Sunday, January 31, 2016

More OK Legislators Endorse Rubio, Bring Total to 19



More OK Legislators Endorse Rubio, Bring Total to 19

When the Oklahoma Legislature reconvenes Monday, nearly one out of every five Republican legislators will be public supporters of Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign for President.

The Marco Rubio for President campaign today announced new endorsements from Oklahoma State Senators Larry Boggs and Ervin Yen. The support of these two strong conservative leaders adds to the Rubio campaign's already strong Oklahoma organization, led by state chairman Senator David Holt.

"Our state and our country need a strong conservative in the White House and that is what we will get with Marco Rubio," said Oklahoma State Senator Larry Boggs. "Marco is a next-generation leader that will restore our nation's founding principles and improve the lives of people across this country. I'm proud to be supporting him and hope Oklahomans will join with me in voting for him on March 1.”

"Marco Rubio is the one Republican running that can defeat Hillary Clinton and lead our country in a conservative direction," said Oklahoma State Senator Ervin Yen. "His uplifting message will inspire voters and his policies will ensure that the 21st Century is indeed an American Century. I'm happy to be joining an already impressive list of Oklahoma leaders backing Marco."

"We are so glad that leaders like Senator Boggs and Senator Yen are uniting around Marco Rubio's candidacy," said Jeremy Adler, regional spokesman for the Rubio campaign. "Marco is offering an optimistic message of a New American Century and having these individuals on our team to promote that positive vision will allow us to do well in Oklahoma.”

The full list of 19 Oklahoma legislators who have endorsed Senator Rubio is as follows:

Senator David Holt (R - Oklahoma City), State Chairman
Senator Larry Boggs (R - Wilburton)
Senator Kim David (R - Porter)
Senator Eddie Fields (R - Wynona)
Senator Jack Fry (R - Midwest City)
Senator A.J. Griffin (R - Guthrie)
Senator Wayne Shaw (R - Grove)
Senator Frank Simpson (R - Springer)
Senator Jason Smalley (R - Stroud)
Senator Roger Thompson (R - Okemah)
Senator Ervin Yen (R - Oklahoma City)
Rep. Josh Cockroft (R - Wanette)
Rep. Randy Grau (R - Edmond)
Rep. Katie Henke (R - Tulsa)
Rep. Dan Kirby (R - Tulsa)
Rep. Terry O’Donnell (R - Tulsa)
Rep. Leslie Osborn (R - Mustang)
Rep. Paul Wesselhoft (R - Moore)
Rep. Harold Wright (R - Weatherford)


Senator Rubio will be a candidate in the March 1st Oklahoma Republican presidential primary.  Oklahoma supporters of Senator Rubio’s campaign can receive updates from Senator Rubio's campaign in Oklahoma by following @TeamMarcoOK on Twitter or liking TeamMarcoOK on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Super PAC unloads with "The Trump Tapes"

Our Principles PAC, a brand-new super PAC set up by Mitt Romney's 2012 deputy campaign manager, is spending more than $1,000,000 in ads and mailers aimed at pointing out Donald Trump's liberal record, once again by showcasing his past statements.

For those who say that Trump has changed his mind on those past liberal stances, some of the statements used are as recent as September 2015.



The PAC also set up a website devoted to exposing Trump's record: TrumpQuestions.com. The site goes into great detail - you should check it out.

Cruz ad: New York Values

Ted Cruz released this ad for airing in Iowa, highlighting Donald Trump's past record by using his own words against him.



As I said in my Thursday post (Conservatives and Christians need to unite behind Ted Cruz),  "Trump has proven nothing other than the fact that he'll abandon his beliefs for political expediency. Isn't that exactly what conservatives are upset with many politicians for doing?"

Monday, January 25, 2016

Everett Piper: Trumping Morality


Trumping Morality

On January 18, Jerry Falwell, Jr. welcomed Donald Trump to Liberty University to speak in the school’s chapel. As the college president who wrote the “this is not a daycare” article that received so much national attention recently, I have been asked by the media if I would be next: Will I be inviting Mr. Trump to Oklahoma Wesleyan University to speak in our chapel service? My answer has been simple and brief. No, I will not.

