text almost verbatim, which is pretty remarkable for a lengthy speech like this.

Walker joins 14 other Republicans running for President: Jeb BushBen Carson, Chris ChristieTed CruzCarly FiorinaLindsey GrahamMike HuckabeeBobby JindalGeorge PatakiRand PaulRick PerryMarco RubioRick Santorum and Donald Trump.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

16 in '16: My thoughts on the GOP field so far


16 in '16 -- the GOP candidates

The presidential race is starting to heat up, and it's definitely going to be interesting to watch. Here are some thoughts on how I'm leaning at this stage of the race.

We've got 16 major candidates on the GOP side of things. I'll try to list them in order of my preference:


LEANING TOWARD
  • Scott Walker
  • Ted Cruz
  • Bobby Jindal
  • Rand Paul

OPEN TO
  • Marco Rubio
  • Rick Perry
  • Mike Huckabee
  • Ben Carson
  • Rick Santorum

RULED OUT
  • Carly Fiorina
  • Donald Trump
  • Chris Christie
  • John Kasich
  • George Pataki
  • Lindsey Graham
  • Jeb Bush

This is roughly the order of my current preference. It's not how I view the candidate rankings in order of their chance at the nomination (that list would look quite different).

The further down the list, the more reservations I have about the candidates. As you can see, I've already marked off about half of the field. Fiorina ran for Senate in California as a more moderate candidate than she currently is presenting herself as. Christie, Kasich and Pataki are on the more moderate end of the GOP spectrum, Trump has been all over the place politically speaking (past Democrat and Clinton donor, left-leaning policy positions, etc), Graham has been on the wrong side of far too many issues in the Senate, and Bush... too many problems there to go into, least of which is his last name.

That takes care of the "ruled out" category. Now moving to Tier 2, working from the bottom on up.

Although he wasn't my first choice, I voted for Santorum in 2012. Santorum became the "conservative champion" by default, even though his record in the Senate was not the most conservative. He simply was the last man standing who had a shot at beating Romney. The only way he gets my vote again is if by some miracle/catastrophe he becomes the last option other than, say, Jeb Bush.

Ben Carson has a fantastic personal story to tell, and I think he would play very well in a general election. However, I am concerned with his inexperience with governing, as well as some of his public positions on issues like the 2nd Amendment.

The first vote I ever cast was for Mike Huckabee in 2008. His was the first presidential campaign I really got involved in. I donated, I made phone calls to several different states, and I waved signs, among other things. I still have a soft spot for Mike, but he's made some missteps since 2008, and there are so many good options this year.

Rick Perry had, for the most part, a great record as governor of Texas. He has an advantage over Huckabee and some of the others on this list due to how recently he was in office (left in January of 2015, as opposed to 2007 or earlier). Most candidates would kill for a record like his, but there's a gap between Perry on paper and Perry on the campaign trail.

I appreciate Marco Rubio's dedication in running for president. Some candidates, both now and in the past, have run for president while simultaneously seeking the office they currently hold. Rubio doesn't think that's right, and neither do I. He has a generally good record in the Senate, and would be a great, forward-looking face for the GOP. More than anyone else, Rubio almost makes it in my top tier.

Now for the ones I'm most seriously considering.

Rand Paul appeals to me primarily on a fiscal front. I'm not as sold on some of his foreign and social policies, though much more comfortable with his than with his dad's. Nobody running for president would be as good on fiscal issues as Rand. However, there are a few others that are more well-rounded for my taste. That being said, I think Rand can appeal to some new audiences for the GOP, and I would generally be very happy with a Rand Paul presidency.

Bobby Jindal is an under-appreciated governor. I don't know how his campaign will play out, or if he will gain traction, but he definitely deserves a look. From a policy standpoint, he's extremely intelligent and reform-minded (he's the biggest policy wonk in the field). He's got a great record at that. He's just plagued with a state (Louisiana) that hasn't appreciated that.

Ted Cruz hits all the right buttons. He says the right things, votes the right way, rubs the DC establishment the wrong (or rather, right) way, is articulate and quick on his feet when faced with a hostile media (in other words, every interview he gets). However, I've not heard or read much about his authoring major legislation. Rand Paul has offered alternate budgets, Marco Rubio a tax plan, Coburn had "Back in Black", Bobby Jindal has a healthcare plan, but I don't recall Ted Cruz having offered something like that (other than repealing ObamaCare). Derailing bad legislation is needed, but we also need good alternatives.

Scott Walker is probably in the lead (narrowly) for me right now. He's got a good record as governor, in a very difficult state for a conservative Republican. He beat the Democratic/union machine three times in four years -- a remarkable feat, given that Wisconsin hasn't voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1984. As Governor, he's led on tough reforms, and won. He has executive experience that a Senator simply doesn't have, and that would be helpful as President.


That's where I'm at right now. You have to admit, we have some fantastic choices this election. Out of 16 candidates, there are nine I'd be happy with, and four or five I'd be thrilled at. The debates begin on August 6th, and voting starts in less than seven months. Buckle up, the ride is about to start!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

#14: Christie joins GOP presidential field

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced his presidential campaign on Tuesday, becoming the fourteenth major candidate on the Republican side.

Here's video from his announcement rally:


Christie joins thirteen other Republicans running for President: Jeb BushBen CarsonTed CruzCarly FiorinaLindsey GrahamMike Huckabee, Bobby JindalGeorge PatakiRand PaulRick PerryMarco RubioRick Santorum and Donald Trump.

There are only two other major candidates expected to join the race now -- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (July 13th) and Ohio Governor John Kasich (July 21st).

As busy as this election cycle seems to be, we're actually "behind schedule" when compared to 2008 and 2012. By this point in 2008, there had already been 3 televised debates (starting on May 3rd), and in 2012 there had been two (starting on May 5th). This time around the first debate is set for August 6th.