In selecting speakers for Oklahoma Wesleyan, party affiliation and political positions do not matter. Personal conduct, public statements, theological integrity and moral consistency do. In short, unless it is an open debate where different sides of the issue will be presented, we choose speakers who generally promote our university’s mission and who do not stand in opposition, either in word or deed, to what we claim to hold dear as a Christian community. I believe I owe it to our students, faculty, staff, board, donors and church to do nothing less— and frankly, Donald Trump simply doesn’t represent OKWU’s behavioral, theological, moral or political ideals.

“But, we need to defeat Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders,” many have said: “Your criticism of Trump only helps them. You need to stop attacking those on ‘our side!’”

My response:

Anyone who is pro-abortion is not on my side. Anyone who calls women “pigs,” “ugly,” “fat” and “pieces of a–” is not on my side. Anyone who mocks the handicapped is not on my side. Anyone who has argued the merits of a government takeover of banks, student loans, the auto industry and healthcare is not on my side. Anyone who has been on the cover of Playboy and proud of it, who brags of his sexual history with multiple women and who owns strip clubs in his casinos is not on my side. Anyone who believes the government can wrest control of the definition of marriage from the church is not on my side. Anyone who ignores the separation of powers and boasts of making the executive branch even more imperial is not on my side.

I’m a conservative. I believe in conserving the dignity of life. I believe in conserving respect for women. I believe in conserving the Constitution. I believe in conserving private property, religious liberty and human freedom. I believe in morality more than I do in money. I hold to principles more than I yearn for power. I trust my Creator more than I do human character. I’d like to think that all this, and more, makes me an informed and thoughtful citizen and voter. I’ve read, I’ve listened and I’ve studied and there is NOTHING, absolutely nothing, in this man’s track record that makes Donald Trump “on my side.”

I refuse to let my desire to win “trump” my moral compass. I will not sell my soul or my university’s to a political process that values victory more than virtue.

No, Donald Trump will not be speaking at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
“The conservative…will not surrender to the contagion of mass-opinion or the temptations of…power… [I]f he hopes to conserve anything at all, he must make his stand unflinchingly.” Russell Kirk

Music Monday: Israeli Concertino

This week's Music Monday is composer/violinist George Perlman's Israeli Concertino. This was one of my favorite pieces to play as a violin student.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Conservatives and Christians need to unite behind Ted Cruz


Conservatives and Christians need to unite behind Ted Cruz
by Jamison Faught

We are now ten days from the Iowa caucuses. After ten months of campaigning by (at one point) seventeen Republican candidates, we are about to see the first votes cast.

At this point, it's down to a two-man race. The only candidates with real, legitimate chances at the nomination are Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

Donald Trump holds moderate to massive leads in every state that has been polled, with the exception of Iowa, where he is neck-and-neck with Cruz at the moment. Generally, Ted Cruz is in second-place in most states, sometimes, with breathing room between him and third.

John Kasich and Chris Christie's path to the nomination only comes with a New Hampshire victory, followed by miraculously winning other states where they have no infrastructure, no current support, or little money. There is no chance this happens.

Jeb Bush's path is a New Hampshire win and a South Carolina victory and somehow consolidating all of the support from every candidate not named Donald Trump. Extremely unlikely, but not totally impossible... until you realize that his campaign and super PAC have spent over $50M only to see his poll numbers vanish into obscurity. Wishful thinking.

Marco Rubio desperately needs to stay relevant by getting second in at least two of the first three states (Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina) - first-place in any of those is increasingly looking out of reach. He then needs success on Super Tuesday (aka "the SEC primary"), and survival until Florida and the later primaries. Rubio is taking fire from many directions, and is almost the sole target of the crashing Bush campaign. Outside of Trump and Cruz, he has the only shot at contention, but his chance is quickly beginning to fade away.

Really, none of the other candidates even have a shot at wining any state. There is no legitimate path to victory for Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, or Jim Gilmore.

That brings us back to Trump and Cruz. The choice between the two men couldn't be much clearer.

Many conservatives were wary of Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012 because of past positions he had taken on key issues. Donald Trump outdoes Romney in flip-flopping.

In the past twenty-some years, and as recently as four years...

  • Trump was registered as a Democrat, then an Independent
  • Trump supported abortion
  • Trump supported "assault" weapons bans and longer waiting periods for purchasing firearms
  • Trump supported single-payer, socialized healthcare
  • Trump supported massive tax increases
  • Trump donated to liberals like Clinton, Schumer, Emanuel, the DSCC and DCCC
  • Trump said his pro-partial birth abortion sister (a federal judge) would be a "phenomenal" Supreme Court justice
  • Trump said Mitt Romney was too "mean-spirited" on illegal immigration

Name a liberal position, and it's highly likely that Donald Trump has held it in the recent past.

For all of Romney's problems, at least he tangibly proved his conservatism on some issues. Trump has proven nothing other than the fact that he'll abandon his beliefs for political expediency. Isn't that exactly what conservatives are upset with many politicians for doing?

Trump provides no assurances for his conservative fidelity other than his word, and he's proven in the past that his word can't be trusted.

Trump has no political ideology other than a strange hybrid of strong-arm authoritarianism and compromising deal-making. Conservatives should beware.

On a religious side of things, Trump is nominally a Presbyterian. I say nominal, because he exhibits great ignorance on his denomination's teachings and practices. I'm a Baptist, and I would be a better Presbyterian than Trump -- at least I could articulate what Presbyterian doctrine is.

Trump sees no need for asking God's forgiveness and practicing repentance. Christian values and ethics are a foreign language to him. He is practically illiterate when it comes to the Bible. He publicly mocked Ted Cruz's evangelicalism.

His personal life and actions does not show a man transformed by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Trump would be better classified as a Deist than a real Christian. Christians should beware.

At this point in the race, even if you prefer a different candidate, Ted Cruz is the only man who can stop Donald Trump. If Trump wins Iowa, his path to the nomination will be unstoppable.

Unlike many of the other candidates, if Ted Cruz is successful in Iowa, he actually has the organization and money and poll numbers to be competitive in the states that follow.

Unlike Trump, you know where Ted Cruz stands.

  • Unlike Trump, Cruz is and has been uncompromisingly pro-life. 
  • Unlike Trump, Cruz is and has been uncompromisingly pro-gun. 
  • Unlike Trump, Cruz is and has been uncompromisingly against tax hikes.
  • Unlike Trump, Cruz is and has been uncompromisingly against socialized medicine and ObamaCare
  • Unlike Trump, Cruz is and has been fighting against the liberals in both parties in Washington
  • Unlike Trump, Cruz would appoint conservatives in the style of Thomas and Scalia to the Supreme Court

Ted Cruz has a fully formed and tested conservative ideology. He's been through the fire and emerged without compromising his convictions. In an age when Republicans go to Washington and toss aside their campaign promises, Ted Cruz keeps his promises.  He is proven -- he doesn't just talk the conservative talk, he actually walks the walk.

One of the most important issues to think about is the Supreme Court. By the end of the next presidential term, four justices will be over eighty years old. Ginsburg (liberal) will be almost 88, Scalia (conservative) will be almost 85, Kennedy (swing) will be 84½, and Breyer (liberal) will be 82½. The balance of the court for decades to come may be at stake. Does anybody honestly think Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominations would be conservative like Ted Cruz's would be?

Ted Cruz is a genuine Christian. He's unafraid to discuss his faith and how it forms his worldview. He doesn't just pay lip-service to his faith, he lives it out.

He's an evangelical (a Southern Baptist) who understands the importance of Christian values in government, and the influence Biblical principles played in the formation of America. He's devoted to his family. He's humble enough to admit his dependence on the Lord.

His faith in God provides him the firm foundation to hold firm on his convictions, because he understands that he will be held to account for his actions.

These are some of the reasons why the Republican establishment hates Ted Cruz. They know that he can't be bought, he arm can't be twisted, and he won't go along to get along.

Rather, they are willing to risk suicide with the erratic and unpredictable Trump rather than side with the consistent conservatism of Cruz. They would prefer losing with Trump than winning and being "stuck" with Cruz. They dangerously assume that someone like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio can stop Trump if he defeats Cruz in Iowa. Instead, Trump will steamroll through New Hampshire, South Carolina, and all the rest of the states and territories that follow.

The only time Donald Trump can be stopped is in Iowa, and the only candidate that can stop him is Ted Cruz.

Now is the time for conservatives and Christians to unite behind Ted Cruz. Too much is at stake to not do so.


Jamison Faught is a conservative activist and blogger from Muskogee, Oklahoma. He has served as a Republican state committeeman and precinct chair, founded the Muskogee Tea Party when he was nineteen, and volunteered for numerous conservative candidates for offices from mayor to U.S. Senate.


Muskogee Mayor/City Council candidates and ward map

The election for Muskogee mayor and city council will be held on February 9th, about two-and-a-half weeks from today. Officially, these races are non-partisan; however, voter registration can give you an idea of how a candidate leans. Given that these races tend to attract little attention, I'm posting the candidates registration, as well as a map of the Muskogee City Council Wards.

Candidates for Mayor: Three individuals filed to run for Mayor - incumbent Bob Coburn (R) and challengers Wayne Divelbiss (R) and Pete Caraway (R). Ironically, in a city where maybe 25% of registered voters are Republican, all three mayoral candidates are Republican.

Candidates for Ward I (unexpired term): two candidates filed - incumbent Janey Cagle-Boydston (D) and challenger Joshua Matthew Casarez (D).

Candidates for Ward I (full term): a whopping five people filed for this office - incumbent Lee Ann Langston (D), and challengers Patrick Cale (R), John Mark Lowrimore (D), Holly Rosser-Miller (D), and Diana White (R).

Candidates for Ward IV: two candidates filed here - incumbent Wayne Johnson (D) and challenger Lynne Wagner Wallis (R).

The election is Tuesday, February 9th.

 Here is a map showing the boundaries for each city council ward:

(click on image to view larger)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

County-by-county voter registration swings, 1/2015 to 1/2016



This edition of my Voter Registration Maps series shows the county-by-county trend in voter registration since last January.

Registration swung toward the Republican Party in all 77 counties. Jefferson County had the largest swing, posting a shift to the GOP of 5.82%. The smallest change was in Tulsa County, which came in at 0.81% toward the Republicans.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Music Monday: What Grace is Mine

This week's Music Monday is What Grace Is Mine. The lyrics are by Christian songwriter Kristyn Getty, to the traditional Irish tune Londonderry Air. This particular arrangement is arranged by Tom Fettke for choir.

Enjoy!

Voter Registration Maps: Party Growth, 1/15 to 1/16

Continuing my Voter Registration Maps series, here are maps representing the growth by county of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents as a percentage of  each county's registered voters.

First, the Democrats:

No county had positive percentage growth for the ODP. The news gets worse as Democrats are now at 42.05%, which is probably the lowest they've been since before statehood.

Second, the Republicans:

Washington County is the only county that had a loss for Republicans (-0.04%), but that loss came as a result of Independent growth (+0.93% -- Democrats lost 0.89%). Republicans now have 44.48% in voter registration statewide.

Lastly, the Independents:

Independents lost percentages in four counties, but overall gained 0.60% statewide for a grand total of 13.47% of registration.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

OKGOP Vice-Chair Estela Hernandez resigns to join OCPA


Hat tip to The Okie for first breaking this story:

OKGOP Vice Chair Estela Hernandez sent the following email to members 
of the OKGOP Executive Committee on Sunday afternoon.  

Good afternoon all,
I hope you are having a great start to 2016.

I want to begin by thanking each of you for all your support and encouragement you have given me. Thank you for your time and commitment by serving on the OKGOP Executive Committee. I respect and admire each of you and it has been a privilege to work along side you.

I have learned that often times in order to be more effective as an activist, we have to narrow our focus to make a greater impact.

Several weeks ago, I was approached by OCPA to join their team. After much prayer and conversation with my family, I have decided to accept their offer. I will be submitting my letter of resignation as Vice Chair tomorrow and my first day at OCPA will be Tuesday, January 19th.
I’m very excited to start a new chapter in advocating for our conservative issues.

Warm regards,

Estela Hernandez

So what does this mean? Here's what the OKGOP Rules say:
Rule 10(i)
Vacancies of State Chairman and Vice Chairman: If the State Chairman shall die, move from the state, resign, or otherwise become disqualified, then the Vice Chairman shall serve as Chairman until such vacancy shall be filled by the State Committee at a special meeting held within sixty (60) days for such purpose pursuant to written or electronic notice sent to all members of said committee stating such purpose 30 days prior to said meeting. Any person elected to fill such vacancy shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. If the Vice Chairman shall die, move from the state, resign, or otherwise become disqualified, then the vacancy shall be filled by the State Committee as described for filling the office of Chairman.

As was done last fall to replace OKGOP Chairman Randy Brogdon, the OKGOP State Committee will have to hold a special election to replace Hernandez.

Oklahoma thawing: 5 years of registration changes visualized



Here's another Voter Registration Map series post, this time illustrating Oklahoma's rising tide of Republican registration, and the thawing of the great Democratic glacier that once covered Oklahoma.

This image starts with registration as it stood in January of 2012, and ends with the most current update (January 2016).

Democrats began 2012 with 47.15% of all registered voters in Oklahoma; they start 2016 with only 42.05%. In 2012, Republicans numbered 41.4%; now, they're 44.48%. Independents have grown from 11.45% in 2012 to 13.47% in 2016.

Five years has seen a 5.75% Democratic lead change into a 2.43% Republican advantage. That's a swing of 8.18%.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Oklahoma Voter Registration Map, January 2016

(click image to view larger)

It's that time again - updates for my Voter Registration Maps series are coming up in the next several days.

Republicans continue making gains, and now sit at 44.48% of all registered voters. Democrats are now at 42.05%, while Independents have grown to 13.47%.

One county swapped leading parties - Republicans took the lead in Jackson County, and are now ahead by 2.51%. Two other counties totter on the brink, with Democrats holding razor-thin margins in Pawnee County (0.39% lead) and Pottawatomie County (0.44% lead).

I'll be getting more updates posted on this series soon.

Tom Cole draws opponent in Pastor James Taylor


It was never my ambition to run for Congress.  As pastor of Christ Church in Norman, OK and a middle school teacher, I have been happily living a quiet life with my wife, Rapheala.  However, I can no longer sit on the sidelines as my Congressman, Rep. Tom Cole, has drowned our country in debt and is leading our country in the wrong direction.

That’s why last week I announced my candidacy for the 4th Congressional District in Oklahoma.

To know who Tom Cole is, just look below at Cole’s ratings from the leading conservative indices.

Heritage Action:  36%
Freedomworks:  45%
Family Research Council: 75%
Club for Growth:  53%
Conservative Review:  40%

To be candid, Tom Cole’s liberal voting record does not represent the conservative values of the voters of the 4th District in the reddest state of the country.  The people of the 4th District are strong conservatives who want lower taxes and fewer regulations.

Why, you ask, do they keep electing Tom Cole?  It’s simple… they don’t know the real Tom Cole.

No candidate opposing Cole in the GOP primary has been organized enough to raise serious money.  And as long as Rep. Cole has the “show votes” to say he cuts spending, ends Obamacare, etc. with no one to show the voters how liberal Rep. Cole’s voting record really is, he will continue his 13 year career path of voting for liberal programs like Planned Parenthood and debt-ceiling increases.

Tom Cole was elected to the House of Representatives in 2002.  At the time, the national debt was 6 trillion dollars.  After many votes to raise the debt ceiling that Tom Cole supported, today our debt is $19 trillion.  Most recently, in October, Tom Cole voted to “suspend” the debt ceiling so that it can grow unchecked through March 2017, where the debt will balloon to over $20 trillion.

Cole’s vote to increase the debt ceiling also increased the budget and set up the Omnibus, a massive $1.15 trillion spending package that: fully funded Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, Obama’s executive order for amnesty, sanctuary cities, the Syrian refugee resettlement program, and so much more antithetical to our beliefs and values.

This damaging budget process enabled Congress to eventually vote on a repeal of Obamacare that the President could veto.  All sides could declare victory and change nothing.  People are tired of politicians who say they are going to do one thing while campaigning and then do another when they are in office.

As a pastor, I believe God calls Christians to be active in the political arena. However, it’s vital that Christian voters choose a candidate who reflect their biblical values. This led me to write “It’s Biblical, Not Political,” which guides Christian voters on how to vet political candidates to ensure they will follow the Constitution and the intent of our Founding Fathers to limit federal power while protecting states’ rights.

After 14 years, it’s safe to say that Tom Cole has been vetted and it’s very clear that he will continue his liberal votes to increase the debt, fund Planned Parenthood, and do nothing to stop Obamacare.  Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  It is time to stop the insanity.

My name is James Taylor and I am running against Tom Cole; but I need your help.  Eric Cantor’s defeat in 2014 set the stage for conservative victories across the country.  Just imagine how the defeat of another John Boehner lieutenant such as Rep. Cole could reverberate in every race in 2016.  But in order for that to happen, I need your financial support to deliver my conservative message to the people of the 4th District in Oklahoma.  Please click here to give to my campaign.

The time has come for a conservative change in Southwest Oklahoma.  Together we can be victorious and bring conservative values, and more important – conservative votes in Congress, to the 4th District.

Fox Business GOP Debate thoughts


As I have "poor man TV" (aka over-the-air broadcast), I watched the GOP debate last night online. Here are some of my thoughts.

Ranking/grade

  • 1-T: Cruz (A) and Rubio (A)
  • 2: Trump (B-)
  • 3. Christie (B-)
  • 4. Bush (C)
  • 5. Kasich (C)
  • 6. Carson (D)

For the first two-thirds of the debate, I thought Ted Cruz was winning big. He obliterated Trump on the "birther" question - the first candidate to clearly and thoroughly beat Trump in an exchange so far this election cycle. He failed to get time to respond to Marco Rubio's late shotgun blast, and that took wind out of his sails.

Rubio had some good moments early, but seemed to flail in the middle of the debate. He lost his exchange with Christie, but can take consolation  in the fact that Christie pretty much lied through his teeth on everything in that back-and-forth. He finished with a late but very strong attack on Cruz.

I think the debate was a Cruz-Rubio tie, possibly slight edge to Cruz.

Donald Trump exceeded my expectations. He had a masterful reply to the "angry" question, and had the best possible delivery of his "New York values" rebuttal. This was by far his best debate -- in fact, he continues to improve debate after debate.

Chris Christie was strong early, but as I mentioned above, blatantly lied about his record in the exchange with Rubio. He also has this terrible habit of interrupting substantive policy discussions with belittling comments about "the Senate floor", and "people don't care about this". Um, excuse me, but some people want to actually find out.

Jeb Bush was typical Jeb - bumbling and stumbling. I can't for the life of me figure out why he is so awful at speaking. He trips over words, sounds and looks awkward, and otherwise acts as if he's never done public speaking in his life. He'll get going on an intelligent and well-stated point, only to stumble through the ending. While he didn't have a disastrous debate, he needed an excellent performance, and didn't get close to it.

John Kasich was more coherent in this debate, and unlike every time before this sounded somewhat conservative at times. One of his (many) problems is that he constantly brings up how long he's been in politics (i.e. in Washington "during the Cold War"... which is an eternity ago in today's political world). He's probably the most tone-deaf candidate this cycle. This time, he managed to avoid last place.

Ben Carson bombed. Debates are not his strong point to begin with. He seemed caught off-guard by several questions, almost as if he was daydreaming. He had one or two good answers, but most of his responses were rambling. Especially on foreign policy, he sounded like he was reciting facts that he recently learned... but that everybody else knew already (in this debate, it was EMPs, dirty bombs, and cyber attacks). His campaign is floundering, and the reasons for his campaign to continue are dwindling fast.

Those are my thoughts. Leave a comment with yours.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Trump to make stop in Tulsa on January 20th


Donald Trump's Oklahoma team just announced that Trump will be making a campaign stop in Tulsa next week.

Free tickets can be reserved at this link. The event will be held at the ORU Mabee Center, and begin at noon on Wednesday, January 20th. Doors will open at 10:00am.

This will be Trump's second visit to Oklahoma as a presidential candidate.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Seven qualify for Fox Business debate; Paul, Fiorina demoted


Thursday's Republican presidential debate on the Fox Business Channel will be the smallest debate of the 2016 cycle for the GOP, as only 7 candidates made the cut.

Candidates qualified for the debate in one of two ways: be in the top six nationally in an average of the most recent live phone surveys, or be in the top five in Iowa or New Hampshire. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush all made it in by being in the top six nationally, while John Kasich got in by being in the top five in New Hampshire.

Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina, both present in the last debates, polled too low to make it in through either method. They will join Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum in the "undercard" debate, although Paul has said he will skip the junior debate altogether, as his "first tier campaign" deserves the "first tier debate".

Music Monday: "Meditation" from Thaïs

This week's Music Monday is Meditation, from Jules Massenet's opera Thaïs. World-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman is the soloist in this performance.

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Inhofe endorses Rubio for President


Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe has endorsed Florida Senator Marco Rubio for President.

From the Oklahoman:
Inhofe, R-Tulsa, called Rubio “a solid conservative” and said he would be the strongest Republican candidate against Hillary Clinton if the former secretary of state secures the Democratic nomination.

“Marco and I have shared, similar values, such as working for a smaller federal government and putting an end to wasteful spending,” Inhofe said in a prepared statement.

“At the same time, we both recognize the need for the United States to be a global leader and that it requires a well-supported, world-class military that can safely and effectively answer when called upon.

“As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco consistently demonstrates that he understands what it will take to keep America safe and to rebuild our place of leadership in the world. He is also one of the most informed and most knowledgeable critics of the Obama administration’s failed foreign policy, not only regarding ISIS in the Middle East, but across the globe.

“Marco has demonstrated sound judgment in knowing who our allies are and who they are not.” Inhofe also endorsed Rubio’s positions on overhauling the Veterans Affairs Department, repealing the Affordable Care Act, reducing federal involvement in public education and rolling back environmental regulations.

From Oklahoma's federal delegation, Sen. Inhofe and Congressman Markwayne Mullin support Rubio, while Congressman Jim Bridenstine is helping Ted Cruz. Sen. Lankford and Reps. Cole, Lucas and Russell have not made any public endorsements so far.

Oklahoma's presidential primary is on March 1st.

Dan Boren looking at Governor's race in 2018


Dan Boren exploring run for Oklahoma governor in 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) —Dan Boren, a former Democratic congressman from one of Oklahoma's most distinguished political families, says he's actively exploring a run for Oklahoma's open governor seat in 2018.

After spending the last three years working on business development for the Chickasaw Nation, Boren told The Associated Press that he's started meeting with state political and business leaders and developing policy proposals in preparation for a potential candidacy.

"I am taking all of the necessary steps to become a candidate for governor and I will make a final decision at the end of this year," Boren said in an interview Friday. "I began taking some of those steps late last year by visiting with business leaders, community leaders, civic leaders, also legislative leaders."

Boren, 42, hasn't started raising money or interviewing political consultants, but said he believes there is a "very doable" path for a Democrat to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, despite GOP dominance at the polls in the last several cycles in Oklahoma.
Read more here.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Oklahoma AgSec Jim Reese endorses Rubio


Jim Reese Endorses Marco Rubio as “good guardian” for Oklahoma Agriculture

The Marco Rubio for President Oklahoma State Chairman, Senator David Holt, has announced that Jim Reese, longtime champion for Oklahoma agriculture, is endorsing Marco Rubio.

"Marco Rubio will restore sanity and restraint to the federal regulations that are coming down like rain from this current administration, and I am proud to support him,” said Reese.  "Oklahoma agriculture has produced more and safer food every year of this decade despite many challenging conditions and headwinds from Washington. With a good guardian like Marco Rubio as President, our efforts will be bolstered."

“Jim Reese is unquestionably one of Oklahoma agriculture’s greatest champions,” said Senator Holt.   “His endorsement, joining Congressman Markwayne Mullin, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Eddie Fields, and almost a dozen rural legislators, speaks volumes.  Marco Rubio is the best Republican presidential candidate for Oklahoma agriculture."

Marco Rubio is a candidate in the March 1st Oklahoma Republican presidential primary.  He most recently visited the state in September, when he paid his respects at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum and delivered a speech outlining his energy plan.  Oklahoma supporters of Marco Rubio’s campaign can receive updates by following @TeamMarcoOK on Twitter or liking TeamMarcoOK on Facebook.


(Ed. note: Reese serves as Commissioner of Agriculture, and in 
Gov. Fallin's cabinet as Secretary of Agriculture.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

State audits should be done by the State Auditor

State Auditor & Inspector Gary Jones

There's a spat going on right now between Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office and State Auditor Gary Jones.

The auditor's office notified Pruitt's office in November that they would be conducting a routine audit in January, as specified by state statute. On December 31st, Assistant Attorney General Michael Hunter responded, saying that their office was in the process of procuring an independent auditor, saying "[t]his obviates the necessity of your office conducting the audit you propose".

Jones replied this week, saying "while this may be an administrative decision by your office to spend additional funds on a separate audit, it does not obviate the statutory requirement found in 74 O.S. § 212(B)which dictates that our office perform audits of all state agencies".

This apparently all stems from hurt feelings and thin skin in the Attorney General's office, as members of the AG's staff have told the press that they feel Jones has a conflict of interest due to some fairly generic comments he recently made when asked about staff and spending increases in the AG's office.

I have great respect for Attorney General Pruitt, but this is ridiculous. Pruitt and his office should stop digging their heels in and allow the STATE AUDITOR to do the job he was twice elected by the people of Oklahoma to do.

Resisting a routine, statutorily-prescribed audit by the statutorily-required State Auditor can give the wrong impression.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Music Monday: Praeludium and Allegro

This week's Music Monday is Praeludium and Allegro by Fritz Kreisler, played by violinist Joshua Bell.

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Trump leads Cruz 32% to 28% in new Oklahoma poll


A brand new (as in, started in October) website casting itself as a polling organization has a new set of polls for the Republican and Democratic primaries in Oklahoma. Take these numbers with a huge grain of salt -- more on that below the report.

OvertimePolitics.com Oklahoma Republican Primary Poll ­ Dec 26­-29, 2015
Donald Trump holds a slight 4 point lead over Ted Cruz in Oklahoma ­ 32%-28%

Ted Cruz has narrowed the gap between himself and Donald Trump nationally, and it appears as though he is doing so in Oklahoma as well. Though Oklahoma does border Texas, Trump’s support is not quite as strong as he would probably like in the Sooner State.

In a distant 3rd place, in danger of missing the 15% threshold for any delegates, is Marco Rubio at 14%. Beyond that, Ben Carson has seemingly disappeared from the scene with 6%. The “other” category polled better than all but the top 4 candidates, while 6% of voters still do not know who they will vote for.

This poll was conducted by telephone to include 398 likely Republican Primary voters, with a margin of error of 5.2%. Phone numbers were selected at random through public phone records and cell phone lists.

Likely Republican Primary voters were asked the following question:

1. Who do you plan on voting for in the 2016 Republican Primary? Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, a candidate I did not name, or are you undecided?

Results:
Donald Trump ­ 127 ­ 32%
Ted Cruz ­ 111 ­ 28%
Marco Rubio ­ 56 ­ 14%
Ben Carson ­ 24 ­ 6%
Jeb Bush ­ 15 ­ 4%
Rand Paul ­ 8 ­ 2%
Chris Christie ­ 7 ­ 2%
Carly Fiorina ­ 5 ­ 1%
John Kasich ­ 3%
Other ­ 17 ­ 4%
Undecided ­ 25 ­ 6%

Like I said earlier, OvertimePolitics appears to have been started in October, so they have zero track record on polling accuracy. Furthermore, their methodology appears to be very unorthodox and unscientific, with no demographic sorting or weighting. It's simply the first X number of people who answer the phone. In that case, the margin of error figure they give is pretty much just made up.

That said, the most recent Oklahoma poll by an established and respected organization (SoonerPoll, Nov. 15th) had Trump leading Cruz 27.1% to 18.3%. SoonerPoll also had the same top four as OvertimePolitics - although at the time SoonerPoll had Rubio in fourth (16.3%) and Carson in third (17.5%).

So, once again, take this particular polling organization with a big grain of salt. On the Democratic side of things, they have Clinton leading Sanders in Oklahoma by 51% to 41%.